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Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween no scarier than everyday life

Since the calendar turned to 2011 the Northeast has been witness to blizzards, hurricanes and now an October snow storm.  Trees have fallen in and around New Jersey like celebrity marriages.

Really now, are we surprised about Kim Kardashian announcing her months old marriage?

Are we surprised trick or treating is on November 4th this year?  Is it a shock our town was without power for three days due to 4 inches of snow?  Or that the reason the utility company was unable to begin repairs because a rep from NJ Transit was required because the transformer was on their property?

Nevermind the trains were NOT in service.  In theory you could have trusted a 4 year old to hold a flag for the work needed to be done.  THERE WAS NO POWER!!!

34 hours later a crew comes to town and 4 hours later there is light.

A weekend of no commerce.  A Monday morning that saw a great many commuters either stranded home or getting to work in towns without functioning traffic signals.

Restaurants and gyms that provided power were overwhelmed with patrons.  Each spot became a chore. Coffee?  20 minute line.  Breakfast?  30 minute wait if you were lucky.   Why head to the out of town grocery store if the fridge was not working?  Get a hotel?  Maybe, but they became scarce in a hurry.  Then, they hotels figured let's go all Jersey on them:  3 day minimum stay only.

Yeah, America leading the way in infrastructure technology and political efficiency.

Here, in Madison, NJ, population 16,000, 20 miles from New York City, one of Newsweek's top US places to live in America, former home to Eddie Trunk, Janeane Garofalo and Neil O' Donnell, a 5 inch snowstorm done laid a beating on it.

This is not to minimize the damage done.  Interstate 78 and 287 was a sea of fallen trees and median filled cars Saturday evening.  Mother nature lashed out with unflinching horror and the devastation is real and far reaching.

But what are we paying for if we cannot get staff to even look at the problem until 33 hours have passed?

Are there that few trained workers to handle such a problem?  If we have adequate workers and the response was still this slow I would be more troubled.

Nothing good comes from this story.  There are still huddled massed in downtown Manhattan rallying for Wall Street change.  Ok, I get that.

My recent research indicates we may need a change at the Main St level too.

This Madison is a quaint and affluent town.  At the same time storefronts have consistently changed over the past decade.  There are also several vacant, weed filled lots and/or buildings in highly visible areas.

And as we have seen, emergency response to basic power failures can, and will, cause major issues.  Worse, the issues will be resolved at an increasingly slow rate.

If it's the weekend, forget about it.

The houses may be prettier, and the taxes certainly higher, but we are America for sure.  When the going gets tough these days we are ill-prepared.


What will tomorrow bring?  There is a joke that locusts are the inevitable conclusion to 2011.  That would appear to be the end game, right?

Surely we do not have enough bug catchers?  Entomologists?  Disease specialists?  You get it, whatever is needed to rid the World of bugs.

They would bring us all down.  And on the day we celebrate (ugh!) our 7 billionith human) please take a moment to realize just how screwed we all are.

Maybe that's a bit harsh, but that is what 50 degree living rooms can do to a person's spirit.

And its not even November yet.

Happy Halloween.

Other scary thoughts this evening:

Kim Kardashian's wedding cost $10 million dollars.  It lasted 72 days.  That is approx $140,000 a day.

Tim Tebow will start at quarterback again for an NFL franchise.

Antonio Banderas' voice won this weekends box office.

Ruth Madoff wants us to feel sorry for her.

Jessica Simpson has another life in her uterus.

Nickelback has a new album.

Herman Cain continues to lead the Republican field.

Sharks are still eating surfers.

Alternate fuel sources are scarce.

An our soldiers are still dying in needless wars.




Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Playboy question

It was confirmed yesterday that Amy Winehouse death can be attributed to "misadventure."  Rampant booze and pill over-use got the best of her tiny frame.  Also this week we learned Lindsay Lohan has been in talks to pose for Playboy Magazine.  Why does Winehouse untimely death make one ponder Lohan's career path?

Because the script tells us it is inevitable.

Lohan began her career in the "A" list.  Her star turn in "Mean Girls" should have paved the way for something better than this.  Did we really need Dakota Fanning channeling The Runaways?  Is Kristen Stewart a true Bella?? 

Kirsten Dunst, ScarJo, Kate Winslet are not getting any younger.  The 20 something actress mantle was hers for the taking.  She was cute and precocious but short skirt and vodka/tonic away from going all bad ass on you.  Hollywood was hers for the taking.

Then it all went horribly wrong.

And we can all blame her psychotic parents.  A psychologist is not required to determine their culpaility in all this. 

Surely Lohan has to take some responsibilty as well.  But what of the rest of society?  And what of the Hollywood community in particular?

Enablers the lot of them!  Drugs, sexuality confusion, arrests and booze inflicted lunacy have played out publicly for more years than the brief film successes she achieved.

Now Playboy.  Again she is getting the wrong advice.  When has this move brought someone back to relevance.  Is America clamoring for the next Jenny McCarthy or Pamela Anderson?  Those ladies probably can't stand themselves.  It is 2011 Lindsay.  The move is this: visibility and success, drug filled party stage, panty-less picture exiting a car, rehab, purposely leaked sex tape, guest appearance on CW show, failed film remake, Dancing With the Stars and finally NBC sit-com and/or talk show with other female co-hosts- see:  The Chat, The Chew, The View...

Playboy?  Not quite.  And didn't she do this much better in New York Magazine a few years back?(http://www.google.com/images?q=lindsay+lohan+new+york+magazine&sourceid=ie7&rls=com.microsoft%3Aen-US&ie=utf8&oe=utf8&oi=image_result_group&sa=X

Playboy is unable to match Bert Stern's re-imagining of Marilyn Monroe. 

So what then is the end game?  Where are her people?  Her handlers?  It is all very tragic.  A once promising career once again derailed before it ever left the station.  When will her obituary be written?  Or is it already complete when men start looking for the Playboy bunny in your hair.

But like all good train wrecks we fail to look away. 

Plenty of good and imaginative videos from varied music arists these days.

Here are a few that stand out:

Duck Sauce:  "Big Bad Wolf"  http://www.rollingstone.com/videos/new-and-hot/duck-sauce-big-bad-wolf-20111024  Disturbing is an understatement.  But it is original which is nice.

Skillrex "First of the Year" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2cXDgFwE13g  Plenty of ways to interpret this...  namely, "Take that pedophile!!!"  Two things: One,  it rips off the far betterAphex Twin's "Come to Daddy" and two, it is creepy and well done nonetheless.  Call 911 indeed.

LMFAO: "Sexy and I Know It"  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wyx6JDQCslE&ob=av3e&oref=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fresults%3Fsearch_query%3Dsexy%2Band%2BI%2Bknow%2Bit%26aq%3Df  Of the 3 videos listed this is the one that gets an 18 or over warning.  Odd in that they are all equally disturbing.  These guys are very much tongue in cheek but following the super successful "Party Rock Anthem" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQ6zr6kCPj8) could not have been easy.  This ain't bad at all.

Finally, take a look at these videos for both visual, but more importantly the songs themselves.  Some old, some new, but all winners.


Surfer Blood:  "Swim" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fLirPtagSoM&ob=av2n  Opening this evening at Wellmont in Montclair for The Pixies.  http://www.surferblood.com/

Awolnation:  "Not Your Fault"  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hjZVxgDQ2Vo  Playing 11.21 @ Webster Hall/NYC and plenty of other spots too...  http://awolnationmusic.com/fallharvest/

Florence and The Machine:  "What the Water Gave Me" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=am6rArVPip8&ob=av2e  Good, good stuff from a lovely voice.  Somewhere between Enya and all of her mystical stylings and Tori Amos lies Florence Welch.  She has the voice to lead men into war and put babies to sleep.  No gigs forthcoming but their latest album arrives on Halloween.  Treat for sure.    http://florenceandthemachine.net/

Dum Dum Girls:  "Coming Down"  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c7lQFdvDDZA  Take some Julianne Hatfield, add some Mazzy Star and waa laa.  California girl power with a nifty touch of 60s retro.  They just left NYC and are off to Europe.  Put them on your radar or at least make out to their songs with someone special.  http://wearedumdumgirls.com/#

The Head and the Heart: "Lost in My Mind" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c7lQFdvDDZA  They sold out for a nice commercial spot but who cares.  The new folk movement is very much alive and kicking.  This might be its new anthem.  Opportunites to see them are coming up.  Take a look:  http://www.theheadandtheheart.com/#


Still waiting for folks to send in their email address for Spotify invites.  There are plenty of invites available.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Caveman rocks CMJ and assorted ramblings...

The suburbanite must not acquaint him or herself with every nuanced music mag on Earth.  Hell, if you take a look at Spin or Rolling Stone, consider that a good thing.


This will not account for the wealth of knowledge that does exist.  There are several sources promoting, covering and chronicling the state of "new" alternative music.  Should you desire search and/or bookmark these sites:  The Fader:  http://www.thefader.com/  Brooklyn Vegan:  http://www.brooklynvegan.com/  Stereogum:  http://stereogum.com/  They have a competent and knowledgeable staff more than able to keep you abreast of all things non-Taylor Swift.  One organization, CMJ http://www.cmj.com/, was kind enough to host a film and music fest last week all around NYC.


Tons of bars, hotels, and restaurants made room for up-and-coming artists to strut their stuff.  Greater than the admission price (free most, if not all times) was the show times.  Granted, there is no way on Earth an 11pm start time is conducive to the 8am train next day.  A Saturday double bill of 2pm and 4pm is quite nice thank you very much.  Also, quite a lovely thing to frolic the Lower East Side on a lovely October afternoon.  Where else would you see this???




The real beauty took place inside Pianos Lounge and Fontana's when NYC band Caveman once again destroyed their 40 minute set.  Promoting their amazing debut CoCo Beware, Caveman (comprised of singer/guitarist Matthew Iwanusa, bassist Jeff Berrall, drummer Stefan Marolachakis, and guitarists Jimmy "Cobra" Carbonetti and Sam Hopkins) brought the funk, rock and tribal beats that define them.  The story is in its earliest chapters.  The prevailing thought is several volumes remain.  To jump on board check out on of these concerts.  Next week is a tremendous opportunity as they play (for free with RSVP) at Brooklyn Bowl.  11.2 8pm show.  For more info try here:  http://lxl.brooklynbowl.com/  They also have a very informative Facebook page:  http://www.facebook.com/CavemanBand  Join the bandwagon.  Coldplay's latest can wait.  Plus, you cannot avoid hearing that album.  Go find one that takes work and will provide some pleasure once listened to.














Odds and Ends:


Speaking of Coldplay,  why such contempt hipsters??  Is it the Gwyneth connection?  Should Chris Martin not named his kid "Apple" would have give him more a pass?  Are they the Nickleback of the Alt World?  Was it the "Today" show concert?  The MTV VMA appearance when they come off as the successors to U2??  The military jacket Martin wears?  Their commercial success??


Couldn't be the songs, could it?


You liked "Yellow" and its imaginative video way back when.  You hum along to "Talk" or "Speed of Sound" if you are alone in your car.  You watched his "60 Minutes" interview and admitted to yourself that they all seemed like decent chaps.


It's the over-exposure isn't it??  Not their fault.


It happened to Foo Fighters earlier in the year.  It will happen to Katy Perry and Lady GaGa at some point.  Nickelback and The Script are due too, right???


Hate the game, not the player.


The music business is not what it once was.  While the window for success is still limited and near impossible to attain, the rewards have become exceedingly smaller.   How many more bands out there will be able to make the millions Coldplay has/is?  What is a platinum record worth these days?  Record executives will push their product down your unsuspecting ears to make a point (read:dime.)


It happens at all levels too.  It is the reason you have had enough of LMFAO, and Cee-Lo Green, or Wilco, or Radiohead.  If an A&R man or Program Director wants you to hear something, you will here it (over and over again.)


Coldplay, and others, might not have the repertoire to sustain such heavy airplay.  You could argue the Beatles, Rolling Stones, and Led Zeppelin should not be heard in such rotation.  Would you rather hear "Sympathy for the Devil?" before something released this year?  If yes, why?  2011 has been a terrific year in music.  Start moving forward.


Same can be said with Major League baseball.  The World Series has been terrific and last night brought up a very interesting dilemma.


Tony LaRussa brought in a relief pitcher to intentionally walk someone.  Turns out the bullpen misunderstood his phone call and warmed up the wrong pitcher.  In the age of cell phones and texting it is confounding that at the games grandest stage managers are using relic landlines to convey vital messages.


Why not use cans and string?


Larussa Text:  Please warm up Motte/Confirm please


Bullpen Text:  Motte warming up.  Confirmed.


Last night Larussa phoned (as we are made to believe) and asked for Motte.  The bullpen apparently heard Rzepczynski.  Oh, he is a lefty and Motte is a righty.  Big problem.


They lost the game as they should have.  Larussa blamed crowd noise and anyone or anything other than him.  Truth is the game needs to move forward a bit.  The NFL uses sophisticated electronic devices for play calling, communication to booths above and a fair amount of cheating.


Bad enough these managers have to wear uniforms like the players...  can a brother get an Iphone???


We get that taken care of then I might turn my attention to getting rid of Joe Buck and Tim McCarver.


Is this the crew Fox thinks can bring in male viewers aged 20-60.  One, is an egotistical egg head who has a diminishing voice and the other a relic from a time when the game was played with integrity.


Pat Summerall was ushered away when he did not play well on TV.  There is no problem with agism in television.  The medium is designed to look and sound good.  It is why the Kardashians and Real Housewives get ratings.  Entertain us and be attractive, clever and smart when you are doing it.  Or, in some cases, be ugly, ignorant and dumb to achieve the same thing.


If you rest somewhere in the middle America really has no use for you.  Next year give me The Situation as play by play man and David Wright as my color man.  We all know he will be available in October.




5 can't miss things this week:


Givers:  "Meantime"  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E-UUDkMn4zo   Can listen to this all day.


Deerhunter:  "Desire Lines"  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1mBSOtdOjoc  See above


Dawes:  "A Little Bit of Everything"  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=36bItoBXpxk  If you have anything in your soul this song will move you


Wilco:  "Born Alone" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gUDgkgr7Fuo


Caveman:  "Vampirer/Old Friend" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Svx2IV866Ok  Their shining moment during each live show.  Legislation in Brooklyn has started suggesting every band must finish with an interpretation of this.  The "yeahs" should have it.




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Friday, October 21, 2011

A Night at Terminal 5... and elsewhere... starring Givers/Portugal, the Man

The problem with Terminal 5 for a working New Jersey suburbanite is its location.  Wait, let me rethink that.  There are several problems with Terminal 5 whether you live In NJ or anywhere else.

A moment about the location please.  56th St between 11th and 12th may as well be on the deck of the Intrepid or in the middle of the Hudson river.   Unless you work in a car dealership or with the Daily Show what exactly is your purpose for a visit to this part of town.  There are bars and restaurants in the vicinity, but it lacks a neighborhood atmosphere shared by Bowery, Roseland, Webster Hall, Fillmore at Irving Plaza, et al.  Logistics for any commute are a disaster too.  If you take the train to Penn Station or Grand Central that still leaves you half a City away.  Driving into the City for the show is your best option.  But what fun is that?

Oh, and then there is the sound and problems therein.  Terminal 5 is a long, 4 story factory(capacity 3000) with zero character.  Those issues might be overlooked if the acoustics were sound.  They are not.

The Eels Terminal 5 show last year was a distorted mess (and that does not factor in the ventriloquist opening act.)  After their superb show in Williamsburg this summer it was clear the Terminal 5 mix was flawed.

Alaska rockers Portugal, the Man's (http://www.portugaltheman.com/) "off" sound reinforced this belief.  The Wasilla, Alaska rockers are the best thing to come from that town.  Supporting their 6th studio album "In the Mountain of the Cloud" they opened with that record's best track "So American" http://www.portugaltheman.com/video/.  They have a nice, easy feeling to them.  Maybe too easy.  The album plays slow with modest hooks and great vocals by singer John Gourley.  There are some downright polished pop/rock moments that play great on the radio.

In concert, played here to a 20 something group of flannel wearing stoners, there hooks and grooves were ineffective.  4 songs in they reached for a cover song  (the Beatles' "Helter Skelter.")  U2 had perfected that cover on Rattle and Hum a generation ago.  What seemed like a stretch in theory, turned out to be one in practice.   The rest of the set became irrelevant.  The prevailing sound issues at the venue did not help matters.

Nor did the opening act, Lafayette, Lousiana's Givers (http://giversband.com/)  They are touring with their first LP In Light mere months old.  Last night they played to their biggest crowd ever.  And they were quite good.  Tiffany Lamson has a voice like Neko Case all the while playing drums, vibes, tambourine, mandolin and any thing else she can get her hands on.  Oh, and was doing it all in denim short shorts.  Good stuff.

Their southern charm and energy made for a rollicking good set.  It is part alt, zydeco, jazz and rock.  Vocalist and guitarist Taylor Guarisco must have said they were from Lafayette, Louisiana a half dozen times during the 30 minutes he was on stage.  It was if to remind the audience "Here is how we do things down on the bayou.  Get off your city boy ass and take note."

Noted.  They play tomorrow night for $5.00 at Brooklyn Bowl.  They are worth far more than the $5.00.  And you can bowl!!!  More details here:  http://www.brooklynbowl.com/

Some notable selections from their stirring set:

"Up, Up, Up"  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A0vzHSPmTfE  This track has been their biggest hit and last night was played to a slower beat to start, then built to a steady, stronger groove.  This video bears resemblance to the aforementioned Eels' influential video for "Novocaine for the Soul."  That is a good thing.  That amazing video (and SONG!!) can be found here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V2yy141q8HQ&ob=av3e  This 1995 video directed by Mark Romanek is simple but brilliant.

"Saw You First" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=exZTgOWOo4A  Dave Matthews with a bit touch of Rusted Root mixed with Paul Simon meets New Pornographers.  Does that sell it?  Scare you away?  Give a listen and decide for yourself.

"Meantime" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E-UUDkMn4zo&feature=related  Another standout from last night's set.

Additional notes.

There are still plenty of free shows to catch in and around NYC this weekend.  The CMJ new music fest is ongoing and last night the venues seemed positively packed.  Should you be enjoying some fall NYC find some time to catch a new act.  Bands are playing literally everywhere.  Clubs, stores, hotels and restaurants are all in the mix.  Most of the venues are downtown too so you can get the chance to experience some neighborhoods you may have never seen before.  For more info:  http://www.cmj.com/

Try and make it a point to see Caveman if you can.  They are performing twice tomorrow and will not disappoint, promise!  More info can be found here:  http://cavemantheband.com/


Some Post Scripts:


After the tragedy that in Ohio with dozens of wild animals being gunned down can we now, once and for all, put an end to "private zoos?"  Zoos can be a wonderful and educational spot.  But even in renowed zoos found in the Bronx, Philadelphia, Washington DC and San Diego it is odd and disturbing to see giraffes and tigers.  You put up with it because we assume the care these animals receive is exceptional.  Collectively we understand they would rather not be captive. We put up with it to enjoy and learn from these incredible animals.

What are we all getting with a deranged lunatic housing rare bengal tigers and bears on his rural farm?  Other than neighbor complaints, animals not living ideal lives and eventually their mass killings that is.

Enough already with the pet alligators and pigs.  Stop with the llama and bobcat purchases!!!  Legislation should even prohibit birds to be caged.  But that is clearly a stretch so for now let's all stop with anything other than cats, dogs, fish and birds.

Missing anything?  Can we agree to keep tigers and bears where they belong?  You understand that one of the monkeys released in that Ohio nightmare was probably eaten by one of the big cats, right?  That pretty much defines "wild" animal right?  If your pet has the capibility of tearing your arm out of socket and beating you with it, there may be a problem.

Oh, and remember monkey's aren't that harmless either.  Sure they can do sign language and look adorable in a diaper.  Stop giving cute little monkey his monkey prozac and he may rip your face off.  Or the face of your neighbor.  They should stop appearing in movies too.  Least that would prevent Night at the Museum 3, right?



Finally, probably nor great to promote this but what the hell?  A deranged college punk impersonated a referee interrupting the UCLA/Arizona game last night.   The score was 42-7 so it breathed some life into an otherwise dull evening.  Kids, do not repeat this!!  But feel free to laugh, especially the players inevitable reaction to fighting with one another:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/early-lead/post/ucla-arizona-fight-after-fake-ref-runs-onto-the-field-in-wildcats-blowout-video/2011/10/21/gIQABx3Q3L_blog.html

Enjoy the weekend and thanks for all your support!!!

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Givers and Bunny Guy.  Highlights of Terminal 5, October 20, 2011.

Monday, October 17, 2011

A visit to Occupy Wall St

A funny thing happened on the way to revolution earlier today...  I stopped caring.

First lesson in journalism, right?  Don't bury the lead.  Well there you have it.

I am fortunate enough to a) have the ability to take a few hours off on a glorious NYC afternoon (thanks T) and b) live and work near the greatest city I know.

Around noon today I realized the locker and shelving emergencies might be able to wait a few hours.  With that I took the 4 train to Wall St.  It has been several years since I was in that part of town.  I remember leaving the site of the former World Trade Center angry and bitter.  Here we were some 5 years later and the Financial district was desolate and longing.  The footprint of 9.11 was merely a large, vacant hole.  It was simply a metaphor for the giant hole our collective country was trying to climb out of.

Of course today, a month after it began, I headed downtown to take a look at "Occupy World Street."  Clearly when you judge me by my mortgage, salary and overall debt it is VERY safe to lump me with this 99 % everyone speaks of.

Perhaps this is the movement that will shake the foundation?  Big banks and political lobbyists will soon unite saving middle America from certain doom.  Donkeys and Elephants will breed a new, super animal able to tolerate abortion simultaenously injecting paralyzing agents into the veins of convicted felons.  Fiscal conservatives will be passing legislation allowing homosexual marriage.  Government agencies unable to handle large infrastructure will privatize and run efficiently (I am talking to you NJ Transit!!)

Pie in the sky horsesh&*^  I know.  But let's be honest, things could be better in the good, old US.  If a strong and vocal group can rally the masses into legitimate change and reform I am listening.

My initial impression of the movement headquartered at Zuccoti Park was unimpressed, to say the least.

First, as I have been doing for weeks, I question the location.  Granted, the park is very near the WTC and, to a lesser extent, the NY Stock Exchange.  Problem is you cannot get close enough to either.  The WTC site is a sea of construction personnel and road blockages.  The NYSE is tightly restricted with fences and horse mounted NYPD.

Anyone who knows Lower Manhattan will tell you the roads are narrow and the workers are surly.  It was a tight and logistically unsound area for tourism before 9.11, after and even more so today.  We all know the banks and corruption has as much to do with Zurich, London, the Upper East and West Sides, The Hamptons, New Jersey, LA, Beijing, Omaha, the Silicon Valley, Moscow, and everywhere in between.  Stage the damn thing somewhere in Central Park and have orchestrated strikes all over Manhattan.  The walk through the Upper East Side mansions last week was by far their most effective move.  Forward thinking suggests you can never get a large scale National discussion in one of the smallest parks in NYC.  If you want to think big, start BIG.

That said, once you have thought big in scope, think small in message.  Do I need to see folks dressed up as animals strumming up support for PETA??  The answer, of course, is no.  PETA needs to be throwing fake blood on fur coats in Milan.  They are not part of this discussion.  So the leadership should be telling these Halloween costumed freak shows to leave.

I am not sure I understood the impromptu drum session either.  Was I missing a "drumming up support" for Obama jobs package message?  Were they auditioning for X Factor?  I liked it, don't get me wrong, but the only thing that came to my mind was a Grateful Dead show.  They used to call the parking lot or gathering outside a Dead Show "Shakedown St."  It was where circus met carnival.  It was where you could listen to an offbeat husband and wife sing Joan Baez songs or buy a sheet of acid.  One van would be selling the best grilled cheese you ever ate while the next had hemp sandals at $20 a pop.

Oh, and their was politics too.  It leaned left (duh!!!) and seemed to have its heart in the right place.  Stuff like "Make love, not war."  "Can't we all just get along?"  "Hugs, not Drugs."  Ok, that last one is a stretch...  but you get my point.  Everybody had an agenda and if you listened closely they may have all had some good ideas.

I got that feeling today too.  Sure, more jobs sounds good.  Where do I start?  Oh, you haven't got there yet?

Yes, end corporate corruption!!!  But how??

Support our troops!  You bet.  But were we not doing that?

And PETA... and homeless folks... and drums... and megaphones... and cops... and press... and homemade signs...and much adieu about nothing.  It's Shakedown Street 2011.










You know what encouraged me?  The immense buildings and significant progress made at the World Trade Center location.  Union labor hard at work.  Men in suits and hard hats mapping out the City's future.  Hundreds and thousands of commercial square footage being constructed before my eyes.  Jobs!!!  Then, seemingly then the projects end, more jobs for those people that will inhabit those buildings.  Perhaps Cantor Fitzgerald employs several hundred downtown again?  I dream of taking my family to a pretentious dinner overlooking the Hudson at Windows of the World 2, on the 1000th floor.

The best revenge for the sheer horror inflicted on us 10 years ago.  We can be bigger, and we can be better.

And I wondered if the folks at the park even took notice?  Hell, you can't miss it, right?




I absolutely love seeing America building, making, thriving and succeeding.  I got some of that today.  It was in tourists surrounding a once dormant area and breathing some life into it.  It was in overcrowded restaurants and sidewalk congestion.  It was cranes and steel.  It was the City alive and full of optimism.

If the movement set out to achieve all of that by jolly they have.

Something tells me they are aiming higher and with more purpose.  I will be patient.  It is the ground swell that has me encouraged.  More than that, their is an excitement in Lower Manhattan that has been missing for too long.

The pebble has the potential to have the might of a boulder.  That jury is out.

A good friend explained quite succinctly why I was encouraged more with the construction than protests.  The new buildings will grace the NYC skyline through my daughter's life.  The protests might fade away in weeks.


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Better than 50/50

The older I get the more difficulty I have hitting the town on a Friday night.  The work week proves to be more exhausting after each passing day.  When Friday comes around the lure of an easy chair and 8pm bedtime is not altogether unattractive.   What to do when your only child has a Friday evening sleepover party???  

Man the eff up that's what.

Big fancy dinner at one of our  favorite places, Il Mondo Vecchio (http://ilmondovecchio.com/)  followed by a screening of the Seth Rogen/Joseph Gordon- Levitt vehicle 50/50 (http://www.50-50themovie.com/).  When you have a built in babysitter for the price of a birthday gift you MUST take advantage.  

Overall, a very rewarding evening.  The film may be the biggest surprise of all.  A few weeks after it's release I had a pretty good sense of what to expect.  Many critics had a problem with the title more than the content itself.  I admit, the title has issues.  I understand why "I'm with Cancer" (the working title) might offend and/or alienate viewers.  Problem is there are teams of employees who's job it is to attract viewers.  They spends thousands of dollars marketing and pre-screening.  They listen to focus groups and gauge viewer feedback.  

50/50 fails to convey the film's message.  And if that is the only real issue I have with the movie, I think all is good.

Gordon-Levitt plays Adam, a 27 year old public radio worker diagnosed with a rare form of cancer.  Rogen is Kyle, his goofy but loyal friend.  Based loosely on Rogen's own experience with a friend suffering the same affliction, 50/50 charming, funny and heart warming.

Rogen and Gordon-Levitt have a nice rapport on screen.  The ubiquitous hair shaving scene is particularly effective.  As a whole there is a deft handling of the battles that are waged with the heinous disease.  

What if the young patient does not drive?  How now can he or she get back and forth to treatment?

What to do of your over-protective mother (an incredible Anjelica Houston)?  

How about the very new relationship you are having with an overwhelmed girl? (a superb and beautiful Bryce Dallas Howard...  Opie's daughter is downright sexy and an incredible force on screen.)  This can't end well can it?  

Throw in a relationship with your dissertation writing therapist (Anna Kendrick) for some more drama.  Also, we sneak into the relationships built with fellow chemo patients (the always terrific Philip Baker Hall and Max Headroom himself, Matt Frewer.)

Finally, the buddy film that acts as the films' nervous system.  Does you best friend really care about you?  Does he understand the magnitude of the situation?  Is he using you for his own selfish reasons???

Most of these themes present themselves to a 20 something anyway.  What will my future hold?  Will I have deep, meaningful relationships?  What is it all about?

And, as we all struggle to think "half-full" and remain optimistic, life continues to throw us off-speed sliders in the dirt.  Occasionally we are brushed back with a high fastball.  Each day a new and different challenge awaits.  Our objective is to face the fear and ultimately conquer.

50/50 understands these challenges and gets us to laugh about it.   Will Reiser (writer) and Jonathan Levine (director) deserve much credit for keeping things moving very well and wasting little time.  In a year where editors seem to have moved to "Occupy Wall St" rather than editing films it was refreshing to see a 90 minute movie.   Special credit to music supervisor Jim Black too.  Radiohead, Pearl Jam, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Bee-Gee's and a wonderful track by Liars "The Other Side of Mt Heart Attack" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zvTkTT_Ht80.  

I could take some issue with Kendrick (her performance is WAY too similar to her own performance in Up in the Air.)  That may have as much to do with how good Howard is.  Bryce made Emma Stone look awful in The Help and once again upstages the other actress.  There are also some issues with a developing romance.  Neither of those minor problems take away from a strong and funny weekend movie excursion.  



Other note:

The band I have been touting all year, Caveman (http://cavemantheband.com/), are playing several free shows around NYC next week.  It is showcase week and their debut album, CoCo Beware, is out for hard copy release next month.  Again, I urge you to download if you can.  Better yet, should you be in and around NYC next week please try and catch their 45 minute set.  More info can be found here:  http://us1.campaign-archive2.com/?u=1d59aca4aeedaab429816159e&id=5aa7c50576   

I am shooting for Wednesday and Saturday.  

Thursday, the 20th, there are still tickets available for a nice triple bill at Terminal 5 in NYC.  Alberta Cross, Givers and Porutgal, the Man will be performing.  My tickets are secured and I am most certain this will be a very nice night of music.  For more info:  http://www.terminal5nyc.com/   By no means my favorite venue but the bands are more than worthy.

Finally, Wednesday I am shooting for an "Occupy Wall St" visit.  Anybody have any questions for the protestors?  Anyone want to join?  

Glorious day in the Northeast and more evidence why autumn is the best of seasons!!  Hope you all enjoy.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Oh I can go mainstream...

As someone who grew up with MTV I can easily relate to pop(ular) culture.  I was a huge Men At Work fan and vividly remember Thursday nights on NBC.  That is, Cheers and Family Ties are very much fabrics in my torn and tattered personality.

Many times Americans have their finger on quality.  It is why All in the Family and M*A*S*H stayed on the air for so long.  It is why Madonna and Michael Jackson stayed on top for decades.  It explains Twin Peaks getting picked up for more than season.  Or how the Simpsons actors were having contract issues heading into season 24.  There are moments in art that reach the masses.

It is the reason I own up to my love of ABC's Modern Family.  I also happened to enjoy Dolphin Tale thank you very much.  And don't get me started on the photo album scene from UP!.  That damn movie KILLS me!!  Same with Toy Story 3.  I am as uncomfortable watching them as say, The Human Centipede 2.

In fact I am pretty sure I can not make it through that movie, as much as I am compelled to watch it.  Roger Ebert gave it 0 Stars too!!!  It has to be good, or at least a conversation piece.  The premise is genius no?  Obsessed fan of movie wants to create a 12 person centipede using non-traditional medical equipment in non-sterile environment??  Story writes itself.

I heard a comparison to Spielberg's Schindler's List earlier this week.  Apparently HC2 is filmed in black and white and has only 1 image of color (like Spielberg's girl in red dress.)  The image of color in HC2 is, unfortunately, human waste.

I am getting ahead of myself.  Point is there are many things America has embraced over the past few months that are worthy.  Here is a list/links with some recent accomplishments.

Music:

Adele has been on the chrts and atop iTunes for about a million years.  Was sad to hear she had to cancel the US tour due to voice issues.  She can be everything Amy Winehouse aspired to.  The maturity and talent are incredible.  Many years ahead I hope.  She looks thinner in the "Someone Like You" video which gives me pause.

"Chasing Pavements" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08DjMT-qR9g  1st album
"Rolling in the Deep" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rYEDA3JcQqw&feature=relmfu
"Someone Like You" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hLQl3WQQoQ0&ob=av3e

Take a look at how different she looks from 1st video to 3rd.  One can only hope she keeps it all together.  Let's be honest, "Someone Like You" is a totally cheesy song is ANYONE else sings it.  Background music for a bit, then she plows in with  that giant voice, and you are brought in.  Her speaking voice is good enough.   When she breaks into that Night at the Apollo stuff you are forced to take notice.

Dance Tracks/Pop:


Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Black Eyes Peas and many, many more artists continue to show sometimes you just need a hook.  As a father and someone in a car an awful lot, I get it!!

Not turning any of this off any time soon...

LMFAO "Party Rock Anthem" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQ6zr6kCPj8&ob=av2e  Clever and fun with an infectious video.  Clearly, with 293 million views, I am not alone.  We happen to love robot head dancer in our household.  I am urging my daughter to go as him for Halloween.

Swedish House Mafia "Save the World" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXpdmKELE1k&ob=av2e   A mere 29 viewers but these guys are playing MSG in a few months.  Oh, and if you like dogs you can't go wrong.

Hoe Chelle Rae "Tonight, Tonight" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QzlNFcT2aOE&ob=av2e  Don't know who they are, don't care.  Every 2 or 3 years this song is released.  Only the names change...  Snow, Dead Eyed Dick, Right, Said Fred, Mike Posner, ...

Cobra Starship "U Make me Feel" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HpyZEzrDf4c&ob=av3e  Dare you to not tap your feet.

Boy, I am realizing I can do this for a long time.  I haven't even mentioned Usher, Katy Perry or Rhianna yet.  Forget that...  let's move on.

Viral Videos


Ohio University Marching Band "Party Rock Anthem" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uZtCZOiZ-cg  Fun, fun stuff.

Girl surprised at Disney trip.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OOpOhlGiRTM  We are rarely if ever this happy to see anything these days.  Good to be reminded there are still times of overwhelming happiness in the World.

OK Go "Here it Goes Again"  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dTAAsCNK7RA  Today bands have to do anything they can to get attention.  This is a particularly effective way.  Music videos continue to push creative limits and entertain.

Some other good ones:
Mute Math "Blood Pressure" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cv2mjAgFTaI  Made in one night using stop-motion photography and conceived by the bands drummer.  What did you do last night?

Death Cab for Cutie "You are a Tourist" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qkk5wViJo-I  Billed as the first ever "live scripted" video it is both inspired and ambitious.

TV:


CSI (original) was a nice moment for mainstream TV.  It reinvigorated the police drama and was atop the Nielsen's for a long time.

It did bring David Caruso back to our screens so I can understand letting that get to you.

Showtime's Dexter and a great deal of HBO programming has remained consistent while remaining smart.

Now I am just getting lazy.

It's the problem with trying to cram 10 hours of thought into 45 minutes of writing.  I have a tendency to write sloppy.

Apologies.  I also failed to visit "Occupy Wall St" like I wanted to this week.  I will make a better effort next week.  The perils of a day job, and parenting, and yada yada...

For now I head back to one of those other occupations.



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Sunday, October 9, 2011

Rough Draft


Prologue:

Was supposed to do some music thing for my local paper...  lost focus after a wonderful fall weekend in the Northeast.  Pumpkin picking with all of Brooklyn.  Hikes in National Parks.  Overseeing lemonade stands on my front yard.  Raking leaves under the bluest skies.  Jersey bagels for breakfast.  Playoff baseball and football on the tv.  Quaint street fairs in historic towns.  The best of seasons and it isn't close.  Anyway the music thing did not happen.  I guess I can get to that sometime this week, unless it was due today.  I will look into that.  For the moment I would love some feedback on what I did start.

And I think Tuesday or Wednesday I would like to devote a few hours to the movement in NYC.  Anyone want to join?  I mean it.

And also, if anyone wants to guest blog I strongly WELCOME IT!!!  Become a fan on Facebook: Guide To Somewhere http://www.facebook.com/pages/Guide-to-Somewhere/138984679520649 Follow me on Twitter:  @Suburbandad23  Anyway this is what I wrote for better or worse.  Carry on.


I was trying to think if someone’s death was more significant in my life than that of Steve Jobs.  John Lennon was 1980 but I was merely 8.  I have been witness to President’s dying and certain other celebrities untimely passing.  I guess Kurt Cobain was big.  Princess Diana.  Michael Jackson.

Not all that surprising and although noteworthy, not as economical or politically important.  You will get no argument from me on artistic merit and/or philanthropic work.  Mr Jobs passing might be a symbolic end to a time soon forgotten.

The Monarcy will live on.  Pop music stands strong today.  And as I have been telling you Alt music is fine too, thank you very much.  Should Caleb Followill (of Kings of Leon) marry a train wreck and die early I will not be surprised.  If Lady Gaga is being administered Propofol to get herself to sleep in 20 years I can be found in the “Not shocked” category.  And believe me, if Princess Kate is being hounded by paparazzi in a tunnel with some Saudi prince in the not so distant future…  you get the rest.

Jobs’ passing seems more unpredictable.  If only because I wonder, who now will wear the black turtleneck?  Where will our next tech innovation come from?  Do we have someone in Silicon Valley who will be our next savior?

Cause I don’t know what the hell we do here anymore? 

Our banks have steered us into a mountain of bad debt.  Those people who we trust to handle our investments have also failed us.  We stopped making products for other humans to purchase.  We are a nation of customer service workers who fail to serve customers.

But we like to buy stuff.  Really cool stuff.  We like paying too much for it and going out and getting the newest one when it comes out.  We like buying dvds and songs on Itunes.  We like Youtube videos and social networking at a moment’s notice.  We crave something viral and search out the nauseating.

All these events require devices.  Steve Jobs and his team at Apple made some super cool ones.  Folks lined up to buy them.  Slowly buy surely our economy grew a bit.  People were excited by Jobs had to offer.  Jobs in turn created jobs.  Hard to get good figures but 50,000 employees and about $64 billion in profits last year. 

I heard someone mention our own Thomas Edison when speaking of Jobs.  A stretch I thought at first.

For a minute it struck me though.  Should we keep losing the tech wars, and alternate fuel wars, and war wars…  will we fall further behind?  The joke from the left and Tea Party early on was “Who cares about the tiny Occupy Wall Street” movement?”  Then dozens of people became thousands.  Thousands might turn bigger.  The 99% senses danger and understands there is strength in numbers.  The revolution was televised in places like Cairo and Tripoli.   

I am very intrigued by the ground swell and passion but there needs to be some clarity.  There has to be an end game.  Several points need to be addressed.

1) Get a better name.  Wall St is still trying to re-define itself.  Do you really want to “Occupy” it?   And when you do “occupy” it what do you suppose we do?  I really want to know.  Lower interest rates?  Tear up all existing mortgages and start over?  How do we put more money in the economy?  Everyone gets a $500 Wal_Mart giftcard?  I get that we have all suffered but what do you all propose we do???

2) We are going to need a spokesperson.  OK maybe 2 depending on how far this thing gets.  One voice.  One vision.  Guess you gotta real nail point #1 to achieve that.  You have work to do.

3) Get focused.  If you are really want to call attention to banks go to the banks.  The traders at Wall St are hard working and really not the problem.  Go to Bank of America Headquarters.  Or AIG.  Fannie and Freddie.  The US Treasury.  City Hall or State Capital.  Worked in Madison, Wisconsin in the dead of a Flatlander Winter, didn’t it??


Friday, October 7, 2011

ARod and other cliches

It is difficult for me to wrap my hands around the new Fall tv schedule because for a few weeks I am very much tuned into Major League Baseball playoffs.  I like them so much I put up with watching TBS and learning to hate more and more announcers and commentators.  So eventually I will get back to "Homeland" and "George Harrison" and "Prohibition" and "New Girl" etc...

And as there was the day after in Boston last week...  today Yankee fans say goodbye to 2011.  For a Yankee hater like me it is bittersweet.  See, I happen to like Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera.  I think objectively so I appreciate the brilliance of Robinson Cano.  And when the Yankees are in the mix things tend to be a bit more exciting.  They are, and always will be, the "Evil Empire."

Best thing about all this is it further proves money can't buy you every thing.  And it is why I hope the sport never has a salary cap.  Milwaukee and St Louis have one game to move forward.  Detroit is already there.  The disparity in their payrolls is remarkable when compared to the Yankees or Red Sox.  Those two teams are finished.

Players play the game.  Anything can happen.  Sometimes, when the steroid cycles are over and a movie star isn't sitting in your private box, fastballs whiz by you and make you look like a child.  Sometimes the other team is more hungry.  Sometimes they are younger.  Sometimes the other team is better, both in mind and skill.

If the Tigers play each other 100 times this year NY would probably have won 60.  This illustrates why the 5 game playoff series should remain intact.  Please, no expanding the playoffs either.

The formula is strong and so far has provided plenty of thrills.  Unless you are going to contract teams and go back to 4 divisions I beg MLB to leave well enough alone.

Money, we also learned this week, is surely not going to beat cancer.  Steve Jobs could have bought any damn thing he wanted.  Hell, I am surprised he did not find a cure for his fatal disease himself.  But, at 56, he lost his battle.  We are worse off for it.

There are those who will argue he was aloof, or lacking in his philanthropic ways.  He may not have been a great husband or father too.  So what.

Find me someone who is.  In this economic climate I have little confidence.  When we lose innovators and "job creaters" these days it hurts us all.  Do we seem on the brink of another fuel source for our vehicles?  Is there a viable solution to our health care woes on the books?  Will the cancer cure be invented this decade?

Those things all pale to our love of gadgets, and shopping.  We are consumers.  Jobs (pun intended) gave us both.

Not sure how you replace that?  Mark Zuckerberg can only do so much.  I have been to Newark recently too and his $100 million gift is far from visible (yet.)

I try to remain optimistic.  Signs are not great.  Think next week I spend an hour or so with the protestors downtown.  I will first tell them the big banks moved uptown in the 80s (thanks Frank N for this astute observation.)  Once we end up on 50th and Ave of The Americas real change can happen.  After all no one drives downtown... so when they "takeover" Wall St it is the most activity down there in years.  I bet it feels a bit like 9.10.01 down there.

You start clogging up traffic and demonstrating around Matt Lauer and Radio City maybe you get the coverage you are looking for.  I say go get em!!  This whole system needs to be blown up and started over.  Weird too that Obama looks like a young Hosni Mubarek.  Coincidence???

Finally, a word to our sponsors...

Hank Williams Jr lost his Monday Night Football gig this week when he compared Obama to Hitler.  Ok, let's look at this from a few angles please.  First, why would anyone want him on their show to speak?  His big hit is "All my Rowdy Friends are Coming Over?" isn't it?  He is a self proclaimed good old boy, right?  A hick.  A redneck.  I guess that is not too much a stretch for Fox News.  But can he really enlighten anyone on thoughts political?

And, when he makes an absurd comment as he did, are we really surprised???  "Are you ready for some lunacy?"

ESPN knew full well what they had in Williams Jr.  Stop the hypocrisy and keep the guy on your damn opening.  I think we can be smart enough to turn him on mute or ignore his nonsense altogether.

John Lennon married Yoko and I still listen to "Abbey Road."

Johnny Depp thinks photo shoots are like rapes and I still watch "21 Jumpstreet"

OJ done killed his wife and I still love those old Buffalo Bills uniforms and "Naked Gun"

Same goes for AFLAC...  hire Gilbert Gottfried back please!!!  The new duck is creepy and sounds nothing like Gilbert.  You mean to tell me the execs never saw him perform on a Comedy Central roast???  He makes a few tasteless jokes about the Tsunami and it's lights out.  I know Aflac is a Japanese company.  But we all have to settle down and laugh at ourselves a bit.  Life doesn't have to be this serious and grim.  In fact, I find, it can be pretty darn amazing.

On a picture perfect Friday in the Northeast all things are good.  Fall has arrived in full color.  Go out and enjoy the weekend.  I can safely report art and culture are alive and well.

Some notable highlights:


I plan on doing a piece for the disappearance of album rock in the coming days.  Napster and Steve Jobs did more than create portable music and sharing.  They made it far more common to purchase, steal or listen to one song, rather than an album.

The past few months I have posted single songs from bands myself.  It is what we do anymore.  I have made an attempt to listen to entire albums since I became a Spotify member.  I was also encouraged to do so from a few friends I trust too (thanks TN and RC.)

Let me give you a few albums worth listening to start to finish...  and some highlights of each.  2011 has become a very strong year for music.  Hope you enjoy.

The Decemberists "The King is Dead"

Purists hate it.  Many other can't stand it or me for liking it so much.  No worries.  I think Colin Meloy writes beautiful songs.

"This is Why We Fight" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oLSOzcEQjiE  Smart video.

"Calamity Song" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xJpfK7l404I&ob=av3n  Smartest video

"Down by the Water" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RpnAb2KJ8n0  Live from Conan

Dawes: "Nothing is Wrong"  LA band hits it out of the park on this one.  Warren Zevon meets Jackson Browne meets Avett Brothers.  Alt Country and pop with a side of folk.  You get the point.

"Time Spent in Los Angeles" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-vnSXDNkUR0  Good God this is a terrific song.  Cannot hear it enough.

"A Little Bit of Everything" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=36bItoBXpxk&feature=related  I heard this a few times before today.  Caught it on the radio this afternoon as I drove home from my sister's.  Perhaps it was the emotion of a good Nicolosi's lunch, or realizing how lucky I am to have a great family, or all of it, but I had a moment on 78East.  The power of a good song cannot be overlooked.  This is true beauty.  It is art.  It can bring a smile in a smile-less World.  I cannot wait to see these guys live.  It is hard for me to quantify how perfect this song is.  I envy the lyrics, the voice, the whole effin package.  I am a better person for knowing it.  Oh, and the lesson here is I found this listening to the whole damn album, not waiting for them to release it.

"When My Time Comes" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g0wyP8Ekt9w&feature=related  Ok, this is from their debut album but who cares.  It's good.

Caveman "CoCo Beware"

Can't say enough good things about these New Yorkers and their debut album.  Jazzy, tribal, rock and roll with a heart and mind.

Every track is good.  You be the judge.

"Old Friend/Vampirer" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Svx2IV866Ok

"Decide" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sx5bjz_AbNc&feature=related

"My Time" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oKhUN1Oj2zg&feature=related

"Thankful" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_ZNibtHuEA

That is probably good for now...  and I have yet to mention Radiohead, or Wilco, or Jayhawks, or Foo Fighters.  There is always next week.




Tuesday, October 4, 2011

An Evening at Irving Plaza, Psychedelic Furs edition

Only fitting that after a summer that saw me re-discover the 80s with bands like Foster the People and Cut/Copy, I take a ride in the way back machine and experience something from the works cited page. 
Keyboards, harmonic drum beats, big, flamboyant stage presence, fun and unpretentious revelry all very much included.  Just two or three songs in I turned to my friend, who generously gave my wife and I tickets, "Why haven't I seen this band live before?"  Quite simply, The Psychedelic Furs were amazing last night.

Led by brothers Richard (vocals) and Tim (bassist) Butler they brought a strong energy and fed off a jam packed Irving Plaza.  Richard pranced and pirouetted around stage.  Mars Williams, their sax and clarinet player, filled the air with big, yet cohesive sounds.  This is a first rate and engaging band that need not be defined solely for providing the soundtrack for Molly Ringwald and Ducky.

The band had been playing their 1981 album "Talk/Talk" during this recent tour.  Last night they reached into a broader playlist.  When you take your mind back to the 80s (with some quick Wikipedia help) you really gain a greater appreciation for their contributions to the alternative movement.  Their first version of "Pretty in Pink" was recorded in 1981.  "Love My Way" followed that in 1982 (from the 3rd studio album "Forever Now."  1984's "Mirror Moves" brought us "Ghost in You" and last night's highlight, "Highwire Days."  It was not until 1987 that "Heartbreak Beat (another stand out from the show)" was released. 

Richard Butler not only has the most polished and relaxed demeanor on stage I have seen in quite some time, he is also big on voice.  There were few moments when he had vocal accompaniment, and for good reason.  His projection and command dominated the room last night.   Mark Foster, Brandon Flowers and hell, every lead singer, should take some tips from him as to how to maintain this presence.   At 55 he was spry and fit.   I can barely get out of bed at age 38. 

The catalog of songs holds up quite nicely too.  Having never seen Bruce Springsteen (I know, what kind of Jersey music fan am I???) it was my first time seeing a sax take center stage.  Williams is a force.  I guess it did not occur to me as I heard them on the radio or in a John Hughes film, they are very reliant on horns.  Williams is classically trained but clearly in his element playing rock and roll. 

They will continue the tour (like they have been for years now- who freakin knew???) with a stop this Saturday in Montclair, NJ http://www.thepsychedelicfurs.com/tour.html.  I am seriously considering a repeat performance.  They really were that good.  And a nice reminder that the 80s were far more than Guns and Roses, U2, Bruce, and hairbands.  That stuff has its place and I will forever be a fan.

It is the Alt movement that I will always remember.  As REM retires and U2 makes Broadway shows I ask you to take a hard look at some of their influential peers.  I know the bands I have seen the past 12 months respect their elders.  Bout time we all do too.

I would be a fool to not mention their opening act, Tom Tom Club.  First, it should be noted that Tina Weymouth(bass/vocals) looks amazing.  I suppose all of the touring keeps these folks in good shape.  This former side project of the Talking Heads is very much a family act.  Weymouth's husband (Talking Heads drummer Chris Frantz) and their son Kid Genseng (turntable) make up for 3/5 the members.  Their set was heavy on covers, namely Hot Chocolate's "You Sexy Thing" and the Heads "Take Me to The River" and "Psycho Killer."  It was a nice, easy start to the evening.  The fact that they are touring at all is fairly big news I am told.  This is their longest tour ever since they formed 30 years ago.  Not a bad idea to see their final 3 songs should you see the Furs too.

Miscellaenous:

As my wonderful mother was kind enough to pick up my daughter from school/watch her there was occassion to dine in NYC.  So I put my aspersions aside and gave celebrity chef Tom Colicchio some of my hard earned money.  We visited CraftBar(http://www.craftrestaurant.com/index.php) for the first time in more than 5 years.  The Flatiron neighboorhod is great.  CraftBar is a nice, open room with comfortable tables and a BEYOND eager staff.  Be prepared to be the center of attention should you arrive here before 6pm.  Our waitress was attentive, can you tell?  My wife had some blood orange cocktail the house recommended and for a moment I thought she was part of a big Pharma trial study.  4 times asking?  Really? 

Anyway the food was delicious as always.  A cheese plate, beet salad, risotto and veal meatballs over fresh pasta were among the items we enjoyed.  Desserts included a Spiced Pear Cake and imaginative Peanut Butter ice cream with concord grape jelly.  I picked the wrong dessert for sure.  The espresso was like finely tuned airplane fuel, which I loved. 

He may be overexposed and he did appear in "The Smurfs Movie."  But his bar/casual dining place is still great after all these years.  I will agree to dislike the man and love his food.  It's like Chris Martin and Gsyneth Paltrow...  I can listen to "Talk" even if they drive me crazy, can't I?


Works Cited:

"The Ghost in You" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uMmA8PsTvPA&feature=related

"Love My Way" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zb4JY2mr-_Y

"Pretty in Pink" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yHHVcfUNwew&ob=av3n  10 year old live clip.  Supporting cast was different last night and the horns are sorely missed.  Richard Butler has more rasp and Pogues to him here...  not terrific but adequate representation.  More amazed how good they sounded last night after seeing this clip.  They have aged nicely.

"Heartbreak Beat" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RXfXTB7UcuU&ob=av3e  Truly classic 80s song and a highlight from last night.  The sax here is spot on.  This is the soundtrack of my youth and I am embarrased it took me so long to see them live.

"Highwire Days" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YDTR90aKMFs  Taken from a lousy device from this years tour.  Sound not great at all but you get a sense of how the band looks and how the sax is incorporated.  Lots of different sounds and influences on display here.  And consequently you can hear the bands of today using these very same patterns.  What goes around, comes around. 

"Genius of Love" Tom Tom Club from Jonathan Demme's "Stop Making Sense" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XIW4skg3Ceo 


Post Script:

There is a slight concern that all the synth and 80s stuff that has surrounded my life during the past year or so might turn me into a capri wearing, fanny packing sporting, man purse carrying, Euro queen...

It is ok, I have prescribed some Foo Fighters in Newark for next month.  I plan on getting into the pit and mixing it up a bit. 

What's that?  You heard about the Tori Amos concert a few weeks after that?  Oh, ok then.  Meet you at Urban Outfitters so you can help me shop for skinny jeans.  Do real men wear jeggings?  Should real men know what a jegging is?


And should they be listening to this while writing about jeggings???

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8vTjBct5haU&feature=related