Ok, let's see how this goes...
What I will try to do each weekend is pick out the stories that are of most interest to me and explain why. And hopefully they will be of interest to you. I'll provide links whenever I can. I encourage you to chime in with comments.
An entertaining interview with Al Pacino and Barry Levinson on their new film The Humbling, which is based on a novel by Philip Roth. Sounds a bit too much like Birdman to me, but will reserve judgment until I get to see it. There are two great pictures of Al - one with Levinson. Worth your time and closes with a funny observation from Al about Brian DePalma on the set of Scarface. It's hard not to hear Al's "new voice" (see 1:22 of this clip) when you read his responses.
Further proof that too many people in the world think we're all morons. Apparently the folks at Hershey's have blocked the sale of certain British chocolates in the U.S.A. They seem to think we can't distinguish between British products that are packaged like, for example, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and the real thing because the colors are so similar. Right. Anyway, thought it was "interesting" that the first ingredient listed on USA made chocolates is sugar. In the UK, it's milk.
Personal Business (Business Section of Saturday's paper)
Great article on Boomer Generation musicians getting back into performing after being detoured by careers, marriages, parenting, life, etc. All for the love of music. I can relate. At age 39, with my milestone 40th birthday on the horizon, I made a "half bucket" list that included starting and fronting a groovy psychedelic cover band with my friends from the neighborhood. Band was ultimately named Dock Ellis after the infamous character who pitched a no-hitter (a "No No" he called it) while tripping on LSD. Gotta love the irony that his name appeared in scorecards as Ellis, D. In addition to reading this article, the documentary, er, ah, sorry, I mean "Dockumentary" on Ellis is worth seeking out.
Sports (Saturday, Jan. 24, 2014)
Great story about the Latvian hockey player Zemgus Girgensons (Beavis, you don't know...) who plays for the Buffalo Sabres and was voted onto the All Star team thanks to a "get out the vote" campaign waged in his home country. Seems like a humble guy who's enjoying the experience. My reaction? Why not. The game is meaningless. Might as well inject a good story into it. Check it out.
Was sorry to hear about Ernie "Mr. Cub" Banks passing away. And now I'm told his death was not by natural causes but possibly something more nefarious. That isn't mentioned in the Times obit today. Instead they talk about his positive attitude and love of the game. Have to confess I was tickled by the reference to the headline that ran when he was bounced out of a post playing career gig with the Cubs. 'CUBS SNUB MR. CUB.' Also includes a great quote from Ernie about a hot day in mid-summer.
One for my friends in Denver. A "36 Hours" in feature. I noted the list of craft breweries located in the city. I've only tasted Great Divide of those mentioned. Great stuff. Will have to seek the rest of them out when I'm there later this year for a Rush 40th anniversary gig with my friends Anthony and Joey. What do folks in the area think of the recommended places to go?
Arts & Leisure
Cover story on Rhiannon Giddens who gets early consideration for Rock Star name of the year. Sounds more like a character in a story about a rock singer than a real person, but whatever. I know my friend KAM is a big fan. I haven't heard much by the Carolina Chocolate Drops (who's name sounds like fictional competitors to Josie and the Pussycats), but will seek out some more after reading this article. Great voice and me-ow easy on the eyes. Her new album comes out on February 10th.
In the same section, I was also intrigued by the short review of a performer who goes by the name Noveller - real name is Sarah Lipstate. Her new album is called Fantastic Planet and should appeal to anyone who enjoys atmospheric instrumental music. She's been around for a while and there are quite a few videos of her uploaded to YouTube. Cool stuff for chilling out. See what I did there? Take a listen and let me know what you think.
I also saw an ad for a show at the Blue Note this coming week that sounds interesting. Wallace Roney Quintet featuring a powerhouse rhythm section - Ron Carter and Lenny White. Legends! I don't know anything about Wallace Roney other than he plays trumpet, but seeing Carter and White will be worth the price of admission and whatever minimum drinks rule is enforced. Keep thinking it's mandatory to see these legendary musicians at every possible turn. Why? Because it's getting late, if you take my meaning.
Ok, that's all for today. More tomorrow. Stay safe out there. And try not to be boring.