One buck—and you’ve got breakfast. Two if you’re really hungry. Not much taste to the yogurt (could it actually be plain?!), but it’s crammed full of decent bite sized strawberries and blueberries. Plus there’s a little pod of granola held in the top by cardboard that crunches it all up, if you’re into that kind of thing. Healthy McDonalds is a big NO! Except for this desert/breakfast treat that may be as good for you as it is tasty. Who knew? Well, now you!
Retires the term wild-eyed hillbilly boy with the blues. Writes with a razor and scrapes the excess off with barbed wire. No one is more unflinching in their examination of the human condition than the former mine inspector who lives outside Slaughters, Kentucky. With guitar sounds buzzing from the glow of tube amps, a voice that’s solid like a 2x4 and weathered like a red barn two seasons past needing a paintjob, Chris Knight sounds like he writes. Leaning on those who won’t quit (“Banging Away”) including himself as possessed, if jilted lover, star-crossed trash on a Mexican stick-up (“Border Town”) kamikaze mission, displaced shaorecroppers crushed under empty promises (“Broken Plow”) who’s new life is no better and the post-murder Christmas polaroid (“Carla Came Home”) that captures the mere moments after domestic violence goes Daddy’s revenge, there’s compassion and unblinking how-it-is. It’s a lot of brutality in one place, a lot of hard breaks and harder realizations—brilliantly written, hollowed out and left for the sun to bleach the bones of what is from what was.
Machine gun cadences as one hipster fires images, tastes, sensations of sexual awakening, Beat culture and chasing the night in post-World War Two Greenwich Village. The writing seizes you. Brings you there. Sits you down. Puts you in the fire of the moment. There’s no turning back or away, just slamming into one of the most overtly hip times of utter American culture. The book-end perhaps to Kerouac’s On The Road, this one commits to one place and recounts the Village’s emergence as the epicenter of the hip—but told from the perspective of one who’s there in the midst of it, experiencing his life and reflecting the larger truth in its telling.
Just outside Chattanooga, there’s a mountaintop tourist trap that’ll let you see 7 states at once. There are old timey roadside attractions. There’s the beauty of the Tennessee country. And more good clean old style fun than you can imagine. Over 60 years in existence, it’s a demi-generational tradition among some families—and it’s never too late to start your own.
Grab a couple girlfriends. Stack up some CDs—either stuff you’ve been meaning to get to or ones that take you back—and stock up the bottled water, evil junk food (and for those who do) plenty of cigarettes. Define a goal. Pick a destination. Then hit that accelerator hard. Leave it all behind, whether it’s work, marriage, kids or nothing so much as boredom. Laugh like when you were in high school and on the lam from school or that oppressive boyfriend. Do some serious big game hunting (Neiman Marcus, anyone?). Shoot out the lights (“Did someone say hotel bar?”). Torment the locals (“You mean the Varsity Drive-In stays open LATE?”). And laugh, and laugh, and laugh. Even when the book fair turns out to be just fair… revel in the fellowship, link arms and laugh about the meagerness of it all. For Grand Illusions are the best ones for skewering with a high heel…
Bruised daisies, cast in the colors of fall. Sad-eyed ladies of the lowlands, gently bending in the breeze. Nothing like fields of the more genteel, more demure and—okay—shorter sunflowers. Black-eyed susans always invoke calico dresses, dirt roads, an easy innocence and the final kiss of summer. You see them, you think of a season (hopefully) well lived and punctuated by the fullness of the blossom.
She has the voice of dry corn husks, rust stains on porcelain and that wide-awake snap of cinnamon hitting the tongue. And she writes with the knowing of a thousand sawdust angels, the kind who’ve seen it all from a perch of innocence and understanding—pulling just the right detail like a winning BINGO ball, causing the rush and thrill of being the winner with something so simple and plain. Guests Irish vocalist Maura O’Connell, slide swamp guitar man Keb Mo and liner notes by National Book Award winner Dorothy Allison tell you everything about the earthy quality of her writing by virtue of the company she keeps. Ripped images of smart women gas jockeys, cotton dresses that know faded glory and shame, an inheritance of a gen-u-wine leather handbag and what it meant or the need to deal with the deceased’s clothes, it’s the sounds of voices, the will to be more and the refusal to be defined by the marginalization the status quo would hand you so as to not jeopardize their own nonrecognition of their position. Seductive stuff.
Organic. Tart. Sweet. After what he did for salad dressing, popcorn and marinara sauce, no wonder he knows how to make lemonade tang in absolutely the most second most smile-inducing pucker. And as summer wanes, this’ll be a refreshing reminder in a glass.
Jack Black is the demon Puck—but with an even bigger heart of gold. One need only see his turn as the elitist rockgeekindierecordstoreclerk to understand in “High Fidelity.” But it’s his inside out meltdown of Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On You” in the same film to realize his pilot light burns the essence of rhythm & roll. So cast the anti-hero as an unlikely substitute teacher at a tony prep school trying to reconcile who and what he is with where he is—and you have what should be a B- film (a la Bing Crosby’s priestly feel good turns) turned uplifting comedic take on more tiers of concrete social realities, the need to fit in and the unassailable will to rock within us all. Even USA Today and Entertainment Weekly hocked up “A"s.
To the knee. Scrunched down around the ankles in utterly louche slouchiness. Stevie Nicks OR Emmylou Harris would be equally at home in these gypsy peasant moon goddess of the desert 4” stiletto heleers that taper up in almost spike heeled splendour. With ties that crisscross around the ankle and calf, there’s implied bondage and an almost nomadic suggestion of things beyond that which is spoken.
There you are at the bookstore. Or the dry cleaner. Or the health food grocery, trying to choke down your coffee and wake up. And there they are. Someone you adore. Never see. Never even think to call in the mad rush rush of your life, the tide carrying you along without even inhaling hardly. Know it’s a gift from the cosmos and enjoy it…
Nasty. Ugly. Jagged reverb. Swallowed, gargled, spewed out vocals. Heaven on two wheels through a tube amp. Revved up. Pushed hard. Put up wet. Slammed against a wall. Took down. Rage and lust and hormones looking for a dangerous place to explode—and the best place I can think of is your head. Vicious even when the grooves slow down to a turgid, oppressive weight of another taking their time upon you. Swamp punk on crank with an acid back and cowbell beating incessantly, like a racing heart looking for a place to jump on. Feel the urgency. Take the plunge. Get the rage, the thrust, the breathless sweep and abandon of what rock & roll used to be: bony fingers clawing at guitars, straining against sheer physical limitation, pressing beyond the truth to something feral. And with “Holy Roller Novocain,” indictment of the sanctified hypocrites who scar with a veneer of divine oblige.
Perhaps the richest concentration of shea butter in a hand crème. Clean-smelling. Quickly penetrating. Deeply moisturizing. As the climate changes, this is one of the best transitional fix-its for hands out there—and it’s easily found in their freestanding stores or website. www.loccitane.com
While pizza is a distinctly Italian proposition, this California Pizza Kitchen hybrid pie melds the essence of French country cooking into one of their most satisfying and seriously nuanced creations. With a roasted garlic paste on the crust instead of sauce, there’s a sweetness to that pungency of the soil that makes the roasted pieces of chicken seem that much more succulent. Add sweet onions, basic mozzarella and some Italian parsley—and it may not be chicken with 40 cloves of garlic, but it’s a pretty great pedestrian recasting.
You can’t even imagine. Cut a cow from a clump. Drop your reins. Let your horse do the work. We’re talking worldclass stopping, dropping and pivoting. Better than CYO basketball, as the horse’s muscles grow taut and ripple, playing the ultimate game of chicken with one of their bovine friends.
Nothing makes pork chops moister or golden crustier than an iron skillet. And if you want your vegetables cooked to within an inch of their life without being a mushy, this is the path to orgiastic vegetation. Cook anything in some butter with a bit of roughly chopped onion and prepare to start hyperventilating and banging the table.
If you hit the Village Voice’s website, you can get the word from Rob Breszny—a musician, writer AND astrologer. If this sounds like revenge from the valley of the model actress whatever, know no one swings a literary reference, cross-references cultural trends or events or parallels conventional wisdom with unconventional celestial realities quite like he does. Even more fascinating, though, is how accurate he is.
Cheap. Metal. Small. Deadly. Whether it’s about Botticelli Venus Rising mermaid waves or—just as our gym teachers used to harangue us—getting the hair out of our eyes, nothing works as well as a bobby pin. Push it in. Forget it’s there. Get on about your business, knowing all is as it should be.
Depending on how you got to this rodeo, I’m either the most fun girl or the most tortured—though truthfully (and like most of us) I’m often both at the same time. With a subtitle of “the agony of being connected to everything in the universe,” it sends up every truth and platitude we’re fed by taking the polemic as far out as it will go. Looking into daily readings titled “in pursuit of failure,” “compassionate hypocracy,”“the inner bigot,” “seeing things through to total catastrophe” and “deepening the crisis,” every self-help moment, mantra and affirmation is shown up—with irony and a laugh—for the hyperbole it is.
Ansel Adams portraits channeled through the words of John Steinbeck. Alfred Steiglitz capturing America in black and white or Andrew Wyeth’s paintings that are so alive, yet austere (Helga’s World comes to mind). Look back to know the human condition. Stand without judgement and take in all the small details on the faces of those who came before, the parents and the strangers whose lives you can read like tea leaves. Open your eyes. Breathe gently. Don’t move. Just look—and then sink deeper and deeper into the crevices, the folds of a shirt or the bended knee, the hand clasping a hip, the smile of a moment of arrival or just the fortitude of acceptance. Other people’s pictures (or your own if you’ll really look) have the power to take your breath away, tell you secrets about life without speaking a word and even give you the wisdom to find something deeper in the right now.
Gram Parsons channels Neil Young. Bruised lips and chipped paint with the rotting wood showing through. The exquisite wear and tear of hearts thrown to the wind, the shreds of moonlight clawing their way through the clouds on dark night and the haunting truths that want and desire can release one from reason and reasonable. That it’s the masterchild of noted rock portraitist Mark Seliger—a la Lynn Goldsmith’s intellectual dance muse-ic execution Will Powers—would suggest the notion of a rock & roll soul on a new kind of canvas. Honesty sometimes flows lower… and that which cuts a deeper valley lures kindred travelers (T-Bone Burnett, Wallflowers Jakob Dylan and Rami Jaffee, Willie Nelson, Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, Lenny Kravitz) for a meditation on the pain of living, the joy of loving, the vicious mockery of losing.