Saturday, April 25, 2015

Lydia Lunch and me

Oh Lydia, we used to run inthe same circles. I would see you everywhere, all over the downtown art noise scene with Nick Zed and Beth B and everyone. I saw you read a rape story at Danceteria. You did a reading at a show somewhere James Chance was playing and you had a woman as your security guard holding a baseball bat. You were scary. You had so much presence. 

Then one day I was working as a perfume model in Macy's. My boyfriend's aunt got me the gig for the holidays. I felt so silly and out of place in my black turtle neck with my damaged platinum hair that I tried to smooth down and my heavy black eyeliner. The  ladies that worked with there did not know what to do with me. They  suggested I put on some blush and lipstick! How vulgar and hideous and embarrassing. Then I saw you walking down the isle, Christmas shopping! It wrecked me to think that scary Lydia Lunch Christmas shopped at Macy's, how utterly common and human.

Oh how the boys loved you! My band Fur used to cover the Dead Boys song about you, I Need Lunch. It was the epitome of punk attitude and just an act of rage to scream into the mic. My then boyfriend Phil was your friend and you came to see him and my band was playing and we were introduced and I told you we covered the song. I said I never thought of you when we did it, but now I would. I didn't know that else to say. I was nervous. You were so approachable, not in character, not scary, not much bigger than little old me. You  were nice, how different then I expected. 

Later you were in a documentary type film with some of my gang. You did a sex scene on camera with a friend of mine, where she talked about her fantasy. She was a sex worker with a heart of gold, a classy classic. You once again were larger than life and scary in you  shutdown fearlessness. That was decades ago.

I used to live in a world so close to you, you were my norm. Over time I have moved further and further way from that world and still your name comes up now and again amongst my old friends. You are a larger than life legend and powerhouse, a force to be reckoned with, just not by me. But you are still doing it and doing it your way, courageous and admirable in all your raging glory.

Friday, April 24, 2015

this post aint about rock and roll, it's about genocide

Today is the 100 year anniversary of the brutal Armenian genocide. Between 800,000 and 1.5 million people were systematically killed in their homeland by the Ottoman government. I had no idea until today about the events that were as brutal as the Holocaust but not as recognized. Today there was march in Hollywood for recognition. I was thrilled to see so many people turning out for the march. What strong people, to survive near extermination, and to persevere. I happened to love at least one Armenian person and am so glad that they are alive and in the world and in my life.

Because of the march traffic in Hollywood was a nightmare. It took me an hour to get to my daily stop at the Y, which usually takes 15 minutes. Then when I got there they said that the Y was closed because of a gas leak. I really needed to work out and felt really disappointed about how my day was turning out but I really felt the spirit of the marchers and somehow I let go of my petty stuff and remembered to allow life to be, to be great and beautiful and strong and alive and happy. So I went for a walk.

I had been wanting to go to the march to support the Armenian cause because I want to support all people, not just “my’ people.  So as fate would have it I wound up strolling along the march and mixed with all the folk. It was great to see all the generations of people there to seek recognition and honor the dead. After a bit I went back to the Y and it was opened and I went in. There were a lot of people complaining about how much turmoil the city was in because of the event. I could have easily been on of those people and I was so grateful to remember to engage in the world empathetically. It felt so good, not because I am a good person, but because I have lived in the loneliness and anger and isolation of fighting for me me me and have worked to live in community and attempt to practice empathy instead. Make space for everyone. There is enough to go around. I write this to remind myself.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Two of the best times of my life growing up (part II, Summer of Sam)

Alas, The other best time of my life growing up was my summer at the Pineforrest campground in New Jersey. For some reason, my aunt Carol took me and my sister for 2 weeks without my parents and it was the indeed the second most amazing time of my youth. It was the summer before 6th grade, and the Summer of Sam, when Son of Sam, David Berkowitz, was terrorizing New York City.

Pineforrest was an institution in our extended family. My Aunt Vera and her family spent their summers there and other relatives as well. For some reason, my dad drove me and my sister down to South Jersey that summer and left us there. We stayed in a cabin with my Aunt Carol and my cousin Kathy, and sometimes Tommy I think, and my grandmother. Again, I was in that special time of life where everything gets retained, adolescence, when your brain is so open and porous. This is what I remember.

The water smelled like eggs and it rained for the entire time. My grandmother Nanny explained that it would indeed rain for 40 days because the Pope died or maybe she wondered if the pope died since it had rained for 40  days.

I was asked to wash the dishes one night and me and a friend to threw them away instead.

I came and went as I wanted and no one bugged me, which was beautiful. I spent the days running wild and free, unsupervised, barefoot, and thrilled, catching baby frogs with my hands, swimming in the eggy lake and just having fun. I stayed out late each night with the older kids listening to songs on the jukebox with a soundtrack limited to Clapton’s “You Look Wonderful Tonight” and Ram Jam’s “Black Betty”.  We would just hang out till late in the cool night air. One night it started pouring on us and we were all running top speed in the black night to get some cover and my legs hit a fence, mid thigh, and I was catapulted into the air. I did not want to be left alone in the night so I put out my arms and managed some gymnastic flip as my legs flew over my head and back down to the ground and I kept running with the pack. I always kept up with the gang.

I got a crush on an older guy, he was probably 3 or 4 grades older than me. I forget his name. He noticed that I liked him and explained to me that I was just a kid, which was the most devastating rejection of my life.

One night we went “drinking”, which meant drinking Rolling Rocks by the river. I tried to get through one, and was not loving it. But it was great to be included. I loved feeling part of a gang and included.

I slept in a triple bunk bed and banged my head each morning when I sat up.

Lastly, Aunt Vera and her husband Gerard very generously took us to Atlantic City when it was still an amusement park type boardwalk. (Thank you both!) We went under the water in a diving bell and got scared when they acted like there was trouble getting us back up. We saw a woman turn into an ape and break free and charge the crowd, and we all ran out of the venue like we were supposed to. We went on rides and ate ice cream and waffles and really lived it up, which I never really did in real life back home. Everything was so magical. Incidentally, The Daily News front page that day was the sketch of Son of Sam and it was everywhere we looked.

At some point my father picked us up and I cried as we drove back home. Again it was the generosity of my Aunt Carol who agreed to watch us which made it all possible. Thanks again Aunt Carol. I miss you and love you. xHolly

(Almost two weeks ago I wrote about the TWO of the best times of my life growing up. I got through the first story
and promised to finish the second the next day only to get distracted with current events.)

Then there was this:

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

memories of being 4 or 5

I remember my socks slipping off of my heels and bunching up in my winter boots up near my toes, while my heels got really cold.

I remember elastic around my waist and straps under my chin making me feel nauseated.

I remember the smell of my walkie-talkie and sound of the red Morse code button.

I remember the lavender button on some musical toy we had, like a piano horn or something. I remember loving the color as much as I loved the sound of the word lavender.

I remember playing with my mom and sister and every so often running into the other room and cutting of chunks of my hair because it was fun. I came back to play several times before my mom noticed and got mad. Then I had to get a really short boy haircut. I was a flower girl in my cousin Diane’s wedding and I wore a long white dress and I heard people whisper that I looked like a boy as I walked down the isle. I was not upset, but it seemed like a lot of other people were.

I remember my aunt Carol telling a story about how her dog Pepper was barking on Christmas Eve because Santa was coming in the house. She was telling it to other adults, not to kids to trick them. I held that as proof that Santa was real while all the older kids said he was not.

I remember very specifically the lady with the New Jersey accent saying over the loudspeaker at the lake we used to go to in Fairlawn New Jersey, “The girl in the red bathing suit, move away from where the water comes in.” Part of her job was to keep people away from that specific part of the man made lake.

Oh, I remember many things from Fairlawn, another clear as day memory was my cousin Karen in a gold lame bikini dancing to Age of Aquarius by the juke box as we all tried to learn the dance.

Oh and the time we went into an old screened off picnic table area and we found rotten food with maggots and my cousin Kathy held me up to see the maggots but I could not see them, I did not know what maggots were or what I was looking for. She asked me if I saw them and I said yes.

And how could I forget leaving Fairlawn and driving past Holly’s Chicken in a Basket, with the vertical neon sign that said my name, the only place in the world that said my name, and how the letters would light up one at a time and then all together to spell
and then the chicken in the basket would light up as well. Oh, how I longed to go there, but we never did.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

I love Louie

Louie CK, I love you.  I mean your show and your work, but how can I love that and not love you, in a way? Your work is amazing. In the past you blew my mind with the Joan Rivers episode and her monologue about working in the entertainment business. And then you had sex with her. You made me jump up and down with joy and laughter with the Melissa Leo episode. You are so funny and cool and smart.

But now in season 4 you have taken it to new heights. The Into The Woods episodes part I and II are more like a brilliant indie film than a brilliant tv show. You work has no boundaries, you are setting a new bar for tv and artists. You are doing what every artist dreams of, doing exactly what you fell like, or so it seems. On top of being a mind blowing gorgeously told and acted and directed story, full of humor and truth and empathy, you go on to end it with a therapist lovingly telling a kid that the kid is not a bad person, that he just made bad choices and that he made those choices for good reasons, and that he just needs to make better choices and then you fade to black and dedicate it to Philip Hoffman. How empathetic and classy and beautiful. I am in awe. I am in awe.

That episode also happened to be filmed in Cardinal Spellman, the catholic high school that I attended for 2 years before being kicked out for being “punk.” So it was even more personal and perfect.

I am thrilled that you exist as a creative force in this world. Thank you !!

Monday, April 20, 2015

public school

my parents sent me to catholic school not because they were religious but because it was the better than the public schools of upper manhattan in the 1970’s where kids apparently stole the shoes off of your feet if they wanted them. That’s what they told me anyway. I did ok in catholic grammar school but by high school I could not deal so I went to private school on scolarship for my last two years of school. I am that person, the one who cannot deal with the bullshit of the real world. I have never been good at it and still am not and now I am sending my daughter to public school in an attempt to have her socialize with a diverse crowd of regular kids. I love the idea but…

Registration scared me to death, it was petrifying. It wasn’t even registration, it was going in to get the registration packet. I started out to do it 4 times only to find I did not have the proper papers. First I went empty handed to pick up a registration pack, only to find out that I needed a million documents to be allowed to have a registration pack. Then I kept having to go home and gather more things. When the week was over, I finally got myself together enough to get there and I managed to get home with a registration pack. I also had to call three different people to make sure I wasn’t blowing my chance to register by taking so long. I would not have been able to do it any faster but I still needed to check in and get advice and support-JUST TO GET A REGISTRATION PACK!

Oh man, I am going to public school (as a mom). I am not cut out for handling burocratic red tape and all that goes with public school. But here I am, showing up. When I finally got the packet I saw that I was number 16, that only 16 families had picked it up yet, which gave me hope that I am not doing as bad as it feels like I am doing.

Today we went and got a chicken pox vaccine because she is not allowed in without one. Whatever it takes. Whatever.

Anyway, I do not really have a choice, private school for two kids k-12 cost approximately $80,000 give or take $20,000, so there you have it, we are going to los angeles public school, lausd. It is going to be great. Wish me luck.

What is even more amazing is that my Catholic High school, Cardinal Spellman was the set location for Louie season 4 episodes 50 and 51 Into The Woods, which is mindblowing. Go watch it now if you want to have your mind blown. More on that tomorrow....

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Ramos without the M

I travel in many circles. I think I am the only person on the planet who has experienced all of -going to the Academy Awards and hanging out in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion Founder’s Room and seeing bands at A7 and having a sound bath in the Integretron in Landers and having my band play in Prague. Come on! Still there is so much I do not know about, so many secrets. I love fining out about them, being invited in without even asking, seeing things that only certain people get to see without even trying. I just happened to do it once again last night.

Until yesterday I had never even heard of Raos the legendary nyc restaurant that you cannot get reservations to unless you are someone who they call once a year to tell you the dates you are coming, whether you are free or not. Hmmm. I also did not know there was one here in los angeles till I was brought there last night.

Now I have dined at Raos with the best of them. Can I just say that the food was excellent, as you would expect, but the scene was even better. There are all kinds of celebrity sighting going on, but somehow even in los angeles, the vibe was straight outta Good Fellas, except friendlier, not scary at all, but maybe could be if something happened to necessitate that. I am being playful here, but basically the place is full of true new york characters of the best kind. All of the waiters have real new york accents and so does the majority of the crowd. Where did these people come from? Who flew them in just for my visit? It was brilliant and beautiful.

Word has it that Mia Farrow based her Broadway Danny Rose character on one of the Raos family members. A photo of a blonde older woman in big sunglasses hangs on the wall amidst the slew of autographed celebrity headshots and it indeed looks like Farrow’s Tina. It makes sense since Woody and Mia went to the ny Raos all the time. Man I love being invited into all the cool spots. Thank you lovely people at Raos and thanks Karen and David for hosting me.

Did I mention that the jukebox played all the 1960’s classic you’d hear on CBS101? Including this one, oh hell yeah: