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At the lovingly restored Hollywood Theatre to watch Enough Said a week ago this evening. For those not in the know, it was James Gandolfini’s final role, as a divorced father finding love again with Julia Louis Dreyfus. It’s one fantastic fil-um, mostly for the fact that it feels so real. These are flawed characters laid bare, beautiful, and funny, hoping for more than a glimpse of lasting love. See it!

The following day we gamboled around downtown, in eager anticipation of that evening’s show at the Crystal Ballroom. We enjoyed a super supper at Ristorante Roma, a postage stamp of a place lifted straight from twenty year old honeymoon memories, sweet sigh. Sadly no pictures were taken, as we wandered off the street and they squeezed us in between reservations. It was our job to eat, and so we did, the highlight a shaved fennel and orange salad. My gosh, FENNEL!

So that we might linger a bit and try another new-to-us place, we had dessert at Cheryl’s on 12th. For Denverites, it is highly reminiscent of The Market on Larimer, a tad smaller and lacking the patina of age. With cakes, candy, coffee, and deli cases chockablock with every manner of delicious looking food, it is a gem. We chose a Las Vegas Tuxedo cake and steaming lattes and were not disappointed, not at all.

That’s Laura Mvula singing in the second photo, and our initial reason for wanting to see the show. I discovered her this summer (this is the song that really did it for me), singing my praises to just about anyone that would listen. Then, when we looked to see if she would be traveling to our neck of the woods, I was beyond delighted to learn that she would be touring with Iron & Wine! Kismet!

And now, a blog intermission for a “Parent of the Year” award. Not only did this sweet boy get to hear Laura and Sam sing without ear protection at high decibels well past any reasonable bed time, he also got a contact high from the cute kids smoking pot right next to him. Huzzah!

And then there was Sam. Funny and genuine and so marvelously talented, the man blows my mind. He had this terrific rapport with the audience, too, asking us what we’d like to hear, chatting about beards and laziness and life. I think he spied the cute boy, too, because he recommended ears be covered during a song with more than one fuck in it. “It seemed like a good idea at the time,” he said.

Iron & Wine is generally known for a pared down sound, but for his latest album and tour, he went big, complete with this very tall trumpeter and a couple more on the saxophone. He did completely new arrangements to old favorites, too, which was a lot of fun. Gosh, I think I am gushing. It’s what I do when excited.

And then it was good night, and we went home happy.

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I don’t know what my life would be without The Doors, some cavernous gaping void aching to be filled, most likely. A lifetime of memories of and with my Dad, and countless hours listening and singing and dancing along on my own. A wild, crazy love borne in the womb.

So it is with great sadness that I bid adieu to Ray Manzarek, keyboardist extraordinaire.

Break on through, Ray, and say hello to Jim.

photograph by Michael Ochs


Last week, I stumbled upon a very cool skateboarding video, Altered Route with Kilian Martin. Did you know that about me? That I love watching skateboarders? And surfers? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched Dogtown and Z-Boys or YouTube videos on loops (Laird Hamilton, you slay me!), truth be told. The mesmerizing click and roll of wheels on pavement, hands skimming air and water, the ceaseless rolling of waves, I am dazzled and awed at what bodies can do, so much and so beautifully, against gravity and odds and nature.  Anyhoo, the video had the sweetest song playing, very atypical of what most would consider skateboarding music. Patrick Watson, “Adventures in Your Own Backyard.” I couldn’t get it out of my head, this stirring sound, so I bought the album and a couple of other songs and started playing them on a loop while I wrote.

Then, when that was not enough, I went to Patrick Watson’s website and clicked around, pushing the concert button to find the band would be in town in four short days. Tickets still available. Click-boom! The hubster and I were go-ing. Yup, yup.

We arrived at The Mission Theater to very little fanfare, hardly a line, a table steps from the small stage. The opening band, Cat Martino, was sweet, her voice very fine, with a slight eighties vibe, and Cat’s band mate Sven (who totally reminded us of Zach, Maren!) with some of the coolest tattoos I’ve ever seen – small birds flying all over the right side of his body. I love that kind of thought.

Then it was time for the main attraction. The theater went completely dark and Patrick Watson came out, each with two or three small lights attached to their fingers. They played “Lighthouse” (pretty sure), which starts with Patrick playing softly on the piano and singing before being joined by the rest of the band – a violin (Melanie Blair), a guitar (Simon Angell), a bass (Mishka Stein), and drums (Robbie Kuster), building and building to this marvelous explosion of sound.

And that was only the beginning.

I’ve seen a lot of shows in my time, many in venues like this one, two hundred people gathered around a stage. But those small spaces had nothing to do with the intimacy of the show. Last night, we were part of something, transported elsewhere, our collective souls stirred into one. It was tender, silly, raucous, rakish, and laugh out loud funny, and we were all in it together. Dazzlingly simple, too, a string of patio lights and long shadows cast, minstrel-style, upon the ceiling and walls.

Then there was the singing. The hypnotizing guitar and bass. The haunting violin. The dynamic drumming. A whole song, “Into Giants,” I think, when the band came into the audience, no amplification, standing single file, Patrick right in front of me, Mishka’s tattoo peeking from his t-shirted arm while he strummed the guitar, so close I could have lifted the sleeve and revealed its secret. They sang and stomped so powerfully that Robbie might as well have been playing the drums.

M A G I C A L. Really and truly. The best show of my life, and I yelled it out the window of the Mini as we zoomed home, Patrick smoking a cigarette on the corner. Yeah, that was me. And since the band hails from Montreal, I gotta say, “Merci mille fois!”



What a perfect summer day sounds like…

“Transform” –   T.J. Rehmi

“Morning Has Broken” – Cat Stevens

“Easy” – The Commodores

“Rough Rock & Pinon” –  Zachary J. Mechlem

“Lost in My Mind” –  The Head and The Heart

“1952 Vincent Black Lightning” – Richard Thompson (the awesome inspiration)

“American Girl” – Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers

“Tempted” – Squeeze

“In a Big Country” – Big Country

“I Feel for You” – Chaka Khan

“Boogie on Reggae Woman” – Stevie Wonder

“Places to Go” – 50 Cent

“Make Some Noise” – Beastie Boys

“Tunic” – Sonic Youth

“Ceremony” – New Order (thinking of you, Bridget and Jessica!)

“Praise You” – Fat Boy Slim

“Waltz for Koop” – Koop

“Sail to the Moon” – Radiohead

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Heppy Friday friends, despite it being nearly over – late start!  I see that typo, by the way, but think it looks kind of hep (there I go again), so it stays.  How was your week?  Mine was a solid 8.5 (good friends and even better times), though it would have been higher had I the cooperation of Mr. Soleil.  I am missing him something fierce.  C’est la geurre, je suppose.

Anyhoo, to the post and my diabolical plot to get people in front of the television.  Bwa ha ha!  No, not really, but I am a big lover of film, if you hadn’t noticed, and when they touch me, I am duty bound to sing their praises.  Ooh, cheeky monkey!   No, these movies are not copping feels, they’re just worthy of  mention and your time.

I was feeling under the weather one day and cast aside my chores and one half of my yoga practice (sad face) to lie on the sofa.  Happily, the entertainment gods were watching over me, and I found this streaming on Netflix, watching the entire six episodes in one go.  Holy smokes gentle readers, this is some business.  John Luther (Idris Elba – well cast and handsome, with a fabulous name) is one of those not quite right police detectives (I know that line’s getting a bit cliche, but it works) who’s just returned from the force after some “time off.”  He’s dedicated, a bit explosive, and a mad genius at his job (“It’s not right”), the kind of fellow who has a difficult time separating himself from his work.  This caused problems in his marriage, and we watch him struggle with what may be its dissolution, along with the trials and travails of a detective in the murderous metropolis that is London. It is thoughtful, intense, and incredibly well written, full of unexpected twists and surprises, the absolute best being Luther’s friendship with Alice (Ruth Wilson from Jane Eyre – so good!), a woman he’s absolutely positive is responsible for the grisly murder of her parents and family dog (she’s far too clever to be caught).

This has got to be one of the best and most unusual documentaries I’ve ever seen.  Truly.  A man (Mark Hogankamp) is brutally beaten in a bar fight and decides, once the insurance money for traditional therapies runs out, that he will work through his trauma and regain his hand-eye coordination by creating and photographing (with meticulous detail) a WWII era Belgian town.  Populated with dolls that represent friends and coworkers, with a history so intricate, so poignant, that it’s often difficult to separate from the real world, past and present, especially for Mark.  Then there are the photographs, surreal and oddly beautiful, just like the town they depict.

A love letter to a complex and beguiling city, Dhobi Ghat shows Mumbai at its best and worst, through the eyes of four very different people.  Arun is an artist who meets Shai at his most recent opening.  They spend the night together, though it doesn’t end well.  Munna is an aspiring actor, rat killer, and the dhobi who washes both of their clothes (by hand, in a vast and strangely enchanting neighborhood dedicated to the practice).  Then there is Yasmin, the infinitely sweet and naive girl whose video tapes (intimate letters and travelogues for her brother) Arun finds in his new apartment.  We watch as each navigates the city and their relationships with the outside world and each other.  It is tender, honest, and sometimes harsh, just like life.  I did find it a tad clumsy at the start, but that may be more cultural than anything.

Ooh, this was fun!  After a white lie about the loss of her virginity spreads like wildfire, once unknown and uninteresting Olive Penderghast decides to take the rumors up a notch and parallel the life of Hester Prynne.  Literally dressing like a prostitute and appliquéing a scarlet “A” on her garments, she takes money and gift cards from boys desperate for a change in reputation (without actually becoming a prostitute herself).  Of course it gets out of hand, with hearts and friendships broken, but, as these films go, all turns out well in the end.  Chock full off witty banter and a gracious nod to Say Anything, I say well played.

But wait, there’s more!  I listened to Rafael Saadiq’s Stone Rollin’ while typing this: a little Stevie Wonder, a little hip hop, a little funk, and a whole lotta awesome.  Add it to another queue…

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