Easter Dinner, John Denver, Barbershop 'SexyBack'

Blue jay breakfast outside my grandparents' dining room.
That title feels slightly sacrilegious, but I'm going to blame that on trip fatigue and press on. Though I just got back from a short trip to help my grandpa celebrate his 92nd birthday, I wanted to get this out before Easter so you all know you're invited to my place for Easter dinner Sunday, in case you don't already have plans. (Well, those in the Bay Area are invited.) I'll provide ham, mashed potatoes, rolls and water. Salad, sides and other beverages I'm leaving to guests. ;) Bonus: While you're there, you can flip through my new copy of Beck's Songreader, which rewards the reader at every turn. (Stay tuned for details on a Songreader sight-reading party, which we hope to organize in May.)

Please come! I can't eat an 8 lb. ham all by myself. Some reading while you ponder that...

:: events ::

  • March 31 - Easter dinner at my house! 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. RSVP by Saturday.
  • April 4 - David Wilcox, one of my favorite songwriters, plays Freight and Salvage again
  • May 9 - Cloud Cult @ the Independent (Minnesota-based band whose latest album Love got "First Listen" treatment on NPR)
  • June 22 - She & Him @ the Greek
  • July 21 - David Byrne and St. Vincent @ the Fox
:: just awesome ::
  • I wasn't sure how to categorize this, but the fabric company Spoonflower provides the graphically inclined with some truly amazing possibilities. For example, D.I.Y. magazine napkins made from fabric printed with scans of old correspondence. A pattern designer whose book release I attended created a fabric with her book cover and the publisher's logo. She then used it to make small tote bags that were given away to attendees as party favors. You can also just buy fabric printed with existing designs on the site, such as the 800+ options tagged "steampunk," the 80+ "roller derby" designs or the 200+ "zombie" themed prints.
:: film ::
  • I'm not super knowledgeable about directors, but I do really like Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing (the Kenneth Branagh-Emma Thompson film is one of the maybe six movies I own). Thus, I was intrigued to hear that Joss Whedon directed a new version, due for release this year, for which he also wrote the screenplay. The trailer looks pretty good (H/T: Jeff Overstreet, aka, @overstweet, the best Twitter handle I've seen).
:: visual art ::
:: tunes ::
:: your stuff ::
  • Laura's back from her writing "dream" trip to New York (the prize she won in a Poets & Writers contest). They've posted her write-up on their site: Crash course in writerly wisdom.
:: reading/food for thought ::
  • Charlie Peacock's Art House Blog published a wonderful piece on loneliness and love last week that draws on Christian Wiman, an album about an astronaut, Paul Tillich and many more. One of the best essays I've read in a while.
  • My literary agent also has a blog, which recently featured this thought-provoking post on writerly envy -- although I daresay it applies to other types of artists, too.
:: food ::
  • I've never prepared a seder in conjunction with Lenten/Easter celebrations, but this Indian chicken recipe (prepared by one cook in a small Jewish community in the city of Cochin) sounds really good. The accompanying story is a fascinating read in its own right.
  • Blair tipped me off to this story: Church groups are increasingly tapping the homebrew scene toward various ends: evangelism and fundraising, but also to rediscover church roots, enjoy their God-given creativity and more. What would Jesus brew?


Bay Bridge Lights, new Hendrix/Ritter/Grohl streams

There are so many good things to read this week that I'll add very little of my own commentary, except to share the first of my promised online-dating ruminations:
More to come on this topic in other publications. By the way, for those of you on Goodreads, I periodically update the list of what I've read -- especially with reactions to the detective stories no one pays me to read. ;)

Don't forget to watch for the Bay Bridge Lights launch tonight!

:: tunes ::

  • For just a few days, you can hear a new Jimi Hendrix album (yes, you read that right), thanks to the good folks at NPR Music. People, Hell and Angels compiles 12 previously unreleased tracks, including the seven-minute blues jam "Let Me Move You" (a personal favorite).
  • If that weren't enough, NPR also has a stream of Josh Ritter's new album Beast on the Tracks, which I'm sad to say is a breakup album penned in response to his divorce. Beautiful stuff, nonetheless. So far I'm liking the first few tracks as well as anything I've heard from him.
  • And, yes, they've got the new Dave Grohl album, too
  • Get 28 free songs! Yes, you read that right. Paste and NoiseTrade are partnering on a South by Southwest mp3 sampler featuring Ozomatli, Josh Ritter, Ivan & Alyosha, Billy Bragg, Ron Sexsmith and many more.
  • Van Cliburn -- the Texas pianist most famous for his award-winning Tchaikovsky concerto performance -- has died. NPR reports that he was the only solo musician to ever receive a ticker-tape parade in New York
:: visual art ::
  • Keep your eyes on the Bay Bridge tonight! A new light show is set to kick off around 8 p.m.
  • I think these are the coolest drawings I've seen in a while. The bird image drew me in immediately (I have a thing for birds, when they're done well), but they're all fascinating images. I'd never heard of the artist before, but apparently Pat Perry is an illustrator based in Michigan -- and his prints are for sale online at very reasonable prices.
  • This item straddles film and music, but apparently Over the Rhine's Karin Bergquist, Aimee Mann, Joe Henry, Loudon Wainwright and some other folks (mostly musicians) are involved in a forthcoming film called Pleased to Meet Me. It may well be one of those insider-ish movies that don't play well to broad audiences, but the trailer intrigued me. Besides, how many films include a theremin player?
  • Paste recently highlighted several quote illustrations by a designer who's selling the images on Etsy. They feature the likes of Oscar Wilde, Victor Hugo and others. My favorite's the Williams Simms quote depicted as birds flying out of a heart (sounds weird, but it's actually pretty cool).
  • WSJ has more on the narrative advantages of television. This piece looks at several books being adapted for the small screen, and the writers who've jumped at the chance to explore the medium, among them Tom Stoppard, who adapted a 900-page, four-part series called Parade's End for HBO.
  • Controversy erupts when a Banksy piece disappears from a wall in London and turns at a Miami art auction.
  • Shoes as art and obsession: the Wall Street Journal reports on an exhibit at the Fashion Institute of Technology's museum. This made me wish I was close enough to New York to see it as before the show closes. View more of the shoes on the museum site.
:: reading/food for thought ::
  • You might recall that, last month, I shared a New York Times piece on Afghan women who go to great lengths to write and share poetry. After I also shared it with my some of my-contributors to Her.meneutics, one of them wrote this beautiful piece on the importance of poetry. If you like Karen's writing, she also has a new memoir out called Booked.
  • I pretty much binged on this ongoing relationship feature the New York Times started last fall. Called "Making It Last," it's a series of interviews with baby boomer couples who've been married more than 25 years. Aside from the human-interest factor, there's also a lot of wisdom on what it really takes to have a lasting marriage -- often few of the things singles look for in a partner.
  • Jonathan St. Clair shared this essay on the rise of "foodism" -- a fascinating analysis of how food is supplanting the (mainly visual) arts as a source of high culture.
  • Flavorwire thinks everyone should read these 17 essays. No pressure, but they're drawn from the likes of Joyce Carol Oates, Joan Didion, Virginia Woolf and Zadie Smith (yes, it's an all-women list).
  • Not enough for your reading appetite? Fine, then Publisher's Weekly also recommends you reread these 10 classics probably discovered in high school. I, um, only read three of them in high school, but I've heard of all but one.
:: food ::
  • The other night I was flipping through some old copies of Everday Food when I came across this recipe for a chicken-butternut squash soup that involves roasting most of the ingredients in the oven first. I had to add a smidge of hot sauce to get the flavor where I wanted it, but the end result was fairly easy, very tasty and nicely different spin on butternut squash-based soup.
  • This one's for the kid in you: a recipe for homemade, gummy fruit snacks