Hark! The tenth installment in my indefatigable Christmas mixtape series, entitled The Force Awakens — Yuletunes Eclectic & Inexplicable Perfect X: Final Sequence, is upon us. Side A is, anyway. Side B shall appear like the clanky ghost of Jacob Marley upon Ebeneezer Scrooge’s doorstep in one week’s time.
In the unlucky event your computer or personal electronic device is not equipped with a tape deck, you can stream Side A below. May your days be shiny and chrome, and may the Christmas Force be with you. Continue reading
Posted in Christmas, music
Tagged Christmas, Harrison Ford, James Brown, Johnny Cash, Miles Davis, mixtapes, Neko Case, Nick Lowe, Star Wars, yulejams, yulemixes, yuletunes
Roque (center), one of the three subjects of “The Homestretch,” is too lucky to make a good poster child for homeless youth.
Here’s my review of the disappointing Kartemquin Films’ documentary The Homestretch for The Dissolve. I made a boneheaded mistake in the version of this where I filed wherein I ascribed the phrase “cruel to kind” to Nick Lowe, not to Hamlet — even though I’d already referenced Hamlet earlier in the review, and in fact, the other piece I filed the day I filed this one was a review of King Lear. Embarrassing. Editors sometimes save your neck.
My interest in Christmas music could not be described as casual, and I’ve long admired the songwriting of Nick Lowe, the onetime Jesus of Cool.
So his first — and probably last, but who can say? — holiday album, Quality Street: A Seasonal Selection for All the Family, is pitched squarely at me. I talked to him about it for Sunday’s Washington Post.
Been a while since my byline showed up there. Nice to be back.
Yikes. Just look at this place. I’ve let it all go to seed. Again.
I’ve been writing. I’m writing all the time. I’m just not so good sometimes about keeping my scrapbook in order. And so:
Here’s my Washington Post review of Mavis Staples’s concert at George Washington University Lisner Auditorium two weeks ago and my review of the Gorillaz show at the Patriot Center two nights later, both with some heartening reader comments that speak perfectly to my frustration about being given an arbitary ceiling of 300 words for most of these reviews. Anyway, a week after Gorillaz, I saw Nick Lowe at the Birchmere and took a ridiculous amount of time to collect my thoughts about it. What I ultimately decided is that Nick Lowe is a guy who takes his sweet time doing stuff.
For the theater crowd, here’s my Washington City Paper review of Constellation’s Burtoned-down Women Beware Women. And my debut piece for TBD, a report on last weekend’s Helen Hayes Star Gala. I was delighted my recognition of host Tyne Daly for surviving her 1976 tour of duty with maverick San Francisco Police Inspector “Dirty” Harry Callahan made the cut.
And now for something completely different: Happy birthday today to my beloved friends Christina Sharkey and Rebecca Haithcoat. Many happy returns, Ladies.
The great Nick Lowe was in reprise mode at the Barns of Wolf Trap last night. You can hear an NPR podcast of his September 2007 set at the Birchmere here, which is pretty much the same show he performed at the Barns, with the small exceptions I noted in my DCist review. Good show by a great songwriter, but I’d have preferred more variety, and more songs.
About that: Lowe spent way too much time apologizing, to my mind, for slipping one new song into his 20-tune, 70-minute set. One! He asked us if, when we hear a performer say he’d like to introduce some new material, “Does your heart sink? Because mine does.”
Really? I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the dilemma of the artist with the large, beloved back catalog struggling to make his audience accept his new work. Continue reading