November 30, 2004

BONERS AND MALE PRIVILEDGE RIGHTS - IT'S THE TINY LUCKY MAILBAG!

The best of the best from this months mailbag, for your reading pleasure.

From: "charlie art"
To: Jessica Hopper
Bcc:
Subject: yr expectations
Date: Tue, 30 Nov 2004 18:49:05 +0000
X-OriginalArrivalTime: 30 Nov 2004 18:50:01.0154 (UTC) FILETIME=[658D9220:01C4D70D]

I've spent years trying to eliminate negative trains of thought, so I'm making an effort to be constructive here... That's right, I'm about to make a speech. Despite having read your stuff before in Punk Planet, your article in that Da Capo 2004 book basically prompted me to write.

I feel I understand what you're getting at, for the most part, and your intentions seem to be the best, which I appreciate. Critical analysis of punk rock usually misses the big picture (which makes sense, because punk itself is based on self-denial and a narrow and usually negative world-view). Punk is, to quote a friend, a nomadic clubhouse. You know that just as well as you know it's a microcosm of our culture, with the same percentage of inspirational figures as well as pessimists. It CAN be about feminism just as much as it CAN be about self-pity and romance. People can make songs about whatever they want, and people can listen to whatever they want, and if they want to learn about politics or other shit they'll seek it out for themselves. I've been listening to punk and hip-hop for over 10 years too, and Big Black and Eazy-E never stopped me from learning about feminism and race politics. Songs are a legitimate place to work out your own issues as well as explore fantasies (these emo stars can't truly believe they're victims, and if they do, that's as bad a model for young men as passivity is for young women). It's nice to have things like Bikini Kill happen, but you could wait forever for something like that again (not that it hasn't seemed like forever since). Say it does happen... Some people will be into it, and a whole ton of people with talk shit. The scene, much less the world, won't become any more enlightened.
It's sad to see women (especially young ones) identify with assholes like Dashboard Confessional, but you know, no one has all the answers, and people do what they can to find their way through their life. Keep writing and hope for the best, but shit can't be on your terms.

Try and think over the following:
1. A lot of people don't take music to heart... They just sing along and that's all they want out of it.
2. Rock and roll isn't something to model your ethics on. Some people do it. Their loss.
3. Don't worry about what other people do. Your opinion is valid, but you don't know what's right for everyone else.

Thanks for your time.
Charlie.

Dear Charlie,
I appreciate you taking the time to write. Despite missing the main points of the essay, you seem to have a firm grasp on the patriarchal condescention I describe through out.

PS. Keep writing and hope for the best, though shit can't be on your terms!


Jessica


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

Date: Wed, 10 Nov 2004 17:03:27 -0600
To: Jessica Hopper
From: "Ned K"
Subject: Will You Marry Me, Jessica?

No, you probably won't, but I read the post on your BLOG today about your search for a husband for health insurance purposes, and decided that despite my obvious ineligibility as one of your Marriage Candidates that I would pop the question anyways and like, you know, sort of establish my interest in the position so you can keep my resume on file in case your situation changes but you still find yourself wanting to tie-the-knot with somebody.

This is Ned, by the way, kid you went to high school with - I sat behind you in Spanish, probably haven't seen me in like 10 years or something, stuff like that.

Down to business... Yes, I am a male, as you might recall - if not, I can send medical verification establishing that firmly, just let me know. I do not live in Chicago - I am still a resident of the Twin Cities. That's only a 6 to 8 hour drive, however, and I think that something as sacred as the institution of marriage is well worth the trouble and gas money, so I would be willing to come down to chicago for the ceremony or swearing-in or whatever. I am currently employed. Now here's the tricky part - I work for my brother's business, painting houses. I get all of my income tax-free and he keeps me off the books so that I can report to the State of Minnesota that I make ZERO income per year, and thus I am eligible for their "MinnesotaCare" program and my health care is free.

Yes, that is both tax evasion and insurance fraud, but I've never been worried about getting caught, because I'm small potatoes, and also because I'm sort of a reckless fool. I've already got a solidly established criminal record and history involving all manner of low-class and "common" sorts of charges and convictions, and this may sound bizarre but I might even be cautiously enthusiastic about getting prosecuted for something with major White-Collar credentials like Tax Evasion or Insurance Fraud.
At any rate, I stay out of trouble these days, in fact all of my probations had expired as of September of this year - after having been on form of criminal justice supervision or another for the last 5 years, since '99 ... so not only will I be able and willing to come to chicago for our wedding, but it will be perfectly legal for me to do so as I am now allowed to leave the state of Minnesota whenever I please!

Yes, I understand, I'm kind of a longshot for this whole deal, because I don't offer the one thing you actually want out of it. I don't know what exactly I have to offer or what precisely I would want out of our marriage either to be frank, but I read the post and thought back to what your were like personally as best as I could remember, and I'd just been reading through your BLOG posts and I guess it all just came together for me... Marrying Jessica Hopper was just something that I'd like to do.

And I've always thought that you were a cute girl, not to suggest that I'd be trying to angle for some kind of weird Non-Platonic marriage to you ... ahem ...... BUT I think I'd be much happier if I was married to a pretty girl, even if it's just a bogus marriage to get you health insurance, there'd still be a spark of pride for me there. Like if it somehow came up in conversation that I was married, I could totally carry like a picture of you (my wife) in my wallet and all that, and whip it out... Maybe we could pose one where you're holding a swaddled infant, capturing the whole essence of motherhood thing, you know just for that whole family-man effect, might come in handy if I'm applying for a job or a loan or visiting my grandparents or something, you never know.

Oh, I'm a bit of a drunk and a drug addict, but not like a raging out-of-control bottoming-out type headcase, more like somebody who knows better than to be drinking or doing drugs because he's been to treatment twice (well, three times but I graduated from it twice) and also to jail for the very same reasons ... but I end up doing it all (drink/drugs) anyways more often than I'd like because I lack motivation and direction in life and sort of carved out a lifestyle for myself in my youth that didn't just involve "hanging around with the wrong crowd" but in fact actually BEING "the wrong crowd", the one you're mother always warned against. I've grown and matured over the years, I guess, and I'm not such a hellraiser anymore, but I never really bothered to go out and meet enough "Right Crowd" people along the way, and so I end up associating with the usual riff-raff far too often.

Okay... Well, that about sums up all of my liabilities as a person to be associated with, and the fact that I actually wrote this email and am going to send it sort of reveals an even deeper level of psychological dysfunction on my part I'm sure, so that should just about cover the bases - I don't want to get you into anything like a marriage only to have buyers remorse a week later, full disclosure you see. Ummm, lemme see ... I usually "get" stuff - you know, whatever it is somebody is trying to say or what they're trying to do artistically --- I'm understanding. Yep, I'm sensitive and understanding. And I'm pretty much fearless when it comes to a lot of stuff, like I might actually be afraid in a situation, but I never show it and I usually work well under pressure. Hrmmmm, this is starting to sound too much like a job interview questionaire... In summation, I will love - cherish - respect - and obey (?) you insofar as our marriage demands it of me, which I assume will be not-very-much, but hopefully enough to be friends since we'll be legally bound to each other to some extent - Hahaha - ho - hee =-).

Peace,

Ned

PPS: I don't believe in god or follow any religions or anything like that, hope that isn't a deal breaker for you!

Ned -
Thank you for taking the time to write -- and for the generous and extensive marriage/insurance offer. I will keep it in mind if my other insurance plans do not work out. Also, a belated thank you for repeatedly cutting the phone lines in the Spanish office, delaying my parents knowledge of my suspension for almost a week, you saved my ass. Thanks!

-JH

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

Date: Tue, 30 Nov 2004 05:48:16 -0800 (PST)
From: Ty
Subject: We think you cute and want to see you naked.
To: Jessica Hopper

I was traveling through Chicago this summer and came across a picture and article about you.

My partner and I thought you were cute and wondered why you don't have any naked pic's on your blog.

Dear Ty,
Thank you for taking the time to write. I have no naked pictures on the blog for a multitude of reasons, namely: it would embarrass me deeply, it would compromise what little integrity I have left and lastly, I would no longer be able to exploit the benefits of being mistaken for the other Jessica Hopper, who is a buxom German porn model.

Warmest regards,
JH

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

Date: Wed, 10 Nov 2004 17:03:23 -0600
To: Jessica Hopper
From: Dan Lipski
Subject: Re: Punk Planet

Jessica,


Thank you kindly for your prompt and eye-opening response. I apologize if my inquiry came across in the wrong way. I suppose I should give you my history in order to explain the intentions of what I wish to accomplish by writing this piece.

Although I am by no means a "bro" or proclaim "true till death," I definitely am a young white male from a well-off financial background that loves hardcore music. I currently reside in Santa Cruz, CA after relocating from a SW suburb of Chicago last October. I couldn't help but notice a drastic change in the people that went to shows in San Francisco to those in Chicago. I most definitely agree that hardcore and punk rock in general is a male dominated community like most all of pop culture music. I would say, however, that there is no in-depth representation [of women] for the most part. Many emerging ___core bands are politically charged if nothing else and touch on animal rights among other "rich kid problems." Of course, it is ironic that the most preached value in the community is unity -- when there is so much animosity and division.

I'm embarrassed to say I've never really considered the lack of women in the hardcore community until you mentioned it in your e-mail. In light of this newfound consideration I sought out a few websites. If you have any interest at all, here are two of the better ones that I found. Also, if you ever have any interest in a female fronted hardcore bands with feminism/equality as their main agenda be sure to check out Chicago's Starting Point. I hear theyíre going to be playing the Watch the World Explode Festival up in Milwaukee on Dec. 3rd.

www.xsisterhoodx.com
www.x-grrrls.com

My reasoning for interviewing Atreyu is simple: they are molding the shape of hardcore. Despite their predictable sound, predictable lyrics and predictable image, Atreyu is a crucial band today's expanding hardcore scene. Whether or not you like what they do, they do it very well. I regret that I did not question Dan Jacobs about cover art although I did ask him about their part in the downfall of the hardcore community.


DJ: Especially now itës getting to that point where...like when we started out doing singing and screaming it wasnít like we were trying to be successful or anything, we just did it because it was like we like hardcore and we like poppy stuff, ya know what I mean? Letís see if we can mix it all together. But itís gotten to a point now where that style of music is becoming more successful and more commercial...

ME: Itís very successful.

DJ: People are trying to do it in a way where itís really commercial, ya know what I mean? The way we do it, we just try and do it the best we can. We just try and write songs that we think are catchy and that we like. I can put my CD in and I donít care if anyone else likes it, I can sit there and listen to it in my car and be like, ëThis is cool.í

In relation to your comment on their cover art, he did not speak directly about it though he did mention what this new movement represents to the community.


ME: The term ëfashioncore...í

DJ: Oh, donít even get me started on that.

ME: Well what does it represent to you?

DJ: To me itís a couple dudes from New York that put out a couple shirts that said fashioncore and all of a sudden it became this thing. I dunno...bands that dress nice are considered fashioncore?
ME: Right.

DJ: I dunno, I think itís the most ridiculous thing Iíve ever heard.

ME: But I mean sponsorships...thereís so much money pouring into hardcore now...like we said, commercial success.

DJ: Fashion and hardcore, they just kind of ran into each other, ya know what I mean?

ME: Absolutely.

DJ: To me itís almost like the new glam rock. Itís like a heavier glam rock. People are all about wearing make up, all about looking nice, looking flashy. But at the same time playing this fuckin rockin music.


I thought it'd be advantageous to add that since you had said their cover art reminds you of a Warrant video.

Let me set the record straight. I by no means wish to imply I'm some all knowing feminist guy or scene queen. Hardcore represents something outstanding for me because for so long it was untouched by the mainstream and for so long bands and fans rejected the idea of "making it." It seems like the struggle was why they did it. My intentions are not to serve as a therapist either but rather make honest observations and possibly sort out what is happening to this ìscene. Perhaps focus on this fashion core angle? I'm not exactly an experienced journalist - I wrote for my high school newspaper for a few years and now I've rekindled my interest with this. If I sound like an ignorant 19-year-old looking for answers -- it's because I am.

Thank you again for your help with this! I much appreciate it.

Dan Lipski

Posted by Jessica at 07:17 PM | TrackBack

November 29, 2004

COME GET WITH THE VIRGO

For all the people hitting this site after googling "unicorn" - there are no unicorn pictures here. Try Elfwood , the fantasy art online community. Madd unicorns there.

The Gel and Weave blog is a storm of vernaculars and poem accidents. The "no punctuation" rule they apply makes it feel like a teenage panic tome, Ferlinghetti's Coney Island dreams and the liner notes to a Mobb Deep cassingle. Ample use of "bcz" and lines like "heres a video r made for www.goldteethusa.com, it looks like thug holiday-era trick d held hostage on al jazeera" or "rakims voice ws the last acceptable monotone in real rapper hiphop (doin joints w havoc and guru, who carry on the flatline torch)" -- loving it.

I could tell you about the weekend, so I will.
Went to see the Kills for no reason ( gee Alison Mosshart's ponytail is long. I wish she was still chubs. More famous girls need to stop skinnying up.) and left when Sean began suggesting he kick Jack White's ass, for everything JW has said about Sean's other girlfriend, hip hop. Jack White is thick, and is all Detroit rivethead, likely, but Sean has about a foot on him and would do anything to make Murs proud. Sean = tender thug, JW = blue collar scrapper genes, but I think that's a perm in his hair.. so. My money is on Sean re: the midwest duke out, so I dragged him home rather than let the mythologies tangle.

I could tell you about the 400 people who showed up for our benefit, but I would be lying. There were not so many people at the all uphill dance party benefit for the rock camp. Though the Empty Bottle was very pleased at our 60-person draw, as last year they had a T Raumschmiere show on the Thnkgvg Sunday and one person showed up, so "BINOCULARS" was a landslide success by comparison. JR played some neck snapping Jermaine Jackson instrumental B-side (a punchline waiting to happen) and Miles and I danced. Then Miles played some TV on the Radio, and me and my roomate danced. Then I played Dixie Cups "Iko Iko" and the sound guy put down his book and danced. It was like being at home, but with way more strangers-strangers and Nas turned up much louder than my stereo goes, so it was pretty fantastic.

Did you like that story? Was it refreshing?

If I do not know you personally, please write me at mcfrenchvanilla at yahoo dot com and tell me about your weekend. Whomever writes me and shares the tale of the most boringness-est will get a special present in the mail from me, as a condolence gift: a CD that will spice up even the dullest lifestyle and an autographed picture of me rollerskating. Please include your address. No lying.


Posted by Jessica at 11:06 PM | TrackBack

November 27, 2004

VULTURABILITY

Even though it might mean I bounce those seven massive checks I sent to the IRS last week, I went and bought some comics today, as Quimby's was having thier annual blow out zine back stock sale. I did not buy the 25-cent back issue of Horizontal Action, or issue of Punk Planet from 1999. I bought a coffee table book, the new Hamster Man Anthology , and the Anders Nilsen new comic, from Drawn & Quarterly, Dogs and Water. Anders Nilsen, I get mortifyingly embarrassed every time I see him, since discovering four years ago, he was my neighboor, recognizing him as he was xeroxing "big Questions" comics next to me at Kinkos. I sweated for about 17 minutes before turning to him and saying "Hey, did you go to South?" -- which I knew the answer to. Of course you went to South. You were three years ahead of me. You are Anders, my first punk rock boy crush, I still remember what the inscription is under your Senior Photo 13 years after the fact ("What the Replacements said." - while everyone else had shout outs to danceline, inside jokes and mention of people they would always remember.). And, just like in high school, you still have no idea who I am.

"We went to a Babes in Toyland show together in 1991," I explain, and introduce myself. I leave out all the other details that might truly jog his memory: I was about 4 feet high, purposely took the same ceramics class as you and spent several months making ashtrays and staring at you, I had braces, a middle part, wore tunics and cowboy boots and had a wide array of Mudhoney and The Fluid t-shirts. Please do not remember that era, as neither nineth grade nor the grunge era was very nice to me.

He remembers our mutual friends, but not me. He remembers the show (record release for the "To Mother" EP). I had never "moshed" at a show before. We were standing on the edge of the "the pit" -- I wanted to really seem down, like some old pro, so I started just periodically bumping, rather roughly into Anders. In trying to show off that like, yeah, I go to punk shows and mosh it up all the fucking time, man , I evidenced the exact oppisite, standing there vigourously, sporadically bumping into someone who was standing completely and totally still. After maybe the fifth time I did, he just looked down at me and said "What are you doing?" -- oh, it was just the worst.

Posted by Jessica at 03:50 PM | TrackBack

November 26, 2004

LETS GO GARY!

Inexplicable: Hooters Air is now flying rill cheap into Gary, Indiana. New York pals -- come and visit! You have never seen so much broken glass, or dilapidation or skeletal, arsoned buildings in your life. The Chamber of Commerce suggests you think "family vacation" or "night on the town" or jet ski rental and not high murder, employment and cancer rates. Come to Gary, and I'll drive over and give you a tour of the mammoth, collapsing Post Office that has trees growing out of it's rottened-up floor boards.

Posted by Jessica at 05:54 PM | TrackBack

THE INTRICATE NATURE OF NATION BUILDING

More sad mess -- Amnesty International's report on sex abuses meted out by UN troops in rebuilding countries. Nothing quite as sad as forcing women to prostitute themselves in exchange for bags of flour.

Posted by Jessica at 01:22 PM | TrackBack

November 25, 2004

THANKS GIVIN

I try not to celebrate Thanksgiving as it stands, due to my heritage , thusly I mourn in rememberance of the Pilgrims' thoughtful gift of pox-infested blankies. So, I spent this afternoon in a gay bar with Miles and his parents, not drinking, wearing a shirt with wolves on it that I wrote "fuk the war" on in sharpie.

This fits right in with my other main Thanksgiving anti-festive memories - My 16th year, where in a show of punk-dramatix, I wore a long black gown to dinner in protest of the holiday. My mother made shrimp, instead of turkey, but the shrimps were not quite defrosted, and almost inedibley raw. I spoke bitterly about both the shrimp and my parents, my mom got up and left, while everyone else continued the meal in silence.

or the year that I spent the entire Thanksgiving week putting 4,000 miles on my car, while my best friend from LA kicked heroin in the back seat, and we visited everyone we knew on the eastern seaboard, trying to act casual in spite of her sick shuddering.

Or the year I cooked an terrible vegan dinner for Josh , Norm , Cayce and Liz . people with only their veganism in common.

Or the year that Britt and I spent trying to open a coconut with an ice pick in the kitchen. I only remember this because there is a picture of it.

By the way, if you are one of those people who do not know whata cornocopia is: here.

Posted by Jessica at 07:43 PM | TrackBack

November 24, 2004

I HAVE AN IDEA FOR YOU AND ME!

Are you a Chicago person with a desire to volunteer occasionally, but your only free time is the night time? Are you angry about the current administration destroying the New Deal peice by peice, leaving poor-and-unfortunate America rotting, blanketless?

I know you are answering yes.
Here is the link to The Night Ministry.
You have seen their trailer-truck up in the Wicker Park, on yr way to the bar. They need volunteers to staff the trucks, which go out from 10 pm to 2 am (same time you reserve for shows and PBR at the Rainbo, do not front) and you hang out on the truck and you make coffee or cocoa for homeless folks, help distribute blankets, meals, be company and witness to people who no one wants to see or be company to. It is really simple shit.

Secondly, they need volunteers for the youth shelter they run, the biggest in the city, and the only one that takes pregnant girls who are 14 and under. Food service and general assistance in the shelter, etc.

If you are really going to get all reflective on your personal bounty on this, the forthcoming racist-ass holiday, maybe think about volunteering.

Posted by Jessica at 02:06 PM | TrackBack

November 23, 2004

ERRATA

I forgot to tell you and ask you some things.

1. Why didn't you tell me that Arthur Russell's "Keeping Up" would string me up like some dead fowl on the line? I spent 21.99$ on the triple vinyl of the World of Arthur Russell , this morning, a bit of outlandish expense for me, and I would say, "Keeping UP" alone is worth 16.99$ of that. I am going to save my other money and buy that other collection of his solo magics, where he is standing with the cello, looking startled, looking like some monkey-about baby man child cleaved from mixed DNA of Mike Skinner and healthy-era Elliott Smith. I want that record just for the look on his face. He looks utterly alive and utterly bewildered. Who is this girl with the hummingbird wing voice singing with him? I have infinite capacity for sweetness these days and this suits me.

2. There is a benefit, and a kick off. Miles got him (us) a monthly night at the olde Empty Bottle, which kicks of this weekend, here in Chi-boogie, Sun. the 28th, entitled "ITS CALLED BINOCULARS" and this first round is me, JR and Miles and it is a benefit for the Rock N Roll Girls Camp that is starting up in New York City this summer. It's only $3, so you have no excuse. I am bringing some Steely Dan, some Black Box, a little "2000 Black", a Nitzer Ebb 12" and am trying to find Dixie Cups vinyl somehow/where, cos handclaps are key. JR has been playing Wrexx N' Effect "Rumpshaker" to start his set the last times I saw him, which borders on "no fair, thats cheating" because even if 11 people are there, they scream and run to the floor. Miles can actually mix and beat match, so... yeah. Come see it happen.

Posted by Jessica at 05:05 PM | TrackBack

TINY ACORN NOTE

The new Ana DiSilva album is still going to get her pegged as naive 20 years after the fact. Raincoats were primalist fey party band, and a thousand times better than those other fey-ass party bands The Pastels or the Au Pairs. It is not a bedroom-electro thing, it sounds like it was made in a chapel in the clouds or a dumpster behind radio shack. It reminds me of things I like and cannot get enough of - namely: "Little Trouble Girl" by Sonic Youth and The Dixie Cups and Bjork videos.

Posted by Jessica at 02:46 PM | TrackBack

November 22, 2004

PAID IN FULL

More inspiration from ausgang.org kid lies is on me, all me and my sister talked about for three days. The one about stealing medicated lip gunk was great, but the one about the girls dad coming out of the tornado ASTRIDE A COW is classic, and I just tried to think about every lie of substance I ever remember telling. They are alternately more shameful and banal as I get older, not worth sharing, only worth forgetting, or only sharing with drunk people who will forget.

When I was about five, my parents had been divorced for some time. My dad was working in El Paso, TX, living in the barrio and freelancing. My mom and I lived in Mueskegon, MI - a quiet town that smells horrible. I knew what my dad looked like, I remembered, though I had not seen him in maybe a year. He had dark, thick brown hair and a big moustache typical of 1982. One day, after seeing Hall and Oates perform on Solid Gold, and was struck with an idea. I went and told my friends, all three of them, that the reason my dad was not around was he was the guy with the moustache in Hall and Oates. I showed pictures of my dad taken from far away, and they believed me.

This is not funny like the cow story. Though, it is made a little more funny when I think about that I was five, obsessed with Santa, collecting nutcrackers, pretending my dad was in Halls and Fucking Oates, rebelling against my moms insistance that I only wear gender neutral outfits in gender neutral colors, and had taken to wearing Wonder Woman under-roos with near exclusivity, eating a lot hot dogs and watching re-runs of Gomer Pyle. Context helps, I suppose.

My two better pranks of teenage-yore, one I can tell, the other, proprietarily, belongs to Britt and involves a bottle of Blackberry brandy filled with refrigerated urine and a very high pizza delivery dude mistakenly showing up at our house. It is Britt's story, she can tell it. The one I can tell goes like this:

There was a Sebadoh show coming to Minneapolis - this is right around Smash Your Head, or Bubble and Scrape, and so everyone in town wanted to be the opener on the bill, because it was the nineties and anything Barlow was big-shit.
A few weeks prior to this show, The Blues Explosion or someone "big" was in town, and everyone-everyone would be at the show, all the cool adults, the record store people in bands, scenesters etc. It was in a bar, so I could not go. I was in 11th grade at this time.

So, while everyone in town is out at the honkey blooze show, a friend and I took the tape player I had stolen from school, the one with pitch control, and recorded a message: "Hi... uh, this is Lou Barlow, from Sebadoh. I hope I have the right number. I got a tape of your band, and I think you guys are fucking awesome, and I want you to open for us when we come through town next month" -- etc. We slow the recording down so my chirpy teen girl voice became a suitably stoned approximation Lou Barlow. We call everyone in every band we have a number for in town, which was maybe about 20 bands. We sit back and wait for the shit to hit the fan. Embarrassing squabbles break out over the next few days, as people go out and floss about how they have been hand-picked by Barlow himself to open the show.

That is my story for today.

If you send me your notable lies, I will post them for you, anonymously, if you so desire, or would like me to apologize for any lies or pranks I have pulled on you, please email me at the yahoo account on the side of the page. I will even apologize on behalf of people that have lied to you, if it will help you feel better, just let me know. I will be really sincere about it, you will feel redeemed, and you will not have to keep on drinking yourself to sleep. Just try it, it will be our little experiment.

Love,
JH

Posted by Jessica at 11:05 PM | TrackBack

November 20, 2004

OF FRESH FRUIT AND FREEJAZZ PRAYERS

Oh, Thank You, Trevor. Emo turncoats of the world unite and take over.

My sister just said "What's your blog called again - The Tiny Acorn's Story?"

After nine days here, tending to my Nana's health, my sister and I head home. From here on out, we take turns, between our family and my uncles family, someone will be here til... whenever. Nana is back from the brink, so we are not so scared and mortality is not weighing so heavy on us and my nana is not using a walker - etc., and thusly my sister and mother and I are back to being annoyed with one another, as usual. My mom was imparting on us, in an overly stern manner, that Nana is to be given fresh fruit every day and then added "And by fresh fruit, I do not mean a cut up apple. I mean fresh fruit ." My sister turned to me and whispers, "If fresh fruit does not mean an apple, then what the fuck does she mean?" -- yeah, I think it's time we head home.

Tonight, Nana demanded that I was going to say grace at dinner, not her. Which was fine. Nana's table-prayers in the last week have been heavily informed by deathbed leanings, and lasted up to five minutes. Thanking the lord, tearfully, for each and every year, for material bounty, for college admissions, or imploring god to help guide the food to help us how each of us need in our bodies, and to help us understand that whatever will be, will be -- ending with "You know what to do lord. Amen" and a fierce squeeze of the hands.
Nana and everyone assumed that since I am the most religious member of my family, I would know some official grace, but I don't -- and I hate praying out loud amongst other people, so I freejazzed it. I thanked god for keeping Nana around and for the food and to please help my mom's bad attitude. Amen.

I wanted to also give thanks to my mom for moving out of rural Indiana, and giving me and Lauren a chance at bigger things than New Castle, Indiana would have likely allowed us, and freedom from the feminine mystique. The other day, as I was typing furiously, trying to make deadline, my uncle suggested that I am such a fast typist, I could of been a stenographer, as if that was a great, missed calling. My Nana, after my sister organized and filed a bunch of files and papers for her, suggested that my sister could be a secretary "for someone important, like the head of a company, or maybe the President." My sister asked "Well, why couldn't I just be the president?!". Thank you mom, for heading to the city, so we did not endure a life time of socialization into secretarial service of big men of industry.

Last night, as my sister and I walked a few miles at about 2am, sharing cigarettes and a diet sprite. Trolling past the groves, the huge sprinkler arcs and the renovated double wides and hurricane trash. Inspired by the child-lies up at Augang.org, we started talking about lies and pranks we favored as kids. My sister told me that during sleepovers her and her friend would look up people listed as couples in the phone book and call them up, and based on whomever answered, they would confess, in either a man's or woman's voice, that they were having an affair with the other half of the couple. A terrible prank, though made hysterical by the fact that they were seven years old. Imagine getting that call, from a third grade girl, pretending to be a man, saying "I've been having an affair with your girlfriend."

Posted by Jessica at 10:17 PM | TrackBack

November 19, 2004

DEATH TRAP VALLEY 69

If you read anything today, read J Shepherd going into the coal mine about, essentially, squaring feminism off with your rap-love, about the confusion when it's pimps up, ho's down, on the dance floor and in your brain. Brass knuckles to the jagged dicotomy of having taste and having politics. YA BASTA and Amen.

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November 18, 2004

UPDATE FROM THE LAUNDRY ROOM

Me and my sister, like two sequestered nerd jurors, are in the laundry room. Everyone is asleep, all over the house, so we chill in the room where no one will be disturbed. Lauren reads the Tatum O Neil trasterpeice, I do all the funstuff that a dialup connection allows. It is like, 11 o' clock in a retirement community that hedges a golf course, which we have already walked around a couple times. It is too late to skateboard, something I just discovered my sister knows how to do, too. We are going to take the rental and go cruise downtown. My nana informed us there are hookers up at the traffic circle downtown. We are going because we want to know what hookers in a retirement community are like. And because it is still early and there is nothing to do in the laundry room, aside from examine the 5 framed IU basketball posters that hang there, smoke cigarettes, and laugh at the sticker my Nana recently adhered to the wall, reading: ADDICTED TO SPORTS - NOT DRUGS. -- the defiant straightedge hxc jock message is pure comedy when delivered from an 86 year old woman, via her laundry-room wall.

Today was up and down, the tension is giving way to nothing but sweet-mocking.
My mom came into the kitchen, after dinner, slightly agitated and somewhat baffled that Nana had asked her the same thing about the pie three times. "Three times ," sigh my mother. My sister and I had the same responce of total indifference to my moms plight: "Well, no shit mom, she has Alzheimers "... Earlier, while my mother and sister and I prepped and dressed her and curled her hair, my uncle popped his head in to ask what we're doing, my Nana yells "We're having an orgy! Go away!" - then adds, yelling into the other room after my totally embarrased uncle -- "Don't get all red-faced like you don't know what an orgy is!" -- this from a woman, clad only in her bra, a diaper and footies.

That made me feel like she will live forever, or at least another few months.

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November 17, 2004

I STOLE THEM! I STOLE THE TEETH!

Today was bumpy.

I went to sleep at 4:30. I stay up to work and to be there if Nana needs anything. Woke up at 9 to my mom suggesting that I get up because Nana was not so good today. Mom left. I made tea and went out on the porch and sat with my sis and Nana. Five minutes later, Nana was almost passing out, had the chills, etc. We barely got her into the bed -- she fell fast asleep, her hand gripped on my fingers. We called mom. Mom panicked and called an ambulance. Mom and I stood in the driveway crying. What if. What if.

The EMTs came in with their defibrilator and the gurney.
They kept calling her Zelma and talking to her in the overly loud voice that official people use on the aged and touching her with their purple latex gloves. ZELMA DO YOU WANT TO GO TO THE HOSPITAL? She woke up only to tell them "No, I am fine thank you." WE'RE GOING TO TAKE YOUR BLOODPRESSURE OK ZELMA. It's Zola, I tell them. Her blood pressure is fine, she is asleep, sawing logs, minutes later.
The EMT suggest that it is a cold.
I know it is not a cold and I want them and their loud talking out of my Nana's room.

We know it is not a cold. Actually, the doctor thinks it is cancer. They just cannot find it. All the symptoms. I think of this, and the other prognosis' as useless specificity. Simply, she is going, and we must get ready for her going. I do not need the name of what is taking her, I just need to be with her, get her some Sprite and a pink bendy straw.

After the scare, after the EMT visit which she does not remember, after the nap where I took out her teeth to squirrel away and wash them, she became very funny. Like haha funny. She woke up and yelled " Alright! Who stole my teeth?!", she told a rather tawdry joke, snapping on everyone in her flat, dry sense of humor. While my sister and I dressed her, she requested we get her a bra with "some uplift" - to make us laugh.

After her nap, I told her I had spoken to JR and he said to say hello and is thinking of her. Nana has has a crush on JR ever since they met at my sister's graduation. "Oh, JR, he is so handsome. Tell him I say hello." I tell my sister that Nana has a crush on JR. "We have so much in common. Basketball. Baseball. He is so sweet." She asked whether he has a girlfriend. He's single, I say. I suggest that maybe he's a little young for her, and she asked me if maybe he is open to an adult adoption, that she would settle for just being his extra mom, so they could just hang out and talk sports. She says she is sure he will have no problem finding a girlfriend though. "Ooh... JR" she sighs.

Even though she is funny, and joking, she is not getting better, and so we will all stay. More family arrives tomorrow, and they will stay too. And we will all get ready with her.

Right now she is playing show and tell, passing around photos of her orchids, her birthdays, photos from before she was married to my grandpa, when she was the age I am now. She was a coal-haired war widow in small town Southern Indiana. She worked at the phone company and drove a car she bought herself, with white wall tires. She said she never had a manicure until she was 83. "I spent every day working behind the meat counter, I spent 70 years with my hands in dishwater, it woulda done me no good."

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November 16, 2004

PLAY IT AS IT LAYS

YESTERDAY

3:36 am.
She woke up for a cigarette. She was ready to be up, she said. "I got all my nap out, I guess," and lit a Winston.

I was the only one awake. Still up? Still working? She asks. Yes. Deadline tomorrow.

I could not write while she is awake. Reviews and turning clever phrases about middling artists made all the more menial by the fact that I am constantly wondering if every conversation I have with her is going to be the last.

I get the little machine from the coffee table."Arm please." She knows the drill. I roll up the sleeve on her night gown. "I don't think you are supposed to smoke while you do this," she laughs. I say "Well, lets just do it for fun then," and proceed to take her blood pressure anyway.

Yesterday this time, my sister and my mother and I arrived to central Florida in hopes that she had made it through the night. She being Zola, my nana, age 86 - she being my mother's mother. That morning, my mother woke me with a call. It is very bad. Her blood pressure was above 300. Her body was failing. We have to go today.

Today she is fine, she is "fine". This morning, she was up and about at 6 or 7. I woke up on the couch to her scoot-scooting past with her new walker, her house shoes barely lifting off the floor. My mom was up already, and helped Nana into her remote-control lift chair. My mom sits at her feet, and holds her hand. "We thought you weren't gonna make it, Mom." "Well, I'm a tough old broad, you know," she laughs.

I got up to hug her. Even standing, she is so small, I feel like I could hurt her by hugging her. She is about 4 and half feet tall, lately she only comes up to my sternum. Her back fractured on it's own this summer. Osteoporosis. She rolled over in bed wrong. Anything could hurt her now. In the chair, she feebly tugs at her blanket. I put it over her, and she pulls her knees up to her chest. She does this and I think she looks like a baby. Or a walnut.

Later, we had some cookies my mom baked, then laid down for a nap. Getting into the bed is tricky. Very slow. She wrapped her arms as tight as she could around my neck, and I lowered her down, my arms under her. Lower and scoot and rearrange. She winces with pain. Scoot, lower.I get her down into place, and she does not let go, she pulls me tighter, my head on her shoulder. She begins to cry. She is so happy to see us she says. I feel her pulse against my ear.

She lets me up and I work on the jenga-like arrangement of pillows she needs. It is not working right. I bring her my pillow that I brought from home. It's down. She tells me she has never had a feather pillow. I think this is about the most unjust thing I have ever heard. I tell her she can keep it if she likes. I lay down next to her and hold her hand. She moves to put her arm under my head. Sly, like we are on a date. She cries again. I cry too. My mom comes in. Mom cries too. Nana apologizes for making us all cry. She says it's only because she is happy.
I am crying because my heart is breaking.
I tell her a dumb joke I overheard a little kid tell at the airport last night. I told her that that made me cry when I heard it. Everything makes me cry. Really, everything. So no need to apologize. We all laugh at our pitiful crying.

She takes her pain medicine from my hand, one pill at a time, her thin fingers fumbling them out of the folds of my palm. My mom angles a cup and adjusts the bendy straw for her and lifts it to her mother's mouth. It was the single most tender thing I have ever witnessed.

TODAY

Today, she is better. I was not around much today. I was off doing selfish things to tether me back to my silly young life. I felt more than a little ashamed for this. I am not this kind of brave. I have only faked out mean kid courage that I can muscle up, easily summoned for telling people off or breaking up fights. That is not the courage I need to manufacture to be able to accept the sickness, or the inevitability. Of. It.

Most everyone I know who has died courted their death, paid for it in cash, even. Even my other grandma's husband. He bought his death in a lifetime of Dorals and highballs at an Elks Club bar, they said "you will die" and he chose to keep going. Others, they were just kids bent by adult weights, and they got on with needles and shotguns. Some accidental. Some with specific intent.

All of those, you see it coming. Maybe you witness with hope, maybe you give up on them and turn them loose to the flames licking at them. But that is a different kind of acceptance, a different shade of "seeing it coming" than illness and where old age takes you -- especially when it is running on a track of shared DNA. The big lens of mortality, illuminating all the spots you missed, all the filthy corners, all the best ideas you've been pawning off in lieu of safe bets.

And so, today, all day I was angry. For all this creeping up on me like that.

AND THEN THE DUMB STUFF

There is so much of today that I would not like to rebroadcast, but can be summarized as: 7.5 hours and 211 miles later, I have proven, beyond a shadow of a doubt... there is no wireless access, or even DSL plug-ins anywhere in central Florida. I have never gone to such extremes to make a deadline.
An employee at the Barnes and Noble in Lakeland, (120 miles round trip) seemed genuinely sorry for their bad information they gave me. Meanwhile, I was ready to kick over the big holiday display of Anne Geddes books to punish them for their misdeeds. I wound up purchasing a dial-up account. It took an hour and forty minutes to download my email. Peace and respect to the packmules of technology, there for us when all else shits the bed.

Discoveries from the fantastic voyage were numerous.

The main real estate agent in my Nana's town has the best-worst name ever Chip "C.D." Boring. "Chip Boring" is bazonkers by itself. " CD Boring" is like, Discharge-album cover painted in white-out on the back of your leather jacket awesome-stupid.

The hurricane chewed through the grove town of Frostproof. The lids on the mobile homes got halfway peeled up. They look like open caskets. Great piles of end tables and wet couches and stuff that used to matter sits at the end of the drive awaiting the arrival of whomever comes to fetch wet couches.

A woman said to me "No. No internet. All we got is orange trees and cows around here," and shrugged. I laughed, she did not.

After eight consecutive listens to Joni Mitchell's Court and Spark, I have sworn off any albums not made my a divorced woman. Everyone else is just going to bullshit me with bedsheet ghosts. The lyrics are too unfuckwithably real, I can hardly stand it at all. I almost had to pull over and barf in a municipal drainage ditch it was so intense.


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November 13, 2004

BECAUSE THE NIGHT BELONGS TO LARGE PROFESSOR, BECAUSE THE NIGHT BELONGS TO US!

Scene Report: Biz3/Puma party at the faux-euro bar by my house. 10 pm-midnight. Mssrs. Butter-Wolf and Producto DJing.

The dance floor is actually just some stairs. I danced with Hunter and Vanessa. I told Hunter his outfit made him look like David Crosby before the coke burn. White Seersucker suit, sleevesless tie dye shirt, a serious beard, some gold chains and a rope belt. "Awesome, thanks." Inexplicably -- He was yelling "E-BAY!" like you yell "Westsiiide" during the breaks of songs, and then whiffing hits of VCR headcleaner from a little bottle. I asked him if inhalants are his drug of choice. He stopped dancing and thought about it. "Yes, yes they are," and went back to dancing. Some guy with a camera was trying to take pictures of the ugliest most uncordinated white people in the place, and was in our dance zone. Hunter and I sandwiched him agressively and Hunter, now down to the sleeveless shirt did a move which can only be described as "giving him the armpit." Once the guy relented Hunter says "Cameras are just so... stupid," pauses, puts his hands to his head, kind of sits in an invisble chair, quickly stands back up, raises his hands in the air and scream "WHOA!" and goes back to dancing.

Mr. Producto ceeded the decks to Mr. Butter-Wolf after a decent string of old school surefire. Mr. Producto's skill with the mixer left a little to be desired, his touch with the fader could adequately be described as "violent". Upon exiting the booth, he stood with myself and Kathryn, and mocked his own lack of technique. Humility is a great quality in a rapper. He played Public Enemy five times in an hour, which was admirable as well.

Mr. Butter-Wolf then made two turn tables seem like four he was cutting and mixing with the deft finesse for which he is know. Slick Rick into Walk on the Wildside into I Shot The Sheriff into Deee-Lite theme into It Takes Two into Message to You Rudy into Tide is High into EPMD into Jay-Z. If you ask me to tell you my fantasy, it was that.

Ultimately, it made me ashamed. I am not, nor ever have been a DJ, I am simply someone who plays records outside my house sometimes, like the rest of the assholes. Mr. Butter-Wolf is, irrefutably, flagrantly, and quite delightfully -- a DJ.

Then Mr. Producto was back on and he played some shit from back when all rap songs were 8 or 11 minutes long, then after realizing that was a fatal move, threw on a string of what are known as cheater tracks (the easy gaurantees after you kill the floor, better know as " the Missy Elliott/The Rapture hattrick"). In this case it was"Run's House" and more PE. And Large Professor. Which can be excused due to Mr. Producto's admitted lack of professional DJ experience. He was having fun, and that's really what matters.

Meanwhile, I spent this time standing by the bar, waiting for my water with ice and a straw, talking about my new haircut with acquaintances and admiring all the fancy Puma shoes in saturated matte colors that were posited between the Baileys and the Icey Hot bottles. I though about how much it must suck to be a girl bartender, because your dress code is the slim, leather n' denim median of "eight grade slut"/ "every drunk business mans rub fantasy". I decided that I will never have a job where I cannot wear my new bonnet to work.

By this point, 5700-gazillion people were packed in and bouncing like they used to read Word Up magazine, so I ate my ice & called it a night.

Overall rating: 7.5 out of a possible 10.

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November 12, 2004

DATING TRUISMS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT

"I liked that story from the bible you told me."

"The one about Mary Magdelene?"

"Yeah. Thats always how it is. You fall in love with the town slut, and you go and tell her " Listen --I love you, you don't have to do this," and she tells you to fuck off, then later decides she is in love with you back. That's the story of my life. (laughs) Except when she decides she loves me, I always suddenly figure that I can't stand her."

"But you end up moving in with her anyways --"

"Oh yeah, of course, every time." (laughs)

Posted by Jessica at 05:31 PM | TrackBack

OH MAN, I TOTALLY FORGOT

I apologize. Really. For forgetting to tell you, or remind you, of the greatest record ever made. I downloaded the boxset off emusic last week, and cried diamond tears as it imported itself into my itunes. Tied with the Gories for best shitty, blown out drum sounds ever recorded -- but still placing number one for the best-worst punk production of all time. It sounds like it was somehow recorded with a hot plate, two tampons and a dustbuster™, and yet, is airport flight path loud. The way the solo gets punched in towards the end of "TV As Eyes" is more awkward and obliterating than anything off Stooges Funhouse. Totally vampire-bite binoculars illness and vertiginous stereo-panning mixing on every track. LOVE IT.

PS. Still fuck the war, and still fuck the motherfucking president, who embarrasses every bone in my body when he says "we're gunna destroy tha terrace" -- and all I can think of is Marines firebombing patios and porches of condos all over the world, Weber grills and laundry lines coming down in charred hunks. OOOOOOHHHHH I just hate his white gutz. I hope he trips over a pickle.

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November 11, 2004

WHEN YOU SEE ME COMIN' / GET THE FUCK OUT THE ENTRANCE

I rock a jagged dicotomy. The only two magazines I read all the way through are The New Yorker and VICE. Which is saying something -- I get about 3-4000 publications in the mail a year. Thats an estimation. Otherwise quantifiable as two trash bags a week.

The newish Didion book is all about the jagged dicotomy. She grabs the Californ essence 'tween her teeth and does not relent. She gives us, quite nicely, the gooey center that has been at the heart of all her work, some sort of totemic guide post to coheeeze it all. Why it is fantastic:
She debunks her own mythos, the vastness of California possibility, all that is part of her blood, growing up on the river in Sacto. Because if you ahev read her you know -- It's her California mind through all 108 pages of Salvador, and it's central in the lonelieness and proverbial hot corpse fuck ideas in Play It As It Lays, in the entitlement, largesse and shame of every single character in Run River - but it's quieted under the canopy of Northern California irragated-valley-bounty. This book punctuates those books.

But, now, now with this book, which is somewhat errouneausly labeled "memoir" on the back, it as if she has finally gotten to what she has spent the last 30-some years churning the earth to uncover. The nature of California, what draws people to it, and what that means about those people. She tracks her heritage from the Donner Party, and alternates between historical recounting, of California's legend, the promise of bounty and weatherlessness - where they tangle and get all who came since. Like the mother of the SPUR Posse masterminds. Like Didion's own mother.

Structurally, and even thematically akin to Rick Moody's The Black Veil, Didion's narrative is anchored, in part, in insanely detailed turn of the century journal recountings of a great-great-great-relative. Like Moody, she is scratching at the meta-text for clues about the three-generations removed endowment/path and how much of it might be familiar pre-determination, how much of that houndy disposition is straight from the DNA line of some tuffy orphan-girl settler, some onanistic virgin pilgrim in a veil.

Most of those chapters, though, are super fucking boring.

The real stink to head for is right in the middle of the book. Two chapters of barely contained civil disgust for the community that spawned and fostered SPUR posse boys. She does not relent. And she makes a much more poignant point than she does when she is returning to visions of muddy banks and wagon wheels in the preceeding chapter. The chapters examining the California of the last 25 years, especially the chapters about the armpit-of-CA ( Fresno, Chico, Sacto) is where she is making THE POINT.

And that is my book review, for you, gentle reader.

And that is what I like this week, aside from the Pistol Pete remix of Ghostface's "Run" which is so good I almost forgot about that just-blown smirk on the motherfucking president's face for a couple seconds. Almost.

Also, while we all joke about moving away, while I promise my girlfriends I will introduce them to nice gay Berliner DJ men who might marry them our of the kindness of their hearts... so everyone leaves and lets all the less mobile, less free, less mobilized, less empowered people who are already geniunely suffering as a result of a the current administration's dispassionate view toward anyone without a bulletproof wallet, anyone who is not white, does not own an oilwell, or anyone who has a vagina -- all those people need help that they are not going to get from cut social services and the fuckwads "in power" -- and so we can all move to Germany for a few years and be like "Phew!" and wipe our brows. But when bailing on all the red state people, you also let all the people who need more help now than ever rot. Literally and figuratively. So maybe stay, do not move to Quebec City. Make a plan to take up public shitting in protest - say, in front of the Washington Monument or Mayor Daley's office, then go make coffee to serve on the NightMinistry trucks.

Like, for real, I do not know what the exact route of help goes like, but all I know is that if I moved to Canada for real, I would just feel righetous and lucky. Whatevs, I do that here in Chicago everyday.

Thats all.

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November 10, 2004

KILLING TIME?

It's a federal holiday, but unless you are a postal worker, chances are, you are working. If you are at work, here is a great site for killing about eight hours. I recommend pressing on "1" at the far left, then on "lies" -- and read peoples notes about lies they have told.
My friend Melina has a story up there about fighting a girl while on the job at Pink Floyd laser light show - a girl called her a cunt, so she dropped her and kicked her in the stomach, and then told her boss that the girl through the first punch.

Posted by Jessica at 06:40 PM | TrackBack

AND THEN OUR LOVE PASSED OUT ON THE COUCH

The war is making me lonely. At the same time, I can barely stand people or conversation.

Really, we must give props to the triumvitae of unholy super-fucked that this November has wrought so far... It's a true pummel fuck to luxuriate in the Fallujah offensive, Four More Years and the sun now going down about 3 hours after it rises.

It could be much much worse. I could of been one of the 1100 injured soldiers at Walter Reed VA hospital that Bush visited today and congratulated on having " the courage to.. to.. to... become rehabilitated. " How do you go into a room where people are missing limbs and say that outloud? It's really saying something that after a deep awareness of what a cro-mag cock Bush is, that he's still surprising us at every turn. I hope Ashcroft pulls a Nina Simone and takes a piss on Bush's desk on the way out.

Finished itemizing all 856 itemizations for my taxes c. 4:40 am, and my mind was alive with displeasure and the kind of ideas that seem really profound and life-changing in the blank hour before dawn. I always think "write this down, you will not remember it in your sleep, fool." But I always think back -- "No, this is big, no way i can forget!" and say the idea in my head four times for memorization, and it never works. Meanwhile, I turned on the radio to go to sleep, to get an update on how Bush's war is going. At 4:40, before there is too much news to report, and it's all just goodnights from the BBC, they do the weather every 10 minutes. It gave me something exciting to ponder til I passed out, with Ann Garrells chirping about un-casual casualties and hospital bombings all the while...

"Tomorrow the high is 53."

Tonight, the agenda was culture. Tinariwen , from Mali, free at the Chicago Cultural Center. Before they played, there was a documentary about a music festival some frogs put on in the middle of the desert outside Timbuktu. Highlights: Footage of Ali Farka Toure - giddy, charming, melt-the-world with the joy of his music good. And Oumou Sangre who I heard for the first time about two weeks ago, and was nursing obsession with, but now, now that I know she's a tough azz feminist and also the most beautiful woman I have ever seen - I'm going to have to start work on a devotional alter or get a picture of her screened onto my pillowcases.
Lowlights of the documentary: Six minutes, six minutes, six minutes Robert Plant you're on. After the previous 30 minutes of people who drove their camels to the festival to play, or formed in exile in Libya during the revolt, or formed in refugee camps -- R.P. up there in some desertized sweat pant going "Bay-bayh ba-ai-ai-be-e-e, chile... you gotta go-o-o" and makinga knob-twisting fluttery with one hand and mock rubbing his crotch with the other... there is nothing I could say that could trump the stellar job he does of elucidating just what a chooch he is.

Anyhow, the movie played, then the band played. Tinariwen were great, great and had lots of sharp chapping on the breaks. Four-five singers, four gtrs, one guy playing a djembe drum. The woman had a high reedy voice and long flowing hair. It was heavenly.

In the movie, most of the bands talked about how the purpose of their band was to help heal people and communities and their culture, all of which were impacted - shredded - by years of civil war and drought. Being in their bands is about being alive. Which I think should be the only reason anyone should start a band, but, really it never is these days.

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November 08, 2004

"WHEN EMO IS OUTLAWED, ONLY RICH HONKEYS WILL HAVE EMO"

That is the precient (sp?) quote of one Mr. Josh Hooten, who wrote it in the pages of Hit it or Quit it in 1997. When I smoke on the porch, I am surrounded by the remaining issues of back stock that exist, and despite that nostalgia makes me want to go my own eyes with a melon-scooper, sometimes I look at them. And I'm instantly reminded about what a genius/cocky and stupid / cruel, cruel yet hysterical/ still genius again magazine we used to make. I was the main catalyst in the cocky/cruel ingredient.

People ask me "Why you no do that magazine much anymore?" - Tis easily blamed on that most of the editorial staff getting laid on a regular basis, that Chris only cares about Basketball, JR only cares about baseball and reggae, Doug is in the computer-zone ether, Sean is busy Har_Marring, and me... I'm paralyzed by the patriarchy. Julianne, dear womany J-Shep, she routinely turned in features and the like despite no deadline even being anchored. Julianne is the best editor we ever had. She edits despite their being no publication. Clap, clap, mon ami.

(PS: UPDATE on the shit hitting the fan
I stood in the alley, and in front of the house, like the ad said. I could not hear anything. I took off my bonnet and I heard a plane and mice and leaves and assorted tinnitus of nature. I did not hear "Eve of Destruction" like the paper suggested I would.)

Lastly, I offer this, on the topic of magazines, the futility, the evility, the silent gender war in it's pages: Friends who are in more of a joking mood than I, since that motherfucking fake out of an election last week, they say "The best punk records got made during Republican, oppressive administrations. Hardcore/Punk will get good again as a result, get polticized and get liberated and blah blah blah blah etc, " and then we kind of titter and complain about something else. But, upon examination of today's mail, I got no proof. I get no proof of much of anything other than I am still right about emo, and that no wonder no girls want into punk rock: Most every magazine tells us "you are invisible. This, this is about us, babe..."

(Like, for real, I know, punk rock gender war is real small stakes in comparison to the fact that 15,000 boy kids from this country are trying out a little untender apocolypse on command on a few thousand insurgent humans and civilian humans in Fallujah right this instant. Lets just give over to the fact that I cry a lot more often about that war than the home-turf one being faught in the trenches of the Punk Planet letters section.)

That said -- a quick examination of today's mail.
(Secondary note: I have friends at most of these magazines. There is part of me that wants to declare "no offence" and insist I understand capitalist constructs and babies that need diapers and making a living, but hey, they know whats up, as well as I do.)


LAW OF INERTIA
First page featuring a band with a woman: none - reviews section only
Page where a woman speaks in first person: none.
Total number of features of bands with women: none
number of women on editorial staff: one

SENTIMENTALIST
First page featuring a band with a woman:6
Page where a woman speaks in first person: 29 ( sahara hotnights)
Total number of features of bands with women: five
total page count: 64
number of women on editorial staff: 2 out of 3 are female

REVOLVER
First page featuring a band with a woman:10 (donnas)
Page where a woman speaks in first person: 50 ( nightwish)
Total number of features of bands with women: two
number of bands featuring women listed in 50 heaviest bands of all time special: 1 (swans) (2 if you count black flag)
number of women on editorial staff: 5 out of 11 are female

ALTERNATIVE PRESS
First page featuring a band with a woman: Page 52
Page where a woman speaks in first person: Page 74 ( celloist for Murder By Death, talking about her favorite movie)
Number of women feature in drumming special section: none
Number of pictures of women that are not advertisements: seven
Total number of features of bands with women: two
number of women on editorial staff: 1
Total page count: 175


RESONANCE
First page featuring a band with a woman: cover ( le tigre)
Page where a woman speaks in first person: 18 ( iqu)
Total number of features of bands with women: nine
number of women on editorial staff: 3 out of 8 are female

Posted by Jessica at 11:14 PM | TrackBack

November 07, 2004

PAID AD FOR THE SHIT HITTING THE FAN

While you sleep, the unicorn quietly works on filing two years of back taxes, in hopes of proving poor enough that the federales and art academia say " Yes, we pity you, take our money..." and greenlights 24,000 a year for the education. By next Monday. Cross yr legs and your fingers, home peices. It will be a good thing for me to be off the mean streets and up in a classroom with teens acting like puzzled panthers, fighting about that celebrated dick J. Pollack.

Meanwhile, while I sweat dog biscuits over my taxation without representation homework, somewhere, in Chicago, a someone is hatching a plan .

My roomate pointed out to me an ad clipped from Section One of this weeks Chicago Reader. Totally curious. Ad was placed pre-election, and the day of "hitting the fan" is 11/9 - which my roommate believes is signifigant. Again, totally curious: performance art, vengence, speculation, conspiracy, scare tactic, renegade gov't agent, Anarchists, French Turncoats?
The ad copy is as follows:

___________________________________________
PAID ADVERTISMENT

On Monday, November 8, 2004 go outside of your home
about 10pm - 11pm. Try to
find a quiet place like a backyard or an alley. Listen
real closely. Off in the night you'll be able to
hear Barry Mc Guire singing "Eve of Destruction."


Go back in your home and be with your loved ones


The next day , it's gonna hit the fan.

Signed: Michael J. Foley, November 1, 2004
The government knows who I am.

_____________________________________________

Barry McGuire wrote "Eve of Destruction" as a protest anthem in the sixties. He is currently making a living as an entertainer on Christian cruises, according to his website. This, may or may not be signifigant.

The last major act of in-town shit hitting the fan on an eve of destruction was October 6th, 1969, during the Students for a Democratic Society Days of Rage convergance. The kids blew up the statue honoring cops killed in the Haymarket Riots. They did not settle for blowing it up once, they blew it up every time it was re-erected, and as a result, the statue was under 24 hour police watch for the next 33 years or so.

Google results for Michael J. Foleys of Chicago:

* Michael J. Foley, sorta-prominent attorney handling major brain trauma cases.
* Michael J. Foley, CEO of Heineken Brewing Co.
* Michael J. Foley, VP of the Chicago Trust Company.

HMMMMM.
My curious mystery non-threat-threat alert is up on yellow.
Details to follow after tommorows alley listening sesh.

Really:
I imagine someone renting out ice cream trucks to canvas the city with the foreboding folk tune, thinking that perhaps it is the most gentle way to warn the townsfolk of the impending apocolypse.


Posted by Jessica at 09:48 PM | TrackBack

November 06, 2004

in brief.

Ryan Adams voice is the exact cross between Axl Rose and Jackson Browne.

I think we rid the house of at least one mouse. I think I can smell is rotting. We think it likely exploded-to-death. It ate an entire Alka-Seltzer extreme cold and flu tablet that I left on the table. I imagine it is nothing but fizz and guts behind the sink. Imagine eating an alka-seltzer tab half the size of your body. Imagine that death.

I wanted to dig at this more, but cannot think of much by way of profundity or theorizing, but cannot scrape it together somehow, so i will just tell you what i saw: On my flight, there were eight boys, all friends, who had just finished some sort of basic training, Army innaguration, and they were being dispatched elsewhere.

They talked about the war and soldiering with the same casual aplomb that they surely use to talk about football plays or who is the hottest girl who works at the DQ. One of them talked about how he heard, from his recruiter, about the new boots - which will be awesome because they do not need polishing. "The suede ones?! I heard about them!" said one. "Naw, these ones are shorter, and they got those things in them... like Dr. Scholls things... gel insoles." he says. "You don't have to polish them at all?" asks another. "I mean, I guess you can polish them if you want to, but they stay polished on thier own," he bullshits them. Digression and speculation into what exactly happens if a commanding officer decides your self-polishing boots are not polished enough. "Just don't look your Sergeant in the eye, whatever you do," warns a boy with a freshly shaven head.

They all take turns trying to impress one another with varying inside scoops on rumoured deployment, class, action, protocol, changes in uniforms, whether soldiers can bring knives on planes, about how long it takes to get to Iraq by plane from certain bases, about whether or not you can bring CDs with you to where ever you deployed.
"Oh hell yeah you can, dude." says one.
"Good, cos I brought CDs, " he held up one before popping it in his discman: Sublime.
He kept his headphones on and started talking louder. He had a photo album, in which there were senior portraits of his friends, posed, stiffly on lawns and in letter jackets. Then pictures of a girl, very tan, in a bikini top and a towel. The pages with the photos of the hot girl, he held to his audience, and displayed it slowly, turning left to right, like a librarian at storytime.
His friends assured him that you could have racy photos of girls (as well as CDs) with you, even in combat. Then there was a silence and one said
"I'm just ready to War Up, man."
Another boy turns to him and says "Whattya mean war up ?"
"That's what the marines say. War Up . Thats why I signed up. To go War Up."

I cried. Right there. I couldn't not. I could not fathom what you have to believe in your heart, to desire, in order to desire to War Up.

Posted by Jessica at 06:55 PM | TrackBack

November 05, 2004

" BUT, BUT... JESUS WAS A MAN, WOULD YOU HAVE TURNED HIM AWAY?"

I watched Black Narcissus last night, a nun drama, starring Deborah Kerr, who is a kind of beauty that is not made anymore. It's from 1947, the lighting and sets are bazonkers, and because the nun's are stationed high atop a mountain in the Himalayas, there is a grave, exacting and dramatic WIND that pushes on them and their long flowing habits at all times and rope belts all over the frames at all times.

Like all great, or even mediorce, movies based on the tribulations of a religous order, the meta-plots and dialogue are all about shame, and sex and capitalism and placing your libido and capitalist thirst and desire in the benevolent paws of the Lord. You turn your back on your youth spent fox hunting in the Irish countryside with your wealthy parents and turn to much more spiritually signifigant things -- like farming potatoes and trying to beat Jesus into alcoholic American dandies who mind the local bureaucracy, or macho generals who dress and act like Liberace -- and then writing tear stained letters to the Reverend Mother for advice, or slamming bibles on tables for extra punctuation when pleading with a truant, faithless nun. What a fun job!

Save for Deborah Kerr, the nuns lose their shit entirely via their god-lust, or their untameable human-want. Then, after the heart-warming string of cameos by little tiny white Himalayan pack ponies, we learn that nuns with lust in their heart die violently, good girls are forever lonely, men with lust in their hearts stay drunk in their feather caps and the noble savages cannot be conquered, they just run around giggling and keep washing their clothes in the river just like before the white people showed up.


Posted by Jessica at 03:21 PM | TrackBack

November 03, 2004

DOGFOOD FOR BREAKFAST LUNCH AND DINNER

Conversation:

"I never thought he was going to win. Sure, we live in 'hoods with Kerry signs all over the lawn, but America hates fags and loooooves kickass! ."

"You are just saying this because you are Canadian. Whatever."

Meanwhile, in record time, I was accepted to the college of my choice a mere 4.5 hours after my portfolio review. I felt like a baller. I now have 13 days to find a way to be supplied with the eleven-grand for for my first four months of the school year. This should be interesting.

This is the part where I start convincing myself that I do not need a BFA, and that I could be totally happy just investing in a riding mower and starting a seasonal lawn care business. Or just defer for the duration of Bush's four more years, and move to the Seychelles and learn how to split coconuts with my hands, drive a golf cart for a living.

Hi everyone. Hi sad friends. Hi.

Posted by Jessica at 05:57 PM | TrackBack

November 01, 2004

ADULT RANKS

I am so of the adult ranks. I cannot figure exactly how I feel about it. I did a prelim walk through of the college I am trying to get into later this week, the college where I am approx 11 years older than all the other freshman. I hope that if I do get in, it's at least as good as that Rodney Dangerfield movie where he has to go back to school. Young Dave Lewis, who is currently in art school as well reminds me that admittance should be a cake walk, in part because my competition are all high school seniors armed with the kind of paintings all 17 year olds make. (My previous art school portfolio review, when I was 16 and applying for admittance to the arts high school I attended. The review was a tandem competition. I was up against a kid who made shoebox diarama with self-contemplating phrases like "WHY?" in glitter pen on the side. I tied my bullshit still life shots of butter in all it's forms to some rhetoric about Diane Arbus and thusly beat out Mr. Goth Diary Diarama.)

None the less, walking the halls of the school, I started to sweat it, then shit on the concept of higher education completely, later quietly convincing myself that the only truly impressive thing I saw of student exhibition all afternoon was the immaculate shelf of an ass on the girl working the front desk in admissions. I had to have Sean remind me of any and all reasons I have admitted out loud about why I am applying. Why I am not turning myself over to, say, the world of professional babysitting. I summone3d the courage to soldier on, go through with the rest of my essay-editing and applications (What artists work has been most influential on your own? My answer: "NEA 7-era Karen Finley").

Meanwhile, there are much bigger things to keep our fat American fingers crossed in hopes of. Perhaps if, by a stroke of grace and glory, Old Testament God-justice is at hand tomorrow and not only is Bush out, BUT, Cheney will have to serve prison time in some no Geneva-Convention-complying third world prison, where he will have to turn tricks in exchange for little cups of filthy river water and sucking the Propecia grease off his own hair for nourishment - AND! AND! it will be the premiere reality TV series on C-SPAN, following BookTalk.

Posted by Jessica at 07:54 PM | TrackBack