Dragon Ladies

Being the very bad horse that I am (see prior blogs), I am constantly relearning the same lessons over and over again. Luckily they seem to get gentler with time so it has become amusing more often than painful to feel familiar taps from the Universe.
Today’s lesson was forgiveness—not so much about how to orchestrate being able to forgive someone (I still haven’t got a clue about that), but about how much easier it is on me when I am handed the gift of forgiveness.
I was born on the cusp of Libra/Scorpio, but anyone that knows me will tell you I’m far more of a Scorpio. I will hold and nurse a grudge with gentle and loving hands as if it were a tiny child with pneumonia. When in the right (read: PMS) mood I can lay awake in bed and fester over some random and minor incident that happened 20 years ago. I live to be pissed off. And this lifetime around the powers that be have seen fit to hand me the “gift” of spectacular revenge (continuing on the astrology tip– Mars in Leo). Not personally planned revenge–that always fails and ends up making one look like a bitter asshole. And I’m far too self-absorbed to have the concentration necessary for perfecting evil plots. But I have watched my enemies crash and burn in all sort of glorious manner: death by overdose, morbid obesity, random accidents, misery in the suburbs, etc. Maybe I’m being overly dramatic and it’s just the way life goes if you wait long enough, but Drew has noticed it too and often when I’m ranting about my latest foe will tell me to “Turn off the death ray, Mary!” Heh, heh, heh…
Over the years I have managed to perform my own share of rotten and selfish acts and have been forgiven by people much more easily than I may have forgiven them had the circumstances been reversed. I have had a couple of opportunities to go back and make amends with people I once harmed, and am incredibly grateful at how graciously the apologies were received. So you’d think I’d be more humble about my own hurts, real and imaginary, but I still find myself needing to learn the lesson of forgiveness repeatedly.
The first time I really got it was after I split up with my ex-husband and moved directly downstairs from him. He was an incredibly good-looking guy and took advantage of it by parading every available stripper, groupie, and at least one doped up German heiress through our hallway and into the apartment above me while I chain-smoked and considered suicide below. I heard everything, and I do mean everything. Again—see prior blogs, this has all been well-documented and it bores me to write about it anymore.
During this time one of the women he hooked up with turned out to be a friend. Not a close friend but a good friend of one of my good friends, and someone I considered an equal and definitely a step above the bimbastic crowd that traipsed in and out. For me, at that time, you were either on one side or the other. If any one of my friends had even casual contact with the ex, I cut them off immediately and completely. Not the most mature way to handle it, but I was beyond heartbroken and enraged and it was the only way I could deal. So when he made sure I knew about this particular girl, I wanted her blood, and I made sure that everyone in our circle knew it.
He also made sure that I knew about the one time she spent the night in his apartment. It was a long night for me, and I cringed when I heard her heels on the floor/ceiling the next morning as I was getting ready to leave for work. I heard his door slam upstairs and knew she was leaving, and I ran out quickly afterwards, determined to catch up with her and tell her what a whore she was, what a pig, what an evil betrayer—all those things you say to a woman when it’s really the man in the center that is the problem. But when I got downstairs I just felt too tired and broken-hearted to get into yet another squabble. I stopped on the sidewalk and watched her walk away until it was safe to start moving without being seen. I felt nothing but defeated rage and pain that morning. My ex tossed her aside fairly quickly and that was the last we saw of her around the building.
But I held tightly onto my hurt and every time I saw her out, which was regularly, I made sure she felt how much I hated her without ever once looking in her direction. I told our mutual friend that she had better steer clear of me or there would be problems. This went on for years until finally it changed, probably 7-8 years later, on New Year’s Eve and when I was go-go dancing on a platform at Squeezebox. It happened to be one of those perfect go-go moments when the music is exactly right and you are completely connected to the crowd below and you can feel that you are almost conducting the dancers with your own energy. On occasion go-go dancing can be transcendent—and that’s how it felt at that second right before I looked up and saw her walk through the door.
My heart stopped briefly and I steeled myself, but then a sort of miracle happened: I actually felt the anger drain out of me physically, starting at the top of my head and running down through my feet. It was one of the most vivid and spiritual moments of my life. And just like that I was free. I smiled at her sincerely and she smiled back at me, obviously surprised. I mouthed the words, “Happy New Year”, and she responded in kind. And that was the end of it. I have never discussed it with her or felt anything but gratitude for the experience since.
So—fast forward to today (or not—sorry these blogs get so long!) and here we are again:
There is an older woman, maybe 70-80 years old, who lives in the East Village and has lived here as long as I can remember, who wears the most fabulous and severe outfits you can imagine. Every day there is a color theme, most often bright red, and there are generally matching side-tilted hats. She will wear red trousers, a chic red jacket, red stockings, red shoes, a kicky little red hat, and always, always a slash of bright red lipstick. She is not a soft or pretty woman and her hair is cut in a severe bob. She walks slowly and with determination without looking at anyone. She is always dressed to the hilt no matter what time of day it is, and I fell completely in love with her the first time I saw her.
That is, until one day when I was sitting on a subway platform waiting for a train. At the time she and I both took the same F train uptown to work every day. I always looked forward to seeing her there and wondered where she worked. I even considered following her a couple of times. But on this particular day I sat on a bench daydreaming, and as she walked past me she slammed the back of my head with her shopping bag. It wasn’t on purpose, but it was done without taking any pains to move the bag away from the vulnerable head in its path, and it hurt and made a loud cracking sound that was impossible to miss. And to add insult to injury, she didn’t turn around or say a word. She just kept walking!
So of course I was immediately enraged and shouted, “Hey! That hurt!” She turned around slowly, casually, and with a slight smirk on her face sang out sarcastically, “Have a nice daaaaaay.” I cannot tell you how badly I wanted to get up and shove that ancient teal-covered ass onto the tracks. I was speechless with anger, just sputtering, until I got to work where I then ranted about her for hours. 
And I festered—oh, how I festered—for years. With time this tiny injury took on the magnitude of a mortal wound. Every time I saw her on the street I sent her ill wishes and passed her with a haughty glare. I cut her off at subway turnstiles with glee. In one minute all my love for the woman had turned into a cold, abiding hatred.
Today on my way back from the gym I stopped into the corner deli to get paper towels, and there she was, my archenemy, the dreaded and most evil Dragon Lady (dressed completely in gray this time). I was already exhausted from getting up early to get my ass kicked by the usual heinous 110 lb and perky blonde Crunch class instructor (do they make these girls in a factory somewhere??), and just didn’t have it in me at that moment to begin the usual inner dialogue in which I berate her about how horrible she is while she humbly begs for mercy. And then, as we stood next to each other in line, and in a raspy, cigarette-ravaged voice, the dragon spoke! She smiled into my face and complained about the humidity and complained about the line and discussed her purchases, and she talked and talked. I marveled at her audacity as I looked down at her (she’s very short), responded politely and then when it was my turn paid the guy at the counter. 
And then as I was leaving she called out sincerely, “Have a nice day!”
And just like that I loved her again, wholeheartedly and without restraint. And the obvious dawned on me: all this time that I have been glaring and hating and envisioning her tripping into traffic she has had absolutely no clue who I am or that we’ve had any contact before whatsoever. My feelings of being wounded haven’t touched her in the least. She’s a crazy old woman with a hat on the side of her head, fer Chrissakes! So again, to let the weight of such a silly grudge go and to let it be replaced with warmth felt really, really nice.
So that’s my lesson for today–when I nurse this shit I hurt myself far more than anyone else. I’m not telling anyone to go out there and forgive anyone. That happens when it happens. I’m just saying that when it’s possible and it does happen, it’s pretty fucking amazing. And it frees us much more than it does them. And hopefully, the next time some old bat in a fabulous ensemble bangs me in the head with her Neiman Marcus bag it won’t take me years to get over it.

The Evolution of Beauty

Wanna know why looking at fashion magazines makes you feel like a piece of shit? Here’s an illustration that my good friend Dina sent to me this morning. I don’t think this is even as drastic as it can be sometimes, but it definitely makes the point and it’s something all women (and men, come to think of it) should know about. The business of beauty is a business, with all that that implies, and it takes no prisoners.
As for the website, I haven’t checked it out yet, but I intend to do so as soon as I get done posting this video:

Circus of Power Reunion Bitches!

2009 Addendum: All of the 2005-2007 blogs are copied and pasted from my myspace page. It has been a tedious process and I just don’t have the energy to fix all of these links (myspace kills them). 

I’ve been getting some requests for an update re the September 27, 2006 Circus of PowerDrew Stone’s reunion, which for those of you who don’t know, was also a film release party for new film “Passion and Brotherhood”. Here’s my report, complete with enough links to keep you occupied for an hour or so:

Donna and I went up to Smash studios the night before the show to get in a little rehearsal time and check in with the boys. I’ve gotten to see Ricky Mahler a few times over the last 4 or 5 years: he comes in from LA to visit every once in a while and actually played with my good friend and ex-bf Jesse Malin for a small tour. And the wonderful Ryan Maher lives in NYC so we are always more than pleased to run into him when we can, the last time being our own CSFH reunion. But I haven’t seen Alex Mitchell in a good decade.

The entertaining and interesting thing to me about seeing old friends after a long hiatus is clocking how they have or haven’t changed. As soon as we got into the rehearsal space I felt like no time had passed at all. We all look a bit older, or at least different, but are essentially the exact same people: same dynamics between individuals, same connections, same modes of interaction. I find that comforting when it’s with people I like/love, it makes me feel like the things and people I care about will always be there, even if I don’t see them every day. So there was Ricky, cracking the same dicky jokes, Ryan being his usual dryly funny and sweet self, and Alex taking charge of the room as the ladies man show-pony he’s always been. It was really fun. As for the remaining members, Zowie has been unfortunately MIA some time so he was replaced by a very fun and appropriate guy named Marc Frappier, and Gary Sunshine has a baby very nearly on the way, so he was replaced by our good friend Daniel Rey.

Rehearsal was quick, entertaining, and simple, as Donna and I weren’t really required to sing anything that difficult. This is a good thing, because we aren’t nearly as vocally proficient as we are gorgeous. I could see the gears turning in Daniel Rey’s brain as he worked out what songs to give us that would cause the least amount of cacophony. So it was worked out pretty quickly, Drew filmed and coordinated details for the next night, we caught up a bit on what was going on in our lives, watched a couple of songs, and got out in time to catch up on beauty rest for the following night. There are some snaps of the rehearsal here, where photographic evidence proves that the actual act of CSFH vocalizing was kept to a minimum. 😉

The next night was highly entertaining, of course. Firstly, Donna and I were VERY psyched to get laminates. Lord knows it’s been a while since I’ve sported my own laminate. Of course, the need for this particular accoutrement at Don Hill’s is minimal, but still, it’s fun to wear one and pretend the security is high. In typical CSFH fashion we both forgot ours at home and spent the next half hour whining until new ones were produced by a lovely man acting as security and stage manager, appropriately named Havok. Havok also took the rehearsal photos and the main photo on the Circus of Power website.

Secondly, the one and only Dolly Dagger flew in for the week. Dolly was one of the original Cycle Sluts when we were a pseudo gang and had about 10 girls with jackets, and Donna and I haven’t seen her since well back into the CSFH era. In those days we would enter a club en masse, wearing our “colors”, thigh-high boots and cut-offs and swaggering like idiots while people stepped back fearfully to let us pass. I don’t miss the stupid aggression of those days but I do miss the camaraderie of the “gang” of girls. We were tough and cool and it was fun as hell. Every day was like starring in our own B movie.

And thirdly (or as one gorgeous but very dim biker said to Donna once: “Ya gotcha primary, ya secondary, and ya THIRDARY”), the majority of the audience was comprised of old friends, acquaintances, and people who were there the first time around. We got to hang with some friends who rarely come out, and there were two men from the latter category who followed us around all night taking photos and telling us we were beautiful. After hours of this, and when I’d had enough of having my photo snapped, I said, “Dude, please. You can’t possibly want or need any more pictures”. To which he just handed me a shot of tequila, told me I look the same as I did 15 years ago and snapped one more. I owe that guy a dinner or something. And then there were a few more who weren’t there the first time around who brought old posters and cd covers for us to autograph. So it was pretty much a quality ego-fest any way you cut it.

COP went on at a nice, appropriately rock and roll late hour (12:30?) in front of their fabulous old backdrop (which prompted Donna and I to scratch our heads and wonder where all of ours went) and totally rocked the house from the beginning. It’s hard to believe they only had a couple of days together to get the songs rehearsed, and it pleased me mightily to see a big crowd in front of the stage. They even got the old school whorey/hot biker chick in a tiny halter top and low cut jeans–beer in hand, grinding away on the riser. That totally warmed my ancient vampire heart because it reminded me of the Limelight/Cat Club shows where you couldn’t get to the stage because there’d be so many advertising groupies vying for prime position in the front. Back then it would throw me into a rage bc they’d be gunning for whatever rock boy of the moment I was dating–now it looks cute to me because hipster girls are so fucking boring and unsexy.

In the middle of the set Donna and I got up and sang backup on Motor, War Machine, and Needles. It was short, sweet and painless, and really just an excuse to have us as a part of the night. I did a lot of butt-shaking and a little bit of singing, and then before you could say “Morton Downey” it was back down to the bar to get loaded and watch the rest of the show, which was stellar from start to end and featured a guitar cameo by Phil Caivano, formerly of Blitzspeer and Monster Magnet. It really was a killer show and for those of you who whined via email that it was a school night or too late in the evening to go out, I thumb my nose at you. We may look like grown-ups now, but we are never too old or tired to ROCK, goddamnit! If you don’t come out there won’t be any shows, people!

So after that COP and the Sluts did some interviewing and photos with Ace and Huge from Reality Check TV, of which I have very little recollection due to afore-mentioned constantly flowing tequila shots from friends and fans, and then it was off to Three of Cups to finish off the obliviating. All in all it was one of the funnest nights I’ve had in a while, and I hail COP for their ability to still BRING THE ROCK and for being generous enough to want to share the stage with their friends. And it looks like the band is going to do a show in L.A. and maybe take it to Japan, so if you are in either one of those places, I highly recommend attending.

The one sour note that I should prob mention somewhere in this blog is that our brothers in Supervillain (two of whose members are also members of the very loosely reformed CSFH) were scheduled to play and then got yanked after spending quality time promoting. I won’t go into it here but it was a bummer and they were missed.
If you would like to see photos from the night, you can check out here and here. And below is a loosely edited Drew Stone video of Motor (featuring yours truly on butt-shaking duty) for his upcoming film “Got Motor? Swamp Boogie In The Big City”.
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