I ventured out in to the Hollywood night, leaving the Echo PArk/Glendale loop for the first time in a dinosaurs age. The occasioning was a trip to Amoeba, where despite all that was on offer, my main objective was to get The Best Of Poco and thankfully my friends didn't make too much fun of me. Juan did make fun of my new haircut which he called "very nineties" but qualified it with "I'm 22, so to me the nineties are the ultimate, so it's a compliment." He qualified that by telling us that his big score was Nevermind on vinyl, which is pudding proof if there ever was such a thing. Retrogrunge revivalists; kids.
After three weeks, tomorrow we move back to my dada's house. There is not an internet there, so there will not likely be much of this for a while. In lieu of myspacing, there will be exploration of salt free cooking, in real time. My dad walks without a walker now. I am majorly pumped on this development. The other things I can fill you in on are that I saw that Lethargy band and they were good, but seeing a music concert is a strange science feeling thing right now. I felt like I was in orbit around it. Spencers red 'stache was v. fluffy. We reminisced, as I do with everyone I see and know in LA. A friend, many years ago, asked me if I wouldn't mind putting up Murder City Devils for the four or so days they were spending in LA on their first tour through. All I remember is Spencer's Op Ivy tattoo and that they were the first people I ever saw drink before noon. My other brushes of normal routine for this week: I read part of the Times Sunday Magazine and listened to the second half of the Embrace CD. I haven't slept in a bed, exercised or read a page of a book since the day I got here. If I had never been on tour before, I imagine these things would bother me, but as I was making up my inflate-a-bed last night, I thought that "tour" is a biological switch; as soon as you spend a night with yr bones feeling pointy against a floor, it flicks on, and gratitude for every small comfort blooms.
I was listening to the Embrace CD I borrow-stoled in the rental yesterday and remembered when I was 15 that this skater kid named Dan who gave my best friend in 10th grade VD told me that the whole record was one long call out of Kevin Seconds for being a false prophet of hardcore. It would make sense if it was true. (I never listened to 7 Seconds because the font of their logo made me think they must be a surf metal band) No one writes decent songs that are that dogmatic anymore. Or dogmatic songs that are that decent. No one writes refrains like "You should be ashamed!" in 2008. The slow detonation of the macho archetype is also all over that record--it's a man war b/w the familiar awful comfort of the 1987 Don Zientara drum sound. Every hxc record made between 1986 and 1988 is about calling someone a liar. The only people who make entire albums calling out dudes for being liars are former members of Destiny's Child.
Cali called from across town to complain that I have not updated my blog enough lately. Despite that he sees more of me now than he ever did in the last 16 years since we met cute at the Sea-Tac airport. "I don't have much to say right now," I said. "But I have already read Hounds of Love," he said. I can tell you all I know and that's about it, then I have to go.
I took my dad to the park yesterday for a walk and some outdoor respite. He is ambitious about not using his walker and I said only on the grass, cos I'm the boss lately. After the walk, we were resting on the blanket and I was watching people come and go, and thought "wow, people in california are so committed to exercise, they go walking in the hills even if they only have 20 minutes." It took me another four minutes to realize I had actually parked me and my dad right at the prime entrance spot for men who use the park for clandestine encounters. Exercise time in the cruisey zone. I didn't alert my dad to this. He was sleeping.
Taking care of someone all the time is easy when you love them the most. Not easy. Simple. It's less perspective shift, more lobotomy. Nothing else in my life is as important as this, so I just don't think about it. My dad is a kind and gracious patient. Last night I woke him up to take his blood pressure and I said "how do you feel?" and he laughed and said "Annoyed." Sometimes I wonder how it will feel to return into my regular life, or rather, my Chicago life, back into working on making the book after all of this, returning to routine. My life already feels different because I have a much greater knowledge of my friends love and their willingness to, for example, deliver cat litter to my broken-legged roommate. My days are one extended Friendship Is... mug. "Friendship Is... 5 lbs. of Tidy Cat and dropping my Netflix in the mail."
I'm here until the end of June, I'm imagining. I mostly just tend, and cook and wrangle with all the stuff that has to be wrangled. I miss the cats, my rusted-ass bike and how funny all my friends are. People here are not as funny or as angry. I miss both; I'm into outrage and lol's and potholes and struggle and thats why I like Chicago. I don't see poor people here anywhere. It's weird to go days and not even casually encounter poverty. Maybe Glendale is just not the place to find it.
Last night I bought supplies and then potted every pot Arlie could find in and around his house because I needed to do something that was not important. An activity of no weight of consequence. 12 pots of Zinnias that may or may not bloom after I am gone from here.
Fed Exed from Chicago: Ben and Morgan made me the new issue of Hit it or Quit it, and what a read it is! Full color timeline of Rob't Downey Jr.'s career rendered in marker and lots of collages and celebrity news and stickers. It was just like being home, but sadly, sans rap tacos--surely, still in the pipeline.
Todays news: My dad's physical therapist looks like mid-eighties Rickie Lee Jones, in that way that Rickie looks like Joni Mitchell. That same long slope from the corners of her lips to her nose. Her area code is Manhattan but her accent is full of long, dragging A's that are pure El Monte.
After I told him I was afraid of wearing drugstore sunglasses since I saw the Chinese-lead-paint recall signs taped to the eyeglass towers at Walgreens, for fear of eyeball cancer, Little Nate responded genuinely: "wow, you keep it really real." HE also used the words "raw" and "blunt". Father Yod feelgood hangs heavy on the dreamcatcher kids, still, decades on. I'm accidentally harshing mellows with talk of eye cancer and opinions.
Glendale looks like El Paso Texas with more going on. More gothing on. I wind up at the Target there most everyday and all the girls are wearing skull tees. Fashiony, not Danzig-y. Oppressive sunshine and deaths head meet in the mall parking lot.
The difference between the midwest and LA that I noticed most first: in the midwest if you are inshape-skinny and very tan and have long blond hair you're likely a stripper. In LA it just means you are an alive regular person. I somehow forgot in the 11 years since I lived here. Not be all glass houses, cuz in 1996 I looked like Malibu Skipper, too.
Salud! My dad is out of the hospital as of Friday, which is a great thing, and presents us both with new working goals. Most of the day is given to tending and care, then helping my dad practice walking with the walker. We are staying with my dad's friend in Atwater. She has no steps in her house, a big tv and little dog. She's a pro-style baker. I'm not hurting for brownies. Last night I walked three blocks to Dan Monick's art opening, which is great in itself. Dan, if my math is correct, is my third oldest friendship--it's nice to be near to old bonds and art-distractions. His new work is mostly from vacations and captures the ephemeral mood of traveling. If you're around LA, go see it. Also, though I have no photoproof of it and only a dozen people were on hand to witness, I sat in on a David Scott Stone set at the Smell the other night. It lasted about 8 or 10 minutes. (My friends, rather kindly, are going out of their way to keep me busy when I have a free night.) He played modular synth and I played analog synth and there was something along the lines of a kick in the compressor sidechain and it was kind of minimal and bumpin. For the first few minutes I thought we were soundchecking, and then someone took a picture, so I figured it meant we were actually playing and then 3 minutes later we were done.
Can anyone recommend what is the good thriftstore in the LA/Glendale/Pasadena area to get glass bakeware and such? If anyone knows a spot, do holler.
I made this banner over summer ('member) and shipped it off to LA and now I am sleeping in the room where it hung. It's now draped over a pile of modern art in a room of piles here in the treehouse, which is half empty since Cali moved on to his new spot with the high laquered floor and matching doggie paintings. The friendship banner is actually draped all over my whole little currently of Los Angeles life. Providing rides and blankets and temporary mailing addresses and encouraging text messages and places to crash and people who ask how I'm doing and don't flinch a bit when I tell them. I even got a private viewing of the Hamburger Eyeses show Cali's got up over at his gallery, and for a few minutes my thoughts were on art rather than mortality. Meanwhile, my friends in Chicago are not to be overlooked, as they've packed and fed exed me a suitcase full of my goods, renewed my tags and taken my car in for emissions, returned all 12 books I had out from the library and picked up a 25 lb bag of perscription catfood and doled it out 3x a day. I'm stunned by their generosity.
Last night, I ran into seven people I knew from high school. Minneapolis relocated to LA and no one told me. Strangely, I have more friends in this city than anywhere, than home even. Luckily.
My dad is getting a little better everyday. Keep praying for him please.
He's getting a little bit better everyday. More prayers please.
And my friends are taking care of me and my mom. And my heart breaks open with love and gratitude from the kindness.
My mom's day outside of the hospital was eventful, she saw a three foot long squirrel and Devendra Banhart said hi to her at the coffee place Arlie described to us as "the center of the hipster douchebag universe". My mom repeated this phrase to me this morning, verbatim, since she doesn't know the coffee shop's name.
I forgot to bring sweaters or long sleeves, and all my friends here are dude-sized dudes, so I'm ushering in a new look, swimming in their borrowed clothes; kind of maternity cholita hipster.
On a break from the hospital, we are hanging tough at DS's while he goes to Turkey. My mom is reading through the pile of transgressive culture magazines next to his bed. She is reading me the review of the Tapes N' Tapes album in a recent Vice, "This band's career is a figment of Pitchfork's imagination." I think she likes Tapes n' Tapes, but she finds this is very funny.
There is not much to say or write; if I think or talk much about whats going on I start to cry. Hospitals are a nether world. So is LA.
I will be here for a while.
Prayer request: for my dad, in the hospital. If you don't do prayer, just vibes out to the universe real hard. Please and thank you.
For tomorrow, this looks like a good reason to be indoors--Jonathan Rosenbaum discusses modernist classic Last Year at Marienbad at 2 screenings at the Music Box.
I didn't know, until this morning, that in the mid-eighties, while Lou Reed was regaining his cool cache by releasing Mistrial and New York, Moe Tucker was a single mother of five, working at a Wal-Mart in Georgia. Women in rock factoids are bleak, except when they aren't. It's always:She didn't hit number one until after she was dead and the singers were always married to a guy prone to pistol-whipping them and they never owned their publishing rights. Darlene Love wound up cleaning houses for a living and when her songs would come on the radio she'd break down and cry. Poly Styrene is a krishna and now believes that feminism is a patriarchal plot to get women to be easy. Fucking-A.
Secondly, does anyone have an MP3 handy of Rhoda Dakar's solo single "The Boiler"--1981, came out on 2-Tone, she sang in Bodysnatchers? Holler 'pon me if you do. I need it.
Kitty Empire's Guardian post from last month; why aren't there female producers? she asks.
The week is nearly through, but it is National Volunteer Week; if you are interested, the metro-Chicago DAV hospital, Jesse Brown, needs volunteers to visit with veterans between 8-4 weekdays, in case you have some free time and want to play cards or read to someone. The next volunteer orientation is the 15th. Call Marie at 312-569-6109 to hook it up.