Thursday, October 8, 2015

Not everyone gets a horse

I'm reading that book Wild. I'm on a plane, headed to my next street band festival, Honk! In Boston, Providence and New York.

It's the 10th anniversary, and it's the biggest street band festival there is - I think. 

If you've read this blog you know street music has changed my life. I used to think street musicians were kinda like homeless people- sorta begging in a way. Excuse me! I'm from the burbs of Houston. 

Or, I would appreciate the street jazz musicians in New Orleans- but still kinda think that's not for me. Not until I joined The Marching Band.

I'm not particularly nomadic, so I don't fit the street musician lifestyle. But I do love my big Minor Mishap Marching Band- traveling 2-4 times a year, playing in the streets, making people happy- surprising them- and enjoying an alternative-lifestyles group of people. Smart people! 

I'm reflective- I'm going back this year and a lot has changed. Last year I was newly single after 14 years but had a boyfriend that I knew from this very Honk! Festival; the year before. I met him 2 years ago and my life changed dramatically in the coming year. 

He wasn't the reason but the impetus to leave my husband. I left because I didn't know, and couldn't see, a joint future anymore. 

But you know what? The man I chose to pursue was much like my husband! He is introverted and a bit sullen. He is a workaholic and a terrific musician. He plays sax and is a great talent. He is quiet and judgmental. He is amazing.

In short, he is a lovely person and I mean that. They both are. They ALL are I don't waste time with chumps. 

That lover has moved on, much to my dismay last year he dumped me on my last day of Honk! I was devastated and surprised. He's now married, he told me. I thought he was my guy but I was wrong. That's what I now know.


So not everyone gets a horse. But this  girl gets a sax!! A Bari sax to learn and play! And these songs aren't easy....I tell ya. 

Monday, August 24, 2015

Why are chicks SUCH Biatches!? To each other a lot of the time.

Part of me thinks people are just harsh on one another, in general - even as they turn and smile at you and give compliments...

...But I've noticed I'm really hard on female singers. I critique them harshly; probably more harshly than the men I see performing, singing. But when I love them I LOVE THEM SO MUCH, and for forever.

PJ Harvey, Cat Power, Holly Golightly, Eartha Kitt, Locals like Datri Bean, Lauryn Gould, Karla Manzur, Laura Scarborough, Liv Muellar...lord I can't think of any more that I like right now... The Catastica girls!!! ((You're welcome to add in the comment bar your favorites -- we all different I get it.))

But, in order to show I'm not a total bitch here is a link of 4 more I haven't heard of that you might like. See? I'm ok. you're ok.

I see a lot of live music! And, in a way, I can almost always find something to like about it: about the musicianship, the songwriting, their haircuts, their outfits : you know the important stuff.

But back to my perceived problem. Why don't I like the chick singers I see or hear on the radio that much? First off, there are a lot less of them to choose from. But, Here's what goes through my mind:

Their timber is harsh or grating, particularly in the high registers. Their songs are lame, they're pitchy (dude I KNOW I AM but I play the sax and I think that helps) They're boring to watch, or I happen to know them personally and they're not friendly or they're competitive so I can't get behind them. They're too vanilla, or they sound like someone else.

I was listening to a new female artist who looked very interesting to me: Andra Day. I saw her on the airplane back from Brazil. She is a hottie, black woman, with a very vintage 50's look. I LOVE RETRO! And Spike Lee directed her video. I watched it. I listened to her interview. I liked her a lot. Most of her songs seemed to be about relationships. The video was kinda boring. And, she sounded just like Amy Winehouse.

Look GIRLS if, when you open your mouth to sing and you sound like Amy Winehouse CHANGE YOUR SOUND. She'd regrettably dead, and she'll be the queen of that affected, distressed, I want to fuck you sound forever....

HO HUM. I can't stop.

I'm an intellectual! Is that so wrong? Art, underground music, and the age of Podcasting

Hi guys! It has been eons since I've made a post. I've wanted to, but I'm in a very scattered phase apparently and though I haven't been terribly busy, a chaos seems present that swirls around in my brain.

At the same time, I've been devoted to enjoying this long hot Texas summer. My new BF has a parks pass and we've been swimming a lot and cooking a lot! 

...I haven't seen my girlfriends in soooo long! Sorry ladies I'll come running when this pink cloud bursts. You too my brothas. 

I digress. What am I talking about? I'm thinking about this professor in college. It was when I was a freshman, and I think it was English Lit. 

He said the very first day, "Who here is an intellectual?" 

Only like 2 people raised their hands; Out of a HUGE UT class- not including me. He went on to discuss the art of learning, reading, expanding. 

He said lets talk about why that noun-jative (lol noun AND adjative- I made that up, see I so smart) is such a "dirty word" in our culture. 

I'm summarizing, but I'll never forget this. I don't remember what was discussed that day, or who this professor was, but in my mind it goes like this:

Our overarching American culture of censorship, suppression, conservatism and idealism enjoys weighing down ideas or ways of life that aren't conservative or more importantly free thinking. 

I'm not saying anything new! I know that. And this sounds like a diatribe. 

But my personal point is not to rant. 

It is that I love Podcasts. 

I LOVE them! On a flight to Atlanta (a stop on my way to HONK! Rio!!!! I'm going to blow some sax with Environmenta Encroachment, Brass Band Chicago) 

I have listened to 3 - all Fresh Air podcasts. With Terry Gross. 

The first was about The Ladies of Broad City - thank you gals you have made something that is laugh out loud funny and I LOVE the show) 

The next a writer Robert Stone who is now deceased; who wrote novels and memoirs about his life in the 60's with Ken Kesey and the Mary Pranksters, "Dog Soldiers" . I now want to read it! 

The third was/is I'm still listening to it/ a previous militant Islamist extremist who,  inspired by Orwells Animal Farm, moderated his thinking and beliefs and reformed himself. He puts us into the mind of how and why this thinking takes root. He tells us his amazing story! 

All is to say I'm obsessed with podcasts and before that, all there was was this crappy talk radio- but I listened to it, A lot! On my little radio. 

And now -- drumroll--- it's MY turn! I'm starting a podcast with 2 of my buddies. 

It's called On Common Ground and we are interviewing local ATX musicians about how a song of someone else's has influenced one of their songs. 

This is soooo me! Sooooo fun and exciting for me. I've always wanted to do something like this. And thankfully I have go-getter partners that know many of the new ATX artists ( they are a good 10 yes younger than me) and they are integrated into the new musical scene here. 

I am the older brigade. We are all musicians, and we all are enthusiasts. 

I hope the podcast feeds the brains of the intellectuals out there that live music, culture and the arts.

We release in the Fall! 

Monday, June 8, 2015

Erodica:: The Video Is OUT! Featuring Raindogg and DD Dagger

For the Erodica video (pronounced ERODE-ICA) Brooklyn Producer and Editor Raindogg takes us on a retrospective of the coolest Punk Rock spots in NYC in the 90's, eroding their hipster vibe back to reveal what it was, what it used to be: dirty, gritty, and abused. Spot Tompkins Square Park, CBGB's, ABC No Rio, the Physical Graffiti Building, Bleecker Street, 42nd Street and St. Marks. While Raindogg was just ”Waiting on a Friend" he found her, DD Dagger.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Painting A Day ::: The love of doing, versus the love of producing and the residency in my mind

Hi Art Angels!

I'm at a very interesting juncture in my life...This TERRIBLY interesting interview with Maria Popova (a genius philosopher at 30) on On Being had me in tears over I don't know what-- some deep rooted psychic issue. She just has these amazing quips about culture...stuff I think or don't think about, but that concerns me. Her Blog: I'm only sorry I haven't gotten to it sooner: Brain Pickings.

I have just come back from a self imposed workation / residency in NYC whereby I went to connect with artists, make a video, I did some sexy photos with my bestie there Actor Emily Ben, and Photog Ed Verosky and generally just soak up the culture.

I spent a lot of money! On just getting around, even though Raindogg let me couch crash for 2 weeks in his daughter's bed:)

I went to the Ballet, I went shopping at my favorite thrift in Hell's Kitchen, I went out, I spent WAAY too much time inside painting, Cause I'm in the middle of a Painting a Day Fundraiser.  I did Bikrim a lot!

I met some interesting Crown Heights Real Estate investors who took me and Emily out to very very expensive Fusion meal; and I had some of the most stimulating conversation there I've had in a very long while. Mostly cause I met Eric at that table, who gave me a short history of his rags to riches story with a hilarious delivery:: He grew up in the projects of Brooklyn, and now he's a millionaire, or some such:: more importantly, he fed me a dose of his wisdom. Frank, "my date" from Trinidad was also interesting, but he fed me, just not much wisdom. He wanted to get into my pants.

...We just danced and held hands for a second. That's about what I could handle. But I have made a couple of friends that I hope will inspire me, the same way Maria Popova does. Eric is JUST AS BRILLIANT >>> I have suggested he write a book.

Without going into too much of what he said, (he drove Emily NUTS she was like Stahhhhhp talking) I wish I had taped all of it, here are a few quips:

-He does a Brain Fast, I don't know how often:::: No negative thoughts or people for 45 days. If he has good friends or people he loves he does NOT talk to them.

-He says the worse type of negativity are the "subtle down on you thinkers"

-He has never listened to a phone message in 15 years

-He says "It's da Truf"

-and, "Everyone's an expert, even if they ain't shit"

-Most importantly, he says no matter how ugly it is, "Never, ever lie to yourself".

That night Eric and Emily went on their way and Frank and I went salsa dancing an local club in Williamsburg. It was SO PACKED there was no salsa dancing that was really possible, and I was really looking forward to dancing :( We stayed for an hour and I asked to go. I realized that I don't think New York is for me, only in doses. I thought to myself, How is this fun? Too many people crammed in seriously like sardines. The DJ's were talented though, and there were some live African drummers - but they never really cooked.

I'm still considering applying to go back to school there- but New Orleans is just as good of an option to me. Or I might not school myself any further.

Popova got me to thinking: because part of her thing she talks about in the interview is actual productivity versus producing. She claims (my words) that as a creative thinker, most of her time spent is listening to podcasts, reading, writing, musing:: Everything I love to DO! But, instead of a philosopher blogger girl, I call myself a bohemian. I like to read, write in my journal, paint and study music and do yoga. In a way I'm a big CLICHÉ!

I constantly struggle with the guilty notion that I'm not good enough, don't produce enough, am not popular enough, am lazy, etc. I want to be free of that, because many people around me tell me I'm inspiring and very productive. Unless every moment is spent, I often feel less than. In essence, I'm a typical neurotic Jew.

I'm trying to retrain my brain. Because I want to rebel against this so hard that my fists are pumping.

My Painting a Day paintings are selling quickly! On a happy note:: I will make my fundraiser goals easily for Sacred Space and maybe have some left over. I am thrilled. Plus, mostly the paintings are good, meaning I like them.

Today's Painting a Day 

The Very Brilliant Eric from Brooklyn in mid sentence, a rich real estate investor.

A crappy Mural in NoHO
My generous host and collaborator, the producer/director/editor Raindogg
The day of my shoot : a selfie
Those burnt out buildings in The Village- where that guy was stealing gas and the buildings exploded

Monday, May 4, 2015

Forgive me blogger, it's been 1 month since my last confession

And guess what!!!?

I've emerged out of my state of denial into another state! Fear of my Bari, fear of my sax. I was noodling around on my very entertaining little Bb Clarinet, a Penzel Muellar Artist, when I realized I could blow out Klezmer solos, bend all the notes, and sound like the Jew I am + Gypsy.

The way you can bend notes on a clarinet is obviously why it is commonly the first choice in Klezmer tunes. I've been studying to my favorite Klezmer band of all time : The New Orleans Klezmer All Stars. 

That Clarinet player is BOSS. (ON Manichalfwitz) my favorite record. What he can do on that clarinet I've rarely heard. Anyway, at our last Minor Mishap practice I brought the clarinet to play around, and to get a real clarinet play to assess its tone. Well, no clarinet players showed up that day.

...A clarinet solo was coming:: in our song Marigny, so I snuck over, got it, to to my surprise I blew out a little solo that sounded Jewish. And no one was expecting it.

Later, Datri called me on another solo - on the Bari - in another harmonic minor song - and I could NOT bend the notes, I could NOT sound so much like a Klezmer. I was hurt.

The Bari does not want to be something it is not. It wants to be a grandpa, a husky low end. The notes are far apart on it for my littleish hands, I can't move them that quickly for all the years I've studied sax, and the upper register left hand keys sound like crap. I can't stay in tune.

Alto, I love you. I think that you are cute, little alto, as you sit on your stand - so easy to hold, so easy to grab.

You Bari, you take more effort. More effort to hold, more effort to blow and manipulate. But you demand attention, and you get it. I thank you for that.

I need to figure this it simply a matter of skill? Personality? Determination?

While in my first year of playing the bari, about 4 years ago, people used to ask, Is it SO HARD? I always said, NaH! It's like butter! I was cocky. I was in denial. I've hit a glass ceiling and I'm going to have to rehearse my way through it.

It could be fun. But most likely...


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

This post has nothing to do with MUSIC! and all to do with The Dom next door

Well she's not next door:: she's around lets just say. My fun-loving Dominatrix! Tonight, on this special night, I got to see her in action! Her house, OPEN, and full of chains and stuff! Her cabinets, with sex toys! Her stilettos casually, tossed about, and lube bottle(s) strewn. She has a slave, one that "gets off" on doing chores or whatever the Dom says. It's not sex, it's chores. THEY LOVE IT. Slap Slap do this do that! Look at me ! LOL It's so foreign to me, to be dominant in that way. And to imagine that it's someone's fantasy is wow.

Here's how I am dominant: zzzz I know boring. I'll get back to her in a second :-->>>>

- I lead a band, and it is MY project so I"m the boss, in the end. Though I try to take into consideration feelings, blah blah zzzzz I lead.
-i own my own business and don't take orders from many. I can't stand managers, but clients I love.
-I can be pretty bossy when I feel comfortable, but I don't hardly know how to ask someone to do something for me, or more to the point why anyone would help! I shrink at the thought that someone would spend time just HELPING ME. Regardless, people do come over and help me around the house (like Laurie -- thank you. she showed me how to Tile my kitchen) and I'm grateful. But, my main frame of mind is REALLY? Million Thanks! I"m always surprised. AND I rarely ask for help. I have to be pretty desperate.

Back to my girl! She is teaching me a lot about myself in reference to dominance and submissive roles and personalities. I've become more conscious of the types of people I have been dating, how I treat people and how they treat me, and the friends I choose...and... I ask her advice. Not cause she's a Dom, but because she's a good listener and gives good advice. She's very level-headed.

But mainly i'm currently interested in the psychology: Dominant and Submissive. Before my marriage ended, I read "The Erotic Mind"  A book recommended to me by my bff therapist. It was very fascinating, and reading that book it made me realize that I lacked a fantasy life!!!! I had none. Oh trust me I live in fantasy land...but it's more of in a spaced-out stoner way via arrested development.

Here's my favorite description of that book: The Erotic Mind is a breakthrough exploration of the least understood dimensions of human sexuality—the psychology of desire, arousal, and fulfillment. 

Back to the DOM! what part of the brain makes you want to be a slave to someone? I'm fascinated.

Also, more to my point, why do some people have great chemistry and others don't? THERE IS SOMETHING GOING ON. It's not just all "pheromones". It's how someone treats you, how they touch and interact with you. How they make you feel and how you make them feel, their backgrounds...etc.

But there is a part of the brain that controls all of this and it is really mysterious. Because people are mysterious. And varied, SO VERY VARIED> Everyone is so different. It really is exciting in a way: the brain.

I think the Dom has said it over and over that everyone is slightly different. I think it's her job to be confidant that she can deliver what they like. I'm not sure, but maybe it's not all that different from people's various taste in music, or art.

Anyway, back to me and my woes: I got friend-zoned today. Yes we had chemistry. We weren't boyfriends so it's not really a big deal. But, it was over before it started. And I knew it wasn't forever. So I can't be too overwhelmed. I'm a bit underwhelmed, actually. But I shed a tear anyway. I shed a tear for all that wasted chemistry. I know it can't sustain anything for too long. But I don't take it for granted, either.

Just like I'm not going to take for granted anything, really. I'm going to continue to live, let live, and learn from the DOM. !!!

Friday, March 27, 2015

I feel really selfish!!! The syndrome that centers in the Brain

Why isn't the garbage man picking up my trash? I swear to God if they miss this week again I'm going to freak. I feel the same way about my emotions these days. I missed therapy this week because I wanted to take the Brazilians that are staying with me to Mexico, the border town of Piedras Negras.

We had a blast - they are fun-loving amazing people- and I bought some beautiful brown boots that would cost $300 at Alan's Boots...but I'm suffering a bit, not sure why. I've been skipping my writing too! I'm going to my sax lesson in a few minutos and that centers me.

When I'm feeling selfish, hurt or confused I try and turn it around. I try to think, how can I think about your feelings instead of my own? How can I be of considerate of what you're going through? That might be compassionate but I have to think of my feelings too. I have to be careful about who I get close to. 

I usually walk around with a genuine smile, love of people, and pleasure for life but I'm terribly sensitive! I think too much and I think I have an anxiety problem. Maybe you wouldn't know this about me if you don't know me well because I don't show you! Lol but I'll write about it publicly. See how that works?

Because I am a "stuffer" of difficult emotions I've developed this disorder that I just learned about a couple of years ago. It's called Tension myositis syndrome.  I found out about it through my photographer friend and collaborator, Mark Zell. His wife has it. She came to my SXSW show. We discussed the syndrome, lol. It was nice.

So Sarno is a psychotherapist that characterized this condition: I'll describe it as a psychological pain disorder. It centers in the brain. It is TOTALLY a mind fuck and I don't think it's real, but it's real nevertheless. It is real because it gives me debilitating back pain, which is also information to me that somethings wrong with my life. In other words I have garbage to take out. WhOA.

It was made famous by Howard Stern. Watch the video:::  Is it any wonder the Jews are heading up the promo on this??  LOL Stern, Larry David.

The brain is a major wonder. I have a lot of questions for my own brain. I would like to hit these questions up in a future post.

OH guess what? The trash man just came by. FULL CAN done. Out, over with. Until next week's full can of trash....

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Art of activism, rebellion, and the difficult approach towards change

Searching for something to believe in? I am.

In this search for something to get me through this next quarter of life I've been reading. I mean, it's time for phase two. Or I might be in phase three?

I cried myself to sleep last night reading chapter two of Courtney Martin's book "do it anyway"- the new generation of activists. I believe I've already mentioned my exciting discovery of her on this blog. 

"Homeboy Industries" is a cutting edge gang rehab in LA that is run by Raul Diaz - also from the barrio of Boyle Heights, which is one of LA's most dangerous Gangbanger zones. He is an activist and a healer. To say he changes lives... I mean wow.

The work he does from his heart is incredible. It's not the first I'd heard of Raul and Homeboy Industries. They were viewed I believe on one of my favorite podcasts, On Being: listen here and your heart will pull:   I believe I cried then too! 

We don't have a south central LA in Sweet little Austin, Tx, but we do have gangs, and my ex husband (a recovered junkie)  worked at a youth treatment facility for many years counseling addicted youth. He would tell me stories..."this one kid couldn't follow the rules and had to get taken away in shackles....he's on his way to Gardner Bettes." Which is juvenilne prison. Heartbreaking. We all mourned for those guys. They couldn't get honest or just couldn't....

When one rebels and can't follow the rules, that is activism, or more rebellion. Who is it they're rebelling against? If rebelling against those who are trying to help you (my ex) for example, as kind and generous chemical dependency counsellor, then from my viewpoint you cannot see the light and are acting in ego. 

This is obviously not helpful to oneself, though I can see why one would believe they are rebelling against the system. 

I think back to my first act of rebellion. I grew up in a physically abusive house. I was the middle so I had both mom and sister beating on me consistently. I'll never forget-- the day my sister was terrorizing me. She had me pinned in the corner of the closet. I guess I had enough because I punched her so hard in the stomach that she ran off crying. I'll never forget that. I must have been 12 or so. That was the end of that.

My sister, before she died, had changed her path. All that anger? She went to therapy, read philosophy, did yoga, was an activist herself and a protester. In essence, she saw the light and opened the doors for me too. I saw her change her thinking and we stopped arguing so much and at the end, had a wonderful loving relationship. 

All this is to say that I'm diving into my activism. What am I passionate about? (art, always art and music, always music.) I'm watching the documentary on Ai WeiWei- the Chinese activist and artist. His personality is charged- he is very open against Chinese government, and it could have great consequences. It has had great consequences. Many of his contemporaries have been imprisoned- it is not fun and games. Check out his Twitter and blog. He's a genius. 

He is very political. Am I? Dunno! Not really. I mean I'm not terribly outspoken. 

I do feel strongly about starting in my house - my family of origin. My first rebellion? Fighting back. My second? Maybe quitting drinking and using. Emotions had imploded on me and I had abused myself endlessly. A conscious act for me, everyday to stop poisoning myself. My third activist act? Leaving a stable and loving husband for a more open and free emotional existence. That's complicated, and I've over simplified it here. I still love him. 

So- I don't know where my art and activism is going, but it's moving towards art, creative thought, music, dance.  My performance art piece for the city with Rachel Weiss is coming together. More on that as it unfolds! It will be intense I think. We are at a crossroads with it. 

And I feel strongly about the glass installation I've presented for the Garden Committee in Manhattan. PLZZZZZZZZZZ angels. 

Until then, I'll be reading, studying, writing, and dancing. And having fun - by being a bohemian. 

Another act (maybe my best and most important act) of rebellion. 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

How to: survival of the fittest in a 25 piece brass band

It is Fat Tuesday! Happy Mardi Gras from the Big Easy. This city does not sleep, and I can't find anything green in the French Quarter, the Marigny, or the Bywater!

And I have stopped eating I think. For now.

I have come back to the crib for a big green drink that I have made myself, and some quiet time. Luckily, I have run into Master Matt Hubbard, and I'm going to see his band tonight at the Three Muses. He is in a trio and the main guy plays Vibes. I'm stoked that there is more amazing music in my future; but for now I had to get off Bourbon Street. I was 2nd Lining with Panorama Jazz band but I had to call it off after a couple of hours. 

I don't drink, and since I have stopped drinking my system has become way more sensitive. And, maybe I have a couple of extra health concerns but mostly I have ants in my pants. 

I can't stay too long at any one place! I would rather walk/bike 3 miles back home to make a green kale drink and read my book and play clarinet for awhile. 

God bless is a nap in my future? Anyway, the rest of my band mates are still reveling out there in the masses and masses of people. 

My sax is out of whack - it always is at this juncture, it is a big baritone and inevitably gets knocked around. 

The other morning I woke at 5:30, marched for 3 or so hours in the Eris Parade, and then another 5 hours in the Thoth Parade. I was almost ill. I collapsed in the bed in a coma, while the energizer bunny known as Jeff Luna who was my comrade the entire journey drove across town to pick up my truck uptown. 

How??? Where does the fuel come from? Then, after an hour nap we met up with all at the country club (in past years all nude) for a much needed soak and a steam. It was glorious! Except it's not nude anymore. LAME.

One thing is I have really allowed myself to revel in the joy that people experience During Carnival. Yes, many are wasted and that can illicit anger within me in excesses. But this year I have danced more, costumed more, played the hell out of my horn for days on end and soaked up the amazing musicianship that exists here. I will come home tomorrow charged with chords, arpeggios, and a new desire to better my playing. 

Happy Mardi Gras wherever you are. 

Monday, February 9, 2015

When I say Minor Mishap has "changed my life" I mean it...

Like WHY? How? 

As I rummage around my house looking for yellow and black costuming for our impending Mardi Gras week, I put a Pete Fountain record on the player. It sets my bluesy mood and literally brings in the blues. I'm crying now! OH THANKS. 

It's important for me to reflect be thankful and grateful for the things that bring me pleasure and joy. I don't always feel that way, but I do now so I'm rolling with it. 

The band that is Minor Mishap (I know I talk a lot about it on my blog so go to a freaking show already!) has impacted me a lot and here's how. 

In 2012 I had just completed a near impossible feat of recording, producing, releasing and doing a big live performance and video release to celebrate Radixxx, DD Dagger's second record. I was EXHAUSTED and needed a break from it. A lot of things had been really stressful: Musicians being flakey, venues screwing up, extreme pressure on myself, and my dancers acting meshugeneh and stressing me out. 

I opened a space up for something new, and one day I went to lunch with The Wizard at Mr. Natural. We an into Thomas Van Der Brook and Jeff Luna. They invited me to play! They were looking for another sax. I had just bought a Baritone! See how that works? (as a side note soon after they recruited me they both took an indefinite hiatus from the band:( )) Jeff has since rejoined on sousaphone and we drivin together to NOLA in 2 days. !!!

Blah blah onto the part that's interesting. I'm already bored with this post. 

Here's how the band has CHANGED ME

-I feel changed inside. LOL

-I didn't know how great a huge band family could be. doctors, a scientists, amazing teachers, profoundly great musicians and people convene in this band. Besides that I'm pretty needy, so there's that. 

-Street art has become a big part of my life. I wrote a grant for the City of Austin around that concept this year and now will be producing some street music and art of my own composition with Rachel Weiss. (dancer, amazing)

-the extreme joy and surprise that I see on people's faces when we do a homemade parade in East Austin is enlivening to me. Many years of bar rock had worn on me. Don't get me wrong: I love playing in bars. But it has its limitations. 

-I'm a profoundly better sax player than when I joined 3+ years ago. In fact, I had put down the sax for about 4 years to play guitar. BORING plus I sucked. But my songs are good. 

-my soloing has turned a corner (it was always my favorite part) and now I pick notes out of the air like the empath I am.

-This band got me through my divorce this year. The whole time I was in so much pain. The music was a great diversion for me, and the support was so great. 2 people in the band were also going through a break up, 2 very loving and important people to me. Divorcio. I watched them (throat choke!) move through it with grace, love, and care and I have tried to act within that spirit as well. We've made it! The new-millennium divorce is complete, friendly and loving. 

-I get to tour more!  Love it. I don't know if I've conveyed how I feel. I guess you'll see the revelry from my pics on the streets of NOLA next week. BIG BANDS RULE go buy and instrument and practice till your lips are blue. 


Saturday, February 7, 2015

a word about sexuality. a word about MY Sexuality....

Something awkward happened to me the other night when I went to meet Derick to dance at a blues club near my house.

An acquaintance that I worked for many years ago, when I was in my mid 20's who was playing bass on stage came to give me a hug. He might have been tipsy. He said, you and those grandma glasses:: You act so good. I know you ain't!

I'm like, what? Yes I am. I'm just the same old girl you always knew. I said, "I'm just the girl next door."

It was weird. I was thinking, wtf is he talking about? I'm thinking he must be talking about the photos. The art photos I do with Wolfson and some of the other art photog's I work with that are periodically posted on FB and wherever. Mainly Wolfie's. They can get rac-y, but never any boob or anything even! They suggest a sexuality. A sexuality that exists in every human being! LoL.

Regardless, let me tell you:: this might be a surprise if you don't know me.  That is a character. That is not me. Just like the character I present on stage. I mean, it's ME but not really.


I'm an entertainer and that is part of the entertainment. I move like a dancer cause I am a dancer, and sometimes that is sexy.

allow me to use this phrase again: 'Let me tell you' I am a human being. I am a sexual human being like all others. But I have said before, I'm more Woody Allen than Karen O. I am NOT wild. I am not terribly adventurous. I'm not even an extrovert though I fear I'd be more successful if I were. I have had to cultivate a character that is interesting to me, for the stage, for photos, so I can sing my songs and be interested in it myself.

Maybe it's interesting to me cause it is SO different than me. DD Dagger is NOT Allyson Lipkin. It is a part of her, and that name is so not me I can't believe I have stuck with it and I don't know why I have chosen it.

It maybe suggests a strength that I have had to muster. A fighting sense. Have I mentioned being a live performer (but particularly a front-woman songwriter) is a challenge in ways that are psychological? Kind of like challenging yourself to a very hard-core cross country biking trip or a marathon. A marathon with no end....

I know some wild people. I have a dominatrix that lives at the corner of my block. She has a slave for a boyfriend! LOL I have no clue to these things. I wrote and recorded an album called EROD-ICA. Crossing erotica and eroding together. Come on.

I'm just a nice Jewish girl! LOL Well, just another Jewish Priestess.

Photo: last month: the incredible undeniable Todd V Wolfson Austin, TX

photo: ed verosky: NYC 2014

a pair of the infamous grandma glasses at the old Austin City Limits

photo by Ed Verosky: NYC 2014

PHoto Jerry Milton

photo: Raindogg Brooklyn

another pair of the infamous grandma glasses. Photo: Jerry Milton this week in Austin, TX

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Creative contrast, techies, weirdos, and nerds unite

What I love love about playing music...

It's the mystery! How come totally untrained musicians play along master- level musicians, happily!?

I'm reminded by that because my road partner for this overnight show is Chuck! 

He's a band director for Hill Country Middle School, and he's also the drummer for the band I'm in Catastica. We play dirty funk songs about Cats.

He also doubles as the drummer for my good friends Foot Patrol. We have travelled to Denton to do a double bill this weekend.

He has been talking a lot about the band he directs, and I have reflected on how little training I have had over the years. 

I had a year of empassioned piano playing in 5th grade; but we were too wild and loud and the teacher quit. 

I have fond memories of that year. I drew the keyboard on my desk at school in pencil and played all day, lol.

I didn't make it to lessons again (on sax) till I met my amazing teacher and mentor Wil Greenstreet - when I was 25! 

We studied together weekly for 5 years, but he moved to NY and I couldn't replace him:::: until now! 

Ladies and gentlemen, meet Shawn Jones! He is the best. ❤️❤️❤️.

We have maybe about a year together now, and I am site reading up from a kindergarten level to maybe junior high.

Since my ear is pretty awesome (my strength) I have memorized melodies (in the big band) and played them by ear. But I'm always on harmony! Aaaaaaakkk  it was hard and very frustrating for awhile - the other sax's are playing something different. I'm so glad I can read now.

But back to the mystery!!! How does someone like Chuck have the same appreciation for the dirty funk we play, and then switch gears and work with the big national productions that come through town?! 

My laundry list why:

-heart and soul can't be manufactured 
-talent isn't always technical
-have you ever wondered why classical musicians often can't improvise? 
-people that love music love all kinds of music and if they play past their 20's, it's generally for the love. I can't speak for other communities but that's the case in Austin. 
-creativity is king (for me)

Here's what Chuck says about this: he is dictating to me now, as prince is on the radio: he also has St. Vincent, a lot of Radiohead, Wilco and Beetles.
(Not my favorites !!! But you know! Not bad::: He is my gracious Pilot. 

-the friendship of his very first band was an amazing community, but the high-dollar gigs he plays are a different thing. He thinks it's fun to work with all the different styles and types of music. "It feels different to walk into the pit of the symphony then to walk into a Catastica rehearsal."

 [dude they ALWAYS cook dinner for us- total giving sweeties]

-"I've worked really hard to not be one kind of player. I want to hold my own with symphony players, but also in a band with funk songs about Feet." 

{Dirty Feet}

-I like the exchange with creative people on any level. Just cause you're not trained musically doesn't mean you don't have valid opinions."

-"I've come across plenty of highly trained musicians that don't seem happy at all. It's just a job, and I think that's unfortunate."

So there it is folks! Not terribly entertaining in itself--- but just a musing.

You'll have to come see our band Catastica: the next show is March 7 at Dozen Street. It's Nikki's birthday, (Mojo Queen, Fat Bottom Girls).

We have 5 singer/dancers, horns and a wailing guitarist by the name of Wil that is amazing. And, of course a rhythm section that sometimes features Chuckles.

Happy Super Bowl Sunday!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Joy or no joy? Give it up take it back give it up again.

There it is! All around me - joyous moments of laughter, dance, song, friends and love.rz.

Talented people - everywhere! It brings me such joy. But I have trouble staying in the moment and my brain wants to latch on - to something. Anything! 

It's really a time to be riding the river, so I wonder why, since I know this, that my brain wants to drive me nuts by trying to grab onto a branch and stay there- stagnant. Like a mini whirlpool - a spin cycle. A negative feedback loop! 

Does anyone know what I'm talking about? Lol? Are my references clear?

I want to rejoice in my new life, my new freedoms, the moments alone and with people that make so happy. 

Last night, Marnie,  me and the boys laughed so hard that I almost choked up the salsa that I was eating- I had SO much fun. All over burritos. It had everything to do with being hilarious and in the moment. Nothing to do with hiding from myself or my friends.

Personal Jesus is playing on the iPod now.

Violator is such a killer record. 

Im at the laundromat and the black attendant just showed me the new weed ::: Droo or something, that smells just like weed. He insists its better! 

How? It's $10/gram! Jesus. And he scored it in a matter of 5 minutes. I'm on 12th street. 

I've got 5 minutes to finish drying before this joint closes....

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Going to War with Energy: an Empath walks into a room

I'm always amazed that the amount of people who don't know what an empath is: 

  1. (chiefly in science fiction) a person with the paranormal ability to apprehend the mental or emotional state of another individual.

Being an empath doesn't mean you have good intuition (though one might) or that you can read minds. It means you can read energy! The state of things, the state of a person:: you FEEL it. Even if you don't want to. 

We're not psychics, mediums or healers, though one might also have those qualities. 

It means when I walk into a room: especially a healing space, or somewhere where I feel vulnerable, I can feel the energy and, unfortunately since I'm me, I go to the negative person in the room and absorb it. I've done this incessantly at my live shows and I have had to close my eyes or look away or down. 

It hasn't happened in a long time since my band is so badass now: There's no denying it! I feel very confidant with a solid army behind me. 

Imagine how it sucks when you have a psycho (in my favorite healing space) that hates you! Seeths bad energy! Not only is it energetic, She has pushed me too: out of the way. Been nasty in front of people: It is not in my mind. 

This has been my experience about the last 5 years in my favorite recovery meeting.

I have/had done everything! Stepwork, Energy Cleansing, EMDR, meditation: and though these things have helped me, THAT BITCH STILL IS BAD NEWS! She is still giving off the same bad energy, and I'm absorbing it. I even wrote a song about it, Cat Fight. (coming out in a couple of weeks) I will post it later after its mastered. I wrote it this time last year. 

One who is not an empath might say, "just ignore her!" And trust me I have. The problem with my untrained empathy is I don't know how to remove my antenna: It's stuck on "on". I won't go into the neurosis about why It's stuck. 

It seems particularly bad when I'm upset, vulnerable, someone died, or I am in trouble. 

I am so sick of it! The other day my antenna got stuck on and I couldn't get focused on my recovery meeting. I signed my divorce papers this week, and things have been very unstable. 

This is a weird thing too:: she's gorgeous! She dresses just in the style I like! So it's a mind-fu$# because she's so visually interesting to look at. But what a sociopath inside! It confounds my brain. 

Anyway, I talked to a former roommate of hers about her, cause I knew they had had a falling out. She also goes to my meeting. She also has been upset at the way this girl gives out terrible energy to her, and acts like an emotional vampire, sucking the goodness out:: one breath at a time. 

She affirmed that this girl does this same thing to her, but just sometimes, she'll throw a curve ball and be NICE! What a psycho-biatch. Who needs it. Oh guess what? My friend has NO IDEA WHY, what she did or what happened to her to change her status from "roommate" to "Hated-bitch" They never even had an argument. (She is gorgeous too, btw)

We agreed to have a signal for each other- (she is ALSO an empath) a Peace sign. We're going to shoot each other a peace sign if we are having a hard time focusing, if the energy in the room is bad, or simply if we've had a run-in with the dreaded gorgeous psychopath. 

It's like going to WAR every time I walk into that church basement. I have to put my psychic armor on. Block myself from the ammo, and retreat.

Monday, January 12, 2015

The art of listening, synchronicity, and looking for answers within the context of collaboration and vision

Some know that my buddy Rachel Weiss and I wrote a grant for the City of Austin this year and got funded to do a performance project. 

Rachel came up with the brilliant idea of "Sacred Space"  -- so right up my alley. Because she was in Italy at the time of the deadline on an intensive teaching acting to kids, I wrote the grant. 

Sacred Space was inspired in Rachel from the notion that art in the Renaissance was housed in Sacred Spaces, and thus art and artists were deemed as sacred beings as well. That's all I remember her saying! Without referencing old emails...

In short, art is not viewed as sacred anymore as modern art has been removed largely from sacred spaces and has been totally secularized. 

That's about what we had to go on. I wrote the grant with the idea that I would like to combine my love of street art and and the surprise that goes along with that, as well as writing music for dance, which has always been my passion. Those two things were important to me. Also important to me: Rachel is a brilliant and intuitive dancer as well as Actor, Producer and Director. 

We are completely co-collaborating on this; and we are riding the wave of ideas, shapes, forms and techniques that can combine both of our visions into one. 

So it is incredible that I have found precedence! I happened upon this podcast from On Being: my favorite podcast that discusses spiritual matters with great thinkers in the area of Science, Art, Religion, and Academia. 

The podcast showcases two incredible thinkers: Courtney Martin and Parker Palmer. The podcast was on "The Inner Life of Rebellion" LOVE IT> 

I almost dropped the dishes I was doing when Parker said this: "...One thing our community is most deficient in, is safe spaces for truth telling about the condition of our souls. (or identity or integrity). 

He was talking about Secular Sacred Spaces! (while referencing his book) BOOYAH! He was talking about expression, connection, truth telling, and the human condition. 

Precisely what we are doing with Art, Music Dance, wound up all into one public art instillation and performance. 

I want to identify more what we are doing with this piece in a future post, when it's more flushed out. 

In the interim, I'm going to read and then contact Mr. Palmer and have a quick convo with him. Wouldn't that be lovely? My dream! I'm also going to read Courtney's BooK: Do It Anyway. Which states: If you care about social change but hate feel-good platitudes, Do It Anyway is the book for you. 

Perfect. Rebellion, the art of space, feminism, activism and social change within the context of Art and Performance. 

Something to live for.