Saturday, December 31, 2011

Dustinations - New Name, Same Great Flavor!

Hi all - I've decided that I should follow my girlfriend's mother's advice and change the moniker "Blah Blah Blog" to "Dustinations." I think it's a good way to go into 2012, and to get on her "Most Favored Persons" list. I'll have photos of my current travels up once I get home, since apparently it's too much to ask to have a decent upload speed at my NOLA hotel. Coming soon = Tennessee, Georgia, Kentucky, Alabama, Pensacola, FL, and New Orleans, LA.

Happy New Year, everybody!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Photo Nostalgia - New Orleans, 2009

I'm going to be going to New Orleans over the Christmas holiday, and I thought I'd revisit the first time I went there, during Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend nearly three years ago. $250 round-trip airfare did me in. ;-)

New Orleans is meant to be seen at night, especially the French Quarter.

One of my first orders of business was going to the venerable Preservation Hall for some jazz.

I stayed for about a set and a half.

Some only stayed for less than a set.

Cafe du Monde, open 24 hours

All they serve is chicory coffee and beignets (including a ton of powdered sugar... don't wear black while eating, trust me).

St. Louis Cathedral in Jackson Square can be spooky at night.

After all, this is the city featured in Interview with the Vampire.

Acme Oyster House.

So fresh, and so cheap.

Great digs.

Saturday night in NOLA.

I got fleeced for a few bucks after I held this sign (I'm naive).

The architecture in the Vieux Carre (French Quarter) is striking.

Pirates Alley, behind St. Louis Cathedral

Faulkner's House

St. Louis Cathedral, seen from the banks of the Mississippi

Andrew Jackson's statue, featuring the controversial post-Civil War quote "The Union must and shall be preserved" (Old Hickory saved New Orleans from the British in 1815, long before the Civil War).

Inside the cathedral

New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA)

A painting by Alex Katz, one of my two favorite living painters

"O Lord, bless this Thy holy hand grenade, that with it Thou mayest blow Thine enemies to tiny bits, in Thy mercy." The hand grenade is, of course, a famous drink in NOLA (it's incredibly powerful).

Time for some more jazz, this time at the Maison Bourbon.

And a nightcap at Pat O'Brien's, home of the Hurricane (and a cool fountain).

New Orleans looks great from the Mississippi.

MLK Day meant a parade.

An extravagant one.

St. Louis Cemetery Number 1, a famous burial site, and long considered one of the most haunted places in the United States (it was pretty empty and calm when I went by).

There's a legend about someone relatively famous (this century) making off with this head... can't remember the legend now.

Buskers, French Quarter

The Presbytere, adjacent to St Louis Cathedral in Jackson Square

I'm really looking forward to returning to New Orleans: laissez les bons temps rouler!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Pixies @ Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium

On Monday night, the Pixies closed out their "Lost Cities" tour, in which they played their classic album Doolittle in its entirety. Fortunately for me, their final date was a short drive away in Santa Cruz, CA. Even more fortunately for me, I bought a ticket before they sold out (which was pretty fast).

Opening was the Winnipeg band, Imaginary Cities. Decent.

The Pixies came out following a sped-up version of Un Chien Andalou, the classic short film by Salvador Dali and Luis Bunuel.

I'm too young to have enjoyed the Pixies during their heyday, but I saw them in Washington state during their first reunion tour in 2005.

It was good seeing them much closer up than at the Sasquatch Festival.

Joey Santiago, pride of the Philippines.

The band had interesting visuals behind them - including videos of themselves.

Frank Black's voice was still sharp (I think that's the best adjective), and David Lovering's drumming was solid.

After the band played Doolittle in its entirety, they took leave of the crowd.

They also celebrated their road crew.

Is it possible that this is the last Pixies show ever? It certainly is for the time being.

Of course the band would come back for an encore... and they sent fog straight into the crowd just for the occasion.

The final song of the night was "Gigantic," sung by Kim Deal.

Great show - check out the setlist here.