About Me

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Kymberlie Ingalls is native to the Bay Area in California. She is a pioneer in blogging, having self-published online since 1997. Her style is loose, experimental, and a journey in stream of consciousness. Works include personal essay, prose, short fictional stories, and a memoir in progress. Thank you for taking a moment of your time to visit. Beware of the occasional falling opinions. For editing services: http://www.rainfallpress.com/

Monday, May 21, 2012

A Heavenly Fever

Well, this has been a shit week.  My youth is being obliterated right and left!  Such legends are leaving us.

The Brothers Gibb are a part of some of the most joyous moments that I can remember.  That's saying a lot, if you know anything at all about my not so joyous life.  It wasn't until I met my husband, who is ten years older than myself at fifty, who educated me on the stellar songwriting talents of the younger, purer Bee Gees.  I'd known of Barry's collaborative effort with Kenny Rogers in the 80s on one of my favorite albums, but knew absolutely zero about their acclaim two decades earlier. 

So far as I ever knew, they were the kings of dance.  They were the beat behind The Strut.  When I held that double album with the shiny black cover and sexy young Travolta on the flashing rainbow of a dance floor in my hands, I couldn't wait to get it on my little suitcase turntable and secretly shake my little six year old body around my bedroom.  It was grown-up music!  And I loved it. 

Later, as a teen, it was the glue that bonded my friendship with the first real Valley Girl I ever knew.  She'd just moved up here to the Bay Area, and beneath the modern rock attitude as though she'd just walked in from a John Hughes movie set lay a girl who had the Night Fever.  At first I wasn't sure about Jackie, we couldn't be more different.  I was a girl dressed in pastels and sent out into the world, forbidden to take part in most trends of the day.  Once we discovered our love for all things disco, something took hold and it's been our only common musical love ever since. 

At my wedding, I threw a curve at Jackie, my maid of honor, and had the DJ play her favorite song from the album, You Should Be Dancing.  The poor woman was embarrassed as hell when I shoved her out on the floor to show off her moves, because we had a pretty tame crowd and nobody else would join in.  Our friend Bill gallantly stepped out to join her and despite their twenty five year age difference, they were a perfect match.

In my twenties, I grew into my inner party girl, and like Donna Summer, Gloria Gaynor, Shaun Cassidy and a slew of others, The Bee Gees, including brother Andy, taught me how to let loose and live like there wasn't a tomorrow, even if only for a night. When the 70s came back around in style, I gave in to temptation and bought a pair of platform heels, five inches high.  Then another, and one more to boot - black satin, with an open heel that was tall and thick, criss crossed over my red-painted toes.  At long last, I had my Bad Sandy moment!

I never really was a girly girl.  When I reflect and search for those brief times throughout my history, they are set to this soundtrack, to these anthems.  There is something about disco that brings a girl out of her shell.  I am fortunate to have actually been alive when this revolution lived, to see the blossoming of a nation of women who felt free to dance, no partner needed. 

Rest in peace, Robin, Maurice and Andy.  Somewhere, if there is an "up above," I suspect there's a fever of a whole new kind spreading itself amongst the clouds.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Last Dance Of Summer

Maybe it’s having turned 40 that put a curse upon the world, but it seems this year that I find myself bidding a sad farewell to pop culture legends that have me longing for a yesterday when they, and I, were invincible.

Well, they.

Many eons ago, I interviewed someone, back when I was exploring my roots as a writer and thinking I was going to take the celebrity world by storm.  This comedian gave me my first break, after which I promptly realized I sucked and had better find another use of my skills.  But Larry said something that I never forgot; “When I was in the third grade, I’d see the other kids playing on the monkey bars and I’d watch them having fun but all I could think was, ‘what’s the point, we’re all going to die anyway.’”  It was a key joke to his dark, brooding comic act, but not far from reality.  Larry, aptly nicknamed “Bubbles” for his far-from-optimist personality, resonated with me.  
I’ve always felt vincible. 

Before there was the ‘reality’ fame of today, we had real celebrities who touched our world with a talent, a shine to them that captivated some part of an American dream we wanted to touch, and live, even if vicariously. 

Before I got this old and began to act sensible in a quiet, consistent way, there were those moments when a song could come on that made me want to drop everything, and dance.  Songs that brightened a day, or jazzed up a night.  Sometimes I hear those melodies and memories come like a waterfall, raining down like a crystal shower. 

Often those songs begin with a disco beat, and are sung with the joyful, soulful voice of the era’s greatest talent.  We lost that talent yesterday, and while Donna Summer hadn’t had a hit in nearly three decades, the loss was still great.

Being one of the most successful artists of a time that is often looked down upon for its superficiality and encouragement of mindless excess, my iPod would not be complete without the Summer anthology in heavy rotation. 

I worked for awhile at a radio station whose format was metal/goth/grunge, and never was there a more devoted listener base, but one April Fool’s Day I brought in my old vinyls and had a field day with a ‘sudden format change.’  The phone lines flooded with these metalheads calling in and requesting more Donna. 

When strutting our Hot Stuff hadn’t paid off, being a Bad Girl just wasn’t working out, and the magic that could have been just walked out the door without you on his arm - whenever “Oooooh ohhhhh….” floated through the air, suddenly what might have been a heartbreaking, ugly night became a worthwhile memory because it was the Last Dance, and there was still a chance at romance because Donna said so.  There wasn’t a roof she couldn’t raise.

A memory is a priceless thing, and that’s what music is for me – beyond value.  With the recent loss of Dick Clark, who was responsible for introducing us to a plethora of songs to make us want to laugh, cry, and sing out loud with, this is another blow to my younger days, and there will only be more to follow. 

I look at music differently now, knowing there will never be the same waterfall feeling.  There are no songs I’m going to have a 40 year love affair with, no new artists that will make me feel young again. 

It just doesn’t hit home until I’ve lost one of my childhood friends. 

© Kymberlie Ingalls, May 20, 2012