Saturday, April 9, 2016

Everyday Is Like Sunday (Behind the Orange Curtain)


Looking very Morrissey-esque in the OC

Just when I had just about lost all hope of there being a decent Moz event in the OC, something happened. People who live in LA (Angelinos as they are sometimes called), probably don't realize that there IS an Orange County Morrissey fan base. In fact, people who LIVE in Orange County probably don't realize there is a fan base here. Compared to our big city neighbors, the "country bumpkins" living 30 or so miles south, we have less of a centralized market for such an event. We like our 80s themed bars and cover bands, but no one has really tapped into the "Moz market." Until recently.

To be fair, we did have a Moz Disco at Original Mikes a few months back. And it seemed to be successful. But it did not become a regular thing. And the venue was so big, with so many different events held in its many rooms, that it was hard to tell if the crowd was there for the Moz event or did they just stumble upon the "Morrissey room."

Lucky for me, I got to take an Uber from my home and as I'm trying to practice some camera skills for the upcoming Mozarmy Meet Up later this month, I brought a camera to take some photos. 

A decent photographer, I think, has to decide how much they are a part of the events they are recording. And the decision SHOULD be that they are not a part of it. Merely recording the events before them. On the other hand, your passion for your subject matter may make a difference in the quality shots you take. Maybe.

Maya met me at the venue, Diego's Rock ,n, Roll Bar. But other Breakfast Champions were already there, including Nancy Q and her husband . So we had the chance to chat for awhile. 


The venue seemed a cross between Mal's Bar (location of the Moz Disco) and La Cita in downtown LA. A bit newer than both and with  a hipster feel to it. Their vegan menu included potato tacos and fresh fruit. I did not try the food this time. I tend to devour food once I get home or else make a late night pit stop at Del Taco with Maya. 

They promoted the event well in advance on social media and they even had a special backdrop of Salford Lads Club which allowed  you to take your picture with your significant other or friends. DJs Jose Maldonado and DJ Jav made it such a great night with an incredible line up of songs


It ended up with a pretty nice crowd.Even for a Sunday night.

 I took tons of pictures, danced a lot holding my camera, took people's pictures in front of the Salford Lads backdrop and sang until my voice was hoarse. 

All in all, it was a success because they have decided to make it a regular thing now and I will probably be continuing to take photos as well. 




Everyday Is Like Sunday will take place again 9 PM on May 1 at Diego's Rock 'n' Roll Bar located at 220 E. 3rd Street, in Santa Ana 92701. 







Sunday, March 27, 2016

I Can Have Both

Johnny Marr at the El Rey 
Sometimes I just can't escape Morrissey. Not that I'd ever WANT to. I mean, I just doubt that there are as many events for other artists out there.

For example, there was a book release party for To Me You Are A Work of Art-a photographic book depicting  Morrissey related tattoos on February 28. This was in Los Angeles at Lethal Amounts which is a small studio. There was a DJ playing Morrissey music and on the wall there were photographs of various Moz fans sporting their Morrissey tattoos. I met up there with Vanessa and we ran into Jose Maldonado.

So Jesse Tobias walked in and while I am virtually nobody, he said hi to Vanessa and Jose as we were talking  (at least my friends are famous). I seriously could have said I discovered a cure for cancer when Jose and Vanessa introduced me to him and I doubt that he would have been impressed;  at least I got to shake his hand. Furthermore, I am pretty shy and I didn't really know what to say to him. I think he's a great guitar player? Duh!
Jose kindly posing beneath a photo of a fan from Tustin 

 I have come to the conclusion that its okay not to say much but just be happy to shake someone's hand. I feel like if I can't make a lasting GOOD impression, its best to just shut up and let others do the talking, which worked out just fine.



It worked just as well when they also introduced me to Mando Lopez and his wife that night. Its quite exciting to meet them and to tell you I met them. For, how many get the opportunity?

Mando and Jose in conversation
In addition to meeting Morrissey's band mates, I also was fortunate enough to get to meet the two collaborators and authors of the book, Anthony Amor and Julian Chavez. Both of them were lovely human beings and very pleased that Morrissey wrote the forward to the book. I don't think you can top that!

There were quite a number of fans who are featured in the book there as well. It was awesome to realize that I actually know quite a number of them. I think you can learn a lot about a person from what they choose to put on themselves permanently. You learn even more about them from which line from a particular song they chose. And if you know Morrissey's lyrics, you probably realize the impact of those lines more than most.

Vanessa posing with the book
The following weekend was a Johnny Marr gig at the El Rey. It seemed it was a pretty short tour for Johnny but we were lucky to have him here in California. In addition to the show in Los Angeles, he played in Pomona, San Diego and further north in Sacramento and Fresno.

Roland came along with me this time which was great. We ran into a couple of Breakfast Champions, Ed Navarro and his girlfriend as well as Officer Mike. Vanessa, and others were there up near the stage but we didn't meet up since Roland and I were further back.

There is just something you can't explain about hearing a Smiths song played by the original guitar player and songwriter. Its like he had this special touch that NO ONE can recreate. It's widely known that Johnny Marr is one of the best guitar players of our time, but to actually SEE him was quite special. He sang and played probably about six Smths songs: Still Ill, The Headmaster Ritual, Bigmouth Strikes Again, There Is A Light That Never Goes Out, You Just Haven't Earned It Yet, Baby, and of course, How Soon Is Now?

There were moments when I was watching him play and I thought to myself, "This is THE guy who walked up to Morrissey's door on King's Road and asked him to be in a band with him. He saw it all happen. Everything."
Another shot of Johnny at the El Rey
So, in addition to seeing such a phenomenal guitar player, I was seeing a bit of history in an intimate venue. It felt unique.

To be fair, I have seen him play before. But I suppose what made it different this time was the band he's been with now for a few years seems a bit tighter, he seemed to play more Smiths songs and more importantly, seeing him in the more intimate venue with my friends who I KNOW appreciated the moment as much as I did made it better.







Monday, February 22, 2016

Why Is the Last Mile the Hardest Mile?

Me after completing my 3rd LA Marathon

So I'm sitting in a Starbuck's across the street from El Modena High School writing this to you. Amid sweaty high school kids after school who come here because they have no better place to go. Somewhere to be with their increasingly important friends talking and studying after being dismissed from their sports practices.

All the while I'm wondering why the hell I ALWAYS drag my feet in writing this blog. I love writing it. Yet, I always put it off. Maybe I just feel more and more overwhelmed every time that a lot of time passes because I feel like I need to share all those other things. 

In reality. I don't.

But I would be remiss in not mentioning that I was fortunate enough to see Morrissey in both Los Angeles at the Galen Center on New Year's Eve as well as shortly after that in Las Vegas on January 2nd at The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel. Both shows were amazing and I was able to go with both friends and family to these two shows. 
Family at Hoover Dam while in Las Vegas

Many were theorizing that Las Vegas might be Morrissey's last show, but he, of course, has been working to finalize some more shows in other parts of the globe.

Moz Las Vegas
Meanwhile, I had been training rather hard for my third Los Angeles Marathon which was scheduled for Valentine's Day. 

I struggled through two of my longer runs. I was fighting a cold during my eighteen mile run and it was raining. I pulled a muscle on mile two of my twenty mile run and ran the rest of the eighteen miles with a pulled muscle. Yes, I felt pretty bad ass, but I was also pretty stupid because that pulled muscle led to another injury.

It led to a shin splint on my left leg-probably from overcompensating for the other injured leg. In a word, I was a bit of a mess. I had two weeks to recover from these injuries before the marathon.

It just simply was not enough time.

I iced it, massaged it, prayed upon it, and even considered voodoo but didn't go quite that far. The only realistic maneuver was to stop running until the day of the race and do whatever I could when I had to run.

So when it was time to run. I ran. And it felt a little uncomfortable. I won't bore you with describing the pain of shin splints. But chances are you have had them yourself or else know someone who has. So it will be no surprise that it hurt and it will be no surprise that with every mile the pain got slightly more intense.

I had wisely packed some ibuprofen and Tylenol to take as needed for my marathon. I told myself to wait until mile seven. But when I opened my pack, I could not find any meds. I realized then that when I had put everything in my gear bag while I was warming up before the race, I had also put in my water bottle and it leaked all over the bag. My pills were either decomposed or decomposing gels. I desperately licked up what was left of them in hopes that it would sustain me until the end. 

Sadly, I also didn't have any music because my phone charger decided to stop working the night before. I had 20% battery power at the start of the race. So I turned off my phone and ate up whatever music, entertainment and distraction I could until I was desperate. It gave me about an hour of Breakfast with the Smiths. 

At mile seventeen I decided to get ice at the medical tent. Mind you, I had been considering what to do up until this point. I was not sure if I was going to make it to the end. But it WAS mile seventeen. And that was a big investment. When the medical volunteer asked the runners there if we wanted the shuttle to the finish line, a few people said yes, but the young woman sitting next to me icing her leg, said, "No. I'm going to finish. Aren't you?" 

"Yes," I said, "Yes. I'm going to finish!"

So, I walked the rest. Ideally, it would have been nice to run to mile twenty at least. But the pain was bad and I wanted to finish. The only way to finish was to walk. Not very quickly either.

It took me nearly eight hours. But, I finished and I am proud of that. 

Roland and Oliver walked with me my last quarter mile. 

And  I got my medal. Finally.











Friday, November 27, 2015

Mozter Mash 2015


For weeks I'd been planning Moz-themed costume for the Mozter Mash-a show featuring The Sweet and Tender Hooligans at the Alpine Village in Torrance. We were encouraged to come up with something Morrissey/Smiths related to wear because it was on Halloween. My default costume was simply to wear a head lamp and turn it on, claiming to be A Light That Never Goes Out, but I worried (and rightly) that the light would really annoy people. So I was determined to come up with something better.

I DID finally come up with an idea. And then once I got everything I needed I thought of all these other ideas. For example, I thought if I had some buxom friends they could be "some girls" and for obvious reasons, I could be "others." My other ideas were perfect for a guy: a blushing Caligula, an 18th pale descendant, etc. 

It's true I WAS looking forward to dressing up, but also I was looking forward to a great show with the Hooligans and hanging out with my fellow Breakfast Champions and seeing what costume ideas they came up with.

I went with Maya this time. She was dressed as the gypsy palm reader from Ouija Board, Vanessa was a girl racer, Conor was a young Moz, Chris was a Rusholme Ruffian and his girlfriend, Laura, was Black Eyed Susan.  Oh yeah, and I was my own creation-Wonderful Woman. Basically, a wonder woman with Wonderful Woman on my cape. 
Vanessa, Connor, Me and Maya



Chris and Laura
The thing that disappointed me was the lack of community spirit in dressing in a Moz-themed costume by most of the crowd. It was like they just slapped on any old thing because it was a costume. No thought behind it to make it more interesting in a Morrissey way. Which made me kind of sad. Here I was all into it and it was just our little group. Okay, the coolest group around but yeah, just our group.

There WERE other Breakfast Champions there in costume and they looked fantastic, but they were not dressed in a Moz theme.

But I speak too much of aesthetics! What about the show? Well, may I say that the set list was to die for? Not only was it to die for, but there was a Souxie and the Banshees tribute band that opened and Jose sang Interlude with the lead singer from Happy Haus, Rose. By the way, they were fantastic! Highly recommended.

Click link below to see video of "Interlude" duet.

https://www.instagram.com/p/9jtouzSimL/?taken-by=awillo9658




1. Suedehead
2. Maladjusted
3. You're the One for Me, Fatty
4. Boxers
5. Jack the Ripper
6. Irish Blood, English Heart
7. First of the Gang to Die
8. I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris
9. Still Ill
10. Kiss Me  A Lot
11. Cemetry Gates
12. Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others
13. I Want the One I Can't Have
14. Hairdresser on Fire
15. Paint a Vulgar Picture
16. A Rush and a Push and the Land is Ours
17. November Spawned a Monster
18. This Charming Man
19. Jeane
20. The Boy with a Thorn in His Side
21. Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before
22. Everyday Is Like Sunday
23. Sweet and Tender Hooligan
24. Sunny
25. Bigmouth Strikes Again
Encore: There Is a Light That Never Goes Out

Seriously, could there be a more comprehensive set list in existence? 

If you click the link below you can see video of Jose singing "Kiss Me A Lot" in Spanish, which I think, is quite natural for this song. 

"Kiss Me A Lot" Spanish


If you read my blog regularly, then you KNOW how much I love to see The Sweet and Tender Hooligans. I can't say enough about how much fun it is to see them.

Hey, there are a few shows coming up:

Romanos Concert Lounge in Riverside, CA, December 5
Anaheim House of Blues, Anaheim, CA, January 9, 2016
The Casbah, San Diego, CA, January 16, 2016

So if you are in the area, you really need to go!

The Halloween show was so much fun, just sharing the time with good friends and singing along is so memorable. But The Hooligans are extra special and I look forward to next year's Mozter Mash.  I already know what I am  going to be -if it happens!!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

The Moz Olympics

Maya, Mason, Me at FYF featuring the Great Moz
There is something undeniably special about being in the same room with him. Sharing the same space with Morrissey that makes you grateful to be alive at this moment in time. Not that you wish you lived in a different era, but watching him perform, sing, you KNOW you are somewhere special-you are living in a special time.


San Diego, August 20
Before we went to the San Diego show, my husband, Roland, looked at some reviews of the venue-The Observatory North Park. He mentioned that it had some pretty bad reviews regarding the staff and the sound. Now, Roland is particularly interested in the sound as he has experience in the field of sound engineering and he teaches a high school course on music production. So we were concerned but hopeful.

We arrived in San Diego and parked across the street from the venue. I always feel this pang in my stomach when I see a line. Like maybe I should be in line, but I decided to just focus on food and then we ran into Stephanie. We found a vegan Mexican place just around the corner called Ranchos Cocina so we had a meal and some margaritas. It was good but I had trouble relaxing. I guess I wanted to get to the show. We were probably secretly hoping Morrissey would be in there for his pre-show meal. 

We arrived at the venue at 7 and they had opened the doors. Roland bee-lined it for a spot behind the sound man. Hot tip: that's the BEST place to hear. Lucky for us, it also had the best view. 

Stephanie and Roland didn't seem bothered about not having a beer but I wanted to have a beer. The bar is connected to the venue but you are not allowed INTO the venue with alcohol. I did not realize this and I had the biggest can of Modelo and I didn't really want ALL of it for fear I'd have to miss part of the show to use the restroom. So I guzzled as much as I could and then I ran into Jose and Christine. Then we ran into Jenevieve and her friend, Monica. So I had help drinking my beer. 

Jose, Me, Christine and Jenevieve
We had such a great view of Morrissey and I can say with honesty that it did not matter where you stood in line, you still would have had a chance to get up front. We were happy where we were. And I guess apart from our view, the thing that really struck me about that night was the set list. 

Here it is: 

  1. Suedehead
  2. Alma Matters
  3. Staircase at the University
  4. Ganglord
  5. Speedway
  6. Kiss Me A Lot
  7. World Peace is None of Your Business
  8. Let The Right One Slip In (Last performed live in 19912)
  9. Stop Me If You've Heard This One Before
  10. What She Said
  11. The Bullfighter Dies
  12. Now My Heart Is Full
  13. Will Never Marry
  14. I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris
  15. Istanbul
  16. I Will See You In Far Off Places
  17. Meat Is Murder
  18. Encore: Everyday Is Like Sunday
The video accompanying "Ganglord" was quite violent and shocking. However, abuse of authority is an important theme to Morrissey and this was made evident. I could not watch all of it, especially violence committed against animals,  but from what I did see, it left a powerful impression.

Christine and I were a bit shocked at the audience's subdued reaction to "Let The Right One Slip In" (last performed live in 1992). Morrissey even seemed perhaps surprised when he said it was a hit in Sweden. Our guess was that it was a younger crowd closer to the front. The crowd around us was a little uptight too.  

I think our little group, Jenevieve, her friend, Veronica, Stephanie, Jose, Chrsitine, Mason, me, and Roland were more animated than the crowd at the front. Part of it may also be that people like to take video which makes them stand more still for recording purposes. When you are behind the camera, you are not as able to be fully in the moment. There is literally a barrier between you and the performer. 

The reviews about the sound and the staff at The Observatory North Park were wrong. I can only say from our vantage point the sound was great. Also, the staff was polite butI was not one of the people perhaps trying to get on the stage.

FYF Fest, Los Angeles, August 23
I really don't like festivals that much but when I was offered a ticket to FYF Festival I did not turn it down. It was VERY last minute but after the San Diego show, I REALLY was addicted again and was happy to go.

As much as I love Morrissey, I just did NOT want to wait in front of the main stage for hours to see him up close. I had just seen him in San Diego and had a perfect view so I wasn't bothered. I basically drove there, parked and walked to the main stage (which was far, let me tell you). 

I ran into breakfast champions, Maya, Mason, Keith and Jen. Maya and I tried to be brave enough to deal with being in the thick of the crowd but the smell of people who had been sweating all day and drinking all day in the hot sun was more than we could bear. We ended up standing on the side and we ran into Danica and her friends there.

They changed up the rhythm to "First of the Gang" so it sounded kind of country. This inspired Danica and I to do the doe-see-doe square dance style. I guess the good thing about a festival is there are so many weirdos its unlikely anyone will call you out if you act like a complete nut job.


Breakfast champs at FYF
Visalia Fox Theater, August 29
It's a 4 hour drive from the OC to Visalia. Four hours of driving on a very boring highway. Just fields and fields. But I knew the drive was going to be worth it. This was the final show on Morrissey's brief Southern/Northern California mini tour.

All the people I know had General Admission seats that basically meant they were standing near the stage. My seat was in the next section. So, when the security guy was helping someone find their seat, I just walked past him and made it to where Mason, Keith, Jen, Rodney and the Battis sisters were. It was the right side of the stage where Jesse Tobias and Gustavo are situated on the stage.


Marquee in Visalia
In all my experiences sneaking up to the front, this was the closest I ever got to Morrissey. And I guess even better than just being at the front was it was the very first time I was surrounded by my friends. I don't think I had too many Moz friends a few years ago.

When Moz was singing and came close to the audience, we held out our hands and he touched Rodney and his wife's hands. I was next to them. It could have been me but it was not to be. Yet, when he was singing "Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before" and he looked down, I think we looked each other in the eye for a brief moment as we sang the words, "I still love you, only slightly, only slightly less than I used to, my love." Only, Morrissey sang, "Only slightly MORE than I used to.". I'm sure for him, it was nothing, utterly forgettable, but for me it was something.


Lucky to have such a great view
Still, he sings "Meat Is Murder" at nearly every concert (although he did not on the 2nd San Diego show), and although people often avoided looking at the video of animals losing their lives in slaughter houses projected on the backdrop, he did not give up because it is his passion, his cause. When he sang, "Do you care?" in the middle of that song, I found it very moving because I could sense that although he has sung this countless times and he can see an element of disinterest, he perseveres. 

The evening ended with a gathering of Breakfast Champions at a small bar down the street from the Visalia Fox Theater. Vanessa, Mel, Stacy, Stephanie (from San Jose), Mason, Amy Battis, Rodney and Belinda (from LA). We pretty much took over the bar with our Morrissey and Smiths music and danced the rest of the night away. People stared and we let them stare because it's not like any other love.


























Wednesday, June 3, 2015

An Interesting Drug (or How We Celebrate Morrissey's Birthday in Southern California)


Friday's arrival was welcome. Very welcome. Morrissey's birthday is a holiday to a solid Moz fan.

For whatever reason, my last class of the day turned out to be the longest. It was probably because it was something I had been anticipating all week long and now that it was dangerously close to being the time when I could actually celebrate, it just seemed to be forever until the bell would ring.

That. And the disciplinary problems I NEVER have were making it longer than ever.

Obviously,  the bell finally rang and I drove home, quickly took a shower and put on my new dress. And then hopped in the car towing my make up to my friend, Angela's salon in Newport Beach. 

I just needed her to blow my hair straight because my hair is actually wavy (and occasionally troublesome, you may recall) and it just looks better (I think) when it is blown straight. And what the hell? It was Morrissey's birthday. I needed to look good even if he was all the way in Australia and couldn't see me.

She did a great job as usual and I had decided to put my make up on at her salon so I wouldn't have to think about it later and could just focus on my friends who came to my house. So I did my make up but goofed on the eye liner so Angela asked Steven, who is a hairdresser at another salon in her complex and a great make up artist, if he could fix my mistake.

"Honey, you've got blue eye shadow all over your NOSE! Just sit down and let me fix it."

The thing about Steven is he makes it sound like you are useless but he secretly enjoys transforming you. So, I let him go to town.


Once I made it home, (Breakfast Champion) Chris and Stephanie were waiting and we hung out for awhile before we took an Uber cab to Anaheim House of Blues to see The Sweet and Tender Hooligans.

About the time we hit really bad traffic, I realized that I had left my ticket at home. But in the modern age, that should not be something to worry about-unless you are ME.

When we arrived and gone through security, it was apparent that the bar code was never going to upload from the email on my smart phone. I spend an agonizing 15 minutes starting to get all whiney and worried before the guy scanning tickets finally "scanned" my phone although I could not see a ticket, and he said, "Have a great time."

Me, Chris and Stephanie bee-lined it for the bar. After I downed a shot of tequila I looked down upon Downtown Disney from the upstairs bar. Happy that I was not alone and sad and stressed out that I missed the Hooligans.

We saw Mason almost immediately and had another drink before we hurried down into the pit to catch The Band That Fell to Earth-the Bowie tribute band. I followed Mason and somehow we lost Stephanie and Chris but we go there in time to hear and see the band's rendition of "Fame."

Two girls standing near me, told me, "You are too tall to stand here and we were here first." Maybe it's my age and maybe the protocol for being in the pit has changed but all these years I thought it was a matter of "survival of the fittest." If you want to be in the pit, you might get punched or kicked in the head, maybe the bass player will accidentally hit you with his bass (happened to me once), ANYTHING can happen. I was unaware that it was a "first come, first serve" situation. And I suppose if they had been nicer about it I would have politely moved a bit so they could see better. As it was I just said, "I'm not moving."

"Okay." 

Mason, being the gentleman and trying to keep the peace said, "Come over here, its a better view." He was right, it WAS a better view a little further to the side. So I did move. However, I think THEY ended up moving after multiple drunk people made their way through through less politely spilling beer and singing loudly with uncontrolled hand gestures. 

But the band was just sooo good. I love Bowie music and they focused on the glam era of his career. Absolutely amazing and I would LOVE to see them again. I don't know if as many people around me knew Bowie music so well, but some were there just to see/hear The Smiths or Morrissey music and perhaps were not as interested in his influences.

In between bands, Breakfast Champion, Danica arrived. Another fun person to share the evening with. We also located Stephanie and Chris on the opposite side of the stage. Luckily, Chris wears his hair in a point at the front. A high point, like a unicorn. So we could easily spot him.

Then the The Sweet and Tender Hooligans came on with actor and skilled musician, Thomas Lennon (Reno 911, The Odd Couple) as their new guitarist amid cheers in the packed house. If you can envision thousands of people singing their favorite Smiths and Morrissey songs in virtual unison with Jose Maldonado as the choir director, then I guess you are partially there.

Here is the set list:

THE LAST OF THE FAMOUS INTERNATIONAL PLAYBOYS
ASK
HAND IN GLOVE
GLAMOROUS GLUE
THE HEADMASTER RITUAL
JEANE
THE MORE YOU IGNORE ME THE CLOSER I GET
LET ME KISS YOU
A RUSH AND A PUSH AND THE LAND IS OURS
EVERYDAY IS LIKE SUNDAY
I'VE CHANGED MY PLEA TO GUILTY
SUEDEHEAD
KISS ME A LOT
NOVEMBER SPAWNED A MONSTER
BIGMOUTH STRIKES AGAIN
SPEEDWAY
ISTANBUL
THE BOY WITH THE THORN IN HIS SIDE
HEAVEN KNOWS I'M MISERABLE NOW
THIS CHARMING MAN
I WANT THE ONE I CAN'T HAVE
JACK THE RIPPER
STILL ILL
SWEET AND TENDER HOOLIGAN
THERE IS A LIGHT THAT NEVER GOES OUT

"I've Changed My Plea to Guilty" was stunningly beautiful with just Mikey Farrell (toured and collaborated with Morrissey 2004-2007) and Jose singing. I simply thought it just couldn't get any better than that.

And then "Kiss Me A Lot." Holy hell!!! It was unbelievable. Jose had the added touch of singing it in Spanish as well. It was just so wonderful! I feel like he was made to sing that song. Honestly.

I remember turning around at some point just to look at the vast number of people assembled and all their voices singing Morrissey's words. I knew in my heart that that ALONE would make Morrissey smile. It just made me that much happier.

After the show, Breakfast Champions assembled at the upstairs bar. It was there I saw Vanessa and we finally met Jenevieve-from San Diego! She was there celebrating her birthday with a group of friends. Jenevieve was right when she said, "I feel like I know you all." 

As usual, I forgot to get our picture with all the Breakfast Champions but here are a few:


Jose with Jenevieve and friends
I've stated before that seeing The Sweet and Tender Hooligans on Morrissey's birthday is kind of like the Morrissey fan's communion. Singing your favorite songs with others who "get" Morrissey-who "get" his lyrics, is simply priceless. You realize you aren't as crazy as you thought for being so wild about Morrissey and IF you are you are not alone.

In fact, being with other fans continued for Morrissey's birthday weekend. And if I can get my act together, I will write about the amazing Morrissey Smiths Night at The Echo. 

Mason, Danica, Vanessa, and me













Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Far Off Places (Part Two)

Mozarmy Meet pin 2015
As I entered the Star and Garter pub for the Mozarmy meet, I was handed a Breakfast Champion button and I pinned it on! They were designed by Andy Barnett. He is a regular listener to Breakfast with The Smiths/The World of Morrissey  on Indie1031.com and if you have been REALLY lucky you will have heard him make a phone-in request once.

Just like your average Breakfast Champion, The Star and Garter pub has character. It's an old building (1800s) that reminds me a little of the Adams Family house. When I walked in, I felt like I was walking into someone's living room. Just a warm atmosphere. I suppose, the people already there for the meet up, helped to fuel that atmosphere.

So again, kind of strange in a very GOOD way to see familiar faces that I had NEVER physically met. Just a familiar picture I had seen from a Twitter avatar. Or someone asked, "What is your Twitter handle?" And then I responded and they said, "Oh. Yeah. Nice to meet you." 

One of the first people I spoke to was Stefan Krix. Yes, I had met him at the pub the night before, yes, he was on the tour bus but I hadn't really had the chance to chat about much until then. I learned that he is from the Ruhr part of Germany and it probably took him quite a number of hours to get to Manchester. When he described where he was from, an industrial town, I could see (and he admitted) it was similar in some ways to Manchester. Maybe that is  one reason why he could relate so well to The Smiths and Morrissey.

I also chatted briefly with Adrianna. Maybe I should have been embarrassed when I noted that her best friend looks kind of like John Cryer during the Duckie years (Pretty in Pink). I probably wisely didn't mention the numerous times I had discussed Duckie and a teenage lust, and admiration for him on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook with other female Breakfast Champions. 

 In addition to faraway faces, we saw some from California, Mel Hidalgo and her partner were there and although we had never met back home, it was a treat to chat a bit with someone from Los Angeles and who was sharing in this new experience.

I brought my digital SLR camera with me to England for this trip in the hopes that I would be taking many high quality pictures. And the thing is, I got some great shots, but I think you really have to decide if you want to take pictures or socialize and be involved. Taking a lot of photos requires a bit of distance. You aren't as involved. But I wanted to socialize AND take pictures which basically meant that I was never any one place for very long. And I forgot to take my own picture with some great people when I had the chance.

Once sufficient time had passed meeting and greeting, things got started upstairs. The entertainment began with a brilliant dialogue between "cardboard Morrissey" (created by Andy Barnett, voice by Jose Maldonado) and Julie Hamill, followed by a wonderful, intimate acoustic set by Jose. 

After that, people were dancing and milling about. I went downstairs to get another drink and see what Stephanie was up to. While there, I got a good shot of Jose and Julie.

I think Jose was getting ready to perform with the Mozarmy house band-James Barton, Owen Burns, Conor MacCloughlin and Andrew Parisi was playing drums, of course. I was fortunate enough to be in the right place when Julie introduced me to Andrew and we chatted  awhile before they went on stage. He was a very down to earth kind of person. Very real. I was struck by the fact that he truly loves Morrissey's music. I didn't get the impression that he just played with Morrissey and that's as far as it went.  He's a fan.

After Julie told Andrew that it was time to go on and perform, she introduced me to Simon Wolstencroft. I bought a copy of his book,You Can Drum But You Can't Hide)  and we chatted a bit before and after signing it. He talked openly about his brief time playing with The Smiths and his time in the Manchester music scene during the 80s and 90s. He had a lot of fascinating stories to tell and much of it is included in his book. Just like Andrew Parisi it was clear that he too, is fan of Morrissey's music and lyrics. 

I suddenly realized I was missing Jose and the Mozarmy band playing so I ran up the stairs. I missed some of the set. But it was obvious to me they had taken the audience by storm and it was amazing to watch. A guy who I had overheard at the start of the evening say, "I hate cover bands." was dancing and singing and yelling for more in between songs. You COULD say it was the beer but I maintain that it was the music combined with Jose's stellar performance.

I'd be lying to you if I didn't admit to you that Jose was the star of the show. It's a privilege to be among the audience who has no idea really what to expect. Then to see them transform right before my very eyes. 

In between songs they even chanted "Morrissey, Morrissey, Morrissey!" 


So, what exactly does Jose do that makes his performance so damned special, you may ask? I could describe how he dances like Morrissey, how he has his moves down pat, I could also tell you that he puts in his own artful interpretation,I could tell you how much he actually sounds like Morrissey, I could tell you all those things that I am sure I have stated before in other posts. But one thing is most undeniable and that is Jose's passion for Morrissey's words and his love for the music are embodied in every move and song on the stage. I can't say it better than that.  

That love and passion is given to the audience who welcome it with open arms. It was special to be in a room blasting Morrissey's words in the land where it all began, echoing through those "streets where he was raised" from a man who is from my part of the world-in Los Angeles, and expertly sharing that connection we feel.

I am posting a few numbers I recorded that evening to give you the sense of what it was like to be there that special night.



If you really want a better set of video to watch, I'd highly recommend The Mozarmy YouTube page. "Asleep" with Conor playing keys was just beautiful, very emotional. "Staircase at the University" was another that really stood out but I just didn't get video.

During the Mozarmy band performance, at one point I noticed a guy behind me that looked like Matthew Whitehouse from the band The Heartbreaks (who opened for Morrissey during his 2011 tour ?). We made eye contact and he smiled and I smiled. Then I said to him, "You look like the guy from The Heartbreaks."

"I AM the guy from The Heartbreaks. I'm Matthew Whitehouse."

(Duh)

We laughed and I acted all star struck which is unlike me.I remembered all these weird facts like that they are from Morecombe, for example. I told him he was unusual-looking (in a good way). Then,  I walked away but I kept looking behind me and he smiled and I laughed and he laughed and it seemed like the joking was mutual, but I kind of think he must have wished he'd never made eye contact. Honestly. I think I looked at him more than would be considered normal.

I even dragged him over to meet Jose after his performance-even though he'd already met Jose. I think it was at the "I Love you, man" stage of the evening. 

As I tell this part of the story, I feel compelled to assume the fetal position and put a blanket over my head. If Matthew Whitehouse never goes to another Mozarmy Meet or Manchester, for that matter, it's probably my fault.


After the live music (and Matthew Whitehouse had left), the DJ played more and more of our favorite songs and dancing and merriment continued. Donna Bishop (from Manchester and another favorite Breakfast Champion) was there and was dancing in full force the entire night.

 I went downstairs and was getting ready to leave when I saw Julie and she said, "We need to have a dance." So we went back upstairs and when I turned around Julie was nowhere. She obviously was stopped on the way up for a chat with someone or other. So I danced with two lovely young men, George and Chris. I saw other people I know, like Vanessa and Euan and I danced with them briefly but just a mass of dancing people. Fun dancing people!


Stephanie and I had to fly home that day so I said a quick "Good Night" and walked out the door of The Star and Garter feeling happy that I was so lucky to be there. I guess next year I can get that dance with Julie.

In addition to a wonderful night had by all the sold out event raised quite a lot of money to help keep The Star and Garter going!