Saturday, July 07, 2007

Odds and Sods for Saturday, 07/07/07 including more Belew Trio news and reviews, and reviews of a great book, Vertigo, and a great restaurant, Osteria

Adrian Belew,Julie Slick, and Eric on stage, Asbury Park, NJ, July 24, by Gary Slick

Okay, first things first.

Some dates have been added to the Belew Power Trio tour, which, believe it or not, kicks off this coming week in Quebec. Julie and Eric get on a plane at dawn this Tuesday, July 10, 2007 for the Quebec Summer Music Festival where they will play on the Scene Molson Dry stage in front of thousands of people on Wednesday, July 11, 2007, hop on a plane back to Philadelphia on July 12, 2007...and after being home for several hours, jump on another plane for Japan on...gasp...Friday, July 13 where they will remain on tour until July 23, 2007. Oh...before the gigs at the Blue Note in Tokyo that entire week, they will be performing on Sunday, July 15 in Toyama, Japan, at Kyoiku Bunka Kaikan.

Here's a photo of the crowd attending the Quebec Summer Music Festival, which has already kicked off on July 5, 2007:

Awesome, huh?

I am going to refrain from any terror over the Friday the 13th flight; besides, how's this for cool -- I woke up at exactly 7:00 a.m. this morning, which makes it 7:00 a.m. on 07/07/07. So I had quadruple sevens today....hmmm...should I go out now and buy a powerball ticket?


Anyway, when the Adrian Belew Power Trio comes back to the U.S., here are the additional dates:

August 22, 2007: Atlanta, Georgia: Smith's Olde Bar;

August 23, 2007: Jacksonville, Florida: Jack Rabbit's;

August 24, 2007: St. Petersburg, Florida: State Theatre;

August 25, 2007: West Palm Beach, Florida: The Theatre.

September 7-15, 2007 West Coast Tour

Confirmed so far:

September 15, 2007: Seattle, Washington: NWSoberstock: The Adrian Belew Power Trio, with opening guests TU, featuring Trey Gunn and Pat Mastelotto, so yeah, three out of four members of one incarnation of King Crimson will be in the same venue at the same time. See the The ConstruKction of Light CD or here for further info though I have a feeling that most people reading my blog these days can tell me a thing or two about Crimson, not the other way around.

But I can tell you about a great book I read and also an awesome restaurant I love, and I'll get to that in a minute.

In the meantime, there are still more reviews still coming in from the trio's tour last month. Here's one, for example (and I will continue to post others throughout the week)...

From the Parker Guitar Forum Board:

"When I wrote my first post here about playing again and buying my PM-20 because Adrian Belew melted my brain I guess I wasn't lying...

I managed to find a way to fly to NY and drive down to NJ for the inaugural School of Rock festival to see his power trio. What a crazy weekend...Adrian Belew Power Trio, Mike Keneally Band, Ween and some of the most talented kids on the earth. It was surreal. All these kids walking around in the crowd with guitars and drum sticks, watching a show with Dave Dreiwitz from Ween or Mike Keneally standing five feet away (watching the same show), and just pure rocking music all weekend. I'm pretty sure it was the best weekend of my life actually.

Then, on Monday, Adrian and his wife sat down to eat at the same restaurant I was at and I said 'hi' (I think Adrian is actually too nice to be a rock star). That led to me driving in NYC for the first time in my life (with my parents SUV, not my Civic...) to see the power trio at BB King's. I've seen Adrian with Crimson quite a few times, and seen him solo/old power trio three times. Of course, I was always amazed with his playing and music before, but now...the power trio with the Slicks has elevated his playing and material to another dimension. I think I would honestly rather watch the trio right now than Crimson (yes, the brain has melted completely)...don't miss the trio!

Anyone else have any SOR fest/ABPT stories?

Parker PM-20 Gold Top
Digitech RP-350"

And look! The trio has a Wiki! (I am not responsible for this though I do blush and thank the person who did do it and included my name)

So it's been a crazy week -- hence the lack of daily blog posting -- but here's what's going on.

Tuesday morning, July 3, Gary says to me: "We have a problem."

Not the best way to wake up.

"Huh? Wuh?"

"A pipe broke in our downstairs bathroom. I went in last night and there was a hissing sound and water all over the floor."

"Oh god."

Now in this particular case, we are fortunate, because Gary knows his plumbing. But still...after all the hours he logged in the week before on tour with the trio...and naturally, we told both Julie and Eric they could have a repeat of the Memorial Day barbecue over our house the following day, July 4, and Julie offhandedly told me "Oh, I invited like 20 people, but that doesn't include whoever Eric invited..." not to mention that Gary had to be at work on Tuesday...

"Don't worry," he said. "I will fix it when I get home from work. Tell Julie and Eric the party is still on for the 4th."

"Are you sure?" I asked, because, well, I am just not happy unless I am worrying and the thought of 25 guests traipsing upstairs to use our bathroom instead of the downstairs powder room did not exactly thrill me, but hey, I go with the program, even if I am quaking with fear.

"I'm sure. The worst that will happen is that I have to bang a hole in the wall to get to the pipes. How attached are you to the wallpaper in there?"

Sob. Very attached. But what can you do, it's only wallpaper, and I'm always up for something new. (Do they make Neil Gaiman wallpaper, I wonder? Just kidding, just kidding)

Needless to say, because of upside down, backwards plumbing performed by someone else many years ago, Gary finished fixing the bathroom on July 4...oh, about 30 minutes before the guests arrived.

No further comment, other than we had a blast, Gary made about 100 burgers, Julie made insane veggie burgers, red, white and blue potato salad, I kid you not -- she found potatoes in all three colors...I baked brownies with and without (with and without nuts...what did you think I meant?) and yeah, there were probably fifty people crammed in our tiny house but it was incredible and I hope that even when J&E are rich and famous rock stars they still continue on with this all of their friends are musicians so naturally someone picked up a guitar, there was some singing, and I thought to myself "Oh my god, Gary and I managed to raise two normal, well-adjusted, happy kids after all!"

Just kidding. You know we already knew's our proudest accomplishment.

So in other news, as I said above, I want to tell you about an awesome book I read recently, and it might not be one you'd find on your own since it's already been out since September, 2006, but it's one of those great, well-written novels that has so much going on between the lines -- something I just adore as a reader, don't you? That book is Vertigo by Lauren's the official blurb:

"A literary novel with suspense and erotic undertones that opens on New Year's Eve 1898. Emma Smith has just informed the reader that "For seventeen years I was a good - some might say exemplary - wife. It is important that you know this about me from the start." That night, she resolves to, during the course of the next year, become "a better person." Her husband John, a writer, suggests that she do so by striking up a correspondence with a convicted murderer who he thinks does not deserve to be in prison for his crime. The prisoner, Chance Wood, initially wants nothing to do with Emma, but then his letters become more heated and Emma learns that the real definition of vertigo is not the fear of falling, but the fear of wanting to fall. As the following New Year's approaches, and the world gets ready for 1900, Queen Victoria announces - at the suggestion of an advisor who states that this will make her look more progressive - that she will free certain prisoners that do not pose a real threat to society and who can get an upstanding citizen to petition for them. But by the time Chance is freed, Emma finds that she is in a prison of her own making. Unable or unwilling to merely turn away from the only world she has ever known in order to achieve what she wants, she becomes convinced that if she is to ever have her Chance, then her husband must die."

If you click on the link for Lauren's book, you will see several reviews, and I just had to add one myself because I was so blown away:

A fascinating read, July 1, 2007
By: Robin Slick
"Vertigo is not a typical historical romance by any stretch of the imagination. Rather, it cannot be labeled at all because the basic plot transcends many genres. It is a psychological thriller, erotic, and quite frankly, very good literary fiction. Ms. Baratz-Logsted has created rich, fascinating characters in Emma, John, and Chance, as well as a cast of off-beat supporting foils such as Timmins the not so typical butler and Constance, the not so typical shrinking violet of that era. This book is rich in detail...the words are so visual you are right in the middle of the scene; all of your senses are is almost like staring at a painting at times. And I defy anyone to guess the ending, which is the best part. The suspense that builds slowly throughout is masterful, beginning at page one...the prologue itself is chilling and will set the reader on the edge of his/her chair as we wonder what fate has befallen the narrator. I could sense impending disaster...and yet...I wasn't sure. I entertained many scenarios as I read on, which was wonderful because while the author gives us some hints, the many twists and turns...done brilliantly...had me repeatedly shaking my head saying "No, that's not it...that can't be what happens"...all I know is I could not put this book down until I found out what was in store for these characters.

The book is written in first person, which I personally adore having read Catcher in the Rye as a child -- it's the book which made me want to be a writer myself -- and said first person narrator was the perfect choice for this book. Trust me, from the opening chapter you are in the mind of are with her in every room; you are reading her lover's letters with experience her every emotion.

The erotic nature of the book was handled in an extremely sexy, graphic way and yet the most graphic details are not thrown in the reader's face, as with most of the book, we are left to our imaginations which is way sexier.

What is especially interesting to me is how this book illustrates the intimate nature of the written word. While it takes place in Victorian times, it very well could have been written as a modern novel with characters who meet and correspond on the internet and fall in love via email exchange without ever having met in the "real world"...something which seems to be a usual occurrence these days and will have many readers both smiling and shuddering as perhaps they see themselves in Emma and Chance.

All of the above is what makes this book such a winner. The reader must think and analyze throughout, in between admiring this author for her writing style and skills...yet taken at face value without analyzing, it still makes for a quick, fascinating read which will grab both lovers of light fiction and those who want a more challenging, literary read. I know first hand how difficult it is to create a work that manages to do both, and I applaud Lauren Baratz-Logsted for her ability to do so. And again, the build-up of suspense from chapter to chapter is just amazing.

I cannot recommend this book enough."

I had the pleasure of meeting Lauren at the recent Backspace Writers Conference where she won the Backspace Member of the Year Award for being incredibly helpful to other writers on the site, and I can tell you first hand how true that is. She is incredibly generous in offering all kinds of help/advice to fellow writers and this award is so well deserved it's ridiculous.

And while I am on the subject of reviews, last night Gary, Julie and boyfriend Matt, and I ate at Philadelphia's best new restaurant, Osteria. It was sick, sick, sick. We started out with appetizers of hands down the best brick oven pizza in the tri-state area - one a basic margherita with tomato, basil, and mozzarella; the other melanzana, which is a fantastic combination of tomato, wood-oven baked eggplant, oregano and stracciatella cheese. Trust me, you have never had pizza like that in your life. I was stuffed at that point but still managed to scarf down fusili pasta salad with jumbo lump crabmeat, tarragon, celery and baby tomatoes; Julie had fettuccine with yellowfin tuna, oregano and zucchini flowers, and Gary and Matt both had lancaster chicken "alla griglia" with salsa verde, roasted fingerling, grilled red onion, and green bean salad. We somehow managed to end the meal with fire grilled peaches atop polenta pound cake and some wonderous, molten chocolate souffle topped with house made pistachio gelato.

I may never eat again.

But oh my god, what a restaurant, and definitely the place to "be seen" in Philadelphia these days. I recognized several local celebrities and yeah, yeah, we had to make this reservation like a month in advance. But oh my is so, so worth it.

I saw the chef/owner, the infamous Mark Vetri, on the premises last night and I was dying for him to visit our table so I could embarrass Julie...word has it that Mark is an accomplished guitarist and had he stopped by, I would have said "This dinner is a bon voyage celebration for Julie who is about to go on tour with Adrian Belew" but alas he was very busy and stayed behind the scenes. Julie finally let out a long sigh of relief as we left the restaurant because she knows me and what I'm capable of doing...i.e., mortifying her.

Eric could not join us last night because as usual, he had another gig...ha..that boy is the hardest working drummer in the world right now, I think.

So I think that's all the news for today but you never know...I probably left stuff out or more craziness will occur I leave you with the usual "I will be back..."