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Sunday, January 29, 2012

In Which I Shed A Tear Over A Storied Chrome-Domed Structure

Okay, so I'm a huge sap. Ginormous. I get strangely attached to inanimate objects. Always have. So much so that I sometimes actually feel empathy towards pairs of shoes I used to cherish and wear multiple times a week, now cast aside for newer, hipper footwear. I image their long, audible sighs and new-found feelings of insignificance based on my callous disregard.

See. Pathetic screwball. But that's nothing new, right?

This week, the Powers That Be have started dismantling the most iconic architecture in my beloved Burgh, the Civic Arena. The once beaming, chrome-domed igloo has had its aluminum outer shell stripped, exposing a rust-colored underbelly. The arena was functional, funky and instantly recognizable from all approaches, especially the air. Spotting this unique circular beauty through the porthole of my cramped airplane seat was always the first warm hug of home.

It's legendary retractable roof was something special. I can't tell you how cool it was to be rocking out at a concert, watching the city skyline magically appear before my glazed-over eyes.


Plus could there be a more aptly-shaped home for Penguins to reside? Seriously. And now it sits, empty and abandoned. The once proud, first-of-its-kind, innovative new kid, dissed, deflated and destined for the scrap heap, forced to listen to the flashy new upstart down the street collect all the accolades once showered upon him 52 years ago.

I can hear his sighing from here...

and my heart breaks a little.

The first pie-shaped panel came down Friday.

I shed a tear.

Yeah. Big Fucking SAP.

Goodbye old friend. Thanks for the memories.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Random Crappola
or cleaning up my crap and throwing it your way

Okay, so I used to jot fragments of thoughts on torn slips of paper and toss them on my increasingly cluttered dresser to blog about later, similar to Liv Tyler's character, Lucy in that gorgeous, provocative and touching film, Stealing Beauty, only mine were far less poetic or interesting.

(Rent this lovely movie. It will make you smile, cry a little and long to live in Tuscany for a summer just once in your mundane little life.)

I've made great strides in breaking myself of this scrap-stacking habit, but now instead of junking up my dresser top, I've cluttered up the notes app on my iPhone. Henceforth is some of the nonsense stashed on my electronic BFF.

1. Dude, My Phone Speaks in Tongues

I get lots of spammy emails from cruises to debt reduction to singles dating, but we'll get to that later. Every so often, my phone has a religious epiphany and starts speaking in tongues in the subject lines.

get your epidural crankpin
out of my naughtily psychologic zooplasty

i'm sure there's a cream for
sulfurousness boobies

...or maybe it has Tourettes. (It said boobies. hee hee) Whatever. It looses it's mind and sounds like this to me.

2. Dude, My Phone Wants To Pimp Me Out

No shit. My phone is constantly trying to hook me up with singles. And not just white singles either. It tries to tempt me with perspective mates from all corners of the world...Asian, Indian, black, Jewish, Latinos, seniors....

Okay, the seniors one stings a little. What the Hell are you trying to tell me, Pimpbot? I'm so beyond my freshness date that my best bet is skip the youngins and head right to the hearing aid and cataract club? That's cold, dawg. Well, guess what, asshat. The joke's on you. I'm already married. PFFFFFFFT!

3. Dude, C is for Captain
Oh Captain, My Captain

Ever since Captain Heartthrob, Sidney Crosby was sidelined once again in late December from recurring concussion symptoms suffered after a hit, the Pens slipped into a losing streak. Last week there was rumor of grumblings from some of the players frustrated by the scoring slump that Sid has been dogging it in his rehab, that he is actually healthy enough to play and that it's time for a new captain to get them back on track.

Local sports writer, Dejan Kovecovic penned a terrific article defending Sid and his desperate desire to return to the ice to play the game he eats, lives and breaths. How anyone can question Sid's passion is insane. The following day during their morning skate, every team member wore a "C" on his shirt as a sign of solidarity with their fallen leader.

K is Russian for Kaptain

In an instant, fans across the interwebs added Cs to their profile pictures on FaceBook and Twitter, taped Cs to their jerseys to be prominently visible when they sat in the stands and altered their children's hockey uniforms.
way to go, l'il pens
Even the prize blimp got in the act.

That's gotta make Sid feel loved. This overwhelming outpouring brings a tear to my eyes and makes me proud to be a Pittsburgh Penguins hockey fan. Oh, and ever since this public show of faith, the Pens have won their last three games. Holla!

We love you Sid! Take your time. Get better. We'll wait for you. But please, for the love of all that's holy, leave that crappy beard at home. 

4. I Have Drank From The Pinterest Kool Aid 

Yeah, like I need ANOTHER time-suck distraction. ACK!!

Pinterest is an electronic bulletin board where you can archive all the things that interest you, pinning them to a particular board to reference later for projects or recipes or purchases or travel destinations, or in my case to sit there in perpetuity, ignored and rotting on the vine.

I don't have much pinned on mine yet except for a couple photos of Paul Rudd and Rhett Miller...what? you're surprised? Really? It's like you don't even know me.


Anywho, I can see how you can sit down for "just 10 minutes" and five hours later, still have your head plastered to this site never having noticed that the sun has gone down, the room is dark except for the unhealthy blue glow emanating from your Mac and your starving children are clawing at you for food for the last hour.

It's like crack. Pretty, shiny, pointlessly addictive crack.

Now leave me alone. I have some pinning to do.

5. Swatting The Heavy Legislative Hand With Humor

Yesterday, in protest of the SOPA and PIPA legislative vote (supported by Corporations, natch) which would end the use of the internet as we know it, numerous websites like Wikipedia and Reddit, staged a blackout. Speaking of Wikipedia, compiled a list of bizarre topics blocked by the voluntary blackout like Uncombable Hair Syndrome, Toilet Related Injuries and Deaths, and Swastika Forests.

via Oatmeal
no copyright infringement intended
don't tase me, bro
I agree that piracy netting monetary gain is rampant and hurts musicians and artists who struggle to make a living at their craft. However, I don't believe fans shooting and posting videos or photos from concerts who collect no compensation for those images damages the artists' bottom line. In fact, I believe that kind of free promotion is invaluable to building one's fan base. Think about it. When a friend tells you about a new band, where's the first place you visit to listen to their music? YouTube! I see no down side to this.

If passed, this bill could effectively shut down this lame-ass blog and throw my ass in jail for posting videos and photos of others "intellectual property". What are we, China? How about focusing on prosecuting real criminals like those bankers who bilked the public of billions of dollars, took bail out money at no interest then gave themselves ginormous bonuses... They didn't post concert footage, so they're safe.

Moving on...

One of the websites that went dark is the always irreverent The Oatmeal. Leave it to the Oatmeal to explain it in such brilliantly weird fashion. Watch here.

Yesterday's movement may be over, but it's still not too late to contact your representatives. Here's a link to locate your personal political yahoo and defend a free and open internet.

Do it for Oprah and Jesus.

and the Lord sayeth,
keep thy interwebs free

Thursday, January 12, 2012

I Love I Love I Love New York
or one whirlwind day of big apple fun

Okay, so last Thursday brought an early birthday present in the form of a quickie trip to New York City with my honorary l'il sis, Steph to watch our favorite rockstar kick it up a notch at the City Winery.

What's that? You're wondering who that musical heartthrob might be?

Yep. This lively fella.

When Rhett's (with the embarrassing amount of times I've written about him, do I even need to use his last name?) tour date was announced back in October, Steph and I hemmed and hawed about whether we could manage the logistics of making the trek to La Apple Grande. Then as luck and serendipity would have it, Southwest sent a discount offer we literally could not refuse. And we didn't. You don't deny serendipity.


So, asshat that I am, I wasn't even thinking about how many hours before the butt crack of dawn I'd have to rise to make a 6:30AM flight. The answer: 3:30am. 3:30?!? On my off day?!?? UGH! But, c'mon. I'm going to New Yawk, not the Special K. Nothing a little breakfast, caffeine drip and inexhaustible NYC energy can't fix.

After stopping in Baltimore to pick up Steph, we landed in Newark and hopped on the tram to the NJ transit train station. Once the doors of the four-car shuttle closed, the stilted voice announced, "please hold on while the train is moving" over and over and over, ad naseum as we traveled between terminals. We chuckled. Any Old 97's fan would recognize that phrase.

Please Hold On While The Train Is Moving (via Grooveshark)

So THIS is where a certain songwriter flies in and out of on his way to entertain his adoring masses.

Meanwhile, back in Manhattan...

Even though we've only known each other for a year and a half, traveling with Stephanie is effortless. No drama. No crazy, high-maintenance requirements. No demanding the hotel staff send up only bath salts made from the tears of baby kittens.

Nope. She's spontaneous, game for any adventure, and funny as hell. We have the same silly, twisted sense of humor. She sends me funny shit like this all the time.
I know how you feel, l'il monkey made of sock

"and another thing..."

She makes me laugh. A lot. Plus she's really good at researching stuff on the fly via her iPhone.

Anyhoo, we started eating and drinking our way through Manhattan downtown in SoHo after a brief stop at CB2. The coolest thing about the city is you never know what you'll stumble upon walking from point A to point B. While heading North to go to the quintessential girls' cafe, Sweet Revenge for cupcakes and wine (is there a more perfect niche market directed specifically for women?), we found the coolest fusion restaurant in TriBeCa named Taka Taka, offering Mexican sushi and Japanese tacos. Wha??? Only in New York. Seriously. We walked in for the Japanese seared tuna tostado, but stayed for the sushi conveyor belt.

mobile sushi
mango sushi, cilantro lime dipping sauce...
recycled bong teapot?
hoped they cleaned that puppy out well

Delicious self-serve sushi rolls, rolling on by. Not enough "Os" in COOL. The bong-shaped teapot didn't hurt either. The servers were super friendly, the mango sushi rolls were amazing and the atmosphere was filled with festive Mexican and Japanese music. Where else but New York.

We decided to head to Sweet Revenge anyway because, hello... we're female. The thought of gourmet cupcakes paired with exquisite red wines is too alluring, and good GOD, it was 2 o'clock and we hadn't had a cocktail yet!!?!

The cafe is an adorable little store front about the size of a large walk-in closet with a small bar across from four quaint little wooden tables and chairs. They bake a different selection of savory as well as sweet offerings each day. Steph had the signature peanut butter and chocolate cake with peanut butter icing which came with a lovely, deep red, full-bodied Merlot with a hint of oak, long finish and the legs of a Scandinavian super model (or whatever wine snobs prattle on about). I had the raspberry almond cake topped with raspberry cream cheese icing and a Raspberry Bellini.


Sitting there sipping my Bellini, I could have sworn it was 4:30 in the afternoon. Much to our delight, it was only 3:30. We had plenty of time to make our 5:45 dinner reservation, but what to do to fill the time... That's when a light bulb went off atop Steph's wee head.


Yeah, baby! A quick search on Yelp and a 10 minute walk past store fronts that morphed from boutiques and coffee shops to window displays of mannequins donning questionable underthings missing material over the naughty bits awkwardly perched next to plasma screens showing a sizable variety of dildos, vibrators and ball gags.

Yeah. We were in that neighborhood.

West 4th Street. Home of the infamous Pink Pussycat adult shop and afternoon karaoke. Who knew? Seriously. Only in New York can you find a karaoke bar open from 1pm to 4am nestled among sex shops.

It was a ghost town in there, natch because of the whole 4:00 in the afternoon thing. There was no way I was going to screech/sing in the middle of the empty bar. Fortunately this place had a series of private rooms to do your Karaoke bidnez. It kind of creeped us out a bit imagining what various untoward activities had occurred in this room, but hey, it was half-priced happy hour, so forget that shit. Time to sing, bitches.

We opened strong with REO's Take It On The Run, then loaded up a stack of power hits, Bon Jovi-Livin' on a Prayer, Counting Crows-American Girls, Madonna-Get Into the Groove, and Bruce classic-Thunder Road. We even threw in a quiet Lisa Loeb tune.

Steph has a beautiful voice. Me? I think I killed a few alley cats with my caterwaul. Before we knew it, it was time to catch a cab for dinner across town. Screw the reservation, this is karaoke, dammit! We tossed in our big finish, John Mellencamp's Hurt So Good, then busted ass for a cab... which coincidentally smelled like ass.

A ridiculous amount of fun for two sober girls in the afternoon. My face hurt from laughing so much. We only ended up being around 10 minutes late for our delicious vegetarian dinner at Candle 79. I've never been to a proper vegan restaurant before. The food was outstanding.

On the way to the main event to see this lovely, blue-eyed one...

it's a toss up as to which one of them is more adorbs

our cab pulled up alongside a middle-aged businessman in a high-end SUV. Nothing unusual about that, except this lone gunman was blaring ABBA's Super Trooper so loud we could hear it clearly in our car.

What GUY rocks out to ABBA alone in his car?  (just try getting that out of your head now)

Being a couple of 12 year-old asshats, we started dancing, singing and pointing at him. Then the funniest thing happened. Steph tweeted it best.

"Just busted guy blaring ABBA Super Trooper. When he noticed us singing along, he pulled forward, turned it down, & put that shit on repeat."

Even the cabbie bust up laughing.

By the time we got to the Winery, the opener, Adam Levy was already playing. Outside of the Spring Standards, generally the opener is lackluster, but Adam was actually pretty good.

We've gotten to know a number of other fans from our travels to see Rhett and the Old 97's play. It's a nice little community. That evening George and Maria, Denise, India and Joslyn stopped by to say hi.  We finally caught up with our favorite Manhattan Maven, Marcy Anne between acts, poured some really good Malbec and waited for Rhett to take the stage.

Spending an evening in an intimate, darkened club listening to Mr. Miller and his guitar is always magical, but that night he was ON. Playfully telling jokes from the onset, his wit and charm filling the gaps between songs. He's comfortable here and it shows. The love flows both ways.

He sang Broadway and Terrible Vision with such depth and passion, it gave me chills. I know it sounds gay and uber fangirlie, but it did. Thanks to Julie for capturing the moment on her iPhone. Have I told you how much I'm in love with iPhones?

You can hear us goofballs giving it up for his long notes. Obnoxious asshats or appreciative fans. You decide. On second, thought, don't go there. Just let it be, dude.

He played three songs from his recently released outstanding covers CD, The Interpreter: Live at Largo including this spirited version of David Bowie's Queen Bitch.

No one belts out a note like Rhett. I had a thing for the King of Glam Rock back in the day, but Mr. M's vocal crushes Bowie's original. You should hear him sing The Bewlay Brothers... effing incredible! There is no superlative strong enough. It's my favorite on the CD.

I have to throw in the beautiful California Stars not only because Rhett played it specifically for Stephanie, but because it's worth it for the humorous rift on the puppy notebook alone.

As an added bonus, we were all treated to not one, but TWO new songs from his upcoming solo effort due out some time in the Spring. No official title has been leaked, but Rhett's unofficial title for the CD is The Womanizer, in honor of all the ladies he sings with on the album--Rosanne Cash, Rachael Yamagata and Heather Robb who sang Picture This at the Deleware show back in September. Or maybe it's a nod to his alter ego. I kid.

This fine evening he shared the quieter Sleepwalking (with a whistling solo jamz) and the freshly penned, Marina. They're both gorgeously layered, lyrically rich stories of lost love written in Rhett's compelling signature musical voice.


If these three tracks are any indication, his new collection of works is going to be groundbreaking. I can barely wait. There's still time to jump on the PledgeMusic bandwagon and help fund his new album here. I will never be able to thank him enough for the joy he brings to my life through his boundless talent. Pledging is a way for us to give back in a more substantial way.

Before we knew it, he was strumming the final chords to Time Bomb and another remarkable evening was over. We left light-hearted, rejuvenated and humming. The perfect capper to a positively perfect day.

This is What I Do
I'm a Trainwreck
California Stars (for Steph)
Singular Girl
Wish the Worst (for me :) )
I Need To Know Where I Stand
Sleepwalking (new)
Queen Bitch
The One
Our Love
Marina (brand new)
Help Me, Suzanne
Let the Whiskey Take the Reins
Like Love
The El
Every Night Is Friday Night

Terrible Vision
Wave of Mutilation/I Wanna Be Sedated
Time Bomb

Buy Live at Largo here
Be one of the cool kids! Join Team Rhett and help fund his new CD here.
Rhett/Old 97's tour dates. Come drink the Kool Aid and join us.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Reliving My Musical Year Circa 2011, Part Two Because I'm Chatty, Yo


Dear July: I will always and forever have a special place in my heart for thee. 

July was all about the Old 97's. Three incredible shows in four days with the added bonus of post show drinks with Ken and Murry (Baltimore)...

Hanging backstage before and after (Brooklyn)

and one non-stop, laugh-filled day at Brooklyn's famed Coney Island. To say they were the most memorable three days of the summer is not an overstatement, even if I embarrassed the hell out of myself by almost eating the pavement in Baltimore. Call me Grace.


Dude, I went to see The Monkees. Yes, THE Monkees. Okay, well 3/4 of the Monkees anyway. I had no intention of going, but GD if I didn't have a blast. Who knew all those lyrics were still living somewhere deep down in my grey matter.

A steamy August evening featured the Dynamic Duo of Ben Gibbard's Death Cab For Cutie and Scott Hutchinson's Frightened Rabbits on Stage AE's outdoor venue. (for once, two great bands for the price of one) Nestled between a signature skyblast fireworks display (we Burghers go ape shit over incendiary displays) with Train performing at the ball field and an evening shoot of Batman, The Dark Night Returns at Heinz Field, these musical Super Heroes held their own.

Sweaty, happy and hoarse, I walked away victorious clutching the lone FRabbits doodle postcard created especially for the evening.


Once again, September vacation was bookended (is that even a word?) with our two faves. Geo and I had our charts read by Francis Dunnery at our friend Kate's house in Malvern, PA. It was enlightening and huge fun. Hmmmm... seems I didn't blog about that either. Major slacker this past quarter. Blah. Anyhoo, the following evening we attended a house concert in the biggest home, nay, estate we've ever been in. Whoa! Kate and I were convinced it was haunted. For realz.

After spending a restful week at the Jersey shore, we ended our vacation with a double shot of, who else... Rhett Miller. This time at  World Cafe at the Queen in Wilmington, Deleware followed by a rare matinee show at one of my favorite out-of-town venues, Annapolis' Ram's Head On Stage. In both we were treated to a new song, Picture This from Rhett's upcoming solo CD due out in the Spring. Heather Robb from Spring Standards adds her beautiful voice to this duet.

The Ram's Head show was stupendous, with an eclectic setlist filled with deep cuts, newer gems and one terrific cover. Mr. M kindly fulfilled all of our requests. Couldn't ask for a better way to close out a holiday.

Mixing it up with the youngins.

The final outdoor WYEP freebie of the year was Alex Dezen of the Damnwells backed by Harper Blynn. JesusGoodGodAlmlighty it was ridiculously cold and damp for that time of year! But the music was warming, along with my awkward white-girl, Elaine Benis dancing in the corner.

"Help her! She's having a seizure!"

OCTOBER: You need to step it up this year, slacker.


Mary Ann (aka, Betty) and I had back-to-back evenings out starting with Louis CK and his delightfully raunchy, twisted view of life, followed by the legendary Kinks front man, Ray Davies. Don't let his age fool you, he can still kick it up for a senior citizen. Outstanding gig, even if I did get busted while recording Waterloo Sunset. Still was able to sneak this one. Ha! Take that, video recording Nazi!

I got to celebrate Thanksgiving Eve with the charming, elfish Norwegian, Sondre Lerche. He packs a lot of power in that little frame.


Let the holiday festivities begin!! Raul Malo pulled into town in a big, black tour bus and offered up his Christmas Show to put us all in the spirit of things. There's no escaping that catchy Tejano beat. Don't even try. Just roll with it, baby!

 And just for fun, a half song medley followed by... a POLKA!

And finally, we ended the year as we began, with a Francis house concert to begin vacation and Francis playing his Christmas show at the Tin Angel. Our final musical night cap for 2011. The only thing missing was a Rhett holiday show chaser.

That's 2011 in a nutshell. It was a lovely year that provided a lot of opportunities to enjoy a ton of great music at great venues with great friends. I can't wait to do more of the same this year.

Dear 2012: You have some mighty big shoes to fill. Just saying.

Monday, January 2, 2012

In Which I Relive My 2011 Concert Season
(1 of 2)

Okay, so not to be a braggy SOB, but 2011 was an incredible year in live music for me. Except for dry spells in January and October, I was fortunate enough to have seen a plethora of amazing musical acts every month. Haven't had this kind of run since my twenties.


The fun began in February with a Rhett Miller concert at City Winery in NYC for my birthday. It got all Chuckie Cheese in there, when Rhett kindly dedicated a song for each of us birthday girls present that evening. Mine was "Wish the Worst", a major burn on the Steelers competing in the Super Bowl three days later.

Wise Ass. Ha Ha! Here's his unveiling of "Perfume" from the then unreleased Grand Theatre, Vol 2.

As is in our cosmic charting, our other musical love, Francis Dunnery played a house concert in NJ the next evening. Again, blessed with the one-two punch of our faves playing in the same weekend. It's uncanny how often this has happened over the last couple years.

February brought another Francis house concert a short drive north of our own city, as well as the uber talented trio, Spring Standards to Club Cafe. These three of some of the loveliest artists we've ever met. They each play multiple instruments, often at the same time. Heather literally has the voice of an angel. I know, GAG. That cliche just got caught in your throat. They're up and coming and you should seek them out.


We went South of the Border with a Raul Malo and his unmistakable Tejano groove. You have to be deceased not to want to get up and shake your tail feathers at this party. Do not resist the power of the accordion.

In direct contrast was Canada's mild-mannered, anti-rockstar, adorably pudgy crooner, Ron Sexsmith.


Aaaah, April. What a stellar month! First up--a double shot of my favorite foursome, Coldplay.

I'm just dicking with y'all. Of course it was Old 97's! Steph and I saw them twice in four days, in Rochester, NY and DC. We were treated with two of the most incredible shows. These guys never disappoint or call it in. They. Are. Awesome! But of course, I'm a little biased. Still, I will never understand why they aren't higher up on the musical food chain.

They get two videos because it's my blog, dammit.

The Decemberists made yet another stop through the Burgh in April. It was... peculiar. Not unpleasant, but peculiar. I may have to give them another go when they come back around. One of the highlights for me was lead singer, Colin Meloy's jaunt through the audience (video on blog post).

And then there was Guster. Hands down the happiest eco-friendly pop band on the circuit. Their shows are upbeat, comical and always feature the oddest of oddball covers. They clearly have a ball on stage. Not only will Ryan dance about ungracefully with a disco ball reflective cloth on his head, he'll catch audience-tossed ping pong balls in his mouth. You cannot have a bad time at their shows. They love playing Pittsburgh and we love having them.

What the Hell. They're worth two videos.


Mike Doughty and his buddy, Scrap stop by Club Cafe often. Geo and I jump at the chance to spend an evening listening to the deeply resonant vocals of the thick, black-rimmed bespectacled, heavily tattooed hipster, Mr. Soul Coughing Cool. Go for the soul, stay for the magnificent calling out of club talkers.

Baby's first concert under the stars at our new venue was an evening with The Avett Brothers and Nicole Atkins. We only caught part of her act thanks to the looooong security line. She sounded pretty good from where we were waiting, but The Avett Brothers... Holy Crap! They hit the stage and didn't stop until they played the mellower I and Love and You. The cellist, Joe Kwon was a crazy man jumping up and down, whipping his two foot long locks next to the big bass while the masses sang all the choruses. F.U.N.


Crikey! June was a cornucopia of concert goodness.

First up, another annual favorite, the Irish lads of Bell X1. They alternate between a three-man acoustic and the full band tours. This time around featured the entire band. Their evenings are ethereal and hypnotic. And Dude, the lead singer totally looks like Michael Cera.

In the "Holy Shit are you kidding me?" category is the legendary Tom Tom Club who played for FREE at the Arts Festival. Them oldsters can cook. It was way more fun than I expected. I don't know why I was surprised. Beautiful sunny day + catchy 80s dance fare + the return of hoola-hoop girl = a very festive evening. For free. FREEEEEEEEE!!

Another great freebie over the summer was Josh Ritter and David Wax Museum. Josh Ritter is one of those talents whose name I readily recognized, but his music, not so much. Now I'm happily familiar with both. It was a great afternoon/evening which I seem to have neglected to share on this rambling open book of my narcissism. Weird. I was fortunate to shoot an interview with both Ritter and DWM prior to the show. They were all extremely nice and generous with their time. As is usually the case, the best conversations happened while the cameras were off.

Josh is seriously one of the nicest people I have met in the music world. He never stops smiling, on or off stage.

Homegrown fest was another freebie held at one of our county parks and featured four local bands, Meeting of Important People and LoveBettie being the top billings. Again, I had the opportunity to commando shoot the interviews, including this jovial 10 questions with the delightful LoveBettie. Her hair is the Eighth Wonder of the World. No shit.

Continuing on in the freebie of the month club, our kick-ass public station, WYEP hosted their annual summer concert in Schenly Plaza featuring Jukebox the Ghost, Fitz and the Tantrums and Eli "Paper Boy" Reed. Reed was the headliner, but Fitz blew him clean out of the water. So much so, I felt kinda bad for ole Eli when the crowd literally disappeared after just one of his songs. Fitz is da bomb. Seriously. Go see them. Here's their show stopper, Money Grabber.

Poor Eli.

You know, some days are just way better than others. June 29th was one of those days. That's the day Michael Franti strolled into our studios, sat on our humble set and performed two songs for us. He could not have been any nicer, even if he hadn't just lit spliff. Ha Ha! His shows are a non-stop party of positive energy. Everyone leaves with a bounce in their step and ear to ear grin.

Hey, Hey, Hey No matter how life is today... don't let another moment slip away.

Thus ends the first half of the year. For continued braggadocio

Sunday, January 1, 2012

In Which Some New Year's Traditions Are Mandatory 

Okay, so it's that time of year again when my long-time buds and I get together to ring in the new year and flip off the old one. It's a long-standing tradition, carbon dating back to our college years in the early 80s. It is a spontaneous act of defiance that has stuck.

Truth be told, I don't remember 2011 being so awful. Or maybe I've just perfected the art of memory blocking so well, my denial seems like reality. There were emotional, financial and health-related hardships that befell several of our family members, some of which will seep into the beginnings of 2012. However, there is definitely hope that things will turn around. With love, patience and a positive attitude anything is possible. A little humor doesn't hurt either. Neither does a bottle of wine or two shared with compadres.

I have much for which to be thankful in 2011. My amazing Mom, Big Mar began her 90th year amidst her fold of adoring family and friends. Her spirit and spark continue to be an inspiration. My ailing brother-in-law stabilized and is making the most of what's left of his life. I got to see a lot of truly tremendous live music in 2011, traveling quite a bit with friends in the process. And best of all, I continue to be blessed with Geo's love, friendship and humor. After 26 years of marriage, we can still make each other laugh. That's huge, people. HUGE.

But, you know, tradition is tradition so...

Buh Bye, 2011. This bird's for you, BABY!

(P.S.: Dear 2012: you can forget about that whole Mayan-end-of-days thing. KThxbye.)