Wallflowers and Wannabes

swirlMood: Sunday Night Blues
Drinking: Liquids Only

Boy and I were invited to a fabulous party last week. The invitation caught us in a good mood, so we RSVP-ed in the affirmative.

But the big night snuck up on us much too quickly and truth is, we’re rather out of practice at these things. We sat around eating chips and watching some TiVo-ed Dexter goodness and then suddenly realized we only had half an hour until show time.

That’s where all the flinging of clothing began, and not in a fun way. Boy was at his closet, tossing ties, and I was at mine rifling through dresses.

It took me four frocks, one broken zipper, and the sad realization that I am so over my once-beloved gothy platform boots (ah, the sticky club floors we’ve danced around) — until I finally fell back on the terribly unimaginative but ever faithful little black dress.

Boy, meanwhile, had settled on silver for his neckwear, and I shoved a matching silver doodad in my hair and off we went.

As parties go, this one was a success. I’ve been to a few shindigs in my day, from the raucous hootnanny with guests puking Goldschläger onto the front lawn to stuffy old-people affairs with unpronounceable wines and gropey senior partners. This one was somewhere in the middle.

Adults (mostly) behaved like adults, meaning there was no puking into potted palms and the butt grabs were kept to a minimum (I personally witnessed just one driveby cheek pinch). But the most interesting part was simply that I had a good time.

I tend to be a wallflower at these things. Content to clutch my little glass of whatever in the shadows and watch. Once in a great while I’ll put on a little show in the limelight, especially if the party invitation said something about being my birthday.

But at this particular party, I didn’t have to hide or perform.

Boy and I and a few of our friends found a little table somewhere in the middle of things and settled in for some drinking (Boy) and some people watching (moi) and some extremely entertaining conversation.

All in all, I guess we could have stayed home in our holey jeans with our feet dangling over the armchair and had pretty much the same conversation, but there’s something much more subversive about doing it all dressed up, surrounded by strangers. (Plus, I don’t have a shiny Photo Booth at my house.)

Sometimes I wonder when I’m going to start feeling like an adult. Or, more acurately, feeling the way I always imagined adults felt. Most likely my imagination is the one at fault here, not my feelings. But at the party, sipping my amaretto sour and jangling all that jewelry, looking for all the world like a real adult, I still just felt like me.

And in my head, I’m still too young for all of this.

But the party goes on, dragging the years down with it and someday I’ll probably be 83 and wondering if I’m a real adult yet.

-Lo, whose mother always said there comes a time when a baby face is good to have.

Boots Are Made …for Watching

Mood: Forgetful
Drinking: Done for the day

You know that there’s a new cinepoem on site, right? Did I forget to mention that?

Every time we finish a new one, I think, “Now this, this one is my favorite.”

But this time is different. Boots is special. She was an accident, actually. The unexpected child. See, M and I decided to put together three cinepoems for submission to film festivals. We chose Object, Slow Roast, and the not-yet-finished Alice is my middle name. But we needed something to string the three poems together. A transition piece.

So I started writing about a journey — a long and winding road, and then Boots quickly took shape. And the more time I spent with this little four-part poem, the more I fell in love with her.

When M and I went out to shoot the video, we were surprised with a glorious day, and the shoot that we thought would be “bare bones” (we didn’t even take our usual crew along) turned into something more spectacular. We decided then and there that Boots was more than a transition piece. It was its very own cinepoem, with its own two legs. So we edited the festival version, and then we went back and stitched together a solo version.

And here’s the part with the secret confession: Boots is the first cinepoem to make me cry. Trust me, that’s a damn hard thing to do. When you write these things, and you plan the shoot, and you stand in front of the camera, and you sit in the editing room for hours, it’s kinda hard to be surprised by what you see. It’s even harder to actually cry about it.

So if that doesn’t sell you on seeing it, nothin’ will.

So. I’m very proud to introduce Boots Are Made, playing now at a Cinepoems page near you.

-Lo, who’s a sucker for the third chapter. the one with the rabbit trail.

If You Can Make It Here…

Mood: I love my life.
Drinking: Water to wash down the sour patch kids.

I’m far from home right now, sitting on the 30th floor and staring out at the lights of dowtown Manhattan. Boy and I took a spontaneous trip to NYC with some friends this week. Our excuse was to see Depeche Mode at Madison Square Garden (and those boys rocked the Garden pretty goddamn hard last night), but really, what excuse do you need to see New York in December?

So we packed our bags and found a condo to sublet for a few days and here we are. Boy and I spent most of the day today wandering the East Village, shopping for random fun shit like a green canvas cap with a red glitter handgun on it (for me) and some pinstriped pajamas (for him). We also stopped on Christopher Street to ogle some puppies in the window and purchase a punked-out plaid collar for the Loon. I love vacation shopping.

Actually, I just love New York. Especially at this time of year. As one of our New Yorker friends said yesterday, You can be all cynical and grouchy at the crowds and the tourists (of whom, admittedly, I am one) and the slush and the rush and then you round the corner and see the angels and the glittering tree in front of the Rockefeller Center and all of the sudden you’re all melty and soft inside. (H&M on Fifth Avenue gives me that feeling, too.)

It’s very cold here, though, and snowed a bit today. I won’t miss that part at all when we head back home to the green and the palm trees. Every time our friend M (also from SF) slides on the sidewalk ice, he yells out, “I LOVE San Francisco!”

So between the cinepoem editing (Object should be done and up before Christmas), and the real life busy-ness and the spontaneous jaunts to the East Coast, I have begun work on yet another huge and exciting project…Book Number Two!

It’s not a tease this time. I have a designer (the fabulous Kathy Azada), a photographer (the lovely Patti Monaghen), and I’m hard at work. This book will be more than double the size of Angel Skin and even more gorgeous than she was. It should be finished by the summer of 2006, if all goes well.

That’s all for now. I’m off to soak my tired toes so I can put on my boots again and hit SoHo tomorrow.

P.S. Jo, I WISH YOU WERE HERE!

-Lo, who fell in love with lipstick #88 at Sephora today.

Holly Would, If She Could…

Mood: Aspirin, please
Drinking: Water

So the new job is going well, as long as you don’t count the continual forgetting of people’s names and the constant feeling of having no idea what’s going on. Both of which are cured by time, so I refuse to worry about it. Or to type about it. Or to talk about it anymore, because…BORING!

Instead, I’m going to relive for a few minutes the weekend just past. My darling S and I drove LeeLoo and her canine cousin Yoda down to LA and then spent the weekend in Hollywood, shopping on Melrose and wearing swanky boots.

The long version of the story involves a chapter on how I babysat my sister’s dog, Yoda (also affectionately known as the Yodes, Yoder, Fatty, Stank-ass and Lardbutt.)

The Yodes is part Boxer, part American Bulldog, part Piglet, and we love him dearly in spite of his pimply and porcine naked pink belly. He has a sad history involving a deceased previous owner, full-body hair loss and two years doing time in a Chihuahua Rescue (don’t ask!), but my sister and her husband adopted him in January and his life has been much better since then. The LeeLoo likes to push him around, sit on his head and pout when he gets more attention than she does, but all that really means is that she thinks he is swell. Dumb, yes, but swell.

After a week of dog-sitting, S and I embarked on a 7-hour car ride down the 5 to return the Yodes to his home and spend a little time in Celebrityville. (During which we saw nary a celebrity. The trick to celebrity spotting is that, most of the time, you have to actually be looking for someone who has that entitled air about them. Most of the time I am not looking. And therefore the only time I ever see celebrities is if someone else spots them and gives me the elbow.) Since S gave even less of a shit about fame-seeking than I did, we had a celebrity-free zone in Hollywood and enjoyed ourselves immensely.

We spent most of our time on Melrose Avenue, home of the Serious store and several other little goodie-spots, although it’s not quite as chock-full of goodies as it used to be. My new friend L (formerly of Chicago) informed me that I should give up on Melrose and seek out some other happening spots, but I am lazy and it was too late–S and I had already conquered Melrose, all day long.

L, who is very much in the know about all things LA (or at least much more in the know than I am), took S and I to dinner at the Rainbow Room, right next to the Roxie on the Sunset strip. It’s the kind of place you walk into, out of the sun, and have to stretch out your arms so as not to blunder into the walls and knock off one of the many framed and signed photographs of the used-to-be-famous. See, the Rainbow, as L explained it, was THE place to be in the 1980s if you were a rock star. It’s still frequented by the excessively hairy such as Vince Neil, some guy from Pantera, and, a few weeks ago, Vincent Gallo (who posed for a photo with the suddenly star-struck L).

It’s one of those buildings that has a sense of possibility in the air. Sitting in the circular booth, sipping from mega-sized plastic soda glasses and squinting through the red-candlelit gloom, we could almost imagine ourselves to be three mysterious Somebodies, on the verge of stardom or backstage access or dangerous and disease-causing groupie behavior.

Of course, it kinda ruined the mood when we strolled outside after dinner and it was still light enough out to see the line of hipsters winding around the block by the Roxie, straining for a glimpse of Jared Leto as they clutched their tickets for 30 Seconds to Mars.

But me and S, we had two dogs to feed, a whole batch of new clothes to try on, and a midnight date at Bar Sinister. So we said our goodbyes to L and hit the 10. (All stories about LA must have gratiutious freeway references to the 101, the 405, the 5, the 10, the 110, the 710, and on and on. It’s nothing but freeways down there. Freeways, hookers and unemployed script writers.)

Several hours later, after making the trek from the 10 to the 110 to my sister’s condo, playing with the pups and donning our most luscious and boob-enhancing outfits (two girls, two corsets), S finally got to meet some old friends of mine, the Damnits.

A few years ago when I first moved to California, Boy and I stumbled across Bar Sinister on our first trip south to LA. It’s a gorgeous little goth club tucked on a side street just away from the mayhem of Hollywood Boulevard. And there we found Jeffrey Damnit, an old club-friend of mine from back in the Dome Room days of Chicago. (One of these days I have to write about the Dome Room. It deserves its own long-winded and nostalgic entry.)

I knew he and his blindingly beautiful wife, Star, had moved to California shortly before I did. And I should have expected to run into them at a place like Bar Sin. But for some reason, in California, I am always shocked to run into people that I actually know. I don’t feel like I’ve lived here long enough to have a history, to have random run-ins with old friends.

But there they were, Jeffrey & Star. And it’s been a few years now, but every time I make it to Bar Sin, I’m certain to see them again. So S got introduced to my “Vampireboy” and I got to catch up with old friends AND dance to a bit of NIN, and that in itself made the whole trip worthwhile.

S and I wandered back to the car around 2 a.m., our tired toes complaining inside the confines of our terribly sexy platform boots. Our hair was a bit bedraggled and the glitter was starting to slide off our lashes, but we were flushed with the satisfaction of a very good day. A day that only got better when we got home, kicked off our boots, unbuckled our corsets and crashed into bed.

But for one former punk drummer(yes, she had a mohawk) and one former gothling girl (yes, I had black lipstick), it was just enough of a return to our former glory to keep us happy for another year or so.

-Lo, who makes up reasons to wear those terribly sexy platform boots as often as possible.

Sterling Girl

Mood: Emotional Hangover
Drinking: Ruby’s Tasty Chai

This one is for Anna.

********************

She calls four times.
The cell phone.
The home phone.
And finally, she leaves a message.

“It’s me,” she says.
(caller ID beat her to it.)
She clears her throat.
She exhales smoke.
“Call me back when you get this,” she says.
“I don’t care what time. Just
can you please call me tonight?”
Her voice sounds funny.
Scratchy. Overworked.
Is she crying or just
smoking too much?

I wait for dinner and the Daily Show
before I call her back. (I didn’t
really think it was an emergency.)
She answers on the second ring and
I know then she was crying.

“My worst nightmare,” she says.
“He left me,” she says.
“He left me for some other girl.”
Her voice sounds dull.
Defeated. Dumped.

She tells me the seven-day
breakdown of the breakup
that started and ended on a Tuesday.
He started doing this
and then he acted like that
and “she” showed up and
it just kept getting worse.

I’ve retreated to my bedroom by now.
Shut out the comfortable noise of
my own security. Husband. Dog. TV.
I tell her I’m so sorry this happened.
I call him all kinds of names.

I say I’ll kick his ass and
scratch his eyes out.
I swear I’ll cut his balls off
and feed them to my dog.

It’s what you say, when you’re a friend.
It’s what you say when he turns out
to be the asshole you were afraid he might be
all along. It’s what you say, and you know
you don’t have to actually do it. But you
sure as hell better mean it.
And I do.

(He may not have been
my kind of guy
but he was hers.
He was hers, and that’s what matters.)

She was just here, last month.
We sat in this very room.
She was just here and
she was so happy. Her
voice was lilting.
Laughing. Giddy.

It was her first trip
to the Pacific but
when she saw the water
all blue to the very horizon
she said she wished he could see it, too.
So she wrote his name in the sand
and took a picture to prove he was there.

We walked all over Chinatown
to find him the perfect jade dragon.
Bright green and growling.
It’s gone now, she says.
“I made him take it.”

She’s pacing around her house now.
I can picture the tiny rooms
so perfectly in my head. She’s
standing in the living room,
counting DVDs. “He left one of his movies here,”
she tells me. “The Score.
It’s a guy movie. I don’t want it.”

I’m not saying much now.
I’m picking at the fuzz on my bedspread
and wishing I knew how to comfort her better.
Wish I could wave a wand to make it all go away.
(I wished the same thing in sixth grade
in the funeral home. But
I couldn’t work magic for her then, either.)

So I sit here with her, two thousand miles away.
I let her go on with her lists. I let her get it all out.
She goes through the games to see what’s gone missing.
“I can’t believe it,” she says.
“He took Tetris. He took Tetris!”
(But I know it’s not Tetris she really
wants back.)

She tells me her son cried when
he said he was leaving. He cried “No, No, No!”
(I mutter curses in the x’s general direction
and think about hunting him down.)
And her daughter, she just said
nothing at all. But she cooked her mom dinner.
“I couldn’t eat it. I can’t eat anything.
But I think I’ve smoked
a whole pack since he left,” she says.

He just left a few hours ago.
He took his clothes, his shoes.
He took his toolbox, but
her screwdriver was in it.
He kept saying he was sorry,
he was sorry. So sorry.

He went down to the basement
and took his bike away.
He took his movies and games.
His collection of beer bottles, too,
even the one she and I bought
just down the street from here.
The San Francisco beer.

“He took his pillow, too.”
She’s in the bedroom now,
but she can hardly look at the bed.
“What he doesn’t know is that I’ve
been crying into that pillow for the last
five days,” she laughs but her voice
sounds bitter. Broken. Numb.

“He’ll sleep on my tears,” she says softly.
“I wonder if I should tell him that.”

********************

-Lo, who wears boots big enough to kick that guy’s ass in real life, if given the opportunity!