Uncaged

Queens of the Stone Age, Stage AE, Pittsburgh, PA, September 13, 2017.

Things have been hectic. Things. Whatever the hell I mean by that generic statement. I’ve been busy. Work, picking up a freelance writing job, kid back in school, regular early morning gym sessions (despite my strange inability to sleep properly anymore), trying desperately to catch up on art projects and sewing obligations…this and more + more than that + emotions + more than that. Needless to say, a night to let go and just say “fuck it” hasn’t been an option. A lot was riding on this midweek concert. It had to be good. If my “fuck it” time was ruined, I might very well pack it in and accept life as pure drudgery.

I suppose I could post a setlist, but I don’t really intend to write a traditional review. I want to say how this show made me feel—vibes were in the air. Good vibes? Maybe. Intense vibes? Kinda. Communal/good/intense/irreverent/totally not irreverent at all…just vibes. I felt a whole-ness by the end of the night that I didn’t realize I’ve desperately needed.

The way the city is alit around the venue is truly magical. A light rain added to the ambiance. Josh Homme said was ready to leave himself on that stage and he did not disappoint. He claimed to have a “weird day” and I could relate to that. We had spent the afternoon rushing through Eliot’s hefty homework assignment before leaving him with the grandparents and my anxiety was on full tilt for most of the drive in to the city. I was resolved my mind would wreck the entire night. He continued, “Sometimes I just feel like a caged animal. I need this tonight.” Me too, dude.

I found a spot where I could move freely and danced and danced and danced some more. A fellow in front of me, also dancing and dancing and dancing some more, turned to me during the end of “3’s and 7’s” and passed me a joint “…making us all forget, making us all forget.” At this point, the three glasses of Sangria I sucked down from dinner had worn off, so I happily obliged. Bye, bye, needless worry. Kindly fuck off tonight.

The encore was dreamy. “I Appear Missing,” “Villains of Circumstance” (which translates amazingly live, by the way), and “Song for the Dead.” The energy did not dissipate not once. It laid heavy on the band, on the crowd — a true congregation of weirdos willing to let all our baggage linger like a fog dancing in the lights of the city and the cool evening air.

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Jeez, Louise! Joy in existing.

  1. Who am I?
  2. If I had just 4 months to live, how would I spend that time?
  3. What would I like to have contributed when life my life is complete?

Three questions posed by the Rich Roll podcast. Three pretty obvious “la la woo woo new agey self development” questions. Maybe not? To me, at least. I’m no stranger to that woo woo shit. But, are you surprised that these three questions absolutely fucking paralyze me? Especially that “who am I?”—who is anyone? FUCK.

I try consciously to notice love and joy in every moment of the day (I’m looking at you sweet ‘lil chirping birds in the trees outside the Children’s Museum this morning), but I also get easily caught up in negativity and expectation (both societal and self imposed). My emotions fluctuate a lot in day, hell, in a hour sometimes. Digressssss. During this podcast, there was mention of the things that stirred happiness in your six-year-old self. I suppose that’s a good jumping point from my gravy brain, so I am going to attempt to suss some of this out.

As a six-year-old, I was talking to trees. I was standing on stumps and singing to grass. I was outside a lot. I was riding a bike (I want a new bike—this is something recently on my mind). I drew pictures of super tall women and portraits of my family. I watched movies and kept to myself a lot. I wrote in my diary. I recorded songs from the radio onto cassette tape. I begged my mom to buy me poster boards from the grocery store and I would spend an entire afternoon making a GIANT collage from old Metropolitan Home magazines (We lived in a trailer; I resented the shit out of this magazine and I know my mom never willingly subscribed to it. There was this weird time bubble in the 80s and 90s when magazines just appeared at your fucking house—it’s a fact).

The past couple of nights Eliot and I have spent an hour or so working on collages made from old National Geographic magazines Joe picked up at a yard sale (from the 80s, no less—I’m just putting that “coincidence” together at this moment). I found myself in that sweet spot where you lose time. Even cooler to get to experience it with your eight-year-old kid. (Will he sit down and write something like this one day?) I have a lot of ideas and feel cool about making simply for the sake of it.

I’ve been caught up the past couple of years in having a “plan” financially to get out of my day job. I’m not entirely divorced from that mindset, but it has almost always included a way to make money from art—not that I’m downing that—but it really helps you to lose the whole purpose of making art in the first place. I think most creative minds can attest to that. The making, the doing, has to be the first priority or the rest of it is just an inauthentic wank off fest.

To quote David Lynch: “Enjoy the doing. So many people do stuff but they don’t enjoy the doing of it. And I always say, that’s your life going by. It’s important to enjoy the doing of something. Jeez, Louise!”

So, I suppose I do find joy in making. Joy in existing. Joy in creating. Joy in expressing myself and convening with nature. Joy in consuming the art of others. I am pretty sure that answers all my questions in one. I’m not shocked they are all interconnected…I’m sure that’s the point of the entire exercise. I need to do all or part of these things every day with that intention alone—joy.

How do these questions make you feel?

I Drew A Picture of My Food – “Tuna” Noodle Casserole

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Full recipe view

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Instructions close up.

Spent a little longer drawing and coloring this one (colored pencil, Sharpie, ballpoint pen, on Moleskine sketchpad). I thought it would be rad to take a more comic book approach to the illustrated recipes I’ve been doing.

Classic recipes with a twist. Gotta love that comfort food. It’s also way easier to get my kid to eat when I make stuff like this. I have recently made the transition to almost entirely plant based, so this one is vegan AND gluten free to accommodate some of the most fickle guts. (Expect vegan and gluten free stuff going forward.) Yeehaw! I’m hoping the measurements are ok. I apologize if some of them are off at all. That is something about my own recipes I need to get in the habit of doing, ya know, measuring. I cook very intuitively, but if I want to share those recipes with people, I am going to have to get more precise. Workin’ on that. Enjoy!

Bright & Busy – Personal Style Evolution & Art Inspiration

I’ve been working on a lot of commission work lately, so the other night I took some time to work on updating my own denim jacket. A close friend sewed me a new patch and I had a couple vintage patches I’ve been sitting on for a few years (yikes!) that really needed a new home. I love that jacket. I bought it for maybe $10 at Avalon Exchange in Oakland (Pittsburgh, PA) in maybe 2004. Memory is fuzzy about the nitty gritty (pointless) details, but I remember picking it up and seeing the moon and star buttons like it was yesterday. I have such distinct memories of combing the racks of that store. I was in an intense Morrissey phase at the time (some things never change, just evolve a bit), so I was on an obsessive mission to find the perfect denim jacket.

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Mega babe inspiration.

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My own patch in the middle I’m pretty proud of. Still so much space to explore and fill on this thing.

I’ve always been more inspired by quirky and outcast men’s fashions than super girly style. Not to say I look at a beautiful feminine aesthetic and cringe, it just isn’t my go-to ensemble. The days I go super femme, I am not being completely honest with myself. I am open to experimentation, but I feel most comfortable in jackets, t-shirts, jeans, and flannel.

Another one of my clothing inspirations is Ryan Adams. Something about him feels like home. I cannot explain it, but he speaks to me on many levels. I’m pretty sure his influence on my life is painfully overplayed. I have the tattoos to prove it. Sorry, guys (no, I’m definitely not).

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Ry at Newport Folk Festival, 2014, repping Terminator and the Canadian tuxedo.

Speaking of Ryan Adams, he shares a birthday with the late, great Gram Parsons. I’m sitting here sipping a glass of Riesling listening to The Guilded Palace of Sin by The Flying Burrito Brothers. Let’s talk about Mr. Parsons and the Nudie Suit and a style I’m in the mood of not only emulating, but creating and adapting to my own art style, as well.

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Gram in the Nudie Cohn original design.

These bright and bold designs have me so inspired, people. I’ve always had this style subconsciously on my radar, but, lately, I am particularly drawn to the vivid beauty. I’m not saying I want to start sewing polyester suits, but I am saying I want to start upcycling some thrifted and vintage pieces with lucid designs that scream: “I’M ALIVE, MOTHERFUCKER!” I’ve also just heard of Manuel Cuervas. I’m woefully behind, man.

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Manuel Cuevas suits

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Jack White in Manuel Cuevas garb.

When I was a kid, there were two things I always said I wanted to be when I grew up: a cartoonist and a fashion designer. Why not combine the two?