28 September 2007

Mix Tape Friday: All Along the Mix Tape

I spent my week coasting on a Bob Dylan high — so we have to do Bob Dylan cover mix this week. I thought this would be easy since everyone covers Bob. Finding the songs was no problem. The problem was whittling down the list to (at first) a manageable thirty … which quickly moved up to forty … and, finally, nearly fifty songs. That’s a lot of songs for this weekly post. But I swear I cut a lot of songs so I wouldn’t crash MyDataBus again.

Just look at this varied list of artists: rock and country stars, punkers and alt-banders, jazz vocalists and R&B stars — even some of the best damn songwriters out there. As Warren Zevon says at the beginning of his live track, “Well, this is the reason why I’m here.” I could have gone the way of Olivia Newton John and Cher, but they were moved to the Nope folder to make room for Richard Hell and XTC.

Crank the knob and sing loudly today. These lyrics deserve a lot of volume.

Bingo Hand Job: You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere

George Harrison: If Not for You

Stevie Wonder: Blowin’ in the Wind

Paul Westerberg: Positively 4th Street

Nick Drake: Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright

Nanci Griffith: Boots of Spanish Leather

Cowboy Junkies: If You Gotta Go, Go Now

Elvis Costello + Bob Dylan: I Shall Be Released

John Lennon + Ringo Starr: Subterranean Homesick Blues

The Rolling Stones: Like a Rolling Stone

Mavis Staples: Gotta Serve Somebody

Them feat. Van Morrison: It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue

Isaac Hayes: Lay Lady Lay

Madeleine Peyroux: You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go

Warren Zevon: Dark Eyes

Steve Earle: My Back Pages

Roger McGuinn: It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)

Robyn Hitchcock: Not Dark Yet

Buffalo Tom: She Belongs to Me

The Beatles: Rainy Day Woman No. 12 & 35

Neil Young: Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues *

Tin Machine: Maggie’s Farm

XTC: All Along the Watchtower **

Bryan Ferry: A Hard Rain’s A’Gonna Fall

White Stripes: One More Cup of Coffee

Bruce Springsteen: The Times They Are A’Changin’

Nina Simone: Just Like a Woman

Yo La Tengo: I Threw It All Away

P.J. Harvey: Highway 61 Revisited

Johnny Cash: It Ain’t Me, Babe

R.L. Burnside: Everything Is Broken

The O’Jays: Emotionally Yours (R&B version)

Janis Joplin: Dear Landlord

Jimi Hendrix: Drifter’s Escape

Guns N’ Roses: Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door

Red Hot Chili Peppers: Subterranean Homesick Blues

Pearl Jam: Masters of War

Richard Hell: Going Going Gone

Jason & The Scorchers: Absolutely Sweet Marie

Cat Power: Paths of Victory

Uncle Tupelo: Moonshiner

The Waterboys: Girl of the North Country

Townes Van Zandt: Man Gave Names to All the Animals

Thea Gilmore: I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine

Nico: I’ll Keep It with Mine

Emmylou Harris: When I Paint My Masterpiece

Buddy + Julie Miller: Wallflower

The Byrds: Chimes of Freedom

* Thank you, Haahnster
** And thank you, Occasionally Beloved Engineer

I tried to mix it up with this Bobfest mix tape — different genres, unexpected covers, one appearance per song (except for “Subterranean Homesick Blues”; the two versions here are so different, I decided to break my own rule) and artist (except for a couple of band and solo appearances). No reggae, since I freakin’ hate reggae, but otherwise a good mix of genres.

There are so many great Bob Dylan covers out there. I’m interested in what are some of your favorites. He has such a massive, majestic catalog, you may not even realize he wrote that song you love so much by that band.

If you enjoyed this Bobfest, join me in counting the days until Oct. 30. The I’m Not There soundtrack has an amazing lineup of artists covering Dylan: Jeff Tweedy and Stephen Malkmus, Eddie Vedder and Sufjan Stevens, Cat Power and Iron & Wine, Sonic Youth and Yo La Tengo, Tom Verlaine and John Doe, The Hold Steady and The Black Keys, Glen Hansard and Markta Irglov — and many more. Several of the acts are backed by Million Dollar Bashers — Sonic Youth's Lee Ranaldo and drummer Steve Shelley, Tom Verlaine on guitar, Wilco guitarist Nels Cline, guitarist Smokey Hormel, keyboardist John Medeski, and Dylan bassist Tony Garnier. That lineup, my friends, is the definition of awesomenisity.

Bingo Hand Job, who opens this set, is R.E.M. with Billy Bragg and Robyn Hitchcock. Longtime friends, they did a couple of surprise shows at the Borderline, in London, in March 1991 — one of the best bootleg CDs I own. Fantastic, fun show.

Nina Simone is probably my favorite artist who interpreted Bob Dylan’s songs. It was tough, very tough, deciding which one to include her. Her versions of “The Times They Are A'Changin'” and “Some of Tom Thumb’s Blues” are a-freakin’-mazing — but her “Just Like a Woman” is a personal favorite. Do yourself a favor and grab Nina Simone’s greatest hits. Lawd, did she have a voice …

“Lay Lady Lay” always makes me giggle because hearing it never fails to conjure that “Saturday Night Live” skit with Fran Tarkenton trying to seduce Lorraine Newman, with Bob Dylan’s version playing and statistics on his incomplete passes. I think Isaac Hayes’ cover was influenced by that skit.

I included Robyn Hitchcock covering "Not Dark Yet" (one of my favorite Dylan tunes). Robyn sang it live — lovely and lovingly — when I saw him in Baltimore last November. This version isn't as good as the live version; anyone have a copy of Robyn singing it live?

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26 September 2007

The Gall of That Bladder!

My sister had her gall bladder removed last week. Twenty years ago, this would have been major surgery. Last week it was an outpatient laparoscopic procedure.

That still astounds me. A few holes were cut into her abdomen … her gall bladder was removed … and she was home by lunch hour.

I lucked out with the Tuesday Nightingale shift, while her husband went to the office. It was a tough shift, including laborious tasks such as sitting with her on the deck, watching the TiVO’ed Oprah/Letterman interview together, talking to the dog and cat, reading and chatting and laughing and napping. Spending time with the sister is always fun.

Hanging with the sister: the early years. I’m on the right.

Having a gall bladder removed is almost a rite of passage among the Coffey clan. My dad had his removed, as did his mother and a brother (and possibly his sister; she can’t remember), and a couple of my cousins.

So, the sister no longer has a gall bladder. With our family history, I stand a chance of losing the organ, so I think it’s time for us to learn just what that li’l ol’ pear-shaped organ does. Thanks to Google, we can all hit biology class while slaving away at our office desks.

The gall bladder stores bile, a fluid made by your liver to digest fat. As your stomach and intestines digest food, your gall bladder releases bile through a tube called the common bile duct. The duct connects your gall bladder and liver to your small intestine.

Your gall bladder is most likely to give you trouble if something blocks the flow of bile through the bile ducts. That is usually a gallstone. Gallstones form when substances in bile harden. Gallstone attacks usually happen after you eat. Signs of a gallstone attack may include nausea, vomiting, or pain in the abdomen, back, or just under the right arm.

Fortunately, the gall bladder is an organ that you can live without. Bile has other ways to reach your small intestine.

Pop quiz: Can you find the gall bladder? Bonus points if you can name all parts — without Googling, of course.

Your Digestive System

The sister’s stitches were removed this morning, and she’s thriving. I wish she’d have something else removed; I like hanging out on her deck all day.

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24 September 2007

Thunder on the Arena

I can finally check another one off my list. I saw Bob Dylan — for the first time, if you can believe it — Saturday night at Gwinnett Arena.

I’ve always wanted to see Bob Dylan. How can you not love his music? There isn’t a songwriter better than him — hell, there are few twentieth (or twenty-first) century poets better than him when it comes to stringing together lovely words. I’ve never made it to the box office, though, because of his reputation for on-stage iffiness. The push this time came in the form of his opener: Elvis Costello. The second I heard the bill, I knew this was my time to finally see Dylan. I got floor seats for the niece and me, and started counting the days.

Due to technical difficulties ranging from someone meeting up from tickets to deadly highway accidents, we sadly (so, so sadly) missed Amos Lee. I was out in the parking lot, drinking a beer, when I could have been inside grooving. I’m sorry, Jewgirl.

The crowd was, understandably, interesting: aging hippies and hip yuppies, young kids and old fogies. I saw as much gray hair as green, bald heads and faux-hawked tops.

I’ve seen Elvis many times over the last thirty years, and he has yet to disappoint me. I was interested in seeing him as an opening act since he’s always been a headliner in my world.

It was a great set — just Elvis (his first solo outing in more than a decade) and unplugged (with the occasional plugged) guitars, working his dark suit with black dress shirt and tie (Mr. Costello always has style on stage, my dears). My favorite number was “Radio Sweetheart,” which faded into “Jackie Wilson Said.” Love it when Mr. Costello does that.

Elvis Costello’s Setlist

(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes
Either Side of the Same Town
Down Among the Wine and Spirits
The River in Reverse
Less Than Zero
Radio Sweetheart/Jackie Wilson Said
Alison/In Another Room
Peace, Love, and Understanding

One complaint: The lame-ass folks sitting on the floor with us didn’t stand or dance for one frickin’ song; the dorks behind us even yelled at us to sit down. How can you sit during “Red Shoes” or “Peace, Love, and Understanding”?

Okay, another complaint: Forty minutes just isn’t enough to stroke my Elvis jones, but it’s better than no Costello at all, I guess. And it has been more than a year since I’ve seen him perform, so I should just quit whining, shouldn’t I?

We had a nice little break between Costello and Dylan — enough time to flirt with the cute Savannah guys next to us, get a T-shirt, grab a beer. We hit the floor as soon as Dylan hit the stage, so we danced in the back for a couple of songs …until it was suggested that we find our seats.

Dylan was rocking the Texas hat and garb — and he wears it well. He doesn’t allow Jumbo-trons, so I didn’t get a close look, but I think even Tim Gunn would have approved.

The niece said it best: Dylan sounded a lot like Boomhauer on the first couple of songs, but his voice got stronger and clearer as the set went on … well, as much as his voice can. His band was great, adding a lot of Texas swing to some tunes (the best of these was “Summer Days”).

Dylan played electric guitar on the first three songs, then spent the rest of the show playing keyboard, with the occasional harp thrown in (to wild applause every time).

Bob Dylan’s Setlist

Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat
Don't Think Twice, It's All Right
Watching the River Flow
Just Like a Woman
Rollin' and Tumblin'
Spirit on the Water
Ballad of Hollis Brown
Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again
Honest with Me
Workingman's Blues #2
Highway 61 Revisited
Nettie Moore
Summer Days
Masters of War

Thunder on the Mountain
All Along the Watchtower

Nobody stood or danced during Costello’s set … but they all stood and danced (as much as you can, anyway) during most of Dylan’s show.

A lifetime without live Dylan now fulfilled. He was great — the ubers around us rated the show an eight — and I’ll see him again. We didn’t get "Things Have Changed" or Jack White, but we got cute T-shirts and cuter Savannah boys.

Security was very strict about cameras, even cell phones — so you won’t get to enjoy some of my crappy concert photography with this post. One of the CSBs got some great shots when he went to the sixth row … but he has yet to send them.

So, to summarize: Costello, good. Dylan, good. Saturday night, great!

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23 September 2007

Drunk Squirrel in the Middle of the Yard

As you may remember, I hate squirrels. But even a cold-hearted hater can be charmed by a drunken rodent.

Stolen from the sometimes squirrelly, rarely drunk (and much adored) Crusher.

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21 September 2007

Mix Tape Friday: Dance This Mess Around

The weather’s fab … it’s Friday … MyDataBus is running again … so let’s just dance this mess around.

The B-52’s: Dance This Mess Around
Cameo: Word Up
The Rolling Stones: If I Was a Dancer (Pt. 1)
The Clash: The Magnificent Seven
The Farm: Groovy Train
N.E.R.D.: She Wants to Move
Temptations: I Can’t Get Next to You
Prince: My Name Is Prince
The Jam: Town Called Malice
Iggy Pop: Lust for Life
R.E.M.: Revolution
Elvis Presley: Rubberneckin' (2003 Remix)
Salt-N-Pepa: Push It
Michael Jackson: Don’t Stop ‘til You Get Enough
Justin Timberlake: Sexyback
Curtis Mayfield: Move on Up
Duran Duran: The Reflex
Marvin Gaye: Got to Give It Up (Pt. 1)
Roots feat. Cody Chesnutt: Seed 2.0
Elvis Costello: Pump It Up
Edwin Starr: 25 Miles
Bar-Kays: Soul Finger
De La Soul: Me Myself and I
Soup Dragons: Pleasure
Isley Brothers: Fight the Power (Pt. 1 & 2)
Wiseguys: Start the Commotion
T. Rex: 20th Century Boy
Ohio Players: Lover Rollercoaster
KC & The Sunshine Band: Boogie Shoes
David Bowie + Mick Jagger: Dancing in the Street
Beck: The New Pollution
Sly & The Family Stone: Dance to the Music
Young MC: Bust a Move

UPDATE: Because I strive to keep my readers (listeners?) happy, here are today’s toe-tapping tunes, zipped into one file. Download away, Moxie!

What are some of your favorite dance tunes?

I totalled my Toyota while car-dancing to "The Seed 2.0," so that song will always hold a special place in my heart.

Of all his songs, “My Name Is Prince” is my favorite, because Prince is funky. Great beat; you can dance to it! And I love his self-love lyrics: In the beginning God made the sea / But on the 7th day he made me / He was tryin' to rest y'all when He heard the sound / Sound like a guitar cold gettin' down / I tried to bust a high note, but I bust a string / My God was worried 'til he heard me sing.

What’s up with Iggy Pop? As a father of punk, he needs to set standards — but there seems to be a new commercial with one of Iggy’s songs every few months. Those Carnival Cruise ads have nearly ruined “Lust for Life” for me — but I still love to dance to it — and it gave us our beloved Johnny Yen his nom de blog. There’s a Cadillac ad, isn’t there? And now there’s an ad using “The Passenger.” Interesting to see which ad agency snags “I Wanna Be Your Dog” — maybe Petsmart or eHarmony?

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19 September 2007

It's Hard to Be a Saint in the City

Don't you just love it when one of your favorite music heroes does something heroic?

From the Associated Press:

NEW ORLEANS - David Bowie has donated $10,000 to a legal defense fund for six black teens charged in an alleged attack on a white classmate in the tiny central Louisiana town of Jena.

The British rocker's donation to the Jena Six Legal Defense Fund was announced by the NAACP as thousands of protesters were expected to march through Jena on Thursday in defense of Mychal Bell and five other teens. The group has become known as the Jena Six.

"There is clearly a separate and unequal judicial process going on in the town of Jena," Bowie said Tuesday in an e-mail statement. "A donation to the Jena Six Legal Defense Fund is my small gesture indicating my belief that a wrongful charge and sentence should be prevented."

Bell was found guilty on second-degree battery charges June 28 by a six-member, all-white jury. Before the case was overturned by the state 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal, his sentencing had been set for Thursday.

The court said Bell, who was 16 at the time of the alleged December 2006 beating, shouldn't have been tried as an adult.

The Rev. Al Sharpton, who helped organize the march, planned to do his syndicated radio show from Alexandria on Wednesday, then travel about 35 miles to Jena in an attempt to visit Bell, who remains in jail because he is unable to post $90,000 bond. Sharpton says he expects more than 10,000 marchers.

"We are gratified that rock star David Bowie was moved to donate to the NAACP's Jena campaign," National Board of Directors Chairman Julian Bond of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said in a statement. "We hope others will join him."

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16 September 2007

Master Blasted Under the Stars Above

I see a lot of concerts every year, running the gamut of genres: indie bands, heroes from my New Wave days, favorites from my seventies youth. I’m easily impressed with and thrilled by a live show — but only a handful leave me dancing and singing and giggling for days. I experienced one of those live shows Friday night when I saw Stevie Wonder at Chastain Park Amphitheater.

I’ve stated that, next to post-punk and New Wave, R&B from the seventies is one of my favorite music genres. Al Green has always ridden at the crest of that wave for me … but he was unseated Friday night around 9:10. I’ve always loved Stevie Wonder, but his show left me with awe and adulation. My friends and I are still gushing about the show. It was, hands down, the best show I’ve seen all year — knocking Glenn Tilbrook’s January show and Wilco’s June show off the top of the 2007 list. In fact, this show may have been one of the five best I’ve seen in aughts.

I had a rough, stressful week — and struggled all day Friday to stave off the bad mood that wanted to take over my mind. I indulged a bit in the grumps — it was storming, we were going to an outdoor concert, and crap just kept hitting the fan. But I wasn’t going to give in. Stopping by Publix on the way to the show to get wine and munchines (our amphitheater is one of those wine-and-cheese joints), the store started playing Stevie’s “If You Really Loved Me” — and the nastiness in my mood evaporated. I loudly sang along, dancing with my cart up and down the aisles like we were in the “Soul Train” line. I was ready for Stevie.

We hit the amphitheater about an hour before the show, giving us time to carb up on pasta salad and hummus and cookies, marinating our dancing selves with red wine. We were ready for the show.

Stevie (led on stage by his daughter, Aisha Morris) opened the show by explaining he was touring in honor of his mother, who died in 2006. It was a lovely tribute to the woman who, as he explained, wasn’t going to let his blindness leave him blind to the world. He then sat at the piano and played “Love’s in Need of Love Today” — just Stevie and his piano. His band slipped on during the song, and kicked off one helluva great show. Two-plus hours of a show, without a break.

It’s hard to read the notes I wrote in the dark (yeah, I’m one of those nerds who jots down the setlist for the blog), but I think this is accurate:

Love's in Need of Love Today
Too High
Living in the City
Master Blaster (Jammin’)
Higher Ground
Golden Lady
Ribbon in the Sky (with India.Arie)
Can’t Imagine Love Without You
Don't You Worry 'bout a Thing
You and I
How Will I Know (with Aisha Morris)
Signed, Sealed, Delivered
Signed, Sealed, Delivered: The Country Version
My Cheri Amour
All I Do (Is Think About You)
Rocket Love
Sir Duke
I Wish
Boogie on Reggae Woman
Isn't She Lovely
You Are the Sunshine of My Life
Part-time Lover
I Just Called to Say I Love You
Another Star

Look at that setlist! Just about as perfect a set as you could wish for. Some huge hits, some great cuts from his best albums. I'll be listening to these MP3s all week long.

“Boogie on Reggae Woman” is one of my very favorite songs in the world — definitely one of the top twenty-five, definitely one of the top five seduce-me tunes. The joy of hearing it live, throwing out my arms and dancing with abandon under the stars above. But, really, every song felt that way. I’ve never been wild about “I Just Called to Say I Love You” — but hearing Stevie sing it to me changed its Cup rating.

One of the sweetest moments was during “Isn’t She Lovely,” which he wrote about Aisha when she was born. She sat on the piano bench with him as he sang, and my crowd teared up.

Stevie was chatty, funny, moving, political. And the crowd ate it up. I’ll never miss another Stevie Wonder show.

Stevie’s T-shirt has Braille on it (the yellow dots); how cool is that!

I’m still on a Wonder high, pretty much living in my Stevie T-shirt and listening to his MP3s all weekend. Do you blame me?

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14 September 2007

The Day the Music Died

Sadly, kids, there will be no Mix Tape this Friday. MyDataBus.com — that wonderful site where I store and link the great tunes we share here on Fridays — for some reason has "temporarily" disabled file uploading. Which means I couldn't upload any of the great dance tunes planned for today. If file uploading is enabled sometime today, I'll get that post up so you can get your dance down. If not, check back next Friday for another brilliant mix.
That title's a bit over the top, I know ... but I'm a bit of an
over-the-top girl. And I hate letting you down.
Question: What site do you use to upload files to link on your blogs?

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13 September 2007

Hey Now, Hey Now

The first of this week’s aural hat trick — Crowded House, with opener Pete Yorn — was pretty darn good last night.

We caught the last couple of numbers by the first act — Liam Finn, son of Neil. Very entertaining on stage. I wish we’d caught more of his show.

I hate to say it, but Pete Yorn’s opening set was just okay — and I was with Pete’s biggest Atlanta fan, who agreed. We got the impression he was tired. (He’s still damn cute, though.) His cover of Peter Bjorn & John’s “Young Folks” was good, and he had the whistling down.

I’m a casual, not fanatical, fan of Crowded House. Love their hits, love their brilliant pop sensibilities, but I’m not well versed in their entire oeuvre. There were, however, a lot of the ubers in the house — for the most part, fortysomething guys — and they loved every minute of the show. Lots of fist-pumping and high-fiving and singalongs. I love watching guys get into a performance.

Crowded House kicked off with “There Goes God” (from 1991’s Woodface), and they did a good job hitting highlights from all their albums — “In My Command,” “Hole in the River” (probably my fave of the main set), “Better Be Home” (with Pete Yorn and his mates joining the band), “Fall at Your Feet” (I quit setlisting an hour into the show). I think the band performed about half of the new album (which is quite good).

This was my third time seeing Mr. Finn. Split Enz came to our college radio station studio in 1980, in support of the brilliant True Colors; I was thrilled to meet those young, cute boys. I then saw Crowded House in 1994, at one of their last concerts. I guess I’m on a thirteen-year rotation with them; wonder what they’ll be doing in 2020?

Neil was quite charming throughout the show. You could tell he was having a great time. His voice is still remarkable. I'm going for it, BeckEye: I decided last night that Neil Finn is the Glenn Tilbrook of Down Under, with that sweet voice and knack for perfect pop lyrics.

Neil Finn sang a damn good cover of Cat Stevens’ “Wild World.” He remarked that, as a teen, he used to drag his guitar to parties and sing that tune, in the hopes of snagging a cute girl … but instead supplied the soundtrack for someone else’s snag.

The big hits were hit during the two encores: “Locked Out” (which was the song I most wanted to hear), “Something So Strong,” and “Don’t Dream It’s Over.” I was a bit disappointed that we didn’t get some Split Enz tunes, but it didn’t ruin the show for me.

Tonight’s show: Andrew Bird, at Variety Playhouse. Looks like it’s going to be a blogger’s delight tonight, with Scrivener, Baby Got Books‘s Tim, and That Truncheon Thing’s Frank also clutching tickets.

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12 September 2007

Livin’ La Vida Musica

Sometimes my life is fabulous. Look at this week’s clutched-ticket concerts:

Tonight: Crowded House, with opener Pete Yorn
I saw Crowded House at one of their very last shows — if not the last one — before they broke up in 1994. It was a great show, at a small venue. They’re playing at the much larger Tabernacle tonight. Will they still be great?
Song Prayer Request: "Don't Dream It's Over" and few Split Enz tunes

Thursday: Andrew Bird
I’ve never seen Andrew Bird live — I missed last fall’s show — so I’m quite excited about finally seeing him perform. He was great on Letterman a few months ago. Added bonus: I’ll see the Scriveners at the show.
Song Prayer Request: “Measuring Cups” and “Armchair”

Friday: Stevie Wonder
Cannot wait! Stevie hasn’t toured the U.S. in a dozen years, so this show is The Ticket of the Month. He’s performing at our better amphitheater — and the highs on Friday will be in the very low 80s. I’m thinkin’ it will be a night of lots lemonade with citron vodka and lots of dancing for this girl.
Song Prayer Request: “Boogie on Reggae Woman” and "Higher Ground"

But fabulous doesn’t stop there, kids. Next week is John Vanderslice with Bishop Allen (thanks to Coaster Punchman), and Ticket of the Month #2: Bob Dylan, with openers Elvis Costello and Amos Lee. And then the next week …

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10 September 2007

A High Mark

I’ve had a stressful couple of weeks, so I spent my Sunday decompressing at one of my favorite places with one of my favorite persons: the High Museum of Art with the Beloved Ex. Sunday was the closing day for the Annie Leibovitz exhibit. I hate hitting a show on the last day because it’s too damn crowded, but the boy and I just couldn’t sync our summer schedules to see the show.

I was most eager to see Leibovitz’s more personal work — particularly those of Susan Sontag in her final years — but I was happily surprised to see one of my favorite photographs hanging just inside the gallery door:

Mark Morris (Annie Leibovitz, 1988)

This photo ran with a Rolling Stone interview of Mark Morris in the late 1980s, and I had the tattered page hanging on many a cubicle wall for many a year (now I have four postcards of it!). Yes, Morris is beautiful here — that hair, those lips, those blue eyes — but it’s the attitude, the confidence I love. That’s the ‘tude I want to exude every day. This photo also leaves me craving a ciggie … and I’m not a smoker. Isn’t that the sexiest ciggie you’ve seen in ages?

I’m lucky enough to have seen Morris and his troupe a couple of times, once when the White Oak Dance Project performed in Atlanta. (White Oak Plantation, where they stayed while developing the performance) is near Thomasville, in south Georgia.) Mark Morris and Mikhail Baryshnikov, together on the Fox stage. Yes, I’ll die a happy woman.

The exhibit was better than expected. Many of the photos on display are now-iconic shots, thanks to Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair. The shots of Susan Sontag during her illness and when she died were lovely, heartbreaking — as were Leibovitz's personal photos of her parents and her children.

The Beloved Ex had to get back to his side of town, so I got some High time on my own — going back through the Leibovitz galleries to spend more time with the Morris photo and the Sontag and family series, wandering through the permanent collection, enjoying the quiet in such a crowded space.

Now I’m a bit more relaxed — and full of ‘tude.

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07 September 2007

Mix Tape Friday: Excitable Boy

When you love music as much as I do, when much of your life revolves around that passion, you tend to fall in love with a musician or two, someone with whom you feel a connection because of his music and performances.

One of the great loves of my musical life is Warren Zevon. Warren died four years ago today. And so today’s mix tape (actually, two mix tapes) is all Zevon. The first tape includes favorites from Zevon’s catalog; the second tape has covers of his songs and covers he performed.

Interesting mix of folks who covered Warren: The Pixies and The Pretenders, Hank Williams Jr. and Van Dyke Parks, the father/son duo of Bob Dylan and The Wallflowers — even Adam Sandler. Impressive mix of folks who recorded with
Zevon: Neil Young and Bob Dylan, my R.E.M boys, that Eagles crowd, even Emmylou Harris.

Don’t shrug off this mix tape as filler by a one-hit wonder from the mid-1970s; give Warren’s songs a listen. I have cried and laughed and lived a life during the fortysomething minutes of a Zevon album. He was one of the most literate songwriters to spin on my turntable, my CD player, my iPod, one of the best performers I’ve seen on stage. Take the time to listen to the lyrics — some of the best rhymes and lines put to music you’ll ever hear — as well as the intricate piano and guitar.

God, I miss him.

Side A: The Ballads

    Warren Zevon: Bill Lee
    Warren Zevon: Mohammed’s Radio
    Warren Zevon: Genius
    Warren Zevon: Desperados Under the Eaves
    Warren Zevon: Suzie Lightning
    Warren Zevon: Carmelita
    Warren Zevon: Please Stay
    Warren Zevon: Reconsider Me
    Warren Zevon: Accidentally Like a Martyr
    Warren Zevon: You Don’t Know What Love Is
    Warren Zevon: Searching for a Heart
    Warren Zevon: Don’t Let Us Get Sick
    Warren Zevon: Keep Me in Your Heart

Side B: The Brawlers
    Warren Zevon: I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead
    Warren Zevon feat. Neil Young + Peter Buck, Mike Mills, and Bill Berry: Sentimental Hygiene
    Warren Zevon feat. Bruce Springsteen: Disorder in the House
    Warren Zevon: Ain’t That Pretty at All
    Warren Zevon: Lawyers, Guns, and Money
    Warren Zevon feat. Peter Buck, Mike Mills, and Bill Berry: Detox Mansion
    Warren Zevon: Frank and Jesse James
    Warren Zevon: Excitable Boy
    Warren Zevon feat. Michael Stipe, Peter Buck, Mike Mills, and Bill Berry: Bad Karma
    Warren Zevon: Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner
    Warren Zevon: Renegade
    Warren Zevon: Play It All Night Long
    Warren Zevon feat. David Letterman + The World’s Most Dangerous Band: Hit Somebody (The Hockey Song)
    Warren Zevon: My Shit’s Fucked Up
    Warren Zevon: Poor Poor Pitiful Me
    Warren Zevon: Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead

Side A: He Covers
    Warren Zevon: A Certain Girl
    Hindu Love Gods: Battleship Chains
    Warren Zevon: Back in the High Life Again
    Warren Zevon: Cadillac Ranch
    Warren Zevon + David Lindley: Casey Jones
    Hindu Love Gods: Mannish Boy
    Warren Zevon + Jill Sobule: Jackson
    Hindu Love Gods: Raspberry Beret
    Warren Zevon: Bo Diddley’s a Gunslinger/Bo Diddley
    Warren Zevon + R.E.M.: Up on the Floor
    Hindu Love Gods: Wang Dang Doodle
    Warren Zevon feat. Ariel Zevon: Laissez Moi Tranquille
    Warren Zevon: Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door

    Hindu Love Gods, in this instance, is Warren Zevon, Peter Buck, Mike Mills, and Bill Berry. It was a band name R.E.M. used a lot in their earlier days when they played surprise shows around Athens.

Side B: They Cover

    Grateful Dead: Werewolves of London
    Bruce Springsteen: My Ride’s Here
    The Pixies: Ain’t That Pretty at All
    Hank Williams Jr.: Lawyers, Guns, and Money
    Jackson Browne feat. Bonnie Raitt: Poor Poor Pitiful Me
    Bob Dylan: Mutineer
    Pete Yorn: Splendid Isolation
    The Pretenders: Reconsider Me (monitor mix)
    Linda Ronstadt: Poor Poor Pitiful Me
    Magnolia Electric Co.: Werewolves of London
    David Lindley + Ry Cooder: Monkey Wash, Donkey Rinse
    Billy Bob Thornton: The Wind
    Jill Sobule: Don’t Let Us Get Sick
    Jorge Calderon + Jennifer Warnes: Keep Me in Your Heart
    Don Henley: Searching for a Heart
    The Wallflowers: Lawyers, Guns, and Money
    Linda Ronstadt: Hasten Down the Wind
    Steve Earle + Reckless Kelly: Reconsider Me
    Bob Dylan: Lawyers, Guns, and Money
    Adam Sandler: Werewolves of London
    Van Dyke Parks: Keep Me in Your Heart

I hope I turned a couple of you into fans.

I published a post about Excitable Boy about a year ago, in case you haven’t had enough of my Zevon gushings.

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05 September 2007

One Isn’t the Loneliest Number After All

Another Great Green Monkey Music Project

The Splotch, who seems to be as obsessed about music as I am, is back with the Green Monkey Music Project — volumes four and five in this increasingly popular series. I was lucky to be tapped for my list of eight for Volume Four. The theme and rules this round was tough; Splotchy is a one damn task-mastering bitch when it comes to these themes. And I love him for that.
Green Monkey Music Project #4: What's in a Word? All songs must have a title consisting of only one word. The word can't be a proper noun (a person's name, a place — if it has a capital letter, it's a no-no).

Well, I thought this would be tough — but I had twentysomething songs in the folder within five minutes. The tough part was whittling it down to eight. I cut some great tunes — by Young Marble Giants and Young Fresh Fellows, Liz Phair and Aretha Franklin, The Replacements (sorry, Haahnster) and The Ramones, Oasis and Zevon, even Automatic Baby (half R.E.M./half U2) singing “One” — but I think I have a strong eight in my hand (as is the Cup's wont, alphabetized for fairness):

The B-52's: Topaz

David Bowie: Fashion

The Clash: Clampdown

Magnapop: Garden

R.E.M.: Stumble

Sonic Youth: Incinerate

Squeeze: Tempted

Johnny Thunders: MIA

Why are you still here? Click over to check out Green Monkey Music Project #4 to check out what the other kids submitted. That’s where I’m headed; there are some excellent songs to download. And tell Splotchy I said hello.

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04 September 2007

The Weekend's Best Line

I was paying for books at my friendly neighborhood bookstore and gave my name for my Friends of Wordsmiths discount. The store's webmaster (who ran a post of mine when he was webmaster at another bookstore) heard my name and said, "So, you're Coffey! I didn't recognize you from the front of your head."

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The Festival of Bookworms: The Cliff Notes Version

I hope you had a good holiday weekend. Chances are, unless you’re that wicca freak who won my lottery jackpot or you finally bedded that long-lusted love, my weekend was better than yours … because I spent my Saturday and Sunday at the second annual Decatur Book Festival.

The festival was better than I expected — and I had great expectations. Writers left and right. Shakespeare performed on the rotunda, poetry slams just steps away. Booths of books and small publishers and writers groups (and beer). Who wants to stay outside on a lovely day when you can go inside darkened halls and listen to authors talk and read their works? Not this wormish woman.

At any given afternoon moment, there were five readings or panels. Not quite a Sophie’s choice, but decisions such as whether to see Hollis Gillespie or Peter Case were tough — which was, in a way, rather thrilling because it meant there were a lot of great writers hanging in my ‘hood this weekend.

Here are the weekend highlights.

Wesley Stace

Maybe you’re unfamiliar with the name, but you may know of his alter-ego’ed John Wesley Harding, a helluva great musician. Stace’s second novel, By George, was just published. His grandfather was a ventriloquist in England during the middle twentieth century, and half the book is narrated by George, his grandfather’s dummy. Yes, Stace tracked it down, and George is touring with him.

Wesley Stace, on stage with George

I got tweener giggles as I walked into the room — Wesley Stace was chatting with Sherman Alexie as I walked by. They both smiled — probably because I had that “golly!” look on my face and kept sneaking peeks at them. I’m such a dork.

This was the first proper long reading of the book, and Stace did a great job with the reading. He was adorable — very British, very charming and witty. Oh, and he’s cute as hell — and he pronounces “papier-mâché” the British way (also the French way, I assume), which made my toes curl. He did a ventrilo-bit with George, which was fun since Stace has no skills in that area.

His John Wesley Harding self was scheduled to perform that evening, so I looked forward to a tale of two Wesleys.

Sherman Alexie

Alexie has been on my top-thirty shelf since I first read The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven in 1993, right after I started working at the bookstore. If you haven’t read him, you should. Maybe you saw the movie Smoke Signals, which was based on those stories.

The worst photo of Sherman Alexie … ever

Catching his appearance was at the top of my festival must list. And Sherman didn’t disappoint. He was personable and funny, alive when he read from his soon-to-be-released young adult novel, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian. This was his first public reading of the book (we got a lot of those this weekend), so he called his editor so we could all yell hello and took a photo of us.

I picked up a copy of his new book, Flight, earlier Saturday, and read it Sunday morning. Great book.
He took a lot of questions from the audience, sharing parts of himself such as he writes in his head 24/7 (just like I do!) and telling us how he found his poet’s soul in college. I walked out of the sanctuary smitten; two for two for the day.

I almost forgot*: As he was signing my copy of Flight, Sherman sang Kiss’ “Beth” to me. I’ve hated that song since it came out in 1976 … that is, I hated it until 6:12 p.m. Saturday.

*Do you really believe I almost forgot that tidbit?

Wordsmiths Books Panel: Blogging

I got to Wordsmiths a bit late, thanks to enjoying a burger and beer with Scrivener and Mike, but I saw the last fifteen minutes. Wish I’d made it in time; they were paneling about blogging.

I stole this from Baby Got Books; that’s Tim with the microphone.

Later that same evening …

I was excited about Wesley Stace as John Wesley Harding wowing me with his live music … but I ran into a former someone an hour before the show … who charmed me into a beer … which led to another beer … which, well, I had a lot of beer. And no John Wesley Harding ringing in my ears.

Sunday arrives. The simple plan was to hit the festival around noon, in time to see Edmund White, then Robert Olan Butler or Karen Abbott, but Alexie’s book kept me in the bed until I finished it around noon. Still had plenty of time to hit Klosterman. Hit the square an hour before he hit the stage, so I picked up an overpriced gyro and wandered the stalls, watched a bit of Shakespeare, bought even more books. And then I headed to the library, with ten minutes to spare.

Chuck Klosterman

Ten minutes, though, is too late for a Chuck Klosterman appearance. The room hit capacity, so we were led to an overflow room for a simulcast of the interview. Klosterman was thrilled — it was his first time being simulcast. Klosterman was interviewed by Paste magazine founder Josh Jackson (Paste’s HQ is a mile or so off the square).

Paste’s Josh Jackson interviewing Chuck Klosterman

I expected Klosterman to have a snarky, surly edge to him — but he wasn’t. He was funny and entertaining and excited to be talking. He talked about some of his better-known columns, including a good discussion on the Advanced Theory (that day’s example: R. Kelly’s “Trapped in the Closet” — Klosterman said the video of him urinating on that young girl is the least weird of the bunch).

I saw Josh Jackson after Hollis Gillespie’s appearance, so I stopped to tell him he did a great job with the interview; he thanked me and said it was a lot of fun. What I really wanted to do was grab him by the knees and beg for a job at Paste, even as a proofreader. And yet I behaved, shy Cup that I am.
Klosterman had so much fun, he said he wouldn’t mind going over the allotted time to take more questions — but, alas, there was a schedule to follow.

Oh: He has yet to watch an episode of Real World: Sydney.

Hollis Gillespie

Do I even need to write it? Hollis Gillespie was funny and loopy — and inspiring. She appeared with some other blonde writer from Atlanta for a Q&A, and she kept the room laughing. She’s as disorganized a writer as I am — but she puts forth a bit more effort than I do outside my cubicle.

Hollis Gillespie signs my book.

Hollis wants to be my best friend — she just doesn’t know it yet:

She gave us the scoop on her first two books being optioned for television: Mitch Hurwitz, who wrote for "Arrested Development," is heading the project, with Laura Dern in the lead role. They're now shopping it around.

And ... Ms. Gillespie's third book will be published next year.

As I said, Hollis inspired me. She offers a series of writing classes here in town, and I told her I planned to sign up for one this fall. Keep me to that promise, okay? And you can one day say “I read her when” after I’ve become the next NPR star.

Aaron Petrovich

I first heard Aaron Petrovich read at Brooklyn Comes to Decatur, part of a writer’s conference held here in February. His novella is pure dialog — two men talking — and he performed a part of it then and on Sunday. And “performed” is meant here more than anywhere else on this page. It was more theater than reading. He’s captivating, and I’m now a fan. I didn’t take a photo of Aaron Petrovich because I didn’t want to distract him from his reading/performance. Too bad, because he’s damn cute. And that voice — *swoon*.

Petrovich is associate editor at Akashic Books, and I stopped by their booth earlier in the day. He recommended another book from the imprint … and I got to hear him speak. Nothing better than a handsome man with a sexy voice.

Later that same evening …

I was excited about finally seeing Peter Case perform — and meeting Intravenus de Milo’s Tony Alva — but the tug of the books was too strong. I opted for bed and a book; specifically, Wesley Stace’s By George.

Yep. I picked books over music.

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