Thursday, January 28, 2010

a picture from the weekend

Here's a story in Hollywood Today about the event at the SFAE last weekend. It's a little weird to read about it as a news story and realize I was one of the people "mouthing along" to all the words in almost every song.

And, because I like you, the money shot:

Left to right: Steve Wagner, Brian Wilson, yours truly

Monday, January 25, 2010

rockstar for a weekend

Back from a whirlwind in San Francisco. Salons, champagne, old and new friends, private performances, exclusive gallery events, celebrities -- it was a little taste of being a rockstar. (My collaborator, Steve Wagner, is the best host ever.) It's strange and good to come home, and it makes my life here seem calm in comparison.

On Thursday I performed at a private Salon in Sunset to an incredibly attentive, listening audience. I even managed to unload a few books to this intimate crowd. Then on Friday I swung by Lower Haight to stop into Cafe International for their open mic. I met up with one of the three people I still keep in contact with, my brother's best man, Orestis, and we drank whiskey at Molotov's till my jet lag turned me into a nodding pumpkin.

Then the big day -- the show at SFAE. We wound up drinking across the street from the gallery at the Clift Hotel with a Fellini-esque assortment of musicians, artists, and scientists.

Being in the same room as Brian Wilson, a Talking Head, and the artist who did the cover of The Dark Side of the Moon (whose given name, hand-to-god, is Storm Thorgerson) is, in case you wondered, not that surreal at all. If anything, it's weird how normal it is. Like it's a room full of any other group of people, friends, colleagues, and acquaintances. I guess the weirdest part is knowing you should feel weird. The idea that someone should feel uncomfortable and/or privileged to be included in such a coterie.

Maybe it was the open bar, but I felt perfectly at ease.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Little Jade

During a break at a photoshoot today, the photographer began showing me photos of his daughter, a two-year-old Chinese orphan who was born with a cleft pallet (fixed now) and who is, coincidentally, named Jade. After a few more yards of red tape, he and his wife will finally be able to go get their baby and bring her home. They already have her room set up (she has a rocking dragon instead of a rocking horse), they're just waiting for that final okay from their little girl's old and new governments.

I can't imagine having to count on bureaucracy in a situation like that. I would be a nervous wreck. I know these things go through all the time, but knowing your baby is in another country where anything could happen and still will be for months before you take her home? My stomach would be eating itself.

My late-twenties maternal kick in the pants is raging. Little Jade was so cute I almost started crying. She has the biggest smile. I hope everything goes smoothly for them all.

Monday, January 4, 2010


Two three-day weekends in a row, including a trip to Connecticut, cookie-baking, knitting, reading, playing music, playing video-games, movie watching, and basic all-around lounging has made me loathe to return to my routine. Over Christmas, I spend hours sitting in the little wooden New English nook with the china cabinets in Derek's parents' house reading and playing guitar, the house silent, with snow falling outside. That night while Derek made pizza, his mom showed me how to play XBox and I spent hours happily creating a world for my magical orphan girl in Fable. I felt completely relaxed, like a kid. The whole day was my playground. I was just having fun, without worrying about what I should have been doing. I realized it has been so long since I've felt like that.

My one New Year's Goal (I don't like resolutions) from last year was to play the guitar more, and I definitely accomplished it. This year, I think I'll add to my existing list:

1: Read more.
2: Hang out more with writer friends.
3: Take more time that is really for you.

All of these, of course, involve time, and it's something that seems to be leeched away from me more and more. I remember back in Indiana, whole weekends of reading, of walking to the bookstore as the sun sets and snow falls just to get out of the house, maybe wandering off to a bar or the neighborhood pizza place or Caleb's house to meet with friends, but basically bored crumbless. I remember waiting for that one big night that would come once a month or so. The big concert, a friend's party, a play. Some reason to get dolled up and live and be young.

I imagined life on the coast in the city would be so exciting, and it is. But sometimes I get nostalgic for those long, internal days. Those long walks that don't go anywhere. Trips to the woods or the Zen Center or the Art Museum because there's nothing better to do and you don't have to be anywhere until late. You discover something about yourself and the simplicity of the world when you live like that. As hard as I try to hold on to that knowledge here, I know little by little it's being buried by calendars, cameras, appearances, parties, and endless nights.