Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Easy does it

I just wrote half a novel trying to describe a perfectly indescribable experience. I waxed on and on about the meticulae of it; I hadn't even finished describing the first day I was in town. I figure it's a lot like telling someone a dream you had: they can't ever see what you saw, and they don't understand the glorious hyper-reality of it all, because it's not their dream. It's your more-brilliant-than-crayons colors, your angel-voice songs, your bacchanalian indulgences. Bear with me. The shimmering memories are like fireflies - they stop glowing when you hold them in your hand. I'd rather show you a fragment of a wing preserved in amber than a lifeless body crushed by enthusiasm.

Things I hated before I got there:
-the 45 mph headwind we took off into, shaking the plane on the runway
-the guy on the 194 who invited me to sit next to him
-the expensive glass of box wine I bought to pass time in the airport
-American Airlines

Things I ate while I was there:
-Bananas Foster french toast
-quiche with sausage and portabello mushrooms
-chicken smothered in cheese
-violet candies
-whole roasted cloves of garlic in a sandwich
-beignets and more beignets and not enough perfect cafe au lait
-blackened redfish and bacon dressed greenbeans
-etoufee with shrimp and crawfish
-an almond croissant and the first ripe strawberry I'd eaten in months
-a giant ice cream cone covered in rainbow sprinkles (or shots or jimmies. pick your favorite term)

Things I heard while I was there:
-Jimbo Wallace slapping his bass with one finger
-five of the oldest men on earth singing gospel songs
-Django-style hot gypsy jazz
-an unholy and compelling fusion of ska and death metal
-a few minutes of Scott Weiland sounding dee-runk
-a hip-hop artist asking an audience to "Please... put your fist in the air!"
-a siren, trashcan lids, a megaphone, and a theremin
-NOT Nine Inch Nails, REM, or the Horrorpops (I didn't know they were playing)

Things I saw that were animals:
-two turtles sunning themselves on the detritus on the canal near the city park where Voodoo was held
-a tiny lizard on a wall, pointed out by my companion
-an abandoned plate of unidentified something that wriggled when I walked past (I'm pretty sure this was animalian in nature)
-two awesome dogs in an Irish bar

Things I drank while I was there:
-two awful espresso drinks, the first a push button affair that tasted like plastic and the second pulled on a lovely brass machine: this tasted of disaffected hipster
-an $8 shot of Jameson's poured by a friendly bartender in a Quarter bar
-a $4.25 tumbler FULL of Jameson's poured by a friendly bartender in a not-quite-the-Quarter-anymore bar. He told us where to go to buy cheap bottles of PBR.
-bottled water
-not enough perfect cafe au lait
-a lovely cafe viennois with sweetened whipped cream

Things I hated while I was there:
- hand grenades in not-yard souvenir cups with stupid straws
-most of Bourbon Street
-the giddy tourists who don't know King Oliver from a hole in the ground crowding into Preservation Hall and gawking at these amazingly talented musicians like they're in Frontierland
-the empty houses and empty streets and broken cobbles
-not remembering how to get from place to place; the map in my memory would not superimpose itself over the streets I was standing on

Things I fell in love with a little bit or a lot or all over again while I was there:
-the thin pulse of a hand-muted trumpet
-the balconies festooned with boxes of flowers and flags, and in some cases mannequins
-the years you can feel through the soles of your feet when you walk the cobbles and bricks
-that statue of the lovers reclining in the back patio of Lafitte's
-the hole in the wall Cajun place with the surly staff and homemade tasso ham in their jambalaya
-jazz tuba
-sitting on a bench in Jackson Square close enough to share the liner notes on my new CDs
-burlesque dancers
-cafe au lait
-holding hands

Things I hated on my way back:
-not buying the shiny pink parasol the second I saw it
-American Airlines charging me for checking my bag
-buying a back copy of Rolling Stone before realizing it was three weeks old
-the coffee I overpaid for in the Dallas Fort Worth airport
-the Dallas Fort Worth airport
-holding my tongue and holding my breath and not saying all the things I meant to say or wanted to say, like: please. and: thank you. and: you are on that list, the one before this one. and: goodbye. I always forget to say goodbye.
-crying from holding it all
-getting a cold from the stupid airplane

Random marvelosity that is my new obsession:

During one of their shows that I saw, they showed a little video of New Orleans being joyfully inhabited by the sort of misfits and angels that I want to make friends with, while Clint (the lead singer) crooned I Can't Give You Anything But Love.

Not a single picture exists of me in New Orleans this time. It's like I was never there at all. If it weren't for the bag full of clothes smeared with powdered sugar from the piles of beignets, I might begin to doubt it myself.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

I am not terribly Zen about this

I woke up this morning feeling out of sorts. This is not an entirely unfamiliar sensation of late; a kind of malaise has settled deep in my head, leaving me to wonder endlessly if I am coming down with something: the flu, perhaps, or a head cold that will linger for weeks. The most likely answer, though, is that I am simply under the weather. This is no mere turn of phrase in a climate where the precipitation can be measured in yards rather than in inches (about two and a half, for the curious among you.) If you refuse to venture into the rain, you run the risk of becoming a recluse who must order groceries online and designate a corner of the dining table as a home office. When the rain finally broke today, the clouds lifting high enough to see the peaks of the mountains, I wanted to take advantage of the situation. I went for a walk. It was a short one, the long way to the library, really, a jaunt to the entrance of the park and then back up the road. Twenty minutes. Twenty five if I was foot-dragging or listening to dreamy jazz. I hit the entrance to the park, and it began to rain. Pour, actually. Dump. In the time it took me to shield the books in my bag while I rummaged for my umbrella, the faux fur cuffs of my jacket looked like a cat who has inadvertently fallen in to a bathub. I was already wet, and so there was no harm in my continuing on to the certain refuge of the stacks. By the time I got there, my shoes were moist and the cuffs of my pants were dark halfway to my knees from the rainswept streets. I shook off my umbrella the best I could and went in, craving the quiet corners.

Every chair was filled. There was sopping raingear everywhere you turned; backpacks were shoved haphazardly under each table. The computer seats were taken up by tag-teaming teenagers from Mt. Edgecumbe High School. They were busy checking the MySpace and Facebook accounts that are blocked at the boarding school. There were bored ten year olds camped out in the aisle where the craft books reside, most likely because the children's room was full of damp, noisy toddlers and their harried looking parents. There was no peace to be found, not even in the usually deserted aisle housing the books on evolution and natural history. I grabbed the first few things that held even mild appeal for me - a graphic novelization of The Big Sleep, Boris Karloff as Frankenstein, and a collection of fairy tales by AS Byatt, about whom I am a little ambivalent - and ventured back out into what I was sure was a downpour.

It had stopped raining. I was grateful and mildly amused at this Alanis Morrisette display of irony, until I sidestepped a puddle by stepping onto wet grass and promptly skidded to my knees, coating my already wet jeans with a fresh layer of mud and grass stains and filling my already wet sneakers with water from the puddle I had been hoping to avoid. Clearly I do not understand irony, and the universe thought this would be a good time to demonstrate it.

My mood is not significantly improved. It would, though, if someone would come over here and cook some lentil soup for me...

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Why I'm going back to the Big Easy

Well, I was invited, of course! Specifically , I was invited to this to watch the following:

How the hell is he getting that much sound out of that Shure 55? I think it must be gutted and replaced with better components. And I thought Jimbo Wallace, the bass player, was running guts, but those sound steely to me... Sorry. Dorked out for a second.

I will also get to see these guys:

And also:

Oh, yeah, and I might see Nine Inch Nails and REM and Stone Temple Pilots. And the Buzzcocks. If I really wanted to, I could watch Panic at the Disco and some other big name acts. But I am most excited about the traditional jazz, a la Preservation Hall. Well, and some crawfish etouffee. And a dose of sunshine. And maybe a glass of whiskey or two. And some handholding.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Pop culture update!

If you've been wondering why I haven't been shooting off at the mouth about the things that take up my time and headspace, it's because my list of awesome things I'm consuming has moved over to ing & ed. As a matter of fact, there'll be new stuff up over there pretty darned soon. But I had to, had to, had to talk about two things:

1) If you haven't seen Iron Man yet, we're not friends anymore until you do. I hate movies that are poorly made with lots of special effects to disguise that fact. I love movies that are laden with effects, to good... effect. You know. Where the explosions and the glowy things and the badassery support an actual plot, with actual characters who actually develop. My one beef with this movie is that it does not pass the Bechdel Rule, but I will forgive, because Pepper Potts is inoffensive. She is not a damsel in distress, and it is implied that her relationship with Tony Stark is complex and deep. And my favorite part? THIS IS A (small) SPOILER. At one point, the computer displays a solid gold (think Oscar statue) rendering. The camera pans to a (stereotypical) glossy 'rod, and Tony says, "Tell you what. Throw a little hotrod red in there." Fuck. Yeah. Jon Favreau now has a lifetime pass, between this and Swingers.

2) Star Trek trailer. I will cop to the fact that I screamed, "HELLS YEAH!" out loud. To a television screen. At 10:30 at night. I am SUCH a geek. My friends, I love the Enterprise. In my head right now, I have an overview map of the bridge. I know how to get from there to the captain's quarters, on both Kirk's ship and Picard's. I cannot wait. Can. Not. WAIT. J.J. Abrams better not fuck this up.
In case you're not as cool as me, Kirk's Enterprise is registry number NCC-1701. Picard's is NCC-1701-D.

Monday, October 06, 2008

The radio does play...

That fluff filled piece of cotton candy below was the post I wrote in place of this one, because this one was hard.

The world is a quieter and less fantastic place, because Steve is gone.

It's all such a fucking cliche: hug your kids, take your chances, learn to play the guitar, go to Dallas, you never know when it'll all change. The only thing that never changes is that we all mouth these platitudes to each other to soothe our own pain.

V. has said a couple of times that the worst thing was not knowing where he was. We only know he's not here, and he's not coming back. Damn it. God damn it.

So. Take your chances. Join a band. Make some noise. Leave a mark on this world. A big, dirty, loud, imperfect stain, a Rorschach to last the ages. Shout until you don't have a voice, strum until your hands bleed, stand up and dance. Be such a cool motherfucker that the shine of you is too bright for most people to look at head on.

The only video of Steve playing his guitar I can find has really bad audio, so here's the song he played that I liked the most.


I like the reds.

Hi there, gentlemen! Are you here for salient political observations? Bittersweet childhood musings? Dry wit? You might want to peruse the links bar over there to your right, because this post is all about lipstick. You're more than welcome to stick around, of course, but I think my rather desultory wanderings today will have a significantly narrower focus - and appeal - than usual.

Obligatory disclaimer out of the way, I'll get down to business. The last time I was in Seattle I lost my favorite tube of lipstick. It was the next to last day of our trip, and God forbid I should try to go a single day without that silly tube of color. I frogmarched my poor protesting offspring to Nordstrom's, straight to the MAC counter, and requested my precious Ladybug. The woman working that morning (I always get the same lavender-eyeshadowed young 'un there, so unlike the delicious gay boy who helped me at Macy's in Midtown) asked if she could get me anything else. Yes, I said. Powder foundation, please, and another tube of lipstick: Russian Red. Oh, says she. You like the reds!

Yes. I do.
I wish I was the sort of lady who contented herself with a nice neutral toffee color, or even a peachy glaze that makes my mouth look like candy. No such luck, though. I prefer the eye-catching blaze of vermillion hues. I get a lot of askance glances here in this town, where brushing your hair before going out to dinner at a $35/plate Mediterranean restaurant is considered getting dressed up. I am pretty sure there are a few people who think I peddle more than coffee and rock and roll. Fuck them. They're just jealous.

For your viewing pleasure, close ups of my collection in situ. Ladybug
Russian Red

Viva Glam I
L'orealWine and Roses
MaybellineVintage Wine
Physician's FormulaNoir Red
Besame CosmeticsPlump My Pucker in Spike My Punch
The Balm

There was northern light from the window I was sitting next to when these pictures were taken, so the colors are not true. But you get the idea, right? The Balm lipgloss is the one I wear most, since it's work-appropriate. I have two tubes of it, one of my purse, the other for my pocket. Ladybug is my go-to for day to day; I've been sporting the true matte red of Russian Red a couple times a week. Viva Glam I is my favorite dingy bar lipstick, and I almost always wear this one on stage. The exception was our recent trip to Haines and Juneau. I had misplaced it, and so relied entirely on Ladybug for the whole trip. Grenadine was my favorite for a long time - it's pinker than it seems here. The Wine and Roses was an attempt to break out of my true red addiction; it's quite corally. Unfortunately, it is also smeary, too thick feeling, and it smells just like watermelon Bubble Yum, which I despise. If I can smell my lipstick over my perfume, it's a problem for me. It's too bad, because the color is flattering. They don't make the Physician's Formula Vintage Wine glaze anymore. I love the blood red color, but not the strangely gritty texture. And the Besame Noir makes me feel incredible and sexy, but I haven't had a chance to wear it out of the house yet. New Orleans may be its world premiere.

I was going to show off my Monday outfit, but it's actually quite boring. The skirt I am wearing is a little too big (!) and the sweater I am wearing now seems too short proportionally. Oh, well. At least I am wearing knee socks and heels.

Okay, boys, you can come back in now! I promise next time I'll talk about something less gender-specific. Although that's pretty biased of me, isn't it? There really shouldn't be a reason make-up is gendered, except our own ridiculous societal expectations. Next time I'll try to bow less to the constructs of our culture, how's that?