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This weeks first UCB makes a winner of Mauriello.  Wow first he snags yesterday’s extra point and now the UCB, not to mention the whopper of a power of ten he put up.  Ladies and gentlemen watch out this guy wants the win for the year.  Mauriello picked a topic very close to my heart and that is “what is the soundtrack of your life”.  This is a topic which has certainly been in my head for as long as I can remember.

First off I have very deep roots in music being a prodigy on the saxophone as an adolescent, studying jazz performance in college and ultimately working in the business on and off for the last fifteen years.  The Groovin’ High section is a perfect example of my love for music.  I mean look how much random bull shit I write about just one song.  It always amazes me when I meet someone who has no real interest in music or what they listen to.  It blows my mind.  In Lisanti Land I have music going nearly all the time.  From the moment I wake up till I go to sleep I have some form of tuneage playing be it on my ipod or radio.

I used never turn my stereo off when I lived in Boston.  Back then I had a five disc changer and just had it on constant repeat all day whether I was home or not.  This way when I got home there was music on.  I even went to sleep with music on.  There is something about having grooves all around me all the time that just seems right.  As a matter of fact the only time I don’t want music is when I surf.  That is my spiritual time, please pardon the cliche.  In the water I am completely at peace or at least focused beyond the need for any distraction.

Why do I always have music playing you ask.  Mainly it is that I need something to allow my brain to slow down and focus on just one task.  If I do not have music playing my mind wonders all over the place with tons of different thoughts.  If there are tunes on then that captures half my mind leaving the other to stay on task.  It does not matter what type of music although I do prefer jazz, hip/hop, r&b and soul.  I will take any style of music over none at all.

The soundtrack of my life.  Well that is a tough one.  When I am just chilling at  the end of the night some Bill Evans or mellow Miles always relaxes me.  These days I have found quite the solace in sad love songs.  Corinne Bailey Rae, Nora Jones, Ashanti, Diana Krall, Billy Holiday all have a few tunes that have gotten me through the sad times these days. Now I finally have an appreciation of such.  Up until my own heart break I never really understood their meaning cause I do not believe I ever really had a heart.

Mostly my ipod is the sound track of my life.  I have nearly 4,000 songs on there and each one has its own special meaning to me.  Since it is always on shuffle it has become my life sound track.  I have it going right now as I write these lines, Dave Brubeck “So What’s New”.  What will come next I do not know,but one thing is for sure there will always be music.

 

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This song found its way onto my ipod shuffle after I got out of the grocery store on my way home for work this evening.  What did I buy you ask?  A shopping card full of booze.  That’s right, I looked like Nicholas Cage in Leaving Las Vegas.  Ok maybe not quite that bad.  On line everyone else had actual food meanwhile I had six bottles of wine and a handle of Bacardi Select.  I know its a step up for me.  Truth of the matter is they were out of Bacardi Gold and Select was the same price.  As long as there is a handle of some type of Bacardi in the freezer here at the Palace Lisanti Land will run smoothly.

Enough about my drinking problem and back to this week’s Groovin’ High entry (this weeks, ha what a fucking joke, its more like this months.  Its been so long since we had a Groovin’ High entry I cant even remember.  Or maybe that is a result of all the brain cells killed by the alcohol. You can be the judge.  All I will say in my defense is that some of the greatest men were drunks.)  Uptown Groovin’ by Soundscape UK from their album Uptown Groove.   I first was turned on to this band back in high school when their single Brand New Day was on the radio.  I think I was a sophomore meaning we are talking back in 1996.  A few years later they dropped this album.  It was never promoted on the radio. I actually found out about it from the internet and purchased the album on the blind faith that it would be as good as the last one I got from them Surreal Thing.

This was the first song on the CD and it captivated me.  Funny story I got the CD in the mail two days after this big blizzard we got hit with in NJ back in ’03, I think.  I was up on the roof of my house shoveling snow off the flat roof of the solarium. We received about  four feet of snow and the weight of the melt could have caved in the roof.   I was sent up to take care of the situation.  The whole time the thinking the weight of the melting snow and my own might just send me through the roof with it.

I had just got the CD that morning and decided to throw it in my boom box (that’s right back then they were still called Boom Boxes, heck I currently play my ipod through a circa 1980’s clock radio.  The shit sounds better then any speakers I have owned.) and play it from the window while I shoveled.  Uptown Groovin‘ was the first song on the album.  It’s a great tune and ever since that first listen I have been captivated by it every time I hear it.

Fast forward to March of that same year, 2003.  Sindia and I decided to go on a tour of California with our friend Alex who claimed he knew all the good surf spots.  As it turned out he was a kook and did not know the first thing about anything.  Living in California I know exactly the type of “surfer” category he fits into.  Back then I just figured anyone from California who surfed must be the shit.  The only good thing (or bad depending on the day, my mood and out look) that came of the whole fiasco, where by the way Continental bumped my boards to a later flight delaying me in San Francisco Air Port.  The Port Authority almost arrested me for taking out my frustration on a baggage carousel, but that is a blog for another day.   Let me just say this there was a time when I was not as mellow as I am now.

The only good thing that came out of the trip was that I was introduced to Santa Barbara, Jason Feist of J7 Surfboards and began my infatuation and subsequent love affair with Rincon.  Now almost ten years later I live here almost directly as a result of that trip.  We drove into Santa Barbara from Monterey.  I was sleeping in the back of this beat up van Alex’s friend Brian owned when this song came onto my ipod.  We ended up checking what I believe was Naples although my knowledge of the area at the time was less then novice.  Long story short we ended up surfing twelve foot Devereux with Jesse Merle Jones and to this day is still the biggest Devereux I have ever surfed.  Then again I also never surf there.

Face it these days I only really surf Rincon.  Sorry I am a snob like that.  Whenever I hear this song I am always brought back to both those moments.  The song still amps me up.  I guess that is what makes a great song.  That is the amazing thing about music in general.  It can stir up some of the most amazing emotions in the human soul.  Below is the tune you have spent all this time reading about.  I hope you enjoy it.

Me circa winter '03, look at that baby face. Oh wait I forgot I have not really aged all that much in the last 8 years.

 

That Faithful Day at Devereux

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I think it is classic Lisanti Land time scheme that I am posting October’s Power of Ten list on the first of November.  My excuse: too much party and real lack of motivation in life. Wait is that an excuse or my modus operandi?  Whatever the case its my blog and I do what I want.  I mean c’mon the last blog I wrote was about having assholes for fingers.  Enough said.  Anyway October’s power ten garnishes two UCB points upon my current housemate and Wild Cat partner in crime Kooky Kyle.

1. Bosses – Bosses fucking suck no matter how you try to disguise it.  Fact of the matter is if someone has the power to tell you what to do and your living relays on that it sucks.  Unfortunately that is how the real world works.  I have been a boss and I am sure my employees hated me too.  As far as the slang term “Boss” goes I cant stand it and when I am called such it usually sends me up into a fit of rage.

2. Job Hunting – Pounding the pavement is tough especially in today’s weak ass economy.  Luckily I have a job and whenever I am in need thanks to some of the insanity on craigslist I always seem to find work.  Hey if the job hunt wears you down you can always join the rest of the unemployed losers down on Wall St.

3.  John at New Jetty – New Jetty is this piece of shit wave I frequent in Ventura.  Most times it is no more then a boostable close out.  The place reminds me of New Jersey and usually if I’m not at Rincon then New Jetty is where I can be found.  Every time I surf there with Mauriello he ends up getting all the best waves of the day while I grovel on garbage all session.  It got to the point where I just started burning him on the good ones cause I am an asshole.

4. Gas Prices – Gas prices are a mystery to me.  When I was in High school I used be able to buy gas for .85 cents a gallon.  Now its nearly four bucks a gallon.  I know oil is a limited resource and all, but I do not believe it is that limited.  Also did we not go conquer like half the Middle East after 9/11?  I think gas should be a hell of a lot cheaper.

5.  The Plumbing in Lisanti Land – My apartment has by far the most ass backward plumbing known to man.  Its all old metal piping from the fifties and every time I need any kind of plumbing service I end up with a giant whole in the wall and a bill for over a few hundred dollars and before that happens I always find myself swimming in a giant pool of sewerage.  I am on the first floor and my plumbing is the end of the main line for the entire building.  When there is a clog you do the math on how much waste backs up on my floor.   Hey at least I have an ocean view.

6. Fleas – Fleas suck. I brought home a baby possum two years ago I found in the middle of the street.  Since then I have been plagued with fleas and so has poor Alfie.  They suck and are impossible to get rid of.  Last time I set off eight bombs in my small apartment and nearly killed myself, yet the little fuckers still prevailed.

7. A Love Supreme – In 1965 Coltrane released A Love Supreme.  It was the first time he took a step away from his hard bob roots and began the free jazz career that changed the face of jazz forever.  It is a pretty bad ass album.

8.  West Swells – Ahh west swells, they are the best out here and also elusive as hell.  When its on it makes for the best surfing here in Santa Barbara then anyplace else on the California coast.  Too bad we only see like three a year.

9.  Funny Things Homeless People Say – The homeless are like children.  They say the darnedest things.   The difference is you never know when a bum might shank you.  I guess one must feel the same about children these days as well.

10. “What is the Worst that can Happen” – This is pretty much my official catch phrase that I use to push myself and others over the edge on a questionable decision or situation.  I sort of feel like everyone should subscribe to this mantra.  I think it would make everyone’s lives more interesting.  I mean seriously what is the worst that could happen?

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I don’t know why I keep coming back to Ashanti.  Maybe that is my plight in life.  I cant move on?  I don’t really know. Its fucking 3:o7am. I have had a bit too much to drink yet not enough as always.  That is what alcoholism is all about after all.  I’m fresh off a good night at the Wild Cat.  These days I find myself taking a spot on the wall with all the other barnacles.  I guess I am just a next generation?  So be it.

Not much was popping off and I was about to leave when I heard a good song and decided to hit the dance floor and bust a move.  I was enjoying myself till my old fifi showed up with some other dude.  This guy was not even close to me.  I was looking like class and he was looking like trash.  I just do not get it?   Maybe I am not suppose to.  I mean she made a fool of me the last few times we got together.  Yet there she was looking fabulous as always and I just thought man why aren’t we together right now?  But alas it was not in the cards for us.  I cordially said hi, gave her a hug, met the guy she was with, then went about my business.   What more could I do? Nothing.  That is how life shapes up.  I would like to think she had some remorse even if it momentarily.

I know she felt nothing of the sort cause she never felt anything for me ever.  In my odd misfortune or good fortune I have no recourse on how I should feel or what I should think.  So I tell myself I wont think about it yet I still do.  Constantly plagued by my own insanity.  I am proud of myself for standing my ground and not giving her the satisfaction to how pained I was to see her with some other idiot. Fuck it, whatever.

Now about this song.  I want to dedicate it to all the happy couples that are out there.  I watch my couch mate Ryan and his girl friend Addy every day and see how happy and satisfied they are with their love for each other.  Sometimes it sickens me and causes me to drink a little more then I already do.  Then I reevaluate the situation and am very happy for their happiness together.  I had that kind of merriment once, well twice actually.  I mainly blame myself for both failing, but then again it takes two to tango.  How could I have expected to have anything worthwhile when I am broken?

This song is for all the lovers out there who have that rare connection that only two people can share between one another.  Love is not easy and most times it doesn’t make sense.  I have never understood it.  I am always pained by it, but constantly baffled by it.  Maybe I had my shot and I am now destined to be perpetually alone.  If that is my lot in life, so be it.  I fucked over two decent human beings because of who I am and perchance that is my fate then.  That was my chance.  Fine I will face my sad lot in life to wander the earth alone for eternity with my head up then.

For those of you who have love.  All I can say is cherish it cause there are a great number of us who go with out.  I will root for you.   Sure it wont be all sunshine and roses, but if it was then would it be worth it?  Nothing worth doing in this life is.  I think that is how it should be.  It was not easy for Romeo and Juliet or Rick in Casablanca or Elizabeth and Darcy in Pride and Prejudice.  That is what true love is all about, struggle.  Whenever I hear this song it brings a smile to my face even in my darkest hour.  So here I am sharing it with all of you.  Plus Ashanti is the shit.  Enjoy, sorry for rambling about bullshit.

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Let the good times roll....

Wow!  What a bull shit stupid blog I posted last night.  I hope no one thinks any less of me.  All I have to say for myself is that I drank an entire bottle of Chianti from 8pm-11pm last night thanks to the goading of my roommates whom were many beers deep.  Surprisingly I think I could have put down another bottle cause after finishing that one I think I could have operated heavy machinery if I needed to.  I could have definitely drove if not for those pesky police and their DUI bullshit.  .8? What the fuck is that.  I could blow a .8 the next morning.

The legal alcohol limit should be a kind a suggestion.  Whatever, I don’t make the laws…yet.  Lisanti for President 2014.  And this is not a blog about my alcohol problem or drunk driving.  This is more of a proclamation of sorts. Now this is for me not you, so please no more hate mail.  Yes I know I suck at life.  I do not need any reinforcements in negative comments.  If you want to call me a jack ass that is ok.

I decided when I woke up Sunday morning that I was going to take back my life.  I know we have these type of blogs every few months and then I just end up going down the drain all over again.  Such is life.  I was watching Rocky Balboa last  night, you know the very last one in the series, and he got on this tangent of Rocky wisdom, which by the way is uncanny how profound it is in a very imbecilic way.  He said something about how “In life its not how hard you can hit, but how hard you can take it, every time life keeps beating you down, you have to get back up and keep on fighting.  No matter how hard you get hit you just have to keep on moving on”.

That got me to thinking about my own life.  I have been being beaten on for thirty years and have still remained strong through out.  Some see it as arrogance, but I have always seen it as perseverance.   Sure I come off negative most of the time, but that is because I am real.  I don’t sit around and bullshit myself.  I set a goal and I go for it.  I do not just say oh “good things are going to happen for me”.  I go out and take it.  No one is handing out free rides in life.  You have to go out and get it.

With that in mind I need to fill you in on my week last week.  I had to see Adrienne unfortunately.  She wanted to get off the lease of my apartment.  It sounds like something that should not be a big deal, yet with my rental company taking people off the lease always turns out to be a horror story.  I guess it serves me right for ever believing her worthwhile enough to trust to be on my lease.  See what happens when you trust someone fully.   She had been hitting me up through email, the most chicken shit way to do anything. It is not like I don’t work right across the campus from her or anything?

I made the move.  I took the five hundred yard walk over to the bookstore to talk to her about the situation and come up with some type of reconciliation on the issue.  Believe me it was one of the hardest five hundred yards I ever had to walk.  I was filled with mixed emotions of anger, sadness and anxiety.  I did not have any clue how I would react to seeing her.

Anyhow upon our discussion I realized that I am still not over her and immediately after went into a serious five day bout of depression involving tons of drinking by myself.  I did not even go out to the Kitty.  Worst thing was I think if she had apologized and asked if wanted to come back I probably would have.  Fucking pathetic right.  She had these stupid boots on she wore to Ireland that completely clashed with the tired black skirt and bluish floral camo top she wore at least once a week.  I am not saying she did not look nice, Imean she still captivated me, but if I did not have to wear a uniform to work I would completely flash the wardrobe.  Those boots though just don’t ever make sense outside of a hurricane. I know she has some nice shoes.

Enough about her outfit.  All that brief interview led me to understand is that I am still broken inside and have been trying to fill that hole with other women who were horribly fit for me.  Then I decided that I need a break from women in general for a while.  My life is a fucking mess and I need to clean it up myself for a change.  I always look for a female counter part and use her good sense and stability to influence me to clean my act up.  So far the effects of that method have been nothing but adverse.

I need to pull my head out of my ass and take control of MY LIFE.  If I get my shit together maybe I will find happiness and stability.  At that point then and only then can I truly have something to offer another person when I ask her to share my life with me.  Cause I actually will have a life instead of this sub normal fantasy land I live in.  Till then it is going to be all about frivolous good times with my female companions and nothing more.  For the moment I may not look so good on paper, but its only a matter of time before I do.

In the mean time I am going to follow this guys advice:

In the long run this is the advice that counts

 

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What can I say about Aaliyah?  Another great artist taken from this world far beyond her time.  Killed in a plane crash in 2001 at the tender age of twenty two.  She was a beautiful talented individual whose loss was deeply felt through out the world.  4 Page Letter is off of her album One in a Million.  The song itself really speaks to me.  A few years ago I was working a dead end job at a gas station, where surprisingly I only got paid a buck less an hour to do less then half the amount of work I do now.  Go figure.  But hey being a chef is a respectable job right?  I get paid to cut shit up into different arranged pieces all day and make sure food does not burn in an oven.  Its not all that complicated folks.

Back in the days of the gas station the only channel the radio we had behind the counter would get was the local hip hop one that basically played the same sixty songs on loop.  In the course of eight hours I got to hear everything at least twice, everyday.  You think with all the fucking songs out there in existence we could get some variety on the radio.  Alas the promotional and marking people need to sell, sell, sell!

4 Page Letter was one of those songs that came on at least once a shift and I did not mind at all.  I have written a few of these letters in my life.  Three to be exact.  The movies lead on to believe all you should have to write is one.  I guess I have not figured out how to word one correctly yet.  The first one worked quite well actually, but logistically we were doomed before even getting off the ground.

The second one I deep down inside knew was a lost cause, but did it anyway cause I am a romantic fool like that.  The third I was rather sure of an adverse outcome as well.  Like I always say “you miss 100% of the pitches you don’t swing at”.  My friends one thing you count on when it comes to Chris Lisati is that I will always no matter how bad the odds against me go down swinging.  Hey maybe the forth time will be the charm, or maybe I wont ever have to write a letter at all cause she will just get me as I am.

I think there is something to be said for having the ability to put such emotions down on paper and give it to someone else.  Opening up yourself to so much vulnerability.  I mean once its out there on cold hard paper there is no taking it back.  Your heart and soul put out there.  I have always found love letters to be things off great beauty in any form.  There was a time before phones, internet, text messaging and convenient travel  when all people had were letters.  Sometimes couples would write to one another for months or years with out any other contact then such letters.  Could you imagine how joyous a reunion between those two intertwined souls must have been after months of sharing intimate letters?

While you listen to this song think about that and the power of the written word when it comes straight from the heart.

 

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Well everyone this week marks the last week of the summer quarter of the UCB.  The 21st has come and gone and like summer so has this quarter.  I must say it has been a rather dicey one and I have no idea at the moment who will win.  Before I tally up the points and claim a champion I first want to write September’s Power of Ten Blog, worth two points and there will be one more UCB blog written this week that will also be included for the Summer quarter.  Mauriello wins this months power of ten and earns two UCB points.  Here is his list.

1.  Asian Girls  – I have never dated an Asian girl.  I think it is because I am politically incorrect and call them Orientals.  In all seriousness I rarely find one that turns me on.  It is funny too cause most guys I talk to are all about the tiny Asian chicas.  I guess it is the en-vogue thing right now.  I did meet a guy from Korea at the bar once who after watching the girl I was with disrespect me multiple times before going home with some other guy all together (Santa Barbara Girls just exude class) told me I should meet an Asian girl fresh off the boat and she would treat me right.  There is this cashier at Albertsons, whom I have been friends with for years.  She is Chinese and although not a real looker I bet she would make a good wife.  I mean she works like 60 hours a week so I know she has good work ethic.  I should propose to her.  I figure it can’t be any worse then the women I spend my time with these days.

2.  Aiming While Peeing – For starters I have the worst aim ever when it comes to hitting the bowl.  When I am sober I have a 50/50 chance.  When I am drunk those stats drop considerably.  What that means is I clean a ton of piss off my bathroom floor.  I find it astounding that I am so challenged at a seemingly futile task.  I mean I am only 5’9 and I have a gargantuan penis leaving not all that much distance to cover.  I tried to write my name in the snow once and just ended up pissing all over myself.

3.  Shaving – I know I wrote an entire blog about this back in like 2006.  If someone goes back to the myspace site and finds it I will give you two UCB points.  Post the blog in the comments of this blog.  Anyhow I hate shaving and am terrible at it.  Like that peeing thing its just not something I have a finesse for.  I cut myself every other time I shave and my face hurts like hell afterwards.  I have tried those electric razors, but I am Italian and it does not get close enough leaving me with a five O’clock shadow only a few hours later.  I used to rock a beard for a while but I got tired of the Jesus/homeless/terrorists gags.  Maybe I should get electrolysis for my entire face.

4. Micheal Jackson – I love Jack-o even if at times he was a little wack-o.  His music was tight and his eccentricities entertaining.  I am very sorry he died his untimely death yet it might have been better for him to leave a world in which he was misunderstood.  I still do not believe he molested any children.  Well maybe just the British children.  Then again not even George Washington saved them.

5.  Emma Wood – Emma Wood is a shitty beach/reef break in Northern Ventura County.  Its a bowly punchy wave that is glorified shore break at best.  That being said it has become the epicenter of high performance surfing in the (805) and on any given day a host of local pros, groms, up and comers, rippers and has beens will be out battling for shitty little peaks.  One thing for sure it is one of the more consistent waves in the area, handles most swell directions and a wave can be found there over 300 days a year.  Also its a great wave to shoot photos on thanks to it’s proximity to the beach and is one of the few spots around here where you can watch the action from your car while smoking a bowl and chugging a brew.

6.  Disney Movies – I have to say I am a not a fan at all.  Some of the older stuff from the sixties are not horrible but overall you can take that G rated family shit and shove it up your ass.  I will raise my children on mafia movies like Casino and Scarface.  No sense making them grow up in a fantasy world only to find out what a cold relentless place it is later.  If I had to pick one I would go with Aladdin.  Jasmine had a nice rack and I would have titty fucked the shit out of her, then bent her over the bed and got her from behind.

7.  Teaching Dogs Tricks –  As far as I am concerned outside of herding dogs, seeing eye dogs and bomb squad dogs they are more trouble then they are worth.  I don’t care if they roll over, play dead or shake my hand.  You want a real trick, shit in the toilet, do not chew up the furniture and don’t eat shit that will make you puke.  Those are tricks I would want my fictitious dog to learn.  Movie dogs are ok too for entertainment value.  While we are on the subject I hate when people dress up their dogs.  It really makes me mad.

8.  Surf Board Quivers –  Been there, done that, wrote that.

9. Ice Sculptures –  I had a friend who did ice sculptures for a living a few years back.  The guy was crazy talented at it.  I always thought it would be really frustrating to spend all that time on something you knew was going to melt in a few hours for some stupid party for unappreciative rich people.  I would rather turn that block of ice into a liquor luge and have a real good time.

10.  Forrest Gump – On one hand I find Forrest Gump to be a rather powerful yet some what far fetched film.  On the other I get really pissed off to think that a fucking retard could do some much more in his life then I ever will.  Fuck him, his box of chocolates and Lieutenant Dan.  Jenny was a babe.  Too bad she was all messed up in the head like ever other bitch out there to realize what a good man she had. Sorry folks I am a little bitter this week.

Tell me that is not a cartoon you would not be all over?

I will take a mail order Asian.

Jack-o you are missed.

Emma Wood, an oldie but a goodie.

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Last night I got dragged out by a good friend and then some of mine to go see this random band The Joy Formidable at Soho.  The event was $15 to get in and I hate spending that money on a group I have never heard and most likely was going to suck.  I have been to a few other shows there just because friends were going and have mostly been left less then impressed.  This group is from Whales, UK and when I first saw them take the stage my initial thought was they were going to just be another generic indy rock band.

It was this cute little blond girl fronting the group on guitar and vocals, a bassist and a drummer.  Then  they began to play and I was captivated.  I really dug what they had going on.  The combination of chords and melody of their songs reached me.  Remember indy rock is not really my bag so it is saying a lot if I am giving the group props.  The lady was a decent guitarist as well.  My first instincts were rather sexist figuring to get nothing more then some ugly power chords and distortion out of her.

I was really Impressed, fifteen smackers well spent.  My bar tab from both there and the Wild Cat on the other hand, plus the subsequent hangover leading to the shittiest day at work ever I could have lived with out. Such is life when your a party person and a drunk.  Buoy for me!!!

This song is off their new album The Big Roar.  Its called A Heavy Abacus and was one of the songs they played last night.  If you like the tune, check em out.  I know I will be downloading some of their stuff very soon. Enjoy.

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Where have I been you ask?  I really hope no one is posing this question.  There was a time when my life could have been like one of those “Where’s Waldo” books.  These days I am rather happily complacent (complacent is a stretch) at my quaint Santa Barbara home.  To be honest I am rather happy, at least the happiest version of Chris Lisanti I have yet to know.

For the last seven days I have been running amuck back in my old stomping grounds Manasquan, NJ and the East Village, NYC.  Life is funny, five months ago if you told me I would be sitting in an airport terminal at Newark, NJ in August writing a recap blog I would have made some strange PHSSSSST type sound effect and cruised.  Here I am.

Proximity

How did I get here?  It all started with a night of depression drinking followed by a series of parties.  That’s right every now and again my reckless lifestyle puts forth an opportunity.  I met this incredibly nice guy, Ken at a party of a mutual friend.  We got to talking and next thing I know he was calling me to work on some music with him for this original play he was looking to put on over the summer.

At first I was hesitant, but I read the script and fell in love with the play, well I think it is the last few lines that always get me all choked up being a hopeless romantic despite my cavalier façade of a womanizer.  Then Ken played me some of the music and I was sold.  He had written one of the most fun contemporary scores I have ever heard for a show.  Being rather burnt out on doing any work what so ever for musical theatre this was saying a great deal.  I signed on not quite knowing what I was getting myself into.

I showed up to this potluck dinner at this ridiculous mansion up in the hills of Montecito, immediately thinking I was in the wrong place.  As usual I arrived about a half hour late.  I find it easier to walk into a party with everyone already there so I can case out the situation and make a stealthy escape if I find the scenario to be one of agitation.  Upon walking in the door I found myself being hugged by eight different people.

That was almost enough to send me running for the hills, but they seemed harmless enough and they were after all theatre people.  It was an amazing evening and the passion these young people had for their craft was mesmerizing to me.  They ended up sucking me in to their “family”, the Proximity family.  Being on my own again for the first time in two years it felt nice to belong to a group so full of goodness and love.

We delved into work and next thing I knew I found myself learning dance steps for a music video, on the beach dressed in all black running through the ocean like a banshee, playing saxophone at a benefit event in a group who’s style was deemed “electro-pop-funk” where I took the stage for the first time in eight years.  Then there were exhaustingly frustrating eight-hour rehearsals, tantrums, disagreements and finally the formation of a remarkable piece of work.

We ran three shows in Santa Barbara for a packed house and were well received.  I had friends in the audience who never even knew I played the sax and were blown away.  From Santa Barbara we were rushed out to NYC to do the show all over again in the East Village, the first time I would play in the city in ten years.  Life can be amazing at times.

NJ

 I took full advantage to of the opportunity.  I usually only get to see my family once a year at Christmas time.  The last time I was at the Jersey shore in the summer time was when I lived there four years prior.  I decided to build a few extra days in before the show to go spend some quality time with my folks and sister.  Truth be told I had been feeling a little bit home sick the last few months and wanted to remind myself why I left.

All I can say is that NJ is a hellhole.  Its hot and sticky even at 2am in the summer and then in the winter you freeze your ass off.  No thank you, I will take the predictable moderate climate of Santa Barbara any day.  The surf was flat the entire time yet some how I managed to break my toe while fucking around in knee high surf finless.   If you want to know more about my Jersey surf sessions visit the surflog.

It rained nonstop for two whole days and was deemed by the weather service a record rain fall for that time of year.  Seriously?  Last time I was home for Christmas I got dumped on by five feet of snow and was stuck inside for three days.  The last time I surfed in NJ before this trip I cut my foot open requiring eight mattress stitches and severed a tendon that never really healed correctly.  That is what you get when you don’t have medical insurance boys and girls.  I am telling you New Jersey hates me.

I did have a grand old time on the party scene, getting to pre game with my boys Kiefer and Greg P at his pad in Asbury, met up with my old roommate and downtown SB partner in crime Cory Kisiel, which lead to a black out, old habits die hard.  Kooky Kyle brought me by the Porch to catch up with none other then Bojangles and Scotty B.  My friend Micheala took me to some fun bar in Asbury that had plastic sand pails full of rum (that was a mistake).  Kooky, Val and I went to some bar in Avon that had tiny little 8oz beers for a $1 where I ended up getting absolutely sloshed for $13.

Kooky and I hit on some random girls just to show my sister what a lurk was all about.  I pretended to be from California, but it went horribly wrong.  As it turned out they knew me from when I lived in NJ and call me out. “Your name is Chris Lisanti right? Weren’t you a pro surfer?”  We slunked away defeated into the corner and had a laugh and half about it.  They were ugly anyway and lucky I even talked to them.  It was only to entertain Val who was nice enough to be my designated driver.  I have a woman I am seeing back in Santa Barbara right now who as far as I am concerned is far better looking, intelligent and straight up more amazing then anything Jersey could even try and temp me with.

I even ran into former Jerseyite Beth Anne, now living in Laguna, but was in town visiting her family as well.  As usual we exchanged the same words “I hate this place, can’t wait to go back to California”.  I bumped into former Lisanti Land character Jiggles, who I barely recognized thanks to a major weight loss.  I guess we should not call him Jiggles anymore.

Catching up with my family was as good as it ever could be.  Besides a few tiny scuffles my mother and I got on famously.  We had some quality walks on the beach, I cooked a few scrumptious dinners, and breakfasts, including banana fosters waffles.  I think everyone gained a few extra pounds on my stay.  My parents and I played a round off golf at the course I used to be the assistant greens keeper at (I asked if the same horse’s ass owned it and I could immediately tell by the look in the girl’s eyes who took our fare that it was, look for an odd jobs on that job one of theses days).  Apparently they have been practicing cause they stomped my ass.  I was easily fifteen strokes behind.  I think it is just that I play better high and the chronic in NJ sucks, on top of being highly illegal.

On my last day I even got to catch up with my good old friend and one of my very first minions, Sorbo.  If you remember back to the myspace.com days he was almost killed in a horrific motorcycle accident.  Since then I guess he has been just floundering trying to figure out his next step in life.  We ended up bombing some hills in the Brielle Cemetery together.  I had not skated that since I was in high school.  I gave him a passport to Lisanti Land and an open invitation.  I really hope he takes me up on it.  A little time out in my world I think will do him a bit of good.

NYC

The last time I was in New York City was also four years ago and my time and a good deal of my money was spent at these gnarly ultra private clubs in the meatpacking district.  I am talking about places with no sign that look like an abandoned building, but then were super luxurious inside.  This time I was there on business to help tell the story of Shandy Wilkes through the melodic prowess of my soprano saxophone.

The show ran from Thursday the 18th to Saturday the 20th at the Robert Moss Theatre in the Village.  Initially I was far from impressed by the capacity of the small sound stage.  As soon as I pulled out my horn and began to blow I fell in love with the room.  By far one of the best sounding spaces I have played in.

Taking the train in everyday was quite the three-hour adventure, driving from my parents’ home in Manasquan to Metro Park, 45 minutes.  Taking the train from Metro Park to Penn Station another 45 minutes, then finally walking from 32nd street to 4th street in the village around another thirty minutes or so.  It was fun for the three days I had to do it.  If I had to commute into the city every day like most workers do I would kill myself.

Friday night’s show went down in front of a packed house, standing room only at times.  I felt in my opinion it was the best I had seen the actors perform the show.  I was blown away and that is saying a lot for me.  Saturday I went into the city with my parents, where we met up with my aunt and ejoyed a nice Italian dinner before heading over to theatre.  It was the first time my parents have heard me play live in ten years.  They really enjoyed the show, although no comment was made about my personal playing either way.  From my mother that means it must have sounded good cause although not apt to give a complement she is the first to criticize.

All in all I would have to say it was one of the more enjoyable trips I have had back to my childhood home.  Still it is very nice to be back in California, which really feels like home to me. One thing I will say and maybe this is me getting sentimental in my old age is that I felt a bit sad to be leaving my family behind for another six months till Christmas.

A special thanks goes out to Micheala for filling Nick the Kook’s shoes in his absence, being in Chile, driving me to surf, lending me a board and helping me stay in the party.  Sorbo gets a salutation for helping me pack and ship some new threads I bought. For those of you who don’t know him, Sorbo is a master at the art of packing and shipping.  Kooky Kyle and Cory Kiesel for buying me one two many drinks and my folks for being decent to me.   And my boy Ryan back in California for holding down the fort.  Thanks everyone, with out you Lisanti Land would be not half as fun.

Here are some really terrible photos I took with my cell phone.  Enjoy and thanks for reading.

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That was probably one too many exclamations points, but then again there is proper reason for excitement.  Tonight is the opening night of the play I have been working on for the last month or so with the theatre group PROXIMITY.  You remember back in July when I was fundraising for this cause?  Well if you don’t we needed to raise $20,000 to get the show off the ground and into the theater, see I am Not a Whore and Im Calling Out to You for more details on that.  We got the money during our benefit show at Soho, read About Last Night for more on that one and have been since working very hard on putting the play together.

When I say very hard I mean it.  These folks have been practicing eight to twelve hours a day for the last month at least.  I did not have do even a quarter of the work they had to and just that little bit was exhausting.  Tonight is the culmination of all of our hard work, Opening night at the Center Stage Theater.  The show starts at 8pm and tickets are $20.  I can personally vouch for the validity of the  integrity of the performance and you have yours truly on the soprano saxophone, so you know you can’t go wrong.

Come and check us out tonight 8pm at the Center Stage Theater in Downtown Santa Barbara.  If you cannot make it tonight or love it so much you need to see it again Shandy Wilkes will be running Thursday (8/11) and Friday (8/12).  For my east coast friends you can catch us next weekend at the Robert Moss Theatre in NYC Aug 18-20.  Hope to see you there.  Don’t miss out on this wonderful opportunity to have a grand old time and support the arts.

Here are some videos for a sneak peak at what you will be missing if you do not come out:

Shandy Wilkes Promo: Burning Dance from Proximity Theatre Company on Vimeo.

Shandy Wilkes Promo from Proximity Theatre Company on Vimeo.

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