Thursday, May 27, 2004

Thought I'd post another notice/warning/whathaveyou that I will be taking my act to the Paper Heart Gallery at Grand and Polk tomorrow night, Friday, May 28. Appearing with me will be the very talented and exceedingly pretty Unity in Motion dance troupe, who, I discovered at rehearsal the other night, are also AMAZINGLY good sports.

See, I always try to work them into the shows we do together; not just their dancing, which is great and they will do a lot of that tomorrow night, but they also are willing to try comedy stuff and even sing if necessary.

Don't miss the show. It starts about 8.

Also, tonight is Thursday, which means it's open stage night at Fiddlers' Dream and as usual I'll be hosting it. We're at 17th St. and Glendale; you should come on out!


Monday, May 24, 2004

Thanks to the enquiring mind of an old friend of mine, I actually figured out how to make it possible for people reading these screeds to comment on them.

Do I win a cookie?


Friday, May 21, 2004

You don't have to know me much longer than about five minutes before you figure out that I'm a pretty big Frank Zappa fan.

Frank Zappa composed music of virtually every type in his 53 years on this planet. By the time he achieved room temperature on 12/4/93 from prostate cancer, he'd officially released more than 60 albums. The content on these albums ranges (sometimes from song-to-song) from straight-out-rock to protest songs to sophomoric sex ditties, to songs about being on the road, to full symphonic works that even now get recorded by more adventurous ensembles.

Zappa literally started the careers of Lowell George (Little Feat), Adrian Belew and Steve Vai by hiring them, and advanced the world's knowledge of then-little-known but established jazz players like George Duke, Shuggie Otis and most prominently, Jean-Luc Ponty.

I'm sitting here typing and listening to my all-time-favorite Zappa album of all time (it's not necessarily the best, it's just my favorite): Burnt Weeny Sandwich.

Released around late '69 or early '70, BWS is truly and audio sandwich: several instrumental pieces "sandwiched" by remakes of two old doo-wop songs. Zappa loved Doo Wop, and the original Mothers all certainly grew up listening and playing that stuff.

I find it hard to explain Burnt Weenie Sandwich. It's JUST SO FUCKING GOOD. The musicianship on the extended pieces, "Holiday in Berlin" and the thrill-a-minute (for more than 18 minutes) "Little House I Used To Live In" are those kinds of moments that musicians live for. The whole band is in sync with each other and you find yourself just rocking back and forth in your chair.

What's even more interesting is that Zappa created a lot of this album by piecing together things recorded at different times that just felt right.
"Little House" is a perfect example: Ian Underwood's delightful-yet-complex piano solo introduces a studio recording of the song's main theme; after the Mothers play around with it for awhile, a violin solo by guest Don "Sugar Cane" Harris, recorded at another time during a jam with the mothers, combines with a killer keyboard solo from Don Preston. This monster jam finally segues into the "second" melody line of the song, and then BOOM! we're suddenly in concert with the Mothers as Zappa(!) plays an organ solo. The band receives thunderous applause, Zappa tries to soothe a pissed-off anarchist in the audience, and the cut ends.

What more could you want?

If you're not familiar with Frank Zappa at all, and you think you might want to give him a try, try one of these first:

Hot Rats
(Includes "Peaches en Regalia," a song you've probably heard a bunch of times but had no idea what it was called)
Burnt Weenie Sandwich
(includes his near-hit "Don't Eat the Yellow Snow")
One Size Fits All
(this is in my opinion his best, most-solid effort with the best band he ever put together; after BWS it's my favorite Zappa album)
The Grand Wazoo
(if you really like jazz, this one'll just kill ya)
We're Only In It for the Money
(Zappa's anti-establishment, anti-hippie, anti-everybody masterpiece from 1967)

If you're more symphonically inclined:

Lumpy Gravy
The Yellow Shark
Civilization Phase 3

If you like dirty words and sophomoric sex talk and goofy, mindless comedy:

Fillmore East, 1971
Just Another Band From LA
200 Motels (lots of orchestral stuff here, too)

Or for a little bit of everything Frank had to offer, pick up the three-disc "Lather," which compiles all kinds of stuff recorded between '72 and '77.

There. I've spooed my Frank spoo. I shan't bore you with it again.

Next Friday night, May 28, I will be playing my first gig in the ALL NEW location for the Paper Heart Gallery, which has moved into cool new digs on the corner of Grand and Polk.

The place used to be a used car lot, so is it even necessary to say that there's plenty of parking?

The show will also feature the undulating and undeniably much-better-looking-than-me Unity in Motion Belly Dance Troupe, or at least those members who aren't going away for the weekend.

Admission is $5; the show starts at 8.

If you've ever wondered how Tom Tuerff fills three hours or so, here's your chance to find out.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Randy Johnson pitched a perfect game the other night. For those of you who don't know what that means, quite simply, he faced 27 batters and went three up, three down for nine innings. No runs, no hits, no walks, no errors, no passed balls, nothing. Just strikeouts, ground outs and fly outs.

That's what makes it different from a no-hitter, which is hard enough. Most no hitters have a walk or two in them, an error, or something.

How tough is it to pictch a perfect game? He's only the 17th pitcher to do it. EVER. Nolan Ryan pitched seven no-hitters in his career. None of them were perfect. It's HARD to do.

He was headed for the Hall of Fame already, but now they can pretty much widen the driveway into the Hall for him.

Johnson got to do the top ten on David Letterman last night:

"Top Ten cool things about pitching a perfect game:

10. "After this I can go 0-15 for the rest of the year and honestly not give a crap."

9. "My pregame dinner at Denny's? On the house."

8. "Shows everyone that even though I'm 40, I can still ... I'm sorry, I lost my train of thought."

7. "Cool to get a congratulatory call from the president, even though he kept calling me 'Larry.'"

6. "Can walk up to guys who have thrown no-hitters and whisper: 'Loser!'"

5. "All the pine tar I can eat!"

4. "Your catcher hugs you and it feels kind of nice."

3. "Maybe people will finally get over the time that I killed that bird."

2. "It's just one more thing about me that's perfect ... am I right, ladies?"

1. "George Steinbrenner just offered me one billion dollars to sign with the Yankees."

That's funny stuff! Especially #5...

Friday, May 14, 2004

Here's an interesting headline:

"Last Civil War Widow Ailing"

Ailing? AILING? What's amazing is she's still LIVING! The Civil War ended 140 years ago! Let me check this out...

Okay. She's 96 now. She married the guy in the 1920s when he was in his 80s. They had a kid and everything. That makes sense. You're in your 80s, the first thing you want is a little brat waking you up from your nap.

Well, says here this woman was collecting a pension, because Alabama (where she lived) never bothered to cancel the pension laws regarding Civil War vets after they'd all died. Good for her!

Can you imagine being the last of anything? No matter how trivial; if you knew you were the last person to do something, people would have to be impressed.

"Hi. I'm the last man on earth who ever purchased an Iron Butterfly 45 RPM record. The other guy died."

This is interesting...

May is National Masturbation Month.

What else is there to say but "do" your "part!"

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