Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Luckiest Slovenian

I've already e-mailed this photographer, Ross Halfin, to see if he'll be in Chicago next week. I hope to God he is. He is the best there is.

Mind Riot

I was slipping through the cracks of a stolen jewel
I was tightrope walking in two ton shoes
Now somebody is talking about a third world war
And the police said this was normal control
And the candle was burning yesterday
Like somebody's best friend died
And I've been caught in a mind riot
I was crying from my eye teeth and bleeding from my soul
And I sharpened my wits on a dead man's skull
I built an elevator from his bones
Had to climb to the top floor just to stamp out the coals
And the candle was burning yesterday
Like somebody's best friend died
And I've been caught in a mind riot
I'm tied within
I'm luck's last match struck
In the pouring down wind


Cornell at the Showbox with SG, April 16, 2010

Something funny happened on the way to work Friday. You could say it was a 72 hour commute, because that's how long it took to get there. Tuesday, July 27 was the day that Soundgarden World (SG's official website) announced that SG would be playing an intimate show at The Vic in Chicago on the Thursday preceding their Lollapalooza appearance on August 8, effectively turning the world of every SG/Chris Cornell fan upside-down. Nearly every Slovenian within hearing range was challenged to register for this private show, and I'm fairly certain each and every one of them did. (See previous post for excruciating details.)

Ginger Ale, whom, by the way, Slash finds adorable ;)

As Friday morning approached in 2-3 hour increments (my pit bull got diarrhea--even she couldn't handle the pressure) my anxiety climbed higher and higher. I had some serious sleep meds on board, and while they did make it a little hard to navigate my tall and narrow stairs with a 75 lb dog trying to get out the front door in time, they certainly weren't keeping me asleep. All I could think about was 10 a.m.

I could have clocked in around 3 a.m., but I waited until my usual Friday time of 9 a.m. I had windows open all over my computer by then: Facebook, Twitter, e-mail, and Soundgarden World forums. Every fan with a working outlet was plugged into this event.

And so we waited. I must have gotten a dozen messages spread over all the media forms asking "Did you hear yet?" as if the first thing I wouldn't do was post it in every fucking place I could find.

We didn't hear until after 11 a.m., if I remember clearly (and I don't). Someone on SGW posted that they had just won. I immediately refreshed my e-mail and found myself looking at a message from SGW:

Dear Soundgarden Winner,

Yesssss!!! You have successfully won the drawing for a chance to purchase a pair of tickets to Soundgarden's show at the Vic Theatre on Thursday, August 5th. Please read and follow the steps below to make your ticket purchase: fine print, blah, blah, blur...


Checked FB to see if any friends had won. Quiet.
Checked Twitter to see if any friends had won. Quiet.
Checked SGW again--still just one, someone I didn't know.

How long was I supposed to wait to announce what might not be happening for my friends?

Then one of them saw the SGW winner and asked if ANYONE had heard anything, positive or negative. I was in shock--what if this was a mistake? Why was I the only one getting good (or any) news? I began to dread coming clean.

After a solid 5 minutes of reading and re-reading my message, I was pretty convinced it was indeed the Golden Ticket in the last Wonka Bar. I had to say it. So I said it--I even all-capped it. If you're going to win, win big.

Facebook: I FUCKING WON!!!
Twitter: I FUCKING WON!!!
E-mail: I FUCKING WON!!!

And the posts, tweets and e-mails starting pouring in. Needless to say, right about this time was when work started getting busy, so I was juggling insane joy, pressing guilt and a full on Mind Riot as I struggled to take orders without my voice breaking, or without shouting to whomever was on the other end: I FUCKING WON!!!

The e-mails brought it home. Two or three more winners popped up in the SGW forum, but no one in our circle. I began to feel sick. I faked my way through one more call and turned the ringer off. I let the tears flow--happy mixed with sad, denial mixed with acceptance. I was the one. I was the only one. It wasn't supposed to happen that way.

I rushed to Twitter and started abusing my privileges with Cornell and Toni, his mother-in-law. There must be a mistake, I typed, Laurie and Steph didn't get a message. What happened? I asked. Don't you know them as well as your own crew? How could this happen? And finally, I remembered to thank them.

I went back to SGW and there was the death knell:
All of the winners have been notified. Thank you to everyone for entering.

I posted this, and felt a quiet fall over Cyberspace. I felt everyone fall away until I was standing in a cloud of black with nothing all around me. I felt completely alone. A party of one is no party at all. If it wasn't for my sister texting me her exuberance, I felt more like I had just been kicked off the island than voted in. Solemnly, shaking, I clicked on the magic link, entered my password, and purchased two tickets for $100--for a million dollar show.

Thankfully, work ends early for me Fridays, and I had an excuse to get out of my office, away from the computer and all the disappointment I was reading in the silence there.

I am still adjusting to this new role as The Vic Spokesperson for our large group. I was instructed to videotape, photograph and write down EVERYTHING. I started to get a little worried. I can't even remember setlists once I'm leaving a venue. With good luck came tremendous responsibility--to transmit everyone's joy at the SG reunion, and to remember every single detail to share it with them afterwards.

Today I took steps to make sure I don't let them down. I found another winner, a videographer based in LA, and sent an e-mail asking if he'd be handling that part. I e-mailed famous rock photographer Ross Halfin to see if he would be there--as he had been at so many pivotal shows for them and for other enormous bands. I bought a small black notebook to write down songs and comments as they happened during the show, and immediately pictured myself dropping the damn thing just out of reach over the rail, unable to regain it until it the show was over and my brain was fried. I can picture myself now with a string tied to my shorts so I don't lose my notebook. Whatever works. I am willing to do whatever it takes to bring what I experience inside the walls of the Vic outside to my waiting friends. And I'm so thankful they'll still be waiting for me.

We have a fantastic Sunday ahead of us!!

Kim Thayil and Chris Cornell at the Showbox April 16 in Seattle

I am one lucky Slovenian.

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Seeing Double--Revised

Addendum: It has been rightfully brought to my attention (by Twitterer @inamusic)that my analogy to Germany's Love Parade, in which 21 people have now died in a preventable stampede, was inappropriate and disrespectful of the lives of both the victims, their families, and friends. I regret choosing those words and will be the first to admit that I don't always choose wisely. My deepest condolences again to all those affected in the tragedy in Berlin.

We were all seeing double today

We all thought that wondering whether or not Soundgarden would play Lollapalooza was the biggest tease we would endure this summer, but the boys had more up theirs sleeves than that.

First, the impromptu April 16 Nudedragons concert at the Showbox in Seattle, their first official reunion gig, in which you had to be annointed by the Holy Mary to get tickets. Time between rumor and ticket availabilty was less than 24 hours. It sold out in less than 4 minutes. Reviewer Annastasia Gallaher suggested there could not have been more than 1000 patrons--all of whom waited three agonizing hours for the SG set to start. Their wait was worth every minute, as the unannointed later learned through several leaked videos. (Her review here.) Then the Lolla tease for a few months--which night???

Baby Bad-asses

That was settled after a few rounds of Jeopardy with Perry Farrell's crew, but then the SG crew threw the heaviest wrench ever into the Badmotorfinger tension brewing around the world.

Any Soundgarden news is good news, don't get me wrong, but Cornell-Land was in HYSTERIA today if Facebook, Twitter and e-mail accounts are any indication. Details emerged like wildfire once the first e-mail from Soundgarden World came out this morning, then the heart-wrenching speculation took over.

To the great majority of those going to Lollapalooza next week, the decision whether to buy a 3-Day Pass before we knew what day SG would play was bad enough. (What the hell do we do with a Lady Gaga ticket? Many wondered.) Passes are several hundred dollars each, as will be the bottled water, I'm sure. These days we have ONE Lolla, not a tour, so wherever you are in the world, the cost of getting to Chicago--not a cheap destination for anyone--was another major deciding factor.

But we relented and made our ticket purchases, then plane, train or automobile plans. Housing. It added up very fast, so we looked at each purchase as something separate, discrete, in order that we could deny that we were, in fact, spending anywhere from $500-1000 or more to see one band--granted, The Band--but one band. We're not kids anymore--most of us have them, in fact--and this is mortgage/braces/car payment money. This was a very big deal.

So this unexpected e-mail shows up in our sleepy boxes this morning that Blows Up Our Outside World. Another show. What?? How?? Where??

How to tell what colors are on sale at the hardware store...

The location is The Vic in Chicago, a venue which is quite possibly the most garishly decorated theater I have ever seen--and I've seen a few--that holds a mere 1300 rabid fans. You register for a drawing which, if you win, gives you the chance to buy one pair (and only one pair) of tickets.

Experienced music stalkers know the full value of the "small venue." It is something that those of us who continued to follow Chris Cornell through the various stages of his solo career came to treasure above all else. No tiny panorama of a tiny stage 1/2 mile away accessed only via binoculars or Jumbotrons--no, here you were in the front row, every time, no exception, watching Chris' fingers trip lovingly over his acoustic guitar, wishing you could reach over and tie those boots you were sure he would trip on, holding hands with the man over this song or that, and finally, if you were really lucky, making your way backstage with a few others to stutter your "thank you"s to the band, and the Man. You would never forget the color of his eyes.

Following the e-mail was pure chaos. Hundreds of thousands of fans jammed the lines to register for the chance to buy a pair of tickets. The drawing would not be announced until Friday, July 30, at which point you spent the last money you did not have for a show you had no way to get to, as nearly everyone fell into two camps: a) Those with plans already set for Chicago, nearly all landing after the newly-announced show, or b) Those who had accepted that they could not afford Lollapalooza and everything it entailed, but who were now tempted once again with a one-off concert in the middle of the week, not associated with Perry Farrell's money-making machine.

Anew, agonizing decisions to make. Travel plans to change for expensive fees, new travel plans for those who had passed first time around, work/kid/life conflicts that you thought you'd settled already brought up again.

Did anyone think of saying no? Of not registering? I can say that I thought of it. Closed the pop-up window twice when I couldn't get in due to traffic, thinking, I cannot pull this off too, not on top of the Biggest Circus of the Summer. But in the end, I relented, half-laughing as everyone did at the disclaimer that "if you live in Slovenia and really, really, really want to go, but there's no frickin' way you're flying all the way to Chicago for the show, don't make it harder for someone who can attend by putting in a request." What did SG have against Slovenians, anyway?

I think it is safe to say that if anyone examined the GNP percentage just for today, a distinct drop would be uncovered. Hundreds of thousands of Cornell/SG fans lost the ability to complete a full sentence by 10 a.m. CST, much less actually retain enough focus to work. I am amazed that FB and Twitter traffic over this news did not crash Wall Street itself.

In the end, exhausted by possibilities, the fans ran out of steam, and heart rates once again resumed their normal rates. But I can guarantee you that we should all be braced for a re-run of today's emotional hurricane around the same time Friday morning, when the winners are notified. E-mails will fly faster than Midwest mosquitoes, and $130,000 (plus convenience fees) will be collectively spent in the space of a few short minutes.

Who will join "Vic's 1300 Club?"

All we can do is wait.
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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

No, I didn't forget you, Josh

Josh Holloway turns 41 today

But even you have to wait your turn when Chris Cornell is up to bat. God was doing some great work today, wasn't she?! Cornell, Carlos Santana, Stone Gossard, Andrew Stockdale, Gisele Bundchen (for the guys) and you. Can't wait until your next role, but you'll always be Sawyer to me.


Some nice "ocean" shots after the break...


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Monday, July 19, 2010

Happy Birthday, Christopher John!

The Man--No Myth--A Legend

Bunch of crazy chicks who drove/flew in from all over to see CC in Seattle in 2007. (I still miss that $500 snowblower, Chris. Just sayin'.)

Tuesday, July 20, a soon-to-be National Holiday, is Chris Cornell's 46th birthday. His family is baking him a personal cake, and another cake will be constructed (according to mother-in-law Toni Karayiannis) that will bear all his fans' names on it. They decided to lay it out flat over western Nevada, for space reasons. Coyotes all over eastern CA and westen NV are drooling already. Too bad you still can't Twitter cake...

So how DO you celebrate the birthday of one of the greatest voices of all time? By posting a picture of his tonsils? (Oh shit, I'm his #2 fan and I don't know if he ever had his tonsils out! Guess that's why Laurie Rosso is still #1. She'll know.) Anyway, no, that would be asinine! I have one t-shirt from Audioslave in which he is represented by a close-up of his throat (golden vocal chords left to the imagination) and even that is idiotic. Chris is who he is because of all of him, from his curly dark mop to his impeccable goatee to his throat to his chest (hang on, I need a second) and arms, to his midsection, to his... okay, I can't do this. Boots--to his boots. 6 feet and 3 inches of Fucking Incredible Humanness, set alive by a booming 4-octave voice and paralyzing blue-green eyes.

He is a powerhouse entertainer on stage (watch your fingers if you're so lucky as to be resting your arms on the stage edge, cuz those boots never stop moving) and a humble, kind man backstage who will sign anything (almost) for you. I have a phone and an iPod with his characteristic fried onion signature on them, covered with clear protective tape, of course. (We don't do this shit halfway, if you haven't figured it out.) I just bought two stickers of his bloomin' signature for my Beetle, and I expect more than a few people to ask me if I'm a huge fried onion fan once they're up.

I'm not, incidentally. I mean, they're okay, but they're no Chris Cornell.

Chris is also well-known as a doting father and all-around family man, thanks to an amazing video put together by his #2 fan (who will remain anonymous) put to the song "Promise," which he co-wrote with Slash. She intended to make it for his birthday but got so absorbed in what she was doing she stayed up all night (on a SCHOOL night, no less!) and finished it for Father's Day. If Toni K. is to be believed--seriously, you would doubt her?!--they all watched it together on Sunday and it "brought many smiles." Wow. I still don't know why they consider the artist behind this masterpiece his #2 fan. Probably because she's just a wee bit scared of his #1...

In case you missed it...

Anyway, the one thing I would want if I possessed the Most Golden Rock and Blues Voice on the Planet would be a complete break from ALL his fans (except maybe #1 and #2). But not so fast. They don't call it stalking for nothing. NO BREAKS!! At this VERY MOMENT his Twitter followers (all 1,477,302 of them) are attempting to make his birthday a trending topic on Twitter. I didn't even know what that meant a month ago, but it has something to do with knocking out the network by posting #HappyBdayChrisCornell as many times as humanly possible. I think the other word for this is spam, but it's all in the name of love. Non-Chris fans (I can't believe that phrase even exists) will just have to suffer from the sight of the unsightly Twitter whale all day July 20--and by that I mean the logo, not #2 in her new swim suit.

No matter how he chooses to spend his day (DO be careful, man) I hope it is the best fucking day he's had in years. I truly do, cuz we're going right back to stalking him as soon as he's done. (Hey, he has his job; we have ours.) We (his fans) are all gearing up for October 8, the day everyone who isn't a lucky fuck that got into Seattle's Nudedragons show gets to see SOUNDGARDEN live for the first time in 13 years at Grant Park in Chicago. It will be a reunion of fans from all over the nation, most of whom met via the Chris Cornell website or on FB. Yeah--he's that powerful. I'm just saying, if he decided to serve Kool-Aid at Lollapalooza (and THAT creepy reference is to prove you are old enough to appreciate him) we would drink it en masse, and with smiles on our faces.

So here's to you, Chris Cornell, for making millions upon millions of lives richer in more ways than I can describe in one lame blog post. We truly love you.

With Steph from TX/The Gulf

With Heidi from Seattle

With Laurie (CA), Angela (WA), me (WI), and Tosh (CA)

I fucking dare you to look this good in your forties.

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Friday, July 16, 2010

Unfuck the Gulf

Picture a sea of these shirts at Lollapalooza in August in Chicago... This is one movement I can get behind. "Profits before pelicans. That's FUCKED."

Just fucking do it. Read more!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Gulf Disaster Video spreading, too

What do @Slash, @MylesKennedy, @MatthewModine and @Alyssa_Milano have in common? No, not the Old Spice guy. They are all supporting the Gulf and have re-tweeted (or cross-posted) my Gulf Disaster video. Okay--Alyssa pending... all encouragement appreciated. She has ~1 million followers. Sent to @chriscornell and @aplusk (Ashton Kutcher) but no-go yet on those. Who can you send it to?!

Let the world see what BP--and us--have done to our Gulf. Maybe then we can start to heal.

Get creative! You'd be surprised who might support you. I know I have been!! Read more!

Monday, July 12, 2010

My Life -- A Short Film

Have a cracker and everything will be okay. Read more!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Happy 15th Birthday, Babe.

All photos by Mary Ellen Stephens

I would not trade you for ANY two-legged creature. Nope, not even for "those guys."

You've broken my toes, but never my heart. And in that, you stand alone.

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Friday, July 9, 2010

Today's Lunch Special

I think a few of us could use this right now. If we're gonna be trapped in a cubicle, there are better ways to use our time...

You're welcome. Read more!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

[A Most Sincere] Petition to be Followed by Chris Cornell on Twitter

I'm the blonde.

A Most Sincere Petition to be Followed by Chris Cornell on Twitter

I can get personal Twitter references from Myles Kennedy, Slash, and Matthew Modine. Hey—I just got started on this Twitter thing, give me some time and I’m SURE I’ll get the Dalai Lama to follow me back.

I am not having a seizure in this picture.

I recently spent 8-10 hours making a video montage of you and your kids to "Promise" for Father's Day, which Toni said she did make you sit through. My own dad got a card and a Begonia.

I am 44 years old, super hot, and do not post OMG!!1!!1! I TOTALLY LOVE @CHRISCORNELL AND ALL HIS SONGS!1!! every fucking day. Just on special occasions. I use Twitter to spread awareness about the Gulf catastrophe, social activism, great music, and my Pulitzer Award-winning writing.

I have been a fan since living in Seattle from 1990-96. I remember being embarrassed for Eddie in the video "Hunger Strike" because some long-haired kid with an incredible voice was blowing him away. I didn’t mention it to Eddie when I ran into him on Capitol Hill. (Seemed in bad taste.)

I saved Matt Cameron’s life (possible exaggeration) after Lollapalooza 1996 (Gorge at George, WA) when we ran into each other at a gas station afterwards and he asked if the winds were too dangerous to ride his bike back into Seattle. I said they were but neglected to offer him a ride. Can’t think of everything. Remembered to get an autograph, of course. (Thought it might be his last, you know?)

I sold my $500 snowblower in Oct, 2007 to see/meet you in Seattle at the Paramount. That winter Wisconsin had a record of 101” of snow, all of which I shoveled by hand, thinking of you every single time—not always fondly. I also believe I cracked several ribs by being in the front row at that venue.

My dogs in a lot of fucking snow.

I think Vicky Cornell is THE SHIT. Met her at the Paramount that same night and she was incredibly kind, even though you’d had a scary car accident earlier in the day. Saw Toni K. but didn’t meet her—regret that deeply. LOVED the kids on stage—always will.

I can no longer count how many times I have seen you in concert. SG in Seattle; Euphoria Morning in San Diego; Audioslave multiple times in Phoenix; solo in Minn; Milw several times; Seattle (Did I mention 101” of snow that winter?) and will be braving crowds at Lolla 2010 with your closest core of fans, including your Numero Uno, Laurie Rosso, my Modern Rock Hero.

Super Fans: Heidi, Dolly, Tosh, Steph and Laurie

I can sing every song in your entire catalog—backwards. Okay, I made that up.

I learned to play drums to Matt Cameron to cure an ulcer in grad school. Ulcer cured, Matt’s time signatures never unraveled. (I mean, Wooden Jesus, WTF?) Can play any Audioslave song though. (Did Brad know ANY other grooves?)

Additional references include Robbie Merrill of Godsmack/Another Animal and Whitfield Crane of Another Animal/Ugly Kid Joe

I listen to your entire catalog on my iPod (with a few other artists thrown in) every single work day. And to be honest, I’m getting a little tired of your work, so some new material would be great.

I am possibly your most over-educated fan, having spent 11 years in college. B.A. in Zoology, Middle East History, and M.A. in Arabic Language and Literature. Lived in Cairo for a year in 93-94 and listened to your music the whole time. (Okay, and a little PJ, AIC and Blind Melon…) And I make one-millionth of what you do, which just goes to show that I should have fucking dropped out of H.S. with you, Dave Grohl, and Sully Erna and stuck with the drums.

I write scathing—I mean glowing—reviews of your shows on my blog, FB, etc. One-woman PR team. Every single person in the world who knows me knows who you are. (And is tired of hearing about it.)

In Milwaukee in 2009, thanks to my drunk-ass, red-headed sister, you told me you loved me in front of a packed Pabst Theatre. You made me fucking cry, you bastard. But I forgave you. I was also one of the few adult women that did NOT try and touch your crotch from the front row. I did a little staring, but cut a single woman a break… You also converted my sister to a forever fan that night.

Different show, same sister

I could go on, but even the generous Toni K. stopped reading this after the first few lines, so I’ll stop. In case you are still reading, I will tell you (doesn’t EVERY fan tell you this?) that I deal with severe chronic depression and music is what keeps me going. And my horse. I mean, you’re cool, but my horse is the fucking bomb.


Nancy Dietrich

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Saturday, July 3, 2010


Announcing the Grand Opening of


After driving thru town tonight to see what was happenin' before the annual parade tomorrow, I saw 100's of new and slightly-used lawn chairs of ALL TYPES AND SIZES lining the parade route. As soon as everyone's asleep tonight, I'll be making a pass (or a few) with my Beetle and the SALE STARTS TOMORROW B4 THE PARADE!!
I will also have a FULL collection of blankets available for you to stay warm this winter!!


Come early--the best ones will go FAST!
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