Sunday, October 11, 2015

A Quick Note from the Editor-in-Chunk (and then back to our regularly scheduled insanity)

Well, hello Chunk Nation!!  How are you today?  That's great.

So I feel a need, as a writer, editor, and co-founder of Bari-Chunks, to reiterate a few points about this blog and to also get a few things off my chest.

For those of you new to this blog or for those of you who may have forgotten, Bari-Chunks was created to highlight great singers, regardless of sex, body shape, or any other designation you can think of.  That and to have some fun :)  I believe that great singing is the first and foremost qualification of a great singer.  Not looks, not popularity.  Singing.  It's what separates us from the rest of the artistic jungle.  Other blogs out there might disagree with me and that's fine.  That is their right.  They put the focus on places that singers have performed or on how good they look.  In my humble opinion, that's not only wrong, but it is harmful to our art form.  Now, am I saying that buff singers can't be good singers?  Of course not!  There are plenty of sexy singers out there who rock (and by the way, not everyone's definition of sexy is the same.  Just something to consider). There are quite a few that we have mentioned in this blog but we mention them here because first and foremost, they are fantastic singers.  Everything else is icing on the cake (mmmmm, icing and cake....)

We are not TV or movie actors/actresses/porn stars.  We are singers.  Singing is what makes our art form special.  We should embrace it, hell, celebrate it.  What we do is pretty damn amazing.  I'm guessing Brad Pitt can't sing over an orchestra so why is it expected that singers have to be as good looking as Mr Pitt for close ups?  It doesn't make sense to me.  Maybe I'm alone in this view but I don't think so.  Now, do I enjoy looking at beautiful people?  Hell yeah.  I'm human.  But would I rather hear hear "Largo factotum" sung really well by a guy who's got a belly or a shirtless bodybuilder who spent more time on his biceps than on his breathing technique?  I'd go with the belly every time. Would I prefer a "Vissi d'arte" sung by a rather unknown soprano whose performance moves me or a singer who has 12 albums and phones in her performance because she's sung the aria 350 times? Someone who moves me, no brainer.

Recently, a couple articles made the rounds on the interwebs promoting sexy singers.  Queerty's article entitled "Top Ten Hottest Opera Hunks Who Sing us Love Songs in our Dreams" and Operetta Research Center's promotion of the aforementioned article and the blog Barihunks seem to be flooding my newsfeeds.  I have a couple problems with these articles.  First, if I as a straight male wrote an article selecting 10 sexy women I like to dream about I'm pretty sure I'd be branded a sexist. Queerty's article uses lines such as "Great, he can sing.  But check out the guns on this guy!"  Can you imagine if my imaginary article included the line "Sure, she can sing, but look at her boobs!"  You would all be lining up to slap me and my wife would be the first to do so.  Rightfully so.  Both lines are objectifying to the singer.  How come Queerty can get away with it?  Secondly, and I'm sure you saw this coming in my list of complaints, they put looks above singing.  Operetta Research Center's article says "Both (Queerty and Barihunks) demonstrate that opera is not about “fat ladies” singing anymore, but about joyful erotic stimulation with music."  Opera has never been about the Fat Lady!!!!!! It has always been about good singing!!!!!!  And the phrase "erotic stimulation"  seems a bit extreme for opera.  I've been turned on at the opera before but it has never been because of the nudity. Just saying.  I'm not interested in trying to hide a boner at the Met.  If I want to Zauber my flöte I'll go home and rely on Rule 34. Thirdly, why do you want someone singing opera to you in your sleep?  Opera is loud as hell.  I don't want some guy screaming at me in a foreign language when I'm trying to sleep.  Sounds like a specific level of hell to me.

Recently, an opera company posted this meme;
I could spend a hour or so talking about this meme, but I'll cut to the chase-
1.  The first picture is a stock photo promoting a stereotype.  It's not opera.  It's someone paid to be in metal underwear.  
2. The photo of Julia Lima (whom I do not know, nor am I familiar with her work.  I assume she's lovely) is not a picture of opera.  It is a picture of Julia Lima.  And in a pose I've never seen an opera singer sing in.  I've had to sing in some unusual positions before but never "about to sit on a chair someone cruelly removed last second."  Nor have I ever seen that costume in an opera.  It is just a dynamite picture of an attractive woman.  There is nothing inherently wrong with this photo but it does not define opera any more than our old friend Brunhilde Brasstits up there. Julia Lima is not opera.  Julia Lima is Julia Lima.  As mentioned many times before on this blog, opera is a team sport.  None of us can do it alone.  This meme is just wrong on many levels.  (Side note, the opera company took down this post...)

I'm sure I'm coming off as a broken record.  "Singing is more important than looks."  "Fat people are people too."  "I want a donut."  But I hope my point is getting across.  Singing IS what is makes us, us.  We can't forget that.  If we do, we're not us anymore.  And donuts are delicious.   

Now that all that semi-serious stuff is out of the way and to prove that Bari-Chunks is, at its gravy soaked heart,  a satire blog that is no better than anyone else, I'd like to present to you my list of "Opera Singers I'd Like to Sing to Me in Bed."

Her velvety, sultry tones are gorgeous and I'm pretty sure she'd bring me a whiskey in bed.

Man, I want to be Craig Verm when I grow up.  Plus, he looks like a snuggler.

Her voice melts your soul in the best possible way.  

It might be awkward at first but I'm sure it would be enjoyable. He looks pretty excited about it.

Her voice is like butter and she's is also a really good cook who uses lots of butter.

One word- tacos.  Two more words- glorious singer. 

I like to talk sports in bed.

His character portrayals are riveting, his high notes are insane, and his pasty head could be my nightlight.

With a voice like hers you can't help but go to bed with a smile on your face.

I just want to yell "Norm" when he comes to bed. #mensch

He'd make me tea in bed.

I's Jamie Barton, y'all. #JamieMFBarton Also, we would laugh a whole whole lot

Besides being an amazing singer and performer, she has a fantastic dog.  Dogs are awesome.

He looks like he'd be ok if I cried a little when he sang to me.

No one else will take him to bed and I feel sorry for him.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Don't Be a D**k

Um, is thing still on?  Hello?

Damn, its been awhile.  My apologies to our 4 loyal followers.  Mea culpa.  I've been busy...and lazy...  Well, it's time I fixed both of those problems and put my energy towards something that matters; a Bari-Chunks blog post.  So here we go.

I try to live my professional life by one simple motto- "Be a better person than I am a performer."  I try to live my personal life by a less PC version of the same motto- "Don't be a dick."  I don't always succeed with either (usually fail miserably), but I do try.  Seems like everywhere I go, someone is being a dick.  DICKS ARE EVERYWHERE!!  But what can I do about this?  Well, I could do my best at living up to the good standards I set for myself and hope that karma and the universe sees fit to let it rub off on all the world making it a better place...or I could vent about it on a semi well-known blog.  Yeah, I'll do the second one.

As stated above, dicks are everywhere we turn, but there are a few places, situations, and groups of people that seem to force the dickish behavior, or dickhavior (TM) to the forefront.  Lets look at some of those, shall we?

1. Airports

Airports might be one of the most miserable places on earth.  You are forced to wait in long lines, pay ridiculously high prices for food and drink ($6 for a bottle of water?!?!?!  Go home Hudson News, you're drunk), cram yourself into tiny seats on a giant flying metal dildo next to screaming babies and extremely gassy business men, and if you're really lucky, a high school drop out will "accidentally" touch your cash and prizes.


I can see why people are grumpy here but it seems many people feel the need to go the extra mile and earn the title, Captain Dick.  We all know who these people are.  They are the ones who stand on the left side of the moving sidewalk.  They are the goblins who fart in the seat next to you and pretend it wasn't them.  They are the gremlins who let their kids cry throughout the entire flight while they have their noise cancelling headphones on practicing their first round of public detachment parenting. They are the trolls who give the flight attendants attitude when they have to put down their Kindle Fire, free cocktail, enormous ego, and micropenis to acknowledge that they are sitting in an exit row and might have to open a damn door in the event of an emergency.  They are the trash monsters who deem their second carry on bag to be more important than your small suitcase and stow it in the overhead compartment, forcing you to gate check said suitcase and having to wait for it after the flight has landed causing you to miss your connecting flight.  Listen Carl, your man purse and custom made Tom Ford shawl can go under the damn seat in front of you!  DON'T BE A SCHLONG!!

2.  Grocery Stores

Food.  We all need it.  So why do people feel the need to act like spoiled children when it comes time to buy it?  I understand the desire to find the freshest peach, but do you really need to squeeze, smell, and lick every peach before you pick one?  And do you think that the 15 items or less sign applies to everyone but you or did you just never learn to count?  And for the record no, four different types of Doritos do not count as just one item.  And the dickery isn't limited to the inside of the store. Oh no. The parking lot is usually much worse.  Navigating a car through a maze of unreturned shopping carts (how hard is it to push the cart to one of those cart corrals, seriously), oblivious pedestrians who apparently like tempting fate by slowly walking to their car in the middle of the road with their entire family spread five across like range animals, and trying to get around that one car who has been waiting for 10 minutes for that "one" spot because it is closer to the Starbucks inside, is enough to make the Pope drop the F bomb.  Speaking of parking lots, the lines on the ground are not just concrete graffiti.  They are conveniently situated as to give you guidance on where to dock your land tank, ma'am. Please try to use them. Also, your extended length SUV is not a compact car, you WIENER!

This is the winter of MY discontent

Along the lines of parking lots...

3. Handicapped Parking Spots

Unless you have a sticker, license plate, or other legal designation on your car that says you can park in a handicapped spot, DON'T PARK THERE!!  I don't care how full the lot is, I don't care how hung over you are, I don't care if you only have five minutes until a veggie tray has to be at the PTA meeting or Janet will lose her shit again and you can't handle it right now. Do not park there.  I will find you.  DON'T BE A JOHNSON!! You either, Janet.

4. Ordering food

What is with this latest craze of being extremely particular when ordering food?  "Um, can I have the buffalo chicken sandwich but instead of buffalo sauce, can I get a Cuban rub instead?  And instead of chicken can I get a fish?  And is the bun 14 grain AND gluten free?  And instead of the fries can I get some fresh spinach mixed with some raptor eggs and the blood of a freshly slaughtered room temperature pigeon?  And can you make me a sample first so I know if I'll like it? Also, please remove this ice from my water with your hands. The coldness isn't ayurvedic. You know what, just bring that all on a yoga mat."  Settle down Todd, you're at Applebee's.  It always seems like these ass clowns are also the ones who get really particular about splitting the check at the end of the night.  "Well I didn't really have 1/2 of that appetizer and you used part of my butter so..."  And you know they only tip 10%. If you can't order like a grown ass adult then sit at home and eat your individually portioned sadness from a cruelty free plastic bag on your organic high horse all alone.  Ugh, DON'T BE A WANG!!!!

Pretty sure she's gonna spit in your food, Todd
5.  Driving

One of the few places where being a dick can kill someone.  We've all done dickish things while driving; texting, talking on the phone, screaming "GET A HAIRCUT, YOU PENIS" at someone who cuts you off (true story), but some people have taken it to a whole other level.  I have some questions for these people.  Ladies (or men) who put on makeup while driving- how long until your nostril hair shines with 2015's lip gloss color of the year?  Person with their laptop out- does Apple Care cover your Macbook if it's impaled in your stupid face?  Hefty guy with a Chipotle burrito bowl in your lap- WTF, man? I'm sorry your insurance sucks but the plastic fork tonsillectomy is not the way to go. Also, when driving, don't be that guy who drives past all the stand still traffic just to try and get over at the last minute.  Just don't.  You are the worst kind of human. I will never let you in and I'll probably call you a penis. #partoftheproblem DON'T BE A MUSHROOM STAMPER!!

If I close my eyes while I eat this the sensation is majestic
Along the same vein...

6.  Bicyclers

Ok, so you're saving the environment and burning butt loads of calories by biking to and from work. Congrats.  Your calves are glorious. Your ass is a beacon. Go home and throw yourself a small carb free party.  You're a better person than I am but just in case you didn't know, YOU STILL HAVE TO FOLLOW ALL THE RULES OF THE ROAD!  That means you have to stop at a red light, that pedestrians have the right of way, and that you have to signal when turning.  And don't you dare give me the middle finger when I honk at you for cutting me off.  I am driving a half ton metal death machine and am thoroughly uninterested in a new head ornament. I super don't want to kill you, Walter. It would jack up my Wednesday real good and yours too, BTdubs.  Also, I will already be two beers in at the bar by the time your sweaty ass gets there. #yesIwilluberhome Who's winning now?!  DON'T BE A ONE EYED MONSTER!!!

Not cool, Walter.
7. Bars

We are all there for the same reason.  To drink until we can't feel feelings anymore.  So be patient when in line at the bar.  Don't be that guy who squeezes his fat ass into a small opening at the bar and then smiles at the person whose drink he just spilled as if to say "Don't mind me and my shoulder hair, I'm just here to drink and awkwardly stare at the female bartender". Don't be the hipster with her nipples out trying to get her Michelob Ultra faster than everyone else. That's cheating, Barbara, and no one likes a cheater.  DON'T BE THE BALONEY PONY!!!

Hygiene Barbara. Hygiene.   
8.  Audience Members

It doesn't matter if you're in a movie theater, at a play, or at the opera, there are always dicks in the audience.   For the record, when the PA system asks everyone to turn off their cell phones, THAT MEANS YOU TOO!!!  Unless you are a doctor who is on call for a last minute surgery and you have some medical condition that keeps you from feeling a vibration, TURN THE DAMN THING OFF! Getting Megan's text about her date last night can wait until we are all finished enjoying The Notebook.  She will understand.  (Quick side note about those announcements they make at the beginning of the shows - why do they say turn off your cell phones and beepers.  Who the hell still uses a beeper?  Probably Todd. Anyway, it just bugs me.)   This mainly applies to opera and theater audience members but how hard is it to open a hard candy or cough drop without reenacting the first act of Stomp?  Seriously, nothing that small should be that noisy.  Side note: what about classical music gives people insatiable cravings for Werther's? "God, Che gelida manina just makes me want caramel flavored wax SO BAD CAN'T STOP WON'T STOP!!!" DON'T BE MR. WINKY!!!!

De Niro in Cape Fear is less annoying than your incessant texting
9.  Audition Hallways

OMG.  As already addressed in previous posts, audition hallways are the worst.  They are crowded, smell of 50 years of depression and self loathing, and can suck your soul faster than a Dementor.  The addition dickhavior (TM) only makes those hallways worse than Donald Trump's Presidential Campaign.   If you feel you might be one of those people who exhibit dickhavior (TM), ask yourself these simple questions- Do you talk about your resume to people you have just met?  Do you hog the one of the limited stalls in the bathroom to warm up?  Do you say judgy things about other people's outfits behind their back? Do you take up four sitting spots for your suitcase, coat, and hair products? Is today your first day trying natural deodorant?  Are you crashing the audition?  If you answered yes to any or all of the previous questions, then you are exhibiting dickhavior.  Stop it.  DON'T BE A MAGIC SKIN FLUTE!!!

Pictured: Mordor

10.  Social Media

Facebook and Twitter (or as I call them Twitbook (TM)), can be a glorious things where people can stalk the crushes they never had the guts to ask out, catch up with their old high school shop teacher, post their food porn pictures, kitten videos, GOFUNDMEs, selfies, etc to the delight of all their followers.  There is a downside to social media (well, many), it gives people a place to express their opinions.  Opinions that, 8 years ago, were saved for your closest friends or were swallowed whole during family drunksgiving once a year. Now, I know what you are going to say, and no, I haven't been drinking (visit my GoFundMe page for details  I get the irony of me expressing my opinions on social media about the dickishness of expressing opinions on social media, but I'm a walking contradiction.  I just can't help myself.  Way too often on social media, comments or discussions turn very negative, very quickly.   It's totally understandable that not everyone will see things the exact same way when it comes to hot button issues, but is it really necessary to whip out the dickhavior (TM) just because you don't agree with someone?

We can't even agree on the color of this's black and blue, you monster!
You don't agree with me that Obamacare is a great first step forward towards all people in this country getting the quality of life we all deserve?  That's fine, but why did you feel the need to compare my mother to a pile of shit left by Hitler's dog?  You don't believe, as I do, that Chicago Cubs will win the World Series in the next 5 years?  Cool, but telling me that idea is as stupid Jared from Subway opening a daycare center is just mean.  Why must you be so mean?????  DON'T BE A PORK SWORD!!

What's my point with all this venting?  I'm glad you asked.  We all exhibit dickhavior (TM), myself included.  But why?  It's a question for which I don't have an answer.  Is it our "Me First" society?  Is it the negative tone of the people we look up to? The politicians, the newscasters, the comedians, the musicians?  Is it that life is just so damn hard?  Or is it because we just don't take time to think of others over ourselves.  I don't know.  All I do know is that it is easier to be a dick than not to be a dick.  But easy isn't always best.  #DontBeADick