WHAT I’VE BEEN READING: Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris. Next week, on the CRUISE (YAY YAY YAY!!!!!) I will be reading a LOT of books. 🙂 God, I love to read.
WHAT I’VE BEEN LISTENING TO: Soulstice by David Ryan Harris. Oh my sweet lord, his voice is like honey. Every song on Soulstice is perfectly balanced. It has some of my favorite songs on it, too, like Pretty Girl, Good Thing, Get Your Way, and the heart-melting Sweetest Berry.
AMUSING POP CULTURE OCCURANCE: OK…was I right or was I right about Asslee Simpson? For the uninitiated, scroll down and see my earlier entry. I’d look it up, but I’m kinda fucking lazy right now. 🙂 The most hilarious part of the whole Milli Vanilli/SNL snafu is how, just one month earlier, she was quoted as saying (regarding lipsynching), “I’m totally against it and offended by it. I’m going out to let my real talent show, not to just stand there and dance around. Personally, I’d never lip-synch. It’s just not me.”
Really, Asslee? Is that right, now? Excellent. Irony and I will be over here in the corner just laughing our asses off at you.
WHAT’S BEEN GOING ON: I have been driving. A LOT. My car is my second home.
First of all, my Joey turned 9! 🙂 So I drove home for a few days to celebrate with him and take him to the Exploratorium. He and AuntieMel had a very special day together. 🙂
On Friday, I wanted to get down to Palm Springs to see Marc Acito read from his book “How I Paid For College: A Novel of Sex, Theft, Friendship, and Musical Theater.” I LOVE that book.
You would think that leaving Tracy at 9 am would provide enought of a window to compl,ete a (normally) 7 hour drive by 7 pm. Well, you would be wrong. Dead wrong.
The traffic was SO HORRIBLE that I didn’t make it. Not even close. I didn’t even get home to Woodland Hills until almost 9 pm. 12 hours in the car for nothing! I didn’t even make the damn reading! I was PISSED OFF to say the least. Fucking LA Traffic!
The very next day (Saturday) I took off for San Diego to see my friend Chris playing Scoop in The Heidi Chronicles. What a fabulous play! I read it in college but had never seen it before. Chris and the actor that played Susan were the standouts, IMO.
I crashed at Chris’ in San Diego, but I knew that on Sunday Marc Acito would be signing books in Palm Springs from 1:30 to 3 pm. I decided: DAMMIT!!!! TRAFFIC WILL NOT DEFEAT ME! Ev and I decided to meet up in San Bernadino and drive the rest of the way out together. A few weeks ago, I bought her a copy of Marc’s book and she loved it as well, so she was excited to meet him, too.
We made it out to Palm Springs and (after a bit of searching) located the festival (http://www.pspride.org). How spectacular!!! Drag queens, leather, costumes of all sorts…..fan-fucking-tabulous!
We found the Q Trading booth and introduced ourselves. As Marc was hugging me and I was telling him my name, he said, “Not the Melanie that’s been emailing me?” 🙂 I said, “Yes, I’m the girl that’s been cyber-stalking you.” He gave me another hug and his tone totally changed – it was like we were old buddies. I think that either he must be a genuinely nice person or he’s a PR genuis, because I definitely felt special after talking with him.
He joked around about how it felt so nice to hug soft breasts after hugging hard chests all day. I think that, personally, I could get used to hugging hard chests all day. Also, he was so impressed that we drove all the way out just to meet him that he actually left his post at the signing table to walk us to the drink tent and buy us margaritas. Woo!
We took pictures and hung out for a while. Man…what a sweetheart! Believe me, I was completely committed to pimping the book before, on the strength of the book itself, but now I am ten times MORE committed knowing that, via the pimping, I will be helping out such a truly wonderful, as well as talented, person.
Anyway, BUY THE BOOK! 🙂
WHAT I’VE BEEN READING: How I Paid for College: A Novel of Sex, Theft, Friendship, and Musical Theater by Marc Acito. It is fantastic! It’s funny, as the title may lead you to believe, but it is also very touching. It’s the only book I’ve ever read about Play People (or “dramies” as we called them in my neck of the woods). I can NOT recommend this book highly enough. It is absolutely wonderful.
WHAT I’VE BEEN LISTENING TO: Jason Adamo. http://www.jasonadamomusic.com I missed his show tonight at the Cat Club, but I will be hitting up his set in Trudy’s backyard next spring.
WHAT’S BEEN GOING ON: I had the best weekend last weekend! I flew out to Chicago (from here in LA) to 1) visit my friend michelle and 2) let matt nathanson rock my socks off!
I don’t know that i can tell the story better than michelle did in her blurty (http://www.blurty.com/users/shellyjanuary) but i am going to do my best to tell my side of it! Haha I will warn you ahead of time, it is going to be LLLOOONNGGG so you may wanna read it in shifts.
My flight left at midnight and got in at 6:20. I had breakfast at Chili’s in the airport to let michelle sleep in a little bit more. They serve regular, denny’s-style breakfasts at the airport Chili’s. Weird. But good. I had lots of coffee.
At 8 am, michelle came and picked me up and we went back to her house. We hung out with her mom and walked her dog. Her mom made us more coffee and of course i partook. 🙂 It was very domestic! We went and saw her library and talked to the people that she works with. I got to meet this sweet high school kid that works in the kids section that is totally into theater. I love theater people, or “dramies” as I affectionately term them.
We went to Kmart and got some last minute things and while we were there i started to feel REALLY strange. The combination of being up for more than 24 hours at that point and all that coffee made me feel really lightheaded and shaky. We had an hour and a half before we could go check into the motel and i asked if michelle would be totally offended if i spent that hour and a half taking a nap. 🙂
I curled up on Michelle’s bed with her lovey-dovey kitty and tried to make myself fall asleep. I never really was able to nod off completely, but i did get some awesome alpha-state rest, and got up at 2:30 feeling great. Michelle and I got dressed and went over and checked into the lovely La Quinta Inn. We got our things and headed over to the train.
When we got off the train downtown, we stopped and had a bite at Mickey D’s. Grilled Chicken Sandwich. Yummy! We crossed the river and got in line at the House of Blues. As fate would have it, who should be in line in front of us but my friend Mark from Matt’s board! (http://www.xanga.com/home.aspx?user=pottyboomy) We hung out and talked in line, the three of us. One cool thing that happened was that at one point, four or five fire trucks pulled up, with their lights on and some sirens, but we never did find out what was going on.
We go inside the venue, which is security-nazi central. I managed to sneak in my digital camera, though, by sticking down in between my boobs. Yeah, i got skillz. Or, you know…big boobs, at least. 🙂
We ran into Emily (etscore) waiting for her friends. She joined us and we proceeded upstairs. We managed to grab (thank you, mark) what i truly believe were the sweetest seats in the house…the four barstools closest to the stage, Aben side. I got to meet Connor from Matt’s board (ccronks). Dude is 6 foot 10!!!! Being only 5 foot 2 myself, I could not help but be fascinated. I asked him if I could come stand next to him, and he graciously agreed. Standing next to him was so incredibly cool! I only came to just above his waist. AWESOME!
I really, REALLY wanted to ask him if we could take a picture together, but, yeah. That shit must get real old. 🙂 So I refrained. I felt really bad asking him all these questions about what it’s like to be that tall, but I just couldn’t stop. And he was such a sweetheart about it, even though he must get sick to DEATH of all anyone wanting to talk about being his height.
Later in the show, between sets, we got a chance to chat about other things, like his major in school and the fact that he tapes live shows. I think live tapers are so fantastic, they provide such an incredible service to the music community and they invest a lot of their own money in it. So, thanks, everyone that does that! 🙂 Anyway, as it turns out, Connor is only 20 years old! He struck me as someone much older. He has a very confident and down-to-earth demeanor. Anyway, I bought him a coke (well, he paid, i just walked to the bar and got it) because he couldn’t come to the bar area and I felt SSSOOO OOOLLLLLDDDD. Arg. I actually felt sick to my stomach thinking about how long it’s been since I couldn’t go up by the bar. 🙂 Anyway, I really enjoyed meeting and talking to connor, he’s one of those people that you chat with for a while and you feel like you want to chat with more, because they just have really good things to say. I hope i see him again, maybe at other shows.
Emily’s friend, singer/songwriter Matt Hoffer (http://www.matthoffer.com) showed up with his girlfriend and they hung out and seemed to enjoy the show.
The opener was Kyle Riabko, 16 year old blues playin’ hottie kid. Mid-Riabko, Michelle leans over to me and says, “Is that Frans over there?” (http://www.scottfrans.com) As it turns out, it was. 🙂 I have to explain who Scott Frans is. He posts on MSM, that is how Michelle and I were aware of him. He is aware of Michelle. He, however, has no fucking clue who I am. Ironically, I have (for many months now) harbored a celebrity-crush on him, although he is not technically famous, only internet-famous. I can’t help it. He’s just so damn cute! And he says clever things. I mean, like the title of his website…”Can’t We All Just Be Frans?” That’s clever.
Hell, I don’t know. Pheremones. That’s my new explanation for everything.
Anyway, Michelle and I decide to go over and pay homage to the cuteness that is Scott Frans (Michelle would probably have called it something more like “Say Hello” but that’s boring). On the way over, who should we run into but another SoCal kid vacationing in Chicago for the weekend…Chandler! He was with his new friend from work, Jen. He has not been signed on to AIM at ALL this week so I have not gotten the opportunity to grill him about whether or not she is his girlfriend, but if she is not, he should definitely try to get all over that action. She was a TOTAL cutie and a complete sweetheart. You know how with some people, you just get an immediate vibe from them that makes you feel comfortable with them, makes you feel like they are a good person? Jen was like that.
Also, she complimented me on my new black knit poncho. So the girl is in. 🙂
I have to say about Chandler that, after meeting him, I really do get why all the chicas from MSM are wanting to date him (or wanting to have him marry their daughters LOL). That kid radiates a certain charisma. He’s a sweetie, but it’s more than that. He makes you feel important when he talks to you. He’s got game, is basically what I’m trying to say! haha
We told Chandler that we were on our way to go see Frans, and (much like woodland animals in a children’s story) we all decided to proceed together. We got over to where Scott was standing and introduced ourselves. Um, can I just say that I don’t know what I thought Scott’s accent might sound like, being that he’s from North Carolina, but I did not envision anything quite as lovely as reality. We stood and chatted with him and Chikako for a few minutes, then headed back to our places because Mark was saving our seats for us.
I must be honest (considering the chances of Scott reading this are slim) and say that I was all a-flutter. My face was hot. I had butterflies. I’ve had sex that wasn’t actually quite as good as meeting Scott Frans. 🙂 Damn, what is the matter with me? Haha I’ve got such the “internet celebrity crush” goin’ for this kid.
Graham Colton Band came on. They were cool. A bit loud for me, but I liked “Jessica” and “Cigarette”. Then Matt came on. (http://www.mattnathanson.com) Oh, man. Matt rocks me so hard. Full band is so great. I have to be a bit blasphemous and say that, to be honest, I DO miss it just being matt and fish. But acoustic, intimate music is my taste. So nothing against the band. They do, indeed, RAWK.
Best part of the night? “Amazing Again” I love this song from the depths of my soul. I don’t know exactly why. Matt has songs that showcase his lyrical genius to better advantage than this one. He has songs that, objectively, I would have to say rock just as hard or harder than this one. But something about this one just gets me for some reason.
“And all the wan, hip, full-lipped lovers, they’re locked against one another and I waiver, uncomfortable in my skin.”
Matt had Jason come up and sing some heavy metal song I didn’t recognize (sorry, Bert, just not into that kinda thing!). Emily leaned over and said, “Oh, man, the one night no one’s taping! The one night no one could bring a camera!” So I confessed that I had used the twins to smuggle in a camera and she borrowed it to take some pics. I was really paranoid about getting my camera taken away, and finally snatched it back. They are completely fucking serious about security there, to a point beyond all reason. The photos are posted at matt’s board, when I get a chance, I’ll link them here.
When the set ended (without encore, I might add, HOB nazi bastards!) Matt did not come out to the merch table. That was the one disappointment of the night. I mean, I know you go to a concert for the music and all, but I REALLY want to get a poster signed for my student that wrote matt a letter, and I didn’t get to do it at the Greek (he was pissed off and walked straight out LOL) and then didn’t get to do it when I flew out to chicago, either. It’s just disappointing.
Although, apparently some people did wait out in the cold by his van for two hours to meet him. STALKERS! Haha. I’m kidding. Except that I’m totally not.
Well, Mark is going to try his hardest to get a poster signed for me so I can send it to my student. Although he forgot about me at the TLA tonight (thanks a LOT, buddy!) there is still the 12th. 🙂
Speaking of Mark, this is when the interesting part of the evening begins. 🙂
Mark’s stoner friend had bailed on coming to the concert and Mark was supposed to stay with him that night. So, of course, not wanting to see him sleeping on the street, I invited him to come stay at the lovely La Quinta with us. We hiked for a freakin’ MILE or more back to his car (there is a difference between North and South, sweetie) and got underway, finally, after only one small incident where Mark scared the living daylights out of a guy trying to get some cash from an ATM.
OK, can I just say that Mark is clinically insane? And when I say clinically, I mean that I have used my professional judgement to make that diagnosis. And I have based it on his driving. The swerving. The singing. The stopping to talk to random people. The fooling around on his laptop while trying to drive. The more swerving. Michelle feels that most of this was a show he was putting on to get a rise out of me, and, well, it worked! I’ve been in car accidents (too many for my liking…although, how many would be to my liking? So that makes no sense. Point is…more than one) Even if it’s wussy, the crazy driving freaks me out.
Have I mentioned that Mark was making his Matt-following pilgrimage across the midwest in a “stolen” rental car? (In the sense that he wasn’t supposed to take it out of NY and here we were in Illinois) A rental car he was using because he crashed his other car. Yes.
Anyway, we made it to the train station parking lot in one piece (respectively) and picked up michelle’s car. We spent the next hour or so searching for an open coffeeshop and finally got some grub at Denny’s. After that, we went to Wal-Green’s to get some throat spray for Mark and did not come out for 45 minutes due to Mark’s total OCD and not being able to find a Matt live show CD he wanted to give to the clerk so he had the need to shuffle through his CD case not once, not twice, but one hundred and thirty seven times. 🙂
(Just an aside…Mark to me as we are headed up to the front of the store with cold medication, “What’s your feeling on stealing?” haha)
We get back to the hotel, and I have to admit, Michelle is right, Mark and I got into a little argument (or rather, I just got pissed off at Mark. Haha) because it took so long to get back to the hotel when I had been saying all night that I wanted to go back and drink and hang out and he kept finding other shit for us to do. But that all got smoothed over, and I wasn’t pissed at him anymore.
It ended up being a moot point, anyway, because he and I wound up staying up until about 10 or 10:30 in the morning talking. At about 6 or 7, we had said that, okay, it was late, we would lay down and try to go to sleep. But then we were laying there, all snuggled up and cozy, and it just felt really nice to lay there and talk. (at this point I had had two bacardi silvers and the driving incident was a distant memory LOL) So, the point being, no sleep was had until about 10:30 am. It was so cool, because Michelle would wake up for little 5 or 10 minute intervals and participate in the conversation, then fall asleep again. Very fun.
Mark is just such an interesting, entertaining guy. He’s different from anyone I’ve ever met, and his perspective fascinates me. I told him he needs to come visit me in LA. I would absolutely love to show him all the sights and get his take on them. I guaratee it would be a fresh perspective. The nicest thing about Mark, though, is like Michelle said, under all those quirks there is an indefinable likability about him that you just can’t put your finger on. He’s a sweetie, I’m glad we’re friends.
At 12:15, Michelle wakes me up. At 12:40, I woke Mark up. At 1:00, we BARELY made the checkout time.
We head to IHOP for breakfast (although it is 1:30 pm, dammit, we just woke up, it’s BREAKFAST!). I got to have my Harvest Grain N’ Nut Pancakes. So Good!!!!
Michelle and I wanted to go to the movies then and see The Forgotten. Mark decided it wasn’t really his kinda movie and he wanted to go off in search of his stoner friend anyway, so we left each other then.
Michelle and I went back to her house and got on the internet. That’s right. She was on her computer, I was on my handheld. It doesn’t get any better than that, babe. 🙂 We’ve known each other through posting for a year. I flew 2000 miles to visit her, and we sit across the room posting to each other. Internet Geeks Unite!!!!!
(About the Internet Geek club…if you have a blog, you’ll be considered…if you have a webpage, you’re in. If you have more than 5000 posts on any one message board, you are DEFINITELY in!)
We saw The Forgotten (kinda good but mainly weak. The best thing about the movie was definitely the company!) and then we went and ate really good ice cream at a local chain.
Then (sob!) time to go back to the airport. Michelle and I parted ways, until her California trip at least (AKA – Melanie acts as an enabler to help Michelle stalk Orlando and Iaon).
It seemed longer than a weekend. Possibly because I made the decision to forgo sleep. 🙂
Nice introduction to Chicago!
WHAT I’M READING: The Magician’s Tale by David Hunt. I *LOVE* books set in San Francisco.
WHAT I’M LISTENING TO: Tristan Prettyman. (http://www.tristanprettyman.com) I saw so many people pimping her on so many different message boards that I had to check her out. She’s so fucking badass! I can’t get her tunes out of my head…not to mention that her journal entries and board postings are clever and witty, she’s fucking gorgeous…AND she surfs. I think I have a full-on girl-crush on her. 🙂 I gotta add her to the music page on my website.
ROCKER UPDATE: I just saw that hometown rocker chick Megan Slankard (oh, hi, hello…Tracy, CA) (http://www.meganslankard.com) is going to be on What Not to Wear in May. Haha…cool. Bye bye hippie chick, hello hottie. I assume, anyway, I haven’t seen the show yet.
WHAT’S BEEN GOING ON: Wow, if someone were to read this blog, they may think I have no life outside of Nathanson concerts. LOL That’s not true. It’s just easier to motivate myself to write up my concert stories because I know that I’m going to be talking about them with my friends on message boards and linking to them and talking about the pictures and whatnot. “Girl, did you see yourself in my picture?” etc. 🙂 (hi, Sarita!)
But, since I do, in fact, HAVE a real non-concert life that I probably will want to recall at some point in the future, I need to get off my lazy bootie and write about that as well. So here goes.
Easter weekend, my Spring Break of sorts, I went down to Southern California with Shawna and the fam. Shawna and I drove down together and I dropped her off at Tony’s place in Hollywood while the kids and the dog went with Mom and Dad. I then drove out to Karin’s house in Yucca Valley and we went karaoke singing at the Castle Inn. It was so much fun! I sang “You Were Meant for Me” by Jewel and “Don’t Speak” by No Doubt. It was sweet because the karaoke guy remembered me, and I haven’t been there for I don’t know how long. A year at least, possibly more. Which was even more impressive considering that the last time I was out there, the waitress not only remembered me but remembered what I had ordered at least a year before. WOW. Those high desert people have minds like steel traps.
When I sang my first song (You Were Meant for Me), it was such a rush. People were clapping, singing along, cheering. It felt so good! Mike, the karaoke DJ, said, “Melanie, girl, you’ve been gone too long!” It was great!
At one point in the evening, there was a bar fight. And not just the subtle little kind of bar fight you see in movies where it happens in a corner and the bouncer tosses people out and then it’s business as usual. No. This was broken glass, people arguing…the lights came up, the whole bar stopped. Everyone was either over there helping or standing there staring. The music stopped because Mike went over to help with the fight. Well, after all this was over and people were standing around, just chatting and waiting to see what was going to happen…Mike goes up and says, “Next we have…Melanie!”
I thought I would pee my pants. How am I supposed to top the entertainment value of a all out bar fight by singing a No Doubt tune?
Well, the music started. Karin and Bert started cheering and clapping. (My cousins love me!) The lights came down. People were still milling around and talking. I was petrified. But then as I started singing, people started paying attention! They sat down, they started singing along…OH MY GOD! It was actually going well!
So then I started relaxing and totally rocking out. Especially at the end, you can really belt that song out, it’s a fun one. People were dancing, even. Some people were doing the rock-head-bang thing like Wayne’s World. NICE!
When it was over, people were standing up, cheering, whistling…it felt awesome! Mike says, “You are two for two, girl!”
Man, I miss singing. I miss being in the choir for that reason. There are enough things about it I DON’T miss that I would not join again, particularly without Twana there. But I so miss that feeling of being up there on Sunday, with all the people in the congregation (about 3,000 people) singing along, standing there rocking with the rest of the choir, being right in the middle of that powerful three part harmony that no other style of music has even come close to utilizing as well as gospel music…and just opening my mouth as wide as I can, throwing my head back, and belting it out. And then that moment of silence as the last note fades in the air, right before the applause breaks out (but you know it’s going to). That’s a magic moment.
Then when the applause DOES break out, THAT feels great. And, of course, the whole choir is clapping, too (because it’s not the congregation clapping for the choir, per se…it’s all of us clapping for God, you know – whatever *smile*). It’s just this incredibly emotional shared experience. I loved that.
The thing I loved the MOST about being in the choir, though, was singing out at different places: different churches, different events. We were a racially mixed choir (um…yeah…I was in it, so that would be an “OBVIOUSLY”), and at many places we went, you could tell that they were skeptical about whether we would have an authentic gospel sound. Until we started singing, that is. 🙂 It was incredibly satisfying to stand there and watch the astonishment on their faces as we did our first couple of songs and then just see them smiling and singing along as we did the rest. WE WON THEM OVER! WOO HOO! What a sense of validation.
Man….all this reminiscing almost makes me want to go back. But…then I think of all the politics and bs…and I remember why I’m not there anymore. Why can’t it just all be about the music (well…and worshiping God, of course)? Why does it have to be so much about people’s fragile little egos and manipulative little power plays?
And that’s why I think I’ll be sticking to karaoke. 🙂
WHAT I’M READING: Under Cover of Darkness by James Grippandi, Endangered Species by Nevada Barr, Four Blind Mice by James Patterson.
WHAT I’M LISTENING TO: Everything to Everyone by Barenaked Ladies, OF COURSE! Not going to miss the new release by my all time favorite band! Can I be a little disloyal, though, and say that I was a bit disappointed? Man, I feel like such a traitor even voicing that, and especially on such a public forum, but this is the first of their CD’s EVER that there isn’t even one song that I say, “GOD! I love that song!” And on ALL of their other CD’s there have been at least five or six of those.
WHAT’S BEEN GOING ON: Well, I got a part-time job at Zany Brainy, which sells educational toys and other things like that. It should be pretty fun and interesting working there, hopefully, and I can make some extra moolah for paying off bills and saving up for the big move to LA. The sad thing is, if I’m working on Saturday nights, no more post-whoring with my MSM girls. Too bad.
Evie is coming out to visit me this spring. She’s never been to Northern California before. I’m going to show her San Francisco, Napa and Lake Tahoe. My own personal Top 3. I’m such a nerd, I’m already planning everything out to the Nth degree…I’m practically planning it out by the minute! ? There are so many special things. Cable cars, definitely, Ghirardelli Square, Pier 39 (touristy, but still ?). The Indonesia Restaurant. The Golden Gate, Golden Gate Park…oh man, it’s so exciting to be able to show someone all that for the first time! And then Napa, I definitely want to take her to Mondavi and take the tour…Sittui, the museum, Domain Chandon, the cooking academy…everything! And Lake Tahoe…The Forest Room, driving around the lake, that art gallery by the marina, gambling and partying till late in the evening LOL. I might even take her to Virginia City, I doubt she’s ever been to anything like that…anything Gold Rush or “Old West”-ish.
I’ve been SO into working out and going to the gym lately…I LOVE the gym. I love the feeling of industry there…everyone is there to do a job, and everyone is there to better themselves. Tanning and going in the spa also feel good, and I like the steam room. So I’m taking advantage of the pampering aspects of it, as well.
I’ve also recently discovered the Grilled Chicken Salad at the Mexican Food restaurant in the Food 4 Less parking lot down the street from my school….aaaahhhh!!!! Heaven! Oh, man, it’s such a good salad! And Cost Plus has a decent little low carb section, too. Low carb chocolate…yum! So I’m feelin’ pretty good about my diet lately! LOL In San Ramon, there is a whole low carb STORE called Greenbeanz, but things in there are hella expensive, and I can’t afford to be shopping there all the time. Or ANY of the time, for that matter! Haha.
Write more later!