Saturday, January 26, 2008

To Keep My Mind Off It...

Yep, Marah was, at one time, gonna be playing the 400 Bar tonight. And, at one time, Texas-by-way-of-Minneapolis Kat was gonna be flying up for the show and we were gonna scream and dance like assholes together. And, at one time, my old coworkers who went to the last 400 Marah show and many of my new music friends were gonna come together to enjoy some seriously awesome rock'n'roll.


Nope, I can't stay hung up on it all day, all week, all month, all year forever and ever and ever.


To keep my mind off of it, because I still can't/won't listen to Marah's music (dramatic much??? SERIOUSLY Jones...I swear I'll stop soon enough), I'm gonna overwhelm myself with AWESOMENESS today!

1) I've listened to War Drums by Heiruspecs eight times already today. THIS SONG DRIVES ME CRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAZY, but in the really good, seize back and forth with my arms waving kind of way. Jesus god, I LOVE THIS SONG!

No, I wasn't at this show...


...and it was THE SHIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIT! Yeah, the drunk asshole that tried to push in front of me, knocked my camera and poured beer on me and my American hip hop soulmate (Donkey, you KNOW you are my original hip hop sister forever and ever!!) was a pain but he got owned in the end and it turned out to be a righteous time. GOD BLESS LOCAL HIP HOP!!!!!

2) Dogs! God, I love them, too. From my sister back home who snuggled with me ALLLLLL NIGHT EVERY NIIIIIIIGHT over Christmas break, who missed me so much when I left that she would still run upstairs to see if I was there even after two weeks... my future child...


3) Josh Ritter, one of my favorite discoveries of last year, has broken and healed my heart over and over again. On Letterman last week, he made me choke up with joy and hope that not ALL bands are gonna turn around and break up as soon as they perform on network television (Oh Marah...I still love you...I'll get over it and learn to praise again I SWEAR!)

Seriously...this man overwhelms me with that smile and Ritter DEFINITELY wins Happiest Man in the Universe award, well right after butter is better Paula Dean and this Ethiopian woman I know back in Kansas City. GO JOSH GO!

And, late last night, when I was a tad lonely and lying in the dark youtubing my favorite singers, I FOUND THIS...WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT!?!?!? SJDHG{W(#*RYW^)WR&(T)Q@EW(DVKJHLKSFJ^%*&^$#$*DYR JOSH RITTER AAAAAAAND GLEN HANSARD...MERCY ME MERCY ME!!!!!!!!

I love me some beard on beard action.

4) GOSSIP GIRL DAY! The lovely gossip girls are having an entire day dedicated to cheesy movies, malts, live music and girl talk. Secrets will be revealed. Secrets will be locked tight in the gossip girl vault. GOSSIP GIRLZ!

5) Jason Isbell. Yep. I've gushed about him ad nauseam. Y'know...the fact that he broke off from one of my favorite bands and I thought it would be over, and it's obviously not...cause Sirens of the Ditch was one of my favorite releases last year and Chicago Promenade was one of my favorite songs last year (and of the past several fact, I sorta think that DBT needs to step it up now)...It feels reeeeeeeal nice to think of that. And it feels reeeeeeeeal nice to listen to Isbell. And watch him. And I'm reeeeeeeeeeeeeal excited for his show at The Varsity on February 6th. WOOHOO! JASON!

It's a simple song but a lovely one.


This was a much needed treat/job after last week's sh*tty Thursday (the day that ended with me tripping outside the turf club and shattering one of my $400 lenses thus I spent all of Bon Iver crying tears of self loathing in the back of the venue!!!) Jonesie needs every last dolla bill she can get!


Okay, if you wanna talk to me about breaking and healing my heart, there will always and forever be Bruce (big effin' surprise.) Above everything else. Yep yep yep. Seriously, people we're rounding the bend on a seven year die-hard obsession. It ain't waning any time soon. I watched this video last night with those same lights off, the glow of the greenway coming through the window, and I cried, SUCKAS, I CRIED!! Favorite song EVER...

That's from the show last November at Xcel, when, as I've said a billion times before, the rock'n'roll rats ruled the world. I didn't want it to end...the wails, the tears, the high fives, the hand-holding so tight that my knuckles turn white, the bar before and afterwards where your surrounded by people who understand and relish in it. I never want it to end. When those opening chords of Incident started, I screamed my Jonesie scream, FINALLY I was going to get to hear a full band Incident with all my E Street boys backing my Bruce. I was there, with my friends and my Mama, and life could not have been any more rewarding at that one moment. I wept, laughed and literally pounded on my mom's back, keeping my white girl rhythm, while dancing up and down. This song is a sweeping romance of epic proportions, yet its still simple and accessible, a boy loves a girl, Johnny & Jane. They meet through his tears, their names are never revealed (my favorite line ever: Puerto Rican Jane, oh won't you tell me what's your name?)...maybe because that way the anonymity allows all of us to a part of a love story, they love each other desperately and then, not by choice (I'd like to believe), he's gone. Is he arrested? Is he murdered? Is she alone? Maybe. Maybe it's something different every single time you hear it.

And Bruce is coming back on March 16th. Go to this show. Rock'n'roll redemption is worth every damn penny (or ten thousand of them.) Trust me.

God I can't wait...

What I do know is that I have left myself about 30 minutes go take a shower, put my make-up on and fix my hair up pretty, and kick it with my girls alllllll day! YAY!

To all that I have to look forward to in my future...YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Together, we are Marah.

I woke up this morning with the intention of sitting in a St. Paul coffee shop and writing all day long, purging my year in review piece that has been swarming in my mind, taking up space along side the English cream long haired miniature dachshund that I will someday own and the boys I crush on from afar. It would be the perfect cap to a weekend of live music and photography. The piece was going to flow out easily as I had already decided the format: take every song I had put on my Jonesie 2007 Obsessions Mix and tell its story. Lame and overdone, maybe, but it was also my perfect categorizing method. Like Nick Hornby’s Songbook that had become my best friend as I traveled around Barcelona, like Rob Sheffield's Love Is A Mix Tape that had become my relationship model and source of gut wrenching inspiration last week, like so many of my friends and family, music has defined my memories. For the past two weeks, I found myself staring off while at work, telling my stories over and over again in my head.

And then I woke up today and found out that one of my very favorite bands in the whole wide fucking world is falling apart.


Yeah, this all seems really dramatic. Yeah, these all could be ridiculous rumors that are a product of forum fuck fests. But make fun of me about this and I’ll lose my shit on you. And by that I of course mean I’ll brush it off like it’s okay, say some half-assed yeah it sucks, and then sit in my car and cry because that’s the one place that seems to beat the honesty out of me as I blare my music way too loud.

I’ve never been someone that can conceal how I feel. It instantaneously splatters across my face: disgust, ecstasy, boredom, love, etc. Maybe I’ll realize what’s happening and hide it because it’s even too inappropriate for me but it’s always there for at least a millisecond. I’m sitting in the coffee shop right now choking up next to some hippie dad bouncing his baby on his knee. All I can think about is what I could potentially lose by Marah breaking up. Now I don't need to simply write about the year that was 2007; it’s what I have become in the past five years since I discovered Marah.

I know I’m not the first person to experience this heartbreak, as bands have broken up since the dawn of time when Neanderthal Yoko first undid her bearskin skirt for Neanderthal John. Marah has undergone many line-up changes in its dozen odd years as a band. Some say that Marah is simply the Bielanko brothers. Others say that Marah is Dave B, Serge, Kirk, Adam, Dave P. I can't help but identify more with the second school because that’s all I’ve ever known. Just like my E Street is Max and not Mad Dog, this is my Marah.

Adam and Kirk were two people who welcomed me into the community first, hung around to really talk to me, the meek girl from Minnesota who would soon enough open her mouth to let out her rock'n'roll banshee scream. Kirk, Adam & Dave are hardcore rumored to be leaving the band. All at the same time. This doesn’t bode well. Trust me when I say that I wanna believe that this will be okay, that whatever changes happen, they’ll still be my rock’n’roll band. But Marah was never about just the two brothers who share the mic and sing the songs. It’s always been about this community of rock’n’roll rats. I will of course listen and watch whatever the next Marah could be but I have every right and every reason to be scared and skeptical for the future of this band. I'm not going to place blame on why half of the band members could potentially be gone. I’m not going to slander the band, slander the brothers because I love them and that would be slandering every single damn precious memory I have of this band, this community of people, and I can't do that. I'm just worried. But, you know, the internet is a big place full of lots of break-up or change-it-up rumors and they are just overwhelming me now. Maybe tomorrow the jokes on us and the full tour, including Adam & Dave's Bloodline, is still on. And I'll be all like hahaha sorry for that verbal avalanche yesterday guys and then continue on my merry way, surrounded by my miniature long-haired english cream dachshunds and crushes from afar, telling perverse jokes and laughing like a donkey cause today never really happened. Maybe.

Let me just say this once. I'm not naive. I'm not silly. I know I could be fretting about a lot worse. But this is my band, my original music family potentially ending and I have every right to own these emotions.

So it is, I still sit in this coffee shop seven hours after I first got here, five hours after my brunch dates left, still obsessively checking the Marah forum for some answers. A lot of the people in my life brush it off as just some funny news about this band I've traveled out east for many times, and I certainly don’t begrudge them that. They don’t really understand what it is for me, how much it means. Most of them haven't seen me with this family. And that's everything. So that's why I checked my phone and computer constantly today. I need the connection to people that are a part of that world.

In September, Tab, Kat, Tommy, Jesse & I were piled on top of each other in Tommy's truck, screaming and laughing on our way to the concert, winding through downtown Philly, a city I've visited several times because of Marah shows and have come to cherish in all its grimy drunken glory. Jesse played Josh Ritter on the stereo and in my one beer buzz I said a little too loudly, "God this is great." Yeah, I was talking about Josh Ritter, who I knew nothing about at that time, but it really applied to that one car ride. It seemed like such an insignificant time in comparison to the rest of the week which involved choking up on Chinatown buses, puking in alleyways, dancing drunkenly in pubs to our band, overflowing toilets and late night Ike Reilly pillow talk. No not all of that was me. But I was a part of it all. Well...we sat on each other, crammed into the truck, bubbling over with Marah excitement. These people, who range in age from mid 20s to late 40s, are all part of a family to me. We've basically seen the very best and the almost worst of each other. And, for me, all this connection is crammed into a couple weekends a year. Josh was our soundtrack for that exact moment.

I can’t listen to Marah's music right now. I can’t do it, not one damn song or kickass youtube video. Instead I listen to Josh Ritter because his song on my 2007 Jonesie Obsession Mix was the impetus for my what would have been the year in reflection piece. Like all the hand holding high fives and screaming sobs of recognition that was the November Bruce Springsteen concert at Xcel, this memory in the truck somehow floated above practically everything else from this year as one of my most treasured moments. Josh Ritter is the easiest music for me to listen to right now, consoling me, connecting me to the memories I have of that family, that truck ride in downtown Philly when we had the entire night, the entire record, the entire tour and future ahead of us. It's that bond that runs rampant amongst us Marah fans.

Thus you see it’s not just a band, it’s my east coast rock’n’roll family and we are texting and calling each other like mad right now. They get it. I called Tab, my doppleganger, this morning. I texted with several other east coasters this afternoon. I stood outside this evening, without my coat (cause it was saving my coffee shop table), to talk to Texas Kat about what we thought would have been a rad rock’n’roll party on January 26th. As my teeth chattered incessantly, we talked about the future of Marah.

Some may listen to Marah and say what’s the big fucking deal; I don't get it; they are too this or not enough that. I still believe they aren’t really a studio band; that's not their strength at all. They’re a live force. I recognize all their flaws but I love them FOR those flaws, not in spite of them. When I made my first trip out east for the Philly Holiday show of 2005, at one point I literally grabbed my gut and had the thought “This is perfect. This is exactly what my life is about.” People that I had just met were giving me air high fives from across the crowded venue, buying me drinks, cheering with me. To all of them out there, I’m Lexy. I never corrected them and told them that I actually never have gone by Lexy, that it was just a stupid screen name I had used online since I had been in middle school. It wouldn’t be right if they called me Alexa. It’s Lexy. Out there, I love it so much. I feel like a different person, someone who really is pretty and brave and full of confidence.

And that dual personality is something I am trying almost everyday to reconcile. This year in particular, because of the arts I have explored and the people I have become close to in my own city, I have felt closer to owning it than ever before. I guess in short that’s what Marah has given me: a real glimpse into the person I know I can be. All the joy and madness and honesty and love and flirt I am capable of has come out time and again at those shows. All of that is beginning to spill over into my everyday life here and wherever else I end up.

In 2007, I sold and gave or threw away most everything I owned and left my apartment of three years. I’m sleeping on a couch in a living room right now because of the money that I’ve spent on rock’n’roll. It’s not a difficult sacrifice cause my roommate is like a sister to me but it’s a sacrifice nonetheless, one that will lead to real options for my future. I could have boatloads of camera equipment, nice clothes, nice furniture, a nice room all to myself, but I don’t. I have boatloads of rock’n’roll memories all over this nation instead. I have a Bruce Springsteen obsession that has birthed this drive in me to seek out connection.

Over and over again, I have said or referred to my fellow Marah devotees as my East Coast concert family. My sporatically overwhelming sense of sadness is based on this very real fear that this family is falling apart. I don't want to be pessimistic and I'm usually not. It's just that when all else seemed to be over or failing in my life, these people and these future adventures were there for me. If Marah ends, when will I see my Doppleganger again, or Kat, Tommy, Jesse, Chris, Matt, Larry, Bridgid, Andrea, Leonora, Cline, Richelle, Liz, Billie Jo, Starsky, Ktristi, Adam, Kirk, Dave or anyone else I didn't list who I have connected with so strongly at those shows? When I met my Minnesota music family and hung out with most of them that first night at the CC Club, talking about music and life and pouring my heart out about Bruce Springsteen until 2am, the first thing I told some friends was “Something happened tonight. I felt in Minneapolis what I feel on the east coast with my Marah family over and over and over again.”

So, if this really is the end, thank you endlessly to Marah and every single person that involves...

Monday, January 7, 2008

Babies are easy...

Seriously, it's not hard to get good shots of cute kids. I'm just proud of this one in particular.


Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Albrisha: T'is A Blessed Tradition

It's dorky and awesome and too weird to try to validate. Just know it started two years ago, the latest installment rung in the current New Year, and it's a tradition my New York family and I take far too seriously. In a blessed way.



Albrisha II: Carmine's Revenge

Albrisha III: Attack of the Nuts

Albrisha 2008: Rachel's Reckoning

To be continued...