March 21 - April 19 Aries
Long Branch, New Jersey is where it’s at. IT being the Inkwell Coffee House, to be precise. This place harkens back to days of yore when folks gathered around good food and caffeine to read and write poetry, talk into the wee hours, start rock and roll bands, start romances. It’s an old house at 665 2nd Avenue on the corner of New Court and 2nd with a number of cozy rooms to sit in. It’s primarily a college kid hangout but the walls are full of history (it’s said that Bruce Springsteen - who used to live around the corner - and his early drummer Vini Lopez birthed the band Steel Mill in this place, and it was definitely a vintage E Street Band hangout). It opens around 7pm and closes around 3am. Whatever you do, order the chicken salad (unbelievable) and the world’s most decadent Dutch coffee: a mix of coffee, butter, cream and sugar, topped with whipped cream. I know it sounds gross, but it is beyond the pale.
April 20 - May 20 Taurus
You’re in that deep dark goth mood again. Go with it, get right down into it, and get yourself to la belle France, Paris to be precise. Walk in the exquisite storied paths of Père-Lachaise Cemetery and visit the final resting places of peeps like Colette, Moliere, Bizet, Oscar Wilde, Edith Piaf, Isadora Duncan, Gertrude Stein, Jim Morrison. Do not neglect to visit the crypt of star-crossed lovers Abelard and Heloise, there since 1817. Traditionally couples and heartbroken singles leave notes of tribute to them hoping for eternal true love.
May 21 - June 20 Gemini
This week’s download is by the Monkees, but it’s not a song that was probably ever played on the radio. It’s a hidden gem from their (best) album, Headquarters, the one where they finally started playing their own instruments, in 1968. Low key, spooky almost, with the best Davy vocal ever, it’s truly lovely and aching. “A distant night bird mocks the sun…I wake as I have always done…To freshly scented sycamore…and cold bare feet on hardwood floor.”
June 21 - July 22 Cancer
Pay a visit to the Delacorte Clock in Central Park in New York City, located at 65th St. between the Wildlife Center and the Children’s Zoo. You’ve got to see and hear it to believe it. It was gifted to the park in 1965 by publisher/philanthropist George T. Delacorte and was designed to be an homage to European musical clocks. The animal figures that adorn the clock and rotate around it when it chimes were created by Italian sculptor Andrea Spadini. Nursery rhymes are played on the hour and half-hour every day between 8am and 6pm.
July 23 - August 22 Leo
Hey Leos and everyone else, don’t forget to honor your mom this weekend - it’s Mothers Day this Sunday. Visit the good people over at My Damn Channel and pick out a sick, twisted Mother’s Day video greeting. And congratulations to the Damned for winning 7 - count ‘em, 7 - Webby Awards this week. If you haven’t seen Wainy Days, You Suck at Photoshop, Harry Shearer’s Found Objects, and Harry Shearer’s music video for Waterboardin’, USA - well, you’re missing out. Go and view now.
August 23 - September 22 Virgo
Virgos, you are brethren to writer/musician Leonard Cohen, who’s been making haunting music since 1967 and prior to that was a published poet well known in his native country, Canada. His songs (Suzanne, Bird on the Wire, Sisters of Mercy, So Long, Marianne to name a few) are beautiful. But he also authored the remarkably strange and sensual novel Beautiful Losers, which was reissued after being out of print for many years. It’s the story of an obsession with 17th century Iroquois Saint Catherine Tekakwitha. Believe me, you’ve never read anything like it. Not for children.
September 23 - October 22 Libra
There’s nothing like a theremin . . . nothing in this world. If you grew up in the late 60’s you’ll remember the extremely strange gothic soap opera Dark Shadows which aired on daytime television from 1966 to 1971. It was the story of the many denizens of the estate of Collinwood, one of whom was a vampire, the suave and dapper Barnabas Collins (played impeccably by actor Jonathan Frid). You can now buy the episodes on DVD, and I can’t think of a better use for a DVD player. Get a taste for it by viewing a few clips on YouTube (like here, here and here). There are so many plot twists and turns that even now keep viewers entranced, not the least of which was that every time the storyline got a little old and tired, the writers would have the characters jump into a different century (existing in “parallel time”). My favorite character: Dr. Julia Hoffman (Grayson Hall); a medical doctor who falls in love with Barnabas and tries to cure him, but actually is hoping to become one of his victims.
October 23 - November 21 Scorpio
Get off the TMZ and take a mindful walk this weekend. No iPods, no distractions - just you and your feet hitting the ground, listening to the sounds around you. It’s a form of meditation and you need it bad - we all do.
November 22 - December 21 Sagittarius
Think back to the worst temp job you ever had and write a short story about it. There, now. Don’t you feel better?
December 22 - January 19 Capricorn
If you’re ready for a glorious time suck of epic proportions may I suggest the web site of Vanity Fair Magazine. It’s like the chinese boxes of magazine-land, one thing leads to another, and before you know it, five hours have gone by.
January 20 - February 18 Aquarius
While away the hours with the soundtrack of soundtracks from Beyond the Beat Generation, 24/7. All the music on this internet station was created between 1964 and 1968, and what can I say - no finer music was ever made, truly. Instead of DJ chatter, they use awesome audio of vintage advertisements. Any station that has as one of its backbones the 13th Floor Elevators is just hunky dory with this hippie chiquita.
February 19 - March 20 Pisces
You’re stressed and you need a vacation. Consider a trip to Kripalu Yoga Center in Lenox, Mass. - it’s like a massive new age summer camp for adults. And the food is great. Don’t miss the buddha sauce OMG. You don’t need to sign up for a workshop if that’s not your thing - they also have great R&R packages. Go there and breathe.