It's Sunday afternoon, I'm doing some internet research, and I boot up Real Rhapsody for some music to surf by. I figure "Lite Rock" will do the trick (I can see specific friends of mine rolling their eyes right now), so I enjoy some Seals & Crofts, a little Bread, and then some Alan Parsons Project, which was one of my favorite bands when I was about 5 years old. We know that scent is strongly tied to memory, but I say hearing is too, because a few of my earliest music memories start flooding into my head:

One of my favorite artists, Jonatha Brooke, led me to revisit A.P.P. this year when she covered "Eye in the Sky" on her latest CD "Back in the Circus". Jonatha has an extremely emotive voice, and her cover of the song brought new life to it for me. When it comes to expressive and emotive singing, Alan Parsons is rather lackluster, so I never realized that the "Eye in the Sky" lyrics were so pained and powerful (except for the chorus which makes no sense.)

MP3: Listen to Jonatha Brooke's version of "Eye in the Sky"

Now go buy albums by Jonatha. (Try Jonatha Brooke Live or 10 Cent Wings.)

What are your earliest musical memories? Write some in the comments section. You can be anonymous if you want (I understand these unicorn-Manilow stories can be pretty damning).


Ladies and germs, I present to you VON IVA:

I saw this all-female bay area-based band open for Metric last night at Great American Music Hall, and they blew me away. They don't need no stinkin' guitars -- just bass, drums & keys behind the loud, proud blues-gospel-soul vocals of foxy, feral front-woman Jillian Iva. Love the Yeah Yeah Yeah's? Love PJ Harvey? Love your rock to make your heart pound and your shoulders shimmy?

Believe in Von Iva. You heard it here first.


Here's the first edition of my weekly music picks for SFist. I let Jackson the editor pick the title.

What in the sam hill has gotten into Mark McGrath? Sugar Ray always annoyed me, and it's not like he had any credibility to lose, but he's recently crossed over into the aggressively-annoying category for me.

Exhibit A: He's now co-hosting "Extra". That's network television, meaning I sometimes have to accidentally see his smug mug when I'm flipping the channels.

Exhibit B: He's recorded a duet with Shania Twain called "Party For Two". Not only does this song have the evil voodoo production of Mutt Lange (thus defying categorization and being welcome on any and all radio formats), it also has a video featuring the madcap hijinks of Mark and Shania. Those two get totally wacky in the video, swinging from the chandelier, literally.
Sings Shania: "You'll be sexy in your socks!"
Sings Mark: "We could polish the floors!"
I have to go barf now. Head over to Stereogum.com for links to the video (under "shitty video alert"), if you have a strong stomach.


Last night there was an eerily silent but beautiful lightning storm here in San Francisco. There wasn't any rain or any thunder, just lightning going off like flash bulbs in the night sky. Tonight should be just as much of a spectacle with the lunar eclipse. According to my careful calculations, here are the stats for this evening:
Moonrise: 6:09 pm
Moon enters umbra: 6:14 pm
Moon enters totality: 7:23 pm
Middle of eclipse: 8:04 pm
Moon leaves totality: 8:44 pm
Moon leaves umbra: 9:53 pm
Moon leaves penumbra: 11:02 pm
Moonset: 8:06 am
OK fine, those aren't my calculations, I got them by using the Lunar Eclipse Computer, which you can use to calculate optimum viewing times in your neck o' the woods.

I need to get out of the rock I've been living under, because I had no idea Courtney Love was playing the The Fillmore last night until I read a concert review this morning. I saw Courtney live almost exactly a decade ago -- it was November 1, 1994, and Hole was headlining with very underrated opener Veruca Salt. It was the beginning of my sophmore year at UT and I had gotten to Liberty Lunch hours early with my friend Jenny who was also a huge fan of both bands.

When the doors finally opened, we positioned ourselves front and center behind the stage barricades, preparing ourselves to be smushed, overheated and totally impressed. We were enraptured by Veruca Salt's set, our heads turning to and fro as if we were spectators at a tennis match, trying to give equal attention to the sultry rockness of both Nina, stage left, and Louise, stage right.

Then came Hole's set. It was the morning after Halloween, which must have been quite a night for Courtney judging by the crusted body glitter and make-up caked over her face and drug-scarred arms. She was hoarse and hungover and cranky as hell; she could hardly sing but her presence was performance enough. At one point she screamed offstage to someone to get her a shot of whiskey. As I remember it, Jenny turned to me and whispered, "As if she needs one." In a remarkable feat of acoustics, we think Courtney somehow heard the comment from the stage, inspiring her to throw the cup of whiskey onto the audience members in the first few rows.

I escaped to the back of the club before the encore, wherein Courtney engaged in a scantily-clad crowd surfing expedition, then proceeded to berate the audience for groping her, sticking her mic in the faces of Jenny and others in the front row, demanding an explanation for their behavior. She capped off the performance by announcing she'd never play Austin again and storming away.


Maybe my pointless blogging hasn't been so pointless after all -- Check out my Tiny Telebration writeup on SFist.com.

Last night a few of us bid Bon Voyage to 'Sef, who's on an NYC-bound Jetblue flight as I write this. His going away party got me all nostalgic for the one I had at Club DeVille back in '99 when I was leaving Austin for NYC. Sniff. We'll miss Sef a lot, but a few of us at the party decided that he has great taste in females and that we'll all just hang out with each other to cope. My goal is to coerce Jen, Melissa and April into a stitch-n-bitch with me.

Listen to snippets of a few songs from The Donnas' new album "Gold Medal" here. What's with snippets, anyway? If you're going to put music up for people to stream, please offer the whole dang song. You can listen to more songs on their website, which is worth checking out for the psychedelic unicorn graphics.

Today's quote:
"Tin-eared graph paper-brained accountants instead of music fans call all the shots at giant record companies now. The lowest common denominator rules. Forget honesty. Forget Creativity. The dumbest by the mostest that's the name of the game" - Jello Biafra
Thanks to The Heavenly States mailing list for sending me this quote. Go see them live, you won't be disappointed.


Did Duff McKagan make a deal with the devil? I remember what Duff looked like back in my grade school Gn'R worshipping days -- he was puffy, pasty, and as incoherent as Bill the Cat. But now, nearly 20 years later, somehow he's magically hot.

<-- then and now -->

For some reason I always get nervous before I have shows, and having two this weekend is making me twice as nervous. Listening to Ted Leo's new album Shake the Sheets on Rhapsody is making me feel a little better. The song "Shake the Sheets" could have been a Phil Collins hit in the '80s, no? I mean that in the best possible way.

My friend Justin linked to this Seventeenth Century Nun's Prayer on his blog -- I clicked through to read it because he never struck me as a religious chap. It's not your typical prayer, it's actually kind of funny. Here's a good excerpt:
"Keep me from the fatal habit of thinking I must say something on every subject and on every occasion.... With my vast store of wisdom, it seems a pity not to use it all, but You know, Lord, I want a few friends at the end."
Amen to that.


All this time I've been using DSL to connect to the internet, and in order to have DSL you have to have a phone line. Being one person with two different phone lines is kind of absurd when you think about it; but it's especially absurd when I look at the bill (charges, surcharges, taxes, fees, OY). So in a flash of brilliance, I decide to try broadband, cable internet, whatever you call it. In order to get high-speed internet from Comcast, I have to get cable TV. Up until now, I've prided myself on having plenty of television to watch with just my TV and the giant antenna perched atop it. While I'm already excited to watch the Food Network and find out which half hour MTV devotes to playing videos, my darkest fear is that I will get sucked into spending my Sunday afternoons watching Real World marathons. If you sense this is happening to me, please stage an intervention.

The other day I got an email from Bluford with an mp3 of a song he co-wrote with a girl in Nashville. It's very pop, kind of in the Hilary Duff vein, and it's called "I Like Me". Yet another reason why Blu rules -- he's writing empowering feminist pop songs for teenage girls. While I'm singing Blu's praises, read this funny journal entry he wrote and check out his page of camera phone photos.

Even though I was in New York during the entirety of CMJ, I didn't get to see any music (that's what we get for travelling to Woodstock twice in 3 days). Thanks to KEXP, we can click here to listen to archives of all of the following live in-studio performances:
Arcade Fire
Joseph Arthur
Bobby Bare Jr.
Richard Buckner
The Concretes
The Decemberists
Nicolai Dunger
Sondre Lerche
Radio 4
Radio Nationals
Sea Ray
Sons and Daughters
Sufjan Stevens
Ted Leo

Lastly, I have two shows for Little Queen this weekend:

Buddha Bazaar
at Ceiba Boutique -- 1364 Haight St


SUNDAY 10/24
Feria Urbana
at Madrone Lounge - 500 Divisadero @ Fell Street
6-10 P.M.

Featuring... Bagged by Lea, HMA Designs, Blissen, Fancy JoJo Designs, Toto,
Bella Giorna Jewelry, Natalie Mingura Designs, My Dirty Dishes, Green Tea Baby, CMB Sweets, Little Queen, Saa-Z


At Laurie's house, I saw this picture of a Brussels Griffon wearing a pink doggie sweater & pearls in the Anthropologie catalog, and immediately became obsessed. These are the tiny dogs with normal dog bodies and bizarrely adorable Chewbacca faces. This dog-obsession has happened to me before with French Bulldogs -- usually after I do about a half hour of web research and looking at photos on Dogster, I'm reminded that dogs are a lot of work and I'm probably not yet ready for the commitment. Dogster is great for dog research -- after reading enough owner comments like "humps everything in sight, including thin air" and "DON'T touch my nose!", my obsession begins to wane. But how cute is Murray? And his brother Tango? Check out the smile on Lilly.

What I would give to spend a day with these fatties.


Last night I saw a commercial with Ted Nugent urging people to vote, with the slogan "Have it your way", sponsored by Burger King. According to a short news item on Blabbermouth.net:
"All of the spots are unbiased and devoid of political commentary," Burger King said.
Um, is it not crystal clear which candidate is going to get loudmouth, gun-toting maniac Ted Nugent's vote? Other artists included in the BK campaign are P. Diddy, Snoop Dogg, Michelle Branch, and Joel Madden, lead singer of Good Charlotte. Who picked these people? Does Good Charlotte have any fans who are old enough to vote?


The "Amazing Grace: Jeff Buckley" screenings went phenomenally well -- all were sold out, they won an award from the CMJ Film Fest, and the response has been very exciting. Click here to read an article on RollingStone.com. It's still freakin weird to see myself onscreen, but I'm overwhelmingly proud to be a part of such a wonderful film, dedicated to a phenomenal artist who changed my life, and made by two women who have become two of my closest friends. Here's a photo of Laurie, Nyla, Peter and Mary standing in front of Two Boots before the CMJ screening.

I finally got back to San Francisco yesterday afternoon, after having to reschedule my flight due to Laurie's dogwalker locking me out of her apartment. Another reason to fly JetBlue - affordable change fees.

There's so much to catch up on. I should have done more posting from my cell phone -- that's how I sent the photo of Britt and Mike McCarthy mixing the Spoon record (10/18 post). Here's a blurry picture of Mike (producer/engineer), a.k.a. "Wizard", looking like a tough guy. I only got to hear one song being mixed while I was at the studio -- if I had to pick the title from the list on their website, I'd guess it was "I turn my camera on". I'm so glad that the record is almost done, though it won't be released til at least next spring.

Being in NYC again depressed me, only because I miss my friends so much. At least I got to see many of them -- Craig, Karla, Lily, Dave, Mike, Britt, JW, Kate & Kevin, Wes, Jimi, am I leaving anyone out? Since Nathan Larson was speaking on the BMI "Music in Film" panel with Laurie at Woodstock, I also got to talk to two members of Shudder To Think in one weekend. That's enough to make me happy for a good long while, even though I missed Craig's performance with Baby at CMJ.

I feel like I should have more to write about after such a busy trip, but my mind is blanking out on me right now. Umm, I'll blame it on jetlag. Yeah, jetlag.


A Picture Share! 

A Picture from my PCS Vision Camera
Spoon is mixing in Brooklyn


A Picture Share! 

A Picture from my PCS Vision Camera
V2 reunion: Lily & Karla


Packing, laundry, cleaning out the fridge. Getting ready to fly to the east coast for the "Amazing Grace: Jeff Buckley" screenings.

I'm very excited about going to Woodstock for the first time and staying in a semi-rustic cabin with friends. Also, since Girlie Action is doing publicity for the film, I'm looking forward to meeting Alison, Felice and the rest of the staff in person when we get to NYC.

Here's the latest screening information:
Saturday, Oct. 16th @ 3 PM ET/Two Boots Pioneer Theatre (155 East 3rd Street)

NOTE: Half the theater is reserved for CMJ Festival badge holders,
which means tickets are limited. Tickets will NOT be for sale online,
but will be available at the Pioneer Box Office. Get there early.

Friday, Oct. 15th @ 7 PM, Woodstock Community Center SOLD OUT!
Sunday Oct. 17 @ 3:30 PM, Town Hall SOLD OUT!
Congratulations again to Nyla Bialek Adams and Laurie Trombley, filmmakers-extraordinaire!


It's my third and final day of working at RAG while Blakely's in Florida. What have I learned? Depeche Mode is a hit with both male and female shoppers. Death Cab for Cutie, not so much.

I had a conversation with a couple here in the store yesterday about the pitfalls of trying to live the DIY starving artist lifestyle. They were telling me about a friend of theirs who runs a shop in Brooklyn with a similar theme as RAG -- carrying all local designers. "Of course, she's rich," the guy added with an eye-roll, "that makes it easier." My response: "She's a patron of the arts, like the de Medici family. We need more people like that." Better that she puts her money towards supporting struggling artists than to sunning herself in Belize. Speaking of nice rich people giving their money to artists, read this article about the guy who bought a rare Guided By Voices record for $6,200.

Here are some cool designers to put your hard-earned or effortlessly-inherited money toward (all are carried at RAG):
fancy the *F* word
Gypsy Loic
Mabel Chong
Helen Olds
Tina Ruth
Spare Change Designs
Da Hee Projects

Two days til I leave for NYC. If you know of any fun CMJ or music-related events, email me.


Guys like Bowie, apparently. I was playing Bowie's Greatest Hits CD (courtesy of Real Rhapsody, they should be paying me by now) here at RAG today, and every guy that came in the store started whistling or humming along with it. It didn't get that reaction from the women, but they were probably more focused on shopping.

I'm seeing a bit of a connection between the music I play and the mood of the shoppers -- anything too rock or quirky doesn't go over well (Joanna Newsom, Constantines); light, melodic electronica seems to work best. Aside from Frou Frou, Metric and Bjork, I haven't found any other shopping-conducive sounds. I would be a terrible DJ.

If I had a great boyfriend, I'd make him bring me an iced coffee right now. Maybe I'll lock the store for a couple of minutes and go get one myself.

Traffic is at a lull currently, but for the most part running the store is fun. A lady bought one of my scarves earlier. Hey, thanks lady!

Now I'm playing the "electro-funk" sampler. Allow me to blog the playlist: RHAPSODY's Electro-Funk Sampler. It's like listening to my favorite radio station, 98.1 KISS FM, all my favorite old school R&B songs. No parking on the dance floor!

Speaking of dance, I went to Rhythm & Motion's 25th Anniversary Gala last night at the Herbst Theatre. I went to support my dance school, not knowing what to expect, but the performers blew my mind. There's no way I can describe how good they were, but I can tell you it was diverse and fun and moving. Everything from Afro-Cuban drumming and dancing to the Hula, from modern Jazz and hip-hop to a truly badass tap dancer.

OK back to work. See you suckers tonight at Dolores Park for "Harold and Maude"!


Holy "Living with Ghosts"-era Patty Griffin! Thanks to Cherry Coloured, I have a new album to add to my

Shopping list:

Mindy Smith

This morning while I was getting ready to go to work at RAG, I accidentally caught Minnie Driver singing her special brand of don't-wake-the-baby folk/rock live (or was it?) on "The View". When I came to from my narcoleptic fit, I considered my possibly hypocritical stance on actors branching out into other artistic genres. While I've praised Ethan Hawke for writing novels, I bitch about the music made by the likes of Minnie and Keanu.

I think it's the sincerity and/or credibility factor. I don't get annoyed when I see J-Lo shaking her rump in Gucci aviators and Manolo stilettos (well, not for reasons related to artistic integrity anyway). It's pop, it's entertainment. But I do get annoyed when I see Keanu wearing dirty Converse and thrift store corduroys, acting the part of a down-n-out indie rocker. Watching Minnie gaze into the camera earnestly, singing her song with a heartfelt lack-of-fervor, I just don't buy it. Acting. These people aren't hauling their gear around the country in a van with no A/C. I'd rather see them with backup dancers than a band of well-groomed session musicians.

This obviously isn't an iron-clad policy. It helps that Ethan Hawke is hot.


Real Rhapsody update: So far, so good. I've been able to do the following:

Rhapsody's selection of albums doesn't seem very extensive -- I wanted to listen to Gillian Welch this morning and it didn't have any of her records, but it did pull up 3 or 4 songs of hers from compilations. And unlike iTunes, it offers a link to the artist's website right there with your search results.

There's even a "blog playlist" feature which I will demonstrate here: RHAPSODY Link

If you have Rhapsody open and click on this link, you can listen to what I was listening to (an excellent Lost Highway sampler). I'm not sure what the point of blogging a playlist is, but then again, what's the point of blogging in the first place?


I was just on Jeanette Winterson's website (she's one of my all-time favorite authors) reading her monthly journal. She's going to be opening an Italian deli on the ground floor of her London house -- I'll put that on my London itinerary whenever I finally go there. At the end of the column she mentions having promised to post a Phillip Pullman interview. What I would have given to be a fly on that wall. Winterson's latest, Lighthousekeeping, doesn't come out in the US til 2005, but I'll probably break down and order it online before then.

Go here and watch Sarah McLachlan's video for "World On Fire". (iTunes required) They took the $150,000 budget for the video and donated all but a few dollars of it to these recipients around the world. It makes an inspiring statement about our culture's excesses and how you can help a lot even with very little.

If you've got a copy of this week's Newsweek (10/4 issue) you can read an excerpt from Bob Dylan's forthcoming book "Chronicles". The excerpt focuses on the pressues of overwhelming fame and his struggle to escape the public eye. He describes what happened after he bought a home in Woodstock in the late '60s to settle down with his family:
"Tensions mounted almost immediately and peace was hard to come by. Roadmaps to our homestead must have been posted in all fifty states for gangs of dropouts and druggies. Moochers showed up from as far away as California on pilgrimages. Goons were breaking into our place all hours of the night. At first, it was merely the nomadic homeless making illegal entry -- seemed harmless enough, but then rogue radicals looking for the Prince of Protest began to arrive -- unaccountable-looking characters, gargoyle-looking gals, scarecrows, stragglers looking to party, raid the pantry....I wanted to set fire to these people."
This is probably the first description of fame that actually made me feel sorry for the person, rather than roll my eyes and wish they were more grateful.

Here's an excerpt from one of my favorite blogs, tinyluckygenius aka the Unicorn's tear:
"Last evening, I was graced with the rapt attention of a room full of freshman and sophmores at DePaul, as I have done, yearly, for the last four years. This lecture, I tried to tell them about The Things I Doubt They Are Going To Teach You In This Music Business School For Which You Pay 32,741$ Annually . My main points being: There is no money in this (for the most part), interning is terrible but you have to do it, that things are run by old white men and people who barely like music, that most jobs are just about making people believe what you need them to believe, that you can do what you want - and do it with integrity, but everyone will think you are crazy and you will likely be poor - at least for a while, and that there is terrible sexism and double standards abound in every aspect and facet of the industry."
That Jessica, she speaks my language.

Shopping list:
Click the album cover for an mp3 of "Me and Mia" from Lookoutrecords.com.


My gym had a big celebration last week wherein they were giving away raffle tickets at different "stations" -- body fat measurement, chiropractic consultation, etc. I figured it was worth a few minutes to gather up tickets, and when I went in yesterday, I saw I was on the list of winners! A gift certificate for $50 to George. I didn't know what George was (a restaurant? a boutique?), but regardless of what kind of store it was, I was getting excited to spend $50 there. So after class, Audree and I went to pick up my prize. Turns out George is an adorable, high end pet store.

Alas, I am petless.

Which brings me to wonder about the origin of the phrase "looking a gift horse in the mouth", which is appropriate here not just for the animal reference, but for its meaning, which is 'questioning the value of something you have received for free'. A trip to the discussion boards on www.yourdictionary.com cleared it right up:
Someone purchasing a horse checks it carefully. One of those checks was for its actual age (mileage!) by checking its teeth. The longer the teeth, the older the horse. (Remember the idiom "a little long in the tooth"?) The idea is that when you are given a gift, you shouldn't be scrutinizing it for faults. (posted by gailr)

From what I understand, in addition to the age of the horse, the teeth also reveal a lot about the health of the animal. So inspecting the horse's mouth was a way to make sure you were getting a healthy horse. (posted by Tim)
Ah, what would we do without the internet? I now also know how to say the phrase in several languages:
Swedish: Skåda inte given häst i munnen.
Dutch: Je mag een gegeven paard niet in de bek kijken.
French: À cheval donné, on ne regarde pas la bride.
Portuguese: A cavalo dado não se olham os dentes.
Spanish: A caballo regalado, no se le mira el diente.
Feel free to use the above phrases to admonish your ungrateful foreign friends.


I finished the Golden Compass on Saturday afternoon, at a nice new cafe on 26th Street and Dolores. I can't recommend this book enough, it's phenomenal. (I'm not even a fan of science fiction, but after I started reading The Time Traveller's Wife on Sunday, I was marvelling at how much a fantastical story can point out truths about our real lives.)

One of the most remarkable aspects of Golden Compass author Phillip Pullman's writing is that it's so cinematic -- throughout the book, I kept imagining what the movie version would look like, hoping that it was already in production. Lucky for me, mind-reading Nyla has just blogged about the movie here. Screenplay by Tom Stoppard, she says -- HELL YEAH. I'll be lining up early, Trekkie-style. By the way, Shakespeare fans should check out Stoppard's Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead, if you can manage to find a copy.

My pal Steve recommended that I try the Real Rhapsody subscription service, piquing my interest by telling me I could stream the entire new Interpol record on it. So I'm using it this morning, and it's kind of like having a listening station at home (Pinback EPs are next), or having certain albums on demand (like my Frou Frou record that I can't find). Too early to tell if it's worth the $10 a month.


Damn cold. It's still here. I wish I had more energy, because Fun Cheap SF lists so many cool things going on in the city today, like the Orchidfest, the 21st annual Sand Castle Building Contest at Ocean Beach, the Love Parade, SF Open Studios. (I wonder if the Orchidfest will be showing any exotic violin-playing orchids like in this picture from their webpage). If you live in the Bay Area, you should sign up for the Fun Cheap SF list here. Or if you don't live in SF, you can still sign up for it and check out all the things you and I are missing out on today.

Maybe it didn't help my cold that I went out last night. I picked Blakely up from a house in Bernal Heights where her friends were house-sitting and making dinner. It was a crazy M.C. Escher house, with at least 5 staircases and as many levels, including a back deck and roof garden. Just one guy lives there but judging by the 20 martini glasses in his kitchen, the house gets a lot of traffic. Blakely's friend Sig was making macaroni and cheese from scratch with 3 cups of grated cheddar, so you can imagine how hard it was to tear ourselves away.

After leaving my neighborhood, we went to the Independent to see Earlimart because Kirby was kind enough to put us on the list. Earlimart just released a lovely new record called "Treble & Tremble" which you can listen to by checking out their e-Card. Recommended if you like whispery, keyboardy, Elliott Smith-y, Grandaddy-esque music.

The Heavenly States opened the show, which was great because I haven't seen them play in at least a year. Baria Records has re-released their self-titled full length record and the "King Epiphany" single featuring the bizarre "Monument" which I'm listening to right now. THS is a tremendous band, I love their energy, dynamics and complex catchiness. And nobody can argue with Genevieve's rock violin. You can watch their video for "My Friends" here, and listen to "Car Wash" here.

While I was on the Baria Records website, I found this nugget:
THE Anti-Prick Movement is all about telling the arrogant, the liars, the deranged and deluded that they are PRICKS
and then letting them know that they should just fuck off out of your life and leave you alone. Forever.

No membership, no cards, no club. It is a state of mind.
Count me in.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?