11:02 am EST, floor of Jonah's office at Alt. Press, Cleveland OH.
I think it's Thursday today.
(I freestyled the following entry, pardon the incoherence, I have a time crunch here.)
Best news! Best news! First email of the morning says "Your essay "Emo: Where the Girls Aren't" has been selected for inclusion in DaCapo's Best Music Writing 04. I FEEL MOTHERFUCKING LEGIT, KIDDOS! Look for me running through the AP parking lot, clicking my heels like a leprachaun.
Yesterday was a tumult. We listened to the mini dv board recordings from the night before (see below) and discovered I had learned some parts wrong, and that after the boy yelled the shit at me (see below) I fumbled, and mistuned to D twice, harshing our last two songs. Humility I do well with usually (no, really), critique - not so good.
Relearned the songs during soundcheck, was frustrated with myself, wound up angry and crying in the van by myself after soundcheck. The eeemo inner tumult and desperation to actually be playing the songs seamlessly made for the best show we've played. Three goofy kids with x's on their hands danced special goofball kid dances and screamed along with the set. I put my foot on the monitor. Cliche rock n' roll catharsis is now a real, actualized part of my world, thank you
After opur set I went to my aunt's house and she made me a nutritous meal. Mid meal her neighboor came over, red-eyed, holding an ancient snaggletooth poodle, and said she had a favor "My mother just had last rites administered, I am wondering if you could pray for her."
Nothing like mortality to put your dumb van-life problems in perspective.
Also, an addendumb to the Buffalo bit before: Buffalo is fucking amazing. At about 9 am, I was walking back from the tea store, and happened upon two dorky-ish looking guys with a big antenna on a toast brown mini-van, head phones, portable soundboard and head phones, ciphoning municipal power from a light pole. And one of them was holding a trombone. I stopped and said "are you guys about to pirate broadcast?". Turns out they are part of some esoteric arts consortium/clubhouse/squad that buys up airtime on the local am airwaves and randomly broadcasts. They are going to be using their time that morning to do some trombone riffing and discuss synestisia ( synthesizing of the senses) and " what makes a good why questions? what makes a bad why question? ". The said if I wanted to go get my bass and "solo for a bit", I could. I told them I would just sit and watch and if they needed me, let me know. The dude solo'd on the trombone, unspectacularly, for about 6 minutes. I felt like I was witnessing an outtake from Slackers, and it made me love the alternate reality vortex that is Buffalo.
So, I assumed it was like, low watt broadcast on some signal otherwise unoccupied... until the dude becksons me over to the mic and puts a headset on me and the lady on the other end in a radiocaster silkiness goes "Good morning Jessica, welcome to the blah blah morning show AM1270". Apparently the consortium buys airtime, like one would commercial time, on the morning am drive time show in Buffalo. The lady interviewed me for about 4 minutes about being on tour, and what I loved about Buffalo ("It's a magical place. Very clean.") and then thanked me. "Sports and Weather next" she said.
My life is so fucking amazing. I love this.
Also, in other news, I got to drive the van for about two hours yesterday. Dave says I may be allowed van keys sometime after Chicago. I feel like I am 15.
Off to Detroit.
BUFFALO SOLDIERS / BUFFALO GALS
4/29/7:49am EST, inside sleeping bag, amy's living room, Buffalo NY
Last night was the best night of tour thus far. We - all 4 bands - turned from labelmates to microcosm in arms. We became a we . Everyone played great sets, and the kids were out en masse. Everyone watched everyone elses set, pitched in on vocals on Strike's circle pit anthems, stage dove, all took turns helping Brad fr. From Ashes hobble around with his newly casted foot. There are now gimps and cripples in both our band and From Ashes, so everyone is helping each other bands load in/out, which is sweet. I get the it now. We are orbiting in the tour bubble. We are mini-universe. We are heavily tattooed familia.
Family felt important last night, as 15 minutes into our set, (me feeling excited because there were A LOT of girls in the audience, up front and bolstered by that) -- from stage right, during a silence while Dave tuned and Al harangued the audience about voter apathy, some boy yells "I WANT TO FUCK YOUR BASS PLAYER!" I was shook, but I played it off, I shielded my eyes and saw out into the crowd -- the boy was covering his head with his hoodie, all his friends has moved away from him to isolate him. I gave him the finger and blew him a kiss. Al asked him if he would like to come up on stage and work out some issues.
I was shook and I tried to play it off, but was so distracted, I mistuned to D - not once, but twice -- and made my parts sound off for the rest of the set. I did not want to show this fucking idiot that he had effectively eviscerated me, but I kept my head down for the rest of the set, just trying to concentrate.
After our set, I was so mad, I was shaking. Despite being on stage every night in front of a room of people, I had forgotten I was being watched. Despite being a small, outwardly peaceful lady, I was ready to deliver a NYHXC-style beat down in the club parking lot with a cueball in a tubesock.
All the guys in my band were furious as I was, made apology to me for it, Al was mad he did not say something better, address it more specifically. The rest of the bands that night did - From Ashes closed their set by reminding the men in the room that this was a punk show - "Not some strip club out by the airport", and Brad called the guy a retard and suggested he leave the show, as well as read a book and enlighten himself. Dan from Paint it Black went off after one of their songs which is of a feminist/anti-patriarchal bent -- that he's bothered every day by the gender imbalance in the bands, at the shows, etc and that when I play on stage every night he is always hoping it will inspire girls to start bands, and when some asshole objectifies me, it leaves a whole room of women feeling unsafe -- and why would any woman want to get on stage if she's going to get sexist shit yelled at her. Thomas from Strike gave a more esoteric once over about how the hardcore community is so built up around "respect", but that it needs to be extended to "our sisters" and as men we need to build communities that honor womens lives, respect women's choices rather than suppresses them. Then they played Refusal, which is an pledge of allegiance to feminist struggle, which makes me cry every time I hear it. 90% of the kids in the room screamed along, and I hoped they were really hearing the words.
What was important for me here was not what they said or that they even had my back, but that we are touring and associating with people for whom the quality of women's lives, the feminist struggle, is important to them, is something they have an eye on, something they have acute awareness of. That is rare.
Some really cool girls who had been in the front row during our set came and talked to me after the show, told me about the burgeoning Buffalo-area basement fem-scene and that there are a lot of women active IN the music scene there, and a lot of them are kind of working outside the legit channels, more DIY. I got some links for Buffalo area DIY girl bands, and will post them soon.
Today we head to Cleveland. From Ashes said we could borrow their Steely Dan mix tape. Today will be great for that reason alone.
6:04 pm EST, Starbucks, Chippewa and Delaware, Buffalo NY
ALBANY IS A SHITHOLE.
The loping, pristine, emerald hills that line the freeway on your way into Albany fool you into thinking it's all vineyard, and stone chimneys and that maybe the club will be housed in an "olde tavern" staffed by "townsfolk", or at least rugged people who look like they run oystering boats certain seasons. If that's what you assume about Albany, you have assumed far too much; Albany is a shithole.
When we arrived at the club, we stepped among piles of trash - ancient litter that had lived there for decades perhaps, a tiny swarm of people surrounding our van waiting to get out of it so they could ask us for 11 cents , an irate coupling of vets heckling the air from a bench and two dudes folding their laundry and having an animated convo about Dickie Betts. I told Al that I felt like we had driven into a third world country. He said "No, if this was a third world country they wouldn't be asking for change, they'd be trying to steal your shoes."
Our soundman looked exactly like Kato (as in OJ-Kato). He had a hemp rope necklace and a belly-shirt. When I took my sweater off during pre-sound check, he made a comment the raised my ire. We had some subtextual dialogues for the rest of soundcheck that put me in a punching mood. This has been the first real instance of this for me, this tour. Most of the promoters have been really great, soundpeople, door staff the same. If anyone is assuming anything, it's that I sing and do not play an instrument, or that I am traveling with the band, or that I cannot carry my amp head and try and pull it out of my arms.
Show was fine. Better. 11 women. Only person who would talk to me, other than the lady at the Planned Parenthood voter registration table (they have the best table at the shows: you can get free chocolate vaginas, travel paks of lube and brochures on new laws affecting your uterus.), was an ex-con who had just done a two year bid for drug sales, and was breaking parole to come to the show. Slept through the rest of the show, load out and woke up when we arrived at the hotel we stayed in.
Woke up at 6:24 am in the sort of dumpy motel where lonely high school teachers have affairs, with three of the five boys snoring as if to call God down from heaven. Plugged in the ipod, walked around the parking lot, watched a lady who was pumping gas with her eyes shut (she busted me staring), excitedly looked over into what I thought was a river, but was a trash-filled ravine, watched the sun come up some, retreated back into the dim solitude of room 107 to work.
Today, thus far, Weds. afternoon in Buffalo = eventless. The ladies room at the Continetal has some of the most explicit graffiti in the stalls ever seen by my eyes -- ie: some tome about having sex with twins, the commanding "Don't suck dick smaller than 7 inches," first hand accounting of impregnation by a club bouncer, a poem about "fingering". The sapphic sexual agency of the women of Buffalo is pretty intimidating.
In other news: Brad, From Ashes Rise gtrist, broke his ankle in a fit of jumping on stage last night, unsure whether they will mkae tonights show. Also, according to FAR -- they listen to all of Steely Dan's 2 CD best of most every day in the van. I might have to expatriate, as I have never felt so self-concious as when I tried to put the jazzbo-wonderfulness of Joni Mitchell Hissing of Summer Lawns on the iPod. Two songs into it, I switched to some Brother Ali, out of sheer discomfort.
Ah! Time for soundcheck.
1:37 am, spare room w. hardwood floor, Somerville MA
Huzzah for the wi-fi.
Huzzah for van humour and new bass strings and "Dark End of the Street" on the ipod. Huzzah for the puzzled looks in South Amboy New Jersey of the kids doing the standing still. Huzzah for the kids who AL goaded into getting right up to the lip of the 11 inch tall stage, where I greeted the entirely male, entirely highschool-aged watchers by standing as close as I could without impeding my own bass playing and making unstinting direct eye contact all the while. Huzzah for them for being so seriously freaked out that they all either looked at the floor, my shoes or the space between the two. Al put his feet up on the monitors, and then somewhat acrobaticly, on the shoulder of the drummer of From Ashes standing in the front row. He knows how to engage a crowd with both his wit and his solos. He asked questions between songs and took a show of hands. Most of the audience had driven their parents Celicas down solely to get in the pit for Strike.
New Jersey is all lapdances, sweatpant'd Sunday casuals, strip malls and meticulously trimmed median foliage. I imagine one day it will all be washed away by some freak Toffee Latte explosion that empties from a Barnes and Noble book cafe, towing all the denizens and their children into the sea in a sweet, muddy splash. Huzzah for that day.
The place we played, the punk nexus of South Amboy, had leopard print carpet that was aproximately 1066 years old. The place smelled like it's staffed by a league of feral cats in the off days. After about 4 hours and half dozen cigarettes, I barely noticed the fetid stench of animal death and the urine of 100 summer New York streets.
The last few nights I learned this: From Ashes Rise are the game to beat on tour. They tune to C SHARP. Their moves are spidery but they are ferocious. Brad wears black leather fingerless driving gloves, a bullett belt serious enough that he looks like he's stocking for the Jihad, plays on his knees at least 4 times a set, says fuck/fukkin up 11 times between songs, has multiple songs about the threat of nuclear war, wears only black and is 100% northern Tennesee manners and pick slides and spends hours a day text messaging his girl back home. I think this may be the most legit/club tour Frp, Ashes have ever done. They draw like, 400 people a night in barns and Elks Lodges. Punk is real and right now they are my favorite band.
Today, after leaving NY, we passed Cursive, who were playing in the venue above us tonight in Boston ( we = hotel bar/tropical themed dance club in the basement / them= hotel ballroom with vaulted ceilings and 700 more people, bananas on the rider ), on the freeway. I flipped them off, thinking they would remember me from the other night when we played with them. They didn't... until we ran into them, Darkest Hour, Decahedron and multiple other bands, all our friends, all heading for/from the town at the same time, syncronicitously (yes!) all stopped at the same CT truck stop. We could of had a hell of a show in the parking lot, or at least done an unplugged set in the men's room.
I met Tim Kasher in line at the "Coffee Express", and immediately wondered if a} anyone had told him my last name (I prefer annonymity) and b} if he read that sentence from a couple Punk Planet columns ago about (bad) records about his divorce ( or... something... I was more generous than that). He looks a little like Isaac Brock from Modest Mouse before Isaac Brock started looking like he swallowed a toddler. Cursive are a good band.
Greta, who plays the git-fiddle, in the Cursive, said to me "Playing that show in Chicago and then meeting up with you at this truck stop is the closest I have ever been to being on tour with another band with a girl in it ." It was kind of like "oh ha ha, the bitter reality" chuckles for about the first 12 seconds before I think the stain of depressed reckoning branded us and we walked silently to the parking lot. This is the part where you shake your first at the sky and wonder what you are doing, wonder what everyone is doing, why are there not girls in bands? is it because this is totally pointless, uninteresting? stupid? not cool? too hard? too easy? too many rules? What?! Is it a matter of the right inspiration being ciphened in? Do we need a bussing program and like 9,000 copies of the first Team Dresch album to reach out properly? Am I totally idiotic for trying? Does it bother you as much as it does me that this is like.... the only fucking topic I write about?
Anyhow. The hardwood is calling my name, and Dave says that tomorrow, I might get to drive the van as we head to Albany. I am still earning the brother-trust of the band... I had my van keys taken away the first day I had them, due to leaving them in the door of the van. In New York. While we played.
Highlights for tomorrow: "How I manged to make the German film crew hate me in one day" - STAY TUNED!
I woke up this morning amongst the dog hair and sunshine, in the room of Michael Rhoades who is a friend of the bands and a resident of New York's Chinatown, an excellent photographer, and who's every surface is coated in unapologetic majesties of dog hair. The boys were generous, and gave me the bed. All the boys, on the whole tour, are being custodial with me. We'll see how long that lasts.
Last night's show was nerve wracking family reunion, many people I love and know from other lives, people I know and respect -- whose opinions, funny ways or music I love, stood back lit by the neon bar lights and watched me fumble my octave chords and then hugged me and patted my hair and were generous with me when I was done. I wished we were playing our 30th show, rather than our third. Humility is a hell of a drug.
Yesterday/night was Philly, in the basement of the church, which was like a locker-room populated by 600 Strike Anywhere fans, 90% male, 100% clad in black t-shirts, 3000% humidity. Stayed with Al's brother, a paramedic, in his new home at 47th and Chesnutt in W. Philly, every room of which had blood red plush carpet and was aestheticly the child of a steak house in Minsk and a budget brothel in Tehran. Gold ballistrade, red and gold velvet wallpaper, floor to ceiling mirrors. I slept on the dining room floor near a cat box.
I woke up at 6:45am, to the sound of 4 boys rustling in sleeping bags, all in various modes of snoring. I thought about the stinting sleep-breathing of the man I love and missed it. I got up, walked around, sought "breakfast" at Donuts Plus on 43rd, and was greeted with a friendly hello from every person I passed on the street (except other white people) and fell in love with the pointy-topped row buildings, the neighboorhood that's equal part decrepit and middle class proud and the Paul Robeson murals .
Today we head to South Amboy New Jersey, the county seat of Bad Eem and metal core.
always livin, never dyin,
7:17 am EST , LOCATION: Pittsburgh kitchen.
Today begins our tour offishal.
We had a warm up show, accidentally almost, night before last, replacing the freshly broken up Denali on the Please for Peace show at Metro. We played on two hours notice. Our first show was played to about 800 people there to see Cursive. I urged Al, that if we sucked, introduce us as Denali between songs... as they have nothing to lose, though we do, I suppose. I have not played bass on stage since a Sean Na Na tour of CA in like, 1999 -- where Sean almost knocked me unconcious with the head stock of his guitar -- so, yeah, I was nervous. I attempted to counter the nervousness by applying a shit-ton of eyeliner and double checking the tuning of my bass three times.
This I know: My hands were wet like a teenage boy's and I fumbled with the bass strings like some backseat lothario one-handing a bra clasp. I faked it, I smiled, I pounced around, tried not to make faces when I screwed up. I felt like I was in 9th grade speech class, trying to make eye contact every three bars. Trying to send psychic faxes to the girls against the barrier at my feet, clad in Hot Water Music t-shirts: "Girl, you could be me. Look at me. Look at how much fun I am having playing this octave chord!" I am not sure why I am so adamant and evangelical about girls playing in bands, because punk rock, really, is kind of stupid. I mean, really. Maybe my psychic faxes should read "Memo: Ignore all of this. This is a fun time, sure, but please, aim for first female pope rather than female Greg Norton.
My bandmates are empirical on stage, folding in half over their guitars, Al marches around, one foot on the monitors like the captain of the ship. Noah has his shirt off by song three, but he is the drummer, that's in the job description, really. I am trying to just fit in.
Noah just walked into the kitchen and said "You are already blogging? We have not even played a show yet!". Dave made some eyerolling fuss over me offering their lives up over the internet. Why they have issue with this, but not the GERMAN CAMERA CREW that joins us today to document OUR ENTIRE TOUR for commercial DVD release, I am questioning.
See you tonight, Philly.
See you tomorrow, NYC.
Tender roni's of the blog wilds.
I would say I missed yuh, but I was busy rolling deep through Belgium and the bordertowns of Deutcheland, smoking a pack a day, staying up for 40 hours in a row unaided by caffiene or bigger guns, seeing awesome Swedish hip-hop on the nightly, watching girls squirm in the shadow of themselves in the front row of shows - adjusting bras as performers step to the lip of the stage - just like in America, getting terrific use from the lil iPod (lulled half concious on a nine hour flight this a.m. by "Taking it to the Streets" on repeat b/w Closer Musik "Maria" -- nothing takes the knots from the brain like jesus-love smoove funk and the dark chiarascuro of minimal german techno, while watching Mona Lisa Smile for the third time in a week, supplanting dialogue with Dusty In Memphis).
Also, I saw all kinds of hot new looks in yodel-pants. I saw packs of teenage german girls arm in arm, strolling through the mall'd streets of Dortmund, young men ( not holding hands) fake tanned and heavily roughed with faux hawks with hands resting on the top ass of young girls missing girlfriend hand-holders. I ate Nutella twice. I slept barely and talked a lot. I talked about the history of Swedish jazz fusion and tried to explain how Chicago has a long history of voting fraud and that Harold Washington was our last great American leader -- and was asked about Hillary for pres. American college girls are twice as loud in Europe, because everyone is twice as quiet. I saw one of the best shows of my life in Tourcoing France, at least the most hilarious -- 37 people representing for indie hip hop: Old people dancing riverdance jigs in front of the stage and screaming "Maestro: music!" in between every song/the scaggiest pepe le peu french dude stereotype at the show with his date the hottest girl in the whole town who was wearing fishnets, an outfit the size of a dinner napkin and a belt and dancing like she was working last shift at the Boom Boom Room East/ the other 31 persons at the show seemed like they had been bussed in from an alternate vortex entirely.
I have not slept in 19 hours right now, so more will come at some point,, right now I'm not hyperlinking shit.
Thanks to Miles for holding down the pony barn while I did the cha-cha slide in the Black Forest.
Also, end of this week will be the start of the Hopper In Motion tour-diary. 3.5 weeks on the road, bass in hand, me and 24 dudes in black hoodies. Holy shit, all the way, little darlins.
It's Miles again. It's late at night, or early in the morning. I've been up too late making faux-Afrobeat songs in Reason (please forward any decent cowbell samples in aiff format to perfectpanther["at" symbol]earthlink.net) and my hands smell like hair product from twisting my hair, which is my habit for when I am nervous or thinking hard about something.
This is probably my last post filling in for the Tinyluckygenius. I think we've all had a good time, and I feel like I've accomplished some goals (posting almost daily, providing at least a glimmer of entertainment value), though every one (posting while "hilariously" drunk, writing anything of significance). Here it is.
Saturdays at my job entail cleaning up after shrieking hordes of rural Midwestern middle school dance teams tearing through racks of discount clothing like packs of vengeful, perky Vikings. It is an ugly scene. A couple of times a day random middle-aged female customers will approach me from out of nowhere, apologizing to me for having to work where I do, for Fate and the State of Illinois Department of Employment Security conspiring to station me on the battlefield where human civilization looses daily a bloody fight against $2.90 tank tops.
But my Saturday lunch breaks are usually my favorites. I can watch the bucket-drummers across the street. I can watch the guy who dresses in tin foil who stands completely motionless on top of a box with a boombox playing Michael Jackson, and I can watch the tourists who throw money in the guy's bucket and shoot long stretches of vacation videotape of a guy standing completely motionless on a box.
A lot of the time the anti-Arab protesters are out. They stake out a piece of sidewalk in front of the Border's next to the Water Tower, two or three middle-aged men (almost all white, almost all vaguely middle-management-looking) standing behind a banner that says "All Arabs Are Terrorists" staring resolutely at nothing while knots of human traffic coil around and past them, a couple more trying to hand out leaflets on why America should stay out of the Middle East and hope that everyone who lives there will eventually blow themselves up. Maybe they've given up hope on their mission, or at least their spot in front of Border's, because the other day there was a different group proselytizing on their corner. This group was also a bunch of white guys in wire-rimmed glasses, but they looked more IT. Their signs were of a much higher quality: four-color process cardstock placards showing a group of retro-looking flying saucers shooting energy beams at the earth. Out of the energy beams rose a Chain Of Life illustration; an amoeba giving way to a multi-celled protozoan giving way to a fish, all the way through a dozen or so intermediate steps (I'm almost positive there was a cow involved somewhere) up to homo sapiens. "Aliens Created Life On Earth," said their signs. "Science Replaces Religion." I think they were Raellians. I don't think they knew they were only half a block from a Toynbee tile, which was a nice extra dash of sci-fi madness to those who know or care.
I smoked a cigarette and watched them trying to talk to pedestrians passing them by, trying to tell them, I guess, how much an alien invasion would really improve everybody's life. They were passing out pamphlets, and even though I wanted one for a souveneir, I didn't go over. I've been spending a lot of time recently trying to Know My Limitations and Trust My Instincts, to Learn A Lesson from life, and sometimes trusting your instincts means knowing that you're not really at a point in your life where you should be hanging out with ambassadors from UFO cults.
An Open Letter To Craig Finn:
Please write a song about this. I'm sitting on my couch working on it myself, but I'm sure you could do a better job.
Miles (Temporary Unicorn)
Day Four In My Guest-Blogging For The Unicorn
I have a new habit of eating in the little below-street plaza at the foot of the Hancock Building. There's a really cheap and great Italian deli there, and I'm digging the juxtaposition between the Hancock (physically massive monument to engineering and commmerce) and myself (small in many ways; poor). There are little birds that hang around there. I lived my first eighteen years on a patch of land surrounded by actual Nature, but I don't even know what kind of birds they are. Little, brown, with short little beaks. If I was pressed I would say "finches". Maybe finches.
Yesterday one of them hopped up onto my table while I was finishing my sandwich (fresh mozzarella, basil, roasted red peppers on ciabatta). It's near-tame, like most of the birds that hand around there, from the generosity of lunching retail slaves and tourists. It not was not only ok with sharing a close physical proximity to a much larger animal (myself), but was aggressively intent on eating part of my sandwich, barely flinching when I made futile aggressive gestures meant to establish possession over my foodsource (fresh mozzarella, basil, roasted red peppers on ciabatta).
The little bird was dishevelled, entirely sure of its entitlement to live off of someone else, and charming enough to almost pull it off. If it had a hangover I would say it was the perfect metaphor for myself.
I realize that my past few entries have been way over the top in terms of the sort of gentle melancholic musings that have been given a bad name by Livejournalists who put "Belle And Sebastian" and "drinking tea" in their interests. But I really can be amusing at times. Really.
[Cue theme music]
Announcer: Welcome to tinyluckygenius aka the Unicorn's Tear with your guest host Miles Raymer.
[Theme song fades out. Cut to me in a suit sitting behind a desk, lit from overhead by a single spotlight. My hair is a brownish golden nimbus against the dark that surrounds it. It also looks very great.]
Me: Thank you. We've got a great entry for you tonight, so why don't we just jump right into it.
[Fade to black as theme music plays.]
I have a cat. Her name is Princess Boom-Boom but is referred to more frequently as "Little Buddy", "Little Dude", or "Little Bitch". She's an efficiently designed cat, packing truly dangerous amounts of cuteness, spunkiness, and sassiness into a tiny little black-stripes-on-black package capable of reducing the most hard and bitter people to speaking a language of coos and purrs that she teaches you just by being there. She flings herself around my apartment with an abandon that puts entire crowds of naked hardcore kids at old Jihad shows to shame, then curls up under my covers in the crook of my arm for hours at a time. Right now she's staring at the floor, which is something that I find myself doing quite often, but her stare is full of expectation, like something of interest might suddenly appear in the spot she's gazing at at and that she should be ready for it when it comes. It's is an attitude that I think I should learn.
Two days in a row of solid guest-Unicorning. Are you loving it?
You can almost reach out and touch the feeling of being relieved of a heavy burden. They're tearing down the United Fruit Market, which is a part liquor store/part grocery/part cinder block repository of Wicker Park's collective bad vibes. You could buy really cheap cigarettes there, but the place was just depressing. Security gates had been incorporated into the building's facade, so it constantly looked maybe-closed, and the huge gaudy Kool posters on the front bummed me out every time I walked past it (and I had to walk past it all the time). They actually had fruit there, but I wouldn't have wanted to eat any of it; even the porn there was past ripeness, and the name of the store painted in scrawly block letters over the door generally bummed me out too much to want to eat anything.
The walls have all been knocked down and there are workers piling the bricks up in orderly rows. It's a prettier thing after being knocked down.
[Posted by Miles]
It appears that not only have I not been upholding my self-professed duty to provide consistent daily updates, but that my so-far-only entry has, through the mysterious workings of Movable Type, disappeared into the digital ether. Nevertheless we shall move on. Dear reader, let's (as I have had to beg too often these past few days) give it another chance.
Getting dumped has very few upshots. One is channeling the collective pity of your friends into an all-you-can-manage-to-consume buffet of free drinks. Another is the meaningless pity sex that one can acquire by putting off a vibe of Deep Romantic Tragedy that suggests a sense of the profound and a deep reserve of pent-up emotion that can't be expressed in words but can be expressed in hot fuck styles.
I am getting neither of these.
Problem One: At any given moment I have probably three friends that care about my problems to warrant any kind of pick-me-up boozy bro-downifying. One of these friends is in Albuquerque, NM. One is jaunting daintily about Western Europe.
One of them just dumped my ass.
Problem Two: While random rebound sex would probably take my mind off of my current situation more effectively than cable television and working on weapons-grade Elliott Smith/Leonard Cohen playlists, I'm really not interested in the least. Problem Two, Sub-Problem A: My current emotional state suggests less a wounded-but-poetic lover wandering the streets of Paris than someone who has just woken up to find themselves lost in the weeds-and-concrete wasteland of Flint, Michigan. I'm not exactly feeling like a prime catch.
One positive aspect of brokenheartedness that I can make use of is that getting dumped hits the reset button on your sense of musical jadedness better than anything on earth, with the exception of two hits of liquid Orange Sunshine. Before my last big break-up I thought I "got" Mary J. Blige, but it took getting kicked out of my house so my then-girlfriend could hook up with our roommate for me to really understand what "No more drama in my life / No one's gonna make me hurt again" really means, and to make it my mantra. Unfortunately I'm stuck listening to the latest batch of promos from my mailbox and a stack of thrift-store finds bought on the basis of promising album covers. So I've got Destroyer's Your Blues, which is heavy on hypothesising what would happen if Bowie never let his sense of decency keep him from doing ever more fey Jaques Brel covers, and Bloodrock's2, which is just so much shit. If anyone has any suggestions of music made for the shattered soul, there is a "comments" link underneath these words. I'm not touching the Johnny Cash box set because I don't want to use up all of my minutes on suicide hotlines.
There has been little time to post, but I do not apologize, as the embroidering I could do on "Practiced, worked til 3 am, slept for 4 hours," at this point is not going to rend anyone with my prosaic lightning bolts. I will tell you this: Today is the day I buy the magic device that will turn the van into a disco of my understanding. I got serious, and have put 837 songs on since Thursday evening, so I am at like 2200 now, no slowing. Currently importing my favorite ep of 11th grade . With the cashes I made from selling, say Starpimp albums I was keeping just because of one song that was super-genius -- I bought three releases which I suggest you explore if you love funk that is
a. alarmingly sensual
b. will make you believe that love is all around you
c. you will think 'this is the best song ever written" for that moment
Those releases are Change - Glow of Love ft. Luther Vandross , which may be the best song ever written, but I may just be saying that because I listen to it about 17 times a day (really) at levels which make the world jiggle in the rear-view, Teddy Pendergrass - 2 CD Anthology (in which the word "ladies" is spelled three different incorrect ways in the liner notes, despite being used almost once a sentence) and Earth Wind and Fire - The Way of The World. I bought these specifically to counter balance all the Party of Helicopters and Iron Maiden I will have to listen to. When I am in a van, I do not like the music of white people so much. The sound of an Econoline engine guning past the fruited plains of the American land, the open windows blowing the waft of boy-socks with force upon you, I can deal with some Buckner, or a little Kim and Thurston screeee revue, but lately all I want is hot disco fuck tracks and Jamaica's most wanted.
Also, while I am away in the Germany this week, I have put Miles in charge of blogging on the Unicorn deck. He is funnier and less controversy-inducing than I. Which, granted, is something you could say about most anyone.
The only person who is still my friend from high school, the woman who I have spent my writing life trying to emulate the rapacious wit of, the woman who took in me in when I moved out my parents house and into a studio apartment where we had bunk beds(!), a woman whom with I engaged in drive by eggings, drive by phone-bookings - heaved out of the sunroof of her car at people who may have actually been our friends, who used to entertain me when I was a jobless and despairing 18-yr-old by giving me stolen brandy (yes, gross) and pizza and doing dramatic readings of trashy novels, singer and mastermind behind the legendary International House of Pussy (who, MRR inexplicably, called "The German Bikini Kill"), a woman who took her job as being my only friend in school super seriously, the only woman I have ever seen open a coconut with an icepick in order to try and drink a mixed drink out of it (we used to party like that), a woman who will soon become the finest (in all senses) lawyer in all of the Twin Cities, Mz. Britt Lindsay, has a blog.
The world will be rapt with giggles momentarily.
I am starting to really feel like someone in a band. After being a publicist for eleven years, it's kind of a rude awakening. I am not sure if it feels weird being in a band that I do press for, or if it's just being in a band is a bizarre undertaking entirely. It's sort of like... after years of working in a kitchen at a dive resturant, you really do not want to eat there. Today, I stood in the bushes of my own yard with the rest of Challenger, posing for pictures for a magazine, wondering if I should smile or not. Wondering if smiling is befitting of our aesthetic.
After an unplugged practice at Al and Dave's, discussed with Nora our shared love of Good Friday, she tried to entice me into hitting Latin Mass with her while I painted her nails and smoked, which made me feel really trashy. We then retired to the living room, and engaged in our favorite band-house past-time, sticking our head out the window and listening to the Eminem who lives next door, (on house arrest for stealing the downstairs neighboors car), fight with his mother, who is rageful and very possibly drunk. Dave said the day that the Eminem got out of jail his mother yelled at him from 7 pm until Dave went to sleep around midnight, and that when he woke up for a minute at 4am, she was still going. The son and his friends distribute the handi-crafts of young labourers at cut rate prices, professional, despite the son having on an electronic tether that keeps him perched on the porch. Apparently, this dude, according to Al, thinks I am hot, and suggests with some frequency that "if you ain't hittin' that shit you should be."
Nora and I stood on the couch and hung out the window, listening to the mom scream a string of obscenities which sounded like an Ice Cube song with all the non-cuss words missing, and ended with the following sentence, after what sounded like a lamp or window breaking "I ain't a n_____, I ain't no gay man -- I deserve respect!" in a wretched voice reminscent of Edith Massey. I'd be slingin yay and throwing lamps if that was my mom, too.
Then, instead of going to a party , we all did yoga for a half hour.
The most surprising thing about the N*E*R*D show tonight was not how bad it was but something else entirely. During the last song, the mosh-rap anthem for the Olsen twin fanbase drunk on 3.2 beer, "Lapdance" - Pharrell removed his shirt -- which garned the most enthusiastic audience responce of the night. He then lifted his arms, and there lies the shocker: he had on so much deoderant, it looked like he had decorated his armpit hair with Betty Crocker vanilla cake frosting straight from the tub. It was disconcerting. I wondered why he was so concerned about sweating, since he did not break a sweat the entire night despite the stage lights and his penchant for dancing like Molly Ringwald in Breakfast Club.
Then, (then!) about 3/5ths of the way through the song, a big man entered stage right, and deposited bling ropes that were equal in value to the annual GNP of Ghana around Pharrell's neck. I am not sure why this happened, maybe the guy got tired of holding them, maybe his ride was leaving, maybe Pharrell felt like the diamond ring so big it would be visible in CIA aerial photos was not enough to remind us just where the 22.50$ we just spent is going. "The heat of capitalism keeps me warm, young. I need no shirt." says his look.
Pharrell then walked over to the picnic table set dressing, got atop it, gave us the V-sign with his hand, which was then given back to him by all 3200 white kids on date night in attendance, then raised his arms, giving us a prolonged glare of his Santafied pits. It's kind of the last thing you expect from someone who's being diefied, who emits stardom like a laser beam when he is on the TV, someone with an intractable cool to them. It was humanizing. Which, when added to the microwaved reducion sauce that is the NERD live show featuring the chicken neck funk and goofball rhtyhm section of average white band, Spymob, well, it took him from the mega-star notch to coolest boy in 11th grade levels.
Also, Happy Birthday to Yes guitarist Steve Howe , who is celebrating his 106th birthday today. Keep on riffin' buddy.
Rjyan's dreams are better than mine.
I forgot, last night, I dreamt of Greil Marcus. In the dream I was at SXSW, and Julianne and I were at a show, and we see Griel Marcus, who was actually like Christgau at 80, with David Fricke/Dorothy Hammill's haircut. We keep seeing Greil at all these shows and he keeps asking us what we think. Later we find this little steno book on the ground, and soon realize looking through it, with all of it's notes on what me and Julianne are into, what we think etc etc -- that it's Greil's and he is ripping off all of our ideas because we are young, cool and have impeccable taste. We keep the notebook so that he cannot take cop our wild styles and take credit for our ideas.
Julianne pointed out, in real life, that this description of "Christgau with Fricke's hair" describes what most every white rock critic in America actually looks like.
The weekend was lost to a deadline fog. Wringing my hands and furrowing my brow writing about dinosaur-rock arbiters hedging death knell bets s and a stew of oppurtunistic half-wits grubbing in the trash for publication some place that seems way too legit to let me in the door.
Meanwhile, I have eight days until I leave to go to the wool-production center of Europe and a platz where I imagine (wish! wish!) that everyone dresses like a Von Trapp family singer, old men with big moustaches cobble shoes in the street, people yodel rather than speak and all there is to eat is nutella. I mean, not to sound like someone without a passport.
I have been to Germany before, but I keep hoping that on my return, it will be like cartoon Germany. Though, the first 30 minutes Julianne and I spent in Munich last summer, was in a train station bar, 8:30 am, knocking back espressos, watching a gang of men in lederhosen, kneesocks and feathered caps who were drinking beer out of glasses as long and slender as my arm and singing the national anthem. I know the possibility is there.
Then, after my jaunt to the platz, I come home for one and one half days and then leave for almost a month, on tour , playing extravagant bass-lines which have nine parts each, of which I only wrote one, which makes me feel like I am in King Crimson when I pull it off. One must note: The tour I am on is myself... and 24 dudes. I will need friends, I will need high fives, I will need impomptu riot girl meetings and meetings in the ladies room. Please come out and hold my hand. It will be easy to find me, I will be the one that is not a boy in a hoodie and black t-shirt, back by the merch table tearfully evangelizing to 14-yr-old girls.
Earlier today, a string of things turned me from tolerant to such a bitch I was sicken'd by the tone of my own voice. I exiled myself to errand, so as not to be a wretch to those in my employ. While picking up my mail at the P.O., one of the ladies there that I love, (who call me by my real name - "darlin'" and "hey girl") was on the other side of my mailbox singing Alicia Keys "If I ain't got you" like she meant it, sweetly and quietly, while stuffing direct mail into people's boxes.
Tonight, Colin and Katie and Liz and I made the Muy Romantico video, which does not feature any member of the band, for inclusion on the Diesel DVD, that you will get free when you buy some jeans. It will hopefully fit, unsettlingly, next to oh... a Shins video. In keeping with the Dogma95 style aesthetic/modus of Muy Romantico's album production methods and aesthetic rule of "first idea=best idea / worst idea = best idea" we shot only about 22 minutes of tape to work with. We posted on frndtsr inviting people to shwo up at the park on bikes/skateboards/rollerskates at 11. 10 people RSVP's. 1 showed up. That was Katie, who had rollerskated about 2 miles from her house. Colin, conviently, brought two hair school mannequin heads, which he had scalped, so they were half wearable. Meaning they only fit about 1/3rd of the way over our heads. Katiee's wore headphones, and mine adorned in an "i love reggae" sweatband that Miles brought me from Negril.
As per Colin's non direction, we rollerskated with the rubberheads on, which was interesting as we could not see. Minimal injuries after I skated into a bench. Then we did some high speed backwards skating while taking off layer upon layer of clothes and talking on our cell phones until we were down to t-shirts in the 41 degree weather. It was as terrible as it sounds. We cam eback inside, filmed colin LICKING the rubberheads, changed into more "video-type" outfits (unicorn sweatshirts, excessive gold jewelry, ratted hair) then drove to pick up Liz, who was wearing two concha belts and a tie die shirt and cut off jean shorts and a dreamcatcher for an earring. Wearing rollerskates while driving may be the most stupidly dangerous thing I have done ever. We then went to the trendy local yuppie bar, where we were planning on crawling on the floor (ala Duran Duran's RIO video), but Jeff Parker was there freeeejazzing it, which kind of ruined the vibe, so we just rollerskated in the bathroom, staged some slow motion crashes and left and headed to the 24 grocery. Upon entering, the manager met us at the door and said "you cannot wear skates in the store" and Liz goes "Ok... thanks....GO!" and we took off full speed down the frozen foods aisle with Colin running behind us, made a lap through the store and exited without being busted by the totally confounded staff.
Tomorrow, we drop the tape off to Dave, and we have only alotted him 90 minutes to edit it .
My guess is it will be ruthlessly shitacular genius.
That's all you can really hope for in this life anyway, right?
Jon Caramanica, he with the hairstyle like a ravens wing and the good education, the way with words, and executive co-chair of the Hott Cadre writing gang.... he has a blog. Julianne and I forced him into it, so we could stay atop his meta-deal and urban detritous.
DUDES. There is still time left for April's Fool Pranks -- this is your reminder: get on it! I spent 2.5 hours today doing nothing but pranking best friends and clients and our band's managers with PR-related disasters that cannot be killed and Jawbreaker reunion tours. As I told Julianne earlier - the locus of the best pranking has to be "worst nightmare" and it helps if you speak fast, be confused on the details. Improbability goes out the window if you use a panicky voice, getting together a conference call, pre-emptive voicemails or text messages or second parties in on it adds an air of oh-shitness. If you cannot think of anything good, a quality fall back is breathlessly telling people you are back together with the ex that everyone hated and can they come out for the wedding in 2 weeks and/or you tried heroin and it's not nearly as a bad deal as everyone says it is, plus your poetry has gotten way better as a result.