Thursday, April 24, 2008

Notes From A Beach

I haven't even been in Hawaii for 24 full hours, but already I have tidbits to share.

1. It took less than three hours from the time my plane touched down for some man twice my age to hit on me. At 38, I'm no spring chicken, myself, but I have to wonder what a man who looks 70 thinks he's going to get out of chatting me up. Seriously. He was polite and nice enough, but really, now.

2. The first thing Diva Mommy and I did upon my arrival was hit the patio at Duke's Canoe Club. I landed at 3:15, and we were seated at Duke's with lava flows in hand by 4:45. Plus, our very favorite Waikiki live musician was playing. Yay! He played "Beyond the Sea" for me, even though he doesn't really know it. It sounded good to me; so I was happy.

3. Later in the evening, the Diva and I found ourselves at another beachfront bar/restaurant, and the musicians there treated us to a rendition of Joe Jackson's "Is She Really Going Out With Him" between Lynyrd Skynyrd and Neil Diamond covers. I didn't know whether to be happy or horrified at the inclusion of Joe Jackson, but I sang along. (Besides, "Is She Really Going Out With Him" is being used in the commercials for a really terrible-looking Patrick Dempsey movie. So if I'm going to be horrified, I should probably start there.)

4. Diva Mommy has found me some Waikiki karaoke! Oh, little does the sweet Diva, who was a professional singer in her day, know. It was getting kind of late by the time the karaoke began, but not too late for me to warble through "Different Drum" and make a whole bunch of friends in the mere three minutes it took for me to sing it. Don't think I won't be back there for a few hundred more tunes.

Okay, that's all for now. I have my new bathing suit on, and the beach awaits....

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Countdown Begins

Less than 24 hours from now, I will be here, basking in some serious Aloha spirit.

Do you need anything from Waikiki? A lava flow from Duke's Canoe Club, perhaps? How about if I take a dip in the warm Pacific and soak up some sunshine for you? I'll be sure to tell Diva Mommy you say hello, and when Emily arrives on Sunday night, we'll party in your honor.

Or you could come along. Think about it...

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Dance Party USA

Little did Chris, Tom, Andrey, Angela, Joey, Phil, Terry and I know when we gathered at the Attic last night, we soon would find ourselves in the middle of an out and out dance party. I'm not talking a few folks bopping to the music over their cocktails. I mean clothing layers thrown aside, beers ignored and abandon embraced as people shook their groove things and got waaay down.

Even though I have proclaimed the Attic to be one of my favorite bars these days, I am still a newbie there. It's my understanding that they have DJ's every night of the week, and I am learning just how varied the music styles spun by these mad turntable scientists can be. When my friends and I began to trickle in at about 8:00, the man providing the music was playing indie rock tunes seeming to befit a semi-dive bar in the Mission. It was the perfect soundtrack for our imbibing and chatting.

However, a couple of hours later, after several of us went on a much-needed burrito run, the beat had changed, and what there is of a makeshift dance floor had come alive. The music was a mix of cool classic soul played alongside awful top 40 and techno/disco. It was all just so oddly schizophrenic: I'd be enjoying one song only to have my buzz killed by the next. However, the hipster version of American Bandstand taking over the place didn't care in the least. The crowd was loving every note and eating it all up. Even if I didn't dance, myself, or particularly like the music, the energy of the place was pretty great.

So a few cheesy songs hasn't dampened my Attic love, and it's good to know that a relatively small, dark bar can turn into a buzzing discotheque at a moment's notice.

This afternoon I went to Berkeley to rehearse with Rosa and Jackie for the upcoming Sub Rosas show. Things are coming along, but suffice it to say, I'm quite glad the show isn't happening for a few weeks.

This is why we practice.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Working On Material

One of the great things about living in San Francisco is that occasionally you can, if you're quick enough to get tickets before they're scooped up by others, see Robin Williams live, as he tests out new material at Bimbo's 365 Club.

Well, I was fast enough this time, and that's what Denise, Paul, Carolyn and I did tonight. Robin was, of course, hysterical, and the historic, intimate Bimbo's was the perfect venue. So much fun.

The show tonight was an excellent end to a lovely day that saw me take a nearly six mile run/walk (I ran four miles, walked just under two), get a much-needed haircut, and day drink in the sunshine at Zeitgeist with Bill, Katie and Steve. What's better than Wednesday afternoon Chimay and hard cider on Zeitgeist's beer patio? Nothing.

Well, maybe seeing Robin Williams live later in the evening is a tiny bit better.

(Psst., guess what? Just one week until Hawaii! Emily and I are going to rule Waikiki. Yay!)

Monday, April 14, 2008

Music That's Making Me Happy Today, vol 36

Nick Lowe at the Fillmore

I've always liked and respected Nick Lowe, but over the years our relationship has been of the casual variety. "Cruel To Be Kind" enjoys a strong rotation on my iPod, but I only own one album (Jesus of Cool). However, after seeing him this weekend, I am officially in love. And certainly ready to make a serious commitment.

Imagine a brilliant songwriter, a guitar and you, safely nestled with a few other fans at a legendary San Francisco rock club. Now, imagine yourself surrounded for about 90 minutes by a sea of perfectly crafted three-minute pop songs. My new music boyfriend, Nick, is touring with Robyn Hitchcock, but I have to admit, I can take Robyn or leave him. He's a good songwriter, too, I suppose, but nothing to write home about (sorry, Robyn).

Nick serenaded me, Bill, Kim and Katie, along with the rest of the crowd, for over an hour, and when he ended with "What's So Funny 'Bout Peace, Love and Understanding," (yes, made famous by Elvis Costello but written by Nick), I was so happy, I was near tears. For an encore, Nick brought Robyn back and they treated the audience to several cover tunes, including the Beatles' "If I Fell." Then sadly, the lights started to come up, and the house music began to play.

Not so fast.

Forget about little, lovesick me, Nick quickly learned that he couldn't just just walk out on the dozens of stoned Baby Boomers and their Gen X friends who populated the Fillmore that night. About five minutes of continuous cheering and clapping later, we had all succeeded in bullying Nick Lowe back onstage for two more songs. I don't think I've ever seen a second encore begin after the house lights and music had come up.

He may be almost 60, but nonetheless I repeat, Nick Lowe is my new music boyfriend.

Another new boyfriend of mine is DJ El Guapo, the man in charge of Teenage Kicks at the Attic. Tom and I took residence on a couple of barstools there on Friday night, and it was a delicious experience. Once the music started, poor Tom had to deal with me repeatedly stopping the conversation mid-sentence to bop my head to the beat and proclaim how happy I was. I didn't even know most of the songs Mr. Guapo (okay, his real name is Victor) played, but I loved them all just the same. The songs I did know were choice, too, including the Records' "Starry Eyes," which you never hear anywhere these days. I probably scared Victor a little bit because I had to gush over his song choices more than once, but everyone likes having a fan, right?

I think Teenage Kicks happens the second Friday of every month. Well, whenever it is, I intend to be there for it.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

The Best Laid Plans

Remember when I said this afternoon that I was going to go running... in the opposite direction of the Olympic Torch. (You don't? Scroll down; it's at the end of my previous post.) Well, I did just that. Or so I thought.

About 15 minutes into said run, I encountered a closed street. Why was the street closed you ask? That's right: the Torch. Officials aborted their original route plan and took the Torch directly across my running route. The bad news is that the spectacle delayed my run by about 15 minutes or so, and I never regained my momentum. As a consequence, I ended up going on a shorter "run" than planned and walked most of it.

The good news is that I did see the Torch in person. Without all the mayhem. I will say, however, that had I gone down to the Embarcadero, as originally planned, and waited for hours to see a Torch that never showed up, I'd have been highly irate. Just like I bet a lot of people were.

The Little Things

Sometimes little things make me very happy.

Case in point: hearing "Echo Beach" by Martha and the Muffins on my gym's sound system yesterday. I don't know who is in charge of the music at my fancy workout den or what satellite system they subscribe to, but when I hear a little New Wave ditty like that as I'm doing ab exercises, it makes me feel like all is right with the world.

Unfortunately, my music high was cut short when I later heard Men at Work and Greg Kihn's "Jeopardy." Ick. But all was okay again when the Go-Go's "Our Lips Are Sealed" wafted through the space surrounding the free weights, cardio machines and fitness addicts. While I'm always armed with an iPod full of my own song choices when I work out, it's still nice to see (or hear) the whole gym filled with good music taste.

Again, sometimes it's just the little things.

In just a few minutes the Olympic Torch relay will begin in San Francisco, and I was going to walk down to the Embarcadero to check it out. I've seen the Olympic Torch in person once before, when the relay took it right by my house in Pasadena for the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Games. However, between the protests and general hoopla this time around, I think I'm all "torched" out. So even though it will be happening only a couple of miles away, I'm going to watch the beginning of the relay on television and then head out for my own run. In the opposite direction of the torch.

And then tonight, I sing! Three jingle jangle pop songs, one open jam in the Mission and no waiting. Yay!

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Fancy Parties and Candy

I wish my life consisted of nothing but the above.

Okay, not really. But sort of. Well, last week I did my best to dabble in both, as I attended a fancy party and checked out the new Candy Bar.

The fancy party was a preview reception on Wednesday for the San Francisco Symphony's Black and White Ball. Have you ever been to the Black and White Ball? That is one super fancy party, and it is ridiculously fun. Sometimes certain parts of the affair can be overly crowded, and they seemed to run out of food at the Ball a few years ago, but I believe those kinks have been worked out. To that end, I am very much looking forward to this year's Ball. It can get kind of cold, too, given that much of the party happens outside, but that never bothers me too much.

Denise came with me to the preview reception, which in and of itself, wasn't all that fancy. However, we did enjoy the free cocktails and sparkling wine, as well as some free snacks. That's pretty much fancy enough for me. I think we had more cocktails than snacks, though. At least I know I did because I definitely needed the Thai food we found for dinner in the Mission after the party.

I think I'm becoming kind of a lightweight in my old age.

The following evening Kara and I went to Candy Bar, a new wine and dessert bar on Fulton Street. While there is no actual candy to be found at Candy Bar, I tried the dessert tasting menu and was very satisfied. Kara stayed healthy and had savory snacks, like asparagus and hard boiled eggs. They were also yummy. We didn't try any of Candy Bar's wine, sipping sparkling water instead, but the wine did look delicious. I guess I'll just have to go back.

Tonight I'm meeting Joey at Thirsty Bear for a flamenco show. Yes, you read that correctly. I'll let you know how that works out for us. I definitely am looking forward to the small plates and micro-brews.

Oh, one more thing: is it a problem that I had a dream that the boy I kissed last weekend is gay? Okay, probably. Now, I'm certain this gentleman is not gay, but the dream likely was my subconscious reminding me that, for a couple of reasons, he may not be the most appropriate match for me. But he was so pretty... just so, so pretty. And a very nice guy, too. Ah, well. Dreaming he was gay may have been a little wrong, but the real life kissing was very right.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Happiness Is....

... a warm puppy?
... all the jelly beans you can eat?
... Waikiki Beach?
... a three-minute jingle, jangle pop song?
... a day at the spa?
... the start of baseball season?

It could be any of those things, but I have to say that to me, happiness is my life overall right now. I'm good at keeping things in perspective and remembering that I have led a fairly privileged life, but that doesn't mean I can't find something to mope about. I can and will, if provoked. Go ahead and try me. However, I woke up this morning, or perhaps it was another recent morning, and realized that everything is going really well. Yay!

Nothing terribly earth-shattering has happened lately, just a lot of little positives. My singing habit is flourishing, as I continue to test the Bay Area open mic circuit (and remember, the Sub Rosas have an upcoming gig). Plus, last weekend Rosa and I made a recording of some of the songs I've been singing. The recording is pretty rudimentary, and I'm no recording engineer, but the good news is that I'm not horrified by what I hear when it comes to my vocals. I'm still an amateur, and I definitely need to keep up my singing lessons, but I'm getting better everyday. I've always had a decent voice, but given what I sounded like a year and a half ago when this singing endeavor began, I'm very happy with my progress.

Work is going well, too, and my work schedule has allowed me some free weekend nights lately. I spent Sunday night at the Attic with Carolyn and Dima, and it was super fun. I make no money hanging out at the Attic, but I had worked earlier in the day, so it was the best of both worlds.

There are also cute boys everywhere these days. Everywhere. No salacious stories, necessarily, but suffice it to say I'm in a pretty good mood where boys are concerned. And of course, there is my upcoming trip to Hawaii. Just thinking about that is a guaranteed pick me up. All of this is to say that, as we make our way through the spring, these are good days.

Unfortunately, something not so good has happened to a friend of mine. I was hoping I would wake up today to find it had all been an elaborate April Fool's joke, but no such luck. He'll be fine, but still. Sucky. Happiness is not watching your friends go through rocky times.