Posts Tagged 'travel'

Dublin to Münster Art & Gig Whirlwind

This has to be the only time I’ve ever scheduled an art show around a concert, but it all worked out very well. I had a great time in Dublin, Ireland seeing The Jesus and Mary Chain with Mel Butler and John Butler. I was deaf in one ear for a good week! There was an afterparty thrown at Garage Bar which was highly appropriate; they hosted my husband’s book party on our last trip. We also took a tour of the Caravaggio show at the National Gallery, had a private tour at Radio8 (Thanks Dan!), saw a number of bands at my favorite haunt Whelan’s, and made the rounds at all the pubs on my list as per usual.

Then it was a flight over to Münster, Germany for my show. I’m totally in love with Münster, by the way. I like that it’s walkable, has architecture exactly how I pictured it in my mind, and the fact that there was a whole lot of candy, and everyone has a dog (or so it seems). I even recognized a lot of paintings in their art museum! Easter Sunday service at the cathedral was very surreal as well. I’m just glad I didn’t burst into flames upon entering. We stayed with my fabulous gallerist and his partner, where they live in a former zoo keeper’s residence, where the ape habitat once was. It was appropriately named Monkey Hill. I guess the zoo keeper had a favorite monkey that he would let drink beer. Why not?

Anyway, here’s a bunch of photos. I’m sure there’s more, but this will do.

 

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Los Angeles Trip Recap

A little while back I went and made a seemingly quick trip back to L.A. for my friend Susan’s wedding. It was a shindig.

In-between there was some epic record store shopping; tours of Highland Park; McDonald’s billboards that mimicked Raymond Pettibon artworks; Pauly Shore following us around Silverlake; a Mount Washington BBQ; slow dancing to Wooden Shjips new; a few glasses of wine at the 101; meet-up with my parents at Cat & Fiddle; a dinner at The Dresden Room; and a show at the old Spaceland …sorry I will always call it Spaceland, I have been going there since I was 16!

Ben hadn’t been back in 10 years, but that didn’t stop him from randomly run into some musicians from BJM and The Warlocks on the eastside! We hadn’t seen a lot of people for a really long time, actually. It was great to stay with our friends Hunter and Charity and to get to know parts of Mt. Washington. Looks like we will be making another trip out in February. Amazing how much one can like L.A. so much more as a tourist and not an inhabitant. Pro tip: Memorial Day = reduced traffic to the max! It was amazing, everyone had left town and it wasn’t a pain to drive on the freeways as much as it usually is. Amazing.

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Treat time.

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Henry loved Ben, but hated me at first. I get more respect from big dogs it seems.

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When you stay in the guestroom of a stylist, you find all sorts of things.

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Record store time!

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Yay, medical art in random shops!

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All goth all the time, even sometimes a record store will suit my mood (photo by Charity)

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I can’t imagine having to lug equipment up these stairs to play an in-store!

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This place was super cool and out early when the other stores were closed. Check them out www.beatcruiser.com

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Came upon artwork by Casey Weldon, even!

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R.I.P. Rik…

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I forget the name of the band, I only caught the last 2 songs, and then everyone but me ate from a food truck in front of Satellite and we danced to Neneh Cherry. Like you do.

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Mary the day of rehearsal.

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Proof I can go into a church and not go up in smoke! (Photo by Bianca White)

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Reunited after 10 years! Ben and his old boss and pal Lee from Dionysus. Lee walked me down the aisle and was the MC for the wedding reception. Funny because he met Suzi when she was the maid on honor at my wedding 13 years ago!

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Time for the reception, but not here…

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Here! Everyone has stories of shows they went to at The Palace. It’s now called The Avalon + Bardot but dammit it is ALWAYS going to be The Palace.

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And, I never thought I’d be on stage at The Palace eating in front of a crowd, but there we have it.

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I think this photo sums up the late evening at Bardot, yep.

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This is just a tiny video I took, but everyone really needs to check out the band The Neumans. They were amazing doing all sorts of covers.

Anyway, after all of that….

My mom had me make a reservation for brunch at a place near Hollywood and Vine that seemed pretty swank. In fact at first they told me they were booked (until I used OpenTable.com). When I walked up to the place, it had a velvet rope in the front…at 12:30pm. I said I had a reservation and was granted entry. The place was empty, but I heard music from the patio. When I got to the patio, it looked like a wannabe South Beach club and had a very loud obnoxious DJ thumping beats right at the table they were trying to seat us at. “Yeah, my mom will not dig this at ALL” I told the waitress, so they put us back inside. Empty, like I said. We bailed and decided to go back to our old haunt Cat & Fiddle. Note to restaurants: a velvet rope is stupid and makes me not want to give you business. Unless you are catering to 22 year-olds, lose that shit!

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The Best Western at the 101 had this lovely picture I woke up to in the morning….

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And her in the elevator….

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Across from my old apartment. Man, what the hell happened!? This place used to be so chic and wonderful. I’m actually appalled at how Hollywood has become. The high rise condos and the chain store retail that is even worse than before. I loved my apartment and location but I can see now we would have moved on eventually. The neighborhood had changed and not for the better.

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Oh Hai Dresden! Sorry, no Will Farrell sighting of him narrating “The Spoils of Babylon”.

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Awww, Dresden bar and listening to a hilarious cover band.

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Ray & Suzi and us and Charity & Hunter. Despite me being away so long and having only sporadic trips back to L.A., I’m at least very glad I was there the night Ray and Suzi met over a Thanksgiving holiday at a club some friends were DJing at. I think the whole wedding reception echoed the the way they got together. The groomsmen all wore Pucci ties worth a billion dollars, an epic garter toss to Led Zepplin, and Tony the Tyger DJ’d a few sets as well. A shindig indeed.

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Old CalArts buddy Lance and I at Verdugo. Because beer beer beer!

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Oh, in the end, Henry that little shit stirrer decided he liked me after all….

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Book Tour Recap: Dixie-Narco edition

It’s been a while since I got back from my husband’s book tour, but a lot of photos later I am finally updating about it. Needless to say it was a blast and it timed well with our 13th wedding anniversary. Got to see a lot of old friends and made some new ones, too.

We did 7 dates in total. Of course, everyone at first thought Ben was also a musician or that we were also in a band. Anytime we saw bands who were clearly on tour at a rest stop, they looked us up and down trying to figure out who we were and our deal was. Every stop on the tour went well except for Birmingham, AL thanks to tornadoes (which being from Michigan I would say they were weak). At the same time I can’t call that night a total dud, because one woman came out just to see Ben, buy some books, and get a photo with him! We ended up at a dive — who weren’t afraid of the storms enough to close — where a man asked me if I wanted to smoke pot with him out of a toilet paper cardboard tube, outside in the rain, near an underpass. He was not happy I said no to this offer. In the end, the lights did go out in the dive, all except the jukebox which was on a Thin Lizzy kick, and we did not complain about that one bit.

Charlotte was a great time as always, and it turned into a karaoke Odessey of sorts by the end of the night. I had some video footage of Ben doing 24 Hour Party People at Snug Harbor, but I deleted it to spare him the embarrassment. Bryan Pierce who runs the karaoke at Snug did a great job of picking songs to go with Ben’s book. He had just tried out for “The Voice” and judging by what I saw, he should make it onto the show no problem! Benji Hughes also came out that night, and he bought Ben’s book as well!

The real start of the whole trip was my brother’s wedding in Chapel Hill. And why yes, my husband and I DID shut down the reception slow-dancing to AC/DC if you must know. We figured a while back that we may as well extend it into a book tour if we were going to be driving anyway; the West Virginia stretch being the most painful. But, driving in the South is a lot more pleasant than any other routes I have taken, and aren’t half as boring. Of course the desert is the best, but I take what I can. After years of traveling cross-country on multiple occasions, I also ate at a Waffle House for the first time ever, in S. Carolina. It wasn’t bad, actually. The only weird thing was people were allowed to smoke in there, and it was so…damn friendly. I’ve learned since that the company is owned by the Ritz-Carlton and this may be part of their success as a chain? If you are wondering, no, I didn’t get a waffle but I did try the hash browns.

Next we went on to Meridian, MS which of course I can’t ever talk about without referencing “Hell on Wheels” and the main character doing his whole “ever been to Meridian?” thing. We were treated like royalty thanks to our friend Bill who owns not only several cemeteries and a flower shop, but did a full-on “Bar Rescue” on a place called the Brickhouse that had 64 regional beers on tap. The bar in it’s previous incarnation was a haven fro bro’s and had a reputation for roofing girls. Not anymore! In fact there was a running joke how the Brickhouse was the werewolf bar and the place across the street was the vampire bar (yes forgive the “True Blood” reference) and thus clear lines had been drawn. Despite the clear sections of poverty mixed with a slight college town feel, Meridian had an almost desolate downtown that looked ripe for a comeback. We hope it will rise the way the rest of the South has been doing.

Onward then was New Orleans (duh!) where we got to meet up with many of our friends, some who flew in to meet us, others who had been there, and some who had just moved to the city. Ben’s book event was at Bailey Smith and Greg Dulli’s, R Bar, which had made up a special cocktail menu just for us. Three Sheets to the Kevin Sheilds was an absinthe base, and the Swervedriver was Ben’s favorite which was mezcal based. If you are into shoegaze music, you get why these were so exciting to us. Sure, Ben was the “opener” for the crawfish boil but that is still better than opening for a puppet show — not to mention he got free crawfish! Terrible street side vegan burritos; brunch at The Columns; nuns at an art show; drinks in the 9th; a brunch fight club I may or may not have joined; poolside at the W hotel; record shopping between Desire Street and Piety Street (that must be a punchline to something); and all the usual we seem to get up to when we visit are just some of what I can remember. This was also my first time driving in New Orleans and I’m happy to say it wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought it would be. Sure we missed JazzFest and NoizeFest, but I was a little sad we missed AzzFest. Only after driving past the Hi-Ho Lounge as the girls lined-up for that event were we a bit sad we didn’t go after all. Next time perhaps?

Onward to Nashville! I had never been and we met up with an old friend of mine from high school who showed us around. We were staying a bit out at Opryland, which is a bizarre site that seems a bit like the Trinity Broadcast Network campus mixed with Graceland or Six Flags. The good thing was the free shuttles and the fact that cabs can be found everywhere as means to encourage tourists to go downtown and beyond. The bookstore Howlin’ Books was amazing and also part of the infamous Grimey’s record store. A music town it is for sure, not that I expected less. We toured the Johnny Cash Museum which is small but somehow perfect. We also went to Jack White’s Third Man Records which was nice enough but gave me a creepy Scientology vibe! It didn’t help that the women on staff all had the same red color and hair style to go with their uniforms (yellow and black is his new white and red, btw). I never got around to buying some cowboy boots, but we’ve been invited back to the bookstore for the next tour, so I’m sure I’ll find something when the time comes.

A typical Tuesday night at Robert’s in Nashville, even my husband got up to dance for a moment. I was surprised not only how crazy it was on a Tuesday on all of Broadway, but also the fact that at 3am we had cabs lined up to take us back to the hotel! We met some interesting rockabilly guys from Germany who were on a tour through Vegas, Memphis, and Nashville, so of course we shut Robert’s down with them. But I tell you, that’s the last time I let a couple a Germans buy the beers late at a honkey tonk; my head was pounding fierce the next day.

The last stop was in Cincinnati where we got to hang out with dear old friends. I feel dumb I didn’t get a picture of us all. The DJ for the event played all the great old and new shoegaze-inspired bands, and I think I had one too many bourbon and ginger ales! I liked that the venue had a medical theme going on as well. Someone who my husband hadn’t seen in 30 years even came out to buy a book. Crazy.

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The Rake’s End in Cincinnati.

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The Verve print at our host’s home.

At the distillery for the liquor we got each other drunk on the weekend we got together, 14 years ago that week. Romance!

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If you are thinking of doing a book tour I would suggest to make it coincide with a vacation you had already planned, or other trips you feel you could tie it in with. I have heard from some very well-known authors and very not well-known authors about how your experience and the sales can be all over the map. For instance, the Meridian, Mississippi date was the most sales because a book club was meeting and librarians came; I expected that date to be the dud — not Birmingham. I’ve also noticed people just really don’t dig book signings the way they do rock shows or even art shows. It just isn’t exciting. We did our best to make it about rock ‘n’ roll and have raffle prizes and drink specials in the non-bookstore venues, and I think those went way better. So, unless you are a best-selling author or a cult hero, I’d look at your book tour as a vacation. We were lucky in that we knew people in each city who helped us decide on venues and all of that — especially cities we didn’t know well. It is much like being a touring band: get a thick skin and if a city is a dud, you go back next time anyway! Every book store and venue treated us well, so there is no reason not to.

Also be prepared for crummy amounts of press no matter how far in advance you do it. Calendar listings are fine, but the fact I sent out review copies of the novel that were requested and I got no results was annoying. This was to both to every arts & culture events blog I could find (most did at least post a listing), as well as print media to the literature editors and the music editors. Then again, one bookstore owner told me that when a rock critic starts to write fiction — let alone gets it published — those who are also music writers or rock critics get resentful and won’t write about it or promote it because that’s what they aspire to do. A musician writing a book seems to be no problem, but music writers writing a novel apparently isn’t welcomed by certain journalists. Hmmm.

Whatever the case, it was nice to hear people had read it in one sitting or gotten copies for their friends. As a rule men tend to not read novels as much as women do, and it was funny to hear over and over again, “no you have to read this, I know you don’t like books but you’ll actually like this one!

When I Can’t Leave the Country, I Go Back to New Orleans

And from the warmth of New Orleans, I’ve come back to Cleveland. Snow on the ground, a nasty cold, and some trying work assignments. Welcome home! Although at this point I think we can call New Orleans my other home — this was my fourth trip this year alone!

The original plan was to go back to Ireland, and one of my dorky reasons was that Simple Minds were kicking off a tour (shut-up, I like the stuff that came out before this song!) since I hadn’t seen them live since I was about 12 years-old. Well, that wasn’t going to work out, so I told my husband, “oh, why don’t we just go back to New Orleans and you can see Super Sunday?” totally forgetting that St. Patrick’s Day was the same weekend. But that worked out well! In all honesty, if you can’t afford a trip to Europe or Africa or the Caribbean — just go to New Orleans. It’s practically another country anyway, and you’ll get that exotic vibe without the need of a passport.

This time my friends Keith and Veronica came with me from Cleveland. I have a feeling I never shut-up about the place so they had to come check it out for themselves. They miss it already, too. My fellow NOLABounder, Jen Dubin, put it correctly in saying you get a homesick feeling about the city once you are gone, even if you have never lived there. There is still so much of the city I haven’t seen, but I still feel like it is my backyard in a way, and it appeals to my pagan sensibilities on several levels. I may not be able to move there for good, but going there several times a year almost makes up for it.

Here is another photo-heavy post for you. I omitted a lot of the parade pictures because most of it was kind of a ‘you had to be there’ situation, but I think you’ll catch the drift. Speaking of catching, I’m really awesome at catching throws from floats, with my left hand. I was also lucky enough to have a private tour of St. Louis #1 by an old friend of Ben’s from Michigan; he now owns two cemeteries in Mississippi, so he knew his stuff and was quite passionate about it! Some fun facts I learned? You can stack 127 bodies in those tombs, it is the most environmental way (vs. cremation or a coffin), and about 60% of mortuary students in the US, are goth!

It was great meeting Eric T. Styles of Quarter Rat fame, and even though I didn’t meet Big Freedia, thanks to Eric I did meet Big Sexy (and I will spare you a photo of him). Sat in on an open mic nite at The House of Blues for some comedy and support my pal Jake (oddly a lot of Ohio people at that one too, and John Mayer stopped by!). Caught up with Stan Gill who is another fellow NOLABounder that has now moved to New Orleans from Los Angeles, and we even attended an App Development panel together that, of course, Chris Boyd steered. All in all, I caught up with as many people as I could and so it went. As I said to my mom when she asked how the trip was, “oh it was the usual”. Six days is never enough.

I sort of jinxed myself by bragging about it on Twitter, but because the city is so flat, I went an entire 4.5 days without my cane! Muscles in my hip got worked over for the first time in over two years, and it hurt! But halfway through day four, I couldn’t deal with the knee and back pain. But hey, it is a start!

Unicorns and Oil Painting: My Trip to SoCal

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You know what is great about living in Cleveland in the middle of February? Getting flown to Southern California for a week to work on a portrait commission! My freeze baby Cali blood came back, though, as once it hit 60 degrees down in the Beach Cities I was freezing! At one point during lunch with my husband’s cousin, he said my teeth were chattering. But hey, he’s from Poland and he was wearing a parka!

So I spent a lot of time in Dana Point working out of my mom and step-dad’s house, spent quite a bit of time in San Clemente with friends from high school and college, ate a ton of Mexican food, consumed much champagne, went to a place featured on Bar Rescue  — that clearly did not take half of the advice given, and even went to a few night clubs in Laguna Beach. Although every night I told the parentals to not “wait up”, I don’t think I ever stayed out past 11pm because I was so tired. I even went to a saloon from my high school days — and drank coffee. In fact, I’m pretty sure our outing to the opening reception at WWA Gallery in Culver City was the latest I stayed up! I was also very uneasy about driving the freeways. I grew up driving all around Southern California like a Queen of the Highway, but I had forgotten what jerks Orange County drivers are! I think by day 5 I had finally gotten my groove back and was driving like a jerk, as well.

This trip was a tad surreal as well. Some very “Real Housewives of Orange County” moments, but with a lot more Russians. The highlight was the impromptu trunk show in a mansion where everything was 80% off and I settled on an amazing Dolce & Gabbana raincoat. With leopard lining — duh! As my friend Andrea put it, you never know what will happen when you go out with me. My last day I went to take out cash for it and waiting impatiently for the Russian man named Boris to meet me at the mansion again, and complete the transaction. Fashion Drug Deal!

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oh don’t mind me, I just think more people should have chandeliers in their bathroom is all…

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The house I spent about half of my time on this trip. Not complaining, and I don’t think I even saw half of it!

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My old friend Lance took me out to Santa Ana for fancy cocktails and dinner. This was at Memphis, where we got whatever the bartender felt like making in the moment. Vanilla and something, I don’t remember but I liked it….

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CalArts classmate Lance, and his wonderful mom…

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Myself, Andrea (unicorn necklace and all), and Suzi!

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The “I Believe in Unicorns” show was super fun. It was also the book party for C.W. Moss who wrote and illustrated “Why Unicorn Drinks” as well as “Unicorn Being A Jerk”. Oh, and hey, what is this now? Where did all these unicorns come from?

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It was hard to get a lot of gallery photos, it was a steady packed house the whole night!

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Mr. Moss signing prints for fans…

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My old pal Dian and her husband-to-be…

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More unicorn girls!

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The best was when they were waiting in line for Gelato and the restaurant we were having dinner at…

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I got into the time warp action with C.W. Moss…

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Go buy his book!

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I suggest you view these paintings yourself. As you can tell, no photograph ever seems to get an accurate color, and there is a lot of texture in the backgrounds, too. In any event, the whole show is up on the WWA Gallery website.

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Back at Casa Dana…

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My mom and step-dad don’t mess around when it comes to their coffee. I still never got it right, I think it was too much effort for me that early in the morning…

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Floppy poodle…

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Django who sat on my lap at all times. ALL THE TIMES.

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Moar coffee to finish the portrait…

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And as far as the portrait commission? The finished work can be viewed here.

Portland in Fall

Judging by phone messages, texts that finally came through, and emails, most people didn’t know that Cleveland got hit by the hurricane. I guess we are important news for presidential campaigns — not much else. After hitting New Jersey it headed right for us! Most of the city was fine, but for those of us right on the water, it was something residents said they’ve never seen happen in years they have lived here. The white caps and lake levels were riding high, baby! Tens of thousands without power, dodgy reception, and my building was the only one who had generators capable enough of running our elevators (the rest of the Gold Coast wasn’t so lucky). After watching debris fly past my window I was without power and hot water, and charging my phone at a coffee shop or my studio was all I could do really. In fact, the hot water came back on yesterday on my block. My neighbors down the road only had power back Monday — and lost the backs of their houses. There’s been some serious damage to my building and about 60 feet of property sunk into the lake, but aside from that nothing too crazy. Thankfully I didn’t have to endure the power outage for too long, because I headed to Portland for a long weekend.

The last time I had visited was in 2003, mostly hanging out with a band on our label and the whole Dandy Warhols set. This time was to visit family, and boy was it Portlandia! Well, I know Portlandia is only a section of Portland, and we saw others, but I was still in the middle of the hippie/hipster sector of the NE. I even wore crocs for 5 minutes to go help pick basil from the garden. Me…in crocs. Yes. I also was able to visit an urban “goat farm” called Goatlandia, hit a few watering holes with my friend Lizzy, a few wine bars with my brother and sis-in-law, Thai food with my cousin, and some art galleries. My husband went and saw Cat Power at the Crystal Ballroom as well. I think we accomplished a lot in the time we had and that a 7 week old baby was dictating schedules a lot. I can now report I’m more comfortable holding, changing, and using a blow dryer on a baby (don’t ask, but it was pretty funny) as before I couldn’t hold an infant for more than 2 minutes without handing it back to someone. My husband and I are not baby people, in fact, they freak me out because they can’t tell me what they want, but we’ve discovered I’m good at dancing to The Beastie Boys while holding one. Portland reminds my husband of Ann Arbor in the 1970s. I think it’s a combination of Ann Arbor then and now, but with more going on.

Skeptical baby Lucia, is skeptical….

We were walking along and this guy on a bike yells at us, “it’s symbolism!” and rides away. At first I thought he meant the doily nailed to the post, but then we saw he had left a dead bird there. Um…okaaay.

I like taxidermy with my coffee at Barista. No really, I like taxidermy a lot!

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this thing had rock candy and everything on it! America needs more tiki bars.

in my friend’s neighborhood, these guys were having a pretty cool music shindig inside.

I was happy to visit for beer and the food was good, but come on Rogue, step it up in the ambiance and decor!

It got dark so early all I wanted was MOAR coffee!

Chuck Close print. I forget where this was at, we visited a few places like Breeze Block and others in the Chinatown area…

Loved the Stephen O’Donnell show at Froelick…

Kevin Kadar, like more colorful Lucien Freud nudes in landscapes.

Me and my 2nd cousin Sara who I hadn’t seen since she was 6!

Goatlandia!!!! No really, it’s actually named that.

that’s their puppy friend, visiting them too.

I really like goats!

Lizzy and I giving out a snack.

My family is from Michigan and either went to, or taught at U of M, so me being in Ohio is kind of funny. Although really I think Ohioans care about the rivalry a lot more than we do…

Best layover ever. A “bubbly flight” with a cheese plate.

New Orleans Knows Your Thoughts

Back from another whirlwind in New Orleans, and the New Orleans Film Festival, where NOLA Bound premiered at The Joy Theater. You can watch the whole piece online now. Crista Rock did an amazing job, the production is super fancy, and I can’t imagine how crazy she must have gone editing down all the footage!

This time my husband, my mom, step-dad, and other friends came into town. It was a swell couple of parties that got thrown on Sunday night (even DJ Spooky did a set at Bellocq!), and we were lucky to have 9 or so of the participants of the program come down for the screening, if only some for a day. I also got to meet some new people I had been aware of online. I was even a last minute addition to the Nerd Nite organized by Champ Superstar at one of my favorite places, Mimi’s! My husband met some news friends as a result of the NOLA Bound program too! And well, a whole lot of eating, bottomless coffee from Stein’s, dive bars, fancy lunches, partying, movie going (Prytania is the oldest theater in Louisiana I found out), and shopping got done along way. My husband picked out a dress for me at Trashy Diva that, I only now realize, made my boobs look pretty epic. But hey, where else am I gonna show off the jugs if not my own film premiere? We did decide to do one “cultural” thing, and that was The Civil War Museum. Did you know you can buy an assortment of Confederate flags, DVD copies of “Song of the South” and “The Little Rebel” in their gift shop? Well you can. Hey, I have shot glasses of Confederate Generals 1861-1865, so whatever.

This was my 3rd time down, and New Orleans has now become like an adopted home for me. I am familiar with the neighborhoods, places, and some of the politics, enough where I feel almost like a semi-resident. The Lower Garden District is the neighborhood that feels most like home to me, and I kept referring to it as “my” neighborhood on accident at times. There were even a few times I gave tourists directions and knew what bus routes or street car stops they should take! I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to move there full-time; the salaries are weak, rents are high, the medical care still isn’t where it should be for my needs and for how often I’m in an exam room (I need good insurance), and I think I’d probably die in the summers. As another former Cleveland resident put it, “it’s the most functional northern Caribbean city”. For now, it’s a place to look forward to visiting unless fate unfolds in a way I don’t expect. I’m thankful I have a lot of good friends down there now, especially Chris Boyd, who let my husband and I be his house guests for 5 days! He was batting 1000 with his food recommendations for my family, too. Then again, I don’t think I’ve ever had a bad meal in the city. Already, my husband and I hate tourists who walk around with hand grenade drinks, picking beads up off the dirty streets and who act a fool by throwing up on everything. Anyone would hate that in their city, which is part of why NOLA Bound seeks to change the marketing of New Orleans from just those few blocks of Bourbon Street. Clover Grill is the only reason to ever go there, otherwise I tell people to stay away from that area at all costs (and they never listen to me).

One thing I never thought I’d see in my life was my husband dressed in a cat mask leading a renegade parade of costumed dancers, farm animals without leashes, a bulldog on a lounge-on-wheels, and a wine squirting silver lion float, through the Marigny and parts of the French Quarter. He stopped leading once he realized we didn’t know where we were supposed to take this mobile dance party. That whole experience was pretty amazing as we stopped traffic and caused a lot of commotion once we entered the Quarter with all the tourists joining. There were a lot of parades that night, but ours didn’t have a police escort, nor a brass band. I do remember a few drag queens with whistles directing traffic at one point!

director Crista Rock snapped this, just a typical Saturday night.

Let’s see, places I went:

Trashy Diva

Vernon, for men’s clothes (though I hear it’s being taken over soon)

The Saint (duh)

Molly’s on Decatur

Pravda

Mimi’s in the Marigny

Juan’s Flying Burrito

Atchafalaya

Gott Gourmet

Sucre

Funky Monkey

Stein’s

Emeril’s New Orleans

Jimmy J’s Cafe

Half Moon

Bellocq

d.b.a.

13 on Frenchmen

Some of these I went to 2-4 times or had been before but I recommend them all.

I met a couple of Tulane students at the bus stop well after midnight on a Saturday, we were trying to help some drunk driving girls park their car properly because they were blocking the street car stop and vomiting out their windows (yes, the driver was vomiting!). One kid was from Maryland and said he never heard of Tulane until he applied, “it’s corrupt but the price was right”, which seems to be like a lot of things in the city. I think he put it best when dealing with the darker side of the city and the realities of living there, “if you act like everything is fine, you’ll get treated right, but if you get negative and start to hate on it, the city will know and she will drive you out! The city knows your thoughts, and she will make you pay if you don’t like her! If you ever get frustrated, don’t let on that you are.” I think that’s pretty accurate, as I know as many people who have been driven out as who have moved there and love it. Until next time, my lovely dirty coast.