Saturday, December 27, 2008

Land of the Lost Playlist - December

Land of the Lost Playlist
December 26, 2008

7pm

The B-52s - Planet Claire
Tonio K - The Funky Western Civilization
Gang Of Four - At Home He's A Tourist
Elvis Costello - Less Than Zero
The Fools - It's A Night For Beautiful Girls
Thomas Dolby - I Scare Myself
Visage - Fade To Grey
Nena - Just A Dream
The Mo-Dettes - The Story So Far
The Reaction - Talk Talk (pre-Talk Talk)
Richard Hell & The Voidoids - Blank Generation
Deckchairs Overboard - That's The Way
Ultravox - Hiroshima Mon Amour
The Damned - Smash It Up
Madness - Cardiac Arrest

8pm

Adam Ant
- Room At The Top
Anna Domino - Time For Us
Duran Duran - Late Bar
Felony - The Fanatic
Blondie - I'm Gonna Love You
Blue Rondo A La Turk - Change
The Waitresses - Heat Night
Romeo Void - Never Say Never
OMD - Her Body In My Soul
Fad Gadget - Ricky's Hand
OTO - Anyway
Wang Chung - Wait 12"

9pm

Twelve Drummers Drumming - Have You Heard It
Tom Tom Club - Bamboo Town
A Flock Of Seagulls - Tanglimara
Throbbing Gristle - Adrenalin
Soft Cell - Bedsitter
DEVO - Snowball
Erasure - A Little Respect
David Bowie - Modern Love
Pat Benatar - We Live For Love
The Knack - Good Girls Don't
Martha & The Muffins - Paint By Number Heart
Martha & The Muffins - Swimming
M + M - Black Stations White Stations
Berlin - Masquerade

10pm

Heaven 17 - I'm Your Money
Bananarama - Aie a Mwana
Book Of Love - Modigliani
Teardrop Explodes - Second Head
Absolute Body Control - Automatic
Human League - Empire State Human
Yaz - Nobody's Diary
Depeche Mode - Leave In Silence
Talking Heads - Seen And Not Seen
Liquid Liquid - Optimo
Bunnydrums - YBB
Joy Division - Digital
The B-52's - 53 Miles West Of Venus
Godley & Creme - Cry

Friday, December 12, 2008

R.I.P. Bettie Page

Bettie Page, the 1950s secretary-turned-model whose controversial photographs in skimpy attire or none at all helped set the stage for the 1960s sexual revolution, died Thursday. She was 85.

Page was placed on life support last week after suffering a heart attack in Los Angeles and never regained consciousness, said her agent, Mark Roesler. He said he and Page's family agreed to remove life support. Before the heart attack, Page had been hospitalized for three weeks with pneumonia.

"She captured the imagination of a generation of men and women with her free spirit and unabashed sensuality," Roesler said. "She is the embodiment of beauty."

Page, who was also known as Betty, attracted national attention with magazine photographs of her sensuous figure in bikinis and see-through lingerie that were quickly tacked up on walls in military barracks, garages and elsewhere, where they remained for years.

Her photos included a centerfold in the January 1955 issue of then-fledgling Playboy magazine, as well as controversial sadomasochistic poses.

"I think that she was a remarkable lady, an iconic figure in pop culture who influenced sexuality, taste in fashion, someone who had a tremendous impact on our society," Playboy founder Hugh Hefner told The Associated Press on Thursday. "She was a very dear person."

Page mysteriously disappeared from the public eye for decades, during which time she battled mental illness and became a born-again Christian.

After resurfacing in the 1990s, she occasionally granted interviews but refused to allow her picture to be taken.

Monday, December 08, 2008

In Search Of Holiday Humor


Well, for those unaware - it was 15 years ago when WXPN came to me, with those puppy-dog eyes, hoping that I'd fill in on December 24. Seems no one was available and it was the days before digital broadcast, where you could run special programming without assistance.

So, I agreed - AS LONG AS they gave me complete freedom to spin an aural web of sounds of the season - direct from my collection of holiday tunes.

What they didn't know was that I had already developed a fascination for Christmas songs. Not the burnt cookies anyone can hear up and down the dial in December. My collection was chock-full of unique nuggets - some not given the light of day for decades.

So, they agreed to give me three hours and I delivered.

The three hours went to four - which went to six. On my 13th anniversary of The Night Before on XPN, somewhat as a joke, I suggested 12 hours to celebrate the past 12 years! Management said 'okay' and the next thing you know I was on for 12 nonstop hours.

Last year management asked what I planned to do to top my 12-hour marathon the previous year - - I said, how 'bout 24 hours?! After checking my pulse and temperature - just to be sure I wasn't babbling under some illness - they agreed.

So, last year I was on the air for 24-nonstop hours. And this year I do it all again. 24 nonstop hours on the 24th day of December!

Best of all, if you can't listen on the FM dial - you can listen live worldwide at http://xpn.org/listen-live

Hopefully I'll have some new bells and whistles to add to the mix this year! I plan to have a couple special GIFT BAG music hours - 60 minutes of nothing but requested songs, each titled for a possible gift idea. Additionally, I might have some live guests swing by as well as some other features from years' past; like a rebroadcast of It's A Wonderful Life (originally aired March 1947) and other goodies.

But here's an idea that I can use a little help with ... I want to present throughout the 24 hours a little bit of holiday humor. So, if you have any seasonal jokes (they must be clean - due to FCC guidelines etc), comment and share them here, so I can add them to my list. Think groan/cute kids jokes if you need some guidelines!

Here's one to get you started:

What do you call people who are afraid of Santa Claus?

Claustrophobic
.

(thank you, I'm here all week!)

Sex Dwarf Playlist - Snow Ball '08

Sex Dwarf Playlist
Friday, December 5

- 2008 Snow Ball

DJ Robert Drake 9:00 - 10:30pm

WIRE / Over Theirs
Soft Cell / Say Hello, Wave Goodbye 12"
Level 42 / Something About You
XTC / Making Plans For Nigel
The Motels / Danger
The Nails / 88 Lines About 44 Women
The Fixx / Red Skies
Red Rockets / China
Sparks / With All My Might 12"
Hipsway / Honeythief 12"
Human League / (Keep Feeling) Fascination
Talk Talk / It's My Life 12"
Simple Minds / New Gold Dream
Human League / Lebanon
Man Parrish / Hip Hop, Be-Bop
King / Love & Pride 12"
A Flock Of Seagulls / I Ran
Depeche Mode / Question Of Time
David Bowie / China Girl
The Go-Go's / Head Over Heels

DJ Marilyn Thomas 10:30 - 11:30pm

Eurythmics / Love Is A Stranger
Siouxsie & The Banshees / Kiss Them For Me
Tears For Fears / Pale Shelter
Ultravox / The Thin Wall
Spandau Ballet / The Freeze
Peter Godwin / Images Of Heaven
A Flock Of Seagulls / Wishing (I Had A Photograph Of You)
Duran Duran / Planet Earth
New Order / Temptation
Depeche Mode / Shake The Disease
The Cure / A Forrest
The Smiths / How Soon Is Now
Echo & The Bunnymen / The Cutter
Icicle Works / Birds Fly (Whisper To A Scream)

DJ Robert Drake 11:30pm - 12:15am

Yaz / State Farm
Sheila E / Love Bizarre 12"
Baltimora / Tarzan Boy
Limahl / NeverEnding Story 12"
Eurythmics / I Love To Listen To Beethoven
Telekin / Imagination
Go West / We Close Our Eyes 12"
Suzi Quatro / Rock Hard
Violent Femmes / Blister In The Sun

DJ Marilyn Thomas 12:15 - 1:00am

The Vapors / Turning Japanese
M / Pop Musik
Erasure / A Little Respect
Bronski Beat / Why?
Dead Or Alive / You Spin Me Round
Soft Cell / Tainted Love
Falco / Rock Me Amadeus
Adam Ant / Ant Music
The Smiths / Bigmouth Strikes Again
Joy Division / Love Will Tear Us Apart
Siouxsie & The Banshees / Peek-A-Boo
Kon Kan / I Beg Your Pardon
aha / Take On Me 12"
Peter Schilling / The Different Story (Life Of Lust & Crime)

DJ Robert Drake 1:00 - 2:00am

The Bangles / Hazy Shade Of Winter
Depeche Mode / Flexible 12"
Re-Flex / The Politics Of Dancing 12"
Laid Back / White Horse
Prince / Erotic City
Berlin / No More Words
Dead Or Alive / My Heart Goes Bang
New Order / Regret
Gary Numan / Cars 12"
Heaven 17 / Penthouse & Pavement
Japan / Quiet Life 12"
Soft Cell / Sex Dwarf
Grace Jones / Use Me 12" - close song

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Irony, You Never Looked So Good


found on the interwebs

Prop 8: The Musical

This is probably the best musical number I've seen ---

The star-studded participants include Jack Black, Neil Patrick Harris, Margaret Cho, John C. Reilly, Maya Rudolph and many more familiar faces.

See more Jack Black videos at Funny or Die

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Land of the Lost - November Playlist

Land of the Lost Playlist
November 28, 2008


7pm

The B-52's / Planet Claire
The English Beat / Twist & Crawl
Robert Palmer / Looking For Clues
UB40 / Zero Zero Seven Charlie
Blue Rondo A La Turk / Change
Bow Wow Wow / Aphrodisiac
Danielle Dax / Cat House
Eurythmics / I Love To Listen To Beethoven
Sparks / All You Ever Think About Is Sex
A Flock Of Seagulls / The More You Live, The More You Love
B-Movie / Nowhere Girl 12"
OMD / We Love You 12"
Joe Jackson / Got The Time

8pm

REM / Sitting Still
Human Sexual Response / What Does Sex Mean To Me
Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers / Ice Cream Man
Lene Lovich / New Toy
The Pool / Where Did We Go Wrong
XTC / Scissor Man
Dave Ball / In Strict Tempo
The Smiths / Cemetery Gates
Suburban Lawns / Janitor
Tuxedomoon / Incubus (Blue Suit)
Ultravox / Accent On Youth
John Foxx / No One Driving
Midge Ure / That Certain Smile
SSQ / Playback
Little Girls / Earthquake Song

9pm

Transvision Vamp
/ Tell That Girl To Shut Up
Julian Cope / Shot Down
Big Audio Dynamite / C'Mon Every Beatbox
Minimal Compact / Next One Is Real
Pete Shelley / Many A Time 12"
Head Cheese / Teenage Idol
Head Cheese / Non Melodic
PIL / Rise
Yello / Bostich
Joy Division / Atmosphere
Laurie Anderson / Born, Never Asked
Gary Numan / Down In The Park
The Cars / Al Mixed Up

10pm

Spandau Ballet
/ To Cut A Long Story Short 12"
Tin Tin / Kiss Me 12"
Klaus Nomi / Total Eclipse
Klaus Nomi / Lightning Strikes
Klaus Nomi / Ding Dong
The Fire Engines / Everything Roses
The Quick / Pretty Please
The Dickies / You Drive Me Ape, You Big Gorilla
The Rezillos / My Baby Does Good Sculptures
20/20 / Yellow Pills
Blue Angel / Maybe He'll Know
Tracey Ullman / They Don't Know About Us
Fashion / Love Shadow
OMD / Her Body In My Soul

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving


This has truly been a year to be thankful; first and foremost that I made it another year!

I am thankful for my friends, my career, my health (even with the bumps and bruises along the way... there are those way far worse than I) - - but mostly, I am thankful for John.

John has taught me to love. To love another and to finally love myself. John has allowed me to fully understand and experience what it is like to have a balanced life. I spent decades alone with my friends and my professional world, and - although I made the best of it, there was always something missing. I felt as if I was avoiding someone ... and that someone was me.

John helped me find myself this past year and for that I am not only thankful ...

I am grateful.

So, no matter how many things aren't quite right in your world this season, realize that you're alive. You're still here and you're still breathing. And, the future still awaits.

Make the most of the day. Take a moment to look in a mirror and say to yourself;

"I am thankful to be here."

Peace.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Philly Complaint Choir

For those unaware, the Complaint Choir is a worldwide phenomenon - but has yet to blossom in Philadelphia - ironic, yes? Well, have no fear - it's arrived - and with a passion that only Philly can deliver!

Here's the gist - everyday citizens jot down complaints they have -- and then all these complaints are gathered and tossed together to create a song, which is then performed by an all-volunteer choir made up of many who submitted their own complaints!

You can find out more at their site (link below) - but first check out this wonderful video shot underground at Suburban Station (a central train station near City Hall for those not from Philly).

To get the full effect, you really need to turn on the close captioning. Just hover your cursor over the lower right corner (up arrow menu) and then select "CC". If that doesn't work, you may have to click through and do the same on the non-embedded YouTube page.




The Philadelphia Complaint Choir

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

R.I.P.


Rest In Peace, Little Mikey.

Gone way too soon, man. You will be missed by many. I wasn't sure which pic to post, but I decided to go with the one that reminds me most of you - and that crazy cool smile.

I, for one, will miss your energy.

You might have been known as Little Mikey - but the void you have left is anything but.

Peace.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Besides being a great musician who played in several local bands; a wonderful barfly friend and an all around fixture in the underground scene in Philly, Mike Brosnan was best known by many as the founder of STALAG 13 - an all-age venue known worldwide for its incredible punk showcases. Mikey was killed by a drunk driver, while crossing the street this weekend.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Welcome To Kid Hop

As producer of Kids Corner on WXPN for the past 20 years, I've discovered some incredible music for all ages - and sadly, ten times that in true crappy kids music.

In 1988 - the year Kids Corner started, the other debut was the not-yet-infamous BARNEY the purple dinosaur. That creature set quality family music back a decade! If it wasn't for Disney soundtracks, the late 80s and early 90s would have been even more painful than they were in the family music genre.

Then finally quality rock musicians started having kids and realizing there was an audience for both kids AND those that drive them everywhere. The beginnings of what is now 'family music' began; a mix of family-friendly folk and some traditional rock riffs.

Over time it has grown to a multi-million dollar industry - but one thing has always been limited; quality hip-hop ... until now !

Earlier this year a debut disc came across my desk from an artist named Secret Agent 23 Skidoo ... this disc is DOPE!

When North Carolina rapper Secret Agent 23 Skidoo became a dad, he set his sights toward creating hip-hop he and his daughter could enjoy equally. By combining the world of infectious beats and rhymes that he grew up on with the magical realm of childhood, he aims to introduce kids to hip hop without compromising either one.

His debut album, “Easy”, mixes traditional funk, bluegrass, reggae and blues with classic golden age hip hop beats. Then, he tops it off with positive, party rocking rhymes, and a slew of exciting characters from the last dragon left on earth to the bluegrasshopper.

This disc is a great listen - even if there are no kids miles around! This is easily one of my highlight discs for 2008 - as well as (hopefully) an influential release in the world of Family Music - fingers crossed that others listen to this Secret Agent and learn.

Check out this video clip of one of my favorite tracks from the disc "Gotta Be Me"


Find out more, http://www.secretagent23skidoo.com/

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Selling Myself

Today I get to stand in front of strangers and sell myself.

I've been nominated to serve on the South Street Headhouse District Board of Directors - and was asked to attend their monthly meeting in a little over an hour from now, to introduce myself to those that will be voting. Seems they have more nominations than positions.

That's a good thing.

I figured I'd flush out my thoughts here - and kill two stones with one bird ;)

As friends and longtime readers of this blog know, I've been a resident of the South Street corridor for a quarter-century, with exception to a handful of years when I escaped to NE Philly. Who knew that once there, I would spend every moment trying to escape FROM NE Philly!

But I digress.

Since 1981, I've seen the South Street area transform itself from a collective gathering of indie art-driven spaces to a stripmall of corporate logos. Over the past couple years, many of those corporate giants have fallen and faded away; Tower Records, McDonalds, KFC to name a few.

What is unique about South Street is its passion and creativity. Sadly, that's what has been missing when it comes to its creative output in regards to outreach and events. Sure, the events are traditions now - but they lack the cutting edge that South Street always had.

I was asked to put my name in the hat because of my ability to produce unique nightlife events in Philadelphia. It was suggested by a member that they not only want to jump start their current crop of annual events (Easter Parade, Halloween, etc) but also develop outreach that truly represents the heart of South Street.

Naturally, as someone who has produced the annual Philly Zombie Crawl down South Street for the past three years, as well as Sex Dwarf the past 5 years off South Street, I suppose I do represent a bit more 'left-of-center' mentality when it comes to creating sensational experiences!

So - this morning I will introduce myself - explain who I am and what I can bring to the table and let the chips fall where they may.

One thing: I promise here and now NOT to bring Sarah Palin into my election campaign ;)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Thursday, November 06, 2008

The Stars Align

I read this this morning and got a chill! Obama will become the president of the United States of America just days before the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birth. I've always been a sucker for numerology and love anniversaries - and this one is double important, as Obama has announced the theme for his inauguration, one that will reflect the timing: "A New Birth Of Freedom," a phrase from the Gettysburg Address.

How powerful that the first black man elected president of the United States of America will build his inauguration around the words of Lincoln - and, if one could, imagine how Lincoln would feel to see his words live on, on such a truly historic day for our country.

From Lincoln's speech:

The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

'Tis The Season

Hi folks -

Well, even though the season of goblins has just ended, I'm already knee-deep in planning mode for my 15th annual edition of The Night Before on XPN; 24 nonstop hours of eclectic sounds of the season on December 24th; from midnight to midnight.

That's right; me - live - nonstop - for 24 hours!

Two things:

First, I want to put out a call to those of you who might have some non-obvious, off-the-beaten-path seasonal songs that you want to share for my annual broadcast - - grant it, I can't guarantee that I'll spin everything, but if you feel the desire to put together a mix CD for consideration, I'd be happy to give it a listen and possibly toss tracks into the mix! I know that many of you have quite the unique collection of music at home - so if you have some unusual songs with either an holiday or winter theme and want to burn them to disc and mail them off to me - I'd love it!

Send the discs to:

Robert Drake
WXPN-FM
3025 Walnut Street

Philadelphia PA 19104-3402


Second - I am creating some new features to plop into my 24-hour live marathon; one is called The 60-minute Shopping Spree; one hour of 'gift' songs - basically songs that are about items that would make cool gifts. That's where you come in; feel free to comment to this post with any songs that you think would work for this hour - just follow these rules:

1. they do NOT have to be holiday songs
2. they must have the gift item in the title of the song

That's it - start the brainstorming and advance thanks - - and I hope you can join me for my 15th annual marathon show, starting at midnight on Wednesday, December 24th 2008!

Remember, you can listen worldwide at http://xpn.org/listen-live or tune in at:

88.5fm WXPN-Philadelphia, PA
88.7fm WXPN-York/Lancaster, PA
99.7fm WXPN-Harrisburg, PA
104.9fm WXPN-Lehigh Valley, PA
90.5fm WKHS-Worton/Baltimore, MD

The Moment

While sitting quietly in John's house watching history in the making last night at 11pm EST - seeing the hundreds of thousands of faces; beaming, crying and smiling - I realized that we truly are witnessing something more than another election.

Although I had invitations to join friends at social events and election night parties, to me - this night was personal. I wanted to have control of my environment as well as the remote; so I could flip around with ease.

I found (as usual) the best coverage was on C-SPAN with its peaceful void of bells and whistles. MSNBC followed, mostly because of Keith and Rachel. The oddest coverage was found over at CNN, where the tech crew have gotten a memo to 'kick it up a notch' - in addition to their Magic Wall (which was originally military technology), last night saw the debut of a 3-D floating Capitol building as well as the 'beaming in' of a reporter in Chicago - who then chatted with Wolf as a hologram. I guess all those extra dollars CNN made from political ads was invested wisely!

STRANGE.

Anyway - back to 11pm. Once Keith Olberman made the announcement at 11pm, I sat there and watched a live feed from Grant Park in Chicago; the most amazing thing was the silence from the pundits on the set back in NYC. I wasn't sure if it was because they wanted to allow the historical moment to stand alone - or perhaps they themselves were just as choked up as we all were.

I sat there and, with each minute passing, filled with more emotion, finally finding its way out via my tear ducts. I cried a steady stream of blessed tears for a good 10 minutes while witnessing the psychological transfer of our country's direction from the old guard to a new generation of citizens.

As I was taking all this in - one song came to mind. I always felt this song to be powerful; be it the original version or covered by the likes of Patti, Luther or such. The words are haunting and it so fits this moment in time.

It Has Begun.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Being Serious

I posted this earlier this fall - but its important enough to me, that I post it again - the day before Election Day 2008.

OK -

The last time I wrote something like this was exactly four years ago - but I decided to write this again.

I rarely impose politics on people; it's a personal decision and that is that - and that belief goes all the way towards politicians and how they impose their personal beliefs on citizens as blanket laws, 'for the good of the country'.

Government should govern. Government should NOT become tangled in personal decisions; be they matters of the heart or matters of life and death.

I'm for government that works to support its citizens grow and prosper, especially those that aren't at the top of the food chain. I'm for a government that understands the value of science and research; from the minutia of stem-cell to the expansive reaches of outer space.

I'm not for a government that feels the need to steer the country back to the 'good old days' when minorities, be they ethnic or sexual orientation, knew their place and simply accepted it. I'm not for a government that governs by the rule of a God and believes that the 'good book' is more powerful than the United States Constitution.

Four years ago I wrote to my 'friends list' on My Space and told them that it was important that those within my network support me; both as a human being and equal citizen of this great country. By voting for four more years of George W. Bush, they were helping to take this country down the wrong road; not only in battle but in cultural wars and extremism beliefs. They were moving this country a step closer to outlawing millions of citizens some of their basic rights and securities; me being one of those millions.

The 2004 Republican ticket was not supportive of the LGBT community in any way. It begrudgingly agreed to accept us, as long as we stopped whining for more. It was not a step forward for acceptance and understanding - something that has historically made this melting pot society of America but sadly has fallen to the wayside over the past decade.

Sadly, Bush won again and we see where we are today.

There is no sincere, clear-headed way someone can convince me that John McCain is nothing more than more of the same - but this time with a extreme religious twist, thanks to his party's choice of Palin as their Vice-President.

The Republican Party leading this country would not be good for America.

So - before we get into the final heat of the presidential battle - if you're planning to vote Republican, do me a favor - delete me from your 'friends' list because, quite frankly, a vote for McCain is a vote against me.

Yes, it really is that personal for me.

Robert

Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween Mischief


Halloween 2008 has arrived.

As most kids, when I was a child I lived for Halloween. It was our first authentic costume party; a chance for us to celebrate our imaginations. On this one day you could be whatever you wanted to be - and, like most kids, you spent much of the fall commiserating with your friends as to what costume you would wear.

The olden days of Halloween (i.e. 1970s) were a care-free time. I'd join my friends and we'd hit the streets around 5pm and be out until every house was visited. No one seemed to mind kids wandering the neighborhood alone until 10pm - everyone would return to their bed as usual; the difference being we'd each bring home a pillowcase of candy.

As for that candy, there was no checking - no razor blades or poisons to be found. The only checking I remember doing was to toss out crap I didn't like - as well as to separate the candy from the coins; for some reason wrapped bundles of pennies were still in vogue back then - especially by the 'older lady' contingent.

I remember those hypnotic experiences every late September - stepping into the large Grant department store and seeing row upon row of colorful boxes; each with a window on the front - and peering from the window was the eyeless face of someone (or something) you could be. Box costumes were the rage in the 1960s/1970s - - i'm sure they are still out there, but not nearly as strong as they were back then. Each costume was the same - a cheap plastic gown with sleeves that you wore over your street clothes - and a thin plastic face mask - complete with a rubber band that tangled up in your hair! Once you placed the mask on your face, the smell of chemicals from the mask was overwhelming! Plus you could barely breathe through the tiny holes machine-punched into the nostril locations.

Adjusting the mask so your eyes lined up was a constant challenge and after 10 minutes most kids would just wear the mask on the top of their head, pulling it down upon ringing a doorbell - it was a chore! All this to get candy - what a crock.

That's when we grew up; we would instead hold seances in someone's garage; complete with spooky decorations. Nothing ever came of it, 'cept for a few sleepless nights afterwards.

There are moments when I wish I lived in a neighborhood that still had door-to-door Trick or Treating. You just don't see it in the city much anymore. Community centers or neighborhood parties have replaced that ritual - mostly out of safety and concern.

It's a shame in a way - many of today's kids (those in a city environment especially) are missing out on that experience; traveling through the neighborhood and knocking on every door as a child was my first true taste of independence.

Freedom.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Harry Kalas: Addendum

For those that already read and watched my last post, this is an addendum. If you haven't yet read "A Moment To Savior", please do prior to playing the clip in this post.

Now grant it - it was shot by a fan at last night's historic game, so the audio is a bit over-modulated, but regardless - - THIS is what made last night so special for me.

Earlier this year Harry sang this song to a crowd in an impromptu emotional moment of joy - it has stuck with him and there was nothing finer than to see him - in the wave of euphoria that he had to be feeling while standing in front of 45,000 loyal fans, sing this song again .... slightly off key and completely wonderful.

This clip literally brought a tear to my eye. Enjoy.

A Moment To Savior

This is a great clip from last night ... but first some backstory:

For all of his achievements, legendary Phillies announcer Harry Kalas had never called the final out of a Phillies championship. Kalas was finishing his first decade with the team back in 1980 when the Phils won their first-ever World Series crown, but Major League Baseball rules prevented local broadcasts of the World Series.

So there is no call of Kalas at the 1980 World Series; Vin Scully and Sparky Anderson had the microphone for CBS Radio. By the Phillies’ next World Series appearance, in 1983, baseball had changed the rule and allowed local radio stations to continue carrying the games.

“The outcry of Phillie fans had M.L.B. change it,” Kalas told the NY Times on Monday. “Phillie fans really let themselves be heard. They wanted to hear Harry and Whitey calling the World Series.”

The Hall of Fame center fielder Richie Ashburn, known as Whitey, was Kalas’s longtime broadcast partner. He died in 1997. This month, Kalas has been working the middle three innings of each game. But when the Phillies have a chance to clinch, the schedule is adjusted so Kalas can call the ninth.

“When it ends, the fans are going to want him narrating it,” Tom McCarthy, another Phillies broadcaster, said. “It’s one of the very few, minute things missing on his résumé, and here is it, a chance for him to do it. He’s the soundtrack of baseball in this city.”

With that I give you this incredible clip of Harry in action, reaching that dream that he's carried for decades.

note: Announcer Chris Wheeler is behind him, but because of the hot mics, can't vocalize his excitement - if so, he would step all over this historic call from Harry. So, that explains his spastic reaction behind Harry!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Debate Redeux

If, for whatever reason, you missed the debates - or watched #2 and/or #3 and felt a pang of deja vu ... you weren't far off. This classic mash-up shows us all how redundant the process was this year - - enjoy:



Our Reign Postponed


Fuckin' Fox. Fuckin' MLB. Fuckin' Bud Selig.

Philly Inquirer's Phil Sheridan said it best:
Major League Baseball should be ashamed for allowing its most important game of the year to deteriorate into an embarrassing mess because of slavish obedience to its pimp, the Fox Television Network. The first problem here is TV's insistence on scheduling these games for 8:30 p.m. or even later. There are plenty of lovely autumn afternoons - and yesterday was one of them - that give way to cold and blustery evenings. When baseball, like other sports, sold its soul to the networks and their craven need for prime-time sports programming, it created a situation where many young fans couldn't stay up to watch the most important games of the year.

There is no mechanism for the baseball commissioner, Bud Selig, to look at the weather reports, discern that a night game is doomed, and shift the start time to late afternoon.

That would inconvenience fans, but so does suspending the game for a day. That would be tough on players, but so does suspending the game for a day.

If the fans and players were the priorities, last night's game would have been stopped much sooner. They aren't. Television is, and television won't allow its prime-time program to be moved...

At this point, I doubt the game will resume tonight - the weather right now is simply RAW. Cold rain and winds and by 8pm the rains might end, but 30mph winds will remain making it feel like its in the mid-20s! That is not baseball weather at all. Whenever MLB does decide to start the game, I can only hope that the Phils take their anger from last night and bury the Rays and then tell f'n Bud Selig to 'KISS OUR ASS' when accepting the World Series trophy!

GO PHILS!!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Miles Of Vinyl and more...


Saturday, John and I traveled to New York City for the annual WFMU-FM Record & CD Fair ... one word; amazing.

The location was the Metropolitan Pavilion- located on 18th near 6th - is a vast hall that WFMU (easily one of the best indie stations in the country) rents out each year for their annual fundraiser record fair.

For $6 you walk into a sea of dealers - each with boxes and boxes of music! Everything from 10-for-a-buck CD deals to vinyl releases marked for $100 and above. This along with live performances, live broadcasts, an a/v room showcasing concert video recordings and - on this one day, an actual WEDDING!

Seems the bride is a DJ and felt what better place to tie the knot than in a hall filled with music and surrounded by music geeks and fans alike. The ceremony was broadcasted live on WFMU and had a Halloween theme - complete with ghoulish go-go dancers! Very nice indeed

John, of course, got the most of the group of us - but he finds some great deals so I continue to tip my hat to him. I bought a bagful of 12" singles from various 80s bands - as well as a few discs. Spending the afternoon at a record fair is a test of wills, especially since one could easily spend hundreds of dollars if left alone; thankfully we were both on a cash budget and that made it a little easier!

We got back to Philly in time to regroup and head out to see The Magnetic Fields at the Merriam Theatre. Prior to their performance, the opening act was Shugo Tokumaru - who is a 28 year old Japanese singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. His style and influences incorporate elements of pop, folk and electronic music and was truly hypnotizing to watch! His first solo record, Night Piece was released in 2004 and his second record, L.S.T., was released in 2005. His latest album, Exit is now available internationally and he's been touring with The Magnetic Fields to help showcase his unique musical diversity. Even though we had bags upon bags of music waiting at home, John picked up his first two discs (since they are unavailable domestically) and yesterday we listened to them during a quiet Sunday afternoon - - highly recommended as perfect chill sounds.

He plays all of the instruments heard on his CDs but on stage he was joined by fellow musicians to create the same levels of sound; complete with a toy piano, mouth organs, ukulele and other acoustic instruments. This is an artist that - as much as it was great to see him live; deserves to be at a venue like World Cafe Live where the acoustics for an acoustic musician are second to none!


The Magnetic Fields took the stage and explained that many of their instruments were lost in flight to Philly; so thankfully they were able to find a loner acoustic guitar and cello - but you could tell that they were out of sync just a bit; besides not having their own instruments they also didn't have their earpieces - which really threw off the female vocalist since she wasn't able to hear the band as well as she liked; even with a wedge speaker by her feet.

They performed a set and took a 15-minute break - then came back and played a much tighter second set, which I felt was far superior to their opening sounds. A vamp highlight was when founder and lead Stephin Merritt pointed to the darkened balcony to proclaim 'Look - its an angel - a blue angel has arrived to witness our performance! Oh - no its just someone checking their fucking email!!'

Classy.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Joe The Plumber Revisited

Ever since John McCain discovered "Joe the Plumber," he has exalted "small business" owners -- inviting them to announce their professions on signs at rallies -- as the country's only virtuous economic movers.

But now McCain has begun to define the term upward, leaving no mogul or tycoon behind.

On Thursday in Sarasota, Governor Charlie Crist introduced J. Robert Long, the CEO of Marine Concepts as a "small businessman." The man McCain dubbed "Bob the Boat Builder" spent, as Crist noted, most of his career at Wellcraft Marine, which reported revenues of $67 million last year, according to Yahoo! Finance.

Last night in Colorado, Senator Lindsey Graham, a close friend of the McCains, described Cindy as "a great small businesswoman." Her "small" business -- Hensley & Co., a family-owned Anheuser-Busch distributor that is the third largest among the 800 in the country -- had revenues of nearly $200 million last year, according to Yahoo.

source

All that comes to mind right now is, ironically, you can put lipstick on a pig but its still a pig.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Fun Flashback

In case you missed this - it's burning up the interwebs!

Classic!!


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Inspiration

This is truly an inspiring five minutes!

Barack Obama in Richmond, Virginia yesterday - making his closing argument, offering his vision of one America and affirming his view that we are all in this together:

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Undecided Voters


David Sedaris on undecided voters:

I look at these people and can't quite believe that they exist. Are they professional actors? I wonder. Or are they simply laymen who want a lot of attention?

To put them in perspective, I think of being on an airplane. The flight attendant comes down the aisle with her food cart and, eventually, parks it beside my seat. "Can I interest you in the chicken?" she asks. "Or would you prefer the platter of shit with bits of broken glass in it?"

To be undecided in this election is to pause for a moment and then ask how the chicken is cooked.

http://www.newyorker.com/humor/2008/10/27/081027sh_shouts_sedaris

Friday, October 17, 2008

I Love The 80s - Literally

The classic aha video "Take On Me" - with a literal slant!



ok - still want more??

The classic Tears For Fears video "Head Over Heels" - with a literal slant!


Thursday, October 16, 2008

We Are The Champions

WOW.

Not only did the Phillies win last night for a ticket to the World Series - they dominated the game over the Dodgers. It truly was a team effort, beginning with Rollins' kick-off homer!

I grew up in Philly amid championships; from the powerful Philadelphia Flyers who proudly wore their nickname of the Broad Street Bullies as they dominated the NHL and earned back-to-back Stanley Cups during my childhood, to the magical year of 1980 - when after a few almost-years, the Phillies finally made it to the World Series and WON!

I was at Game Two of that series - and screamed my head off, along with the other 65,000 rabid fans at Veterans Stadium. We won that game and the energy that permiated through the city that fall was incredible!

Fast-forward to 1993 when my friend Elise and I sat on the absolute TOP row of the Vet on an October night and could barely see the field - but we could see the gaudy sparkle of Jane Fonda's sequined Atlanta Braves hat all the way down in front - we beat the Braves that night and won another ticket to the World Series -- I never heard a crowd yell so loud for so long - it gives me chills just remembering that moment to this day!

Now the Phillies are in the World Series again - and we have a chance to win (a decent chance too!) - not only to win, but to finally break the curse that has hung around the neck of this city for the past quarter-century.

GO PHILS!!

Oh - and for those that might have missed this oh-so-beautiful moment ... enjoy the soothing sounds of the legendary broadcaster Harry Kalas calling the final minutes towards the Phillies first visit to the World Series since 1993.

Enjoy!!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

One And Done


It's time to do this thing.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Alison: My Aim Is True

Last night John and I took the train to Glenside for an intimate evening with the wonderful Alison Moyet.

Of course, most of you dear readers know that Alison made her start as the vocal half of the band YAZOO - featuring Vince Clarke, shortly after he left Depeche Mode. Famous for their dance singles "Situation", "Don't Go" and "State Farm", the truth is that Yazoo - or Yaz as they were forced to be known here in the states - were a much deeper, darker band than those songs let on.

Lyrics that cried out in sadness, joy and heartbreak were found in both of the Yazoo releases - then, a quickly as the formed, they broke up and went their separate ways: Vince met up with Andy Belland created Erasure - Alison took a turn at a solo career, which was quite successful.

This past summer Vince and Alison reunited for a Yazoo world tour - not so much for a nostalgia hook but more because they had never really gotten the chance to play their canon of music live on stage.

John and I traveled to NYC to see them at the legendary Beacon Theatre; what a joy it was! The seats were a couple rows away from the ceiling - and the stage looked so barren before they arrived. Two small risers were set - one with a mic stand and one with a computer stand. Concern on how they would possible fill the room abounded; Vince rarely moves while playing and Alison tends to remain in place with a simple sway.

However, our fears were squelched when they came on as a huge computerized wall of lights fired up and accompanied each song with its own creation. As someone who was a Yazoo fan from the beginning, it was truly a memorable evening!

That is - until last night.

I knew that (for whatever reason; economy, location, day) sales to the Alison Moyet concert were light but you would never have guessed if you simply listened to the crowd as it joyously responded to every song performed.

John and I arrived at the Keswick Theatre and were guided to our seats by an usher – how excited we were to see that we were sitting in the pit – with no seats in front of us to the stage! The next 90 minutes I felt as if Alison was singing right to me – she would glance over and smile and I was overwhelmed with joy; being so close to the stage and the speakers, her hypnotic voice, complete with ample reverb, just enveloped my senses. She performed songs from her new solo disc The Turn (out this week!) – plus a good assortment of classic tracks, including a few Yazoo staples as well as "Love Resurrection" – one of my favorite songs of the 1980s, hands down.

Alison closed the night with one of my all-time favorite Moyet numbers, written by Jules Shear; "Whispering Your Name". What a powerful song! My other highlight was listening to her sing the first single from Yazoo, "Only You" – with just a grand piano – you could hear a pin drop in the hall.

Haunting.

Do yourself a favor and pick up Alison's new release The Turn - the depth of songwriting is as strong as ever and her trademark chocolate voice still oozes through! Especially on the song "One More Time" - man, that now goes on my Alison Moyet hit list!

And you hear that - and other tracks from the disc - at this site:

http://www.alisonmoyettheturn.com/

And, to hold you over - here is dear Miss Alison Moyet - performing One More Time live on British TV!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Ballad Of Skinny Jeans

So, one of the many highlights of my wonderful relationship with my partner John is his passion for fashion; which has slowly rubbed off on me! Grant it, I don't think I'll ever have the ultimate sense of style that he has, but I have learned to start to wear items that compliment me as well as celebrate my being! (read: no longer ONLY wearing black t-shirts and baggy jeans).

One look that I've always loved was skinny jeans; however I always assumed that skinny jeans were for skinny people; then John discovered that 'slim fit' jeans actually do come in my size!!

Yesterday he gave me my first pair, which he had ordered from - of all places - Old Navy!

I slipped them on and I was reborn! I really enjoyed the unusual feeling of having fabric cling my skin and I had to quickly adapt to the sensation of no longer feeling air circulate around my legs as I walked around.

Don't get me wrong, I totally love them - however, yesterday was a comedy of errors learning to adapt to the world of Skinny Jeans - so much so, that I felt it warranted a post.

It began with the quick understanding that bending over was a skill that I had to relearn, now that I was in Skinny Jeans Land. Between a combination of the cling of fabric as well as the low fit around the waist, it took me some time to figure out how to work these newfangled things!

We stopped for lunch outdoors at Bridget Foy's on South Street - for those who know, they have a great (newly-renovated) space indoors and out - complete with a new menu and it really is a sweet spot for a meal all day (including breakfast!). We choose outside sitting, since it was a beautiful early fall day and that's when the fun began.

Bridget Foy's have these aluminum bar stools for outside - what I didn't realize was that my new jeans had no traction - as soon as I sat down I began to slowly slide off my seat! I felt like a little kid trying desperately to sit at the big people's table - with little success! Finally, I hooked my feet underneath the foot bar to sort of lock myself into position. God help me if there was a fire - I would have either taken the stool with me or just release my feet and slowly slide down to the floor and drop and roll!

But now that I was secure - and that problem was solved I realized that I had developed a breeze in the back. With my low-fitting jeans, lets just say there was a full-moon on the horizon! So I proceeded to pull my T-shirt down and then lean back to sit on the fabric, keeping THAT in place.

So here I am; sitting back in order to hold in my shirt down and legs locked in place to hold in my slippage!

I made it through without drama - but later in the afternoon I learned another rule of skinny jeans; don't even think of kneeling! While digging through a room full of used vinyl at Repo Records, I realized that I was simply unable to kneel down and flip through crates; so I rigged up this ingenious method of bringing the vinyl to my eye level - classy!

Last night John and I joined friends for a trip to NJ to get some food and then see a flick at the Ritz in Cherry Hill (we saw Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist - a fine, cute escape flick) ... but en route I realized I had to learn another simple task; climbing into SUV-type cars. The first time was a challenge - the second time I simply crawled into the back seat, like the skinny-jean wearing invalid that I had become.

Sure, perhaps I have a new understanding to the phrase 'a slave to fashion', but let me tell you...

I LOVE MY SKINNY JEANS!!

hehe

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Spandau Reduex

Well, without releasing too much information - I am in contact with a regional promoter exploring the idea of bringing Tony Hadley to the area ... who is Tony Hadley you ask??

Tony was the frontman for Spandau Ballet; one of my favorite bands from the 1980s - - now this could be a fun night or a bust; but we're exploring it and I'll get back with more as we hear... but for now, consider how cool it would be to hear that booming baritone belting out these fun classics!





Yes ... and even this gem:

Wire (d)

Last night I was slated as the opening act for the band WIRE - now that rocks! Grant it, I just spun a neat set of songs before the guys took the stage, but it was sweet to see my name listed as the opening act for WIRE. (haha)

WIRE played at Johnny Brenda's last night - and man were they tight! If you've never heard WIRE, do yourself a favour and check out their stuff -- personally, i recommend their debut 1977 release Pink Flag; upon its release Trouser Press called it "a brilliant 21-song suite" in which the band "manipulated classic rock song structure by condensing them into brief, intense explosions of attitude and energy, coming up with a collection of unforgettable tunes". Although the album was released to critical acclaim, it was not a big seller. However in 2003, the album was ranked number 410 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

The other WIRE disc I'd get is their brand-new release Object 47. Named for it being the 47th object in their discography, it is nonetheless only their 11th studio album. It is the 2nd product of an arc of work began in 2006 which has so far thrown up the rather well received EP "Read And Burn 03" and stands as a confident statement of where WIRE are in 2008. As ever looking forward! While retaining WIRE's idiosyncratic mix of an avant-garde mindset with classic pop timing this album boasts "tunes with zoom" a unique formula that somehow manages to sound wholly WIRE (in a classic sense) and wholly contemporary.

Last night WIRE played tracks from both the new disc and their historic catalog - and, after taking THREE ENCORES, they finally left the stage; just as sweaty and refreshed as the sold-out house!

It was great to see them live - I sure hope the new CD and their tour goes well - and you can bet Object 47 is on my Top CDs of 2008!

http://www.pinkflag.com/

Thursday, October 09, 2008

The Residents Return

Last night John and I had the privilege (?) to witness the avant-garde antics of The Residents, live on stage at The Trocadero.

For those unaware, The Residents are a music and visual arts collective who have created over forty albums, numerous musical short films, several CD-ROM and DVD projects and undertaken six major world tours. Originally formed by Jay Clem, Homer Flynn, Hardy Fox and John Kennedy, the band successfully maintained member anonymity for years.

The Residents entered the world of electronic synthesis in the 1970s during a time of legendary exploration and growth. When pioneers like Robert Moog and Don Buchla were creating analog synthesizers that were finally affordable for the masses, The Residents eagerly became one of the earliest groups to embrace the new technology.

In 1969 the group began to make the first of their unreleased tapes. Their first single (Santa Dog) came out in 1972 - a decade later Clem and Kennedy left the band, and though Flynn and Fox have kept the band active since that time, purists consider post-1982 material to be substandard.

I disagree :)

Last night The Residents brought their multi-media stage show to Philadelphia for a final test run before tonight's official opening of THE BUNNY BOY World Tour (3 nights in NYC then around the world they go!).

With THE BUNNY BOY, The Residents have created another off beat pop gem. Although I can describe the show and still not give away anything - the fact is, The Residents are truly indescribable. Part madness, part creative genius and toss in the anonymous six-foot men in bunny ears and black body masks - as well as the creepiest crazy-old-man-stalker in a bunny suit and you have The Residents live and in color.

The audience was just as unique as the performers; a mix of music aficionados out for the unique experience and computer geeks simply out for a change of pace; half the fun was scanning the crowd from the my balcony perch to see the faces of those below; rapt in wonder over the antics on the stage.

The Residents have a complete internet series based on this performance - you should check it out if you have time to process what the hell you're watching!

http://residents.com/bunnyboy/

Simpsonspeak

in case you're still at a loss to understand the current political race for president - lets put it in Simpsonspeak!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The Drake Matriarch

It is with a heavy heart that I write to share the news that my Nana, Ethel Drake died this morning - October 8 - at 7:50am. She made it to 101 and a half, that's pretty darn good. She died in her sleep - a very peaceful end to an incredible long and happy life.

There will be a memorial service in Maine at a later date, probably November, with interment in PA next spring or summer.

Last year I flew up to Maine to help celebrate her 100th birthday - it was a wonderful experience and one that will stay with me forever - in celebration of Nana, I want to re-post an entry I made last year, on the eve of flying up for that monumental event...

I love you Nana.

______________________________________

- originally posted April 27, 2007 -

Tonight I am on WXPN until 11pm and then a quick dash home to regroup, grab a short nap, and head off to the airport for a 6am flight to Bar Harbor, Maine (via Boston). I'm heading up there to see the Drakes, but mostly to join in celebrating my Nana's 100th birthday on Sunday!

Ethel Drake has always been a powerful rock for the Drake family ... born in 1907 in Philadelphia, she met her husband-to-be while training to become a nurse; he was a young doctor and together they married and had two boys, in 1936 (Uncle Jack) and 1939 (my dad, Robert Sr.) ... my grandfather went off to Europe to serve as a a doctor in WWII and Nana and her boys managed to live on their own, like thousands of other mothers during those years.

Upon his return, they bought a home and he began a private practice. Sadly my grandfather passed away in the 1950s and Nana was left to raise her boys alone - something she had practice with, thanks to the War.

I was born in 1963 and lived in Nana's house with my mom and dad until first grade, when my parents split and I moved with mom to NE Philly. With me and my parents out of the house - Nana decided to sell both her home as well as her summer cottage in Somers Point NJ and join her other son Jack in Maine ... he had moved up there in the mid-60s.

She's been there ever since and began another chapter as great-grandmother as Jack's kids had kids and - for the most part - all decided to claim Maine as their home, albeit different towns. Jack and Nana remained in Bar Harbor - that is until Jack's kids all left the big house and he, just like Nana, decided to sell and build a smaller space for his wife and himself to retire to ... a great spot, still on Mt. Desert Island, but away from the 'hustle' of Bar Harbor's tourism trade.

So - Nana.

Nana has been a widow for over 50 years. Let that sit for a minute.

She has learned how to be the strong, independent element in our family - which shined brightly during moments of family strife, such as the divorce of both of her sons to their first wives. Jack remarried - my dad never did. He too was an independent spirit and between them both, I believe that is where I got much of the personality I have today. Very independent and very much a solo traveler through life.

When Nana was in her 80s she was in charge of feeding the elderly throughout the Downeast region of Maine - she ran the Meals On Wheels program for the shut-ins and it was always amusing to listen to her vent about these 'old folks' when in fact many were younger than she. She lived in her own apartment until last year, when faced with the reality that it was becoming too much of a challenge, she agreed to move into a nursing home that overlooks the bay.

She has faced some major obsticles; buring both her husband and her youngest son (my dad) being the hardest I'm sure. Over the past decade, Nana took a fall and broke her hip at 90, but came through and healed (almost unheard of at that age!). She faced major internal bleeding and was near death twice - but pulled through each time. Her wit is strong and her memory, although fading, is still there. She no longer gets around without a wheelchair, but she is surrounded by the love of the Drake clan, as well as a ton of island friends.

I know she is looking forward to seeing me - probably more than I am to see her, since I know that this might be the last time I see her. She was truly my rock in my childhood - when everything else in my young life was falling apart, Nana was there. She kept me strong and showed me how to grow. She taught me values that I carry to this day. She is an amazing person and I owe much of who I have become to my Nana, Ethel Drake.

So, Happy 100th Birthday Nana!! You are an incredible spirit and I am humbled to carry the family name along for my ride here...

That One

So - by now you've heard how McCain referred to his opponent (sitting right next to him) as "that one" ... some think it was his attempt at relaxed humor; others think it's a slur to someone that isn't like "us" (i.e. black, liberal, dem, etc)

Regardless - good ol' John said it:




and bless the internet - there's already a website toting That One t-shirts etc!!



http://www.thatone08.com/

Me In The News

Check out this neat Q&A interview with me that rolled out today at the Philadelphia Examiner site!!

http://www.examiner.com/x-1093-Philadelphia-Nightlife-Examiner~y2008m10d7-An-interview-with-DJ-Robert-Drake

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Being Serious (for a moment)

i posted this to my 'friends' network on My Space - but felt it important enough to share here as well...

#####

OK -

The last time I wrote something like this was exactly four years ago - but I decided to write this again.

I rarely impose politics on people; it's a personal decision and that is that - and that belief goes all the way towards politicians and how they impose their personal beliefs on citizens as blanket laws, 'for the good of the country'.

Government should govern. Government should NOT become tangled in personal decisions; be they matters of the heart or matters of life and death.

I'm for government that works to support its citizens grow and prosper, especially those that aren't at the top of the food chain. I'm for a government that understands the value of science and research; from the minutia of stem-cell to the expansive reaches of outer space.

I'm not for a government that feels the need to steer the country back to the 'good old days' when minorities, be they ethnic or sexual orientation, knew their place and simply accepted it. I'm not for a government that governs by the rule of a God and believes that the 'good book' is more powerful than the United States Constitution.

Four years ago I wrote to my 'friends list' on My Space and told them that it was important that those within my network support me; both as a human being and equal citizen of this great country. By voting for four more years of George W. Bush, they were helping to take this country down the wrong road; not only in battle but in cultural wars and extremism beliefs. They were moving this country a step closer to outlawing millions of citizens some of their basic rights and securities; me being one of those millions.

The 2004 Republican ticket was not supportive of the LGBT community in any way. It begrudgingly agreed to accept us, as long as we stopped whining for more. It was not a step forward for acceptance and understanding - something that has historically made this melting pot society of America but sadly has fallen to the wayside over the past decade.

Sadly, Bush won again and we see where we are today.

There is no sincere, clear-headed way someone can convince me that John McCain is nothing more than more of the same - but this time with a extreme religious twist, thanks to his party's choice of Palin as their Vice-President.

The Republican Party leading this country would not be good for America.

So - before we get into the final heat of the presidential battle - if you're planning to vote Republican, do me a favor - delete me from your 'friends' list because, quite frankly, a vote for McCain is a vote against me.

Yes, it really is that personal for me.

Robert

Monday, October 06, 2008

SNL Makes Me Cry

I'm sure you caught Tina's performance over the weekend on Saturday Night Live - another great job! And kudo's to Queen Latifah and to Jason's portrayal of Biden was dead-on ... BUT...

did you stick around for the first sketch after the opening monolouge?

John and I were truly in TEARS over just how f'n hysterical it was... and here it is:






Thursday, September 25, 2008

Finger Food

So the PA State Lottery has unveiled their new mascots for their new Quinto: Fifty Grand In Your Hand game... - not sure if you've seen the TV spots yet ... bunch of fingers with painted faces etc talking about the new game...

... at least they are SUPPOSED to be fingers - me thinks whoever approved this idea is packing their desk up as I type...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Wow. Simply Wow.

Last night John and I joined friends in NYC to see My Bloody Valentine live in concert at Roseland Ballroom.

I'm sure many of you are familiar with them - but for the few who might not be, My Bloody Valentine are an alternative rock band formed in Dublin, Ireland in 1984 and predominantly based in London. The founding members were guitarist/singer Kevin Shields and drummer Colm Ó Cíosóig. The band's lineup during their heyday also included singer-guitarist Bilinda Butcher and bassist Debbie Googe.

My Bloody Valentine's use of distortion, pitch bending, and digital reverb placed them as part of the shoegazing genre among other bands like Ride and Lush. Their 1991 album Loveless took two years to make due to funding problems, but once released it was critically acclaimed. Following Loveless, MBV became inactive, with Shields discarding several albums' worth of follow-up material. In 2007, Shields announced that the band had reunited and was recording new material.

Anyway - the reunion show was ... truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Upon entering Roseland Ballroom in Midtown Manhattan, you are given complementary earplugs and encouraged to use them. Only the foolish refuse to shove them into their canals - you can spot those folks as they will be walking around completely deaf with nothing but ringing in their ears!

MBV are known for pushing the boundaries of volume - supposedly they blew the PA system on Monday night as they wailed out their final song - but last night was stellar! Although I've no video from the night personally - this was shot from Monday's show - but the camera is pretty much in the same spot we were last night - just to give you a taste of the show itself:



What has made MBV an incredible band is their use of sound and (more importantly) volume when creating music... from layer upon layer of guitars and drums and such - MBV creates a wall of sound that continues to grow during their performance ... it's like a musical typhoon and as they get to their final number (the only warning is a quick "thanks for coming" before it starts) the wall of sound towers over you and envelops your senses; from a literally ground-shaking bass line to a crashing wave of guitars and noise, MBV takes you to the edge of an aural wormhole, then kicks you over and down you go!

The final onslaught of sound lasted about 15 minutes - nonstop. Like a car wreck, you cannot move - you cannot turn away - you cannot escape this musical madness that is My Bloody Valentine.

Cracking well over 100 decibels, this band live is not for the fainthearted - I cannot imagine NOT having earplugs while watching this band - and naturally this amateur video's sound does NOT do the experience justice ... but man, having seen hundreds upon hundreds of live concert over the past 30 years, last night was easily one of my favorite concert experiences so far!