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Chirp! Chirp!

102 Year Old Watches Herself on Film For The First Time

DISCLAIMER: Go ahead and have a chopped onion ready to blame for the tears about to stream down your face.

This is a video of 102-year old Alice Barker.  In the 1930s and 1940s, she was a chorus line dancer during the Harlem Renaissance.  She danced in commercials and TV shows, at historic clubs like The Apollo and Cotton Club, and danced with legends including Sinatra, Gene Kelly, and Bill “Bojangles” Robinson.

She is now 102 years old and living in Brooklyn, NY at the Bishop Henry B. Hucles Episcopal Nursing Home.  This video is the first she’s seen footage of her younger self dancing and is compliments of Mark Cantor of jazz-on-film.

In addition to being one of the loveliest real-life gestures made known by the power of the internet, this video also shows – and in such a stark fashion — youth and age side-by-side.  What is mortal VS. what is immortal.  Alice Barker is both the person on our screen and also the person on her screen.  Now, don’t let the meta-nature of that sentence cheapen its sentiment.  Watching this left a heaviness on my heart that one can only describe as the pains of acknowledging the wonder of life.

Oh and the best part?  Alice  is still alive and doing well.  As per the information with this YouTube clip —  she can ALSO receive fan mail!  We can all agree this is one woman who deserves some adoration.  Her addy is:

Alice Barker
c/o Bishop Henry B. Hucles Episcopal Nursing Home
835 Herkimer Street
Brooklyn, NY11233

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I Covet: This Patch

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So much so — I covet this patch so much so — that I’m buying two and giving one to one of my witchy woman followers on social media.  You can enter to win by sharing this image on Facebook, Instragram, or Twitter.  3 shares = 3 entries.

If you don’t like winning awesome things and participating in this tomfoolery, you may purchase this from Etsy Shop ButchCraft2 : HERE.

Young Mary’s 25: The best, weirdest, coolest Record Store Day 2015 Releases

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Ah, Record Store Christmas is once again upon us.  On  Saturday, April 18 — music-lovers will — for the 7th year of “Official Record Store Day” – line the sidewalks at their local brick-and-mortar music-sellin’ establishment to get first dibs on a selection of an increasingly growing (for better or for worse?) list of titles available only (or for the first time) on that day.

In reality, Record Store Day is – like most other holidays – another consumer holiday in the cycle of consumer holidays. But to me, it’s like the fuzzier, smaller, better, nicer “Buy! Buy! Buy!” of all the “Buy! Buy! Buy!” that’s out there.  Record stores provide goods that are music and art  and services that are considerate and often curated.   Can’t beat that.

Instead of ranking these in a particular order , a frank overview of the 25 best things out on RSD 2015 was more suitable and effective.  I give you details on the band, release, label, etc and  I go above and beyond to answer the age-old question for each of my RSD selections, “Why should YOU care?” — *curtsies* You’re welcome.

Agree with my choices? Want to sing my praises and present me with a flower garland?

Or think I’m a blazing idiot behind a computer that just shoved another pile of scalloped potatoes in my mouth while typing this and that I don’t even deserve to make a list whatsoever?  You’d be half right.  Sound off in the comments!

RECORD: A-Ha, “Take On Me”

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FORMAT: 7″ Vinyl Picture Disc

LABEL: Rhino

WHY SHOULD YOU CARE?:  I admit there’s some argument here that you shouldn’t care.  But! I personally saw this on the RSD List and immediately had a vision of a black-and-white comic book character of myself entering our local record store and then later turning into my real life human consumer self and buying this.  Take my money, A-Ha.

Really — if you’re like me and you have some weird nostalgic bent of attachment to A-Ha because of their kick-ass video for Take On Me, then why not invest in the 30th anniversary 7″?

 

RECORD: Ryan Adams, “Come Pick Me Up”

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FORMAT: 7″ Vinyl

LABEL: Pax-Am

WHY SHOULD YOU CARE? :  I know a few people in this Facebook group called “Ryan Adams Super Fan Group” and they give me all the deets on our boy Ry-Ry.  According to my sources, Ryan’s put out quite a lot of vinyl these last few years – some loved by the fans, some shrugged at by the fans, and some – to put it nicely- left under a rock by the fans.  This RSD release is an easy choice of a vinyl release worth “picking up.”  See what I did there?

The 7″ record includes  an alternate take of “Come Pick Me Up” and the previously unreleased “When The Rope Gets Tight” as well as one lucky copy will include the strand of Ryan’s hair that rests delicately across his eye.  Just kidding about the lock of hair…even though people would pay big bucks for a chance at that.  Call me PaxAm, I’m a marketing genius and I have scissors.

All kidding aside, Ryan Adams is one of the best singer/songwriters left out there doing his due diligence in this great big music world today and we should support him.  Simple as that.

RECORD: J Dilla, Fuck the Police

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FORMAT: 7″ Picture Disc

LABEL: Pay Jay

WHY SHOULD YOU CARE? :  This posthumous RSD release is a 7″ record shaped like a police badge that has “Fuck the Police” on it.  If that’s not fuel enough to consider buying the classic J. Dilla tune – it sure would be an interesting placemarker vinyl in your collection in regards to the social and political climate of today, too.   The original release of this single is considered “rare” or “out of print” and was on a 12″ vinyl and this will most definitely be a sought-after RSD title.  Props to the James Yancy Estate for making the limited 2500 copies available for RSD and props to you if you get your hands on a copy!

RECORD: David Bowie, Changes

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FORMAT: 7″ Picture Disc

LABEL: RHINO

WHY SHOULD YOU CARE? :  David Bowie is a genius weirdo babezilla freakshow maniac that still has huge commercial appeal.  What’s not to like about that?  This 7″ picture disc has an AA side that is previously unreleased and was recorded in 1971 only for a small run of promo LPs made to get Bowie signed to a record deal.  That run of promos is called “the Gem Promos” by Bowie superfans.  Now, the rest of us will have access to it. But it’s limited edition.  Which isn’t totally bad news.  Because limited edition for Bowie is still 6000 copies.  You probably can get it and you should.

RECORD: Cassandra Wilson/ Billie Holiday,

“You Go To My Head/ The Mood I’m In”

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FORMAT: 10″ Vinyl

LABEL: Legacy

WHY SHOULD YOU CARE? :  Any artist that finagles themselves into a prime position like sharing a split RSD release with Billie Holiday piques my interest.   I did not know who Cassandra Wilson was before I saw this on the RSD list.  Some interweb research educated me quickly and as it turns out, she’s a very, very legit jazz musician and vocalist.  In typical “split” format, Cassandra reintrepets “You Go To My Head” and “The Mood I’m In” on the A-Side and Billie Holiday’s originals of the tunes can be found on the B-side.

Also – you should always care about Billie Holiday.

Here’s audio of Cassandra doing “You Go To My Head” for you to check out:

RECORD: Bob Dylan, “The Night We Called It A Day”

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FORMAT: 7″ Colored Vinyl

LABEL: Columbia

WHY SHOULD YOU CARE?:  Oh, Bob, Bob, Bob.  Does anyone else feel they’d want to say ” Ah, we meet again.” to Bob Dylan the first time you met him?  Because I always think that.  Not long ago, Dylan released “Shadows in the Night”  — the full length that the songs on this 7″ release come from — and I admittedly told everyone that asked my opinion that it was a “dozer” and great for “sleeping” or “nodding off” or “napping to.”  After a more structured listen and the Bob Dylan brainwashing that somehow happens to me with almost everything “Dylan” , I warmed up to it.  And especially warmed to the track “The Night We Called It A Day.”   Vinyl is limited edition (4000 copies) and pretty, pretty blue.

Also, just in case you haven’t seen the film noir-style music video for “The Night We Called It A Day” — here’s the amazing piece of artistry:

RECORD: The Everly Brothers, “15 Everly Hits”

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FORMAT: 12″ Vinyl

LABEL:  Varese Sarabande

WHY SHOULD YOU CARE? :  I cried when Phil Everly passed away in January of last year because I knew that meant – for  good – there would never be the Everly Brothers again.  It was the real end.  Like a multitude of others who worship at the altar of the Everlys  — I fantasized that one last live musical reunion might happen.  Phil and Don (the living brother) just couldn’t personally make that happen.  But I don’t fault them.  For years and years, they recorded, played, and toured together and gave music some of the best harmonies EVER.  This album is a MUST on my list for RSD and really a MUST on my list for anyone’s general musical education requirements.  It was originally issued in 1962, first time in nearly 50 years, the 2000 RSD copies will be on wax, again.  Get it. Got it? Good.

RECORD: Gram Parsons/The Lemonheads,

“Brass Buttons”

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FORMAT: 7″ Colored Vinyl

LABEL: Rhino

WHY YOU SHOULD CARE?: The Side by Side Series that RSD has created always makes for some interesting pairings.  Lyrically and melodically pleasing song from two fairly different folks.  Gram Parsons was dead ten years before The Lemonheads even formed and now they share space on a record.  That is somehow special and bizarre and wonderful and why I love music.  4700 copies of this Bronze-N-Baby-Pink splatter vinyl baby are available.

RECORD: Rocky Horror Picture Show, “The Time Warp EP”

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FORMAT: 10″ Vinyl

LABEL: Ode

WHY SHOULD YOU CARE?:  

“I’ve got to keep control.
I remember doing the Time Warp.
Drinking those moments when
The blackness would hit me.”

If you didn’t know these lyrics were from Rocky Horror Picture Show’s “Time Warp” — couldn’t I convince you they were obscure Nirvana lyrics?  Anyway – the song rules.  This vinyl comes with the karaoke track version which will CERTAINLY come in handy around Halloween party time.   Hasn’t been available on vinyl since 1989 (that’s vintage now, how scary!) — and comes in great packaging.  LETS! DO! THE! TIME! WARP! AGA-! Oh, you get it.

RECORD: Frank Sinatra, “Songs for Young Lovers”

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FORMAT: 10″ Vinyl

LABEL: Capitol

WHY SHOULD YOU CARE?: Go ahead and try to convince me that this album isn’t the perfect go-to spin for an afternoon of cocktails on the veranda with dear friends or 6 jumbo dogs on your crooked concrete stoop with the bros.  They’re quintessential good-timing jams from the original good-timer.  2900 copies.

RECORD : Various Artists,

“I’m Here” (A soundtrack to the short film by Spike Jonze)

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FORMAT: 12″ Picture Disc

LABEL: Indian Club

WHY SHOULD YOU CARE?:  The film “I’m Here” is the story of two robots living in L.A. — like a futuristic L.A.- where humans and robots both exist.  It’s sort of based on Shel Silverstein’s classic “The Giving Tree.”  The soundtrack is hipster heaven.  Say what you will about hipster tastes — but I like “hipster-y” things because when they get it wrong, they get it bad wrong — and, thus, when they get it right, they get it oh-so-right.  This soundtrack I suspect will be weird and indie and fabulous.  2250 copies of the 12″ picture disc feature indie heavyweights like Sleigh Bells and Animal Collective.

RECORD: Various Artists, “The Wrestling Album, Piledriver”

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FORMAT: 2 x LP

LABEL: Legacy

WHY SHOULD YOU CARE?:  It’s ridiculous, sure.  But, whatchu gonna do, brother? When 2,755 red and yellow colored vinyl records run wild on you? Featuring actual vocal performances from several iconic stars of the WWE (formerly WWF when these collections were released in the 80s) — it’s just off-the-charts.  A MUST for wrestling fans — and a crowd pleaser to non-wrestling fans that want some surprising diversity on their record shelf.  Vince McMahon himself sings on this.  Here’s a picture of me and Rowdy Roddy Piper this year at Wrestlemania because I frankly want to brag about my newfound wrestling connections and because Piper can be found on Track 7 of “The Wrestling Album.”  (Also: see My Wrestlemania Wrap-Up Post : HERE if you missed it!)

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RECORD: Blackberry Smoke, “Wood, Wire, and Roses”

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FORMAT: 10″ Vinyl

LABEL: Concord

WHY SHOULD YOU CARE?:  I finally listened to Blackberry Smoke.  Have heard of them for years, have heard their praises sung, but hadn’t gone down the rabbit hole myself.  Sometimes, if I hear *too much* about a band, I do this foolish thing where I refuse to listen to them because I assume its all hype.  But thanks to Sturgill Simpson, I know what real hysteric hype is, now.  And as it turns out, Blackberry Smoke just had normal , substantial real  (and consistent) hype.  Here’s the tune “Shaking Hands with the Holy Ghost” from YouTube.  This tune is not on the record – but it made me quickly take all the unfair Blackberry Smoke hater-ade I’d been drinking and stick it back in the fridge. I’m sure if Simpson remakes “In The Ghetto” again, I just might need to save a sip.

 RECORD: Asleep at the Wheel (W/ Willie Nelson  &

the Blind Boys of Alabama),

“Still the King: Celebrating the Music of Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys”

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FORMAT: 7″ Vinyl

LABEL: Bismeaux Records

WHY SHOULD YOU CARE?: Asleep at the Wheel put out a star-studded full-length Still the King album earlier this year.  It rules.  This is just a bonus pair of songs (not on the record) and is signed by Ray Benson and numbered.  You don’t have to be in Texas to know that Bob Wills is still the king, do ya now?   Only 1000 copies of this bad boy.

RECORD: Giorgio Murderer, Lazer Lord EP

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FORMAT : 7″ Vinyl

LABEL : Goner

WHY SHOULD YOU CARE?: This is like the undiscovered …future icon?.. of my list.  This guy has around 500 likes on Facebook.  I found his 7″ for Primitive World in a record store in Louisville, KY and I have been betwixt by his weirdness ever since.   I bought the record on name alone because who names themselves “Giorgio Murderer” for God’s sake?  (I’m sure an homage to electronic pioneer Giorgio Moroder…but still.)  It’s a punk band that you both love instantly and become a fan of, but sort-of also feel like they deserve no fame or recognition at all?  The perfect mix to be what punk is supposed to : a self-destructive love/hate machine.  600 copies out there. Don’t be a dummy.

RECORD:  The Jesus and Mary Chain, “Psychocandy. Live. Barrowlands.”

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FORMAT: LP

LABEL: Demon Music Group

WHY SHOULD YOU CARE? : I saw Jesus and Mary Chain at Riot Fest in Chicago a few years ago.  It was the only band I saw (other than – admittedly – Iggy Pop) that kept my unyielding attention through their whole set.   I didn’t check my phone.  Didn’t complain in my mind about the heat, didn’t people watch, didn’t crave a hot dog or slushie once.    It was  an all-encompassing beautifully raucous experience. This live record  of Psychocandy will- no doubt – be the same.   Red 180g Vinyl — 1500 copies.

RECORD: The Pizza Underground, “PU Demos”

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FORMAT: 7″ Vinyl

LABEL: Jett Plastic Recordings/GranDetr

WHY SHOULD YOU CARE?: Because the kid from Home Alone grew up and is theoretically profiting currently from being a member of a Velvet Underground parody band that sings pizza-themed songs.   It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.  – War and Peace-Za.  

CD: Joan Rivers, “The Next to Last Joan Rivers Album”

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FORMAT: CD

LABEL: Stand Up! Records

WHY SHOULD YOU CARE?:  This is a strange addition to the RSD list.  It’s a CD.  Joan is amazingly illustrated as if she had more work done than in real life.  And it was on vinyl previously, so why not a re-issue?  We don’t know why.  But alas, Joan Rivers was a comedy heavyweight and pioneer female.  And! Even though it is a CD format — the packaging includes an eight-page booklet with liner notes from Kliph Nesteroff (comedy historian), an essay from Sarah Silverman, and photos from the period by John Shearer.

RECORD: Joan Jett, “Flashback”

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FORMAT: 2 x 12″ Colored Vinyl

LABEL: Blackheart Records

WHY SHOULD YOU CARE?:  Joan Jett frikkin’ rules.  She’s a Rock N’ Roll  Hall of Famer.  The label Blackheart Records has been doing the record-makin’ song and dances for many years long before some OFFICIAL RECORD STORE DAY fodder.  What’s legit more rock n roll than purchasing this?  *Just gave the rock n’ roll symbol and stuck my tongue out!*  Double blue 140g vinyl and never previously available on vinyl.

RECORD: William Tyler, “Desert Canyon”

william tyler rsd

FORMAT: 2 x 12″ Vinyl

LABEL : MERGE RECORDS

WHY SHOULD YOU CARE?:  William Tyler originally released this in 2008 as “The Paper Hats.”  It’s instrumental.  Some songs are long, some short, some noodly and some vacant.  You shouldn’t care if you hate things instrumental.  You should care if you – like me – thinks it fairly cool and definitely honoroable that this dude has made American Primitive guitar playing..like..a  thing for a new generation.

RECORD: The White Stripes, Get Behind Me Satan

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FORMAT: 2 x 12″ Colored Vinyl

LABEL: Third Man Records

WHY SHOULD YOU CARE?:  Even if you’re one of those stick-in-the-muds that only likes “The White Stripes” and “not Jack White” — uh, this is The White Stripes.  And the first commercial vinyl release of the album just in time for its 10 year anniversary!  Interestingly, this is the only vinyl that doesn’t reveal how many copies are available on the RSD website.  Because they’re probably printing a gazillion.  Because they can sell a gazillion.  And you should be one of those gazillion.

RECORDS: BCR MEDIA 4-PACK:

Stargunn, The Only Way Up Is Down

Waylon Jennings, 55 Live

Dennis Haskins, Belding’s Blues

Billy Ray Cyrus, Killing the Blues

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FORMAT: 7″ vinyl : Dennis Haskins, Billy Ray Cyrus, 12″ vinyl : Stargunn, Waylon Jennings

LABEL: Black Country Rock

WHY SHOULD YOU CARE?:

*Stargunn was Shooter Jennings’ first band before he was the Shooter Jennings most people commonly know now.  He wore eye liner and fur coats.  It ruled.  If you’re not afraid to follow SJ when he goes down his musical dark alleys — this is a record for you.

*Waylon 55 is the first available recording of  country mega-icon Waylon Jennings taken from when he was an 18 year old at the local radio station in West Texas.  It is a MUST for any Waylon fan or country music aficianado.  Enough said.

*Dennis Haskins is known to most as America’s Favorite Principal.  But I actually know him in real life.  He is one part Tennessee born-good timin’ good old boy turned sitcom star and one part vibrato-creatin’ dark-lit-bar karaoke diva maniac.  Like the “A Side” of his record, Dennis Haskins is an ominous, wild, and very real mashup of “For The Goods Time” & “Delilah.”   It’s worth investigating.  Even Rolling Stone loved this track so much they sent a film crew to see Haskins live.

The Rolling Stone clip isn’t embeddable, but you can watch it right quick : HERE.

* Billy Ray Cyrus.  Wait, wait, don’t let me lose you here.  Give it a chance.  Put your ears to it.  I dare you.


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Well, ladies and gents — we made it.  There’s my RSD 25.  Weird. Wonderful. And most importantly, WORTH your WALLET.  All consumerism candor aside, Record Store Day is a very important day that we music-lovers have the power to keep tangible music with tangible art alive.  Let me know what you picked up by tagging my on IG (@youngmarysrecord) or twitter (@YMRecord) — especially if you take any of my advice or if you buy a fifth of whiskey and 20 Mcdonalds hamburgers and listen to your Ipod instead.

To see the entire list of RSD Releases (E.G. the other stuff I ddn’t include) : Go HERE.

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Print Mafia Announces Shirt Club & KICK-ASS Limited Edition T-Shirts!

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Our super-talented friends at Print Mafia recently announced their newest adventure – the Print Mafia Shirt Club!  And!  As of Monday, they’ve released the first shirt available for order!  And! As expected from the PM gang, the shirt RULES!

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Here’s the deal.  “Devil Boy” is available for order NOW, but for this week only!  And then — Devil Boy will go back into the PM Vaults for (maybe) ever or at the least for a very long time.   Then, on Monday (as will be every Monday),  Print Mafia Shirt Club will debut a new shirt that is ONLY available for purchase that week and ONLY print to order.  Yes, yes – it’s a tangled web of brilliant design and smart marketing and we sure do like it.    For God’s sake, even the shirt sizes have personalities.

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You can also choose to sign up for the Print Mafia Shirt Club’s nifty newsletter- which will give you options to preview the weekly design before anyone else and notify you of other special information like discount codes, sales, or when PM is going to turn into a full fledged cult and put Scientology out of business. Did I mention how much love is out there for this brand and their making of cool stuff?

To check out all the details, sign up for the newsletter, or order “Devil Boy” — click HERE.  At time of post, you have 24 hours left to order before “Devil Boy” goes back to ..H..E…L..I mean, the Print Mafia Vault.

And don’t forget to follow PM on ye olde Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram either!

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Wrestlemania Wrap-Up

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Wrestlemania is like the Super Bowl for WWE  each year – I watched something like 77,000 people fill a huge arena to the gills, all on the edge of their seat in San Jose.  

Here’s my beau Jon, Curtis Axel (left) and Bret Hart (right) in New Orleans.

A couple months ago, I was at a concert and mentioned our plans to go to Wrestlemania in San Jose, California to another group of concert-goers.

Half of the group I was chatting with responded with unbridled enthusiasm and patted my back with pride when I showed off a picture of my beau Jon with wrestlers Bret Hart and Curtis Axel from the year before.   The other half of the group snorted their noses like a pair of snobby horses and one had the audacity to ask me “How many Merle or Willie shows could you see for what it cost to watch adult men in costumes act out a fight?” followed by “Those dudes go out and draw a check for 2 minutes of spandex foreplay.”

Now, listen.  That’s apples and oranges for one.  But moreso, that attitude is what irritates me more than almost anything on the planet.  I had the desire to discretely reveal my own spandex wrestling uniform under my jacket and body-slam that dude.  Instead, I explained to him calmly that I wasn’t brought up a “wrestling” fan — I was introduced to it fairly late in life (like many things, actually) — but if you can’t see how hard the WWE Superstars and the crew that puts on their show work, you’re just intentionally not looking.  I also asked him what he did for a living and he said it was none of my business.

I’ll save my opinions on the epidemic-level misconception that being a person of notable fame, fortune or power suddenly makes life easier for another blog, but I wanted to start here, so I can express just how amazing the Wrestlemania experience is and how much goes into that industry.

Regardless of whether or not you can get behind the fairly soap-operatic narrative of WWE’s weekly programming, these WWE Superstars are really working. In addition to diligently presenting an entertaining (and insanely physically fit) character, it turns out these people are actually real life humans, too.  Many of them, with..ya know..wives or husbands.. and families, maybe a dog at home — doing a grueling tour schedule, year after year.  And! All the while! Everyday, WWE Superstars board the emotional rollercoaster of praise and criticism from viewers.   I don’t care if it’s the bottom guy/gal on the WWE roster –I know that person is a very special person because becoming a wrestler is one of the few career paths I know harder to take on than being a musician.  Believe that.

Here are a few photos from our Wrestlemania experience:

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Jon cracked the hotel room window to let in this glorious California breeze as soon as we got to San Jose.

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After a short lunch break, we headed to Axxess – a convention-type setting where wrestlers sign autographs and there are special events and matches.  We immediately ran into our friend Michael Green (of Angry Grandpa & KidBehindACamera YouTube Fame.)  He was – of course-  recording and he included us in his video : HERE.

 

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These are a pair of Hulk Hogan’s boots that were on display in a very well-done display at Axxess.  

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And THESE are some kick-ass outfits that Macho Man Randy Savage wore.  The Macho Man was posthumously inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame this year.

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We got to see a match between wrestlers Curtis Axel and Heath Slater.  Howard Finkel was the ring announcer.  He’s been in the industry for years and I really enjoyed watching him on “LEGENDS HOUSE” – a WWE-produced reality series.  

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Fans watching the match and the giant promotional posters in the background.

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Curtis Axel on the way to the ring.  Overheard a ton of #Axelmania enthusiasm for this guy from the Axxess crowd.

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Heath Slater in the ring vs. Curtis Axel.  Slater was a pleasant surprise to me – seeing him interact live with the Axxess crowd made me realize just how much television and production can hide a wrestler’s true charisma.  He’s one of my new favorite underdogs after seeing him work this room.

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Our friend Brooke joined us for late lunch one afternoon at San Jose’s seafood restaurant, The Boiling Crab.  While Jon and I chose less-messy alternatives like fried oysters and fried shrimp, Brooke went all the way with this bagged deliciousness.  She fears almost nothing and that is why she is our friend.

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Jon really enjoyed this monument.  I’m googling to try to find what this exactly is — no luck yet.  Jon did love the saying written on it.

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We had just had drinks and desserts on the patio.  It was a beautiful afternoon.  I love this photo because of the contrast between Brooke’s very pretty profile and Jon’s harsh cigarette.

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San Jose’s downtown was full of tree-lined streets.  I really can’t say enough about the lovely weather and light, either.

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En route to Wrestlemania.  Our pals Shooter & Misty showed up just in time for the big dance.  We all wore #Axelmania with pride, even Jon paired his t-shirt with his Lansky Bros. blazer!

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Cali Five-O escorting to Wrestlemania.

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Wrestlemania Ticket & Wrestlemania Purse.  By “purse” – I mean security made me carry our belongings in there.

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I liked watching this little guy in contrast with the sea of fans in the background.

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Curtis Axel backstage watching the action happening in the ring.

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Axelmania Twins.  

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Portrait of Mortality.  Maybe my favorite photo of the week.  Undertaker returning to backstage after his match.

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Misty vs. Pyrotechnics.

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Mania.

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The moment Shooter converted to a WWE fan.

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I basically forced Roddy Piper to take a prom picture with me.  And I’m fine with that.  

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Last photo that I feel comfortable posting on this public blog forum.  Jon, SJ, and legendary wrestler Scott Hall.  Too. Sweet.

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OPINIONS: Fortune Cookies, Curly Light Bulbs, Men In Skinny Jeans, MORE!

OPINIONS is a new series on YMR where I ask YOU what topics or prompts you wouldn’t MIND hearing my opinion on and I ..uhh..give my opinion.  Some topics will get blog posts of their own.  Some topics will cause me to request a reply or rebuttal from the original topic-asker.  And some will end up with the  OPINION post as seen below:

As per Matthew Griffin, my opinion on FORTUNE COOKIES:

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Did you know that there are a ton of rules regarding fortune cookies?  Once I was at dinner with some friends and my friend cracked open a fortune cookie had no fortune in it.  Because I am a morbid creep, I told my friend “I’ll miss you when you’re gone. Do you want people to send flowers or set up some kind of memorial fund for you?” I learned – however! –to receive a barren cookie is actually a good luck sign rather than a notice of your impending death by MACK truck.  For more weird rules on fortune cookies, check this site out.  I found it by googling “What does it mean to get a cookie with no fortune?” – which may or may not be the title of my first collection of essays on my life.  Seriously.

As per Josh Green, my opinion on “WHETHER HE SHOULD WEAR SKINNY JEANS OR NOT?”

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Jeggings. No.  Super Skinny Jeans. No.  A nicely cut tapered jean?  Absolutely would be worth testing out.  A regular cut jean that was taken to your local seamstress and tailored to look a little tapered and to best fit your body type?  Double yes.  I’m not suggesting any man squish his legs into some denim prison chamber – but investing in a nice pair of “going out” jeans that really fit should be on every man’s yearly retail to-do list.  PS.  Having your clothes tailored does *NOT* have to be expensive.  Ask for Mamaw’s rolodex and a suggestion for her best sewin’ buddy who had the best dressed boyfriend in college.  Yesterday is the new today, damn it.

As per Ben Allen, my opinion on THE OLD SCHOOL LIGHT BULB VS THE NEW CURLY LIGHT BULB

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The truth is… everytime I see or install a curly light bulb, I think about whether or not Pluto is a planet.  I think about seeing my boyfriend’s niece in her stroller the other night and holding up an Iphone to the cooing baby and saying “I wish you grew up and never had to know what this abhorrent technology is.”  The new curly light bulb disturbs me.  More than 5 teenagers have expressed their interested in “photography” to me lately and to my horror, I found out well-lit “selfies” are what they deem “photography.”   And I’d imagine each and every one of their teenage faces was illuminated with a curly bulb.  I shake my cane at curly bulbs on aesthetics alone.

If I was at Camp Anawanna with a Curly Light Bulb and a bunch of other Old School Light Bulbs, I’d totally be the bully that started the chant – LET’S GIVE CURLY A SWIRLY.  .. Okay I think I’m done here.

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As for the difference and purpose of CFL bulbs vs LED bulbs vs lighting a fire in a trash can – I’m uneducated and if anyone reading this has true bulb knowledge, please email me (youngmarysrecord (at) gmail (dot) com) and lead me into the light.

As per Terry Jennings, WHERE DO YOU BUY YOUR SOCKS?

I really am an open-minded sock buyer.  I think most women are. I think men tend to find a sock and stick with a sock.  I’ve bought socks all over this country – from major retailers to small American-run sockeries.  (Sockery is not to my knowledge a real thing and I just liked writing that sentence.)  Here’s some socks I really like, though:

american iconic sockscountry socks

hamburger socks spock socks Superhero-Cape-Socks

 

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As I’ve gotten 60+ prompts, questions and suggestions on my first round of this — this will be the beginning.  If you enjoy my writing, please feel free to share my posts or just ignore that they ever existed.  And don’t just sit there, bust a LIKE!

 

Wanderlust Feature: Adventures In Eastern Kentucky

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I was recently privileged to embark on a fun little road trip to the hills and hollers of Eastern Kentucky.  I broke out my cowboy boots and Jon broke out his excessively tall-brimmed cowboy hat.  Cowboy up.

The occasion for the trip was the Knott Country Trail Ride — where our dear friend Shooter Jennings was playing to a crowd of  – we heard – over 4,000 attendees on the top of a Knott County mountain.  One of my favorite part of Shooter’s set is when he sits down at the piano.  It’s a time when an artist does something on stage that is meant to bring a mounting (pun?) intimacy between the audience and themselves — and it actually works.  Whether you’re at the side of the stage or 50 feet away in the darkness of the crowd,  you feel like you’re with Shooter in his living room as he tinkers away on the ol’ ivories.  It’s just real and just good.

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Post festivities, we shacked up at the beautiful cabin of  Wesley Fields – a Hazard, KY native that is wonderful and crazy — the type of crazy that comes from being too smart for your own good.  The type of crazy that is requirement to be friends with us.  It was late and dark and I didn’t entirely realize what a lovely, lovely home I was being hosted in until the next morning.  All I knew was there was a seemingly endless supply of Ale-8-One, an expansive collection of Kentucky Wildcat memorabilia, country music records, and that we got fed some meat.

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When the morning (afternoon) — finally came, I crept outside in my sock feet.  It was bright, but wet and cool — from the night’s rain outside.  Perfect porch-sitting weather and a perfect porch.  Did I mention that Wesley built this all himself?  As it turns out, do-it-yourself gumption it still alive and well in Eastern Kentucky, y’all.

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Perfect porch swing, as expected, on perfect porch.  It was so green that morning outside the cabin.  I wanted to swing and close my eyes and smell the outdoors.  I felt like a dang tree-huggin’ hippie.  Had I forgotten what nature was like?  Either way, I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a wonderful feeling.

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Wesley’s home – in addition to being beautifully built — was filled with so many lovely things.  He’s a collector and an old soul, like me — and his love for the tangible things of the past (and in turn their very important history) went straight to my heart.   There were horns over the entryway..

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There was a Door Push — with the Kern’s Bread logo — one of my favorite things in the whole place…  They’re rare advertising pieces of the past — and the more obscure the brand on it, the more valuable.   So neat to see a Kern’s Bread one.

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Inside, there was an entire cabinet filled with Ale-8-One memorabilia (and Wesley was kind enough to send us home with an Ale-8-One crate) — a case of knives, and numerous vintage curiosities and odds and ends at every corner..

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.. like on this supporting beam — a perfect place for a cross and a bottle-opener..

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…even Wesley’s cooler was all personality.  He’s a guy that puts who he is right there for you to see and this world could use a whole lot more of that.

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Wesley, below : Kentucky cap, cane, and bathrobe.  Jon, below: excessively-tall and feathered cowboy hat that induces so much swagger you can’t remember what else he was wearing.  Awesome distressed couch.  The caption should so eloquently read:   “They do what they want, damn it.  Whenever they want to, damn it.”

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REPOST: Lisa Sparxxx: She Just Lives Here

LISA SPARXXX

This article was originally published in a now-archived issue of Rise Over Run Magazine.  I interviewed Sparxxx over muffins at a cafe and also spent some time with her and her husband at some local bars.  She was witty and very fun to be around.   

Lately, I’ve noticed quite a bit of internet chatter regarding Sparxxx and her various porn accolades (read full article below) and her home in BGKY.  Some consider her a hometown hero, some consider her quite the opposite.   I just think — as I did years ago when this was first published — she just lives here.  Like the rest of us. 

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When Lisa Sparxxx meets her cable man at the door with no make-up and sweats, the scene does not turn into some ravaging sex romp in the reflection of a flat-screen TV. The cableman is there to fix her cable.

And when Sparxxx visits the local Moe’s to get her burrito rolled, there is nothing exchanged between her and her waiter but the total and her choice of beans or rice. She is there to eat lunch.

Yes, she has sought awards for being the Hottest MILF, but when Sparxxx is playing Soccer Mom on the sideline here in Bowling Green, she is there to watch her daughter, to cheer her on. She’s a parent, too.

“It’s a persona,” Sparxxx says, referring to her down and dirty image in the adult industry. “I’m completely not like that in real life. People don’t understand that.” She has been a self-proclaimed “mattress actress” for 7 years, and has no thoughts of retiring just yet.

Having been in over 300 adult films, in a slew of high resolution photos, and even cartooned-up on the sites she and husband Jeff Sparxxx co-run to promote her porn and “dating” business ventures, Lisa holds a record worth touting in the porn world, as well. In 2004, she accomplished the daunting feat of sleeping with the world record most men in a day. That’s 919 men to be exact.

Lisa’s job is not only taboo for her duties, but also a little out of the ordinary for hours.

lisa sparxxx courtesy of jeff sparxxx

“Out of a whole year, I probably cumulatively work, when I’m actually shooting stuff, two months,” Lisa says. “And the rest of the time I’m on Myspace keeping the interest up. And of course, I’m a mommy. Does that count as job? I play Rock Band with my daughter.”

Lisa and Jeff’s daughter is 10 years old and according to Lisa, still grossed out by the idea of sex in general. But the couple has partially and honestly explained Lisa’s line of work to her because it was hard to take business calls and work out of their home and hide it from the stealthy, curious little girl.

“I said here’s the deal: I take pictures, you have to be 18 to see them, and sometimes I’m naked,” Lisa says. “And she said, ‘Okay.’ And that was enough for her. We try to joke with her and make it no big deal, because if you make it something bigger than it is, it will become something bigger than it is.”

“Lisa is my best friend,” Jeff says when asked about Lisa as a wife. “She is my love and my life. I would not be who I am without her.” He laughs, “Maybe I will get laid now with that answer.”

Husband Jeff is the third and final part of this family set-up. He and Lisa have been married for 14 years (prom-dates-turned-spouses), and for half of that time, Lisa has been in the porn industry. In fact, he encouraged her to get in the business and has both the stage name SPARXXX and the cartoon version of Lisa included in his full sleeve tattoos on both arms. He is the behind-the-scenes part of the pair and promotes her, keeps her name out there, and also keeps her ego intact, he says.

“When I am having a bad day on the business end, it is hard for Lisa and I to say this is not personal,” Jeff says. “It is business.”

He admits, “Some would think it would be because Lisa is too tired after work to have any fun with me. Well, I tease her anyway telling her she needs to take several showers beforehand.”

In fact, Jeff says that being married in the porn industry isn’t that uncommon. “85% of the people we know are married and we kind of have our own ‘sick and twisted hubby club’ when we are at signings with the girls.”

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Lisa travels to signings and expositions during the year as well as to shoot films. And she reminisces about random run-ins with celebrities like Joey Fatone and CarrotTop, finding it weird that they recognize her as a celebrity of a different virtue. Through her friendship with uber-notable porn star Ron Jeremy, she also made an appearance on the Surreal Life. (Which was creatively edited to seem as if Lisa offered CHIPS star Erik Estrada a blow-job? Lisa swears it was out of context.)

She has occasionally asked friend Jennifer Johnson to join her during her adventures.

“I can’t bring myself to do it,” Johnson says. “I can see myself on set, pulling men off of her, and yelling, ‘Don’t do that, she just had her makeup done!’ and ‘She is a nice girl and her mom wouldn’t appreciate that at all.’”

Johnson met Lisa because of their husbands’ mutual acquaintance. She says that when asked if she could be friends with a porn star, she said if Lisa was nice and treated her well, then sure.

“We sat on the couch and made polite conversation. At one point she mentioned that she had just gotten back from shooting a bukkake,” Jennifer confesses. “I shook my head in acknowledgment and the conversation continued. Later in the car I had to ask my husband what a bukkake was. Wow, was I surprised.”

“It was me and Jenna Jameson that came in on the ground floor of the internet,” Lisa says. “Everyone asks how I’m so successful and its because I was the first one to realize that’s where its going to go.”

Lisa, Jeff and their daughter have been residing in Bowling Green for almost three years now and chose the city because of the safe environment and also to be close (but not too close) to Lisa’s mother in Larue County.

“My mom didn’t want me to live super-duper close. She knows what I do. She was like, ‘Everyone in town knows what you do,’” Lisa says. “She’s lived there her entire life; she still lives in the house I grew up in. She just assumes that people will stare at me.”

Two generations down, her daughter has had the same insecurities on occasion.

“She can tell the difference between if someone is staring at me because my boobs are hanging out or the way I’m dressed or if they actually recognize me,” Lisa says of her daughter. “She can see the distinction and she’ll say, ‘Mommmmm, I can’t take you anywhereeee.’”

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Lisa is recognized more often than you would think, even in Bowling Green. Her cable man questioned her repeatedly about whether or not they had gone to high school together or previously worked together; he knew he recognized her face from somewhere. He fixed her cable, because that was what he was there to do. Before he pulled away in the company truck, Lisa rushed out in her sweats and no make-up and gave him some free promotional stickers. What an epiphany that must have been.

Just like days after even her belly had forgotten about her Moe’s burrito, she received a Myspace message typed by the very hands that sour-creamed her food to say he was a big fan and too starstruck to say anything. She was there to eat lunch.

And all the other Soccer Moms know what Lisa does as well, and no problems yet. They are all there to watch the game.

This is how it works. Normal, everyday life with a hint of scandalous pornography every now and then. Just because she is recognized doesn’t mean she is also not recognized. And at the end of the day, Lisa Sparxxx goes home to her husband and daughter after work like any other working American. She goes to the gym and loves NASCAR, enjoys watching Sportscenter and nerds out for movie trivia. She eats, drinks, sleeps, parents, loves, and sometimes, she has sex. Just a bit more often (and most definitely for more pay) than the rest of us.

Wanderlust Feature: Amarillo, TX

A few days and a few hundred miles between dates left Jon and I with some “wandering” time on our last tour between Texas and Wyoming.  On our first off day, we made our way up to Amarillo, Texas.  I demanded we stay at the kitschy Big Texan Steak Ranch and he obliged me -as we’d been in standard chain hotels provided by venue owners for a few weeks.

We arrived fairly late at night — 1 or 2AM — due to a late start out of San Antonio, TX earlier after a serendipitous meeting over lunch with Hispanic Elvis (Post coming soon!). The room was well-appointed for the price point and included the Western details and decor one would expect in a hotel known as “The Big Texan.”   While I particularly liked the mural-sized Western scene on the wall behind our flat-screen TV; Jon particularly liked the swinging saloon doors that led to our toilet.

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After one of the best rests I’d had in a couple months (due partially to exhaustion, but also to the extremely comfy beds at Big Texan — go ahead, check YELP reviews, many others agree with me!), we awoke, hauled our suitcases to the car, and took a look-see over the whole property before blundering around the Amarillo area.

We checked our their fleet of limousines.  Yes, if you fly into Amarillo, they’ll pick you up in style in one of these fine automobiles at the airport.

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We took this very neat-o “branded” sidewalk to the Big Texas’s restaurant and general touristy-haven next door. (Is this a Texan thing that I just was unaware of until now?)

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The restaurant/tourist hot spot next door had all the things you’d expect.  In addition to the steakhouse — which serves up a 72-oz steak challenge (you can view the rules: HERE) — there’s the usual suspects of a gigantic boot, gigantic rocking chair, maze, and other attractions that would lure any Route 66 tourist in like a moth to a flame.

I was a moth to the flame of the giant chair:

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Jon was a moth to the flame of the giant boot:

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We both enjoyed the gift shop area where I bought a Big Texas t-shirt and a postcard for my wrestling-aficionado friend Mike.  The postcard pictured a wrestler finishing the 72-oz steak challenge.  They also had these delightfully packaged hot sauces:

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Skipping the 72-oz steak and deciding to do some more adventuring before settling down with a meal, we next made our way to the iconic Route 66 tourist destination, Cadillac Ranch.   If you don’t me very well yet, you might not know how much of my heart is filled with love for America’s roadside destinations.

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For those unaware, here’s the Wiki info on Cadillac Ranch:

Cadillac Ranch is a public art installation and sculpture in Amarillo, Texas, U.S. It was created in 1974 by Chip Lord, Hudson Marquez and Doug Michels, who were a part of the art group Ant Farm. It consists of what were (when originally installed during 1974) either older running used or junkCadillac automobiles, representing a number of evolutions of the car line (most notably the birth and death of the defining feature of mid twentieth century Cadillacs; the tailfins) from 1949 to 1963, half-buried nose-first in the ground, at an angle corresponding to that of the Great Pyramid of Gizain Egypt.[1]

The more you know, eh?

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Admittedly, I loved this installation.  I really consider places and pilgrimages to places like this – with pride- so truly American.  And in the non-prideful way, I’d like to add that this was truly American in that the whole place was covered with trash.  Lots of it.  You see, as all folks who go to Cadillac Ranch are encouraged to add their own layer of graffiti to the cars– there were a LOT of remnants of empty spray paint cans, tops, and just general paper and trash.  Some Amarillo-area art-lovers should definitely work towards at least getting some serious trash cans set up nearby.

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Yes, that’s me beaming with a pride and curious wonderment that can only be given to me by off-the-beaten path exploration.   And Cadillac Ranch wasn’t all that Amarillo had to offer.  Less than a couple miles from Cadillac Ranch on a flip-around to head back in to town, Jon spotted this sign.   We wandered down the road nearby to see if we’d find any more creepy signage or a creepy hotel set-up, but only found a regular-ass subdivision.  If you’re reading this and you have more info on this sign, or you MADE it — please drop me a line.  (EDIT: Some digging has made me aware that the artist who did Cadillac Ranch may have also made this sign, but unconfirmed.)

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Once back in town, we took one more stop at Jack Sisemore’s Traveland RV Museum.  You have to go through the main lobby of the RV sales office to get to it — but after a few confusing steps and asking a nice employee for help (who didn’t try to sell us an RV, I might add) — we made our way into a very nice building packed full of RV’s dating from 1936 on.  I’d rate this museum as fairly interesting for someone who loves Americana and travel and not interesting at all to someone who doesn’t care about either of those things.  Regardless, I dug it and very much respect the labor of love that Jack Sisemore obviously had for these recreational vehicles.

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I loved seeing the way Americans used to travel and of course – coveted most every RV in hopes that one day hard work turned into massive wealth would allow me one of my own.  Or two.  You can pop by and see what ‘Ol Jack has and the hours: HERE.

Amarillo came to a close with a lunch of BBQ that was just okay.  The service was excellent – the food was..meh.  I really do believe that old adage: “Meh food happens to good people.”

That area of Texas holds a lot of unlocked Route 66 hangs and haunts for me, so I’m sure this won’t be my last trip to that part of the country, or to Amarillo.  We didn’t even start exploring the nightlife (or lack thereof, which I mean as a good thing), but Jon and I saw some divy places with the proper signage and distressed appearance to contend of one of “our type of places”, e.g. small, full of oddballs and weirdos, with a jukebox and billiards, and booze.  Bonus: squishy comfy booths and a greasy spoon bar menu.

I tip my hat to you, Texas.  We shall meet again.