Monday, August 1, 2011

Get in the Van. I Have Candy.
Part 3

Just to clarify, I wasn't really *that* tipsy last Thursday night, but I was tired and feeling my Patron.  Because I am old.

I didn't blog over the weekend because last weekend was the Bix 7 race in the Quad Cities, and RAGBRAI stopped in Davenport and the riders dipped their bicycle tires in the Mississippi.  Since I generally avoid exercise on the advice of my barista, I did not participate in the Bix with the 18,000+ runners, and I wasn't one of the nearly 300,000 people who have biked across Iowa.  However, my sister-in-law and her family stay at our house annually for the Bix, as they are exercisers, and I make guacamole and open a bottle of wine and listen to their tales of  people vomiting on the race route from overexertion.  You can see why I didn't make time to write.  Vomiting fascinates me.  So does exercise.  But I prefer to do neither.

Speaking of vomiting, I left you when our family had left Hotlanta and made our way to Nashville.  Many texted and asked if I was going to see Elvis.  That is MEMPHIS.  And of course, Graceland is my Mecca, so we'll be heading there in the next year or two.  How can the children complain about not getting to see Disneyland when they've been to GRACELAND?

 "We're caught in a (tourist) trap...we can't walk out..."

No, we went to Nashville.  And I have an announcement -
I have found the Mother Ship.

I'm in complete and total love with Nashville.  I love everything about it.  The beer, the heat, the cowboy boots, the inexpensive jewelry, the funkadelic shops, the awesome food, the slight drawl, even the Grand Ole friggin' Opry.  The whole thing.  I want to lick that town up the side of it's face.  And I sort of did.

We pulled up at our hotel, which I found on priceline because my sister works for Hyatt, but the entire Hyatt line was inexplicably booked, so I booked the best three-star hotel I could find.  We pulled up in Nashville and here is how we were greeted:

I don't believe that included the heat index.
Where the hell is Chardonnay Tony when you need him?

I left the fam in the AC van and checked us in.  The front desk had two women working behind it.  One of them was busy with a police officer, who was loudly filing a report for something stolen from one of the rooms.  The other one was named Svetlana, and she was from Latvia.  I know this because her nametag said "Svetlana, I'm from Latvia!" and she looked as though she didn't understand a damn thing that was going on.  She stood under two ceiling tiles that looked slightly moist and very bowed.  We stared at each other for a moment, she sighed, and decided she had to take me on.  We started our stilted dialogue.
"You have room....?"  Thirty minutes later, the police officer had filed his report for boxes of sample products worth about $35 each, stolen from room, and Svetlana and I had forged some kind of understanding that involved me surrendering my credit card to her and getting a key in return. 

I returned to the Van of Pain, and led my familia through the hotel lobby, where they looked around and assessed the scene.  As soon as they saw the pool, all was forgiven.  On a whim, I texted my friend Stan, who lives with his family in a bucolic Iowa town in which I used to live.  Stan is a lighting designer (did I mention a multiple-Emmy nominee?  I didn't?  oh.) who happens to do quite a bit of work in Nashville, so I asked him what we should see while in The Music City.  Stan texted back - "ME!"  Stanley, in the dream job of the century, had just flown in from London, where he is lighting the iTunes Festival.  He was in Nashville for one day only to light country singer Luke Bryan at the Grand Ole Opry for Jimmy Kimmel Live that night, and flying back to London the following morning so he could get back to light Coldplay and Linkin Park and such.  Loser, right?

Stanley and Oldest Daughter being Shiny Happy People.

In the happiest of accidents, Stan got our White Trash Express through the backstage guard hut and inside the GOO on the best backstage insider tour ever.  My children now despise me and CH, and are petitioning Stan for adoption.  Here are a couple of pics:

I told The Son to hit the power to the
entire building.  Good boy.

The lighting was perfect, the family unprepared.
The closest OD will get to being onstage
with Jimmy Kimmel.  For now.

My thoughts exactly.  It's like this guitar
WANTED me to steal it.

CH does a little camera work.

So much fun, best time ever.  We left our friend and the GOO behind us and drove the White Trash Machine to the hotel, where we spent the rest of the night in the pool, soaking our bunions.

The next morning was The Big Day.  It was time to teach the children how to be good groupies.  I am a hug fan of The Black Keys.

Yeah, these goofy looking guys from Akron who
have a fatass gritty sound.  Love them.

So Dan Auerbach, guitarist for The Black Keys, recently built a studio in Nashville.  I know this because I am a very thorough stalker.  And I found the address, even though the Keys would prefer it is secret, because it is not a public studio.  You might as well be waving a donut and a latte in front of my face, because there I was, parked in my Iowa minivan with my family behind the studio at 11:30 a.m.  The Black Keys are currently working on a new album in said studio, and took a few weeks off of touring in July to work on said album.  Here is what we are looking at from the van - back of the studio, barbed wire on top of the fences, and a lovely deck above where one might go to have a drink and a smoke in between takes.
Cool vintage green station wagon-type vehicle
with a brand new BMW X3 next to it.
But I didn't write down the plate numbers
because I have standards.  And didn't think
of it until we left.

While we are sitting and contemplating our next move, an Escalade pulls up to the keypad and rolls down the window, and a dude looking suspiciously like the producer Danger Mouse, who produced the multi-Grammy winning album Brothers for The Black Keys, taps in a code and waits for the chain link gate to open.  He stares at us.  We stare back at him.  He pulls into the compound and the gate closes.  The kids start getting nervous.  "Mom, we need to leave before you get arrested."  "No way, we are getting a picture in the front."

Security camera?  Check.
Prison lighting?  Check.
Large padlocked mailbox? Check.
Huge peephole in a steel door?  Check.
Mom climbing the chain link fence?  Undocumented.

It is 10:36 on a work night and I have to get up at 6:30, and my server is now rejecting new photos, so I promise I will finish this vacation series tomorrow and never mention my damn trip again.  Part 4, Conclusion, tomorrow night.


Rhonda said...

I am so glad that I am not the only thorough stalker out there. Some people might find it creepy, but what do those fair weather fans know?

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