Saturday, December 31, 2011

Sweets From A Sweet

One of my pop music idols, Matthew Sweet, came to town this week, and I got a chance to see him at Yoshi's on Wednesday night. Talk about super, duper YAY! Matthew is touring on behalf of the 20th anniversary of his Girlfriend album, and he played the entire record from beginning to end. He then added a few songs from other albums as an encore.

It was so much fun, if a tiny bit loud for such a small venue (I brought ear plugs, thankfully). Plus, I shared my table with this really nice couple who were honeymooning in San Francisco, and they decided to pick up the tab for all of our drinks. Totally sweet and totally unnecessary, but they wouldn't be talked out of it.

It was a great night, even though I will admit that Matthew's fans (me included, I'm sure) are looking a little long in the tooth. As I looked around the crowd, I realized that every person in the audience probably was an adult, even if a young adult, when Girlfriend was released in 1991. Well, we may be old, but we still have good taste in jingle jangle alterna-pop music.

Now it's the last night of 2011, and soon I will be on my way to my friend Frances' New Year's Eve party. 2011 was actually a very good year for me; one of sustained high self-esteem and a consistent recognition of all the good things in my life. And 2012 already is looking lovely. I'm going to Hawaii in a month, right after I take another mini-vacation to L.A., and lots of fun social adventures here in San Francisco are taking shape. Here's to hoping the next twelve months will be as much fun as the last.

(These photos of Matthew Sweet and his band were taken by me from my front row seat at Yoshi's. I'm sorry the quality isn't better, but I do the best I can with my point and shoot camera and limited photography skills.)

Monday, December 26, 2011

Sing Along Birthday Serenade

My friends are so very wonderful. On December 21st...also know as four days before Christmas...about 30 to 35 of them met me at my favorite karaoke den to sip cocktails and sing songs in honor of my birthday. It was one of the best birthday parties I ever have had. Possibly the best. I had so much fun and am so grateful for every person who came to celebrate with me.

I sang tunes by the Beatles, the Waitresses, Dusty Springfield, Duffy and Ike and Tina Turner throughout the evening. My guests sang Murray Head, Foreigner, Christmas standards and everything imaginable in between. Here are just a few of the photos I snapped during the event.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

And To All A Good Night

Merry Christmas, Gentle Readers. Here in the wee hours of Christmas morning, I offer you this brief update.

As per usual, I have jetted down to L.A. for Christmas. On my way here Friday afternoon, I was able to pose for the above free photograph with Santa Claus at the Oakland Airport. Seriously. I also got a coupon good for $20 off my next flight on Southwest (as long as I fly by February 16th) just for taking this Santa picture. I'd call that a pretty good early Christmas present.

Since I've been in town, I've caught up on sleep, indulged in ground beef and pickle tacos at Malo Cantina in Silver Lake, enjoyed my mother's Christmas Eve reading of "The Night Before Christmas" (her audience of children and grandchildren ranged in age from 5 to 58), and participated in a short Christmas Eve ukulele sing-along featuring Christmas carols and Beatles tunes, with a Sam Cooke song and a Monkees song thrown in for good measure.

Now I'm about to crawl into bed for my own "long winter's nap" to rest up for more Christmas fun tomorrow. Or later today, I should say. I hope your holiday has been just as lovely as mine so far.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Beatles, Altered Images and the Tune Weavers

Wouldn't you know it, it's my birthday again.

If you have been a reader of this blog for...well, at least a year...then you know that I am not ashamed to admit that my birthday is my very favorite day of the year. I wake up every December 21st feeling excited and just a little bit special. I love it.

On this birthday, I got up a little bit earlier than usual so I could squeeze in a substantive workout at the gym before heading to work, and it felt quite nice. After my workday is done, I'll be gathering a few dozen of my closest friends for a karaoke birthday party. Yes, karaoke; I have no shame. In the meantime, I am at work wearing my party dress because the party starts early, but I have no make-up on yet, so said make-up can be fresh for the celebration.

I am ridiculous, I know, but I'm allowed because it's my birthday.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Rock Star Moment

Last night I got to sing in front of more than 15,000 people. Seriously.

San Francisco radio station Live 105 hosted their annual Not So Silent Night concert last night, featuring Bush, Mumford & Sons, Florence and the Machine and Green Day (a replacement for original headliner Jane's Addiction, who had to cancel at the last minute due to an emergency involving the drummer's dad). The show also featured regular people singing karaoke onstage between bands, and for various reasons, I was invited to sing as a karaoke ringer.

That's right.

I had been so excited about this opportunity for weeks, but I told virtually no one because I didn't want to jinx it and all of sudden to be told that they wouldn't be able to use me. No jinxing happened, however, and there I was last night in front of thousands, warbling my rendition of "Only the Lonely" by the Motels. I went on at about 9:00 p.m., between Florence and the Machine and Mumford & Sons.

I was nervous as all get out all day yesterday because... well, 15,000 people! In fact, this is a photo taken of the crowd about five minutes before I sang, and the angle only captures about half the audience. The good news is that once I started singing, I wasn't nervous at all. It felt just like singing at any karaoke bar, and honestly, the majority of the audience probably wasn't paying me any attention. But even if just ten percent of the people there were listening, that's 1500 pairs of attentive ears. And if half were listening...well, you get the point.

I can't say I know what a real rock star feels like because the house lights were up during the karaoke portions so the crew could set the stage for the real bands. Plus, I was singing a 30-year old song accompanied by a karaoke track. However, the three-minute duration of "Only the Lonely" made for the most rock star three minutes of my life so far, and I certainly will take that.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Sounds of the Season

Shopping, parties, egg nog, delicious food...these all are telltale signs of the holiday season, to be sure. However, what would the holidays be without music?

Now, I might wonder what any random Tuesday would be like without music, but as with even the most mundane moments, the most special ones also are made better by music. Yesterday afternoon A Very She and Him Christmas provided my house cleaning duties with the perfect December soundtrack. Then last night, 60's soul was the order of the night at my friend Steve's birthday party. There will be music galore at my own birthday party in a couple of weeks, as it is going to be a karaoke party. And at the end of the month I'm going to see Matthew Sweet, one of my musical idols, perform live.

Obviously, much of the music I just mentioned has or will have nothing to do with the holidays, per se, but it is the holiday season, and the music will be playing. So all is right with the world.