New Orleans Voodoo Experience in October, Anyone?

Last week I found out about the Voodoo Music Experience being held in New Orleans on October 24-26. It caught my eye because three awesome bands are headlining: Stone Temple Pilots, Nine Inch Nails, and…wait for it…I’m sure Beth is shivering with antici-pation…REM.

Now that I am gainfully employed, I am seriously considering attending this show. It’s a three-day event and I have always wanted to go to New Orleans. Granted, this is coming on the tail end of hurricane season, which makes me a little nervous. But screw it…STP reunited on stage?! And REM too? Trent Reznor?! Sounds like a musical hurricane is already happening.

So I call out to you, blog readers, to see who lives down South and might be up for this show. Hell, who wants to go to New Orleans, get drunk, eat beignets at Cafe du Monde, and listen to some great freakin’ bands for 3 days? If Beth can do an East Coast tour with REM, why can’t we do this one? Huh? Who’s with me?

The Coolest Blogger in Atlanta

As some of you may have already read on Beth’s blog, I had the chance to meet her recently. She’s only the second blogger I’ve met in person, the first being Subservient No More (The Blogger Formerly Known as Subservient Worker) back in 2006. Since the rendezvous with S.W. went so well, I didn’t expect anything different from this meeting. Sure enough, Beth did not disappoint.

What’s funny about meeting someone from the blogosphere is that it’s akin to meeting a celebrity, at least for me. I’ve read what this person has to say about life, liberty, and the pursuit of a good margarita (or in Beth’s case, tickets to a show and a margarita), and I feel like I have the inside track. Yet it’s not the same as meeting said blogger and chatting over coffee or cocktails. While a lot of truth can come out in one’s blog, there’s a whole ‘nother level of truth that comes out in person.

This was definitely true of my meeting with Beth. Finally hearing her voice, after having imagined it in my head several times, wasn’t particularly shocking. Her voice is huskier than I had imagined, and there’s a slight southern drawl to it that comes out occasionally. We arranged to meet outside the security checkpoint at the airport, and her message left details on how to find her. And while her polka-dotted vest helped me find her quickly, it was the shock of black curly hair. Once I saw her, I started grinning and waving as if I’d seen the Beatles. She gave me a big hug as I said, “It’s the best blogger in Atlanta!” I saw several people smile as they heard that, and I really should have handed out her URL, but there was no time – a chat session was a-waitin’.

We headed to a nearby restaurant for some wine and a sammich. As soon as we sat down, things started getting interesting. In the course of an hour and 20 minutes, we covered many topics: work, relationships, writing, music, life in CA versus life in GA, family, our love of Chick-fil-A, blogger gossip, transitions. I considered aloud whether I should have her sign my MP3 player, based solely on her contributions to most of its current content. We shared some private stories that we wouldn’t necessarily broadcast via blog. I love when that happens.

We may not get to see recent full-frontal photos of the Cup, but let me tell you, Beth is very cute and has this sparkle in her eyes that suggests she is full of mischief and fun. I can’t wait to connect with her again, listen to some good tunes, and chat some more. That’s because Beth is not only the best blogger in Atlanta, she’s also the coolest.

Friday’s Hot Tip

Yes, it’s back. October was a bit hellacious and I wasn’t particularly motivated to blog on a regular basis. Anytime I go for a couple weeks without blogging T-Wizzle decides I am done with it, which annoys me enough to rebel and post several items. So I guess we can thank her for the new posts.

So many books, movies, and CDs…so little time. I have a hard time keeping up with all the authors, music groups, and actors that I enjoy watching/listening to/reading. Sometimes it will be months before I discover that a favorite author has a new book, or a band has released a new album. I’m not necessarily an early adopter, mind you, but I do like to be in the loop.

And guess what? There is a website that helps me stay in the loop without me having to do a damn thing. MyHound keeps tabs on all your favorite authors, musicians, actors/actresses, and even video games. When a new movie or DVD with Clive Owen comes out, I get an e-mail telling me the release date along with a link so I can find out more.

MyHound is free to sign up and free to maintain, and there’s several ways you can find out what’s happening:

  • Calendar – Click here to find out what events are happening in your neck of the woods today, tomorrow, next week, or next month. This feature seems to work best for major metropolitan areas, and I imagine it would be very handy for travelers looking for something fun while in New York, DC, or LA.
  • Recommender – Once you’ve registered and added several alerts to your account, you can use the Recommender to find new authors, artists, and movies to check out. I just ran the Recommender on my account and got a list that included U2 (love them), Radiohead (don’t know that much but I am interested), Rufus Wainwright (want to hear more of his work – Oh Beth! Help me out here!), Terry Pratchett (oddly enough I read one of his books earlier this year and enjoyed it a lot), and Stephen Colbert (ehh).
  • Search – Use the search engine to find your favorite performers/artists/authors, then peruse the list that pops up with all their recent happenings. A box on the left lets you sign up for e-mail alerts on that particular artist/author.

You don’t even have to register for MyHound in order to get the e-mail alerts, either. Registering does allow you to manage your alert subscriptions, however. Since it’s free it won’t kill you to sign up.

Go check out MyHound and see whatcha think. You’ll thank me when you get that e-mail reminding you that [your favorite rockstar ever] is coming to town.

Green Monkey Music Project: Battle of the Sexes

Splotchy posted the last Green Monkey Music Project on Friday and I am way behind in posting my commentary on my song picks. I could say that I was in such a state of mourning that I could not bear to write anything, but that would be a lie. Anyway, better late than never.

Mustang Sally – The Commitments
My first exposure to this song was in the Irish film The Commitments. This soundtrack is a great compilation of R&B and soul as interpreted by an Irish cover band that is sadly destined to fall apart. After seeing that movie it’s hard for me not to listen to this song and recall Jimmy the band manager’s directions to the backup singers on how to sing “Ride Sally Ride” without sounding Irish.

Pandora’s Box – Aerosmith
Not necessarily one of my favorite songs by Aerosmith, but certainly one of their most amusing. Steven Tyler is a master of innuendo, but not of rhyming, as evidenced by the chorus of this song: “Sweet Pandora/Godlike aura/Smell like a flora/Open up your door-a for me”.

Meet Virginia – Train
I picked a Train song for my first GMMP contribution, so it might seem that I am a huge Train fan. That isn’t necessarily the case, though I do enjoy their music. One of the things I like about this song is the quirks that Virginia has, such as exercising in high heels. Sounds like a fun drinking buddy to me.

Jolene – Dolly Parton
Another song where I heard the cover first and not the original. The cover I heard was on Olivia Newton-John’s Come on Over album. When it comes to covers, I tend to prefer whatever version I heard first, but this is one song where the original is so good I have to concede the point.

Amanda – Boston
When I told Joe what I was doing for this edition of the GMMP, he started spitting out song titles and insulted some of my choices. To get him to shut up I took this title. It was very popular when I was in high school and I still sing along to it when it’s piped over the sound system in Walmart.

Green Monkey Music Project: Geography Pop Quiz

Through that southern music doyenne Beth, I found out about Splotchy’s Green Monkey Music Project. Splotchy recruits fellow bloggers to participate in a weekly mix of songs all focused on a certain topic. This week’s topic was suggested by guest monkey Chris: list 5-7 songs that have a geographic location (street, city, state, country) in the title. For the first time, I threw my blog in the ring, and I got picked to participate! Yee haw! I feel as if I’ve been allowed to sit at the lunch table with the popular kids.

Anyway, you can find a zip file of my song picks here, as well as zip files for the other participants. Some commentary on my song choices follows:

Manhattan Avenue – Nellie McKay
About a year or so ago, another blogger turned me on to Nellie McKay’s delicious voice and witty songs. When you first listen to this song, it sounds like a sweet simple jazz song paying tribute to her neighborhood. Listen to it again, and you discover that she is actually singing about a rundown street in a shitty neighborhood. It just goes to show that you can make anything sound good if you sing it nicely.

Mercy Street – Peter Gabriel
I had to include this eerie song dedicated to American poet Anne Sexton. The title refers to her play as well as a collection of poetry. Whether or not there’s an actual Mercy Street, I don’t know. This is one of my favorite songs by Peter Gabriel.

Lubbock or Leave It – Dixie Chicks
T-Wizzle sent me a copy of Taking the Long Way when I was really having a hard time at my last job. Many of the songs on the album are centered around doing things your own way, even if other people don’t quite understand your motivation. I sang a lot of these songs at the top of my lungs while driving down the freeway. “Lubbock or Leave It” is about the hypocrisy of the Southern towns that “got more churches than trees.”

Going to California – Led Zeppelin
Pops and I have taken several cross-country road trips, and I really cherish the memories of seeing the United States by car. On one of our trips from MD to CA, we visited Inyo National Forest, a huge forest in the eastern Sierra of California. As we were driving through the forest at sunset, I made him play this song in the car. It was such a beautiful accompaniment, I had to pinch myself to keep from crying. Whenever I start taking California’s beauty for granted, I listen to this song.

Blue Savannah – Erasure
When this song came out, my friend Jeannie* was obsessed with it. I had just gotten The Innocents and she kept asking me “Is Blue Savannah on that album?” It drove me nuts. Finally I got the Pop! CD, which did have the song on it, but by that time she’d moved on to some other song.

Lonely Night in Georgia – Marc Broussard
I got into Marc Broussard after his song “Home” was featured on a bonus CD that came in a music issue of Vanity Fair. Most of the other songs on the album are not very notable, but this tune is really lovely and melancholy.

Mississippi – Train
Another slow, melancholy tune from the guys that brought you “Drops of Jupiter” and “Something More”. This song is actually about a girl: “I call her Mississippi/but she don’t flow to me.”

I’m So Excited!

I am typically the kind of person that gets excited over very simple things. In the last few days I read about some upcoming events that got me all giddy. Here they are, in no particular order.

Amazon will offer DRM-free MP3 downloads. Apparently this is old news, but I’m kinda slow on the uptake.

Every song and album in the Amazon.com digital music store will be available exclusively in the MP3 format without digital rights management (DRM) software. Amazon’s DRM-free MP3s will free customers to play their music on virtually any of their personal devices — including PCs, Macs(TM), iPods(TM), Zunes(TM), Zens(TM) — and to burn songs to CDs for personal use.

The digital music store is supposed to be set up by the end of 2007. It’s already mid-September so I suppose it should be launched fairly soon. I hate anyone setting limits on what I can and cannot do with anything, so I like this approach.

Givenchy reissues classic perfumes. More than 20 years ago, I discovered a lovely floral perfume called Eau de Givenchy. It was so light and beautiful and I felt like a goddess wearing it. It wasn’t cheap, so I only wore it occasionally. When it finally ran out, I discovered that the department stores weren’t carrying it anymore. While the idea of going to Paris to buy this perfume sounded very fun, it also wasn’t a particularly feasible plan. You can imagine how excited I was, then, when I read in the October issue of Vanity Fair that several classic Givenchy fragrances have been reissued in honor of the company’s 50th anniversary. Yippie!

Season 5 of “Nip/Tuck” starts on October 30. I love this show. The plots are twisted and crazy, the actors are gorgeous, and the themes are fascinating. This season the doctors are relocating to Hollywood, too. I may have to sign up with Central Casting just so I can try to be an extra on this show. Ohhhh, to have Christian Troy (Julian McMahon) feel on my booty…even if it’s just to say, “Girl, you need some lipo.”

Hugh Jackman’s show, “Viva Laughlin”, starts on October 18. I have the hots for Mr. Jackman, too, so to be able to see him on TV every week would be absolutely lovely. The show has a musical element and I’m curious to see how this will work.

It’s Okay, I’m with the Band…in Spirit, Anyway

While I’m not a music lover in the same way that some people are (read: Beth), I do my best. In my early 20s, I started going to see local bands and discovered I had much more fun going to their shows than I did seeing national acts. Back in D.C. and out here in L.A., I’ve found various and sundry bands to follow, including:

  • Never Never, a East Coast band that played a lot of Zeppelin covers
  • Love Seed Mama Jump, a Delaware-based band that just effuses joy when they hit the stage (If you’ve ever been annoyed by Grateful Dead fans, you must hear the song “She Likes the Dead” on the Baked Fresh Daily album. Go home and make some granola!)
  • The Big Angry, a hard-rockin’ LA band that had some awesome tunes
  • Goddess Freak Ensemble, a gaggle of gals that crafted wonderful melodies
  • Breech, an eclectic band with powerful lyrics and amazing vocals
  • Nellie Bly, a side project from some of the Breech members
  • Erin-Ann Scott, a singer-songwriter with a heavenly voice and beautifully rendered tunes

One band that I have been following for about 3 years has finally hit the big time. Their album was released nationwide today, and if you’re a fan of rock and roll, I highly recommend you check them out: Poets and Pornstars.

When I moved to L.A., I soon discovered the truth of the six degrees of separation rule, especially as it applies to musicians. Someone always knows someone else with a band. Through an old boyfriend, I found The Big Angry. After one of their shows, I met the lead singer of Goddess Freak Ensemble, who turned me on to Breech, Nellie Bly, Erin-Ann Scott, and Poets and Pornstars. Back in 2004, before I made it to any of the Poets’ shows, I went to be an extra in a Poets music video. The lead singer, Hal, was such a sweetheart, thanking me and my friend for coming to the video shoot, and he was dead sexy. The music was catchy and upbeat, too. I was sold.

Over the next couple of years, I went to several Poets shows at the Viper Room and acted the wide-eyed groupie. I felt so popular hanging out with the band, lusting after Tom, the lead guitarist, and joking with Hal and the bassist, Sally Hope. It was a lot of fun, except for the night when I lost my car keys at the Viper and the staff wouldn’t let me look for them because they had to close the bar. (Yeah, I’m still mad about that – it’s over $100 to replace Honda keys, dammit! Help a sister out.) It always seemed like Poets was close to making it big…and then nothing would happen.

In the last couple years, though, things have shifted dramatically. Poets and Pornstars started getting some airplay around the nation, they began touring outside of California, and they got the chance to open for Bon Jovi in L.A. Now, after many years of slaving away, their album is out and I feel like a proud parent.

So, as any proud mama would, I have to brag: check Poets out online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Yahoo. Take a listen to their tunes. I especially recommend “Earthman”, a moving melody with great orchestral accompaniment. If you like the album, buy it. And tell ’em Moxie sent ya.