Monthly Archives: July 2007

My 15 minutes have arrived.


Dig this. I’m famous.

Well, no. But it’s nice to get some props from the esteemed Mr. J. Freedom du Lac. Even if he doesn’t understand my enduring love for The Avengers, the greatest television show of all time.

Dig, If You Will, the Picture



The two young loves roll merrily along, en route to meet his parents to celebrate his birthday. On the stereo is “Guitar,” the stratospherically awesome first single from Prince’s decent-but-unexceptional new album, Planet Earth.

PRINCE: I love you, Baby. But not like I love my guitar! (Grabs guitar. Shreds, Edge-style.)

MISS CROOKS: Are you trying to tell me something?

ME: I don’t own a guitar.

MISS CROOKS: That just makes it worse.

Icky Thud


My first White Stripes show was something of a letdown. But, you know, the final third of the 95-minute gig rocked. My review for the Paper of Record is here.

The set, as well as I can recollect (and excluding the songs Jack played for only a riff or two):

01 Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground
02 Icky Thump / When I Hear My Name
03 Death Letter (Son House)
04 ?
05 Little Room
06 Hotel Yorba
07 I’m Finding It Harder to Be a Gentleman
08 I’m Slowly Turning into You
09 I Think I Smell a Rat / One More Cup of Coffee (Bob Dylan)
10 A Martyr for My Love for You
11 In the Cold Cold Night
12 Let’s Shake Hands
13 Ball and Biscuit
14 The Hardest Button to Button

16 ?
17 300 MPH Torrential Downpour Blues
18 Seven Nation Army
19 We’re Going to Be Friends
20 Sam’s Place (Buck Owens)
21 I Just Don’t Know What to Do with Myself (Burt Bacharach / Hal David)

Can’t talk. Writing.


Been busy this week covering the Capital Fringe Festival, which closes tonight. Miss Crooks’s show, Love & War with the Bard’s Broads and Dames, was an unqualified success, I’d have to say, even though the sound cues were way off in the choreography-heavy “The Juliet Letters” half of the show on the night that the City Paper’s Glen Wheldon happened to be there. (His review was mixed-positive — and Miss Crooks is complimented by name on her acting — but shoulda-coulda-woulda been a home run.)

My posts about various Fringe haps are here, here, and here. But I’m most pleased by this one.

Lucinda Williams, Under Many Influences

(A shorter version of this piece is published in today’s Paper of Record. Thanks to whomever it was over there at 15th and L who came up with the headline.)

Lucinda Williams is more than a little bit country and more than a little bit rock and roll. More specifically, she’s a little Hank Williams, a little John Coltrane, a little Chet Baker, and a little Loretta Lynn. Those were the influences she name-checked halfway through her marvelous 100-minute set at Wolf Trap Sunday night, and you could hear the ghosts of all of them — even Lynn, who is, you know, not dead — hovering in the rafters of the Filene Center as Williams took her sweet time working through a program that largely eschewed the hits in favor whatever she damn well felt like playing.

So: a half-dozen from this year’s fine West album, including the slow-burning opener, “Rescue,” and later, the pairing of “Mama You Sweet” and “Fancy Funeral.” That somber two-fer prompted Williams to call an audible for the upbeat “I Lost It,” “because I don’t want everybody to be crying in their beers,” she said. “Well, actually I do.” The night’s liveliest performance was either “Righteously” or “Honeybee,” a new Williams original that sounded like the kind of Bo Diddley stomp that the Rolling Stones might have covered on their earliest records. Williams’s ace band, especially Doug Pettibone’s volcanic electric guitar, shone on both these rockers, though they sounded just as sublime on sultrier stuff like “Unsuffer Me” or “Are You Down.”

A lack of momentum was the gig’s only flaw. That isn’t surprising given Williams’ notorious, unhurried perfectionism — one of the reasons it took her until her mid-forties, and 1998’s Grammy-winning Car Wheels on a Gravel Road, to become a star.

It’s strange to remember now that Williams’ first successes came as a songwriter, with Patty Loveless, Mary Chapin Carpenter, and even Tom Petty covering her material. (“Crescent City,” a Williams song Emmylou Harris recorded prior to its author’s mainstream breakthrough, was one of the show’s rarities.) Because while her songs are frequently superb, it’s Williams’s voice that pierces your heart. Blessed with a naturally-occurring slur, its ragged majesty can imbue even a goofy song like Ed Bruce’s “Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys” with grace.

Williams was confident enough to say goodnight with the unfamiliar “The Knowing,” a West outtake. Here’s hoping it makes the live album this tour richly deserves.

Charlie Louvin opened the show with a trip through one of the deepest and most remarkable songbooks in country music. It was a testament to his influence that many of the songs he performed (“Must You Throw Dirt in My Face,” “Atomic Power,” “The Christian Life”) were familiar from several subsequent generations of musicians having played them. Louvin sang soulfully for an hour — generous for an opener; astonishing for a man who celebrated his 80th birthday earlier this month. “The Christian Life,” indeed.

The Setlist:

1 Rescue
2 Pineola
3 Car Wheels on a Gravel Road
4 Crescent City
5 Mama You Sweet
6 Fancy Funeral
7 I Lost It
8 Still I Long for Your Kiss
9 Righteously
10 Where Is My Love
11 Honeybee (new post-West rocker; amazing)
12 Joy
13 Unsuffer Me
14 Get Right with God

15 Everything Has Changed
16 Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys (yup, that one — Ed Bruce wrote it)
17 Honey Chile (Fats Domino cover)
18 Are You Down
19 The Knowing (West outtake)

Postcards: Dark Lords of the Pith

Arlington-based comix editor Jason Rodriguez’s new graphic anthology, Postcards: True Stories that Never Happened, is published today, along with my DCist review. If you’re free tonight, drop by Olsson’s in Dupont Circle at 7, where Jason will be signing and dicussing the book along with creators Matt Dembicki, Danielle Corsetto, and Robert Tinnell.

Here’s a page from Philip Hester’s “A Joyous Eastertide,” one of my favorite stories from the book.



You can ask for only so much of a single night, but sometimes it’ll give you more all the same: Last night Miss Crooks’s Love & War opened at Touchstone Gallery. It was a great house with lots of friends and lots of friendly strangers present, and for all Miss Crooks’s angst, the show came off splendidly despite a few minor opening-night technical gaffes.

I hopped in a cab right after to get to the 9:30 Club, arriving in time to find my friends and grab a Stella before Drive-by Truckers took the stage at around 10:40 p.m. My DCist review is here, oh Gentle Reader.

“Stroker Ace” Mike Cooley, Rock and Roll Star

THE DIRT UNDERNEATH (sit-down, acoustic)

1 Heathens
2 Love Like This
3 Nine Bullets
4 (Mike Cooley song I didn’t recognize; probably new)
5 (Patterson Hood song; ditto)
6 Space City
7 The Night G.G. Allin Came to Town
8 Lisa’s Birthday (a new Cooley — I think he said that’s the title)



9 Puttin’ People on the Moon
10 (Unknown Cooley song)
11 The Living Bubba
12 Gravity’s Gone
13 Road Cases
14 Where the Devil Don’t Stay
15 Ronnie and Neil
16 Guitar Man Upstairs
17 Lookout Mountain
18 Checkout Time in Vegas (new Mike Cooley ballad)
19 (Patterson Hood song)
20 Women without Whiskey
21 Let There Be Rock


22 A World of Hurt
23 Zip City
24 Buttholeville / State Trooper (Springsteen cover!)
25 People Who Died

Love & War, Rehearsed

So, Miss Crooks’s Fringe Festival show, Love & War with the Bard’s Dames and Broads, opens tomorrow night. You can get a two-for-one ticket deal if you act fast. Meanwhile, the CityPaper’s Dave Nuttycombe has posted some video he shot at their rehearsal the other night as part of CP’s Fringe & Purge coverage. Here it is for your viewing pleasure.

I hope to see you all there!

Glaswegian Wood

My review of Travis’s fine set at the 9:30 Club Monday night is in today’s Paper of Record. I had pretty much forgotten about these guys in the six years since I first heard them on Morning Becomes Eclectic, but they proved themselves to be an act worth remembering. Kyle Gustafon has posted some great photos from the show, including the shot of Fran “my eyes are alwayas smilin'” Healy below.


(I don’t know what a Jaffa cake is, either. I’m sure the Internet could supply an answer in mere seconds, but I like the mystery.)

Muddy Buddies!


Just back from Richmond for my second Muddy Buddy and my first since 2004. When my partner, the lovely Ms. Tracy Webb, had to drop out earlier this week, you didn’t need to have seen more than one Meg Ryan movie to know that Miss Crooks’s partner would bail, too, leaving the two of us to do the race together. We finished — well, we weren’t the last finishers in Heat 6 (coed, combined age 56-65). She’s an actor and director, dammit; not an athlete. And I’m proud of her.

Pretty lame swag at the race this year compared to when I did it in San Dimas, CA in ’04. Trail socks? Gee, thanks. But the race shirts were Under Armour’s moisture-wicking mofos (TM) this time. It’s nice to have a race shirt you can actually run in; when you sweat like I do, cotton doesn’t cut it. You gotta get something for that hefty race registration fee, especially when the official race photo costs — wait for it — $49.99 for a freaking download.

I bought the 8″x10″ print for “only” $23.98. I’ll replace the low-res proof in this post with a scan when it arrives.


Another photo arrives. I had been puzzled by the fact that the three different claim codes we were given all linked to the same shot.


The mud-coat makes us look kind of like the cast of the nude MacBeth.


Miss Crooks finds this one in the Muddy Buddy Gallery.


Art Initiates Life

. . . under new management.

Behold the first installment of my tenure at the Examiner‘s ArtLife desk. We’ll see how it goes. Depending on how your PDF viewer gets along with your web browser, you may have to select page 23 from the menu at left. I got a nice blurb on the cover, though, featuring Leger’s The Mechanic, which we reproduce below for your cultural enrichment and viewing pleasure.