A Texan walks into a pub in Temple Bar, Dublin and clears his throat to the crowd of drinkers. He says, “I hear you Dubliners are a bunch of hard drinkers. I’ll give 500 American dollars to anybody in here who can drink 10 pints of Guinness back-to-back.” The room is quiet, and no one takes up the Texan’s offer. One man even leaves. Thirty minutes later the same gentleman who left shows up and taps the Texan on the shoulder. “Is your bet still good?” asks the Dub. The Texan says yes and asks the bartender to line up 10 pints of Guinness. Immediately the Dub tears into all 10 of the pint glasses, drinking them all back-to-back. The other pub patrons cheer as the Texan sits in amazement. The Texan gives the Dub the $500 and says, “If ya don’t mind me askin’, where did you go for that 30 minutes you were gone?” The Dub replies, “Oh… I had to go to the pub down the street to see if I could do it first.”
My five days in Dublin were without a doubt five of the most enjoyable of my life. After experiencing a whirlwind adventure in Stockholm then Barcelona with one, then two, of my dearest friends, we three left Spain to embark on our own solo adventures. Jonathan went to explore Portugal, while Christy ventured on to Paris, then various parts of Italy and Norway. The first stop on my own #soloeurotravels was the Republic of Ireland’s capital city, Dublin.
The Dubh Linn (Black Pool) Gardens, completed in 1680, located adjacent to Dublin Castle. The stone walkways are paved in a swirling Celtic design.
Of my travels this fall to many of the most gorgeous cities in Europe, I felt a most special and profound connection with Budapest. For me, this city embodies the perfect balance of old world and new, beauty and grit, wonderful people, incredible food and drink, history, culture, and wonder. In a word: magic.
I will be back as soon as I possibly can.
In the meantime, my cherished memories will have to suffice. I was able to capture a just few on film and video, which I am so happy to share with you here. Continue reading →
Rounding out my three-week vacation in Europe, I spent two glorious (and all-too-brief) days in Prague. This remarkably preserved ancient city in the Czech Republic left me breathless with its unparalleled beauty, history, architecture, people, culture, and — perhaps most importantly — incredible food and drink. In this entry, I will focus on the latter.
Beer flows more readily than water in this part of the world, and is the cheapest thing on every menu — literally costing less than bottled water. A typical half-pint of Czech brew costs about 20-25 CZK, less than 1 U.S. dollar. The Bohemians are credited with inventing the world’s first clear, golden beer. Prior to the development of Pilsner in 1842, beer was dark, cloudy, and quite thick. Says BeerAdvocate:
The birth of Pilsner beer can be traced back to its namesake, the ancient city of Plzen (or Pilsen) which is situated in the western half of the Czech Republic in what was once Czechoslovakia and previously part of the of Bohemian Kingdom. Pilsner beer was first brewed back in the 1840s when the citizens, brewers and maltsters of Plzen formed a brewer’s guild and called it the People’s Brewery of Pilsen.
A sea of purple descends upon City Hall for an epic live concert tribute
Los Angeles City Hall was awash in shades of purple the evening of May 6 when the city held a Memorial Tribute to Prince Rogers Nelson honoring the iconic artist’s legacy in music and philanthropy.
Thousands of fans wearing Prince’s signature color descended upon the grassy lawn in front of the City Hall steps to celebrate the artist, who died on April 21 at his Paisley Park estate in Minnesota. Continue reading →
John Clayton is a natural born multitasker. The multiple roles in which he excels – composer, arranger, conductor, producer, educator, and extraordinary bassist – garner him a number of challenging assignments and commissions. With a Grammy on his shelf and eight additional nominations, artists such as Diana Krall, Paul McCartney, Regina Carter, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Gladys Knight, Queen Latifah, and Charles Aznavour vie for a spot on his crowded calendar. His many musical pursuits include the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, which he founded along with his brother Jeff in 1986, and the Clayton Brothers quintet, which includes his son Gerald on piano. As a teacher, in addition to presenting individual clinics, workshops, and private students as schedule permits, he directs the educational components associated with the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival, Centrum Festival, and Vail Jazz Party. Continue reading →
For the first time in the epic film saga’s history, the music for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” was scored here in Los Angeles with AFM Local 47 musicians.
Composer John Williams with guest conductor Gustavo Dudamel during one of the scoring sessions for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” at Sony Studios. Photo courtesy Don Foster
John Williams, a Life Member of the musicians union, composed the music once again for this seventh installment in the “Star Wars” franchise. He has written the music for every film in the series since its 1977 debut, but while previous films were scored at Abbey Road with the London Symphony Orchestra, “The Force Awakens” marks the first time a “Star Wars” score was recorded stateside.
“This experience of working on the latest ‘Star Wars’ in Los Angeles is probably the most momentous of scoring occasions in our long history of recording,” said Bruce Dukov, a violinist who has recorded on over 1,800 motion pictures over the past 30 years. “The main reason is that for 38 years of that franchise, all the music was recorded in London. For us to be involved in this venture now is nothing less than fantastic, and worthy of major historic notation.” Continue reading →
As the frontman of influential English anarcho-punk band Subhumans and punk/ska groups Citizen Fish and Culture Shock, Dick Lucas expounds against war, corruption, corporate greed, and systematic cultural oppression. Subhumans formed in Southwest England in 1980 and experimented with rock tempos, blues melodies and instrumentation not usually heard in traditional punk. Splitting in 1985, they entertained several brief reunions until reforming more permanently in 1998 with an extensive tour of the UK and U.S., and continue to perform regularly. Rotating among an incestuous mix of musical projects, Lucas has remained steadily active with Citizen Fish—which shares several Subhumans members—since 1990, and recently regrouped with Culture Shock, a short-lived band formed just after the initial Subs split (featuring several members who went on to form Citizen Fish). Subhumans plays Thurs., Oct. 29, and Fri., Oct. 30, at Los Globos with Blazing Eye, Generacion Suicida and more. Lucas spoke by phone just before performing a recent show in New York with interviewer Linda A. Rapka.
I was your pen pal when I was 12.
In the early 1990s, soon after I discovered punk and the Subhumans, I sent you a letter in the mail and you actually responded.
Wow. I think twice in my life … before email, it was only twice in my life when I had no letters left to reply to.
Do you still write back to fans?
Yeah, you know—I try to. Of course now it’s all by email.
At the first Subhumans show I went to, someone threw a shoe at your head, a crowd of people jumped onstage and unplugged your equipment, and we were all pepper-sprayed.
I remember one massive show we did in San Bernardino in 1998. Continue reading →