Archive for April 2010

Carpe Diem

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Some Girls: My Life in a Harem is available in stores today. Thanks for the fantastic support and thanks to all of you who came out to the Festival of Books- it was really a thrill for me.

I plan to take a break today and go down to Vroman’s to visit my book. Except that it’s not really my book anymore; it’s your book now.

A Site Named After My Own Heart

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An excerpt from Some Girls is up at The Nervous Breakdown today. There’s also a self-interview. I didn’t realize how awesome the idea of a self-interview was until I had done my umpteenth interview in which the questions didn’t go much further than what the girls in Prince Jefri’s harem ate for breakfast and if I still have all of those Armani gowns.

Also, I did my first signing yesterday, at the LA Times Festival of Books. The biggest thrill for me was signing books to people who didn’t know me at all, people who had wandered by and thought the book looked interesting. Another thrill was finally meeting fellow Plume author Julie Klausner. Her memoir, I Don’t Care About Your Band, is hysterical. That’s us in the above picture, along with Rachel Kramer Bussel.

I’ll be schlepping back across town today to catch the “Writing about Sex” panel with Rachel Resnick, Stephen Elliott, Rachel Kramer Bussel and John Freeman. Rachel Kramer Bussel is a Renaissance gal who not only writes about sex, she also writes about cupcakes. I’ll be bringing her some red velvets from my local fave breakfast spot, Auntie Em’s, in an attempt to convince her that they’re the best cupcakes in LA.

And for all you Glendale Galleria-goers…yes, that’s a Bumpit in my hair.

No Comment

Taffy Brodesser-Akner has an interesting piece in the Times today about nasty comments she received on a piece she wrote about her experience with Postpartum Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. I found it pertinent, considering the fact that the comments about Gendy Alimurung’s piece on Some Girls in the LA Weekly were so incendiary they got their whole own post, The Vagina Dialogues.

In an earlier post, I poked fun at myself for feeling a wee bit thin skinned during my virgin voyage into internet viciousness. I’ve actually come to a place now in which I welcome the dialogue. It just took a minute to adjust to this huge transition, in which I’ve effectively entirely traded in my privacy. I’m not complaining, it was a choice I made consciously. But it has catalyzed a sea change in my relationship with the world around me.

I skimmed Taffy’s comments to see how her experiment in engaging with the commenters was going, but I had to stop when I got to the misogynistic comment basically equating the value of any “personal” articles about “pregnancy or post-partum whatever” with that of the Youtube video of a cat playing the piano.

It saddened me, to tell you the truth. I don’t have the stomach for that shit this early in the morning. I’m going to go cleanse my palate and do something soul-enriching, like watching that live webcam of the squirrels eating in weird obsessive dioramas. I’ve included a slideshow above, if you’d care to join me.

Be The First On Your Block

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Can’t wait until the April 27th release date of Some Girls? I’ll be signing copies at The LA Times Festival of Books this weekend. I’ll be with Tony DuShane at the Book Soup booth on Saturday at 5pm (booth 330 in zone C). Come by and see me. Tariku will be there tossing books at the heads of passers by.

Also, at 8:30 AM on Thursday, you can hear me do a heavily caffeinated interview on The Peter Tilden Morning Show. It’ll be streaming live at www.kabc.com.

Watch Where You’re Going With That Pitchfork

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So here’s the sad truth- when people call me a fat, middle-aged, opportunistic, talentless, skank, it sometimes HURTS MY FEELINGS! Sniffle, sniffle. Whine. Eat. Call for emergency botox touch-up. And for some reason, the self-hater within would much prefer to dwell on the negative rantings of people who in other times would be holding pitchforks and waiting with a match at every witch burning within a donkey-ride of their village, than on the much larger list of the supportive comments of people who have told me that they’re inspired by my honesty. But I’m trying, I really am, to go where the love is.

Thank Goddess for the “Block this Asshole” option on Facebook.

Being theoretically prepared for the release of my memoir is different from the reality of having my guts spilling out of those little box thingys that hold the free newspapers all over town. This is shaping up to be quite a ride.

A porn star/author friend of mine told me to hold my head up and dare them to think poorly of me. And she should know.

One week until the book is released. Here we go…

We Are The Truth

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Every night lately I lie in bed next to T as he’s falling asleep and I think of my friend who is in the middle of a Russian adoption right now. Just recently I got an email from her in which she sent a picture of her little girl and told me that she was with her family in Russia and that they were having a wild week, crossing frozen rivers by car, flying in forty-year old propeller planes and finally meeting their beautiful new addition, who they hoped would be home with them within a few months.

Many people are coming to me to discuss the story of the little boy who was sent back to Russia alone on an airplane by his adoptive mother, who claimed he had severe psychological problems about which she was misled. I never know quite how to respond to adoption horror stories like this, because I hate feeling obligated to defend my love for my child in the face of the monstrous actions of people who have nothing at all to do with me or my family.

And yet I feel that obligation now, as I mourn for my friend and the fact that her adoption has been interrupted and may even be stopped completely. If not for international adoption, my family would not exist. We are sometimes a happy family and sometimes an exhausted, cranky family. We are sometimes a family screaming with laughter at the beach and sometimes a family miserable at home with the flu. But we are always a family who is blessed with a love that I never knew existed before we got on that plane to Africa.

Adopting an older child or a child who has been institutionalized has its own set of challenges. For specific advice about adoption-oriented attachment issues, I follow Courtney’s blog, “Storing Up Treasures.” She. Has. Ten. Kids. Enough said.

When people come to me talking about this recent fiasco, I’d like to just flyer them with this post: Choosing Love.

When Cupcakes Aren’t Enough

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In case you needed more incentive to come to the Some Girls launch party at Ghettogloss gallery, here are pictures of iconoclasts Venus DeMille and Diamondback Annie, who will be performing clothed in little more than their respective genius.

Lest You Think I Work in Drag Makeup and Veils…

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Here is a picture of me in my brand-spanking-new glasses. Apparently, when you graduate from sex-worker to writer, they issue you a pair of glasses. I think the symbolism has something to do with the fact that theres no way you can wear glasses and hang upside down from a pole at the same time. Above are some examples of the good company I keep…Nina Hartley, Violet Blue and Carol Queen in their standard-issue glasses.

My Modeling Career is FINALLY Taking Off

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I’m finally on the cover of a magazine that you don’t have to be over eighteen to buy. I didn’t mention it until now because I was sure it wasn’t really going to happen, but that’s lil’ ol’ me on the cover of the LA Weekly this week. I thought Gendy Alimurung’s article was kind and perceptive. Matt Hoyle took the luscious photos.

Some Girls Launch Event

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The mostly-complete events list for Some Girls is up on my website now. Please check the tour dates and come see me if I’m in your hood. I’m doing events in LA, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Portland and Austin.

The LA launch event is going to be on April 30, with a reading and author signing at Book Soup followed by a party at Ghettogloss art gallery. The invite with all the details is posted above. Hope to see you there!

Raindrops on Roses

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In the midst of my angst-y afternoon, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite things right now (someone should do a heavy metal cover of that song. Have they?).

Favorite thing #1: Olive oil, orange juice cake. This is the sweetest, simplest tea cake recipe, given to me by the divine Renaissance Mama herself, Jules Blaine Davis. If you haven’t seen her blog yet or taken one of her famous RM cooking classes, treat yourself. She’s given me a whole new perspective on food. She even came to my house and gave my cabinets an extreme makeover, but that’s another blog post entirely.

Favorite thing #2: This beautiful, apple-green glass bowl. It was hand blown by my childhood friend Andrew Weill, who now has a glassblowing studio in Manchester, VT. The picture doesn’t do it justice.

One of the gifts that the imminent publication of Some Girls has given me is the old friends who have been resurfacing. I had a narrative running in my head for a long time, in which I was the sole freaky outcast within twenty miles in any direction of my childhood home. In fact, I’ve since reconnected with old friends who are now, respectively, a filmmaker in India, an English professor with a fondness for Antarctic travel narratives, a glassblower in Vermont…the list goes on. What I’ve found is that I wasn’t as alone as I had remembered myself to be. I guess I can count that as favorite thing #3.

Now back to being stressed…

Book Shmook

Many of your kind emails have been echoing a common sentiment: book shmook, let’s see more pictures of the baby. So here’s a video of T at Zuma Beach. If you’re anyone other that one of my four closest friends, you’ll probably stop watching after the fiftieth time he hurls himself onto the sand. But maybe not. He’s darn cute.

Tariku’s First Magazine Spread

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There’s a Q&A with me on P. 95 of the May issue of Marie Claire and I was thrilled to see a cute pic of the whole fam in there, taken impromptu by our dear friend Karin Calde. The more mysterious photo was taken by Andrea Ferrante and brings back sweet memories of an era of my life when long San Francisco brunches abounded and there was time to do things like spend an afternoon playing dress-up with the gals.

Oh. My. Gotterdammerung.

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There is no way that either Scott or I can afford to take 5 1/2 hours of a Saturday afternoon to go to the opera, but we did it anyway. We threw caution to the wind because Scott loves him a good apocalyptic story and I love me some freaky German art and we both marveled so much at Siegfried (the previous installment of LA Opera’s Ring Cycle) that we couldn’t resist.

If you haven’t seen any of The Ring Cycle at the LA Opera yet, please put on some snazzy shoes (unless you’re 103 years old, I forbid you to wear sneakers) and shell out some deutsche marks for tickets before the opportunity passes- if only to see Linda Watson knock it out of the park as Brunnhilde.

Gotterdammerung means “Twilight of the Gods,” and the opera strikes so many relevant political and socio-cultural chords it could have been written yesterday. To me, unlike Sigfried, Gotterdammerung really goes out to the ladies. The expression of female fury and despair and, ultimately, sacrifice, is searing. I wept shamelessly.

Director Achim Freyer creates a world that is both incredibly trippy and eerily familiar. Not familiar as in your living room- familiar as in the inside of your heart.

What’s It Like To Be You?

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Scott and I went to see Paul McCartney at The Hollywood Bowl on Wednesday night. Here’s a picture of us with our dear friend Brian Ray, Paul’s shredding guitar player.

I’ve seen Paul a few times now, but The Hollywood Bowl always infuses an evening with a little extra starry-night mojo and “The Long and Winding Road” brought a tear to the eye of this hard-hearted old alley cat.

Every time I see Paul take the stage, something catches in my chest. Frankly, I’m not the massive Paul McCartney fan that my bass playing hubby is. Still, I’d really like to sit down with Paul and ask him- What was it like to be at the epicenter of a cultural tectonic shift? What did it feel like to change the world?

I’m sure no one ever asked him that question before.

Then and Now

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Last weekend we went to Austin for a reunion with the families with whom we traveled to Ethiopia. A little over a year ago, we all sat in a big room together and held our babies for the first time. We shared something deeply sacred and extremely hard to explain.

It was a family reunion of sorts. Previous to our trip to Ethiopia, I always had two flavors of family in my life- my given family and my chosen family. But the Ethiopia clan is kind of a third category… they’re a family given to me by fate. We nine families were thrown together by the random luck of our close proximity on a waiting list, but also by the deep commonality of our decision to adopt from Ethiopia. And with this family, as in so many things, I am truly fortunate.

The five families who made it to Austin attempted to recreate the infamous “couch picture.” It was WAY harder with lively and wild toddlers than it was with the dazed infants we placed on a couch in Ethiopia a year ago. All baby wrangling difficulty aside, the cuteness could have just killed me dead.

It was amazing to see all the little peanuts thriving so beautifully. T is going through an annoying, somewhat disturbing and definitely embarrassing phase right now where he tries to make out with every kid he sees and when they don’t respond with quite the same enthusiasm, he pummels them. Living in a house with seven other kids really gave us a chance to practice our public solution-oriented behavior as well as our private head-holding despair.

Still, I’d do it again tomorrow, even with the constant WWF baby smackdown. I miss everyone already.

But what I really learned from our Texas rental ranch was that we don’t have nearly enough taxidermy in our lives here in LA…

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