September 29, 2005


I got a new job today. Find 75 people to be the audience in the Hold Steady video 10/8, here in Chicago. The concept is "basement show". Requirements: Ability to combine elements of "going to show" and "looking cool". Total scrubs encouraged to apply. Just drop me an email. Also: a couple is needed, for public, on camera making out. I do not know what director Chris Thompson (star of hot series Life After Monorchid ) has in mind, but I would like to encourage non-hetero couples to RSVP, because no one said otherwise.

Again, all you need to do is be a cool looking person who can be in Chicago 10/8 and ability to email me asap. If you know yr want to bring your sister or friend, mention that now, so i can keep tabs on how many folks we got coming.

I know it sounds like a dream, but I'm not bullshitting you one bit.

Posted by Jessica at 05:41 PM | TrackBack


Um, ok I do not know why they are not calling this by it's real name: Antiques Roadshow (aka Old French Punx Paying Don Bolles Rent in 2006) Take the old stuff out, see how much it's still worth. "The chemistry was so undeniable that they decided on the spot that it was finally time to perform GERMS shows for the generations that never got the chance to experience the band in its heyday--even though they had all said it would never happen"-- hey, man, we're not mercenaries, we're just noble-ly fucking a corpse in public.

Soon, perhaps bouyed by the potential success of a full-US Germs tour, someone could consider a worthwhile idea like, I dunno, Black Randy and The Metrosquad re-uniting, fronted by Spencer Moody. Or The Urinals, or The Bags, or Rhino 39, or the Weirdos, for effs sake. Though, it being California and all, it'd just be like, the last living member, backed by members of Lagwagon. When I am 43, it it going to be Unwound reunions with Emilys Sassy Lime opening? If Bright Eyes is our Dylan, is he going to be touring casinos hard 37 years from now, Hold Steady opening, grizzled but still-genius, like N Young/Crazy Horse? Or will Conor Oberst be our indie Elvis, fat, old, woozy, rumpusing around the stage in a cowboy hat about some dude that was our present 22 years ago, and some woman that was his girlfriend 17 years ago? Anyhow, to the point:


Gossip has hit the street and for once it is true!

THE GERMS--PAT SMEAR, LORNA DOOM, and DON BOLLES--will be performing live for the first time since December 3, 1980 to commemorate the 25-year anniversary of the band’s final show.

For their first live performance, THE GERMS will join Suicidal Tendencies, The Dead Kennedys, Marky Ramone and Flipper at the legendary Grand Olympic Auditorium for the “Waking the Dead” show on Saturday, October 29. In an unprecedented move, these punk rock luminaries will share a stage in a bona fide old school show at a venue known for holding the best punk rock shows in Los Angeles back in the day.

Actor, musician and star of popular television series E.R., SHANE WEST will be the frontman for the newly reformed and otherwise all original GERMS. This unlikely teaming was spawned from one those so-crazy-that-it-works scenarios:

It all started when WEST was cast in the role of late and legendary punk icon Darby Crash in the upcoming GERMS biopic What We Do Is Secret. Original GERMS members PAT SMEAR, LORNA DOOM, and DON BOLLES were consultants on the film, and at the wrap party THE GERMS performed with SHANE at the mic. Those in attendance were blown away--not only by the insane punk rock apocalypse that still happens when PAT, DON and LORNA play those songs together 25 years after the ball, but also by SHANE’s intense performance and uncanny similarities to original GERMS singer Darby Crash.

The chemistry was so undeniable that they decided on the spot that it was finally time to perform GERMS shows for the generations that never got the chance to experience the band in its heyday--even though they had all said it would never happen.

Now, THE GERMS’ line-up is: Original members PAT SMEAR (Nirvana, Foo Fighters) on guitar; LORNA DOOM on bass; and DON BOLLES (45 Grave, Celebrity Skin) on drums; and new addition SHANE WEST on vocals.

THE GERMS are one of the earliest pioneers of L.A. punk rock, and the accidental inventors of hardcore. Trouser Press describes the band’s lone proper studio album, 1979’s (GI), as “A revelation, a kinetic outburst of brute punk force…a manic punk locomotive speeding along with Damned intensity…the songs go by in a breathless rush, fueled by Pat Smear’s staccato fuzz guitar…A key album in the development of American hardcore.”

In a 4 ? star (out of five) review, All Music Guide says, “A blast of self-lacerating L.A. punk in its original glory, (GI) is simply classic; a commanding, rampaging sneer at everyone and everything infused with a particular, disturbed vision.”

These are the first Germs shows in 25 years so now you too can...CATCH THE

Watch for U.S and European tours coming soon!

Posted by Jessica at 03:14 PM | TrackBack


Good news. We're in love. We said it.

Like you just said it now?

Today, in the car. The first time. The official memo was issued.

I thought that was a given. I thought you guys are already living together with six kids in a castle in the woods. Well... practically.

No. I think I hastened it because I told him I "loked" him last night. I chickened out half way through so it came out as very serious pronouncement "Matt. I you." He kept teasing me and telling me "loked" me too, until today he said it said it.

Loke is the best.


Julianne Escobedo-Shepherd, the reason I routinely go over my anytime minutes, arrives tomorrow for a weekend visit. I was up late, reading the cookbook to come up with something special to make her ( does she like onions?). When she comes here, we are going to the outsider art show and also, ride bikes. She can have the big one with the baskets, which is the better one, because she is the guest. I will stick to the lowrider bike, which is a magic thing dark green metallic and banana seat'd, special for it's half broken pedal and one-only handlebar sparklestreamer routinely losing streams. As Al used to say, the lowrider bike makes me look tuff, like I knocked off a nine year old from the playground across the street, for their ride. If you wanna RSVP ride time with us, jus' holler. J-Shep has hair like a museum door Lion, I bet it looks great in the bike wind. (Also, J-Shep has requested "dancing" and a "craft night", if you are interested in either.)

Posted by Jessica at 01:23 PM | TrackBack

September 28, 2005


I was driving to Evanston, in Matt's van, since I am still carless, still touched a bit by the Post Traumatic Car Crash Stress Heart Jumps when cars stop fast. I was thinking about how, since my insurance people only want to give me enough settlement to buy a well-oiled rollerskate, rather than a replacement Toyota, maybe I should just stop driving. Maybe I could find a way to have a hamtrack protecting me wherever I go, as when I am on my bike, I am constantly aware "there is no seatbelt on this." I was ruing the driving while my heart flopped like a hooked fish. I was listening to Portastatic, the song "I only wanna know girls" where Mac sings about dudes ruining everything, and how his love is like an uzi, it weighs a ton, and I know other writers called that cheesy, but I dream of songs of male feminism tangled with romantic love for your wife-love as dedicated, aware and fierce as Chuck D. C'mon! Not Cheesy! Great! And I was thinking "No, I cannot be a non driver, because I often have to go non bike distances every week, I do not drive that much and and I just learned how to drive five years ago, and it's too soon to give up"

And then there was this truck. This big truck, blocking me in, blocking me in funny, staying on my front right. I am annoyed and look up and the dude driving is staring at me, mouthing something back at me in his mirror. And he stayed that way the whole four miles back to Matt's house, circling back and catching up with me when I would turn, all the while engaged in an act that the police officer later filed as "Sex Offense Other". (It's good he stayed right next to me, it made it easy to get all the information off the side of his truck.) I got out of the van to pick Matt up, and as we are crossing-back to the van, explaining what was happening, he was furious, and then like magic, the man in the truck came back, still circling the block where I parked. Matt stood in the middle of the road, Tieneman style, in front of the truck. The dude stopped, then drove around him.
It was scary.
All of it.

I am definitely getting a human sized Hamster run-ball.

Posted by Jessica at 05:26 PM | TrackBack

September 27, 2005


Lyndie England's defense paralells most every narrative in Too Much Time by Jane Evelyn Atwood , a book about the lives of women in prison and how they ended up there, which I purchased last week, but find too depressing to look at more than 2 pages at a time. Says a women's prison official on page 11: "I concluded a long time ago that a majority of the women here are primarily guilty of bad taste in men."
I do not know what I think about it all, yet.

"Truckstop Cassettes" on the just-out Portastatic record is so spooky adult cha-cha. On the bio, which was written by the wee milk tooth, Conor Oberst, he names it Americana --that's the genus they give you when you get the fiddle out. If you do not think the nu Portastatic is the best thing Mac McMacMac has done since "Driveway to Driveway", then we are most certaing disagreeing.

Bell Orchestre is the upcoming Arcade Fire side-proje (rhymes with bloje) for which you or others are shitting sweat in anticipatory glee over, perhumps bouyed by the fact that Pitchfork gave it 47-googleplex mics in rating, but I am here to deliver the baddest news since, I dunno, the Times morning edition, and tell you this: It's like Kitaro and Jean-Michael Jarre jamming over the Nature Store's Spirit Wind CD, minus the "babbling brook" sound of a positive feng-shui inducing 9-volt mini-fountain. It's like a viola-bukkake dis track/answer back to Animal Collective's best Andreas Vollenweider-inspired moments.

Posted by Jessica at 07:51 PM | TrackBack

September 26, 2005


Joan Didion's death book excerpted in the Times magazine . Comes out October 4th, mark yr calenders--I have two copies on order, one for me and one for my baby sis, who cannot find a decent English language bookstore in Barcelona and says she's been re-reading Salvador in anticipation. And in the inter-time til, if you have not caught up with J-Diddy, via her 2003 California-memoir (repetitive, though useful insofar as you discover how much her life was the basis for the pulp of Run River, and why she is fascinated by dams and irrigating watersystems)--do so if just to read her chapter on Orange County; her SPUR POSSE then and now is the closest she goes to the boil of indictment.

Also: as far as music is concerned--I really like it.

I just got the Avie Sands album reissue--well worth the $16.99-she's like Dusty w/out the subtlety. On the cover she is on her bike, half-posed and cruising at at a delicate 4 mph, past a fallow, golden field. Her 1970's hair all Jhirmack'd Volumizing Sheen with a heavy side part-- motionless as she speeds by. She has two side mirrors, wheel friction-powered lamps, and a wicker front mounted basket that is quintuple the size of her head and a tire pump . She's not just a for-fun biker, she's like a one-lady Critical Mass. The art on the album projects many Evies, beyond that of proto-bike liberationist: on the back she hides her big teeth and looks pouty--her face super-imposed on six wagons. Inside back cover, she is shoeless, on a swing--seemingly hung from the sky-- her tunic pants suit draping her like a shower curtain--her eyes cast down, looking near tears. In her other shot, her hair is bouf'ed up and cascading like a lava flow, locks shading her eyes, she holds a frightened looking kitten in her arms. Why doesn't anyone make album art like this anymore? Why do all the girl-singers get posed close to the lense with glosslips parted? Never in pants that don't fit right! Never alive with mid-bike ride whimsy, kicking it on a 3-speed cruiser in flat sandals!?

Special to BA in LA: Jesus Christ, Bets, take him back already ! I have known the dude more than half my life and never seen him so pitiful and wrecked. And that's really saying something because I even knew him back when he had needles in his arms, was barfing on the sidewalk outside of Jabberjaw and wearing half shirts like a cholita. Please, show some mercy, girl.

Posted by Jessica at 02:48 PM | TrackBack

September 25, 2005


Three reviews due by tomorrow and stalling. 7,400 more words due by the end of the month and stalling. The laundry is on day two in the dryer, and rather than take it out, I keep just pressing the button so it goes again, like, just to make sure-sure . Keeping the clothes in there, so the dryer don't get lonely. I'm stalling because if I drag the days enough, snag my hours on the brambles of distraction I can unravel them and summer will stay. If I can stay outside and bike enough without a coat or even a sweater, it will stave off the seasons and the early-duskfall, and serve as irrefutable proof of summer.

Posted by Jessica at 02:41 PM | TrackBack

September 23, 2005


There is gendered discourse on rap and rap crit and crit of crit over on Julianne's blog, Cowboyz n Poodles.

The binary of right/wrong or legit/illegitimate is not actually a purposeful or constuctive critique, and though Hammond claims authority by stating he's a feminist, it's a heirarchacal standard he's playing by. Plus the insistance that she put her "bias on the table" and she illegitimizes herself as a journalist by not giving "complete and thoughtful analysis"--is some Bill O Reilly fire sale doctrine. Dude is all about the hypocrisy: stating that mysogyny in hip hop is inexcusable, though in the following sentence he excuses it with "freedom of speech/art", implying that her feminism taints the purity of her criticism, though, he himself has applied his own critical, feminist-protocol to his review of David Banner's album, he believes that Julianne not discussing Banner's single, one he sees as"mysogynistic", betrays a sneaky feminist agenda, though he previously "there is nothing wrong with a feminist agenda." Um, what?

And though it may sound like biological essentialism, what I am talking about as fundamental rift is all social-culture: Dudes are taught to socialize themselves via competition and heirarchy. And as we can witness, it's a bum out for all involved. Male gender culture defines masculinity and success (same thing) by being above someone else, by having "authority" and "answers" and making sure everyone knows it. Mr. Hammond, if you are reading this, please know, feminism can actually liberate you from this crippling dicotomy-enforcement. Feminism is not just about us girls having orgasms, equal pay and the right to vote. Feminism is about all of us being peers--the whole wide world. With feminism, you do not have to live yr life cowboying around the internet duck-duck-goosing on the legitimacy-tip to prove you are "a real critic": you can be free. That is feminism's promise to us all.

Posted by Jessica at 03:55 PM | TrackBack

September 22, 2005


Los Angeles compadre Evan Mack, part time old timer and painter of potentates and dictators, writes: "According to my girlfriend Val there is a word for that [the hungry], not in English, but in Tagalog (Philipine language). I'm not sure how to spell it but it's gigol (gee-gol). It's means something is so cute or special to you that you want to devour it."

So special you want to devour it.

PS. Swords are all the Death Cab parts I like, but with swearing and more "Bullet The Blue Sky"-U2rgency, less Coldplay-spaceballs.

Posted by Jessica at 03:01 PM | TrackBack


I am closing the gap--only six weeks or so behind on my New Yorker reading. I piled through four last week, ashamed that I still had "March" under some laundry in the bedroom. Meanwhile, on the plane, I hit David Denby's pc on Susan Sontag , which I enjoyed so much it made me read faster, it made me hungry. Hungry is not the right word to describe it, but maybe you know/have this problem too...? When I like something: a book, a person, a song, skateboarding, pet cat Monkey, a pretty xerox--I get a funny impulse to ingest the thing, I want to possess it--and the closest way I can imaginate that is chewing it and eating it up. I want to take in it's richness, all, and be of it. Meanwhile, I went out and bought every Sontag book they had at the used book store in Seattle, which was three. She's a stranger to me. I bought nine books last week, I was so hungry. Plus another four yesterday, but one was a present and one is mostly just pictures of women in prison.

Sometimes I get afraid to write. Most of the time. I can write this thing, it's easy weight. The other stuff, it psyches me out. I'm trying to make friends with it, since "the writing" is almost-all-the-way my job now, but most the time I am stepping over it like an inert body in a doorway. I saw Johnny T, on the street two weeks back, a man whose business is on the other end of a book contract I signed a good three or four years ago. I said to him, the truth, actually: I got 80% of the thing printed and just sitting on my desk. It's been there since mid-July. I accidentally started to throw it away, last week, and plucked it from they alley trash with an "oops". Now it's dirty and is housed on the porch, I see it every time I leave. Maybe. Maybe soon.

Also, some other writing I liked from the NYRKR.

Posted by Jessica at 11:33 AM | TrackBack

September 21, 2005


Today, Meg came over and we clipped 10 years of my writing out of Punk Planet back issues, in order to "archive" them. Archives that will be handy when I need to revisit the frequency with which people cried when I interviewed them, all Barbara Walters style: (three: Smart Went Crazy, Atmosphere and Mick Barr from Crom Tech (what?!)) or how many times I have written the same column ("Oh fuck you punk patriarchy!" is totes complicated, and may in fact, at times, demand 10-12 varying articulations.))

Anyhow, amidst the clipping, we stumbled upon the 1998 interview with me, in PP, conducted by ol' pal Josh Hooten . I could not even skim past the second question, because who wants to read a on-the-record convo between yr best friend and yr 22 yo self, when yr mouthily talking much shit about nothing of any import and or hating on Chris Leo, "calling out" Rye Coalition -- but there in answer two, the accidental/sad/telling mantra of my mid-20's, when Josh asks about my "rep" for being harsh, I dismissively reply:

"Being liked is so ineffectual".

Holy crap.

Posted by Jessica at 08:01 PM | TrackBack


Becky Smith spells tomorrow in a major way Tracy and The Plastics breaking down the walls that say you can't. Heed the hope of ther dedicated feminist: "While 2005 is all about destroying heirarchies, the work might last into 2006 as well."

You never really know how few people are actually committed to destroying the accomodating power-paradigm in show settings and band settings and music production settings or fanzine-magazines until you start to try, even a little bit. People brustle with bands playing on the floor, and call polemics and political ideas in art "pretentious", like living your hope is somehow "not real" and that we should be more cynical and not have varying dreams for a future, "ostentacious" or otherwise. How about our dream-future liberated; the ribbon cutting ceremonies for our community art lives-with the giant scissors and meanings of deep import ?! Those ideas started little and were acornily-seeded at shows or in zines, and so me must care, and we should start from there.

I think people are just afraid of paradigm shift interuppting their cash flow. Most of us are complicit in heirarchy--so that worry is not un-founded, so it's natural for people to want to shut down or thwart the dream of ... It's the most honest American reaction one could have, really: being down as long as comfort is not impeeded.

Right now, I feel like my whole dream and waking life is a "How do I/we get there? What can I do right now to be doing THAT work of getting THERE and CLOSER TO THERE?" (her there, my there, poor people there) query. How can Hit it or Quit it, a non professional magazine amongst friends, be a better example of non sexist writing, one that goals gender parity, where men are not demonized failures and women are not lesser than.

Yesterday, I was sitting on a ladder in the yard, talking on the cellphone to Julianne Shepherd, who makes the magazine with me, about how is it possible that HIOQI is the only musiks magazine that we know or see that does not disparage/illegitimze acts by citing teenage girl fandom, or that "it's something my mom would listen to"-- hammering home the idea that girls and women have that they are indiscriminate, and like what they like for "lesser" reasons ("Most folks don’t seem to want to believe that one can be struggling for justice and into nuanced cultural perspectives, aesthetics, and the vernacular at the same time"- sez bell hooks )-- ie. for visual reasons or surface-reasons, and not the "deeper" reasons that exist to like J Geils Band/Kelly Clarkson/King Kong/Jo Jo Gunne/Hausipungo. We can still be critical, music critical, and not engage heirarchies. We can find new ways to make and publish and promote our work, our art and our ideas, and it does not have to be hard. We just have to start. I am trying to start right now. Start with me. We start by starting and we just keeping going.

Also, if yr media player supports: Cornel West on Katrina and revolution.

Posted by Jessica at 11:26 AM | TrackBack

September 20, 2005


Do you need:

- a 4-drawer legal-width file cabinet
- two multiline (3 and 4) office phones
- rillll nice rolling office chair
- 40's chandelier-y light fixture w/ 12 bulbs

I have these things, if you come and get them, they can be yours FOR FREE.
email me: mcfrenchvanilla at yahoo

Posted by Jessica at 12:09 PM | TrackBack

September 19, 2005


We were in the back of the cab coming back home from the airport, and Matt said something about how after you have been away long enough that you can, just for a minute, give the city a chance again, pass an intersection you have been through 8 million times and see it new, just for a minute just before you sell it out again.

The sell out is easy. Spend a week in Oregon where the loudest thing is the ocean and dogs and wind and suddenly Chicago is euphonius at best, all too much. The little town, Gearhart, despite being 13 miles from Clatsop County's meth hotspot, Astoria, was about as heavenly as it gets. Every day we'd be on walks or drives and say 'There. There. That house. Your office will be in the little barn and..." A vay-kay to the shore is listed in the dictionary as being idyllic , so can we be blamed? We hit barn sales and saved a broken crab! Walking alongsiode the receeding tide talking serious, like an endless Summers Eve commercial. We watched the sunset over the ocean, passed on the path by aged couples doing the same, in pairs, light convo supplanted by wet eyes and the clicking of cubes in the Campari in the anchor-adorned cups. It was like the unmade video for Jay Ferguson's "Thunder Island".

There was also something great at the beach: a shipwreck. Unmoved since labor day weekend said the locals. A sailboat, 30-footer, washed on the shore, deck popping apart with the weight of the mast making moves toward horizontal. I ran in close as the waves ebbed out, to see if I could see, peering into the portholes. I wanted to know, where was the captain? Bottom of the ocean or fished out of open water and the ship was long adrift, unowned and out on it's own? No sails but rag. Just sitting on the Oregon coast for two weeks.

Also, mysterious, but more just strange: On a corner in Astoria, a phone booth subject to many phone calls. Waitress at Columbia Cafe says it rings off the hook, always. When I passed, it rang and I answered. "Shut the door behind you." said the man. "No." I told him. Matt answered when he passed, same thing. The waitress said when she answers it's usually just some kid saying something dirty. A few seconds later, a man stopped in, asking if anyone knew David Johnson. A customer and our waitress conferred--"Nope, no one here by that name" said a regular. The man said "Yeah, well, if you see him, someone's calling for him in the booth on the corner," and the man walked on. When we passed back by it later, a woman, once pretty and now made grey by meth and covered in scratches, was inside, door closed, listening very intently. Almost as compelling as the boat: Who is calling the booth? Is it more than one person? Is it one person all day? Can they see the booth? And is anyone really looking for David Johnson?.

Lastly: My abridged and OG vision review of of Sufjan in this week's City Pages.

Double lastly: Franklin Bruno is my new neighboor. Huzzah. Watch for our Mecca Normal cover band. He is Jean and I will be David. He has signed on for Muy Ro participation. The list grows by the day of new membs--- This years Muy Romantico will knock the pee outta you!

Posted by Jessica at 11:32 PM | TrackBack

September 12, 2005


Passing ship "Russell Troyer" writes with a hot link to be enjoyed by Lungfish afficianados, a sure treat for the old and super duper old alike: Something I Learned Today Mp3 blog de punk posts the entire Reptile House single , which you can listen to right here on the internet, for free --nothin' beats that!

In other news, less Dan Higgs obsessive related news: 10 years ago tomorrow was the last time I was drunk/high. Actually, 10 years ago tomorrow was the last time I was super hung over. Ten years ago right about now, I was getting shitfaced with a man who was once outdrank pre-sobriety James Hetfield at a bar that I only remember as being shiny gold and white blurry. I remember the shoes I was wearing (6 inch vintage wooden heeled platform wedges, sparkly ruby slipper tops) and that I was drinking on an empty stomach. I do not remember so much of the night, or the weird-seizurry-episode that went down, such is the nature of a blackout, though I remember the "If I live through this, God, I promise I will never drink again," bargain I struck the next day. The last time I was high was around my birthday, the previous week, at a wedding in the NorCal woods where a bunch of decade-older ex skater painter weirdos and I were at a wedding of my bf's friends. I was gifted all-i-could-smoke crippler-weed and various and sundry pills, and then was left unattended and proceeded to eat an entire pound of dried seaweed, which is like 6 real pounds in yr stomach once re-animated, which was so much nutrition my body rebelled an in a bit of foreshadowing, I spent, again, untold hours vomitting green sea vegetable.

Did you like that story, with all the barfing? It's not exactly like, James Frey's Million Little Pieces, I know. No Kitty Dukakis shame regret guilt embarrasment cycle or sneaking sips or seeking solutions from over the counter/under the kitchen sink solutions . Just: I stopped drinking and my life got way better, I got a lot done because I was no longer warming barstools in my free time and I remember my early 20's entirely. Also, I no longer had anything to blame my asshole behaviour on, nor my (often, but not always) poor choices in boyfriends.

And now, for the exciting conclusion: In the morning, I leave for five days at the Oregon shore, no internet, no telephone, just me, my dude, and books and books and books and Scrabble and a bikini and flip flops. Nevermind CMJ--Heres The Vacation!

BTW, If you email my your address by 3pm CST tomorrow, I will send you a postcard though. Promise. Postcards and letters are like blogs but smaller, trust me, you'll love it.

Posted by Jessica at 11:38 PM | TrackBack


You go and it is so beautiful, upon arrival and exit, without fail, all parties agree we have to come back. Again, in a few days, as much as we can, just smoosh the van with people, next time more people and more swimming and more food until fall freeze seizes our plans.
"We have to come every weekend," says JR.
"You say that every weekend," I say.
We even talk about "next time" we just propose a schedule, announce it via email, for a beach charter.

We were drying in the sun, and playing cards (Uno, I won), and the other ladies were drinking sangria from Solo cups, the Swede burying me with plus-four card draws, Matt and JR, half napping around us, stretched long like cats, bracketing us. Waking up to interject into our girly patter (about trashy autobiogs and the time one of us accidentally modeled a cape with our own feces on it) with a ghost story or rumble out of half slumber to laugh along. Before I Uno'd and won, when I was pounded with a full-dozen of green cards, Matt comforted me, whispering over my shoulder with joke paternal-pep "Jess, it's just a game of chance, there is no skill involved. Don't sweat it, babe. You can do it." Playing your hand with one hand and gnawing melon down to it's rind on the other is the real skill here.

We swam to stay warm in the water, and we ran down the dunes (like flying). On the way up, Matt showed us some method for climbing in sand or snow that he learned on some Outward Bound survivalist jawn B.I.T.D., and we made the travail up the nine story sand slope without having to crawl like a sick animal, which is how it worked for Miles and I last time, pathetic, heavy smoker damage, recalling, panting out a shared anecdote about how in our youth, when we were both on cross-country, inclines this steep as this was piddly shit. We did our snow-foot trick as instructed, Liz and Anaheed (blind sans glasses) and Robin, bailed mid hill, but I went to the top, because I knew it's potential and added velocity from two weekends back. This time I bounded, then jumped hard, which meant I eventually got going too fast and faceplanted then rolled a little, but kept rolling because I could. I got to the bottom and was invisible I was so coated in sand, like some shake n' bake dusted chicken. So, I swam fast as I could, in various strokes, from the dune back to our picnic base camp,, in order to get the sand off me, but I still had grains in my teeth this morning.

Posted by Jessica at 12:34 AM | TrackBack

September 09, 2005


Miles' reflective response is some grizzly realism, but not without hope .
To wit: Consider a generation raised in these solipsistic decades under fallen-out hippies and the media empire they've built, and understand how the men who run this country can create this most fecund ground for a revolution without worry, because that revolution simply will not come. Understand how the task of processing tragedy via art will fall yet again into the wrinkling hands of Don Henley, how our demographic's yelps of outrage will inspire nothing more than another night of attempted dancefloor hookups, remixed and unimportant. We've embraced and recombined the aesthetics of all the most revolutionary musical movements since 1962 and shorn them of their revolutionary power by thinking the aesthetics alone can communicate our outrage, but our songs don't dare, don't confront, and end up little more than advertisements for hairstyles.

Posted by Jessica at 05:58 PM | TrackBack


Spent the morning combing sites and papers again. It takes me about two days to ramp up to the task of baring distant witness to the deracination. I am not sure how you cycle your news, if you are like, you are in when you are in, following every link, comparing the leads for the newswires and hitting refresh on the National section. And then it is 5 hours later and yr internals are quaking and yr prayers for the bereft are bitter, and you wonder if routing yr fury through (mere) donation and the spiritual outbox is anything at all. Feeling the guilt of distance and position--that I have the option of paying attention. It is nothing, but it is a question.

The floodwaters are just something in my dreams at night, the staging ground for usual dream gamut: fear, sex, loathing, the bizarre, work anxiety. I have a repeating-theme dream, where I find treasure/a telephone I want in a thrift store. Now all the usual scenarios play out in ankle deep black water.

Tomorrow, at least for Chicago-folx, airs the New Orleans tale on This American Life . Check local listings.

Out today, in the Reader, is a bit of reportage I did on StoryCorps . Also, a hyperbolic write up on the Portastatic and Tenement Halls show tonight 9/9 at The Bottle. The new Portastatic album is Mac's new trick, and it's just what you want. Well, it's what I want: grown up and classy that's visceral, tons of ripping solos and a song disavowing the patriarchy. Temement Halls is Chris Lopez of The Rock*a*Teens whose first album, Cry (it's on Daemon, not Merge) is about the only CD from 1997 I am still holding on to (officially: the other was Van Pelt, and I traded it last week). While we are on the topic of "music": One man band BBQ played a roaring, soulful-blare set to all of 50 folks last night at The Bottle. I bought the shirt, the one of the baby getting hit with the hammer. Not really hit. Touched with a hammer. Implied touching with a hammer.

Posted by Jessica at 12:55 PM | TrackBack

September 07, 2005


Statcounter brings us a tremedous bounty today, topping the last-week google search hit on "How long does one hit of acid last?" with "haunted Chuck E Cheese in North Little Rock" and "Turd halloween costume" -- please, whomever you are, come back and report your results and share relevent back story.

Also, for the Minneapolitans reading:a prime cantidate has entered the Mnpls City Council race. Taxing "the hell out of" anything is a committed platform. Vote Erickson in 05!

Posted by Jessica at 11:48 PM | TrackBack

September 06, 2005


Seriously, the links you have been looking for, with handy "what they do" chart for where you can donate for from Sparkplug for "grassroots/low-income/people of color-led" orgs in and around Biloxi, Houston and Louisiana. Link courtesy of Becky Smith, the lady in MO with an M.O. I accidentally read section one of USA Today while waiting to board the plane, and to put it simply, I hope in the coming America-on-America war, that the editors and reporters that are feeding this classist, racist, compasionless, unquestioning parade of white-righteous blinders-on sabotage get the brunt of what they are helping brew. And I say that as the daughter of two editors.

I know, I know, it is not the Christian thing to wish people get strung up, their good fortunes and white benefit reversed and that they will be the ones who have to wonder where is god? when their neighboorhood is lined with inert bodies. I am supposed to pray for them, so that they learn some lesson and use their power for good and not evil, pray for their hearts to break so that they cannot look away, and must report on exactly what it looks like when centuries of American Racism is brought to flower.

Posted by Jessica at 03:41 PM | TrackBack

September 05, 2005

(THATS 60)

Joan Hiller, the other JH having a birthday this week, sweet lady formerly of Houston, but always of our hearts, is a big-hearted bargain shopper, writes suggesting "because you can buy 144 pairs of socks and five dozen (that's 60) pairs of underpants for only $100, and then you can have all of what you buy shipped directly to the Houston Food Bank", here:

The Herzstein Center
3811 Eastex Freeway
Houston, TX 77026

Also see Houston Craigslist.

Posted by Jessica at 04:57 PM | TrackBack

September 04, 2005


Cowboyz N Poodz is built for reflief linx.

Seeing armies of the armed in to "handle" N. Orleans, families separated and shipped apart, interned in camps--calling to mind Sandburg's line about government of traditions handed down.

Macia does Bush-et-Karl photodialog.

Extended remix of one-thing-after-another: In a 30 hour span, I was in the head-on car crunch, our families dog (my mom's third child) was hit by a car and killed in front of the house, then my lil' sister left and moved to Barcelona. So, I came up to Mnpls, to tend to my mother's mourning process, which mostly involves cooking and distracting, intercepting the ceaseless plates of food delivered by family friends and neighboors, wrapping them in foil and putting them in the fridge.

Mourning on top of mourning, from sportsdomes to the sky, from beggy prayers to angry and baffled ones. And at night, on the phones, or in the car, there are talks of how do we confront our priviledge, as white people middle class and free enough to get on planes and fly to deal with dog-death, and once we have acknoledged that we are, by citizenry, by class, by race, by comfort--complicit with so much--how do we renege?

In 3 hours I am 29, and that is older than I have ever been.

Posted by Jessica at 09:45 PM | TrackBack

September 02, 2005


Chad C says, via email:

re: new orleans: 'cause fuck yes, i do suspect. were it an avalanche in aspen and not a hurricane in louisiana, everyone who could be saved would have been saved. at least it's a fair fucking question. this suspicion is not crazy, lefty paranoia: it's almost entirely empirically based.
too bad we can't avenge these deaths with another war, huh?

Posted by Jessica at 07:43 PM | TrackBack


The "president" being a moronic racist fuck and hugging folks and giving em the stoic stepdad line he copped from a poster at the dentists office "hang in there" - not a surprise, not even a shock. That's to be expected. That no matter how bad anything gets, his pithy bullshitting of "it's not acceptable", and "we'll deploy the assets"--and his repeated lines of we will rebuild, America will be better for it , betraying his future-think of a true capitalist zealot-- yes, job loss and alla that, but how about food and water instead of the sententious "Terra will rise again!" aphorisms on the White House Lawn. He shows about as much compassion and emotion as the animatronic bear that plays banjo in the Chuck E Cheese band. And it is easy to wonder, if there were 20,000 white people trapped and suffering and dying preventable deaths (anywhere, let alone in America), if the news every night and in the paper in the morning was sobbing white babies, not old black ladies -- would his rhetoric be the same, would they be left to rot in such a manner? What assets would be deployed then?

And also, we save a special fuck you to photo editors at national news-wire services (except my dad) who are feeding us choice images, now, every day, ripe pictures of folks looting liquor stores and Foot Locker outlets only.

Posted by Jessica at 03:32 PM | TrackBack

September 01, 2005


The best part of the emergency room was my radiologist, who was so earnestly strange, that it made me feel like a Lynchian dream sequence. He had a limp, said everything twice like a bad rap ("Donotmove/Do. Not. Move") and was wearing a lab coat with his name on it, making jokes I did not understand as jokes. He presided over nine neck xrays, then dissappeared for a while. I lay there, staring into the machine above me, which was like a big Cuisinart with a light on the bottom, he comes back "We must do it again. In the processor, three of your xrays landed on top of one another. All together. Like the 3 Little Bears," he adjusts the light and leans in to adjust me "I figured out who the villian is in that story. Little Red Riding Hood." Despite being in a concussion fog, I was all "huh?!" -- "Little Red Riding Hood. She ate all their porridge." He leans over me adjusting the light, and I think, the only time anyone gets this close to my face, it's because they are going to kiss me. I countered "Little Red Riding hood is one of the protagonists, not the villian." Then I kind of passed out.

I got in a car accident. A man in a gray Caprice Classic hit me head on, while he was pulling some extreme traffic move on Western. The worst part, really the worst, worse than my car being possibly totalled, is that when it happened, I was on the phone with my Nana. My 86 year old Nana, telling her I was coming to visit soon. And then I was screaming and apologizing and had to hang up on her because there was an airbag close enough to kiss, and my car was filling with smoke. I hung up on my Nana, stepped outside the car and passed out on the blacktop, in traffic. A nice homeless dude came to my aid, and got me to the curb.

Then there was the police and the police made me go in the ambulance. I called Miles and JR and Matt and told them where the ambulance was going and why. And then I was on the gurnee and they put a catheter in the back of my hand and things on my fingers and a thing that made a velcro sound around my neck and strapped me down. And I felt asleep, but I woke up when we were going into the ER, rolling rolling under the lights and I thought of Bushwick Bill on the cover of Geto Boys We Can't Be Stopped and wished I had my camera, to preserve this moment for my eventual solo album.

Then I woke up and Miles and JR were standing there leaning over me saying "Hi buddy" and the look on JR's face almost made me cry. I explained that I am all strapped down and given the special collar until I get done with all the xrays and the CT scan to make sure-make sure, but that they think I am fine, just a concussion and smoke inhalation and whiplash. Matt was ready to fly home from tour if anything was wrong, if they were going to keep me at the hospital. I am fine I said. I just wanna get home so I can see Spoon on Letterman I said. I am tough, but it sure is nice to have such nice friends who love you and come pet yr hand when yr hurt.

Never been in an ambulance before. The cat scan was like an oscillating donut. Also never done that before. I had read about it's special hum on J Sheps blog, and I listened for it, and did not stare into the scan-ray as the sticker advised. I was laying there, forever, after the xrays and scans, and I was watching my vitals on the monitor behind my head. Everytime Miles mentioned the "Urinebag" stationed next to him, my heart rate went up. We played a little game to see how high we could spike my heart rate. 127 on Urinebag alone.

We left the hospital, finally, after about 4 hours maybe, and got a cab home. I looked so fucked up, I made Miles take my picture first thing. I still had all the little snap-attach sticker things that they hook up the stats machine to you with and my face was puffy and I had blood running all over my hand from when they took the shunt out and I am wearing a purple tank top with a pony on it and I look totally janky and beat. Can't be stopped!

Posted by Jessica at 09:45 PM | TrackBack


Heads up. My gracious pal from Pittsburgh, Andy M , writes today, on the link clicked to his name about a harrowing visit to DrumTown, akin to my own. Andy plays drums in The Sea, Like Lead who, to me, sound kind of like ol' Juno. Here is the Mp3 link to their pretty song , which is drippy on the reverb and then fantastic on BIG CHORD BOM_BAST.
They play Friday at Spare Room in Chicago (Western&North) and 9/3 at Big V's in St Paul.

Posted by Jessica at 12:25 PM | TrackBack


If you mail my present tomorrow, it will get here the day after my birthday, on the 6th. My birthday is the 5th, and duh, my birthday is, as it should be, as it has usually been, a national holiday . My birthday party is the 10th and I am thinking yard party maybe again, since I have 80 oz left of the lawn-torch oil-fuel stuff left, but I am thinking, hey, why not bring my party to the dunes in Valparaiso, IN instead. I think, really, I have much more interest in eating oranges on the beach with some of my friends, rather than watching half strangers get real drunk. I might do both. Holler if you want to come to either, both, neither, whatever = 9/10 = it's on. This is a very very special birthday, as I will be turning 100 years old this year.

Granted: Every birthday is special, because, well, it was divine handiwork I made it past 18. Especially since the one picture I have of my 18th birthday still, kept only to remind me of miracle-luck, is my friend Ellen, slugging a Heineken, steering wheel in hand, driving my van down the 405 freeway, taken, by me, from the passenger seat. Ellen had to drive, as I was the one who had been given the cooler full of 40's a present. When you are a kid, you think you are indestructable, your body is like silly putty to you still, and life is bendable and not breakable, even if in the face of friends dying and ODing. It's never you, it's never going to happen to you, you think because you are stupid and young and that, essentially is your job description when you are young and stupid.

That's what I think about every year when I turn older. Whose fucking grace am I skating on that I am still on the earth, not dying, all limbs intact? When really, if we look at the timeline, if we look at the square rooted genealogy of stupid chances and the nineties in the entirety, there were times when 29 (not 100, wishful thinking) seemed like the unlikeliest of outcomes. But my back in the day friends, Cali, and Britt, we have this conversation everytime we hang out. I also think about how if I was my mom, how old would I be. When my mom was 29, I was six. Then I think about how did she possibly do it. I am busy, but like, self employed and sleeping in, and still so unresponsible-ish that I leave the window cracked open for the cat to come in and out--so she does not have to depend on me so much.

Anyhow. If you are wondering what to get me for my birthday, please draw me a picture or make me a tape, or, really, it is still pluot season. I also like rocks. I am an extra small in t-shirts. You could write me a special message on a thrift shirt with a pen or sharpie, on the inside, then draw a picture on it -- A picture of you and me riding a donkey! PO BOX 14624 CHICAGO IL 60614. Make sure to let me know when yr birthday is and I will totes get you back with something personal and special. Like a ceramic dog with no head.

Also, on the topic of giving, if you are mad broke-a-thon3000, and wondering about what you can do re: Hurricane help, keep in mind you can donate frequent flyer miles to Red Cross .

Posted by Jessica at 01:01 AM | TrackBack