Friday, May 31, 2013

hardcore 81

In 1981, my idea of “the cool girl” was a slightly overweight girl with messed up hair, who, to an outsider might have looked like an adorable homeless person. But she was no common homeless person. She might live in a squat but her style was as calculated as other cool girls across the land.

The hardcore sensibility was real mangy- shabby old clothes and messy, slightly dirty hair were the utmost. In the summer it was button down shirts with the sleeves pushed up, vintage pencil skirts or plaids and boots on our bare legs, ah new york summer. A bunch of the adolescent girls were pudgy, and wore baggy clothes that hid our bodies, olive drab and black sweaters, loose old man pants and overcoats in grays and greens with subtle plaids. In winter we added thermal underwear, flannel shirts, wool hats, wool coats, wool pants. Lots of layers. Black boots always, combat or motorcycle, the real issued stuff, no knock offs. I kept it real working class American, as did many of us. As I write about it I keep envisioning a J Crew line based on the Dorothea Lange dust bowl photos, yeah?

Looking back, the style was pretty amazing, but the music was so enraged. I suppose most of the kids on that early scene had trauma in their homes. To say all did would be a big assumption, indeed. Still we were all there, together, for a reason, yes? No one really talked about his or her reasons, not to me.

I remember that I really dug that there was this place, “the scene” where you could be so accepted and understood for what you were. I loved that were found each other, and could hang out in this group, even if some of us never even talked to others of us. The best part was you could look brilliant but you did not need to look pretty or show your body or do anything that you did not want to do. And at that time that was perfect for me.

Part of the arch of trauma and abuse is to get angry, gain weight and cover up, protect your self maybe? Later you might get promiscuous and take back your power, work shit out your way, yeah? Somewhere in their you could express yourself, make art. Then the path might come to a fork in the road- drugs and alcohol and some version of self-medication which can feel good, or the road less traveled, as they say, recovery and eventually peace and happiness, hmm? I hope everyone gets to the peace and happiness part, however their path.

All I know is that I quoted CRASS’s Berkertex Bribe in my private school high school yearbook, years ago. I used to know it by heart but forgot it long ago and had to goggle the lyrics (god bless the internet). I though CRASS to be brilliant motherfuckers, and I suppose they were…

To describe us as women, to describe us as men
To set out the rules of the ludicrous game
And it's played very carefully, a delicate balance
A masculine/feminine perfect alliance
Does the winner take all? What love in your grasping?
What vision is left and is anyone asking?

It is not easy to listen to those songs these days. I really appreciate them, though. It’s just that, man, I was furious. But I am not furious anymore. I am delightfully comfortable in my skin, happy to be alive and have good friends. Grateful for my past, the past that kept me alive till I got here. And thrilled to be here now……

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Prove it all night

I was djing one night and my ex was there with some friends. I think I broke up with him, I don’t even remember, but I still felt competitive. I still had so much to prove.

A bunch of drag queen pals came into the bar with an alpha dog, a tall muscular man with a motorcycle helmet.
“He likes you,” one of them told me.

His motorcycle was parked out front on the sidewalk. The bar was a few steps down from the sidewalk and when you looked up at the big glass window, you got a great view of the bike, the street lamps and the starry sky.

“Let’s go for a ride,” he said.

First of all, I was working. And second of all I was wearing a pink skintight sewed-on pencil skirt and some serious white patent platform shoes. But none of that stopped me. I asked one of my pals to play a few songs for my and, very aware that many people, mainly my ex, were watching us through that big window, I hiked the skirt up as high as I had to so that I could swing a leg over the bike seat and I held onto this stranger.

We drove around the neighborhood and I felt great but I was also aware that I am not a big motorcycle fan as far as the risks go. I was not dressed for even a tiny bang up, since i was pretty much in underwear and high heels. Ce la vie. The guy was good looking though not really my type. I forget his name. Still, I had so much to prove.

After a bit he brought me back and I continued my dj set all filled with confidence and adrenalin.

A few days later I went to his amazing apartment to see what might happen but he just played me a film that he was in that wasn’t very interesting and he talked about himself a lot. He had beautiful art on the walls and the ceilings were sky high. I was pretty bored but I stayed for a bit before I could excuse myself.

Things are not always what they seem, yes?
What other people thing about us is none of our business, yes?
It took me a while to learn that.
It took me a while to stop putting up a front.
It was a fun silly ridiculous, time consuming process but what process isn't. Enjoy the ride.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The first one through the wall always gets bloodied.

If you are the first to do something and it is hard, or you do not get credit, or you get credit but not financial gain, or others copy you and have more success and even take credit, or whatever, all I can say is go easy. Do not be bitter, just know you are a pioneer. Some one out there knows the truth and admires you. you did it first, that might be all you get, and that might have to be enough.
I think of Lemmy of Motorhead; Jack Johnson the first black heavyweight champion of the world; the subject of the film Moneyball; so many talented artists, musicians, actors, superstars; Obama; Marcia P Johnson; the first person in the family to change the dynamic; Jayne County: Wendy O. Williams; Susan b Anthony; the pregnant teenager who got arrested for refusing to give her seat to a white person, before Rosa parks did; the first ones to live in the dangerous neighborhoods that are now crazy expensive trendy neighborhoods; the trend setters who everyone copied; the ones who built the million dollar empires and got fired before the payoff; and on and on.
The first one through the wall always get bloodied. Man, you were the first one through the wall! I appreciate you. I see you. do not be bitter about the outcome. You did a great thing. You are in great company. You changed the world and sometimes that is all you get, no cash no prizes, just the experience. Some of you may get the cash and prizes too and some may do more great things. Thank you. Life is perfect. Life dances on.

i think i will put a fur song on here...Holly 1994

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

wade in the water

I was four or five and we were visiting some friends. We happened to be on a dock having a picnic and I was quite bored. I was eating my jelly sandwich, welch’s grape jelly on wonder bread, everything except the crust. I lay my face on the dock and peered down through the wooden slats to the water below. Then I pushed a piece of the left over crust through the slats and I could see some nice sized fish swim over and fight for the morsel. I did it again and got the same result. I giggled at the notion that I could attract fish so easily and my mind jumped with ideas.

So I got a paper cup and I took the rest of my sandwich off the dock and onto the shore. I waded in the shallow water in my bare feet with my bait in one hand and my cup in the other. I dropped in the bread and got ready to scoop. Man, those fish loved jelly sandwiches. But man, those fish were fast.

as you may have notice, i am unable to post sings here anymore, but i am posting the links so.....
TURN UP THE VOLUME, PEOPLE. Lets Wade in the Water ala Ramsey lewis Trio. the definition of cool

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


I lived a monetarily sheltered life for a long time. In the 1980’s our family still had a black and white TV. I had not been on airplane until I was 21. Later that same break out year I traveled across the country by car seeking to find a cinematic American road trip like in Easy Rider. I wore a brown suede jacket with mangled fringe, thrift shop mini skirts, and beat up steel-toed motorcycle boots. I had saved up $200 for the trip, which I carried in my pocket. It was 1987, but I didn’t care.

The trip opened up my whole world. I had never really been out of the urban tri-state area, other than a few days in Minneapolis and 2 weeks in a rural New Jersey campground one summer. America was stunning to me, the purple mountain majesty and the amber waves of grain. The sights were so rich, the endless stretch of flat fields and road and sky, happening upon a meadow of thousands of sunflowers, bison walking along the highway, unpopulated space. I was in awe. Oh the space the space the space. American was beautiful.

Living and sleeping in a small Korean car, I would bathe in rivers, places all over the map where there were no other people around for as far as the eye could see, only goats looking on. How wonderful and strange and life changing. My hair and skin were so healthy and beautiful, understanding the joy and freedom of nature. My spirit soared with joy and adventure. The land proved to be everything I had hoped for.

Every once in a while we would hit a major city and we would be reminded that this was not the cool Americana of 1960’s road trips. The cities were modern and the cars were ugly, unlike in a William Eggleston photograph. The romantic characters I had hoped to meet were nowhere to be found. We would struggle to find space and privacy and a safe spot to park and sleep.

The first thing we would do in every city was visit the supermarket and stock up on food. One afternoon, as we left a Winn Dixie in the heart of the south, an African American teenager walked up to me, got real close and said, “need to come?” It blew my mind that this kids hustled in the Winn Dixie parking lot in the broad daylight. I was too shocked to answer him. I wish that I had stopped to talk. I’d ask him how business was, who were his customers, tell me all about your life young man. He seemed to be the last remaining character from a bygone era.

After getting the feel of a city, checking out the sights and sounds, we would get back onto the open road. It always felt so much better outside the city limits, in the car, out in the big, free world. We would roll down the windows and turn up the stooges, and drive into the unknown night. Here is where it still felt like I imagined it did in days gone by, in my romantic notions about road tripping in America.

(songs don't post here anymore for some reason but if you feel like hearing what i thought of listening to when i wrote this, check out darkness on the edge of town