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!

FNO, No, No, No!

Lord. It’s Fashion Week…again.

I have absolutely nothing to do with Fashion Week, but I do live in New York and work for Patricia Field so there’s some shoulder rubbing by default. And as much as I proclaim to hate fashion, it’s not completely true. I love clothes and I do think some people can make beautiful art out of it (McQueen!). I’m secretly flattered to receive the occasional invite to runway shows and I always try to make The Blond’s show because they are beautiful souls and I enjoy what they do. I just hate 80% of the people in the industry of designing and selling clothes, including myself sometimes.

So I thought I’d give you a random report from my own tiny frontline:

We had a Fashion’s Night Out party in the store on Friday night, which featured Amanda Lepore and Cazwell DJ-ing, free cupcakes (Delicious by Danielle), free coffee (Bustelo), free makeup (Maybelline), free booze (Skyy Vodka and Golden Star Tea) and an appearance by Ms. P herself. In a retail clothing store…you know, with glass shelves and mannequins perched delicately on high places and a thousand little items that can easily be shoved in pockets:
I didn’t really have to do much this time around except hire three security guys and show up. Jesse sent me two from his places and I hired our friend Rizzo to do the door. Done and done. Slapped on a faux ponytail, some false eyelashes and a pair of the most uncomfortable Louboutins ever created and rolled on in.

It started at 8pm, I got there at 9 and it was already impossible to move. Mannequins swayed precariously in the tide of bodies. Pat wasn’t even due to arrive until after 10pm, so it was obvious it was going to get really ugly. The bar area downstairs was even worse. And it was all little kids. Piles and piles of well-coiffed and decked out teenagers, mostly black, packed like sardines in the bar area, waiting for a turn at the booze. Hmm. They looked adorable, but dangerously underage. Luckily it took so long to get to the bar that it was impossible for any of them to get drunk.

I am trying very, very hard to live a conscious, centered life these days. I don’t want to fight with people, I don’t want to be impatient, I want to be serene and kind. This is not a simple task because I am not a serene, kind person. I’m cranky and quick to react. But those reactions cause me pain, and I don’t want to hurt, or be hurt anymore. The joy of the fight has left the building.

But of course, alway, always in these crowds I am tested. And this is why I hate fashion people so much. They’re assholes. All of the things that feel imperative to me are not even on the radar for them. They don’t give a shit about the planet and what we’re doing to it. They don’t care about animals. They don’t care whether children were forced by economic need to sew the beads on their dress. They’re not very nice to each other. There’s no love or light, there’s no deep connection. It’s all surface and bitchiness and getting close to the famous, regardless of what they’re famous for. It’s pointless. It makes me want to set fire to things.

This is a generalization, and there are a few good ones mixed in there. And even many of the bad ones aren’t really bad, they just aren’t very awake. But I am not evolved enough myself yet to be able to gently bring them into my mindframe with delicate leading by example, so the less contact we have, the better really.

I have been working on Sushi, our head Buyer and Creative Director, for years on the fur issue. This is Sushi, with Moto, our other Buyer, more on her later. Cute, right?
My main arguing point with Sushi is that we are an inexpensive store and the fur is coming from the dodgiest of places, dodgy as in most likely some cracked out Chinese man grabbed a small animal, jammed it live on a hook, then slashed open its belly and yanked out its internal organs while it twisted in agony. Then he did it again. And again and again, because demand for cheap fashion is high. Then he took the pile of tails and sent them to someone who washed the blood off, stuck a key ring on, and sold them to us for a very reasonable price.

The people I work with are pretty great for the most part and although they pretend to think I’m nuts, they really don’t, and over the years have begun making concessions. I’ve got everyone in the office drinking out of a Britta instead of buying plastic bottles. We print and wipe with recycled paper. And this season Sushi and Moto were able to find some really good fake tails to keep up with the obscene hipster raccoon and fox tail obsession that is currently sweeping New York City. They were so pleased to present them to me and I felt happy that they a) cared about my feelings and b) were starting to get it.

Cut to the party, I’m getting knocked back and forth but seeing cute people I haven’t seen in a while and everyone is up and happy and being friendly. One crazy girl I know is walking around topless and casually asks me where to find the bikini tops. I love that. I’m happy with my hair and choice of outfit. Someone tells me I look like I’ve lost weight. Someone else walks by and hands me a cocktail. Life is grand. Here’s a shot of Moto and I looking foxy with our new completely pointless mini mini gloves:

I am smiling and facing a woman who is digging through a giant martini glass holding a display of tails. She waves them at her friend, trying to decide on a color. I say happily, and really just as a passing remark, having a little Cher in Clueless moment and not intending to get into any tedious fur conversation, “They’re faux!”

Her face twisted into the ugliest of masks, and she threw the tails down in disgust, and said, “Fuck PETA.”

It’s hard to describe with words the clear energy of hate she sent my way, and I had no choice but to turn my back and start a new conversation as quickly as possible to try to deflect the wave of darkness I felt. Because what I really wanted to do was turn back around and punch her square in her ugly rat face. But underneath my anger was a pool of hurt. She hurt me. I was happy, I was being open and friendly (a rarity), those tails were a sort of gift to me from my co-workers and their presence meant something to me. I was trying to share my good mood and she spat on it.

As an aside, I am not a fan of everything that Ingrid Newkirk and PETA does to get attention. I support the cause, but I think that the extremes can hurt the cause sometimes, and this was a witness to that very point. It was more that the slap of the momentary good mood wounded me.

Rabbit sent a text from outside, she couldn’t get in. I went to the door and looked out upon the faces of a mob of people jammed up against the store all the way out into the street, desperately clamoring to get in. Russian Dennis was actually holding both sides of the door jamb and using his body as a barrier to keep them from entering. I ducked under his arm and elbowed my way outward and shouted at people to let her through, and somehow we pulled her through the fray. As I managed it one man with a giant camera who was pressed up against Dennis and looking pained, said sadly, “I just want to get my story and go home.” I pulled him through too, and we stumbled back into the store.

We fought our way through the crowd and back downstairs, side-stepping a clusterfuck of cameras and fans surrounding Pat. She looked calm as lights shone in her face and people jostled and pulled at her. Her assistant and my pal Ingrid looked stressed in the glare of the spotlight; it’s her job to organize and control at these events and it’s scary how famous Pat has become and how intensely people desire to make contact.

Sushi grabbed a bottle of vodka from the bar and we retreated into the office. It was the only safe place to be and about 6 or 7 of us gossiped happily in the small area that I spend much of my days. Moto, who I call my Teacup because she’s tiny, funny, gorgeous, and you want to treat her like a fancy pet, was being trailed by one of our vendors, one of the few straight men at the party who obviously had an interest in her. He followed her into the room and stood near the door.

I still felt creepy about the encounter with the woman. Why is it we can have twenty good moments and then we’ll fester on the one bad moment? What is that bit of self destruction?

I turned to Moto to tell her the story. She doesn’t give a shit about animal or human suffering or the planet, but she loves me and tries to pretend that she cares. I knew she’d listen and I wanted to purge the residual feelings so I could get on with the night happily. But before I could get the full story out, the straight dude, who was already getting on my nerves with his continued and unasked for presence, piped in with his own hatred of animal rights types and his love of fox fur tails. 
And that was the straw. I shouted him down:
“You are in MY HOUSE right now, motherfucker! You are in MY OFFICE. I am talking to my friend and I don’t want to HEAR YOUR SHIT about fur. I don’t WANT TO HEAR IT. If you want to stay in this room, I suggest you SHUT THE FUCK UP about PETA and fur for the time being.”

Ahhhh…NOW I felt better. I certainly didn’t say anything enlightening or evolved, but I did manage to pass the crappy energy on. I heard him mumbling something about how people get so excited about the issue, and to his credit he didn’t argue it any further. I think he really liked Moto. 

Someone else came into the room and said Pat had gotten so frustrated with the abuse that she’d actually shoved someone. And that was our cue to leave. We struggled our way back through, up the stairs, and out through the still thronging front door. I wobbled on broken feet. I hate those fucking shoes. 

The streets were almost as bad as the store. Hordes of fashion types threw themselves in the street trying to hail cabs. We walked for blocks, my feet screaming. I was on the verge of tears of pain. Finally we spotted an open pedi-cab, a guy with a bike attached to a rickshaw seat. We ran for him and made it, and he pedaled the three of us (Rabbit, me, Moto) all the way across town to the West Side to BES, where Rabbit sings occasionally, draped on the bar with a microphone. The night was beautiful and our driver whipped in and out of traffic easily as we passed people desperate for cabs. I laughed and clapped like a little kid, it was the highlight of my night, the buildings and lights, the traffic, the warm night air. We passed another pedi-cab full of girls and we blew kisses at each other. It was exactly what I needed, although it ruined Rabbit’s eyeliner. 
We were greeted at the door by gorgeous, well-dressed men (gay), seated in a luxe setting and handed drinks in heavy, elegant glasses. I watched people dance, lovely people for a change–pretty girls, not the tedium of models but real girls in their Fashion Night finery, handsome men who looked creative and interesting and who smiled at us and danced well. Not a hipster or celebrity or frat boy in sight, just some weird, elegant amalgam of the best that New York can be in rare moments. I sat in between my girls and sipped my drink, well buzzed by this time, and sent out a little message of gratitude to the Universe. Some people suck, but not all of them.

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