Tuesday, October 13, 2009

9:30 Club: Red Cortez/The Henry Clay People/Airborne Toxic Event Show

For the first time, on a chilly monday night, I made a trek from Philadelphia to Washington D.C. for the sole purpose of seeing The Airborne Toxic Event at the 9:30 club.  I was not disappointed.  The 9:30 club has a bit of a reputation on the eastern seaboard and I wanted to experience this for myself.  Philadelphians can think, "The TLA" only bigger, nicer and all ages all the time.  I recommend anyone going in to D.C. for a show there to catch the metro at your nearest stop.  A day pass weighs in at less than $8 and all trains run fairly late making it a substantially less painful trip for those travelers who are faint at heart with parking.  

As for the show, I was left with the distinct impression that the members of Red Cortez, The Henry Clay People and Airborne were conducting seances in between sets, conjuring up the ghosts of rock and roll greats like Buddy Holly, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Jim Morrison among others.  This claim is substantiated in the unreasonably long gaps between acts, but the proof lay in each amazing set which makes the gaps completely acceptable.

Red Cortez reminded me that most brilliant men are also mad men and with that when I woke the morning after the show, I rolled out of my bed and bought their ep immediately.  I was not disappointed.  I will be back for more and if you have not already, then you should get a first taste. 

The Henry Clay People made me feel that I had been transported to a garage - any garage - and they had been transported to 10 or 15 years prior, when they were thirteen.  With every over-pronounced lyrical phrase and every exaggerated beat they renewed the truth that is often long forgotten at shows:  Music is fun - a truth often abandoned to loftier concepts like, music is edgy or cool or... existential (?). No.  When you were rocking out with your friends practicing your head banging, stage diving, catapult off the amp, mid solo jump  into a split, music was fun.  It's nothing short of amazing that these guys have held onto such innocence.  

Airborne puts on a hell of a show.  You can't help but truly feel each member is putting his and her heart and soul into each song.  They BELIEVE in these songs.  They live each song every time they perform them.  They're unafraid to revel in the heart of old rock and roll and reach out into the unknown of the future, unconcerned with genre or labels they play what they feel and what they know.  The bassist takes a bow across the strings an electric bass in a duo with the violinist.  The guitarist and violinist duel with one another.  They too summon the spirits of dead rock gods and ones yet to come.  

 In the acoustic set including their first song they ever wrote and performed, "Wishing Well", listeners could see that the future is here, mingled somewhere in the echos of the past voiced through these new, weary travelers headed toward  dark ambiguity of what lies musically ahead.  Wherever they end up, one thing is for sure, I will go there with them

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Purple Stride at Tyler State Park November 7th

My father was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer one year ago this month and he passed away in January of this year.  Pancreatic Cancer is such an excruciating and cruel cancer that in many ways we thanked God for the brevity (and believe me, 3 months is not brief when you're living with this level of pain) of his time spent carrying it.  It is such a fierce contender that it is normally not discovered until it has already metastasized to other major organs.  By then it is too late.  

The pain is largely unmanageable.  There are narcotics and drugs, but they never really seem to offer little more than a slight dulling of the pain that is insurmountable - pain so great that you couldn't put a name to it if you wanted to.   

If you have loved and lost someone with this cancer then you know exactly what I'm talking about.  Perhaps it wasn't Pancreatic Cancer.  Perhaps it was some other monstrous cancer.  Either way, you know the pain of loss.  It can be somewhat cathartic to get out in nature and walk it out or run it out.  So why not do it with us at the Purple Stride in beautiful Tyler State Park.  My husband, mom and I would love to see you there and you can even join our team if you'd like.  If you can't be there in body, maybe you could be there in spirit.  Send your love and prayers and if you can, donate on our donation page at this link.  Just hop on board the team at the registration page if you'd like. (see link below)  Our team name is "Love".  

It's VERY likely that after we do this walk/run we'll be using the awesome Frisbee Golf course at Tyler to play a round.  Let us know if you want in on this too.  You know you do!  

I hope to hear from you soon and see you there!

Tyler State Park Link:

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Linda Wink's Antiques to Retro

"Where's my pink hat?" Linda says, searching the store front.  Julia and Mare chimed in, "Oh! The one with the bird?".  "I love that one."  Julia models a 40's silk dress that is modest in style, sensual in cut and so distinctly feminine that one doesn't even notice that the tiny print of the fabric is one of foreign cultures waging a war on horse back with one another.  It is complete with spears and thick forests.  Mare wears an early 30's wedding dress that Linda has just procured.  Once a week the girls come in to try on these new purchases so Linda can size up what alterations need to be made.  The models make the clothes come to life.  What looks good on a hanger, looks amazing on these vivacious girls.  Wink emerges from her nook with a pink hat with veil in front and dove perched on top. 

Linda Wink is owner and curator (of sorts) for her store, Linda Wink's Antiques to Retro.  She is fun, vibrant and to walk through her door one will find this persona contagious.  Her store in Willow Grove is a step back in time and haven for every antiquer, rockabilly, fashionista, and yes, even historian.  Trying on any article of clothing one can not help but feel she or he is playing the part in some Marlon Brando, James Dean, Grace Kelly, or Ginger Rogers film.  
So it was on this day that I found myself in her store seriously debating about purchasing the candy striper uniform that was a mere $20.  I thought, "This dress would look great on me!  A white tank underneath and, oh, it has pockets too.".  Linda had to explain to me that this was uniform dawned by nurses aids in the 50's (the equivalent of a CNA now).  I held the dress up to myself and imagined a young girl in the fifties scurrying around a hospital filling water pitchers and bringing clean linens.  This dress had another life prior to myself and prior to this store and now it could have a completely different identity in my closet.  Linda proudly exclaimed, "I was a candy striper." I smiled.  There was that contagious enthusiasm again.  I imagined her scurrying around a hospital...
It's difficult not to get lost in this world of possibility and imagination.  To put on a hat, try on a pair of shoes, pin a broach, is to dress a part - almost costume one's self.  It is to preserve a little piece of history and display it - to be the wall on which a piece of art is hung.  
In this day and age of mass production of the exact same pieces of clothing, made by underpaid hands in foreign countries, it's nice to find something unique. You'll find just that at Linda Wink's.  
See the complete photo shoot at my flickr page: