Did I…Did We…?

Whew! What a couple of weeks. As much as I like a good party, it’s been much. Ordinarily I can handle one event a week, maximum. Last week we had a simultaneous Patricia Field party at the store and the new Veselka for Fashion’s Night Out: There are some good photos here:

Paulina, me, and Luke Vahle in our FNO party gear: 

Two days later Patricia, who is working with Maybelline, had a private party in her home for the Maybelline delegates from China. They were absolutely lovely people and included a celebrity from Shanghai, who one of the girls told me is a huge star on television over there, with a plethora of female fans. He was a super cute little guy in hip gear and porkpie hat, trailed by a 6′ tall, incredibly gorgeous asian model. He seemed accustomed to being a big deal, but was very friendly. I thought how funny it is that everything is relative; here none of us have a clue and in another setting some Chinese girl would lose her mind being in such close proximity. Celebrity is so arbitrary.

Cut to this week, my girl Zoe’s husband Handsome Dick Manitoba was scheduled to sing two songs at a Road to Recovery event honoring Slash. I was beyond excited to be Zoe’s date for the evening, as I love me some Slash and Duff McKagan. I spent a decent amount of time around them back in the day. was backstage at most of their shows in NY, they hung out often in the scene at the Scrap Bar, and one time Bebe Buell and I were flown to Wisconsin by CSFH’s lawyer for an action-packed Skid Row/GnR show weekend. We hung out with Skid Row mostly, and it was obvious that Axl was starting to drive his bandmates insane by then. Stephanie Seymour was there and it took hours before Axl would get onstage. I had one glimpse of Slash that night looking very tense outside their dressing room door, and we didn’t venture into their realm that night.

And then lastly, in my GnR hang out chronicles, Duff once picked me up at Scrap Bar and took me in his limo to a party in their hotel room. All strictly platonic, he’s a very gracious person who would do things like that. We had a great time in the ride, he had a friend with him and they poured me a drink and we watched the city roll by out the limousine window. It was a classic New York rock and roll night and I haven’t been up close to him in person since then, so I was very much looking forward to having the opportunity to say hello some 20 years later.

Zoe and I are overgrown teenagers, so she said, “You know, this event is dry. Should we bring a flask?” I didn’t have one and neither did she, so she offered to buy a couple of small bottles to hide on our personage (i.e. panties). Keepin’ it classy. Of course I said yes, a little airplane bottle would be just right. If we are rocking out and want a little swig, it’ll be there. Cue to the cab, Zoe opens her bag and pulls out two giant fifths of the ever-elegant Smirnoff:

I should do commercials for them, right? I laughed and said, “Girl, first of all, there is no way we’re fitting these in our pants, and second, if we did drink all this we would end up in the hospital!” Zoe agreed and said she got carried away by the flatness of the bottle, thinking it would be easy enough to hide. We decide that the prudent thing to do is take a few swigs in the cab and leave the bottles outside the venue for some happy bum to find. Which we do. And although we probably could have snuck them in in our bags, something tells me that we were better off leaving this much alcohol behind prior to entering a benefit for substance abuse.

The show was great. Richard (Handsome Dick) killed it with a cover of Kick Out the Jams, and we were able to watch from backstage at the side of the stage. Seeing Slash and Duff perform in such close proximity flashed me back to a time when I was dating Slam Thunderhide of Zodiac Mindwarp and the Love Reaction and they opened for GnR. I stood in a similar spot, side of stage, watching some of the same people. I felt a bit wistful for a moment. It seemed only a minute ago that we were in the thick of it: young and beautiful, vying for and garnering rock star attention. The world was a different place and possibilities were infinite. Now I am just another middle aged woman with a backstage pass. But it was fun while it lasted and I am grateful that I can still wrangle that pass once in a while.

Prior to the show I pounced on Duff in the dressing room, and said, “Hi Duff, it’s Raff, from the Cycle Sluts. Do you remember me?” He was very friendly but he paused and cocked his head in confusion. After the show, back in the same room I said, “I’m a little sad that you don’t remember me.” He replied, “No, I do. It’s just that much of my past is a blur. I had to go through my mental rolodex. Did we…did I…?”

I laughed and said, “NO! Not at all, nothing untoward. All friendly and good.” We talked a little bit about writing; he has a book coming out and writes a column for the Seattle Weekly, and I felt happy to have made the connection.

Slash seemed uninterested when I introduced myself, but as he was leaving he sort of leaped in and gave me a hug and said, “It’s so good to see you! I never see anyone from back then anymore.” I was very touched by that and it occurred that he is either somewhat shy or perhaps made the connection after my hello. Either way it made me happy and I remarked that if they gave me a guest list next time I could provide him with an entire busload of New York old timers.

Cut to two days later. Drew comes home at 4 am, wrecked from one of those horrible fashion week rich kid and model parties that his crew likes to attend. He woke me up and asked, “Did you send a threatening letter to Miss X? She says you did.” Miss X is a socialite who tends to photograph her own legs quite a bit and orbits around his band on occasion.

I went through my mental rolodex…”Did I…did we…?”

I mean, I never really threaten, per se. There was that pathetic Swedish chick a million years ago that got a little out of hand. I did send her a message through myspace to let her know that I was aware of what she was trying to accomplish…And then there was the hardcore chick who was calling him a little too often, but she and I are friendly and that was an old school communication and we’re tighter for it…And then okay, I have to admit that there was that completely uncalled for and bitchy late night missive that I sent to that spoiled moron who fancies herself the new Anita Pallenberg. I am willing to state that this was a little juvenile on my part and I, on occasion, will make an ass of myself. But, ah…no, I can definitely say that I have never emailed this particular female and can think of no reason that it would be necessary?

Drew eyed me like Larry David. You have to feel for the guy sometimes.

The next day I wondered, feeling disconcerted and a little icky. Did this girl confuse an email from someone else? Is she simply crazy? Did I do something characteristically dumb and completely blank it out? Or is someone out there pretending to be me? That would be creepy. But then I thought, hmm…maybe it’s sort of exciting that someone would find me interesting enough to impersonate? I’ll never know for sure. One thing I do know for sure, life is never dull.

So that is my life as a cover girl. Fashion’s Night Out, Chinese celebrities, some of my favorite rock stars, and past psychotic behavior coming to bite me in the ass. Up next, tomorrow is a D Generation reunion at Irving Plaza, which will be like a class reunion and will undoubtedly provide more blog fodder. In the meantime, here are some photos from Road to Recovery. I stupidly took everyone else’s and forgot to take any of my own:

Richard and Slash:

Zoe and Slash:

Zoe and Richard:

Richard’s photo from soundcheck. Duff, Slash, and Wayne Kramer. I think it’s a cool shot.

And lastly, me and Zoe. The outfit I’m wearing looked way better in person, I’m so upset that it makes me look dumpy here and the bra is showing through, but it’s the only snap of the two of us from the night.

Namaste, bitches!

No Capes!

Whew! Hurricane Irene! Most of my cynical New York friends complained that they were duped when we didn’t get destroyed. But parts of the city went without power, a friend in New Jersey had a brand new car submerged in water, another friend in Brooklyn had to pull up his basement carpet because of flooding. I wasn’t affected much, my Direct tv dish on the roof didn’t even flicker. Finally, crappy walk-up tenement living works in a person’s favor, too high up for flooding, windows don’t face anything pretty that can break off and fly in.

What was more interesting to me was the shopping frenzy the two days before. Drew and I were not immune to the mob panic, we assembled a packed fridge, a pile of new flashlight batteries, candles and a few jugs of water. Plus ice cream, boxes of pasta, tuna fish, peanut butter, bread, fruit, salad stuff, fake meat patties, hot sauce, more bread, veggies, extra bottles of wine, cans of cat food, etc. etc. Classic Raff panic over the wine. I bought everything on Friday and then freaked out on Saturday morning. We’re gonna need booze if we’re sitting in the house for days! Luckily many people think the way I do, and the liquor store was open on Saturday afternoon and doing a brisk business. You’d think vodka was a staple the way people were snatching it off the shelves. I bought 2 reds and a white and called it a day. And then we ate to bursting with a nice cabernet while the rain came down.

On to another subject that I’ve been thinking about…I caught part of the movie “Superheroes” on cable last week. I haven’t seen the entire film, it’s on my dvr list and I’ll probably watch it tonight. But the parts I did catch were very interesting.

The movie is a documentary about people across the U.S. who are creating new superhero characters for themselves by dressing up and going out into the streets to fight crime. Clearly, to the rational mind, there are all kinds of things that can go wrong with this scenario. First, none of them have actual superpowers and can easily get shot or damaged. This is the primary issue that I take with the idea. Second, things like masks and capes can really slow a person down if they do get into a battle with the criminal element. In real life, capes don’t blow back out of the way when you’re doing physical work. They fall in your face and get caught on table corners and door knobs, which is undignified at best. And a mask is going to be a hindrance if you’re, say, trying to keep your eye out for gang guys who are going to cap your ass for getting up in their business with your costumed bad self. These outfits just don’t seem practical. How are you going to chase or run away in all that plastic?

The man in the green, Mr. Xtreme, is a slightly pudgy guy who appeared to be consistently losing the wrestling matches he was fighting in the gym. His parents, Asian immigrants to the U.S., had more traditional aspirations for their son and seem genuinely confused by his lifestyle choice. But they also seem very sweet and are trying very hard to find acceptance. His father worries that he’ll get hurt roaming the streets at night, a legitimate concern. They’re probably praying it’s a phase.

But in fairness, he is out there trying to make a difference in the world, and that’s kind of lovely. And there were some in very good shape and well equipped, both physically and mentally, to do damage to criminals they might find in their travels:

I find the phenomenon fascinating. At first it seems merely laughable, especially when the more ridiculous of the people were on screen. It’s not the most reasonable or lucrative of career paths. But I do get the desire to be larger than life, to be special, to make a difference in the world, to be magical. These are not bad things to aspire toward.

I said to Drew, “I always wanted to be a superhero too, I just didn’t know it was an option.” And he responded, “You already are. Take a look at the shit you wore in the Cycle Sluts. And you scare the crap out of everyone.” Jerk. But he’s right. It’s obvious when looking at old photos that my lifelong catwoman adoration has guided many choices in my own life.

Favorite outfit ever, but I could only wear it for photos because it was made out of sweat-inducing pvc and the whole thing rode up my ass if I so much as took a step:

PS. Check out Gini’s awesome studded viking codpiece. Great minds think superhero alike.

I happened to get lucky and was able to create a larger than life character for myself. It has sustained and educated me over the years as I strive to understand and heal the quiet and wounded person underneath that original desire to expand into something more powerful and better defended. And I have a great life: I live in New York, I get attention and singled out, I have excitement and love and cool friends and backstage passes. I never take any of that for granted because I wasn’t born into it.

So who am I to judge a pudgy Asian dude who wants to be something other than an ordinary working stiff? We ALL want to be more than an ordinary working stiff, and we all are, in reality. Even people with the most outwardly boring of lives have an inner world that could be fascinating if it were expressed properly. We are all children of the same Universe with hearts and minds and desires.

Some of us get an easier run towards the prizes, some of us don’t. One of the people filmed is an obvious alcoholic. He was raised by a father who put him in a ring on the weekends to fight other kids, often his friends, and if he lost would get beaten and sent to his room with no food or medical treatment. Can you imagine? The man is ridiculous in his silver suit, moving from bar to bar. But isn’t it so much more wonderful to at least aspire to be something magical than to lay down and die or continue to perpetuate the damage by fighting dogs or something equally abusive and hereditary? I love the spirit of the act, even if the act itself isn’t as effective as it reads in comic books.

So that’s my thought for today. Let’s all be superheroes. Let’s allow ourselves to be grander and a little more crazy than what is considered normal.

Just don’t wear a cape.

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