Saturday, May 31, 2008

A bad day to fall winsomely in love.

-- Long Beach, CA / 10:52pm. --

You wouldn't believe the view here. In this town, at this barstool, next to this merchandise table . . . the view of the bar. They're creating beautiful pints of beer and sexy, only half-lucid cocktails. If angels exist I hope they come here and have drinks and ask me if it's okay if I stroke their feathery wings and scaly skins. And their sharp teeth and chiseled bones.

You know what?

Last night in Los Angeles my camera broke inside the Vermont House. First the focusing went entirely off and then the shutter blades inside the camera ate each other and left a meat cuttery to look at. A butchery it is. Several disquieting telephone calls and texts later, it became grudgingly decided that a new camera will be shipped to me somewhere along the tour in Texas early next week by my manager Courtney Eck. I do hope that IT arrives before WE arrive in the city of Austin. There's a hotel with a great bar that I want to photograph. And a haunting specter with large, pretty eyes and probably short bangs that I want to photograph.

Last night was alternately wonderful and relaxing up until the destruction of my peace of mind with this camera business. My dear friend Jeremy Talcott (late of our BradLeo & The Heartstoppers) arrived at The Short Stop, which is owned by Greg Dulli, a hard man with a wonderful turn of phrase. Then proceedings moved on past a potential knife fight on some well-lit streetcorner and a shockingly pretty glimpse of what appeared to be half of a stray dog, torn to pieces. I was glad to get to the Vermont House after these things; not because of the neighborhood goings-on, but because we had drinks to drink and Sybris to feel up. Sybris is the touring band that we're on tour with. They are from Chicago and they don't use the f-word so much but they make a lot of inappropriate sexual comments about seemingly dignified things, like lawyers and soccer games and wall carpeting.

Whiskey, wine and Colt 45 later, and then the terrible, nearly neck-choking sound of my camera fulfilling my great fear of an expansive loneliness that's not picture-perfect. And you know, it's hard to complain and pitch a fit because one ends up coming across like a self-concerned fucking joke of a man, but oh joy, I so wanted to just throw myself out of the second floor window. It took me a long long while to calm down, and I probably said some untoward things in front of people before passing out in the van. What little I recall (mostly it's vague) is the stern talking to that I gave myself somewhere where I most certainly hope nobody could hear me. But of course, I don't remember where I was when this happened or if anyone was there. I've grown a lot both emotionally and artisticaly in the past couple years since moving my entire life to the pacific Northwest, but with that growth has come some decently unwelcome understandings of myself that amount to the basic theory that I will probably be dead before I get a chance to have gray hair. I've always wanted to go silverish. But it hasn't happened. Watching Fugazi go gray was great and I felt jealous the first time I opened up the insert of 'The Argument'. Those guys are such gentlemen. Better people than I am.

Another reason this camera ordeal makes me feel shitty is the opportunities missed. Such as desert fucking landscapes. Guess I won't be shooting that goddamned cactus like I thought. And I met Jamie Hunt tonight. He's an incredible painter from California who did the artwork for Unwed Sailor's record 'The Marionette & the Music Box' and also the artwork for Johnathon's Circle of Birds project. At one point Jamie was going to provide illustrations for my book, before the book was done, but time never panned out the way I'd wanted it to and there are no illustrations in my book at all. If I had a camera tonight I could shoot some portraits of Jamie, which would be neat. I like portraits. Of people. A lot.

I really hope that replacement comes before I fucking throw myself off a bridge and sail down to the water without even getting to photograph it. Oh lord. I really do sound awfully lame dwelling on this camera thing, but it's really important to me the way a lot of other stuff simply isn't. Photography is one of the few things that I can do in this world that's not stupid. I can only just barely talk to people in any valuable sense, I'm thinking; sometimes I hope I'm wrong about that, but probably I'm not. So, not only can I never seem to make something more than a ghost of myself, but I can't even talk about it or relate to others about it. You'd be surprised what a shock it is to actually get through a conversation with a stranger without finding that I've pretty much distanced myself completely from the entire world. So I just shoot photographs of people and hope everything turns out okay in the end. I hope so.

Drinks are free tonight. Did I say that much? All night. At first I was like, "What the devil?" And then I said to the hotel manager, "Nice. Very, very nice."

I guess I'll sign out. Thanks for reading. And thanks for coming to see me, Jeremy.

Your friend,

Thursday, May 29, 2008

You have your heart, I guess, to go on.

--San Francisco, CA / 9:41pm.--

JOHNATHON: "Will you put that in the blog?"
ME: "Sure, of course."

I don't know what this commentary was factually really about, but the discussion revolved like a moon around the subjects of home made whiskey in tonight's whiskey sours, and the idea that Johnathon's laptop works like an angel's touch on the hips in this room. If an angel were to touch you on the hips, just so you know (I don't, but this is conjecture in the works), it would make you feel a little magic happening in the erotic area of your body below the belly and above the knees. I guess.

The tour's been like some kind of small Heaven so far. My kick-off night in Portland landed softly at Union Jack's and perched upon its seating arrangements so softly like owls do in trees at night in beautiful side yards in rich neighborhoods where even the owls know there's the smell of money bubbling up from the soil.

Reno was pretty. I sold a few books to a girl with an octopus tattoo on her wrist that ran up the forearm, and she said the books were presents for her twin brothers, who both are both about to be released from jail after two years, on the eve of their birthday. The books were a gift to them, and far be it from me to dissuade a lady from orchestrating such gifts, I kind of think that Please Don't Leave Me isn't probably the most uplifting book for a couple of jail castaways. But in reality, I think if you really boil things down, the only people I can honestly relate to are those that got the short end of the stick really hard somewhere in life, so I was happy to oblige. I almost said, "Holy shit," but then didn't. Sometimes you get the feeling that it's okay not respond out loud, and then when you shrug and smile everything comes out okay. This guy spilled Arrogant Bastard Ale on one of my books and I almost said, "What the Devil are you up to, fellow? What's the meaning of this?" But instead I just frowned at him meaningfully until he offered to purchase the damaged book. Money in the fucking bank.

People in Reno outside of the show were generally mean and distrusting; the motels were questionable and Johnathon and I were accosted in the Sands Hotel Casino by two derelicts trying to sell us something we were pretty sure were Betty Boop mini-purses. The two guys had stars in their eyes that looked to shine only from the gutter in twilight, and the main salesman of this badly dressed and hardly showered duo had chapped lips that appeared to be falling right the fuck off his face. I felt he was close to stabbing one or the both of us, so I tried not be a smart ass and I succeeded in doing that; I kept silent and nodded my head sideways when one of them then asked for spare change.

In the morning we watched the lobby leader interrogate other boarders by pounding on the door and screaming some kind of unintelligble babble about check out times that mostly sounded very funny and untroubling. Case in point, he demanded keys from one tenant but ended up walking away empty handed, shaking his head, then smiling down at all of us spectators nervously while we waved hello to him. Getting what you want out of life is hard, and I think that old man who runs the office of whatever seedy motel we stayed at has his life's hands full of woe and incomplete dreams.

Birds fly regardless, however, and today I saw the island of Alcatraz.

Really fucking pretty place. Juliana Hatfield couldn't look that cute even if she wasn't wearing a shirt. Well, she could, but in any event besides the matter, Alcatraz is gorgeous.

Richard and Nathan from Unwed Sailor fell off a balcony today while arm wrestling. The drop was only about eight feet, but in a nest of fluffy green bushes with pink flowers that don't have thorns like the flowers do back home. This town is really pretty.

I almost purchased a bow-and-arrow set.


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Tonight we have ourselves a caterpillar.

This place is a mess. But, it's okay. Maybe in an hour or so it will no longer be a mess. Or maybe there will be even more of a mess later on. This is decent to some extent, but it's a drag too, but a waste of time to worry over. But I'll clean the place up a little before I leave tonight for tour with Unwed Sailor:

May 27 - Portland, OR @ Someday Lounge
May 28 - Reno, NV @ Satellite Lounge
May 29 - Berkely, CA @ Rasputin Music
May 29 - San Fransisco, CA @ Rickshaw Stop
May 30 - Los Angeles, CA @ Cafe Mariposa
May 31 - Long Beach, CA @ The Prospector
June 2 - Phoenix, AZ @ Modified Arts
June 4 - Mcallen, TX @ The Incubator
June 5 - Houston, TX @ Walters On Washington
June 6 - Austin, TX @ Emo’s Lounge
June 7 - Denton, TX @ Hailey’s
June 8 - Norman, OK @ The Opolis
June 9 - Tulsa, OK @ The Continental
June 10 - Memphis, TN @ Hi-Tone
June 11 - Nashville, TN @ Exit/In
June 12 - Atlanta, GA @ The Earl
June 13 - Tampa, FL @ The Orpheum
June 14 - West Palm Beach, FL @ Respectable Street
June 15 - Orlando, FL @ The Social

On this tour I'll also be handling the merchandise booth, where there will be copies of my new book 'Please Don't Leave Me' for sale. It costs $14. Some books cost less than this, while others, you'll find, are more expensive. So it's about right in the middle. Like a kite.

If you live in any of these cities and you find yourself bummed out because you haven't made plans yet and you can't decide what to do, you can come to any of these shows because they are not private parties, but rather they are public social events centering around the musical performance of a band. Here are some valuable links I found at the side of the road:

Corpse On Pumpkin Photography

Thank you. I'll see you around, then?