Some newfound love in Boston

I never realized how much I’d miss certain aspects of Boston. There are things you don’t think of when you move from the only place you’ve ever really called home. Living out in Portland, Ore. amongst the constant drizzling rain and the perpetually nice people, the deliciously brewed beer and darkly roasted coffee, there are days when I’m tinged with aching. It’s a subtle longing for certain things of which I can’t quite put my finger on them.

At least not until I came back to Boston this week. It’s hard to believe but I miss Dunkin’ Donuts coffee, the slightly watery taste and the last few gulps that contain seven scoops of sugary goodness; I miss riding the T and reading the metro and being able to feel smart for polishing off the crossword puzzle in five minutes; impolite drivers; that wintertime demeanor of New Englanders – heads looking towards the sidewalk, covered in bulky clothing, hands jammed in pockets – their minds focussed on one thing and one thing only.

I fell in love with the “new” WFNX morning show, The Sandbox, and forgot what a joy it was to start my day listening to a bunch of kuckleheads discuss the merits of Rachel Ray’s stumpy, dumpy, or frumpy qualities. Starting my day with The Boston Globe and a cup of coffee. Getting to read Ty Burr and Joan Anderman in print. It’s been good to be back home.

A coupla quick stories from local papers that I found interesting, at least on a national level.

– The Boston Phoenix takes a look at this year’s 100 Unsexiest Men. Not to get all spoilerish but The Donald takes number 1 for his atroscious combover doo.

– Joan Anderman has an interesting mini-profile/concert preview of Kay Handley becoming a backup singer for Hannah Montana. This article hit me like a punch in the balls and though it never quite went far enough, (how come Anderman never asks Handley if this feels like a giant step backwards?) it was still an interesting and well-done piece of music journalism.


Handley, to the left of Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana or the middle one in the above photo, you may or may not recall, was the former singer for the Boston band Letters to Cleo. They had quasi-hit song in the mid-nineties with “Here and Now.” It’s a great tune for an underrated band. Handley went on to have a solo career as well.

Stacy Jones, who played drums in Letters to Cleo and fronted American Hi-Fi, is this tour’s musical director and drummer. Now an LA-based producer and musician, Jones hired Hanley for the job; he also recruited American Hi-Fi guitarist Jamie Arentzen, to play in the band.

Hanley and the other backup singer, Candice Accola, have to wear the same thing every night: a white top, jeans, and silver flats during the Hannah Montana set; a black top, jeans, and dark flats during the Miley Cyrus set. Hanley has agreed to wear long sleeves to hide the tattoos on her forearms: “Zoe Mabel” and “Henry Aaron.” Zoe and Henry’s mother had seen every episode of “Hannah Montana” before being hired to sing with her.

Hanley heads out to the cavernous garage for a cigarette, but the Jonas Brothers’ bus is pulling in and she doesn’t want the clean-living siblings to see her smoking. The clueless reporter is shocked to see that they all wear wedding bands, even the 15-year-old. “They’re purity rings,” Hanley whispers. “Nice sweater, Kevin,” she tells the eldest Jonas, giving him a hug. Hanley seems to hug every one of the 121 people on this tour over the course of an afternoon.

More than anything, it strikes me as the kind of article that should have just been longer, deeper and more involved. I suppose that’s one of the articles strengths is that I want the shades of black and white to be more contrasted. What’s it like for a former rocker, now a mother, to be a part of something that is so saccharin, such a Disney-driven product and not necessarily music first. But, it’s understandable because in the newspaper biz it’s all about doing the best you can on a deadline and Anderman is one of the best.

Myspace: Letters to Cleo
Mp3: “Here and Now”
Video: “Here and Now” on Conan O’Brian

– Cambridge-based Harmonix is in a spat with Activision over the portability of guitar-controllers for Rock Band and Guitar Hero III. Curiously, I was under the impression that both of these games were made from the same company, but that is not the case. Gamers are up in arms over this. Very interested to see how this resolves itself. Also I never really quite got the point of Guitar Hero, until I read this piece on the game and saw this video of a kid nailing “Through the Fire and Flames” on expert. Shit that game looks hard and I now understand the appeal, even if I have no desire to play it.

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  • jonas brothers October 25, 2009, 12:31 pm

    This is a very good read. Im gonna be tweeting this post. Jonas Brothers are awesome!