Author Archives: Anusha

Rewind: Fleetwood Mac, “It Takes Time”

Known for his dense, sunny arrangements of Fleetwood Mac’s romantic turmoil, Lindsey Buckingham contributed this plaintive piano ballad to the band’s 2013 iTunes-only EP, Extended Play.  A self-proclaimed stylist and studio rat, Buckingham has regularly infused both his contributions to Fleetwood Mac albums and solo output with his signature layered, guitar-laden production.

In some ways, “It Takes Time” is a radical departure for Lindsey Buckingham, a rare piano track adorned only with a delicate string arrangement.  Yet, the raw emotion of the track is classic Buckingham.  While the personal mythology of Stevie Nicks and the feel-good love songs of Christine McVie may have garnered them bigger hits, Buckingham’s heartfelt and direct lyrics, from “Go Your Own Way” to his still-modern contributions to Tusk, have always revealed him as the band’s beating, and often broken, heart.

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Stepping Onto The Conveyor Belt in Cappadocia

My favorite ride at Disneyworld was always been the WEDway PeopleMover[1], a slow moving conveyor belt of carts, taking guests from one end of Tomorrowland to the other, hopefully narrating the future that never was along the way.  There was something comforting about a ride where there were no lines, and all you had to do was sit back and watch the story unfold in front of you, in the capable disembodied hands of the voiceover-guide.

When I planned to spend 36 hours in Cappadocia at the end of a recent trip to Greece and Turkey, the last thing I expected to be reminded of was an amusement park ride I last took more than a decade ago.  Yet, after experiencing the highly efficient tourist conveyor belt in Cappadocia, I half expected my trip to end watching an animatronic family discussing their flying cars.[2]  Nevertheless, even on a tight schedule, Cappadocia is well worth (even a short) visit.

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Time Capsule: What We’ll Remember from the 2014 US Open

As the crowds enter the Billie Jean National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows Park, most walk over a plaque in the ground without giving it a second look. For those who pause to read the inscription, they would learn that they are walking past the time capsules from the 1939 and 1964 World’s Fairs held at the grounds that now house the US Open.

In a time before widespread travel, satellite TV, or instantaneous worldwide connections over the internet, the World’s Fairs were a way to bring people and cultures together, and for each country to show off the best it had to offer. And, their time capsules were a way to show the people of the future – 5,000 years in the future – to see how people lived in the world of 1939 and 1964, and included items like Camel cigarettes, Life magazine, a Gilette razor, and an RKO newsreel.

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Thoughts on a Crazy Saturday in Flushing

The crowds at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center have thinned out, from the masses that rushed in at the end of August. Today, two very familiar names left the grounds, not to return until next year: Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer.

Expected to reach the final, as they or Rafael Nadal had for every single Grand Slam tournament since the 2005 Australian Open, Federer and Djokovic ran into two younger players who were able to break the stranglehold of the Big Three on the big prizes of the sport. A lot has been made of the fact that this is the first time that none of the Big Three will contend for a Grand Slam title in nearly a decade, and rightly so. In January 2005, Rafael Nadal had not won a single French Open title, Novak Djokovic had not made it past the third round of a major, and Roger Federer had only won four of his 17 Grand Slam titles.

In reality, at the time of the 2005 Australian Open, the Big Three were more like that talented Swiss guy with the weird hairdo who’s played well for a year or two, a promising Spanish teenager who had beaten Federer and Roddick once, and that funny Serbian kid. How times have changed.

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From Day to Night: Grinding and Glamour at the US Open

On the second Thursday of the US Open, the singles tournament begins to give way to the larger community – the day session features one singles match, the less-popular men’s quarterfinal, and a handful of main draw doubles matches. Instead, the larger constituency of tennis – the people who play without the adoring crowds or rich endorsements, take over the courts, finding the act of playing at Flushing Meadows rewarding in and of itself. To placate the star-hungry ticket holders, the tournament organizers put together legends matches, featuring all-time greats, and former pros who may be on site doing commentary.

The day session crowds are noticeably smaller than those who came to see the earlier rounds in week one, and the ones that will appear, in their RF caps, for the night session to follow. Every stadium is sparsely populated, allowing fans to sit closer than they might usually. The men’s semifinal between Marin Cilic and Tomas Berdych, was relatively uneventful. Berdych, perhaps bothered by the wind or the heat, or the listless crowd, was unable to find his range on his shots, falling behind quickly to Cilic, and coming unglued over a double-bounce call in the third set. Even though his rant against the umpire continued with vigor, Berdych fell meekly to Cilic in straight sets.

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Ferocity on the WTA Tour

One of the oft-repeated laments of those observing the ATP’s golden age is that it lacks the intensity of the McEnroe-Connors era. It’s true – the quartet that has led the men’s game over the past decade is known as much for their niceness as for their shotmaking. The primary rivalry in the game over the past decade has been between two guys who spent 15 minutes giggling next to each other, and the closest thing to fireworks at the top of the game is when someone knocks over Rafa’s water bottles.

Anyone who is tired of the smiles, stomach pats, and good natured ribbing of the ATP tour need only take in a few WTA matches to find the intensity they’re missing. This isn’t about the played up, stereotypical “catfights” that have come out of the media coverage of the sport. Rather, it is the ferocity of competitors who are less concerned with popularity than with victory.

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Northern Reflections: Thoughts on a Hard-Fought Week in Canada

Attending the Rogers Cup in person for the first time, it was interesting to see tennis on its relative front lines. As a transplanted New Yorker, I am fortunate enough to be a subway ride away from the U.S. Open, whose rhythms and geography are now second nature. (Tips: have Chinese food in Flushing rather than eating at the grounds, buy your souvenirs as early as possible – the good stuff sells out.)

As with many things in New York, the U.S. Open is attended by many New Yorkers so accustomed to witnessing the extraordinary and expecting it to occur in their city that it’s not uncommon to see them texting while sitting in their thousand-dollar court-side seats rather than watching the goings-on below, a scene is repeated at many ultra-elite sporting events, including the Slams, whose court-side attendees include, well, the ultra-elite, whether or not they are tennis fans, per se.

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First Take: Stevie Nicks Revisits “The Dealer”

Mention Stevie Nicks and the image of a waifish, witchy singer twirling on stage is sure to come to mind.  However, beyond the crepe shawls, Nicks has always been a distinctive songwriter, whose songs display a weathered wisdom and a unique sense of melody that have made her an enduring favorite.  That isn’t to say that Nicks is a perfect songwriter.  At times, her repeated invocation of dreams, chains, angels, and her other personal talismans can be too self-referential.  Similarly, some of her songs can be so specifically autobiographical that it is hard for the listener to identify with the larger themes that shine through in her best work.

That said, there is no doubt that Nicks made good use of her tumultuous 20s and 30s.  For her upcoming album, 24 Karat Gold, Nicks has mined her considerable archives to officially record some of the leaked demo tapes that have been circulating among her fans for over 20 years.  The first single from 24 Karat Gold is “The Dealer,” a song that appeared first as a demo from the 1978 Fleetwood Mac Tusk Sessions, but was subsequently re-recorded for possible inclusion on her first solo album, Bella Donna, but didn’t make the final cut either time.

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Who Says You Can’t Go Home: Andre Reed, Jon Bon Jovi and Broken Hearts in Buffalo

“Ugh, can you change the station?  It’s Bon Jovi.”

So began my pilgrimage to see the induction of Andre Reed into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.  Flanked by my Bills’ game cohort of friends and fellow fans, I was ready to spend the weekend reliving the glory days when the Buffalo Bills reached four consecutive Super Bowls from 1991 to 1994.  More than 20 years after the last of four straight Super Bowl defeats, the heartache, the post-game tears, the awkward endings to four straight Super Bowl parties (where guests were convinced that the host was perhaps the jinx), most Buffalo Bills fans would be thrilled to lose a fifth Super Bowl.  The past 20 years have been difficult — after the last Super Bowl run, the team started to peter out, with the staggered retirements and trades of the stars of the glory days, culminating in a 14 year absence from the playoffs — the longest active playoff drought in the NFL.

Just as the Bills’ fortunes waned over the past twenty years, the city of Buffalo has seen steady growth.  Recent years have brought significant urban revitilization projects to the long-neglected waterfront, and an influx of young people to the trendy downtown lofts springing up in industrial buildings that had been abandoned for decades.  The Canalside development has helped Buffalo reclaim its one-time meal ticket — the Erie Canal, and the emergence of food trucks and numerous articles  about Buffalo’s revitalization showed that Buffalo was, indeed looking good (and maybe even talking proud).

But, for many sports-loving Buffalonians, the true crowning achievement of Buffalo’s comeback would be a Super Bowl win, or, at least, a playoff appearance to start.  But, most agree that Jon Bon Jovi is determined to take away Buffalo’s dearest possession — its Buffalo Bills.  Needless to say, Bon Jovi’s alliance with a Toronto-based group of businessmen to bid for the Buffalo Bills has not sat well with the blue collar fans who identified with his songs.  For months, Jon Bon Jovi has become a persona non grata in Western New York, with local radio stations banning Bon Jovi songs, and a spike in sales of anti-Bon Jovi shirts.

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No Holds Barred: Our Five Favorite Boris Becker Posts

?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Retirement in tennis isn’t an easy thing. It’s hard to go from being the best in the world to being just another wealthy 30-something (sometimes even 20-something) retiree who needs to occupy his or her time. There are countless tales of woe among the recently retired, from Bjorn Borg’s financial woes, to the embarrassing Agassi-Sampras squabble during a Hit for Haiti exhibition. And, until recently, aside from those who were fortunate enough to find jobs as commentators, few of the game’s greats stuck around the tennis scene post-career.

But, with Andy Murray’s hire of Ivan Lendl at the end of 2011, the floodgates opened for a number of high profile coaching assignments for other legends of the game, including Michael Chang working with Kei Nishikori, Amelie Mauresmo and Andy Murray, and Stefan Edberg and Roger Federer. Like with Murray-Lendl, these coaching assignments make sense. The one that had everyone a bit perplexed though, was Novak Djokovic’s hire of Boris Becker to provide inspiration. While I can’t say for sure I know what Boris brings to the team, as a long-time follower of Boris’ social media hijinks, I’m thrilled that there is a larger audience of people to witness Boris’ online game.

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