Where have I been?
SO sorry about not keeping you up on everything, but so far 2017 has been a whirlwind! I even missed the inauguration and most of the playoff games in the NFL season! But I have been here:
Then with these fun and beautiful gals:
Then doing this:
Then BACK to this:
And in between all of the above, I was trying to watch as many movies and TV shows that had nominated actors in the SAG Awards, which I vote for and am proud of! Whew. NOW I am trying to catch up with everything!
So, now, before the Academy Awards, on February 26th, I can let YOU know what films, especially, that I loved and which ones I thought had "Huh?" factor. My very favorite film was "Hidden Figures" which when I started to watch, had no idea what it was even about, only that many of the actors in the film were up for awards in a lot of the different award shows and that it starred Taraji P. Henson, whom I adore. The three women who play friends who WERE friends in real life and worked for NASA, not only were wonderful actors to watch, but I wanted to hang out with them!
The story is pretty incredible - and WHY did we never know about these women? Until now. THIS makes me mad, but whomever decided that it was time to tell this beautiful story about hard work, friendship, love, brains and the ability to move forward as one is denied opportunity, bravo to you! This is a MUST see!
Another fave was Fences, maybe because it was written by a Pittsburgher, takes place in the Hill District in Pittsburgh and was filmed in Pittsburgh! I'm a Steel Town girl! August Wilson really got the way things were in those days. Not only for minorities in that area, but his words depict the way it was for a lot of people: being poor, dealing with substance abuse, finding and losing work, friendship and love. I'm thrilled with all of the accolades this is getting and the brilliant performances by Denzel Washington, but especially Viola Davis, who made me cry maybe too many times in this poignant film.
The other MUST SEE film, in my opinion, is "Arrival." This also blew me away. Amy Adams was incredible in the lead role and it is one of those really unique films that is not just a remake of something from the past, or the same old story. This was inventive and really had WOW factor.
And the last one that I have to highly recommend would be "Lion." Although I love everything that has to do with India, so I thoroughly enjoyed especially the early scenes in this film where I could revisit the Indian countryside and it's dim and colorful view. The story is sad and glorious at the same time. And true. (LOVE the true stories!!!) This is another one of my must see films this year. Both Dev Patel and Sunny Pawar played the same character at different times of life, were heart wrenching and beautiful in both their sadness and what also makes them happy. And Dev Patel, wow, he is grown up!!! (HOT!)
"Moonlight" was moving. Solid acting and a very sad story. Beautifully shot. Mahershala Ali was brilliant in this (and loved him in Hidden Figures as well).
The films that I thought were just OK, or the acting was meh, you may be surprised. The HUGE hit "LaLaLand" was, to me, so not good that I had to stop watching it after about 20 minutes. Perhaps someday I will try it again. Maybe it was my mood? Maybe I am just one of those people who thought, Huh? (Yes, that "Huh?" moment!) I am a big fan of musicals and musical theater, so really I had thought that I would love love love this film, but no. So far, no. Not at all. Cannot figure out why it is such a big hit. But then I am one of the few people that didn't like "Mamma Mia!" which I thought was one of the poorest, most stupid films I have ever seen. So there you go! Another one that I thought was a cute film was Florence Foster Jenkins, but not good or great enough to merit any kind of award. So that is another "Huh?" moment! I did think the performance of Simon Helberg who played Cosme McMoon, the accompanist, was the best thing about this film. I couldn't wait until he was in the next scene and LOVED the way he played his character!
So, that is what has been up with ME!
I have stopped doing event listings on Facebook due to the amount of time that it takes and the outcome that it brings, so PLEASE either sign up on my mailing list if you want to see where I am playing, check out my tour dates here on my site, or follow me on Twitter (which also gets posted to my music Facebook profile! My twitter account is @chezuro so hope to see you there!
Happy New Year!
Some people thought that 2016 was so crappy and they could not wait until 2017 got here. Personally it was a great year for me, once I looked at everything I accomplished and the things that I started, finished, tried, succeeded, or even just thought about. Starting with a great New Year's Eve at Kelly's Roadhouse, I played for a packed house of friends that I have made from playing there, and ate Kelly's amazing Prime Rib while sharing our pot luck food at the giant dinner table. The next day I flew to L.A. to be picked up and taken to the beach, with lunch at the Reel Inn and a walk at Zuma. The next day I hopped a train at L.A.'s Union Station for an incredible ride up the coast, changing trains in Oakland and then continuing onto Salt Lake City. What a fun couple of days' adventure!
NAMM was on my agenda again this year and besides seeing tons of old friends (and new friends!) I was also able to meet folks like Stevie Wonder and Brad Whitford. The music that was being played at many of the merchants booths there was great, with lots of women musicians at the helm - and THAT always makes me so happy, that maybe my generation made a difference and influenced some of these young gals!
My next CD was also started in January, at Treehouse Studios with Ed Tree producing. We knew it was going to be a long project since he lives in California and I live in Utah, but we have made it work every time I have been there for any kind of work, and we are getting close to the light at the end of the tunnel! This is a HUGE accomplishment for me considering that my last CD was released in 2008 and I have been trying to bring a new one to fruition since the following year. Finally I will have product in 2017!
In the winter of 2016 my band was finally put together. After some difficulty with players and the proximity of the rehearsal space and where everyone lives, we finally became a trio, and it has been a fun journey. Drummer Rod Mitchell was in the band Backstage Pass when I first joined the band, and my first professional gig with them was opening for Devo in San Francisco at the blonde punk club, Mabuhay Gardens! Here we are now, a gazillion years later, playing in a trio with his wife, Iffer, whom he had played in bands with for years here in Utah! My original material sounds pretty amazing with this group and I hope to have a live band CD released sometime maybe this year!
In April I was able to snag a weekend gig at Grand Targhee resort which was super fun - playing to a wonderful crown of skiers and staying slope side with lift tickets included in my pay! I also headed to PA for a couple of weeks at the end of the month, and had a great visit with family and friends. PLUS played some shows back there! We also started on Mom's remodel project in the house which was then finally finished sometime in the fall. So CHECK for that huge thing!
Phil Lee was here for a house concert in my back yard with Christian Scheller (who just moved to Austin!) opening the show, and it was a big success and loads of fun. We also had visits from Liza and JP of Incendio when they were in town for the Utah Arts Festival! I am still waiting for some of my closest and dearest friends to let me know when they want to visit me!!!
This season of OVOM (Ogden Valley open Market, the farmers market here in my area, where I am on the Board of Directors as the entertainment specialist!) was really great this year, with us getting a new beautiful gazebo that was built by Peterson Builders in Eden, and approved by Gage Froerer whose land we gratefully use for the market every year! This new gazebo made our musicians happy, having a sturdy structure, although high winds still do not allow live music on some nights!
The band's first gig was in July. We are called Wildflower Moon and we have been booking gigs and learning more and more material as the days progress.
I also went to L.A. for 10 days, recorded, worked in the fashion business and also had a couple of gigs that were really fun, saw so many old friend which always warms my heart, and although most days were "work" it felt like a vacation! Tisa and I also started, at the end of 2015, to get together for songwriting sessions every time I am in town, and have accomplished writing quite a few new tunes that we both play live and both will probably record!
August took me first to Montana, where I stayed with my friends Sue and Verne, and played not only a "barn concert" but also a distillery and a hot springs! It was beautiful up there and I hope to return sometime in 2017. Then Chris and I went to the beautiful wedding of Nicole and Elliott, in Eden, with the ceremony at the top of Powder Mountain, where the views and the sunset were both amazing. What a wonderful couple and we were flattered to be invited! The whole weekend was filled with fun events, some on the lake, some on the mountain, and it was fun for me to be able to dress in some pretty dresses that I have not had a chance to wear since moving to the hinterlands. Hehe.
At the end of the month I headed back to PA where my paternal side of the family had their annual reunion, called the Losie Kermesh, where my cousins Janice and Mila joined our Aunt Mary and my Mom for festivities. Unfortunately, my aunt had a stroke 2 days later, which hospitalized her and she finally passed away in early December. I am so glad that she was able to join us for the weekend event and see everyone one last time.
In September we went to a family wedding near Boston, and I was able to go to see Plymouth Rock and take a walk on the ship that they have built to replicate the Mayflower. Being a history junkie, it was a lifetime dream to be able to see the bay where the Mayflower came in and the land where the settlers first put down their American roots. Thrilling for me to stand on Miles Standish's land where the stones of his first home foundation still stand. And the cemetery where he is buried. There is so much history there, and I was happy to have a little time between wedding festivities.
In October I played the very first Pride Festival in Logan, Utah, and was so thrilled to be asked and to be a part of history being made here in Utah! It was very successful plus a bunch of fun!
At the end of October I started my drive to PA, stopping to visit family and friends, doing a radio show, and seeing some sites that are historical on the way and way back from there. Although people thought I was nuts, going "all that way," I LOVE to drive, see things, go off the beaten trail (not too far) and be able to have time to listen to audio books, reflect on things I have done, what I want to do, and just clear my mind with driving the open road!
In November I had to put my favorite boy cat down, due to an ejection site sarcoma that started sometime in the late spring and grew to be very large with no chance of removal. So many of us will miss Mister Rosey, his sweetness, his ability to cuddle with me ANY TIME I WANT TO CUDDLE, and my buddy who would come when I whistled or ordered him to come to me, sit and stay. (The stay part we were still working on!) He is missed terribly.
Thanksgiving was a trip to Idaho and Wyoming to cross country ski but not enough snow was found, so it was just a nice drive and a winter picnic with turkey sandwiches!
And then the end of the year, December, besides losing my aunt, the month was a good one. The Christmas season was wonderful, filled with little get togethers with my new Utah friends, Christmas dinner with my old friend Kathryn and her kids (I had dinner with her the night before her first born came into the world!) and lots of fun gigs throughout the holiday 10-15 days!
Another accomplishment was reading 56 books this year, mostly audio books while driving or cleaning or gardening, but 56! Everything from my fave genre Historical Fiction to autobiographies! I reached the goal of 50, thanks to the Facebook group my friend Pete put together a couple of years ago, so the challenge was on. One of my favorite books this year was "The Good Lord Bird" by James McBride. It is historical fiction and a pretty amazing story.
Here is to a GREAT 2017! For the people who think 2016 was so bad, maybe because of all of the celebrities that they love have passed away or that friends are no longer friends because of the nasty election season, think about YOUR accomplishments and what you maybe missed out on because you were so focused on the things above instead of getting some of your to do list items checked off. Think about your own family and friends and what they may need from you. Think about what you can do in 2017 to make this year better for YOU. Even if we continue to lose our heroes and even if our politicians are not what we personally wanted. We have to enjoy life, every minute of every day. Spread love and do some random acts of kindness. Don't do something nice so that someone will do something nice for you. Just DO it. Because it is a good thing to do for someone. Something NICE. Try harder to allow people to have their own opinions about things, and YES, even politics, without telling them they are stupid or that you can't be friends with them anymore. Grow up and out and do good things for yourself and the people around you!
Cheers to a wonderful 2017!
So much has happened in the past few weeks, so sorry I have not posted anything! My aunt passed away after having a stroke in August, just 2 days after I saw her at an annual family reunion event, earlier this month and I will miss her terribly. This photo was taken the last day I saw her before the stroke.
Left to right: me, cousin Mila, cousin Janice, my Mum and my Aunt Mary. RIP Aunt Mary!
After getting back from my big drive to Pennsylvania, I was in Utah for a short while and then went to L.A. again for work. I was able to book some recording time with Ed Tree, whom is producing my next CD, woo hoo, and added 2 more songs that I had recently written (one with Tisa!) and wanted on the record. Finally I am seeing the light at the end of the tunnel for this project! It's very exciting to start to work on the graphics and plan the finishing of the CD. I'll keep you posted on all of that!
Also in L.A. I was able to go to J.C. Hyke's Songwriter Serenade, which he hosts every Tuesday night (except during the holidays) at Matt Denny's in Arcadia, California. He has booked me for a few of his shows, but I also like to go there and support his night as well as see new singer songwriters as well as some of the usual suspects. Don, Lynne and I went and the show was a Christmas show with a sing along. We had a blast! Here is Don flanked by Lynne and me:
and Lynne and me holding the cute Christmas ornaments that Ashley passed out that she and her Mom Patty made for everyone there! (Mine is on my tree!!!)
Now it is just days before Christmas, and my free time is starting to get filled with parties and gigs! I did finally put up the tree and squeeze in the gazillion ornaments that I am obsessed with! Each one has a memory. Either the person who gave it to me, or where I purchased it, on a trip, on tour, with friends or a family member. Each one has something about it for me to remember. It's a wonderful thing putting up the tree every year!
Yesterday I was the party girl. After stopping at Kelly's Roadhouse to deliver some Christmas goodies, I went over to the Post where Linda was having a jam session and a Christmas get together! It was so much fun to have Scotty Haze invite me to the stage for a few songs and instead of going solo, I invited him to sit in with me. We did "Melissa," "Ohio," and ended with 10 Years After's "I'd Love To Change The World!" Super fun day with lots of great people and musicians!!! Here is Scotty and Ruthie sitting in with Larry and his band!
Then I headed to my friends' Dawna and Troy's house for their annual Posh Quincy Party, their Christmas get together. OMG it was so much fun! Dee and me, goofing off!
Then Mishelle, whom I met probably 4 or more years ago at this same party, showed me a photo from that party, of the girls, so we decided to do a then and now, because there were so many of the same gals in the same room! This is from 2012!
And then this year, last night!
So much fun! This year I have a commitment to parties. OK?
Until my next post, XO