What was the first concert you went to?

photo by Richard E. Aaron

photo by Richard E. Aaron

The Ramones were the first band I ever saw (1984). They made a huge impression—the moment they walked out on stage, my young mind decided they were the coolest guys in the world. All of the music I was drawn to after was shaped by that first concert experience. I didn’t know how to articulate it at the time, but the minimalist approach to their look and set just spoke to me. Their uniform of skinny jeans, leather jackets, and black hair was understated cool. They seemed to act like being on stage was no big deal; they were unselfconsciously and unceremoniously just doing their job. But they rocked so hard. I went with a group of older kids from high school, no parents chaperoning for the first time in my life. The Ramones opened for Billy Idol and the venue was large and pretty packed. I saw the Ramones again a few years later at a smaller club in Rochester NY, cool as ever. So how about you, do you remember your first concert? Big act or small? Did it make a huge impression or was it lame?



Castelvetrano Olives


What can one say about olives, right? They're . . . olives. But, Castelvetrano olives are special. I first had them at a friend's dinner party this past Spring (a very fancy, chic friend). She served them along with nuts and cheese as part of the first course. They are light and delicious with a mild, sweet, buttery taste. Not quite as flat as black olives but nowhere near as briny as the typically pimiento-stuffed green olives. Castelvetranos are super versatile—we've since used them in hor dourves, on pizza, in several different kinds of salads, omelettes, and they make the very best martini olives. They are, dare I say, the perfect olive. The only imperfect thing about them is they are difficult to find. Our local Costco carries them in a huge jar right now (pictured), and occasionally Whole Foods has them in stock. If you like olives at all, and have the chance, I recommend giving them a try.


A New Look

Staged Normalcy logo

A nip here, a little tuck there, and Staged Normalcy has a fresh look, complete with a new logo. I'd been meaning to create an actual logo for ages, but it never came together. I had the type and colors, but was having trouble getting the illustration to look exactly the way I imagined. Fortunately, Jeff stepped in and illustrated the site mascot for me—Preston looking dapper in his New Year's Eve bowtie (being married to a talented artist has its perks).


New Years Eve at the Stork Club

Stork Club postcard illustration by Albert Dorne

Several years ago one of Jeff's colleagues, knowing that I appreciated all things mid-century New York glam, gave me this vintage Stork Club postcard. I put it on display near my desk and it became part of my daily landscape until a few days ago when I decided to take a closer look, being curious about the identity of the artist. I typically pore over every detail of new ephemera, but for some reason I didn't get around to this postcard until a few days ago. Anyway, I could make out a signature at the bottom right: Albert Dorne. After some light research, including checking out our copy of Famous American Illustrators (a great reference book, by the way), it turns out that Albert Dorne was a major illustrator in the early 20th century—quite a character actually. This particular piece was created circa 1941, published in Collier's magazine, then used as the Stork Club's menu cover for many years until the club closed. It depicts New Years Eve with many celebrities of the time pictured in the Stork Club's main room. I'm not sure I can tell exactly who's who, but that has to be Lana Turner in the bottom right corner (with Dorne's signature on her shoulder). Others shown include Tallulah Bankhead, Walter Winchell, Arthur Godfrey, Joan Crawford, and club owner Sherman Billingsley.

posted by Rachel