Friday, July 24, 2009

Wedding video

Not mine. But, after seeing this, I wish we had thought of it.

(via Nancy Nall)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Avett Brothers video report

UPDATE: Here's a slideshow by the great Observer photog Jeff Siner.

Some days this is not a bad way to make a living. Today I spent five hours at the Neighborhood Theatre watching the Avett Brothers shoot a video for "I and Love and You," the title track from their new record due out in September. I plan on writing a longer piece on the Avetts closer to when the record comes out -- this is a big moment for them. They've signed with a major label (Columbia Records), music guru Rick Rubin produced the album... it's one of those "on the verge of being huge" stories.

For now, though, a few vignettes from the video shoot:

-- Shooting a video means doing the song over... and over... and over. The director wanted Scott Avett to stage-dive into the crowd at the end of the song, and he dove at least a dozen times before everyone was satisfied with the shot. By the end he was about to lose his pants.

-- Between takes, the band played mini-sets of some older tunes, another song off the new record ("Head Full of Doubt, Road Full of Promise"), and even an untitled tune that's not on any album yet.

-- If you're an Avetts fan, and you're used to their "punkgrass" sound: This is different. "I and Love and You," as well as many of the other new songs, draw their heart from piano and Joe Kwon's cello.

-- Intrigued? The Avetts play two shows at the Myrtle Beach House of Blues this weekend, and play Bojangles Coliseum Aug. 8.

-- The director begged audience members (fans who signed up online) not to post video from the shoot to YouTube. But lots of people had their cellphone cameras out. We'll see if everyone keeps the promise.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

My Favorite Singer (This Week): Laura Izibor

This Irish R&B singer is clearly stalking me. I heard her for the first time on the radio a few weeks ago, then she kept popping up in magazines, and last night a buddy of mine put on her CD at his house. Then it turns out she's playing a Charlotte club called Utopia SoundStage this Friday night -- advance tickets are $20, contact info and directions are here. This is assuming she doesn't just show up on our porch or something.

Ladies and gentlemen, "Shine."

So what music is stalking you these days?

Monday, July 20, 2009

100 Words or Less: United Way

Last week we kicked off the "100 Words or Less" series with a discussion of Sarah Palin. This week we toss out this question: How could the United Way win you back?

As you might have seen, the Observer is soliciting ideas on how to solve the money crisis in Charlotte-area charities. That's more of a big-idea project. What I'm talking about is a smaller thing. Of course not everyone gave to the United Way even before its recent troubles. But if you did, or if you at least supported the concept, how could they rebuild your trust and make you willing to give again?

We'll have a special guest tackle this question in my Thursday column. For now, it's all yours. Just keep it on-topic, and keep it short -- maybe, you know, 100 words or less...

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Column up!

Today's column -- on feeling as a person vs. thinking as a citizen -- is served.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

My Favorite Band In the World (This Week): Tinted Windows

Let's roll out another weekly feature here on the blog... I love the obsession phase with bands or musicians where you can't hear them enough. This week my obsession is Tinted Windows. It's the power-pop formula (crunchy guitars plus sweet melodies) blended like a fine scotch... or maybe a bottle of Ripple at the Jiffy Mart. Either way, it tastes good.

It's also a supergroup of sorts -- the guitarist from Smashing Pumpkins, the bass player from Fountains of Wayne, the singer from Hanson (!), and on drums, the immortal Bun E. Carlos from Cheap Trick. Any band with Bun E. Carlos is all right with me.

Ladies and gentlemen, "Kind of a Girl."

So what are you listening to these days?

Monday, July 13, 2009

100 Words or Less: Sarah Palin

Today we're going to start what I think will be a weekly feature here on the blog: 100 Words or Less. I'll throw out a topic every Monday morning, and your job is to comment on it in, you guessed it, 100 words or less.

This week's question: What's the future for Sarah Palin? To me, she has the widest range of possibilities of any politician in America -- "world domination" or "near-total obscurity" seem to be equally likely outcomes at this point. Where do you think she'll end up, and why? Have at it. Just keep it on-topic, and keep the length to... you know.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Last two columns now online

Several sharp readers have let me know that my columns weren't updating properly online -- when one showed up the last one disappeared, the comments were all mashed into one stack, dogs and cats living together, etc.

You will not be shocked to know that this was all my fault -- I wasn't putting the right codes on each column, so our computer system was reading every one as the same column. (It pains me to give our computer system a pass on this one because I'm pretty sure we have the most unnecessarily complicated computer system in history. You know those "Wallace and Gromit" movies where Wallace invents this enormous multilayered contraption to, you know, make scrambled eggs? Our computer system is like that. Except half the time you get a plate of chicken poop instead.)

Anyway, thanks to the brilliant Tony Lone Fight of our online staff, the two columns that vanished are back on my column page in their rightful place -- both the Mark Sanford column from last Thursday and my official comeback column from Sunday. The comments may or may not come back -- consider it a fresh chance to try again. My apologies if your comments ended up in the ether. I can barely get the eggs scrambled over here.