With the exception of Bob Marley, one of the true icons in any musical genre for his Buddha-meets-Roger Daltrey Jamaican reality, reggae has always been sort of a non-starter in the realm of mainstream popular culture. Damien Marley, one of his many children, may well be the son who realizes the legacy of his father: taking a highly-charged aesthetic, making it modern urban and street and offering up the narcotic undertow that gives the irie beat its stealth power. With the title track a class-contrast indictment of the people who come to vacation and party in a place where the locals have so little, he moves his father’s socially conscious legacy forward as much through content as music, while “Pimpa’s Paradise” tackles the drugs-into-prostitution path. Special guests range from Buju Banton to Nas, Bobby Brown to Bounty Killer.
88 years, 88 seasons. Come to the park, swing the bat, catch—or miss—the fly. Bring your heart, your faith, your will to win. Begin another season denied, then play on. So it was for the faithful—and so it was faith finally rewarded. It is hard to believe when others have the money and momentum, yet sometimes all you can have is faith. This year, in three games, the White Sox showed what faith in the face of futility can mean. A great big lesson for us all.
Exhaustively researched, beautifully written, this is exactly what Peter Guralnick does so well. The story of a true soul singer, risen from the church, celebrated by pop culture, torn apart by his desires, it’s a book thick enough to kill a mere mortal with if you hit them with it just right, thrilling enough of a read that you can’t believe it’s over. For anyone who’s ever swooned to “You Send Me” or “Only 16,” corkscrewed ‘round and ‘round to the euphoric “Twisting The Night Away” or “Havin’ A Party” or found the gentle and settling recognition of “What A Wonderful World,” this brings it all into perspective of the forces beneath the music, the hungers that fire the passion and the reasons that never make sense, but cast the life as it is. From the man whose Ralph J. Gleason Award-winning bios Last Train To Memphis: The Rise of Elvis Presley and Careless Love: The Unmaking of Elvis set the standard of what music books should be, this more than puts flesh and blood and brains to an artist whose conflicts set the stage for his demise—and created a tension that made the music all that much more in perspective.
1 cup red wine, 1 minced shallot, 1 minced clove garlic. Cook down to half 2 sticks butter. 1 1/2 tbsp chopped fresh herbs (chives, tarragon, thyme, parsley) Whip til fluffy. Combine w. wine. Refrigerate til needed. Put a dollop on meat. Let melt on plate as beurre du maison. Or put back in pan—and allow to melt into a more traditional sauce like presentation.
One woman’s account of returning to her New Orleans home in the wake of Katrina is both anchored in its images and stoic in its ability to own how it felt. Contributing editor Reed, who normally profiles the political women of our day—and also contributes to Newsweek—offers the perspective of one who is impossibly articulate, yet also emotionally invested in the lives, stories, places, tastes and legacy of the Crescent City. In her clear-eyed reportage and loving document, the devastation moves from sensational soundbites to snapshots of how it is, both raw and inspiring.
For $25 of less, you can get amazing fit, cutting edge style and the disposability of a minor investment—and all you’ve got to do is hit Target, running. In a world of high-end designer denim, Mossimo mines the streets for looks that’ll hunt—and mass merches in a way that gives anyone with a notion of what and how they want to execute the opportunity to get in the fray.
The Muscle Shoals singer/songwriter with the decidedly bisquit’n'butter groove joins forced with America’s phonkiest little musicianship-driven band for what will be the absolutely most exultant project of the year—especially if Mac digs into his song-closet to supplement the Feat’s always yummy repertoire choices. With Fred Tackett’s guitars that make one’s mouth-water, Bill Payne’s shimmering to roiling piano fills and a rhythm section that throbs and side-to-sides, this could be deadly; and utterly worth the anticipation.
Face down in full-immersion experiential writing, Marc Jacobson might not be gonzo journalism set on stun, but his tilt-a-whirl takes on celebrity, life and New York City is like putting your face out the window of the car on the straightaway: a rush, a brisk blast of air, a vital jolt of how intense it all feels. Culling the best of his essays from Esquire, New York, The Village Voice, GQ and heaven knows, this is a romp through the world of Bob Dylan, Julius Erving, Pam Grier (circa “Scream, Blackula, Scream”) and the Dalai Llama, as well as memoirs of punk’s birth at CBGB’s and the spiritual aftershocks of 9/11. Unbridled, off the hook, unrelenting, to read Marc Jacobson is to experience moments in the now—and see people through the eyes of a man hungry for truth and experience. An eclectic mix that evokes Pete Hamill or Jimmy Breslin’s best work, this is New York City through the eyes and pen of a man who embodies the real deal way of Manhattan. Not hard-boiled, just intensely up in it. Indeed.
You have to feel it to release it, no matter how high a premium you put on dignity. And when you feel the sadness, your soul grows wings—in part because you’ve honored that which is gone, in part because the purging removes the weight of what’s being carried. Thrill to lay down your burdens, revel in that which you got to enjoy, remember the grace that you earned and the beauty of what was, knowing that it was worth mourning—but also recognizing even better lays before if you’ll move on.
When Rodney Crowell’s induction speech, littered with polaroids from a 30 year friendship that no one has heard, is the low-water mark, you know it’s magic. NRBQ alum and hook-driven songwriter Al Anderson tearing up “Next Big Thing,” Amy Grant dropping the key and creating a transfixive state with “Whenever You Come Around” and Patty Loveless going up two keys for a rafter burning “Go Rest High On That Mountain” offered a survey course in the wells of barrelhouse humor, sweetly romantic and deep sorrow that is the soul of Vince Gill.
In Japan, when you wish to serve yourself more of something from a communal plate, you turn your chopsticks over—and reach with the fatter end. That way, the tips which touch your mouth never touch the food everyone else is eating—and you can reach into a communal platter without worry. Flip the chopsticks over! So simple, yet how many times have you grabbed for a potsticker and touched another? With one basic common-sensical move, the courtesy level is exponentiated.
Cream to powder foundation that dries in a way that is almost undetectable, Covergirl’s latest packs Oil of Olay’s vitamin-driven anti-aging formula as part of its moisture-base. Theoretically, you’re fighting the signs of aging while you go through your day; realistically, you’re getting good coverage in a compact for drugstore prices—which is about as good as it gets, if you ask me.
Scorcese. Dylan. PBS. Need we say more? No. But there is more to say; Riveting in its ability to both focus and fragment the impossibly enigmatic voice of a generation, “No Direction Home” works multi-layered truths about a man, his art, society, illusion, myth and the power of song to speak individually and universally over the course of 200+ minutes. Weaving interviews with friends, fellow artists, compatriots and cast-offs, including one-time paramour Joan Baez and poet Allen Ginsburg, this is a magical mystery tour on its way to—and beyond—truth. In the end, the knowledge gained only opens more questions. But in the prolonged gaze, there is much introspection that can be gained. And all you have to do is watch and listen, chronicling the early years where the nets of who-Robert-Zimmerman-became were cast.
Beautifully edited clothes for women who don’t forget they’re girls, but have embraced the sensuality that comes with knowledge. Italian lines, creative Los Angeles designers, the soft fabric but classically cut New York designers. Tiered lace skirts in deepening layers of lavender, embroidered closely-tailored camouflage shirts, velvet jackets that nip in at the waist, body clinging henleys and all kinds of cashmere executions. A bit of the steep end of the casual consumer fashionista follies, but everything is so exquisite, it’s worth the occasional indulgence—especially since it’s not crippling expensive and utterly uniquely put together.
Impossibly small batch tequila from Mexico; chartered in 1796. Four years in oak barrels. A taste that holds and opens up for a full 2-to-3 minutes on the tongue. A sense of agave being as refined as cognac, only far more engaging and intoxicating in the deeper sense. This is to be drunk straight-up, slightly chilled, a squeeze of fresh lime, no salt/no chaser.
With a high tenor voice that is the siren’s call of angels and a heart so beautifully broken, Jon Randall purveys an emotional clarity that makes his lyrics stop you in your tracks. Willing to be vulnerable, open in ways few can be, aware of the why and the tug and the need, Walking Among The Living is a navigation of the emotional undercurrents that are most people’s undoing, but Randall’s unwavering life jacket. Produced by George Massenberg, there’s Tom Waits’ deep, if mangled romanticism and Lyle Lovett’s elegant sonics as touchstones, giving Randall’s unflinching truth-telling an acoustic bed of fingerpicked notes and chords that mesh into minor key evocations of the things most people have no words for. In a getting-by-world of shutdown-truth-and-emotion, this is safe passage to the squalls that once settled are the things that will set us free.
Snub-nose fatty pretzel sticks, they are long on the taste of yeast and infused with the sense of butter. If the salty carb load that is the baked alternative to chips is your deal, this is a pretty great execution. A product of Indiana, the Midwestern aesthetic and appeal is something hardy to tide one over, to fill one up, to go with beer or burgers—and worth seeking out. www.pretzels-inc.com
North California based, Ireland-born and -raised, O’Leary’s distinctly feminine sense of style gives tailoring a softness and a deep sense of color. Cashmere sweaters with almost henna tattoo patterns, lush velvets in apple green with teal satin trim, shirts that melt onto the frame; this is beauty and effortless elegance, womanly grace with control and lushness. Impossibly wonderful.
So I missed my flight on a tricky travel day—standing in tears at the airport, cursing my own stupidity. Rushing like a locomotive, I arrive at the gate, flustered, breathing too hard, seriously out of sorts and almost unable to settle down. On the plane, two friends with middle seats are trying to figure out how to get someone with a more desirable window or aisle adjacent assignment to swap—and realizing I hold one of the seats, I smile and say, “I’ll move;,” because it was an easy thing to do. My middle seat put me next to an author who does humorous self-help books and her own marketing. We talk about perception, publicity, reality and media dimension—it is inspiring and thrilling. On my next flight, it is a teacher and economist explaining erosion of responsibility and the fact that high dollar medical malpractice awards have NO bearing on insurance premiums—and the final leg is a pretty young woman back from her honeymoon in Greece and the memorial for a friend who owns a wonderful restaurant named Atria. What was so wrong was way better than right. It was God’s plan. I couldn’t see it. It’s something to consider next time everything goes horribly sideways and out of control. Slow down. Breathe into it. Let go. Have faith. Stay open. Wait for the moment of understanding
Nothing is a sensuous, as sensual as the great Latin American writers—and few compare to Garcia Marquez, who’s shudder-inducing Love In The Time of Cholera is a deeply visual, impossibly romantic novel. 100 Years of Solitude is equally potent; and now there is something new from the master. Set your calendar. Pre-order at Amazon. But for those who revel in lyrical be-there writing, this is cause for celebration.
Impossibly near-black chocolate that melts slowly, covering your tongue with cocoa, cream and butter. Dark in a way that conjures the musty corners of memory, the mystery of discovery of something known yet forgotten, sweet in a way that is comfort and a challenge. To experience a bar of Lindt Swiss bittersweet chocolate is to immerse oneself in the true center of what good chocolate is—and it is a pure sense of the cocoa more than preservatives, enhancers or emulsifiers that comes through.
The denizens of hardcore jukejoint country—the kind of full grown men who can throw down behind chicken wire with guitars strung with acid-soaked razor wire—bring a straight-up honky tonk stampede to one of New York’s bare-boned performance spaces, so the music can do the talking. With a backbeat that can put you through the wall, songs that’ll take you by the throat and the heartache and Ronnie Dunn’s cloud-piercing power-tenor, this is a take-no-prisoners show that merges the swerving out-of-control- Waylon-reality with the white-knuckle-legacy of Hank Sr and grafts it onto the surging and throbbing Rolling Stones dynamic that saw The Village Voice deem these guys “the Mick and Keith of country music.” Pawing, bucking, snorting, raging, Hillbilly Deluxe jettisons thought processes, while “Red Dirt Road” offers redemption wherever—wherever—one is on the road. If you can get your hands on a ticket, it’s not to be missed. At least not if you’re salvation mixes tequila with a temple of grace, music with the arc of the moment and one’s soul—and one’s soles—- with what life deals you. Sometimes truth comes in odd places; November 10th, it could well be Irving Plaza.
Illustrated by no less than R. Crumb, this is a one-stop shopping deck to get fingernail sketches of the men—plus Memphis Minnie—who shaped the more rural country blues and why they mattered. Originally issued in 1980, the 36 cards span Blind Gary Davis to Big Bill Broonzy, Son House to Mississippi John Hurt. At a time when roots are rapidly being washed away, these are flash cards for where so much music—and musical heritage—came from.
And so it is over. And so it is time to cross the threshold one last time. Do yourself a favor—take a page from my dear friend in California’s playbook: get in the shower and rinse off the day. Symbolism and hygiene, together, not to mention the obvious relaxation potential of hot water pounding a very tight back. Rinse off the day;
Low cash urban outfitters H&M up the no dough chic ante by enlisting McCartney to bring the magic she first imbued to Chloe’s re-launch, then her own line in a down-market execution for the masses. With most price points under $100, the fashion wars just got equalized—and the collection, including camisoles, jeans, a classic white tunic top, a mesh belt, little dresses for evening and a killer jacket, can carry a working girl from anywhere to the rest of it.
Not since the salad days of sleeping in the top bunk of my dear friend Rick Shipp’s 11 year old son Dan has there been a young boy’s bed that felt so welcoming. There’s something about the energy in a young man’s room—the kind who believes in pirates and adventure and baseball and music—that plugs you into both your innocence and your will to surrender to the centrifugal force of what might be. With a duvet and a patchwork quilt, pillows stacked up to say “yes, you may have my bed;,” Eli Berlow—who has a bright shiny face littered with freckles and eyes that sparkle with potential and whatever—offers up his cocoon with joy. A sleigh bed to ride dreams of Peter Pan and Huck Finn, sleep is a cave to sink into, to savor and luxuriate in, and on those occasions when I am blessed enough to be in a room with 5 windows and sunshine, I thank my stars that Eli Berlow’s my friend.
Slightly chewy and crisp to the taste with that pungent snap that makes celery—and celery seeds—so yummy, Osteria del Circo found a way to put a fresh snap into the classic Italian potato dumpling. Dressing them in the musky, thickness of good blue cheese only ramps up the tingle factor as you both moan from the richness of the ingredients and vex at how impossibly complex yet compatible these flavours are. Like a good jigsaw puzzle, it all comes together with a sense of taste and texture that is what the unexpected should be, and rarely is.
It is easy to say “it’s not my job” or “I can’t make a difference.” It is simpler to just pass on as if you don’t realize the stakes. But impotence and ignorance can only be quelled if you refuse to buy into the notion of our inability to foster or inspire change. We can’t do everything for everyone always—absolutely—but we can weigh the things that matter and refuse to sit down when something or someone of import is on the line. The courage of one’s convictions shows much about our hearts, our soul, our reasons to believe. It’s not as difficult as we’d think; indeed, it’s merely owning what we’re made of. Perhaps what’s more daunting is understanding how powerful we are—and recognizing the strength we can give to others.
He began as a comic book author who wanted to write. He found an agent who believed in his quirky, bent take on what creativity means. Together, they forged a realm that includes musicals, short fiction, fantasy and works for young adults—and where he goes from here is whatever his heart may dream. To refuse to be bound by convention, to believe that vision is its own reward, to blaze a path beyond the obvious, that is as great a gift as his Alex Award winning Stardust, given to the Top 10 young adult novels in any given year year, or The Day I Swapped My Dad For Two Goldfish. With a Bram Stroker Award for his more fantastic output, Gaiman embodies what he writes and bring the phantasmagoric to life. We should all live so beyond the pale.
If peppermint could explode in your mouth, this would be the gum. But what adds the extra kick is the fact that the manufacturers have jacked it up with caffeine, making two pieces of breath-freshing Mac-Croc like drinking a cup of coffee. In a world of must get it done, this is a multi-tasker’s dream.
Your life seems so settled. So on track—in a rut, even. You can just let it pass you by on autopilot. You can coast. You can even fight the glitch or surprise that lands on your front porch. Or you can keep your eyes peeled, and recognize the next stop when it presents itself. The next stop is every opportunity that you’re given, whether you’d planned for it or not—and it’s thrilling in a way that makes you realize how electric being alive is. The next stop is the thing that puts you on the path to where you want to be if you let it, and it offers the possibilities you couldn’t imagine, but can absolutely accept IF you’ll see them.
Cooking for hours and hours, tender at the bone, succulent flesh that gives beneath one’s teeth. There is a richness to duck that is more opulent that satin feather beds or very vintage port—and when you couple a slow roasted duck with a heady herby sauce that’s redolent with green olives that’s salty juxtaposition wakes the tongue to the contrasts and pixations of truly deep flavours that broaden out as they linger.
A rock band that thinks even as it flexes its tonal effects. They understand the power of a good lyric, the crunch of a particularly fuzzy guitar note, a chorus that isn’t ashamed to be memorable—and yet they are in no rush to chase the radio. Z, which contains the melodically complex “Gideon,” is a harmonically mature collection of experimentation pulled taught across a frame of what feels like loose interpretation and sonic collage-building. With a voice that evokes Neil Young, songwriter Jim James moves beyond the Skynyrd-esque metal/country straddling to something uniquely MMJ’s own, offering up an intellectual access of how good—and provocative—great rock music can be.
Capturing the great American literati’s two decades living in the country that infused so many of his greatest books—To Have and Have Not, Islands In The Stream and the masterful Old Man & The Sea—this brings a sense of essence to what coursed through the staccato writer’s veins. Macho to the point of near-parody, Hemingway’s niece brings pathos, tenderness and humanity to a man whose life was almost larger than his output as an author, where swagger seemed more authentic than the emotions that drove him; Hemingway In Cuba offers a grounding of a gentler nature, even as it opens up the world of Finca Vigia (his home), the women vying for his attention and the sport-fishing he loved madly.
It’s right there by the escalators—10 feet tall, somewhere between turquoise and teal and impossible to miss. With giant roses of crimson and the whitest white, emerald green leaves, all offset by rhinestones that are an inch in diameter. Flashy like the tailor who’s dressed Elvis, Elton John, Keith Richards, Dwight Yoakam, Marty Stuart and Linda Ronstadt/Dolly Parton/Emmylou Harris as the Trio, it speaks volumes about the dazzle that is Music City without saying a word or playing a note. Instantly smile-inducing—and then some.
If you went to central casting, this would be the perfect place—for both horror movies and trick-or-treating. White frame and stone tudor houses dating to the 1700s, the history oozes from them—and the sense of the many spirits who walked the streets permeates the crisp late October air. With rolling fields beyond the classic villages, it is everything innocent and untouched about the best part of this country, and the people’s enthusiasm for day is more than just candy and high jinks.