1. I am at the library, and amidst coffin silence of mid-afternoon, someone's phone goes off: deeply polyphonic ringtone of R. Kelly's "(Ain't Nothin Wrong With a Little) Bump N' Grind" - the person is outted -- ringtone as nervy public address. The entire library - the moms, the aged men who will spend the next 4 hours here reading yesterdays Sun Times, me: we all turn around and check the dude out. The world is so delicious sometimes.
2. Tomorrow: Turing Machine is playing for effing free outdoors at Wicker Pakr, then the next day Miss Alex White. Meanwhile, across town, magas and some bands who play hate rock in their manties are playing at the Tastee Freeze parking lot way over north. I do not have addresses, but I could drive you there, but, really, I'm not going to. Just go. Chicago sucks, but is always awesome.
3. From John McPhee's geology love note book, prettiest land in my mind: "Cirques are cut, and U-shaped valleys, ravines and minarets. Parts tumble on one another, increasing, with each confusion, the landscape's beauty."
For the handy-sake: I linked the tour routing update page avec MP3z on the side of this here blog. Boston comes after NY now, and rumour has it we are playing in my yard around the 6th or 7th of September, a "show" that will also mebbe be doubling as my birthday.
Secondly, are you a resident of the Bay Area who wants to rent yr pratice space to Nedelle and I from the 12th to the 19th. She's gotta strum and I need space to handle these maracas.
By the way, I love you. Any/all of you. Totes. Love.
Cobrasnack (sic) takes a break from the macro-lense view of Steve Aoki's butthole and comes to Chicago, capturing staff of our fricking magazine in the crosshairs:
Jr Nelson on the right, Miles "Standish" Raymer on the left . Nice guys.
I woke twice in the night ( again) wondering where the fuck I was and wondering who was in the bed with me, absolutely fucking startled. You'd think I just spent 6 years in a navy brig, the way I came home so alien'd. Fingers outstretched, like E.T, purring curious: "Sham-pooo. Sham-pooooo". I was gone two weeks, and I feel like my Chicago life is fresh mystery. I just want to have some solitude to take it in, incubate the small-a anarchy I got love'd by, work hard and maybe turn the back porch into an art studio, maybe enforce a three week vow of silence and make epic to do lists to enforce the Awesome-Progress / Bob Villa vamping Emma Goldman steez I want to purvey.
And did I mention? = AN OPOSSUM CAME INTO MY OFFICE AND STAYED FOR A FEW HOURS. I was not there to see it. It walked in the front door, says my roommate. She threw cat toys at it to make it leave, which proved to be wholly ineffective, as the O-pposum hung out on top of a pile of Ellen Allien promos for 4 hours. I got scared about lice, sand chiggers and diseased fur it may have introduced into my personal environs, and then once I was done being scared about it, I wanted the opossum to come back. To hang upside down with it pre-ensil tail wrapped ' round the drawer handles, waggling like a chime, and smiling and giggling. Winking.
Oppossum come back; I loves you.
It has been my Wild Kingdom week. In NC, a full-grown-up deer ran through a suburban lawn, to the curb, and stopped 5 feet of the starboard size of the Goodship Toyota Lollipop that I was driving. We stopped when it did - and exchanged "the stare" -- that bit of earth-halting moment when your eyes meet their coal black shiney-eyes and you wonder about trans-species telepathy and engage anthropomophism, and the deer goes from being a deer to Dave the Deer, out on an errand - fetching pinecones. After the deer encounter, three hours later, I was loitering in a parking lot, using the car like a living room, doors open, reading Science Boners R Us , feet on the dash, and a red squirrel tried to hop in the car with me. We froze, stared into each other's souls, like the spinning dancefloor scene in Saturday Night Fever : us, bound, spanning a lifetime in a moment... and then the squirrel ran, dissappeared into a "Cardboard Only" dumpster. Then, after night fall, some mid-size chickens, they chased me around the Co-Op yard. They were shedding their baby feather coats and the the feathers were assembling, pooling around their spindley legs, and it looked like they were wearing pants. I took their pictures and then they ran away. They were shy, I guess.
Here, back in Chicago - Day One/ Ground Zero for incorporating "what we learned on summer tour-cation" into "real life" -- which hopefully is a precess (sic) to the process of de-evolution, de-complication and art-immersion. Not to be all "fuck it" about my greasy life in the 312 habitrail -- buuuuuut, it is great solace to know I will be leaving town again in short order .
Please come to the shows. I will be the one behind Nedelle, playing the snare and maracas and bells and woodblock and XYLOPHONE. My new summer job involves a xylophone! I get home to Chi-Boogi 9/5 - my 29th birthday. I will be in SF starting the 12th or so, practicing the 'racas and staring at Nedelle's shiny bowl cut hair-do. Sorry that my little bloggersteez has devolved from "Dworkinist ranting and making fun of bands" into "I'm in Santa Cruz next week, totes hang out with me!"
19 - Visalia, CA @ Howie and Sons w/ Yellow Swans, Xiu Xiu
20 - Los Angeles, CA @ Troubadour w/ Yellow Swans, Xiu Xiu
21 - San Diego, CA @ Che Cafe w/ Yellow Swans, Xiu Xiu
22 - Phoenix, AZ @ Modified Arts w/ Yellow Swans, Xiu Xiu
24 - Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court w/ Yellow Swans, Xiu Xiu
26 - Denver, CO @ Larimer Lounge w/ Yellow Swans, Xiu Xiu
29 - Newport, KY @ Southgate House w/ Yellow Swans, Xiu Xiu
30 - Columbus, OH @ LIttle Brothers w/ Yellow Swans, Xiu Xiu
31 - Washington, DC @ Warehouse Next Door w/ Yellow Swans, Xiu Xiu
01 - Philadelphia, PA @ Northstar w/ Yellow Swans, Xiu Xiu
02 - Baltimore, MD @ Talking Head
06 - Grand Rapids, MI @ DAAC
I'm being rude. I'm writing while Al reads, on this, our final stop of BEST TOUR EVER. But I have to tell you the good news, a full like, uh, eight months out. In March 2006, we are going to rise again, phoenix-like, and take up the Canadians and west coasters on their offers to come read there. Because we wanna push our luck and, as Karen O once told Al, when he asked her what exactly it was she thought she was doing - we just wanna give people what they want in lethal doses.
At dinner, we both sat nervous, Al ticcing out, me curled, knees to chest, stuffing our maws absently. We look at one another, bonded in the freak out.
"I dunno about driving home, man, Chicago." he says.
"Do you think we could just keep going?" I say.
No matter who is at home waiting for us, no matter how tempting one's own bed is - the pleasure of going to sleep and not being rung with panic about is my arm itching because it is filthy and sunburnt or DO I HAVE SCABIES ?! - no matter what obligations we have willingly committed to in the coming week, or the week after: there is This. Multi-laned freeway, iPod full of Seger and bluegrass and Mr. De, sweet kids werlcoming us into their co-ops and communes, their barns and libraries - with iced teas and stories conjuring future hope and a life beyond fantasy - not waiting for it to come, not waiting to be handed the promise, but really, all-the-way Doing It Themselves -- and we stay late and trade zines for zines, we trade zines for freshly silk screened posters, we swat at the bugs halo-ing our humidity-curled hair and lick the juice from ourforearms as it runs from the dumpstered watermelon - which has been brought to us like a Frakenscense offering.
And so home we go, drunk on love for the punk Nu'merica than has been fanned out for us. Why stop? Why say no? Why throw down the anchor as we pass the Chi-Boogie? Why not swing from branch to branch, into the west-infinite?
I woke up thinking about it and then Andy M, our host from Pittsburgh, sent this link, about some social-ideas in motion: traffic anarchy at work in The Netherlands . Al is reading a book about Anarchy, and I was telling him, one of thing that surprised me most about the reading tour is how many of the kids/people that we are meeting and hanging out and staying with are anarchists***. And they are awesome, and they are funny, and they liked and are in good bands, and making art - not just patches and pamphlets -- so I have been surprised, really. I know, reallly dick way to out myself, but excuse me for this, as when I was growing up in MN, the only anarchists I knew were my school bus driver and the Profane Existence affiliates.
They - across the board - were so grimly dogmatic there was no social grease to them. No laughing at jokes. Serious and judgemental, glaring flatly at you in kitchens at parties like you had kicked their bandana-wearing dog. But at 15-16-17, I still barely had the map - and where I was going was being charted by 7"s - and the anarchist bands (classic and local) were barbaristic and all sounded like pigfuckery gone Varuckers and I was not feeling the so-furiouso D-beat . If the anarchists had given me tapes of The Ex or Dog Faced Hermans instead of Antischism, and not, perhaps, harshed on me for being too-bougie at fifteen ** -- I might never have stopped drawing the big A on my notebooks and shoes at such an early age.
Al and I were discussing this, and I mentioned that I felt like I needed hope beyond hope, and to suspend my cynical disbelief, in order to get there with Anarchy - that it was too much wishful thinking, and I wanted something closer, I wanted something that seemed more pragmatic in the interim . Al pointed out that, at this point, all left political social theory is wishful thinking. Al, was, as he put it "big into communism" for a long time, but now is more interested in some sort of Chomsky-enthused Communism-lite (do not kick my ass for saying that, I am paraphrasing him, not dismissing). I could not tell Al how I was political identifying these days (is angry and disspirited enough of an angle?), but it's somewhere around Social Democrat -- though I wish Social Democrat had a more exciting name like "German Shepherd" - which has always sounded like a political party to me.
(** admittedly, at 15, my politcal-life consisted of doing a riot girl zine, hitting Anti-racist Action meetings, laying down on freeway on ramps for various causes and smoking ditch weed with skinhead boys. I was collecting allowance from my parents and would not let the anarchists steal from the record store where i worked, so I suppose I was, technically, totes bougie .
*** though, John Bowmen, whom we are staying with right now, is not an anarchist, but described himself as "a survivalist.")
North CackalacK; Sunday at the Co-Op 216 Hillsborough in the Chapel Hill/Carrboro zone, 9 pm, after the skillshare-festivus, we will rock you with words
Where to start? Al said 2 days ago the only thing that would make Best tour Ever truly complete was dancing. And what has the last two days been? Dancing. Sweating, crunkylating in the streets of towns that are not our own that throw the doors open wide and say "Jam on it" (or maybe they are saying "It's time for the Perc-u-later!" ala Casjmere). I am glad the dancing beats are loud, cos my tinnitus is at a low boil from hours of driving with the windows open and listening to Bad Brains kinda too loud. But like, really, who listens to Bad Brains quiet? You can't. Anyhow, Baltimore is a nice place, despite what everyone will tell you. I mean, the 5 hours we were there, I ate crepes 3 times, danced to some latin/salsa house in the street with thousands of Charm Citiers ( I got footage of Al dancing and older ladies starring at him like a plate of ribs/ in horror), I saw Morris Day and The Time ( replete with signing / ASL interpreter doing "Fishnet!/BlackPantyhose!"), Al and I ate a sno-cone that came in a little bucket - about 3-4 lbs of shaved ice and we ate it down all the way til it was just syrup, I bought the best-horrible hat at a Baltimore graf exhibit that has "QUICKIE" tagged on the front hot pink, it was too hot to read in the art center, so we read on the street, 40 kids sat in the drive way and on the steps and folding chairs on the sidewalk and we yelled over busses and old couples and babies and dogs all walking to see the streetfair. Sadly, we missed Boyz II Men, who were playing the same time we were reading. Then, as we were walking to leave, Al climbed on the overpass ledge, lifted his skinny fists to heaven and yelled "BALTIMORE!!!" in grateful salutation.
Drove through the night, got a room at a truck stop, and though it was 4am, we stayed up and watched most of a movie whcih I do not know the name of but it was a Porky's style gross out sex farce revolving around a wedding and it featured Eugene Levy and ugly K-list actors who had never been in a movie before. It was horrifying, but really great: pubic hair on a wedding cake is always a winning gag as far as I am concerned. Drove into Chapel Hill, sat at Weaver Street Market drinking tea and filling out the info for tomorrows show on our fliers. Walked around stapling them up, every third car yelling "Al!" as it drove past. Stopped at the thrift shop to buy dress to wear to Ben Davis' wedding reception, walked out with two trash bags full of dresses. Changed in the bathroom of the supermarket, went to reception rumbled, and still we were overdressed. Punk weddings in July = everyone was wearing t shirts and dickies. Ate an entire plate of nothing but Watergate salad (jello squares and pink cool whip), danced shoeless in the dirt for 2-3 hours. Met 3 kids under the age of five who are in bands with their parents, including Spencer, who I interviewed, who told me "My dad will tell you I listen to like, 100 bands, but really, I only am into Thin Lizzy." Spence's band is called The Lions, so keep an eye out. Danced. Bounced in the inflateable bouncey room Moon Bounce. Danced. Also dancing: Mac from Superchunk, throwing 'bows to Beyonce and Amerie. Ate more Watergate Salad. Now, back at the most magnifie-cent farmhouse in the country, crcikets and frogs droning out my tinnitus-din, meanwhile, our hosts are baking us cookies.
I am wondering, if I find a way to stay on this reading tour for forever, will it stay this good? When I get home Tuesday, does the best-ness continue - or does it only exist when I am 1400 miles from home and living out of the trunk of my Toyota?
Baltimore: Home of Lungfish, Crab Chips and The Wire . Charm City, tonight we are yours and you are ours, and if you come to Charm City Arts Space at 8pm, you can see Al and I perform our written works. If you know Tonie Joy, please make him show up, I want him to re-enact the interview from issue 15 - live - with me
Further egregious self promotion of my write-slingin': This week's Chicago Reader, where I go luv-you-long-time on Sufjan's illinois vitae and then Jane Fonda's autobiog. The Jane book is heartbreak: perma-misunderstood, reckons her private life with her public in a careful meter & wakes up at 60, realizing that not only is she married to rancheroo/known asshat Ted Turner -- but she has spent most of her life hemming herself not to threaten the men around her with her intellect, drive, heart and power. It is intense, and at times hard to read -- every woman has her own Roger Vadim to reconcile in retrospect. The Sufjan pc is pretty heavily edited -- I am bummed on the line about how God is not even a comfort (not a sentiment I co sign), doubly bummed as it replaced a line about the intersection of the erotic with the eccleasiastic (sp?) that I was particularly attached to -- but like the sample sez: "These are the breaks"...
DC-update: The reading: There was no mic, and since I am not the booming profundo that Al is, they had to close the windows and doors. It went from "writer" to "winner of wet t shirt contest" by the time I got through my first peice. The room went from "tolerable" to "eau de butthole" in about 4 minutes.
I could tell you about Jeff Ott, but as Al said, I already accidentally got vengence - as Jeff walked past and clearly heard me mocking him last night - though maybe the Joan Armatrading comparison is a compliment to his ears. I will say this, and let you do the math: When we loaded out and left, he had been going for an hour and 45 minutes. If a song about troubled runaways containing the lines "Daddy, he came in your room, he took what he wanted / yeah, that's right, Daddy, he was your first time" is the sort of next level politco-punk intensity you are looking for - look no further than Mr. Ott. If you are looking for a book reading that combines the rambling narrative flavor of an epic "share" at an Narcotics Anonymous meeting in purgatory with say, a 30 minute rant about why it's important that abortion remain legal -- we found yr dude, his name is Jeff Ott, and if yr on the eastern seaboard, chances are, he's already on his way.
This morning, we got up early and went to NPR HQ, so I could be interviewed about the Hold Steady for their story about them. I think I did "okay" - though Al, who heard the whole thing spake as we exited: "I never want to heard what "a bunch of nerdy punks" version of J Geils Band or Journey, fronted by a guy who can't sing, sounds like. You guys made the Hold Steady sound like the worst band ever." AWESOME!
Washington DC: It's time to take yr mind off of Karl Rove's jockstrap and check out my driving tan in person. Come on down to our event tonight -- Look for me, I am the one that looks like George Hamilton. Al and I are reading at Infoshop - 1426 9th St NW - 7 pm
Dirt Palace's fleas and ghosts did not get me last night. The punk house that is not known as Lil Pancakes hosted a breakfast para mi and abeulito Al, pancakes and greens. They also let me answer their phone. Turned out the dude calling does a mini-label and placed ads in HIOQI circa 1999. Then it was decided that swimming was mandatory. 20 minutes in the car , then 30 minuites through the forest, trudging pine needles hills and calf deep swampiness to finally get at the cleanest clearest most secret pond this side of Woonsocket. Mike made a joke when everyone was sitting up on the rocks sunning dry that it was Houses of The Holy . I was in the water, panting, floating away. Later, I was still enough to see the pond bottom and dove for presents for our hosts: agates, quartz, broken glass. Got right in the car, drove 2 hours at top speed in a still wet bikini, made it to the Easthampton community art space in time to change clothes in the parking lot and take Sara Jaffe on an ice cream date. Sara's set was funtriffic, what a woman. Read ok. Burian read great. Bailed quick for DC, Al drove for 4 hours, listened to new Pelican album verra loud and both drummed along, put my still-swamp-muck-encrusted feets up on the dash and slept, smelled Elizabeth, NJ in a dream and woke up, presently and am now enjoying the fruits of zine sales in the form of a room at the Radisson.
Amherst, Easthampton, Northampton, Peter Frampton, DJ Framsta: Peace be upon you. Al Burian and I roll up on you tomorrow THATS JULY 20th. 8 pm, Flywheel Arts Collective in Easthampton, $2 gets you in, and you get Sara Jaffe going guitarsome on you too. Special treat, in tribute to yr boys: Al and I are both reading Dinosaur Jr related peices, amongst others.
Right not, I blog atchoo from the deep womb: The Computer Room of Dirt Palace. Dirt Palace feminist Art collective in Olneyville, RI. It is 9000 sq feet of ggggggggggggggggggawesome. The art, the rooms, the lending library, the band room, the screenprinting room, the bike repair room, the pink kicthen that is about 1400 sq feet and one entire wall is pasted up Betty Crocker recipe cards. They have three normal fridges and 3 mini fridges. I am jealous. If I had three mini fridges, I would keep my iced tea in one, triple cream french cheese in the other and the other one would be nothing but Mrs. T's Bloody Mary Mix in 5 oz cans - for when my grandma comes to visit. Anyhow. Shazaam. Best Tour Ever is so best-y right now I am thinking that maybe in my last life, I gave my life while rescuing limbless orphans from a burning building. Or maybe God is doing the positive re-enforcement thing with me, ala biscuits for the puppy when it shits outside instead of on the carpet, for this new thing i have been trying really hard to do, it's called "be nice". It is going ok. I am kind of getting the hang of it... Or maybe it's just things "working out".
Drove outta hell-NY, drove to Providence in almost silence for three hours, no iPod or talking - only convo was this:
me: What are you thinking about?
(two minute pause) Al: Romantic relationships and what I do and do not want from them.
me: That's funny. Me too.
Al: I think that's what most people are thinking about.
(insert 2 hours of silence)
Got to Olneyville. "Load in" to the Dirt Palace, whose doorbell is a big clanging bell, attached to a fire escape of the kitchen, which you ring by pulling a long rope that hangs down. I cannot even tell you in decent words, because I have not been reading books or the New Yorker lately and my vocab is shitriffic, but it's a castle of art gone real. Feminist hand screened wallpaper plastering the bathroom, blue and grey flowers on butcher paper. Leftover giant purple hippo head, 7 feet tall, wallmounted, leftover from FORT THUNDER, stolen from a mini-golf course. Turn of the century shelves, 9 feet high, left from previous use tenants: The Olneyville Public Library. 5 foot by 5 foot holographic NIKE hightop retail-poster that switches between shoes when you walk past. I could list everything for an hour but there would be no justice to it. I took some pictures, but I will ask permission of the Dirt Palace before posting. Bizerk.
Served us vegan dinner, then there wasa thunderstorm and I was afriad no one was showing up, for sure. Then rain stopped and suddenly there were 65 kids in the big hall, sitting on the long church pews and laying on the floor. We spoke at a podium. I read the first peice of fiction I have ever written, tonight, which is a narrative I wrote as George Hamilton, about his divorce from Alanna Stewart in 1975, involving Nudie suits, Louis Malle's gazebo and George Peppard and Lee Marvin in the non existant sherriff movie "The Winds of San Andreas". I was so nervous to read it, but my penpal Mike Taylor stepped in and said "You cannot call it with any Providence audience, but I know yr writing, and you can do it," and put his hand on my shoulder, all serious like a coach. I had just real-life met him four minutes before -- "Don't be scared. You'll make the right choice." I sweated it, but people laughed at the right parts. The buddhists say validation is like... a trick. It's false and extreme, but you know, whatevs on that. Validation does it for me.
Al read, was great as always. Met more penpal types and some bloggersteins and a HIOQI fan visiting from England. Then Mike and some Dirt Palace ladies took us to a house show and I saw two fantastic bands: Puke Attack, who sounded like Borbetmagus and Sexy Pee Story and had a sax and a like, braile reading machine or postage meter as an instrument. Headlining: Men Who Can't Love, who were tonez n dronez and really nice from inside and outside, and should be future stars of Sonic Youth Records roster, or at least a best seller for Fuck It Tapes label. I stood outside and hopped in and out of convos about the floating rib, heirarchal structure being enforced through the applied concept of "renting" and Dez Cadena's hair. Someone gave Al a 40. I took pictures of noisenik dorks doing practicing yoyo tricks, while their friend slept it off on the hood of someone's 'rents shiny black Volvo station wagon.
(PS.Apparently a band called Unicorn Hard-On was playing somewhere else in town, but we missed it. "Unicorn Hard-On plays every night though," says our hosts, dismissive.)
In my fantasy world - a place of VC-like tunnel villages built under my real life - this is what tour is like. Firm handshakes from Full mooned magic.
The last time I was in Providence, it was last year, around my birthday, and I had a nervous breakdown. Not like "OMG, I missed my flight, I am having a nervous breakdown," but as in, I had been standing on the precipise of the deep end, and I swan-dived into the blackwater and went all the way down and touched the pool drain below with both hands. I re-read it last week, in the archives from September. I think I played it all off pretty well, but, I spent the following six weeks in a k-hole, doing little aside from reading The Magus , sobbing and walking my mom's dog for hours a day because it's all I could figure out -- and feeling like, as the song sez: The Unreal Is Here Now, or like Maria in Play It as It Lays ( if I want to glamourize it) - checked the fuck out. But yeah, so here, now, again, in the sunshine of 11 months later... back and dropping the proverbial followup single: Realness in Providence (remix 05) -- the forever-hot all night dancefloor stunner with all sweeping strings and fanfare'd flourishes and tympanic booms. This song, it is a new personal favorite.
Providence Rhode Island: 7:30 pm tonight, Tuesday the 19th, Al Burian and I read you into a happy place within. 14 Olneyville @ Dirt Palace Feminist Collective.
Remember yesterday when I said Best. Tour. Ever.? The gracious universe is pointing the buhdonkulars ray on me and turning the dial to "stun" and aside from the hours sitting in 8 mph on various Turnpikes - my heart is wowed.
I thinkevery day: How could tour possibly get any better?( Let me ponder the ways: 1. Tomorrow, I could meet a spider monkey that is wearing a fez. 2. I could get a MacArthur Genius grant for HIOQI and employ Julianne and Cali to do nothing but blog, write books about their lives and take (with me and each other) on roadtrips in a 1971 BelAir powered by recycled donut grease. 3. I could get into University of Chicago's Center for Race, Politics and Culture without even applying or retaking my SATs. 4. Slant6 and Gucci Crew reunite to play my 29th birthday next month, rivaling the most redonked Intonation fest afterparties. )
I will start at the end of our NY night: After the reading my friend Adam took me and Julianne to meet his sister, Kembra, who is known to people outside of their family for her work as/in The Voluptous Horror of Karen Black. Kembra's apartment, which is painted dark red - every room - floors, walls, bathtub, cabinets, doors and ceiling - and was chock full of props from her shows. Like an eight foot tall shark puppet, that a whole human goes inside. Or an old style coffin (that a whole human goes inside, as well). We walked in to one room and Adam said "If you think that shark is great...There used to be a giant upside down cross in here..." and then backed into it. I know what yr thinking, how can you miss a 3 foot thick 8 foot tall upside down cross in a NYC apartment? There was a coat hanging over it. Larry Livermore was with and regaled us with stories I knew from his columns - and as it turned out, that in 1968, he was squatting in the building next door, while on the run from the law and the rest of the squat was occupied by a transgender radical activist group. He is of the age that he calls Seconals "reds". Then I found a childsized spur on the ground on the way back to the car.
Before the special time with my future life partner THE GIANT SHARK PUPPET, there was our reading at Bluestockings and a bunch of friends and a bunch of strangers, about 75-80 in all, they showed up, they clapped, they put pennies in our coiffers ( is that that coiffures?). Ghosts of Punkzine past were there, including Al's friend, 7 foot tall Aaron Cometbus, whom I do not know, but he is, as the parlance goes, punk so real, that I feel like Bernard Ebbers by comparison: bougie and nervous.
FIRST THINGS FIRST:
DEAR NY/NJ/BROOKLYN: Tonight. Monday the 18th. Al Burian and I are bringing the heat with our sweet-azz reading tour to Bluestockings. 7pm. free. 172 Allen. in the city.
Word up from Philly. Word up from Cathair Mountain. Word up from hulla allergies and so much snot I could write you this blog post in the sky with it. Word up from the home of Al's little brother (aka "the responsible one"). Word up to the fact that it looks like "Minsk Steakhouse 1972". Word up to matching blood red carpet and internal-organ-red velvet wallpaper, floor to ceiling gold etched mirrors and gold wrought iron ballistrade being the decor of an ambulance driving punk whose pets are all named for obscure anarchists.
Tonight was awesome, but the store was so packed that people could not even get in the door and were turned away like it was the Jerusalem Inn. The audience was sweet and dutiful and squooshed and scooted their chairs into a sardines type formation. The best part and worst part of tour tonight, became evident - as they are the same thing: reading with Al. He is such a engrossing and enwombing storyteller, and his work is made to be read outloud. The best part of the tour is that I get to go before him, not follow him up tied with that i get to see him read every night and he's really funny. The worst part is that when he reads I am like "ugh, god, i should of brought a different thing to read tonight and I need to slow down when I read and I need to (insert kicking of myself here)". It's like being on tour with like, Sonic Youth or something - you know, everynight, when they are doing "Cotton Crown" and yr like "oh man, this is awesome," which is followed quickly by "I wish I could write a song like this" but finding some solace in the fact that you get to swipe baby carrot sticks from their deli tray while they encore. After the reading, I got to eat a meal with a cabal of sassy writer ladies and feminists in motion. Did I mention: Best. Tour. Ever.
Thankszillion to Q and Emma and Andy for the walnut-waffles and hospitality in Pittsburgh. They are the sort of people who should be employed by the PA tourism board to reverse the Pburghian exodus to Chicago. Al and I found a castle we want to buy in town, it's at 5100 Fifth Ave. If anyone wants to move to PA and live in a castle with us, holler. Castles are the new yurts.
Also: in other news - I got word today - I am playing drums on the Nedelle tour, when she heads out with Xiu Xiu next month. Also exciting, and not to floss and make Matos jealous, but because I almost hyperventilated -- I got asked to provide uh, expert commentary for an NPR pc about The Hold Steady. Which I get to go into the DC NPR studio and tape the thing. I'm a fucking nerd and my boner for NPR is eternal and my dad is going to cry with joy when I tell him.
PS. NYC. Tomorrow. Be there.
Hi, if you are in Philly, and are coming out the the reading - or in NY - do you wanna boot me a copy of Photoshop for Mac with access code para mi, so that I can resize and share the pictures of our first night of tour which - in short - went like this:
Cleveland, 1-2am, a giant trampoline, my camera, the cops.
Best. Tour. Everrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.
Pittsburgh is punk-bizerk. Our reading went great, 40-some people showed, they laughed at our jokes, bought zines. Though threats had been leveled in the local mssgbrd, the local scenester that was promising to disrupt the reading to confront me on how my doing pr does not positively impact ' the scene ' did not show, but rather, played "ding dong ditch" (aka "ring and run")- ringing the gallery door bell multiple times during the reading, and had been reportedly ripping down fliers for the show. This is funny to me, and I applaud dude's Michael-Moore-does-crack-dementia style efforts.
Met three different girls who had been following my work since Riot Girl stories, when they were in jr. high. Then I met 19 other girls who asked me if Al is really how he seems in his zine and detailed their crushes. Despite being on tour for only 1.5 days, we are being greeted with unsane/molicious homecooked meals at every turn. Our Pburgh hosts just asked if we are "ok with" them making us waffles for brunch in the morning. Did I mention that our tour is actually of heaven?
Philly. See you tomorrow.
DC folks: The people at Infoshop have offered to split the shows in two, so we'd be reading at 7-8 or so. Jeff Ott's book is a benefit for a rape survivor in prison for killing her attacker, so we're still discussing where we want to put our weight . Please, if you are a DC person planning on coming, let me know what you would feel better with.
So, internet world at large, advize me: Our DC reading tour stop is with Jeff Ott . Jeff Ott as in "I totally forgot that Jeff Ott is an admitted rapist." Should we move the reading? Or do we keep the reading at Infoshop and I address this somehow in/during the reading?
If you are first time visitor, here for Pitchforkapalooza...
May I make some suggestions:
Chavas Tacos - it's on Grand, right before Western. Tacos are $1.25. Get 3 of them. Also, get chips with salsa, also $1.25. Get the salsa that the mix of the green and red salsas, they will also throw in some onions and cilantro, and you will not be able to stop horfing it down until it is way too late. If you are veg/vegan, FYI, they fry yr shit up right next to the lingua-meat tacos. The best thing about Chavas is the medium sized statue of a comically well-endowed bull that is positioned so if you want to check them out making yr food, or say "Can I get guacamole on there too?!" you have to say it through the space under bull's undercarriage. 1.5 miles from the park.
Handlebar - it's on North, 1 block east (before) Western. They got actual delicious vegan food, cheese plates that'll make you cry and the catfish tacos will make you want to move here. It's also the bike messenger bar, if you are looking for rowdy tattoo'd dudes in shortpants to oggle. 1/3 mile from park.
Red Hen Bakery - Milwaukee, 1/2 block east of Damen - in wicker park aka "the crotch". On the weekends only, they have this thing, I beleive it is made by God, or possibly Allah. It is called Chocolate Bread. Everything there is good, and cheap, staffed by beardo and art school hotties. 1 mile from park. Also see: "The Polish Bakery" on Division, half a block east of Wood. I think it's called Alliance, but I think I am confused because that's also a bakery in Mnpls. 1 mile from park.
Earwax - Milwaukee 1/2 block west of Damen next to American Apparel. Tons of actual decent vegan/veg options, and meat too, big patio. Coffee is kinda gross there, but the espresso milkshake is the jam. 8 blocks or so from park.
Myopic - across the street from Earwax - awesome, huge used book store. Open til midnight. Poetry section, women/feminist section = totes bonkers.
Zines/comics are at Quimbys and Quimbys is on North, 2 blocks east of Damen.
Soul Vegetarian - It's on 75th and Harlem. Vegan soul food rest. run by the African hebrew Israelites. Is the best out of all the soul veg's. Sunday's they only have the dinner special, rather than full menu. Do not sweat it. Just go. I have no idea how to get there on the train, but if yr driving, it's a full 16 mins on 90/94 towards Indiana, exit 75th, go left, 2 blocks, is next door from Eternity Juice Bar. probably 9 miles from the park.
Garfield Park Consevatory - Garfield Park and Lake. You can take the green line. Conservatory is free, open til 5 daily, is totally magic, designed by Jens Jensen in 1909. The fern room is awesome, the cactus room is awesome - even if you do not give a solitary shit about plants. It's one of those places that, in kids books, kids run away from home and camp out/hide/stow-away at. Maybe 3-4 miles from the Park. You can take the blue line to the loop, hit the Green line there.
Those are my suggestions. You can email me direct if you have other questions.
No one keeps it more "real" than our magazine: Miles has been working hours a day seated at a mail tub and JR's "desk" is a Pearl rack tom.
Ol' "Birdknees" Burian in the foyer.
You can pre-order #18 of Hit it or Quit it direct from Insound, right effing now. Get up in that shopping cart, press that "buy now" button a couple times and revel in the fact that the 4.95$ you just spent is going to one day fund a lobotomy for yours truly.
I look cannot stop looking at them over and over and going "neat. wow. color." -- it's like watching God shit a rainbow (or something).
Secondly: I love Sean Agnew. I do not care what happened at the r5 show he did for you in 1997. Dude wrote this for his site, promoting our Philly show -- "Jessica Hopper & Al Burian
Aka "tinyluckygenius aka the Unicorn's tear" Jessica is known for her famed monthly columns in Punk Planet and world renown best zine ever - "Hit It Or Quit It". She has also hosted a long running awesome fake Friendster profile. Al Burian is the frontman for the punk bands Milemarker and Challenger and as well as the author of the famed "Burn Collector" zines. He is best remembered for when he called Scott Beiben out at his film fest. Together they will be hosting a reading of their best material at Molly's Bookstore situated right in the heart of the Italian market. They will be reading "old favorites" and some new work. They will be selling zines, books and comic-books. Julianne Shepherd is opening some of the North East dates with a piece that includes some uprocking. These are two of the smartest "punks" around - come check out the laughter, the joy & the tears. Also for all you whiny pussyfish - now is your time to step up and say something to Hopper's face ! At Molly's Bookstore 1010 South 9th Street (9th and Christian/Catherine-ish) "
Dude. If you are my pal, please come out and maybe bring a cue ball in a sock, in case any of those pussyfish do step - we can take it outside.
We are in the home stretch of magazine making. Then the day it is done, Al and I leave for tour. Matt, just this morning said: "I'm concerned about Al driving" -- meanwhile, Al and Matt do not really know each other, but Al is, as it was put to me "well-known for his life-threatening driving style". I defended him, because real Al just drives with safety in mind - he will not drive above 55. When he drives, he does so pitched forward towards the wheel and constantly glancing from mirror to mirror. Al is good for night driving though, as he has no problem staying awake. His technique: Goading himself into a K-hole of Anxiety. He just thinks about the more worrisome relational problem, dissects it, and freaks himself out to the point of personal terror, infused every few hours by gas station coffee. This week Al is going to come over and I am going to show him how to run the iPod, so he can be an effective co-pilot as we scurry to Pittsburgh come weeks end. Please click on the "Al and JH tour" link and notify yr pals in those cities that we are coming to see them. Imagine this as the 23rd hour impassioned plea for help. This is the time where you imagine I am Bono, on the lip of the stage, crouching like a shitting animal in my leather pants and a $4000 Comme de Garcons pirate blouse, extending my ringed hand over the 14 foot security crevice and miming like I would maybe actually want to touch you, talking in a breathy and solemn voice about what we can make happen if we work together. Together, you and I, Baltimore, we can get people to our reading. Pittsburgh -- you get free vegan baked goods with paid admission - Together. You and Me. With. Our Hands. America. We... will eat. Cookies. Cookies that are made. Without milk. (guitar solo into infinity, cut to in-studio celebrity-staffed phone bank, Lou Rawls with his arm around a gently weeping Gary Collins - mouthing "WE CAN DO IT! WE CAN DO IT!")
Lady Sov, she will be a starrr, first for her talent, but more so because she knows how to be watched. She is a little bit of a goof, and her petiteness and her prominent eye teef in combo with the high side-pony, she's makes me think of Sporty Spice, sans the tear away track pants... Except Sov, she fronts this butchness, but it is not hers. It's typical of women who come up in male dominated fields and streams, being one of the dudes, because femininity is going to set you apart and when you are trying to compete, the best thing to do is assimilate. Except Sov cannot assimilate, because she is the best, so instead her raps are catty - setting her self as "other" in the girl-field, still posited against. She played a new song and she kept dropping "bitch" as the loaded punchline. Then another song was about wanting to beat some girl in the club up. And as much as I do not advocate girl-war, and abide by the "do not insult or negate other girls in front of men, in conversation or your art" riot girl rule, I understood. I was tempted to initiate some minor brawling, not to defend myself, but to defend the pride of my good friend, whose girlfriend had this to say to me:
Her: Gee, Jess, you look slut-tastic tonight.
Me: (playing it off) Thanks, that's what I was going for.
Her: (dramatically cocking her ear) What did you say?! You're the Village Whore?!
Me: No, actually. I am kind of thinking more "Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader" on a budget.
Her: Well, I think you got a way to go in the "boobs" department, dear.
Me: I'm trying. I eat a lot of cheese these days.
Her: I do not really think it's going to cut it, you are really not working with much. You might wanna start thinking silicon.
-- she little spun on her heel and stomped away, leaving me with her boyfriend / my friend. Is it fair to punch someone in their crabby, insecurotron face because they are jealous of yr confidence? No. Not even when yr on some "What Would Judas Do?" shit.
So, anyhose, Lady Sov, she was bouncy and so small that it is not hard to imagine that she lives in a Toadstool on the edge of the forest -- I really wish she had employed the use of a mini-trampoline, ala Joni Greggins, so that I could have seen her better, so she could of boinged into visibility. She was on a petite riser, I was in the second row, and I could not see her, as standing between us was front row - solely occupied by the hotttt gay-black-nerd contingent who are the best-weird dressed dudes in town offish, and I am always in awe of "How did they get the idea of "cut-off caftan with daisy-dukes+ ninja-toe boots + frohawk"?!" . Those dudes, they were the only dudes who knew her stuff/grime well enough to know how to bounce to it. They were totes tall but when they danced, I could peek around thier sides and could see Sov, hands up, stalking the 4 foot long stage, pony tail swinging, beer in one hand, mic in the other like she was born holding it, pinging hearts and minds of dudes that been waiting all year to yell "Bo! Bo! Bo!" at someone...
AND: As JShep and S/FJ have said before: confusion reigns supreme, still, on how do we bootydance to this power grime ? People started popping when her DJ (Framsta? Hamster?) played "1 Thing" - on 53 -- relief found in a song they knew - despite that it was almost doube the normal speed. They cheered when he would drop some straight techno or housey shit in, because, we, dancer and movers of Chi-Boog, we know what to do with that Jaxx clap or the 120-poink. Sov is real easy to love. She is like a commercial for "wacky brit", winking at the crowd and saying "Sooo, Imedawhytemidgetagrime" and then burping loudly. And she stayed on top of her back track, which was mostly just drops, so it wasn't like MIA karaoke style. I was ok with the rap-along-with-this-CD style for her, because, like, who could even be her hypeman/lady? Totes perfunctory, plus they'd get blisters from her heat.
I was up til 5:30am. I was proofing the 27-pages of the reviews section in the dawn light . 5 hours sleep is not so much. If this is not the best goddamn fanzine ever made, please, in my eulogy, mention how hard I tried. Five in the morning is all kinds of lovely, but those goddamn bird are loud, it's ruthless. I felt like a cartooned Disney goodgirl, like I was being trailed by eager fucking bluebirds who were chirpy with my name -- "Cinderelly-Cinderelly" like a foghorn. So we take it back to the Bay and ask: "Sleep, what's that?" and in three weeks, a book comes back from Canada and it reads "Hit it or Quit it" at the top.
Since my game is sleep deprived and I am breathing weak sauce all up in yr world, try these bits of complex-fun and steamy theories:
K-punk, our abstract dynamics neighbor, on Live 8, Lacanism and libidinal fallacies . I know Lacan is "unfashionable" and oft (mistakenly) cited as anti-feminist, but I am down for his wild french style and identity theories -- this book about it , while clocking in at a tiny 56 pages, was a liberating jam.
Slang Editorial as unrepentant R. Kelly apologists . Dude, it's hard. Sometimes I am all the way, fuck the dude, and change the station. Sometimes I listen with a curious mix of horror and awe. Sometimes, sometimes I go there: I know the words, and I sing along. Confliction is a weight-bearing excersize, fundamental to third-wave feminism.
RiffRag is my new favorite mag - sez the manifest: "queer feminist magazine commited to fighting white supremacy and promoting accessibility to art". Check out Giles O'Dell's bizonculars Scream Club video starring America's fave/only gender-queer rap duo as a giant two headed bug and The Gossip's Beth Ditto embodied as mauve firefly (or something). Bugs go to party, Beth winks back. Amen.
Make Zine whose awesome-zillion statement of purpose includes this line: "We ride a rickety skate- board between queer desires for social and economic justice, critical thought on anti-racism and poverty, and a belief in DIY political insubordi-nation." The site is a collection of their queer/gender-queer zines.
And, and: Does anyone have links to a good couple of intersex/genderqueer/gender-outlaw/transfeminism blogs or resources sites? I have had three or four fairly stunted convos with people in the last month, trying to explain what it means to not believe in the idea of binary gender, but I just know what I understand from the gender-queer kids I have worked with and for, which is cursory at best. If you got links, if you are that bloggerstein, please holla and toss some linx.
Anyone got a copy of Quark they wanna boot me, like tonight? You should live in Chicago, bonus points if you got the installation code. I have a 26,000 word reviews section jocking me, hard. In exchange, I will give you some records, or sincere thanks, grape soda 6 pack, 37 high-fives, Miles' home number or whatevs. Just holler. You could be the man/woman that helps "save the magazine".
I love you in advance.
PS. If you are not reading DateXEdge , you should be. I but the DXE "Don't hate ya / won't datecha" sticker on my otherwise un-sticker marred car. This week's update, they talk about "tossing the eff" a lot. Highlight, sayeth TT Sperbs: "that said, as was always always said, into eff toss bracket perpetuity and beyond, i would bun jess in a firey hot oven anytime rather than my non-existent version of luke who could help me eat even more nasty, hi-cal foodstuffs than i already do." I have no idea who these eff tossable dudes from the TV are, but I laugh out my nose at Teeter 37 hours a day.
Dear Sufjan Stevens,
I heard you on NPR this am, on 848 - the local news show, when they interviewed you. I had just woken up (I know it was 10 am - I am self-employed) and heard you so serious, so focused, and when the host asked "What do you mean?" you explained about how hard it is to have your art tangle with commerce, that you are constantly weighing, because you know how attention can get your attentions. I was moved by your sincerity and your directness, yr personal politics and yr grave articulations: Right On.
My friend JR, he heard you, too, and was so moved he purchased yr CD on his lunch break today, and showed it to me, shook it in the air when he came over around dinnertime "It's fucking great!" he said. I agreed. I am writing about your record, and listening to it at the same and have spent about 14 hours doing so in the last few days, at current tally. I have only gotten past track six maybe twice, so if I give you a hint, and you do a little math, that means I have listened to the first track something ridiculous, like 56 times. Maybe not 56, but like, 30, for sure.
I like the piano part a lot. It reminds me of "Sweet Thing", which is a song off Van Morrison's Astral Weeks, a great record that, like yours has pretty details, rondos of heartache and love-wonder for the world. Last week, I listened to that song by accident in the car. I was scrolling and I saw it, and it was, for me, like maybe what finding some little crack rock in the carpet is for other people. I thought "oh, I shouldn't" and I did anyway - see, I had to find parking and go in the show and 'act normal' and 'look cute' and 'seem affable' -- and I cannot hear "Sweet Thing" without weeping. I turned up the stereo, I played it, and did just that. Tears by the time he says "viaduct of your dreams". It felt fucking great, so I did it again. Music means a lot to me.
During the worst break up of still-young life, a few years ago, in my house that tour had emptied out, I went to the bottom. I stopped bothering to turn lights on once the sun went down and I would listen to Side A of Van Morrison's TB Sheets and cry and/or do this sort of wobbley dance until about 2 or 3 am. This went on for a little over a week. People started coming by. Knocking on the window and checking on me. I could not talk. they would goad me out of the house, I would go on bike rides and they would ask "How are you doing, buddy?" I would cry, just sob, right there on the corner waiting for the light to change. I just wanted to go home and be with my mom's copy of the Van Morrison record, because I did not yet know that that breakup would be the greatest move of my mid 20's.
Being young is like that. Everything seems really serious, and people who are old will force feed you all that 20/20 fish-ocean metaphor goo, and in yr head yr all "clearly, they do not understand my plight." Right? But then yr 29 and yr like "God, I wish I had listened to them and stopped moping and got on with my life, and had spent that year writing books, kissing people and not apologizing once! UGH!". Do you know what I mean? About regret and hindsight and the heaviness of being 24? From what I read, yr totes Christian and roll with the Drang and that JP-USA crew, so maybe you have never had a girlfriend, because you got married when you were 19, and maybe you have already been married for like, 11 years, and so you only know what it's like to be someone's husband. Perhaps you are so down with jesus that you will be weirdly embarrassed that in my review of you, I discuss yr merging of the ecclesiastic with the erotic. You talked about romanticism in poetry today on the radio, so maybe you will get what I mean. Same diff, as we used to say.
Anyhow, I am wondering if you are available, one day, like in the future when you are less busy with the business of being a newly famous Christian troubadour, to drive around Chicago and listen to "Sweet Thing" by Van Morrison over and over, and see who cries first, you or me. I do not know what "losing" would consist of - crying first or not crying. It wouldn't be a date or anything weird like that, it'd just be a contest. Then, I could show you the cool things around town that you did not sing about on your new record: drive under the long Lake st. Green line tracks where a bunch of car chase from The Blue Brothers movie took place, the fern room at the Garfield Park Conservatory, the top floor atrium of the Harold Washington library where the floors are marble and cool and very clean and no one is ever there so you can lay on them and look up into the downtown sky or just read the books you checked out, Soul Vegetarian vegan soul food resturant which is run by the African Hebrew Israelites, the B'hai Temple in Willamette which gets a lot of god in the archetecture and has seven gardens, if you are not scared of dark isolated places there is always the train line landbridge that runs through the industrial corridor to downtown where there are tons of baby rabbits and great discarded things - last time I was up there there was part of some old fair ride and the sign to some mid-sixties hair salon with those sequiny letters, we can sneak on to the elevators at the Drake Hotel and look at the lake at night - and if it's fall they have apples in baskets in the hallways that are for decoration, but if you are me, they are for stealing and eating.
Maybe you wrote songs about that stuff for yr Illinois record, but they did not fit on the album, or the choruses were weak, or the song about Decatur was more fun to sing because of those half funny half rhymes ("aviator"?!). If you did not already write those songs, once/if I show those place to you, you are going to wish you had.
Yours very truly,
Cave-aged Gouda vs. Epistle to the Colossians
T-minus two weeks, mon freres et soeurs, til Al "Burn Collector" Burian and myself are rolling through your town on our READING TOUR. We will be reading "old favorites" and some new work. We will be selling our zines, books and comic-books. Julianne Shepherd is opening some of the North East dates with a piece that includes some uprocking. Also, Northhampton, yr new neighboor, Sara Jaffe, of travel-zine/ex-Erase Errata/current Tam Tam, opens with some jams and jabs.
Please come see us read.
Or at least tell yr pals in these cities.
Or alert yr Myspace community.
Link it to controversial threads on ILM.
Print out this picture of Al , laminate and post in yr shower as a "reminder".
Please come. Do not make me beg.
Also, if you wanna help promote the shiz, we will ship you some posters and handbills of the Burian-designed GOOD VS EVIL tour posters (inexplicably, I am represented as "good") to put up or drop off 'round town. Also, if you have tips on cool-event email lists in yr area, Al Burian-fans-in-Providence newsgroups, the record store where we MUST get posters to, etc -- get at me with that info. In return, you'll get a firm hand shake and most sincere thanks in the liner notes of my heart.
AL BURIAN / JESSICA HOPPER : SUMMER READING 2005
(all readings except 7/14 are ALL AGES EVENTS, and all events are sliding scale admission)
July 14th: Chicago, IL- BANANA KING ZINE presents Rock N' Read fundraiser @ The Empty Bottle $10/21 w/ Functional Black outs, Al & I read at 11:15, free banana w/ paid admission.
July 16th: Pittsburgh, PA @ ModernFormations Gallery (4919 Penn Ave) 7:30 pm $3-5
July 17th: Philly, PA @ Mollys Books
July 18th: NYC, NY - Bluestockings Radical Books , 172 Allen , 7 pm.
July 19th: Providence, RI @ Dirt Palace Feminist Art Space w/ Julianne Shepherd - 7:30 pm
July 20th: Easthampton, MA - Flywheel Community Arts - 8 pm (2 Holyoke St)
w/ Julianne Shepherd and Sara Jaffe
July 21st: DC @ Infoshop (1426 9th st NW) - 7pm - Jeff Ott headlines
July 22nd: Baltimore, MD @ Charm City Arts Space - 8 pm
JUly 24th: Chapel Hill, NC @ Co-Op House
July 25th: Louisville, KY @ BRICK Community Center - 7pm
I have two deadlines looming large, their 2400 word-aims upon me like some Dogville-style neck-bell, regarding Mr. Sufjan and Mz. Fonda, and as ever, I am paralyzed by potential "failure" only several hundred words in, so in effort to trap the fear in the closet parts 1-5 style, naturally, I did not apply myself to my assignments, but instead, went to the carwash. While clearing the 7 weeks of half opened mail, drum hardware, ex-coffee cups etc, I came across the fourth issue of Hit it or Quit it, from 11th grade. Which I sometimes romance as being early classic as far as my personal lit-ouevre is concerned, but it did nothing but remind me that I never have been able to spell, that I have been writing on the same topix for nigh 13 years now, and that despite being "cool" at 16, I was as much of an insecure poser as anyone. As I still am.
It was all I needed as proof, that now, still, I "cannot write" and maybe should start looking on Craiglist for some babysitting jobs, since my innagural foray into the world of book reviews is sure to be disasturous. And when I say disasturous, I do not mean as in having my pieces be sent back for rewrites 3 or 4 times, but rather I envision that I will wind up living in a cardboard box in the alley behind my apartment, drinking half empty cans of TAB from my neighboors recycling and eating dead birds that Monkee catches and brings to me - ever the loyal pet -- foraging and protecting me when I finally hit the skids.
Anyhow... The ghost of badmind3000 was pretty merciless, and since I do not have the avenue of recreational drugs, scrips or beers to sideline it with, so instead I go for "distraction" -- and Matt and Miles and I went to see Batman, which was great and I had no beef with it's blockbustery fare -- other than I wish Xtian Bale had used that stupid arrowhead he found and taken out Katie Holmes' character in that first scene so we do not have to suffer through her for the rest of the movie. After the movie, the movie that we all wished was about 7 hours longer, I posed the question, if Batman was in a band - this Batman, the good Xtian Bale version, what would he do in the band? I suggested that he'd be enigmatic, distinctive weirdo frontguy - sort of Geddy Lee meets Dan Higgs from Lungfish, but his band would sound like Joan of Arc. Miles voted for the greatsideman -- "the rhythm guitarist that writes all the songs" and Matt suggested a singing drummer -- "like John McEntire with Gwen Stefani's voice". I think Matt might be the most correct of all.
Happy almost bullshit patriotic holiday.
Be careful with yr firecrackers and yr drunken grilling.
Pardon the crass phallocentric hyperbole, but I have a total boner for this new Seattle public library. The article about it in the New Yorker does not do it justice. If you are here - come see the library. I stopped on the corner where the internal-ramping ends, sort of above the buhtardedly monickered "remix lounge" where all the 'puters are -- and I stood pressed against the glass wall, looked at the expansive three story drop to the lobby, admired the criss crossing hard angles making diamonds against the city squared-horizontal and it made me quiver a bit. I took the neon elevator up to the top floor, which feels open to the sky (and the shiny white light of it felt like a good-guys-spaceship from Star Wars) then walked down the internally ramping all the way, then shot up the middle on the escalator and did it again. Rem Koolhass-inspired library-boners 4-evs.
I went to the Steve Snere-thrown party at Chop Suey last night, and saw the 14 people I always forget live here and always forget I know but am always glad to see. Arlie is up from LA, and he is making a record as GHOST WARS and if you liked that record he made back in the 90's - This is the way it goes and goes and goes, in his old band Juno... oh man. Last night we drove through downtown in this great ancient BMW he just bought, and I insisted he play me rough mixes and three minutes in, I really wanted him to keep driving me as long as it took to hear all 22 songs, and then I wanted to drive to the Black Hills in ND and we could watch the sun come up. And even though god never made chatterboxes quite as self reverencial and chatty as myself and Arlie, we could do the whole 18 hr drive from Seattle to the Dakotas in silence, we could stand atop some hill, some apex of a rolling plateu and watch the sun come up and cry and talk about all the dead people we know. It'd be awesome. But that did not happen. I got two songs and ouila, all the sudden we were at Kate's door, and my lissuning sesh was over. I heart Ghost Wars major. S'real dreamy.
I asked Arlie about what it was like to spend several weeks in Switzerland with six barely post teen Swedish girls who are pro snowboarders and skaters, whom he was writing about for some extreme sports magazine like HOT SWEDE SKATER GIRLS MONTHLY. He was elucidating a point about being old-at-31, recovering snowboarding-pro, pivoting amidst young snowboarding fluers -- he spoke in caps and touched my shoulder to make sure I feel'd the real weight of the pronouncement:
"HOPPER.... I AM A MAN. A MAAAN.... I AM (pause)A MAN . I AM A MAN LIKE... CHEST HAIR. A MAN. LIKE... BALLS. MAAAAANNNNN. A MAN (raises eyebrows, nods, pauses, stares into my soul) -- OLD." It had was like he was summarizing a Fante novel in 12 words or less. It was intense.
I saw young Nick DeWitt, whom, when I asked how he was doing and he told me, with zero hesitation "I haven't gotten laid in five months." Ladies of the 98122, seriously, rally for young Nick's cause. I have known him since he 14, he's got manners. He's walking around this city, needlessly, and mercilessly un-laid. If you take it to the boneyard with him, tell him the Unicorns Tear sent you.
Joan Hiller, for those that are missing her, is looking lovely with her Mary T. M. style flip and smart pants suit. Last night she took me to a BBQ at the home of her man's bandmate, who were being interviewed for the cover of Spin the Magazine by Brian Raftery, author of Spin. We were on a picnic table, and Brian asked how I was doing, and Joan, ever my proud mother immediately answers: "Jessica just got in DaCapo for the second year in a row, you know." and told Brian of my legit lit drive-bys, and finished my sentences to highlight accomplishment, so that no one could confuse me for a publicist or a hobbyist or something. It felt like this really particular act of feminist-friend love. Like, here I am sitting next to this dude, who I regard as "legit" because he is a glossy-mag big baller, and Joan sees me doing this oh-shucks-yeah-I write-too-guppy-routine/publicist shame and she just started gunning support. If Joan and her Ben were not divinely paired, I would really suggest we platonically gay-marry, on the subtle-sweetness of that act alone.
Seattle, Seattle: I like you still.