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

October 2007

October 2007
: Friend of a Farmer, Soft Addictions, Green Tea Mojitos & Chinese Proverbs


Gramercy Park Hotel Lexington + 21st

   If Alice in Wonderland had a hotel, this would be it. Giant artwork from contemporary art’s brightest names… an aviary rooftop bar that is sunny and gardens and Florida and British… larger than most rooms turned out in velvets, leather, heavy dark woods and shades of persimmon and poison green… It is posh in the best way, lush in the luxe sense, fabulous right down to the thick tassels that hang from one’s door knob to command “Do Not Disturb.”

   IPod docking stations, flat screen tvs, exotic personal care products, tippy-top shelf inini bar items and a British club feeling bar that adjoins a more Sin-feeling slice of cocktail elegance. A roaring fire in the lobby, punctuated by more fantastic oversized furniture and a staff that isn’t just courteous, but friendly and sickly knowledgeable, this may be the most wonderful hotel experience in Manhattan right now: whimsy meets yummy with a sense of old school, vintage charm.

Healing with Whole Food: Oriental Traditions & Modern Nutrition 
Paul Pitchford

   This is a thick, but simple book that can cross reference symptoms, offer dietary causes and cures—and presents it in plain enough language that it makes perfect sense. With variations on the themes and symptoms,   Pitchford is about narrowing in on whatever it could be - and allowing people to put the nutritional aspects of food into play for protecting their own health.

   While no one I know eats to live, it doesn’t mean they want to let their eating kill them. Here is the one spot user’s guide to what works, what doesn’t and why. You can look things up as needed, commit to the nearly phone book sized volume or land somewhere between. No matter how you embrace this dietary notion of health from the East, you’re going to come out so far ahead of where you were, even if you falter, it’s not funny.

The End of the Run

   Sometimes you just get to the end, and it’s done. Over. The elation, exhilaration, exhaustion and satisfaction that is completion. When you just wanna bask in the wow of what is, savor the expanse of what’s been achieved, the end of the run is its own reward.


Kane Welch Kaplan  Kieran Kane, Kevin Welch, Fats Kaplan

   They weren’t quite rogues or drifters, more poets who hung their laundry on clotheslines of melody. Back before there was Americana, there was Kevin Welch and the O’Kanes and a high, lonesome sense that drifted through the post-Steve Earle//Dwight Yoakam/Lyle Lovett credibility scare that made singer/songwriters more romantic than whiny tellers of their own stories.

   Kevin Welch and Kieran Kane held the beacon high and let the flame burn hot. Hushed vocals only meant leaning that much closer—and with that transfixative aura, they lure the listener closer with a taut sense of haunted, haunting chords and notes, left with plenty of room for their essence to drift out. It is the potency of the starkness that catches you: who knew a hush could be so penetrating? And then they sing… in a commingling somewhere between Chet Baker and the Bristol Sessions… with voices that are the essence of life, the witness of experience, the reasons to persevere and believe.

   If you read John Steinbeck or Willa Cather, look at Alfred Steigleitz’s black and white images, savor the paintings of TC Cannon, quake at the virility of Thomas McGuane or Cormac McCarthy, then this is a song cycle of truth unfiltered, beauty in its unburnished glory and love flung across the sky.

Blue Corn Waffles 
Restaurant @ the top of Aquinnah Cliffs, Martha’s Vineyard


   The view is amazing: jagged cliffs, waves crashing below, the Atlantic stretching out all cerulean and sparkling before you. Their ambience inside is mid/high coffee shop—and outdoors it is sub-beaten picnic tables where they sea gulls will sweep in for your food. Yet the smell of salt air and sea grass, the roar of the ocean tossing about and the taste of a really good breakfast make this a most enlivening start to one’s day.


Gloria Soli Bangle Hermes

   The night sun and a carpets of celestial bodies on a dark blue background. It speaks to the stars we steer by, the power of the night sky, the vastness of the cosmos. And it all comes banded with two thin borders of silver or gold. To punctuate one’s wrist with the cosmic odyssey, Hermes once again delivers a wondrous enameled bracelet that evokes, states and sparkles in their decidedly singular way.

Bouche  Newbury Street, Boston

   Imagine if you will an almost franchised merging of NYC’s trendy bistro francaise Pastis and Balthazar. It exists - the farflung francoise menu, the clean ingredients, the airy boite feeling. And it is all so very, very good.

   Classic basic French fare—moules, onion soup covered in good quality swiss, beet salad, a variety of quiche, as well as crepes savory and sweet, a steak frites—is rendered without the fuss, but it’s the more creative takes on soul food that will make you think of the year old tile-floored and wide open two-story restaurant. The flat bread of duck confit, melted leeks and cheve is a very thin crust cooked to crispness, infused with olive oil or perhaps even the lethally deadly, wickedly good clarified butter is its own temptation. And that’s just scraping the surface,,,


“Interview”

   Steve Buscemi does an impossibly indie—in all the best ways—examination of celebrity, the media, narcissism, indulgence, pragmaticism and the double-faced parasitic relationship between the famous, the people who consume them and the journalists who provide the perspective. A bubbling cauldron of resentments, anger, weakness, aspirations thwarted and alive and the truncated truth of what really happens which is often obscured by the fronting public persona, “Interview” matches Buscemi as a political/war reporter busted down to celeb-profiling with Sienna Miller as a paranoid glamazaon of the moment whose smart enough to know the score, but not savvy enough to emerge from the valley of B comedies, bad horror films and atrocious tv series.

   Laying all the jagged elements that create sustained public gaze bare, showing up the hollowness of lives lived in a zone of callowness and callousness and pulling back the veil on just how harsh and brutal both worlds are, this is the critical mass of bold faced pressed between the pages of how the words hit the paper. Tightly written, shocking turns, lean but raging performances, the manic nature of engagement between the indulged and the looking for the dirtiest margin of defendability possible. Anyone who is sick of muckraking, scandal sheets or celebreality can watch this and understand the dynamics that fuel the glittery patina of fixation and misrepresentation in the name of a sexier story.

“How doth the little crocodile…” Lewis Carroll

   Sometimes just being a little silly eases so very many things. I repeat this little poem from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland any time I need to break the momentum. Try it… and see.


Arnica Gel

It’s clear and absorbs right in. Not exactly a warming agent or a relaxing cream, arnica goes straight to the troubled area and begins undoing the damage—hurrying the heal. It’s like a kiss on a booboo, but in a tube. Max and Eli, my two jocktacular buddies, swear by it, and the way they sweat, strain and scrape, I believe in whatever they endorse.


Bowling at Night  Chelsea Piers, New York

   There are bars and smoky clubs, movies and coffee houses. But to find a bowling alley with killer tunes, late night light and cold beer on tap, well, it’s a much more kicked back, chilled out harbinger from another time. It’s more physical than you remember, but also a catalyst for all kinds of laughter—and given that no one in your proximity is probably playing in a league, the great equalizer.

   A hodgepodge party of mismatched one from column a, two from column b found found themselves at said place a week or two ago. Much laughter, provocative conversation, a few introductions and mostly just a throwdown good time. Even if you can’t get to the Piers, there’s somewhere near you… a far more literal laissez bon temps roulez worth embracing.

Listening to the Storm Blow In

   You almost feel it, more than hear it. But it’s there, that low whistling, the slight sound of wind in the leaves. A storm just doesn’t tear in, it moves with slow authority, imposing itself gradually enough that you can almost be a kite tail on its waves.

   To experience the moan and the slow rush is to understand the power of sonics… the way things build up, frenzy without getting overwhelmed by it. To experience nature from the inside out, lie on the floor—or your bed—and just let those gusts buffet you along without ever moving..

Hotel Society  LaBrea, Los Angeles, CA

   The kind of chambre boheme that wafts of loucheness and elegance, decadent commonalities and the occasional flash of brilliance. For singer/songwriters looking for a room that offers the respect and dignity the best work deserves—and for lovers of high creation, this is the kind of oasis in a slick puddle of commercial desperation. Atmospherically, it spins a vibe and a moment that works—and acoustically, it gives the performances room to breathe and be savored.

“If you want to build a ship, don’t up people together to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks a

   It is that simple: if there is yearning, there is a way. If people pine for something, they will create the means, the moments, the reality to support what they mean. More than the actual physicality, there is desire—and there is no elixir more powerful or engaging.

Peach Blackberry Cobbler w Sweet Corn Ice Cream 
Hammersley Bistro, Boston, MA

   Gordo Hammersley could be the Jeff Gordon of the flaming range, but that’s just one aspect of the man who created the world’s BEST roast chicken. On a recent night, in that room with walls the color of sunlight as it warms the morning, his robust American flavors were particularly expansive. A carrot cake napoleon, a bruleed cheesecake were both heaven, but the pinnacle of freshness, baked until the nuances practically exploded of the fresh peach and blackberry cobbler was an intensity special that was full immersion.

   Just the quality of the fruit slowly cooked down alone would be enough. But the crumble on top, chunky without being all flour, spicy without being cinnamon sugar creates a counter taste that’s a bit spicy snap to the earthy tart/sweet of the fruit. And then slowly melting over all is ice cream made from… corn? As odd as it sounds, the sweet of summer corner at its peak melts into the cream and creates a cooling mellowing agent that merges all three elements together.

Basic Dress Cool Change

   The ultimate throw-it-on-n-go surfer girl dress. High end rayon with straps that tie at the shoulders, flecked with what could be ink or rain drops. Whether something warm and tropical like the persimmon/cantaloupe marvel, the working horse mushroom/turquoise or the sky’n'sea turquoise deep plunged neck, gathered waist and softly falling to the knee skirt, it’s easy to wear and can go anywhere with the proper accessories. Packs down to nothing, instant pull over the head and out the door.


“You (Got It)” The Babys

   Occasionally, a lot or overlooked in the moment treasure lands at my feet. With its sweeping acoustic guitars, whirling string sections and the winsomeness of John Waite as a young man, this track embodies the intersection of hope and yearning. With simple details—“you said you’d come around, so stockings can’t be found on my floor no more…”—the once upon a time pop rock band strikes a pastoral chord of wonder, recognition in the unknown of desire at a deeper level and just enough sweetness to hold your ear. Fire it up. Remember when.

Free Food for Millionaires Min Jin Lee

   Delicately written book about class, education, aspiration and the reality of the gaps between the haves, the wants and the price one pays to transcend. Tracing the intertwined lives and expectations of a bright young Korean woman with a Princeton education and an obfuscated life path, Lee raises questions of the quest for more, the notion of entitlement obscuring what it takes to arrive in the zone of the entitled and the conflict of tradition in the face of the brave new acquisitive model.

   A sad book filled with sobering lessons, it is honest in its gentleness, yet takes the breath away with its frankness and insight. As a debut novel, especially one that tackles the unspoken truths of the separation between the very rich and the merely successful, the ethnic traditions of old world Koreans and the shifting line of how one expresses their heritage, this is a masterwork of execution, style and the way a story well-told moves you along at its own rhythms.

Hilly Kristel, Luciana Pavarotti RIP

   It seems polemic, and yet… each blazed a path into the pop culture mainstream from the most unlikely of places. And both were completely individuals, maintaining their truth, uniqueness and passion for what they did in the increasingly consuming gaze of the masses.

   The King of the High Cs made the highest of classical musics a pop reality - and the supply muscular ripple that he emitted took the great operas and made them communicate to the core beyond where people use words. It was a luxurious gift Pavarotti bestowed by following his heart and his muse - which is where the great Italian tenor and the Bowery barkeep had common ground.

   For Hilly Kristel, the man who created the legendary Country Bluegrass Blues club intending to lean more organic, actually became Ground Zero for the American punk movement—playing host and serving as clubhouse to the Ramones, Blondie, Television, the Dead Boys, Talking Heads and Patti. Again, taking something universes from the mainstream infusing it with enough charge that people couldn’t look away and allowing it to take root shifted the paradigm of music here - and abroad.

Spicy Thai Kettle Chips


   “Ginger with attitude” proclaims the package, but that only begins to tell the story. Like the best Thai stir fry, it’s a subtly complicated flavor fest that hits the palette. Yes, ginger and cilantro—and something sort of sweet? But not sugar, exactly. And then the fire begins. Slowly, but growing until it is HOT! Jalapeno… cayenne… habenero… even white pepper. The multidimensional crisp chip—cooked in specially pressed sunflower oil—with enough sea salt to sate makes for a decadent mouthful.

Mud Flaps LUSH


  It is a cleansing/treatment bar so rich it almost melts in your hand. Slather it on wet skin in the bath or the shower, feel the creaminess dissolving and sinking in—infusing your body with genuine sea mud and the calming essential jasmine oil. It draws impurities, calms irritation and makes you feel smoother, softer, yummier. You buy it by the slice—and it’s from the natural and largely handmade UK line Lush. For a quick treat that does some serious good, this is a good place to start.
   And while www.lush.com remains a quick and easy option, local outposts are appearing around the country. Most shockingly at Beachwood Place in Cleveland, Ohio—so look around near you.


The Soft Addictions  Michael Stanley

   With a strong commitment to classic electric guitar sounds, Michael Stanley once again raises the bar for what is possible with the topography of want, the dissolution of love, life and even the American Dream. These are big songs about people you might never notice, about urges that will not die, truths that can’t be denied and finding dignity for those who come up short but carry on.
  
  Whether it’s the throbbing title track that beats with raw desire and release, the pensive familial promises of “Same Blood, Different Vein,” the shipwrecked on mainland working class couple fraying at the seams “Back on Lovers Lane” and more ironic “Drinkin’ In The Driveway,” as well as the elegiac survival of “When It’s Time To Dance Alone” and the fantastic coping power of “No Rules When You Dream” that buoys the devastated and desolate. A voice that is strength, wisdom, stoicism tempered with the notion that it’s not over ‘til it’s over, Stanley wrangles the Heartland brand of rock & roll into the tempo of blazing until—and at times in spite of—the ride is over. An article of faith for those who’ve been left behind in the glitter and the dazzling acquisitive world that’s been constructed in avarice.


Zinnias

  Explosions of petals. Exponential daisies. Deep, rich colors that emanate from one point: the abundance of flowers on a single stem. They are not especially elegant or regal, but more welcoming and bright. A common bouquet that wads up in the vase - the more the better - in a way that induces smiles, coaxes confidences over tea and reminds us that the simple basics can be just as inspiring as anything.

“Flight Of The Conchords”  HBO

   A New Zealand folk duo not quite on the verge. Fixing to trying to make it sorta kinda happen. With all the “Spinal Tap” buffoonery that is ego and smacking one’s head against the glass window, “Flight of the Conchords” has reduced entirely too many musicians friends to quivering wads of jello. And for civilians, the ludicrousness of so much of what’s asked for is every bit as silly a good time as you’d hope.
   Worth seeking out—or TIVOing if you can’t watch it live time.

Green Tea Mojito  Bar Charlotte, Millium Hotel - just off Times Square

   Imagine green tea iced tea that bites back! Muddled mint, a bit of sugar, a touch of lime, nice strong rum and enough green tea liquer to tantalize the tongue with that leafy soil essence. The complexity is beyond description, but the way it goes down is an elegant grown-up beverage that’s thirst-quenching without coming across like one more stock-in-trade warhorse or “I’m-so-drunk-y’all” pantydropper.


Unexpected Kindness


   You don’t see it coming. It so flies in the face of everything you know or expect. Those are the moments that fall like silver leaves from heaven. Maybe it’s the person who sees you’re slammed and let’s you go in front of them in line. Perhaps it’s the person who gives you the extra day on your deadline because they know your schedule’s blown up - and they’d rather you breath while you write. Maybe it’s the chef who sees how much you love his food, and doesn’t just send you a delicious bit of this or that, but lets you eat to your hearts content, then announces that your pleasure settles the bill.

   We have no right to expect it, obviously, but the more grateful we are, the more it seems to occur. And the more we do the unexpected, but kind thing, the better we feel about the state of the world we’re creating. It is a simple axiom, but one that makes life on this great big rock so much sweeter in the end.

Ottimo Gelato Sandwich Ciao Bella Co

   Expresso gelato between chocolate cookies. Or gingerbread cookies sandwiching lemony crisp gelato. It is the kind of very haute homemade indulgence that makes decadence worth occasionally stepping off the curb of self-restraint for. They are almost a meal in themselves, they are so rich… and the density of the flavors will stay with you for hours after.
   Every now and then a classic gets reinvented in a way that changes the way we value it. This is one of those recastings that hits the mark rather than creating a reflexive pretension gag factor. Mmm.


Mind Reading: How To Know What People Are Really Thinking Psychology Today, Sept/Oct

   People give their thoughts and intentions every day—and this elucidating cover story does wonders to bring you into the signs of what’s really going on inside people’s pretty little heads. This isn’t instant ESP, just add water… nor is it seeing someone’s “aura is so purple.”

    It’s common sense that will help dissolve misunderstandings and cross-purposes, create harmony and comprehension and avoid the conflicts that come from ego battles, hurt feelings and insults taken but not given. In a world where heightened clarity and compassion can only make life easier, this is a pretty great place to start.

Zelda + the Mini Cooper

   The scale is perfect. You put the hot blond in the drivers seat—as if she just doesn’t gravitate there naturally—and it’s as if she will be pulling out any moment. Perhaps no car has ever suited Prada Dada with such exquisite perfection, but truly Ali Berlow’s Red 2003 Mini is the absolute Cinderella glass slipper ride for a beautiful cocker spaniel who is as stylish as she is soulful.


Bow Ballet Flats  The Gap


   Small practical flats that’re detailed enough to have style as well as substance. Bows on the toes, rubber soles to take the beating, pony fur in solid black and brown, as well as giraffe spots and zebra stripes. The heels are heart shaped and the price point under 40 dollars. For that kind of money, one could almost have a pair for work and a pair for whimsy.

Friend of the Farmer 77 Irving Place, bet 18th & 19th, NYC

   There in the lower portion of the East Side, Manhattan nestles in this quaint wood-hewn and ceramic-strewn outpost of basic food. Farm-fresh tasting, homey and cozy, it’s the kid of place you’d go when you needed the antidote from the rush, push and zoom zoom of the big city. The strawberry rhubarb pie with the crumble topping is properly tart, but it’s the chicken pot pie with it’s lattice crust that will cause you to bow your head in grace.

   Breakfast boasts pumpkin pancakes with apple butter, home made pastries, omelets served in individual cast iron skillets. The coffee isn’t special, just good—and they have iced tea that is really brewed. It’s back to the basics, simply prepared but with the best possible ingredients. If the weather’s right, you can sit on the sidewalk and watch the slowest Manhattan slide by; on a chilly afternoon or evening, go upstairs and see if you can find a table by the fire.

If Barbie’s So Popular, Why Do You Have To Buy All Her Friends? Bumpersticker

Really. Think about it. What else needs to be said?


Songbird Emmylou Harris

   She is the torch-bearer and beacon for all that is good in American music—coming out of the chute with the gift of making rock and rhythm & blues work in strict country idioms. Here, courtesy of A&R wizard James Austin’s foreward vision, the jewels that defined Harris’ work from her earliest duets with Gram Parsons—including a heartbreaking never released duet on the Louvin Brothers’ “Angels Rejoiced”—through collaborations with Beck and the Pretenders are all about the integrity of the song and the individuality of her vision.

   With a silvery voice that is the essence of sparkling creeks, the caress given to “One Paper Kid,” the gospel “In The Garden,” Guy Clark’s plainspoke amour of “I Don’t Love You Much (Do I),” Townes Van Zandt’s riveting “Snake Song,” Lucinda Williams’ ravaged “Sweet Old World,” her own spare “Prayer In Open D,” the desolate memoir-strewn Steve Earle duet “I Remember You” and Springsteen’s requiemesque “My Father’s House..” Not even cresting the surface, this is a full immersion baptizing of the most decadent and wonderful realm.

MetroMint Water Peppermint



   There is something about a hint of mint that makes water in plastic that much better, Clean pure whatever when there’s seepage from the synthetics that hold it. Add that dash of peppermint, and it’s what you taste going down. Great at room temperature, absolutely the most chilled out imbibement once you get it on ice.

“Rock Star” video Nickleback


  They got the rock stars, the porno girls, the jocks, the guy on the street, they’re all there, swaggering and singing about the life they’ll lead when they’re a rock star. And in a rare show of humility, the band waits until the clip is about over before interjecting themselves into the cut… making them the vehicle for everyone else’s witness. Clever and Everymanish, this is the collective fantasy tapped and exhorted in the real and the moment.

Italian Pasta

   America has some dodgy rules about genetically altered crops. Europe is more ironclad. If you want to know the pasta you’re about to eat is from actual wheat and not something that has been doctored in a way that could impact you on a cellular structure, all you have to do is buy Italian. Aside from being impossibly authentic and the tiniest bit exotic, the few extra cents are an insurance policy that’s hard to beat.

Jail Guitar Doors

   Instituted by iconoclastic punk-folkie Billy Bragg to capture the blazing social consciousness of the Clash’s humanistic politics, Jail Guitar Doors is designed to purchase instruments and get them into jails so the inmates can practice what they learn in their prison music programs. To be able to practice beyond the classroom is the key to success—and Bragg has put his talent where his convictions are.
 
  As Johnny Clash, Bragg reprised the upstart Brit band’s “Old Clash Fan Fight Club” for a benefit single—as a way of capturing their commitment to helping those less fortunate and offer up an audible power-to-the-working-people reminder that we can shift the paradigm through small gestures. To put music in the hands of people who could use the redirection, to rave and revel in the surge and thrill of insurrectionist activism, this cause - active in the UK and the USA - is a smart way to go.

www.jailguitardoors.org.uk

Jail Guitar Doors

   Instituted by iconoclastic punk-folkie Billy Bragg to capture the blazing social consciousness of the Clash’s humanistic politics, Jail Guitar Doors is designed to purchase instruments and get them into jails so the inmates can practice what they learn in their prison music programs. To be able to practice beyond the classroom is the key to success—and Bragg has put his talent where his convictions are.
 
  As Johnny Clash, Bragg reprised the upstart Brit band’s “Old Clash Fan Fight Club” for a benefit single—as a way of capturing their commitment to helping those less fortunate and offer up an audible power-to-the-working-people reminder that we can shift the paradigm through small gestures. To put music in the hands of people who could use the redirection, to rave and revel in the surge and thrill of insurrectionist activism, this cause - active in the UK and the USA - is a smart way to go.

B Vitamins


   They quell the nerves, nourish the body. These are the supplemental secret weapon that brings so many of the nutrients together. 6, 9 and 12, not to mention a little folic acid. Wash it down with the knowledge that anything you don’t need is going to be swept from your system, this is an easy way to cover your body’s needs without having to worry about excess build-up.

South of the Snooty Fox Sterling Harrison

   This is the hot damn, sure ‘nuff real live soul throwdown of the oldest, phunkeeiest kind. Working the cocktail lounges and clubs of lower South Central LA, Harrison is the kind of rough/smooth old school rhythm & blues rasper that defines the steam, the funk and the grit that is raw spark and total execution. Working a varied menu of obscurely classic gems—“You Left The Water Running,” “I’ll Take Care of You,” “A Nickel and A Nail” and “Don’t Mess With My Money”—Harrison heats up the groove, grinds and soothes through his songs with a smolder that threatens to torch one’s very exhaustion at the end of a too long week.
 
  In a world where Friday night is its own liberation, a consummate performer like Sterling Harrison is the revelry master for people who know how to kick out the jams as a matter of soul salvation. This is serious business in a world where people need to be able to let it all go… Required listening. Amazon.com it right now.

Navy Wool/Cotton Cable V-Neck w Pirate Applique   Flyte

   All cotton. Basic navy cable. Form fitting. Yet that felt skull and crossbones, whipstitched down like some first grade art project has a certain tilted punk attitude to it. Prep school girl gone sideways in the chute, a bit of ravage and rage for the proper knee sock and pleated skirt set.


Anne Boleyn: A New Life of England’s Tragic Queen Joanna Denny

   In many ways, little is known—and yet, that provides a fertile field for Denny to plow, digging in and researching one of Henry VIII’s most cruelly treated brides. For to be the object of desire was to be queen, but in a fickle world, it was also the beginning of the end.
  
  Historical, factual, vital. A glimpse into a Hellish man, his impossibly seductive being and the rise of a romance that turns to an impossible fate, Well-written and worth the read.

Okay Café Atlanta, GA

   Rolling North on 75, it just looks like one more not-quite-ready-for-syndicated-dining proposition. The corner of W. Paces Ferry and Northside Drive. A place where they understand that chicken fried should be pounded not chopped, and battered not breaded, that turnip greens should have a bite and that squash casserole is supposed to be a cloud of summer sunshine. It is the meat + three taken to a rib-sticking down homeyness that still has bite where its supposed to and melts where it’s not.
   The coconut cake is narcotic. Three big layers. White frosting. Liberal dusting of coconut. Save room; you’ll be glad you did.

Bluegrass Sunset Menemsha, MA


   In some ways the ultimate indie cred tourist trappings, the notion of an organic bluegrass band made up of scruffy young men playing acoustic instruments “as if” they have no interest in the world of pop culture. Realistically, Yee Haw have a serious reverence for Appalachian classics and slowed down mainstream country - and as the sun slides from the sky into the waters of the Atlantic spilling blood red, Tang orange and burnished gold all across the waves, it makes the blaze that much brighter.
  
  There are rocks extending into the water; gas pumps on the deck for the boats to refuel and people scattered everywhere. It is the spirit of community that makes the night a reason to come together—and the music serves to underscore the power of people bonded for beauty rather than commerce. Majestic, impossibly farflung, absolutely the divinity of nature.


“When you have only two pennies left in the world, buy a loaf of bread with one and a lily with the

   Some people get so consumed with the basic, with churning the fundamentals, they miss the important of pleasure and beauty. In a world of rush and catch-up, it is the things that take our breath away that feed our deepest recesses and inspire us to be more. In those moments that off the sublime in the tiny detail, you need to reach for the thing that inspires you. Bread is necessary, but inspiration is oxygen and blood combined: make yours draw in and rush harder.

www.defamer.com

   Los Angeles bold-faced gossip with no holds-barred. It is the down low and the down’n'dirty. If you need a bubbly break from the serious, but one that’s delivered with some modicum of journalistic protocol, this is a quickie that refreshes. Click it and see.

Cielo Anejo

   It is smoky, like a puff of some burning bit of wonder. It hits the tongue, spreads out and is gone - leaving just a haunted breath of tequila where the warm wet once was. In a world where there is more than enough common cactus water, Cielo is the high end whisper that intoxicates through its taste


Acupuncture Clinic Vineyard Complementary Medicine

   Fours tables, open windows, lots of breathing. The always miraculous Faye Konjie moves from horizontal body to horizontal body, reading meridians, looking at tongues and assessing just which points require pressure, needles or gentle massage. It is 30-45 minutes - half a tradition session—but the results are close enough to a completely appointment not to matter.
  

  With tuning forks and bowls integrated to intensify the therapeutic benefits, the Clinic protocol seems to capture the collective energy - making everyone’s needles work for everyone else. It is about the energy shifting, moving, settling… and in that room that smells of lavender, one’s spirit settles and the chi finds its best current.

“We Own The Night”

   Robert Duval, Donnie Wahlberg, Joaquim Phoenix are locked in a brother-against-brother morality pas de deux with the patriarch standing as the ultimate barometer of morality. Wahlberg as the cop on the rise; Phoenix embodying the party promoter wavering on the edge of legit and corrupt, this is a collision of two worlds, one family, high stakes and the taut nerve fraughtness that is life and death with stakes that’re business, the drug trade, the police force and the kinds of high tension psychological drama laced with Bronson-esque violence. Harkening back to the golden era of Clint Eastwood tough guy dramas or “Dirty Harry” stoicism.

Fresh Cut Lavender


   Stalks of it, fresh and plump. Lay it on a bedside table or put it on a window sill where the sun’s rays will release the scent at its most lush into the air. Fresh cut lavender has a greenness to it that encircles one’s brain and invites the tension to whirl into the atmosphere. For anyone who finds the essential oil to overpowering, this is the most honest expression of the smell that has come to defined relaxation across the board.


Omni Parker Boston

   Walk into the lobby and look up… Walk into the elevator and look down… Look at the corners of the rooms, the way the seams come together, the polished and carved dark wood, the ornate details and lovely fresh flowers. The dining room is elegant in a formal, yet inviting way—and the bar feels clubby without creating an exclusivity about everyone but you.
  
  As old school sophistication in a faster, deeper, more plastic world goes, this is what graciousness was - and should be. It’s not about how luxe, but more the luxury of what you know rendered in a way that offers aspiration as something comfortable rather than pretentious.

Pink + Lime Green Soccer Ball Life Is Good

   The black and white standard gets a Muffy recasting that fairly shrieks to little girls: Play Me! And why not? In a world where everything is straight up and down, neutral, unexceptional, this blazes and streaks as a testimony to a preppy nation that doesn’t seek recognition so much as bits of joyful expression of the Technicolor turbopastels that define its palette.

Mobile Chicken Processing Unit

   It is a rolling slaughter apparatus for chickens. In a world where locally grown is coming to be synonymous hand-made clothing, the MPU allows poultry to be processed and plucked in a way that minimizes the stress hormones from fear and maximizes the freshness of the meat to be eaten. Streamlined, unassuming, highly mobile, it allows farmers to complete the process of raising their chickens on their very farm - rather than crating, carting and then having to deliver the bird post-slaughter. In a world we’re brokered the notion that meat is raised on Styrofoam trays, these are real birds going through the final stages of the cycle of consumption—and it is as humane and honest as the reality of farming can be.


Salty Oat Cookies

   Who knew that sea salt on a basic confection could bring out the butter, the brown sugar, the raisins in such impossible ways. Maybe it’s the contrast, or perhaps the salt increases the savory aspects of each, but regardless, the Salty Oat is as satisfying as a bowl of oatmeal - rendered as a cookie and an absolutely almost nutritious bit of snacktime that you don’t quite have to feel guilty about.

Play It As It Lays Patti Scialfa

Organically funky, wide open soulful and - especially - raw. If you wanna go to the proverbial crossroads and understand what the blues moan, the hillbilly wail and the canyon of a woman’s love sounds like, one need only to embrace the Jersey girl’s latest album. Raking her nails across the horizon, she pulls strips of the way we live, weep, hope and let go in a lyrical style that is polaroidal bound by barbed wire.
  

Whether it’s the chug-chugging “Run, Run, Run,” which turns the vintage girl groups record into a juke jointer, “ the spark seeking “Looking for Elvis” or the lagging soul search of the title track, this the sort of record that floats to the top rather than bears down on you. It is a woman unadorned, and knowing that is more than plenty enough. Oh, if we should all be so aware.