Cool Guitars by Viktorian – Lightweight Composite Guitars – Guitar Tuned

Viktorian’s ultra lightweight composite technology combined with top of the line hardware and expertly hand wired electronics ensures a precise and predictable sound. These cool guitars have an acoustic guitar-like attack and a warm and long sustain with a clear dynamic response to a guitar player’s technique.

Cool Guitars

Viktorian is located in Denver, Colorado. Their team of dedicated musicians and accomplished players work incredibly hard to create the best sounding guitars in the world. Over 40 years of combined experience goes into building our high quality instruments.

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Grand Lake Colorado: Soon Featured On “Hotel Impossible”

Mike and Jackie Tompkins, owners of the Western Riviera in Grand Lake, Colorado.

Mike and Jackie Tompkins, owners of the Western Riviera in Grand Lake, Colorado.

Imagine being told in front of a national audience there’s a better way to do your job.

That’s exactly what’s going to be taking place in Grand Lake this week as a TV crew of renovation and hotel-management experts descends upon the town to pay a visit to the Western Riviera lakeside motel.

There, the self-assured hard-hitting host Anthony Melchiorri of the Travel-Channel show “Hotel Impossible” plans to meet motel owners Mike and Jackie Tompkins and their staff.

From there, it’s a safe bet Melchiorri will size up the motel’s lobby, inspect a room to reveal any cleaning misses, and judge the overall guest experience at the Tompkins’ 16-room lodge.

It’s likely he’ll pull the Tompkins aside to deliver them a wake-up call, then sic a designer and a team of construction workers on the premises to make improvements.

In a word, the Tompkins are “nervous,” they said on Monday, just two days before taping.

They found out on Jan. 2 their property was selected to be featured on the show, which takes hotels not living up to their potential and attempts to turn them around. A designer visited the Western Riviera property to assess it, and a producer of the show has since visited to get a feel for the town of Grand Lake, according to the Tompkins, who still do not know how producers learned of their property in the first place.

They’d never seen the show until after they got word their motel was being considered, they said.

“We watched a few episodes to see what it’s all about,” Jackie said. In one show, “Anthony, the host, made the entire staff cry. It made me want to run the other way.”

Melchiorri has a reputation of being blunt with hotel owners and managers.

In this Monday’s episodes, the star of the show told the manager of the Periwinkle Inn in New Jersey, “I’m changing your name to Miss Excuse.” The manager nearly walked off the show from feeling offended by the host’s comment.

In the following show, Melchiorri helped to work through a sticky family-business dynamic while managing to get the entire Daytona Beach hotel repainted as well as the pool area made over.

He seeks the design expertise of the show’s regulars Blanche Garcia, Casey Noble and Alison Victoria to help transform spaces, and the show is enlisting the local firm TDS Construction of Winter Park to work on the project.

Searching for that magic profit

The Tompkins have been operating their Grand Lake lodging business for longer than a decade, most-recently adding an events center to the mix of properties they own in the small mountain town. Besides the motel, they also rent out lakeside and courtside cabins on a nightly basis.

“We’ve been doing this 13 years and have yet to make a profit,” Mike said candidly on Monday. “I’m embarrassed to say that.”

“They’re all older buildings, so just maintaining them is very costly,” Jackie said.

Since they don’t have the money to do everything they’d like to their properties, they often need to pick and choose, she said.

Online feedback about their motel often states the place is “clean,” but also “dated,” Mike said.

The motel is located on prime real estate, overlooking Colorado’s largest natural lake. But where summers are hopping, winters and shoulder seasons are not. “In July we make in one day what we make the entire month of April,” Mike said.

Yet they pride themselves for not having been closed a single day in all the years they’ve owned the Western Riviera. The more businesses that are open in town, the better for the greater business community, Mike said.

A taste of reality

Before buying the Western Riviera, the only motel-service experience the Tompkins had was having stayed in hotels or motels, so the learning curve was sharp and fast.

Jackie had help with cleaning rooms, but during the first two years she also handled reservations and did the laundry.

“It was hard,” she said, “But it was really important for me to learn every aspect of the business.” She soon discovered ways to improve operations; for example, the old way of penciling reservations on a calendar gave way to computers. A new cancellation policy was implemented.

Now the show will bring its own discerning set of eyes to the business.

“I really believe after watching all the episodes we’ve watched, there’s a lot of stuff we’re going to learn, even though I’m scared to death,” Jackie said. “I really think it’s going to give our guests a better experience, give our employees a more enjoyable place to work, and it will be good (exposure) for the entire town.”

“I learned in business, it’s wise to surround yourself with people who are smarter than you are,” Mike said. “And these people are definitely smarter when it comes to hotel management.”

But if all else fails: “I’m gong to get really mad at them, yell at them and kick them off the property,” Mike said with a wink. “I’ve watched reality TV. I know that’s what they want.”
For more information, visit

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Grammy Awards 2013: Ratings drop whopping 28%

The 2013 Grammy Awards drew more than 28 million viewers.

The 2013 Grammy Awards drew more than 28 million viewers.

For one moment in time, Whitney Houston powered the Grammys to a ratings bonanza. This year, the audience fell back down to Earth.

In the wake of the pop star’s sudden death last year, more than 39 million viewers tuned in. On Sunday, the audience shrunk to 28 million – about what the awards show drew in 2011.

“There’s a lot of conjecture, but I think it’s safe to say that interest in the show went up last year because Whitney Houston died just before the event,” said Katz Media Group TV industry analyst, Bill Carroll.

“Last year, it went up so dramatically because viewers probably were tuning in just to see what was going to happen. They were assuming — and rightly so — that there would be a memorial tribute during the show and they wanted to know, just in general, how her death would affect the telecast.”

Carroll said even with the 28% drop in viewership, 28 million viewers is still a win for CBS.

“All things said, I think CBS has to be pretty pleased with the numbers they got.”

Viewers also could’ve tuned in to see if any of the artists would rebel against CBS’ request that they dress more conservatively than in the past.

The network distributed a memo last week — which was promptly leaked onto the Internet — outlining its policy against scantly clad women and potential obscenities appearing on T-shirts and other apparel.

“I certainly was interested to see if anyone was going to be impacted in what they wore,” said Carroll.

“Giving them instructions on what to wear is almost saying to them, ‘Please wear something that doesn’t meet the guidelines.’”

This year’s nominees included:

Best Pop Solo Performance
**”Set Fire to the Rain (Live),” Adele**
“Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You),” Kelly Clarkson
“Call Me Maybe,” Carly Rae Jepsen
“Wide Awake,” Katy Perry
“Where Have You Been,” Rihanna

Best Country Solo Performance
**”Blown Away,” Carrie Underwood**
“Home,” Dierks Bentley
“Springsteen,” Eric Church
“Cost of Livin’,” Ronnie Dunn
“Wanted,” Hunter Hayes
“Over,” Blake Shelton

Song of the Year
**”We Are Young,” fun. featuring Janelle Monáe (Writers: Jack Antonoff, Jeff Bhasker, Andrew Dost and Nate Ruess)**
“The A Team,” Ed Sheeran (Writer: Ed Sheeran)
“Adorn,” Miguel (Writers: Miguel Pimentel)
“Call Me Maybe,” Carly Rae Jepsen (Writers: Tavish Crowe, Carly Rae Jepsen and Josh Ramsay)
“Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You),” Kelly Clarkson (Writer: Jörgen Elofsson, David Gamson, Greg
Kurstin and Ali Tamposi)

Best Urban Contemporary Album
**Channel Orange, Frank Ocean**
Fortune, Chris Brown
Kaleidoscope Dream, Miguel

Best Rock Performance
**”Lonely Boy,” The Black Keys**
“Hold On,” Alabama Shakes
“Charlie Brown,” Coldplay
“I Will Wait,” Mumford & Sons
“We Take Care of Our Own,” Bruce Springsteen

PHOTOS: What all the stars wore to the 2013 Grammy Awards

Best Pop Vocal Album
**Stronger, Kelly Clarkson**
Ceremonials, Florence + the Machine
Some Nights, fun.
Overexposed, Maroon 5
The Truth About Love, Pink

Best Rap/Sung Collaboration
**”No Church in the Wild,” Kanye West and Jay-Z featuring Frank Ocean and The-Dream**
“Wild Ones,” Flo Rida featuring Sia
“Tonight (Best You Ever Had),” John Legend featuring Ludacris
“Cherry Wine,” Nas featuring Amy Winehouse
“Talk That Talk,” Rihanna featuring Jay-Z

Best Country Album
**Uncaged, Zac Brown Band**
Hunter Hayes, Hunter Hayes
Living For a Song: A Tribute to Hank Cochran, Jamey Johnson
Four the Record, Miranda Lambert
The Time Jumpers, The Time Jumpers

Best New Artist
Alabama Shakes
Hunter Hayes
The Lumineers
Frank Ocean

Record of the Year
**”Somebody That I Used to Know,” Gotye featuring Kimbra**,
“Lonely Boy,” The Black Keys
“Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You),” Kelly Clarkson
“We Are Young,” fun. featuring Janelle Monae
“Thinkin’ Bout You,” Frank Ocean
“We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” Taylor Swift

Album of the Year
**Babel, Mumford & Sons**
El Camino, The Black Keys
Some Nights, fun.
Channel Orange, Frank Ocean
Blunderbuss, Jack White

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The 40th Anniversary American Music Awards

Justin Bieber

The Winners of The 40th Anniversary American Music Awards

The winners of The 40th Anniversary American Music Awards are beginning to be revealed! Stay right here all night as the winners you voted for take home their awards!

That’s all for tonight, guys! For the full list of winners, check out the link below, and come back tomorrow for more photos and clips from the red carpet!

Artist of the Year – Justin Bieber

He did it! A clean sweep for Justin Bieber who just won his third American Music Award of the night and seventh overall. He won in all three categories he was nominated for tonight. Congratulations Justin!

Country Music: Favorite Album – Carrie Underwood – “Blown Away”

Carrie Underwood takes home an AMA and continues an incredible streak in this category. Every album she has released has won Country Music: Favorite Album!

Rap / Hip-Hop Music: Favorite Artist – Nicki Minaj

It’s been a big, big night for Nicki Minaj! She just picked up her second AMA of the night on top of burning up the stage with an amazing performance. This makes her fourth American Music Award.

Pop or Rock Music: Favorite Album – Justin Bieber – “Believe”

Justin Bieber just picked up his second AMA of the night, giving him 6 total! He’s still up for Artist of the Year tonight. Can he win all 3?

Electronic Dance Music (EDM): Favorite Artist – David Guetta

Even accepting via satellite, David Guetta makes a big splash being the first winner ever in this brand new AMA category. Congrats, David!

Country Music: Favorite Band, Duo or Group – Lady Antebellum

Lady Antebellum just won their third AMA! This is the third year in a row that the band has won in this category.

New Artist of the Year – Carly Rae Jepsen

Newcomer Carly Rae Jepsen becomes the second first-time winner of the night, picking up the New Artist of the Year award!

Country Music: Favorite Male Artist – Luke Bryan

Luke Bryan has just picked up his first ever American Music Award. Congrats, Luke! His album, Tailgates & Tanlines is also nominated tonight, so he could be a two-time winner before the night is out!

Soul / R&B Music: Favorite Male Artist – Usher

Usher takes home his eighth AMA ever, winning for his fourth year in a row! Can he take home even more awards tonight?
Alternative Rock Music: Favorite Artist – Linkin Park

With this win, Linkin Park takes home their 5th AMA in this category, solidifying their place once again as one of the hottest Alt-Rock bands there is.

Rap / Hip-Hop Music: Favorite Album – Nicki Minaj – “Pink Friday: “Roman Reloaded”

Nicki Minaj wins big for her album in the Rap/Hip-Hop Music category and looks stunning doing it! She’s nominated for three more AMAs tonight, so we’ll see if she can take home any more.

Country Music: Favorite Female Artist – Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift just picked up her 11th AMA. E-L-E-V-E-N! Her fans have to be happy their votes came through for their favorite country superstar.

Pop or Rock Music: Favorite Male Artist – Justin Bieber

The first award of the night goes to Justin Bieber! He’s nominated for two more awards tonight, including Artist of the Year. Is this a sign of good things to come later tonight for Justin?

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Chris Robinson Brotherhood Rock Band

Chris Robinson Brotherhood conjures myth and mystery | Tom


The band name itself is an in-joke because the Chris Robinson Brotherhood features keyboardist Adam MacDougall, bassist Mark Dutton, drummer George Sluppick, guitarist Neal Casal and, of course, Chris Robinson on


Sydney City NewsTHE MAGIC DOOR – CHRIS ROBINSON BROTHERHOOD Sydney City NewsRecorded after a whopping 118 shows together, The Magic Door is the second album to come from the Chris Robinson Brotherhood for 2012. Frontman of rock and roll band The Black …

Chris Robinson Brotherhood – “Rosalee” – Radio Woodstock WDST 100.1 – 8/24/12

Chris Robinson Brotherhood perform “Rosalee” on Live @ 5 from the Bearsville Theater on Radio Woodstock WDST 100.1 on Friday, 8/24/12. Filmed by: Ryan Lennox, Drew Frankel. Edited by: Ryan Lennox.

New Years Eve Concerts 2012 – Top 2013 NYE Concerts in USA


If going out just isn't your thing, no blame here: we've also included several videos of past New Year's Eve concerts for comfortable sofa-viewing (at an equally pleasant decibel level). Check out our lists of discount ticket links,


Image via Flickr



First of 5 nights for Chris Robinson Brotherhood at The Great American in San Francisco

Wednesday, December 12, 2012 3:31:02 AM


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PSY Can’t Beat Maroon 5 in Close Band’s Race For Hot 100’s Top Spot


While the Korean rapper has pledged to perform “Gangnam Style” “topless in a place where everyone can watch,” should the song crown the Billboard Hot 100, Maroon 5 prevents the spectacle this week, as “One More Night” spends a third week at No. 1. PSY’s smash, fueled by buzz generated by its video in which he deftly serves up his equine-esque moves, holds at No. 2. The race was extremely close. “Night” bests “Style” by fewer than 500 overall chart points, after “Night” won last week by approximately 3,000 points. (This week’s points difference between Nos. 1 and 2 is the thinnest, in fact, since the Feb. 18 chart.) Both titles gain in overall points this week, but “Style” closes the gap courtesy of an 8% overall points gain, while “Night” increased by less than 1%.

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Fresh Sounds: Recording Artists To Watch in 2012

Vintage Blue is a Chicago-based five-piece rock band that released its debut full-length record, Strike the Mics on Valentine’s Day.


The pros and cons of how the Internet and digital music technology have revolutionized the music business will be debated for years to come. One thing is clear – while the support of a major record label will always be invaluable for up-and-coming artists, the goal of being signed to a major label is no longer a necessary step on the road to success.

These days, music fans are more likely to scour YouTube or other social media sites to discover new and exciting artists. Vintage Blue, Rachel Platten and Caitlin Rose are three artists who have already achieved various levels of success and are poised to make an even bigger splash in 2012.

Vintage Blue is a Chicago-based five-piece rock band that released its debut full-length record, Strike the Mics on Valentine’s Day. Featuring singer/lead guitarist Ben Bassett, singer/guitarist Ryan Tibbs, drummer Will Crowden, bassist Cesar Corral, and saxophonist/ keyboardist Matt Zimmerman, the group started as a Chicago cover band called Tanglewood. A few years ago the band decided to transition to an all original outfit, changed its name to Vintage Blue, and put its efforts into creating the album that would become Strike the Mics.

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Jack White Rules

Jack White plays surprise show at Mariachi Square in Boyle Heights – Los Angeles Times

RollingStone.comJack White plays surprise show at Mariachi Square in Boyle HeightsLos Angeles TimesEqual parts confusion and adulation reigned in the East L.A. neighborhood of Boyle Heights on Friday afternoon as Jack White, accompanied by his hard-r …

Jack White Explains Backing Bands In New Interview With Duff McKagan (A Top … –

Jack White Explains Backing Bands In New Interview With Duff McKagan (A Top …antiMUSIC.comOn Friday Jack White Explains Backing Bands In New Interview With Duff McKagan was a top story. Here is the recap: (Gibson) Former Guns N’ Roses bass player D …

Jack White Plays A Surprise Parking Lot Show At SXSW 2011

Watch White and Seasick Steve play an impromptu concert in front of the mobile record store/studio.


Jack White brings ‘Blunderbuss’ to Los Angeles: The former White Stripes man dedicates the show to astronaut Buz…

Sunday, August 12, 2012 8:46:38 AM

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Skin Care Tips: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Skin Care Tips and Mistakes

By Joan Kesman, owner of Skin Care Plus, the best facials and natural skin care products in Chicago, Geneva, St. Charles and Beyond.


Radiant and flawless skin is what everyone wants. Here are some skin care reminders and precautions to help you look and feel your best:

Facial Chicago

Avoid Skin Irritants: The following ingredients tend to be most irritating. This is by no means an exhaustive list and everyone’s skin is different, so it’s important to isolate your personal triggers:

  • Detergents: Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine
  • Preservatives: Benzyl Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol and Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate.
  • Fragrances: ‘Parfum’ can signify artificial fragrance, which is a bad irritant. With natural essential oils care must always be taken since high doses can be irritating. Some, such as lemongrass, are irritating even at concentrations as low as 0.1%.

If you know you are allergic to a specific ingredient, it helps to read products’ ingredient list before buying. If you don’t know what you are allergic to, do a patch test before using the product regularly. In general, the list starts with the most concentrated ingredient and ends with the least concentrated one (with some exceptions):

  • Active ingredients may be in a separate list.
  • Drugs will be listed first.
  • Color and fragrance usually are listed last.
  • When the concentration is below 1%, the ingredients might be listed in no particular order.

Should we believe the product claims when the good ingredients are at the bottom of the list?

Avoid Harmful Products: Here are some potentially harmful ingredients to avoid:

Paraben: This petroleum-based product also is known as Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Isoparaben, Butylparaben, and Ethylparaben. Parabens are a group of chemicals widely used as preservatives in the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries to extend the shelf life of products. They have been linked to possible carcinogenicity, as well as an estrogenic effect. These chemicals can be found in face and body moisturizers, body wash, and cleansers.

Phthalates: A truly toxic skin care ingredient.  Dibutylphthalate (DBP, DEP, also butyl ester) helps skin care absorb into skin. DEHP has been classified as a probable human carcinogen.

Rhododenol: Many skin care products have been recalled because they contain rhododenol  (4HPB), which may cause white patches on the skin. These recalls also underscore the importance of not trusting all manufacturers’ claims to assure product safety. Stick with tried and true products from reputable companies.

Products with an extensive number of skincare ingredients (15+), probably contain fillers. Basic math tells you that products with a large number of ingredients have lower concentrations of active ingredients.

Discard Old Products: Since government regulations are inconsistent (and, in this case, relatively nonexistent), it’s ultimately up to consumers to decide when a product has expired. If a product seems unusually discolored, runny or lumpy, has separated, has a strange odor, or feels different on the skin, then it should absolutely be thrown away. Packaging that has expanded or has signs of deterioration is definitely a warning that something is wrong inside. A product doesn’t have to be old to have gone bad or have been exposed to bacteria, so you should always pay attention to how your products are holding up every time you use them.

For more information about the best skin care products and facials in the Chicago area, visit

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Live Music Concerts

What’s going on this week with your local music scene?

Houston music: Treat yourself to live music this week –

Examiner.comHouston music: Treat yourself to live music this weekExaminer.comCaddywhompus at Cactus Music at 5:30 – free in store concert. Click here to listen to a song by Caddywhompus. Ava Luna, Wild Moccasins at Fitzgerald’s. Click here to listen …

Big Time Rush in Concert at Klipsch Music Center – blog*spot


Big Time Rush in Concert at Klipsch Music Center. Sunday, July 29, 2012, 7:00 PM. Big Time Rush in Concert at Klipsch Music Center. Featuring a live music performance, with special guests Cody Simpson and Rachel Crow.

This is a cool Beatles concert!

The Beatles – Rooftop Concert (Full Version)

Last Concert Of The Beatles On The APPLE RECORDS on Abbey Road Get Back – 01:03 Don’t let Me Down – 04:18 I’ve Got a Feeling – 07:53 One After 909 – 11:35 Dig a Pony – 14:38 Get Back 18:30 Disclaimer: I don’t own any of the music in his video, it bel…


yes I fangirl over bands at concerts because their music means so much to me & it gets me through life&being able to see them makes me happy

Saturday, July 21, 2012 10:45:24 PM

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