May 10th, 2010

The Week That Was 5.9.10

Some people shouldn’t be allowed a public forum. When the founding fathers came up with this country it wasn’t Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of ReTweetiness. Oh, you don’t think they would have been able to see the future of social media? I beg to differ. I’ve met Ben Franklin on more than one occasion. Dude has a time machine.

All too often, people have used their connectedness to take jabs at others. It has been happening for centuries upon centuries. From Aristophanes taking shots at Socrates in The Clouds to petty twit-fights between one-time friends. I’ve been guilty of it on more than one occasion. I took to twitter when my ex-landlord “stole” half of my deposit and once decided it would be downright hilarious to make a cheap joke at the expense of an ex-lover in the name of blogeriffic satirical sports humor.

The performers of the world get a bit of a pass. I was at the Ben Folds concert Saturday night at House of Blues Houston. The great thing about having a solo artist perform without a backing band is that there is a bit more downtime just to talk to the audience. Before one song Folds quieted the keys and told the story behind “Brainwascht” to the crowd. It goes like this: Songwriter gets one side of story, writes crappy song, puts it on album and then inspires Mr. Ben Folds to write the most scathing song on Way to Normal. Taking a listen to the song you might be inclined to think “whoa, Ben. Let up, my man. No need to out some guy for getting ‘blown in the basement, while your wife slept.’” [Note: Through extensive interwebz research, I came across this theory on who the song is about - To the Internet Forums!]

The moral of the story is this: Don’t take to Twitter or your silly sports blog or facebook status because you get your feelings hurt by some criticism or mild injustice. It all makes you look like a tool. BUT toss those backhanded jabs in with a couple chords and a catchy chorus and you are good to go.

Ok, ok… On to The Week That Was…

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SLGT Tweet-Up – (Foundation Room/Bronze Peacock/Wherever) (Paul)
Speaking of the Twitteratti, let’s jump right into their world. Look, I have less than 150 followers on Twitter. That is what we call “a good thing.” I don’t really have anything important to say. I use it for song lyrics, self-promotion and self-deprecation (yet, I’m writing in the public forum right now… I’m just full of duplicity). JR Cohen, on the other hand, has many important things to say. One of his current passions is the #SLGT movement (Support Local, Grow Together). The impassioned entrepreneur took to the stage between musical acts to talk about his mission, the people supporting it and where he sees SLGT in the future. It’s difficult to ignore such a cause in Houston. I may or may not have been drawn to the event to see Andrew Karnavas play for the second time in two weeks, but I left with a reinforced city-centric spirit. Follow them on Twitter. Like them on facebook. Whatever you do, awareness is the most important thing.

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The Imaginarium of Doctor Orange (Marc)
Saturday’s schedule was quite full, but foremost on the list of things to do was catch the Art Car Parade. The theme on Saturday could have been Movies that were better left on video as two Ghostbuster vehicles and the cop car from Blues Brothers all made appearances. Throw in the car promoting the Young Frankenstein and I couldn’t figure out if I was at the art car parade or a big budget Halloween Party. There were also a myriad of cars that just left you scratching your head wondering “how the hell did they come up with that?” I’ve always thought that I have an active imagination, but the owners of the cars that participated in this year’s event put me to shame. After taking a tour of the cars before the parade, my only question was how people were supposed to actually drive some of the contraptions. My favorite car had to be the souped up radio flyer, which offered proof to the saying that “the only difference between men and boys is the size of the of their toys.”

At it’s heart, the art car parade is for the kid in all of us. Never was this more apparent then watching a little boy throw paint on the Jackson Pollack car. When asked if he wanted to “help finish the car,” he eagerly nodded in the affirmative, but once handed the paint can, he was certain that he had misunderstood the directions and stood quizzically peering up at his mother. Only after securing her approval did he tentatively step up to car and gingerly pour the paint on to the awaiting canvas it provided. It made me think that I would have just greedily splashed the paint onto the car and continued on my way, while this little boy actually appreciated the unique spectacle that we were all witnessing. The best part of the afternoon was that on the way home, I found an El Camino for sale. What could be a better base for my 2011 Art Car than everyone’s favorite car truck hybrid.

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The Actual First Sip (Marc)
As I mentioned in the Procrastinator’s Plan, I was lucky enough to get invited out to the Inaugural tasting at the No Label Brewery out in Katy. They couldn’t have asked for a nicer day to spend outside with friends, family and beer. The kids had a great time running around blowing bubbles, shooting projectiles and hoola hooping, while the adults enjoyed the samplings of No Label’s craft brews. They were also selling merchandise like tshirts and beer glasses. I picked up a pint glass to add to my collection and sampled some of the tasty brews that Brian Royo has been crafting in his laboratory. El Jefe, a hefeweizen and the Pale Horse, a Pale Ale, were far and away my favorite. And by favorite, I mean get me a keg stat. Hopefully they’ll be producing on a much larger scale in the near future and we’ll start seeing their beers at many of the neighborhood watering holes. [Check No Label's new Facebook Page]

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Song for the Dumped (Paul)
Ben Folds has no chin. Ben Folds looks like an accountant. Ben Folds has gotten more action than any of us ever will and has been married more times than Hemingway. Ben Folds puts on one hell of a live performance. These are all undeniable facts.

When I was offered a free ticket to the show at House of Blues Houston I didn’t hesitate to accept it. The last time I saw Folds was at Wareshouse Live during his the tour in support of Way to Normal. This concert started off in much the same way with an Australian/Kiwi opening act (Missy Higgins last time, Kate Millker Heidke this time around). But in every other conceivable way it was different and much better than the show two and a half years ago. It was exactly as billed: “Ben Folds and a Piano,” a black Steinway & Sons grand piano, in fact. Like I mentioned in the intro, with the minimalist approach comes a degree of intimacy that is unmatched. The crowd becomes the backing band that Folds relies upon on more than one occasion to pick up the chorus harmonies or even the lyrics altogether when he stumbles.

I never really liked “Brick.” There. I said it. The song that put Ben Folds on the map doesn’t do anything for me. Thankfully, I think Folds is tired of the song as well. He leaves it in the vault during the show. Not that the crowd minds. Songs like “The Luckiest” or “Zak and Sara” seem to get more of a reaction than taking the tone out at the knees and singing about abortion. Now if he substituted “Brick” with “Song for the Dumped” or the album version of “The Bitch Went Nuts,” I would be an even happier man.

One more thing to point out about the show: $6.50 for a Lone Star or Pabst Blue Ribbon is absolutely ridiculous, House of Blues. As Ben Folds would say/sing, “give me my money back, give me my money back, you bitch.”

— Paul

Comments

Lauren — Tuesday, May 11, 2010 7:33 am

Ben was AWESOME. It was good to see him return to his core of just using his piano as a form of aggressive therapy and paying people to watch it.

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