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the friday cinco 16 – nostalghia [the new big thing]

as mentioned in the previous interview, the minute Ciscandra and Roy – known to tens of thousands as Nostalghia – walked in the door of my friend’s apartment in West Los Angeles, I knew they were put here to be one of those bright, bright stars that keep us up at night thinking about everything.

in fact, I even called it -’The Next Big Thing’, I believe I wrote.

and 15 months later, they are.

so amazing have they both become [were always amazing, but somehow became even more so], that I’m cutting this South America trip short by a few weeks, just so I can see them perform on March 16th. if you’re anywhere in/around the area, it’s a show not to be missed.

in fact, I’m going to structure this interview a bit out of order so you can see what I’m talking about… this – their debut video. and oh my god, will it give you chills.

as soon as I saw this, I begged them for another interview:

[start]

right – before we get to anything else, let’s talk about what went on with your mother earlier on in the year [it was your mother, correct? if father, 1000 apologies, I just remember seeing the post]…

Ciscandra: Mother/Father, same thing. But for technicalities sake, Father. He’s been battling Lymphoma most of my life, quite a trooper. He is currently and OFFICIALLY Cancer free, which is incredibly remarkable and exciting for my family. Experimental drugs, I suppose sometimes they come through, but really, I think it’s based in mindset. He stays positive, it doesn’t weigh him down. I love him for that, I admire it.

did this affect any of your writing, music, art? his battle with it… his beating it?

Ciscandra: I would assume so. It produced fear. Fear makes me uncomfortable. Being uncomfortable makes me write.

Nostalghia – Drug Lord

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okay, soooooo – how do I put this other than saying: what a fucking year for you all! take us through it… however you want to. the ups the downs, what it’s like to actually make it as a band. I mean, from 200 fans on Facebook to 20,000+? seriously…

Ciscandra: At this point, I’m so tunnel vision, I don’t even know what my definition of “making it” is. I mean, I know what I want, it’s pretty simple and defined, but, my premonition is that, when I get there, I’ll be onto the next. I do try my best to digest the landmarks, feel them/taste them/love them, but, I’ve got too much to do to drink a mimosa. I suppose gin is a better shot to the heart, if you’ve got to shoot. But. Okay. You’ve caught me. YES, I’m fucking excited. AHHHHHH!

Roy: It’s interesting really, it can be difficult sometimes to take in small victories.  It feels most of the time that we have simply kicked the can further down the road.  But when you look back at where it all began, you (and the can) are a long way from the start line.  It’s definitely been an exciting year.  A lot more ups than downs.  But I hadn’t realized that we “made it” until you asked me how it feels… It makes me feel like it’s time to kick the can again.

but, c’mon – this many fans. the live show response. interviews from all over. a play on KCRW… there had to have been a moment when you looked over at each other and said ‘fuck… we’ve really done something here.’

Roy: Well, we are very encouraged by the reactions we have been getting, yes.  And we have toasted a few moments with a glass of wine or two.  But really, we feel like we are just getting started.

let’s talk about your best show this past year – which one would it be?

Ciscandra: The last two. I like to touch the audience, literally, shoulder to shoulder. Sometimes, I stand beside them, and sing with them, at the band. It’s ironic, it feels wholesome, it might even be uncomfortable.

Roy: Probably the last one, or the next one… depending on how you look at it.  We are always trying to make our live shows better and a more engulfing experience.  We have been a lot more selective of locations lately….art galleries, creative spaces and outdoors.  Ciscandra likes to (or more accurately, needs to) feel connected to the crowd.  Places where she can walk into the audience are best.  She will often ask the crowd to come join her on stage.  Those moments are magical.

when you do walk into a crowd, are you giving? or are you getting? I mean… it’s not a James Taylor show where everyone knows the words and stuff. yours is haunting gorgeous poetry, your words are ones we wish we could write, but can’t. Roy’s music is the kind we wish we could play, but are unable… so where’s the connection? do they feel you? do you need them?

Ciscandra: Both. It’s cyclical. A good show understands the benefit of circular energy. If I’m constantly giving to a deadened crowd, my frequency will eventually, naturally drop. All art is a two-way street. The receiver can be a friend, or an enemy, but not a sleeping giant. For Los Angeles, I’m relatively surprised how many attentive eyes we have gotten, as I think most are looking to forget rather than re-member.

Roy: It feels amazing at live shows.  When we are in the studio writing, typically Ciscandra will show me a new song she wrote, then together we will obsessively orchestrate the instrumentation, paying close attention to every detail.  During that process we are in a vacuum, a creative bubble.  All that goes away at live shows.  At really good shows, it feels as if everyone in the room is connected and breathing as one.

Nostalghia – Homeostasis Got My Gun

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your and Roy’s minds work differently than others…. than most, actually. so does suddenly having a shit-ton of people singing along to the words inside your head freak you out a bit? or is it cathartic?

Ciscandra: Solid blend of the two; trance-like AND freaky as shit. Funny Story: A few gigs ago, a rapper (not just any rapper, I’m talkin’ down and dirty, nitty gritty, hoes in different area codes, sort of rapper) was singing the words to “You + I” [authors note - one of my favorites] front row and center, proud and pure. I can’t remember if it made me cry, or drink Tequila.

your audience must be – has to be – one of the most diverse around. who/what did you see at your last show… besides the gangsta?

Ciscandra: It’s hard for me to see specific people when I play. I see an amoeba, a very colorful amoeba.

let’s get back to FB for a second – how important has social media been in your alls ridiculously fast rise?

Roy: What’s great about Facebook is that it is exponential.  If you are doing something that people like, they tell others about you, and they tell others… and you end up connecting with a lot of people that you never could on your own without it.  But like MySpace, it most likely will not be around forever.  So it is important not to come to depend on social media as your only way to connect to your fans.  But, yes.  It has helped a lot.  Dare I say… I Like it…  ehhh, sorry….

take us through a day of Cisandra’s. and then take us through a day of Roy’s.

Ciscandra: Solitude, Coffee, Garlic Capsules, Vegan Cheese, Staring out my window, Thinking, Staring at shampoo bottles, Writing, Weird-ing myself out, Somehow magically cutting myself, Rubbing Alcohol, Piano, Guitar, Playing too hard on the guitar bleeding again, More Rubbing Alcohol, Thinking, Talking to people I don’t know and will never know, More Vegan Cheese, Making faces at myself while staring at my window, Writing, Realizing I don’t have a retirement plan, Not caring that I don’t have a retirement plan, Gin.

Roy: Wake up, Shower, Coffee, Listen to yesterday’s recordings, Delete what sounds bad, Work on what sounds good, Eat some veggies, Back to the recording studio, Then to the rehearsal studio for obsessive programming, Rehearse, Back to the recording studio, Listen to today’s recordings, Delete what sounds bad, Work on what sounds good, Wine.

nice. okay – there’s also a rumor of a few things… 1] Budapest this summer and 2] something about Nostalghia – The Opera?!

Roy: Yes, I heard that rumor too!  heh.  There are talks of a summer-long “cirque” style theater show in Budapest called “Nostalghia”.  We would perform the show in one of the government theaters 5 or 6 nights a week.  …(insert can kick here.)

Ciscandra: *zips mouth* *winks*

oh, now – c’mon. that’s mean. let’s at least theorize here… if – if – there was to be a Nostalghia-val [I've patented that, btw - big bucks], what would be going on there? performing art? snake healers? and a ton of elephants?

Ciscandra: Think Salvador Dali, meets Tim Burton, falls in love, procreates, births Alexander Mcqueen, fin. It’s a love story, aren’t they all?

okay – to the video. how in the world did you find a director who could almost see inside your alls heads? this guy seems to have known you both since birth.

Ciscandra: Roy knew John through a shared circle of people. He came to a few shows, was into it, made an offering (no animals were harmed), and within two days we shot it. It was a charm to work with him, a professional without a doubt. We may be collaborating on a second one in the not so distant future, if it’s in the stars.

I can promise that I’m not the only one who wanted to see it go on for another 5 minutes… kudos to John. let’s talk about ‘making the video’, as there’s some pretty funky scenes, outfits, effects…

Roy: I got to rub motor-oil saturated dirt from the parking lot of a downtown Los Angeles warehouse all over me.  Good times!

Ciscandra: Designer Maggie Barry and I collaborated on one outfit, the other of which I put together myself the night before.

you all are always talking about what’s next, evolving, etc. any hints about the next video? ideas? secrets? and if you haven’t already been approached to score a film, that can’t be too far away, can it? one look at your website tells us while we might not know where you’re headed, it’s definitely going somewhere far…

Ciscandra: Truly we haven’t budded any thoughts on the next, yet. I would like to create something in simplicity, less elaborate, a bit more raw. I think it’s good to have a blend of both. Elaborate is great, but if you can’t strip it down to the bare bone, you aren’t working with much. I would assume we would choose a more “precious” song. That’s what they call them. Precious. I never knew I was precious.

Nostalghia – Sue, I Cide With You

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best compliment you’ve gotten in the past few months?

Ciscandra: From my mother. She told me she now accepts that I’ll never properly close the Orange Juice bottle. I believe she even called it “cute.” If you knew how serious she was about closing bottles, you would understand the greatness of this. I suppose I’m going to have to let go of my teenage angst now, I’ll miss you hormonal imbalance.

tell us about this upcoming show. details. location. etc.

Ciscandra: March 16th! I’m excited about this one. We will be transforming the space. The place itself is already incredible though, HM 157 in Los Angeles. They deem it the “Church Of Fashion,” it’s a historical house, pitted, and made into a beautiful venue.

where do you stand on people taking videos, audio at a live show?

Ciscandra: I, personally, don’t like it much. I think it is more important to experience the show, through your own lens. Live video really can’t capture that. And photo snapping takes me out. But, with that said, I would never get angry at an audience member for partaking in the natural progression of technology. I’d just ask that they don’t spent the entire show doing so.

what can people expect to take away from it?

Ciscandra: My soul. Please somebody take it.

let’s talk about your  and Roy’s art – is it music or this that is your escape? do they work together? or are they separate pieces of you?

Ciscandra: I paint when I have nothing to say. There is an art to shutting up.

Roy: I’m actually colorblind.  But for some reason I find myself painting on occasion.  I really have no idea what other people see when they look at my paintings.  But that’s not really the point, is it?

and what can we expect from Nostalghia this year?

Ciscandra: No expectations, you’re going to give me a panic attack. Just hopes. Hope that this album we are working on comes out in 2012. Hope that I am forever indebted to give you all of me, always, raw, ugly, pretty, and real. Hope that a large tour is in place, to share moments with muted audiences, perfect compilations of silence and sound. Hope that I find my keys, so I can safely return to the mother ship. And then take all that hoping, and turn it into belief. Belief is a beautiful thing, you know.

well, kids – I know you’re busy. thanks for taking the time. this time next year [let's make this a thing, shall we? our once-a-year catch-up]. I have no doubt though that by then, I’ll be speaking to your publicist. but having met you both, drank with you both, followed you both, and listened to your album many, many times on many, many long bus rides around South America, I just want to tell you how proud I am. and how excited I am to see you all next week in LA!

Ciscandra: Thank you! We love you Aric! Oh and, I want to read your book, where can I get a copy?

Roy: Thank you Aric.  Cheers!

you betcha. shall bring a book with me to LA… see you in a week!

[end]

crystals.

[hit play before reading. it works better that way.]

[ryan adams - 'la cienega just smiled']

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I stood there, on that terrace, for one final cigarette.

it was a quiet one, and maybe that’s what seemed strange, as it was this spot that had loudly set the stage for the past 5 night’s worth of a million.

see, sometimes you stumble upon a magical place. and sometimes you find magical people. but rarely do the two ever show up at the same time. but sometimes they do. and when they do, and when the podium is set upon a hundred used wine bottles from the vineyards you can see just past the fishing boats from where we would sit night-after-night, opening one-after-another, it becomes something more than just ‘a few people who met while traveling’.

if I’m being honest, my heart hurt a little bit this afternoon when I was taken to the bus station by the hostel owner. I’m glad his wife wasn’t there to hug me by or I might have fought back a tear. or maybe I wouldn’t have fought it back at all.

but there was something about this place.

there were a lot of us, but there were 4 of us. the ones that would stay up the latest, finish the most wine, tell the naughtiest jokes. maybe we ran some people off, and that’s okay. at times the 4 of us were more than 4. we had our different sides that would come out at different times. and with that much carmenere, with that much sauvignon blanc, it wasn’t always clear who we were talking to.

but that’s not what mattered. what mattered was that at any given time, those 4 – or 8 – possibly even 12 – people got on.

and got on well.

my cigarette halfway finished, tar and melancholy combined for a heart heavy to say goodbye to our ritual. a nightly debauchery of our perverse quartet.

the first – a man conflicted in his own transitions, transitioning through his own conflicts – wanting to take as much as he could out of his unique position, but at the same time fighting the tranquility of where he found. then there were the two – a ying and yang with loud Adelaide accents. one spent too much time on her empanadas when she should have been prepping the dinner, over-thinking snacks when it was the stock she should have been starting. the other had a new life, a new destination and a new plan each new day – this idea and that dream, this possibility and that reality. I bought her a box of gum, ’cause I was sad to her leave. she didn’t say ‘thanks’  until the morning she left, but it was worth the wait. and then, there was me – the person who hadn’t personalized with too many persons on this trip – enjoying, for the most part, the solitude. but from the minute everyone sat down that first evening, I suddenly wondered if I’d been missing things like this these past 5 months.

but I thought back on my past adventures and realized I hadn’t missed out on anything, as this doesn’t happen often.

great things in great places with great people don’t often meet – not often at all.

different groups bring different things, but our nightly intoxicated bipolar show made sure all ends were covered.

my cigarette was almost done, and the more I thought about it, the harder it was to pull myself away from it all.

that empty stained terrace. overlooking the colorful city we saw so little of. my hair that still smelled of barbecue ash.

I was really sad to leave.

and maybe the town had a lot to do with it, a mix of a Berkley student – full of color and mentality – with an uncle from Havana. that’s probably what made the man and wife decide that this place – this spot – this street – was where they would build something beautiful. his favorite movie was Field of Dreams, so that should explain what needs explaining. she, an immediate mother to any who walked through her doors – standing there waiting for each traveler to get out of the cab or bus, kissing us each every morning, every night and making the biggest deal out of the wine glasses we gave her as a thank you gift on that last night.

and I mean – a big deal.

she shouted when she opened the boxes, hugging her husband as if they topped her Christmas list. taking out one at a time with the slowest of movements, pouring us all a wine and then holding it up, looking through it smiling.

the four of us – standing close to one another – could all see her smiling, because we could see her through the glass she held.

they were only a few packs of cheap wine glasses, but you would have thought they were full of crystals.

taking one last drag of that view, on that terrace, I teared up and I couldn’t figure out why.

it might have been the fact that I was coming down from a 5-day bender.

it might have been the view.

it might have been the gum.

it might have been a lot of things.

and I didn’t figure it out until I put my cigarette out and went to the kitchen to wash my hands.

there was a handmade wine rack where yesterday, there wasn’t. the owner must have gotten up early and made his wife a special rack for her special prizes.

and I sure wished everyone could have seen it before they left.

but in that wine rack was where in there it all made sense – what it was that had given me a lot, but also had taken away quite a bit from me as well.

the reason I was blue had nothing to do with the wine - it was those new wine glasses, as they too had two sides.

see, what we saw in them the night before was a lady smiling.

but what she witnessed through her glass were four people standing close – four people who needed one another at the same time. in the same place.

in their place.

her shout had nothing to do with the gift, it had to do with what they had achieved with the terrace.

one look at our deranged-yet-inseparable group was what made her hug her husband tightly.

they did it.

they had made a place with something special – that called out to special people.

they had built it and we had come. to play our deviant game of nocturnal vocal baseball - all-stars the night before became retired ghosts the next morning.

that’s when it finally all made sense - why I left with a heavy heart.

it was those new wine glasses.

and through them – as opposed to what was inside them – lay the magic.

because as it turns out, from the way she held that glass, and from what she saw in it, there actually were crystals.

four, eight, or twelve of them, to be exact.

 

tuesdays with tara – volume forty six

“We were wild, for awhile. A burning wildfire.”

Take away everything else. Leave just one thing. This thing, this facet of you, was what drew me towards your burning essence.

There were red flags from the very get go. I didn’t go into it naive, not in the least. I may not have anticipated you, but once you arrived, I not only perked up, I made sure that I got in the head of the line. Whatever it was that you were sending out into the universe, I wanted to be in its path. I wanted it to run down my chin like honey; sticky and gloriously sweet.

You covered me with it. You did not disappoint. I was breathless. On a regular basis.

Tearing down the highway in the middle of the night, we were giddy with the summer breeze. We made our way to the reservoir. We stripped down and jumped off the rocks into the icy water below, a full moon illuminating our mad passion for the moment. It was the way we always did things: jumping right in and ripping the meat off the bone, stripping it down until there was nothing more and collapsing in a puddle of delirious exhaustion when we were through.

It was a difficult way to live life all the time, to be sure. I started to run low on fuel. Our exploits began to test my limits.

I remember a night; a night when I began to truly see.

We were sitting on a veranda, overlooking the water, the sky full of stars, and our spirits were filled to the brim. I raised my glass, made a toast, and pitched my glass over the wall and into the sea. That moment was meant to exhibit a deep sense of joy and instead, upon seeing your face, gazing detachedly in another direction, I felt chills run up my spine. You had become a drug to me. You were everything that an addiction could be: destructive, blinding, and all-encompassing. I had become addicted to the exhilaration that I felt as a result of your burning. I began to lose sight of my own values. I was replacing them with placebo emotion cloaked in adventure.

Why did it never occur to me that I wouldn’t be enough for you? Was it an ego issue? Was it misplaced trust? It may have been a lethal combination. Whatever the case may have been, I was buying it, whatever you were selling, for the longest time, because I wanted the goods. Your excuses were immediately received with faithful ears, apologies accepted with expedience. I needed to believe that you needed nothing more than me because I was giving you all that I had and reaching beyond that to give you more. I was betraying myself, time and time again in order to submit to you. I knew better. I didn’t care. I wanted more and I was going to get it.

And there is a price to be paid for such arrogance. The price is steep. Experiencing such dismal disappointment in yourself, seeing it laid out in front of you, trying to sleep at night; all of these have price tags.

Once I passed through my anger at you, at your insatiable appetite and all of your lies, I had to deal with myself.

Because you see, I knew better. I saw you coming. I bit anyway.

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Play Today The Moon, Tomorrow The Sun’s ‘We Were Wild’

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Tara – not Aric – has written forty-five others like this. forty-five. that’s a lot. you should read them.

tuesdays with tara – volume forty-five

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I asked you to enter

and then I made you crawl

and you can’t be holding on

to what I’ve got when all I’ve got

is hurt.

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 I used to imagine a far different outcome; an end far better than the one we made for ourselves. It was a terrific fantasy simply because of the absolute implausibility of it. In this alternative story, you have mercy on me. You respect my feelings. You treat my heart gently. You look into my eyes and you say those things, but this time, you mean what you say. You accept the weight of those words. The gravity of them moves the both of us and we are swept out to sea together; holding on to the other, swimming to shore as fast as we can; eager to begin anew.

And in this story, you apologize once more. You do it the same way: you collapse your head into my lap and you weep. You show me your wounded heart. You beg my forgiveness. You tell me that despite not being worthy of my love, you want it all the same; that you need it. But in this story, this moment heals us. It gives me the strength I need to let go of the pain that you have caused me. It gives me the confidence to start believing in you, in us, again.

But a story such as this is just entertainment in the end. It is no kind of salvation.

Just so that I make myself clear: it is not a wish to never have lost you. That day that I packed all of my things; that day that you followed me from room to room and cried, begging me not to go. No, you deserved that day. Had been building up to that grand finale for so very long. No, the fantasy is for this benefit alone: had you been kinder, had you been honest, had your love been real, you would not have turned me inside out the way you did. You would not have left the scar tissue that I am reminded of each day when I realize how hard it is to trust someone, to let them inside, to truly love them. You would not have left these jagged pieces with which I must contend as I try to move forward with another.

Some day, I suppose I will come to a place where I will be grateful for the ways in which you destroyed me. It will make the rebuilding of me that much more joyous.

I am not there yet.

Damien Rice ‘One’

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[this is Tara's forty-fifth post. that means she's penned forty-four other ones. you might have just met your new addiction.]

tuesdays with tara – volume forty-three

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Find me inside the calm of the storm where lovers decide what comes with the dawn.”

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I knew exactly what I was saying; exactly what I wanted and didn’t want. I knew with a certainty what would come of it, having slugged through it before. It exists for us, anyway. It refuses to dissolve. Each time it gets stirred anew, it calcifies that much more; hardens before my eyes.

It is the one place where you cannot see. It is the one place where you cannot hear. It is your own personal fight. It is your battle of the wills. You are fighting against yourself. It is something you will have. You will stand your ground. You will not relent. You will never truly hear. You will not seek understanding. You will get what you want in the end because I do not want to be a part of this war. I never did.

But there’s something that you should know:

You will get what you want. Not because I will let you have it. I never had that kind of power, nor would I want it. You will get it because you can’t fight someone who has lost their will.

You begin this thing, this tug of war, and my heart beats frantically like a bird trapped in a small space. You come at me with daggers pointed, jagged defensive and hurtful words, and you are not the person I fell in love with. You are someone else entirely; someone I don’t even want to know.

I have given my heart to you in its entirety. You cannot return the favor. Such is my lot. It may ultimately be the decider of our fate. I may decide that I deserve better. I may be right.

There’s something else you should know:

You will get what you want. It will come with a very heavy price tag, so I hope it will all have been worth it to you.

I will love you less.

And this is exactly what you will deserve.

The Irrepressibles – ‘Forget The Past’

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our girl’s penned 42 more of these. you should read 42 more of these.

tuesdays with tara – volume forty-two

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I wanna laugh and I wanna cry. I wanna spit, but my mouth’s too dry.”

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New directions: It’s funny how they sometimes find you instead of the other way around. I mean, seek clarity all you like. Pray for it. Ask for it for Christmas. Don’t mean you’re gettin’ it.

I spent the lion’s share of my twenties engulfed, inexplicably, in some sort of cocoon of misery. I was angry at everyone and everything. Happiness was something that taunted me, coming close only to elude my grasp at the last minute. My motivations to propel myself in a forward motion were thwarted time and time again by an invisible barrier.

Fighting an imaginary enemy is exhausting and endless. People who are innocently trying to love you will suffer for their efforts. The downward spiral of shame and self-loathing becomes an oasis which you will fill with alcohol, tears, emotional blackouts; weapons of your own choosing. It’s no way to live. It’s barely living at all. When suicide is not an option, but every day you wake up filled with a sense of dread, what is one to do? How does one get dressed and go to work? How does one get out of bed at all?

When I reflect on that time in my life, I feel tremendously grateful that I found a way out. There was no magic pill involved. There was no epiphany. There was no mental breakdown in a sweat lodge. I just evolved beyond it. I just kept marching forward. Eventually, the anger that I used to carry just below the surface of my skin began to subside. My smile became genuine. I started cutting myself the occasional break. I could look within and see something besides the ugliness that once clouded my vision of who I was. I started to love little me. I started to embrace my life as something worth living, worth cherishing. I don’t know why this happened any more than I know why I slid so far in the opposite direction. There isn’t always a satisfying answer, despite our desire to sew it all up and put a big bow on it.

My thirties have been a decade of solidifying. My sense of self worth, my personal identity, the direction in which I hope to take my life; all of these things are very clear to me now. They are no longer concerns that I lose sleep over; that I drink a bottle of wine over. Knowing what you want out of life is a powerful thing. Knowing you may not get it and being okay with that, even more so. Allowing myself to be in the flow of life, taking what feeds me, getting rid of what holds me back; these are the actions of a functioning adult. They aren’t things that I take for granted because they are not abilities I have always had.

Lately I have been basking in the satisfaction of a life lived well. I am proud of who I have become, happy with the choices I have made, amazed at how things seem to be falling into place effortlessly. In other words, I feel as though I am living as I ought.

It’s a new direction.

It’s a good’n.

Black Lips – ‘New Direction’

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this your first tuesday with tara. tsk on you. you should have started this months ago.

ch-ch-ch-changes

photo

as you can see from this fabulous makeover, there’s changes in the air – and it’s not just aesthetical. I’m not sure that’s a word, but this wine disagrees, so we’re going to go with it for now.

for the past 3-4 months – along with finalizing the book, getting it ready for Amazon and iPads and the masses [who else is there, really?] – myself and a few others have been going back-and-forth on a little [now big] idea I’ve had for the better part of 5 years. that new title on the header bar might give you a clue…

it’s a really good idea and is in no way original, but it still just might work. there’s still not a lot I can say about it, which is tough, seeing how I’m crap at keeping exciting news a secret, but I can tell you it’s exciting news. I can also tell you that all of your wildest web dreams are about to come true – I’m about 72% sure of it.

here’s also what I can tell you:

- the OMKOS and rough sundays podcasts have all been archived and will be back here.

- I’m getting back into making little movies.

- I miss local live music.

- my current Flickr is messy.

- I am constantly blessed with meeting the most interesting and wonderful of people.

- there’s another book being worked on.

- and an app.

okay, so I was going to space all of that out over the next few months, but this wine is too tasty.

basically, what I’m saying is this:

check back often.

excuse the mess.

and get ready to see something pretty fuckin’ cool.

more soon.

a

in sync.

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otis_rec

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the little basement was basically done – one weekend’s hangover overtaking and me gutting the entire section, a few trips to Ikea and a lot of sweeping. my own little cave, with a desk and a couch and a chair and an end table. but it was missing something. I didn’t know what at first, but it lacked soul – somewhere in my new lounge was a spot for one more thing and thank fuck it didn’t feel like it needed to be Swedish. and then it hit me – a turntable. a real record player! for those rainy mornings or times needing to hide from daylight. I had no idea what to buy. growing up on my parent’s one, sure – with Perry Como, The Beatles White Album and a lot of Otis Redding, but since the invention of the compact disc, mini disc and then iPod, my travels had never allowed me a time and place to have one. oh sure, most nights at Scott’s or P’s were huddled around one, but they also had records from years – if not decades – of collecting. and vinyl was considered illegal when I lived in Shanghai. true story. so I never had one and now I wanted one. but again – what to buy? I didn’t know which was which, so I emailed Scott. ‘Scott’ I wrote – only I didn’t write ‘Scott’, I wrote ‘neighbor’, cause that’s what we do – ‘neighbor, am in need of some turntable consulting – what do you suggest I buy?’. and wouldn’t you know it, he wrote write back saying ‘dude!’ [only he didn't say 'dude', he said 'neighbor', but I'm trying to mix it up for you] – ‘neighbor! how fucking weird – I was just about to move to [removed] and had P’s old player and didn’t know what to do with it, seeing how I couldn’t take it!’. well, now, if you know anything about the 3 of us, or you’ve read the book, or both, you’ll know how big this was. in Scott’s possession was an heirloom, an oscillating machine of friendship fuel, owned by one, inherited by another and now possibly passed-down to the last. but we had a problem – it was in Shanghai. and you can’t just pack up a turntable in Shanghai – one that’s priceless – and send to the US. so Scott wrote some more ‘might be tricky, though – unless you know anyone coming from Shanghai to the States’ – and even then they would have to take it to the Post Office and send to me in NYC. poop, right? yes – poop. we were so close and I didn’t understand why we would have been allowed to be so close and it not happen. so we left it.

a few days later, another dear friend of mine named Riaad emailed me out of the blue saying he was going to be flying from [you can see where this is going] – flying from Shanghai to Portland, OR and didn’t know if I was in the area or what, but did I need anything from the ‘Hai? I did, actually, and asked him a Godfather’s Daughter’s Wedding Favor, to haul this bad boy over with him, and I’d sort out a way to get FedEx to pick it up and then to me. problem with this is that I didn’t even want to think about how much that might cost, so I didn’t. if I had to eat water and raw toast for breakfast for a month, then I would. fuck it, right? yes – fuck it. the next day, work gave me my dates I was to be in Seattle and [you can see where this is going] – wouldn’t you know it? I was to be 3 hours North of where Riaad was going to be. at the same time. so, I hired a car one weekend, went to see him, got the turntable, took him on a tour of [removed - to be used in the new project launching in Nov], and then brought the turntable back to Seattle with me, through customs on the way back and down the stairs to its new home in Brooklyn.

and what did I see lying on my bed? a large package from editor-at-large, Sunny. it was about 12” x 12” and [you can see where this is going] it was a record by Otis Redding. keep in mind, neither Sunny, nor anyone else – save for Riaad and Scott – knew nothing about my Turntable Adventure 3000, but just so happened to pass a store with this in it, think of me, mail it and somehow time it so that it was waiting there for me on my return.

ri-fucking-diculous.

I plugged it in – got some technical help from Scott and Otis on. the needle is old and it needs some doctoring per the counterweight, but whatever…

see, I’m a big believer in surrounding yourself with things that make you happy on a daily basis. my little Vespa, for example. it’s noisy and smokey and getting a license for it turned into a major pain in the ass, but every morning, when I cross over the Manhattan Bridge, with downtown New York fuckin’ City waking up in front me – a quick look to the left to see Lady Liberty keeping watch – I smile. and I’m not a huge smiler. but I smile. sometimes I shake my head, but most of the time, that’s not a good idea on the bridge on a Vespa. but it’s a daily reminder of my fortune.

and now – when I come home – and walk by this music playing device that has had the hands of the brotherhood on it, I smile as well. I smile because the world works in bizarre and wonderful ways and I have friends who act on instinct and schlep large electronics around the world and make it all work out.

I mentioned it doesn’t sound perfect – and it doesn’t.

who knows why – definitely not me.

but I also don’t want it to be fixed.

cause, brother, I got to be honest…

it sounds perfect.

tuesdays with tara – volume forty-one

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You got the drunken letter home. I can hear him on the telephone.”

Somehow, it was inevitable, our friendship, like two shoals of ice, drifting helplessly on a certain collision course. I was young, dislocated and sad. You were half-cocked and clinically divided. We were both thirsty and so you took me to your bar.

I was impressionable and you poured your words into me. Three drinks in, teetering on my bar stool, Portishead on the jukebox, a cigarette dangling from my dry lower lip, I received your gospel, hung on your every postulation.

We held on to one another on those late night walks home. We couldn’t have made it any other way. Like two characters from a Bukowski short story; singing show tunes in a pizza parlor, soaked in booze and goodwill, turning out our pockets in hopes of finding enough left for a slice.

But you disappeared. Often. You weren’t just quirky, no. You were schizophrenic. For this, you needed medication. But there were months when the money ran dry. And there were months when your mind wandered elsewhere just long enough that you fell off the page. Your lights were all blazing, but you wouldn’t pick up the phone. I watched you from the street, pacing like a furious animal, holding your cat to your chest, smoking on the fire escape. I called to you. You finally looked down at me, but you could make no connection with my face. I felt that you were not there. I knew no one could bring you back in that state. So, I waited. There was nothing else for it.

You fell for a girl in your building. I say girl because she was just shy of twenty and yet she seemed to me to be pushing sixty. She was brash and bawdy, mouthy and coarse. Her language and mannerisms were aggressive to the point of being abusive. She immediately took a dislike to me, being the only other female with whom she felt she must share the stage. When I made the others laugh, she glared at me with heated malice, wishing me away, wishing me harm. It bothered me that you wanted her. It bothered me she knew it; took advantage of it. I wanted to protect you from the world and people like her were a big part of that. But you did what you wanted. You went your own way. It was something that I deeply understood.

And in much the same way that you blew into my world, you blew your way out. Without much of a warning, you were gone. Looking back, I probably could have seen traces of a goodbye in your hug, your wave at the door. It’s not anything I would have wanted to admit to myself which is why it would only register many years later.

The worst part of it for me has been the not knowing. The suspicion that you may have gone far away and taken your own life; that you may have just given up the constant wearying battle. That you did what you wanted. That you went your own way one last time.

Joel Nicholson – ‘Bobby’

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for many, many, many more tuesdays with tara, visit her archives.

 

tuesdays with tara – volume forty

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I found your long black hairs. I felt your poltergeist presence in the frame of the bed.”

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I will be the first one to say it: it surprised me. It doesn’t usually happen to me, that kind of nervous hysterical jealousy. To say that I am confident, comfortable in my skin, is to speak the truth. I don’t shy away. I don’t skirt the topic. I don’t bury my head. I reach out and grab it; pull it towards me and stare it down. That’s how I deal. I don’t often retreat into my head so dramatically that events begin to pass through a sour filter of my own melodramatic creation. No. I don’t do this.

I will tell you the truth now. I won’t mince words. I felt your ghost. I felt your breath on my neck. I felt your hand on my shoulder, so close did I sense you. I wondered if you had cast some sort of spell in your wake. I thought I might be a victim of some form of witchcraft. And that spell was  one that forced me time and time again to feel you, to see your face, to think of you, when you were the last person I wanted in my head.

Honestly, I want to say this to you: I felt like your prisoner. I knew you wanted it that way. This form of insidious torture was the only way you could get to me. I had what you wanted; what you suddenly wanted once I had it. I predicted it from the moment I first heard your name. He didn’t believe me, but I didn’t need him to. It was enough for me to assume a protective stance in dealings with you. My guard firmly in place, my wall impenetrable, or so I thought.

But the more I tried to push you out of my mind, the more you flooded it. It bordered on obsession. I want to remind you of something: this is not me. This is not what I do. I am not prone to believing in these sorts of fantastic uses of power and yet, your hold on me was undeniable.

In time, the very mention of your name was enough to produce tiny electric shocks under my skin. And when he went on the defense in your honor, it choked me with an icy fear. It threatened to take me under. All the time I wanted to scream, “Let him go and let me go and let us go and let us be.” It’s all I really wanted to say and all I really needed to say. I didn’t want to say it to you alone. I wanted to say it to him, as well. I wanted to choke out your solidarity, the shadowy presence of it, so that I might have a chance to plant my own garden. It wasn’t too much to ask. He chose me, you will remember. He mourned you and he moved forward and what was lost is forever gone.

It is only now, many months later, when I can pull one of your long black hairs out of something and not feel my stomach curdle. Your ghost is not here in this place. It has been banished and sent on its way. I do not know if it left willingly. It doesn’t concern me how it departed; only that it is gone for good.

Please tell me that it is gone for good.

 Timber Timbre – ‘Bad Ritual’

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for 39 more ‘tuesdays with tara’, spend a few days in the archives. you’ll be happy about that decision.

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