Pretzel logic be damned, yet what makes this book truly stand out is the open window to the deepest places of our essence. It is about the mind, the connected energy of who we are at our base. and whether you ever find your way into the transcendental downward facing dog or not, there is much wisdom to pacing, coping, breathing, even self-awareness here that will carry you through the psychotic rush of everyone needing it now NOW Now!!! Grace is within. Perhaps it’s hard to accept, no own our own innate perfection on face value; these quiet exercises—executed beyond the knowing, even—will put you in the midst of everything good about who you are, and leave you marveling at the truth of your being. As perhaps the most hard-boiled cynic most people know, consider what is being said—then consider opening a door to something calm, easy, freeing, and know it’s as easy as reading, sitting, letting go.
A 19th century painting in an antique frame. head bowed, beatific tranquility exuding from the tiniest details. champagne pearls scattered along a tiny chain with apetite drops dangling from the pearls. It sparkles AND grounds, calms and emboldens. All from LA designer Sage, who has grown in her work with gems and metals from a well-measured craftsman to a woman who can change your way of seeing the world—and yourself—through one carefully selected piece.
You feel like hell, there’s no denying it. All the kryptonite, pep talks and don’t feel sorry for yourself/don’t cave lectures in the world can’t change the fact that you’ve run yourself into the ground. You have two options: keep going and play calendar roulette on that trip to the emergency room or surrender and actually respect that life, energy, health is finite. In a world of faster, hurry, more, the latter will save you. Absolutely.
Van Morrison may’ve gotten it wrong. Tupelo honey is sweet, tasting deeply of clover and a wonder in and of itself. But as a big believer in local honey to stave off allergies in the spring, Katama honey found its way into my basket—and it’s earthy subtlety offers up a sense of trees with deep roots and tall branches, winds that toss the sea grass and drive the ocean and a full-bodied remove that opens the mind.
Perhaps no programmer has such exquisite taste as Jody Denberg, KGSR’s resident musical guru—and the writers, pickers, players, singers, dreamers line up to pay homage to the way he sees, feels, hears and dreams their songs in new dimensions. Along with KLRU’s Terry Lickona, the pair created the Austin City Limits Music Festival—another bellweather for how good the concert of in concert can be—and these convergences of talent open up a whole realm of cross-pollination. Sold for charity, Broadcasts casts a broad net—Lyle Lovett, Ozomatli, Patty Griffin, Alejandro Escovedo, Jack Johnson, Tori Amos, the Neville Brothers, John Cale, Glenn Tilbrook (doing a particularly smoky “Black Coffee In Bed”), Mavis Staples, Buddy Miller, Natalie Maines w. Bruce Robeson and Kelly Willis.. You get the idea! Two fabulous, well-curated, musically-stunning discs full.
Like a refugee from A Charlie Brown Christmas, the branches are pale bubblegum maribou—and each arm stretches akimbo from a stick-straight “trunk.“It is the epitome of whimsy, the ultimate kitschy stripper/ retro-vintage-vixen put the “X"back in X-mas tree. A gift from a dear friend who not only gets it, but gets me—a pale pink feather holiday adornment—which shall be covered in black ribbon bows for a year round effect—is the ultimate way to say, “Happy Hollydaze"from here!
As a young woman who witnessed Bono Vox, white flag aloft, climbing through the balcony of Cleveland’s Public Hall—singing “Sunday Bloody Sunday"on U2’s powerful October tour—I know firsthand the thrill of the Irish singer/writer’s political/cultural charge. He is a charismatic witness to the injustices he wants to be seen and remembered, and now—as a rock institution with both pop-culture clout and money and time for proper research into what he’s standing down for—righted. For his work on forgiving Third World debt, African AIDS and world peace, TIME singles out the audacious musician who’s toured as a rock & roll Fellini caricature (“the Fly”) and maintained his straight-edged musicianship right through to How To Dismantle An Atom Bomb. If the culture wars that began in the ‘60s might actually swing to “our"side, this is a good indication that Elvis Costello’s irony (“What’s So Funny ‘Bout Peace, Love & Understanding?”) is being harvested without the wry grin.
One exfoliates, the other keeps skin supple and smooth. One smells like the bits of almond that do the work, the other is barely scented with a suggestion of milk. As affordable decadence, these are simple products that return a strong result, don’t seem overly fifi and nurture the mind and body at a sometimes forsaken (read: chilly) time of year.
It was during the 2nd World War—and our fighter had a battle back home for his girl. He was not a fan fare guy, but a believer in deep, simple gesture. So he took the compass that got him through D-Day, the Battle of the Bulge, the Invasion of Germany and he sent it to her with a note that read, “I hope this helps you find your way.” It did. Straight to the end of the Veteran’s Day Parade in NYC with her heart and her life ready to pass over to the man who believed in the depths of the truth of love. And when I made a major life change, their daughter-in-law left a small compass on my nightstand, then with a soft, kind smile told me the same thing. It is a wonder of inspiration and small beauty in a world that moves too fast going nowhere.
They are growing up, Harry and his young friends. and the challenges they face are more phantasmagoric than ever. To see the effects alone gives disgruntled adults without children a reason to see it. But if you can come with wide-eyes and “ooooooh.“for the tale, all the better—as it is a proving parable of first order.
Paris in the 20s, in the spring. Well, okay, maybe 80 Spring Street - in New York. With it’s teeny marble top tables, peeling and discolored mirrors, bistro food, worn tile floor and deafening volume, this is a boite at its best. The waiters scurry and accommodate even as they rush you - at least until you demonstrate that you’re their to wile away the hours, and then they, too, settle into the languidity of your pace. Or at least, that’s how it is during the slow hours of rumination and conversation about books and life and places in the planet that can happen beyond the peak hours.
A few drops. Just a very few drops. But as your body heat warms the sheets, it opens the lavender up and slowly permeates the room, even as it drops your body into a deeper and deeper state of relaxation. Breathing in, you experience the totality of your bed, relaxation and the unspooling of your mind. breathing out, you can almost physically feel the tension, worry, upset of the day leaving. A basic wonder.
It’s barely the size of an average room. Four rows of pews so close together—and a small podium in the front. Big glass windows with the sun pouring in. White clapboard with a green painted wood door. Bare wood floors. But on a snowy day, at the end of a dirt road no one had traveled that far down—the snow crunching beneath my tires, wrapped in pain and racked with sobs—God was omnipresent. Originally deeded as a place to bring native Americans to Christianity in the mid-1700s, this “new” building for all to pray was re-built in 1824, it’s basic execution a witness to the way faith moves through us all. There are plenty of majestic holy places, but the power of the Holy Spirit infuses the naked trees, the frozen ground, the brittle caw of large black birds that cut through the cold and your soul like straight razors.
An in-depth interview with ‘70s troubadour/emotional excavator Jackson Browne on the eve of the 30th anniversary re-mastered, re-issuing of his seminal road witness Running on Empty, the Goldmine cover story examines the process, the moments, the reasons and the memories. As a writer who had no trouble expressing his inner ruminations and fragile desires and observations, there was an almost Thomas Merton quality to Browne’s pre-Pretender albums that was self-reflective, even as it put the bruised and beautiful glory of a life lived across hand-made melodies of melancholy. There’s some how-it-happened behind the first road document to show what had previously been unseen beyond the footlights, but there’s also a strong sense of how a writer of such note evolved into the musical being and observational lyricist that created such enduring music. And, because true artists don’t stop because of public popularity, the interview also looks at business, creation and reality today. For an creative who wishes to deepen their process and get smart about their work, a must.
Yes, it is possible to know and understand completely. It is cut and dried and done. But to wonder, to be swept up in the possibility, to consider what might or what could. It is the shimmer and sparkle of dreams cast like diamonds across dark velvet, because it is in dreaming that we unfurl our wings, let our hearts free, let our minds fly—and as those things romp and frolic, we become that much more and then some.
My dear friend Jym has never heard me low energy, let alone sick. To him, my whole life is one big passion play—as it should be—of music and food and high heels and other things to be fired up about. and having seen me muted (and sick) in New York City in early November, he was a constant rallying cheer—until finally, with me impossibly wilted and not rallying, he had to do something tangible. And so it arrived: Vince Guaraldi’s A Charlie Brown Christmas and a mix tape that recreated the set list of a particularly compelling show by my precious Rodney Crowell, an artist I’d turned him onto years ago, that he’d attended earlier this year. Figuring that music is the true chi in my veins, he took a deep fire of mine, Xeroxed one night of the Grammy-winning songwriter’s music that set my friend ablaze and struck a match in hopes that the Fed Ex could burn off whatever had hold of me. Perhaps not a miracle cure, but as a talisman of friendship at a time when my spirits were at a nadir, it was a gift more precious than any I could’ve thought of. And it cheered me, thrilled me, reminded me of the things that carry me when I can’t carry myself: good, deep friends and music.
If the fairies had tea sets, this would be it. Delicate china covered with a celery, light light pink and darker green rendering of water lilies in various states. There are highlights in yellow, flourishes in a flat gold. But always the weightless, yet weight sense of the pads, the blooms, the trailers that extend into the life giving water. And the attention to detail is staggering—the tea pot’s lid handle is a blossom, the sugar bowl’s is a leaf. In the aftermath of a bad day, the box arrived. a surprise. and there amidst a crush of tissue paper, three orange boxes, the traditional brown grosgrain and a hand-written note sat a mere mortal, feeling like there was magic in the room—holding the tangible manifestation in her shaking hands. For things of such executable beauty speak deeply about what is possible.
There in the tedium they are. Free range cute boys, there for the tentative smiling and full-court flirting. They lighten the loneliness and the tough days. They set the eyes beaming and remind you you’re alive. There’s nothing deep here or high stakes, just a few stolen moments of appreciation that may pass without a word, except of thanks for the turn of a jaw, the way a shock of hair falls into the eye, the way the fingers fold around a fork or the eyes seem watery from exhaustion. Sometimes they’re even courtly, exercising good manners and their better self in the name of the lost and disoriented. They will make you feel safe in the freefall, escort you down, make sure the landing is soft and never expect you to look back over your shoulder. They are a blessing and a gift and gone.
An ecletic mix of textures and cuts, clothing that is both rompy and sensual. High end fabrics, amazing deep saturated colors, shoes that are practical, yet pretty—and cowboy boots that are utilitarianly wearable, yet high showy. Little hats and mittens in cheery colors, almost hand-made feeling; fishnet stockings and cashmere socks. And then there’s upstairs. The kind of housewares that make you never want to leave: soft fluffy blankets, high thread count linens, towels that you can sink into—and ceramic wear that is welcoming, practical and fun. To be immersed in such serious colors, such lush textures is to understand understated luxe—which is the essence of the ease of elegance.
It still exists with its moon tables, tide charts and crop schedules, common sense wisdom, zodiac secrets and recipes from the garden AND the weeds. Rendered in the same old school style that marked its initial publication in 1792, The Old Farmers Almanac is that old man down the road, who knows earthly secrets and is willing to let you in on what he knows. because he knows spreading the wealth makes this world a better place. Charming, amusing, enlightening.
Friendly. Sophisticated. Cute. Pretty. Smart. Welcoming. Everything the great society hostesses—from Pearl Mesta to Pamela Harrimen—extruded in excess. Kendra keeps order with lenience, inspiring people to want to be on their best manners, and she’s not afraid to shut it down if necessary. But mostly, she wants her guests to have fun, to enjoy the night, to soak in the beautiful California nights without disruption.
Like pieces of angel’s wings—feathery and gravity-defying, just floating slowly to the ground weightless. Great big honking snowflakes, ballerina skirts, albino flase eyelashes for giant drag queens, ostrich plumes and of course frozen bits of water to create a magical, virgin frosting for the world in which we live.
You can swing for the bleachers. Dig in, hit it hard. Reach for the sky, for your heart, for your dream—and come up short. As disappointing as not reaching your goal can be, especially if its love on the line, at least you have the solace of knowing you took your shot, you rolled the dice, you gave it your best effort rather than waking up in the chill of not bothering, just accepting the hollow emptiness of watching the moment pass you by and not even reaching for the brass ring. The chance you take has promise, the risk you don’t is one more play-it-safe that never even had a shot. When you look at it like that, there’s really not even a choice.
It has that deep mystery of Spanish lace, but with a practicality. Or is it a suggestion of the flesh that lies beneath? Small double straps, gorgeous not top heavy, but certainly intricate lace that edges in scallops at the top of the cup, this is big girl stuff that has a muted slow burn factor that is boudoir, yet uptown. Nothing trashy, mind you, more the quiet knowing of where the core of the experience should emanate from.
Deeply sensuous and sensual. That voice, smoky and full of regret and promise, smolder and raw ache tempered with deep sex, kd lang remains—20 years later—the standard f regret and desire. And here, her themes of the profane and profound see her casting her net over some of the greatest songwriters of all time: Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” with one of the great opening lines of all time (“Now I’ve heard there was a secret chord/ That David played, and it pleased the Lord/ But you don’t really care for music, do you?”), Neil Young’s hippie ecologic anthem “After the Gold Rush” and the shuddering in emotion’s wake “Helpless,” Joni Mitchell’s “A Case of You” and “Jericho,” along with other Canadian songwriters Bruce Cockburn (One Day I Walk”), Ron Sexsmith (“Fallen”) and Jane Siberry (“The Valley,” “Love Is Everything”) as well as lang’s own “Simple.” She is the intersection of Marlene Dietrich and Peggy Lee, bringing her own saloon singing sensibility to the writers who matter to those of us who love songwriters of depth. A soul-baring and -opening gift of the highest order.
Two thin wafers held together with a thick layer of caramel, slightly the same size as a hockey puck. Alone they are a buttery, chewy treat. But the real gift of the toffee waffle is what happens when you have one with tea: put it on top of your tea cup and let the steam rise. Give it a moment. Allow the toffee to turn into a sticky, gooey mess—all warm and stretching away from the cookie when you bite it. Laugh and feel like you’re at a toffee pull with training wheels and return to childhood for a few delicious, glorious, oozing moments.
It is the smell of firewood doing it’s job. It is lost night, wrapped up in a blanket. It is a good book and better port. It is the crack and crackle of honest heat. It is instant imagination, just add a match as the scent opens up, wafts through your home and creates the sense comfort, coziness and warmth through olfactory reality and a muted silver glass container.
The man of La Mancha on his sad little horse, tilting at windmills. the impossible dreamer, riding with his aide de camp Sancho Panza and the lady who transfixed his heart Dulcinea, Don Quixote is the ultimate tale of a beautiful dreamer adrift in the hope of what could be. And in one little volume, through snippets and snatches, all of the great truths and near-truths are collected under headings of Hope, Love & Marriage, Courage, Truth, Fame/Honor + Reputation, Wisdom, Vice, Sleep and more. A few words, a deeper understanding of the human condition—all with wood block prints and pen and ink drawings.
They go down quick. A box pops up, a thought is cast across your screen. You smile, blink, return the volley. But what’s amazing about this instantaneous intimacy is where the discussion can go. Suited to the fast-paced and quippy, the lack of eye contact and physical proximity can open up vast reserves of secrets, deep truths, hard memories and realizations that have changed lives forever. In the small raised to the left demi-screen, great confidences have been coaxed, shared, offered up as talismans of trust and relief, not to mention a bond of faith and connection that might not have happened on normal circumstances.
“All you have to do is listen,” Lester Bangs tells William Miller in the rock crit coming of age memoir movie “Almost Famous,” which speaks to so much more than new records and bands on tour. Once you choose to pay attention to something, anything, entire worlds play out within it. Nuance IS beauty, just as the thrill of the top of the rollercoaster is an indelible rush and moment. choose to look, to gaze, to consider anything and be amazed at how much there is there.
It’s that time of year when over-eating is the order and the food is heavy in a more than stay-with-you-breakfast kind of way. And so there are Papaya Enzymes. These tummy’s little helpers—the Now brand also has mint and chlorophyll—assist the stomach in breaking down all that tenderloin, heavy escalloped potatoes, anything with sour cream and caviar or just too much Velveeta and fried everything. They taste palate cleansing. They freshen the breath. They—because of their Minty freshness—almost provide a boost of wakefulness.
Melanie Shelley—the high end hair and make-up guru/goddess to Nashville’s most cutting edge celebrities—knows how to pick’em, and Charlene, her salon manager, is a double threat business diva and serious whip-butt colorist. Arriving in sobs over a dye-job that was crass, tacky and almost destroyed my hair, she furrowed her brow, ran her hands through the shafts and said, “We’ll figure it out.” Six months later, we work a tip somewhere between burgundy and claret. Not quite little Baby Jesus-created natural, but certainly worlds from the dime store dyes of Mr. Tony. And having had time to heal, my hair is once again becoming shiny, healthy and happy—in addition to the most full-immersion magenta steeped with mahogany shade you could ever hope to see.
In an upstairs room, with floral and vine discolored wallpaper and twin beds, magic happens. Is happening. Is swirling and whirling around the space, down the stairs, throughout the little house that shall hold a dream or dreams, awakenings and writings and the beginning of something too grand to limit with definition. All you have to do is believe.
Rarely does a whole issue hold up, yet starting with the deconstruction of superface Kate Moss’ implosion - what it means, how it happened, the real cost of success over demand - the December Vanity Fair is as good as anything I’ve read all year (and perfectly timed for what’s left of your holiday plane rides). A fascinating exploration of the ecumenical right’s political reach cast against the success of the wildly successful Left Behind series of post-“Rapture”-driven novels—- and if you don’t know WHAT that is, you need to get aware of one of the biggest Christian philosophical bases in America today, along with CBS News’ former correspondent Mary Mapes’ chronicle of how the “60 Minutes Too” story that led to Dan Rather’s stepping down shifted from a piece of deeper vetting than people realized about George W. Bush’s sketchy National Guard service into an indictment of the “witch hunting media.” There’s also a great profile of Woody Allen, quick Q&As with N&Y Times Op/Ed babe Maureen Dowd and CNN legal anchor Nancy Grace, James Wolcott on the stealth undermining of Public Broadcasting, the shifting of former uber-conservative Arianna Huffington and the craziest book-ends I’ve seen in a long time: Mario Testino’s recollections of Princess Diana’s final photo shoot (very easy, breezy, comfortable) and the down low on how Prince Charles and his beloved Camilla Parker live their life.
Zen essence. The room between notes as important as what’s played. Watery brush strokes on a spare painting, lots of space and breath and the gentle roll of notes barely touched, yet firmly played. Miles Davis knew what he was doing when he enlisted the piano player for his seminal Sketches of Spain, and there is now better entry way than Alone, a solo piano work that is the ripples of one drop in a pond.
Perfectly clear, yet crackled all over, it takes 6 people to make the intricately handblown glass that is the calling card of the Blenko Glass Co. Heavy enough to be substantial, yet with the kind of lovely lines that suggest exquisite taste and classicism - these aren’t folkloric pieces span the realms between uptown and handmade in a way that is sophisticated, not just down home. Something truly original in a world of cookie cutter, I have a round-bottom, thin-necked vase with a curl of green that moves around and around the neck and onto the base—a gift from a dear friend and proud daughter of the South, whose father actually worked there after the war, making it deeply personal—sitting on a table in my living room right now. With a few sprigs of winter greens, it says holiday and timeless and loveliness without speaking a word. www.blenkoglass.com
Looking like a medieval torture instrument in more modern casing, there is something unnerving about putting a clamp like this so close to one’s eyes. Especially in the name of vanity. And yet. To have one’s eyes look as open as you hope they are, to render mascara irrelevant (talk about FREEDOM) or to at least get so much more out of that inky magic wand; to smile at the stealth attack of ingénue. and yes, the Shishedo is the industry standard for a million reasons, starting with its effectiveness, rolling through it’s durability and finishing up with its transformative jaws of steel covered with rubber.
Wired together pine boughs make the house smell brilliantly winter, absolutely festive, completely holiday. It can cover and stream down from a mantle, like a river of inky green and brown. It can wrap around and swirl through a stair railing with an ease and dexterity that would make the snake envy. Snipped and bound, it can hang from window jams and front doors like a forest green golden fleece, signaling one’s will to sheer the best of the season and wrap oneself in it. Whatever your decorating reality, pine rope can accentuate and celebrate - and is easier to employ and clean up than a tree that can often require championship wrestling or a wreath whose sheer weight can create its own gravitational/hanging challenges.
Once upon a time, there were two comin’upper honky tonkers in opposite parts of the world—but like all hell fire and chickwire bar-room denizens, they were forged in the white hot center of the Rolling Stones blues fury. To rock, no matter the quarter; to pour kerosene on a slide guitar and strike a match; to hurl oneself full-tilt at a lyric and never flinch—so it was with the Glimmer Twins, and so it has been with every garage band, juke joint rebel or three chord reveler since. Funny thing about crazy dreams, though. If you’re constant enough in the piping in of the impossible, sometimes you exhale and it comes true. Ronnie Dunn and Kix Brooks throw down impossibly hard, blow it up bigger than the inflatable dolls they bring onstage each night, find the absolute margin of centrifugal force—to the point where no less than The Village Voice hailed them as “the Mick and Keith of country music.” On Jan. 29th in Omaha, Nebraska, Brooks & Dunn will do what no mainstream hillbilly act has done in decades: they will open for the Rolling Stones, proving that rock & roll dreams CAN come true.
“Feel the ground, the earth, the carpet,” says Faye the mind-bending acupuncturist. Remove your socks, if you can, and get as much power from the terra firma as possible. Draw in the ground and the grounding—and give it a few moments or minutes even to truly establish the power and connection of the world beneath us. Once that is done, draw your attention up to your lungs, to your heart, to your core. Feel the air be drawn in, expand your core, feed your body systems, stoke the fire with the oxygen it needs to burn. As your body rises, fills, sense the way all that is within you is interconnected, then sense how those connections are also connected to the world that holds us through gravity. Embrace the power, gently hold the energy and the resonance as it expands within you, bringing peace and grace, energy and the true stillness of inner peace.
My beloved Michael Stanley, who paints rapier pictures with lyrics stretched taut across melodies, packs more intent and emotional clarity than most folks closing arguments as he embodies the dignity of rock & roll in its purest sense. Listening to a somewhat frazzled baby rock critic, he sighed, considered the trauma, weighed the reality, and smiled in that comforting deep voice that always travels right down the wire, straight into my veins. In those moments when there’s no know, no road map, no sense or reason, there is always the ride—and the scenery. If you trust your internal compass, there’s beauty in what you’re finding along the way. And so, once again, the man of the “Rosewood Bitters” scary indictment/insight into the wages of the music business (“Midwest Midnight”, “Let’s Get the Show on the Road”), the best line maybe ever written in an aching ballad (” thank God for the man who put the white lines on the highway” from “Lover”) and offered the thrust of no surrender (“Factory Man”, his lone Top 10 hit “My Town”) comes through again. This time sans Telecaster, but just as potent for the tender impact of the truth.