Bees and Sweet Honey


To everyone who came out to the gig on Tuesday: Thank you so much! It was kind of a challenge. Morbid highlights for me: the cabdriver trying to gouge Alan and me $25 for a drive from the lower east side to Williamsburg (that fucker made off with $15 -- still highway robbery); getting an electrical shock trying to wipe spilled water off the equipment, then later sparking my lip on the mic (and screaming in a hushed room); Alan's battery going dead. Lucky for us, Bruce of Love Camp was very generous in loaning out his bass.

Philip's set was sublime. All through it, I was so happy. And happy to be sad. He can pull it off by himself: the emotional highs and lows, the melodic twists and turns. His songs are beautiful and killer. No one trick pony, he.

And that's not all. I love Love Camp 7 more each time I see them. I can't even get my mind around it. It's like watching closeup footage of bees: they are precise and automated, yet natural, and in perfect sycnchronicity. It's like a different kind of consciousness.

As for our set . . . things are starting to feel good. I lost myself somewhere inside of "Jane, Jane" and just let it flow. Listening to Nina Simone is proving to be a good thing. She is relentless. I'm trying to muster courage. It's all about courage. And having these guys behind me is like having your mom and dad on the sidelines at your swimming lesson. When you're scared shitless about to try your first dive, you look to them, and they're nodding Do it! Do it!


So . . . whatcha doing tonight?

Me and the boyz got us a gig, and we'd love to see you.

Rehearsal was really good last night––shockingly good to my ears. I realized that if I go swimming before singing, the warm, humid pool air does wonders for my voice (and the sauna does wonders for my demeanor). The guys were playing with intuition and wit. Our mojo was working, collectively.

A few minutes before starting this entry I was getting All Worked Up over the fact that the gig didn't get listed anywhere. This is a feeling I'm getting more and more familiar with, in its various permutations. At first I resolved to get better organized, perhaps be more of a pest, get things out in the mail earlier. Now, I'm not sure if it makes a difference. Or if i should care either way.

Screw it, I bought my spring handbag. God bless ebay. See you tonight.

(Come at 8:30 to see Philip.)


Sparkly Stuff

From my window last night the snow was an illuminated pink haze. I spent the evening baking and listening to Nina Simone. The cars on the bridge were passing by more and more slowly, the white cake on their roofs growing higher and higher . . .

On Monday, Laura Nyro showed up in my dream. I was on a college campus interviewing her. She was sitting at the piano and seemed bashful. Somehow I knew she wasn't going to live much longer. I can still remember the dream image, but I can't remember what she said.

Tuesday: I'm at Matt Umanov's buying cables and checking out amps. I look up and there's a framed photo of Laura Nyro on the wall.

Wednesday: I'm having lunch with Carol and she quotes from Laura Nyro. (Not to mention recites Joni Mitchell. At length. From Hejira.)

Now I'm listening to "Save the Country," and it's giving me chills.


More on That

Now that I've presented the evidence, I'll make a statement.

At one time, I was a fan of the Bad Boy Rocker in question. His Debut Solo Album was quite lovely. I thought his songs were well put-together, heartfelt, and well-sung. I listened to that record incessantly.

Then, something changed. First, I got a vicious tummy flu. I was listening to that record on my discman on the subway when I was struck with an imminent need to projectile vomit. I nearly fainted from trying to keep it down. I managed to hold it till I got home, but I never could listen to that record again.

That pretty much suffices as my reaction to all of Bad Boy's subsequent work.

It's not that he grosses me out by being 'cake-in-the-rain' bad, 'songbird' snoozy, smoove, power-ballady, or mean. It's that he's banal with smarts. His second record felt fast and easy. A song was there to play a role. "This is the gospel song. This is where the organ comes in. This is where the black backup singers come in." The song worked in the most basic sense, but I felt I'd been had.

Yeah. I guess it's personal. I demand more. I want surprises. I want excellence, or at the very least, a hint of dignity.

So when a writer calls an artist on the carpet for letting a show spin out, good for him. We should stop rewarding the clown for taking over the class.

On the other hand, everyone paid to see the clown do his clowning. Which can be quite good at times.

So I feel caught between being the parent and child. "Honey, we know you're capable of doing good work if you just put some effort into it." "Oh, Mom! Girls just wanna have fun . . . "

I Want to Be a Bad Boy Rocker

'Cause if I were, I could be a complete sillypants and everyone would think it was fabulous.

(And if they didn't, it would then be even more deliciously controversial!)

Exhibit A: Whiny boy

Exhibit B: Whiny old man

Should I be completely fed up with myself for caring?


Quick, Look Busy

4 guys just got laid off in my department.

This has never happened before in my company. Education has been well-funded, and schools have kept buying library books. Apparently, this is no longer the case.

This is why I'm dead set on voting this joker out of office.


Shop Therapy

I never understood women who had a passion for fashion. My episodes of shop therapy were realtively small-scale: lipstick; sparkly hair clips; or, after I started making a good living wage, pedicures. I didn't ritualize the purchase of shoes, coats, or handbags. Once every few years, when something got a hole in it, I would replace it. Or not.

But then again, I never understood drinking to escape your problems, either.

This has all changed.

First off, I had to get a new bag. My beloved messenger bag had been killing my back for months now. I hit all the usual suspects--Filenes and friends--looking for a clutch that wasn't too big, too small, too plastic, too boring-brown, too cheap, too expensive. I was getting worn down.

I hate Canal Street. So I did the next worst thing: I went to Bloomingdale's.

Bloomingdale's is Canal Street for the idle rich. But instead of shoving my way through the crowds at the vegetable stands, I was elbowing the teenie-boppers ogling Prada. And buying Prada.

The big difference isn't really quantifiable. It's a feeling. A mod feeling. An airy, pastel headspace brought on by backlit, soft-pink handbags on a clean white shelf. Could I ever live a life so airy and soft?

Waiter, another red wine, please.