The Tamale Hut Café presents:
Kinetic Color
A collection of abstract artwork by Stephanie Bieniek
Only at The Tamale Hut Café
8300 W. Cermak Rd. North Riverside, IL
708-442-0948 - tamalehutcafe.com

Artwork will be on display until January 7, 2018
during normal Tamale Hut Café business hours:
Mon-Fri:7:30AM-7PM, Sat:8:30AM-7PM, Sun:8:30AM-6PM


For more information about Stephie's art, please also check out artbystephie.com.
For Matt's writing projects, please go to storiesbymatt.net. Enjoy your visit here!


03/29/15: Several years ago, I made a couple of mix CDs of songs that I recognize as having been played on WXRT, a local radio station I would listen to religiously. That station has been around since 1972, largely playing the same style of what's now known as "adult-oriented rock", so they have an extensive catalog of songs that they choose from. Probably because of this, there is a large number of tunes that I've heard on XRT that I rarely have heard anyplace else, songs like 'Belly of the Whale' by Burning Sensations and 'Home of the Brave' by The Nails. I always thought it would be neat to have a CD (or previously, a cassette) full of these songs. Several years ago I compiled two mix CD sets, and even burned a few copies for family and friends. I have MP3s of these compilations on my phone, and I periodically listen to them.
     This week, the song I can't get out of my head is from one of these collections, 'I Think She Likes Me' by Treat Her Right. It's a story of a musician who is talking to a woman in a bar, only to be confronted by the woman's husband, who is brandishing a handgun. I've listened to it several times in the past few days, and it occurs to me that this is much the same story as another song, 'Gimme Three Steps' by Lynyrd Skynyrd, but I see a big difference between the two.
     I'd always considered Lynyrd Skynyrd to be this long-haired, hard-partyin' band of southern hell-raisers, but in 'Gimme Three Steps,', the singer, when confronted by the pistol-wielding spouse of the girl he's trying to score with, begs the man for the eponymous three steps head start:

I was scared and fearing for my life.
I was shakin' like a leaf on a tree.
'Cause he was lean, mean,
Big and bad, Lord,
Pointin' that gun at me.
I said, "Wait a minute, mister,
I didn't even kiss her.
Don't want no trouble with you.
And I know you don't owe me
But I wish you'd let me
Ask one favor from you."
"Won't you give me three steps,
Gimme three steps mister,
Gimme three steps towards the door?
Gimme three steps
Gimme three steps mister,
And you'll never see me no more."


     Yet the character in the Treat Her Right song, who I somehow pictured as a somewhat clean-cut guy from Boston, is confronted with a similar situation, but his response is more than a little different:

Some guy comes over, what does he think
Intruding on our private thing
The man is looking quite upset
Wavin' 'round with his gun like that

She'd told me things about her life
She'd never told me she was someone's wife
The man with the gun says "Why'd you buy her a drink?"
I said "I think she likes me that's what I think"


     Notice the tense of the reply. It's not an apology, like "Oh, I thought she liked me, but I'll quietly leave now." The response, even with the imminent threat of violence, is a defiant "F--- you! I think she likes me, so I'm going for it."
     Suddenly, Lynyrd Skynyrd doesn't seem so bad-ass any more.


03/27/15: I have several bookmarks in my browser to pages that list upcoming concerts of bands that I'd like to see, or in some cases see again. I check them periodically to see if any shows are scheduled anywhere close. I had some time today so I went throught the list and was dismayed to see that Edgar Froese, the main guy behind Tangerine Dream, passed away this past January at the age of 70.
     I don't remember how I first learned of Tangerine Dream, but it was probably during my first interest in the genre known as Krautrock, which itself was fostered by my fascination in the output of Billingsgate Records, a small local label which had its offices mere blocks away from where I grew up. I never really thought that Tangerine Dream fit in with the rest of the bands of that type, but being primarily instrumental, primarily electronic, and being from Germany, it was natural that they wound up lumped with Kraftwerk, Neu!, and other bands of that time.
     I do remember my first Tangerine Dream record was Stratosfear, and I bought it from the cutout bin at Kroozin' Music, a local record store with a putative connection to Billingsgate. A couple of spuns on the old turntable and I was soon hunting all the record stores I frequented in search of the band's back catalog, much of which I found in no time. I soon had a dozen albums to choose from.
     I stopped buying new Tangerine Dream music in the mid-'80s, around the time most of their output consisted of movie soundtracks. I think my tastes were just changing, and my interest in krautrock waned a bit, but I would still go back to my Tangerine Dream albums when I wanted some music to just relax to. Back when I was buying components of my first stereo, my dad had given me a reel-to-reel tape deck, and I would look at those tape spools, which if you slowed them down could fit several hours on one spool. I always wanted to record a bunch of Tangerine Dream on one of those tapes, so I could listen to many hours without having get up and flip the record or change the cassette. This is something that we can do now with digital files. I sometimes load up my MP3 Jukebox with three or four Tangerine Dream albums and listen uninterrupted for hours.
     I only saw Tangerine Dream play live once. It was on the Optical Race tour in 1988, but the show was outdoors at Poplar Creek in late September of that year, and it was cold. The place was less than half-full, and they even announced that the people on the lawn should just come down to the pavilion, since there were so many empty seats. I remember being physically uncomfortable, but the music was great. Last year, I saw that the latest incarnation of the band, up to six members now, was playing some live shows in Europe, so I'd been checking the page occasionally to see if they would be coming to the US. Edgar Froese was the only constant in the band since it was formed in 1967, and with him gone, I assume the band is as well. At least there music still lives on.

03/08/15: I've been wrong all along. People are always complaining that the Daylight Savings Time change affected them somehow, especially in the spring, when they complain that their missing an hour of sleep threw them off for a couple of days afterwards. I never thought that it had any effect on me. Until today.
     Yesterday, we had a full day of activity. I puttered on the computer all morning, carefully avoiding any attempt to do any writing. We went to visit my parents, where we played two full games of Scrabble. When we got home, we watched a movie on TV, during which I had a few small cocktails, so right around 11 PM, I could barely keep my eyes open. I turned on my alarm, crawled under the covers and was soon fast asleep.
     Kisu woke me up this morning, just before 8, when the alarm was set to go off. I got up and took her for a long walk, then came back in and started a pot of coffee before turning the computer on. I checked my e-mails, got a cup of coffee and a couple of cookies, and sat back down at the keyboard to browse the news sites. After a little while, I happened to glance at the clock and noticed that it was almost 10:30. I briefly thought that I must have taken Kisu out for a longer walk than I thought, and that Stephie was sleeping really late, when I remembered about the time change and realized that the computer had adjusted its time, but I had forgotten to change the rest of the clocks.
     Usually what I do is to change my alarm clock before going to bed, then I change all the rest of the clocks in the apartment on Sunday morning, but I was so tired last night that I forgot. I quickly changed the clocks, and by this time Stephie was up, and I went about my day. All day, though, I kept thinking that it was earlier than it really was, or at least as the clocks say it is. It was then that I realized that for once, Daylight Savings Time actually has affected me, but not like most people say. They tell me that they are off because they missed an hour of sleep, but by not changing my alarm before going to sleep yesterday, I feel like I lost an hour of my waking day! It's a lousy feeling.
     You can be sure that I'm not going to do that again. Although now that I think about it, if I don't change the clock before I got to bed on the night we go back to standard time, will I feel like I get an extra hour of Sunday? Might be worth a try.



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