Saturday, December 24, 2011

god jul

Season's greetings!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

just testa

The verdict is in: I would like an antelope chauffeur.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

soothing sounds of the sixties

This song has been in my head for days. An oldie, but goldie.


My whole family is thankful my dad is alive one year after having grueling experimental surgery. Last year's Thanksgiving was a zombie show. This year everyone was cheery and being their funny selves while my dad ran circles around us, building fires, eating like a champ, and watching football—he even went to a Northwestern football game. He also pretty much threw a pick on me and stole my breakfast when he mistook a dish of oatmeal for stuffing.

My mom and I took a long walk and passed by the zoo where some wolves were singing their song.

Later my mom encouraged me to go through some file boxes. I did a half-baked job of refining the metamorphic pile of binders, papers, and programs, and a bang-up job of photographing some greatest archival hits.

A selection of reading material:

A still life:

And a few highlights from my eraser collection:

Tip of the iceberg. My poor parents. Housing all this crap for their adult daughter. I am thankful for their lenient storage policies. And for patiently encouraging me to travel to the beat of a different drum.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

the two amigos

This evening I saw a screening of The Blues Brothers. So great to see it in the company of a totally appreciative and enthusiastic audience. The music is still completely fantastic and the whole film made me mighty homesick for sweet home Chicago. In other news, do I have a crush on the entire horn section and 1980 Dan Akryod, or what?

I also got to meet John Landis.

Nice deer-in-headlights look I have going. I definitely thought I was going to throw up from joy.

Tomorrow night I return to see Trading Places. Hope I can refrain from compulsively reciting every single line aloud like a big jerk.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

hot chocolate

This afternoon I did something so crazy embarrassing at the office that I have been laughing pretty much straight for the last eight hours at my own expense.

Last week was my coworker's birthday. We'll call him "George." The two editors that own the business and manage us invited me to join the three of them for lunch. I had to work at my other place of employment that day, so sent my regrets, but assured George I would bring in some kind of desserty celebratory snack next time I was in. I asked about preferences and he said, "Anything involving chocolate would be great."

Cut to: This morning at the market where I was hastily picking up breakfast. While in line to pay, I remembered, "Oh RIGHT. George's birthday. I should bring chocolate." The check-out aisle at this tiny market is conveniently walled off by two towering shelves of chocolate that one can handily grab while in line. As there were people cued up behind me, I didn't really have time to browse. So I just scanned darkness percentages, quickly plucked one 75% dark chocolate bar, and then saw the word GINGER, in a display like this:

...and thought, "YUM. Fine." Made my purchases. Dashed to the office. Upon arrival, George was not at his desk so I plunked the two bars down in front of his keyboard and got straight to work.

The day was really hectic. George and the two partners were in a meeting for three hours. I was on an image-captioning tear. Mid-afternoon George rolls up, says, "Chocolate break?", and hands me a bar. I thanked him, pried off a chunk, and got back to business. Five minutes later I walked up and half-jokingly said, "Gimme more." He said, "Yeah, it's good, right? I also really look forward to the other bar you purchased."

"Oh me, too! I really like ging..."At which point he held up the other bar to my face, which, like a scene out of a Hitchcock film, suddenly came into all-too-sharp focus. My eyes were like saucers, and I think I went temporarily deaf from panic as I saw that below the word "Ginger" and the image of ginger that initially drew my impulse-buy paws in, was the word "SEXY" in capital letters. Plain. As. Day.

OMFG. I accidentally bought my co-worker sexy chocolate.

O.   M.   G.

Even worse? He thought it was INTENTIONAL. That it was A JOKE. That I was "being funny." So for the four hours prior, we had been in the same office, me thinking, "I gave George chocolate for his birthday. I'm nice. When is he gonna open it so I can eat some?" While George sat there saying nothing but, "Thanks for the chocolate" while thinking, "That Julia, what a card. Giving me sex chocolate right here in our open-office-plan office. Where all five occupants can see and hear every single thing."

"I thought you were being funny" felt generous. "I thought you were being mentally unwell" would have been the more fitting reaction.

To say I laughed is an understatement. I was doubled over with tears streaming down my face, in a full body sweat, breathless. Pretty much for the remaining three hours of work.

Dear Readers: Not only did the label say "SEXY" on the front, but, as George kindly went on to inform me, on the back there was a seductive paragraph essentially describing how in-the-mood this chocolate will make the consumer. I probably imagined half of what he said in my state of shock. I was beet red, convulsing, and finally made it back to my desk after choking out forty thousand "OMG obviously, I had NO IDEA what I bought" explanations though laugh-sobs. I sat at my computer hyperventilating, trying to talk down the crazy plane. I recovered just long enough to google "s-e-x-y  g-i-n-g-e-r  c-h-o-c-o-l-a-t-e." Research revealed that it also contained the good times ingredient Guarana. A new wave of horror hilarity washed over me. I basically gave George a bar of chocolatey Spanish Fly for his belated birthday gift.  NOOOOOoooooooo...

*wake up to laugh again*
*faint again*

"Sorry I missed your birthday lunch, George. (wink wink) Here's something totally slutty for a co-worker with whom I usually discuss sports and music."

(Cue:"Santa Baby")
(The only song I can think of to fit this fake scene.)

Somehow I made it through the rest of the day, accomplishing a little work, doubling over for a moment, then regaining composure once more. It was like my siblings and I trying not to laugh during VERY SERIOUS CHURCH all over again. At one point I actually covered my mouth and dashed to the bathroom to privately laugh-cry.

Here's the thing, while I am obviously still dying of embarrassment, I am also one thousand percent amused. I live for this kind of humiliating hi-jinx / frazzled accident. Once upon a time during a rushed lunch break in the park, my friend dug through her backpack for anything spoon-like so she could eat her container of hummus. She found a coffee scoop and thought, "Perfect." After devouring out every last bit of hummus from the tub, she took a closer look at the fine print on the scoop handle only to realize that it actually said "MIRACLE-GRO." NOOOOOOOOOoooooooooooo.

(Check for pulse)
(Laugh for ten years)

But my gaffe was not: "Oh ha ha, silly me, I was by myself and used a poison plant food scoop instead of a spoon for lunch."

Mine was: "Oh ha ha, today I accidentally sexually harassed my work buddy."

That said, while I am mortified beyond belief, I am also totally delighted with this new nomination for "One of the Dumbest, Most Embarrassing Things I Have Ever Done."

George took it all in stride. I clearly have no game. Or manners. And I need reading glasses. And to relocate.

He sent me a follow up email informing me: "Apparently pink peppercorn is also "SEXY""

I just noticed the caption on the site says: "Dark chocolate to spice up those special moments."

Dying all over again.

Monday, October 24, 2011

thinking outside the box / creature features

Will this sign ever not make me laugh? It's basically an advertisement saying: "TEENS: In case this dumb idea didn't occur to you already, you can thank us later!" It also seems like a scene someone dreamed up for Michael Jackson's Beat It video: "Here's what the rough-n-tough NYC 1980s subway looks a choreographer! Where every space and surface is a STAGE!"

Speaking of Michael Jackson videos, I just found out that in November BAM is hosting a retrospective for director John Landis, the mastermind behind the Thriller video, as well as Animal House, The Blues Brothers, Trading Places, The Three Amigos, American Werewolf in London...

I will be attending all aforementioned screenings, thank you very much. The first and last time I saw The Blues Brothers in a theater I was six years old (my parents made some notoriously questionable theatrical choices for family fare in my youth, like Animal House two years prior), and the volume of the car chases, the music, and Carrie Fisher's machine gun and dynamite was so loud that my mom and I had to sit on a bench outside the theater and watch through the doorway from the hall. That's dedication. Maybe that outside-the-door subway rider is having a similar experience: The subway car proper is sensory overload. He just needs to keep his distance.

On the topic of movies, it's autumn in New York when the city feels like this:

On my own leafy walk the other day I saw a gathering of two joggers and two cyclists on the park road, with two TINY baby raccoons oinking and bouncing all around them. Their mom was nowhere to be found and these itty-bitty little guys looked like they were worried, asking for help, but also ready to party. Adorable doesn't even begin to describe the scene. The furry little guys were super friendly, boinging all over the place, clambering all over the joggers shoes. Anytime one of joggers tried to walk on, the raccoons got all over-excited and oinked more at them. Someone phoned the park district and a van rolled up, ready to take the babies to be fed and handled. Two burly, tough-looking park employees stepped out of the vehicle and melted, saying in very thick Brooklyn accents, "Oh man these guys are CUTE." They picked them up and (hopefully) drove them to a nice woodsy home.

And, finally, it's almost Halloween. I don't have my Tootsie outfit at all assembled. For a just-in-case costume, I have always wanted to buy a zip-up dog suit. Easy, can wear warm layers underneath, and I like dogs. No lose situation. When searching "dog costume" I came upon this image. Disturbing and hilarious, then disturbing all over again. Then hilarious once again.

The hound looks pretty unready to party. He mostly just looks resigned and humiliated. And injured. And huggableohyoucomehererightnow....

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

high wire acts

After reading this article, I am really looking forward to the forthcoming Maurizio Cattelan retrospective at the Guggenheim museum. I have always had great appreciation for Mr. Cattelan's sense of reverent irreverence and the concept for this show is no exception. The notion of his works dangling from great heights, like a giant memorabilia mobile of greatest hits is, if anything, an absurdly terrific idea. Such positioning is a hysterical act of hubris, elevating his work to the highest level imaginable, but also the ultimate insult, suspending them as if prisoners in a rescue-me scene of a film, dangling over a modern abyss. The concept offers nuanced, charged commentary that is at once self-congratulatory and self-mocking, iconic and iconoclastic: This career is hanging by a thread; these works are celestial, God-like; this could all come crashing down at any moment...

Viewing these figures from the ground floor up through the center of the winding building makes me think of at least three images from film history (the last, potentially less identifiable image is from Time Bandits):

It's a dare and daring, arrogant and self-sacrificing, anti-establishment and at-the-mercy of the establishment. The whole envisioned spectacle seems to echo his marble Carrara sculpture of a middle-finger salute. I hope it translates as powerfully in the space itself as I am imagining it, anyway.

Speaking of mischief makers, I have been watching the new BBC program The Hour and was delighted to discover it stars McNulty from The Wire! The show mixes a magnetic mash-up of Mad Men makes-you-wanna-smoke nineteen fiftiesness, case-cracking Wire suspense, Mulder and Scully X Files leading man and lady chemistry, and Twin Peaks paranoia. I am really enjoying the show so far.  When I first watched The Wire, I could tell McNulty's American accent was an act. That said, McNulty's actual Irishy-British accent at use in The Hour seemed totally fake and confusing to me at first, as well. I am all settled in now and accepting his new life overseas. Intelligent people with British accents, crimes of passion, spies, romance—what's not to enjoy?

Man, that is a good looking group of people. This show is gripping and, at times, eerie. One of the nefarious characters has the similar pancake make-upped pasty countenance and thousand-yard stare of Robert Blake's chilling Boogeyman in David Lynch's Lost Highway. But, man, this guy is SO GOOD at translating and has excellent penmanship, which admittedly had me overlooking his Madame Tussaud face and stalking, stabby ways, and momentarily bad-boy crushing on this total psychopath. Just for like a second. Ahem. The program is completely engaging, and leaves me with a feeling of "Oh, to be a smart and smartly dressed, smoking, classy British reporter in the fifties" along with an urgent sense of omg-I-need-ten-people-to-sleep-over-and-protect-me-now-please after each episode. I pretty much feel this nervous when it is time to go to bed:

I am heading to London in November and will probably wear a trench coat, nice sweaters and skirts, and chase important leads on scandalous world news. Keep an eye out.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

your mood is like a circus wheel

There's a play list on repeat in my household right now that rolls from comedic (A Tribe Called Quest's "Left My Wallet in El Segundo") to contemplative (Kings of Convenience "Me in You") to atmospheric (I Break Horses "Kill Your Love") to love sick (China Crisis' "Wishful Thinking."). It pretty much unintentionally covers any given daily mood range, so I've been choosing my song starting point depending on how things look when the alarm clock lights up along with the sun.

As we roll into autumn, the weather outside's been like a moody teenager—sunny, cheery, and "summer AND you are the BEST, mom" feeling one day; apocalyptic skies and "i hate you! i hate EVERYbody!!!" sobbing rain the next. And then there was today: Overcast, damp, bust-out-your-wool crisp, Brooklyn-as-Scotland day. Also a "discover the Smiths then take a walk and think about important things and probably journal about them" affair.

The main reason I am thinking about all this change of scenery and different moods business is admittedly just an excuse to talk about an illustration I recently saw:

Look at Frankenstein! What a busy, game-faced guy! He has so much to do for himself and for the community during a single day—and it's not always fun and games. He's a housekeeper, a small business man, a Toreador, a Cassanova...and through it all he applies himself equally to all he does, holding one unchanging, all-business attitude.

He just wants to fit in with humans and contribute to society. In a way, he's basically Nerd Bird Senior. Both green, both renaissance fellows, both leading extremely active lifestyles, both truly unflappable in any given context.

In my research I realize calling him Frankenstein is a misnomer. He is actually "Dr. Frankenstien's Monster." Through my reading, I also realize I want to see this movie:

The wikipedia description reads:

"The Chipmunks are performing at a theme park called Majestic Movie Studios. While taking a break from their concert, the Chipmunks get lost, and eventually get locked inside the park. They find their way to the "Frankenstein's Castle" attraction, where a real Dr. Frankenstein is working on his monster. The monster is brought to life, and the doctor sends it in pursuit of the Chipmunks. In their escape, the monster retrieves Theodore's dropped teddy bear. The monster follows the Chipmunks home and returns the bear to Theodore, who quickly befriends him. The Chipmunks learn that the monster (whom Theodore has nicknamed "Frankie") is truly good-hearted."

And that's just the beginning of the movie's emotional roller coaster ride. And the end of this entry. Because I have to go find this flick, immediately.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

sucker punch

I saw this today and it made me knowingly smirk:

I am all about graceful decorum and choosing one's battles. But I know at heart I am also a "nobody puts baby in a corner" bad news bear. Which is likely why this photo of Pippi and company also speaks to me:

Sunday, August 28, 2011

calm after the storm

Well, well, what have we here:

Another "don't let the door hit you on the way out" printer. Looks like someone else was also a girl with a hurricane dream. This printer, however, was truly put out to pasture. Mine is still inside. I felt too guilty to full on ditch it outside in the gale-force winds. It would probably start meowing or be all teary and "Take me back. I promise I will be faster and scan when you ask me. You won't have to reinstall my drivers every single time you need to to do anything. I'll be your forever printer..." or something heart-wrenchingly awful like that and then I would cave and have to rescue it. Because printers, like every other object in my home, have feelings.

Aside from that technological side plot, the main update is that the hurricane came and went. The anticipation was much more horror-movie suspenseful than the storm was awful. I was ok during my dinner outing at a neighborhood restaurant where everyone was celebrating and getting smash-faced like it was Irene's 30th birthday, not the end of the world. The rain en route was umbrella-and-boots manageable and the winds were still demure. On the way home, some lightening showed off and I thought, "Time to go inside, forever."

I'm not gonna lie, after the weather service issued an "AND NOW...A TORNADO" watch late last night, and my landlord went to the basement with his teenage son to reinforce the basement grate barricades but started banging around like they were actually building an ark, I started feeling a little sick with dread. I slept in regular clothes. This included jeans. You heard me. I felt like committing to pajamas pretty much guaranteed I would end up on the street, freezing and running for my life in a goofy nightgown and boots. Not cool. I wanna be Hoth Princess Leia, not Jabba's Concubine Leia. So I slept in jeans. And when I say "slept" I mean "Stayed up watching Aziz Ansari comedy routines on youtube."

This morning things were much more quiet, so I ventured outside. There were a few messes like this one:

But overall, the damage was considerably less substantial in this area than the havoc wreaked by the 2010 tornado. The striking scene this morning was 7th avenue where scores of zombie-faced residents wandered around looking for ANY open coffee place. Honestly, it looked like the storm had surged inside store fronts instead of outside on the streets. Every business along the commercial avenues was closed, boarded up, taped up with Xs like cartoon dead eyes, chairs-on-tables, all ransacked looking, and apology noted.

I found an open bakery, shared the requisite jokey moment with fellow customers in the snake-long line to the tune of, "This sure is a long line for COFFEE in NEW YORK, amirite?!", and headed to the park for a walk. The path was littered with innocuous, small-scale leafy Adam and Eve clothing branch debris, and the scene felt all "Ah. We killed Michael Meyers." sound tracky. But then the wind would blow like crazy, the trees would start bucking like those car wash air dancers...

 ...and the soundtrack would suddenly get all stabby, with everyone in the park looking totally panicked a la "OMG THE STORM ISN'T DEAD!!!!! IT JUST PRETENDED!!!!!!!!! Back to the snack bunker!!!!!"

But then everything would anchor again.

I am looking forward to a calmer night for all, and actual, jeans-free sleep.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

stormy weather

This morning I woke up and headed to the store for some last minute non-perishable food shopping before this Hulk storm arrives. So hard to know what will really unfold. Nobody here wants to look like a panicked jerk, but no one wants to look like an ignorant jerk, either. So people are splitting the difference and buying giant jugs of beer with every gallon of water. I bought so many delicious snack items, my refrigerator now looks like I am a soccer mom of five children. Even if the storm merely strolls through like a Sunday driver, who would ever regret that kind of lasting snack situation?

This was the scene from a friend's local market:

Girlfriend's not sweatin' it.

On my way home, I passed neighbors wrapping their houses in plastic and dragging carts of provisions. Then I noticed a whole other pre-storm initiative taking place in front of a local school:

I stared at this van in admiration for several minutes. The phone number, the illustrated gum guys, the business plan, "who you gonna call!!!"—what a dream boat. Meanwhile, I imagine the principal pounding his desk saying, "Buy water, seal up the grates to the basement, tape the windows, buy bread—SO much bread— and for the love of safety, remove every last piece of rock hard, smushed in, possibly now gray or black chewing gum from every desk and from any remaining carpeting BEFORE IRENE HITS!"

I tried to get one of the Busters to pose with the van and he dove out of the frame. Fame must take its toll on these guys.

After that photo op I headed to the park for my last taste of freedom before house arrest. Then came home to deal with some last details. Like the garbage. Took that out, then, staring at the cans which are right outside my apartment as I am on the ground floor, I realized I will likely see said garbage hurled at my windows in a few hours. That will be exciting.

I also filled my bathtub with water because people keep telling me to do that. "You will be thankful when there's no running water." Maybe. More likely I will forget I filled it up until I try and take my next shower. I will probably be more thankful that sewage from soon-to-be blocked storm drains will now have a harder time gurgling up into my home. At heart, I am just a Hurricane No-Regrets Robot. If I don't do these things, the storm will be worse. I know this. For now, the tub just sits there looking sad and chilly. The cats are tight-roping along the edge looking like drivers doing the drunk-walk test.

My mom keeps talking about how my apartment will probably flood because it's on the ground floor. "Mom, you seem almost excited for it to flood." She laughed. I told her I was going to put my terrible, ancient, buggy, HP f-you computer printer right next to the window and pray for storm damage so I can get a new one guilt-free. As her daughter I inherited her "But it still works just fine!" spirit/complex. Which really means, "It takes 30 minutes to print out one page, but that just gives me a chance to cook dinner/call my mom/watch an entire television program!" etc.

Okay. Time to batten down the hatches. Or, rather, walk to dinner because this storm sure is taking its sweet time arriving.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

lite brite

Last week I went gallery hopping with a friend on a really nice Thursday evening and saw an installation by Leo Villreal that knocked my socks off. (Yes, I am wearing an ascot and a top hat.) A photo doesn't begin to do this piece justice. The structure itself is a giant scaffolded cylinder containing tons of tiny lights, controlled by some kind of midi computer that orchestrates thousands and thousands of variable patterns. While the column itself apparently weighs a bazillion tons, the lights infuse it with an airy, kinetic quality. It is at once invigorating and pacific, urgent and elusively methodical, hypnotic, unpredictable, a great escape, a giant road block, and, indisputably, the center of attention.

At any given moment the totemic patterns look like watching an interstate from above, Times Square, Blade Runner, a Bob Fosse musical, jumping to light speed in Star Wars, Xanadu, a meteor shower, a twinkling skyline, Atari, a fancy-dancing flapper dress, Tootsie's sequined dress, Studio 54, etc.. It has its own playful tempo, and yet is so much a function of calculated, computer-programmed timing. Ah! I just found an example of the sculpture in action:

It also reminds me of a lamp my parents have from the seventies just like this one (imagined without the digital clock and that Eye of Sauron thing in the top right corner):

I am very anxious to investigate Villreal's other work.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

dr. feel good and halo kitty

Today I walked past an MD license-plated vehicle littered with Grateful Dead dancing bear stickers This just features the one above the license plate. Eight thousand questions and jokes immediately sprang to mind.

Further along on my walk I ran into this poster for a missing kitty. Eight thousand more questions immediately sprang to mind. I think I feel too bad for all parties involved to actually tell any jokes. But man does red-nosed Halo kitty look bummed in this rendering.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

the sun always shines on tv

I recently watched Friday Night Lights in its entirety. The verdict is in: I want to be Tami Taylor.

Admittedly, I was deeply reluctant to watch this show. Frankly, anything that is recommended with gusto (i.e. crammed down my throat on the daily) often ends up in the "Definitely Postpone" file. Not because I fancy myself some kind of counter-culture trend bucker, but because it's TOO MUCH PRESSURE. Suddenly I am not just watching a show or listening to a record, I am having THE BEST EXPERIENCE OF MY LIFE, (OMGITOLDYOURIGHT?!).

Also, who are we kidding? My tempo for these matters is on the slow-mo. I just want to lead a calm life of cool, you feel me? I am also the person who takes five separate trips to a store to court any given purchase (shoes, coat, food, jacket) that I know I already want. I just have to make *sure*. You know?

Hence, I am often five years behind schedule on shows to watch, albums to hear, movies to see, convenient stuff to own. I had my first iphone two months ago. For one day. If I am straight with you, it felt like an all-day anxiety dream. My texts looked like ransom notes, my phone spontaneously dialed a million people which is my worst nightmare, and, because I felt like a t-rex operating the touch screen I had to call everyone I needed to contact, resulting in conversations like, "Hi. How R U? I just called to say U R gr8."

I sound like Andy Rooney.

Where was I? Oh, yes, complainbragging. I worked on the first season of The Sopranos and didn't watch that first season until five years later when the pressure for me to love it died down. (As an aside, one of the California Girl expressions my Swedish pals appreciate and say with Scando-Valley affectation is "Do you love it?")

At any rate, I finally got around to watching The Wire this year and really enjoyed it as everyone demanded I would. This despite wanting to give up immediately, mostly because I cannot bear watching people shoot up. It makes me instantly sick and upset. But I soldiered on and really enjoyed the whole shebang. Saying goodbye to the final episode was actually heartbreaking.

After that I wondered, "What next? Will I ever love-said-with-a-Valley-Girl-accent a television show again?" I decided to test drive one episode of Friday Night Lights and, if I am honest with you, going from the inner-city, deeply diverse, "there is no God" chaos of Wire Baltimore to lily-white Christian small-town Texas felt like a huge snooze. Then I got pneumonia the next day and the appeal greatly improved to this bedroom jailbird. I watched, well, the entire five seasons over the next couple of weeks. (I was really sick and useless.) Oh man, I cried so much. What a moving program. I am actually stamping my face with the word "SUCKER" right now. On purpose. I am not ashamed. All the love, the anguish, the triumph against all odds, the agony of defeat, the ache of true love—it all got me right where it counts. Along with a leading lady who officially stole my heart.

Level with me: Can you get any cooler than her aviator glasses, hoop earrings, and social worker sense of patient compassion? Not in my book. And Coach Taylor? Ahem. He deserves a whole other essay. When I was in seventh grade I went to school in New York and they, unlike my Chicago school, had a football team. I informed my mom that if we stayed for two years, the following fall I would bag soccer and take up football. Her face went blank, likely undelighted that her teeny-tiny, three-foot-tall daughter was considering suiting up. We only stayed for one year. But I just KNOW had we remained, Eric Taylor would have been my coach and changed my life FOREVER. [Roll credits set to Emo outro music]

But, yes, I watched the entire five seasons. And let me tell you, the real pay off came in later seasons when suddenly former cast members of The Wire started showing up! I could, in fact, love again! And win football games, again!

I'm not joining the spiral-eyed masses, my friends. Instead, I humbly submit that if you need something great to do while pajama-ed and bedridden for two weeks, this shoved-in-your-face acclaimed program might also be your jam.

What I will say like a spiral-eyed zombie disciple is Coach Taylor's motto: "Clear eyes. Full hearts. Can't Lose!"

That is indisputably true.

I am ready for some football.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

check the film

I just saw the documentary Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest and enjoyed it on about ten levels. The film thoroughly, humorously, and respectfully traces the history of this seminal Native Tongues group and its remarkable place in NYC hip-hop history. I was enthralled with the band footage, the New York footage, the interviews, Q-Tip (what a charmer!), the guest appearances (Mos Def, De La Soul, DJ Red Alert...), the music, the history of their friendship, and on and on. The rest of the audience which was audibly delighted, nostalgic, and moved throughout as well, applauding with each song and cameo. I was pretty excited out of the gates as the opening credits feature animation by the No Mas group, a team responsible for one of my favorite animated documentary shorts.

I was also thrilled because this theater sold delicious cookies, and was merrily chomping away at one until we reached the achy segment about Phife Dawg's harrowing struggle with Diabetes. I froze mid-chew and the cookie went back into my bag. He subsequently appeared in a Cookie Monster shirt. I took that personally.

After the movie I came straight home and fired up the hi-fi. Here's one:

Thursday, July 21, 2011

ladybug at transistor

We recently played an afternoon set in Chicago at a store called Transistor. This place was my fancy-pants dream scene: Rare and unusual boutique a/v gear and instruments, art and photography books, art works, and a carefully curated vinyl section. It's as if my career paths opened a store. I appreciated it as a gallery space as much as anything, replete with beautiful objects I wasn't going to buy, but it was pretty lovely playing music surrounded by the lot of them. The owner was extremely hospitable and genial and bought us a heap of delicious snacks.

I can spot my sister and mom in the back window.

something old something new

A new friend just introduced me to this oldie but goldie. I have listened to it a mazillion times, subsequently.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

growin' up

I recently remembered how much I love the song "Growin' Up" by Bruce Springsteen. Here is a quieter live version as the recorded version is nowhere to be found on youtube:

My first concert was Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band on the "Born in the USA" tour in Chicago, 1984. My entire family attended. I was throw-up excited. My brother and dad have always been huge Boss fans and his albums were on heavy rotation in our household since I can remember. When "Born in the USA" came out, I finally really paid attention and sat with my first Walkman in the back of our family car on every family trip determined to memorize each word of that album. (That and Paul Young's "No Parlez"—my sister's influence.)

My bulletin board was plastered with images of the Boss along with my other muse, gymnast Mary Lou Retton.

The night we spent at Soldier Field watching all four hours of that concert I was never bored, even though Bruce was the size of an ant from where we sat. It was a general admission concert, meaning no assigned seating—controversial given The Who's free seating fiasco years prior. My brother went rogue and hit the floor of the stadium. The rest of us remained in binoculars-required distance.

It all worked out. I still have my program. My brother still has his baseball concert tee.

I was thrilled just to be included. The family affair music outing prior to that was my father, brother, and sister attending the Rolling Stones' "Tattoo You" concert in 1981. Today, I love the B side of that album with a lot of my heart. Back then, I didn't know that. I just knew I was left out of something important and cool that allowed them all to stay up way past bedtime. As a rule growing up, if my brother and sister were involved: I wanted in. No such luck for me that evening. My sister returned with this t-shirt:

...along with a copy of the album featuring the tattooed lady. My mind was blown, struck with the thought, "What on earth happened last night?! There was a DRAGON there?!?!"

poster child

This poster offers some sensible in-the-kitchen counsel. Kitty's not havin' it. He looks pretty insulted by the entire situation.

billy joel goes crazy

My band mates recently showed me this clip of Billy Joel losing his cool (read: his marbles) on stage. The soundbyte was put into constant between-song rotation on the ole van hi-fi.  Sometimes I worry we have shows that aren't up to standard. Or that we embarrass ourselves. I will always have this video to console me.

Monday, July 4, 2011

in addition

A soundtrack for today. While I always enjoy a locked-in rhythm section, I also have great appreciation for Naomi's melodic, exploratory, independent bass lines.

enter sandback

On this day of explosive, flashy celebration of independence, I thought about how, for me, more calm, subtle, careful statements often yield the most monumental sense of significance and impact. This is certainly my feeling about artist Fred Sandback. This installation artist carefully employs gauzy threads of yarn to redefine perceptions of space and boundary to great effect. His specific placement of such modest, discreet, unobtrusive material, create lines that reimagine one's sense of personal and institutional space and boundaries, while firmly underlining the power of suggestion.

Ok. Enough modest, sensitive-artist thinking. Time to dress up like Tootsie and celebrate this holiday in style.

(Will someone please remind me that I also need to dress up in this outfit for Halloween? I mean, I love my reliable standby dog or football player outfits, but this one would really give 'em the ole Razzle Dazzle.)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

great unexpectations

I adore this song. It prominently features an oboe and two striped shirts in the video. What's not to like?

Speaking of unexpected accompanying instruments defining a song, this cover has been in my head for days.