Tuesday, February 27, 2007

If I Never Drive Again...

...that'll be fine with me. My abs could use some walking benefits anyway.

Summit Hospital and Hermitage library are both half of a mile away from where I sleep. I wonder if they are hiring.

Art in The Arcade

Go to Nashville's downtown Arcade much? I used to go from time to time for lunch and people watching. But I never had any idea that there were art galleries on the second floor.

According to WPLN's Local News and Features podcast, you can visit each of them on the first Saturday of each month for free. Artist Daniel Lai has played a large part in helping The Arcade to become 100% occupied on the second floor.

Read more here.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Ladies, Know You're Beautiful

Dove asked its users to create and submit an ad for its new Dove Cream Oil Body Wash.

Here's the winner.

The ad looks great. But I wonder. More and more companies have been going with user created ads recently. Is Madison Avenue getting nervous at all?

These Wages Can Take A Hike

Oh great guidance counselor in the sky. What occupation am I made to occupy?

Insomnia mixed with general dissatisfaction with my earnings of paltry wages makes for a night of sober introspection. (I can't believe I forgot to buy some beer on my way home.)

But the resume is in for the dream job. Now I just have to wait for them to call. And wait. And wait.

Between now and then, a push must be made to make more money. It'll be hard for any other places to compete with the good health insurance I currently receive. And my current coworkers are awesomely kind and cool. But the thing is the cash. Ain't it always.

I did find a buck for a lottery ticket today. Because who knows. I guess I support that regressive tax.

And if that works out, you're all invited to a party.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Worst Live Blog Post Ever (Now With Cursing!)

  • Three minutes into the Independent Spirit Awards and host Sarah Silverman has explained the art-to-commerce marriage by referencing talking vaginas. (And she did this sideways thing with her lips that made me laugh.)
  • About nominated film, Man Pushes Cart, Sarah summed up thusly: "Who gives shit?"
  • Silverman: "If a bomb went off in this tent, there would be no one left to make a documentary about it."
  • On Robert Downey Jr.: "He was into rehab before it was cool. He did rehab when you had to stay there...until you were better."
  • Note to self: If I ever meet Sarah Silverman, buy her good cheese. (You'll only get that if you watched it.)
  • Matt Dillon presents an award for Best Supporting Male and I wonder why he wasn't nominated for his performance in Factotum.
  • Alan Arkin wins in this category. (I didn't ruin the surprise, did I?) I love his work.
  • Presenting for Best First Screenplay are Lucy Liu and, if I heard correctly, a random guy who won a contest and got to be a presenter. Cool! He did great.
  • Winner, Michael Arndt for Little Miss Sunshine.
  • Zach Braff is presenting. It just now occurred to me that he looks like a younger, skinnier Ray Romano.
  • These clips are killing me. I want to see all of these movies. They are beautiful, raw, brave...all very inspiring.
  • Tom Waits in a clip for Wristcutters: A Love Story: "Do I look asymmetrical to you?" I love that guy. I may have to join Netflix for a free month just to see that.
  • Angelica Huston is on stage and keeps whining that she wants her juice cup. (Wait. My daughter is talking to me. I'm getting confused.)
  • A lot of these films are available on DVD at my local library. I'm requesting them online and I hope that they all don't become available for me at the same time.
  • Singing in honky-tonk fashion about the details of one of the nominated films is Minnie Driver. I forgot that this is a regular feature. Funny stuff. Bouncing ball at the bottom of the screen and everything.
  • Ain't David Lynch the greatest? My favorite of his is Wild at Heart with Laura Dern and Nicolas Cage. I need to watch his newest, Inland Empire, also starring Laura Dern. Hey Brittney Gilbert! Have you seen it yet?
  • With a hand-held Sony PD150 and no financial help from any studio at all, Lynch shot Inland Empire.
  • I love that this thing is being held in a tent. Anyone with a hand-held can make a movie and anyone with a tent can hold an awards show.
  • To the tune of "We Are Family," Taylor Dayne is singing a song about Little Miss Sunshine. "Screwed-up family/What's dysfunctionality?"
  • Announcer: "Put your hands and legs together for presenter Sharon Stone!" LOL
  • Winner of Someone To Watch Award, director Julia Loktev (Day Night Day Night). Happy to oblige. Her film looks wonderful.
  • Still waiting to hear who won the Axium Producers Award. Neither presenter seems to have the envelope. ("I thought you had it.") A nice laugh all around. Finally, the envelope is brought out. Congrats to winners, Howard Gertler and Tim Perell.
  • Short and touching tribute to Robert Altman. A clip from him on set, instructing his actors: "Let's start with everyone in the wrong places." He is, of course, one of the greatest.
  • The Robert Altman Award has now been created for future presentations.
  • American Gun, starring Forest Whitaker has moved to the top of my list.
  • Premier sponsors for the show: IFC, Netflix, Axium, and Elle. Principal sponsors for the show: Acura and Pop Secret. Sponsors for this blog: None, dammit. Guess I'll keep clocking in at the workplace. ;)
  • John Waters enters stage left! Hell yeah! (Or is that stage right? I can never remember.)
  • And he's dragging a chain by his waist in tribute to Christina Ricci's new film, Black Snake Moan. Tacky and hilarious bastard.
  • John Waters says it's permissible to yell "Edit!" in a crowded movie if the film script drags in the middle.
  • Cuba Gooding Jr. just used the "we could put some black in ya" joke on Illeana Douglas. Didn't see that one coming. Wow. And I thought Sarah Silverman was supposed to be the edgy one.
  • To the tune of "Son of a Preacher Man," someone is singing a song tribute to Half Nelson - "I'm a crack-headed teacher man."
  • Moved and stirred again by these clips. God, I love movies.
  • Best Male Lead: Ryan Gosling for his performance in Half Nelson.
  • Maggie Gyllenhaal is now officially my "get out of marriage free card." (My wife's is Jon Bon Jovi, by the way.)
  • The guys behind Little Miss Sunshine want their juice cups. (Oh sorry, that's my daughter again.)
  • Best Feature Award goes to Little Miss Sunshine.
It's over. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go call my agent. Would it kill him to get me a sponsor for this blog? Geez.

Independent Spirit Awards Today!

There is only one day a year in which I absolutely demand that I watch what I want to watch on the television. Today is that day. At 4 p.m., IFC will broadcast the Independent Spirit Awards. Hosted for the second consecutive year by Sarah Silverman and held in a tent along a Santa Monica beach, it ain't what the Oscars is. No tuxes or gowns, just comfortable clothes. No red carpet or commercial breaks even, just a focus on making movies on shoestring budgets for the love of making movies on any budget at all.

I live with a three year old and a two year old. What are the chances of me watching it without interruption during any of the following times?

Today at 4 pm on IFC
Today at 9 pm AMC
Tomorrow at 2:15 am IFC
Tomorrow at 6:45 am IFC
Tomorrow at 8 am AMC
Tomorrow at 12:30 pm IFC
Wednesday at 5:30 pm IFC

[Update: I watched the show largely uninterrupted. And the award for steering the kids away from Dad while he watched TV goes to...UGAgrad1995! Thanks, honey.]

Friday, February 23, 2007

He Approves, Good Buddy

Rachel at Charming Accounts of Tediousness posted a photo of a similarly positive minded trucker. Her photo made me remember my photo. Seriously, isn't that the greatest and most hopeful smiley face you've ever seen?

What's Better Than A Movie?

A movie review by Pulitzer-prize winning reviewer Stephen Hunter.
Carrey's 'Number 23': Fuzzy Math -- and Moviemaking

"I wonder what the crusty old studio boss Sam Goldwyn would have said to Jim Carrey about the script for "The Number 23." I think it might have gone . . . something like this:

"What, are you nuts? Kid, whatsa matter with you? What we need is some nice, fresh new cliches. This cliche is too old. Guy thinks he may have murdered a chick and may soon murder his wife. But he don't know? Who wrote that, a dumb genius? You're funny, kid. You do that thing with your arms all twisty and make your face go goo-goo like pudding, and wear that funny hair!"

Thursday, February 22, 2007

"I fight authority, authority always wins."

This fan of The Hold Steady wants to know...

...what the hell is a hoodrat friend?
Your little hoodrat friend makes me sick
But after I get sick I just get sad
Because it burns being broke and it hurts to be heartbroken
But always being both must be a drag

She's been calling me again
She's been calling me again

"What did Tennessee?" "I don't know. Alaska."

From the Tennessean: Ad pictures Tennessee well, except it's Alaska.

"It's not cold outside anymore. Can we go out and play?"

That Van Halen Tour? Not Happening.

I can see Michael Anthony and Sammy Hagar hanging out in Cabo Wabo together and one of them is saying to the other one, "I told you they wouldn't be able to pull it off. Pay up."

I can't believe I thought they would pull it off.

Link: The Official Word: Van Halen Tour Kaput

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Number 23

A conversation I pretend I heard:

"The Number 23, starring Jim Carrey. What's that movie about?"

"I don't know. I think it's about Michael Jordan."

"Dude. Jim Carrey will play anybody!"

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Pacman? Britney? Brilliant!!

Here in Nashville, we have the Tennessee Titans version of Miss Britney Spears. Not exactly wholesome, but always getting into messes where things may or may not be his fault - Mr. Adam "Pacman" Jones. It's always nightclubs and angry women or nightclubs and angry bullets. The only problem I've ever had at clubs is getting the bartender to notice me when my drink was dry. I was a twenty-something knucklehead once, too, but unlike Pacman (and Britney), I didn't have the notoriety or fame to find my dumb decisions displayed on the morning news the next day.

Anyway - and here's what I'd like to see - I think that these two should just accept the fact that nothing they do will go unnoticed and just play that to their advantages. Picture it: Pacman and Britney on The Amazing Race. Let's just make it a show. Maybe Pacman checks Britney out of rehab and they hop into the Little Miss Sunshine VW bus and travel across the country. Oh, how I'd love to watch that. If trouble and cameras are going to follow them around anyway, they may as well get paid for it.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

An Ugly Reminder

My dad and I were talking recently about how wonderful the advancements in modern medicine were. So many things that were bound to kill you not so long ago are barely blips on a screen nowadays.

But then, we haven't gotten much better at hating and killing less. Today in Nashville, a cab driver argued about religion with two college students who were his passengers. They reached their destination, paid their fare, and exited his cab. And then he tried to run them down. One managed to get out of the way but the other student is in serious condition at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Agree to disagree. Silently roll your eyes instead of turning to violence. Anything else.

Click: Cab driver arrested for running over student after religious debate

My Not So Guilty Pleasures

If one asks Chuck Klosterman what his guilty pleasures are, he will answer first by clarifying the phrase as he did in this interview:
If we are classifying guilty pleasures as "things we pretend to like ironically, but that we actually just like unconditionally," my answers would be as follows: No Doubt, the movie Roadhouse, the Road Rules/Real World Challenge, Elizabeth Wurtzel, Styx, Chili's and TGI Fridays, and Miller High Life.
After hearing him talk about guilty pleasures once at a reading, I changed my stance on how I view the things I like and whether or not I'll choose to be embarrassed by them. Essentially, while it's fun to talk of guilty pleasures, the thing is that there should be no guilt involved at all. I like what I like and why shouldn't I? I can, however, classify my likes into different categories of merit - like New York Magazine's Approval Matrix quadrant, there are "Highbrow," "Brilliant," "Lowbrow" and "Despicable." I personally hold in highest regard the things that might be resting on the fine line between "Lowbrow" and "Brilliant."

An example of a man whose work feeds the part of my brain that loves that type of pleasure is Neil Strauss. He is the co-author/ghostwriter of Motley Crue's The Dirt, Marilyin Manson's The Long Hard Road Out of Hell, Dave Navarro's Don't Try This At Home, and the next book on my library account queue, How to Make Love Like a Porn Star: A Cautionary Tale by Jenna Jameson. The tales shared in these books will do me no favors as I try to go about life becoming a more evolved human being, but I sure do have a great time reading them. These books (especially The Dirt) are my simplest and most rewarding of pleasures in the times that I allow myself to be no one to anyone but myself. Or, in the words of Twisted Sister's Dee Snider, "I Am (I'm Me)."

I didn't read his 2005 release, The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists (I'm imagining Tom Cruise in Magnolia), but his latest, How to Make Money Like a Porn Star, sounds like fun. It's a graphic novel with a fantastic tagline: "Featuring 72% fewer words than a book!"

Maybe one day I'll take another crack at those first few pages of James Joyce's Ulysses. But tonight, it's Miller High Life and whatever else makes me smile.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Back Off My Girl

Britney doesn't need me to defend her (or maybe she does?), but people better step back and let her breathe a bit. So she goes to clubs while someone else watches the kids. So she sometimes leaves the underwear at home. Let her shine and bask in the life that her record sales and concert ticket sales have afforded her.

And now everyone's on her case because she went all BadBadIvy and shaved her head? I think she looks great. If for no other song than In The Zone's "Early Morning," I wait with bated breath for any and all new music releases from Ms. Spears. (Seriously, look up "Early Morning" and hear how sexy her collaboration with Moby - another shaved head - sounds.)

I hope she's got the thick skin to keep doing her thing despite the snarky criticism from all around her. In an act of solidarity, I'd like to announce here first that I too shaved my head this morning. It feels good and I hope that Britney Spears knows that she's always got a supporter here at Chez Bez.

Click here for a good bio piece on Britney which touches on that song I like so much.

Sidenote: I didn't really shave my head. Some people can pull that look off. Not me. My noggin's a bit misshapen for that. At least that's what my wife says.


Three days and nights. No one's employee. No one's parent. Not even anyone's buddy. ('Cause you never know when a buddy will ask you to help him move.)

Just a few of Earth's rotations and no responsibilities to anyone, except...

...to my lovely and sexy wife. Massages and scented candles. Nice talk and sweet nothings. Nothing but the love of my life and lots of time on our hands.

And then we can happily get back to too many toys on the kids' floors and too many bosses requiring us to actually work for a living.

Or we could just win the Powerball...

I guess I could spare a buck. Just in case.

Well, at least the clothes have improved.

Mr. Crinkly Eyes and the Prettiest Little Girl

So Bad, They're Great

Right now. Channel 173 (TV One) on Comcast digital cable. Under The Cherry Moon's credits are rolling. Graffiti Bridge is on next (1:00 PM).

This has been a public service announcement.

You're welcome.

Where The Day Takes Me

On a morning like this, waking up to snow on the ground, I feel the urge to take a very specific walk.

First - coat, hat and gloves. And then, along with my dad, brother, sister, and step-mom, I step out the apartment door and down three flights of stairs and outside the building into the cold, clean air. We cross the street and walk south down Telford Street for two blocks. About halfway down, I see and remember the building where we once saw someone emptying his water bed out the window from three stories up. So much water pouring down from someone's bedroom. That was a surreal moment remembered from my childhood. But on with this walk.

Telford Street brings us to Ludlow Avenue and we pause for a minute to look into the window of the Graeter's Ice Cream shop. That'll be for later. For now, we have a more important destination. And with that, we cross to the left and follow Ludlow for a single block to a place that is always good but has no rival on a cold day like today. First, we pass the Esquire - the local movie house that was threatened with closing to be replaced by a Wendy's, but neighborhood preservation efforts prevailed - and we remember the movies we've seen there over the years.

One city block traveled and we have reached our mecca. At the corner of Clifton and Ludlow rests Cincinnati's famous Skyline Chili. We enter, we order, and we are delighted to indulge in the delicious menu choices - chili 3-ways, chili 4-ways, and unrivaled cheese Coneys. These Beziats with these refined palates are pleased, indeed. We enjoy our dishes while we laugh about whatever we can think of and we know that afterward we will cross Ludlow Avenue to Burnett Woods for hiking and football throwing. I'm Cris Colllinsworth and my brother is Ken Anderson and we are Cincinnati's star Bengals, Super Bowl bound, for sure.

Alas, I am not in Cincinnati today but 300 miles away in beautiful Nashville. It is beautiful, but it has no Skyline Chili for this morning's urge. If I had the cash, I'd be on my way.

The Story of Skyline Chili

Step One:

Step out from behind the curtain. Show yourself. Be brave. Worry less. Be more.

What Word? What Word?

While standing at my post at my workplace tonight, outside by the front entrance, a woman walked with her family toward the doors. "N-word! N-word!," she exclaimed.

N-word, N-word? So outwardly offensive and yet still keeping it safe by public airways standards.

Of course, she was only instructing her small familial parade to keep marching out of the cold night and into the warm building ahead. "Inward! Inward!" Still, I grinned at the weird way I first heard that.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Sounds Like a Job for...

...Michael Birdboy. (Remember that book? It was one of the greats from my childhood.)

Ill honeybees in the news.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Depp to Voice Animated Bukowski Film

Mickey Rourke played him over the top in Barfly. Matt Dillon played him more true to form in Factotum. Now Johnny Depp will portray Charles Bukowski in Gabor Csupo's animated project entitled How The Dead Love.

The link.

No Starwood, No Ozzfest?

Word has it that there will be no Starwood (parent company LiveNation) 2007 concert season. I'm assuming that (LiveNation produced) Ozzfest's Nashville stop was planned for a Starwood appearance. The one year that a concert fits my budget - FREE! - and Nashville will likely be bumped off of the itinerary.

I probably would have had to work anyway. And the grapes were probably sour.

New Nine Inch Nails!

It's on the way. I'm a fan. I'm excited.

This site is for fans who analyze more than me. I'm just waiting for the songs. I don't care about hidden meanings and messages. I just hope it rocks.

Who's at Bonnaroo?

The leaked lineup is here.

Monday, February 12, 2007

This Aging Folk Will Be Whistling "Young Folks"

I know it's true and you know it's true. Because I was reading a Rolling Stone article which referenced "Peter Bjorn and John's absurdly catchy 'Young Folks'" and I just had to cue it up and give it another spin (or click), you can count on knowing for sure that for the next seven days I will absolutely have that four and a half minute, breezy little selection on a constant loop inside my ever balding noggin.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

She begs the question,

"Is this the year that we finally buy me a mattress?"

U Got The Look

A friend of mine recently told me that my blog's template doesn't seem to reflect me as she sees me. I like the clean easy, to read look of it but I think she has a point. While I don't want to make any drastic changes to it, I do think that some sort of tinkering is in order. My first thought is that the header needs a picture or a small series of pictures. There is no real defining (that I've noticed) theme to the blog, but it does tend to bounce back and forth between music interests and family matters and pictures. So I'm not sure if I want to overall look to reflect any one topic.

Basically, this is a rare and lazy Saturday afternoon and I can't think of anything more important to write about.


Freedom's Road

I found a very good review of John Mellencamp's new release at Blogcritics.org by Glen Boyd.

Review: John Mellencamp - Freedom's Road

Artist website: Mellencamp.com

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Who's A Rockstar?

Everybody's A Rockstar

Mercy Lounge

Big Jim Slade

next show Feb 16

"We got no money but we got love."

Two paragraphs and one example of what it's like for me to stumble completely into a book where I see myself on every page. Rob Sheffield's Love is a Mix Tape may as well be the book written specifically to answer my questions about love, marriage, and a love for music bordering on abnormal (at least for a non-musician).

Sitting by myself today at a Subway restaurant table for two, I was killing time before I went into work with a club sandwich and my current favorite book. Tina Turner's "We Don't Need Another Hero" was playing from the speakers above and I was reading about Rob Sheffield's wife and how she was taking guitar lessons from a guy in a Phish cover band that was called David Bowie. Just more irony and bittersweet talk about his wife Renee...and then he got right to the heart of my world:
The big crisis that summer came when the power went out for two weeks. We came back from a road trip and found the upstairs neighbors had skipped out on the Virginia Power Bill. The phone was dead and most of the food in the fridge was spoiled. We had no hot water. We didn't have the cash to settle the bill and turn the lights back on, ansd we didn't know when we would have the cash. There was no way I could have seen it coming, yet the fact that I couldn't protect Renee from it drove me crazy. How could something like this just happen? Why couldn't I do anything about it? I had felt helpless many times, as an adult even, but feeling helpless as a husband was different from anything I'd ever felt in my life. This was just a temporary snag, but it made me realize how many more of these there were going to be. I was going to have to get used to feeling helpless if I was going to remain a husband. And being a husband made me helpless, because I had somebody to protect (somebody a little high-strung, who had a tough time emotionally with things like the lights going out indefinitely). Man, I thought it was tough being broke when I was single, but being broke as a husband is not even in the same category.

For two weeks, I lay awake at night and said Hail Marys over and over to stop my heart from beating too fast. I suddenly realized how much being a husband was about fear: fear of not being able to keep somebody safe, of not being able to protect somebody from all the bad stuff you want to protect them from. Knowing they have more tears in them than you will be able to keep them from crying. I realized that Renee had seen me fail, and that she was the person I was going to be failing in front of for the rest of my life. It was just a little failure, but it promised bigger failures to come. Additional ones, anyway. But that's who your wife is, the person you fail in front of. Love is so confusing; there's no peace of mind.
He pegged me there. And he was describing a scene without children added to the mix. Dependent cherubs in a home where the utilities could be cut off after any given tough month? I pray to only ever imagine that feeling. Life is good for us. We remain broke but healthy and happy. Things are paid on time and we keep the fridge full. But we also know that it doesn't take much of a setback to fall far back these days. I'm lucky to have the right people in my corner. They know me as a bit weird - quiet and eclectic, wound a bit too tight at times and slow to act on a good idea - but the love is the kind that humbles me all day long. If my wife gets to be the person to see me when I fail, then she deserves to see me when I succeed, too. It's only fair.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Love is a Mixtape

I was well on my way through Adam Gopnik's latest when Love is a Mixtape arrived at the library for me. Even though Gopnik is due back at the library sooner and it makes more sense to attack the rest of his words first, I just can't get enough of Rob Sheffield's tribute to the music that he and I both grew up on.

Of course, the heart of his book will break your fucking heart. It's no spoiler that he is writing about his relationship with his beautiful wife who died young and only five years into marriage. But the whole thing is told, the story of their life together, with the music that I love as their soundtrack.

It's very possible that I am doing it no justice in describing it at all. Rob Sheffield is a writer/editor for Rolling Stone and his telling of his years with the love of his life is just the most beautiful thing for him to share. Knowing her fate as I read my way through just seems to make me angry. It's the painful reminder I guess that life is fleeting. He didn't know that fate, but he paid attention enough to remember the most beautiful things to write about her.

It's a great book if only for his references to all of those great bands that he (and I) grew up with. But it also hits home with that extra reminder to pay attention to those who we could miss later and when we least expect it.

Feel free to share any good mixtape thoughts or stories in the comments below.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

"Two Tickets For Ozzfest, Please."

JBez: "Daddy, no one's here to take your money."

By now, we've all heard or read about this year's free Ozzfest festival. As an Ozzy fan from way back when, I'm pretty excited about it. I'm pretty much there, no matter what. But it does seem like Sharon and Co. are screaming "Free lunch!" while my high school economics teacher is reminding me that there ain't no such thing.

I did a bit of research on the matter and found a pretty good take on what's going on behind the scenes here. It's shared that last year's tour lost about $1.5 million and those in charge are betting on bigger sponsors this year to offset lack of admission dollars.

If that's the most cynical take out there, then maybe it still is a free lunch for the fans. No dollars out of my pocket as I see it. My wife and I are so there.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Two Left Feet


How We Spent Valentine's Day 2006

We rocked.

What's In Your Insula?

Fascinating read: A Small Part of the Brain, and Its Profound Effects

Perfect Songs Give Me Goosebumps

Two green bottles of beer down after nine hours of work completed and I am listening to an album that is so good that it takes me back fifteen years. Specifically, it's "Turn On Me" by The Shins. We all know what Natalie Portman's Sam said about them in Garden State: "You gotta hear this one song, it'll change your life I swear."

She was talking about "New Slang" from Oh, Invented World and she was dead on. But as close to perfect as that song was, "Turn On Me" hits just a bit more snugly into the heart of perfection. They just get those melodies so right. It reminds me of when I saw Jellyfish play at 328 Performance Hall so many years ago. Their debut was one of those great finds from my record store days. I popped in the promo cassette for Bellybutton and was a Jellyfish fan within three songs.

Over the next few months it was my mission to turn as many people onto that band as possible. One guy, Richard Smith, a regular customer, was one of the people who bought that CD thanks to in-store play and my enthusiastic sales pitch. (That makes it sound like dirty commerce, but it was more about the music than the sale.) Anyway, he was a musician in Louise Mandrell's band and other members of the band bought that awesome Jellyfish CD from me over the next few days. I was the record store guy version of the girl from that movie saying, "You gotta hear this one song, it'll change your life I swear."

Anyway, when Jellyfish played 328 Performance Hall in Nashville, the place was filled with people. I would suspect that there were very few in attendance who were not musicians themselves (easy call for a Nashville crowd, but it seemed more the case here than usual). It was a wonderfully amazing show. They were power pop at its finest, with nods to The Beatles, Queen, and classic Beach Boys harmony. What I remember most about that 328 show was the absolutely stunning sound of a thousand or so awestruck fans (a collective gasp that gave me goosebumps!) after one particularly moving bit of harmonizing by the band. It was like a packed room full of people who had lived in music studios themselves, knowing just how hard it was to capture for tape what the guys on stage were doing so precisely - live, for them, right then.

This post about The Shins seems to have become a post about Jellyfish. What I mean to share is that it is so rare and so special to find a band who just seems to be so great at making perfect pop songs that don't sacrifice the heart of good songwriting for the quest of sonic perfection. The Shins seem to be my new Jellyfish. It's like it's 1991* all over for me again.

*Jellyfish's Bellybutton CD was actually released in 1990, but like the '60s really didn't get started until 1964 and lasted into the early '70s, 1991 as I like to remember it started in 1990 and ran through early 1993.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Dream A Little Dream of Q&A

All day long I've been trying to make sense of Sunday night's very vivid dream. In it, I remember an extremely detailed conversation with the resident ghost known to many family members on the beautiful family farm. I awoke knowing my every question to her and every answer from her. "How does one get to heaven?" It's reassuringly easier than I previously thought. "But what about...?" Yeah. No forgiveness for that little break in line. Straight down for that one.

This Interview With a Spirit stayed with me in every quiet moment from wake up time until I clocked out from the workplace tonight. The thing that finally settled me a bit was the realization that I went to bed last night with a bag of Doritos consumed along with a couple of cans of chili (and another can of Ravioli). I had watched the Super Bowl and pigged out without guilt. That stuff will bring tremulous dreams to anyone's sleeping hours.


She Handed Me a Cup From the Fountain of Youth

At the considerably young age of thirty-seven, it somewhat pains me that I was so in tune with the author of this nice piece in The New York Times.

Or click here if you are not a registered Times reader. Writer Andy Christie knows my near future pain.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Mr. Freeze, I'm Watching You

More On Prince

I read recently (in this great review) that Prince, a devout Jehovah's Witness, still plays "Sexuality" in his 3121 concerts. However, he changed the lyrics and title to "Spirituality." Well, it's his song and he can do with it as he likes, but I just cringed a bit to read that. I think I'd rather him just not perform it at all if he has to change it so much just to be comfortable with it.

I'm reminded of a time when my dad and I were walking along Myrtle Beach way back when. We came across a band playing a small show for about 60 people or so. It soon became apparent that it was a Christian band. But rock is rock and we hung around a bit to watch them play. The band soon launched into a cover of Jim Croce's "Leroy Brown." My dad and I shared a look and we knew we were wondering the same thing. How were they going to handle the whole "baddest man in the whole damn town" part? Well, they handled it all right. Apparently, Mr. Leroy Brown was still a bad dude, but he was the "baddest man in the whole downtown."

Ugh. They meant well, I guess. But it was time for Dad and I to roll our eyes and get on with our walk. If you gotta change it to play it, you might just want to skip it.

Who's playing at Super Bowl XLI? Prince!

First, Prince makes the big move to Vegas, the betting capital of the world, and opens the 3121 lounge at The Rio. And now, he's the featured half-time act at the Super Bowl, the most bet on game in the world. (Resisting the urge to say something obvious like, "It's a safe bet that Prince is gonna rock!")

Anyway, I love that there was a press conference the other day and after interviewing several football persons, Prince came out for his turn to answer questions. But much to the surprise of the reporters on hand, he and his band played a 15-minute concert, just for them. At the end, he just said "Thank you," blew a kiss, told everyone he'd see them at the Super Bowl, and ventured off. (I read that at WTHR's Super Bowl blog.) If nothing else, I'd vote for Prince for elected office for that reason alone. At a press conference, if he started getting tough questions from the reporters, he'd just launch into "When Doves Cry" and everyone would be happy.

As for the playlist, WTHR goes on to say that he rehearsed "Let's Go Crazy" and "Purple Rain." I can't say that I'm too excited about hearing those old songs yet again, but it'll be cool nonetheless.

Introducing Joss Stone

I can't wait for the new Joss Stone. I first heard her as a young 15 year old performing for KCRW's popular Morning Becomes Eclectic (watch it here) four years ago and I was stunned at the rich, mature and soulful voice coming from that cherub faced British blond teen. On March 20, she'll release Introducing Joss Stone on Virgin Records. No covers, only her words.

I've heard two tracks. So far, pretty cool. "Tell Me 'Bout It" (hear here) is the stronger of the two. Musically, it reminds me of the Elvis Presley 2002 remix for "A Little Less Conversation." It's a bit simple but it does move. More importantly, her voice shines in typically strong and wonderful form. Gone is the element of surprise ("That voice? From that young girl?"), but it stands firm and impressive still.

The second track I've heard doesn't move me as much. Rapper Common guests on "Tell Me What We Gonna Do" (hear here) and the groove is good, but it sounds like a song I've heard a million times before as the credits roll for a typical Save The Last Dance starring Julia Stiles-kind of movie. It's good enough, but I hurried back to "Tell Me 'Bout It" for a few more listens as soon as it ended.

Here's hoping for a very good overall record by Joss. Her love for the soul music that has preceded her by generations is obvious and her respectful approach to the blending of sounds old and new is heartwarming for a listener like me. It's gonna be a Joss Stone kind of day around my house today.

www.Joss Stone.com

Friday, February 02, 2007

Tired Dad

I've been awake for 31 hours and counting. I couldn't sleep for anything last night. Was it the coming snow? I wasn't stressing or worrying myself over anything. Sleep was just a million miles away as I lay in bed, wide awake.

The kids got up around 6 A.M. or so and I have been going strong ever since. Playing in the snow in the morning and running errands in the afternoon, I am only now truly feeling the exhaustion.

I think I'll curl up with the new Adam Gopnik book and read a paragraph and fall asleep.

Good night.

Will Chez Bez Really Go Blonde Today?

Seriously considering it. Well, it worked for that Casino Royale guy.

It might just come down to how much money it'll set me back.

News at eleven.

[Update: Wow! Hair coloring is expensive stuff. I got it cut short today but the color remains the same. I can't imagine dropping that kind of dough on my hair when I could buy so many beers with that money instead.]

Even The Grill Seems Happy About The Weather

Nashville. Snow. Pictures. Happy.

JBez keeps it warm.

JBez invites the photographer to come play in the snow.

Another Nashvillian with his car stuck in the snow.

Black and white in the snow.

One is happy to see the white stuff. The other is not so sure.

Georgia considers frolicking.

Georgia frolics.

JBez and ABez (a.k.a. Snow Princess) behold a world covered in snow.

First snow angel of the year.

And The Educator Stays Home