DISCLAIMER

"To strive, to seek, to find and not to yield"
- Alfred Lord Tennyson, 1833

"live deep and suck out all the marrow of life"
- Henry David Thoreau, 1845

"Some guys, they just give up living
And start dying little by little, piece by piece
Some guys come home from work and wash up,
And go racin' in the streets."
- Bruce Springsteen, 1977

"...to the heart, there's no time for you to waste.
You won't find your precious answers now
by staying in one place."
- Frank Turner, 2009

"The best things in life aren't things.
They're living and breathing."
- Michael Franti , 2011

"I owned every second that this world could give,
I saw so many places, the things that I did"
- Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic, 2014

All written content and photos by Rob Fulfer unless otherwise indicated.





Monday, March 3, 2014

LOTS OF FUN AND TRAVEL IN A 30-DAY SPAN

It's been a fun month or so of activities 
with a couple of short trips sprinkled in as well:


Hollywood director selfie
with Jeff Preiss after the show
Thursday, January 30 - We attended the 5th annual year of the The Belcourt Theater's participation in the Sundance Film Festival USA.   This year's selection was Low Down which recently won the cinematography award out in Utah.  The movie's a dark (and rather depressing) true story set in the jazz (and drug) scene of the 70's, but the acting was superb and it was cool to see and hear director, Jeff Preiss, talk about his film in person before and after the showing.  Thanks to our friends, Brenda, Danny and Carolyn, for attending with us plus joining us for a great dinner across the street at Belcourt Taps beforehand.
The super-nice Patron Platinum Club in the Bridgestone Arena.  (Photo courtesy of levyrestaurants.com)

Friday, January 31 - It was hockey night in "Smashville" tonight as the Predators took on the New Jersey Devils for a SOLD OUT game.  We had dinner beforehand for the first time in the Patron Platinum Club (PPC) on the second floor of the arena with 8 friends including Danny, Brenda, Chris, Tarryn, John, Monique, Mike and Bethany.  The food was great and the service: spectacular.  We will be here again!  The game was tremendous as the Preds pulled their goalie with 30 seconds left in the game, down a goal.  They scored with 10 seconds left to tie it up and then won the game fairly quickly in sudden-death overtime!  What a thrilling finish! We had two sets of four tickets in the lower bowl and during the game we had a fun time mixing and matching the eight of us as who sat together each period. After the game we went back to the PPC for another libation or two and then walked over to the new Omni Hotel complex stopping at the hip new bar called Barlines for some live music and even a little dancing.
The ultra-cool Barlines venue in the new Omni Hotel complex.  (Photo courtesy of priceline.com)

Saturday, February 1 - We drove down to Atlanta today and had dinner with our dear friend, Rex, at The Optimist in Atlanta.  This fairly-new seafood joint over by Georgia Tech is always busy and we now know why.  The food is delicious!  We each chose a different fish including cobia, red snapper and mahi mahi.  Since we all sampled each others, I can tell you that all three were excellent.  After dinner, Rex dropped us off at the beautiful and historic Fox Theater downtown because we  hard-to-get-tickets to the national tour of the ultra-popular musical, The Book of Mormon.  Rex bowed out because he had been fortunate enough to see it in NYC last year on his birthday.  After the hilarious and SOLD OUT show, the winter temperatures were so mild that we walked the mile back to our Sheraton hotel (got a great price on it for a Saturday night thanks to Hotwire.com).
Great show!  Tremendously funny and not as shocking in content
 since we had already heard the rather racy soundtrack sent to us by our friend, Amy.
 -- COLLAGE FLASHBACK --
It's been a long, long time since we've been at The Fox Theater in Atlanta.
Here's a VERY early memento from our first collage of a show called Aspects of Love
that I hate to admit I remember nothing about, but I do remember that we were way into
 Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals at that time.  And only $24.50  for orchestra seats?  Wow!

Sunday, February 2 - We slept in and had a delicious brunch at The Silver Skillet (thanks for the suggestion, Diner's Drive-Ins and Dives) and then drove back from Atlanta, stopping in Chattanooga for a quick visit with Ashlee's mom, Evelyn.  We made it home in time to see three quarters of the Super Bowl and the great half-time show.  We were both pulling for the Seahawks since they don't have a trophy there in The Emerald City...but they do now after the butt-whooping they put on the Denver Broncos!!

Monday, February 10 - Well, we've been patiently waiting to see this band again since they blew us away at The Bunbury Festival a few years ago up in Cincinnati. But, finally, The Airborne Toxic Event played tonight at one of our favorite Nashville venues, The Exit/In.  Thanks to our friend, Paige, for coming along.  She drove 5 hours to see the show (and to see us, of course!).   The show was terrific, as expected.  Even the opener band, Kongos, sounded good.  It was surprising to learn they had never played in Nashville before since they've been around since 2007 and consist of  four sons of rock legend, John Kongos  We had an excellent sushi dinner a couple doors down from the venue at O'Sake beforehand.  Thanks for that suggestion, Paige!
Lead singer, Mikel Jollett, of The Airborne Toxic Event climbs atop the bar and shines a light into the upper balcony of The Exit/In in mid-song.  He strolled right past us on his way there from the stage and we even helped keep his microphone cord from being tangled.  What a great band!

February 14 - 17 - Quick trip up to New York City  

 It's been just under four years since we last visited The Big Apple.
Friday, February 14  - Happy Valentine's Day!  We celebrated with a direct flight (new route on our beloved Southwest Airlines) into New York City.  We were fortunate to find a fair weather window to travel in since snow storms had pummeled the eastern U.S. included NYC just a day before.
 We took a private car into Manhattan from Laguardia to a huge, beautifully-appointed East Village apartment we had rented.  Ashlee's mom, Evelyn, was supposed to go with us, but with concerns about the weather and frigid temps, she decided late in the game to pass.  We hated to not have her come along since we had rented the private car and two-bedroom apartment with her in mind. Hopefully, she can return with us sometime because this place is perfect for a stay in NYC.  Check out the link below for more info on it:

www.vrbo.com/378737

We strolled just around the corner from the apartment for a great pastrami sandwich dinner at Katz's Deli (known for the famous When Harry Met Sally "I'll have what she's having" scene).  The sandwiches are so big we had to split it along with some fried potato knishes and their own signature beer made by nearby Brooklyn Brewing.  
Next, it was down a few more blocks to catch some of  Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers at The Bowery Ballroom.  They are a pretty good band that we missed at Bonnaroo this past year, but we were more impressed with this beautiful venue with its outstanding acoustics.  Coming back to see another show here is a real possibility.


Saturday February 15 - We slept in this morning and then got a great $8 large, fresh cheese pizza just down the street for brunch in the apartment.  We went back the following day for a pepperoni for $10 (photo above).  There was a market on the corner also with anything we could need including a pretty good beer selection.
This afternoon we took a beautiful albeit snowy Brooklyn Bridge Round-Trip Walk

We had an early dinner at Goat Town, a farm-to-table restaurant just a few blocks from the apartment.  "Goat Town" is where the word "Gotham" originated from evidently.  Who knew?? Since we were early birds, we got great window seats and watched the snow coming down heavily as we ate.  Our appetizer, dinner and dessert were all delicious and the restaurant was ultra-cool including one of the most memorable public restrooms  I've ever encountered.

After dinner we headed up-town to catch a new Broadway play starring Debra Messing of "Will and Grace" fame in her Great White Way debut called Outside Mullingar.  It's a romantic comedy set in Ireland that was written by renowned playwright, John Patrick Shanley, the author of the critically successful Moonstruck and Doubt.  It was very good and quite funny with beautiful sets including the cool falling-rain effect onstage used to simulate rural Ireland.  The Samuel J. Friendman Theatre is beautiful and our orchestra seats were very comfy with good sight-lines.
After the show we took a great walk around nearby Times Square with a brilliant full moon out.
Sunday, February 18 -  We slept in again this morning and then after finishing our apartment brunch pizza, we headed over to the beautiful but infinitely sad new 9/11 Memorial.  While still not completely finished, this stirring memorial is a must-visit while in NYC and one we hope to see again on our next visit.  The short video below does it neither proper justice nor reverence:


We headed uptown to snowy Central Park next to kill a few minutes before our showtime for the film, Frozen 3D, at the awesome AMC 84th Street 6 Theater.
  Why is the theater at 84th Street awesome?  Because every seat is a freakin' recliner!!  
Now this is how you should see a movie at the theater!!

It was cheap hot dogs for dinner at Gray's Papaya after the show plus The Treat House for dessert where they serve up rice-crispy treats on steroids.  My coconut concoction was heavenly!
Monday, February 19 - We got up a bit earlier today for our last day in the city and did a little shopping along 5th Avenue.  Then it was lunch at S'Mac where they serve up iron skillets full of gourmet mac-n-cheese.  This one's "the alpine" with Gruyere cheese and slab bacon.  Wow!
  After lunch another private car picked us up and took us back to the airport where we flew home a little later than scheduled due to this weird incident at Laguardia where our plane pulled out of the gate, then circled back to it, and then Southwest officials and NYPD officers proceeded to remove a guy from the back of our plane.  We never got a full story on what happened, but it was strange to say the least.

Thanks, Big Apple, for another great visit.  We will see you again as soon as we can.

Friday, February 21 - We attended the SOLD OUT Brett Dennen show tonight at 3rd and Lindsley tonight with our friends, Mike and Beth.
It was a great show as usual with Brett.  We had excellent seats thanks to getting there early and waiting in line at the door before the place opened.  We had dinner while we waited for the show to begin and the food here is always decent.  Irish balladeer, Foy Vance, opened  and was pretty good.  We even got to meet him briefly after the show.

Saturday, February 22 -We slugged our way through online this morning and bought our Bonnaroo 2014 tickets along with our friends, Wayne, Mike and Bridgette!!   See you on The Farm in June!!

We then met up with our friend, Wayne, and had a  late lunch at Drifters BBQ in East Nashville, and then attended a cool poster fair nearby at The Barista Parlor.  We scored a great poster representing the Pink concert we went to back in March 2013.

Sunday, February 23 - We went and saw a matinee re-showing of the classic romantic comedy, When Harry Met Sally at the newly restored Capitol Theater on the square here in Lebanon.   It was such a beautiful day that we were able to walk to the theater and back from our house.  This particular showing was of keen interest to us since we had just eaten at  the Katz's Deli in New York City recently where the infamous "I'll have what she's having..." scene (photo above) was filmed.  

Next, it was off to Nashville to catch the Oscar-nominated short-films (live-action and animated) at The Belcourt Theater with our friends Wayne, Danny and Brenda.  This has become a yearly tradition with us in preparation for Brenda's yearly Oscar Party.  This year's crop of live-action nominees weren't as enjoyable as in previous years, but most of the animated selections were pretty entertaining.  It's gonna be hard to pick the winner.

Monday, February 24 - We caught the excellent band, Imagine Dragons, again tonight.  This time at the Bridgestone Arena with our friends Wayne, Danny and Brenda, and their son, Kyle and a friend of his.  We all had dinner beforehand back at Barlines.  The short video below shows our general admission spot for the show down on the floor in front of the stage during their fun song, "On Top of the World."


Friday, February 28 - We returned for dinner at O'Sake Sushi and then saw Nebraska at The Belcourt for more Oscars prep.  It is a sometimes hilarious and sometimes quite touching film.

Saturday, March 1 - We attended The Delta Saints' second consecutive sold-out show at The Exit/In with a large group of friends including Wayne, Danny, Wil, Wes and his date, Ashley, Chris and Tarryn,  It was a terrific show and these Nashville natives are quickly becoming one our new favorites to see play live.  We all had dinner at the always-delicious Suzy Wong's House of Yum beforehand.

Sunday, March 2 - We attended an annual Oscars Party at our friends, Brenda and Danny's house.  This is their 20th year of hosting this event.  Congrats, guys!  This was the second year of costumes being worn to the party and Ashlee went as the princess, Elsa, from Frozen, while I went as Capt. Phillips from, yep, you guessed it, Captain Phillips.  It was a great time even though it had to be cut short due to some impending bad weather and Ashlee even won a prize for best costume representing a film.

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