Odds and sods:

** America's Next Top Blogger: Elyse Sewell. You remember her from the first season of ANTM, she was the snarky, skinny med student with the extremely ambivalent attitude toward modeling. These days she's in Hong Kong modelling like crazy, and while she's still ambivalent, intelligent and hilarious, she's now armed with a blog and a digital camera. Somebody give this woman a book deal! I can't believe I get to read this stuff for free, it's my new favorite thing.

** I forgot to share with you the most important detail about the uber-creepy Polar Express: there's an animated cameo by STEVEN TYLER. I'm not joking. It's brief, unexpected and completely bizarre, and I bet he got paid a mint for it. (Did Tom Hanks voice all the adults in the movie? Sure sounded like it. He didn't make a very convincing Santa Claus.)

** On my flight from SFO, I was seated next to a 90 year old grandmother named Susie Victoria, who was the sweetest flight friend I've ever made. Dressed to the nines in a matching faux leopard fur pillbox hat, scarf and gloves, she told me she was "so very pleased to make my acquaintance," offered to share her sack lunch and movie headphones with me, told me all about her surprise 90th birthday party, and showed me the opal necklace she got as a present. I almost asked if we could become pen pals, or have tea the next time she came to visit her daughter in Oakland, but it sounds like she has more than enough kids, grandkids, senior trips and church friends to fill her busy schedule.


These are the two monkeys I've been hanging out with the past few days.

Carl just turned 8 and Kristian will turn 6 in February.

Yesterday I took them to see the Polar Express at the movie theater. I was pretty nervous driving the big blue van and being responsible for them all by myself, but I proved to be an able Auntie. It helps that they're mostly well behaved and think I'm the bee's knees. After the movie I took them to Tae Kwon Do. They were too cute in their little outfits doing their punches and kicks -- they are so tall and skinny, little blond beanpoles. By the time our visit is over, I'll be an expert on Lego's, ninja turtles and dinosaurs. Being an Auntie is the greatest.

P.S. My "new contributor profile" is up on SFist here. It would be more mortifying if I thought a lot of people actually read the site, and somehow less mortifying if my last name were Jones or Smith. I didn't know what photo to send them -- I hardly had any without other friends in them, so I used one from SXSW and cropped out Richud and Garrett (sp?). Sorry Richud! Next time I'm in Austin, I'll buy you a tarcor to make up for it.


Honk if you love chihuahuas who can drive!

Looks like Chupa took the Jeep for a spin around town. I wonder if Santa brought him the little elf coat for Christmas.

Listmania continues: Check out Josef's Top 11 Indie Cover Songs.


I'm watching Blakely's boutique again today (I'd take this as a compliment, but I didn't work on Weds.) and I decided to play only holiday music. I began with spinning the OC's Chrismukkah record, one of the goodies the kind, kind Molly B sent me this week. Once that was done, I turned to Real Rhapsody which has an impressive offering of holiday tunes.

The best holiday record I've found so far is Jose Feliciano's Feliz Navidad. If you have Rhapsody, you can listen here. Feliciano is a genius. He's a master of guitar, and his voice is unique, powerful, gentle and heartbreaking all at once. Despite being born blind, he became a groundbreaking international crossover success over his decades of music-making. He was kind of a heartthrob back in the day too. His cover of "California Dreamin" will hook you.

Since everyone's gone mad for Best Of lists, here's my...
Top Five Gift Mixes of 2004:
** "Left Outside by Josef" : This cleverly titled mix includes artists that Josef sees as outsiders, including 13th Floor Elevators, Fugazi and the mysterious Jandek. Given that Jandek is from Texas and has been called "the longest-running, weirdest, loneliest enigma in popular music," it's entirely appropriate that Josef turned me onto him.
** "Krissy's Portable Roller Rink" by Nyla: The concept makes this one a winner from the getgo, but tracks by Heart, Girlschool and Olivia Newton-John proved to be most excellent for skating.
** Mix by JD: Balm for the broken heart.
** Ashod's mix: Indie rock love songs by a bunch of bands that I should have already known but mostly hadn't heard before.
** Rough mix by Jason: Frustratingly, this came without a tracklisting, but the blue CD case and shiny green ribbon made up for it.

What's better than getting a mix CD from a friend? One of my New Year's resolutions is to make more gift mixes for my favorite people.


I'm watching Blakely's store today since she flew to Montana this morning, and I'm laughing because all of today's customers so far have been men. Last minute gifting! One of Blakely's friends, Jeremy, taught me a trick while he was picking out earrings for his lady -- you can tell if something's sterling silver if it doesn't adhere to a magnet. Only cheaper metals stick. Now that's a fine piece of knowledge, from Jeremy to me to you. How to produce a magnet upon request is a skill that just can't be taught.

NP: Coolfer's Best of 2004 mix on Real Rhapsody. (I want a comp Rhapsody membership for Xmas.)


Forget Cassettes broke up! That's just not right. Read the disappointing explanation here.


I'm back from Feria Urbana, and I'm a little beat, but things went very well. I made some great trades, and several of my friends actually came to visit me! Thanks Jamie, April, Melissa, Jen, and Jason for stopping by, it made me very happy.

I'm also happy to report I'm going to be reviewing albums for Stylus, an online magazine/blog and home of the Stypod. Go here to read the edited version of my review of Jolie Holland's escondida. I pasted in the original version below (everything's pretty much the same except for the 4th paragraph). Thanks to Nyla for reading the review before I submitted it, and for always encouraging me.

Jolie Holland

The cover photograph on Jolie Holland’s “Escondida” is a blurry black and white, showing Holland holding a fiddle and bow next to a man in a wooden chair playing harmonica. The photo is your first clue that the album’s a bit of a relic, waiting to take you back to a time when storytellers sang their porch songs in the twilight, no amplification necessary. There’s a feeling of impromptu performance throughout; you almost expect to hear muted handclaps and footstomps on a wooden floor in the background. This spontaneity was perhaps born from the time Holland spent traveling with an itinerant group of performers while the rest of her peers were cramped into college classrooms looking forward to their future. With her timeless blues-folk-Americana, it’s clear that Holland prefers looking back.

Holland’s official bio warns that knowing where an artist comes from “does not explain her sound,” but the Texas-born California resident still has some of that slow southern heat oozing through her veins, fueling an epic “go West” sensibility. After co-founding the Be Good Tanyas and appearing on their first record, Holland set out on her own, touring the west coast from Vancouver to her current home in San Francisco. Her first solo release, Catalpa, originated as a collection of lo-fi demos. Enthusiastic fan-sharing and a nomination for the 2003 Shortlist Music Award from label-mate Tom Waits led to critical acclaim and a healthy anticipation for her follow-up release.

“Escondida,” Holland’s first studio album, was released on Anti-, one of the few record labels that carefully curates their roster. Anti- signs “real artists creating great recordings on their own terms.” Having label-mates like Merle Haggard and Neko Case automatically brings some credibility to a new artist’s career, but Holland lives up to it. A self-taught musician, she wrote most of the songs on the record, except for covers of traditional songs “Mad Tom of Bedlam” and “Faded Coat of Blue.” Whether she’s picking guitar or playing the fiddle with her band, the music shines a warm spotlight onto her voice. Her unique phrasing is an instrument itself, whether she’s crooning like a trumpet or rolling syllables around on her tongue like fine aged whiskey.

Musically, Holland could be considered as the more eccentric and authentic second cousin of Norah Jones. Most of the songs are a relaxed mid-tempo; think of a slight warp on a vinyl record spinning at 33 rpm. Her sound is soothing and pleasant, but she’s willing to push the boundaries lyrically. Whether she’s entreating “give me that old fashioned morphine,” or confiding she’s “just about sick to death / of taking breath / and walking this line of mine,” her laid back style manages to put the listener at ease, even when she’s perhaps singing about offing herself. “Do You?” is the best beat-down ballad for lovelorn folkies since Ryan Adams’ “Come Pick Me Up.” “Do you have to go crazy / Is that the best thing that you can think to do?” she sings, torn between lust and exasperation. “…You motherfucker, I wanted you.”

Holland’s still capable of the youthful swings between elation and despair, but those extremes are tempered with a world-weary maturity, a sophisticated equilibrium. “I don’t let it bother me none,” she tells us, and we can’t help but believe her.


Great reality show:
Project Runway: Each week Heidi Klum and her band of snooty judges give fledgling designers truly challenging projects and they have just a day or two to come up with an original design to present on the runway. They even make the designers select their model at the top of the show, with the last one standing getting sent home. The egos and personalities, the true talent, and Heidi's German accent make this show truly entertaining. Best dismissal since Trump's "You're fired": Heidi's "Auf Wiedersehen!"

Related: Wendy's winning dress at BananaRepublic.com

Terrible reality show:The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Model Search: Are you kidding me? Not since Victorias Secret's "Angels" hit prime time to strut in their fancy underpants for an hour have we seen such flagrant catering to salivating cavemen. And this is a series. I rate this up with any news program doing a "serious pornography investigation" -- let's be honest: it's just an excuse to show a slew of mostly-naked women on TV to get ratings. How long does it take to select a hot girl in a bikini anyway? I know that modelling can be difficult, I watch America's Next Top Model. But how are they going to change things up every week? How will they rate the girls? "Bambii, your work in a standard two-piece is unparalleled, but when we put you in a thong and a mesh tank top, you fell apart. We need more from you."

Honorable mention: Who's Your Daddy?


Today's When The Lights Go Down In The City on SFist.

I'm spent. Back to crocheting and deciding my professional future.


Amanda from The Apes, a.k.a. Majestic Ape, is not only talented but also very gracious. I'm going to buy the portrait she drew of me. Please read my "Get Drawn By An Ape" post on SFist.

This post is dedicated to a few of my ridiculously awesome friends:

To Nyla and Laurie, two of the coolest females alive, whose award-winning documentary "Amazing Grace: Jeff Buckley" was accepted for the upcoming Cinequest Film Festival. To Mark, my first boyfriend ever from 4th grade, who had coffee with me yesterday. Let's hope he moves to SF from NYC. To Matt in LA, who I met at my first music business internship ever, who just hooked me up with a very promising opportunity. Details TBA. To Blakely, who got "discovered" at the Coke audition the other day! Let's hope her callback goes swimmingly.

At the SFist party the other night, I extolled the virtues of the Dog Whisperer to my fellow SFist Mary-Lynn. Today she sent me this email:
Krissy, I have to "thank you" for turning me onto the addictive programming that is The Dog Whisperer. My Tivo has been faithfully capturing episodes for me since Friday and I cannot stop watching. Those are some of the dumbest animal owners I've ever seen (and I watch Animal Precinct)! I adore watching Caesar have to tell them "It's not the dog, it's you, you stupid idiot" though in a much gentler way. While I knew much of what he espouses (the human being the alpha male, dominant behaviours, etc.) I did not know the wonders of a doggie backpack! Awesome.
She totally gets it. It's just a matter of time before everyone catches on to the genius that is Cesar -- I predict a jump to network TV and an Oprah appearance in 2005.


I have an etiquette question. When a friend comes to visit your city, are you supposed to call them if/when you find out, or should they call you to let you know? There probably isn't a rule, and I suppose this is a situation unique to musician friends, since normal people don't have websites listing their itinerary for all the world to see. Still, I wonder.


I ran into Katznelson at the IODA party last Thursday, and harangued him about helping me get drawn by an ape. This morning I checked the Birdman site, and lo and behold!

I got drawn by an ape!Thanks Majestic Ape!

I'm working on a post about the "Get Drawn By An Ape" offer for SFist, which I'll post here later.

Last night I went to Rhythm and Motion's Student Showcase, and had the best time watching all the performers. Though I'm devastated by the fact that my favorite instructor, Ken, is no longer going to be teaching my Tues/Thurs classes (sniff) I'm newly inspired to branch out and try some different classes in the new year.


I just read about David Shouse's latest project, Bloodthirsty Lovers. Since Those Bastard Souls' Debt and Departure is one of my favorite albums, I was excited to listen to mp3s from The Delicate Seam. Unfortunately, I wasn't as excited as I wanted to be by what I heard. Shame. Go here to listen to "The Conversation" - the best of what I heard.

Friday night Ryan and I went to see Panty Lions, Built Like Alaska and Fuck at Bottom of the Hill. It was great to see Ashod as always -- I think the smallish beard looks handsome on him. I'm going to stage a shaving intervention before the beard gets too big again.

After the show, we unfortunately departed from Ashod and went to a party in the Mission with many interesting characters, including these intoxicated members of the Mutilated Mannequins. Sometimes there's nothing more entertaining than being a sober person having a conversation with someone who's completely wasted.

Nyla just posted a gorgeous Neruda poem, If You Forget Me, on Cherry Coloured. The torture of unrequited love is captured perfectly.


Read today's When The Lights Go Down In The City post on SFist, please and thanks!

Blakely suggested that her friend Deanna and I hang out together, since we both sew a lot during the week and Deanna lives nearby in Glen Park. Yesterday I went to Deanna's amazing house, which her great grandfather built, and crocheted while she sewed. While I was there, Blakely called with a tip on a Coke commercial that's looking to cast a San Francisco designer, and this morning we all ended up at a casting agency modelling Deanna's fantastic clothes.

Having never been anywhere near an audition before, I was mortified to have to fill out forms with my height, weight and measurements. I actually never think about my measurements, until I'm sitting in a casting office next to my svelte friends, starting to get self-conscious about never having had braces. Suffice it to say that I don't have the acting bug.

Here's Blakely, Deanna and I at RAG afterwards, in our Deanna Bratt outfits. Cross your fingers that they cast Deanna!


This is what I'm listening to on Real Rhapsody right now:

I know that you want me to be kidding, but I'm so not. Track 3 = Heart covering a Patty Griffin song. Somebody peel me off the ceiling!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


"There are revolutionary musicians all around us, ready to nourish and enrich our lives. It is up to all of us to stand up and demand that they be heard."

The return of Esthero. Go here and listen to a song from her forthcoming We R In Need Of A Musical Revolution EP. Great music with a message I can agree with. Downside: gotta wait til 2005 for it. Dang.


It's freezing in my apartment. Mind you it's San Francisco-freezing, not Anchorage-freezing, but still. I have Texas-blood in my veins, I can't take the cold. I think it's warmer outside.

Here's a quandary, how to compile a Top Ten Records of 2004 list when this was the year I had the least disposable income to actually buy records. So many records I meant to check out but haven't yet. Here's my first stab at a list, not a final draft, in no particular order:

Joanna Newsom The Milk-Eyed Mender
PJ Harvey Uh Huh Her
The Arcade Fire Funeral (I don't even own this yet -- but I have downloaded about 7 mp3s from various bloggers. I promise to buy it soon.)
John Vanderslice Cellar Door
Now It's Overhead Fall Back Open
TV on the Radio Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes
Iron and Wine Our Endless Numbered Days
The Finn Brothers Everyone Is Here
Jolie Holland escondida
The Constantines (Do re-releases count? If not, then replace with Tilly
and The Wall
Wild Like Children)

If it weren't for the impressive selection on Real Rhapsody, I'd be completely out of the loop. I'm listening to South San Gabriel's Welcome Convalesence on Rhapsody right now, which is top-tenworthy (but released in 2003). I also promise to buy it soon. Click here for mp3s. Maybe Santa will bring me a gift certificate to Amoeba.


Please read this week's When The Lights Go Down In The City concerts listing. Thanks!

Last night's "Five Ways To See" artshow at 111 Minna was real nice. It was great to see Aaron and a few other surprise friends, not to mention the fantastic artwork. It will be on display for a few weeks, so check it out if you're in the neighborhood and buy some artwork while you're there. Then wrap it up and give it to me for xmas.

Some good music news: Grandaddy's working on a split release with Earlimart right now.

Some of you are finding my site when you do a search for Cesar Millan, the Dog Whisperer. This makes me happy, because Cesar is a true hero and his show never disappoints. On one episode this week, he rehabilitated a bullying boxer named Coach that was about to be put to sleep! The family was heartbroken over putting the dog down, the little boy was completely distraught. But of course, Cesar saved the day! Mr. Millan made a quick guest appearance on The Insider the other night -- I'm betting he's about to get real popular. Visit his Dog Psychology Center here. Perhaps art is the new religion should become a Dog Whisperer fansite.

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