January 28, 2010

What's Up This Weekend?

I was faced with quite a dilemma last night. Obama rescheduled his State of the Union so one would miss the final episode of "Lost". Instead, it was scheduled against something I wanted to watch; the OSU-Iowa basketball game. I'm an alumnus and a hardcore Buckeye fan. On the other hand, I watch every Obama speech because he is the Master of Oratory and, hopefully, he is going to lead my country out of the wilderness. Both have the thrill factor of being live, history-in-the-making events. The Bucks make me scream and yell and frighten the cats. Obama chokes me up and gives me the chills. Both had recently disappointed me though. The Bucks dropped a big one to West Virginia and Obama seemed to be pandering to the Independents with the spending freeze. Who to watch? The game started at 8:30 and by the time the Prez was getting ready to actually speak after all the pomp and circumstance and applause it was near halftime and the Bucks were down by 5 so I went with the speech. It was great stuff as usual. His style is so comfortable and down-to-earth. He can be funny and he can be brutally honest. He absolutely nailed both Democrats and Republicans but when he went after the 9 Supreme Court Justices seated right in front of him, it was a public crucifixion. When he scolded them about their recent corporate free speech decision, I yelled out, "No he did-un't!" They looked so old and pathetic as they were forced to listen to the beatdown. I was lovin' it. Now, occasionally he would start getting into the classic rhetorical real-life examples and I would flip over to the game. I discovered the Bucks were making a dramatic comeback back so I started flipping back and forth during time outs. I did see Obama make some truly inspiring pleas to the congress and senate to get over the political bullshit and start doing something for the country but I missed his promise to finally get rid of Don't Ask Don't Tell. Instead, I was able to watch the Bucks pull out an all-important road win. It was a challenging evening for me on the remote but I came away a happy Buckeye and a proud American.

Thursday, tonight, at Skullys, Love Culture and Atoms Inception are recommended to me by a friend and Alert New London is one I can vouch for. I will definitely be trying to catch new local band Adult Fiction at Rumba because it includes Chris Burney (The Sun) and Andrew Graham (RTFO Bandwagon) among other veterans of the scene. They share the stage with two other great local bands, You're So Bossy and Bookmobile. Za Unitt is at Treehouse and Grassahol and Miller Kelton are at Victorian's.

Friday, Carabar has Audion, Go Evol Shiki and Mortimu. Circus has Burglar and Mount Carmel. Ghost Shirt is at Hal and Al's and Brasileira is at Dicks. The Alive says Ghost Shirt will also be at the Treehouse with The Receiver, The Whiles and Wing & Tusk. I will be doing the happy hour at Rumba with my beloved Randys who are followed that evening by The Floorwalkers. Skully's features Jared Mahone, The Andy Shaw Band and Wet Darlings. My mandolin-playing buddy, Lee, will be at Vic's with Grassinine.

Saturday, Blueprint and Illogic are at Carabar, Two Cow Garage and Stucco Jones are at Rumba and No. 1 Cat featuring Nikki Wonder is at Skully's with Wolfgang Parker. I'm a big No. 1 Cat fan.

Sunday, there is a tribute/benefit for Willie Pooch at Roadhouse 66, 480 E. Wilson Bridge Road featuring Willie Pooch and the Upsetters, Ray Fuller and the Bluesrockers and many more special guests. Obviously, the news of Willie's death was greatly exaggerated. He did lose a leg but Columbus' finest blues singer still has a strong voice.

Did you ever have to make up your mind? mark

January 21, 2010

What's Up This Weekend?

If you read my weekly musings, you may remember that the last installment was another in a series of embarrassing, mundane vignettes from my life. Amazingly enough, I am blessed with readers who write me back occasionally and one responded simply, but comfortingly "you are so human." Another asked to be removed from the the list because she was leaving town and kindly added, "Thanks for the insights". My human frailty is undeniable and my greatest source of insight. For instance, just last night, I had a dream that I was at a Comfest meeting and I was reading out loud a series of cards lined up on long tables containing cartoons that illustrated the failures of mankind. I remember one depicting the way we had "fouled the atmosphere and the water." Towards the end, I got to the cartoons that began to describe how society could still redeem itself, that there was still time for us to do the right things. Of course, whenever you get to the good part of a dream, you wake up. As I tried to grasp the dissolving filaments of that hopeful dream, it occurred to me that I also have failed in many ways to live a successful life, I've made a lot of stupid decisions and yet the dream made me feel that I also still have a chance to redeem myself and start getting things right. The idea that humans may fail but may still choose redemption, is a simple, well-known insight that is a basic tenet, I suppose, of many religions and philosophies but it was enough of a glowing revelation to keep me from getting back to sleep at two in the morning.

Thursday, tonight, dueling jazzbos with Bop du fway at Dick's and Roger Hines down the street at Oldfield's. Heidi Howes has a CD release at Thirsty Ear. She has an amazing operatic voice. The happy hour show at Rumba has the Joey Hebdo Band with Matt Reed and TGP. The Winter Jamboree at Victorian's is a benefit for the Goodale Park Music Series, WCBE and the Third Hand Bike Shop and features Erika Carey & the Calamaties, Cowboy Hillbilly Hippy Folk, Tin Hearts, Jon Turck Trio and Eric Nassau. I hear you can fill up on delicious chili with the $10 admission while supporting some real gems of our community. Starts early at 6.

Friday, Bernie's is having its 35th anniversary party possibly featuring Willie Phoenix and Elana Caplin (per The Other Paper) and A Planet for Texas, Craig Dunson and Loopus from Pica Huss/Econothugs (per The Alive). Carabar has Nick Tolford, Rumba has The Spikedrivers, The Lost Revival is at Skully's, Matt Monta is at the Treehouse early, like maybe 8:30, and The Bush League All-Stars do the Ravari happy hour followed by a Hope for Haiti benefit ($5) with Two Cow Garage, The Phantods, Wet Darlings and Lydia Loveless among others. Proceeds go to Doctors Without Borders.

Saturday, The Drowsy Lads are at Byrne's, Andy Woodson is at Dick's and Hell's Fire Sinners are at Victorian's.

Monday, Jesse Henry and Dan Dougan join Jason Quicksall for Cowtown Round at Rumba.

Tuesday, Jesse Henry pops up again at Vic's with Joey Hebdo.

And every Wednesday, Chris Howes,, Columbus' premier jazz violinist, has been putting on real quality shows mixing jazz and vocal stuff at Dick's.

You're just a human. mark

P.S. If you are looking for a really good organization in Haiti to contribute to online, Partners In Health has been providing free health care to the poor in Haiti since 1985. info@pih.org

January 14, 2010

What's Up This Weekend?

Self-denial and frugality were ingrained in me during my lower middle-class upbringing by parents who grew up in the Depression. These days, I'm going to ridiculous measures sometimes to economize. Turning the heat off at night and during the work day has me living in the Polar Bear Clubhouse. I remember thinking that my orange fingertips felt a little numb as I tried to grasp a few more Baked Cheetos during lunch. I've allowed myself to become pretty much a prisoner of Giant Eagle. I've got to buy all my gas and food there with their credit card in order to maximize my food and fuel perks. When I misplaced the credit card, I avoided doing much shopping until it was replaced. So I went on a little shopping spree the day they mailed it to me but mid-spree I realized I'd forgotten to bring it. After a few moments of standing mid-aisle with my head in my hands, I decided I just couldn't bear to buy all that stuff without the card so I put myself on shopping rewind and replaced most of it. I felt so ridiculous and debased that I couldn't bring myself to work on the nightly valentine production line and just curled up with Keith, Rachel and the cats. See what you get when I have nothing else to write about?

Thursday, tonight, Rumba has El Jesus de Magico and Cheater Slicks The wardrobe closet at the Treehouse includes Ghost Shirt and Sundresses.

Friday, The Wet Darlings are at Rumba and Grassahol is at Dick's. The review of Shilpa Ray and Her Happy Hookers in the Alive makes this show at The Summit sound interesting. Dottie and Clyde and Winter Makes Sailors are at Treehouse.

Saturday, Bourbon Street has Times New Viking, Flu Faker and Sandwich. Dick's has Brett Burleson. Columbus Alive has done a good job the last few years with their Bands to Watch show at Skully's and this year looks like another good one. Andrew Graham has been one of my favorite young artists in Columbus. He was the leader of RTFO Bandwagon and now he has produced a CD with the help of, among others, Chris Burney and Dane Terry. The project is called Swarming Branch and the musicians at this show are referred to as "a rotating cast of players". Nick Tolford and Company is definitely one of the best new bands I've heard recently. Saintseneca, Shin Tower Music and Struck By Lightning round the show out.

Sunday, Gene Walker is at Dick's.

Monday Rumba's Cowtown Round features Jesse Henry and Jenny Lute.

I want to fly like an eagle 'til I'm free


January 7, 2010

What's Up This Weekend?

Having the COMFEST license plate gets me a certain amount of honks and waves. I'm pretty sure it was responsible this morning for the truck that pulled up next to me from which an unknown woman flailed her arms with hands full of the latest edition of the Columbus Free Press. In an obvious frenzy of journalistic activism, she wordlessly insisted on passing over about 10 copies to me at the red light. The cover features Obama dressed up like George Patton with the caption, "Hawk of the Year". Its not surprising that the Far Left ignored everything Obama has ever said about Afghanistan and turned on him the minute he decided not to pull every soldier out of there. I just finished a novel, "A Thousand Splendid Suns" that tells the story of two women living in Afghanistan during the past 25 or so years. Life for women under the Taliban is nothing short of a nightmare. Al Qaeda may not be there now in big numbers, but they would be if we left immediately. I don't claim to know what Obama should have done. I'm glad he has us pulling out of Iraq (I hope). I'm glad he took a long time to research his decision to give it one more try in Afghanistan. I voted for him because I thought he was smart and that he would change the way the world sees us. I'll read the Free Press article but I won't be handing them out on street corners because I'm trusting Obama on this one for now.

Thursday, tonight, for those of you brave enough to get out in a snow storm, Joey Hebdo and his Bismol Band are at Rumba with the Barn Owls and Mr. Carmel and the lovely little Italian restaurant, Giorgio's, has The Boki Quartet with Betsy Pandora.The Thirsty Ear has Couch Forts and both papers say Wonder Twin Powers but I don't believe it because Josh would have emailed me about it.

Friday, Josh did email me that Wonder Twin Powers will be at Treehouse, Rumba has Vug Arakas & the Stallions, Moon High and the Black Swans and The Basement has Alert New London. It's Elvis' 75th so The Randys and Sons of Gladys are at The Thirsty Ear.

Saturday, Fandys rejoice because The Randys will do another short set at The Elvis-a-thon at Skully's with Sons of Gladys, Wolfgang Parker, Ray Fuller, Hellsfire Sinners, Vegas 66, The Wahoos, Bob Sauls Band and, believe it or not, about 5 others. The Summit has The Wildbirds and This Is My Suitcase. Jookabox, Old Hundred and Bird & Flower are at a venue I'm unfamiliar with, Wild Goose Creative, 2491 Summit St.

Monday, maybe we will be able to dig our way out and see Jenny Flory (Wonder Twin Powers) at the Cowtown Round with Jason Quicksall.

I'm all shook up. mark