Thursday, April 26, 2007

A Spoon for Man Man

About 80 people flocked to Wallingford Tuesday to see a last-minute Man Man (that's them on the left) show. The band performed at the American Legion Hall just a day before beginning its nationwide tour in support of Modest Mouse.

The show was just about great; the only negative I can say about the gig has nothing to do with Man Man. The hall was damn hot. I actually sweat. Amazingly, the heat didn't make the place start stinking or anything, though. That would have been bad.

Anyway, while watching, I couldn't help but think about how well Man Man will do on this upcoming tour with the Mouse. Both groups have a clear affinity for Tom Waits, and Man Man's maniacal blend of Waits and Captain Beefheart is sure to electrify Mouse fans ... if they haven't heard the Philly band before. I'll go on record right now and say that by the time Man Man lays down its next record, it's on a major label. That's my opinion, and I'm sticking to it.

Give Manic Productions ups for this one. These guys don't get enough credit for bringing quality fare, the kind of stuff that sometimes skips over Connecticut, to our state.

In other news, Spoon comes to Toad's tonight. I can't wait for this show. This will be one of the last concerts at the York Street venue before it goes on its 90-day "vacation," so make sure to get out there and enjoy.

That's it from this end. Have a good one.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Finally, A Post

I know, I know, it's been a little while. Sorry. We've been running super-sized Weekend sections for the last couple weeks and my time for blogging has seen a drastic decrease. I know, you don't care about excuses. I'll try to be better. I swear.

Anyway, what a weekend of concerts I witnessed. The Puppet House hosted Zach, The Tires and The Rafter Bats Friday. All three bands sounded great, and there's nothing like seeing a show when weird-looking puppets are staring at you from the walls. My friend Harris said it best when he whispered, "You know, it's just a little creepy."

On Saturday, a small-but-powerful crowd witnessed John Vanderslice at The Space. All who attended were in agreement that is was one of the best shows ever at the Hamden venue. Vanderslice is always talkative on stage, but at the end of his performance, he shut the PA off, and invited the crowd to gather around the stage. He then did a couple songs without any kind of amplification. So good. Peter Hughes of The Mountain Goats joined him on stage, as well. After the show, some went over to a dance studio in the same complex as The Space, and JV helped out. Look at the video here.

And while all these shows were going down, the Red Sox were in the midst of sweeping the Yankees, making Joe Amarante cry and forcing Joe Torre to single-handily ruin the team's bullpen for at least another week or so. Good stuff.

We've got quite weekend coming up, too. Another Red Sox-Yankees series, and a couple great festivals, with the Daffodil Fest in bloom in Meriden and the Green Earth Fair in Westport. Read all about both in Friday's Weekend. Also on tap for Weekend is full reviews of this very good batch of CDs, which hit streets today.

Arctic Monkeys"Favourite Worst Nightmare"
three-and-a-half stars

Maria McKee"Late December"
Cooking Vinyl
four stars

Dntel"Dumb Luck"
Sub Pop
two stars

Marillion"Somewhere Else"
three-and-a-half stars

In other news, I'm sad about the death of David Halberstam (that's him above). That means two of my all-time favorite authors (with Kurt Vonnegut) have died in the past couple weeks. There really isn't a better sports book than Halberstam's "Summer of '49."

The founder of "Girls Gone Wild" is going to jail. How sad! He adds so much to popular culture. Seriously, this guy should have gone to jail a long time ago. Isn't everything he does a form of date rape, taking advantage of drunk women, and girls?

Dolores O'Riorden says a Cranberries reunion is very possible. If a tree falls in the forest .... I know, I'm underestimating how important "Zombie" and "Linger" are to our society.

So this girl is the champion text-messenger of the world. My friend Danny could probably compete.

And that's about it from this end. Enjoy the weather since it may not last. But, remember, it's always sunny here at Blog Like An Egyptian.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Dancing Machines at Arts & Ideas

If you're planning on attending the 12th annual International Festival of Arts & Ideas (June 9-23), be ready to see dance, whether it's modern or classic or interpretive. There's a whole lot of dancing going down.

I had the chance to attend to the festival's press luncheon this afternoon, and here are some of the highlights. I won't go into too much of the scheduling since you can read Arts Editor Donna Doherty's piece in the Register tomorrow.

When discussing why there's so much dance and not as much theater, Executive Director Mary Lou Aleskie said, "We have to take into consideration our landscape" and "go beyond the norm in our community. ... We have to move away from the national (like New Orleans from last year) and more toward the international."

Basically, Aleskie believes that with such quality theater happening daily in New Haven, there's really no point in offering more at A&I.

About bringing in new Program Director Kathy Edwards, Aleskie said, "With Kathy, we have an opportunity to (bring in dance) in an international way." Edwards' background is in dance, having worked with different festivals and groups bringing in high-end performances. Aleskie said that having Edwards on board brings A&I an instant credibility, which helped the festival earn a Mellon Foundation grant this year.

An opening-night performance of music from Spike Lee films, performed by Terence Blanchard, will be hosted by the filmmaker himself. This will be one of the major highlights of the festival, said the executive director.

Another major event will the State Ballet of Georgia's presentation of "Giselle."

Martha Graham Dance Company's performance of "Ardent Song Redux" will not only be a big event, says Edwards, but the festival also "participated as a significant partner in (creating the work)." Basically, the Yale School of Music will perform the score of the performance, and then it will record it at Sprague Hall. The Company will then take that recorded score on the road for performances all over the world.

This will be the first year one of the Saturday headlining spots on the Green will feature dance. Same goes for some of the free-lunch shows on the Green.

The Headlong Dance Theater will host performances of "Cell," which is a unique and interactive event that only about 200 eventgoers will get to experience.

About free events, Aleskie said, "I don't think we've counted it out, but it feels like there's more and more free events this year."

This year will feature a more extensive Ideas program. She said, "We don't communicate enough how unique this festival is internationally. We're looking to start exploring what it means and (some of the issues) in a more demonstrative way."

The brochure of events will be around the city soon, and you can download it on the fest's Web site tomorrow, I'm told.

In the morning, I'll give you my opinion on this year's lineup. I'm not a dance fan. Talk to you then.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Late-Breaking Releases

Well, yeah, I know CD releases for today have been scheduled for months, but they're still late-breaking news because I'm putting them up on this blog so late in the evening. Anyway, better late than never, right?

So here we go. Remember, you can check out full reviews of all these releases in Friday's Weekend.

Avril Lavigne -- "The Best Damn Thing"

Nine Inch Nails -- "Year Zero"
Nothing Records
two stars

The Comas -- "Spells"
three stars

Joshua English -- "Trouble None"
Welcome Home
three stars

What other news is there? Let's see. Kristin Hirsch, main member of Throwing Muses, plays Cafe Nine Wednesday night, which is sure to be an intimate and engaging show.

The governor of Florida is thinking about pardoning the Doors' Jim Morrison over an indecent exposure charge from 1970. Oh yeah, Morrison's been dead forever. I'm sure he'll be happy the gov. said everything is A-OK.

According to this report, this season's "Bachelor" is just wonderful. I doubt it. But, what I do know is that a 25-year-old woman from Bethel (that's her above) is still in the running. She could be one lucky person, huh? Um, yeah right.

CBS is one powerful network, but NBC stinks, says this report from Neilsen. In other news, this story also says nobody should get too attached to Fox's new show "Drive," which looks like it won't be long for this world.

Speaking of canceled shows, if you got hooked on "The Black Donnellys," catch a couple unaired episodes here. I enjoyed the first couple episodes of this drama, but it started going downhill quickly. There just wasn't anywhere to go with the plot.

Lily Allen canceled her US tour. When asked why, she said, "It's because I suck and I wouldn't want to force people to listen to me pointlessly swearing over my crappy music."

Here's a fun little quiz from my nemesis, Entertainment Weekly. Have fun.

OK, I'm done now. Talk soon.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Last Word On Imus From This End

It's probably not right to post a blog concerning both Norah Jones and Don Imus. Even though both contributed to me feeling negatively on Friday the 13th, they did it in two very different ways. So I'm going hold off on my Norah blog and get right down to Imus.

I wrote last week that I believed Imus should be fired for his absurdly stupid comments. I stand by that. I think that CBS and MSNBC acted incredibly cowardly, though, not firing the DJ until long after the comment. This is the kind of thing that should have immediately led to Imus being pulled from air, but they waited until it was going to cost them money. Pathetic.

But even more pathetic is Imus himself. This is a guy that has a history of making racist comments, "all in humor," of course. When was this kind of comedy funny? And at what point do we realize that continually mocking all races and ethinicities with stereotypical comments isn't humor, but a serious prejudice? Seriously. And I don't care that some of things he says may be in jest, they are still said and that does, in some way, legitimize these idiotic things.

And let's remember that Imus himself basically refused to apologize for any of this until it was apparent he could lose his job if he didn't. He pretty much told everyone to chill out and that the statement was "some idiot comment meant to be amusing." Yeah, OK.

With all this said, the most disturbing part of this whole controversy has been the venom unleashed toward Al Sharpton and, to some extent, Jesse Jackson on the radio, television and on blogs - just check out the comments left by people on Joe Amarante's blog. If this doesn't show that racism is still a big problem in America, nothing will.

All these people want to do is blame the famous black figures for the firing of the famous white figure. It's totally BS. Hey folks: Imus said this. It's been on the news ever since; another product of our 24-hour news cycle/YouTube world is how things don't go away anymore. And let me remind you, white people run the news. The Sharptons of the world have no real power without the media spreading their agenda. That's the way it is. To think, some folks have been sending hate mail to the Rutgers team. Is there anything more repugnant? Imus supporters are just looking to blame anybody that isn't Imus, who is, you know, the guy who said it.

Sharpton and Jackson have every right to call for Imus' firing. Every right. They wouldn't be doing it if Imus didn't use a ridiculously racist comment to describe a group of high-achieving students, kids that were only trying to win a basketball tournament.

This is not, I repeat not, the same as a racist joke or a hip-hop song. I won't use the whole censorship argument, but I will say the rappers who do use this language have been criticized inside the black community many times over (read Jason Whitlock's great column - even if I disagree with one sentiment of it - here). And I don't excuse the language, but rappers are hardly picking on a group of real life college students.

It is different for a 66-year-old irrelevant multi-millionaire - and white dude - to use the language about a group college kids, as opposed to a black hip-hop artist using it in some lyrics.
Here's a column from The New York Times from last week, and I think it says things well.

Look, there's no room in our society for crap like this. None. I agree that Rutgers has handled this poorly - hell, just about everyone has - but none of it excuses the comments, and, also importantly, the fact that Imus didn't think it was worth apologizing over.

So, while it's never good for a person to lose his job, Imus deserved it.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Fenway, Etc.

So, we all have different ways of knowing that summer is coming. I've got two indicators, and both happened yesterday.

I like to think that the warm-weather season is upon us when I go to my first Red Sox game of the season, and when I enjoy my first Sam Adams Summer Ale of the year.

The game? Well, that's just fun. The beer? It brings a smile to my face immediately, the moment it hits my lips. Because of this, I usually dribble a bunch onto my shirt.

Living in New Haven, I get to far less Sox games per season than I did when I was in Boston. I think the last year I lived in Beantown, my friends and I hit over 30 games at Fenway. Last year? I think I went to four or five (plus about four at Yankee Stadium and a couple in Philadelphia). Not bad, but not great.

Yesterday, though, was quite fun. Second home game of the season, Daiske's first game at Fenway, first night of the year, etc. When I found out, because of numerous rainouts, that Seattle's Felix Hernandez would be pitching, also, I got excited. Who knew he'd be so good, though?

Anyway, fans are certainly paying for Daiske, though. The rates for parking, beer and most food items went up, again. As did, of course, most tickets. But, hey, when you've sold out every game for like four straight years, I guess you can charge whatever you'd like.

Some of my observations about the non-baseball parts of the game:
  • I would never eat sushi from Fenway Park. I don't care how much they pretty up the park, it's still not a place where sushi seems right. And I've eaten fish tacos in Dodger Stadium and sushi at Safeco, so it's not just a baseball thing.
  • WEEI gave away headbands with Japanese writing. A good majority of the fans looked like extras from "Karate Kid." I didn't participate.
  • The amount of flashes going off when Daiske threw the first pitch of the game to Ichiro blinded me for about eight hours. I'm no photographer, but I don't think flashes when it's still light outside is a good thing.
  • I froze my butt off. I don't think it's there anymore.
  • Twelve ounces of Bud Light is not worth $7, but, for some reason, there's always huge lines for beer. And, for some reason, I'm always in those lines.
  • Nothing tastes better than Italian sausages at Fenway. My friends and I have a guy we always go to. His cart is named "Sausage Connection," and he's about 4-feet tall and looks exactly like a tiny Robert De Niro. Over the years, we've been to him so much he gives us $1 off and a free drink. I love him.
  • While eating the sausage, we had a chance to be on Japanese TV. But because my friends and I are dumb, we didn't think quick enough. A cameraman, producer and reporter were clearly looking for people who paid a ton to go to the game, but because we paid face value, we weren't a good story. I should have lied. I've seen "Seinfeld," so I know what happens when you get on Japanese television. Those checks would have started to come any day now.
  • I want to start a trend right here: Let's start calling Jason Varitek "Corpse." I think that's what the "C" on his chest stands for. I mean, it's not like he can a hit baseball anymore.

OK, no more today. Talk soon.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Releases And More

OK, I'm going to try this again. I wrote an entire post and it got lost. So blame Blogger and the Google people for making this short.

Anyway, the only real release of the week is Bright Eyes. The Omaha band puts out "Cassadaga" today. The record is a real step forward for Conor Oberst and company. Go pick it up.

In other news, tonight's Meat Loaf show at the Chevrolet Theatre has been canceled due to an illness that struck Mr. Loaf. For info on refunds, here's a release directly from Live Nation:

Tonight's Meat Loaf performance has been cancelled. Credit card transactions via the Internet, Ticketmaster charge-by-phone or Chevrolet Theatre Box Office will be automatically refunded. Refunds for credit card transactions at Ticketmaster outlets must be made at point of purchase. Refunds for cash transactions at Ticketmaster outlets or Chevrolet Theatre Box Office must be made at point of purchase.

Sorry for the short post. Like I wrote, I had a bigger one, but there's not enough time to go find all those links again. I'll post a longer one soon, I promise.
But in the meantime, go to Joe Amarante's blog to read an interesting discussion on Don Imus, who I, unlike Joe, think should be canned. And not only for his racist remarks, but for being so out of touch and so not-at-all funny, ever.

Monday, April 09, 2007

On The Telly Tonight

Make sure to tune in to "Late Night With Conan O'Brien" tonight. Bridgeport's own The Alternate Routes will be the musical guest. It's a pretty exciting thing for a bunch of good guys.

In other news, I may be in the minority, but I'm all for Don Imus getting the boot. If I wrote something as ridiculous and insensitive as that and then called it comedy, you can bet your butt that I'd be out on my butt, for very good reason. You can also bet that if Evan Roberts said it, he'd be gone already too. Look, who knows if Imus is a racist or was just trying to make a bad joke, but if anybody is stupid enough to think saying what he said could be funny, well, then he's too stupid to have a job. And let's remember, Imus is a dinosaur. He's not funny ever anyway. The man hasn't been funny since the '80s. Fire him or make him retire. His half-ass apology was even more of an example of how out-of-touch the man remains.
Well, "Grindhouse" was a huge flop, huh? It seems anything the Weinstein brothers touch these days turns to dung. I think they're missing Disney more than they'll ever let on.
And that's about it on this end. Talk tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Baseball Today

So let's talk a little baseball for a second or two. While Opening Day is better than Christmas, the first couple weeks of the baseball season are always the toughest. For a variety of reasons, the league gives teams more off-days in April, and that makes it really hard to wait patiently for the next game.

Put it this way, I want to see the Red Sox now. I want the team to rebound from Monday's loss now. Instead, I have to wait until 8 tonight. Yankee fans have it worse. They want to see their team go 2-0, yet yesterday was an off-day and today's game has already been postponed. Stinks for them.

Speaking of the Monday Sox game, you should be reading Curt Schilling's blog. If you haven't heard about this, make sure to head over there. It's way too entertaining. It made his thrashing by the Royals somewhat worth it.

If you're like me, you're excited about the next "Die Hard" flick. Well, go watch the trailer here.

Did he snort, or did he not snort
? That is the question for Keith Richards of late. You know what? Even if he did snort his dad's ashes, I bet far worse has been ingested by that man. Just look at the photo on this page. Man, he looks like crap.

Two of my favorite things, The Hold Steady and baseball, together at last.

Alanis Morissette doing a cover of "My Humps"? I could have probably done without this.

OK, I think I'm done today. Go Josh Beckett.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Sort-Of Opening Day

We'll really talk about baseball's Opening Day tomorrow, when the bulk of teams begin the season, but today is officially the day. At 8 p.m., the Mets and the Cardinals will face off to get the whole season started. There's nothing I like better than baseball season. As I type this, I'm shaking with delight. That's that.

But let me tell a short story, off the subject. Back in 2004, I went to visit my friend Jason in Gainesville, Florida, where he's still working on getting his PhD in some kind of chemistry at the University of Florida.

So after an evening of drinking beer, we were hungry and went to this fast-food Mexican place called Moe's, which I did not know to be a chain at the time. It was great. So let's fast-forward three years to now. A Moe's opened up in Milford. I got a little note about it in the mail. I decided I had to go and see if it was as good as I remembered. But, of course, I was nervous because everything tastes better when you've had a few beers. Well, let me say that Moe's was just as good as I remembered, I ate sober, and I didn't even have a fish taco, which I will enjoy next time.

In other news, I wish I lived in Ireland.

Not all those "Family Ties" children turned out well, I guess. I remember seeing this one on VH1, playing crappy punk music and claiming his band was going to be huge. More and more I'm beginning to believe that letting your child act professionally adds up to child abuse.

So Ricky Martin is defending musicians' right to come out of the closet. I guess this is noble or something, but I doubt the artists really care what Ricky Martin thinks.

And I'll leave you with a fun little quiz that Entertainment Weekly has up on its site. Can you name the hair metal band posted? Not to brag or anything, but I did score a 10 out of 10.

Tomorrow is my favorite day of the year. See you then.