03 January, 2010

time waits for no woman

i couldnt sleep last night. not because of being in a new place, or even the clatter of the F tracks outside my window, no, i couldnt sleep because i was reading "zeitoun" until the wee hours. I Could Not Put It Down. a gift, that book is. i mean, we all know whats gonna happen. a hurricane is coming, then a devastating flood. so what could be the hook? real lives painted in hyper color. i wish someone could take my day to day and go beyond reporting to commentating, contextualizing, and in short, elevating to literature, the daily sentences of life.

it made sense then to start my day at the strand in manhatten. as i was wandering about, i spotted a celebrity or two, including gretchen phillips, the punk-rock queere-core legende. after perusing the stacks a little more ( i bought nothing, she art books and the autobiography of helen keller), we decided to get some lunch.

a short hop away was souen, macrobiotic and beautiful asian food. i'd been there before, but didnt realize until i walked in the door and saw the split level layout. i love their grain coffee, a chicory and root combo that lives somewhere between coffee and tea. it reminded me of the tea that the spaceship heart of gold tries to make for arthur dent in the hitchhikers guide. something "very like" coffee, but not quite.

i ordered "boxB" which was full of rice balls, pickles, seaweed, and salmon in ginger. i forgot to take a picture i was so hungry. halfway through, i remembered i was trying to blog about my week. document, erin, document!

thus here is a picture of gretchen with two important pieces of trash we spotted. there is a pun in here somewhere. how about a newyorker style caption contest?

i was hoping to walk the highline, the new elevated park that just opened above 10th ave. but if you were in NYC today, you know that would have been downright stupid. it's so cold here, it's dangerous. mind you, not chicagojanuarycold (which is the coldest i have ever experienced, colder than my alaskan trips), but very very close. fuck you windy cold air.

back in brooklyn, i ate dinner with my friend dame-o at flatbush farm. is this a relation of the farm on adderly? dam-o and i shared a salad with bacon then the ricotta gnocchi. my mom is straight up italian (parents born in italy) so i grew up knowing the proper way to say "gnocchi". it's not quite a silent "g", it's like youre still thinking of the "g" but dont need to say it.

i could have eaten myself silly and sat at the bar all night, but dam-o and i had other plans. we headed down flatbush to BAM to see my friend todd sickafoose's band. todd names his band based on his current album, so tonight, it was "tiny resistors".

i've known todd for a long time, and played with him alot. he's been a big part of my creative process- somehow being around and part of the writing of some of my best music. he plays on "sing you sinners", "lafayette", and he produced my sideproject, "emma". we also see eachother alot because he's been ani difranco's right-hand guy for years now.

the show was free and in the upstairs BAM Cafe space. i'd been to another show there a couple years ago, and the room was just as gorgeous as i remembered. an open industrial space, it's made more cozy by metal arches lined with thousands of tiny lights. the effect is something like a giant tin can with pinholes, or more elegantly, like a million little stars twinkling overhead.

todd always plays with an 8 piece ensemble. my brother erik deutsch was on the piano, and my good friend adam levy played guitar. last time i saw adam was on my tour with jill sobule. adam showed up just in time at our chicago show to jump onstage and kill on "survivor".

my favorite thing about todd's music is that it is open. i never think of form when i listen. i am not hearing a "head" or an "A section" or a "B section", i am simply hearing a sound that gets thinner or fatter, louder or softer, subdivided or elongated, depending. there is plenty of room for players to put their own personality into it, but no one voice ever dominates.

tonight, todd's music felt brawny to me. i heard something muscular and fierce in it that i have never heard before. like a big timber being heaved onto strong, thick shoulders and carried easily. i knew all the songs, but never felt like i had heard them before. it was entirely fresh to my ears. i closed my eyes a few times and thought of what i would play if i could join them. but, mostly i just swayed in my seat and took it all in.


  1. I had no idea who Gretchen Phillips was - and then I Googled her and was giggle-y surprised to find I Spent My Last $10 on Birth Control & Beer. My summer camp counselor - when I was 12 - gave me a mix tape with that song on it. Perhaps *slightly* inappropriate in terms of content as a gift to a 12 year old, but I was hooked.

    That and Lucy Blue Tremblay's Two Lives - my first queer music.

  2. i was in a dave eggers phase when you played the show in portland-had just finished the wild things actually. it's another beautiful book by him. zeitoun is incredible, is it not? what is the what i didn't enjoy as much..

  3. is Gretchen wearing a tin foil hat? i mean, i wouldn't be surprised, but thought i would check.

    also, i was only a new yorker for a few short months, but one of my fav bars was galapagos. always good things going on, and a great space to boot.

  4. Chicago in January IS the coldest ever. I'd never before and have never again had my glasses completely ice over. The icy, windy trek to that whole in the basement Italian place was definitely worth it though.