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Tag Archives: The Beatles

One of the most fun things I’ve ever done in this city is an annual event called Bay to Breakers. For those who don’t know, it’s a race in SF from the Bay Bridge to the beach, hence, Bay to Breakers. There are real athletes who participate in the race seriously and actually run, but my friends and I like to do the party route and dress up in costumes and drink with all the other lazy, crazy, (fun loving) people.

Last year we all went as figure skaters a la Blades of Glory (hilarious!). This is my brother, in the costume that I picked out for him (he was such a good sport):

Because the race was on pavement and not ice, we wore roller skates which all the other participants found to be both clever and hysterical. I do have to say though, the roller skates lost their clever edge once we started doing this:

Which led to this:

Bay to Breakers is just so much fun because it’s entirely grown ups acting like idiots and having a good time doing it. My old roommate, who is a nurse and a little bit of a uptight person, was actually doing kegstands out of a rolling shopping cart. Lots of other people dress up, some just go naked (not attractive people, only the ones who sag in places they shouldn’t). Some of my other favorite costumes were the dudes dressed up as the Beatles with a Yellow Submarine Float:

Guys dressed up like MySpace pages:

And this, which I can’t even explain:

Because the skates were such a hit last year, this year we decided to revive the idea (and perhaps consume a little less Jameson in the process). So hence the idea for 1970’s Roller Derby Girls came into fruition. This weekend my roommate Jenny and I tried to look for costume ideas. We started off at Forever 21 downtown where I had seen these disgustingly ’70s terrycloth jumpsuits with short-shorts. Who wears short-shorts? Not I, as I found out after trying on the hideous jumpsuit. But I did manage to find a great raglan-sleeve tee with a big smiley face on the back and the saying, “Come on get happy” on the front.

Next, on to Haight Street where there is an American Apparel store that has sporty ’70’s style shorts with piping down the sides (not terrycloth and not as short as the Forever 21 jumpsuit shorts).

However, the line to try on the garments was huge (don’t go to Haight on a nice Saturday afternoon in SF) and I didn’t really feel like facing another vision of myself in shorts, so Jen and I left without trying them on. So, I am still on the lookout for the perfect Rollergirl incarnation. I have the roller skates in the mail (thanks Ebay!) and I was going to wear some great striped knee-high athletic socks, so I have until May 18 to find a pair of short-shorts that will actually look semi-decent on me.

Wish me luck.

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Side note:

I had wanted to go see Death Cab For Cutie at the legendary Fillmore West in San Francisco tonight, but when I went to go purchase tickets to my dismay and disbelief the tickets (for floor seats) is $115.  General Admission is $125.  For Death Cab For Cutie.  They have a couple good songs, and granted, it’s sort of last minute, but I would only pay $125 to see someone really great and/or legendary.  I didn’t even see Paul McCartney when he came to Sacramento a few years ago when he was charging $250 per ticket, and he’s A FREAKING BEATLE.  Take a note, Death Cab For Cutie (or the band’s promoters, or the Fillmore, or whoever is in charge of ticket prices I’m not sure), I’m not going to pay that much to see you, ever, and I like your music.  Instead, tonight I’ll be doing my laundry.  My towels needed washing anyway.

Last night I went to the opening night of the Honda Civic Tour a.k.a. Panic at the Disco Tour (don’t you love corporate sponsorship of EVERYTHING now?) It was a great lineup, with Phantom Planet, The Hush Sound, and Motion City Soundtrack opening up for panic. The concert was held at the Warfield in San Francisco, a nice little venue with lots of downtown charm, if you know what I mean. After meandering my way past the homeless contingent’s shopping carts and seedy strip clubs lining Market street, I made my way into the theater.

The Warfield is a San Francisco institution. The theater seats a lot of people, but the balcony and ground floor allows for a close view of the bands from every seat in the joint. Basically there is no bad seat in the Warfield. The concertgoers were mostly teenagers and people in their early twenties. Being in my mid-twenties, I was one of the older people there which was fun for me (can you detect sarcasm in written word?). The young people all seemed to agree on a uniform of choice–skin-tight jeans with sneakers and a hoodie. There were variations on this theme, but the main idea was the same. I loved that I was wearing green jeans at least, to stand out a little.

The first band that played, Phantom Planet. was the best opening act of the three, in my opinion. This band, for those of you who are unawares, is responsible for that hopelessly catchy tune “California” that is (was) featured in the opening credits of the television show “The O.C.” I don’t even watch the show, but I think the song is good. Their other songs were good as well, my favorite being “Big Brat.” Because there were so many opening acts, each one only played about 5 or 6 songs max. The Hush Sound was unremarkable, but I found their dueling male-female singers unusual in a good way, and any band that features the piano as one of it’s main instruments can’t be all bad in my opinion. Motion City Soundtrack was pretty good, but the lead singer’s hair and the outrageous keyboard player’s antics distracted me from any real enjoyment of the music itself.

First of all, I have to mention that there was a really annoying activity that was going on in between acts. A screen was in the background on stage and would show various music videos (OK, something to pass the time), Honda Civic commercials (disgusting corporate whoring) and the worst of all, the displaying of people’s texts. This is how it worked: The screen would have a scroll going constantly on the bottom saying to text messages to a certain number, and they would be displayed on the bottom of this big screen for all to see. There were a lot of “Show sum luv to the 916” and “Casie and Jodie ❤ Panic”, as well as a lot of “Brendon is hott” (Brendon is Panic’s lead singer) and “Scream if you luv panic”. In fact, there were WAY too many of the “Scream if you…”‘s. And after each one, the mindless teens in the audience would squeal with delight, happy to be a part of something, ANYTHING, no matter how futile and inane. There was “Scream if you luv Miley Cyrus”, “Scream if you luv Harry Potter”, “Scream if you luv Hush Sound”. My personal favorite was “Scream if you are sick of people screaming.” I think I actually might have screamed for that one.

Then the main event: Panic at the Disco. The stage was set up like Indian hookah den-meets-Alice in Wonderland acid trip. There were three small oriental rugs on the stage, with a mic stand covered in flowers in front of each. The back featured a drum set on a flowered riser and the other equipment, like keyboards and sound equipment, was set up on a riser that looked like a giant storybook that read “Panic at the Disco” on the spine. The screen in the back featured various backdrops that changed during the songs. Most were trippy flowered scenes and other psychedelic imagery, which totally fits with Panic’s new Beatles-esque image. The band themselves were dressed in button-down shirts, jeans, Beatle-boots, and vests. A change a pace from their Edwardian-Gothic vibe from the last tour (not a smidgen of eyeliner in sight).

Overall I loved the concert. The band played a great mix of both their last album and the newest one. They sounded good live, but the new material was played MUCH better than the old. I think the new material lends itself better to being played live than the older stuff, which had a lot more studio effects and techno beats. The new stuff is just plain good old-fashioned music, which I LOVED. No gimmicks, tricks, stage performances, nothing. Panic just focused on their musicality which was brilliant. My favorites were their renditions of “That Green Gentleman”, “Northern Downpour”, and a fantastic solo effort by Brendon of “I Have Friends in Holy Spaces.” They seemed to breeze through their older material, in fact they seemed to almost hesitant to play their biggest and most overplayed hit from the last album “I Write Sins Not Tragedies.” But they really seemed to relish playing the new stuff, which makes sense because the new material is just plain good fun music, and not angst-driven techno-punk (although that was pretty brilliant music too).

The concert was so great, I had always loved Panic but had never seen them live. Aside from the annoying text messaging fiasco and the man who smelled like an ashtray sitting next to me, the experience was pretty much perfect.

And my ears are still ringing.

panic.jpgprettyodddddd.jpgSo the new Panic at the Disco album “Pretty. Odd” came out yesterday, and as I was sitting on the bus with my headphones in digesting the Smörgåsbord of sounds, I realized I was right all along. As I stated in my previous post (see Sgt. Pepper or Sgt. Panic?), I thought the new video for “Nine in the Afternoon” was full of Beatles references. Well, evidently, so is the new album. A lot of the songs sounded like they were straight off of Rubber Soul or Revolver. Even the intro to the album, “We’re So Starving,” was a lot like the Beatles intro to Sgt. Pepper. The review of “Pretty. Odd” by USA Today was titled “The Beatles Take on Disco Style”, and according to that cultural database known as Wikipedia, the album was actually recorded at Abbey Road Studio in London. Weird. Beatles redux or not, the whole album is pretty awesome. I highly recommend downloading it. Some of my faves include the soft ballad “Northern Downpour,” and the bouncy cutely-named country song “Folkin’ Around.” Download, listen, enjoy. sgt_pepper.jpg

OK, as an introduction to this blog, one thing you need to know about me…I’m obsessed with music. Everything that has to do with music. John Lennon’s acid-drenched imagery, Janis Joplin’s crazy hippie garb and lonely-girl mystique, Bowie’s great eyeliner, Dylan’s epic poetry. My current obsession (and by current I mean since their first and only album came out two years ago) is the band Panic! At the Disco. Their second album called Pretty. Odd. comes out later this month (March 25th to be exact–mark your calendars!) and they have already released a music video for the first single from that album, Nine in the Afternoon. For those you don’t want to buy it on iTunes, you can check it out on YouTube. The video blew me away. It was like the band took a page from the Sgt. Pepper playbook. Honestly, watch the video and if you have any knowledge of Beatles music and history at all, you’ll know what I mean. The marching band, the mustaches, the shaggy mop-top hair. Ok, so the long underwear isn’t as charming as the psychedelic marching band outfits the Beatles wore, but you get my point. Even the scene in the beginning where Panic! is being chased by the screaming girls is like straight out of A Hard Day’s Night. It’s worth downloading just to see the crazy imagery. Not quite as good as their video for I Write Sins Not Tragedies, but then again I am a sucker for creepy carnival videos featuring circus freaks. But that’s just me….PS: Brendon, you’re so gorgeous it doesn’t really matter, but you need to cut the hair a little. Just a suggestion.