8.30.2008

The Tinsel and Rot Sirius Stiletto Top 20: August 2008

20. (16) Deep Blue Sea--Otis Taylor (w/ Alvin Youngblood Hart)#
19. (--) Irish Rover--The Pogues and The Dubliners#
18. (--) Did You Sleep Well?--Crooked Still#
17. (--) My Best Friend's Girl/Baba O'Riley--Bare Jr.#
16. (--) Laugh and Be Happy--Randy Newman#
15. (--) The Bertha Butt Boogie (Pt. 1)--Jimmy Castor Bunch#
14. (--) Wedge Paradiso--Dick Dale#
13. (--) Got To Be A Better Way Home--Hudson Falcons#
12. (--) Shadoobie--Rolling Stones#
11. (--) Hometown Blues--Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers#
10. (--) Radio Song--Felice Brothers#
9. (5) The Little Lady Preacher--Tom T. Hall#
8. (10) Holes--Jon Dee Graham#
7. (3) We Can't Make It Here Anymore--James McMurtry#
6. (--) I'm Gonna Kill You--Wynn Stewart#*
5. (--) Pretty World--Sam Baker#
4. (2) Get Something Done--Hudson Falcons#
3. (--) Holiday Road--Latex Generation#
2. (--) Red Brick Wall--Waco Brothers#
1. (--) Fox River--Waco Brothers#

#-Imported onto Stiletto
#*-Imported onto Stiletto, but purchased because I heard it on Sirius (NOTE: Satellite headphones still busted.)

8.28.2008

Yankee fans come through again

First, there was this guy. Then, Wednesday night at the Richmond County Bank Ballpark at St. George, home of the Staten Island Yankees, there was another champ.

Wednesday was one of my substitute games as part of my seven-game, strap-on-the-feedbag plan, so I wasn't in my usual seat (which wasn't far from where a guy got drilled in the left cheek by a line drive early in the game). I was a few rows behind home plate, and since there weren't many people at the game, I just grabbed an empty seat in my row. After a few innings, a guy who'd had a few said I was in his seat and quietly asked me to just shift over two. So I did. All was well.

And then the guy started yelling. But not your usual yelling. No, "Let's go Yankees" was repeated for about 30 seconds in a high-pitched squeal that brought all eyes in the section on to my rowmate. I guess after awhile he felt compelled to explain himself, so he just said, "I can't yell." I'm assuming he meant that someone at the stadium had asked him to stop yelling (he was also a season-ticket holder), and I'm guessing that someone was alerted by a concerned parent of a frightened child. So, his response was to adopt a high-pitched yelp that surely no one would find fault with, assuming your ears were not sensitive to high frequencies.

Of course, he was still yelling--just in a ridiculously high-pitched voice. So I'm not sure what was accomplished. And he couldn't even stick to that, as he kept slipping into his normal yelling voice every now and then. He really liked to yell at the batter to hit it to center, loudly pointed out foul balls after they landed in the seats, and forcefully urged both pitchers and hitters to "straighten it out" repeatedly.

However, he reached his true moment of turmoil when the Yankees drove in a run with a double to left. He yelled really loud in his manly yelling voice and then almost instantly stopped. I looked to my right and saw him with his head in his hands, gently reminding himself, "I can't yell. I can't yell."

I moved a little later.

(In the interest of fair play, a fan at the Cyclones game I went to tonight kept yelling, "Show him where you live" to Cyclone batters, and, for the life of me, I can't figure out what that means. Do the players live in the ocean? I was confused. But at least it wasn't yelled in a voice reminiscent of Tiny Tim's.)

8.25.2008

Older. Wiser?

This weekend I passed up an opportunity to meet Corey Haim in Cherry Hill, NJ. I started doing the math, and it came up that I would be spending at least $75 and getting up at 5 in the morning on a Saturday if I decided to go. Five years ago, I'm there. In 2008, I'm not.

Progress?

You make the call.

But I did see Bob Feller and Pete Seeger (not together, which would've been something), so it wasn't a lost weekend. I'm a big supporter of the Haimster, but I think Feller and Seeger are a touch cooler.


8.22.2008

The day after

It's not very often that you wake up in the morning knowing that you'll be seeing three of your favorite musicians and your first thought is, "Man, today's gonna be a letdown" (and, yes, almost all the thoughts in my head start with "Man"). But such was the case the morning after as we got ready to take off for Saratoga to see Raul Malo, Gillian Welch, Steve Earle, Levon Helm again, and Bob Dylan (and to eat during Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band and the Swell Season). I figured it would be a good show, but since we had lawn seats, it was pretty much a guarantee that it wouldn't be as good as the night at Levon's.

It was my first time back to the Saratoga Performing Arts Center since seeing Tom Petty there seven years ago. And my main memory of the night was being stuck in traffic for an hour and then after getting through that and missing Jackson Browne (thank you, traffic!) wondering, "Where the f*&k am I?" after volunteering to bring my friend's camera back to her car in the auxiliary parking lot in complete darkness. There were times where I thought I wouldn't make it back. I did, which you probably figured out since you're reading something I wrote.

In any case, I was prepared for the traffic jam again, but since this show was starting so early (2:30 p.m.), it wasn't nearly as bad as last time. We even got to park in the main parking lot. Sweet.

Once inside, I tried to scope out a spot near the railing separating the wealthy folks in the covered section from us nickel and dimers on the lawn. We got a decent spot, I watched Raul Malo and Gillian Welch from the rail, battled sunscreen-induced blindness during Steve Earle's set, and then gave up hope on the rail midafternoon, sometime around dinnertime/the Conor Oberst set. Malo's set, bookended by two of my favorites "Every Little Thing About You" and "All You Ever Do Is Bring Me Down," was short and solid (if I say "like an Olympic gymnast," am I a perv?), and Gillian Welch and David Rawlings started and ended strong, though, like just about every Gillian Welch listening experience I've ever had (live and CD), there was that middle portion where I slipped into a daze and lost all track of what was going on. Steve Earle was, um, you know, hey, did I tell you that I love Steve Earle? And that I'm hesitant to say anything bad about him? Well, it's true. So, yeah, Steve Earle played. Allison Moorer came out for a few songs. There was a guy on the turntables.

I was finally able to wash the sunscreen out of my eyes in time for dinner. Right before I grabbed some chicken fingers, I spotted my third John Prine shirt of the day, a sure sign that I was among good people (I would be hard-pressed to name a time when I saw one John Prine shirt, never mind three—and all for different albums ["Souvenirs," "Fair and Square," and "Standard Songs for Average People, if your keeping score]). I also exchanged t-shirt complements with a guy from Ohio wearing a Robbie Fulks shirt, who was happy to see I was wearing a Wussy shirt. So, yeah, it was a good crowd. Even the hippies weren't really annoying, an almost unheard of feat.

After the Oberst set (better than I thought) and the Swell Season mini-disaster (there were some audio problems that lead singer Glen Hansard couldn't quite put behind him), it was time for Levon again. It was a much shorter set, and Levon sounded a little more ragged than he did the night before, but it was still a real good time, capped off by "The Weight," with Earle taking the "Crazy Chester" verse and Welch, Rawlings, Hansard, and another guy from the Swell Season (sorry, don't know his name, too tired to try to figure it out) joining in on the last verse and the choruses. Of course, it would've been the height of coolness if Dylan had come out too, but it was not to be. (According to this almost-creepy article, though, he did at least watch a bit of Levon's set, which for some reason makes me happy.)

I've seen Dylan about 30 times and have purposefully held off on making huge efforts to see him since he's switched to all keyboard, all the time, but a setting like Saratoga was perfect. By the time he took the stage, the show was running a little over an hour late, so I thought he might shorten his set a bit. Of course, because he's Bob Dylan, he played "It's Alright, Ma" (I'm Only Bleeding)" and "Desolation Row," two of his longest songs (the latter of which was my favorite song of the day). The set wound up being about the usual length of a Dylan show these days and was pretty damn cool. He played a bunch of songs he doesn't play that much ("I Believe in You," "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue," "Million Miles") and did a strong job with some of the old reliables ("Highway 61 Revisited" was particularly entertaining). Plus, he only played three songs off "Modern Times," which is just about the right number for me.

At the beginning of the set, a young lass whom I'll place around college age and I had the following conversation after a guy near the rail put a girl on his shoulders:

Her: "Hey, could you put me on your shoulders?"
Me: "Um, yeah, I don't think that's gonna work out."
Her: "Why not?"
Me: "The back isn't so strong."
Her: "I'm not fat!"
Me: "No, no, no. I know you're not. I'm just weak." (I should note that I'd been standing for about half the weekend at this point. Things weren't feeling good.)
Her: "C'mon, I'll give you five dollars."
Me: "Yeah, sorry, no."

And so I missed my chance to hoist (and/or drop) a pretty girl on my shoulders for five dollars. Moments like these you look back on and think "What if?"

She shook my hand and said she understood (very noble), and about 20 minutes later, her taller friend asked me to dance with her and her friends before asking me to sing the last verse of "Desolation Row" to her, which, admittedly, would've been something. Again, what if?

Two of the members of our party (including our noble driver) were off to see Springsteen the next day in Richmond, so we headed straight back to New Jersey after the show ended with "Blowin' in the Wind" (and after purchasing a cool book of photos of the young Dylan a guy was hawking—and selling at a deep discount). Our last truly exciting moment of the weekend occurred at a convenience store on the way back to the Thruway when a guy who seemed to be under the influence of any number of illegal substances stumbled in and repeatedly mumbled, "Anybodyknowhowyougetbacktothehighway?" in the desperate hope that someone would answer him. I would've probably just gone straight to the guy working there, but this gentleman decided it would be best to just stand in the middle of the store until he got an answer. Most of us avoided eye contact, but one member of our party stepped up to try to help. Unfortunately, the directions didn't make it all the way through the fog. So, as we left, the guy finally made his way to the clerk. And this was the last thing I heard as I stepped out the door.

Guy: "Sothenwejustgostraightandthenwheredoesthatputus?"
Clerk: "Straight? Straight where?"
Guy:"Idontknow...straighttohellmanheheheheheh..."

I made a mental note of the car's plates on the way out.

***

We pulled into Jersey City a little bit after 4 a.m. (and not to pick on Steve Earle, but his half-hour tribute to Poco and Loggins and Messina on his Sirius radio show wasn't helping anyone stay alert on the ride back), and the Springsteen folks were out the door at a bit past 9 a.m. on the way to catch a flight to JFK. They are the true champions of the weekend, and I salute them, as well as our fellow traveler who started the weekend off by seeing Neil Diamond. Yes, I was the concert piker among the four of us. I am ashamed.

So, another successful musical road trip in the books. Where to next?

8.19.2008

By the time we got to Woodstock



The majority of my vacation was the kind of thing I tend not to blog about—just hanging out with my friends, their early-rising kids, and some deer in the Poconos. But it might not be a bad idea to recap the end of the trip, a two-day musical extravaganza that began about four hours after I stepped off the bus back from the Poconos.

When I saw the lineup for the Saratoga Music Festival and noticed that it was on a Sunday, it seemed like a good reason to take a road trip. A show with Bob Dylan, Levon Helm, Steve Earle, Gillian Welch, and Raul Malo (plus the Swell Season and Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Boys, whom I didn't have all that much fondness for) is pretty much a can't-miss. Then I saw that Levon Helm was having one of his Midnight Rambles in Woodstock the night before, and the night's special guest was NRBQ's Terry Adams and his Rock and Roll Quartet. So, a potentially awesome show soon morphed into an almost certain epic musical weekend where two of my all-time favorite musicians would be playing in a barn in Woodstock. Feelers were put out to others who had expressed an interest in checking out one of the Rambles, tickets were quickly secured, and all systems were go.

In case you're not familiar with Levon Helm's Midnight Rambles, here's the gist: a few years ago, Levon (and if you don't know who Levon Helm is—like the woman next to me on the lawn at Saratoga who said "I don't know who she is"—please go do something else) started having these shows at his barn/studio in Woodstock to cover various outstanding bills, especially those pertaining to the throat cancer treatment that threatened to forever silence one of music's greatest voices. The Rambles were nighttime affairs where Levon would invite a generally cool opening act and then play a long set with his band, which features, among others, his daughter Amy, guitarists Larry Campbell (who used to tour with Bob Dylan and has played on a bunch of cool records) and Jimmy Vivino (from the Max Weinberg 7 and the Fab Faux, among other things), and a stellar five-piece horn section. It's an expensive ticket ($150, or $125 if you can get five or more people to go, as we did), but I've yet to hear anyone complain about it after 100+ such shows over the last few years. And when this is the setting, you can see why:


(Photo by Paul LaRaia)

There aren't a lot of tickets available for each show (I'd estimate about 125-150), so we were lucky to grab five before they sold out (and I endured a moment of panic when I saw that the show was sold out and the money for the tickets hadn't been taken out of my account on the same day, but all was soothed by a quick response from the Studios). We also aimed to get there early so we could snag a good spot, but before we got there, there was a pilgrimage we needed to make.

Having been to Woodstock a few times, I've always had it in the back of my mind to go visit Big Pink, the house in nearby West Saugerties that Band bassist Rick Danko found and lived in with Garth Hudson and Richard Manuel in the late 1960s as The Band recorded "Music from Big Pink" (and the songs with Dylan that later appeared on "The Basement Tapes"). This weekend seemed like as good a time as any to seek it out. The other three travelers agreed, so off we went.

After missing the turnoff for Parnassus Lane the first time up the hill, we spotted it on the way back and made the turn. The road leading to Big Pink isn't really much of a road anymore, mostly gravel and dust. And if there had been a car coming the other way, there might've been a problem. Luckily, we were the only travelers around (though we left just as what appeared to be another group of Big Pink seekers arrived), and after passing a few other houses, there she was.



We stood there for awhile, commenting on how small Big Pink actually was and how such a small place could loom so large in music history. A bunch of photos were taken, aided by the bench that we assumed the current owners put out to appease the pilgrims that came searching. When it all comes down to it, it is just a house, but, to me, a guy who was so moved by The Band that I took a bus and walked through a steady rain to go to Rick Danko's memorial service, it's a little more. I feel better for having seen it. And for having sat down on a bench in front of it for a picture.




After that, we met up for dinner with the fifth member of our party (whose arrival at the restaurant turned our waitress's mood from surly to friendly pretty quickly; we did something to offend her soon after our arrival, but I have no idea what) and soon after headed out to Levon's. We got there a little later than we'd hoped to, and there was already a sizable line of people waiting to get in when we arrived. Our dreams of front-row seats were dashed. But I used the time to snap a couple of photos, since photography was not allowed inside (a completely noble and understandable policy, but a frustrating one nonetheless). As I got the camera out of the car, the heavily lactating, recent mother of nine Lucy Helm stared at me, practically begging for a picture. I obliged.




Once we got in, we immediately scurried around for the best available vantage point. After some hemming and hawing, I found what looked to be a good spot on the top floor, right above all the action (and directly on top of Terry Adams, which was extra cool). The group scattered a bit but all stayed in the general area, and we all had pretty good views (I think the second level may be where it's at for these things, unless you get there early enough for the first few rows, or you're Congressman Maurice Hinchey, who got to sit right next to Levon).

Before the music started, Barbara O'Brien (Levon's manager) brought out one of the nine puppies born on the 4th of July to Muddy and Lucy Helm and said that six were available—free—to go to a good home at the end of the night. I would be lying if I said there wasn't a good ten-second period when I thought to myself, "Sure, I can't have a dog in my apartment, but what if I moved?" Then I realized I was willing to uproot my life to have one of Levon Helm's dog's puppies and sensed that that would be crossing a dangerous line. So I knocked that thought out of my head. But I am pleased to say that the local member of our party drove out of the Levon Helm Studios parking lot with a bowl of dog food on the passenger seat and a new puppy on his lap. My jealousy has almost entirely faded away.

Oh yeah. The music. Terry Adams is one of those musicians whom I could watch all day and not get bored. Unfortunately, I only got to watch him for about 45 minutes at Levon's, but that was cool enough. His band (Scott Ligon on guitar, Pete Donnelly on bass, and Conrad Choucroun on drums) was spot on and did a fine job of following a leader who often looks like even he doesn't know where he's going. It's not quite an NRBQ show, but it's damn sure good sounding enough. The only downer was it looked like Adams's clavinet took a powder early in the set, so he stuck mainly to the piano and DX7. And though Adams called John Sebastian to the stage, he never quite made it, though he did pop up during Levon's set, joining with Adams on what may be my favorite version of "Deep Ellum Blues" ever and Woody Guthrie's "I Aint Got No Home."

It's hard to describe how incredible it was to see Levon Helm play for almost three hours inside his barn, but I'll start by saying that I came awfully close to crying during "Ophelia" I was so happy. As I stood there looking over top of the horn section, I remembered wearing out my "Last Waltz" cassette (purchased at the Staten Island Nobody Beats the Wiz on Marsh Road) listening to that song, and now here I was in the drummer's barn, where, if I just looked to my right, that drummer—who came awfully close to dying—was snapping that wrist and smacking those drums just like old times. I don't really need a picture of that, because I doubt I'll ever forget how I felt right then.

There were tons of other highlights--naturally, "Rag Mama Rag," "The Weight," "Chest Fever," and "The Shape I'm In"; Teresa Williams's version of "Long Black Veil"; Little Sammy Davis's "Fannie Mae"; and Brian Mitchell and the horn section's romp through "All On a Mardi Gras Day," to name a few--but the whole night was just about as perfect a musical experience as you could get. It was a room full of people who all wanted to be there, who weren't there just because they had nothing else to do on a Saturday night. There was an almost palpable sense of love and respect flowing throughout the room all night and a communal feeling of happiness—both from the musicians and the crowd—that washed over the barn. It was something.

Of course, there's one in every crowd, and this one had a woman who had maybe been a little overserved before arriving at the barn (alcohol is not allowed inside, though I think some violated that rule) and occasionally felt compelled to shout out after a song's conclusion. Her loudest declaration, delivered after a particularly powerful performance from Levon and crew, sounded to me like "I don't know whether to floss or shit my pants," which, in retrospect, was probably the only slightly more logical "I don't know whether to applaud or shit my pants." But I choose to go with what I heard initially. In fact, I may make it my new catchphrase. In any case, Levon took it all in stride, saying "Be careful" with the grin and chuckle that seems to accompany him wherever he goes now.

There were a lot of other grins and chuckles as "The Weight" came to an end and the crowd headed back out into the starry Woodstock night. One of the Helmland Security guards said I looked like I was in shock when I left. I don't doubt it.

Sometimes it's shocking just how good life can be.

8.18.2008

Special Edition: What I Liked About My Vacation


*Cornhole
*The home fries at Piggy's, Lake Harmony, PA
*Inaccurate weather forecasts
*Three-inning wiffle ball games
*Walking to the general store, listening to my Stiletto



*Deer in the front yard
*Reading The Chris Farley Show
*Jim Thorpe, PA
*Making a six-month-old kid laugh
*Eating around a big table at dinner time


*The Midnight Ramble at Levon Helm Studios, Woodstock, NY
*Finding Big Pink
*Bob Dylan singing "Desolation Row"
*Seeing Steve Earle sing a verse of "The Weight"
*The willingness of people with cars to take me places, let me play with their kids, and be my friends

8.08.2008

Gone something-ing

Tinsel and Rot will be on vacation for the next ten days or so. Please don't miss us too much.

8.06.2008

In the books

Tuesday night was a sad night, as I made what, barring any last-minute runs, will be my last visit to the Strand Annex on Fulton St. in NYC. It always hurts just a little to see a bookstore close, particularly an independent one (though it should be noted that the Strand proper will not be closing...if it did, believe me when I tell you that I would not be able to hold it together long enough to write a blog post about its demise).

The annex has been in a steady decline in recent years, starting with the decision several years back to get rid of their new reviewers' copies section. While it wasn't nearly as comprehensive as the same section in the main store, there were many times when I found a copy of a book at the annex that I couldn't grab at the flagship. Plus, the annex was just a short walk from the Staten Island Ferry, so it was a convenient place to hit on the way home back in my salad days in Staten Island.

I'm not quite nerdy enough to be able to look at my bookshelves and tell you the books that I bought at the annex (though I can do that with a fair part of my CD collection), but I'm sure I picked up some Kinky Friedman books there, along with various other paperbacks (the annex actually usually had a better selection of new paperbacks than the main store's) and even a few CDs (which the main store only started carrying recently). Two of the finds I can definitely pinpoint as coming from the annex were the first-season media guides for the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Minnesota Wild, which I like to think will be worth something someday, provided either one of those franchises eventually does something memorable.

Anyway, like I said, I hate to see an independent book store go under (from what I understand, the annex lost its lease). On the positive side, though, when said independent bookstore does bite the dust, there is the inevitable "everything must go" sale. And I am pleased to say that I was able to pick up ten books that I am reasonably confident I will read in the near future (the least likely candidate being The Autobiography of Lincoln Steffens, which is over 700 pages but seemed like a steal for $5) for just over $40. It was a fine last trip. I'll miss the annex, as much as one can miss a place of commerce.



I hope the other independent bookstores can hang on through these tough economic times and in the Age of Kindle (Richard Cohen says as much here). I guess you can browse thousands of books online, but there's nothing quite like the feel of a book and the feel of a giant bookstore that teases you with all those stories you've never read. Almost every time I was in the annex, I left with a book I didn't intend to buy going in. And that's a damn beautiful thing. The city--and the world at large--can't afford to lose such beauty.

Goodbye, old friend. Thanks for the books.

The Strand Annex will remain open until August 15. All books are currently 50% off (of the prices that are already generally 50% off). Plenty of books left.

8.05.2008

Vote or Die II: This Time Diddy Means It*

I'm pretty sure that everyone reading this blog has already had the pleasure of receiving several e-mails from me regarding the importance of voting for the rocktastic Maybe Pete in their quest to win a slot at the Union County Music Fest in September. But in case you haven't, hey, you should vote for Maybe Pete in their quest to win a slot at the Union County Music Fest in September! You should do so not because they are the best of the five bands (though they are). You should do so not because you believe in the power of Maybe Pete (though you ought to). Nay, you should do so because, as Wilford Brimley says^, it's the right thing to do, and the tasty way to do it. Do not argue with Wilford Brimley. You don't need that kind of trouble.

Anyway, you can vote once every 24 hours until August 15. Do not be dismayed by seemingly insurmountable voting margins. Anything is possiblllllllllllllllllllle!

And if Maybe Pete wins, I will get you in free to the Union County Music Fest.#

Vote here.

*Diddy probably won't kill you if you don't vote, but why take the chance?
^Wilford Brimley might have said this about a subject other than voting for Maybe Pete; I do not have time to research this.
#The festival's actually already free! I fooled you! Unless you're reading this, in which case my elaborate ruse has been exposed.

8.04.2008

Odd Things People Say, Vol. 1

As a somewhat frequent Greyhound passenger, the story of the man being carved up and beheaded gave me pause. And the more I read about it, the more engrossed (emphasis on the gross) I become.

While heinous crimes of this sort tend to freak me out a bit (I would like to think most people have a similar reaction...particularly those who don't bring a giant hunting knife on a bus), they also always feature one of my least favorite post-death phrases. This story is no exception:

"He was a great person, he was kind, thoughtful, and he did not deserve this...."

Now, I know this person means well and is probably horrified to think that someone she knew met such a grisly end. But, if you think about it, do you really know anybody who deserves to be carved up and decapitated on a bus in their final hours on earth? I know of some bad people who maybe deserve a few hard punches in the face, but no one really deserving of dismemberment. Granted, it would be refreshing to read a newspaper article in which a neighbor, friend, or family member punctuates the loss of a life by saying, "Charlie was an absolute creep and really earned this one. We all hoped and expected he would one day die in an unfathomably heinous way, but to hear that his flesh was ripped apart by a pack of rabid dogs and then his barely-there remains thrown in a wood chipper--well, it's quite a relief." But since I don't see that happening, maybe it's time we retired "he/she didn't deserve this."

I'm just saying.

ADDENDUM: I was starting to feel bad after having this thought after reading such an unbelievably tragic and disturbing story. And then I read some of the comments on the initial story and instantly felt better. To wit:

"Canadians are constantly showing how beastality affects them!!"

"Am taking wagers that the attacker is one of those towelhead, desert flea sandn***** terrorists."

"Guess that['s what] people who play with head phones get."

"If the guy wanted head that badly, I'm sure there were women at the rest stop who could have helped him out."


Now I feel better. And worse. All at once. Thank you, Internet!

8.01.2008

What I Liked About July


*Jason Ringenberg/Maybe Pete, The Saint, Asbury Park, NJ
*The Iaffaldano/Petty nuptials, Newark, NJ
*Meeting Kyle Okposo
*Super Mega Show, Crowne Plaza, Fairfield, NJ



*Fourth of July, Asbury Park (Linskey)
*Avett Brothers, Stuyvesant High School, NYC/Stone Pony, Asbury Park, NJ
*The Marcello/Nigro nuptials, Staten Island, NY/Belleville, NJ
*The birth of Aaron James Blau


*Polka Freak Out, Barb├ęs, Brooklyn, NY
*Corey Feldman sings!
*Seeing Smokey Robinson sing "Tracks of My Tears," Asser Levy/Seaside Park, Brooklyn, NY
*The willingness of people with cars to drive me places