• ShipRocked 2020

    ShipRocked 2020 kicked off with a parade through the French Quarter in New Orleans Friday night before setting sail Sat Feb 1. The five-day cruise took place on the Carnival Valor and cruised from the Port of New Orleans with stops in Key West and Cozumel.

    Two full days at sea provided time for bands to play all day and fans to meet all of their favorite artists during the band meet and greets onboard the ship. Halestorm and Alter Bridge led an all-star line up on the ship playing two shows each on the boat.

    Other bands rounded out the lineup like Living Colour, Ded, Asking Alexandria, HellYeah, Ra, Black Stone Cherry, Badflower, Ice Nine Kills, Dead Sara and many more. The Stowaways, an all-star band, also performed two shows onboard.

    The first stop was in sunny Key West where there were lots to do and see in this vibrant quiet town. We went to the most southern tip of the continental United States. We also visited the Hemingway House, home to famed writer Ernest Hemingway and his six-clawed cats. Dozens of these cute felines roamed around the property.

    The second stop included Cozumel Mexico, where a beach party was in full effect. Artists such as Joyous Wolf and Hyro the Hero performed as drinks from the open bar flowed and fans rocked out.

    Back on board, there were also a few special first time events during the cruise. Clint Lowery of Sevendust played his first solo show and Maria Brink of In This Moment held a midnight mass solo show.

    Halestorm closed out the Lido Deck stage as we entered the fog of the Mississippi River heading back to New Orleans.

    Next year ShipRocked 2021 will be sailing aboard the Carnival Magic on January 18-23 from Miami Florida. Stops will include Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas and Amber Cove in the Dominican Republic.

  • TWA Hotel

    While figuring out what to do during a ten-hour layover and minor snowstorm before a 15-hour flight to India, I decided to check out the TWA Hotel in the JFK Airport terminal in Queens, New York.

    With over 500 guestrooms, including ones with a view of the runway where you can see flights taking off. I was able to get a day room stay from 8 a.m to 8 p.m. There are also overnight options available for long layovers.

    The hotel opened in May 2019. It transports visitors to 1962 near the head house of the TWA Flight Center airline terminal designed by architect Eero Saarinen.

    Walking into the structure you’re greeted by friendly staff in classic TWA airline attendant and pilot uniforms along with a red sunken in the seating area with a bar on each end. On one winding staircase is a museum area dedicated to original TWA staff clothes designed by Ralph Lauren and Valentino.

    On the other winding staircase is the restaurant called Paris Café which serves food by chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. It serves everything from personal pizzas to a monster portion of fish and chips, varied types of burgers and full entrees featuring wagyu beef tenderloin, pork chops and salmon.

    Passed the sunken lounge is the ice skating rink, a winter addition to the hotel. Right next to the rink is the Connie Cocktail Lounge. The TWA terminal was designed around the Lockheed Constellation, referred to as “Connie” for short, a beautiful quad-engine prop aircraft that became one of the first pressurized aircraft to go into widespread commercial service.

    The plane turned lounge is a place to relax while sipping on vintage-inspired cocktails with a modern twist. We had the entire plane to ourselves, the perfect time to enjoy it happens to be during an impending snowstorm in the midst of January.

    While flurries began to swirl, luckily the only delay I encountered was the cocktail of the called Weather Delay which included Belvedere Vodka, Hot Chocolate and tons of marshmallows. Other classic cocktails such as their version of a hot toddy, negroni and old fashioned were offered.

    After you’ve had enough drinks you can catch the elevator to the rooftop where you’ll find the heated pool which was open even on a chilly pre-snow storm day. A covered bar that sits right next to the pool facing the runway where you can get a view of the planes.

    Whether you want a good stiff drink, fulfilling meal, memorable selfie or just want to learn some history, the TWA museum is a gem for any traveler while in New York.

  • Top 10 Festivals of 2019

    Each year The Travel Addict travels to and photographs over 20 music festivals across North America. This year we ranked our favorites in a Top 10 countdown. Music festivals can be an awesome way to combine a love of travel with your favorite music. There are so many music festivals across America you can find something for every type of music lover.

    Here are my top favorites this year.

    10.  Louder than Life– Louisville, Kentucky

    The music and food and drink festival revolve around good bourbon and metal and rock, as it should since it took place in Louisville, Kentucky on September 27-29. Headliners included Guns N’ Roses, Slipknot, Disturbed. I actually shed a tear and got emotional when I saw Guns N’ Roses, it was my first time seeing them live and playing anthems such as “Welcome to the Jungle.”

    Numerous food vendors served everything from the barbeque, creole, burgers along with desserts such as Funnel Cake Fantasy, Gelato Gilberto and many more. Louder Than Life 2020 will take place on September 18-20.

    9. Austin City Limits– Austin, Texas

    The festival would normally score higher with the trifecta of female performers such as Lizzo, Cardi B, and Kacey Musgraves but the scorching temperatures of Weekend One made it more difficult than usual. Shade, great friends and music were found as usual at the BMI stage. Guns N’ Roses also made their appearance as a headliner at this festival as well accompanied by other heavy hitters, Mumford & Sons, Childish Gambino, The Cure, Billie Eilish, Robyn and more. The 2020 ACL installment will take place over two weekends on October 2-4 and October 9-11.

    8. Lollapalooza– Chicago, Illinois

    One of the largest and well-known festivals in the US, Lollapalooza boasted a variety of artists spanning many genres. Very few music festivals take place in the middle of a major city, but Lollapalooza is in the heart of downtown Chicago. This makes logistics easy with access from trains and hotels and lodging options within walking distance.

    Headliners such as Ariana Grande, Twenty Pilots, Childish Gambino, and The Strokes played in Grant Park in Chicago over the summer on August 1-4. J Balvin became the first Latino artist to headline the massive festival Lollapalooza has a global reach with 2020 dates on March 27-29 in Argentina and July 30-August 2 in Chicago.

    7.Festival dete de Quebec– Quebec City, Canada

    It might be the most notable festival in Canada, as it’s the country’s largest outdoor music event but many Americans haven’t discovered this hidden gem. Festival dete de Quebec is 11 days of a variety of musical performances from July 4-14 in downtown Quebec.  From old school, rock acts like Lynyrd Skynyrd and metal band Slipknot, to electric artist Diplo and pop icon Mariah Carey all headlined a date of this year’s festival. This event attracts over 300,000 people and an all-inclusive pass for 11 days is just $105, which may be the best festival bargain on the planet.

    The festival is also located in the heart of one of North America’s most picturesque cities. Locals are some of the friendliest festival patrons around and welcome visitors from all over the world. The 2020 event will take place from July 9-19 this year.

    6. New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival– New Orleans, Louisiana

    The 50th year of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival spanned eight days over two weekends, the first from April 25-28 and May 2-5. Even with the heartbreaking Rolling Stones cancellation, the festival was filled with a diverse line-up boasting legendary acts Earth, Wind & Fire, Van Morrison, Al Green, Bonnie Raitt, and Alanis Morissette, along with pop artist Katy Perry, J Balvin, rapper Logic, soul artist Leon Bridges and many more.

    The festival gets extra points because of the local New Orleans food vendor options. You can watch iconic artists and dine on beignets from Café Du Monde and my all-time favorite festival food Prejean’s famous crawfish enchiladas. This year’s festival goes from April 23-May 3.

    5. BottleRock Napa Valley– Napa, California

    I love BottleRock Festival because it’s where the culinary and music world merge. This year’s festival took place on May 24-26 at the Napa Valley Expo in California.

    On the culinary stage where celebrity chefs cook with rock stars each year, Alice Cooper brought the theatrics and teamed up with “Bizarre Foods” host Andrew Zimmern he tried (and failed) to break the world record for the number of rubber chickens tossed in the air at the same time. This year some special sports stars also got in on the cooking action. Ken Griffey Jr. cooked with Graham Elliot and Jerry Rice made an appearance with Trisha Yearwood in the Williams Sonoma kitchen.

    BottleRock 2020 is set to blend culinary, music and entertainment worlds again from May 22-24. Headliners include Red Hot Chili Peppers, Stevie Nicks and Dave Matthews Band.

    4. Coachella– Indio, California

    Ariana Grande, Childish Gambino and Tame Impala headlined one of the most well-known festivals of the year Coachella, over two weekends April 12-14 and April 19-21. Other performances included Kacey Musgraves, Lizzo, a DJ set by Idris Elba and many others. The highlight of this year’s festival was a surprise appearance by Kanye West during Kid Cudi’s set as well as attendees getting to see a new spiritual side of Kanye at his Sunday Service on Easter Sunday morning which blew my mind with a full orchestra and 100 person choir.

    Festivalgoers were offered a variety of cuisines from all over the country. A pop-up restaurant was also an option as well as ordering food and drinks ahead of time with Postmates pickup.  From a giant Connect Four, DIY art studio to pie eating contests and dance parties. Coachella offers much more than just a music experience.

    Next year Coachella will be taking place on the weekends of April 10-12 and April 17-19 with Rage Against the Machine scheduled as a headliner.

    3. Sonic Temple– Columbus Ohio

    The inaugural Sonic Temple music and arts festival can be looked at as a replacement for the Rock on the Range festival, which came to an end last year. The three-day festival took place on May 17-19 at Mapfre Stadium in Columbus Ohio. The line-up was led by Foo Fighters, System of a Down and Disturbed.

    A memorable performance was watching Dave Grohl and the rest of the Foo Fighters rock out in the rain. Other performers included British act Bring Me the Horizon, punk rock veteran Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, French metal outfit Gojira and dozens of other bands. Metallica, Slipknot, Bring Me the Horizon, Evanescence and Deftones are already slated to headline next year’s festival two nights that will take place from May 15-17.

    2. Essence– New Orleans, Louisiana

    Essence Festival celebrated 25 years of culture in 2019. It’s one of the few festivals that covers music, fashion, beauty, film, television and politics. The four-day festival was jam-packed with day and night activities. Speakers included First Lady Michelle Obama, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar along with notable names in entertainment, Pharrell and Tyler Perry at the Ernest N. Morial convention center. Democratic candidates Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg flocked to the festival as well to present their ideas as they started their presidential bids for 2020.    

    At night the Superdome main stage was hosted by comedian and television host Loni Love. Incredible veterans in Hip-Hop and R&B such as Missy Elliot, Mary J. Blige, Nas and newer generation of artists Big Freedia, H.E.R., Teyana Taylor and numerous others. Essence Festival is slated to take place from July 1-5.

    1. Bonnaroo– Manchester, Tennessee

    The festival that took the cake this year was Bonnaroo in Manchester, Tennessee on June 11-14. Rapper Cardi B stole the entire weekend with her wild and fun performance. Other notable acts included Post Malone, Solange and Grand Ole Opry featuring special guests, The Lumineers and two sets by Phish. Campground Plazas which offered shade, free Wifi, charging and mist stations as well as medical and information posts and restrooms.

    There were also non-music activities such as Yoga-roo, Soberoo for festival go-ers who were looking for a substance-free music experience. It is the only music festival with a code of ethics to “spread positivity” and it is just an overall chill fun experience for all fans that come from all over the country to experience the magic of Bonnaroo. This year Bonnaroo will take place on June 11-14 with diverse headliners such as Lizzo and Tool.

  • Interview: Michael Voltaggio

    The Travel Addict was able to catch up with season six Top Chef winner Michael Voltaggio at this year’s music, drink and food event Bourbon & Beyond in Kentucky.

    Bourbon and Beyond took place on September 20-22 at the Kentucky Expo Center in Louisville KY.  Chef Michael Voltaggio was one of the participating chefs this year on the culinary stage at the festival headlined by Foo Fighters, Robert Plant, the Zac Brown Band, and ZZ Top.

    Voltaggio talked about his secret to a killer grilled cheese as well as his show Breaking Borders, some of his favorite travel destinations and some heartbreaking and eye-opening experiences while in Africa and in the Middle East. We wanted to chat about Lebanon travel because that is the Travel Addict’s next big travel destination. Check out the Travel Addict’s interview with chef Michael Voltaggio below:

    On National Grilled Cheese Day, you were on Instagram with your grilled cheese tattoo. Do you have a favorite tattoo inspired by travel or food?

    I have a tattoo on my wrist that I got in Israel at apparently the oldest tattoo shop in the world. It is the Archangel Michael fighting the Devil. Back in the day, people would stand in line with wood blocks that had carvings on them. They would dip them in ink, put it on their arm, and tattoo over it in a stencil. I wanted to go through that process. I got that tattoo there. That was while I was filming Breaking Borders on Travel Channel.

    What makes the perfect gourmet grilled cheese, in your opinion?

    My secret for grilled cheese is putting mayonnaise on the outside of the bread. Because when you pull the butter out of the fridge and it’s not tempered then you go to smush it on the bread, it puts holes in the bread. I use mayonnaise for that, which has eggs in it so when you cook it on a pan it gets crunchier and crispier and it’s easier to spread.

    You and your brother were on Top Chef and you just opened a new restaurant in Washington D.C. together. Since opening Estuary, have you determined a signature dish at the restaurant? How do you like working with your brother?

    I love working with my brother. It’s our second restaurant. We also have Voltaggio Brothers Steakhouse as well, also in the Maryland, D.C. area. The favorite dish there is – we make these little miniature crab rolls, instead of lobster rolls, and we cut out these little crab-shaped plantain chips and garnish it with it so it looks like there are little crabs crawling over the outside of the sandwich.

    On Breaking Borders, you were with a seasoned journalist going around the globe trying to engage in some hot spots across the world. You did a lot of amazing things on the show – getting to marry people, getting the tattoos – Which location left the most lasting impression and why?

    Every country we visited left an impression for several different reasons. Egypt left an impression because we had our passports taken at gunpoint because we were trying to film in Tahrir Square. Being in Africa, I had the opportunity to go out in the wild in the natural habitat of Gorillas.

    In Uganda or Rwanda?

    In Rwanda. Then we went to Volcanic National Park. I was so inspired being there that I pulled potatoes out of the dirt, the volcanic soil. Then I took bags of the soil with me and I roasted the potatoes in the soil it grew in. Just how gracious and full of life, Africa was an amazing trip. I connected with Rwanda in a big way.

    Is there any place on your bucket list that you’d like to go?

    There are certain trips I’d like to go on for selfish reasons and others for life experiences. I’ve always wanted to go on the Inca Trail and climb Machu Pichu. I’d love to get down there. If I am traveling, I am going to relax, that’s part of it. Usually, I travel for work, but for me, Bora Bora is on my list because I see how beautiful it looks on all the images.

    I have been to Sri Lanka, I’d love to go back to Sri Lanka and experience it again because it was such a magical place. I want to go where I haven’t been. Tonight, I am flying to Amsterdam actually. I’ll get off stage at 3:30 pm. Then my flight is at 5:50 pm and I take the red-eye to Amsterdam and from there I’ll be in Paris next week.

    A lot of chefs I talk to don’t travel at all because they are constantly working.

    It never really is about vacation. We travel a lot for work. I think it was Jean-Louis Palladin who said he didn’t start learning until he stepped out of his kitchen. For us, I think when the restaurants are running, it is our responsibility to go out and get new information, to get new inspiration. If you travel and don’t bring something home with you, then it is a wasted trip. Whether it is for business or pleasure, there is always something coming back with me that I can apply to the restaurant in some way.

    How did the show Breaking Borders come about?

    I was cold-called by the producer. I did a test with Mariana [van Zeller] and we hit it off. She is still to this day a dear friend of mine. The opportunity to travel the world, but to go to conflict zones and use food to bring people together around the dinner table to talk about their differences. I think the world could use that exercise. We don’t eat at our own dinner tables anymore. That is a place for conversation, the ritual my Mom made sure at 5:00 or 5:30 every day there was dinner on the table and you had to stop your day and sit down and talk about what you did. Now on a more global level talking about more important things, getting people around a dinner table is a good opportunity to break bread and discuss things.

     Have you been to Lebanon?

    I have been to Lebanon. I went to Beirut, I went up to Tripoli, it is destroyed. The buildings all have holes in them. There are flags in the street, black flags still. I was with a member of Parliament and he was telling me how horrible it was when the war went down. The fact there isn’t any opportunity to build really.

    The city of Beirut was amazing. The food of Lebanon is probably one of my favorite food destinations. I don’t remember the name of the restaurant, but we were on the coast and the sea is right there. When you are in a conflict zone, people aren’t going in the water as much. So there is pristine seafood coming out of this body of water because no one is going in the ocean. I would definitely tell people to go and visit.

    But I went out into Hezbollah territory. I went up to the Syrian border. I went to a Syrian refugee camp and hung out with the refugees and talked to them about what was going on there. There is a level of fear that is very real. Lebanon is a pot of water with a lid that is gently simmering and they are trying to do what they can to make sure it doesn’t boil over.

  • Voodoo Festival 2019

    There’s a variety of ways to spend Halloween in New Orleans, one of the most unique ways is by attending Voodoo Festival in New Orleans, which took place from October 25-27. Voodoo Fest 2019 got off to a very rainy start on Friday.

    Heavy rains came all day but all the performances went on as planned but only a small crowd braved the weather early in the day. Crowds started to fill in toward the end of the night and it became clear that the die-hard GNR fans weren’t going to miss the show. The band delivered almost a three-hour performance of their greatest hits and did not disappoint.

    This year’s event boasted a varied line-up with headliners such as Guns N’ Roses and Brandi Carlile on Friday, The National and Denzel Curry on October 26 and Post Malone and Bring Me the Horizon to round out the festival on Sunday. House of Blues set up a carnival-like interactive tent this year that hosted up and coming acts along with the very popular costume contest.

    Along with the music, there was a handcrafted market place, beer hall and immersive art installations and of course the food! From classic shrimp Poboys to fried duck quesadillas, anytime you’re in New Orleans you better come hungry.

    Voodoo Festival still remains a unique New Orleans tradition that is unlike all other music festivals. It takes place on Halloween weekend each year and provides great people watching as tons of festival-goers show up in their Halloween costumes to see their favorite bands who often dress up as well.

    Over the years there have been some very memorable costume moments that include My Chemical Romance dressing up as King Arthur’s court in 2011, Lizzo as Sailor Moon, The Revivalists as Run DMC and Poppy as Marie Antionette in 2018. We’ve also had unforgettable performances by Ozzy Osbourne the Prince of Darkness and Marilyn Manson who loved playing the festival. Manson has often called New Orleans the evilest city in the world in interviews so it was fitting he headlined the festival in 2018.

  • Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular

    On one of the weekends when I was home this fall, we decided to make the two-hour drive to Louisville to see what this Halloween tradition was all about. I saw photos all over social media of the Louisville Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular and it looked like an amazing experience.

    We heard that there could be very long lines to enter the trail in the weekends leading up to Halloween but we were pretty lucky with only a 45-minute wait to enter the trail on a Sunday evening. It was definitely a sight to see with traditional pumpkin carvings to ones carved into your favorite cartoon characters. There was even a section dedicated as a tribute to celebrities that we lost in 2019. I cannot imagine the amount of time these artists take to put this together each year.

    The event is celebrating its seventh year at Iroquois Park in Louisville, Kentucky from October 8 to November 3. The event includes 5,000 carved pumpkins lining a 1/3 of a mile, illuminated at night as an art show. The Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular first began in 1988 in Oxford, Massachusetts. Tickets range from $10 for children to $18 for adults, proceeds benefit Louisville Parks Foundation. I would highly recommend this for an evening of family fun that benefits a great cause.

  • 50th Anniversary: Apollo 11

    To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, the Cincinnati Museum Center has an exhibit called Destination Moon: The Apollo 11 Mission. The Command Module, which is the only part of the Apollo 11 spacecraft to return to Earth intact, is a highlight of the exhibit. Other key pieces from the National Air and Space Museum included the survival kit for astronauts and Buzz Aldrin’s gold-plated helmet and thermal-insulated gloves. The exhibit is open until February 17, 2020. Tickets range from $7.50 for children and $16.50 for adults.

    While you are at the museum center you can continue your space adventure and check out the IMAX theater Apollo 11: First Steps Edition. Crafted from a newly-discovered trove of never-before-seen 70mm footage and more than 11,000 hours of audio recordings, Apollo 11: First Steps Edition puts you at the center of NASA’s historic lunar landing.

    Created entirely from archival materials provided by NASA and the National Archives, the film features stunning shots of the launch, inside Mission Control and recovery and post-mission activities. Relive the first steps and remarkable achievement of Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, Michael Collins and thousands of people behind the scenes in stunning footage revealed to the public for the first time. IMAX tickets range from $7 for children and $9 for adults.

  • Cuba Comes to Cincinnati

    The film CUBA: Journey to the Heart of the Caribbean opened on June 7 at the Robert D. Lindner Family Omnimax Theater in the Cincinnati Museum Center. It shows and tells the story of this authentic land and place enriched with Rumba, classic cars and cigars. From the vibrant streets of Havana to its reefs and enthralling ocean surfaces, the film also addresses a cultural shift and change Cuba is going through currently while still maintaining its authenticity.

    One of the highlights of the film is seeing the story of a young ballerina who is preparing to audition for the world-renowned Cuban National Ballet. I have always loved dance so this portion of the movie was especially touching watching her tireless preparation.

    After traveling to Cuba three times over the past eight years I have seen firsthand the changes that are taking place on the island. Havana is one of the favorite destinations that I have traveled to. Situated just 90 miles off the coast of the continental United States, it seems like a world away once you arrive. The people are amazing ad some of the most friendly in the world and it is unlike any other Caribbean country.

    I highly encourage a trip to Cuba to everyone and if you can’t make it in person make sure to catch the film when it comes to a city near you.

  • Interview: Pamela Des Barres

    Legendary groupie, published author and self-proclaimed James Dean fanatic, Pamela Des Barres has been attending the James Dean Festival for two decades. This year’s event took place from Thursday, September 26 to Sunday, September 29 will take place on in Fairmount, Indiana.

    The James Dean Festival & Car Show draws crowds of up to 20,000 people throughout the weekend with a huge car show, grand parade, street vendors, carnival rides. It ends with a memorial service commemorating the actor’s life. Des Barres will also be teaching a writing workshop on October 3 in Fairmount.

    I attended one of Des Barres workshops in Fairmont and it was an amazing experience to have focused writing sessions with her and share in an open environment with no judgement. She has upcoming workshops in Las Vegas, Nevada, Seattle, Washington and Nashville, Tennessee.

    The Travel Addict got the chance to catch up with Des Barres who spoke about her love of James Dean and this annual event, her writing, favorite travel destinations, her connection with musicians and she spills the tea about bedding one of the most famous rockstars.

    What does the James Dean Gallery, in Indiana, mean to you?

    Like I said we have been coming here for 20 years next Spring and I am a James Dean fanatic. I have been a crazy Dean fanatic my entire life. He died when I was not quite eight years old. I have just been really obsessed with him and spiritually connected with him all my life. So I came here and met Dave and Lenny who run this place, and they are like brothers to me now. I even performed their marriage ceremony.

    Are you a minister as well?

    Yes, I actually married them. One of the best days of my whole life.

    You do some tours in Los Angeles, your old stomping grounds, can you tell us a little bit about those?

    I’m with The Band Rock n Roll Tours. I take people to my old hang out spots in LA and we have a blast. I take them to places where these wild and crazy things happened with these various Rock stars in places I used to live, where Zappa lived, where Jim Morrison lived, where I did crazy things with Keith Moon, so it is very personalized. It is very different than other Hollywood tours. I rent a big van and my dear driver Kip Brown takes us on the adventure. He drives and he has his own stories too. It is really fun. We usually have about a dozen people all day.

    Do you have any new books on the way?

    Yes I do. I am writing my sixth book. It is called Blinded By The Light: Sex, God, and Rock n Roll. It is about my spiritual journey which went right along with my Rock N Roll journey. I also have another set of guide books coming out.

    Has the groupie culture has changed? As a music photographer, I don’t notice groupies to be found as much anymore.

    There are groupies everywhere.

    It is much harder to get access today.

    Well it is much harder to get access. They are nervous. It is a weirder world there now than it used to be. You have to be careful. There are always groupies, there always will be, there always have been. They are not going anywhere. I hear from them.

    How are super fans different than groupies?

    Super fans are not groupies. Groupies always want to take it to the next level, not necessarily sexual, but they want to meet them and be part of the reality, which is such a heavy experience for people when they are around people who inspire them and change their life for the better.

    A lot has changed in the past few years with the #MeToo movement. I think there is a big difference for me as a female between wanting to be there and then being in an uncomfortable position and not wanting to be there.

    I have personally never had any of those experiences with musicians. People expect me to say something horrible about Jimmy Page, but it is not going to happen. It didn’t happen. There is nothing to report. But of course I have had my share of #MeToo, people I worked for in my regular world. I worked for a photographer and he chased me around a desk and expected various things. And I have almost been raped- almost- I escaped but it was never with a musician or actor. It was often behind the scenes people.

    I have had a few producers hit on me really hardcore. It is uncomfortable and then you leave. I have never had that experience where I wasn’t allowed to leave except that one time hitchhiking where I was almost raped. I screamed really loud and all the people turned their lights on in the neighborhood and he threw me out of the car. Other than that I haven’t had any close calls.

    Almost every person I know has had one of these uncomfortable experiences, and we write about it in class a lot. This is very cathartic, this class, it’s not frivolous.

    Do you still have any contact with the Zappas?

    All the living ones. Dale and Frank are gone. Of course I am very close with all of those children.

    I know they weren’t getting along at times.

    I know and I stay right down the middle. I have to because I love all four of them. It is really sad.

    What’s some new music you listen to?

    I really like a band called The Struts. They are a British band. They are my favorite new-ish band, they aren’t that new. I like it, so many of these bands even the good ones like Arcade Fire, there are good bands but they don’t dress up.

    Any thoughts on Greta Van Fleet?

    Yes I saw them at The Troubador and they are good but they don’t dress up. I want to dress that singer so much. I want to style the singer. I want to dress him from head to toe, do his hair and makeup to his boots, I want to dress him because he has an amazing voice.

    Do you travel to see bands?

    Absolutely. I just got back three weeks ago from seeing Dion DiMucci. That’s my next tattoo,  his signature. He probably wouldn’t like it. He is such a humble guy, but I am going to do it. I have Elvis and James Dean signature tattoos. I went to New Jersey from LA to see Dion. I have gone to New York twice to see him. He doesn’t play much but he is brilliant. His voice sounds the same. We danced to “Runaround Sue,” came in second this year at the festival.

    What is your favorite travel destination?

    I have a few. I love Israel. I am a real Jesus nut. It started with him really – he was the first Rock star. Mary Magdalene was the first groupie. I had an amazing experience in Jerusalem. That whole experience blew my mind. I need to go back before I die. I just turned 70 and I have to fit it into my life somehow. London is my other favorite. I love it. I go any chance I get. My book just came out there in the Spring so I spent a lot of time there this year. I am going to Australia for the first time this year.

    You have often time called yourself a muse who took care of musicians. I am sure you became a sounding board for them over the years. Why do you think that was an important role?

    Every guy, all of us, but especially men like to be appreciated for what they do. I think if you appreciate what they do, love and understand what they do, they want you around. I made sure to listen to the words. Words are very important to them. They just love to know what they are being appreciated for. Any guy, no matter what he does.

    And you have talked about before that is what attracted them to you?

    A lot of that. Appreciate, admire, respect, I feel connected there. I feel a connection too because of my appreciation and admiration of what they do.

    Do you stay in touch with the other groupies from the day?

    Yes, a lot of people think I should hate Lori Maddux. She was 14 when Jimmy Page ran off with her. I don’t [hate her]. We are really good friends. Have you seen my documentary? It is from a night together; she is in it. We have a laugh. Now we laugh. We are now close in age. It seemed so far apart back then.

    The Rolling Stones are still going; I love Mick Jagger as well. What was your favorite Mick Jagger story?

     I can’t really.

    Sure you can.

    Well, he was amazing in the sack. Let’s face it. He was very attentive and funny. It was a joyous romp, not a serious romp but a spectacular connection in the sack.

  • The Art of Burning Man

    While many of my friends were at the real Burning Man in the desert of Black Rock, Nevada I decided to check out the traveling exhibit of some of the art from previous years Burning Man festivals while it was in Cincinnati.

    This free exhibit, No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man at the Cincinnati Art Museum, which was organized by the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Renwick Gallery, during its April 26-Sept. 2 took viewers on a look inside creative costumes, mutant art vehicles and installations that the Burning Man experience has brought to audiences over the years. Highlights included the art pieces:  “Trocto” by artist duo HYBYCOZO, “Paper Arch” by Michael Garlington and Natalia Bertotti and probably the most recognizable FoldHaus Art Collective’s “Shrumen Lumen” mushrooms that opened up and down when you stepped on interactive floor pads. The exhibit also featured photos of aerial views of the festivals throughout its history as well as participants in their outrageous costumes designed specifically for their yearly pilgrimage to the desert.

    The Burning Man installment helped make this the most popular year in the museum’s history. The Cincinnati Art Museum has reported that fiscal year 2018-19, which ended Aug. 31, saw the highest attendance in the institution’s 133-year history. Some 346,000 people visited; 187,630 of them came during the slightly-more-than-four-month stay of the free No Spectators exhibition.

    Burning Man itself attracts more than 70,000 active participants from all over the globe who gather in the desert outside Reno, Nevada and is one of the most influential happenings in contemporary American art and culture. The spiritualism is best expressed at Burning Man through its massive temple created new each year, where visitors can address sometimes-difficult past remembrances by leaving notes and offerings, and then watching it all burn on the event’s final night. 

    The festival is still on my travel bucket list and this exhibit definitely made the urge to travel to the festival in the desert even stronger.