currently reading:: The Devil in the Kitchen by Marco Pierre White
Wild by Cheryl Strayed
Where Men Win Glory by Jon Krakauer
Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zaffon
Blood, Bones, and Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton
Pulphead, Essays by John Jeremiah Sullivan
In Between Days by Andrew Porter
Just My Type by Simon Garfield
Freedom, A Novel by Jonathan Franzen
Columbine by Dave Cullen
currently listening to...
Life [The Avett Brothers]
Highwayman [The White Buffalo]
Wolf [First Aid Kit]
Sorry [Trampled by Turtles]
The Blues [The DeCamp Sisters]
Her Locket on a Chain [Friendly Savages]
Not Worthy [Jack Savoretti]
Take Me Home, Country Roads [Brandi Carlile and Emmylou Harris]
Through My Prayers [The Avett Brothers]
Roots & Vine [Sons of Fathers]
Lying to You [Keaton Henson]
The Captain and the Hourglass [Laura Marling]
Mary [Patty Griffin]
Love Song #2 [The White Buffalo]
Lover of the Light [Mumford & Sons]
Beautiful [Trampled by Turtles]
Gold Boots Glitter [Wheeler Brothers]
Mama's Broken Heart [Miranda Lambert]...yep, I'm serious
Better Dig Two [The Band Perry]...nope, not kidding
currently listening to...
I Will Wait [Mumford & Sons]
Live and Die [The Avett Brothers]
Golden State [Eddie Vedder and Natalie Maines]
Hammer [Dry the River]
1957 [Milo Greene]
Long, Hard Road (Wheeler Brothers]
Little Talks [Of Monsters and Men]
Birds [Kopecky Family Band]
Stubborn Love [The Lumineers]
Victory [Trampled By Turtles]
Old Number Seven [The Devil Makes Three]
How Long [Cherryholmes]
The Old Home Place [J.D. Crowe and the New South]
The Wolves [Ben Howard]
Tennessee [Cory Chisel]
Small Hands [Keaton Henson]
currently listening to...
Old Mythologies [The Barr Brothers]
How the West Was Won [The White Buffalo]
Emmylou [First Aid Kit]
Little Toy Gun [HoneyHoney]
Weights & Measures [Dry the River]
This Girl [The Punch Brothers]
Ballad of a Dead Man [The White Buffalo]
Beggar in the Morning [The Barr Brothers]
Trippin' On Down [The Brothers Comatose]
Old School Friends [HoneyHoney]
Damned [The White Buffalo]
No Milk Today [Joshua James]
Get Up, Stand Up [Lizzie West]
Broken American [Dispatch]
When the Rose Blooms Again [Billy Bragg and Wilco]
A Few (Snarky) Notes About Last Night’s Grammys
OK…so I love award shows…and the Grammys are no exception. I’ve been several times in the past (once as a guest of a client and a few times as a VIP seat filler…it was pretty awesome…I sat next to Beyonce and Jay- Z, John Mayer, Green Day, Will I Am, Jamie Foxx, Kris Kristopherson…and way back when I actually sat in front of Justin and Britney when they were a couple). The great part about the Grammys is they are much more focused on putting on a good show…most of the awards are actually given out in the pre-show.
With the sad untimely death of Whitney Houston on Saturday afternoon I was sure they’d scramble to add something to honor her. The tone of the red carpet was more somber and LL Cool J started the show with a prayer for her. Many of the artists made mention of her talent and her too-soon passing while on stage. It was expected, but nice.
Here in no particular order are a few of the highlights (and many more lowlights) for last night’s show.
1. Adele…definitely a highlight. I’m not a huge Adele fan (which isn’t to say I don’t like her…I’m just not obsessed) but her voice is so beautiful and it was nice to see her back after her throat surgery late last year. I was also happy to see her take home all those awards (even though it meant Mumford and Sons turned up empty-handed). Sadly for everyone else with a great record/song/album this year, Adele just knocked everyone out. And her live performance was amazing.
2. Jennifer Hudson’s rendition of Whitney’s “I Will Always Love you” was beautiful and touching. She held it together, sounded great and looked even better.
3. Seriously Chris Brown? Not only did he get a VERY long time on stage to lip sync and dance all around, he actually performed in a medley later in the show. I’d say Chris Brown probably got about 7-8 minutes of screen time performing. Just three short years after he was arrested for beating Rhianna after the Grammys. Seriously?
4. The Civil Wars only got 60 seconds to sing a verse and the chorus of one of their songs…while introducing Taylor Swift? They won two Grammys last night (awesome!)…they should have been given a full performance time slot.
5. Too much lip syncing. I much prefer the straightforward music performances with live singing to these dumb over-acted lip synced numbers. (I’m looking at you, Nicki Minaj.)
6. What the fuck Nicki Minaj? Gaga called and she wants her crazy back.
7. What the fuck Gaga? Thank god you weren’t performing, but seriously with the outfit? I read on some other blog that someone referred to it as canned ham. Is that hot? You know what would be provocative and original? Wear a lovely dress with normal hair and makeup. That would get people talking.
8. Foo Fighters. As always, Dave Grohl and crew put on a great, real live show. And his speech after winning one of their Grammys about making real music and not using autotune was spot on…especially in light of all the lip syncing and autotune from some of the other artists.
9. What the fuck DJ with the digital mouse head? Is that really like seeing live music? I don’t get DJs, but I especially don’t get ones that you can’t even see who they are or what they are doing.
10. Skewer me if you want…but I have a soft spot for Taylor Swift. I don’t think she’s the best singer, but I really respect her for keeping her shit together through all this fame and for writing her own songs, playing her own instruments, and just being pretty mature for her age. (And while her voice isn’t strong and amazing…her songs are cute and catchy…I can see why millions of teenage girls love her.) Oh, and my brother’s friend from childhood plays bass in her band so I like seeing him up on stage. Question: was that song she was singing about Kanye West (“you’re just mean…”) or was it about John Mayer? Jake G? Inquiring minds want to know. (Update: read somewhere else that it’s about some music industry bigwig who said she can’t sing.)
11. I loved Fergie’s dress. Really. I didn’t think it was tacky or slutty…I actually thought it was sexy and cool.
12. LL Cool J did a good job hosting. And he was preaching at the beginning about Whitney…I see a future career for him…Reverend LL?
13. The Beach Boys gave me weird vibrations…wow Brian Wilson looked completely out of it, Mike Love was barely singing…and it was kind of a hot mess. Adam Levine did a good job, but that other indie band (Foster the People?) did not.
14. Paul McCartney, Foo Fighters, Chris Brown…all got to perform twice…where were Mumford? Avetts? More Civil Wars? Grrrrrrrr.
15. Sir Paul and his guitar buddies, including Bruce Springstein and Dave Grohl (wait…that makes three times onstage for Dave) brought it down at the end of the show.
16. Coldplay and Rhianna? Meh.
17. Katy Perry? Barf.
18. Kanye West was a no-show…despite winning two Grammys. Was he pre-pouting because he knew Adele was going to make a clean sweep? Why is he such a freaking puss?
19. Cute little Marcus Mumford and crew got a few camera shots for the awards they were nominated for, but sadly, they really didn’t stand a chance against Adele. I really just wished they had been allowed to play live. I reiterate: CHRIS fucking BROWN? TWICE?
20. Rest in Peace Whitney.
currently listening to...
Civilian [Wye Oak]
As I Lay My Head Down [Other Lives]
Wish It Was True [The White Buffalo]
The Way It Goes [Gillian Welch]
We Will All Be Changed [Seryn]
My Old Home [The Belle Brigade]
Now It's Your Turn [Deer Dick]
Portland [Middle Brother]
Black Moon [Wilco]
Somebody That I Used to Know [Gotye]
The Lion's Roar [First Aid Kit]
The Story I Heard [Blind Pilot]
Revolution Girls [Mariachi El Bronx]
Cats and Dogs [The Head and the Heart]
Beautiful World [Colin Hay]
I'm Going Down [Vampire Weekend]
Poison and Wine [The Civil Wars]
currently reading:: The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman
Life on the Line by Grant Achatz
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling
Just Kids by Patti Smith
The Long Goodbye by Meghan O'Rourke
The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Divisadero by Michael Ondaatje
Two Kisses for Maddy by Matthew Logelin
Rattled by Christine Coppa
Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls
Room by Emma Donoghue
a few things I’d like to do this year.
It’s a little late to be making new year’s resolutions, but it seems I’m getting a bit of a late start to the new year in general. I’m just realizing it’s January. And 2012. Ushering in the new year in Mexico, fun and tasty as it was, has left me a little out of sorts. And the last few weeks…doctor, birthday, work…have just felt like a blur. I’m not big on making a bunch of lofty, unrealistic goals…but here are 10 things I hope to keep mindful during this year.
1. Get back to a regular 4-5 day a week yoga practice. (My doctor has “grounded” me from yoga until at least February 1. Luckily I was able to put my membership on hold for a month.) It’ll be slow-going when I first go back because my stomach is still healing from the hernia surgery. The incision down my stomach is probably about 2 ½ inches and I definitely don’t want to do any harm to that area. But I’d like to get back to yoga…even if it’s easy classes at first. And then my goal is to be back to my regular, more difficult classes a few months later.
2. Plant an herb garden. I have no yard and really no space. But I do have a small landing outside my front door. I’d like to plant a small urban herb garden and maybe some tomatoes. I’m no green thumb, but it’s time I at least make the attempt.
3. Eat at one new (to me) restaurant each month (and blog about it, of course). LA has so many awesome places, it’s a shame to miss out on them by sticking around to the same-old, same-old in the South Bay. Cook at least one new dish each month. I’d like to get back into weekly cooking. And it’s about time I finally tackle beef bourguignon. Oh, and while we’re at it…I’d like to learn to cook a proper steak on the stove/oven. And cook more regularly with fish. (But not salmon…because I hate salmon. I know, it’s a shame and I’m missing out.)
4. While we’re on the subject of cooking and eating out…I’d also like to manage to lose another 25-30 lbs by the end of the year. I lost 30 from August 2011-January 2012. I turn 40 next January. So that’s 12 months to get myself in tip-top shape. Let’s usher in a new decade the way I did when I turned 20. Haaaa…a girl can dream.
5. Add regular walking/running to my weekly routine…even if only 2 days a week. It will help supplement the yoga and hopefully help me reach goal #4 a little bit easier. Besides, could I have a nicer place to run? Nope. I need to stop taking the strand for granted and get to running along the ocean.
6. Read more. I read a lot…so this one isn’t going to be very difficult for me to accomplish (hey, everyone has to have a few softball resolutions, right?).
7. Take a letterpress class. And start making my own cards. I’ve been wanting to do this for the last three years…this year I just need to make it happen.
8. Travel. Get back east (NY) to see friends from college. Get back south (SC) to see family and friends. Get to Austin to see Zeke at least twice. And maybe get back to one vacation spot…Hawaii? Tulum? I have a free ticket to Hawaii with miles. And likely a free place to stay for at least part of the time. So that might be more in line with my bank statement. But Tulum has sunken her claws into me and I really would like to get back there. If not this year, next.
9. While we’re talking about travel…I’d like to plan (or help plan) a fun 40th celebration for me and my friends who are also turning 40…maybe Santa Ynez? Maybe Kiawah or Sea Island…we could rent houses. Maybe someplace else. But I think it would be really fun to have a big group celebration.
10. Just realized I don’t have a music resolution. This one isn’t hard either…but I’d like to see more small shows…discover some new bands…see some old favorites…and maybe get back for Austin City Limits or the San Fran festival Outsidelands. Coachella is already sold out for two weekends…so that’s not really likely. But Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre are headlining the final night…so don’t count me out for trying to score a Sunday-only ticket. I’ve seen Snoop a handful of times, but never with Dre. That could be pretty fucking awesome.
11. And one for good luck. I’d like to figure out a way to honor my mother…either by starting to write that book I’ve been talking about for so long, by donating more money to cancer research and hospice or even just by continuing to spread her ashes in places I only wish she would have been able to go. The year anniversary of her passing is quickly approaching (February 11) and Zeke will be coming out here to be with me. We’re trying to think of a proper way to honor her memory on that day.
currently listening to...
Down in the Valley [The Head and the Heart]
I've Got This Friend [The Civil Wars]
When You Are Still [The David Wax Museum]
Bodies of Christ [Mariachi El Bronx]
Unfortunate Sea [Everest]
This Is the Thing [Fink]
Ariel Ramirez [Richard Buckner]
This Love [Julia Stone]
Heartbeats [Jose Gonzalez]
Coal War [Joshua James]
Florida Rain [Matt Bauer]
The Lowering [The Avett Brothers]
Maggie [Colin Hay]
January Hymn [The Decembrists]