Tuesday, August 26, 2008

'Bottle Shock'...Low Budget Masterpiece!

‘Bottle Shock’ was awesome! Having never been to Napa (yet!) – this movie took me there, circa 1976. A time when grape ‘farming’ ruled…long before the pretentious wine snobs opened their uber-hyped mega vineyards.

The costuming, sound tract, cinematography, scenery & cast were phenomenal. I don’t know what I liked best. And since it only played in a handful of theaters nationwide__I felt very fortunate to be able to get it to our lovely little Harbor East theater (where only the bar is full!).

I sense an Oscar here…
PS I actually ran straight to my local wine shop & purchased a 2002 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon for $100...tell me I am not crazy (um, for this film I mean).

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Reggae Night @ Boordy...

Simply put, the best that Boordy Vineyards offers all summer long. This night brings out the primal in all of us.

There is just something about Reggae that brings people of all walks of life together. From that investment banker in the lavender golf shirt (working hard at getting his wife to engage in a little girl-on-girl play right in the middle of the dance floor/patio) to the long-haired dreadlocks guy wearing a batik print skirt… from the soccer mom-of-four with the perfect cropped and highlighted ‘do’ to the unshaven armpit, no-bra-wearing hippie chick (and I do believe she actually was involved in a threesome by the end of the evening)…we ALL let our inhibitions go and danced side-by-side (sometimes closer) for the remainder of this hot and sultry August evening.

Boordy has done it again…given me another night to remember.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

V-Fest Baby!

Baltimore's premier concert event (since the demise of the HFStival several years back) is finally here...The Virgin Mobile Music Festival 2008 came back to Pimlico Race Track for the 2ND year.

Let me start by saying that the weather was AWESOME, especially for an August weekend in B-More!

This years festival had such an artistic flair (can-do graffiti walls, performance artists, patrons in costumes, art work for sale, etc) with a higher ‘green’ awareness as well (bike & solar powered cell phone charging stations, recycling bins, and more…).

(Note: Due to the nature of this festival, I could not catch every act and had to make some tough choices to see once-in-a-lifetime acts.)

Day 1

I started the first day off at the North Stage where Cat Power was performing. Her hypnotizing rhythms and mesmerizing voice drew quite a crowd.

Duffy was up next. This tiny little British package of 'Blondie meets Charo' closed with her hit ‘Mercy’.

Being that ‘Once’ is one of my favorite films of all time…Swell Season was one of the highlights of my weekend. After telling the camera guy to Fook off” because it was only supposed to be the 2 of them on the stage, this newly famous Dublin/Czech duo blew me away when their time was up and they unplugged their equipment and jumped into the crowd to continue playing for their fans. (And yes, that is Glen’s original broken guitar from the film that he still plays with.)

The Offspring brought me back to the ‘rave’ days…those dudes still got it goin on! One of the highlights of the weekend for sure!

Saw very little of Citizen Cope, but what I saw I liked. So poetic & mellow…

But not now…it was time to see Chuck Berry bitches! Chuck was good but oooo he old! He invited ALL the pretty ladies on stage to dance, literally! Security (and I am sure the insurance risk peeps as well!) was not too happy. Then there was no ‘guitar dance’ along with Johnny B Good…but he did manage a little ‘hop’ as he was exiting the stage that the crowd went crazy over.

We ended the evening of Day 1with the Foo Fighters. This was the second time I saw Dave & the boys and just like before…they never disappoint!

Day 2

Paramore was the first band we would see on the second day. This is a young indie-punk band from Tennessee. The lead singer, Hayley, is only 19 and such a powerful force. Her mega-hit single, Misery Business (aka Brag) was the climax of the performance and what a performance it was. I had forgotten that this was the beginning of the day. The energy screamed ‘final act’ as the crowd was on their feet. Looking forward to seeing much more of their playful lyrics and pounding melodies.

I don’t remember much from Taking Back Sunday, except that their vocal mic was way low and there was way too much bass.

Iggy and the Stooges!!! What can I say, I didn’t even know this dude was still alive! (and even after seeing him, I am still not convinced). Iggy was disgusting, raunchy, loaded, vulgar, foul mouthed, stoned, insulting, physically repulsive …IT WAS WONDERFUL! Part of the entertainment & intrigue of Iggy Pop is that you never know what Iggy will do or say. Such beautiful prose flowed from his lips this day…”my idea of having fun is killing every one of you”, I can see all of you” and “I know where the f--k I am” to “Sh-t, F—k, Sh-t, F—k…”, “up your assholes” and many many more Iggyisms.

STP? For real or is this a dream? No, this would be the first time that Stone Temple Pilots would tour in eight years! (And I must say, it was worth the wait!) Scott looked the best he's looked in a few years and they sounded incredible. This would definitely go way up on my list of Favorite Live Performances of All Time. What a memorable performance. My only complaint would be that they didn't get to play all night!

I must say that the biggest disappointment of the weekend would have to be the one performer I have never seen perform live and the reason I bough these tickets in the first place…Bob Dylan. Now I know Bob is older, and I know he is a genius who has various alter-ego personalities, and I know he is a bit of a recluse… I don’t care. I didn’t want to see ‘Jazzy Cool-Cat Bobby’ at the piano with a stage full of musicians. I wanted to see Bob Dylan, singer, songwriter; a man with a guitar and a harmonica. That’s it. Even the encore performance of 'like a rolling stone' was lost in the sea of instruments. No one loves bob more than me…but I felt slighted.

Nine Inch Nails put on an incredible technical show…A feast for all the senses; sights, sounds, (even the nose, if you know what I mean). Their Closer performance brought out the ‘animal’ in all of us.

The final performance of the weekend would be Kanye West. I know this man is a genius at impromptu, improvisational poetry and rap…but this was a real downer. Knowing the man has been through a lot lately, I will cut him a break. I’m just saying it was a lil too political and soap-boxy for me. But I must admit… Gold Digger was the BOMB!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

NO Spending For A Year! Hmmm...

Although this is not related to festivals…I am totally intrigued by USA Today’s columnist, Craig Wilsons’ pledge to NOT BUY ANYTHING for a year.


I love this concept. I believe in simplicity and I have never been a person who buys ‘things’ just because or to sit around or hang on a wall somewhere__ I have always bought items that I have needed, or loved. Besides the necessities (food, toiletries, shelter, etc), most of what I have purchased that serves no purpose is of sentimental value – small tokens/mementos from trips or events I have been to.

This marks Craig’s second time around at the ‘commitment’. He has got it down to an absolute science. I even enjoy his ‘rules’ for this endeavor: he can spend money on books, music, travel and gifts for others. (I could handle these rules…but being a girl, would buying shampoo and lipstick be allowed or do I have to stock up with a years supply ahead of time???)

I am now contemplating my own year of non-buying to protest my disdain for Americans and our extreme wastefulness, vulgar consumerism and grotesque materialism that borders on obsessive compulsive addiction…but I have to come up with a few rules of my own first.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

"I pulled in to Nazareth..."

Decided to make the short trip from Bethlehem to Nazareth. (Ha ha ...that just sounds hilarious!) We were excited to tour the CF Martin Guitar Museum & Factory. http://www.mguitar.com/ This was so cool! Real factory workers act as tour guides on their days 'off' - and what a tour you get..
...up close & personal (not like some of those factory tours where you are behind bullet proof, soundproof , one-way glass...NO, not here! Here you are right in the mix - with all the sights, sounds, smells - every step along the way. From the choosing & cutting of the exotic woods to the inlay of embellishments and jewels, such as the intricate mother-of-pearl on this $50,000 beauty!

My middle son, being the only musician in the family, was in awe. They even have a 'pickin room' filled with unique models for musicians to try. This is a real treat for musicians...one of whom, Mike from Connecticut, we met in there and found out that he may be playing on one of the side stages at Bonnaroo 2009 http://www.bonnaroo.com/ Look for him there... http://www.mikemorello.net/live.html
Not only is the CF Martin tour & museum totally FREE...you even get a small souvenir at the end. Truly a great afternoon spent.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


Decided to take the kids for a few days to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, for their annual Musikfest. http://musikfest.org/ This is a great event in a superb location. Celebrating 25 years in 2008, this all-ages, all-genre, family-friendly, laid-back festivity occupies the streets, river banks and bridges of the historic district in downtown Bethlehem (and is probably my favorite free event on the east coast).

There are 14 different stages/venues featuring Jazz, Blues, Folk, Hip-Hop, Funk, Reggae, Celtic, Country, Classical, Rap, Rock...Musikfest has something for everyone. My favorite venue would have to be Leiderplatz, the official 'Acoustic Road Show' http://acousticroadshow.net/roadshow.cfm stage, sponsored by the nearby CW Martin Guitar Co., and located in a courtyard garden just off Main street behind the historic Sun Inn. We spent the entire afternoon there on Tuesday.
My favorite performer there would have to be this high school student named Callie Merz. http://www.myspace.com/calliemerzmusic Her 'Thousand Milion Chances' was heartfelt, original and raw - in a good way. Although she is quite young, she has been performing for several years, mostly children's theater.

Another great performance was by Tim & Jules http://www.myspace.com/timisalive . (Check them out at a previous performance here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ve4X54gUQ38 ). They are an original guitar & bongo duo that had a very soulful, rhythm and blues sound.

Back on the Main Street Stage , Jacknife Betty was MIA, and these guys took their place ...

This being the 25TH Commemorative Anniversary, there was many-a-souvenir for sale. The huge bright green flashing lighted mug that I purchased for $12, was actually the ONLY purchase I made and the bargain of the week! It held over a pint of Yuengling and refills were a mere $5.

This mug came in handy Tuesday evening as we headed to the River Stage to see POISON! Although Brett Michaels & CC DeVille (and the other two?) started back in 1986, my kids – along with the rest of the country- are now fans of theirs after getting to know them via VH1’s Surreal Life & Rock Of Love, of course. Poison rocked the river’s edge for over 2 hours – Unskinny Bop, Mama’s Fallen Angel, Every Rose.., Something to Believe In, Talk Dirty to Me…it was pure big hair heaven! Although Brett’s voice was barely there from the beginning, it was a great show, despite the rain!

The next morning we decided to check out the historic Hotel Bethlehem’s infamous Martin Guitar Suite. The previous nights ‘guests’ (aka famous Poison band member) had checked out very early and the bell hop agreed to let us inside to see the priceless Martin Guitar that hung on the wall for the pickin’ pleasure of it’s guests. But it was gone! Just the holder grip left??? Could it be…? (Someone is gonna have a hefty American Express bill next month.)
Decide to grab breakfast down the street at Bonte Wafflerie & Cafe. Their freshly baked Belgium style waffles w/ giant sugar crystals baked on top were awesome! Reminiscent of those I've had on the streets of Brussels.I will definitely be coming back here again…both for Musikfest 2009 AND these waffles!.