Sunday, May 29, 2011

A rapture carol

I love playing would you rather. I play it all the time. And at 5:50 pm on May 21st as I watched the blackest, most ominous and terrifying cloud I've ever seen start to envelop Philadelphia, my mind bouncing between that ridiculous 6 pm rapture prediction and my menstrual cycle which was over 2 1/2 weeks late, I thought,

Would I rather be pregnant but have my life spared if God, were there such a thing, came down and killed all the heathens, of which I would most certainly be grouped in with, but gave pregnant heathens the choice to give birth and live,


Would I rather die and remain childless?

I didn't even have to think. I would rather die.

Keeping one embarrassingly suspicious eye on the sky, I cleared my mind and made my way to my friend's "meet the baby" party where, from a safe "babies make me nervous" distance I met all 5 pounds of her little newborn. I sat on the couch across from them and chit chatted with the other attendees about this and that, the whole while stealing glances at the wee one. After getting offered to touch her teensy feet I thought to myself, "If I'm pregnant, I'm going to get an abortion." When I left my friend was breastfeeding, her gigantic boob hangin' out, the teeny tiny person stuck on the end of it.

I made my way over to the Converge show, realizing as a I biked under spooky skies that while rapture may have been a sham, my uterus, which I've always kinda thought of as a useless token of my femininity, an internal knick knack if you will, is in fact a functional bit of business and that despite my best efforts to will my womb to be hostile, it's not.

I was interested to see what'd become of Converge. I grew up seeing them in small venues all over New England, but as years passed their and shows got bigger and the crowds got stranger,  I stopped going. The last time I saw them was in 2001. 10 years later with no knowledge of any of their records past Jane Doe, running on 3 1/2 hours of sleep, covered in glitter from work, fresh from a baby viewing, in the hot, humid basement of Broad Street Ministry I watched Converge, and it was just like I remembered. Only... not. It was actually a lot like the bathroom of South Station.

South Station's bathroom in Boston is a place I've passed through for years and years, very much like a Converge show. When I was there a few months ago tidying up in the mirror, it struck me how many incarnations of myself had stood in that exact spot, doing that exact thing. I've aged in that mirror, watched phases of my life pass, seen myself grow up. Converge's set held a mirror up to me again, forcing me to face that while so many things are constant, I am not. They were the same band with the same crowd reaction, but I felt the years between us. I'd seen Converge as a goofy 16 year old in jnco jeans moshing for the first time, I'd seen Converge as a grinning, finger pointing 19 year old crammed practice space at 2 am, but never once had I seen Converge, nor did I ever think I would see Converge, as a non-participatory 28 year old maybe-pregnant woman standing quietly. But there I was.

Sitting at a full and lively table in Chinatown after the show shoving broccoli into my mouth and while everyone gossiped and joked, I thought about what it really means for the world to end. Sure, Jesus didn't do his thing and the ground didn't swallow us up, but for me rapture still had a distinct "your life is over" feel to it. For one, I might be pregnant. The idea that I can even get pregnant infuriates me, that particular ability not being one I asked for nor want. For two, I'd have to get an abortion. I considered pain, complications, inner city clinics, and timing this potentially hazardous excursion with touring and working, enraged that this bullshit could force me to miss either. And then I thought, Shouldn't I be more torn about what to do in this situation? I ran through scenarios of touching baby feet, my baby's feet, of giving it to a family that wanted a child, of this and that, but at no point did I feel swayed or touched or changed or convinced or motherly or incubatory. I'm just not a breeder. Twas not meant to be, for me.

Back at home laying in bed, I felt like Scrooge in A Christmas Carol. I had lived a resurrection of my past during Converge, I had been in the present of this periodless purgatory, and I had seen the future suckling my friend's tit. I had seen the end of the world on rapture, where my current path would lead me, and I went to sleep feeling decisive about decisions I hoped I wouldn't have to face.

In the morning I woke up, rolled over to hug Dave, and then, color me blood red... I felt it. The drip. The kickoff drip. I ran to my window with glee, tossed a handful of tampons down to a little neighborhood girl and shouted, "Trade these in for the biggest tofurkey in the health food shop's window! Deliver it to the nearest woman whose monthly is late! And here!" I tossed a couple of thick, white pads down to her, "Keep these for yourself!" She skipped off smiling, and I promptly collapsed into crippling celebratory cramps, mumbling "bahhh humbug" at my lower abdomen.

And that's it really. Maybe my uterus really is just a knick knack, like a off-time cuckoo clock popping out at random hours and weeks and months. Maybe I needed a good shake up. Maybe in willing my womb to hostility I offended my other lady parts and they staged a revolt for attention. I have no idea.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


I recently came across my old favorite pair of shoes. I've long since stopped wearing them due to stain and discoloration (turns out it's a bad idea to walk into the ocean with your shoes on), but taking a tip from my friend Avalon who I saw wearing some dope ass gold sneaks the other day, I whipped out my gold screen printing ink and some black acrylic paint and worked some magic. Behold:


I'm in the process of booking another tour. 3 weeks around the Midwest. As I told Pames, shit is about to get real flat.

It's been awhile since I've booked outside of areas where I know a lot (or any) people and I'd forgotten exactly how frustrating the process of shooting in the dark can be. But more than the frustration of time put in for little result (I'm 3 solid days deep of booking already and I'm not even half way done), what's been really ticking me off is the attitudes of some of the people I've encountered.

Promoters can develop a very unnecessary and undeserved air of superiority. Kids who book shows in tiny towns in states so remote that you occasionally wonder if they even exist somehow get it in their heads that their connection to a venue makes them so unbelievably cool that they do not need to extend common courtesy to you. Not to diminish what promoters do, because it can be a TON of work (I stopped booking shows long ago because it was so overwhelming), but what most of these kids do is call a venue, secure a date, and make a facebook invite. Congratufuckinglations, you're superman. No need for niceties, you're single handedly saving the world.

All I ask if for a little use of manners. Just a little. I send out very polite emails, I'm very grateful for help, I put a lot of work into my band and into booking it, all I ask is that you respect me and what I do enough to give me one little manner. Just one.

Our first bassist used to tell me time and time again to stop being nice to people, that to make it in hardcore you had to seem above everyone else. He'd correct my emails from "Thank you so much!" to "Sweet." or something equally as aloof. He'd say that when people came up to me at shows to tell me they liked us that not only should I not show gratitude for the compliment (and believe me, we weren't getting many back then), but I shouldn't even speak back, I should just nod and keep going. This ego-inflating constructed coolness is an epidemic in hardcore. It's bizarre because I don't really get who wins with it. Is it the miserable isolated cool kids on their imaginary high horses, or the people (like me) who get bummed out by them?

I used to make the mistake of thinking this was one big scene, but I know now that there are many scenes occupying the same place. Hardcore is like a house of mirrors. Genuine hardcore remains in the middle clear and unscathed, but it's almost impossible to find. What you'll see for the most part is what it's surrounded in, reflections picked up by mirror after mirror that warp and distort, each taking the image from the other, twisting and bending it to an almost unrecognizable form. It's a creepy fun house, and I'd never thought I'd say this, but I get why people head toward the exit.

Speaking of what sits in the middle though, I went to see Wisdom In Chains a couple days ago. They were excellent as always and just put out a new 7", Pocono Ghosts, which I am listening to as I type. And you know when you go to a show and some band you've never heard of totally blows you away and you're like, UM, WTF? That was a band called Masakari at this show. Give 'em a listen.

As far as the exit goes, I don't think I'll ever go looking for it. There are moments I experience here that I'll never find elsewhere and could never replace, bands that still move and speak to me. It's rarely captured, impossible to explain, but someone sent me this and I think it comes close: (I'm one of the big mouths on the left)

And on that, I'm off to bed. Got a full day of booking ahead of me. Let's hope I don't get anymore supermen.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

"I'm gettin paper"

As we settled into our first drinks at the bar (him whiskey, me water) my buddy, a titanically proportioned Chinese douchebag who likes to sport haircuts that make him look like he's from some past's vision of the future and was presently rocking a bizarre 1942 Germany 3rd Reich sort of  "is it a toupee or not?" said, "The best part about this night is that it's going to end with you handing me automatic weapons." 

And after "Old Man Tom" or whatever the white-haired mothball-mouthed drunken elderly gent's name was who stumbled into the club to talk loudly and incoherently while flinging foul smelling saliva at us, and the rappers from Nashville performed on cordless mics by rapping over their own CD (is that normal?), and me, my friend, Old Man Tom, some of the rap crew from Nashville, and a few hipsters cut up the floor to Gucci Mane, and my buddy and I spoke passionately at the bar about racial slang in the wrong hands (our bartender friend chiming in with, "'Oriental? I hate that fuckin word! Do I look like a fuckin Coolie to you?") and our new rap project where he'll make the beats out of old country songs and I'll rap like all fast and crazy like Twista, and Old Man Tom wandered out the door and never came back, and we made it back to my place- me with smeary makeup and him still looking like an asshole, I did hand him automatic weapons.

I'm face painting again 4 days a week and it's as strange, fun, and frustrating as ever. A parent dropped a packet of cocaine in line a few days ago. It was sealed in a little pink chicklet-sized plastic square. My co-worker, a north Philly native, took one sideways look at it and said, "Oh yeah, that's coke. I grew up playing with those!" and I felt very lucky to be from a small town in Maine, where horse shit was my cocaine chicklet.

And now it's 4 am and I have finally written something, though poorly and not at all what I wanted. I give up. Here are some photos from the last few weeks.

(Oh, and PS- add my band on facebook and pre-order our new record! And check out the pre-order shirt design... I made it!)