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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Of Hootenannies, Holiday Parties and Hanging Out in NYC 
or December wrap-up, part 2

Okay, so in the continued spirit of my backwards motion through December, ala Momento (go Netflix this movie. seriously!), my card club mates, Toni and Diane accompanied me to WYEP's annual Holiday Hootenanny at a local theater on the North Side.

bad santa getting all friendly with Toni

It was bigger than the last several, much more structured and sadly, not as much fun. There were some really fun, upbeat performances of some classic and not-so-classic Christmas songs, the standouts being Holiday Road, Must Be Santa and New Year's Resolution, but for the most part, what should have been festive, up-tempo, foot-stomping tunes were given the slow, dismal, I-want-to-stab-myself-in-the-chest treatment.

Holiday Road (one of the better arrangements)

They dropped the ball big time for the final number with a completely flat, lifeless version of the Darlene Love rocker, Christmas (Baby Please Come Home). That song's a no-brainer, right? That one should have had all of us on our feet dancing, clapping and singing all the way to our cars, but alas, it was sung as a fucking soul-sucking dirge.

Happy fucking Christmas. Kill me now.

Moving on...

For the last couple of years, my group of friends from high school/college have got together for a Christmas outing and/or soiree. This year's shindig was hosted by our friend Jim who lives in one of those amazing urban industrial reclamation condos. Walking into his place is like being transported to a swanky SoHo loft in the Big Apple. So cool.

He graciously agreed (read: forced into it by me and Mary Ann) to let us trash his spotless environs with our holiday food stuffs and effed up gifts. We do this goofy gift swap thingie wherein each person wraps up whatever awful shit they have lying around the house, we fight over the packaging and try not to look too horrified when the "treasure" is unwrapped before we toss them all away. It's very amusing, mainly because it never fails that our friend's teen aged son randomly selects the most inappropriate gift. One year it was male adult diapers. Another it was ass-less, animal print leggings. Don't ask. This year he got these:

tack on another year of therapy for this poor child

Ah, but Cheryly wears it best.

queen of the sylvester face
Geo won out for tastiest pork-based products. We're actually keeping these. Mmmmmm....bacon.

please sir, may i have some more novelty bacon stuffs

practicing for new year's eve


abby normal
Clearly, we have had too much Holiday Cheer.

Our final stop in the Way-Back Machine--New Yawk City!!

For the last couple of Decembers, we've been caught in the good karma loop of having both of our musical loves, Francis Dunnery and Rhett Miller performing sometime during our vacation. This year Mr. Miller was enjoying his life elsewhere, but we were lucky enough to have Francis bookend our week in New York. Score!!

The first weekend took us to Central Pennsylvania and a barn in the middle of a swanky housing development.

Yes. A Barn. In December.

That sumbitch was COOOOOLD!

Anywho, we arrived at the same time as Francis who promptly tossed boxes of CDs to Geo and dubbed him Merch Man for the evening.

merch pusher 

We did pretty well, too. Sold sixteen CDs. Francis sang his Man show, based on his CD of the same name. He opened with our favorite, The Only Thing and rattled off one great tune after another, many we hadn't heard live before. I had forgotten how many amazing songs are on that disc. Every one he played was a gem.

he's gotta be sick of us by now
Side Note: Central PA is weird, yo. The bar in our hotel was jammed with country poseurs in plaid shirts, cowboy hats and boots, line dancing to a fiddle-featured country band. Last time I checked we were still north of the Mason/Dixon line, but DAMN if it didn't feel like we took a wrong turn and ended up in Tennessee. Not the friendliest environment either. Too bad, too because the cocktails were awesome and cheap. We downed our drinks and high-tailed it out of there.

not the wisest business to have
across from your hotel. just sayin'

The following weekend was Philadelphia and the Tin Angel with Francis' house concert booker extraordinaire, the lovely Kate and her hubs, Larry. Francis doesn't play clubs anymore except for the Tin Angel. This intimate narrow 2nd story venue is his club home of sorts. Francis doesn't allow recordings at his house concerts, but you may tape at will in the club. He played a lot of rarities that evening, Jonah, Me and Francine, and In the Garden of Mystic Lovers. None of which I taped, because I just wanted to sit back, drink in the vibe and sing.

What?!? No taping? I know. I must have had a fever, right?

Note #1: We got to go backstage to say hello before the show. (Holla!!) All four walls and the ceiling were covered in signatures, limericks and drawings. Reading which notable artists have sat in that same room waiting to take the stage is way too cool. But I have one question for you musicians... Why all the penises? Seriously. What's up with that? Although extra points to the creative one who drew the Leaning Tower of Penis. A+, Dude.

Note #2: The Old Town Section of Philly was awash in drunken Santas and their Claus Courtesans. Hootchie Ho Hos, if you will. Don't let the fact that it's 25 degrees out or your bare legs are freezer-burn red and the tatas your daddy bought you are frozen stiffer than normal, ladies. Your ass-high skirt and FM pumps are too hot to cover up. You'll thaw out by March.

We also stumbled upon a tres cool outdoor art installation. A mastodon rib cage terrarium with beautiful neon Plexiglas containers filled with various plant life.

Gorgeous, but DAMN! It was cold out there, yo! Like, biting chill with harsh wind kinda cold. Yowza!

Okay, so I lied. I'm bumping the Big Apple bits to the next post. No matter how I try, brevity is not in my skill set. So sue me. I'm chatty and verbose and blah blah BLAH BITE ME.

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