Yo Joe

You may know there’s a new live-action G.I. Joe movie coming out this summer, but you may not know they’ve already whetted fans’ appetites with an animated film. Last weekend Adult Swim aired the new movie, G.I. Joe: Resolute. Written by comics legend Warren Ellis, it had more realistic tech and a lot more violence, both individual and in mass quantities. If you don’t catch it in reruns online, they’ll probably have it in stores in time for the film in August. And if that’s not enough online Joe stuff, catch every Robot Chicken sketch about them.

Booksales and Catie Curtis

Friday I got a bit of time outside on the deck, then Jill was in the mood for Mexican, but I ate at Moe’s for lunch, so we had pizza and salad. I read the paper, then watched TV.

Saturday we took a walk in Runnymede Park with Illa, including some cross country trekking when the path we were on ended (note to self – don’t let the dog lead). After that we headed over to Chantilly and Fairfax for some library booksales, along with a stop for some new shoes for both of us. Dinner was ribs after I cleaned the grill for the first time in two years – Jill still wanted Mexican, but I needed to save that to have something quick to make the next night.

Today Jill was supposed to have an all day training class, but they canceled it last minute and she had to trek down to DC to find that out. She ran after she got back, and I went out and ran with Illa. I guess it was too hot for him, as he didn’t eat his breakfast for several hours afterwards. I spent the afternoon starting eBay auctions (118 Wolverine and X-Men related this week) and reading the paper (in the nice cool basement with Illa).

For dinner we finally had Mexican – taquitos, guacamole and queso as well as a mix of onions, peppers and black beans. Then we headed over to Wolf Trap, unfortunately getting there too late to see all of The Bittersweets set (although the stuff we did see was good, including a killer off mic cover of “Falling Slowly”). I was expecting to see Catie Curtis solo, but she had John Jennings, Elana Arian and Edie Carey with her, and it added a lot of power to the show. “It’s A Wonder” and “Sing” were my favorites of the night. Later we had some of the latest evil from Trader Joe’s – ready to bake cookies before Jill headed to bed and I headed online.

New concert merch idea

For the current Dead tour, they’re releasing a photo book each night. I don’t know if I’d buy it for this show, but it’s a cool idea. I’m a big fan of buying the show as audio (or downloading it for free), but this is a good idea – I would only do it once in a while, but if it’s publish on demand, it just take a few buyers to recoup the setup costs.

More cleaning and Earth Day

I got home late on Friday, but not too late to enjoy some time on the back deck reading the paper, then grilling some kielbasa for dinner. We watched a double header of Reaper after that before bed.

Saturday I enjoyed a little time outside reading the paper after breakfast, then spent most of the day downstairs getting the finished part of the basement in order, mostly through repurposing some old CD bookcases so they could hold some of the book overflow (and the massive book shifting job in association). At night I grilled some steak and made a salad, then I went on worked on some DVDs while Jill made brownies (tasty).

Today I went down to the Mall for the Green Apple Festival celebrating Earth Day. When I got down front, Los Lobos was going into their last song, a cover of the Dead’s “Bertha”, which was a nice echo of my last concert. Next up was moe., who I saw last year at Wolf Trap, and they played “Tailspin”, my favorite song from that show and a whole bunch more I didn’t know, but it was pretty good. I liked that instead of a mosh pit in the middle, there were a bunch of girls with hula hoops.

The headliners were The Flaming Lips, who may not have come to mind for Earth Day (maybe Mars day), but they were fun. They started with Wayne’s usual shtick crowd surfing in a bubble, then fired lots of confetti off – not very environmentally friendly, but Wayne made the crowd promise to pick it , or he’d be hauled off to the hoosegow later. A cover of “Borderline” and their usual hits followed, but I headed out before the end to beat the crowds. We had a quick chicken sandwich dinner, then I needed to ship a bunch of auctions off and that took a while.

Dead Again

Lots of déjà vu last night, starting when I got to West Falls Church Metro and was walking up from the north bus bay and there was Jill walking towards me. She had a CPR class in DC and had decided to head in about the same time, but she left on the next train as I was waiting for Stuart to get there. We headed downtown, and met up at Legal Sea Foods with Pete and Susan, both of whom I met on Edhead cruises. With their friends we had a nice little preshow party, along with some nice carbonated beverages and some of Legal’s tasty chowder.

I only saw the Grateful Dead once, in 1994 as I just was getting into heavy concert going (1994 was my first 100 show year), but when Jerry died the next year I didn’t have much opportunity. It was a pretty good show, and I had no complaints. Their next incarnation as the Other Ones for some reason didn’t appeal to me that much, even though I started seeing a number of other jam bands (Dave Matthews Band, Blues Traveler, Phish, Widespread Panic, etc.). When they decided they wanted to get back together as a band and became the Dead again (dropping Grateful out of respect), I decided it was time, and Stuart and I caught them out at Nissan in 2004. That show was very heavy on covers, not nearly enough classic tunes of their own, so I was up for more, and last night was their first public area appearance since then.

There was time for me to grab a dog and a beer before they started, and they got right into it with a good version of “Cassidy”. Several others I wasn’t familiar with, then “Lazy River Road” (which I’d just listened to that morning) and “Alabama Getaway” to finish off the set. We had a long intermission, then a short acoustic set and another (shorter) intermission. The third set was very jam-my, with a long jam that led into “Dark Star” and eventually into “Drums -> Space”. I’m not a fan of the extensive jamming when you’re not doing it around a melody (like Dave Matthews Band does), so not even hitting Come Together before going back into “Dark Star” was exciting me that much. But they pulled it off by sticking the ending, first ending the set with “Sugar Magnolia”, then going for the one two puch at the encore: “Uncle John’s Band” and Ripple (nice to finish with my favorite Dead song). I wasn’t a big fan of some of it, but still a win overall. It’s already online if you want to take a listen.

Cleaning and strolling

Friday I made a chicken cordon bleu salad (Italian meat, chicken fingers, Swiss cheese and marinated artichoke hearts in addition to the usual salad fixings) which was pretty good, and then watched Definitely, Maybe, which was really good (especially since it starred Ryan Reynolds, and I’ve only really liked him in Waiting…).

Saturday I worked some more on straightening out the basement, now we’ve got a little more room. Jill went over to see Janice and drop some books off, and we got invited to their steak and martini night – they didn’t have enough steak, but fortunately I was already marinating some chicken for fajitas in my default sauce (jalapeño juice, soy sauce and olive oil). So we went over, had martinis, then Stuart and I grilled the meat, which we had with a fabulous salad Janice made. It was a fun night catching up – sometime we’ll have one at our house (after the cleaning is finished of course).

Today I read papers while I watched Coachella (the movie), then we took Illa over to Reston to walk around Lake Audubon. I grilled burgers and hot dogs dinner, then we watched the two recent eps of Dollhouse (it’s really getting good, good time to air Prison Break in its place next week and announce they’re not going to air the final ep).

Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and more

It was my second time at Radio City Music Hall (I don’t remember going to Pete’s Dragon, but I have a reliable source who says I was there), and I was pretty pumped. Now everyone knew that Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr were playing separate sets and had refused to comment on playing together, but I think everyone assumed they couldn’t because that would just bring up too much Beatles baggage. But it surely was on the mind of everyone there. It was a benefit for David Lynch’s charity promoting TM for kids, and possibly the only way to get some of the performers together on the same stage as many thought very highly of it (plus it’s a way to discuss the late ’60s without the usual questions).

The show started with David Lynch coming out and speaking (he’d come out by himself or with Laura Dern between every act), then we got our first unannounced guest: Angelo Badalamenti playing a keyboard solo. He’s worked with David Lynch extensively, but I’m only really familiar with his work on Twin Peaks. So what does he play? “Laura Palmer’s Theme” from Twin Peaks, and a very nice way to begin. Next Bettye Lavette came out with Moby and his band to perform with a choir from Weaver High School. Now we had no idea before the concert who would perform and in what order. We got a program at the show that turned out to show the order, but sometimes people were performing together, so much of the night was full of surprises. Bettye Lavette was a great choice to handle the soulful vocals of “Natural Blues”, then she left and Moby did “We Are All Made Of Stars”, then the choir left and Bettye came back for her “Close As I’ll Get To Heaven”. Good stuff, but the evening was just getting started.

Sheryl Crow came out next with her band for a nice take on “Riverwide”, then invoked the spirit of George Harrison by having Ben Harper join her for a tasty run through My Sweet Lord. The biggest surprise came next as Jerry Seinfeld appeared for a hilarious ten minutes of standup – I had no idea he’d be there, and was certainly the funniest part of the night. Eddie Vedder ventured out solo (much like his recent shows) and played Guaranteed and Rise Up from his soundtrack for Into The Wild. He finished with the vocal loops of Pearl Jam’s Arc, very powerful live. He wasn’t done, as he returned with Ben Harper and his new band Relentless7 for a great take on another Pearl Jam classic, Indifference. We got a taste of the new Relentless7 CD with “Up To You Now” before Eddie returned to the stage for what was certainly the non Beatles highlight of the night as Ben and Eddie traded verses on a cover of Queen + David Bowie’s Under Pressure. They took an intermission after that (frankly, they had to – that was about the two hour mark).

First up after the intermission was Donovan with Jim James of My Morning Jacket on background vocals and Ben Harper & Relentless7 as his band. He played fine versions of “The Hurdy Gurdy Man” and “Wear Your Love Like Heaven”, then brought Sheryl Crow out for a fine duet on Season Of The Witch. Then the band left, and Paul Horn came out to join him on “Isle Of Islay” which was a nice reunion as both of them had been with the Beatles in India. Donovan left and Paul played “Meditation” solo, then Howard Stern of all people told us what Maharishi and TM meant to him, then introduced Ringo Starr. Once again Ben Harper & Relentless7 were the band, but this time Eddie Vedder came out to perform background vocals. It Don’t Come Easy was first and appropriate as it was co-written with George, then Ringo played drums on the early Beatles classic Boys. Sheryl Crow joined Eddie on background vocals for Yellow Submarine, very fun and a big crowd singalong. We passed the three hour mark, but there was much more to come.

After a final talk by David Lynch and Laura Dern (it was long, but the roadies were switching equipment the whole time they were speaking, the lights went out and we got Paul McCartney and his band. I’d bought both his recent albums in anticipation, but it was only classics this night, starting with Drive My Car, Jet and Got To Get You Into My Life. He moved to piano for Let It Be and Lady Madonna, then picked up an acoustic guitar for solo takes on Blackbird (dedicated to the president) and “Here Today” (dedicated to John). The band returned to rock through Band On The Run and Can’t Buy Me Love, then Paul introduced a very special guest – “Billy Shears”, and Ringo appears to amazing applause and cheers and a fun take on With A Little Help From My Friends (and here’s a bit of the pro version).

They return for an encore of course, as well as everyone else along with Mike Love from the Beach Boys. We get another surprise, as Paul wrote Cosmically Conscious in India but had never performed it live before (and it’s only been heard as an excerpt on Off the Ground). Very cool, then David Lynch read “A Poem Of Unknown Origin”, then an amazing finish with I Saw Her Standing There (and Ringo on drums). A truly legendary show, and worth every penny to go.

New York City and a birthday

Friday night we took advantage of having nothing to do and relaxed, it would be our only chance all weekend. I made Reubens for dinner, and we read for a while, then I surfed for hours.

Saturday we were out the door by 6:30, headed into DC to catch an 8:20 train to New York. It was blissful, left right on time and got to Penn Station right before noon on schedule. We were hungry and decided to get lunch on the way to the hotel. I’d researched a couple options and we agreed on Szechuan Gourmet. Jill had some wonton soup and I had the egg drop soup, good start as it was jacket weather outside. She then had the stir fry chicken and green beans while I got the fried chicken and roasted chilies – it was really good and really spicy. We also stopped by The Ginger Man, home to possibly the most beers on tap I’ve ever seen (Jill liked the Sierra Imperial Smoked Porter, while I enjoyed the cask conditioned Hook Norton Hooky Gold, as well as the chance to have Dogfish Head’s Palo Santo on draft).

We got to the hotel a little before check in, but they were ready for us. It was a nice little place that had popped up on my weekly Travelzoo email when I was looking for places to stay, and it was a nice place for a low price. We showered and changed, then caught a cab over to MoMA. I’m not a big fan (last time Jill went with Jess), but she likes it, plus the place I picked for dinner was there. We hit several exhibitions and the stores, but nothing really stood out.

Dinner at The Modern didn’t disappoint, though. We shared four small plates, all very good. The Tarte flambée was pretty big, but light, and went nicely with the Winter Green Salad. Jill enjoyed her Wild Mushroom Soup and I really liked the Roasted Long Island Duck Breast (with peppercorn-crusted apples and toasted pistachio-truffle dipping sauce – yum!). For dessert we split the Apple Strudel that came with prune Armagnac ice cream (a variation on rum raisin).

I think I want to do a play by play of the concert tomorrow, this barely does it justice and I don’t have the time tonight. Suffice it to say it was stupendous – already at least in the top ten of shows I’ve seen (and that’s a lot, I’m thinking of doing the top 25 in September when the 25th anniversary of my first show rolls around).

Afterwards we were pretty euphoric, and headed over to the nearby Heartland Brewery we’d eaten at last time we were in the city. In addition to brewing their own beers, they pair liqueurs and beers, and that sounded good to us right then. We walked back to the hotel after that – we tried a cab, but the one that pulled over told us it was a busy night and it would be $10 each (since it cost us $7 total the other way, we declined). We went straight to bed, as it was another early morning (although not as bad).

Today we got up and checked out, then caught a cab over to Penn Station. We had breakfast from Zaro’s Bakery (I think I don’t like NY bagels – too chewy for my taste, plus no one had English muffins for egg sandwiches, my usual preference). It was another easy train ride down to DC (I may never fly to NY again) and we were home by 2.

Illa was crazy, so we took him on a run/walk, then showered and changed. It was my Dad’s birthday and my sister may be out of town for 2-3 weeks, so we had to celebrate tonight. Illa was excited to see Tati, but I was not excited to see Mom’s charcoal grill – with the wind, it took nearly an hour to get it going properly. The steaks turned out ok, and it was a fun evening (except for Illa trying to get to Sharon’s cat).