Monday, August 30, 2004
MzOuiser Does Film Noir
MzOuiser Does Film Noir
Hello, everyone. That's a joke. I'm playing with Hello, that new Bloggerbot program you download for free and upload pics with. But first you have to download Picasa and install that... Frankly when Blogger says "find out about free webhosting," I thought it would be something like, oh, a few MB of space we could upload jpgs to... It gets to a point where I'm spending hours figuring this stuff out, and that's too much work. I changed my template, that's enough for one day.
Several folks have asked to see my old headshot, so here it is. This was shot in 2000, but I pretty much look the same.
This year was the best birthday I've had in seven years. Highlights:
* If you have $200 to blow, take someone special for a late dinner at Cafe Pierre in the Pierre Hotel. Take it from a true voluptuary - The food really is that good. Fantastic wines as well. The restaraunt is beautiful and if you make your reservation for like 9PM, the place won't be crowded and the waiters will spoil you. Real old-fashioned New York Class.
* So far the New York Renaissance Faire is the best in the country I've visited. It's a high gate cost, but it's worth it. The food is very good - from Steak-on-a-Stake to the Vegetarian Hummous wraps. The shopping is to die for. The wandering musketeers are dreamy and the wenches are witty. The games are actually fun to play (just don't try the he-man stuff if you can't take heckling). Did I mention the shopping is to DIE for? Outfit yourself for every fantasy. And the little hidden glens with the tarot card readers are wonderful - shady, quiet, evokes magic and druids and hidden secret truths. At the end of the day the Tavern crowd is a blast, and the musicians are top caliber. Fantastic way to spend a beautiful summer day.
* The Philly Folk Festival is heinously overpriced - over $50 per person just to walk in for half the day. The people who take the tickets are surly and snotty. The Craft Vendors aren't many, and they are all outragreously overpriced. Yeah yeah yeah, I know it's artisan work, but get real. I'm not paying $110 for a pair of batik pants, even if they are silk. The food is a nightmare - hot dogs, pizza, fried stuff, or chinese meat and rice. $4 for a 20oz bottle of coke. The worst part was the CDs were marked up. These are artists you will not hear on Clearchannel, or find easily at HMV or Tower. I specifically went to hear this brilliant woman, and would hve bought all of her CDs if they had been priced at least near retail! I can only imagine that her promoters (and all the other artists' promoters) are fleecing the already overcharged patrons without the musician's consent. The Festival workers manning the CD tables were actually discouraging us from buying CD's!
All that said, the musicians were brilliant, of course, and well worth sitting on the ground for hours to hear... but frankly, I doubt I would ever go back at those prices. Please, Natalie, I'm begging you... come back to New York! I'll help you line up a venue!
* at the Festival, I entered a raffle ($4 a ticket) to win a Martin Guitar - Eric Clapton edition. I have always wished I had learned to play the guitar, so what the hell. About an hour before the drawing, it was announced that this was a rosewood instrument - a $10,000 guitar. All of a sudden I felt somewhat unworthy, which is fine, since I didn't win. But can you imagine? a $10,000 guitar for $4? That would take the sting out of the gate price!
So, since I bought no overpriced CDs at the Festival, I am now searching online for them at more reasonable prices. Some Amazing musicians we heard:
Chris Smither - I'd heard of him, but man am I glad I finally got to hear him. He's amazing. Blues, baby, blues all the way.
DaVinci's Notebook - These were the surprise hit of the day. Extrememly entertaining, by far the funniest. 4-part A Cappella harmonies and topical, relevant humour. Sort of a cross between BNL and Rockapella. Canadians, you know.
Sones De Mexico - Several different styles of Mexican folk music, which I wouldn't normally choose, but I absolutely loved. So much more than just Mariachi!
Robin and Linda Williams - Bluegrass, of Prairie Home Companion fame. Just great American music.
And of course, the incredible Natalie MacMaster. If you've never heard her fiddle, buy a CD. If you've heard her but never seen her, find her and go. There's few entertainers quite so... well, entertaining. She's beautiful. And dynamic. She really gets worked up playing that fiddle, huge grin, bouncing all over the stage, and from time to time the mood grabs her and she puts the fiddle down and dances. REALLY dances. It's amazing. Traditional step dancing with tap infused, and last night, a few seconds of moonwalking - which coming from her was adorable. But her fiddling is ethereal. She was a child prodigy, and she gets better and better. A true Cape Breton Island virtuoso. It's been 3 years since I last saw her play, and I don't plan on waiting another 3 years!