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He replies no, explaining there relationship, to which they look in disbelief. He states how there's nothing wrong with it, and counter-questions them, stating is it wrong for them to have sex, and questions their metohod of protecting Becky, when they're not letting Becky live her life. He leaves, as Sue says she didn't expect that. In the boys locker room, Sue confronts Coach Beiste, saying she wants to talk to her, and that she doesn't want Beiste to throw her.

Beiste asks what she wants. She states that she found prescription medications, one being used for treatments. She askes her if she has cancer.

Bieste replies she does, apologizing for the trouble she caused. Sue interrupts, saying that they may have not gotten along on a few things, but she'll help her with this, against Beiste's protests. When Becky runs out mid-performance, she states that they shouldn't blame her, as they were both pitchy. She glares at Darrell, him looking uncomfortable.

He asks whats going on, Beiste replying that she wants to see him.

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After Beiste explains how they must have noticed her strange behaviour, Sue interrupts, telling Sam she has cancer. Sam is surprised by this. When Beiste reveals she doesn't have cancer, Sue states that you dont just lie about cancer, unless you're hiding about something.

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When Sue reads a letter that Beiste gives her, explaining about how she has gender dysphoria, she understands straight away what Beiste is trying to say, unlike Sam. After Beiste explains she's transitioning from a woman to a man, and how she doesn't regret being a woman, Sam and Beiste begin to cry. Sue says that if Bieste ever wants her job back, it will be waiting, stating how their both with her. Bieste, Sam and Sue hug, as Beiste says how much she loves them.

The Hurt Locker, Part One. She reveals that she invited Will, to bury their feud once and for all, as their no longer mortal enemies. He reiterates how he parked in his old spot. He looks at his watch, exclaiming that he has to go, packing his things away, thanking her. She opens up a garage, as Becky asks what is that place. Sue answers that she stores her hatred, to showcase her final act of revenge, calling it her "hurt locker". She walks in, towards a board, containing pictures and information of the people she stalks, among them being Karofsky, Coach Bieste, Artie, Will and Rachel and Klaine.

As she does this, she talks about how most people who do this, would find it exhausting, but she finds it energising. She asks Becky to wait in the LeCar, Becky running out. She then plays a note on a piano, which opens up another entrance, behind the original one. It shows a picture of Kurt and Blaine kissing from Original Song adorned by a heart, with other smaller hearts around the red room, a table in the middle.

She states how, by being single, their whiny, but by being together, their perfect, being devastated by their break-up. She vows to get them together, so she can be flower-girl at their wedding. She tells picture- Kurt calling him Porcelain that help is one the way, as she finger-kisses their kiss. Kurt looks dumbfounded as Sue insults Karofsky. He asks her when she cared about him and Blaine, to which she replies, matter-of-fact, since forever. She metaphorically compares Blaine and himself to blouses, saying that it is a term for her favourite type of gays. Unhappy by this response, she states that's not the Porcelain she knows, as Kurt looks exasperated.

Sue looks at her watch, saying that the teams have arrived for the three-day-event Invitationals. She begs him to help her, telling him that the place has helped him so much, so he should repay the deed. He talks to VA, saying to come up with newer songs. He walks away, as the hovering camera watches, flying to the hallway, terrifying the students. In the boys locker room, Sue walks up to Sam, and questions him to what extend do suggestions affect him. Sam agrees. Sue, happy, says never mind, and starts to hypnotise him, to which Sam stars at the clock, as it moves side to side.

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Once he has kissed her, he will not remember anything. She snaps her fingers, and Sam awakens. He says hi to her, believing she just arrived. Sue, astonished by this, walks away, smiling, as Sam continues his routine. She states how she thought Karofsky was attracted to bears. Kurt states the other meaning, saying its insane to put a real bear. She refers to Will proposing to Emma, on a platform in water, as insane. Kurt, thunderstruck, states he's leaving. Sue starts to over exaggerate, about his and Blaine's future wedding, screaming louder as he leaves.

In the auditorium, Blaine gives Sam and Rachel piano lessons, when Sue comes down from above, from a construction lifter. Sue states how she fell asleep when Blaine talked. She stops, as Becky presses a button. Rachel states how she has no business there. Sue says how she thought the exact same thing, when Rachel came back. Blaine decides to reschedule, but Rachel protests. Becky states how Sue is one badass, crazy, super-bitch.

Sue agrees, and begins to sing Bitch. She walks out of the auditorium, to the hallway, with a fire extinguisher, spraying people with it. She walks to her office, Becky and a jail recruit singing back-up. That evening, Blaine and Karofsky sit in Breadstix, Blaine stating how so much has changed. Karofsky restates his high-school, moving on. Blaine states how he admires him for that. A man walks up to Karofsky, recognising him. Another one comes in, and suddenly all of Breadstix is buzzing of people who know he is.

Blaine questions whats happening. She continues about how she ran a DNA test, revealing that their both cousins. In Carmel High School , Sue waits to be seen by the principal. She goes in, and talks to Principal Gunderson. Her back is towards Sue, when she says this, but it revealed the Principal Gunderson looks like Principal Figgins, as Sue believes that it is him. Principal Abigial Figgins Gunderson reveals that Principal Figgins is her brother, revealing how they both wanted jobs in high school administration, and that Principal Figgins first name is Principal.

Sue is startled by this. Principal Gunderson goes on, telling her she has a problem with Will, to which Sue says there is. She shows the footage she recorded to Principal Gunderson, explaining his plan. Principal Gunderson says it shocked her, to which Sue advises her to talk to Will.

Will looks thunderstruck as Sue explains how he left the fork, and wants to be honest with him. Will, exhausted, says ok. Sue then talks about how she messed with his cake, by putting plague in it, Will looking disgusted. He looks further disgusted. She stands up, asks rhetorically asks why she did all this, and answers herself is because she hates him.

She states how he favours kids, but neglects others, referring to Joe, Rory and Matt. She then tells him that she neglected the most important piece of the group: the band. She states how they always knew what song to play, when the members asked them to play them, but still treats them badly. He starts to smirk, as Sue insults him off getting Finn from the showers, believing its from his childhood and also his vests hide him from lactating when he starts to do a pep talk.

Sue correctly states how it must have been Becky who tweeted it, which she tried to hide. She walks off stage, as VA begin to perform Rock Lobster. The hovering camera appears again, Sue and Becky in a Lobster costume and dancing watching the performance. The Hurt Locker, Part Two. As Vocal Adrenaline walk offstage, Sue comes on and comments on their performance, the New Directions looking exasperated.

Kurt speaks up, saying they should boycott it, but Sue notifies him that it will go on, foreshadowing Kurt, by saying even if one of them gets kidnapped against their will. Kurt looks terrified, as Sue walks off. That night, in Breadstix, Walter talk to Kurt about how he saw someone give birth on the table across from them. He asks him if its a date after briefly stating how he must not say that and tells him that they are on a date.

Sue comes up to them, wearing the Breadstix uniform, wearing a picture of Blaine and Kurt hugging, from when he was Prom Queen. Kurt, frustrated tries to ignore her, as she lies about how she needs to help Kurt with his grandfather, referring to Walter. Walter interrupts, stating how he can hear her. She talks about they have love that is unimaginable. Becky questions where she got all the footage, one of them being a dream sequence. Sue, oblivious, says she has much more to learn, to which Becky retorts that she has a hot boyfriend. Sue tells her to look at how they are so good together, insulting David.

She plans to put them in a confined area, so they become together again. He stares the locker watch once again, being hypnotised again. That night, in the elevator, Blaine bangs on the door, Kurt asking him to stop. Blaine asks him to call someone, but Kurt states that his phone is dead. Kurt states to say they need to find a way out, as a compartment in the elevator lifts up, as a doll on a bike comes out. The doll, "JigSue" begins to explain how if they do not kiss, they will stay in the elevator, unless they find another way out.

Blaine begins to say how ridiculous it is, and they both fake kiss. JigSue says they need to really kiss, and states that how the area will heat up, forcing them to remove their clothes later on. A heart shaped trolley comes out, explaining about their romance. She wheels away, declaring they must not fight their feelings.

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They try to open the compartment and fail. They then open the heart-shaped box, scared of what it contains, but it is revealed to be food.

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Blaine states how he wants to get out, Kurt pondering whether they should kiss. In the auditorium, Sue introduces ND, Sam clapping the loudest. She walks away looking at Kitty. In the elevator, Kurt and Blaine decide to kiss. JigSue lets them go, where the both run to the auditorium.

Kurt talks to Rachel, as realising the setlist changed and Rachel explains that Kitty and Spencer are in the club as Roderick performs Father Figure. Clint sees Will moving with the song. Mason, Madison and Jane then perform All Out of Love, Sue taking her seat, beginning to cry, singing along and remembering how she tried out for different roles, but failing to get them. Rachel looks at Sam, as he dances to the song, smiling.

Kurt and Blaine also look at each other. Clint watches Will smile at the club. Kitty goes to receive the trophy as everyone hugs. Sue states how she needs to find a new hobby, to get them together. In the hurt locker once again, Becky and Sue walk in, Sue stating how that its not important to her anymore. Sheldon, happy about this, states how he suspected there would be haters, but Sue tells him that it's now a gender-fluid school.

Sue and Sam walk away, as Sheldon looks happy at how accepting they are. Sheldon states how he knew that something like that would happen anyway. Will asks what it has to do with him. Sheldon explains that it was Vocal Adrenaline who did it as Will looks angry, saying that no one gets away when it has something to do with his friends.

Sue interjects, saying she always has. The hounds begin to bark as Vocal Adrenaline runs out of the auditorium. Continuing, she says that they should but their differences aside for that day. Santana bluntly says she wants to be surrounded by people she loves, and who love her, stating that Sue can only love herself. Sue says that she knows nothing about her. Santana walks out, as Sue looks disappointed. In the main part of the barn, Kurt and Blaine comment about how nice it looks, as Sue walks up to them, calling them by their ship name, Klaine, stating that there is an emergency.

They follow her to the room where Brittany and Santana were. Blaine opens the door, and they walk in, seeing wedding suits, with their faces stuck to it. Kurt realises that she wants them to get married with her. Sue tells Blaine that she wants them to get married. Brittany asks what they think. Sue states that she already has rings, referring to the ones that she wore, when she married herself.

At the wedding, Artie and Mercedes sing At Last, everyone looking happy, as Sue comes to sit with them. In the auditorium, Blaine, Kurt, Brittany and Santana are gathered, knowing that Sue brought them there. Sue walks out, on stage, combining their last names together. Blaine states they appreciate what she did for them. Sue states that she wanted to give them one more gift. Blaine reads out that they have a weekend trip to Provincestown. They exclaim and hug Sue, as Blaine and Kurt look hurt. Sue states she needs to come up with more ship names, giving examples of Puckcedes, and Faberry. She walks out.

She calls out, saying how she expects them to pass the test. Spencer and Roderick are shown doing sit-ups, Roderick barely doing them. Spencer sits in front of a boy, helping him, as he does his sit-up, while Roderick continues to struggle. Spencer successfully reaches the top, the boy watching him, as Sue continues, saying all of them will reach the top, or else that person will not graduate. As Roderick begins to climb the rope, Sue tells all of them to gather and watch. He tries to climb, yet fails, and lands on the ground, as everyone but Spencer, Sheldon and Sue laugh.

Sue replies sarcastically that they should reward him for his failure, comparing to how China is colonising Mars, while America has type 2 diabetes. She tells him to do it again. Superintendent Harris walks in the halls of McKinley, as Sue informs him about how, since she became principal, the test scores have gone up, introducing her drone to him, as it flies by. Superintendent tells her that she keeps surprising him, to which she talks him. He tells her that he also has a favour, where she puts a fake face of happiness on. In the auditorium, Sue stands with a child next to her, with the glee club and Rachel and Will gathered.

He begins to perform Lose My Breath, wearing a suit of white and gold underneath, as female dancers in gold dance around him, with perfect sync. At the end of the song, everyone applauds for him, Rachel saying it was amazing. He then states he needs it to be perfect, asking him how he can improve. Kitty suggests his dancers could smile a bit more, everyone else agreeing. Sue then whispers to Rachel, saying she should do anything he says. Myron states how he wants to perform in the auditorium saying this to Rachel, Will and Sue.

Sue agrees. Myron states he wants the glee club to help, willing to pay for them to perform. Will states that its against the rules. He sees one of the dancers still there, sending her away rudely. The following day, in the staff room, Sheldon eats with a big appetite, as Rachel, Sam and Will are engrossed by this. Everyone looks mildly disgusted. Sue stands, near the coffee machine, pouring coffee to the floor. She tries to put her coffee cup down on the table, yet it falls and breaks. In flashbacks, she tries to give ideas for his bar mitzvah.

Myron states angrily that he wants it to be fresh, not unoriginal, and wants it to be about him, asking Janet the jail secretary to get him his espresso. Will tells her it has to stop. She states it will, once they all perform with her. Surprised, they ask they want them. Sue states that he blew his budget on getting new dancers. Will states that she asked him to help, Rachel telling her that she asked them all to help. Sam and Sheldon try to lead her away, and when he begins to start to choreograph again, Sue jumps on him, both of them fighting.

Sue and Will state its part of their rehearsal. Reassured, he tells them its showtime. On stage, Sam calls everyone to their place, as Will and Sue talk, Sue stating that her plan is about to commence. Will states that it will starts when he trips her up, on stage, in front of 13 year olds. Myron comes on stage with his stage-pod, everyone in the audience screaming happily. As the song ends, ribbons fall all around the place, Spencer and Mason lifting Myron on their shoulders.

In the choir room office, Will and Rachel are discussing something, as Myron and Sue walks in. Rachel asks if they were here to thank them for his bar mitzvah, but Sue states that Myron is now a new student at McKinley, who wants to join the club. He runs into the choir room, Rachel screaming to him to not touch the piano.

Sue states that she told Superintendent Harris, but he ignored her and made his old middle school get a petition, to state the Myron is extremely talented, that he needs to go to high school. Sue states that this is just the first battle to end all wars, saying she does not retreat, but reload. She leaves, pushing students around. In voiceover mode, she says she became principal to become the best in the state, become one of the greatest principals, and ride off on of the most endangered rhinos on the planet.

If they bury her, everyone in the glee club will be buried with her. The Rise and Fall of Sue Sylvester. Sue states they will be not, and tells them to get out of the school. Sue tells them to go away, but Will says to them to stay once again. Becky tells her that the Superintendent said it was okay. Becky tells her that she should "save her drama for her mama". Sue lists that the Utah Republican agrees with her, about how the glee club is stupid, and that the formation of the 2 glee clubs is inconvenient.

Becky lists things, including that she shoplifted and lied in court for her. Sue goes to Darrell, blaming him for it. Darrell tells her that Becky turned on her, by herself. He walks out as Sue looks disgruntled. The Superintendent informs them that she should take the meeting seriously, having Will as witness. He continues, stating that he saw her hurt locker where flashbacks are shown seeing all the things she has put around the place. He states that he could have overlooked all of that, but what he saw next, was her pornographic picture in a copy of Penthouse magazine.

She looks devastated. Rivera then begins to tell her that some of the things she has said have been too good to be true. She tries stops him, but he continues to list more things. Sue once again tries to stop him again, saying she wants to respond to these, but he ignores her, going on about how she states that she has romantic interests with different people. Sue states that she dated them. Rivera states that she may just be compulsive liar, also referring to how the father of her child was Michael Bolton.

Sue then tells Rivera that she can not prove it. He shows her another video of Rod Remington and Andrea Carmichael, each stating how she is out of line most of time, Andrea stating that Sue kidnapped her once. Sue states that she has a history of devoting her life to McKinley. She states that when she graduated, she was recruited by the top Wall Street investment banks. She continues that she could have wealth and power, but chose to nurture and stay for the children, being her number one priority.

Rivera tells her they sound like lies, and that he visited the glee club. Rivera, in the flashback , as if they know why she hates to glee club. Rivera then goes to break. Back in the interview, Rivera apologizes to Sue, about how things are not going her way. He states that they declined to come. Sue realizes that the cameras are rolling, Rivera states that he lied to her. Sue states that it's character assassination, unworthy to be on Fox News.

She continues, saying that she turned McKinley into a no-bully zone. Rivera states that someone had agreed with her, showing an interview with a person, who is not revealed at first. It is later shown, that it was Coach Beiste, who states that after his transition, Sue supported him. Sue looking happy, states that she refuses to apologize to anyone, and that states that he should know that her parents were Nazi Hunters. Rivera repeats what Doris said. Sue gets up, and punches Rivera, where she walks out. Rivera, gets back up, and asks the people if who she really is.

He states that they have an interview with Will, as their final news report. He continues, that she may not be a nice person, but is an outstanding teacher, a born leader, and McKinley is worse without her, telling the Superintendent that she deserves a second chance. In the auditorium, a couple of days later, Sue sits lays against the piano, as the band play a sad tune.

Sue stops them. She turns, and sees her mother. Doris thanks her for meeting her, even though it must be difficult for her. Doris asks if it really matters about their jobs. Sue states that she meant the lie of loving her. Doris then tells Sue that she and her husband did love her, but had a different way of showing it, as they never got the hang of parenting. Doris continues, saying that she wanted Sue to do things that she loved, giving an example of how Sue never liked the musicals that Doris would want to watch; biting, screaming and trying to set her on fire.

Doris then apologizes to Sue about how she never was the mother she should have been, lying to her, and not being in her life.

Sue Sylvester

Doris tries to leave, but Sue asks her a if she really loved dad. Doris states that they fell in love with him, on a trolley. She instructs the band to play The Trolley Song, with both Doris and Sue singing and dancing together. When they finish singing, Doris hugs and thanks Sue. Sue states that nothing like this should happen again, to which Doris agrees. They both walk away. Sue corrects them, saying that she still has yet to decide if they are worthy of being coached, promising them that they will get a National win.

A VA member asks how they need to prove themselves to her, to which Sue explains that they need to do the Barftron , which is single consecutive workout for five hours, to get maximum nausea. She lists of the exercise that they need to do, each of them being , one of them being to sing Far From Over.

Clint sings lead of the song, as everyone dances along, and also doing the exercises, Sue using her megaphone, pushing them harder and harder, and insulting them. At the end of the song, most of the members have fallen, Sue telling them to have a break, and then to do it again.

They shake hands, Sue glaring at him. Will and Sam walk in. Once seeing Sue, Sam goes out, saying its serious. Will states that he supported her, but she interrupts, bringing Brad to play on the organ. As the song ends, Sue walks off stage. Will then realizes that everyone have just been watching them, Kurt shaking his head sideways, while Rachel shaking her head up and down.

We Built This Glee Club. Sam drinks from a water fountain as Will passes him. He goes inside the choir room, where boxes are piled around the room. Rachel states that they were got a special delivery, Kurt assuming they got it from the trans-choir. Madison exclaims tha they should open it up together, to which they all agree. It bursts open, with glitter exploding out. The other boxes open up with glitter, Mason the only one looking happy, while the others scream with horror. He tells to them to be quiet, as another ticking sound is heard. He screams for them to take cover, as the final box opens up, breaking the piano.

Kurt asks who would do such a thing. Will walks out, as Sam pukes on him. He runs to the staff room, where he witnesses the staff also vomiting. In the corner, Sue giggles behind a plant. Sue corrects him, saying she put it not just in the coffee, but in the water system around the school. She says it's revenge. The school nurse cries out that a car is on fire.

Sue giggles again, walking out, as Will realizes it's his car on fire. He runs out, and witnesses his car exploding. She asks her to do her a specific style, so she can lead Vocal Adrenaline to a win at Sectionals. It is revealed to be Will in a costume , where he straps her in the chair, and shaves her head.

Sheldon walks in, and asks what's happened to her hair. Sue greets him. Beiste asks how she got in the room, after not being able to be on the McKinley property anymore. He tells Sue that the Nazis would have shipped him away, but Sue interrupts, saying that either it would be that or be the centerpiece of a zoo. Sheldon sends VA away. Sue walks out. After a couple of days, in the auditorium full of people for Sectionals, the host introduces the judges: Donna Landries, Rod Remington who have both previously judged competitions and Butch Melman, with her dog Trixie. The host then introduces The Falconers, who sing Broken Wings, with falcons on their arms.

Sue goes up to Will, saying that it's not too late to quit. He comments on her wig, to which she states that it's made specifically by her Malaysian hair slaves. Sue suggests that New Directions say their prayers as their end is here, and walks away, as The Falconers finish. The host then introduces Vocal Adrenaline. Clint leads We Built This City, with all the members dancing in sync, and with props to help them. Will and Rachel look stunned and shocked by their performance, Donna looks disgusted. Sue claps, as VA begin to sing Mickey, changing from their silver clothing, to blue.

Everyone in the audience but the competitors clap for them, as they dance extremely well. Rachel looks shocked, and she glances at Sue, who looks at her, with the same, but fake, expression. Roderick looks at Spencer, who looks at first stunned, but nods to himself. Someone jumps around with feet springs, as cannons are brought out, and people waving flags.

At the end of the performance, people are shot from the cannons, to which the audience react horrified, but after seeing the members are fine, they all clap enthusiastically, while ND look shocked. As the New Directions are introduced, Roderick walks out on stage and gets into position.

When the curtains opens, Roderick begins to sing Take Me To Church, with the other members dancing and singing in the background. He dances smoothly, as Will, Kurt, Rachel and Blaine look proud. As Kitty walks out and sings with him, Myron changes with a wig in front of him. Kitty walks to the rest to the ND, where the transparent curtains opens up behind them, Jane belting out the song with Roderick. The song ends, Roderick looking happy. Madison leads Chandelier, Kitty joining in later.

Myron runs out in a nude unitard with the wig, as the song continues to be sung. Everyone applauds Myron and the members of ND, while Donna looks horrified by this, especially when Myron dances behind her. When Myron runs out, Spencer comes in, swinging from a Chandelier at the top, Jane joining in, with members of the Warbers doing backflips in the background and Madison finishing the song.

He walks out to the center of the stage singing, with Madison joining him later. As the song progresses, Kitty and Spencer also sing solo lines, and the members dancing in sync. When the song ends, they all gather in a straight line, everyone applauds them, apart from Donna, Sue and VA. When the curtains close, the members cheer. In the auditorium, the teams are gathered, with the trophies and judges on the side.

The 3rd place goes to The Falconers, where Donna hands them the trophy. Everyone else looks restless, waiting to know who wins: Will glaring at Sue, Sam and Beiste sitting, Skylar putting his hand on Jane, Rachel with her eyes closed. It is revealed that New Directions win Myron jumping on Kitty , Rod handing them the trophy, as they all jump and down and confetti falling, as VA look at them in disgust. Sue walks away, smiling slightly. After the competition that night, Will walks in the hallways. Sue walks out behind him, greeting him. Will states that she lost. She tells him that in a way she did, but she states that threw the competition, guaranteeing them a win.

She knew it had been an off night, but because she loves performing so much, she was still buzzing from the energy. Kelela Mizanekristos was born in to Mizanekristos Yohannes and Neghist Girma, students who escaped war-torn Ethopia and immigrated separately to the United States. She was raised in Gaithersburg, Md. He often took Kelela with him, and she fell in love with the culture of music. You can still catch the influence in her voice — the way she turns sounds into sacred geometry, almost unconsciously stairstepping through the vowels and consonants. In her early to mid 20s, she would go to a Washington bar called 18th Street Lounge for its Sunday-night house sessions.

Her first boyfriend, Kris Funn, whom she met when she was 19, played the upright bass, and she sat in bars for hours, watching him and his friends play. Eventually the couple broke up, but Funn encouraged Kelela to trust her instincts and not be intimidated by her lack of formal music training. By that time, Kelela was a student at American University, studying international studies and sociology. In my head, I am supposed to be a college graduate. I wanted to finish. But I was not motivated to sit there and do that paper. I had a lot of resistance. She dropped out. This was in , and synthpop, epitomized by bands like the Knife, was trending.

She began recording in a punk house in Washington, a city with a hard-core lineage that included acts like Fugazi and Bad Brains. She thrived in an environment devoid of rules. Just try. She spent hours on MySpace, scrolling through pages of music and listening to instrumentals. She recorded herself singing over sounds she liked. Then she would send the artist her sample, along with an invitation to collaborate. Two notable electronic producers agreed, including Daedelus, who featured her on a track. At the same time, a friend introduced her to the electro duo Teengirl Fantasy, and they created a song.

By then, Kelela was living in Los Angeles, and Boston brought her a thumb drive of sounds from the label and its British counterpart, Night Slugs. Kelela spent the next several days poring over the files, improvising lyrics over the sounds she liked, turning them into songs. She loved the otherworldliness of the instrumentals — staccato mixes that used sound effects like tinkling glass and guns reloading over drum machines. The music complemented the gossamer scales she likes to sing in. Two of the songs she produced during this time were on the mixtape she released in Electronica, Sushon told me, is referential in the same way that R.

Because of the internet, he explained, musicians can share references more easily than they did in the past. Google, YouTube and SoundCloud make it easy. I watched Kelela and her D. Here, suddenly, was the thrilling flicker of a decade-old hit that had almost entirely faded from popular culture, tucked into her own noir love song. After the show , back at her Strasbourg Airbnb, Kelela changed into oversize gray sweatpants and a black button-down crop top, and padded into the kitchen in white slippers.

She plugged in an electric kettle and made another cup of ginger tea as our conversation turned to her debut album. I expected her to talk about its sound, but she wanted to speak about the intention behind it. I like that. I like playing to mixed crowds. These women helped her make sense of the racial and sexist forces that shape the world, and she still turns to them to navigate the music industry. She internalized their insistence to not be apologetic for her womanhood or blackness and not be debilitated by exclusion. Kelela is aware of how artists like her get co-opted, morphed into something symbolic that they no longer control, and is determined to avoid it.

I had already heard the lengths to which she would go to prevent this from happening. The first night we met, I asked her how she managed expectations as an artist in an age of hyperconsumption. I mostly meant her reserve on social media, despite the disturbingly insistent demands in her Twitter and Instagram mentions for her next release. Instead, she described an encounter with Fendi, the Italian luxury brand, which invited her to perform at its new headquarters in Rome to celebrate the start of a new website aimed at millennials. She asked Fendi representatives to agree to release a statement addressing her concerns as a condition of her involvement.

Sue Rodham Sylvester

She sees herself as someone who can wield her status as a celebrity to catalyze change. As the evening wound down, Kelela invited me to get comfortable and listen to some of her new tracks. She gave me earbuds and left me alone to listen. When I pressed her about a release date, she made a coquettish face and demurred, saying the songs were still being mixed. In reality, she just signed with Warp Records, which will take over the release of the album.

But I could never not make anything from any other place. Her voice is as pretty as ever, rising and crashing like cresting waves over beats that swing from a druggy drone to throbbing bass lines perfect for dance-floor grinding. In their own way, they are a quiet protest: They feel radical in the way a Kerry James Marshall painting or a Ntozake Shange poem expresses the humanity and beauty of black life.

The video , which has been viewed over million times and depicts a summer romance on a Greek isle, is followed by hundreds of comments from jubilant global citizens who have finally trapped their earworm. For nine weeks, it was the most Shazammed song in the world. The retro, cheerful, almost cloying guitar riff? The result is youthful magic, the aural version of dancing until dawn with a boy you just met. Of smoking cigarettes on a rooftop all hot summer night. These days, an enterprising year-old can browse YouTube, find something that catches his fancy, transform it and broadcast it to the world.

Our atmosphere is on track to become one long hot summer night. In harrowing times, this earworm asks little and gives a lot. Sometimes you just want to kill somebody, you know? Really end their life: make mourners of their friends and family, make orphans of their children, leave a hole in the world where a person once was. But sometimes you do. But if you do, when you do, maybe sometimes it kind of gets away from you, right? Would you cover your tracks? Try to hide the body? Go into hiding and hear about yourself on the news?

Walk through the doors of the police station and turn yourself in? You think about these things when you want to kill somebody. You have the occasional dream about them. How did you get like this? Brain chemistry? Read too many stories about Ozzy Osbourne biting the heads off bats when you were a kid? For some people, that means hitting the gym. For others, it means a stereo with a volume knob. Heavy metal has been providing people with catharsis for nearly 50 years.

I listen to it because of how it makes me feel. They have six studio efforts, numerous EPs and a live album to their credit, and every song on every album except one takes, as its theme, a known serial killer. Others are so obscure that only true crime buffs are likely to recognize their names. Look them up at your peril: These are people whose crimes will give you nightmares.

It begins with a thudding kick drum all alone, with the central guitar riff ambling in murderously after two bars — a figure that lurches methodically through three five-note patterns to resolve on three descending chords that land like boulders being dropped on a house. My iTunes play count shows that I listened to it more than I listened to any song in except for drafts of songs I was writing myself. Scott Carlson of the legendary Repulsion sings it; the incarnation of the band was essentially a reboot, with Mikami the only original member.

It has a cowbell. You can bang your head and sing along. I have spent a fair bit of idle time over the years wondering what it says about me that I want to indulge this mood at least a few times a week for the rest of my life, occasionally at earsplitting volumes in clubs. When I was young, if I heard something that sounded too celebratory of death, it terrified me.

How much time can I spend with it? What part of me is it? What does it look like up close? The cheap answer is something about the cathartic value of transgression, etc. The truer answer, for me, is that sometimes you really wanna kill somebody. It would be wrong. You try not to do wrong.

But if you spend a little time in the presence of a perfect groove contemplating the wrong directly without moralizing about it, you can ride the feeling in safety and go in as deep as you want, emerging later not wanting to kill anybody. Coates sat on the edge of a couch; Levi took a chair; each looked expectant, borderline anxious. It had been a busy year. Levi is also a producer and D. Coates has scored films, too, but is better known for his work as a cellist. Its 13 tracks, some less than a minute in length, jump from beat-heavy, densely layered and looped orchestrations to atmospheric and spacey noodlings.

It is a sketchbook in which every figure gestures toward newer, more exciting ideas to come, outlining musical rules a key, a beat, a melody one minute only to abandon them in the next. Before they listened to the record, Coates reached into his backpack and pulled out a coloring book. He showed Levi one of the images he had colored in, a mandala filled with bright blues and greens, thin wisps of gold, bursts of coral pink. Levi leaned in for a closer look, drawing her finger across the page. It was a visual cantus firmus, she said: a fixed melody providing a structure for a limited range of improvisation.

The pair sat in silence, pleased enough but also distracted. A few tracks later, Coates looked up at Levi, who was looking at his mandala. It seemed like a familiar conversation. Levi massaged her temples, thinking, listening. Maybe, Levi said, you set up the rules and then find a way to break them; color inside the lines, so to speak, and then scribble a face over the results.

Coates liked it. In fact, he added, his coloring was loaded with mistakes already, but the mistakes were what made the thing come together, in a subtle way. He turned the page, exposing the blots where the pen ink bled through to the other side and the sharp lines of the pattern were barely visible. Coates and Levi met almost a decade ago. Coates had come to perform student string quartets for a class Levi was taking, and he was struck by her compositions. Coates sent Levi a video by the electronic producer Daniel Lopatin, also known as Oneohtrix Point Never; Levi sent Coates a mixtape she made with some tracks by Harry Partch, a composer who created new musical scales and built his own instruments.

He wanted an experienced composer who had never written music for a movie, someone who would come at the task differently. For 10 months, she worked on almost nothing else, worried that if she listened to anything — particularly another soundtrack — she would unintentionally steal from it. The soundtrack is unsettling, but also strangely empathetic. Levi describes much of her work as mixtapes. She was thinking of music not in terms of classical or hip-hop or any other genre, but in terms of people. Some music was Oliver Coates music.

Some music was Mica Levi music. I f you buy a record on brownsvilleka. Every few days, Ka sits in a study in his home near Prospect Park in Brooklyn and goes through the orders on his site. He was there on a morning not long ago, with a MacBook propped on his knees. On the floor were cardboard boxes holding copies of his five full-length albums.

He placed five CDs in a padded envelope. There was a time when Ka took a guerrilla approach to promoting his music. I still had, like, CDs left. So I started giving them away. This has become a tradition: On the day that Ka drops a new album, he tweets, turns up on a street corner and sells a few dozen records out of the trunk of his car. It would be hard to find a more thoroughgoing D. Ka is the rare rapper who handles both rhymes and beats, writing his lyrics and producing the music that accompanies them.

  • My Lovely Wife.
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He has directed most of his videos, and he self-releases his music, on his own label. It is not a profitable venture. Over the past several years, Ka has released some of the most gripping music in any genre. His records offer a poignant, distinctive take on classic New York hip-hop: vivid stories of street life and struggle narrated in virtuosic rhymes over music of bleak beauty. His output has won him a small but passionate fan base and critical raves in Pitchfork and Spin. In , the Los Angeles M. For Ka to have won even modest recognition is an improbable underdog triumph.

He spent much of the s trying to make it as a rapper, quit music altogether and returned a decade later, releasing his solo debut at age Today he is This career trajectory defies one of the seemingly immutable laws of pop, and of hip-hop in particular, a genre in which the cult of youth and novelty is especially pronounced. And when I come home, I try to make some dope music. Last Aug. With me, they had all three. Ka grew up poor, in Brownsville.

As a teenager, he drifted into the drug trade, dealing crack and selling firearms. If Ka is not in the music business, his wife definitively is. Today she is chief creative officer for i am OTHER, a multimedia company founded by Pharrell Williams, the superstar rapper-singer-producer. But a commercial breakthrough is far-fetched, and a prospect for which Ka seems constitutionally ill equipped. He has performed just a few live shows and professes little interest in playing more.

Those records are, in the best sense, strange. His songs are unnervingly quiet and still; they hold a listener in thrall because they hold so much back. Often the songs discard drums altogether, opening vast spaces that are filled by samples in brooding minor keys. It is an unshakable voice of experience, delivering hard-boiled tales and hard-won wisdom. Ka excels at this kind of writing, brisk storytelling that unfolds in a pileup of rhymes and puns. So I speak about the things that I did, the things I pray I never have to do again.

How do I finish my life in grace? She has performed it many times, and at least once, 10 years ago, someone filmed her in a church. About midway through the nine-and-a-half-minute video, the band and the organ, which riff all the way through, fall quiet. The band kicks in again, and a slew of sonic histrionics, pyrotechnics and acrobatics follows. This was the moment that stood out to a musician called DJ Suede the Remix God, who just before Thanksgiving took that snippet — just eight seconds in all — and laid it over a trap-style hip-hop beat of his own making.

Suede then offered the beat to the internet, calling it the U Name It Challenge and inviting others to put their own spins on it. The singer Chris Brown recorded a video dancing to it. Countless other dancers and rappers followed him. The challenge went megaviral. The trick was that the snippet Suede chose had Caesar talking about food — and about giving thanks for that food — convincingly, joyously and at the exact right time of year.

Her ecstatic cry made it universal. Grey is a vegan, unlike Shouting John, but a quick jaunt through his social media identifies him as every bit the evangelist of his philosophy that Caesar is for Christ. But I grew up going to church, dancing and singing to raucous gospel bands and choirs nearly every Sunday.

Once, after a particularly rousing concert, I walked from my seat to the front of the auditorium to be baptized and join the church, only to come to my senses once I got to the altar. For more than a year now, I have listened to little else in my car other than the albums of Rufus Wainwright.

This obsession began when my husband and I bought a car for weekend trips: a AWD Subaru hatchback with what in retrospect seems like an ancient playback machine, a 5-disc CD player. Next page. There's a problem loading this menu right now. Learn more about Amazon Prime. Get fast, free delivery with Amazon Prime. Books By Catharine Bramkamp. Get it by Tuesday, Jul 09 Only 4 left in stock more on the way. In Good Faith: Nothing says holiday like a dead ex-wife. Only 1 left in stock - order soon. Get it by Monday, Jul 08 Only 2 left in stock more on the way. A Degree View: Killer views everywhere you look.

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