Tour Day 10: The Family that Rocks Together…


I love this picture because in Scott’s glasses you can see the reflection on the sky as seen through the bus window. My boys love to sit together and look at the sky.

35,000 fans showed up for yesterday’s show in Columbia, MD. The free Virgin Mobile Festival was held at Frank Gehry’s soaring Merriweather Post Pavilion, though I didn’t get much time to admire the architecture because I was too busy trying to keep Tariku from eating smooshed french fries out of the dirt and playing with used beer cups.

I was looking forward to this tour date, because my cousin Andrew actually organized the whole festival. Andrew is one of my fave relatives, though his wife Maria gives me a complex. She’s an MD who does research into women’s public health policy, while looking and dressing like a supermodel. I have a friend who was attacked in New York and woke up in the emergency room at Bellevue looking at Maria’s face. He told me that he seriously thought he was looking at an angel. Barf. I wish I had a picture to share, but T blew by everyone so fast I barely had time to give my family a hug. He made a mad dash for the barricades and I spent the next three hours chasing him while he romanced teenage girls. He likes to charm the ladies by pointing out airplanes, then he leans in and tries to bite their thighs.


We did catch Richard Branson’s parachuting escapade, which was impressive. We also got to spend some time with my old friends writer Shawna Kenney and guitarist/hubby Rich Dollinger, the self-titled baby roadies for the day. On most days they’re stars in their own right.

We missed the Public Enemy show, but T had his ‘fro tousled by Flavor Flav on Flav’s way off stage. In his short almost-18 months on earth, T has had his ‘fro tousled by Sir Paul McCartney, Brian Wilson, Flavor Flav, Jeff Lynne, the Blink guys and all the members of the Weez, of course. That’s a lot of icons to have up in your hair.


My photographs are suffering terribly as a result of my mom duties. My iphone is all I can handle most of the time. At my friend Danica’s suggestion, I got this toy camera application, which puts random filters on pictures. Cute, right?

Matter and Energy


My husband and I were early for dinner plans in Chelsea and it started to rain. We spotted an intriguing storefront across 10th Avenue between 21st and 22nd and made a dash for the doorway. The sign outside read ?Printed Matter,? but at first glance I couldn?t tell if it was a bookstore or an art gallery or an obsessive shrine to a band I?d never heard of called Destroy All Monsters. Turns out it was a bit of all of those things.


Printed Matter is a non-profit dedicated to the promotion of publications made by artists. Their website states that they ?foreground the book as an alternative venue ? or artistic medium- for artists? projects and ideas.? The friendly clerk (don?t be put off by the fact that he’s cooler than you, he’ll still take pity on you and answer your questions) told me that there is an open submissions policy. Anyone can submit their book, whereupon a committee decides if they consider it an art book or not and whether it will join the mind-boggling collection of thousands of art books on Printed Matter?s shelves.

I picked up book after surprising book by artists I hadn?t heard of, including a minimalist poet, a Dada-inspired mail artist and a lesbian collective who paper neighborhoods with posters full of provocative self-identifiers. I opened a couple of the books and had that odd experience of seeing an image reproduced from a dream I just had, or of reading a line of poetry that echoed the exact sentiment running through my brain on the subway ride downtown.

For example, I had been walking through New York for days thinking that I kept seeing people I knew. As if parallel universe doppelgangers of my eighty-four year old neighbor and my old boss and my first boyfriend were all hanging around in Central Park. Then I happened upon a book in Printed Matter called New York: Everything Reminds Me of Something, a book of photographs by Sissa Marquardt and Markus Schmolz. It?s a gorgeous little gem that I decided to add to the weight of my suitcase.

The other serendipitous aspect of my browsing experience involves the psychotic shrine I mentioned, which is actually an art installation called Hungry for Death. It showcases the work of the band Destroy All Monsters, a Michigan collective consisting of Cary Loren, Niagra, Jim Shaw and Mike Kelley among others. I happen to live two houses away from the warehouse that serves as Mike Kelley?s studio. We bought the DVD of his film Day is Done.


As I was purchasing my treasures, I admired a little round book bound all the way around with a spiral binding. It was entitled Boundless, which is a good word to describe Printed Matter as well.

Green is Cool and Quiet-Like


I’m inspired by Margaret Atwood’s attempts to stay environmentally conscious during the book tour for her new book The Year of the Flood. I’m following her blog about her efforts and hope to mirror them to some extent.

I left a comment on her blog, attempting to turn her on to Mt. Hagen instant organic coffee. It’s a road necessity. We’re obsessed with it. We even started drinking it at home. I’m expecting an email from her any day…

Dear Jillian,

Thanks so much for your coffee suggestion. You are clearly a brilliant and fascinating individual. Perhaps you’d like to join me for a cup when I pass through in Los Angeles, during which time we can trade all kinds of environmentally friendly touring tips.

Your new best friend,

In preparation for my imminent meeting with the great Ms. Atwood, I’m on a crusade to get everyone around here drinking out of aluminum water bottles. Scott and I drink tap water rather than waste a billion little plastic bottles every night. Yes, tap water. The baby drinks it, too. And we bring our own shopping totes. They have the cutest little Weezer totes this tour. I swiped one for myself last night.

Tour Day 7: We Heart New York


This used to be my town, but leave New York and it leaves you behind so quickly. I don’t know what restaurants to go to or where to shop or where the nearest subway stops are anymore. At the end of the day, I prefer my garden and my house and my slow, sunshiney LA life, but I still always feel a sense of longing when I arrive in New York. There’s something about the pace of the sidewalks here that feels like home to me.


I thought that Tariku would probably like it here, but I didn’t quite anticipate the depth of his passion. Our hotel is four blocks from the park and we’ve been spending hours there every afternoon. He pretty much thinks he’s entered paradise on earth. Horsies, buses, airplanes, flowers, swingsets, boats, fountains, the zoo, a giant meadow, hot dogs, street musicians, break dancers, a sketchy guy making giant bubbles with a rope contraption and a bucket of detergent…the list goes on. Each of these delights could alone fill an entire afternoon. But a place with all of them? I’m sure he wonders why I’ve been holding out on him for so long.


We’re not going to all of the New York area shows because the drives are a little long for T without a bus. I’m also scrambling to get some work done in a town where I know people and I can get a babysitter for a couple of hours. After we get on the bus on Sunday, writing is going to be a whole new kind of challenge. But we had a fab time at the PNC Bank Center show last night. Jersey is my home state, so Grandma and Grandpa came to the show. They were definitely the only senior citizens sitting in the first ten rows, but they’re old pros at this now. My mother actually called afterwards to offer some lighting suggestions.

I didn’t get great pictures. Try taking pictures while keeping a squirming baby from ripping off his headphones. I did get this one from the dressing room…


Current tour reading selection:

The time demands of motherhood have made me a greater short story enthusiast. In my spare moments, I’m reading Mary Gaitskill’s Don’t Cry. I feel about her work the way Tariku feels about Central Park.

Tour Day 3: Toronto Trauma


Toronto is all shiny silver beams and wide blue sky. It feels modern and wind-blown and clean. And I knew that it’s supposed to be so international and all that, but I was still surprised when nearly every single person with whom we came into contact had a different foreign accent. We met some lovely Jamaican vegans at an outdoor market and they fed us the best curried hummus I ever ate. We also met people from Australia, Russia, Romania, England, Thailand and Kenya.

Another Canadian curiosity (and I say this as a rabid devotee of Paris): super-friendly people with French accents. Brian lost his phone on the plane and they RETURNED it, to our HOTEL. Merci, indeed.


We were in Toronto for a few days, so Scott and T-Bone and I got to do some sightseeing. We wandered the harbourfront and caught a couple of songs by a world-beat kind of band. T danced a little bit, but really, all he wanted to do was watch the airplanes take off over the water. His is a world of airplanes. It doesn’t matter where we are or what we’re doing.

Q: Tariku, do you see that boat?
A: AIRPLANE!!! (insert airplane noise and point at the sky)
Q: Tariku, do you see that horsie?
A: AIRPLANE!!! (you know what to do)

By the time we showed up at the CN tower, the line was an hour long. So Scott and T ate hotdogs, then Scott left for rehearsal and T and I cruised Queen Street by ourselves for a couple of hours. In between the hand-painted clothing boutique and the record shop, we met the friendliest nun, wearing the whole old-school penguin habit. That’s like saying I went down to Melrose and met a nun. Anyway, I was glad that T seems to like just walking around and people watching as much as I do. T is outrageously popular with the ladies, nuns and all. For a small fee, I’m willing to loan him out for walks to any single male friends who are looking for a date.


Then we got in the van and went to the show. Ah, the rock show. T has been to them before and loved them, so I wasn’t anticipating any trouble. I anticipated wrong. He was fine for the first hour or so. All the Blink guys have their kids along, so there’s a big play room set up at the venues. I met Mark’s smoking hot wife and their son and then…

(a side note – I think I’m going to have to bust out some serious shoes if I’m going to keep up with these ladies)

.. and then T was playing with the other kids and having a good ol’ time, when suddenly things went south. Way south. Like three hours of uninterrupted hysterics kind of south.

I did everything. I walked him around the parking lot. I brought him to listen to the music. I took him away from the music. I tried to feed him. I tried to give him milk. I gave him homeopathics. I busted out the big Orajel and Motrin guns. I sang to him. Concerned security guards were bringing us stuffed Toronto Bluejays bears and glow-in-the-dark yo-yos. I abandoned ship and took him back to the hotel. Still he screamed like someone was ripping his toenails out.

We still don’t know if it was his teeth or if, in fact, his toenail was getting ripped out. He has one toenail that’s falling off after a particularly nasty stub, and it might have gotten wedged wrong in his sandal. That’s my best guess. Though I would have thought he would have least been pointing at his toe, if that was the case. He finally exhausted himself and went to sleep. I was traumatized. Though he woke up just fine and very excited to go to the airport and see the AIRPLANES.

I hear the show went great. I have a tradition of taking a picture of the outside of every venue we’re at, so at least I got this one picture.