Archive | July, 2011

Getting a little steamy…

21 Jul

Ever heard of a shower beer? In essence, it’s simple: a beer that you enjoy in the shower. Pretty self-explanatory.

It was my freshman year of college and my roommate (and volleyball teammate) suggested that I try one after a long day of class and practice.

“So wait, you take a beer… INTO the shower with you?! Mmmm, I don’t really get it.”  Maybe I didn’t get it because the only beer we had was Busch heavy. In a can.

“Dani, come on. Don’t be an amateur. You just put it on the floor outside the shower. Obviously.”

Ok. If anyone has ever lived in a place with communal showers, you know that anything that touches the ground in said showers becomes instantly infested with any number of fungi, including but not limited to: the common wart, athlete’s foot, ringworm, etc.  (I knew a girl who dropped her bath pouf on the floor of the shower for 2 seconds, and broke out into a scaly, red rash on her chest that lasted for a week. Ew.)  In essence, as long as I didn’t touch the bottom of the can, all was well.

At this point in my college career, I wasn’t much of a beer drinker at all, instead preferring disgusting cheap mixed drinks. So what came next was as much of a shock to me as all of those nasty vodka shots were a shock to my liver: I LOVED my shower beer. Busch light tasted like Cristal (ok, maybe Korbel, but still) when I cracked it open and took my first guzzle in the tiny, steamy shower stall.  By far, it was the most refreshing drink I’d ever had.

Now, four years later, I still INSIST that people try a shower beer if they never have, and I ridicule them for their poor taste if they have tried it and don’t like it.  Still, there are a few components that are necessary in order to make the most of your shower beer experience:

  • a shower with a ledge large enough to hold your delicious shower beer (or an alcove that looks like it could have been specifically designed for a SB)
  • a beer koozie
  • roommates who don’t use all the hot water (the steamy shower/cold beer juxtaposition is key here)

Glass bottles tend to be my favorite choice for a SB, but cans work just fine, too. A shower cocktail or glass of wine, on the other hand…. NOT so good.  I haven’t personally tried it, but I encouraged my roommate to do so one time with her full cocktail (bc I thought it would be fun to simultaneously drink shower drinks! In separate bathrooms!).  The drink that started out as a vodka cranberry was now a vodka, water, cranberry, tresemme, and softsoap concoction that even Lindsay Lohan wouldn’t touch.

Just beware: once you try a shower beer, you might not be able to imagine bathing without one, which could be a problem for all you morning showerers out there…

no shirt, no shoes… COME ON IN!

3 Jul

It’s pretty normal to see a general lack of clothing when you’re at an outdoor musical festival like Lolla. It’s hot, it’s sticky, and inhibitions are usually nowhere to be found.

I was not, however, prepared for the spectacle I witnessed at Edward Maya at the Congress Theater last night. Never have I seen so many cutout shirts, f**k me pumps, panties being worn as shorts, bras as tops, or bump-its in the same location. I won’t even get started on the dudes (Ed Hardy and tribal tattoos–need I say more?).

Needless to say, this isn’t quite my scene, nor was it the scene of any of the people I was with. Why were we even there, you ask?

The answer is simple: comped tickets.

Normally, I’ve always had an amazing time at the Congress–Passion Pit, Thievery Corporation, and Zappa Plays Zappa still stand as three of my favorite live shows–so it seemed silly to turn down FREE tickets. I mean, how bad could it really be?

Well, I’m not even going to comment on the music, especially since we didn’t even stay to hear the main act.

The goal for the night quickly became to dance as gawkily and unattractively as possible in order to keep the creepers at bay. As a result, the following dance moves were born:

  • the “hinge” — place one leg in a sturdy, athletic stance. point toe of other leg out, then twist toe in to bring knees together. Repeat.
  • the “pulling-the-kleenex-out-of-the-box” — with bent arms held out directly in front of body, rapidly alternate arms, grabbing kleenex out of an imaginary box in front of your chest, flicking wrist vigorously after each pull.
  • the “sexy seduction dance” (credit: Annie) — eyebrows perpetually raised in a “seductive” manner, this involves doing a sort of tango with absolutely no touching involved. Best used if 20 feet or more of open space is available to dart back and forth around your partner, of course never breaking the drunken alluring gaze.

I’m planning on taking these moves with me for the next season of So You Think You Can Dance. Auditions for my backup dancers will be held soon–stay tuned!

the night that vikings stormed lincoln hall

1 Jul

What is it about Scandinavian musicians that makes them so inherently cool?!

Sigur Rós, Lykke Li, Little Dragon, Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen (aka NHOP–wizard of the upright bass); the list goes on. And, c’mon: no one except for Björk could pull off a dress fashioned out of a swan.

I mean, these folks could probably make a bass clarinet seem hip onstage.

Oh wait, Jaga Jazzist already did that. Tenfold.

Wednesday night at Lincoln Hall, nine talented, tall, blonde, bearded Norwegian men took to the stage and absolutely killed it. I’d only very recently become a fan of Jaga Jazzist (thanks Justin!), who have been  described as experimental jazz (these guys cite Coltrane and Charles Mingus as two of their biggest influences). But if I had to describe them, it would probably go something like this: heady modern jazz, flavored with a tasty rack of electronics, an innate sense of fluidity and dynamics, and a dash of Zappa. Add an explosive live show, and you’ve got Jaga Jazzist.

Sure, I was expecting some talented musicians. From the keyboardists, guitarists, and two bass players (yup, one on electric, one on upright, often playing simultaneously) to the tromboner, trumpet player and multi-woodwind player (soprano sax, bass clarinet, flute), everyone was obviously on top of their shit. Then there was the drummer: a pointy-bearded time bomb waiting to go off. Sometimes drummers are just necessary members of the band, there to keep time and/or spontaneously combust. Martin Horntveth was the heart that pumped out to the other eight Jaga organs, controlling the dynamics, groove, and atmosphere, not to mention mesmerizing the entire crowd, particularly when he addressed us with his irresistible nordic accent.

But what really got me was how tight this band was. They segued seamlessly from song to song, bringing the crowd on a journey that sometimes had us headbanging to a ridiculous off-meter groove, sometimes trying not to breathe as the spotlight shone only on the vibes, singularly captivating everyone in the venue with a haunting melody.

For me, the most memorable song of the night was the title track off Jaga’s latest album, One-armed Bandit. The relentless bass line–doubled in the bass clarinet–coupled with catchy melodies in the keys and woodwinds and countermelodies in the brass and vibes make this song groove so hard. Add in Hornsveth’s complex, intense beats and you’ve got a mind-blowing live number.

Now (maybe this is just the Captain Morgan that we downed in the alley before the show talking, but still), I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Jaga Jazzist is the best live show I’ve seen in a looooong time. I think this band might be just exactly what I’ve been looking for…