Sunday, May 25, 2008
Friday, May 23, 2008
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Friday, May 16, 2008
While biding my time in Somerset waiting for Lucy to complete her business, I hoofed it in search of the Pulaski County Library, with some difficulty:
- It had moved.
- The new location was wrong in Google Maps.
- The actual location was quite a few blocks back in the opposite direction.
- It was starting to rain.
It never hurts to ask, folks!
Dudez— it's the future.
I'm blogging from a park bench in the center square of tiny Somerset, Kentucky. I was on my way to the library (an internet favorite in small Kentucky towns), and then i decided to do a walk-around, with my handy-dandy TrendNet Hotspot detector, and it said I was golden just siting out next to the oddly-blue-watered fountain. Yup.
Lucy and I are en route to my brother's 40th birthday celebration at a house we've got in Soddy Daisy, Tennessee. You wanna see it?
Here's a funny little coincidence: Before leaving town, I snagged a DVD from KET with an edition of Kentucky Life that features a segment on photojournalism legend Sam Abell. The other part of the segment was something I'd never heard of called Somernites Cruise. Well, in searching for a Somerset link to include above, I discovered that Somernites Cruise is — yeps — right here in Somerset. That's kinda weird, right?
Well, if you're stuck inside on a pretty nice Friday afternoon, maybe you want to check out MUTO a wall-painted animation.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
I love the Internet, 'cuz it lets me find unnecessary yet wonderful bits of my past like this performance of David Bowie's "Sons of the Silent Age," a stand-out gem from his odd and garish Glass Spider tour in 1987 that included strangely enough, Peter Frampton on lead guitar as a part of his touring band. Frampton was easily a decade past his glory years, and yet it was just delightful to hear his golden soaring tenor as the counterpoint refrain on this, one of Bowie's finest nuggets. Easily my favorite memory of that show.
Friday, May 09, 2008
I experienced Sunday in New Orleans with my Lensbaby-equipped camera in effect. And while I opted out of the finale day of Jazzfest, I have no regrets, as my travels included historic buildings, cocktails, Lakeview flood damage, a French Quarter history, and a cemetery visit that included a soundtrack by Santana, drifting over from the fairgrounds.
Here's the whole set.
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
Tuesday, May 06, 2008
- Was ultra-late from my connecting flight from equally cluster-fucked Baton Rouge.
- Ran — barefoot for better speed — from one gate to the other (about a 1/2 mile)
- Arrived at my gate to SEE my plane SITTING THERE and being told that I was too late.
- Feverishly tried to get a hotel room as they evaporated all over town right before my eyes.
- Finally getting maybe the last hotel room in Houston, on my own dime, and payng out nearly $200 for the privilege.
- Being told by several locals that my experience sounded like a typical day at Bush Intercontinental.
So, lord, I will try in the future to avoid Houston.
Monday, May 05, 2008
It's colorful city mayhem here probably about every minute.
Once my cab picked me up, I heard about the ultra-sketchy other bus station, where I didn't go. The guy said his last customer over at that station (not this one) got into his cab with a small-caliber bullet lodged in his neck. And asked to be taken to the hospital.
Smart! Very Smart…
Oh yeah — the burger was pretty good for a bus stop.
Here's my new buddy on the LA Swift bus. Paula poundstone has a funny bit about avoiding peekaboo but I think its a pretty good way to roll. I blink, she blinks. I blink twice, she blinks twice.
Good times in Louisiana.
statue guy who was off duty. I liked him doing mundane things like talking on the phone. He heard my camera click and kinda chided me, to which my response must be: Dude. You're off-the-clock. If you were actually doing yr. freeze-and-pop-and-lock routine like Silver cyborg man, I would happily have given you a buck. But photos iz free when yr. off-duty. Maybe that's just me.
Sunday, May 04, 2008
Saturday, May 03, 2008
Exquisite bourbon street hilarity update: walking down Bourbon we, and many others' attention is drawn to the filming of some sort of show starring Tommy Lee, the gutter-snipe bad-boy Motley Crue drummer/Pamela anderson-Lee bone-stick. Whatever. The greatness ensues when we walk back by LATER, just in time for these guys to start chanting "Tommy Lee Sucks! Tommy Lee Sucks!" drawing the attention of at least one NOLA cop and the laughs of many.
one of my very favorite moments at Jazzfest 2008 - the peeps around me (and me) dancing, singing and reveling in a momentary downpour as Stevie Wonder performed "Sir Duke" to an audience of 10,000. We were about 50 yards from the stage. Delight.
Here's what I love: I can actually send emails to people I've never met asking them for some recommendations for places to go in a city that I'm unfamiliar with. How cool.
So the upshot: We headed over to the Ritz-Carlton because based on this page, I thought that to be the home of cocktail master Chris. Well, he'd moved on. We got expensive, extremely average martinis from the plebe behind the swanky bar and then I pressed for info: turns out Chris had moved shop to the Pere Marquette, just a couple of blocks away. Thinking I was wearing Markie (hell, anybody) thin, I puppy-dog eyed him and asked if we could just real quick swing by, in case this guy was there. Thank god for the both of us, Markie was happy to oblige.
So we rolled into Pere Marquette, and up to two stools at the trés moderne bar and I shook the hand of a cocktail celebrity, who was about to be seriously in the weeds. (more on that in a minute) Chris seemed honestly pleased to see us, and as I stammered out an explanation for two dudes knowing his name, he smiled and informed us that we were "drinkies," the term coming into currency for people who are curious and interested and thirsty for expertly crafted cocktails. And holy shit, y'all. Did we get that in spades.
I cannot express the joy, gentle reader, of being placed in the hands of a master mixer, whom I'm calling "Chris" like we go way back, and letting him put drinks in front of us. Not drinks we ordered, mind you, but drinks he was choosing.
Oh. My. Godz.
Look at this picture. This was a religious experience. Chris was so nice and so happy to have appreciative hands on the shimmery flecked glass bartop. He mixed up delight upon delight, even catering to Markie's predilection for vodka and mine for gin. He hand-crushed ice. He muddled fresh ginger. He garnished with blackberries. He put mother-fuckin' blueberries on a swizzle stick, okay??
I can't remember the names of what we had, but here's the crazy part: Into "round two," the bar started heating up some. Chris was flying around, a couple Lesser Beings were also back there, slinging beers and Boring Drink Requests, and Chris actually apologized to us, saying that he'd really like to chat, but that a party was beginning … um, for Stevie Wonder. Hooo-kay.
Markie and I were stationed square in the middle stools at this glorious bar, with a god of a barkeep, and apparently Stevie Wonder was eating next door and due in within a few minutes. Another round please, Mr. McMillian.
I won't say the ensuing time was a blur — exactly — but the short version is Markie and I each had four of the most spectacular cocktails I do ever EVER expect to have, made with gusto by a master. I took the initiative a couple of times with some casual folks getting drinks to grab them forcibly by the lapel and hiss into their ears "You may not know this, but this guy is one of the greatest bartenders in the United States." Meaning: Please take your bourbon and coke and GO.
And then in came Stevie Wonder. That's right. First his band, many onlookers and then Stevie Mother-Fucking Wonder. He was ensconced at a vaguely cordoned-off table a couple dozen feet from us. And what do you do? It's Stevie Wonder over there, and Chris McMillian behind the bar. Me and my old mate are, as I said, sitting square in the middle — kings, really.
Eventually, after being rebuffed at attempts to shake Stevie's hand (would have helped, I'm sure if Markie and I were hot 20-something betties), we decided that — master mixologist aside — we simply were flirting with disaster to have MORE THAN four lightning power cocktails. So we bounced on out and into the French Quarter.
Drunk, yes. Happy, absolutely. The French Quarter, I find to be a good place to breathe. It's so easy just to amble along, looking this way and that aT the mayhem, the cheer, the flesh, the revelry, really. And that's what we did some..
We decided to wander over to this one place, because Markie (always on top of the billings) knew that P-Funk was playing there. We arrived close to the end of their set, and were told that the cover was still $35. So we walked down the street, circled around and came back. In a golden moment, I breezed in the "out" door and Markie didn't. I felt bad, but — Bam! — there was Parlament-Funkadelic quote-unquote tearin' the roof off and how could I leave? Besides they were going to be done in five minutes, was the word. Five minutes later, I hustled towards the door to see if my old pal would ever forgive me, and happily bumped into him, having sweet-talked the door into a $5 cover. THAT was a feat, not me slipping in when nobody was looking.
Dag, what a night.
It's at first hard to understand why my old pal Mark Lindley and I remained ensconced at the bar while most everybody else in the place was converging around Stevie Wonder's table, a few yards away.
How's that for a lead? It's true, even.
Friday in New Orleans — Jazzfest was quite a bit more fun than I'd imagined it would be. Let me explain a minute — not always super-fond of gigantic crowds, drinking heavily and potentially being rained on, just to see — from a distance — some music dude or another.
I gotta give Jazzfest the props, though. Mostly, I think that would be due to a dizzying array of stages and an equally dizzying array of food. This is no cotton candy and hot dogs affair. I had jambalaya, gumbo, crawfish bread — hell, I had something called alligator pie. In fact, in the last two days, I've eaten a few critters not normally on the dinner table, if I include the jambalaya from thursday night with rabbit.
Back to jazzfest, though — beautiful mild day, rolling clouds, not too much sun. I love cloudy weather. It rained some. And while I'm not unaware of the irony of this kind of statement, I would say that this was the kindest rain I've ever seen. Almost as if the NOLA skies were gently saying "Okay, now, we're gonna rain for a minute; just a little drizzle, but we're gonna pour some, too, so why don't you shuffle on over and get under that tent? Okay? All right then… Like a kindly old uncle. " This kind of rain was a delight not a bother. Some sprinkles, while jumping up and down up front with several thousand others to the sights and sounds of Trombone Shorty. Got offered (and accepted) a slug of Bulleit from a fellow reveler who cheered me as a "jazzfest virgin." Thanks, doll!
Much wandering with and without Johnny, Susan, and Markie — later, we waded in and out of the the epic sea that was about to become Stevie Wonder's first Jazzfest appearance since the early 70s. It was too much, considering the many other stages, and the mounting trails of proto-mud that were forming. The crowd was vast and friendly. Jazzfest is full of a bunch of friendly faces.
Later, I decide to brave Stevie's latter set with a classic concert move: the out-flank. Johnny and Susan and I parted ways at the Jazz tent, and I wound around behind the stage and then filed in from the side, behind a string of troopers, and we wove and marched into at least 10,000 people, with many of them nicely to our rear. I wound up about 50 yards from the stage, center. Not bad, not bad.
Stevie Wonder, living legend. After directing an audience singalong of "Ribbon in the Sky," he lit the place up, under occasional showers, with "Don't You Worry 'Bout a Thing" (a personal favorite, yay) and then burned it down with "Sir Duke," among others. Great joy, indeed. There's something wonderful, and I suppose there's always been something wonderful, since Woodstock and much further back — about being square in the middle of 10,000 revelers. It's not the thing that I often aspire to, but united under the banner of "Signed, Sealed, Delivered," by this giant of feel-good music… well, it was hard not to, you know?
Later, back at the hotel, I discovered our decent internet signal and decided to try to scare up some "classic cocktail" New Orleans, a la my cocktail nerd blogging haunts. You know — a place where we could get a drink in a glass, instead of a plastic cup. Let's remember: The Museum of the American Cocktail is in New Orleans, right? Boy did we succed in spades. And eventually, this led to our sitting feet away from Stevie Wonder.
More on that next time.
At about 2:30 am last night, Markie and I were staggering around, headed past this club where the cartoon gods of funk, Parlament - Funkadelic were — of course — tearin' the roof off the Muthasucka. And we slipped right in. Okay, I did. Markie had to pay 5 bucks. For the closing 5 minutes of legendary funk? Priceless.