Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Thanks to the Toronto media for helping get out the word about Mamapalooza Toronto! Read on:


Mamas ready to rock


Forget about "Desperate Housewives", there's nothing needy about these rock 'n' roll mamas. Certainly motherhood can conjure up images of minivans, car-pooling, SUV-sized strollers and Saturday afternoon baseball games, but what about wailing guitars, rock tours and weekly jam sessions?

Welcome to the real meaning of multi-tasking. Between helping with homework and lunch preparation, one group of moms regularly ditch the kitchen in favour of rehearsing, working out catchy guitar hooks and performing live on stage.

Now they're getting pumped to hit Toronto on Mother's Day (May 13) for the Mamapolooza Festival, a tour amplifying the talents of musician moms, beyond, of course, solid child rearing.

The lineup of 20 bands or so -- including Sisters of Sheynville and the B Girls will perform at Healey's.

At the helm of the Toronto happening is Lynda Kraar. She turns 48 this month, is the mother of two teenage daughters, ages 13 and 17, and has stopped the tedious process of dying her hair to cover up grey. She now flaunts a shade she refers to as "gun metal."

While just two years shy of turning the big 5-0, Kraar says she's nowhere near ready to set down her guitar.

"You're gonna have to pry that guitar out of my cold, dead hands," laughs Kraar.

Originally from Toronto and now based in New Jersey, Kraar says the festival brings a certain kind of mama together -- and they rock.

"Some women are hard-wired to drop everything once they have kids," she says. "I put my guitar down at the end of the eighth month of pregnancy because I couldn't handle the smoky bars ... but for some people, the switch goes off."

Still, motherhood isn't exactly ignored at Mamapolooza. In fact, the theme serves as hilarious lyrical fodder with tunes poking fun at parent-teacher meetings, changing dirty diapers and getting kids to eat their dinner.

With Kraar's country-infused tune, Suburban White in a White Suburban, it's clear she's no June Cleaver.

"Performers who are mothers congregate differently," she says. "Sure you see them at the park because they need to take their kids there, but you'll also see them on MySpace clustered together."

The festival, which debuted in New York in 2002 and now takes place in more than 30 locations, brings a certain balance to motherhood, explains the singer/guitarist.

"You can have your life back," Kraar insists.

Advanced tickets to Mamapolooza are $15 and are available at Rotate This, Sam the Record Man and online at:


Rock 'n' roll plays on as fountain of youth

May 04, 2007 04:30 AM
by Josey Vogels and Li Robbins

Adventures in Aging

"Your momma don't dance and your daddy don't rock 'n' roll."
Are you kidding? Not only does your momma dance, this Mother's Day she definitely rocks 'n' rolls. So forget the flowers, give her a pink Daisy Rock guitar and send her to Mamapalooza.

Yep, there's a crazy little thing called Mom Rock – bands with names like The Mydols and Housewives on Prozac – bringing Mampalooza to a bar near you on May 13. More on that later.

Aging moms aren't the only ones squeezing into their leather pants, though. Iggy Pop has a new album. The Police are reuniting. Genesis are getting back together.

And Mick and the boys, well, they just won't go away. We can just see it: The Rolling Stones 2087 tour, sponsored by Cryonics Inc. – because, baby, rock 'n' roll will never die, not if boomers have anything to do with it!

We get the moms rebelling against the mommy-can't-rock stereotype. But what is it about rock 'n' roll that makes boomers so clingy? Why not middle-aged moms who play Indonesian gamelan, or lead Bavarian polka bands?

Perhaps it's because, for the "My Generation" generation, rock 'n' roll was "the best days of their lives," the music they associate with their younger selves – and you know how much boomers like their youth serum.

But you'll be relieved to know youthful vanity isn't the only thing keeping us stuck in a musical time warp.

Blame it on your brain. According to neuroscientist Daniel Levitin, author of This Is Your Brain on Music, the memory loss associated with Alzheimer's disease occurs less frequently when it comes to music. Apparently, those going doolally can "still remember how to sing the songs they heard when they were 14."

Even more frightening, Levitin says our musical tastes are pretty much cemented by the time we hit 20. So, because of our overly emotional amygdala and flirty neurotransmitters, we're musically stuck – teenagers forever.

Sure, some of us try to open ourselves up to new music later in life. But between our who-has-time-to-keep-up-on-music lives and our stuck-in-the-musical-past brain, our playlist can look something like this:
Your teenagers won't run from the room: Neil Young.

Memories of arena rock: Yes.
Kitsch value: Neil Sedaka.
Contemporary but dinner-party safe: Norah Jones.
Barista sanctioned we-are-all-one world music compilations.

What to do? You could turn to corporate efforts to shake off your inner rock' n' roll child. Please don't, though. Not if they're anything like the American Association for Retired Persons (AARP) attempts to make music "relevant and so cool."

Funny, we just didn't realize that AARP's "hottie over 50," "babelicious baldy" James Taylor was relevant and cool.

Said babelicious baldy's manager did raise an interesting point in The New York Times recently, though, saying: "As much as (our generation) were once intuitive discoverers of music, we've lost that intuition. Now we have to be spoon-fed."

Fine, but we'd like to think we can still hold our own spoon. And, nowadays, it's even easier to dig in, with music blogs, Internet music recommender services and by making friends with music journalists ... (Hey, it works for Josey.)

But if you're determined to wax nostalgic, at least take a cue from the Zimmers (Google "youtube zimmers"), a band of seriously aging Brits who got out of their rockers to rework The Who's youth anthem, making a new statement about their own generation. They must have realized that if you want it to, music can provoke new thoughts, inspire new feelings.

Sure beats constantly trying to "get ourselves back to the garden."

Oh, and Mamapalooza – hosted by Yummy Mummy Erica Ehm, with a Jeff Healey autographed Daisy Rock guitar up for raffle – rocks Jeff Healey's Roadhouse from 1 to 6 p.m., May 13, 56 Blue Jays Way.



Rockin' Moms Hit the Stage this Mother's Day Price: $15, free for children under 13, Jeff Healey's Roadhouse
Sun May 13, 2007 1:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Good For: Kids, Family Official Site:

Editor's Profile

Being a mother isn’t all about casseroles, soccer carpooling and scrap-booking. Oh, no.

For many moms, it’s about getting down with your bad mommy self and rocking out. After all, anyone who’s heard songs such as Housewives on Prozac’s “Pee Alone,” “Eat Your Damn Spaghetti” and “Fuzzy Slippers” knows that Moms have enough angst-ridden material to put most metal bands to shame.

This Mother’s Day, it’s Mom’s turn to play - at Mamapalooza. This special concert will feature a lineup of rockin’ mom musicians who take their mommy angst to the stage.Originally founded by Housewives on Prozac’s Joy Rose, Mamapalooza was brought to Toronto by musician Lynda Kraar, who will be performing at this year’s event.

Joining her will be Ardene Shapiro, Zro4, Maria Kasstan, The B-Girls, Kathryn Rose, Arlene Bishop, Sandi Marie Porter, Heather Katz, Ilana Waldston, Michele Mele, Laura Fernandez, Lenka Lichtenberg, Sisters of Sheynville, The Sisters Three, Lara Berlin, Lynn Harrison, Naomi Macklem-Tremblay, Barbara Stokes, Marianne Girard and Zoe Chilco. The evening will be hosted by Erica Ehm. Dads, kids and other mom-lovers are also welcome. Kids under 13 get in for free.

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