Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Hall-worthy Performance


Bono, Fergie, and Mick Jagger perform "Gimme Shelter". (Photo Henry Ray Abrams/AP)

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, which turned 25 this year, held a benefit concert at Madison Square Garden on October 29. HBO filmed the concert and televised it as a 2-part, 4 hr special. With performers like U2, Springsteen, and Metallica, you could be sure there would be no shortage of glitz and glamour. The first hour and 15 minutes or so were not very memorable: 168-year old Jerry Lee Lewis sitting at the piano and mumbling his way through Great Balls of Fire; Crosby, Stills, & Nash, singing the same old songs, with David Crosby standing in living defiance of all actuarial tables; Metallica sharing the stage with not one, but two poorly chosen special guests: Ozzy Osbourne, now just a sad parody of himself; and Lou Reed, who looked as if he was literally sleep-walking on stage. The remainder of the concert did have some terrific moments. The first was Springsteen and Patti Smith joining U2 on stage for "Because the Night". The second was Mick Jagger joining U2 for a rendition of the Stones classic "Gimme Shelter". I've never been a fan of Mick Jagger strutting around the stage like some autistic rooster, but the real revelation of the song was special guest Fergie singing the soaring female vocal originally sung by Merry Clayton.

The unequivocal highlight, though, was Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello joining the Boss and the E-Street Band for an absolutely transcendent version of "Ghost of Tom Joad". Morello's guitar turns the Springsteen-penned folk song into the hardest rocker the E-street band has ever done. Watching Bruce and Tom trade guitar solos is a study in contrasts: Bruce, arms stiff as a statue, whole body tensed as if he's on the verge of a grand mal; Morello loose and fluid, at one with his instrument. Though the performance in the clip below is not from the Madison Square Garden concert, it shows Springsteen and Morello performing the same tune in Los Angeles last spring. Check it out.

Monday, November 2, 2009

AFF - Epilogue

Thanks to Xuan Le for sending me the following pic. And yes, Alison is dressed for Halloween - that is not her normal amount of mascara.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

A Fine Frenzy



Last night I abandoned my neighborhood trick-or-treaters to go see A Fine Frenzy in a Halloween night concert at The Birchmere in Alexandria. A Fine Frenzy is 24 year old Alison Sudol, and I first mentioned her in this space over a year ago , when I discovered her first record One Cell in the Sea, and its hit single "Almost Lover". At the time I described her style as "piano driven melodic melancholia", and though that description fits many of the songs on her first album, it does not describe her September release Bomb in a Bird Cage, nor does it do justice to her current live performance. For this tour Alison has foregone the sit down baby grand in exchange for a stand up electric piano, resulting in a higher energy show apropos of the punchier, upbeat, danceable songs on her second release.

And Alison delivered the energy. Opening the show with "What I Wouldn't Do", a bouncy ode to unrequited love, she brought a radiance to the stage that made it impossible to look away. I did not keep track of the set list, though my recollections tell me the band ran through 16 songs, including nine from Bomb in a Bird Cage, five from One Cell in the Sea, the unreleased "From Whence You Came", and a cover of Blondie's "Heart of Glass". Sudol was at her most appealing on songs that freed her from the piano and allowed her to work the stage, including the aforementioned opening number, "Heart of Glass", "Electric Twist", and "Blow Away", the first single from the new record and the song that closed the show. On the final encore number, "Stood Up", Alison showed that she could transform into full on rocker chick. "Stood Up" worked better live than it does on the record, where electronic enhancements make it sound over-produced.

All this is not to say that she abandoned the softer piano melodies that work so well with her lovely voice. I was pleased that she performed "The Minnow and the Trout", my favorite song from "One Cell in the Sea". And of course the audience would never let her get away without "Almost Lover", and she certainly did not disappoint - when she launched into the bridge, the emotion and passion in her voice gave me goose bumps for a full 20 seconds as she sang:
"I cannot go to the ocean, I cannot drive the streets at night
I cannot wake up in the morning without you on my mind
So you're gone and I'm haunted, and I bet you are just fine
Did I make it that easy to walk right in and out of my life?"

Many of A Fine Frenzy's songs contain bird imagery, and Alison admitted she is somewhat obsessed with birds, stating "I go furniture shopping and come home with a bird sculpture. I go to get groceries and come back with a bird painting". As if I needed another reason to like her...... After the show I stayed behind with about 40 other people and was rewarded when Alison came out for a meet and greet. She signed my Birchmere cap, which I bought specifically so I would have something for her to sign if I got the chance to meet her. She also posed for a picture with me, but since I neglected to take my camera to the show, a nice (hopefully) couple behind me took the pic and promised to e-mail it to me. My fingers are crossed, and if and when I get the pic I will update this post to include it.

All in all, a much better way to spend an evening than sitting at home handing out candy to surly 12 year olds not wearing costumes.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Mti Mkweo Simba

Click all pics to enlarge

Now that I'm finally back home after another 10 days on the road, I have started work on Part 3 of my Tanzanian adventure. However, as an interim post, I thought I'd share some photos of one of the more interesting and unusual behavioral traits we witnessed in Serengeti National Park. When I was preparing for the trip, I read that the lions of Lake Manyara National Park are one of the two known populations of tree-climbing lions in the world (the other located in Uganda). Alas, the lions we observed at Lake Manyara were all firmly planted on the ground. We were all surprised, however, to discover that someone neglected to tell the lions of Serengeti National Park that they do not climb trees. In the six and a half days we spent in Serengeti National Park, we observed lions resting in trees on at least five occasions. No one is sure exactly why lions sometimes climb trees, though the most popular hypotheses center around relief from biting flies, or to take advantage of cooling breezes. The title of this post is a literal Swahili translation of "tree climbing lions", though since I do not speak or write Swahili, it is probably not grammatically correct. That doesn't mean you can't enjoy the pics, however!









Friday, July 3, 2009

Jenny!

Seeing Jenny Lewis tonight at the National Theater in Richmond, then again Sunday night in Pittsburgh. Woohoo! Hopefully then she'll get back in the studio with Rilo Kiley.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Tanzania Part 2 - Ngorongoro Crater



After leaving Lake Manyara on the afternoon of June 5, we climbed the Rift Valley escarpment heading toward the crater highlands of Northern Tanzania. Our destination, Ngorongoro Crater, is the largets unbroken, unflooded volcanic caldera in the world. The crater floor sits 2000 feet below the crater rim, and covers an area of 102 square miles. Though zebra and wildebeest move in an out of the crater throughout the year, there is very little immigration/emmigration of the crater lion population, with the result that the crater lions have become severely inbred. The crater is home to about 25,000 large mammals, including the "Big 5" species of lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo, and rhino, but there are no impala or giraffes in the crater. New bird species added enroute to the crater and on the grounds of Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge were Long-crested Eagle, Speckled Pigeon, Cinnamon-chested Bee-eater, Red-rumped Swallow, Cape Robin-Chat, Common Stonechat, White-browed Scrub-Robin, White-eyed Slaty Flycatcher, Montane White-eye, Golden-winged Sunbird, Tacazze Sunbird, Scarlet-tufted Malachite Sunbird, Baglafecht Weaver, and Streaky Seedeater.


Long-crested Eagle. 6/5/09

We got an early start on June 6 and started our descent for a full day on the crater floor. We quickly encountered significant herds of wildebeest and zebra, and got reasonable views of three bull elands, the largest, and amongst the wariest, of antelope species. Shortly after the eland encounter, we found ourselved ideally positioned to watch a wildebeest nearly walk into a lioness crouching in ambush. The wildebeest finally detected the lioness when no more than 10 yards separated the two, and the wildebeest beat a hasty retreat before the lioness could pounce. The lioness retreated across the road to where the rest of the pride waited, giving the alpha male a swat on the nose before lying down for a nap.


Bull Eland in Ngorongoro Crater. 6/6/09. (click to enlarge)


Lioness Waiting in Ambush. 6/9/09. (click to enlarge)


Just a Love Tap. 6/6/09/ (click to enlarge)

The crater floor gave us our first views of Ostriches and Kori Bustards, and excellent views of at least four different black-backed jackals. A visit to one of the hippo pools found several of the big beasts lolling in the water as a variety of waders fed around them, including a trio of Black-headed Herons that one of our group insisted were western reef-herons. How he arrived at that erroneous conclusion I never did figure out. We ate our boxed lunches with the safari vehicles arranged around us like a fort, not for protection from lions or other mammalian predators, but rather to shield us from the marauding Black Kites who have learned that pre-made sandwiches can be easy pickings.


Black-backed Jackals. 6/6/09 (click to enlarge)


Grey Heron, Hippo, and Blacksmith Plover. 6/6/09.


Black-headed Heron. 6/6/09.


Black Kite Hunting Sandwiches. 6/6/09.

After lunch our goal was to find a Black Rhino. Ngorongoro Crater is one of the last places to find this animal in Northern Tanzania, and despite the fact that 27 rhinos currently inhabit the crater, they can be very difficult to find. We finally located three rhinos, though due to bad light and distance, photos were not possible. The highlight of the afternoon was watching a cheetah stalk and very nearly catch a Thomson's gazelle. As we started to depart the crater we had to stop for three ostriches who had decided to sit in the road like large, feathery speed bumps. As we ascended the road back to Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge, we were graced with superb, albeit brief, views of a normally shy serval sitting next the road. These small, spotted cats are seen much less frequently that their larger cheetah, lion, and leopard cousins.


Cheetah in Pursuit of a Thomson's Gazelle. 6/6/09.


Resting After the Unsuccessful Hunt. 6/6/09.


Speed Bumps. 6/6/09.

New bird species recorded on this very productive day, beyond those mentioned above, were Little Grebe, Spur-winged Goose, Maccoa Duck, Red-billed Teal, Hottentot Teal, Cape Teal, White Stork, Black-shouldered Kite, African Marsh Harrier, African White-backed Vulture, Hildebrandt's Francolin, Red-knobbed Coot, Black-bellied Bustard, Three-banded Plover, White-winged Tern, Dusky Turtle-Dove, Rufous-naped Lark, Red-capped Lark, Banded Martin, Wire-tailed Swallow, Lesser Swamp Warbler, Eastern Double-collared Sunbird, Olive Sunbird, Tropical Boubou, White-naped Raven, Rufous-tailed Weaver (endemic to northern Tanzania), Lesser Masked Weaver, and Pin-tailed Whydah.


African Marsh-Harrier. 6/6/09

Coming in Part 3: Serengeti National Park.

Tanzania Part 1 - Lake Manyara


Muddy Elephants at Lake Manyara. 6/3/09 (click to enlarge)

Since it has been two weeks since I returned from my Africa trip, I figure that it is past time for me to summarize the many highlights. My plan is to do this in several parts - but knowing my history of updating this blog, we'll see how that goes.

I departed Washington-Dulles at 6:00 pm on June 1st, arriving in Amsterdam at 8:00 am on June 2. It was there that I met up with the other 15 people on the trip, including my undergraduate mentor and trip organizer Vin Lawrence, my former undergraduate academic advisor Ed Sweet, and my roommate for the next 14 nights, Terrie Baranek. After an 8 hour flight from Amsterdam, we arrived at Kilimanjaro International Airport at approximately 8:00 pm, and transferred to our lodging for the evening, The Outpost Lodge in Arusha. The Outpost was solely a brief stopover on our way to the true start of our safari in Lake Manyara National Park, but I was able to start my birdlist on the grounds of the lodge while awaiting our drivers the morning of June 3. Birds noted on the grounds were Common Bulbul, African Goshawk, Pied Crow, Variable Sunbird, Speckled Mousebird, and flyover Hadada Ibis. After visiting a Bureau de Change where I exchanged $80 US for 112,800 Tanzania Shilling, we departed on the 2.5 hour drive west to Lake Manyara. On the drive we stopped to look at a number of birds, including Brown Snake Eagle, Common Fiscal, Superb Starling, Scarlet-chested Sunbird, Tawny Eagle, Northern White-crowned Shrike (perhaps the signature ubiquitous bird of Northern Tanzania), White-headed Buffalo-Weaver, Von der Decken's Hornbill, Black-headed Heron, White-bellied Go-Away-Bird, Yellow-collared Lovebirds, and Easter Pale Chanting Goshawk.


White-headed Buffalo Weaver. 6/3/09 (click to enlarge)


Common Fiscal (click to enlarge)

After checking into Migunga Forest Camp, our lodging for the next two nights, we departed on an afternoon game drive in Lake Manyara National Park. The highlight of the afternoon drive was a pride of lions (adult females and cubs)sunning next to a waterhole, and a herd of elephants fresh from a mudbath. Other mammals seen well included Olive Baboons, Impala, Kirk's Dikdik, Banded Mongoose, Warthog, Wildebeest, Zebra, and two uncommon Klipspringer antelope perched high on a rocky hillside.


Lake Manyara Lions. 6/3/09 (click to enlarge)

Birds added during the afternoon drive were Hamerkop, Wooly-necked Stork (the only one of the trip), Marabou (one of the few species seen practically everyday of the trip), Egyptian Goose, Red-necked Spurfowl, Grey Crowned Crane, Emerald-spotted Wood-Dove, Ring-necked Dove, Red-eyed Dove, White-browed Coucal, African Palm Swift, Pied Kingfisher, Grey-headed Kingfisher, Little Bee-eater, Lilac-breasted Roller, Silvery-cheeked Hornbill, Southern Ground Hornbill, Red & Yellow Barbet, Lesser Striped Swallow, Long-tailed Fiscal, Grey-headed Sparrow, Black Bishop, Eastern Paradise Whydah, and Village Indigobird.


Red & Yellow Barbet. 6/3/09 (click to enlarge)


Hamerkop. 6/3/09. (click to enlarge)


Grey-headed Kingfisher. 6/3/09 (click to enlarge)

Migunga Forest Camp, located in a beautiful yellow-bark acacia forest, was a great setting from which to explore the National Park. The accomodations, though a bit more rustic than the more upscale lodges, were more than serviceable. Each guest "room" was actually a large tent set up on a wooden foundation, with the back flaps of the tent opening into a permanent bathroom with flush toilet and shower. The whole set up was covered by a thatched roof. My tent contained two double beds, each with mosquito netting to protect the occupant from the notorious, malaria-laden mosquitos of East Africa's Rift Valley. The yellow-bark acacia is also referred to as "fever tree", and do to an incorrect combining of the two names, the forest type is often referred to as yellow-fever forest. The "fever" referred to in the name fever tree is actually malaria, not yellow fever, and the name fever tree arose due to the fact that yellow-bark acacia are associated with water and wet areas, where the malaria-vectoring Anopheles mosquito is prevalent.


My "room" at Migunga Forest Camp.

June 4, our 2nd full day in Tanzania, found us back in Lake Manyara for a morning game drive to the hot springs located about 35 kilometers south of the park's entrance at the market town of Mto wa Mbu (pronounced mmtwomboo), and an afternoon drive to the "Hippo Pool" area of the Lake. The morning drive provided us with our first good look at Maasai Giraffe, distinguished from other giraffes by their jagged-edged "snow-flake" spots. While many authors lump the various forms of giraffe together into a single species, recent genetic evidence suggests that there are in reality at least six species. Mitochondrial DNA evidence shows that the reticulated giraffe of Northern Kenya and the Maasai Giraffe of Southern Kenya/Tanzania separated genetically at least 130,000 years ago, and perhaps as long as 1.6 million years ago. We had good looks at many of the same mammals as seen the previous day, but added Bushbuck, Hippo, Thomson's Gazelle, and African Buffalo. A number of people in the group got looks at a Serval hunting in the reeds surrounding the hot springs, though I unfortunately missed that sighting.


Maasai Giraffe, Lake Manyara. 6/4/09 (click to enlarge)


Olive Baboon. 6/4/09. (click to enlarge)


Bushbuck. 6/4/09. (click to enlarge)


Impala. 6/4/09 (click to enlarge)

Many new bird species were added on the June 4 game drives. Hihhlights included the sight of Great White Pelicans comically perched in treetops over the main road through Mto wa Mbu, a plethora of water birds including tens of thousands of Lesser Flamingos, Grey Heron, Yellow-billed Stork, Sacred Ibis, African Spoonbill, Augur Buzzard, Bateleur, Helmeted Guineafowl, Collared Pratincole, Blacksmith Plover, Spur-winged Plover, Kittlitz's Plover, Crowned Plover, Black-winged Stilt, Grey-headed Gull, Little Swift, White-rumped Swift, Narina Trogon, Striped Kingfisher, African Grey Hornbill, Crowned Hornbill, Nubian Woodpecker, Grey Woodpecker, African Pied Wagtail, Spotted Morning-Thrush, Grey-backed Camaroptera, African Paradise Flycatcher, Slate-colored Boubou, Sulphur-breasted Bush-shrike, Fork-tailed Drongo, African Black-headed Oriole, Red-billed Oxpecker, Wattled Starling, Spectacled Weaver, Purple Grenadier, and Red-billed Firefinch.

We finished up our Lake Manyara visit with a morning drive on June 5, before departing the Rift Valley for the Ngorogoro Conservation Area. New additions on the last Manyara visit were Peregrine Falcon, the elegant Namaqua Dove, Laughing Dove, Giant Kingfisher, d'Arnaud's Barbet, Fischer's Sparrow-Lark, Southern Black Flycatcher, Ruppell's Long-tailed Starling, Fan-tailed Widowbird, and Red-cheeked Cordon-bleu.


Great White Pelican. 9/4/09


Crowned Plover. 6/4/09.


Giant Kingfisher. 6/4/09

Stay tuned for Part 2, Ngorogoro Crater!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A Big Day for my Favorite DAY.



On Sunday, as I was sans computer and therefore unable to bring attention to the auspicious occasion, my favorite redhead turned 30. Happy (belated) Birthday Felicia!


Photos courtesy The Bui Brothers

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

My Twitterverse

Most folks are aware that the newest internet pop fad is Twitter, where people blog about their daily happenings in 140 characters or less. I've been on Twitter since last summer, but rarely make posts of my own. I do, however, follow a number of folks on Twitter. When you "follow" someone, you receive all of their public "tweets", but not their specific replies to other members of the Twitterverse, unless you also happen to be following the person to whom they are replying. Just for the heck of it, I thought I'd share the twitter id's of the folks I follow on Twitter. And just for the fun of it, I've also listed the number of "followers" each of these folks has (as of the time of this post).

"felicaday" - Geek goddess Felicia Day. Star of Dr. Horrible and the web-series The Guild. Plus she's a pale-skinned redhead. See my "About Me". 550,770 followers.
"AFineFrenzy" - musician Alison Sudol. Check out her stuff at www.afinefrenzy.com. Hmm, another redhead. 542,676 followers.
"WILW" - actor Wil Wheaton. Honestly I never liked him on Star Trek TNG, but as a grown-up geek icon and blogger, it's all good. Plus he's a hockey fan. 580,704 followers.
"worldofhiglet" - transplanted Brit, fellow Whedon Geek. Check out her blog worldofhiglet.blogspot.com. 337 followers.
"KimEvey" - web-series producer, writer, actress. Produces The Guild, writes and stars in Gorgeous Tiny Chicken Machine Show, and Two Hot Girls in the Shower. 1,620 followers.
"donttrythis" - Adam Savage, TV host of Mythbusters. 32,416 followers.
"amber_benson" - Actor/Writer/Director/Comic Book Lover. And of course one half of Buffy's most famous lesbian couple. 13,654 followers
"alydenisof" - Actress Alyson Hannigan. The other half of Buffy's most famous lesbian couple. And, sigh, another redhead. 17,481 followers.
"nathanfillion" - Actor Nathan Fillion. Firefly, Serenity, Dr. Horrible, Castle. 48,324 followers.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Saturday Night Music




I went to the Iota Club in Arlington Saturday night to check out Eilen Jewell and her band. Eilen (pronounced EEE-len) is a Boise-born, Boston-based singer who plays rockabilly-based, bluesy-country roots music. Many of her influences are quite evident in her recordings, and she proudly pays tribute by covering some of them in her live shows, including a standout version of Billie Holiday's "Fine and Mellow", a foot-stomping rendition of Loretta Lynn's "The Darkest Day", and an exquisite cover of the Van Morrison/Them song "I'm Gonna Dress in Black", which beautifully showcases her powerhouse vocals. Instrumentally the sound is lean and spare, with guitarist Jerry Miller, drummer Jason Beek, and upright bassist Johnny Sciascia ably providing backing for Jewell's bold, and often dark, lyrics. I don't think Jerry Miller is the great former Moby Grape guitarist of the same name, though his age would seem approximately the same.

The crowd of about 100 in the small club clearly had a great time, though it made me wonder how a 4 person band can support a nationwide tour playing clubs that small.

Eilen has released three solo albums, including her most recent "Sea of Tears" released about a month ago. The title track has been released as a single, and you can check out the video version of it below. Also included here is a video of Eilen and the band performing a medley of Bessie Smith tunes entitled "If You Catch Me Stealing". Please check out Eilen and her band if they come to a venue near you. They will be touring throughout the summer, and a list of dates can be found at her website. If you like what you see (and hear), her records can be purchased through her website, or online at I-Tunes.

Oh, and Rex, a piece of trivia for you - Eilen attended St. John's College in Santa Fe.


Eilen Jewell, Sea of Tears


Bessie Smith Medley, If You Catch Me Stealing

Monday, April 13, 2009

An AMAZING Performance. Don't Judge This Book by Its Cover.


Photo courtesy of "Britain's Got Talent"

Susan Boyle is a somewhat frumpy, 47 year old, never-married British lady who lives alone with her cat Pebbles. When interviewed she seems a bit...eccentric. Susan appeared on the Simon Cowell produced TV show "Britain's Got Talent" a few days ago, where she said her dream was to be a professional singer. Judges eyes rolled. The audience sniggered. Susan sang "I Dreamed a Dream" from Les Miserables - due to copyright restrictions I cannot embed this video, so click here to see what happened. The judges stunned reactions are wonderful. You cannot watch this video and not come away feeling good. There are shorter, edited versions of the video out there, but it's worth it to watch the full seven minute clip I've linked to, which includes the introductory interview and the judges follow-up comments.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Best. Product. Ever.

OK, this is fake, but if you ask me, it is just SCREAMING for someone to actually invent it. Plus, the english subtitles are classic.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Vince Slap Chops a Hooker



If you own a tv, you've seen Vince Schlomi. He's the annoying pitchman with the oversize phone headset who sells the ShamWow towels and the Slap Chop kitchen aid. He is so annoying that I've found myself wishing bad things upon him whenever I see his commercials. Apparently my wishing worked. I bet he'll need more than a ShamWow to clean up this mess.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Check Out the Watson Twins



Since I just blogged about Jenny Lewis on tour, it seems appropriate to bring attention to the lovely ladies that backed her on her first solo record Rabbit Fur Coat. Twin sisters Chandra and Leigh Watson make awesome music of their own as the Watson Twins. The Twins sport a folk-pop/alt-country sound, with a bit of indy-rocker thrown in on the occasional song. Summer 2008 saw the release of Fire Songs, their first full length album, and the follow-up to their 2006 EP Southern Manners. Standout songs on Fire Songs include "Bar Woman Blues", the lovelorn "How Am I To Be", and a mellow, hauntingly beautiful cover of The Cure's "Just Like Heaven". The Watson Twins are currently playing in the upper mid-West, but hopefully as summer approaches they will hook up as an opener for a larger act and tour more widely. Check out their website to listen to songs from their latest release, which is available from all the standard online music stores. In the meantime, check out the radio in-station performance of "Just Like Heaven" below.

Jenny Lewis on Tour



Finally, the news that I've been waiting months for: Indy Goddess Jenny Lewis, frontwoman for the group Rilo Kiley, will be touring to support her most recent solo release Acid Tongue. Check out the tour dates below and run to get tickets to the show nearest you. Unfortunately I will be in Tanzania when she plays my hometown of D.C., so I had to settle for tickets to her shows in Richmond and Pittsburgh. Go to Jenny's website for details and ticket links!

Apr 13 2009 7:00P The Glass House Pomona
Apr 14 2009 8:00P Belly Up Solana Beach, California
Apr 15 2009 6:30P Empire Sacramento, California
Apr 18 2009 8:00P Coachella Music & Arts Festival - set time TBD Indio, California
May 27 2009 8:00P Rio Theatre Santa Cruz, California
May 28 2009 8:00P The Fillmore San Francisco, California
May 29 2009 8:00P The Fillmore San Francisco, California
May 30 2009 8:00P Roseland Theater Portland, Oregon
May 31 2009 8:00P Showbox @ Market Seattle, Washington
Jun 3 2009 8:00P First Avenue Minneapolis
Jun 4 2009 7:30P Barrymore Theatre Madison, Wisconsin
Jun 5 2009 8:00P Park West Chicago, Illinois
Jun 6 2009 9:00P Wexner Center for the Arts Columbus, Ohio
Jun 8 2009 8:00P Trocadero Theatre Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Jun 9 2009 8:30P Music Hall of Williamsburg Brooklyn, New York
Jun 10 2009 8:00P House of Blues Boston, Massachusetts
Jun 11 2009 8:00P 9:30 Club Washington D. C.
Jun 12 2009 9:00P Cat’s Craddle Carrboro, North Carolina
Jun 13 2009 8:00P Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival - Manchester, Tennessee
Jun 14 2009 8:00P The Pageant St. Louis, Missouri
Jun 15 2009 8:00P Granada Lawrence, Kansas
Jun 17 2009 8:00P Slowdown Omaha, Nebraska
Jun 19 2009 8:00P Telluride Bluegrass Festival - set time TBD Telluride, Colorado
Jun 20 2009 8:00P Santa Fe Brewing Co. Santa Fe
Jun 22 2009 8:00P Stubb’s Waller Creek Amphitheatre Austin, Texas
Jun 23 2009 8:00P Granada Dallas, Texas
Jun 24 2009 8:00P Warehouse Live Houston, Texas
Jun 26 2009 8:00P House of Blues New Orleans, Louisiana
Jun 29 2009 8:00P Plaza Theatre Orlando, Florida
Jul 3 2009 8:00P The National Richmond, Virginia
Jul 5 2009 8:00P Mr. Smalls Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Jul 6 2009 8:00P Headliners Music Hall Louisville, Kentucky
Jul 7 2009 8:00P George’s Majestic Lounge Fayetteville, Arkansas
Jul 9 2009 8:00P Twilight Concert Series, Gallivan Center Salt Lake City, Utah

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Happy Birthday Alyson!



Alyson Hannigan is on my list. You know the list. The list that says you have a free pass from your significant other to sleep with 5 specific famous people. Well, Alyson tops my list. And yes, I know that I don't actually need a list since I'm not married, but it is always good to be prepared. Just thought I'd mention that, since today is Alyson's 35th birthday.

I'm not the only one who feels this way, since Alyson has been the subject of two tribute songs: "Alyson Hannigan" by Juvenile Wreck; and "This One Time" by The Malcolm Effect. "This One Time" is definitely the more polished of the two songs.



Heck, even the FCC agrees with me (according to The Onion)



So Happy Birthday Alyson! May you keep inspiring tribute songs and videos for years to come!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Mike Allen


Mike Allen (L) and Jeff Mao (R), Flagging a Miata Race, Turn 1, Summit Point


Mike Allen (Center), Saturday Morning Flag Meeting, Summit Point Raceway

Mike Allen, one of my friends who I spend so much time with at various race tracks around the Northeast during spring, summer, and fall, passed away on February 2 after suffering a massive heart attack at the age of 55. Though he had only been doing it for a few years, Mike was a top-notch corner worker who could always be counted on to "have your back" when you were working in a hot area of the race track. And he also did a first rate job as my partner in last Labor Day's drunken, blindfolded golf cart race for charity. As sad as Mike's passing is, I was also sad and disturbed that none of his fellow track workers found out about it until three weeks after the fact. When I stopped to think about it, I realized that if it had been me, the same thing probably would have occurred. Like Mike, I have always gone to the track alone, and none of my family has ever met any of my track friends, nor would they know how to contact them. Same with all my birding friends in Florida. Bottom line is that my family would not have any idea who or how to contact the vast majority of the peoiple that I have become friends with over the last 20 years - including those that I count amongst my best friends. Not wishing bad things upon myself, but I think I need to start a contact list with representative points of contact for my friends in Gainesville, my SCCA friends, etc.

Rest in peace, Mike. You will not be forgotten.