When a COMRADE dies

883CFD73-95E7-42EC-AC30-A30FBEF62106I didn’t know her. Just interviewed her once behind Liberty Lunch in Austin sometime in the ’90s. A tough chick, a cool chick. Something I would never be but wanted to be around.

She wrote and played catchy, tight pop songs. The craft was sharp. So different than the shambolic, ramble pop I was dabbling in.

If she’d been a man, she would have been celebrated – had the career of a Billie Joe Armstrong maybe (Green Day references her work in their post-punk pop) but instead, she was an effervescent and attractive woman.

It pains me to think of her being fired from the Pixies after Kim Deal was gone. My gut tells me that Black Francis is a chauvinist who liked an indie girl as band candy but actually just wanted to torture one. (Maybe because women put up with dicks longer…? At least then we did. I don’t know. Who causes Kim Deal to leave AND fires Kim Shattuck?)

In person, Kim Shattuck had an innocent, almost child-like quality but with that growl of a belt when she sang on stage. She seemed to express something about womanhood that felt true and hard and mean and soft and fun.

It was too much, too early.

If bad boy artists get more museum shows because of the preferences of curators (both male and female), then indie rock was no different. I guess the tastes of young women preferred a Billie Joe then. Men were too threatened by a woman talented AND hot. And straight women wanted to fuck men. So. Green Day sold more records. Elvis and Big Mama Thornton know this story.

In the 90s, I never had met anyone like her. Now, I want her to still be in the world – tough and proud and funny. A grown-ass woman… Catchy, tight songs spilling vibrantly from the car stereo. She could write the Supremes right into a punk girl anthem.

Here’s two videos. I like them because they remind me of the houses we were all living in and the videos we were all making at the time.



Thanks for being with us, Kim.


Who Dropped the Fruit on YouTube




After 4 years and 4 trips to court, I finally got my bike tickets dismissed!

New York doesn’t play. They start sending you notices that your license will be suspended even when you come to 3 different hearings, years apart. Intimidating. The first hearing was scheduled a year out. The second another year later, etc etc. I guess they hope you’ll not show and have to just pay.

The officer who pulled me over on my bike, said I ran a red light and had 2 headphones in. However, I wear a mono headphone… I promised myself that if the ticket were dismissed, I would never doubt the existence of abundance again.

Here’s to perseverance. I even got my $40 bond back that I forgot I paid. Now that’s confirmation of the Universe providing.

What should I do with those two 20 dollar bills? Put them on my alter? Give them away? Loan to a friend? Give to charity?

Coming around to POSE

It’s taken me a little bit. Already pre-disposed, I was a bit put off by the clunky writing and awkward acting at the beginning.

But by episode 5, it’s like the show finds its groove. Or maybe I just cut it a break. I LOVE period dramas after all. And this is a period I lived through but wasn’t part of.

Its fun to watch it happen again when all we got in Richmond or Austin were the trickles of this heartbeat. Of course, we were busy making our own heart beats. But watching POSE, I see that we were influenced by this culture more than we knew.

And since I spend 60% of my time on the road, having POSE play on Netflix loop while I pack a suitcase or brush my teeth and get ready for bed is like having some of those funky friends around.

Its soap opera for freaks and goddesses, for iconoclasts and trailblazers. Because as a young friend said recently, “You know, it wasn’t always easy for gay and trans people!”



I am nervous about tearing things down

Because when you disappear the past, you have a hard time understanding what happened. I admit, I don’t want to tear down Robert E. Lee on horseback.

RobertELeeRichmondIn Richmond, Virginia, Monument Avenue is a beautiful  and elegant allee with statues of Civil War leaders. Some of them are dramatic and beautiful.

And they represent the grief, sadness and injustice of white supremacy. But rather than tear them down, I think we should surround them with images of what slavery and war really looked like.

Pictures of of slave auctions, of faces, of beaten backs, of thousands of dead lying in war fields. Images of Black strength and resilience despite systematic oppression. Because they were brave. But they got erased.

I want the evidence.

We need to see how wrong humans can be. And how strong they can be. So, I want the whole history. Not half. When younger generations forget that it can happen, demagogues get elected.

When history gets erased, and we become accustomed to erasure as a methodology, those who are most vulnerable become invisible.

Sure, I’d like to destroy every copy of “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” but if we did, we wouldn’t recall that it was a forgery, a complete fiction, cooked up to incite anti-semitism. Because that’s how the Nazi’s were able to pick it up 40 years later and use it as evidence of a “Jewish conspiracy”.

And yes, I’d like to burn every print of “Birth of a Nation”. It’s a bullshit, racist document that through the power of early film narrative, justified an ideology of racial oppression. It’s horrifying to watch today. But if I don’t see how oppression was skillfully normalized, I can’t read that normalization today.

When anti-immigrant hatred is used to stir up frustrated whites, it’s important to preserve the documentation of past public relations campaigns for state-sanctioned wrong-doing. (And look, I’m trying to avoid the word “evil” here because I don’t believe in evil – I believe that fear and trauma drive this crap. Its us. We’re not evil, we’re fucking wrong as fuck. Because of damage, ignorance and trauma.)

I want the evidence.

I want to be able to point to something —  “Can you believe they put up a statue to Andrew Jackson?! He authorized the killing of so many Native Americans…” Because the statue shows what the culture thought at the time. That it was ok. Normal. And right.

I want the evidence.

Let’s look ourselves in the eye, dead-on and see what we are. Let’s look at the bad things that dominant white culture did (does) to others. Because if we don’t look at this sore we can’t heal it. Otherwise, we are just the walking wounded, lost and damaged. Betraying our values as Americans, denying our humanity and the deep connection to all beings.

So, I want to build other monuments. That surround the monuments. That contextualize them. (An exhibit on the modern slavery of sex trafficking right under General Lee…? Amen, sister. Giant photographs of what’s happening in the camps on the border right now? Yes Lord.) I want the overwhelming nature of the wrong to be seen. Not disappeared.

Because, it must have looked like “right” to those old whiteys. Everybody said it was. There were statues. And everyone gave money to erect those statues so that their overlord system would remain in place. But they were wrong. And let’s show it for what it was.

Now, maybe it’s easy for me to write this. I’m white. I can never truly know the hurt and pain that makes people want to tear down the evidence of white supremacy.

But, I don’t want other white people to pretend that it didn’t happen.

So, I want to surround the statues. I don’t want to forget. I want us to have something to point to. I know it’s painful. But, this time we have to learn this lesson, once and for all.

And, as we take our country back from the idiots, racists and fascists, we have to see the past clearly. So that we are reminded to fight for the future. Today and every day.

Peace to all. Change is hard. much love