Monday, January 29, 2007

Why it's sometimes worthwhile putting away the iPod while on the subway...

Two women in their 20s, 4 train approaching Grand Central, ~9:30am, Monday morning:

Girl 1: I really like that show "Men in Trees." It's pretty funny.
Girl 2: Oh, I don't like that actress Anne Heche.
Girl 1: I don't know who that is.
Girl 2: She's the one who plays Marin. She's been in movies.
Girl 1: I've never seen her before.
Girl 2: Oh, you know...she was in that movie with Harrison Ford. Seven something? She's probably best known for dating Ellen.
Girl 1: Who?
Girl 2: You know...Ellen. She's got short hair. Blonde. Comedienne. Hosts all those awards shows.
Girl 1: No idea.
Girl 2: She's probably like the most famous lesbian in the world.
(A few seconds pass by.)
Girl 1: Was she the blonde in that movie with the tornadoes?
Girl 2: Oh no. That's Helen Hunt.
Girl 1: Wow. You really know so much.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah @Mercury Lounge, Jan. 25th


Clap Your Hands and Say ZZZzzzzzzz...'playa, face're getting old.

Last night met up with Julie for the last minute "secret" CYHSY show at the Mercury Lounge. I spotted it on Ticketweb randomly about 13 hours before the show, and figured it was only $12.50 after fees, and now that CYHSY were filling venues like Hammerstein on New Year's Eve, she and I decided what the hell. Worse come to worst, buy the tickets, get home, and stay in bed.

I had met up with Wheatie earlier in the evening for a pretty yum dinner at Craftbar (Warm Pecorino Fondue with Acacia Honey, Hazelnuts and Pepperoncini!) and then retreated back to Brooklyn for a few hours. Even snuck in a 1/2 hour nap before heading out, tho I so could have stayed in bed...but insanity called.

Got to Mercury in time to see the Cold War Kids crowd pile out and try to sneak their way back in for the late, late show, but the doorman wasn't having it. We finally were let in at roughly 12:40ish and bemoaned the fact that we were getting too old for this shit. Happily tho, J and I were able to grab coveted spots on the couches on the side. After finishing the soundcheck and prior to hitting the stage for real, the band lingered right next to me by the couches. I totally could have elbowed the lead singer Alec Ounsworth in the head if I wanted to, but I decided any roughhousing would lead to further delay, and it was already late enough! (Well, maybe a slight nudge towards the stage would have been appropriate.)


CYHSY finally started at about 1:35 am and played for about an hour. They played a setlist that drew about half of the songs from their eponymous debut, and the other half from their eagerly anticipated sophomore release, Some Loud Thunder.

It was great seeing them at Mercury, having seen them previously first from far, far away at South Street Seaport, and then last spring at one of their Bowery shows. The crowd was more enthusiastic about the songs from the first album, but that is to be expected. The new songs sounded some of the same, and some very different. In particular, I thought the track "Satan Said Dance" was a nice departure from the peppier stuff. Dark, and very bass-line oriented.

The show ended just after 2:30. I bolted for the street and hopped in a cab and was in my door by 2:45. Ahhh, sleep...

Here's a clip of them singing "In This Home On Ice" from the first album:

Here's "Upon This Tidal Wave Of Young Blood" and more photos on my Flickr.

Fuck, I'm tired...

(Added 1/26 -- Nice! I got linked on Gothamist.)

Monday, January 22, 2007

Mark Eitzel & Ola Podrida @Union Hall, Jan. 19th

On Friday, I met up with Shana to check out the new-ish venue, Union Hall, which features bocce ball courts on the main floor, and a teeny room (1/2 the size of the Mercury Lounge, maybe?) in the basement for gigs. The stage area was decorated simply, kinda like someone's antique living room inviting us for a fireside chat.

Tonight's headliner was the charming and sarky
Mark Eitzel, who is/was the lead singer from American Music Club. I confess I knew very little going into the gig, except for a few listens of songs from cds my ex had lent me a long time ago. I probably ought to return them at some point...

Anyway, it was just Mark Eitzel and his acoustic guitar. He proved to be a funny solo man, telling rambly tales that set up and ran straight into his songs, which were not that different from his conversations. His songs have a stream of consciousness to them, generally foregoing any repetition of chorus or lines found in traditional song structure. His guitar strumming did not shift the focus away from his words; the melodies served as background as he sang-talked his way through his stories, which he admitted often had to do with whores. He was particularly hysterical during a rough cover of "Friend of the Devil" by the Grateful Dead, probably done in anticipation of his participation in the American Beauty Project that weekend.

Here's an AMC song he sang -- "Johnny Mathis' Feet" -- during which he interrupted himself and talked about being an opener for acts such as Bob Mould and Everything But the Girl:

I videoed him singing another classic AMC song, "Jenny." Great fun, seeing Mark Eitzel live. I can't imagine him in a venue larger than the Bowery Ballroom, but maybe with a backing band and some electric guitars, it'd feel different.

The opener for the evening was a band named Ola Podrida. They were the main reason why Shana suggested coming out to Union Hall that night. They're a new band from Brooklyn by way of Austin, or something like that. They had a gentle rambling sound (words like lush and breathy come to mind) that reminded me a lot of the Iron & Wine/Calexico show I saw a little over a year ago at Webster Hall, which was nice, but didn't blow my mind away. Perhaps underwhelming is the word I'm looking for? It's always tricky in the acoustic context, I guess...

They were quiet and pretty, and I was really happy I was able to sit on the floor for their set. Anyway, here's a song by them that I think is called "Day at the Beach" (my memory is shot):

All in all, I kinda feel like Ola Podrida might be a band I'll be happy to stumble across on my iPod on shuffle, but probably won't be listening to a whole album at a time...

Friday, January 19, 2007

Joan Jett & Dr. John @Tao, Jan. 18th

Last night my boss threw his annual big client party at the gorgeous restaurant Tao, which features a stunning 16 foot tall Buddha at the rear. Amituofo!

Leading up to these client parties, I usually kinda dread them because as employees, our main function there is not to have fun, but to schmooze with clients. But it always ends up being a decent time. This year was no exception; in fact, it was actually kinda awesome because of the live entertainment my boss hired for the party.

The opener was Dr. John, the legendary New Orleans pianist. He played last year for us as well. I enjoy his music and his throaty growl.

Secretly, though, I think it's the fact that Dr. Teeth of the Muppet Show was based on him that makes Dr. John appealing to someone of my generation.

After Dr. John played his set for about an hour, rock 'n roll icon Joan Jett took the stage and immediately got the crowd roaring with "Bad Reputation." When I heard a few weeks ago that Joan Jett(!) would be playing our party, I giggled at the thought of such a punk rock warrior playing to a room of suits. I wondered if she'd be indifferent, play her shit, collect her check and leave, or if she'd blow us away with her energy. Well, she brought it!

She played to a packed restaurant and the crowd ate it all up. She seemed to be having a good time too. I guess that's what makes a good performer.

This was my first time seeing the amazing Joan Jett, and she was HOTTT! Definitely on my list of chicks who rock! And I can't believe she's friggin' 48! If I have even half of her chi at that age I'll be psyched.

Here's a clip of her singing her seminal hit, "I Love Rock 'N Roll": Removed at request of artist's management.

Here are the rest of my photos on Flickr. I also YouTubed "I Hate Myself for Loving You" and her last song, a cover of "Everyday People" by Sly and the Family Stone. Rockin'!

Work is draggin' today, but it was pretty frickin' fun last night!

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

You deserve a break today...

First of all, Happy New Year, everyone!

I never make resolutions for the New Year. There are always things I resolve to do, such as lose weight, be happier, read more books, watch less TV, learn the electric slide, etc., but they're with me all the time. I don't need no stinkin' New Year to make a list of what changes I need to implement!

So one of my general goals has always been to exercise more, and I'm happy to say that this weekend will be the first anniversary of my involvement with kung fu. MORE CHI! It's unbelieveable how far I've come with respect to kung fu and life in this past year, and I truly believe it'll be a part of me for a long, long time. TRAIN HARDER!

This afternoon I also called up my doctor for a follow-up on some blood work I had done last week. Everything's looking good -- my cholesterol count was much improved -- a stellar 148mg/dL (<200 mg/dL is considered optimal).

So, what did I do just now in my quest for lunch? I wandered around my office building for a bit, craving really nothing in particular, till those evil golden arches caught my eye. And, I said to myself, Dammit, 'playa, you deserve a break today at McDonald's... (and I sang it, too).

EVIL!!!! I can't remember the last time I had McJunko's!

And, now as I'm sitting here, enjoying my pathetic excuse for a cheeseburger and fries (with no added salt, at least!), I realized why McDonald's snuck back into my brain...I blame this awesome list of The 50 Greatest Commercials of the '80s that I checked out this past weekend, specifically, this gem:

Yes, indeedy-do, that is a twenty-something year old Jason Alexander aka George Costanza from Seinfeld all decked out shilling those environmentally horrific styrofoam nightmares that housed the short-lived McDLT.

After scarfing down this McCrappy meal, I think that'll be it for a while (till at least 2008, anyway). Since when did McDonald's start putting the Nutrition Facts on its products?!?!

McDonald's Fries

380 Calories? 20g of fat? for the fries alone? Argh! I think I'm gonna crawl under my desk and take a nap now...