Friday, February 26, 2010

Good Times, Bad Times, You Know I've Had My Share...

Good morning.

Or is it?

! Look! (And oh yeah, once you click on that, please oh please click the link to buy the book! It's truly wonderful, I promise.)

And now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Unfortunately, we're currently getting pounded by yet another snow storm, and while it was fun in the beginning of the winter, I'm now at the point where if I never see another shovel or ice patch again, I seriously won't mind. I need the beach.

Anyway, I'm also out of sorts because Monty the wonder dog, with whom I'm cavorting on said beach a summer or two ago, is not feeling well. Yes, I realize he is 12 years old which is 84 years old in people years, but up until now, he's been a total puppy. They think it's Cushing's disease. If you are a dog lover, do yourself a favor and do not Google that (which is why I am sparing you the actual link). But I've been obviously researching it non-stop on the internet and while there are horror stories, there are also many success stories so I am taking it one day at a time and not going to stress until we get a definite diagnosis and see how he responds to treatment. But in the meantime, he wakes me up every hour on the hour for either water or to be let outside. So I'm a little sleep deprived at the moment, too. But other than that, he's fine...playful, good appetite...okay, enough. On to the better stuff.

In case you haven't seen the billboards I've already posted all over the internet, Julie Slick has a new website which is interactive and is currently showcasing some of her new music, both solo and with Paper Cat, as well as work she has done with Adrian Belew and Cheers Elephant. Also be sure to check on her artwork - she is an amazing, amazing portrait artist and she's taking on a few commissions...I personally already own a few Julie Slick paintings which are proudly displayed in my living room but I do not have nearly as many as I would like.

Speaking of Paper Cat, Julie, Eric, and Robbie have a gig on May 21 at The Khyber in Philadelphia - tickets will be available soon and when they are, you know I'll be giving you the link.

Here's an awesome article in The Deli, a local indie newspaper which mentions Eric Slick and his pal, guitarist Dom Angelella and their band, Lithuania. By the way, Eric played at that epic New Year's Eve party...if memory serves me correct, he jammed with more than one band...maybe all. Ha. That sounds about right for Eric.

"Since its inception, the City of Brotherly Love has been known for its independence. Keeping the spirit alive, Philly’s latest DIY art space The Ox is circulating buzz amongst show goers and bands alike. Co-founder Daniel Hughes was nice enough to take a little time and spill some deets about the venue, the Philly scene, and of course, roast beef.

The Deli: How did The Ox start? Who runs it?

Daniel Hughes: Living in a warehouse was always something I'd wanted to do, but wasn't realistic because of school obligations. After I graduated, I was approached by my friend Brendan about the idea of making it a reality. A couple of us got together and assembled a rag tag group of individuals who were willing to give it a shot. I see this as my chance to give back to a scene that did so much for me. We are attempting to run the space democratically which can be a huge headache. Bernie and myself book most of the shows, but everyone is involved and has the ability to do what they want.

TD: Aside from manning The Ox, what else are you into? Day jobs, involvement in the art/music scene, etc.?

DH: 4 bands (Shitty Knees, The Armchairs, Norwegian Arms and Kim Jong Bill), artists, printmakers, filmmakers, a sound guy, an art teacher, a writer, a hairdresser, a political scientist, a dude in Russia, a dog and a cat.

TD: What are your highlights/fave moments at The Ox?

DH: Currently, building an igloo on the roof. We just hosted an event our friends have every year called “Mightyfest”. Lots of delicious food and games (feats of strength). We had a pretty wild Halloween party featuring all cover bands. Our friend Dom's band Dragonzord played In The Aeroplane Over The Sea from start to finish. People were REALLY into it. But I'd have to say my absolute favorite moment had to be our New Years Eve party/show. Our good friend from high school, Tuan Le, was in town from LA and documented it for us. Aside from having around 11 bands playing, all the music during the party was from the last ten years and Dragonzord played a cover set of hits from the decade at midnight (from the Dirty Projectors to Miley Cyrus).

TD: What are some of the pros and cons of running a DIY venue?

DH: Pros: Hosting fun things, meeting cool people, introducing cool people to other cool people, learning life skills (like compromising), space/freedom. Cons: Cleaning up, having to work when your friends are having fun, putting up with bands/events you don’t personally enjoy, long/painful but often necessary deliberation in email and in person, and occasionally having to deal with people who disrespect the space.

TD: Where did you grow up? Did you go to local shows? If so, what shows or venues were most memorable?

DH: All over PA, NJ, Chicago, Wisconsin. Brendan and I lived in the same town, but only recently met within the last year. He was pretty active in the Lansdale scene and booking shows and we knew a lot of the same people, so I wouldn't be surprised if our paths crossed and we never even realized it. My friend's were in bands in high school so I would go out and support them when they had a gig. My absolute favorite "local" show was seeing Good Clean Fun play at the Trappe YMCA after “Hellfest” got cancelled. Greg and I used to take the R5 in to the city when we were in high school to see R5 shows (go figure). I used to and still do love seeing shows at the First Unitarian Church. My first one was seeing Ted Leo (with Greg). That was definitely memorable for me.

TD: What are some upcoming events at The Ox that you’re excited about/looking forward to?

DH: We've got some shows coming up that still need to be confirmed, but I'm potentially really excited about those. We're trying to do more art/non music shows with the New Year. Our next is April second and it should be good. Marvin Gaye birthday party to follow. I'm usually excited/looking forward to all of the shows we have, otherwise why do them? Shameless plug time: March 6--Ape School, The Armchairs (roommates!), Grandchildren, Lonnie Walker, Dinosaur Feathers. March 9--Folklore, Sea of Dogs, Quiet Hooves, Bubbly Mommy Gun. April 1--The Pharmacy, Dangerous Ponies, The Spooks, Kingdome, Bellys and April 14--1994!, Grown Ups, Netherfriends.

TD: Finish the following sentence. The Ox is __________.

DH: The Ox is a unique and dynamic space that has many surprises in store for 2010 and beyond.
TD: What is your favorite thing about Philly’s music scene?

DH: It's diverse and interesting. Lots of good people doing what they love and are willing to help each other out. The fact that places like ours can exist.

TD: Which local artists are you currently into?

DH: Most of my favorite bands right now are ones that have played here. Shameless plug time again. I've been really into Dragonzord and Hop Along recently. Dom and Eric Slick have a new project called Lithuania, The Homophones, Chang Chang (best dude ever), Plastic Little, Teeth of Mammals (local enough). The Divine Lorraine, Power Animal, and so on, and so on, and so on.

TD: What do you like to get at the deli?

DH: I'm a Roast Beef man, but nothing beats a good Italian hoagie!"

I see he also mentions Ape School, and Eric is a frequent drummer for that band as well...don't know if he's playing the March 6 gig or not but I think he's around so it could be...will let you know. In the meantime, he's got one hell of a month of March with Dr. Dog coming up before the big April/May tour, including the Harvest of Hope Festival March 12-14; gigs and parties at South by Southwest March 18-21, and of course the show at the Rotunda in Philadelphia on March 2, but that is for University of Pennsylvania students only.

Love this new press photo of the band...

For those of you who have been asking, the Adrian Belew Power Trio is simply on hiatus at the moment while Julie and Adrian work on solo projects and Eric tours with Dr. Dog. As far as I know, they will be playing a couple of shows in Vancouver in July and possibly a European run in October but I'm kind of happily out of the loop so I do not know for sure. When I say "happily out of the loop", it's because yes, Julie and Eric are adults and have their own apartments and lives so I learn about most stuff these days from Pollstar and Google just like the rest of you and it's all good.

Great news for the trio's tour manager and all around tech person, Andre Cholmondeley, he's "tourletting" with his band, Hidden Agenda, and I'm hoping they hit Philadelphia for sure but here's the dates and info I do have on that:

MARCH 2010 Tourlette with HIDDEN AGENDA
trio playing a few covers, improv and music by andré cholmondeley
bob ramos-drums, antar goodwin-bass, andré-guitar, jon braun-drums 3/25

24 WED NJ New Brunswick COURT TAVERN (with Stretch*)
25 THU PA Plains JAZZ CAFE' (with Stretch*)
26 FRI PA Bethlehem FUNHOUSE (with Great White Caps)
28 SUN NJ Asbury Park ASBURY LANES (Cheri Jiosne Benefit #2)
With Silent Auction and various musical acts

*STRETCH.....the legendary jazz/rock/funk/fusion trio.
original lineup of Dave LaRue, Glenn Alexander and Bill Elder.

Oh, getting back to Julie, as I mentioned above and as you'll see/hear on her website, she is indeed working on her debut solo CD and she's invited some very interesting "special guests" to appear on some/most of the cuts. Julie has surprised me once again...her song writing is quite amazing. Who knew? She's been emailing me MP3s in various stages and I have to admit, I crank them up and get the chills. Surely they switched babies on me at the hospital but then how do I explain Eric? Ha ha, let's just say we fed them right.

And back again to Eric, You Tube has finally provided me with a decent clip from their tour a couple weeks's Dr. Dog with Eric on the drums performing "The Ark". This is very cool, but I have to tell you, Dr. Dog is a band you want to see live. You Tube does not do them justice.

So I think that's it for now. I haven't felt much like writing but I have a bunch of great books to read and then of course there's the U.S. v Canada Olympic gold medal hockey game this afternoon. This is the first year ever I have watched the Olympics daily/nightly but I've been so stressed because of the dog and awake at all hours of the night it's given me a welcome distraction. I do have to say that NBC's coverage has been HORRIFIC. There is just no excuse for it (delayed broadcasts, spotty coverage, idiot name it) and I'm sure there are many bloggers who have already addressed that so I'll leave it alone. Just to let you know how out of it I've been, I've even been watching and somewhat enjoying curling! Jesus Christ, what a stoner sport that is. What scares me is that I now understand it!

And let me say right now I have a cougar crush on Shaun White (yeah, yeah, who knew Carrot Top could snowboard?) and that I loathe both the creepily manipulative Lindsey Vonn and her crybaby teammate, Julia Mancuso. So much so that I will not even give them the courtesy of a link.

Do I believe I am even talking about this? My cool factor just plummeted to below zero, huh.

And of course I am a lame-o who also loves figure skating. As I've mentioned in previous posts, I have this geeky fantasy that I have the job of picking the music for them to skate to. Because really, other than the male skater who performed to Jimi Hendrix' Axis Bold as Love the other night, the music has been crap. When I think of what they could be skating to, I want to weep. Here are two songs I'd pick immediately, and I hope you click on them because they are both very, very special to me.

Something tells me I'm forgetting other news but to be honest, I'm so whipped I don't even know what day it is and I'm just trying to keep it together.

I remain optimistic.