Whatever Happened to Bands Getting Better

They never fail in the album art category.

I recently listened to The Dwarves new album and I'll preface this with that fact that, yes I know I'm not a music critic. But I am a fan and what else really matters to a band with with their kind of status. But really? What is this crap? I'm going to see The Dwarves tonight and thought I'd take a peak at their new album. As soon as I heard Blag wining about how life used to be so much simpler and now he's "a working class ass hole" now, I immediately pushed pause with a scowl on my face. I frantically searched for Blood Guts and Pussy to audibly redeem myself. Now, I get that The Dwarves and most punk genre bands aren't musical genius' but does that mean they all have to turn into crap slinging assholes? Or another side to the story, maybe I'm the asshole. Maybe I've "grown up" too much and just can't appreciate horrible music like I used to in my psychotic teens. Either way, I'm going to enjoy the show a little less tonight for having listened to that album but I'm sure it's nothing a few (many) glasses of tequila and punk rock show antics can't remedy. XO

NoCal > SoCal

I hate L.A. I figured this out a couple years ago when I visited with Caitlin. It's suburban sprawl and in order to get around you have to either a) have a personal driver or b) be some sort of oil sultan in order to afford cab rides, which at that point you probably have a driver anyways. Everyone I told about my distaste for SoCal promised me that I'd love NoCal. They were dead on.

I spent 4 days in San Francisco and I enjoyed myself so much that I actually changed my flight in order to stay another day. Looking back on the trip I really didn't see as much of San Fran as I saw of the other cities so I really think it was the company. Michelle and her snuggler extraordinaire of a dog, Dori, kept me entertained even while sitting around the house.

While in San Fran I also realized how great it has been seeing all of my really close friends. Everyone I have stayed with so far I've known and been close with for over 10 years. I started to compare these friendships with the ones I've made since graduating high school and becoming an adult and in a lot of ways they are so different. When you've been friends with someone for 10+ years you've seen a lot of each other, the good the bad and oh so fucking ugly and down right shameful. Which makes the friendship at this point seem effortless. Michelle and I at one point sat in her living room for 6 hours with out saying much of anything. Both busy in our heads with life and work but still able to just enjoy each others company. No pressure of having to strike up an interesting conversation, no pressure to entertain each other or impress each other. This is how its been with every stop I've made but in San Fran it was the predominant feeling. At any rate, it was just a refreshing feeling. Not better or worse than the relationships I've made in the recent past, just refreshingly different. Now that I've bored you with  my babble, feast your eyes.

Chinatown was beautiful

Funeral procession. I thought they only did this in New Orleans.

The procession stopped in a seemingly random spot in Chinatown. They took out the photo, gathered around, the band played a song, bowed and threw confetti (below). It was really a humbling thing to watch.

Pretty Bird

So this is the BEST (and only) Pho I've every had. It was in Koreatown and according to Michelle's Pho expert friends, this is the best in the land.

It's funny how in every city I've been to there have always been pigeons. It should be our national bird.

This was a truly inspiring view. I couldn't believe this was in front of me when only 3 weeks earlier I walked across the other iconic American bridge, the Brooklyn Bridge.

We went to the Mission for some Mexican cuisine. The Mission is the San Fran equivalent of Pilsen. Right down to the dirty hipster invasion.

BART Station. At this point we had spent the past 6 hours drinking in the Mission. Notice Michelle frolicking in the bottom of the photo.




I finally made it the West! My lovely hosts Judah and Amanda did their absolute best to keep me entertained and they definitely out did themselves with this experience. The Sundance Steak House and Saloon was the venue for a good old fashioned American evening.

First, we enjoyed the sunset while watching a bull riding competition. It was so surreal. This was pure western American culture right down to the propaganda laced speech made before the singing of the national anthem while a 5 year old held an American flag that was 3 times the size of him. I had to do everything in my power to not laugh, I'm afraid if I had I would have been kicked out or shot. The best quotes I can remember go as follows "I was watchin' the news the other day and I just have to say, we got that son'a bitch!" (crowd begins to wooo! and clap) and "This is the most god damn beautiful flag the world!" "America is the best damn country in the world!" After the men rode the bulls, they had the kids ride sheep, bare back! And for that, I have to agree with the aforementioned quote. 

 After we muddied our boots and got good n drunk we headed in doors and boot scooted and 2 stepped to our hearts desire. It really was one of the most amazing experiences. Cowboy hats, Levi's and shit kickers as far as the eye could see. It was a place stuck in a romantic and simple time. Not a lake I could wade in for a prolonged period of time but it was nice to soak my feet for a minute.


I'm Going to (I've already left) Kansas City

Ok, right off the bat I need to say THANK GOD for Kansas City and my good friends and hosts Meghan and Jack Manly. This city proved to be the perfect recovering grounds from the ravaging’s of Memphis. I went to bed every night at a reasonable hour and sober none the less. Which, apparently provides a more restorative sleep session, who would’ve thought?!

Right around 12 p.m. Meghan would arrive home early from work and we would begin our calm but still interesting adventure through Kansas City’s museum and culinary offerings. Monday, seeing as all the damn museums were closed, we decided to spend the day at the botanical gardens. The best part of this was taking my first photo with an infrared lens. I didn’t say it was a good photo, but it’s the first so you must love it anyways. Otherwise it was just a nice day, catching up with Meghan, recalling stories of our infant-hood spent together. Later that evening we decided to eat at a place called Grinder’s. Apparently they’ve been featured on Diner’s, Drive-In’s and Dive’s and seeing as Honky Tonk is a fellow DDD member I figured Guy Ferreri (i hate you i hate you i hate you) might know what he’s talking about food wise. It was pretty outrageous. See photo below to find out what "bomb it" means in reference to pizza.

Bomb consisting of tater tots, chili and cheese. 'Merica!
Later that evening, feeling like I was going to vom until at least 1 in the morning from the amount of food I had consumed, Jack introduced me to Ninja Warrior. Fucking amazing show. I haven’t had proper television in about a year and half so I was glassy eyed and drooling in no time.

Eaglefest USA by Brad Kahlhamer

  Tuesday, Meghan and I went to the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art that wasn’t all that big but still pretty entertaining. It was so small that by the time be finished we had time to drive all the way downtown KC to go to the American Jazz Museum. Yes! 18th and Vine, the heart of Jazz. Kansas City was known for hosting most, if not all, of the most influential and talented traveling Jazz musicians in the biz. The place was a little over done and they hardly had any real memorabilia, but the music itself and the stories behind the music were enough to keep me entertained. The two works pictured were some of my favorite pieces at the contemporary art museum.

Chroma Zoma Bubble Chamber by Amy Myers

BB's Lanwside BBQ
The most anticipated and the biggest disappointment (those two don’t uncommonly end up together) of the trip was our visit to BB’s Lawnside BBQ. Sarah from Sarah and the Tall Boy’s recommended this place having played there many times on their tours through the Mid-West. If I was listening to live music and getting shmammered all night, this would be the Kansas City equivalent of Honky Tonk and I’d have a shit eating grin on my face the whole time. If I was passing through KC to eat some delicious BBQ, I’d be let down by almost everything except for their Maker’s Mark price and their bread pudding. Service was great, food was mediocre and their sauce tasted like they dropped a can of tomato paste in a bottle of apple juice. GAG.
Deso bread pudding.
Mason jar filled with beans, pork and slaw.

       Wednesday was filled with a trip to the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art where we saw classic works. I saw one of seven Caravaggio paintings in the United States, St John the Baptist in the Wilderness painted 1604-1605 (pictured right). More importantly, I think I discovered how much I love Baroque works of art. The dramatic plays of light really hypnotize me and though I’m not a religious person in the least I find the religious scenes leave me a little moist, in the eye ball area. We also saw a really great Ray K. Metzker exhibit that left me in awe and wondering “Why the fuck didn’t I think of that?!?”. Last, but not least we saw Monet’s Water Lillies. A gorgeous tryptic painting that was cool and serene. I’m not an art critic so I’ll leave it at this; I saw a lot of really fucking great art in the past few days that I feel will inspire me for a while.

Placed in a tomb to serve as workers for the entombed in the after life.

 The women painted at right was one of my favorites from the Egyptian exhibit. It was painted some time between 130-161 C.E. and it's encaustic on a wood panel with guilt stucco. The encaustic technique uses organic colors mixed with hot beeswax to make the paint. There was a quote along with this painting used to as a metaphor, comparing the untouchable by time encuastic technique to love: "A beautiful woman leaves in the heart of an indifferent man an image as fleeting as a painting on water. In the heart of a lover, this image is fixed with fire like an enaustic painting, which time can never erase."

You'll have to excuse the slopped together- ness of this whole post. I'm still trying to figure out how to make text and photos look pretty together. Though, I do enjoy the fact that John The Baptiste is sitting below a mason jaw that is everything that represents America and how fucking god damn amazing we are. SHIT YEAH! :)


Food Porn 2011

I can't really go in to detail about the events that have transpired over the past 5 days. Mostly because my brain is still being clouded by WAY too much meat and tequila. I joined the world championship pork shoulder team the Ques Brothers at Memphis in May this year and to say it was a party would be a gross understatement. I don't remember the last time I enjoyed myself this much. Booze, BBQ, and good people all convened outside, in beautiful 75 degree weather. Bliss, is all you really need to know. So maybe it wasn't held at the scenic Mississippi River front (due to EPIC flooding also pictured below), but the fairgrounds made for a very organized venue. The Ques Brothers didn't end up placing this year, but they had a damn good time trying. Willy Wagner, from Honky Tonk BBQ put together some of the most heavenly pork shoulder I've ever had in my life. I can't imagine what the top 3 must have tasted like if the Ques didn't place. At any rate, these photos can do the rest of the talking. Meat Meat Meat.
Best cousins for LIFE!

Rub that chicken.


Hot links. These were the JAM.

E'erbody in da club gettin tipsy. Thanks Larry!

These chickens were RIDICULOUS. Perfect food for a bunch of drunk people.

Food porn

This is Riverside Dr. where Memphis in May is normally held every year.

Riverside Dr. and Beale St. super flooded

Chuck, Ques Brothers team captain, with Miss Piggy

Brisket. Drroooolll

Dave. This man is my hero. HI-larious. All the time.

Lauren from Clandestino Chicago Supper Club joined the crew to help cook (and party)

Liitle Willie crying after Lauren yelled at him

Little Willie and Big Willie. Big Willie being the creative genius behind the pork shoulder.

Well, that didn't last long.

The bar.

LOL. This was on the back of a street cleaning truck. I think it might have been a while since they had used it...

All the little porkies in a row for the competition in the morning.

Injecting that baby with more savory pork juices. Efrain, the head of Clandestino Chicago Supper Club also joined in to help create a pork piece of art.

As well as having 3 judges stop by the booth, they had to send in a blind box to judged as well.

Blind box

You heard the man...

These fine young men got their snuggle on in the hammock after a night of good clean fun.

Presenting to a judge