Sunday, November 29, 2009

Hootie — the Blowfish + me

This is either the worst or most hilarious photo I've ever taken, depending on your point of view. I opt for hilarity! Yes, that's me and former Hootie and the Blowfish frontman Darius Rucker after his show here at the Mid-Hudson Civic Center in Poughkeepsie. And the picture is the result of my GF doing her best with the red-eye reduction feature I'd inadvertently turned on.

Still, it's a unique memento from a fun night out, where we heard some of my favorite songs from college mixed in with some of the songs that made Darius the CMA's New Artist of the Year just a few weeks earlier.

Now, avid readers of the "Space" here might remember I've got a few rules about listening to country music, but for the exception of two or three songs, I didn't really feel like we were at a country show. Instead, it was just like listening to "Hootie" (and, c'mon, who didn't just call Darius "Hootie" back in the day?!) singing some cool songs. It was the same voice doing some new songs, many of the ones that drew a pretty diverse crowd with fans of all ages ... some of them even wore cowboy hats, there weren't as many cowboys hats as at last year's Gretchen Wilson show here. (For the record, I did not wear a cowboy hat.)

Even though we'd only heard a few of his country hits, we weren't disappointed, as Darius sang a few of the tunes that made him famous some 15 years ago.
Now, I'm not old, but I felt it when, in the days leading up to the show, I'd learned two people I know — one a sophomore in college, the other a senior in high school — had never heard of Hootie and the Blowfish, let alone their hits like "Hold My Hand," "Let Her Cry" and "Only Wanna Be With You," all of which Darius played and all of which we loved.

As you can see from the ticket he signed for me (not to mention that amazingly horrible/hilarious picture he posed for), Darius was extremely fan friendly. Toward the end of his final encore — he played "Purple Rain" by Prince by the way ... how cool is that?! — the guy even traded his mic for a Sharpie to sign autographs for fans in the front row. A good friend of Tiger Woods' and an avid golfer himself, Darius finished his show by taking off the Tiger Woods hat he wore all show long, signing it and tossing it into the crowd in my direction; sadly, being a Tiger Woods fan, I wasn't lucky enough to catch it. But don't worry about me; it's all good.

'Cause nobody snagged a better picture with Darius than me after the show!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

New Kids do "The Right Stuff" for tots

Since I'm mentioning the New Kids On The Block's recent charitable acitivities, here's another:
My favorite group of all-time are holding a one-night-only show at Boston's House of Blues to raise money and collect toys for Toys for Tots. The $60 tickets for the event sold out in 2 minutes when they went on sale.

Sadly, work commitments preclude me from going, though I'm sure fans will post video of the show online shortly after.

That being said, don't think I've forgotten about the tots! Toys for Tots has long been one of my favorite charities: "The tots need toys," as I often say, and it's important for all kids to have a happy holiday. You can click here for more information on the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Rachael's "stoup"-pendous recipe

Don't ask me why, more than two years after we attended a "Rachael Ray" show taping, I just thought of this now, but here goes...

When we were in the audience, Rachael made a "Cacciatore Stoup with Turkey Sausage Meatballs" — a "stoup," she told us, is "thicker than a soup, but not as thick as a stew." When we got home, my GF made it and it was de-lish! (That's a Rachele term, btw.) Anyway ... I stumbled across the recipe and thought I'd share it, 'cause it was some good eating. Just click here for the recipe, and you can be making some food that's definitely yum-o! (And yes, yum-o is another Rachael-ism.)

Picky eater that I am, I just went through the recipe myself and crossed off about half the ingredients that I won't eat, thus making the recipe even simpler!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Fight against cancer just got "Stronger"

Of all the hundreds of compact discs I've amassed since I got my first CD player, this one might rank as my favorite. Yes, that is a new CD hand-signed by Danny Wood, a member of my favorite group of all-time, the New Kids On The Block! I got it directly from Danny's company, with the proceeds going to a great charity.

Just in case you (like my best friend) doubt the authenticity of the autograph, here's the short story behind it:

Here is the regular, unsigned "Stronger: Remember Betty" CD, released earlier this month. Notice it is not signed in silver Sharpie. The CD is a tribute to Danny's mom, Betty (seen on the cover here), who lost her battle with breast cancer a decade ago. The proceeds of the CD benefit Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the work they do to battle the disease. Each of the songs is both an homage to his mom, as well as great therapy for anyone who's lost a loved one. At $15 (plus $3 s/h), it's a great purchase, even unsigned.

But ... Danny was cool enough to sign 300 copies of his new CD and then send this tweet, letting us know we could buy them at no extra cost! Mine arrived in less than a week.

This cause has long been an important one to Danny and the rest of the New Kids as I wrote last year, when the guys sold special tanktops with this logo at their reunion tour with the proceeds again going to the folks at Komen. Additionally, fellow New Kid Donnie Wahlberg recently released his new single, and announced he'd give money from the sales of "I Got It" to the Komen cause.