I’m having recurring dreams about Van Halen.
Last night I dreamed I was in David Lee Roth’s role; we played “Unchained” to a bored lecture hall at a Lutheran school in Minneapolis.
The night before, I dreamed I sat in David Lee Roth’s Trans Am: he said: “I don’t like Black Sabbath.” I said, What are all these Black Sabbath tapes doing in your car? He was a little ashamed.
Dougie Bowne, regular at the Pink Pony and a good friend. We call the Pink Pony “The Office,” because we’re there so much. “So, you want to come out? I’m at the Office.”
Yang Huanyi, Last User of a Secret Code, Dies
“Yang Huanyi, the last woman to communicate secretly with others in a rare script used exclusively by women, died Sept. 20 in her home in Hunan Province, China. She was believed to be in her late 90’s.
“…A script specific to one sex is rare among the world’s languages, and popular writers have called Nushu ‘the witch’s script’ and the ‘first language of women’s liberation.’
“…A principal function of the script was for communication among women who called themselves ‘sworn sisters.’ Writing in verse on handkerchiefs, fans and elsewhere, they often used Nushu’s vocabulary of more than 20,000 words to communicate about marriage as a tragic event. Hardbound booklets conveying deep anxieties about marriage were common wedding gifts in the region.
“…Once Ms. Yang mastered Nushu, she, too, wrote for others, but charged only for marriage booklets. She married, but her husband died two years later after he was bitten by a snake. She then married a gambler who ran up big debts. They had eight children before he died.”
When I went to Simon’s Rock, in 1986, I met this kid named Jeremy Brooks. He had a sphinxlike mullet with dreads hanging in the back. He wore a long olive-colored coat emblazoned with a Who style target-symbol. He was the hippest boy I had met in my life.
He was a drummer; we put together a little band and played the campus snack bar. He was studying his instrument with a renowned musician named Randy Kaye, who used to play with Jimmy Giuffre. He was always a good friend, but artistically we grew apart.
Years pass. He changed his name (legally!) to J Why. He lives up in Inwood: he runs a record label called Head Fulla Brains. His latest CD is called Urban Shocker–it’s a found-sound collage kind of a situation. He also plays in a Spanglish rock band called Caramelize with his sister and a mysterious man called El Chapulin (the Grasshopper).
We had lunch recently. I asked, What’s going on with you, musically?
“Oh,” he said, “I broke up with jazz.”
My special gig at Fez on the 16th will be a duo situation: me and the South Asian Sensation, Shahzad “Smiley” Ismaily.
He was the drummer with me and the Doveman on our June tour. For this, he’ll be playing guitar and bass.
He’s a superskilled bass and guitar player. And a BRILLIANT inventor of melodies.
The late, lamented Roosevelt Franklin, preeminent hipster of Sesame Street:
For the first time in my life, I rode at the front of the B train from Columbus Circle down to the Lower East Side, watching out the front window, looking at the tunnels. I’ve been riding for years but have never actually looked.
In 1989, when I went to the New School, I lived in a dorm that was four floors of a co-op building on Union Square West converted into extremely cramped student housing. It was the building above the restaurant that housed the nightclub Giant Step in its basement
I had three roommates that got drunk one night, got tired of waiting for a train, and hopped down onto the tracks, stumbling around the tunnels for a few hours. They nestled in crevices while trains hurtled by.
Eventually they found their way out through a manhole. They found themselves emerging from the sidewalk in front of the Palladium, when that club was at its Deee-Lite era, pre-Michael-Alig peak. They climbed out of a hole in the ground to the applause of a line of delighted clubgoers.
I dreamed last night I was on a beach, throwing apples to a tiger.
I’m going through an uncertain, transitional period. I’ve been petitioning the universe for something; it seems to be coming through for me. I’m keeping it under my hat for the moment, but it’s looking good. I’m very happy, but still: uncertain.
My dreams have been rich with this kind of beautiful, enigmatic, scary imagery.
Relief has given way to new anxieties. I’m parsing for messages.
I went to a friend’s place last night–a gigantic Tribeca loft. I live in a Lower East Side apartment that’s really quite cool–great blasting sunlight, great roof with a panoramic view of the skyline. and my friend Amity hooked me up with some excellent interior decorating, it looks supercute. But, let’s face it: it’s SMALL.
I want room for a dining room table I can spread out a Sunday Times on; I want a piano. (not that I play piano, other than in a two-fingered techno-producer style; I just like messing around on ‘em)
I want to move to Washington Heights. Way uptown, north of Harlem. Get a big place for the same dough I pay down here. What do I do around here, anyway? There’d be a long commute to see some friends; I would miss the vegan club sandwiches at Teany. There’s great street art around here, too. But all the bars and sceney stuff–I just don’t take advantage of it much.
I wonder if the commute would wear me down; then again, what do I do? See friends, get dinner; no job to go to. My day amounts to writing, playing, lunch; do I need to be in this groovy nabe to do that?
“I’ve been taken outside,
and I’ve been brutalized
and I’ve had to ALWAYS
be the one to smile
“But I ain’t NEVER
in my life before
seen so many LOVE AFFAIRS
go wrong as I do today–
“I want you STOP
find out what’s wrong
get it RIGHT
or PLEASE leave love alone…”
Joe Tex, “The Love You Save”
(he gets the living hell beat out of him and yet the main issue on his mind is the lovers’ quarreling! Joe Tex: Jesus of Soul Music.)