Arts, Entertainment, Living

Arhoolie Records is 50 years old

Wednesday, 26 January 2011 12:00 AM Written by

Most blues fans have certainly heard of Arhoolie Records, the small blues label founded by Chris Strachwitz that made its name recording many old blues players, beginning with Mance Lipscomb.

The label has been around for awhile, and is currently celebrating its 50th anniversary. The party includes three concerts on Feb. 4-6 in Berkeley, Calif. (in case you're in the neighborhood) and a special four-disc set of music Strachwitz recorded in the Berkeley are in the 1960s, titled "Hear Me Howling! Blues, Ballads & Beyond."

I bring this all up because I read a fine story about Strachwitz and Arhoolie in the San Francisco Chronicle. It's worth a read to see just how Strachwitz kept all this great music alive for us.

Here's an interview with Strachwitz talking about Lightnin' Hopkins:

Here's a video of Mance Lipscomb:


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Dead Space 2 review on the way

Tuesday, 25 January 2011 03:10 PM Written by

Superheroes or necromorphs?  Tough decision, but I’m trying to juggle both.  The DC Universe Online final review is still pending.  For now, you’ll have to make do with my running analysis

You can expect a Dead Space 2 review to be posted sometime this weekend or before.  I just started my plunge into the sci-fi/survival/horror game and the scares are plentiful.

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BBQ Pork and Cole Slaw

Tuesday, 25 January 2011 03:00 PM Written by

BBQ-pork-with-cole-slawMmmmmm - BBQ pork! You know, this is my favorite tailgate food! If you aren't making it this week - or if you enjoy it so much and want to make it again - this is the ultimate Super Bowl party food! When I make this for tailgates, I will slow cook the pork overnight. Yes it is hard to sleep with the smells wafting up the staircase ... it gives nighttime-munchies a whole new meaning! But when you wake up all of the work is done. So all you have to do is crank up Renegade or Here We Go Steelers and enjoy the day!

When you get home this evening and you are tired from the day, give your crock-pot a high-five for doing all of the work! Add your favorite sauce - or whip up my quick homemade BBQ sauce - crack open a nice cold beverage and call it a day! ahhhhh 

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Western Pa. natives 'Face Off' on Syfy

Tuesday, 25 January 2011 12:00 AM Written by
Megan_Areford_blogPASADENA, Calif. – It’s not clear how much of a crossover there is between sci-fi/horror fans and “Project Runway” aficionados, but for that segment of the audience, “Face Off” (10 p.m. Wednesday, Syfy) offers an ideal combo: Design mixed with nightmare/fantasy.

Jessica_Kramer_blogMegan Areford (left), a Uniontown native, and Jessica Krame (right), who grew up in Scottdale, are among the 12 aspiring special effects artists competing in “Face Off” for the grand prize: $100,000 and a year’s supply of makeup. Both are 2006 graduates of Tom Savini's Special Make-Up Effects Program at the Douglas Education Center in Monessen.

The show’s format is basically the same as “Project Runway” as contestants, sometimes in pairs, have to work to create a different makeup effect each week. Actress McKenzie Westmore (“Passions”), the daughter of “Star Trek” make-up artist Michael Westmore, hosts “Face Off” and a panel of three judges inspects and critiques contestants’ work with one contestant sent packing at the end of each hour. In the premiere, contestants must create makeup effects for humanoid creatures inspired by an elephant, ostrich or bug.

Read more after the jump. ...

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Pete Anderson CD - "Even Things Up," plus the Steelers

Tuesday, 25 January 2011 12:00 AM Written by

PA-ETU-DluxCover-300x300Yes, this another new CD from an artist that you may not have heard of -- although he's got a bunch of musical props, and you should know about him.

And the Steelers in the headline? That's just so everyone searching the Web for Steelers stories and their playoff win over the New York Jets will find BlueNotes and maybe learn something about the blues. Maybe.

Anyway. The artist is guitarist Pete Anderson, a roots/Americana/blues musician out of Detroit, a Grammy-winning producer who was a partner of Dwight Yoakam, and worked with artists like Lucinda Williams and Rosie Flores, but whose native Detroit roots included the blues he was exposed to as a teenager.

And the blues is what his new album, "Even Things Up" (Little Dog Records/VizzTone), is all about.

This is a very interesting, nicely written and produced album, full of original music that explores a range of blues that moves from swinging, rootsy arrangements to tough, down-home acoustic styles. Anderson's musical arrangements range from roadhouse-rocking music to blues swung with a jazz flavor to funky, organ-laced blues.

Anderson adds smoky vocals behind driving rhythms, like the opener, "Honky Tonk Girl," and then "That's How Trouble Starts," and then the rocking title track. "One and Only Fool" swings easily behind horns and Hammond with a lyrical guitar solo.Then there's a bluesy sweetness to "Still In Love" that's a musical counterpoint to the tragic love-lost theme.

But I think my favorite tracks are the last five, beginning with the acidly acoustic "Prophet for Profit," a stinging look at preachers worshipping the dollar, then "Still In Love," a bluesy ballad with a soulful vocal turn by Bekka Bramlett, daughter of of the still soulful Bonnie Bramlett. That's followed by another harp-and-guitar-led acoustic bit of tough down-home work called "110 In The Shade."

They're followed by a pair of live recordings, "Working Class" and "Feels Like Mississippi," both filled with high-voltage electric blues and gritty vocals that evoke traditional urban blues.

Pete Anderson has crafted a fine album here, his fifth, and one that shows he's both a master of the genre and a talented player and arranger. Enjoy it if you can.

Here's a video of the swinging "One and Only Lonely Fool" -

And just for fun, Here's an old Pete Anderson video from another era and another world (Latvia) 

BlueNotes Florida headquarters update -- We watched the Steelers 10-degree AFC win in 60-degree comfort here in St. Pete.

On the St. Pete blues front, I've missed a couple of good shows by Marcia Ball and Florida's Damon Fowler, but there's a big boogie-woogie piano festival coming up Saturday night that I plan to witness and photograph. And then tell you what you missed. But y'all are welcome to visit. Or, if you like, yinz are welcome to visit.

Also, I've been listening to Gregg Allman's "Low Country Blues," which I wrote about the other day, and which I'm enjoying even more. This is a splendidly tough blues album by an artist who both knows and feels the music he's making. One track that keeps hitting me in the soul is "Please Accept My Love," which reminds me a little bit of Johnny Ace and the kind of soulful blues that BlueNotes loves for its sensual feel and memories of very close dancing and back-seat driving.

Just for fun 2 -- Johnny Ace (thank you, Porky) -

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Meatless Monday - Roasted Tomato and Basil Pasta

Monday, 24 January 2011 11:58 AM Written by

tomatoes_basilHappy Monday!!! Why so happy? PITTSBURGH'S GOING TO THE SUPER BOWL!!!! What an exciting game! We were there last night and it was chilly but not too bad. With all the fans jumping around you didn't have time to think about the cold ... well maybe a little.

Tonight's Meatless Monday dinner is Roasted Tomato and Basil Pasta. This is a wonderfully easy and delicious dinner that will be on your table in no time at all. While you are boiling the water and cooking your pasta, the tomatoes are roasting in the oven and everything is done at once.

This is also a nice light meal to start the week. I am guessing we all ate too many football munchies yesterday. Now you probably burned off a lot of those calories jumping around, shouting and fist-bumping all of your friends during the game or at least you should have!

Enjoy the week!

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A new WE tv show set in ... Meadville?

Monday, 24 January 2011 12:00 AM Written by

It’Stand_Up_Mother_blogs not always easy to have a career in the entertainment business outside of New York and Los Angeles, but comedian Tammy Pescatelli is trying make a go of it from, of all places, Meadville. She chronicles her efforts in WE tv’s “A Stand Up Mother” (10 p.m. Tuesday), a one-hour, six-episode reality series filmed in the Crawford County town this past fall.

Ms. Pescatelli, a 41-year-old Ashtabula, Ohio, native, rose to prominence in comedy circles when she appeared on seasons two and three of NBC’s “Last Comic Standing” in 2004 and 2005. But after her son, almost 3, was born, she and her husband, Luca Palanca, decided to leave Los Angeles and move to Meadville, her mother’s hometown and a place Ms. Pescatelli spent her summers as a child.

Read more after the jump...

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Key Pieces for 2011 and Diet Update

Monday, 24 January 2011 12:00 AM Written by
According to Glamour Magazine, the key wardrobe pieces to have for 2011 include: 
  • An oversized sweater
  • A pleated skirt
  • A fringed handbag
  • A pair of track pants
  • A piece with major volume (Glamour mentioned a full skirt as an example)
  • A piece that is color-blocked
  • A white shirt
  • Wide-leg jeans

Even though I like most of these picks, I'm always curious as to how lists like this get put together by magazines.  What makes these eight items the "it" things for this year? Who says?  

Nonetheless, I am overly enthusiastic that wide-leg jeans are in for this year! And I can wear them with the white shirt on the list. I'm also a huge fan of any oversized tops with leggings and boots. I like the rest of the items on the list, but I think I would replace the track pant with the harem pant because this is a pant that I have yet to fit into my wardrobe. 

If I had to pick one outfit to wear the rest of my life, it would be wide-leg jeans, a white shirt (typically sleeveless, silky and possibly even a ruffled detail or two) and a cardigan. Flats (for comfort), tons of necklaces and a clutch would complete this look.

Looking at this list, and thinking about my "uniform," got me thinking, if you had to live in one outfit for the rest of your life, what would it be?

An Update on my Shopping Diet:

Its been one week on my diet and I the only monies I spent this week went to a fantastic night out with some lovely girlfriends and tickets to History Uncorked, which posed a fashion dilemma.

For fancy events like History Uncorked, I want to immediately run out and purchase a new dress or outfit. However, that's not in my diet. Instead of purchasing a dress I'm coveting from Ann Taylor LOFT, I went through my closet and proudly picked out two possible outfits for the event. I was seriously proud of myself for resisting the urge to buy a new outfit. We'll see how week two goes!

Be sure to check back on Wednesday for another Clutch post!

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