Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas in Los Feliz

I'm becoming either older, wiser or a complete wimp.

I've been spending the holiday weekend in Los Feliz, a little L.A. neighborhood nestled right next to Hollywood, and my partying prowess has not been up to snuff. On one hand, it's no big deal because this weekend has been more about family than nightlife. Plus, I've been getting over a cold that hit the day after my birthday, but still. On Friday night I went to Tiki Ti and was able to finish only one drink before needing to head home. Now, the tropical cocktails at Tiki Ti are very strong, and as I walked out of the bar at...oh, 9:30 or so... I remembered that the friend who introduced me to that place a year and a half ago said a person really should have only two drinks there. And this friend is a boy who can drink a lot more than me. Regardless, it was a poor showing on my part. Then last night I went to the Dresden Room and could finish only two seemingly normal potency cocktails before relinquishing my bar stool. I ended up returning to the Dresden about an hour later, but that was because my brother, sister and I decided that our former professional jazz singer mother absolutely had to see Marty and Elayne. And on my second pass I drank Pellegrino.

I fear that as I age, I becoming an amateur. Although truthfully, that's probably something I should be happy about.

Overall it has been a nice little visit to the Southland. Apparently, it has rained a lot in the City of Angels this month, but not a drop has fallen since my arrival on Christmas evening. I've hit Fred 62, as I always do when I'm here, and as my cold has waned, I've been able to exercise again, taking my famed run/walks down Los Feliz Boulevard.

However, all good things must come to an end, including mini-vacations. I'm heading back to the Bay tonight where a very early morning work schedule for the next four days awaits me, and I fear ants will be parading through my apartment (they've been seeking shelter from San Francisco's own rain). But soon it will be 2009, and the prospect of new projects and adventures, including the most excellent day of January 20th, is very exciting. I'm generally none too thrilled about January, also known as the most painfully boring and depressing month on the calendar, but I'm trying to look ahead. I have noticed during my travels through the Internet that a couple of my friends can't wait for the holidays or December to be over, and I think I agree. Not that I would ever turn my back on Christmas or my birthday month, but much like my friend Terry, I've been experiencing a few too many dramatic ups and downs lately.

So perhaps turning the page on a new year will be good for me, too. I'll just have to figure out a way to temper the January ennui.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Artist: Beatles, Album: White, Disc: Two, Track: One

Oh, yes. I say it's my birthday.

The shortest day and the longest night of the year also happens to be the anniversary of the day I was born deep in the Wisconsin snow. (Okay, I was born in the comfort of a hospital, but December in Green Bay? Surely someone was up to their ears in snow.) However, before I get to rambling about myself, I must apologize to you. I have been a serious slacker when it comes updating this little space, and I have no excuse. I think I've just become a busier person lately, and sadly, the Sassy chronicles have suffered as a consequence. So here's a little summary of what has been going on lately.

Last weekend was jam-packed. I met Carolyn at the Attic for Teenage Kicks on Friday night, and it was spectacular. Unfortunately, it was also Victor's last night as Teenage Kicks co-host. The music will continue, but it won't be the same without Victor's genius. Poop. On Saturday I went wine tasting in Napa with my old friend Bobby and his family. It was cold in Napa that day, but drinking red wine at 10:30 in the morning will take the chill out of the air quite handily.

On Sunday Jackie and I began our open mic holiday tour. All that really means is we wove a couple of Christmas songs into our regular set, but being the huge fan of Christmas music that I am, I was in heaven. I got to do my Darlene Love impersonation (like I could sing anywhere near as well as she does) on "Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home)" and her version of "White Christmas." We also were going to do The Waitresses "Christmas Wrapping," but we couldn't work it out in time. You kind of need bass on that song, anyway, and we haven't found a bass player yet. Andrey joined us at the Black Magic open mic, crooning his way through Elvis' "Blue Christmas" and "Last Christmas" by Wham. Yes, Wham. Live with it.

Now, the Sassy Birthday weekend began with me, Andrey, Mary Beth and my sister Fabulous Patti gathering on Friday night to go caroling. After a couple of cocktails at my neighborhood bar (which, by the way, whips up a fantastic chocolate martini), we took to the streets. Even though it was 9:30 and a tad late for caroling, we were very well received and even got free champagne at one house. That, my friends, is caroling 21st century style! Yesterday was all about my friend Laura. Her birthday actually is on Tuesday, but her husband organized an early surprise pub crawl and dinner for her. It was kind of loud, a little rowdy and a lot of fun.

And that brings us to this morning. The weather is rainy, but that will not dampen my spirits. Late this afternoon my friends and I are meeting in the Mission for the Sassy birthday festivities. Cocktails will be included. At the end of the day, though, all I really want for my birthday is attention.

So thanks for reading.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Good Weekend, Bad Day

I'd say any weekend that ends with cookies is a good weekend.

This is me with the Gourmet Group girls at Molly's cookie party on Sunday afternoon. Yum! Unfortunately for me, I'd had a little too much to drink on Saturday night; so I wasn't very hungry on Sunday. Meaning I only ate a fraction of the cookies I would have otherwise, and I didn't take any home.


I drank too much on Saturday night because I went to my very fine musician friend Pat Johnson's birthday party at Cafe Royale. It was as much a concert as a party because Pat and some other musicians he knows did a round robin of performing, treating the rest of us to song after song for a good two hours. It was most excellent. As were the glasses of champagne and Chimay that accompanied me at the show. I didn't drink that much, but I'm old. So it had an effect.

Earlier in the day on Saturday, Jackie, Suzanne and I got together to practice for the next open mic. Nothing is more fun than belting Christmas songs on a Saturday afternoon. Well, some things are more fun, but this is a family blog.

So given all that, you may be wondering what bad day the title of this post refers to. Well, that would be today. It's the 28th anniversary of John Lennon's murder, and I think we all can agree that December 8, 1980, was a very, very bad day.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Sunday Open Mic Delight

The most enthusiastic man in San Francisco is Ray, the guy who hosts the Sunday evening open mic at the Black Magic Voodoo Lounge.

My guitarist Jackie and I made our third appearance at the Black Magic hootenanny last night, and you'd have thought we were the second coming of the Beatles (or at least the Monkees), given the way Ray greeted us and introduced us to the crowd. Apparently, in the eyes of Ray, we're talented, mesmerizing, incredibly engaging and other such flattering adjectives.

Whether we're really that good or not, last night's performance went very well, thank you very much. We got to play seven songs, and the bar was filled with my friends (thank you Irina, Tom, Roland, Suzanne, Denise, Carolyn, Dima and Aisha!). So it was kind of like a mini concert. We ran through tunes by the Beatles, Nick Lowe, Marshall Crenshaw, Blondie, Fairground Attraction, Petula Clark and Darlene Love, and the other musicians at the open mic were very gracious about the fact that we only play covers. One day I'll write a song. Honestly...

Anyway, it was super duper fun. Jackie and I currently are looking for a bassist to join our little project, and Andrey and Suzanne may sing with us on occasion. (Andrey already sang with us once, but it's been hard to pin him down for more performances.) Next up: our Christmas tour. We're working on several Christmas songs, one of which we debuted last night, and we'll be doing a little open mic tour in two weeks. We'll start with the Black Magic and move on to others throughout the week. Yay!

I love singing. It's very therapeutic for me.

As I look to the current week ahead, I mostly will be writing Christmas cards and planning my birthday party, which is fast approaching. Aside from that, I'm meeting Denise at the Fancy Gym tomorrow night for a farewell workout/cocktail evening. I love, love, love the Fancy Gym, but I hardly have gone since I moved across town. So I've joined a facility closer to my new abode and have to bid the Fancy Gym farewell. Sadness. I'll also be celebrating my friend Beth's birthday this weekend and practicing for the open mic Christmas tour.

Ah, 'tis the season for songs, exercise and parties.