A Cup of Coffey
30 June 2007
25 June 2007
Talk About the Passion
The Meme: What’s the dumbest question you’ve ever been asked? Why was it dumb? What's the answer?
Really, the dumbest question I’ve been asked during my adult years was when my gender was questioned … but I’ve already told that story. You deserve something fresh, something new, so I’m going with the most recent dumbest-evah question.
Back in the spring, I met an interesting guy via an online dating site. We had things in common: same age … he’d lived in Atlanta all his adult life … we enjoy music and movies and barbecue and beer. We spent a couple of weeks e-bantering and e-flirting like Frank Capra was directing us, so I agreed to a meet-up.
We met. We exchanged proverbial pleasantries. And then, not five minutes into the meet-up, he asked the question that was the nail in his datable coffin:
So tell me about this R.E.M. Where are they from?
Do I need to answer questions two and three? He’d read my blog. He saw my raison d'etre, over there under my photo. He had two weeks to bone up. And yet … although he’s in our age group (“our” being Berry/Buck/Coffey/Mills/Stipe) … although he’s lived in Georgia since they played the church gig that April evening in 1980 ... although he has an FM radio … He. Didn’t. Know. Do you really expect me to have a second date with someone who needs me to explain, not talk, about my passion?
Would it be petty of me to also mention that he said he was 5’10” … but he was actually 5’7”? C’mon, boys; we’re gonna notice those missing three inches. And, yes, every woman on a dating site does weigh 125.
Okay, so maybe that’s a shallow reason to flick off a boy. But, c’mon; he’d be miserable with all the talks about my passion. The Longtime loved R.E.M., yet even he got sick of hearing which albums Peter guested on, or what Michael’s really singing, or how much Mike loves the Braves, or how Bill’s dream of music boxes inspired the beauty of that brilliant “Get Up” break. Consider him saved.
Now, I don't expect everyone in my universe to be well-versed in all things R.E.M. But if you want me to kiss you, you gotta know where it all began (Athens, just 75 miles down the road) and own at least five R.E.M. CDs (greatest hits discs don't count).
And if you need the answer to the answer … click the R.E.M. label. You’ll get an idea.
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23 June 2007
Unlock My Body and Move Myself to Dance
It’s been years since I last saw Wilco live — all the way back to September 2001, at the Roxy, right after Reprise Records rejected Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and they were looking for a new label home. That was a great, raucous show.
I went with the Scriveners in January to see the solo Jeff Tweedy show — with the always entertaining, always adorable Scott McCaughey as opening act. Fan-damn-tastic show, much different from what I thought I'd see. I really should have written about that one, but I was on a bit of a blog break. Scrivener tells that story well.
I see a fair amount of concerts every year, so getting my aural socks blown off takes a lot. Of the ten or so shows I’ve seen this year, Tuesday’s Wilco show is the best so far (followed closely, very closely, by January’s Glenn Tilbrook show; I may still write about that one, it was so fab).
I’m still mystified why Wilco doesn’t get any radio play. We have two alt-rock commercial stations in Atlanta, neither of which have played a Wilco tune to my recollection. Couldn’t they take three or four of those droning Dave Mathews songs (they all sound the same, so nobody will notice) and plug in some Wilco? My brother and sister-in-law heard some of the Wilco show broadcast from Bonnaroo last weekend, and they liked what they heard. I think most people would like the Wilco they hear. Programmers, are you listening (well, reading)?
How do you get the band enthused? By dancing in the rain. Atlanta’s been suffering through one mutha of a drought this year, one of the worst we’ve had in years. So bad that planned Fourth fireworks displays are already being canceled. But not Tuesday.
It was a dark and stormy night.
The sky blue skies faded into rain clouds, clouds that soaked the city. And the Wilco show was an outdoor one. It misted during the opening act (Low), but it started pouring as soon as Wilco hit the stage. And continued to rain hard throughout the show, until the second encore.
But did that stop the Wilco fans? Hell, no! We donned rain ponchos, wiped off running mascara, and danced the night away. Glances to the back of the amphitheater showed that maybe 95 percent of us hung in for the full show, standing and dancing and singing. Abandoning the adult in the rain probably added to the greatness of the show, but it would have been kick-ass show in sunshine, too.
The niece enjoys a night soaked with Wilco
The guys in Wilco got a kick out of it. Tweedy said they could see what we were standing in so he was going to “minimize the talk and maximize the rock.” And maximize they did. Those guys played their hearts out. Tweedy’s voice was lovely, perfect on a rainy night (on any night, for that matter). I think they’re better live than on albums … and they’re fabulous on their albums.
You Are My Face
Sky Blue Sky
I Am Trying to Break Your Heart
Shot in the Arm
Side with the Seeds
Shake It Off
War on War
Hate It Here
I'm the Man Who Loves You
Heavy Metal Drummer
Outtasite (Outta Mind)
Sky Blue Sky is one of my favorite albums so far this year … and what a thrill it was to hear Wilco kick off the show with the first four tracks. And they performed many of my favorites. I have way too many Wilco faves to expect to hear them all. The one I most wanted to hear and dance to was “Heavy Metal Drummer,” and I got that thrill during the second encore. The rain slowed to a trickle about halfway through that number.
The aforementioned Ms. Lemke was also at the show. A Wilco newbie, she left happy and thrilled. There were two songs she most wanted to hear — “Impossible Germany” and “Jesus Etc.” — and she got to experience both.
Six years is too long between Wilco shows, I discovered. From this point on, I’ll do my damndest to catch every Wilco tour.
p.s. My photos suck. My camera got too wet, I’m a bit too short to shoot in a crowd, and I’m not a great photographer. Click over to Scrivener’s page; he’s in the process of uploading his far superior photos on Flickr.
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UPDATE: Check out Scrivener’s photos of the show!
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19 June 2007
A Whirlwind French Biennial
Sadly, the thrill that is fave friend French visiting Atlanta lasted just 30 hours over the weekend. But we did a helluva lot in those 30 hours.
French is one of my five most beloved non-DNA-sharing humans on this earth (that list includes my moon-based friends, too, come to think of it). We’re both single, we’re both obsessed with live music and movies and travel, and each thinks the other is the cat’s meow — as great friendships should be. I visit him nearly every summer in D.C., and he’s averaging an every-other-year Atlanta trip.
We met cute at the end of 1991. French had just moved to Atlanta to start grad school, and he was rooming with an old college buddy of mine. She had a brunch to introduce him to her multitudes, and introduced us with: “This is French. He loves R.E.M., and he can’t wait for you to take him on a tour of Athens!” As she flitted away, French looked me in the eye and said, “I hate R.E.M. and I have no interest in seeing Athens.” I laughed and demanded that he show me his CD collection that minute before we could consider continuing the conversation. He was redeemed by his extensive Elvis Costello collection. I loved him — and his honesty — from that moment to this one.
Back to the weekend recap. French landed on Atlanta soil around 10:30 Saturday morning, and I gave him the 45-minute what’s-changed tour as we headed for lunch at one of his best-remembered spots: La Fonda (fan-damn-tastic paella and fish tacos).
The rest of the day was spent hangin’ in my ‘hood:
We started out, of course, at Decatur CD — one of the best CD shops in town — where French picked up an Atlanta Rhythm Section disc (you started something, Write Procrastinator).
Then on to Twain’s, where we sampled many, many IPAs (so many, in fact, that my elbows are rubbed raw from propping my tipsy head) and fed the cute waiter, Powell, many, many Jelly Bellies.
What else after an afternoon of beers but an evening showing of Knocked Up (which we both enjoyed and recommend)? Post-movie, we ended the day on the patio of The Angel, a pub off the square, toasting each other’s brilliance and nibbling away the night.
Sunday began with breakfast at Crescent Moon.
Fortified by eggs and grits and a shared appetizer of biscuits with sausage gravy, we hit Wordsmiths Books, which opened in the neighborhood this weekend. I picked up a couple of must-reads and perused the Baby Got Books shelf.
The CD and books joneses were fed, so we headed to historic Oakland Cemetery, which has been interring Atlanta’s crème de la crème — including Margaret Mitchell and Bobby Jones — and hoi polloi since 1850.
Former Mayor Maynard Jackson, who died in 2003, is buried here. One of the guides told us his widow comes out regularly to talk to him.
There are a lot of old magnolias throughout Oakland Cemetery, and most are beginning to bloom.
This lion status honors the CSA soldiers who died during the Civil War.
With tequila coursing through our veins, we headed for the new World of Coca-Cola museum.
This was a bittersweet stop on the French tour. My father spent his career with Coca-Cola Bottling, and he loved all things Coke. This being my second Father's Day without him, I got a wee bit sad as we raced through the museum. He would have loved it.
These bottles were created around the world for the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games. They were on display at the Coca-Cola headquarters back when I worked there, so it was great seeing my old friends again.
From there, we raced to the airport so that French could make his 6 p.m. flight back to reality.
I’m already lonely. I miss my boy. But I’ll see him in a month, when I hit D.C. for The Wedding of the Year.
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14 June 2007
Bumper Sticker Du Jour
13 June 2007
The Drought Is Over
I went to a show last night, after six dry weeks without live music. FBB (favorite blog buddy) Scrivener and I caught Great Lake Swimmers at The Earl last night. It was a damn good show.
Not familiar with Great Lake Swimmers? I wasn’t, either, until Scrivener mentioned them. I checked ‘em out on eMusic and liked the band immediately.
If you’re addicted to MP3s like I am and you don’t have a subscription to eMusic.com, you’re doing yourself a disservice. I get 90 downloads for $19.95 per month (although I think those signing up now get 75 each month). eMusic doesn’t have your Bruce Springsteens or Justin Timberlakes, but it’s a great spot for discovering new bands. That’s where I first heard The Decemberists, The New Pornographers and Neko Case, Iron & Wine, Beulah, The Pipettes, Of Montreal, and many more indie bands. eMusic has great selections in most genres. Try it today — and tell ‘em I sent you.
Great Lake Swimmers, from Toronto, remind me a bit of Sufjan Stevens, more so Iron & Wine. Tony Dekker has the most sublime voice, a voice that hooked me with the first listen of the first song, a voice like cool summer evenings under the trees. (Too corny? Okay, yeah. But it does.)
One of the cool things about Great Lake Swimmers is they have a banjo player … but it doesn’t sound like a banjo, not in the traditional sense. It’s almost as if the banjo is played like a rhythm guitar.
Dekker was a bit shy on stage, but I was charmed by his song introductions, such as “This is ‘I Am Part of a Large Family,’ about being part of a large family.”
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12 June 2007
Oasis: (What's the Story) Morning Glory?
When the Britpop invasion of the mid-1990s was in full swing, I was just starting out with the Longtime. We were still at that squishy stage where we bought CDs both would enjoy, and bands such as Oasis and Blur bored him. So, for me Oasis was a guilty pleasure savored on the car radio.
My best friend and her husband adore them — Oasis is their R.E.M. — so I always knew the latest news, minutiae that compares to what I could tell you about R.E.M. And my buddy Ms. Lemke was just as nuts about Noel and Liam. I was well versed in all things Gallagher, without a single CD on the O shelf.
Fast-forward to January 2001: Longtime and I had a dry run on the breakup gig and he moved out. Within a week I found myself doing things I didn’t while longtimed. Watching “Gilmore Girls.” Cooking big Southern breakfasts. Making noise before 11 a.m. And buying, then falling in love with, every damn Oasis and Blur CD.
A disclaimer: None of these new activities were forbidden by Longtime. He’s as far from demanding as you can get; he’s quite sweet, actually. But you do some things when you’re coupled, and different things when you’re singled.
(What’s the Story) Morning Glory? was my first Oasis find at the neighborhood used CD shop. I went home, listened, and was hooked. It has remained my favorite since that January Saturday.
Why, you ask? Well, look at the track listing; it’s practically a greatest-hits album. Five tracks are still played regularly on Atlanta radio*: “Roll with It,” “Wonderwall,” “Don't Look Back in Anger,” “Morning Glory,” “Champagne Supernova.” The rest of the tracks are just as fab, particularly “Hello,” “She’s Electric,” and “Some Might Say.” Okay, hell, the whole damn album is brilliant; there’s isn’t a skip-it on the album.
*A dig at Renae and Greg, who complain they don’t hear Oasis on New York/Connecticut stations.
I had a very rough Monday. Dave FM rewarded my crazy day with “Wonderwall” four minutes from my driveway. There was a hint of a drizzle, so I opened the sunroof, cranked the radio, sang to the top of my lungs, and pulled into the drive as those last lovely notes trailed off. Tension gone from the shoulders, I walked in and played the entire CD, dancing my ampleness off until I realized it was time to resurrect My Soundtrack series.
Oasis is just a damn-near perfect band. Great hooks, fun lyrics, kick-ass guitar. And best of all: You can dance to it!
There are few songs that are so perfect you have to just. stop. and. listen. every time it comes on. Your brain just doesn’t want to waste those four minutes on tasks or thoughts, can’t concentrate on what you’re doing at that moment, but instead focuses completely on that song. “Wonderwall” is one of those songs for me. That acoustic guitar, the strings, the bass and drums are enough to make it A Great Song. But then you listen to the lyrics and … swoon.
The Beloved Engineer, who is also a musician, laughed at me when I told him I thought “Wonderwall” was a terribly romantic song. Having played in many local cover bands, he doesn’t get it. He doesn’t get the romance of these lyrics?
There are many things that I would like to say to you,
But I don’t know how.
Because maybe, you’re gonna be the one that saves me.
And after all, you’re my wonderwall.
How wonderful is “Wonderwall”? It’s always the ringtone for the current beau.
Have you ever heard the “Wonderwall” covers by Ryan Adams or Cat Power? Both are heartbreakingly beautiful. Noel was so impressed with Ryan Adams’ version that he often plays it that way. Very cool that the originator will emulate the other guy.
“Champagne Supernova” is one of my ten favorite songs to hear while driving. Something about the waves in the beginning, the calming music, those lovely, trippy, easy-to-sing-along lyrics. It always leaves me joyful, especially when I’m in a black mood.
It’s also the ringtone for Renae.
I was lucky enough to finally see Oasis live in September 2005. I went with Ms. Lemke, who landed second-row seats in front of Noel.
I don’t remember a single sitdown once Oasis hit the stage. Dancing, singing, talking to everyone around us. It was definitely, not maybe, an amazing experience. I will never again miss an Oasis tour, and have plans to hit the New York City shows with Renae and Greg. I can’t wait to see those two the moment the first note is played.
How amazing is a live Oasis show? Renae’s long-suffered sciatica was miraculously healed while dancing during a 1997 show — and her back remains un-sciatica’ed to this day.
One of my favorite parts of the show was Liam’s stance during Noel’s solos — and he stanced right in front of us. He worked the whole rockstar thing — posing, still as could be, cool and adorable. I giggled every time. I still giggle when I see these pix.
I regret that it took me so long to buy an Oasis CD, and even longer to see them live. Don’t follow in my procrastinating footsteps; log onto iTunes and download all you can today.
p.s. Did you notice I got through an entire Oasis post without comparing them to The Beatles? I’m rather proud of myself …
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09 June 2007
All the Cool Kids Are Doing It
This month’s book meme, that is. Bubs and Johnny Yen and Lulu have played, and I want to get invited to sit at their lunch table.
Here’s what you do:
• Grab the nearest book.
• Open to page 161.
• Find the fifth full sentence.
• Post the sentence.
From Tim Sandlin’s Skipped Parts:
The fantasy worked me up enough to do the tongue deal and even to touch Chuckette’s one shoulder.
Don't stop at that sentence. Read Sandlin’s GroVont series; you’ll thank me for it. Tim Sandlin is on my author top-ten list for many good reasons.
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08 June 2007
Out of the Loop
I saw this headline link on Yahoo:
Excitedly, I clicked over ... eager to read about these new no-doubt-towering-and-yet-quite-comfortable ankle-strapped heels being worn on the streets of Paris ... wondering whether or not they come in black or red, counting in my head just how many pairs of black stilettos I own.
Sadly, it was a story about She Whose Name My Fingers Will Never Type. Bitch.
For once, I'm proud to be out of the loop.
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07 June 2007
Don’t Suck up to Squirrels
But the boy let me down this week. Seems he thinks we should suck up to squirrels, flatter ‘em, tell ‘em they’re cute, so they won’t attack us. My buddy has caved to the pressures of the rodent lobby.
Let me make myself clear:
Squirrels are not cute.
They’re rats in thicker coats.
There are no cute rodents. Rats and mice, chipmunks and moles, gophers and squirrels: N-A-S-T-Y. Grant Miller’s recently deceased gerbil? Sorry to the grieving Millers, but it was vermin, too. They’re creepy and disgusting, with beady eyes and sharp, tiny teeth.
Don't waste time sucking up to dirty creatures so they’ll stay out of our birdhouses, away from our toes, off the roof. Just shoot ‘em. That’s what BB guns are for, right?
Prairie dogs are kind of cute, though. Morocco Mole’s a maybe … but Secret Squirrel will get nothing from me.
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