Posts filed under ‘Blah Blah Blah’

Cracking the Code

I’m mourning Rick D but I’m not gonna be nostalgic and say the 90s were better than the 00s. I’d say that every time has its highs and lows. There are very few places where I feel like I belong. For me, real life was never really Fugazi. Back in the early-mid 90s, I was a wide-eyed stupid, crazy kid just trying to find my way, instead of a tired, stupid, crazy old lady still trying to make my way today. The time before the internet was a little more innocent and a little dirtier. You had to go out into stinky bars and awkwardly face people to find out anything or at least call them up on the telephone and have awkward conversations.

In 1993, I started writing for the Philadelphia Weekly towards the end of the Welcomat era, when it was like a fanzine for grumpy old men. Strangely, grumpy old men were my early advocates. We had some sort of mutual understanding. Old men understand sadness and weirdness and angst. It doesn’t scare them one bit. I found them dignified instead of old and they weren’t too busy proving themselves to give you the time of day. They didn’t make me feel bad for not knowing something, they made me feel honored to find out abou it. They talked to me like a person. Gender and age were incidentals. We were all just misfits at the end of the day.

Young indie dudes expected young indie girls to be fourth grade crush innocent or to be tomboys. People cloaked their emotions in faux sincerity or irony. They called me a sellout for writing for the pittance that the Weekly paid me and not a fanzine, for not being there when they were, for not being a member of the club. No one admitted to being any kind of sexual being or even admitted they had bodies. Look at the oversized T-shirts and flannels. Everyone was just a walking, talking jukebox of wit. All smart-ass but not really smart. I still wanted to crack the code.

Back then I was curious about everything and there was no internet. So I’d call up promoters and ask them what bands they were booking. This is how I really learned about music. Two of the people I talked to the most were Bryan Dilworth (back when he booked The Khyber) and Rick D. Bryan wasn’t a big phone guy, so I used to go to his house in Old City and pick up records (back when he ran Compulsiv) and talk music. But Rick and I were on the phone for hours. He’d fax over some scrawled out schedule to The Weekly and I’d call to be debriefed. He frequently loaned me CD’s just because it was crazy that I’d never heard about Band___. I had a lot to learn. I still do.

Obviously, it’s easier now to just to go to bands’ websites and myspace pages, but something’s lost in the translation. Being a human being. Today, whenever a young, curious, hungry, lost person calls me up or e-mails me or approaches me in a bar, I give him or her whatever I have. Whatever piece of myself will help them along in the world. Rick D wouldn’t do it any other way and neither would I.

April 9, 2007 at 2:03 pm Leave a comment

What’s Going On Here?


Image from Music Bulletin Boards

Basically, I’m treating this blog as some sort of bulletin board, where I stick up things that I like and show them to you. If I try to come up with a full-baked essay I won’t write anything.

January 23, 2007 at 6:44 pm Leave a comment

Return to Pirates


An homage to Rona Jaffe and Cortney Harding

The Two Street Rock Critic House is experiencing extreme nature this weekend: a leaky kitchen ceiling, a sick roach and its dying hangers-on (despite lack of actual food consumed or cooked), and kittens in our backyard.
Last night I went to the first show in ages that wasn’t mine. Mary Timony/Tralala/Human Television/Rifle Nice.

I’m glad to see Rifle Nice getting more love in this town. They’ve been a favorite of mine since they thought to cover both the Action News theme and a Ween song on the Sixth Borough Comp. They really sound like nobody else, other than some Typical Girls band circa 1982. The best songs are the ones with the weird circus keyboards and when Jody plays the trumpet. I think I have a girl crush on Jody. She is really smart and nerdy and funny and badass all at the same time. She introduced one of the songs by saying, “This is about someone who’s afraid to dance because it shows that they are not human.” When I’m sober and drug free, I totally feel like an alien when I try to dance in public. Unless I am playing Mrs Miller. I missed Human Television because I was upstairs in the dressing room smoking and talking to Jody and Alicia and babbling madly, finding out crazy things about very bad people.

Tralala is part of a new trend in girl groups that I like. They were a cross between The Pipettes and Thee Headcoatees. I told Maria that me, her and Carolyn should start a band like this, but I can’t harmonize for shit. I can wear the dresses though. The girls reminded me of people I know: Jenelle, Honey, Camille, and Uma Thurman. Okay, I don’t know Uma Thurman personally. I just think that every tall blond with those perfect Roman noses looks like Uma Thurman.

As for Mary Timony, this is probably the best performance I’ve ever seen, as her live stuff is always inconsistent, and she’s best in small places. The second best time I saw her was at Ladyfest Midwest in Chicago 2001, accompanied by a weird little toy piano. She totally rocked a trio and was totally no bullshit about it. But then again, she can make singing about unicorns seem badass. That’s my word of the day I guess. Also, Mary’s sort of a doppelganger for Maria and years ago, she reminded me of Reyna, which used to cause me a lot of angst because a boy I used to date dumped me for her, and I was thinking that my life was over because I got dumped for a gorgeous Mary Timony lookalike.

Obviously, it wasn’t the end of the world. The world got better for all involved.


Frank Kogan: He cares about teenpop more than I ever will, but I’m forever indebted to him for Why Music Sucks, a fanzine he did over a decade with mere civilians like me and established rock crits and writers like Chuck Eddy, Rob Sheffield, Jane Dark/Josh Clover, Luc Sante, Liz Armstrong/Misty Martinez, Mary Gaitskill, just to name a few. I was honored to be part of such a unique and rare community that is unable to make its way into the internet age. (Sorry ILX). It completely demsytified the process of rock criticism and writing in general and levelled the playing field for everyone involved. And most important, it was non-judgemental. The printed page and the time and thought it took to put the thing out made it asshole free and utterly sincere. I had the most intense friendships I’ll ever have with anyone, which are predictably, a thing of the past. I keep bugging Frank to start a Why Music Sucks blog and keep the assholes out and the good stuff coming. Can someone else bug him besides me?

Cortney Harding: A very belated add. I just realized she was linking to me. Awesome fellow girlgrouper who named her blog after a 50s bacheleorette novel. I’m always honored when young smart girls link here (or any smart people for that matter). I’m slowly adding all the girlgroupers to the blog roll. If I’m missing anyone, let me know.

June 4, 2006 at 3:08 pm 1 comment

Work-Related Observations & Sightings


I’m going to ignore internet sociopaths from these past couple of days and return to form, talking about real life sociopaths instead.
A co-worker asking me where “da O’s are at.” We’ve been instructed to be encouraging and helpful. How do you encourage a bag of rocks? Any ideas?

Thin, weird, middle-aged smelly man pushing his belongings in a baby stroller, conducts imaginary symphonies while listening to headphones.

The Mall Walker, older gentleman who follows my co-worker around the store, bending her ear about anything and everything can’t take a hint.

The homeless and otherwise marginal customers seem to enjoy my new hairdo the most. One of them, we’ll call Mr Saturday Nite, or Rain Man. He listens to every set of headphones in the store and will yell, stomp and curse profusely when one of them is not working properly. No matter what he’s listening to, he sings along with Native American raindance chants. He usually looks right through me, which is the response I prefer. But the other night, he looked right at me and smiled, “Ohhh your hair is blond now!” I was afraid if I stared back too long I’d be turned into a Pillar of Crazy.

Velvet Underground’s “Sunday Morning” still makes me sad for some reason. The same kind of sad as Duran Duran’s “Save A Prayer for the Morning After” or The Left Banke’s “Walk Away Renee.” A different kind of sad from Eurythmics’ “Here Comes The Rain Again.” That’s got a specific memory.
Haven’t wished any one who writes or edits for a living to be without a job except for Andy Pemberton. He made Spin look like the retarded child of Blender and Vice. On his editor’s letter alone, he deserved to be smacked upside the head repeatedly. I like seeing new writers and new points of view but when these things are new and bad, I have to wonder if he just called everyone in his cell phone and said, “hey, wanna put out a magazine?” Especially the chick who did the two-page map of Philadelphia, coining it the next Williamsburg and never seemed to leave Old City. And can all magazines please put a moratorium on the floaty, disembodied head graphics?

Good riddance. The question is, can it get worse, and the scary thing is that the answer just might be yes.

Excuse the disjointedness of this post. I haven’t had a full night of sleep in about a week. And then last night, Andy the Boyfriend woke me up at 2:30 in the morning because he was locked out of his house and couldn’t wake his roomie so he called to crash here. I couldn’t be mad because of course he’d do the same for me, and much more. Of course, after the last week of July, we won’t have to worry about these sorts of things anymore.

June 2, 2006 at 6:37 pm Leave a comment

Moving Along…

Saw my Aunt A tonight, who was visiting the area from Oregon. The last time I saw her was at my stepsister’s wedding a couple of years ago. She’s my father’s baby sister, speaks fluent Spanish, is whipsmart and doesn’t suffer fools gladly — at least not since she divorced my abusive uncle over a decade ago. Even before he came on the scene, that side of my family has a heavy history, subject of another blog post. The summer my parents’ marriage was falling apart, my little sister and I stayed with my Aunt A and cousins in Virginia where we swam, saw Grease for the first time (where I won a Frankie Valli 45), and played Barbie divorce (much to the dismay of my uncle).
My Aunt A and my cousins have been through a lot. A has a lot of health problems but married a sweet patient husband the second time around. My cousin B is living in Tucson and suffers from an eating disorder and paranoid schizophrenia brought on by a messy childhood and a traumatic assault from a couple of years ago. When I last saw B (few months younger than me) it was at another cousin’s wedding about five years ago and we hit it off, vowed to keep in touch and never did. My aunt says that B still cherishes that time. I want to contact her but don’t know what I can do to help since she can’t function very well these days. It’s really sad. D (a couple years younger than me) married and divorced a creep and got a beautiful kid and runs pilates classes, heading off the roundness that happens to women’s bodies on that side of the family. S, the youngest one, does special effects for big studios in L.A. and has won at least one Oscar. My uncle told him he would never amount to anything and still doesn’t acknowledge his success.

My Aunt A looked so happy and healthy tonight. I snapped a picture of her smiling on Moyamensing Street, right down the block from Cafe Valentino. It was the best picture ever.

June 1, 2006 at 12:35 am Leave a comment


Needless to say, I slept like shit last night. When I did sleep, I dreamt about an old writer friend of mine. He’s somewhat reviled but I personally have nothing against him. He’s been nothing but friendly and respectful toward me and my endeavors. The only thing that I remember right now is that he was giving some presentation in a clearing in a forest. He’d burned a hole in the ground in the shape of the state of Pennsylvania. He handed me “the torch,” which was actually this giant heavy pole hundreds of feet high. I could barely hold it up, I was afraid I was going to burn the forest down. He snatched it back from me and said, “C’mon Sara, you can’t handle Superchunk?” I think that was the band he mentioned.

So weird and funny.

May 31, 2006 at 7:36 am Leave a comment

Cuz I’m A Blonde

It’s official. I went to Twist and dyed my hair blonde today. Amy has been thinking about my haircut and color for the past two months. I love going to Twist because it’s like being in a big rock n roll sister’s bedroom. Walls painted silver, posters of the Stones, Bowie, T. Rex, and then little pics from music mags of Gwen and Courtney and Brody. Like a sister, Amy and I gossip about our lives, mainly about our dreams and loves and disappointments and of course, hair. We never hang out much, other than the few times I’ve booked her band, but we talk like old best friends or sisters when she does my hair.

So anyway, two monhs ago, I showed her pics of Sienna Miller’s new Edie Sedgwick-inspired ‘do and I wondered if I can do it, and she said “yes!” So today we spent about three hours, two processes, two conditions, getting my hair blonde. Other people’s have taken even longer, people with longer hair mostly. Short hair is easy to fuck with.

So tonight I went to a pirate birthday party and everyone ooh and ah’d. At home before I went out, I tried to take a picture of myself but I have not mastered the art of myspace digital camera girl self portrait yet and my nose looks huge. Tried to get Ricky to take my picture tonight with the fake swords that make a register cha-ching noise and he took a close up of my tits instead. It is hearwarming to know that gay men love tits.

More links and pics later, tired and drunk.

May 27, 2006 at 12:37 am 3 comments

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