Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Ultimate Air Dogs

 My primary reason for heading up and over the mountains to Asheville for Bele Chere is the chance to take in a diverse array of musical groups for cheap. It costs me nothing more than the car trip, as admission is free. There were 4 stages, each with 4 musical groups playing between noon and 10pm.

Along with the music there are hordes of people (an artifact of free admission), food vendors, arts and crafts for sale, an interactive performance area and kid and family friendly events. The pictures I'm posting here along with this video link are from the family friendly portion of Bele Chere.

Ultimate Air Dogs is the brain child of former Detroit Tigers pitcher Milt Wilcox. Started back in 2005 in conjunction with his son Brian, their show offers a variety of water events including dock jumping and lure coursing. Getting involved as a competitor with his lab Sparky after seeing the great Outdoor Games on ESPN in 1984, Milt so enjoyed the events that he went on to founded Ultimate Air Dogs.

Any dog can compete, regardless of size or pedigree. Most of the competitors Saturday were dogs associated with the water, Newfoundlands,  various Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers and at least one Curly coated Retriever.

 Once upon a time, about 20 years ago, I owned an Airedale Terrier that would have been a natural at these events,but my current pack is rather reluctant around the water.


Sunday, July 29, 2012

Delta Rae @ Bele Chere

They were playing the only cover I would hear as I approached the Biltmore Stage at the Bele Chere Festival in Asheville Saturday. It was vintage Fleetwood Mac, The Chain, off the Rumours album. The strong vocal interplay by the voices of Brittany Holljes and Elizabeth Hopkins took the lead and reeled me in. I would eagerly watch their entire set and not wander off to see anyone else on any other stage.

Delta Rae has 4, count them four lead singers, three of which are siblings. Besides Brittany, her brothers Ian and Eric play instruments and have great pipes too. The brothers are the primary song writers and they have crafted some sweet and some powerful tunes. Rounding out this sextet are Grant Emerson on the electric and upright bass and Mike McKee on drums and other interesting percussion like chains and trash can lids.

This link will take you to Delta Rae's first professionally produced video.

This band is not easy to peg, as I found while cruising the web and gathering a little background  for this blog post. Various different sources called them Alt-Pop Americana, a Folk-Rock sextet, Americana pop or as decreed by their publicist Mumford and Sons meets Fleetwood Mac. Whatever category you put them in , the band weaves together multiple influences into a dynamic stage show that has been honed by significant quantities of travel and practice.


Delta Rae may be poised to take the next step toward larger audience recognition. From their self titled CD funded by Kickstarter, the band has recently signed with Sire records, a subsidiary of Warner Music. Their CD Carry the Fire was released June 19th and a week later they made their national television debut on the Jay Leno Show.

Signing posters and CDs after the performance.

Currently on tour, if Delta Rae plays near you, make a point to get yourself in the audience. You will not be disappointed.


Sunday, July 1, 2012

Tattoo a banana - not quite a review


 A recent trip to the bookstore once again demonstrates that my credentials as a grownup could be up for review. My eyes spotted the book entitled Tattoo a Banana by Phil Hansen. That would be Phil Hansen the X-ray tech and artist, not Phil Hansen the former football defensive end for the Buffalo Bills. Of course I had to purchase the book.


Apparently, Phil has found ways to augment his lifestyle on credentials as suspect or even more so than my own. He has an intriguing website and this is first book.

The first project in the book does indeed instruct the reader in all the techniques required to tattoo a banana. The supply list includes a a banana, a pushpin or needle and a template. With practice you could either design your own template rather than using one photocopied from the book or freehand the task.

To watch the process, see time lapse of the bananas going to black and see Phil plug his book go to this video link

Can't wait to try the other ways to turn anything and everything into Art.