Sunday, December 19, 2010

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Own Crayola Art! Help Kids!

Every year, my pal Ben Wagner organizes a holiday record and concert to benefit 826NYC, an organization dedicated to inspiring kids to write, and helping their teachers help them improve creative and expository writing skills. There's always a bunch of goodies to auction off for the cause as well. This year, I took out the Crayolas and drew each of this year's artists getting down Charles Schulz-style. This drawing will be one of the items available for auction. So if you're in NYC on Thursday, December 16, stop by Rockwood 2 and see a great show, help some kids, and maybe add to your Crayola wall art collection!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Holiday Mixtapes: Back Issues

A Very Shepherd Chrismukkah: 2008 Holiday Mix

1. The Christmas Wish -- John Denver and the Muppets
2. Santa Claus Is Back In Town -- Elvis Presley
3. Christmas Blues -- Ramsey Lewis Trio
4. The Lonely Jew On Christmas -- South Park
5. Little Saint Nick -- Beach Boys
6. The Christmas Song -- Nat King Cole
7. All I Want For Chanukah (Is Hookers And Blow) -- Shwa Losben
8. Fairytale Of New York -- The Pogues
9. Merry Xmas -- Slade
10. Merry Christmas (I Don't Want To Fight) -- The Ramones

#2009: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

1. Sultan -- What Made Milwaukee Famous
2. Hang On -- Illinois
3. Good On Paper -- Shwa Losben
4. Let It Ride -- Wes Tucker and the Skillets
5. Stay Positive -- The Hold Steady
6. I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight -- U2
7. Stronger -- Rebecca Loebe
8. Martha -- Brian Webb
9. Dracula Moon -- Joan Osborne
10. Better Alone -- Chris Cubeta and the Liars Club
11. Go -- Andy Mac
12. Constructive Summer -- The Hold Steady
13. Silverline -- Bryan Dunn
14. Clear -- Lara Ewen and the Unstrung Orchestra

Valentine's Day Mix (2010)

1. This Bouquet -- Ani DiFranco
2. Mulder and Scully -- Catatonia
3. Only You -- Yaz
4. Do Ya -- Matthew Sweet
5. Bad Reputation -- Freedy Johnston
6. Amy -- Shwa
7. There Tonight -- Rebecca Loebe
8. Temptation -- Moby
9. Strange Currencies -- REM
10. Blame You -- Wakey! Wakey!
11. Out To Get You -- James
12. New York City -- Taylor Davis
13. Romeo and Juliet -- Indigo Girls
14. Ballad of Emily Rose -- Bryan Dunn
15. Moment of Surrender -- U2

East Side Story: 2010 Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

1. I Hope You Like This Song -- Luke Wesley
2. L.E.S. (Lovely) -- Laura Jean Binkley
3. Sara With No H -- Andy Mac
4. I Could Sing -- Nate Campany and the Serenade
5. Slow Burn -- Misty Boyce
6. Flowers -- Bryan Dunn
7. One Day -- Lara Ewen
8. Take Me Out -- Atomic Tom
9. Brooklyn -- Wakey! Wakey!
10. Selline -- Tim Blane
11. I Don't Wanna Wait -- Rosi Golan
12. Worst Is Over -- Shwa Losben
13. Love Is Here To Stay -- Casey Shea

Valentine's Day Mix 2011

1. Under the Lights -- Scourge of the Sea
2. Collect Call --Metric
3. Yesterday Threw Everything at Me -- Athlete
4. The Shore -- Basia Bulat
5. Talk to You -- Brian Webb
6. missing piece -- illinois
7. Love Will Come Through -- Travis
8. What is the Light? -- Flaming Lips
9. Sad Eyes -- Josh Rouse
10. As Is -- Ani DiFranco
11. Needles and Pins -- Ramones

Whiskey and Wellbutrin: 2011 Motion Picture Soundtrack

1. Almost Everything -- Wakey! Wakey!
2. Three Years On -- Bryan Dunn
3. Reckless -- Lara Ewen
4. You Can Make Him Like You -- The Hold Steady
5. Dead Man's Saloon -- Creeper Lagoon
6. Bar on A -- Greg Holden
7. Rip Her to Shreds -- Blondie
8. The Cowboy Song -- Kelli Rae Powell
9. Fading Lately -- Katie Costello
10. Treat the Disease -- Shwa Losben
11. Pretty Boy -- Luke Wesley
12. Break My Heart Around You -- Atomic Tom
13. Star Pupil -- Abby Ahmad
14. If You Don't Mind (Baby Go Ahead) -- Alec Gross
15. World United Already -- Wheat
16. Head Full of Doubt -- The Avett Brothers
17. Whiskey and Cigarettes -- Jessi Robertson
18. You're Aging Well -- Dar Williams

Valentine's Day Mix 2012

1. Kiss Me Deadly -- Lita Ford
2. Half Light -- Athlete
3. You and Me -- Jessi Robertson
4. Nothing's As Good -- Andy Mac
5. Cassette Tape -- Katie Costello
6. Here Is Your Ballad -- Luke Wesley
7. You, South Dakota -- Bryan Dunn
8. an open door -- illinois
9. Guy What Takes His Time -- Kelli Rae Powell
10. A Good Life -- Jill Sobule
11. Under the Moonlight -- Travis
12. Think of Me -- Rosi Golan
13. The Outlaw Song -- Lara Ewen

1. Generals -- The Mynabirds
2. I Don't Believe You -- Greg Holden
3. Mayday -- Jessi Robertson
4. When Your Mind's Made Up -- Cast of Once: A New Musical
5. Love it When You Call -- The Feeling
6. Drive All Night -- NEEDTOBREATHE
7. Wrecking Ball -- Creeper Lagoon
8. Gold Guns Girls -- Metric
9. Get Used To It -- Ben Lee
10. Battered Apartments -- Luke Wesley
11. Sweetheart of the Music Hall -- Bryan Dunn
12. So Cry -- Shwa Losben (live from Rockwood Music Hall)
13. Gotta Get Up From Here -- Ellie Lawson
14. Something Bigger, Something Better -- Amanda Blank
15. Some Bridges are Good to Burn -- Kelli Rae Powell
16. Philadelphia (the City of Brotherly Love) -- We Are Augustines
17. Hang with Me -- Robyn
18. 45 -- Brian Webb
19. Going Gone -- Abby Ahmad

Everyone Says Hi: 2013 Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

1. Massive Nights -- The Hold Steady
2. Like Lightning -- Lucero
3. Brooklyn Girls -- Shwa Losben
4. Every Band We Ever Loved -- Henry Clay People
5. Yonder -- The Love Leighs
6. Litte Mascara -- The Replacements
7. Better Off Without a Wife -- Tom Waits
8. Moment for Life -- Nicki Minaj
9. In These Shoes -- Kirsty McColl
10. Nothing to Prove -- Jill Sobule
11. Like a Friend -- Pulp
12. Missing You -- Bryan Dunn
13. Lower East Side -- Justin Townes Earle
14. A Way to You -- Lara Ewen and the Unstrung Orchestra
15. Muume wa Mtu -- The Dataz
16. Lullaby for Bad Girls -- Kelli Rae Powell
17. Always Love -- Nada Surf
18. She's Got Something -- Greg Holden
19. Are You Listening? -- A City on a Lake

Annual Review: 2014 Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

1. FUCKERY LEVEL 3000 -- Jean Grae
2. One Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces -- Ben Folds Five
3. My Life -- Richard McGraw
4. She's So Happy Now -- Bryan Dunn
5. Bodies -- Soul Miner's Daughter
6. 17 Again -- Eurythmics
7. How to Be Your Girl -- Lara Ewen
8. Love Don't Turn Your Back on Me Now -- Jesse Ruben
9. One for My Baby (And One More for the Road) -- Stacey Kent
10. Black Dress -- Mercy Bell
11. What Makes a Good Man -- The Heavy
12. Mother Feather -- Mother Feather
13. Annie in Luck -- Shwa Losbem
14. Lipstick -- Jessi Robertson
15. Kids in NY -- The Julie Ruin
16. The Weekenders -- The Hold Steady
17. Pink Rabbits -- The National
18. The City -- The 1975
19. Here Comes a Regular -- The Replacements

Number One Single: 2015 Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

1. Kentucky Bourbon -- Murder By Death
2. Let the Good Times Roll -- JD McPherson
3. Mama Your Boys Will Find a Home -- Scissors for Lefty
4. Whatever Makes You Happy -- Jennifer Hudson
5. Bukowski -- Parlor Tricks
6. Philadelphia -- The Love Leighs
7. Can't Bring Me Down -- Awreeoh
8. underneatu -- Jean Grae
9. All Good Cowboys -- Mercy Bell
10. All the Way There -- Lara Ewen
11. New Mercedes -- Bryan Dunn
12. Sharpening the Knives -- Jessi Robertson
13. Never Too Soon To Compromise (Yourself and All Your Values!) -- Shwa Losben
14. California -- Rebecca Loebe
15. Don't Hold Your Breath -- Athlete
16. Justine -- T Bird and the Breaks
17. Don't Slow Down Zachary -- Kelli Rae Powell
18. Q&A -- Abby Ahmad
19. The Revealing -- Chris Ayer
20. Sylvia -- Pulp

This is Fine: 2016 Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

1. Everybody Wants To Rule the World -- Lorde
2. This Land is Your Land -- Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings

3. Dear Mr. Man -- Prince
4. Swingers -- Bryan Dunn
5. Natural Disaster -- Mother Feather
6. Wicked Tongue -- Fife & Drom
7. He's on the Beach -- Kirsty MacColl
8. Scared of America -- Jesse D. Ruben
9. Democracy -- Leonard Cohen
10. War Sweater -- Wakey! Wakey!
11. If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next -- Manic Street Preachers
12. My Shot -- The Roots
13. Tinsel Take Down -- Luke Wesley
14. Mr. November -- The National
15. Walk in the Park -- Parlour Tricks
16. Rock 'N' Roll Suicide -- David Bowie

Not Here For This Crap: 2017 Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

1. I'm Afraid of Americans, David Bowie
2. Clampdown, The Clash
3. Do It With a Rockstar, Amanda Palmer
4. Step Off, Kacey Musgraves
5. 76%, Jean Grae
6. Tonight Ain't Gonna Be Good, Lucero
7. She Owns the Streets, The Raveonettes
8. Get Home Safely, Kissy Girls
9. Needed Me, Rihanna
10. Stand By Me, Ki:Theory
11. Blankest Year, Nada Surf
12. Show Me, Kristin Kontrol
13. We the People..., A Tribe Called Quest
14. Marguerita, Rebecca Loebe
15. Chimpanzees, Dynamite James
16. The KKK Took My Baby Away, The Ramones
17. Alternative Ulster, Stiff Little Fingers
18. Sins of My Youth, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
19. City People, Sweet Soubrette
20. We Were Here, BOY
21.And You Get a Car! And You! And You!, Maude Gun

The Me Decade: 2018 Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

1. If You Love Me — Kate Vargas
2. New Agenda — Janet Jackson
3. Long Long Time — Guy Forsyth
4. I Want You — Fefe Dobson
5. Constellation Baby — Mother Feather
6. Dangerous — Caves & Clouds
7. Lost On Me — Abby Ahmad
8. Married Man — Rebecca Loebe
9. What’ll I Do — Nobody’s Girl
10. Don’t Say I Didn’t Warn You (Texas Woman Song) — The Love Leighs
11. Queen of New York — Tancred
12. I Miss You — Kacey Musgraves
13. Outta My Way — Kasey Williams
14. She — Laura Mvula
15. Johnny Cash — Kelley McRae
16. June — Jo Kroger
17. BITS part 2: The Fear — Jean Grae
18. We Only Come Out At Night — The Sugar Stems
19. Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right — Kesha

Changing Climates: 2019 Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

1. Beautiful -- The Go-Go's
2. What's Up Danger -- Blackway, Black Caviar
3. Making the Most of the Night -- Carly Rae Jepsen
4. No Man's Land -- Karen Dahlstrom
5. The Last Wig Shop -- Lara Ewen
6. All This Useless Beauty -- Elvis Costello
7. Surfin Bird -- The Ramones
8. Eh La Bas -- Leyla McCalla
9. My Friend Has a Swimming Pool -- Mausi
10. Contigo -- Yaniza
11. Love Untold -- Paul Westerberg
12. You're Gonna Remember -- Kate Vargas
13. Ultraviolet -- E.W. Harris
14. Risk -- Metric
15. Even Though -- Shwa Losben
16. Love is All Around -- Joan Jett and the Blackhearts

East Side Story: 2010 Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Two years ago, when I found myself in diminished circumstances, I decided to send everybody holiday CD mixes to save money. And damned if it wasn't the most well-received holiday gift season ever. So I'm doing it again, for the third year in a row. This being my first full year in New York, I decided to make a playlist of some of the lovely and amazing people that I've gotten to know. This is by no means an exhaustive list, since that would be a multi-volume work, but it's a nice sampling. Happy new year, you guys!

1. I Hope You Like This Song -- Luke Wesley
2. L.E.S. (Lovely) -- Laura Jean Binkley
3. Sara With No H -- Andy Mac
4. I Could Sing -- Nate Campany and the Serenade
5. Slow Burn -- Misty Boyce
6. Flowers -- Bryan Dunn
7. One Day -- Lara Ewen
8. Take Me Out -- Atomic Tom
9. Brooklyn -- Wakey! Wakey!
10. Selline -- Tim Blane
11. I Don't Wanna Wait -- Rosi Golan
12. Worst Is Over -- Shwa Losben
13. Love Is Here To Stay -- Casey Shea

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Ackloo HQ; Friday Night; 8:14 PM

We are serious people doing serious things. Seriously.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

And Then I Got Dressed As Daria And Hula-Hooped On Allen Street

Shwa Live at Flux Studios

Shwa played a Doctors Without Borders fundraiser at Flux Studios this week. It was a Halloween fundraiser, hence Marty McFly on piano and Wolverine on drums.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Robyn's CMJ Debut...Sorta!

"If anyone knows this song, come up on stage," says Nate. Well, we knew this was inevitable. Also inevitable...strategic placement of yours truly away from any microphone. Good thinking, team.

Featuring Nate Campany, Kyle Patrick, Jenn Dees, Eric Espiritu, Phil Galitzine and Adam Christgau on drums -- all of whom arguably know their way around the stage a tad better than I do. Arguably.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

My Friends Are Internet Sensations

This year I became good pals with the guys in the Brooklyn band Atomic Tom, who have had something of an extraordinary year. They got signed to Universal Republic in January, and there were drinks. They've been performing their asses off, and there were post-show pizzas and omelettes and late nights and more drinks.

But with this YouTube video that they shot on the B train, things have gotten a little ridonk. I saw it when they first posted it, and only a few dozen folks had viewed it, and it made me smile. Then a couple hundred more people saw it. Then a few thousand. Then a hundred thousand. Then the New York Times paid attention. And Wired. Next thing you know, they're lighting up Twitter and their album has shot to #42 on iTunes. The Internet is amazing. And so are my pals, who are pretty handy with real instruments as well, FYI.

Congrats, guys. I hope this sudden notoriety means we can still get omelettes and stuff. Maybe now we can spring for a side of bacon, yes? Yes!

UPDATE (10/20/10): Over 2 million YouTube views, #10 album and #100 single on iTunes, a CNN appearance, and, yes, there has been bacon. And bourbon. A good amount of bourbon. Hooray for everything.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

"Forever Young" Music Video

My friend Ben Wagner made an album of cover songs for his newborn daughter, featuring a lot of my pals from the NY music scene. This video for "Forever Young" features baby pictures of a lot of those musicians, and some of the more illustrious, pigtailed hangers-on (at 2:29).

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Personal Assistant

Everyone needs one...

Saturday, September 11, 2010

New York, I Love You

Before I ever loved a boy, I loved New York City.

I went on an 8th grade field trip to see Beauty and the Beast, stepped off the bus in the middle of Times Square, and knew what it was like to belong somewhere. I came home that night raving to my parents, and they also knew that I was never going to be Philly-for-life.

I applied to Columbia and New York University, and to some other colleges outside the city, but woke up having panic dreams that I got into Boston University, which would have been a perfectly lovely school, but as far as I was concerned it would have been a disaster. I was a tad dramatic about it. And I DID get into BU. But I got into NYU too. Smell ya later, Bahstahn.

And didn't New York deliver. I lived on Broadway and 10th, with sweeping views of Grace Church. I fell in love with a boy. I worked at the Letterman show. I took journalism classes so one day I could write for Entertainment Weekly. It was a beautiful, beautiful time.

I was 20 years old on September 11, 2001. I was in an 8:30 am digital journalism class when someone came into our room and said "I don't know what you want to do about this, but two planes just hit the World Trade Center." Only one girl got it immediately, and ran out of the room to call her mother. The rest of us stared at each other, decided to break up class, and wandered outside. I walked around the corner to LaGuardia and Washington Square South, which is where I saw the towers. Then I got it, too, and turned and walked back to my dorm at Union Square. Then I ran.

I wanted to call my parents, who worked at a military base, thinking they might know something. Nobody on the street was speaking. There was almost no traffic, save for emergency vehicles heading downtown. All the cabs had pulled over and were listening to the radio. That was the only sound. When I got home, I couldn't get a cell signal, so I went outside. In the 20 seconds it took to get outside, the south tower had evaporated, leaving a huge, black cumulonimbus cloud on the horizon. Behind me, a man emerged from the Union Square subway, and had been stuck there through everything. He asked what the hell happened. I told him, "A plane hit the building and the building fell down." Fighter jets screamed overhead. The man looked at me, and just walked past me toward the front of the crowd.

I will not pretend that my experience is the same as those who lost someone that day. Or the same as those who escaped the towers and had to walk home covered in blood and dust. Or the same as those who lost someone overseas fighting for the freedoms that were attacked that day. But I do know that after that day, I canceled my Entertainment Weekly subscription and started paying more attention to the news. I loved the band U2, but I stopped wishing Bono would shut up about politics, and instead I read about Africa. Having seen the worst that people could do to each other, to MY CITY, I chose to believe in the best of people, and wanted to work for that. That's what led me to leave NYC for DC, and what eventually called me back home to work for the ACLU.

Today I'm back in New York, watching boats traverse the East River outside of the window of my beautiful apartment, and listening to the names of victims being read on NY1. I work near Ground Zero, and still think the skyline looks wrong without the towers. It will never look right to me. I still have a hard time watching footage of the disaster, and will often physically shudder or retch when I see pictures of it.

But my relationship to New York remains the most stable and functional one in my life. I still know what it's like to belong somewhere, and I'm so grateful for this place, for its people, and for the thousand small daily moments that remind me how incredible, and indomitable, this city is. Tonight, NYC and I will have a drink, and listen to music, and gather with other people who know and appreciate that no ideology is bigger than humanity at its best.

It is still a beautiful, beautiful time.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Real Women Ride Fake Bulls

This Saturday night, my gal friends and I dressed up cute, knocked back some whiskey, went to a bar that played karaoke-worthy hair metal and was populated with a dozen bronzed B&T bachelorette parties and rode mechanical bulls until our thighs ached.

That's pretty much it.

Oh, and we saw a lady's naughty place. Please people, if you're gonna ride the mechanical bull, be classy. Wear underpants. For the benefit of all of us. Or at least bring wetnaps. The more you know. XO

Oh, fine. Audio/visual aids below. Of me and my classy friends. Not vajayjays. Pervs.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Soup Is Not A Joke

Here's the deal, people. I'm a professional lady of many talents, but I take my homemaking skills seriously. Beds are made every morning. Brownies are made from scratch, preferably with hazelnut spread. And soup? Soup is a goddamn religion.

We all know that homemade chicken soup is infused with magical powers. It just is. But when I say homemade, I mean you don't start with a box of Campbell's broth. Bullshit. NO. You start with a damn chicken. Like Perdue. You wanna kill the sucker yourself, go for it, but really, that's magic overkill.

You immerse the chicken in water. You simmer it. You chop vegetables. You watch the Oscars for four hours while it turns into liquid gold. You tend to that sonofabitch. You drain it. You skim it. You pick its dead carcass. You get meat out of vertebrae. It's messy and involved and infused with LOVE.

Then you freeze it. You wait until you or a loved one fall ill. Then you bring it out of cryonics to save the day, like Stallone in Demolition Man. Chop up a few more veggies. Add some egg noodles. What's that, cold virus? FUCK YOU. YOU ARE NO MATCH FOR UNBEATABLE SOUP LOVE MAGIC. BE GONE.

And that's what soup is all about.

I cooked up a ton of this recently. I decided I would have it for my dinner at work this week. So I brought 2 quarts of it in Tupperware, and put it in the Ackloo fridge. Out of the way. Not taking up much space. Ahn. I'd be healthy, well-fed, and if anyone fell ill, I could easily deliver the magic elixir to them on the way home. Soup love magic!

So on Friday night, after a hard day of doing nothing much except SAVING THE WORLD AND STUFF, I just wanted a bowl of soup. So at 6, I went off to the fridge and...


No soup.

No Tupperware.

No magic.

No dinner.

So I did the only logical thing. I bitched about it on Twitter, fired off some incensed texts to friends about a soup thief, and then I blogged it out. It's a process.

I can only hope that this was some Les Miserables-type-shit wherein someone was so desperately ill and poor that they were too ashamed to even ask for the soup. That would be heartwarmingly lame.

But I think it was just a thieving douchenozzle.

So. Hours of preparation. Gone. Just think about that the next time you raid the office fridge. You're not just stealing dinner. You're stealing magic.

I hope you choke on a magic egg noodle, soup thief.

UPDATE: The soup apparently fell victim to an overzealous cleaning crew on Friday. I have recovered my Tupperware. I have not, however, recovered my indignation. Aggressive labeling system now in place for all fridge commodities.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

In Praise of Zelda the Turkey

Like anyone else who falls in love with New York, I'm a sucker for the marquee attractions. I visit the Met at least once a month, I swoon over the skyline, and godsohelpme I love Rockefeller Center at Christmas. But it's the little things that make for an enduring affair. One of my very favorite little things about New York that few people know about is Zelda the turkey.

Maybe I'm ornithologically biased because I'm a big old birdwatching nerd, and I've mentioned Zelda briefly before, but I think the fact that there's a wild turkey living in Battery Park for no discernible reason other than she just seems to like it there is charming as hell. She even has her own Wikipedia entry. She's a bona fide New York character. And she's named after F. Scott Fitzgerald's wife, who at one point was found wandering in Battery Park in the grip of madness. If that's not New York gothic, I don't know what is.

But as for Zelda the turkey, she seems to be pretty well-adjusted. She's been in Lower Manhattan for years, she takes tourists in stride, and happily wanders among the people lining up for the Statue of Liberty ferry, though she will get a little annoyed when kids chase her. The other day she sat next to me as I ate my dinner in the park. It was awesome.

And there are no male turkeys reported in the area. Zelda does not seem to mind. She is her own turkey. We could learn a lot from Zelda.

Here's a brief video of Zelda saying hello. It's not my best cinematography, and I inadvertently cut it off early because I was so delighted she was coming over, but you get the idea. Viva Zelda.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Music Monday: Starring Lara Ewen, Luke Wesley, Grace Love, The Swell Season, Bryan Dunn,and Kelli Rae Powell

Oh, Park Slope. So manicured. So genteel. Give or take the odd brutal tire iron beating. So posh. So goddamn hard to get to from the Upper East Side. I mean, really. Can the F train work with me even once? No? Dammit, you guys.

Such is my commitment to hanging, though, that I've been clocking a lot of hours at Bar 4 lately. One of the reasons is the lovely Lara Ewen, who sings some pretty tunes when she's not getting me into a reasonable amount of trouble:

Also this week, Bar 4 hosted the Local Correspondents Tribute to Radiohead, featuring Luke Wesley:

...and Grace "American Idol-bound" Love

But it's not only folks I know rocking the Slope. On a gloriously mild evening, I went to see the Swell Season at Prospect Park, and oh my goodness, wasn't it lovely. Seriously, I think it was one of the best live shows I ever saw. This is one of the more quiet moments:

But lest the Lower East Side feel left out, I spent some time at Rockwood with Bryan Dunn, accompanied by the soon-to-be-wed Kelli Rae Powell:

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Aruba Haiku-ba!

Postcards may be an endangered species. With wireless everywhere, you're never really out of touch. But I'm still a little old-school. I like sending them. And from what I gather, people still like getting them. Getting real mail is fun! The problem, though, is that it's hard to make vacation postcards exciting. You have next to no room to write (though this is less of a problem if you're a skilled Twitterattzo), but really..."Having a great time! It's lovely here! See you soon, SUCKERS." Not the world's greatest prose.

But Lisa and I have this figured out. We decided to detail last month's vacation in a bunch of haiku poems, and distribute them among our pals. We put a lot of thought into this. We made sure that no two people in the same social circle received the same poems. Of course, this assumes, pretty narcissisticly, that our pals would be so damn delighted that SURELY they would be comparing which little nuggets o'verse they received from us. Which is highly unlikely. But the point is we were being THOUGHTFUL.

So, five weeks after the fact, we're pretty sure that the third-class mail system has delivered all of the postcards (I said we were thoughtful. I didn't say we weren't cheap), so here is the complete Aruba Haiku-ba collection. Poetry, you guys. Classy stuff.

Get up, go to beach.
Drink, eat. Go to beach. Eat more.
Life is very hard.

Poor application
of SPF 70
yields grotesque patterns.

The girl is splotchy.
Kerry just wanted a base.
The skin cancer brews.

Mission Statement
Our mission here is
to keep a constant buzz and
wear no proper pants.

Dangerous terrain
and guess what? You are driving.
This is not a joke.

The jeep bumps along
and I never thought this was
how I'm gonna die.

Parrotfish seems nice
but he's only using you
for your Wonder Bread.

Well, in retrospect,
Kite Runner and Black Dahlia
make for weird beach reads.

Single men are scarce.
It's okay, there is some rum.
Birds flock to the bar.

Just when things look bleak
along comes the Dutch navy.
There is hope again.

Hors d'Oeuvres
Cheese is so awesome.
We eat a lot of gouda.
Yum on a triscuit.

Mistaken Identity
Who is the old guy
singing Sinatra? Oh, it's
the prime minister.

Good Morning
I don't care that it's
only 10:30. There is
rum to drink, dammit.

Cocktail Hour
Ice clinks in Robyn's
glass, signaling a request:
More coconut rum.

Uninvited Guest
The sea is tranquil.
Calm. Clear. Without disturbance.
'Til fish in my pants.

Threat From Above
Pretty sky. I look
up to see blue. Or am I
soon pelican food?

Either Way A Winner
Icy clear with salt
makes me happy. Ocean? Or
margarita glass?

Acid Reflux
Lasagna is good.
I'm uncomfortably full.
It's cool...I caught it.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Shwa Returns to New York

Our buddy Shwa has been in LA this summer doing...whatever the hell it is you do in LA. Lest we be bereft for too long, he came back for a visit recently, and treated us to some songs at Rockwood.

Here's his cover of Beck's "Sexx Laws"

And the best song written about "Rookie of the Year," maybe ever.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Monday, July 12, 2010

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

This Week-ish In Music: LES Shuttle Run Edition (Starring Tim Blane, Bryan Dunn, the Ramblers, Kyle Patrick, Luke Wesley and Misty Boyce)

You guys remember the shuttle run? It was part of that godawful presidential fitness challenge they made you do in gym class, and it required you to run a short distance, pick up an eraser, run back, put the eraser down, run back, twist your knee, writhe around on the floor a little, then go to the nurse and get an ice pack and be really satisfied with yourself that you took yourself out of commission before you had to run the mile. At least that's how I remember it.

ANYWAY, the past few days I've been doing a shuttle run of sorts between Allen and Houston Streets, dashing between Rockwood and the Mercury Lounge, and various watering holes and cafes in between. I'm willing to admit it bordered on the compulsive this weekend. That's why I'm totally changing it up and going to hang in Park Slope for a while. Diversity is good.

We started things off Thursday night at Rockwood 2 with Mr. Tim Blane and company:

Then on Saturday, it was over to the Mercury Lounge for Bryan Dunn and his BADASS cover of "Careless Whisper":

Bryan's original stuff isn't half-bad either:

Also at the Merc that night were our pals the Ramblers:

Then, just after the Ramblers were finished, it was time to dash around the corner to Rockwood to see Kyle Patrick:

And then a couple days later, it was back to Rockwood 2 for Misty Boyce:

...and Luke Wesley and Mike Grubbs!

Phew, you guys!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Fireworks Over the East River

Filmed from my apartment. New York is awesome.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Aruba Vacation: The Video: The Blog Post

Beauty. Terror. Ostriches.

Oh, and for those who need context on the whole moth thing, please see last year's Robyn vs. Moth. It's a Robyn Happens classic.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Local Correspondents Tribute to Ourselves

Well, isn't this precious.

Bar 4 often hosts tribute nights. Previous rock fests have included tributes to Bruce Springsteen, Madonna, and Tom Petty. This Friday saw an unprecedented event: the tribute to ourselves.

Yep. Kids from the scene covering kids from the scene. The ultimate tribute to peers.

And so NOT an indication that we've run out of ideas. Perish the thought.

Here's Jessi Robertson covering Kevin Johnston:

Andy Mac covering Michael Wagner:

Jeremiah Birnbaum covering Debbie Miller:

And Lara Ewen covering Bryan Dunn:

Sunday, June 13, 2010

This Week(-ish) In Music: Starring Kyle Patrick, Jesse Ruben, Athlete, Bryan Dunn, Bucky Hayes and Lara Ewen

Kyle Patrick and Jesse Ruben covering Sam Cooke at Rockwood 2. Classy!

Athlete at Bell House. Hey, America. Now that we've got a little U.S./England angst out of our system, let's get on board with this band. The UK's already figured out how awesome they are. You should too.

Also in Brooklyn, Bucky Hayes and the Radio played at Union Hall, and featured the amazing colossal Lara Ewen. Hey, you guys. She says "shit." Deal.

And Bryan Dunn kicked a little ass that night, too. I said "ass." Cope.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Icy Cool Feel of Victory

The most triumphant video you will see all year...

Monday, June 7, 2010

Robyn vs. Window Air Conditioning Unit (A Tragedy)

In which we discover that sheer pluck and a stubborn resolve to stick to an agenda are not enough to cool off an apartment.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

It's 94 F**king Degrees In My Apartment

Sometimes toughing it out is for tiny babies.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Deconstruction of a Monday Night

Memorial Day evening. Allen Street. This is Rosi and Phil singing a sweet song at Rockwood 2. Lovely, civilized. Ahn. But that barely perceptible drunken giggling off-camera hints at more sinister forces at work...

...and then, without warning, we find ourselves in the Van Halen stage of the evening, which is widely regarded as the larval stage between dignified acoustic comportment and karaoke chaos...

...and then, I don't know, you guys. Journey. Purple pants. Unbridled shredding. Difficult-to-maintain camera angles. Magic. You know? You know.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Carolyn Stories

I lost my best friend on May 29, 2003. The position, for all intents and purposes, remains unfilled.

This is Carolyn. She was almost 23. She was beautiful, sweet, and kicked serious ass:

Carolyn and I met in junior high. Here, she and Kyra are re-enacting the movie poster of the Charlie Sheen-Emilio Estevez opus, Men at Work while on vacation in Rehobeth Beach. This behavior is kind of why we became friends.

On paper, Carolyn and I didn't make much sense. I was a bookish, Type-A, spiritually ambiguous, painfully shy nerd who (at the time) knew nothing about music. She was a bubbly, blond, devout Christian who loved grunge and classic rock, and who struggled with academics, even though she was actually one of the wisest and most intuitive people I ever met.

But Carolyn had a unique, undeniable energy that just made her fun to be around. Which sounds like a cliche thing to say about someone who's died, but I think those on Team 215 who had the privilege of knowing her will back me up on that.

Carolyn had a way of turning mundane suburban exploits into adventures that we talked about years after the fact. And she had a way of articulating things that made my head explode. Everyone in my crew has a Carolyn Story, and can call up a bunch of Carolynisms.

She loved music, and loved to dance. She helped me out in both departments a lot. Her initial intervention: "Robyn. I love you. But you dance like a praying mantis about to eat its mate." This is what friends tell you. When there's no boys around.

She's also responsible for dragging me -- dragging me -- to my first U2 show, because I was reluctant to spend $80 to see "some old-man band." She insisted on going to the Elevation Tour, and it blew my mind, kick-started my musical awakening, sparked my interest in international issues, and eventually led me to abandon the journalism career path to move to DC and start doing PR for nonprofits. Arguably, all her fault. Carolyn's take: "Meh. Zoo TV was better."

And holy crap, did she love amusement parks. If there was a carnival in town, we were going to it and riding every ride until someone puked.

Dorney Park was the ultimate natural habitat. Because it also had a water park. I mean, come ON.

She also accompanied me and my pals Kyra, Melissa, and Meredith to our first unsupervised trip to New York in 1997. We thought we were serious hot stuff. We went to Planet Hollywood, you guys. PLANET HOLLYWOOD.

We also really liked haunted hayrides. Long after we were the oldest ones there without parents. It was just fun. Even that one time when the grim reaper surprised me and I accidentally kicked him in the nuts. Actually, especially that time.

She also helped facilitate my being friends with boys. This was invaluable.

And not taking yourself too seriously. I still miss her guidance there.

We actually became closer after graduation, after I moved to New York. Whenever I came home, she would be the first person I'd call, and I hosted her in my dorm a lot, once I figured out there was more to NYC than Planet Hollywood.

Then, one year, Carolyn got sad. And she struggled. And no matter what we did, or how often we told her we loved her and she could come to us with anything, she couldn't stop being sad. The last time I talked to her, I had just moved to DC and we made plans for her to come see me in June. I told her that now that I had my own place, she was always welcome to hop a train and come hang out if she needed to clear her head. She said she appreciated that, and she loved me. And she asked if I was her best friend. "Yeah, man" (because that's how we talked to each other). "Of course." That was May 23, 2003.

Six days later, at 10 p.m. on May 29, Kyra called me. "I don't know how to say this, but Carolyn just died." I gasped and asked "Is she gonna be okay?" Because that's what your brain does when you get a phone call like that.

I still think about her a lot. I imagine talking to her whenever I meet a new boy, or whenever I'm going through some hard stuff, or when I'm at a U2 concert. Her favorite U2 song is "Stay (Faraway So Close)." I cried when they played it live last year.

I hate how Carolyn's story ended. But that's not what I think about when I think of her. I think about how her favorite color was purple, and how she liked to go to the covered bridge and talk about boys, and how she loved lobster ravioli, and how she tamed the squirrels in her backyard, and how honored she was when we let her light the Chanukah candles, and how we got caught in a lightning storm and thought we were gonna die and when we didn't we laughed until we couldn't breathe...I have a lot of Carolyn Stories.

I just wish I had more. You guys would have loved her.

Dammit, Carolyn. Miss you, Carolyn. XOXOXO

Monday, May 24, 2010

This Week in Musica (Shwa CD Release Edition)

So, Shwa. You know, the dude I've known since junior high and who lived down the street from me in DC but I didn't really hang with until we became grown-ups* and then I drew his fliers and got silly at his gigs** and then I moved to New York and co-opted all his friends? That guy.

ANYWAY, Shwa has a new CD out called Good Times, Good Times (available at iTunes, Amazon and CDBaby, you guys) and we just couldn't let an opportunity like that pass without a well-documented party. Which is what we did at Mercury Lounge last week. It was especially exciting because, in addition to his legendary*** band the Good Times, there was a horn section! Unprecedented in Shwa history! So of course I was asked to film the crap out of it. And I did. Check it out! And buy a CD! If for no other reason, my name's in the credits, like, TWICE****. So there's that.

* Grown-ups being a relative term.
** To put it mildly. 2009, you guys. 2009.
*** In our own minds.
**** Money may have changed hands.

Here's "Treat the Disease," starring drummer Matt's incredibly choreographed hair. Seriously, guys, did we plan that? Because it works.

Then we have the showstopping "Brooklyn Girls,"

And the future bar mitzvah staple "Penultimate Dance." And for those of you with delicate sensibilities, um, he's saying "Shake your Bics." Because that's what you have to do sometimes. To get the ink and all. Yep.

And then "Sandi Don't Worry," which has no horns, but eff it, it's my favorite song on the album. And for those of you with delicate sensibilities, he's saying "fuck."

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Wrens Are Assholes

Just look at this little son of a bitch:

Looks cute, right? Pretty innocuous, yes?


This little fucker is a stone cold killer.

A few weeks ago, you may recall that the Family Shep embarked on an emergency mission to save a chickadee nest. Today I get the following e-mail:

"A few days after you left, the wrens came and cleaned out the Chickadee nest including all the eggs. The only way we could have prevented it would have been to install a wren guard. We didn't know that wrens were so hostile to other species. Dad."

What the hell, wrens? Think you're hot shit with your short little beak and perky little upright tails and your cheerful songs and balancing effect on the insect population? FUCK YOU. We protected that chickadee house. I blogged about it. You have pissed off the whole Internet, wrens. It hates you. Cute Overload will not have your kind.

Go to hell, wrens.

We'll totally look for you on the feeder.

UPDATE I have since been informed that after they destroyed the chickadee nest, they didn't even bother to live in the birdhouse. Worst birds ever.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

"Why Can't You Just Stay In Tonight?"

  • Because there's a really rad band playing.
  • Because my friends will be there.
  • Because my friends are playing in a really rad band.
  • Because of a boy.
  • Because I promised.
  • Because I love me some tapas.
  • Because after seven years of going home on time to cook dinner and watch Jeopardy, I realized I much prefer this.
  • Because it's on the way.
  • Because I've run out of Lost episodes to watch.
  • Because the Obama administration waited until freakin' 6 pm to dump the damn FOIA documents and there's no way I'm going to Gristede's so I might as well go to Allen Street.
  • Because Koz scored tickets.
  • Because I'm not really keen to go home to that empty apartment tonight.
  • Because missing the moment is unacceptable.
  • Because it's pub quiz night.
  • Because it's going to be EPIC, DUDE. EP. ICK.
  • Because the Eagles aren't on TV today.
  • Because I had a crap day at work.
  • Because I live in New York City. Der.
  • Because I need a drink and a hug.
  • Because Jennie made cupcakes.
  • Because it's beautiful out.
  • Because the laundry can freakin' wait.
  • Because I'm gonna be glad I did this when I'm old and boring.
  • Because I already scooped the litterbox and showered this morning, so I'm good.
  • Because this is where I want to be.
  • Because if you had a second chance at the road not taken, you'd do it too.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

NYC Love Letters: Central Park

When I lived in DC, my visits to NYC weren't as frequent as I would have liked them to be. So when I would visit, there were certain items on the itinerary that absolutely had to happen. One of those was to take at least 20 minutes to sit in Central Park, no matter the weather, and watch people go by. Usually I'd go at sunset, over by the Upper West Side's 72nd Street entrance, when all of the families would be out, and people would be going for their evening run, or walking their dog. And I'd always wonder if these people knew how amazing it was to have this place as part of their routine, and if they knew how fortunate they were to be able to walk a few blocks from their apartments and think of Central Park -- Central Park! -- as their own backyard. Did they know how goddamn lucky they were?

Guess what? They do.

Friday, May 14, 2010

This Month In Musica (Boys in Tight Pants Edition)

I've been pretty lame about posting the music clips with any regularity this month, so here's a sample of the past two weeks. Watching all of these at once, two things become clear: 1. I know some very talented folks and 2. I hang out with guys who wear much, much tighter pants than I do. And you know what? That's okay. Honestly, you guys. We're not in DC anymore, are we?

Anyway, here's Nate Campany at Rockwood doing "Audrey":

And Kyle Patrick next door getting all retro with it on "I Only Know How to be in Love":

And Atomic Tom and friends doing an impromptu set that same night. The impromptu part is part of why it's a little hard to hear at first, but it all comes nicely together for the singalong at the end.

See, you stick around the Rockwoods long enough, a set or two is gonna break out. It just happens. So do Queen singalongs. And two-stepping to Led Zeppelin with boys named Ignacio. And that's all I can tell you on the blog. You'll just have to come out for the rest.