Belated Birthday Celebration

I had this hat for years, and one sad and horrible day I managed to leave my hat in the Loews Theatre. In an hour’s span, it became gone forever and whoever wears it now, I hope they are haunted by my memories and life with that beauty. I have many hats, but I loved this hat the most. I semi-successfully convinced myself that losing this baby was a sign from the universe that I should move on in life and that changes are coming. This 4-dollar-satin-cap was bought in Pittsburgh and worn in Europe and Vegas and all over the country. I’m not materialistic generally, but this went beyond materialism.

 
Me with my old hat. Oh, I miss you.

This past week I went to the quaint town of Nyack to visit my best friend from middle-school and on. Not only did she surprise me with two new hats, but also the best card I’ve ever received in my life. Those folks over at American Greetings touched a part of my soul, and apparently my best friend, Jessica, bought this card years ago (it still had a 37-cent stamp on it) but forgot to send it. It’s been in her possession for years, but couldn’t have been found and received at a better time. She added her own commentary on what I was “born to do,” particularly the “born to make some mischief” (she’s still paying for the time over ten years ago that I convinced her to put dog food in her dad’s lunchpale in what I deemed to be a feminist statement. Speculation would say that her dad actually chomped on the kibbles and bits because he was and is still extremely pissed).

 

From below you can see Jessica and me outside of a Mexican joint in Rockland County. As always, I was the corrupt one to inspire my good Catholic girl friend to give the finger to the lens. I had a few drinks, but she was completely sober as she had to go to work and save lives later that night (she’s a paramedic).

Below is an image of me with my new hat. She did get a black velvet replacement, but today I wore the other one… burgundy velvet. It definitely caught some attention, and I believe it will quickly become my favourite hat. Thank God and the world for best friends (and velvet hats). It’s going to take some time to build a strong relationship with the new hats, but I think we’re off to a good start.

  

Photographs and memories…

Jim Croce stuck in my head as I click through images of the past few years. The friends and lovers who come and go and I came across this image of my Grandma Blue and grandfather. So young and happy and seemingly in love, standing in front of the Hudson River. She reminds me of Katherine Hepburn and maybe, if only to flatter my own desires, I can see myself in her. Today, walking by the Hudson River just over a hundred miles south of where this photo was taken and at least fifty years ahead in time, I wish she was here now. I could use her deep wisdom and it’s snappy, punctuated delivery.

Crystal Blue Persuasion

I’ve been in journaling overdrive and came across nearly a dozen pages in my NY-telephone book-sized journal that I scribbled on while sitting along the polluted sapphire shore of Malibu five years ago. On these pages, I  randomly jotted the things that I love and the things that I hate in this world. Since my last entry was on the dark side, I’ll welcome the light with this gorgeous Spring day and emphasize the things I love today.

First and foremost, my greatest love of the day is reserved for major 7th chords. Now there’s footage of Richard Carpenter talking about the Carpenters sound, and in his eager lisp he declares with a Southern Californian’s inflection, “I luuuv major sevenths.” I cannot tell you how many times I’ve poorly mimicked him saying that. Since I first touched my own piano at the age of 14, I remember writing a song speckled with CMaj7 and each stroke of that chord was nearly orgasmic. I’m actually beginning to learn how to not be so rigid when it comes to playing the piano and embellishing a bit (as much as my faulty fingers allow).

I also received a message from Kellie, a nanny in Colorado who dances around with the kids to my album. It’s the most divine news I’ve received today. Yesterday I was at the New Jersey Nets training facility working this party (it was 70’s themed, which just put me in the best mood ever). Additionally, the cover band was fabulous and bringing out some soulful and disco tunes, as the white-man-overbites appeared and the dads stomped on the wrong beat with their kids twirling and bouncing about. It reminded me of pulling out my dad’s records from the 70’s as he would stomp his right foot (actually on the beat, imagine! Although, he still had the underbite). There is just something so special about children connecting to music… and to my music? Well, that’s a whole other blessing altogether. I’m really touched.

This leads me to an interview with Stevie I recently saw, where she said “The only people I care about are the people who get my music” and to quote herself, she said they have to “read between my lines” because I’m telling a story that documents what everyone experiences. I care about the people get it. It makes a lot of sense to me, and even after recording an album over the long haul of time and writing from my life, it’s taken THIS long for me to finally realize how personal the whole process is. And did I mention deep? The human voice is really something… and add a major 7th to it? Well, that’s just ecstasy as far as I’m concerned.

Stevie’s retrospective album comes out this week. No matter what course my life path is taking, I hope to have a prolific catalog of music to document the journey.

Anger Grows

The bourbon was found. Actually, I knew where it was, I just didn’t really need to bring it out until tonight. It’s courtesy of a horrible event I worked months ago and honey-flavoured. This liquid concoction is an acquired taste. However, I’ve decided to share the title track of the next album “Anger Grows.” It’s not even recorded or documented on anything other than my Zen and in my journals, but it’s time to share because it so adequately fits my current mood. So. Enjoy…

Anger Grows
Kept alone too long… weeds can grow real strong
Once consumed by you, you’re now the victim. Of your own consumption.

Verse 1
Charm was your saviour, it made you a player
In a game where you reigned as the king of self-destruction.
And I came with favours, to break through your layers but… Instead I just drown in a pool of your dysfunction.

Pre-Chorus
You denied this loyal seed your love and light
That it grew so fast to stage a fight
The roots trailed down to my neglected core
A gridwork for an internal war.

Chorus
Confused and blind you’ll never know… how deep inside my anger grows
You’re so smart but still too slow. Dare to catch up as my anger grows. Anger grows. Anger Grows.

Verse 2
You’re always the victim of your own self-infliction
Yet you cry how the universe is just out to get you
I kept on wishin’ we could end all this fiction
And dig on down into the heart of your authentic truth

Pre-Chorus
But you denied this loyal seed your love and light
That it grew so fast to stage a fight
The roots trailed down to my neglected core.
A gridwork for an internal war.

Chorus
Confused and blind you’ll never know… how deep inside my anger grows.
You’re so smart but still too slow.
Dare to catch up as my anger grows. Anger grows. Anger Grows.

Bridge
Shouldn’t open that door when it’s fin’lly closed.
Now you’re a barnacle on my ravage soul.
On the day you come back to life to realize, how much you lost it will be decades past my goodbye.

Bourbon and Cigarettes…

It’s one of those nights… or wee small hours, that I’d love to have a cigarette. But it’s cold out and I don’t want my apartment or breath to stink. Instead I’ll just indulge in some imagery… I wouldn’t mind being Katharine Hepburn about now. Come to think of it, bourbon and cigarettes are the only way to get my voice to drop two octaves and have the gravelly sound of a shale driveway. Perhaps, in my next life.

(*update*)Below is my recent effort to emulate the Audrey Hepburn look.

Introducing The Band

The big reveal, after a good rehearsal tonight and a day closer to our first gig (nothing’s officially booked yet, but since time is linear, we’re technically a day closer). I’ve yet to determine nicknames for all of the players, but they will come with time. Don’t mind the blurriness, it’s hard to get a still shot when nobody stays still long enough. Except me, I’m a total poser here. Not even singing. Additionally, as I found myself staring into a microphone tonight and wondering did the microphone have to be so fallic? I mean, the “taco joke” exists for a reason, and I think it would be more beneficial in capturing all the sound. Not that I want to sing into a taco either.


Here I am listening to Ben. Listening is a good skill to have around Ben.
See if you can find the inactive purple tambourine.


Here’s Scott and Craig, both of whom are lacking
nicknames at the moment. Recommendations Accepted.


Here’s Master Tom. He plays solos I might possibly
learn by 2017. But that’s still a tough deadline.

Ben the Guitarist, aka Daffy (he enjoys making duck faces).
Note the socks. He has the pretty legs, only thing
missing are the great big knockers (at least
if he wants to play for Bette).

Note the microphone grasp. Once again
I’m not singing. Just posing.

Night of A Thousand (Yes A Thousand) Stevies

Some of us never really made it to our high school prom. In fact, I missed both my senior and junior prom (skipping a grade and moving to NY at 17 jeopardized both). The night of what would’ve been my senior prom, I was living in New York and attending the Daytime Emmy Awards at Radio City Music Hall and dancing in the Rockefeller Center fountain. I really didn’t miss out. However, my mom was reading me off this list of great monumental moments one should have in a lifetime : attending proms, graduating school, getting engaged, getting married, buying a house, birthing a slew of kids and it then listed distinct adjectives to describe the excitement of each. Getting engaged? Well I think that should come simultaneously with getting married and should involve an e-ticket to Vegas and an Elvis impersonator. On those grounds, it could be fun. Buying a house? I have no interest… I’ll settle on a Central Park West condo.

But the point here, is that each one of these events that most people live for could easily be replaced for me with activities that release FAR more endorphins, involve POUNDS more of sequins and glitter, and include FAR more appetizing music selections. This brings me to “Night of a Thousand Stevies.” Last year, Chelsea and I attended for the first time and it was an energetic overload. Unfortunately, I had to hop on a bus to Atlantic City the next morning, but this year it’s all about the Stevies. “Night of a Thousand Stevies” upstages any prom, any wedding, an bridal/baby/random shower I’ve ever heard of. Not only that, but you get to do it ONCE a year!

This year the theme is “Edge of Seventeen,” which means the view of the stage will be undeniably obstructed by men wearing top hats with white-winged doves all over. I’m going to have to find a special spot to stick my dove, but I have an idea. I’m really excited. The only downside is that this year’s event is at the Maritime Hotel. I’ve had two unfortunate experiences at this NY hotspot. First, a guy I was dating invited me to join him and his friends for drinks. We all got along well, and the relationship-phobe he was freaked out, and decided at the end of a good evening he wanted to go to a stripclub with them (after professing for MONTHS that stripclubs just weren’t his thing). His friends did the appropriate thing and invited me along, but he put his foot down by saying I couldn’t come and left me standing in the rain on 9th Avenue while they all got into a cab. The second experience happened when my friend and I were attending another club that caught on fire, and so we were left meandering in front of the Maritime on a hot, summer night. This gaggle of guys invited us to come on the deck and join them for a drink, which we did since our plans were shot. They were all successful (allegedly) mortage brokers and business owners, and high on coke (we didn’t know this at first). After a drink and some pizza, we headed to the bathroom and were ready to leave these oddjobs who were coming increasingly condescending and offensive. However, being young and stupidly polite, I told my friend we should say goodbye and thank them at the very least. We walked back to the table and everyone had left! The waitress approached us and apparently the white collar dudes had walked out on a three-hundred dollar tab that took them three hours to build! The manager came out and inquired what happened and both were sympathetic to me and my friend, knowing full well the dudes were annoying and high. Luckily for us, one of the idiots had left his CARD with me! Fellows, if you want to exit on a tab, you might not want to leave information like your place of employment or phone number or name! Additionally, the idiot answered the phone as soon as they called.  Haha. We were released, but apparently it was an uncomfortable and unfortunate incident.

However, on a truly high note, I’m certain the Night of A Thousand Stevies will be a total wash of all previous bad experiences. The third time is a charm, and the only dudes that will be dancing around us be of a safe sexual preference. I really hope Cyndi Lauper makes it this year (if her tour hasn’t started by then… I can’t believe I missed her last year). If anyone wants to check out more about this event go to http://www.mothernyc.com/stevie/.

Four Years Later…

I was a financial mess, scared to death, without a home, and without a plan when I moved back to New York. It’s the four year anniversary of my return. It’s the four year anniversary of the Iraq War. In four years I managed to save a lot, learn a lot, join the Screen Actors Guild, pay off all my credit card debt (courtesy of my SAG fees), finally get a photo with Bette Midler, meet Stevie Nicks, tour the country, visit Europe and the Caribbean for the first time, move into a safer and bigger apartment, acquire my best furry friend Scarlett, write a novel, finish two screenplays, finish and release my first album, “Chained by Dreams” and survive every year in the trust that work and money and everything I need would come to me. And while in those four years, I can celebrate all that’s happened in my own life…

In Iraq… the contributions over four years have been insane.

3,217 American troops dead
40,000 Americans wounded
60,000 Iraqis dead

God Bless those people for going over there… and in my own anniversary celebration, I really honor the sacrifices they’ve made.

Random Pre-Bedtime Thoughts

I’ve slept no more than two hours in the past thirty-six and I’ve just inhaled a glass of plum wine to bring my heart rate down. For whatever reason, my heartrate is always out of control when I operate on little sleep. Neurotic, over-thinking, psychically hypersensitive people like me really need a lot of sleep. We’re talking an eight-hour minimum, folks. Today I was working on a pilot (a rather lame pilot) that had me sequestered underground in the Grand Central subway platform for fourteen hours. The interior of my nostrils has turned a dark shade of black and inspite of extensive scrubbing and bathing, I still feel layered with underground filth. Unfortunately, the company didn’t add on an additional hazard pay for the toll it took on all our bodies. I feel as if the stench of urine still surrounds me and my animosity for the MTA that has been residue since their strike has somehow dissipated into sympathy and compassion for what they deal with down under.

I hope no one expects this entry to have anything but a stream-of-conscious ramble, because there is little continuity or specific themes to be had. I generally journal in one of the five different journals I have devoted to different aspects of my life. There’s the mini-dream journal, the manifestation journal, the yellow-book-sized journal that’s a nice mix of everything from poems to dreams to past memories, to my diary, and my lyrics book. I write extensively and one of these days my offspring or some poor soul who comes across my belongings will see the legacy of verbose self-indulgence that I’ve left behind in my loopy manuscript. Tonight, it was much easier to opt for typing. The cold weather wasn’t necessarily enjoyable for the arthritis I’ve developed in my hands. Yeah, I’m already arthritic thanks to probably pounding on my casio and all that written self-indulgence.

I can trace back years in my journals and since being seventeen and living as an adult there have been two topics that reappear in all my worries, hopes, fears, doubts, dreams, potential manifestations, and jaded but optimistic rants. They are personal relationships and my career. Prior to being on my own, my journals were obsessed with overachievement, becoming famous, and meeting my idols. But I think the topic that plagues me the most tonight is the idea of love and relationships. Looking back and into the present, I really see the faces of loves lost more as a series of patterns than a stream of people. And it’s when I particularly have to see my amazing female friends go through terrible instances with men, where they are used and discarded like a piece of Charmin, that I’m able to really self-reflect and feel a sense of true sadness for the things I’ve let transpire.

Now, I will also say that my patterns have taken a shift and even since the fatal-heart blow I took last year, I’ve really been involved with absolutely charming, friendly, and genuinely nice guys. They’ve been gentlemen, considerate, and thoughtful in their courting, even though many of them disappeared after a few dates. I’ve made peace with disappearances and accepted with what is, when years ago I may have clung onto something that wouldn’t work. At the same time I made the resolution to try and be involved with the nice guys, who don’t always finish last. I was willing to sacrifice the mind-blowing passion and fleeting romance for the sake of reliability and respect. In these cases, the universe intervened or they somehow just knew, and managed to step away.

But the more time that passes, I wonder why I’m so consistently willing to forgive and grant second chances (hundreds of times) to situations of the past that were nothing but destructive patterns. Maybe they didn’t start out that way, but they evolved into it… and at the end of the day, I’m left to doubt that I’m meant to be with anyone. Maybe it’s self-protection, or maybe it disillusionment, or self-sufficiency that gives me a sense of complacency with being alone. And if I were to find myself involved, for once, just once, I’d like the person I’m finally interested in and not just getting involved with on account of being statistically “right” and “nice” to pursue me consistently for a change. It would really be a welcome opportunity.

In the meantime, I have my music… and my keyboard… and my journals to take me away. When I was madly in love at the age of 20 with someone who didn’t necessarily reciprocate, I remember reading a quote from Stevie and thinking she was absolutely nuts. She said she’d rather be alone in her castle with a piano and her journals and her art than have a torrid love affair anyday. The more time that passes, the more I realize that it just may not be such a bad choice afterall.

Now, hopefully this is enough of a random rant to get me the shuteye I so badly need and deserve.

Thanks, Mom

Yesterday came the arrival of my birthday gifts from my mom: a purple tambourine adorned with glittery ribbons (I’ll have photos on here when it’s put to use) and a special shirt she thought would be perfect for performing. Although my mom may be conservative in upbringing and beliefs, she has always been one to buy me some alluring (sometimes racy) attire. Allow me to segue into being thankful to my mother, not only  for the gifts I received yesterday, but also for the gift of genetics. Particularly, for the buxom blessings she’s endowed upon me.

When I was nine years old, I had a rehearsed prayer to God, and it’s been no secret if the topic of “tits” has ever come up in random conversation. I would sit on the balcony of our house in farm country, looking over the cornfields, suck in the stench of manure while staring up at the stars, and pray the following: “Dear God, please let me grow up and be friends with Bette Midler and become a famous singer-actress-writer-producer-choreographer and live in New York City and please let me at least have a d-cup.” I thought in order to be a true diva, “pretty legs and great big knockers” were the key ingredient. I was a rather late bloomer but when I caught up,  I kept racing ahead…

Last night Chelsea and I watched a Bette movie (Stella) and there’s a scene revolving around the mother Bette and her teenaged-daughter in which she’s not wearing a brassierre. When I was 16, I went on a similar protest against brassieres. I thought I was going to have my own feminist rally, and would stick to wearing a loose wifebeater sans a brassierre. It drove my mother nuts, and she felt the need to constantly buy me new bras. I remember having lunch in the school cafeteria with my best friend, declaring “She can buy me all the damn brassierres she wants but she can’t make me wear them!” My friend, always supportive in spite of being in disagreement, would just nod and reply, “Well, I need to wear a bra.”

It was only when my mother finally got me pinned down in the back of a lingerie shop on vacation in South Carolina by two genteel women with measuring tapes that I realized I may need some superstrong underwire. One of the women wrapped the tape around my loosely jiggling bosom and muttered, “Child, you just maaaht want ta wear a minimiz-ah.” Apparently in my wire-free protests, I had ballooned a good two cup sizes above and beyond my nine-year-old prayers. I never left the house again without a brassierre.

I thank my mom and those genes for making one of my prayers manifest seemlessly. The other quests are yet to unfold, but it’s a good basis for faith. At the same time, I worry about the evil of genetics in the increased likelihood of having breast cancer. Today marks the 17th anniversary of my grandmother’s death due to a rare  form of breast cancer. In the meantime, my mom just may have the same motto running for me as Bette Midler always had for herself- “When you got it, flaunt it!”

So, thanks Mom.