* New White Collar promo. It’s mostly old footage but it sure does make the show look sexy. (Where’s Elizabeth, though?)
* I GOT A SECOND ROW TICKET TO SEE JOHN SIMM IN HAMLET! :)
Now I just have to figure out how the hell I’m going to make a detour to Sheffield on my way from NYC to Paris (for the Lymond thing). It’s looking like I can fly from JFK to Manchester and take a train to Sheffield, see the play, take a train to London and spend a day there, then take a train to Paris. Icelandair is currently showing round trips from JFK to Manchester with a return from Paris to JFK for about $700 total–that’s a better price than I expected, although I’m a little iffy about the stopover in Reykjavik.
(Does anyone out there have experience with any of this–is that a sane plan or would you recommend something else?)
* jaydk and I went to see Metropolis at Film Forum. The restored footage was way cool, but the image would’ve been better if we’d waited for the DVD. Movie theaters have pretty much lost their allure now that I have a giant television.
* We also got tickets to see Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, which is um, a political satire in the form of an emo rock musical? I don’t know, but it looks fun.
* Stone Temple Pilots are touring, but they’re not playing NYC proper. I don’t want to go out to Jones Beach, but maybe I’ll go to the Borgata in Atlantic City. Apparently there’s now a train that goes there from NYC, and the Borgata is a good venue–it’s small and GA and half the crowd leaves in the middle to gamble, which means I can usually get right up front (I saw Depeche Mode standing in the third row there). But on the minus side it’s a long trip, it’s expensive, and they have a new album which means I’d have to stand through a bunch of new songs that I don’t care about. Hmmm.
* I did get a ticket to see “BlackDiamondSkye” at Madison Square Garden, which is Alice in Chains and the Deftones apparently? I dunno, I couldn’t resist seeing AIC at MSG, even though this is probably too much dude music for me, and I really don’t like the new AIC songs.
* rm has been posting interesting thoughts on season six of BtVS and, man, thinking about that era brought back all these unhappy emotions from seven years ago that I didn’t even know I still had. I reassert my vow never to become so negatively emotionally involved in a fandom again. (Note my complete lack of posts about Moffat’s Who.)
So, um, I kind of seem to have started watching Supernatural.
I’m afraid that jaydk is going to disown me as a friend.
We went to Ford Lauderdale for the weekend, which was fun. We got a cheap vacation deal–flew direct, stayed in a hotel on the beach with a decent pool and a pool bar, and basically just relaxed for three days. The weather was lovely. We got around via the water taxi, which stopped right near our hotel and took us downtown for only $7 after 7pm (where I managed to survive via that old desperate vegan standby, veggie sushi). The water taxi itself was quite fun, as it involved a narrated tour past the absurd, ostentatious, and often quite lovely mansions of the rich and famous which perch over the waterways. Aside from that, the public transportation was so terrible–every time I leave New York it hits me how absurdly car centric the city planning of most of the USA is. It didn’t have to be this way, and it’s sad, and thank god I live in NYC.( and I started watching Supernatural (please don't read this if you don't want to read criticism of SPN or if you're going to lose all respect for me for watching it) )
* I began a re-read of Dorothy Dunnett's Checkmate (the last book in the Lymond series) during vacation, since it's the one that takes place mostly in Paris and I'm headed to Paris in October for the Lymond fan gathering, LeSpit. (Talk about high and low art--going from Checkmate to Supernatural I literally felt my brain melting out of my ears.) Checkmate's never been my favorite--I think I've usually got Dunnett fatigue every time I've gotten to it before. Jumping into it with fresh eyes was a revelation--it really works much better if you treat it as a standalone, with the previous novels as background but with its own locations and characters and plot points. Instead of being frustrated with having to get to know new characters AGAIN when I really just want to know what's going to happen to the characters I already care about, I found myself enjoying this one in its own right for the first time.
* My cats were so happy to have me back. Angel sat on my lap for all eight Supernatural episodes, and Lucifer's been sleeping on my pillow with his arms wrapped around my head.
* I saw Hole at Terminal 5 last night. It was terrible--they played for less than an hour and seemed to put in very little effort. It was nice to hear a snippet of "Pretty on the Inside," but aside from that, they only played three songs from Live Through This (all singles) and nothing else from the olden days. Man, I'd kill to hear "Drown Soda." None of their new stuff was particularly impressive, and Courtney mostly seemed bored. (On a shallow level, her plastic surgery just bothers me. Her old nose was fine! I thought she was so hot when I was a kid. *sad sigh*)
It was also exhausting--to be in the front I'd had to stand for 2.5 hours through two opening bands (the first terrible, the second decent) and then put up with a batshit mosh pit (people kicking and hair pulling to get to the front, big guys trying to bodysurf over small women--to the dude who tried to use my head and neck as a springboard during "Doll Parts" [seriously, during "Doll Parts"?!], I hope you die in a fire, and also OWWWWW).
Oddly enough I was at the same venue, standing in the same position, for Alice in Chains a few months ago, and their moshpit was nowhere near as life-threatening. Since when are Hole crowds nastier than Alice in Chains crowds?
* Just bought tickets to the midnight opening night showing of Iron Man 2 in IMAX. OMG CAN'T WAIT.
* This fantastic Doctor Who vid has been all over my flist: Tenth Doctor: The Musical by di_br. Awww, I miss Ten. (Thus far I haven't read anything about Moffat's Who that's made me want to watch.)
* This post about protagonist privilege by londonkds is fascinating. I can see in it an explanation for a lot of my frustrations with BtVS (as someone who loved Anya and Spike and was incessantly frustrated by them being distorted and deprioritized in order to "teach lessons" to the "real heroes") and I can also sooo see this as one of the major flaws of the Lymond Chronicles, even though I love it to pieces anyway. (It's much more pleasant when your favorite character is the hero, which is a big part of why I don't allow myself to get fannish anymore about anything in which my favorite character is not the lead--it's just maddening to realize that your favorite can be ruined at whim in service of the lead character's "growth.")
* My favorite clip of Jon and Stephen on The Daily Show (the one with Prince Charles and the banana). I dug this up the other day for a friend who hadn't seen it and am posting the link in case anyone missed it--it's awesome.
I went to this benefit at the Nokia Theater in Times Square last night. It was for some kind of drug and alcohol rehabilitation organization for musicians… headlined by Slash and Jerry Cantrell. (Yeah, I don’t quite follow that either.)( Road Recovery Benefit Concert with Slash, Jerry Cantrell, Tom Morello, Perry Farrell, Jakob Dylan, and a bunch more )
In other news, jaydk and I had a (new) Doctor Who marathon on Saturday night. We started at 7pm and continued until 9:30am. That's fourteen hours of Doctor Who! (There was some food, alcohol, and conversation involved, too.) We watched all of season two (minus a couple of episodes that jaydk said were lame) and the final three episodes of season three. And really, I just have one thought:
David Tennant is so hot!!
I know I should have deep thoughts about themes and characters and moral issues and the loneliness of outliving your friends and the question of what makes us human and the arrogance of assuming godlike powers over others...
but, sorry, I'm still stuck on "David Tennant is so hot!!" and it's going to take me a while to absorb that before my brain can fit any deeper thoughts. Just, his character is a giant geek! So full of manic energy! And he uses it to cover up his deep inner pain!! He's so lonely! Yet so full of enthusiasm about new experiences and adventures!! I love it!
Anyway, jaydk is laughing her ass off at me, because after she left (and I slept for ten hours) I woke up and downloaded all of season three, and caught up so that I've seen every episode with the Tenth Doctor minus the ones we skipped from season two. (I haven't seen any of the first season or any of the old series and I'm still totally clueless about the canon of the show.) I can't help it. I'm a giant geek at heart, too. Plus, that guy is really hot.
I don't know what it is with the geek thing lately. Between him and Stephen Colbert (you have no idea how huge my crush is on Stephen Colbert) my perceptions of hotness are really changing. It used to be all scruff and black leather; now I'm squeeing over skinny dorks!
(And this is why I love fandom and don't want real life people reading my LJ. Because even if you fannish people are laughing at me, you totally know where I'm coming from. Real life people just get that blank-confused-don't-get-it stare, and you have to explain, and they still don't get it, and then you just stop talking about it because it's pointless... whereas here, even if you don't share my squee over this particular thing, you've all experienced fannish squee over something, and know exactly what I'm talking about.)
Oh, and last night I saw the new final cut of "Blade Runner" at the Ziegfeld with a bunch of friends. (The Ziegfeld is a beautiful theater with a HUGE screen.) It was an amazing experience--if you ever have a chance to see "Blade Runner" on a big screen, do. The new version was particularly stunning, so clear and gorgeous that it could've been made this year. I got all teary-eyed watching it; it's almost like a silent film, the way the dialogue is so minimal and so much of the emotion comes from visuals: the cinematography, the set design, and the faces of the actors. Rutger Hauer, in that final scene... just awe-inspiring.
Okay, not really. But a blog post I wrote was linked from one of the New York Times blogs. And from Brooklyn Vegan, too.
What else? I haven't been posting much. I've been busy, and traveling, and tired.
My office moved to Brooklyn. It sucks. I don't even have the energy to rant about it right now.
I went to Austin last weekend, for an insane mini-vacation. I had less than 24 hours to cram in my first visit to Texas, a meal, some sleep, and an Alice in Chains concert.
( Laura's Austin Adventure )
[Cross-posted to my InsaneJournal]
What else? I haven't been posting much. Let's see...
I went to Las Vegas and ate vegan donuts. That was fun. Details and pictures are here.
And then there was this... which I don't even want to write about so I'm going to copy and paste from an email I wrote to 10zlaine:
I was kind of just going with it... enjoying the pool while ignoring the massively overpriced bad food and the leers of drunken frat boys... and my front row seat was perfect... the show was amazing... AIC played "No Excuses," which I hadn't heard yet... I cheered like an idiot when they announced Sean Kinney's name--he's the drummer, and my favorite member of any band ever, and I've adored him since I was 11 years old due to his combination of ass-kicking musical ability and genuinely funny and good-natured personality... and at the end, he came over and HANDED ME A DRUM STICK... I was in heaven... already imagining how I'd frame it in glass and make it the center-piece of my apartment... I carried it around with me for 40 minutes while waiting in line for a drink... I went back to my seat... put the drumstick in my bag, put my bag on the floor between my feet and the barrier... and SOME ASSHOLE REACHED INTO MY BAG AND STOLE THE DRUM STICK.
No matter how much I tell myself that it's just a THING, and the cool moment was when Sean handed it to me... I am so fucking pissed off and I seriously wish I could flay alive the person who stole it from me... and that pretty much ruined the vacation, and killed my ability to ignore the disgusting exploitative sleaze of Vegas...
So yeah. This time when I say "I am never going back to Las Vegas," I mean it.
At least the donuts were good.
On Tuesday I saw Ian McKellen in "King Lear" at BAM. It was SO GOOD. I am not a theater person at all, so I can't really comment technically, I can just say that I was completely riveted every time McKellen was speaking, and completely riveted during the entire last act. The seats were incredibly uncomfortable and the view was weird (so steep that we were nearly looking at the top of the actors' heads) but I didn't even notice for the last hour or so. I'd never seen or read "King Lear" so I was really into the story, too. (I know, stop laughing at my ignorance.) I'm SO glad that I got to see it. If you ever have a chance to see Ian McKellen in anything, definitely go.
Then last night jaydk and I saw her favorite soap opera actor, Tom Pelphrey from Guiding Light, in a play in this weird little office-building theater that seated about 40 people. We were literally sitting on the stage. Pelphrey was good, but the play was pretentious and terrible. Alas. I'm sure it also suffered in comparison to Lear! I did make jaydk stick around and get Pelphrey's autograph, though--it was totally worth it to see her happy fangirl expression. ;)
And this weekend I'm going to Austin to see Alice in Chains unplugged. Honestly I'd rather just stay home and sleep, but, plane tickets already booked....
[Cross-posted to my InsaneJournal]
I'm in a weird state. First, the good. I read a GREAT book: "A Game of Kings," the first in Dorothy Dunnett's Lymond Chronicles. I've been seeing this series referenced throughout fandom for years, and so I finally gave in and bought it (during one of the most recent "Why do [we/you freaks] like hurt/comfort?" memes that went around).
It took a little while to get into--I know nothing about 16th century Scottish history, and I know very little Latin or French, and I know nothing about chess (except how to lose spectacularly quickly). And she has a writing style that definitely takes a little getting used to. But there were so many clever turns of phrase, and Lymond was instantly intriguing, and I knew fandom couldn't be wrong, so I persevered and soon enough I was riveted.
I took this book with me on the bus to Atlantic City (yes, I survived), read it in line at the concert, read it for the three hour bus ride home, got home at 4am, helped my idiot roommate shovel water out of our clogged bathtub (more on that later), and then continued reading straight until 2pm the next day, when I finally finished. I realize I was awake 26 hours straight and didn't eat for 30 hours (well, except for cough drops and throat comfort tea). I took a dose of Nyquil and passed out until 8pm. What a weird day.
But, anyway, the book was that good. It's that irresistible combination of excellent writing and total hurt/comfort crack. Plus Lymond is a great character; like a combination of Methos and Jaime Lannister (although he never sinks to the rotten depths of those two). ( spoilers for Dunnett's 'A Game of Kings' and Martin's 'A Storm of Swords' )
Okay, and the concert. ( First, I rant about how I despise the soulless predatory pathetic evil of Atlantic City )
( And then I rave about the brilliant spiritual experience of an Alice in Chains concert )
( The latest evil roommate, apartment woes, and me about to lose my mind )
[Cross-posted to my InsaneJournal]
I don't know how I'm going to get there. After the nightmare of last time, I'm nearly having a panic attack just thinking about it.
The train is a joke. I'd have to take NJ Transit to Trenton, transfer to Septa into Philadelphia, and then get back on NJ Transit to Atlantic City. It's something like a six hour trip. Plus the train station is way out of the way and I have no confidence that I'd be able to find a safe cab ride to take me to the Borgata. And I couldn't take it home afterward anyway, since the trains don't run late enough.
None of the buses go to the Borgata. There were no cabs at the bus station last time I went, but I guess I could take a bus to a different hotel and then get them to call me a cab to the Borgata. However, the Greyhound bus I took last time was unreliable and scary, so I'm really wary of taking the bus at all. It looks like my only option, though. I don't suppose anyone out there has taken a bus to Atlantic City from NYC that wasn't a nightmare? (I see both NJ Transit and Academy go there--are either of them better than Greyhound?)
Regardless, I'll have to leave in the early afternoon, for a show that doesn't start until 7pm. And I get motion sick on buses. And I have a horrible cold.
And I'm probably going to get there late and get a horrible spot and end up smushed in the mosh pit anyway. And they allow indoor smoking in Atlantic City, so I'll probably choke to death.
Oh, and I don't have my ticket. Etix says they mailed it, but it never arrived. When I called, they said I can pick it up at will call, but given the incompetence they've shown thus far, it wouldn't surprise me if they don't give it to me.
I'd feel so much safer if I wasn't going alone.
I'm seriously thinking about not going. Except, okay, it's Alice in Chains, and I paid $115 for the ticket, so I really have to go.
But, fuck, I hate Atlantic City.
[Cross-posted to my InsaneJournal]
From Jar of Flies by Alice in Chains (1993).
Long Gone Day
From Above by Mad Season; a duet between Layne and Mark Lanegan (1995).
And some YouTube links:
Love Hate Love
Live at the Moore in Seattle, December 1990. I got the VHS of this when I was twelve; I used to come home from school and watch the five live songs over and over and over. I've never seen a live performance compare to this. After thirteen years it still sends chills down my spine.
Down in a Hole
From the 1996 Alice in Chains Unplugged performance; because Layne and Jerry were the greatest team in 90s rock, and their harmonies on this song are almost too amazing to be real.
Queen of the Rodeo
From 1991; because everyone seems to forget how damn hilarious Layne could be.
(Okay, someone tear me away from YouTube. There is so much freaking awesome rare stuff on there.)
Layne's mom set up the Layne Staley Fund to support treatment for heroin addiction. You can donate here.
[Cross-posted to my InsaneJournal]
I was in the front row of the pit, holding on to the barrier, right in front of Jerry Cantrell. I was, of course, singing along with every word of every song, and during "Down in a Hole" Jerry looked straight at me, saw me singing, grinned, kept eye contact, and sang a line of the song to me.
Yeah, I can totally die happy now. It was like the perfect moment, because "Down in a Hole" is one of the most beautiful songs ever, and I wasn't trying to get his attention, I was just watching him sing, and he just happened to look at me and was pleased that I was singing along.
And it was an *amazing* show. It was better than the previous two; the crowd was way more into it, possibly because there was a mosh pit. Have I mentioned I hate shows with no pit? I hate seating in general; no one should be sitting during a rock show unless they are physically incapable of standing.
AIC was just so obviously having fun, grinning at each other, and Jerry and William have great chemistry, the way that they sing together and seem to really enjoy each other's stage presence. At one moment Jerry was playing guitar out on this extended platform, and he was supposed to step back to the mic to sing an upcoming part, but instead William walked out on the platform with him and they shared the mic. Stuff like that happened all night--the members of AIC just look they're having so much fun, and are so happy to be onstage together. Their performance feels so real and organic, unlike Velvet Revolver's which is all staged.
They've been playing the same set at every show, but changing the order of the middle songs, and having one song that changes. Last night it was "Dirt"; previously it was "Love Hate Love" and "Dam That River." (I really wish they'd swap their opener, "Again," for "It Ain't Like That." The show doesn't really get going until the second song, "Grind," and then starts completely KILLING with the next, "We Die Young," which is why I think "It Ain't Like That" would make a stronger opener--who can NOT rock out to that one? I just unfortunately don't really think "Again" is a particularly strong song--they have so many better to choose from.)
Jerry made eye contact with me again one more time, as I was rocking out to something-or-other. The crowd seemed to be a mix of AIC and VR fans; several of the people in the front row seemed to just be tolerating AIC. Which, y'know, offends me on so many levels, but I won't go into it. But a LOT of people were into AIC--after their set finished the crowd was screaming for an encore. And a couple of times the crowd started up a chant of "Jerry! Jerry!" I heard plenty of people grumbling that they should have split the bill. Yeah, I liked this crowd! (It also started up a chant of "Fuck Axl!" which I found very amusing.)
Velvet Revolver played a much better show last night compared to the previous two shows. Scott was far more chatty with the audience (and most of what he said made sense!) and his voice sounded better than Saturday, although still a bit strained. Slash was amazing--ooh, I got a Slash guitar pick! He threw it to the crowd right after finishing an awesome rendition of "It's So Easy." The girl next to me also got a guitar pick, and the guy next to me caught Weiland's Gatorade that he tossed to the crowd.
I was thinking of leaving early to get back to the train station (the last train back to New York was at 12:15 and the band played until 11:30) but it was so good that I couldn't leave. I had to see the encore of "Wish You Were Here" (so beautiful the way the whole crowd sings along) and "Slither."
(Incidentally, I was in the front row mainly because this nice fellow scooted aside to squeeze me in. [I left work at 3:45 and arrived at the venue around 6:45, thanks to a slow Amtrak train, rush hour traffic, and a very slow ferry. Oh and lots of rain.] We ended up talking for most of the show [I mean when the bands weren't playing]--he's a guitar tech who has his own band. You meet the coolest people at shows, seriously. And it's like since you're all sharing this love of music, people go out of their way to be cool even to strangers. [I mean aside from the drunk assholes and crowd surfers who kick you in the face, but there weren't too many drunks and I've gotten very good at ducking crowd surfers--of which there were MANY during "Rooster" and the whole VR set.])
I was very lucky to make it back to New York--I was going to take the ferry over the river to Philadelphia and then take a cab to the train station, but I got lost trying to find the ferry and found a cab on the Camden side instead. Actually me and two other people were racing for it, and then when we got there we realized that we were all going to the same place, so we shared it. How awesome--and random--is that? This was probably a lot faster--I made it to the train station at midnight, and then found out the train was delayed by a half hour anyway. SO glad that I didn't leave the show early.
I slept on the train and got back to New York around 2:30am--can you tell I'm totally exhausted today? But JERRY CANTRELL SANG TO ME DURING "DOWN IN A HOLE" so really, nothing can bring me down today.
[Cross-posted to my InsaneJournal]
Velvet Revolver is kind of a joke next to Alice in Chains. A big silly cliche of a Big Rock Band. It's a travesty that Alice in opening for them, but that's about money, I get it. And VR has their good songs and their classic covers. They put on a good show even if it's ridiculous. They're corporate and money-driven and they're trying way too hard to prove they're "real," but underneath the bullshit there's still plenty of talent.
It's also stupid that Alice is playing for an hour while VR is playing for two. Split it, say, an hour and a half each. Seriously, VR barely has enough songs to fill their two hours, and they're playing three Stone Temple Pilots songs, three Guns N Roses songs, and a Pink Floyd cover. Plus they (well, Weiland, at least) owes Alice in Chains for being, y'know, infinitely better than he could ever dream of being. And having been around longer. Argh.
Anyway, it's probably fine that AIC is only playing an hour set. I'd probably pass out from hysterical excitement if they played any longer. And they manage to pack a lot in to an hour; they played:
( AIC Set List )
"Angry Chair" was my favorite--they rocked it so hard, and it's pretty much my favorite song *ever*. "Man in the Box" was so amazing that I couldn't stop jumping up and down for the entire thing. "Down in a Hole" was so beautiful that I almost started crying. Every one of these songs is awesome.
The new singer, you know, he fills his part well. He's charismatic and all that. Layne's words are living through him, and I'm glad of that. But I have to say, he doesn't even come close to approaching that transcendent quality that Layne had. Layne's voice was so beautiful and powerful it was like he could embody heaven one moment and hell the next. It's not like anyone on the planet could capture that, but someone has to sing, and this new guy is probably as good as it gets.
(Can you tell my feelings are mixed about this? I'm not mad at William for being in the band--I even respect his skill. I'm just fucking PISSED at nature/the universe/whatever that Layne is gone. Go read the letters section at AliceinChains.com--it's one "Thank you Layne for saving my life" after the other. I know how cheesy that sounds and how it doesn't make any logical sense that hearing someone you don't even know sing about his pain could save your life or make you see the beauty in the world, but it's true and no logical analysis can ever account for it.)
Seeing Jerry, Sean, and Mike was amazing as always. I am a huge fan of Sean just from seeing his personality through interviews and videos (not to mention him being an amazing drummer). And Jerry, of course, is Jerry Cantrell. He's one of the greatest guitarists of all time and seeing him in person completely blows my mind. He was an idol growing up and it's like seeing a childhood dream made real. Jerry is the solid backbone of the band which is why I understand that they are continuing.
( details of the individual shows )
And I'm doing the whole thing again tomorrow (Camden) and Saturday (Atlantic City). With me luck with all these crazy busses and trains!
[Cross-posted to my InsaneJournal]
(It reminds me disturbingly of Law and Order.)
I always wished I'd been around during the 80s metal heyday. Clearly this is my second chance.
There is something appealing about music that is just dumb and fun and sincere in its simplicity. Scott Weiland's never going to win awards for the quality of his lyrics, but the emotion is there. Take "The Last Fight": not intellectually stimulating, but a great song in its rock epic way. There are plenty of good, satisfying songs on this album.
*is so excited about the upcoming VR/AIC tour*
I couldn't listen to this kind of music all the time, but for a big summer rock tour, it's perfect.
(I mean, it's still grotesquely offensive that Alice in Chains is opening for them, but whatever, I'm going to enjoy myself.)
I'm going to three shows: Jones Beach in NY, PNC Bank Arts Center in NJ, and "Tweeter Center at the Waterfront" in Camden, across the water from Philadelphia.
(WTF is up with these corporate venue names? You know even Jones Beach is actually "Nikon at Jones Beach Theater" now? Disgusting. But, whatever, it's not time to rant.)
They're playing these big outdoor arenas, which kind of sucks because 1) I hate the outdoors and 2) most of them have assigned seating without a GA area. I know I at least got good seats for the PNC Bank Arts Center (that name!! it hurts to type!!) show, because I got them through the Velvet Revolver presale and they're in the 5th row (there's no pit). Jones Beach also lacks a pit, and I don't know how my seats are--I know they're in the front sections, but I got them through the Alice in Chains presale which doesn't assign seats until later (grrr).
But, best of all, I got PIT TICKETS for the Camden show! Yay! That's actually the arena where I attended my first (or second, I forget, maybe the first was Foo Fighters...) show ever, which was Lollapalooza '97.
( my first--or second?--show ever )
So, yeah, the POINT of that ramble is that it's kind of cool to be going back there, and to actually be in the pit for once.
Although I do have to figure out how to *get* there... that's the annoying part. There are buses to Jones Beach and PNC Bank Arts Center, but Camden? I know there's public transportation to Philly but getting home *after* the show will be a problem. Maybe I can get my mom to drive and hang out in Philly while I go to the show... I really don't want to sleep in a train station in Philadelphia.... *crosses fingers*
Alice To Tour This Fall
The rumours are true - Alice in Chains will be embarking on another major tour this fall. The guys will be joined by Velvet Revolver and together the two bands will rock their way across North America.
Chatter about the new tour has already started over on the AliceInChains.com Discussion Board so if you're not yet a member of the site, sign up and then head to the Board to get excited about this fall's biggest tour. Being a member of AliceInChains.com will also give you access to the site's ticket presales, the best way to make sure that you get your tickets first. More details on those presales and the tour, including a list of show dates, will be released soon so be sure to keep your eyes peeled for your next news-packed edition of Dirt.
Um... do you think it would be a bad idea to quit my job and use my life savings to follow this tour?
Okay, I probably won't. But if this really happens I am going to do some serious traveling and attend as many of these as I possibly can.
(Hmmm, wonder if there will be any cash left over to hire that slightly psychopathic bodyguard...)
Thursday was my last Alice in Chains show. Front row, right in front of Jerry. (I came this close to getting a guitar pick and a set list, but didn't, and have to keep reminding myself that it was an unbelievable gift that I got to see them at all, and anyway I have a guitar pick from years ago that got sent in the mail through their fan club so really, chill out Laura, you didn't need a setlist).
One of those amazing dreams of my whole life would've been to have seen Alice in Chains Unplugged, so it was awesome to be so up close for their unplugged performance. I could see them smiling and laughing and gesturing at each other. People were crowd surfing during "No Excuses" and "Got Me Wrong," and Jerry congratulated the crowd on being awesome enough to crowd surf during an acoustic set. It was amazing; you'd have to see it to believe it.
Once again I didn't cry, though it was hard not to get teary on the audience part of "Down in a Hole."
It was amazing to be so close to Jerry Cantrell, to see the look on his face and to watch his hands as he makes the most incredible music in the world with his guitar. I have conflicted feelings about Jerry Cantrell; I know people who know him, and have heard enough to know that he is probably an asshole, so I don't really *like* him. But he wrote "Down in a Hole" (and "Don't Follow" and dozens of other heart-breaking songs) so I can't help but love him. Weird, I know. Maybe he reminds me of me--I can be a huge asshole sometimes, but it doesn't mean my feelings don't matter? Or something.
It also occurs to me that perhaps the reason AIC has stayed with me so long, while I've tended to grow out of other bands, is because their lyrical themes are so resonant with the recurring themes of my life. Let's see ... loss of innocence, struggling friendships, dark obsessive love. Yup, that works.
Also weird? Jim Breuer was there, on the balcony, and before the show started the crowd was cheering him on while he gave the devil-horns-hand-sign-thingy.
I got all bruised from being pushed into the barrier, but the bruises have faded now, and I only had to duck two crowd surfers. I also took a bunch of photos on my phone, but that camera sucks, and I don't even know how to get them off it. I'll have to try, though, because Jerry was literally right there directly in front of me. You really should see every (good) concert from the front row; there's nothing else like it.
I forgot to mention that the first night, after they played the Layne Staley tribute and the band came out for the acoustic set, the crowd started a chant of "Layne! Layne! Layne!" They didn't stop even when Jerry started to speak, so he just urged them on and said that he couldn't argue with that. I thought it was so cool that the crowd was chanting for Layne; yes, he's gone, but he's there in spirit, and certainly not forgotten by anyone in the room.
Alice in Chains was amazing last night. For the first time, I didn't cry. Instead I felt this overwhelming sense of euphoria. I think it came from the crowd--this was the most unbelievably excited crowd. People were ecstatic. It was like being with a room full of people whose dreamed of seeing Alice in Chains when we were children, and now together our childhood dream was coming true.
Yes, I know how goofy that sounds. But looking around, it was like having a time machine, being able to go back and experience that time again. Except better, because we weren't going backwards--we were all together, now, celebrating our era and knowing that it wasn't dead.
I met a really nice couple from Jersey and hung out with them, front row, on the far left (Mike Inez side). People around me were talking about how much they'd loved AIC from childhood, how it got them through so much. I don't know how such dark, honest, painful music can save you and show you such beauty, but it does. You wouldn't believe the hush that came over the crowd when they played "Nutshell"; I looked around and other people were crying. When they played "Man in the Box," I was so overwhelmed I couldn't believe that actual human beings could be responsible for creating such an amazing sound. I don't know what my favorite was--I suppose I was most excited during "Dam That River," "Got Me Wrong," "Down in a Hole," "We Die Young," "Angry Chair," "Man in the Box," "Would?" ... how does one band have so many mind-blowingly-awesome songs?
The crowd surfers were amazing. There was literally a non-stop stream of people surfing over the crowd and coming to the front. I saw several of the same people go through repeatedly, nearly as many women as men. (I'm debating whether to try for the Jerry side tonight, because I don't want to spend the whole evening distracted by crowd surfers.) The audience chanted mostly for Jerry, but someone also started a chant for Sean (yay!). And someone threw a full can of beer onstage; Jerry offered to kick their ass, and Sean couldn't believe that someone in NYC would waste a $12 beer. It was so good to see them all interacting together, and I even liked seeing Jerry and William goofing around together when they were performing.
I didn't cry, but I got a little teary eyed during "Down in a Hole." I think maybe the most beautiful thing I've ever heard is the way that Layne and Jerry sing that song on AIC Unplugged. When they play it now, Jerry and William sing the Jerry part, and the audience sings Layne's part. It's not just seeing a band perform--it's everyone, together, celebrating Layne Staley, celebrating Alice in Chains, celebrating the art that means so much to us, celebrating our era in time, celebrating the moment we're all sharing together.
I had jury duty Monday, went to work afterward and worked until 10pm, then had jury duty again the next morning. Jury duty requires getting up early and taking the subway and walking far. WAH.
I did have a nice lunch in Chinatown -- vegan dim sum at Buddha Bodai. And I read the equivalent of a Sharpe book over the two days (the last half of "Sharpe's Eagle" and the first half of "Sharpe's Enemy"--this is definitely the best period of the Sharpe series).
I didn't get called to a trial yesterday until 3:20--we were all cursing, because we'd been so close to getting out. I got called up to the jury box and interviewed (god, it's scary), so I answered the questions honestly and glared miserably at everyone. They dismissed me. Yay! Apparently the key to getting out of jury service is to look really mean, or perhaps to wear a purple shirt decorated with glittering silver spiders and webs. (Hey, it was Halloween.)
They actually told us (the eight people who'd been interviewed and dismissed) that we'd have to come back the next morning to pick up our forms, since it was already after 5pm, but we objected and they printed out the forms for us there. Yay! I'm done! Four years of freedom!
Then I rushed to the Astor Place Barnes & Noble, bought Courtney Love's book, and got a wristband which allowed me to wait outside in line for two and a half hours. I finally got in around 7:15 and got my autograph at about 8pm.
The book is huge and cool and expensive. It's mostly drawings, diary entries, and clippings.
Courtney was trying to look serious in black framed glasses, was wearing lots of makeup to cover her bad skin, and she's clearly had lots of plastic surgery. I have mixed feelings about her--she represents a lot of contradictions in American culture, I suppose. She's smart and observant and her critiques of society's attitude toward women and celebrity are great, and yet she wants to be part of everything she criticizes. I was really sad when she quit being punk rock and went to Hollywood.
But anyway--I waited in line and went up to get her autograph. She said "Nice to meet you, Laura" (we'd written our names on post-its so she could personalize the autographs) and I said "Nice to meet you," and that "Live Through This" is an amazing album and that it really means a lot to me. (True.) She said thanks, I said bye and happy Halloween, and that was that. She was nice.
Then I went to meet jaydk and drujan at a place on 14th and 9th that has Belgian beer, but it was impossible to get across 6th Avenue because of the parade. It took me a half hour just to walk from 8th St to 9th St on 6th (and was a little scary, with all the people trying to get through and the crowd not moving) so I walked to Union Square instead, dropped off my heavy stuff at the office, and took the L train over to 8th Avenue. "Borat" sat next to me on the train and spoke to me in character, but I grinned and ignored him.
There I met my friends and had the only vegan dish on the menu (pasta with garlic, pretty good) and three delicious beers. One was a raspberry lambic that was awesome--not as sugar sweet as the more mainstream ones, richer flavor.
Then we went up to "Evil Dead: The Musical," and got there just in time. Third row! But jaydk hadn't realized we were in the splatter seats, so she moved back at intermission, and drujan covered herself in plastic. I was all like "Bring on the fake blood, it's Halloween!" but it missed me. The guy next to me got soaked, though.
The play was awesome. It was just what you'd expect--Evil Dead, only a musical, and funny, and the guy playing Ash was good, and the crowd was awesome and went insane at every reference to the movies. I couldn't imagine a better time to see it. (Although I will be missing Bruce Campbell, because he's there tomorrow and I'm seeing Alice in Chains then.)
So I got home at 1:30am, and then had to come to work today. (And my boss called me at 8:30!!! WTF???) Because yesterday while I had the gall to be busy with jury duty, one of our sites got mentioned on Slashdot and the server slowed way down. Now I am trying to explain The Slashdot Effect to my boss so that I will not have to move all of our sites to some gigantic new server based on the remote possibility that we get mentioned on Slashdot again someday. *sigh*
On the plus side--a site I built got mentioned on Slashdot!
And tonight (and tomorrow) -- Alice in Chains! And let's just hope that I manage to stay awake and remain standing for it.
I am wearing my new favorite t-shirt today: babydoll size, full (and accurate) color, sun logo. I used to draw this thing in all of my school notebooks--Layne Staley designed it and it's on the inside of "Dirt"--so I am very happy that they finally made it into a tshirt that fits me.
Saturday I went to Atlantic City to see Alice in Chains. I took the train to my parents' house and then my mom drove me down to Atlantic City. In return I gave her a free ticket to the show. (I *really* didn't want to take the bus again.)
I got us a great spot, front row on the far right. Perfect view of Jerry, and no one pushing us. Mom kept sneaking off to gamble, though. I'd say she's developing a serious problem, but she gambles such tiny amounts that it probably doesn't matter much. Still, after spending time in Atlantic City and in Las Vegas, I've come to realize that I really, really hate gambling. (I hate that people spend so much time on something so ugly and wasteful and pointless when they could be doing something interesting or creative or thoughtful. And I hate the culture that springs up around exploiting them. And I hate the garish loud smoke-ridden casinos. On and on.)
Anyway. But I got us a great spot and she stayed for most of the show. (She skipped the encore to gamble again though!) She claims she really enjoyed it, and I believe her; she was singing "Man in the Box" all the next day. My mom is so weird. (She knows all about Alice in Chains because I've talked about them incessantly since I was eleven.)
The show was good. Amazing, actually. I was really into it and actually managed to not cry for the whole beginning part. But then they caught me off guard with a video tribute to Layne Staley and then an unplugged set, so I spent the whole middle part crying like I haven't cried since ... oh, since the last time I saw Alice in Chains. Then at the end they came back playing heavier songs, and my mom had left by then, so I was jumping up and down and screaming and feeling annoyed that the Atlantic City crowd was so lame that not everyone around me was doing the same.
AIC is my favorite band, my music, in a way that nothing else is. I don't know exactly how to describe it; I like a lot of goth music, but have never really felt quite at home in that scene. I don't even dance, which makes me constantly out of place. But at Alice in Chains, you don't dance, you jump around and headbang, and that makes sense to me.
Anyway, it's hard to describe, and I'm sort of embarrassed at how emotional I get over it, but it is what it is. And I'm seeing them twice more (Wednesday and Thursday), so hopefully my sore neck and banged up knee will recover by then.
(They played "Don't Follow!" And "Got Me Wrong"!! And "Rotten Apple"!!!!!!!! They had the crowd sing the Layne part of "Down in a Hole" and they turned on the house lights and had the crowd sing the "I haven't felt like this in so long" in "Got Me Wrong" and they were perfect, unbelievable.)
And today I had jury duty. I had to sit in a jury box and answer a bunch of questions, and it was somewhat terrifying, but then I didn't get selected. Yay! I have to go back tomorrow, and if I get out of it again, then I'm free. *fingers crossed*
And now I'm at work, because deadlines don't care that I have jury duty. :P
But tomorrow: Halloween! And Courtney Love is signing books at the Astor Place Barnes & Noble, and then I'm seeing Evil Dead: The Musical, and then the next two nights I'm seeing Alice in Chains.
And are the Daily Show and Colbert Report back? They'd better be, because I need my Stephen Colbert fix tonight.