Tag Archives: music

Mary Kate meets Kansas

My sister Laura often tells people that she looks like everyone they’ve ever met. It’s her explanation for why she is constantly asked, “Don’t I know you?” Now, despite Laura’s witty personality (she gets it from me), she never uses my reply: “Did I sleep with you in college?” I use that reply each and every time someone asks if they know me, male, female, young, old, makes no difference. If the response flusters them a bit, I like to go into detail: “Because I was like the campus bicycle back then! Everyone took a ride. I have a birth mark….” They usually interrupt by then.

But Laura has a point. She does look like everyone you’ve ever met. And so do the rest of those of us who call ourselves Pat and Tom’s kids. Despite a last name that is 10-letters long and impossible to pronounce, we are John Q. Public and family. We are the most average looking people in America. You have looked at us at WalMart a million times and never even noticed. B.O.R.I.N.G. It’s probably why we are so loud, we are over-compensating. Good thing we are also the most hysterical group of people you will ever meet as well.

Case in point, though  — Jim and I had a date last weekend. We went to the fabulous Rialto Square Theater in Joliet to see the one and only Kansas. Jim and I got married at the Rialto, so we like going to shows there. And yes, I know Peter Brady got married there, but we did it FIRST. When someone tells me that, I usually think, “ha ha ha ha ha ha ha STFU, asshat. The Rialto is MINE!” But aside from our love for that particular theater, Kansas is cool (though it is starting to dawn on me that I have a very bizarre musical sense).

I forgot my camera, so all I have is this:

You get the point. That fiddle player, by the way, has the most awesome arms this side of Michelle Obama. Honestly. I normally wouldn’t recommend a vest with no shirt, but that dude is pulling it off! And considering Kansas had their debut in 1974, the year I was born, and I am not exactly considered “young” anymore, I have to say, that man was working it. Four of the members of Kansas have formed a new band called Native Window, and they opened for Kansas, featuring themselves. No really. It was a trip. How long to the point of “know” return, indeed. They are seriously one of the best bands (well, technically, two of the best bands) I have ever heard live, they are really, really good.

At the concert, we were by far the youngest people there by choice. All of the young folk were actually teens, and they were in the company of their PTA moms dancing about with one finger of each hand pointed directly in the air while their balding dads kept the beat with sophisticated air drums. But before we headed to the event, we decided to catch some dinner in mystical downtown Joliet. If you’ve never been there, Joliet is a fairly large area, with a downtown several blocks long and a Harrah’s casino. The Will County courthouse is also there, so there are several bars and restaurants which cater to the young lawyer crowd.

The first place we walked into was packed. But before we even made it in the door, I noticed a group of what I would describe as middle-aged women at a table by the window. I noticed them because every last one of them was glued to the window, staring at me. As we walked in the door, they shouted.

“Mary Kate! Mary Kate! Hey, there’s Mary Kate! Mary Kate!”

We walked right past. As we came to the bar, the shouting continued, and I knew they were talking to me, but I refused to turn (for no good reason really). A brief gloss over of the place showed that it was really too packed for us, no available tables and no empty seats at the bar.

“Wanna go somewhere else?” Jim asks.

“Those women are screaming at me,” I reply.

“I know,” Jim says.

We decide to clear out and find a less crowded place. As we turn, my eyes pass over the women but I do not make eye contact or indicate that I have noticed them. I hope now that they have seen my face, they will see that I am not Mary Kate, and just sit back and enjoy their adult beverages. But no.

“Mary Kate!” one of them shouts while standing and waving her arms.

Now, there’s no reason for me not to just stop and look at them, let them see I am not Mary Kate, then be on my way. But for some reason, I choose not to. I walk past them and out the door, their shouts of “Mary Kate” replaced with the sounds of the street. They remain in the window, looking at me as we walk away. For added drama, Jim pretended to yell at me in an animated manner as we left, you know, to heighten the mystery.

Jim and I find this whole thing hysterical. He calls me Mary Kate for the rest of the night. But, I have one question for him:

“How old do I look?” I say, crushed. “I mean, I don’t think I look younger than my age, but I don’t think I look older than it either.”

Why? Because not a single one of these women was under the age of 55. Did they think I was… one of them? How old am I anyway? I mean, we were going to a Kansas concert, afterall. Am I kidding myself? Am I… OLD? Of course, since none of them has any real idea what Mary Kate looks like anyway, how close could they be to her? Maybe Mary Kate was the daughter of a someone they knew? Or an old co-worker? Please, be the daughter, be the daughter…..

But truthfully, it probably has nothing to do with that whatsoever. The fact is, I look like everyone you’ve ever met. Including Mary Kate.

We did joke later about what they must have said when we left. I mean, there was NO WAY I didn’t notice them. They practically pounced on me. Can you imagine the conversation?

Lady 1 – “Who was that man with Mary Kate?”

Lady 2 – “Mary Kate is such a bitch for ignoring us.”

Lady 3 – “Mary Kate got fat!”

Lady 4 – “I’m going to give Mary Kate a piece of my mind the next time I see her.”

Lady 5 – “I’m worried about Mary Kate’s hearing and vision!”

Do you think that poor Mary Kate has had to defend herself against these women since then? Swearing to God that she was no where near downtown Joliet on Friday night?

All I do know is this: Mary Kate had a rocking time at the Kansas concert last Friday. Carry on my wayward son. Carry on.

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I seriously love this woman

People. I have issues. Serious ones. And they all revolve around her:

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Holy smokes, there, Lady Gaga. Where are your clothes?

This is a still shot from a video for the song Love Game, which, in my best estimation, can really only be described as soft core porn. This song is on her album, The Fame, and I totally dig it. I dig it to the point that sometimes, in the car, my 7-year-old will say, “Hey Mom, can you turn on that disco stick song?” And I think, “Wow, that is totally inappropriate” while I am popping the cd in at the same time.

Despite my brother Tommy’s erroneous assertion that Lady Gaga’s Poker Face is one of the most annoying songs on the radio (even though he later admitted that he cannot seem to turn off  Paparazzi — he’s pretty old, you understand, he’s going senile), I cannot stop listening to this woman. I’m at the point where I am wondering when I can next take a long car ride, so I can listen to her music over and over and over all while singing into my thumb, which frankly is more embarrassing than getting caught picking a little snot out of your nose by the driver in the next car over.

Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, she went and did this to me:

What’s this? Awesome cover art you say?

Well, these are some of the pictures on her new album, The Fame Monster. Now, as far as albums go, it’s not much, as in, it’s only eight songs. It’s not so much a sophomore album as it is a few additional songs. But holy crap is it good. So so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so so good. So good. Did I mention I like it?

The album came out on Monday, but I didn’t get a chance to go to the store. Later in the day, I mentioned to Jim, who was headed out to run a few errands, that if he happened to be somewhere where the album was on sale, go ahead and get it for me, you know, if you think of it. Jim is a smart man. He knew not to come home without that record, and he went to more than one store to find it.

The first song off the album is called Bad Romance, and the video for it is either one of two things: it is either as insanely upsetting as all get out, or it is amazingly cool.

Guess which one I think it is?

I have no idea what inspired my fascination with this woman. Listening to her newest album, it seemed that Lady Gaga is everything that Madonna would be if Madonna actually had, you know, talent. But while Madonna was all about shock and purposely acting sexual to illicit a response, Lady Gaga doesn’t seem to be acting. And damn, the woman can sing.

I admit it — I don’t necessarily “get” some of her stuff, particularly, her bizarre wardrobe that appears to be some kind of performance art. My co-worker Jerry, a 23-year-old who is already pretty afraid of me, practically shivered with fear when I marched into work last night with my new Lady Gaga cd in hand, ready to make every person at the Free Press fall in love with this woman the way I have. I do not think I was successful, but I did manage to listen to the new record twice.

But while I have no idea why this lady has a hold on me, I sure hope she sticks around, weird wardrobe and all.

I have this much to say though — I have a trip to Chicago tonight. So if you see a crazy woman in a red Civic singing at the top of her lungs on the Stevenson, that’s me.

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Music review I am in no way qualified to make – Lady Gaga

I have a new obsession. And her name is Lady Gaga.

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Well hello there miss. Nice to see you and you fun wig and your wild and crazy face painting thingy.

Honestly, I had no idea who this woman was or what she did, other than she was some sort of “entertainer” who is often the object of the contempt of the Fug Girls and their wise musings on the habits of the modern celebrity. But the other day, Jim and I were watching “Parks and Recreation” (which, by the way, is way better than its first two episodes suggested it would be, which is good, since I *puffy heart* Amy Pohler), and there was a scene in a gay bar where Amy’s character apparently became Queen of the Gays. And the Lady Gaga song, “Poker Face,” was on. And it was from then on stuck in my head, to the point that I finally had to go buy myself her album. Which, as it turns out, is her first. Who knew? Seems Ms. Gaga here is a mere 23 years old.

So now I am obsessed. Of course, being obsessed means I must find out everything I can about this woman, as well as learn said “Poker Face” so I can rock it the next time Karaoke Bob is out at the Boondocks Bar. And you want to know what I learned? I don’t get her. At. All.

For example, seems Lady Gaga is not terribly shy when it comes to letting people get really close to her Lady Gaga bits:

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Of course, rumor has it she does not really have “lady” bits, but rather, “man” bits or some type of combo of the two. So maybe she’s just trying to prove the rumor wrong. Or right. Whatever.

Anyway, moving on… even when she is not “performing,” she rarely wears pants. Well, underpants, kind of, but no actual pants.

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And of course, there are other moments that really have you thinking, WTF is that?

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No seriously… WTF is that?

Ok, ok, ok. I confess, I secretly love this:

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I love it because I am pretty sure it is the end result of this:

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Anyway, despite all of… this… I sure do like that Lady Gaga. Wikipedia says she was “inspired” by people like David Bowie and Madonna and Queen (apparently her name is a tribute to the Queen song “Radio Gaga” — her real name is Stephani something).  But when I listen to her album, I’m sorry to say, I hear more Britney Spears than I do Queen. But, in the spirit of full disclosure, I purchase my music at the same store where I buy my groceries AND my clothes. It’s not like I am a music virtuoso. It’s got a good beat and I can dance to it. I give it a 98.

If you Google Lady Gaga (which, according to GleN Beck, is the best way to do research anyway), you’ll find two types of people on various sites devoted to her: those who HATE her, and those who LOVE her. There is no in-between with Lady Gaga. But if you ignore all the comments and listen to the little Lady, you will find that she actually sings really, really… pretty. No really. The girl sings pretty.

I imagine that someone who writes lyrics such as “I wanna take a ride on your disco stick” isn’t looking to be described as a “pretty” singer, but really, she is. She has a song about a girl who is basically stalking the hell out of a dude in order to get him to like her, yet the song itself sounds really pretty.

So I give her a good grade. If you haven’t yet, give Lady Gaga a try. I mean, she looks to be out of her diddy mind:

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Seriously girl, WTF?

But really, she’s just a pretty singer playing a non-stop game of dress up. Can’t really argue with that.

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Hearts and thoughts they fade… fade away

That’s right. I went and saw Pearl Jam.

Jim and I went to see Pearl Jam last night at the United Center, and it was LOUD. Seriously. My ears are currently ringing, and I am wondering how long this will last. It’s mostly my left ear. But who needs hearing, right?

We were in a suite (SWEET!) with some people who Jim works with, and some of them I think were a little annoyed that they didn’t play more of their original stuff. No Jeremy, no Daughter, no Better Man. But I enjoyed it, and Jim LOVED it.

Here is the thing about my husband: I don’t think he gives himself nearly enough credit for how smart he really is. The man has an abundnace of common sense, which is obviously a good thing. But he is highly in tune with things like music. When the band started to play a Neil Young song, one that I certainly do not know, Jim knew exactly what it was after the first few notes. And it’s not like he’s some obscure music freak. He can recognize some random independent band as quickly as he can recognize a mainstream band, and when an independent goes mainstream, he’s the guy who already owned all their albums back in high school (think Wilco).

But it’s not just this type of thing that impresses me. Not long ago, I was looking at my yearbook from my freshman year in high school. In the back, there was a list of all the top stories from 1988. So we started with sports and he knew all the answers, NCAA champions, football, baseball, basketball, I think there were even some Olympic notes in there he knew. But it wasn’t just that. He knew all the world trivia too.

When they recently let the Lockerbie bomber go, I knew the man had been responsible for blowing up a PanAm jet, clearly over Lockerbie. But Jim knew how many people were killed. Stuff like that. He’s like a sponge, just KNOWING things.

You know how so many people got caught up in the sub-prime mortgage thing? Not us. Want to know why? Becuase my husband explained to me exactly what would happen if we went for one of those, LONG before anyone else figured it out. Dammit. The man is smart.

I cannot even begin to explain his job. I know he is a purchasing manager, and that sounds straight forward. But I think he has whatever job that Chandler Bing had, where he is worried about the Weenis. There’s a computer and a stack of paper and an inbox and lots and lots of rubbing his eyes… but what he’s actually DOING, I couldn’t tell you. But I know I’m not smart enough to do it.

But when you take it all together, my husband is this incredibly smart man… who apparently doesn’t know it. Not that he thinks he’s dumb, but he certainly doesn’t flaunt it that he’s not. He doesn’t challenge others to Trivial Pursuit (which, after I played him and WON one time, I refuse to play him again). He doesn’t look down on others when they don’t know the answer to something. And, despite his inherent smartness, he cannot figure out how to start the washing machine.

I guess all I am trying to say is that I married a very smart man. Of course, he picked me, so I guess I knew he was super smart from the start.

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