Friday, February 26, 2010

Reading competitions, lists, and libraries.

I remember hearing a while ago about a reading competition between Karl Rove and George W. Bush, wherein President Bush read 95 (ninety-five) books in the year 2006. Jokes about Nancy Drew mysteries and Dr. Seuss aside, that's still an impressive feat, if it's true. That's almost two books a week, and he had a full-time job.

I have no idea how many books I read last year, even though I tried to keep track with my Book-It for Grownups!™, a group that sadly fell to the wayside as the year moved on. I think I'm going to keep track this year. The library won't give you a print-out of all the books you've checked out, which I think is a travesty. I mean, can't the CIA get a list of my library books? Why can't I? GoodReads will have to do for now.

Friend-with-a-Truck signed up for GoodReads last night, and the competition began. I didn't realize how competitive I was feeling about this until he added 10 (ten) books to his already-read list this calendar year alone. I've read nine so far, and I plan on overtaking Friend-with-a-Truck immediately and permanently.

Admittedly, three of my books have been audiobooks. But I think they totally count. In fact, if you question audiobooks and are a busy person, see how much more you can read when you start listening to books in the car or while you're grocery shopping or washing dishes. I still prefer a hardcover book, but it's nice to be able to "read" where you otherwise would be doing mundane time-consuming tasks. Hmmmm .... maybe that's how President Bush read so many ...

Got any reading goals this year? Not a reader at all? Try reading (or listening to) one book a month.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A spelling lesson.

You know that like many fine folks in history -- Van Gogh, Monet, Elvis Presley, Virginia Woolf -- I suffer from The Migraine. Sorry I haven't written lately. My friend Migraine has been a most ungracious houseguest.

I don't like headaches at all, but there is a beauty to the post-migraine awakening. Everything is extra vibrant and meaningful. I still don't feel like writing, however, and so today, I bring you a spelling lesson, my friends:

"Accordion" has ONE "A" -- at the beginning. A-c-c-o-r-d-i-o-n. Repeat: i-o-n.

I know it's not as important word to you as it is to me, but hey, it's my blog. Yes, there will be a test.


Friday, February 19, 2010

Supermarket Sweep and Laser Pointers.

As much as I complain about my empty refrigerator, I actually really like to go grocery shopping. I prefer going when the store is completely empty, or only peopled with weirdos. After 11pm, for example, the shoppers are mostly musicians or other night-owls. The aisles are often blocked with the re-stockers, but there's never a line in the self-checkout lane. It also gives me plenty of room to play my own version of "Supermarket Sweep."

When I was a kid, I loved "Supermarket Sweep." I don't even know why, but something about getting to run around the grocery store, grind coffee, grab inflatable ketchup bottles, and fill up your cart with cheeses and contact solution (I always thought the diapers took up too much room), just seemed like fun to me. Honestly, I sometimes had dreams that I was running the final sweep.

One summer I went to a nerd camp, and we were trapped at NKU. The only place we were allowed off-campus was Thriftway, the supermarket up the road a bit. It was like an oasis to us. Jesse and I would walk up there, having been trapped in our dorms and one small patch of grass day in and day out, and Thriftway was the best amusement park we could imagine. We would take carts and challenge each other to find little cans of cat food or Kosher midgets (I know they are now called "petites," but they were still midgets in the '90s). It was very entertaining back then, but that probably says more about the lack of entertainment at nerd camp than it does about the fun of grocery shopping.

Anyway, last week I was tempted to play Supermarket Sweep. But as I always seem to end up at Kroger's on a Wednesday morning -- when it's senior citizen discount day -- it didn't seem right to race through the aisles looking for pickles. Instead, I took out my laser pointer and aimed it at whatever the old people were browsing, and darted around the corner before they could figure out it was me. That was a verrrrrrry fun game.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Leftover magic or mush?

You regular readers know that I've been trying to dine out less frequently, and this is not an easy task. Usually when I start blogging or Facebook-statusing about having nothing to eat in the house, it's because I truly am down to crackers and Vegemite. The last time this happened, I actually cracked open the Vegemite and discovered that it's not horrible, provided you butter then hell out of the crackers. Today, however, I have plenty of food in the fridge, I just don't know what to make out of it.

And so I give you today's invention: an App or website that assesses what is in your refrigerator, then spits out a list of meals/recipes that you can create with it.

Some people are geniuses when it comes to that sort of thing. often posts recipes that she came up with just based on what she had left in the fridge. Unfortunately, our leftovers rarely have much in common.

Seeing as I've used up the grocery budget for the month, and I'm being very strict/good about not going over-budget, I might just have to start getting creative.

What can I make with: shredded soy "cheese," a loaf of wheat bread (homemade, I am proud to admit!), a cup of potato soup, a few eggs, a tortilla, some wilted broccoli, a tablespoon of quinoa salad, a half of cup of pasta sauce, and some cabbage of questionable age?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Do princesses have dental insurance?

Vintage guitars, tattoos, and motorcycles can all be hot, but at some point your life, the biggest turn-on becomes dental insurance. I've never had dental insurance (though I do have 2 vintage guitars), but somehow I always make it a priority to go to the dentist twice a year for a check-up. Odd ... I haven't been to my general physician for a wellness check-up in five years. But the dentist? Every six months.

I went this morning for my checkup and cleaning. They all looked good, even my new half-a-tooth that was restored after the blender-to-the-face incident. I got my shiny new toothbrush and went on my way.

I've never been afraid of the dentist, and I don't really understand people who are. I like to think of it like getting a massage, except for your teeth. When you think about it, it seems completely luxurious -- like royalty -- to have someone else clean and floss your teeth for you. It would be like having a lady-in-waiting button my dress or fan me during the dreadful summertime castle heat. So going to the dentist kind of makes me feel like a princess. Except princesses probably don't have to pay for their dental work. And really, I guess I'd rather have a massage.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Snow and Scotch.

Thanks for all the awesome messages and comments on the earX-tacy blog. I get stressed out about my blog far too often -- usually by commenters on Mojo who misunderstood my point ... odd how Facebook, MySpace, and my regular blog, seems to have much more clever audience. Frankly, I don't understand how op-ed columnists have survived for years. They must either take a lot of Xanax, or have emotional callouses thicker than a cello player's. I don't have good enough health insurance to get pills, so I'm just trying not to take anything personally.

In related news, I'm thinking about getting back into Scotch. I first decided I loved Scotch when I was playing in Glasgow about a year and a half ago. Peter McGee and Matt McGowan of a local Glaswegian magazine came out to review my show, and afterwards, they personally took it upon themselves to introduce Peter Searcy and me to Scotch. Of the two of us, I was definitely the whisky-phile (Peter had been drinking beer), so I personally took the Scotch tutorial for both of us. I sampled whiskys from the Lowlands, Highlands, Speyside, and Islay ... and Islay is my absolute favorite.

Which brings me to exciting news -- at least for me.

In May, I'm performing at the Islay Whisky Festival. Islay is a wee island off the West cost of Scotland, and it's where all of my favorite Scotches are produced. If you are not much of a whisky drinker, you probably shouldn't begin with the Islay Whiskies. They are smoky, peaty, and very effective. I think they smell like smoked cheese and taste like candy. I'll be playing at the Laphroaig distillery, which is one of my absolute favorite Scotches of all. So fair warning to my travel-loving, whisky-loving friends ... book a flight, and maybe I'll see you in May?

As glamorous as that sounds, my entire existence has lately been spent trying to book other gigs surrounding that date, in random small-town Scotland. So if anyone has any leads near Loch Lomond ... I'm all ears.

And by the way, please don't correct my spelling of "whisky." It's "whisky" when it's Scotch or of Scottish-descent (Maker's Mark is "whisky" for that reason), and it's "whiskey" when it's other lineage.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

My reaction to the EarX-tacy announcement.

For those blog-readers who aren’t familiar with Louisville’s world-renowned record store, earX-tacy, here’s a little background. I implore you to visit their website or do a quick Google search. It’s the hub of the local independent scene in Louisville and, until the digital invasion, was the only place to find the independent releases and local music from the world over. There are some other great record stores in Louisville, Underground Sounds, for example, that deserve our attention and our business, but I’m focusing on earX-tacy for this blog. The store owner had a press conference on Friday explaining how dangerously close to bankruptcy the store is – a press conference that sparked cries of sadness and support from all over the world.

This whole earX-tacy thing has had me thinking all weekend. I went to the press conference on Friday, hugged most of the staff, and saw more smiling faces that morning than there should have been, considering the sad news that awaited from owner/founder John Timmons. That’s part of the magic of the store. EarX-tacy is a place that makes people smile. I’m also really glad Timmons is strong enough and has the forethought to make a plea for business, rather then just make a surprise, no-warning announcement that the store is closing, as has happened with so many other local businesses. He admitted aloud at Friday’s press conference that “the easiest thing to do is to close the doors today…. But this isn’t my store … it’s yours.” Truly, for a man wanted only to sell records for a living, John Timmons has unwittingly created a cultural mecca.

Over the past few days I’ve read far too many asinine comments that mention “overpriced records” and “Isn’t that how capitalism is supposed to work” and “I get all my music from Limewire.” (Limewire, by the way, is not only illegal, but hurts the artist every bit as much as it hurts the independent record stores.) I can’t keep quiet about this because it’s too important.

I understand these talks of capitalism and the free market dictating what stores stay open. And no, I don’t think that the local government should step in and help out every business that is floundering in these sad economic times. I believe that earX-tacy, however, has earned a different place in our city’s layout.

I’ve traveled to four continents, and I’ve seen earX-tacy bumper stickers in each of them, either on cars or guitar cases or slapped on a graffiti-splattered wall. My pink earX-tacy hoodie has traveled with me on many a tour, and I’ve lost count of the times I’ve gotten a thumbs-up, a wink, or a new friend because of it. People recognize and appreciate earX-tacy in the way they know other interesting cultural entities, such as City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco or the original Café du Monde in New Orleans.

It’s because of the place earX-tacy has naturally risen to in our city’s culture, not because of brilliant marketing or a business plan, that I contend that earX-tacy truly is more than just a retail store, despite John Timmons’s original intentions. As Jim James (of My Morning Jacket) said on Friday at the press conference, “EarX-tacy is an experience.”

I believe the store has earned a place in the art and culture of Louisville, and any attempt to support it – at least by the city officials – should be viewed as such. Of course, as individuals, the best thing we can do to support them is by giving them our business – just as the best thing you can do to support a local musician/artist/writer, is by going to their concert/gallery/reading and buying their record/painting/book. But I would love to see the city officials do their part in economically supporting this Bardstown Road icon, and they should think of it as just that: a cultural institution, a place where art is displayed, and an incredibly important part of Louisville’s vibrant art scene.

Those of you who think art is not important, please go read a history book. The suppression of art, whether through capitalism or fascism, yields a terrible place to live. I truly believe that earX-tacy should be treated as the cultural icon it has grown to be, and we should take responsibility for maintaining our community’s culture.

John Timmons is most certainly not asking for a handout – he emphasized multiple times during the press conference that what he needs is your business. I believe, however, that the rules of capitalism that have been brought up so often in angry blog comments, truly should be re-thought when it comes to cultural and artistic institutions.

The starving artist concept exists for a reason, and it’s true that it is not often economically viable to make a living as an artist. But without art, humanity suffers greatly, and thus, we need to make efforts to fund artists and culture within our own communities, lest we all be living in a mindless, miserable world. Many artists have left this world bankrupt and unappreciated, only to have the world honor them with museums and anthologies many years after their deaths. I don’t want to be sitting in a chain restaurant in ten years in my pink earX-tacy hoodie talking about when Louisville used to be a different and interesting place to live.

We are so very fortunate to have a vibrant artistic community in Louisville, and earX-tacy is most definitely in the nucleus of the local music scene. If we do not give the store the respect and business it has earned, we will see it fail, as well as many other businesses and artists who depend on earX-tacy for their own commerce.

When John Timmons spoke about how all he ever wanted to do was sell records, he made the statement, “I’ve never been cool.” I laughed at the statement, coming from the casual man in the sweatshirt, owner of the coolest store in Louisville. Then I thought about how many other artists must feel that way. I’ve stood on stage, singing my songs, looking out in awe as the audience listens and applauds, wondering how in the world some nerdy kid like me is center stage and selling records. And I think, “If they only knew how un-cool I am,” they’d never be screaming like that. Well, John Timmons hasn’t regularly gotten that sort of immediate and loud audience validation, but to me, and to thousands of other folks around the world, John Timmons should know that he is about as cool as they come. Here’s a guy who loves music and musicians so much that he created a cultural institution – though not intentionally. How many of you can say you did that? And as he held a box of tissues at Friday’s press conference, scratched his head in amazement at the media representation and what his avocation had yielded through years of work-fueled passion (or perhaps passion-fueled work), John Timmons was undoubtedly the coolest man in the room.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Cultural holidays = Accordion gigs.

Back before I played original music for a living, I worked hard playing the rounds in Louisville bars, restaurants, parties, etc., at least five nights a week. Sometimes I played solo jazz piano -- no singing -- for five hours at a fancy-schmancy restaurant in Old Louisville while rich white people dined on over-priced meals. I sang for five hours straight every Sunday night at Air Devils Inn. I played accordion and sang at a restaurant in Indiana on Wednesday nights.

Most of the time, I got paid crap, but the awesome thing about playing accordion is that it incorporates SO many cultural holidays. So every other month there was a niche market that was hosting a private party. There were always a few Irish Ceili gigs around St. Patrick's Day, then French Cafe-type stuff for July 14, then Oktoberfest, of course, and various other events. The first accordion-themed holiday of the year, however, is Mardi Gras.

It's that time a year. The time when organizations have Mardi Gras events and need a band and immediately think, "That Bridget girl ... doesn't she play accordion? Accordion is Mardi Gras-ish!" Well, I do play accordion, and I have been known to play zydeco tunes in the past when hired to do so.

I'm fairly certain that my association with the accordion is why the Kentucky Center for the Arts thought of me to play the pre-party for the Brown-Forman Midnite Rambler Presents: Terrance Simien & The Zydeco Experience show Friday night. But it's nice that I am known nowadays for playing my own music, and I don't have to learn an hour of Cajun French to make the evening whole. I'm playing for a hour in the East Room at the Kentucky Center, just before the main event starts. So if you have tickets for the amazing Terrance Simien, you should come early (I start at 7:00) and hang out with me. If you don't have tickets, you should either buy some, or come down to the Kentucky Center anyway around 7 and get an hour of free entertainment.

I'll have Peter Searcy on bass and Scott Lankford on drums. We're playing from 7:00-7:55, or whenever they start flashing the lights telling people to go to their seats.

I'm looking forward to the gig because I like playing in different venues. Also, I've got cabin fever. You probably do too, so consider coming down to listen to some music. Besides, I might throw in some French Cafe music or a good ol' polka. Oh wait -- wrong holiday.

Kentucky Center for the Arts
501 West Main Street
East Room
Brigid Kaelin Band 7:00-7:55
Terrance Simien Show follows (Tickets required for the Simien show, but not for mine)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Call to punctuality in live music shows.

When I was on the road playing as the opening act for much bigger artists than I am, I heard a great piece of advice from the headliner: I don't care what time you start your set; I only care what time you finish. In other words, if you start late, you're still finishing at the same time. The show is not going long or off-schedule just because you're on "musician time."

Today's blog is an idea for both musicians and audiences, of which I have been both. You know I am a bit of a stickler for starting a show on time, and I should probably relax a bit. But when people come to my shows, they are paying for entertainment. It's my job as a professional to give them a show, and give it to them at the advertised time -- not half an hour or an hour late.

So now for a totally innovative idea: Artists, let's start our shows on time -- as in at the time they are advertised. Don't put 9:00 on the poster, then start at 10:00. Put "Doors at 9, show at 10." Just think of it as a job. You're being paid to perform, so don't be late to work, okay? The audience is paying to be there -- either by a cover charge or by buying expensive drinks -- so respect them by getting to work on time.

Before you musicians get on my case and say, "But the crowds show up later because they think we're going to start late anyway," let's make an agreement with them as well. Audiences, let's agree that we won't show up an hour late, unless we are okay with missing the first set. And we won't yell at the musicians when we walk in an hour after the advertised start-time, and the band already played our favorite song. Likewise, audiences, let's respect the workers by not reserving a front row table and then talking incessantly the entire set. If we want to talk, how about we sit at the bar?

Okay, for leniency's sake, maybe we can agree on a 15-minute window -- like airlines do -- before the show is considered officially "late." I understand sometimes you just need to hold the curtain for a broken cable or a late bass player or because the basketball finals just went into overtime or because Grandma's not there yet, but let's let 15 minutes be the absolute most. Like with previews at a movie. After that, it's Grandma's problem for being a latecomer. But remember, on a multi-band bill, when the opener starts late, that pushes the whole night back. That's bad for everyone involved.

Ah, let's imagine that, by some miracle, all of this magically and immediately worked out. Wouldn't it be amazing to be able to pick up a LEO and plan your night on the town based on the show schedule? You could catch a 7:00 show at an art opening, then at 8:00 set at Clifton's, head over to Headliner's for a 9:00 start, and then catch a late set at the Nach Bar.

Do you think this will ever be possible, specifically in Louisville? Do we create an online petition or a Facebook group or a letter to the editor? Or can we just maybe all start showing up to work on time, and showing up to shows on time, and the Zeitgeist of the Louisville music scene will start to change?

That's all. Someone had to say it. I've got a louder mouth than most, I guess.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Best Throat Spray Ever and a Wacky Bahamas Story.

After I got home from the Bahamas two weeks ago, I dropped in to visit an old friend I rarely see anymore. She asked about the trip, and I told her a story I will share with you today. As I got to the crazy serendipitous part, she rolled her eyes and said, "Of course, Brigid, that stuff ALWAYS happens to you." To her, I've always been her Crazy Friend Brigid, a moniker that, admittedly, used to bother me. But I'm older and wiser now, and so I will simply smile with the knowledge that wacky and wonderful things do indeed happen to me ... and share that story with you now.

I won't bore you with details, but let's just say that the day of the show in Freeport, my voice was not its usual self. My range had dropped significantly, and I was having to lower the keys of my own songs, struggling just to make it through the night. I absolutely despise when performers make excuses for themselves from stage, however, even if it's a legitimate illness. I prefer to just smile, and put on my game face, and give the folks a show.

So I'm up there singing, surprising myself at how easy and fast I can yodel when I've got a sore throat, and struggling through it with a smile. It worked out okay. The only people who noticed my throat injury were the few who tried to talk to me before the gig, as I'd mentioned my voice problem to them and that I wasn't speaking until after the show.

Then this woman comes up to me and requests a song. I'd noticed her throughout the gig, as she was listening intently and looked like she was having a blast. She also was just the type of woman who demands the room's attention, as if she might have been Queen of the Island. I speak softly and directly into her ear because you wouldn't believe how much effort it takes to speak loudly over crowd noise. Then she looks at me and says, "Your throat's hurting you isn't it?"

I nod and explain to her that I'd been drinking water all day, lozenges, etc, but my voice still wasn't cooperating.

That's when she introduces herself as Karen Clarke, the President/Owner of Thayers (est. 1847, but she's not that old). What's Thayers, you may ask? Only my absolute favorite brand of herbal throat sprays. It's one of the few products out there that doesn't contain alcohol or a numbing ingredient, both of which can actually hurt your voice and convince you to sing over the pain. It also tastes sweet and yummy, and because its herbal, you can spray it all day long to moisturize your vocal cords. I had one bottle left in my cabinet at home, but hadn't brought it with me to the gig.

Karen took my hand, told me about some other products they had, and promised to send me a box of Thayers goodies that were awaiting me upon my arrival home.

How freakin' crazy is it that the random night I'm playing in Freeport, Grand Bahama, I've lost my voice, and the OWNER of the best throat spray company in the world just so happens to be AT MY GIG and comes to talk to me???? (That's the point in the story where you roll your eyes and say, "Of course, Brigid, that stuff ALWAYS happens to you.")

So there's the full disclosure -- Thayers sent me a box of their goodies. But I've got to tell you, I was a user of the Dry Mouth Spray before, and I'm remaining loyal. The Slippery Elm Lozenges, however, were new to me. You suck on two of them about 20 minutes before showtime, and I must admit, they got me through a gig in January that I was extremely worried about.

Anyway: singers in Louisville, they sell the Dry Mouth Spray at Rainbow Blossom, Amazing Grace, and Whole Foods, or you can order them from Honestly, though, Thayers is such a good company that they actually prefer you to patronize your local stores. Just please let me know if you take the last bottle.... last I checked, the Rainbow Blossom by my house only had one left. Actually, if anyone out there works at Rainbow Blossom or Amazing Grace, maybe you could just order a case of that spray for me? :) Love, your Crazy Friend Brigid

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Last Waltz Louisville.

It's been two years since the Lexington-based band Tula last staged their own version of The Band's farewell film The Last Waltz in Louisville, and it's high time they brought it back. The Louisville music scene has its factions, but things like the Townes Van Zandt Tribute and Tula's The Last Waltz are beautiful reminders that all of us musicians

Saturday at Headliner's, Tula will act as The Band, welcoming an array of Louisville singer-songwriters, rock musicians, folks-you-didn't-know-ever-performed (music critics! attorneys!), and even a Louisville ex-pat, to the stage as they re-enact Scorsese's 1978 classic documentary film. The film/concert included guest musicians such as Eric Clapton, Neil Diamond, Bob Dylan, Emmylou Harris, Ronnie Hawkins, Dr. John, Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, Ringo Starr, Muddy Waters, Ronnie Wood, and Neil Young, all stepping up to sing with The Band.

I'm making a reprise as Joni Mitchell, so over the next two days I'll be trying to remember how she tuned that freakin' guitar of hers and trying to remember all the verses of the surprisingly rockin' tune "Coyote."

That'll be a blast, but I'm even more looking forward to hearing the other performers. In December of 2007, I remember being rocked beyond belief by John Mann's killer performance of "Caravan," and I'm hoping that's what he's planning on doing again.

Other performers include: Peter Searcy; Sean Hopkins of Dallas Alice; John Mann of Tim Krekel Orchestra fame; Sarah Teeple of the Ladybirds; Greg Foresman of Martina McBride's band; Rodney Hatfield and Nick Stump of the Metropolitan Blues Allstars; Jimmy Gardner of Hellfish; Dave Nofsinger and Dave Porter of Satchel's Pawnshop; Eric Whorton and Andy Brown of El Roostars; Dewey Kincaid of the Navigators; Brigid Kaelin; John Valentine; Mick Sullivan of Fire the Saddle and Squeezebot; Joe Burchett of Fire the Saddle and the Mandelbrots; Maiden Radio's Joan Shelly, Joe Manning, Cory Wilson of Lexington's Coralee and the Townies; Gabe Hensley of the Other Brothers, Peter Searcy, and even one ... Jeffrey Lee Puckett. Jeffrey Lee did a kick-a$$ version of "The Weight" with Tim Krekel at the last performance. I can't wait to hear what he's singing this time.

Saturday, Feb 6
Headliner's Music Hall
9:00 / $10

And after Headliner's, why not bring your dancing shoes over to Seidenfaden's after the show and scoot your boots to some Johnny Berry music? Steve Cooley's guitar riffs alone are worth the $5 cover.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Bad novels and the Masons.

I've been taking it easy for a while. It started with my vocal cord injury, which led to a couple days of migraine and intense lower back pain, both of which are surely stress-induced because I'm mildly freaking out about my vocal cord injury. I know it will be fine, and I'm on my best boring behavior. No drinking, no spicy food, a few muscle relaxers, and as little talking as possible.

What do I do then? I've eaten lots of noodles-with-butter, and I've read quite a bit.

The last two days I read Dan Brown's latest novel, The Lost Symbol. I'm not going to lie and tell you I didn't enjoy The Da Vinci Code. I did, and I also like Harry Potter, The Great Gatsby, and apple pie. Da Vinci was a fun read with good puzzles, Paris, and ancient castles.

The Lost Symbol, however, was just, well, not good. It started out okay. I mean, it started out pretty much like The Da Vinci Code, but that's okay. Sticking with a formula isn't always bad. But I figured out the secret on, like, page 10, and kept repeating, "If I'm right about this, I'm going to be sooooo mad." It took until page 500-something, but there it was: the building I'd guessed on page 10. I skimmed about 50 pages of biblical talk out of pure boredom, just because I was too far in to put the book down. I don't think it would have been as bad if it had been a 300 pages novel. Just kill the fluff, dude, we GET it!

I'll tell you what it DID do, however: It has made me obsessed with the Masons. I think I remember that my grandfather was a Mason. If not him, then his father was. I vaguely remember him talking about it once, back in my pre-Dan-Brown days. Do you think he wore secret robes? To what degree did he rise? Am I entitled to anything, even though I'm a girl? My other grandpa was a veteran, so I can join the American Legion if I want. But they don't do much except have cheap beer and bingo. I'd rather be privy to secret rituals. Am I even allowed to say that he was affiliated with the Masons?

Are any of my blog readers Masons? Can you invite me to some event? I promise not to blog about it. There's just this super-cool building in downtown Louisville that has always intrigued me with it's Greek columns and statues. What goes on there? Exciting action or rituals? Or is it just old rich men playing bingo? Am I going to be kidnapped or put on some list now that I've blogged about the Masons? Watch out for me, folks. If I disappear too long ... check with the Masons.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Week-in-Review (2-2-9)

Category: Blogging

When I played an über-fun show with The Muckrakers this weekend, I talked to Rob about the blog-a-day thing. It's been much more difficult than I anticipated. He tells me I'll get into a groove. Mostly I worry that I won't have anything interesting to write about. Rob's got babies and baseball, so he can always write about something funny that his kids did or some sort of baseball topic. (Sorry, Rob, I don't know much about baseball. Although my first words were: Go, Cubs, Go! Hmmm ... maybe I missed my calling.) Anyway, I'm going to start getting up early and making a routine of it, I think.

I'm borrowing Rob's Weekly Review as a way to streamline and respond to my faithful readers. I always enjoyed reading Rob's reviews, and I need a better way to keep track of my inbox.

So ... thanks much for reading, and here are some thoughts in response to your thoughts. I really really appreciate all the amazing messages of concern and well-wishes for everyone in Kentucky without heat/electricity. My power is still out. I'm fine though.

Megan: Take your vitamins. This blogging has been harder than expected, so my daily motivation is to keep you healthy. Seriously. I don't want you to miss a vitamin, so I must blog!

Chris: It's not ADD; it's my magical powers of tele-porting that allows me to flit and fleet around a room.

Karen: I love that story about name-dropping ex-beau's in SNL skits. I wonder if any of them ever picked up on that.

Ollie: Ha, yes "Over the Rainbow" seems to be a popular saw song. I'm going to work up "Kashmir" tonight. Excellent idea.

Christi: When your mom requested me on Facebook, I could not remember why her name was so familiar. Then I realized that I saw "Bonnie Bakely" repeatedly back when I produced A&E Biography shows. I did the Robert Blake one and had to do far too much research on that woman ... ultimately, that show is what made me completely fed up with producing cable programs.

Pepper Shaker: "You're expressive & creative and all great hookers are." That had me rolling.

Bard in Blue: I'll never tell what the "Something Bad" was. You know, just like Carly Simon won't talk about the inspiration for "You're So Vain." It'll be my little secret.

Tom: Good idea. I haven't been to Nashville since the Americana Conference in September. Absurd! My Nashville roommate and puppy have been on me about that too. I really am long overdue for a trip.

Fciron (L): Guinness, alas, moved in with his grandparents over the summer, when I was on tour all the time. I sure do miss that big drooling mountain of a dog. He gets to sleep in a king size bed with his best friend, George, though, so i think he's doing fine.

Marty: Weren't those creaky limb noises bizarre? It seemed so apocalyptic and weird outside, but it was insane when the ice started falling from the trees.

Tim: I DO need to get back to Indianapolis. Soon. Let's put something together somewhere...

Rob: I love a good saw joke ... keep 'em coming. That's cool that you're having bands play there.

Dana: Being stranded with two of my favorite musicians was pretty great. After the singalong, I kept thinking how cool it was, and how the three of us never play out together. A bit of a shame... we had a good time though.

Liz: I missed the X-rated ROUS impersonation ... you'll have to fill me in.

Bard: You're right. My friends are awesome, and I'm a lucky lucky girl.

Erin: Thanks again for hosting us. That marinara was amazing, and I'm still smiling thinking about the impromptu dinner party. What a fun fun night. It was just one great evening after another last week.

You know, maybe you should all use this daily blog as a reminder to take your vitamins. I think I will. Vitamin and a big glass of water.

Read more:

Blog Rerun: My Rider

I've spent the morning working on a contract and trying to include my bandmates' needs on the rider. I giggle every time I get a gig that involves a rider because my mind drifts back to the stories of green M&Ms and masseuses. Before you start slamming that old story of Van Halen's rider, however, you should know that the M&M request was included to make sure that the venue had actually READ the entire technical rider. Riders include things like electrical outlets, amps, pyrotechnic fire safety regulations, and catering too. So if the band shows up and doesn't find green M&Ms in the green room, they know that most of the important stuff (like safety precautions or decent amps) on the rider was probably overlooked as well.

Anyway, sorry I've been busy with business stuff ... it reminded me of an old blog. So here's a re-run from December 2007:

If I'm going to put on a good, entertaining show, I need to be in a good mood. And i need my band to be in a good mood too. And what puts people in a good mood?

Brigid Kaelin's Backstage Rider:

1) a bottle of Maker's Mark (wax SEALED!)
2) assorted mixers
3) Crown Royal (for the Canadians among us)
4) good dark chocolate
5) chips-n-salsa
6) a Box of Puppies.

Yes, a Box of Puppies. Imagine the scene .. you've driven all day in a big van. Stopped at Wendy's because it's the only place you could agree on. You're not sure what state you're in because all the Best Buy/Starbucks/Target shopping centers are all the same. You're really annoyed with your drummer because when he drives he won't stop tapping his fingers on the steering wheel. And you get to the green room, and what awaits you? A BOX OF PUPPIES!
Magic! Everyone is happy. You get to hold a few wiggly little puppies with their needle teeth and tiny tongues climbing up your legs, and displaying their little puppy bellies for the band members. Suddenly you forgot that it's been 12 nights since you slept in a real bed and you're not speaking to the bass player.

You may be asking yourself -- well, that's rude, what happens to the puppies? That's the beauty of it -- the puppies are adopted to audience members after the show. We get the Humane Society or whatever to bring in a box of puppies, and then the new owners have this great story about how they got their dog at a Brigid Kaelin show.

So that's my rider.

Bourbon and a box of puppies.