Camp Hill, Links!, Nikki Yanofsky.

Posted in Personal on May 22nd, 2011 by byronkho

The Grace Millman Center for the Performing Arts… in Camp Hill. They’ve got a pit, for goodness sake. They get this stuff 10 years after I leave… great.

Nice boards.

Explosions ON STAGE?

144 doomsday scenarios from Slate.

BTW, the world didn’t end on May 21, 2011. But it could have on January 25, 1995.

Ramen profitable.

Nikki Yanofksy. She’s getting a lot of play at jazz festivals. Great voice, though there’s something I haven’t quite identified that she needs to work on. I find myself not being able to listen to more than a few minutes worth of her at a time, even though I think she’s great. Perhaps it’s because it seems like she’s pushing things out a little too forcefully? But it’s not like she doesn’t do delicate… augh. Too lazy to be a real reviewer right now.

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Posted in Uncategorized on May 15th, 2011 by byronkho

Legendary member of Velvet Underground, John Cale, does a Nicki Minaj.

How true.

How true?

The FTC Admits It Has No Good Reason for Forcing Bloggers, But Not Print Writers, to Disclose Freebies. The FTC, hating on online marketers all the time.

Crashed the 06 reunion this year. Also… Glee Club alumni get to attend next year’s Tour! Taste of Penn was tasty. Italian Festival sugary treats were even tastier. Finally, food at Tria. Revisiting the Legion! And… Smokes… Tara, Bobys, Anya and Maria at the reunion, also Lauren, Liyoung, Gobal, and a few other people I’m blanking on. Neha pulling me around. Rachel and Nikki in from out of town, Charlene and Alyssa bringing up the rear, Julie, Cory, Tom and Marissa hanging out as usual. Discussing cigars and beer overlooking Jersey… to do, to do. Diana and Steph during sorbet time. Shots with Norm, Ta and Mike – bachelor party next weekend. Tomorrow, Mary Poppins and Korean food. Exciting weekend!

Bluegrass time!

Posted in Personal on May 15th, 2011 by byronkho

Crazy stuff, yo. These kids need a little bit of work with shaping the musicality, but they got speed, rhythm and some of that good old improv goin for them right now.

Once you get past the talking, the Lovell Sisters playing Ichetucknee Chutney… are AWESOME.

Yeehaw, more dobro. Alison Krauss and Union Station playing Choctaw Hayride.

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King Edward VII and Le Chabanais.

Posted in History and Politics on May 15th, 2011 by byronkho

Dirty Bertie, Prince of Wales and then King Edward VII, commissioned a fauteuil d’amour – essentially a stirruped “mount” chair – for his own personal use at the Paris Belle Epoque bagnio Le Chabanais. The chair earned quick notoriety, not only because of the sheer sexual proclivities of its obese master, but because of the reputed usage it got after his “reign”; it has been highly speculated that it was used by Fatty Arbuckle and Hermann Goring, both unhealthily large men who made innumerable visits to the fancy brothel in the 1920’s through 40’s. In addition, Walter Annenberg was one of the first visitors to enjoy tours provided by the owners and he included reminisces on the visit – likened to a tour around Madame Tussaud’s waxworks – and the chair in his memoirs.

Where the dirty was done.

Dirty Bertie went through mounds of women, including Winston Churchill’s mother, Sarah Bernhardt and Alice Keppel. Keppel gave birth to an illegitimate child that was rumored to be Bertie’s; this child went on to become grandmother to Camilla Parker Bowles, which probably caused some internal Royal controversy when official Bertie descendant Charles, Prince of Wales, began his little adulterous adventure. Lord Randolph Churchill apparently did not mind all Jennie’s sexual escapades, blatantly ignoring his wife’s frank affair with the Austrian count who won the Grand National by also including the count as a great friend. Winston grew up to be a solid unyielding devotee to his wife Clementine, a possible reaction to his mother’s frequent infidelity. One would love to speculate on when he found out: as a child, or a young adult… or much later, as PM?

Lady Randolph Churchill, born Jeanette Jerome in Brooklyn. I can certainly see what Bertie saw in her.

The fauteuil d’amour was auctioned off by Paris house Drouot and eventual resales landed it in the possession of Louis Soubrier, an antiques dealer whose family originally created the chair and supplied custom, Roman-style and pre-French Revolution-style furniture to the aristocrats of France (and obviously long-term visiting foreign dignitaries) since the 19th century.

That was not the only piece of scandalous furniture at Le Chabanais. Dirty Bertie also commissioned an oversized copper tub decorated as a half-woman, half-swan (Leda, perhaps) that was sized to fit his girth in the bottom and one or several aux belles poules on top for expensive French champagne skinnydips. Perhaps one of these women were like contemporaneous poule de luxe Cora Pearl, who charged $120,000 a night (at current rates) at her apex, swan dived naked in champagne in front of her party guests and later blackmailed many of her previous lovers for money during her memoir-writing years. Her lovers included Prince William of Orange; the duc de Morny; Prince Napoleon or “Plon-Plon”, who housed her at a grand Paris mansion with a $150,000 monthly allowance; and very possibly Napoleon III himself. Her published autobiography was extremely dull and she retired rich, so her blackmail probably worked on those besotted nobles. Salvador Dali eventually bought Dirty Bertie’s tub in 1951 for the princely sum of $3,500 (at current rates) at a fire sale when the brothel finally closed.

Cora Pearl, unfortunately not photographed during her dives.

La Chabanais itself was a Wonder of the World duing its heyday. Opened by a famous mid-19th century Irish madam, the interior cost over $12.75 million (again, at current rates) and is now, sadly, an office building. Once the home away from home for stars like Cary Grant, Humphrey Bogart, Marlene Dietrich and Anatole France, the building was stripped of all its splendor, including the Pompeii room, full of 16 artistically pornographic oil vignettes of coupling centaurs donated by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (now in private colections); the Japanese room, which won a design prize at the 1900 World Fair for its simple design of six divans in circular formation around an incense burner; the Pirate Chamber, a room which was copied in exactitude for the private mansion of poet Guy de Maupassant; and the Hindu Room, decorated with Indian memorabilia and accessorized by those two famous pieces of Royal furniture – the love tub and the love seat.

One of the fancy rooms. There were several picture of the rooms with comely occupants, but I refrained from posting those.

Politicians in the late 19th and early 20th century used to encode visits to Le Chabanais with the entry “visit to the Senate”. Today, funnily enough, much the same designation is used when the French government plans sightseeing trips for foreign dignitaries to Le Chabanais and other historical seraglios around Paris. Unfortunately, the French are more prude these days; S&M used to be a fixture at Le Chabanais but Paris now only contains one (known) S&M club. And publicly active brothels? Belgium and the Netherlands are only a few hours drive away.

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Education, crazy stuff.

Posted in Opinion on May 14th, 2011 by byronkho

US education pension plans have unfunded liabilities of close to $1 trillion. PENSIONS. NY state offers pensions of over $60k for all teachers with 25 years in the business. Teachers can retire at 55, get these enormous pensions with added health benefits, AND not get taxed at the state or local level on any of their pension money. NY state keeps sex offenders on the books – management refuses to put them in teaching positions, for good reason, and the unions refuse to let them be fired. They also (miraculously) refuse to sue to force management to let those people teach. The most obvious people that should be fired aren’t, and are instead being paid salaries for doing nothing. Plus the idea of the rubber rooms: incompetent teachers sitting around in rooms not doing anything while school districts vie to not have them, and they all draw salaries. So expensive. And bonuses are given on seniority, rather than on performance… what kind of actual incentive system is that? It keeps teachers in the business, but doesn’t attract good teachers. And since starting salaries are so low, the “best” look elsewhere as their career, unlike in other countries (ie. Scandinavia, where only the top college graduates get to become teachers); instead, teachers that are burnt out but only in the job to grab their pension after 25 years get the highest salaries. No comprendo.

The right-wingers complain about federal money going to NPR. In 2010, only $2.7 million went to NPR, whereas $446 million (yes, $446 million) went to Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University. Which one offers a less biased education? Liberty University also filed the first private case against Obama’s healthcare law… hopefully they were not allowed to use the federal funding to finance that lawsuit.

More fun from the Atlantic: Marine Le Pen comparing Islam to Nazism, and 39% of French people agree? Armenia went without internet for 5 hours after a Georgian woman cut a cable scavenging for copper. A British funeral planning company did a study and found that woman generally considered themselves “old” at 29 (what? really?). There is a 10% upswing in domestic violence following local NFL team losses, and 20% upswing following high profile losses.

Medea by Ludmilla Petrushevskaya… good story.

“Americans who have just ridden an up escalator are twice as likely to donate to charity as those who have just ridden a down escalator.” Perhaps this is because they still have money going up… and none going down? “An anteater at a Swedish zoo massacred a stand of flamingos.” How did that happen? Did the anteater break all their legs and then snuffle their faces to death? Apparently flightless firefly females only get sperm (from male fireflies), whereas flying firefly females get sperm AND food. Fireflies are so misogynistic.


Gal Gadot, Jordana Brewster.

Posted in Uncategorized on May 12th, 2011 by byronkho

Fast Five was decent. Justin Lin made a great action flick, much better than his previous attempts. Perhaps that’s because he got a huge budget and a kickass production team? He also got actors with a lotta swagger, though they could work on the acting details a bit… though acting wasn’t all that necessary with this movie. The story did not require anything but a lotta nice poses, plus the requisite running around and blowing up stuff. And more ladies in leading roles. Well, if you call looking good in a bikini and locking lips with one of our heroes on the way down the Autobahn and looking ridiculously hot behind the wheel of a souped up racecar a leading role… ahem Gal Gadot. Of the “Mossad.” Ha! She’d be good as a “bat leveyha” and even better as a “swallow.”

Gal Gadot, one of the best parts of Fast Five.

And the music from the best scene in the movie…

Did you know? Jordana Brewster’s grandaddy was ambassador to Great Britain and also president of Yale. She spent time in Rio as a kid, so her Portuguese… is real Portuguese.

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Lucy Woodward, Samantha Marq.

Posted in Personal on May 11th, 2011 by byronkho

Lucy Woodward at World Cafe Live. Her voice is nice and brassy and full of color, and she has a very good ear for pitches. Very rarely off. Hopefully she can work some more scat into her repertoire. She’s very talented but she left out the improv bits that really showcase what you can do as a jazz singer. It can make all the difference, especially when you wanna get your big break. She’s got at least a little break, getting signed with Verve, so props to that. I did like her original songs, and the very talented band she’s carting around with her definitely do wonders. She even brought along two backup singers to do a tiny Andrews Sisters-type number, Sing Sing Sing with a bit of Single Ladies thrown in to the mix. She does know how to put on a show. Too bad there were so few people in the audience! I’m always impressed with the people that can hold up the atmosphere for an audience of hundreds, while playing to tiny audiences almost not worth the time… that’s how you buy fans, with talent AND with dedication.

Continuing the fine tradition of getting autographs from singers in dark, smoky lounges.

I somehow got friended by KO the Legend a while back, probably through Dim Mak. I wish I could make all the swanky parties but they’re all in LA. I don’t live there. He did some hot number with Samantha Marq (whom I missed at the freakin Piazza when she swung by last year), who had another one of her songs (above) drawn by Alvin Lee who drew Agent X for Marvel. FriendFeed tells me she got snapped for the NOH8 campaign recently. Flipping through their pics of celebs and models with duct tape on their mouths and NOH8 on their cheeks, and I was thinking, really? Who could hate these hotties? Put up a pic of some ugly troll and pull the same stunt, and we’ll see who’s hating and who isn’t.

Not a troll.

This is the awesomest picture ever taken.

It’s nice and hot outside (at least during the daytime) so that counts as being basically summer. Here’s the first song of my summer (though technically this was released summer 2010 but nobody knew). The Cataracs were the male vocals on Far East Movement’s Like a G6, btw.

By the way, I should mention having an awesome time at Liz and Josh’s for Cinco de Mayo. I still owe Liz a shot for shot with something other than tequila. And sushi and sake last night with the Penn Club peeps.

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