Monthly Archives: December 2014

Mrs. Claus Tired Of Role As “Stay-At-Home Wife,” May Seek Separation From Santa Claus Citing Infidelity

Mrs. Claus has tired of her role as stay-at-home wife and is thinking of leaving Santa, according to a soon-to-be-published 8,000 word expose in the North Pole Reader

Gretchen Claus, who met Santa in late 1849 amid the swinging Paris scene, is seeking a new life, close friends and business associates say.

In this “tell-all” article, friends and prominent North Pole socialites reveal to the North Pole Reader that her relationship with Mr. Claus has been under considerable strain over the last few decades amid reports of Santa having affairs with leagues of women, many of them married, in more than 100 countries around the world. Santa’s “mistletoe excuse,” once a reliable “get-out-of-jail-free card,” is no longer holding water with Mrs. Claus. 

“’Tis the season, my ass,” she is alleged to have told one of the elves.

Since 2010, Mrs. Claus has worked part time as a consultant in the shipping business. She received an online degree in business via The University of Phoenix in 2009. Her clients include the Tooth Fairy and U.S. Postal Service. 

The article alleges that Santa has resorted to using dextroamphetamine to stay awake during his travel. His drug habit, friends say, has impaired his ability to deliver the right goods to the right children. The drugs have also reduced his appetite to a considerable degree, meaning mountains of cookies and oceans of milk have gone to waste the night before Christmas. 

Further, the Elf On The Shelf, a Yuletide trend that has surfaced in recent years, is a mole employed by Mrs. Claus to keep surveillance over her sex-crazed husband, the article says.

Once thought of as diligent workers, the Elves Workers Union has become more of an issue for the Claus operation as they demand less hours and better pay. Many of the elves have filed lawsuits alleging abuses vis-a-vis the North Pole Disability Act. Also, Mrs. Claus went gluten free in 2012 and has insisted the elves make gluten-free cookies, a change in policy that was met with great protest.

“It’s a different time,” one of the elves told the Reader, speaking on condition of anonymity. “It used to be fun. Now, it’s just a paycheck. “

Dark Star

I first saw Ryan Adams perform during the Goldtour in the winter of 2002. It was in Munich at the Georg-Elser-Hallen, an ill-lit music venue named after a German carpenter who tried to kill Hitler in 1939.

 It was a good show. Bucky Baxter, a former member of Bob Dylan’s band and the father of Rayland, played steel guitar. I don’t know why but I heckled him. Watching a rock and roll show in a hall full of Germans is a strange experience. They are not there to boogie, they are not there to rage. Rock and roll appears a wholly alien creature.  

 By the time of that show, Adams had two solo albums under his belt, including his debut on Bloodshot Records, Heartbreaker, already regarded then as something of an indie classic. Two years before, he had disbanded his star-crossed country band Whiskeytown after ditching his homeland of North Carolina for New York.  

 In recent interviews Adams has been dismissive of his work in Whiskeytown, calling the songs “style appropriation” of a type of music – “country” – that he doesn’t really care for. But those albums are still revered by so many. There are no better songs about feeling disconnected in the South, and yet, his imaginative renderings of life in small-town North Carolina betray a deep sense of affection for the place, crooked though those renderings may be. 

 My favorite Ryan Adams songs are the ones where he’s singing about the South, usually from some place outside of it. His songwriter voice, at times, comes off like the Quentin Compson of the American songbook. He’s the Southern kid  living up North who has to explain the mysteries of the dark and bloody ground after being asked by a Yankee, “Why do you hate it?” 

Of course there are so many kinds of Ryan Adams songs. A quick trip through his extensive back catalog is a schizoid experience and unfolds like a survey course through a myriad ofstyles of American popular music, from rock to country to New Wave to metal to hardcore punk.

His new self-titled album was recorded and self-produced at his PAX-AM studio in Los Angeles and released on an imprint of the same name. It comes at you full throttle like a shot of ‘80s adrenaline, and makes you wanna pull out that yellow Sony Walkman and Vision Shredder skateboard that you got for Christmas in 1987 and just go to town. The album cover art itself is decidedly ’80s. It features a pixilated selfie and appears to mimic the cover art of 1984’s Reckless by Bryan Adams, his almost namesake, an album released on November 5 of that year, Ryan’s 10th birthday.

 By all accounts Adams seems to be at a personal and professional high-point. His PAX-AM studio sounds like it’s his ideaof an idyllic paradise, an important psychic base from which he can make and produce music unfettered by the demands of the music industry. (Adams recently produced albums for Ethan Johns, Jenny Lewis and Fall Out Boy.) He seems to be following the path laid out by Jack White, an artist Adams recently praised for subverting the traditional model of the record industry with his Third Man Records operation.  

 In this issue, we take a good look at the music scene in Los Angeles. We visit some of the city’s best singer-songwriter venues, including the Grand Ole Echo, which hosts a Sunday old-timey jam that almost sounds like a back-porch hang in Nashville. We also stop in at the Hotel Café, an L.A. institution that has served as a key meeting place and clubhouse for musicians during the last several years.

 We take a look at the musical history of Laurel Canyon, the epicenter of the folk-rock scene in the late ’60s, a place that created a musical ideal that still holds sway for a number of young acts today. We talk with a number of L.A. writers about the business of penning tunes for film and television, including Jenny Lewis, Robert Schwartmann of Rooney, and Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne. Writing for the screen is a different beast and requires the writer to learn a new language. In the television world, those who can produce their own material stand at an advantage, as directors are looking to keep the payroll down to a minimum.

 And don’t forget to check out our annual Holiday Gear Guide. This year we feature nothing but guitars, most of which come in well under a $1,000. They won’t break the bank like so many that are fresh out of the factory. Happy holidays.