Sunday, August 30, 2009

Mark Your Calendars: Dan-a-Palooza!!

On Sunday, September 13th, I am hosting a little benefit for Dan at BookPeople. We are calling this Dan-a-Palooza. Dan is a longtime employee at BookPeople, a Kick Ass Award winner, and an all around superb human being. He has had some serious health issues lately and-- can you say hot topic-- he has no insurance.

I know these are tight times for everyone. I want to stress that, while we are hoping to at least slightly defray Dan's costs, an even bigger goal is to lift his spirits with a big turnout.

I, along with several members of the Dick Monologues (including-- yay-- Southpaw Jones) will be performing pieces about healthcare. We might even have some surprise musical guests. Also, we're making this a brunch-- 11 til 1ish and we are providing all the food. So if you can swing a little donation, you get tons of entertainment and lots of good food AND you get to help out Dan.

I am hoping that attendees can make a minimum donation of $10, but there will not be some big bouncer reinforcing this. If $10 is beyond your reach but you still want to help-- COME ON OUT anyway and throw what you can into the hat. If you can't make the event but want to donate anyway, please email me and I'll let you know how to do that.

It would help me very much if you would let me know if you plan on attending so we can plan food accordingly. The event will be on the third floor. You can email an RSVP to

Please pass this along to other interested parties.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Mix CD-- Happy Anniversary

A long time ago, way back when I used to blog on MySpace (remember MySpace?) I used to do a monthly post that gave my songlist for my ongoing mix CD for Warren. For the first fourteen months or so of our monthly anniversaries I made him a mixed CD to proclaim my love. The habit waned but today marks our two year anniversary. To celebrate, I went back to that "old" tradition and made another CD. Below is the set list. Happy Anniversary, Monkey!

Happy Anniversary Baby James Chiello Happy
Taller Children Elizabeth & The Catapult
Boots of Spanish Leather Bob Dylan
Reinstalling Windows - Les Barker
Roam The B-52's
Airstream Driver Gomez
Never Had Nobody Like You M. Ward
You and I Wilco
boys don't cry Grant-Lee Phillips
Just Like Heaven Kat Edmonson
Camel Walk Southern Culture On the Skids
Can You Use Any Money Today Ethel Merman
Hold Me Now Thompson Twins
You Belong to Me Bing Crosby
Just Like Heaven The Cure
Careless Whisper George Michael
All Of My Love Led Zeppelin
Absolutely Cuckoo The Magnetic Fields
Couldn't Love You (Any More Than I Do) Nick Lowe
Everything's Coming Up Roses Ethel Merman
C'est Si Bon (It's So Good) Eartha Kitt
Faith George Michael
Sous le ciel de Paris Edith Piaf

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Cuisine of the Far East & the Northeast

Above-- that's me eating my favorite food in the world. Okay, one of my favorite foods. Cheese Hoagie. That I am eating a cheese hoagie means, yes, I am on a rare trip to Jersey, hoagies being zee haute cuisine of the Philadelphia vicinity, where I grew up. I zipped up here for a couple of days to have lunch with my mom before she has surgery next week. I planned the whole eating extravaganza before boarding my flight: cheese hoagie, Tastykakes, and Philly pretzels. Behold images of all of these mixed below with documentation of other recent food events.

I'll let you see if you can match the descriptions with the photos as I am too lazy to sort all this out. Below find: images of a recent dim sum run to T&S where Warren and I overindulged, I nearly died with joy at the garlic shrimp, and we sat near some guy dressed in head-to-toe tie dye, including his house key (clipped to his belt) and his shoes. He also had an alien tattooed onto his bald spot. I apologize for not getting a picture.

Also, so pleased with our authentic dim sum, we took Garreth out for some fast food dim sum at Get Sum Dim Sum over at 45th and Lamar. Not bad. What else? There's a DQ single dip cone (shot in West Texas-- DQ is sort of the dim sum of West Texas). There's Warren showing off the spread at the cast party for Wicked (see earlier post about the Wicked Bitch). And the aforementioned pretzels and Tastykakes. No really, I'm going to come home, do the hippie lemonade fast, have a week's worth of colon cleansing, and only have organic smoothies from here on out.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Wicked Bitch

Last night Warren and I went to see Wicked at the Bass Concert Hall. It was awesome-- more on that in my forthcoming review for the Austinist next week. I'm super lucky to be a reviewer because we score all sorts of ridiculously fabulous tickets to events I couldn't otherwise afford. And we usually get extremely rocking seats, which was the case last night. If we were sitting any closer we'd have been forced to don flying monkey costumes. Oh, and prior to the show, we ate Thai food, which was excellent. So you could say that it was a perfect evening.

Then, it got even more spectacular since we had tickets to the cast party afterwards. The spread was beautiful, plentiful and delicious. The drinks were free (I was drinking water, but still...). And then... and then... goddammit why does this always happen to me? Do I have Please Annoy Me! stamped on my forehead or something?

I came back from a trip to the ladies' room to discover two women had joined Warren at the cocktail table we'd been standing at. I said hello and one of them, tipped off by Warren, said to me, "You're writing about this?!" And I said yes, and sort of downplayed it. She proceeded to launch into a nonstop stream of every detail of every performance of the show she'd seen. I saw "Know-It-All" flashing in my head, but I kept a lid on it. Because, even though her delivery was a little bit annoying, she was actually making some interesting points, and she was excited, and I certainly have, I'm sure, also come across as an overzealous know-it-all at times. (Hate to admit that.)

When I was able to squeeze a word in edgewise, I put a question to her. I asked about the green witch's makeup, curious if was actually makeup or some sort of latex suit or a combination. During the show I'd seen a wrinkle here and a seam there and I couldn't figure out if there was a bodysuit or what. This is where it got weird.

The woman looks at me and says, as if to answer, "This is a CAST PARTY!!"

Figuring she misheard my question, I asked again, clarifying I didn't want to know what kind of party it was, but rather the secret to the makeup. She repeated herself, more loudly, and then made her point clear. The cast was standing right behind me and I MUST GO AND ASK THEM!!

For whatever reasons, I get edgy at the thought of going up to actors and musicians post-performance. There's a part of me, of course, that loves the idea that I could be new best friends with every amazing talented person I'm lucky enough to see/hear perform. But a part of me is shy. And another part of me thinks I should just leave them alone because, after all, they just got off work and want to chill. It's not by any stretch the biggest conflict of my life. But when Know-It-All got in my face, DEMANDING that I approach the cast, it pushed some big fat button in me.

At first I said, softly (for me), "Oh I don't want to talk to the cast."

Now she got belligerent, insisting I HAD TO. It was so strange. I felt really creeped out and in a huge hurry to get away from her. Which I did. But it was too late. She'd already soured my mood. And then, ironically, as we were exiting, Warren and I ran into the male lead, a role that happened to be originated by an old friend of mine, a guy I worked with in a pizza parlor in St. Louis twenty years ago. Norbert went on to great things, including a Tony Award for Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. From time to time over the years I've tried to track him down, to congratulate him, but no luck.

Anyway, so we say to the guy, "Nice job," and Warren cracks a joke and then I say, "Do you know Norbert?" He didn't but he happened to also be from St. Louis and we chatted a bit and then left. So there-- after my big internal protest, I wound up talking to a cast member. Warren teased me for asking three different people if the knew Norbert. I suppose in my own way, despite my desire to appear cool and unaffected when in a room full of stars, I was dropping hints, like a little kid, that I knew somebody important, too.

This whole thing should've rolled right off of me. For some reason, it didn't. I wrestled with it more than I should've and looked for the trigger. Warren points out that I have more triggers than anyone on the planet and I think maybe he's right. The good part about associating everything with everything else is that I have a great memory and it serves me well as a reporter. The bad part about having such a good memory is that I can look at, say, a chocolate cake, and remember some incident from thirty years ago, some terrible something, that just happened to have a chocolate cake in the background. It's a pretty big pain in the ass to have a brain that works like this, and Warren does have his work cut out for him some days.

As I tried to parse what really got to me about the Know-It-All and the Norbert-teasing, I had two distinct recollections. One occurred a few years ago in an organic corn farm in rural Mexico. Some woman, high as a fucking kite, was demanding-- utterly INSISTING-- that I take peyote. I declined politely at first. Then I was more firm. But she pursued me, got in my face, told me it was spiritual. I really, really, really did not want to harsh her buzz by pointing out that I'm an addict and as such refrain from drugs and alcohol. Finally, someone intervened (and, if I might name drop, I'll say this guy happened to once be the chef for Brad Pitt). I assigned him heroic qualities but it's entirely possible he took the peyote from Pushy Woman just because he wanted it for himself, not because he wanted to rescue me.

The other thing I remembered is that, twenty-four years ago, I had dinner with Michael Stipe. I told everybody. For fucking years. A few years into my Stipe bragging, I had an alleged "best friend" who liked to get on my case for this. I mean, she was a total bitch about it, just really making me feel like an idiot.

Well, Warren saved the night, I must say, leading me across campus to the little turtle pond he'd introduced me to a few months ago. Those little guys are so darn cute that I was actually distracted enough to forget about the Wicked Bitch, at least for a little while.

Monday, August 3, 2009

More Intake/Output

Continuing to pack in as much pop culture and good food as possible over here. Here's the latest current audio/visual/mouthful recommendations.


Y'all, Mishna Wolff is my new literary hero. I know a lot of you are like, "No way, no audiobooks for me, I'm a purist." Fine, whatEVER-- I don't give a rat's ass if you get the audiobook, the hardback, or pay Ms. Wolff a cool million to come and copy it over on your living room wall in sharpie-- point is, I PITY THE FOOL who does not get some version of this book immediately. Like, now. Here's a little audio sample .


Check it-- I spent Saturday doing my food whore rounds-- Farmers' Market, Whole Foods, maybe I even stopped by Wheatsville? I'm not typically a cold soup gal but I remembered my heretofore long forgotten peach soup recipe. Actually it's my friend Sue's recipe. Actually it's not even a recipe anymore-- I just throw fresh Fredericksburg peaches in the blender with homemade full fat yogurt, some OJ (the fruit juice, not the wife killer), a dash of Vanilla, and voila. You might call it smoothie in a bowl, but I call it Polka Dotted Peach Soup-- those polka dots are local blueberries. I also made gazpacho that was so good I nearly wept. I don't say this like I'm bragging, I'm saying it like I shocked the hell out of myself because I have no idea how to make gazpacho, and the six recipes I checked were all over the board. One called for raw eggs, a couple of others insisted I use stale bread to thicken it. In the end, I just sort of threw shit in a blender. And don't forget the cayenne. We garnished the gazpacho with avocado. And we had this so-expensive-it-should-actually-be-a-crime rosemary and sea salt flatbread from Whole Foods. I also made hibiscus mint tea, to which I added a little fresh lemon juice and just a tiny bit of agave. Oh, and some cherries and cheese. Why not. I must say it was an outrageously fantastic meal.

It's too hot for me to be chronologically correct here, so let me just say that Warren took me to El Chilito for breakfast on Saturday and I had the Migas Taco, corn tortillas, and it was, as it always is, excellent. They have the smokiest hot sauce.

Forgot to mention this in the last intake post. Warren and I absolutely inhaled Season Two of Madmen when it arrived a couple of weeks ago. I estimate we watched fourteen hours in 9.5 hours, that's how intently we watched it. Originally it took me two tries to like the first episode of the first season. And now it is my crack. To the point I might just have to get my cable turned back on rather than wait another whole fucking year for Season Three to come out on DVD.

On Saturday, I got a notice from the County Clerk's office suggesting I was not, in fact, divorced. This came as a (very grave, very stick-knitting-needles-in-your-eyes sort of) surprise to me, as I was in the courtroom over two years ago when the judge granted me the divorce from the World's Biggest Fucking Narcissist of All Time. To think that I might actually, inadvertently still be married to this guy made me very, very unhappy. And I had to wait until today to confirm that it was a clerk's error-- Hey, don't worry about it honey, we all make mistakes, I mean, look at me, I MARRIED THE JERK IN THE FIRST PLACE, believe me I know all about mistake-making. Anyway, fate or coincidence, when I reached up and grabbed a CD from the sun visor, my hand landed on the White Album, which I was never into the first time around, but which became the soundtrack for my divorce, particularly Dear Prudence.


And now, to end as we began, with A RECOMMENDATION THAT YOU MUST OBEY OR ELSE!! Let me say that a week ago, when I asked Warren to put some music on, he popped in a disc I'd never heard. I am not the world's greatest jazz appreciator, though I try, and have had the wonderful assistance of jazz sax genius Paul Klemperer as my guide for many yeas. Anyway, Warren popped in this jazz CD and I mean, Holy Mother of God. It was so beyond awesome I didn't know what to do. I memorized the name on the cover-- Kat Edmonson-- and vowed to Google her and find out when her next world tour would bring her to Austin. Well GUESS WHAT PEOPLE? Kat Edmonson LIVES in Austin. And she is playing tomorrow, Tuesday, August 4th, at Vino Vino on Guadalupe. And you, unless you are totally out of your mind (or I have a restraining order against you) are going to join me and put your paws together for Kat. Because, OH MY GOD we are going to lose her to the big city soon enough, trust me. Here's a sample of Kat Be sure to check out her cover of the Cure's Just Like Heaven. Oh, and just now, as I was looking for links, I realized that I had heard one of her songs before on KGSR. Here's the video. And SHE'S REALLY PRETTY TOO!!