January 29, 2007


We were eating dinner and not saying much, and Matt looks at me and says "I just thought of a rhyme about this" and it went like this:
"Meiosis / Mitosis / Endometriosis / You cook / and I clean / That's symbiosis"
It was like a little song, and a pretty hooky one at that--it also makes me glad that one of us is doing some creative thinking and can remember details of cell division. If I were to make a clever sing song it would just wonder what is going to be Antiques Roadshow, what kind of emotions the cats have and if anyone else in the world is having exactly-exactly what we are having for dinner at the same time we are having it.

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January 28, 2007


Since the hard work of raffle coordination was behind me, I thought a movie date was in order and according to the movie-circular on the side of the fridge, the new David Lynch film had opened, and with interest renewed by the G. Marcus book which I half hated but enjoyed the Lynch-y parts most of all, we went to see Inland Empire. I left feeling unmoved after 3 plus hours of Laura Dern's nostrils shown in continous tight upshot so as they appeared to be quivering manholes in her face. I came home and needed my brain washed free of the Dern and blinking lights by whatever is the inverse of what I just saw and got excited that there was a special on rhinos on--perfect!--I love rhinos, this will really do the trick. Within a minute of turning on the PBS, I saw something that was more disturbing than all 120081 infiniminutes of Inland Empire, it was so disturbing, I said out loud, to myself only "No they are not!"... but they were! They (the camera crew of Nature) was interviewing a doctor-of-rhinos while she was literally armpit deep in husbandry. She stopped what she was doing, but yet kept talking to the camera with her entire arm was still inside the rhino's vagina. Then they cut to a baby rhino, then they cut to footage of the doctor casually removing her arm, removing her mucky shoulder length glove and smiling, all like "'sup!". If David Lynch really wanted to freak people out, he just needs to make a documentary about the rhino-ob/gyn at the Cincinatti Zoo.

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January 25, 2007


Attention--the benefit (1/27 at the Bottle)--is going to sell out, so if you are coming--- get up in Ticketweb like a spidermonkey--NOW. It's gonna be a hell of a show and also--you can't enter the raffle without showing up. And if you don't enter the raffle you cannot potentially win Fred Armisen in yr house, outta print Aesop Rock book w/ 7", Puma DJ bag that look an awful lot like this bag, tickets to Intonation, The Pretenders box set and the Radiohead ltd. edition book-cd that has been out of print since the day it came out. I got 10 full size grocery bags in the dining room, each holding untold raffle bounty--and I have not even mentioned the travel books, thermoses, t-shirts and Wendy O Williams DVD.

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January 24, 2007


It's not all him, but it's none the less pretty great JR is scrawling on the Myopic blog. Myopic, for out of towners and those that avoid the crotch of the city, is the only place you should be buying your books. Service is unparalled. You can go in there an be like "My boyfriend likes noir murder-mystery novels, but has all the classics and standard-bearers--what can you recommend as a gift?" and JR or one of his co-workers will walk you down into the room in the basement that smells like an old well and put, like, 10 sure-fire titles in your hands. Did you know that JR has read something like 22 books on Lincoln? I did. Anyhow, you should go there, they are open until midnight or one most of the time and you can nerd out for hours without hassle, and they sell coffee and iced tea. Any excuse to go there will do. Trust me.

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January 23, 2007


animal planters I have known, pt. 1

Normally I would say that making public the pictures of yr romantic vay-kay to Belize, smack dab in the middle of winter is kind of rude, especially when it's all sailboats and palms and sand and outdoors in the wind, but the pics are far too beautiful to take issue with (follow the little back arrow all the way to the blogs start if you are looking to kill some time, and be a little jealous and wonder why yr camera doesn;t make yr pictures look like that. She sells prints, too, you know. The ones of the beach and the sky, the girls in bikinis laying across floating logs are my favorites.)

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January 21, 2007


I went to Pilsen to do some reporting at the place above Nora's old place. I got there early and visited with Nora. She and Becky had to leave for a birthday party. They are magic girls to me.

I see Becky at yoga sometimes--even her yoga outfits are cool. Like Street Hassle-era Lou Reed but yet totally aerobic at the same time. Becky's room is 89% plants. Dave Laney used to live in this room, back when we were in Challenger together. When Dave lived there it looked like an Amerisuites room in comparison. There were not branches with dry spanish moss suspended from the cieling or medical diagrams painted on the walls.

I always thought of myself as the sort of girl who would take a slip and write on it and use it as a lampshade--

but after being at her house I realized I am not DIY, I am just someone who likes to sew and paint... I peeked into a spare room and saw what DIY means; the women of Beckys house have a full bore woodshop going on--with logs and sawhorses and a jigsaw. I was too intimidated to even ask what they are building. They are probably building a boat or a log cabin on a boat.

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January 19, 2007


My debut column for the Trib is out now.

As well as a Q&A about shoes and modesty. It is true, when Morgan came back from Africa, I saw her at Pfork fest and swear to god it was 100 degrees and girl was wearing a shirt buttoned all the way up to the collar that draped over her butt, totally Lisa Bonet 88 style. Projecting modesty in megawatts. PS_ her scarf says "scarf' not arf arf arf.

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What are you up to eight days from now? You wanna hang out? Seriously. You and me, and please bring a couple friends for the most special deal night at The Empty Bottle. You bring $20, you get to see a good show, get a cheap beer, help out the baby Callum Robbins, and buy raffle tickets (THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS worth of boxsets, DVDs, CDs, rare vinyl, books -- PLUS/JUST ADDED A SPECIAL RAFFLE TO WIN A PRIVATE PERFORMANCE IN YOUR HOME FROM FRED ARMISEN

Please be there because Jan 27th is baby Cal's first birthday.
Please be there because J. Robbins work is meaningful to you.
Please be there because every little bit is adding up and helping already.

Saturday Jan 27th @ The Empty Bottle
Benefit for the Robbins family
8 pm, $15
Chin up Chin up
Bobby Conn
Life & Times (Shiner folks)
Red-Eyed Legends

* Mega-packs of new music, signed posters, books, t-shirts from Flower Booking, Sub Pop, Minty Fresh, Southern, Chicago Reader, Touch n' Go, Biz 3 & Puma , Atavistic and more -- including an autographed Sleater Kinney LP, autographed Tortoise boxet, signed Fugazi live-CD SET. FREAK OUT!!!!
* VIP passes for two to Pitchfork Festival
* VIP passes to Intonation Festival
* dinner and a show for two at Schubas
* passes to Metro, Double Door and Smart Bar
* Boxsets and DVDs courtesy of Pitchfork
* Super special mix CDs from Reader critics
* Platonic dinner-date to Lula with Morgan Thoryk & myself
* Magazine subscriptions for Stop Smiling and Time Out
* Fred Armisen in-your-house comedy performance

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January 17, 2007


I had plans for this morning, yoga class to counterbalance the krispy kreme class I have been regularly attending, but every time Matt tried to wake me up, I told him I would not be going, as I had had bad dreams all night. Once I woke up I explained: I had to re-sleep to cleanse my brain-palate. I had had a terrible dream involving a realtor and accidentally returning my own car to Hertz, and keeping the rental and there was no way I could just get up from that and throw myself into activity.

Last night, I went to see Nora play drums with Bird Names; they opened for Joe Lally solo. Bird Names has a totally different line up everytime I see them, but always sounds the same somehow; fardled proto-punk. V. 1976--pre punk congealing, where all wrongs made great rights. Imagine the Urinals with all the falling apart and sparkle of Sung Tongs. Joe Lally played after and his songs all sound like the song he does on End Hits, if you take out the punch of the chorus. It is hard to watch him lope and improvise with his backing band, with it's trombone and the whole band watching him for cues between strangling delicate notes--because you know him through Fugazi; and once you go Fugazi, it's hard to go back. Nora and Mr. Lally got to talking before the show and she mentioned it was her first time ever playing music on stage (she's a natural with the drums, you'd never know) and he gave her some tips and advice, and also told her that playing on his own, and not playing with Fugazi is like being in a plane crash where he's stranded on a desert island, and he's maimed, but still alive, but only has like, three fingers and his bass intact. I'm not paraphrasing. That's how he put it. And you think it's a bummer that he's not playing in Fugazi?! Anyhow, he started the set with an acapella: "Why do we call it war / when what we mean is "rape and murder"" went the first line. I liked that Mr. Lally just got up there and was all Al-Jazeera-in-yo-face. Of course he did--such is the way of the DC punk.

And more on this later, elsewhere, but: Rob Sheffield's book Love Is A Mixtape is the only book I have read other than the Bangs' anthology and Ellen Willis' Beginning To See The Light, that really gets it right about what life is like when you found your house-of-faith on the bedrock of a record collection; that it is through records and songs that you can understand the world and half-stand to be in it. The book is about other things by way of that, and as SFJ pointed out the day, akin to Didion's latest, topically, but is deeply un-Didion because it has messy feelings and great jokes. Worth the full hardcover price.

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January 15, 2007


Peace out, Alice Coltrane.

Matt remembers we had many conversations before this point, but, six or seven years ago, the first bout of concentrated flirting between us that I remember, after I realized that I was going to the record store just to see him was while he was explaining to me why I would love Alice Coltrane and why Reflections was worth the $30. It was. As were the Alice Coltrane records that were marked at $6. I used to stare at her picture on the cover of Eternity and think that was what I wanted to be when I grew up; peace-lady thinking deep in the tall yellow grass--singular, unnameable and brave.

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January 12, 2007


In case you are coming and wanted to know who is headlining the BENEFIT FOR J ROBBINS AND FAMILY THAT IS HAPPENING AT THE EMPTY BOTTLE SATURDAY JAN 27TH, I can tell you now, as well as some exciting raffle-items--thanks to many generous donors. Here, in fact, are all the details---I AM SO PSYCHED:

Saturday Jan 27th @ The Empty Bottle
Benefit for the Robbins family
8 pm, $15
Chin up Chin up
Bobby Conn
Life & Times (Shiner folks)
Red-Eyed Legends

* Mega-packs of new music, signed posters, books, t-shirts from Flower Booking, Sub Pop, Minty Fresh, Chicago Reader, Touch n' Go, Biz 3 & Puma , Atavistic and more -- including an autographed Sleater Kinney LP, autographed Tortoise boxet and more and more and more.
* VIP passes for two to Pitchfork Festival
* VIP passes to Intonation Festival
* dinner and a show for two at Schubas
* passes to Metro, Double Door and Smart Bar
* Boxsets and DVDs courtesy of Pitchfork
* Super special mix CDs from Reader critics and Fred Armisen
* Platonic dinner-date to Lula with Morgan Thoryk & myself
* Magazine subscriptions for Stop Smiling and Time Out

Posted by Jessica at 04:16 PM | TrackBack


We drove to the Dunes, abt. 25 mi. past Gary, so I could get some rocks for my art project. And for decoration. The zone around the Dunes was closed, so we had to settle for the flat-old-beach a bit away.
We saw seven deer as well as the shambling "Houses of Tomorrow" from the Worlds Fair that were floated to Indiana to become a resort, but just rotted instead.
I forgot to bring a bag, so I could only take as many rocks as I could carry and fit in my pockets. I got some good ones.
Including the brick that looks like a donut-brick. I wonder how the brick got in the water, how long it was there, and the force of water that would bring it to be on the shore.

Posted by Jessica at 10:37 AM | TrackBack


Lil' essay-review I wrote about Ciara and Gwen Stefani from my ol' country home, The Chicago Reader.

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January 10, 2007


New ANP is done. In a funny twist, I got assigned to interview my oldest friend about the inspiration he is and the neat things he does . Look for ANP for free near the door of a cool recordstore by you soon. It doesn't have the name of itself on it, so you gotta know to look. Half the time I don't even know it's out and I see it on the floor somewhere from the corner of my eye which is looking elsewhere, some bright speckle, or some picture of a shoeless weirdo and I instinctively head toward it like I am a curious cat and it is a paper grocery sack.

Posted by Jessica at 10:25 AM | TrackBack

January 09, 2007


I have an art project on my mind and needed to go find a particular little branch for it. JR came with. We went up to the train bridge despite it being frosty out.
Someone dragged a livingroom set up here, and set it up across from a makeshift tent house that has long blown down. The bottom five windows of the building behind it is my old loft. I knew it had been rehabbed, but I was galled when I noticed the windows. 4400 sq. feet and we only had two windows that opened. The rest was plexiglass or plywood. I felt resentful. JR noted: "It looks like a hotel now".
JR is a good friend; I explained to him my very long dream from last night that involved doing a Japanese tour as the extra-guitarist in reunited Babes in Toyland. There were a lot of things I could not bring to Japan on the plane, so I smuggled my three most important items and tucked them tightly into the top of the coon-skin cap I was wearing. The items: an empty cassette case, a package of herbed goat cheese and something that represented money. He helped me try to divine a meaning. He did not laugh too hard at me when we arrived home and I crossed "find stick" off my to-do list.
I like the train bridge because it's so Chicago: 1/4 nature, 1/4 trash, 1/4 industrial, 1/4 gleaming rehab condos every way you look.
You can't beat that view of downtown. Chicago is so Chicago--it's like getting mashed in the face with a volume of Sandburg poems.
One day, a few summers ago, a friend and I stood here and threw rocks trying to knock out the remaining glass in the panes. We said we wouldn't leave until we knocked out some of the white panes. After about 30 minutes we realized they were plastic, not painted glass, and couldn't be broken no matter what we threw at it.

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January 08, 2007


It's not exactly going to get me a Pulitzer, but here's one of the new columns I am doing, this one is about outfits. The other, I can't show yet, but I will next week.

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January 07, 2007



I put together a benefit for the baby Cal Robbins, son of J and Janet, who need our help. So maybe you do not have much money, but you have enough to come to this show, which is totally a strange mix of all worlds into one super fun night, and will help out a sick baby.

$15 gets you in
Chin Up Chin Up
Bobby Conn
Life & Times (Shiner folks)
Red-Eyed Legends

& some HOT RAFFLE action that will blow yr mind and "FUN STUFF"

pass the word, Chicago!

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January 06, 2007


Either there was no traditional rehersal dinner, or we just weren't invited to it. We didn't sweat it. We arrived at 3, checked in and succumbed to truly revolting food delivered from a place that offered "snackitizers" on the menu. My mom has not been to this place in 27 years, and I have been here tons but all I know of it is the hospital, that no place in town sells the Times, hours on the ice cream place, which Catholic church I prefer and that supposedly there is gay cruising at the Fort Sackville monument though all I ever see is historic re-enactors, not "queers" laying in wait amongst the tall bushes. Which means I know about nothing going on that might be of interest to my mom; we picked up a brochure in the lobby for the schedule of tours of the home of Americas 9th president (Um, Dr. Zhivago? Senor Wenceslas? No idea.) and instead we opted to watch the tail end of a a reality show marathon on COUNTRY MUSIC TELEVISION in our motel-room. The reality show was a contest to find the ultimate Coyote Ugly girl. Coyote Ugly, I learned from this show is like Hooters as a biker bar for frat trash and tourists, and is a chain of bars nationwide that are often in malls. Being the "ultimate" means you have to dance like a stripper to "Devil Went Down To Georgia", "Cherry Pie" and "Pour Some Sugar On Me", look like you sleep in a tanning bed, exude bad-cheerleader pep, sing bawdy country songs, dress like a dorm slut and make drinks--all at the same time. The judges kept calling this ability "the triple threat", but it's like a six part inverse actually-threatening threat, and looked more like a way of turning that lost post-college party year into a life style. The girls would cry and cry when they'd get yelled at for clogging wrong, and cry again when they got the boot saying they knew in their heart that they are in fact, THE ULTIMATE, that working at a bar, dancing in chaps and fishnet body suits is what they were meant to do and having all the men in the place giving them attention is their life long dream: it was the patriarchies dream come true. That said: Having an on-TV competition for who can be the hottest singing dancing pro-fesh bar trash at the hee-haw mall bar is a really genius idea whose time has come.

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January 04, 2007


The ANP art bloggins that Aaron and Brendan are doing is so sweet casual, I am feeling it's deep and incidental "'sup?!" ways. Aaron posted this Daido Moriyama picture of a dog:
that was so great I had to draw it. I got some art supplies for xmas, so I inked it up. What a great dog. It looks like it could be staggering towards death, or deep into dog-living--the scary/alacrity dynamic, homeless king of the streets or greatly beloved and overfed. The big teeth are central.
I liked the other photos so much I went to the library right then to see whatelse I could find on him to look at.
I feel like my entire life is in that missing nail
and that this one is the ripe future: alive and frightening! The flower is a portal.

The library only had a tiny book from the "55" series for checkout (big ones are REF only-boo!), but it was good enough: The pictures made me hungry for everything I don't know.

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January 03, 2007


Before JR and I went on our walk today, we were standing in the kitchen talking to Matt, and JR says 'Whats that guy doing on the roof?" and we turned around and look at the roof that is directly paralell to our kitchen window and there a guy, down on one knee, the other leg outstretched, his back to us, his hands in front of him, situated around this pipe-opening--like a vent --coming up from the roof. Matt supposed he was fixing the vent and Jr and I insisted "NO HE IS NOT, HE IS PEEING! HE IS PEEING INTO THE PEOPLES HOUSE!" and as we soon learned-- we were right! The urinater saw us, looked ashamed, kept pissing, then shook and zipped up and stood. He then walked towards the other end of the roof like he was inspecting it or something, all "la la la just making the rounds.." and then went back down the ladder.

I thought of the Robert Capa quote I read last night, about how every picture should ask a question. If there had been a picture of that man tinkling into the duct, it would ask many questions, for example:
1. why is he peeing into the duct?
2. is that his house?
3. if he just had to go RIGHT THEN, why did he not just piss on the roof?
4. does he know where that duct goes? and if so--is he doing it on purpose?
5. is that some weird fetish he has?
6. does his ex wife live there with her new boyfriend?
7. is he handyman and he just does that everywhere because he hates his job?
8. did he really just climb all the way up, with a ladder, onto the roof, to pee into the house?
9. what if he is peeing into his own house? what if that is a total strangers house? what if our roof / duct is next?
10. what is that duct for and where did the pee go?

I spent the beginning of our walk wondering all these outloud and then Matt and I wondered about it again later. Do I put a missed connection on Craigslist, warning my neighbors there is a mustachioed mystery pee-er up on the rooftop? It is a grade-a baffler!

Posted by Jessica at 07:38 PM | TrackBack


I had about 3 cups extra of this in the fridge from NYE, which was used as a relish for another dish (broiled tilapia):

1 cup diced peeled seeded cucumber
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
3/4 cup chopped fresh chives
1/2 cup chopped sweetened flaked coconut
2 tablespoons finely chopped mint
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
2 minced seeded jalapeño peppers
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon peanut oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
Combine cucumber, chives, coconut, mint, cilantro, and jalapeño. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon salt, 2 tablespoons juice, and 1/2 teaspoon cumin. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add mustard seeds; sauté 30 seconds or until seeds begin to pop. Add to cucumber mixture.

but normally when I make it, I put in like, 6 times the amount of lime juice and don't drain the cucumbers and it's very wet, seeing as I never add the cocunut (absorbant) and it's great. But this time it was dry as a wet thing can be. Which is maybe how it is meant to be, but alas, it was not an enticing prospect on it's own, as far as leftovers go.

Meanwhile, I made this other thing, a yogurt-sauce experiment, and I ended up adding them together and it made me really happy to eat.

3/4 cup vanilla soy yogurt
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 plump garlic head
1/2 tsp dill seed
1/3 + a couple dashes of red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp of paprika

put the yogurt in the blender, mash the rest of it into a paste with the little pestle. put the paste into the blender with the waiting yogurt. BLEND. Put in the fridge for a time, perhaps an hour, to let it "mellow". Or you could add some sour cream to thicken it up, but I think sour cream is, in general, a gross prospect. THEN: One yogurt is "mellow", mix it with the dry-ass cucumber salad-relish and put it on some naan or pitas, or whatever too-dry salad is available, or in a bowl and eat it. When you are done, just do this over and over, until you have it perfect.


Posted by Jessica at 12:59 PM | TrackBack

January 02, 2007


Janis Ian: frosty and omnivirous
. She doesn't blink. She examines a wig. Men in suitcoats and leotards.

Amanda Lear
, toothy faux-transexual, wandering in a greenhouse, in a formal robe and pantie set, striking poses on nude statuary.

Posted by Jessica at 10:15 PM | TrackBack


I finally had the sober grownups NYE dinner I had been dreaming up since my younghood. Every bedroom I ever had as a child was above the dining room, and my mom was a great thrower of women-friends dinner parties; with my ear pressed to the floor I learned a lot about why it's best to stay single, much of which did not make sense til years later.

So, I bought candle holders last year and finally bought candles for the occasion (truly dripless, as the package advertised--where does the drips go, then? --became dinner convo several times) and cooked food-of-the-south, put out a table cloth. It was very official, even though I did not serve drinks in crystal stemware as planned, but instead, chipped mugs and the Burger King Missy Piggy Collectible Cup from Muppets Take Manhattan. I was thumbs down on stemware--$1/each is too much to pay for cups you will only use once a year.

I took a picture of the adult dinner but it was so dark all you could see was the thin candle flames, and not the good times. Certainly not Robin, who is halfway towards birth and just looks like preggo-magic, with her glow and her coat that won't button now. Nora made us go around the table and say what we want in 2007 for ourselves, what we might want to leave in 2006. Answers were mixed, but I really like that no one said "lose weight", and everyone gave honest answers -- "Healthy baby" was the top answer. Robin said you know you are getting old when being pregnant is no longer viewed as an "oh-shit" kind of problem.

Then, after deserts and coffee, Robin and Ian and Matt and I sat in the dark living room with no lights on, watching for downtown fireworks, with a window open for the wind. The plastic bags in the branches were loud, they sounded like sails. We recounted some previous NYE's lowlights, of bad parties, too stoned to move while some girl you don't know starts talking Chinese to you. (Most of mine are a special kind of bad, even though the last ones where I was drinking were the most benign (1994: drinking 40s and listening to the smoking popes with 2 straight-edgers I did not know in a basement, 1995: Long Beach house party--you have to go inside before midnight because everyone shoots guns off and you must beware of falling bullets), save for NYE where I spent the evening meditating and listening to Plastic Ono Band, alone, deeply fearful I had not stockpiled enough dog food for the Y2K nuclear winter.) As with all holidays this side of arbor day, neighbor kids set off $750,000 worth of legal Indiana fireworks, approx. $735,000 of it went for those hundred-boxes of Black Cats, which I think they built a full scale replica of the logcabin that was Lincoln's boyhood home out of then set alight the fuse. It banged thousands-strong from 11:53 until 12:11. Most fire crackles ever. I worried about old people and vets, sleeping people who lived through wars and might have PTSD and were freaking out, cowering under beds and in crawl spaces. The fireworks went up directly above and behind us, in our apartments blind spot, so all we could watch was how they illuminated the buildings opposite us, and make the tree-branch shadows rise and fall in their explosions.

Posted by Jessica at 12:17 PM | TrackBack