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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]

pickles. and jams.

different people come into your life at special times – for special reasons.

sometimes for love.

sometimes for support.

sometimes for inspiration.

and sometimes to keep you from being stranded at the airport en route to Rio.

 

the two girls and I laughed at the fact that – despite us not really doing the touristy stuff here in Buenos Aires – we kept running into each other. and you need to know that this is a big ole place. but 3 times in 4 days was enough and we finally all decided to sit down for a beer and get to know one another.

where ya from. where ya been. what’d ya like. where’s next?

then:

isn’t Buenos Aires nice?

my god, it’s gorgeous. I don’t even want to go to Rio now. I just want to stay here until I fly back to the States.

yeah, we know. we were just in Rio, though, and it’s gorgeous there. so you’ll love it. and after everything they make you go through to get the visa, you’d better!

ugh. another long line at the border? do they charge us as much as they did in Bolivia?

you don’t have your’s yet?

nah. will just get it at the airport.

[they both looked at each other with a worried look, and then to me with a worried look. I always get nervous when people who know nothing about my well being worry about my well being.]

you’re not going to Rio.

why not? I laughed. thinking this might be Americans being Americans and making everything extreme.

because it takes weeks to get a visa. you have to get a certain type of photo, print out your bank statements, show a scan or copy of your last check from your employer, have a hotel booked and then pay $160.

I had none of those things.

and this is when my well being began to worry about my own well being. ’cause, see – my flight back to the States. the big ole expensive one that set me back I-don’t-even-want-to-tell-you-how-much… was from Rio.

but I remained calm. mostly because they were both good-looking and I wanted to appear tough.

guess I’ll just have to buy another cheap flight from here to Rio the same day and just get on my flight then.

the good-looking girls went back to being the worried girls.

they won’t let you on the plane here without a visa for there.

I suddenly stopped caring about being tough.

there isn’t money in my account for another I-don’t-want-to-tell-you-how-much flight. I spent that already on the first one.

I had a flight booked from here to Rio on Saturday.

and then from Rio to LAX a few days later.

there wasn’t going to be a visa.

and there wasn’t going to be a flight.

now, thank the man upstairs it was Sunday and nothing could be done. this gave me a chance to very calmly, very strategically and very methodically, get very, very drunk.

I seriously had nowhere to go. and no means to do it with. the last time I was this worried about actually making it out was Ethiopia a few years back.

do I go the Brazilian Embassy and wax [ahem] poetic about my own stupidity and see if they could expedite one?

could I beg them to let me on the flight and just live in the airport for 4 days?

or…

do I go to the airlines and see how much it would be to change my Rio-Panama-LAX flight to Buenos Aires-Panama-LAX?

I chose the latter. because I love it here, it would be less hassle and fuck Brazil. they should post stuff like this all over travel websites. [note: they post this stuff all over travel websites].

so, to the airline office I went.

‘how much to change the flight?’ I asked in the nicest voice my hangover would allow.

‘we don’t fly from Buenos Aires to LAX.’

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. this is Buenos Aires! everything is perfect and beautiful and delicious! nothing ever goes wrong!

‘how much for a flight to Panama? and then I can just get my connecting flight there?’

‘you won’t be allowed on the plane if you miss your first flight.’

had I eaten any snacks the night before amidst my wine bender, this is where I would have pooped myself a little.

‘then what do I do?’

‘well, to fly from here to LAX will be $950′.

I was about $500 short of that.

a grey beard. broke. I stunk. toothpaste stains on my shorts. alone. homeless. 35…

and I’m about to have to call Mom and Dad for a flight home.

and just a week or so before, I was talking someone through his transitioning phase, telling him that ‘when it gets rough, that’s when you really have the adventure! that’s when you really get to know yourself!’

I had no interest in an adventure, nor in getting to know myself.

‘is there anything you would suggest?’- pleading.

‘well… there is one thing you can do. take a boat to Uruguay, then you could fly from there to Panama, Panama to Los Angeles. it would cost you $240.’

I handed her my card, praying there was enough. last time I checked, it was around $250.

turns out I had $224. but that’s why we have overdraft protection.

so there you go. I have to find a boat to a new country, pray they don’t have the same tastes in visa requirements as their neighbor to the north… and make my $262 in cash last for 9 more days.

and $10 of that goes to buying each of the girls a bottle of wine.

’cause lemme tell ya… finding this all out at the airport the day of would have been a kick in the pants.

a

p.s. both the timing and irony of my 2nd article for National Geographic making their home page being all about me – the seasoned traveler – sharing some tips from my wise learned mind is amazing.

p.p.s. sadly, having ended up in this situation many a time, I know a select few of you will do what you always do and ask if I need money. I do not. there are some cheques on the way to my account from a few clients – a few clients who ironically chose this month to be the time when they were late with their payments. and, well, tomorrow or the next day, the new travel project launches, which you can help support. so send nothing, except potty-mouth letters to Rio… stupid Rio.

 

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.

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.

 

twenty nine and 2190 days

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well, thanks, little nephew of mine.

it’s been a helluva year, since my last birthday…

let’s see:

- Josie and I spent my 34th cruising on Absurdity in the South of England, if you learn to sail, you can have her [boat].

- after that, I went to go see Nico [he'll be a quasi-uncle to you] in Paris and had the time in Paris that everyone wants.

- but I got into a little bit of trouble with the U.K. government, and had 30 days to leave.

- so, naturally, I dragged Josie to Vietnam. to live.

- we stayed there for a few months, but ended up going our separate ways. she to Australia to work. me to Oregon to finish a book.

- a few months into my stay in Bend, I finally got to meet you. and that very day, I started writing another book.

- a month of so after that, I flew to Perth to see Josie for her birthday. we took a campervan around wine country. it was fun.

- a few months later, I left Bend for a month in Oklahoma and the promotional run of the book would be released. it sold out.

- a few weeks after that, I got the call that I never thought I’d get – I was about to take a job in New York fuckin City! I’ve now been here a little more than 4 months and it’s been amazing. I’ve been sending you little postcards and stuff, hopefully one day you’ll be able to check them out.

- my birthday was spent with a lot of friends. which, considering how short I’ve been here, should tell you how lucky I am.

… so there you go, nephew – it’s been a fun 34th year. you just started walking and by the time my 36th [ugh] rolls around, you might even be able to talk with me on the phone a little bit. a lot of your and my birthdays will be spent on the phone, but I’ll try and make that up to you.

so, thanks for the card and the cheeky little grin. I showed this to a lot of people here and they all thought you were amazing.

and I think so too.

love,

Uncle Aric

[tough] love in an elevator.

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being from Oklahoma has it’s advantages.

- weaker beer.

- stronger antique value.

- being raised right.

now, as much as I love New York City, lost is the art of holding open doors, nodding to strangers on a nice day and walking in-between the lady and the road, as all seem to have been sequestered for anyone south of the Mason-Dixon. why, just this morning at the gym, I had words with some putz who decided to take up the entire changing area with his stuff – toiletries and dirty towel on one bench, his clean clothes on the other, and him standing right in the middle.

‘you kiddin’ me with this?’ I said only because I was slightly taller and younger than he was, hoping I wouldn’t have to drop to the fetal position wearing only a towel to escape a smack.

but manners – yes, they’re not here. everything else, just not manners.

and nowhere is this more evident than in our building’s elevator – which shall now be called The Shitiest Elevator Ever To Be Called An Elevator.

it’s slow.

it’s hot.

it jars between the 3rd and 4th floor.

and it smells. [much in part to NYC being a melting pot and the EU accepting anyone these days.]

but the worse part is those who ride it seem blissfully unaware that there is a protocol for riding in American Elevators.

so, people of 9– Broadway, let me kindly help you out with a few things:

  1. remember that time I sent you a transcript of a conversation between my Mother and I? no? probably because I didn’t send it. because you weren’t meant to hear me talk to my Mother. nor do I want to hear you speak to yours. stay off of the phone – it’s only a few minutes.
  2. face forward. I’m pretty sure that your feet pointing anywhere but towards the door is enough to get a visit from Homeland Security.
  3. the only person who could get away with public whistling was Mark Twain. and he did not live in the time of elevators. so don’t.
  4. pushing the ‘close’ button over-and-over has the same effect as pushing it once.
  5. yes, it’s a quirky fun thing that ladies in Manhattan do, wearing their running shoes under a power-outfit. it shows you’re going places. and if you’re going to change your sweaty New Balances whilst squished between 3 or 4 others, there might be one more place you’re headed.
  6. feel free to talk to yourself only if there are more than just you and one other person in the elevator. 2 people = scary as shit. 3+ = we can make fun of you as a group.
  7. if you must speak [IE: fire, flood, the Met’s actually winning something], point your breath down. even if you think your breath is nice breath. it’s most likely not. and this is a contained box.
  8. crop-dusters will be dropped down the shaft. shame on you.
  9. if you having to take off your wheel and hold your bicycle sideways doesn’t tell you that you shouldn’t be bringing it up with you, then let me.
  10. nothing says ‘America’ like tucking into your Dunkin Donuts while waiting 12 mins to go all the way to the 2nd floor.
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*photo taken from the incomparable Robert Frank’s The Americans. Jack Kerouac, in writing the introduction, made a point of asking about this gal.

stuff[s]. and more.

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every time I go to write something, I usually don’t write something because writing takes effort. and I’m trying to enjoy the downtime between this book being officially released [read: on Amazon in the next few weeks, ebooks, etc.] and the next one starting. it’s a collection of short stories between Dec ’08-present. I’m looking forward to starting it, and I’m looking even more forward to being done with the first one. did you know I’ve never even read it? it’s sitting right next to me, as I had to reference it for a slight design change, but I’ve never picked it up. I should though, it’s a good book. but I digress…

this shall be the most random of catch-ups. I’m doing it more for me than you, but that shouldn’t come as a shock:

- it’s a shame we lost in the final minutes of the Women’s World Cup. it’s a shame we don’t give a shit. but well-played [for the first 108 minutes, at least], girls. you actually made female professional sports exciting. weird.

- the Vespa Saga continues. that actually deserves its own post and I will – as soon as I’m official – post the entire headache. if I do it now, I’ll just be annoyed.

- speaking of annoyed. I can no longer hide my insane jealousy for Mel and Nick’s choice to put their stuff in storage, quit their [very successful] careers and took off sailing the world for a few years. the only thing that outdoes my envy is my intrigue. and respect.

- this has been a favorite summer song for some time, and it is again this summer. hey, you should make it one of yours.

- oh! the second day in Philly I wanted to tell you about? the crazy castle [yes, castle. see below] we went to, built by the eccentric tile-maker James Mercer? one of the coolest places in the States, I kid you not. the website doesn’t do it justice. well worth a day trip from Philly. no photos allowed inside, but I got a few of the exterior.

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- the hair stylist convinced me to get something called a ‘keratin blowout’ done to my locks. I’m still confused to what happened.

- the ’101 best sandwich’ attempt died out [shocking!], as they were all a] more than $10 and b] beginning to not be within walking distance from my office.

- my office is in the exact area the term ’23 skidoo’ was coined. good band as well.

- I haven’t picked up my Leica once since moving to NYC. this hipstamatic stuff is brilliant.

- ah. yes. photos and NYC – that reminds me. took a shot of this the other week and made a point of going back when it was open. one of the coolest shops I’ve ever been in. worth a trip to Park Slope. am pretty sure it’s a Dave Eggers project.

- speaking of iStuff. if you have an iPad, download this. Brother Scott did the music for it and it’s been charting for weeks now on Apple.

- while I’ve always been mildly interested in the occult, reading ‘The Serpent and The Rainbow’ has elevated my curiousity in voodoo and black magic to a point of virtual hopelessness. I’m obsessed. have never seen the film, but have it downloaded for when I’m done.

- speaking of things to watch, I get about 40 minutes a week of time to do it, but Californication is one of the smartest shows ever to come out of the States. season 5 especially.

- this also looks amazing.

- NYC is a fucking fun town. has anyone ever said that before?

- Brother Ben [remember Brother Ben?] has a new project he’s working on and needs help. am hoping to interview him before the deadline, but if not, try and wrap your head around this.

- I rarely drink beer these days. if you email me, I’ll let you in on the best kept secret in the wine world. I’m buying it by the case and would love to say ‘and I’m even dropping some weight in the process’, but no. it is good, though. and cheap.

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- please stop using photos of your child for your profile picture on Facebook. Brother Cohn wrote last year that ‘I’m friends with you, not your child’ and it caused a shitstorm. why? I don’t know. photos of your kids on Facebook? of course! photos of you + your kids in your Facebook profile? sure! photos of your kids as your profile photo? no. stop it. it’s weird.

- this little blog is about to have some major changes happen to it. I’m kind of excited. I hope you like it. it’s cool. and exciting… thus, the excitement.

- a copy of my book was handed to Annie Clark [St. Vincent]. I’m totally keeping an eye out for her next album to see if I’m mentioned.

- I’m turning 35 in a few weeks and change. please don’t forget.

- this is a fun town.

- see ya later.

interview 1. upstart.


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Heather Rogers, at UpStart in Australia, had the amusing task of calling me late one night [read post below to get an idea of the setting] and then transcribing all of my cultural and life wisdom into an interview about the book. she might now be rethinking journalism as a career. although I hope she doesn’t.

from a [Brooklyn] basement on a hill.

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‘I have an idea’ said my friend David, a few weeks ago on the phone, ‘it’s kind of weird, you might get wet and probably can’t stand up in it, but it’s something…’

sold.

David, who I hope will let me write about him more in the coming months, was someone who I’d always wanted to be like… but more on that later. what I did know is that he had a very quirky/artsy side to him and I knew that if he was suggesting it, then there had to be a major draw.

so I said ‘yes’. right there on the phone. before even seeing it. he wanted me to come by and check it out, but I already knew that I would like it.

I live in a basement, in case you weren’t following. and I can’t stand straight up when walking under the beams – but that’s okay. it does get wet here when it rains, but that’s okay because 90% of the time, I’ll have a dry home.

wait – I can picture your face right now. that nurturing look made when reacting to someone’s silver lining. but let me stop you right there. I’m making money. a decent amount of money. and I could easily afford to pay $1500 a month to share an apartment with a stranger I met on craigslist.

but I don’t want to pay $1500 a month to share an apartment with a stranger I met on craigslist.

I want to live here.

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… I want to live here and I do.

I live in a basement.

more photos to come of the house itsself – I mean, in-suite laundry, a backyard with a bbq grill [unheard of in nyc] and we have a baby grand piano in the middle of our kitchen. banjos hang on the walls and are played whenever bourbon is served. books overload the shelves. an original print from ‘mr. brainwash’ hangs behind me. it’s the most funkiest of places with the funkiest of people [two roommates musicians/sound designers, two of them in theater] and it’s in the gorgeous tree-lined area of park slope. at night, if you look down our street, you can see the statue of liberty.

so – to recap:

- I get a job with a very hip ‘zine in manhattan [more on that in a bit].

- my first weekend in town, I spend it in a 50-million dollar hampton beach house.

- two days later, I have a book launch party that a lot of people showed up to.

- that next weekend, I move here.

it’s all gone a bit silly, if you ask me.

and so it goes.

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I’m on a bus headed to the Hamptons. and last week, I moved to New York City. it’s all gone a little bit silly. the other night I had to stop and walk into a tattoo parlor and get a new one. it was one of those moments when I wanted to remember. walking with friends, through Brooklyn. I had just moved to New York City. for a good job – and I hate writing that for many reasons. how long I had wanted no part of it. one of my bosses reads this sometimes, so admitting that I walked into the most amazing opportunity means negotiating for more money won’t ever happen. but that’s okay, ’cause I’m being given a very good salary and every day I cross that wonderful bridge and see Manhattan. now maybe that doesn’t mean anything to you or maybe it does – but there’s a magic that happens every morning when I see that skyline. I write like no one has ever said this about New York City before.

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I’m late for meeting friends cause I’m too busy taking photos. that’s what this was about, an apology for bein’ away and then I’d point you to my daily little shots from around this town. I’m done posting the diaries – if you want to watch ‘em, they can be found here. they’ll help the book make sense. I wrote a book as well. I wrote a book and then I moved to New York City. today my nephew turns 1 year old and I can’t wait to tell him about his first birthday I’ll be celebrating up in a gorgeous house. you won’t believe this house, brother. I didn’t believe I was moving here. last year I got a little tipsy when he was born. my nephew, that is. he turns me to mush. this town makes me say the f-word a lot. and a few times I found myself sayin’ ‘hey, I’m pretty fucking [see] happy about right now’.

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there’s a really pretty girl who’s far away and I wish she could see all of this stuff, but then again, I might want to fix up the basement before she comes. oh yes, I’m moving into a basement tomorrow when I’m back from the Hamptons.I moved to New York City and now I’m headed to the Hamptons and then I’ll come back and move into a basement of a cool house and then I’ll wake up on Monday and go to work, a work I like and then that night, I’m going to have a launch party for the book I just wrote.

ain’t that a kick in the pants.

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