“Mondegreen” from Josh T, who does not cop to ever mis-singing “’scuse me while I kiss this guy” while listening to  Jimi Hendrix’s Purple Haze 

Audience applauds with assumption, un-syncopated shouts for the song not yet played, the song, his minor hit, as they head offstage, momentarily, encore expected.

mondegreenHis hit. “His”. “Hit”. White-knuckling through a shot at sobriety. For her. Ignoring his band’s murderous mutterings under collective held breath. No pussyfooting around with rehab, he sweat out the worst of it over a long week and even longer weekend — a rare break in the relentless road-e-o — at his uncle’s mountain cabin, just him and the wolves, howling. He returned with a stubbed-swollen toe, a shorn head, a sheaf of intelligible lyrics, and one soul-scraped song. For her.

First regrouping no one optimistic enough to call rehearsal, they pick-picked, loose talk and looser strings — guitar, bass, banjo — until they eased into a good worn groove. Cautious, he played the one his gut screamed, soul-sincere. He will never know — now that his nights do not end with sunrise confessions strewn among scattered ashtrays, clothes, bottles, bodies — whether his bassist innocently misheard or mischievously mangled the hook.

A laugh, a joke caught, carried from rehearsal to first performance, bassist belting out bastardized lyric, drummer echoing. An enthusiastic blogger at the sparsely populated show, Twittering. Blew up fast. Recorded on the cheap, released as a single in anticipation of an album. A freight train, his manager called it, an anachronistic term, but they grew up together in an anachronistic town, a place weighty with musical metaphor.

Now he has legions of far-flung fans, online friends and followers chronicling his sobriety, his pain, his redemption. Fairytale believers.

For her. Before either of them realized when she said she needed him off the bottle, she really meant she needed him off the road.

White Negroni & Happy Hour Oysters at Clarkson

White Negroni & Happy Hour Oysters at Clarkson

Booze he can manage without. Mostly. The road, though. The road is in his blood.

He swipes a beaded water bottle from an outstretched hand without looking. No need. At some point, recent, the crowds clustered backstage became men with grey beards, silver signet rings, glasses. Fewer females to spark accusations, but she is no longer around to provoke.

He chugs the water bottle like he once did Jack. Or Jim. Or Cuervo. His bassist towers over him, clanks a shot glass against his sweat-slicked skull, he swats at the string-taunt arm, they half-hug-back-slap, his bassist’s smeary face triumphant, they howl, drummer joins rat-tat-tippity-tap. The crowd’s dissipating claps resurge, crescendo.

They sidle onstage, coy. Bassist assumes the hunched-crane position, shoulder torqued, knees knocked, elbows akimbo. Himself, he stands still, pick in his mouth, awash in stage light, love.

He’ll play these sweet venues charging $25-cover-two-drink-minimum to people who shoulder-dance in their seats, the charity gigs, the beer battered dives, play, play, as long as they are wanted by even a handful of people who mouth the lyrics he — they — wrote. And maybe even beyond the wanting. They will ride the road to end.

A battered acoustic thrust into his hands. Collective sigh crests into feverish anticipation.

He strums the first familiar fractured chord. The crowd roars.

Post written with Happy Hour Oysters & White Negroni at Clarkson, west village, nyc with an assist of a Tequila Estilo Libre at Rayuela, lower east side, nyc 

And a whole pot of home-brewed Cafe DuMonde Chicory Coffee

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Today’s word — “babe” — from the Coast-to-Coast provocateur @Pergamond 

Babealicious wine at Lelabar, west village, nyc

babealicious wine at Lelabar, west village, nyc

In the moment just before Mosaic begat Netscape and the birth of the internet as we know it, I assumed my first executive role, an over-eager 25-year old flush with responsibility and a private office — “office” being a former supply closet I cleaned out the weekend prior to my official start date —poised to prove my mettle.

 Initial order of business: figure out what the heck a “Circulation Manager” for a computing magazine did beyond the basics outlined by my entrepreneurial publisher, who “saw potential” in me. I took the Circ Manager for the magazine on the floor upstairs — Wired — to lunch, my treat, launched a charm assault, angling for insider tips. He became my go-to guy, a cultivated mentor. I barely noticed he was a total hottie.

You can see him for yourself, if you locate a copy of Might magazine inaugural issue. He’s one of the naked people.

My business mandate specific — grow circulation, generate revenue — my latitude extensive. “There are no sins of commission, only sins of omission,” our publisher proclaimed, encouraging us, his all-female executive team, to be faster, smarter, braver. Bold.

Silicon Valley was burbling, our magazine translated technospeak for “regular folks”, the kind who could afford a $5k+ Macintosh computer for their personal use. I went from evangelist meetings at Apple to magazine distribution warehouses. Either side, Old World (legacy publishing) or New World (emerging tech), an ocean of men, speaking a specific code. Same World Order.

imgresMy newsstand consultant, Mr. Gandino, and I attended a wholesale distribution conference for a fevered round of meetings, my consultant my chaperone, introducing me to prospective suitors cum business partners. Everyone knew each other, wholesale distributors — each with a regional retail monopoly — were typically family-run enterprises, handed down through the generations like wealth or furniture.

In one of these across-a-laminated table “speed date” meetings with a group of southerners responsive to my slight accent trotted out for the occasion, the dapper older gentleman — the patriarch who both son and nephew were angling to oust — turned to my consultant, exclaimed how charming I was in comparison to the last guy, the two of them chuckling over historical jokes, an agreement achieved between jovial exchanges, discount percentages, retail shelf placement, guarantees.

At the end of our brief meeting, the elder statesman stood and said, “Don’t worry lil’ darlin’, we’ll take care of you” and patted me. On the head.

I was twenty-six years old.

There was no Silicon Valley success to emulate, the press was years away from promoting polarizing portraits — Meg Whitman, Kim Polese — as role model options. I could strike a blow for an amorphous, larger cause. Or I could nail an immediate business win.

I looked up at my benefactor, smiled, and said, “Why thank you so very much sir,” success and resentment twining tastes in my mouth, bitter battling sweet.


Hand-scribbled at Lelabar Wine Bar, west village, nyc

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Today’s WordBowl Word of the Day verbally submitted by A. Forell, who performs all necessary social networking in person, preferably over a cocktail. 

Award-winning London Iris cocktail,   guest starring at Gin Palace

Award-winning London Iris cocktail, guest starring at Gin Palace

A riff catches him, a melodic dissonance, hovering between the bits of conversation ping-ponging along the breach of the hash-hacked bar, he fumbles for his phone, raises it upward, activating the app to capture the song’s data, checks the result, snorts into his cocktail. A band he followed a lifetime ago, sampled, remixed, reconstituted, reinvented for this current epoch of perpetual, disposable invention.

Music of his memory was an event, a rite of physical ceremony, vinyl unsheathed, blow of breath across grooved expanse, precise positioning of pole through hole, anticipatory cackle and hiss. Or in the car, scavenging one-handed for cassette or eight-track, twining unspooled tape to tautness, hefty shove, clacketyclackclack, fingers crossed tippitytap on steering wheel until speakers cracklepop to life.

Or the beach, brushing sand from boombox, resorting — once the batteries died —to acoustic guitars lugged by musicians bereft of bands, eager for captive audiences. He drew the line at sing-a-longs.

Longing for albums not yet acquired. Envy of, eagerness for. The heady thrill of finally, at last.

People today live to their pervasive personal soundtrack, buds perpetually planted, ears sprouting wires, or padded speakers like earmuffs, tuned inward, while navigating streets, shopping malls, airports, subways, gym workouts, office work. Aural wallpaper.

Music no longer requires a moment of reverence or revile, simply hit playlist or pre-curated station set to preference, to music pre-programmed to taste, to pre-qualified acceptability and go, shuffle along to the next, shuffle through the infinite choices, virtually every musical thought ever expressed accessible at the tap of a single finger.

He appreciates he and his wife met — dank nightclub basement, walls dripping with sweat and other bodily fluids, heads boinking to the thresh-shred-howl — before either of them became indoctrinated into infinite availability. Theirs is a specific, sought, earned union.

He remembers the days of desire, tantalizingly out of reach, deliciously obtained.

The music shifts gears, he is the only patron to consciously notice. He makes the settle-up motion to the bartender, slides cash forward. Texts his wife, grinning. He knows exactly what he will program to play as he cooks dinner, as she walks through the door. Something historical, memory. Something new, provocative. They’ll shuffle, dance between the two.Turn up the volume. Annoy the neighbors. Blow out the speakers. Music was never meant to go gentle into the night.

Post powered by a Poet’s Dream cocktail at The Beagle, and the London Isis special at Gin Palace

east village, nyc

Poet's Dream Cocktail, The Beagle

Poet’s Dream Cocktail, The Beagle

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We spent a few painful years on the Art Hates Us tour, the Saucy-A and I, consoling ourselves after each crushing disappointment with butter-glistened lobsters and French 75s, or steak tartare and a sinister Bordeaux. At least Food loved us. Beverages, too.

It began, as such things do, with a Grand Plan: Saucy-A pausing in NYC en route to join her fiancée’s family vacation in Italy, a 48-hour Manhattan blitz — pilgrimage to Century 21, champers lunch with the girls, wedding dress window shopping — culminating with the Matthew Barney “Cremaster Cycle” exhibition occupying the whole of the Guggenheim. The timing could not have been better, as the exhibition was in its waning days, the initial throngs thinned.

The first 30 hours clicked by like clockwork: meals, shopping, friends. We debated transportation options in the Thursday morning drizzle, opted for a taxi — ladies of leisure and means, we convinced ourselves if not our bank accounts — arrived at a Guggenheim absent a line snaking out the door. Glory Be! The Universe Smiles!

The museum doors refused to open. Had we inadvertently arrived on one of the newer civic holidays freelancers like us had a tendency to overlook? The Saucy-A’s eyes as damp as our wilting clothes, she pointed a shaky finger towards a discreet sign “Closed Thursdays”.

Saucy-A purchased the commemorative coffee-table tome — the museum gift shop open and ready to sell — wisecracked over a snack of marrow bones and Chianti how hauling it around the Italian countryside would be her penance for failing to confirm the Guggenhiem’s hours.

It would be years before a Sex in the City plot pivoted on an almost identical Guggenheim/Carrie scenario, yet as the (transplanted) New Yorker of us I vowed a make up if not a make good. Thus a few weeks later I picked up a far more Italian fluent Saucy-A, shuttling her to Vermont for a family visit before returning to her West Coast home. The Art Plan Part Deux: a side trip to Dia:Beacon, home of massive site-specific art installations, including seminal sculptures by Richard Serra, he who featured so prominently in Barney’s “Cremaster Cycle”.

We set off early, ahead of the Manhattan summer Friday exodus, commending ourselves for so handily besting Mapquest’s estimated drive time. We sailed up to the gates in a spray of gravel.

Dia: Beacon is shuttered on Fridays in the summer. And on unspecified occasional Saturdays.

Flashforward a couple of years, Saucy-A and I on separate Paris trips — she, romantic weekend with husband; me, business — found the Picasso Museum behind scaffolding, closed for renovation.

Determined to break the curse — we had a long history of coast-to-coast exhibition indulgences — we made a return trip to Dia: Beacon (operating days and hours checked, triple-checked), although we were forced to scrap plans to dine at the Culinary Institute of America (closed, summer break).

Dia: Beacon, a modest modernist entrance, portal into a vast, beguiling world for us Alices to adventure through. Size-stammered, we approached one of the towering Sera oxidized walls, followed the curve inward, inward, the path between two concave walls narrowing as we spiraled ever more densely, delighted laughs dissolving into nervous titters, our breath shallowed, our nerves tightened, sounds of others in the adjacent sculptures echoed — or did this have a sound installation accompaniment? — our gasping exclamations melded into a single intelligible sound with specific translation: ImightNeedtoGetOuttaHere, discomfort and adventurousness battling in our chests. We cleaved to a tight turn, burst into a spherical clearing, gazed upward.

We deploy words in everyday conversation — awesome, amazing, fantastic, FUCK — diluting impact through repetition. “Love” went long ago, “Oh my God” morphed into OMG by texting teens and became an adult punchline, emoticons begat Emoji, attempting to convey meaning via a medium of emotionless DNA, bits and bytes and binary code.

We killed Latin, gave birth to temporary taxonomies, fugacious languages as fungible as technology.

No wonder descriptions of Art —the arts — is a bewildering read, hieroglyphics interpreted by practitioners, critics, academics. How does one address the Divine having heard “darling, that dress is divine” in multiple media and personal contexts? We twist and turn and torture words, contort sentences into unnatural phrasings in an attempt to illuminate a deep emotion, a revelatory spark, a moment of transcendence.

The Saucy-A and I stood inside the cylinder of soaring steel, we stood in panting silence, we stood humbled, inspired, together transformed.

We had no need for fancy food, afterwards. We were brimming, satiated beyond sense. Art Full.

“thunderstruck” courtesy of @margagogo who blogs about margaritas (and life) at

Entwine’s Spicy Margarita – don’t be fooled by the mild-mannered appearance

This post was handwritten while sipping a thematic Spicy Margarita at Entwine west village, nyc 


Caffeinated inspiration from Roasting Plant west village, nyc 

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