I grew up on Long Island where there were a LOT of arenas and large stadium venues in the area like Nassau Coliseum, Madison Square Garden, Shea Stadium and the Meadowlands in New Jersey. Some people hate arena shows but I like them. I've been experiencing arena shows ever since I was a teenager. Pat Benetar with The Alarm at Nassau, U2 at The Meadowlands, The Police with Joan Jett and REM at Shea Stadium...all great shows. It was exciting to be part of a mass audience made up of ten to twenty thousand people! Growing up in a sleepy town in the middle of Long Island is not all it's cracked up to be. The suburban doldrums of Smithaven Mall, McDonalds, the video arcade attached to Nathans, school and my paper route could only bring so much stimulus to my life. Music was my way to connect with other people outside of my Levittown world. And when one of my favorite bands had an arena date in the Tri-State area, it meant that thousands of people that I had a connection with would be attending. It was electric. The journey usually started with some sort of public transportation...the LIRR to the subway or a bus from Port Authority. You could spot fellow concertgoers from miles away. The funky hairstyles, the cool shoes and of course the outlandish outfits. Keep in mind it was the 80s! Kids would be singing their favorite songs on the commute and some would join in while others would just smile or sulk. Once I got to my mega destination, I would always check out the merchandise booth or t-shirt stand and think about what I would buy at intermission. I had a strategy to avoid the lines and crowds. Wait until the second or third song and then head back out to the lobby to buy the souvenir of the night. I also remember the distinct stench of mustard, beer and pretzels. All of which were overpriced."What a rip" I'd say to myself and then abstain from eating or drinking anything. You don't need much when you're 15. Heading back to my seat, I was always in awe of so many fans, so many people who enjoyed the same music that I did, would be in the same place - singing, clapping, hollering, waving their hands. It was happiness and pure emotion in a big old area and what a great thing. Even back then I knew that if my life were filled with concerts, it would be a good one.
Two weeks ago, I took Audrey on a trip to my former home of NYC. Our visit coincided with a record breaking heat wave of sweltering temperatures and stifling air. The shot we took (left, Photo Credit: A.Valcourt) tried to capture that feeling of hot and sweat from the elevated 7 train platform. We still had a great time.
I never could afford to attend any Broadway shows while attending NYU but I got my fill of them on this trip. Both sold out productions with standing ovation crowds at Matilda and Newsies, Audrey loved it and was excited. I got to see David Byrne's Here Lies Love at the Public which was really a great and unique production about a historical time span in the Philippines as told/sung musically from Imelda Marcos' point of view. It will roll out nationally and when it hits your town...don't hesitate - go see it!
But for all the fun that we had as tourists (I do admit it :( ) I don't think I could do the NYC grind today. The subways, the noise, the dirt, the smells - all familiar but I wouldn't CHOOSE to do it anymore. In LA, I have my car and my solace of the 20 minute drive to work. The heat can reach 105 degrees but I have my central air conditioning and the local mall 2 minutes from my house to escape cabin fever. Am I a Whimp? Have I lost my edge? or is it just that I am a Rapidly Aging Hipster...you decide.
Don't take it personally if I "unfriended" you. (FTWDN: It's venacular for un-clicking you as a friend on facebook.) I don't use facebook much but I do check in to see what people have posted when I have time. People should only post with photos attached...it's easier when you are looking at the feed. But there are those random cousins or others that post things I could care less about and as these useless posts grow, I make the decision to unfriend. I find that it just becomes more clutter for my brain when I see someone I barely know post a picture of the position of their cat or how they feel about a tv episode. So I unfriend because I really don't care and it's America! I have the freedom to friend or unfriend. Hooray!
I seem to always get stuck behind all the single ladies at the market. And it's funny how the conveyor belt represents some kind of personal space.I mean they give you those tiny dividing bars to keep your goods separated from the person behind you. How dare you place your bread next to my tomatoes! But we all know that you can't help but take a look at what the person ahead of you is placing on that belt. Sometimes I do it because I'm bored and sometimes I do it because I'm curious. The assesments in my thought bubble are quick and succinct.Green beans and salmon, he's healthy. A pint of chocolate ice cream, she's had a hard day. Chef Boyardee and Oreos, looks like dad is in charge of dinner. But that quick game I play while I'm waiting for my turn to get scanned turns to wonder when I'm stuck behind the slightly older single lady with Vodka and cat food. A cliche before my eyes and ahead of me...yes. But I start to build a scenario that can work its way into a story or maybe even a song. Vodka and cat food, she lives alone and her bbf(best beast friend) is obviously a cat probably a tabby. The vodka to me indicates sadness. She is going home to pour a glass and drink and stare out the window of her 1 bedroom apartment on Coldwater. She works at a menial low paying job that she hates and she can't wait to pay the cashier and get back to hide from the outside world here that is Ralph's.My mind starts to begin the build of how she came to LA to "make it" only to be cast as a perpetual extra and then... The lady with the Vodka is looking at my goods taking stock of what I've put on the belt. Dino chicken, eggs, milk, bananas, carrots,a pack of burger patties, a loaf of bread. I've been outed. I RAH who obviously has children and lives in a neatly manicured 3 bedroom home with a driveway AND a minivan. Then comes the tilt of the head. It's like the slow motion effect in a movie. Scene: her eyes affixed on the contents placed on the checkout line. Her head slowly moves from looking down to tilting up and back towards the person behind her. And here it comes....it takes all of the Vodka lady's energy to muster up a solemn, weak smile. For a moment her face brightens and then retracts back to its melancholy state.
That attempted smile gets me. That one non verbal gesture sent a telepathic jumble of words into my brain.
Hi miss mom. I could have been you. I could have been buying Dino chicken for my kids if I didn't spend all my time dedicating it to my craft of acting. The days slipped into years that slipped into a decade or two. I still get calls from my agent...Occasionally. But I know that my breakout role is coming soon. So now I'm going to pay so I can get out of your way and go back to my apartment to wait for the phone to ring. Vodka and cat food. It gets me every time.
Mmmmm. Dino Chicken. If you have kids, you know you love these convenient store bought frozen nuggets of mashed up chicken with lots of breading. This item has saved me from arguments between my 2 kids over what they want to eat for dinner. Heat up the oven, toss it on a baking sheet and in 15 minutes the whining stops. I add spinach and fruit as sides just to make myself feel that I have accomplished a balanced meal for my family.
This is my parish. On Easter we arrive 45 minutes early to get good seats. Easter is a day of celebration and with celebration come lots of the so called "occasional" churchgoers. These folks show up 10 minutes before mass starts and huff and puff that there are no more seats. Well lesson learned people! I wonder why the occasionals even bother...I mean do they think attending mass on this holiday will make up for the other 50 weeks that they don't show up(minus Easter and Christmas)...maybe in God's eyes...but not in mine. Happy Easter. At most high masses it means that we get to sit through a very long mass elongated by 2 Mozart pieces and Vivaldi on top of the regular singing responses. The music is beautiful but wayyyy tooo lonnnggg. Maybe handing out candy would make it more bearable - I don't know. But we just smile and sing and nod and kneel and pray. And hope and believe that all this will help save our souls one day.
It's lent and I tried to give up soda and french fries but broke down about 5 days into the season. So is the lesson that giving up something you love is too hard or that you just don't have enough will power. I don't know but we live in America why do I have to give up anything? Life goes on.
I caught this video months ago and there is just something about this band that is really good. A well crafted pop song with lyrics about living carefree. The video is funny and unexpected. Take a look:
We were at Knott's Berry Farm the other day and lo and behold the theme park gods broke out the Franklin costume. I couldn't resist and had to take a picture. When was the last time you got to photo op with the only 1950s African-American member of the Peanuts gang? I always thought Franklin was the coolest maybe second to Snoopy. He had that beat poet vibe personna in the cartoon that I could relate to and somehow probably influenced the development of "cool like dat" hip hop. At least in my mind.
The holidays are gone. I have mixed feelings. I love my family but there is always an underlying feeling of melancholy during that time of year and a sense of relief now that it's over. Presents - check. Tree - check. Lights - check. I do have a whole lot to be thankful for but then again something seemed to be missing. When that sinking feeling starts to inch it's way in I turn to Christmas music to keep those dark thoughts at bay. Not your traditional tunes but mostly quirky covers and irreverent originals. "Frosty The Snowman" and "Winter Wonderland" by Cocteau Twins gets me in a better mood as well as The Kink's "Father Christmas" and "Fairytale of New York" by The Pogues. The Ramone's "Merry Christmas I Don't Wanna Fight Tonight" always makes me laugh and The Waitresses' "Christmas Wrapping" is an 80s Classic. I'll add more tunes like this to the list for next year.