Saturday, August 30, 2008

Missing In Action

Sincerest of apologies, gentle readers!

For more than two and a half years, I diligently have updated this space an average of twice a week. Now look at me: I haven't posted in 14 days. Forgive me, I've been a little busy dealing with a few teeny problems in my living space. I love my quintessential San Francisco home, but these are trying times for the Sassy domicile. Between the nuisance neighbors, bad maintenance on the part of my property manager and some uninvited guests, I've started seriously considering other options.

Plus, my doctor is freaking out because apparently I'm a tad anemic. All this has taken all my energy for the past two weeks. I haven't even been exercising lately. You know that's not like me.

I have done hardly anything fun since my friend Emily's wedding in Napa on the 17th. I did go to Joan and Richard's going-away party last weekend, but that's it. Well, until last night, that is. Right after work, my friend Alison and I went to a party for Italian speakers at a fancy apartment building South of Market. No, I don't speak Italian, but Alison carried me.

There were no cute boys at the party, though; so after a few rounds of Italian (Alison) and apologetic English (me), we went back to Alison's place where we tried to make cosmopolitans. I say we tried because Alison had no cranberry juice, but we used fruit instead and created a whole new drink! I think we should call it "The Alison" and market it to bars around the city. We sipped our newly minted creations while watching several Sex and the City episodes on dvd. It was the perfect Friday evening for a Sassy girl who has been under a decidedly un-sassy amount of stress.

At least I'm going back to Hawaii in a week. Yay! That will take my mind off my poor, abused home.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Tainted Knowledge

There comes a time, I believe, in every music fan's life when she realizes that she is stupid.

Okay, maybe "stupid" is too strong a word. Perhaps it's more accurate to say that, armed with limited information, she made an assumption that turned out to be incorrect.

When I was twelve years old, drinking in all I could from my local radio station KROQ, I heard a little synth-pop tune by Soft Cell called "Tainted Love." It enjoyed a fairly heavy rotation on KROQ, alongside The Go-Go's, Missing Persons, Toni Basil and other stars of the day. I liked the song, quite a bit actually, as did many of my fellow sixth graders. I especially liked the occasions when KROQ would play the 12" version, where "Tainted Love" was married to Soft Cell's cover of the Supremes' "Where Did Our Love Go."

The song made Soft Cell the perfect little one hit wonder band.

I am fairly sick of good old "Tainted Love" now, given that somehow it managed to endure and take a seemingly permanent position on just about every adult contemporary radio station out there these days. I hate that I am the target demographic of radio stations that also play Celine Dion.

Anyway, I was perfectly happy living with "Tainted Love" in the background of my musical tapestry until it was thrust front and center this morning... when I learned that Soft Cell did not write it, Ed Cobb did. Soft Cell's version is an out and out cover of the song, which was first released in 1964 by R&B singer Gloria Jones, pictured above. Of course, the Gloria Jones version kicks Soft Cell's collective ass, but that's really not the point.

How could I have thought for 26 years that Soft Cell wrote that song? Or at least that they sang it first? I don't claim to know everything about music, but I know a few things. I know "Twist and Shout" was a hit for the Isley Brothers before the Beatles covered it. I was very familiar with the La's version of "There She Goes" before Sixpence None the Richer turned it into a U-S hit. "A Message to You, Rudy," by the Specials? Cover. And all that said, I'm certain there are scores of cover songs out there that I don't recognize as such. But to walk around for a quarter century identifying "Tainted Love" solely as a Soft Cell song? That's just wrong.

My friend Wendell pointed out that nothing else in the Soft Cell catalog is nearly so good as "Tainted Love"; so that fact, along with the pairing of "Tainted Love" with "Where Did Our Love Go" could have, decades ago, given me a clue that it is a cover. He makes a good point. "It's A Mug's Game," for example, while a somewhat cute new wave nugget, doesn't even compare. However, Wendell also noted that perhaps I shouldn't beat myself up for not knowing the Gloria Jones version.

Okay, I won't beat myself up, but I now vow to pay better attention. The next thing you know, I'll learn that the Monkees didn't write the vast majority of their songs. Oh, wait...

(P.S. For the record, I know the Supremes didn't write "Where Did Our Love Go," even though I refer to it in this rant as a Supremes' song.)

Monday, August 11, 2008

Welcome Back!

(Feel free to hum the theme to "Welcome Back, Kotter" as you read this.)

My co-worker Rebecca has returned to work.

The lovely and charming Miss Re broke her leg back in mid-May and has been out just a few days short of three full months. Now, there are many people at work who have known Rebecca longer or are personally closer to her than me, but she and I are going to be working very closely together from now on. So I am just as thrilled as anyone that she is back. Maybe even more thrilled.

To celebrate her return to work and our plan to take over the world (oh, yes, we have that plan), Re made me a warm blanket with music notes on it, should I get cold in our place of employment. I am not the one who broke my leg, but I'm not going to look a gift blanket in the mouth. And it was very sweet of her to sew it for me by her very own hand.

I marked the beginning of our world take-over by procuring a sacripantina cake from Stella Pastry in Miss Re's honor. I had heard carrot cake is her favorite, but this occasion deserved the sacripantina, which is known in some circles (i.e. mine) as the greatest cake in the world. Re jokingly asked me if I baked it myself, only because about an hour earlier I'd told her that the contents of my single girl refrigerator currently are limited to pickles, champagne, filtered water, butter and about a cup of most likely sour milk.

Anyway, the cake was delicious, and it is wonderful to have Rebecca back. If you notice a world takeover anytime soon, don't worry. It's just us, and we're very benevolent.

Sunday, August 10, 2008


There are hundreds of types of butterflies in the world, and over the course of the last week, I did my best imitation of the social variety.

It began Monday night. After a full and moderately exhausting weekend, I still couldn't stay in. After work, I met the boys at the Knockout for Monday night karaoke. When Andrey, Eric, Berto, Tom, Chris and I had not had our fill by the time the Knockout microphones shut down at 9:00, we piled into Tom and Berto's respective cars and headed across town to keep the warbling going at Encore. I think a lot of regulars were at Encore that night because several really good singers took the stage. We held our own, though.

May I just take this opportunity to make a general plea? I'm sure people are very tired of hearing me belt out "Downtown" over and over again, not to mention "Different Drum," but can we all agree to ban "All That Jazz" from the musical Chicago from any and all karaoke performances? Everyone I've ever heard take on that tune sang it very well, but the song itself is just sooooo boring. If it was a short number, I might be able to deal with it, but it drags for and incredibly repetitious four... or eight... or what seems like thirty insufferable minutes. Good lord.

Okay, back to our story. I stayed in Tuesday night and got about nine and a half hours of well needed sleep. Then on Wednesday I met Kurt and a friend of his at Tony Nik's for champagne and Shellac Shack, a 78-rpm record listening party. And on Thursday it was happy hour at 21st Amendment with Carla, Berto, Olena and Jack.

Friday was my favorite night of the week because I was joined by Sheela, Tom and Andrey at the Attic for Teenage Kicks. I've gushed on this space too many times already about Teenage Kicks, but it is just so much fun. If you're not yet convinced, let me just tell you that Victor began the night by playing Nick Lowe, and one of the last songs he laid on the turntables before I left at about 1 a.m. was "Since Yesterday" by Strawberry Switchblade. Could any music party be better? Survey says: no. Teenage Kicks was a little bittersweet this time around, however, because Friday was my last night to see Sheela before she moves to London next week. Sadness. She'll be back every summer, and she may be here for a visit as soon as December, but it won't be the same.

It's sad when your friends move away. Especially a friend as fun as Sheela. Poop.

Last night was Kevin's 40th birthday party in Potrero Hill, featuring drinks, pizza, cake, dancing and Kevin's parents, who were in town from Pennsylvania. That was super fun. I left a little bit early, though, and hit Javier and Daniel's wedding celebration at their fancy, grown up apartment in Noe Valley. Javier is incredibly excited that he and Daniel now legally can be married. I'm happy about that, too, but mostly, I was just thrilled to see Javier. He is wonderful, and I don't think I've seen him in more than three years.

Today I took a lengthy walk to the west side of Chrissy Field for Heidi and her husband Adam's going away party. I know Heidi through Gourmet Group, and it was nice to bid her farewell. (What's going on? Is everyone fleeing the Bay Area?) After all these parties and nights out, you'd think I'd take some time off from socializing, but no. A more mellow week does face me, but I'll still be out and about beginning with more singing tomorrow night.

Perhaps they should rename the social butterfly the sassy butterfly.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

By Popular Demand

Okay, first of all, how did it get to be August already? I know everyone constantly marvels at how fast time flies, but seriously... August 2008? Wasn't it just 1985? I think it was.

Anyway. You may or may not recall that back in April I went to see the brilliant Nick Lowe at the Fillmore. The show was phenomenal, but the most incredible part was that the audience basically bullied dear Nick into doing a third encore. I had never seen such a thing before, but apparently it's not so unusual.

On Friday night I was back at the Fillmore to see the Alarm and the English Beat (also known as English Beat lead singer Dave Wakeling and the musicians he has hired to tour with him). The Alarm sucked because... well, it was the Alarm. I mean no disrespect to any Alarm fans, but that band stinks. Not to mention that the lead singer kept trying to coerce the audience into singing for him. Even when the band was playing a song that wasn't a hit. C'mon buddy, we paid to see you sing (unfortunately); don't try to get us to do your job.

The Beat was, of course, great, but they didn't play for very long. Perhaps I have been spoiled because Dave and the boys play in San Francisco all the time, and they usually play for at least two hours at every show. However, on Friday night, the set was only about an hour long. Sure, they played 60 minutes of great music, but there was no "Best Friend," no "Doors of Your Heart," no "Ackee 123." Drat. But after the second encore, when all was supposedly said and done, the audience wouldn't stop cheering. The lights came up, the roadies started disconnecting the microphones, and I, for one, figured we were done.

Then the band came back.

I don't know if it was the crowd or the fact that the band realized they hadn't yet played "I Confess," but they treated us to two more songs. After the roadies reconnected everything, that is. Another third encore on demand. Good stuff, my friends.

In other news from my weekend, I began my Saturday with brunch with Britney, Denise, Molly and Molly's brand new daughter Riley. Then it was off to my singing lesson, and last night Kurt, his friend Alana and I went to see our friend Beth Lisick in her latest show, Getting in on the Ground Floor and Staying There.

This afternoon I wiled away several hours drinking beer and enjoying snacks at Jupiter in Berkeley with Angela, Diana and Tihanna. Tomorrow it's back to work, but before that I intend to turn on my radio where it will be 1997 again. What's old is new, as always.