Saturday, October 22, 2016

What are your thoughts on Beyonce

One of my authors, the wonderful Lyah Leflore, arranged to give me two free tickets to see Beyonce's final tour date for the Formation tour. Me and Ssanyu braved a nightmarish three-hour commute (just 11 miles away, mind you) from the Port Authority bus terminal to get there. (Thanks, Coach USA!) When we arrived, our tickets were not to be found at the will call, so I had to text Lyah (who was in Puerto Rico at the time, at her niece's wedding) to find out what was going on.

You can imagine what was going on in my head. I had dragged Ssanyu out to New Jersey. We were both broke. (Or, at least, I was). Beyonce came out and started performing, and we were both listening to her in the deserted carny town that is the MetLife Arena after the main performer starts. I had just been fired, and was looking to move to Philadelphia, with all the loneliness and potential darkness and doom that could arise with such a poorly thought-out plan.

Lyah somehow made it all work in the end (she can make anything work). Ssanyu and I were assisted at the scene by a wonderful woman who works for Pepsi named Michelle M., who gamely gave up relaxing and listening to the sound from the stadium and walked us where we needed to go and convinced the will call ladies to try again to find our tickets. Ssanyu and I raced up the stairs to catch most of Beyonce's show. At one point, Beyonce came out in this outfit - which I didn't like - but I liked most of her outfits. And I waited to feel something, but it never happened.

I have all of Destiny's Child's records, but Beyonce as a solo artist has thus far left me cold. Clearly, she's an Illuminati; no human power could have sustained her career for so many years. I liked "Best Thing I Never Had," and "Single Ladies," but she's put out, like, ten solo albums thus far - where are the good songs? "Superpower," from her self-titled album, is genius, but Frank Ocean wrote that. Still, Beyonce has by now accumulated almost godlike powers, and the audience was losing its mind over her. I looked around me a few times during the show at everyone screaming and singing along. Why can't I feel this? I thought.

Anyway, she sang something or the other and then she left the stage, and Ssanyu and I were treated to an almost-as-nightmarish commute back to NYC. I took the train home, as I often have lo these twenty-two years, the S to the 6, and I thought to myself what I have long thought. Why do I live here? I mean, on earth.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

I love crazy people

I went to Heather's birthday party recently. She held it at the Pyramid Club, and right away I was intrigued by that. I haven't been to the Pyramid in maybe 16 years. The last time I was there, it was to hear the rap duo Morplay. They were great, and I threw flower petals up at them on the stage - petals that Morplay rapper Crasta-Yo did not appreciate, possibly because it made for a dangerous on-stage slippage factor. For some reason that is foggy to me in my dotage, I ended up loaning Morplay $5,000 to make a record. They made the record, but didn't pay me back, though I did ask them to. Morplay broke up in the end, and the other rapper from the group, Cazwell, launched a solo career that has included, counter-intuitively, a song called "Get My Money Back." Ah, well. In my life, I have become quite good at "letting it go." Frozen taught me that.

My former assistant was there at the Pyramid, and then my former boss showed up. There was also another guest - although I'm assuming he was not invited - a large man with long blonde hair who was dancing like someone would dance if he or she were at Studio 54 in 1976 and being filmed doing so. I love crazy people, so I found this man irresistible, and I began to dance with him in a similarly crazy fashion. We were really freaking on each other, but he was so sweaty and I am so old that I couldn't dance with him for too long at a stretch. I took breaks, toweling myself off with a handkerchief. But every ten minutes or so I broke that blonde down on the dance floor. It was really amazing, kind of like the legendary, rumored post-breakup dance-off that Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake had at the Lounge in Los Angeles in 2002. My old assistant Amanda tried to capture these moments with me and the blonde man with her phone camera, but it was too dark, so my inevitable apocalyptic humiliation via viral video was postponed for another night. But can't you just see my eventual viral shaming, before it's happened? Maybe a video of me dancing, or me pantomiming the whole video (complete with cat and choreography) of Lisa Loeb's "Stay," or maybe one of me talking to myself on the streets, mouthing comebacks to insults that occurred hours or days before, finally getting my retort as finely honed as I needed it to be, too late?

I made for the exit at the Pyramid Club that night knowing that Heather was the coolest lady on the earth, with her cupcakes and her random friends. I exited past the blonde fellow who was literally worn out from my dancing with him, and was now using a cane (literally).

And I left wearing my glow bracelet, which Heather had gamely attached to my wrist earlier. It took me a long time (maybe two blocks?) before I remembered that I am 43, and took it off.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016


A few years ago, I entered a contest online to win a fun trip to Los Angeles to meet some tween celebrity boy who was all the rage at the time. I'd never even heard of him; I had to Google him. But I wanted to win a trip, so I entered. I was automatically subscribed to the newsletter of the great West Coast teen clothing store Tilly's.

I don't think I expected to win. I have never won anything except a useless stereo component during college and some dance tickets in my 20s from the Village Voice that I couldn't use and had to give away, to Carolyn and her beau. But there was something about entering this Tilly's contest that tickled me. Imagine if I'd won! The look of surprise of the teen star's adorable, million-dollar face, expecting some little fun girl and seeing my wizened husk instead. It would be the equivalent of entering to win a contest to spend a day with a Kennedy, and then having them show up with Jean Kennedy, in all her glory.

The weeks and months went by, and I knew I had not won. In this contest, as in life. But I was bemused by the daily emails from Tilly's, telling me what sort of cute tank or boardie I could be in possession of if I'd only loosen my purse strings and live a little with Tilly's. What sort of jogger or legging, lanyard or patch. And their BOGOs. Sweet Lord, always a BOGO with them.

As time passed, I mulled over the idea of "liking" Tilly's on Twitter, and entering into an online relationship with whoever manned their account - at first, being merely enthusiastic about their product, then being maybe a little creepy, (by revealing my age and my geographic distance from any existing Tilly's), then implying by my tweets that I was relying far too much on my communication with Tilly's in conducting my life. That idea, like many I have, was fleeting. (Although, obviously, in my prime I would have subtweeted Tilly's like a house aflame.)

Today, it has clearly not occurred to Tilly's that I've been keeping my own counsel on their emails on purpose. In their attempt to get me to place one - even just ONE, one SINGLE order - they have begun emailing me two, three times a day, when clearly one email would do. Just how many rash guards do they think I need?? How many wedges, or pool floats?? I am 43 ... I wouldn't be able even to make a drone WORK! Let alone two, with BOGOooooo.

When last I visited Alia in Los Angeles, I begged her to come with me to Tilly's. I needed some kind moral support, or perhaps protection. I walked around the store, and their clothes seemed slightly more garish than they looked online, which both surprised me and slightly slaked my intense thirst to be a part of Tilly's machine, such as it is. I confided to Alia about my fascination with the Tilly's newsletter - and she showed a little compassion for once in her life and did not imply that my fascination with Tilly's is clearly a metaphor for my fascination with how youth, sweet youth, can just slip away. And that even if youth seems still within reach - like, just around the corner - it is in a direction you cannot anymore move, because age has compromised your mobility. But Alia did lean conspiratorially toward me and told me that there was a newsletter even more foul, more
aggressive than Tilly's.

"Oh yeah?" I said, sure that this was some trick.

"It's Nordstrom's Rack," she said, ominously. I turned pale.