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Yesterday Mattel announced it’s THIRD recall in just over one month (8/2/07: Fisher-Price Recall Notice (Lead Poisoning)/Links to info/China involved AGAIN!, 8/14/07:Another Mattel recall: lead paint and powerful, loose magnets) due to “violation of lead paint standard”. The whole recall/China/lead scenario kind of makes you want to get back to having the kids play with your empty cardboard boxes and creating parades with pots and lids as musical instruments, eh?
- Marketplace: Another Mattel recall makes three-marketplace.publicradio.org
- Mattel recalls another 800,000 toys worldwide-businessweek.com
- Mattel recall timeliness investigated-insideretailing.com
Important Web Sites
- U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
- Mattel Product Recalls web site
Added 9/6/07: Here’s the video clip I mention in my comment (3rd one below). Quite telling in regard to how the bottom line ($$$) is ALWAYS going to outweigh health and safety…sigh.
The Cliks are everything they are billed to be and more! I have seen some high energy acts in my day, but what The Cliks put forth in their show at The Knitting Factory (8/22/07) is incomparable (especially considering the miserably hot and humid conditions in the venue), and to have been witness the next day to seeing them taking the small, quiet Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson studio (before Craig had even come out) and INSTANTLY turn it into the most rocking, electrified space you could inhabit in a matter of merely one or two hits on the drum by Morgan Doctor, and the first lyrics by Lucas Silveira–well, it was nothing short of miraculous and memorable. I certainly hope you all got to catch their fantastic Late Late Show performance, but I’ll keep my eyes open for a replay for those who didn’t. (Craig is on hiatus for two weeks and they have a tendency to repeat the most recent shows, so maybe, just maybe it will air again soon!)
My best buddy Sheryl (who interestingly enough is also my ex-sister-in-law ;)), and I headed off for our 1 1/2 hour drive to Hollywood last Wednesday, with The Cliks blasting on the sound system and excitement brewing for seeing not only them, but also another band I’d just discovered that morning, Tanner Horn and the Astronauts Before Breakfast. Sadly the infamous Los Angeles traffic kept us from arriving at the venue until the last minute or so of Tanner and crew’s final song “Hole in My Soul” (sigh), but the 60 seconds that we did see made me realize we had missed out on one heck of a unique, exhilarating (and sweaty! ;)) performance. (For any of you in the LA area, Tanner Horn and the Astronauts Before Breakfast will be having their CD release party at 14 Below in Santa Monica, this Friday (8/30/07), with their CD being included in your $10 cover charge. You can also get their 6-song EP on iTunes for $5.94!)
Can I just say again how unbelievably freaking-sticky-hot the Knitting Factory was?! I mean what the heck was the deal with folks having to feel like they were stuck in the middle of “Humidity Hell”? If we were sweating buckets, I can only imagine how the band felt, and that was actually pointed out by Lucas when he mentioned a couple times during the show that he had sweat in his eyes. The stickiness really left a bad taste in my mouth for driving all the way out to that venue again. Thankfully Sheryl and I did find what appeared to be the ONLY fan in the place (hence, the “heavy breathing” sound on the videos I taped…wasn’t me, was the fan :)), and camped out in front of it for the better part of the night. The only time we moved from it was to get some really good drinks from the bar (only $5 AND the cup was overflowing–woo-hoo!), or to head into the humid swamp known as the restroom…ick. Thankfully The Cliks were so amazingly powerful in their performances that you were almost able to forget about the beads of sweat finding their way down your body.
To say Lucas, Jen (Benton), Nina (Martinez), and Morgan had the crowd wrapped around their collective little finger would be an understatement. I think Lucas could have asked the crowd to do more than sing along to “Oh Yeah” (not that anyone needed any enticements to sing along–just came naturally) and everyone would have done whatever the request, without batting an eyelash. This concert was truly one of those times where the musicians, the crowd, the music, and the energy all organically combine into one incredible force that just can’t be put into words—something you had to be there to experience for yourself. I’m so thankful Sheryl and I were there to share in it, and hope that all of you reading this and viewing the videos, get even an inkling of what a Cliks concert has in store for you.
Here’s one of the videos I took, but unfortunately the sound at the venue wasn’t very good, and the lighting was horrific. That being said, it’s the freaking Cliks, folks, so deal with it! 🙂
I also taped the encore of “Nobody Else Will”, but kept getting my shot blocked by the dancing head in front of me, and for some reason the middle part was really blurry (think I tried to zoom in too much under poor lighting conditions), so I opted to remix the 3 shorter videos into one using YouTube’s remixer. Unfortunately, despite SEVERAL attempts over the past 3 days, the YouTube remixer will allow me to create the video, preview it, then publish it–but no video ever shows up! ARGH! Went over to Photobucket and used their remixer (basically the same one YouTube has by Adobe) and it worked. Sadly WordPress doesn’t allow for Photobucket videos to be embedded, and the Adobe remixer doesn’t allow you to save the final product to your hard drive, so if you’d like to see the video you’ll need to click here for “Nobody Else Will” on my Photobucket account. Again, it’s not the best image quality, but Lucas’ vocals are absolutely out of this world. The lyrics are as heartfelt as they get in the first place, but add Lucas’ intense, raw, sexy vocals and hot damn, one heck of a good performance.
Jen, Nina, Morgan, and Lucas were so accommodating and kind with their fans after the show, as was Rosie from Tommy Boy/Silver Label records who jumped right in and took a couple pictures for us when the camera was acting up. As a matter of fact, Rosie snapped an overhead shot of herself while she was waiting for the band, my friend, and myself to pose. Wish it would have turned out better because it was pretty funny when she did it.
As if seeing The Cliks at the Knitting Factory wasn’t enough, Sheryl and I also had tickets to their taping for the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson the next day. So back into the car we went (diabetic dog at home, so couldn’t stay in LA for the night…the things we do for our poochies :)), facing even ickier Los Angeles traffic on Thursday since we were traveling during the day. We did finally make it to the studio, and were pleasantly surprised to land a spot in the CBS studios parking lot–usually not an easy task! We made sure to get in line more than an hour early since there was no way we were taking any chances that we wouldn’t get in, especially after driving so far. Thankfully there were no worries on that front, and when we did finally get into the studio, we were only about 4 rows back on the aisle (hey, a gal with long legs just HAS to have an aisle seat…plus I wanted a better view of the band!), but of course we wished we were even closer. For those of you who have never been to a taping of the Late Late Show, it’s in a fairly small studio with an audience that Craig doesn’t want to exceed some odd number like 113. We were told the reason he likes to keep it so small is because he likes the feel of a comedy club atmosphere, and the connection he can have with a smaller audience such as ours. I went to a taping of his show last October and the intimacy of the studio does lend itself to having you feel like you really are an important part of the entire show. “Audience Enhancers” is what Chucky B. (the warm-up guy) calls the studio audience.
So we finally get into the studio, everyone is seated, Chucky B. is cracking jokes, videos of some previous musical guests are playing on the monitors scattered over the seating area, Craig’s desk is pushed off to the side, and the band equipment is set up already. (Sorry to burst the bubble of anyone who didn’t know this, but segments for the show are not taped in sequence, and quite often are taped for airing on subsequent days, hence Craig hadn’t even been on stage until long after The Cliks were…his loss!) Then a few minutes later, out of nowhere and without much ado, Jen, Morgan, Nina, and Lucas walk over to their equipment and start testing it all out. It was really quiet in the studio, so Chucky B. starts whispering, saying “This is what bands do, they tune up their equipment. I think I see them checking me out. Apparently they don’t see this.” (He then flashes his wedding ring to everyone.) Um, apparently Chucky B. knows diddley-squat about The Cliks since wedding ring or not, chances are slim-to-none any of them would be interested. 😉 So the other Cliks fans that were there (probably about 15 or so of us throughout the audience), Sheryl and I, are all on the edge of our seats, just waiting for something…anything. Then BAM, out of the blue, and with a not-very-enthusiastic introduction of, “The Cliks”, the band jumps right into “Oh Yeah”. Well, despite the apparent lackluster enthusiasm on the part of the Late Late Show‘s folks, there was no way in hell I was going to not show my excitement, so I was rocking out the whole time, as were the other Cliks fans, clapping, shaking our asses in our seats, hollering out, and hoping we were letting the band know just how much we enjoy and adore them.
(***Video below ADDED 9/6/07: Thanks to Silver Label for making this video available!***)
I have to say it all seems like a blur, totally surreal, and WAY too short of a time to have the band play, but the short time they did was absolutely the most energized four minutes or so you could ever ask for. From the overhead lights to the microphones near our feet, and from the phony Los Angeles cityscape backdrop on stage to the bustling real-life LA streets outside the studio, there was NO WAY anyone within earshot could help but feel the energy and enthusiasm the band was putting out. When it came to the last notes on the guitars and Morgan’s last drum hit, the sudden silence was incredibly deafening and made your realize how much The Cliks had filled up that short time and space with most intense rhythm, vocals, and music possible. Talk about living in the moment! WOW!
I really do believe that those in the audience who had no clue who The Cliks were before their performance (unfortunately that would seem to also include the majority of the Late Late Show staff), were definitely impressed with them afterward. A CBS page made sure to tell us (Sheryl and I were both wearing our The Cliks black t-shirts, so it was pretty obvious who we were there for ;)) how hard The Cliks rocked and that they were off the hook (or something like that), so we know they made at least one new fan–especially since we saw him a bit later at Barnes & Noble in the “C” section of the CD area, obviously looking for The Cliks “Snakehouse”.
Side note…Morgan’s parents were in the audience and were so cute! After the band was done and they’d left the stage (after some seriously long and loud applause and hooting and hollering from the audience!) an older couple started walking down the stairs toward the stage, Chucky B. made some comment, then someone on staff said they were the parents of “the drummer”, so Chucky B. made nice, and we all clapped for them. When Morgan’s parents hit the stage, right before slipping behind the wall to find the band, they faced everyone and waved, and boy could you tell they were Morgan’s folks–especially her mom, who she really looks like.
Alas, the good times had to eventually come to an end…sigh. It goes without saying that I am beyond anxious to see The Cliks again and am going through some serious withdrawals in the meantime. There is just something so pleasing about finding a band that is so vested in not only their music, but also in their fans. Jen, Nina, Morgan, and Lucas, could NOT have been any nicer to everyone during and after their shows, and I think that speaks volumes about the kind of people they must be–very sincere and caring. This was especially evident when I explained to Lucas after the Knitting Factory show, that one of my best buds, who had actually met them a couple of times in Vegas and at True Colors, was unable to make it back to LA for the show. Lucas was kind enough to tape a short, sincere message to Jackson–something I will never forget. How unbelievably cool of Lucas to do that!
Thank you SO MUCH to The Cliks, for all you give to your fans, personally and musically. Now get your asses back to SoCal ASAP! 😉
- 9-7-07: Added The Cliks uncut version of their new video for “Complicated” to my VodPod player in the left-hand column…enjoy!
- 8-22-07: MUST SEE: The Cliks at The Knitting Factory in Hollywood TONIGHT(8/22/07) AND on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson on CBS TOMORROW(8/23/07)
- 4-29-07: MUST LISTEN: The Cliks “Snakehouse”
Am so excited about FINALLY getting to see The Cliks live tonight! My buddy Jackson got me hooked on them a few months ago when “Snakehouse” just came out and I’ve been dying to see them since then. Guess I’ll be going from one extreme to another because I’ll not only be seeing them tonight at the Knitting Factory in Hollywood, but also at a taping of The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson tomorrow. I believe there are still tickets available for tonight’s KF gig, but alas the tickets for the talk show taping are gone. You can catch The Cliks on this Thursday’s (technically early Friday AM) showing of The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson in most markets at 12:37 AM on CBS. Definitely check your local listings (and set you VCR or DVR!) since times do vary in some areas of the country.
Only thing that could make these two days perfect would be if Jackson were able to join us as planned, but sometimes life throws you a curve ball just to keep you on your toes. (Doesn’t life know staying on your toes gets tiring? ;)) You already know you’ll be missed like crazy, my dear friend, and that it mostly definitely won’t be the same without you, but in your honor I will dance my ass off and make lots of noise–as usual, on both counts. LYB
- The Cliks
- Maxitit (The Knitting Factory calendar has them listed as opening for The Cliks)
- Tanner Horn and the Astronauts Before Breakfast (Their web site states they are opening for The Cliks even though the KF site doesn’t say so. I hope they are performing since I’m now hooked on them after discovering their music yesterday morning! Get their 6-song EP on iTunes for only $5.94!)
Will 2007 forever be remembered as “The Year of the Recalls”, with overwhelming numbers of them traced back to China? First the never-ending melamine-tainted pet food scandal, then diethylene glycol-laced toothpaste and cough syrup, and for this month of August lead paint showing up in the worst place: children’s toys. It is the lead paint scare that is striking at the heart of Mattel, once again, and this time powerful, loose magnets (if swallowed they can cause intestinal blockage) are added to the toy giant’s woes.
Here are some links to stories covering the issue, along with news of a law suit being filed in the case of the previous lead paint recall by Mattel’s Fisher-Price unit a couple weeks ago, and news of the suicide of a Chinese executive involved with the Fisher-Price recall.
- Mattel Recalls About 9 Million Toys-Wall Street Journal
- Mattel Adds 9 Million Toys to the Recall-knbc.com
- Florida Parent Sues Mattel Over Toy After Recall-Reuters
- Chinese Export Executive Commits Suicide After Mattel Recall-knbc.com
Here are recall information links:
- www.recalls.gov (Seems there are so many recalls constantly taking place that the government has created a “one stop shopping” location for all things recall. Anyone else find that somewhat disturbing? That we should need a government-sponsored web site for recalls instead of our government doing more to prevent recalls in the first place?)
- Mattel Product Recall page
- U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
Here we go again, folks! We are now facing ANOTHER Chinese-manufactured items recall due to a lead poisoning hazard, this time nearly one million Fisher-Price toys. Below is a copy of the recall notice from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. This recall comes on the heels of the Thomas the Tank Engine recall, also due to lead poisoning items manufactured in China. Here is an interesting read from early July where China says the entire safety issue is being “hyped” by the media, and it seems they are parroting the same “Chinese exports are safe” line in this article posted today, yet softening their stance in this one. Here’s hoping that the US team currently in Beijing for talks regarding more stringent regulations with the food and drug trade between our country and China, will be able to come home with rules in place which will have us all breathing a bit easier regarding the safety of products we use for ourselves and our pets.
- 9/27/07: More items recalled today!
Here are a couple of links to Mattel pages:
8/1/07 Fisher-Price Toys with Lead Paint Hazard Recall
ALL Mattel recalls
NEWS from CPSC
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
Office of Information and Public Affairs Washington, DC 20207
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 2, 2007
Firm’s Recall Hotline: (800) 916-4498
CPSC Recall Hotline: (800) 638-2772
CPSC Media Contact: (301) 504-7908
Fisher-Price Recalls Licensed Character Toys Due To Lead Poisoning Hazard
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firms named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed. Name of Product: Sesame Street, Dora the Explorer, and other children’s toys
Units: About 967,000
Importer: Fisher-Price Inc., of East Aurora, N.Y.
Hazard: Surface paints on the toys could contain excessive levels of lead. Lead is toxic if ingested by young children and can cause adverse health effects.
Incidents/Injuries: None reported.
Description: The recalled involves various figures and toys that were manufactured between April 19, 2007 and July 6, 2007 and were sold alone or as part of sets. The model names and product numbers for the recalled toys, which are all marked with “Fisher-Price,” are listed below. The toys may have a date code between 109-7LF and 187-7LF marked on the product or packaging.
Sold at: Retail stores nationwide from May 2007 through August 2007 for between $5 and $40.
Manufactured in: China
Remedy: Consumers should immediately take the recalled toys away from children and contact Fisher-Price. Consumers will need to return the product and will receive a voucher for a replacement toy of the consumer’s choice (up to the value of the returned product).
Consumer Contact: For additional information contact Fisher-Price at (800) 916-4498 anytime or visit the firm’s Web site at www.service.mattel.com
(PRODUCT LISTED REMOVED DUE TO FORMATTING ISSUES: please click link above for entire list.)
—Send the link for this page to a friend! The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of serious injury or death from more than 15,000 types of consumer products under the agency’s jurisdiction. Deaths, injuries and property damage from consumer product incidents cost the nation more than $700 billion annually. The CPSC is committed to protecting consumers and families from products that pose a fire, electrical, chemical, or mechanical hazard or can injure children. The CPSC’s work to ensure the safety of consumer products – such as toys, cribs, power tools, cigarette lighters, and household chemicals – contributed significantly to the 30 percent decline in the rate of deaths and injuries associated with consumer products over the past 30 years.
To report a dangerous product or a product-related injury, call CPSC’s hotline at (800) 638-2772 or CPSC’s teletypewriter at (800) 638-8270, or visit CPSC’s web site at www.cpsc.gov/talk.html. To join a CPSC email subscription list, please go to www.cpsc.gov/cpsclist.aspx. Consumers can obtain this release and recall information at CPSC’s Web site at www.cpsc.gov.
(***UPDATE:MUST SEE: The Cliks at The Knitting Factory in Hollywood TONIGHT(8/22/07) AND on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson on CBS TOMORROW(8/23/07), also MUST SEE: Our “The Cliks” Adventures at The Knitting Factory and The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (Videos, Pics)***)
“I think there’s something really sexy about feeling comfortable in your own skin.” ~Lucas Silveira
Time for us all to take a wee break from the never-ending pet food catastrophe, wouldn’t you say? Mind you, I’ll still be doing my best to keep folks updated while I’m back to full-time student teaching (one week down, seven to go…LOVE being back with the kids! ;)), but I figured an upbeat, fun post was in order, don’t you? And to help me with that, I’ve enlisted some help from my dear buddy Jackson, who is not only the man responsible for turning me onto the band we’d like to introduce you to, but also quite a musician himself. I knew he’d do a much better job using his musical background and writing prowess to get you hooked on the band than I would, so here’s what he has to say:
There’s a certain band that’s up until now kept rather quiet and under the radar of the mainstream music industry. With the release of the astonishing album, “Snakehouse,” hitting stores on April 24, the little-known foursome are captivating new fans of all types. And why should they not? This band has it all.
The pace is kept at a steady rate for the majority of “Snakehouse,” allowing a multitude of infectious melodies to seep into your mind and will remain there on some level until your next listen. The music is kept simple and is very much the definition of rock ‘n’ roll, timeless pieces nearing the style of Joan Jett but driven more so by the enthralling and powerful voice of Lucas Silveira. Fan favorites such as “Oh Yeah” and “Complicated” are just a fraction of the excellence to be heard. You might find yourself thinking you know how the specific tune over the speakers might develop, only to be amazed by a melody that’s not only completely different but instantly pleasing to the senses and intoxicating in its severity. Never once does Lucas shy from the microphone and never once does the album seem slow, despite the gentle ninth track, “Nobody Else Will,” which breathes an intense beauty in our ears before charming and impressing us one last time with the closer, “Back in Style.”
The band is The Cliks. Give them a try.
Thanks, Jackson! And I totally agree with giving them a try. After some arm-twisting from him, I hit their MySpace Page, liked what I heard, then headed over to iTunes and bought “Snakehouse” for $9.90. Have to say I have been listening to it for most of the day and still can’t get enough! “Oh Yeah” and “Nobody Else Will” are instant favorites of mine, but honestly there isn’t one song on the CD that didn’t grab me. The energy and intensity put out by the band, the incredible strength of Lucas’ vocals, and the honesty and raw emotion of the lyrics just has me entranced. I LOVE it when I run across music that affects me in that way.
Here is The Cliks web site, some short clips on YouTube, their management page, and a really good read about the winding path that has brought Lucas Silveira to where he is at now. Also got the okay from Kelly Davidson (Etched on Film) to link to her blog page, where you’ll find a link to a gallery of some incredible pictures she took of The Cliks on April 26, 2007. The only video out so far is “Oh Yeah”, which I’m including below. I dare you to not play it over and over again! Enjoy the music, everyone. And mark my words (okay, they were Jackson’s words first), this band will be HUGE in no time at all.