music

Cyndi Lauper

My first exposure to Cyndi Lauper was Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, the 1985 movie starring Sarah Jessica Parker and Helen Hunt as girlfriends who audition for a television dance competition. As expected, shenanigans ensue and integrity prevails. It’s an 80s feel-good movie, after all, even if it’s not very good. I first saw the movie at Debbie Przykucki’s birthday slumber party. I don’t remember much about the party, but strangely, I remember how to spell Debbie’s last name.

For me, the song by Cyndi Lauper isn’t one of her greatest. Sure, it’s a catchy pop song, but I prefer the sadder True Colors and Time After Time. Besides, I don’t think girls really do just want to have fun. They want wages that are equal to their male counterparts. They want affordable and easy access to contraception. They want to be free from antiquated gender roles. They want to never again hear, “you’d be prettier if you smiled”, from a random guy on the bus.

I know. Not everything has to be a feminist rant. So, I’ll leave you with Cyndi, a bad ass in her own way, adorning a doily with some afternoon tea.

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Hall and Oates – LIVE!

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One of my first stitched tea towel sets was Daryl Hall and John Oates, mostly because I wanted to stitch John’s mustache. A year later, I still love stitching them as a duo, and each day my love for their music reaches a new level. With that said, I saw them live last week. A friend requested that I do a “mini review” after the show, so the following is my best unbiased report of the concert.

The show was scheduled to start at 7:30 on Thursday night. They were late hitting the stage, which gave me time to silently judge the audience. I was expecting a mix of Gen Xers and ironic Millennials; however, my partner and I were of the youngest in the crowd, by at least 10 to 20 years. A man two rows in front of me was bald and wiry, wearing a t-shirt that claimed “OLD GUYS RULE” across the back. A woman to my left clanked her dentures on her plastic wine cup and appeared to be at least 83, although her severe anorexia could have added a few unkind years to her facial features. I did spy one youngster who hobbled in on crutches with a broken leg sporting a “Deck the Hall and Oates” shirt, and he was probably in his mid 20s. God bless him, he was standing up and rocking out for the duration. It did finally dawn on me that college students are not likely to pay this much for a ticket just to be kitschy. Buying a dollar copy of H2O on vinyl is a far cry from current ticket prices.

Without much ado, they opened at about 7:45 with Maneater. It was thrilling to hear those familiar beginning notes, and I will likely remember that moment for quite some time. The sound quality for the first few songs was pretty awful though. Hall was motioning to stage left, clearly dissatisfied with the levels. Although, he did this throughout most of the show, so I’d say he’s either a perfectionist or a micromanaging bastard. I bet Oates might have something to say about that if given the chance.

At a certain point, after a couple of songs, they seemed to hit a groove. Then, suddenly, Hall abandoned his guitar station and moved back to center stage to keyboard. This is when all hell broke loose. Let’s take a look at the stage set up:

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John is over on the right, sans mustache, which I expected but it still made me sad. For most of the show he stood there, playing unassumingly and smiling.

Behind Oates was an old guy in a shiny suit. The audience loved the hell out of him. He reminded me of the guy from My Name Is Earl who wanted to be in Jason Lee’s band, Fish Taco. Hence, all night, I referred to him as Fish Taco. (I know that is a random, obscure reference, but it’s worth including even if only one person gets it. If you are interested in joining the joke, find the “Van Hickey” episode of the second season of Earl. You won’t be sorry.)

On the far left is some other guitarist. I don’t know his name, yet he had more attention and jam time from Hall than Oates did, which is total bullshit.

That brings us to center stage, Daryl Megalomaniac Hall, on keyboard. This is when they went into Do What You Want, Be Who You Are and segued beautifully into I Can’t Go For That. Amidst the excitement, Hall began to have a sleeve malfunction. Panic ensued. I could only imagine the curse-out he was giving that sleeve in his head. Goddammit, I am Daryl Fucking Hall you piece of shit sleeve! Get back into place, NOW.

This was a turning point in the show. The crowd had been standing for over five minutes, rocking hard, and they were tired (and old). Hall, despite being 3 to 4 minutes into I Can’t Go For That, showed no signs of slowing or wrapping it up. He just kept jamming. And jamming. And jamming. People began to sit down, essentially waiting for him to move on. He did, eventually, but it was clear that he really just wanted to be at home playing in his backyard with his friends. Oh, wait…he does that every day on Live From Daryl’s House, and we can all watch it for FREE online.

A few other observations:

  • Hall loves to touch his hair, flip his hair, stroke his hair. He loves his hair. I wanted to jump on stage and put a headband on him.
  • There was zero banter between Hall and Oates on stage. They appeared to tolerate each other and play their hits, as a means to an end (getting paid).
  • After playing for maybe about an hour, there were two encores. Lights out – clap clap clap. Two songs. Repeat. Oh, the games we play.
  • I know my expectations were unrealistic, but I really hoped they would bring Kevin Bacon on stage and play When the Morning Comes. I also hoped for a cover of Backstabbers. Neither of these things happened, although they did do a cover of You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling. I’m not crazy about that song, but the aforementioned anorexic 80-year-old nearly snapped a vertebrae she was grooving so hard to it.

My review probably sounds less than glowing, and if I were more impartial, I’d say the show was mediocre at best. Still, was it worth it? You bet your ass it was. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. I also want to mention, Thursday night was close to a full moon. The bike ride from downtown to my near-east home, fireflies flashing in the periphery, was a wonderful end to the evening. More than anything, I was thankful to be following my partner in crime, who was equipped with a headlight, because if he’s not there to share everything with me it’s as though it never happened. And that is the sappiest shit you’ll ever get out of me, because I can’t go for that, no, no, no can do.

Kurt and Courtney

Kurt and Courtney

When the news of Kurt Cobain’s suicide hit, I immediately thought that Courtney killed him. In this embroidery, I wanted to make her look appropriately strung out; however, she looks kind of nuts instead. If only I could smear some lipstick on her face and streak some mascara down her cheeks, her look would be complete.

I have conflicting feelings about Nirvana, now that I’m old. Were they groundbreaking? Were they sell-outs? Did they change music, or did they ruin it?  So many unanswerable questions. I can only say that Nirvana does hold a special place in my heart, if only because the early 90s were a time of musical discovery for me that will likely never be matched. So when I see the teenage douche wearing his ironic Nirvana t-shirt, I shrug and walk away knowing that I genuinely rocked out to some grunge back in the day.

I should also note that I am fascinated by Frances Bean. I was not aware of this until someone pointed out my incredible catalog of Frances Bean factoids that I spew forth like confetti. It’s not quite an obsession, but I am considering dedicating myself to it fully.

Tina Turner

Tina Turner

Tina Turner is a bad ass.

This is one of those stitches that thrilled me from beginning to end. Watching it come together was the most fun I’ve had since stitching Coolio’s crazy braids. I didn’t want it to end. Unfortunately, I could not fit Tina’s amazing legs onto a tea towel. Watch this space for a Tina tablecloth, including fishnets and stilettos.

St. Patrick’s Day Fail

I had a great idea to stitch an Irish series for St. Patrick’s Day. It would include my favorite Irish person, Shane MacGowan of The Pogues; my least favorite Irish Person, Bono; and the craziest Irish Person, Sinead O’Connor.

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Then I realized:

1. No one knows who Shane MacGowan is, despite how fun it would be to stitch his snaggle teeth.

2. Bono is too much of an asshole. It would make me angry to stitch him, even though I chose his 80s persona with the big-haired mullet and bolo tie.

3. My drawing of Sinead O’Connor looked like a giant-eyed, big-headed, bald baby.

Hence, there is nothing special to post for St. Patrick’s Day. Sorry about that. We will all just have to drink some whiskey instead.

Flight of the Conchords

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Normally I would consider a show that aired in 2007 to be “too modern” to include in my stitched portfolio, which is a tell tale sign of my age (old) and my cultural stagnation (80s). However, mark this day, as I’m making an exception for Flight of the Conchords, and this is why:

There is a very small window in a person’s life when music has the ability to hit a spot so personal that it hurts. As an adult, I find myself constantly chasing that feeling, and while I find bands and songs regularly that are meaningful, I never quite get back to the feeling of importance that Skid Row’s Youth Gone Wild had when I was a teen. Flight of the Conchords is a silly show and a silly little reminder of the role music has had in my life.

While I’m almost certain I would not enjoy FOTC in concert, the show is charming, endearing, and lightheartedly funny in a way that is becoming more and more rare. Maybe that is why I hold onto it for dear life despite sometimes feeling it’s much too current for an old curmudgeon like me.

2015 Grammys: Beck vs. Kanye

I'm a loser, Baby, so why don't you Kanye me...

I’m a loser, Baby, so why don’t you Kanye me…

Let it be known, I am a Beck fan. While I understand all of the “who the fuck is Beck” sentiment, as that is the nature of being young, I was happy to see his ageless mug receiving the Grammy, which probably indicates that I am old.

I was going to write a whole post about racism, pop culture, the music industry, and award shows. But here’s the thing: someone should really do something to keep Kanye in his seat.

That is all.