Our posse does a lot of winter holidays, and that means a mighty annual haul of gifts chez Rothenberg. We’ve all been enjoying the new Wii that I camped out in front of Toys R Us to procure; this parody spot does a nifty job of metaphorizing the gizmo’s appeal.
Meanwhile, my personal pile includes a Ramones book and T-shirt as well as a ukulele — which means I’ve been playing a lot of NY punk classics on the uke. I was feeling pretty good about my prowess until I checked out this guy’s mad ukulele skillz … Perhaps I can still be the Johnny Ramone of ukulele, since Mr. Shimabukuro seems to have the George Harrison spot nailed.
While Googling the date of the late James Brown’s mid-’80s appearance at the Del Mar Fair, I happened across this wonderful archive of San Diego concerts from the ’30s through the ’90s.
The list isn’t exhaustive by any means — and most of my favorite rock-‘n’-roll experiences happened in venues far smaller than the ones included here — but I have found some lovely nuggets, including a great Bruce Springsteen concert (Sept. 1, 1981); The Clash and the English Beat (June 12, 1982); and REM at the aforementioned Del Mar Fairgrounds (June 20, 1984).
I haven’t been able to locate that James Brown gig, however.
This news wasn’t unexpected, but it’s still a shock. I understand that there’s a Bruce Fraser tribute in the works for January’s Macworld Expo in San Francisco.
Here’s a nice picture of Bruce, whose Photoshop knowledge and bass acumen both enriched my time at MacWEEK.
I’ve spent this work week on a professional trek to historic Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where I stayed with a group of my colleagues in the lovely old faux-Norman Graylyn estate and ate copious quantities of cheese grits. Oprah is a regular visitor to Graylyn, although I have no empirical data on her grits consumption.
It took me about 40 minutes to get a decent handle on the geography of downtown (whose Reynolds Building served as the prototype for the Empire State Building), and we had a chance to make a few interesting forays after work.
The highlight of the week for me was a slumber party with my dear friend John Stees, who is currently living in Raleigh with his wife Michelle and two daughters and working as operations manager for the local Habitat for Humanity. John looks to be in ruddy good health and is as delightfully acerbic as ever. enjoyed a terrific dinner at the Old Salem Tavern followed by a quasi-collegiate “rap session” (as the kids put it) involving a spare cot and a couple of cans of the local brew. At our age, these festivities of course ended by 10:30, but the thought still counts.