Tag Archives: music

Live music!

Went to the first live show in more than eighteen months on Saturday! Saw Frank Turner’s acoustic show at XL Live in Harrisburg. He’s touring with Counting Crows as an opening act and doing smaller acoustic shows as headliner in between the larger stadium shows. I didn’t see him when Counting Crows played in DC – $200 was too much for a headliner I don’t really care for – so Harrisburg. The drive was fine, parking was plentiful and well-lighted.

The opening act was Nathan Gray, whose music I didn’t know, but I liked his show enough to go download some music.

The set list for Frank Turner (accompanied by Matt Nasir on mandolin) was a mix of old and new songs – 3 new songs from the upcoming album, a few from Be More Kind, a mix from other albums. The requests included two that I’ve never heard live despite having been to at least a dozen shows (My Kingdom for a Horse and Heartless Bastard Motherfucker). He ended with three staple songs, although I’ve never heard them played in this order: Recovery, Get Better, and I Still Believe. Thematically, they made sense together, although they are vastly different and come from different albums – he was talking about how despite doing “live” shows via YouTube and other video apps, it’s not the same as being in the room with people singing and dancing and providing a feedback loop.

My only knock is kind of nit-picky and not about the show itself. The venue required either proof of vaccine or a negative COVID test, which I appreciated, but maybe 1% of the crowd – pressed together and dancing and shouting song lyrics – wore masks. It’s going to be a long time before I’m comfortable being in a confined space with maskless strangers. Maybe never.

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I put you in that box, you’d better stay there

A few things have me pondering the boxes into which we fans and media consumers put (force?) artists with our expectations.

The BioChemist sent me this link last night, and reading it made me sad.  I wanted to hug PStump and tell him to ignore miserable people…but that is probably hard to do when people are actively searching you out to tell you they don’t like your new projects.  As someone who was extremely late to Fall Out Boy’s music, I like Folie a Deux better than a lot of listeners in part because it’s what I heard first.  His solo EP and album are both good, too, if very different from FOB. “Run Dry (x Hearts x Fingers)” and “Spotlight” are my particular favorites.

Going through my Google Reader backlog (1,000+ without a specific count? I don’t like that, Google, I want the count to remain specific), I found a bit on Stark Sands being cast as a young soldier in the new Coen brothers’ film.  Does he ever get tired of being cast as a soldier?  It’s work, and I’m sure actors always appreciate being employed and an opportunity to work with the Coens but that’s the third or fourth time, I think, between film and Broadway.

I saw “Wit” on Broadway over the weekend; Cynthia Nixon stars as Dr. Vivian Bearing, a terminal cancer patient narrating the end of her life.  How are we today is how the play opens and closes.  I was only familiar with Nixon as a member of the cast of Sex and the City; the few episodes I’ve seen left me less than impressed and made me feel ambivalent about seeing Wit on stage.  But I loved the HBO movie version with Emma Thompson and really wanted to see the revival, so…  Nixon was outstanding, and it would have been a shame to miss that performance based on my own prejudices about another role she’d played, and the box I’d put her acting career in.  The Q&A after the show was interesting, too.

Also saw “Venus in Fur”, which left me feeling a little ambivalent.  Nina Arianda (good physical comedy and voice/accent) and Hugh Dancy (English & American accents, great chemistry w/ Arianda) were excellent, but 1) the theater was freezing, which was distracting, and 2) I’m not sure what the play was about other than the obvious gender and dominant/submissive explorations. Who is Vanda really?  And now I’m going to want to read Venus in Furs, the book upon which the fictional play within the play is based.

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February 29, 2012 · 9:33 pm

Drive by

+  Went to the Outer Banks for the first time, just for a few days, Thursday – Saturday.  Some friends from work who go annually invited me to stay with them in Nags Head.  Took the scenic route (301 to 17) rather than 95/64, which was what Google Maps kept trying to make me drive.  The scenic route probably added a half hour to the trip, but the landscape was gorgeous and the road was empty for the most part.  The house had four bedrooms, plenty of space.  Enjoyed the beach in the morning, followed by a walk to Sonic for Cherry-Limeade, then lunch at the house and playing in  the pool all the afternoon.  On Friday, the wind was up and the surf was high; right in front of us, a guy was knocked over and out by the waves.  It took five people to drag him to shore, and he didn’t regain consciousness before the EMTs arrived and strapped him to a back board and took off for the hospital.  It didn’t look like he was breathing at first.   I hope he’s okay.  Other than that, I enjoyed the trip and the company, and would absolutely go back.

+  Went to the Legg Mason Tennis Classic today to see the singles and doubles final.  The doubles team I was rooting for (Michael Llodra and Nenad Zimonjic) came back to force a tie break in the second set and then won the match in a super tie break \o/.  On the singles front, I didn’t really care who won. Radek Stepanek is kind of a spoiler, I think — he hangs around and surprises people.  And Gael Monfils (#1 seed) is kind of flaky — he’s got loads of talent but you never know who’ll show up, the serious player or the circus clown who’s more interested in trick shots and acrobatics than the game.  I bailed during the (first?) rain delay, when Stepanek was up 4-2; I’d been out in the sun and heat for 4+ hours and was feeling dizzy and disoriented despite drinking 2 liters of water during that period, needed shade and AC.

+  Have not read much in the last week.  Just “Prove It” by Chris Owen, which I’ll probably blog about tomorrow for SBD.

+  Do I need to see Patrick Stump next week?  I want to, but is it necessary?

+  I’ve gotten my assignment for the fandom fic exchange I signed up for.  The prompt belongs to the person whose fan fiction sets the bar for my OTP, so I’m feeling somewhat intimidated.


Filed under Out and about, travel

In an effort to get beyond the bad mood

+  The grass at Wimbledon in the opening rounds is gorgeous, no brown patches yet.  I can’t remember, did I ever post any of the photos I took when I visited last year?  Ironically, the tour stopped on Court 18 so we could see a court at eye level and touch the grass (no pulling) — this was, of course, four months before the historic Isner/Mahut match.  (Which was a long match, but wouldn’t necessarily be on my list of "great" matches.)  Fernando  managed to dig himself out of a hole and win in five against Radek Stepanek.  Sam Stosur seemed to have left her serve and her forehand and her entire game in Australia, and went out early.  Daveeeed won in straight sets.  \o/  

+  If you have a subscription to the NY Times, check out Christopher Clarey’s pieces on the differences between the racquets of the top four players.  And his other writing, too, of course.  And Tignor over at tennis.com; I like his writing enough that I’ve got his MacEnroe/Borg book, High Strung, TBR despite the fact that I can’t stand MacEnroe and have to put him on mute whenever he’s commenting (read: bloviating) for a match.

+ \o/ for the IASPR conference coming up.  Must print the schedule and double check reservations and also make sure to sign up for the group dinner on Monday.

+  Ordered a retirement gift for the retiring boss.  Who is also my friend and whom I’ll continue to see outside work.  But still.

+  B&N posted a net loss last quarter, despite an increase in sales.  I’ll be interested in reading their SEC filings.

+  I read Josh Lanyon’s Come Unto These Yellow Sands, which I really enjoyed.  The recovering addict hero may be my favorite of his narrators to date, which is a little surprising to me for a variety of reasons, mostly related to real-life issues that don’t need to be rehashed here.  I pre-ordered it and then forgot about it, and it appeared on my Kindle when I turned it on the other day.  I’ve been sort of "off" Lanyon lately, because the last couple books I tried, historicals, didn’t really work for me.  His contemporaries work much better for me.  It’s a little odd, since it’s the same voice and writing style.  Maybe the problem is my approach to reading the historicals and my general lack of interest in noire?  The historicals do seem noire-ish or noire-lite to me.  Or maybe I’m confusing eras and styles.

+  Attempted to read an Ellora’s Cave book.  It came well-recommended by a GLBT review website that I need to just delete from my Google Reader.  But it was set in New Zealand and had professional rugby players as protagonists, which was what interested me.  Still, the price was ridiculous, the length extremely short and the plot and writing elementary.  Waste of a good potential story line.  Eh, just a reminder to myself to not attempt EC books and to completely ignore the "reviews" and use that website as a a publishing/release info resource only.

+  I forgot to mention:  I got a concert call last week!  Panic! playing "Carry On My Wayward Son".  It was awesome!


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Coming soon:  a review of Hello Kitty Must Die by Angela S.Gina Choi.  In short: it was awesome.  Longer version later.

Check out Steve Tignor’s love letter to Madrid.  Between that and FortyDeuce‘s tweets, I’ve been wishing I was in Madrid this week, enjoying the tennis and Retiro Park and stopping for a tart or sweet from La Mallorquina in the Puerta del Sol.

The Dairy Queen commercial for ice cream cakes for Mother’s Day seriously squicks me — it’s the bubbles filled with kittens.  They remind me of a scene in Bujold’s Cetaganda, in which that idiot Ivan plucks fruit from a kitten tree, only to realize that since it wasn’t ripe, he’d essentially killed a fetal kitten.  Ick ick ick.  There’s a lot of subtext and ethical undercurrents to the Cetagandan genetic manipulation and scientific experiments, but that image of a dead kitten made me ill when I first read it.  I have to skip that scene when I re-read the book.

Have I mentioned how much I like Panic’s The Ballad of Mona Lisa?  Also, I have a ticket (via The Biochemist) for their show as part of the DC101 cook-off/festival at RFK in a couple of weeks…but it turns out I have a graduation party at the same time 😦


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a steady diet of sodapop

So…how was your Easter/Pascal weekend?

Mine was *fine*. I have no religion, so I didn’t realize when I booked tickets to New York that it was a holiday weekend. Eh.

Good theater:

Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. A good adaptation of the original film.

The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with the a Key to the Scriptures. Uh, this play really enjoyed showing how smart its characters were. It could use some editing IMO…although it’s not as if I’m a learned theater critic, so what do I know? The story is centered around a Clinton family who gather to discuss their father’s future: he wants to commit suicide, and has attempted it once before. All families are screwed up, and this one seems like a hot mess. Infidelity, money problems, mommy and daddy issues, etc. The cast is excellent and they give some amazing performances. The father was a little too much for me, and the introspection and angst could’ve been cut some, but still pretty good.

Avenue Q. Apparently we’re all a little bit racist. And the Internet is for porn.

American Idiot. The final show. I think I’ve said before that I like Van Hughes’ Johnny better than John Gallagher Jr’s. The new Will’s voice is stronger than Will Esper’s, but he kind of freaked me out with his huge eyes and intensity, which didn’t really suit stoner/loser Will’s lackadaisical attitude. New Tunny’s voice blended well with Van’s. His tattoos were a little different too. And Gerard Canonico rocked the kettle drums in "Whatsername". And then. Then a Green Day concert broke out. They played for an hour, and all the cast joined them on stage, including most of the original cast who’ve already moved on. (Stark Sands, please lose the flannel; hipster fashion needs to let go of it.)

ETA:  how did I never notice Gerard Canonico and Alysha Humphress shotgunning during Jesus of Suburbia?  And I missed the old Favorite Son’s pull ups as he slides out the window for his song, although the new Favorite Son’s pec dance clearly pleased the crowd.  And Bust magazine was what Heather packed into her diaper bag during Too Much Too Soon?  Cool. And finally, I know what was written on all the pink flyers Whatsername tossed:  LOVE HAPPENED HERE.

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Today’s mish mash

+  Green Day’s "Awesome as ****" live album lives up to the title and is awesome as….  I’ve got the new Soundgarden and Panic! albums to listen to, too, now, based on The Biochemist’s recommendations.  Tuesday really was Super Tuesday in terms of music releases, wasn’t it?

+  The US-Spain Davis Cup tie will be played in Austin!  Road trip!  Tickets go on sale April 4th.  As soon as prices and availability are released, I’ll be number crunching the budget to see how much PBJ I’ll be eating to go 🙂

+  Dear Big Name NY Pubbed Romance Author:  what the hell is "desert-style zero-scaping"?  Do you mean xeriscaping?  

+  RIP Elizabeth Taylor.  I didn’t really *get* you as an actress, but I appreciated your Hollywood Grande Dame status and your AIDS charity work.  Your jewelry was pretty cool, too.

+  Galley Cat linked to this essay about being a book hoarder, which makes me stop and take stock.  Because I do have a hard time letting go of any book once it has made its way onto a shelf in my home or office.  Except maybe statutory supplements that are updated annually, it’s easy to dump them in the office library’s recycling bin.

+  It’s ridiculous how appreciation for a particular actor will make you watch a television show that is otherwise not to your taste.  For instance, I try to watch Mr. Sunshine sometimes because I  ♥  Allison Janey.  

+  I’ve now given up Chick-Fil-A’s sweet tea and waffle fries because of this. (Courtesy of @redrobinreader, after I mentioned that I liked the tea but not the non-stop christian pop.) They were my "errands done" reward.  CFA won’t miss the little bit of revenue I put in their pockets nearly as much as I’ll miss the sweet tea (why do so few places serve it and even fewer make it right?), I’m sure.

+  Daffodils are blooming everywhere.  Which means spring is here.  But is also awesome just because daffodils are such happy, cheerful flowers.


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Random whining

Registration for #RWA11 opened today, and it seemed like everyone on my Twitter feed was registering and booking their hotel room or debating registering. I felt all D: because I’m not going. I don’t actually care about the conference, per se: I’m not a writer or an aspiring writer so a lot of the workshops aren’t relevant to me except in an academic sort of way; I don’t need the free books — given the size of my TBR, more free books would be ridiculous. But. But the people! So many people I "know" via Twitter or other online venues are going to be there! And I’m going to miss the opportunity to meet them!

Poking around, checking for new releases to buy or pre-order, I have not found much of interest. SEP has a new book out today that appears to be well-liked by the rom-reading community, but I stopped reading her several books ago, and even if I were inclined to give her a second or third chance, the price of the ebook is ridiculous. February doesn’t seem to have many great offerings either: the exceptions are the new In Death book and Carla Kelly’s inspirational (which I’m kind of ambivalent about). Jaci Burton’s Play by Play will be out in early February, too, and it is one book that has been completely sold by the cover art. Call me shallow.

My reading slump seems to have accelerated. It’s the 18th of the month and I’ve only read three books. Three!  The only thing that is remotely like a silver lining is that since I’ve read so little, it’s been relatively easy to post about each book.

Erin Brockovich (of movie and class action fame) is now writing fiction? Legal(ish) suspense? Uh, okay. The curiosity factor might make me pick it up at the bookstore, but the hardback format would have me either skimming it in the store or waiting for a used copy from Paperbackswap.

The Biochemist broke my brain. Or caused me to break my brain, depending on how you look at it. We were exchanging emails about a potential fic for me to write when the conversation veered into the NYC pop/punk music scene of the late 90s. Ray Person + Gabriel Saporta = brain exploding.  Just the thought of the pair of them with their pimp shades…I can’t even.

Dear Melissa Etheridge, I’d love to see you as St. Jimmy on Broadway during your one week run in February, but I don’t think it’ll happen due to scheduling issues.  This makes me very, very sad, because I think you’ll rock the dissolute, seductive, threatening St. J. in a way that’s completely different from Tony Vincent and Billie Joe Armstrong’s presentations of the character.


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Oh, hey, look at the shiny pretty

I have a book review of sorts to post later for SBD, but first, I wanted to share some links and videos.

Er, also, today is the deadline for AAR’s Top 100 voting.  I couldn’t be arsed to list 100 books.  Really, I get lost after the first 20 or so.  But it’s always interesting to see what other people through were the best of romance to date.  When the list is published, I’ll give my opinion book by book, just to compare my taste with the standard/average reader taste.

Now, onto the links and videos.

First, okay, government cheese, yes, whatever, plus the farm subsidy, which needs to be seriously reconsidered.  But now the federal government is pushing the consumption of even more cheese?  

Second, courtesy of Bill in Exile, is this very funny video explaining the Fed’s retarded fiscal policy, quantitative easing.

Next, a while ago TBC and I discussed how we preferred different versions of songs, live vs. album vs. covered by others.  For example, Green Day’s Whatshername on the album is pretty good but not my favorite song and the version of the cast album is ~meh~ to me.  And yet I love this version from the AOL Sessions (despite all the guyliner John Gallagher Jr. is sporting):

And last, seriously, would you ever guess that this guy was a governor?

Photo courtesy of Midnight Sun.
His band, O’Malley’s March, played local gigs before his political career kicked into high(ish) gear, first as mayor of Baltimore then governor of Maryland.  I heard on the radio that last year they played at the Baltimore Irish Festival, so I’m assuming they still fit some performances in with the busy gubernatorial schedule. 


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Generation observations about American Idiot on Broadway

The audience for American Idiot was very different compared to A Life in the Theatre. As The Biochemist said, blue haired in an entirely different way. Although the audience for ALitT wasn’t actually that old — I’d say average age was 30s, while AI was probably 20s. There was a sizable population of parents dragged to the show by teens.

Billie Joe Armstrong was playing the role of St. Jimmy for a week while Tony Vincent was away. I heard a couple people in the crowd wondering if he’d do all four weekend shows. Announced at beginning, very casually: btw, the role of St Jimmy, usually played by Tony Vincent, will be played by BJA today –> humongous roar.

Set design was excellent. I’m told that it may be derivative of Rent, but since I haven’t seen that show, it seemed original and cool to me. Love the band on stage. The trapeze that was used in the opening, when the entire cast sang "American Idiot"? I couldn’t figure out if/how it was going to be used, but it worked really well for Tunny’s dream/delirium scene.

Stark Sands as Tunny, in uniform –> character confusion for me b/c uniformed Sands = Nate Fick in Generation Kill. TBC pointed out that Tunny is a very angry character (and Sands’ body language conveys that pretty well), while Fick was frustrated rather than angry. Beyond the uniform, the very buttoned up polo at the beginning of the show contributed to my Tunny/Fick confusion, because Fick is a pretty buttoned downed character. Although, yes, Tunny seemed much angrier, or at least angry in an undirected way vs mad at the idiocy of command.

Was sitting orchestra right, so couldn’t see BJA til he started down the stairs but could tell when he appeared because of the roar. He’s smaller than he looks on tv and in photographs, skinnier, wirier. The squeals when he took off his shirt at the end were kind of surprising, TBH. His St. Jimmy was not as dark or imposing as Tony Vincent’s looks (based on pics and reviews — haven’t seen his performance), it’s more the devil on your shoulder, egging you on to things that are bad for you. Seductive, kind of.

The music. I liked the original American Idiot album, but I LOVE the cast recording of the show’s soundtrack, which includes songs from AI and also 21st Century Breakdown. The choral sound appeals, especially "21 Guns". Which is weird, because I associate choral music with religious music, which I don’t care for. The encore performance of "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)" with the entire cast singing and playing guitar was pretty cool.

Was it weird for BJA to be on stage and to sing but to *not* sing lead vocals on most of the songs, but to wait for St. Jimmy’s parts?

Apparently, the cast usually hangs out after the show and signs autographs. I didn’t hang around to find out. The crowd hanging around for BJA was ridiculous: literally, they blocked the exits from the theater, crowding the sidewalk, waiting for a chance to see him get into the waiting SUV. NYPD was there, forcing people to NOT stand in the street, which led to a complete blockage of the sidewalk to the point that people in the theater who just wanted out couldn’t get out.

Anyway, I’d’ve gone to see it again while in town but for other tickets and plans. The other tickets were to Mamet’s A Life in the Theatre with Patrick Stewart and T.R. Knight. It’s a two man show, a comedy, with multiple plays within the play, following the relationship of an older theater actor and a newcomer. Quite funny, although I was a little unthrilled with the casual misogyny of Robert in a couple of scenes. Biggest giggle for me: the barre scene in which Captain Picard works on stretches in first position while wearing black tights and purple leg warmers.


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