Monday, October 5, 2009

"Like you did when I was new..."

For those of you who read this (the numbers are few, but still) I thought I would extend a little recommendation.

Clare Burson, with whom I work at the Tenement Museum in the Lower East Side, happens to not only have amazing skills relaying the true stories from the past at our dear 97 Orchard Street tenement, but her abilities extend and are really the truest when she's equipped with her guitar and a microphone.

This woman, let me tell you, is quite the talent. She has a new album coming out soon entitled Silver and Ash and has plenty of former albums to whet your whistle before that one hits shelves. Born in Nashville, Tennessee, her Indie rock style brings to mind such masterful songstresses as Aimee Mann and Shawn Colvin, adept at strumming the strings of her guitar and playing a little fiddle now and again. Her lyrics are nostalgic and simply done bringing quiet thoughts of other places and times - a refreshing break from the speed and attitude of New York City. She is undoubtedly most enjoyable live - her chatting between songs and sets is endearing and entertaining - however her albums do a stand up job of relaying the human truth in her sound.

If you like Indie rock and soulful stylings, she is your gal.

Samples of the Sound:

Take Good Care

Hold On

Clare's Myspace

Clare's Official Website

Her former albums are also available on iTunes, if you search for Clare Burson.

Clare also did the audience a favor and brought in a friend of hers to open the show, yet another very talented gentleman: Peter Bradley Adams. Again, highly recommended, however we only heard a few minutes of what this guy can do. Despite that, I was still impressed.

**(FYI, Clare has no idea I'm posting this. We are just coworkers and I happened to see her live a few nights ago and have since become one of her many many fans)**

Friday, August 14, 2009

Look out World, I mean business.

Ok, so, two things before I start.

Number one: I have had a good amount of tequila tonight (I would argue however that really the best things happen after tequila and that would include this blog post as well as what has prompted this blog post.)

Number two: it's been forever since I've written here, I know, but any kind of apology I create for all you folks out there not reading this blog would be completely lacking in anything close to truth. And while I do lie about things, I do not lie about this. I am not sorry, just easily distracted know...everything other than this blog.

But since this is the internet and completely impersonal - as in I don't have to actually SEE you and DEAL with your feelings of neglect - I will now proceed to rant and rave. I will vomit up my thoughts and feelings.

Are you ready for this?

You're not.

I know that you're not because in order to be ready for this you would have to be...I don't, ghandi or buddha or moses or someone equally calm and all-knowing. You would have to be Jesus. Or Joss Whedon. Same thing really, am I right?

So since we've established that you're not ready and will never be ready, I'm going to dive into the deep end of the pool and blow your mind. I'm going to throw caution to the pollution-filled wind and drown you in my particular brand of ridiculous. I'm going to crack your skull open like an egg and then stick your brain in a blender and make a fruit smoothie out of your thoughts.

Ready? I'm warning you, don't take a sip of water right now, it'll come out your nose.

Because I have...oh god...hold the phones and clutch the babies...

Deleted my facebook account.

True story.

Are you there? Have you melted? Did your brain seep out of your ears in liquidy food-processed mush? I know, it's too much to bear. It's an atrocity. It defies all of our beliefs and convictions. You're thinking - how will I know, now, that Brad got caught singing a Britney Spears song in the elevator and it was HILARIOUS? How will I know, now, that Bonnie and Wayne (apparently I have friends from 1952...they're swell) got engaged and are planning their location wedding in Honolulu?! How will I know, now, that my ex-boyfriend is interested in men and is also in a serious relationship with my sister's ex-boyfriend and there is a CRAZY picture of them kissing in a bar in SoHo with tongue and everything??

Oh my god!

What will I do now? How can I survive this? What mindless bullshit will I have to fill up my brain if I don't have facebook around to eerily point out to me all of the things I never ever wanted to know?

You're dying. You're screaming in agony. You're wondering how the hell this could have possibly happened.

It happened like this:

I was out tonight (hence the tequila) and having a wonderful time (hence the tequila) when I mentioned to a friend of mine that some people we both once knew had come to visit me in New York City last weekend. She proceeded to inform me that she knew that already, and then proceeded to catalogue the entire visit in detail...

In eerie, the-call-is-coming-from-inside-the-house detail.

I mean, if you know my life story shouldn't you HAVE to say, right off the bat, "Hey I saw on facebook that you went skydiving with Calvin Kline and Minnie Driver. That must've been wild?"

Instead I say, in a frenzy of excitement, "Oh my god you'll never believe who I met!" and you say "Calvin Kline, right? And Minnie Driver? I saw the pictures on facebook."

Way to kill the story, asshole.

Especially since I don't have a digital camera and therefore it's not EVER me who has posted these alleged pictures you've apparently seen.

Honestly. It makes me want to dive headfirst into Columbus Circle without looking both ways (not a smart move. also, since I'm in paranthetical mode I feel I should mention I did not in fact go sky diving with Calvin Kline or Minnie Driver, that was one of those hyperbolic and dishonest moments of mine. I was just trying to prove a point.)

Anyway, lacking parentheses, this friend of mine was strangely clairvoyant tonight and maybe a little psychic, aka she had seen my pictures on the goddamn newsfeed and therefore knew way more than anybody should know without being told first hand. And so a bitter and soaked-in-alcohol seed was planted.

The seed had actually been planted a while ago around the literally millionth email I received informing me that someone I barely remember and never actually spoke to in high school has 'added me as a friend on facebook.' But I don't need to get into any of this. We all know what it's like. We've all seen the weird british spoof "facebook in reality" with the guy knocking on the door and poking and all that, which by the way was actually just another reason for me to delete my stupid fucking account. So irritating. The word "poke" in a British accent is just...not right sounding. No offense, folks from England, but...ugh.

My theories outside of the 'hey I don't know you, why are you friending me?' vein are many, though, so let me expand. (I know you were badly hoping I would, my tequila ramblings are oh so entertaining.)

First of all, I honestly think facebook encourages some kind of social cowardice and lack of security. Did you look at my "wall?" Shouldn't I be informed of that?

This is especially true when dealing with the myriad of exes and weird-o's lurking in the shadows. The many cowardly jackasses who (in real life) are almost-something's, the many losers who (in real life) are how-could-you-have-done-that's, the many assholes who (in real life) are wow-that-was-inappropriate-and-creepy's lingering literally everywhere, who certainly (in real life) would never be anywhere close enough to my kitchen to know that "Katie Barnard liked the spaghetti-o's that she had for dinner. mmm! reminds her of childhood!"

These don't-you-wish-I'd-stop-staring-at-your-chest guys and these the-last-time-I-spoke-to-you-I-cried-hot-tears-of-rage faux-friends should not know my status every minute of every day, even if it is mind-numbingly boring and about canned goods. Go away. How do I get a restraining order for my internet persona? How can I protect myself from your gross and wandering eyes if facebook is just flaunting my goods for anybody to see?

And, ladies be with me on this, it's even worse if the guy's an oh-how-I-lust-after, or an I'll-never-tell-but-I-hopelessly-pine-for. If the star of my daydreams is stalking me on facebook I NEED that information. Don't hide behind the anonymity of the internet (she says as she anonymously and drunkenly rants on If our world was not so facebook-fucked my dream man and I would probably already be married because I would have caught him staring at my metaphorical wall (my breasts? my diary? what is the real-world equivalent of the ever shifting always finger hugged "wall" of facebook? and what's the real world equivalent of the news feed? pushed together tables of gossiping teenagers in a middle school cafeteria? old women snickering over cups of too-weak tea? an operator from 1940 eaves-dropping over crackling phone lines? a pair of loose-lipped gay guys sucking down cosmos?)

Anyway I would probably be married to my dream man today if not for this common technologically inspired cowardice, and the person I sat next to for a semester of Geometry in ninth grade would have no idea that it had happened, and I would be thrilled with that.

Also, (she's not finished?! no. not even close.) let me take a moment to bitch about Apps. Oh Apps, how I loathe you. How I give soliliquys about you with soundtracks composed by Wagner himself. How I despise all that you represent. Why are you so complicated, Apps? Why are you so confusing and involved and this-is-way-too-much-work-for-very-little-payoff irritating? Why the nickname, are you just too cool to be called Applications? Why are you the way that you are, Apps? I hate so much about the things that you choose to be. Apps are the Toby Flenderson of facebook. They are the Mr. Collins to my Elizabeth Bennet. They're the Nurse in Romeo and Juliet. Seriously Apps, from me to you, shut up. Just...shut it.

Has this been enough? Did you want to hear more? Great because I have one more thing to mention. The most important, as always, saved deliciously for last.

This is the part in which I will discuss the serious issue of the fact that facebook is fraudulent.

A wolf in sheep's clothing, waiting nervously under the covers for the my-what-big-teeth-you-have moment. I say this because there seems to be some kind of notion that Facebook belongs to the youth (waning by the millisecond since people are now receiving posts from their mothers,) and some idea that Facebook is for the people. Facebook makes the world a better place. Facebook is magical and my life would whither and die without it.

Facebook, just admit it. You are The Man (and I mean that in a Lower East Side snide kind of way, not in an awesome high five Jason Segel kind of way.) You're a suit hidden beneath baggy jeans and t-shirts. You're a banker hanging out at a surf shop. You're a frat boy trying desperately to not sound so drunk during your interview with corporate. You're a jerk.

Just tell us, Facebook. Own it.

This has all been one endless commercial break. We are all sheep. This is Animal Farm or 1984 or some other book by George Orwell and you are so totally Big Brother.


Heads up, folks not reading this blog, Facebook owns all of the pictures you've ever taken of anybody. FYI, people paying me no mind, Facebook knows all of your thoughts before you even have them and sends you an App to nail that thought to a marketing scheme. And P.S. - Facebook is absolutely a narcotic.

It should be a controlled substance.

There should be support groups. Hi I'm Jennifer and I am addicted to Facebook...can I borrow your computer for a second to see if my roommate's brother updated his status?

Consider this. Why do they keep changing the format? Why do more ads pop up with every link you click? Why are there 'like it' buttons showing up everywhere in something strangely similar to Cold Stone Creamery? (I smell a conspiracy) Why have they added a chat feature so that you literally do not need any other program on your computer? Are they reading your chats like they're reading your wall like they're looking at your pictures like they're telling you where to shop and what television shows to watch? One of these days, I swear to God, I will be the only person left on this planet whose innards will not have been sucked out by the aliens hiding in wait inside an App on my computer. Hulu is kidding. Facebook is not.

I'm begging you, non-existent blog readers. Do not be mindless drones. Do not let status-messages and wall-posts rule your life. Wake up and smell the over-brewed Starbucks coffee that Facebook is trying to sell you or the over-processed Starbucks coffee flavored ice cream Cold Stone Creamery is trying to shove down your throat. You're pawns in a game worse than reality television. This is not a test. Evacuate now.

And please, friends who don't know me at all and aren't reading this because nobody reads this, I BEG of you, whatever you do, when an anonymous account on sends you a gift that kind of looks like a plastic cup full of cherry Kool-aid, do not drink it.

That means you.

This is serious.

The thought police are rallying the troupes and readying themselves for the next stage, for the newest format in which random emails will inform you that you have committed a thoughtcrime - thinking outside the box they've allotted for you, challenging the system, deciding you like Burger King better than McDonald's, or god forbid Arby's or Taco Bell or cooking for yourself.

"Don't you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought?... Has it ever occurred to you, Winston, that by the year 2050, at the very latest, not a single human being will be alive who could understand such a conversation as we are having now?... The whole climate of thought will be different. In fact, there will be no thought, as we understand it now."
- George Orwell, 1984, Book 1, Chapter 5

2050 is not that far away and Big Brother is most definitely watching.

So, now, let me ask you...

What's your status?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

This is the part where I complain. Again.

Hey people not reading this blog, I'm back to talk to myself.

Today's topic? "Artists" and their whining.

I should start this one off by saying that I am in the arts, I do artistic things, I have a degree that is unmistakably artsy, and I probably annoy a lot of people with all this art-ing that I do. I mean I am, essentially, an some form or another. However, I don't care. And I'm going to ignore my own hypocrisy fervently and with gusto. Because even though I am some kind of artist, and I admit it freely, I am definitely not an "artist." No, no, no. This is something else...I mean really. I'm talking about a whole different kind of creature, here.

I'm talking about the "artist" who does artistic things badly and claims quality doesn't matter. I'm talking about the "artist" who stands on a subway platform without a permit and plays Yanni. Badly. I'm talking about the "artist" who thinks that art is a forum for self-indulgence and forces people to listen to them cry into their beer for ten minutes on an album called "I hate my ugly mug." I mean, honestly.

Control yourself.

I can barely stand my best friends in their moments of utter self-pity when they're crying into their beer (which...if they're crying into their beer that ultimately means I'm probably drunk, and lord knows drunk people have a higher tolerance for bullshit.) No, even inebriated, I grit my teeth against the lilting sing-song of my closest acquaintances when they happen to be feeling sorry for themselves. So one can only imagine me sober and being forced to listen to some stranger, who looks like a cheap imitation of Johnny Depp, moaning and groaning in the subway tunnels . Yes, I'm talking about those people we all know and hate. Those people who give us daily headaches and then beg for our money. Those people who give the artists (notice the lack of a finger hug) of the world a really REALLY bad name.

I have so many things I'd like to say to this not-so-fascinating species which is slowly but surely creeping its way into my artistic ecosystem. So many things. Like, for example: Hey, sad doll, complain to your therapist instead of me and get a job in a high end clothing store because lord knows bad attitudes are a requirement in those places.

But that's just one idea. I could go on and on, trust me. I've spent sixty minute subway rides compulsively thinking about it.

My argument, which I'm sure can and will be debated in a really hostile sort of way, is that the point of art is to unveil the honest truth of things. We artists (not to be confused with "artists") should stand up and declare the heart of the matter. The heart of the entire matter. Not just the heart of our own individual rotten egg salad sandwich of a life.

Seriously, why all this complaining dressed as artistic genius?

Come on, Depp Doppelganger, lay it on me. Shine your over-used black light on some burning questions we're all dying to get the answers to. Like what is the fucking point of the slow rip-my-own-hair-out shit you're making us suffer through? When will emo actually be out? And WHY doesn't a single one of this very specific brand of people take a music lesson? I mean, can they hear themselves? Wait, actually, I know this one. No they cannot hear themselves. They're all under the extremely unfortunate and misinformed impression that they don't need lessons. In fact, I'm pretty sure most of them think the lessons will kill their artistic buzz, so to speak.

I hate to break it to you, faux-Johnny, but the odds of you being the Franz Schubert of the new millennium are so not in your favor. And in case the reference was too vague I can explain. Schubert was a crazy person in the 1800's who was famous by the age of 19 and was accurately called a musical prodigy and a genius. Accurately. Tough concept, I know.

So, with that in mind, will the real geniuses please stand up?

Not so fast, Johnny-wanna-be, please take your spot at the back of the line. This just in, you're a normal guy, like everybody else. The same way that I am a normal gal. (yeah ok so normal is a stretch but for the sake of the argument let's just agree to leave that one alone.) You're regular. Average. Fine, but not awesome. And no I will not give you five dollars. Or one dollar. Or a quarter. Instead of me giving you a quarter why don't you go to a music class and learn about being in tune.

But, you know, that's just a crazy thought I'm tossing out there.

Also, John Boy, in case you're still thinking you're Schubert (because there is ALWAYS someone who considers him or herself to be the exception) just fyi, he died of syphilis at the ripe old age of 33.

Yeah, you read that right. He died. Of syphilis. At the age of 33.

How's "artistic genius" looking to you now, sad sack?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

And so it begins...


How this starts is with me telling you that basically I am a new blogger. A new blog-girl. A brand new blogging beauty. I'm all fresh-faced and naive in the universe of spilling your guts to strangers online, and so who knows what the hell will come out in these little ramblings of mine. I have nothing to base them on, so that's always dangerous. Also, I am well aware that most people don't care what's going on in my life, and I am well aware that anything I say is probably unoriginal. Therefore I shall lie, as often and with as much hyperbole as possible.

I'll start by telling you: I am female. That one's not a lie, actually, that's true. Basic fact. I am a single female in the rough-and-tumble world of new millennium New York City. Fancy, I know.

The point of this blog is to complain. Mostly. I think. Also to entertain you with my superior wit and guile which really cannot be denied or overlooked. Thank god for spell check because the word guile could have been a serious disaster if I didn't have the luxury of computerized proof-reading. Wonderful thing, most of the time, unless you are one of those people amused simply by misspelling, in which case...I don't know what to say to you. You're borderline pathetic.

What I am going to complain about right now, friends (I call you friends despite the fact that I'm assuming I don't know you at all), is the crazy idea of dating in New York City. Crazy. This idea is crazy. Lunatic material, really, because I have yet to meet someone who wants to date me and does not qualify as a loser, a creep, or a liar in my travels and wanderings. Most guys in these parts have that look in their eye. You know that look, ladies. The "Hey baby don't you like what's in my pants?" look. The "What up, girl? My place is just around the corner," look. The patented, fascinating, and most-likely copyrighted "Daaaaaamn," look. Be honest, you know exactly what I'm talking about. And usually it doesn't matter how the hell hot you really are. You could be wearing sweatpants, a headband, and your too-big-for-your-tiny-face glasses, and still, somehow, someone, somewhere on some street corner will watch you walk by, call you "mami," and follow you for a block and a half before getting distracted by somebody else's booty. Ok that was me being hyperbolic, but still. It's sort of true. Like 87 percent. 87.4 percent. Let's call it 87.3 percent true, because the sweatpants are pushing it, really.

So it's 87.3 percent true and 100 percent irritating.

Not that I don't like the attention, I'd be lying (which I do sometimes but not about this) if I said I didn't like getting hit on by a guy lingering outside a 7/11. I love it. (That makes me sound soooo sketchy, but you all know what I mean...maybe) However, I am not going to hand this street corner guy my number. And I'm finding that in bars and cafes across the city even the guys in dockers and loafers are just using that freshly ironed khaki as a disguise to hide the patented "Daaaaamn" underneath. They're like Clark Kent stripping his glasses to turn into Superman, only creepier and without the cape. They take off their dark-framed specs to reveal that they mostly just want to lay you out on their futon and have their totally boring and unsatisfying way with you. I'm not into it, fellas, whether you're dressed in Ralph Lauren or not.

Truthfully? I'm beginning to think it is not the fault of these not-that-endearing boys in the city. I'm beginning to think it has something to do with the females folding like cheap card tables. We just wander around in our little skirts and knee-high boots like we're Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman BEFORE the makeover. Yes, I just called us all hookers. Except even Vivian had some guidelines she lived by. Some basic lines drawn in the basic sand. We, however, have just thrown rules and regs right out the window.

Some rules we've apparently forgotten to enforce, girls:

1. A girl likes a phone call. I'm not going to call you, dude, so don't give me YOUR number. Also, one night stands are really really predictable and expected. Live on the edge. Instead of sleeping with me call me the next day for dinner. I just blew your mind, didn't I? I know it's shocking.

2. On a related note, a girl likes to be treated to dinner. Please, god, just offer to take me somewhere. Pasta, pizza, McDonald's...anything. Seriously anything at this point.

3. If I'm out with friends don't take turns hitting on all of us. And worse, if I'm out with my SISTER...please don't take turns hitting on both of us. I mean, I thought this would be obvious, but...shows what I know. It's happened enough times that I figure I should mention it.

4. If you call me Baby, Mami, the oh-so-complimentary pet name of Bitch, or even, dare I add, Sexy, I will absolutely not answer you. Ever. Get in line behind the guys who ask me my name and remember it.

5. Stop trying to score. It's really unattractive and makes you look like some sort of untrained zoo animal. We're super smart, boys, we know a tongue hanging out when we see one.

There are more, I assure you, but I fear if I continue I will never ever stop, and you will be left with no reason to read this blog anymore.

What has happened to the rules in this dating game? To the level-headed approach we women used to have that kept our boys in line? Whatever happened to sanity, and normalcy, and seeing the same person on Saturday night that you saw on Friday without needing to duck into the bathroom to avoid the infamous one-night-stand embarrassment? Help me out because I am at a serious loss.

Dating in New York City. What a novel and foreign idea. Unfortunately I don't think the over aged frat-boys in this city know how to plan ahead, or call the next day, or even take a pen to paper (Hyperbolic. Of course they can write, I've just never seen it happen.) No, no, instead they just yank their pants up with one hand and pretend to type your number into their company-issued blackberries with the other, when really (according to the ever popular Dane Cook) they're just playing Tetris.


Thank you gentlemen. I will now look for my life-long companion in some foreign country like Scotland or something because somehow American boys are just not doing it for me.

But (yes, this is the infamous but) by all means if you happen to be a guy in New York and you think you are the ever-sought-after exception to this rule...

I'm free on Friday.