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

Archive for April, 2007

From a Great Height

Friday, April 13th, 2007

I am quite exhausted today, this fantastically beautiful Friday the 13th. It is killer out there. But I am tired and for good reason – last night Shins show at SOMA.

Let me get this out of the way right away. I hate SOMA. I hate it with a passion. I don’t care what history this club had in the history of punk rock, whatever happened in the 80’s or 90’s is over, and NOW THIS PLACE SUCKS. I cannot reiterate it enough. SOMA is a disaster waiting to happen. I foresee that in the not so far future, something really bad is going to happen there – a fire or a round of gunfire by a teenage girl (because they only search the boys, not the girls when going in) and people are going to freak out and die. Seriously. The place is a death trap. Plus it smells like an airplane lavatory. It is freeking disgusting and an affront to humans. If Spoon plays here on their tour, well, I will do something very rash. Very very rash. Don’t worry I won’t like, try to smuggle a gun in there. But I will be totally and fully bummed if I ever have to see a show there again (which I will.)

Rant over, and moving on, doors opened to the last night’s show at seven PM and I made Mark go with me at FIVE to secure a place in line. The reason being, there is only one way I could do this thing and that was to secure a place on a little ledge on the side of the venue. The only way to secure said spot was to get there really early. So we got there and Mark went to the new Phil’s BBQ and got some food and we sat there and ate it and talked to two teenage girls and a 32 year old bald music freak named Dave. We also had a little wine and it went by really fast. As for Phil’s, which is sort of a big deal here right now, I can say this: the meat was really good, but the fries and coleslaw sucked. I can’t really complain though, as I ate it sitting on the ground in front of a picture framing place in a strip mall off Sports Arena Boulevard.

Then it was seven o’clock (!) and we were in. I quickly secured my spot on the ledge, telling Mark over and over “you will thank me for this, later.” He wasn’t so thrilled about the getting to the venue so early thing despite the BBQd ribs and wine. However, thank me he did, because we stood up with maybe fifteen other lucky people on the ledge and looked over a crowd of 2300 people crammed into a hot, stagnant space.

The opener, Viva Voce, was pretty cool – Mr. Happy Pummeling My Drums and Hot Chick With a Double Ax. Moments of brilliance, moments of tedium. After a bit I went to the bathroom and security did not want to let me back in the door from which I came. They were like, it’s too crowded. I was like, MY FRIENDS ARE RIGHT THERE. I would have been oh, so pissed if I had waited four hours to get a spot and then had to give it up because I had to pee. But they let me back in eventually. Fuckers.

Finally, the Shins come on. The setlist is no surprise to me, somehow. They open with Sleeping Lessons, which is fantastic, but right then we notice a fucking CHILD right below us. As in, a Ten Year Old. The motherly chick next to me immediately lifts him up to the ledge, which is fine except for, WHO THE FUCK WOULD BRING A TEN YEAR OLD TO SOMA. I’m all for youth and music, but at some point this all-ages thing fails to make sense. It’s like throwing a child into a war zone or a mosh pit. So now I am stuck with this kid who cannot cope standing right in front of me. I felt bad for him. I really did. It was LOUD (which I love.) It was HOT. We were standing on a LEDGE. The poor kid kept rubbing his ears and fanning himself desperately as I got more and more irritated. Finally Mark traded places with me and I began to really enjoy the show.

I saw the Shins a few years ago at a much smaller club called Canes and at that time I was shocked by the size of the crowd. That show was good – not great – but the Shins have really embraced their new-found Zach Braff inspired fame. Their new record is awesome, and the live show last night was really, really great. James Mercer isn’t the most animated dude, and drummer Jesse Sandoval looks to be on many hits of valium, but it doesn’t matter, because they sound fantastic. James Mercer has the most incredible voice and he manages to hit these crazy notes, even in a lame-ass place like SOMA. Pretty remarkable.

My favorite though, my absolute favorite who I am totally in love with at the moment, is Dave Hernandez. Homeboy is a crazy good bassist, and a super fun guitarist, and also he is totally In The Moment and having such a great time that it is hard not to smile when you are watching him. I love watching musicians who really and truly live for that moment of being on stage, and this guy is one of them. Put some blue eyeshadow on him and he is a New York Doll, put a leisure suit on him and he is a Bay City Roller, it doesn’t matter, he belongs on stage, and his energy last night really got the crowd going.

And it was an incredible crowd. From my vantage point looking over all 2300 heads, it was pretty awesome when at the end of the night the entire crowd was just SCREAMING for more. I dug it, while the poor ten year old rubbed his ears in horror.

There is some killer and recent live Shins on youtube right now. This one is especially aweome. And Sunday, I’ve got an encore in L.A.

What I Ate, Berlin Style

Monday, April 9th, 2007

Berlin has every possible ethnic restaurant along with all the German places, not to mention a gazillion street stalls, bakeries, and street markets serving up all kinds of grub. You can literally eat 24/7 in Berlin. A lot of the food was just OK, some good, some great; though Berlin has the scope of a foodie destination like San Francisco, some of the end results are not so impressive. Am I a stuck-up snob? Yes. Did I let this hinder my trip? Hell no! I ate everything with gusto even if it sucked. Anyway.

Street food.


This is the famous “currywurst” of Berlin – a sausage fried and cut up with some sweet ketchupy stuff on top. Not sure where the curry was. It also came with fries and/or a roll. I liked it OK but I think I am a mustard/sauerkraut kind of person, and you know you can’t be in both camps. It’s one or the other. Also currywurst made my stomach feel icky, but that could be due to the fact that I never drank wine with it.


Now this is more my style. Not only because I had wine with it. It’s a long-ass bratwurst stuck into a hand-sized bun (for convenience) and not only was it almost three Euro less than the currywurst with fries, it was also grilled and served in a giant box around a guys neck. I wish I had a picture of the portable bratwurst cooker. Oh well, next time.


Yes, it is true, I actually took this shot on an escalator in a train station only because I did not want to ever forget the moment of biting into a croissant with a frankfurter in it. They have these at “Le Crobag,” a bakery that has stores in all the train stations and subway stops. My brother and I could not stop cracking up about the name of the bakery but, I have to say, these croissant thingies ROCKED. Some seriously tasty stuff, with or without mustard.

Ethnic food.


Yes it is also true that I ate Mexican food in Berlin. Now you have to remember that I was a stranger in this land, unfamiliar with the language, and sometimes on my own. Fortunately for me I know how to say “Enchiladas Suizas” in almost every language. Whether they turn out to actually BE Enchiladas Suizas is the difficulty. In this case, they weren’t quite, but I had a hangover and the salad, beans and rice (also the wine) were exactly what I needed to get me through another day (and night.)


Thai on the otherhand, they can do, probably because the food is cooked by actual Thai People. This was a place that Kasch took us to off the Kollwitzplatz, and it was awesome. A bottle of Beaujolais for only seven Euro! One GLASS of wine costs seven dollars at a Thai restaurant here. Bastardi… anyway they had the best Pad Thai ever.


Ah, the famous Monsieur Vuongs. I dragged Kasch and Tom there and while it was crowded, the food was very good and it was a great deal. This time my chicken curry was the best.


In other countries, American food can be exotic. At White Trash Fast Food, the burgers were really good (Tom and Kasch pounded theirs) but my burrito? Shannon, will you ever learn. Still, this place is hella fun.


Whoever guesses first why I loved this cafe will get a prize.


This was what I ate at the top of the Fernsehturm. It was a herring thing on top of potatoes and it wasn’t so good but who cares because LOOK AT THIS VIEW:


I wrangled together a nice picnic for our outing to Potsdam – cured meats, cheese, wine, cookies, and mustard in a tube. Also some little pepper thingies stuffed with cheese.


Kasch and I enjoying the dregs of our wine. I love wine, it just makes every experience so Very Extra Special.


Note to self: Never leave the house without German phrasebook. My last day I went to the KaDaWe department store with a bee in my bonnet to have a glass of champagne at the Moet & Chandon bar in that ginormous gourmet department there. I wandered and looked for what seemed to be an hour but could not find the bar so finally I sat at the counter of a stand that served potatoes in a million ways. Only – had no clue what they all were and wasn’t willing to admit that to the counterfella. So I ordered “champignons” and this is what I got. Right after I ordered I looked up and, THERE WAS THE MOET BAR. Oh well, this was good and also substantial. Not that I really needed anything that substantial but you gotta go with the flow.


Can’t wait to get back for more!

Why Berlin?

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2007


This is why.

I am so sleepy I can hardly keep my eyes open. Jet lag sucks. If I was still in Berlin, I wouldn’t have time for jet lag. No more reason to ask, Why Berlin.