Torch with a Twist

Mark and I went to Cliff Bell’s in Detroit Sunday to check out Torch with a Twist, an old style vaudeville variety show. And in the tradition of vaudeville, the acts range from wonderful to awful, but they always manage to maintain a level of bizarre. It’s a great chance to see strippers, belly dancers, snakes, dogs, cute girls with feathers on their butt, and an endless variety of odd things. Our hostess Grace graces us with song and keeps the night moving, even when everything wants to stop. If you are looking for polish and refinement, go someplace else. But if you favor a night of cheap entertainment and keep an open mind, you will find a good time. With luck, you will get to see Fleck love his glass balls into defying gravity. He is amazing, and this video doesn’t do his act justice. I do recommend the show, even with it’s many flaws, or maybe because of it’s many flaws. Check it out.

Another rubber stamp

Just a design I rather like. I think it will work well with other stamps.

Mark and I went out to the Ark in Ann Arbor to see Joe Henry last night. It was a great show, he’s a singer/songwriter in the Tom Waites tradition, though for some reason he seems to be better known for marrying Madonna’s sister. Go fig. It was a great show, preceded by a great dinner at Connor O’Neil’s, consisting of a boxty and an Edmund Fitzgerald Porter, makes for a very happy Leann.

Today the snow is melting. I went for a long walk and enjoyed the foggy damp weather, it gives me hope of an eventual spring.

Where I Stood…

Not standing, lying down. It’s been a busy weekend so far. I loaded the minivan Thursday night for the radio swap meet. Friday I shoveled the walkways of six and a half of the seven properties we own, then went back and did more shoveling at the ends of the driveways, until I was very crabby. (Any doubts on that, ask Mark) Then Mark and I went to the activities center where the swap meet was being held and unloaded everything. On to Royal Oak, where we met up with friends Joan and Andy for a really wonderful time seeing Bruce Honsby. Bruce had his work cut out for him, to get me in a good mood, and he managed quite well. It was a great time, with a great Thai dinner after. Up very early Saturday to go to the swap meet and sell radio parts, didn’t do nearly as well as hoped, but made some money. I also got to see my friend Jim’s new tattoo, it’s wonderful, and really makes me want to get one. Then of course I loaded all the stuff back into the van, we went home, and put all the stuff back into the basement. Mark took a nap, and then he took me out for a very nice dinner. I explained to him how he owed me a very nice dinner, and he agreed. We went to the Plymouth Crossing, in the one remaining Daisy Air Rifle building. Ah, mushroom ravioli, and a perfect G&T, that’s gin and tonic for those of you not in the know. Today we get Mark an MRI to find out what is squished in his back, and tonight a Superbowl party! Yeah, whoda thunk. But I love Ann and Shirley who are throwing it, and it’s rumored you don’t have to watch the game. I am kind of excited to see the ads, though.

Oh, and that wonderful cover my legs are under? Kari crocheted that for me. The same Kari that set up this blog for me. She’s cute, too.

Where I Stand Sunday is an ongoing photo essay examining the different places Lynn Krawczyk spends her life standing. Too often we take for granted the everyday places we spend our lives walking on. If you’d like to join her by posting a photo on Sunday of places you’ve been on your blog/photo hosting site/website, leave a comment on her Sunday posts telling her where she can find you/your photo and she’ll add a link to her sidebar so others can find you. I am one of those that Lynn has badgered into joining her, I have changed it to “where I stood”, because right now I’m sitting in front of the computer, not standing anywhere.

Happy New Year!

Well, I had a great time last night. First, we went to Slow’s bar-b-que in Detroit, where I had the Hoppin’ Jack, and Mark had the half chicken and half ribs. As wonderful as the food was, and it was, the beer was even better. I had a Dark Horse Black Bier that was quite complex and amazing. It was bitter and malty sweet at the same time. They have wonderful food (check out their mac and cheese), and a terrific beer list. The bar-b-que makes Mark happy and the beer makes me happy, that makes for two happy people. Then we went on to the Lager House, a bar by Tiger Stadium that a friend of ours just acquired. We rung in the New Year with the Howling Diablos. They tore the joint up! Funky, funky way to bring in 2008!

Unfortunately, 2008 is not starting out very well at all. Usually when tenant stuff goes wrong, it’s on a holiday. I feel so bad for them when something happens like the heat goes out, we try to get everything working as soon as possible. But I really hate it when it happens at our house. The sewers backed up last night as I was trying to get some laundry done, I can’t use the water, and I don’t know when someone can come out and fix it. I have a washer full of wet laundry right now. And, of course, other issues. And then the snow. We wake up to about eight inches of it. And my throat is sore. And my wrist hurt, even before I started shoveling. Not at all the way I wanted to start the new year. I was hoping for a nice walk along Eddy Hines Parkway, not a lot of lifting of heavy, sticky white stuff that won’t come off my shovel when I try to fling it off. But alas, this is how it started, we will all cope, and when the sewer gets snaked out I will promise the waste gods that I will never take sewers for granted again, and I will of course take sewers for granted again within the next few days.

On a happier note, I will leave you with pictures of the voodoo alter I make in the bathroom for the party every year. You will have to be content with those, I was having way too much fun at my party to remember to take pictures.

The Trinity House

Last night Mark and I went to the Trinity House to see Whit Hill and John Latini. They have a Christmas cd out called D-e-a-r S-a-n-t-a, and they performed the entire cd along with a lot of other stuff, it was a great night. Al Hill was along for the ride, as was Jim Latini and John Sperendi, and they put on an excellent show. Unfortunately we learned that Al and Whit Hill are trying to move to Nashville. We are happy for them, they belong there, but that means the local area is going to be missing two treasures. If you’ve never seen Whit Hill and the Postcards, or Al Hill (solo or with the Love Butlers), you need to see them soon, before they’re gone. Al’s been pretty hard to catch, he spends a lot of time on the road being the musical director and keyboardist for Bettye LaVette. John and Whit wrote all the songs on the cd, and they are amazing lyricists. It was a great night of music, it helped get me in the Christmas mood. Go out and see some live music. It doesn’t have to be a big concert, get to a local bar or coffee shop and check out what’s going on. The Trinity House is a great place to see music, its very intimate, and you can get two cups of tea and two cookies for $3. Lotsa fun!

Welcome Back, DIA!

So far it’s been a great weekend. Friday night Mark and I went to the Trinity House and saw Peter Case. Peter was in a very bluesy mood, and the Trinity House is a wonderful, small venue in an old church, complete with a graveyard. I love seeing music there, and Peter Case was great.

Last night our friend Greg dragged us out to Robustos on the east side to see his friend Pricilla Price sing the blues. She was backed by the Delta Five. The woman’s got pipes, and she really showed them off . Her second set was amazing, I loved her cover of “Fever”. Pricilla is getting married soon, after dating the same man for 21 years, and she was happy as can be. She told us she’s going to sing “At Last” at her wedding, how do I get an invitation? Whenever Greg gives you a music recommendation, take it, he is never worng!

The highlight of the weekend was something I’ve been waiting for for a long time. The Detroit Art Institute is finally reopening, and I went to the members preview with Julia, Jane, Don and mom yesterday. WOW! Seeing a lot of the artwork is like reconnecting with old friends. The place is huge, fresh, and beautiful! I took some pictures, and bought some postcards, I’ll share a few with you today and more tomorrow.

The great hall, full of sparkle!


Rodin’s the Thinker is back where he belongs.

A fuzzy Jane and Leann in front of a fuzzy Rothko, probably my favorite piece in the Institute.

Probably Jane’s favorite piece, “Composition for Clarinets and Tin Horn” by Ben Shahn. This is tempera, so it isn’t on display very often, it was wonderful to see it again.

Of course, we get to visit the Diego Rivera frescoes again.

Ghost Parade

Thanksgiving is coming up, and I should be thinking about what to bring for dinner, and how to keep everyone happy, but instead I’m thinking about the day before Thanksgiving, the day of the Ghost Parade. My sister named it the Ghost Parade years ago when she and her husband happened upon all the floats for the Thanksgiving Day Parade lined up on Woodward the night before. If possible, Mark and I try to get downtown to look at them, up close and personal. Last year we met Greg Baise downtown, and saw the Detroit Cobras at the Magic Stick. The Cobras, as always, were fabulous, and Greg got some great pictures. You can always count on Greg for photographs.

Rachel and Mary of the Cobras

One of the floats, no, I don’t understand why the cloud is looking up the lady’s dress.

Mark and me, just hanging out.

I see the Cobras are at the Magic Stick on the 21st, I may have to make this an annual event!

Godfathers of Groove

Friday night Mark and I met our friend Greg Baise at the Music Hall Cafe to see the Godfathers of Groove. What a night! Grant Green Jr., jazz guitarist, follows in his father’s funky footsteps. Listen to Reuben Wilson on his Hammond B organ and you know why he’s called the godfather of acid-jazz. But the highlight for us was Bernard “Pretty” Purdie on drums. This man has played on over 3000 albums to date, working with the likes of Aretha, Paul Butterfield, Miles Davis, Cat Stevens, Isaac Hayes, Al Kooper, Steely Dan, B. B. Ding, and Hank Crawford, just to name a few. And yes, Greg found out what he wanted to know, Pretty Purdie is the man they called in to “fix” quite a few Beatles tracks! Greg managed to snag this shot at the show!

Roctoberfest

My husband Mark used to play drums for a band called Nightshift about 30 years ago. In the past couple of years the band has reconnected. Last year in October they got together with two other bands from the era, the three bands shared some personnel, and they had a big party/jam session at one of the guy’s house. This year they decided to do it up big and have it at Karl’s Cabin on Gotfredson road in Plymouth. It turned into a huge party, and I think possibly everyone who went to high school in Livonia in the early to mid 70’s was there.

It took tons of organizing on the part of the bands and their friends, but they pulled it off! The place was packed, an absolute zoo, and Karl’s set a personal best for most dinners served in one night. The day started with a phone call letting Mark know that the sound guy bailed. Mark, a former sound guy himself, got on the phone and called everyone he knew or ever heard of, and managed to find a guy who didn’t have a gig Saturday night. Mark went over to Karl’s in the afternoon, said he was coming home to get me, but never made it. Instead, he called needing a certain plug, oh, and no one printed the flyers, could I go back and make those, but it did all come together.

The music of the 70’s isn’t always my favorite, but they did do a lovely version of the Beatles’ “I saw her standing there”, which made me very happy. I was also delighted that so many of our friends showed up. My good buddy Greg Baise was there with his camera, and got some shots. Here are a couple. That’s my sweetie on the drums, I think when all was said and done he was pretty happy up there on the stage!