Thursday, November 19, 2009

Wednesday ~ Public Enemy, Cavs v Wizards, B-day Party

Originally posted on Nov 19, 2009 and slightly edited for public consumption...  A little bit of sports in here.  You can see the difference between working out (Chuck D) and not (Flavor Flav).   LOL!  :-P

Wednesday. Most people are home on Wednesday night. The Wirk is not most people. I wasn’t even supposed to be in town ~ since work was originally expected the keep me Europe this week, but I am fluid and have learned to just “roll with it”…

Wednesday. Usually I go out with my girls.  My girls and I get dolled up, head to our local watering hole, and go dancing...

Wednesday ~ this one was different, since my girls all seem to have variations of swine flu, the common old, and strep and are staying home. The Shaq-less Cavs were in town to play the Wizards, and with my ex in the middle ~ I felt no need to try to get a seat… I’ve seen that show many times and wanted to do something fresher. Public Enemy was in town to help raise awareness for Youth Homelessness. Ironically, when looking for something fresh, I chose to go old school…

I rounded up a couple of my friends who are Public Enemy fans and off to the show we go. Lisner Auditorium is a small venue. Picture a movie theatre on opening night ~ yeah, the show is general admission, but good luck finding a seat. If you donated a coat, you could be upgraded to a VIP seat closer to the stage. I went through my closet ~ pulled a coat. Not sure what happened, but there was some miscommunication and my 2 friends who I shard the cab with went empty handed to the concert. Yeah, I don’t know… Anyway, I’m set with my VIP bracelet and am already thinking of how I am politely going to tell my two friends, that I’m sitting up front and that I’ll see them after the show. Sure enough, my opportunity came at the bar, when my friend told me to wait for them. I think she could tell I was getting spazzy… “We’re all gonna sit together,” she said. “No, we’re not.” I replied. With that settled, into the auditorium I went.

I sit next to a guy named Jimmy. It just so happened that Jimmy knows the guys that are working security. Courtesy of Jimmy, I am upgraded from the 10th row to the 3rd row. Jimmy is now my best friend. My friend sees this and texts me, “I just saw you move up with that guy. Hook us up bitch.”… I laugh out loud and show my new best friend her text. He tells me to talk to his friend ~ he thinks his name is Carlos and see what I can do. I go up to the guy and call him Carlos ~ and he says, “Did you just call me Carlos?” OK – we’re off to a bad start, Carlos is obviously not this guy’s name… BUT I have no shame and I will be short 2 friends if I don’t make it happen for them. I continue to press on with “Carlos” and ask if my friends can move down. After getting the green light from him, I wave my peeps down and manage to sustain those friendships for at least one more night.

Show starts. Flavor Flav (aka Fookie Fookie) is on the stage doing his thing. Chuck D gets on stage and wow, that voice… Talk about contrast from Maxwell last week… Chuck D’s voice is commanding. Think of it like this. At fast food restaurants you have to ask for ketchup. Why?!?! Who knows ~ ketchup is free. Anyway… I’d imagine Maxwell almost whispering, “Can I have some ketchup, please?”. Chuck D would say, “Gimme some ketchup.” Flavor Flav wouldn’t utter a word. He’d just hop the counter and grab it himself.

Public Enemy played their hits, but noticeably absent was Burn Hollywood Burn… Don’t worry, I’ll live. 911’s a Joke didn’t disappoint and Fight the Power was strong. “Elvis was a hero to most, but he never meant shit to me…” Eureka ~ I’m not alone!!!

It’s 11PM. Concert is over and it’s time to hop in a cab to hit a birthday party. Happy Birthday, Michael Wilbon. Cavs v Wizards game has ended and the crew is making it over to a spot so we can toast our dear friend, and where he can get some grub after the game. We chat it up, catch up, and drink up. Mike bolts for home, and it’s decided that three of us will go to the club to see Lebron and the crew. With Teri and Neville with me, I’m off to a spot called Josephine’s… Randy (LeBron’s cousin and co-star in a State Farm commercial where they do the Kid and Play dance) has his phone off. We’re waiting and I notice a Washington Wizards is waiting too, and he is pissed. HAHAHA… “This always happens when Cleveland is in town,” he yells. My girl gets the attention of one of Sam Cassell’s friend, and we’re in. The door girl wants $140 for the 3 of us. $40 for girls, and Nev has to pay $60 for being a dude. I laugh at her. Sam’s friend comes through for us again and we’re IN.

The club is packed. I couldn’t tell you what music was playing, and I’m pretty sure I had a fun time. We head to the bar. Check the scene, head to the VIP. Deshawn on one side and Lebron on the other. It’s an OBVIOUS choice. My girl knows Lebron from the league and being in PR. I “know” Lebron because of my Cleveland WAG past. What’s a WAG?!?! It’s an acronym I picked up when I was in London for 3 weeks. WAG stands for Wives and Girlfriends and I am a Cleveland Cavalier WAG alumnus… We’ve been at the same parties and events and sat less than 2 feet apart numerous times (most recently when they played Orlando during the Eastern Conference Finals), but I still don’t think he puts it together and I’m not sure I want him to. I like being a little under the radar with him and although I think he’s special, I’m not Lebron crazy. I practically watched him grow up on the court because I went to the University of Akron, lived in Cleveland, and would see him all the time.

We walk over to Lebron and the club’s security attempt to keep us away from Lebron’s corner. Try again… We get waved through. We say, “What’s up?!?” After acknowledging each other, we’re done. There really isn’t much else to say. Lebron was sporting some smart eyeglass frames and was probably sweating harder underneath his sweater than he did on the court, because the club was HOT and I had heard he got hit with two techs during the game. C’est la vie.

My crew and I decide to bounce. I hop in the cab, text my friend to see if she’s still awake and ask to crash at her house since my car is there and I don’t drink and drive. She says I’m golden, but to go to the back of the house so I don’t wake up her housemate. Looks like I have one more stealth operation before I sleep…

Woke up at 8:30 this morning and reflected on a great night… Yeah, Wednesday. And I wasn’t even supposed to be in town…

Cleveland WAG

Flavor Flav and Chuck D

Happy birthday, MW! :-P


Friday, November 13, 2009

Maxwell - Soulful, yet Light... Where Is The Brown Sugar Man? ~ Originally posted November 2009

This is the Maxwell blog that I have received a number of compliments on, most recently a couple nights ago.  If you're looking for a sports tie-in, maybe weight-lifting will work...  Maxwell doesn't, and D'Angelo did...

The following intro was written by the Insideplaya, since I originally submitted this to him in November 2009.

The Wirk is an internationally known and locally accepted SAP software consultant, sports enthusiast, music lover, amateur photographer, occasional blogger and dear friend to the playa. It was her suggestion that influenced us to blog. She caught last night’s Maxwell gig in London, and has been gracious enough to bless us with her impressions of the show. She stayed up late and filed this post before leaving London for a weekend in Athens. We are grateful and appreciative, as well as indebted to her for taking the time to bring us a little closer to her world, and inspiring us to bring you closer to ours.

And now my blog begins...

While in London WIRKING it, I’d heard that Maxwell would be in town. So, I decided to make some phone calls and check out the internet for more info and tickets. I mentioned it to the insideplaya, and he asked if I’d blog about the show if I went. When he asked, I told him at this rate, “all I’d have to blog about was the parking lot.” He sets me up with a contact at Creative Artists Agency and the next thing you know my tickets are in motion. Awesome!

I get to Brixton and I see it’s a smaller venue. I would expect that for Maxwell. The O2 Academy is similar to a theatre ~ for you, NY’ers think Hammerstein minus the Muppet seats in the wings. When I got to the ticket office the lady asked me if seats were OK, or if I wanted to stand. Um – it’s Maxwell. I want to sit. Plus it’s already 8:15 and the show was supposed to start at 8. Standing would be a nightmare now because all the diehard Maxwell fans have already taken their positions near the stage and let’s face it ~ Maxwell is not gonna play “Get To Know Ya” on REPEAT, so how much dancing is this girl really gonna do?

The O2 Academy

I get to my seat and wait… As the time passes, finally a man from London appears and he’s the lucky duck who gets to sit next to me during the show. His name is Sam. Now I know you just said “Sam” in your head as in “Samantha”. Well, if you did that just like I did, you’d be wrong. It’s Sam pronounced as “Psalm”. Fabulous and WHATEVER, but he was nice so we won’t cast any stones.

Psalm and I are ready for the show and Maxwell comes out. There’s a band. Ok. Horns, an organ, etc. The acoustics in the bldg are great and I am excited to hear the man’s voice live. Maxwell sings and it’s amazing. The sound is pure. His falsetto ~ unbelievable. It’s soulful, but LIGHT. It’s sexy, but reserved. It’s the kind of show you can take your mom to… It’s safe.

One of my favorite pics that I took at the show.

I could not wait to hear “Fortunate” and Maxwell did not disappoint. “Pretty Wings” was pretty cool. And “Lifetime” resonates in my head even though the show ended 2 hours ago. I recognize the talent and Maxwell’s voice is distinct to my ear. Music and sports are my life, and my ear is keen to sound. ‘This Woman’s Work” will never sound the same to me, now that I heard the first few notes sung LIVE . I like the range of Maxwell’s sound, it’s soothing and has some semblance of edge ~ but I feel like it lacks some grit. The kind of grit that resonates and make one feel it in their bones. The more I think about it the lines that resonate in my head are the lines that he has to go deeper to make. The whispers of “Fortunate” are nothing without the guttural sounds he makes when he sings lines such as “I’ve never sang a song with all my might”…

Maxwell is comfortable in his sexuality and tries to seduce the crowd with his moves, but he also seems to have a bit of a corny persona as he jumps around the stage… You’re not gonna see him do a huge dance number, and if you want choreography – go see Britney. I’d imagine Maxwell would be the kind of boyfriend who’d be all about backrubs and footrubs… The kind of man that Ralph Tresvant sung about in “Sensitivity”, except Maxwell is collecting checks…

All in all I liked the show, but the words, “soulful, yet light” stick in my head…. And the question, Psalm asked me has me thinking… Psalm asked me, “Whatever happened to D’Angelo?” I repeated the question I got from Psalm to the insideplaya and he didn’t seem surprised. “He knew you’d know,” The playa replied matter of factly. I guess, he’s right. When you’re passionate about things the way I am with music and sports, people feel that energy. That energy comes out of your mouth and through your eyes. Enough about that.

I started thinking about D’Angelo and all the stories I’ve heard and began to draw more comparisons in my head between the two artists. Maxwell is great. D’Angelo is better. Maxwell is who you listen to when your mom is in the car. D’Angelo is who you listen to when you’ve dropped her off. D’Angelo is soulful, but edgier ~ grittier, funkier, and raw. Maxwell is polished and refined. You get Maxwell to come to the front door to meet your dad, before you go on a date w/D’Angelo…

On any given Sunday, Maxwell is an opening act for D’Angelo… And if/when D’Angelo takes the stage ~ this girl isn’t gonna be sitting in the balcony.