Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Arsenal - Nothing Left to Lose

What else is there now that Fabregas is gone?

Such a cruel twist of irony - just a day after the Champions League pairing of Arsenal vs Roma (Danny's team) is announced we both lose our captains to injury.

Reports have Roma's talisman, Francesco Totti, out for two months.

Fabregas could be done for the season.

The only bright spot to emerge from all of this is that we put in one of the most fearless performances I've seen in a long time against lucky Liverpool.

I loved the ball from Nasri and Van Persie's battle to fire home a goal from a crazy angle.

Even without Cesc, and after Adebayor got tossed (who says Liverpool isn't lucky?) - I found myself believing not only that we wouldn't lose but I even considered for a moment that we might even win.

We didn't, obviously, but Liverpool were exposed as the weaker side, only managing a draw with an extra man on the pitch.

The team and the fans finally stood together and we played our hearts out.

This wasn't the desperate Arsenal we've seen so many times this season in the last minutes of the match, this was a dangerous Arsenal.

Let's keep it up against a Villa side who's got some injuries of their own.

We're not going to win the league.

But we can play for respect.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Artgig Annual Concert Series - Lake Trout

Artgig took the show on the road last night, celebrating the third year of our annual holiday concert series with our familiar favorites - Lake Trout.

Lake Trout is a great little genre-bending band that effortlessly moves from electronic to jazz fusion, to Radiohead-rock to flute, in an improve-heavy jam session that somehow mixes all of these influences and spits them out in a set that is at once fully satisfying and still leaves you wanting more.

Often hailed as the best band nobody knows, we saw Lake Trout at a nearly empty Highline Ballroom last year for our holiday celebration, and I've been hooked ever since.

Since then, the band has been spending a lot of time on the UNKLE project and when it was announced that they were making a rare appearance at The Mercury Lounge in the village, well, our holiday plans were sealed.

We arrived at The Mercury Lounge on a cold and blustery NY night to find the place nearly empty.

My good pal Nick joined us as a special guest, standing in as Lis's stunt double for the evening.

The opening line-up featured:

Charles Atlas

Wax Fang

Jones Street Boys

I didn't pay much attention to the opening acts - opting instead to spend some quality time at the bar.

Hats off to the bartender at ML - he even bought us a round!

During Charles Atlas, a girl stumbled out of the listening room as I was snapping this picture of the gang:

She was visibly shaken, and warned us not to take pictures, to erase our memories and forget this place because the music was just too depressing.

Skipped Wax Fang.

By the time The Jones Street Boys (I almost typed the Jonas Brothers) hit the stage, the place was pretty packed but we still had some elbow room.

They seemed to have a good following, I don't mind saying I don't care how much fusion you throw in the pot with Country - it's not for me.

They finished their set a capella - yee-haw!

We grabbed another round of Blue Moons and staked out our spots closer to the stage

The listening room at Mercury Lounge reminds me of the basement in my parents old house where I grew up - it's a truly intimate space and a real pleasure to see a band like Lake Trout do their thing up close & personal.

As the band made their way to the stage and did a quick sound check, a small pocket of nearby fans, announced their allegiance with scattered shouts of "Baltimore in the house."

And then Lake Trout did what they do - they just let it rip.

Nick came up to me after a few tunes and said with the greatest admiration, "they just came out and started jamming."

When the flute came out, he responded just as I had a year ago, "That dude, the keyboardist, is actually playing a flute - it's crazy."

And then it was over.

It was too short - I wanted more.

But Lake Trout had left the building.

Until next year...

Go pick-up the new live Lake Trout album for FREE at The Biggest Label Ever, an experimental site that offers free music, paid for by advertising.

All you have to do is register to get the tunes.

Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 15, 2008

I've got a plan...

How are we supposed to take this team seriously?

The above photo is real (no Photoshop up my sleeve) - I snapped it right off the Arsenal website.

It's a scene from a video the Arsenal boys made for the Teenage Cancer Trust, and truth be told, it's well done - warm-hearted and downright cute.

Hats off for the effort and a welcome feel-good moment in an otherwise gloomy season.

Still, cute may be appropriate for charity but it doesn't win games in the Premiership.

Cute is what got us here - a reliance on baby-faced teens and dazzling footwork that doesn't seem to be fooling anybody these days.

We're limping to a showdown with league leaders, Liverpool, and we'll meet the new number four, Aston Villa, the day after Christmas.

Crazy, frustrating weekend where each of the big four (apparently, we're still included despite being number five), tied.

Gotta love the fight in the Hull City Tigers - right behind us at number six.

I think we can raise our game and beat Liverpool.

Just need to keep an eye on that shifty Dirk Kuyt at all times.

I'd love to payback the luckiest team on the planet for the miseries they heaped upon us in Champion's League and the Premiership last season.

We're up against it once again - this is where we shine.

We'll rob Liverpool of their little rabbit's foot or Leprechaun or whatever the hell it is they've got in their back pocket and ride our luck right into the January transfer window when we'll purge the team of the spoiled, pink-booted, lackluster performers and bring in some new cool, serious heads who will lead us in storming the tables to the top in a fight to the death.

Sounds like a plan.

It's at least as good as the one we've got right now.

Monday, December 8, 2008

A Very Tarry Christmas...

We just finished adding a couple more jazzy features to the shopping experience.

The first is what's come to be know as the “Radiohead Feature” here at the Artgig lab. Users can now choose what they want to pay for their downloads– ala Radiohead's approach with last year's In Rainbows release. Power to the people!

Of course the holidays are rapidly approaching, so we've also added a Gift option. Buy some music, check a box and add the email of your favorite jazz aficionado and they'll receive a link to download whatever you bought them.


Friday, December 5, 2008

Surf's Up!

Lis sent this this morning and I had to put it up.

Australian surfer Joel Parkinson wipes out in powerful five to seven-metre surf (that's 10-12 foot waves to the rest of us) during the World Cup of Surfing at Sunset Beach on Oahu's North Shore, Hawaii, on December 4, 2008.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

One In a Row

So the bright and brilliant Arsenal youth squad finally falls to Barnsley at the cold and unwelcoming pitch at Turf Moor.

"Turf Moor."

Everytime I see it in print, I think of "Darth Maul" from Star Wars.

It sounds like a far away place - home to things dark and sinister.

A place that haunts Nicolas Bendtner and his pink boots at the very least.

Pink boots.

C'mon, Nick.

If you're going to wear pink boots you gotta beat the keeper when presented with a one-on-one opportunity - and you were gifted three!

So our precious kids crash and burn in the Quarterfinals of the Carling Cup.


Not to take anything away from our win at Chelsea over the weekend because it was truly special to witness the fight back at the Bridge.

But we have to win more than one in a row to have a chance.

Monday, December 1, 2008


We wrapped the latest installment in the Weekly Reader story series, "The Story of Squanto," just in time for Thanksgiving.

We were originally planning this third module for 2009 but they were so pleased with Appleseed and Columbus they decided to jump back in.

Like the previous installments, Squanto includes an animated video, original audio and music, read-along text, and both an online and printable quiz.

Check out the entire series here.