Max Raabe!

Posted in Personal, Uncategorized on December 19th, 2009 by byronkho

Max Raabe at the Merriam Theater, March 5. Awesome.

NY Times goofs; Beer!

Posted in Personal, Uncategorized on December 18th, 2009 by byronkho

Interesting things picked up today:

Oct 9, 1903:

NY Times: “The flying machine which will really fly might be evolved by the combined and continuous efforts of mathematicians and mechanicians in from one million to ten million years.”

Orville Wright: “We started assembly today.”

La Chouffe’s Christmas brew is freakin AMAZING.

La Roux, Trip Planning, Ginormous Brothels.

Posted in Personal, Uncategorized on December 16th, 2009 by byronkho

La Roux will be appearing at Voyeur Philadelphia on February 9. I’ll so be there. Wouldn’t be caught there any other time though – it’s one of the gayest places around.

Trip planning is hard… stupid schedules! But at least I can plan in some fun stuff. Here’s the two music things I think we’re going to do. The first is New Year’s Eve at the Admiral’s Palace with Kitty, Daisy & Lewis, a magnificent rockabilly band – see below. The second is a concert with the Berlin Sinfonietta at the Philharmonie. Or possibly, we might do some Mark Scheibe and his combo DJ-orchestra set.

I kinda wanted to go to this, but there’s no way I can manage it… Ostfunk Silvester. Especially Tok Tok… for some reason, I love a BUNCH of their stuff.

So researching stuff to do in Berlin and happened upon two things probably shouldn’t bring the family to: 1) the Kit Kat Club and 2) Artemis. The latter has a pool, three saunas, two cinemas and room for 300 customers. And room for “up to 40 prostitutes” to service those 300 customers. It’s apparently the largest brothel in Germany, where prostitution is legal and widespread. My question is, how much of a cut does the master pimp get (here’s talking to you, Angela Merkel)?

Quizzo, Stefan Iyer, The Nightman Cometh. The EGG!

Posted in Personal, Uncategorized on December 15th, 2009 by byronkho

Quizzo last night at Dark Horse with Jess! We got tied for second and then lost it in a tie breaker… who knew Candlestick Park holds 70K people? Met a bunch of La Salle theatre people, including one from Enola, whose fiancee I might have ran against since he was from East Penns. Fun crowd. We actually were the last people at the bar, on a Monday. Awesome.

New jazz by Vijay Iyer and Stefon Harris.

I’m not even gonna embed this one bc the video’s actually not funny… but when I watch that Family Guy skit again about the woman reporter in the men’s locker room, I’ll be seeing her.

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia: perhaps I should watch you. I heard some horrible, horrible music from the speakers at Dark Horse and found it was the episode The Nightman Cometh, where one dude on the show writes a shit musical to persuade some chick to love him, puts it on, and then she hates it and leaves. End of episode. I guess it’s hilarious if you watch the show on a regular basis? Anyways, it had enough fans that they could take ONLY THE MUSICAL for a spin on the road (including at the Tower) and people paid $50 to see that shitshow. Go team! Here’s a clip from the Tower run:

Jess told me to watch it and I did. There was my review :) Thanks a bunch. When I did watch it before (and I don’t remember DeVito being on it, when did he go on the show?) it was funny but I tend not to watch the sitcoms. I love 30 Rock, yet I’m hard pressed to watch it most of the time! It’s just me and comedy… I just don’t watch much of it. I prefer drama and action, though if I watch comedy with friends, I’ll really really enjoy it – it’s just not something I can push myself to see alone.

Merry Xmas! What a load of work to get your house done that way. And my question is: can passerby hear the music, or are they like WTF is this flashing?

An allegory no one uses any more: Columbus and the egg. When confronted by Spanish noblemen scoffing at his discovery of the Indies (and claiming some Spanish dude would have done it sooner or later), Columbus challenged them to balance an egg without being helped by anyone or anything. When they could not, Columbus tapped the egg gently on the table, crushing its end and allowing it to balance on the table. Then they understood. Once the process is discovered, anyone can do it. Vasari attibutes this particular story to Brunelleschi, claiming that he had bested other contestants to raising the Duomo cupola by proposing an egg-balancing contest. Coincidentally or not, the Duomo cupola went up with a slightly crushed egg shape. Centuries later, men boil eggs and balance them, or simply find tripod positions among the dimples and ridges on the eggshells to make it stand upright; the dramatic edge of the story has been bested by common knowledge of science, and patience.

Trailers, Green Finch and Linnet Bird

Posted in Personal, Uncategorized on December 13th, 2009 by byronkho

The Company DVD turned out very well! I got to see it yesterday and it was really good. Of course, sound quality could have been better, cinematography could have been better, etc etc… but I’m glad we have one of decent quality regardless!

Fantastic Mr. Fox was fantastic. There was a preview of Nine playing right before the movie, and with all the kids there, it was slightly inappropriate. The preview was sexy.

The Lovely Bones was a decent book, I just hope the movie doesn’t destroy it… though it does look artistic. Hope it isn’t too much of a thriller though, as the book wasn’t really setup like that so much.

Q is doing Sweeney Todd for the Spring Fling musical. Good choice. My favorite song from the show is still Green Finch and Linnet Bird:

Folk Pop

Posted in Personal, Uncategorized on December 12th, 2009 by byronkho

Spreading the gospel of Glen Hansard. Also, an even more laid-back version.

The wonderful Charlotte Martin: if I had known about it, I would have gone to this concert. I don’t pay enough attention to the World Cafe Live shows and thus miss EVERY SINGLE ONE THAT I WOULD HAVE WANTED TO SEE. Her sound is not traditional pop, it’s a little experimental, but not so far out there like the Pitchfork anti-pop wall of sound grungy long-haired dudes writing ‘music’ in log cabings in the Pacific Northwest… she did the beauty pageant route, and then somehow made it as a pianist/singer/composer. With some really good stuff. I’m impressed, and not only because she might have been just another bimbo after dropping the tiara!

I love this version of the Hidden Track at the end of Happenstance, by Rachael Yamagata. Only 583 views? Shame.

Switchfoot’s 24 was my anthem last year. Found it again and am enjoying myself. In other “found” music news, I bought the first A Day in the Life CD a long time ago. Years later, I still regret the purchase. It sucks.

Katie Herzig doing Forevermore off of her third album. I want to see her live… she’s not coming to town any time soon though. Here’s Hologram, her most popular song thus far. Shame though, she only has a couple thousand views on any of her videos. Perhaps she has a large fanbase that doesn’t hang out on the Interweb? Hopefully.

Music Go Music lead. Photo linked.

I saw Music Go Music live in Los Angeles with Little Boots and Yes Giantess, and they are FANTASTIC. All their stuff has this real 70s disco vibe. I played it for some people and they were like “why are you listening to 70s music?”, and I knew they hit it right on. 1000 Crazy Nights sounds kind of tinny on their album but if you hear their live versions, it’s SO good. OMG I gotta link another one: I Walk Alone. She has an amazing voice, and this song was SO hot during the concert. All the hipsters and emo disco freaks and even some old people (at a dance concert? yeah, maybe they were there just for Music Go Music?) loved them so bad. It’s funny that they have such a big band and so many backup singers. (Sidenote: I like a lot of the releases from Secretly Canadian.) What’s even better is that this show they’re on, “Face Time”, is a fake show they made up just for the music videos. It all looks so 70s, and I was trying to imagine what channel could be showing such a show these days… the lighting, the presenters, the entire look capturing the feel so well. Kudos to their art directors.

Kelis’ A Cappella is pretty awesome. Though she’s REALLY ugly in the video. What was her stylist thinking?

Food Blogs, Regrets, Young Artists Ensemble

Posted in Personal, Uncategorized on December 11th, 2009 by byronkho

The only purpose of food blogs is high quality pictures of food. I don’t care about the extravagant vocabulary describing the onslaught of digestive juices upon the sight of some delicious monstrosity, though it can be poetic, dramatic and satisfying at times. I’m more concerned about HUNGRY, and SEEING FOOD = EATING (DREAMING ABOUT) FOOD.

Visit Smitten Kitchen. Thank goodness for GChat linking! Me want RASPBERRY BUTTERMILK CAKE now!

Was looking for some good pics of rambutan.

I got linked the other day to a horrific recipe of vegetarian pho. It looked good, and all the ingredients sounded good but what’s pho without the beef gristle? Then it’s just vegetable soup with bean sprouts and lime. Which is fine, but it’s no pho. Don’t call it pho when it ain’t the real thing. Call it “vegetable soup with bean sprouts and lime” and we’ll be just fine. Vegetarians and especially vegans have it real hard. They have to be super-nutrionists to get all the nutrients they need (especially those pesky proteins) from their vegetables or meat replacement products (in the case of cheater vegetarians). I would be way too lazy for that, and besides, I like the taste of red meat. I love my vegetables, still. I could probably manage all other aspects of being a vegan but for the crap desserts – since you can’t use animal products, the cakes end up tasting like shit because the milk, grease and butter replacements are just not contributing to the taste at all. The worst desserts I have ever had – including kitchin disasters by horrible cooks which have still ended up tasting better – were vegan attempts at chocolate cake. Somebody still has to prove to me that vegans can make a decent sugary dessert concoction that tastes awesome. Hah. I have my DOUBTS.

Regrets: Jessica Adams. Jessica from freshman year: sorry! Lizz Fehder. Kristen Erway. Several nameless individuals (in the cases where crimes were rather more sordid). Just thought I’d mention having a moment of silence in memory of past transgressions.

I used to have so much fun playing the Ganz’ Grand Gallop de Concert. Though when I did it, it was a trio. GREAT memories of the Shadbolt Center in Deer Lake. Too bad I don’t have any video recordings of my time in the group. Donna Fishwick’s Young Artists Ensemble – geez, what a mouthful – now has all the little kids who were around in my time being the big shots and playing all our old numbers. Can’t seem to find a good 2-piano version of the Waltz from Faust by Gounod/Liszt. Huh. Since I have no recordings of OURS either, I have to settle for old solo recordings… which are good, but not quite the same. I used to have a lot of fun playing the Hungarian Rhapsody No. 8 by Franz Liszt – and again, no recording of me (too bad, I can’t play it so well any more!) so that’s one by Cziffra (who has a bust at the Liszt Academy in Budapest, so he’s thought to be well-qualified by somebody!). Nobody plays that piece any more, just because it’s not as super-flashy as some of the others (ahem, no. 2). It takes a lot of passion, and the first part is all about tenderness and the small silences and swells, even though it’s super hard to control everything so it sounds dramatic without sounding like some virtuoso just showing off. It’s real visible in that number if you love the music, or if you’re just trying to seem like a prodigy. The last 2 minutes of the song are super hard, and Cziffra goes real fast. I prefer it to go a little slower, to make best use of the sad melodies in there. But it does make for a more amazing ending faster.

OMG, jealous. Amy Tokunoh, Greg Semerdjian and Nicholas Rada are still playing with the group? They were really good in my time. I’d have loved to perform in Prague.

Sitting at the Shadbolt, before one of the Coffee Concerts.

At the Cliveden Royal Estates, where I had the best breakfast I’ve ever had and then a relaxing afternoon on the Thames. Our benefactor was SUPER rich.

Visiting Eton. (I met Prince William that day, and Simon tried to take a picture. Bad form.)

Whistler, Cats.

Posted in Personal, Uncategorized on December 10th, 2009 by byronkho

Oh my God. New Content Unlocker stuff so inane… gotta pick offers for every country and just doubled the size of the offerlist. Egads! Whistler season 2, which I’ve been watching while working, is totally a soap opera but a pretty enjoyable one. Hot chicks, snowboarding, actual shots of Whistler… makes me wanna get way better at snowboarding. I’m way better at skiing (not that I’m actually good at it, mind you) but snowboarding seems so much more fun. I have BIG issues with the stopping, but it’s probably like the mind-thing I had to go through learning how to ski properly. Once you lost that tense-ness (nervousness at possibly falling), it’s easy as pie. And you need strong abs.

Zuke likes chewing at my feet. It hurts and then I have to kick him away. He thinks it’s friendly playing and then mauls my toes some more. He particularly loves pouncing, claws out, into the meat of my thighs and then hanging while I flail. My cat is an ASS. It’s likely revenge for getting him neutered. OK, time for the obligatory parade of cat pictures – I haven’t done it yet, so now is the time.

Baby Zuke. The extremely social but attack-loving one.

Baby Sukie. The antisocial but less mean one. She looks stuffed here.

Six’s a crowd. Zuke in the middle. These were dumpster cats.

European hiphop and pop, African dancehall

Posted in Personal, Uncategorized on December 10th, 2009 by byronkho

Vanessa, one of the winners of German reality show Popstars is HAWT. Was looking up Culcha Candela (who are aite) and found their collab “remix” Monster by Culcha Candela ft. Leo & Vanessa from Popstars. It’s not the greatest song, but it’s still catchy. Haha – but listening to some of their other videos from Popstars, WTF?!? She’s pretty, but how much production was necessary on the tracks to make her (and him) sound like, er, popstars? I’m scouring the German Top 100s right now. Just getting a good idea of who’s big in Germany right now, and I’ll save more research until I’m in Germany during Xmas. I would buy music but stupid VAT could make it so expensive… I can always just take notes and try to find them when I get back. It will be pathetic if I have to resort to ripping off of YouTube. That always happens… I find some artist that is totally obscure over here and getting it shipped costs an arm and a leg.

Vanessa on the right. WTF is Rihanna doing wearing that thing at an awards show? And her mancut is… manly.

I remember looking for the Leslie CD when I came back from France and was totally turned off by the buy price of $40 plus shipping/taxes. I’m not paying $50 for one CD. She’s still one of my guilty pleasures. Cute French-Viet hiphop/pop star who’s done crossovers with American R&B, Arabic pop (Alik Maina and one of my favorites, Sobri) and Middle African dance music (On Ne Sait Jamias).

Love this cover. It’s such a cheeseball cover, like something they’d do to a re-release of Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn..

Speaking of Magic System, I totally love their stuff.

4 dudes from the Ivory Coast who make some kickass songs.

I’m finally catching up on a bunch of the French new stuff. I used to listen to a lot of Amel Bent, and so was pleased to find she’s released a bunch of good stuff this year.

Amel Bent lookin’ all fly and shit.

K-Maro hasn’t moved much, his best song is still Histoires de Luv. Likewise with Zaho: La Roue Tourne before and now C’est Chelou. Ma Meilleure Amie by possible two-hit wonder Koxie? I remember this song being on my continuous replay for a while! More Asians… well, French music is more crossculture than over here as far as I’ve seen. More Arabic crossover by Zaho and Cheb Mami. Heh, French gangsta R&B’er M Pokora. Looks like with his newer stuff he’s trying to do the North American crossover.

A new pickup: Lady Sweety, who I hear on a lot of the Afro-French dancehall tracks. Ah, cette chanson est beaucoup de plaisir – en realite, j’aime beacoup le dancehall. Pretty awesome.

Amy Regan, Hipsters, Harold Prince.

Posted in Personal, Uncategorized on December 9th, 2009 by byronkho

Amy Regan at a New York venue. Photo by Stephen Bailey.

Just listened to an amazing singer/songwriter named Amy Regan, free live concert at Fergie’s. She does this adult contemporary/jazz/folk thing that’s pretty nice, though you definitely have to like that style. Here’s one of her nice slow tracks: So In Love. I did like one of her new singles, Keep You Warm, but it’s not on YouTube atm. She’s really nice, and still one of those struggling artists – I think I was the only person that came solely to see her! Everyone else was kinda already drinking at Fergie’s and was like, oh. She seemed a little surprised that I randomly found her, and I told her it was on AmieStreet. I was looking for someone else and randomly found her – funny story, they screwed up and charged me $0 for her songs, which were supposed to cost me $1. First of all, that’s a hard way to make money if your whole published song set goes for $1. Second, it’s even harder when the money doesn’t actually get paid over. I bought her new 2-track release for $2 tonight. So cheap. STILL a hard way to make money, since I was possibly the only person buying. Geez, how does she make any money? She’s really good and should have a lot more fans… hopefully she does in her home city! I feel like I should drop her a few extra bucks next time to make up for somebody getting cheated, possibly her, on that broken technology on AmieStreet deal. She was followed by Jo Henley, whose name sounded like a girl but was actually a guy and his bluegrass-ish band. They were also very good. Didn’t stick around for all of it though.

Gonna say it: I wanna see Hipsters. I have low expectations for it being dramatically coherent, but the art and musical direction look and sound, well, fabulous. All the reviews point out that it’s extremely fun, the only drawback being that it’s a tad too long. Where can I get the Hipsters soundtrack? I’ve been listening overtime to “You Didn’t Need To Get An American Wife”, video below. The Andrews Sisters routine is pretty awesome. And of course, they replace those homey looking sisters with some model hotties – who actually sang the song and look good as. They’re a girl group called Via-Gra (in Russian, clever pun) or Nu Virgos (in English, also clever) and they have some good stuff (What Hurts The Most with Cascada). Tatiana Kotova is a year younger than me apparently. Hmm. The historical basis is pretty interesting, and the film version kind of tells the truth in this regard: there were Russian hipsters called “stilyagi” that copied rockabilly and loved hot jazz, but they were late. By 1954, their vanguard year, that style was going out. In the movie, the lead character visits New York and realizes the movement doesn’t exist – hipsters can’t be found! While these kids weren’t going to jail for their “beliefs” (and only the rich kids could afford the fashions and clubs anyway), they were barred from joining the Communist Party and thus barred from any sort of higher career in the Soviet Union and their families harassed. High price to pay. I believe this song is from the ending of the movie? Though I can’t understand a word, it looks as if they’re all walking, happily or not, into the glowing future. Such a mass expression of joy on the Moscow streets PROBABLY has not happened ever. The movie is apparently up for Golden Globes, so hold on to your hats come December 15.

Still from Hipsters. Go art direction… and hairdressers.

I saw Harold Prince speak today. He’s a very interesting man, having started, worked with, and got famous alongside Lenny Bernstein, Bock and Harnick and Sondheim. He’s won 21 Tony awards, and no one else is likely to break that record any time soon. Tons of famous openings, including Cabaret, Company, West Side Story, Fiddler on the Roof, Parade, Phantom, etc etc. Geez. Really nice guy, though when asked about revivals of “his” shows, he said that he didn’t need to see them and why should he have to? Ha, he’s earned the right to be a grumpy old man, but artistically there’s always something TO learn. I learned he gave Bob Fosse his big break choreographing Pajama Game – didn’t know that before. He admitted he slept through Penn. Later, I heard one woman in the audience say that paying her daughter’s tuition to Penn was the best money she ever spent – and all because Harold Prince slept through his classes? Ha. The dean of SAS boasted that Penn Players, his theatre alma mater, had just finished a run of Company… apparently Harold had come to the first revival of Company at Penn and loved it. Too bad he didn’t come to the second and love our version just as much. Fascinating talk, even though nothing in it would actually help you build a career in theatre (unless you pestered him to death afterwards to read your play or listen to your musical or whatnot… but that’s just bad form!).