Thursday, January 31, 2008

The 25th Show

File Under: Music Obsessions

Another post about The Go-Go's. C'mon, you knew it was going to happen. My previous post was all about them, and about seeing them again. Last night was show # 25. I was not disappointed.

The evening began with my friends Anthony, John and of course Vahona meeting at the House of Blues. We sat down and had some dinner. We exposed John to full-on Go-Go lunacy. Thankfully he was not scared. We finished dinner and went to our places in the theatre. I had two reserved stools for the evening. We were on the main level, stage left, about 20 feet back from the stage. Vahona and Ant were down in the trenches, stage right, in front of Jane's spot.

Many of the regulars were in attendance, familiar faces from past shows. It was nice seeing them, and catching up with them on their lives, sharing a laugh, sharing our excitement for yet another show.

The opening act was a band from Madison, WI called "Whore du Jour." They're a band whose first album is being produced by Jane Wiedlin. Not 2 minutes after saying to John "I wonder if Jane will come out and introduce the band," Jane came out to introduce the band. As she looked over the crowd, she looked my way, did a double-take looked at me, smiled and waved. :) Whore du Jour was good, but they're not the reason we were there.

The Go-Go's came on at 10. They looked great. They sounded great. Their on-stage banter was funny and their interaction with one another was fun. They performed 19 songs, their setlist was an even retrospective of their career.

The real fun happened after the show. I secured after-show passes for us and apparently very few passes were handed out. Now, my last after-show experience at this venue was a 2 minute chat with Kathy and Jane in an upper balcony. I wasn't expecting anything more last night. Well, I was wrong. We were ushered to a freight elevator, taken upstairs and told to go through a doorway and turn right. In we walked and seated was Belinda. Looking stunning and relaxed after an energetic show. Charlotte was in the room, she and Bradford (the band's manager) were chatting. There was a moment of stunned silence, only broken when she said "Hi." There is a bit of blur surrounding all that took place but Bradford introduced himself to me, then learning just who I was (I had contacted him to obtain the passes), he asked me if I'd met the band and began introducing me to Belinda, telling her of my efforts with the Star Fund (I'm part of a committee working to secure a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for The Go-Go's). We chatted about that for a couple minutes and Belinda quipped "well, now that Johnny Grant is dead, maybe we'll have a chance." We all laughed. She thanked me for all we've done. Jane and Kathy came in and both of them came over to give me hugs.

We chatted with Jane the longest, about her move to Madison, about Whore do Jour, about her boyfriend who is in the band, and about how much fun can be had in Chicago. I suggested that she contact us to arrange a visit to Chicago an let us show her around. As quickly as I said that, she whipped out her iPhone and said "okay, give me your phone numbers!" So we did. We'll see if she calls. I'm guessing she'll drunk dial one of us. At 2 am, Vahona's phone will ring, and there will be this slurred pixie-like voice saying "hey baby, what are you wearing?" I'll probably get a call saying "Is your refrigerator running? Well you'd better go catch it! HA HA HA HA HA" *click*

We took one group picture, here it is:

(complements of Anthony)
Kathy Valentine, me, John, Jane, Vahona, Anthony.

As I've been known to do, I brought my Gnome. John brought his too. We giggled as we took them out of our pockets and set them on the table in the room. Belinda looked down and noticed them. She was definitely intrigued. She kept looking. I saw curiosity and amusement in her eyes and a slight smile on her face. Or it was "oh Jesus, get me away from these fucking losers." I think it was more the former than the latter.
Jane saw the Gnomes and decided they looked tasty. So here's the 2008 version of the "let's do something wacky and eat the Gnome picture."
And with that, our evening ended. We gathered our things and went home. I was awake until almost 2 am, giddy from the excitement of the evening.
I awoke at 5:45 this morning, got out of bed, got ready for work and was at my desk at 7:30 am. My ears are still ringing, my throat still hurts and the entire city is under a winter storm warning but I'm in a really good mood right now.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Less Than 24 Hours

File Under: Musical Obsessions
Tomorrow, I'm seeing The Go-Go's. Again. Tomorrow's show will be the 25th time I've seen them. Yes, I said 25. I'm as excited about seeing them tomorrow as I was when I was a pimple-faced 15 year old, when I thought I had a crush on Belinda Carlisle. :)
Over the years I've been so fortunate to have made great friends and through those great friends, I've made some connections that have allowed me to get a bit closer to the band. Now, before you go and call me a starf**ker, I've earned my place. I helped conceptualize and develop a page on their website back when they were embarking on promotion of "God Bless The Go-Go's." What a delight it was when The website was discussed on the Fox News Network about how it had enraged the Catholic League.
I've had so much fun meeting the band and they've all very nice. Jane is by far the most outgoing of the group and even after a couple of years between seeing them she still remembers my name and goes out of her way to give me a hug and kiss.
Why have I hung on as a fan all these years? Who knows. But it's fun, and it's relatively harmless so I don't see any reason to quit.
Now, as I've been prone to do with my posts, I will share with you some pictures.
May 2001, photo by Jim Ginter
Hangin' with Jane and Charlotte, March 2001.

Photo op with Belinda, May 2001.

Stalking the band, March 2002.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Welcome Back, Paige!

File Under: TV Obsessions

She's back!

(special thanks to Dan, aka 41North87West, for reminding me that I wanted to make mention of Trading Spaces in my blog.)

I used to be a fan of the TLC show Trading Spaces. You know the one where two homeowners agree to redecorate a room in each other's house. They have 2 days and $1000 bucks. Each team has a designer, and there's a carpenter to build stuff. The person who held things together, helped as needed and hosted the show was Paige Davis. The formula was simple and fun. The talented designers showed that you could do a lot at home for a relatively small amount of money. There was the element of unpredictability when Hilda Santo-Tomasz was one of the designers. Remember the wall of straw?

In 2005, the producers of the show made a shocking more host. Paige was fired so that the show could move in a "new direction." Ratings fell but the show still managed to survive, barely.

New producers stepped in and decided that the show needed to go back to what worked, they needed to go back to what made the show such a success in the first place. Paige was asked to return, as were designers Hilda Santo-Tomasz, Frank Bileck, Laurie Smith and Doug Wilson. The first new episode aired on Saturday 1/26 and it was fun to see the "old gang" back doing what was so entertaining and what made the show such a success in the first place. :)

Trading Spaces airs Saturday nights at 8 pm Central on TLC.

(photo above goes uncredited for now. It's lovely and I will give credit for it once I know whose it is)

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Scenes From the Curb

File Under: Stuff and Nonsense

Vahona and I like street fairs. Food on a stick, people watching, vendor booths and live music. Last summer I drove to Portage to whisk Princess Whoosh off to Chicago for some street fair fun. We went to the Southport Street fest where we had a fun day in the sun. We took a break and sat on the curb to listen to some live music. While down there, we watched the crowd dancing. I took this little video because we were entertained by this person. Mind you, we don't know who she is, and I'm sure she's a very lovely individual and I'm not saying anything bad about her dancing. I'm just not saying anything good about it.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

She's done it again

File Under: Egomaniac

Oprah, or Poperah as my best friend Dan (41north87west) calls her started small. She took over as host of a local show called A.M. Chicago. Then it became The Oprah Winfrey Show, and then she got a big ass studio, then she was in some movie, then she got a magazine, then she opened a school in South Africa. Now, she's getting a cable network.

I'll let Patsy and Edina sum up my thoughts on this latest venture:

What's For Dinner?

File Under: Sometimes I Like to Cook!

I don't watch a lot of TV but I do have my shows that I like. One network that I watch a lot is The Food Network. I love tuning in to see how much butter or mayonnaise Paula is adding to her recipes, I get a kick out of seeing Ina dote over her husband and party with her gaggle of gay friends, I laugh whenever Semi-Homemade "Aunt" Sandy says "It's Cocktail time." Girl loves her booze! I relate most to the things that Giada De Laurentiis prepares. Her recipes are easy to follow and they produce excellent results. Here's a recipe for the most recent dish I prepared.

Prosciutto Ravioli
Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis

Recipe Summary
Difficulty: Easy
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Yield: 6 servings

1 (15-ounce) container whole milk ricotta cheese
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, squeezed dry
4 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, chopped
2 large egg yolks
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
48 wonton wrappers
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano Freshly grated pecorino

Whisk the ricotta, spinach, prosciutto, egg yolks, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl to blend.
Place 1 tablespoon of the ricotta filling in the center of a wonton wrapper. Brush the edge of the wrapper lightly with water. Fold the wrapper in half, enclosing the filling completely and forming a triangle. Pinch the edges to seal. Transfer the ravioli to baking sheets. Repeat with the remaining filling and wrappers. (Can be prepared up to 2 hours ahead; cover and refrigerate.)

Melt the butter in a heavy small skillet over medium heat. Add the oregano and stir 1 minute. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat. Working in batches, cook the ravioli in a large pot of boiling salted water until just tender, stirring occasionally, about 4 minutes per batch. Transfer the ravioli to a large shallow bowl.

Pour the oregano butter over the ravioli and toss gently to coat. Sprinkle the pecorino over the ravioli and serve.

Try it, you'll really enjoy it!

Do you like to cook? Do you have a recipe you recently tried and were pleased with the results? Post a comment and tell me about it.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

This is DeDe

File Under: Friends

Who says that your friends are people who you see in person on a regular basis? Thanks to these things called computers and the internet, you can make friends with people around the world. Well, DeDe doesn't live around the world, she lives San Jose, CA. Thanks to The Go-Go's, DeDe and I became friends.

I was first introduced to DeDe through another friend who I met in line at a Belinda Carlisle show in 1990. She told me about this woman in California who published a fan magazine for the band and told me to contact her. I did, and we conversed by mail from time to time.

Not long after, I got my first computer with all the bells and whistles, including a modem. I signed up for AOL, and soon after I found a Go-Go's message board. DeDe welcomed me with open arms. It was fun back then, there wasn't a lot to talk about since the band had been disbanded for some time but the individual members were doing solo things and there had been rumblings of another reunion. The message board was fun as there were regulars on there - DeDe and I, along with Doug, Melissa and Joseph. More than the rest of the people on the board, I became friends with them.

DeDe asked me to become a co-editor of "Beatnik Beat," the Go-Go's fanzine. I answered letters and wrote a column for each issue. It was fun having a bit of an "inside peek" into the lives of the band members. We got each of them to do interviews for us, we wrote questions for them. DeDe, being a California girl, would go to shows and get autographs and memoribilia and send things to me.

In 1999, The Go-Go's announced a reunion tour, all of the dates were taking place on the west coast. Thanks to DeDe's prompting, I flew out to San Francisco and began a week-long journey during which time I saw 4 shows. Best of all, I finally got to meet DeDe in person and it felt as if we had been friends for a lifetime. Good thing, considering we were spending the next few days together, much of that time in a car, a van, or on an airplane. Our adventure began in San Francisco, then I went back to San Jose for the night. The next morning we drove to Los Angeles where we spent the night. The next day we drove from LA to Santa Barbara where we spent the night. The next day we drove back to LA, directly to LAX where we boarded a plane bound for Las Vegas. The entire trip, was filled with laughter and good music, and rubber chickens. There were as many of 7 of us along for the ride at one point (hence the van).

DeDe was the original designer of, the band's original website. She became privvy to some of the band's graphics for the CD they released in 2001 (God Bless the Go-Go's, the band's first collection of all-new music in 17 years). I provided some ideas for the website and became a collaborator both with her and with a couple of the band members. 2001 was another year of travels where DeDe and I got to spend time together.

Our next adventure was 2003, a long weekend in Vegas at the Las Vegas Hilton. More of the same laughs, music and a trip to the Liberace museum for good measure. Vahona was along for that trip, as were may of the other regulars who I'd known from the message board.

Most recently we got to hang out in January 2007, again in Vegas. The most exciting part about that trip was seeing DeDe's transformation. Having been challenged by weight issues, she finally made some drastic changes and was well on the road to finally losing a significant amout of weight. I think I spent the most amount of time with DeDe during that trip. It's as if there's a need for us to make up for lost time, and I have no complaints about that.
I'm happy to report that as of her 1-year anniversary from when she embarked on the weight loss journey, she took off 80 pounds. She's still going and she looks amazing. GO DeDe, GO!
This is a picture of DeDe and I upon my arrival to Las Vegas, January 25, 2007. GOOD TIMES!

I'm sure there will be many, many more good times in the years ahead!

Meet Brian

File Under: Friends

The guy I'm hugging in the above picture is Brian. How we met is a funny story. Brian knows just about everybody in Chicago. He has lived here for a lot of years. About 8 years ago, I found his profile on an online dating sight. I sent him an email, hoping to initiate contact. I never heard back from him. I was disappointed but didn't lament (too much) over it. As I would review the site from time to time, I'd see his profile.

A couple years later, I was spending the day with my friend Chuck. We were having a yard sale at his place. A mutual friend of both Brian and Chuck came by and Brian was with them. We met, chatted briefly but I was at a loss for words because I didn't know if he remembered that I had written to him so I was generally just trying to be polite. He was nice though and I was glad that I got to meet him in person.

Sometime later, maybe a few months or so, I was out with my friend Dan. Wherever we were, in walked Brian and he and Dan, who were friends, began to chat. Dan introduced me and we acknowledged that we had met previously. Still I was kind of tongue-tied around him. At that point on, I started seeing him out a lot, Dan and I would run into him often, or I'd see him when I was with Chuck and we'd laugh at how our social circles overlapped. Things became friendlier between us.

As time went on, we became better friends. We would run into each other at a party and hang out and chat. I learned more about what made him tick, saw that he had some of the same insecurities as me. All the time that I thought he was just one of these great social butterflies without a care in the world, I realized that he had a vulnerable side and on a few occasions I was the one he would confide in.

We've had some great adventures out with our friends, some of our more memorable events were Cinco de Mayo 2007 (TEQUILA!) and the Pride parade 2006, among others.

Our most recent event was actually for a sad/happy reason. Brian was promoted and is moving to Washington DC this week. Saturday night (1/12) was Brian's going away party. A whole bunch of Brian's friends gathered at Crew Bar to send him off in style. It was a fun night, but a sad chapter for those of us who won't see Brian on a regular basis any more. Oh sure, he'll visit, and we'll visit him so he'll always be in our lives. I'm just glad I finally got to know the guy that I first saw in that profile picture, all those years ago.

Here's a few of us from Brian's party.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Just Because It's Funny

File Under: This Makes Me Laugh

In Today's Mail

File Under: Voice Your Choice

Actually it was in Monday's mail, I'm just late in posting this:

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

To-Do List

File under: Get it done!

Here's a list of things I need to do, in no particular order.

*Organize my desk. I've got receipts, packs of gum, credit cards, pills, Duran Duran's latest CD, candles and an Easy Button (which as many times as I push it doesn't make my life any easier but it makes me laugh) scattered across this desk and I need to sort through it all, put some stuff away and throw out a bunch of this crap.

*Listen to "Red Carpet Massacre," Duran Duran's latest CD. My secret source (VAHONA!) is a huge fan and was privvy to some tracks early on. I heard them and wasn't impressed. But I love the band and bought it, and even met them. I have yet to actually put this CD into my player and listen to it. It's on my iPod and as often as I use my iPod, I have yet to hear any of the songs other than "Falling Down," the current single.

*Organize my file cabinet. I bought it a couple weeks ago and freed up some space in some bookshelves, making room for some books. Now I need to go and sort the papers that I dumped into the file cabinet. They're semi-sorted, I just need to get some hanging files and finish the project.

*Get a new computer. Once I get my finances in a bit better order (these last 6 months kicked my ass!), I'm going to get a new computer. I want a laptop.

*Lose 10 pounds. Last February I set the goal to look better on my 40th birthday than I did on my 30th birthday. I lost 12 pounds. I then got lazy and I've gained back 5 of those 12 pounds. When I lost the weight, I decided another 5 would be good, so once again, I'm on track and hoping to lose 10 pounds before summer.

*Celebrate Christmas with Vahona. Hasn't happened yet, it will soon. Her presents keep staring at me, they're on my dresser. They were under the tree but the tree is now boxed up and in the closet.

I'm sure there's more, but that's a good start.

What's on your To-Do list?

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Paris A Go-Go - New Year's Eve with Belinda Carlisle and Rufus Wainwright

File Under: Ooh La La

Okay so I wasn't there but friends were in the audience and said that the show was amazing. Belinda appeared quite nervous at first which I think is endearing, considering she's had a long career on stage and should be beyond stagefright. However performing entirely in French is new to her and apparently she nailed it. The shows were fun and festive and while people are split in their opinions of Rufus Wainwright, it seemed like he was a good co-headliner with Belinda.

Below is a video that a fan posted on YouTube. It's kind of shaky (he said he was trying to keep his camera hidden from security) and the audio isn't the best but it give you an idea of how much fun was had by the performers. The set was beautiful, the dancers were amazing, and Belinda held true to always performing "Our Lips Are Sealed" when she plays solo. Here it is, in French.

This just makes me really happy. :)