Live concert video of The Rationales and OldJack at the Lizard Lounge

videos of the rationales album release party at the lizard lounge

the rationales at the lizard lounge

Now that I’ve got the site rocking a new layout (cheers to the “Sight” theme from WPShower!) I’m inspired to catch up on photos and videos for Sooz TV.

Back in May, I shot video at The Rationales album release party for “The Distance In Between” at the Lizard Lounge. They were joined by old soul rock ‘n’ rollers OldJack. Watch, listen and enjoy! You can become a fan of Sooz TV on Facebook and subscribe to the Sooz TV channel at YouTube.

Watch videos of The Rationales at the Lizard Lounge:

Watch videos of OldJack at the Lizard Lounge:

The next adventure

Since my first job working in the web and tech worlds back in 1995, I spent most of the time working as a freelancer and consultant. In February I left that world to return to an office job. To be honest, I was thrilled to be working in an office where I had my very own cubicle. There is something about spending 8+ hours every day working out of the same spot — a space you can decorate (hello “Boston rocks” sticker wall!) and call your own.

Fast forward five months later and I’ve returned to working on my own. And now I’m determined to make the most of the flexibility and freedom that consulting work provides while still having some of the consistency that an office job provides.

I’ve spent a lot of time working out of (air conditioned!) cafes since I was laid off in early July: Sherman Cafe, Bloc 11, Starbucks and Diesel Cafe. Thanks to the wifi hotspot on my phone, it doesn’t matter if a cafe has free wifi, I can still get online. But sometimes, I like to work somewhere where I intentionally do not want to be online. It’s not necessary to be online while I do the initial editing of event photos — and if I’m online while I’m working on photos, it’s often just a distraction.

To help inspire some of the office cubicle consistency I miss, I signed up for a membership at one of my favorite shared office space spots: WorkBar Boston.

There are also many unconventional places to get work done. One of my favorites is a hotel lobby. You obviously can’t spend a full day there — but it’s a good change of scenery after working out of a cafe for a morning or afternoon.

I’ve been thinking a lot about freelance vs. consulting. When I’ve worked on my own in the past, I’ve regarded myself as a freelancer. But this time around as I amplify my Sooz-for-hire work, I’m definitely leaning more towards the word consultant. Semantics?

Here’s to another adventure!

The Soozle Mix :: Volume 1

summertime cocktail The Soozle

summertime cocktail The Soozle

Several years ago I started experimenting with a summertime cocktail called The Soozle. The ingredients varied each year. This past Memorial Day Weekend at OldJack headquarters in Arlington I decided to settle on the final ingredient list: Fresca, bourbon/whiskey, large orange slice and ice.



What’s in The Soozle?

  • 1 tall glass (a beer glass works well)
  • Ice (if it’s a hot day outside, fill glass 3/4 full)
  • 4-5 parts Fresca
  • 1-2 parts bourbon (or whiskey)
  • 1 gratuitously large orange slice squeezed and dropped in

This cocktail does an excellent job sneaking up on you. If you don’t think you can’t taste the bourbon, do not add extra bourbon. After a few cocktails, you’ll be bourbon-ed up just fine.

And like any Sooz Creation™, there is a Facebook page that came to life on Tuesday. Click the like button to join The Soozle posse.

And also like any Sooz Creation™, there is a soundtrack. The Soozle Mix :: Volume 1 includes the cocktail’s house band OldJack plus Lloyd Cole, DJ Champion and more. You can listen to it via the 8tracks player below. Additional volumes of The Soozle Mix will be released throughout the summer.

Seventeen years later

Nebraska road in Scribner

Nebraska road in Scribner

What’s happened since I last wrote a blog entry at sooz.com several months ago? I started a new job as web editor at the Phoenix, became an even more crazed super fan of OldJack (ammmmazing Rock ‘n’ Roll Rumble performance!) and as of this month, I’ve now spent seventeen years in Boston. Seventeen!

It was seventeen years ago this month that I packed as much as I could in three bags, got on a plane and left Nebraska for Boston. I wish I had a photo of my stellar packing skills: everything from clothes, some plates I stole from the college cafeteria, cd player, posters, etc. It was supposed to be a summer trip and then I’d return to Nebraska and finish college. Except I didn’t move back and I never finished college. That “Internet thing” happened and I kept getting jobs working in web/tech. I also fell in love with the Boston rock music scene — and here I am, seventeen years later.

Everyone always asks how I ended up in Boston. Most assume I went to college here.  When I was a junior at Doane College (Crete, NE), a friend told me we had to get something called an email address. I had no idea what she was talking about. Eventually I figured out what it was and found email lists for fans of bands I was into at the time. I made friends online — one in particular through the 10,000 Maniacs mailing list and then several more on a BBS called ISCABBS.

Everything in my life changed when I got online on whatever day that was in September of 1993. The house I stayed in for the summer was a room sublet via a friend on ISCABBS who was studying abroad. Everything was arranged online and fortunately when I arrived it wasn’t a cruel joke — I actually had a place to live.

Every day since then has been an adventure.

 

[The photo is a dirt road outside of Scribner, Nebraska, near where I grew up.]

Rock and Roll Book Club “meeting” and The Old Ceremony in Boston on February 16th

Central Square is truly the place to be on Wednesday, February 16th. First up is the Rock and Roll Book Club’s first book club “meeting.” This is a project I started up this past November. We chose Steve Almond’s book “Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life” as the inaugural book club selection for January 2011. Steve was an exceptional author and participant to work with: he blogged on the website and helped get the word out. Everyone who read the book (or who aspired to read the book or who wants to hang out with other people who mostly read the book) will be meeting up on the 16th 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. at the Enormous Room in Central Square. The original plan included Steve attending the meeting and playing his favorite “guilty pleasure” songs along with guilty favorites of book club members. A family obligation has come up so he won’t be able to join us. Steve has graciously offered to make a CD for us — so all is not lost! He’s local so hopefully we’ll see him at a future book club meeting.

Say you’ll be at the Rock and Roll Book Club meeting on Facebook. (And if you don’t want to RSVP on Facebook, you can also just show up.)

Despite running a music website off and on for a long time, I’d never consider myself a music critique or reviewer. You couldn’t pay me enough money to write about a band I’m not into and I hate to describe what music sounds like and what you might want to compare it to. (Aside: I also don’t get excited when referred to as a “music blogger.” Who doesn’t have a blog these days? Next time you see me, please greet me with “Hello, long time U.S. Postal customer.”) So when I recommend a concert to attend after the Rock and Roll Book Club meeting on the 16th, I mostly want to insert 345 exclamation marks. The Old Ceremony doesn’t seem to be all that well known around here and admittedly, I didn’t know about the band until a couple years ago when Abby clued me into their music after she moved to their homeland of North Carolina a few years ago.

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (plus a lot more)

This is a tremendously excellent superbly awesome delightful band. I’m excited to finally see them live. Strangely enough, it’s an all ages show on a school night. I’m guessing that’s because of Rooney, one of the other bands who is also playing.

Win a pair of tickets to see The Old Ceremony at The Middle East Downstairs

If you’d like to win a pair of tickets to see The Old Ceremony, please send me an email and include 12 exclamation marks in the subject line. I’ll contact the winner on Wednesday, February 9th. If you’d like another chance to win tickets, follow @BostonTweeters — that’s a Twitter account I run for Boston area “people on Twitter.” I’ll be giving away a pair of tickets on Twitter, too.

VIDEO: “Tender Age” (live)

VIDEO: “Wither on the Vine, Pt. 2”

Who is The Old Ceremony?

Here’s how the band describes itself.

The Old Ceremony makes music so potent that you may go blind listening to it. But don’t worry, canes are in this season.

After three highly acclaimed albums and six years of touring, the Chapel Hill, NC band has built a large and loyal following. TOC has performed with CAKE, Squirrel Nut Zippers, Chuck Berry, Polyphonic Spree, Mountain Goats, and Avett Brothers, and was included in PASTE Magazine’s “Top 100 Albums of 2006.”

TOC is figureheaded by songwriter Django Haskins, and includes bassist Matt Brandau, drummer Dan Hall, vibes/organist Mark Simonsen, and violinist/keyboardist Gabriele Pelli.

New 8tracks mix: Anyway

It had been a while since I checked back in with 8tracks, a streaming music website where you can build mini internet radio stations and share your music recommendations in playlists of eight or more songs. Here’s a recent mix I made titled “Anyway” — songs to listen to on a cold (too cold!) winter’s night. It has a melancholy rock vibe and includes Whiskeytown, Over The Rhine, White Lies and Lloyd Cole & The Commotions.

2nd Annual Soozapalooza is around the corner on Saturday at The Middle East Downstairs

2nd Annual SoozapaloozaLast year I hosted a big party at Precinct in Union Square a couple days after my birthday and jokingly called it Soozapalooza. It was so much fun, it had to happen again. This year the 2nd Annual Soozapalooza is taking place at The Middle East Downstairs in Central Square. The theme is simple: enjoy an awesome night of my favorite music and celebrate nine years of my music blog and event guide Exploit Boston!. As an added bonus, this year festivities will be MC’d by vigilante pundit and comedian Baratunde Thurston.

Don’t you hate it when people say “OMG! You must check out my show. It is going to be the a-m-a-z-i-n-g!”? What happens when that’s really the case? ;)

The event has a website, of course — soozapalooza.com. The Twitter hashtag is #Soozapalooza2.

The Bands

Soozapalooza Supergroup: A bunch of Boston musicians somehow agreed to play a curious mix of music I selected. The group includes photographer and musician Johnny Arguedas rapping “In Da Club” by 50 Cent, My absolute favorite woman of Boston music Linda Viens singing “Joy” by Lucinda Williams, Three Day Threshold heart throb Kier Byrnes and Static of The Gods indie rock goddess Jen Johnson performing the Kenny and Dolly duet “Islands In The Stream” … and more.

VIDEO: “Islands In The Stream” by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton

The Candles: I first heard about NYC’s The Candles back in October when I noticed Boston music friends were liking their page on Facebook. About ten minutes after listening to their music I emailed the band and asked if they’d headline my big bash several months later. As Wikipedia says: “fronted by Josh Lattanzi, The Candles encapsulates the varied styles and influences he picked up while recording and touring with the likes of Ben Kweller, Albert Hammond, Jr. (The Strokes) and The Lemonheads. Their guitarist is Boston guy Matt Pynn who played for many years with Will Dailey. Stacy Jones will be sitting in with the band on drums. He was the drummer for Letters To Cleo and more recently American HiFi and Miley Cyrus.

VIDEO: “Let Me Down Easy” by The Candles at The Knitting Factory

Mistle Thrush: This is where music nostalgia kicks in. When I moved to Boston in May of 1994, a friend clued me into Mistle Thrush and they became my “first Boston band.” Mistle Thrush is lifting their many-year hiatus to play at Soozapalooza. Guitarist Scott Patalano’s current band is Gene Dante and The Future Starlets and Valerie Forgione is one part of the on-again-off-again and happily back-on-again duo Van Elk.


Listen to “Cicada” by Mistle Thrush

The Lights Out: I saw one of their first shows in 2006 at the former Sky Bar in Somerville. The Lights Out have a brand new album that came out on 1/1/11 called Primetime. It’s an epic assault of rock and roll.


Listen to “Primetime” by The Lights Out

Kristen Ford Band: I first saw Kfo and her band play a basement show in Arlington of all places last summer. If you’re like me and you very much Do Not Like To Dance you might be surprised what comes over you when the band starts up. That doesn’t mean you’ll be dancing well, Kristen can’t do anything about your style (or mine, sadly) — but you will have to make a special effort to not move around and enjoy yourself when they kick off the night at Soozapalooza.

VIDEO: “Please Please Please” by Kristen Ford Band at The Institute
for The Musical Arts

Buy tickets at the box office and don’t pay the pesky TicketWeb fees

Advance tickets are $10. You can buy a ticket for you and ten of your friends in person at The Middle East Box Office in Central Square or online through TicketWeb. Day of show tickets at the door are $12.

Reflections on ten years of sooz.com

I bought the sooz.com domain towards the end of 2000 and this website came to life in 2001 thanks to web designer and developer Makiko Itoh. Maki was writing a book about Javascript at the time and used the work she did on my website to test some of the content for the book. Fast forward to 2011, and the sooz.com website is ten years old. Crazy, yet true.

Here are some of the blog articles I’ve written during the past ten years. Ah, nostalgia!


“10” photo by Kirsty Hall

2001

December 7, 2001: “Independents Day” panel at South by Southwest Interactive Festival in 2001 with Nick Finck, Dori Smith, Evan Williams and Kelly Abbott. This was my first trip to Austin for SXSW and my first time being on a panel + moderating. I think there may have been 500 people at the festival back then.

2002

December 6, 2002: My music blog Exploit Boston! came to life in 2002.

2003

January 18, 2003: 30th birthday brunch with friends at Henrietta’s Table in Harvard Square. There is not likely to be a better place to have brunch on the planet.

March 21, 2003:It Can’t Rain All The Time” — the day after I received the news that my mom died very suddenly.

May 31, 2003: To celebrate relationship anniversary happenings, (ex-boyfriend) Michael and I saw Cowboy Junkies at the Iron Horse in Northampton, MA

June 24, 2003: Soozle, the official summer cocktail of sooz.com

2004

January 20, 2004: Birthdays and Howard Dean (and Joan Jett). Lots of Howard Dean supporters greeted him at crazy o’clock in New Hampshire after he returned from the “Dean Scream” in Iowa.

2005

May 19, 2005: Hello, WordPress! This was the day I moved sooz.com from Movable Type over to WordPress.

2006

July 7, 2006: Bang Camaro’s first show (at the Paradise Rock Club). The day their epic rock and roll was officially unleashed.

November 25, 2006: David Drucker’s op-ed in the L.A. Times about relocating to Canada

2007

October 3, 2007: Music Video Nostalgia: 1986-1994

2008

January 13, 2008: Podcamp Boston 2 Photos. I was a co-organizer of Podcamp Boston in 2007, 2008 and 2009.

April 3, 2008: Bloggers @ A.R.T. I organized three blogger nights with the American Reperatory Theater in Cambridge. This was a blog entry about the second collaboration that connected bloggers with theater.

October 10, 2008: Mandy Moore was a surprise guest of Mike Viola at the Lizard Lounge. And then she blogged about me.

2009

Marcy 19, 2009: TAZA chocolate Factory Tour: how the cocoa winnowing machine works

June 21, 2009: Photos of silver performance artist in Harvard Square

2010

January 8, 2010: Amanda Palmer and Kay Hanley (Letters to Cleo) perform together at Lizard Lounge

March 18, 2010: Video and interview of Boston poet Mignon Ariel King on WGBH’s Basic Black

August 29, 2010 Photo and recipe for Post Punk Kitchen’s vegan tofu scramble — I became vegan on March 18, 2010 (the day after I returned to Boston from SXSW Interactive Festival). This is one of many tasty recipes on the Post Punk Kitchen website.

New Drupal work and photos from the Drupal 7 Party

Jay Batson DJing at the Drupal 7 Release Party in Boston
Jay Batson DJing at the Drupal 7 Release Party in Boston
Acquia co-founder Jay Batson DJing at the Drupal 7 Reease Party in Boston

I’ve been digging back into Drupal work this year via consulting work for Michael Skok at North Bridge Venture Partners. One of the projects is The Future of Open Source forum that leads up to the Open Source Business Conference in San Francisco each year. Built with Drupal Gardens, the forum is the companion website to a survey about the future of open source and includes “Blog the Future” where industry leaders share thoughts about where open source is headed in 2011 and beyond. My last Drupal project was as a project manager consultant at Pearson Education in 2009 working on the redesign of MyMathLab.com and its move to Drupal. I’m excited to be working in the world of Drupal again! My interest in Drupal began back in 2007 when I worked at BostonNOW newspaper managing the web department and the redesign and transition to Drupal. In 2008 I was the event planner for DrupalCon Boston.

The Drupal community celebrated the release of Drupal 7 with release parties around the world on Friday, January 7th at 7pm. I attended the party hosted by the local Boston Drupal User Group at Revolution Rock Bar in downtown Boston and helped with event photography. Dries Buytaert, creator of Drupal and co-founder of local Boston tech company Acquia attended the festivities as well as state senator Sonia Chang-Diaz (whose website is built with Drupal). You’ll see some “Drupal blue” hair in the photos, too.

View the photos I shot at the Drupal 7 Release Party in Boston at Sooz Photography.

View photos tagged D7RP on Flickr taken at Drupal 7 Release Parties around the world.

The Rock and Roll Book Club

rock and roll books in a book storeI started a new book club in November 2010 called the Rock and Roll Book Club. The idea is that we’ll all read the same rock music related book each month. The book will either be directly about rock music or written by a musician-turned-author. Most of us spend way too much time at our computers so we’ll also be tweeting about the book and writing about it on our websites.

Rock and Roll Book Club’s inaugural selection is by local Boston author Steve Almond — “Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life: A Book by and for the Fanatics Among Us” published by Random House on April 13, 2010. Before confessing his rock and roll fanaticism, Steve wrote several other books including one about a different kind of obsession — Candyfreak: A Journey through the Chocolate Underbelly of America.

Part of the reason I started the book club is because I haven’t read a book in a really long time. No, longer than a really long time.

So far 33 people have signed up to read Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life — with more who’ve RSVP’d as “maybe” on the Facebook event page. There’s no pressure to read the book by the end of the month but everyone is encouraged to dig in on January 1st.

rock and roll will save your lifeThe book’s author, Steve Almond, is joining us throughout January, too. He is committed to helping us make Rock and Roll Book Club something more than just another book club. (Not that I really know what a book club is like but yes, it will be f-u-n.) Steve will be guest blogging on the book club website, giving away mixed CDs to people who refer the most new members (all they have to do is signup for the email list — shazam!) and if that’s not enough, Steve is also co-hosting a book club member event in Boston. Eventually there will be events all over if the book club takes off. We’ve already got members from throughout the country so we shall see.

To become an official member of the Rock and Roll Book Club, join the email newsletter and buy the book. If you’d like to win a custom handmade mixed CD from author Steve Almond, tell your friends in email, on Facebook and on Twitter to join, too. All they need to do is note you in the “referred by” field using your full name or your Twitter username. You need to be already subscribed to the email list to win one of Steve’s CDs.

Social Media for the Rock and Roll Book Club

Twitter: @RockBookClub

Facebook: Facebook.com/RockBookClub

Twitter hashtag: #RockBookClub

Blog tag and photo tag: “Rock Book Club”

Website: RockBookClub.com

Steve Almond on Facebook: on.fb.me/stevealmond