Sunday, December 30, 2007

I promised the Mixtape Playlist

I had a nice evening last night. K.D. and E. and I went out for sushi and then drinks and deep discussion about - among other things - eyebrow maintenance and laser hair removal. It was pretty fun, except that it's winter break, and our favorite dank, dark imbibing joints were filled with 12 year olds playing Wii. (Okay, they weren't 12. They just seemed that way to me.) That of course led to me being a little dry-throated and stiff when I woke up today, so I decided to do what I always do on mornings like these - head to the corner store, buy a magazine, a LifeWater, and crackers, and hole up until I can't stand the smell of my own hair any longer.

When I looked out, though, it was snowing heavily and relentlessly, and I figured a bit of fresh air and exercise might do as much or more for my disposition than People magazine and Triscuits. I slammed a glass of water, grabbed fleece everything and my iPod, and went for a little jaunt in the snow.

I live fairly close to a lovely National Historical Park, but sometimes I forget that, and so on when I actually do make it down, I am always awed and delighted by it. Today was no different. The waves were breaking through a thin skim of snow and a crust of ice onto the dusted shore, and the cloud cover was so heavy, I couldn't see the islands that lie barely offshore. The second I hit the entrance for the park, I dialed up the mixtape playlist, now entitled Songs For Wooing, and this is what I saw while I listened:

Mahna Mahna, Cake
Dream a Little Dream of Me, The Beautiful South
I Found a New Baby, Squirrel Nut Zippers
This Can't Be Love, The Hot Club Quintet*
Bei Mir Bist Du Shoen (how do I make the umlaut?!?), The Puppini Sisters
I Love You, The Pipettes
That Great Love Sound, the Raveonettes
Robot Love, the Phenomenauts
Please Don't Touch, the Meteors*
Tokyo Storm Warning, Elvis Costello and the Attractions*
Heart Sized Crush, Devil Doll
Lloyd, I'm Ready to Be Heartbroken, Camera Obscura
Don't Get Me Wrong, The Pretenders
Call Me, Blondie
Oh!, Sleater-Kinney*
Pop In, Pop Out!, The Plascticines*
Looking At Me, The Vesties*
Rock and Roll Girl, The Muffs
Penny, The Dollyrots
Apply Some Pressure, Maximo Park
Pistol Grip, The Blakes
Kissy Baby, Heavy Trash
She Put the Hurt on Me, The Have Nots
Act Nice and Gentle, The Black Keys
Anti Love Song, Betty Davis*
Get Up Offa That Thing, James Brown
I Can't Get Next to You, Al Green
It's a Sin To Tell a Lie, Jimmy Smith*
Hope There's Someone, Antony and the Johnsons
Ruby Warbler, Myshkin's Ruby Warblers*
Looks Just Like the Sun, Broken Social Scene*
Way Over Yonder in the Minor Key, Billy Bragg and Wilco
Everyday, Buddy Holly and the Crickets
Passionate Kisses, Lucinda Williams
She's An Angel, They Might Be Giants
So In Love, (artist unknown)*
Pitter Patter Goes My Heart, Broken Social Scene*
In The Wee Small Hours, Frank Sinatra

*These are the ones that didn't make the time cut for the mix. It screws up the pacing a little in some places, a lot in others, but overall, the final list is pretty good. I'd date me, if someone gave me these songs. Actually, these songs, in this particular order, would make me think the person was psychic, or that Kismet had a hand in, and I would immediately claim that person as my own.

There were a few songs that didn't make the cut at all, because I couldn't quite figure out how to make them seamless. I did listen to them all, and, damn. You guys have good taste in music.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The week between Christmas and New Year's feels like lost time.

I hope everyone had a really good holiday, or at least at holiday that didn't make you contemplate alcoholism or fratricide or ill-advised, impromptu visits to your hometown hair salon that you haven't visited since you were thirteen for a good reason.

And speaking of thirteen (check out that segue!), there are lots of bloggers jumping on this little bandwagon lately that has you penning a letter to your thirteen-year-old self, saying the things you really wish someone had said to you. I haven't been tagged to do this, technically, because I only have three friends who blog, and they are all too kind to force me to do these sort of pointless exercises. I thought, though, that there might be some merit in this address, so I am partaking.

Dear Thirteen,

Shit's really fucked up right now, huh? Don't flinch, I know you hate coarse language, but in a few years you'll embrace the power of a good expletive, and you'll never look back. Right now, you feel alienated, lonely, and scared. Right now, you have chronic nausea and headaches that you won't tell anyone about. Right now, you have a very pregnant 18 year old sister with a serious disease you don't really comprehend. Right now, you are a helpless cork bobbing in a very angry ocean.

Here's the good news: Shit's gonna get better. You will be very far from the family you love so much, and you will learn to live outside of someone's shadow, and things will be okay.

And the bad news: Shit gets worse before it gets better. Evidence of your childhood will disappear, and the man who was a better father than your real father will disappear, and you will never have enough. And then things will improve, and then worsen, and then improve, and then worsen, and very probably this will be the pattern for the rest of your life, but. But. You are a strong girl and you will learn to shout FUCK YOU with the best of them.

Here are some things to cling to: 1) All those books everyone teases you about reading? Other girls are out there reading them and drawing the same conclusions.

2) The way you obsess over movies and music? Vast knowledge of popular culture makes you very interesting to talk to at parties.

3) The family that doesn't get you and sometimes marginalizes you and involves you in dramas you don't understand? You will eventually distance yourself from all the crap and learn to love them for who they are. Be warned: they will never get you, they will always marginalize you, and the drama is unstoppable.

You don't realize it right now, but someday you'll think you're actually kind of pretty. Someday you'll have a functional, mature relationship the likes of which you've never yet seen. Someday, your kids will not have a perfect Christmas, and it will still be enjoyable and they will still love you at the end of the day. Someday, you will take stock and realize that there are people who love you on both coasts, all the way to the corners, literally. So hang on. The bad stuff is fleeting, and the good stuff is pretty damn good. Plus, when you grow up, you'll like alcohol, which helps.

Eighth grade is almost over, and Darryl Piersaul noticed you, even if you don't think he did. The Indigo Girls will release Closer To Fine this summer. It will be the first tape you ever buy with your own money. There are only a few more months until you leave Kentucky forever, and only a few more years before you live close enough to the ocean again to hear it roar. Hang on; you're almost there.

Love, me.

By the way, the asthma gets better when you move out of the city, the headaches resolve when you're pregnant with your first child, and the nausea fades sometime in high school, until the first time you fall in love. It's a doozy. Be prepared.

Monday, December 17, 2007

I'm not the only one!

God, if you're as lame as me, you just got a picture of Melissa Etheridge pasted onto your cerebellum. Sorry.

No, I meant, I wrote that post a little while ago about country music, and I actually ended up going on and on about how fucking great Huey Lewis and the News is, and then today, I stumble on this:Huey needs your help!

This guy wrote this like the same week I was talking up the Huester! Go figure. I am tuned into some kind of collective conscious regarding popular culture. One that reveres the completely awesomeness that is The Heart of Rock and Roll (boomboom. boomboom.), 'cuz it's still beating.

ETA: There are more than two of us, and one of us is not afraid to say what we're all thinking.

Also, I am working on editing down the Mixtape playlist. I used it for a radio show last week, and so it was two hours long. Way too long for a real mixtape. I am working on getting it to playable length (we don't want to bore our imaginary object of affection, after all) and then I will post it on this very blog. I know you all are waiting with baited breath. If you're really nice to me, maybe I'll even give some insight into why I chose the things I did. That means leave me really sweet comments about my good taste.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Okay, so you aren't much for participation.

With the notable exceptions of Bryner and La Fab, you guys really suck at playing Mixtape. I liked all of the songs they suggested, and would like to amend my original submissions to say: Instead of Not Fade Away, Maybe Baby and also please add Achin' To Be by the Replacements and Here I am by Al Green. I could play this game for the rest of my life. It's almost as much fun as Sitka: The Movie.

I know some of you are checking in just to see what sorts of crafts I am up to. Well, I'm not going to show you because they're presents, like for Christmas, and you can't peek! So quit trying. I will say that I am tempted to make up this pattern in that hot pink shantung I bought last holiday season. I won't, though, because I am frantic trying to finish off the pressies that need to be mailed away before the Postal Service acts to thwart my attempts to have them arrive in time for the holiday. I still have slippers from last year pinned together waiting to be sewn.

If you are finding it difficult to enjoy holiday music, and you enjoy swing or rockabilly, may I suggest you listen to the Brian Setzer Orchestra Christmas CDs? They are properly festive without being CHRISTMASSY. Make yourself a Prancing Elf or just a chocolate martini while listening. You'll be in the spirit in no time.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Let's play a round of Mixtape!

I am trying my damnedest to make lemonade out of this box of freaking lemons Fate has handed me in the form of the unobtainable, so I am asking for your assistance, my darlings. I am making a list of all the songs I would put on a mixtape for a boy I want who is currently deeply involved with someone else. The tape is intended to woo him, possibly against his better judgment, so it has to make me appear witty, self-deprecating, and completely irresistible. THIS IS A THEORETICAL EXERCISE. I will not be making an actual tape, I will not be passing on an actual tape, I will be doing no wooing of people who have conflicting commitments. That being said, these have to be actual songs, easily obtainable by me. In case I want to make a copy of this mixtape and listen to it in the privacy of my own bedroom. Ready? Here we go:

Not Fade Away by Buddy Holly and the Crickets
Passionate Kisses by Lucinda Williams (Live at he Fillmore version)
Dream a Little Dream by the Beautiful South

Now, granted, I could make this all on my own. But I already know what I would put on here. I want to know what you think I should put on here. You know, just in case!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

More self-absorbed musings!

I've been posting a lot lately, huh? I have a lot of head-junk to clear out, so just bear with me.

First of all, since lately we've been on the subject of the things I love without reservation or explanation, I want to talk about country music from the late 80's to the mid 90's or so. La Fab mentioned in a comment that she liked the mid 90's country movement, but frankly I am not in touch with what was going on after 1994 or so, until Whiskeytown and Uncle Tupelo started fetishizing Bill Monroe. (This might actually be what she's talking about). Nope, I'm actually talking not-nostalgic, non-ironic country music from that era. See, I was in my formative years, musically speaking, then, and I was living in an area of Colorado that is best described as rural. Country music surrounded me. Some of it was just plain awful, unlistenable pop. And some of it was fairly innocuous. And some of it is burned into my brain. Specifically, these songs:

1)Just Call Me Lonesome by Radney Foster. I talk a good game about loving the Cash and I can hold a conversation about Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton, or George Jones, but this is my all time favorite country and western song not recorded by Patsy Cline or Hank Williams. It's a little honky-tonk, a little Texas Swing, a lot perfect. Also on this album (DelRio, Texas, 1959, if anyone cares) is a gem called Lousiana Blue, which contains the line,"where the muddy bayous run just as black as Coca-Cola." The full phrase Coca-Cola is something you hear only in certain parts of the country, and it is way more evocative of Louisiana to me than countless other poetic turns of phrase I've heard.

2)I Feel Lucky by Mary Chapin Carpenter. This is actually a rock and roll song cleverly disguised as a country song, repackaged for a different audience. It's got a really bluesy guitar, boogie-woogie piano, and some tambourine breakdown. Plus, she name-checks Lyle Lovett and Dwight Yoakam as objects of attraction. Yes, the two goofiest dudes in music. And she talks about frozen burritos. I think I would probably like to have beers with this lady. The other winner from this album is Passionate Kisses, written by Lucinda Williams. If you don't know about her, you should. It was my favorite love song for a long time.

3)Is There Life Out There by Reba McEntire. Okay, the song leaves me a little cold, but the video features Huey Lewis as her husband. HUEY LEWIS, my friends. And I don't care what you say, Sports is a great fucking album.

4)Chattahoochee by Alan Jackson I don't know what it is about this song. I once waited until 1:00 in the morning to watch this man perform. This was the only song of his I knew, or even still know, and it was worth every minute. I learned to two step to this song.

Can we go back to Huey Lewis and the News for a minute? Organ in Hip to be Square. Pure genius.

Okay, now that that is out of the way, I want to say that I was thinking about country music in part because I had a weird little thing happen this week, and I ended up crying over a boy I couldn't have instead of one who was breaking my heart, leaving me defenseless and frustrated that I was upset over the things that never happened. It felt like high school all over again, and after spending a few hours listening to the Replacements, I moved on to the good stuff. In this case the country. Except, confessionally, I did not listen to that Reba McEntire song. I just threw that in so I could talk about Huey Lewis.

Thursday, November 22, 2007


Skinny blond boys in pompadours and big guitars.

Mike Mascari in 10th grade English class.

Elvis Costello.

Pre-Army stint Elvis Presley.

Shaggy haired wild eyed creative types with baggy black leather jackets and sneakers.

Men significantly taller than I.

Slightly naive, sort of cornfed boys.

Jazz musicians who tilt back their porkpie hats before closing their eyes and leaning back to hit a high note.

Michael Hutchence. Never Tear Us Apart.

Gene Kelly.

Jimmy Stewart in Hitchcock.

Chris in the morning.

Lane Meyer.

Rob Gordon.

Lloyd FUCKING Dobler.

And you?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

F**ck you very much.

John Cusack, you have a lot to answer for. I know everyone born between 1968 and 1978 has already taken you to task for this, but I just have to say it, too. Rob Gordon? Lane Meyer? Lloyd FUCKING Dobler? Do you realize how utterly you've ruined the women of my generation? Of course you do, because people keep telling you. People like Chuck Klosterman, whose book I opened mere hours after obsessively watching the special features for High Fidelity for the gazillionth time. People like my girlfriends, and all the men who regretfully shake their heads when picking up my girlfriends, saying, "I could NEVER imagine being able to live up to your image of Lloyd Dobler!" No one can live up to your particular brand of romantically flawed self-awareness. NOBODY WANTS TO TRY. So, thanks. Thanks a whole parking lot.

And you. Yeah, Klosterman, I'm talking to you. Did you have to go and out us? Because we are the sort of cynical girls who would rather keep that stuff on the d.l. We know. We get that you are intimidated by our understandable attraction to the sensitive slacker that is Mr. Cusack. Would you rather be intimidated by our mystifying attraction to, say, the androgynous King of the Goblins, as played by David Bowie? Isn't that a little lowering? He wears incomprehensible make-up! He wears very, very tight leather jodhpurs! HE'S A GOBLIN KING. There, now you've made me shout for the second time in a single blog post. Happy?

While we're on the subject - Elvis Costello. Umm, Alison? Veronica? You were the only fucking rock and roll star who ever made me want to change my name. You made it acceptable for mildly attractive and completely nerdy guys to go for girls who are patently out of their league. You know the type - you and Mr. Cusack up there conspired to create them, practically- the dangerously smart, stylish girls with careful, messy hair and giant shoulder bags instead of purses, full of Maybelline Great Lash in blackest black and mix tapes featuring Tokyo Storm Warning and You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go (Yes, you're sneaky enough to pass on your own music and that of Bob Dylan). Girls who sport quirky teeshirts and India cotton skirts and 21 hole Doc Martins. Girls who quote the Simpsons and Kant in equal measure. My point being, us mildly attractive and completely nerdy girls who were once in those guys' league are suddenly beneath them, and it's because of you. And John Cusack. And the guy who invented the tape recorder.

THIS, my friends, is why I only listen to rockabilly anymore.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Adding a new thing to my list

This is no mere "Let me tell you why California Girls is a great freakin' rock and roll song" kind of love. This is true love, deep-seated, soul-mate Harlequin romance love. It's the way I want to kiss certain boys, even if they're the wrong ones. The new love of my life is:

Sea salt caramels. It's as if some crafty and magnanimous chocolatier attempted to create something that would cause me to marry him immediately (if only this would happen!). Hmm, the chocolatier says to himself. She loves caramel, and bittersweet chocolate, but that is by far too prosaic. What would lift this into the realm of the sublime, thereby securing her heart? Large grains of gray sea salt! Little did my candyman know it would make me want to marry the candy, and not the maker.

And also, who decided that a maraca was a good shape for a tea infuser? I just bought this one, and it is a case of unnecessary improvement. I have for years used a wire mesh tea strainer with a chain. It is nearly indestructible, holds a respectable amount of tea, and is easy to open and close. When I was using my birthday gift card today, saw the tea maraca, and thought to myself, why the heck not? It's pleasantly shaped. I sort of want to shake it! The thing is, though, that the polycarbonate makes it buoyant in a way my mesh one never is, it's kind of hard to open, and you have to grip the drippy part to empty it. Not to mention, if you shake it like you want to , you run the risk of boiling hot water everywhere. Even at $10, it is three times as expensive as replacing my mesh one, which I have only in my life replaced twice, once because my 10-year-old, who was a baby, broke the hinge. I'll drop it in the drawer, and I'll probably bring it out every once and a bit, if I can't find my other one, or if I'm feeling a little masochistic, but eh. I love this CONSIDERABLY less than my most perfect of confections, the sea salt caramel.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Just a list

Here is a partial list of things I'm not ashamed to love. Please note, these are not things which carry no inherent shame. These are the things that other people look askance at you to ask,"You love that? I mean, I understand enjoying it, but love? Strong words, mate." I love them. You have to live with it.

Tuna fish sandwiches
The Beach Boys, even all the not-Pet Sounds stuff
Disney movies
Renaissance Faires
Socks with goofy pictures on them
board games, especially Scrabble and Trivial Pursuit
Soda in glass bottles
Fresh boxes of crayons
Short stories
National Geographic Magazine
Natural History Museums
Not-scary carnival rides
Squished pennies
Flavored lipgloss
Hedgehogs (okay, who doesn't love a hedgehog?)
Vintage taffeta slips with zippers

Add your own in the comments. It's fun!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

A few thoughts on celebrity

So my current favorite thing to do in the whole world right now is this: Find an awesome song (the Buddy Holly version of Ready Teddy tonight; the Dusty 45's Bumblebee is running a close second. The new live version), strap on my purple acoustic bass, and jump around pretending I'm actually playing along instead of barely hanging onto the root chords. I like to shake really hard while I'm doing it, although in real life this makes it impossible to play. If I can manage to hang onto the harmony at the same time, so much the better. It wasn't until about an hour ago that I realized that this is not a common behavior. I mean, not the bass-playing even, so much, but the sheer abandon. I am a talker-to-myself, a singer-along, a take-a-bow-after-a-shower air guitarist type. I do it all the time, and I just figured that everybody was that way. HUH-UH. Nope. As a matter of fact, the part where I use music as my own personal pharmacy to bring me up or calm me down, or make me feel sexy or put me to sleep - did you know there are people who don't do that? It baffles me.

Which brings me to my real point. I am in a conundrum concerning the band. I want more all the time. More stage time, more space, more adulation, more applause. I want more eyes on me. Being on stage is the biggest high I know right now. And I take for granted that everybody feels that way. But the thing is, I had a talk the other day with a near and dear and she mentioned that when we were on the stage, the light seemed blindingly bright, that it was almost disorienting. I was stunned; she hated it!I live to find my light. How do I split the difference between what I want - gigging out every weekend or at least once a month, a bigger store of knowledge concerning this whole inclusive thing, the equipment and the history and the heart behind it - and what everyone else wants? How do I keep being a performer in a sea of musicians?

Anyhow, peeps, more cheering and raving. I adore it.

And for good luck, a gratuitous picture of my kids, who while one day sing my back-up.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Come and gone...

Once again the Stardust Ball has come and gone. The Rockabilly Circus was what one might term a success, if one were possessed of the habit of rating every experience meticulously. I would be lying if I said I was not one of those people. The truth is, I am cursed with the desire to relive and debrief every moment endlessly, much to the exhaustion of my friends. In any case, while I feel we could have amped the energy just a notch, we did respectably, and I got some heartwarming praise from a few people whose opinions I treasure. So there you are.

As everyone knows, it was also my birthday, and that made for an interesting evening. I got cake and kisses, as well as some marvelous presents. Princess Japonski went out of her way to make this a birthday worth something, and she outdid herself. First and foremost, flying cross country for three nights of debauched tomfoolery with her favorite rockstars, and some imported rockstars, was above and beyond the call of duty. Then she provided champagne and cake, style advice and many soothing words of encouragement, and a Johnny Cash DVD. Clearly, they broke the mold when they made her.

I have thanks to offer everyone who worked so hard to make these few days so astounding, including my mom and my ex (may he never get another mention in these pages) who made sure Miss Thing and Cap'n Jack were fed and clothed and kept out of traffic. Also every fan who turned up after the relentless barrage of promotion I subjected you all to. And the person who donated the coach for the stage, complete with skelly driver. And to my friends, who always know just what I want and how to bring it. And to the Dusty 45's, for being talented and handsome and accommodating, even if I may not let Billy stand on my bass again. And of course to my band, without whom the magic just could not happen.

Now I get to do it all again, without the bourbon, because it's Bea's birthday. There will be more pink things, if only marginally, and fewer people in costume, f only marginally, but I expect it will have the same general flavor of mayhem, because, after all, she is my very own.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Another post about my hair.

I have been meaning to do this to my hair since July, when I was in New York. But I'm a wimp. I've had the bleach since August, and the color for about three weeks now. I just managed it last night. And it's sort of anticlimactic, which frankly is the story of my life. It's a little pinker than it appears in these pics, but not by much. I was too scared to bleach it the way it needed. Next time.

I am further along on the costumes than I thought I was going to be. Miss Thing's is in fact nearly complete, but I don't have pictures because I have come to hate my mother's digital camera and have done nothing to replace it with one of my own. My own costume is perhaps 65% wearable, and 48% complete (it needs tons of embellishment). I really should stop messing about on the net and go do that right now...

By the way, I'm on the phone with Princess Japonski in these pictures.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Happy Birthday!

Okay, so Princess Japonski actually had her birthday several days ago. Two and a half weeks ago, to be precise, which puts us squarely in the no-man's land in between her natal celebration and my own. I have been waiting a long time (more than two weeks) to write this post, because for some reason, the USPS decided to take its own sweet time delivering the present I slaved over for her. Finally, she got it, and finally, she opened it, and so FINALLY I can show you all what she has that the rest of you (well, except for one) do not. I am happy to introduce to you, that unmistakable icon of Christ's love for man personified through the Catholic Church, The Sacred Heart of our Savior, Jesus:

And the beaded representation of His blood, and the thorns that show the weary pain of mortal existence (as represented by some metallic embroidery thread):

I jest, perhaps securing my bunk in the Dormitory of Eternal Torment, but it was really meant in respect. And because, truthfully, who hasn't want to make the Son more approachable and human by cuddlifying His iconography?

I did make her something else, but I'll let her relate that story. You can pursue the rest of this story over at Letters to Bea.

Monday, September 24, 2007

The US Postal Service is so slow!

I finally got all the fabric for the costumes, and I started work on it all yesterday. As usual, I am terrified to cut into any of it, so I am just hovering around the edges, making things out of my stash. Read: constructing only things I know how to make already. This happened to me last year, too, and I was (mostly) satisfied with the way my costume turned out. Someday I will replace all the trim on that one, though, because I hate that it's so slipshod. Bea is completely in love with the stuff i got for her tail, and if allowed will wrap herself in it entirely. I think that instead of just a skirt, which is what I had in mind before, I will make her an Empire-waisted dress, just to take advantage of the glorious pink-ness of it all.

You can kind of see in that last picture how the holographic foil is wonderfully rainbow-y. The frilly hotter-pink stuff is mine. Originally it was going to be just for the top, but I think I will try to incorporate it into a tutu somehow, if I get my hands on a ruffler foot or something.

I WANTED to show pictures of what I made for Princess Japonski for her birthday, but since I keep forgetting that New York is the other side of the planet, practically, she has not yet received it, and I refuse to ruin her surprise. So you have to wait, too. I'll post terrible pictures of its awesome as soon as she opens it.

I am mustering up my courage to cut fin pieces today. Wish me luck!

Monday, September 10, 2007

It's time to sew for Halloween again!

Actually, it's far past time to start sewing again, but since I've been occupied with planning and playing gigs, and friends visiting, and last minute(to me, seven weeks ahead of time is last minute) changes of plan, I am just now settling in to really get some work done. H.and I, because we are remarkably similar in our tastes, got all giddy and excited to dress the band as a circus troupe for the High Holiday. She will of course be the ringmaster, although I secretly covet that exalted position, and I will be the equestrienne/tightrope-walker/acrobat/sitter-atop-elephants/etc. Or the knife-throwers assistant, which only makes sense if there is a knife thrower, I think. Anyhow, I am determined to keep the costumes as 40's/50's pin-uppy as possible, so I am thinking that I will take my costume in a sort of burlesque, Dita Von Teese direction. But still sort of based on the Ceil Chapman aesthetic that I was basing my original costume on. I have already ordered black satiny stretch stuff and pink fluffy mesh stuff and I have some black point d'esprit that I have been hoarding like gold for two years, so that's in as well. I'll dye a few of last year's ostrich plumes pink, and we're golden.

Miss Thing (you know of whom I speak) wishes greatly to be a mermaid this year. A pink one. Okey-doke, say I. Oh brother. What have I gotten myself into? I managed to steer her away from her covetous longing for the officially licensed Disney Little Mermaid nonsense, and am instead contemplating making her one of the pictured tails, complete with fluke.

I am tickled by the idea of the long tail on a train, but I don't know how realistic that is for a fiddly preschooler. I suppose the ankle-length skirt with the floor-length flukes will have to suffice. We've ordered fabric for this, too, a silver on pink spandex extravaganza, with silver for the shells and even (this is how cool I am) some glissenette to make a shirt out of so the fight about a warm coat is preempted.

I am getting over the end of a wicked, grotesque ear infection that required antibiotics and a full two days in bed. Once my hearing returns (!) I will start the muslins for these. I am not using patterns for Li'l Bit's, and mine I am using a dangerous combination of several heavily modified things I have laying about the house, as usual. Oh, and for those who care, Cap'n Jack has decided to be Danny Zuko from Grease, so all that's required on that score is some pomade and a cheap leather jacket. Awesome.

Monday, September 03, 2007

I want knee socks.

I think that a key component of my fall wardrobe (should the Southeast Alaska weather cooperate) is going to be knee socks and high heeled Mary Janes. I don't have any, yet, but I am looking at a few pairs on eBay that will probably suit me fine. These red T-straps in particular are fetching. I think a nice heavy charcoal over-knee sock in a textured wool would look really cool with them and a black skirt. I am also loving the look of a tiny peeptoe over contrasting tights or socks. With the right dress, it could be so mod, which is very in right now.

I am attracted to brightly colored shoes. This is obviously wildly apparent to anyone who has known me for more than ten minutes or so. I have a closet full of them, and right now they only see the light of day when I have a gig. Maybe I should move somewhere with more of a night life.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Yes, that's a pompadour. No, you can't touch it.

I wore a little pompadour to work today. Nothing exciting, I didn't break out the Lay-rite or anything, but I was pretty surprised by the response. I got everything from, "Wow, you have really big hair!" to "Isn't the anniversary [of Elvis' death] next week" to a bad rendition of America sung to me in mock Puerto Rican accents, just like in West Side story.Now, I am not hardcore kulture like some of the kittens out there (and I have just exhausted my use of the lingo), but it's not like I never dress up, either. It got me to thinking about how we have a kind of weird reverse lookism in this town. When I am in a big city, Seattle, or recently the Big Apple, I often feel a little provincial, because frankly I can't be bothered to make the effort. But here, I feel so high maintenance sometimes that it embarrasses me.

Take, for instance, my outfit at the recent Homeskillet Festival. It is completely undistinguished for any self-respecting vintage-lovin' girl with a sewing machine. Look, the crinoline's not even as big as my bass! Any yet, you'd think I wore a wedding gown to the grocery store for all the excitement it generated. I don't know about living in a town where you are immediately suspect if you leave your house in lipgloss.

But back to the pomp. Vintage hair is BIG right now, awful pun intended. Amy Winehouse and Lily Allen are both proudly sporting beehives, and in the link for Lily, you can see kind of what my pompadour looked like today. My hair in back is shorter, but the little lift in the front was the same. These two are everywhere! 17 year old girls all across America are purchasing dusty cans of Aquanet, untouched since the Tawny Kitaen school of hairstyling was popular! Why, then, am I being abused for a simple, tiny (not even 4" high) pompadour? Because there is not exactly a brisk trade in maquillage in Sitka, that's why. And I am eternally an exception, never a rule. Thank the deities.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

No, this isn't the New York post.

It's not the Times, either. (Geez, I'm sorry. I couldn't resist.)

It's a little it related, because I realized I never showed off a picture of my favorite souvenir. Most everybody has seen it by now, but a few people haven't, and that's a shame. Here it is:

Yup, it's real. No, it didn't hurt very much. Every American over the age of 15 is now legally required to have one, unless you can prove an exemption. Not really, but it seems that way anymore. That's not why I got it, though. Even though all of you know that I am indeed obsessed with being cool, this had very little to do with the coolness factor. If it did, I would have gotten the swallows with the banner that I love and which means nothing to me. Instead I got this little picture, which is exactly what it appears to be. Say it out loud to yourself it you have to. That's right. I got my kids tattooed on my arm, right where I can see them every day. All together now: awwwww.

The thing is, I found that I liked it. A lot. No, not the pain - how many times do I have to tell you that's not my game? - but the idea that I could have a thought seared into my flesh, and it would be permanent. I could change myself with art. Stunning. Nerve-wracking. Now I want more. My first instinct was to get a bass clef tattoo. I am pretty committed to this band now, and it seems natural to commemorate it. But after consideration, I think my next one will be this:

That's orange blossoms, in case you're wondering. My mom is from Florida and her dad had a citrus farm. He did all kinds of weird experimental horticulture in the 1950's, but they still had plain ole orange trees, with blooms like this one. Have you ever smelled an orange tree in bloom? If I were a believer, that's what Heaven would smell like to me. So orange blossoms for my mom. She doesn't smell like orange blossoms. If there were a scent I associated with her, it would be leather gloves, Marlboro cigarettes, and Windsong perfume.

Any great tattoo ideas out there?

Sunday, July 15, 2007

The Big Apple, Part Deux

Wednesday was the Fourth of July. Independence Day. Our country's birthday. What else could we do but go to Coney Island? We took the F train all the way down to the very bottom, wearing fabulous outfits even though it was a little chilly. Okay, H. and A. were completely sensible and wore jeans and t-shirts, but I went for a cherry print dress and victory rolls, which I have finally mastered. H. sprayed them really well for me and they survived the entire day, which included the Nathan's hotdog eating contest, the sideshow, the wind at Coney, a few rounds of skee ball, and the Scrambler. A. and V. took off for Battery Park to watch the New Pornographers, and H. and I took off for the Village, after eating hotdogs and French fries and attempting to find a penny squisher that worked. No luck.

It was starting to rain a little bit by the time we got to the Village. We found the closest bar and went to have a beer - are you noticing a theme yet? The bar was called Crime Scene, and they were playing 80's music. We were enjoying ourselves immensely and chatting about walking around to find the corner where CBGB was so we could pay proper homage, when V. called. We had had tentative plans to go to a rooftop party with her, but the weather was crap,and we didn't feel like hanging out with strangers, so we met up with her and A. at the Strand, but soon parted ways. V. and S. went on to the party, and we went to eat Indian food. It was terrific. We were back in the room watching One Hit Wonders by about 9:30 and completely missed the fireworks, but what do you do? It was a fabulous and tiring day.

On Thursday we decided it would be a good idea to dry run the route to the school. We ended up in the right place but thought we weren't, so it took us a bit to decide to trust our instinct. When that was accomplished, we went back into Manhattan into the Village. I had a moment when we turned the corner and the Blue Note Cafe was in front of me. Then we went to a record store that H.'s dad used to take her too, and I spent a long time just smelling the vinyl I wasn't going to haul all the way back to Alaska with me. We had a good time wandering, went into a little vintage store, and met up with V. at a Cuban restaurant that was wonderful. Then we decided to go to Midtown, because the whole of my previous experience with New York was a few hours in Times Square, and it just seemed right to see the things from the movies in real life. We went to Macy's and rode the wooden escalator and bought new lipstick at MAC, and then we went to Rockefeller Center and saw the ridiculous sculptures and the amazing Rivera mural. I had never seen a Rivera in person, and was suitably impressed and dizzy from it. We walked to Central Park, and somewhere along the way we lost H. and A. in the teeming crowds of humanity when V. and I stopped to look at the Tiffany's window display. It was frustrating. Finally we found them at the entrance to the Park. I really wanted to go to the little zoo that's there, but we showed up too late, and the zoo was closed. I paid $4 for a tiny bottle of fizzy water and the girls got ice cream. We sat on a bench and watched a few passersby. V. suggested we go back to her apartment and eat pizza and watch a movie about New York, so we did. It was raining so hard by the time we got off the subway that we had to run inside a deli and grab umbrellas. I picked a hot pink one with Barbies on it. Some parts of my brain will be six forever. When we were finished eating the vodka and fresh mozzarella pizza, we settled in to watch Woody Allen's Manhattan. I think I would be perfectly content to watch almost every Woody Allen picture ever made with the sound off. I fell asleep a little in the chair, and when I woke up, we called a car to take us back because tomorrow we had an agenda. Tomorrow was finally Rock Camp.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Where do I begin? New York, the first 2 days

Anyone who just sang, "To tell a story of a love that once was true..." gets a cookie.

But I meant, to tell the story of my trip to New York City. So much happened in such a short amount of time!

The first thing that happened is we climbed in a cab, and he was already on the road when he asked where we were going. There was disgruntled muttering when we told him Brooklyn. The directions we had were kinda circuitous, and it took us a long time in rush hour traffic to reach the general area where our bed and breakfast was located. After circling the block for several minutes, and arguing over whether or not there were streets behind us, we called Val and she told us where to have him let us off. I was on the phone with her when we saw her. She and Shelley had come to greet us at our place, Awesome Bed and Breakfast and we were really happy to see them. We went to dinner with them in a lovely garden that served Italian food, and then Shelley decline our invite to participate in Kuntry Karaoke at Hank's Rootin' Tootin' Saloon. The lead singer/MC/dude in charge insisted on calling us the Sugar Mamas and seemed sorta put out when we sang Jackson and didn't invite him to sing along. Ham. Cute, but a ham. Then Princess Japonski swallowed her fear to take to the stage for her rendition of Coal Miner's Daughter. I had never heard her sing before, and she was great!

I didn't sleep at all the first night - our room was really hot, and I can't settle down the first night in a new place - so I was already cranky on Tuesday morning when we woke and started moving. I was meeting a friend from high school in the Financial District for lunch, so if we wanted coffee and breakfast, we had to move. Luckily, V. knows how to handle my moods and she deftly loaded me onto a subway and then into Chelsea, where she took us to a little French place that made terrific crepes and nuclearly hot cappuccino.I felt a little better, but after I got on the subway by myself to proceed to my appointed place of meeting, I realized that I'd had one more drink the night before than I'd thought I had. This set the tone for the rest of the week. Eighteen hours in the city, and I was living like a rock star.

I almost didn't recognize D. when I saw her. I was looking for a shy, long haired girl in ripped blue jeans with a Walkman lodged firmly in her ear. The woman who hugged me was confident and pretty and easy with herself in way I hadn't seen before and that I quite liked. We found a really crappy cafeteria to eat lunch in - I had just had the better part of a croissant and the remains of last night's beer and whiskey were arguing with it, so I didn't order anything to eat - and sat down to talk. We reminisced a little, and talked about our kids and our lives now. There was a time when we had lost touch, and I worried about her, because she faced some stiff odds, but seeing her made me realize my fears were for nothing. She always had the strength of character and the drive to make her own way in the world. We left the place and I made her go shoe shopping with me. She laughed because I kept picking out things that were impractical and silly, like a pair of Lulu Guinness wedge heels in bubblegum pink, printed with pictures of candy. Then we bought slushies (for me) and iced coffee (for her, 'cause she's a grown-up) and sat in the shade of a little park to talk a bit more. She made me a beautiful hat - she stalked this blog to find out about me - and I gave her a circular needle holder. We walked back to the train and said goodbye. I hope we keep in touch.

That's when the real New York adventure began. I managed to put myself on the right train, heading the wrong direction. For some reason, even though I realize the north gets bigger street thing, I still got turned about completely. I did realize my mistake, and got on the right train going to right way to meet up with H. and A. in Union Square. Hmmm. I got off at the right place, checked my address and turned the way I thought I should go. It was a fairly nice day, warm but not hot, not too humid, and I was enjoying the walk, frankly. After many blocks, I thought to myself, this can't possibly be right! I stopped and asked someone on the street If I was going the right direction. "Sure, just keep going. You'll run into it eventually," she said. I am not certain if she was deliberately misleading me, or if she misunderstood what I was asking, but I found myself a few minutes later at the Beth Israel Orthopedics Department. Dammit! I wanted the magazine department of Barnes and Noble, not knee surgery. Crap. I turned myself around, walked back to 14th street and started hoofing it back the way I came. It took me a while. I was seriously late now, with no way of getting in touch with my peeps. I finally stopped at a coffee stand on the street and asked directions. I was still five blocks from my destination, but headed in the right direction. I kept going. I was in the bookstore, on the escalator to the 3rd floor, when my phone rang. It was A., wanting to know where I was. I was hungry (remember my slight hangover?), hot, and incredibly annoyed at this point. I restrained my urge to yell really loudly, and agreed to meet them at the Sephora next door. H. offered to buy me a slice of pie, and we headed for pizza. The food and air conditioning did me real good.

It was time to go in to Williamsburg because of my tattoo appointment. H.hailed a cab, but he laughed at us when we said Brooklyn, so off to the train again. No delays, no foul-ups. We arrived in the part of town that looks like the places I am accustomed to hanging out in. The train stop was close to the tattoo parlor, so we took a few minutes exploring while we made our way down the street. A. stopped for juice and H. and I went into a little shop next door with pin-up cowgirls on the windows. All of their clothes, including sale clothes, were 20% off, so H. tried on this dress. It was a little tight in the waist, so I tried it on. It fit, and I bought it. I need to practice in it, but I think it will make a decent dress for shows.

Finally it was time for my appointment. Hold Fast Tattoos is, simply put, marvelous. The girl at the counter was nice and brought us Coke in glass bottles, and Bailey, the artist who did my ink, was professional, meticulous, and clean. The space was beautiful, and I was enamored of all the classic flash on the walls. He spent a long time sketching my design and bringing it to me to make sure I liked it, and then he scrubbed me down and started. It hurt a little, but less than I feared. It was fascinating. V., who was more nervous than I, held her breath a little, I think, but then H. came back and they got to chatting. I think they actually stopped watching the process while they were laughing about the three breasted mermaid flash on the wall behind them, and H. complained that I wasn't being dramatic enough. Bailey was done with all of it in about 20 minutes. I adore it. It is so delicate and small - it's better than I thought.

Then V. took us to am awesome barbeque place. We let H. order for us all, and she did. She ordered pounds of meat. We are hearty ladies, but we really couldn't do the platter justice. We washed it down with more beer. Then the "chefs" sitting next to us asked A. her opinion of the food. She immediately explained she was a vegetarian, so they turned their attentions to us. We escaped when S. joined us, all the way from Harlem. We left in search of more drinks (!) and went to a little bar where we thought there might be live music. There was - a hippie with a shaker egg and a guitar who called himself "Summer of Love" and played a song entitled "Love is the Mantra." V. ran into a friend who promised better music later in the evening, but we were tired and I wanted to take a shower, so V. helped us onto a bus and we went back to our little room in the B and B. and fell asleep.

Monday, June 18, 2007

I heart boys who fix Macs.

Reber is a superhero. If you see him, high-five him for me.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Thank you note

So, just in case there is anyone out there who hasn't met me, or who has only the vaguest idea of who I am, let me clue you in on how I make my money. I am a barista, which is the single most cliche occupation in this country right now. But unlike the liberal arts majors making beer money with headset walkie-talkies at the Gap, I have done this job for a long time, and I intend on doing it for a while longer, and I really, really like it. One of the things I like so much about it is the customers. I have the best regulars in the whole world. I have watched as their children grew and graduated and went away, I have seen them sell houses and buy boats and get married and fall apart and heal. They are what keeps me serving coffee when I'm thinking, I could get a B.A. and temp in an anonymous corporate office for the rest of my life. Every once in a while they are so marvelously thoughtful that I could cry, or kiss them. Last week, when there was a convention, and my relief pitcher was out of the game, and I was seriously lambasting myself for not becoming a pediatric nurse like my mom secretly hoped, the men who come in every morning and share their views on the world and sometimes on my clothing took up a collection and tipped me very well. They handed it to me non-chalantly and said, "We wanted you to know we appreciate how hard you work." They wrote a little note on one of the bills, and they all filed out as if nothing happened. I could have cried, or kissed them. Instead, I gave them a little something to talk about. I made them this shirt.

All day long, I kept waiting for someone not in the know to smile slyly and say, "I drink coffee!" I was hoping it would be someone I could smile back at and flirt with, but I figured it would be some skeevy dude off a Holland America cruise ship, or a teenage boy who thinks that women half a decade younger than his mom are GROSS. Instead, it was another fabulous regular, whom I consider a friend. Thanks, Mr. B. You sure know how to boost a girl's self-esteem.

Friday, June 01, 2007

At last!

Today is the kind of perfect late spring day that I run the risk of forgetting, because sunny days in Southeast Alaska are called mostly cloudy in other parts of the civilized world. It is clear and warm, probably what you might consider light-cardigan weather. The pool is filled for the kids to play in. There is a light breeze blowing, and there are tons of people wandering about with sparkly things, because we have another whole weekend of salmon derby ahead of us. It is a Friday, which means the only coffee I have to make tomorrow is my own. I am wearing my new favorite outfit - the Seattle skirt, which is a delightful shade of robin's egg blue with 3" long off-white silhouettes of carnations all over it, a tee shirt with ruffles at the neck the color of milk chocolate, and open-toe wedge heeled sandals in brown with cream colored buttons on them. I feel like an ice cream cone. Plus, I just got four new magazines in the mail, a veritable bonanza of media, and I enjoy nothing so much as lazing about in the sun look at clothes I will never afford. The only sour note is the blister I received from the gorgeous new sandal foolishly forcing my feet into them after standing for eight and a half hours. A small price to pay for feeling so chi-chi.

I hope wherever you are today necessitates a lovely pair of Jackie O sunglasses and vodka spiked lemonade. Nothing says summer like ice-cold booze.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

The Sugar Shakers are delicious!

You'll notice that I went an unusual amount of time before posting again. This is because my bass came. I know you all are thinking, don't you have two already? Yes, I did, and now I have three. The biggest difference is, the new one is a stand-up. Yes, a stand-up. It's glossy black with hot pink nylon strings, and it still surprises me that I own it. I am learning how to slap, and it's going pretty well. So well, in fact, that I played a gig with it on Saturday night.

We really need a better band photographer.

I couldn't believe how fun it was. I played so hard that the thumb on my slapping hand went numb during Cocaine Blues and I could barely get through the last song. It was great, even if I was injured. I am going to work on building my stamina so I can get through longer than thirty minutes of playing.

We are considering a few themes for our shows. One would be a prom theme, complete with streamers. One might be pirates, because as everyone know, there is nothing I love better than pirates. I am voting for a rumble theme, complete with chains and switchblade combs, but I will probably get vetoed on that one. Any great ideas out there?

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Stella in action

It's just a tease. Here's how the boots look next to cooler shoes. Obviously I need to step it up a notch or two. Or maybe they'll look way hotter next to an upright.

Monday, May 14, 2007

The most boring sewing project ever.

So boring, in fact, that there are no pictures of it. Of course, there are no pictures of anything interesting I'm doing, either, so that doesn't count for much. It did, however, remind me that I love to sew when I get to choose what I'm working on. And because I finished a UFO (that's unfinished object to you non-crafters) while I was sitting at the sewing machine. It was a skirt that I started for the Seattle trip but left undone because I detest hemming circle skirts. The only thing I hate more, in fact, is working on inane, ugly curtains for pushy people who aren't even friends of mine. That is why the skirt got finished. After the monotony of the cheap-ass, horrible curtains, at least I will get to wear my fabulous new skirt. Of which there is no picture. Of course.

What I do have pictures of is my boots. Just my cowboy boots, really. I wanted to put up some pictures of them because Japonski says that they are the footwear of choice for the big trip to NYC, and because we individually became obsessed with them at the same time. So here they are.

I have four pairs. I love them all. I wear the plainish, hard leather tan ones all the time. The black pair with bass clefs are really Stella's, and not mine at all. I love having an alter ego. The bookend pairs belonged to my sister, and at nearly 20 years old, are certifiably vintage. The suede tan pair are ultra comfy, but they are a little less Folsom Prison Blues and a little more Wanted Dead or Alive than I like. I say that, but if I ever get the heels fixed, I'll wear them to death, I'm sure. I intend on wearing the red ones with my new skirt, which is a delightful shade of aqua. I love that color combo.

Keep an eye out here for info on the new band website! H. is hard at work on it, because she is our Jill of all trades. I am in charge mostly of outlandish ideas, which I am very skilled at.

Sunday, May 06, 2007


I just went week without rehearsing with the band. I spent a few days screwing around on my purple acoustic/electric that until very recently was the love of my life. How fickle can I be? I am borrowing an upright to practice on at A.'s house, and so I have been sort of stiffing my guitars. The consequence, though, is that I went a week without playing the Beast, and now I have blisters on all three of my plucking fingers. It should only be two plucking fingers, or at least that's what it is when I play the bass guitar, but to get better slap, I am scooping the strings with half my hand. Ten minutes into practice, I was breathing hard, dripping with sweat, and sort of trembly in the tricep area., not to mention ominously stinging in the pads of my fingers. Even though I put bandaids over two fingers (I forgot the stupid medical tape AGAIN), I still have a couple decent sized blisters. And it hurts now that I 'm not absorbed in playing. Whatever. I'm tough.

I am so enamored of my new computer that I have not started work on the band bag I was intending. Or the laptop case I desperately need, for that matter. I have been really remiss about working on sewing projects. I finished a bunch before the Seattle trip, including the mythical brown eyelet dress, and have not touched the machine since. I need to get in the craft room and 1) clean and organize and 2) force myself to make something. It'll make me feel better. It always does.

Edit: I fixed the brown eyelet dress link, because even though the only one who cares is the one it was intended for, maybe someone will stumble on this and not be bored.

Friday, May 04, 2007

The Queen is dead. Long live the Queen.

My Grandmama has passed away. Her body finally just quit. She was 96 years and 2 weeks old.

I hope for a lot of things in this life. I hope that my children grow up to be good people. I hope that I acheive some sort of lasting success on this earth. I hope for the continued good health of my family. And I hope that someday I can acheive the elegance and grace that my Grandmama had, even if I only manage it for a single night.

She was a nurse, an artist, a mother. She saw war and death; she knew joy and plenty. She was tempermental, difficult to please, exacting, and demanding. She was beautiful.

I haven't cried for her, and I doubt that I will. Not because I don't miss her - I do - but because it would have driven her absolutely nuts. "Good heavens, are you crying? What on EARTH would you do a thing like that for? You'll make your eyemakeup smear and your nose red. Go to the ladies' room, for God's sake."

The next time you drink a bloody mary, spend a moment thinking of the fantastic women who made them a staple of Sunday brunch, like my Grandmama. The world is a less splendid place without her.

Monday, April 30, 2007

I'm Back!

That doesn't mean so much yet, as of course I don't have any photos or videos or other interesting bits of ephemera to excite you on this machine yet. But I will say that I will try to keep you up to date about goings-on more faithfully now.

For those of you who don't know, the Sugar Shakers had a great first run, although the sound was all messed up. Did I mention all of this already? Oh well. We know now that one of our goals is to get our own equipment, or at least borrow from people who give a crap about what we sound like. And of course we loooked fabulous, altho our marvelous keyboard player Dolce Anita stole the show with leather pants, bouffed out hair and a jean jacket. And lipstick, which she professed dislike for until wearing. I vowed never to wear cowboy boots onstage again with women who were wearing 3 inch heels, because I looked a little stumpy - pardon my insecurity. And Shotsie Glass, also known as the delightful Ms. Budd, has promised to seriously step up the eye makeup. All that aside, we were by far the best thing to hit the Monthly Grind stage since Sox Therapy had its very limited run in the spring of 2002. We're only getting better! Soon to come, a double bill with the Glorious Youth Parade on Memorial Dy Weekend, and the Homeskillet Festival, which we will be playing fresh from our New York adventure. Add to this the possibility of the Princess Japonski Tribute Fest while she's here on her world tour, and we've got a really rockin' summer lined up.

Shotsie is out of town this week, tho, so maybe that means I'll get some sewing done rather than messing about playing music. I want to make a bag to cart all my shit around in, cables and tuners and so forth. Stay tuned! maybe i'll have pictures soon.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Sorry for the lapse, again

Just a quick post to say that my computer access is limited of late, and so this will be a quiet blog until I sort things out, since I hate blogging at the library. The Sugar Shakers had their first, triumphant performance, and we are now contemplating a second, much extended show. Pics and video will be available soon.

Loves to you all!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

It was like a dream...

I just spent a surreal weekend in Seattle. It was by turns a typical break there for me - getting rained on, going to Everyday Records in Capitol Hill - and perfectly not the ordinary, by far. Of course I managed to check off everything on my list, a feat which I rarely if ever achieve, but my list was four items long:

1) Eat Indian food. Check and check. I always eat at the same place, half a block down from Nordstrom rack where there is an atomic orange-colored mango lassi and a terrific and authentic all-you-can-eat buffet.

2) Buy a longer bass cable. Accomplished, although I did have to wait until noon until the bass shop opened. Figures. Musicians. I was suffering the effects of too much #3...

3) See live music. Preferably, rockabilly. Preferably, the Dusty 45's. Why? C'mon, you remember the slight obsession I was working on in the fall. Why do you think? Flaming trumpet. That's all. When we first arrived at the place the Vinyl Avengers (one of the many, many incarnations of the members of the aforementioned 45's) were playing, S. and M. nearly pulled me out of there bodily. The band was doing swanky jazz standards to match the late 50's steakhouse vibe the place rocks, and frankly they were a smidge ... Let's say disappointing. I made the girls stay, and by the last set they were impatient and I think rather bored. I'm sorry, ladies. It was so fun to be dancing and tipsy and to be greeted by the boys as if I were a good friend. Next time I swear I will either go by myself or forego the pleasure in a fit of martyrdom. I could go on and on, but I will leave it at the fact that I had a sufficiently good time to be grumpy while awaiting the bass store opening, and to be peaved when the guy behind the counter was in my opinion patronizing. S. said I was paranoid. I was hungover.

4) Try something new. This time was the Pink Door, the location of which I feel both reluctant to reveal so it won't be overrun, and also hyperexcited to spread, because if you are reading this, you are the type of person to love this type of place. Relaxed atmosphere, INCREDIBLE food - S.'s gnocchi were outstanding - a trapeze act, a burlesque act, pink tulle everywhere, and the cutest skinny, messy, vintage clad bartender with a perfect hand for a cosmo, which I hardly even drink anymore.

I could go on and on, but if you want deets, I guess you'll have to email me or something because I really don't know how to describe all the best parts - eyeliner powder the color of poison, being remembered by the boys in the band, going to Red Light Vintage and finding that there was vintage that was too large for me...

Anyhow, I have an irredeemable crush in a huge way on the city of Seattle in general, and in a certain trumpet player and a certain hostess in a red velveteen dolly dress in particular, and I had to come back to freezing temperatures, sleet, and a power outage at the airport. It's already fading away from me, even tho 24 hours ago, I was dressed to kill with M.A.C. Viva Glam I and my new ShadyLady poison colored eyeliner, eating handmade pappardelle, flirting the hostess and the bartender in equal parts, and feeling invicible. And tomorrow, instead of a cafe with back issues of Vogue Italia, I have to trudge to the corner to buy some coffee to make - myself.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

La Reine et Moi

Oh, Sofia.

I knew. I knew, and yet I was hoping against hope that the movie that you made was somehow the movie I really, really wanted to see about Her Majesty, the last Queen of France. I wanted someone to show the heartbreaking truth of what it is like to be in a gilded cage, how it feels to have not the slightest decision to be your own, what real grace in the face of death may look like. Instead, what you gave all the world was a lovely, lovely, empty painting of a lost teenager being indulged in the fulfillment of insubstantial wishes. It is the same movie you have made before, and I am a little sad about it.

We have already talked, you and I, about my own attraction to the doomed Queen, and I thought perhaps I understood a little about your motivation. But I was wrong, wasn't I? You never lamented to woman she was forced to become, or regretted the woman she never was, but instead you identified with the child of privilege and wealth who wielded her power carelessly and frivolously. Don't misunderstand me - your movie was stunning. It was a crystal chandelier of a movie, though, a layer cake, and the Marie Antoinette who grew in my mind while making this costume was a whole meal, and the candles behind the reflections. She was a woman who I imagine loved her children and her country and feared death and perhaps welcomed it, at the end. She was a woman who was asked to be a woman before she was grown, after never really having been allowed to be a child herself. She was a pawn, and she was a player. She craved simplicity and loved luxury. She was a bundle of contradictions, just like you or me or anyone, and she was made an example of because of it. Didn't that break your heart? Where was that in this gilded plate of petit fours? Where was the woman who dared to have herself painted astride like the King himself, who dared to be seen sans corset? That is the portrait I was awaiting.

Antonia, you were there somewhere. The candyfloss and fairydust they spin around you, the curses and the punchlines that still accompany your name down through the annals of history, they are the stories we always weave around the women we don't or can't understand. You are there in the heart of the tales, and perhaps someday, we'll see your face instead of your reflection.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

It's out on Tuesday!

If you haven't been obsessively waiting for Marie Antoinette to come out on DVD, like I have, then you may not know. But it's coming out on Tuesday! It's the perfect way for me to spend my Valentine's Day...

I am going to make a t-shirt for the occasion. Anybody want to come watch this with me?

Thursday, February 08, 2007

I have lapsed, I know it.

I always mean to add a little smidgen of something to this blog, because I don't want to leave my readers wanting (ha!), and I know I also promised to keep all of you up to date on the status of the band.

Well, I don't mind telling you that the band is going SWIMMINGLY, thanks very much. As a matter of fact, that is a good part of the reason why I haven't been blogging - all the time I usually spend typing mindlessly on the computer is spent practicing my bass instead. I fell like I'm really getting somewhere with it.

And remember when I was whining about wanting that pretty purple acoustic? Well, I went ahead and took the plunge, and I've been playing it. I like it a lot, even tho it's harder to play by a long shot than my tiny Daisy Rock, because it's manufactured for grown ups and not 13 year old girls, which apparently I am. The acoustic is still too small for the Fender flatwound strings I accidentally bought in a long. This is distressing because the strings were a little on the pricey side, and I was very interested in hearing the difference in sound. Apparently, the flatwounds give you a warmer, more "upright" sound when they're on an electric bass. Since we're playing straight-up rockabilly and punkabilly type stuff, I thought the upright sound would be most apropos. Eventually, I would like to play an actual stand-up bass, but I will bide my time as far as that is concerned.

If anyone happens to be here in town on April 21st, come to the Monthly Grind. It'll be our premiere performance, and I think we're gonna rock the house. Otherwise, we know we're in this for the long haul, and there will be other performances, but the real question is when. I think that I would love to lean toward a more dance-y sound, and H. wants us to go a little more hard-core, so there's bound to be something good that comes of this.

And at some point, I am going to work up the nerve to finish both the Rosalind Russell-y wool dress I have (in fuschia wool flannel) and the black western shirt with leopard accents. I'll post pix when I get around to it.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

A Lady of Distinction

While I was on my trip to visit family over the holidays - the reason for my conspicuous absence, if there was anyone who didn't know - I had the very good fortune to see my Grandmama again. I had thought that I would never see her again, and this will almost certainly have been the last time, and I wish with all my heart that it had been different.

My Grandmama (that's Grand-ma-MA, not GRAND-ma-ma) is not really my grandmother. She is my sisters' paternal grandmother, from my mother's first marriage. But she has always been a big part of my life, from the time I was born. She was one of those adults who never really learned to deal with children, so inadvertantly paid them the great compliment of treating them exactly like anyone else; that is to say, like adults. She never condescended or talked down; if anything, she would talk over your head and act rather impatient if you didn't understand her. She was intimidatingly small. I'm sure you know the type of person - their lack of stature invites a proportionally imperious character. She was fond of travel, delicious things, particularly if they were white, and good skin. The last time I saw her, in fact, she imparted three bits of wisdom to me, as at the age of twelve I was, in her eyes, on the brink of womanhood. The pieces of advice were as follows:

1) No matter how imploring the interviewer, a lady never reveals her age.

2) No matter how inviting, a lady never succumbs to the rather plebian habit of exposing her skin to the sun. This means very large hats and glasses, and in later years, the sort of sunblock that is reserved for those kids with ultraviolet allergies.

3) No matter how tired or uncaring she may be, a lady never, and I mean never, under any circumstances, appears in public in deshabille. This means less than perfectly coiffed, less than perfectly dressed, less than perfectly made up. And my Grandmama was always an arbiter of style. Photos of her from her youth, and her waning youth, and even her middle age show a woman with good taste and restraint. Her trademarks were her impeccable skin, her tiny (23"!) waist, and her waist-length jet-black hair. Nearly as well known was her biting wit.

This last was sharp was a knife at times. The edge of her tongue could scar you for life if you weren't careful. Luckily, I was never the object of her well-known put-downs, but I heard about them, and heard them in person plenty. Once, in my defense, she said to her own son, "Stop being such a pig to that child, Joey. She is only a girl - something you might understand." He turned beet red and said not a single word to me for the rest of the evening. I thought for sure she was an angel. I adored her for the way she seemed to look down her nose a the people she needed to tilt her head to see, I admired her coronet of raven braids, and I marvelled at her sheer loveliness. My mother was pretty, in a careless, farm-fresh way, but I never saw elegance until I spent time with my Grandmama.

It was lowering, then, to see her in the nursing home. She has Alzheimer's, and it has taken so much more than her memory. Her hair is gone now, cut into a fluffy white bob that is easily cared for, I'm sure, and pink at the roots where an aide "prettied her up" with an auburn rinse. She was wearing polyester, and not the expensive faux-silk she would have chosen thirty years ago for an intimate dinner at home with her grandchildren, but double knit pants and an undistinguished shirt that hung on her too-thin frame. It was the very first time, after three decades on this earth, that I have ever seen her without a smidgen of makeup - never mind full powder and eyebrow pencil, the woman didn't sport so much as a swipe of lipstick. The only thing that was unchanged about her was her skin. It was finely lined, since she is very, very old, but it was still soft-looking, even, and white. The older people I have touched often have skin that feels like fine paper, like tissue. The skin on her hands felt like she was wearing gloves of some sort - kid suede, perhaps, or heavy silk twill. And her cheek was the same: impossibly soft.

I thought there would not be much of her left when I spoke to her. I thought she would not even have an inkling of who I might be. But when my sister brought me to her attention, she said, "Why, child, you've grown!" And I knew that some deep spark fired in her brain, and I was there, even if it was only for a moment. Something inside me broke, because until then I could pretend that this was some other woman, an imposter masquerading as my Grandmama while the real one laughed herself silly on a Brazilian beach somewhere, busying herself with the cabana boys. But no, I was there in her mind, and she really was the woman who loomed so mythologically large in my own mind, made small by the ravages of time.

Before we left, she asked my sister, as she apparently always does, how old she is. My sister replied in all honesty, breaking one of my grandmother's cardinal rules. The number she named is impossibly high. Grandmama thought so, too. "Dear God!" she exclaimed with a look of horror on her white face. My own mother, in a moment of tenderness, replied, "No, Monique. She's confused. You are fifty, but no one knows that except me. Everyone here thinks you are a very well-kept thirty five."

I did not know her when she was fifty. She was already heading into her sunset years, to borrow a terrible euphemism, when I came along. I wish I had, though. I wish that there were another fifteen or eighteen or thirty years I could spend taking the bits of wisdom she offered me and slipping them carefully away like the rhinestone ring she once gave me, right off her finger. I wish that I could say that I believed I would see her again, even in the state she's in. But I can't - this was the last time I will ever see her, I am sure. She isn't really here anymore, and her body is going to figure that out sooner or later. I just hope that there is a decent shoe repair place where she's going, and a pharmacy that sells Pond's cold cream and Coty Airspun powder in Alabaster, because she'll be out to make an impression.