Shannon’s Super Sexy Blog. Music. Travel. Randomness. And a Lot of Wine.

Archive for August, 2005

Fan Mail

Tuesday, August 30th, 2005

Dear Shannon,

This is your neighbor here. I feel I have to tell you, that you have totally gone over the line. The reason is, all you ever listen to is Spoon and I can’t take it anymore. You think I am a bad neighbor and write nasty things about me and hate me and stuff but YOU are the twisted one. I hate to break it to you but there is a lot of other really great music to listen to like Usher and Hilary Duff. Give me a break! I can’t take any more Spoon! Everytime I hear the opening of My Mathmatical Mind, like eight thousand times a day I just want to VOMIT. And when I think you are going to stop playing Gimme Fiction for a while, you just start playing Kill the Moonlight, Girls Can Tell, even A Series of Sneaks! I can’t fucking take it anymore. You’ve always handled your other obsessions well, except for that Arcade Fire thing around Thanksgiving but thankfully I went to Costa Rica and missed the worst of it. Seriously I am concerned about your mental health. What’s so great about Britt Fucking Daniel anyway? Usher at least has a killer body. The past few days I thought maybe you were getting over it but today, all day, all fucking day nothing but SPOON, SPOON, SPOON. And you don’t think I can hear, but when you play those KCRW sessions on your computer I can totally hear them. You are watching them too, aren’t you, you whack job. Get some help, seriously, an intervention is needed. Next time I come home at 2:00 A.M. and make a lot of noise remember! Remember what a bad neighbor you are, even the mailman is sick of Spoon!


Feel Good Review of the Summer

Monday, August 29th, 2005

An interesting review of Chow! Venice has appeared on amazon.com. Whenever I see there is a new review I get a little freaked, though by now I have learned you can’t please all of the people all of the time. This review? I guess we are hindered by our own success. I WISH!

I am glad to know about the “hordes” of people carrying Chow! around Venice, but as we only printed 3500 copies, I am kind of wondering how many of the 3500 people who have a copy were in Venice when this guy was. Twelve? That would be AWESOME.

Anyhow he still gave us four stars while complaining at the same time, mostly about other Americans. A very odd review. It’s not so much that it is a bad feeling about a bad review, but more that it was a good review with a bad feeling. Or something like that. You’ll get the idea. Sorry that I’ve created a bunch of screaming, obnoxious American tourists and sent them to all your favorite places.

Happy Birthday Colleen!

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2005

I love, love, love my good friend Colleen. It’s weird how people show up in your life and then never leave. This is what happened with Colleen, and it is because it is totally and karmically meant to be. It’s so awesome and cool that I am one of the lucky ones karmically connected to Colleen. Lucky me!

Colleen is the best kind of friend. She is totally cool, supportive and fun. Plus she likes to do things like go to Sicily and drink wine on balconies when everyone else thinks it is too cold. Also, she is always, and I mean always, thinking of others. Way more than me, that is for sure.

If I ever move to Northern Spain I want Colleen to come with me, at least for part of the time. But in the meantime, we are going to celebrate her birthday here. That’s right, we’ll be partying with non other than Wayne Fucking Coyne. But who cares about Wayne when Colleen Alley will be on the ship?

Whateves. She probably won’t even read this for awhile but Colleen, when you do, I love you, sister.

La Marangona

Friday, August 19th, 2005

Yesterday at exactly 3:00 P.M. my phone rang. The caller ID had a Georgia number, so I figured it to be a work related call.

On the other end, a woman’s voice said “Shannon? Listen” and then, La Marangona! The bell that rings in the Campanile in Venice at midnight. My favorite bell in the universe.

I was trying to figure out why a Georgia number would be calling me from Venice to let me hear the Marangona. It was a little perplexing. It turned out to be Nan McElroy, who lives in Venice and wrote a book called “Italy, Instructions for Use.” She CALLED me just so I could hear the bells and I don’t even KNOW her. Is that cool or what?

Next time I will be more prepared and less surprised, and I’ll just listen. It could get addicting.

Nan writes a blog about her experiences as a resident, and you can listen to La Marangona here.

It made me homesick for Venice listening to La Marangona. But instead, I am headed for Baja this weekend for the Vendimia and a lot of wine-soaked experiences involving priests and bullfighters. Be sure to check in Monday and I’ll report back what I can remember.

Everything Hits at Once

Wednesday, August 17th, 2005

There are a few things I want to write about tonight. The first thing is the emails and comments I got from readers who have been following whats been going on this last week. Seriously, sometimes I have no idea who is reading this thing. Thank you to everyone who sent me, verbally or electronically, love and support. It is appreciated and, well, it just makes me feel good.

Now I am back in OB and the skies are clearing of fog, but it seems like Fall is here already. We’ve somehow skipped summer even though it is not over yet! And the noise level of the last couple of days had me thinking – is it a full moon?

Well, yes, as I saw tonight since there is no fog, it is indeed almost a full moon. During the full moon, the noise level rises, and the freaks come out. Last month was a record month for the freaks but this month the noise makers are winning.

I guess I have to vent a tiny bit here. A few months ago, a family from Texas moved in next door to me. There is a wall seperating us, but I might as well be living in their house. They have a dog that barks, a phone on the highest volume, and a daughter who, I kid you not, has the loudest voice in these United States. She is making my life hell and I am too nice to do anything about it.

Why is that? I just lay in bed at midnight suffering while she bellows “Daddy” and drones on about the most inane shit and I have to listen, listen, listen. It would be OK if it was more interesting eavesdropping. But it is eighteen year old (and the stupidest and lamest eighteen year old) complaining and whining. No good stuff in there. It just bugs.

Today I was working here, and I hear screaming over there. It went on for TWO HOURS. Homegirl got her car taken away, and she was SCREAMING at her mother about it. It went on and on. At one point, I screamed out my front door, into their house six feet away, “GIVE HER THE FUCKING CAR SO SHE WILL SHUT UP.” But they didn’t hear me! It’s useless dealing with the Clueless. But I am thinking of moving to Galicia in Northern Spain, and these people are helping me to make up my mind.

So what else? There’s that bad heroin that is killing youngsters in New York City. There are numerous plane crashes. And then there is the bling.

In the current issue of Rolling Stone, there is an article about bling with interviews with a bunch of hip hop guys. The amount of money spent on diamonds and gold (and cubic zirconia) is pretty astounding. What is up with these diamond teeth and shit? And these five pound diamond bracelets? I’d like to think everyone thinks it just looks ridiculous, but there is a whole group of people that think that shit is cool.

I’m not trying to diss on this whole bling phenomenon. I’m just thinking, and expressing. And here is what I think: that in a couple of years, the whole bling in hip hop thing will be over, the movement/fad/setback turned to dust by that new revolution – the hip hop folksters. I can see it now – the new talent of hip hop, pissed off and horrified by the excess and obnoxiousness of the current hip hop stars, getting back to the grass roots of music and forgetting the bling. I foresee a hip hop Ani DiFranco. Hippie Hop. The pendulum will swing, and Tiffany’s will be pissed. Well maybe not pissed but their stock will certainly go down. And then, real tits will be back in style. Watch. It’s right there, just waiting…


Friday, August 12th, 2005

How do I even start to explain the last 36 hours?

Funny, and kind of harsh, that the show/religious experience of the year would be on the day following a good friends death. I was still in shock when I left for L.A. in the morning yesterday. Slowly, it all started to hit me. Slowly, then rapidly.

The slow part was all day, while I zigzagged from downtown L.A. to Beverly Hills, back downtown, then to Westwood. I’d feel it in my stomach, then try to put it away and focus on the road. Finally my sales calls were done and made my way to Hollywood and checked into the Motel 6 off Hollywood Boulevard, where I stay when I can’t justify the Best Western Hollywood Hills, which is pretty much all summer. The Motel 6 off Hollywood Boulevard is like staying in jail, but it is only $59.95 a night. This way I can justify going out to a $40 dinner. See, I have the whole financial thing down. Yeah.

Not wanting to hang out in the room, and needing to eat, I walked up to a French bistro place on the Boulevard. This was a sketchy choice, but it turned out well. I sat outside, drank some Merlot, and watched a pregnant spider weave a web between a lamp post and a tree. That was some seriously trippy shit. I have never seen a spider weave a web before. The spider would lower itself way down, spinning the piece of web, then climb back up and fasten it to the pole and then the tree. My waiter was really cute and when he came out I showed him the spider. He told me some fascinating tidbits about spiders and webs. I ate some roast chicken and pommes frites. It was really good and I will never be skinny because I like French fries too much.

When I got the bill the waiter said, hey, you don’t have to go you know. You can hang out. And I was like, I have to go to a show. And he was like, Oh. Was this really young, cute waiter HITTING on me? Must have been because I noticed the spider.

By the time I got back to my room to change for the show it was already 8:00 and the doors were opening at the Avalon. When I got there, 20 minutes later, I was shocked to see the opening act, Anima, was on and the club was already packed. Normally, I would have barreled right up to the front, but somehow I knew (and I am still functioning on a sort of auto-pilot) that I could not go out into that mass of bodies. I was unsure of myself and what I might do. Auto-Shannon directed me up the stairs to the balcony, and Auto-Shannon made me sit up high, looking down, with a wrought iron railing in front of me. I had a clear view of the stage. I kept my hands on the railing. Hot room, cold iron. Rapid was rapidly coming. Pretty soon, Sigur Ros would come on. Two nerdy guys below me looked up at me from the floor just below. One of them said, “on Labor day weekend, you have to come to the PLAYA.” I was like, what the heck are you talking about? He’s all “go to Burning Man dot com. It’s like a totally interactive FESTIVAL.” I said, well, I already have plans for that weekend… “NEXT year,” both guys say. Already I am getting more attention than is normal for me. Is grief an aphrodisiac?

While all this is going on, I am sedate. Normally I would be peeing my pants in anticipation. There is colored smoke slowly filling the theater.

Sigur Ros began their show behind a white screen. Three orange lights glowed, and the music began. The shadows of the band looked huge on the screen, and 10 seconds into that first song, I totally lost it. All I had held in all day was dust. The floodgates opened, and it was all I could do to keep my shoulders from shaking too much, but probably everyone around me, if they noticed, thought I sure was happy to be seeing Sigur Ros.

The bottom line is, if I wasn’t crying for Nancy, and for myself, I still would have been crying. Because the music of Sigur Ros is so transcendant, so beautiful, so lush, and so magical that it demands emotion. It defies classification. It is, basically, love and the end of the world blown into your brain. I was prepared to be blown away, and I was. Totally. And I was shocked by the total devotion of the entire crowd. I have NEVER seen an L.A. crowd so quiet, so intent and so respectful as at this show.

A few songs into the show, Anima, a quartet of young women, joined Sigur Ros, a quartet of young men, on stage with their violins. The singer of Sigur Ros plays an electric guitar with a violin bow. I can’t even begin to describe this sound. It is an other-worldly Arctic scream. My tears stopped eventually and I began to get itchy to get closer. At one point, the band stopped playing – froze- during a song. They literally froze, holding their instruments in whatever position they’d been in. The entire club was completely silent for at least thirty seconds. A thousand people seemed to be holding their breath. It was remarkable.

Finally some asshole (and there is always at least one in a crowd of a thousand) shouts OW! Five hundred people shush him. The band starts up again. Wow.

Towards the end of the show, I decided I had to get down on the floor. By the time I got down there the set was done, and it was time for the encore. This is when the second trippy thing of the evening happened.

The Avalon bartenders make a very weak drink. A vodka soda there is like an eight dollar cup of water. I don’t even know why I even bother. But I do. So I stopped at the bar for a drink before I headed on to the floor. The guy behind the bar was distracted, and barely even looked at me. But he proceeded to pour me an entire glass of Absolute Mandarin vodka, then sprayed maybe a half ounce of soda in it. It was like, he poured me all the Vodka I’ve paid for at the Avalon but never got, into one eight ounce plastic cup. “Nancy?” I thought, and looked up. It was the weirdest thing.

I took my giant vodka and shimmied my way through the crowd to the second row just in time for the encore. Now I was close, and it was pretty incredible, let me tell you. One thing that struck me was how young they all were, or seemed to be. And how talented and in control they were. It was the most amazing, and beautiful experience. Four violins, a keyboardist, a bassist, a drummer beating the shit out of his drums, slowly, and a Jesus-like singer playing a guitar with a violin bow. Out of control sublime. I know today, and I will know forever, that this night and Nancy’s death were meant to be together, for me. I was passionate about Sigur Ros before. Now the music goes even deeper. Way, way, way down. Up, too.

Sigur Ros and Anima came out and did two curtain calls, bowing like they were in a revival of “Hair.” It was so sweet and they totally glowed. It’s enough to make a girl up and move to Iceland. I was stunned and touched by the whole experience, and shockingly, left a half glass of straight vodka on a table on my way out.

It was on the way out that the final thing of weirdness occured. Leaving the theater, I could have sworn I saw none-other than Britt fucking Daniel. He was like, right NEXT to me. But it couldn’t have been, right? If it was he has a lot of acne scars, and he was with a chick. (Bastard.) But maybe it was really him? If I find out he was at that show, I am going to freak.

Tomorrow I am going to New Mexico for the memorial. Onward.

A Farewell to a Friend

Wednesday, August 10th, 2005

I lost a friend today. Really lost a friend – not through misuse, abuse, or long-term seperation. I lost this friend because she died today.

I’ve not much experience with this kind of thing. Family members and acquaintances, yes. But a friend – someone who wants to come to your party, even if it is in Sicily, someone who covers your back when it is needed, someone who will have an 11:00 A.M. prosecco with you – this I have not lost before.

So I am having a bit of a hard time even knowing what I am feeling, or feeling what I am knowing. For sure, there is a section of my gut that feels kicked in, deflated. And there is an emptiness where my friend once was, but not totally, because I have this crazy feeling she’s hovering, waiting to make sure there are plenty of cocktails at her memorial. Cocktails and maybe some serrano ham or good gorgonzola. She’ll want people to eat, to drink, and to raise their glass to the New Mexico sunset while a fire burns and her kids smile through their tears.

I’d like to write a bit about my friend Nancy. We meet lots of people in our lives. Some stay a couple of years, some split right away. Some are lifers. Some ease in softly, and ease just as softly out. Not Nancy. She barrelled her way into my life fueled by Italian cigarettes and Spanish brandy and a deep and primal love of life. She was a giant with a huge heart and a deep love of the space around her. I knew her in Florence, when she was a part of Florence and the life there, when she knew all the guys down at the San Ambrogio Market, like the guy with the best gorgonzola, or the guy who could maybe get her a big turkey for Thanksgiving, or the old man with the tastiest sausages. After, she’d head on down to the bar San Ambrogio, or one of the cafes in Piazza Santa Croce, for a glass of white wine or a Mojito. I bet they are still wondering where the hell she went, in the Florence neighborhood she loved.

Yeah. She blew into my life in Venice, blown by Botticelli’s winds and unseen forces, and immediately asked me to come down to Florence to stay with her cats while she went off to Sorrento, something I was more than happy to do. It was the beginning. When I met Nancy it was like I’d known her forever. Longer than forever. Even though she is not here now, that hasn’t changed. She was part of the fabric of my life – a friend of my best friends, a friend of my mothers. She was part of their fabric, and we were part of hers.

Just as she blew her way in, she blew out. In a heartbeat, she was gone. No real goodbye, just a wha-the-fa. Somehow, it’s how I knew it would happen, though that doesn’t change the shock of it all.

I’ll be there, come Saturday, with the biggest Mojito of all, raising my glass to that New Mexico sunset, raising my glass to Nancy. Crazy, fierce and totally unique Nancy. Smiling, through my tears.

Google THIS.

Sunday, August 7th, 2005

Thought ya’all might like to check out some of the search engine requests that drive people to my blog (besides super sexy and sexy blog – those are the heavies.)

willie aames mullet (So I am not the only one who searched!)

women love when i grope them in crowded trains (DUDE!)

whitney houston strung out (OK, this we all know.)

britt daniel sexy. (Again, I am not the only one. Sigh.)

And that was just yesterday. Happy Sunday everyone.

My Dead Muse

Friday, August 5th, 2005

There have been many people and events that have shaped me and made me into the person I am. My parents, obviously, and my brothers; my 10th grade English teacher, Mrs. Elder shaped me in a good way by encouraging me to write, and my newspaper teacher Mrs. Radcliffe in a bad way by chopping my very first newspaper article cleanly in half, making it look totally weird and stupid. That was in 1981 and the article was about Punk Rock. My school just wasn’t ready yet I guess, even though Punk Rock was practically over at that moment in time, for a while, anyway.

The question is, what made me write about Punk Rock? What got me to that point where I have remained ever since? People never really advance past the age of fifteen. Of this I am convinced. Fifteen or even younger.

I had an uncle, his name was Mark, he was nine years older than me, and he was a lot like me. He wore purple pants and wrote crazy stories. He was wild, reckless, bisexual, and creative. He liked to party. And more than anything, he loved music. He had a tattoo that said “Janis Joplin Lives in Me.” She was his dead muse.

Well, I wasn’t TOTALLY like Mark, but there are many similarities there. At a younger age I listened to my mom’s Beatles and Elton John records. But the defining moment of my teenage years – maybe even the defining moment of my life up till now – was sitting in a room at my Grandma’s house with Mark. I was thirteen years old and he put a record on the turntable. It was David Bowie’s Space Oddity. I will never forget how that first line, Ground Control to Major Tom, sounded to my pop radio listening ears. After a steady diet of the Bee Gees and the Grease soundtrack, it was like a whole new world to me. All the while Mark is telling me about David Bowie, about the New York Dolls, about Iggy Pop. He played me Cheap Trick and Blondie and we looked at the album covers together. We always had a bond, but we were bonded that night in a way beyond uncle and niece. It was musical, it was spiritual, and it was religious. That was my entry into the church of rock ‘n’ roll. He was my brother, my mentor, and my friend.

Then, exactly 25 years ago today, we lost him. And I just happened to be visiting at the time.

Every summer I would visit my grandparents at their townhouse in San Juan Capistrano for a couple of weeks. Mark was living in Laguna Beach that summer, renting a room from a famous rock star in a three story house on the cliffs. We had plans to go to the Sawdust Festival together, but Mark had an accident and couldn’t go. Someone was lowering a phone from the top balcony of the house to the bottom, and he dropped it on my uncle’s head. Mark was OK but had to get stitches, so he postponed us hanging out for a couple of days.

The next hours and days were a painful experience that even today is hard for me to think about. The following day, after going to the Del Mar racetrack with my grandparents, I called Mark to make our new plan. There was no new plan, because he was dead.

The rock star was on the phone, asking to talk to my grandparents. I knew something was wrong when my grandma started wailing. I ran to my room, then back down, where my grandparents were walking out the door. They had, understandably, forgotten about me. They looked at me, and at each other, and then my grandfather said, “Mark is dead.”

I went with them to Laguna Beach. It was the hardest drive I have ever taken. My grandma was rocking back and forth in the front seat, moaning and crying. My grandfather was silent. When we got to the house, they told me to wait in the car. I sat in the back seat wondering why I could not cry. I tried to cry, but nothing came out. Two guys pulled up at the cliff in a Blazer, listening to Van Halen. All I wanted was to be in that Blazer and not in the back of my grandparents car trying to cry.

The next few days revolved around the funeral, my grandma’s tears, and alot of casseroles. I remember telling my mom “please don’t cry” and her saying “I have to cry.” Finally, at the funeral, I cried, in the arms of the guy who dropped the phone on Mark’s head. Even though in the end it wasn’t his fault, he felt responsible. For some bizarre reason, I reached out for him in the end.

So what killed Mark in the end? The pain medication. It wasn’t much, but after years of abuse combined with a soul not-of-this-earth, it was enough.

Mark dreamed of his death. He wrote it down several times, and I know because I have read it. In the dream he is laying in his bed listening to his stereo. A dark figure enters the room, and Mark is scared of it. While the figure walks toward him Mark looks at a red light on the turntable. If the light stays on, he will live. If the music keeps playing, he will live. But if figure touches him, he will die.

The turntable was still playing when they found him the next day.

It took a long time for me to cry. But Mark is with me, and will always be with me, because our connection was so strong. Every time I buy a new record, get a crush on a musician, or fall in love with a song, Mark is there. Twenty-five years later, he is totally there. He is my dead muse.

The Mississippi Mudsharks, Revisited

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2005

Back in the 1990’s my brother Tom was in a killer blues band called the Mississippi Mudsharks. They won all kinds of awards, toured Germany a few times, and were a very popular local band. I have all their CDs and whenever I play them, people always ask who they are.

They totally rocked. Then they broke up something like six years ago.

On the first Tuesday of every month, bartendress extrordinaire Sooty Hendricks hosts “Talk Dirty Tuesday” at a bar in the middle of nowhere called Desi & Friends. Last night, the Mississippi Mudsharks reunited for Sooty and Talk Dirty Tuesday.

What can I say? After all these years, the Mudsharks still TOTALLY ROCK. It was so awesome. Is there anything better than watching your little brother totally SHRED on the drums? I could not wipe the grin off my face the whole night. These guys could have been famous had they stayed together.

All kinds of people came out for the event, and everyone was way into it.


Ace goes anywhere there is dancing and dances with all the women. He has danced with thousands of women. He is a cool guy and here he is with my brother.

I need a better digital camera. The bar was too dark and none of the pictures of the Mudsharks shredding came out very well.


That’s Scottie Blinn on guitar, Tom Essa on drums and Tim Butler on bass. Tim did not play in the original Mudsharks, but he is definitely one in spirit.

It was a super fun night, and almost felt like 1996 all over again. Plus it took my mind off Britt Daniel for a couple of hours. Today though, I was back on my current obsession. It is so easy these days with the internet. I can watch the man live, at any time, HERE.

My god. It’s just a bit too much sometimes.

Anyhow here’s one more for the road – Little D and Joe Peters after they won the wifebeater shirt contest last night. Way to go, Danielle and Joe!


Tonight I am taking it easy, if you can call it that.