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B is for Bookstore

quimbysMood: Busy
Drinking: Water

A quick update on bookstores that carry The Secrets of Falling because now there are a few more on the list:

SAN FRANCISCO…
City Lights (the one & only) on Columbus in North Beach
Bird & Beckett Books and Records on Diamond St. in Glen Park
Phoenix Books on 24th Street in Noe Valley
Modern Times Bookstore on Valencia in the Mission
Dog Eared Books on Valencia in the Mission
Green Apple Books on Clement in the Richmond

SANTA CRUZ…
Logos Book and Records on Pacific Ave.

CHICAGO…
Quimby’s in Wicker Park
Myopic Books in Wicker Park

DIXON (IL)…
Books on First on West First Street

DECATUR (AL)…
Red Jasper Spa/Salon on 2nd Avenue SE

BELFAST (Northern Ireland)…
No Alibis on Botanic Ave.
•Bookfinders on University Road

If you stop by one of these stores and can’t find Secrets on the shelves, that means they sold out, so please request a copy so they’ll order a few more.

As always, you can get Secrets online if you don’t see a bookstore listed near you.

And don’t forget, tonight is the opening night for the Old Enough to Buy Art Show, where 3 pieces from The Secrets of Falling are on display and up for sale. Be sure to stop by the Melting Point Gallery in San Francisco to see some great mixed media pieces by local artists. The show runs through next Wednesday, September 26.

Stay tuned for a shiny new cinepoem, coming later this week…

-Lo, who has been talking like a pirate all day long. Arrrrrrrr!

Old Enough to Buy Art

artshow_cardbook_front1
Mood: Chilled
Drinking: Agua

I apologize to all my readers who don’t live in San Francisco.

There’s so much cool stuff happening here right now, I’m sad that you’re missing out!

For example:
I and the lovely Miz Kathy, the artist genius behind The Secrets of Falling, are in an art show which opens next week.

Three of our pieces will be featured, and they’re actually spreads from the poetry book: Crash Protocol, Epic, and Like a Duck in Thunder.

The show is called Old Enough to Buy Art 3, and it features a lot of great mixed media from local artists. The show opens next Wednesday, September 19 at the Melting Point Gallery and runs through September 26. The address and hours are listed here.

So support your local artists, get some fun new pieces for your collection, and benefit the National Parkinson Foundation, all in one fell swoop.

And as if that wasn’t exciting enough all by itself, I’ve got more swanky local happenings coming up in the next couple of months, including cinepoems at two film festivals.

Speaking of cinepoems, Michelle and I are finishing up our latest, titled Kiss & Fly, which will be online in the next week or two. So that’s something to be happy about, even if you don’t live near Fog City.

While we’re on the topic of happy things, all of you must MUST go see a little movie called Once. I don’t care if you have to drive 100 miles through hail and sleet to get to a theater that shows it… I swear to the almighty powers that be, you will love it.

It’s easily the most amazing movie I’ve seen in a very long time.

Doesn’t hurt that it was filmed in Dublin, and Boy and I were there just a couple of months ago. It was like seeing old friends to recognize Grafton Street, Temple Bar, and St. Stephen’s Green — which, coincidentally, is where the next cinepoem-in-waiting was shot. That one is called Apres un Reve, and we haven’t started editing it yet, so I shouldn’t tease you too much.

…So much goodness in store for you! You watch. You wait. You’ll see.

-Lo, who thinks that, last night at the VMAs, video killed the video star.

Back Where I Belong

ggbridgeMood: Tired
Drinking: Tea

Driving along Illinois freeways lined with crumbling grey piles of unwanted snow, I remembered all over again why I don’t live there anymore.

When my plane touched town on California concrete Wednesday night, I felt profound relief. It’s not that Illinois (or Ill-annoys, as my friend Jesse calls it) is a bad place. It’s not. Some of my best memories were made there, and I had a great time on this trip re-visiting my old haunts in Chicago with my friend C. (I was happy to see that Alien and Predator still live at The Alley, and that Medusa’s Circle still has the best collection of lightning bolt necklaces.)

Illinois used to be home. But I don’t belong there anymore.

Being back for my grandfather’s memorial service brought up more memories than usual. Maybe it was seeing all those estranged relatives — cousins I haven’t seen for nearly a decade, who now have children I’ve never met before, and great-aunts with blue hair and unwelcome advice.

Maybe it was because my mom, dad, and I spent countless hours digging through boxes and boxes of old photographs — some of my immediate family and lots of my grandpa. Photos I’ve never seen before, like the blurry black and white of my grandpa holding my dad when he was just a baby.

Maybe it was hanging out with my friend A from high school and her two children, the eldest of whom is nearly a woman herself now.

Maybe it was just driving down all those familiar roads, past places that used to define the boundaries of my world, and seeing now how small they are, and how colorless.

Maybe it was everything combined.

All I know is that there is a girl I used to be, and she exists now only in pictures and memories and whispers in the back of my mind. And although it’s always hard to leave my family and friends behind, to know that it might be a very long time before I see them again, the girl I am now belongs in San Francisco.

You can’t deny your heart its home.

-Lo, who was also reminded there is nothing to miss about the snow, the cold, and the flat grey sky.

Does someone need a hug?

shinyandnewMood:
Un-Valentiney
Drinking: Water

Yes, we’re back. We’ve been back for 3 days, but I’ve been so exhausted that I’ve been hibernating like a very crabby bear.

Here’s something I learned this weekend: If you’re not a hugger by nature (and I am so not!), being hugged by hundreds of people will wear your ass right out.

Not to seem ungrateful…because I’m gonna store those hugs up like solar power. I don’t think I’ll need another hug for oh, a good five years or so.

Hugging issues aside, the weekend went well. For those who haven’t been paying attention, I spoke this past weekend at a conference and a church (yes, I said church) about being a “Sunday Morning Misfit”. Basically, I was asked to speak about why I don’t go to church. Which is a fun thing to talk about, really.

So I packed my bags and dragged Boy along and we spent our weekend in northern Alabama. We were given a rousing Southern welcome (complete with lots of tasty food), and the whole experience was both exhilarating and overwhelming. I’ve never received a welcome quite like that, and I’m still a bit mystified as to how it all happened. (Especially since my celebrity status back home is decidedly less starry.)

Some people at work today who found out about it asked, “Why Alabama?” And I said, “Cuz I’m big in Alabama!” Some people are superstars only in Japan. Some people have cult fan followings in Germany. Me? I’m big in Alabama.

Nothin’ wrong with that.

I have to give big props to Boy, not only for being brave enough to go with me, but also for running the show, literally. He sat in the soundbooth and ran all the shiny bits — the videos and multimedia stuff I brought along with me (because when a girl like me gets an hour on stage, she’s gotta bring the bells and whistles). He also ran various video and still cameras to make sure all the appropriate moments were recorded for posterity.

But most of all, I knew where to look across a crowded room when I needed a moment of sanity. When I needed someone to see me who knew where I came from, who wasn’t fooled by all the hooplah and spotlights. When I needed a co-conspirator so I could raise my eyebrows and say, “This is crazy, is it not?”

I met so many people that I began calling them all the wrong names (sorry, Thomas!) and so for all of you out there reading this who met me over the weekend, please hear this: It really was lovely to meet you. And I really did appreciate your kindness and your words and yes, all those hugs.

And now, it’s back to reality. Back to the grindstone. Back to work and dog-walking and sister-visiting and cinepoem-editing (there’s a new one called Elasticine that will be here soon, very very soon) and book-finishing. Back to my life. God, how I love it!

-Lo, who thinks there’s no place like San Francisco. And San Francisco is HOME.

Brown Paper Packages Tied Up with String

Mood: Lost in time
Drinking: Homemade iced tea

Home again, home again, ziggity zoo.

Boy and I returned from the lands across the sea a couple of days ago, but are still a bit confused as to the date and time. We keep waking up at 5 a.m., bright as new copper pennies. Which is really not cool unless you’re in your 70s or have some legitimate reason for waking up at the crack.

I prefer sleeping a little longer, at least until the sun has made her appearance. I’m still working on that. But it’s a small price to pay for having such amazing adventures as we have had.

Here are just a few of my new favorite things:

Favorite subway ads: Milano has amazingly weird advert posters in their subways. I’m a big fan.
Favorite new H&M model: French actress Emmanuelle Beart, who had me in awe of her extremely sexy ads all over Europe.
Favorite new tattoo artist: Laura Satana, the coolest Parisian, who has her own tattoo shop and gave me my freshest ink stain.
Favorite cemetery ever: Pere Lachaise. And no, I didn’t even bother with Jim Morrison. But I did say hi to Chopin.
Favorite pasta: Spaghetti carbonara
Favorite Italian duomo: Milano
Favorite French pastry: ZouZou’s croustillions
Favorite food in Switzerland: Everything
Favorite store mascot: Blue Dog in Zurich
Favorite cathedral: Notre Dame
Favorite Parisian neighborhood: St. Michel
Favorite bierhalle: Rheinfelder in Zurich
Favorite high-fashion shopping experience: Chanel in Paris (I bought nail polish.)
Favorite walk in Paris: Left Bank, along the Seine
Favorite scooter ride: Through the countryside just outside of Florence
Favorite foreign swear word: “Merde!”
Favorite train ride: Milano to Zurich, through the Alps
Favorite subway system: Paris’ Metro
Favorite hotel room: Domus Florentiae, Firenze
Favorite lodging: Our 7th floor flat in Paris near the Bastille
Favorite painting: Botticelli’s Birth of Venus at the Uffizi in Florence
Favorite awestruck moment: Seeing da Vinci’s “The Last Supper” in Milan
Favorite holiday decoration: The nighttime snowflakes projected in blue and white onto a castle-like museum in Zurich
Favorite new drink: Pesca! (peach iced tea)
Favorite bookstore: Gilbert Jeune in Paris
Favorite new dress: A black one. From Paris. Of course.
Favorite airport: Zurich
Favorite traveling companion: Boy
Favorite homecoming moment: LeeLoo’s out-of-control butt wiggle dance when we picked her up at the kennel.

Obviously, it was the best vacation of all time. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some more recovering to do. (read: TiVo)

-Lo, who left most of her heart in Paris, but sprinkled little red bits of it elsewhere along the way.

Falling Down

Mood: Dizzy
Drinking: Diet 7Up

I heard about this documentary a couple of years ago, when it was being filmed. It was very controversial (of course) and completely fascinating to me, in part because of the subject matter, but also because the infamous bridge is mere minutes from my house. I see it nearly every day.

So I did a little research on the topic and ended up writing a poem about it (“London Bridge”). I’m not posting the poem here…I’m saving it for the book (which is really, really on its way).

But here’s where the whole thing started…
The Bridge
…it’s not for the faint of heart. Or, rather, it’s not for those who fear the dark.

I myself am well acquainted with the Dark (we’ve made our peace with each other), and I would say I’m looking forward to seeing The Bridge when it comes to a theater near me, but that almost seems morbid. So I’ll just say that I will most definitely be seeing it. Who says that the deadliest things cannot also be beautiful?

-Lo, who once jumped off a cliff. (And no, it wasn’t a figurative cliff.)

Festivus

Mood: Hijacked
Drinking: Liquids

If you live in or around San Francisco, stop by the SF Women’s Film Festival tonight to see Slow Roast on the big screen. Our third cinepoem, filmed last year with Sarah Beach, is being screened at 7 p.m. during the festival’s Shorts Program.

Get info and tickets here.

My co-director Michelle and I are going, as are a few of our friends. So if you’re there, I’m the tall girl in the red skullgyle cardigan. Stop by and say hi!

-Lo, who does not have a speech prepared.

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.

Back to Insanity

Mood: Running on vapors
Drinking: The usual poison

Returning to the real world is proving to be more difficult than I thought. It’s my 2nd Monday back in the swing since returning from the lands across the sea, and I still feel fuzzy about the brainpan.

Can’t blame it on jet lag anymore. Not reliably, anyway. But I may be able to blame it on my weekend of geek theater ecstasy, since I saw both Neil Gaiman’s MirrorMask (gorgeous) and Joss Whedon’s Serenity (orgasmic). So I’m lost somewhere between the streets of flying fishes and River’s ballet of Reaver death. And if you understand none of that, I guess you’re not a true geek. Which is good or bad, depending on your point of view.

I think I need to see both movies a dozen or more times to thoroughly saturate myself in the otherworlds, but I do have a living to make and so here I am, deskbound, procrastinating by babbling incoherently. Fun!

About the Italian adventure…my real world friends should prepare themselves for an avalanche of photos, coming to inboxes soon via Ofoto. For the virtual world, though, I’ll condense it to a list of highlights, since I am as yet unable to post photos here. Consider yourselves starcrossed.

When In Rome…
– Be sure to eat not only pizza and pasta, but nectarines from fresh air fruitstands like the one on Via Imperiali. Juicy and delicious.
– Rent a scooter, if you dare. We did and I found myself alternating between laughing maniacally while speeding in between moving buses and swearing incoherently (ohfuckohfuckohfuck!) while trying to maneuver my way out of a traffic circle. It was great fun!
– Marvel at the Sistine Chapel. Not just the ceiling, either. God and Adam are just part of the crowd.
– Get a tattoo near Vatican City from a man named Massimo who speaks no English. When it’s finished, smile and tell him “Bellissimo!” He will laugh at you, but you won’t care at all.
– Touch the stones of the Colosseum and wonder who was touching these same stones on the other side of 2,000 years or so.
– Make friends with the stray cats, but don’t let them follow you home.
– Imagine the Roman men dressed in Centurion outfits. You won’t be disappointed.
– Instead of throwing coins in Trevi Fountain, throw yourself in. It’s more fun. (I should have taken my own advice on this one.)
– Eat all the pizza you can stomach.

The Five Wonders of the Cinque Terre
1. Steps. So many stone steps.
2. The water is bluer than the sky.
3. Follow every path you see because you never know what kind of wonders lie at the end of it. Or not. But either way, you’re walking off all that Roman pizza!
4. The cats know many secrets.
5. Don’t miss Vernazza — it’s the best of the five towns.

Venice Must Be Seen To Be Believed
* Streets of water are even more beautiful in person than in all the books you’ve ever read.
* St. Mark’s Square is better in the early morning hours, shrouded in mist and empty of people. The pigeons are always waiting, though.
* Rent an apartment between St. Mark’s and the Rialto bridge. Never leave it without applying red, red lipstick.
* When taking a gondola ride, be sure to do so at dusk. None of your photos will turn out, but some pictures are better in your head, anyway.
* Mask shopping is a must. You should go into every shop you see, find a favorite, and visit it three days in a row. Then when you make a purchase, be sure to buy at least four.
* Internet cafes are magical.
* Don’t be fooled by the creme-stuffed canolis and their sultry red cherries. Try the apple-filled ones instead.
* Avoid the Rialto bridge at noon unless you want to be caught in a sweaty tourist sandwich.
* Get lost. Over and over and over.
* Ride the public boat for at least an hour, just to see what you can see.
* The mosquitos in the shower are actually tiny vampires. You won’t feel them bite, but they will leave a mark that lasts for a week or more.
* Leave your windows open at night so you can hear the drunk gondoliers singing Italian opera as they float down the canal outside your apartment. (The mosquitoes are already inside, anyway.)
* Gwen Stefani looks better on Italian MTV.
* Ricky Martin is SO gay. You know this without a doubt after seeing his new music video five times in a row sometime in the middle of the night.
* Decide that watching old Italian men arguing is your new favorite hobby.
* You don’t have to go to Murano to buy pockets full of glass.
* It’s ok to dream of Venice, as long as your heart is still in San Francisco.

Five Things You Should Do In London When You Only Have 25 Hours
1. Sleep.
2. Walk to Buckingham Palace.
3. “Look kids! Big Ben. Parliament.”
4. Ride the London Eye, but try to get in a pod with the German tourists. The Americans are too annoying.
5. Eat pub food. Not just fish and chips, either. Try the bangers and mash.

– Lo, who’s already planning her next overseas adventure. How about a hike to Count Dracula’s Castle, eh?

The Fires Burn Low

Mood: Crouching
Drinking: Pop, Fizz

I’m leaping into a change of scenery. Inhale and hold.

Change equally inflames and frightens me, and at the moment I’m teetering on the fence, right foot in front of left, arms flung out like airplane wings, trying to maintain my ambivalence.

Tomorrow is my last day at a job that has been good to me for the past two years. Next week I start a new gig with a lot of risks and a lot of perks.

I came back from Chicago with a midwestern head cold and in between sneezes I am trying to remind myself that comfort isn’t a good enough reason to stay put. I know all the routines of my current job. I have a color-coded calendar and a carefully labeled file drawer. I know where the landmines are and how to tiptoe around them. I have an assortment of fancy ink pens and an Aeron chair. For two years, I’ve had it made. And now I’m movin’ on.

I’ve got new names to learn and new routines to establish. I’ve got to shape a new voice for a whole new generation and start a discussion about serial commas. And just in time (with all the earthquake rumblings of late), I can finally abandon my Bay Bridge commute to the east side. I’ll be stayin’ in the city every day, all day from here on out. (That’s reason enough to quit a comfortable job.)

I’ll exhale on the other side.

-Lo, slightly delerious with a head full of medicine.