The Wild Cherry to my Coca-Cola.

19 11 2012

Slurpees after the Amanda Palmer show. It has kind of become our “thing” ever since the end of summer when we lended a helping hand during the closing of Diskovery.

Mine was Coca-Cola. Always Coca-Cola ever since my best friend and I used to ride our bikes to the neighborhood 7-Eleven during the summer of 7th grade.

Shaun: Do you think it would taste gross if I threw in some Wild Cherry to the Coca-Cola?

Will: Why would it? It’s Cherry Coke.

Shaun: True. Even if the proportions are off, I can’t see it being all that bad.

(Later in the car)

Shaun: You’re right. This is really good.

Will: I think your life was like that Coca-Cola Slurpee before you met me. Good but kind of mellow and safe. I’m the Wild Cherry that’s been added to your Coca-Cola.

Shaun: You’re my cherry stem.

Will: You can tie me in a knot with your tongue.

Shaun: I have no problem being your Audrey Horne. “I’m Audrey Horne and I get what I want!”

I Was Made to Love You.

23 08 2012

“I’m only supposed to love him…”

Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Season Five. Episode Fifteen. “I Was Made to Love You.” The story revolved around an android named April who was created for the sole purpose of loving her boyfriend/creator, Warren Mears.

I recently received a love letter (one in a series) that concludes with “… loving you is what I am meant to do.”

While I do not believe in god (or at least society’s warped version of a god), I do believe in concepts like fate. How could I not? It was a chance meeting on a mobile social app. I believe the universe intends for certain people to fit perfectly together. Certain people were just meant to love eachother.

Towards the end of her battery life, April comments to Buffy that she fears the coming darkness because Warren might not be able to find her in the dark. It makes one realize that when you are meant to love someone that is meant to love you, you will always find eachother… no matter how dark it gets.

Blissed, Domestically.

8 08 2012

Revere Beach (August 4th, 2012)

Eating popsicles at the kitchen table at night. First cherry. Then grape. We recap eachother with events since our last visit. 

The kids sleep soundly where the kids sleep. Will wakes before me and takes Aurora to a playground. I’ll later play the role of the nagging spouse because he left no note. Avery wakes up and wants to snuggle as children often do. “I love you,” he says as he finds the nook of my arm.

Breakfast. Pancakes. Cereal. An avocado thrown on the floor by Aurora to signal that she’s done eating it.

Roadtrip to Salem. We browse for toys and comic books. Will rescues two books for me from a used book store despite an avalanche of paperbacks. Aurora in the stoller pointing at other strollers. “Baby!” She exclaims. The breeze is refreshing as we walk through Salem Common.

That evening, a family visit to Revere beach. My first trip to the ocean outside of various locations in Florida. We explain to Avery about the unpleasantries of throwing sand and wade with Aurora into the water. The sand is squishy and cold. I avoid the seaweed that’s washed up ashore. Aurora picks up pebbles and drops them into the puddles, laughing.

Saturday night date. Ice-cream sundaes and Inland Empire (half of it, anyway). Legs entwined.

Lazy Sunday morning. Ideal Sunday morning. Cartoons on the couch. A curious monkey and a man with a yellow hat. Praise given to Avery for using the potty.

A short visit to a playground is followed by photo booth fun, a carousel ride, and toy shopping at the Disney Store. Should’ve known better than to take children (young and old) into the Disney Store.

A Perfect Fitting Blouse.

9 05 2012

Blouse performs at Sonic Boom Records in Toronto.

There is something to be said about having the opportunity for “face-time” with a musician/band that you admire and respect on an artistic level. There’s even more to be said about such “face-time” when the musician/band in question has genuine affection for their fans and is humbly grateful for the support they receive.

Shooting the breeze with Alexis Krauss of Sleigh Bells. Doing shots of whiskey with Cults’ Madeline Follin and Brian Oblivion. Debating CDs vs. vinyl records with the members of Exitmusic. There was no ego. No pretention. Just a mellow interaction with some very talented and down-to-earth artists.

During this past weekend’s visit from Will during which we had planned to see both St. Vincent and M83 play Town Ballroom, we decided to make a trek up to Sonic Boom Records in Toronto for an in-store performance by Blouse, a dreamy indie-pop band from Portland. I heard of Blouse after reading a blog entry on BrooklynVegan which compared the band to several other acts receiving heavy rotation on my turntable. After a quick visit to the iTunes store, I was completely enamored. Spin likened their beautiful and haunting synth-oriented music to that which would have been heard by the denizens of Twin Peaks on an evening at The Roadhouse. In my humble opinion, Blouse as the opening act for Julee Cruise on the night Maddy Ferguson was murdered would have been perfection.

When taking possible weekend traffic on the QEW and border crossing delays into account, I had concerns about making it back in time for the St. Vincent show later that evening… especially since I missed her back in December due to the event being cancelled (allegedly so Annie Clark could film her cameo on Gossip Girl). Needless to say, it all worked out in the end and we made it back to Buffalo with plenty of time to spare.

Sonic Boom Records is located amongst the narrow streets of the pedestrian mall known as the Kensington Market; a multicultural neighborhood lined with sidewalk stands of fresh produce, outdoor cafes, and eclectic shops. I immediately made a mental note to return at another time to explore the area a bit more.

Upon entering the store, we encountered a handful of artsy hipster types pawing through racks of vinyl LPs along with an upbeat and friendly staff. The drums and speakers were already set up so I took a prime spot right in front of where the band would be playing.

Within about 10 minutes of our arrival at Sonic Boom, Blouse showed up. I was instantly smitten with drummer Jacob Portrait’s vintage Dick Tracy t-shirt. How could any child of the early 90s not be smitten with a vintage Dick Tracy t-shirt donned by someone in 2012?

I was still standing by myself near the band’s equipment at this point and was able to partake in some small talk with singer Charlie Hilton who is a perfectly delicate blend of Nico and Beach House’s Victoria Legrand. I asked how the tour was going and mentioned how we came up from Buffalo on a whim to see them prior to the aforementioned St. Vincent show back home. Charlie was genuinely surprised and flattered that we would drive all that way just to see them.

The very intimate show started shortly thereafter. Roughly 15-20 people filed in to the store to hear Blouse play most of their debut record and the single “Shadow” (previously released through SubPop Records). The sound was surprisingly good given that we were all crowded into a small retail space. It was actually the clearest that I’ve heard a band sound live in a while.

Following the close of the set (side note: “Into Black” is one of my favorite tracks on the record), Will and I chatted up the band members a bit more. Charlie thanked us again for coming all that way and wished us a good evening at the St. Vincent show. They were all also gracious enough to sign my LP and numbered print advertising the in-store show. We said out goodbyes and hit the road back to the States.

It wasn’t until we were well on our way that Will put into words exactly what I was thinking, “I love that she remembered that we were going to St. Vincent tonight.” Something as simple as remembering our brief exchange prior to the beginning of the set was enough to make my day.

 True, it was probably only an hour between conversations with Charlie Hilton about our plans later that evening but it’s simple moments like those that can give a fan a lifelong memory.

A History Told in Pops and Crackles.

16 04 2012
Adrienne Frost

Adrienne Frost

psy*com*e*try noun: divination of facts concerning an object or its owner through contact with or proximity to the object.

Adrienne Frost: deceased mutant villainess and older sibling to the X-Men’s Emma Frost. Psychometric.

A favorite pastime for most kids (at least for this kid) is imagining what kind of superpowers you would choose to have should you have the opportunity to live out your favorite comic book storylines. Of course, the obvious abilities come to mind… flight, invulnerability, super-strength. Telepathy and other mind-based powers were usually thrown by the wayside. Why pretend you can probe someone’s mind when you can run around with your friends and make believe you’re soaring through the clouds or landing earth-shattering punches at the bad guys?

As someone who always preferred spending more time in the library than the gymnasium when I was young (okay, and still to this day), I’ve always been drawn to the characters whose powers required brains over brawn.

Recently, Will gave me an original pressing of the Breakfast at Tiffany’s soundtrack. He has a wonderful knack for giving the perfect gift (it’s one of the many things that I love about him and it’s also a skill that I hope to one day master). The outer sleeve was worn around the edges and had a piece of blue tape holding part of it together. The inner sleeve was yellowed with age and had that distinct basementy smell that typically accompanies vintage records.

One of the great things about receiving a gift like this is that not only are you receiving the gift but also the history that comes along with it.

Adrienne Frost had the mutant ability of psychometry. She could touch an object and immediately know the object’s history, its previous owners, events that occurred around the object, and the possible future of the object. This would be one of those “brains over brawn” powers that I mentioned being intrigued by.

What mental snapshots would Adrienne see when holding this well-loved record?

Every pop and crackle that the record makes under the needle on the turntable is another piece of its history. Another story to tell.

A middle-aged college professor in the 1960s (think Colin Firth in A Single Man) sitting in his library, swirling brandy in a glass, cardigan sleeves rolled up with Sylvia Plath in hand and Henry Mancini’s Moon River swelling up from the turntable while rain pats down on the window from outside. When it’s not the college professor, it’s a teenage girl, probably named Betty Jean (or something of the sort), laying on her bed, gossiping into her princess phone with her best friend about going steady with the captain of the football team… the record sitting amongst a pile of LPs on the plush bedroom carpet of her family’s suburban home.

It’s been bought and sold, traded and swapped numerous times. It has seen the inside of more than one flea market and been pawed at by bargain hunters at garage sales. Now we have the opportunity to add our own history with another layer of pops and crackles.

Saturday Night Nostalgia.

10 04 2012

This past weekend was spent in with my family in Boston. In between playground visits, comic book signings, a visit to Harvard, and an Easter Egg hunt, Will and I managed to catch up with some of our childhood friends on Saturday night.

Chris Parker and co.

"She's got the baby-sitting blues..."

Chris Parker and Ryan Lynch were the first to arrive. It had been a long time since Chris and I were in touch and the last I heard, she was attending the University of Chicago and she and Ryan were still together and very much in love. Who wouldn’t fall very much in love with Ryan? He’s charming, sensitive, and warm-hearted. Alterior motives aside, it takes a special kind of guy to drive from the city to the suburbs just to return a rollerskate to a child that he barely knows. It turns out that Chris received her MEd and shares a loft with Ryan in Chicago’s North Side neighborhood. We had to chuckle at the notion of her going into the education field considering her infamous baby-sitting-gig-gone-awry.

Ryan excused himself to take a call from their dog-sitter (he and Chris have two Welsh corgis named Thor and Handsome John) just as Sara Anderson arrived looking like she fell out of the pages of an Urban Outfitters catalog. She had certainly grown up from being the little girl with the Asgardian helmet and Gizmo backpack. To our delight, we learned that she had continued to pursue her passion for drawing and eventually pencilled her own independent graphic novel based on the Chris’ pseudo-botched night in charge. She met her girlfriend, Darcy, at Chicago Comic-Con and the two of them are the proprietors of The Enchantress’ Lair, a comic book shop/cafe/performance space. A launch party was hosted at the store for the release of Sara’s graphic novel which may or may not have included an impromptu performance of “The Baby-sitting Blues” when Chris arrived to offer her congratulations.

Before the three of them left for the evening, I had to ask Chris about her old best friend from high school. It turns out Brenda finally managed to successfully run away from home and was last seen operating a hot dog food truck in Manhattan. In case you were wondering, she doesn’t accept checks.

The next guests at our little reunion were Jake Ryan and Samantha Baker-Ryan. To my surprise, they went against the stereotype of high school romances not lasting. After conversing for a while, we learned that Jake was a corporate attorney working at his father’s firm and Samantha was a stay-at-home mother to their four children. They were still close friends with “Farmer” Ted. In fact, he was their weekend baby-sitter. Thankfully, Ted has the entertainment factor built directly into his geek gene and the children adore him. Jake and Samantha were truly living a blissful, upper middle-class, suburban life… complete with a two-car garage and white picket fence.

Close your eyes.

"Close your eyes..."

Like most high school friends/acquaintances, the couple lost touch with Caroline Mulford after graduation. Jake jokingly commented that she was lucky that the Sinead O’Connor/buzzed head look came into style not long after the unfortunate pruning of her hair to free her from a door jam. Apparently, when you’re intoxicated, simple actions like opening a door are completely lost on oneself.

While Samantha regaled Will with the list of men that her sister Ginny had since married and divorced since leaving the “oily variety bohunk”, I took a quick call from Mercedes Lane. She had the night off from dancing at The Shanty (a club in Los Angeles that is as glamorous as the name insinuates). “It seems like all your old friends are coming out of the woodwork tonight,” she said after I mentioned who had stopped by that evening.

Mercedes Lane

Mercedes Lane

She and Les Anderson stopped seeing each other not long after they started. In the end, they really didn’t have much in common other than a love for mega-hold hair care products. When she said that, I could practically see her sitting in her small L.A. studio apartment, hair teased, frayed denim skirt on, and rocking a faded Guns N’ Roses tour t-shirt. For Mercedes Lane, the 80s never died. How could it with a name like Mercedes Lane and a career at a strip club called The Shanty?

It really was a fantastic Saturday night. These were the childhood friends that kept me company when I was sick, entertained my friends and I at slumber parties, and taught us that your bangs can never be too high nor your jeans too pinned. They were the friends that remind you of a time when the most stressful decisions in life revolved around which folders to keep in your Trapper Keeper.


Tangerine... flashy and trashy

I’ve already begun digging through my old contacts from way back when to see who I should reconnect with next. I’ll have to let Will know about the rumors buzzing around the fashion circuit that Tangerine is looking to reignite her “flashy and trashy” apparel line. Something tells me that Dodger and his pals won’t be her sweat shop workers this time around.


29 03 2012
Daphne and Apollo

Daphne and Apollo

The Roman poet, Ovid, once spoke of transformation. Fifteen books comprised his narrative poem, Metamorphoses. In retrospect, to say that Ovid spoke of transformation would be an obscene understatement.
Ovid seemed firm in his belief that love was a constant catalyst in transformation. It was the recurring theme in Metamorphoses, rearing its head as either a personal love for another or oneself or taking physical manifestation in the form of Cupid (Eros for those of the Greek persuasion).
Often leaving its subjects humiliated and confused by irrationality, the end result of love in Ovid’s poem was transformation. Apollo’s objects of affection, Daphne and Hyacinth, became a laurel tree and a flower, respectively. The water nymph, Salmacis, found herself so overpowered by lust for the handsome youth, Hermaphroditus, that they morphed into one beautiful, androgynous being.
During a recent weekend visit from Will and his children, Avery and Aurora, we ventured to the Buffalo Museum of Science with one of my dearest friends, Leslie, and her 5-year-old daughter, Violet.

Avery and Violet

Avery and Violet

The kids took to eachother like they were the best of friends, holding hands and laughing and playing and running throughout the exhibits like children ought to do. I sent a photo from our museum visit to Leslie. It was of Avery and Violet exploring a play area, hand-in-hand. Her reply was: “Who would’ve thought this possible about a decade ago, my friend?” That reply echoed in my head as if the nymph herself were pining away in my brain. A night out with Laura Palmer at The Bang-Bang Bar would have come across as tame compared to a night out with Leslie and I a decade ago.  

That reply. Those words. They weren’t fifteen books that comprised a narrative poem but they became my own, personal, Metamorphoses. The words that perfectly brought to light my own transformation to a place that I never expected to be. A place that I am happy to be. A place where saying that Cupid had no part in getting me here would be as much of an obscene understatement as saying that Ovid only spoke of transformation.