Cursed Diamonds

Was there something planetary going on last week? I got super sick with the flu the week before and spent days holed up in the apartment feeling hot, then cold, then cranky. My guru mom says that we are all going through more clearings, past life and this life, and that I was clearing out energy/toxins from drug usage in this current lifetime. To which I whined, “Well, that’s gonna take forever!”

But it didn’t. If you’re interested, we’re supposed to be moving from carbon based bodies to crystalline. I don’t feel very crystalline and clearing, if that’s what it is, sucks–“Cher, I don’t want to do this anymore. And my buns: they don’t feel nothin’ like steel.”–Tai in Clueless.

But hope does indeed spring eternal and all things must pass.

So after some heavy couch time I was eager to get back to stabs at productivity, especially as lately I’ve been feeling less procrastinaty about the book, like for the first time, ever. I sat down last Thursday and wrote some pages, and was very pleased to see I’m closer to measurable progress. Then as I sat there determinedly typing, seemingly without provocation, I burst into tears and went on nice little crying jag, the likes of which had not been experienced since viewing Les Miserables while in the full throes of PMS. That damned Anne Hathaway.

It was weird. But not. After honking into the sixth kleenex that little bulb went bright and I thought, “Ooooooohhh… So I’m not LAZY, it’s that it sucks to dredge this stuff up. That’s why I’ve been procrastinating for the last 10 years. Not lazy…SENSITIVE! Not lazy…PAINFUL! I felt quite vindicated despite the snot-producing state of affairs. Though it’s not fun to carry shame and sadness over the past, it’ is very nice to find a reason to justify ten years of steady video gaming.

The next day, feeling slightly vulnerable and a tad off my game, I worked my happy hour at BE. Patrick Kavanaugh, the supremely talented Mad Hatster, came in and gave me the most gorgeous bowler you’ve ever seen, custom made for my tiny yet remarkably hard head.

So that was awesome and I love the hat so much I haven’t taken it off since.

And then various friends  from varying eras in my life, from varied parts of the country, stopped in, just by random chance all converging in NY at the same time. The evening was shaping up to be nice.

And then it wasn’t. One of the friends who I hadn’t seen in twenty years, and who I was very close to back then, confessed quietly that they’d been homeless for a number of years. For the purpose of privacy, let’s call this person “X”. That made me sad and also meant I would be putting some of my tips in the register to pay for the drinks, which also makes me sad. But I was glad to be reunited and am grateful for all I have, and am happy to pay it forward when possible.

Things went from fun and reunion-ey to overly drunk and sloppy in a very short time. But I didn’t notice because the bar manager forgot to tell me there was an open bar halfway through my shift, and I was suddenly faced with a hundred eager-for-libation strangers waving free drink wristbands and shouting drink orders at the top of my head as I concentrated on pouring as fast as humanly possible.

One woman in particular got belligerent because she wanted two glasses of water immediately (no intention of tipping) and I was not getting to her fast enough. I tried to explain to her, while making ten drinks at a time with hands and toes, that water took the same time to pour as a drink and that there were many other, more well-mannered people who had been waiting much longer than her. She ignored all logic and human decency and continued to insist that she wanted her water asap. She waved her hand without stop and and shouted, “I ONLY WANT TWO WATERS. I ONLY WANT TWO WATERS!” I finally screeched, “ALL RIGHT EVERYONE! THIS WOMAN GETS HER ORDER BEFORE ANYONE ELSE BECAUSE HER NEEDS ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT IN THE ROOM!”

Everyone looked nervous as I slammed two glasses down in front of her, the contents sloshing onto the bar. She made a face, not cowed in the least, and took her gd water. I felt badly immediately after, because my behavior reflects on the bar and could get me into a conversation with my bosses, and because it sent an adrenaline surge through my system that quickly alchemized to angst and weird afore-mentioned weepy shame from the day before. So when she came back feeling hydrated and insisting upon a complicated drink (again no tip), I apologized. I still think she’s an asshole, but it made me feel better to do the professional thing. Sometimes I don’t care about being right or wrong, I just want to be comfortable.

Once the shift was over I took a deep breathe and collected my things, anticipating some relaxing down time. Whew!

Not to be. Asshole Lady elbowed me and pointed to my long-lost friend X and said, “Someone better do something about THAT.” X was at that moment trying very hard to simultaneously choke and punch another friend while sliding off the bar stool. We were in full Barfly mode. I’m surrounded by fancy white people in business attire and free-drink wristbands and MY people look like hell and are attempting to kill each other.


After an interminable one-way conversation about the fact that it was time to leave (heads too busy lolling on necks like the proverbial bladder on a stick to respond verbally), and some dragging/carrying out into the street with the assistance of Mr. Tim, we were able to get a cab and escort sorted out. I shoved hard-earned money into broke hands and Tim loaded them into the back of the car. I mouthed the words, “I’m sorry.” to the cabdriver, and Tim and I  ran screaming into the night.

We made a beeline to Manitoba’s for a nightcap with wifey Zoe Hansen and friend and jewelry designer Sara Samoiloff. I figured I deserved it at that point.

Zoe, having gotten my frustrated texts, handed me a cocktail upon arrival. Sara handed me the gift of a GORGEOUS, clearly expensive silver and pearl necklace. I was thrilled and grateful. I sat there sipping and sporting my beautiful necklace and hat, marveling at my generous friends. The angst began to melt away.

And then another person in the bar sidled up with mischief on the mind and cocaine in the bloodstream, and began shouting what would turn out to be a really boring story set on repeat, illustrated with even more boring phone photos, at a decibel level well over all sane, inside-voice conversation. It went on and on and on. And then without warning, the story veered, with no assistance or prompting from me whatsoever, to crap from my past and just by chance, exactly what I was writing about the day before that sent me into an emotional tizzy.

Ah geez.

I shouted, “I don’t want to talk about it!” and as my eyes rolled into the back of my head preparing for what one could only hope would be a blissfully conscious-deadening seizure, someone else elbowed me from behind. I turned to see a man who looked somewhat familiar, but I could not place. He said, I kid you not:

“No one likes you.”

I squinted and said, “Huh?”

He replied, “You know me. You remember me.”

I shook my head and turned back around away from him. After that initial crack I wasn’t too interested in any further trips down memory lane. He elbowed me again, I turned, and he said, “You know me.”

I said, “I’m very sorry, but I don’t remember. Care to enlighten me?” He paused, pulled out a giant wad of cash very ostentatiously, handed a $20 to the bartender, and said, cryptically,

“Indian Larry.”

I said, “Larry’s dead.You’re not him. If you’re not going to tell me then we don’t have anything to talk about.”

I turned back to Zoe, who was now glaring at me wild-eyed and desperate for rescue from the too-loud cokey story on repeat. Money-bags purposely banged a chair into my back. I ignored it.

I get this a lot. Between bartending, age and being a mini rock star for five minutes, I’ve simply met too many people for my limited and self-absorbed brain to hold each and every person clearly anymore. Most are nice about it. Last week a girl told me how grateful she was that I’d saved her life by slap/shaking her out of an OD in the bathroom of a bar (good times!), which I hadn’t remembered it at all. Some people, like this guy, aren’t nice and take it personally when you don’t remember them. I do think I remember him now, but fuck it. I’ll pretend like I don’t if I see him again just to drive him bananas. Sometimes it’s more entertaining to be right than it is to be comfortable.

I had a hard time getting to sleep that night. I felt very sad about the friend that I’d shoved into a cab, who had been such a fierce creature when we were young, almost otherworldly with that stardom and beauty that we all had in our youth. I wondered how some of us, like Zoe and me, have been able to emerge from our crazy, often drug-fueled pasts into a happy present, while so many others are dead, or still using and/or not fully there, or simply cranky about being forgotten. For every one of me, who survived with only residual sadness and regrets, there are numerous others who are either dead or trying to punch a friend in some bar well past the age when that sort of behavior can be considered dignified.

The alternative/artistic/rock and roll/whatever-you-want-to-call-it existence can be pretty cool. You get free hats and jewelry. You get attention and you go to a lot of shows. You get remembered more than others. But it destroys many and is not a life for the faint of heart. Which, I suppose, is the reason that so many dabble in it in their 20’s and then move on to more normal-seeming lives, the only evidence of the past being a few photographs the kids find amusing. This is probably the sanest way to go.

But I have never been called sane, and don’t know how or wish to live any other way. I woke up after my fitful night and decided that the truth I would choose for each one of the people involved in the last 24 hours would be the one that suited them best. Meaning, I choose to believe that my punch-drunk and sometimes homeless friend is merely taking a soul detour for the moment, and that the truth of who they are is that amazing creature I knew so many years prior. And that one day, maybe in this lifetime, or maybe the next, that truth will shine again and forevermore.

I would hope that people would do the same for me: remember me at my best and brightest and forgive some of those not so shining moments, as I am only now learning to do for myself. Maybe on the other side we will be able to look at each other with full memory of all of the people and events and absolutely no blame or shame, and go, “Whew! That was a fucking ride, wasn’t it? Now where’s that asshole woman with our water??”

Brooklyn and Social Distortion

Sometimes I’ll have a really fun night and I’ll think, “I gotta blog this for everyone!” Then the next day I wake up and second-guess it. Is it going to sound braggy? So many people are dealing with serious issues right now, and others simply don’t get to lead the life that I have been afforded, which, while definitely not affluent, makes up for the lesser funds with excess fun. I worry: are people going to find me irritating, or desperate for attention, or okay, more irritating and desperate for attention than usual??

It’s a quandary. 

I have two minds about it. One is that I have earned my tiny place on the outskirts of the sun. I get pissy when people tell other people they are “lucky” to have what they have. Example: my friend and ex-bandmate Vas Kallas tours constantly with her band Hanzel und Gretyl. She books shows, she drives, she packs merch, makes sure the band gets paid, budgets with those payments, etc. She’s a rock and roll warhorse and it is a long and lonely struggle on a highway in the middle of the night. Yet every time she posts a photo of herself next to someone famous or in an exotic locale, some goofball will write, “You’re so lucky!” as if she just emerged from a vacuum and wandered clueless into that space, thereby negating the extensive history and hard work that went into creating that one moment of reward, which will last only that short time before the machine starts up again. In my case, I haven’t been working that way for quite some time, but I was there in the beginning, goddamnit, and I lugged enough gear, shook it on enough stages (and bars), and kissed enough frogs to allow for some ego about my position.

On the other hand, I am also aware that I AM lucky. My looks played a big part in the opportunities afforded me when I first arrived in New York. I have good and generous friends, a loving family. I am happy and healthy, and though it took time and suffering to get there, I have always felt that my life has been guided by a destiny that others haven’t been so easily afforded. So often I downplay the good times, which are less backstagey and good timey these days anyway, since we’re all too old to get into any real trouble.

Side note: I heard that someone fell and broke a hip at a Del Lords show recently. So yeah, probably more old-timey than good-timey for a lot of us…

Anyway, thankfully, I did NOT break a hip at the recent Social Distortion show at the Warsaw in Brooklyn. My “wifey” and partner in crime Zoe Hansen was determined that we would go to this show, and since her husband is rock legend, DJ and bar-owner Richard Manitoba, and friends with Mike Ness, it was easily arranged.

I am unaccustomed to Brooklyn, although I have finally admitted that in 2013 it is better than Manhattan. I was so in love with the East Village when I moved to New York that I arranged my life around it with no intention of leaving. I live, work, eat, and socialize in the EV. I hate the train and will do anything to avoid it, primarily because I’m bad with directions and get lost very easily. But with the advent of smartphones and the HopStop app, I’ve gotten less tremulous about traveling the boroughs, especially now that my own is populated with guys in docker shorts and flip flops carrying six packs of Bud Light and girls in beige pumps and quirky SATC dresses squealing at each other at the top of their lungs. A simple head poke out the window on a Saturday evening will often send me into a cursing tantrum followed by a weepy and lengthy “back in my day” facebook status update, so I am less loathe to travel if it means a brief respite from the asshole invasion for a few hours.

But of course Zoe and I, being party girls in heels, pregamed at Manitoba’s and after three rounds of “More voddy, Darling?” in a posh British accent, opted for a cab and were fortunate to get a driver with GPS. 

This is another night, but this is how wit always starts out. Dignified, ladylike. 

In the aforementioned cab, Zoe held open a tin and asked, “Mint, Darling?” I rarely take gum or mints when offered. I don’t know why, I guess I feel like I’d rather conserve the calories or chewing effort for more important consumables like spaghetti and voddy, er…vodka. 

Photo of actual tin in question: 

This time I said yes. I stuck my hand in the tin, pulled out a mint, stuck it in my mouth, started chewing, and found my taste buds assaulted by a bitter medicinal taste that was anything but minty fresh.

I gagged and said, “Euw! What the hell kind of mint is that? It’s horrendous, it tastes like a pill!”

Zoe shrieked, “Oh my God. Spit it out, spit it out!”

I panicked and shrieked back, “I can’t! I chewed it! I swallowed it! What was it? What did I just eat??”

She said (still shrieking), “Oh my God, that was a vicodin that someone handed me a long time ago. I forgot about it and it has been rolling around in there forever!” 

My first thought was relief. Like okay, at least I won’t be tripping balls or face down and drooling on the bar for the next five hours. At least vicodin is dealable. Then my second thought was, great, I’ve just had three drinks already and I’ve got hours of socializing to do, backstages to wheedle myself into, and who knows how buzzy this is going to make me? Is this to be yet another night where I make an ass of myself? Please, say it isn’t so, sweet baby Jesus!

All of this sunk in and I shrieked, “Who leaves an old pill in their mint tin and then OFFERS it to someone?”

Zoe said, “Oh, I’m so sorry Darling, but you’re a trouper and really, it will probably be fun and honestly, you should be fine and…” 

But she couldn’t get out the rest before we collapsed in laughter in the back of the cab. We laughed so hard we couldn’t breathe, and then agreed that it was going to be a typical evening for the two of us. No matter how much Zoe and I would like to comport ourselves with dignity:

We usually end up falling slightly short of the mark:

We got to the venue, and I was immediately overjoyed. The staff at the door was friendly and the place packed to the rafters with genuinely cool people. How often does that happen anymore? Most attendees were well into middle age, but they looked great. Everyone had great tattoos and the guys were working the rockabilly gas station attendant thing while the girls either did the low-key rock chick or victory roll rockabilly girl thing. People were sexy, even the fat dudes were sexy. Everyone was in a good mood. The woman serving pierogis (Warsaw is an old Polish theater) had to be close to 70, had blonde hair piled on her head and wore blue eyeshadow and false eyelashes. She was fucking sexy! Not a docker in sight. I wanted to hug everyone in the room.

Zoe was not pleased yet, though. We didn’t receive VIP stickers at the door. We hustled to the bathroom and she called Richard, who was working at his radio DJ gig, and demanded that he handle this problem immediately. I danced around her nervously as she grumbled into the phone, “Zoe, he’s busy, don’t bug him, we’ll be okay without them.” She shook her finger. “Oh no. We are GETTING.OUR.PASSES.” Richard having been duly informed that no good deed goes unpunished, rushed Zoe off the phone to work on it and we marched back out to the door, where she then explained that we were the Most Important Females in the History of all Rock and Roll and magically, miraculously, and perhaps out of fear, VIP passes appeared.

Pit stop at the bar. Me: “Oh, I’d better not drink since I just got dosed. Oh, you know, little old me, I’ll just have a club soda…Well, okay, maybe just put the teensiest little bit of vodka in that soda…” 

Straight upstairs to the VIP balcony, whereupon the booze and pill kicked in and the show did not disappoint. Social Distortion never does. The sold out audience was fully into it and I couldn’t feel my legs. We jumped up and down and shouted, but carefully so as not to spill our drinks. 

After the show, which seemed short because it was so good, we plopped ourselves down to wait.

And remarkably, no one came by to shoo us out. Because, I discovered, in Brooklyn, or at least at the Warsaw, you are allowed to drink and socialize and eat pierogis after shows like civilized gentle-people, instead of being rudely shoved out the door as soon as the last note rings, as you blink confusedly under newly flicked on and extremely unflattering fluorescent light, as is tradition at Irving Plaza or Roseland in Manhattan. What a treat!

After some waiting, we were allowed to visit with Sir Ness, who was very gracious. Years ago, when I managed Coney Island High and he was single, he had expressed some interest in me, and even went so far as to make sure I got the entire SD back catalog on CD. He was friendly, smart, and interesting. I liked talking to him and it was tempting. But I knew his reputation with the ladies and was newly dating his friend Jesse Malin and busy being pissed at Jesse for not telling Mike what was up to get me out of the weird position of hanging out with two guys with one not knowing the full story. Anyway, I didn’t know if Mike would remember me, but he did, and we got a photo. My arm is cut off because we were photo-bombed at the last second by a friend of a friend and Zoe and I insisted that the photo be cropped to feature only the two of us with Mike. We are constantly getting photo-bombed and then cropping to make it look like we’re the only females in the vicinity. Rewriting history on facebook since 2009!

I am always concerned about being too much of a pest in these situations, so I quickly stepped out of the fray and to the side, whereas Zoe stayed and took another photo. Afterward she said, “People are surprised at how shy you are! You never talk about being in a band and you never get pushy at these things. You’re such an ANGEL.” Zoe is the only person in the history of the world to think I’m an angel, but it’s true that I can be overly laid back when the night calls for some backbone. I have become accustomed to the luxury of a friend like her, who can finagle us anywhere with her British accent and ballsy attitude, so I tend to let her handle the details while I stress out about how old I’m going to look in the photos. 

But this time I said, “Oh GURL. Mr. Ness is SOBER, and I’m HIGH AS A KITE RIGHT NOW. Remember?”

And she said, “Oh…THAT! Oh well…You LOOK fabulous, and that’s all that matters! Darling, should we get one more teensy voddy before we go home?”

And I replied, “Of course, Darling!” And we wobbled off arm in arm, into the Brooklyn night.

The end.

Happy New Year 2013!

2013! How did it get here so fast? I remember being a little kid and talking about how old we’d be in the year 2000, when people would be using flying cars and robot maids. It seemed a million miles away.

I haven’t had much burning in my brain to talk about, but it seems like it’s time to get a new year’s blog out, so I’ll just wing it and see where we land. First, PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT for all my ladies and my gays:

My gorgeous and only slightly batty friend Codie Leone has a friend who is a top notch aesthetician, who recommended that she get a nuface machine, which is a little handheld device which zaps the facial muscles into shape. Sort of like this for the modern age:

But it looks like this:

I noticed Codie looked very refreshed, so I forced Drew to order one for me for Christmas, even though he’d already blasted out his credit card on some other items I just had to have. He’s a very good boyfriend and luckily for me he finds this kind of nonsense entertaining. Over the years he’s purchased a laser hair remover, a sonicare face cleanser, a sonicare eye serum thingy, and a series of well-marketed and overpriced creams and potions, all with a minimum of grousing.

I’m gonna post a video of him rocking out to show my nuface gratitude. He’s the drummer:

So, I have been zapping myself since Christmas day, and have noticed a difference. Zoe got one and she sees it too. I recommend that everyone…ahem…of a certain age…go out and get one immediately. Don’t say I never did anything for you:

In my mind, this whole 2012 cosmic shift hooplah has been a bit of a bust. I am regularly immersed in readings and channelings through my loved ones, and was hoping for something more dramatic. Alien visitations, not having to use currency anymore, people suddenly being less selfish and obnoxious, or at the very least having the ability to see auras or losing the red states to secession. Alas, I am still in my tiny apartment, watching my beloved neighborhood get eaten alive by NYU students, and arguing with near-strangers about politics on facebook. One website promised big heads to hold all of our new-found knowledge and energy, I still have a pea-sized head. Although this one is not such a disappointment really.

But things are good. In 2012 I lost a little weight and got free of some major energy vampires. I quit my day job and free fell into a new, scary but fun place. None of my animals need vet care at the moment. I am happy. I like my life, I am healthy and surrounded by people who love me and are good for me. This is because I have been fortunate and because I learned how to make better choices for myself. Once, I wasn’t any of those things. And it has occurred to me, as I run a little machine over my face like Norma Desmond, that middle age isn’t nearly as bad as our youth-obsessed culture portends.

A former bandmate posted these photos on facebook this week, that’s me in panties and a bra and not much else, looking like a low-rent Cher from behind:

Hammerjacks (best rock club ever), Baltimore, 1989. The photo surprised me for a minute. Holy cow! There I am, in my underwear, in front of a sea of people who paid good money to be watch me “sing”. I lived this on a daily basis for a while, but in some ways it feels like another lifetime. I remember that it was exciting, and fun and adrenaline-charged. But I couldn’t fully feel it. I hated myself, and when I got offstage at many of these shows I had a a guy waiting for me who would do nothing but a lot of drugs, tell me that I sucked, hit me up for cash, make rendesvous plans with the waitresses behind my back, and abuse any male fans who came near me. I don’t blame him; he hated himself too. I forgive him for being a crappy boyfriend and forgive myself for choosing such a crappy boyfriend. I did the best I could with what I knew at the time, and still had a blast through much of it and consider myself so lucky for the experiences. I’m just saying that sometimes what we THINK should be the pinnacle of success and happiness really might be outer programming which has nothing to do with the truth of what our soul seeks.

I saw a fascinating interview with Caroline Myss recently, and she said much of the pain that people experience in life comes from coveting a path that isn’t our own. Meaning that we can’t all be mega-rich pop stars with Bentleys and public adoration, no matter how many affirmations we say. I have never coveted that path, although I did walk a parallel line next to it. My main goal as a teenager was to look cool, to get near rock and roll, and to get backstage easily.  I just overshot it a little, and gained a great education in the process. Anyway, what she has to say about how to find our path is brilliant:

We’re always on the right path, even if we take some side streets into suffering. My mother says that it’s all tools for the cosmic toolbox, and once you learn a lesson, you don’t have to take that class again. Although I would add that in my experience you usually move on to advanced courses in which the same lesson shows up looking a little classier. like same douchey boyfriend behavior but this time he has enough money to buy new boots instead of repairing the old ones with duct tape. Or is that just me?

Once in a while I’ll get an email on facebook from someone asking life advice. I love to give it, although I have no illusion about my genius and most of the time just throw my own examples against someone else’s wall until something sticks. I know that people can hear information over and over again, but until they feel fully what they’re in body to experience, and learn it in their being rather than their brain, the information-giving is only marginally helpful. But I’m glad to be there for moral support.

So yeah, 2013. Maybe there is a shift going on and I’m simply being petulant because I don’t have a giant head full of cosmic knowledge and I’m still worried about rent money from time to time. My shift has been occurring over a lifetime, and as this new year enters I think about everyone out there who is hurting, animals and people, and pray that their shift is happening too. I feel like sometimes I dance around in my own newly cheery world and forget what it’s like to be out there, sometimes through no fault of one’s own. I wish you all a release from all that wounded you in 2012, and a happy new beginning full of love and light.

Zoe and me, New Years Day, St. Mark’s Church:

Namaste, bitches.


I am a judgey person. I know it’s wrong. I hate this aspect of myself, and I’m working on it. But it’s hard with my brain and particular sense of humor. I’ll walk out of the house all positive and cheerful and full of brotherly love, and then someone in ill fitting pants cuts me off on the sidewalk and it’s on: “Look at him. Does he really think he has the ass for those pants? And what is that, a manpurse? I think I hate him….”

I am equally rotten to myself, so I like to think that makes up for it somewhat. I’m constantly assessing my face and body with an overly critical eye and am truly depressed every summer that I can’t manage to look decent on the beach. I’m just not one of those beach girls. My hair gets wonky (as opposed to beachy tousled) and my face tans into scary looking blotches. The lines on my forehead deepen almost immediately upon arrival. Swimsuits rebel on my body as soon as we hit the sand, riding up and digging in. I’m just a squinty, liney, blotchy, ill-suited mess and I cringe when someone wants to take a photo. I had a very bad breakup with my ex-husband a million years ago and my replacement in his life was a just-out-of-her-teens blonde who looked flipping amazeballs on the beach. I know this because when he moved from the building we both lived in he left a box of photos of her in a bikini in the hallway, knowing full well that I would not be able to resist going through them. Bastard.

On the upside, I am pretty good at pulling it together for nightlife, which is probably why I was drawn to that world at an early age. When clubs were wonderful in New York I was able to reinvent myself pretty regularly with makeup and clothes. I felt glamorous and free in that atmosphere, I stopped being a bookworm from Michigan and could pretend I was an exotic creature of mystery and mayhem. I can still put on a pair of eyelashes and a decent dress, so that is available to an extent even now, although the rock and roll crowd is decidedly middle aged, so the glamour and excitement has dimmed somewhat.

I found myself in the unique situation of being dosed recently, which as far as I know, is the first time in my many years of going out that it has happened. But who knows? I have certainly had enough crazy nights in my life that anything is possible (“Ouch! Hey, that isn’t coke…oh, it’s heroin? Hmm… okay, I guess that’s alrighturrrrgggggggghhh…”). 
The whole thing was very weird, though, weirder than usual. Zoe and I went to dinner, ate a decent amount of pizza, then went straight to a party. I’m not going to say which club or party because I don’t want to damage anyone, especially as I don’t have any solid facts to back up the theory. We were at the party for maybe an hour, it was 10:30 at night, and I suddenly thought it was 3:30 in the morning and started slurring the desire to go home, that I was too tired. I had had a couple of small glasses of wine at dinner, and probably two vodka/sodas at the bar, but refused a shot that was proffered. Everything blacked out after that, except for a flash of making out with a girlfriend in a bathroom, then being poured in a cab by her and her disturbed looking boyfriend. Drew was at work, so I barely made it into the apartment before passing out in my clothes and makeup.

I hate the feel of makeup when sleeping, and never go to bed without undressing and washing my face, no matter how much I’ve been drinking. And the whole makeout thing was weird and came out of nowhere. It was embarrassing. I woke up, eyes half-glued shut, lipstick smeared all over my face, full of angst and convinced that I must never imbibe alcohol again. I couldn’t remember most of the night, but I did remember that I was a sloppy, disgusting mess in front of a room full of people. Beyond mortifying. I texted a heartfelt, anxiety-ridden apology to Zoe, and the same to the make-out friend. I told her to apologize to her boyfriend, who was clearly and rightfully unhappy with the situation. She told me she drank a similar amount as myself. She couldn’t remember anything either and threw up when she got home. Her boyfriend had to help her to bed. Then Zoe responded to my text that in all our nights of questionable behavior she had never seen me like that, especially so early into the night, and she was positive that I had been dosed. I texted this to the make-out friend and she concurred, it was the only thing that made sense for her as well. 
Whew! I know I should probably have found the information disturbing, but honestly I felt nothing but relief. I’m still embarrassed and confused as to who would have done something like that, but at least I had a reason for my amateur behavior. Although I still felt determined to be very careful with the booze on subsequent evenings out.

So fast forward to a couple nights ago on a boat on the Hudson to see the Detroit Cobras and Manitoba open up for Dick Dale, and I’m dutifully breaking up my glasses of wine with bottles of water. Almost immediately upon arrival Zoe managed to find the one gacked up gay bartender who was willing to pour copious amounts of wine for us for free as long as we threw lots of tip money at him. We would be rich if we could turn this stellar party radar into a phone app. Prior to finding our bartender we arrived late for the launch time and had to run, clicking and teetering in our heels, up a long boardwalk in front of a full, laughing crowd on the deck of the boat, shrieking, “Wait! WAIT!!”. Someone asked Puma Perl where we were and she said, without even knowing this was happening, “Oh, they’re gonna show up late and have to run to catch the boat.” 

We did make it, and then found the kindred bartender, and after some socializing sat down and watched the show. It was a very fun situation, the boat rocking, the bands rocking, everyone in a good mood. I don’t think there was anyone on the yacht under 40 years old, the crowd was pretty ancient, yours truly included, but the enthusiasm and the sets were enjoyable.

Getting back to the whole judgey thing (I should take a moment to tell you I have no idea where this blog is going, I just poured myself a cup of coffee and started typing), this is the conversation that Zoe and I had during Dick Dale:

Zoe: Oh girl. She should not be wearing that dress.
Me:  That is an American tragedy. Did you see it from the front?
Zoe: No. It can’t possibly be worse?
Me: It’s shameful. It’s a crying, desperate shame what she is doing to the front of that dress.
Zoe: And her hair. Just awful.
Me: Horrendous. 
Zoe: Tragic.
Me: But you know, there’s decent raw material there. She just needs better underwear and a curling iron.
Zoe: Spanx. Why haven’t any of her friends told her about Spanx?
Me: I don’t know. You know, we could change that poor woman’s life with the proper underwear.
Zoe: She needs us.
Me: She does. 
Zoe: Do you think we should say something to her?
Me: No. I don’t think she’d take it very well.
Zoe: You’re right, babe. You’re always right.
Me: Well, I’m right about the criminal things she’s doing to that dress right now.
Zoe (sighing): So true…Do you want more wine?
Me: Yes! We’d better go now before that bartender gets fired…

So yeah, I’ve just exposed myself as the most vapid person in the history of people, but that is where my head is at this morning: wondering how it was possible to get dosed so easily, relief that nothing worse happened, and half chagrin/half amusement at my own judgey ways. There is so much going on in the world right now that deserves more discussion: the tragic Colorado shooting, the abysmal state of our political system, the horror I witnessed this week in the form of sweet, beautiful dogs being transported for food in Korea. But it’s summertime and I’m feeling lazy and there are smarter people than myself already talking about these things.

After we finished assessing this poor stranger’s hair and clothing choices, I noticed a girl who couldn’t keep her eyes off of us. She wore a loose floral dress, flip flops and no makeup, just sort of messy backyard kind of dressing, a touch migrant worker in the 40’s but appropriate enough for an old people rock show on a boat. She slouched quite a bit and hung very tightly onto her boyfriend, and kept turning around over his shoulder, away from the direction of the show, to stare at us. Ordinarily this would make me paranoid and cranky, especially after a couple of drinks, but in keeping with my new trying not to be an asshole state of mind, I smiled the next time she turned around and crooked my finger in a come here motion.

She submitted and walked back to us, and I said, “Hi, I’m Raff, and this is Zoe, and we noticed you were looking at us, so we wanted to meet you.” She blushed and said, “Oh, I just really like your tattoos.” I asked her if she was enjoying the show and said it was great to meet her, and she went back to her boyfriend pretty quickly after the exchange. Zoe and I both noticed that she was no longer slouching, but standing much taller, and seemingly more confident in her demeanor. We felt warmed by the exchange.

So in a summer of lazy mayhem, I got a little lesson from that girl, which was simply that if I am nice and polite and extend myself, rather than remain an insular, insecure mean girl, I can sometimes make a connection which enhances my energy and the energy of the other person. I have also learned, perhaps for the millionth time in my life, that water in between drinks is not a bad thing. So there’s that.

Point/Counterpoint Part Deux

To further the ongoing war between the sexes, my arch-nemesis, Handsome Dick Manitoba, posted his response to my last blog here: MANIBLOG.

I know, I know…the mind reels! So many words rushing through my brain! And most of them foul!
Dear HDM,

Firstly, you DID call that scene in “The Wanderers” a work of “PURE GENIUS”. Your words, not mine. Ginkgo Biloba, anyone? And I never claimed “Nosferatu, The Vampyre” or the Addams Family movie were hip. Just that the first one interested me as a young girl more than watching a bunch of actors who were clearly over the age of 20 playing two-digit IQ’ed teenage boys doing their thing on the streets of New York, and that the second one featured a truly hilarious scene of female comedy.

The burning question of the hour is, however: why is it that every frigging Jew from New York City thinks his birthplace is the center of the Universe? And you’re all convinced that the rest of us are equally fascinated. I would bet a large sum of money that you have dragged my patient and beautiful BFF to said neighborhood in the Bronx to point out all the “landmarks” ad nauseum:

“And here is where I fingered my first girlfriend…Her name was Melanie…” I’m sure Zoe was captivated by every second of this tour of the holy land. “Tell me again, HDM, about how they cranked the cars with that little handle when you were a boy!”

Okay, just kidding on that last line. But seriously, all New York born and bred men think their own personal childhood locales are so much more interesting than they actually are. I will give you this, however, Mr. Manitoba. I do get that “The Wanderers” is a period piece capturing a part of history that is appreciated by many. Just not me. Or your wife.

NOW, let’s get on to that ridiculous photo. Posting it does not make you a sexist pig. You are actually NOT a sexist pig, Richard. You like women and you have no visible issues with women in power. Look at who you married! Look at who you are arguing with. You are, however, a complete IDIOT.

I say this will all due respect.

Finding a beautiful woman attractive is normal, but what you do with that attraction is what separates the men from the boys and either gets you praise: “GOOD BOY, YOU DIDN’T TWIST YOUR NECK TO CHECK OUT THAT WOMAN’S ASS ON THE STREET, HERE’S A NICE BLOW JOB.” or derision: “SIR, YOU ARE AN IDIOT.”

Posting photos of other women that you find attractive (in this manner) is incredibly disrespectful to your wife and your marriage. And it’s juvenile. Why not just tape a Farrah poster on the back of your bedroom door?  Lemme break it down for you:

Woman are raised to compete with one another in a much more insidious manner than men. Society places a value on us according to our looks. A man can look like a warthog but if he’s successful, he’s golden. A woman doesn’t have that luxury. It doesn’t matter how successful she is, if she’s not high on the food chain of societal beauty standards, she is “less than” and often a joke. A normal woman, who has borne and is raising your child, cleans your house, finds your lost items, and deals with your braying ass day after day, cannot compete with an airbrushed still photo of a model who has been painstakingly and professionally lit, coiffed, painted and wonderbra-ed within an inch of her life, and who sits there quietly two dimensional, never whining about how much it hurts to hike in heels or nagging you that she is tired of falling into the toilet late at night because you forget to put the damn seat down.

Real live women are faced with these images all day long, and even though we know the perfection is unattainable, we compare ourselves unfavorably as if it were. The images often make us feel shitty. We don’t look that good, we can’t be that skinny, we can’t go back in time and become teenagers again, we can’t be flawless. Hell, the model in that photo isn’t even that flawless. It takes a very confident woman to resist the low-self-esteem pull of this constant stream of manufactured images, and it helps to have a strong, supportive male by her side.

So why, Richard, you overgrown teenager, would you post a photo like this when it does not make your wife feel special or good about herself? Especially as it will not get you anywhere you want to be (i.e. naked with your hot wife), because the last thing a woman wants to do is sidle up and get busy with a guy who has just posted a photo of another woman. So you’re essentially cock-blocking your own damn self. Which makes you an idiot.

Ladies and gentleman of the jury. I rest my case.

And thusly, you must be punished, HDM, so here’s some more female hilarity for you. You already know this one so you can sing along during the last chorus. Hopefully it will do you some good. Tell Zoe to call me. We’re due for a girl’s night out!


For those of you who aren’t on Facebook, let me give you a little backstory. 

Mr. Handsome Dick Manitoba, husband to my bff Zoe Hansen, and an endless source of amusement, got in a little argument with me the other day when he described a practice laid out in that movie favored by New York men of…ahem…a certain age called “The Wanderers”. This practice is called “elbow tittin'”.
I saw the movie when I was a teenager, and it seemed okay but it didn’t move me. This is not a statement about the quality of the film, just as a female child from Michigan in the 70’s, a story about marginally intelligent New York mooks set the 50’s was not high on my list of imperative viewing. Much higher on the list that year was “Nosferatu, The Vampyre” in which I learned that I wanted to look like Isabel Adjani, and “Rock and Roll High School”, in which I learned that it was possible to meet the Ramones if you wanted it badly enough.

But I digress. So Richard, while standing behind the bar of his fine establishment Manitoba’s and impeding his long-suffering wife from doing her best work as the bartender, described Elbow Tittin’ to me. He said it is a bump and grope: first the man fake bumps into the woman, then he cops a quick feel of her boob.


I said, “How is that a funny thing to do, Richard? It’s a minor form of sexual assault and it’s very upsetting to the woman on the receiving end.”

To which he responded with a bit of sputtering which ended with, “Well, you are a Nazi lesbian!” 

And then Zoe and I immediately set upon screaming phrases like “sexist pig” at him in unison until he ran out of the bar with his ears covered. As he left he shouted out a blog challenge at me, something to the effect of, “Mary, you ignorant slut! This is not over! I will blog you to the death!” 

I called out after him, in my best Cher from “Clueless” imitation, “AS IF!”
But he was not kidding! That bastard! Richard threw down the gauntlet this afternoon, with THE MARY RAFFAELE-HANDSOME DICK MANITOBA BLOG WARS, on his aptly titled “Maniblog”. I laid my eyes upon the link on my facebook page, spit out the bite of salad I was masticating and raised a fist to the sky and shouted, “AS GOD IS MY WITNESS, RICHARD MANITOBA, I WILL TURN YOU INTO A SENSITIVE, FEMALE EMPOWERING, 21ST CENTURY MAN IF IT’S THE LAST THING I DO!!!”

Okay, that’s not true. I just rolled my eyes and thought, well, this is good. Having to blog a response tonight means I can postpone vacuuming for a day. So thank you for that, HDM. I hate vacuuming.
So I first had to refresh my memory on this dumbass movie. Here’s the scene:
I will say that it’s mildly amusing, and it’s nice that a woman wins out in the end against this obnoxious, pathetic, childish behavior, even if the woman in question is portrayed as a caricature, the underlying message being that a tall, self-sufficient female is little more than a man in a dress, and not someone to be taken seriously or loved in any real way. 
And if you break it down, what is elbow titting anyway, except a simplistic way to take a woman down a peg or two, to show her that the power of her sexual appeal is not so strong that it can’t be toppled with a show of snarky neanderthal physicality.

So what do you have really? Little boys huddled in groups who can’t handle the way women make them feel inside (horny, frightened, confused?) so they resort to making them feel shitty in order to feel more powerful and in control using the most base manner possible. And if the woman wins, she wasn’t worth the effort anyway.
So, Richard Manitoba, pure comic genius? I think not. Sexist and dated? Perhaps. But I know that that wrinkly, dangly, fuzzy and weirdly changeable sac between your legs colors your perception in a way I might never fully understand. And thus, for the moment, I shall simply agree to disagree, and leave you with this, a true scene of comic genius featuring that brilliant female Joan Cusack. 

I think it might remind you of two screaming females in your life:

Woot! Tuesday, March 20, 2012!

Zoe Hansen & Mary Raffaele
A Night of Rock and Roll Attitude and Outlaw Hilarity

at Bowery Electric
327 Bowery
March 20, 2012

featuring readings and performances by:


Zoe Hansen -Writer, performer, producer, mother and wife. Lover of outlaw life and the written word. Has been; hair and makeup artist, clothing store owner (Jezebella), streetwalker, junkie, part-time alt model, massage parlor owner and madam of five NYC brothels. During the second faze of her life, she has had short stories published in various anthologies, and online magazines. She’s cohosted a monthly reading series, has spoken at colleges about her life and addiction. Zoe continues to live in the East Village of Manhattan with her family, despite its gentrification. She is currently working on a chick lit novel titled ‘Going Down in Gotham,’ and a reality show.

is an animal lover, anger enthusiast, half a fag, and never met a backstage pass she didn’t like. She is also a former metal queen and clubland personality who made a name for herself singing in the notorious Cycle Sluts From Hell. Now she works in the much more brutal world of fashion and is currently writing a memoir chronicling the misadventures of a Midwestern girl who moved to New York to seek glamour in the lowest of places. She is an occasional guest writer for Steppin’ Out NJ Magazine and publishes a blog that many people claim to actually enjoy reading.

Richard “Handsome Dick” Manitoba, born in the Bronx NYC, is best known for being lead singer of The Dictators, the legendary ‘70s New York punk band. He has sung lead for the MC5, and his band Manitoba’s Wild Kingdom. He has his own radio show The Handsome Dick Manitoba program in Little Stevens Underground Garage on Sirius XM satellite radio. Mr. Manitoba is the Proprietor of the world famous Manitoba bar since 1999 on Ave B in the East Village. He is a writer, – Punk Rock Book of List, published by Back Beat Books, written countless articles, and currently blogs. He has spoken at many colleges, and private institutions about his life, and his experiences as a musician for thirty five years. He is currently touring with his new band ‘Manitoba’ and working on a reality show. He continues to reside in the East Village of Manhattan with his family, as he refuses to cross a bridge to go home.

“Miss Tammy Faye Starlite…Sort of a Pia Zadoable look-alike who pulls off an alter ego possessed by Tammy Wynette, Jesus Christ and Wild Turkey…turned Cheap Trick’s Surrender into a Bible-thumping rapturous hymn….and brought new meaning to Bible passages, such as when he comes, he will come. Tammy Faye’s brilliant Did I Shave My Vagina For This? brought the house down, especially when she wiped away a tear while singing, it’s Saturday night, and I’m watching the tube, while he goes off to shave another girls pubes. All in the key of D – for divine ! Jesus would have loved it, before he sent her straight to hell. See ya there!”

— Libby Molyneaux, L.A. Weekly

Reverend Jen is a performer, painter, playwright, columnist, Troll Museum Founder, underground movie star, open mike host, ASS Magazine founder and elf. She is a columnist for and a former sex columnist for Her books include Elf Girl (Out now from Simon & Schuster!) Live Nude Elf: the Sexperiments of Reverend Jen and Reverend Jen’s Really Cool Neighborhood. Her handcrafted books can be found in collections including the Whitney Museum of American Art, the MoMA Library and the Warhol Museum.

Rev. has performed and lectured in Europe, all over the U.S.A. and on the Astral Plane. Her live action TV show “Reverend Jen’s Really Cool Neighborhood” was voted best off-off-off Broadway Musical Comedy Theater by The Village Voice. She lives in the world’s only Troll Museum on Manhattan’s Lower East Side with her Chihuahua, Reverend Jen Junior, an actress and dog-clothes model.

Born and raised in Greenwich Village NYC, Francis “Faceboy” Hall has been performing for at least 38 of his 46 years of his existence. At age 8 he had the distinction of portraying Tybalt at P.S 41 in the youngest cast ever to present Romeo and Juliet in the original Shakespearean English. Majoring in Theater, he obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree with Honors a week after turning 20. A 21 year member of the Screen Actors Guild he is currently represented by the Abrams Artists Agency. His film, television and stage credits are too numerous to list. Contributions to the downtown performance scene include an over 13 year run of the multi-award winning, “Faceboyz Open Mike”. He is now the host and producer of Faceboyz Folliez, a variety show with an emphasis on, “bawdy humor and beauteous burlesque”. Faceboyz Folliez is quickly gaining a buzz including two features in The Villager and a Scene Spotlight in Time Out New York (links below). Of himself he says, “As an actor, activist, poet, director, writer and producer I wear many hats. This is good because I shave my head and winters are cold in New York City”.

Heather Litteer is an actress, singer and performance artist. She has made many daring film choices working with Darren Aronofsky, Jane Campion and Mary Harron. She has also toured in the US and internationally with avant -garde theatre Company Big Art Group (you can see their real time film matrix production in April 6-21 at Abrons Art center right here in NYC). Also in Late April and early May she is playing the evil Britny in Julie S.Caesar and The Real Housewives of Trevi by @LiveFeedNYC which premieres at The Ace Hotel. On March 20, 2012 she with sing her sexy Disco single “Moustache Ridin” with Apokalipps available on I-tunes. For more on Heather check out her website at

PAULINA PRINCESS OF POWER is a hilariously entertaining Drag Performer and comedian who has been performing all over Manhattan for over 15 years. She currently emcees all of the shows at Lucky Cheng’s and is a recent recipient of the prestigious Diversity Scholarship from the Upright Citizen’s Brigade.