Thursday, April 30, 2015

3 weird things I experienced as a kid

sometimes I just want to write something quick and the subject at hand is overwhelming.   So lets just go easy to night.

3 weird things I experienced as a kid

1. Both of my grandparents lived in ghettos. We lived in a nice prewar one bedroom. Their apartment building hallways smelled like pee because people would pee under the stairs. I sometimes had to step over a drunk sleeping person to get up the stairs to one of the apartments. It was scary and confusing. They certainly gave their children better lives in whatever capacity they could.

2. Once our class was at some special mass during school time and when we received communion one girl threw up. She held the throw up from going on the floor with her hands over her mouth and the teachers or priests rushed her to the backstage area of the church to properly handle what to do with the throw up, which was holy throw up of the body and blood of Christ I guess. I often wondered what happened to that throw up. Later the priest came out and told us all what a good thing the girl had done, how she acted correctly. I was glad it was not me because I would not have been able to act correctly.

3. Once I was walking to grammar school, maybe second grade, alone. I do not know why I was not with my sister, but anyway… there conspicuously in the middle of the sidewalk was a dead chicken, with all of its feathers. I really cannot remember this part but it might have been stuffed with pennies, which was a santaria thing. Even if it wasn’t stuffed with pennies, it was so shocking, there on a new york city street, all shiny and colorful, and me alone with the corpse.

i am loving these girl:

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

breaking night

The first time I stayed up all night I was in sixth grade at my pal Sheila’s house. She had a party and invited a bunch of boys from public school and a couple from our Catholic school. The guys from the public school had lived a lot more. They were noticably different from the guys from our school. They danced much closer and just hung out much looser, and faster, all the things my mother had warned me about. They were really comfortable being there, even though they were the ones who we were all meeting for the first time. We were all gawking. They were really cool.
The only record Shelia had was a copy of her sister’s Best of Bread and for some reason we only played one side over and over and over never turning it over. “I’d like to make it with you” played a hundred times and expressed what was on all those young guys minds. They made that clear. The soft rock and low lights were classic. I was never at a party like that before. It really was my fist “grown up” party. At some point Sheila’s mom came home and made the guys leave.
When the guys left there was no way in hell we were going to be able to sleep. I was sleeping over with one other friend who eventually feel asleep. Sheila and I stayed up all night and talked a lot with her cool older sister. It was a hot summer night and we sat by the wide open window watching while the sun came up over  Broadway. I went home that morning and later passed out at the pool club on a beach chair and my mom got mad at me.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015


I came from a rough home, I suffered neglect, abandonment, economic deprivation, abuse, and I had very little access to emotional support. I was very alone and in pain. It was nobody’s fault. For generations my ancestors had suffered from issues ranging from sexual abuse to financial deprivation and lack of education opportunities. Many were petty criminals and addicts. No one had it easy. Everyone was doing the best they could.

My parents did their best with their limitations to give me a better life, but it was not enough. I was a good student, a shy invisible child, that was my coping device, that is what worked best. Secretly I made as much trouble as possible. I was great at being a bully when I could get away with it, stealing when I could get away with it, lying when I could get away with it and scamming when I could get a way with it. I had a knack to avoid getting caught. I seemed like such a good quiet kid, but my rage had to come out somewhere and it came our sideways. I just so happened to get in trouble for a million things I did not do, so to compensate, I became an expert in doing every bad thing I could think of and having a ball doing it, and not getting caught, I did not feel bad about any of it. My young mind thought about it this way: Stealing- they owed me; Lying- who cares, no one tells me the truth; Being Mean- as if anyone was kind or respectful to me; Trying, Dreaming or Caring was for suckers, I wasn’t going to get anything anyway, so why bother.  I was lying to Santa at 3 because only a fool wanted things and asked for them. My burden was a deep shame not about what I did, but so much deeper than that, about my very core, shame of just being Holly. Damage runs so deep.

So, as many of you know, I have spent my life working hard to recover from my traumas and recovering the innocent child that was erased. The great news is that once I started on that path, the entire universe supported me and loved me and parented me and taught me great lessons and facilitated my transformation which was gorgeous and a I have so much gratitude for. BUT, before I did that work, I was a criminal and I did not feel guilty, ever, I felt justified. And I admired social terrorists like the weather underground and people who tried to change the corrupt system with violence directed at the MAN. I was that person. I  understand 100% where that person is coming from. I am not and was not an animal, I do not and did not deserve to die, I was just doing what I was shaped by the forces in my life to do. I say that not as an excuse but with clarity and compassion for that child.  I was surviving and trying to make sense of a brutal unfair and abusive world. I never knew emotional safety. I did not know myself to be special, I did not have empathy for others because it is really hard to give what you never got, (even today it is hard to give what i never got, it is a conscious choice and it is hard work that I sometimes fail at). I was just a kid trying to cope and that kid becomes 15, 19, 21, 25 and nothing changes so I was still using those coping devices. That is the simple version and the truth.

That being said, I pray for this country and for the communities that are suffering right now. I send love to those who feel abandoned and unloved, neglected and abused, treated unfairly and disrespected. I pray for our police too. I understand every bit of what is going on and I do not have an answer or a fix. For me it was a long personal journey to heal and to stop hurting myself and others. All I can say is please stop judging, please pray to open your heart and find empathy, please join me in praying for a solution, for healing, for peace. All I know is that I am no better than anyone. That’s all I got tonight.

Monday, April 27, 2015


Let’s celebrate one of the great Puerto Ricans of New York, Willie Colon, New York born. They differentiate the New York born as Nuyorican, as opposed to the Puerto Rican born Boricuas, but it is all the same to me, la familia.

Like my punk rock teenage boyfriend, and so many of those possessed, Willie was playing in a band at 14. He could not help it, it was in his blood,  I get it. He recorded his first record at 16 and 17. 

Yep, in the early 60’s you could go to the American Legion Hall on 16o-something Street in the Bronx and see the real deal happening before your eyes, or hire them cheap to play your wedding. Willie was the trombone player and bandleader and everyone in the band was around sixteen. The older guy in the band was 19 or 20. Remember how a nineteen year old was soooo old when you were sixteen, light years away, babies.

Willie brought the Boogaloo sound to Salsa and is credited as selling more than 30 million records world wide, holding the record for the Salsa sound. He is also a political activist including being the first minority to serve on the ASCAP board and was a member of the Latino Commission on AIDS, god bless him.

The guy has been making and producing music for almost fifty years. I am always blown away by people who know exactly what they are here to do and just do it. I have yet to figure out what I am supposed to do so I just keep following my heart and trying it all. Ah, depth and span, both are great, but that is a conversation for another day.

Anyway, when I listen to the first album, El Malo, it sounds so good it hurt. This is the music of my childhood Sundays at my grandparents, and it is the crème of the crop. The sound, the groove, the production, the voice, the words, the language, the rhythm, ohhh, ohhh, ohhh, delicious and gorgeous. God Bless teenage bands and longevity. God bless New York and the Puerto Ricans. God bless Willie Colon! It really does not get any better than this, now I gotta go dance, see you tomorrow….

Sunday, April 26, 2015

a guy in the 70's

One time a guy with a cool American 70’s car hit on me and my girlfriend. We were in 9th or 10th grade, around 14, maybe 15 and he was probably 20. We were hanging out and he stopped his car, double parked it, and talked to us. He stayed in the car and we were by the curb. I had on high heels and tons of eyeliner and purple pointed eyeshadow. He was good looking and cool in a Bronx sort of way, long-ish hair, jeans, sneakers, old school, not down with the new sounds and styles. Not a guy who was on the new wave, taking risks, trying out new stuff, which could go either way, from great to terrible. He was just familiar, comfortable. Not scary to me then, but obviously he was walking in a grey area.

He talked with us for a while about nothing. like kids do. He was more into her than me. He said that I was too pretty to wear all that make-up, which was such a turn off, since he clearly he did not get what I was going for and did not appreciate my style. Then he offered to give us a ride home. We were less than 2 blocks away from where we were going but we got into his car. I got into the backseat, she got into the front. It never occurred to me for a second not to get in.

He indeed drove us the 2 blocks to our destination. I climbed out first. He lingered a bit saying goodbye to my friend. They might have even kissed or exchanged numbers. I would have done the same if it was me he had liked. That’s how you did things in broad daylight with complete strangers. How else was life going to get interesting? Happily, I lived through those years.

I knew this bass player from when she was a baby, yep. The future is bright.

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:

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Down with Lame Lovers!

Sex, hmmm, oh hell, it is record store day, so here goes, just another side of me... (warning: adult content)

My First recording, Sex Drive, was released as a 7” by Sympathy for the Record Industry, how cool is that? For you youngsters, a 7” was a single, a 45, a small vinyl disc called a record that you played on a record player that often had only two songs on it, one on the A side and one on the B side.

The song on the A side, Sex Drive, was a celebration of the joy of attraction. The B side of my first single was a song called I’m Not Coming. It was a severely underappreciated feminist anthem about having sex with someone who did not understand the fine art of lovemaking and did not reciprocate an orgasm. Yep, I’m going there today. I only had silly partners like that twice if I am remembering correctly, all the others knew better. One of those two poor fools who did not do the right thing got this angry song written about him. “I know one thing you can’t do,” brutal, but someone had to write a brutal song about selfish partners, and yes, if not me then who?

My mission at the time was to bring orgasm equality awareness to the masses of women who might have accepted lame partners. We were young, not everyone knew how to have everything they were entitled to. I wanted to help spread the word with some rage and fury and guitar and a bit of humor.

The thing that is of interest to me is that no one ever really mentioned the song contents to me. No one ever wrote about it or talked about it. Was it because the music industry writer were mostly guys and they did not want to tackle the scary subject? Was it because so many of our fans were gay and did not have to deal with such bullshit? I have no idea. It was only my smart cousin Tommy, god rest his cool and beautiful soul, who read the title and said to me, “That song is about not coming? Like in sex?” I said yes and we both cracked up laughing.

Anyway, looking back at my wildly misspent youth, I thought I would give the song some props on record store day. I wrote it and played guitar and sang it, and man can i hear the Black Flag and plazmatics influences. Here are the words for your enjoyment (the mistake I am referring to is choosing him as a partner). …Read it and weep, suckas.

“I’m not coming baby not coming. We all make mistakes sometimes. You’ll never get me there and I not even gonna try, till I’m alone, You wanna be seen, you wish you liked me, but baby, I can tell, I can see…

I’m not coming baby not coming cause you’re a drag in bed, You know you gotta leave and I don’t even want your head, oh no. You wanna be seen, you wanna know me, but baby you don’t even know yourself…

Sometimes I just need to get off…..You wanna show me that you know me, but baby you don’t even know yourself…

I’m not coming baby not coming. I’m going, going, going with out you. You can talk and use my word, but I know one thing you can’t do. You can't cheat it, cheat your emotions, and baby I don't see what's in it for you."

Viva la revolutione!

Happy Record Store Day! Rock on. There were lines outside all my fav record stores in los angeles today. Thank you for supporting music and vinyl and all the great people who still sell vinyl. Sorry but this song is only available on itunes.

wade in the water

I woke up after going to the Replacements and kept my daughter home from school so I could take her to Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre at the Dorothy Chandler Pavillion.

My daughter is part African American and I think of us as both belonging to a brown skinned minority since I am part Puerto Rican. I am very conscious about giving her great role models and showing her all aspects of her cultural heritage.

I am sick of seeing the token second class citizen black person in films and books and shows. There are so many children’s books that include black characters who are just slightly less cool or pretty than the main character. It is so tiring. Do I have to start writing and illustrating children’s books? Just make them equal, at least.

Well at Alvin Ailey the coolest beautifulest dancer is brown and center stage. There are plenty of stunning brown stars on the stage doing the most beautiful movement. I wanted my daughter to have that experince and she got it. We got it together and our minds were blown. We got to sit in seats that cost hundreds of dollars and be treated to divine performance. We are both so lucky. She twirled like a ballerina all the rest of the day and I felt saturated in art, culture and inspiration. Thank you Alvin Ailey for your vision and your gift to us all. Thank you dancers for a great show.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

the replacements and me

A million things have happened in the last 24 hours. So cool and exciting and fun. I will start with the Replacements.

Right before the show I was dreading it. I was tired and wanted to just get a good night sleep. I had a super busy next day and was going to be in trouble without sleep. Also, I remembered that I was never crazy about the band. They are great, but their sound does not match the sound I love love love, does not align with the vibes that gives me joy, does not vibrate on the wavelength that floats my silly boat.  I could not remember why I bought that $69 ticket.…

Then I remembered that I wanted to see them because I wanted to follow Paul Westerberg. I just wanted to support him. I am weird about music and experience it in a way that is probably different from most people. I had seen Paul solo in New York in the late 90’s I think, at Irving Plaza, and during the set he started to cry. It wasn’t a big deal, he just teared up and sang through it and I think he sat in awe a bit when the song was done. That is my memory of the night. And I so related to him and his being moved to emotion during his set. I suppose I put my own meaning on it, since I have no idea what was going on for him, but it made me feel empathy for him and his process. I know he struggles with being in a band and touring and having a family and so many things and I just wanted to see where he was at and support him by being there. I have never really felt that way about a show/band/person in music and think it very strange. But I felt drawn to go.

What came up for me while watching the band was so very many things. While I love a few of the replacements songs, they really are a guy’s band. The audience was 90% male and 90% of that 90% were die-hard fans who knew every word and loved everything the guys did. I remember seeing them at Danceteria and a few other show as a teen or in my very early twenties. My boyfriend and his friends, guys, were so into them. I was really transported back to that time in college and “college music,” what they called indie bands back then.

I had stopped gong to see hardcore shows in 1984. I had been part of the first wave and that scene was over. Then there was a period of not fitting in so I checked out “new music” and to find out what I liked. Listening to the Replacements iconic sound brought me back to the smells and clothes and people of that specific time I had just written about,, college and boyfriends and open relationships and bands, a time when that was all that mattered.

Standing there watching the show, a die hard male fan so very kindly motioned for me to stand in front of him because I was shorter than him and he wanted everyone to get to see it, so cool. So I had a perfect view and so many emotions and experiences washed over me and passed before my eyes. The band was ok and my experience was so f*ing deep, man.

They did Androgynous, which is amazing, and more and more feelings and memories came back to me. This band was such a big part of my youth whether I loved their songs or not and I was not going to fight that. I felt everything from rage to bliss and everything in between.  The set progressed and by the time they did Bastards of Young I felt the absolute swell of love in the room, love, everyone there loved these guys, and it moved me to tears. As I write this I am very aware and still in awe of how strange my experience was. After that I was completely elevated by the music. I was in total transcendence. The band, the songs, the show, it was all amazing. I left understanding the power of music and was so grateful that this band played this show for me and us. Wow.

Oh, and my cell phone died and I had watched the show alone, separated from my ride home. So I trusted my sixth sense and just allowed myself to be ok, like I would have been back in college, at a show, knowing I would find my people, no worries. And low and behold, sixth sense found brought us together and I was home in time to get 8 hours sleep, perfect and ridiculous.