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Kitty Dunn

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Posts from June 2013


Petition: Put Les Paul on a Stamp!

Let's see. He invented the solid body electric guitar. He came up with the concept of sound on sound multi-track recording. And he was not too shabby moving up and down the fretboard.

Do you think Waukesha native Les Paul deserves to be on a postage stamp?  This one seems like a no-brainer.

The Les Paul Foundation has launched a petition drive to urge the U.S. Postal Service to issue a Les Paul postage stamp for Les's 100th birthday on June 9, 2015.

Click here to add your name.

The Les Paul Foundation awards grants to music, music engineering and sound programs that serve youth, establishes music-related scholarships at schools and programs for students, provides grants for medical research and programs related to hearing impairment, and supports public exhibits displaying Les Paul’s life achievements.

 

 

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Beatles Help! comes to Blu-ray
Guess what Beatle people! You get to buy the movie Help! again!

The 1965 movie has just been released on Blu-ray. Even if you're not a huge fan of this James Bond-ish comedy starring our fab four moptops, it might be worth getting just to hear the songs in 5.1 audio (that is if you have a home theatre with surround sound.)  Sadly, there are no extras included with this version.

I'm not sure I've ever made it to the end of this movie. It's over two hours long and it meanders. It's definitely NOT up to par with their earlier movie Hard Day's Night. 

Here's a fun little time waster for you...a fun little "Find the Beatle Contest."  I think you might be able to win a copy of the Blu-ray, but I'm not sure.

And if you watch this movie trailer, it will almost be like watching it in hi-def, except smaller and blurrier.

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Remembering Bobby "Blue" Bland
The first artist to play the now defunct Madison club Luther's Blues, has died.

Bobby "Blue" Bland, who was sometimes called the "Sinatra of the blues" for his smooth singing style, was 83. 

While not as well-known as some of his blues contemporaries, two songs that he recorded first have almost become standards--"Turn on Your Lovelight," and "Farther Up the Road," also known as "Further On Up The Road."

Early in his career, Bland formed a band called the Beale Streeters in Memphis, which also included B.B. King and Johnny Ace.

Check out B.B. and Bobby on this performance from Soul Train. The music transcends those obnoxious plaid jackets.


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Things Kitty wishes she had pictures of
Are kids today over-photographed? 

Now that everybody has a camera on their phone, and now that Facebook is a greedy beast that must be fed, it seems parents take WAY more pictures of their kids than was the case back in the 1960s and 1970s.   It seems we only brought out the cameras for birthdays or Christmas.

That got me to thinking about which of my childhood memories I wish came with photographic evidence.  Here's the list I've come up with so far.

1. The play the kids in our neighborhood did called "Curse of the Two Twins." This original play, the brainchild of my friend Gale and me, involved cops who turned into monsters, a letter carrier/vampire, and Baby Tenderlove dolls that were transformed into hideous melted antique dolls. You'd think somebody's parents would have brought a camera!

2. The neighborhood playground we spent so much time hanging out at.  All the dangerous playground equipment has been removed from the playground at St. Joe's School...I would love to be able to see it one more time. 

3. Any of my first days of school. Apparently this was not a big deal in my family.

4. My first bike ride..or any of my early bikes. The purple Schwinn with the flowery banana seat was amazing.

5. Our backyard carnivals. Inspired by the Carnivals for Muscular Dystrophy, we had our own for-profit carnivals, complete with bean bag toss and other games, and prizes we'd saved up from cereal boxes.

Sigh. The pictures in my mind's eye are probably in better focus than the ones my family would have taken anyway.

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5 things you (probably) didn't know about Sir Paul
Happy birthday to the Cute Beatle, SIr Paul McCartney! He turns 71 today.

One of the rules for Beatles fans is that you must memorize tidbits of Beatle trivia to try and impress other Beatle fans. This is not that easy to do....as things like "he's left-handed" are widely known.

Are any of these facts new to you?

1. Paul's real first name is James.

2. He was the tallest Beatle. At 5'11" he was half an inche taller than George.

3. Paul makes whooping noises in the background  on "Mellow Yellow" by Donovan, and sang backup on Elvis Costello's "Veronica."

4. He was named an honorary detective by the New York Police Department, after performing at a post 9/11 benefit concert.

5. He has a minor planet named after him. Planet 4418 was named "McCartney" in 1983.
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Who wants to try watermelon Oreos?
Apparently Oreo flavored Oreos are not sufficient.

Nabisco is continuing its trend of introducing special limited edition flavors for its Oreo cookies. Last year, the internet was all abuzz about candy corn Oreos, which supposedly didn't really taste like cand corn, but were just non-specifically overpoweringly sweet.

And I'm thinking that will also be the description of the new Watermelon Oreos, with pink and green filling. One reviewer compared the flavor to Bubblicious bubble gum. Yecch.

It's obvious that the Nabisco folks were not going for any sort of accuracy at all. If they had been they would have included seeds! That could have added a whole new dimension to the annual Watermelon Seed Spitting competition that happens every year out in Pardeeville.

As for me, I think I'll pass on this new summertime limited edition flavor. I'm holding out for corn on the cob Oreos.

By the way, have you heard the new Oreo song, performed by Owl City?

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Father's Day gift ideas for music fans

Still haven't found a great gift for Dad? If he likes music, I've got some suggestions that just might help you out.

1. John Fogerty's new album "Wrote a Song for Everyone" is absolutely amazing! It features two new songs, and duets with some of his favorite artists, from the Foo Fighters to Bob Seger. Country artists get their licks in too. I couldn't get enough of Brad Paisley's guitar solos in "Hot Rod Heart." They took my breath away!

2. If Dad really likes to rock hard, you might pick up "13" by Black Sabbath, in stores this week. It's their first album with Ozzy Osbourne in 35 years!

3. If Dad's a Neil Young fan and likes to read, get him Waging Peace, Neil Young's memoir that came out last year. It might just be the best rock memoir I've ever read. As John Stewart on the Daily Show said, it makes you feel like you're with Neil while he's out puttering in the garage, sharing his musings with you. This is a great book.

4. If your dad already has tickets to see Rush at Summerfest, why not get him a book about the Canadian trio? Rush: The Illustrated History (Martin Popoff) was just released a couple weeks ago.  It includes hundreds of photographs and the story of the band going back to 1968.

5. For something really different, how about this? A necktie made out of recycled cassette tape. Get this, if you run a tape head over the tie, you can actually hear music. It's a truly unique gift--but it will set you back 90 bucks. More info here.

 

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New Les Paul exhibit in Waukesha
There's a new Mecca for guitar players in Wisconsin. An exhibit in honor of the Wizard of Waukesha, Les Paul, opened Sunday on what would have been his 98th birthday.

Les Paul was one of the most curious people to ever occupy the planet, and that curiosity led him to create the first solid body electric guitar, and to develop multi-track recording. The exhibit features rare guitars and artifacts that belonged to Les Paul, and tells the story of his amazing life.

The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10am-4pm, with admission $7 for adults.

Find out more about the exhibit here.

Oh..did I mention he was a hell of a guitar player? And he had a great sense of humor too. Here he is collaborating with Nigel Tufnel of Spinal Tap!

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1939 Wizard of Oz back in theatres--in 3D!
I can hear it already: "The Flying Monkeys come right at you!"

Warner Brothers has announced that it's re-releasing the original 1939 movie "The Wizard of Oz" on the really big screen this fall. The film has been re-mastered (again) and will be shown on iMax screens and in 3D.

I love that movie. It's been my favorite film since I was a toddler. I practically know it by heart, and have been known to impress people with my spot-on imitation of the Wicked Witch of the West, as well as Glinda.

But do I really need to see it again on a screen that's 52 feet high?  That's something I'll have to ponder for a moment.

A few years ago I forked out $35 for the Blu-Ray, and was disappointed. It really didn't look a whole lot better than my original DVD copy. So will this disappoint too?

Back in the 1990's I saw The Wizard of Oz on the big screen at the Majestic Theatre, and thought that was pretty amazing. Most interesting to me was that I noticed that in some scenes the scarecrow is packing heat! What? Why does he have a handgun? Do they even have right to carry laws in Oz?   I was pretty surprised because I had never noticed that in countless viewings on my TV at home.

So what will I notice in the super-gigantic 3D version?  The Cowardly Lion with a hand grenade?  Land mines planted on the yellow brick road? I'm a little muddled.

The movie opens Sept. 20th to coincide with the 75th anniversary of the film.  If you go, it will probably be me in line right behind you.

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Watch: Taylor Swift with the Stones (really)
It must have been a surreal experience for the 23 year old country singer.  Taylor Swift, who was born around the time they were on their Steel Wheels tour,  was the special guest of the Rolling Stones Monday night, joining Mick and the band for "As Tears Go By."

The song was one of the first songs that Mick Jagger and Keith Richards wrote, and was a hit for Marianne Faithfull in 1964.

It looks like Taylor Swift was trying to become Marianne Faithfull with her hair long and straight and bangs. Let's just hope she wasn't trying to seduce Mick (who dated Marianne Faithfull when she was about Swift's age.)

She looked good, but how was her singing? I guess I'll leave that up to your interpretation.



Here's Marianne Faithfull back in the day, for comparison purposes.  There's one thing that Taylor got right: the eye makeup.


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New superfood: Broccoli Rabe
Every week I'm making an attempt to try a new superfood..and the latest one is broccoli rabe, also known as rapini. It's a leafy green vegetable that's packed with potassium, iron and calcium, dietary fiber and as well as Vitamins A, C and K.  Broccoli rabe also contains lutein, which is an antioxidant that protects the retinas of your eyes from damage caused by free radicals.

It came in a fairly big bunch, and cost a little over 3 bucks..so not too expensive at all.

I read a bunch of recipes online and of course followed none of them, preferring to make up my own as I went along.

One thing I did follow from most of my online resources--I blanched the broccoli rabe by immersing it in boiling water, but only for a few seconds.   Then I rinsed it in cold water.

I cut off the big hollow stems, and then chopped up the rest of it in bite size pieces (maybe an inch or two square), and then sauteed them with olive oil and fresh garlic until they got wilty. Then I put in some pepper and red wine vinegar.

Meanwhile, I was boiling some whole wheat elbow macaroni in another pan. Before I drained the pasta, I put a few tablespoons of the starchy cooking water in with the broccoli rabe, then when the pasta was done, drained it, and threw it in with the broccoli rabe, mixed in a few tablespoons of shredded parmesan, a little more olive oil, and wa-la!  It was done, and DELICIOUS.

It was funny, because my boyfriend Mike kept asking, "what is this?" and when I said "broccoli rabe" he kept asking why I was calling him Rob. Adorable, huh?

I'm not sure what my next superfood will be...any suggestions?
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World's Worst iPod: LeBlanc & Carr "Falling"
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World's Worst iPod: Neil Diamond "Yesterday's Songs"
Even Neil Diamond fans didn't seem to want to throw their support behind this one. "Yesterday's Songs" with its cheesy backup singers may be the most cliche song the guy does! It made it up to #11 on the charts in 1981/82 and was #1 on the...
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Recent Blog Posts
World's Worst iPod: LeBlanc & Carr "Falling"
LeBlanc and Carr were Lenny LeBlanc and Pete Carr, two Muscle Shoals studio musicians who hit the top 40 in 1978 with their hit "Falling." It made it up to #13 on the charts and was perfect for clumsy teenage slow dancing! Musically, these guys were...
Read More
Kitty's night in a haunted house
Before Friday, my only experience with a haunted house, commercial or otherwise, was at the Recreation Department in Stevens Point when I was a teenager, and as I remember I was FREAKED out. So I was a little nervous when Jonathan and I were asked to...
Read More
World's Worst iPod: El DeBarge "Who's Johnny"
A lot of people seemed to have fond memories of this questionable song from 1986. "Who's Johnny" was the first solo hit for the guy named El DeBarge, and it went to number 3 on the charts. Some of you might remember it from the movie "Short...
Read More
Finally, recognition of Stevie Ray Vaughan by the Rock Hall
The new list of nomines for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is out, and finally they give a nod to Stevie Ray Vaughan. The Rock Hall has passed Stevie by for the more than ten years that he's been eligible, causing me and other blues fans much...
Read More
You might want to see "Once" twice
I had the opportunity to go see "Once" at Overture Hall last night, and I guess the two word summary of my review could be "weirdly awesome." The story isn't too complicated, which is good because I sometimes had a hard time understanding the...
Read More
World's Worst iPod: Stonebolt "I Will Still Love You"
It seems Kitty was all alone in the Canadian wilderness with her love for the 1978 hit "I Will Still Love You" by Stonebolt. It only made it up to #29, so it seems a lot of folks didn't have the fond memories of the song that she did. With amazing...
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Even Neil Diamond fans didn't seem to want to throw their support behind this one. "Yesterday's Songs" with its cheesy backup singers may be the most cliche song the guy does! It made it up to #11 on the charts in 1981/82 and was #1 on the...
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