Halloween used to be one of my favorite holidays. But now it just seems to irritate me!
My biggest gripe: 2nd hand stores like Goodwill and St. Vinnies are so crammed with Halloween stuff that anything that might interest me is probably sitting in a back roomo somewhere. Not to mention all the thrift store newbies that are getting in my way!
I wasn't always this way. When I was in my late teens early 20's, I was all about Halloween, and actually put a lot of thought into my costumes. They didn't always work out the greatest, but I had fun. When I dressed up as the Grinch Who Stole Christmas, no one quite got it. "Seasick elf?" some one inquired. The ghost of John Lennon didn't turn out that great either, with somebody rudely saying "you are the ugliest woman I've ever seen!"
My favorite costume had to be the Cat from Outer Space.
It was based on a character from the musical "Cats," and it got the outer space theme when my mom and I found some insulated drapery material which we turned inside out, and my mom made me some kind of frock type thing.Â The shirt was an old 70's polyester shirt that my older brother seriously wore..with the collars cut off and stuffed, then used for ears.
One thing I know for sure--you're not going to find a costume like that at Goodwill!
Happy 70th Birthday to Steve Cropper..an amazing guitar player, songwriter..and a guy who has an interesting connection to Madison.
When Otis Redding's plane went down in Lake Monona in 1967, one of Cropper's beloved guitars (I believe a Telecaster) went down with it. And he has said he never wrote another hit song after that.
Now I doubt there's much left of it after all these years...but it sure would be cool if a diver could find it.
Cropper co-wrote "Sittin' On the Dock of the Bay," "In the Midnight Hour," among others, and as a founding member of Booker T and The MG's was involved in the recording of pretty much every record Stax Records ever put out.
And don't forget he's the "Steve" of "Play it Steve" on the song "Soul Man"...the Sam & Dave and Blues Brothers Versions.
He's still making records too..most recently puttingÂ out a great album called "Dedicated" features duets with B.B. King, Lucinda Williams, John Popper and Steve Winwood.
Find out more about Cropper's amazing career on his website at www.playitsteve.com.
There's a report out today that Mick Jagger is getting together with Martin Scorsese to produce a new TV show that will air on HBO.
It reportedly will track the exploits of a "cocaine-fueled record executive in New York City circa 1977," at a time "when punk, disco and a new form of music called hip-hop collided."
Okay, I guess he might have some experience in that area, although his buddy Keith Richards may be a bit more qualified.
Now before they settled on that premise for the show, my sources tell me there were others that were rejected. Here are a few of them.
1. "Three's Company: The Next Generation" Mick Jagger would star as the new Mr. Roper.
2. "Ego Wars" This would pit Mick's ego against others who also think a whole lot of themselves. Donald Trump, Charlie Sheen, Sarah Palin and Brett Favre were all being considered as possible guest stars.
3. "Let's Rob Mick Jagger." Some down and out New Yorkers conspire to rob Mick Jagger's apartment.
4. "Extreme Makeover: Lips Edition" Mick would host a behind the scenes reality program involving the best and the worst from the world of collagen.
5. "Moves Like Jagger" Inspired by the Maroon-5 song, celebrities would try their best to dance like Mick Jagger without falling over laughing.
Do you like to cook?
Do you like to eat?
Then the Madison Food & Wine Show is something you need to check out this weekend. Happening Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Exhibition Hall at the Alliant Energy Center, this is one of my favorite parts of the fall.
Here's how it works. When you go into the Exhibition Hall, you'll be given a wine glass (that you can take home), and a bag to hold goodies in, as well as info about all the exhibitors. It's going to seem overwhelming at first..but give yourself a chance to get your bearings, and then start wandering.
You'll find delicious foods from a wide variety of restaurants, caterers, and other food producers (think cheese!) Everything from entrees to desserts. You can pick up lots of great ideas along the way, meet awesome people who know all about the food or other product that they have for you to try.
Ooh..I almost forgot the wine!Â So many wines to sample! It's a great way to discover new wines without having to risk spending a lot of money on something you don't like.
Not big into wines? No big deal. I'm not a real wine person, but I still find plenty of items to try..and yes, there's beer there too.
Throughout the three days, there will be plenty of demonstrations..and the Dueling Chefs competition is always entertaining.
Look for Triple M at the show. We'll be handing out suggestions for great Triple M Triple combos featuring entree, beverage, and album.
Here are the ones I came up with:
British Invasion Picnic
LP:Â The Who Sell Out
Entree: Good Old American Hamburger with beans on the side
Drink: Newcastle Beer
Breakfast in America
LP: Supertramp's Breakfast in America
Entree: Omelette with spinach, mushrooms and Wisconsin colby cheese
Drink: Mimosa with California sparkling wine and Florida orange juice
A Texican treat
LP:Â Los Lonely Boys debut
Entree: Texas Tamale Pie and
Drink: Chameleon El Rey Beer
Find out more about the Food & Wine Show here.
What's your favorite Kinks song? All Day and All of the Night? Lola? Come Dancing? Sunny Afternoon? I'm Not Like Everybody Else? Chances are, Ray Davies will sing it for you Sunday November 6th when he plays theBarrymore Theatre.
I've never been lucky enough to see the Kinks, but I have had the opportunity to see Ray Davies live three times, and he does not disappoint. The guy can still sing and entertain..demonstrating that he's still got what it takes to be a fantastic frontman. The first time I saw him was probably more than a decade ago when he was on his Storyteller tour. That show was also at the Barrymore. The small but devoted audience got to hear all the great Kinks songs..and the stories that went with them. How did his brother Dave Davies get that signature tone on "You Really Got Me?" He stuck a knife in his amplifier. And all the stories were told with wit and passion.
I got to see Ray again when he played the Barrymore to start off a 2006 U.S. tour, and then later in the tour at Summerfest. Mike and I sat right next to the soundboard at the Barrymore show, so we could see the setlist..and it was a great one! He included lots of hits, some chestnuts for hardcore fans, as well as songs from his new album...and those were great too! He's funny, he's a talented songwriter and performer..and he has more charisma than the average Well Respected Man. If you're a Kinks fan and have never seen him before..make sure you see this show. If you have seen him before, chances are you've already bought your tickets. --Previewed by Kitty Dunn
"If you tried to give rock and roll another name, you might call it 'Chuck Berry'."--John Lennon
Chuck Berry turns 85 years old today..and he's still gigging. I'm not sure he's doing his signature duck walk anymore..but just standing upright and holding a guitar for any length of time would be an accomplishment for most people his age. I checked his tour schedule, and he's playing BB King's Club in New York City on New Year's Eve!
I was lucky enough to see Chuck Berry several years ago as part of a double bill with Little Richard. While he was a little cranky (he thought video cameras being used to project the show on big screens were actually recording him and he got testy), and his guitar chops weren't seamless, it was still incredible to be able to see such an icon up close and personal.
Funny concert memory: Mike and I were sitting next to Madison sandwich tycoon Big Mike (of Big Mike's and Milio's fame), who was really getting into the show. At one point, Chuck asked all the pretty ladies to come up on stage and dance with him. While I was too shy, Big Mike (who lives up to his name) ran up on stage and gave it his all! I ran into Big Mike this summer and mentioned that to him, and he asked me, "Can you blame me?"
There are lots of great videos featuring Chuck Berry on youtube..and in many of them, he's playing with rock and roll luminaries that he influenced.
This one is from the documentary "Hail Hail Rock and Roll," and features a famous son of one of the biggest rock stars ever.
I was reading the Sunday paper yesterday and being the frugal queen that I am, I was perusing the coupons. One that caught my eye was a coupon to save a dollar on Halloween Play-Doh. Play-Doh for trick or treat? All I can say to that is...BOOO!
While I have nothing against Play-Doh in general, I don't think this is an appropriate surprise to drop in some one's trick or treat bag. First of all, you'll probably only get one (or maybe two), and the amount is so small you probably can't make anything out of it. Ooh..here's an awesome one-color Play-Doh snake!Â Now where the heck are those Snickers bars?
I suppose there are are other things that are even worse as Halloween gifts. These include fruit, pennies, pencils..or from the completely ironic file..toothbrushes!
Unless of course the toothbrush played the tune to Monster Mash. That would be cool.
Confession time.Â Â No, I didn't recently give birth when I was in the hospital, but I did watch a lot of bizarre television that I don't usually watch. Among the shows: "Toddlers and Tiaras," "Long Island Medium," and my new favorite..."I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant."
There is a show called "I Didn't Know I was Pregnant" ???Â First of all..that happens enough that there's a show about it? Se cond..this show has been on for several years. Wow.
In the episode I watched, a young woman gave birth in a campground restroom. She was in pain and didn't know why..and the baby just fell out and hit the bathroom floor. The show didn't have any actual footage of course, but did have actors re-enacting the scene. Surprisingly, they did not have a doll-double to use to represent the baby.
What I'm wondering is this..how do these kids feel when they find out about their interesting entrances to the world? Will they sit down with the families and re-watch the show every year after they blow out the candles on the birthday cake?"
"You dropped me on the floor!Â In a grimy campground bathroom?" I imagine the kid asking. "Those better be some pretty awesome presents for me to even THINK about forgiving you."
And when his friends ask "were dropped on your head as a baby, or what?" He'll have to say.."as a matter of fact I was. Thanks, Mom."
Want to know more about this bizarre show? (And why wouldn't you?)Â Click here.
It seems just about everybody has read the book "The Help," or at least has seen the movie. I'm sure I'm not the first person to have a problem with the book...but it's probably not the same one others have written about.
Kathryn Stockett's book "The Help" is the story of black maids and the white families they work for, set in Jackson, Mississippi against the backdrop of the civil rights movement. Some crtics have said it's not historically accurate, while others have complained that the author overstepped her bounds in trying to write from the perspective of a black woman of that era.
But that's not what annoyed me. Here's what ignited this reader's flame. Kathryn Stockett doesn't know beans about rock and roll!
In one chapter, which is supposed to be the summer of 1963, one of the white characters hums the Beatles's song "Love Me Do."Â Really, Ms. Stockett? This young white female in the deep south is humming a song that won't be released in the United States until April of the following year?Â The Beatles haven't even been on the Ed Sullivan show yet, and Beatlemania hasn't even really kicked in England yet, but somehow this woman knows the tune, and she's in Mississippi?
I just simmered down enough from that one when that same character is listening to the radio in her car and she hears a song by the new band The Rolling Stones. This was in January, a month before the Beatles were on Ed Sullivan, and four months before the Stones'Â first single was released in the U.S. Simply amazing.
I guess I'm being a bit of a nitpicker (or music snob), but come on. Don't they have editors that double check this kind of stuff? What other stuff did she get wrong? Those blunders really made me wonder.
In another chapter a character changes the channel with a remote control..a Space Command.Â I had to look that up. Was the Zenith space command in use in 1963?
Yes, it was introduced in the 1950's. Okay, she gets a pass on that one.
(And despite all of this...I still really liked the book and recommend it!)
When I found myself flat on my back in a hospital bed for 8 days last month, I was really glad I had some music to listen to.
I don't have one of those fancy schmancy iPod thingamajigs, but I do have a cheap mp3 player, and I loaded it up with albums I thought I might like to listen to while recovering. It turns out there was one I listened to over and over..and it's a CD that's been in my collection for 20 years.
There are a lot of great songs on Peter Himmelman's album "From Strength to Strength," and several of them seemed to fit my particular situation. In "Woman With The Strength of 10,000 Men," he sings about the fact that all his troubles are nothing, compared to those of a woman who speaks by "choosing letters with her eyebrow."Â The song "This Too Will Pass," was helpful too, and not just because that was something my mother always to say to me.
But I think the one that fit the best was "Impermanent Things."
Why keep hanging on
To things that never stay
Things that just keep stringin' us along
From day to day
Okay..it doesn't literally describe my plight, but somehow it managed to ease my frustration of not being able to get out of bed or lift my head above the rest of my body!
Oh, spring, you dirty little flirt. You gave us a taste of your sunshine and warmth yesterday, but now you are gone, faster than doughnuts in the breakroom of a radio station.
Are you as ready for spring as I am? Take my little test and see.
I am addicted to Pharrell Williams' song "Happy," and I didn't think I could like it any more than I already did.
Until I saw this video. Yeah, it's pretty shallow humor, but it put a smile on my face! Andthat's not something...
Critics have been saying some good things about the new biographical Jimi Hendrix movie that's debuting at SXSW later this month.
For one thing, Jimi: All Is By My Side comes from film-maker John Ridley, who wrote the screenplay for the much...
"Move it in, move it out, move it in roundabout, Disco Lady!"
Those lyrics were just a little too suggestive to Kitty back in 1976 when this song was a hit. But lots of folks appeared to be in a disco mood this morning when we played that number one...
I made jambalaya for supper last night--today I think I'll celebrate Mardi Gras with my favorite Louisiana export, Sonny Landreth!
I've had a chance to see Sonny around a dozen times, and he never fails to impress. When he opened Eric...
To get through the Monday Blues, you're going to need something extraordinary (what makes the difference is that little extra), and here it is: Neon Trees' latest Sleeping With a Friend (slightly off-putting title insanely awesome jam!)
You may have driven by that seemingly rundown brick building on East Washington Avenue hundreds of times, but you probably never got to go behind the scenes at the iconic recording studio that brought us so much great music in the 1990s.
What are you doing Sunday March 9th? Why not spend the afternoon supporting a great cause, and enjoying some fantastic music?
It's a benefit for the family of a young Madison girl, Anna Mischnick, who is battling brain cancer.
The event goes...