Realism With Joni

“In order to be optimistic, you have to be irrational.” I love Joni
Mitchell. I spent an entire day at the Louvre, years ago, listening to
“Miles of Aisles” on my discman in the pre-Ipod era. Great glimpse into
her current project. It makes me wonder why I bother worry about the
“sound” that I should create and what makes the most sense
commercially. She’s all instincts and sass…

Divertimento Bistro

I’ve been accused of having a fear of intimacy. I’ve also been accused of someone who will do whatever it takes to overcome my fears. Divertimento Bistro is quite the intimate setting, but Scott and I had a marvelous time entertaining our engaging, kick-ass audience this past week. The setlist was a long one and we filled a little under two hours, so I’m sparing it for now. But, if you weren’t there, let the envy rise towards those who were because we tried out some new material. This includes “The Vineyard,” which will be released before the end of the year. It’s a different sound from “Chained by Dreams,” with less production and more of yours truly. Well, maybe not more of me but it will keep in the theme of intimacy.

Thanks for the awesome folks at Divertimento and for my two new fans who stayed for the entire set and demanded those encores. Ya’ll rock.

Me and Stevie (what a great name!)

Me and Rob (who abandoned his friends and wandered in for the set).

After the show, I raced to Port Authority for a spokesmodel gig the next day in Albany. It was a nice change of scenary, but the highlight for me was walking by the Knickerbocker-turned-Pepsi-turned-Times Union Center. It’s a dream to play there (where attended by first concert and saw Bette Midler and later used what little space I had on a credit card to see Fleetwood Mac). When that day comes, I’m sure I’ll miss these little bistro gigs. Then again, I can always return to a small venue. Getting to play the Knick (and NOT singing some national anthem for a hockey game) will take a bit more effort and time… so everyone cross your fingers and to quote Jenny Bruce, light a fire within your soul for me.

The Cockroach Lives On

I’m killing time before heading out to an acoustic set tonight. A two hour set. Even Stevie Nicks doesn’t go on for that long. Last week I met someone in the entertainment industry, who equated the music industry to the life of a cockroach. He said the entire industry was based on a model of creating this tangible disc, record, cassette that could be produced cheaply and then sold to make a profit. Now that everyone is stealing music or downloading it, the money is not being made in the sales of these cds. It’s back to the cockroach. The cockroach in this case? Live performances. I love the notion of performing in front of thousands of people at Jones Beach. However, these intimate gigs make me nervous as hell. Who am I kidding. Any gig does. I have terrible stagefright.

However, this cockroach analogy was given to me last week and I remembered that the whole point of live performance is the reason I got into this. Ironically, last week, a day or two after receiving the cockroach analogy, I was dining at the Strand Diner. It was my first time going there after four and a half years of living in the neighborhood. I ordered a blueberry muffin, an egg sandwich, and a large iced coffee. From the moment the food arrived, I knew I should’ve stuck with just a muffin because I’d never eat all that food. Not a minute or two after the food was delivered, I didn’t have to worry about consuming any of the egg sandwich as a cockroach ran from under the sandwich across my plate and onto the table! My friend, too engrossed in a cell phone conversation, was completely passive as I jumped and screamed to find the speedy critter. Sacrificing my Sudoku puzzle, I slammed an AmNY newspaper and demanded the hostess bring our waiter. The waiter could barely hide his own disgust as he quickly wiped up the roach-corpse with a napkin.

 I’m sparing us all a cockroach photo.

Breakfast was on the house. Not that I could escape the queasiness and eat for the rest of the afternoon. Yeah, the cockroach lives on. I prefer the cockroach as a metaphor than the actuality of it in my food, but I get the point. I better have more fun at these live performances.

A Night With The Highrollers

There are people with money. And then, there are people with MONEY.  Tonight fit into the latter category, as I found myself booked on an assignment checking in highrollers who merely stopped over in NY for a few hours for a party before their final destination at a southern casino. I was invited to come along and trust me… if the lobster-quesadillas had already been delivered to the table, I would have gone. In my red dress without any luggage to my name and a bevy of strangers offering to buy me new luggage. I should’ve gone. But the lobster was amazing, and my apple martini was barely finished. What a life.

I thank God for my red dress. If no one else ever notices it, wearing it certainly makes me feel happy. I’ve decided to finally take a risk and buy an overpriced digital piano. I deserve one… and I’m tired of the Casio. Tomorrow may be time to shop.

Things That Make Me Scream

I interrupt my currently productive day for a brief reprieve from things that make me scream. Blogging makes me happy. During my Shea-stint a few weeks ago, I was teamed up with a tall, solid-muscular (read: HUGE) black dude who worked as a model and actor. He would attempt to coax a massage out of me during our long, painful, one-hour of work (wahh-wahh, life is tough I know). I told him to find a kid and get the kid to walk on his back because that is what I would do. He looked at me like I’m a mad woman (maybe I am, in that Kate Chopin kind of way) and shouted,  “I do that and I’ll be locked up for twenty years. I can’t get away with that, hell no!” He alluded that big black dudes and skinny white girls just may not get away with the same thing in this world. He revealed that in the middle of the night he’ll relieve stress by opening the window of his Newark apartment and scream at the top of his lungs. Today, was my turn, only I kept the window closed because of the construction and pounding resonating from a building across the courtyard. I wanted my scream to resonate in uninterrupted silence.

I have a scary neck. Note: my cat calmly watches from behind.

Things that made this scream possible:
1. Companies that don’t pay me then call and non-chalantly ask (and expect) me to come work for them again.  Last minute.

2. An extremely rude female operator at the NJ Transit, who made me wait ten minutes to tell me that one-way tickets NEVER expire, then say the rate changed and therefore my ticket is no good.

3. Working for an agency, representing a multi-million-dollar chic company that sent my check a month late. Oh, and then the check bounced. I’m supposed to be the flaky-artist-crazy-always-broke-type. You know. I’m not. I’ve never bounced a check in my life, even when I wait five months for some morons to pay me.

4. Music industry execs and producers (more often occurring than film industry people) who want to fuck me and are ruthless in their pursuit and even phone in from their honeymoons.  And, oh, they can help me and really listen to my music. Spare me.

5. Entertainment industry people (read: straight men) who make appointments and meetings so they can spend the majority of the time talking about their own failed acting ambitions, the fuck-ability of on screen stars, and their own notes on how many of the women I admire that they consider fat pigs. Why do we have eating disorders in this country? Beats the hell out of me.

6. When I receive a barrage of messages from men pursuing me, when the one dude I want to be with has moved on. The irony of love.

To balance out all this venting, the following have made me very happy today:
1. My chance to scream.
2. A completely booked end of September and early October (woohoo).
3. Banging at my Casio and my planned rehearsal with Scott tonight.
4. Cherry twizzler bites.
5. Sunshine.
6. My cat.
7. My overall awesome life and existence.

My Open Letter To Carly Simon.

Maybe just my open comment to Carly. You rock!  This is my favourite song of hers, but on a Friday night Greyhound ride through the bucolic landscape of upstate New York, it took on a whole new meaning for me. Awesome weekend, details to come…

Carly Simon – Touched By The Sun

If you want to be brave
And reach for the top of the sky
And the farthest point on the horizon
Do you know who you’ll meet there
Great soldiers and seafarers,
Artists and dreamers
Who need to be close, close to the light
They need to be in danger of burning by fire
And I, I want to get there
I, I want to be one
One who is touched by the sun,
One who is touched by the sun

Often I want to walk
The safe side of the street
And lull myself to sleep
And dull my pain
But deep down inside I know
I’ve got to learn from the greats,
Earn my right to be living,
Let my wings of desire
Soar over the night

I need to let them say

“She must have been mad”

And I, I want to get there
I, I want to be one
One who is touched by the sun,
One who is touched by the sun

I’ve got to learn from the greats,
Earn my right to be living,
With every breath that I take,
Every heartbeat
And I, I want to get there
I, I want to be one, One who is touched by the sun,
One who is touched by the sun.

“I’ll Light A Fire Within My Soul For You”

I get random emails on a daily basis and people will often recommend to me musical artists that I should check out. A few weeks ago I came across this song, “Dream” by Jenny Bruce. Her vocals are haunting and chilling, reminiscent of Annie Lennox on “Why.” The song affected me deeply, embracing all those notions I have about dreams: to pursue or not to pursue. So, I purchased her previous two albums on Amazon. She’s a fellow Upper West-Sider noted by a PO Box in the liner notes that is at the post office I use.

One of the my favourite songs on her album, “Soul on Fire” is the title track which opens lamenting about a pretty girl at the post office door. The imagery makes it a lot easier to endure the hour-long wait that can sometimes consume my day at the post office. It’s a great song. It reminds me of the people I’ve come across, who are weary or depressed or just unable to pursue their passions. “I’ll light a fire within my soul for you…” An awesome lyrics in an awesome song. She’s my new, “I-need-to-calm-down-now” musical choice.

In my past life…

I was a total groupie, stalking bands and venues in the 60’s and 70’s. And the top of my list must’ve been America (shortly after Janis, Bette, Carly Simon, James Taylor, the Eagles, and of course… Fleetwood Mac). Last year, I was stationed on a rainy pier on the Hudson River for another one of my weird jobs. It was freezing, dismal, and I was questioning my existence. Then the sun came out. The pier warmed up, the endless source of gourmet food and draft beer was served, and America took the stage. Very often, I boycott male groups but this band sounds as awesome now as they did on recordings from thirty-plus years ago.

I’ve been listening to America’s Greatest Hits on repeat on my zen from Manhattan to Shea Stadium every day. “Daisy Jane,” “Ventura Highway” (those guitar parts are awesome!), and of course, “Sister Golden Hair.” I definitely want to add one of their songs to my set. But I realize part of the connection… after listening to year’s of my dad’s crooning in the car and around the house, the lead vocals remind me of being with him on a long road trip.

He’s Still Got It

I have a personal deadline… to be on Letterman before he retires. Not literally “on” the man, although he remains the longest crush of my lifetime. Tonight, in the wee small hours, I caught the late viewing of Oprah in NYC with Letterman as the guest. I still love that man. My heart has been broken by a few men with names that begin with a “D,” but I still hold in my heart a special place for David Letterman. He just rocks.

I am Frank Abagnale.

I remember reading “Catch Me If You Can” and thinking well, thank God, his horrible consequences for years of fraud were adequately detailed. Otherwise, I may have felt the prankster in me want to try a few of his schemes and some schemes of my own. Then, I came to realize… I live the life of a Chameleon. I show up to events after being fed two or three taglines and am then expected to represent the company as if I’ve been employed for a decade or more.

This week, I was offering shareholder information and representing a company that deals with investor relations (to the insiders, they call this “I.R.”) and financial marketing. In between this two day stretch, I spent the night hours assisting a concert for the All American Rejects and became an “expert” on the Samsung a727. Finishing my nine-day-stretch of work, are my days spent at my father’s church, also known as Shea Stadium. I love this job. It pays a day rate and I have to work no more than an hour. I spend the time commuting there on the ethnically-diverse, oft-overcrowded, 7-train and drown out the other straphangers with music in my ears and a Sudoku puzzle in my hand. It’s really peaceful.

Now, I absolutely have to get a photo of my favourite Shea Stadium attraction. See all the ticket-collectors and program sellers and ushers are senior citizens. Yes, the Mets are an equal-opportunity employer. I am often paired at the same gate with this cranky old man who resembles a snapping turtle sans claws. The first day I made the mistake of standing within five feet of his moving program stand, at which point he growled at me a series of vowels that translated to “Miiiiisss… moooove…. mooove it.” David Wright could come and stand by his booth and he would swat him (literally) out of the way. It’s hilarious.  When he’s not yelling at people from behind his mobile stand, you can find him talking to himself, rolling his beady eyes, and flipping over garbage cans as he rifles through them to presumably find his lost mind.

So, here we are eight days into the promotion. While I’m peddling my swag for a corporate sponsor, the Mets promo team will often have giveaways. You want to watch grown men turn into whining babies? Deny them a kid’s giveaway, such as a Build-A-Bear, and you’ll see what I mean. Even my dad, who’s just a needle shy away of having the Mets logo tattooed on his forehead (it’s already marked on his soul), doesn’t act like that. He’s smart enough to buy an extra ticket and pay some kid to go through the turnstile twice to get one.

My dad, me, and sister enduring the Dodgers beating the Mets.

Today was a giveaway for all attendees, but only until supplies ran out. It was a beautiful, sunny Saturday at the end of the season. They were bound to run out. Once they did, the Mets promo staff decided to disappear and leave us with our sweepstake giveaways to be hounded by the thousands of patrons who didn’t receive a free fleece Mets blanket. It gets old… real fast. You know what my solution was? To send every whining, demanding adult to… the old cronie behind the program stand. Suddenly my sleep-deprived, agitated being was trembling with guffaws as time and again I would send some obnoxious patron over to the old man and he would scream at them, he would swat at them, and try to run them over with his stand. Haha! The tears still stream down my face upon reliving it. I probably could’ve sent the old man into cardiac arrest and the fools who asked him for a fleece blanket luckily didn’t come back to find me. If only I had a video camera, it would be on Youtube and I guarantee Program-Man would be an instant celebrity.

I wonder what kind of karmic repercussions will come of these instigations. Frankly, they’re worth it.