Wednesday, July 30, 2008

What's the Buzz: July 31 - August 6

Weekly Recommendations: Play Me Some French Cabaret, Like Grandma and Grandpa Used to Play

Thursday, July 31
I hate Randy Owen. I hate him for no other reason than being the man responsible for writing the song "Mountain Music", which he popularized in 1982 along with his band Alabama. It encapsulates everything that gets on my nerves about Country music, from the twangy production to the mocking whine of the fiddle, to the unbearably corny lyrics. For example:
"Swim across the river, just to prove that I'm a man.
Spend the day bein' lazy, just bein' nature's friend.
Climb a long tall hick'ry, bend it over, skinnin' cats.
Playin' baseball with chert rocks, usin' sawmill slabs for bats."
Skinning cats? Chert rocks? WTF? It's a song someone I know insists on singing week after week after week at Karaoke night and even though I really like this person, when he starts with "Mountain Music" I want to take yard clippers to the microphone cord and punch him in the kidneys.

However, this is Idaho and Country music reigns despite my point of view. Judging by Alabama's extreme popularity and longevity, I'm sure the Coeur d'Alene Casino will be packed to the walls tonight at 7 p.m. for Owen's solo appearance, the scents of tanned leather and old spice mingling to create a heavy pong in the air. Here's a rather Randy video of what you might expect to see, a TV performance of his rather disturbing solo debut song "Braid My Hair".

Friday, August 1
C'est magnifique! Seattle's premier French Cabaret Pop quartet Rouge perform this evening at 5 p.m. on the north stage at the Art on the Green Festival down at the NIC campus. Rouge was formed in 1995 by francophile goddess and part-time stilt-walker Janet Rayor, who possesses a tres formidable set of pipes and an entertainingly out-there stage presence. Providing a distinctly continental Euro-jazz musical backdrop are classicaly trained violinist Ruthie Dornfeld, guitarist/composer John Miller, and the accordion sounds of Steve Rice. Still touring in support of their latest CD "Festival Rose" their live show is a do-not miss mix of musicianship, drama and fun. "Mesmerizing. . .thrilling musically, great rapport with the audience." says Jenseen Brons of the Seattle Symphony. Video thrills of Rouge live in 2007:

Saturday, August 2
Oh, lordy it is crowded in this tourist-trodden city by the lake! This weekend has got to be one of the busiest of the year, with downtown shut down for the Street Fair and Art on the Green, people come from hither and yon to enjoy what we residents take for granted year round. I say, let them have it, at least for one day; get out of town for a little road trip. Get up early , pack the cooler and head south on 95 taking in the open expanses of the Indian Reservation and the mighty Palouse, through Moscow and Lewiston before branching east on Highway 62, then it's just a few more miles to Kamiah, Idaho (say "kami-eye"), our road trip destination.

Lunch in Kamiah? Only two real options, from what I can figure. The China Cafe is certainly promising, but for a likely shocking dose of real local color, I'd bet Doreen's Southfork Saloon is the real deal. After lunch, check out the famous old Opera House and then go dip your hot feet in the gorgeous Clearwater River, maybe bring a fishing pole if that's your thing. I like to just relax on a blanket and stare at the clouds while listening to chirp and gurgle of nature. In the afternoon, visit one of the many natural hot springs in the area but be gone by the 8 o'clock closing time. Due to vandalism, Forest Rangers don't take kindly to drunken, late night hot springs parties (I know this from experience).

Sunday, August 3
Hot Club of Spokane began in June of 2007 as Spokane’s first band in recent memory to resurrect, preserve, and perform the compositions and stylings of Django Reinhardt and the Quintette of the Hot Club of France. Not strictly a “gypsy jazz string ensemble,” Hot Club of Spokane enjoys the musical diversity of not only strings, provided by Andrew Wilson (violin), Kim Plewniak (bass), and Garrin Hertel (rhythm guitar), but also brass, performed by Michael Lenke (trumpet, flugelhorn), reeds, performed by Robert Folie (alto and baritone sax), as well as vocals, sung by Daini Hertel. The band also welcomes an exciting array of guest musicians on lead guitar, reeds, and accordion. Such diversity allows the band to infuse as much hot New Orleans Jazz into their arrangements and performances as they do the swingin’ sounds of World War II-era Paris.

As such, Hot Club of Spokane commits to delivering exciting, encouraging, toe-tapping performances of hot jazz, all the while being versatile enough to play every kind of engagement imaginable, including private parties, receptions, weddings, concerts, dance halls, and especially night clubs where the balance between dance and conversation, performance and ambiance, must be kept intact, just as the original Quintette of the Hot Club of France intended. The band achieves this balance by remaining as acoustic as possible (adjusting to the needs of each venue), and by omitting drums entirely, in keeping with the general Hot Club tradition.

(Hot Club bio courtesy their My Space)

Hot Club of Spokane plays today at 3 p.m. as part of Taste of the Coeur d’Alenes in the Cd'A City Park Bandshell. Hot Video Club action (dig the Rosauers banner):

Monday, August 4
Taco Hell. Taco Smell. I've never been a major Taco Bell lover, though I will admit to getting the random craving for the stuff every now and again, much to the disdain of my digestive system. The Cd'A outlet was particularly scary with rumors of mouse infestations and other horror stories I won't mention here in case you happen to be enjoying a Queso Cruchwrap right at this moment. My friend Jay is a manager at the much-preffered Post Falls Taco Bell, and he swears they won 2nd place out of all the Taco Bells in the world for best overall store. Impressive, eh?

The Cd'A store was recently razed and rebuilt faster than you can say "Nachos Bel Grande". For some reason, ever since it's rebirth I've been hooked like a teenager. It's all about regular tacos with sour cream. They're really nothing fancy but they taste so good to me lately for some reason, especially when drenched in packets of fire sauce. Plus, they're so cheap, I have enough money left over for my other bad recent habit, Mexican Mochas.

Try a Fruitista Freeze, a variation on the traditional Slurpee that taste incredibly tropical and delicious, it's just crying to meet with some vodka. Too bad they're served so tiny and are really overpriced for the amount you get. You might want to get a Lemonade to mix the rest of your booze with just in case. It's Monday, hit the Bell for some cheap eats, then go home to watch the Teen Choice Awards on Fox.

Tuesday, August 5
It's kinda like a Karaoke cult. The same hardcore crowd of 15 or so is guaranteed to show up almost every single Tuesday at Mik-n-Mac's Lounge for Karaoke with Jerry and $5 bottomless beer. We've been doing it since Rita decided to bring karaoke night back last year and every Tuesday gets a little busier and a little wilder, new faces pop in and always come back the next week. Christa's behind the bar pouring your choice of endless domestic brew or Long Island Ice teas for $3 a go if that's more up your alley. Look out when she run the Lemon Drop special - Billy buys one for everyone in the house even if you're a total stranger (which you only are for the first two seconds after walking in.) Seems like everybody knows everybody and people are in a great mindframe and make-out sessions are more common than fights. It's like a big twisted Tuesday karaoke family - come join! Here's a very dark little video montage I slapped together:

Wednesday, August 6
Nothing happens on Wednesday's so you might as well stay home and catch up on that pile of books and other publications that's been building up in the corner. Might I suggest David Sedaris' latest hilarious warped take on reality "When You Are Engulfed in Flames." Sedaris' tale of quitting his 2-pack a day smoking habit will have you roaring out loud.

On a more local reading note, go out and procure yourself a copy of the shiny new summer 2008 edition of North Idaho's "Guide to Dining", put together by local food enthusiasts Kiki Miller and Kerri Thoreson. (I found my copy at Caruso's Deli.) First of all, I want to give a big thanks to the ladies for including our Get Out karaoke listings in the magazine, along with the url to this blog. Holla! As usual, they did great job of putting together an interesting mix of trivia and opinion. I love to read the mini-interviews with familiar local faces about where they like to dine and relax. The Guide packs a lot of info into 16 pages and is an essential reference when it comes to dining out locally. Cheers to Kiki and Kerri! NI Dining Guide website here.


Tim said...

Your Site continues to be a treasure trove of N. Idaho info--especially for one who's been away for a spell. Invaluable critiques!

Anonymous said...

That road trip you took? Wasn't Kamiah, dude. That's Kooskia, which is 7 miles farther east.

salliek76 said...

I think it's a really Southern thing, but "skinning cats" is a game children play where you bend a small tree over to the ground and then ride it like a horse. (I have no idea what this has to do with cats--we used to call it "skin the cat" instead of "skinning cats"--but there were definitely no cats involved.) Chert rocks are found all over the foothills of the Smokies and Blue Ridge Mountains; their main appeal is that they can be cracked open easily and make a good "explosion" when you throw them (or hit them with a sawmill slab, I suppose). I know this probably won't make you like Randy Owen any more, but at least now you can dazzle your fellow Idahoans with intimate knowledge of Southern children's games. :)

Anonymous said...

"Swim across the river, just to prove that I'm a man.
Spend the day bein' lazy, just bein' nature's friend.
Climb a long tall hick'ry, bend it over, skinnin' cats.
Playin' baseball with chert rocks, usin' sawmill slabs for bats."

Hey, why don't you educate yourself a little before you go giving ignorant opinions of lyrics. The post above this one decribes the things you wondered about in the verse you mentioned. (skinning cats, chert rocks) Believe it or not but back in the day, before there were nintindo's and play stations, kids actually went outside to play. I know that may be hard for you to comprehend so you may want to take a few seconds to take that concept in before reading any further. Also the song is "Mountain Music" and talking about things from the older days. Makes perfect sense to me. It's one of Alabama's best songs.