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All content copyright 2009 by Holly Gleason. Web design by Lauren Carelli.

June 2008

June 2008: Bo Didley, Zelda When She’s Happy, Hotel San Jose, Mudcrutch

Customized Corian Pens by Greg Martinez

Couture writing instruments… rendered in super hard Diamond wood or the ultra-sturdy synthetic Corian… Straight, curved, speckled, burled, plain clip, special signifier clip. You go to the site; you create the exact pen that you wish - and Martinez, something of a local institution in Albuquerque, will handcraft the exact pent you desire.

In a world where dashed off email and jotted off post-its have devalued thought-out, from the heart communication, a customized pen puts a renewed focus on the written communication that comes from your fingers. What you have you have to say, what comes from inside your soul takes on a different kind of resonance when it is executed with a beautiful open, a pen that lays perfectly in your hand, a pen that is crafted in harmony with various elements I our world - as well as something that is beautiful in a very natural way. With Father’s Day coming, a secret weapon worth noting.

www.thepenman.com

Vortex Tour Erykah Badu

It is a nu world order: neo-soul, cosmic reality, rhythm and blues, funk and enough paisley/patchouli chic to blast social awareness on the back of a taut little band, four wailing back-up singers - including Millie Jackson’s daughter and Badu’s own sister - and a vocal range that can go deep molasses and ethereal rafter scrape without strain. Badu is a new wave Nubian Goddess in a close-cut stewardess A-line dress and a self-possession that’ll catch your breath, talking all kinds of hippie modern love, Angela Davis stand-down and the hope of what can be.

New Amerykah, Pt 1: 4th World War provides the socially conscious “Soldier” that’s as much about the war in the streets here at home — drugs, gangs, fatherless children and a minimum wage that isn’t — as it is about the young people sent abroad for values they may not understand, and “Honey” takes want and pours it all over a slow groove like icing. Not to fear Mama’s Gun, Baduizm and Worldwide Underground are all represented as Badu takes Marvin Gaye’s consciousness, Nina Simone’s clarity, Miles Davis’ chill and even a hint of Joni Mitchell’s most feminine to cast a spell of what could be if we just engage rather than coast. Transfixative.

Momocho 1835 Fulton Rd, Cleveland, Ohio

Progressive Mexican in an almost nontraditional way. Highest quality ingredients and endless variations on themes makes the intimate 2 floor Momocho a dizzying proposition before the myriad margaritas - ranging from the specialty cucumber/chili, hibiscus, pomegranite, mango, cactus flower, blood orange. Start with the freshest avocado guacamole: what do you want added? Goat cheese? Crab meat? Garlic confit and bleu cheese? Maybe pineapple and jicama w chile verde and fresh mint? Can’t decide? Get a sampler trio.

And so it is. Roll your own tacos are varietal as well: 16 spice chicken, garlic grilled shrimp, duck confit, negro modelo braised goat, seared tuna, fingerling potatos or coffee and ancho braised brisket each with its own complimentary condiments and sauce. The spinach with raisins and pumpkin seeds is addictive, the sofrito green beans pungent and the corn on the cob with chili lime butter criminal. Yes, they have plated entrees and mad sick desserts. Almost worth the pilgrimage to Cleveland for dinner alone…

www.momcho.com

Yves Saint Laurent RIP

He was the man of social exhilaration through fashion, a revolutionary whose weapons were the luxe “le smoking,” opulent gypsy skirts cascading down to calf-hugging knee high boots, Russian coats, African dashiki gowns and the most sumptuous little black dresses and velvet suits known to man. Saint Laurent created women as earthy, yet ethereal, bohemian, yet epitomocally chic.

It was grace and elegance, for sure. But it was also breaking down the basic June Cleaver model for a worldly woman of self-possession, strength and a global perspective. As a totemic, there’s the unstated YSL default cue: What Would Catherine Deneuve Do? For that mix of construction, extravagance and minimalism yielded clothes that empowered, were sexy without pandering and smart without being frigid. An icon, a master, a reason to reach for couture… even if it was recast at whatever pricepoint made sense.

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/6/1/193440/1992/909/526932

Peonies

A fistful of petals on evergreen stalks with leaves that reach up like hands with fingers. Almost weightless — in spite of the density of their blooms — the peony is an old-fashioned flower that is innocence and promises of knowing more than they let on. Lush and full, the pale pink the color an opal might be if it fell into that realm of flora, peonies are the embodiment of how succulent and lush flowers can be. If fireworks were unfurled slowly and had physical manifest, if tranquility was velvety yet weightless, if those tight fistfuls of petals were the abundance of beauty, that would be a peony defined.

Palmetto Candy   Tobacco 1225 Lincoln Street, Columbia, SC

Established in 1913 as a candy store and factory, Palmetto Candy has its original wood floors, cash registers that can’t ring over $5 and every kind of vendable candy imaginable. With a pair of old school wooden Indians outside the slightly sticking front door, a definite fetid nature to the air inside and a comptroller for the folks who supply the bars with their hard-boiled eggs and myriad flavor pork rind in a mind defying outlay, this is a general store approach to candy and junk food that takes you back.

It is an honest place, somewhere to not just ground you in how trade was once conducted, but a challenge to the values we embrace as we live. This is not just profit and calculation, this is a business built on love and investment in a community and the joy of the people living there… returns beyond the bottomline. Something to consider as one buys bubblegum cigars, Necco wafers and 5 flavor Sky Bars in their waxy old school wrappers.

Original Sin in the Bottle

An almost hard cider… ergo the reference to the fruit that caused the fall from grace… this is light, not too foamy, easy to drink. Not quite the wicked potion that’ll have you on your knees after three quick gulps, but then isn’t the road to hell, the thing you hardly notice going down? Giddy yummy yeah.

http://www.origsin.com

“Recount” HBO

Take away the genius, ne channeling performances by Kevin Spacey, Laura Dern, John Hurt, Ed Begley, Jr, Dennis Leary and Tom Wilkinson, it really happened. Just like they showed it. The democratic process stonewalled, firewalled, blockaded then justified through loopholes and fancy spinning… and in all the subterfuge and unseen moments, our due process changed. What we don’t see, what we must fight for is greater than most people realize; “Recount” is ample demonstration.

HBO has established a benchmark for these types of series and films. Based on real life, striving for greater understanding of the dynamics of our culture, “Recount” illuminates just how tricky blind justice for all can be… whether it’s varying vote methodologies, counting allowances, rejected voters and moral superiority than isn’t really. With an election looming before us, this is a film to watch, consider and keep in mind.

Cowbell on a Deer Hitch

It wasn’t a dualie, but it had all the other earmarks of a working rig. But what made this hardcore pick-up truck really stand out was the cowbell dangling off the bumper right where the hitch was located. Bright and shiny, a silvery talisman that proclaimed bovine and Blue Oyster Cult as it swung and bounced according to the road in front of us.

But belling the truck wasn’t the mere all of it. No, no, the hitch itself was a stag’s neck and head… something very trophy-centric to let people know this owner means business. A man’s man’s ride; a bit of personal expression that spoke volumes and turned heads at somewhere around 34 miles per hour.

“We Can’t Make It Here” James McMurtry

With a voice as flat as Oklahoma, James McMurtry doesn’t wince when he looks into the sun - and he also has no compunction scraping the brokered worldview clean and showing an America the middle’n’underclasses really - and can barely — live in. Offered as a free download, it offered the plain spoken, hard truth Texas a platform to reach politicos, socialistas, folkies, Americanas and anyone intrigued by the grand American tradition of Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan and even Steve Earle.

This is the truth served raw… and cold. A brash take-it-as-it-is wake-up call that challenges the haves to make it work with how it lays, to recognize that young girls’ magazine dreams dead-end with pregnancy into a whirlpool of financial impossibility, often numbed by drugs and denial. And so it goes… Listen. It could change the way you see the world, and certainly the lyrics and verbal acuity, as well as terse guitar part, deserve your attention.

Enamel & Stainless Steel Dog Tags www.reddingo.com

Pick your icon… fire hydrant, flower, bone, heart, doghouse, paw… and your color…black, yellow, purple, pink, green, red, orange, dark or light blue… and customize a tag that defines your pet. They come in small, medium and large — and there’s room for a name, address and phone number or two phone numbers. But most importantly, they establish how singular your dog — or cat — truly is,

They also do more traditional stamped brass, stainless and plastic tags. Pick what you want, Enter your information. Give it 10 days to two weeks. Zelda gives it to two paws up.

Red Bliss Bloody Mary Crinkles, Terra Chips

Addictive. Snappy, Tangy. Crunchy. Vinegar. Onion.Tomato. Garlic. Tabasco. Worcestershire. Celery and Sea Salt. Olive oil for frying those red bliss potatoes. Everything but the vodka… and it’s almost unnecessary, as you serve these crispy bursts of snacky goodness with sandwiches, soups or crumbled on top of a very fresh garden salad. Bringing a grown-up twists to every kids favorite, Terra creates a whole new cocktail dimension.

http://www.terrachips.com

Playboy’s Silverstein Around The World

Shel Silverstein was a spirit in the world, a man who saw much with wonder and captured those truths in children’s books (The Giving Tree, A Light In The Attic, Where The Sidewalk Ends), country songs (“Boy Named Sue,” “Sylvia’s Mother,” “Ten at Two,” “The Cover of the Rolling Stone”) and whimsical cartoons, mostly famously for groundbreaking men’s magazine Playboy. Though humor was his flex, Silverstein had a journalist’s eye for detail - and this book captures a gypsy taking in a world on the verge of modernization, impressions of how people loved, what made their realms unique beginning in 1957.

What inspires is the way the sketches hold up, the insight remains. Much has happened in the ensuing half century, and yet, Playboy’s Silverstein Around the World offers a perspective for considering the realm around us, a whole other way to consider the places beyond our own that embraces Silverstein’s own inclusive joie d’experience. A most renewing, brilliant way to get lost for an afternoon…

Long Floral Print Skirt The Gap

Indian batik evoking, four tiers tumbling to the floor in a lavender-toned tangle of floral prints. This is a pull on, instant romance and patchouli special that can be civilized with a little cardigan or let romp in its full gypsy glory with an armful of bangles and something off the shoulder. Ankle grazing length suggests mystery and modesty, tie waste means grace after that weekend barbeque and all cotton machine washability is practicality defined.

Indeed, with a white tshirt and a pair of flip flops, this is a summer uniform that offer bohemian refuge among the carpoolers, apple polishers and other cookie cutter types. But it can be dressed up to suit the occasion, offering a sweat pants sense of ease with a maximum of style - making it a convertible of a whole other level.

Accepting It Can’t Be Fixed

It is tragic… and if you are a “fixer” by nature, someone who wants everything and everyone to be “okay,” this is a tricky thing. But there is freedom in recognizing that some things are far too far gone, rather than weaving tighter, more complicated patterns of denial. How you feel about the person, the thing, the situation doesn’t change… You love them or it very much, but you realize this isn’t the sort of thing that can be resolved.

So you exhale and let go. Turn it over. Quit hovering — and annoying everyone involved. Sometimes even the most facile amongst us have to know we just can’t fix it. In that acceptance, things are freer, lighter, more able to find their natural place. It is not always easy, but it is almost always the answer.

Free Scoop Night @ Ben & Jerry’s

It’s not so much that the ice cream is the best ever (but it is yummy), more that it brings the world in for instant smiles. What could be happier than a room full of people enjoying a free scoop of some favorite flavor? Instant rapture no matter the age, the reason, the proclivity. All you have to do is check with your local Ben & Jerrys to find out when their’s is.

www.Ben&Jerry’s.com

Bo Didley RIP

He was the bomp — and the beat — that made rock & roll. So simple, it was impossible, no inescapable; you couldn’t help yourself. Mined from the West African tribal rhythms of communication, Bo Didley knew how to make music that struck the most primal places, to pour some kinda full-tilt unadulterated mojo all over whatever lines, licks and chords struck his fancy.

It was lean, It was mean. It was no mess, straight to the bone. “Who Do You Love,” “I’m A Man,” “Bo Didley” from his own catalogue… but it spawned and impacted the Stones, George Thorogood, the Georgia Satelites, the Who, the Clash, Bonnie Raitt, Buddy Holly and even George Michael, whose “Faith” was perhaps the strangest recasting of the gritty shufflecentric pay-me-heed beat.

Bo Didley was the real. He lived to play, hit the road up to last year. A mere 79 years young when he made his way to the next realm, he proved that investing your life in song can keep you moving, keep you vital, keep you being the things you wish to be.

Teen Vogue

It’s hip without being unattainable. Young without being stupid - or overly juvenile. Sophisticated in the way youth is, eschewing pomp and posing for something slightly more easy. Profiling the future, this is a magazine for people not quite ready to come into their own, but more than aware of their world. Once you get past the prom stuff — it is that target demo after all — you get genius profiles of Oscar nominee Ellen Page, brilliant pictures of Scarlett Johanssen, thoughtful pieces on the state of the world the future generations are getting stuck with. As an escape, a reality check, smart girl lit, this is required reading.

www.teenvogue.com

“Plunge Boldly into the Beyond, then be free wherever you are.” n Shoitsu

Once you make the leap, let go of the side, give it over to gravity, you are free. Throw yourself into the possibilities and see where it takes you. There is freedom in that: eschewing everything but momentum, one must only be themselves, weightless, perfect in their uniqueness, absolute in the momnent. Think on this and watch the world open…

Penny for Your Tulips

One tiny copper penny. Drop it in the water. Don’t even think about it. But while you’re not thinking about it, your tulips will maintain their stem strength… stand straight and proud. If you believe there’s nothing sadder than a flaccid tulip, something far limper than your Uncle’s Viagra punchlines, this is your solution. Just one. Dropped in the water. Unobstrusively providing the stealth trussing for the heavy headed blooms on the most arcing stems there are.

Bonnaroo Manchester, TN June 12-15

It happened without fan fair… tying up traffic and making the truckers insane with not knowing… that was 2002. Since then, it’s become the gathering of the tribes: jam bands, punk, bluegrass, jazz, black music, metal, everything in between. With Pearl Jam and Metallica, Jack Johnson, Kanye West and Widespread Panic, this is a tent designed to be inclusive and broad-based.

If not the seismic shift that was Woodstock, this is a generation coming together to erase the lines between genres, labels, core groups, avarice and definitions. What do you like? Its here: Phil Lesh, a coterie of DJs, My Morning Jackey, the Raconteurs, Tegan & Sara, BB King, O.A.R., Talib Kweli, Iron & Wine, Willie Nelson, Sigur Ross, Drive-By Truckers, Stephen Marley, Death Cab for Cutie, Robert Randolph, Bela Fleck, Robert Plant & Allison Krauss, Levon Helm + his Ramble on the Road, Jakob Dylan, Pat Green, Vampire Weekend… You get the idea. It’s all here, all you have to do is show up (and not be wedded to the notion of creature comforts for a few back-to-basics days).

www.bonnaroo.com

Lost Weekend Drews Brews, Nashville, TN

It is a dark roast with just a hint of acid. Something full bodied, rich, the essence of what we think coffee ought to be. Maybe it’s the fact that it’s very traditionally roasted. Perhaps it’s keeping the acidity low, so the earthiness is what rules. In a world growing accustomed to jolting to java experiences, this is smoother, deeper, somehow more engaging… and fans of local roasts can embrace Nashville’s latest contender as a subtler option worth waking up to.

http://www.drewsbrewscoffee.com

Vintage Key Necklaces Posh Sauce, Haley, Idaho

A little rough, a bit romantic, these are keys to whatever your imagination dreams. Strung on silver pop beads - the kind that have been key chain worthy forever — it is accessible jewelry that is neither fussy nor frilly, yet evokes a bit of possibility. To wear one around your neck is to declare yourself in quest of a secret garden, a magic door or perhaps seeking the one who deserves the key to your heart; and the best part is that only you shall know just why you wear a key around your neck.

Vanilla Chai Truffles, Starbucks

Creamy milk chocolate truffles that melt into a puddle in your mouth. They are infused not just with vanilla in its most full-bodied mellowness, but the complex spices that make chai tea such a pungently satisfying drink permeate the confection in a way that makes this treat more than chocolate, more than richness, more than the truffle extravagance we’ve come to expect. They come — wrapped in gold paper — in small boxes, making multiple piece portions not just an option, but a given. Buy at your own risk.

www.starbucks.com/

To Live Is To Fly: The Ballad of the Late, Great Townes Van Zandt John Kruth

Townes Van Zandt, the tortured soul singer/songwriter whose songs were spare beauty set to wing, led a life that defied any sense or way of being. Yet his art was so pronounced, anyone who heard him came away almost speechless. Steve Earle, who practically ran away from home to become his acolyte, proclaimed, “TVZ is the best songwriter in the world, and I’ll stand on Bob Dylan’s coffee table in my cowboy boots and say that” without flinching.

Rough patches, alcoholic plunges, psychological breaks and a childlike love - all these things are captured in journalist Kruth’s detail-driven biography of the Lone Star hand that gave the world Emmylou Harris and Don Williams’ “If I Needed You,” Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson’s “Pancho & Lefty” and Guy Clark’s loving rendition of “To Live Is To Fly,” as well as such jewels as “Mr. Mud & Mr. Gold,” “Loretta,” “Lungs,” “Waitin’ Around To Die,” “Highway Kind” and “For the Sake of the Song.” To understand the where and how of a writer who knew only grace and lived a life that swung from trust fund to street squalid, this is the book to embrace.

http://www.johnkruth.com
http://www.townesvanzandt.com
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xTGKzWDakK8
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bZAOeeOdrs8&feature=related

Hotel San Jose, So. Congress, Austin, TX

Minimal in an almost Buddhist way. Channeling the spirit of “the live music capitol of the world” with posters and pictures from the city’s great bands and shows. A variety of flora — from cactus to bushes, flowers and trees — that makes the concrete and stone structure seem somehow more alive in the coldness, an oasis in scorching hot Tejas.

The Hotel San Jose is a hipster hang, with a Zen swimming pool, an open area in the center where the beautiful people sip post-modern cocktails and nibble progressive soul fare and a lofi energy that kicks you back even as it makes you feel far more beautiful than you probably are. Across the street from the legendary Continental Club, next door to Jo’s — an impossibly wonderful organic-leaning coffee shop in the truest sense — and on a shopping track that will make the most forward leaning quiver, whether they’re haute Western, pretty girl, rocker chic or some combination of the above.

http://www.sanjosehotel.com/

The back of the closet

Those things you can not part with. The ones too special to just wear. They do not get their day, and they are waiting. Why not go to the back of the closet when you want something special? something new? something surprising? Save time, save money, save altering, save the aggravation of battling the look of the moment for something that truly suits you… the back of the closet is the answer to too many fashion conundrums, and an answer rarely sought because it’s just too easy. Liberate yourself, look impressive!

Hibiscus Mint Iced Tea

There is the dry tang of hibiscus, slightly herby, yet engaging to the palette. There is the cool freshness of mint. When you mingle the two with water and time, you get a complex iced tea that stands out on a hot summer day. If you brew, you can add a little honey and lemon before the cool down; though sun tea without sweetener is every bit as drinkable and refreshing.

Geek Squad VW Beetles

Black and white like ’60s police cars, there is something so secret agent geek to the official company car of the Geek Squad. You see one in traffic and you some poor cyber-gridlocked soul is soon to be set free. Whatever the problem, help is — officially — on the way!

There but for the grace of God is the answer to my problem. That is can come with a back of irony or self-effacing humor makes the pill of humanity in the face of machinery just a small bit easier to swallow. See it. Spot it. Smile.

“Soundstage”

The ’70s classic rock concert show… one that was streamlined and about the players… has returned to PBS. Shot in the very same Chicago studio, where it made its name originally, “Soundstage” blurs the lines between genres, embracing Tori Amos, Tom Petty, Macy Gray, Dashboard Confessional, John Fogerty, Lyle Lovett/Randy Newman/Mark Isham, Lucinda Williams, 50 Odd Foot of Grunts & Kris Kristofferson, Sheryl Crow, John Mayer with Buddy Guy, Dave Matthews, Rickie Lee Jones, Robert Plant and the Strange Sensation, Shelby Lynne and well, you get the idea.

Definition eclecticism. Destination PBS. Check your local listings.

www.pbs.org/soundstage

Skin Food Weleda

It doesn’t seem that thick when you squeeze it out of the tube, yet the slightly citrus, lightly camphor cream has more substance when you go to rub it in than anything this side of Kiehl’s Crème du Corps. It is the dissolver of dry patches: instantly absorbed, completely softening the skin, quenching the parched dermis and leaving you somehow more velvety. As a spot treatment — or the occasional all over treat — Skin Food is a miracle in a tube. And with its French declaration if “Crème nutritive pour le peau,” there is something exotic about this health food store staple. Mon dieu!

http://www.weleda.com

Attack & Release the Black Keys

Produced by Modest Mouse, this is lofi rock and roll from the middle of America. Quietly, the Black Keys have amassed a ton of indie cred and figured out how to make electric guitar and drums work for them in a laidlow, slow boil approach that eschews the White Stripes freneticism for plenty of room around the slashes and spirals. Evoking Neil Young at his spookiest… Led Zeppelin at their most minimal, but insistent… the darkest piece of Lou Reed’s rock & roll heart.

“Strange Times” whirls and lures you in, then bull whips a guitar line around you and makes you want it. Slightly murky, definitely moving towards you, it is the kind of song that looks back, but is future present. Music to sink into, float around on, let yourself drift through. A whole other kind of rock & roll, smart without being wonky, wonderful with room to breathe.

http://www.theblackkeys.com
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mBPGm4Fbo0Q&feature=related

Super Cranberry, Cherry & Almond Dorset Cereals

It is granola, only grainy. Nothing to make nuggets, but rather flakes of oat, sunflower seeds, spelt, bran and lots of golden flame raisins form a base for the chubby cranberries, moist cherries and pieces of almonds. For people used to the sweet commercial chunks of granola, the loose leaf approach may be confusing — and certainly miles from the cloying nature of conventional grain. But that is both the beauty of it, and the best part: a breakfast cereal that is just cereal and nuts and fruit. Something that’s just what we deserve, plain basic what they say is what you get good morning.

Polo Shirts LL Bean

Perhaps the most utilitarian version of the summer staple. Myriad colors — ranging from preppy vibrant pastels to country club neutrals and nautical blues, these are virtually indestructible, incredibly economical and capable of going under a blazer for casual business, over khakis for a Saturday afternoon or with shorts for golf or tennis.

In a world where value is something too often ignored in the quest for the latest thing, LL Bean’s basic polos transcend all of that. Not only do they provide good lines and the perfect pairing for wherever you’re headed, but they last and last and last. All for a third of what that nice little gator goes for and even less than the polo player.

www.llbean.com

Un Jardin Apres la Mousson Hermes

A garden after the monsoon: slightly wet, definitely green, muted scents finding warmth and expanding. A subtler nose than Hermes’ other Jardin fragrances, and yet the full almost melon note — tempered by water — is given complexity by a marriage of Indian spices ranging from ginger and coriander, cardammon, vetiver, pepper, even ginger flower. Rather than overpowering, this mélange dries down to something not quite powdery, but somehow sweet, almost floral, lightly warm river rocks.

For someone who wants nature’s various aspects, but not too much scent, this is a perfume for you. Very alive, ultimately subtle, absolutely turned with an eye to the options and a strong sense of taste — albeit a taste for the fragrance of youth.

www.hermes.com

Dropping & Rolling

Whatever life throws you, surf it. Drop and roll. Let it happen. Go with the momentum. Be amazed where it takes you. When you find the arc of the wave, you can sail with no effort… Just let go, and the moments swing open to you. You can’t always know what life has in store, what might suddenly present itself, you can only resist being so scheduled, so rigid that you miss what truly matters.

Dropping and rolling is its own art form. It requires faith, suppleness, a sense of humor and a will to savor the miracles that come minute by minute of you stay open. It is a taco stand you almost missed, a smile that wouldn’t have been there, a band you shouldn’t know, a reason to believe in the kindness of strangers or people you’d’ve given up on. Listen to your heart, go with what seems crazy, live out loud.

Chestnut Spread, Bonne Maman

Thick and sweet, slightly gooey. Imagine a richer, smoother, thicker honey. But this is nutty and earthy — stands up to grainy bread in a way that makes it a sweet savory. Perfect with tea. Lovely with coffee. Pretty incredible with fresh juice — or just by itself as quick pick-me-up on a long afternoon. Slightly decadent, absolutely unlikely, impossibly luxurious: a snack of much yummier color. And on apples? Don’t even talk about it!

http://www.bonne-maman.com

“Where there is great love, there are always miracles.”

So it is. The more we live in love, sow love, embrace love, cast love, create love, the more the unthinkable finds room to take root. When there’s an environment of unfettered positivity, support, hope and beauty, there is the possibility of anything can… and that’s usually when it does.

Mudcrutch

In that mythic notion of “getting’ the band back together, man…,” Mudcrutch emerges from the redneck jukejoints of ’70s north Florida with an oddly vital country-funk that expands Gram Parsons “Cosmic American Music” oeuvre with a gate-slamming-in-the-wind backbeat that is the innocence and exuberance of the second wave of California rock. Chiming, sheening, keening, this is the Byrds on the Sunset Strip - including a cover homage of Roger McGuinn’s “Lover of the Bayou” — and vintage roots/bluegrass standards “Shady Grove,” as well as cold-beer’n’sweat-stained amphetamine-fueled redneck/blue collar truckercore “6 Days On The Road” that ignite local tavern kineticism with aplomb.

Of course, that “the band” being reunited is Tom Petty’s precursor to the Heartbreakers… that it merges searing guitarist Mike Campbell and B-3/piano conjurer of mood and emnbroiderer of moments Benmont Tench with civilians Randall Marsh and Tom — brother of original Eagle Bernie — Leadon for a running down the dream thrill in the curve of creation… that it was 10 days of spontaneous combustion on the way to final recordings… that it includes some of Petty’s finest songs of recent release including the aching “Wrong Thing To Do,” jammy “Crystal River” and brittle, but insistent “Scare Easy” and the Stones-on-Parsons-esque “Orphan of the Storm.”

This isn’t necessarily a peak over the fence what-would-be reality, nor (most likely) is it a snapshot of what was back in those insurrectionist Gainesville bars where these men burned dreams and proved it all night. What it is, though, is a journey to a moment where American music was synthesized into a lava lamped amalgam of seeming diverse, even warring oeuvres in the name of how good it feels. And man, does it… Petty’s voice remains a nagging tug on your soul, your heart, those corners of your mind that can’t let go, and the raw ache and hardcore rebellion is a siren song for the working class, drifting from where one should be and how did it get to this people anywhere.

http://www.mudcrutchmusic.com
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wqb5Vllh9K4

Grown Man In Suit On Moped… with Helmet

In a suit, looking very “Quadrophenia.” An absolute adult, zipping along, knees slightly akimbo, face tucked behind the face mask of his helmet. In this braver, newer world we are approaching, this might be the smartest, hippest guy on the planet. He sure had a great big smile on his face as he darted between cars, raised his arm - bent high at the elbow - then made that right and disappeared on his way to wherever.
We should all be so free…

Quiet, Please Scott Douglas

Who’d think a book about library sciences would be all that interesting… or hilarious? But Scott Douglas, a McSweeney’s contributor, offers a memoir cum look at libraries around the globe and the country — offering an at times hilarious, often perception shifting look at life in the throes of the Dewey decimal system. Quirky staff, eccentric patrons, free internet… it’s all there, the hodge podge of elements that are the great equalizer for the searching and yearning to have somewhere to be.

Unlikely, though it might seem, Quiet, Please gives you a chuckle, an insight, the kind of low impact read that makes the summer escape slightly more enriching than your basic romance or government thriller. A slice of a world you don’t even think about existing, this is fun stuff, indeed.

Long Alhambra Necklaces Van Clef & Arpels

Mother of pearl, or turquoise, or black onyx, tigers eye, even hammered gold. Long chain strands punctuated by something that is the love child of a four leaf clover and a daisy. Feminine without being curlique and frilly. Understated, yet absolutely the mark of exuberant living. The signature look for the older than tradition jeweler — and a classic for a very basic reason: the Alhambra embodies style with an ease that is anything but fussy. With a tshirt, a silk blouse or whatever else strikes your fancy.

Zelda When She’s Happy

She smles, tail wagging. Whatever little delight crosses her path: the scent of chipmunk, the moment the rice cake leaves the bag, the realization that I am home, the car turning over and her ruling Zelda’s Backstage Lounge. There is no joy so unfettered, so completely experienced. Zelda, 16, mostly blind, fairly deaf, is glad to be alive, euphoric over all of it and willing to see the best part in everything.

Even when she sleeps, she’s chasing bunnies: her back legs kicking in the chase. She sleeps, the beautiful rest of children freed from any care, and she wakes ready for the next adventure, whether it’s scrubbing floors, chopping vegetables or merely lying head in lap, watching a movie. It’s all good, it’s all happening… It’s all happy.