Is Ronald McDonald gay?

Sometimes I need a laugh and that’s when I check to see what the American Family Association is boycotting. It usually helps me decide where I should shop just to bump up sales figures. Here’s the latest.

American Family Association Launches Boycott Against McDonald’s for “Promoting the Homosexual Agenda.

The American Family Association has announced a boycott of McDonalds.

What is the boycott about?

It is about McDonald’s, as a corporation, refusing to remain neutral in the culture wars. McDonald’s has chosen not to remain neutral but to give the full weight of their corporation to promoting the homosexual agenda, including homosexual marriage.

They are upset at McDonald’s for refusing to condemn Richard Ellis’s (VP of Communications) decision to serve on the Board of Directors of the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC). Donald Wildmon said the situation is “strange” because “it’s the family that McDonald’s appeals to — children’s playland, you know, all the little toys, all of that. And they are promoting a lifestyle that would utterly destroy the traditional family.”

I never cease to be amazed at where Wildmon and his ilk decide their strength and energy should be put. Rather than work to actually improve society they have had boycotts of Wal-Mart ( “Brokeback Mountain” DVDs), Disney (embracing that “homosexual lifestyle” again) Ford Motor Company (advertising in gay-friendly publications), Target, Sam’s, American Girl dolls, Kraft and more television shows that you can shake a stick at.

And here I just figured that they were afraid of the I’m Lovin It campaign.

Right wing, bible thumper, fundamentalists

Sigur Ros – Heima

I wrote about seeing SIgur Ros at Bonnaroo – If you have Time Warner Cable the Free On Demand channel has Sigur Ros – Heima as a free selection in the Sundance channel category.

I watched it last night and it was really beautiful.  Turns out that back in 2006 after the band had finished touring all over the world they went home to Iceland and played a series of free and unannounced (I haven’t figured that one out) concerts all over Iceland.  They use local choirs and marching bands as their back up musicians in bits and loads of shots of the crowds. The film is absolutely beautiful with incredible shots of Iceland’s glaciers, black sand beaches and more.  Who’d ever have thought I’d want to go to Iceland but it looks absolutely beautiful. There are just over 300,000 people in Iceland which really gives a new perspective on what performing at Bonnaroo must have been like.

Check it out and let me know what you think.

Bonnaroo day 4

I’ve been putting off writing day 4 but I can do it no longer. I have to assume that it is a way of holding on to the time. Sunday morning was hot. No other word to call it. Sunday was the hottest day of the festival and we had the least cloud cover so it hit about 95 degrees and we felt every one.

I was off to the Which stage to see Orchestra Baobab and figured I’d go a bit early and catch Rogue Wave. The Which stage was the same place that we saw Sharon Jones and company and they have great accessible seating. Well, that seating is not quite so great at 1:30 in the afternoon when the sun has been shining. I took a seat and nearly burst into flames.

I caught about the last 4 Rogue Wave tunes and they were really good. Good enough for me to want to check

out some of their material.Rogue Wave, Bonnaroo, Kanye West

Rogue Wave, Bonnaroo, Kanye West

I moved back to grab a piece of shade, something to drink and listened to Orchestra Baobab. These guys are Senegalese and have been doing this for years. They’ve got a good sound but for whatever reason it wasn’t really working for me. I think the Sunday blues were kicking in. It was hot and I was cranky. I wandered around for a bit and was wandering over to What stage. The more I walked and listened to people the more I was hearing about the Kanye West fiasco (as opposed to Lupe Fiasco who my husband saw and reportedly put on a hell of a show).

I got over to the What stage about the minute they opened the area. There was a mad rush and running of folks that had me pretty confused. I guess this was about 3:15 ish. The What space is huge and there’s not much shade and we were all roasting. So I grabbed a corner using the shade of a nearby fence to help cool off. In front of me were a couple of hundred folks, all sitting in the shade and behind a rope. Well, we started talking and it turns out that these kids were set to be in the pit for Widespread Panic. Now, Panic wasn’t starting for another five and a half hours! That’s when I had the pit system explained to me.

Bonnaroo uses a “double barricade system” that is used in most festivals in Europe. The rush of folks running in turned out to be divided into three groups. A group on the right that wanted to be in the pit for Yonder Mountain String Band, a group to the left that wanted to be in the pit for Robert Plant and Allison Krauss and a second group on the right, further back that wanted to be in the pit for Panic. The deal is that the pit is cleared after every act so you have different people in the pit in each show. So if you want to be in the pit (right in front of the stage) you decide who you want to see the most then you run your ass off.

Yonder Mountain were really cute and they played their butts off. The set list is below. They told the audience that last year they were on a small stage and this year not only were they on a huge stage but they were opening for Robert Plant and Allison Krauss. They deemed the performance The Brownpants Sessions and assured all of us that they did have extras with them. Then the hoe down began. It amazed me that despite the heat hundreds of people were just dancing and singing and basically having a blast. The band introduced themselves and said “We’re Yonder Mountain String Band, we’re on time and we plan to play they whole set” which brought waves of cheers and applause. Who’d have thought there was a huge crossover between YMSB and Kanye? More of the magic of Bonnaroo. Great set, great jamming and improvisation by some guys who are quite expert at their craft. “We’re Yonder Mountain String Band, give us the latenight slot, we can glow in the dark”, more cheers, an encore with Crazy Train (yes Ozzy) and the set was over. Great way to spend a Sunday afternoon, any Sunday. Set list follows.

Out Of The Blue
East Nashville Easter
Damned If The Right One Didn’t Go Wrong
Rain Still Falls
Troubled Mind
Steep Grade Sharp Curves
Follow Me Down To The Riverside
Catch A Criminal
Another Day
Cuckoo’s Nest
Sidewalk Stars
Encore: Crazy Train

Robert Plant and Alison Krauss had a good crowd, a little more than I think I expected Sunday night. They played a great set with Robert Plant proving that he is a rock star. Allison Krauss has a unique and delicate voice that can really fill a space when she opens up. I wish they had been in a tent rather than up on that massive stage as the music feels like it would be better set there.

Set List: Rich Woman Leave My man Alone Black Dog Sister Rosetta Through the Morning So Long Goodbye to You Fortune Teller In the Mood, Black Country Woman, Bon Temps Roulez, Trampled Rose, Green Pastures, Down to the River, Nothing, Battle of Evermore, Gone Gone Gone, E: One Woman Man

One of the most interesting and heartening things I saw during all of Bonnaroo occurred during this set. Ms. Krauss performed Down in the River to Pray and the field got quiet (as quiet as that many people can) and everywhere I looked people were singing along. This massive group of people, each unique in their origin and appearance, tattooed and pierced, preppy and gearhead, hippie and rapper. Everywhere I could see was this large group of people singing along to a gentle hymn. There is evidence of citations to this song back to 1843 and interestingly they are cited in both black and white church records (uncommon for the time). Anyway, with no religious context there were thousands of people, in a field, led by a lovely woman in a moment of peace.

Jake Shimabakuro is an experience in himself. A young, fifth generation ukelele player who can plan ANYTHING you can imagine on that little thing. The shame was that he was up in a tent by the portajohns playing between acts. He was well attended so maybe people either found him on purpose, or heard him and followed the sound.

And so the night started coming to an end. Widespread Panic played and after a while we headed back to camp. We were wiped out though neither of us would say it. We wandered through Centeroo amazed at the amount of things that had already been broken down and informed that Centeroo would be gone by 1 am. We walked back to camp pretty quietly, tired and full of music. I’d do it again next week of I could.

Bonnaroo Day 3

This is going to be the hardest post of them all I think. Saturday was a day of choices for me. I would love to have seen some of the other performances but there are only so many places a gal can be at once. Now that I learned that handicap access was not just for wheelchairs the world is a different place.

It rained a lot Friday night and Saturday morning which was not the biggest motivator to get moving. But I tool advantage of the rain had an impromptu shampoo to the laughter of the folks in my camp area but why on earth would I drop $7 on a shower when there is perfectly good Tennessee rain water coming down.

We were feeling a little sluggish but got in to see Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings. I followed the signs for the access seating and to my shock we were escorted to seats in front of the stage, slightly to stage left. Can someone explain to me how musicians can wear suits and not sweat while they are performing. Is there some secret or are these guys just that damn cool? I like this group on my I Pod but I LOVE this band in person. Great energy as Sharon told us about her Tina Turner dress and its inspiration to make her shake. Shoes kicked off on stage for some good dancing. Her version of “What have you done for me lately?” puts the perspective of a “grown woman” on the song that I always felt was kind of a complaining lyric before. Of course 100 Days, 100 Nights and I ain’t nobody’s baby, yikes! By the time this set was over there was no sluggishness left, we were ready to go. Sharon Jones, Dap Kings, Bonnaroo

Almost as much fun as watching this smooth performance was watching the sign language interpreters that were working it. In the handicap access sections there are sign language interpreters when needed. These folks know everything. Of course, they can’t tell you they have the set lists as well as the lyrics to all of the material that is going to be performed. They live interpret intermittently, when performers are talking between songs, etc., but they couldn’t possibly interpret all of the lyrics in live time. The energy put out by the interpreter was just as high as the band. Amazing to watch.

ASL, Sharon Jones, Bonnaroo, music

As the tempterature continued to increase I was off to see Ozomatli. I don’t know how to describe these guys. Socially active, politically outspoken, those describe philosophy not music.

In a 2007 NPR interview, band members Jiro Yamaguchi and Ulises Bella describe Ozomatli:

You drive down Sunset Boulevard and turn off your stereo and roll down your windows and all the music that comes out of each and every different car, whether it’s salsa, cumbia, merengue, or hip hop, funk or whatever, it’s that crazy blend that’s going on between that cacophony of sound is Ozomatli, y’know?

These guys play like crazy. It’s the kind of music that makes me think of a block party or a big cookout in the park. It’s music made for moving and dancing. One member (Justin Porree I think) was on crutches but seemed to hold up well. They play funk and reggae and latin and you name it. They have guitars and horns and lots and lots of percussion. They’re a blast and if you have the opportunity, go see them. Beetle

Well I talked about the interpreter at Sharon Jones, this one might have her beat. Ozomatli performs in Spanish and English, sometimes in the same song. So, not only does this interpreter need to be bilingual but they need to be able to sign in both English and Spanish!

The Avett Brothers were next on my schedule and one of my must see bands. The best description I can give or have heard is bluegrass punk but even that doesn’t seem appropriate. Four guys with LOTS of talent, a couple of guitars, bass and cello. Cello? Yup the hardest working cellist at Bonnaroo. The guys also wound up on keyboards and drums. They played loads of songs including The Ballad of Love and Hate, Die, Die, Die If I am Murdered in the city (really, really moving song about family and love, despite the title) Salvation Song. Not a doubt in my mind that I will see them again as they were very possibly one of the best shows of my trip. bonnaroo, avett brothers, bluegrass, punk

I caught the last three or four songs that BB King did and he and Lucille sounded damn good. BB said something that stuck with me. He said that he would hear reports or see signs saying BB King’s last concert and that “Nobody has asked BB”. Maybe the proximity to Bo Diddleys death made that stick in my head. The weather started to cool down a bit and people started to stake out a spot to see Jack Johnson.

I like Jack Johnson, I listen to him at the office and couldn’t really see why one would see him in concert, he’s so damn mellow. Well that mellow is why you see Jack Johnson. He played a good set, actually seemed nervous from time to time, goofing up a lyric. Eddie Vedder came out and sang Constellations with him which was really nice. The one thing I thought I was going to see more of than I did was cross artist collaboration. There was mention of Jack using Jimi Hendrix’s wah wah pedal and trying to get that right. It’s interesting to watch the crowd during his show. This huge crowd starts to chill and the space just really starts to cool down. The time of day was perfect as well with the sun going down and the moon coming up, great mood. jack johnson, bonnaroo, eddie vedder, music

Pearl Jam – Wow, I don’t even know what to say. These guys played for three hours of solid straight, tight music. I think this is where I finally lost my voice. Eddie Vedder said “I never thought that a farm in the middle of Tennessee would remind me so much of Amsterdam Holland. But I would not be surprised if you all told us to Fuck Off in Dutch” (close if not exact). They talked about not playing tours for a while “for good reason”. It wasn’t until I came home that I learned In the summer of 2000, nine fans were trampled during Pearl Jam’s performance at Denmark’s Roskilde Festival. The band seemed really overwhelmed by the size and energy of the crowd which just continued to feed the crowd and so on and so on. I have a colleague who met his fiancee at a Pearl Jam concert and they have been known to go and follow the band. Now I understand.

Pearl Jam setlist Encore 1
Hard to Imagine WMA
Corduroy Betterman/Save it for later
All Night Black
Why Go Life Wasted
Elderly Woman…Small Town Crazy Mary
Down Porch
Who You Are
Severed Hand Encore 2
Half Full No more
Animal Release Me
Evenflow Alive
Reign O’er Me Encore 3
Do the Evolution All along the Watchtower
Rearview Mirror

Pearl Jam, bonnaroo, Kayne West

Pearl Jam, Eddie Vedder, Kanye West

I don’t think even the interpreters had all of these songs listed but they worked their butts off as well. No one could possibly know that this fantastic show would be blamed for a musical disaster by a mediocre hip hop artist but that’s another post.

I was pretty worn out by this point. My husband was off to try to catch Lupe Fiasco and Talib Kweli and I figured I’d just wander around, maybe catch a few songs from Phil Lesh and friends. Before I knew quite what was happening or frankly what the hell I was listening to I was standing outside of the That tent and listening to Sigur Ros. Reportedly this is an Icelandic quintet although I counted 4 string players (violins, etc), 5 brass players (including a sousaphone/tuba), guitars, keyboards and percussion. I couldn’t understand a word they were saying and I didn’t care. The tent was teeming, overflowing with thousands of people inside and outside the venue. The music was beautiful and it was another example of what I hoped Bonnaroo would be, an opportunity to be washed over in sound. Sigur Ros, bonnaroo, kanye west