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Archive for June 2009

Jun 22

Neda

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You sat down on the street
Holding your hand to your chest
Where a bullet had exploded inside like an evil flower.

Your death took forever
but your life ended quickly
Now your eyes haunt our dreams.

In our safe American lives
We can’t comprehend of a place
Where one can be killed merely for bearing witness.

The world watched you fall, and we heard
The screams of your father as you slipped away
But you rose up a fierce and beautiful angel
Who will live forever.

(c) Holly Cara Price - June 22, 2009



March 21 - April 19 Aries

Yon adventurous Aries folks will no doubt find the Peace Fountain, located next to the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine in upper Manhattan, fascinating - as I did on a recent re-visit there with my friend Buffalo Jill. Greg Wyatt, the artist and sculptor-in-residence at the Cathedral, intended the piece to depict the struggle of good and evil as seen through the battle of wills between Satan and the Archangel Michael. I can’t even begin to describe this sculpture, as it has to be seen to be believed. Around the plaza where the fountain resides are a number of plaques with pithy quotes by gifted thinkers like Einstein, Socrates, and John Lennon. The plaque below the fountain itself says, in part: Peace Fountain celebrates the triumph of Good over Evil, and sets before us the world’s opposing forces—violence and harmony, light and darkness, life and death—which God reconciles in his peace.

April 20 - May 20 Taurus
To those stubborn Taureans out there; indulge your love of comfort and luxury for a change. I know you’re all hey there’s a recession on and suchlike and I get that; but once in a great while you have to live the way you want your life to be rather than the way it is – even if only for a few minutes a week. And when you’re in this mode, rub some creamy sweet-smelling shea butter into your skin. Shea butter contains Vitamins A, E, and F and has healing properties that address various ailments like dry skin, burns, muscle aches, wrinkles, and rashes. Shea Yeleen International is a company that makes shea body butter, body balm, and lip balm and, being a fair trade cooperative, they also funnel half of the retail price back into the communities that made the products. SYI’s mission is to promote sustainable economic development and empower women in rural West Africa through organizing and training women owned cooperatives to produce, market, and sell high quality shea butter; and educate consumers in the U.S. about natural body care products and fair trade.

May 21 - June 20 Gemini
Yes, it’s that time. Gemini Time. Brink of Summer Time. And time, once again, for us to check in with the Goddess of Ganja, Nancy Botwin. Weeds has returned. I’ll be recapping each episode weekly on the Huffington Post throughout Season Five – first installment here. I’ll also be picking a 420 moment during each episode as well. If you’ve never been a stoner you won’t get that reference, so feel free to google it at your leisure. Anyway, to be brief, Nancy’s life has been spared since she’s carrying the spawn of her Mexican drug lord BF – Celia’s been kidnapped by her own daughter, the Mighty Quinn, who’s been living in Mexico since she was sent there for boarding school – young Shane is following his brother into the family business – and that’s only a few strands of the plotline. Viva the wacky world that Jenji Kohan created, and stop by for a visit Monday nights at 10PM on Showtime. (Followed by the great new show Nurse Jackie, starring a very different Edie Falco than her last incarnation as Carmela Soprano).

June 21 - July 22 Cancer
So put this on your calendar because it’s a great birthday present for you Cancerians. Under the Covers Volume 2 (Shout Factory) by Sid and Susie, that is to say, Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs, will be released on July 21. The first volume in 2006 was rife with great 60’s pop songs like And Your Bird Can Sing (Lennon/McCartney), Monday, Monday (John Phillips), Different Drum (Mike Nesmith), Cinnamon Girl (Neil Young), Who Knows Where the Time Goes (Sandy Denny) and many more. May I say that anyone who brings back the great Sandy Denny, and that song in particular, into the public consciousness deserves multiple thanks in my book. Vol. 2 includes 16 fantastic songs from the 1970’s – everything from Sugar Magnolia to Maggie May to Beware of Darkness. Thanks as always to the learned Sal Nunziato and his extremely necessary music blog Burning Wood for this great news.

July 23 - August 22 Leo
Faithful, yet intolerant. Creative, yet patronizing. That is the eternal dichotomy of Leo. Seems to me that you conflicted souls would enjoy Susan McCorkindale’s terrific autobiographical tale of leaving the city behind for a quieter, simpler, possibly boring as hell life in the country, Confessions of a Counterfeit Farm Girl. McCorkindale, former marketing director for Family Circle Magazine, left her fabulous New York City six-figure job behind to go with her husband and two sons to live on a 500-acre beef farm in rural Virginia. This book is about her struggle to assimilate in a very different world and it will leave you howling. Check out her blog. Follow her twitter feed (“Husband’s making hay. Kids are making a mess. And I’m making margaritas. Just another smokin’ Friday night on the farm.”).

August 23 - September 22 Virgo
And speaking of twitter feeds… yes, I’ve gone down that daisy path, like many of you –obsessive Virgo or not. I follow feeds as diverse as The Onion to NPR to Rachel Maddow to Perez Hilton. I pick ‘em, I read ‘em, sometimes I keep ‘em, sometimes I unsub, most times I don’t. It’s like a moving haiku billboard. Sometimes they’re so great that I need to tell the world about ‘em. Such is the case with SustainableDump, the fabulous feed of journalist/culinary student Kathleen Willcox. KW’s feed delivers substainable food news, plus oatmeal recipes. How about the 411 on the ingredients of Sara Lee bread? Or the scoop on conscientious cacao? All here, plus this - oatmeal du jour: toasted then cooked in light coconut milk with chilies (I plucked ‘em out before slurping it up), salt, brown sugar. Check out more of Kathleen’s erudite gems on the Eat Me Daily group blog and catch her delicious review of David Liebovitz’s new memoir, The Sweet Life in Paris, at the Daily Beast.

September 23 - October 22 Libra
This one’s in honor of my Libran cat, Mr. Boy, a healthy and robust five and a half year old tabby. He’s lived with me since last year when I got him as a rescue pet. I recently had to take him to the vet, which is not the easiest task when a cat weighs 15 pounds and really doesn’t want to leave the house for any reason, ever, since he is king of the castle here. A friend told me about Pet Taxi and we tried them out and now I want to tell you about how great they are. They offer local service in Manhattan and will take your furry companion anywhere from Soho to Singapore, door to door. They transport dogs, cats, and exotic animals to and from airports, kennels, vets, groomers – with or without you along. They can arrange for your pet to travel by air – from shots, to paperwork, to the plane. They also operate a Hampton Petney shuttle service in the summer. Mr. Boy and I enjoyed them immensely.

October 23 - November 21 Scorpio
Since Halloween falls within the dates of this sign, it’s no surprise that Scorpios tend to gravitate to the beauty of forgotten places, the poetry of decay. On her spooky beautiful site abandoned theaters, photographer Julia Solis presents a number of photo essays about the dark and quiet places where people used to live their lives, the places that have not yet been torn down, empty yet still breathing. Check out Detroit Wonderland: Snapshots of Detroit’s notoriously spectacular decay, with sidetrips to plywood, glamour, industry and playtime somewhere along the merry long haul. Draw in your breath at the image of an empty baby carriage in the shadow of an abandoned train station. And the crumbling façade of the Hotel Ft. Shelby. The spooky hallways of an empty office tower. The echoing silence of a mental hospital power plant. The screaming orange booths of an old restaurant, covered with concrete dust. Thank you Amanda Palmer for turning me on to this site via twitter.

November 22 - December 21 Sagittarius
It’s a known fact that Sagittarians love good and plentiful food and drink. So I have one word for you people: Zingerman’s. For those of you who don’t live in or near Ann Arbor, Michigan, this word may require an explanation. Think deli. Think roadhouse. Think coffee. Think creamery. Think catering. Think bakehouse. Think mail order: extraordinary, traditionally-made tasty gifts sent all across the U.S. There’s surely no occasion that would not be enlivened by utilizing the Z-word. There’s still time to order up a fabulous Father’s Day gift if you hurry (how about a Phantom of the Fridge Secret Stash?), or go a little nuts with some Hazelnut Spread from France, or carbo load supremely with a subscription to the Bread Club (Did someone say Parmesan Pepper? Roadhouse Rye? Chocolate Sourdough?). Thanks to another ex-Michigander, Paige, for this tip!

December 22 - January 19 Capricorn
Work, work, work. Sound familiar, O Capricorn? Are you starting to feel a little tired? A little crispy around the edges? Irritable? Sad? Worried? Scared? Take the time to read Dr. Judith Rich’s 7 Keys For Living The Passionate Life. Dr. Rich, currently living with breast cancer, says “I am growing older, but I’m not growing old.  Old happens when we stop being curious about life.” My favorite is key #3, partially quoted here: Let yourself be moved - Allow life to transport and expand you. Let it open you, touch you . . . Be moved to tears at the magic and mystery of it all. Life is so much bigger and grander than you can possibly imagine. That’s what it’s all about. And you know it, deep down in your real true heart.

January 20 - February 18 Aquarius
When the power of love is greater than the love of power, then the world will know peace - Jimi Hendrix. This Aquarian-themed quote is prominently featured on the website/blog of the Petal Belle Café in Soho, located on Sullivan Street near West Houston, right across from St. Anthony’s Church. A nosh at this teensy eensy beensy café is like stepping back in time, or perhaps going to Europe and sitting in a café off the town square in Vienna or Brussels. Have a red velvet cupcake or a roast pork sandwich with mesclun and pesto on rustic bread or a coconut flavored Belgian waffle sprinkled with powdered sugar. Get on their email list for notices about future classes on cupcake making. Follow their twitter feed to find out when Enrique will be doing tarot readings. Tarot plus cappuccino, does it get better than that?

February 19 - March 20 Pisces
If I was to guess, I’d say Sookie Stackhouse was a classic Pisces. She’s a dreamer. An intuitive. A sensitive human being with an old soul. And it’s time for us to be sucked up (sorry) into her rural Louisiana world again as this Sunday night, June 14, Alan Ball’s True Blood returns to HBO with its second season. If you haven’t scoped this show yet, give it a chance. Anna Paquin is delightful as Sookie, Stephen Moyer as Bill is way sexy and kind of the dream boyfriend (if you can live with his being dead, that is), Rutina Wesley is outstanding as Sookie’s bedeviled best friend Tara, and Nelsan Ellis as drug dealer / short order cook Lafayette is magnificent. Add to that some of the best music scoring on any television show and I’m there. You should be too. Sunday nights at 9pm on HBO.

Earlier this week, Amanda Palmer and Neil Gaiman presented a joint spoken word and musical performance at Soho’s Housing Works Café as part of the SPIN Liner Notes series, which pairs writers and musicians together to promote reading and raises money for the Housing Works Foundation supporting New Yorkers with HIV/AIDS. The room (which is small, deliciously crammed with books, and reminiscent of an old library in the very best sense) was sold out completely with people practically hanging from the rafters. The audience of 250 hung on every word and musical note as a monsoon raged outside in the what’s-next late May climate.

Palmer told the throng about her years as a living statue in Harvard Square, where she appeared as The Eight Foot Bride and stood tall, white, and silent, accepting flowers and money from the teeming mass of humanity that came through the square. This presaged her creating the Brechtian punk cabaret team The Dresden Dolls with multi-instrumentalist Brian Viglione, touring the world and creating much magic.

Fast forward quickly to September 2008 and the release of Who Killed Amanda Palmer, Palmer’s first solo album, produced by Ben Folds. She launched a tour with a group of outrageous, spectacular Australian performers called the Danger Ensemble, who worked for free, living on money received by passing the hat every night at gigs and staying at the homes of local fans in each city. The shows were gut-wrenching, theatrical, transcendent and I lucked into seeing one at New York’s Webster Hall last fall. You know that feeling when you’re sure you are in the right place at the right time? It doesn’t happen all that often. That’s how I felt that night.

Ms. Palmer took to the stage last night at the Highline Ballroom in New York, a vastly different room than the baroque Webster Hall, sleek and streamlined and very kind of Clockwork Orange. She was all Peter Pan come to life as she began the show strumming a ukulele, perched in the upper balcony. The sold out crowd went silent, heads craning up. Back to the stage, she pounded that piano like a postmodern Jerry Lee Lewis, and coaxed sweetness, joy and sorrow out of it. I managed to drag three Amanda virgins with me to the show; all left believers.

This was not the show I saw last year, which alternately ripped open my soul and made me giddy with glee, but it firmly established AFP (as she calls herself - Amanda Fucking Palmer) as a veritable force of nature. Great beauty ballads from WKAP like Ampersand, Runs in the Family, and Astronaut were delivered to us whole and seething, along with fun covers like Yakety Yak.

The show, which can teeter on almost too much intensity at times, is tempered halfway through by the Ask Amanda segment in which AFP takes random written questions from audience members. This particular night we also had a birthday singalong for Amanda’s longtime comrade / photographer / aide de camp Beth Hommel.

Towards the end, Emily Brodsky and opening band The Lisps joined AFP on stage for a rousing version of Delilah, a Dresden Dolls number about a girl who seems to enjoy being abused in a bad relationship. Much of Palmer’s work is about women in the grip of such badness who can’t seem to find a way out.

The show ended with a sweet duet between Amanda’s way cool dad, Jack Palmer, and his daughter on Leonard Cohen’s tragic love ballad One Of Us Cannot Be Wrong. And yet another night in Palmer’s presence convinces me once again that, a year from now, I’ll be saying, yes I was there when you could still get tickets easily to see her and you could still see her in small places. Because this extremely talented goddess angel is going to be around a long time. And it’s not always going to be this easy to see her.

This review was originally posted on the Huffington Post.

Friends, Romans, Countrymen; I can’t keep up doing the scoop every week, it’s too much work, alas. Until such time as someone starts throwing me vast sums of cash to do it, I will be cutting back to a bi-weekly schedule. Therefore, the next two weekend horoscoop*s will be posted here and on the Huffington Post Thursday June 11 and Thursday June 25. Please continue to send me ideas for places, music, books, films, tv shows, art openings, restaurants, et al to cover.

Meanwhile, I’d love for you to check out my Rubbernecking column this week on HuffPo. On Monday I wrote about the finale of The Hills, Lauren’s last show and Speidi’s wedding. It’s almost refreshing to watch a program where no one seems to have anything resembling a personality. Today I wrote about the insane ratings bonanza that is Jon & Kate Plus 8 through the eyes of a child of divorce (this is a show where lack of personality is not a problem, except perhaps in Jon’s case).

I also started a new column for Mark Blankenship’s awesome blog The Critical Condition today, The Price Point. This week I took on television advertising, in particular ads created for Apple products. Please to enjoy. And have a great weekend!