February the Interminable

Hello, friends!
I always assumed that February tends to feel interminable because of the combination of the cold weather and my childlike anticipation of my birthday on the 18th. But, seeing as how this month felt endless even though the temperatures were in the 60s here in Chicago for at least a week and it's been the days after the 18th that have dragged on and on and on, I guess February's slowness is just inherent. Anyway, we made it through.

I was recently saying to Brian that this is also, secretly, my favorite time of year for movies. All the awards-season seriousness has finally died down now that the Oscars are over, and the summer blockbusters are not yet in sight, so this is where the studios bury all their weird little movies, which, let's face it, are my favorite kind of movies. And I can't remember the last time I had as much fun at the theater as the recent one-two punch of John Wick: Chapter Two and Get Out.

On the surface, they may seem pretty dissimilar, but they both absolutely lit up my brain with their sly genre play, genuine diversity, and ability to be fun without being insipid. I'm beyond the point where I feel the need to recommend any art to anyone ever, so I'm not, like, saying, "don't miss these movies!" I mean, miss 'em if they're not your cup of tea. I'm just saying I loved the hell out of them both and find myself still thinking about them both days after I saw them, which, at this point, is a huge barometer for determining how much I actually enjoyed a film. Brian and I have a familiar Saturday morning refrain in our house these days, where one of us will ask the other, "do you even remember that we saw that movie last night?" And the response is almost inevitably, "oh my god, no, I forgot we even went out at all." Not so with these two. I've still been crowing about some of the absurd action set pieces in John Wick (the subway! fight! with Common!!) and aha-ing over some of the sneaky plot points from Get Out (ohhh, so that's why the girlfriend was really trying to prevent the cop from checking his ID...).

After last year's sad tally for movies, it's brought me no little amount of glee to have kicked off 2017 with these two stunners. (And that's not even counting some of the 2016 releases that didn't play in Chicago til after the beginning of the year, like the brilliance of Silence, Paterson, and I Am Not Your Negro. Dang, 2017--keep it coming!)

Table of contents:

  1. What's new on the blog

  2. A guided tour of the blog redesign

  3. "Wichita Lineman": The 2017 Covers Series

  4. Psychic readings and healings

What's new on the blog

This month on Queen of Peaches, I dish a bit on Bobby Paul, the genius who makes my hair look so amazing:

The salon where Bobby slings beauty is on Clark Street, just a couple blocks south of Wrigley Field. As the neighborhood and the salon’s clientele grew ever more conservative, I grew more and more bold. As the type of women who wanted crazy cuts and extreme colors moved to other neighborhoods, I became something of a unicorn, the weird one who was more than open to experimenting and having fun.

The first really incredible dye job that I got from him was just before the ombre trend became ubiquitous, so the fact that he deliberately dyed my roots a dark, deep purple while the length was streaked to look like a glowing autumnal forest fire full of reds and glimmering soft browns was like this insane magic trick that left me feeling like I’d literally been transformed into a work of art.

Click here to read the rest.

A guided tour of the blog redesign

You know me, I get bored easily and I like to fiddle with tech stuff, so that's a perfect recipe for a blog redesign! If you click on through to the front page of Queen of Peaches, you'll see that I've completely changed the overall layout.

I really dig the fact that all the posts are now non-hierarchically listed, so that it doesn't make old posts look, well, old--it's more magazine style, where you can more easily shop through past pieces that you may have missed. I've also bulked out my About pages (yes, pages plural) and, perhaps most excitingly, I now have all my past year-end mixes archived in one place. You can stream all 13 years' worth (!) without needing to click through to another site. How cool is that?! Check it out, let me know what you think, and drop me a note if you see any wonky formatting or broken links or anything like that.

As I documented on the blog a few years ago, I became obsessed with the Sammy Davis Jr. live concert album The Sounds of '66 after Brian brought home a copy of the CD and pressed it into my hands. I'd never thought much about Davis one way or another (well, despite being horrified after watching the original Ocean's Eleven a number of years ago that they made him drive a fucking garbage truck while the rest of the guys were cavorting in the casino). But after living with that album for a while, I completely fell in love, convinced that he was indeed one of the greatest entertainers of all time. And I was of course delighted to discover that he'd covered "Wichita Lineman."

His proper album recording appears on 1970's Something for Everyone, and I found two different pieces of footage of him performing it--one on Dean Martin's show and one on his own show, Sammy and Company. The Dean Martin Show version is maybe a little cheesy; it's just Davis performing solo with a mic and a tambourine to a canned track. To my eyes, he fares much better on his own show when, like on The Sounds of '66, he can lean into the support of a full backing band.

(Click here to view the clip on YouTube.)

Unlike when Glen Campbell sings "Wichita Lineman" with his illusion of plainspoken subtlety (which is of course devilishly hard to actually pull off), Davis goes in the opposite direction. His delivery is HUGE, all characteristic razzle dazzle, with only a loose fidelity to the lyrics and melody. Which, I think, is a brilliant way to honor the song, by not being at all precious about it. Contemporary covers of "Wichita Lineman" (which I'll of course write more about in the coming months) tend to be overly reverent, similar to the gaggle of painfully earnest covers of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" that were proliferating for a while there in the late '90s/early 2000s. But Davis, as the consummate showman, knows that he's the attraction here, that the song, no matter how masterfully composed, is supporting him. Which allows different, often unnoticed aspects of the song's brilliance to be brought to the fore--like a certain funkiness in the signature instrumental riff, the bigness of that soaring melody line, and a twist in some of the phrasing that actually turns the song from melancholic and wistful to full of pride. I mean, yes, obviously, it's bombastic and over the top, but that's what makes it so awesome--having the confidence to not only go all out, but having the chops (and then some) to make it cook.

Have you found yourself having really specific food cravings lately? I sure have. Even though the trend for Golden Milk has been floating around, especially online, for a couple years now, I finally just got ultra-obsessed with it, even going so far as to make a turmeric electuary to keep in the cupboard so that I can have access to that sweet-and-spicy goodness at a moment's notice. ("What's an electuary?" you ask. Check it out.) All that is to say, specific food cravings are often your body's way of communicating with you. Tune in and listen carefully to what it may have to say. If you need a little extra help with that, click here to set up a time where we can look at the energy of food in your life in the context of a psychic reading or healing.

Sometimes, though, y'know, your body is pretty unambiguous about just wanting a Cookie Monster cupcake.

That's good enough for me,