Amoeblog

Cruise to Mexico: Part 3

Posted by Job O Brother, October 25, 2010 04:31pm | Post a Comment



Day 2

Monday. September 13, 2010

AT SEA


The boyfriend and I woke-up to the sounds of two billy-goats fighting to the death using spoons, blankets and old cassette tapes as weapons. At least, that’s what it sounded like; in actuality it was room service delivering our breakfasts.

I use the term “breakfast” lightly, as what our silver-domed trays revealed was something more akin to after-birth than food. What must have been powdered eggs had a texture that reminded me of the phlegm I used to cough up back when I smoked clove cigarettes. And the bacon? It was like really juicy, succulent, pan-fried Dr. Scholl’s inserts.


Chop and fry and add to omelette!

The boyfriend, too sleepy to deal quickly with the delivery, neglected to tip and felt guilty as a result.

“I’ve got a tip for them,” I growled, “Don’t bring me this garbage to eat!” We determined then and there to forgo the “luxury” of room service and take our morning meal at the buffet, where we could be discerning, from then on.

Our first excursion of the day was to the upper deck for hot-tubbing. There were options: there was one side of the ship with swimming pools and hot tubs for people who wanted a “party feeling” – this is what you always see on TV commercials for cruises; the fantasy: a bunch of twenty-somethings jumping around in their bikinis (showcasing trim abdominal regions), laughing and splashing as teeth-bleached service personnel graciously hand them exotic beverages.

Continue reading...

out this week 9/14 & 9/21...blonde redhead...the drums...brandon flowers...

Posted by Brad Schelden, September 30, 2010 01:41pm | Post a Comment
I really do live for weeks like this. 9/14 is a big release day! Tons of great new albums out to end your summer with! At the top of the list is a brilliant new album by Blonde Redhead. Some have been saying this album is too slow or mellow, but it is Blonde Redhead! The album will not get you out of a coma or suddenly make you have an optimistic outlook on life, but it is amazing! I have loved this band for a long time and over the years I have fallen in love with them over and over again. Each time a new album comes out and each time I see them perform live it is like falling in love for the first time. My favorite album is still probably Melody of Certain Damaged Lemons from 2000, their 5th album. Their new album is called Penny Sparkle and it's their 8th album. The new album is of course out on vinyl, and the CD comes out in two formats. There is a regular jewel case version and a Deluxe cardboard box version. No extra tracks, but the packaging is cute and fancy. Inside the hard-to-open box is a drawstring cloth bag and inside the cloth bag is the CD. It also has a fancy fold out booklet that is not included with the regular CD. The Grinderman, Junip, Brandon Flowers, James, & Weezer albums also all have deluxe versions out 9/14.

Anyway, Blonde Redhead is not one of those bands meant for everybody. They have not really changed very much over their 8 albums. If you have ever loved them before then you will probably still love them now. I feel like their fans are a loyal bunch -- at least I am! This new album is dark and dreamy, weird and ethereal. It will most certainly break your heart, just like you would expect from them. I have liked all of their albums but I really have not gotten obsessed with an album this much since Melody of Certain Damaged Lemons. Blonde Redhead is Kazu Makino and twin brothers Simon and Amedeo Pace. The band first started in 1993 in New York and 17 years later I really can't get enough of them. There is just something about them that gets under your skin and they stay with you for life. I still remember exactly where I was and how I felt back when I was listening to Melody in 2000 and In An Expression of the Inexpressible in 1998. Those albums and those feelings will stay with me forever. If you are not already a fan of their music it is not too late! It would be like a treasure hunt for you, going back and discovering all their older brilliant albums.

Watch the video for "Not Getting There" by Blonde Redhead from the new album Penny Sparkle...





Buy
the new album Penny Sparkle by Blonde Redhead







The Drums'
debut album came out a couple of months ago in June as an import. It absolutely became one of my favorite albums of the year! The band is from Brooklyn so it seemed silly that it would come out in the UK before it came out over here but sometimes England is just more ready to embrace a band like this before we are. The album is one of those perfect pop albums, and it has finally come out domestic this month, just in time for the final hot weeks of the year! They also released an excellent EP at the end of last year. It was a perfect introduction to the band. "Down by the Water" and "Let's Go Surfing" appear on both the EP and this full length album. The band reminds me a lot of The Smiths; they are sort of a more electronic modern version of The Smiths. The Drums used to be a foursome of young dudes but now seems to have lost one of its members. Like The Smiths, they combine the dark sounds of new wave with a more pop sound --  a mix of new wave and twee, Belle & Sebastian meets Joy Division. The album has its share of hand claps too, which I love. They are the perfect band for me and it was no surprise that I quickly became a big fan. I sort of knew that I was going to love this band before I even heard them. They could easily be mistaken for any of the more current bands coming out of Sweden. Their sound is similar to Swedish bands like The Mary Onettes, Jen Lekman, Pelle Carlberg, The Legends, & The Shout Out Louds. The songs on this album just make me happy. One of my favorite tracks is actually "I Felt Stupid," but you can only find that song on the EP. However, there are a ton of good songs on this new album, too. LIke any of the records by The Smiths, there is not a bad song on the whole album. You will not be needing to skip ahead to the next song. I have not had a chance to see this band live yet but they are doing an instore at Amoeba in Hollywood on TONIGHT at 6pm! Check them out for sure!






Buy
the new album The Drums by The Drums







One of my other favorites out this month is the debut solo album from Brandon Flowers of The Killers. Some might consider The Killers a sort of guilty pleasure but I am not ashamed of my love of The Killers. Their first album, Hot Fuss, came out in 2004 and I was hooked. They were sort of a Las Vegas rock band version of Duran Duran. I loved it. I sort of do feel like a teenager when I get out my Killers albums, but I am OK with that! They have released 3 solos albums and a compilation of outakes and b-sides. Day & Age was their third album and it came out during my first year back in Los Angeles (2008). It is not easy for a band like this to keep making hits and big fun albums one after the next but I was super impressed with Day & Age. It was super fun and had tons of great songs on it; it makes me happy to think back on that time in my life. It also makes me really happy whenever a band like this can maintain and continue to put out albums that make their fans happy. Maybe it was not such a bad idea for the group to take a break and let Brandon Flowers explore some other stuff and put out a solo album. A new Killers album will probably be out in 2012.

Brandon Flowers is the voice behind The Killers so it is no surprise that his new solo album, Flamingo, is not a huge depature from the sound of The Killers. Maybe it's a bit more country, at least on some of the songs. If somebody could go and make country new wave work, it would be Brandon Flowers. Flamingo is just as good as any Killers album and it's actually super Vegas-y (his hometown) -- way more Vegas-esque than any of the Killers albums. At least, the theme of the album and the subject of the songs is more Vegas -- it is called Flamingo, after all! I am leaving for Vegas soon for the big Matador party so this album is helping to get me ready! The album still has electronics and it still has the pop and drama of a Killers album. If you never liked the Killers then you probably will not be falling in love with this album but as a fan of The Killers and the voice of Brandon Flowers, I am also a big fan of this album. It is catchy for sure, and being catchy should not be a crime! Another great album to end my summer with. There are two more fantastic records right around the corner as well -- the amazing new Abe Vigoda is out on 10/5 and the new Belle & Sebastian album is out on 10/12! Keep them coming... 





Buy
the new album Flamingo by Brandon Flowers







also out 9/14...





Phosphene Dream by The Black Angels












WIlderness Heart by Black Mountain












Who We Touch by The Charlatans UK












Skit I Allt by Dungen











Grinderman 2 by Grinderman












The Morning After the Night Before by James












Fields by Junip










Root for Ruin by Les Savy Fav












What It Means To Be Left-Handed by Mice Parade












Never Let Me Go Soundtrack












You Are Not Alone by Mavis Staples












Majesty Shredding by Superchunk












Sex With an Ex by The Vaselines












Lisbon by The Walkmen










Hurley by Weezer







also out 9/21...






Maximum Balloon by Maximum Balloon












A Good Understanding by Nico Muhly












I Drink the Air Before Me by Nico Muhly












Trip by Laetitia Sadier











Life of Leisure by Washed Out (finally out on cd!!!)

Les Folies Bergere

Posted by Whitmore, January 18, 2009 06:57pm | Post a Comment

The Rat Pack Vegas of yesteryear is quickly fading into lore.

It was announced from Las Vegas this week that the legendary topless revue, “Les Folies Bergere” will be closing after a 49 year run at the Tropicana Resort & Casino. The final curtain call will take place on March 28th, leaving Bally's “Jubilee!” as the only and last full-scale showgirl revue left on the Las Vegas Strip.

The "Folies" originally came from Paris where it has run in one version or another since the 1870’s. The Vegas edition opened on December 24, 1959 under then Tropicana entertainment director Lou Walters, the father of newswoman / talk show host Barbara Walters.

Tropicana President Ron Thacker, in a statement released last Thursday, didn’t explain the decision but it is thought that such old school showgirl productions have fallen out of favor with audiences seeking more Cirque du Soleil kind of razzle-dazzle. The closure is part of a strategy by new management to bring in fresh entertainment as its parent company tries to emerge from bankruptcy. The statement also ended speculation that “Folies” might move to another Las Vegas casino or hotel. 

As Sinatra use to say, “It's Endsville man.”


(In which we see the end of our Las Vegas trip.)

Posted by Job O Brother, March 18, 2008 11:59am | Post a Comment

This is how we.......... yaaawn.... sssstretch.... roll.

It was our final day in Las Vegas, and Corey and I were determined to sleep through as much of it as possible. Corey is more gifted in late mornings than I, so he was impressed and pleased when my peepers didn’t pop until after eleven o’clock, ante meridiem.

We ordered room service. I had the same, slimy oatmeal mentioned previously in my blog, but this time I had it in the luxury of our suite, so okay! Everything tastes better when you have live footage of a shark tank playing on wide-screen TV.


"I'm only working The Strip to put myself through college."

Our only real schedule obligation was to vacate the room long enough for the maids to magically transform it to its virginal state. While we wandered into the lobby, wondering where we’d walk, we fortunately stumbled into a serious conversation about some dynamics in our relationship. So we sat down at a patio table outside and proceeded to communicate, sincerely.

Not only did this help illuminate certain things for each other, but it totally kept us occupied long enough for housekeeping to complete, so, once we were satisfied we understood each other, we returned to the room to continue doing as little as possible. It was a success.

That night was The Advocate’s party at Ivan Kane's Forty Deuce, Mandalay Bay’s burlesque club, which, every Monday night (as it was) hosts “Stormy Mondays” – a male burlesque show.

As Corey was one of the hosts, we were on hand ahead of time to panic and prepare, which we did, more or less in that order. I observed the go-go boys practice their routines - so bored looking, so distracted without the throngs of gay dudes and fag-hags clamoring to pad their g-strings with greenbacks. It was a very heterosexual moment for me. I started drinking scotch.

It didn’t take long for the club to fill – many of Las Vegas’ GLBT VIP had RSVP. I took refuge on the uppermost pier of the VIP lounge and made it a point to lose track of how many cocktails I’d had.


Job takes a sip of Las Vegas celebrity, Hot Chocolate.

By midnight, and with the party in full swing, Corey was contented that his work was done, and we old codgers slinked away.

One of the stories I had told Corey earlier in the day was how, as a child on my first trip to Vegas, I had seen the giant slot machines and determined that, when I was finally old enough, I would play one.

Tipsy as I was after the party, it occurred to me that, while I loathe gambling (for myself only, not in general) I should indulge that boy-child me of yesteryear and drop $20 on the giant slot machine.

We found one such behemoth and I – flying  in the face of my normal relationship with money – inserted an Andrew Johnson reserve note. I was at peace with losing it - after all, this was for my inner child - so it was especially surprising when, on my first pull, I won $30.

That was it. I was done. Far from being seduced by the possibility of even greater gains, I gleefully turned my tokens in, and Corey and I walked arm-in-arm up to our room.


The high-roller shows-off his winnings. Note the giant machine behind him.

Once inside the room, my iPod began crooning one of my favorite songs of all time: Betty Carter singing “Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye”. Half-dressed, Corey and I slow-danced and realized that “this was our song”.

To appreciate this moment, you have to understand that, after over a year of being together, we had yet to discover “our song”. It was a moment so perfect, so romantic, you would have totally barfed.

The next morning, we checked out, drove back home, and I went straight to Amoeba Music for a closing shift, the bulk of which I cannot recall.

(I couldn't find footage of Betty Carter singing the above-mentioned song, so below I've included another performance of hers. Check her out, but only if you're into music that is so fantastic.)

(In which foul language is used.)

Posted by Job O Brother, March 12, 2008 10:02pm | Post a Comment

The author being bullied into gambling. Note the excitement in his face. Note the sarcasm in the previous sentence.

Day two of Las Vegas saw Corey and I doing one of our favorite things: nothing.

After a breakfast of oatmeal so slimy you’d think it was an accessory for your Castle Greyskull play-set…





…we returned to the artificial beach that had been so typhoony the day before. This time it was sunny, sparkling, and crowded. Tacky house music blasted from every nook and cranny, making each action seem like a dull outtake from a beer commercial. We took refuge near a waterfall, which helped to drown out the incessant oomph – oomph – oomph

One feature I totally had a crush on was this thing they called the Lazy River, which was a stretch of pool that ran in a winding loop, with a strong current that was propelled by machines (or black magic – I didn’t actually ask). You get in this thing and you’re gently swept along with little physical effort. I decided then and there, if I’m ever a billionaire, I would buy myself a Lazy River. Then, dear reader, you and I could dive and splash and play all day, and no one could tell us to stop, because we’d just ride the current far away – safe from harm, from the voices, from the voices in our heads that tell us to kill.

Amidst all this carefree luxury, there grew in me a fear, tightening its grip, as hours past and evening drew near. You see, we had tickets to…


Cirque du Soleil.


Now, I had never seen a Cirque show, but I’d never let that stand in my way of judging them harshly. You have to keep a closed mind about things, right?

My fear was tied into my anxiety of all things “clowny”. This is not only about clowns, just behavior that I deem clowny. I don’t like circuses, carnivals, and other, similar events. I love Disneyland, but will go to great lengths to avoid the people dressed as Disney characters. The panhandlers on Hollywood Boulevard make my palms sweat and, confession time, when Amoeba Music celebrates Mardi Gras with a traditional parade, I time my fifteen minute break to allow for me to hide.

It’s nothing against these things. They bring joy and I totally think joy is rad, I just… feel incredibly… notwannabetherey when they happen.

So, when we neared the theatre and I saw ushers dressed in costumes and greeting audience members in character, I froze, and for a second I considered whether or not rushing out into the Nevada desert was an option. My behavior was moderately annoying Corey, so I put my courage to the sticking place and slipped in, careful not to make eye contact with theatre employees.

The show itself turned out to be good fun. There was one scene that genuinely excited me, because it showcased shadow-puppets.


Show-puppetry fucking rocks. It fucking rocks hard. Normally I don’t spell out cuss words in my blog, because I don’t want to offend spiritually bankrupt people, but in this case I have to make an exception and just let it out: SHADOW PUPPETS ARE FUCKING CHERRY.

After the show, Corey and I went backstage to meet Janine DeLorenzo, one of the (heh heh) instrumental people involved in Ka’s live orchestra. She was recently profiled, along with many other GLBT movers and shakers of Las Vegas, in the new issue of The Advocate.

Janine gave us a generous backstage tour. It was mind-boggling to see everything that goes into one of the productions – in some ways, behind the scenes was more astonishing than the show itself. (Though not the shadow-puppet part – that shit rocked harder than anything!)

Corey and I returned to our hotel room and snuggled up to some Mystery Science Theatre 3000, which has become our traditional, romantic, nightcap. Coincidentally, we both fell asleep for the whole night!





I dreamt that I was in a bar that was beautifully decorated with half-walls of colored, glass bottles. Kurt Cobain approached me. We exchanged pleasantries, then he asked me about his suicide and how it affected me. I was honest, and told him it made me very angry, that I hated him afterwards for doing it, though that hate eventually cooled. He listened to everything I said, looking compassionate.

I think the dream meant I need to eat more ice cream.
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