Thursday, May 22, 2008

Calendar Illusions

Afternoon CoffeeEver feel like you're definitely getting older but feeling younger all at the same time?

I took a few days off to visit family and friends in Boston this past week and arrived just in time to smell the lilacs in full bloom. As usual, I had a great time, but it wasn't all fun and games.

I had that moment when I realized that I might really need to get involved in some evolving family health situations. As the only American-born member of my biological family with the language skills and resources to cope with the system, I guess I'm going to have to get involved and be bitchy and demanding. Mind you, like Tina Fey, I can be good at being bitchy and demanding. In my head, however, advocacy is the province of an adult and it's hard not to feel like a kid around my family's older-generation-but-not-grey-and-frail family members, regardless of how many years the calendar gives me. I think it's going to be an eye-opening transition from cared-for to care-giver.

On the more light-hearted side of things, I saw a bunch of friends in ones and twos and groups, did some long-overdue clothes shopping, made it to Redbones and got me some BBQ, bought too many books at Brookline Booksmith (in particular, I felt a keen case of discounted-cookbook-lust), wore out the little kitty playing many rounds of bottlecap soccer and got scratched up by the big kitty. I discovered - how did this take me so long? - that you can sync up Bollywood film dances with just about any non-downtempo music (thanks, Justin, for that). I ran around Jamaica Pond a few times and saw the ducklings and goslings trailing their parents. The ducklings especially were too cute for words. I'm considering making my next trip back coincide with the Newport Folk Festival.

Now that I'm done procrastinating, I should get back to digging through email...have a great long weekend, folks.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


The Black KeysGetting tickets turned into one hell of a process, but I didn't regret it when The Black Keys finally started playing on Monday. Yup, I did hear shades of Zeppelin on occasion, but that's not a bad influence to wear as long as you're not draped in it. Danger Mouse, producer of The Black Keys latest, made sure of that. I loved the raw and loose blues attack of thickfreakness (you probably heard some of it in a car commercial), but the slighter cleaner and spacier sound of the new release is completely complementary. The live show had a lot more bombast and devil-horn-worthy tunes than you'd expect from only two guys on stage. Psychotic Girl is one of my favorite tracks. NPR webcast the second night at the 9:30 club.

Also checked out the Hirschorn Museum's The Cinema Effect: Dreams exhibit. The entire exhibit hall was outfitted cinema-style, complete with red curtain at the entrance. Once you walked in, you followed faint white arrows on the floor and tried not to walk into other people. Eyes adjust of course, but even still the exhibit had a pleasantly disorienting and cocoon-like atmosphere...which was perfect since the exhitbit was about how cinema blurs the lines between illusion and reality. There were lots of quiet, eerie short films and there were also some amusing oddities: someone had taken close-up videos of a face looking around and talking - David Bowie was one of them - and then projected it onto a flat dummy head, which when played looked like it was talking to you. They wouldn't let me take photos, otherwise this explanation would make more sense. Regardless, always entertaining to have Bowie looking at you maniacally!

On the way back, I walked past the soon-to-be-open National Museum of Crime and Punishment . And then I learned that there's also a Museum of the American Cocktail. Maybe I can raise my glass with a drink made with ice cubes using these?

I was hanging at the Marx Cafe last Friday night when DJ Provoke was on fire with the funk spirit. Too bad for him that he was spinning a masterpiece in a sports bar/restaurant. Even those of us who were really into it were dividing our attentions. Sorry, Patrick. Gotta go buy some Meters.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Farmer's Market Love

Farmer's MarketThe Mt. Pleasant Farmer's Market started again on Saturday. I love going to the farmer's market and I'm completely spoiled since it happens 60 seconds outside my front door. I like vegetables and fruits, but the farmer's market makes me want to cook and eat even more of them. I like buying what looks good/interesting/different and then figuring out what to do with it - the green, diamond-spiked, Romanesco cauliflower, the Thai eggplant, the riotously- colored tomatoes and all the rest of it. For instance, this weekend I brought home some stir-fry greens, spicy radishes and this crazy looking purple asparagus.

I also brought back some herbs. My apartment faces north and while it's really bright from indirect sunlight, it only gets actual sunlight for a bit in the early morning so growing anything is a bit of a crapshoot. Based on last summer's experiments, I'm going to plant thyme, chives, and mint and I'm going to see how rosemary does without sunlight. I tried lavender last summer and it grew beautifully but I couldn't figure out what to do with it.

Someday, I want to have an actual garden with all sorts of vegetables and way too many heirloom tomatoes growing in it. In the meantime, my windowsill garden is a nice start.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Moments Per Minute

Chelsea HotelAfter a workweek spent touring upstate New York, I'm back.

It was a busy and stressful week that was also entertaining, interesting and more-laughs-per-minute than usual. The parts of Rochester I saw seemed hip and happening, relatively speaking. We had our event there at the science museum which amused me because I got to direct people to the mastodon. (Before you think it, yes, I'm easily amused.) Syracuse and Albany seemed much more economically-depressed. You have to wonder what will happen to those folks if our economy continues to flounder.

Our events, however, were very well-attended by local musicians and music industry folk and hopefully we gave them some new ways to keep playing. Random photos here. It was gratifying to watch people begin to put the pieces together of how the new music business works and how they can be a part of it and how faraway policy issues like net neutrality can affect them. It's not hard to become a bit blinkered in that I forget how little other people know about the issues that I spend my days on. Always good to get a reminder.

After the Albany event ended, Jean and I drove to New York City. We arrived in the wee smas of the night at the Chelsea Hotel. The hotel itself was vaguely hostel-like but unsurprisingly very cool, as I discovered the next morning when I work up enough to take in my surroundings.

I spent Thursday catching up a bit on work (have laptop/cell phone/Internet, will travel) and with some friends I haven't seen in a while. Good to see James, who I've known since high school. James is the man behind Dutch Angle Films and he's the reason I know anything about the art of film-making.

That evening, I saw my friend Stew's musical Passing Strange, a thoroughly enjoyable coming of age story with a rock/funk/soul soundtrack and some great acting performances. I've never really been into theater, but if I lived in New York, I think I'd develop a taste for it.

Whew. Now, I'm off to enjoy a weekend with very little planned.