Fans of Rickie Lee Jones appreciate the quirkiness - even the unevenness - of her live performances, and much of her appeal sparks from her seemingly real personality. This is why this review is so challenging to write: Rickie's rawness is part of her charm, and as fans we are usually willing to weather her storms, but Friday night's performance at the Pabst Theater took us out too far. The waters were simply too dark.
Maybe it's because her mother died last August, or the fact she admitted on stage to harboring "old person" thoughts about how quickly life slips by, but the "Dutchess of Coolsville" was lackluster, less friendly and dressed in frumpy jeans and a shapeless shirt.
Aging and grief might also explain her latest record, "The Sermon on Exposition Blvd.," which explores the messages of Jesus. Of course, Rickie does this in a cool and unconventional style, never once trying to proselytize, and tosses religious imagery on its head by referencing the devil as "soft and sweet" in the song "Circle in the Sand."
Rickie was definitely at her best when she sat alone at her black piano. When she played with her six-piece band, Rickie seemed disconnected and at times bossy. Surprisingly she took an audience request for "Elvis Cadillac," but proceeded to coach the musicians - clearly struggling to perform a song that wasn't on the set list -- with frustrated hand gestures.
Guitar player "Junior" was entertaining, but perplexing. His style and movements made him appear like a one-man '80s video, with a long, skinny figure and a long, skinny tie. His offbeat dancing and clapping suggested he was a totally tubular jester rather than a member of the band.
In short, the show, for the most part, felt "off."
Don't get me wrong, at times Rickie was lovely -- slow versions of "Flying Cowboys" and "Must be Love" were lullaby-esque -- but her lack of an encore and mumblings about all cities being the same metaphorically sent black valentines to the au…Read more...
So I went to divorce court this morning. Not to ax my own marriage, but to support a friend. She was married for three years, but told me after about a year and a half that she felt like she had "pulled back the curtain" and realized her remarkable wizard was really only a man (with a semi-functional lever) who was good at creating illusions.
Hence, I started out my Valentine's Day in divorce court.
My friend's divorce was easy: no kids, no house and her ex was already living out of the country. Plus, it wasn't a particularly sad affair, because she really isn't bummed about the marriage ending. Instead, she's quite relieved and psyched to move forward.
The court hearing only took about five minutes. For me, the strangest part was the huge painting of Aquarius hanging over the witness stand. From where I was sitting, it looked like the water-bearing woman in the painting was pouring out a bucket of water on top of the head of the witness. I wanted to take photos with my cell phone, but knew that probably wasn't a good idea. However, it was an incredible optical illusion, almost like Aquarius was cleansing the almost-divorced person, washing her anew. Read more...
By the time we walked back to her car, it wasn't even 9:30 a.m., but we did what one does after a divorce, regardless of the time: drink. Knowing we would feel this way, we had looked up third shift bars in the OnMilwaukee.com third shift bar guide the night before, and picked Zad's, 438 S. 2nd St., as our place for morning poison.
Other than St. Patrick's Day many years ago, I don't think I've hung out in a bar before 10 a.m. Zad's is popular with day drinkers, and we found it to be how it probably is just about every weekday morning: loud, smoky and populated with worker guys. We knew we looked out of place, but didn't get a bad vibe, so we sat down at the bar.
We ordered Bloody Marys that were spicy and good. Then we started talking about the whole divorce court experience, and before long, …
Last week, during the first week of OnMilwaukee's Bar Month, I decided to treat myself to a bottle of something I'd never purchased before. As a big fan of POM, I chose Pama, a sweet-yet-tart pomegranate liqueur. Really, it was the beautiful bottle with the white temptation tree set against the deep red of the liqueur that got me. It might sound a bit "college," but I am definitely going to save the bottle and use it as a vase.
Pama is made from pomegranate juice, premium vodka and a touch of tequila. I wouldn't recommend drinking it straight, although I did try, because it's a bit thick and sweet. We mixed it with champagne and a splash of orange juice, which is delicious, and definitely on the midnight menu for next New Year's Eve.
Persephone would be so proud. (Or would she?)
Out of curiosity, I randomly called a bunch of Milwaukee bars to find out if they mix Pama in their drinks. Here's what I found out:
The Knick, 1030 E. Juneau Ave., offers a drink called "The Pom Pom" that's made with Absolut Citron, Pama, cranberry juice and a splash of sour.
Mader's, 1041 N. Old World 3rd St., makes a "Pama Tini" made with Pama, tequila, Cointreau (an orange liqueur made from orange peels), sweet and sour soda and grenadine.
Art Bar, 722 E. Burleigh St., has a pomagranite martini, made with Ketel One vodka, Pama, Cointreau and cranberry juice.
MJ's on Milwaukee, 332 N. Milwaukee St., mixes the "MJ's Cosmo" with Vincent Van Gogh Oranje, Pama and cranberry juice.
For Pama recipes, check out the Web site.
February is "Bar Month" at
OnMilwaukee.com, and we'll serve up more than a six pack a week of bar
articles all month long. Look for bartender profiles, drink recipes,
revamped bar guides and more!
I once lamented in an OnMilwaukee.com article about the lack of beer milkshakes here in Brew City after sampling a tasty porter shake at a brewpub in Boulder. However, since I fancy myself somewhat of a DIY-er, I decided to get busy with beer and ice cream, and make my own boozy shake.
A few years ago, my mother gave me a milkshake maker that, originally, seemed as useless and space sucking as my quesadilla maker, but once I started mixing "alco-shakes," I grew a fondness for the seemingly superfluous appliance. (Note: You don't need a "milkshake maker" to make a decent shake; a blender works just fine.)
Basically, to make a beer milkshake, just combine vanilla custard or ice cream (Breyer's is the best) and beer in varying amounts of each until you get a satisfying consistency. I've tried all different beers, including Taddy Porter, Guinness, Sam Adams While Ale and even a High Life once, which tasted awful. The White Ale was actually my favorite, because it added a yummy tangy-ness to the creamy shake.
Sure, it's single-digit cold outside, but in my world, it's never too chilly for ice cream. Or beer.