November 2000

In 1903, in Paris, Emile Tardieu brought out a book entitled L'Ennui, in which all human activity is shown to be a vain attempt to escape from boredom, but, in which, at the same time, everything that was, is, and will be appears as the inexhaustible nourishment of that feeling. To hear this, you might suppose the work to be a mighty monument of literature...But it is only...self-satisfied shabby scholarship [which] reduces all documents of his own spiritually barren, petty-bourgeois discontent

Walter Benjamin, The Arcades Project

This is the first web journal thingy I've done. I can't really give you a good explanation for doing it other than boredom and desparation (boredom is covered above and desparation we will get to later). Well that and I am sort of into this whole "web confessional" thing right now and I got tired of reading other people's entries so I decided what the hell my life is as exciting (heavy sarcasm)as anyone else's I may as well throw some lame-assed thoughts together and stick them to the web. Right? Right! Right? uh...

In case you already hating this, here's a link to a really cool journal site. I really like this site because the girl who wrote this is very smart and way more creative than I can ever hope to be (and she quotes something I wrote a very long time ago in one of her archived journals). Just as a disclaimer, I don't go around looking up projects that I've done on the web (well not always), I just happened to be spying on an ex-girlfriend of mine who I wrote this one semi-large project with and every now and then I check the web to see what she is up to (hi Liz). Not that I want to know exactly, but I used to take satisfaction when I found she was doing nothing (but that was not the case, she's done more than me and well that fed my bitterness but more about that later), but that is not the case anymore, I hope. Yeah I know, bitter, nasty, bitch to hope someone that I supposedly loved was completely blocked and ineffective(uh huh and there is no one you feel that way about too and trust me I'm sure that she wished I was dead too)! Listen to Neko Case + her boyfriends "Set Out Running" (If I knew heartbreak was coming/I woulda set out running/ cuz I just can't shake the feeling/ that I'm nothing in your eyes) here for more illumination. I love Neko Case right now. Some people I know think she is like the Madonna of and don't like her, but I love her because her songs are filled with run on sentences and extraneous imagery between the lines that make up the whole point of the song (and well the comparison to that should be obvious to you by now).

So anyway, now my secret is out, sort of, and some of you will know my real name if you read this close enough and I will not have any anonymity left. I'm not sure how to deal with that. I could just tell you my name and it will probably not matter because the only people reading this will be my friends who already know me and no one I know so...but I like to keep people guessing. Although, I did just join this new club where they tell me that secrets are bad. And secrets and lies (yikes scary accidental Mike Leigh reference)will isolate me from other people that I need to not be isolated from-- so what to do? When I decided to do this diary thing I thought of it as shedding all my secrets but I am telling them to who (or is that whom)? I don't think that the club elders would approve of this method, but I am shy and can only speak through my keyboard (for now). I was reading this weird Anna Kavan short story "A Visit" about a leopard who came to visit her and hang out while she puttered around her house and garden but then one day in the rain he disappeared and never exactly returned (she did see him in some strange scene that involved a sea, sea shells and I think the leopard was in the water and when she tried to get out to him she became ensnarled in a storm) so that she became filled with an "obscure bitterness" over a loss which she thinks should have been prevented. ANYWAY, the point is that the leopard that visited her never spoke to her, yet she spoke to it and found comfort in speaking to it. "I must emphasize that there was no hint of obstinancy or hostility in his silence, and I did not resent it. On the contrary, I respected him for his reserve; and as the silence continued unbroken, I gave up expecting to hear his voice. I was glad for the pretext for using mine and went on talking to him. He always appeared to listen and understand me." So you Dear Reader, are the leopard...please do not lead me into any storm squalls.

Tonight, I talked to my friend Creemsikle on the telephone. She is my bestfriend in the whole world. She is a genius. And she suffers from an obsessive/compulsive relationship to pop culture as profound as mine. She is obsessed with Amanda De Cadenet (if you don't know who she is you are lucky) and watched Brokedown Palace for the few seconds and lines of dialogue that Amanda De Cadenet has. I hated that movie because I was haunted by the idea of a cockroach crawling into my ear and dying there. I could so see that happening to me, because I always end up with obscure and pointless maladies. It seems that Creemsikle has a friend named Raven who lives in Singapore and Creemie and I are planning to go somewhere together so we can get the fuck OUT OF HERE and we discussed the possibilty of going to Singapore. I vetoed that when I learned that in Singapore gum is illegal. I didn't know this, so Raven wants Creemie to come visit and bring gum and Creemie's fear is that she will either be caned or end up like Claire Danes in Brokedown Palace should she attempt to smuggle some BubbleYum in to Raven.

And Creemsikle and I have a tendency to find trouble together. A few years ago we drove cross-country to see a Geraldine Fibbers show in Los Angeles and we stopped in Flagstaff, Arizona which seemed like a nice neo-hippie college town. Creemie had just found out that she was accepted to the Whitney Program so we wanted to celebrate. Creemie though did not have ID and this bar we went to required ID to get a drink. When I went to the bar and the bartender asked who the other drink was for and I pointed in Creemie's general direction he saw some older hippie-ish woman sitting there and assumed the drink was for her. I didn't correct him. We were sitting there chatting to the older hippie-ish woman when the bartender came over and snatched our drinks away accused us of lying and tossed us out of the bar by our ears while the older hippie-ish woman who Creemie is certain was on crystal meth was yelling "but she's 27!" and tried to help us but the mean-assed biker dude guarding the door shut it in our face. To this day we still curse Flagstaff.

Given that trip, it might seem a little crazy to want to travel with Creemie again (but in absentia I learned I love her). We got into a huge fight driving up to Portland from LA. Somewhere after Monterey we began discussing recycling and I don't know how this happened but the argument turned bitter and we each said things we regret and haven't talked to one another for close to 4 years. Plus we had been sort of drinking our way across the country (where we could with Creemie having no ID). In Memphis we stayed in this fucked up hotel called the Peabody that had a fountain in the center of the lobby where ducks swam. Each morning and each evening the ducks rode in the elevator to their nest or to the fountain or vice versa and it is a big tourist thing to watch. So we sat in overstuffed chairs in the lobby and watched the ducks, debated what type of flowers were in the arrangement on top of the fountain and ordered "old lady" drinks from the bar. People ask me what I did in Memphis and I say went to Graceland, ate at Shoney's and drank my ass off at the Peabody. Then we drank in Vegas, almost ended up in a crack den in Alberquerque, got drunk on cheap red wine and heated up a frozen pizza in the kitchenette of our hotel room so that we were toasted for the Fibbers show. But the worst was in Grant's Pass Oregon where I bought the strongest alcoholic beverage I could find in the grocery store (some sort of schnapps thing I think) and we sat in our beautifully appointed Motel 6 room and debated recycling, art criticism and relationships with boys, girls and everything in between until I projectile vomitted the schnapps. I went into the bathroom, barfed and passed out next to the toilet then had to wake up hours later and drive to Portland. The worst hang over of my life and dodging logging trucks on the Interstate did not make me love Creemie's home state.

Now we are trying to decide what our destination du jour is for our trip. My father left over a million frequent flyer miles and both of us are unemployed so we have time to travel, though no money. My suggestion was that we simply travel around the world until the miles run out but don't ever deplane. She was not amused. The dilemma is this, where can we go that we can stay in a cheap place or intrude on friends, former friends, and ex-lovers who still talk to us. We were considering Ireland, London, Nashville (we went there on our trip and tonight we realized the only reason to go back is for Katy K otherwise we have seen the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Grand Ol Oprey, Ryman Auditorium, etc.), Dollywood, and seeing the Dixie Chicks (but alas LordOuch informed us the show we'd picked out sold out in 14 minutes)in a city other than our own.

Tonight we added Chicago because we both love Kelly Hogan and Neko Case and want to see them play live. So we considered going to the Hideout where Creemie tells me that Kelly H. is a bartender and showing up and pestering her to sing some songs for us. Then Creemie mentioned that Spain is cheap. I have a friend that lives on an orange farm in Malaga and I want to see Jane Bowles' unmarked grave and Creemie wants to go to Morrocco, so that seemed like an idea. Then we remembered that she/we have several friends in LA and we just want to go somewhere warm. One of her friends there is my old roommate Stella. I love Stella but she is definitely not someone you want to spend scads of time with. When she lived with me, she was going through some kind of food allergy treamtent and she only ate barley or something and never cleaned the pots so I had adhered barley to every pot I owned and that is very hard to remove. Stella was in love with this quasi-skinhead girl named Chandra and they sort of hooked up for a while. Then Chandra broke it off. Stella was an intense person. One time when Chandra left a message on the phone machine for someone else in the apartment, Stella picked up the phone machine and pulled it out of the wall and tossed it out the window (we were on the 6th story) and we were without a phone for a while after that. Then in her depression over losing Chandra she played Sinead O'Connor's "Nothing Compare 2U" over and over and over...until either she moved out or I moved out and in with Liz (see above) thus accelerating the downward spiral (yikes scary unintentional NIN reference)that was already my life. So just to catch you up with Stella since she left NYC, she moved to LA, lived in Silverlake or something and then when they had that big earthquake in Northridge, flipped out and moved to SF (like they don't have earthquakes there) and now she lives in the Valley. Cool...can't wait to see her if we go there (or anywhere).

Suicidal... voices.... breakdown. Complete confusion about what's real and what's not real, and what matters and what doesn't matter. And how am I feeling? Do I feel? Am I evil? Am I smart, am I stupid, am I insane? It was definitely just a breakdown.

Chan Marshall in an interview

The other night I watched John Cassavetes' Shadows. It was the first film I've seen since I accidentally channel surfed into Rory Kennedy's American Hollow. I love Cassavetes, but I think I love Gena Rowlands more. Despite no Gena, Shadows was amazing. Visually the city looked so lonely, sad and sexy. As did everyone in the film. Supposedly this was an all "improv" film but when it was released, less improv parts were added so it has this tension of being improv and not improv and it presents itself as super-realism but since it is just a bunch of people getting into characters (all cleverly take their real first names for their characters) it is an utterly fake acting exercise. So anyway, it is really smart, and I want to read more about it. My favorite Cassavetes films though are Gena Rowlands breakdown vehicles like Opening Night or Woman Under the Influence. The are harrowing, disturbing and grand dramas of Gena (as a house wife or as a stage actress take your pick) on the verge. When I was looking on the web for sites about Shadows, LordOuch (who by the way is probably one of, if not the smartest person I know) suggested a few and they say way more than I can hope to. He also gave me the link to this really great interview with Jem Cohen. Since I love Benjamin, I want to see Lost Book Found, but I've not seen anything by JC yet. Creemie saw Benjamin Smoke and said it was very atmospheric.

The other Cassavetes I am into is Zoe. I love children of celebrities. Especially ones like Zoe and Sofia. They don't have to do a thing with their lives because they are always already famous for absolutely nothing (the rest of us have to do something) but they don't get that and continue to try and distinguish themselves from their super-talented parents. If my parents were John C. and Gena R. I don't know that I would even get up in the morning or I might try and become say a missionary....or whatever. But I admire Zoe because she has pluck, she is not suffering from the anxiety of influence, she has directed her own short film (after starring in a couple of little films that Sofia did) called "Men Make Women Crazy Theory." It was at Sundance, the NY Film Fest, and I think Cannes but the only things I can find on the web are like one liners describing the film. (This one from someone's Sundance journal online--Men Make Women Crazy Theory (had potential but the dialogue fell short...way short)and this from the NY Post "Men Make Women Crazy Theory," directed by Zoe Cassavetes (John's daughter) and featuring Alexia Landau, Ione Skye and Donovan Leitch. Screening tomorrow, it's described as "a comic valentine to the neurotic lover in all of us.")So it must be rather dumb, but I loved High Octane (the most ridiculous show on television). When that was on I didn't have access to Comedy Central so Creemie would tape the shows and come over and we would watch them. The show where Zoe and Sofia drove around in monster trucks still remains as one of my top television moments. And Thurston's Alley was beyond Dada for wild, weird, and fucked up. If anyone knows anything about this film, please email me. The other thing that is great about Zoe (and Sofia the two really go together in my mind) is that irregardless of the fact that they were raised by artists (okay in Hollywood) they still love pop culture. So many people I know who were either raised by artists or academics have nothing but distain for pop culture. Say "Josie &the Pussycats" and you get blank unknowing stares and to have to explain Josie and the Pussycats ruins the whole reason for even mentioning it. Creemie directed me to today's (Nov.5,2000)NY Times because it has this insert on entertaining and the death of dinner parties (or maybe it is the revival of them or something I don't know I haven't finished reading it) and there is a spread on a Anna Sui dinner party--Zoe is one of the guests. There is a great Polaroid picture of her sitting in a chair. I'd scan it in, but I don't know how to upload it. See I told you I suffered from celebrity ocd.

More November 2000

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