Monday, November 24, 2008

Dar Williams at The Clifton Center

Sponsored in part by WFPK and First Capital Bank of Kentucky, Dar Williams at The Clifton Center last night was emotionally moving and inspiring. I am not sure I could have enjoyed it more than I did. I kept pinching myself and my "date" to ensure it was real. Dar and her guitar, acoustic. Dar, singing many of the songs that got me through the last decade, songs that shaped my little worldview, songs that sometimes let me escape.

Do any of my few readers know the singer/songwriter?

I was blessed to interview Dar in the late October of 2000 for the University of Kentucky's student newspaper. I was able to talk to her over the phone, and she was friendly, engaging, and happy to answer the questions I was obliged to ask her. (The first album she bought might have been The Who, the first concert she remembers attending was The Police, etc.)

When I went to her show the night before the presidential election in the year 2000, I was sick. Literally. The next day I wound up in the emergency room at UK's hospital with a spiked fever, hallucinations, and e coli in my bloodstream... the doctors gave me IV Cipro, which was a medication given to those exposed to Anthrax. I learned I was sick because I "let a UTI go" and it turned itself into a kidney infection, then got worse and worse over the course of a week or so. Anywho. That was a fun week of hospitalization.

That 2000 show, Dar had a full band behind her and was touring behind her current album, The Green World. The vibe at Kentucky Theatre that year was loud. We stood. We sang along, we being everyone who knew the words. It was all that and a bag of chips for me, a college student voting in her first presidential election, a la an absentee ballot. I was toting myself around Lexington that semester in a pint sized Geo Metro with a cd player, usually blasting Dar Williams, Wilco, or Ani. I was sooo anti-preppy girls back then. Yes, I digress.

Last night, Dar's show was intimate. When she walked on stage, I stood, but no one else really did. When she opened her set with Calling The Moon, I wanted to cry. She sang Spring Street and After All. Those three are from The Green World album, and are some of my favorites. When she sang The Babysitter's Here, from her debut album, Honesty Room, I really went wild. (But it was in my seat, singing along quietly, as not to disrupt the stranger next to me on my left.)

She invited her opening act, Katie Herzig, (and two other gals) up to sing a couple of power songs with her, I envied them. Plug for Katie Herzig, if I may: I didn't know of her music, but she's quite progressive and a self-made talent, and her songs have made it onto episodes of Grey's, Smallville, etc. Another tangent: I also didn't know the music of Dar's opening act back in 2000. Her name was Catie Curtis. I saw her years after at a free show at ear x tacy, and love her still, to this day. Anyway, go listen to all three of them: Dar, Katie, and Catie.

Dar(ling) also sang The Christian's and the Pagans, a song which features a character named Amber. Of course I love it for that reason alone, but the song is really just about family coming together at the holiday table, regardless of the way they live their lives. Very much Dar's style.

Yes, there were songs I wanted to hear that Dar didn't play. I wanted to shout out their one word titles, but I didn't, because no one else at Clifton was shouting at Dar. When she finished, I did shout encore during the loud standing ovation, since she did us one more back in 2000, in Lex. Dar reappeared and gave us another one of my personal favorites - a lovely song, perhaps written for one of her lifelong friends. She dedicated it to David. The title of the song is When I was a Boy and is off her first album.

Please check out Dorothy Snowden Williams at her website, or search her on myspace, you tube, and probably facebook. If you like Emmylou Harris, Joan Baez, Aimee Mann, or any other girl singer, you will love you some Dar, just the way I do.

Thanks to Dar (the writer, the author) for signing my copy of the YA book she published in 2006 via Scholastic - Lights, Camera, Amalee. Thanks for stopping into Louisville, Kentucky. Thank you for your songs. Sometimes they make me cry, cry, cry but usually they push me on to smile, appreciate sunrises and sunsets, and to think harder and longer about life and, yes, even love.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

facebook recap of IU vs. IUPUI - it's basketball season, y'all!

I first wrote this on facebook, but here it is again, filed in a spot in my heart and now, here...

By Amberv Murphy
Filed in : Recap

Did anyone else attend Tuesday night's barn burner against IUPUI, or "ewwy-pooewy" as my hubby, a Louisville fan, called them? I was lucky enough to sit in the North Lodge (a la "stand up, old people") during the second half and the energy in the crowd was ELECTRIC. I was pinching myself to score such great tickets at a great price. Ten rows from the floor, I sported my 87' champs t-shirt, which I've worn since my dad gave it to me in the 80's, so it's threadbare but perfect.
I'm die hard, bleeding crimson and cream, and never daunted, though I had to move away from Bedford, Indiana to Louisville as a child. I never wavered from my Hoosier loyalty. Through it all, we are tried and true. It doesn't matter how young or inexperienced we are this year, or what sanctions are imposed on us for our blissful yet straight retarded decision to hire Sampson. Although we loved and embraced the Kel-vin Samp-son, I think it feels even better to be where we are now: clean up is never fun, but we are getting back to an integrity we always had under the General, though it was an integrity the media and other Bobby haters couldn't understand.
I wonder if, somewhere in Alabama, Mike Davis is laughing or shaking his head at the state of the union that is Indiana University Athletics. I hope he is. We didn't know how good we had it with Davis. We should have never forced him out of the big shoes he was filling. We should have never hired Sampson. We should have never let EJ hog the ball. Who could blame the Illini for hating us? We are reaping what Kelvin and Greenspan and Senderoff were sowing.
I'd rather win 10 (or more) games doing it the Crean way. Low expectations are nice, and the fact that it may all be for naught in March doesn't seem to phase these kids.
If you were at the game Tuesday night, and heard someone shouting "Daniel Moore, you're awesome!" right before he took those last two big free throws, that was me. I wanted to give the kid a well-earned shout out. He's my new favorite player - my new Eric Suhr. I love the scrappers, the kids who hustle and can't believe they are playing at the storied place that IS Assembly Hall.
I have low hopes for Maui, because it's always hard to play down/over there. Maybe we'll beat Notre Dame. I'd rather we beat Kentucky in December, and it looks like we have a shot.
2-0 under Crean. Supporting fans at the homestead. There is nothing like IU bball, and nothing better for me in life than being there, hearing the noise and firing up the crowd. Ahh, the glory of old IU!!!

Monday, November 17, 2008

wise friends

Friends like these are the best in life: they are the ones you can't help but quote, yet you respect them enough to not reveal their identity. You try to keep all their secrets, but sometimes forget when you say you'll take things to the grave for them. You love them dearly, so dearly, sooo dearly. You are inspired by them; you laugh at them and with them.

My friend said this:

I'm down because I'm getting old. Yes, old. I'm getting grayer, fatter, wrinklier, blinder, deafer and achier. Yes, I know those aren't real words, but this aging process should not be real either! I can't even do cardio because of a pinched nerve in my foot, so, I starve myself just to maintain. I recently discovered the illusive hangover. I never knew it could take an entire day to recover from drinking - not drunk, just DRINKING. And who knew that driving at night would become such a chore? I know that I would be better off with my glasses (which I lost in NY last month), but finding the time to get replacements is tres difficult! I'll feel better once I start fixing myself, but today I will remain bitter.

post wedding blues

So: the bride's big day, she feels like a princess. Well, maybe. I would say I felt like Audrey Hepburn doing red carpet, were she young and modern in the world where I live today. I felt like a starlet, a diva, an Oscar Winner giving an acceptance speech. I wasn't bitchy, I didn't demand things, except a straw for a pre-ceremony bud lite.

My wedding day could not have been more amazing. My honeymoon to Myrtle Beach, SC was actually enhanced by the impending tropical storm we named Hanna. (We being whoever names storms, not my new husband or myself.) We arrived in MB late on Labor Day, the first of September. The tropical storm wind and rain didn't come in until Friday afternoon. The rain came down in diagonal sheets. The wind ripped through us with watery pin pricks that stung even the slightest sunburn. The ocean and the waves crept closer and covered the beach. Idiots and their children were swimming, late night, where a sandy beach used to be - hours before the storm. Flooding. In my stupor, and on the sixth floor of our honeymoon condo I only thought this: should I die tonight from chards of flying glass or my building falling down... what a way to go out. Sue me. I am overly dramatic.

Point being: the honeymoon was cool, but anxiety ridden. We came back to louisville, kentucky with less than a week to open gifts, unpack, catch up with friends... and to go back to our jobs and our daily routines. Oh, wait. Giant hurricane Kentucky windstorm. Nevermind about the daily routines... we sat in the dark for almost a full week. Hot water was a thing of the past. Reading and chatting by candlelight got really old, really fast. I escaped to Burger King one Friday night just to have somewhere to "be." He went to Wal-Mart. Ice, batteries? No, they don't have any of those in stock right now. WTF? Baby, you are supposed to be the provider, my manly man... get me some ice. NOW!

Kidding, it didn't go down completely like that. I am just saying, for the record, that the power outage sucked hard. I couldn't write thank you notes in the dark. I drank away the week. I got overwhelmed... that was my October.

It led me to November, when everything fell apart. Amber: at the hospital. Amber: off work, short term disability style. Amber: lost her groove and needs it back. Amber: god knows what it is wrong with her right now. And, since it is still November, "it" all leads me to this...

My marriage will likely survive. I'll get back to work by the end of the month and my bills will be paid. Life as a know it will resume rhythms, old and new. If I play my cards right, I can make an honest man out of my father, "Amber, I think you could do just about anything."

Saturday, November 1, 2008

random notes and Lisa Lampanelli

Last night my husband and I went to Fourth Street Live! to see Lisa Lampanelli at the new Wet Willie's comedy club. It's expensive but really nice. I think we spent around $200.00 for the night -- ridiculous, but whatever.

Lisa Lampanelli, if you don't know, does the Comedy Central Roasts of people like Will Shatner and Flava Flav. She also roasted Gene Simmons and does other stand up and other stuff with Howard Stern. She's filming for HBO right now.

She is SO crude and funny. I freaking love her. I wanted to sit up front since there were plenty of open seats, but my hubby wasn't excited about having the broad be mean to him... and we ran into a former coworker who insisted we sit in his section, which was in the middle of the club, so she didn't pick on us at all. Boo.

When the show ended I was first out of my seat and in line to get her autograph and to have my picture taken with her. Yay! She said she liked my purple dress and thanked me for spreading the word. She was super nice and genuine. I was a little star struck, but we talked for a few minutes since everyone else was still inside settling up their tabs.

I love Lisa! Must run as my husband is now very ready to go visit friends for cookout and poker. I'm going with him and he just told me I am not allowed to talk politics tonight. Yeah, we'll see.