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March 21 - April 19 Aries

Our Aries friends are ruled by the Red Planet, Mars. You are impulsive and, at times, tend toward the reckless. Well, bring your bad self on down to New York City’s Webster Hall on Friday, November 21 to see Amanda Palmer take the stage. Palmer is best known as the lead singer and lyricist for dark cabaret outfit The Dresden Dolls, and she’s about to bust out in a big way with her first solo album, Who Killed Amanda Palmer. The album, produced by Ben Folds, was released in September. Explore her YouTube channel and watch the videos, including Oasis (dedicated to Sarah Palin). Read her blog. According to her MySpace page she counts among her favorite books The Clown by Heinrich Boll. That’s all I needed to see to know she is my stone cold soul sister. Between now and mid December she’s got a major tour going on hitting all areas of the United States and I urge you to go, because I feel that someday you’ll be telling people you did. It’s like that.

April 20 - May 20 Taurus
Taureans love good food, as I have said before. It’s a known fact. Well, if you find yourself up in Duchess County in the hamlet of Beacon, New York, I urge you not to miss a visit to BJ’s Restaurant at 213 Main Street. Talk about home cooking. Fried chicken, mac and cheese, fried fish, potato salad, greens, yams, and the piece de resistance – the incredible fried pork chops. They’re like poetry in your mouth. Juicy and tender and fulsome. Finish your arteries off with a wedge of sweet potato pie and you’re done. Promptly lapse into a contented food coma like Thanksgiving and Christmas rolled into one.

May 21 - June 20 Gemini
Gemini folks come under the direct influence of fleet-footed Mercury - the Messenger of the Gods in Greek mythology. Pretty much everything interests you. Therefore you’ll be fascinated to know that there is yet another interesting religious development taking place in Nepal (where the three year old living goddess was recently discovered). An 18 year old boy named Ram Bahadur Bamjan is believed by many to be the reincarnation of Buddha. He recently came back into society after more than a year in the jungle. Thousands of his followers from as far away as India came to see him once it was learned he came out of his retreat. He’s been worshiped since he was first noticed three years ago meditating for months at a time without food and water. Bamjan is expected to address his followers on November 18 and then return to the jungle for meditation. You can view photos and video here.

June 21 - July 22 Cancer
The astrological sign of Cancer is shared by luminaries as diverse as Helen Keller, Princess Diana, Lindsay Lohan, Ringo Starr, and Tom Cruise. Who would ever have thought these people had anything in common? We all have a lot more in common than we realize. And one of the main things we all share as human beings is the desire to love and be loved. Keith Olbermann hit yon nail on the head the other night in one of his Special Comments, this one about California’s passage of Proposition 8 last week. Prop 8, in case you’ve been under a rock, rescinded the right of same-sex couples to marry in the state of California. Olbermann is at his finest here, stating flatly that the issue is “about the human heart.” Nothing more, nothing less. Says Keith: “The world is barren enough. It is stacked against love, and against hope, and against those very few and precious emotions that enable us to go forward. Your marriage only stands a 50-50 chance of lasting, no matter how much you feel and how hard you work. And here are people overjoyed at the prospect of just that chance, and that work, just for the hope of having that feeling.” Read the whole text here and watch the video. And if you’re as outraged as I am about the whole thing, there are demonstrations taking place across the country in protest tomorrow, Saturday November 15. There is at least one in all fifty states. Find one near you.

July 23 - August 22 Leo
Leos are leaders, warmhearted and beneficent souls who like to inspire others. The good people at SMITH Magazine and the National Constitution Center are asking you now to help President-Elect Obama inspire America. In six words, a President can speak volumes: Malice toward none, charity for all; Nothing to fear but fear itself; Like a thousand points of light. Suggest six words for Obama to inspire America and the world here. The six best submissions will win a six-word memoir book from SMITH Magazine and a year’s membership to the National Constitution Center. Think about it. Let’s make our voices heard. It’s a new day in this country and things will never be the same again. Let’s restore the American dream together (Heather Frank’s entry).

August 23 - September 22 Virgo
Virgos are the fussbudget of the Zodiac. I mean that in the nicest possible way. You’re all about tying up loose ends and suchlike. Therefore you’ll be thrilled to know that the venerable PBS series, FRONTLINE, now has a fantastic website that enables us to be able to watch dozens of their programs in full, going back to 1983. The series has served as public television’s flagship public affairs series since its debut 25 years ago. Since its inception, FRONTLINE has never shied away from tough, controversial issues or complex stories. FRONTLINE remains the only regularly scheduled long-form public affairs documentary series on American television, producing more hours of documentary programming than all the commercial networks combined.

September 23 - October 22 Libra
Our independent bookstore this week is in the smallest state in the United States, Rhode Island. Book Nook is located on Block Island, an island which can only be reached by ferry from ports in New York, Connecticut, and R.I.  Book Nook’s fall hours are limited to weekends only, and the store offers a wide range of paperbacks and hardcovers for adults, young adults and children, including a large selection of Block Island titles. Although Librans hate to be alone, they do love to curl up with a good book. If you’re in the tri-state area, make it a reasonably priced day trip in these austere times.

October 23 - November 21 Scorpio
Passion and power are the cornerstones of Scorpio. You’re transfixed by anything that combines these two elements.  And in case you’ve never seen the incredible 1967 film Privilege, I urge you to remedy that situation now that it has become available on DVD. Original tag line: Behind the screams and headlines are the manipulators…the puppet masters who pull the strings and make the pop scene work. This is the story of “Steve” - pop singer extraordinary who dared to say “I won’t conform.” It’s a comedy; it’s a drama; it’s a sci-fi musical. Paul Jones plays the protagonist Steven Shorter with the frighteningly gorgeous Jean Shrimpton (her only feature film) as his gal pal. Director Peter Watkins set the scene in a futuristic Britain as the state attempts to crush popular music.  Watch the trailer here. Netflix it here. Buy it here. See it, whatever you do.

November 22 - December 21 Sagittarius
A perfect afternoon for a Sagittarian would be a stroll around the largest gothic cathedral in the world. That would be The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, located on Amsterdam Ave. between 111th and 112th Streets in New York City. St. John’s is the mother church of the Episcopal Diocese of New York. It is chartered as a house of prayer for all people and a unifying center of intellectual light and leadership. There is simply no more peaceful place on the island of Manhattan. Take a tour of its depth and breadth; vertical tours are held every Saturday. Climb 124 feet to the top of the Cathedral on spiral stone staircases. (Ten people limit; reservations highly recommended). Next Sunday November 23 Cathedral Guide Andrew Griffin reveals the biblical messages in the stone and glass of the structure in a special tour entitled Behind the Beauty: Spotlight on Geometry. And try to be there at the end of the month when they strike the keys again on the Great Organ as the entire length of the Cathedral is again revealed after months of renovation.

December 22 - January 19 Capricorn
The download of the week is from Capricorn Shawn Colvin, Grammy-award winning American singer, songwriter and musician. Colvin was born January 10, 1956 in the town of Vermillion, South Dakota. Steady On, released in 1989, was her debut album. She had a top ten hit with Sunny Came Home almost ten years later, which also nabbed both Song and Record of the Year awards, and there have been quite a few more albums as well. But Steady On remains my favorite record of hers. It’s just about perfect. There is not one thing I would change. The songs seamlessly fit one to the other and every one of them is a moving portrait of a life. From the title song: “Cause he seemed like a miracle / I ate it up like cereal / But it was something like shrapnel.” Colvin is on the road right now touring the northeast United States.

January 20 - February 18 Aquarius
Let’s all of us praise Steve Chen, Chad Hurley and Jawed Karim. These three guys invented YouTube in a Menlo Park garage. Thanks to them, we can now find many video clips that we would have assumed lost to time. This no doubt appeals greatly to the Aquarians among us, who are nothing if not independent and inventive, with a healthy dose of total eccentricity. So let me turn you on to David Bowie’s 1980 Floor Show, which was originally aired on Burt Sugarman’s Midnight Special TV show on November 16, 1973. The show had been taped over a period of three days at London’s Marquee Club. It was Bowie’s last public appearance as Ziggy Stardust and was filmed in front of 200 lucky people chosen from the David Bowie International Fan Club. It’s hard to believe but there were only two cameras used in the shoot, due to the small size of the venue. Bowie was absolutely at his most glittering, scary eye makeup best. Other performers: The Troggs and Marianne Faithfull playing a character called Dooshenka (I know, I know). Highlight: Bowie and Marianne singing a duet of the Sonny & Cher classic I Got You, Babe (in which she wears a nun’s outfit). Sublime. Watch Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

February 19 - March 20 Pisces
And speaking of YouTube, did you happen to catch Bruce Springsteen’s Halloween video a few weeks ago? Our Pisces friends, who dig the mysterious and mystical, will want to see this if you missed it. A Night With the Jersey Devil was posted on his website for Halloween and is now immortalized on YouTube. The Jersey Devil, according to Wikipedia, is a legendary creature said to inhabit the Pine Barrens in southern New Jersey. It was reportedly seen as recently as August 18 of this year by three teenagers in a car who watched it fly past their windshield and land in a farmer’s field. Those of us who grew up in New Jersey have long been regaled with tales of this creature. The video will blow your mind; Bruce looks like nothing so much as a sinister, demented preacher wielding an axe and hunting his prey. And the song proves him to be the devil spawn of Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf. Not that I ever doubted it. “Ram’s head, forked tail, clove hoof, love’s my trail / I sup on your body, sip on your blood like wine / Our world theirs, this world mine” (B. Springsteen)

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This post has 2 comments. Add your own.
gail - 14 Nov 08 at 11:24:05

Holly, you’re magical. I have to go watch 42 hours of old episodes of Frontline now…

[...] May 20 Taurus I’m breaking my rule of not repeating things here, because I took my own advice in this here column and went to see Amanda Palmer and the Danger Ensemble at Webster Hall. Ms. Palmer (a Taurus) and [...]