Secret Pop

Mar 31, 2004

Some blues are just blues.

I still taste his kisses like candy in my mouth.

Mar 30, 2004

A day of celebrity

Well, I don't know if you can call it celebrity per se. In that word, I see the root that later becomes "to celebrate," and I don't know that I need to celebrate the fact that my personal ad is being featured on various Spring Street Networks affiliate sites. I haven't been very faithful about checking in on that effort. Then all of a sudden, late last night it seemed the floodgates had been opened, and I was receiving message after message in my inbox. I was curious, but not at home, so I didn't investigate with any notable verve. A friend recognized my photo on the New York Daily News web site and emailed me today. Yeesh. Newsflash: Check me out -- I'm single! If my mother is watching, she's saying something humiliating in Chinese.

When I first put an ad up, ages and ages ago, I was featured within the first month, and I remember being kind of excited and flattered. But today, it seems less of a coup. I picture a comedic finish, the descending scale of "wah wah wah wah" or that mugging expression that says, "You got me." Okay, America. Okay, World. So now you know. Don't all pity me at once, will you? I'm actually a good hand at being a single girl. It keeps me on my toes. And it keeps my toes painted in pretty colors.


Deep Space Nine marathon on Spike TV starting next week. I would say that this fact justifies the existence of Spike TV, but I also approve of Ren & Stimpy and the many excuses they find to play James Bond movies. How can it be that a station "just for men" can be so to my liking? Is this my comeuppance for letting a former boyfriend use my Secret anti-perspirant?

I remember when I used to look forward to staying home on Saturday nights to watch Ren & Stimpy on Snick. After which, on numerous occasions, I would saunter down to the hot tub for some quality Mary time. And I never thought I was missing out on anything. If only I could recapture that feeling.

Anyway, I've often gotten on better with the boys than with the girls and sometimes to my chagrin. And it isn't only because I own an Intellivision. Apparently, some guys don't even know what that is.

"What's that noise you're making with your throat?"

I adore the Paul F. Tompkins Show. (Even if I am now referring to it in intimate company as the Paul F. Tompkins Has a Girlfriend Show.) Paul F. Tompkins really has no business not being the most successful man in comedy. There is no one in the world who better deserves fame, fortune, and a grandiloquent wardrobe. Although, in a way, I'm certain I will rue the day he explodes in the collective consciousness and is suddenly too big to do these shows each month. I look forward to them more than most things. And I'm someone who overheard a guy at Canter's explaining to his lady friend what the word "rapture" means for Christians.

I saw Alex off at the airport today. He was boarding a big, giant Air New Zealand plane with the faces of the stars of The Lord of the Rings painted on it and something about it being the way to Middle-Earth. In fact, if you go to the Air New Zealand web site, it appears that they are actually calling New Zealand Middle-Earth now. Hasn't this gone far enough? I mean, are maps being redone? Movie characters are on the En Zed stamps. Are they also on the money? And are the film's stars being given giant keys to Auckland? Have they been crowned honorary royalty? What I really want to know is why were those bastards in Tunisia so ungrateful when George Lucas turned them into Tatooine? Where's the Skywalker commemorative stamp issue? I'm wondering if the employees of Air New Zealand are forced to correct passengers who insist on saying they want to fly to New Zealand. Maybe they won't let you on the plane until you admit that you believe you're actually going to Middle-Earth. Maybe that's what they stamp on your passport. I also wonder how the Maoris feel about all of this. It's like New Zealand is a fake country now. A giant, country-sized theme park. How degrading. Well, who am I kidding. I live in Los Angeles.

So, Alex is a rock and roll journalist now. And I am jealous. I keep managing to not happen upon the chance encounters that would turn me overnight into a success of massive proportions. I'm growing impatient for it. My web site was mentioned in Rolling Stone Magazine once, but that was a long time ago, and I've long since surrendered the bragging rights. I need new laurels to clutch.

Not just in this respect, but I do feel as if I am waiting for something to happen. It's terribly trying. Every day I find myself wondering if this is going to be the day. But I have no idea what I mean by "the day," nor have I any idea what's supposed to happen. I'm just waiting. Shifting from foot to foot. Somewhere -- maybe just around the next corner -- something is about to spring on me, and it will change everything. I know it. I'm just hopeful that it won't be a disfiguring incident involving acid in the face.

Mar 29, 2004

Shadoe Stevens to Block

My web access has been maddeningly unavailable to me since the wee hours. I can't get or send email. I can't update my site. I can't even post to my blog, which makes this an exercise in futility. I guess there's value to it, though. It's like a mandatory simmering time. Time to rethink what you wanted to say. Time to think better of it. I was always one to delay acting on my feelings. I never trusted the immediacy of an impassioned moment. I never knew if I was really so very angry or so hurt or so happy. I often wait to proclaim anything I'm feeling until it is safe and rational and certain. There is always something flowing. Patiently stemming it keeps me from bleeding to death.

Messages in my outbox lost their importance and got moved to the trash like so much...well, trash. But I have to be very deliberate about such things. Sometimes, the fact that I've written it makes me think it's permanent. And words that have never been said go down in the history books as statements made and heard. It's a task keeping track. I start a lot of sentences with, "Did I already tell you...?" and, "I may have said this before..." In all honesty, I'm not always sure.

There are many tender messages I would have wanted to write in a soft hand, roll up in a secret compartment, and pass on to you with hopeful anticipation. When my eyes twinkle like a girl in a Japanese cartoon, it means I'm hiding something. And hoping it will be found. I frown when I think of all the things that went unsaid. I miss the sense that there would always be time to get to it later. It makes me want to treat every encounter like a round of Supermarket Sweep. The clock is running down, and I don't want to come up short. I always spend too much time in the cereal aisle.

Sunsoaked and Caffeinated

I had time to nap, but I realized I was just lying very still and acknowledging that I was awake with closed eyes. The day got such an early start. In a way, I praise the obligation current. Having to be somewhere is an excellent means of being somewhere. But I'm back now, and the web isn't working for me, and there are things coursing through my brain. I felt pretty in summer clothes but sleepy-eyed. Coffee on Melrose brought back memories of coffee on Melrose. The stroll of the sidewalk rendered leggy reflections. I was only under any pressure when I was standing still.

That's what leads to a certain frantic posture. And questions get raised and go unanswered. I picture things going a certain way. They never do. I think, "Wouldn't it be nice?" It never is. Whatever it is I am missing -- maybe it's the plug to a drain. And everything else circles down into the overflow. It keeps me from ever maintaining proper levels of anything. Unfolding something folded and finding nothing inside. Or unfolding it to find it isn't what it once was. Mysteries. Magic tricks. Is this your card?

I detest not being certain of anything. But perhaps it is the gateway. Perhaps it means being open. Perhaps certainty is a tomb. I just know that it has been easier and it has been harder. It has been wonderful and it has been cruel. It has been instantaneous and it has been endless. It has been excruciating. When you get to the place where everything is said in the past tense, it's as if the present no longer exists. You can't catch it. It's always a second ahead of you. You're so busy cataloguing what once was that you have no fluency for what is. And you wrap yourself up in what's next, blind to what's now. Isn't there a pair of glasses I can wear -- something that will help me to keep an eye on all of it? Isn't there a point where it ceases to be academic? Isn't life more than all the reasons to be sorry?

It makes me scoot my skirt a little further down on my hips. It makes me stand up straight. Being a girl is making a woman of me.

It's hot out there. And I'm STARVING.

Up all night. Sleep all day.

It works in theory. But I didn't actually sleep all day. And I'm all twisted around. Bent backwards and knotted through. Not enough rest. Not enough catch up. Too many plans. Too many places to be. Too much parking to find. I performed in the last of the spec script staged readings from my workshop class tonight. I enjoyed being Susie Green (Curb Your Enthusiasm). I cotton to the foulmouthed; no sense denying it. Salt isn't just for steaks. It's also been a spell since I had to haul out the New York accent. I'd forgotten how much fun it is to fake.

I went and saw some more comedy tonight. When Los Angeles serves up the Paul F. Tompkins, I'm sure to be found nearby. They serve giant cocktails at St. Nick's. I love them for that. My Ketel One soda was a spot-hitter. But I haven't had a shred to eat all day, and I'm not feeling as fine as I'd like. I don't know why, but I feel like I got all dressed up for nothing. That happens sometimes. Usually when my skirt is short and my stockings are saucy. And the evening doesn't end with me being chosen from a crowd to board a spaceship bound for the party planet.

I had such strange dreams when I was dozing today. I get confused. I get stuck in that bleary between state. I have no idea what's real. It was warm today. So terribly, wonderfully warm. If I were a seed in the soil, I would surely be sprouting. Or shriveling. Things have a way of going too far.

In the coming weeks, I'm certain to be crushed by the weight of all the work I have to do. I'm fond of not being destitute, but I wish there could be some middle ground. I was beginning to believe I was living a life of leisure.

Oh, and the taxes loom. Bloody taxes. Shoving me, fingers first, into the memory mill. I get all chopped to bits in there.

The commercial for the new Snickers energy bar plays the dirge from Beethoven's Seventh. I don't understand that choice. Maybe I resent it. That movement (the second) is one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever written. It often threatens to wring my tear ducts when I hear it. But what could it possibly have to do with mountain biking? If I were still updating those old list pages of mine, I imagine this would have ended up on one of them.

We can't stop to love takasaki. Let's come and join us!!

Mar 28, 2004

Your Eyes, Beauty, and Tequila

I'm just getting home. Well, that's not true. I got home a little after two a.m., but it was only to stop in and pick up booze and potato chips and go right back out again. It's nice to be up and about when the sun is so early in its workday. Even if it is only to drive a bloke to Silverlake.

I missed seeing Bunny Lake Is Missing last night, but it couldn't be helped. I was a go go yesterday from the morning on. And there is little chance today will be much different. I have the freedom to go nap right now, but I'm almost afraid to do it. In a matter of moments, it will suddenly be over. Sunday.

In truth, it was vodka all night. But that's not the song lyric.

Oh, yeah. Your eyes and tequila.

Mar 27, 2004

Vera, Chuck, and Dave
Back to the Egyptian for the Howard Hawks double feature that ended up being a Howard Hawks single feature plus a movie that happened to have the same name as a Howard Hawks feature but had nothing whatever to do with Howard Hawks. I love the Egyptian. I remember the first time I went. It was on Memorial Day, I think. 2002. I went to see a Mario Bava double feature. I wore the striped t-shirt that looks most like Ernie to me. And I wore tennis shoes. And I felt entirely welcome. I have been back many, many times. And secretly, sometimes I sneer at the other people there. I like to tell myself that I discovered the place and everyone else is a latecomer. I have ridiculous lapses of sanity from time to time.
I spent more time in LACMA's permanent collection today. There are many wonderful things to be found. And the coffee you can buy from the cafe cart is great. I'm glad to have so many different friends who want to be shown around. It's part of how I get my money's worth.

Oh, and there was a problem with the link to my evangelistic efforts of March 18. I have fixed it now, if you care to give it another try.
You'll be older, too.

Mar 26, 2004

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

Someone asked me tonight whose writing style I would choose for my own. I hemmed and hawed. Not good at narrowing it down, me. But I remember that it was T.S. Eliot who made me want to write poetry. And it was J. Alfred Prufrock who made me wish that the mermaids would sing to me. Do I dare to eat a peach?

"Richard Simmons cited for slapping man"

I didn't read the story. I didn't need to. The headline alone made for hours of amusing imaginative excursions.

If you haven't already heard it, you should get me to tell you the story of the time I ran into Richard Simmons at an airport. He did not slap me in the least.

Mar 25, 2004

"...a bit woebegone but drolly unsurprised by life's vicissitudes..."

Orange Shirt

Mar 24, 2004

It's like it was named for me.

M Bar is, of course, the subject of my subject line. I've been meaning to go for ages. Tonight, I went. Got robbed in some respects because Nick Swardson didn't show, and no apologies or explanations were made. But Blaine Capatch emceed and the line up was as tight as I could have wanted. Quite a few people I've seen around town on other stages. A lot of character work from Brendon Small, Scott Aukerman, and the guys from the Upright Citizens Brigade. But the most important component is that I now know how it works over there. Checking out new comedy clubs for me is like going to a new gym. You eventually have to get past that fear that you will sit down at a machine and not be able to figure out how it works. The faceless illustration on the machine looks simple enough, but somewhere in the room, a muscle-bound dude is laughing at me as I push the levers in the wrong direction. So now I know my way around M Bar. Sigh of relief.

Mar 22, 2004

Getting the Story Right (as in Correct)

Apparently, I paraphrased Josh's story with embarrassing inaccuracy. What am I? Working for Fox News? Here's the real lowdown from Josh himself, and the photographic evidence to boot:

so, i was at the Museum of Contemporary Art downtown on saturday, wearing my
"Live WRONG and Prosper" jacket (which has a picture of George Bush as Mr.
Spock, giving the vulcan hand symbol) when this group of people approached
me. i was on my cell phone at the time, so of course, i gave them all
stink-eye, until i realized what they were trying to say to me. "this is
Mrs. Nimoy! This is Mrs. Nimoy!" i had no clue why they would be telling me
this, and then i remembered hearing them inside the museum commenting behind
my back about how funny they thought my jacket was. oh...her husband is Mr.
Spock! she liked my jacket and thought Mr. Leonard Nimoy would love it too,
"because he is of course anti-Bush you know." as it turns out, he was
sitting 20 feet away in his car, so she escorted me over to him and he
started laughing and said he loved it and wanted to buy one. i was in awe
and forgot to open my mouth and say, "dude, i'll give you as many as you
want." instead, i just smiled and asked if i could get a picture ;-)

If you are interested in buying clothing with Josh's "Live Wrong and Prosper" design, let me know and I will put you in touch with him. And if he puts up a site to sell such things, I will certainly announce it here.

And isn't Josh a cutie pie? Mr. Spock looks good, too.

"I don't know why bear hugs enjoy such a great reputation."

Mar 21, 2004

Jewish giant at home with parents in Bronx.

I went to the Diane Arbus Revelations exhibit at LACMA today. It was much more extensive than I realized. I wish I'd had more time to linger. But Adam had a plane to catch. I really feel grateful for people who had the desire to photograph the mundane and the quirky and the bizarre back when photography wasn't nearly as accessible a practice. Otherwise, how would we know what a living room in Long Island looked like on Christmas morning in the 1960s? Today, with digital cameras everywhere and the freedom to take pictures of nearly everything you see, I'm saddened by how few interesting pictures get taken. When I go to the place where I get my 35mm film developed, the board that displays the kinds of finishes you can choose shows them to you by way of graduation photos and wedding photos and smiling snapshots of children in little plastic pools. And that's the kind of pictures most people take. The "say 'cheese'" variety. The one friend who likes to make silly faces when the shutter opens. The rabbit ears. The winning smile. The proud displaying of trophies. The "get in close so that we can all prove that we were here together" kind of portraits that end up on people's refrigerators or in the large collage of photos they hang in their bathroom. My mother always used to shake her head at me when I took pictures of strangers on trains in Japan. "Why do you want a picture of that girl? She has such bad skin." And she is even less moved by the pictures I take of shop signs and glassware and forks and knives and mannequins. But most people share her idea of what photography is for. For memory-making, I suppose. As opposed to art-making. Or for hoping that the thing you see in your brain can be transfered to the emulsion somehow.

But I did used to love to go on photo outings. To get on the train and ride to Tokyo with the hopes that I could take a photo without offending anyone. Maybe the problem these days is that you have to worry if people will LET you take their picture. With a big 35mm SLR camera in front of my face, I suppose I look a bit like an insect. People don't always know how to take it. But back then, I usually took the risk. And Japanese people were too polite to object. And I was too art-hungry to worry that they were saying mean things about me in their heads. And I developed my own film and printed and printed like a mad printing person. I spent hours in the darkroom. And it was always cool in there.

I'm buzzing with the desire to take my Canon A-1 back out and capture all the lame, the luxurious, the dirty, the gritty, the lurid things I can find. I am weary of all the pictures I take of myself. There was a time when I felt a little bit like a pioneer in that. And I have a few photos I've taken of myself that people have found interesting or inspired. But there's also just a great heaping lot of them that are from the inside of my apartment day after day after day. Or from the benches at LACMA. Or from the front seat of my car. I'm not entirely resentful. I'm glad I have some of my history captured. I'm glad I can remember what I looked like from month to month. And I recognize that the days when I don't take any pictures of myself are the days when there just doesn't seem to be anything new or interesting to see. And that makes me sad. I would take pictures of other people if they were nearby and willing. But that isn't always the case. And I fear the getting-fed-up that inevitably happens. When a friend or family member gives me that look and says, "Mary, enough!"

My friend Simon is also an avid shutterbug. I like that about him. I also like that he says such hilarious things. The latest was this:

I heard a good pickup line the other day: "Does this rag smell like ether to you?"

Spring Sprang Sprung

That many consonants in a row looks German to me. It's Sturm und Drang in pastel colors. I like Easter bunnies that wear neckties.

Restless day of painting and waiting and noticing that the sun had broken through but not feeling able to go collect it. I was touched with blue. But I wore green.

It was a nice dinner at Angeli Caffe -- one of my favorite places to eat. I was introduced to it by my friend Jo. It seems that was ages ago. Tonight, I shared it with Adam and a handful of his Los Angeles friends. And then we danced (and drank) the night away in West Hollywood, until Josh and Joey and Zach arrived, and I was able to mingle the many pals and take advantage of how well Josh knows that one bartender who makes our drinks so strong you have to thank him through clenched teeth.

In dancefloor news, Beulah was the first to admit that Britney Spears' Toxic is a better song than any of us would like it to be. I think Britney looks like she should be checked for the presence of the appropriate number of chromosomes, but I'm willing to admit that the people who write and produce her material make it tough to oppose her and all of her damnable pop currency. They obviously know more about me and what I enjoy than I do.

When is that robots attacking the earth movie coming out already? Josh showed me this trailer before Christmas, for the sake of someone tardy. I need scientific distraction.

You know I'm keen on Al Franken and whatever it is he's up to. The latest on his liberal radio network only makes me long for it with all the more impassioned zeal. Hurry it up, Al. I've got a fire in my belly and no one to share it with.

But first, a quick anecdote. Apparently, Josh was at MOCA today, and he was wearing the "Live Wrong and Prosper" jacket he designed and silkscreened -- the one with an image of George W. Bush turned Vulcan and giving the Vulcan greeting with his hand -- and Leonard Nimoy's wife came up to him, avec entourage, and said, "Oh, you have to come over and show it to Leonard. He'll love it. He HATES Bush." And she ushered Josh and Joey over to their car where Leonard Nimoy took a photo with Josh and inquired about the jacket and how to get one. Josh called me because he wanted to share the story with someone who would properly appreciate it. And he was right to. I had to admit that I had just finished watching the second half of Star Trek Nemesis on the television. It's abominably bad. But I'm too far gone to care. If I'm ever stuck in outer space with only one television show to watch for all of eternity, let it be Star Trek. And preferably Deep Space Nine. Our species will surely fail to perpetuate if I am stranded in the cosmos with nothing to watch but Home Improvement. Anyway, I love many things about this incident, but mostly I love the solidarity of Mr. Spock hating Mr. Bush. I knew we had a few things in common.

I need sleep, but I won't get it.

Mar 20, 2004

Vernal Equinox

   salad days, noun:

A time of youthful inexperience, innocence, or indiscretion.

Those were his salad days, and he thought they might last
--David Gergen, " 'They Love You. Watch Out,' " [1]New York
Times, February 2, 1997

Salad days was coined by Shakespeare in Antony and Cleopatra:
"My salad days,/ When I was green in judgment, cold in blood."

"I'm ready. Ready ready ready, I'm ready."

Adam says John Cusack was at The Little Door with us last night, but I didn't see him. And I was too preoccupied with being upset that they said their oven was broken and that we couldn't have dinner. It's not often that I bother to make a reservation, but it stings all the more to be turned away when I have. It was one of those moments when I wished I was important enough that the chef would have run home and cooked me something in his own oven just to make sure I was happy and looked after. I've never been that important, so it's not like I would know what that's like. But the sneery treatment I got from the two Italian women in charge made me feel like the rest of the evening was just sandbagging.

And I haven't been able to sleep at all. Not last night. Not in the morning when I could have tried to. I'm doing the deep breath under the covers and everything. The weird alertness that almost feels like a panic attack. The frustrating, pillow-punching, channel-changing, clock-watching, fist-clenching, tooth-grinding, forcible exhaling, fetal position-adopting, back-cracking, sheep-counting, boat-watching, prose-writing alertness that convinces me that, one day, when the world thinks I am dead, I will be lying there in my coffin, breathing deeply and patiently thinking through all the words I ever said and that were ever said to me.

The Girl Can't Help It is on the idiot box. I'm an idiot for this movie. I bought it on VHS because there was no getting it otherwise. It's great. All the rockin' and the rollin'. The bluesy Julie London dream sequences. The sublime Little Richardliness of Little Richard. And Jayne Mansfield may be a poor man's Marilyn Monroe, but she sure is perfect in this film. Plus, she got decapitated in a car wreck. That's some tragic cred right there.

Mar 19, 2004


I'm sprucing up for yet another weekend visitor. My hands are cold and dry from scrubby chores. But my floors are shiny and clean and a portion of my clutter has been tucked away. Leaving space in the cosmic clutter continuum for me to crowd your eyes with pictures. Have at.

Mar 18, 2004

This is nothing more than evangelism.

This song does something to me.

one man's righteousness is another man's
long haul, sentence carried out
long haul, counting the miles
to the four corners of the world

Buy the album. If you want to.

"You tell me you love me, but there's hate in your eyes."

Another St. Patrick's Day when green was not worn. Not by me anyway. But I helped my friend Arthur celebrate his birthday, which involved karaoke, and I'm all over that. I don't know if that's what's given me a headache. It could also be chewing gum for too long. Or not getting enough sleep. Or not getting enough water. Or not getting enough Advil. But when my head hurts, I do tend to assume that it's because there's something out there I need more of. This is not a scientifically-founded hypothesis. It's just easier than deciding to give up sugar or caffeine. Or singing at the top of your lungs.

I feel a little raw from today. A little sore. I get more from the downtime than I admit. But I pray for the uptime all the while. How powerful long it's been since I've had a bit of up.

And what of all the fishy birthdays? My mother has a March birthday. And last night it was Noam's turn. And tonight, Arthur's. Tomorrow, it's JoJo. I don't really like birthday parties for me. Maybe I've always wished I would have a wonderful, spectacular one, but I haven't ever, so I prefer to just treat it like whatever day of the week it is. It's not martyrdom. It's the resignation of a busy girl with plenty of other things to eviscerate herself over. I don't know what I will do for my birthday this year. I have a feeling that it will be nothing much.

I get a kick from champagne. Who doesn't? But I prefer my Ketel One soda any day of the week.

These hips may never bear children, but it won't be for lack of having been made for it.