Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Two more.....

I have been swamped and falling behind! Today, two posts to make up for yesterday's lack thereof:

After Hours
The days of going to After Hours joints are long past for me, so I have no idea if or where they still exist. But my feeling is they are not as prevalent as they used to be. (By after hours, I mean TRUE after hours -- places that didn't open until 2 or 3 am and would close at noon or later). When I was growing up and hanging out on the LES, the main after hours was called Save the Robots. It was on Avenue B between 2nd and 3rd Streets, which back then was a much more shady area. Roger, the singer from the punk band Nausea, would work the door and go around and let us in the back way. Save the Robots was a real 80s club. It had different themed rooms -- the downstairs had a beach theme and the floor was covered in sand. The drinks were pricey and the music fell more into the dance/techno category. Still it was some place to go at 4am (which when you are 18 in NYC is important). I believe the club reopened again in the last few years with the same name, but of course, nothing close to the original.

The other infamous places were Brownie's and Frankie's. Brownie's I didn't go too as often. You needed a password and people needed to know you, and I didn't have the connections, so I only went with other people. Frankie's was my hang out. It was on 2nd Street just off 1st Avenue. The front was totally innocuous -- a boarded up store front painted black which you would walk right by if you didn't know that it was there. Once you opened the door you would be in a liviing room/bar. It was cluttered with all sorts of memorobilia and had a ratty pool table that was impossible to play on. The pool table was ripped up and the room was so narrow that you couldn't properly line up a shot because the cue wouldn't fit between the wall and the table.

In the back was a bar which served 10 dollar beers. This was the after hours for nightclub employees who liked to do a lot of drugs. There was a bathroom out in the hallway where everyone would discreetly go to do their intake. The hallway was actually the downstairs of a residential building and I can only imagine what they thought of this club that ran every night underneath their apartments. The owner of the place, Frankie, must have been in his 60s or 70s and would give cocaine to all the pretty girls (while trying to cop a feel). There was a backyard where we would hang out as well. I remember a lot of drug-fueled arguments happening back there. There were no windows in the bar, which often led to people staying there until noon or 1pm. Cocaine messes with time -- you are so speeded out that you have no idea what time it is.

Frankie would take pictures of everyone. The next time you came in he would whip out a little box which had envelopes with people's names on them and hand you an envelope of pictures of yourself from the last time you were there so you could have a memento of your last trashed bender at Frankie's.

Guns n Roses Parties

Guns n Roses lived a life of excess and threw lavish parties after every single concert on their tours. Over the years I went to a few of them. They often had a theme: Toga party (complete with bartenders etc. in togas and a roasted pig on a spit being carried through the party), Game night, Casino, etc. One particular time comes to mind as one of the more ridiculous parties I attended: They came to NYC with Metallica and Faith No More to play the Meadowlands. My friend Betty, who had been in the Cycle Sluts, and Jerry, who worked at the Scrap Bar, decided we wanted to go. Back then it was pretty common for us to just decide to go to a concert without tickets and talk our way in. We knew enough people that somebody would usually vouch for you.

We got to the Meadowlands after having taken a drunken bus ride out there and found our way back to the stage door gates. I don't remember exactly how we got in. I think Jerry may have talked us in, or Stuart, Axl's brother, whom I had dated for about 10 seconds, shooed us in, but we ended up tooling around backstage for a while and then grabbing seats right next to the stage during Metallica's set. Afterwards we went backstage and hung out with those guys -- Betty used to date James Hetfield. There was a really big feud between Metallica and GnR then, and I remember James (and Lars in other occasions around this same period), railing against how they were idiots to spend so much money on these parties and how Axl was a lunatic who didn't take care of his voice.

The party was the usual antics: It was a speakeasy theme. They had fake Guns n Roses money that you could use to play any number of casino games they had set up. Whoever won the most fake money would win some crazy prize, like a stereo system or something. They had a huge spread: steak, sushi, etc. There was a magician wandering around, and free video games, and pool. Me and James played pool and I talked to the Faith No More dudes for a while. I also did about 12 shots of Jack Daniels. At some point somebody pointed out that there was a hot tub in the corner in this curtained off area. Me and Betty had about 10 gallons of liquor each in us and decided it would be a GREAT idea to get in....completely naked. So we did. We figured no one would know. Well within seconds it seemed the entire party was peering in to that corner throught the curtains to see which crazy groupies were being decadent and stupid enough to jump into a hot tub naked in the middle of a crowded party. Axl came in and chatted with us, guys were leering. Me and Betty laughed it off, but we didn't have a choice...finally someone came and brought us towels so we could get out. Stuart was pretty annoyed at me I think.

The only other thing I remember about that party was that Axl Rose was dating Stephanie Seymour and she dragged me into the DJ booth proclaiming that the music sucked and that we should DJ for a while, which we proceeded to do. The rest of the night is a haze. I vaugely remember getting a ride to the city and going to some bar and then crawling home and sleeping for two days.

You wouldn't know it to look at me, wouldya?

The Crazies

The thing about the bar/rock n roll scene is that it definitely attracts some shady characters. I have met my fair share of drug dealers and just plain psychos hanging out in that scene. There was a drug dealer who was constantly talking about getting me to go to the "dark side" with him. This was sort of laughable except that he took it so sersiouly himself that it definitely creeped me out.

The serial killer Joel Rifkin hung around the fringes of the scene. I never talked to him but I remember being aware of him -- other girls talked about the fact that he was creepy and/or socially retarded. He mainly gravitated towards the really screwed up druggie girls. When he was arrested it creeped everyone out, as you can imagine.

When I was 17 my friend Liz was dating a young dude who was very intense. His name escapes me, but he ended up hitting on me, and I think I made out with him mainly due to the fact that it was the first time (maybe the last) when a guy actually chose me over one of my hot friends. (Girls are horrible people when they are 17.) I finally came to my senses and told him I couldn't see him because of LIz and he said okay but pursued me pretty intensey for a while anyway. He went off to college at Syracuse and two months later got arrested for digging up a body, taking the remains, and boiling them in his dorm room. He was supposedly using them for an art project. It made the front page of the News or the Post. (People wonder why I'm single....)

More on this in future posts.....

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Scrap Bar

I have mentioned the Scrap Bar in quite a few previous posts, and figured I should designate a little more time to it. Scrap Bar was a small bar on McDougal Street between Bleecker and West Third Street. Its name came from the fact that the entire bar was decorated with pieces of scrap metal. It was in a basement and the stairs leading down to it were also decorated with various pieces of scrap metal. Today I think it's some frat bar, as everything on that block is, called the Wreck Room. You can see pics from that era at the Scrap Bar website. It was definitely the metal years and the pictures prove it.

Scrap Bar was a huge rock star hangout. MTV did one of its first rockumentaries on Guns n Roses and used the bar as a location. Should you ever see it, the bartenders working in the background were my friends Fiona and Jerry. I don't know whether that doc started the mass influx of wannabe rockstars and actual rockstars to this little hole in the wall bar or if it had already happened, but Scrap Bar became pretty famous. If a band was playing in NYC, you could almost certainly be guaranteed that they would make an appearance at the Scrap Bar afterwards.

As I have mentioned before, it was a big biker hangout -- the Angels were our security. Add to the mix a bunch of heroin addict musicians, a bunch of celebrities, a bunch of groupies, and then the occasional tourist, and you get an interesting and volatile combo. There were a lot of fights there. Not every single night, but enough that I remember them.

There were a lot of interesting characters there, as well as some shady ones. A lot of people did a lot of drugs. Heroin was incredibly popular then and a lot of people were addicts. Because of the drug fueled energy there was a lot of violence and death. One of the bartender's boyfriends killed himself, a guy named John threw himself off a roof, our friend Reuben who was the door person at the Limelight and a real scenester did the same after finding out he was HIV positive. My friend Mikey, who was one of our barbacks, was always high and getting into horrible accidents which he would miraculously survive. He once fell down the stairs AND out of a window and was fine the next day. Sadly his luck ended when he fell off a roof -- there was always speculation about whether it was an accident or suicide. I also watched a lot of people spiral out of control --heroin is really an evil drug and will make the smartest coolest person turn into a smarmy dirty beggar -- an evolution that is pretty painful to watch.

As I have noted, a lot of rock stars and celebrities came through the place. Guns n Roses hung out a lot. Slash supposedly got a BJ from Savannah (the porn star) while sitting at the bar -- it got written up in some rag and he freaked out and said it wasn't true. I was there that night and I heard people talking about it all night so I guess it was, although I didn't see the action happening myself. I did a lot of shots with Chris Robinson of the Black Crowes. He was really into trading clothes. He would see something he liked of yours and offer to trade you his jacket or vest or belt for it. My friend Mick had Chris Robinson's jacket for years. The Metallica dudes were in there a lot, Sebastian Bach, the guys from Alice in Chains, Eddie Van Halen, and just about everyone else you can think of. I got to see a lot of bands for free and get a lot of backstage passes just by working at that bar.

I think working there was my first real brush with fame and decadence, as well as real violence and sadness. An interesting dichotomy.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

I missed a day!

Friday was a long and boozy adventure: So much so that when I began this post at 3am I realized it was pointless and abandoned the whole venture. So today I will have to come up with two for the price of one:

Harris Day

Every school has some version of "senior cut day." It usually takes place on the last day of school and allows seniors a glimpse into their future as college students who can sleep through all of their classes should they so choose. I went to the Bronx High School of Science, which you could probably guess from the creative name, is located in the Bronx. Most schools in NYC don't have any outdoor space, but in many ways we were a much more suburban high school and actually had a field across the street. It was called Harris Field and was rarely used for gym or anything constructive. It served mainly as a place for people to get high, have keg parties, and make out.

Our version of senior cut day was called Harris Day and it was pretty famous throughout the city. Kids would come from all of the other schools to come to it. Esseentially the entire field was overrun by insane high school students. Kids would erect tents, people would bring kegs of beer, everyone would be on acid, bands would show up and play acoustic sets. It was like being at an open air concert. With lots and lots of drunk idiot teenageers. The main thing about Harris day was that just about everyone got sick: Mixing a bunch of high school students with unlimited drinks and drugs is a decidedly unsavory mix. The field and the surrounding area was unbelievably trashed for days afterwards. I pity the poor souls who had to clean it.

We had this insane party in full view of the high school. The ultimate fuck you to those that kept our young minds caged with late passes and homeroom bells during the school year. The school, as one can imagine, was not pleased. I am sure there were many outraged phone calls from parents that inevitably occurred when their bright straight A-on-the-way-to-Harvard son or daugther came home from school covered in vomit and hallucinating from the acid they dropped. As a result, around my sophomore year, the powers that be announced that anyone caught on Harris Field on the last day of school would be expelled and that seniors would not get to graduate. I don't know if that threat was even sustainable, but I went to a school of academics, so with rare exception the thought of expulsion was too nightmare-ish to comprehend. That year a very mild version of Harris Day occurred. It was mostly kids from other schools that couldn't get in trouble for being there. The following year it petered out completely.

PS3 Stories

In a previous post I wrote a little bit about my hippie elementary school, PS3, which was located in the heart of the village, on Christopher and Hudson Streets.

It was an old building, but actually was nicer than most of the crappy turn-of-the-century schools that dot the city. There were five floors, but the fifth was not in use and remained locked. This spawned many a ghost story: Rumours were that kids had died up there or that a crazy man lived up there. Someone even took the trouble to create the myth of the "Red Hand" which was a ghost that supposedly roamed the school. Someone went around the school with paint and put red handprints in various stairways to effectively scare the bejeezus out of us poor elementary school children. I finally ended up filming some movie up there that one of the parents was making and very diappointedly discovering that it was just old classrooms and no crazy people lived up there. (For some reason if you were a kid in the village you ended up being in a lot of movies).

We had a lot of arts-oriented classes. We had a mandatory dance class we had to attend run by Joan, a short squat woman who would carry around a drum and beat rhythmically to it. We were all supposed to dance around to it and then when she stopped drumming we were supposed to freeze. We had singing classes. Every year we did a weird celebration of May Day with a maypole dance. (I suspect that we were the only school in the country to do this).

About half the teachers at my school were gay: Diane, my third grade teacher was a super butch. She was really no nonsense. I remember a boy lifted up a girl's skirt and Diane told him to drop his pants. The boy freaked out. I don't think she actually made him do it, but that response was par for the course - she was all about quid pro quo. The rest of the teachers were pretty liberal as well, as you can imagine. The day after John Lennon died I remember half of the kids staying home from school and most of the teachers being absent. As kids we were all aware of who he was, but I don't think any of us understood the ramifications of his death for our hippie parents and teachers. I remember my friend Shanti being baffled as she told me that her mother went out on the fire escape and started yelling "Why? Why" down on to the street.

I wonder if anyone would scream "Why?" and keep their child home from school if a musician got shot today.....Just a thought.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

I Am a DJ and I Am What I Play....

I was a rock n roll DJ.

A few years ago, my friends Melanie and Kate were waitresses and DJs at Lucky Strike, the only cool and semi inexpensive place left to eat in SoHo. I would go and watch Melanie spin her vinyl collection and it dawned on me that I had tons of vinyl myself. I approached the manager and told him that I had TONS of DJ experience (lie #1) and I would bring tons of people in to the place if he hired me (Lie #2). He called me to fill in for someone the next day.

DJing at Lucky Strike was great because you could pretty much play what you wanted, so in one night I would go from Billie Holiday to Outkast to Neil Diamond to The Damned and back again. DJing is like playing the game Chain Reaction. If I am playing a Howard Jones 80s classic but want to get to a heavy Black Sabbath number, there are a few steps one can take: Howard Jones - Joe Jackson -Elvis Costello - The Clash - The Dickies - Black Sabbath. Conversely, if I am playing Weezer but want to get to the Dolly Parton/Kenny Rogers classic "Islands in the Stream" one has to get creative: Weezer - The Muffs - AC/DC - Lynyrd Skynyrd - Steve Miller - Paul Simon - Parton/Rogers. It all really appeals to my sense of order and logic. (Not surprisingly, High Fidelity is one of my favorite books, as it would be for any obsessive record collector).

The other great thing about DJing was that I essentially got paid to sit around with my friends, play music, smoke cigarettes, eat food, and get drunk. All of my friends worked in this place and enough of my friends stopped by that it was a pretty jovial work environment. I met Jimmy Jatho who now works at the UCB in LA and who is a good frined of mine at Lucky Strike, and Mike Myers was a regular as well -- he would sit in the DJ booth and help pick out songs.

I occasionally DJ'd elsewhere -- friends hired me for parties and such. I even worked the big clubs once in a while which was nerve-racking -- at Lucky Strike nobody really cares if thiings go silent for a moment, or a record skips, but in a large club with a killer sound system those kind of errors are a nightmare.

I haven't DJ'd in a long time -- I still have over 600 vinyl records, many I still have from my youth , and I can't quite bear to get rid of them even though they take up too much space and I don't play them as often as I should. I keep thinking I will eventually DJ again or that I will eventually live in a place where I can dedicate a room to my old school albums.

(Tangential Note: Buying albums as a kid was a thrilling experience -- there were pictures and liner notes and all sorts of extras. There used to a huge record store on my corner in SoHo and I would peruse the albums and save my allowance to buy one. Packaging doesn't mean much in this era of the electronic download, and I think that is a shame. Once upon a time, album covers were a way for a band to convey their image and who they were which made buying albums very exciting.)

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Beginning of the End....

When I was in junior high I was a straight A student, was the president of my class, starred in the school play, and was an all around examplary young lady. This was the last time I really walked a straight and narrow path. By the time I started freshman year of high school I became a paradigm of adolescent rebellion (mohawk, smoking, drinking, cutting class, etc.) But while in junior high I was still an innocent. The first glimpses of the life I was about to lead came from my friend Kyla who was one of my best friends in Junior High.

Kyla was pretty, charismatic, self-centered, and a real bitch. She was bright but not educated. She got C's in school, and learned very early how to trade in on her looks. She was one of those girls who would become your "best friend" so she could berate you. She also lived what to me was a very glamorous East Village life. Her mom was British (or maybe Australian) and owned a vintage shop on 1st Avenue. They lived in rambling apartment in a rundown tenement building on the corner of 14 Street and 2nd Avenue. Kyla's mom would let us borrow these cool vintage clothing and let us wander around the East Side. Her mom was also friends with all sorts of cool downtown musicians, including Cyndi Lauper which was the coolest thing ever. Kyla was a badass. She flirted with boys, wore bright red lipstick, and smoked cigarettes. I was her goody two-shoes best friend. She treated my pretty horribly but I didn't know any better and was pretty much content to bask in the glow of her popularity.

My other good friend in junior high was named Dame. She was a pretty black girl who was super smart -- her mother was a teacher. They lived in the projects and I would go up to Harlem and hang out with them a lot - lots of sleepovers. I remember that their furniture had plastic slip covers on it which I had never seen before, and which I thought was weird. Dame and I grew apart when she became a hardcore born again Christian in 8th grade. I remember thinkinig that she had gone crazy (not much different from what my reaction would be today). It was the first time I mourned the loss of a friend over differences in lifestyle or ideology.

The only enemy I remember having at school was a girl named Sarah Diamond. She was really crazy and threatened to beat me up a bunch of times. I remember finally getting so mad at her that I told her to meet me outside after school. But at the end of the day nothing happened and I guess we both chose to ignore the argument -- it was just easier then beating the shit out of each other. (NYC kids are nothing if not pragmatic).

School dances are not really a part of a New York public school student's lexicon -- our buildings our old and crappy and no one, including the teachers wants to spend any more time there than possible. The only school dance I ever remember attending was during junior high in our cafeteria which the faculty had half-heartedly decorated with some streamers. I think it was a Halloween dance and I spent the night at Kyla's. Her mom let us borrow all of these cool vintage clothes -- we dressed in a 50s style -- poodle skirts and beaded sweaters. Kyla looked stunning -- I looked like a chubby little apple squeezed into too small clothes. I remember hating the music which was Madonna and a bunch of rap -- I had just discovered The Specials and David Bowie and The Clash. I remember some of the kids were drinking which I thought was absolutely shocking. The whole thing was over by 9pm at which time Kyla and I went back to her place and watched TV. A big night out in junior high.

Junior High really was the last bastion of innocence for me. I ended up going to a high school with 3,000 kids in the Bronx, which was so different that it probably kind of ruined me. I will talk about that more in an upcoming post.....

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Clinton Junior High

I went to junior high school in Chelsea. Our school had a weird setup. Admission was by interview, so it was a lot of kids from the neighborhood. We occupied the top floor of an elementary school on 21st Street between 8th and 9th Avenue. We used the back entrance on 20th Street which had this weird sort of lobby/room which we would hang out in until they let us go upstairs. We had to be given the okay because we used the same stairs as the kids in the elementary school and they had to time our use of the stairs so as not to cause traffic jams.

(Sidenote: For years I thought that high school depicted in movies were completely mythological -- in NYC no one drives a car to school and the thought of modern buildings was pretty much unheard of. The average school in NYC was built at the turn of the century (no kidding) without modern amenities like elevators or air conditioning. Most schools had peeling paint and bars on the windows. Kind of like jail! NYC kids hate school. So you can imagine what I thought when I saw Sixteen Candles et al.--I literally though that the types of schools depicted were fairytale/movie schools, not remotely based on reality.)

Clinton Junior High only had about 90 or so kids. 83 of them were black or Puerto Rican. (At that time Chelsea was essentially a Puerto Rican neighborhood). We had five classrooms along one hallway. We didn't have a proper gym -- the school converted one of the far rooms to a "volleyball" room which was hilarious because if you spiked the ball too hard it would bounce off the ceiling. The other "gym" we had was the roof -- the game that we played for gym was called "Killer." This was essentially a free-form version of dodge ball and it was vicious. This was a school-sanctioned game, which was weird.

Our principal was Mr. Catugno, known as Mr. C. The rest of our teachers were a melting pot -- Mr. Nazario, our animated super gay Spanish teacher (who sadly later died of AIDS), Mrs. Get, our very cranky Asian math teacher (when you got questions wrong she woudl throw chalk at your head), Mr. Fialkof,f our very professorial mid-50s white English teacher, a science teacher who was Indian who was universally hated for some reason (his name escapes me), and the Social Studies teacher, Mrs. Tennenbaum. Mrs Tennenbaum wore those weird polyester brightly colored 70s prints that you see in the Salvation Army and wonder "Who would ever wear that?" She had grey hair and wore a super bright red-orange lipstick. She always spoke about herself in the third person ("Mrs. Tennenbaum is going to assign homework tonight!") and was constantly asking us to present outlines of assignments, rather than acutal assignemnts.

The school offered what I guess was a decent enough education. Even though the racial mix was lopsided I remember always feeling respected. There was definitely a divide -- when most of my class was listening to Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam, I was listenign to the Clash. However I was voted president of the school my last year there and when I came in third in the city wide spelling bee, I remember pretty much everyone in the school came up to me to personally congratulate me. I had some classmates that went on to fame and fortune: Jerry O'Connell (who filmed Stand By Me while we were in school together), and Mario Sorrenti, who went on to become a famous photographer who dated Kate Moss and Milla Jovovich. On the other hand I ran into a girl years later who had become a hooker.

I remember our graduation ceremony being super hilarious -- they made us sing "I Believe the Children are Our Future" and then had some lame speakers. I was completely unsentimental about it. Everyone was crying and I was just like "Get me the F-- out of here."

Monday, February 19, 2007


As I mentioned in a previous post, I danced as a kid. My parents took me to see ballet all of the time. We went to see American Ballet Theater and at the time Mikhail Baryshnikov danced with them so I saw him many many times as a kid. I remember being really perplexed when we went to see ballets and he wasn't in them -- I think I sort of thought that seeing ballet meant you would see Baryshnikov dance.

When I was in high school and finally getting over my wild child phase, I took up ballet for a second time. I had danced pretty seriously up until about junior high and then I lost interest. For whatever reason I found myself drawn back to dance around my senior year of high school. I would go to the David Howard Studios which was located off of Amsterdam Avenue right behind Lincoln Center.

It was a beatiful studio with tons of light. David Howard was a very famous ballet teacher and it was a small studio. One of the studios had a little area that was carpeted and had benches so you could watch the class previous to yours finish up. This was pretty amazing because all of the major dancers from the big companies took classes there. I watched Mikhail Baryshnikov take class there a few times which was pretty mindblowing. It was even more amazing because it was just a casual thing -- the fact that these amazing dancers were at this studio and then someone like me could walk in and take a class right afterwards.

I would go to see ballet at Lincoln Center all the time. You used to be able to buy standing room tickets for $5.00 -- literally cheaper then going to the movies, and you always got a seat -- the ushers would let you go find oneup in the fourth ring as soon as the lights went down.

I used to take ballet class until about 9pm and then I would walk over to the State Theater where the New York City Ballet danced. They usually did 3 or 4 shorter pieces per night and sometimes people would leave early in between ballets. As people left I would ask people if they were leaving and if I could take their ticket stub and I would go in and watch the last two ballets of the night. After a while the ticket guys got to know me and they would save me the best unsold ticket and let me go in to see the last ballet. So I would get this 70 dollar ticket in the middle of the orchestra for free. This is the sort of thing that I love about growing up here -- only in this town can you strike that kind of deal with the friendly ticket dude.

Sunday, February 18, 2007


When I worked at the Scrap Bar, a rock bar that was favored by rock stars and rock star wannabes, our main security was done by some members of the Hell's Angels. Angels are not allowed to wear their colors when they are working, but they were pretty easy to spot. Some of those guys were not the most even-tempered, and perhaps not the best choice to monitor security. There were some pretty serious fights that happened in that bar and many times they were started by the guys that were supposed to be preventing them. Besides the Angel's, there were a few other biker gangs that hung out at the bar, mostly from Jersey, and sometimes it felt more like a biker clubhouse then a rock bar. Their domain was the back of the bar near the pinball machines by the bathroom, which often meant being somewhat harassed by a bunch of drunk biker dudes if you were waiting in line.

One of the girls that worked the door lived at the Angel's clubhouse on 3rd Street -- she went out with Steve, a big biker who was a real sweetheart. Steve and a few of the other guys worked in films a lot, doing background or featured small roles when they needed biker types. Steve was in the movie A Bronx Tale and filmed a scene where he wipes out on his bike. A year later Steve got killed in a motorcycle accident, which was really sad. Heather, who was a recovering addict, fell off the wagon and left town owing a lot of people a lot of money, including a few of my good friends.

A good friend of mine and Lisa's was a biker dude named Eddie. His nickname was Flathead, I don't know why, and he was the nicest guy in the world. He had a house in Long Island and we would go out there and swim in his pool and barbeque. He wasn't in a motorcycle club but he was really close with all of those guys. Our friend Greg, who was an Angel and lived in Long Island, would come pick us up and we would bike around Long Island. The great dichotomy was that Eddie always wanted to go to awesome places, like the Arboretum in Oyster Bay, which was hilarious because everyone would be staring at these huge biker dudes, wearing leather and covered in tattoos, who were walking around admiring orchids in the green house.

For the most part the guys I knew who were bikers were actully pretty cool and creative people. In some ways they fit the stereotype exactly and in other ways they broke the mold. I will say that you did not fuck around with these dudes and those who did found out pretty quickly that it was a mistake. There is an unspoken code about the level of respect that certain people get in these scenes. I witnessed some really violent episodes in those days. Those were interesting times, but I am glad they are over for me now.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Hold Up

An alarming number of these posts start with me describing a bar. Just an observation.

One of my first bar jobs was at Bond Street Cafe.

What is today the upscale sushi joint BondSt, was, once upon a time, a coke den bar with crappy bands. I worked there on and off for a year or two. Eveyone who worked there was a coked up mess and it played host to many many terrible bands. The guy who ran the place also booked the Sunday night shows called "Rock n Roll Church" at Limelight back in the day. His girlfriend was my friend Sally. She was from England and had gone out with Slash from GnR (she is in the Sweet Child oh Mine and Paradise City videos). She hung out all the time, as did my frineds Mary, Raph, and Lisa -- but those were pretty much the only cool people that hung out there. It was mostly kids from Jersey who wanted to see metal bands.Sometimes it would be packed but usually it was really slow and I didn't make a lot of money. The building was owned by a Japanese businessman who would come into town once in a while and bring a karaoke machine. If you sang a karaoke song and did a shot with him he would give you a hundred dollars.

The bartender who hired me was a real boozy broad - gorgeous, loud, charismatic. Years later she would marry the guy who was our barback at the time. The barback was in a methadone program, trying to kick heroin. One night he missed his dose and showed up to work all shaky and pale. He said he could get through the night as long as he could drink. I must have poured him 20 Jack and Cokes. He managed to make it until 6am when the clinic opened by using sheer willpower. Amazing. The rest of the staff did tons and tons of cocaine. Sometimes we would close at 4am and would end up leaving the bar at one in the afternoon because we had all been hanging drinking and partaking of various substances.

One night a bunch of us stayed after work and were downstairs in the offiices (what is now the Bond St lounge, for those who have been there). We sent our barback out to lock the gates and a minute later he was coming back down the stairs with these two huge black dudes behind him holding guns. Sally saw the guys coming, locked the door and started yelling "Call 911." We had to unlock the door because the two dudes had a gun to our barback's head. They came in, stole all the cash in the joint and split. There is nothing like having a gun pointed in your face to make you sober up. Sally probably saved our asses because, even though we didn't have time to call the police, the robbers definitely were under the impression that we did, so they got in and out fast. We then had to wait for the police to arrive and go to the station to give statements etc. A month or two later I got called into look at some pictures of suspects, but I didn't recognize anyone, and as far as I know they were never caught.

I eventually got let go, supposedly at the behest of the promoter, but in actuality because the other bartender didn't want me around anymore. There was a lot of drug-fueled paranoia and intrigue in those days -- people would turn on each other just because they had nothnig better to do -- in those days you worked until 7am, slept until 5pm and were back to work by 9pm so your whole life revolved around being at a bar and the drugs you were doing. I cannot even imagine that lifestyle today, but at the time it just seemed like the thing to do.

Friday, February 16, 2007

I need an apartment.

Today my landlady told me she needs me to move out. Not because she is some evil corporate honcho looking to price-gouge her tenants, but beause she is sick and having surgery and needs a full time nurse to move in. Sort of hard to argue with, especially since her eyes were welling with tears as she told me how sorry she was. I had no plans to move, and have no money to move. I feel like I have been dumped by a long time boyfriend. (It probably says something about my relationships that I equate eviction with romance, but whatevs.) This is the first time I had my own apartment. MINE. And I love it here. And I will continue to love it until the day I move out out of here and move into some overpriced tiny dark hole in the wall with 12 roommates in three months from now. Speaking of which...anyone need a roommate?

My phone charger also chose to die today, which was great because after I came back into my apartment and had a nervous breakdown for half an hour, I couldn't call anyone. I went all the way to Atlantic Center to be told they were out of chargers. Of course. I don't mean to bitch, but I have really had better days.

So I will rhapsodize quickly about my old apartment, which I also loved, on East 1st Street, and the Cycle Sluts years.

My friend Ginny, who was in the band the Cycle Sluts from Hell, had an apartment for many years on East 1st Street. Over the years, it seemed that everyone of our mutual friends had lived there at some point or another -- Betty and Donna from the CSFH also lived there at various points, as well as just about everyone I knew on the Lower East Side at the time. Ginny finally moved out to take care of her boyfriend who had been in a terrible motorcycle accident. My friend Lisa and I moved in and lived there for about 4 years.

First street was sort of dicey when we moved in -- lots of drugs etc. Donna once got stabbed in our hallway (she survived), but it had mellowed a bit by the time we got there. It was a cool street. There was a playground across the street, a juice and coffee shack on the corner right next to the train. There was a storefront that was rented out by a weird Japanese performance artist that would stand in the window and play guitar with weird lights and wear an all white outfit every night on the weekends for hours. What was weird was that he had no audience and he would just stand there and play. There was also a Catholic charities homeless shelter on the block. It really exemplified the way the LES was back then -- a real mish mash of people all thrown together.

Lisa's sister Raphael, was also in the Cycle Sluts, and managed Coney Island High. As a result, we hung around the band a lot and reaped the benefits of being friends with rock stars. The Cycle Sluts had started out as a romp: Betty, Donna, Raph, and Ginny all worked at the Lismar Lounge on 1st Avenue together, which was a really cool small rock club. They and some other girls started a fake gang called the "Cycle Sluts from Hell" and eventually put up a show at the club, I think doing covers. One thing led to another, they wrote a few songs, and then they got signed by Sony, made a record, and went on tour with Motorhead. They had a cult following: their video was on Beavis and Butthead, they were on Headbanger's Ball on MTV, etc.

The things that I remember specifically about hanging out back then: I dropped by a rehearsal and Bebe Beull and LIv Tyler were there -- Bebe, who has gone on to romance or marry everyone of my downtown rock guitarist friends would sometimes drop Liv off at Cycle Sluts rehearsal and ask them to keep an eye on her. I met a lot of rock stars cuz of the Cycle Sluts: Tracii Guns from LA Guns loved Raphael, Betty dated James Hetfield from Metallica for a while, Sebastian Bach was a fan, etc.

One time they played a show at the Limelight, which back then was a big deal venue. To get on to the stage you had to walk on to this catwalk and down these stairs in full view of the audience. Lisa and I walked out on to the catwalk to find a good place to stand to watch the show and suddenly the crowd went nuts. Apparently they mistook me and Lisa for members of the band. I got the rare privelege of having 2,000 excited fans screaming and pointing at me. Lisa and I waved at them and blew kisses. Eventually the real band came out, but we had our rock star moment which was fun.

The great thing about the Cycle Sluts was that they turned the tables in a really male dominated world. It was a lot of fun to be a part of: they had groupies, they would get free drinks, they had crazy tempers. (Which they often took out on each other: believe me, you haven't seen a fight until you have seen two girl rockstars trying to kill each other.) All of the accoutrements of rock stardom.

They eventually broke up and went their separate ways. Recently three of them have reunited and occasionally play shows together. Going to those are amazing because people I haven't seen in years show up to them and it's like an impromptu Lismar Lounge/Scrap Bar reunion. Good times indeed:

Thursday, February 15, 2007

SoHo Part 2

More Stuff About Growing Up in SoHo.

When my parents and I first moved back from Europe, we ended up subletting places. One was on St. Mark's Place between 2nd and 3rd Avenue, which I only vaguely remember. I also remember sleeping on the floor of a friend's loft in a sleeping bag. I think that was how my parent's discovered SoHo. So we ended up getting the loft and became SoHo residents. The area used to be a really tight knit community. Besides the fact that it was very centrally located, there was nothing to recommend it. We had two delis, about 4 restaurants, a smattering of upscale boutiques (portents of things to come), and a ton of art galleries. Pretty much all of the above were closed by 7pm. There was no grocery store, video store, dry cleaners, hardware store, etc. All of the basic necessities required a walk up to the Village. Weirdly that is pretty much the case today as well, except that people pay millions of dollars to live in this center of inconvenience.

In those days it was a small community, and everyone knew everyone else. I used to play with my friends Natasha and Arianna around the corner, and my friends Heather and Ama across the street. Everyone's parent was an artist and everyone's loft had a workshop or art studio in it. My first real great SoHo friend, whom I still have today, is Melanie Vesey.

Melanie had lived in Michigan with her mom, and moved to New York at age 12 to live with her dad, a photographer, and stepmom, a bigtime ad exec. Melanie was a whirl of energy, as she is today. Totally gorgeous, and always on the go, she became my partner in crime for the next few years, until she got into Interlachen Arts Academy and moved back to Michigan to study dance. Melanie was a year older then me, and thus was always a step ahead. She was my first friend who had an interest in boys, which was totally foreign to me at that point.

Her family was really really different from mine. They had a really modern loft: I remember them having a large red couch, a huge pink armchair and a shiny black 50s style kidney-shaped table. They always had candy out in little dishes. They had a dog named Nordan. They had a housekeeper -- something I didn't really think existed outside of The Brady Bunch. David, Mel's dad, had a huge record collection and there was always Iggy Pop or something like that blaring when I walked into their house. David wore Buddy Holly glasses and these stylish white shirts with tiny collars. Deyna, Mel's stepmom, wore poodle skirts and white shirts with matching 50s style sweaters and little black shoes. I distinctly recall Melanie showing me a pair of her mom's shoes and telling me that they cost $300. I remember thinking she had to be lying, that there was no way that shoes could possibly cost that much. At Christmas the Veseys family tradition was to go see the Big Apple Circus, which I thought was amazing. I also remember their Christmas tree was always decorated in red, white, and blue. The Veseys were not just glamorous, but very very cool.

My home life was the polar opposite: I grew up in a cluttered, antique mish-mash of furniture and trinkets and books. My dad always had piles of lumber lying around the house and my parents shopped mainly at thrift shops and discount stores. We had old books and magazines everywhere. Fashion was never a high priority, although my mom loves clothes and jewelery. Ironically, Melanie's parents were way more strict than mine, so I ended up doing way crazier stuff and getting in a lot less trouble than Melanie ever did. Her parents were the type that would ground her for being five minutes late. My parents gave me a pretty long leash, figuring I would deal with it. We still joke about how different our parents were and how differently we were perceived -- Melanie was thought of as the wild child and I was the quiet studious one, when in reality Mel was usually in bed by 10pm while I was off with my friends smoking cigarettes and drinking beer.

My other good friend was a boy named Loic who lived upstairs. He and his family were from France. Even though he was around my age he seemed a lot older because he had lived everywhere and spoke French and drank wine with dinner. The first time I got drunk was with Loic -- I think I was maybe 13 and we stole scotch from his parents liquor cabinet and went to the movies and poured it in our soda. This event ended with me throwing up in a parking lot around the corner from my house and Loic dragging me home. Fortunately my parents were out and I managed to feign illness when they came home and pass out.

This has been a long and rambling post...I promise to come up with a real story, or at least a shorter ramble, when I post tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Short and Sweet

Today was a lovely day: Improv rehearsal with Birch Harms, coached by the fantastic Shannon O'Neill, then home, wrote some stuff, went to a non Valentine's dinner with Tony Carnevale at the Chip Shop where I ate the most self-indulgent and awesome meal ever: Meaty Mac (combo of Mac and cheese and Shepard's pie), fried Mars Bar and beer. So bad for me. So delicious. Also, today this here blog was chosen as "Blog of the Month" by the lovely ladies of Hello HIlarious. Thanks ladies! (If you click on that link you can see the headshot that I never use for anything finally being put to use. Yay!

(Fun Fact: I have never ever celebrated Valentine's day. At those times when I have had a beau, one or both of us ended up being out of town or having to work. A double edged sword in that I have no attachment to the holiday whatsoever. Like being a Jew on Christmas. Except my version of Chinese food is fried English foods.)

Today's edition of Glimpses from my Past will be short and sweet because I feel my health taking a nosedive as I type:

The first time I went backstage at a rock concert was when I was 14 at a David Bowie concert at Madison Square Garden.

My friend Carise's dad was an agent or something at William Morris and he got us free tickets and passes. I remember the concert being pretty amazing (I suspect pretty much anytime you get to hear David Bowie sing "Jean Jeanie" in person it is pretty amazing so that't not saying much.) After the concert we were led to a hospitality suite with cheese and fruit and sodas. I am sure there was booze too, but as we were too young to partake at the time, I don't recall any. We were really excited to be backstage and meet David Bowie. We stood in the meet and greet room for about an hour and then realized that he had left without ever setting foot in the vicinity. My first (but not last) lesson regarding glamorous idea=boring reality.

Downward Spiral

I was filming a short film I wrote with my friend Anthony King today and then had to run off to work at UCB, so this post is technically late, but to me it's still February 13th, so here it goes:

I used to work at a bar called the Spiral on Houston Street.

For a few years, the Spiral was the go-to crappy dive bar of the Lower East Side -- a huge drug bar, with junkies constantly locking themselves in the bathroom and passing out. After a few years it started to lag in popularity and it was taken over by a sweet guy who was one of those ex-rock star wannabes who feels that the next best thing is to own a bar, book bands, and get free drinks (which aren't really free since they own the joint). This was the Spiral era in which I worked. We had bands booked every night from Jersey and Long Island and their attendant crew of roadies and groupies. The band were all really terrible and it was a sonic nightmare, but eventually one managed to tune it out.

My crew of regulars consisted of the dregs of Lower East Side junkiedom. The guys were actually very sweet dudes: besides their meth amphetamine/heroine/cocaine addictions, they were awesome customers. They would literally lay down their lives for me (we had no bouncer, and these guys were my only line of defense). When I first started working there, I was shown the baseball bat under the bar, but it wasn't until after a crazed angel-dust psycho came in one night that I found out we had a loaded shotgun hidden under one of the coolers as well. This realization came after my most loyal junkie customers leapt behind the bar and pointed it in the guy's face. (I did have a word with the manager about the fact that our druggie clientele had more intimate knowledge of the lethal weapon cache hidden in the bar then myself).

The main lesson I learned from this job was that even if you are not at the bottom of the barrel, if you are surrounded by the bottom of the barrel, you will begin to feel that way yourself. I broke my wrist and they fired my abruptly. Thank God for small favors.

Monday, February 12, 2007

The Pink Lady

When I was 8 or 9, my parents threw a lot of dinner parties to which were invited many interesting guests. A friend of theirs brought a young artist named Barbara who lived in a house (an actual house!) on Avenue A, which at the time was pretty exotic. She brought her friend, Silvia, who was from England -- a performance artist who had gotten a grant to travel to New York City. She was tall, had pink hair, and was very very smart. My mother didn't like her immediately because she announced that she was a vegetarian after mom had dished up whatever meat and potatoes meal she had prepared.

But as it so happened we were going out of town that weekend and my parents needed a house/cat sitter and thus Silvia was invited to stay the weekend. Upon our return, it was decided that she should stay the week because we were going out of town the following weekend, and thus she could house sit again. And so on. And in this way Silvia became a sort of live in nanny who lived with us for 9 or 10 months.

Silvia dressed all in pink and had shocking pink hair. She ran with the fabulous art crowd of the time -- that whole Andy Warhol downtown set. She did incredible performance pieces at places like the Franklin Furnace. Her pieces were based on wordplay and visual contrasts, often involving the color pink. She could speak many languages, including Arabic. It was like having a bizarro version of Mary Poppins as a babysitter. She would stay out all night but then very cheerfully wake up in the morning and make me breakfast. She took me and my mom to the Pyramid on Avenue A and it I remember seeing transvestite go-go dancers on the bar and thinking it was very fun and glamorous.

Eventually Silvia left us, but we would get amazing letters from her (on pink paper, written in pink ink), from around the world. Once she wrote us from a tent in Kenya right after she had seen a lion. Suffice it to say, she was, and is, a pretty cool role model.

I hadn't seen her for many years when I finally reunited with her in London a few years back. She took me to a zillion fabulous parties including the opening of the Bloomberg Museum (where they handed you your own personal Moet champagne bottle with straw upon entrance) and a book launch party held on a terrace overlooking Green Park (London's version of Central Park, with same cache). Clearly Silvia's life was as interesting as ever.

The last time I saw her was in her house in England, with her two beautiful and (not surprisingly) precocious children. As you can see from the picture below, some things never change:

I count myself lucky to have had such an interesting and amazing woman watching over me during part of my formative years.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

I am Bad at being Sick.

Yesterday I felt under the weather, and by this morning I woke up with a head that was filled with glue. Glue that weighed a few hundred pounds. Today's original agenda was class from 11am-2pm, class show from 5pm-6:30pm, work from 6:30-midnight. My amended agenda is me lying on my couch watching the Slings and Arrows marathon on Sundance. (Even when sick I prefer quality television.)

It is 4pm and I only just called off my class show and work. I always refuse to believe that I am actually sick. When I woke up at 9:30am it was pretty clear that I had to stay in bed, but between doses of Nyquil, Emergen-C, Echinacea, and Zinc, I started to feel passably well...Something I have learned to recognize as dangerous because I will work under the assumption that I am really fine and not only go perform, work, and have a few drinks, but I will run a few miles and clean my house just to prove how well I really am. Which will then put me into a coma for three days.

So I am "relaxing" instead of being productive, and writing this meaningless post.

So today, a very quick one, as part of my 30 Day Challenge:

I was a roller disco queen.

When I was 8, there was a huge roller disco craze. My best friend, Olivia, and her beautiful exotic fashion-designer mom, Carola, and I would go to the Metropolis roller rink on West 18th Street. Carola would make us roller skating clothes: shiny spandex pants and headbands, velour sweatshirts etc. (I realize that I desperately need to get a scanner because I have pics from this era that are amazing). We went every Saturday afternoon and I LOVED it. There was an area in the center where you could do tricks and practice doing rollerskate pirhouetttes and I would spend hours practicing jumps and turns. A skill that hasn't gotten me anywhere, but was super enjoyable at the time.

My birthday parties in elementary school were all held at the Roxy, which I think is still around as a nightclub, but back then was exclusively a roller rink. It was considered super cool to have your birthday there, especially since the DJ would yell out your name, which makes you feel like rollerdisco queen of the universe when you are 8. I remember liking the Roxy, but loving Metropolis, which was smaller, more intimate, and less crowded. Even at a young age I enjoyed smaller mom and pop operations.

My friend Manray, who I met many years later, told me that he was a DJ at the Roxy when he first came to NY at 17. As Manray is about 9 years older then me, we figured out that he was probably the DJ yelling out my name at my 8th Birthday party. Small World.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Tompkins Square Park

As I mentioned in my last post the epicenter of Alphabet City was Tompkins Square Park. I would say the hands down scariest moment in my life happened there when I was about 14 or 15 years old. My friends were over at my house and we decided to head over the park to to hang out. When we arrived there was a demonstration going on on Avenue A, protesting the removal of the shantytown/homeless village that was in existence in the park at the time. At the time it was really a contentious issue--especially since most of the people in the neighborhood were living in poverty and the area housed a lot of anarchistic anti-goverment organizations. It was a really hot night and as I have mentioned in previous posts, there was a pretty violent and dangerous energy downtown in those days. The combination of all of these factors led to one of the most dramatic and frightening moments I have ever experienced.

As we walked up towards the park it became pretty evident that things had gone seriously awry. People were runnning and screaming, cops on horses were bearing down on us from every direction and I saw a cop grab a guy walking out of the Odessa and start beating him over the head for no reason. I stood there completely horrified and then suddenly realized that pretty much anyone who was standing in the street was a target. I took off and started running down Avenue A only to be met by a phalanx of cops on horses coming straight at me. It seemed like every where I turned there were cops in riot gear and all they cared about was potentially beating the shit out of me or someone near me.

After a few minutes there were helicopters with spotlights all over the place and I can honestly never say that I have never felt so close to dying as I did in that half hour--it felt quite literally like a warzone. The scariest realization was that you were running for your life (or at least it felt like it) and the enemy was the police. Meaning that you were completely on your own -- there wasn't some benevolent authority that was going to sweep in and make everything okay. Eventually I made my way to 9th Street to a club called the Aztec where I hung out regularly, which was just off of Avenue A. I banged on the door and finally Charlie the bouncer opened the door and yanked me inside. We hunkered down in the club and occasionally Charlie would pull other regulars looking for refuge inside. I was surrounded by a bunch of young punk rock kids, some of whom had been beaten, bleeding from the head. We were all pretty dazed. The whole situation seemed surreal. The entire East Side had been taken over by cops, from Houston all the way to 10th Street, and that section of the city had literally become a mini-police state.

In the end, over 100 complaints of police brutality were filed. As far as I know only a few officers were ever disciplined. This is one of those experiences I haven't really thought about in years, but it definitely shaped the way I view a lot of things, including authority figures in general.

You can listen to a recording from that night below (if you listen to this, it's worth listening to the whole thing so you can hear the escalation of events--it's only 2-3 minutes):

Audio Recording of the Tompkins Square Riots.

There's also a pretty comprehensive explanation of what took place and the aftermath here.

I feel like this post is pretty depressing. I will try to come up with something more upbeat for tomorrow.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Alphabet City

When I was growing up, the East Village was known as Alphabet City. In those days the Bowery still had Bowery bums, and the residential hotels and dive bars that catered to them. (My favorite of which was called "Hank's Crystal Palace" -- constanly filled with guys that came in and threw piles of change on the bar to get their alchohol fix. It wouldn't be uncommon for one of these gentlemen to nod off and fall right off their bar stool. At this no one would bat an eye or go to help the poor soul either, as I guess it was par for the course.)

The first time I ventured past 3rd Avenue/Bowery and into what was then the heart of Alphabet City, Tompkins Square Park, I felt like a rebel. Today that sounds ridiculous, but Alphabet City was once a much more dangerous (and interesting) place. Avenue A was really bohemian, a lot of artists and poets and punk rockers. Tompkins Square was the social center of a punk rock and anarchist movement and housed a shantytown filled with homeless people. Once you ventured past Tompkins Square you really were in the ghetto. The city let this entire neighborhood -- from Avenue A to Avenue D completely disintegrate. Most buildings were barely standing. It looked like, and to some extent was, a war zone. I found these pictures to illustrate my point. It's hard to equate these images to the Alphabet City of today, but this is what it was when I was growing up, and when I first lived there:

I also found this amazing picture on Flickr. Most buildings in Alphabet City back were surrounded by lots with leftover demolition, burned out cars, ripped up furniture, etc. This proves the point:

When I was in high school I spent a lot of my time in this area. I went to the matinees at CBGB which were hardcore, occasionally ska and filled with young angry youth (so much so that they eventually cancelled them permanently due to the excessive figthing that took place). There were also a lot of local bands that were famous in punk rock circles: Nausea, Reagan Youth, the Casualties. They did a lot of shows at the Tompkins Square Bandshell and in squats. Things eventually moved over to ABC No Rio, a punk rock collective that still exists today on Rivington Street.

Most of the buildings between Avenue B and Avenue D were not legally livable so the young punk runaways/artists/anarchists took them over and lived in them. I spent a lot of time in burned out buildings in my teen years as a result. It was pretty dangerous -- the buildings were not secure and back then there was a lot of crime in the area -- it was a huge drug neighborhood at the time and well into the 90s. Also, the buildings were literally falling apart, alot of them had no windows, missing floors, no ceilings, were filled with rats. There were a few that were well known as shooting galleries which we steered clear of. Some people put incredible effort into their spaces, and they ended up being pretty nice. Most squatters figtured out ways to steal electricity from street lamps, so they had lights and a few even had heat. Suffice it to say it was a pretty different place then it is today.

One of the squats was called Lucky 13, and I remember going to shows there. The shows were held in the basement with jerry-rigged lightbulbs and electricity for amps etc. A bunch of 16-21 year olds squeezed into a basement of an illegal squat with illegal electricity -- it's a wonder we all didn't die in some kind of horrible inferno. There were also shows at Charas Hall which up until not too long ago was a community center. I got into a fight with a Puerto Rican dude outside one of those shows and we ended up chasing the guy down the street. I got into a lot of trouble for this at the time, as there was an uneasy truce between the punk rock kids and the large Puerto Rican community that inhabited the area. It's hard to imagine how disenfranchised people felt back then, but the city had simply completely abandoned large areas of the city including the South Bronx and the Lower East Side, and there was a really high level of poverty and crime, and with it a lot of anger and resentment that came with it.

My first apartment was on Avenue B and was really dicey. The first day in my apartment I came home to find crow bar marks on my door signifying someone's attempt at a break-in. There was a heroin "store" around the corner: Back then there was a huge heroin trade in the area, and they had a pretty orderly system--they would take over a store front or a garage or something and then people would show up, get in line, go in, buy, shoot and then stumble down the street until they passed out. Many times I would find junkies in the hallway of my building with needles still in their arms. That building at the time housed young musicians, and everyone not only lived in their apartments, but rehearsed there as well. At any given moment you could hear the sounds of wailing guitars and crashing drums. Todd from Murphy's Law lived there, the Clowns for Progress were right next door. (Johnny T. who is now Ryan Adams drummer was there at the time). My friend Roy who was in Nausea crashed there for a while (he went on to play with Ozzy and Dave Navarro). I feel a lot of buildings back then were like that: The area sucked so the only people that wanted to live in them were the young artists who all already knew each other. There was a real sense of community back then which had a lot to do with your day to day health and survival. Of course, we didn't see it that way then. At the time, we were just having fun.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Marathon! (half) and Coney Island High-Jinx

I am running a half-marathon in Anchorage, Alaska in June. It is a fundraiser for blood cancer research. If you are so inclined to support this masochistic adventure please click here. ANY amount will help (seriously, if you have 5 bucks to spare, donate it! It really helps. Really. No, REALLY.). If I know you personally, then I am sure I will hit you up again in the future. I am sure I will post more on my training adventures as time goes on.

Post #9 (?) of my 30 Day Challenge:

I Worked at the Nightclub Coney Island High:

My friend Chris mentioned the fact that I used to work at Coney Island High in his blog yesterday, so I figured now would be a good time to talk about those years. Working at Coney was awesome. Next to my job at UCB, I would say it was the best job I ever had. Besides the great money and the amazing bands, it was owned by my friends Jesse Malin and Lindsay Anderson, and managed by my friend Raffaele, formerly of the band the Cycle Sluts from Hell. They hired their friends and people from the local rock scene and it really was, for the most part, one large insane dysfunctional family.

A bunch of us had worked at the Scrap Bar, another infamous nightspot, which had closed down the year before, so Jesse hired Raph to manage who in turn hired me and her sister (my roommate at the time) to bartend. I don't know if I ever had a regular shift -- I think I just worked when they needed someone -- at the time I worked in about a zillion different bars and also temped etc. This was when St. Mark's really was the epitomy of the East Village. Back then there were no Quiznos or Gaps -- the building next door (which used to be the Electric Circus in the 70s) was a rehab that seemed to spew forth a nonstop deluge of AA participants on to the streets. The street was a cacophony of drunkards and tourists, a sort of bizarro Times Square for the disenfranchised. I will talk more about the loss of the East Village in some other post, but the point is that Coney was much more in the center of things at the time then something on St. Mark's would be today.

The greatest bands played Coney Island High: Joey Ramone, who was Jesse's good friend, held his annual birthday bash there and the club generally provided a showcase for a lot of the mainstays of the NY punk/hardcore rock scene (Murphy's Law), NY rock legends and old school bands (Sylvain, Jayne County, The Dictators), visiting rock royalty (Toy Dolls) and those reuniting for one last hurrah (Missing Persons). Not to mention of course all of the local up and coming bands that played almost every night of the week.

Probably one of my personal highlights was during one of Joey's birthday bashes-- he brought up Scott Asheton from the Stooges and Wayne Kramer of the MC-5 and they did a set together singing some stooges, and I think, "Kick Out the Jams". This may mean nothing to 90 percent of you, but aficionados of the 70s rock/punk scene will understand what an amazing moment that was.

There were great dance parties there as well. I seem to remember a ton of go-go dancers on the bar over the years. CIH definitely had an anything goes vibe: lots of cute gay boys and drag queens, mixed with long hair rockers, skinheads, fashionistas, bikers, and drug dealers. We had a swing night called Ivan's Drive-In which was a lot of fun and I went dancing every Thursday at Beavher after they moved from Don Hill's (currently the only great nightclub left in NYC). I remember Ivan was datiing Marisa Tomei and she would come and sit behind the bar while he made drinks. She had just won an Oscar so that was a pretty interesting dichotomy.

There were some crazy behind the scenes moments there. Once one of the manager/part-owners staged a weird coup d'etat where he barricaded himself in the offices and wouldn't come out for three days. I don't remember how it got settled or exactly what his demands were (it had something to do with control of the club), but that seemed like a pretty extreme way to settle one's differences.

After a while the city seeemed hellbent on gettting us shut down. I think I only worked there occasionally at that point, but I recall being there one night on a Saturday around midnight -- Raph and Jessie were throwing a new party and it was hopping, when upwards of thirty uniformed firemen came in, ordered the lights up, the music off, and the bartender to stop serving drinks while they checked every light bulb, fire exit, etc. in the place which took all thirty of them a full hour and a half to do. People often think the claims of Giuliani's nightclub harrassment is exaggerated, but this was proof of the extremes they were willing to go. If you can't have a nightclub on St. Mark's Place, which even today is no picnic, where can you have it?

I eventually stopped working there while I was in acting school -- late nights were impossible, and was sad to see its demise in 2001. The constant harrassment and the changing neighborhood were too much for the club to take. The building has been torn down and condos have been erected where CIH once stood. Jesse Malin went on to own Niagara and become a rock star, Raphael is Patricia Field's right hand woman and still plays with the reunited Cycle Sluts, Lindsay went off to live in Europe and recently got married. Most of us from that scene still see each other around. I will say that for much of that time I really didn't know what I wanted to do with myself, and my main aim was to go out and have fun each night, probably get drunk, and work enough to pay the rent and go to a hangover brunch. After a few years this gets pretty vacuous, but for a few years it was a lot of fun to have no higher ambition then to hang out with my friends at my home away from home, Coney Island High.

(Fun Fact: Lindsay was briefly a teacher at my high school when she was 21 and I was 17. Who knew she would latear be my boss? At the time I hung out a lot with my friend Kurt, who was a member of the Radicts and the LES Stitches, and whom Lindsay would later marry. And divorce.)

This has been a rambling post, and I wish I had a better memory of those alcohol-soaked years. If I think of more interesting stuff, I will post it down the road.


The weather has put me in a foul mood. My apartment does not have substantial heat so I have been sitting around under blankets trying to be productive which is near impossible. This level of cold just makes me tired and uncreative and grumpy. This level of cold also makes the pipes in my building freeze, so I have no water whatsoever. I just went out to the deli to buy a jug of water so I could brush my teeth and freshen up the cat's water bowl. The main reason for my gym membership these days is for emergency showers. Totes worth the $90 a month.

This has also been a rough week because I have had a zillion projects to do while having a bunch of freelance gigs come pouring in all at once. Who knew web editors were in such high demand? These jobs are great because I do them at home and they are pretty simple. Usually. One of my jobs this week was dealing with a high maintenance douchefuck who lives in Sacramento who doesn't understand the concept of time differences. I told him on Monday that I needed to be done by 6pm. One would think that it would be fairly obvious that I was talking about 6pm in my own time zone. Apparently not. Which is why I ended up working until almost 8pm instead of going to improv class. One of my other freelance jobs consists of me updating a section of a subscription web service used by libraries. One of the women who works at this place is a weird anal retentive passive agressive bitchrag who sends me "reminder" emails to do things that I am already working on. This woman is not my boss. Other then the fact that she is full time and I am freelance, we essentially do the same job. However she constantly checks on my work and tells me what I am doing wrong, how things could be improved, or questions why things are being done a certain way even though I have no power to change the procedures she is questioning. I once had to work on her computer at the office and she has NOTHING on her desktop. She had one folder and inside were all of these other work related folders. She had nothing personal on her computer whatsoever. Creepy.

Other than that, my week has been awesome. No really.

Rant over.

Tiddlybits from my past:

-My high school job was working at St. Mark's Comics.

I worked at St. Marks Comics for a few years during high school. I didn't know anything about comics, but the owner was smart enough to realize that cute girls + comics = comic dork paradise. I grew to like some of the comics, usually more of the underground-ish stuff like "Hate" and graphic novels like "I Hate Saturn"-- I never really got into the superhero stuff, although I can appreciate it. The level of obsession that comics inspires is really interesting to observe. (Fun Fact: For those improvisors reading this post, Mike Hagen was my boss at this job.)

-I worked at a film warehouse for 4 months and it was the worst job I ever had.

My first "real" job was working as a receptionist at a film warehouse on 21st Street and 11th Avenue. In those days it was a pretty dicey area -- lots of drug dealers and hookers. The warehouse had no windows because we stored film and it had to be climate controlled. The boss was this fat hideous guy names Jerry, who immediately reminded me of Jabba the Hut when I met him. He was a yeller. He loved to yell at people and make up ridiculous rules, like employees can't get personal phone calls even in an emergency situation. We had a time clock but the coup de grace was that we even had a whistle! A WHISTLE! Like the Flintstones. The whistle would go off at 10am, signifying "coffee break" and would sound again at 10:15 signifying "end of coffee break." Same for lunch. This was one of those soul crushing jobs that make you realize that being poor is better than being demoralized on an every day basis. I pretty much stopped showing up and they fired me.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


One of my favorite movies of all time is the amazing "Xanadu." I can't put my finger on what makes this movie quite so dazzling: Is it the terrible acting of Olivia Newton John and Michael Beck? The awesome ELO soundtrack? Gene Kelly on rollerskates? The ridiculous Greek mythology references? It's hard to say.

Apparently a stage version is in the works starring Jane Krakowski. I understand the impetus, but I defy any stage adaptation to live up to this:


Continuing on with my 30 Day Challenge:

I plagiarized a story. From Highlights Magazine.

When I was 8 I plagiarized a story from Highlights magazine and handed it in as my own to my 3rd grade teacher, Diane. (We called our teachers by their first names due to the progressive/hippie environment of our school). The story had something to do with mummies, and I remember thinking it was really funny and clever. What's weird is that I loved to write, and was really good at it, so I think the only reason for my deceit was that I must have really liked the story. My teacher totally caught on, but instead of confronting me she took the passive aggressive approach by asking me to read it to the class. I think she figured that guilt combined with my well-known stage fright would break me. It did not. I read it in front of the class without batting an eye.

I find it amusing that the only time I ever cheated was when I was 8 for no apparent reason.

Monday, February 05, 2007


I grew up in a loft in SoHo.

People ask me about my upbringing a lot. I have nothing to compare it to, but I loved growing up in New York. SoHo was once the domain of cool artists and young families. When we moved in nobody had lived there prior to us: there was minimal plumbing and three inches of dirt on the floor. There were no walls and rats came up through the pipes. I remember sleeping on the floor on a mattress in a sleeping bag and getting dressed under the covers because we didn't have heat. We were living there illegally and the city turned the heat off (they finally had to relent because it was freezing and the pipes would burst, which would have pretty much destroyed the building). We would boil water on the stove and then pour it into the bathtub in order to bathe. It was a pretty crazy existence.

My dad was a carpenter and he built up our whole loft himself. For the first few years he built two bedrooms right next to each other, but the walls didn't go all the way to the ceiling. Eventually he tore that down and built us a new set of bedrooms, with real walls. You could see on the floor the remnants of the old floor plan, which I always thought was funny. My dad had a huge workshop in the back where he made stained glass and furniture. Besides the bedrooms and the workshop the rest of the house was just a huge open space. I rollerskated and rode my Big Wheel through it all the time.

The weird thing about SoHo buildings is they were all factories at one point and many of the buildings interconnect in strange ways. Our building shared a staircase with the building next to ours. So my neighbors, who lived on the same floor, technicaly were stepping into another building once they left the landing and went into their loft. My friend's loft around the corner had a huge metal sliding door that led into another loft in another building next door. (The people in that loft had a kid our age, so we would open the doors and run around in both lofts during playtime).

The other big part of growing up in SoHo was the art galleries and the avant garde theater scene. Back then SoHo was the art capital of the city, the way Chelsea is today. There were a ton of art galleries and I spent much of my youth wandering aroung various exhibits eating cheese cubes and drinking wine or soda. The Performing Garage, home of the Wooster Group, was across the street from my house. Spalding Gray, Willem Dafoe, and Liz LeCompte all lived on my block. Everyone in our building was an artist (except for the Chens who lived next door and owned Pearl River, the best Chinese department store ever.) As a result it seemed that we had a never-ending array of parties and performance art events to go to. I have seen my fair share of sculptures made of dirt, people being body painted, and video installations.

I am sure that there is more to say on this subject, but I am losing my voice and need to try to warm up my house, the temperature of which is currently hovering around 30 degrees. If you need me I will be buried under 5 blankets.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Plugs, Entreaties, Referrals

If you are in NYC, please check out Gutenberg! The Musical! written by my friend Anthony King. If you love musicals, you will love this. If you hate musicals, you will love this. It is hi-larious. And playing for the next 10 weeks at the Actor's Playhouse.

For those of you who don't already know about it and regularly attend, the latest Channel 102 shows are really great. The show "Defenders of Stan" is really fun and original. I don't check the Channel 101 site as often but I love Dan Harmon's new meta treatise "Exposure" as well. I have a secret long distance crush on Dan Harmon based solely on his 101 shows and his MySpace blog.

If you like weird internet stuff, please check out my friend Birch Harms's blog, which is filled with amazing and astounding finds from the internet, and occasional interesting facts about the man himself.

As per my 30 Day Challenge, the following story:

-I modelled for a book on how to make dolls when I was 9 and I was in an indie movie when I was 11. Both times neighbors hired me.

One of my neighbors wrote a book about doll making. I somehow got coerced into being one of the models who does the "how-to" photos that accompany the instructions. My mother still has the book somewhere. I look super dorky in these pictures. I really want to find it but don't know the name of the book. If I do, I will scan and post pics here.

The first movie I was in was when I was 11. I played a punk-rock teen runaway. It was for my mother's friend, Deborah, also a neighbor, who made this movie which I have never seen. I suspect it's terrible. There were a bunch of us pre-teen punk rock looking kids who were supposed to look all drugged up lying around a loft. I remember this being very excitiing, but I was mad that I didnt' get to wear makeup since they wanted me to look as young as possible. My first glimpse into the glamorous world of filmmaking.

Both of these projects were shot on my block in my neighbor's lofts. Proof that SoHo was once a bastion of creativity instead of a bastion of Eurotrash and high priced shoes.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

The Price is Right Out of My Reach

In a few weeks a bunch of my friends are going to the Price is Right in LA. My friend Zach Tobacco brilliantly arranged this and put it all together. I am unbelievably jealous. I was just in LA a few weeks ago and can't afford another trip so soon afterwards. I will post stories about their exploits so that I can live vicariously and can pretend I was there. If anyone wants to buy me a plane ticket to LA I will love you forever and post a picture of you on my blog. Who can pass that up? Anyone? No? Too bad.

In other news, my friend Jen MacNeil is doing a project wherein she does something she has never done before every day for a year and then writes about it here. Which is pretty cool. She asked for a list of things she should do, so I sent her the following NY-centric list. Most things on the list are things I myself have never done. A few are things I have done and think are definitely worth doing. I would like to do all of them at some point in the next few months:

Hang out on the roof garden at the Met
Have tea at the Algonquin Hotel
Walk across the BK Bridge (or some other bridge that you haven't already
Go the Bx Zoo
Sail around Manhattan on a boat
Take a hip hop class
See ballet at Lincoln Center
Watch videos at the NY Library for the Performing Arts
Go to the Museum of Natural History and lie down under the big blue whale
Go to the Hayden Planetarium
Go to one of those free meditation classes
Go to the free movie at the Church of Latter Day Saints in Lincoln Square
Go to the Scientology center and watch their weird free movie
Take the water taxi from the Bklyn Bridge to Manhattan
Take the Staten Island Ferry
Eat at a restaurant/drink at a bar on Staten Island

Speaking of cool blogs etc.: If you haven't read Chris Gethard's blog, you should. Read it cover to cover (or post to post, as the case may be). He is a natural and hilarious storyteller, and is part of my inspiration for trying to become a better storyteller about my own experiences on this here journal. He is the cat's meow meow. (Sidenote: I am taking a great improv class with Chris at the moment which is filled with Ridic-amazing improvisors. So much fun.)

Now on to today's edition of Me Blathering About Past Experiences:

I have ridden the Greyhound bus line across the country twice.

For reasons too varied and uninteresting to explain here I have had to take the bus back and forth across the country twice, from San Francisco to New York and back again. Sleeping on a bus in an upright seat as you tour middle America is quite an experience. You never fully sleep, you only eat Burger King and McDonald's, and you shower at sinks in truck stops for four fun-filled days. It is a pretty cost effective way to see a lot of the country: I will never forget the incredible beauty of Salt Lake City and the crazy canyons in Nevada and Utah, or standing in the middle of the Mojave Desert at a Burger King and feeling like it was the middle of nowhere. You also see the worst: Pulling into Gary, Indiana at 2 in the morning was like being on the set of a post-apocalyptic Terminator movie -- smokestacks shooting fire, grit, grime, garbage. Fairly amazing in a depressing way. Below are other highlights from the two trips I have taken:

On one trip a large black woman was on the bus. She had on these weird flowy purple robes and had hair that stood straight up from her head--she sort of looked like a cross between Miss Cleo and Don King. She had a glittery scarf wrapped around her updo and carried a long black cane. For three of the four days she sat on the bus rocking back and forth, making weird arm and finger movements and chanting to herself. She was scary. On the second day she got up to use the lou in the back. Someone had fallen asleep and had his legs out in the aisle. She stopped and stared at his legs. For a full two minutes. Finally someone said "Well if you are not going to step over his legs, just wake him up." She did so. By taking her cane and hitting him full force over the head. He woke up and moved his legs and she continued her journey without saying a word. A few more instances like this happened and I spent the whole trip sleeping with one eye open as a result. The bus driver told me that she was a "regular", meaning that she apparently spent all of her time riding Greyhound buses, proving that there are indeed professional crazies on bus lines.

On another trip I was traveling from New York to San Francisco. As I waited for the bus to arrive at the Port Authority, a young lady named Betty went down the line introducing herself. Betty was sweet, and perky, and weighed approximately 250 pounds. She wore a snoopy sweatshirt, and pink sweatpants, and bottle-bottom glasses that sat upon her round featureless face, and wore a ponytail that sat square on the top of her head, secured by a scrunchie. This all gave her the appearance of being mildly retarded, which she wasn't. She was, however, very excited about this trip. She wanted to know everyone's name and where they were going. I prayed that her destination would be Chicago or Nebraska, but it turned out that she was going to Sacramento which meant an entire bus ride with Bubbly Betty.

Once on the bus, Betty wasted no time making friends with a crew of drunken biker types (bikers that ride buses, apparently) and they loudly and bawdily told dirty jokes, naughty limericks, talked about porn, and generally treated the bus like a pool room sans pool or jukeboxes. About a third of the way through the trip, Betty decided to rectify the lack of jukebox and stood up in front of the bus and announced that she was having a wonderful time and as it was so close the the holidays, she thought it would be a lovely idea if we all sang Christmas Carols together. (It was December.) I responded with "You've Got to Be Kidding," however the rest of the bus responded "Yay!" and I endured three days of Christmas Carols sang by a bus of slightly retarded off-key busriders. I vaguely remember two Jewish girls getting upset and complaining to the bus driver because they felt this was anti-Jewish harrassment. A bit of a stretch.

The other thing I remember about that particular trip is that I managed to keep the seat next to me free for two whole days. I think I perfected giving people the evil eye as they got on the bus. Finally, around Ohio, there was only one seat left on the bus, so clearly my leg-stretching days were over. A woman got on the bus and sat next to me. She was very mousy -- brown hair, big glasses, all brown drab clothes. We chatted about where she was going, which turned out to be Oregon, and what she was doing, which turned out to be living on an ashram and growing organic vegetables. She was very quiet and shy and seemed to be a sort of nervous type. As were talking, Betty and her Bawdy Boozy Buccaneers burst into song and then started shouting dirty jokes at one another. My seat mate turned to me and said, very seriously "You know what? (pause) The psychic energy on this bus is really dense." Indeed.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Mi Casa es Su Madrassa

By now everyone has heard the brouhaha over the non-story of Barack Obama's educational background: He attended a madrassa in Indonesia when he was six. Madrassa means school in Arabic so this isn't exactly startling news (Obama went to SCHOOL!), but according to Insight, a website run by the Universalist Church of Sun Young Moon, it means "Islamic terrorist training school." But who cares what a two-bit website says, right? That is until the good folks at Fox News decide to quote it as fact on their cheerful "Fox and Friends" morning show.

Besides the fact that these are non-facts, I love the idea that now it is okay to reach as far back as the womb when investigating a presidential candidate's background. What's next, A scathing report on the number of time outs a candidate received in first grade? Sonogram pics? Yeesh.

Once Fox realized their mistake, they of course hurried to correct their mistake: (Make sure to watch the whole thing).

Now there is a moving and heartfelt apology. Nothing makes up for people calling you a terrorist on national television like sort of being invited to do the weather.

Related Facts from My Past:

I went to a progressive elementary school called PS3 in Greenwich Village. We didn't have desks, we had "work areas" which were shared tables, and rugs and benches. We called all of our teachers by the first name. We had mandatory art, dance, music, and acting classes. Our principal's name was John Meltzer and he was a striking man from New Zealand who was very thin, stood about 6'5", and always wore a white/cream colored suit with open collar. (I am sure he wore other things, but I think this was a sort of uniform). He was bald on top but had flowing white hair along the sides. He was a pretty charismatic and scary presence around the school. It was a real hippie/liberal school. Half of my teachers were openly gay, and we discussed politics a great deal. I recall taking a class trip and our teacher having us chant some sort of political slogan on the streets as we went to wherever we were going. I am pretty sure this was illegal, but I think if you had asked any of us at the time we would have said it was fine with us because we supported whoever the candidate was -- we were a pretty politically savvy group of youngsters.

I also once almost got kicked out of camp for beating a girl up. When I was young I had a CRAZY temper. Something would set me off, and I would literally see red -- I had some kind of weird inner rage issue, which fortunately has mellowed into vague irritation as I have gotten older. I don't remember what happened exactly. I was about 10 years old and it was my first year at sleepaway camp, and a girl who was in my cabin called me a name or something and I just lit into her--I punched her in the face and scratched the shit out of her stomach. It turned out that she had asthma, so the fight set off this severe attack and she got sent to the hospital. I don't know why they didn't send me home at the time, but I think camp was almost over and it was more trouble than it was worth. So I lucked out there.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

God Gave Rock n Roll To Us

This post inspired by a conversation earlier this evening and by the fact that I am currently watching the New York Dolls, possibly my favorite rock band ever, on Channel 13 on some show called "Soundstage":

What the fuck has happened to rock n roll?

Rock has lost all danger. When mainstream "rock" is represented by Lenny Kravitz and Coldplay, we are in serious trouble. This is one of the reasons I dont' know what is happening in music these days....

The pseudo pop punk of Blink 182/Sum 41/Unoriginal Name 2000 summons up images of spoiled 20 somethings playing Nintendo with their skater girlfriends in their suburban living rooms, while the rock of White Stripes and Yeah Yeah Yeahs has me visualizing teenagers cutting themselves in bathroom stalls and standing in the corner at the prom making fun of the jocks on the dance floor.

I want my rock stars to summon up images of depraved drug use and sexual acts that take place while trashing hotel rooms. This just doesn't happen anymore, and I do think it speaks to the decline of rock music in the public domain. No wonder rock is dead! Rap stars have supplanted rock stars at least in part due to the fact that they are the ones living the dangerous and outrageous lifestyles that once were the domain of the guitar gods. Rock is just a safe series of three chord ditties. The danger is gone.

Why were the last great rock stars Axl Rose and Kurt Cobain? I'm not saying I want every rock star to become a hermit, get weird fake dreads and take 13 years to make one album, or that they should blow their heads off with a shotgun, but c'mon!? The only "rock stars" on view are those that started their careers 20 or more years ago: Tommy Lee and Gene Simmons in their boring reality shows, the reunited New York Doll or Rolling Stones, etc etc....all fairly uninspiring....

Give me some fucked up misogynstic leather clad heroin addicts already!

Related stories from my past:

-My first concert was Duran Duran at Madison Square Garden.

I was 11 or 12 when I begged, BEGGED my parents to buy the $16 ticket (which they said was way too expensive) to sit in the nosebleed seats at MSG. I remember being 100 percent sure that myself and Simon Le Bon made eye contact from 500 feet away. Ah, youth.

-I was in a Buster Poindexter video (aka David Johansen from the New York Dolls).

I worked on a benefit concert with David Johansen and got a call a few days later asking if I wanted to be in a video and help them cast other people to be in the video. The name of the song was "Breaking Up the House" and the concept was that Buster had an apartment that was usurped by various groups that used it for their own purposes. The groups included curler-wearing mommies with strollers and skinheads. My group was the "Lipstick Lesbians for the Ethical Treatment of Sheep". I wore a very tight red dress and thigh-high boots. The end result really didn't highlight the original idea, but was still fun to watch. The shoot was directed by Amos Poe who was this very cool downtown filmmaker who made weird movies with Debbie Harry and the whole downtown punk rock scene. This shoot was fun and we all got drunk throughout it. The last shot was of us coming in and destroying the set, which we actually got to do on camera. Fun. You can see the video here. I am the one carrying the indecipherable sign that says "Lipstick Lesbians for the Ethical Treatment of Sheep." For the rest of the video, whenever you see a flash of a red dress, that's me. (You never see my face. Of course.)

Telling these stories makes me realize that my life is very very boring now.