The grand man of American letters as they applied to golf has passed away. In a time of blogs, fast-turns, cheap verbage and one-ups-manship, Herbert Warren Wind celebrated a gentlemen’s game with a holy reverence that made even casual players, fans and believers in great writing pause, then become a little more resolved to aim a little higher and truer in the way they viewed the world. Poetry is where you find it, and for people slogging the 9-to-5, where it’s about hitting the marks and fulfilling the tasks, Wind’s elegance offered a boost to something more. Helping Ben Hogan write perhaps the most classic instruction book ever—Ben Hogan’s 5 Lessons: the Modern Fundamentals of Golf—Wind served the masters of the sport well. Writing for both Sports Illustrated and The New Yorker, the man who coined the phrase “Amen Corner” for Augusta’s most temerity-challenging holes—11, 12 and 13—cast a golden glow on the most zen sport of all, and his legacy is something we should consider as we move through this world.
A long time contributing editor at Rolling Stone, Anthony DeCurtis works pop culture in the realms of soul, heart and creation. His interviews are about where it came from, what it means, how it impacts - and what does it makes the artist feel. Collected now—for the first time—are the very best of the best of Decurtis’ conversations with some of the most vital artists of our time. If the creatives were mere mortals and we had DeCurtis’ broad-spectrum experience, our conversations with Bono, Paul McCartney, Woody Allen, Van Morrison, Bryan Ferry, David Bowie, Al Pacino, Pete Townsend, Marilyn Manson, Jackson Browne and Martin Scorcese would be this easy and erudite. Broken into Retrospective looks at moments and movements, the spiritual life, getting beyond irony, styles of masculine will, Cash Family values, songwriters and directors, we gain insight into the world the creatives view and the way they shift how we see it.
A thing constructed or put together from materials at hand. Something made for whatever happens to be handy. French in origin—and taken from the verb bricoler which means “to do odd jobs”—bricolage is the tossed salad or crazy quilt of taking what’s there, bringing the disparate elements together and creating some larger, shinier reality. The ultimate in-the-moment celebration of what is, what can be and how much light and loveliness can created from scraps, bricolage is the ultimate way of heightening all that we’re given in one neat tidy word.
The ones who truly matter are never gone for good. Faith. Gentleness. Being open. Reaching out. Gotta check the ego, the need to be right, the way high to “oh, yeah”—and love everything great about each other. In the end, it’s a short life, the ones who are part of your soul from the inside out, they can return if we let them—and if we do, then how sweet the reunion. Pride goeth before the fall—and between people who should be together—and that seems foolhardly to the 12th power. Look inside yourself, savor the good and fly on wings that’re unfettered by what was and buoyed by the things that stand out.
A smokey voiced alto who could sparkle, bubble, ache and quake with desire. Nicolette Larson—with exquisite folk, bluegrass, pop, rock taste—embodied the exuberance of the ‘80s like almost no one else in her braids, rollerskates, satin jogging shorts, Mexican peasant blouses and mondo-high-beam smile. Whether a percolating take on Jessie Winchester’s romping “Rhumba Girl,” the traditional bluegrass of Ira & Charlie Louvins’ “Angels Rejoiced,” the upwards spiraling of Little Feat’s “Don’t You Do it” or Neil Young’s swelling humanistic Top 5 “Lotta Love,” Larson could swing around genres, emotions and moments like a crescent moon—and shine while she did it. To remember when pop music was fun and credible, one need go no further.
Steps cut into a steep hill. Wood planks set into the grade, tree roots clinging to both rock and step, making it a twisting, ankle-taunting climb—and yet. Aside from the thrill of the 250 foot ascent, the sense of accomplishment, breath pressing the lungs in ways that say “look what you just did” and the way you can feel the blood rushing to your muscles, the top of “the Ridge” has a majestic serenity as the Cumberland Valley’s lush greenery rolls out and away from you. To feel the full sweep of Mother Nature’s fertility, one only need to make the climb—and marvel at how vast the emerald leaves, old trees and fecund soil can be.
It almost evaporates right on your tongue, yet plummets you straight to the depth of old vines, rich soil, the warmth of slow sun and the quench of gentle rain. An 11-generation family vineyard, the Girardin Burgundies are known as some of the finest in the Cote-d’Or—and the deep color and ephemeral richness mark it as something to be drunk with ruminative friends as a way to heighten what you remember, what you believe, what you share and just as importantly, what you dream.
The worst seats say everything. Soooo far up that the wind whips, the action is pure flea circus, the air thin: it’s a temple for the ones who just need the moment—and can find the glory from the fringes. Up there, you can weigh how vast it, bask in the expanse of that which is playing out before you. The top of the stadium—like the top of the world—lays it all out before you, with a perspective that’s almost holy and a freedom that jettisons anyone else’s thoughts or expectations.
Sometimes it just ain’t that important. Step back. Weigh the reality. If it doesn’t change reality, keep walking.
Just the kinda thing the ice cream man woulda had back when. Decent all chocolate chocolate chip cookie encasing some pale green mint ice cream. The taste of preservatives letting you know how common the pleasure is, the cookie cold and crunching, the ice cream light and refreshing. The peppermint patty trip not lost on you, yet the melting down your wrist gratification taking you back to a more innocent, laughter-basted time. If not for the gustorial burst, then the return to childhood express lane.
A quirky tale of a free-spirit who led with her heart, but followed her rootlessness, casting love wherever it fell and savoring the moments with gusto, it is the extended play sequel to Kix Brooks’ bruised eye-on-the-horizon post-cold-settling-on-the-sheets #1 for the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band “Modern Day Romance.” Told from the survivor’s perspective—a man who can wistfully look into the horizon and utter the sweetest “damn” in her honor—it opens with a fistful of snapshots from a year in the-madly-in-love, but corners on the notion “the wild wind blows/and anything goes/ as long as it’s over the line/ I gave her my best/ but her West/ was wilder than mine.” And Brooks’ vocals are proper wistful/respectful/hell, yeah. Inhabited as a survivor who knew that as jagged as the rocks he’s washing up on, it’s the sweetest ride he’ll ever have—and memories are more than not knowing.
Aloe vera to moisturize. Bees wax to condition and fill in. Neutrogena comes after dry, chapped lips with their usual dermatologist-tested formulas—and with a taste of honey and just enough body to create a sense of something going on, this makes one look finished while fixing a problem that never seems to just fix itself. Easily accessible, Lip Nutrition splits the difference between make-up and product with a tip of the hat to both facets.
They are heavy, quality paper—beautifully created. Simple. Plain. Vibrant colors that are so deeply cast, they almost twitch from their intensity when you look at them. The Motel Papers line captured my eye; calling cards with envelopes, note cards as well. And yes, the pink and somewhere between emerald and lime green spoke to my “stealth Muffy,” but they do a gorgeous lilac and somewhere between cerulean and sapphire that’ll steal your breath, in addition to a terra cota and deeper blue, and well, see for yourself. Found the line in 3 or 4 different stores as I’ve traveled, and at first resisted due to the price point, but once I fingered the goods, I was pulled out from the shore. After all, if you’re gonna take pen in hand to offer whatever thought your recipient has earned, you should honor the exchange, the reader, the moment with something that is utterly worthy of it all.
I asked one of my late-30-something friends how she knew she wanted to marry her husband. Pursing her lips into a bow of “OH!” with eyes clear and bright, she didn’t even blink—just burst into her billion dollar smile all and beamed, “Because I knew I wanted to see this man, this wonderful man every single day for the rest of my life. I wanted to spend every day with him, and what more is there?” So many of us make it stupidly hard on ourselves, drowning in what-ifs, thinking and over-thinking to the point that the biggest, greatest joys and truths drown in minutiae. Rather than creating a mosaic of doubt, step back and take in the picture of beauty. Take it from my smart, funny, gorgeous girlfriend who believed in her heart over her head, threw open the window and flew. If you believe and don’t look down, keep flapping those wings, maintain the sweetness and don’t buy into doubts, you can have love and dreams and anything else you’ll hold in your soul.
When was the last time you surrendered—just flat lay down and gave it all up—to the Phil Spector-esque majesty and glory of Springsteen’s breakthrough masterwork about the heroic losers and no ones railing against the daily indignities who’re caught between the gears of the grind and the urban desolation of invisibility? The way the melodies surge and press, the way bravura arrangements that build to dizzying temples of glory, the lyrics that are barbed wire knots that clip inside and leave you reeling with the rusty details that make it all too real, Clarence Clemmons’ sax blowing a slightly torn elegy for the moment is a reason to believe in music’s transformative power. Yes, the title track was the rev’em up, insight’em to jettison the shackles to make it happen hit, but “Thunder Road” was the romance full cauldron boil—and the stark echoing of “She’s The One” is romantic possession of the most acid-etching sort. Long before “The Sopranos” made HBO a destination for the slice of real mob life, “Meeting Across The River” cast it in High-8 cinema-verita with Roy Bittan’s right hand wandering the top end of the piano. And—for those blessed with the Side 1 and Side 2 reality of LPs—each act’s closer was a benediction of shot-through with the urgency of fetid merging, one demi-yet-full-immersion sexual, the other the passage of gangs and groups, but both are haunted, sweat-soaked and open-throated witnesses to friendships forged by fire—friendships that are so burnt in they last in the fire-pitch of one’s soul even when the actual relationships fall away.
Hawks’ wings don’t have fingers when they’re in flight, their edges are smooth. Vultures wings look like a little kid’s turkey—all tips and valleys. They both have broad spans and strong downstrokes, against the sun either are breathtaking. And now you can impress your friends by knowing the difference AND knowing why.
Pick what you want. Give them a gesture offering. Put them on your couch, against your big fluffy chair, near your biggest picture, with your paint chips—and figure it out. Then take the swatches back, and get your money returned. How fabulous—and common sensical is that? Indeed.
Slightly sweet, definitely tangy, absolutely bitter, callaloo greens are Caribbean in origin and healthier than I’ve got words for by nature. Stewed with tomatoes, they’re positively addictive. In Nashville, Calypso Café‘s got ‘em, but any almost authentic restaurant serving jerk chicken should have it on the menu. For a tastebud exploding trainwreck of yummy, dive in—and add vinegar if they got it.
If you wanna see sunshine trapped under a ball cap with a shock of butter blond hair sticking out, one need only look at Pat Green anywhere and everywhere, but especially onstage—even a stage as big as Washington, DC’s 90,000+ seating FedExField. Boy’s got him a smile so big and shiny, it beams right out of his toes and fingertips, lighting up a drizzly icky day with raw exuberance, musical joie de vivre and a love of the moment we could all learn from. Whether bouncing on his toes or singing about an aging stripper or luring the crowd into a mondo-wave for the way-more-spiritual-than-they realize “Wave On Wave” (“I’m the one you were sent to save/ It came upon me wave on wave” as revelation both romantically and humanistically), he lights up the sky like diamonds on velvet, like fireworks on the 4th of July—and he looks just like the rest of us doing it.
A fast, trashy read that details the ascent of the utterly glamorous, wa(i)fer-thin Vogue editrix, who is the tres chic, utterly cool merging of a mini-greyhound/sphinx morph - and whose life has been the storied stuff that would make Jackie Collins, Aaron Spelling or Erica Jong breathless. She is as much a steely-willed, white-knuckled survivor of a ruthless world—where they gut icons and leaders to assuage ennui—as a well-turned front-row fashion show fixture. Get the answering machine ready if you’re at all tweaked by the dish’n'tell genre ‘cause you won’t be wanting distractions like, oh, people wanting to actually speak to you.
It’s really about what you grow, the way you set it up, the way you make it thrive. How much love, faith, inspiration can you toss into the abyss? And what do you see reflected back to you? Grace, inspiration, flourishment. To see someone stand a little taller, smile a little brighter, believe a little deeper, well, hell, ain’t that the reason we’re all here? Can’t speak for you, but me, hell, yeah—that’s the reason my hand’s in the air.
Play Austin Clark smoking new music, and you better have a lobster bib at the ready. The blow-up dobro player, who can burn it hard it like AC/DC—even working a traditional bluegrass ballad, has a reflexive response to the stuff that matters that supercedes any kind of intellectual process for a to-the-bone blow-up response that says “Pay attention to what you’re hearing.” Better than a canary in a mine or a pig after truffles, when Austin lights up like the heart of Saturday night, you know you got something—and you get to see that much direct-hit shine on in action as a response, which is always inspiring.
Hipsters and chronic tv watchers already know the Caesar’s from the I-Pod touting “Jerk It Out,” which re-animates the Zombies pinwheel-spinning farfisa-driven carnival-on-LSD pop squalor. It is snips and snatches of the pre-psychedelia London scene—the Hollies’ “Long Cool Woman”—and the California immersion in poetry and peyote (Ray Manzerek echoes throughout), yet there’s that dry brittle sonic quality that is leafless branches devoid of moisture clawing one’s windows on a cold lost afternoon. This is rock music writ with big hooks, a little dumb, but perfect for mods and pogo-ing punks alike. A bit of innocence tempered with the freefalling lust of good rock & roll, the mop top hair flying back and forth in its own sort of twist as the lean Merseybeat works against the somewhat flat vocals and dinged up harmonies. No one will mistake it as Sarte or Camus, but a perfect top down summer record in its fromping brusque breeziness.
It’s not very tall, but don’t let the height fool you. On a thin butter-based pastry crust, Barbara puts a serious layer of chocolate, hand places the first spring strawberries, then pours a thick cream that is baked until it sets. That small wedge is gonna take you and a team of 3 to finish—but what little you get done is gonna be heaven on a fork.
In a world of right now, must happen, no excuses, me! Me!! ME!!! This may be the only viable self-defense that can preserve one’s sanity. Just stop. Inhale to an 8 count, exhale to 16. Let your mind roll back and up. Let the focus move to your muscles and release the tension. And if you can only get 5 minutes at your computer, it’s 5 minutes more than you had. But it’s really about letting go, not looking back or down—and moving beyond the realm of what one does to who one is. The soul you save may be your own.
“Mrs. Robinson,” yes, the voracious entitled and ignored wife… but also the nuances of “The Miracle Worker,” the ballet crossroads of “Turning Point,” the firm mother superior of “Agnes of God.” So many roles for a woman who exemplified the lushness of Italian film sirens balanced with the cool elegance of American cinema. Exotic and even, Bancroft died of uterine cancer at 73—and reminds us how soignée a woman living in the real world can be, all thick eye liner, back-combed hair and chic classic clothing with a coolness of demeanor that drew you in. She will be missed.
Sometimes the right tool or reality for the job takes all the stress out. Sometimes the right investment pays off. Sometimes you get to just have your zone—and savor it. So it is with my friend David Farmer. So it is with Marley the Marlin. So it is with dressing a press conference in no time with the ultimate stuffed & mounted prop.
Pay attention. Seriously. Show up. Be aware. Figure out what happened and didn’t happen—see if there’s something there that worked (or didn’t)—repeat [or avoid] as necessary. No greater classroom than making my way through the world—no greater insight into compassion and what’s tenable and how to handle anything between. You don’t have to “seek” or sign up, just breathe and be present.
Nuke the water. Add the oatmeal. Maybe some cinnamon, some walnuts, some raisins. So simple. So easy. So warm hug from the inside out—especially on the days when you just don’t have enough jam to ponder anything more. Perhaps the single greatest luxury thus far this summer.
Too cute, clean, fresh, young, fun bathing suits and cover-ups. Revealing without giving it all away. Modest without being frumpy. Pastels and the kind of brights that mark suburbs like Grosse Pointe, Naples, Shaker Heights, Hobe Sound, this is the cutting edge of the right now preppy chic. And with a slogan of “Quit Your Job/ Buy A Ticket/ Get A Tan/ Fall In Love/ Never Return,” Spencer, the company’s founder/owner, has tapped a mainframe vein of something very, very good.
Slinky old school blues of the most modern cast, Little Milton has one of those lower register moans that is dusty, but settled—a temple of knowing, not guessing. And Milton Campbell wrings emotions from songs with an effortless necessity like it’s a sweaty t-shirt that must be put back on. Produced by Jon Tiven, who’s showing quite a hand as a master of infusing bluesmen with currency, this is an album riddled with killer guitar sounds (the curly-q figure on “Next To You” is pure smile inducing, while the drawling and dragging languidity of “That’s Where It’s At” is the oozing equivalent of an emotional bleeding point).
My friend Bob Deutsch, who I like to call the Keith Richards of shooters ‘cause he’s always right up in it, yet utterly cool [see him all over USA Today], likes to forward this list to his Southern wide-open hearted, lust for experience friend Veronica—a bonding right that gives him the excuse to dialogue on all kinds of stuff. And in the common passage of information, a communion is created—the whole point of this yummy little exercise. Forge the connections, find the sparkle, share with the people you care for, about, deeply. Use it. You’ll be surprised.
Nothing is more sigh-inducing than real good dark chocolate. You can close your eyes, let it melt in your mouth and groove on the slide show of the nuances of cocoa and butter and heavily-fatted milk. This is something beyond the standard issue dark chocolate, something that takes you to jungles of Latin America, yet the more refined chocolate houses of Europe. Slightly restrained, yet utterly imagination-capturing—and the juxtaposition of the tart/sweet/slightly citric currants pops up the contrasts to heighten the lushness of the guilty pleasure. Oversized bars. Wild Oats. Go now.
Anyone who loved the acts that lived between the cracks of the late’70s and ‘80s are gonna think they’ve found heaven at Wounded Bird, a place that offers dignity for the not quites and salvation for those of us whose vinyl has finally lost the battle with time and the elements. They don’t have ALL the records by the bands you love, but you CAN get close (Thin Lizzy’s live record gets you next to “Jailbreak” and “The Boys Are Back In Town,” they have the 2nd Romeo Void with “A Girl In Trouble (Is A Temporary Thing),” which isn’t “Never Say Never,” but it’ll fix in a pinch). We’re talking Ellen Foley’s Night Out. We’re talking a two-on-one disc of Chic’s best albums. We’re talking Jonathan Edwards folkie live eruption, Dave Brubeck’s jazz, J.D. Souther’s most adult record (Long Way Home), the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s initial country albums on 2 packs, Faster Pussycat’s seething pop-metal, J. Geils’ most ranting moments, Patrice Rushen’s jazz-informed pure pop with a dash of soul (who could forget “Forget Me Nots,” as perfect a pop confection as that era delivered?), Firefall’s shiny lush country-tinged pop, Axe’s knuckle dragging rebel metal and Louise Goffin’s flex of the bloodline lean straight-up and down rock, produced by LA session swaggerer Danny Kortchmar. What you liked but never quite caught is here in spades. Thankfully, someone cared enough to excavate—and keep the less than legendary or high-tonnage available. www.woundedbird.com
The man who gave you one of the most romantic, if upside down monologues about letting the perfect love get away over something impossibly small in the grand scheme from one of the most impossibly upside down, romantic films ever—“Chasing Amy”—merges his slacker Gen X references with his secret sweeteness for a book that lays it all down. From the skewering mind that brought you “Clerks” and “Mall Rats” to the impossibly genius deep doctrinal Catholic takedown “Dogma,” Kevin Smith is voice of the transitional generation coming of age right now. Clear, concise, funny, sardonic, eventually iconic, buy it when it comes out at the end of the month.
1) The disgrace or humiliation resulting from shameless conduct. 2) Scornful contempt or reproach. 3) A cause of disgrace. Think of every chance you can lord this over your beer-swilling buddies, or environmentally callous blowhard co-workers. This is the kind of SAT champ that makes you not only seem far more literate than you are (and that goes for me, too), but it skewers from a tower of “oooo” because the best word sometimes is the big one—and now you’ve got it right on the tip of your tongue. You play dumb and nasty, you get spanked. Oh, the opprobrium!
Cranky. Spacy. Zoned-out. Selfish. Overly-tired. Whatever our feet of clay are made of, our truest friends love us through it. The things that make mortals wanna reach for a gun, evoke compassion and laughter in our dearest companions—and remind us of our own sense of humor, by showing us the folly of our ways. No matter how dreadful we are, they understand—and that unconditional reality embrace is what love truly is. Thankfully, I am more than blessed to have this in my life coming in and going out, though there can always be more than what already exists, and that it is the current challenge of living.