Today, June 10th, please join me in wishing this Rad Blog a very Happy 18th Birthday! The ‘Gig has been through many positive changes in the past year, getting a thorough overhaul on the back end, and a new theme earlier this spring. We look amazing if I do say so myself! If you are a new fan who is curious to know more about yours truly and how this blog came to be, please check out an in-depth interview with me at This Link! As always, we owe our success to all of you, so thanks for continuing to keep us bookmarked in your browser! The best is yet to come.
The 151st anniversary of the founding of The Metropolitan Museum of Art will be celebrated with a custom Google Doodle, the creative treatment of the Google logo featured on the search engine’s homepage. The Met-inspired animated Doodle will launch in the United States at 12 a.m. on Tuesday, April 13, and be viewable for 24 hours. The Doodle will appear in more than 20 countries.
It seems like a lifetime ago that I was writing a monthly column (for the now long-defunct Requestmagazine) called Doctor Feelgood: A Remedy for the Rocks In Your Head, in which I discussed the continuing careers of various beloved ’80s Hair Metal Bands. During those years, I became friendly with a lot of musicians, including Rikki Rockett, drummer for the band Poison. It was this connection, I believe, that prompted an industry friend, Christopher Long, to ask if I would contribute the foreword to a tell-all book he was writing about the band, based on his experiences touring with them as a tech to bassist Bobby Dall. Coincidentally, a story I had just heard from another musician friend that had something to do with the band’s road cases provided me with unique creative inspiration to write that introduction, and Chris just flipped out when he read it, so it all worked out. You can read a little preview I wrote on A Shot of Poison when it was first published in 2010right here.
Chris emailed me recently to let me know A Shot of Poison is being re-published in an updated version for its 10th Anniversary, and that my foreword would remain a part of the book, which is nice to hear. The new ‘Director’s Cut‘ edition dropped yesterday and is surely worth picking up for anyone who would love to get the dirt on a rock band as polarizing as Poison. I asked Chris if he would like to give me a quote on why he decided to update the story and here’s what he said:
“Since I was a kid, I’ve craved insider rock and roll books — a passion first fueled by Bob Greene’s Billion Dollar Baby — the riveting bestseller that recounted Greene’s unique first-hand experiences while touring with the Alice Cooper Band in 1973. A Shot of Poison came as a result of my own rather eye-opening personal experiences while touring with the band Poison in the early 2000s. Recently, I was inspired by author Anna-Marie O’Brien‘s dazzling debut memoir, Adventures of a Metalhead Librarian. A music industry insider, also with an amazing personal story, O’Brien ‘showed’ me that, while the original 2010 version of A Shot of Poison offered plenty of underbelly insights, I may have missed the bigger ‘story factor.’
In short order, I had a conversation with my publisher and it was decided that the 10th Anniversary was a perfect time to revisit the book — give it a good polishing and expand the narrative to include my array of Poison-related experiences that have played out since the release of the first edition. I think it’s a pretty solid reboot!”
A Shot of Poison: The Directors Cut is now available at Amazon or directly from CG Publishing (for a few bucks less) at This Link.
While Covid Life keeps us physically apart, The Museum of Art and Photography (MAP) in India is working to bring us together — digitally. MAP Founder Abhishek Poddar requests your participation in a collaborative digital art project to create the world’s largest digital flower Bouquet of Hope.
Here’s a bit of backstory on the inspiration for this engaging project. In honor of his parents 25th Wedding Anniversary back in 1989, Abhishek surprised them with an art installation made up of 25 flowers. Well-known artists from India created a single flower, one for each year of his parents married life together, in the artist’s own unique style; each image reminding them of a fond moment. “At times like these, we hold on to precious memories – of family times, of challenges we managed to overcome, of personal journeys we ventured on” said Abhishek. Flowers are a celebration of hope, love, and courage – something the world needs now more than ever!
Right now, anyone and everyone is invited to join MAP in creating this Bouquet of Hope. Paint, draw or sketch a flower, snap a picture from your garden or balcony, or even create a flower motif from objects or textiles in your home (food, toilet paper, shoes, pillows). The possibilities are endless.
Images can be submitted to, and viewed at www.bouquetofhope.in. I’ve already contributed a few images of Orchids that I took while visiting the NYBG Orchid Show in February. Remember to use #BouquetofHope and tag @MAPBangalore when posting on social media channels. Enjoy!
Today March 9th, 2019, marks the 60th Anniversary of the introduction of the world’s most famous fashion doll, known to us simply as Barbie. In honor of this lovely icon of pop culture, I dug up a set of photos I took earlier this year that I have dubbed the Golden Barbie Street Art Shrine, even thought it has less to do with Barbie than it does with the mission of NYC street artist Hispano Man (@hispanoman). Check out his Instagram for more art and information!
Golden Barbie Street Shrine was Spotted on Elizabeth Street Near the Corner of Prince Street in the Nolita Neighborhood of NYC!
Geoffrey and I happened to be at Grand Central Station recently, waiting to board a train out of the city for the afternoon, when we happily discovered that we had an interesting opportunity to pass the time other than exploring the terminal’s impressive food court: we went to see a Brooks Brothers fashion exhibit.
Established in New York City in 1818, Brooks Brothers — America’s oldest clothing brand, and the place where my late father bought virtually all of his suits — celebrated its 200th anniversary with an immersive special exhibition staged right in Grand Central Terminal’s Vanderbilt Hall. The exhibit traced the accomplishments, cultural significance, and global influence of the brand. It was fun to discover the company’s rich history, notable innovations and iconic fashion items that are still relevant, and seen everywhere, today.
Alongside examples of formalwear ensembles created by Brooks Brothers for the 2013 film, The Great Gatsby(which won two Academy Awards for Best Costume Design and Best Production Design for Catherine Martin) we admired this classic Pink Stripe Linen Suit. Inspired by the film’s costumes, and in collaboration with Martin, the limited-edition suit was sold at Brooks Brothers stores in 2013 as part of its Gatsby Collection. The line has since been discontinued.
Jarlsberg 20 Pound Cheese Wheel! (All Photos By Gail)
One of my favorite perks of writing this rad blog is being invited to a really nice press party; one where quality food, drink, atmosphere and fun people all come together to create a memorable experience that I just can’t wait to share with readers. A couple of weeks ago, I was fortunate (and thrilled) to attend the 60th Anniversary Celebration for Norway’s most famous cheese, Jarlsberg – and what a fabulous bash it was! Jarlsberg is popular here in the states, but you might not know much about the rich history of its Norwegian heritage.
Created in 1956, using an original Norwegian recipe, the Jarlsberg brand of cheese has been exported to the United States for over 50 years and is one of America’s most loved and best-selling brands of specialty cheese. It is named after Count Vadel Jarlsberg, whose estate was on the Oslo Fjord near where it was first manufactured. Known for its mild, mellow and nutty taste — unlike any other specialty cheese — Jarlsberg is classified in the U.S. as a Swiss/Emmenthaler type cheese. Jarlsberg (pronounced: Yarls Berg) cheese is one of America’s favorite specialty cheeses, and it’s a crowd-pleaser when served on a cheese board, for snacking, delicious in a sandwich, in an omelet, baked, or melted on top of a burger — and its exquisite melt-ability makes Jarlsberg an ideal choice for fondues. Most surprisingly, because of the process through which it is made, Jarlsberg is naturally lactose-free!
The party was held at Aquavit, a Michelin-starred, Scandinavian restaurant in midtown, which provided an elegant backdrop, complete with gracious, first class service for this special occasion. Jarlsberg CEO and President, John Sullivan was present, along with other Jarlsberg executives, who each addressed the gathering, and later were happy to mingle and chat with guests. We were also introduced to Aquavit‘s Executive chef Emma Bengtsson, who created a special menu for the evening that included Jarlsberg Cheese and other Norwegian Specialty Cheeses.
Here are some photos of the amazing food!
What Everyone Was Talking About: Gjetost (AKA The Brown Cheese)
Shortly after I arrived, I was asked repeatedly if I had yet tried “The Brown Cheese” — which was the buzz of the buffet. You can see what they were talking about on the right side of the platter in the above photo. Made under the Ski Queen brand (a subsidiary of Jarlesberg’s parent company, Tine) this Norwegian cheese is called Gjetost, and it includes a mixture of cow and goat’s milk. Gjetost has a unique, sweet flavor due to the way in which it is processed. The milk is cooked until the sugars in it have caramelized, giving the cheese its distinctive brown color and sweet flavor. The milk is then curded and pressed. This distinctive “brown cheese” (brunost) became popular as a skiers’ snack and thus was given the label Ski Queen. It is widely popular among Scandinavian-Americans, and children especially are drawn to its sweet flavor. I must agree, it was uniquely delicious! Brown Cheese!
Another Tine brand is Snøfrisk cream cheese spreads, which are made from 80% goat’s milk and 20% cow’s cream. A touch of salt is added and that’s it: there are no artificial additives, preservatives or colorants. The creamy consistency of the cheese makes it perfect for use on a cracker, bread or as a snack together with fresh cut vegetables, nuts or honey. Snøfrisk is the creamiest, lightest cream cheese I’ve ever tasted! At the party, we got to try the original flavor as well as two of four flavored varieties, Red Onion & Thyme and Wild Ramson Garlic, which will soon be available to buy here in the States along with Dill and Horseradish flavors.
Also present on the buffet were Jarlsberg Cheese Crisps, which are a new product for the brand. These incredible savory, crunchy baked crackers are handcrafted in small batches, and made with freshly shredded Jarlsberg Cheese that is immediately sprinkled on top of the crunchy crackers just prior to being baked. Jarlsberg Cheese Crisps take the mild, mellow and nutty flavor of Jarlsberg Cheese and bake it into a delicious crunchy snack. The Cheese Crisps in come in four flavors including Rosemary & Olive Oil and Mediterranean Sea Salt (pictured above), as well as Chipotle and Garlic & Herb. They are sturdy enough to hold a variety of toppings, and taste especially fantastic with a glass of red wine!
Also new to the brand are Jarlsberg Cheese Snacks, packaged cheese sticks which were cleverly hiding among the twigs of this centerpiece. At just 70 calories per snack, I threw a couple in my bag to take home!
The party got pretty crowded, but if you had trouble getting close to the buffet, there were no worries, as passed hors d’oeuvres from Chef Bengtsson were also offered.
Everything was so yummy!
There was also a full bar with top shelf alcohol, and they would make any kind of drink you wanted. It was amazing!
Look, a tray of Negronis!
Cosmos and Wine made us feel fine!
They were also serving authentic, chilled Aquavit (above, right). Aquavit (“Water of Life”) is an important part of ScandinavianDrinking Culture, where it is often enjoyed during festive gatherings, such as Christmas dinners and weddings, and as an aperitif. Although the recipes can vary, this Aquavit was vodka infused with cardamom and figs. It tasted like sweet fire. Skol!
Thanks to both Jarlsberg and Aquavit for a truly wonderful evening!