The moon has been doing great tricks for hours.
My hobbiest fascination with evolutionary biology had me yelling awesome about the tiny, 13,000 year old homos discovered on an Indonesian isle. My favorite part is that the tiny humans hunted tiny elephants. I slept through the news of this on NPR this morning, it filtered into my dream, and it was the best dream. I was friends with little elephants, small as children, and I was feeding them peanuts. They were grabbing at them with the dexterous paw-like ends of their trunks. It was my favorite dream.
Because we still like minimal techno better than throwback house, and we still like Queensbridge classix more than we like ironic sweatpants on the dancefloor.
Because we love it when Animal Collective makes the animal sounds.
Because we do not have words to talk about our feelings when we watch Sean Tillmann smooth his nipple hair on the Har Mar Superstar EPK/DVD.
Because it is still warm enough for you to bike to my house if you wanted.
Because the part in Unrest's "Skinhead Girl" where Mark Robinson goes "Oh, I want to fuck you / I want to fuck you all the time" still makes us blush worse than that Lady Saw song about the vaseline.
Because we spend our mornings hemming and hawing over how to look more like Rickie Lee Jones on the cover of her first record, because no one ever looked more mousy-sexy and sang-froid in a beret.
Because we downloaded nine hours of Indian Playback singer compilations last night, so we could hear Asha Bhosle's reedy high voice doused in shortwave fidelity and string arrangements that would be generously classified as "wacky."
Because I want to take Jean Grae on a date, but I think she would kill me.
Because we love the part on the new Buckner album where he goes "Awww, C'mon..." to some mystery girl, trying to ply her with an earnestness previously unheard.
Because we put cayenne pepper, chili powder, used catlitter, mint extract and spicy peanuts on the floor to keep away the mouse, and he still keeps coming on strong.
Are you male and living in Chicago? Are you currently employed in a long term sitch with extensive health insurance that extends to spouses, with low co-pays? Interested in being in a plantonic marriage with yours truly? You do not even have to talk to me, or hang out, or anything. I will cover all marriage related fees and the like, and I will pay for the anullment/divorce when the times comes. All that is involved is you feeling particularly benevolent towards me and my ulcer. When you help a Unicorn, you are helping the arts and you are guaranteed admittance to heaven. Please email at the spot in the lower right hand corner if you are "down" .
I was so tired of talking. By the end of the day, the story got much shorter. The ending changed every 12 minutes, so really, why bother. And every ending gave new color to the story - and so I just gave myself to the idea that history is fluid, and as much as we like things to be permanent and fixed, it's all just motion, and until perspective comes and sets it into a mold, well, it's just information.
By 11pm, I was standing at the place where the atom got split. The sculpture marking the former site of Fermi Lab, below where the U of C football field was. Whenever I think of Fermi Lab, I always imagine what if there had been a major atomic reaction during a game. I imagine a massive explosion on 30th yard line, players and cheerleaders being vaulted into the air and landing on the laps of parents of the away team, of helmets and cleated shoes flying, perhaps breaking through the big bass drum of the marching band. If it was an atomic explosion in a teen gross out movie, that would happen for sure, or else a severed hand would land in the tuba.
The sculpture marking the atom split, it looks like a skull, a phi, the innards of a door lock. Little marks slicing out like sun rays, on the ground. As a sculpture, it makes a lot of sense. As a sculpture, it is easy. I said to Miles " I want to make things like this, but I know I do not have the patience or the tenacity. See all the etched marks on this side. I wouldn't have made it that far. I'm just not that kind of person." I just cannot imagine ever having that kind of time. That kind of time only xists for the jailed, the extremely poor and the extremely rich, I believe.
We were thirsty, so we bailed from the contemplative spot.
Miles smoked, I spit, we barely spoke - only of simple things.
I said: "Look at that."
He said: "Look at this."
My friend Cali emailed last night with strange, strange life news. News that is possibly from a paralell life. A director who's work I love is making a film about a friend of ours that died, whom we were both with around the time of his death - Cali reports this his role is being played by Lucas Haas. Cali suggested that my role would be played superbly by Gary Coleman. I suggested the only one I wanna see as a 17-yr-old shaved-head me on the big screen is that anorexic Olsen twin.
In the van, on tour, I would quiz everyone on who would be cast as us in "$100 Gaurantee: The Challenger Story" -- always insisting I really only would feel ok being played by older european actresses, or Anouk Aimee . Or by an animatronic dog or a baby, with the voice done by a very drunk Fran Drescher.
On to the real flossing: Today, in the mail came the DaCapo Best of Music Writing 2004. The book-book version. My name is on the outside of it and inside as well. A book! It is not so much that I am in something that indicates I am in the top nth percentile of rock writing, which is sort of like when I was voted "Most Interesting Girl" in my 7th grade year book, and "Most Interesting Boy" went to the janitors son who was in on scholarship, whom absolutely no one would talk to and had an eau-de-coldcuts about him... Anyhow, it is more just being in a book. Because I love books. Books are the love of my goddamn life. I considered going and buying a few, to post to my family, but I remembered my liberal usage of the word cum rag in the essay, and figured that my Nana does not need to be seeing that. Really.
I would move to Gary. I have been speaking of it for at least a year now. You can get a mansion with a mortgage of roughly $450/mo. It has more industrial smokestacks than employed people. It is 30 miles out of Chicago, but it's a lot closer to Beirut, really. It's got the fantastic trifecta of the most downtrodden American boom city: High Murder Rate, High Unemployment and and a high enough per capita cancer rate that you imagine the tap water is actually liquid mercury.
So, naturally, I want to live there.
I took Miles and Morgan there today so I could we could shoot some pictures for our varying art projects. But after five rolls, I was dreaming of a Death of Gary coffee table book as winter project. we speculated on whether the city would pay us to move there, if grants were readily available, on the promise of bringing our fat Chicago revenue stream aka the cash-cow that is our fledgling band, to Gary. A Billion Dollars: putting Gary on the map once again. I think it's entirely within the realm of possibility.
The Sheraton across from the convention center, which is the permanant home of the Miss USA paegent, has been closed, for, my guess, 15 years. The sliding glass doors on upper floors have been pocked by bullet holes. It has been closed long enough that a sappling is growing on the roof. The only way we could find to enter was an open elavator shaft. Say no go.
Next was the half block solid of burned down houses. A sign anchored in front touted it as a "Model Gary Block" ("Oh the Irony!" says Miles) and noted that they are available for renovation. This, despite not having roofs. Behind one of the houses, the fire had melted a baby pool into the ground, and the pool was two inches high and still retaining water. Across the street, someone had personalized their as of yet un-arsoned garage with a mural depicting both the Playgirl™ and Playboy™ bunny logos, several feet high.
Every abandoned building we wanted into offered an open door, all of them reclaimed by nature since insurance-claim fires 30 years past, my favorite being the Post Office. We saw it from blocks away and wondered how we would break in. No need! In Gary, you can walk in the front door. It as if the Chamber of Commerce has realized that the carcass of Gary is it's only thing offer visitors or locals. (Unless you want dudes to tune up your car in the weedy DQ parking lot, or you want a 75-cent carwash...)
The wood-tiled floor of the Post Office had seen enough seasons that it had become potable ground - as there was a mini forest growing up. It was like a conservatory for glass and lichen. Three stories of it's middle were missing, the ceiling prolapsed - the top half of the building stolen and open to the sky. Miles made me stand in one of the very dark rooms to have my picture taken. I am not easily frightened, but I had to run out of the room as soon as the flash went off. It could have been dead body central.
We also hit the local school auditorium where the roof have caved on the third floor, ravaged by fire and had subsequently become a forest, with ivy and leaves climbing the melted ropes of iron girders which now dipped to the floor, like the veins of the building that had burst through it's stone skin, the roof arcing like a backyard pool slide into the verdant, wet jungle floor. It was like a dream. A forest, in a building, overlooking nothing but other burned out forest buildings and parking lots for as far as they eye could see.
Next: The office spaces and apartments above (the baffling) "Cha-Cha" building. Its tattered curtains blowing out the glassless windows and neon blue peeling paint were bekoning to us from the street corner.
Again, conviently, the back door to Cha-Cha was open, and through there, we could scale it's ass end, which had collapsed to street level, and could bound from it's roof to the second floor, and up into the building through a 10 by 20 foot hole in it's side. It was spooky and the carpet had gone to mushy rot, huge holes and windows on to the street still barely illuminated the long corridors into wood paneled office spaces that had been seeing snow on it's floors for at least 30 years. It was spooky enough that Miles and I ran through it, and I made Morgan hold my hand up to the third floor.
The third floor was a gold mine: Apartments. Baby shoes, creeky screen doors and xmas cards and an autographed O Jays album liner sleeve tacked to the wall. I left it for whomever is next.
Last, was a bombed out church, it's 500-seater theatre-auditorium and rectory. I do not know if a fire could have destroyed it all, but by the furniture still in evidence, it's been empty for about 40 or 50 years. There was several inches of ash covering everything, but the walls were intact and not blackened. Movielike, we followed kittens in - through the low narthex, which then opened into the church itself, hollowed-out, benchless and gutted save for a couple stain glass windows and the choir seats above the pulpit, four of five stories of expansive up up up. The auditorium was just a few rows of velvet seats crunched and turned upside down. Someone had tagged PRINCE by carving it into the former back drop in the theatre. On the stage, inexplicably, was strewn with several hundred pounds of clothes that had been decompossing slowly for the last several decades.
The romance of a town in startling disrepair is palpable. All the evacuated quiet, the collapsed roofs, once vibrant storefronts now somehow filled to the ceiling with sand. It's all testimony to the futility of all the human-made, to our monumenting, to our bullshit sense that our structures and our actions are permanent and indelable.
Gary is half parking lot, half 1947 grandeur gone drunk.
Gary looks like a war unfinished.
Gary looks like God is repossessing the entire city, a block at a time.
The final clutches of New York of were same as they ever are, like a Cassavettes movie: over just when you start getting used to it's weirdness and pacing. My days there were slower than they have ever felt on previous trips. Took the usual hustle to first gear and kept it there, and thusly, the grip and grin and profesh ordeal were minimal. The back and forth rushes from midtown office lunch to purgatorial shepherdings at photoshoots to dinners where I am the only one not talking about revenue streams was supplicated with crafting with Julianne and shabbat with Sasha and his sweet, curlyheaded fam, to fortuitous trashdigs at Coney Island, to doing the prison yard squat on a corner in the LES with Julianne and Elliott, staying low and avoiding managers and sharks and tarts, and Elliott looking into the sky and saying, in all seriousness "When the end time comes, I want to be laying in my bed, listening to Dylan, wearing a mohair suit, with a beautiful woman I love feeding me cannoli."
Oh, sure, we saw some bands. Sure, we did our work obligations, sure we stood in front of Max Fish and tried to scoot away from drunken too-close talkers, from lephrachaun sized indie-rappers, from the humpty dancing throngs at DFA party - which every year is the party everyone wants to be at and conversely it always the most unelaborate and tediuos strain of BO-ring. We should have known better when we were walking in at 11:30 and James Murphy himself was already leaving. Always: You make the rounds, shuffling between mustachioed men, spy the 51 people you don't want to see, fingers ears so the 808s do not pop yr drums, then Jon makes almost-jokes/commentary about the still prevailing prevalence of cocaine and we bail after 4 minutes. Whatever 3000.
Another night, we all (ALL) went to a different showcase party, where several hundred people formed a soccer-melee style crush/potential Altamont around the velvet rope. The doorman screamed over the please-pleas of "I have been here 45 minutes" and "I am on the list" with only: "I am only letting people in on the basis of who you are and who you know. That is the system and the only way you are getting in." Admirable, indeed. We got inside, danced and sweated with J-Shep amidst modelescent women in varying stage of undress or eating disorder as well as many men, many men in big coats and trucker caps who were wild from the Open Bar. People screamed along and bounced "DIP-SET! DIP-SET! DIPSET!", hands like swords slicing the air, boys tackle-moshing. It felt like Lollapalooza.
I bailed and I walked around alone, hiding my lit cigarette in the cup of my hand, (cos fuck a smoking ban).
I walked and stared. And wondered.
Which kids ion this dancefloor were really in love.
Who was blacked out.
Why was Seymour Stein here.
Who talked to their parents today, and do their parents have any idea.
Just which bloodthirsty babes, which desperate youths
were having the motherfucking time of their lives.
Right then and right there, which of them
was at the pinnacle .
At the absolute brink of sensual satisfaction and enjoyment.
Whose life would never, ever get better than that night -
and how would they feel when they realized that.
How would they later rate it, contemplating, remembering it all
while dancing at their own wedding reception. Or after jerking off.
Or sitting at their desk in the Spin offices come Monday morning.
I just wondered.
Because I wanted to know.
One wall was projected with a 20 foot high/wide video of a naked Japanese woman with her head in a plexiglass box, with a procession of schoolgirls shitting into the hole on the top of the box, onto the woman's head. I stood next to the door, just outside the shit-video room. There, I watched the faces of passerby who could not turn their eyes away. I watched the faces of the men, pointing with drink in hand and laughing like it was Chapelle's Show re-runs. All I could think of is what that girl needed or wanted bad enough to be willing to let a dozen-plus other girls shit on her face, neck and head for money, what sort of desperation for something must you have in order to endure? Stained into my brain is the slight flitting of the woman's eyes, so active under her eyelids, her lips slightly parting to take in breath between girls. She was perfectly still otherwise.
Shortly thereafter, I ran into the people who's organization was hosting the party, who I once sued. They asked Why the fuck I was there ("Your publicist invited me.") and was told that it is bad form to come to the parties of people you have sued and that if there was one fucking person in America that they did not want at the party that that person was me. I said "Okay." and went back to dancing -- it takes a lot to phase me these days. It's not a night out on the town for the Tiny Unicorn without a dramatic confrontation or public cuss-out.
night ended with an early am silent/epic cab ride back to the borough where our sweat-damp heads were cooled in the night air while we chain smoked and talked, as J Shep and I are wont to do pre-dawn, going on of our dreams of publishing a feminist teen magazine, of quitting smoking, of subsistence living in the tropics, God, men, bell hooks, the pedagogy of love. There is nothing quite like having a best friend.
Another night, we saw Miles' band, Perfect Panther, play in the basement of North Six, and they were fantastic, and Miles' solo's were like the ghost of Greg Sage, sssscorching. After the show, we were standing outside a bodega, while Cali was inside redeeming our scratch off tickets for more scratch off tickets, and a dude from a Brooklyn Dance Punk Band ™ stopped at me and J-Shep and says "Where do I know you--?" I said "Jessica Hopper." and he says "Yeah, she is in town this week." Yeah. um, I know. Julianne tried to convince him that Weds. and Thurs. are the "new weekend" and that he should stop partying on the weekends and just go home. He could not comprehend our social transaction at all.
Any time I encountered anyone in position of even moderate music fame all week in NY, save for Ted Leo ( he was buying vegan jerky, in fact), they were positively bazonkered on THE DRUGS. They were like day four of the freebase bender, drinking wine since morning kind of wired and stupid and you could hear their harried synapses firing and burning-out like a string of Black Cats.
All evidence that availed itself to us during these nights, during these nonsense exchanges with people who were faded ghosts, who did not hardly exist -- was that fame gets you janky looking women/men on your arm, people doing spilled coke off your clothing, age etching itself into your slack, sweaty saddle of a face, and a cadre of people who laugh at both your blathering anecdotes and more secretly, your total incapacity, ignoring the flecking of spittle on their faces while you pontificate in a high decibel bar-yell.
It is sometimes the burden of being a non-drinker, watching people waste their prettiest years night after night, to expend themselves as if they are elastic and infinite, to expend themselves as statement, as a commitment to the lifestyle, as if the totem to excess is the ' freedom' which minor celebrity affords them. I knew all kindsa genius people who never came back from these fringes, or moved into it's velvet-lined ditch and rotted slowly, people who went to heaven instead of rehab. With this in mind, it is hard to watch people drink and get high and think of it as casual, social and recreational.
No, really... I had a great time in New York, really, I did.
Thank god Britt has time to kill despite being in law school and is finding worthwhile internet sites like fashion sites by and for Mormon Teen Girls, promoting modest dress, and alluding to that, infact, if you dress immodestly, you will promote other people to sin by lusting after you, and also, they may rape you or touch you, which can be prevented by wearing long skirts.
I am blogging from bed, as I was up late reading all 55 pages of the deposition in Bill O' Reilly sexual harrassment suit. The best part, really, aside from believing he may in fact perish in the hell of public scrutiny, is the part on page 16, where after describing how he would like to take a shower with this woman, who he is the boss of, and scrub her with a loofah, he then calls the loofah, inexplicably " a falafel" and says he would rub it against her cho-cha, just to "tease [her] ". The paragraph ends with: "The plaintiff Andrea Mackris was repulsed." No shit! I do not think it is possible to conjure a more sexually repulsifying idea than Bill O Reilly going downtown with a falafel.
We were in the couture soap store today, where they have all this bath-tech in surplus that makes you smell like a scented tampon or exotic lilacs or the Fern Room at the Lincoln Park Conservatory - whatever breifcase women and women who wear RocaWear fur trimmed track suits need to smell like to turn heads when on cue during lunch at the Food Court at the Cherry Hill Mall -- and Julianne had gotten her nose frosted with bathpowder after sniffing roughly 71 kinds of rose-scented things, and we had mutually agreed that zero-point-zero of it was the sort of thing we would partake in. But, I have figured, exactly, and with no doubt in my mind, a mere four hours later, what they could make a bath-product in that I would covet: the garlic and ginger sauce with the Spice Tofu from Rice Thai Kitchen (311 7th ave, Park Slope, 718-832-9512). Dogs and hungry people would follow me around, it would rule.
Last night, at the Turing Machine/ Hold Steady show, I was outside, smoking lonely, biding time while Detachment Kit did their newest imitation of someone else's band, I overheard the most awful/amazing conversation yet. Two brits, the man being the owner of a major modeling agency.
Woman: Whats this rumour about you having adventure with a prostitute in London?
Man: It is no rumour !
He explains how him and another dude (married!) picked up a woman at a high end sex club ($500 to get in), where "Twat was everywhere. Twats. Cunts. Just... everywhere." Copius drugs and enthusuastic rimming ensued. Seventeen hours later, him and the other guy are working out an alibi about where they have been and getting advances on their credit cards to cover the EIGHT THOUSAND DOLLAR TAB that they ran up with the hooker.
I loved that people at the Hold Steady show are people right out of a Hold Steady song.
Julianne is re-imaging the choreography to the new Snoop single right now, here in the J-Hop & J-Sheps Blog-n-drop-it-like-it's-Hot Studio. Now that Jon's history of Queensbridge hip-hop diarama (I glued the dirt in, made the bushes and made the windows on the housing projects!) is done, we have new tasks. Like dancing and writing about ourselves in third person.
The other adventures thus far are all stored in my race-horse legs. I am not used to this New York standard of walking nine miles a day. Two nights ago, we walked from Manhattan to Greenpoint at two am. The light of the city blaring into the sky, making the stars pencil point small. Lunches. More lunches. Some free records. Vanilla tea from the french place. No places to pee and no place to smoke and illegal dancing only.
We saw Smoosh, whom I work with, who are ages 10 and 12 and I screamed and whistled and everyone was bouncing during the house-y highhat breakdown "Bottlenose". All I want is to one day be as good of a drummer as Chloe from Smoosh. She is 10, and kills it with the Bonham-esque half time double kick. What is it like to be the coolest drummer in America and be in grade school? Thats all I thought.
In and out of cabs. Yellow ones and gypsy ones. Park Slope to Williamsburg to Greenpoint to BQE to the 7th street station to mid-town.
Then, Teeter got drunk and as per usual, would only refer to me as Blink 182 front man, Mark Hoppus, and would address me only in her raspy bar scream. We all went to Max Fish, but did not go in, we just sat outside and smoked and ate cookies and drank take-out tea for an hour. Because the straight-edge party is the party that does not stop. We all tried to talk someone a band person we knew, who was so loaded, he could not make a sentence:
Me: "What have you been up to?"
Him: "Uhhhhhhhh (pause) ummmmmmmmmmmm (pause) (repeat for roughly 40 seconds). I'm fine."
New evidence: Coke chic out. Klonipin by the handful back in.
Doug Mous-a-rock is selling his entire B Pitch Catalog on eBay for fire-damage prices. We here at TinyUnicornTechhnoLuffhaus suggest you get on the Kiki 12"s NOW. or just search under Bpitch.
Me and Julianne are in the BK, on the stoop smoking Parliments until her upstairs neighboor, named Jean Gray (not Grae, we wish) comes out spraying whiskey breath bragging about how old school she is - she's been in Brooklyn all 73 years and her hair looks like a grey shower cap and only seems to talk about how old she is. Julianne and me, we stub out our sticks, we go up in her apartment, roll up the orange ikea carpet, put on some Anthony Hamilton, and get out the hot glue gun, settle in for a long hot night of serious, laborius CRAFTING. I am half way through turning her roomates lamp from the ugliest white porcelian shit ever into a green-sparkled Genie Bottle idea replete with tiny rubber dogs with wings, chasing invisble meats heavenward. If I had another week here, she'd have a coffee table made of shells by the end of it.
I am in lust with the J-Zone album.
Right now, J-Shep, is whipping round in some donk-donk motion along to a Cam'ron song, singing along "Put your meat on my stick like a shish-ka-bob". There, somewhere, will be justice in this world and Julianne will be choreographing the mami's in all the BET most-requested videos, and managing to infuse the steps with a Dworkinist heart.
Last night I fell asleep face-first into Salinger rather than seeing Animal Collective play at dawn. I think the only band I am willing to wake pre-dawn to see play is Steely Dan fronted by Mary J Blige and baby Jesus doing a krumping routine. I lamped boring and librarial and got 3/4ths into someone else's week in Manhattan for the third time. Holden Caulfield, I know, the youth narrative is supposed to be fin-all be-all classic, but all it reminds me of is why I never went out with high school boys, so I never finish it. Nothing but pussy mythology and clown brained life theories. I can understand why all young mens everywhere feel like it's the true script, because it's nothing but bedmate-hounding and getting drunk and remorse for telling pretty girls "I love you," when they don't because they were entranced by that ass and that long shiny hair. I probably do not need to get passed page 160 anyways, because if I am really curious about the ending all I have to do is hit up the Rainbo Bar an hour before bar close and watch it play out in technicolor.
The first six times I came to CMJ, I was always secretly ashamed of my shoes. All the NY women have sex-pumps, many-buckled splendor heels, and immaculate french trainers that they only made three of, flip flops made of straw, ribbon and chinchilla, shit that does not do well in places with snow. My shoes were always unpolished and punk, duct-taped up, broken laced. This time, my shoes are just fine, but I very well may walk with a pair of the new Missy E. signature Adidas. Julianne's got these xtra-bananas snakeskin dunks, and I have to roll flossy just to keep up, and not sully our collective stee with anything less than polish.
We saw Travis Morrison with his new band at Rothko the other night. The new songs fly so much freer with the back up - apparently he found the folks from ads in DC City Paper looking to lay out jams "like Stereolab meets GoGo" and he kind of nailed it. Three synths, a rhythm player thats timbale back beats, triggers and egg shaker aplomb. The drummers name is Sadat and goes light and funkifull at times, other times like he's working a pinata into submission. The band is all rhythm, interlocking and twerking and sqeeky. They did Janet's "When I think of You" which was a crippler, they took us hostage in their postfunk fantasy. Morrison Band Mach II is the joyously logical jump-off from Dis Plan that you were begging and praying would manifest -- mature dance music that jocks your entire collection and solidifies that yea, in fact THE DORKS HAVE WON. The girl who sings and plays the piano-sound keys now does the Trina verse on the Ludicris song, throws her hair like a pony, plus she does some moves that were grindy new wave and flashed us her panties, which with anyone else would come off like Amateur night auditions at The Admirals Club, but with her, it was kind of like she was the party and she did not need any of us. Someone actually managed to steal the show from Travis, for the first time, ever, ever. Ever.
ALSO, Derida RIP.
Today, I went to Coney Island with friends, which was about 56 light years on the Q-train. It was about 89% vacant, the terrifically named Ghost Hole ride was shut down, Shoot The Freak was down for the season (shoot sideshow freaks with paintball while they run around trying to flee - 5 shots $15), the flea market only offered dumpstered coats and vanilla musk, But! But! I won a sawdust stuffed Nemo with dirt all wiped over it's fishy lips. THEN! THEN! Walking past a trash can, I spied a bunch of ancient black and white photos of women in wedding dresses taking flight out of the top of a trash can and ligting into the high ocedan breeze. Upon inspection, we found an entire trash bag of an entire torn up photo album and about 60 8x11 wedding photos from the '40s, namely of a double wedding of TWIN girls and their mustachioed husbands, their mother and aunts weddings, in all sorts of classic wedding photo poses, with the limo ride, the rice, the bridesmaid arranging the bridal veil in a mirror. We sat on the boardwalk and divied them up between us, trading them like baseball cards.
I did not by the "100 % Puerto Rican Bitch" hot pants from the souvenir shop because they would have made me 100% too-popular with the dudes that deal drugs up the block from me in Chicago. They were really hard to pass up, though.
I took a picture of some kids making out with the girl laughing up against the boardwalk rail. I took a picture of a man showering in his underwear on the beach. I took a picture of seagulls unafraid. I took a picture of Camile sleeping on the train bench in our empty car with the white sun illuminating the box-lettered tag that read CRUEL in huge letters on the window above her. I took a picture of Cali and Nick eating colon-rotting cheezfries. I took a picture of the Shoot Sadam game on the midway. I took about 19 pictures of the silver fringe carnival streamers against the clearest, purest looking sky ever. Then we saw James Gandolfini and then we went home.
New York and Brooklyn. I am coming to your town tomorrow. Mostly to cook for Julianne, see a couple shows and go on an apple-picking field trip with a friend of mine who is seven years old. I have been to CMJ for the last nine years, and have sufficiently doused myself in it's schmooze-stream, and so this visit is going to be about mueseums, finishing up my current embroidery project of sewing Earth Wind & Fire Lyrics on to a skirt, taking in the thin morning light of Brooklyn and pumping Andy for emo-gossip. If you are desiring of some face-time with me and my psychic-siamese-twin, J-Shep, if you wanna make some God's Eyes from yarn and popsicle sticks with us late into the night while gnawing at some vegan steak and all that, reach out. If you wanna dance around to the best song ever while we help you pick out an outfit to wear to show, reach out. If you need a reassuring discussion about fatherhood in relation to Lacan's formulation of french feminism(s) after a long day of business card doling amidst the vampiric stumpers - reach out. Reach out.
Dan, who was in close proximity to me most of the time I was on Warped Tour, has posted a few pictures of the kids and trash of Warped on his site look under "music" .
On the internet, we have been reading about mice. It says that three mice, in three weeks can become 18 mice. Like they are wet Gremlins or splitting atoms. I think we only have one mouse, and that he is here because he is trapped. I have tried leaving the door open to see if he makes an escape, but we hear him being stupid in the trash most every night. Thusly, if we apply the atom-split formula, this one mice will become six mice very soon. So we are trying to stop it because you never know which vermin has got some ebola-like plague to give you, right? The internet says "Get a cat. Mice will smell the cat and run!" - my roommate and I are non-committal, part-time kind of bitches, and thusly, no one we asked will "loan" us their cat. The websites say that if we cannot get a cat, try just putting used cat litter in boxes around the house. Terrific, the great benefits of a cat box without all that terrible meowing.
On the Challenger site, there is a terrific song to download . I wrote the bass line, but it's played by Al , and I think we both did a great job on that one. When Al and I were roommates, we often mused at length about wanting to make records with skits on them, our love of skits and the dramatic intro/outro/interlude and I think the "judge and defendant" bit mid-song hopefully touches off a trend.
I got an email from Al the other day, from the tour. They are in Poland. His words to me "All of us have beards. Dave has a mohawk. Everyone keeps asking him if he is Belgian. You are glad you did not come on this tour."
Part of the reason I often find displeasure in identifying myself, professionally, as a "publicist", (and prefer things like "pimp" or "ambassador to the gutter") is because publicists are terrible most of the time, and the snide and snobby and impudent things you can say about them can easily pass as fact. Today, in an email exchange, with another publicist - someone i would venture to say i like and maybe even respect a teensy bit, who was pitching me on an artist I had done work for, I said I liked the record, but, alas, was not in love, woould not be pitching. Their response "PITY -- I love it and everyone else so far is in agreement with me!" -- Yes, what a pity . How do most writers respond to that? How are you supposed to? Apologize for your fall out from the consensus? Bury your nose towards the carpet you just shit upon, out of shame? And how is that a pity? A pity is that in parks by my house and or his, there are people trying to catch squirrels so they can have some dinner tonight.
A few days back, I complained about the babies of my hood looking venomous from their strollers, and in retrospect, I feel like Rick Moody in The Black Veil, before he goes to treatment, crippled by delirium and a holocost of anxiety, when he thinks every man he encounters wants to rape him. I am happy to report: the children toddling amidst the dappled bright pre-winter light here on Ohio Street are back to looking angelic and amazed, and are returned my cooing holas from their gaping mouths with those newly-minted baby teeth of theirs. Hola from the horsey-shaped pushcart pushers, Hola from overalled stumblers clinging tight to abuela hands, Hola to the cupie-haired babygirl riding in the basement-workshop fashined, super dope and unwieldy small dresser drawer with castors on the bottom, painted to look like a car and towed with a jump-rope length .
Hola to the diapered and the wet-mouthed!
Last evening, I was graced with the rapt attention of a room full of freshman and sophmores at DePaul, as I have done, yearly, for the last four years. This lecture, I tried to tell them about The Things I Doubt They Are Going To Teach You In This Music Business School For Which You Pay 32,741$ Annually . My main points being: There is no money in this (for the most part), interning is terrible but you have to do it, that things are run by old white men and people who barely like music, that most jobs are just about making people believe what you need them to believe, thatyou can do what you want - and do it with integrity, but everyone will think you are crazy and you will likely be poor - at least for a while, and that there is terrible sexism and double standards abound in every aspect and facet of the industry. All the girls who had done internships, or merch or were already half-working in the industry nodded in agreement, and commented later about it, about Monica-jokes, expectations, groupie-assumptions. Once girl asked if it gets better, or goes away once you get more established. I told her that it is a little less in your face. Sort of.
You know, just stuck to the feel-good Chicken Soup for the Teenaged-Burgeoning-Music-Biz-Impressario-Soul kind of stuff.
Some kids, some terrific punk-dork kids, Deerhoof-lovers all, had shown up having no idea who/what I was talking about other than I had played in Challenger. During the Q&A, they asked about touring with the eyepatch. The girl amongst them accessorized her outfit with A JUMPROPE, which is fantastic look, really. The punk-dork kids have an internet-only radio show that comes on at 2 am on Weds. -- they made me swear to listen, and I will because their show is clearly, clearly a "futile cause", and they so do not care because it is fun and the middle fo the night and they love Deerhoof. They were giddy, they alternately had the world figured out, and yet were baffled by it. It reminded me that my favorite thing about tour is hanging out with teenagers. I really want to make friends with some kids who live in dorms and who have the energy of a nuclear reactor, or some mean 16 year old girls. You know, the age somewhere before you realize your problems are mad boring and you are obsessed with every band you hear because there is still room in your brain for rapture and introduction and a million detailed liner note facts to be stored. Those people, those people are my people.
It was like a scene from a New York movie, or a Woody Allen film. The difference being that we were in Lincoln Park and not Central Park, we were not married, divorced, related or dating, and we were talking about the stink of the Rhino and the socialization of failure in fatherhood.
We were walking through a zoo, on a Sunday afternoon, ambling, observant, pensive, spending silent awed minutes at the Sun Bears, who stay perma-tiny, stay always-babies, who rolled and sunned themselves and shit for our amusement. Many of the animals swam and walked obsessively in circle patterns, out of anxiety, leopards and polar bears, frantic and bored in captivity.
I have been dwelling on it a lot, since traveling so much: Men, they look miserable, stiff, tired, given-up. All of them. Except Euro-dads with babies slinged across their fronts, and Sasha, hasid-dads and some other random men riding tractors I saw once. At the zoo, I said to JR: "I fear ever being married, for one reason alone: for fear of being married to that man ." - as we passed the zillionth dad on silent death march, eight feet behind his wife and brood of young, dad walking grey and pained, often pushing the stroller - empty and filled with discarded bottles, totes, coats and mementos of their zoo-visit. They all have moustaches and do not speak or interact with their kids, unless they, of course, are German, then which they excitedly talk to their stomach-mounted four-month-old about Giraffes, at length.
See, I have fantastic fathers, two of them. I want everyone to have great dads. Seeing the dads, silent and Casper-like, behind the strollers, I do not understand, how did they get reluctant and grey like that, and where are the excited dads, and don't they want to be engaged? Where are the jubilant father? The ones not pacing and circling, frantic and bored in captitvity? I do not blame them for being exhausted and empty, since men are socialized to be, essentially, people who carry things, pay for things, grill things, riled only by blow jobs and team sports, existing in a spiritual vaccum, existing in the limits of the physical world, which seems to begin and end in a garage workshop.
Day one back in Chicago. Feeling utterly like a monkey back in the zoo. I gotta go chimp it in a tie, on a little bike, my fez on crooked, for a field trip carousing in the bleachers. I know the drill. I know what I have to do to get the banana-treat around here.
Being away from Chicago, up in the sweet-wild of Minneapolis, who's familiar is so different, it's vague, grassy-hilled "boring" terminally luxuriating... I come back and all I see is the cracks on the sidewalk, the shabby vibes, the blue-collar miseries in the shadow of monolithic 429,000$ one-bedroom condos, the evil looking babies - their moonpie faces gone rascalled and scowling like they are gonna hop from their strollers and teethe viciously on my knees just to watch them bleed.