Saturday, September 18, 2010

Crush Tour 2010

This tour has taken many names. When we were rear ended an hour outside of Oakland on the first day, we titled it the Bad Omen Tour. The very next day, Dakota was denied access to Canada and missed our first show. Following this we forgot our merch in Bellingham (which I left in order to enter Canada without paying tarriffs) and had to drive an extra 4 hours the day of our first Portland show. We decided to rename the tour the Over Share Tour because we thought we were perpetuating the bad luck and because of our habit of over sharing on stage. In Boise we renamed it Crush Tour 2010 because Dakota and I are crushed out on the world and most of the people in it... or at least the ones that come to our shows. The person that Napoleon Dynamite is based on ran my sound in Boise at this fantastic venue called Visual Arts Collective, which is owned by a Robert Downey Jr. look alike named Sam. It goes without saying that Sam is a total dream boat... as is Steve (aka Napoleon).

Our next show was in Logan, UT. I met Olive Alexander, who did the art on my album, for the first time. She is a nymph. We had a picnic breakfast in a tree house and swung on a rope swing over a creek. The show was magical and so were the people we stayed with. I am crushed out on that whole situation. The day following the show we went to a poetry reading in the park and almost died because everything was too cute to bare.

Then we played Salt Lake City and watched Dream Girls with our friends Jenna and Brandi. I love Beyonce. Then we played Denver with the new love of our lives, Ian Cooke. He loops his voice and cello and sounds like Andrew Bird, Joanna Newsom, and Rufus Wainwright. We also met a boy named Stelth... need I say more? The next day we were in the steam room at a gym and a guy who was sitting uncomfortably close to us pegged us at traveling musicians. When we told him we were playing in Colorado Springs that night he said that ex military kids with PTSD were always shooting people there. In his opinion, we were goners. We are still here but we narrowly survived.

One ten hour drive later we arrived in Kansas City to play a show. I forget most of that evening due to lack of sleep. We were greeted with rice and vegetables... that part I remember. Also I remember how crazy talented our host was. Apryl's art is stunning. Oh and Molly Gene is a crazy bad ass country blues songwriter and one woman band. The next day we ate the best vegan food that either of us have ever eaten. Since we have both spent most of our lives on the west coast... this was pretty shocking. The place is called FUD and has the best nachos I've ever had... vegan or no. We also tried on fancy lingerie at Birdie's and bought a ceramic squirrel for the dash of the van at a dollar store. As we were driving from one side of the city to the other we heard opera through the van window. We hastily wove through Kansas City streets in search of the sound. We found speakers on the side of the road blasting the music. We then walked down a river bank and saw a woman standing on a bridge over the water singing some aria or another. Pure magic.

Kansas City couldn't possibly hold any more adventure for us so we left last night and when we arrived in Lincoln, NE at 1 am this morning, we went directly to the sex shop that shares a parking lot with our motel. We spent last night in a Motel 6 and a large part of our day in a chain family eatery across the street from said Motel 6. Since then we have been browsing antique stores and consuming various delicious foods and beverages.

Today I received a rough version of the Paralyzing video and it is looking fantastic. Just a few more changes. I plan to release it on Sept 30th. You can't wait.

I also wanted to update folks about my second visit to New Folsom Prison. I threw a benefit show a few months ago and raised enough money to buy a loop pedal just like the ones I have for the music room at the prison. This second visit consisted of playing a show in the yard and teaching a workshop on using the loop pedal.

I arrived at the gates at 8 am and as soon as we entered the yard I started hearing my name called out by various inmates. It was so nice to be greeted like that. I played for about 75 guys gathered in the grass. I saw a lot of familiar faces and after my set a autographed a lot of scraps of paper and prison issued hats.

Then I went to the music room and taught some of the main musicians the basics of the loop pedal. It was so fun to see them using it. Even the tough looking guys couldn't hide their excitement. I want to thank everyone that attended the show that raised the money for this. I wish you could have been there to see this.

Sorry this is a long one. It's been so long since I updated and I have so much to say. I think thats it.... but I'm likely forgetting something.

Friday, May 21, 2010

I AM Johnny Cash

On Monday, May 17, 2010 at 8:15 AM, I arrived at the front gates of New Folsom Prison, in Folsom CA. I met my "handler", Jim Carlson. Jim runs the arts program at Folsom. Most prisons don't have people like Jim and programs like this one. Jim is an artist and teaches drawing classes to the people incarcerated there. They have a music room equipped with some pretty decent gear. There is a blues band inside, I have yet to find out if they cover Folsom Prison Blues. Maybe that would be too predictable.

My friend Sassafras Nelson took the trip with me and we arrived together to meet Jim. He took us to the first check-point where we showed our IDs and got some visitor passes and signed in on a big sheet of manila cardstock. We proceeded to a second check-point, the one that gets you on the other side of the lethal fence. The fence has three layers: two incredibly tall fences with razor wire at the top sandwiched the lethal electric fence. To get through we had to sign in on another sheet and get some invisible black light stamps on our hands and go through a metal detector. On the inside were a series of ominous grey cement buildings with very small, narrow windows. This is exactly what I imagined prison would look like.

We were escorted to the library on C yard,  where the general population is housed. The room was small and had a few hundred tattered books on dark brown shelves. Some of the shelves had hand written "Off Limit" signs on them. I set up my gear in front of a large desk that had a crooked sign on it that read "No ID, No Service, No Exceptions." The room slowly filled up as I nervously plugged in my various cords into their various boxes. When I started there were about thirty people in the room. A few more filtered in throughout my set. These convicted felons were not what some might expect. They didn't look particularly tough, or dangerous, or hardened, or threatening, or mean, or really like "criminals". Sass remarked that so many of them were so young and handsome. There were also a few grey haired men who looked like they'd been there forever. One thing that surprised me was the prison fashion. The prison issue uniforms had been cut up and added to, some pants were worn backwards. Each person had a particular style, all in blue and white. One man I met, Marko, didn't look like he was wearing a uniform at all. He wore faded blue jeans and a white t-shirt, an outfit I've seen many a musician, farmer, trucker, barista, or school teacher wear.

The audience was wonderful. It wasn't much different, once I started playing, than any other audience I've played to. They were on the attentive, respectful side as far as audiences go. I took a break in the middle of my set and asked anyone who wanted to, to come up and perform. There was some hesitation at first but then someone came forward. It was Marty, who I'd met on my way in. Marty is one of the younger of the grey haired men. He is in for life with no chance for parole. He has thick glasses and plays a 12 string guitar. He played a song he wrote for a friend, his cell mate of ten years who died of Hep C. He introduced it by saying that most of the guys had heard it a hundred times. They didn't seem to care and were taken in by the performance. I later found out that Marty feels responsible for Pat's death because he feels convinced he exposed him to the virus through giving him a tattoo.

About ten guys in total came up and performed. Some read poetry, some sang R&B while the crowd clapped along, and two of the grey haired men performed an old timey blues song, one on guitar and one singing. The last song was a three part harmony and broke my heart a little. It was a hymn that was rewritten by Marty. I don't believe in God but if I had life with no parole, I might, and in that moment... I did.

At one point I was wondering how much more time I had to play. In between songs I asked Jim, into the microphone, "How much time do we have?" One of the guys answered instead, "Life." This was followed by a burst of laughter in the crowd. I too couldn't help but giggle... until I realized that it wasn't funny at all.

One of the most memorable characters in that group was a man called Dark Cloud. He was right up front from the start. He was big and covered in tattoos. He had a long, black braid and wore a bandana low on his brow. He sat with a stone face and arms crossed for most of the show until the other guys shouted his name enough times to coax him into reciting some poetry. I found out later what he was in for, and while I feel its not my place to tell all of you, I will say that, to many, he is a hero. There seem to be many tales about Dark Cloud, one is that one of his children was conceived while he has been inside. If this is true, its quite impressive considering they don't give conjugal visits at New Folsom.

I wish I could have spent more time talking with those guys. They had lots of questions for me about my loop pedals and my guitar. I had a million questions for them about their lives and experiences, but there wasn't time. We were off to the second show which took place in Ad-Seg (more commonly known as solitary confinement, "the shu" or "the hole"), on A yard (the mental health unit). I was warned about this performance by Jim. He checked with me many times to make sure I really wanted to do it. Nothing he could tell me could really prepare me for what I was about to see. In this part of the prison all the incarcerated people wore white jumpsuits. The ones we saw were cuffed, hands and feet (and some all attached to each other in a line), and led by guards. We were brought to a room lined with cages. Thats right, cages. There were 10 cages that were all about the size of a phone booth. I was required to wear a stab vest, which felt ridiculous and like a betrayal of how I felt about the people I was performing for, unafraid.

The audience members were led in one by one. They each kneeled on a chair outside the room while a guard removed their ankle shackles, and then they were led into their cages. They entered facing the wall and the door was locked. Then a small door was opened at wrist level and the guards removed their hand cuffs. That door was then also locked. The cages each had a metal stool and a small desk-table about the size of two sheets of printer paper, both bolted to the floor of the cage. Only half of the cages were filled because apparently one of the cell blocks was late on their round of medications.

I can't really explain how I felt. I'd never had such a captive audience before. I wasn't sure if they had chosen to be there or had a choice whether or not to stay. A few of them were reading newspapers and the rest were watching me set up. One guy asked me about my guitar but other than that, they were quiet. The guy that had originally asked me about my guitar rustled a paper through most of my set. The guy next to him was totally enthralled and had a smile on his face the whole time. The guy next to him went back and forth between paper-rustling and seeming to enjoy my songs. The next guy over from him was completely blank faced, perhaps due to medication. The next guy was the only one grooving to the music, he seemed the most with it. The last guy on the end, who was also the last to come in, sat up on the table in the cage instead of on the stool. He had very little expression throughout. Apparently he and Sass had a moment though, she told me later. He was young and looked sort of fragile.

When I was done, the recreational therapist who was working with them asked me what my impression of the prison was. The men were all still in their cages and we were still in the room with them. He explained that he was surprised when he first went there because it wasn't like the prisons in the movies. He said he thought it would be dark and there would be leaks from the ceiling. He was painfully chipper, but that might be his way of dealing with his environment. I didn't know what to say really, but said this "Well, it's not exactly bright and cheery." He then asked me if I'd ever played a prison before. I said, "Sure haven't, and I've never played to guys in cages before either." He informed me (somewhat sarcastically) that they don't refer to them as cages, but rather as "therapeutic modules." I turned to the guys and asked "Does it feel therapeutic?" Only one responded, and did so by saying, "Nah."

After this set we had a break. We sat in Jim's car, or rather the prison's car that Jim was driving us around in, and ate our lunch. I couldn't help but think of the food that the people incarcerated there got to eat. No fresh vegetables ever... while we had our fill of hummus, chips, fruit smoothie, ants-on-a-log (brought by Jim), strawberries, and baked tofu. We proceeded to the third and final venue for the day. The third show started at 1 PM and took place in another library. This library was in a less secure area within the mental health unit.

Not everyone housed on A yard is there for mental health services. If someone gives up information on a gang, they will be moved to this area for their own safety, for instance. Or if the crime they committed that led to their incarceration is one that would lead to violence against them in the general population, they'll be placed on A yard. For this reason, it has a bad reputation within the prison.

Books and movies I've read have made solitary confinement out to be a short term punishment, much like sending a child to sit in the corner to think about what they've done. But, for people who the prison deams problematic, it can be where they serve years, or decades, or a life sentence. Jim has successfully helped some guys who have spent years in solitary confinement be placed back into the general population. He is a true believer in art therapy. He has a story about a guy he worked with for years, whose face he never completely saw because it was always behind a small barred window. Apparently this man was in solitary for 12 years before Jim started bringing him paper and charcoal to draw with. Years later Jim ran into this man on the outside. He was performing in a show written by and cast of people who were previously incarcerated. Though he had known him for years, Jim didn't recognize him since he'd never seen his entire face, until he said his name.

The 1 PM show started a little late. We had to wait for the people from Cell Block 6 who were held up for some reason or another. There were about 25 in the audience this time. This one was the most fun for me. I felt more comfortable after the first two sets. Also I felt like nothing could shock me after playing to people in cages. I was cracking jokes and having fun. The guys were really receptive and a few of them played songs on my guitar when I insisted I needed a break. These guys were super shy about playing. The fact that this surprised me informed me of some prejudgements I had going in.

After this set I cleaned up my stuff and chatted with some of the people who'd been in the audience a bit. Again they had lots of questions about my gear and I didn't get to hear too much about them. I'll have to go back and spend more time. One of the guys did tell me he is a rapper, though. He said he has rapped with a bunch of famous hip-hop artists from the bay area. He told me to google him and that he goes by Big Lurch. He is 6'6" so the name makes sense in a way. He didn't fit the name is some ways though, he seemed really sweet and kind of shy and wore glasses. He wasn't at all creepy like the name might suggest.

When we left the prison we had to go back through the security check points, show them our invisible hand stamps, sign out on the visitor sheets, and hand in our visitor papers. The last gate we walked through had the most ominous creak. It was just like every prison gate in every movie. Whether you are going in or out, it's telling you something about what's ahead of you. I left without really knowing how to exist in the outside world again. Having entered the lives of these people, many of whom will never know anything else, it seemed impossible to interact with my life the same way I always had. I can't imagine how it must feel for someone who has been there for five, ten, thirty years to be released into "freedom" again. When other people have been making your choices for you for that long, will you remember how to do it for yourself? A prison sentence is not only as long as the time spent inside. In a theoretical way, I always knew that. I still don't know it the way many do.

Over decompession tea and pastries, Jim told us that he used to look at the case files for the men he worked with. He stopped doing it though, he doesn't want the information to effect his experience of them. One of the things he said has been echoing in my head for days, "Do you want to be remembered for the worst thing you've ever done?"

I still haven't processed all of this. It's too much to really know what to do with. I can't stop thinking about it. I dream about it. As horribly depressing as it was, all I want is to go back. I plan to spend more time on my next visit. Jim wants me to teach a music workshop. There are so many talented musicians in there though, I wouldn't know what to offer them. My reasons for going would be mostly selfish. It's so inspiring that in a situation so grim, the people there still make art... and incredible art. After that experience I'll certainly never claim to be a tortured artist. My personal struggles seem pretty insignificant at the moment.

I don't know how to close, so I'll close with this piece of the story:

Right before leaving I was talking to one of the guys, who went by Archie. He was incredibly sweet and wore a white scrunchie in his long hair. He asked me "Do you play a lot of shows out there?" and I responded, "Do you mean 'out there', like the world?" and he said, "Yeah, you know..." followed by a dramatic hand gesture and a look off into the 'distance', "...out there."

Sunday, April 25, 2010

My Middle School Diary - Episode 7

This one is actually pre-middle school. I'm not sure how old I was but probably 7 or 8. It is not dated and is also on the last page of a mostly empty diary. I haven't changed much since then though, still a fan of lists. I'm not sure what this list was for... maybe a birthday wish list... but maybe just a wish list.

********* circa 1992*********

1. more scarves

2. Julery

3. Gold belt (this has been crossed out)

4. Egiption shoes

5. Sparkly crowne

6. Hand decorations

7. feathers

8. MAKE IT More
Strict I'm fedd




Not sure why the last two are blank. I am pretty sure I still want everything on that list... except for 8. What was I thinking? My parents were pretty rule free... maybe I felt like I didn't fit in with my friends.

I have a show today! It's at Mama Buzz Cafe (2318 Telegraph Ave, Oakland) at 7:30 pm. I am playing with such incredibly talented folks!

Off to a photo shoot now.

P.S. I recorded an amazing acapela cover of a song that will for now remain a mystery. Those who know, please keep it secret. I am going to make a video to go with it as soon as I have some time. YOU CAN'T WAIT!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

My Middle School Diary - Episode 6

I missed a day. Oops. I was on a sailboat with my friend Sass who happens to be a bad ass sailor. To make up for the lack yesterday, here is video for today's entry. Hope you like it. This entry is dated 5-13-2001.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

My MIddle School Diary - Episode 5

So many of my entries are really horrible poems. I think I'm ready to share one of them with you now. Maybe at some point I'll post song lyrics. I wish I could say I was 7 when I wrote this but I was definitely 14.

At some point in 1999


My first love
My only love
You hurt me
You crushed me

You killed my hope
You broke my heart
But I still love you
I can't be mad

My first and only love
Crushed me like a bug (thats the best line!!!)
Dropped me like an egg
Beat my heart black and blue

You wilted my soul
You milked it for all it was worth
Which isn't much
But I still love you

For all that you are
And all that I need
I will always love you
I wish that you could love me

I believed so much in love
I wanted it so badly ("so badly" is gone over again in red ink!)
But you made me realize
What it really was

Now I never want to feel it again
I enjoyed it while the lie lasted
But all this embarrassment that I feel now
Makes me hate it

Yay! (I'm not making this up... the "yay" is really in there.)


Oh boy! That's a good one. I was just reading some pages out loud to my sweetie and we died laughing. At some point I'll make a video dramatization and post it on here for you all.

Looking forward to reading your responses. PLEASE share YOUR adolescent diaries... if you're brave enough.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

My MIddle School Diary - Episode 4

Here we go again! So I'd love it if folks commented on these entries with quotes from their old adolescent journals.

This one is two entries because the first is very short and because they go together. You'll see why. I was 14 when I wrote these. Just a reminder, I don't correct spelling, punctuation, and grammar.


Sept 11, 1999

I have a really bad boyfriend.

Sept 16, 1999

Not any more!

I had a really bad day. Erik has a girlfriend... Tanya, huh. I don't like her. Besides she always goes off about her freshman crush! Derik said I was being distant. Rick made me feel stupid for something that wasn't even stupid. Jasper wasn't swimming today. Gina threw water and salad at me (actually that didn't really bug me) and we lost our field hockey game. Maggie is acting like she is really mad. Jake is ignoring me completely for dumping him!



It isn't getting any less embarrassing, that's for sure.

News: I'm playing at Folsom prison next month. No joke! I'm so excited. I AM Johnny Cash. Serious.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

My Middle School Diary - Episode 3

Hey folks, this is the third day and the third entry of my middle/high school diary. I'm going back in time for now but mostly it will jump around randomly. I was 12 when I wrote this. Just a reminder, I am not correcting spelling, grammar, or punctuation. I change most of the names... maybe I'm too afraid to be THAT honest. This one is pretty tragic... just a warning.

March 5, 1996, 8:15 PM

I think of Chris Tucker all the time. Dreaming of what could be. Time seems to fly when I think of him. I think of Billy too, though I know he goes out with Erica and they are the perfect match.

At school my freinds seem to reject me. I fear they do not like me anymore. They have no raison to. They have many other freinds to play with. They reject me for something that isn't true. They don't know how much they hurt me. At recess I sit on a grassy hill and look at the happy children playing, for I have nothing else to do. In my heart I feel pain though I don't show it on the outside. Though I am nice to people they are not nice to me. My heart sinks, my self esteam is like a deflating baloon, crying for help though no one will help me. People think of themselves before even thinking of thinking of me. In a day I can not count the insults while at school where no one likes me, I think of the people people that do like me. I think of Ariana the most though I saw her two weeks ago, I miss her so much my heart is bleeding. I think the raison I miss her so much so soon is because I am lonely.


I've gotten a few new adopted sea creatures in the past week and its really exciting! I have packages to ship out to them... gotta get on that. If you don't know what I'm talking about, visit my site. You could be a sea creature too!

Things I've done today:

Finished a song that I started writing on tour a few weeks ago.
Ate a delicious chocolate.
Cuddled two adorable kittens.
Helped make sweet potato fries.
Helped eat sweet potato fries.
Some other less interesting things.

Monday, April 19, 2010

My Middle School Diary - Episode 2

Just a reminder, I'm not correcting spelling, grammar, or punctuation. This entry is in an older journal than the entry yesterday. It was the entry I randomly opened to. It's pretty amazing. I'm keeping the names in this one. Fuck anonymity.

July 13th, 1999

My day is waisting away. I have nothing to do because I don't have a car. I want to be sixteen, have a driver's license and have a really nice '54 Jaguar Roadster (black). If I had a car I would be out of this shot hole in a second. I'd be at the movies with Gabby, Camille, Marieke, and Erin, then we would go to lunch, and then I would win the lottery........ okay, I am going a little far but, ohwell. It would be nice. I want a huge house with a huge guesthouse, stables, 1000 acres of property, a pool and a trampoline. That would be magnifiscsent.


Oh man, this is even more embarrassing than the last one. At least I was younger when I wrote this. Such a materialist... actually, I still want most of those things. On the schedule today is figuring out either Poker Face or Bad Romance on my loop pedals. Wish me luck. Also I might map out my summer tour, go to yoga (hippy), hang some posters, and play a show.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

My Middle School Diary

I have a plan. I'd like to blog every day but I fear that my everyday musings are not terribly interesting. So I may include daily anecdotes but mostly I'm going to share entries from my middle school and high school diaries. They are pretty entertaining no matter what but I really recommend reading them allowed (perhaps to a friend) in a "valley girl" manner.

I am going to change the names for anonymity. I am not going to correct the grammar and punctuation... it's too funny as is. Here is the first entry. I'm embarrassed to say that I was in 11th grade when I wrote this:

Nov 23, 2001, 11 pm

I feel so distant. Not that I don't want to be. Sadie and I are not getting along. I don't understand it. We were best friends for all of a week.

Janet is a hypocrite. She told me today that she doesn't like it when I flirt with Derik and James. Then I told her it bothers me when she flirts with Tyler. She totally disregards what I said and said that she doesn't consider what she does with Tyler flirting because she doesn't like him, I don't like Derik and James, I am not going to stop flirting, I love it, it's making me happy. I want to call Kim. That was random.

I get an unexplainable feeling from Tyler, I mean, I feel something for him. I don't know why and it is nothing like a crush. Thats why I wrote all those songs, because a crush would not inspire those. This is an intense love, caring. I miss who he is, but I don't even know who he is. I never knew him before. I feel so alone. I wish I could cry.

Wow. That is embarrassing. Well, I'm off to the flea market. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Empty frames

I'd like to take a pole (any thoughts on where one might be useful?). I'd also like to take a poll. Is it or is it not totally lame to wear glasses with no lenses in them?

Things to consider:

-People with impaired vision have exclusive use of this powerful fashion accessory and I wonder if that's fair.
-As well as a fashion accessory, glasses are a useful tool for shy people. It's like a barrier between you and the world, which can be very comforting at times.

Please consider carefully and provide your opinions below in the comments section.

Note: I will continue to wear them regardless of the outcome of this pole.

P.S. I am playing a benefit show this Friday, Feb 26 in Oakland at the Bikery. The Bikery is a super rad non-profit bike shop run by Cycles of Change. It is located at 2289 International Blvd. There is a suggested donation of $3-10. The music begins at 8pm and will include myself, Annah Anti-Palindrome, and Maple Rabbit.

P.P.S. I'm almost done booking a West Coast tour in March with Annah Anti-Palindrome. Here is what it looks like so far:

March 20 - Nevada City, CA
March 21 - Trinidad, CA
March 23 - Eugene, OR
March 24 - Olympia, WA
March 25 - Bellingham, WA
March 26 - Vancouver, BC
March 27 - Seattle, WA
March 28 - Portland, OR

For details please visit my CALENDAR

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Done and Done

Awkward Like Cut Melon is complete. My deadline is passed. It only has 8 songs on it counting the two covers but I still feel like I accomplished and learned a lot. I'm home out of the snow... and in the rain. I wake up in the morning to rain drops on the skylight above my bed and I don't want to get up because its too effing cozy.

I'm sitting at a coffee shop drinking a perfect soy late that my friend Amanda, who works here and made it, bought for me. 

Since I've been home I've:

- seen two shows. (Builders and the Butchers and Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band)
- moved out of my house.
- bought a birthday present for myself that I raised money for from all of you, thank you!
- fallen in love with Oakland again.
- fallen in love with my friends again.
- eaten two delicious greasy hash brown patties... ok, still in the process of that one.
- played around with my new loop pedal and turned the world upside down using pure awesomeness... or that's what I'll be doing later anyway. Hold on to your hats.
- oh... and house hunted. Ugh.

Check out my upcoming California show dates!  CALENDAR

North West tour in March!

exes and ohs

Friday, January 8, 2010

Not Sure


I was feeling very uninspired yesterday. I am also starting to feel the pressure of finishing the album before I leave. Not long now. I worked for way too long on a song that feels very incomplete. It doesn't sound good with lyrics because there are too many layers of voice already and they just get lost in there. Maybe its good as an.... umm.... acapella instrumental? Maybe it will be a bonus track on the album, but I don't think it makes the album any more done. I think today I'll make a video for the song I posted a few days ago, called Anything. Then later I'll write another song.

It might be easier to write today because late last night I received some unfortunate inspiration in the form of a very hateful message. The person sending it really hates me, more than I've ever been hated, more than I've ever hated anyone. Though this person is not someone I care for, its hard not to be effected. Some part of me is wondering what is it about me that is so awful? Part of me is falling for it. So in that state there was no chance I'd go to sleep and decided to house hunt. I have to move, which is so incredibly sad and lame because I love my house. Craigslist was dismal and, after a few hours devoted, I laid in bed for a long long time until my brain finally slowed enough for sleep to win. 

Appropriately called 'Not Sure', here is the song:

<a href="">Not Sure by Zoe Boekbinder</a>

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Anything Forever

Here is the song I wrote on the beautiful farm in Quebec last week. I wrote it on guitar but thought the organ setting on my casio suited it better. 

<a href="">Anything Forever by Zoe Boekbinder</a>

I've been feeling very productive the past few days. I couldn't do anything but read and play guitar while on the farm so maybe I'm making up for it. Anyway, it feels grand. I've been booking my mini California tour thats coming up in less than a month!

Land Gigs

Here is the video I finished yesterday if you haven't seen it yet. It's my nearly acapella cover of 'I Kissed a Girl'. Stop motion moustaches!!!!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Mad Cow Disease

On the customs form that I fill out on my way back to the US I will have to check "yes" to the question: Have you visited a farm in the past 30 days? 

A farm in Ormstown, Quebec which has been described as "the place of magical strangeness" by one Dakota Belle Witt, is where I currently reside. It is a place I've been coming to most of my life. I spent many summers here when I was younger. It is, in fact, a summer camp. The mad man who runs this place has been a friend of my mother's since she was 15 years old. His name is Andre and the farm, appropriately, is called Andre's Farm, or La Ferme d'Andre. My first job was working here as a counselor. To this day its the hardest job I've ever had. My french is not good... its not even ok... its pretty much not french at all. Trying to organize a bunch of french speaking kids and force them to bathe themselves and keep their cubbies clean... well, I'm sure you can imagine. Most of them just laughed at me, deflating my adolescent ego.

Andre is beyond eccentric. He says whatever is on his mind all the time. At dinner last night he told me I had beautiful eyes and followed that by saying I also had a nice ass... and nice tits. He has had white hair since I can remember and wears all white and only white every day always.  

We took the train here on New Year's Eve. A quiet dinner of four turned into a party of twenty or so. That's the farm. It's a Quebec tradition to eat at midnight to welcome the new year. So after our huge meal at around nine o'clock... we drank and drank and then ate again. At one point there were impromptu latin dance lessons. So twenty French-Canadians, age 4-70, gathered in sheep skin slippers and nerdy sweaters to shake their hips. It was beautiful.  

A fresh snowfall leaves the landscape fluffy white, spotted with rickety wooden fences, silhos, old barns, stone farm houses, leafless trees and a small winding road leading to town. Today's big event was a sleigh ride, horse drawn with bells and all. It wouldn't have been complete without the horse being spooked by a snow mobile and running off in the wrong direction with Andre at the reins cursing and yelling. This was followed by an amazing meal cooked by Lucy. She is the resident chef, graduated from culinary academy and worked at the best restaurants in Montreal. She is always full of energy and ready to dance and drink boxed white wine. When speaking to me she constantly switches between French and broken English. She is marvelous. Tonight also ended with dancing. I was even coerced into participating.  

There is a Mexican family living here right now. My limited Spanish and my limited French are now a language smoothie in my head, its even garnished with some Russian and Portuguese. Yum. I'm hopeless when it comes to communicating with anyone here. I've been keeping to myself and observing. The most communicating I do takes place during the late night dining room concerts. It isn't hard to convince me to play and the folks here are eager to listen. So in the huge, deep red, low-lit dining room, with dark wood floors and two fire places, I pluck and sing each night. 

I've spent four nights here so far. One night we had a barbeque in the snow and all did shots while the flakes landed on our noses. On the barbeque there was pork and goat. Both these animals were born and raised not fifty yards from where they were currently being prepared and soon to be eaten. It doesn't get much more local and organic than that. The rarity of such a thing has led to me to vegetarianism. The raising of animals for meat, and sadly also dairy, is one of the worst things for the environment. I know I sound like a hippy... and maybe I kind of am. Animal rights is one thing, but you could also look at it as human rights too. Every time I eat a vegetable I am fighting for the human right to not live through global warming. I'm exaggerating a little, but you get my point. 

A little about the farm itself: a pool (more like an ice skating rink at the moment), a pond (with ducks), an atelier (for arts and crafts), horses (who all have nasty temperaments from being ridden by rotten kids for years), llamas, cows, dogs, pigs, donkeys, goats, chickens, cats cats cats (each time I come there are more), a very affectionate cockatoo who loves to whistle and bob it's head along to a tune, a tipi, and my favorite... Tarzan's Barn. La Grange de Tarzan is so incredibly hazardous and so incredibly fun. Very hand made ramps and ladders and platforms and a rope swing, and in the center of it all is a huge foam mat. How no one has ever died... well, knock on wood. No matter how much describing I do though, I could never really communicate the magic. It's an incredible place. People come here once and can't ever stop. 

I had my first kiss here. I slow danced to Hey Jude with my first boy friend in the girl's dorm in my pajamas. I rode a horse named Daphne over my first jump. I milked my first cow. I snuck a freezer pop and then had to brush the blue dye off my tongue for what seemed like hours. I smuggled in candy and hid it in my cubby. I discovered the location of the camp fire cookies and my career in thievery began. I got drunk for the first time. Tequila shots at the local bar in town called Vieux Moulin. Fifteen and no one ever asked for an ID. I once fell asleep in a bucket of towels while managing the showers. This place is littered with history. It wreaks of my childhood. Horrible, wonderful, wonderfully horrible, and horribly wonderful memories lurk around every corner. 

I wrote a song yesterday. It's a good place for it. I'll post it as soon as its recorded. I'm also working on the  'I Kissed A Girl' cover and video. I'm so excited.