Tuesday, November 17, 2009

70 Years and 10 Months -- What A Day

I never knew how important one movie could be in the life of a family -- until 2009 reared it's ugly head.

To endure four deaths in eight months is something I continue to struggle with everyday. I assure you, that's no exaggeration. I often times find myself holding back tears on the metro bus to work or on my lunch break walks to and from the Subway sandwich shop.

I can't remember a time when The Wizard of Oz wasn't a part of my life. In fact, I had no clue how big of a deal it really was until I was at my grandparents house in Michigan City, In. -- just hours after my Bubbe's funeral.

My three cousins and my younger sister huddled around the same television set we've huddled under for over 20 years now. This was a rare occasion seeing as three of us lived in outside of the Chicago area -- not to mention we hadn't done this since well before my youngest cousin (age 12) was born.

We watched our birthday parties on repeat, heckling each other over our poor taste in music and the matching outfits our mother's made us wear. But -- as the oldest of five granddaughters -- I assumed my role as team captain and chose to commandeer the television set.

At first I felt bad, but then I realized: This is the only way I'll be able to cope. Lucky for me, I was born first ... so the majority of home movies were, well ... of me.

That night, I watched my second birthday. I had never seen the video before. It was a pleasure to see my failed attempts at opening the gift wrap on my plethora of presents.

And then ... of course ... the kicker. My dad was sitting Indian-style on the white carpet floor, excited and with gift in hand. He called my name and waved me over, looked straight at the camera and said, "Rachel! Rachel! In 20 years, you're going to know I wrapped this gift for you! Do you know what it is?" I shook my head while smiling. I was excited! It was my birthday after all!

"Open it!," he shouted. I couldn't. My hands were too small and the box was too big. So he did it for me.

Low and behold, "It's The Wizard of Oz!" My dad was so happy. And in that moment, while watching television, I proceeded to cry the happiest cry I've ever cried in my entire life. I was 22.

Exactly 20 years later, I finally saw that video. It was as if my dad knew how important it was ahead of time.

You see, they sang "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" as they lowered my dad into the ground. It's just ... one of those things.

So today -- on the 70th anniversary of the silver screen debut of an American classic (and on the 10 month anniversary of my father's death) -- I am going to see the Wizard of Oz.

It's like the Wizard told the Tin Man, "A heart is not judged by how much you loved, but by how much you are loved by others."

I love this movie. I love my dad. And I can't wait to take this evening for myself and remember those two things together.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Moving On Up - R.H. Levitin Joins The "We Love DC" Team

Love D.C.? R.H. Levitin does and now there's proof. The Chicago to DC POV creator is now a contributing author for one of D.C.'s most-loved social/news blogs, We Love DC.

"We Love DC" was featured this past September in Washingtonian Magazine. Here's an excerpt from that article listed in "The Blogger Beat":

We Love DC was born in 2008 after ten bloggers from Metroblogging DC decided to start a new site. They wanted independence from the city-blog network—declaring it on July 4, naturally—and have since nearly doubled their volunteer writing team and, in the past six months, tripled their monthly readers.

For the rest of the article click here.
Check out Levitin's first post listed in today's Daily Feed here and be on the look out for more Daily Feed items and Features in the coming days/weeks/months!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Chicago to DC Goes 8 for 12 on CMA Predictions

For those of you who missed the awards, here's the final list of winners:
(Original predictions are to the right of the winners in RED)

Entertainer of the Year: Taylor swift Taylor Swift

Female Vocalist of the Year: Taylor Swift Reba McEntire

Male Vocalist of the Year: Brad Paisley Brad Paisley

New Artist of the Year: Darius Rucker Darius Rucker

Vocal Group of the Year: Lady Antebellum Lady Antebellum

Vocal Duo of the Year: Sugarland Suglarland

Single of the Year: "I Run to You" - Lady Antebellum Lady Antebellum

Album of the Year: "Fearless" - Taylor Swift Taylor Swift

Song of the Year: "In Color" - Jamey Johnson "Then" - Brad Paisley

Musical Event: Brad Paisley and Keith Urban "I Told You So" by Carrie Underwood f. Randy Travis

Music Video: "Love Story" - Taylor Swift Taylor Swift

Musician of the Year: Mac McAnally Paul Franklin - Steel Guitar

And in honor of the CMA's youngest Entertainer of the Year in the award show's history, Miss Taylor Swift, here's an encore presentation of her live performance plus a brief interview with ABC:

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Chicago to DC POV Goes Country - Winner Predictions for the 2009 Country Music Awards

Thanks to all-American teen sensation Taylor Swift, Country music's made quite the comeback on the Billboard Charts this year. But don't forget ... those who came before her continue to entertain Country music fans throughout the good ol' U-S of A.

Nashville's biggest boot wearing stars wait all year for tonight. This evening, they receive the recognition they deserve by co-hosts/nominees Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood.

Will Swift take home the majority or are other big names in the game bringing home the glory? You'll have to wait and see on today's big show airing at 8/7c on ABC.

Here are a few predictions to tide you over in the meantime:
(Winner predictions are in BOLD)


Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley, George Strait, Taylor Swift, Keith Urban


Miranda Lambert, Martina McBride, Reba McEntire, Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood


Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley, Darius Rucker, George Strait, Keith Urban


Randy Houser, Jamey Johnson, Jake Owen, Darius Rucker, Zac Brown Band


Eagles, Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town, Rascal Flatts, Zac Brown Band


Big & Rich, Brooks & Dunn, Joey + Rory, Montgomery Gentry, Sugarland

SINGLE OF THE YEAR (Award goes to Artist and Producer)

"Chicken Fried" by Zac Brown Band, produced by Keith Stegall, Atlantic Records, "I Run To You" by Lady Antebellum, produced by Victoria Shaw and Paul Worley, Capitol Records Nashville, "In Color" by Jamey Johnson, produced by The Kent Hardly Playboys, Mercury Nashville, "People Are Crazy" by Billy Currington, produced by Carson Chamberlain and Billy Currington, Mercury Nashville, "Then" by Brad Paisley, produced by Frank Rogers and Chris DuBois, Arista Nashville

ALBUM OF THE YEAR (Award goes to Artist and Producer)

"American Saturday Night" by Brad Paisley, produced by Frank Rogers and Chris DuBois, Arista Nashville, "Defying Gravity" by Keith Urban, produced by Dann Huff and Keith Urban, Capitol Records Nashville, "Fearless" by Taylor Swift, produced by Nathan Chapman and Taylor Swift, Big Machine Records, "Love On The Inside" by Sugarland, produced by Byron Gallimore, Kristian Bush, and Jennifer Nettles, Mercury Nashville, "That Lonesome Song" by Jamey Johnson, produced by The Kent Hardly Playboys, Mercury Records

SONG OF THE YEAR (Award goes to Songwriter(s))

"Chicken Fried" by Zac Brown/Wyatt Durrette, "I Told You So" by Randy Travis, "In Color" by Jamey Johnson/Lee Thomas Miller/James Otto, "People Are Crazy" by Bobby Braddock/Troy Jones, "Then" by Brad Paisley/Chris DuBois/Ashley Gorley

MUSICAL EVENT OF THE YEAR (Award goes to each Artist)

"Cowgirls Don't Cry" by Brooks & Dunn featuring Reba McEntire, Arista Nashville, "Down The Road" by Kenny Chesney (with Mac McAnally), Blue Chair Records, LLC & BNA Records, "Everything But Quits" by Lee Ann Womack (duet with George Strait), MCA Nashville, "I Told You So" by Carrie Underwood featuring Randy Travis, 19 Recordings/Arista Nashville, "Old Enough" by The Raconteurs featuring Ricky Skaggs and Ashley Monroe, Third Man Records/Warner Bros. Records

MUSIC VIDEO OF THE YEAR (Award goes to Artist and Director)

"Boots On" by Randy Houser, directed by Eric Welch, "Love Story" by Taylor Swift, directed by Trey Fanjoy, "People Are Crazy" by Billy Currington, directed by The Brads, "Start A Band" by Brad Paisley (duet with Keith Urban), directed by Jim Shea, "Troubadour" by George Strait, directed by Trey Fanjoy


Eddie Bayers — Drums, Paul Franklin — Steel Guitar, Dann Huff — Guitar, Brent Mason — Guitar, Mac McAnally — Guitar

Also, while The Chicago to DC POV does realize that this song is at least 5 years old and is not nominated for an award tonight, there might as well be a song to listen to while reading over the list of nominees:

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Where'd the "One-Liner" Go? Not To Fear, The Beatles Are Here!

In December 2008, The Chicago to DC POV announced a new feature for the upcoming year.

The "One-Liner For The Road" quickly turned into "The One-Liner of the Month". This feature produced quotes "on people, about people" and were often times lines from songs written by R.H. Levitin or quotes pulled from articles written for Chicago to DC.

Due to a lack of a one-liner from October 2009, The Chicago to DC POV has decided to provide folks with the following:

... and just in case November doesn't get its own one-liner, here's a little something to tide you over:

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Just A Kid, Having The Time Of Her Life - Taylor Swift Hosts SNL

Attention, attention! All American parents, this just in: the wait for a pop culture icon of a role model you've all been hoping and wishing to come along for your children is here. And there's the catch -- you might fall under her charming spell too.

Taylor Swift, 19, hosted Saturday Night Live for the first time this weekend and tackled the role as joint-host and musical guest quite well. Her musical performances stand out the most, reminding fans what it is they fell in love with her in the first place.

Confident performances featuring the hit single "You Belong With Me" and guitar-ballad "Untouchable" provided viewers with a show a la Faith Hill circa "This Kiss"/"Breathe" and Shania Twain circa "Man I Feel Like A Woman".

And don't doubt for a second that the pre-teen crowd stayed awake way past their bedtimes at some sort of sleepover party just to to sneak a late-night peek of their idol on TV.

Forget the few Britney-esque dances moves. Swift played off her class and teenage energy all night. Hell -- she looked like any other girl singing top 40 songs heard over the loud speaker at a party while fist-pumping and hip-shaking with her girlfriends.

Parents couldn't ask for a better role model for their kids what with the crazy antics of Lady Gaga and the Lindsay Lohan's of the world. rest easy, parents. your kids have a wholesome teen from Pennsylvania who wears her heart on the neck of her guitar and sings what she feels. Who knew honesty could be so rewarding?

Swift did what every girl dreams of doing -- calling out her ex-boyfriends for being giant douche bags on national TV while laughing it off in the process. It's like paying for therapy only the nation is paying to listen to her problems -- not too shabby.

Her acting was no better than any of the cast members themselves but she fit right in with the gang. Shakira and Kate Gosselin never looked funnier though, I'll give her that.

It's hard to remember she's 19-years-old for the mature demeanor she portrays to the public eye, but Swift's smile at the end of her performance of "Untouchable" said it all. It screamed,"I'm just a kid ... having the time of my life, living out my wildest dreams."

Good for you Taylor, good for you. Keep it up... and try not to date anymore Jonas Brothers. You've sold more records than them (and everyone else in the music industry) this year anyway.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Bonus Footage from Midnight Spin at The Velvet Lounge

The members of New York rock band Midnight Spin took a few minutes before their October 23rd Velvet Lounge show in Washington, D.C. to stop and share a few of their favorite D.C. moments with The Chicago to DC POV. Take a look at what they had to say and check out their message to fans/fans-to-be!

Midnight Spin's Favorite D.C. Moment:

A Message to fans/fans-to-be from Midnight Spin:

Click here
for the complete set of photos taken by R.H. Levitin of Midnight Spin's show at The Velvet Lounge.

[Photo Credit: Midnight Spin Drummer Dan Scull, Lead Singer/Guitar Player Mike Corbett, and Basist Ben Waters. By Rachel Levitin, 2009.]