Pitchapalooza Report

They liked my pitch at pitchapalooza but I didn’t win. Chris Taylor Don and Carla helped me mash my pitch together out of press releases I wrote for the show; they are FUCKING awesome friends and I love them more all the time. Chris has agreed to take on the Herculean task of editing my book and we will be meeting to discuss that and set up a work plan a little later this month, so for all of you people out there who have said they can’t wait to read the book, it is in the works. (This is two people exactly.)

I did get the comment from the panel that my pitch, more than any other, captured the voice of the book I was writing, and that my delivery was great. So it was not a wasted experience, and next year I’ll win. Well, maybe…

What I’m Doing and Reading

OK, so I’ve been reading a lot and doing pretty much nothing, but that will change soon. I am participating in Pitchapalooza on Sept 28th and telling a story for Bawdy Storytelling for their LitCrawl event in Clarion Alley, working on getting my nameless radio show together for Radio Valencia and thinking about my next show. And trying to work on the book, and getting a little help with that. And still idly considering doing my last show at the Dark Rom but I’m feeling iffy about that. Probably if people encouraged me it would help so if you’re reading this and want to see my show come back let me know.

So my creative plate is full and right now I have sat down to put in a good four hours of work towards it all. But first–blog entry!  WHAT I”M READING and have read

Every Man Dies Alone

Hans Fallada

This frolicsome rompical froth of  tale is chock-full-o-Nazis. I took it to Burning Man with me, decided I didn’t want to read about Nazis, and then Achtung the clown spilled a pool of water in my backseat and Every Man Dies Alone went swimming. I had just about decided to invoke Godwin’s law on its ass when suddenly I veered east and read the sucker. Here’s what I learned: Nazis were evil motherfuckers.

OK, to cut through the crap for a moment, this is actually worth reading but very very sad. The book is about the futility of decent people trying their best to oppose corruption, alone and without organization, and dying having accomplished nothing except that, in that environment, they maintained some decency. Very sad, very heavy.

Also: Consciousness Explained

Daniel Dennett

I’m almost done with it, and am at the point near the end where he has finally lost patience with the idea of the zombie, which in this field refers to something that can fool an observer into thinking it’s conscious but is not. The book is out of date but takes a really interesting tour through AI and evolutionary biology in order to debunk the idea that there is any central seat of consciousness within our brains. I would like to get more up to date on this subject because it is really gripping to see the fields of neourobiology, cognitive science, artificial intelligence and philosophy all brought together and set to scrappin’. At the page I left off  Dennett has accused those who bring up the zombie question of being closet racists and said: We are all zombies. This statement has a footnote that says “It would be an act of desperate intellectual dishonesty to quote this assertion out of context!”  This made me giggle.

Also, I forgot to take my book to school one day and ended up buying Terry Pratchett’s The Wee Free Men and reading it in one day–Um, have the Scottish kicked his ass over this? “CAuse it really seems like they should.

Went to Wikipedia to look up Scotland, and have you ever read this country’s motto? In my Defens God me Defend.  If that doesn’t sound like drunk pub mumbling I don’t know what does. Good one, Scotland.

Rescuing old blog entries: Hall and Oates

Sometime in 2007, my friend Stark Raving Brad ran into John Oates at his work and was gifted with two tickets to Hall and Oates. He took me. Here is the story of that night.

Funny, could have swron I posted it before but it seems to have disappeared from my blog…

Yup, they were Hall and Oates all right
So Brad and I meet up at the Palace of Fine Arts and get our tix. I thought maybe Oates would stiff us, but all was smooth. We had seats in the fucking fourth row, and have you been in the Palace of Fine Arts? The seats are capacious, super comfy, and bouncy, for extra good chair dancing.I love the seats.
OK, the band comes on out and wham! “Maneater.” And their attitude towards this song is “Hey, you want fucking ‘Maneater’? HERE’S FUCKING ‘Maneater’!!!!! And then we’ll get on with the real show. And so it was…

FULL CHEESE AHEAD. AS if their music wasn’t gooey and dairy-laden enough, they’ve added a string section. That’s right, string cheese (yes, I had to say it). The players: happy Hobbit dude, the hot girl, the desperately bitter former classical musician (turns out it was his birthday), and angry former classical musician.
OK, then they said they would take requests, so Brad and I turn to each other and start a lively debate of what would be the funniest non-Hall and Oates songs to yell out. We started, as we had to, with “Free Bird,” but ran through “Talk Talk,” “Come on Eileen,” “Don’t Bring Me Down,” “Rosanna,” “Rock Me Like a Hurricane” (too hard, “Sailing” (too soft) and “Another Brick in the Wall.” But we don’t actually yell these out because it becomes apparent to us, something I would never have suspected, that people here LOVE Hall and Oates. I always thought this band was the musical equivalent of a Nagel print. But there’s a chunky rugby player in a wifebeater who is on the verge of religious ecstasy; two guys who dressed up like eighties Hall and Oates, including wearing the mustache formerly known as Oates; and this awesome dyke behind me bobbing her head and so fucking into it. It’s like she woke up one day and said, “Hey, you know what? FUCK Ani DeFranco! Hall and Oates, man; that’s where MY heart is.” And God bless her.
So then there was a whole lot of dairy going on. I didn’t know what the songs even were anymore. “A Pound of Brie,” then “Whole Lotta Mozarella,” and then “Swiss in Your Face.” So I watched the audience and the band and listened to and made snarky comments to Brad. At one point, I turned around and said. “This concert’s going to give me liver damage–I just can’t make enough bile to digest the cheese.”
What I learned from watching the band: Hall loves being a rock star. He smiles, his shoulders hunch up with glee, his hair gets blown by the fan and he wallows in it. He sings, he plays guitar, he plays keyboards, sometimes he just puts it all down and dances. Oates, on the other hand, plays with the grim determination of a man that knows that this beats teaching shop at the local high school–but not by much. He has shaved his mustache, which I think was a pussy thing to do–own that bad boy! Shaving it is like publicly announcing that he doesn’t want to be Oates any more. What’s more, he’s tiny, and he makes you want to just pop him in your pocket and soothe away his tiny frown.
As the evening melted on, it became apparent that the real powerhouse of the band is a guy we named Dr. Goldenrod, after his stunning suit of that color. Actually, he was sort of all that color: long graying but still golden hair and golden glasses too. While the rest of the band (except Hall) boringly played the same instrument all night long, Dr. Goldenrod was a one man band, jammin it out with saxophones both alto and soprano, as well as tambourines, wooden blocks, glockenspiels, harmoniums, ocharinas, and a pocket theremin. At one point, I wanted to yell “More Cowbell” at him, but I just couldn’t be publicly snarky–these were nice people, all around me, and they LOVED Hall and Oates (except for the young Latina girl next to us loudly chewing gum and planning her boyfriend’s slow painful death for bringing her to see this whiteboy trash).
OK, then, all of a sudden, Hall stepped out with no instruments and the band started laying down a slightly funky, soulafied version of “Sarah Smile,” and it was great! My dorky chair dancing lost its irony. Hall was grooving and I just about fell in love with him he was so adorable and everyone was almost crying with happiness, and then, boom! “Say No Go” and that was great too; Goldenrod came out and took a solo, strutting around the stage like he knew he owned the night. Brad and slipped briefly back into snarky to decide what the song “Say No Go” was about; Brad said anal and I said scat play. Cleveland Steamer? Don’t even think about it–say no go. But we actually were groovin and when it was over we cheered with all the rest of the demented losers and felt really good.
We really should have left right at that moment. It felt like the end, and a good end too, but instead they introduced the band and did a few more songs which left us punchy and confused, because we were done. They they were done, but no, they weren’t–came back and did an encore. At some point GE Smith came out and joined them and Brad and I went nuts trying to express to each other the depths of our loathing for GE SMith, that smug little midget. Every time he plays the guitar, he wears this expression that says, “Yes, I am so cool, so very much cooler than you, man, the world is certainly lucky that GE Smith has consented to grace it with his stunning presence.” It just makes you want to run his nuts through a garlic press.
AND THEN GOLDENROD STOLE OUR MINDS. I am not even sure how he did it. He got out some instrument and the harmonics were just so that it played right inside my brain. It hurt, it burned, but it wasn’t until I woke up this morning bloody and sore with vague dreams of offering cash, valuables, and all my orifices to a Goldenrod god that I suspected that I had become a rock and roll zombie under the control of an evil mastermind. Brad and I had some sense of our impending doom because we scampered out right after that, holding our crania and howling in pain. I had been sticking around, hoping they would play “Rich Girl” but we were at our breaking point.

HALL (and that guy, what’s his name? oh yeah Oates) ONE, Brad and Cherry ZERO

I woke up

Way too early,  at 7:15 am, having had one of my dreams where I dream in words only, no images. This time the words were more coherent than usual and I found myself playing with them and and rearranging them and at some point became conscious realizing that I was in fact writing, but with no clear line delimiting when I had become conscious. When I realized this, I realized I had had an earlier dream that had images too, and had car crashes and large houses and people laughing in it, but I tossed that dream out of my mind so that I could have this other dream, which seems rooted in my intense need to always be interesting and in the fact that I recently bought a “wiggle dress,” which, when I wear it, I lovingly call  “an Incitement to Rape.”And of course in the fact that I have been reading way too much Donald Barthelme lately.

Here is my dream:

“You are interesting,” she said. She spoke with great depth of conviction. She was wearing a dress which was an Incitement to Rape.

He wanted to share her conviction. He wanted to swim down to the depth of her conviction. He took a submarine down into the depth of her conviction, all while contemplating her dress, which was an Incitement to Rape.

It was tight, of course, and the fabric ungiving. If she were pushed down she could not easily get back up. If she had to run, her run would be a laughable, hobbled gait.

He opened his mouth to speak, knowing in the depth of her conviction she was right, knowing that his words would strike the air like a gong and resonate there for hours, but she interrupted, said, “Interestingness is next to godliness.”

Though her words had emerged as clumsily as the hobbled gait with which she could run in the dress that was an Incitement to Rape, she was correct. Interestingness is next to godliness. It approaches godliness. It closes half the distance to godliness with each step, but it never arrives. Satan is interesting and demi-gods are interesting and gods and goddesses are interesting and even Jesus is interesting but God is not. God does not go to parties where he has to be interesting. At the parties God goes to, no women wear dresses which are Incitements to Rape.

He tried again. He rose from his chair. He petuniaed from his chair. He tuliped from his chair and she tuliped back at him, fourlipped back at him, she was all lip, a fact made obvious by the dress, which was an Incitement to Rape.

He rose again and this time moved through the waters of conviction too quickly. He got the bends. He was not up to the pressure. He did not know how to be interesting, how to approach godliness or how to rape. He did not know which bush in the park to wait within. He did not know how to strike the gong.

“Excuse me,” he said. “I see someone I have to talk to.” He strode off toward God, closing exactly half the distance with each step.