Archive for March 2010

I’m So Busted

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There’s a Q and A with me on p.92 of the current issue of Bust magazine. It was written by feminista Shira Tarrant. And here’s the cool thing…the article is right next to a review of Patti Smith’s new memoir Just Kids.

Throughout Some Girls, I reference Patti Smith as a kind of punk fairy godmother figure, so it was outrageously gratifying and kind of woo woo mystical to see the two books written up back to back. There’s no way to avoid it- invoke Patti Smith and some magical shit starts going down.

Do You Ever Feel Like Something Is Missing?

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I may have just found the cure. Scott discovered this page in the Skymall magazine on the airplane and we marveled for about twenty minutes at the Garden Yeti Statue. We particularly like the sentence in the product description that reads, “…our more than two-foot-tall Garden Yeti will have guests doing a double take as they admire your creative home or garden style.” Home?

The Meerkat Gang statue is pretty classy, too. As is the 900$ gold King Tutankhamen’s Egyptian Throne Chair on the adjacent page, but I didn’t scan that one. That would be like finding the perfect little black dress and then telling all of your friends where you got it.

I’m SO Sick Of That Guy Copying Me

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Pretty On The Inside

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I love the post “Pretty Ugly: Can We Please Stop Pretending that Beautiful Women Aren’t Beautiful?” at Feministing.com. The author coins the verb “Liz Lemoning” to describe the act of perpetuating the media illusion that people like Tina Fey in 30 Rock are not attractive. Scott and I have had a running commentary about this phenomenon for years. Every time we see an Ugly Betty billboard we inevitably launch into…

Wow, she’s ugly. I mean she’s wearing glasses. And braces.
I know, and fat, too. What is she like, a size 8?

It reminds me of a conversation I heard once with Matthew Weiner, the creator of Madmen. He was talking about the importance of the characters within the world of the show actually acknowledging the total gorgeousness of Don and Betty Draper, rather than pretending it doesn’t exist. Like, oh, every neighbor you have looks like that.

Last night I spoke about Some Girls to a group of journalism students at NYU. They were a bright and incisive bunch and they asked a couple of really difficult questions. It’s interesting to me that the stickiest part of the evening wasn’t their questions about sexually transmitted diseases or even about my strained relationship with my family as a result of this book’s imminent release. Rather, the most uncomfortable moment for me came when I was talking about the real narrative drive of the book being my struggle to love myself. I told them that I felt confident saying that I’m a beautiful woman today.

As I was saying it, I realized that, in fact, at that moment I didn’t feel at all confident of that fact. Self-acceptance remains an ongoing struggle in my life and it helps me to read articulate arguments like this one about media messages regarding things like what it means to be ugly.

I’m in the air between NY and LA now, finally heading home to my little man, whom I can always count on to find me beautiful.

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Tariku’s Dream Easter Basket

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Who made these cookies?!?! Why aren’t they my friend?

Chelsea Morning

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So I thought I’d treat myself to a hotel room because staying with friends wouldn’t exactly give me that alone time I’ve been craving. I think I’ve been a bit spoiled by the rock life, because I sort of feel like I’m in the youth hostel I stayed at once in London- the hostel in which I met a soon-to-be good friend by stepping on her head in the middle of the night because the top bunk was so sweltering that she had moved to the floor to sleep. At least here I have my own bathroom.

But the people are nice and the coffee is strong and I have to get out of here anyway because I promised Scott that I wouldn’t spend the entire day at the computer. I know that I’ve been working too hard when my husband actually encourages me to get out and go shopping.

It’s raining the kind of rain you can barely see unless you look at the drops sending ripples through the puddles. The kids in the preschool across the courtyard are making me lonesome for T. But off I go- into the rain. My plan is to visit my friend Shin at her store Lingo (my fave in all of NY) and then maybe find a cafe to have lunch. Then it’s off to NYU to speak to a group of journalism students.

Maybe I’ll step on someone’s head and make a new friend on my way out the door.

The Waiting Game

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I’m at LAX alone right now, on my way to NY to do some press for Some Girls. I’ll only be gone for two nights, but it’s the first time I’ll be spending the night apart from T. I nearly sobbed when the car pulled away from the curb, but I have to admit that it felt like taking a giant deep breath just to pass by the Hudson News stand and not have to negotiate the store with a stroller, a carry-on and a baby screaming for yet another airplane toy to inevitably chuck across the aisle. The prospect of actually watching a movie on the plane or, gasp, reading my book, seems like such a luxury.

At the same time, I have the urge to talk to every mother here with a knit brow and an Ergo baby carrier. I’m you, I want to say. I feel your pain. I’ve done it a million times.

I feel guilty that I’m so unencumbered. Or maybe it’s not guilt. Maybe it’s the fact that I feel a little lost in this transitional airport space without my family around me. As if I’m missing a big piece of my public identity. I’m proud of being a mother who has learned to negotiate difficult situations like air travel with a modicum of grace. And yet- my book awaits me. And an hour of time before boarding. An hour. A glorious hour.

This is what motherhood has been like for me. There’s never enough time in a day to spend with my son, never enough time to write, never enough time for Scott and never enough time alone. I’m trying to learn to cherish each moment of the not-enough-time I do have.

It Was Miss Scarlet With A Goat Horn

The night I modeled for JJ Villard he was being interviewed by Miss Scarlet in The Parlor. If you’re in the mood to see some taxidermy, life drawing, red tights and a tour of JJ’s fridge, this video is for you.

If you’re pressed for time, this photo really says it all…

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The Three Faces Of Eve

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These three pictures were taken in the course of 24 hours. The first was taken by the artist JJ Villard. JJ has a show opening at Ghettogloss Gallery on April 23rd. I’ll be throwing a party there for the launch of Some Girls and we thought it would be fun to collaborate. I think that the pictures JJ shot of me kind of look like an American Apparel ad as envisioned by Wes Craven.

The next two were taken by my friend Alison Dyer. I think the one in our white Ethiopian garb makes us look like a groovy cult family from the sixties. You know, in the happy days of the cult- before it goes sour and the feds move in.

The disparity of my many roles often strikes me as comical. Maybe all working mothers feel that way, but probably not all of them get to pose wearing vampire teeth quite as often as I do. And that’s not even mentioning the daggers and the goats’ heads. I had to leave some surprises for JJ to reveal…

I’ll be posting details about the launch party and the rest of my tour dates soon. Just over a month to go! I’m not sure whether to do a jig of glee or barf from anxiety.

In Case You Were Jonesing For The Birthday Song…

I think it’s a requirement for existence or something to have a video like this shoved somewhere into a dusty corner of your garage. I expect this one to be excavated when they’re producing Tariku Shriner: Behind the Music.

Nothing is as interesting as watching someone else’s kid getting the Birthday Song sung to them, right? View Tariku’s moment in the sun right here, folks. Not once but twice! If you watch it through to the end, there’s the added payoff of mommy getting socked in the face.

Mile High Club

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Fashion magazine just named Some Girls one of six great airplane reads. I once had a friend in an awesome band who, when I admitted that I cleaned my house to her album, said, “That’s so great. I always wanted to write an album that people cleaned their house to.” In the same vein, I always wanted to write a book that people would read on an airplane. So I’m psyched.

And My Promise?

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I know I’m always about two weeks late to comment on anything topical, but that’s about my pace right now. My saintly husband took T on a walk this morning and I actually sat down with my coffee and read the February 15 issue of The New Yorker. “The Promise” moved me to tears and prompted a moment of unpleasant self-examination. I looked at the 1965 photograph of the marchers in Selma, arms locked, and I wondered- would I have been there?

By this I don’t mean to ask if I would have supported The Civil Rights Movement, because on that question I feel I know myself and I know my heart. But rather, would I have taken time out from my demanding life and stood with the marchers? Or would I have said- no, I have an interview with German Cosmo today. I’ve worked so hard for this moment in my career and I just can’t let it slip by. No, I have to take T to Traveltown. No, I have a mountain of paperwork on my desk and 300 emails in my inbox and I just can’t make it, but I’ll buy the t-shirt for the cause and wear it when I shop at Whole Foods.

Every time my family sits down to eat a meal, we’re living the fulfillment of the dream these activists had forty years ago. So what promise can I now make to my son for the betterment of the world in which he’s growing up? And how can I work toward the fulfillment of that promise? Now. Today. With 300 emails in my inbox and a demanding career toward which I’ve worked so hard and a family for which I’ve waited so long. I don’t have the answer. But I’m letting the question be my prayer.

A Good Long Whipping

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Two very different books by two equally rad women came out today and I’m so looking forward to running out to buy both of them: Sonya Chung’s novel, Long For This World, and Melissa Febos’ memoir, Whip Smart

As a side note, the talented Miss Melissa will be appearing in conversation with me at Powerhouse Books in Brooklyn on May 4. My plan is to convince her to dye her hair blonde so we can do a rousing rendition of “Two Little Girls from Little Rock.” Go to her facebook page and leave tons of harassing wall posts to help her see my point of view. It’s just a little peroxide…

More Some Girls tour dates coming soon.

O-o-h Child

My friend Robert Morgan Fisher sent me this old Soul Train video today and let me know that the female singer is Ethiopian. I clicked on the link late at night- exhausted, anxious, tragedy in Chile on my mind at the same time as all my petty concerns, which concern me nonetheless. The song brightened the room for a moment, so I thought I’d share.

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