Saturday Night Serenade–Nothing But A Good Time

Confession: Back in the day (and even now) the band Poison was/is a guilty pleasure.  You know they’re not good.  It’s not what you’d call quality music.  But still…  They’re awesome.

A few years back, Mr. R. and I had the chance to see them at our local amphitheatre, which I’ll always call Coral Sky, the original name, regardless of which brand of liquor is sponsoring the naming rights this week.  Poison was appearing with some other band from the same era, probably Winger or somebody.  Anyway, they could have simply phoned it in, we’d all have been happy, if only for the nostalgia factor.

Except that they didn’t.  They came out and kicked ass.  Apparently they never got the memo that they were a joke, a slight footnote in the 80s hair band portion of pop culture.  I’m telling you now, if you ever get the chance, absolutely go see Poison in concert.  Because on a Saturday night, we don’t need nothing but a good time.  Happy Saturday Night!

Has It Already Been A Year?

A year ago today we lost a brilliant soul.  As a performer, Robin Williams could vacillate between frenetic comedy and heart-rending drama.  What we didn’t know was that privately he struggled with depression and mental illness.  I hope that his death encourages us to talk about it and to be understanding of those who also struggle.

My favorite all-time movie is 1991’s The Fisher King.  Williams plays a homeless man whose mission in life is to locate the Holy Grail, which he believes is in a townhouse in Manhattan.  It’s great movie with amazing performances by Williams, Jeff Bridges, Mercedes Ruehl (who won a Oscar), and the late Michael Jeter.

I thought Robin Williams deserved an Oscar for his performance in The Fisher King.  He won the award in 1997 for Good Will Hunting, but I maintain it’s because they dropped the ball in ’91.  If you’ve never seen the movie, you should check it out.

Saturday Night Serenade–Hot Off The Press

On this balmy Saturday night, grab yourself a slice of awesome.  Here’s the best new band you’ve never heard of before.  This is Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats and their song S.O.B.  Their debut album doesn’t even come out until August 21.

The video is from Wednesday night’s performance on Jimmy Fallon.  I watched from the comfort of my sofa with my mouth hanging open.  The studio audience gave them an enthusiastic standing ovation.

Just a little something new for a happy Saturday night.

You Be You

wpid-img_76635305850738.jpegI like weird people and I cannot lie.  And you’re welcome for that ear worm.

Weird is wonderful, I don’t know where we got the idea that it isn’t.  How did we all become convinced that we should try to be like everyone (or anyone) else?  It must have been the work of the unimaginative masses, banding together out of fear like the sheep that they are.

I’m weird.  Over the years I’ve embraced it although in my younger days, I think I tried to not be weird, striving to be more like the beautiful people.  But that’s way too much trouble.  And way less fun.

Mr. R. is weird, too.  That’s probably why we work so well.  We laugh a lot.  Sometimes we make other people laugh, too, and that’s a bonus.  We were shopping once in a department store when we ended up in women’s accessories.  I turned to find my burly man, all six feet, four inches, and two hundred eighty pounds of him, mugging with a floral scarf on his head.

“You look like Doris Day,” I remarked.

“I get that a lot,” he retorted in his deep basso profondo.   A woman browsing nearby nearly peed her pants.

The words normal and boring have the same number of letters.  Coincidence?  I think not.

So welcome, weird people.  We’re glad you’re here.

Sonic Highways

sonic-highwaysHave you guys been watching the HBO series Foo Fighters: Sonic Highways?  It’s an 8-part documentary series by Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters (and Nirvana, she said unnecessarily) which he describes as “a love letter to the history of American music.”

The premise is this: The Foos travel to eight different American cities, get together with musicians representative of that region, and ultimately collaborate to write and record a new song at one of that city’s signature recording studios.  The end of each episode premieres the song from that city.  All the songs will comprise the Foo Fighters’ new album, Sonic Highways.

Last night, we watched the episode from Nashville that we DVRd Friday night.  I was particularly interested in this episode since I grew up in Tennessee and have been to Nashville on numerous occasions.  It’s only as an adult that I have developed a deep appreciation for the unique culture Nashville represents.

I found this episode absolutely riveting.  Grohl and friends sat down with Zac Brown, Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, and many others to get a sense of what music means in Nashville.  Without exception, they were told that the music is “all about the story.”

Grohl stated that he was drawn to the ‘outsiders’ of a situation and thus gravitated toward Zac Brown and Willie Nelson.  Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris described how Willie had trouble ‘making it’ in Nashville as a clean-cut, buttoned-down artist, and so returned to Texas where he let his hair grow out and was able to be himself.  It’s there where, as they put it, “he found his congregation.”

The Nashville episode resulted in the song Congregation,  which was recorded at Southern Ground Studio, an historic recording studio (originally a Cumberland Presbyterian church and later the home of Monument Records) now owned by Zac Brown.  One especially intriguing part of the show was Brown and his people showing off some of the treasures they uncovered at the studio after they acquired it.  There were entire filing cabinets full of documents and recordings from many of the greats, from Jerry Lee Lewis to Roy Orbison to Willie Nelson.

I love this series and what they’re attempting to do.  It reminds me that the roots of music are so much deeper than we normally take the time to appreciate.

Egypt has pyramids, Brazil has rain forest…

We have music.

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Date Day Saturday

In a previous post, Redefining Date Night, I mentioned that because Mr. R. and I are economizing these days, Date Night is a bit harder to come by.  We’ve become somewhat more creative but I’ve gotta be honest with you–I’m not really a ‘Pull-A-Slip-Out-Of-A-Hat-Date-Night’ kind of girl.  And so it is that Mr. R. and I took advantage of an opportunity to visit our local art museum for free over the weekend.

Last Saturday, Smithsonian magazine sponsored a nation-wide event whereby you could go online to sign up for a free ticket for two that would be honored by participating museums, zoos, and other places.

From several options, we chose the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach.  I had actually been there previously, but only on field trips with my first graders where I had to be responsible for preventing the little cretins from putting their grubby paws on the thousand-year-old Chinese screen.  So I was excited to be able to go and just enjoy the place.  And we did enjoy ourselves.

My art museum experience is somewhat limited and so I can only compare it with the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. or the Musee D’Orsee in Paris, but for a fairly small museum , I think they have a nice collection.  We saw paintings by Matisse, Monet, Pissarro, Renoir, Georgia O’Keefe, Pablo Picasso, and Jackson Pollack.  They also had a special show called Wheels and Heels, featuring vintage Matchbox cars and Barbies.

One of the highlights of a visit to the Norton is the oval room housing the colorful glass ‘undersea’ ceiling by Dale Chihuly.  The outer portion of the curved wall is all windows surrounded by the fountains fronting the museum so the place is a riot of light and color.  When school groups visit, the children are encouraged to lie on the floor and look up at the ceiling.  We contented ourselves with sitting on a pair of mid-century leather chairs, leaning back to view the display.

We made our way to the second floor housing their Chinese collection and marveled at items such as bowls, decorative accessories, and statuary, some of which were up to 3,000 years old.  Mr. R., ever the entertainer, saw this Ming dynasty miniature of a table set with food and quipped, “Look!  The first ever Chinese buffet.”

Funny thing about the Norton Museum of Art.  It’s really just around the corner from one of our favorite places to hang out, Bar Louie on Clematis Street.  So after our artsy fartsy afternoon, we found ourselves a table on the sidewalk at Bar Louie.  Again, we’re economizing, so we stuck with drinks (Diet Coke for Mr. R. and Louie’s Cosmo for me) and a snack.

I love Bar Louie.  They have a great Happy Hour.  And we’ve always had superb service.  But…it was not Happy Hour.  And…we did not have the best service on the planet.

I’m thinking it’s probably because our server realized that we weren’t ordering a huge meal and figured she didn’t stand to get much of a tip.  Don’t misunderstand, she was pleasant enough, but to call her inattentive is an understatement.  It wasn’t busy, being around 3:30 in the afternoon, so it isn’t as if she was swamped with tables.  The thing is, we’re pretty good tippers, Mr. R. and I, and we love to reward good service, regardless of the amount of our ticket.  Once upon a time, he was a server, so we’re very appreciative of how hard they work.

We ended up only having our drinks and we shared the Smoked Turkey Sliders, which were amazingly delicious, by the way.  But I’m a little sad.  We won’t be going out like we used to, so I’m looking for a stellar experience when we do.  I can’t wait for the next time.

Tampa Bay Comic Con Day 3 (Yes, I Know I’ve Skipped Day 2)

Tampa-Bay-Comic-ConI promise I’ll write up Tampa Bay Comic Con Day 2, but that’s going to be one huge post.  First I want to spend a little time giving a shout-out to some really cool artists we met on Sunday.

When Mr. R. and I made our attack strategy, we intentionally left the enormous exhibit hall for the last day.  Due to the stringent “flow” regulations, we’d been forced to walk through it each day (believe me, you’ll hear about that later), but we never took the time to browse until Sunday.

One of the first artists we met was a young woman from Savannah named N.M. Beguesse.  She’s the creator of Angelboy, a graphic novel.                           ( http://angelboy.com/home )

angelboy
Angelboy http://angelboy.com/home

I don’t know a lot about graphic novels and manga, but I love the independent spirit of someone who finds a way to do something she loves.  When we met, she explained the plot of the story and the process by which she creates her work.  As we watched for a few minutes, we saw her physically put her book into the hands of potential customers, the better to make sales.  If you have any interest at all in fresh new graphic novels, give her site a visit.

One of the more fluky moments came when we met a group of artists from West Palm Beach and discovered that Mr. R. actually knew one of the guys, Bohdan Neswiacheny.

convictioncover
Conviction http://www.resistanceentertainment.com/

The group is Resistance Entertainment                      ( http://www.resistanceentertainment.com/ ) and they describe themselves in this way: “Resistance Entertainment is a South Florida company focusing on unique and inventive media content. Our endeavors include film and television production, comic books, novels and music.”  They produce several comic series including Blackbird and Morningstar.  Of particular interest to me was the comic series, Conviction, which is set in West Palm and features a female lead character.  I love the tagline: “The world is filled with good people who deserve the love and respect they are given.  This book is not.”

A third artist you should know about is Scott Markley with his company, Time for Hugs                 ( http://timeforhugs.com/wp/ ).

grim sleeper
Unconscious: The Grim Sleeper http://timeforhugs.com/wp/

He has several series, but the one he showed us was Unconscious: The Grim Sleeper, a character who is the younger brother of the Grim Reaper.  Talk about sibling rivalry.  This guy also showed a great deal of hustle and drive, and I liked him a lot.  Use the link to check out his site.  He’s also on Facebook.

Finally, I want to talk about Alex Asfour, designer and illustrator of IdeaStorm Media                             ( http://www.ideastormmedia.com/ ), a freelance design and illustration studio.

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Travel Poster http://www.ideastormmedia.com/

When we stopped by his booth, I was immediately attracted to his vintage-look travel posters (we bought a beautiful one of Paris).  Being Comic Con, he also had various pop culture posters and I couldn’t resist a very cool one of The Walking Dead.  On his website he offers art and design services, so if you’re in the market for that sort of thing, check him out.  I might just have to order the poster of Barcelona…

Now, I know you’re dying to know about the time I was a mere twenty feet away from Pedro Pascal and Richard Madden.  All in good time…