What not to do at The Barbra Seville Show

Last night I left my house about 9:30 to go see Barbra perform at The Rock. Since this is the time I normally fall asleep, I was certainly going out of my comfort zone. I fretted over what to wear and for good reason. The other obvious mom in the audience was asked if her friends just went and pulled her off the couch. I was only asked if I needed a Ginger Ale, so I felt good about that.

If you do go see this fun and hilarious show, I’ve put together a few tips of things not to do when you go.

  1. Do not wear your cheapest Old Navy flip flops. Barbra will notice.
  2. Do not walk across the stage to sit in your seat. Especially repeatedly. (Ricardo, a young man at the front, must have had some very important business out of the room, because he probably did this seven or eight times.)
  3. Do not get so drunk that your friends have to drag you stumbling out of the bar. Especially if you are going to knock me out of my chair.
  4. Do not forget to bring cash! There are multiple opportunities to stuff bills into the costumes of the girls.
  5. Do not have your bachelorette party here if you are uncomfortable being asked repeatedly if you are marrying a man or a woman.
  6. Do not bring anyone who lacks a sense of humor about lesbians, sex, body parts, or various other gay related topics.
  7. When asked what you do for a living, do not tell long boring stories about your work. No one is thinking about the office after ten on a Saturday night, and if they are they shouldn’t be at a drag show.
  8. Don’t forget to make a reservation. This guarantees you will have a table with a good view. (And I think it saves you $3 admission. That was a little unclear.)

So for sake of disclosure, I need to point out that I am friends with Barbra, who goes by Richard when he’s not wearing a gown. Here’s a photo of him meeting Jack (who is now 8, so you can see how long ago this was.)

07-28-13 Richard


And last night:

07-28-13 Richard 3

I took 90 pictures and would have more but I filled my SD card. Here are a few of my favorites.

Barbra as Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch) from Glee (very funny and well-done. I laughed so hard my eyes were watering.)

07-28-13 Richard 5

Check out these awesome boots:

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This guy/gal is in his 70s.

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And all the ladies at the end of the night, including Ms. Gay Arizona. Her crown reminds me of one I saw at a wedding a while back. It looks a little better on her.

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Thanks so much Barbra/Richard for a great night out. It was such a fun experience and I would love to go again with a big table full of people. I sat with Gloria, who apparently goes every single Saturday night. Since it has been 13 years since I have seen Barbra perform I am clearly behind the game. And next time I will remember to bring a stack of dollar bills.


I did so much this weekend I can’t fit it all in to the blog. Look for a review of Bink’s Midtown, Zinc Bistro, and possibly Fruitville Station. It’s a good thing I have some topics saved up, as the boys will be back Tuesday and life will resume as normal. For now however I’m going to watch Downton Abbey and lie around, listening to the quiet.



Saturday Recap


What a week. Let’s start with reader comments, because for now nearly all the feedback I receive is from people I know in real life (IRL for those of us who are trying to keep up on the lingo.)

Here are some paraphrased things I have heard this week:

Your blog is silly. (That’s not a paraphrase actually. It’s a direct quote. Thanks Lenny.)

Sometimes you come across as snarky.

I will not read what you have to say because your title is so awful

Go see “Fruitville Station”. (I saw it today. See below.)

I love all of this. I love that people are reading and having a reaction to what I write. So thank you all and please keep it coming.

Since our last update, I went Ice Skating

07-27-13 skating

And I fell – see the ice on my knee and my arm. This was surprisingly fun, even the falling part.

I went out a few times, I ate some gluten free pizza. I claimed certain places are better than other places, and I prepared for my kids to leave town.

Do you know what I do when I am not pressured to get home and cook dinner and get kids settled for the night? I work. And you know what Joe does? He works. Working has become a luxury for both of us, and I don’t know what that says about America, or work, or life balance, but it is the truth. We were supposed to go to the baseball game Thursday night because we were both still at work when we were supposed to leave for the game.

So I have nothing to say about Luchador as promised. Although according to my friends who did attend the game, the transition to the new mascot is not complete. Perhaps they are rethinking this ridiculous idea? Who knows. While I do not follow baseball a great deal, I know the Diamondbacks are struggling to find their place in the league and not always succeeding. (I don’t see the Red Sox or the Yankees pulling stunts like this, just as an example.)

Today I woke up early and started watching Downton Abbey on Amazon. In an effort to not spend the entire day in bed, my parents convinced me to go see Fruitville Station. Well for the love of Jesus that movie is harsh. We have come so very far yet we have so far to go.

Tomorrow I will have much to say about the Barbra Seville show at The Rock. I hope to meet Ms. Gay Arizona. What does one wear to such an event anyway?



TBD at the Old Brass Rail, a true Girls Night Out

I am fortunate enough to have known a small group of people for a very long time. Like 35 years. Give or take. I met most of this scrappy little group sometime between 1977 and 1982 – time we all spent at Fuller Elementary (GO FALCONS!)

Last night I took one of them (Julie from Chandler – she would like it pointed out that she does not live in Gilbert as I incorrectly stated before) to see another one of them (Theresa) perform in her band TBD (I don’t think they have a link. I will update if they do and I’m just missing it.) at the Ole Brass Rail. (I did not have high hopes for this bar and was blown away. If you are the bar going type I highly recommend it. The place was completely packed and the service was fast and friendly.)

Now back in the late 70s I was a very small girl with a smart mouth. There were times this mouth of mine got me into more trouble than I could handle, because deep down I am a big fraidy cat and will never back up my words with action. Never. It helped me back then to have a friend like Theresa because she was tall, beautiful, smart, and a total badass. She is still all of these things and seeing her perform is such fun for me.

Julie has been my partner in crime since we were that young as well. And by partner, I mean I drag her into things she probably shouldn’t be doing, and sometimes make her uncomfortable. It is the stuff movies are made of, and I hope some of our stories will make it into a book one day. Published anonymously of course.

I may have mentioned previously that live music is my great and longtime friend. I love guitars and drums and great voices. I would love to be in a band, yet my musical skills are lacking. (Julie also harbors some weird desire to sing in a band. She asked last night if I thought Theresa would one day let us sing “Midnight Train to Georgia” with her band. Um, no. She would not. I blame this all on our piano teacher, Mrs. Carol. She taught us all as if we could be great performers one day, while we struggled through Moonlight Sonata.)

For now, Theresa will have to live our dreams for us. And she’s doing a great job, because she is a rock star.

07-27-13 TBD


And so is the rest of the band:

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07-27-13 TBD-3 07-27-13 TBD-4

Please don’t judge my photos too closely – I still haven’t figured this lens out. As I am looking through the hundred some-odd shots I took last night I’m baffled by where the camera is focusing. It is tough for me to get sharp pictures with this lens, although it is the best one I have for low light.

No matter, it was a great night. I lost Julie a few times but she seemed relatively ok with it. There was a moment that she was in a situation where another girl was trying to pick up on her, but in true Julie fashion she just whispered to me “I think we need to move” and went on chatting.

There is more to write about these ladies, but I need to move on and recap the week. And then get ready to go to The Rock for the Barbra Seville Show tonight. Barbra is also a friend of mine, although only for the past ten years or so…kinda new. I’m going to take my camera again and hope I can figure out this lens.





Weekend Preview

I had to get up early today to be at a work meeting by 7:30. Also my boys left this morning and will be gone for a week. I am completely thrown off. I feel like a toddler who has missed a nap.

So today we are going to play Wednesday Weekend Preview. Leave a comment and tell me what you’re doing this weekend if you’re so inclined. I have some free space on my calendar….

Here are my plans, as I will be acting as though I don’t have children for the next 6 days.

Tomorrow: Hanny’s and a Baseball game. I haven’t been to Hanny’s since right after they opened (which is never the best time to go anywhere in my experience), so I’m looking forward to that. Then the Diamondbacks will take on the Cubs and I hope to get great photos of Luchador (it means “fighter” in Spanish, according to Wikipedia) I promise to offer my opinion of this new mascot for the team that seems to struggle with its own identity at times.

Friday: Our new fridge arrives! I will be maneuvering a day of working from home, participating in several conference calls, and emptying and filling a new fridge. That night my friend from Kindergarten (and after) will be playing in her band TBD at The Ole Brass Rail. Hopefully a few other elementary friends will be there, and we can sing the Fuller Fight Song and have some cocktails. (Julie and Ian, I am looking right at you.)

Saturday: I plan to lie in bed and watch movies all day, take a nap, and then head out to see The Barbra Seville Show at The Rock. Barbra is a friend of mine, and the last time I went to this particular show she threw her Lee Press On Nails at me and called me a thieving f*cking whore. Not a lie. (Should whore be written wh*re? I can’t decide.)

I should also see a movie in the theater, since I never ever ever get to do that when the kids are here. What should I see? I hope to get a massage. I will likely experiment with several green smoothie recipes in my Vitamix (best bday gift ever). I’ve mostly been doing kale/spinach/mango/blueberry/coconut milk with protein powder and flax. But apparently the green smoothie community is large and opinionated, so I intend to find the perfect blend.

There will likely not be a post tomorrow, as I scramble from work to Hanny’s to baseball. Stay tuned though, because I’m certain the weekend will bring a gaggle of posts.



I don’t go go Scottsdale either

I feel like I may have come across as to you all as a snob. I don’t go to Gilbert. Or Chandler. Or Mesa if I can help it. This strikes people from Gilbert or Chandler or Mesa in an unpleasant way.

But I also don’t go to Scottsdale. I despise Scottsdale with every section of my body. In the recent past I accompanied a friend of mine to a horrific bar called Spanish Fly. It was the pinnacle of douchebaggery and girls who swoon over douchey guys. They do this wearing bikinis and board shorts. It’s on my list of most terrible places on earth, and it sums up the Scottsdale scene for me.

My one notable exception is FnB. Quite possibly the best restaurant I have ever experienced. (Tied with a little place in Paris called Cafe Constant.) Another is a wine shop called Terroir. I’m a member of their wine club and am always forgetting to go pick up my wine. I feel as though both places belong in Phoenix (especially Terroir, whose owner is apparently my neighbor. Not like on my street or anything, but he lives in the hood. Why drive all the way across town to run your amazing shop? Why not move it over here? Like in the AJs shopping center on Central and Camelback, for example.)

Do I think Phoenix is better than these various suburbs? Yes, I do. For many reasons I prefer living in Central Phoenix. That should be clear from what I choose to post about here I suppose.

The other exception I make is to go to visit my parents. Again, why they chose to live way the hell up in North Scottsdale is something I will never understand. I guess my dad really wanted to get as far away from Tempe as he could without leaving the state. And they do have a sweet house and their backyard looks like a resort. Case in point:

07-23-13 Pool

(That’s Jack when he was much younger. Now he’s 8 and way too cool for jumping off rocks.)

So I do go to these places, I would just prefer not to. I’m the Bartleby of the Valley of the Sun.

As I was typing this I was invited to a Corona del Sol happy hour in South Tempe (which might as well be Chandler). It’s at a horrible bar called Dos Gringos. I thought we had all agreed to finally come to Phoenix, and I thought I would finally not have to drive for 45 minutes to see my old friends. No dice. I will go out there and only complain a little bit, because the truth is I will go anywhere to see the people I love. And the older I get the more I love these guys who I hung out with over 20 years ago. Our reunion felt like a continuation of a party that started in 1986. And for that experience I don’t mind the drive.

Cibo is better than Pizzeria Bianco

Cibo is a great little place in downtown Phoenix that doesn’t get nearly the attention as Pizzeria Bianco. I love the atmosphere of this historic house, the service is always spot-on, and the food is amazing. I have been a fan of this place for a long time, but I quit eating all wheat products a few years back. Last week I read that they were offering gluten-free pizzas and sandwiches so I had to give it a try. I did call ahead to make sure they were open on Sundays, and there was a concern that they might not have pizza available during brunch, but the stars aligned and I was able to enjoy this:

07-22-13 Cibo

I wanted to cry this pizza was so delicious. It felt like I was back on the Amalfi Coast. I saved some for Joe to taste and his comment was “Are you sure they aren’t tricking you and just telling you it’s gluten free?” I assure you they are not tricking me, and the crust was that good. So was the prosecco.

It might seem controversial to claim anything is better than Bianco. After all, this tiny restaurant has its own Wikipedia page listing all the people who think the food is great. Martha Stewart! Rachel Ray! and even Vogue Magazine. Chris Bianco is somewhat of a celebrity in this town and is able to run a business where people wait up to three hours to eat his food. Hats off to him.

I’m just saying that given the choice between the two places, I will choose Cibo. I have referred many people here in the past and will continue to do so. It’s nice to be treated as a welcome guest and not as if I am lucky to be darkening the door of the greatest chef to ever live.


Oh L’Amour! Howard Jones and Andy Bell are touring!

I wish I had a photo to go along with these stories I am about to tell. Alas, digital photography did not exist and we didn’t carry cameras with us. Or if we did, I don’t have the prints…

In October 1986 my parents dropped me and my friend Elissa off at the Wendy’s across the street from the State Fairgrounds on McDowell. (My mom does not remember this, so maybe Elissa’s parents did the dropping. Also our friend Jennifer may have been with us, still trying to verify that fact. Also our friend Vicki thinks it was 1985.) There are always pretty big concerts at the fair, because Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum is smack dab in the middle of the Midway. Back then it was open seating for anyone who purchased admission to the fair, so you had to arrive early or risk not seeing the show. (I think now you have buy a separate ticket. I don’t really go to big shows like this anymore so I’m not certain.)

I was 14 years old. We somehow convinced the ticket agent we were ten, and we got in for 50 cents. (Why they didn’t question the fact that two ten year old girls were entering the fair by themselves is funny to me now. We would likely be surrounded by cops in 30 seconds flat if that happened today and we would show up in the papers.)

We made our way into the venue and felt lucky to get seats to the right of the stage. We were seeing Howard Jones (!)  This was before OMG became the way to describe pure excitement and joy, but we were probably saying the 80’s equivalent to OMG to one another the entire time. (Does anyone remember? What did we say in 1987?)

That energy is living inside me, even now 27 years later sitting at my desk listening to Howard on my Jambox bluetooth speaker from my ITunes playlist on my IPhone. (Slightly more convenient than records. Or worse, waiting for your favorite song to come on KZZP) I close my eyes I am that 14 year old girl experiencing something I couldn’t even imagine. I was walking out of Plato’s cave and seeing Howard in person. His giant yellow hair bouncing around, his hand-held keyboard, his amazing voice surrounding us all. (And yes, I did know about Plato’s cave back then. Even though we went to public school, we managed to learn a lot.)

You’ve been to concerts like this I’m sure. You know every lyric to every song, and every word speaks directly to you. The crowd is dancing, singing, and generally acting like some kind of crazy religious cult. We are pretending the water is champagne, Howard, we are, I swear. We will not try to live our life in one day. And I can certainly tell you at that moment we were enjoying the here and now. Yes. The future will take care of itself somehow.

Life was different for me when I left that concert. I was different. That was the day I became forever hooked on live music.

Seeing an artist in person will certainly cement your relationship with them. Howard Jones and I are forever connected, even if he doesn’t know it.

By the time I went to my next concert I was 15. It was at Compton Terrace –  an outdoor amphitheater near Firebird raceway. I feel like we went there in July, which is not necessarily a great time to be outdoors in Phoenix. (I checked, and it was actually July 22.) It did not matter to us, we were going to see Erasure (!) My boyfriend Chris and I loved Erasure. Somehow we convinced his dad to drive us – and yes, drop us off – at the venue super early. It must have been hot, but I do not remember that.

I do remember Chris’ dad driving us to the venue, and the cars were backed up along the dirt road. He commented that it looked like a bunch of lemmings. I did not know what a lemming was, and didn’t really believe him when he described these tiny animals hurling themselves off cliffs just because their friends did the same. This seemed like such an improbable and strange story, I’m certain I told him it could not possibly be true.

I also remember seeing the band with their synthesizers and their British accents. They were the opening act for Duran Duran (I had to verify this information as well. I could not remember anything other than Erasure. I loved them. Did I mention that?) Again, they sang songs I knew, but right in front of me. They sang Oh L’Amour, out loud, right there. It’s a song about the heartbreak I had not yet known. At that moment in my life, one I can also conjure with my eyes closed, the world would always be great and fun and we would grow up to be happy and live out all of our dreams.

I recently learned that Howard Jones and Andy Bell (from Erasure) are touring around the US together. It is impossible for me to imagine why they aren’t coming to Phoenix – they could sell out Dodge Theater (or whatever it’s called now) in three seconds flat. Instead, Howard is coming alone to Tucson. 

I briefly considered flying to Portland to see them all on August 25, but I have a business trip the following day. I could drive to LA that Friday and see them all at The Greek Theater.  Or fly to Saratoga and see them at a winery….

In the end I opted for Howard in Tucson. I booked a room at Hotel Congress where I only have to stumble up the stairs after the show.

Back when I was 15 I really did believe I had everything figured out. When I listen to this particular set of music (my own personal mix-tape on my IPod), I once again feel like I will grow up to be a poet and change the world. I can no longer imagine what I thought it would be like to get married, although I’m quite certain I did not consider the amount of laundry, grocery shopping, cooking, and horrible Disney shows that would be in my life. When we talked about growing up and being together forever, I’m guessing in that dream we had enough servants to cook and clean while we laid around and listened to music.

Happy Sunday everyone. Thanks for reading and enjoy the rain. Maybe one day we can convince Andy Bell to come to Phoenix. Probably not again in July though.