Thing of the Week: Sarah Silverman's Mom/Stupid T-Shirts, Seeing John Waters Tonight

LIZ'S THING OF THE WEEK: Sarah Silverman's Mom, Stupid T-Shirts

Oh my god the Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee episode with Sarah Silverman is so good. I don't really even care about Sarah Silverman, or at least I didn't until last week, but now I adore her forever. She's just so smart and thoughtful and she seems really great at life, and the part about her mom delights me, and I love love love how deeply she gives a fuck about good manners and good writing. Plus they go to Millie's, and I just went to Millie's two Saturdays ago with my sister, and I got a biscuit with my breakfast too. If you've never been to Millie's, please just fly to Silver Lake right now and get yourself a "fucking biscuit." Slather it with raspberry jam, from the cute little jam pot. Drink a thousand cups of coffee. Order the Jackie G! It's my fave. Watch the amazing episode right now:

One of my other things this week is this stupid t-shirt I got last weekend at Crossroads. It's a Worn Free shirt, a replica of an Iggy Pop-referencing tee once worn by Debbie Harry. I'm not so into Worn Free; I don't see the point of purchasing/owning a $50 t-shirt if the cotton isn't of a life-changingly perfect softness and drape, and - in my experience - Worn Free cotton's just kinda meh. But I got this one secondhand and it was eight bucks and thus totally worth it:

Eight dollars is the ideal amount to pay for a halfway decent t-shirt, in my smug/humble opinion, but yesterday I wandered into some vintage shop on La Brea and you know what they were charging for a halfway decent Mudhoney shirt? THREE HUNDRED GODDAMN DOLLARS. "Does anyone who actually loves Mudhoney have $300 to spend on a t-shirt?" I wondered. "Does anyone who actually loves Mudhoney even have $300 in general?"
       And I know that's not the point, that it's about fashion and not rock-and-roll, that love's got nothing to do with it. It's a pretty obvious thing to be grossed out by, but I was: I was so grossed out by that price tag. And after leaving the shop I went to a cafe and got an iced coffee, and they were selling bowls of kale for $18 and playing Pavement, and I was grossed out by that too, by the idea of Pavement as background music for overpriced-kale consumption.
       So I felt down about all that for like three seconds - but then I felt nice and shimmery, thinking how much better it is to love music, compared to being indifferent about music or just straight-up not loving music at all. There are people in this world who don't love music, and neither you nor I will ever be one of those people. That's pretty wonderful for us. It is so good to wildly love music forever and ever.

JEN'S THING OF THE WEEK: Seeing John Waters tonight



Some Lessons I Have Learned


A few days before I turned twenty-seven, I smoked some pot and went on a really bad walk. I forget mostly everything about why it was bad, except for that pot rarely works well on me anymore, and I guess, well, I was a pretty huge bummer of a person last June- just a helpless and hopeless little lady with more chips on her shoulder than dollars in her bank account. I felt like I was about to turn a very old-sounding age, and I felt like I hadn't accomplished enough to deserve to turn such a distinguished amount of years old. Actually- no wonder I freaked out on my stoned-walk! That all sounds like shit. The poor thing. 

I cut my really bad walk short, changed into jammer shorts and ate peanut butter out of the jar, knelt down on my bedroom floor and, using my bed as a desk, wrote a list of "THREE GOALS FOR MY TWENTY-SEVENTH YEAR" down in my notebook. 

They were: 

1) Drink less,
2) Quit smoking, 
3) Get rich enough to afford air-conditioning by the time I'm twenty-eight. 

This past Monday- June the 24th- I turned twenty eight. I loved being twenty-seven, it was a cool and formative year for me, I really whipped my ass into shape, and twenty-seven's also just a cool-seeming and well-loved age in general. But I'm okay with not being twenty-seven anymore. Really, I could care less which age I am. I'm always the age it makes the most sense for me to be. Plus, isn't it so gauche when people in their mid-to-late twenties complain about how "old" they are? Like, you're in your twenties, dipshit; that's obviously known to be a young decade. That's what people mean, when they say "when I was young." They don't mean "when I was ten." Nobody remembers what the fuck they did when they were ten. It's boring. You learned some math and liked whatever fad. 

Anyway, over the course of my twenty-seventh year, I accomplished two of the goals I set out to, and- perhaps even more importantly- quit shaming myself about how I find drinking alcohol to be very much fun. I also learned a whole lot more, and the things I've learned have helped me turn into a happier, stronger, and richer person- and I mean richer in both ways. I will now present them to you in the format of "a list of life-lessons," none of which relate to the extremely dull subject of air-conditioning. I promise I won't mention air-conditioning again in this blog post. I'm twenty-eight now; I'm so much better than that. 


When I was twenty-seven, I quit smoking. Sometimes, people asked me how I did it. "I stopped smoking cigarettes," I told them, sounding very bored, feeling cool to myself. I like when the tone of my voice is a shrug. 

People like to make an unnecessarily big spectacle out of everything; I know this because I am one of them. I quit smoking loudly and on the Internet. I am not going to link to the eight thousand blog posts I wrote about quitting smoking because I am too lazy to search things and then copy and paste them, ew. Anyway, people who quit smoking are obsessed with "waxing philosophical" (EWWWWW waxing philosophical), extremely long-windedly and often condescendingly, in social situations, about how they accomplished such a feat. I'm going to cut this paragraph short for fear of becoming one of them-

In conclusion, the only way to quit smoking is by quitting smoking. 


The other day I was sitting at a bar talking to my friend about how much I love making money, which is true. Here is me:


You Will Not Even Believe How Fucking Awesome This Melanie Song Is

Last week my best friend and I were sitting on a patio- she was drinking a half-litre of white wine; I had 2 pints of sangria- and we remembered back to a couple summers ago, when we thought of our legendary idea for a PARK-CITY. We thought of it when we saw that Toronto's slogan is "A city within a park," which we called bullshit on, and we thought, and were stoned: "What if there really was a city within a park, or rather that was a park," and last Thursday we sat on the patio mimicking our stoned selves stonedly saying "The streets would be a park" and "The shops would be a park," "The cafes would be a park,"- like, imagine if it was all a park. All of it. Only now we're smarter and older, so I decided to write it down: 


- it's all a park 
- "Park City" (working title) 
- green space tree canopy 
- vegetable gardens: "Your market is the garden" 
- cafes bars streets "bookshops" 
-outdoor markets 
-as much outdoor as possible 
-taken care of 
-no cigs. weed farm weed encouraged 
-no cars 
-public transit so good makes taxis unnecessary 
-bike lanes stroller disability lanes 
-separate buses STORAGE (just bought appliance lrg) 
-dog runs 
-picnic tables 
-BEST PLAYGROUND EVER cool wood playground creative artistic 
-mobiles made out of recycled shit

Next I went across the street to a record store, a plain white record store with no illustrations on the walls and very few labels explaining what genre of music the records you were looking at were or what letter of the alphabet the artist who sung them name's began with. But I decided to commit to being there. I bought Living In The Material World by George Harrison and a record called John Lennon For President, for aesthetic purposes, Cosmic Wheels by Donovan (I had a cool convo with the cute old man owner about Cosmic Wheels being "nerdy," which I wholeheartedly feel is the most accurate way to describe Cosmic Wheels) and then I found this Melanie record, Garden In The City, which was obviously a SIGN FROM THE UNIVERSE telling me, I don't know, that I like parks. 

I also really like Melanie's dog a lot. Anyway, Garden In The City was a great investment; it's got a really cool chilled out cover of Jigsaw Puzzle by the Rolling Stones:

but People In The Front Row, the one at the top, is the one that you will not even believe how fucking awesome it is; it's so awesome, in fact, that I was just about to go leave my house and lie on the grass in some sunshine but then I was like NOPE I need to enlighten all my pals who read this blog so here you go and enjoy! I'll be in a PARK if you need me. 

-Laura Jane


Thing of the Week: Liz's Summer Uniform, 'Empathy'

LIZ'S THING OF THE WEEK: My Summer Uniform

This is what I wore last Friday night, when I went out for the most disgusting sangria after getting my Alex Chilton tattoo:

It's my Flying Burrito Brothers shirt, a red cardigan, some black jeans I made into shorts last week and have renamed my "hesher cutoffs," glam/metallic ballet flats, pigtails, and this little peachy-pink fake-ivory flower necklace you can't see. I love this "ensemble" and I want to wear it every day. So many of my idols are represented: Gram Parsons, Kurt Cobain, any/all trashy metal bands beloved by heshers, David Bowie, Mary Timony, and of course Alex Chilton on my ankle forever and ever and ever. I want to represent all of my idols all of the time, I want to hold them all in my heart at every second. And the other day Kime sent me these buttons as a belated bday gift:

and I'm going to take the George one and put it on my leather jacket. On my leather jacket right now is this adorable Paul McCartney button that LJ gave me when we were drinking margaritas at the bar of some Italian restaurant on New Year's Eve 2011, so I'm gonna take Paul off and put him on my cardigan, as a cute fuck-you to Kurt Cobain. Take that, Kurt! I love you, man.


My Thing this week is the underlined sentences in that picture. They're from Empathy by Sarah Schulman. I actually read it last week, but it has stuck with me. My other thing is the fact that Liz, Laura Jane and myself are taking a Strawberry Fields Whatever vacation retreat in Martha's Vineyard in July.


Happy First Birthday, Strawberry Fields Whatever!

LJ: On Monday, Strawberry Fields Whatever turned a cool ONE YEAR OLD!!! I say "cool" in that sentence to mean the same as when people say "a cool million dollars." A cool one year! Also, Strawberry Fields Whatever is a Gemini, which is very cute of it. It is a smiling, apple-cheeked baby girl. 

I haven't been blogging very much lately- I know it kind of seems like I "stopped writing," but really I didn't, even though I did. Mostly I just work a lot, and am always at work, every single second of my life, so a big part of it's that I just don't have the time. And part of it's that I'm really into LIVING right now, like, the actual act of being a human being who is alive, and writing's a touch passive. And then there's the fact that I like to write the truth, the straight boring truth of it, the truth and nothing but so help me God & if I'm not writing the truth then there is truly no point in me writing, but if I were to fully do that right now- tell the truth, I mean- I'd end up writing about work a LOT, which does sound like a treat, but would be very weird for all the people whose manager I am. Nothing I have to say about work isn't inappropriate. There is no doubt in my mind that I would get myself fired. 

One day I'll write a cool and weird novel about my restaurant, like a restaurant Ulysses or whatevs, but for the time being, it's chill to not always be forcing myself to reflect upon what I did and how I did at it, then translate those reflections into wacky-grisly prose communicating some larger sort of lesson to a group of strangers. And I guess my favorite thing about Strawberry Fields Whatever is that Strawberry Fields Whatever is totally A-OK with letting me be quiet for a bit. Strawberry Fields Whatever doesn't judge! It's pro-LJ. "Whatever's best for you, my Darling, Lovely, Pet," says Strawberry Fields Whatever, to me, in a soothing whisper, even though it's a baby.  It can't choose between Darling or Lovely or Pet, so it said all of them- that's just the kind of stand-up guy Strawberry Fields Whatever is. 

When I used to write for our old blog No Good For Me I loved a lot of it but it never felt quite right. I felt like I was a puzzle piece being jammed into the wrong space. I never liked the way it looked; it didn't look the way I thought my blog should look. It didn't feel like a home. My whole life- in blogs and out of blogs- I was always pretty sad; it seemed like I never had a home even though everybody else did, so easy, without trying. I never felt like I belonged anywhere. I'm turning twenty-eight in two weeks and I just lived a really great year of my life- I used to have zero homes, and now I've got two of them! My job's not always the greatest thing in the world, but whenever I'm there, I definitely feel like it's the place where I am. Usually I feel like I'm somewhere else, off in my head. Even in my house I'm not here. 

But Strawberry Fields Whatever- it's something pretty amazing, it's the place in my head where I've always been. People work really hard to convince themselves they're safe when they're not and Strawberry Fields Whatever has cured me of those delusions- it's the one place in the world where I'll always be safe, and you need that. You need to be safe somewhere. It's a warm pink hug that I live inside with two of the best people I've ever known- Jen May knows how to make the inside of my head look like something real and that's something most people don't get to have in their lives. Liz and I's bromance has been going on for nearly fifteen years now and if I were to discuss it sentimentally it would be extremely sappy and not our style so let's just leave it at that. 

I'm proud that Strawberry Fields Whatever has existed for a year, and I'm proud of the ways I've changed and grown in the first year of its life. I am confident that Strawberry Fields Whatever will exist for the entire rest of my life, which makes me feel even stokeder than I already am about how much more life I have left, how awesome life is, all the things I'm going to get to do and keep doing, and etc. So yes- thanks for reading, everybody. As always, I'm just happy to be here. 

LIZ: I celebrated Strawberry Fields Whatever's birthday on Friday, by getting Alex Chilton's name tattooed on my ankle and going to Pie & Burger and eating a sandwich and getting a piece of blackberry pie and then going to the movies and eating the pie while I watched the movie. Later on I went out to a Mexican restaurant to drink sangria with my friends (the "sangria" was warm red wine poured into a glass of ice, with a shot of orange juice on top), and then I stayed up all night listening to Big Star and taking pictures of my ankle. It was a good day and my favorite parts were the ones I hadn't engineered to be perfect and beautiful and edifying or whatever, like when I put my foot on the table at the bar and everyone paparazzi'd my ankle, or this cool picture I took of my window reflection when I was jumping up and down to the jumping-up-and-down part of "Daisy Glaze." 
       My favorite life lesson I've learned from Strawberry Fields Whatever is that trying to make everything beautiful all the time can end up making you sick, so it's way better to just do whatever the hell you feel like, as long as it feels good and electric once you're actually doing it. And if it doesn't, just stop and go do something else. Just keep doing whatever until you find the thing that makes you feel awesome and excited, and alive instead of dead.
       My tattoo is also a Replacements tattoo and my favorite Replacements song is "Unsatisfied" and "Unsatisfied" is still one of the most major spirit songs of my life. Shit's unsatisfying and then it's not, it's perfect and amazing and nothing you ever could have ever counted on or thought up on your own. That's a pretty obvious statement but I didn't really know it in my bones till almost a year of writing here and reading LJ's writing and just being a part of the whole Strawberry Fields Whatever thing. We're such a chill and benevolent thing. STRAWBERRY FIELDS WHATEVER FOREVER <3 <3 <3

JEN: I guess I think of Strawberry Fields Whatever as a pink cave that exists in (on?) the internet. It's a beautiful cave filled with Laura Jane and Liz's words, our favorite things, cake, coffee, beautiful songs, weird images I've made/assembled, film stills, popcorn. I have loved making this place with them over the last year. I have learned to work quick. I have learned to work more regularly. I can quickly find specific images  in anything I'm reading now. I cherish getting to read whatever Liz & LJ write in early stages, finished, as vague ideas. They are both geniuses I am endlessly inspired by. There's always everything else in the world, it's all always happening. It's nice to have this space existing. It's not on the side, it's just it's own thing. It's Our Thing. I think we make sense together and to each other and I'm glad we built this Pink Gemini Internet Cave.


I Got Alex Chilton's Name Written On My Body Forever


On Friday I got Alex Chilton's name tattooed about an inch above my left ankle. I love Alex Chilton because it seems like he generally did whatever the hell he felt like doing, and a lot of it was beautiful. That's the fast and easy explanation for why I got his name written on my body forever, but here are eight more reasons, about the cosmos and gross sex and sex poetry and summertime and bad vibes and plum trees and huge, undying, life-saving love:

viii. Astrology. I have a recurring daydream in which I meet Alex Chilton (in Heaven, I suppose) and he asks me my birthday and I get to tell him what my birthday is. The answer is we have the same birthday, December 28; we are both Capricorns born in the Week of the Ruler. One of my favorite things about Alex is he was obsessed with astrology and made a point of asking everyone his/her birthday, and thought it was very important that he and Chris Bell were both Capricorns, which of course it was.
        Jen does illustrations for Madame Clairevoyant from The Rumpus, and on April 15 my horoscope told me that week was a "good moment for wandering, at your own speed, for going where you want to go, for looking up at the sky, for seeing your own weird thoughts form in the clouds." My gut response to that was to get all high and mighty, like, "Eww, what do you think I usually do? Do you think I'm one of those super-Capricorn-y Capricorns or something?" But now I'm into it. Maybe a lot of Capricorns aren't accustomed to wandering around and watching their own weird thoughts form in the clouds - but Alex Chilton is, and I am too, and we are just the same: a couple of weird cloudy dreamers together forever.

vii. Because his dream world has the same exact temperature as my dream world. It took me a while to get into the third Big Star record, which I understand is a typical experience. I'd known and loved "Kangaroo" and "Stroke It Noel" since a boy put them on a love mixtape for me when I was 19, and I immediately fell for "Kizza Me" and "Holocaust" when I bought the record earlier this year, but the rest of the songs took their sweet time sinking into my brain. In retrospect, I'm completely charmed by and admiring of their lack of hurriedness in getting to me. 
        I fell in love with the third record late one night in February, when I spent hours and hours sitting at a table on the sidewalk near the Sunset Strip, drinking pink wine and hanging out with a bunch of strange people, some of whom were very lovely. On the way home I drove down Beverly and the sky was so foggy and black, all the light was ghosts; it was the most perfect way you could ever hear "Big Black Car":


Now whenever I listen to "Big Black Car" I think of that car ride and I think of the end of the first chapter in my book, which I'm rewriting to give it optimal "Big Black Car" vibes. The scene's in a car when the sky's foggy and black and all the light is ghosts, except the air's more "Massachusetts in deep summer" instead of "Los Angeles in winter": it's heavy and hot and muggy, it kills you a little but it's okay. When Alex sings it ain't gonna lassssst with that hiss at the end, it's so severe and it always jars me, but never in a way that disrupts that cool murky daze the song's put me in. Alex Chilton really knows what he's doing when it comes to "subtly twisted manipulation of vibes." I want to be more like him.

vi. Because he is my favorite girl poet. There's an Alex Chilton song called "Take Me Home and Make Me Like It (Version 2)"; it's probably the Alex Chilton solo jam I'd most rather die than live without. It's seven-minutes-long and it's basically Alex singing/playing the same shit over and over but somehow making it weirder and weirder as the song goes on. At first listen the real showstopper lyric is "Call me a slut in front of your family," but my favorite line is the one that goes "Bite my veins, cigarettes and big eyes" - or at least that's what I think he's singing. Some people think he's singing "You like my bangs, cigarettes, and big eyes," but I think those people are dumb. Obviously he's singing it exactly the way I want him to.
        I love "Bite my veins, cigarettes, and big eyes" mostly because it sounds like something I would have read in a zine written by some superweird and glamorous girl a very long time ago, like 1999. I would have read that sentence and spent the next few days or weeks of my life being obsessed with that girl and trying to write like her, walking around Boston feeling so electrified by this new world in which you can command someone to bite your veins, cigarettes, and big eyes - and maybe he'll even actually do it. That's what I value most about girl poets like Alex Chilton, how all this wild and insane and beautiful shit you never even thought of before suddenly seems so hugely possible.

v. Because he is the most beautiful sicko. The first Alex Chilton solo song I ever heard was the original version of "Take Me Home and Make Me Like It," which goes like this:

and I loved it right away but it also embarrassed me. "Take Me Home and Make Me Like It (Version 2)" is even more embarrassing; there at least three moments in the song that will never not mortify me, especially the part where he actually says the word loincloth. (I mean, I can't even tell you how much I had to psyche myself up just to type the word "loincloth" in that last sentence, such is the depth of my "loincloth" embarrassment. "Loincloth," Alex, really? Loincloth???????????)
       So every once in a while, like maybe once a decade or so, I get way into some musician-dude who's exorbitantly weird. My first one was when I was 17, and so much of the appeal was knowing it sounded way too crazy to most people. But I think maybe it might also be a sex thing. Patti Smith's point about not listening "to music by people I don't wanna fuck" is a little too limiting for me, but I could definitely I amend it to something like "I don't listen to exorbitantly weird music by people who aren't sexy, scrawny, slightly deranged dudes whose hair's always in their eyes, these perpetually bugged-out eyes that would probably be really terrifying to stare straight into, and maybe you'd just die if you looked at them too long." That's not the sort of thing I look for in a guy in real life, but it's good to sometimes fall for musician-dudes like that, to turn them into my imaginary weirdo-boyfriends that I'm endlessly grossed out by.
        So I can forgive Alex Chilton for saying "loincloth" because my creepy attraction to him balances out the horror of that. And by the time the song hits the five-minute mark and he laughs like the most adorable psychopath, I'm just incurably in love with him forever, it's so disgusting and wonderful.


Of Wolf Loafers & Whispering Witches


...Like Clockwork by Queens of the Stone Age comes out today. I bought it last night around midnight and listened to the whole thing, but listening to a new record on a laptop is ugly and disgusting, even when you turn off all the lights and light a pretty tangerine-red candle and lie in your bed in such a way that you can't even see your laptop. Right now I'm in a place of brattily resenting my "laptop dependence," and last week I made the decision to never again go to a coffee place and order coffee and sit at a table and drink coffee and do work on my laptop. It's soul-deadening and makes me feel like a robot, and already my life is so much lighter, now that I don't do that anymore.

Anyway I woke up very early this morning, ripped out of a moderately cool Rolling Stones dream* by the thud of a bird flying into my bedroom window. I feel like I'm probably the world's number-one person who's most frequently jolted awake by birds crashing into her window, but who really knows. It was gray and June-gloomy out but I got up and went for a big walk, to buy a cup of coffee at my favorite hamburger stand and to listen to Like Clockwork. The air was a little drizzly and I could hear the owls and the roosters, and the corner of the Echo Park Ave/Morton Ave intersection that always smells intensely of fresh paint was extra-narcotic: all in all, pretty ideal conditions for the first proper listen of a new Queens of the Stone Age album.

So I like Like Clockwork, very very much. It sounds like a Queens of the Stone Age record, all nasty and gloomy and boneheaded and dreamy and beautiful, and hearing it this morning spirited me back to when I'd just moved to L.A. and Songs for the Deaf was still sort of new. I lived next door to these three older musician-boys and they played that album all the time; I have nice memories of sitting around their living room, on the couch that was actually a row of seats ripped out of Andy and Matt's ex-band's van, listening to "The Sky Is Fallin'" and drinking wine out of a measuring cup because they didn't have many glasses. I'm still absorbing the album or whatever, but so far my fave song's "If I Had a Tail": the very beginning reminds me of "Mr. Brightside" by the Killers and in the opening lines Josh Homme does this "Lady Marmalade" thing that kind of embarrasses me, but mostly it's sexy and thuggy and scary and gets stuck in your head real good. There's a lyric that goes "When you own the world you're always home," which resonates with me on a heavy level, and the end sounds like witches whispering, like whispering witches.