Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Night I Went Back in Time

The laundry list including my likes and dislikes since as far back as I can remember was always on a tangent yet parallel path to the mainstream thoughts of the people surrounding me at any given time.

If I was around my grandparents, I took interest in their favorite things: Frank Sinatra, Golf, shopping, and family-time.

If I was around my sister, that list changed to: Disney movies, cartoon-based action movies, musicals, and pop music.

If I was around my classmates at school that list climbed the ranks in subject matter with a bit more intellectual base to it: history, classic literature, music, creative writing.

School was my mecca of all things truly fun that I learned how to do all on my own. I took it upon myself to excel at my favorite lessons issued by teachers.

My family influenced who I am a great deal like most other families often do. What I learned at school shaped me.

School enabled an on-going struggle to obtain a solid understanding of human nature and people's role in the world's history. I've found that studying history, literature, music, and participating in those sub-cultures of society is a big reward. It creates passion in people. The passion to do something for both themselves and others.

My passion for Jazz music is still very much alive. This Friday was a reminder of that.

I went back in time on Friday night when I visited the Carlyle Club for the first time in Alexandria, Va. (for DMV locals, it's not too far from the King Street Metro station on the Blue and Yellow line).

The following performance left me wishing I had been born in 1925:

Friday, May 28, 2010

Happy Memorial Day - Chicago to DC Updates

Some of you who consider yourself to be Chicago to DC faithful might have noticed the increase in video posts this month. It's true -- music is more than important to me. It's probably the most important thing to me, only to be followed by writing, baseball, and ...breathing.

Some of you might be asking, "Rachel, where has all the writing gone?" Well, the answer is simple. The writing has "gone" to We Love DC. Local and National music coverage, Nationals baseball beat, random news around the District -- if you're looking for it, I've got it covered.

That's why I'm writing this post.

If it's news related to something I'm passionate about, I'm all for it. Problem is I feel I'm lacking that "personal touch" I know I have the ability to bring to any piece of writing. I had been filling that void in my life through Chicago to DC before starting with We Love DC. While I don't feel I've "lost" the personal touch, I do think I need a reality check -- hence the increase in video posts this month.

My music is my lifeline. It brought me up when I was down, gave me solace at my loneliest, and has never left my side since I first picked up a trumpet and guitar at the age of 9.

If you're a fan of anything I've ever written, I beg you give a listen to my recent video uploads either here on this blog or on my YouTube Channel.

Enjoy your holiday weekend. Use it to relax. Maybe listen to a couple tracks while you're at it? Let me know what you think!


Rachel Levitin

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Blues Jam 5/18/10 - Rachel Levitin

Chicago to DC Shout-Outs: Greg Pincus

I have to take a moment to mention how awesome it felt the morning I woke up on April 4 to find that the writer of the children's baseball movie Little Big League gave me a shout out on his personal blog. Greg Pincus allowed me to live out a very strange yet much appreciated childhood fantasy of somehow becoming involved with Billy Heywood and this classic staple of my movie collection.

And it's all thanks to my little brain conjuring up the thought that Billy and his grandpa Thomas (both fictional characters, but that is of no consequence) sure did have some solid gems of wisdom to share for any baseball team to ever storm the diamond. In this particular case, I issued the advice to this year's Washington Nationals (who at this moment are tied for second place in the NL East and are definite contenders for the Wild Card ... if the Wild Card were to be decided in May).

I like to think the Nats Manager Jim Riggleman caught wind of my blog entry and took it into consideration when planning his management strategies for the regular season. Sure -- it's quite the day dream -- but that doesn't mean there's no chance that it's true.

Want to read the original post entitled "Five Baseball Lessons From Thomas & Billy Heywood"? Click here.

Want to read the shout-out from Pincus? Click

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Come On, Baby Don't You Wanna Go?

I do ... and I will ... back to that same old place, sweet home Chicago.

Friday, you'll be able to find me in section 123 at Wrigley Field to watch the struggling Cubbies at home for the first time since August 2008.

A lot has changed since that August game where Rich Harden pitched a gem, Marmol set up the save, and Kerry Wood closed it out for a rousing bout of "Go Cubs Go" the entire stumble of a walk back to my Lakeview home.

My company that night included my high school friends Darienne and my parents, who showed up after game time. Little did my parents know (and now my mother will if she reads this entry ... sorry mom), Darienne and I were three beers into the night by the time they showed up for the game in our bleacher seats.

Let me explain why so many so fast:
  1. We got to the game at about 3:45 (for a 7:05 start) and waited in line to get into the bleachers for a good seat, which we got.
  2. It was my first time being 21 at a baseball game.
  3. It was my first time being 21 at a Cubs game.
  4. It was my first time being 21 at a Cubs game sitting in the bleachers.
  5. Therefore, we had no choice.
Then, upon my father's arrival, he continued to hand out beers to the two of us just as fast as the Cubs continue to lose this season. I, of course, did not turn them down. I also do not remember the walk home. What I do remember is that I will never forget that game.

It was the last one I ever went to with my dad and definitely ranks among the top three Cubs games I saw with him. Between the two of us, we sure have seen a bunch of awesome games: the Red Sox first series against the Cubs at Wrigley Field in May 2005 (where then Cubs starter Greg Maddux hit a homer run), Cubs Spring Training at Hohokam in 2006, Kerry Woods first releif appearance in August 2005, Ryne Sandberg's (second) last game before retirement in 1997, and that's just to name a few.

This will be my first Cubs game attended with my pseudo-daddy Peter. It will be full of Old Style, Chicago hot dogs, and a great deal of yelling directed toward our Cubs. It'll be just like Lou from inside the dugout only better because we have beer and Lou doesn't.

I do however look forward to the game because I can only imagine what a kick my dad is gonna get out of watching Peter and I rant on and on about how the Nationals (for once) are way better than the Cubs.

Face it Cubs fans, the Nats have a way better bullpen despite Brian Bruney's miserable numbers. But then again, things could be worse for the Cubs ... they could still be paying Jason Marquis. Then again, Zambrano's still in the pen. In any case, my bet's on the Nats finishing better than the Cubs this season in the overall standings.

Saturday, May 8, 2010