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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

And The Rest...
or how I spent summer vacation and other random bits of 2012

FYI: Procrastination is neither my friend nor foe, but more a seductive Siren's song luring me to the rocky edges of distraction.


Disclaimer: Since this bloggity blah blog in no way impacts the course of human events, but is merely a tool by which to store the very minutiae of my existence in order to jar the memories that will no doubt be buried deep in the dusty corners of my future addled brain in my swiftly approaching senile years, I feel compelled to document the aforementioned backlog of shite that was the later portion of 2012 for future reference, or embarrassment. (She says, knowing full well at that point she won't even remember who this spazzy chick with the crazy red Medusa hair is to feel any modicum of shame, but will merely point and laugh and ridicule with delight. That is if she can still remember how to read. Or find her teeth. Or use the loo.)

Wait...Where was I? Oh yeah...

No lie, these two posts have been my albatross, my Moby Dick, my relentlessly naggy House Frau with the pointy rubber brassiere and kitty whip. Every time I open this bad boy, their "draft" status mocks me. How did I get so far behind?!? For whatever reason, I lost interest in this e-journal. Perhaps it was my Muse taking a much needed sabbatical to Hawaii, or my getting caught in a funk spiral or maybe... just maybe I was out living my life.

Yeah, let's go with the last one, shall we.

In any case, I gotta launch these f*ckers before I have a psychotic break. So grab a case of cold ones. This is going to get mind numbing. Feel free to skip ahead to future posts. Or past ones. I won't hold it against you. Not for too long anyway.

Part One: Concerts. trying to clean up my blog mess before starting a new one.

Okay, so this summer was a terrific season for concert going. Usually I write ad nauseam about these musical outings, but for whatever reason I have been lax about penning a synopsis. I shall effort to be brief (HaHaHa! I crack myself up) in the following retelling.

The interwebs have become the electronic form of Pen Pals. You remember Pen Pals, right? In grade school we all got to choose a kid from another country with which to correspond in an attempt to expand our horizons, create a better appreciation of other cultures and generally make the world a smaller place. Well, that snail mail took forever to get from point A to point B and back again, but through the miracle of technology, the size of the world has shrunk small enough to fit in the palm of our hands. It's easier than ever to make and keep friends over great distances.

That said, I had the pleasure to attend three shows with several friends I never would have met had it not been for the development of social media.

I learned a new trick, the jump that shortens up painfully long postings in the main feed while providing a link to the full blown rambling, which has apparently been a feature here since like 2008. I'm a slow learner. So of course there is way more after the jump. Waaaaay more. I am nothing if not needlessly verbose.

1. Beach + Rhett Miller = No-Brainer Road Trip

oh, hello handsome

aaaaa, look. he's bummed he missed
me in my bathing suit this year

the Serial Lady Killas

a quasi good hair flip pic
wonder if he gets annoyed by all these marginal photos

Okay, last one ... plus the vid
with glistening sweat. oo la la


Over the summer, another Miller-phile friend, Cindy and I scurried off to the DelMarVa area to catch Rhett and his alter-ego band, the Serial Lady Killers play Dewey and Annapolis.

beach buddy

Cindy and I have attended the same shows numerous times, but this was the first time she and I had taken a road trip together. We had a great time together. We traveled well together. We noshed a little. We drank a little. We obsessed over Mr. M. a little. Okay, a lot. Bottom line, the trip was effortless.

our little space by the bay

Along the way we met up with Stephanie and a couple of Cindy's friends for lunch and dinner in charming Annapolis. We even had breakfast with my delightful in-laws who happened to be staying down the road from Dewey in Bethany Beach. Absurd. They live not five miles from me, yet I have to travel 400 miles to have breakfast with them. Crazy.

The Annapolis show was great, albeit a little odd. The Ram's Head On Stage is a wonderful seated venue for solo acts, but with a full-sized rocking's just awkward. Throughout the course of the evening, Rhett encouraged the audience to get up and dance. Halfway through, we could sit still no longer and ran to the side where others were dancing. Sometimes bopping in your seat just doesn't cut it. Finally, people stood when the band left the stage and stayed standing for the encore featuring a humorous story about how Ken, hearing the demo for the first time, thought their seminal, balls-to-wall closer, Time Bomb "had no balls". (Old 97's fans will appreciate that tidbit)

2. World Party Appreciation Show

September and WYEP brought World Party (aka Karl Wallinger) to the Altar Bar in the Strip, free to members. Sweet Noreen from Ohio (and the interwebs) was kind enough to drive out to join me for the show. WP is one of her favorite bands. I had forgotten how many WP songs I enjoyed from the 90s. They hold up rather well.

3. Okkervil River at Mr. Small's

Geo teases me about my ever-increasing list of concert going friends. Lizzie is one of my newer, cherished buddies. She's from Pittsburgh, but spent a dozen years in Boston at college and ultimately working for the band, Guster's merchandise center. I may have that wrong. In any case, she travelled with the band to sell merch as well as fill orders from their website. She approached me after Rhett's show last summer having recognized me from this crap blog. Her friend sent Lizzie the entry in which I posted a photo of the Guster envelope with "Go Steelers" written on it. Turns out it was her, not Ryan who scribbled on the front. Anyway, we've become fast friends. She's delightful. Her energy is contagious. She and I saw Ted Leo (her Rhett Miller) perform in a hole-in-the-wall in Garfield, too.

But wait... this is about Okkervil River, isn't it. They were good, albeit a little uneven. But the songs that inspired me to go in the first place were terrific! The lead singer, Will Sheff was kinda spazzy, but definitely fun to watch. I still can't figure out how he managed to take his large-framed glasses on and off without my noticing. It was like a magic trick. Poof! On. Poof! Off.

4. Francis Dunnery House Concerts

We hosted a house concert with Francis again this summer. We chose the Man show, which is to say he performs songs and shares stories solely centered around his album, Man. We managed to stuff 25 people into our little hovel for a lovely dose of Dunnery song, wisdom, and energy. This year we also took part in hosting his astrology readings. Everyone who partook left blown away by the insights revealed to them. Geo and I have had ours done, and I can tell you first hand, it's pretty damn amazing. Lots to think about and reassess. It's what I imagine therapy to be without all the judginess or kickass drugs.

Francis brought Erica and his baby girl, Elsie along for the tour. She is so cute!! And those cheeks... ridiculously squeezable.

erica and baby elsie on the deck

In December, we headed to Kate Stauffer's home (Francis' booker and dear friend) in Malvern for a house concert and surprise 50th birthday party for the man of the hour. Dorie Jackson (or The Jackson, as Francis calls her) joined him for the show. She has a gorgeous, resonant voice which adds a richness to his concerts. They're fantastic together.

It's raining funds for the b-day boy
Anyway, he was genuinely moved by the outpouring of love and gifts for his impending entrance to his 5th decade.

5. WYEP In-Studios

WYEP is the best station in the country. It's a fact. Period. They are a constant source of new musical acts and are always bringing amazing musicians in to play in their facility. Some of the in-studios I attended in 2013, but never mentioned on here included The Punch Brothers, Simone Felice, Band of Horses, Head and the Heart and Rusted Root.

This is abbreviated and shaky cause no one can stand still for this one.

6. Random Encounters

Oh hey, I met Mac Miller.

Mac and his girlfriend, Nomi
our former intern
He was a guest on our dog and pony morning show this past year. He's a sweet, sweet kid with a level head on his shoulders. Very respectful and gracious. I get that he's a big deal and all. Like a REALLY big deal and we were extremely fortunate to have him on, but his music is not for me, fo sho! It's great to see a young person remain so humble and grounded in spite of all the attention flung his way. He's a good Burgher.

Also went with one of my favorite couples on this blue planet to see Ben Folds perform with the Pittsburgh Symphony. He's a remarkable musician that Ben! Someone yelled "Rock that Bitch" while the symphony was still on stage and he created a piece on the spot using all sections of the orchestra and chorus. Phenomenal.

hanging with the K-schnikes
Halloween was spent with a great Austin band of five, Quiet Company. They had put out the word for free lodgings in Pittsburgh via Twitter, and somehow I talked my friends, Sheila and Tim into boarding them for the night. Ha Ha! I have amazing friends.

So the show was attended by us three and about six other people, but their short dozen-song set was huge fun. These guys could not have been any sweeter or more appreciative of the hospitality shown them. Here they are in Sheila and Tim's guest house consuming chili and salad and toasting their hosts. I hope they come back again soon and often.

post-show fan feast
side note: they did a kickstarter campaign to fund their december tour, the premium of which included these hysterical handmade ornaments.

Also, What the FUCK IS THIS ABOUT??!?
scary shit at the entrance of venue
what. the. FUCK.

Phil Vassar entered my radar. I'm not a big country music fan, so I'm not up on its stars. The host of our morning show loves Vassar and managed to book him as a guest. When his big, black tour bus pulled up outside our studio, I had no idea what to expect. Turns out he's wonderful, funny and kinda hawt. Long and lithe with black horn rimmed glasses that look good on him, he was all southern grace and charm. The producer and I even got to go onto the bus, bitches! Those things are amazing. Anyway, he was great fun and a real treat to work with. Here's the video of the song he played for us.

and finally...


The Captain's one-man show came to town, so Geo and I ponied up the dough for the VIP meet and greet. The show was awesome! Funny, irreverent, insightful and unexpectedly moving with the occasional film clip and engaging stories told in a fashion only Shatner can pull off.

The meet and greet, however, was a complete bust. We stood in a long cattle call line, were handed a post-it on which to write our name, got to talk to him for two minutes while he signed a poster and some Nazi photographer Frau snapped a photo and barked for us to get the fuck out. Totally NOT worth the extra green. Geo and I are so spoiled by our interactions with other notables, this harsh reality came as a hard slap in the face. Lesson learned. The show is a great memory though.

Jesus, this sounds douchey and braggy, but this is my blog dammit, so I get to write whatever the hell I want here, Hobag. It's also my place to store events my addled brain will forget right about.... NOW. Wait, I said that already. See, it's starting already. And now that's the second time I said already.

BALLS. I need a drink.

Because you haven't dozed enough from this bad boy, part two is on its way. It's all bits about friends and fam and shit. Best restock the liquids.


Lizzie said...

Aw, I enjoyed both of these catch-up posts, and I'm really touched that I got a mention.

Also, I forgot how cute that Okkervil bassist was. Woo!

Murray said...

He was cute! Thanks for commenting. So what other mischief will we get into this year? :)