Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Sleater Kinney Part 2

1. At the pinnacle of greatest concerts ever attended: Patty Smith, the Boarding House 1976, San Francisco. A couple of months after her album 'Horses' was released, and comped by my sister who worked at Arista records, Patty Smith blew my doors off. People drenched in sweat, stood on tables screaming; the room polluted by a mixture of smoke imploded.

2. Which segues into last Saturday night. A perfect storm of events...the Kentucky Derby, NBA playoffs, and the fight of the decade from Vegas. But, who in my crowd of 2,000+ gave a flying F?  For we were tucked into the Masonic, a temple built by the cultish free Masons (google them), residing high on Nob Hill flanked by the Grace Cathedral, Mark Hopkins, and Fairmont Hotel attending our own religious experience. Sleater-Kinney, the sequel. A decade. As the Stones once sang, 'it's been such a, such a, such a, such a, such a, long, long time.' That's 3,650 days without. And we all acted like it too. The signature SK guitar riff and vocals arcing off the stage; the stage lights swirling and B slapping you silly-blind; the magnificent movable wall, rippling up and down. Static? For the dead. Harmony? Your mama. It was the 2nd coming. Better than sliced bread. Legends never ever faaaade away. Uh, listen up, y'all.  Patty Smith has company at the top.

3. Sunday. Honor your mother.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

'Strange brew...'

1. Back from the islands. And Hawaiian paralysis. Entertaining thoughts of longer winter extensions. Like those 'snow birds' slathered with SPF 35 soaking up the rays. In exile from the frosty. And their boxed up SAD lamps. Tropical storms, teased, but veered towards the leeward side. Oh that would have been lovely. It only rains in my dreams. And Seattle. Drifted around in slippas and shades. There is nothing like those island trade winds in the morning. Lunched with my 91 year old aunt at the Elks Club which is old school Honolulu. Nostalgic. The view from the terrace exquisite; the water glittering, lapping the shore. Could have hovered on and on. Moving down the line, we crossed over and closed out the week at an off the gird happening. 'Local' ingenuity always at work: da best: the malasada burger. Who knew? And no, I didn't.

2. Flying back. Mental note to never go during the winter months when the currents from Japan are so blustery. Three hours of turbulence. The woman across the aisle from me, crossed herself at least 10 times; couples, white knuckled, held hands for hours. Uh, yeah, those clever royals and their separate flights. Jesus H. After all that, everyone should have been served a round on the house.

3. Hoops time. The Madness. Will we see a team, Kentucky, go undefeated for the entire season? The team features a roster full of McDonald all Americans; most of them will come out in June and flee to the NBA. One and done. Bulls eye on their jersey, it will take stones to raise the hardware. Look to the Big East and Nova, or the Pac 12 Zona to shock the world.

4. Sports trivia. 10 billion wagered on the Super Bowl. 12 billion during the March Madness. Millions in the work force will stream games at their desks. Is this a great country or what?

4. In Cali, it's almost April. No relief for the central valley. Global warming burrowing in.

Friday, January 30, 2015

#Desert Storm

1. It's almost Super Bowl Sunday in Glendale, Arizona, where it's been raining for the last 24 hours. Some fun facts to tide you over until kick off: Only the 4th of July rivals beer consumption on SB Sunday. A frothy $1.01 billion dollars is spent on beer in the 2 weeks surrounding the gridiron date. Hmm, evidently, people are falling under the spell of those corny chick-fil-a telly advertisements. Because approximately 1.23 billion chicken wings will be sucked up while watching the game. Last year, $119.4 million was wagered in the Nevada sports books. A pittance compared to how much $$$ has been illegally sunk in office pools across this great continent, from sea to shining sea. Here's another nugget for your plate: the most shared SB ad ever was VW's, 'The Force' from 2011. This year, deep pockets, $4.5 million buys you 30 seconds of air time on Sunday.  But, my friends, if you're not one of the projected 112.1 million sitting in front of a flat screen besotted by food and drink, and dazed by spectacle, why, the streets, big box stores, and the malls are all yours. Gloat and enjoy.

2. Watched one of this year's best documentary, 'Finding Vivian Maier;' a chronicle of the life and work of a nanny, eccentric, and mysterious, leaving an amazing collection of 100,000 photographs some of which have been exhibited in numerous museums around the world.

3. Rod McKuen. Born in Oakland.  Not a great poet. But a good song writer, flourished in the right decade and was prolific. His 'Stanyan St. and Other Sorrows,' is one of the all time great titles for a book of poetry. April 29, 1933-January 29, 2015.

4. Sleater-Kinney punk'd me. They will be touring California in May. Their new album, 'No Cities to Love.' Is the shizzle. Is fly. And we can't get enough.

5. Super Bowl prediction: Pats 27- Seahawks-23. Pass the nachos.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

The Pen is Mightier...

Freedom of expression. We own it. And we WILL have the last word.

Monday, December 29, 2014

'Take a cup of kindness yet..'

1. Ah, the end is almost near old friends. Year of the Horse is barreling down the stretch towards the finish line, and the Ram (some say Sheep, or Goat) is about to hurdle into 2015. Two friends of mine retired this year. One divorced. Another slipped through Germany on a barge. Arthroscopic surgeries. Walking canes. Unabashed Tesla coveting. Market up. Market down. Protests. Drought.

2. Hashtag and Emoji. Vocabulary phenoms of the year.

3. Noteworthy reads. 'The Boys in the Boat,' by Daniel James Brown. 'Unbroken,' by Laura Hillenbrand. 'The Price of Salt sometimes published under 'Carol,' by Patricia Highsmith. 'The Burning Room,' by Michael Connelly. 'American Sniper,' by Chris Kyle. All publications by Gillian Flynn. 'Prune,' by the great chef, Gabrielle Hamilton. 'Wildlife' by Richard Ford. 'L.A.Son' by the maverick chef, Roy Choi. '1Q84' by Haruki Murakami. Ok, I confess, I haven't finished the Murakami book, but one does recognize greatness.

4. Films that tripped the light fantastic. Boyhood. Only Lovers Left Alive. Birdman. Guardians of the Galaxy (I kid you not). Snowpiercer. Wild. The Grand Budapest Hotel. Fincher's Gone Girl. A shaky nod to Interstellar. And sight unseen, J.C. Chandor's, A Most Violent Year, with Jessica Chastain.

5. The Telly. Where we learn it all, baby. True Detective in a romp. Homeland, resurrected. Transparent, holy S.  Outlander, who knew? Banshee: it is what it is. Orphan Black. More group bopping, please. Game of Thrones because it's still the shizz. And The Good Wife. The series with the worse title on the face of the planet that keeps on giving.

6. On the clock: White House gender change in 2016.

Be safe out there. Black eyed peas on January 1st.

Monday, December 22, 2014

"If the Fates allow..."

1. A line from one of the greatest Christmas lyrics ever penned and which always elicits a tear from me. The great Judy Garland sings the definite version of 'Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,' in the 1944 film, Meet me in St. Louis, directed by Vincente Minnelli. The music was composed by Hugh Martin, and the lyrics by Ralph Blane.

2. The rains returned with a vengeance, and walloped California with a left, right and an upper cut. On the ropes, the population, dumb grateful smiles plastered across their drought stricken faces, floundered under the deluge. Wet roadways were challenging. Underpasses flooded. Trees toppled.
Power cut out just as season finales, and the NFL lurched towards the finish line.Wtf? Don't be messing with 'The Walkers' or 'SONS!' Jesus H. After 2 weeks, I was done. Whine. Whine. Whine. I wanted sunshine, but more than that, I wanted the fucking hordes of ants looking for dry land (ho) to quit invading my personal space and ride out on the horse they rode in on.

3. The New York Yankees. Yankee haters. Listen up: The baseball franchise through their foundation, Silver Shield, will pay for the education of the children of police officers killed in the line of duty in New York city. An emotionally moving gesture for Rafael Ramos' two young sons. A benevolent, generous act, by one of the great sports organizations.

4. The Interview. Personally, I was looking forward to this movie. True, everything we know, we learn from the industry...telly, or film. But, threat or no, the suits at Sony collectively fell on their swords and capitulated. Whaaat? The morale of this bizarre affair is that 'saving face' is a weird and strange bedfellow. In some cultures it is 'Everything.' Sleeping dragons awake. Old Asian proverb.

5. Have a Merry Holiday. Be safe if you're traveling.

Post script: Someone at Sony grew a pair. The Interview is being released selectively at various theaters across the country on Christmas day. Free speech, baby. Own it.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014


1. Last month, Sleater-Kinney pulled a Lazarus; tossed their gear back into the building and embraced the journey once again. Hailed by critic Greil Marcus as the best rock band of 2001, the members have dusted off the 8 year collective hiatus webs, strapped on their er, instruments, and punked us all. The announcement of a new album release (why those naughty women) and a tour left jaws thudding across the continent. Euphoria in candy land, yeah baby, with one speed bump: no road love for
Cali. A slight? An omission?  First a tease, and then a squeeze but not the
goods? Say it ain't so. True, you can't please all the people all the time...but come on down to the land of golden sunshine, and honey, where the women are strong, and the men are pretty. We'll rock until dawn.

2. People ask me all the time: how do I spend my days? Why, any way I please. Sometimes I don't even know what day it is. Note to self, that is one of the 'dementia' questions. There's so much to see. I travel vicariously with Anthony Bourdain. And eschew vaccinations. Leave those to the grazing beeves. Everything I presently learn is on the telly. Portlandia is filmed in 'vegan city.' Clare Danes needs to eat more. Drones can tag hostiles with red triangles from the air. Harry Bosch is back. Hard cover with an unsettling ending. Ops, did I spoil it for you? I walk a lot. And go to the gym. Another note to self, I'm injury prone. My goal is a simple one. To never have a backlog of New Yorkers. I'm learning Italian via an app. It doesn't help that it's cutting into my reading time.

3. Ah, the rain. Finally some love from the weather gods. So many people out and about today taking walks without umbrellas!! We need this. The Central Valley needs this. Some more,  please.

4. I ate my first (ever) pretzel roll the other day. With a piece of mustard slathered turkey curled into it. The absolute shizzle. Sometimes simple is good enough.

5. The Big game. Go Bears!!!