Where am I? What floor am I on? Where have I been? Told you about vacay, but then when we got back home I got really sick, some throat virus or something, and it wiped me out. Thanks to a ten-pack-a-day cig habit (I know it's illegal to smoke tobacco in this nation, but I'm not afraid to stand up for what I believe in), I'm still coughing up blood as I write this. And that's the good news.
From the trivially stupid to the critically defeating. An example: I get to work and decide to get some breakfast from the company vending machine. Should I go with the pure-sugar pain of Zingers or listen to my wife's voice echoing in my head and opt for a Kellogg's brand Nutri-Grain bar? Okay, Nutri-Grain it is. I put in 55 cents, the thing comes out of the machine, I tear off the wrapper, and I find crumbled fungus. Oh well, who needs to eat? About twelve hours later, when I'm ready to go home for the day, I scrounge up change for the bus. I have 70 cents. Leaves me exactly 55 cents short.
All week like that. I had much trouble doing my job A the computer wasn't making sense. Found out eventually, that the rest of the company had been moved to a new fileserver -- everyone, of course, except me. Then I blew a head gasket, or, rather, my car blew a head gasket. That's about a $500 repair job, which is more money than I'll ever see in my lifetime. Plus other stuff, and then, it's like, maybe Kurt Cobain wasn't so stupid after all, but not with a gun, pills, or heroin -- something less violent. I mean, fuck it, this just isn't worth it. I can't live like this any more.
The phone rings. It's the president of a record company for which one of my all-time favorite artists records. (I can't say who now, but you know I'll be writing about it.) "We just finished his new album, which won't be out until September. But we wanted to know if we could go ahead and send you a copy. We want you to be the first writer in the country to hear it." Oh, man. And in the mail, it's a letter from Lenny "The Pro" Pronesti, my mob friend whose recent marriage was chronicled here. As is proper at La Cosa Nostra events, we had handed Mr. Pronesti an envelope at the reception. "Susie and I would like to thank you very very much.... I wish you wouldn't have done that. It was enough to have you share this experience...we had a great time....I don't command the English language well enough to put into words what your presence here meant. Come back soon and we'll hit Indy, Chicago, Cincinnati, James Dean's house....BBQs, cards, late-night discussions." Life. Live with it.
And celebrate it -- congrats to Stephen Talkhouse, both for enduring two years and for the amazing lineup slated for this Saturday's party (see the "Calendar"). By the way, rumormongers, the Talkhouse is for sale -- the building, that is. Investors in the Talkhouse expected an early return on their money, so selling the building -- not the business -- is a way to pay them off. Then, the Talkhouse we know and love could lease the space back or open in a new location. Who knows? This will take quite a while to play out and updates will appear somewhere.
The same night a bunch of bands that couldn't get booked into the Talkhouse even if they bought the place will gather for Loud with Balls, at Churchill's Hideaway. Room-clearer extraordinaire Rat Bastard (see this week's cover story), the Funyons, One-Eyed Kings, King Friday (featuring former members of Quit), Drive Choir, the Holy Terrors (great new CD, Lolitaville), Kreamy 'Lectric Santa, and Postface are all on the bill.
Big Love hits the Talkhouse this Sunday.
I think I mentioned some time ago that the Goods would soon release an EP called Grow. Sorry, but the project has been shelved. Because the Goods are now in Criteria turning it into a full-length for release in late autumn. The Goods, the Baboons, I Don't Know, and Basketcase play a benefit for Body Positive at the Talkhouse tonight (Thursday). By the way, next Wednesday the club hosts a benefit for Habitat for Humanity, with Rene Alvarez, Omine, Diane Ward, Crash Basket, September30, and Jodi Horovitz with Joel Perry. The Habitat, in case you don't know, is one of the most brilliant and worthwhile projects, wherein volunteers build homes for needing people.
The last major concert at Plus Five, which is closing soon, takes place tomorrow (Friday), with Sugartooth, Mutha's Day Out, and Godspeed.
Second Son, featuring cello, plays Rose's tonight (Thursday).
New Year's in July? That's what they are calling this Saturday's show at Cellblock, with the Elysian and Notch Above Kafka performing.
Tomorrow (Friday) Omine plays live at the Now Art Cafe on Young Circle in Hollywood.
TV Tip: WPBT-TV (Channel 2) will air David Bowie: The Glass Spider Tour at midnight Saturday.
So what the hell am I eating on the phone? People actually called up just to play this contrived game, Gawd I love you people, you're the only reason I live. My bud Zap guessed soda crackers, adding that it sounds like I have sand in my mouth. Javier said "apple," which isn't a very good guess because there was no squish-squish sound. Betty guessed "peexa," before changing that to "pizza." Reis thinks it was a falafel or something Middle Eastern. Tony went the Mr. Ed route, going with peanut butter. And poor Magda was getting flustered: "Okay, I know it's food. Or maybe it could be gauze, or your mouth is numb from a visit to the dentist." Of course it's food. What, you think I eat shit? Well, whatever. What I was eating was a bagel. Just that simple. Good and chewy. Gawd, I love you people.
Tomorrow (Friday) the Talkhouse will fill with Jodi and the Rodeo, joined by special guests, plus Ade Peever and Crash Basket. Something on this bill for everyone.
Halo holds forth Sunday at Chili Pepper. Make sure you get your copy of Cult of the Birdman, the band's killer new CD.
Up at the Bridge Radisson Resort in Boca Raton, Teri Wilson blends jazz, R&B, and pop each Sunday and Wednesday.
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Tonight (Thursday) the blues club Cheers, way north in Lauderdale, begins (at 7:30 p.m.) registration for the sixth annual Cheers Fishing Tournament to benefit the Broward County Artificial Reef Foundation. The tournament itself takes place Sunday. Call 771-6337.
Raw B Jae funks up -- wait a minute. I'm sick and real tired of seeing "funked up" every time I see Raw B Jae's name. Raw B Jae kicks ass tomorrow (Friday) at Squeeze.
No man has been able to wrest the title from Dr. Ali-Tyson Cool in 54 years, so now the great one faces the challenge of, from New York City, the one and only, Barbara Fever. Yes, sports fans, it's time once again for the World Rag-Popping Championship, with the contestants doing battle tonight (Thursday) at Tobacco Road. This is a propitious date for Dr. Cool -- today is Dr. Cool Day in Indianapolis (obviously, Cool is connected, too); Springfield, Illinois; Opa-Locka; Miami; and Miami Beach. Dr. Cool also pioneered the "Say No to Drugs, Yes to Education" slogan. Further, Dr. Cool has performed for Liz Taylor, Muhammad Ali, Lou Rawls, James Brown, Bill Cosby, Smokey Robinson, Larry Holmes, Roberto Duran, Beau Jack, Tommy Hearns, Sugar Ray Leonard, Morganna, and Sam & Dewey of Elvis Presley fame. While Vegas has Cool a 3-to-1 favorite, we're taking a chance and betting on Barbara Fever. As namesake Mike Tyson could testify, the upset has to come some day.
A chance to see Black Janet occurs tomorrow (Friday) at Reunion Room.
Coma will open for Live at the Edge on Saturday.
Butthorn of the week and pet corner: On vacay, I saw muchas vacas, many muchas vacas, and I realized in my dark heart of hearts that I might be eating pieces of these very animals some day. For the most part, they seemed to be happy cows, eating their grass and exemplifying the herd mentality: When one cow goes to the water hole, they all do. When one cow lies down, they all do. But those were American cows. It's the Mexican cows that this butthorn is about. Jennifer Winston, fresh from a conference in Washington, D.C., reports that Mex cows (a million of them) are being branded with the letter M -- on the face. Branded. Face. ("Good thing the Department of Immigration doesn't do that to humans," Winston notes.) What they (I'll tell you who in a sec) do, see, is they immobilize the cow's head with steel pincers clasped to the nostrils of each animal. Females get an M brand on one side of the face and, as a bonus, a spade symbol is branded into the other side. The lucky ladies also get their ovaries hacked out sans anesthesia. The boys get their horns removed, also without painkillers, something akin to a human having his fingernails ripped out. As a special bonus, the cattle are then forced into a vat of insecticide. If you care, write to Mike Espy, Secretary U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Room 200-A, 12th and Jefferson Drive SW, Washington, D.C. 20250 or call 202-720-3631 or fax 202-720-2166. Also, Gillette continues its ruthless animal torture experiments. You can contact these butthorns at Gillette, Prudential Tower, Boston, MA 02199, attention CEO Alfred Zein. Better yet, call Gillette at 800-872-7202. Call early and often. It'll kill them.