I have an old boyfriend who plants my flowers every year—and they always grow so strong and so pretty. Reminds me that love changes, but still captivates. This year he planted something that will bloom forever—whether I ever see him again or not—and you know, that’s just how love really is if you do it without strings, demands or expectations: always there to remind, thrill and wear you from the inside out.
Summer camp for adults. Gourmet 5-star meals with no deep caloric commitment. Yoga classes and aquatic fun and games on Lake Austin, which is more lazy river, but who’s quibbling. A spa that’ll wrap you in mud or almonds or olive oil, a 200-jet deep tub that’ll massage so deep it moves the tissue to the bone, 30 kinds of facials, acupuncture, massages under the stars or more conventional styles of kneading and the usual fingers’n'toes lacquer jobs! The rooms are Georgia O’Keefe meditation den—more deep tubs, “back yards” to sit with tiny fountains, front porches to look at the flower gardens, a bratty Southwestern pool along with a more conventional oblong along the lake and a lap pool in a swim barn. And a couple docks to sit and watch the geese, ducks and world float by.
The original hardcore troubadour digs in and gets political. And if the erotic fantasy play/come-on “Condi Condi” is enough to make what you’re drinking come out your nose, the rest is deadly serious business. Earle is an activist, agitator and patriot who casts the human interest before politics—and with his thumb on the where-we-are-as-a-culture nerve, he doesn’t shirk his duty to the music. As raw and brutal as the Stones when they Exiled On Main Street, this is a bit more progressive, but every bit as hard-hitting. Whether you buy it for the musical tautness and get hip to a deeper cultural tip or as a socially conscious seeker who’s ready to hit a tight rock & roll groove, this gives even better than it gets. The title track alone drags you behind it, making you scream for mercy or more, and that’s saying something.
So fresh, so clean, so smooth. Imagine a watermelon agua fresca (a drink made from pressing the succulent red flesh of watermelons, straining, then chilling) laced with good tequila and a squeeze of lime, POOF! There you go; exactly what is making my mouth drool right now! The most innocent summer big kid drink I’ve encountered in years. And the vibe—pure Antonio Banderas movie with hammered silver buttons and low hanging trees—is just as cool.
Stars to keep you company. The radio or a couple remembered old favorites to lift your soul up. The white lines serve as bread crumbs to lead you on. The feel of the rubber on the road a literal connection to the terra firma that you can feel and hold and breathe. If you wanna untangle the thoughts in your head, meditate on a deeper level or do gentle mental yoga, surrender to the rhythm of the ride—and see where it all leads.
16, trapped at girls school in plaid skirts and knee socks, wondering what being a woman means when everyone you know is genderless. That voice—one that speaks beyond words—exhales a tale of passion that burns in spite of denial, of a woman who can’t be forgotten even if she can’t be his, of “stealing all the love you can handle, living underneath hotel law” and all the things that must not, but absolutely are. “For passionate people, these are desperate times/ Desperate measures call for passionate crimes” implores the bridge. In a ‘72 Mustang with nothing but scarred blacktop, understanding was non-linear, but the notion that whatever that woman had was everything to desire to be was seered into me. This is the essence of that notion: raw want, sheer will, a Telecaster through a practice amp and a voice cracked by life and cigarettes. www.linelevel.com
The most shudder-inducing shoe of the year! Red Chinese lacquer heels that curve in the most sculpted ways. A pale rose shoe that suggests dawn in a place where young Chinese girls are sent to come of age. And the chrysanthemums embroidered on same are as sumptuous and detailed as they are breath-taking. Add an ankle strap for a modicum of modernity—and an undercurrent of geisha-type bondage in Western realization—and you’ve got something that’s as Cole Porter and the glory days of NYC’s famed Stork Club as the essence of kabuki grandeur.
Instant HELLO! Wakes you up. Opens your mind. Makes you smile. Frees your spirit. Pulls up your emotional anchor. Sets your imagination romping. The essence of creativity, put some out and see where your mind takes you. Promise: it’ll be interesting to say the least.
Just because you can’t stay, doesn’t mean it wasn’t sweet. What you love don’t change, just sometimes the circumstances are too much. The warmest, sweetest way to walk away with love in your heart and appreciation in your soul.
NPR junkies know Terry Gross as the hostess with the mostest on the Peabody Award-winning “Fresh Air,” a cultural forum that casts its nets across the various arts, sciences and worldviews with an eye to understand rather than judge. Culled from just a few of the hundreds of interviews Gross has done since her show went on the air in 1987 on Philadelphia’s uber-hip WHYY. Whether it’s sparring with KISS’ Gene Simmons or Bill O’Reilly, who act like a petulant testosterone-addled troglodytes, engaging Jodi Foster on the fire behind her grace or seeking the spark behind Chris Rock’s intellectually-incisive racial comedy, there is insight into the mind of the creative—and windows opening into process, inspiration and life appreciation. Here - in gentle conversations with authors Mary Karr, Nick Hornby and John Updike, actors Dustin Hoffman, Divine and Uta Hagen, funk/groundbreakers George Clinton, Bootsy Collins and Grandmaster Flash, catalytic iconics Johnny Cash, artist Chuck Close, jazz pioneer Sonny Rollins is where our understanding of the muse and the artist deepen.
All you need is a hose, a decent sprayer and the right angle on the sun. There in your back yard. Totally DIY!!! Pretty simple, always smile-inducing.
How it really is. The big bang of breakthrough—and the good friends from back home who’d never have access. They provide the knowledge that they love you for who you are, but they’re even more subject to the vertigo of entitlement that comes with celebrity. If you wanna understand how it is that young stars end up face down in the tabloids, bound by behaviors that are self-defeating and destructive, this is the primer. Produced by Mark Wahlberg—underwear model, rappa and younger sib of a New Kid on the Block—there is plenty of real life knowledge to draw from. Or if not that, at least a good sense of what ain’t real. And for anyone transfixed by how cool the glory ride appears, this’ll break down the pressures, powerplays, manipulations and cross-purposes of the on-the-rise and people who love, serve or merely exploit them.
The patron saint of little ways, St. Therese believed in doing the little things in life with great love—and in it’s simplicity her vision makes a comforting roadmap for walking through this world. Represented by roses, she’s been embraced by the floral industry as well. And her prayer is one of small comforts that yield great peace. Anyone wishing a copy of her novena prayer, need only e-mail and ask - and I will gladly send it to you.
Controversial when it was first written—as much from the epithetical moniker as the warts-and-all gaze Texas Monthly contributor Reid fixes upon his subject. With perhaps the exception of Haight-Asbury and possibly the Capircorn/Southern rock nexus, few music scenes can come close to Austin: be it the hippie/country merging, the blues/rock & roll marriage, the roadhouse/honky tonk connection and farflung embroidery that is poets and songwriters. A bit too wonky for some fans—and a point of view that is as much point of view as cold hard fact—Reid was there, witnessed the moments, captured the things that give pause and offered it up for forever. If you’re curious about Willie Nelson or Marcia Ball, Stevie Ray Vaughan and his brother Jimmy (an anchor of the Fabulous Thunderbirds), Doug Sahm’s many incarnations, Roky Ericson and the latter day Lone Star keepers of the flame, this is an engaging read.
No one’s fingers are as magic as Sherri’s. Without a word, she can put her fingers on your back, sweep them up once and know everything. Immediately she sets to both kneading away that which should not linger—and imbuing your muscles with a sense of well-being that makes them ready to shoulder more. How someone can rotate a reality while you lay there and let her do everything is amazing; though really it’s just Isola’s gift to let your muscles speak to her and then the gift of healing, of release, of relaxation slows through her.
To make something simple, it takes more work. Reduce it to its essence. Define the WHAT of it is. And the more you look into something simple, the further you can go; the more the world opens up to you; the easier it gets to have that intensity. Basic things. A taste, a sensation, a note dying across the sky. Profound in its simplicity - what utter surrender to the whole.
Jaan Uhelszki Harp, Oct 04
A profile of Detroit’s politically active, rock& blow-up, ever controversial MC-5 from a woman who lived the drama and the dream as a fan, then a critic and ultimately editor at rawk bible Creem. She understands the forces that came into play, pulled the band apart, sidelined their trajectory, fired their explosive live shows - and with a reunion record coming from the fieriest band the other side of the Sex Pistols who never realized their reputation, this is tenderly rendered and yet - as the band themselves raved - “kicks out the jams.” Her revelatory conversation with Patti Smith in the same issue humanizes the punk poet as well. For anyone who ever appreciated the way rock & roll tore at the norms to build something broader, Uhelszki weaves pieces that illuminate the process, the people and the way music can deliver those willing to surrender.
A friend of mine—self-described as “a players’ couch”—works from this philosophy. In a world of safe, he’s absolutely right, utterly empowering and offering up a way to ride the thrill of the moment for enough joy that you won’t loose your zeal for the game. It serves to keep you in the mix, but it also serves to get you across the line—because ultimately points win games, and points are only accrued if you take the shot. In a world of safe, cautious, cover your butt, this sets you free to make it happen. Imagine that.
They called him “The Beast” and “The Screamer.” If some comics put their thumb on the cultural pulsepoint, Sam Kinison brought a jackhammer down, hitting every flinch point at shatter intensity. And in his confusion over matters ranging from world hunger to religious hypocrisy to gay love, the excessive combustive mirrored our worst instincts—recognizing the frustration that comes from not understanding, releasing the pressure of what went unstated. For all the controversy—and pickets were common, making this almost forgotten comic/social commentator the Lenny Bruce of the last part of the 20th century—Kinison was a God-fearing man, at odds with his life as much as his religion. Still the faith was deep, and on this CD, he preaches with all the brokedown fervor of a man making his peace with his maker even as he stumbles through the world without knowing quite how. To understand the grace we’re given, the Face we should gaze upon, the reality of the struggle, this may be a more powerful article than even Kinison’s revelatory comedic work-outs.
The media columnist for Vanity Fair, James Wolcott spends his time spinning context and unearthing the backgrounds and agendas of the people controlling what we uptake as unbiased reporting. Not a whistle-blower so much as a man fascinated by the lenses people view events through, Wolcott’s take is usually smart, sardonic and often enlightening. And with the crisply written Attack Poodles, he deconstructs the reflexive conservatism/neo-jerk right wing media outposts with clarity. Getting the “big dogs”—Bill O’Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Robert Novak and Maureen Dowd—in his cross hairs, he lifts the veil on their methods and refutes their reasoning. Indeed in “Punditry for Dummies,” Wolcott creates a Dummies Guide To Being A Talking Head that—as someone who media trains—is as solid as it is sarcastic. If you’re conservative, it’s insight into what the libs are whining about, and could strengthen your team’s playbook; if you’re a liberal, it takes you to the frontline of how the other team dominates the media without breaking a sweat.
Hand it to Jody Denberg, taste guru of perhaps the greatest eclectic radio station in America KGSR, and Terry Lickona, the godfather of the PBS show that lends its name to the fest, and you KNOW just showing up promises to be one of the most musically tantric events of the year from sea-to-shining sea. Waxing superlative is unnecessary when name-checking the following supercedes all: Sheryl Crow, Elvis Costello, Modest Mouse, Jack Johnson, Rosanne Cash, Wilco, North Mississippi All-Stars, Toots & the Maytals, Drive-By Truckers, Abra Moore, Big Head Todd & the Monsters, My Morning Jacket, Dashboard Confessional, Pat Green, Mindy Smith, the Pixies, Los Lonely Boys, G. Love & Special Sauce, Patty Griffin, Joe Ely, the Neville Brothers and my beloved Asleep at the Wheel among the many, MANY acts. Get Thee To Austin!!! www.kgsr.com and you can get streaming radio, too!
Just opened, and a little perkier than your down’n'Gen X industrial coffee house, but not all soccer mom central, either. All I know is the coffee drinks swing from Turtle Lattes to Frothy Monkies (the latter having banana and chocolate syrup), in addition to create your own salads and sandwiches—and the sickest thing I’ve encountered in some time: home made ice cream sandwiches. Yup, chocolate sticky cookies with chocolate espresso ice cream or equally sinful gooey gingersnaps with fresh peach/pineapple ice cream—ALL homemade—that defy cogent thought while being consumed.
Screw top Christmas trees. Twisting to heaven. Smelling of pine. A bit mannered, a bit groomed. Very whimsical and utterly smile inducing. There are now three in front of my house—making me very very happy.
If we could live our lives with this informing all of our tombstones, imagine how much we would truly know? It’s a rich world; many facets, more colors; people are fascinating; moments are amazing; and then all the subjects, hobbies, hopes, realities and romances to consider. Open a book—or even just your eyes—and celebrate what you don’t yet know. Enjoy the feast… Find your passion… Chase it down.
Billed as the Photo Issue, the classic American men’s magazine that really is about the articles offers pictures that worth many thousands words—including 7 visionary shooters on what defines America/Americans now, a Q&A with a Playboy photographer and 5 celebrities vested with shooting their own realities. There’s plenty more like that to warrant purchase of the magazine alone, but even if the rest of the issue was about balls of yak yarn, Chris Jones piece on the price of playing pro sports—the physical, mental and eventual costs of walking the tightrope of dope is both sobering and harrowing. What price glory? Where is the line between doing it for the glory, the responsibility to the franchise (those ARE elephant dollars in the mix) and eventual well-being. Strip away the American drive to win, the high stakes poker of sports franchises and consider a man in peak shape in a world that’s punishing in the extreme—and it takes on a whole other reality. Absolutely riveting.
Essential oils of grapefruit, juniper and lavender combine with vitamins A, E and C and then extracts of Dandelion and Burdock Root are mixed into a bath salt that smells heavenly, feels yummy and pulls toxins from your body and your skin without making you feel salt-cured or chemically treated. Indeed, it moisturizes as it creates a sense of the best smells of well-being—and leaves you feeling soft even as it’s removing the universe’s ucky byproducts from your skin and your body.
Every now and then—when you hang out with the rock & roll crowd—someone loses their sense of propriety. You smile tightly. You hope the moment will pass. An awkward silence sometimes falls—or people talk louder hoping to avoid the uncomfortable moment. Every now and then in the that field of now and then, someone actually steps up to the plate, and says “You can’t do that!” or “You’re not gonna do that with me standing here!” It makes me weak in the knees, tears in my eyes and exhaling freely when it does. Because some battles have ramifications if you fight them yourself. But nothing feels uckier than being put in a sexual gray area where the waves you create are gonna swipe back at you (and it DOES work that way), so a knight with an ice cold Corona is about as good as it gets. You know who you are - and you’re Yummy! Any of you boys in the same moment, step up and do the right thing. Everyone’ll be better for it.
Funky in a swampy, fetid backwater kinda boil down and baked kinda way. A gut buckety-bluesy-white-boy-with-a-redneck celebration of a Florida lifestyle that’s lower than the water table down in the fartherest reaches of the Sunshine State - the part where the gators sun, the cranes languish and people’s hair hangs in a tangle of salt-soaked glory. Soul drenching, rib sticking, glory raising and laidback in the pocket grooves makes this old school witness about food (), human decency (), preservation (“Florida) and hope (“Brighter Day”) open your head to something beyond rebel flags and rebel yells in a way the creates heightened dignity for the utterly discarded - the commonly held white trash that crawls from the Everglades to do the physical labor that makes the state run. www.swampland.com
Folkie songwriter Alex Bevan, the most ecologically aware person I know—and one who celebrates the Cleveland Metroparks system through all kinds of projects, often aimed at kids—tells me to shake that plastic bottle before drinking. “Not only does it increase the oxygen content,” he promises with that voice that is always the brightest smile and sunshine, “but it’s gonna taste a whole lot better.”
One of Nashville’s uber-hip spots, the Lipstick Lounge goes deep on Sunday mornings—offering up a gospel brunch that casts an array of the flavors a Divine sound will come in. Old timey Appalachian. Gut bucket, rafter reaching. Sweep down and lift up. You never know who’s gonna be singing and stomping and making merry like Christmas. Stick to your ribs; stick to your soul! You’ll leave sanctified and satisfied—which is more than a lot in this rush-rush world we live in. What could be more fulfilling?
“Biased. Leaning toward a specific point of you,” or so my dictionary says. Me, in this year of voting dangerously, it’s a great way to give the heat contentiousness a little intellectual respectability. An easy substitute, making the hurler look that much more evolved and educated.