Crab Cakes, Lacrosse & Porn: That’s What Maryland Does!

Thanks to the Charm City Wire blog, we learned that Lebanon-born, Miami-based sports enthusiast/porn star Mia Khalifa (2014′s #1 ranked porn star on Pornhub.com, with 6.2 million views), tweeted the following Maryland shout-out on her Twitter page (@miakhalifa), where she describes herself as “Unofficial mascot of the Florida State Seminoles and a pornstar in the off-season”:

Mia-Khalifa-crbackaes

Mia Khalifa: “Crabcakes & Lacrosse. That’s What Maryland Does.”

So why, if she’s such a Seminoles football fan (she even posted a YouTube video that attempted to lure Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller to FSU, taking college football recruitment to a new level), is she giving props to the Land of Pleasant Living?

Mia Khalifa makes her pitch for Braxton Miller

Turns out Khalifa grew up in Montgomery County, making her part of the DC Metro area known as DMV (DC, Maryland, Virginia – not the Department of Motor Vehicles). In fact, her tweet accompanying the picture adds, “Hardly home but always reppin’ #DMV.”

Maryland, My Maryland!

Maryland, My Maryland!

No doubt Mia’s promo for lacrosse will earn her props with Maryland’s stickmen, though her passion for crabs may give her male co-stars pause. But her heart, which she wears brazenly on her sleeves, seems to rest with the Seminoles.

mia-khalifa-fsu-twitter

Mia Khalifa is out front about her love for the Florida State Seminoles.

And the porn star-cum-cheerleader even has her own theme song (unfortunately it’s hip-hop), courtesy of Timeflies. Watch Mia Khalifa twerk (natch) to “Mia Khalifa.

Related Links:

Mia Khalifa @miakhalifa (Twitter)

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John Waters Looks for Trouble

Filmmaker John Waters is still looking to make people laugh uncomfortably—this time in the art world

By Alexandra Wolfe (Weekend Confidential, Wall Street Journal, January 9, 2015)

John Waters (Allison Michael Orenstein for The Wall Street Journal/Grooming by Mara Schiavetti for Cloutier/Remix)

John Waters (Allison Michael Orenstein for The Wall Street Journal/Grooming by Mara Schiavetti for Cloutier/Remix)

“I don’t trust anybody who hasn’t been in jail once.”- John Waters

“Have you ever been arrested?” filmmaker John Waters asks me. “I don’t trust anybody who hasn’t been in jail once.” When neither I nor anyone from the photo crew with me in Mr. Waters’s Manhattan apartment admits to having been arrested, he exclaims, “Squares!”

The controversial artist has been arrested four times, once for “conspiracy to commit indecent exposure” while filming his first feature film, “Mondo Trasho,” in Baltimore in 1969. His next film, “Pink Flamingos,” was banned in Hicksville, N.Y., in the early 1970s for its sexually explicit content.

Four decades later, Mr. Waters, 68, is finding it much more difficult to get into trouble. As the writer and director of cult indie films such as “Hairspray” (1988), “Cry-Baby” (1990) and “Cecil B. DeMented” (2000), he must confront the troubling fact that some of his work is now considered mainstream.

Still, Mr. Waters’s apartment retains some hints of his bad-boy behavior. Amid the traditional décor of Oriental carpets and dark wood, a lifelike stuffed dog (a piece of taxidermy) lies on the floor. A nearby wall features a toilet paper roll, only with chiffon hanging down instead of paper. “I miss being hated,” he says, sitting at his dining room table.

It’s been more than a decade since Mr. Waters released his last film. He has kept busy with other projects, including performances, artwork and books. This weekend, he opens a new show of his photographs and sculptures at the Marianne Boesky Gallery in New York. Titled “Beverly Hills John,” it satirizes the worlds of film, art and literature.

'Beverly Hills John,' (2012 Courtesy of the artist and Marianne Boesky Gallery. New York © John Waters)

“Beverly Hills John” (2012 Courtesy of the artist and Marianne Boesky Gallery. New York © John Waters)

In one heavily Photoshopped image, he gives himself an extreme face-lift. Lassie gets the same treatment, pointing to a new frontier of plastic surgery for pets. And he makes fun of art’s commercial culture with pieces such as “Did Not Sell,” an assembly of red stickers spelling out the words of the work’s title. The show “covers sexual tastes, race and everything that’s a hot button,” he says. “I try to make you laugh uncomfortably.”

He jokes that landing roles in two film franchises would make his career complete—one a horror series and one for children. “I want to be in the next ‘Final Destination’ movie and in the next ‘Chipmunk’ movie, and those are the only things in my whole career I want left,” he says. “I was in a Woody Allen movie, and I was in a Chucky movie, so what more do I want?”

Growing up in Baltimore, Mr. Waters was fascinated by gory crime scenes and would have his mother drive him to junkyards so that he could look at car wreck remains. “I liked villains,” he says. “I was interested in behavior I couldn’t understand, and I still am.”

His parents, he says, were supportive about his career, if hesitant. They wished he had made different kinds of movies, he remembers, but as his films started getting more positive reviews, they grew more accepting. When the Broadway adaptation of his film “Hairspray” won eight Tony awards in 2003, “they were really happy,” he says.

His main residence is still in Baltimore, where he keeps a library of more than 8,000 books. “Baltimore inspires me because it has the cutest, funniest people and a great sense of humor.” When a travel magazine credited the city with having the least attractive people in the country, his reaction was, “They just didn’t understand style.”

Continue reading “John Waters Looks for Trouble” at www.wsj.com.

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Mouth Trumpet Lets You Toot Your Own Horn, but Without the Horn

Also Known as ‘Vocal’ or ‘Lip’ Trumpet, Musicians Use Their Own Mouths to Jazz Up the Music Scene

By Angus Loten (Wall Street Journal, January 6, 2015)

Singer songwriter Victoria Vox is leading a revival of the ‘mouth trumpet,’ a vocal technique popularized during the 1920s ukulele craze. (Photo: Philip Edward Lubner)

Singer songwriter Victoria Vox is leading a revival of the ‘mouth trumpet,’ a vocal technique popularized during the 1920s ukulele craze. (Photo: Philip Edward Lubner)

BALTIMORE—Side-by-side on folding chairs, Rick and Sonia Samuel pursed their lips and blew. With his face turning red, Mr. Samuel managed to produce a low-frequency buzzing. His wife’s mouth emitted noises several octaves higher.

“Sometimes people think that if they just blow, they’re going to produce music,” their instructor, Victoria Vox, explained to the group of about 20 people, gathered in a turn-of-the-century townhouse.

The Samuels, both in their 40s, were here to learn basic “mouth trumpet”—a vocal technique using the lips to imitate the sound of a trumpet, but without a trumpet. “It takes practice to get the tone and pitch,” said Ms. Vox, a professional singer-songwriter who led the group in a mouth-trumpet version of the Beatles’ “All You Need Is Love.” “You have to sing, and you have to know what note to hit, too.”

Ms. Vox, who also plays ukulele and piano, is among a group of performers who are leading an unlikely revival of the mouth trumpet—also known as “vocal” or “lip” trumpet—even as they seek respect as serious musicians.

The 36-year-old, whose given name was Victoria Davitt, has held similar workshops across the country while touring to promote her eighth album, “Key,” which was nominated in March for an Independent Music Award. She wrote or co-wrote all of the songs in the album, many of which feature a real trumpet that Ms. Vox mimics onstage.

“It is singing and it is my voice,” she says. “It’s not just a joke.”

Certainly, mouth trumpet has a rich heritage in popular music, much of it linked to the ukulele craze of the 1920s. Some of the earliest known mouth-trumpet recordings were by Cliff “Ukelele Ike” Edwards, whose signature high-pitched vocal solos are a cross between a muted trumpet and the kind of improvised scat singing popularized by Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald. Mouth-trumpet solos figure prominently in his biggest hits, including “Singin’ in the Rain,” which topped the U.S. pop charts for three weeks in 1929.

Another early mouth trumpeter was Harry Mills, the second youngest of the four Piqua, Ohio, Mills Brothers, who is said to have lost his kazoo at a talent show and played mouth trumpet on stage instead. By 1930, the Mills Brothers were stars on CBS radio, appearing regularly on the Fleischmann’s Yeast Hour with singer Rudy Vallee. Performers as varied as Dean Martin and the Bee Gees have cited Harry Mills as a musical influence.

But as the Jazz Age faded in the Depression, mouth trumpet lost its appeal in mainstream music; it could still be heard in folk, blues and other traditional songs.

Its current revival comes amid a broader rediscovery of early jazz, and the renewed popularity of the ukulele in recent years, says Vince Giordano, whose New York jazz band The Nighthawks recorded the Grammy-winning soundtrack for the 1920s-era HBO series “Boardwalk Empire.” He says good mouth trumpet, like good scat singing, is something of a lost art: “Not everyone can do it. You’ve got to be musical and have good pitch,” he says.

“There’s nothing worse than bad scatting, except maybe bad mouth trumpet,” says Bria Skonberg, co-founder of the New York Hot Jazz Festival, and a 2014 winner for Best Trumpet and Best Female Vocalist by Hot House Jazz Magazine. “Mouth trumpet may sound like a trumpet, but it’s really more like playing a kazoo,” Ms. Skonberg says, adding that she’s glad performers are learning to do it well again.

Continue reading “Mouth Trumpet Lets You Toot Your Own Horn” at www.wsj.com.

Related Links:

Victoria Vox Demonstrating her Mouth Trumpet (YouTube)

Victoria Vox Official Site (www.victoriavox.com)

Victoria Vox performs Europe’s “Final Countdown” on Jay Leno (sorry for poor quality!)

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