Eye on the Scene

Say Mid-life Crisis

Have you seen this guy? He's a 40-something wannabe roughneck, and he's trying really hard to prove himself to be a grade-A douchebag, as he projects an annoying sense of undeserved machismo while driving a red Mustang convertible, usually with the top down. You're sure to see him if you work downtown, especially on nice, sunny days, just tooling around, blasting classic rock at brainsick decibels. If you're lucky enough to catch his eye, he'll usually indulge your curiosity by singing along to whatever ballad happens to be cranking out of his stereo .

While we were drinking on the patio at the Downtown Grill, he blasted us with Prince 's â“When Doves Cry.â” Someone yelled, â“Why are you doing this?!â” We aren't sure what he was saying, because we don't read lips, but we think he said, â“Because this is what it sounds like!â” On second thought, this guy rules. It's only a matter of time before we start hearing R.E.O. Speedwagon and, of course, Journey .

By the way, we hear that the ladies really dig cut-off jeans, and tank tops.

'Til the Fat Ladyâ

On April 25, Knoxvillian Colette Boudreaux was onstage in New York, singing her heart out in Domenico Cimarosa 's L'Italiana in Londra ( The Italian Girl in London ). She's starring as Madame Brillante , the star-crossed innkeeper who is after one of her guests, Don Polidorio , the Neapolitan businessman.

The opera was first commissioned by the legendary opera house La Scala in Milan. The libretto comes from Giuseppe Petrosellini and, interestingly enough, the 1778 premiÃre featured castrati singing the female parts. We're sure Boudreaux does a better job.

The New York Times says, â“Cimarosa's opera is this year's little-known offering in the pleasingly offbeat canon of the Manhattan School of Music.â”

Boudreaux is in her first year at the Manhattan School of Music. She's performed at Carnegie Hall as L'Innocente in L'Arlesiana . We hope her mezzo-soprano voice will continue to grace the New York stage, and beyond. Maybe one day she'll find herself at La Scala, belting out arias. Just don't forget to come home, to show us what you've learned.

Support Urban Art

â“Dolla Dolla Bill Ya'll,â” an event celebrating hip-hop and graffiti art, will be held this Thursday, 8 p.m., at Java in the Old City.   Local hip hop groups R!co , 2nd String , Black Atticus , Science O'Mega and reSEARCH of Poetic Chaos will perform, and artwork from recently arrested graffiti artists Mind and Bantr will be for sale. The cost is only $1, but further donations will be accepted to help Chris Jones , a.k.a. Bantr, pay off his $5,000 fine. Java proprietor, Renee Sanabria , has organized this event to help fight the stigma many have associated with graffiti art and artists. Java's resident spinmeister, DJ Wigs , will also be there. And for the literati, Drop Knowledge of the local SLAM poetry group Black Sunshine will perform one of his pieces.

Local CD Review

Roman Reese

Gritty City

Armed with an acoustic guitar and a harmonica, Roman Reese goes orienteering through an impressive 16 tracks on his recent release, Gritty City . Law student by day, musician by night, and adoring husband all the time, Reese draws on his experience in the military to produce an album largely about a man in love and at war.

Perhaps a reflection of the multi-faceted nature of the subjects he explores, Reese demonstrates a range of musical styles. â“Cupid's Cryingâ” is a heartbreaking waltz, while â“Devil These Daysâ” approaches the pop-country recipe that's popular over in Nashville right now. Other must-hear songs on the record include the frenetic â“Breath & Bone,â” the blues-rock of â“Dug Our Way,â” and â“Angel in Fatigues,â” a stirring Americana-esque narrative. And if you like Scott Miller 's â“Drunk All Around This Town,â” you'll love Reese's â“Liquor Chest.â” It's the next evolution in beerhall ballads guaran-damn-teed to get the whole boozy bar singing along.

Reese's voice, too, shows versatility, sliding soothingly through a lullaby, only to jump, almost jarringly, to an impassioned, gravelly tone. It's in these moments that his voice is almost too big for his guitar, and could easily hold the backing of a full band.

Where Reese really excels is in song writing; he exhibits a rare talent for composing melodies and riffs that linger like the smooth burn of good whiskey, or like young lovers at the end of a slow dance.

â" Kevin Crowe, Lisa Slade , Leah E. Willis

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