Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Good Ol' You-Know-Who

Did anybody else see the Charles M. Schulz documentary on American Masters? It was pretty damned good - a thorough (well, for an hour-long tv show) look at the life, work, influences and background of the man who created Charlie Brown. It was intimate, without being totally invasive, and drew interesting parallels between the events in Schulz's life and his work.

Apparently, the new biography by David Michaelis goes considerably farther in this direction. I keep reading that it's 'controversial,' but I haven't been able to figure out too much about just what this controversy is supposed to be. That the guy who created one of the great portraits of American insecurity was, umm, a little insecure? That he drew from his personal relationships when creating characters and situations? That he took names from his art school colleagues? That he went to art school?

These things are controversial? Good Grief!

All Hail New England

This weekend I was up in Maine for a JP's production of Almost, Maine. What an amazing place!

The first day was very foggy/rainy, but still glorious - the mountains pressing color through the mist; sheep, llamas and alpacas grazing in muted fields. Then on Sunday it was a perfect fall day - cool, crisp, sunny, with explosions of color. LOVED IT! I have a deep connection to that landscape; really feel at home there.

Plus, the food! Here's what I wrote to someone in an email during one of the very few moments I was online up there:
This AM we went to an amazing restaurant/goodie shop built into a huge farmhouse, that has all kinds of wool and alpaca, as well as tons of awesome homemade everything-you-can-make-out-of-maple-and-berries. Plus whoopie pies!! I had a fantastic omelette with homemade sausage and biscuits, and some very mediocre coffee. Then we went to an orchard to pick up a half peck of honey crisp apples, and had an apple dumpling with ice cream. Yum! And then we went to the lobster pound, and now have four crustaceans waiting to become the business side of dinner. And chowder. This is the greatest day of my life!
Tee hee!

And as if that weren't enough, it's total Red Sox Nation up there. It was actually kind of hilarious going to the supermarket and seeing dozens of people wearing their Boston baseball gear.

And of course, we all know how that turned out. :-)

There will probably be more footage of my time there, but for now, here I am with my dinner-to-be:

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Taking Self Defense to a New Level

Found this little tidbit in The Gothamist.

Right over in Brookhaven, Suffolk County. Evidently the woman behind the counter (all 4'5" of her) could tell that the guy's gun was fake, or at least suspected so enough that instead of opening the register as she told him she'd do, she went for the ol' axe.

Holy Moly!

Music Update, etc.

News on some music happening in my near future:

And so this is not totally a music blog, which is not what I set out to create, let me say:

- Bon Voyage a Carissa - have a great time in Chi Town and keep us all posted.

- Saw Eastern Promises last evening. Not bad! (though not great) Cronenberg gets in his 'eeew' factor while telling a good story. Many of the 'twists' tend to be visible well in advance, but the acting goes a long way to make up for that. Gotta love you some Viggo Mortensen. Armin Mueller Stahl = effectively creepy. And Naomi Watts? Yum.

- Stephen Colbert is running for president. Discuss. BTW - he's doing a book signing at Arms-r-Global tonight.

- Game One tonight, folks. Goooooood mojo to Boston.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Magic 8pod and the Groove of Commuting

This morning, in a whimsical mood and in light of a potential wrinkle in the plans for this weekend's trip to Maine, I asked the Magic 8Pod:

"What's up with this weekend's trip to Maine?"

Go to the Mirror - the Who

From 'Tommy,' this one is a proto-anthem that helped change the course of rock history. It's where the world first heard the words

Listening to you I get the music
Gazing at you I get the heat
Following you I climb the mountain
I get excitement at your feet

Right behind you I see the millions
On you I see the glory
From you I get opinions
From you I get the story

So we've got that going for us. Which is nice.

Then I just let the randomness ride, as I am wont to do. This day's mix didn't perceptibly continue to comment on the Maine trip, but it was an interesting trip into work. Less genre-hopping than my i-shuffling tends to be, it resulted in a very good groove:

Green Day - the Homecoming/Death of St. Jimmy, etc. extravamondo medley from 'American Idiot'. More anthem rock. Cool.

Portishead - Seven Months. Not as anthemic, but a very powerful song, which has the added significance of being the soundtrack for one of the more intense theatrical exercises of my life.

Dan Bern - Hooker. A long brilliant ramble from Bern's (most unjustifiably) overlooked 'Smartie Mine' record

Patti Smith Group - Distant Fingers. Back in anthem territory from the punk poet goddess (hoping to see her perform on Halloween, btw - cross your fingers)

PJ Harvey - Oh My Lover. Mmmmmmm...

Sade - I Will Be Your Friend. From 'Diamond Life," this was a nice way to wrap up the walk to work. Fitting, wouldn't you say?

Monday, October 22, 2007

Music is the best...

...which we've known all along, and which scarcely needs 'proving'.

Nonetheless, I came across a mountain of new evidence to that effect over the last few days.

On Thursday (that day I shut down for a while, but then revived) we did make it to the M.I.A. show at Terminal 5. I refer you to Sherin's Walkalong entry of 10/19 for a good reaction to the event.

Friday was one of the final performances of Till the Break of Dawn, which had its moments. It was part of the Hip Hop Theater Festival, and as such it perhaps led me to expect more music in general. I mean music in performance, not music being talked about. Still, the sound design was one of the show's singular strengths, and the music we did get worked very well.

Then on Saturday, with my friend Frank, who is always a phenomenal resource for music and musical knowledge, I saw Yo La Tengo at the Colony Cafe in Woodstock. Now, it's far from news that Yo La Tengo is one of the bands that has meant the most to me in the last several years, that they are among Hoboken's proudest achievements and that they have the ability to create some of the best music going. But this show outshone even their high standard. It was part of their "Freewheeling Yo La Tengo" tour-let, and it happened at the music capital of hippie nation (yes, yes, I know that the famous festival actually took place in Bethel, and so do the Woodstockians - don't crunch their buzz).

Now I hesitate to admit this, but not only had I not been to the Colony, I had never been to Woodstock before. It's a groovy little town, to be sure. And Frank and I had a great time talking to a local retiree and watching the Red Sox get a good jump on game 6 over dinner at a bar in town. But all that pales beside the glow of the Yo on this particular evening. The Colony is a tiny club/coffee house, and we had 'reserved' seats, which weren't reserved in the proper sense - reserved seats just meant that we got to grab a couple of the maybe 50 chairs that were unfolded on the floor in front of the stage. One of the sometimes annoying but usually charming things about going to events with Frank is that he always insists on being early; in this case that meant we were in the second row.

One of the most intimate and informal shows I've ever been to, it was an unbelievable treat with a band this good. Basically what they did was open with a couple songs from their 'new' album, I am not Afraid of You and I will Beat Your Ass, which is actually more than a year old, and one from ...and then nothing turned itself inside out, and then opened the floor for discussion. People asked questions, made requests and reveled in what they came up with. Their songs, cover songs, stories, jams, and they were standing about 10 feet away. They had super simple instrumentation (James on bass, Georgia's drum 'kit' had a snare, a tom and one cymbal, and Ira was playing a Gibson accoustic with a pickup gaff-taped over the hole in front) but they were still able to mix up the mellow accoustic sound (the sound was great!) with some really rockin' moments. Loved it!

Thank God for music.

And if you're wondering, both Ira and James' favorite Feelies song is 'Raised Eyebrows" :-)

Stay tuned for their Chanukkah shows at Maxwell's...

Thursday, October 18, 2007


Yesterevening over dinner, i was explaining (with a dash of brag) to a friend my "i'll sleep when i'm dead" approach to things. Then went to see 'scarcity' at the atlantic (good moments/bad moments), watched colbert and did some stuff at home on the photo project, and finally went to bed.

And this morning my body said "Um... no you don't. Sleep when you're dead, eh? I think you'll be going to sleep right NOW. Well, no, let's make you throw up for about ten minutes first."

Smallscale hubris, i suppose.

So that's what's happening today. I'm feeling a bit better; pacing myself, because i still want to see M.I.A. tonight.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

letter to patchouli terrible

This is a (slightly edited) letter i sent to a friend and fellow blogger. I invite one and all to come up with possible explanations for the phenomena described herein. (Or - what the hell? Go ahead and explain whatever phenomena you feel like explaining, feeling free to make shit up, natch.)

Cherie -

I have had many moments of confusion in this life. They can be disconcerting, but by and large i've gotten used to them. Which is for the best, i dare say. What use could there be in wallowing there in confusionland? None, say i!

And then, via google reader, i ran into two transfixing (as usual) and seemingly current blog entries from Patchouli Terrible. One was part 2 of a story of being intercepted on the subway by a french speaker after writing in french in votre journal (i know that that means 'your newspaper', but i don't know what the french word for 'journal' is). Perhaps it wasn't the end of the story; certainly it wasn't the beginning. And on closer inspection, it appears to have been written of january of '006. Hmmm. THEN there was an entry about a panhandler soliciting kicks to (his own) crotch for 20 bucks that seems not to have been written yet at all, but will be written on december 9 of this year! Tremendous!

Do you have an expanation (factual or not) for this warp of bloggy time?

Perhaps i will blog these musings and queries. I haven't decided yet (or maybe i decided last year)

Sunday, October 14, 2007


Things are going pretty full tilt these days. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Got back from a weekend in Williamstown less than an hour ago. Went there to visit with Sue & Kevin, and have Kevin take some photos to use as headshots. That means I'll be looking a bit self absorbed for the next couple weeks, poring over image after image of... myself. And quite possibly asking you to do the same.

Also went to see/hear Matt Munisteri and Brock Mumford at MoCA, performing the songs of Willard Robison. Excellent show: first rate musicians performing really good songs from the 20s and 30s, most of which were unfamiliar to me. Saw the end of the Sox game at the Mohawk afterwards. We're starting to call Eric Gagne, "Gag Me." He has to click in soon, or we'll have to arrange it so that he doesn't pitch in tight situations.

More shooting today, then tour of the open studios in North Adams - such good artists out there! Finally dinner at Mezze with Sue & Kevin. Mmmmmm...

On the drive home I saw something I have never seen before. It was pretty gnarly, so if you're squeamish, you may want to skip to the next paragraph. A deer had been hit by a car, and was lying in the middle of the road. Nasty and sad, but the big deal was this particular deer was being torn apart by a BEAR! Ok, it was dark; it might not have been a bear - but it was being eaten by something. Something way bigger than a raccoon, folks. I had to swerve out of the lane to avoid hitting them. If it wasn't a bear, I don't know what it was.

Now I'm watching game 3 in the NLCS: the Rockies are on fire. Holy moly, what momentum. They have to burn out soon.

Don't they??

Quick run-down of the upcoming week:

  • Tomorrow - meeting after work; hopefully will catch the Personal Space Theatrics benefit performance at the Duplex later in the evening
  • Tuesday - 'Spain' at the Lucille Lortel
  • Wednesday - currently open! We'll see what comes up
  • Thursday - M.I.A. at Terminal 5
  • Friday - drive to New Paltz to hang with Frank & Amanda & family
  • Saturday - birthday party in New Paltz, then catch Yo La Tengo with Frank in Woodstock
Yes, I will be engaged in a full work week as well. So I must to bed

Thursday, October 11, 2007

birthdayz - take one

Ok - the broad strokes of my folks' visit:

  • Wednesday - After a crazy day at work, picked them up at the airport, then took them out for Octoberfest dinner at the fantastic German restaurant that has been renovated since that fire a couple years ago. (and if you're keeping track of such things: Ettaler Klosterbrauerei makes a fine brew)
  • Thursday started with a walk to the best bagel place in town, then to the Path station
  • Took the train to the World Trade Center
  • Walked through St. Paul's Church, over to City Hall, up through Tribeca and over to Canal Street for shopping
  • Subway up to Columbus Circle, hung in the Park for a while
  • Walked down to Empanada Mama for lunch
  • Walked to MoMA, which museum we then walked through
  • Walked back to the Gershwin, where we waited on line for - and got! - the $25 front row lottery tickets for Wicked
  • Dinner at the Olympic diner
  • Saw the show (they loved it!)
Permit me to point out that this represents quite a bit of walking
  • Friday (my Dad's 60th Birthday) - went to the Malibu for Breakfast
  • Bus into town; subway up to Museum of Natural History
  • Walked through museum, including the planetarium, and Robert Redford's movie about 'cosmic collisions'
  • Walked into the Park; saw the Delacorte and the Great Lawn
  • Walked over to Fred's for dinner
  • Train down to theater district for shopping
  • Walked to BB King's for Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels
  • Saturday - slept in till 9 (they were tired)
  • Bus to town, walked to TKTS booth; got tix for Avenue Q
  • Breakfast/Lunch at Smith's - atypically terrible service
  • Back to the Golden for the show
  • Train down to Chelsea
  • Visited Dominic & family at the 'Seal Park'
  • Georgia got her dress drenched in the fountain :-) and Caleb fell on his face right in front of us :-(
  • Went back to Dom & Ilana's place; gave Georgia a bath; went up to the roof
  • Walked to the Riviera for playoff baseball, food, many friends and birthday partying
  • Walked across Bleecker to 'the party that wasn't', then up to the 'North Square' tavern, where the drinking got creative (dad had a double creme de menthe on the rocks, which I've never heard him order. I've never heard anyone order that.)
  • Train to bus to home
  • Sunday - drove them to the airport first thing
I think we did ok.

Monday, October 01, 2007

summer's over

We know this because it's October. One game playoff will determine if Colorado or San Diego go to the official postseason. The Mets blew it, impossibly. The D-backs have the best record in the National league without a standout star. Let the games begin again.

The Supreme Court goes back into relatively neutral session, or so mass media would have us think. No major decisions expected on abortion rights or gay marriage. But don't go to sleep just yet - we've got a big habeas corpus question on the agenda, and a death penalty case. And then, apropos the prison-industrial complex, a possible wedge issue having to do with sentencing guidelines for cocaine and crack (you've got to have 100 times as much coke to get the same 'recommended' sentence as that for crack - of course, this has nothing whatever to do with race).

Meanwhile, back to the summer, here's a photo for your amusement:

Yep, that's more evidence of the Fire Island debauchery. We're just about to leave the island in the rain (and you thought we were wearing garbage bags for style reasons!) at this point.

Now, I'm not saying you should ignore the sight of those dorks in the pathetic ponchos, but the foreground actually tells a nice mini-story: the colored pencils and magic markers with the journal, the leftover tennis balls, the bottles of wine (one left unopened for the next set of revelers, one partially enjoyed) and gin, the ferry and train schedules standing up next to the jar with pens and pencils. And you even get a sense of the cabin.

Plus there's, you know, the flimsy garbage bags (wastebasket size, at that) and ridiculous facial expressions. Hehehe.