Archive for September 2009

A Wife’s-Eye View

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The guys saw the tour out with a hometown show at Irvine Meadows. We watched from the side of the stage and Tariku picked up a classic move from the folks in the front row. He’s now pumping his fist with the best of ‘em. He had extra time to practice, as we stayed to watch Blink’s first few songs. By that time, people were giving me the I-can’t-believe-you-have-your-baby-out-after-10pm stink eye. But they don’t know my baby. He was thrilled to party all night then sleep in until 9, splayed out across the pillows with a bottle still clutched in his hand and a dog on either side of him.

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Here’s a pic of the gang backstage. That’s me, T, the very lovely Nicole Amdurer (Josh’s babymama and soon-to-be bride- someone finally told those nice kids that they were living in sin), Josh Freese, and Jen and Pat Wilson. The best part of the evening was seeing Jen out and about, crowned with soft, blond hair and facing her very last radiation treatment the next day. I feel privileged to have been a part of her life over the past year as she kicked the ass of some really awful breast cancer. I learned a lot from her about honesty and courage and how being the perfect mother doesn’t mean always being perfect.

Sayonara, tour. Next stop….. is a secret. The new album comes out in October.

The Dead Speak

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I really like the remembrance of Jim Carroll printed at The Millions. It echoes many of my sentiments.

Jim Carroll was quoted as saying: “Conscience is no more than the dead speaking to us.” I don’t doubt I’ll hear him speak to me at times. His voice will be the pang of conscience I feel as I recall the ideals I held when my romance with New York and with poetry itself was still new.

Safe travels.

Don’t Wear High Heels on a Soggy Lawn

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When the inimitable Dolly Parton gave the above-mentioned advice, she was no doubt on tour in San Francisco. I don’t have any pictures from the Mountain View show because I was busy stumbling after the baby while wearing- you guessed it- high heels on a soggy lawn. Or more like a slippery backstage deck area. But there is something gorgeous about rock in a rainstorm. Seen from backstage, the rain catches the stage lights and intermingles with the smoke amidst an amphitheater full of undaunted fans in ponchos and it feels like something extraordinary. Which it always is, really, but sometimes it’s easy to forget how lucky I am to regularly witness the transformative potential of live music. My friend Gina (wife of Bad Religion’s Brett Gurewitz) once told me that she always feels fortunate to live in rock-wife liminality- not exactly an audience member but not a performer either. My friend Danica was in the audience and now has a massive crush on Rivers, which probably would have happened anyway, but I think there was a little extra magic in that rain.

The guys still have the San Diego and Irvine shows left to do, but writing this from my desk at home, I feel like the hard part is over. And the hard part got pretty hard for a minute there. I skipped the Seattle show due to a raging migraine and schlepped all of our stuff through the airport the next day wearing sunglasses and barfing in trash cans (which, I suppose, is about as rock as it gets). The worst part was that I missed seeing our friends, but you can read about the show (and more about Ethiopian adoption, if you’re interested) on my friend Karin’s blog.

Things soon looked up, though. Our hotel room in SF was awesome, to the point that upon entering I felt it was necessary to grab Tariku and jump on the bed for a few minutes while laughing diabolically. Tariku ran laps around the Yerba Buena Gardens all evening while I tried in vain to convince him to go see the vogueing competition at the neighboring Center for the Arts. He was totally uninterested in the men walking by in glittery drag, preferring the eternally captivating delights of shuffling through dry leaves.

The next day I met up with my SF gal pals, one of whom happens to be the manager of exquisite corset shop Dark Garden. I used my iphone to bribe Tariku into compliance while Andrea fitted me with a gorgeous corset, coming soon to a Halloween celebration near you…

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Then I was forced to hock my grandmother’s diamond ring for three pieces of chocolate at Miette, the most decadent candy shop I’ve ever seen. Doesn’t that look like a retro drug scale (not that I’d know)?

All told, the Shriners had a blast on tour, but I’ve never before been quite this happy to see Los Angeles soil.

Tariku said goodbye to tour with his heartfelt all-purpose word (kind of the Tariku equivalent of shalom)…

AIRPLANE!!!

Tour Truants

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We had a few days off before the Seattle show, so we decided to try to get away from it all and rent a house out on Bainbridge Island.

Here is what I learned:

1. Bainbridge Island is quaint and lovely and has a charming indie bookstore.
2. It is wonderful to sleep with the sound of waves breaking right outside your bedroom window.
3. There is no such thing as “getting away from it all” when you have an eighteen-month-old in tow.

I believe I expressed this sentiment in a less articulate way last night. It went something like the following (imagine this punctuated with desperate sobs): I am NOT going ANYWHERE EVER AGAIN. When we get home, I am staying there FOREVER.

What happened to your circus gal, your Gypsy pal? She was felled by a migraine and a wee lad. All I can say is that he’s small but he’s cunning.

I think the highlight of our island excursion was actually the ferry ride over. Bainbridge Island is about 35 minutes from downtown Seattle by ferry. It was T’s first time on a boat and it was so great to watch him screaming with delight and running headlong into the crazy wind. Here he is posing as the new Adam for the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.

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In-between bouts of panic and dread, I did take a moment or two to enjoy the clean sea air, the lush evergreens all around and the views of snow-covered Mt. Ranier from the beach outside our pad.

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We also went to visit a little Norweigian-themed town called Poulsbo- kind of the Pacific Northwest’s equivalent to our Solvang. It was cute and touristy and had lots of viking dolls and lingonberry jam. I dubbed it “Little Ikea.” Here is the window of the town pirate store. Every town should have one.

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And for those of you who saw the Vanity Fair blog I wrote from Japan, you’ll appreciate that I was somehow hypnotized into buying yet another faux-fur Doctor Zhivago hat. That one was grey and this one is off-white and brown, so they’re apples and oranges, really. Plus, it was made by a local artist and was called a muffette or a muffalette or something, so I had to buy it.

I have no pictures of it, since its purchase preceded a rather unpleasant exchange. Why don’t men understand that an LA girl simply can’t have enough faux-fur cossack hats?

Tour Day 16: Denver Slowly

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Tariku woke me at 6AM and I blearily bundled him off to the back of the bus so he wouldn’t wake anyone else. Unsure of what time it was, but sure it was pretty fucking early, I lifted the shades to smudges of clouds the color of orange creamsicles and the full moon still hanging over a little white farmhouse. Fields of sunflowers turned their expectant faces to the horizon.

That kind of sunrise is God’s gift to farmers and baristas and mothers of wakeful babies.

Later we cruised the Cherry Creek Farmer’s Market in the parking lot across from the hotel. Visiting farmer’s markets is one of my favorite things to do in cities not my own. I met a fellow crafter named Tyler Larsen who makes adorable onesies under the name Baby Lux Designs. She turned me on to Craft Hope, an organization that shares handmade crafts with those less fortunate. Tyler donated a hand crafted sock monkey. The question is, is there anyone out there who would actually want one of my many ambitious-but-often-ugly scarves?

Which leads me to why I craft. And why I shut myself in the back of the bus and just look out the window while the insomniacs in the front of the bus compulsively scan Craig’s List. I love knitting my lopsided baby blankets because it’s a slow process. The Slow Movement is a really interesting website that addresses issues of “time poverty” and supports a “growing global shift toward slowing down.” She says as she blogs.

Unrelated (or maybe not): here is a picture of Tariku on a giant waffle in the Cherry Creek mall. If you think that’s gross, you should have seen the sausages.

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Tour Day ???: Kansas City… Babies, Buses and Boobies

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It’s reached that time of the tour when I no longer know the date, the day of the week, or how many days we’ve been on the road. The tour has become its own little universe and all I know is how many hours are left on the bus before we reach the next stop.

Kansas City was rainy and chaotic, but the friends abounded and the rock was epic and the guys got treated to some impressive booby-flashing while they were on stage, so we can safely say that Kansas City had a little something for everyone.

T had a tour bus reunion with his friend Ezra from the care center in Ethiopia. This will make the third family that we’ve been able to reconnect with in the eight months since we’ve been home. I can’t adequately express how moving it is to see these kids grow and thrive. This little guy was the youngest and the smallest of the babies from our travel group and I carry a vivid memory of his face as we said goodbye to him at the airport. Then, his face was all scared, huge eyes. Now, it’s all chubby cheeks and laughter. I’m proud to say that Weezer was his first rock show. He fell asleep.

Cleveland Rocks

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We had a couple of unplanned days off in Cleveland and spent one of them at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with Grandma and Grandpa, who drove in from Toledo. It was more interesting than I expected. I wanted to take every fabulous costume home with me. Tariku was running around and dancing to the music and having a grand ole time, but he was making the security guards a little bit nervous and a few started following us from room to room.

Their vigilance was justified. Tariku turned suddenly, ran under the ropes and made a wild attempt to play John Lennon’s piano. I (with admitted reluctance) pried his little fingers off the ivories while Scott explained to the security guards that we’d leave peacefully and there was no need to 86 us.

Yes, we got kicked out of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. But not before we took this picture with the Weezer W.

I told Tariku we’d be back and they’d be begging him to play that piano.

Just you wait.

Tour Day 11: Saratoga Springs

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Woke bleary and disoriented on a bus parked in Saratoga Spa State Park. T is teething again and, in spite of my efforts to keep him on rock time, he woke at 7. We took a family walk around the golf course and then had our first experience of getting the baby showered and dressed at the venue. Before I left for tour, I coincidentally read and loved Water for Elephants, which is set in a depression-era circus. I’m a sucker for anything circus, so I romanticize the whole “went to bed in Minneapolis, woke up in PA” aspect of touring. I imagine us a little circus family, and it makes an adventure out of holding the baby aloft under the shower so we don’t have to actually set him down on the shower floor, only to have him rolling around naked in dressing room dust piles five minutes later. So what if he’s a little dust mop. That’s show biz.

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We took the trolley into town and cruised around all the preppy shops featuring high-drama hats for attending the races. You have to love that there’s place that women still wear elaborate hats. But can I please say that preppies make crappy paninis?

The big news of the night was that Travis left to attend DJ AM’s funeral, and he won’t fly (can you blame the guy?) so he’s going to be gone for a few days. A few show days. Including Saratoga Springs. True to the circus theme, the guys decided that the show must go on. So Weezer headlined the show and even though they offered people their money back, nearly everyone stayed. Weezer added four songs to their set and they killed it.

The Cleveland and St. Louis shows are canceled, so now we’ve got a few days off in Scott’s home state.