Q&A with Vienna, December 2006

Chat and sip. Beret optional.

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Decemberunderground
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Postby Decemberunderground » Sun Dec 17, 2006 4:00 am

Vienna wrote:Those questions about food have got me all hungry now. :)

While I'm here: if/when I next end up in your town, where should I go to eat?


Is this a question anyone can answer? Because Atlanta cuisine is kinda...wait, do we even have one? And no, the Varsity does not count. It is the bane of all fast-food.

But I do know some restaurants that have unexpectedly excellent cuisine. If you're a fan of Eastern foods, then Sushi Yoko is excellent. Its exterior is very fooling, but its interior is a traditional Japanese sushi house complete with tatami and cuisine.

If however, raw fish is not your thing, well then try a little Southern barbecue at Williamson Bros. Barbecue House. They have the best sloppy joes I have ever eaten, but of course you are discussing food with a bottomless-stomach 16 year-old who isn't too picky about what she eats.
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Postby Reileen » Sun Dec 17, 2006 6:02 am

Vienna wrote:Those questions about food have got me all hungry now. :)

While I'm here: if/when I next end up in your town, where should I go to eat?


In Chicago, you'll definitely need to check out House of Fortune in Chinatown, which can easily be reached by getting off at the Red Line Cermak-Chinatown block. You'll have to walk a bit to reach it, but it's a really nice place - it's cozy, not too big and not too small, and has great Chinese food. If you can't find it, I'd be more than happy to help you out. ;D

Another place I like is Au Bon Pain, which is like this soup-and-sandwich place masquerading as a faux French cafe. You can get soups and sandwiches, and you can also get various baked goods like cookies and stuff (I'm fond of the chocolate chip cookies and the sweet cheese croissants). This one can be reached by getting off at the Adams and Wabash L-Train stop using either the Pink, Orange, Green, Brown, or Purple Lines depending on where you're at and what time of day it is. An added bonus is that this place is seriously right down the street from the Art Institute - you can go eat at the cafe, then cross the street to the Art Institute, or vice versa, and if you have even more time on your hands (and money), check out Poster Plus, which is across the street from Au Bon Pain. It's a cute little novelty shop that can get pricey, but it's fun to look at everything.
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Postby Ang Mo » Sun Dec 17, 2006 6:32 am

Hi Vienna,

A few questions:

1.
In reading one of your latest scrapbook posts you had sort of lamentation type thing going on as if you had been disappointed by someone or if you were getting tired of the business, which makes me pose the question from the first time you let us all ask questions:
Is having the musical career better then wanting the musical career?


2.
What inspired the song, "Nothing Without You"?


3.
Any new venues that you have played that really made a lasting impression or fond memory on the latest tour?
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Postby Vienna » Sun Dec 17, 2006 6:36 am

waterfall wrote:Recessional is the song that really got me to fall in love with your music. Beautiful lyrics! Is there a story behind it? Or if not exactly, what inspired you to write this song?


There are about six different stories about how this song came about, and I think I've told them all at different shows...

I started writing it after seeing Sam Phillips, who introduced one of her songs that night as a "reverse striptease." Around that time I was also infatuated with the movie Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and the way Michel Gondry played around with timelines and the selectiveness of memory. I also wanted to try writing a poem to set to music later—something whose words might stand on their own if read on paper. And as always there's something of my own life in there, albeit distorted beyond recognition.

Glad you like the song, Waterfall. :)

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Postby Vienna » Sun Dec 17, 2006 6:54 am

Frances wrote:What are the top 5 things you value most in life [at this moment]?


Good health, the chance to do work that feels worthwhile, people to love, time and the ability to manage it, and the right frame of mind to appreciate what I have. That's what came to mind first, anyway...

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Postby Clarinet » Sun Dec 17, 2006 7:27 am

Vienna wrote:Those questions about food have got me all hungry now. :)

While I'm here: if/when I next end up in your town, where should I go to eat?



For San Diego, here are some good restaurants:

1. Phil's BBQ
They have the best BBQ in town! I wished I found out about this restaurant earlier. It's a very small casual place. The line is long, but if you go there late (8 PM), the line is not that bad. You can also order ahead by giving them a call. Their website is: http://philsbbq.com/

2. Sushi Ota.
One of the best sushi restaurant in San Diego. A more upscale restaurant and excellent sushi. A lot of Japanese people go there which is a good sign :) From the outside the restaurant location and look is very deceiving (doesn't look very nice). But once you're inside, it's a whole different story! Go there early or late at night, the line can be very long during dinner time!

Info about Sushi Ota can be found in:
http://entertainment.signonsandiego.com ... aces/87023

Hope you get a chance to check them out! :D

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Postby rtu » Sun Dec 17, 2006 8:35 am

so before i talk about food, here's another question: how would you describe your ultimate goal...of career and of life? i know, kind of deep, but it'll give us food for thought. now, food for the tummy.

well, philly is known as a restaurant town...lots of very good places to eat, most of which i have never tried, for various reasons, so i'll only mention those i've been too. if you are able to, you really should try to schedule your concerts here during restaurant weeks, when lots of the fancier restaurants offer three course meals for $30. you'll miss it by a week.

since you'll be at penn, i like white dog cafe, hearty food. two italian places i really liked in the rittenhouse area are la castagne and caffe casta diva (this place is tiny.) for mexican, i like las cazuelas in the northern liberties. if you want that noodle soup for a cold blustery winter day, you should come to chinatown for nan zhou hand-drawn noodle or four seasons. sang kee has the best duck and the best deal is lakeside. my friends and i always eat at lakeside. of course, if you do go to chinatown, then you should definitely let me know, since i live there. but probably the nicest (and most romantic) place i've had the privilege of eating at in philadelphia is rose tattoo cafe.

as for the philly cheesesteak, i usually take people to pat's and geno's because those are the most popular places. pat's is bit greasy for me, but geno's is much too dry. supposedly john's roast pork shack is the best kept secret, probably because they close at 3 pm. i like jim's steaks on south street or tony luka's on oregon ave. as for what to have on it...everyone has there own opinion. my preferences is provolone with onions and mushrooms, though your experience is probably the most popular.

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Postby kkkkk » Sun Dec 17, 2006 10:21 am

Hello Vienna :D! Merry Christmas, hope you have fun this holiday!

Ok, my question is: Since health is important to you (as you've anwered above), are you a health conscious person? I eat crap all the time, and i guess its even harder for a musician who is always on the road. And exercise! Do you ever have time for that?

What time do you go to bed usually? Do you have any bedtime rituals? I myself have to read a bit or else i wont be able to shut my eyes at all.

(PS: though i love your music, i cant listen to any music before sleep because it makes me too energized.)

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Postby tanthalas » Sun Dec 17, 2006 11:51 am

Hi Vienna,

Okay, it took me awhile but I think I finally came up with some good ones. :)

1. So how often these days do you run into people who recognize you at random places (typical example is a restaurant), who come up to you and ask for an autograph or picture? What is your take on this? Would you rather be left alone so that you can just have a quiet lunch or is it something you would particularly enjoy? I'm asking this in the unlikely event that I ever do run into you while wandering about the city, so I'll know what I should do. :D

I'm guessing this doesn't happen as much in the cities you tour (Frau Sudoku!) but I'm guessing it's much more frequent in your hometown. :)

2. Would you ever go back to the engineering industry? Put in another way, if music was not an option for your career starting today (and God forbid that!), what would be your next ideal job?

Thanks for taking the time to read this thread and answer our questions. :D


As for my answer to your question... well, since I'm also from the Bay Area, I'm sure you don't need any more help for finding good restaurants. But my parents do run a little Chinese restaurant in Daly City called Egg Roll King Chinese Restaurant - do come visit sometime if you ever are in the area and feel like some Chinese food! We'll give you a special discount. ;)

Shameless plug aside, some of my favorite places in the city are:
- Iroha (best udon) and Tanpopo (good ramen) in Japantown
- Wonderful Foods for tapioca milk tea (Irving and 22nd)
- The Cheese Steak Shop on Divisadero
- Koi Palace in Daly City is my family's favorite dim sum place (they go every weekend)...
- there's a Celia's right next to Koi Palace that serves some really awesome Mexican dishes (and if you go at night, there's a cool little band that goes around to different tables and plays for them).
- Oh, and San Tung on Irving is a great place for Shanghainese food... it's one of my favorites.
- And New Hai Kay on Irving and 23rd is definitely my favorite place for some WonTon Noodle Soup or Roast Duck Noodle Soup... their BBQ is deeelicious. :)
- And of course, I always am a fan of the local KFC, In-n-Out, and Jack in the Crack. They also opened up a Popeye's near my house too!

If you're ever in the downtown area near the Cathedral, check out this little sandwich place called Aroma Cafe. It's a tiny place on Ellis between Gough and Van Ness, and is pretty much a local favorite... I used to go there all the time when I was in high school right across the street. ;)

See you this Saturday! And hopefully Friday too if I can still get my hands on a pair of tickets.

-the guy in the Google Earth t-shirt at Providence, RI who talked about coding all summer to your music ;)
Last edited by tanthalas on Sun Dec 17, 2006 8:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Michele » Sun Dec 17, 2006 6:44 pm

tanthalas wrote: - the Cheese Steak Place on Divisadero


Ah, thanks for reminding me about one of my favorite things about seeing Vienna at the Independent: Going to Jay's for dinner!

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Postby shawn » Sun Dec 17, 2006 11:29 pm

Vienna wrote:While I'm here: if/when I next end up in your town, where should I go to eat?

Well, you'll be up this way to play at the Regattabar in April. Just downstairs from the Regattabar at the Charles Hotel happens to be one of my favorite restaurants, Henrietta's Table. The menu may not look like anything special offhand - just "ordinary" American home cooking - but they work closely with local farmers to get everything fresh, and the difference shows in everything they make. Even something as plain and basic as mashed potatoes - somehow they manage to make the most flavorful and delicious mashed potatoes I've had anywhere. They also do breakfast, and since I imagine you'll be staying in the area after your show, I think I can safely say you won't find a better breakfast in Harvard Square than what you'll find at Henrietta's. My wife and I will be eating here before your show; you're more than welcome to stop by and say hi. :wink:

At perhaps the complete opposite end of the culinary spectrum, but no less a worthwhile experience in many ways, is Mr. Bartley's Burger Cottage, on Mass. Ave. just a few blocks from the Charles. If you happen to have a burger craving while you're in the area, this is the place to go. Definitely not a fancy place, a college student hangout for literally decades, and the sort of place that's sadly all but disappeared from the area as Harvard Square and Cambridge in general continue to trend yupscale. But the burgers are always made fresh not frozen, they come dressed with just about every imaginable combination of topping (and a few even beyond imagination - the menu's always worth a chuckle or two), and they're always good even if just a tad greasy sometimes. A heckuva lot better than any Jack In The Box, that's for sure!

And that's just Harvard Square. If you like Szechuan - and especially if you like it hot - there's the legendary Mary Chung's, just a one-stop subway ride away in Central Square. If you have friends at MIT, odds are very good they know all about Mary's. I've been eating there ever since I was in college - more years ago than I care to admit! - and Mary's has never let me down. Or, if you've never tried Nepalese cuisine - or you've tried it and liked it - and you don't mind hopping on a bus or a taxi for a short ride - there's Kathmandu Spice just over the border in Arlington. My wife and I ate there for the first time last night (they just opened a couple months ago), and everything we had was absolutely delicious.

Hope this helps! See you soon...

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Postby tanthalas » Mon Dec 18, 2006 12:12 am

Hmm, the problem with Boston/Cambridge Cuisine is that I always end up comparing it against places in San Francisco, and it invariably just isn't quite the same. ;(

My personal favorites in the Cambridge/Boston area are (notice the Asian bent? haha):
- Peach Farm in Chinatown for arguably the best Chinese cooking in the city
- Taiwan Cafe, also in Chinatown, for some very delicious Xiaolongbao. They make it in a very special way - the baos are really big (about the size of a small fist) and are bursting with soup. It's Mom & Dad approved (I brought them to there this past Spring during graduation)... they said they've never had anything like it before, and they've had *all* kinds of food. :)
- Penang near Harvard Square if you're into Malaysian/Singaporean food. Their Roti Canai is definitely worth getting if you've never had it before.
- Mulan in the Cambridge area for some very authentic Taiwanese food. If you like spicy stuff, they have some pretty crazy dishes there. :)
- Border Cafe (in Harvard Square) is one of the few places in the Boston area that will leave you satisfied if you have a craving for Mexican food
- Oishii, the famous Japanese restaurant known for having the best sushi in the country (or being among the top 3)... it's quite a drive though (about 20 minute drive from Cambridge), and is very expensive (expect $30/person for a full meal)

Unfortunately if you ever have a craving for noodle soups (as all Asians do ;) ), there aren't many options. There's Le's Pho Restaurant in Harvard Square, which is actually really good, but if you want more Chinese/HK style, you'll have to go to Chinatown. I'd recommend either Hong Kong Cafe or Anna's. The good thing about Chinatown is that they're open really late (usually til 2am, others til 4am).

I know you've probably seen all of MIT already when you came several years ago, but if you ever want another local tour of MIT before or after your show in April, let me know. =)

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Postby Klaorman » Mon Dec 18, 2006 7:43 pm

Hi Vienna!

I asked this in a previous Q&A, but it was late in the session, so you never got to it:

When you write your songs, do you write the whole arrangement, which includes all of the other instruments plus other sound effects? If not, who writes the other parts? The other musicians? The producer? Do you all collaborate to figure out how to best present your songs?

Also, since you're home now and it's finally sunny (but freezing today!), let's go do that photoshoot! Afterwards, my wife and I will take you to Burgermeister, home of the best burger in the world! Ok, the best burger in the City. Uh, the best burger in -my- world... Anyway, it's a really terrific burger! ;) Shoot, now -I'm- hungry...

Klaorman

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Postby Vienna » Tue Dec 19, 2006 2:25 am

Decemberunderground wrote:Do you plan on coming back to Atlanta?


Hello ninja! :)

Atlanta's on the spring tour itinerary, yes. April 17th, last I checked.

If you could learn any language, assuming that you had access (not to mention time) to a tutor of some sort, which would you choose?


I was thinking about this in Berlin (during aforementioned episode on the subway, naturally). Now I've compiled a list of languages where I'd like at least to know the bare tourist minimum: German, Spanish (both the North American and European flavors), Italian, Cantonese, Taiwanese, Korean and Japanese. I have a smidgin of French and a slightly larger smidgin of Mandarin, and I think that about covers what I'm likely to need in my travels. There are lots more I'd like to know: Hindi, Russian, Portuguese, Swahili...but you've gotta draw a line somewhere.

If I had to pick just one? Spanish. California was once part of Mexico, after all.

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Postby Vienna » Tue Dec 19, 2006 3:06 am

Dreaming Pepper wrote:Have you ever tried "jamming" in between songs? Hearing a jam between piano, cello, and violin/viola (I am sorry I forget real fast!) would be really nice.


It doesn't happen often, but every now and again I noodle my way into the beginning of a song. Marika and Dina and I sometimes wander around a bit at the beginning of Unwritten Letter #1 or Harbor.

Oh, and Dina plays both violin and viola, so you're not forgetting anything. :)

Has any of your songs, or other artists songs, create very vivid and sometimes weird dreams? or am I the only one...


A Damien Rice song appeared in one of my dreams recently, but I don't remember much of it. I've also composed entire songs in a dream, but they scatter into fragments the moment I wake up, and the fragments fade completely after a few minutes. Other than that, not much.

It'd be pretty cool to have an explosive molar though.


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