Saturday, December 22, 2007

Holiday Cheer

Me (picking up the phone):  I have a complaint.

Drew:  No! That's why I'm calling you, to lodge a complaint. But you can go first.

Me:  That stupid vodka ad with Puff Daddy—he says "Happy New Years" at the end. New YEARS. Plural. Doesn't it seem like someone could have pulled his ghetto ass aside while they were filming to tell him that there's only one new year coming up? What a moron. Our culture is dead. It's making me want to break stuff.

Drew:  And that's on top of that other crap-ass vodka ad where douchebag Vincent Gallo destroys a house while his douchey friend Terry Richardson takes pictures.

Me:  I know, I hate that one even more. Fucking gross.

Drew:  I fucking hate Vincent Gallo.

Me:  Totally. He should marry Puff Daddy and wreck his house.

Drew:  Okay, now me. I'm listening to Air America and there's a woman on there recommending that husbands buy matching mom and kid pajamas as Christmas gifts. What kind of asshole wants his wife to dress like his kids? And does he ever want to sleep with her after that? The whole thing is disturbing. Are men that dumb that they can't think of anything better to buy their wives?

Me:  People are stupid.

Drew:  I hate people.

Me:  Yeah, because they're stupid.

Drew:  We're so full of hate.

Me:  Yep.

Drew:  Okay, talk to you in a few.


Me:  Bye, baby!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Christmas Miracles


Well... I've got a wicked hangover at the moment and haven't done anything all day long so I thought I'd fill you all in on my weekend.

Friday night found me at the gorgeous home of my fancy friends Luke and Jack for a snowman themed holiday party. They have a beautiful condo right at Astor Place and always go out for their parties. There was a big ice sculpture of a snowman and the bartenders wore top hats and there were plenty of hors d'ouevres being served by waiters with trays. If I tried to set up a bar and some waiters in my apartment that would be the whole party. The ice sculpture would have to go in the tub. But their place is huge and sleek and modern with a windows running along the whole side of the building so you can feel like a movie star while gazing down 7th Street from different angles.

The singer from the Counting Crows lives next door and Norah Jones is in the building somewhere too. Mike suggested we go ringing some doorbells and see who turned up, but we behaved and simply drank and snarked over the bad ensembles some of the women were wearing. I looove a roomful of bad ensembles when I'm getting my drink on and no one dresses more horribly than a nerdy fag hag at a holiday party.

There was a guy plinking out Christmas carols at the grand piano (yes, they have one of those too) and I was tempted to lay on it and sing "Making Whoopee" a la Michele Pfeiffer in The Fabulous Baker Boys. Since it was a party full of gays I'm sure no one would have objected, but I don't know the words and my corset was so tight it was all I could do just to sit down, so rolling around on a piano was out of the question. Maybe next time they have a party I'll rehearse a repertoire ahead of time.

And then a Christmas miracle happened for me: Along with the Mikes (Mike and his boyfriend, who we differentiate by calling him Mike Squared), I brought some of my co-workers and we got into a discussion with some other partygoers about earth and animal consciousness. Sushi, the head buyer at PF, and I have gotten into vicious arguments about fur in the past. I buy the lingerie and handle all the consignment for the store, and I refuse to buy fur for those departments. He liked some fur lined hoodies that his friend wanted to put in the store on consignment and I refused to take them and it turned into a war.

This was a couple of years ago and after that I felt that my point had been made. So I'll crack bitchy jokes about the fur he buys but I don't fight him really hard on it because he already knows my opinion and I don't want to be unpleasant with people I like and have to work with.

For the record - here is my view: I have always loved fur. My first memories are of a white rabbit trimmed blue velvet coat my mother dressed me in. It had a fur hat and a fur muff and I felt like a princess in it. Through high school I collected vintage fur coats and muffs and had a ton of them. My mom has always picked them up for me when she would see good ones as well. But as my consciousness grew about it and I learned of the suffering that goes on, I realized I couldn't justify my love of real fur anymore. So I would never buy it now, but I do have two short black jackets that I am just not ready to give up, although lately I've been wearing them a lot less often because I feel like a hypocrite when I put them on.

Anyhoo, so we got on the subject of fur and I made my usual point about the fact that in China they will just stick an animal on a hook and skin it alive and that is one of the many reasons that I don't think it's okay to buy fur. And Sushi turned to me and said, "You know, years ago when we would fight about this, I just thought 'fuck you!', and that you were just being a bitch. But now I understand your point and I think you're right."

My jaw dropped open and just hung there. Did I just hear these words from one of the most rabid fashion fags I know? I think there may have been a chorus of angels singing somewhere, although perhaps that was just the free-flowing vodka talking. Still, I was floored and thrilled and it gives me great hope that change in consciousness is indeed possible even with the most stubborn cases.

Then the next night Drew had a gig at Don Hill's with Bloody Social and before I knew it I found myself surrounded by models at the front of his stage. It was like this cartoon I've had up on my fridge for so long it's old and yellow:





That pretty much sums up my life so far and describes last night...

I have a strict policy about standing right in front at my boyfriend's gigs. I think it's gauche and distracting and I prefer to stand further in the back where I can watch a little more anonymously. To me it looks very amateur when the girlfriends line up at the front of the stage and glare at fans like they own the band.

And you all know how I feel about models - tepid at best. But there it is, because of this particular band I have slowly found myself inducted into a pack of them like Mowgli with his pack of wolves. I fought long and hard, people, with much scowling and bitchy sarcasm. I tried my best to be as terrifying an unapproachable as possible. But eventually I had to give in and be nice to someone, and since all the someones in the entourage are 6 foot tall, 22 years old, 100 lbs and gorgeous, I had no choice but to bite the bullet and befriend the beautiful. And it turns out that some of them are actually all right.

So there I am, covered in tattoos and a crappy attitude (cue the song..."one of these things is not like the others..."), doing a dumb dance with my supermodel bff (who is actually quite badass) and her lanky pals at the front of the stage. Of course Drew mocked me afterwards, but I know he's relieved that I'm actually getting along with people instead of giving him constant grief with the insecurity that ensues when I'm surrounded by gazelles.

So there are my Christmas miracles: less fur at PF, no fur flying at the gorgeous people convention. Pretty awesome. And then at the end of the night when there were no cabs, a wasted Brooklyn mook in an expensive white SUV stopped and picked us up and drove all the way home in the snowstorm, just to be nice. It was heaven-sent and hilarious in a really comical and completely New York kind of way. So maybe that'll be the next New York type I befriend, I have a feeling they'd love my model crew.

This photo's a little beat up and blotchy because it's a polaroid that knocked around in a drunken dancing girl's purse all night, but I like it anyway.




Thursday, December 13, 2007

White Cats for Winter

A lot has been going on and I owe a ton of emails. It seems like life just gets in the way of life, sometimes, doesn't it? And there are a ton of things I'd love to blog about, like Michael Vick's conviction, like the state of the East Village, the fact that the middle class is being completely wiped out by the current administration's mismanagement of our country's money and why we pay more attention to Kim Kardashian's ass than the continuing drainage of funds for an oil war, my loony cat Roquefort, my personal insanity and my long-suffering boyfriend, my awesome Christmas tree, etc. But there just isn't time.

So I'll leave you with this today, as I steal a few minutes of personal time at my desk at work.

I often find myself in the audience of one friend or the other, marveling at the fact that I have friends that I truly believe are numbered among the most talented people on our planet. Time and experience have showed me that fame and true talent rarely go hand in hand and it has always seemed a tragedy to me that so many brightly shining stars go largely unsung by the world. I am so grateful that I chose to move to New York and get close to such a talented pool of people, and even though our city is in NYU ruins, I still have occasional moments of fan transcendence, often in half-empty rooms with mediocre sound systems.

One person that always moves me in such a way is my good friend Tara Angell. I went to see her play at the Living Room last Saturday night and once again her songs brought tears to my eyes, and I made a mental note to tell everyone how great she is.

Tara is bad-ass, brutally honest, grounded, and beautiful. Her soul is gentle but powerful. One of my favorite Tara moments: in the basement of Niagara, her shouting down a poorly behaved Brody Dalle with "You're in my house, now, bitch!" Fuck yeah.

She looks like she should have been part of the Stones entourage in the early 70's, one of the wealthy European girlfriends rolled up in a giant fur coat. As it is she was not born into that life and toils like the rest of us to keep her art alive. She has the life experience to tell a true story and the heart of a poet. She's a friend you can count on. She rescues kitties. She's a brilliant songwriter, has boatloads of charisma, and counts Lucinda Williams among her fans. Please take a listen when you get a chance, here's a link and she's also in my top friends:


WHITE CATS/TARA ANGELL

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Brunch With My Fancy Friend Luke

ME:  I'm completely insane. I even exhaust myself.

LUKE:  You know, there are a lot of pretty girls in the world, but the hot ones are are always the damaged ones.

ME:  Well, that's very comforting, thank you... Ooh! I think I'm going to get the smoked salmon with buckwheat blinis and caviar.

LUKE:  Mmm...No darling. Look at the price. That's way too inexpensive. They're using cheap caviar. I won't allow it.

ME (whining):  It sounds so good!

LUKE:  Nope. Not good. Friends don't let friends eat cheap caviar. Pick something else.

ME:  Sigh... all right...

LUKE (to the waitress):  We'd like 12 of your West Coast oysters to start, and two more Proseccos please.

ME (clapping hands):  Yippee! More champagne!

LUKE:  Well, of course, silly!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Vegetalian or Meatalian

Sooooo... I have a lot of crabby rules in my head about myspace, much like the rest of my life. Like, I don't add girl collectors if I can help it, or girls with default pictures of their asses. Unless of course the ass is used for comic effect, then I'm all for it. And I refuse to set up photo albums for my pets, although I do like looking at pictures of my friends' pets.

It's also my humble opinion that it's juvenile and fishing to bulletin requests for people to comment on either new photos or blogs. My thinking is that if people are interested in what I have to say or what I looked like last Saturday night, they'll head on to my page on their own.

If you were just getting ready to post a bulletin saying "New pics, please comment!!", I apologize in advance for calling you out, and hope that you understand it's for your own good. I do think there are exceptions to this rule as well, e.g. if you're posting for an event that you've blogged and you really want people to know about or say, um... if you're so incredibly desperate for attention that you reunite your metal band from 15 years ago and then post photos from the show for people who couldn't make it.

Another pet peeve that I know I bitch about too often: surveys in bulletins. Please describe your first kiss and chocolate preferences (Dark! Thanks, Dano!) in a blog like civilized adults, goddamnit. The only people who desire this information are stalkers and best friends, and they're already all over your page.

The other thing that torments me is random strangers sending invitations to subscribe to their blogs. I can understand if it's coming from someone I'm tight with and they want me to see what they're up to or read something specific that they think I might be interested in. But the stranger thing is bizarre to me. And invariably the blogs are crappy and long, full of boring stories about being on the train that try to be overly clever, or tedious poetry about being on the train. Why do bad writers always want to talk about being on the train and why do they ask people they don't know to subscribe to their blogs?

The last time I received an invite I decided to see what was on this stranger's mind, thinking maybe I'm just a crabby misanthrope (um...yeah...). So I sent the woman a message back saying, "Do we know each other? Is there a reason you want me to subscribe?" and she replied, "No, but I know your friend X and I'm very funny and entertaining and because you are intelligent I think you will enjoy my blogs." So that sounded fairly reasonable and I'm a sucker for even the most minor flattery, so I gamely went and took a look. And of course they were awful, because no one who is a decent writer is going to waste precious writing/eating dark chocolate time hunting for readers. And not for nothing, but dude, before you start tooting your own horn, maybe you should check out the person you're tooting at to see if you have anything in common or whether they're doing their own writing.

Sigh... But I'm not completely grumbly and foul-tempered and I do like to read other blogs, and voluntarily subscribe to most of my friends. My friend Maya is pretty genius with a sharp sense of the absurd, Dano is hilarious, and Holly is poetic, to name just a few. And I just happened on a co-worker's today and immediately decided I must send you all there; the blogs are marvelous, made even more so by the fact that English is her second language.

I work with a lot of Japanese people and the cultural differences are fascinating. The energy of the store and the office I work in is very high. Pat has a million things going on and the store is involved in much of it and we are always on stressy deadlines or freaking out over money or trying to put the place back together after it's been torn apart and covered in pink fabric for a party. And everyone's gay or female and therefore way too overly dramatic. If you didn't know what office you were walking into you'd think we were curing cancer or creating a world diagram for peace, the way we all carry on. And the store Director is generally stressed out and yelling about something. It's a very difficult job and he comes from your typical American/Italian family where everyone shouted at each as a matter of course.

I can totally relate to this as I am a highly emotional person too, and I understand that he's just blowing off steam and not actually intending to cause harm to anyone. I would much rather have it out with someone and then move on cleanly than hold it all in and fester. But the Japanese, especially those that haven't been here for very long, don't have the emotional vocabulary for this. They are extremely hard working and just the politest people on the planet and completely unaccustomed to people screaming at each other to get things done. They are gentle and kind, even if they secretly hate you. It's both disconcerting and completely lovely.

So periodically we'll get a new Japanese girl in the store and invariably she'll spend the first six months in tears. Motoko, one of our buyers, was constantly made to cry when she first arrived. It was painful and because I am sort of the house mother I worried for her and tried to speak for and to her, but I didn't know exactly what to say to help her feel okay. Then another Japanese employee pulled her aside and told her to start eating sweets in front of our former and very yelling Director, who just happened to be heavy her whole life and constantly on one diet or another.

It was absolutely brilliant and completely diabolical and utterly Japanese. Moto just sat there in hot pants, chewing pastries peacefully, all wide-eyed and with the most perfectly formed body you've ever seen, while her chubby and starving boss blew a gasket. The art of war indeed. And it got her through and though she still doesn't yell she now tells us to fuck off constantly and I haven't seen her cry in quite a while.

But it took a lot of time. It's like she not only had to learn English, but she had to learn a whole new language of relating as well.

Now it's Masami's turn, and when I see her holding back tears and the Director reacting in surprise, I am often reminded of that line in A League of Their Own when Tom Hanks shouts, "Crying? Are you crying?? There's no crying in baseball!!"

Crying? Are you crying?? There's no crying in retail!! And then the pretty face crumples and it's another day of consoling and mediating while sequin berets fly past your head.

Masami hasn't been here very long and she's in the early stages of learning the wacked out culture at a very crazy place of business. It's not easy. And on top of being in a strange country away from her family and friends, toiling at the pink house of fashion faggotry, she's also working in a restaurant at night. I can only imagine how draining all of it must be, and that's what she's blogging about right now: life in the service industry as seen through the eyes of someone who is way more courteous than our sorry-ass citizens. The blogs are genius, hilarious, and educational, so go check them out, there are only three: JAPANICANA

Okay, gotta go get ready to see Witchcraft at the Bowery Ballroom (for you stalkers out there). It's f-ing freezing out and I think I'd prefer to stay in my jammies and hang out with the pets, but the call of rock on a Saturday night will not be denied...

Monday, November 19, 2007

Forgiveness is the Fragrance

...that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it. Mark Twain said that. It's corny but it's cool.

One of the most interesting to me thing about relationships with both friends and lovers is what happens to them over time. Some of them just fade out after they've run their course, and then other ones deepen and become much richer and more valuable because of the shared history and understanding between two people.

Someone I am very close to fucked up majorly this weekend, shoved a microphone right into an old wound that runs very deep and touches all kinds of childhood crap and caused all kinds of major drama and breakups in our lives in the past. I was stunned, and felt really hurt that we had to go there.

But something shifted in me fairly quickly afterwards. My past reaction to this particular issue has complete explosions of rage, complete with lots of shouting and the occasional smashing of glass, but time and distance have mellowed things enough that I am able to see a little more objectively and not just freak out reactively.

I got a call from this person immediately afterwards and his voice was so close to tears and he was so genuinely sad and sorry for the fuck-up that any anger that I had been feeling drained away immediately. I realized that all this time and all the fights of the past were mostly about me just wanting to be heard and understood on this issue. And that finally happened, like a tiny miracle. And only time could bring us to a place of real understanding and peace (or as peaceful as life can be with someone like me).

I love that this can happen with people. That human beings can love each other enough to forgive the imperfections and missteps and remain solidly there for one another through the years. What someone looks like or does for a living or wears fades away and they are left simply living in your heart, a part of who you are. In my mind this is the real beauty of being human.

And then of course right afterwards I fucked up in a similar way with Drew. I really was a total asshole and the irony of the night was not lost on me. I pushed right into someone else's primal space and caused pain to the one person who always goes out of his way to make sure I am comfortable and happy and certainly deserves nothing less than complete respect and kindness from me. He was really angry for solid reasons and I had no leg to stand on as far as excuses. I was just rotten for a few minutes. Maybe because the night was long and already fraught with emotion, or maybe just because sometimes I behave like an idiot.

In any case, he eventually forgave me, as he always does, with infinite patience and a sarcastic sense of humor. I am as always, incredibly lucky. But that doesn't alter the fact that he still suffered from unnecessary damage that I inflicted. I fear there may be punishments in store that I dare not speak of for losing the family audience.

It's interesting to me that we all yearn to be loved for who we really are, and yet are so afraid to show our true selves for fear of rejection that we often reject people who get too close or choose people who will reject us. We keep everyone at arm's length and we never grind down to the truth of what really moves us, makes us afraid, motivates us. At least that's what I've done much of my life.

Now that I am more of an adult I'm better equipped to choose quality people who can "handle it", and I am less afraid of appearing imperfect or wrong. I am also slowly becoming softer and easier to deal with because I'm not as quick to react to other's imperfections as I get easier on myself about mine. It's such a relief to be able to just say, "I was wrong, I'm sorry", just as it's a relief to hear it from others.

Forgiveness is a gift to ourselves as much as it is to the person who has wronged us. It's so simple, and so completely complicated.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Halloween 2007

SOUNDCHECK:

Once we get Stonehenge mounted from the ceiling it looks like Moses' tablets. Relighting imperative.

I have a big fit because the circus performers have hung a burlap curtain that blocks out one side of the stage. Club staff ignores my strident demands for action so I huff a bit and then get up on an amp and poke it with a mike stand until it's jammed behind some wiring and no longer blocking everything. I feel very proud of myself but now the opening band The Hunt is eyeing us suspiciously. What, they've never seen crabby old bitches before?

Realize there will be very little space for the druids and decide to prop the one with the worst eyesight at the front of the stage and just tell him not to move for 45 minutes.

One person who shall remain nameless leaves a piece of intimate and slimming bodywear at the club and calls in to send Billy the lighting guy out onto the floor to find said item. After he relights Stonehenge of course. He doesn't find it but we believe that's bc he was under the mistaken impression he'd been sent to look for a bra.

AT HOME PRE-GIG:

Donna
calls to remind me to bring the witch hats.

I chew out Drew for staying out all night and getting wrecked the night before and tell him that he'd better be bright eyed and bushy tailed by the time we leave the house. He assures me he'll be most squirrel-esque by witching hour, then rolls over and goes to sleep.

Squeeze myself into police costume and curse my love of carbs.

Have a panic attack that no one will actually show up to see us play.

Keep thinking I'm forgetting something.

AT THE GIG:

Incredibly relieved to pull up and see a huge line outside the club and running down the block.

Realize I've forgotten to bring the witch hats.

Discover dressing room packed like an elevator full of sweaty strangers, broken cups and empty beer bottles strewn everywhere, and start shouting at people to get the fuck out. Bushy-tailed boyfriend shouts, "Get 'em, Honey!" Ex-girlfriend of guitar player says, "God, you're a bitch, Raff." I tell her if she doesn't like it she can make some space too, but she chooses to stay in order to torment Donna for not remembering her. Guitar player hides.

Apologize to the girls for forgetting to bring the witch hats.

Sweaty lead singer from other opening band the Stalkers is already so drunk he's verging on incoherent, tries to hit on extremely shy Gini who just smiles sweetly and looks at him like he has three heads. He turns to me and says, "Whisheso mean?" I say, "Hell, buddy, she's the nice one. Now maybe you want to get the fuck out of the dressing room so we can have a tiny bit of space?" He too chooses to stay.

Electric Dave
takes over stage door duty, thank you Dave.

Organize druids for big entrance.

ONSTAGE:


Druids! Stonehenge! Mayhem! Lights! Trying not to step on cables, trying to remember lyrics. Was that my line or Gini's? Oops! It's already passed.

Wonder if the cheap-ass police costume corset is bunching up and giving me a muffin top above my tiny skirt. Friend shouts out that my skirt is too tiny so I show everyone my ass (as per usual). This gets a big cheer and I hope distracts everyone from the muffin top.

Gasp for air with all the stage fog and suddenly remember that playing a full show is actually a fair amount of work.

Halfway through the set I notice some dipshit in a ringlet wig crawling all over Drew while he tries to push her off. I watch dumbfounded as she alternates between pouting over his rebuffs and new attempts to grind her crotch on his hip and wrap her arms around him. As I'm processing this I realize I'm in the middle of a show and pull my attention back to the fact that I have to focus on what I'm doing. Then I remember I'm the one on a platform with a microphone. Heh, heh, heh…When the song is done I shout: "Hey ringlets! I see you crawling all over my boyfriend while I'm up here working on this stage and you'd might as well just leave now because when I'm done I'm gonna find you and kick yer fucking ass. I got a bottle of tequila in the dressing room and a whooooole lotta fucking energy." Donna says, "She's not kidding, she'll do it!" The crowd goes "Ooooooh…"

Varied psychotic friends who enjoy a bit of the old ultra-violence now and then fan out to enact justice, but ringlets disappears for remainder of evening. Andre J. and my girl Corinne lean on Drew and grin at me from the audience. Someone whispers to Corinne, "Don't touch him!"

Show goes swimmingly, lots of headbanging in the audience, a small moshpit, druids perform expertly, no one fucks up too majorly, everyone has a blast, Lord Roadkill's cord is only kicked out of the amp about 10 times. Rock and roll!

AFTERSHOW:

Wasted lead singer of opening band still in the dressing room, now wearing Gini's Indian headdress. Guitarist's ex-gf continues to harass Donna who pleads with her eyes to me for rescue. I interject that Donna's senile and can't be expected to remember everything and hand her a bottle of whiskey for comfort.

Imbibe afore-mentioned tequila while Drew cracks jokes about being married to the eye of Sauron.

Midget (little person?) from circus performers decides to get naked in the middle of the room, then flips out on Electric Dave for looking at her and tells Johnny T that Dave's a little people pervert. Johnny T shouts at Dave for looking at naked little people. Dave looks confused.

Fabulous and talented girl who does acrobatics on a swing above the dance floor tells me she's a fan and I tell her no, I'm HER fan and we squeal and get really girlie and take pictures together and swear our undying love. T's so wasted she keeps poking her head in the corner of the photos we're trying to take.

Some goofball calls me Joyce and then says I look like his ex-girlfriend named Joyce. As if. I sic T on him, she slurs curses and kicks bottles off the table and he wanders off.

My supermodel bff doses us with her special supermodel uber-mushrooms. She and her also-model boyfriend are dressed as Sid and Nancy but because they're so pretty Drew dubs them Sid and Fancy. Since we're now high on mushrooms this is the funniest joke ever told.

Wind up at Three of Cups licking Mike's head (which tastes of substances) as he hops around with my leopard bag hanging from his neck, shouting "You are the greatest performer that ever lived!!" Drew says he's like one of those toads you can lick and get high off of. Another incredibly hilarious joke brought to you by drug abuse. I realize it doesn't taste that good, I'm only hurting myself and cut it out.


Dano
blesses us all in his priest costume, which I find oddly comforting. I think he should wear it all the time.

Aforementioned shapewear item is found.

Miki shouts last call and it takes me ten minutes to figure out which side of my coat goes up.

Pets are glowing when we get home.

I get a message from Donna that she forgot Stonehenge at the club.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Life is good. Thank you everyone for coming out and making it one of the funnest nights of my life. I'll post photos in another blog once they're all in.






Saturday, October 27, 2007

Update!

First, thank you so much everyone for the lovely birthday wishes. I have awesome friends and people wrote some really nice things and I got some great presents. I was touched, that myspace birthday feature is the shiz. And I blissfully forgot how old I was until Drew reminded me. No worries though. Once he comes to I'm sure he'll promise never to mention it again.

Second, I'm drained.

I forgot that the last time I performed a full set with a band I did not have a full time day job. Plus it's the busiest time of the year for the store which means the phones are ringing off the hook and I'm racing around shouting things like, "Oh my God, is it possible that we're out of white satin corsets? It can't be!!!" and "Can we overnight the last Madame Monastery costume to Idaho??"

And I don't even work on the floor. Thank God because I'd kill someone for sure. Today a woman came in, pushed her way through the melee and stated in a French accent, "I want to be surrealism." If I'd had a weapon in my hand she'd be dead right now. Luckily the kids who actually deal with the customers sort of shoved me gently and led her away before I stopped sputtering "Unspeakable! Unspeakable!" like Mia Farrow in Rosemary's Baby.

So yeah, grown women are tearing the place apart to get their sexy costumes together. Every costume is X + Whore = Slutty X. As in Indian Maiden + Whore = Slutty Indian Maiden. This year everyone wants to be a pirate or Marie Antoinette. You know, if pirates and deposed French royalty wore teeny minis and fishnet stockings. Pretty much everything needs a push-up bra and ruffle panties and a garter belt. If you walk in there asking to be a Hassidic wife you're going to walk out with a blonde wig, a g-string and a rhinestone handled riding crop.

So that's entertaining, but the roiling humanity of it all is killing me.

Then there are rehearsals, which come after long days of fashion mayhem and cut into time allotted towards much needed beauty rest. Gini lives in MN so we've had to jam them all in at once. And there are our own costumes and guest stars to organize. And dealing with the club to make sure that my high fashion co-workers along with the Queen Mother Ms. Pat are taken care of in the style they are accustomed, and that we have the gear we need and that the lighting guy can make it and t-shirts made and blah, blah, blah... And don't even get me started on the guest list, that alone could drive a sane person to madness. I have it on a google doc and I just rearrange and stare at it and it never becomes manageable. Thank God my mom's not coming bc she'd have to be on the reduced list.

But it's going to be a lot of sloppy fun and I just wanted to post an update before I plunge into the last few days of overtime bc I don't know if I'll get a moment again.

For everyone who's asking - we're on at 11:30. MF is notorious for its long lines so get there early. There's an open vodka bar from 10-11 pm so that should be incentive. Plus I hear the opening band the Stalkers are great. I took a look at the club today and it's cool and has a lot of rooms to wander in and out of and the staff actually seems cheerful and friendly. The party pushes for costumes, if you don't want to do that just don't go looking like a total slob and you should be able to get in with a minimum of hassle. After the bands it turns into more of a rock dance party and then they get tighter about the fashion.

Oh, and I just noticed my good friend RACHAEL wrote a blog some time ago about her experiences with CSFH that I thought was kind of cute: SUPERFREE. Her blogs are usually pretty funny but because she's not on myspace I forget to read them sometimes.

All right, I think that's it. Going to bed now so I can work an extra day this week in order to ensure that the good women (and some ahem…men) are cinched in and pulled up and teased properly for All Hallow's Eve. Thank God the accountant cancelled out on the early meeting Pat wanted to have tomorrow. Because nothing says good times like beginning an extra day of work with a long drawn out discussion about taxes. Luckily she pushed it back to another early Saturday morning. Sigh...


See you on Wednesday. If not then, see you at the bar.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Lust For Life




Donatella:
Dahlink, what did you say your name was?

Iggy:
Jim. But people call me Iggy Pop.

Donatella:
Mr. Poop with no shirt on, what do you think of this show? It's faboolous, don't you think? Faboolous.

Iggy:
Ah...that's Pop.

Donatella:
Yes, yes, silly man. Poop. How did you get so browney tan? You are more gloriously bronzed than my own gloriously glorious and beautiful goddess self and I do not like this one bit. How is this possible? I think I hate you now. Yes. I hate you and your rugged orange beauty, Mr. Ugly Poop. In my mind I am slapping you.

Iggy:
Pop, Iggy POP, you whacked out bitch.

Donatella:
Yes, yes, little brown man. You are repetitive and Donatella grows bored. You will give her a cigarette and go pouf! Away now.

Iggy:
You are batshit crazy, woman.

Donatella:
Fly, fly like the wind, Mr. Poop. Gaze at my exquisite blondeness no longer. Our special time together is now done.

Iggy:
Grrr...

Saturday, October 13, 2007

La Vida Loca

This is a strange and wonderful time for me. My life is better than it has ever been. Over the last few years I've been honestly happy, far happier than in earlier years when it looked from the outside like I should have been ecstatic, but was actually unhappy and confused much of the time. But this happiness has been punctuated by some standard moments of sheer panic, depression, and some truly crazy behavior.

I often get letters from people, mostly women living in smaller towns, telling me they envy my life and love reading my blogs because it brings them into a world they can only dream of and would love to have. I know exactly what they're talking about because I grew up in a small town and while there spent every waking minute hating it and researching what was going on outside the immediate radius. It's not easy and I used sheer force of will to propel myself out. But I know I've had the benefit of a good destiny as well.

I honestly believe that one of my contracts in this lifetime is to open up what I have been given for examination by people who feel they are looking in from the outside. This is lovely for me because it brings a deeper connection to the world, and dangerous because it's the internet and any lunatic with an agenda out in cyberspace can read whatever I'm saying. So I have to walk a fine line: I can't expose the people I love in some ways and I can't expose myself in other ways. I am also finding that when you are really visible and open people start believe that they know you intimately, and that can be a slippery slope into all kinds of uncomfortable situations.

I do lead an exciting life. I am friendly with all kinds of exciting people and occasionlly get to do exciting things. I am fully psyched for Halloween, which will afford an opportunity to dress up, get a lot of attention (my favorite!), and hopefully entertain the hell out a nicely sized crowd. Performing onstage in front of people who like what you're doing is the best thing in the world, and I don't intend to do it too often anymore so I want to be fully in the moment when I do. Being in a band is a lot of work, meant for 20 year olds who are willing to work crappy bar jobs to support the dream. I'm far too lazy and cranky for that.

The first six months of this year were spent fighting some serious demons contained within my psyche. I cleared out a lot of old energy, but I still struggle to find my way through my own twisted brain at times. There are all kinds of dark issues with self-worth, trust and boundaries, like most of us. I have come to the conclusion that I will always be a little crazy, and I'm okay with that as long as I don't do serious harm to myself or others.

I got into the big city when it was nearly impossible not to fall into something amazing and creative if you had the desire for it. It's not that simple anymore, and I feel for kids just trying to spread their rock and roll wings and fly right now. The fields are certainly not as fertile, and that's a tragedy of epic proportions. I am so grateful for what we had and continue to have because of that time.

I am also grateful that I am considered beautiful and that it has opened many doors for me. But it's a whole other can of worms as well. How do you let some of that go and find other ways to feel whole during the march of time when outward appearance is what society values and rewards above all? So far I'm just pretending that it's not happening and will most likely end up looking like one of those old showgirls with dyed black hair and false eyelashes at age 80, wearing a caftan and showing ancient photos to anyone who'll stop by to visit me and the inevitable herd of cats and yappy little dogs. I imagine the lamps will have scarves draped over them and TCM will still be the primary channel featured on the television.

Anyway, I ramble (surprise!). So what's the point? I guess I'm just trying to say that I am flattered that some of you are excited by my vida loca. But I want to make it clear that I also have the same bullshit going on that everyone else does: I have moments where I feel like I'm going nowhere. I get up every morning and go to work to support myself, as I have my entire adult life, and then I come home to my tiny apartment to feed the pets and vacuum, evil eye my boyfriend wondering what he's been up to all day, and load on 3 moisturizers before going to bed. That's the God's honest truth.

I hope this doesn't sound like an ego trip, because it's the opposite. I just want to acknowledge what you write to me, and to continue to try to pay my good fortune forward. I can't be intimate friends with everyone who seeks it on here, but I do try to share what I can, at least as much as is possible.



Friday, October 5, 2007

Standard Breakfast Conversation

Me:      So Amy and I were talking about how different people handle being insecure around new people. Like when she gets shy or uncomfortable she gets more talky, which is the opposite of how I deal. I was terrified socially when I was young so I developed a bitchy exterior to deflect having to talk to people, you know, as a defense for being shy.

Drew:   Well, you must be REALLY shy then…

Me:      Not so shy I can't smother you with a pillow when you're sleeping.

Drew:   My life is going to be hell until Halloween, isn't it?

Me:      You mean the day that I am restored to my rightful throne as Queen of the Universe?

Drew:   No, I mean the day that you dress like a whore and pretend it's 1989. Oh wait, that's every day.

Me:      Don't worry, babe, you're on the guest list. Can you rub my feet now?

Drew:   Sigh...




Thursday, September 27, 2007

Dean Johnson - Death of a Legend, Death of a Friend

I was shocked and saddened to learn of Dean Johnson's death yesterday, as I know many of you were. As of this writing the details of his passing are sketchy, but that is less important to me than the details of his life:

I met Dean Johnson in 1984 at Save the Robots. Robots, for those of you under a hundred, was an afterhours club on Avenue B, which was a pretty hardcore ghetto avenue in the 80's. When the club started it was little more than an empty white room on the ground floor and a dank room with a shitty bar and some disco lights in the basement. Everyone would head there after their club jobs or nights out and get even more fucked up and dance. It drew a very insular community of freaks and club types and meeting 6' 6", bald, funny, smart Dean was just part of the excitement of my life at that time.

My first real memory of quality time with Dean was one of those crazy Robots nights. We all took acid – Dean, my friend and roommate Shannon (who would take hours to paint a complicated tattoo on his/her face every night) and a few others that I can't recall now. That night I wore an uncomfortably skintight dress and brutally painful high-heeled pumps. I was completely hobbled and by the time we hit Robots at 4:30 am after a night of drinking and swallowing bits of paper I was tripping my brains out and could barely walk.

To make matters worse, my pre-lasik, contact lens-wearing eyes had watered so much from the drugs that the copious eye makeup I always wear had clouded up the lens. I couldn't see a thing. I was blind, in pain, high out of my mind, and hanging with fags who were having way too much fun to care about taking me home. Good times, people. Shannon propped me up against a wall, said, "Stay here!" (as if there were a choice) and wandered off for what seemed like hours. There was nothing I could do but watch the fuzzy lights and pray for an end. When Dean's round dome finally came into blurry view, moving towards me above the throbbing crowd, I wanted to cry with relief.

Afterwards we sat at a diner and talked as we came down. Dean had been listening to Abba in his tape-playing walkman, and we talked about his love of Abba and my teenage obsession with Todd Rundgren. It was comforting.

A few months later everyone was bored and Dean decided to gather all of the clothes off of his bedroom floor and put on a fashion show at the Pyramid for his friends. It was hilarious and an absolutely brilliant piece of conceptual "art". We cheered and shouted "Fabulous!" as he sashayed in old t-shirts. My mother still asks me, "How's your friend that put on that funny fashion show?"

Throughout the years we would run into each other or work together in varied capacities. Dean started Rock and Roll Fag Bar (a sort of precursor to Squeezebox) at The World, where I bartended. The party was completely unique for the time and rocked hard. And then he had his bands, Dean and the Weenies and The Velvet Mafia, for whom he wrote hilarious and cutting songs, which he talked/sang while oozing charisma in heels and a dress. He was a marvel to behold and an absolute star.

In the 90's he tried to bring Rock and Roll Fag Bar back to Coney Island High, where I managed, but it just didn't fly. Times had changed, there were a lot less cool people available to fill a room and Coney had too many hardcore punk douchebags lurking around, just waiting to get some quality fagbashing in. I hated that scene for its lack of glamour and understanding and I tried hard to make the place as gay friendly as I could, but it was impossible. Dean was a neurotic mess, bugging me in the office every day for money for flyers and drink specials and the like, trying to get the party going. He drove me nuts. But it was like having a sibling around. You know, if your sibling was a super tall bald man in a gown.

Myspace allowed Dean and I to reconnect again in a much deeper way than before, through our mutual love of writing. He loved my blogs and constantly encouraged me to write. His topics were much different than mine but there were many levels that we connected on. We both wanted to be truthful about who we are and about the world around us. I think that Dean did that most admirably and I recommend going to his page and checking his blogs if you haven't already done so. His page is HERE.

Dean was extremely generous of spirit and took the time to submit one of my blogs to Chi Chi's Verbal Abuse. I have a piece coming out in the next issue and it's completely due to his prodding. I was so touched that he would take the time to do that, but he genuinely wanted people around him to succeed. Dean brought some well-needed life to this town with his Reading for Filth series, in which he urged other writers to get involved and share their own stories. I heard from many people how great the readings were and thought I had time to make it to one. I was honestly surprised to hear of Dean's death because I had it in my head that he was moving on to his next phase as a published author. Now the reading that I will finally be present for will be his memorial.

I still have a funny email from him in my myspace mailbox waiting for an answer. I thought I had time.

To me, Dean Johnson epitomizes the New York that I came here to join. He was a freak, a faggot, a star, a creator, a friend. He participated, he inspired, he made people laugh, he brought people together. He was unflinchingly honest about his life as an escort, his sometime loneliness and desire for someone to love, and his fears about aging in regards to his profession. He was bitchy and bitter and yet a genuinely nice person who remained hopeful for what could be created. In other words, not really bitter at all.

Dean was a truly unique and special person. I will miss him very much personally, and the city has lost something very special. I hope his head is one of the ones I see when I get to the other side, poking out above the crowd.



Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Little Girls with Big Voices


I have been watching a fascinating trial on Court TV involving the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS), located in Utah (of course). The leader of the polygamous sect, Warren Jeffs, has been on trial for accomplice to rape and was found guilty this week. As of this writing he has yet to be sentenced.

The story is that a 14 year old girl named Elissa Walls was forced by her parents and community into marriage with her 19 year old cousin. This is common practice at the FLDS, as 14 is the age of consent in Utah and because the sect is polygamous and believes in multiplying as much as possible. They've got to get them out there and breeding as soon as they hit puberty. Elissa railed against the marriage but submitted, then eventually escaped and went to the Utah DA some years later, who then brought her case against Warren Jeffs. Warren Jeffs dictates the rules in his community and is considered to be God's voice by his large group of extremely devoted followers.

The children of the FLDS are home-schooled, usually up until about an 8th grade education. But the home schooling consists primarily of fundamentalist religious teachings. There is no sex education or information on how to get along outside their insulated community. There is no television or outside media allowed in, so the children are very naïve with hardly any knowledge of how the rest of the world works. The girls are married off very young, usually to men much older than themselves, and told that their holy mission in life is to procreate. Anyone attempting to veer from the mission is told they will go to hell if they do not listen to their prophet (Warren Jeffs) and behave as told.

Because it is a polygamist society, there is a necessity for a higher number of women than men. In order to facilitate these numbers, many teenage boys are driven from their homes and families out into a world that they know nothing about. They have no real education, and no means of supporting themselves so many end up homeless. In Utah they're called the Lost Boys.


This particular girl did not want to get married and cried and fought it very emotionally. But her family told her it was her duty and she had no choice but to submit. Once married she again cried and struggled against having sex with her new husband and that didn't go over so well either. She went to Warren Jeffs to ask him for help and he told her that it was her duty and that if she acted "sweet" towards her husband she would have an easier time, meaning she could go to the mall once in a while.

Eventually the girl got out with the help of an older sister who lived in Canada. Apparently a lot of them relocate to an area in Canada, it's sort of an outpost for the FLDS rebels. She has since divorced the original husband and remarried. She is 21 now and spoke at a press conference following the conviction. The video is HERE. She was very articulate and the speech was very moving, and I think what she did was impressive. She went up against her entire family and the only way of life she'd ever known to make a change, when she could have just taken care of herself and never looked back.

I come from parents who encouraged me to be whatever and whomever I wanted to be. The fact that my sister and I are female was never a factor in our upbringing and our thoughts and decisions were treated with respect even when, in my case, they weren't always the wisest or most prudent. I appreciate how incredibly lucky I am, as woman remains, in the words of John Lennon, the nigger of the world in many parts of the world. Although in this case it sounds like half of the men of the FLDS aren't getting too great a deal either.

I'm blogging it for a number of reasons. First, it's simply a very interesting case both story-wise and from a legal angle. Second, because I believe that Warren Jeffs' FLDS and other sects like his need to be shut down, and the first step in doing that is to bring public awareness to the situation. And third, because I am moved by Elissa Walls bravery and determination: one little girl with an 8th grade education and no means beyond her supposed value as a cog in a breeding machine managed to get herself heard and to make a dent in a cult leader's hold on his large following.

That's pretty cool, and pretty fucking badass, as far as I'm concerned.



Sunday, September 23, 2007

Raff's Recipe for Sunday

--Open all the windows, it's gorgeous out today.

--Whole wheat bagel with tofu cream cheese and tomato.

--Skynyrd on 11.

--Dance in your underwear to Skynyrd with the pets. It helps their enthusiasm and involvement levels if you hold the bagel while dancing.

--Apologize to your boyfriend for playing Skynyrd so loud while he's still in bed and offer him a bagel.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Another Day in the Life

I was out this week for one of Drew's gigs with the band (he's in three) that is getting a lot of attention. I'm finally getting the rhythm of these shows down, being surrounded by a ton of very attractive women much younger than me, men that I don't completely understand or feel connected to, just being in a scene that isn't my own. It's a new "rock" crowd and I am slow to assimilate into that which I don't already own. But the band is rocking, they put on a great show, and my man is a brilliant drummer and a joy to watch onstage.

We hooked up with Jonny, Brooke, an old friend named Denise, and our friend Timmy. Essentially family and extremely old school rockers, surrounded by baby girls in tiny skirts scanning the room anxiously for members of the band or others worthy of their attention. We stood near the DJ booth, where Mike Schnapp, my former manager and one of my favorite people, spun actual rock (for a change) and we went nuts when certain songs came on. We cheered and sang along to White Zombie and when no one else reacted the way we did Jonny shouted "Guess who's OLD school in this room!" Yep. Then he said something shitty and I slapped him in the head and he bit me and we shrieked at the next song.

The room was packed when the band played and people were not well-mannered. I felt tense and invaded. I want them to have a jammed show but I want to have a space to watch where I'm not being shoved. Denise began arguing heatedly with a wasted girl who was sort of weaving and stumbling and not paying attention. In my nervous tension I went straight into old school mode. I grabbed her hard by the scruff of the neck, turned her head towards me, and shouted down into her face in a deep voice, "LISTEN TO HER." The poor girl straightened up, blinked at me in surprise and said, "I'm sorry!" and literally darted away into the crowd.

I turned to Denise and said, "What happened?" And she said, "I'm wearing a boot" (one of those injured foot things) "and she kept stepping on me."

I thought, fuck, I just abused some poor little girl for stepping on someone's foot in a jammed room? I'm an asshole and a bully. But I was so uptight that I just clicked into dominator mode as soon as I saw a fight brewing. Sometimes I react physically before my brain processes properly.

And the band played on with the crowd cheering loudly. Ten minutes later Jesse showed up, still recuperating and vulnerable from a very serious illness, and the crowd veered around us dangerously. Giant guys with no consciousness for the words "excuse me" shoved us back and forth.

Then the little girl popped up like a bobber in water and drunkenly wrapped her arms around my neck. She slurred into my ear, "What did I do?" I said, "You didn't do anything, baby. You just stepped on my friend's sore foot. I'm sorry I grabbed you." She hung on me like a lover and I tried to extricate myself from the embrace. Jesse thought she was a friend and waited to be introduced. I shook my head and shrugged as she wrapped her arm in mine and put her head on my shoulder. He said his goodbyes, too physically delicate for the mayhem and as he turned to leave it dawned on my little date who he was and she ran out after him.

Behind us wasted straight girls dangled upside down off of the obligatory stripper poles that now decorate every club, their badly clad crotches (I know this bc I'm a lingerie buyer!) a mere foot or two from our faces. Jonny shouted, "Whores! You're all disgusting WHORES!" After the show, he looked around in disgust and turned to me as he left and said, "After all these years you're STILL the hottest girl in the room, bitch." Thanks, Jonny, you made my night.

At the afterparty (because you know, there's always an afterparty) I was handed a large chunk of extremely strong mushroom by a Sports Illustrated supermodel. She kissed me hard on the lips and said, "Here you go, baby." I chuckled thinking how many men would kill somebody to be in that position.

There I went indeed. Mind you, this was at 2 am, and I had to work the next day. But it seemed the appropriate thing to do, mushrooms are so happy and generally benign. Within 20 minutes Drew and I were melting into a couch with other trippers, giggling and shouting nonsense. On either side of me were two of the prettiest women you've ever seen, the supermodel and her best friend, and on hallucinogens they seemed to glow, their limbs long and slender, perfect skin, faces of angels. When I shut my eyes colors danced at me at lightning speed. When I opened my eyes lovely wood nymphs were pouring glasses of whiskey for me and trying on my shoes. I made Drew get up and sit next to me so I could hold onto his hand in order to stay grounded.

And then at 4 am he dragged me out. I would have stayed there until daylight most likely, consuming what was apparently an endless supply of high grade hallucinogenic mushrooms hidden in an expensive handbag. Lest anyone out there thinks I'm a total maniac, I don't do things like this very often, but when I do I tend to need a minder. I also have a work rebellion thing. I'm hyper responsible and work my ass off at my job, but sometimes I just don't want to be the good girl. Sometimes it seems more important to live that moment at that moment than to worry about what time I have to get up in the morning.

We got home and I apologized to the pets for my bedraggled state. They too glowed very prettily. We took something to help us sleep and I went out watching the colors dance behind my eyelids.

In the morning I awoke very early to my building manager calling me to tell me the super and workers would be delivering a new (used) stove and refrigerator to my apt. I've been bugging them about my busted appliances for a while. Drew left for rehearsal and I helped the guys tear my apartment apart, yanking out the old appliances with the contents of the fridge laid out on every available surface. Once they were done I did a head count to make sure all furry bodies were present, left the mess and ran to work, feeling somewhat vulnerable and emotionally messy. I felt badly about grabbing the little girl and sometimes I just feel overwhelmed by this strange new world that has entered my life. I worry that it will separate me from Drew, I worry that I am not strong enough to handle it.

I listened to the Black Crowes on my ipod as I walked. Chris Robinson shouted, "I hate myself. Doesn't everybody hate themselves?"

Yep.

I ran into one of the wood nymphs on the street; she looked all fresh and clean and shiny and unhurt by the night's activities, despite the fact that she'd stayed up til 10 am. But it was comforting to see her somehow.

Drew knew I was feeling shaky and he sent a text when I got to work, "Don't worry, honey. It's all good, you're safe, and I love you like crazy."

And then I got down to the work for the day.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Notes from the Frontline


My friend DINA sent this to me a while back: AIRBRUSHING

Once you get to the page, click on the link at the top that says portfolio, then on the photos that come up. If you run the mouse over them once you've clicked on a photo, you'll get the "before airbrushing" photo. The differences are pretty interesting.

It's no secret that I'm fascinated by the business of beauty and what constitutes beautiful. What fascinates me most is how arbitrary it is: that society's opinion about what is attractive and what isn't changes all the time. Not only does it change from century to century, but it changes every decade as well.

Someone in my office mentioned the classic Robert Palmer girl in a conversation and another girl had no idea what we were talking about. So I pulled up the videos on youtube and showed her. It's funny to me when I realize how different my cultural vocabulary has become from what the average 25 year old uses for reference. I realized it one day when someone was playing a mash-up (a heinous trend) that included "Dust in the Wind". The girl sitting next to me said, "Isn't this new song the saddest, most beautiful thing you've ever heard?" I was like, "Girl, it's Dust in the Wind, corn-pone once only slightly less overplayed at high school dances than Stairway to Heaven." And she replied, "What's Stairway to Heaven?".

So as we watched the video we marveled at how gorgeous the girls looked, and since the 80's are continually being mined for every trend the dresses didn't seem so bad either. But the women look remarkably different than models look in 2007. There's a breadth and power in their bodies that's missing right now on the runways. It seems like I'm constantly around models lately, and I can tell you that they're far skinnier than even 10 years ago. It's stunning how frail they are. Cindy Crawford could break one of these girls over her knee.

At first it made me feel gigantic and shitty, now I'm sort of enjoying being a totally different creature. I'll never be as young and pretty again as they are, but once I got over that insecurity I realized I've always been more interested in being sexy rather than fashionable anyway. I like my own physical power.

I'm also a little disturbed that everyone is saying how incredibly fat Britney Spears appeared in her disastrous MTV Awards appearance. Comatose, messy, poorly dressed with bad extensions, yes, but I didn't think she looked that fat. She just didn't look incredibly skinny, which I suppose is the same thing as fat at this point in time. I do love the reports that she showed up hours late for that day's rehearsal with a plastic cup in her hand containing a margarita. Ha! Then she refused to wear the corseted costume picked out for her, fired her hairdresser, and took a percocet before hitting the stage. Go Britney in your cheap bra and panties!


The face that is fashionable right now on the runways is a sort of round, wide-eyed doll-face, reminiscent of the kewpie doll face of beauty that was so prevalent in the 20's and 30's, much different than the 80's or 90's stronger, heavier browed, wider-mouthed visage. I'm too lazy to search out images for you but if you go to style.com and check out some of the shows you'll see what I'm talking about. Everything becomes more and more pre-pubescent (except for the fake boobs) as our culture caves in on itself. Is it any wonder that every woman you see in Playboy right now is completely devoid of pubic hair? When you stop comparing yourself to images and look at them from a more objective point of view, things start looking pretty silly, more like a sociological experiment than anything we should take that seriously.

The interesting thing to me about the airbrushed photos is that I actually like some of the befores better. Like Cate Blanchett looks cool and sort of tough in hers, then after the work she just looks ordinarily pretty. I think about a perfect album cover like Patti Smith's Easter and wonder what would happen if someone tried to put that out today. Maybe it would fly, since she is pretty damn skinny...



Oh wait… there's no such thing as album covers anymore. Sigh…

Anyway, you get what I'm saying, which is nothing new or groundbreaking. I just like to file a report once in a while since I've got a front row seat much of the time. I suggest everyone get a plate of pasta and watch this still fabulous video one more time.




Monday, September 3, 2007

Thanks Mike, You Rule

This will be going on every summer holiday until the end of time:

Me (in Mike's kitchen mixing a pitcher of bloody marys for a bbq full of people): Agh!! What's coming out of the speakers? What the hell is that? Is that electroclash? Is someone playing ELECTROCLASH?? What the fuck?? Are my ears bleeding? Make it stop!!!

Mike (already sprinting in from the back yard): I'm on it, I'm on it!!

Me: Agggggghhhhh!! I'm melting! It burns! It's horrible!!

Mike (hastily scrolling through the music list): I'm moving as fast as I can!!

Drew (rolling his eyes): It has to be something from the narrow window of 1970 to 1978 or she'll never shut up.

Steven Tyler from the speakers: HUH! Write me a letter, write me a letter today…
 

Me: Ahhh…thank you…brain is unfreezing…I can feel my fingers again…

Drew: God, you are such a brat, Mary.

Mike: Sshh, you'll ruin her concentration! More tobasco?

Disconnected, very gay voice from the back yard: What happened to the music??

Friday, August 31, 2007

Dinosaur Walk


This morning on my way to work I stopped in front of a certain 3rd Street club for a chat with a friend who lives there and was moving the bikes from one side of the street to the other. As we talked I looked at the door which was once painted with a fearsome image and recently destroyed by the NYPD in a raid, to be replaced with a plain grey one. I miss that fearsome black door.

Looking at it made me flip through the catalog of memories I share with this club, not all good: Being held hostage in the Lismar til late in the night by one of their outer borough members on a psychotic, drunken tear. I talked myself out of hysteria in the mirror in the bathroom and went back out and calmed him down enough to be able to close the bar and leave with myself and the remainder of the patrons intact… Seeing innocent people get seriously hurt just for being in the wrong place at the wrong time...Getting choked for voicing my opinion too stridently during a brawl. Watching Donna jump on one of their backs in the middle of that same brawl. Getting hosed down with the soda gun at the Scrap Bar by one particularly loose cannon, only to get a sincerely apologetic visit at my job from the higher ups the next day. I think there were even flowers involved, and after that offender disappeared, not that I believe it had anything to do with me.

So I have very mixed feelings regarding the organization, but some great memories too:

Hanging with my band, drinking beer on a stoop and watching Circus of Power play at the annual 4th of July party. Watching a Eurotrash asshole harass everyone in the Lismar and then get on one of the bikes out front. We all clapped as he went sailing through the air... Regularly hanging out after working my shift at the crappiest of all dives ever created (the Pit Stop) with one of the members I considered a real friend. He was a Viking bear of a man, but spoke gently to me about how my time behind the bar wouldn't last forever. He never once hit on me and was the first one to arrive for the afore-mentioned official apology. I was very sad when he died in a motorcycle accident, as many of the ones I knew well have, and I never pass the club without thinking about how special he was. There are a couple of other members who I consider to be real friends, and there is something to be said for their old-dog, continued refusal to let go of the lifestyle. They're a remnant of my old hood and I'm grateful for that.

Then I passed the shell of CB's, which currently has flowers and cards strewn in front of it with the words, "RIP. We'll miss you Hilly." spraypainted on the gate. I didn't know Hilly personally and never had that much attachment to saving CBGB's bc I believe everything has a shelf life. But I do feel for the people who knew and loved him, and it's still sad to pass it every day, another reminder of gigs gone past and the heavy wheels of change.

I got to work and took a look at some new sequined dresses we received yesterday which have the image of Jim Morrison painted on the front. I know the person who created the dresses and although she's talented and a nice person, I also know that she doesn't listen to the Doors. It's depressing but I see shit just like it every day.

Then I turned on my computer and a google alert announced that a certain spoiled, ridiculous, vapid, Almost Famous wannabe is shouting over the internet that she is very tight with my boyfriend and subsequently his band. I wouldn't mind if she actually cared about the music, but it's just about using someone who actually does rock to prove some non-existent depth, the same way Morrison is being used for those dresses. Even the rock groupies of this generation have no integrity! It reminds me that I need to start a preferred reader list for these blogs, btw. At the moment I'm too lazy and am just doing friends only.

So I know I sound depressed, but I'm really not. There are a couple of kids in the store who really get what's cool and what isn't, and they ask me all the time what it was like back when the EV was a true community of musicians, artists, performers, and yes, bikers. They sneak in music (Pat hates rock) over the store sound system that even I forgot. They brought back Natasha's fabulous dresses from late 70's/early 80's St. Marks Place. Every time I look at them hanging in a row I feel a small sense of relief, not so much for the nostalgia, but because I am witnessing a desire for a certain pioneer spirit rather than a mere unimaginative rape of imagery. Every time Natasha comes in the store we greet each other warmly with a kiss. We were mere acquaintances back then, now we feel like war buddies.

And once I got into the office another 20-something co-worker complained about the NYU twats that took over the bar she was in last night and how she ended up dumping a beer on one and having him thrown out of the bar. She said it felt great and she asked me if I thought NY would change because even she hates it now. I wanted to hug her for noticing.

So yeah, I'm old and bitter and still singing the same tedious dirge about what's happened to my hood and to subculture in general. But I feel okay this morning. I have a slew of brilliant memories that other people only dream about. I'm grateful I was here during such a special time. Today it felt sort of peaceful to watch the bikes get moved for the millionth time, and it makes me happy to have a few of the "kids" I work with really get it. I genuinely want to see them able to create whatever they want, it doesn't have to be what we did, just something of true rebel heart. It's also comforting that Patricia still plays by her own demented rules and continues to provide a home for the freaks (albeit dysfunctional) while the neighborhood around us grows upward in glass and steel. And who knows, maybe the real estate market will crash and things will get interesting once more.

Crazier things have happened.


Sunday, August 26, 2007

Bark at the Moon


I've been thinking about the pets a lot today.

As most of you know, my dog is a constant issue. This week he's developed some sort of allergy from who-knows-where, and he has chosen to express his discomfort by yapping for hours at his own ass throughout the night at random times. It is unbelievable. No amount of discussion will change his mind on this point, and I got so frustrated at 5 am that I shook him and yelled into his terrified face, and then got up again and smacked his ass repeatedly at 5:30 am, which then shut him up for a short while (until he felt his back end needed another talking to) but kept me awake feeling shitty and weepy and wondering how I have failed as a pet owner that I'm actually hitting my dog in rage and frustration

I have had two dogs before this one who were amazing, magical, genius pals who went with me everywhere. One was a Pomeranian named Bean, and after her came a Peke named Panda. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about and miss Panda. I purchased both dogs as puppies before I really had an awakened consciousness about the sea of homeless animals out in the world (even though I worked as a volunteer at the Humane Society as a teenager—heartbreaking).

When Panda died I wanted to do the right thing and adopted his doppelganger—abused, abandoned Winter. And though Drew and I both love him, it's like having a retarded child. He's just not an easy dog and after 3 and a half years of stress we regularly talk about putting him down. I just don't have the heart to do what feels like another abandonment.

Now this whole Vick thing is happening and it's been making me think about my own role in the world as an animal lover. I feel like a hypocrite in some ways. I am not ready to give up leather. Though very seldom, I eat meat on occasion. I work at a store where fur is sold, regardless of the heated arguments I have put up against it. Though I've gotten rid of most of my vintage fur coats, there are a couple I'm not ready to part with yet. And I yearn to have a tiny, fancy breeder-bought dog that will trot alongside me happily to work every day.

I honestly believe that we have no right to use animals the way we do. And I believe that because domesticated animals count on us exclusively for their well-being we have been handed a sacred trust and responsibility that must be honored. Every time we violate that trust with abuse or neglect, we violate our own selves.

I hear from people occasionally who state that animal rights people are so into animals that they don't pay any attention to other problems in the world that are, in their minds, more important – e.g., child abuse
, world hunger, genocide or war. I do care very much about those other issues, but for whatever reasons animals are what move me to action, and I feel I must put my energy where I am directed. I also know that the environment would be greatly improved if we cut down on our use/abuse of animals as food, so to me those are two issues that go hand in hand.

Anyway, I'm rambling a little, I guess, and not sure what my point is. My friend Angelo has a friend named William Kay who submitted an anti-dog fighting video to the Humane Society and watching the submissions broke my heart a little. Every one was devastating and William's was really powerful. If you want to check them out and vote they're HERE. Make sure you have something cheerful to watch afterwards, though. Anyway, then I went to bed in the hopes of getting to a class at the gym at 10 am, and was instead kept up all night long by one example of my own imperfect attempts at making a difference in the world. I feel guilty that I hit him and guilty that I am not out on the frontlines the way many of my friends are.

The one positive note that I can see at the moment is that Vick and his friends have brought the issue of dogfighting to the public eye more than any amount of bulletin posting or petition signing could do. And that's one step towards a world without suffering and it brings me a small amount of comfort.

All right, gonna pull myself out of this doggie funk and go get a mani/pedi, return some overdue phone calls, give the dog an anti-itch bath, and hopefully see some of you rock stars at Dirty Bomb tonight.



UPDATE:

I got some nice emails from everyone on this and some friends at Dirty Bomb also mentioned it last night. Thanks everyone. I gave that rotten Peke a bath with some medicated shampoo and voila! No more barking at his ass. Right before we went on vacation I used a cheaper shampoo bc I ran out of the usual stuff, and I think it's been bugging him ever since. He's still a pain in the ass but I did get a full night's sleep last night and I'm touched that everyone is concerned.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Ohm

What it's like inside my brain during the meditation portion of yoga class:


Shit, are we supposed to have palms up or palms down? Why is that guy breathing like that? Is anyone else grossed out by earthy yoga dude's inappropriate sighing? Blech!...La la la...Did I order too many nun costumes? Does anyone really want to be a French maid anymore? What about stockings, should I get more plain white ones? Nah, last Halloween we had too many…Dum de dum de dum...I can't believe I got those Louboutins on sale, wish I had somewhere to wear them... I wonder how the new shoe floor is at Saks. Maybe Kim will want to go with me next time she's in town... Okay, are we still supposed to be lying down? I can't hear a frigging word she's saying from back here. Everyone's probably sitting up while I lay here with my eyes closed, looking like an idiot... I like this laying down in the dark portion of the class, though. The only thing missing is a masseuse. Yay! Although I doubt this is calorically effective in any way: "Miss Stoger, I would just like to say that physical education in this school is a disgrace. I mean, standing in line for forty minutes is hardly aerobically effective. I doubt I've worked off the calories in a stick of Carefree gum"…Crap! Why do all roads lead back to Clueless? ...FOCUS, MARY, FOCUS... Okay, what's the thought for the day, oh yeah, forgiveness. Forgiveness… forgiveness… hmm... Well, I can tell you one thing, I'm not forgiving that wall-eyed little bitch right now. I can't believe the balls on that twit, she has no idea who she's fucking with. I will crush her like the insect she is. I will pull her heart out through her throat. I will tear her intestines with my teeth, I will… Damn it!! Not the lesson for today! There will be no intestine chewing this evening! Oh Lord, why did you make my heart so black? I want to be good, it's just that people keep getting on my nerves... All right, just let it go for now…Breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out. Shoulders down, chin up, lengthen, lengthen…Oh great. What is that? Am I getting my period?…Wait a minute, is everyone sitting up while I'm laying here festering?? DAMN IT!! Now I look like an idiot!! Sigh…

Sunday, August 12, 2007

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

I have returned from a vacation in the woods at my mother's house and am wishing we were still there. The weather was great and we swam nearly every day in crystal clear water. I didn't bring a camera so there are no new photos, but there's an old blog HERE with photos of the delightful fairyland that is our regular vacation spot and the home of my family.


Some highlights include:


Constant eating. And I do mean constant. Eggplant Parmesan, clam linguini, stirfries, big breakfasts, rhubarb pie, peach pie, chocolate cake, lemon cake, zucchini bread, banana bread, and the master of them all, chocolate pie with whipped cream. Luckily Michigan is the land of the giant ass so no matter how much you eat you're still skinnier than most people in Meijers:






By those standards my entire family is anorexic and Drew and I used this as an excuse to eat like we were going to the chair. I also got this from a very nice scale in the mall:



It only cost 50 cents and my sister got a similar message. We both agreed it was a bargain at any price and celebrated by heading to the food court to eat fried food and jeer at the locals.

And speaking of Meijers, my sister claims that the elderly recoiled from me in terror in the grocery store, but I choose to believe that they were simply in awe of my natural beauty and waiflike physique.

Little Ninjas: My three year old nephew in a black satin karate uniform frog hopping and shouting "ai, ai" while punching a mitt held up by his sensei (or whatever you call them). May have been one of the cutest things ever witnessed, and I don't even really like kids. As an added bonus we got to watch a crazed sugar addict named Austin get booted out halfway through class for running around wildly waving his arms in the air, completely unable to focus for more than five seconds. He got two or three time outs but he was so manic that ousting became inevitable. His very drained mother was a pretty blonde who couldn't have been older than 22 and carried a baby on her hip. I felt so bad for her that I forgot my loathing of Republican housewifey breeder types for a moment. She looked completely dazed, like one minute she was in a prom dress wondering if she'd remembered to take her birth control pill that morning and then the next woke up with screaming kids hanging off of her.

This asshole barking all night:






Turns out that on top of being epileptic, snappy with strangers and nearly blind, he's also afraid of the dark and unable to sleep for more than an hour in strange places. On top of that he's bizarrely allergic to something in the country which makes him scratch and chew at himself noisily late into the night. We finally set him up in the garage with a night light and a bed as far away from everyone as possible so we could get a little sleep. Well, everyone except my mother whose house is closer to the garage than the guest house we were in. Drew made me promise that the dog is staying behind next year, which will save about $300 in flying costs anyway. Luckily I managed to talk my friend Alison into staying with and feeding the herd of cats left behind, so next year I'm just going to casually leave the dog in the apartment without mentioning it to her.

There was a heated argument with my brother in which he stated that I am so accustomed to people kissing my ass that I have grown bitchy and mean. To which I replied that he must have a short memory indeed because I was bitchy and mean long before anyone paid any attention to me whatsoever. He also kept using the phrase "you people" which leads me to believe that the 3-pronged matriarchy that is my mother, my sister, and myself may be grinding him down a bit. Here is a photo I took with my phone while torturing him very early in the morning as he tried to sleep:






Hours and hours and hours of Oblivion: Elder Scrolls IV on the Xbox 360. Hi, I'm Mary and I'm a total nerdbomb in disguise. This is what it really looks like inside my brain:





I got to level 3 and into the Arcane University as a mage apprentice and was all set to fight a vampire as soon as I found some lockpicks to get into his home, and then sadly, sadly it was time to fly back to New York.


So I know there are some overdue phone calls and emails waiting, and there are a ton of blogs out there that haven't been read. But right now I've gotta go purchase Oblivion for the PC. 
Oh, and I'm off the wagon, which was celebrated last night with Jagermeister and Dano surprising me with an anatomy lesson entitled "the brain". Yippee!