Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Tunesday With George: Ponderosa & Newport Folk Festival Recap

This week's pick:
This video is created from old video footage of Mr. Fonty's grandmother
This weekend we took an amazing trip to Rhode Island for the Newport Folk Festival, which is easily my favorite (and the most laid back) festival I've ever been to...beautiful setting, fantastic music, and relaxing atmosphere. Other than getting stuck in a downpour for an hour or so on Saturday night, which was a fun adventure in hindsight, the weekend was perfect. 

NPR sponsored the show, and you can stream them all HERE. These are the acts we were able to catch between Friday night and Sunday afternoon:
Blitzen Trapper
Robert Ellis
Jonny Corndawg, aka Jonny Fritz & The In-Laws (featuring Taylor Goldsmith of Dawes)
Deer Tick
Alabama Shakes
Iron & Wine
Patty Griffin
Guthrie Family Reunion
My Morning Jacket
(photo taken moments before the monsoon)
Trampled By Turtles
New Multitudes (Jay Farrar, Jim James, Will Johnson, and Anders Parker)
Charles Bradley
Gary Clark, Jr.
Great Weekend!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

And We Are Off (Again)!

Mr. Fonty and I are headed to Newport, RI today for the Newport Folk Festival. We've been wanting to go to this festival for years. It takes place at Fort Adams State Park right on Newport Harbor. 
The lineup is insane! Here are just a few of the bands I am eager to see:  MMJ, Patty Griffin, Iron & Wine, Deer Tick, Blind Pilot, Jonny Corndawg, Robert Ellis, Apache Relay, Alabama Shakes, Jackson Browne, New Multitudes, Of Monsters & Men, Jonathon Wilson, the list goes on and on. I told you it was good, people!
Friday night is a kick off show with Wilco, Blitzen Trapper, and Tunesday Favorite - Megafaun
While I have a feeling our trip will be a just a little different... I am so excited to see Newport after reading An American Heiress, and see all the turn of the century mansions
The Vanderbilt Family's "Breakers" summer "cottage"
Have a great weekend! ope you are hearing some good music too. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Carry the Torch

London 1948

The Opening Ceremonies for the Olympic Games in London are on Friday. I have been feeling a little out of touch with this year's Olympians. I've heard a bit about a couple swimmers and rumblings of the best US Gymnastics team since 1996, but other than that, I am in the dark! I really need to get in the spirit. Enter Gap. With their perfectly soft vintage reproduction Olympic tees
So, on Friday, while out Olympians will look like dorks at the Opening Ceremonies (I expected a lot more from you Ralph), I will be sitting pretty. (Speaking of Opening Ceremony outfits, can someone tell me why our country forces the athletes to wear embarrassing hats every single year?)
Tokyo 1964
The tees are cut into a super flattering shape and worn-in to perfection. 
Montreal '76
Paris 1924

LA Games
Go Team USA!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Tunesday With George: Double Play

Carry Me Back
As the album title seems to suggest, Old Crow Medicine Show returns to their true bluegrass form on Carry Me Back

Atlanta's B.o.B. is one of the most versatile and talented artists to come on the hip-hop scene in some time. His musical styles are pleasantly varied (although I could do without some of the pop-ier stuff and the collaborations with folks like Chris Brown, Trey Songz and Taylor Swift); his raps are rapid-fire, creative, intelligently thought provoking, even existential. 
I hope he doesn't ruin it by making the rock album he alludes to in "Ray Bands." "Bombs Away", the first song on Strange Clouds, features none other than Morgan Freeman...you've got my attention when you're missing rap with Through The Wormhole:

Monday, July 23, 2012

There Are No Words

This is love
Wow, so that was the culmination of 21 hours(!!) of my life. When I put it that way, I feel really depressed. 
I really wish I had a better final recap for you about Emily's journey to a 3rd broken engagement, but this episode was so bad I couldn't even make it to the Final Rose show. I am not sure if they felt a ton of pressure to drag it out, so they chose to splice in the live studio audience or if that was something hip and young the producers thought people might like, but it felt very Real World/Road Rules challenge recap to me. You're better than that Chris Harrison.
So, for those of you who don't watch (call me, I've got a lot more free time now), in this episode, we finally get to meet the man who Ricki will grow attached to, and then leave her slighted and with a laundry bag full of daddy issues. 
The men are still in Curacao and they get to meet Emily's family: Her mom, dad, sister in law, and brother who plays a guy who throws kids in lockers in Texas football movies. 
Both guys charm the pants of Emily's parents, and they give her no help in deciding, so she is left to decide for herself - which she is not pleased about. Emily would feels most comfortable when other people make life decisions for her.
One F is first up for the solo date, and Emily has such a great time that she decides to introduce him to Ricki. They swim around the pool (Emily won't get her hair wet), and Jef with one F does his standard compliment for our gender. "She is such an incredible (child). So smart, funny, inventive, creative." Emily is dazzled and says this is what real life feels like - yep, real life is swimming in a pool in Curacao with all your meals made for you and a $300,000 wardrobe budget. 
Emily feels such a connection with Jef with one F that she decides she doesn't even need to go on a date with Arie. She is going to dump him a day early. Which makes me feel like Arie got slighted, because I have a feeling that she would have chosen whoever she got to see play with Ricki - we all know she wasn't swayed by Jef's "gift": a book on Curacao. Lame Jef. 

Arie arrives and ABC forces him to make a love potion with a Curacao voodoo queen. It seems really mean, because we all know he about to be dumped, and here he is having to pretend like he cares that hibiscus is for fertility. Emily arrives and bursts into tears. Arie caught totally off guard and then spends the next 10 minutes in an SUV telling us he was caught off guard. 
 After she sends Arie off, Emily goes and cries in a park with a chain link fence around it. 
The crowd is so distraught by Arie's early exit. It was the highlight of the episode for me.  
 Chris then talks to former Bachelor contestants to fill air time. I recognize 1 of the former contestants. This guy thinks he is really important, and really proud to be on Bachelor Pad. He is totally the Tonya of the Bachelor franchise. 
And we can see that these people are amateurs. A pro would never have a candid shot like this:
 So, with Arie out of the picture, Jef could propose to Emily. Ricki joined them moments after, and he got a glimpse into his future as a third wheel. 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

My Kin

Kinfolk Austin
Have you heard about Kinfolk? Kinfolk was started by a group of artist friends who loved creating small dinner parties for friends. The movement has spawned branches all over the country and they have launched several volumes of seasonal magazines and short videos.
This video made me want to go on vacation:

I love entertaining and having friends for dinner. Setting a relaxed, but pretty table, preparing a meal, and drinking copious amount of wine make for the perfect, long evening of telling stories and belly laughs. The aesthetic of the Kinfolk events make me want to click on my string lights and invite some great friends over for a night in our screen porch. 
Christmas Event in Brooklyn
Volume 2
Kinfolk event at Terrain
Volume 4
Are you planning on entertaining on these hot summer nights?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

In The Kitchen: Spring Vegetable Lasagna

A couple years ago, on a work trip to Birmingham, Mr. Fonty picked up a copy of Frank Stitt's Bottega Favorita for me. A cookbook is one of my most favorite gifts, and in this book, I have found one of my most favorite meals, the Spring Vegetable Lasagna. Whether it's for a family with a new baby or having friends over for dinner, this meal is beautiful and special. This lasagna is made with a bechamel sauce which sets it apart from the Stoffers Lasagna we all grew up eating. 

This Spring Vegetable Lasagna is definitely a labor of love, and you will use every pot and pan in your kitchen, but it is worth it - and the lasagna can be made in advance, so your kitchen is spic and span before company arrive. (One of my #1 tips for entertaining is to have you counters and sink cleared. No one wants to know you slaved in the kitchen on their behalf.)

Spring Vegetable Lasagna
1/2 lb. no-boil lasagna noodles 
3 T olive oil 
4 zucchini, sliced thinly lengthwise 
2 c. frozen peas, thawed 
Salt & Pepper to taste 
1 large onion, diced 
2 leeks, split, rinsed and sliced thinly, white and light green parts only 
2 cloves garlic, minced 
1-1/2 c. ricotta 
2 tsp. fresh lemon zest 
1 T fresh chopped chives pinch of cayenne 
2 c. Bechamel (recipe below) 
1/2 lb. fresh mozarella, sliced 
1/3 c. Fontina, grated 
1/3 c. asagio, freshly grated 
1/3 c. pecorino romano, freshly grated 
For the Béchamel 
2 c. milk 
1/4 c. chopped onion 
1 bay leaf pinch of salt ground pepper 
4 T butter 
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 t freshly grated nutmeg 
1/4 t cayenne 

To make the Béchamel: To a medium saucepan, add the milk, onion, bay leaf, and seasonings. Over medium heat, bring to a low simmer, stirring occasionally until reduced by a quarter. Return to pot and keep warm. In a separate pot, melt the butter over medium heat, stirring in the flour and over low heat stirring, allow to cook 2-3 minutes until it begins to bubble.  Once bubbling, pour in warm milk whisking quickly. It will begin to thicken. Keep whisking until the milk is incorporated and the mixture is smooth. Continue whisking for 20 minutes over med-low heat. Set aside. 
For the Lasagna: Preheat oven to 425. Slice zucchini in think strips on the mandolin (I like the 1/8 setting). Toss the zucchini with olive oil, salt & pepper. Lay out flat (not overlapping) on a cookie sheet and Bake for 5-10 minutes or until slices are browned. Set aside. Turn oven down to 350.
Saute the leeks and onions in olive oil until softened, about 5 minutes, set aside.  
In a food processor, pulse the defrosted peas to a chunky mixture. 
Mix the ricotta with the lemon zest, chives, pinch of cayenne and salt in a bowl and set aside.  
Spray a 9×13″ pan lightly with oil and spoon a liberal amount of the Béchamel into the pan.  Spread over the bottom surface area.  Layer the no-boil pasta over the top of the Béchamel — about 1/3 of the noodles.  Spread a third of the ricotta mixture over the noodles, then a 1/3 of the onion-leek mixture, then 1/3 of the frozen peas, then zucchini, sprinkle with slat & pepper.  Repeat twice for 2 more layers. Top with sliced mozzarella, grated cheeses and the remaining Bechamel sauce. 
Bake about 40-45 minutes or until the lasagna is bubbling and beginning to brown.  Allow to sit at least 15 minutes before serving.

Cooking with Color
I told you it was a mess to make, but it is worth every minute in the kitchen. Bon Appetite!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Men Gossip

At the beginning of the Bitching Women Men Tell All, Chris Harrison drops the bomb that next week will be a three hour finale. Good god. How in the world can they milk 3 hours out of the proposal?
The camera zooms around the room showing throngs of screaming women. Apparently, you can sign up for tickets to this taping? The women clap with the enthusiasm of a group of middle age fat ladies at male revue night on a Carnival cruise. It's both depressing and incredible.

Chris Harrison opens the show, and I am not sure if he is on a sound stage in Studio City or receiving a message from the city of Gotham. 

Chris and Emily reflect over the season and he gets her opinion on the guys. They then watch a reel of "lost" footage, including a clip of The Egg Guy asking Emily to sing his egg good night on night two. Can someone tell me how she did not get sent home immediately? 

We also see clips of Emily trying unsuccessfully to dance with Littlefoot. It is so awkward. I really wish we had seen more of this kind of thing. It only adds to my hatred for him. 

After the return from commercial, we are treated to a very extended preview of Bachelor Pad. I have never watched Bachelor Pad and apparently this is the 3rd - and obviously most dramatic - installment. I've heard from insiders that Bach Pad is filmed in 2 weeks. Which is pretty amazing considering that one of the no-name contestants said that people are "falling in love" all over the place. Sorry, Lind-ZI, I think in the real world we call that whoring it out. 
And the number one whore on Bachelor pad appears to be Mr. Mature, Littlefoot himself. Somewhere Daddy Doug is watching the night vision footage shaking his head at what a 25 year old LF is. 
For the first time EVER, Bachelor Pad is letting super fans into the house. I find this incredible. Almost as incredible as how trashy the super fan's dress is:
Sorry, did I say that dress was trashy? I meant this chick's Madonna gloves were - and for the record, I believe in this scene, she was saying "If you're looking for a dope chick. She's right here".
In addition to falling in love, there are challenges on Bachelor Pad, one of which seems to include a ribbon dance... I'll let the picture speak for itself. London Olympics has nothing on ABC reality television.
And it wouldn't be a Bachelor episode without some beefcakes. Guess the mansion doesn't have a gym.  
After the preview, we get back to the task at hand, calling out guys for being embarrassing all season long.
The guys all yell at Kalon for committing what seems to be a common trend on the bachelor - "Not Being There For The Right Reasons". To which I have to ask, who is really on this show to find love and not be on tv and live in a mansion where you hang out by the pool and drink beer all day? At least some of these guys admit it. The worst character in bachelor history is (obviously) the main jerk to Kalon, but I can't hear anything he says, because he has a huge nasty stain on his left shoulder. Steve, you're on TV, the least you could do is wear is a clean shirt. (this picture does not do it justice)

next villain up is Ryan. Ryan stares adoringly at his angular facial hair. He can't believe how good his spray tan looks on TV. It will look even better when he competes on his local WRKT Augusta Bachelor Competition. When questioned about what he really meant when he talked all his BS, Ryan basically rehashes what he said line for line as if that is a defense. And then it becomes quite clear, that he doesn't think he looked like a jack ass at all. Dawson Leary accuses Ryan of Kalon-ism, and said he was on the Bachelor for "the glitz and glamour". And here I thought glitz was for women and the gold chains of college baseball players. 
Then we go to Littlefoot who is a total whiny snooze. His murderer eyes watching himself get dumped are the only terrifying interesting thing about his segment.  
Then the carnival cruise audience erupts into a fit of excitement as Sean is called up, and we meet our next Bachelor. ABC barely tries to hide this fact. 
Emily talks about how hard it was to let Sean go, and the camera finds the only ethnic woman in the audience to shake her head and say "Mmmmm. giiirrrrrrllllllll". They needed to do some damage control after Emily got rid of the vaguely black guy in the first episode. 
Sean tells Chris that he is ready to find love, and a woman faints in the aisle, ABC producers high five in the control room. Next season ratings gold. 
 Emily comes out to confront the men and she looks pretty smoking. I'm tired of bandage dresses, but this is The Bachelor and at least she pulls it off.  

 She talks to each of the guys, and Ryan is totally creepy. She tells him he is a sweet talker and he has no idea this could have a bad connotation. He says she better believe he will be sweet talking his wife every day and will "chase her around the kitchens.. little spoons". What? Come again? I really hope I can stream Bachelor Augusta.
"Haha. This is what a smug asshole looks like"
After all the dumped men have talked, we see the montages of Emily's love with each of the remaining men, and again, i think the ABC producers should win Emmy's for using recycled material in every episode without anyone noticing. 
Counting the minutes until I waste a full 3 hours of my life next week.