The Yummy List


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

April 2007

April 2007: 
Blackstrap Molasses, Mavis Staples, Prodigal Days & Will Luckey’s Songs

Racing Zelda

   Maybe it’s the walkies. Maybe it’s her inherently competitive nature. Maybe its her inner-puppy. But say “Come on! COME! ON! I’m… gonna… beat… you…” and she’s beating paws to the second floor three stairs at a time, spinning on the landing to savor her lead, then heading down the hall like it’s the final turn. Little Zelda Fitzgerald Spaniel Gleason may be 16, but she’s gonna get it done. And she laughs and romps and shows you just how slick a grown girl can be.

Screaming Girl Doll

   Teeny doll with pigtails on end. Press her tummy - and she shrieks, AND shrieks, and SHRIEKS and shrieks. Imagine Wednesday Addams yowling, screeching and screaming with a beyond cathartic abandon for longer than most of us could hold out. This is the doll, and when you just can’t take it anymore, she’s just the lungs to express what you repress. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!

Vinyl Deborah Lippman

   Chanteuse cocktail noir with a dusky voice that drapes over the songs like a silk chemise lightly flecked with carnal exertion. A dusty timeless, old leather binding feel to the lean arrangements that suggest as much from the space of what’s left out as the lean notes that’re played. The kind of thing you’d expect from Nina Simone, Peggy Lee at her most beyond… only these songs are not standards in the classic jazz sense, but a trolling of cockrock’s finest. Boys will be boys songs turned upside down, inside out and left stuffingless in the gulch beyond the dusty part of the road: “Satisfaction,”

   All given a rhythm of their own, a rhythm like the slowest grind in a peep’n'brothel. Ennui soaked hip-flexing that says the pleasure is all your’s. Yet somehow imbues that which should be threadbare a frission and a friction that grips the gear’s teeth and perhaps through the nuance of the performances, the coaxing of irony and intent from war horses… Cocktailrockjazz, perhaps? Why not a new grey area between contemporary music’s unlikeliest bedmates?

Sencha Green Tea Mints (Original AND Lively Lemongrass)

   Powdery, but soothing. A light essence of tea, yet not overpowering the way some green tea can be. The lemongrass is especially emboldening, seeming a bit exotic without being strange on the tongue. Small bullets of flavor, that almost bounce on your taste buds without opening every pore in your body. Subtly incredible.

Sencha Green Tea Mints (Original AND Lively Lemongrass)

   Powdery, but soothing. A light essence of tea, yet not overpowering the way some green tea can be. The lemongrass is especially emboldening, seeming a bit exotic without being strange on the tongue. Small bullets of flavor, that almost bounce on your taste buds without opening every pore in your body. Subtly incredible.

Growing Your Own Vintage

   It only takes ten years… some hardcore fashionistas would argue six… regardless, if you lay down the cake for some wonderful piece of designer wonderment, hang on to it. Treat it as an investment, and in no time, you’ll be revisiting that crazy indulgence as some kind of fashion treasure.. With the passage of time, that which was will be again - and your’s will be more unique, better made and witness to how hip you’ve always been.

MATISSE PICASSO and the School of Paris The Frist, Nashville, TN

After Impressionism, post-Fauvism, somewhat concurrent with Cubism, an embarrassment of not quite literal, though hardly whimsical paintings emerged from the studios and salons of Paris—in large part through the patronage of Gertrude Stein, her brother and the Cone sisters Etta and Claribel. From the end of the 19th Century until the beginning of the First World War, there was a mad creative storm raging in Paris that included Gauguin, Braque, Gris, Ernst, Miro, as well as Monet, Degas, Bonnard and Cezanne.

   Billed as Masterpieces from the Baltimore Museum of Art, this collection illustrates the growth and evolution of a movement at its most combustive—especially demonstrating Picasso’s earliest and arguably moodiest works and offering a compelling view into Matisse’s strength of stroke and color sensuality. Curated for maximum impact, the latter emerges as a robust eroticist with a potent embrace of detail rendered lean and the former’s humanity and emotionalism is demonstrated in a way that adds fire to his later, more deconstructed works.

   If art is a reflection of time, values and visions, the war’s slow rumble creates a nervousness as these paintings unfold - giving the surrealism a fractiousness that is palpable, yet moving. To capture the essence of an era is the work of a wonderful eye… Such is this exhibition.

BONUS: Hiraki Sawa. Going Places, Sitting Down.
A video installation that strings innocent images through the mundane and the life-defining, this is a suspension of what we know from what is and what couldn’t be. It will take you away, suspend you in a weightless sense of perhaps and leave you feeling hopeful among the ennuicious. Worth the detour. Absolutely.

The Best

   It’s not about the competitive nature of how we live, or how we acquire the things in our lives. It is about seeing the essence of people, sometimes even the things they can’t see in themselves. If we choose to see the best qualities, even ones buried, we can show people what they’re reall made of, inspire them to be so much more than they might have even imagined.

   In a world of bloated blowhards I-Me-Mining every chance they get, normal people sometimes doubt their own inner glory. They fear being mocked or delusional. This is an opportunity to make the world a better place, by making people believe in the things that set them apart, elevate them and give them the specialness we all pine for. Inspire someone with their own unseen grace today.

Foaming Cleanser Extremely Sensitive Skin Aveeno

   Two pumps, and you can put it straight on your skin. With enough body that you don’t need water, you can gently work it in, feel the lather dissolving the crud, the oil, the day from your skin. But it’s gentle enough, you don’t get that tight, dry sensation that is so often endemic of sensitive skin. Affordable, accessible and easy… for flesh that is anything but!

“Nothing but the astonishing is beautiful.”
                    ——-Andre Breton

   It is true. That which startles, captures your notice by its very being… those are the things that are truly beautiful. Unexpected, random perhaps, but wholly captivating. What is more beautiful than that delicious surprise: the curve of someone’s jaw, the way a sunset smears lipstick across the day’s dying, the picture you never thought you’d see or the chord progression you couldn’t have imagined. In those things tat pull you up short, there is beauty beyond description: relax and let it infuse you.

Cheers & Jeers 

   You gotta love Bill in Portland, Maine for his no-nonsense, cut-right-through it quick takes on hubris, hypocrisy and the general lack of… okay… the truth currently floating the American government. So many of us would be just as happy not knowing, but this guy takes the overwhelming nature and utter hopelessness out of it. He also interjects enough facts about life on the daily planet and nation we call our own to get us grounded in a reality that transcends the bad news.

   And he’s not just about huzzahs for people betraying the covenant of The Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence and the good—theoretically—of the country. No, no, he kicks it out for the brave folks who rebel or speak out in even the smallest ways, getting people invested in getting their voice heard. If it’s all “just too much for you,” here is an east bite-sized way to start—and once you start chewing, swallowing and digesting this reasonable analysis, you’re gonna find yourself hungry for more.

Young Rhubarb

   Now is the time. Thin stalks, deep pink. Pink the way lips are when they’ve kissed for far too long. Every bit as potent, rushing through ones veins. But this is not just a tonic for the soul, but the system. Cooked quickly in boiling water, removed from the fiery burner with just a bit of sugar added, this is the sweet, stringy, tart, savory fruit that knocks sluggishness from slow winter blood from your veins with a quick slurp, smack and swallow.

   It is when it first hits the grocery that it is most pleasing. That time, thankfully, is now.

REM Untold Chronicles David Fricke Rolling Stone

   It is an oral history. Told by the men who were there, the first real band of the college radio age. Illustrated with the kind of picture that spoke of iconography without being the sort publicity types plaster everywhere to offer up totems to marketing realities. They are human, these demi-gawds of indie-cred on their way to being as big as it gets, and they are captured in the panoramas of ban-in-van across America reality. And the tales they tell, moments they share feel like so many matchbooks and photographs that’re torn and rumpled in the bottom of a guitar case hauled everywhere once upon a time, then not thought of or played for many years: sacred, forgotten tiny memories that speak everything about the journey, the revelations and why it mattered after all.

Virgin Islands Water Creed

   The exclusive perfume house strikes at the essence of the Caribbean for their latest scent—marrying top notes of deliciously sweet coconut, lime, mandarin and bergamot, then settling it down with heady tropical flowers like deeply romantic ylang ylang and jasmine as well as tantalizing ginger. Bottoming out with sugar cane and white rum, it’s an exotic cocktail that is easy and relaxed, sun-dappled and earthy in the humidly lush way that is the Virgin Islands at their most ripe and unexploited.

Pasta Victor Hugo’s, West Hollywood, CA

   Let’s start with the basics: it’s all organic and they make their own tubular spaghetti. Thick delicious rounds of perfectly cooked al dente pasta, slathered in just enough sundried tomato/cumin cream sauce that is thick, yet thin. Bits of fresh corn, chunks of more sundried tomatoes, a chiffonade of fresh herbs and succulent morsels of chicken. It is the kind of nouvelle, anything-but-Italian pasta dish that is so satisfying - it’s as if Italian food isn’t the tangy wonder carb load of all time.

A Punching Bag Is Not A Punchline

   There’s no sport in mocking Britney Spears. Or Lindsey Lohan. Or Nicole Richie. Or any of the pop tarts famous for being famous, rather than a performance of substance, an achievement that mattered or even a personality trait that speaks of higher benevolence. These girls, while bold-faced yes and indulged beyond the limit of human reason, are trainwrecks waiting to happen—being set-up so the comedown splatter gives us all something to cluck about. Mocking someone hellbent on the inevitable is like making fun of crippled kids: not much sport and utterly lacking in creativity or intellect.


   Our good friends at all-cotton offer another icon that speaks volumes about the power of faith beyond reason. This time a finely-detailed hen sits atop her lapful of eggs… only these beautiful specimens are not nested, but rather styropacked in a classic grocer’s dozen. But don’t tell that fat hen, our she’s today’s tempest in a tea cup. Whew-eeewwwww! Let her believe, and who knows?

   Sometimes dreamers who believe in the impossible make liars of us all. Not a bad way to go.

Vanilla In Iced Tea

I was hot and bored. The little dollop of lemonade in my classic Lipton sun tea wasn’t cutting it. What to do? I saw it on the counter: bourbon vanilla extract. Why not? What could it hurt? So I dolloped a healthy splash into my iced tea, and tasted. Just a little sip… in case. But it seemed good, so a longer drink. And then I had a great big swallow. Vanilla extract in my iced tea. I’d have never gone there, and yet there I was… and it was delicious, intriguing, quenching.

Millions of Women Are Waiting To Meet You Sean Thomas

   It starts with a tentative, awkward proposal. The stop-start equation of a big question that changes everything, And it quickly descends into a singleton’s quest to find the one across the galaxies of cyberspace. Ribald. Self-effacing. Uncomfortable. Hijinxdelic. Hilarious. Straight-up. Kinky—at times. Fraught. Awkward. Honest.

   This is fraught with real deal motivations, too true reactions and the impossibly complex dynamics that keep us from finding “the one.” As merciless to the author as it is the woman shunned, bedded and indifferent to Thomas, there is something charming enough his elbows’n'knees clumsiness and self-propping to make you root for him throughout. Grown-up content, but hilarious circumstances.

Beautiful Luxurious Scarves Hank

   Imagine a textural orgy: different kinds and colors of wool, silk, linen knitted together in a giant tumble of wide stitches that vary according to the creator’s whim. Truly hand-knit and moving through palettes the way the ocean has so many tons of blue, no matter which angle you look from.

   Add in glass beads and trailer bits of material, and you have neckwear that is truly Steven Tyler worthy. Fabulous, decadent stuff… just the thing to take a conservative coat or jacket, turtleneck or t-shirt to a far more intriguing place. And each one, truly, is original.

“You can’t enjoy ‘em when you’re dead.”
                                   ——-Ferol Klein Gleason

   Late night grocery store. Green-tinged ultra-voilet light. Mostly abandoned by shoppers. A bit too joyful sits the bursts of DIY inscribed specials, prices and buckets of flowers. So jarring, you almost walk by in self-defense, but looking into the green containers, you can’t help but notice the brightness of the blossoms, the curve of the stems, the way the flowers look up and open their blooms to you.
   In a world of not-enough expendable income, where the 7 or 10 dollars can seem like an unnecessary indulgence, there is a finite window of enjoying fresh flowers. They are one of the most gorgeous things nature gives us… and they are right there, within each and ready to go home, all we have to do is remember the potency of small pleasures and common beauty.

If The Ocean Gets Rough Willy Mason

  The ultimate suburband stealth machine. You can load plenty into the back. You have four doors and a hatch. It drives like a sedan, hauls like a van—and is parked, especially paralle   His voice is a little torn around the edges, as much waif and wise… and the way he bangs at his songs with an acoustic guitar, it almost seems like he’s fighting for his life. Even when he picks, each note carefully plucked, there is something of the run-for-your-life to Willy Mason’s attack, Ironic, given the years spent on the haven for the bohemian, old money and extreme nouveay riche of Martha;s Vineyard—and yet the contrast between his parents’ own struggle and poverty from derailed dreams gave him a social perspective whose commentary echoes Catcher In the Rough’s Holden Caulfield.

   Clear-eyed, Mason—who labors under the “huge in England” banner, where Pete Townsend, Bet Orton and Radiohead are all fans—isn’t afraid to question people’s priorities, the cost of those decisions and the ripple effect on the culture as a whole. With guest vocals by Rosanne Cash on “Gotta Be Strong” and a churning resolve in the wake of devastation “Gotta Keep Walkin” and “End of the Race,” this is a survivor’s manual for times people don’t know how hard they truly are. Criticism without cynicism, clarity beyond whining and empowerment for the next generation, marveling at the selfishness and arrogance of the ones who’ve come before.

   Mason does an instore in Nashville April 13 @ Grimeys Records, like a normal car. So not sexy, there’s something hot about driving one… and you can do whatever you requite, including well whatever the moment might beg, without drawing any attention.

Station Wagon

  The ultimate suburband stealth machine. You can load plenty into the back. You have four doors and a hatch. It drives like a sedan, hauls like a van—and is parked, especially parallel, like a normal car. So not sexy, there’s something hot about driving one… and you can do whatever you requite, including well whatever the moment might beg, without drawing any attention.

Black Strap Molasses

   Not so thick you can’t pour it right out of the bottle. It is the color of molten coke syrup, and it tastes of sugarcane and strength and earth, slightly caramel, but somehow tougher. You drink it in warm water. You give it a few days. You feel revived, stronger, but without the will to benchpress cars. As a way to beat anemia, get iron, not feel your entire body stiffen and freeze internally, this is an easy fix. Two teaspoons a day—one in the morning, one in the afternoon or evening—and you’re on your way.

Proper Thank You Notes

   There is nothing better than walking to the mailbox and finding there, hand-written with a stamp affixed, a bit of correspondence commemorating some little gift or kindness. Well, except the actual process of writing a proper thank you note. In that moment of courtesy, you get to explain why the generosity touched you so, let someone know their effort meant something and reconnect in a tactile way. In a world where the simplest courtesies are being buried in the rush of life and access of technology, this is one of those ways to maintain a deeper kind of grace in our living.

Overdyed Cotton Lace Dress Anna Sui

   Looking a bit like a vintage slip, hippie trippy rock chick designer Anna Sui works the Victorian gone organic tip with this creamy, tea-stained waft of a v-neck empire wasted morsel. It is seemingly weightless, absolutely feminine, deeply detailed—right down to the band of lace that circles the bottom—and as innocent as it gets without coming with matching anklets, maryjanes and a lollipop. The kind if dress that can go to communion, the Kentucky Derby, a spring formal or cocktail party—and at the same time be just as easy running errands or meeting a girlfriend for lunch.

   This is what you make it—and you can make it anything you want.

“Blades of Fire” 

   Will Farrell tackles another scared cow sporting event. On the heels of his NASCAR uber-spoof, he takes the lycra and buggle bead set on single blade and double axels through all things they hold sacred and holy. Even if this packs a fraction of the send-up wallop “Talladega Nights” inflicts, prepare to laugh for days after - and know that eyeliner on demi-effeminate men in tights is not just the realm of Freddie Mercury impersonators anymore!

“He is not a lover who does not love forever.”

   There is no end to love, no matter what. It comes in, it declares itself and it is so. Always. Things may change, circumstances shift… Pain. Denial. Delusion. Disappointment. But even in all that, the love—if it was true—remains. It s the reason great passions carry electrical charges long after they’ve flamed out. A moment, a memory can transport you, jump your pulse in a quickening moment.

   It does not have to consume you to remain, merely flicker or tease. We all have them: the images that comes back to us when we smell a certain scent, hear a certain song, feel a certain kind of breeze. If we did not love forever, especially in the cavernous abyss that is disappointment, how could we believe in the promise of the loves we find after? Even loves without lust would become useless… and so, Euripides reminds of us something so central it is easily overlooked.

The Green Issue Town & Country

   It’s official. Being environmentally conscious is the new luxe, the latest tag of elitism. Not just for hippies in bad shoes and unshaven female armpits, that gospel of toute le monde has weighed in with an entire issue that says it’s not just easy, it essential being green. And if the fate of our ecosystem didn’t lie in the balance, this would almost seem ludicrous; but the stakes are high, the future’s now and if the richest (and often most Hummercentric) are moved towards a more balanced way of living with nature, we’re on our way to higher, safer ground. Mmmmmmmmmm…

Prodigal Days

   Lost “kids.” Old boyfriends. Missing lovers. Prodigal TV producers Even a beau who’s turned to spreading the fire revival style. You love people. You turn’em loose. You trust they’ll make their way, find their level, see their truth. And then suddenly… POOF! like mushrooms after a storm, they start popping up, right where you last remember seeing them. It’s not about possession or finding oneself, it’s about how quick life moves, the whirlpool that sucks all of us down—and they way in the end, we all get pulled back to the people we care for.

   Maybe you should prodigal yourself to someone you love(d) real soon.

Will Luckey’s 4 Songs

No one is standing by, breath-baited counting on these songs to save the bottomline or the day. And yet, in the shimmering joy of one man’s take on the world he inhabits, the love he casts, the people who fill his life, there is a chimera quality that draws you in, leaves you transfixed. With a voice as sweet as it is breathy, this is the sound of the moon channeled through Graham Nash’s airiness and Al Jardine’s accelerated innocence.

   The idea that a man can go inside himself, scrape up something so sparkling and hopeful and offer it up with such exuberance, it inspires. Shame on all of us who just go “too much, too hard.” There is happiness in the details, the tiny turns, the keyboard washes and rising and descending right hand notes. This is testimony and witness to the power of songs in our veins and charm filtering through the basics with no self-consciousness, just pleasure at creation.

   The most elusive of all fauna: the jackalope. Perhaps a mythic creature on the level of Big Foot or Nessie, the Loch Ness Monster. Or perhaps a rare freak of the rabbit jungle. Here, irrefutably, is evidence of the jackalope’s existence. Oh, happy day! Oh, settled sleep. The horned bunny is real… Somehow, it is beyond hope, and yet, wholly thrilling in and of itself.

Dark Chocolate Espresso Bar Hershey

   The classic plain Hershey rendered in dark chocolate. The flat little squares the color of midnight, slowly melting into the slightly bittersweetness that delineates milk from more grown-up chocolate. Infused with the essence of espresso, the coffee enhances the flavors, gives dimension to an already intensely cocoa taste experience.

The Last Leaves of Fall

   It’s not the buds this time of year, No… they cling to the boughs, furled, tight, ready to explode with life. What is most striking walking through the woods are those gnarled, desiccated papery brown things, so dry and withered they hardly resemble leaves. Yet, there they are: not letting go, not relinquishing their hold on the branch. They are well-past their season, but they’re not ready to go… to fall to the ground… to begin the ferment and breakdown that is the return to the soil.

   Just when you think you can’t hang on any more, there they are. Resolute in their commitment to not being done, well past not just the point of prime, but the long gone and over that comes from well-beyond the end of their season. Look and smile. It’s inspiring in a way futility rarely is.

Year of the Dog Shelby Hearon

   A slim little novel of a Southern girl of self-direction jilted by the high school hero who jilted the hero for her. That is comes five years into a marriage causes small town tongues to wag, and rather than suffer the microscope in a place where everyone knows everything about everybody else, she runs away to New Hampshire and spends a year raising a puppy to be ready for seeing eye school.

   Displaced and out of place, she learns to see so much more around her in this new environment, and finds out so very many things about herself. The juxtaposition of Southern culture with Yankee stoicism, the arrogance of naiveté, the notion of the mystery writer as a long gone maiden aunt’s beau (the only person our heroine knows in this frigid region) and the school teacher who catches her fancy, who can brook no questions about his own back pages creates plots and sub-plots that gently play out over “the year of the dog.” It is a heartening read: sweet and easy, life-affirming.

Main Isle Flip-Flops LL Bean

   With the grosgrain ribbon trim, outdoor purveyors LL Bean turn the standard black rubber flip-flop into something more than the heavy duty utility of reinforced webbing. With the pink/lilac lobsters, khaki/royal lures, navy/rainbow trout, green/yellow dragonflies and several options of basic stripes, they keep it simple, but give it a dash of fashion… turning something one step above shower shoes into something that is part personal declaration, part joyous whimsy and yes, part deeply committed preppy. Still for the durability and $17.95 pricetag, this is the kind of toss-in the car, toss-on in the rain footwear that makes its bones not from how it looks, but how it functions. That there’s je ne sais croix is a bonus.

We’ll Never Turn Back—Mavis Staples

   Freedom songs from a frontline soul singer who lived it. Produced by roots icon/slide guitaroso Ry Cooder, this is the mustard seed of faith in works, truth in song, passion in performance and witness as wailing woman throwing down. There’s nothing overwrought or more jubilant as Mavis Staples shivers and writhes with total emotional release through the gospel exhortation of “Jesus Is On The Mainline,” the keep-on-keeping-on churn of “Eyes on the Prize” or the innocently committed “This Little Light of Mine.”

   With a voice that is the essence of earth, sunshine and the power of the wind, Staples was part of the gospel/soul missionaries the Staples Singers, who interjecting the notion of “Respect Yourself” during the turbulent ‘60s cultural revolution. Here, looking back and through her own and Cooder’s originals, she harvests a legacy that she herself sowed, tended and deserves to reap. Put it on and feel sanctified in a way we may not have earned, but can certainly inhabit.

Brave enough to be scared

   Bravery doesn’t mean you’re never scared, it means you work through it. And it’s only those willing to acknowledge, perhaps even endure the fear who come to understand the true sense of courage. Bravery is about facing up to it, staring it down, knowing you might not get it done, but making the best effort you’ve got. To be scared is to be brave, Remember that the next time your hands shake, your stomach falls or swims or you feel like your breath won’t come. If you’re scared, just knowing it is the on-ramp to being brave: name it, claim it and it’s already halfway vanquished… as simple as that.

No Oil Mustard Vinagrette

   1/4 to 1/2 cup rough Dijon mustard. Chopped Shallot. Good dash (or two) Lea & Perrins. Fresh cracked pepper. Pinch sea salt. Tarragon or Basil (three good pinches if dry, several leaves chopped and bruised if fresh).    Enough balsamic vinegar to liquefy.
Put all of the above in a jar. Put lid on. Shake until thoroughly mixed. Low cal, big flavor.

“Gene Simmons Family Jewels” A&E

One of my most very most normal - and utterly fun—girlfriends is obsessed. As an expert on art married to a man who’s building his second courier business, she can’t understand the excess and the almost cartoonish nature of the KISS bassist’s life. She is transfixed by what is almost kabuki cartoonishness filtered through a sweat-stained cod-piece. Yes, Simmons has a wife, but she’s a former Playboy Centerfold and paramour do Hefner - and their his’n'hers are trips to the plastic surgeon. The kids are suitably horrified, yet enjoy the privileges that come with rock’n'roll fathering…

   For reality tv that makes absurd seem generous, this is the stuff.