Holiday Season

We had a great start to the holidays a few weeks ago when the friends began arriving in town. First Dave dropped in for the weekend, and we had two nights of drinking and discussion, and even some dancing. Dave and I have been talking about an app, an idea for a business, which we have been stalling on, and hey, maybe 2012 will be the year…

Then Jarrett and Candice dropped in, and pulled some old Kent boys out of the woodwork for an evening, as well as the China Contingent. Several good dinners and parties (including KTV at “the best bar in NYC”) leading into the week of the main event.

Vivian Sleeping
Vivian fell asleep mid-drawing

Thanksgiving was a blast at Aunt Jo-Rose’s, as always! Tons of good food, and wine flowing with conversation. Gia was out in Kansas, and Will was in Florida, but I spent some quality time with Piers. It was great to see Shea (who talked to me and X more than ever, though still dour and serious) and Viv (who is so much bigger than last year). Poor little Vivian fell asleep on the floor while coloring a picture, marker still in hand, scrunched up against her face.

We said some quick goodbyes to make the train on time, and didn’t end up partying overnight like last year! Back at Penn Station, we decided to walk across town, and wouldn’t you know it, with all the bargain shoppers hustling by, we ended up shopping in the first hour of Black Friday. Good and drunk is one way to make shopping tolerable, but one should always have the benefit of a woman’s good taste as a guide.

Live at the Best Bar in New York

The Mrs and I took a walk to the Guggenheim this evening (pay anything Saturdays after 5:30pm) and saw a stunning display. Maurizio Cattelan’s “All” involves 130 different sculptures and oddities – artwork which he produced over his lifetime – all hanging in the main atrium by rope. There are bodies, horses, Hitler, the Pope, Picasso, police officers, businessmen in bed, children hung by their necks. It’s all pretty creepy and disturbing, to be honest. It’s a mish-mash. But we liked it. And when I read that the artist is “retiring” with this display, I understood it better.

Now she’s out having a drink this Saturday evening, and I’m sitting in eating leftovers from the brilliant chicken-and-mash dinner she made last night, watching Notre Dame get its butt whooped by Stanford, listening to the new album from Real Estate, my new favorite band, … from Ridgewood, NJ!

Bert Jansch – Inspiration to Jimmy Page

Have you ever heard of Bert Jansch? I hadn’t until I signed up to see Neil Young at Avery Fisher Hall. Bert was the opening act. He came out on the stage and played a solo acoustic set of light and intricate British folk songs. I felt a bit embarrassed because the hall was still filling up; Bert had started right at 8pm like the bill said, but everyone in America is late these days. The noise level at times was disrespectful enough that I considered shushing people – but didn’t, of course, because we were at a rock concert!

Bert has a nice voice and his finger-picking is spot-on. I later read that Neil brought him on tour because he considers him to be the best acoustic guitar player… period. “For electric, it’s Jimi Hendrix. But for acoustic, it’s Bert.”

Jimmy Page must think so, too. Listen to this song off Bert’s 1966 album “Jack Onion.” Turns out it’s a traditional Irish tune, but that was news to me.

UPDATE 2017-02-11: Adding an amazing video of this song: