Archive for May, 2012

The mixtape just got real

| May 25, 2012

Procrastinating via my Facebook News Feed has reaped yet another reward: Jeff Skierka’s Mixtape Table. It’s perfect for my bucket list reading room, the one I get to decorate according to my whim alone. The coffee table would beam back at me in its reclaimed maple, walnut, and lucite glory, nudging me to think of my junior high days when I carried around Monica, Tevin Campbell, Heavy D, and En Vogue casette singles in a plastic Keroppi box on road trips to San Francisco with the ‘rents.

And hold on to your yellow Sony Sports Walkman: Skierka’s table is reversible, having an A side and B side.

Yes way.

[Via Thumbprint Gallery's Facebook page.]

Jeff-Skierka-designs-mixtape-table
Photo courtesy of Jeff Skierka

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Josh Rouse’s first online show set for May 20

| May 16, 2012

josh-rouse-at-piano260x390When it comes to singer-songwriter Josh Rouse, I am admittedly late to the game. Very late.

I stumbled upon the down-to-earth quality of the Nebraska native’s acoustic music via his “Summertime Noisetrade Sampler” about a year ago. His sound is warm. Friendly. The kind I imagine would play out of a transistor radio as I lay on the grass under a Poplar tree on an 82-degree afternoon.

I’ve often craved to see him play a set live. But as he currently doesn’t tour much outside of Europe (he currently lives in Spain), I’ve settled for listening to his recordings. Thankfully, the Universe picked up on my wish and the web-savvy team behind Rouse has found a way to bridge the geographical gap.

Rouse has partnered with Stageit.com to put on his first online show on Sunday, May 20. According to Rouse’s website, it is hoped that the show, which will air from the Valencia apartment of band member Cayo Bellveser, will be the first of a series of shows Rouse is calling “Late Night Conversations.”

The online performance will start at 10:00 p.m. Valencia time, which is 1:00 p.m. San Diego time. To see what this means for the start time in your neck of the States, click here.

You’ll have to buy a ticket to catch the show. If you’re new to Stageit.com like I am, this means that you’ll first need to sign up for an account with Stageit.com, buy some Stageit Notes, and then pay what you can/want for access to Rouse’s show. (”Notes” are Stageit’s form of currency; $1 equals 10 Notes.) Buy enough Stageit Notes and you can also tip Rouse during the performance which is said to include a few new songs, some Rouse oldies but goodies, and live requests.

For more info on the show, including how to get your hands on a handwritten lyric sheet of one of Rouse’s new songs, check out the Stageit.com page for the event.

To quote my favorite song off of Rouse’s latest album, Josh Rouse and The Long Vacations, “Oh, look what the sun did. It made the sky turn blue.”

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Eat, Drink, Read: San Diego cuisine inspired by literature

On Wednesday, May 16, The San Diego Council on Literacy will host a culinary-meets-reading event at NTC Promenade at Liberty Station. Billed as “Eat Drink Read,” this event taking place in Point Loma will feature dishes from a dozen San Diego chefs, all of whom drew inspiration from a favorite book.

Eat-Drink-Read-San-Diego Two of the chefs participating are Craig Jimenez of Craft & Commerce in Little Italy and Matt Gordon of Urban Solace in North Park and Solace & the Moonlight Lounge in Encinitas.

“You’re able to run away on this adventure to find sunken treasure,” says Jimenez of Todd Strasser’s Beyond the Reef, the book he’s chosen to interpret for the event.

In homage to the Key West setting of Strasser’s tale, Jimenez will prepare Conch Fritteratti with Lime Mustard: a tender sea snail breaded in panko crumbs, fried, and served with lime mustard and a salad of seaweed and charred peppers.

“I read Beyond the Reef for English class when I was in middle school,” says the 30-something Jimenez. “We had to write a certain amount of book reports per month and this one stuck with me.”

Since Craft & Commerce is known as much for incorporating books and book quotes into its decor as much as for its food and cocktails, it’s fitting that the Little Italy restaurant would also contribute something from the bar. Bartenders Eric Johnson and Christian Siglin will pair the Conch Fritteratti with a cocktail they’re calling the Bahama Brahma: a mix of Jamaican rum, coffee liqueur, coconut syrup, fresh pineapple and fresh lemon juice served over crushed ice.

Chef Matt Gordon of Urban Solace turned to Ernest Hemingway’s Paris memoirs, A Moveable Feast, for enlightenment.

“Having grown up in the Southwest where everything is so new, I am always moved by the sense of history of cities like Paris,” Gordon shares. For the event, he will serve miniature Croque-Monsieur with a creamy brown butter Mornay sauce. “It’s just something I love to eat and such a defining Parisian dish.”

It’s also a dish the Solace & Moonlight Lounge owner says he would make for Hemingway if he was alive today, even though, as Gordon puts it, “[Hemingway] talks about a bit ‘finer’ eating in the book.”

Complementing the eats with refreshments are Stone Brewing Co., Honest Tea, Solar Rain, 12 Signs Wine, and SOL Markets. Also, Hillcrest favorite Bread & Cie Bakery and Cafe will put together gift bags inspired by Dr. Seuss’ Bartholomew and the Oobleck.

Admission to the event, which takes place from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., is $60 and benefits The San Diego Council of Literacy’s efforts to provide free literacy assistance to adults, families and children in San Diego County. Click here to purchase your tickets. (NOTE: Payment is via PayPal. If you don’t have a PayPal account, don’t worry; simply pay as a guest.)

(Image from the website of The San Diego Council on Literacy.)

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Thanks, Mr. Sendak, for teaching me to care

| May 08, 2012

maurice-sendak-pierre-I-don't-careI was on the road this morning, listening to NPR’s “Morning Edition,” when host Steve Inskeep announced the death of author and illustrator Maurice Sendak. I beat my driving wheel in exasperation, exclaiming “No!” in the prolonged way we do when we’re heartbroken by this kind of news.

Almost immediately, my mind wandered back to an afternoon more than 10 years ago when I found my beaten down hardcover copy of Pierre: A Cautionary Tale at my parent’s home. In contrast to the brownish paperback version now sold, my hard copy of Sendak’s Pierre was light blue and not unlike this photo I found on the blog “Kid Lit Storytime.”

The cover had a texture to it so that running fingernails across it would emit a sound similar to running fingernails across a taut section of woven fabric. A wobbly “Christine” was scribbled on the inside cover. Words and letters were circled indiscriminately on various pages throughout the book, cluing me in to the fact that I read and re-read the book during a time in my childhood when my mom was studying for a nursing exam (I was mimicking my mom’s practice of underlining and highlighting sections of the books she studied).

The caution of Sendak’s Pierre lies in the stomach of a lion. Pierre is a boy who answers all questions with an emphatic “I don’t care!” He doesn’t care if he goes hungry. He doesn’t care if his parents leave him alone at home. His lack of regard is so great that he tells a lion that he doesn’t care if it eats him. So, the lion does. The lion eventually gets sick of Pierre in his stomach and must be taken to a doctor to have Pierre extracted. Upon rejoining the world, Pierre changes his tune to “I CARE!”

In looking up interviews of Mr. Sendak, I’ve realized that the reason why Pierre came to mind today and why it has always stuck with me is because it taught me to care about living and what I do in life.

“My big concern is me and what do I do now until the time of my death,” said Mr. Sendak in a 2004 interview with Bill Moyers for “Now on PBS.” “That is valid. That is useful. That is beautiful. That is creative.”

In the interview, Sendak reveals that he is more concerned about living than the fact that his books will undoubtedly leave a legacy. For Mr. Sendak, the idea that his books will live on when he dies is “lovely” and “gratifying.” But when Moyers expands the idea, claiming that the books ensure that Sendak himself will never die, Sendak responds frankly: “I have news for you. I’m gonna croak. I am gonna croak.”

“I want to see me to the end working, living for myself,” Sendak said. “[W]hat is the point of it all? Not leaving legacies. But being ripe. Being ripe.”

The Wikipedia entry on Mr. Sendak has already been updated to reflect the date of his death. And though his spirit thrives in his stories, I thank Mr. Sendak for teaching me that life is about savoring the present, that life isn’t so much about what we leave behind but caring about what we can do today.

I care!

(Photo from Kid Lit Storytime.)

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