Not so GaGa for the GaGa show

Its been a little while, but while at the Lady GaGa show last week I found myself thinking about concerts in general and what I think makes for a good show.

First off the opening act, Semi Precious Weapons, was pretty much terrible. I've never heard an opening act work so hard to get applause by talking about the headliner before in my life. Their music was uninteresting and their schtick just didn't work for me. The glammy pseudo cross-dressing? Been done soooo many times before. Asking the parents in the crowd not to hate their offensiveness but to thank them for showing their kids how to rock? Well, first off they didn't do anything offensive unless a guy in ripped stockings and occasionally jerking off a bottle of water is offensive- which neither have been for decades, and secondly they didn't "rock". Going around with the Horses for several years and seeing many acts along these lines it just felt like they were ripping off the imagery and attitude (not well either), but offering nothing to make it their own artistically or musically. The only way they seemed capable of getting a reaction was offering free stuff, or sucking on Lady GaGa's nuts as Nessa put it so succinctly.

Then came the GaGa show, and this is where I felt like I needed to do a little soul searching. I realized that I have never been a stadium show attendee. I've gone to a few in my life but compared to the number of concerts I've attended in my life the number is utterly inconsequential (I think maybe 5 or so total). So maybe I just don't understand the dynamics of such a thing. I don't know the language or vocabulary of stadium shows, and particularly for solo artists of the pop variety. Is it normal for there to be large gaps in between songs where a curtain drops with just a video projected onto it? Are the band members always split up all over the place and wireless so as to make it look like they are just playing the latest version of RockBand? What about dancers? Is it standard to have a bunch of lithe bodies prance about in various costumes, generally looking like something a high school theatre production? And along those high school theatre lines- cheap ass set pieces? I just want too know if these things are normal so I can make sure to continue avoiding stadium tours in the future, though I have to say that Bowie, Prince, the Cranberries, White Zombie, and even KISS seemed to pull off the feat with much better aplomb.

By now you're thinking I hated the show. You're wrong. It was okay, but nothing more than that and definitely not worth the price tag. First off I have a thing about Lady GaGa- the way she talks drives me crazy as everything coming out of her mouth sounds rehearsed and frighteningly reminiscent of an art school freshman on serious downers. Her music is catchy but her aesthetic is that of someone trying way too hard and it translated directly into her show. On top of that there was this really strange cult of anti-personality thing going on with all of her little speeches that bordered on brainwashing technique- "don't worry about going out there and loving yourself because I'll always love you..." which isn't a terrible message but gets creepy when being said by a giant projection of someone who has never met you, particularly someone who has been quoted that they'd rather die young having been famous than live a long happy life without fame. Oh and the opera element of the show, well saying after each set change that you were on your way to the Monster Ball but blah, blah, blah happened and we found ourselves in a scary place and didn't know where we were doesn't actually make for a story, libretto, whatever.

In the end though it was just a mediocre concert where the spectacle wasn't spectacular enough, though the tornado of flames on the piano was pretty cool, (go see Cirque de Soleil, Blue Man, a Broadway show, etc.), and the concert wasn't concert enough (go see almost any live band on the planet).

Music Video contest- Check it out, Vote, and Pass it on (Please)

Twin Cities' director Eli Ljung created this little post-apocalyptic music video for Moby's new song "Wait For Me" as part of a contest. The winner's video will become the official video and he/she will win $5000. My wife, Vanessa Miles, was the Production Designer for the video and I was one of the PAs. Please check it out, and be sure to vote for it if you like it. Also please pass it on to others you know. The 6 finalists will be announced on April 12, and the winner crowned on the 19th so we're in a mad dash for votes as some videos have been racking up viewers and votes for some time now.


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The other day I was parking when all of a sudden a burst of steam rolled out from under my hood. I popped it open to find everything coated in coolant. A little while later I went back and saw that the upper radiator hose had burst. I was a bit freaked out trying to figure out what I was going to do about it. Money is a bit tight and I was at the U and nowhere near home. I have emergency road service through our insurance, but it says that it will tow my car to the closest place for repair which would make getting home and dealing with everything a tad challenging. After getting an idea and having it backed up by some online sources I went and grabbed a roll of duct tape and created a nice silver band-aid for my car. Reload the coolant and voila! I was on my way home after a few more hours at work.

Yesterday I stopped by the auto parts store and pickled up a new hose for ~$16, but had no chance to actually change things out. And with my lack of auto repair experience I was feeling a little iffy about pulling it off, though I knew it was about as simple a repair as could be done.

Thia morning I through on a hoodie and gloves, grabbed the channel lock, screwdriver and socket set and headed out to do some work. I managed to get hold of the clamp on the end going into the radiator with the channel locks but it would take the hands of a child to be able to get in there to pull it loose. The battery and battery tray needed to come out if I was going to be able to do anything so out they came after attacking some rusty little bolts with the spray lubricant. With a little extra space the hose came off pretty easily on that end.

I unscrewed the clamp attaching the hose to the engine next. Didn't matter much. The hose was well attached with or without the the clamp. The hose also had a fantastic little imprint of the clamp perfectly formed into the rubber. It was budging. I tried running a screwdriver around the edges maybe pealing the rubber off but there was still no play. I took off another hose above it to try and clear the way but that didn't do much of anything. A slice of the ol' razor blade though and it peeled right away. I snagged the clamps off of the old hose and was able to slip the new hose right on.

After washing away a few years worth of superfluous crud from the battery tray I put everything back together, filled the coolant reservoir and started up the car. No leaks, and all was good. While I was there I ended up checking and filling all of the other various fluids, and finally even replaced the rear license plate lights.

I know that this was a really, really minor repair but I felt a nice sense of accomplishment afterward. There are several other repairs my car could use though most of them are probably well beyond my abilities and tools. I think it would be kind of cool to take a basic car repair class somewhere. I wonder of there are any in the area.

Searching for PowerMac G3 or G4

Does anyone out there happen to have an old PowerMac G3 or G4 desktop stashed away somewhere? I figure I keep the remnants of my old computers stashed in storage so maybe some other people do as well. Thing is I've managed to get an old DVD-RAM drive that will work in a G3 or G4 desktop with the hopes of finally rescuing my old video stuff from the 2 DVD-RAM disks that its all been sitting on for the past several years.

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Just getting done with one seriously nasty cold.
It started creeping in the morning after Christmas day with odd little aches and pains, then it kicked into full force just in time for hanging out with my little nephew. I'm guessing water parks aren't the best remedy for a cold that is keeping you from even talking normal and standing easily.
Now Nessa has been fully consumed by it. No fun.
Hopefully she'll find her way back to the light much more quickly than I did.

The search continues

I'm still looking for stagehand help for the Nutcracker in Bloomington for next weekend at $50/performance ($300):

Th 5p - 9p
Fr 8:30a - 12:30p, 6p - 10p
Sa 1:30p - 5:30p, 6p - 10p
Su 1:30p - 5:30p

I also need stagehands for the weekend of 12/11 to 12/13.
Specifically I need people who can travel for the weekend, Fri morning (8:30a) until we get back Sunday night, doing 3 shows (1 in Bloomington on Friday morning) for $200 plus hotel, meals, and travel expenses covered.

And then the weekend after that (12/17 - 12/19) traveling Thursday morning through Saturday night doing 3 shows in Red Wing for $225 plus hotel, meals, and travel expenses.

If you are interested or know someone you think might be please let me know as soon as you can. Either reply here or email me at jeffrey [dot] r [dot] sherman at gmail.

Needed: 1 stagehand this weekend $150

Seeking 1 additional stagehand for this weekend's CBC performance of Cinderella at Maplewood Community Center. Load-in Thurday afternoon/evening, set up Friday day with performance at 7:30p Friday night. Saturday performance at 7:30p, and Sunday at 3p with strike after the performance. Pays $150.