While spending more time at home, I’ve tried to get a bit more organized by:
1. Weeding out newspaper & magazine articles – Do I really need to save clippings from the NY Times, BandWagon, Westword, Marquee, the Denver Post & Daily Camera about the Top 25 Songs of 2017?
2. Now I can find an obscure CD in 15 seconds – After months of needing to do this, I finally spent 2 full days and organized the many piles of CDs into my library. And while I was at it, I did the same with my DVDs, cassettes and vinyl!
3. Working my way through the ‘surprises’ in my freezer – “Oh look, here’s that box of Omaha Steak burgers I bought 2 years ago. Let’s thaw them and make lasagna! And perhaps it’s time to finish this bag of Korean dumplings from Costco.”
4. The ever-fluid balance of what to keep and what to toss – I just had a phone call with a high school friend about my ‘packrat-ness’. 3 days later she asked me to scan her high school yearbook graduation photo so she could post it on Facebook to show support for the Class of 2020. In 2 mins I had my hand on the original photo she gave me when we were 17! Who’s the smart one now?
5.Realizing there are concerts I forgot about seeing – It took me three days but I have organized my concert & sports tickets, event laminates, backstage passes, handwritten setlists and related items. Now I have a cool new piece of art for my office showing decades of very colorful backstage passes!
3. The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History by John M. Barry – This is considered one of the definitive books on the 1918 pandemic. What’s fascinating upon re-reading it now, is how much about human nature doesn’t change.
4. Valley Girl – A fun, underrated 80’s movie with a strong soundtrack made it’s streaming debut on Amazon Prime. Come for the valley girls, stay for The Plimsouls.
5. Select albums turning 40 in 2020 – Talking Heads, Remain In Light; AC/DC, Back In Black; Joy Division, Closer; U2, Boy; Pretenders, Pretenders; Squeeze, Argybargy.
1. The National: Juicy Sonic Magic – This special Record Store Day live release and (yes) triple cassette was recorded during The National’s Sleep Well Beast tour – more specifically, the two sold out Berkeley Greek shows. The 45-song tape uses Mike Millard’s taping method. Listen with eyes closed and you’re there. (Watch the short documentary on folk hero Mike Millard and his taping legacy too!)
2. Binge Watching The Grand Tour – The BBC broke up the band by firing Jeremy Clarkson from Top Gear, so Richard Hammond and James May chose to follow their fellow petrol head rather than stay with the show. The result? Amazon’s The Grand Tour series. Three seasons (and a fourth special) fall flat in some places, though the hosts have chemistry. If the names McLaren, Bugatti, or Koenigsegg get your heart racing, watch it!
3. BoredPanda.com – Looking to kill 10 minutes between Zoom meetings? You’ll find high-def photos of Jupiter from NASA, an art gallery for gerbils, a biologist’s recipe for homemade yeast during quarantine, Banksy and how he copes cooped up, squirrel picnic tables, the worst wildlife photos and dad jokes for miles. And yes, they have more kittens than you can shake a stick at!
4. Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries – This fun, Australian TV series captures the spirit of Phyrne Fisher, the lead character from Kerry Greenwood’s detective novels. Set in 1920’s Australia, it follows the ever chic and sassy Miss Fisher. Anchored by smart character development, an endearing cast and fabulous costuming, the fact she drives a Hispano-Suiza is the cherry on top.
5. Reconnecting with family and friends – It’s been a real treat to step away from the hustle and bustle and reconnect with family and friends. While keeping physically distant, I’ve rekindled friendships and shored up family bonds via the old-fashioned telephone and the ever-funny virtual meeting hot spots.
1. The Dawn Wall – Holy moly, this movie has everything: kidnapping, amputation, learning disabilities, overcoming obstacles . . . This documentary explores how Tommy Caldwell and his climbing partner became the first to summit the Dawn Wall of El Capitan. Plus, Tommy lives in Estes Park so you’ll be proud of one of our own!
2. Joe Ely: Love in the Midst of Mayhem – Ely has come out with another terrific album. Finding himself with a lot of extra time during the corona pandemic, he cranked out 10 new songs drawing on his experience with isolation and the struggles he encountered.
3. May’s Top 20 of 2020 topic on the Colorado Sound – Since Mother’s Day was this month, our topic is “Who is your favorite family act?” The Gallagher brothers in Oasis? Richard and Linda Thompson when they were husband and wife? Or maybe the Soderberg sisters from First Aid Kit. Let us know your favorite family act – submit your nominee at Coloradosound.org
4. Jason Isbell: Reunions – Isbell has called this new record the finest of his career and it’s easy to see why. With “Be Afraid” and “What’ve I Done to Help” already getting serious airplay, Reunions is an early contender for next year’s Grammys.
5. Lucinda Williams: Good Souls Better Angels –Williams delivers her best albums when she’s a little bit angry. From the look of it, she’s downright furious. On songs like “Man Without A Soul” and “You Can’t Rule Me,” she shows off a feistiness not seen in a long time. If I ever need backup for a fight, I’m calling her.