Monthly Archives: July 2013

The Spector Spat

This morning I happened upon the Facebook page of La La Brooks, the Crystals’ youngest belter who takes the lead on the group’s biggest hits, “Then He Kissed Me” and “Da Doo Ron Ron.” She prefaced a recent post with a warning to “fasten your seatbelts” and proceeded to detail her displeasure with Darlene Love in the documentary, 20 Feet From Stardom (my favorite film of 2013, btw). She singles out a scene where Darlene Love reunites with her trio the Blossoms, and launches into an a cappella version of “Da Doo Ron Ron,” The Crystals’ #3 hit from 1963, featuring La La on lead vocal. This scene alone wouldn’t warrant ruffled feathers. But as the film delves deeper into Darlene Love’s story, you begin to understand La La Brooks’ cause for concern.  In one scene, Darlene Love sits at the mixing board in Sony studios, listening to her vocal on “He’s A Rebel,” which, she explains, an ill-intentioned Phil Spector credited to the Crystals. Darlene is visibly upset as she tells the story of her name being wiped from the record, and hints that the Crystals’ incident is partly to blame for … Read more


I’m slowly emerging from that sorrowful place where, after having lost something so dear to me, everything in life seems trivial and weirdly pointless. I’ve been incapable of doing anything that requires mental effort, so have cast all work obligations aside, and have passed the time either in front of a movie screen or book. I saw Fruitvale Station (devastating story, schmaltzy film), The Hunt (Scandinavians really know how to make movies), BlackFish (a glaring reminder as to why SeaWorld and dolphin/ killer whale parks need to GO AWAY), and Stories We Tell (the gushing reviews are wholly justified). I finally got through a stash of un-read books–Darlene Love and Carole King’s autobiographies, The Wrecking Crew book, and Simon Reynolds’ Retromania. I am a notorious highlighter, note-taker, page folder, and my copy of Retromania is one hot-pink mess. Pete suggested that instead of highlighting the whole book,  I should just read it again. But it’s not often you come across a book that speaks to your whole darn existence and attempts to very eloquently and enthusiastically get to the heart of every question stuck in your brain for the last five years. My experiment in … Read more


Hello friends. I’m mourning the loss of my sweet Pumpkin, who we put to sleep this past Sunday. It’s been an intense six months of shuttling her back and forth between vets, hospitals, and holistic healers, in hopes of her overcoming what one vet called the worse infection he’d ever seen in a cat. I even went so far as to make an appointment with an animal psychic. My friends thought it was a hilarious move, but you’ll do whatever you can when you’re desperate. But FYI, they were right. The best the psychic could offer was that Pumpkin was a very smart cat who loved me. Profound.  I’ve left my place in Brooklyn to get some peace and quiet. I know I have to go back soon, but I just can’t bear to be in my apartment without her. The emptiness terrifies me. I have little desire to do anything but sit outside and read. I loved her so much. It’s hard living without her. I’ll be back with an update as soon as I feel up to it. With love,xo-Sheila 

On the Beach Mix

I’ve been spending the past week at the beach, mixing and matching music to the sparkling sand n’ sea. I’ve whittled down the 135+ song list to 29, quite a cumbersome process given the excess of very fine summery songs from practically every year since the birth of music. I would’ve loved to include Will Smith’s “Summertime” and Aaliyah’s “Rock the Boat,” two of my favorite summer singles from the ’90s, but they stick out like sore thumbs amongst the bossa nova, Beach Boys, and Polynesian-styled J-pop. Somehow the ’80s summer hits offer a smoother blend. I’ve spared you “Careless Whisper,” Carribean Queen,” and “Cherish” (Kool & the Gang, not the Association) although they’ve been beach-tested and I can assure you they sound brilliant amidst the palms. As per usual with my mixes, I don’t like to restrict myself to only songs with beach/ sea/ sand titles and themes, so I’ve chosen the Beach Boys “I Do” and “I Can Hear Music” instead of the more obvious surf hits and “All Summer Long” just because they work so damn well in a tropical climate. Have a wonderful summer! 1. Marc … Read more