Dumb Things I Have Done Lately

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Things That Are Upcoming

First, let's see how I did with last month's Things That Are Upcoming:

* Shamrockfest: Yes. It was cold and wet. I still have to write about it.

* Transparency Camp: No. I just plain bagged on Saturday, and went to the Tidal Basin on Sunday.

* BMRC at the 9:30 Club: No. The show had sold out, plus it was on the night of the NCAA Men's Championship Final.

* Hot Lava at the Black Cat: No. I should have gone, though.

* Hirshhorn After Hours: Pending (tomorrow night). Got my ticket and everything.

Moving on...

* Saturday, April 10: 2010 MilBlog Conference [Sold out, LiveStream will be viewable here] -- I had been thinking about going; I last went in... 2007? Moot now.

* Tuesday, April 13, 5:30-10pm: A blogger Happy Hour. I thought it was all Leon, but it looks like it's not. He mentions an Adams Morgan parking secret (well, if you have to pay it's not really a secret), which I actually have passed during other fruitless searches for parking.

* FXA Kickball starts next week-ish.

* Saturday, April 17: PrivacyCampDC -- I've signed up.

* Wednesday, April 14: Fol Chen at the Rock and Roll Hotel. I almost definitely can't make it, as my Wednesdays are now booked for the next 2 months (will talk about it later).

* Sunday, April 18: Apples in Stereo at Rock and Roll Hotel. I should probably buy a ticket.

* Friday, April 23: Cowboy Junkies at The State Theatre. I bought my ticket. Haven't seen them up here in a few years.

* Saturday, May 1: The Baltimore Kinetic Sculpture Race: Have I mentioned I haven't done up my video from last year? Why yes, I have.

* Wednesday, May 5: OK Go at the 9:30 Club. Those darn Wednesdays again. Maybe I can schedule around it -- be surprised if they don't sell out, they're pretty popular with the crazy videos and whatnot. (I remember seeing them open for The Donnas at the 9:30.)

* Friday, May 7: Herndon Friday Night Live kicks off the season.

* Saturday, May 15 (and Sunday, too): The Joint Service Open House and Air Show at Andrews Air Force Base. It's free, but it's kind of a hassle, with the buses and the security checkpoint and the hey laaaaaady.

* Thursday, May 20 is TEDxPotomac. I've been on the mailing list since the beginning, though I haven't done nothing. I should probably go.

* Friday, May 28, Jazz in the Garden starts

* Sunday, June 6 (D-Day), the Washington Post Hunt.

There, that oughta hold you little bastards.

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Monday, March 01, 2010

Shamrock Fest 2010: The Year We Make Contact

[Note to self: Have not been making enough 2010 references. This is its moment: Don't make the same mistake as we did letting 1999 slide by.]

Shamrock Fest 2010 is coming up March 13, 2 Saturdays from now. I've been going since its days in Arlington, before it moved to RFK (and before I started getting a VIP pass hookup, see blogger disclosure notes at the end) and I'll be going again this year, with my usual bunch of friends.

The site touts 40+ acts on 10 stages, though to be honest, of all the years I've been going, I can't recall a single song I've heard. Okay, maybe a bit of Carbon Leaf last year, but it wasn't The Boxer. (I, personally, don't really go for the bands, which are more of a background ambiance thing for me -- I go to hang out with my friends, people-watch, take pictures, and run into people I know.)

Looking back at 2009, while I did do a preview entry featuring a Shamrock Fest Survival Guide, I didn't do a followup post featuring any photos or videos I took that year. (I could have sworn I at least posted them to Facebook.) So this look forward is actually a look back.

For 2009's Shamrock Fest, the weather was kind of dreary and rainy, though this year, I think we'll all be happy if it simply doesn't snow.

At public events, it usually takes me a few drinks for my camera shutter finger to loosen up (I start out sneaking candids), but after a while, people usually have no qualms about mugging for the camera, and I have no problem shooting them:


In previous years, in addition to the usual strange outfits, pretty girls and funny hats, I've picked informal themes. Last year featured a bunch of mini-themes:

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Questionable Behavior:
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Oh, and there's a bucking bronco, too:

Anyway, we can only look forward to similar photo opportunities this year.

Blog Disclosure Note
Once again, I am getting VIP passes to Shamrock Fest, for which I am thankful (as I'd be going anyway) and which I am disclosing here, as in previous years.

Now, I know for a fact that some of my blogger brethren have had similar arrangements. While I'm not going to point any fingers, I can say that I haven't noticed any similar disclosures in years past.

While one can argue issues of transparency, government interference, payola, "newspaper reviewers get media access without needing to do ham-handed disclosures" and whatnot, with the FTC focusing in on blogger freebies, I suggest that now more than ever, the right thing to do is the right thing to do.

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Friday, October 02, 2009

An Embarrassment of Upcoming Things, October Edition

Not sure what I'm doing tonight. Tomorrow, though (Saturday, 10/3), presents us with choice paralysis a-plenty:

* The Dulles Day Plane Pull is from 11am-4pm. The plane pulling bit is fun to watch (and sometimes teams need spectator help), as well as the aircraft display. (See my photos from 2007; 2008 was canceled due to heavy rain, which doesn't look like it'll be a problem this year.)

* The Crafty Bastards craft show-thing is in Adams Morgan, from 10-4pm. If I go, it will be to maybe get a t-shirt, but definitely a falafel.

* I'm not 100% on this, but I'm pretty sure I saw a sign in the median on Reston Parkway for the Fairfax County Police Department Reston District Station Open House, 11am-3pm?

The kicker is that the Fell's Point Fun Festival is also both days this weekend. (Although I pretty much have to stay local Sunday to do some painting, which rules that day out.)

I'm a little leery of driving up to Baltimore after what happened the last time, though it's fun, even if you just end up hanging out in the beer garden (nee parking lot) and not moving. I'm pretty much leaning to the purely local stuff.

Looking out a bit further:

* The Reston Oktoberfest is Oct. 9-11 in the Town Center.

* Wednesday, Oct. 14 is both the October Washington Blogger Meetup at Madam's Organ in Adams Morgan. I was originally a maybe on this, because Cowboy Junkies are playing the Barns at Wolf Trap, but it looks like they're sold out. Yay for indecision!

* Friday, Oct. 16, The Raveonettes are playing the 9:30 Club.

* The PublicMediaCamp unconference is Oct. 17-18 at American University.

* The final BlogPotomac is October 23. I am as yet undecided, though I suppose I should decide quickly.

* CrisisCamp Philly is Oct. 24-25 -- I might just go virtual for this.

* Thursday, Oct. 29, Mike Doughty plays Birchmere.

As for Halloween, I have no idea what to do for a costume, which would be a big letdown after last year. I will have to do some thinking.

November brings BarCamp DC and CrisisCamp NYC, but one month at a time.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Breeders Notes

The DCist writeup of the Breeders show Friday night at the Black Cat pretty much covers everything (much better pictures, too). Just a few things:

* Had to drive through some fairly torrential rain on the toll road to get there (microburst-y stuff, intense but it cleared up by the time I got on 66). People were going 40 on the highway. It was dicey at times.

* Got good parking just around the corner and got in a bit before they opened the upstairs doors. I got a beer in the Red Room and watched the neat, orderly queue, which featured many folks who had obviously first seen them in the 90s.

* Despite my Tweet early on, it did get pretty full, and might have even sold out.

* The band was solid. They seemed like they were having a lot of fun, too.

* Did not realize at the time that substitute bassist Josephine Wiggs was in the original band, nor that she was also one half of Dusty Trails (a CD I picked up from the 88 cent bin at Sounds on St. Marks a long time ago, and that I listen to a lot)

* Did not get any good photos; was a little too far back. They were also enforcing the "no video" policy with a strobing flashlight (which I was tempted to counter with my own, but didn't)

The Breeders' Kelley Deal on violin, Josephine Wiggs on bass.

* Was gratified that they got Cannonball out of the way early, even if it is a favorite. Hate to see signature songs cloistered away in encores. 9 seconds of it:

* As noted, stood next to some variety of man-child who felt it necessary to incessantly yell "Kelley!!!" as if she had forgotten her name, or was fending off the end of the world.

* They did leave us wanting more, in that the encore was a little lacking. But it was a good show.

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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Upcoming Things, Starting... NOW

Here's another edition of stuff that's going on, some of which I might go to, others that simply signify that I'm an interesting, multi-faceted cosmopolitan with eclectic tastes, and not an aging surburban homebody:

* The upcoming social media stuff I wrote about in the Network Solutions blog; I won't repeat it all here, except to say that tonight is the Washington Blogger Meetup, 7pm at Madam's Organ (2nd floor.)

I should also make it to TechCocktail DC 6 (8/27); CongressCamp (9/12-13); and probably a few other things that pop up, like the CrisisCampDC meetup at Whitlow's (Saturday, 8/22, 11am... brunch?), Web Content Mavens, and so forth.

* However, I'm not as confident about making it to any of the DC Beer Week events (or even the non-official extensions, like Brew at the Zoo, or even last night's Terrapin beer tasting at Galaxy Hut).


* Friday, August 21: The Breeders at the Black Cat. I didn't make the show the last time they hit DC, though when I made noise about it, a startling number of people said "Breeders? Who are they?"

* Wednesday, September 2: Apopytgma Berzerk at the 9:30 Club. I forget where I'd heard of them, only that I'd had the band written on the post-it note in my wallet that used to serve as my used-CD watchlist. I just have one of their early album, but it's good, though their Wikipedia entry suggests they've shifted styles as well as lineups, but who knows.

* Sunday, September 13: Adams Morgan Day Festival. It's on the same day as the second day of CongressCamp; maybe make it a twofer.

* Friday, September 18: Moby, late show at the 9:30 Club. Hrm.

* Wednesday, September 23: KMFDM at the 9:30 Club. I'm not the hugest industrial fan, but I do have a few of their albums (I would get into moods every once in a while.)

October has a bunch of other stuff, including the Raveonettes, Mike Doughty, Crafty Bastards and the Dulles Plane Pull, but all that will come later.

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Monday, February 09, 2009

Things That Are Upcoming: Gigs, Guns, and Blogs

Here are a bunch of things I'm looking at over the next few months. I say this in spite of the fact that I passed on tonight's Over the Rhine show at Birchmere (so very tired). And this may not include events that I can't talk about, should they exist:

* Tonight, Feb 9, 7:30pm: DC area Tweetup, Indique Heights in Chevy Chase. Indian food and good conversation amongst some of DC's Twitter elite. (Twee-leet?) Free, all welcome.

* Tuesday, Feb 10, 5-9pm: AOL Employee Reunion, eCitie in Vienna. Given the economic and employment outlook (for the industry as a whole and AOL in particular), current employees might want to check in on this, too.

The venue also provides a bit of irony -- eCitie opened during Dotcom Bubble 1.0, and during the heydey, they took great pains to make sure the Lambos, Ferraris, Bentleys and such were parked prominently and ostentatiously out front.

Also Tuesday, 7:30pm: The Puppini Sisters, who I will be missing, yet again, at Birchmere.

And, from Feb 10 to Feb 15, the muppet musical Avenue Q plays the Warner Theatre. Tickets start at $45. Also, the Internet is for porn.

* Wednesday, Feb 11, 9pm: College basketball, Duke vs. UNC. Not sure where I'll be for the game, but I'll be somewhere.

* Feb 13-15: Nation's Gun Show, Dulles Expo Center, Chantilly. Notable if only for timing (Valentine's Day), and because this is just after the Virginia legislature just killed a bill to close the so-called gun show loophole (which would have required private sellers at gun shows to conduct instant background checks, just as federally-licensed firearms dealers are required to do.)

* Sun, Feb 15, 7:30pm: Cowboy Junkies, Birchmere. Sold Out (I snoozed, I losed.)

* Wed, Feb 18, 7pm: February Washington Blogger Meetup at RFD in DC. We had an okay turnout last month -- a lot more "yes" RSVPs than actually showed up. I know I'll be hitting up the Wordpress folks for some Blogger-to-Wordpress transition advice.

* Thurs, Feb 19, 6pm: Bloggers for Good Meetup, O'Faolain's in Sterling. Networking with the proceeds supporting charities. More info here.

Also, 7:30pm, Fountains of Wayne play an acoustic gig at Birchmere. Sold Out.

* Sat, Feb 21, 7:30pm: DC 10th Anniversary Fark Party at The Black Rooster Pub in DC. Drew Curtis will be there -- this is part of his extended bender world tour celebrating Fark's 10th Anniversary.

DC Fark parties are always fun, though the appearance of Drew will undoubtedly bring out all the lurkers and superlurkers (folks who read Fark, but don't even have accounts).

* Thu, Feb 26, 6pm: TechCocktail DC 4, at LeftBank in Adams Morgan. This is a new venue, relocated from the now-closed MCCXXIII.

Looking out a little farther:

* Sat, Mar 14: Shamrockfest at RFK.

* Fri, Mar 20, 8pm: Ting Tings at the 9:30 Club. I already have my ticket, so call it a definite unless something unexpected comes up.

* Thu, Mar 26 (all-day): My birthday.

* Fri, Mar 27 (7pm happy hour) and Sat, Mar 28 (all-day): Government 2.0 Camp (more: Facebook | Eventbrite)

* Sat, Apr 4, 8pm: Mates of State, 9:30 Club (soft sale right now, it's not on the main page listing yet)

* Sat, Apr 11, 8pm: Demetri Martin, Warner Theatre. Just saw this listing. Call it a maybe -- perhaps seeing his new series on Comedy Central will sway me.

* Sat, Apr 18, 8pm: Legendary jazz pianist Dave Brubeck, Warner Theatre. I saw him a few years ago, in Rahway, NJ of all places. Tickets start at $40 and go to $80. If you go, don't be that guy who yells out, "Take Five!" Just don't.

* Fri, Apr 24m 8pm (pre-party) and Sat, Apr 25 (all-day): 2009 Milblogging Conference, Westin Arlington Gateway. $50. I went in 2007 (and blogged about it in my now-dead AOL Journals blog -- 2008 was in Vegas with Blog World Expo, which I didn't attend). In 2007, they were talking about mainstream media lagged behind milbloggers about the Anbar Awakening, curious to see what they're talking about now.

* Sat, May 2 (all-day): Baltimore Kinetic Sculpture Race. Get working on your entry and/or costume now. Mine will have to involve skates. I suppose I should try to post my 2008 photos and video before then. (More info at Kinetic Baltimore)

* Sat, May 17 (all-day): The second-ever Washington Post Hunt. I swear that I got nearly 75% of the way to solving each of the puzzles, by my lonesome. (Except for the final puzzle, which was crazy convoluted.) With a team, I will win. I will!

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Things That Are Upcoming; DC Blogger Meetup Tonight, and a Lot of Concerts

Tonight, Wednesday, December 17, 7pm: The final (for 2008, that is) Washington Blogger Meetup at RFD Washington. All bloggers, quasi-bloggers, proto-bloggers, would-be bloggers, blog groupies, and fans are welcome. Just look for some laptops.

Breaking News: I'm told that Christmas occurs on December 25th this year. Please note the new date.

Skipping all other holiday foolishness, there are a bunch of concerts coming up that, shockingly, I'm interested in and know about ahead of time (I just started playing around with Tourfilter -- I need to refine my band list, though I still like checking out the individual venue sites)

* Sat, Jan. 17: The Raveonettes play the Black Cat again (they were there in March 2008 -- also see my March 2007 photos from Rock and Roll hotel)

* Inauguration possibilities: Sunday, Jan. 18: A couple of DC bloggers are renting out the top floor of Bourbon (in Adams Morgan) for a Bloggerational Ball (I assume that's pronounced, "blog-irrational"). It would be an excuse to wear my tuxedo, assuming it fits (I've been slack about the gym lately.) Call it a maybe.

Then, Monday, Jan. 19 is the Netroots Nation YES WE CAN Party at Claredon Ballroom. Corey tipped me to this, not sure about this one.

* Thursday, Jan. 22 is Twin Tech III at Lux Lounge in DC. Pretty good tech networking opportunity.

* Thursday, Jan. 29 is DC Design Babes 3 (Location TBD). Includes a contest aspect. More tech networking, with a design-focus.

Now, here's the burst of February concerts at the Birchmere. Since they're maddeningly clustered in a two-week period, I doubt I'll make all of them. But a couple, hopefull:

* Sunday, Feb. 8: Over the Rhine

* Monday, Feb. 9: The Puppini Sisters -- they also played there back in June, but I wasn't able to go then, either.

* Sunday, Feb. 15: Cowboy Junkies, who I haven't seen in a few years (well, I did catch them in 2007, when they opened for Chris Issac at Wolf Trap, but that doesn't really count)

* Thursday, Feb. 19: Fountains of Wayne, doing an acoustic gig.

I guess I have a few decisions to make. But that's still, like, a year away.

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

27 Jennifers, 7 Videos, and 83 Photos of Mike Doughty on a Stool

I went to see Mike Doughty play at the Birchmere a couple of weeks ago. I can't remember the last time I saw a show there -- I want to say that it was 10 years ago, for a Bill Bruford/Tony Levin show, but I can't believe that's true.

Anyway, I got there about 6:30, and was able to get a seat at a table right up front. So I got some good photos. Too many of them, probably; the bulk of them are interchangeable pics of Sr. Doughty sitting on a stool and looking at slips of paper (I have many fewer pics of cellist Mr. Andrew "Scrap" Livingston, because I was directly in front of him and the mike stand was generally in the way.)

Here's the full set: Mike Doughty and the Question Jar Show, Birchmere, 9/9/08. Some highlights:

The eponymous Question Jar:

At first, I was unclear on the concept, but it goes like this: You put a question (no song requests, please) in the jar, and they answer it.

For example, here is Doughty answering my question, about what I should do if the activation of the Large Hadron Collider really was going to destroy the Earth:

Now, at a certain point, Mr. Doughty told us that he'd lost his green wallet, but as he did so, he thought to look under the blank Question Jar slips. And so it was found:

Here, Misters Doughty and Livingston recreate The Creation of Adam:

Some handling of questions and playing of guitar:
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Mr. Andrew "Scrap" Livingston on cello:

And on guitar:

And then, the two pausing before the fake encore:

So it was a good show (even though I didn't get to hear His Truth is Marching On, which is one of my favorites.)

I have a couple of more short videos in the set.

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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Why are these parked cars all facing the other direction?

I was going to go to the semi-usual Psychotronic Movie Night at Dr. Dremo's, but I bagged it. I mean, if I need to get my fix of early-80s trucksploitation T&A... actually, I don't think this would ever happen. So I'm just having a few Yeunglings and catching up on some photos and such.

Monday night, met up with about a dozen other folks to go see Rogue Wave at the Black Cat. It was the largest group I'd ever been there with -- we ended up parking in the couches at the back through the opening act.

The crowd was typically young and hipster, though we were noting (okay, snarking) at one couple with more of a Real Housewives of Orange County look (even though they both sported underage Xs on the back of their hands).

The opener was Port O'Brien -- they were pretty good. They had, like, 8 people on stage and their lead singer sounded a lot like Neil Young (though, as Nate noted, they played a few upbeat, poppy songs that were very un-Neil Young-ish).

Rogue Wave was also pretty good, though I can't say I really have a handle on their sound. I took a few cameraphone pics, but only 2 came out at all:
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I also didn't get a picture of a small child -- one of the band member's, presumably -- who was being held (by her mom, presumably) backstage (presumably). I was prepared to be righteously indignant, until I saw that she was wearing full earmuff-style hearing protection (fancy slim-profile ones, too). Kudos.

It was raining when we left the club at around midnight. I was parked on T Street. I pulled out and did a K turn to turn left onto 14th Street, when I saw that the parked cars on both sides of the street were facing the other direction.

I had to think about this for a second. Then I saw the One Way signs.

Blogger having problems with FTP uploading.

In other news, as it turns out, Blogger is indeed having problems with FTP uploads -- they have a scheduled outage tonight to try to fix it. I was more than a little concerned that publishing problems would interfere with my participation in NaBloPoMo, so we'll see what happens.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Show Report: The Raveonettes at the Rock and Roll Hotel, 3/16/07


Last Friday, I went to see The Raveonettes at the Rock and Roll Hotel (and I have to thank either Brightest Young Things or Pandahead, since I didn't know about the show until I saw an entry about it in the DC Blogs Live feed).

Here's the full Flickr set photo set.

Getting There = Significantly Less Than Half the Fun

This was my first time going to Rock and Roll Hotel, and I almost didn't make it. I got a super late start in, and I misplaced the directions at least 3 times. (Apparently, putting them in my pocket instead of my laptop bag -- which then went into the trunk -- was too difficult a concept to grasp.)

Then, I hit a snag following the directions from the site (E St NW, Left on 17th St NW, Right on H St), because police cars were blocking the intersections where I needed to go.

I parked and looked around -- I finally figured out why: The damn communist hippie antiwar protesters were gathered around the White House. And they were going to make me miss the show.

Eventually, between the suggestions of a helpful MPD motorcycle cop and the compass on my mirror (head northeast), I got to the club at around 11pm. I'd already made it that far andLink the ticket was paid for, so I figured I'd catch the tail end of the show from the back of the room.

Thank You, New Jersey Turnpike

In a fortunate turn of events (for me), the band had hit some snow and ice leaving New York, got stuck on the New Jersey Turnpike for 16 hours, and didn't take the stage until midnight.

The club feels very much like the Black Cat, especially with all the yutes running around (it's all-ages). So I was pretty much surrounded by children (literal and actual).

I was able to snake my way up to the front and squeezed up against the right speaker stack, so I was able to rest my camera on the monitor (which is why most of my photos are angled up slightly).

The Raveonettes' Sune Rose Wagner sets up.
Sune Rose Wagner sets up.

Now, I had a 50-50 shot, but I just happened to pick the side closest to Sharin Foo, who is hot. She's got the Danish thing going, of course, and has great gams (see how most of my photos are oriented portrait-style? That was a choice.) And her last name is "Foo." Score.

Sharin Foo

Anyway, because I couldn't move, all the photos pretty much look like this. I took over a 100, (whittled down to 88 in the set), and these are probably the best of the bunch (damn rock stars won't stay still for a photo).


There were a lot of cameras going off, and a lot of camera flashes. I only used mine a few times.


For some of the later shots, I tried the Auto ISO (1600) setting, and bumped down the exposure level a bit. Just playing around.

One of the few flash shots I tried.

Sune generates some feedback. Note: Legs.

So, it was a good show. Afterwards, I skipped the "Sharin Foo & Sune Rose Wagner DJ Set" (the floor of which showcased some of the worst dancing I've ever seen), and went to the bar upstairs to look around.

An interesting space, though I'll have to try harder (and be less drunk) do get some decent pictures.

There was also a gaggle of Gallaudet students (I'd noticed the stage manager downstairs using ASL to talk to the sound tech during setup, which seems like a useful club talent) and various other flavors of young hipster. I hung out for a bit, then left around 2am.

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Monday, December 25, 2006

James Brown... Is Dead

And L.A. Style experiences a sudden surge of popularity, bobbing briefly into view, before sinking back into the depths of obscurity:

I saw the Godfather of Soul at the 9:30 Club with MWH a few years ago.

James Brown wasn't actually on stage all that long; he was more like the emcee at a variety show, which included a few different vocalists and a magician, plus about 23 people on stage.

We were standing pretty close to the stage -- close enough that we flinched when he snapped the mike stand at the crowd, reeling it back by the cord with the practiced hand of the hardest working man in show-business.

I remember at one point, he was talking about DC, and something about how we needed to get the city back on track. We weren't sure exactly what he was saying, but we applauded along dutifully, until he said something that made me realize, "Wait a second, are we clapping for the return of Marion Barry?" (This was before his political resurgence, such as it is.)

Anyway, I'm glad I got the chance to see an icon like him live, especially in a small venue like the 9:30 Club.

However, it looks like we're going to be hearing a lot more of 'Christmas in the Ghetto' during the holidays from now on, which is unfortunate, since it's one of my least-favorite Christmas songs.

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