Saturday, August 28, 2010

Cantaloupe Girlfriend

Okay, here is the bad news: it's already 3 p.m. on Saturday afternoon, and my day is barely underway. However, the reason for my slow start is the good news: I had so, so, so much fun at the Mod dance party at the Burritt Room last night.

I arrived at about 9:30 and immediately made my way to the bar.  That's where my friend Julie found me and pointed out the table she'd secured for us.  Once I'd ordered my Champagne Julep, I joined Julie, and we got to the important business of chatting and catching up.  About half an hour later, our friends Kevin, Steve and Tom showed up, and the party really got going.  We sipped a variety of cocktails, including the Hotel Nationale, the Jade something (it's a rum drink) and the Critical Mass.  Actually, I'm the only one who tried the rum drinks, my friends mostly stuck with the Critical Mass.  I have no idea what was in that one, but it also was delicious.

As you can see, the Burritt Room has a delightful specialty cocktail menu.  At one point later in the evening, my friend Tom said to me, "We have lots of drinks in front of us, just pick one and drink it."  He was right, and so I did.

Truly, though, the cocktails were just a sidekick; the main attraction was the music.  Several DJ's took turns spinning Mod tunes from the 60's (primarily) until today, and it was fantastic.  I made multiple appearances on the dance floor with Kevin, Steve, Kevin and Steve's German friend (whose name I must confess I have forgotten), and Tom.  One musical highlight was the seamless transition from Deep Purple's "Hush" to "The Only One I Know" by the Charlatans UK.  Perfect.  And the best moment of my evening was the point when one of the DJ's played "With A Cantaloupe Girlfriend" by The Three O'Clock.  In case you're not familiar, the Three O'Clock was a Los Angeles band that was part of the city's Paisley Underground scene in the early 80's.  I love them, and not just because their music takes me back to the only good parts of junior high school.

I was absolutely in heaven for those three minutes.  I wanted to hug that DJ after the song was done, but I settled for merely thanking him.  As a result of my dancing and cocktailing, I didn't get to sleep until well into the wee hours of this morning, and we see where that has gotten me today.  Believe me, however, when I say that it was well worth it.  There are Mod dance parties and 60's DJ nights regularly in San Francisco (in fact, there is another one tonight), and I officially will be making it a point to attend them more often.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Modern Dance

Get your mini dresses and go-go boots ready because the end of the work week is coming!  Okay, I have no intention of donning go-go boots (even though I own a pair) and a mini dress, but I am going to begin my weekend with a Mod dance party tomorrow night.  60's soul and pop, ska, and a sprinkling of the Manchester sound will make for a great soundtrack.  I even have managed to convince a friend or two to come with me, which is a coup because within the group of friends I usually go out with, I am the only one quite so obsessed with 60's and Mod culture. 

I'm certainly going to need to shake a tail feather because all of a sudden it has become a long week.  Nothing specifically bad has happened, but it's not even 5 p.m. on Thursday, and I'm so ready the weekend.  I think I'll unwind tonight by walking the three miles home from work, doing my vocal exercises and singing in my living room (my neighbors love that) and going to bed early.  Then when I wake up, it shall be Friday.  Happy almost weekend, my lovelies!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Mad Hatter

Now that I have resolved to update this blog more frequently, I realize that I may not have so much to say.  My life pretty much consists of work, exercise, singing songs, reading books, seeing bands when I can and cocktailing with friends.  It's fun for me, but there's only so many ways I can spin that routine into an interesting read.

So perhaps I can at least regale you with a tale how of old age can lead to a new fashion discovery.  Now that I'm 40, my body has decided to rebel in several ways.  Actually, a lot of the rebellion started in my 30's, but I'm just now accepting it.  Anyway, now that I've scared you into thinking I'm going to launch into the details of some disgusting bodily function, I'll say that I'm merely going to talk about skin tone.

I've had freckles my whole life, but about four years ago, the skin on my face decided it might be fun to become about three different colors.  Apparently this just happens to some women as they get older, and it has resulted in many trips to the dermatologist, as well as several consultations with my facialist and the clerks at Sephora.  One thing I've learned is that I have to be very careful about the sun now, especially since I go to Hawaii twice a year.  That sunscreen I've been applying every morning for the last ten years just doesn't cut it anymore, even though I've steadily been increasing the SPF.

It has become time for me to invest in hats.  Yes, I'm going to be that kind of old lady.

In case you haven't noticed, I have quite curly (some would even say kind of big) hair.  I've thought for years that I couldn't wear hats as a consequence, and the idea of hat head has scared me to my core for as long as I can remember.  But here is the good news: as long as I remove my hat while indoors and shake out my hair, the hat head won't be too bad.  Plus, there are so many cute hats out there just waiting to meet my head.  Not that I really have a ton of extra money for shopping (see above paragraph about my many visits to the dermatologist), but I imagine I'll only need a well-chosen chapeau or two.  The above photo shows me "modeling" my first purchase on my sister's deck in L.A.  Survey says "cute," no?

I still need to get used to remembering to wear my hat more often, but luckily, we get so little sun here in San Francisco, I can probably ease into the habit.  And don't worry, if old age leads me to some embarrassing habits and necessities, I won't be writing about them here.  I definitely will not become that old lady.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

All the Food That's Fit To Eat

Just a quick update tonight, my lovies.  It's already getting a bit late, and I'm on my six and a half year old laptop, which, needless to say, is slow as molasses.  I really should join the year 2010 and get a new one, but whatever.

Anyway, I have had the most lovely weekend, the highlight of which involved lots and lots of...EATING!  The San Francisco Street Food Festival was Saturday, and I decided to meet my friend Pat there for some power snacking.  Pat already had been there for several hours by the time I arrived a little after 4 p.m., so once I found him, we headed straight to the beer and wine garden (also known as a few square feet of fenced off pavement) for rum cocktails and Tecate.  He soon left for a pinball competition (oh, that's right), but I stayed and tried more delicacies, including Cuban tri-tip, spicy pork sausage, a bacon wrapped hot dog and funnel cake.

Keep in mind, I didn't claim this was the San Francisco Health Food Festival.

After getting my fill of street food, I walked to lovely 22nd Street to meet Valerie and Kevin at Cava 22, where we chatted and sang Beatles songs to each other over margaritas.  Not bad for a Saturday evening before 9 p.m.

Today was all about chores, working out and vocal exercises, and soon I will be spending an hour with my TV boyfriend Don Draper.  Yes, I know he's not exactly the most honorable man I could love, but here's a secret: he's a TV character and totally fictional.  To that end, I think it's okay to proclaim him my boyfriend.  I promise you, I will try not to date any real life Don Drapers.  Because frankly, I already have, and it isn't very interesting.

Tomorrow begins another work week and another Monday evening of singing songs.  I don't know how you feel about Mondays, but if they give you even the slightest of the blues, I highly recommend belting a few karaoke songs every week.  Your Monday will never know what hit it.

Friday, August 20, 2010

But Simon Was Nowhere To Be Found...

I've never seen the television show American Idol. No wait, I watched it once a few years ago.  It was the season finale the year that the two Davids battled it out for first place.  I paid attention for about 15 minutes and then got so bored that I did something else while the show merrily played on my TV in the background.

For years, friends of mine have wondered how a cover band-fronting, karaoke-loving amateur chanteuse like myself could be so uninterested in American Idol.  I have no explanation other than the fact that I like my karaoke live and in person, I suppose.  However, this week I got what could turn out to be a live preview of the upcoming season of American Idol.

After my vocal workout class on Wednesday evening, I met a friend at Encore Karaoke to sing a few songs. The first thing I noticed when I walked in was a mercifully small group of drunken revelers celebrating a birthday party.  Luckily, they were easy to ignore, and soon my friend and I realized that a lot of the other, better behaved warblers at Encore that night could sing really well.  I usually do my karaoke at The Mint, which is known for its stable of really good singers, so I didn't see anything odd about a karaoke bar filled with talent. Not to mention the fact that I was kind of keeping up with everyone. It pays to go singing after a voice class.

Then this guy asked me if I had a "band." Thinking he meant that he thought I could sing well enough to be in a band (which some would dispute, but whatever), I told him that I am, in fact, in a band and proceeded to tell him and the woman he was with all about Sober Nixon. The two of them nodded politely and smiled before letting me know I'd misunderstood.  "No, do you have a wristband?" the guy said, indicating the white paper circling his companion's wrist.

Wristband? Ahhh, at that moment I understood the proliferation of good singers. 

American Idol held auditions in San Francisco on Thursday, and probably half the singers at Encore Wednesday night donned wristbands guaranteeing them a chance to be seen by the judges the next morning and afternoon.  Everyone was rather good, but my favorite of the Idol hopefuls was a guy who looked like he'd stepped out of a ZZ Top video or Hells Angel convention. I don't know about you, but I'd expect a guy who looked like that to belt out Metallica or at least Steppenwolf.  Nope. This gentleman crooned Spandau Ballet, Depeche Mode and the Pet Shop Boys.

And that was positively awesome.

All in all, it was a really fun night. I even ran into a couple of other friends of mine who don't normally do karaoke. At least I never knew they did. I stayed out too late, however, and ended up only getting five hours of sleep that night. That wasn't a big deal when I was 25 or even 30, but these days... Well, let's just say I needed to sleep for 10 hours last night to recover from Wednesday. Ah, old (meaning: middle) age.  The upside, however, is that I can tell any confused friends who wonder why I'm not watching American Idol that I've already seen it this year.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Sin City and Singing Songs

I don't know how warm it is where you are, but in San Francisco right now the conditions are downright Arctic. Okay, perhaps I exaggerate, but this summer has been particularly chilly, even for the City by the Bay. So to escape from the misery of donning fall and winter clothing in August (honestly), I shall regale you with tales from my annual summertime trip to Las Vegas, where the temperatures are hot and the action hotter.

Or something like that.

My friend Andrey celebrates his birthday in Las Vegas every year, and I am lucky enough to be invited. There is always sunshine, mayhem, a little bit of gambling and a theme night. Yes, a theme night. This year the theme was "James Bond," and the above photo showcases the outfits a few of us put together do Vegas 007-style. My idea was go all-gold in honor of Goldfinger, my favorite James Bond film. It really is the only good one.

Of course Las Vegas isn't only about James Bond. In fact, for most people it isn't about James Bond at all, but whatever. For me it was mostly about luxuriating at the Mirage Spa after my daily workouts (yes, I exercised in Vegas), playing the penny slots and actually winning a little bit of money here and there, delicious meals and poolside cocktails. All of us enjoyed the Mirage pool at one point or another during our stay, as evidenced above. We pretty much had to; it was about 105 degrees, after all. Basically, revelry and decadence dominated our stay. I'd tell you more, but as you know, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.

There was no time for lollygagging upon my return to the cool Bay Area, however, because my band, Sober Nixon, had a show at Cafe Royale the day after I got back. Don't we look like some kind of real band in this picture? We were the only act on the bill that night and basically had two hours we could fill. We only know about an hour and ten minutes worth of material, though, so that's how long the performance was. I'd say it went well, and I look forward to playing there again one day. I'm also getting excited to book more shows for us. We are only a cover band, which can be a bit of a challenge to market, but I have big plans. Big plans for hobbyist musicians who all have other jobs, that is.

I'll never quit my day job to pack up and go on tour, but if people come to listen and sing along when Sober Nixon plays, I'll be as happy as any rock star out there.