Wrote about Crazy Band for the Village Voice. I think this is like, almost the last record review to run in the Voice. like, ever. They are not going to have them anymore, only stuff about touring bands. Which is too bad. Also, you know who loves Crazy Band, i found out in my research for this? ANTHONY KIEDIS. KEIDIS.
The other week when we were coming home from the park, I saw a sloppy dude on the corner by the bus stop and then a white Aerostar, equally as busted, pulls up and picks up the dude and they drive approximate 1/4-1/3rd of the way up the block, and the sloppy dude gets out but is now holding Anthony Keidis HORRIBLE autobiography (hardcover) in his hands. I figured it must be a drugdeal. I read the first few chapters of that book while waiting for someone once. And then right after I saw Peter Jennings. Or maybe I am confused, that I was in the bookstore where JR saw Peter Jennings.
Phantom Jennings, in the memories of my mind.
Also, in my research for Crazy Band, within their many, many, like half-dozen tumblrs and blogs amalgamated between their crew, Jesse the singer wrote about her haircut that it makes her look like "a mom that shops at the Gap". I am a mom that shops at The Gap (they have the best footie-jammies for babies), but my hair is shorter than hers. Also, in other research I was doing, I read Amy Phillips review of a Bruce Springsteen concert, and she pitches moms as uncool, especially moms that think Bruce Springsteen is "sexy", and even more so her own mom. I'm sorry, but has anyone seen in a picture of Bruce Springsteen 73-77 (before the years on the road started to toll on his face a bit)? Look at this picture of him. Do not front like you wouldn't hit that. Like, in a time machine. Not current Boss. Both women writing these things are/were 25-26 at the time. I guess when you are that age, still so freshly turned out of your parents basement and the world still just barely revealed to you in all it's gnashing glory, being a mom is the height of revolting and also the most cliche thing you could possibly do. Being a mom in comparison to being 25 probably just seems like giving up.
I also remember being 25 and bragging (to men I liked, in particular) about how I never wanted kids, as a way to seem that much more liberated or free or not-typical-girl--even though I knew for sure I had no idea what I wanted--other than to be able to ollie on my skateboard and to make more than 12,000$/year, eventually. The goals of hardly any goals at all.
I dreamt, two nights ago, that our tremendously sweet grade school teacher downstairs neighbor, buried my unsightly, overgrown garden in woodchips, and I returned the favor by beating the shit out of her like I was a teenage girl in some cafeteria cellphone footage fight. I feel embarrassed now everytime I have seen her, happy and grilling with her husband beneath our porch. Doing violence unto someone in a dream, being terrible to them is perhaps worse than when you have a sex dream about someone you aren't attracted to and then you see them and feel all weird when you look at them.
I have been engrossed in the Joan Acoacella book Twenty-Eight Artists and Two Saints, a collection of her long artist profiles in the New Yorker from the last 15 years or so. More dancers than I give a shit about, but I forgot all about that pc. she did in like, 2000, about the publication of the letters between Simone de B. and Nelson Algren, and her description of how Simone was basically, like, Sartre's weirdly co-dependent slave (muse is a total understatement, as she was his editor, secretary and pimp) and her description of how physically and personally disgusting Sartre was with his wall eyes, tics, miniature size and impotence. Either she had horrible self-esteem (sound like it) or he was really a charmer making the most of his special gifts. Also, Acoacella, in her introduction talks abut how several of the women she profiled, writers especially, gave up their work for years, stopped, worked in fits, didn't find their craft until they were 60 or 80--and how she finds that perhaps because of the times, women being conscripted into certain roles (motherhood, dutiful daughter), that's just what happened, but that also she floats the idea that women get discouraged much easier. I think both are true. The men in her profiles are bold, tenacious, braggarts, lotharios, anti-semetic, lunatics, need no convincing of their genius, their careers and success never altered by parenthood, but what another persons idea of what a father does or does not do. Anyhow, her writing is, duh, probing and unflinching and historically ravenous. She's not quite quietly feminist, but she is not shy about pointing out what was different for women, esp. women of a different time in America.
Still, mostly, my summer is listening to this Key Losers album and cooking podcasts and going to the park with William, where all the nannys (often outnumbering me 10-1) laugh at my beginners idiocy, my management of my own just-started-walking child. They are old pros, deftly dealing with toddler twins, changing diapers on the bench with one hand, remembering to bring a towel to dry their charges off after they play in the sprinkler-things.
Sadly, friends, we have realized we need to get rid of Monkee. She needs to go live someplace where there is not a baby stressing her out and yanking her tail and trying to bonk her face with toys. Preferably some place where maybe she is the only cat, but she can manage with another cat, but not a dog, because she will abuse your dog. She would be really happy to be an indoor/outdoor cat, if you have a porch--or jeez, even a yard. She is a champion mouser--that was why I got her, to patrol the ghetto lean-to that I lived in in my mid-twenties. She is playful, but she is mostly a snuggler, a lap cat, or happy sleeping in her basket. She's up on all her shots and all that, since she is about nine years old. She still has claws. She likes ping pong balls and sleeping under the covers with you. She eats Science Diet and takes no medication and is totally amenable to wearing those kitty-cat fake nails that you glue on to protect your furnitures.
Perhaps, if you are interested, you can come to our garage sale/show this weekend and meet her. Details later this week.
I had seen Andrew Neel's documentary about his grandmother, Alice Neel, so I knew a bit of the arc of Phoebe Hoban's Alice Neel biography already, but even so it didn't make it any easier to take. Neel's long road to popular success, her triumphant acceptance into the art world in the mid-seventies is a wonderful story--inspiring, and untypical. For every Alice--and there was only one--but for every bigger female art world known name, there were still many, many than languished, but Neel's talent was singular and she painted for fifty years with hardly anyone noticing and giving a shit.
Then there is Neel as mother. Neel who stayed with a man for 16 years that beat her, and worse, tortured and threatened her young son that was not his. Her children loved her, love her, miss her. It is hard to reconcile, as a mother, that she often subverted her role as a mother, that her art always came first. You think, for a slim second, there is something brave in that--it is manly, for vision to come before duty. It defies "motherhood". It uncomfortable to read, to consider--the neglect and willfulness, staying with someone who hurts your kid because he supports your art, and/or because you are sick and twisted up in all manner of dysfunction. Or losing her first two children, her daughters, one, perhaps, in part because she was too poor to afford heat--the other shipped off, relieving her, freeing her to dedicate herself again to painting. But then, as it is now, you are presumed to be giving up yourself and your life--however it existed--for your babes. And she didn't. At all. She is perhaps no different then Keith Richards dragging his little son on tour for years to live off room service ice cream and wake him up when he nodded off with a cigarette; loving your kiddo--but your artful pursuit always a given. How bad of a parent does that make you?
I thought of art-making as instinct until I had William, and now, I think of it, like everything else, as a choice. It would be easier, much easier, to be only a mom--not to write, not to fill his every nap and night time with work or trying to keep up on music or reading or ideas. I think when you become a parent, everything outside of that relationship shifts to being a choice, even the things that seemed immutable, automatic and absolute before--those are secondary, or at even further down the list. Your old hours seem a luxury, you cram where you can--your inner artiste has been deputized to other duties.
To have both--"a life", or a job, or a modicum of creative fulfillment--and a family is to "have it all" though, right? Really, just to feel human and a continuing participant on Earth--BOTH seems the minimum. That choice of making art is choosing to live, choosing to continue your existence--beyond being a vessel, a minder, a milkmaid and a parent. But as moms, we are supposed to begin and end there, in that purpose. Reading about Neel, haphazardly balancing art and motherhood, demanding to live to fulfill her singular purpose all else (kids, lovers, friends) be damned--I feel empathy and something like contempt. I feel angry for those kids, now old men, that suffered so the world could have their mom's brilliant, important work.