Mr. Tomatoface

By - Feb 29th, 2008 02:52 pm
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Oh, yeah. Every Tuesday. Come ON! What was I THINKING?! I can’t play this game. It’s Thursday night. Tomorrow is Friday. Fail, fail, fail.

Jesus, what happened to this week? I had every expectation that this was going to be one of those breezy, pretty weeks, that I’d just sleep a lot and stroll into the office whenever I felt like it and spend a lot of time at my desk poking at various flabby spots on the internet and then go home early and drink juice and take a nap.

It did NOT happen like that. This week opened up like a big ol’ jaw and swallowed me whole.

On Tuesday (remember Tuesday, when I was supposed to be blogging? Preferably whilst drinking juice?) I stopped in at the 88.9 RadioMilwaukee anniversary fête at Palms Bistro. I met the fine gentlemen of Great Lakes Distillery — at the wizened age of 1, now Wisconsin’s oldest distillery, our first since prohibition — and sampled their very nice gin, which is made with sweet basil and Wisconsin ginseng, two botanicals that have never been found in gin — before now. It was delicious — sweet and spicy — and I am not just saying that in hopes that they will write in and say, “oh hey Amy, we love your blog and we know you’re a lush; here’s a bottle of gin for you.”

But some friends & former coworkers (including my esteemed colleague Mr. John Eding) thought it might be nice to catch up over some more banal libations, so we skipped over to Landmark Lanes, everyone’s favorite palace of trash, for $2 beer night. (Yes, friends who are not from Milwaukee and do not understand, you are correct in interpreting that special to mean $2 for a pint of any beer at all.) Before I knew it, it was bedtime.

On Wednesday, when I should have been blogging my apologies for missing my self-imposed Tuesday blog parade (Matt Wild, am I driving you crazy!?), I was at the ever-grand Turner Hall Ballroom, PBR Tall Boy in hand, working the sponsorship table for the Sia show, wondering why no one was dancing to opening phenom Har Mar Superstar, who you just have to see to believe. I didn’t really know what to expect from the night at all. Sia seemed nice enough, a cute Australian with a pretty voice and credentials — former singer for Zero 7, spots on the soundtracks for Garden State and Six Feet Under — that had me looking forward to sort of ambient, possibly production-heavy, likely sort of humdrum pop finery. All I knew about Har Mar was that he is frequently booed offstage, and that it was possible he would show up in a cape and a g-string.

But he was great, exactly the kind of kitsch that I fall for — a genuinely incredible, Prince-esque R&B voice, a tight back-up band (with a bass player in a Storm Trooper costume), lots of dancing in the aisles (and on the cabaret tables, to the evident chagrin of unsuspecting audience members), plenty of groovy beats. At the end of the set, the other VITAL staffers and I decided we’d had enough — something had to be done about the total lack of booty-shaking, which Har Mar kept saying was making him feel really awkward. So we stormed the stage. And we danced. And other people decided to dance, too.

And Sia — well, Sia was pretty incredible herself. Besides being possibly the most adorable person I have ever seen on stage (and it was an adorable stage, with giant neon flowers, stuffed animals strewn hither and yon, a band dressed in white), she sang beautiful songs with striking power, palpable exuberance and rare talent. It was captivating! I was so impressed. I stayed for the whole show and cheered for the encore, despite repeated warnings to my cohorts that I’d probably leave before the end of the set (to go home at watch Project Runway, but I didn’t tell anyone that part).

And so here it is Thursday. And all I have to give you is this recipe, and a glimmer of the undying, eternal love I have for Mark Bittman. I hope you actually try it. I think I will. We are hours away from the end of awful February, and we will have very little need for winter tomato soup before too long. Hang in there.

Categories: VITAL

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