On the Ides of March…

…my thoughts turn to one of the greatest Sesame Street sketches ever, the second installment of Monsterpiece Theater (written by Tony Geiss). From 1979, here is Alistair Cookie’s presentation of “Me Claudius”:

(Yes, all you historians out there: I am aware that the I, Claudius  TV series is set long after Julius Caesar’s death. Next, you’ll be chastising me for the monsters’ grammar. By all means, relax and enjoy some Muppets!)

1,000 career assists for Joe Thornton!

Patrick Marleau’s career milestones have been a frequent topic on this blog. His equally accomplished San Jose Sharks teammate Joe Thornton was not to be outdone last night. In a 3-2 Sharks victory over the Winnipeg Jets, Thornton assisted on Joe Pavelski’s game-winning empty-net goal. Thus, he became only the 13th player (over 100 years of NHL history) to notch 1,000 assists in his career. (Yet, somehow, the NHL didn’t see fit to place Thornton or Marleau on the list of 100 all-time NHL greats announced earlier this year. Don’t get me started…)

Benefit fund for Santa Cruz artist Robbie Schoen’s stroke recovery and rehab

Going Coastal readers will remember the book’s “One Man’s Trash Is Another Man’s…Guitar?” chapter, featuring Robbie Schoen’s gorgeously clever (and fully functional) electric guitars made from found objects. Schoen is the longtime director of Santa Cruz’s Felix Kulpa Gallery, and curates the art installations at Santa Cruz County Bank locations. Whenever I’ve walked into Santa Cruz’s Museum of Art and History, I’ve spotted Schoen setting up or taking down exhibitions. In other words, it’s impossible for me to imagine the Santa Cruz art scene without Robbie Schoen. So, I was stunned to learn that Schoen is recovering from a massive stroke he suffered on February 10th at the MAH. Schoen’s Medi-Cal coverage will not be enough to cover the amount and quality of rehab that he’ll need, so his daughter Nikita has created a fundraising website. Those who are more comfortable writing checks may send them to the following address:

Robbert Schoen Rehab Fund
Santa Cruz County Bank
720 Front Street
Santa Cruz CA 95060
Attn: Mary Anne Carson

To coincide with Santa Cruz’s First Friday arts activities, a living tribute to and appreciation of Schoen will take place on March 3rd from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Felix Kulpa Gallery, 107 Elm Street in downtown Santa Cruz.

Song In My Head #74: “Valentine’s Day” by Three Hour Tour

While I’m squarely in the “Valentine’s Day is a manufactured holiday” camp, I could never object to a brilliant tune. “Valentine’s Day” is the brainchild of Champaign, Illinois’ Three Hour Tour, led by longtime indiepop titan Darren Cooper. Originally released in 1996, it’s equally suited to the spotlight dance at your power-pop prom, or forlorn anticipation of candy clearance sales on the 15th. Luckily, Three Hour Tour is having a much better time than the song’s lovelorn protagonist. The band released a new album in 2015 on its own Martian Record Corp, and still plays to enthusiastic crowds. Happy Valentine’s Day (or, if you prefer, Jack Benny’s birthday)…

Song In My Head #73: “Love Stepped Out” by Ronnie D’Addario

While the Lemon Twigs have a fine oeuvre of original songs in their fledgling career, their live show sprinkles in a few covers. (This Big Star fanatic was thrilled to hear their version of Alex Chilton’s “All of the Time” in concert, featuring Michael D’Addario’s note-perfect Chilton homage and guest jamming by opening act Savoy Motel. But that’s another post entirely.) The band frequently plays “Love Stepped Out,” originally written and recorded in 1976 by…Ronnie D’Addario, father of the Twigs’ Brian and Michael. (The elder D’Addario has continued to perform throughout the years, releasing 2015’s A Very Short Dream on Homburg Records.) If you want to hear the younger D’Addarios’ Redd Kross-inflected take on the song, you’ll have to see them live. However, Ronnie D’Addario’s original (which will please fans of Emitt Rhodes or the Left Banke) appears below. Either way, you’ll get an appealingly dramatic lyrical storyline, a nifty fuzz-guitar solo, and some addictive “ba ba ba ba” harmonies.

A couple of Lemon Twigs-related announcements!

Actually, the first is more of a heartfelt plea. Before the Lemon Twigs‘ show last night at San Francisco’s Brick and Mortar Music Hall, various tunes played over the sound system. Right after the Jesus and Mary Chain’s “Just Like Honey” ended, a song came on that stopped me in my tracks. The guy running the sound board had no idea what it was, and I couldn’t decipher enough lyrics to Google anything. It was an uptempo neo-mod shoegazey number with harmonies, and completely gorgeous. If anyone remembers and knows it, please leave a comment. I’d be eternally grateful!

Now, a public service announcement for those who will be in the greater Santa Cruz area this evening:

You may be unfamiliar with the Lemon Twigs. You might be on the fence about going out after Super Bowl festivities, or put off by the local entertainment weekly’s weirdly backhanded blurb about the band’s show. (Seriously, Good Times, what gives?) Nevertheless, you owe it to yourselves to see the Lemon Twigs in concert tonight at the Catalyst. When I heard the band’s Do Hollywood album, I enjoyed it but found it rather restrained. That left me unprepared for the band’s astonishing songcraft and showmanship onstage last night, and feeling disbelief that it all came from teenagers. (Here’s an analogy for my fellow Redd Kross fans: Imagine the McDonald brothers during their Born Innocent era, performing material of the caliber of their Neurotica and Researching The Blues albums. Yes, the Lemon Twigs are that good already.)