Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Dadoo Shep and Flipper the Inflatable Shark

If you come to the Casa de Shep, this will happen.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Misty Boyce and Shwa Losben Live at Rockwood

An oldie but a goodie from Ms. Boyce:

And a new-ish one from Shwa that's becoming one of my favorite weepy-saddo slow jams. Hurts so good.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Lara Ewen and Opera Cowgirls at Bar 4

So here's something that doesn't happen often -- arias at your friendly neighborhood music club.

First, Lara Ewen will crush your heart into tiny, spongy pieces:

And then, THIS. Why is it blurry? Because the sheer operatic power MELTED ALL OF OUR FACES:

Or I was handling electronics with my greasy little chip-grabbing paws. Again. One of the two.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Jeff Litman Live at the American Folk Art Museum

Did you know that the American Folk Art Museum has music every Friday evening? Did you know it's free? Did you know that there's a lot of nuance to quiltmaking? Consider yourself schooled.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Applesauce, Bitches.

It's fall, and our good friend has had oral surgery! That can only mean one thing!


Start with a bushel of apples. You'll know how many apples are in a bushel because it will say so on the pre-packed bag at D'Agostino.

Take 12 apples out of your bushel. Giggle at that sentence, because it sounds naughty. Resolve to work "bushel" into the everyday lexicon. Remember you are making applesauce, and return to the task at hand. This is all part of the process.

Peel the 12 apples. There are many methods for doing this effectively, and they are all annoying. Some go for the fluid spiral peel. Some go for the vertical stripe method. I prefer the frantic whittling technique. Bonus points if you include a few shavings of knuckle, because everyone needs more protein.

Chop the apples in half, and then core them. This is also annoying. Some prefer to cut the apples in quarters and then use a paring knife to carve out the core. This is for tiny babies. I prefer to hack away at the apple, leaving only a vertical strip of core and stem, chopping the pieces as I go. That is how you core an apple when you are not screwing around.

When all of your apples have been chopped with extreme prejudice, place them in a large casserole.

Take out three sticks of cinnamon, and give 'em a good whiff. This also is critical to the process.

Add the cinnamon, 1/4 cup of water and 1/8 teaspoon of ground cloves. Don't have a 1/8 teaspoon measuring tool? Partially fill a 1/4 teaspoon and sprinkle. Good lord, you're not helpless.

Mix the apples and spices, and place the covered casserole in an oven that's been pre-heated to 350 degrees. In lieu of a proper casserole lid, I tightly cover a Pyrex bowl with tin foil, because I cannot have nice things. Also, place the casserole on a baking sheet to prevent the sticky fruit goodness from leaking, burning to the walls of the oven and making you hate your life.

Bake the apples for about an hour. They will be nice and mushy and your apartment will smell amazeballs. Remove the cinnamon sticks. If you like your applesauce smooth, let the apples cool and run them through a food processor. If you're lazy like me, just mash the apples up a bit with the back of a spoon or a potato masher or some damn thing and call it "artisan-style," because no one really knows what that means, and it's an easy way to give ugly food respectability. Branding is life, and life is branding, kids.

You have now successfully made a tasty treat to make you forget the throbbing pain in your gums, and the fact that the Novocaine is preventing you from feeling your own face. Happy autumn everyone.

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Time Shawn Colvin Saved My Life

Evidently, Taylor Swift recently appeared onstage with Shawn Colvin to sing Colvin's 1996 hit, "Sunny Came Home." I know this, because I read Perez Hilton. I think it's charitable to say that Colvin hasn't loomed large in the popular consciousness lately, so this didn't make a ton of sense. But maybe those two bonded while commiserating about being ambushed at award ceremonies by rapper-type people. Sorry, 'Ye, but ODB's "Wu-Tang is for the children" is one of the best bum-rushes of all time. OF ALL TIME.

But anyway, the Swift-Colvin alliance gave this song a bit of a boost, and I started seeing it mentioned on Facebook. I thought, "Oh yeah, THAT song. I haven't listened to that in a while. I like that song...dammit, I REALLY like that song...THIS SONG IS PERFECT AND I CAN'T BELIEVE I WENT THIS LONG WITHOUT IT."

That said, there was one particular day in 2008 when this song exploded back into my brain and fortified me during one of the most harrowing episodes in my life. I was in a relationship that was going bad. Very bad. Dangerously bad. I wanted out, but my live-in boyfriend was nothing if not a master manipulator. He convinced me that no one else would ever want me like he did, so every time I made up my mind to leave, he'd talk me out of it. And I'd hate myself for it, but I stayed. And stayed unhappy.

His behavior started getting more and more controlling and irrational, and money started disappearing out of my bank account. He denied he had anything to do with it, but I was shaken. That Thanksgiving, I told him I was going home alone to think things out, and he should arrange to go to his family for the holiday. The writing was on the wall, and he freaked. He said he would make no such plans, and that he knew I would give in and let him come with me rather than "force" him to spend the holiday alone in our apartment. I called his bluff. I left. He stayed.

It's time for a few small repairs, she said

Over the next four days, he called incessantly. Even after I told him he was scaring the crap out of me and my family, he kept calling. Even after I was sobbing on the floor screaming "I DON'T LOVE YOU," he would just say "It's okay. We'll work it out." I had stomach pains so severe I slept with a heating pad every night. This was beyond unhealthy. This was destructive. I knew I had to go back to our apartment in DC, and tell him it was over, and that he would have to leave.

Count the years, you always knew it

My parents were scared for me. They didn't know how he'd react, and they offered to come with me. He never had been violent before, but he also didn't call me 15 times a day before. I told them not to come. This might have been a little foolish in retrospect, because I didn't know how he'd react either.

Light the sky and hold on tight, the world is burning down

So there I was on Amtrak preparing to do the ballsiest thing I'd ever done in my life and not entirely convinced I'd be able to go through with it. Maybe he would play my sympathies like he always did and cry and tell me how much he needed me and all the other shit that made me change my mind before. I didn't know what to think or how to prepare. So I put on my iPod. And that's when Shawn Colvin came up on shuffle.

Sunny came home with a vengeance

When "Sunny Came Home" came out, I was in high school, and the most taxing tribulations I had been through up to that point were studying really hard for tests, trying out for parts in the school play and that one time asking out that one guy in ninth grade (it didn't end well). So, even though I knew the song, and liked the song, the lyrics were still pretty abstract to me.

She opened a book and a box of tools -- Sunny came home with a mission

But now every line struck home. I caught myself sitting bolt-upright, jaw set, eyes wide while my chest tightened up and I thought my heart was going to burst through the rib cage.

She said days go by, I'm hypnotized...

And I listened to that song...

I'm walking on a wire...

On repeat...

I close my eyes and fly out of my mind...

All the way home.

...into the fire.

That night, I calmly told my boyfriend it was over. He was clearly unhappy, but I was clearly firm. There was no changing my mind this time. Even so, I still didn't totally have the heart to kick him to the curb outright. We would be mature about it. He'd have a month to find a place, get his affairs in order, and get out, and maybe...MAYBE...we could stay friends. He agreed, and it looked like this would end amicably after all.

And then a few days later I found out he stole my identity and opened several credit cards in my name and wrote bad checks and ruined my credit and stole from my account all to the tune of $32,000...so I threw him out and notified my parents, his parents and the police (in that order) because he's a lying, sociopath con artist and any woman who gets near him should run like her hair's on fire. And that's the first time I ever said that in the blog. Feels kinda awesome.

Strike a match, go on and do it

So that's how Shawn Colvin helped give me the strength to walk away from the most toxic situation I ever found myself in, and why I'm glad this song is getting a little love. Sure, it sounds sweet and innocuous, but listen to the words. They're pretty badass. A pretty little thing with moxie. I dig that.

I did manage to absolve myself of about half of the debt, restore my credit and get the hell out of DC and start a more fabulous, if less solvent, life in New York. And the guy? Loooooong story short, he was never arrested, though we really, really tried. Last I heard he's somewhere in Baltimore. But honestly, I have better stuff to do now than chase him down. Dude got to dictate three years of my life. He doesn't deserve anymore. But, if by any chance he's reading this:

She's out there on her own

And she's all right.

More or less.

Sunny came home.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Kelli Rae Powell: Live at Jalopy

Every now and again, we stray from the stomping grounds of the Lower East Side and head to Jalopy in the wilds of Red Hook, where you can drink beer out of Mason jars and pretend you're in O Brother Where Are Thou and get empanadas at Phil's Crummy Corner, the Dominican joint at the end of the block. Red Hook is special.

Y'know who else is special? Kelli Rae Powell. For serious. By day, the woman does music therapy for kids with cancer. And by night, she does this. The rest of us should just pack up and go home, because KRP might be the best person on the planet. And I love her dresses.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Happy 10th Blogiversary!

10 years ago, young Robyn decided to take an elective course in her junior year at New York University called "Digital Journalism" in which we learned about things like "weblogs," or if you were really savvy, "blogs." And our instructor decided that we should all have our own "blogs." And we made them on Dreamweaver 4. And they looked like shit. But they were our little corners of cyberspace, because that was what we still called it. It was a simpler time, back when you could say things like "surfing the net" and not sound like a huge douchenozzle.

I originally started the blog to keep my loved ones informed while I was studying abroad in London. And it was tedious. I didn't drink, didn't get in trouble, hung out with respectable people, nursed a bout of 9/11-induced post traumatic stress disorder and listened to a lot of U2. There. I just saved you three years. It's moderately less tedious now. But with more embedded video.

Though in fairness, it's been an eventful decade. I've came to terms with the loss of my best friend. I went to a historic inauguration. I lost on Jeopardy. I was attacked by a bidet. I learned more than I ever wanted to know about feline and lapine vet care. I looked up the word lapine. I made a bunch of mixtapes and drew a lot of pictures. I met not just one, but two of my all-time heroes. I was held hostage in my apartment by a moth. I scared the crap out of a sexually abusive fuckwad. I left and returned to the city I adore. I saw a shitload of live music. And I lost everything I ever worked for but found myself in the process, learning there are way worse things than being single. It's no accident that's when the blog REALLY started to get interesting.

Happy 10th birthday, little blog. I feel old.

This is easily the most narcissistic post of the whole damn decade. And that's saying something.

Thanks for listening.