Lou’s Great Songs of 2015 vol. 5: ‘Went Looking for Warren Zevon’s Los Angeles’ by Lucero

Lou’s Great Songs of 2015 vol.5: ‘Went Looking For Warren Zevon’s Los Angeles’ by Lucero

Everybody has at least one beggar that they cross paths with often but always fail to make any attempt at an introduction. Sometimes the passing is warranted especially if the beggar feels threatening. Other times it can be more of a game, one where the non-beggar feels suckered in the end. One great example of the game at its finest is conducted by a street person I like to dub: The Rittenhouse Actress. She’s an older lady that has the appearance that she may be of Creole descent but this is more as a result with how she conducts herself. She wears these opulent dresses that were more than likely purchased at a theater thrift shop, her diamond earring reek of a cubic zirconian blend found at the finest flea markets, they almost glisten as ostentatiously as the 80’s hair gelled to the side of her face ready for its moment as an extra in a Jody Watley video while her makeup looks like it has been done in a funeral parlor. If you happen to be walking towards any corner near Rittenhouse where she may be, it’s kind of hard taking your eyes off of her. If you’re lucky, she might perform her act for you which consists of falling onto the ground to garner sympathy, using this sympathy to get assistance from a kind stranger (aka tourist aka future victim) which piggy-backs into her using this sympathy to get money out of them. It’s one of the better hustles downtown. Sure beats the large obese man that sits off 15th Street shaking a coffee cup while screaming “I take pennies” but will not squander the opportunity to yell at you if you pass him by with no acknowledgement. Or the guy that wanders up and down 18th St. asking people if they have 20 or 40 bucks to help him get his life back together and keep him from going back to jail.

I have to hand it to the Rittenhouse Actress for her hustle. She should get something for the amount of work she puts into it. A couple months ago she had my own mom fooled by it. When I told my mom that lady is a scam artist and to not give her money, she would not believe me; when half the staff of Parc rushed out upon seeing her attempt to assist the Rittenhouse Actress and told her the same thing (while also not one bit hesitant whisking the Actress away), she finally came to reality. The truth of the matter is I should have let my mom give the lady money. With all the preparation and calculation the Rittenhouse Actress uses, it almost feels criminal to overlook her donation. We seem to have no problem putting our change from WaWa in a WaWa charity jug next to the register. WaWa does not do anything to earn the extra money. The Rittenhouse Actress does.

She’s kind of like a band that has been around for years. You notice the band however you never get around to listening to the band. Then one day, a song by them comes onto the radio. You stop everything your doing and you turn the radio up. While the song is playing, maybe you Shazam it, or Google a lyric. If you’re too preoccupied hopefully you’ll get to hear the DJ announce who played the song on the radio. Next thing you know you want to support the band, see them live, buy merchandise and give them your money. Sometimes all it takes is one song to make all the difference. In this case, the song ‘Went Looking For Warren Zevon’s Los Angeles’ by Lucero is a perfect example. Lucero has been around for years, almost two decades. They play the type of music that should have had me hooked years ago but for some reason they were nothing more than a blip on my radar. Until I heard this song a couple months ago. This was right after listening to Dawes on World Cafe cover Warren Zevon’s ‘Desperados Under the Eaves’ which Taylor Goldsmith (frontman for the Southern Californian band) says is the greatest song ever written about Los Angeles. As an added bonus, I’m going to include this cover (the one performed first for Letterman by special request) down below. I would encourage anybody that appreciates music to give Lucero a shot, over the years they never stopped making music no matter how hard it has been to crack the music industry. Hopefully more golden nuggets of sound like this one fall in front of my ears at the right time and catch my attention. Just like that Rittenhouse Actress, they deserve a little support. It has been a treat going back and listening to Lucero’s vast catalog. Their new album ‘All A Man Should Do’ came out on September 18th and they are currently on a national tour. Be on the lookout!

Here’s the track that caught my eye on the radio

Looking for Warren Zevon’s Los Angeles

Here’s Dawes covering what Taylor Goldsmith told David Dye on World Cafe is the greatest song ever written about Los Angeles

Desperados Under the Eaves

“Enjoy every sandwich.” Warren Zevon

 

 

 

Lou’s Ponders of Publicity Attempts vol. 1: Ryan Adams Covering Taylor Swift

Lou’s Ponders of Publicity Attempts vol. 1: Ryan Adams covering Taylor Swift

Last Monday, Ryan Adams released a cover of Taylor Swift’s 1989. I really had the urge to blurb but unfortunately was very distraught over the kind of things you don’t write about in a blog. Ever since starting to blurb more frequently, a couple events have occurred in my life. Events which, unfortunately at times, can tend to carry negative thoughts along with them. My Panama’s been raided however at the same time my Berlin Wall has been brought down. I’m switching schools and moving to a new town! How cool is it? It’s about as cool as Batman returning to the theaters draped in black with no Boy Wonder at his side. It’s Bayside Tigers-Full House cool. Or as cool as the world welcoming a pop superstar.

If you have not listened to Ryan Adams covering 1989 you can find it on any streaming service. The only question I’d like to know is the reception of this from people that do not like both Adams and Swift. I would like to think the Ryan Adams fans are all about this while the T. Swift fans are a little confused. Mostly this attitude is from my personal, ignorant notion that Ryan Adams fans may have a better ear toward music than your average Taylor Swift fan. Although I have to be careful using the word ‘average’ as even yours truly does not mind a little 1989 spinning every once in a while and ‘average’ Swift fan may refer to just about anybody I know including myself . Let’s face it, 1989 is a great album. And this is coming from somebody who thought Taylor Swift was extremely over-rated up to the point in her career before this album dropped. It’s hard to argue that a bigger album has been released in the past 12 months.

Listening to Ryan Adams covering Taylor Swift affirms one thing, how great songwriting is in pop music. At one point, in his tweets leading up to the release, he gushed over the lyrics to ‘Bad Blood.’ He was also not bashful in letting the world know how much he enjoyed working on covering it. My personal favorite song from 1989 is ‘Blank Space.’ It should come as no surprise that it is also my favorite Ryan Adams cover. If this was a Ryan Adams original it would garner just as much if not more playback on my digi-mixes. These covers are more along the lines of my tastes. This is not because I’m anti-pop, the reality is that I find Taylor Swift’s voice to be a little whiny. There’s something inside me that keeps me from taking her seriously as an artist when in reality she is actually a great one. I’m leaving the Ryan Adams rendition of ‘Blank Space’ below for your listening pleasure. I am very curious to see how people respond to it (fwiw—the critics hated on it). If you do hate, I’d love to know why. And if you’re not a fan of either, I’d really like to hear your opinion. Here’s hoping that we see more artists continue to show their enthusiasm for other artists by covering their work!

Ryan Adams covers Blank Space

 

Lou’s Tips Toward A More Gracious Life vol.1: Navigating through the 7 Deadly Sins

Lou’s Tips Towards A More Gracious Life vol. 1: Navigating through the 7 Deadly Sins

Pope Francis is the head of the Catholic Church and the reason Philadelphia looks like a militarized war zone this weekend. Religion has many followers. One of the biggest draws religion has to offer is the promise of an afterlife, or specifically heaven; a place that is better than this life if you’re poor and work like a slave but also apparently is one that money can buy if you have it and leave it all behind to the Church. I view myself as one of those rare candidates whose suffering is a result of their own mistakes and therefore do not really belong in heaven nor hell. The Seven Deadly Sins are a list of actions that may keep us from gaining entry into heaven. Below I will list my interpretation of how I choose (and unfortunately struggle) to keep my soul in tact.

Lust: Everybody lusts. How else are we going to find motivation in this world. Common sense tells us not to let it take control of our lives. I disagree, it should run our lives. The problem with lust is that we lust over the wrong things. Usually it has a sexual connotation. There is no wrong in having a lust for trying to help others in need. Or lust over painting a picture. Or lusting over how well an artist paints a picture. As long as you don’t lust over the actual artist. Or the picture.

Greed: We should not let money run hand-in-hand with happiness. This is a tough one. We can always volunteer helping others in need. Or take up a hobby that does not involve spending money. We can also be lucky enough to always be working with no means of upward mobility and no hope to save any money whatsoever. Then we won’t have time to let money dictate all our actions because it will be nothing more than a mean towards survival.

Laziness: When in doubt, we can always help others in need. If that does not work we can find a proactive hobby. The best way to avoid this sin though is to always work for the sake of working. Being underemployed and overworked should be interpreted as a blessing from God, not a curse. It’s His way of making the entry into Heaven much easier.

Wrath: Here’s a good way to keep yourself from imposing your wrath upon others, serve them. You can help out others in need, you can also take the jobs nobody wants like being a maid in a hotel for a peasant wage. What better way to exhibit silent wrath than behind the partially opened door of a hotel room over a messy bed that you are being paid a shilling to perfectly make. An added bonus is taking it in a country that does not speak your native language.

Pride: Here’s a great idea to not fall victim to this Deadly Sin, don’t become something you’d be incredibly proud of. As long as that something does not culminate into being a criminal specifically one that murders, steals or harms things (particularly the weak). Be thankful for who you are, but realize it is not mandatory for others to know you aka be the one that brings the green bean casserole to the party if the party is life and the green bean casserole is your role in it.

Envy: One of the problems with choosing a life of poverty is somehow avoiding the temptation of being envious towards other people. It helps not to educate yourself or even more simply not to befriend rich people. The reality behind most rich people these days is usually not what you want to hear. While many work very hard and were very smart with their money that does not account for all of them. Your best bet is being close-minded enough not to open your eyes up to it. Stay away from using the term: “must be nice…” to begin talking about somebody. Not only is it sinful but it shows no class. Religion is a great complement to helping your mind stay closed and buffaloed. You can’t envy what you do not know.

Gluttony: This one is simple, eat for survival. If you want to make it easier to follow, cultivate or kill what you eat as long as it is done in a humane environmentally friendly way. Don’t be afraid to share!

According to everything I’ve read in life, the key to heaven is basically being a low income wage worker that is nonetheless grateful to be alive. A laborer that is not only happy for work but they fail to question whether or not they make there employer or whomever exploits them more money or power. Why would they? It would be a sin to think that they should be important enough anyway. There is no harm in doing hard cheap labor, the only reward lies in what exists after you die (most likely as a result of the strains from your labors). With no time to complain or even fantasize about the situation, life will blow by fast however something better is in store. Now the only hope is when we get to that certain afterlife some of these deadly sins particularly gluttony, lust and laziness are more acceptable. You would at least hope, right? Since we really shouldn’t be asking this to ourselves we’ll just have to wait and see. As I said earlier, when in doubt we can always do one thing that is always good, find ways to help others in need. Even if it means having a conversation with a stranger in distress. Showing compassion towards other people is the surest way to get your life moving in the right direction.

Lou’s Recipe Poems vol. 1: Vegetable Pie

It IS Easy Eating Greens

If you talk to the average person about their diet, chances are several aspects of it exist that can be improved. For many years my biggest dietary pet peeve was a hot dog or beef taquito snuck in between multiple meals. I always had this notion in my head that being fat may one day guarantee me the coveted spot of playing Ignatius Reilly in ‘A Confederacy of Dunces’ once it finally gets greenlighted. There’s only one problem, I’m not an actor. And if I was…there is still a staircase of fame needed to climb in order to even be lucky enough for consideration.

Years of eating meat fat can take its toll on the body. Recently I’ve been trying very hard to curve this temptation. I’ll save chips and dessert for the weekend particularly when visiting a movie theater or viewing a sporting event. One day a week, a fresh piece of seafood is consumed preferably not fried although this preference should not be a deterrent that would keep any of my faithful readers from inviting me to their next fish fry.

Creating dietary restrictions is not easy. You need support. A close friend has a wife who is vegetarian and he tries hard to refrain from eating meat around her. I always found something very romantic about that gesture. It’s the kind of gesture that defines true love. At least from a poetic perspective. Others create restrictions to prove a point or have something to be passionate about. I’m more along the lines of wanting to have more energy and look better. When you look good you feel good, when you feel good you’re more confident and when you’re more confident you have a better chance of achieving goals you have set for yourself. My goal is to be happy and not let others dictate how I live my life. Plain but not as simple as it sounds. Especially when things out of your control tend to always get in the way.

One of my favorite hobbies is writing poetry. It makes me feel good about myself. My style of choice is stacking haikus to tell a story. This piece is from a section entitled: Recipes. It’s a recipe for Vegetable Pie. I’m sharing it with my readers in hopes to not only encourage healthier food choices but also inspire the joys of cooking!

Vegetable Pie

Sliced asparagus,
Sautéed onions, half mushrooms
On spinach purée

Whisked in a bowl with
Four eggs, two cups of flour,
And Sriracha sauce.

Mix for a thickness
Lying somewhere between bread
Dough with no baking

Soda and batter.
You need a whip to direct
This dark green substance

So it fills the deep,
Buttered, metal baking sheet.
The oven temp is

Three seventy five.
Now three-fourths of an hour
Wait before you take

Dinner out with mitts.
Let it cool before cutting
A slice for yourself,

Add pinches of salt,
Garlic use is optional,
Enjoy vegetable pie:)

 

 

Lou’s Teams He Is Not Welcome to Root for vol. 1: The Philadelphia Eagles

Lou’s Teams He Is Not Welcome to Root For vol. 1: The Philadelphia Eagles

In 2008, the Philadelphia Phillies won the World Series. It was not only the first sports title from a Philadelphia pro team in over 25 years, it was the greatest day in the lives of most Philadelphians (at least under the age of 35) up to that point. Yours truly was one among the millions that were absolutely hooked that year. Nothing beat having an excuse to drink every night after work. As the season went on, Phillies baseball took control of life in the Delaware Valley. Everybody was on the bandwagon. By the end, getting to work late and leaving early was expected. The week they won, the entire city shut down. Children now had a memory worth savoring, the elderly could die in peace and nine months later multitudes of babies were born bearing the names of Phillies players; particularly Chase Utley.

During this wonderful time to be a Philadelphia sports fan the only damper for your kind author was an angry co-worker who would constantly tell me how he couldn’t wait for everything to be over so everybody could get back to work and start making money again. Any mention of the Phillies and his response would be: “they’re not making you any money.” For a long time it was not hard for me to write this co-worker off as crazy but as I’ve gotten older I realize he was probably more sane than the majority of Philadelphians that were getting caught up in the postseason hysteria. The 2008 Philadelphia Phillies are not going to pay to put gas in my car, food on my plate, or a roof over my head. Worst part about all of this is in times of trouble they’re not going to be there for me. They’re about as relevant to my own existence as an evening at the movies maybe even more irrelevant considering that I at least enjoy the process of attempting to write movies.

On this Monday morning in September 2015, there’s this odd glow permeating through the Delaware Valley in a much different tone. It bleeds green rather than red through the heart of a town craving the one reward it has never housed, a Lombardi Trophy. Football used to be a really good friend. For years, it ran hand-in-hand with my own love of gambling and alcohol consumption. Back when it had more significance in my life. This season is going to be difficult. No fantasy, no money to gamble and no alcohol as a result of being focused on something more important toward my happiness. The Eagles will be good but that does not matter since I am not a traditional Eagles fan and therefore not accepted by my peers to support them. In fact, it’s quite the opposite; to them I am nothing more than a Mush. They want me to stay as far away from their team as I possibly can.

For once, I think I will.

Over the past nine months my eccentric ways of living have gotten me more used to being socially rejected by my peers. That millennial acronym, FeelingOfMissingOut, becomes obsolete after you’ve both found and began to carve your own path in life. This season, the changes I’ve made in my ways make it much easier for me not to feel abandoned every time the Eagles come on television. As an added bonus, it will be one less distraction for my peers since I will not be around to mush up the good fortunes of their beloved professional football team. For the first time in years, I will NOT put a Super Bowl prediction in writing. I’m not even going to make a prediction for tonight’s game. As a message to all the other Eagles fans reading this, I beg each and every one of you to continue to do what you’ve succeeded in doing throughout any period you may or may not have known me, keep me away from watching Eagles games with you. I’m a mush and my excitement about this team is just enough to ruin any chance towards victory.

What I will give you is a list of why Philadelphia deserves to house a Lombardi Trophy by listing 50 other things (not including me—-The Mush) that call Philadelphia home!

The most recognizable City Hall in the United States
The cheesesteak
The hot roast pork with sharp provolone and broccoli rabe
Soft pretzels
The biggest collection of Impressionist era art in the World housed between the wonderful Barnes and the almighty Philadelphia Museum of Art
The College of Physicians aka Mutter Museum
The original manuscripts of Ulysses and Where the Wild Things Are @ the Rosenbach
The oldest art school in the country (P.A.F.A.)
Rocky
Joe Frazier (the real Champion)
The Roots
The Gesu—most beautiful among the many beautiful houses of worship the city offers
Fairmount Park
The Sound of Philadelphia
Jerry Blavat aka The Geator with the Heater, the Boss with the Hot Sauce
Rittenhouse Square
PBC and Yard’s Breweries (though they are rivals)
SEPTA
Ben Franklin
The Declaration of Independence
Ritz movie theaters
Mann Music Center, Tower Theatre, plus all the other fine music venues
The Mummers
Philly Phanatic
Larry from the 3 Stooges
Dad Vail Regatta
Broad Street Run
Made in America, Welcome America, really anything America when you think about it
The Big 5
The Palestra
Louis Kahn architecture
Italian Market
Bob And Barbara’s
Monk’s
The Liberty Bell
Rodin Museum
Decriminalized marijuana laws
Kimmel Center
Divine Lorraine aka my favorite abandoned building
Mannequin which was filmed at Woolworth’s while Boyz 2 Men were still singing to the beat
Kevin Bacon (we’re all six degrees from him)
Pizzeria Beddia along with Pizza Brain, Lazaro’s, and Lorenzo’s and all the other fine pizza spots
A great indie rock scene anchored by Dr. Dog, Kurt Vile, War on Drugs
88.5 WXPN
Two sports talk radio stations (WIP and The Fan) that set the national bar
The Action News Theme Song
The Pickle Man
Heart (don’t tell me this town ain’t got none)
Setting for the poor man’s Seinfeld (It’s Always Sunny)
Love (Park and/or Brotherly)

Of course…Philadelphia is also home to one more thing: the most passionate and dedicated fans of any town in professional sports. Although their feelings towards me are ambivalent…there is no fanbase more deserving of hosting a Super Bowl parade. The way Chip Kelly has been directing this ship, it looks very likely this could happen on a chilly morning in early February.

Fly!

 

Lou’s Great Songs of 2015 vol. 5

Lou’s Great Songs of 2015 vol. 5: ‘S.O.B.’ by Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats

I’ve found the perfect song for a traffic jam or a congested day driving through the inner-city. One of my local radio stations has been over-playing this song and for once in my life I can live with the constant play. ‘S.O.B’ by Nathaniel Rateliff is this chameleon of a song and I can see it on virtually anybody’s playlist.

The first time I heard the tune was driving late to work. This wasn’t one of those ‘gosh darn I overslept now I’m late’ workdays. It was more along the line of this road is closed, now I just got stuck behind a bus, now I dented the side of my car on a side-street detour only to get sandwiched between a trash truck and aggressive driver not giving me any space, to ‘why is this road backed up’ it never is, God I need an oil change, oops I just remembered this was the one day I needed to be in on time that’s why I left fifteen minutes earlier in the first place kind of a workday. It’s the Benny Hill Theme Song but with more substance…and words.

Forgive me for not doing more homework on Mr. Rateliff and the Night Sweats, which I must say is one of the greatest band names I’ve come across recently. When I get this song out of my head, I’ll finally come around to giving his album a spin. For now I’m enjoying this song for what it is, an elixir to the chaotic lives we all tend to find ourselves in at times. Share this one with your friends…I could see it becoming a national phenomenon; it’s what we need in music right now, redemption.

Here’s the song for your listening pleasure:)

SOB

 

 

Lou’s Angry Diatribes vol. 1: 9-11

What I’ve Never Forgotten

The American woman has always been and will always be America’s hottest commodity. I’m not basing this statement solely on looks although we are home to the best looking women in the world. It has most everything to do with the sense of entitlement women in the United States possess. Much of this is rooted in the Women’s Rights movement of the 20th Century and most of it certainly stems from the Capitalist culture of going out into the world and grabbing what you want. To me, nothing is sexier than an independent woman that goes out and gets what she wants; especially when what she wants involves using her assets to control men. Maneaters: only a country as great as the United States could create such sexy little monsters!

When 9-11 comes around, it’s hard not to think of how fortunate I am to be surrounded by so many of them. But what is even harder not to think about is how the women in Middle Eastern countries (specifically Saudi Arabia) are treated. To sum it up from the male chauvinist perspective, it must be great being a wealthy Middle-Eastern (Saudi) man. You can pretty much get away with murder when it comes to how you treat the multiple abundance of unwilling women that are forced by religion to be enslaved in your lives. The best part is not only are you protected by laws but also by the Quran (which is the basis for many of these laws). Which brings me to my main point: what happens when you combine the wealthy Middle Eastern (Saudi) man with America’s hottest commodity, the American woman?

The women usually get shit and pissed on.

Kind of like how the United States did 14 years ago by (mostly Saudi) Middle Eastern men. They took down one of our country’s hottest commodities (the World Trade Center) and for some reason the wealthy country most of them came from got away with murder. One of the biggest downfalls of capitalism is that we tend to pardon the wealthy because most of us, including the Maneating American woman that gets shit and pissed on by wealthy Sheiks, worship money. As a result, we’re still dealing with the mess they made and the constant fear mongering in a media primarily financed by the wealthy. Ever since 9-11 we’ve been told not to forget and shown horrific images that remind us about United States vulnerability. We’re told to have American pride. Both religious and government officials alike tells us to seek comfort in a supernatural being which confuses me since that same supernatural being seemed to be telling a group of primarily Saudi nationals on a September morning 14 years ago that it was okay to fly planes into buildings and kill innocent people.

On a day when people question whom to trust I have a better resolution: why don’t we start pointing the finger. I’ll tell you where my finger has been pointed at all along, it’s the country secretly behind most of the turmoil in the Middle East…our secret enemy: Saudi Arabia. If you want to ‘Never Forget’ something on this day, never forget how these rich Saudis are pissing and shitting on you day-in and day-out. The American thing to do on a day like today is think about ways in your own life where you can be less dependent on Middle Eastern oil whether it be by the politicians we elect into office or by deciding to carpool or ride a bike everywhere. We as a country should be ashamed of letting this wealthy nation not only get away with but also capitalizing on its crimes for this long. This isn’t a call for war but rather a call for awareness. The wealthy people that influence our country’s policies will never sanction Saudi Arabia in fear that they’ll also lose out. Unfortunately until we find the proper way toward cutting ties with this enemy they’ll constantly use this great commodity to piss and shit all over our downfall (greed) kind of like how they did 14 years ago on this day. When you’re walking around reminiscing about where you were on 9-11 and how proud you are to be an American think about how Saudi citizens were heavily involved in the execution of this terror plot but for some reason still till this day in the world of diplomacy this country gets a hall pass. Now this is something that I’ll never forget.

Here’s a recent update on the current state of women’s rights in Saudi Arabia, our great Middle Eastern ‘ally’

11 Things Women in Saudi Arabia Cannot Do

 

 

 

 

Lou’s Concert Reviews vol. 4: Dr. Dog ‘Swamp is On’

(I always wanted to use a cheesy tag line like) Just What the Dr. Ordered (to describe a Dr. Dog performance but it’s probably been done a million times already)

Philadelphia swamps are not as forgiving as the ones near the Shores of Southern Jersey. On a march near the Schuylkill you’d be lucky to bump into a ghost before running into a gutterpunk, a corpse, a Society of Benjamin Franklin reject or those elusive West Philadelphian Burmese pythons that love to nest at the edge of the refineries. Everyday I thank the heavens above for making my Philadelphia swamp experience nothing more than a wrong turn on the way to the airport which does not count if you consider that the pride of Philadelphia swamp life is the World Famous Fort Mifflin ghost whose sighting is mandatory for true authorization. It is safe to say out of all the great things in life that have been experienced, inner-city swamp dwelling is one such experience my life is lacking.

Last night at Union Transfer in Philadelphia, Dr. Dog did the best they could to make up for this lack of inner-city swamp experience. In conjunction with the Pig Iron Theater company they premiered new music which (by Dr. Dog standards) is among the best music they have ever put out. If I rated shows with stars I’d have to put an asterisk next to last night’s performance. The truth is: I’ll never see anything like this ever again. Much like the creatures you’ll find on whatever personal swamp marches you take in your own life. The best description I heard about the performance all night came from my friend Q who compared it to, “if early Seventies Pink Floyd staged a do-it-yourself version of the Rocky Horror Picture show.” And thinking back to the show it is great to see how the audience came together to create the main character: the Swamp Monster. As a music fan, I’m a sucker for bands that can interact with their audience (case in point my love for the band Phish). Dr. Dog not only showcased this by having their fans create as well as be a part of the show (the audience was the swamp), they showcased it by bringing friends to sing and dance along side on stage with them, a tradition they are notorious for in their hometown.

If there was one complaint I had after the show it was only wishing I had a copy of the new music that was premiered at the performance. I left Union Transfer wanting to hear these tunes on the ride home. I’m hoping they release this on some kind of DVD or as an album because it’s worth the extra re-listens. As a message to the band, please bring some of this new material into your live catalog! I’ve seen Dr. Dog close to a dozen times over the years and they’re a special band whose music never gets old. I’m not ashamed to say that a couple of their albums (not songs, albums!) hold a special place in my heart. They’re my Sesame Street. If you happen to find yourself heading to Union Transfer over the next couple nights my only advice is bring a box full of old cassettes, they will certainly be put to good use. Last night was not only a victory for Dr. Dog but also for Philly Fringe 2015!

Here is a trailer for the current 4 night Union Transfer run…catch it if you can!!!

Swamp is On trailer

Lou’s Favorite Places to Grab a Bagel in Philadelphia vol. 1: Spread

Lou’s Favorite Places to Grab a Bagel in Downtown Philadelphia vol. 1: Spread

I love to eat and I say this with no shame. Fat-shamers (any shamer really) are a pet peeve of mine especially men who fat shame women. It is unfortunate that men like this exist and what is even more unfortunate is that they’ll still sleep around with the overweight girls they shame. When it comes to being overweight in the world of sex, the fat man is the biggest loser. A girl I once dated told me whatever you do, if you do not want to be lonely for the rest of your life, if you’re single don’t be fat…unless you’re rich. She’s right about this assumption. It’s not uncommon to see a guy in shape leaving a bar with a girl that weighs more than him. What’s sadder is the only result of this decision on the girl’s part in the end is usually more guys shaming her. Now she is not only fat, she is a slut; a fat slut. I should have sympathy for her but part of me wants to believe she likes it. Maybe after being tickled pink at the bar by her casanova’s bullshit, he used his magic wand to deliver a memorable moment of non-regret courtesy of the immediate release of endorphins that for an extent of time prior had lay dormant inside her body.

Two good friends, one male and one female, have been heavily encouraging me to adapt to a healthier lifestyle. They both have the same argument for why I should have this lifestyle. Not only will I feel happier and it is good for me but it will help with my confidence. This year I set an initiative to become more confident and slowly it is working. If it wasn’t for the tiny burst of confidence I’ve been lacking all these years, the imminent success that lurks around the corner in my world would be pretty much non-existent. As this year has gone on I have given up on many things that can be detrimental to your health. Currently I’ve given up drinking alcohol, drinking soda, and eating meat. French fries one day a week and sweets one day a week. Unfortunately there’s still a long road ahead in my own quest towards self-improvement. My bad habits must have been plentiful, even with these subtle changes, people are still finding flaws to throw in my face. The granddaddy of these flaws always is and always will be cigarette smoking. Until the day I officially never smoke another cigarette, I will never hear the end of this and deservingly so because cigarettes kill people. Next to cigarettes the biggest roadblock in my quest is bread, specifically white bread. And I’m not talking about the sliced bread you buy at the store, I’ve always been a whole wheat or multi-grain guy. I’m talking about tortillas, pizza, pasta, pretzels, rolls and my personal favorite…bagels!

Philadelphia isn’t necessarily what you call a bagel town however they have one of the best I’ve ever eaten served at Spread in Rittenhouse. It’s the first in this area to prepare their bagels Montreal style and for this reason alone they kind of separate themselves from the other local bagel makers out there. But this isn’t the only reason I’m honoring them. They are also operated and run by pretty decent people. In my opinion, good customer service is the secret to having a successful business. At least when it comes to mom-and-pop food service businesses. Good customer service is typically a reflection of the employee’s happiness with their jobs. This morning the girl at the desk gave me an extra sandwich after realizing they had made an extra one during the breakfast rush. She told me to pay it forward. I went outside and opened the sandwich up and much to my luck it was none other than a bacon, egg, and cheese. In most instances, the former me would have eaten it on the spot. But not the new meatless version of myself. Nope. Not even Prince Bacon, son to the King of Gluttonous Meat Eating itself, the Pig, could temporarily tempt me to sway from this new lifestyle. But I couldn’t let a good sandwich go to waste especially one that was gifted to me by my favorite bagel shop in the city. So I did what any good man would do by first taking all the bacon off the sandwich, putting it onto one side and wrapping it up (as I wrapped my half in a napkin). As I walked down the street I went up to the first homeless person I saw and gave the sandwich to him. He seemed very appreciative, especially for the bacon! And in the end, I walked down the street feeling really good. It’s amazing how walking into an eating establishment where everybody is happy and friendly can not only have an effect on your day but also on the day of everybody around you. Spread is the kind of place possessing this special element transcendent of the actual food (which is great on its own). I’m hoping anybody reading this gives the place which sits on the 200 block of south 20th St. near Rittenhouse Square a shot. As an added bonus to today’s pay it forward experience, I was going to link an older song written and recorded by my brother’s band that carries the same name however I’m choosing to post a more recent gem that reminds me of someone special in my life that has helped me slowly get it together. If you haven’t done something nice for somebody in a long time or forever there’s only one thing I can tell you, it’s never too late to start.

Friend

Lou’s Greatest Month of the Year vol.1: September

Lou’s Greatest Month of the Year vol. 1: September

T.S. Eliot begins his epic poem ‘The Wasteland’ with one of the most honest lines in 20th Century English Literature: “April is the cruelest month.” It is a horrible time of year: the government takes our money away, the extra weight from the winter has to finally be confronted in anticipation for the summer, boring (because it’s not as exciting as the NFL) baseball teams all offer a false glimmer of hope at the expense of fans’ wallets, there are no good movies in the theaters, students feel more guilty as they face the impending doom resulting from their procrastinations and the worst part, for the very special true lovers of Jersey coastline like yours truly, the vaunted off-season is close to its annual end as a flood of merts finalize summer plans to invade whatever humble little shore towns may fall victim on their radar. What makes April especially cruel is the false sense of mandatory happiness a fine Spring day demands from all its participants despite all these variables. No matter how badly your world may be crashing, not faking a smile at least once an hour is practically a mortal sin. The flowers start to bloom and all of a sudden happiness, no matter how fake or distant it really is, seems to be a mandatory requirement even though for many it is nothing more than the foundation of cruelty: a bittersweet lie.

September is the antithesis of April. It’s a real beginning. Football (the king of American sports) kicks off, school is back in session, the best movies become available to the majority of the viewing public, bad diets are encouraged by all as a source of staying warm for the winter, baseball for two-thirds of the fans is no longer wasting any more time, and (the best part) all those Shore towns wave goodbye to the merts after the Labor Day holiday. You cannot deny September’s honesty. There’s no fooling ourselves in this sacred Ninth Month unless you possess the unenviable trait of fooling yourself to be miserable. Don’t get me wrong, for some the thought of summer coming to an end can be a hard pill to swallow. People cry in September however these tears reek of an honesty far more genuine than April’s cruel crooked smiles.

If you tell me you don’t find hurricanes exciting it may as well be April. September is nestled in the heart of hurricane season. Who doesn’t love Mother Nature at her finest? It seems the closer someone is to being hit by a hurricane, the more excited they get. It’s the September of Natural Disasters so it’s only suitable that this month is prime time for Mother Nature to show her prowess. Although the hurricane is very powerful and oftentimes deadly, it’s not as intimidating as a tornado or as frustrating as a blizzard. It is a very traditional American Storm, that’s why most Americans love them. Also for many that lay in its path it can be a much needed rebirth. Losing a home to a natural disaster is devastating however the thought of rebuilding a better one surely hovers in the back of their mind. Its mere presence in the Atlantic Ocean is the Pied Piper for the truly dedicated East Coast surfer. These wave riders wait all year long for these September storms to roll up the coast. Even the luckier surfer that lives near the more known West Coast break is willing to travel cross-country for a chance to be pitted by the pounding Atlantic Ocean surf.

Finally, what would my personal greatest month be without having a great theme song to accompany its grand entrance on our calendars performed by the legendary Earth, Wind, and Fire. It can make those often annoying audio ringtones less obnoxious, for the lucky that still choose to get awaken by radio alarm clocks it is a lock to get the weariest souls out of bed and, for some reason, it can erupt any wedding dance floor no matter the season. On this first of September give the song a spin and don’t be afraid to turn it up as it comes on the radio practically every hour. In my mind, this timeless nugget is the musical equivalent to childbirth which makes sense since September is more representative of a new beginning than the overrated January who sits at the front of the calendar. Here’s to a fresh start in celebration of what carries my personal honor of being the Greatest Month.

September