Che Zuro's Winter 2013.14 Journal

February 26, 2014

A few weeks ago I played at Snowbird's El Chanate restaurant for an apres-ski experience! It was my first time there but I felt so at home with the employees and the customers. There was a group of guys at a table that had to leave and they asked me where else I would be playing that weekend, while they were visiting. And the next day THEY SHOWED UP AT THE POWDER KEG AT POWDER MOUNTAIN! I was thrilled and so surprised. We all had a great time! See ya next season you guys!!!

February 23, 2014

Since it is 55 and sunny today and should be 30 and snowing, and I had to cancel this afternoon's gig because my throat is "iffy" to say the least, I thought I would catch up on my movie reviews, what some of you had asked me to do when I had started posting my movie faves and must-not-see-because-it's-awful reviews. So, here ya go.

Starting with the 2 TV movies that were suggested. "Burton and Taylor," the TV movie that on BBC America, dissects the famous couple's infamous 1983 reunion when they decided to star in a revival production of Noel Coward's "Private Lives." The whole movie was just about this short period in their lives, very interesting with much insight on what their relationship really was, off screen and out of the tabloids. Even though Helena Bonham Carter was nominated for an award, I thought that Dominic West, who played Richard Burton, was far more believable and wonderful in the role! Good to watch!

"Betty and Coretta"
I knew was about the widows of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr., but had no idea that I would LOVE this film so much. Of course I am a huge fan of American History and to find out so many things that I didn't know about this era before was good for my brain. The acting was amazing in this film. It was fast moving and interesting in all aspects. Angela Bassett is the nominee for voting purposes, but I really thought that Mary J. Blige was the star of this. She had me right away, whereas Angela Bassett seemed to be "acting." Just my opinion. MUST SEE.

And onto the theatrical releases.

Some of you may have read my review of this film on my Facebook page, others may have not. Let me save you 2 hours of your life! This is about "August:Osage County." I really was looking forward to seeing this because of all of the hype about what a great acting role for Meryl Streep and what an amazing cast of actors that were able to be together on film. With bated breath I inserted the DVD and began my "adventure." And was soon disappointed. Are there really families out there that are THAT dysfunctional? I mean, beating each other up and not caring about each other AT ALL? It was so remote from anything I have ever seen, which was (to me) completely unbelievable, plus so disturbing to even try to watch. (Although I forced myself to watch because I figured there would be a light at the end of the tunnel i.e. a happy ending or at least some justification.) Meryl Street was acting. I was seeing her in Acting 101 class. Julia Roberts was not good. Very few of the characters had any well, CHARACTER. There was nothing inside of them to make me thing "well, that is why they are acting this way" or "this is why she is so hurt and taking it out on everyone." I did like Benedict Cumberbatch and Julianne Nicholson's characters and their acting, but they were so far in the background of this film, it was disappointing to me. All in all I give it NO stars and a -2 hours that I want back!

(And where did Julia Roberts go without her purse???)

"American Hustle"
WHAT A FUN MOVIE with tons of surprises, GREAT acting (I did not know that was Christian Bale when I first started watching it!), awesome music, costumes, the story line was great, and I totally enjoyed it! Once again, although Jennifer Lawrence is up for all of the awards, I felt like, WHAT ABOUT AMY ADAMS??? She was simply amazing in this role. Fun to watch. Stole the show in my opinion. A MUST SEE!!!! Put on your platforms and watch it!

"The Butler"
I have heard that some people do not want to watch this movie because "it isn't all true!" But it is based on a real life person with embellishments that make this movie such a joy to watch. Once again, if you are into American History like I am, you will no doubt love this film. The acting is superb and even though some have felt as though the casting of all of the Presidents was not great - which I disagree with - all of the actors were amazing to watch. How about that Oprah!? WOW, from young gal to old woman. AWESOME! The story line begins (and from what I am told is NOT truth) in the south in the cotton fields. The embellishments make for a really great story, taking this man's life through the years with all of the historical facts regarding civil rights, segregation, war, and more. I LOVED this film. And the way the President's were cast, in my opinion, were to show them as regular men, rather than their Presidential selves that we all have seen throughout the years, with them on pedestals. It was a way to connect the average person with the average person that each President also had in them. This is a MUST SEE.

Ok, Sandra Bullock had a tough time with the acting in this film, we all know that, because it was truly the things you learn in your first acting classes - when you are ALONE and have to react to things that are not there or are not really happening. She was really good in this and I have no idea how she went in daily to work (except for the scenes with Clooney) and did it all on her own for that many scenes in this film. I guess my biggest complaint was the SOUND. I watched this film on the production company's website which should have been a regular showing of the film, because we all were watching on our computers, but I had to keep turning the volume up to hear what was going on and then it would be blasting and then I'd have to turn it down and then I couldn't hear again. It was ANNOYING to say the least. I would actually watch it again if I knew that the sound would be better. It is amazing what they can do in post production. This was a good film despite the bad sound.

"Blue Jasmine"
What a shock. I had no idea what this was about, at all. Hadn't really heard anything about it. But, even though this was the first DVD I received from SAG to be able to vote for the awards, it was one of the last ones I watched. (I could kick myself!) What a moving story. The acting was superb, Cate Blanchett was amazing as were her supporting actors. At first I had no idea what was even going on in the film, and then my heart sunk. This movie made me FEEL. So many twists and turns and surprises. I LOVED the characters and the way the film moved, the costumes, the relationships, everyone made me feel something! (HEY AUGUST:OSAGE COUNTY PEOPLE - TAKE A LESSON HERE!!!!) Must see, although it can be quite depressing and also if you are boycotting Woody Allen, then don't see it.

In the vein of the depressing year of films, comes Nebraska. It is shot beautifully, but was depressing. I couldn't turn it off though, because of June Squibb's character whom I couldn't keep my eyes off of. Her acting, the words that she gave life to, just everything about her I loved. I want to be her when I grow up! Bruce Dern was good, but I wasn't THAT impressed, sorry. Will Forte floored me though. I did not know he could be a serious actor. Just think of him as a comic. But WOW. Well shot, good story, too sad.

Another one that I really had no idea what it was about. And LOVED it. What a moving story about a woman who tries to find her long lost son that had been given up for adoption. The scenery was amazing, the way it was shot, beautiful. I salute the cinematographer here - Robbie Ryan, BRAVO. What a wonderful film to watch! It is sad (once again in the vein of the mostly depressing movies of this year) but really is heart warming at the same time. Judi Dench is really amazing. Her emotions are right there, in her heart, on her face, in the way she holds her hands. Wonderful acting. MUST SEE!

"Enough Said"
Another one that I hadn't heard of and really hadn't planned to watch except that I really like James Gandolfino and am sad that he is not around anymore to give us some great performances. This film was fun to watch. It reminded me of some of my older newly single friends that aren't sure whether they want to start dating again or not, the pros and the cons and the ups and the downs. I am not a big fan of Julia Louis-Dreyfus, which was one of the reasons I did not want to even try to watch this, but found her compelling and fun to watch! It is a light film with lots of wonderful moments! Glad I watched!

"Dallas Buyers Club"
The main reason I wanted to watch this film was from seeing the way that Matthew McConaughey lost a ton of weight for this role, and also because of the talk I had heard about Jared Leto in this film. And then when I started to watch, it took me back to the time period where I was also living with friends who were suddenly being diagnosed with HIV or were losing weight and becoming ill, only to find later that they had full blown AIDS. The film was done very well. The characters were all well done by the actors, especially the above mentioned. To get into a role like that FULLY, and to have the audience forget that it is an actor is truly amazing. A sad story but compelling, and based on true life of Ron Woodroof. This was an incredible film.

"12 Years A Slave"
Once again, not knowing anything about this film except that it was about slavery, I dove into it with a fresh mind, and found myself watching what I think is the best film I have seen in a long, long time. Of course, being a white person in America, it was hard to watch the Christian bible thumping God fearing people beat the heck out of their "property" or kill them on the spot, or rape them or sell them. It was SAD. But loving history, this is a huge part of American History whether we like it or not. It was horrifying to see a free man being kidnapped and sold into slavery. It was horrifying (and I have no idea how the actors DID this without breaking down daily in tears) to see slaves beaten to a pulp and the white slave owners wives looking the other way. It opened my eyes more to the plight of the black race in America through the years even more than I already knew. Actors Chiwetel Ejiofor and Lupita Nyong'o were AMAZING in their roles and I am hoping to see them more and more in future films and TV shows. This is a MUST MUST MUST SEE but only with a large box of tissues and a remote so you can pause to be able to have a good cry here and there. LOVED this film, MOVED me so much.

"Captain Phillips"
I have no nails left!
What an amazing film made about the true to life hijacking of the Maersk Alabama by Somalian pirates and the rescue of Captain Richard Phillips. I had seen some of the clips of mainly the scenes involving the pirates first coming onto the ships and heard how they kept Tom Hanks away from the actors who were playing the pirates. It was really intense, done well, the acting was brilliant, and I still cannot believe that Barkhad Abdi, Barkhad Abdirahman, Faysal Ahmed and Mahat M. Ali had no prior acting experience! They were amazing, believable and very, very frightening. I like Tom Hanks but at first wasn't sure whether I would like him or not in this role, and within the first 15 minutes of the film, it was forgotten that it was even Tom Hanks. It was Captain Phillips! I love it when I forget who the actor is and get wrapped up in the character and feel for the character (or hate them or get angry at them or whatever). The filming was done really well and what else can I say. It is another MUST SEE. Of course, unless you hate these kinds of films and only like romantic comedies....... HA!

February 17, 2014
President's Day

I know, I know. . . I PROMISED to update this more often, but after the last update, I really got busy and now am ready to post photos from the Orchids Reunion gig!

When Sunbie and I saw each other last year at the NAMM show, we talked about maybe trying to get Jan out to L.A. (since she does still go back now and then) the next time I knew that I would be coming, so in September when I knew for sure that I would be attending NAMM 2014, she got to work. Jan made her plans to come back for her CD release party and brought along Tami and Keith, her band mates in Chicago. Now, pedal backwards a little bit (or a lot), Tami was first the bass player for the band Puss N Boots that I was in with Jan, and then became the drummer after Laurie Bell left the band, (yes, Laurie Bell also from the Orchids) so it was a multiple band reunion actually!!!! Through email, texts and phone calls, we worked out the set list and who would sing what, and since Tami was going to be there, we had a (great) drummer so all we needed was a bass player. Stepping in . . . ta da . . . Sunbie's SON Drew Cornick!!! Woo hoo Drew!

Photos by Donald Kinda, Don Adkins, Lynne Taciak, Joe Balboa, Mary Dean Crawford, Lou Delgado, Monika Moore, David Bruce-Casares, Jeff Lindsey, Pam Keller, Patte and Andy Adlin, Sherry Klein - THANK YOU and for anyone that I may have missed for the photog credit!

Sunbie worked so hard to get a rehearsal place for us, with a sound system and mics/stands and everything we needed. THANK YOU Donald Kinda for letting us INVADE your space for a couple of days!!!! Here is one of Don's photos of us:

We worked out most of the kinks, but really could have used a lot more rehearsal!!!! The 3 of us hadn't played together since 1980, I think, and all of those songs. . . well, we hand't played those either for that many years! It was fun figuring everything out again and I was so thankful and excited that both Jan and Sunbie wanted to play guitar solos, because that took the pressure off of me because I don't really play lead guitar much these days (although that is going to change!) ! It was a hoot working out the lyrics that were meant for teenage love and Sunbie even changed some of the 17 year old lyrics to reflect our now 50 year old fans!

Finally the day came. We all showed up at the Slidebar Rock and Roll Kitchen in Fullerton, CA, and set up our stuff with our old roadie (who traveled all of the way from San Jose to help out and BE there!) Joe:

and did our sound check.

Our set list (we ended up not doing Bad Guys - sorry!!!)

Being introduced

And away we go, finally, the show!

Rockin out

Loved having Sunbie play mandolin and with Jan on electric and me on acoustic, well, it was quite a different kind of Orchids!

This is probably my favorite photo of the night!!!

Probably my favorite photo taken of me that night, thanks Lynne!

Jan's band from Chicago, Keith, Tami and Jan, did a short set of material and wowed the crowd!

The three of us after the show, me, Jan and Sunbie.

And then, the friends! Thanks to all of you who made the effort to come to see us!!! Unfortunately I did not get photos of ALL of my pals, but I did get SOME! Here are Sunbie and I with our friends ALL OF THE WAY FROM ENGLAND (they just happened to be in California on holiday!) Bronwyn and Dave Parsons from the band Sham 69! We met Dave and his band on their first trip to Los Angeles when I was first in the Orchids and we have remained friends ever since!

And the girls have grown up! Kimi (our old friend Wendy's daughter - Wendy RIP), Amy who was super young when she used to come and see us with her sisters Wendy and Kim, and Hope, also, all grown up! Fun to see them!

It was also great seeing Jeff and David (and Mark)!!!

It was so cool to see my girlfriends and also old bandmates (the four of us went to Tahiti together as the band "Trouble" - and yes, we were!) and Tisa and I had an acoustic duo together, Liza, Brie and I worked on a TV band project together, Brie and Tisa had a band called Diva Crockett together, and the list goes on. Liza now plays in an amazing band, Incendio, see below for photos of them at the NAMM show, Brie has a specialty cake company with her granddaughter, and Tisa continues to play music around the Los Angeles area! Here we are: Liza, Che, Tisa and Brie aka TROUBLE!

The next night, Phil Lee played at Coffee Gallery Backstage with Jan's band opening the show, so I went over there and met up with Sunbie, Drew and Jeff Lindsey to see them all again! Phil sat in with Jan - here with Tami and Keith

And then later, Jan, Tami and Drew played a few tunes with Phil

I was able to sing with both of them, which was really fun! Thanks Jeff for taking so many great photos and for hanging out 2 nights in a row!!!

The three Orchids at the show:

All in all, my trip to Los Angeles was amazing!

February 1, 2014

Finally a chance to write about my January trip to Los Angeles and the NAMM show! (The Orchids reunion will be next, but one thing at a time, please!!!!) The trip was amazing! Saw a lot of old friends and made some new friends and will be writing an article about the new gear and the coolest things that I saw at NAMM 2014 for the magazine Blues-E-News! That will be announced soon, probably here as well as on my Facebook page and on the Blues-E-News website. There will be links to videos and websites of the companies that I found super interesting this year as well as the people who were performing, signing autographs, etc.

Since I was there for all 4 days, I was able to see some people play and hang out a little bit here and there with some folks! My friend Ed Tree was playing at the Big Joe Stompbox booth upstairs (whereas we at Guitar Hands were on the bottom level, E, which I fondly referred to as the suburb of China!) and we were able to visit with each other, and he came down to jam with me a little bit!

There was a new guy playing at the booth this year, Mike Unger, here jamming with Verona Rose's Dad, Joe

and look how grown up Miss Verona Rose is getting!!!! She is still jamming and writing and singing (and selling Girl Scout cookies this month!!!!) - LOVE that girl!

Stopping by the booth to say hi to us all was Art Thompson from Guitar Player Magazine

as well as Casey Reagan from Blues-E-News and writer Lorraine Chambers!

Some of the fun and crazy things that went on included not just music, but dancing! This was at the Mahalo ukelele booth where every few hours they would have Hawaiian dancing and music. I met the dancers in the ladies room (of COURSE, where else do you meet other cool women???) and they told me the times of their shows, so I ran down there with Kaylee who was also working at the Guitar Hands booth! Here is a cool photo of the show:

The girls were so nice, cute and had the coolest outfits!!!! (And the ukelele's were nice too!!!)
The guys at the National Resonator booth were constantly playing, jamming, singing, and it was so much fun to be right next door to them for the entire show. Inspiring to me!

These guys were creepy but fun!!! Everyone wanted to get a pic with them, including me!!! They are a band from Vegas!!!

And check out these aspiring rock and roll stars!!! Their Daddy owns a music store and they were just as excited to be at NAMM as I was!!!

The friends I saw was mind boggling! There were many, many more that I forgot or did not have a chance to take a photo with, but here is what I have - of course Ed Tree playing at his booth -

Ran into and got to hang out with brothers Vinny and Carmine Appice! Always a FUN time with them!!!

Saw J.P. and Liza's band Incendio (a MUST SEE if they are ever in your hood! Trust me, you will NOT be disappointed!)

Liza just gets prettier and prettier! And WOW what a bass player!

Then I ran into Annette Conlon and her husband Doug who were there looking at and trying out all kinds of musical instruments and taking photos of everything there!

While walking in the E section, I heard this great jam going on and then noticed there was my friend Elaine's husband!!! Ray Parker Jr.! So great to reconnect - haven't seen him since our days in Mammoth Lakes! He was there with their son Gibson who towers over everyone at age 15! (And what a cutie!)

And last but not least, I went up to the Gretch booth to try and catch old friend and band mate, Matt Sorum! And there he was!!! We quickly caught up but will get together the next time I am in Cali so we can really catch up in person!

I am already planning next year!

More to come - all about The Orchids Reunion show!!!

January 10, 2014

Aren't you all excited about the Orchids reunion show on January 25th? We are! Everyone has been asking what songs would we be doing, etc, and giving us their favorites. Well, some of them would be difficult to do without the angelic vocals of Miss Laurie Bell, but we will be doing most of the songs that Jan and I sang lead on. Sunbie will be singing lead on one of the songs, in lieu of Laurie Bell. Each of us will also be doing a few tunes from our various solo projects all mixed in with Orchids (and Puss n Boots since Jan, Tami and I all were in that band too!) tunes here and there. Jan has a new CD coming out and will be playing some shows with her band while in L.A. around that same time, the following week! So you guys will hear some Orchids songs from the album, some Orchids songs that we only ever did live, a few Puss N Boots songs, and solo stuff from Sunbie, Jan and myself.

Here are some pics from one of our many shows at the Whisky A-GoGo which just celebrated it's 50th anniversary! Photo credits go to friend Mony B., who got some rather embarrassing shots that night. I.E. We did not get the "please wear pants" memo! We promise to maybe wear pants at the reunion show!!!

Sunbie and Jan

Jan, Laurie Bell and me

Ms. Sunbie Sinn!

Jan rocking' it!

That's me and a Les Paul Junior compliments of Danny Johnson!

Fun times!

Rock on! Post anything you want to know on my Facebook page and I will try to answer it there or here, and post photos. XOXO

January 6, 2014

Khrystos Razhdayetsya! - Slavite Yoho!

That is "Christ is Born! Glorify Him!" Because it is Orthodox Christmas Eve (as well as Byzantine Catholic) tonight. I am missing my Grandmother's awesome Christmas Eve dinner that not many of my relatives really liked, but I relished the customs and traditions and the food, and looked forward to the celebration every year! With both my Dad and my Aunt Jean gone, there are few in my family that even celebrate or acknowledge this, but it is very special to me.
Oh, those perogies, I can SMELL them now!!!!

Just started reading (listening to) another audio book which is a biography, and already I am impressed with the writing and loving the story. It's Gregg Allman's "My Cross To Bear." I have only just begun the book, but am looking forward to listening! Always loved the Allman Brothers, saw them in Pittsburgh at the Civic Arena with my friend Lisa Taylor from Myrtle Beach when she was visiting me in the summer when we were in 10th grade. The show was amazing and I have always loved their songs, harmonies and especially the double solos. Who knew that later in my life I would have a chance to meet Gregg Allman while working as one of the outlaw girls on his video's for "I'm No Angel" and it's followup "Can't Keep Running." So much fun, great crew, great band and the chick outlaw gang was an amazing group of girls, some who also worked on David Lee Roth's video "California Girls." Some of us are still in touch to this day!!! Here I am with Gregg during the "I'm No Angel" shoot.

More soon! Keep checking in because you never know when I will write again. It's been 2 days in a row, WOW!

January 5, 2014

Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and the best in this new year!!! There was a little bit of snow here, but not as much as everyone would like (skiers, snowboarders, etc!) so everyone here is still doing the snow dance. Unfortunately everywhere else seems to be getting our Utah powder! Here is what it looked like after the last storm.

Such a beautiful sight - looking north to the Cache Valley and the town of Logan. We need more of that stuff!!!

The other amazing news is that The Orchids will be having a reunion show on Saturday, January 25th in Fullerton, CA, during the NAMM show. Jan will be coming in from Chicago, I am traveling from Utah and Sunbie is setting everything up for us to play a few hours at the Slidebar Rock and Roll Kitchen! Here is the flyer:

Now to try and remember the songs from the album! We will be playing selected tunes from our only MCA release "The Orchids" as well as some fun cover tunes and each of us will be playing some of our recent originals so that everyone can hear what we have all been doing lately! It will be a blast to get together with the girls again after so many years. Joining us as well will be Tami Peden on drums/percussion who played with Jan, Laurie Bell and me in Puss N Boots, as well as Sunbie's son, Drew Cornick on bass! We hope to have lots of photos as well as maybe a live recording and hopefully some kind of video!!!

Just finished reading The Hunger Games and was a bit disappointed. I really thought that the writing was amazing and I loved the characters and the way they were developed. I just did not like the premise of the story. Which maybe means I am getting old? Not sure. I hear that a lot of these young adult books - that are also being made into films - have similar end of the world, children fighting children sometimes to the death story lines. That makes me wonder about some of the events that have been happening around America - school shootings - kids killing kids - "terrorists" in the movie theater shooting innocent people. Could some of this have been sparked by some of these newly themed books? Or is it just like the new Lord of the Flies era and because kids are so much more advanced technically than in the "olden days" they are more able to act out some of these fantasies? I will never know. I am not sure any of us will ever know. I do know that I will keep reading as much as I can get my hands on regardless of the theme. The book I am almost finished with right now is Lisa See's Peony In Love. How's THAT for something completely different from The Hunger Games???

What are you reading or watching on TV lately that is affecting you??? It could be in a positive way or even something that slightly disturbs you but you are glued to it because it is drawing you in for some reason. . . (Please do not tell me Duck Dynasty!) Post me a note on my Facebook page!

December 3, 2013

WOW! Winter came here with a vengeance last night with winds that sounded like a freight train hauling butt down my street, major tapping on my windows and howling through the tiny little air holes in my door frames!!! This morning there was a bed of white out there, even the trees were slightly covered, despite the wind, and it is beginning to look a lot like . . . (fill in the blank!) This is good news for me - unlike our friend Tisa who called me last week from Los Angeles to report that she was FREEZING and it was almost 70 degrees there!!! - because this is the beginning of my busy season! The dates are filling in, but wow, my schedule looks like so much fun, performing at Powder Mountain Resort to Snowbird to Deer Valley with lots of places in between!!!

This is what it was like after the last little snow storm, at my neighbor's ranch, where he has a domesticated herd of buffalo. It is amazing to look out the window and see these massive animals!!!

The one thing I do not miss about living in Los Angeles is the TRAFFIC! Occasionally, in weather like today, or if there is a major accident, we do have traffic, and then once in awhile, we have traffic like THIS! Haha!

And my news for today is that NAMM HAS BEEN CONFIRMED!!! I will definitely be there at the Guitar Hands booth, once again, playing music, and using this wonderful hand lotion that cleanses, protects and moisturized my hands, and also helps keep my callouses for playing guitar!!! There may be a BIG SURPRISE which is something that is in the works, but I cannot reveal until everything is ready to go. It is regarding NAMM and some shows. . . so pay attention!!!! This could be VERY exciting!!!