Thursday, April 29, 2010

"Don't be bitter Anna, I know how you think. You're waiting for Radio City to sink. You'll find commiseration in everyone's eyes. The storm will suck the pretty girls into the skies." ~the national

I saw an advance screening of the movie Cyrus tonight. It was really advance, because it doesn't come out for three months. I absolutely loved it. It was wonderful; it was the perfect balance of drama and comedy. I love movies like that. And I also love John C. Reilly. Apparently I'm full of love tonight. John C. Reilly is one of those big, older teddy bear-like guys for whom I have a soft spot. Like Adam Duritz. Anyway, the movie made me laugh a lot, and it made my heart ache a bit, and it was just beautiful. Marisa Tomei and Jonah Hill were also great in it. So go see it when it comes out.

I have some recent New York pictures. I love New York in the spring. Unfortunately this picture doesn't do this street justice.

I love Washington Square Park. At night and during the day.

I need to take pictures of Central Park, because it's gorgeous right now.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

"Someone send a runner through the weather that I'm under for the feeling that I lost today. Someone send a runner for the feeling that I lost today. Someone send a runner through the weather that I'm under for the feeling that I lost today. Someone send a runner for the feeling that I lost today." ~the national

I drafted this right after I wrote the last post, but I was saving it so you could really savor the last one. :D And I still have more to say this week! I'm rolling it out slowly.

It's amazing how drastically everything turns around on Friday afternoon when I leave school. Lauren and I discussed that; it feels like we're walking on air when we leave the building. Last Friday after school, Lauren and I went to Five Napkin Burger for dinner. We believe that any restaurant with the word 'burger' in it's name is perfect. We sat outside and drank and ate delicious burgers and commiserated with each other and it was lovely. The night got even better, though. Nicole joined us for a concert by The Rock Bottom Remainders. They're a band composed of authors. Imagine Amy Tan, Mitch Albom, Dave Barry, Greg Isles, and more rocking out onstage. It's absolutely hilarious. Here are some videos that I took:

Amy Tan, best known for her novel The Joy Luck Club, doubles as a dominatrix. Yeah. She's awesome. Check these out:
These Boots Were Made for Walking (make sure you watch the whole thing):

One Way or Another:

Leader of the Pack:

Mitch Albom, best known for Tuesdays with Morrie and The Five People You Meet in Heaven, does a mean Elvis. And does quite a striptease. Seriously:

Dave Barry wrote an awesome song. It's about being in love with a proofreading woman. I wish some guy wanted to be with me because of my grammar:

They played a Bob Dylan song that I love, "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere:"

I wish I could have recorded the whole thing, because it was so much fun. We laughed the whole time. It was just what I needed.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

"Sorrow's my body on the waves. Sorrow's the girl inside my cake. I live in a city sorrow built. It's in my honey it's in my milk." ~the national

I have a lot to post, but I'm dedicating this post purely to The National. I'll save my other stuff for later in the week. Because this post should not get lost/overlooked. The New York Times is doing something very unusual and is streaming The National's new album, High Violet. The stream is accompanied by a fabulous profile of the band. It's a great read, even though it may seem long. I keep going back and reading it again; I think it's so interesting.

It really is special and unusual that The New York Times is streaming the entire album. You can listen to it on the left side of the page as you're reading the article. I have a lot to say about the album, but I don't have much time now. Eventually I'll write a review of each song. For now I'll say that I'm blown away by it. I've listened to it many, many times and it just keeps astounding me more and more every time. It sounds like The National, but at the same time it's different from anything else they've done. Any fan of The National knows that their songs are not the kind of songs that are catchy and poppy and you instantly love; they're the kind of songs that slowly seep into your bones and settle into you and stay with you. The band isn't crazy about the fact that every music critic/interviewer brings up the fact that their songs are "growers," but they really are. And I think that's a great thing. My favorite songs are always ones that don't hit me immediately. On this album, "Lemonworld" seems to be the catchiest song; it's the one I most often find myself singing. I love "Sorrow" (which Matt described as "the happiest song on the record" at Bell House) and "England" and, well, all of them. Hurry and go listen to it, because it's only streaming until April 27th. And then go order High Violet. Please buy this album and don't download it illegally. It's beautiful, beautiful music and the band deserves something for that. So don't steal it. Preorder it now. I have three copies headed my way when it's released (deluxe edition vinyl, autographed CD, and online download that came with the vinyl). You only have to buy one version, though. It will be worth it.

The New York Times profile: The National Agenda

Sunday, April 18, 2010

"So drink your fill, pretty baby. And drink down that whiskey sea. And drink your fill, my darling, but save the angel's share for me. If I were drowning, baby, drowning in your deep blue sea, if you want to rescue someone, well, please don't rescue me." ~doveman

I'm testing something here; hopefully it works. Listen to these gorgeous tracks by Doveman from his album The Conformist. Doveman (Thomas Bartlett) often collaborates with The National (I've seen him perform with them), and of course he's on their new record High Violet. In turn, members of The National are featured on Doveman's The Conformist. In these two gorgeous tracks, you can hear Matt Berninger (lead singer of The National) singing. I LOVE how their voices mix together. Doveman's soft, breathy voice is perfectly supported by Berninger's gravely baritone, and it's absolutely beautiful.

Angel's Share (by Doveman, featuring Matt Berninger:

The Best Thing (by Doveman, featuring Matt Berninger:

And if you haven't listened to the new tracks by The National in my previous post, scroll on down. Or if you have, listen to them again.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

"Wall Street jumps in the Hudson with gold in their bathing suits. Then we send in the miracle fairies, that's all we do." ~the national

I love that The National can write such a gorgeous song about the Wall Street bailout.

I'm doing bullet points because my mind is too tired to think about one thing for an extended period of time.

I don't think I've posted recently. I've been really sick all week, but I can't take off work and have had to stay at school every day until around 6pm because the state test is a week away and there is no way I can miss a day when it's so close. I can't wait until it's over.

I don't think I wrote about La Cage Aux Folles. I loved it. Of course "I Am What I Am" was a highlight; it's one of those songs by which you can't help but be moved. Douglas Hodge is wonderful as Albin, and Kelsey Grammer is a great Georges. I'm sorry I can't come up with more intelligent things to say about it right now, but I think it's a solid production of a good, fun show. We saw Harvey Fierstein in the audience enjoying his baby (he wrote the book). Nic and I did student rush, sat in a box, and had a perfect view.

I've spent all my free time in the past few days watching the entire first season of Party Down (I got the DVD last week when it was released). Oh, how I love this show. I love how the majority of the main cast are Veronica Mars alums (Ken Marino, Ryan Hansen, Jane Lynch). I love all the guest stars. Steven Weber is freakin' hilarious. And there are soooo many Veronica Mars alums who play guest roles. Enrico Calantoni (Keith Mars) is hilarious in the first episode, and it was great to see Jason Dohring (Logan), Alona Tal (Meg), Ed Begley, Jr. (Dean O'Dell), and Daran Norris (Cliff) all show up. The show feels like a VM reunion, and of course it makes sense because Rob Thomas created both shows. Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars) is awesome in the finale, and she's back in the season two premiere, which I can't wait to see. Megan Mullally is joining the cast now that Jane Lynch has left for Glee, and I think she'll be a nice addition. Anyway, the show makes me happy.
Here's my favorite scene of KBell's:

High Violet comes out soon. I can't wait. I've heard all the songs, but not the studio versions, which I know will be amazing. My favorite song from the album changes every day. Right now I'm loving "Sorrow" (what Matt called "the happiest song on the record"). They have a ton of fabulous musicians with whom they're collaborating on this album (Sufjan Stevens is in "Afraid of Everyone," Richie Reed Parry from The Arcade Fire is in six or seven songs, Justin Vernon from Bon Iver is in "Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks"). They've released a few tracks already, two from High Violet ("Bloodbuzz Ohio," the first single, and "Afraid of Everyone") and a b-side to Bloodbuzz, "Sin-Eaters" (quoted in the beginning of this post). So I'm sharing those with you.

Get Your Own Player!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

"You get mistaken for strangers by your own friends when you pass them at night under the silvery, silvery Citibank lights, arm in arm in arm and eyes and eyes glazing under. Oh, you wouldn’t want an angel watching over. Surprise, surprise, they wouldn’t wanna watch another uninnocent, elegant fall into the unmagnificent lives of adults." ~the national

Matt Berninger is most definitely one of the best lyricists out there right now. Just read the above lyrics again and let them sink in. That's only one tiny example of how brilliant he is.

There's a really, really great in-depth interview with Matt and Aaron from The National online right now at The Quietus. I love that they changed the title of "Vanderlyle" to "Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks" because we (the fans) thought he was saying "geese" in the song, and Matt wanted to put an end to the confusion. It really does sound like he says "geese." And I loved that throwback to one of my favorite songs, "The Geese of Beverly Road." Ah, well. 'Geeks' is interesting, too.

I bought a ticket to see The Hold Steady play at the Beacon in October. I like when bands plan ahead like that. I like having my ticket six months in advance. I'm already looking forward to that concert a lot.

New York in spring is gorgeous. Central Park in bloom is heavenly. I love strolling through it at this time of year and enjoying the magnificence.

In Delta's sky magazine, they have a feature called "My Favorite Street." In each issue, they feature a famous person's favorite street in the world. If I had to choose a favorite street, it would be an easy choice: 23d St. in Manhattan. I'm going to cheat and choose the whole street, not E. 23d or W. 23d. First of all, there's the Blender Theatre, one of my absolute favorite concert venues. There's Madison Square Park, where you'll find The Shake Shack (be still, my heart). There's a Barnes & Noble. And a Best Buy. And the Chelsea Hotel. If I could live anywhere, I would choose the Chelsea Hotel. That place has such a rich history. There are lots of good restaurants on W. 23d. And a guitar store. It's just such a fun street to walk along. I could live on that street and never leave it and be satisfied.

Season 1 of Party Down was just released on DVD, so of course I bought it. Rob Thomas is brilliant. I love how so many people on the show are Veronica Mars alums. Kristen Bell, Veronica Mars herself, even makes an appearance (and she's back in the second season, which starts soon!). If only I had time to watch the DVDs.

Nic and I are seeing the Broadway production of La Cage Aux Folles tonight. I'm excited. It's supposed to be a fabulous production, and it's such a fun show.

Speaking of KBell, here's a cute, recent interview with her on Craig Ferguson's show. I like listening to her talk about her fiance, Dax Shepard (he's currently starring as Crosby in Parenthood), particularly about selling his patio furniture. I suggest clicking on the link for each and then watching them on youtube full screen, because this is a small window on this blog:
Part 1:

Part 2:

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

"And these days I feel like I'm fading away, like sometimes when I hear myself on the radio. Have you seen me lately? Have you seen me lately? I was out on the radio starting to change. Somewhere out in America, it's starting to rain. Could you tell me one thing you remember about me, and have you seen me lately?" ~counting crows

Counting Crows sing the best covers. Seriously, their version is usually better than the original version of the song they're covering. So I put together a playlist of my favorite cover performances by Counting Crows. There are a lot more that I wish I could have included, but I decided to focus on my favorites. Bookmark this post or something, because you'll want to come back and listen to this. Just turn it on when you're doing something else and soak in the brilliance. They choose the best bands to cover, too. Scroll through the list below and you'll see songs by Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Madonna, Jackson Browne, The Ramones, The Cure, Van Morrison, The Grateful Dead, Lou Reed, Sparklehorse, Bob Seger, and more.

Just an FYI, some of these aren't technically 'Counting Crows' performances. In the first song (which I can't stop listening to), AD is singing with Dan from Augustana. Some songs are from The Traveling Circus and Medicine Show tour this summer (feat. Augustana and Michael Franti & Spearhead). Some others are from Shim Sham shows, so those are technically "The Devil and the Bunny Show." Most are from "Under the Covers," which is CC. But anyway, all the songs feature AD singing and are fabulous. Now begin listening and enjoy.

Get Your Own Player!

Monday, April 05, 2010

"Wiseblood knows how to walk the way the wind blows. Wiseblood hears grace whisper right behind." ~kurt stevenson & chris boesel

There is a three-week period in May where three of my favorite bands release new albums. It's seriously amazing. Check this out:
May 4th - The Hold Steady - Heaven is Wherever
May 11th - The National - High Violet
May 18th - Band of Horses - Infinite Arms
The New Pornographers and Broken Social Scene are also releasing albums on May 4th that I'll have to check out. When it rains it pours (in this context that's a good thing).

I'm back home in New York after a nice, relaxing trip to South Carolina. I had a good time and the weather was gorgeous, but it's nice to be back. I'm not ready to go back to school, though. I'm ready for summer. This break was a tease.

Watch Chuck tonight. It's supposed to be an amazing episode. I keep saying that each new episode is the best one yet, and they keep getting better. I've been told by multiple sources (and sources that I respect) that this really is the best episode of the series so far. So I'm excited. I've also been trying to avoid spoilers lately, which will hopefully make it extra exciting.

Here's an Easter picture of me:

Friday, April 02, 2010

"Now we'll leave the silver city, 'cause all the silver girls gave us black dreams. Leave the silver city to all the silver girls, everything means everything." ~the national

Since I transcribed all the lyrics to all the songs on The National's new album, I feel like I have to use them somewhere. Although I'm not sure about a lot of them. But I am sure about the above one. It's from "Conversation 16," which is beautiful.

This'll mostly be a picspam post because I don't have that much time and I'm being distracted right now.

First of all, on Monday I went to see Josh Gomez at a meet&greet at the NBC store. I was first in line (really early), and a FF friend joined me. It was nice to have someone to wait with, and it was nice that it was someone who is as in love with Chuck as I am. I liked being able to have an intelligent conversation about the show with someone. Josh was really, really nice. I love him. And he's been awesome in the last few episodes. On Wednesday morning I left NY to visit my grandparents in Columbia, S.C. Right now it's 92 degrees. It's incredibly hot, but right now I love that. I've sat out in the sun a few times (and have ended up drenched in sweat).
Yesterday Gran and I went on a train ride with a group of her friends. I was the youngest person there by about 50 years. All of her friends are very nice, though. We rode in the car with two women from Milldegeville, GA who knew Flannery O'Connor. My grandmother went to the same college as Flannery and knows everything about her. It was amazing to listen to the three of them talk about her. It gave me an insider's view into the life of one of the most brilliant writers ever. I loved listening to them.

Today we went to the state museum. They had a special exhibit on pirates. I had fun, and it was quite interesting.

We also drove past the hospital in which I was born and looked at a mural that I love painted right next to the hospital.
I'll be here through Easter, and it's the perfect place to be right now. All the trees and flowers are blooming this week and the city is gorgeous. The weather is beautiful. I'm not looking forward to returning to NY and going back to work.

I'm ending with a message that the awesome Josh Gomez was nice enough to share for us.