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

Archive for June, 2007

Meatloaf and Fried Chicken with a side of Mac & Cheese, Please

Thursday, June 28th, 2007

First off – last night was the third episode of Top Chef Season 3. So far, this is shaping up to be a great season – way, way, WAY better than Season 2.

Last night, the challenge was taking traditional home-style recipes and reworking them to make them low-cholesterol and healthier. The reworked dishes were then sprung on some senior-citizenly Miami Beach Elks club members.

Well. You should have seen the look on the contestants faces when they viewed these dishes. Tuna casserole? UGH. Meatloaf? YICK. Fish & Chips? HOW CAN I POSSIBLY LOWER MYSELF TO THIS. While I am thinking, I absolutely love to cook, and eat, all that white trash stuff.

OK, this is the one bad thing about having all these uber-experienced contestants. (Well, more experienced than in the past, anyway.) Sorry, but franks and beans ROCK, especially when you have a hangover – just ask any British punk rocker. Wait – maybe they only eat the beans. Whatever, you get the drift. Chicken and dumplings, mac and cheese, these are the foods I would pay extra for if they were done well. What were the contestants thinking?

As it was, they couldn’t cope with it. I guess it could be the absence of fat that turned them all into a bunch of lame-asses. This challenge turned them all into Season 2 type chefs when up till now they were looking very Season 1.

Amuse-Biatch has an absolutely brilliant piece about last night’s quickfire challenge, which involved sea creatures and quotes like “I don’t dick around with conch.” I wish I could write that well.

In other news, Wilco are coming to San Diego! August 29 at the San Diego State Open Air Theatre and I have KILLER seats, thanks to Mark. And Arcade Fire is coming to the Hollywood Bowl on September 20, so I’ll be heading up for that. Tickets go on sale this Saturday… I scored a decent seat on the presale somehow. This is making up for me missing not one but TWO Spoon shows when I am in France in September.

So, it’s good that I am finally feeling better, because there is a lot of stuff about to happen.

My Big News

Monday, June 18th, 2007

I’ve been sick. Laid out, hot and cold, sweating. Unable to breathe or lift anything.

I love living alone but I’ll say this: being sick alone? Beyond horrible. It’s the only time I wish I had someone around to take care of me. I’m getting better now, thanks god.

Anyway. The “big news” is not so crazy; I guess it might have sounded that way because my sister-in-law Carrie called me to admonish me that she should be told of big news before my blog readers! Sorry Carrie. I’m not pregnant, getting married or divorced, I did not get fired or get a promotion, and I am pretty sure my cholesterol is the same as it’s always been.

The big news then.

I’ve been a part of the slowtrav community for over five years as an active member. This is a group of people that have become like a family to me. Like, it is a HUGE part of my life.

Last week, Pauline, founder and “Queen,” as we call her, asked me if I wanted to become a moderator and head up my own forum on Spain! After about five seconds of deliberation I said yes.

My job as a moderator will be to get people in there, so if have been to Spain, want to go to Spain, or, well, just like Rioja, please stop by. Just be nice, ’cause I have the power to whup your butt if you aren’t. Just kidding, I won’t whup anybody’s butt. I don’t think.

This is a cool new chapter in my life and I am really excited about it. So, onward! HERE is a link to the Spain and Portugal forum. As moderator, I command you to check it out! Just kidding. Maybe.

Via San Diego

Friday, June 15th, 2007

Wilco promised, tonight, a live stream of their show in Indianapolis, but it didn’t happen. Technical difficulties. (And it wasn’t just me.) Whateves, instead I listed to the archive of a show in London in May. My god! Who needs tonight when you’ve got May 21 – it is truly an awesome show. You can even scroll ahead (IF YOU MUST,) to when they play Spiders… well… well… well, that is pretty much musical orgasm right there.

I am sure the Indy show will be up soon too, and Wilco is coming to San Diego on August 27. I am grateful as I thought, due to technical difficulties, I might miss seeing them live on this tour.

As for Top Chef, everything I would like to say, has been said. And I have some big personal news, but I will wait until tomorrow until I tell you that, because Wilco is interferring.

Tales from the Homeland

Tuesday, June 12th, 2007

I’m not going to write too much about Sunday’s Independence Jam. It wasn’t a very good day – Miller Lite and White Trash Assholes equals Recipe for Disaster.

Spoon was OK. They were great, actually, but it’s nothing I’ve not seen before. They only played one new song, Britt appeared to be wearing the same outfit I saw him in at their show here almost a year ago… not that this matters, really. But I was, between the assholes and the repetition, not only unmoved but unhappy. Could it be I am falling out of love?

Whatever. The rest of the show was fine, Interpol was good, but it was all pretty bland.

Thankfully, last night made up for a hundred shitty shows. Wife Hannah and daughter Emma being in Wisconsin for a few days, Brian asked me to join him for an early meal at The Vine. We met there and proceeded – with the help of the staff – to drink many fantastic bottles of wine. It was just a perfect Monday evening at The Vine, with a lot of comraderie and a killer dish of pasta with pancetta, broccoli rabe, and Boschetta al Tartufo – a cheese with bits of white truffle. That pasta, with the Nebbiolo and then the Barolo we drank, was really incredible.

It’s always fun to hang out with Brian but to hang out with him on my side of the bar, instead of him waiting on me and everyone else at The Vine, was awesome. There was another dude in there too, John, who looks like the last real OBcian with a beard down to his navel, who instructed me about Permaculture. So not only did I eat some killer food and drink some unbelievable wine but I also learned something completely new.

Eventually Brian and I went to John’s house and this is where the evening got trippy. John lives in a house that I have walked by a million times and I always loved the way it looked. It looks, well, like a house in OB should look – hippiesque, unkempt, welcoming, funky. So we go in and then to the backyard where there are a series of lean-to type structures and dudes are back there, living in them! It’s like a jungle, like the treehouse at Disneyland but real, like some kind of crazy dream. Maybe it was the wine, I dunno, but it was intriguing.

Anyhow. For every bad day, a great night. Right?

Rock Rock Rock Rock Rock ‘N’ Roll Weekend

Sunday, June 10th, 2007

Britt Daniel and Spoon are in town so inevitably I have been doing too much fantasizing. As in, will I walk into The Vine and he will be there? Or, will I walk into the Waterfront Bar and he will be in there? Or, will he be at the Raveonettes show at the Casbah?

The real question is: would would I do if he WAS at one of those places? Catastrophe averted; Britt Daniel was not at The Vine, or the Waterfront, or the Casbah yesterday.

Even without Britt’s non-appearance it was still a great night. I love the Raveonettes and I think I especially love Sune Rose Wagner. Everyone stares at Sharin Foo but to me Sune is infinitely more interesting. I fell in love with Sharin Foo when I saw the Raveonettes in 2005, because from afar she was this punky ice goddess who looked like she would be happiest putting out a cigarette on your neck with the heel of her shoe but last night, she was all shy and sweet (“is it OK if we play some new songs?” How nice of her to ask.)

On the other hand Sune let loose with the most insane reverb I have heard in a long time and had the most penetrating stare… at one point he stared straight at me for the longest minute and eventually I had to look away. It was pretty hot, let me tell you.

This is kind of dark but it is a very good representation of the show last night. It was a great show with an adoring (though somewhat obnoxious) audience.


After the show, Sharin Foo was working the merch table! Mark’s friend Claire, who came to the show with us, got her picture taken with her. Like I said, so nice. No sight of Sune there though.

Onward. Guess what today is? SPOON AND INTERPOL DAY. I am pretty stoked, though the place they are playing looks hella massive (a football field? Krikey).

I’m hoping to smuggle a couple of these in. A single serving of Pinot Grigio in a Tetra Pak. Awesome!

We live in a beautiful world

Monday, June 4th, 2007

I am still reeling from that show – the absolute best thing about youtube is that you can relive everything without even having a camera of your own.

Also – this was Arcade Fire’s last song before the encore – and after they left the stage the audience kept singing the ooo ooo until they came back on.

Sigh. Good thing I am seeing Spoon and my man Britt on Sunday. Otherwise this week would be looking mighty bleak.


Sunday, June 3rd, 2007

How the hell do I even begin to write about Friday night and the Arcade Fire show at the Greek Theatre in Berkeley? I have been sitting here starting a sentence, and then erasing it, then sitting a while, then trying again. The problem is, shows like that defy description. How do I tell you, the reader, about my complete and total ascension into some kind of altered state where I could barely contain myself? I was shaking, I was floating, I was screaming. For an hour and a half, I lost myself.

In other words, it was a really, really good show. It was better than a good show; it was one of the best nights of my life.

It’s really weird that I lived in San Francisco for fifteen years and the Bay Area for over twenty and this was the first time that I ever saw a show at the Greek Theatre. I don’t know why – could be that I really just don’t care for Berkeley too much, could be that there was never anyone I really wanted to see there. So Friday, on the way over from the city, I was sort of in the dark about where we’d sit and how it would be. So I sort of took this zen attitude that whatever happened, happened, and that no matter what it would be awesome. Still, I made Colleen get to Berkeley at 6:30 and we were in line before the doors even opened. Once in, I was totally stoked – what a fantastic place to see a show! Way better than the Greek in L.A. All the people in front of us went straight to the pit, while we snagged seats in the very first row of the hard, steep, concrete seats to the left of the stage. I am 100% sure that I was the only one there that had a “Point Loma Pointers” butt cushion. One of my oldest friends, Angie, and her husband were coming to the show so we saved a couple of spots for them and then I went out in search of wine.

Here is one weird thing about the Greek Theatre in Berkeley – or maybe it’s not so weird, since it IS BERKELEY after all. They have cocktails, but they are made with some weird Korean liquor that is only 20% alcohol. Yick. Also, the wine? Yick. But I got two glasses and we tried to drink them. I got about two sips down and then I was like, fuck this and I went out on a search mission. Somewhere in that cool space, I was sure, there was a better glass of wine to be had. Sure enough, I climbed up to the very top of a hill and way in the back there was a little hut selling halfway decent Pinot Noir! For the same price as the swill. Here is another thing I loved about our seats at the Greek – on the wall in front of me, there were two extruding pipes that were perfect cup holders. I don’t think that was the intention, but it worked for me. Thankfully when Angie and Eli came, she knocked over the glass of Bad Wine that I had put there, therefore I did not feel guilty about not drinking a seven dollar glass of swill. It was on the ground, where it belonged. After I had my first cup of Pinot I went back up and got two more and put them in my two pipe-cup-holders. I was good to go.

Meanwhile, the Greek was filling up, but not nearly as fast as I thought it would. I mean, this was a sold out show, didn’t everyone want to get there and get the best possible seat? I guess not. I was really, really happy that I was in the front row looking over the sea of heads. Looking around, I was absolutely sure that this would be the Best Crowd Ever, way better than an L.A. crowd.

The openers, Electralane, were good – four chicks and lots of feedback. I couldn’t sit still though. It’s hard to sit still when you are about to see one of your favorite bands. All the people behind me were having no problem however. I think they were there more to have a picnic then to see a band. Hmmm.

When Arcade Fire finally hit the stage, the pit – which was packed with several thousand people – erupted, and I was instantly on my feet. The band opened with Black Mirror and for the next four songs I was almost could not cope with the emotions that were running through me. After Black Mirror they played Keep the Car Running and No Cars Go, and between each I had to take really deep breaths because I was shaking uncontrollably from adrenalin and some kind of crazy frenzied joy. That band is SO GOOD. I’ve seen them before; I’ve read about their shows a gazillion times; I listen to them at home all the time, and they still managed to virtually lift me up and throw me down over and over. It was crazy.

Regine then sang Haiti, coming out with her signature jerky eighties dance move thing she does, and she just completely annihilated me. She sang the fucking roof off of that song. It was about now that I looked around and I was the ONLY PERSON STANDING UP. No one else was standing up! It was really weird. I made my friends stand up – well, not Colleen because she was a) jetlagged and b) had a cold and c) still came with me despite a and b. All those other people? They were lame.

After Haiti I managed to come down a little and this is good because I think I was at risk of a music induced epilepsy attack or maybe a stroke. The show had a bit of a slow time and when Regine sang “In the Backseat” I decided I hated the rest of the audience in the stands. They were TALKING. Talking, during that quiet, magical beginning of In the Backseat! What are you doing here, people? I tried hard to tune out the voices and listen only to Regina’s plaintive wail, and I felt connected to her when she raised her voice higher and higher until the assholes could not be heard. My tenuous connection to reality was kept from breaking by the guy behind me asking his friends if they wanted more cherries. They brought me back to earth, the fuckers. For a while, anyway.

The band played on; they were everything everyone has ever said about their live show. Energetic, enigmatic, and incredibly talented. Still, I was the only one standing (except for Eli and Angie, and everyone in the pit) until about 3/4 through the show, when they played Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels) and I looked back and there was a little pocket of people behind me standing up and dancing. I am still unsure how it is even possible to sit down during a show like that. I was practically making an indent in the concrete with my heels. Everyone in the pit made up for the slackers in the seats – they were dancing, surging towards the front, screaming (as we all were, I think) the lyrics; and when the whoo hoo whoo hoo woohoo part of Tunnels kicked in, I do believe all the Arcade Fire fans at that show went absolutely ballistic. It was, is, a moment that I will never forget.

They ended the set with a brutally awesome Rebellion (Lies) and I think I finally blew my voice out on this one because I was screaming so loud. I am almost crying now, thinking about it; the thousands of people jumping up and down in the pit, the band playing their hearts out, and the heavy mist falling on my flushed face. It was time for the come-down, and going this high there was bound to be a brutal one.

The encore: Cold Wind, a beautiful and slow song and then Wake Up, and I was very sad because I knew it was over. I wish every night could be like that. I really do.

I’m so lucky though. Yesterday I woke up feeling like I was coming off a drug trip and my body was sore from jumping up and down on a concrete slab, but I got to hang out with Colleen and my friends Sue and David, on a lovely Saturday afternoon. And now I am with my sister-in-law Carrie and my nephew Ryan. I have a bit of a sunburn and a wine buzz. And I had the great fortune to be a part of Arcade Fire’s audience on one almost perfect night. I am the luckiest person in the world.