Thursday, October 22, 2009
Thursday, October 15, 2009
On Sunday, rock ‘n’ roll pioneer Chuck Berry will turn 83. It’s a respectable enough age for kicking up one’s heels and taking it easy, but Berry’s got a still-active touring schedule, and the duck-walking octogenarian still performs once a month at Blueberry Hill, a restaurant in his native St. Louis.
Just like clockwork last night, Berry strutted onstage at the stroke of 10 decked out in a sparkly shirt and sailor hat with that famous cherry red Gibson around his neck, nimbly ripping into the opening riff of “Roll Over Beethoven.”
Berry’s shows at Blueberry Hill take place in the restaurant’s downstairs level, a smoky basement called the Duck Room. There are only four rows of seats, making it easy for nearly everyone to be no further than 30 feet away from the man himself. The sets are hit-packed, jumping from “School Days” to “Nadine” to, yes, “My Ding-a-Ling,” the novelty record that became Berry’s sole Number One hit. “I see all those cameras lighting up on ‘My Ding-a-Ling,’” he joked with the audience, which gleefully sang along with the chorus.
When it comes to vocals, Berry has set aside his youthful rapid fire delivery and settled into more of a wizened storyteller sort of voice, like a winking, all-knowing grandpa. His guitar playing is still in full effect, particularly on the solo of “Rock and Roll Music,” and during a fiery take on “Reelin’ and Rockin’,” the evening’s rowdiest number. Although he’s backed up by his son on guitar, there’s no mistaking where the twang that slices through the entire mix is coming from. (And, as always, his stance on guitar tuning can be described as ‘arbitrary at best.’)
Berry closed the night by inviting all the ladies—young and old—onstage to dance during “Johnny B. Goode.” But when the song ended and it was time for the good nights, Berry was long gone, having slipped out the state door during the free-for-all. November’s show will be his 150th at Blueberry Hill, bringing in a fresh crowd to eat out of the palm of his hand. His age will have increased by one, but his spirits seem to have remained in high school."
Lady Gaga has always maintained that her concerts are performance art. And so in her lace-veiled view, it’s entirely logical that she’d be performing at MoCA’s 30th anniversary gala on November 14 in a performance piece that’s a highly intriguing collaboration with the Bolshoi Ballet and artist Francesco Vezzoli. (It’s not Kanye, but I suppose it’ll do.) It was the event’s honorary chairs Larry Gagosian and art-world wonder girl Dasha Zhukova who asked Vezzoli to create something for the occasion.
I contacted Vezzoli for his thoughts on the upcoming performance, and his response was effusive. “I am very grateful to MoCA, the Garage [Zhukova’s Moscow museum], and Gagosian for this commission. They basically offered me a social ritual as a blank canvas to be turned into an artwork,” Vezzoli said. “Some artists might see this as a nightmare, but for me it’s like a surreal dream, and in true surreal style I wanted to mix together the youngest and most daring pop icon, Lady Gaga, with the oldest and most classically trained group of dancers in the world, the Bolshoi Ballet. The performance will take many references from Le Bal (1935), the only one of the Ballets Russes ever designed by Balanchine in collaboration with an Italian artist, the Surrealist Giorgio de Chirico. The output will be flawlessly imperfect and unpredictable, just like any overambitious happening should be.” Well then, sounds like a night to remember. And since it’s only ever going to be performed once, you might just have to.
Strongest case I’ve seen yet for what Google Wave might be good for. One quibble with Tenner’s argument, though. He writes:
Wave is built for the corporate environment. It’s a tool for getting work done.
I think you can replace “corporate” with “team”.
The 2nd Annual Caruso Concours was held this past weekend at The Americana at Brand shopping center in Glendale, California. Put off a bit by threatening skies, we didn't make it out there ourselves, but luckily, Autoblog friend and shutterbug Greg Grudt was there to capture all of the excitement for us. This sophomore outing was once again put on by The Petersen Automotive Museum, and as was the case last year, a brace of incredible vehicles showed up to this fitting but unorthodox locale. Showgoers could peruse the cars for a bit and then pick up a Tiffany necklace on their way out.
This year's gathering focused on supercars - in particular, supercars capable of 200 mph. Not meant to be an exhaustive showing of double-century barrier breakers, it nonetheless attracted an impressive array of cars capable of close to, if not over, the magic mark. The fun part was just seeing them all together in one place. Judging by Grudt's images, it looks like the Americana also happens to be hosting a few of those Toyota solar sunflowers, which made for an interesting juxtaposition.
Supercars right off the showroom floor mingled with old-timers from as far back as the Eighties. For instance, the display included not just the Bugatti Veyron, but also its forebearer, the EB110. The list of cars in attendance read like a roster of World's Fastest Cars contenders. Ferrari was represented by an Enzo, F50, F40, 288GTO, 16M, and a SuperAmerica. The Lamborghini cluster was comprised of an LP670-SV, LP640-4, LP560-4 and even a Countach. There was also a Mercedes-McLaren SLR, CLK DTM, Ford GT, Dodge Viper, Cizeta V16t, Maserati MC12, Nissan GT-R, Audi R8, and even a Jaguar XJ220, which complemented the long flowing bodywork of the adjacent Maser quite nicely. They even dragged out the AREX Concept which was supposed to be good for 214 mph.
All-in, it appears to have been a great way to bring exotics to the people. Be sure to check out Greg's pics in the gallery, and check out a larger gallery by clicking here.
Gallery: 2nd Annual Caruso Concours
Photos copyright (C)2009 Greg Grudt/Weblogs, Inc.
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With its new-for-2010 direct-injected, 3.8-liter turbocharged flat-six, the upgraded 2010 Porsche 911 Turbo has fired a shot across the bow of the world's supercar armada. Promising better performance, better fuel economy and better emissions, this tweaked 997 should hold the fort until the 998 appears in a couple of years.
With 20 extra horsepower motivating the lightened (by 55 pounds) all-wheel drive coupe, it should be noticeably quicker than its 2009 counterpart. How much quicker? Autocar is reporting that it's a full ten seconds faster around the Nurburgring Nordschleife than a 2009 Porsche 911 Turbo. That means the new Turbo just breaks into the 7:30s at 7m 39sec.
That still puts it behind the rival Nissan GT-R at 7:28 after former Formula One driver, Toshio Suzuki, went out and shaved more than a second off the car's previous best. Of course, Porsche still has a possible Turbo S model in the works and already produces a wicked 911 GT3 RS that can probably close the official gap between them and Godzilla.
Gallery: 2010 Porsche 911 Turbo
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With the 911 looking largely the same for the past 46 years, the Cayenne looking the way that it does, and the new Panamera greeted with mixed reviews (at best), it should come as no surprise that there are others interested in taking a crack at designing the next Porsche. Especially since the next one down the wind tunnel could very well be a roadgoing supercar based on the RS Spyder prototype racer to succeed the Carrera GT... one of the best Porsche design in decades.
What you see here is the vision of Iranian designer Emil Baddal, who appears to have blended some unmistakable Zuffenhausen DNA with a sort of Veyron-esque profile. Which isn't so far fetched when you consider that Porsche and Bugatti now fall under the same umbrella. Baddal hasn't issued any theoretical powertrain specifications to go with his design, so we'll just have to imagine them on our own. Have a look in the gallery, follow the link to Baddal's other designs, and let us know what you think in the comments section below.
[Source: Emil Baddal on Designerspace via CarScoop]Read | Permalink | Email this | Comments"
We're eagerly awaiting our first live encounter with the Toyota FT-86 Concept next week at the Tokyo Motor Show. But before we endure the long flight over the Pacific, the crew at the freshly hosted FT-86 Club has scrounged up a bevy of live shots of Toyota's new coupe in the studio.
The more we see, the more we like. And these detail images give us a clearer view of the subtle design elements that make the reborn Hachiroku so damn appealing. We're particularly partial to the straked vents aft of the front wheels that tie in with the rest of the coupe's triangular elements, and plenty of carbon fiber detailing on the door handles, side mirrors, wheels and rear diffuser doesn't hurt, either. The interior remains show-car wacky (the zippered slot for the DVD player is pure silliness, but we're digging it), but the overall aesthetic strikes us as eerily production ready -- save our favorite feature, the A-pillars bisected by a piece of glass to aid visibility while sliding sideways (similar to Volvo's 2001 SCC concept). Here's hoping the FT-86 makes it from the show stand to the sales floor unscathed and delivers the driving dynamics to finally bring Toyota back from the brink.
Gallery: Toyota FT-86 Concept in the Studio
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Since we were unable to make it to this year's RMAF, I thought it might be nice to pull together some of the most interesting photos and products from various sources around the web into one place, and post them here over the next few days. Full links are at the end of the article.
Continue reading 2009 Rocky Mountain Audio Fest: Part 1"