Denver: Suicide bangs, that's how I'll fit in

My husband, Bill, and I are in Colorado to promote the hell out of his latest book, Outlaw Journalist: The Life and Times of Hunter S. Thompson. The book tour coincides with our seventh anniversary and the inaugural Mile High Music Festival. So after seven years of marriage, four kids, four horses, five chickens, a rabbit and a dog, a week away is heaven. But, another romantic dinner to celebrate the nuptials? Really? We can do better. So, I got crafty.

We’re both journalists. He is a rock’n’roll historian, a know-it-all (like really annoyingly knows-it-all but has honed a very endearing way of being the smartest guy in the room). So we should cover the music festival, right? The festival is a bevy of music awesomeness. Amazing bands. Bands I’ve known: Dave Matthews Band, Tom Petty, John Mayer, the Black Crowes . . . musical institutions for America’s nearly 40-somethings. But what really intrigued me is the indie throwback bands. The same artists’ voices that have been pumping through my interns’ office iMac for the past three months — admittedly, music I have become addicted too; Brett Dennen, Ingrid Michaelson, the Flobots, Colbie Caillat, and of course Dave Matthews,whose voice is like a turbo-charged aphrodisiac (more on that later).

But the fun will be his take versus mine. He’s 53 and I am 32. He’s a traditionalistwho courted me with love-CD soundtracks featuring Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley, James Taylor,  Dennis Wilson, Otis Redding, Rick Nelson, Dan Penn, Joe Cocker . . .  you get the idea.

So this musical buffet in Denver should provide an eclectic view from a rock ’n’ roll historian and his wife.

To get  prepped for the gig I interviewed the experts: my staff at The Florida Engineer (the magazine for the University of Florida College of Engineering). They prepped me. Marilee, my rabbit of a writer; Holly, the associate editor, and John, the quirky designer. Marilee made me a CD of “cool” bands she thought I’d dig. John was just slightly — no, totally — jealous. And Holly, knowing my incessant pursuit of corporate-cool fashion, suggested I get hip before covering the festival.

“Yeah,” I said. “Hey, how about those really short funky bangs? Can I pull it off?”

“Suicide bangs?” she said. “Yeah, that’ll do it.”

So sitting at my desk with Photobooth open (for non Mac users, just Google it) so I could see myself, Holly took the office scissors and gave me some kick-ass-hip-styling suicide bangs. We’ll see if the bangs achieve in masking the mother-of-four skin covering my wild child inside.

— Nicole McKeen

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