Alt Resume

I am close to taking my Summer Sabbatical, which is not really what it is, but it makes my Mom feel better when I say “I’m Taking A Sabbatical” instead of “I’m quitting my job and hanging out all Summer”.  I thought it was time to get my list of “OTHER” skills together and post them on the Internet.

If you feel like you read a slightly different but kind of the same list as this one, it’s because my site was hacked and my service restored from last week’s restore point and I lost it.  It’s because SOMEONE was very jealous of my 70 hits a day.  Eat it, haters!

1. Pit Toilets: I’m very good at using pit toilets in Asia.  You just have to pretend you’re camping, which you kind of are.

2. Sleeping on Airplanes: Also work related.  I can sleep bolt upright on a red eye to Turkey and emerge as fresh and ready as if I had slept in a garbage- filled car.

3.  Tap Dancing.  I’m not the world’s best tap dancer (SAVION GLOVER, because we can really only have one famous tap dancer at a time), but it’s the skill that took the most time and expense to learn, and which has the lowest street value.  I’m considering trying to make people pay me NOT to do it.

4.  Bemani.  It’s no longer fashionable but I can totally do it- I get more points for style than accuracy on Dance, Dance, Revolution, but Karaoke Revolution is my bitch.

5. For that matter, I can lead in six count swing, and I can lead about five things in Lindy hop- I’m a good Lindy follow- I like a lot of dances.

6.  I can make dance parties happen.  I can make people do it.  At karaoke, at coffeeshops- most of the time.

7.  Karaoke.  I’m good at it.  I don’t have the most amazing American Idol style voice, but I know my range and I will perform the SHIT out of a song.  I like to work a crowd.  When I do it in Hong Kong they are upset with the dancing and eye contact.

8.  Comedy.  I do it for money and for free.  Mostly for free.  Don’t ask me to tell you a joke, I’ll make you laugh, m-f.  Just you wait.

9.  I can draw- I haven’t for around five-seven years, but I probably still can, right?  I’m sure I can.  I have an art degree.  I can blind contour the shit out of something.

10.  According to the Munsell test of Color Acuity, I am a Superior Color Discriminator.  I will discriminate the shit out of your color.  I need a lab coat and a light box with a true North setting.  But I will do it.

11.  I can make patterns and sew.  Again, I usually don’t.   But I can make seriously obscure and fucked up Halloween costumes!

12.  Goth Makeup and Fantasy Make up!  I have an airbrush and I’m  not scared to use it, including airbrushing a fake tattoo on you!

13.  I’m really good at telling long, involved, interconnected stories to people on acid.  I can be on acid or not, it doesn’t matter.

14.  I can tell a fake art history lecture at the drop of a hat, especially if the hat is from a particularly evocative period

15.  I’m really good at making one kind of vegan chocolate chip cookies.  Just one kind.

16.   I’m really good at maintaining a blog for 8 years that only my mother consistently reads!

17.  If I had just bought my first guitar, I would be a crazy natural guitar playing genius- however, I have had my own guitar for a decade, and play it occasionally.  I’m mediocre, but proud!

18.  I’m really good at steering an oversized Costco shopping cart with my elbows while eating free BBQ nuts.

19.  I’m a good trivia team member- I don’t know that much about television or sports, but I’m very good at arbitration to try to determine the likeliest answer.  Also, I like to win but I don’t care if I do.

20.  I’m really good at running a White Elephant party.  I will whip the crowd into a frenzy over Scratch tickets and a rubber garden gnome.  Blood will flow!

21.  Despite all the above, I’m really good at not going to Burning Man!  I haven’t gone every year it’s happened!  Consecutively!

With this kind of skill set, I’m gonna destroy this job market!

Tori Amos Lamest


Tori Tribute 025  Speaking of, here’s a picture my friend Tara took five years ago, which is what it looks like when I am drunk enough to think I look like Tori Amos.

London invasion and Bowie Exhibit!


A Nice Visit

I went to London last week to see the David Bowie Is exhibit at the V&A, to visit my sister Emily, and to experience 32 degree weather and a light dusting of snow during the week everyone usually calls Spring Break. 

We hit Camden market, ate some vegan food, and enjoyed the Tate Modern, but the most important thing was the exhibit I flew across an ocean to see.

The Main Event

The Bowie exhibit had sold tickets by time slot, in order to have some semblance of crowd control. 

The show sold out before it opened. My sister and I were late, because the exchange for the green circle line closed, and a man with teeth that splayed out like a water spigot told us that there would be a bus along in only 25 to 30 minutes.

Luckily, I got in without crying or striking any marble countertops.

Photos are prohibited at the show, which at first seemed like a bummer. However, when LACMA opened the Kubrick show to photos, it made the whole thing feel less special.  The image is not the thing itself, but sometimes it feels like the thing.

The show itself was arranged in rough chronological order, but mostly as clusters of influences and connected things interesting information.  There were famous outfits, but also amazing Berlin era paintings of his friend James Osterberg, instruments, handwritten lyrics, stage props and designs, and other ephemera.

The show stayed away from gossip about Bowie’s drug use, love affairs, and mental problems, but returned again and again to a main theme. Bowie is an editor, collaborator, and borrower, always consuming, interpreting, and composing music and image that is consistently ahead of its time.

Speaking of Kubrick, Space Oddity was a pun on Space Odyssey.  Seems obvious now.

I was glad to see the SNL footage of Bowie with backup singers Klaus Nomi and Joey Arias that was used in the great documentary The Nomi Song. I was also amused to see photos and drawings of  English music hall artists that Bowie’s sculptural outfit was drawn from, which Klaus’ outfit was a simplified version of.

Other Things I Learned

The Alexander McQueen jacket from Earthling that I had always assumed was a shiny vinyl thing was, in fact, a distressed and torn Union Jack frock coat- and it was inspired by Pete Townsend’s mod Union Jacket.

I learned that when David Bowie was writing Suffragette City, he was rocking a 26 1/2″ waist on cocaine.

Bowie has always been a fan of the mash-up method of songwriting, but in recent years, he’s written a computer program to do it.

Bowie’s a better mime than you are.

The reason I just started seeing the amazing video for “Boys Keep Swinging” with Bowie in various drag is because it was too kinky for RCA records and they banned it.

The wiping-off lipstick gesture from the video was something that came from Weimar-era burlesque, and that would later be quoted in the video for China Girl (written by his friend James Osterberg).

The Space Oddity cover used a photo of Bowie superimposed over a painting by Victor Vasarely.

The close of the show was a wall of “influenced by” images, including The Mighty Boosh’s Noel Fielding in his makeup and silver jumpsuit, Annie Lennox in all her androgyne glory, John Cameron Mitchell’s Hedwig, and dozens of fashion pictorials. 

Many musicians have made careers out of things that Bowie used for a week or two and abandoned- I’m looking at you, Marilyn Manson!

Selfridge’s had a new David Bowie pop-up shop, and three makeup looks by Illamasqua’s Alex Box!



The other thing I made sure to do when I was in town was to take a makeup class called Drag Superhero at the Illamasqua store on Beak Street, where we did this amazing natural, no-makeup look!

It was fun and I enjoyed working with my makeup artiste, a Brett from Sheffield, where all the good music comes from.  When we were done, I was asked if I wanted a towel to take the look off with, and I was a little surprised at the shock that I would walk back to the hotel with my “face” on.  I explained to them that I was not visiting weirdoland, that I had been weird for quite a long time. My sister did insist on a re-do for dinner.

After going out for drinks, my sister Emily and I were plumb tuckered out and we went to bed.


Taipei 101


Tri Nguyen and I thought that having our picture taken atop the tallest tower in Taiwan would bring us closer together, but it just tore us apart.

A Very Gothixxx New Year

Bloodmeadow and Helfire compare notes from the holidays, answer viewer questions, and look forward to a spooky new year!

Boatchella: The S.S. Coachella Experience!

S.S. Coachella Poster

SS Coachella

Photo by Megan Helstone

In this post, I will try to answer all your questions about my first cruise ever, on the Celebrity Silhouette to Jamaica with Hot Chip, Warpaint, Pulp, James Murphy, Father John Misty, Sleigh Bells, Girltalk, Z-Trip, and the Black Lips, and some other people.

Q: Were PULP’s setlists different on the two legs?

A: Yes.  Here is the Bahamas setlist, as reported by the able Raymond Medina:

Do You Remember the First Time?
Pink Glove
Something Changed
Disco 2000
Sorted for E’s & Whizz
Feeling Called Love
His ‘N Hers
Like a Friend
Party Hard
This is Hardcore
Bar Italia
Common People

And the Jamaica cruise went more like this, according to me and the ripped piece of notebook paper I found in a jeans pocket:

  • Do You Remember The First Time?
  • Monday Morning
  • Razzmatazz
  • Pencil Skirt
  • Something Changed
  • Disco 2000
  • Sorted For E’s and Whizz
  • F.E.E.L.I.N.G.  C.A.L.L.E.D. L.O.V.E
  • His n’ Hers
  • Babies
  • Like a Friend
  • Underwear
  • This is Hardcore
  • Sunrise
  • Bar Italia
  • Common People
  • Encore: Mis-Shapes

Q: What kind of fucking nerd cares about that sort of thing?

A: This one.

Q: When did you know you were at a Coachella event?

A: When I saw a girl with white denim cutoffs and a bra sitting in a whirlpool, watching James Murphy DJ.

Q: Did Jarvis Cocker remark that it was Jean Genet’s birthday on Dec 19?

A: Yes, but he did not perform any of “The Maids”, as I had hoped.

Q: Who is the hungriest member of Pulp?

A: Steve Mackey always seemed to be in the late-night buffet.  Always.  I mean, so was I, but still.

Q: Was there cool-ass art on the boat?

A: Yes, some hilarious Christian Marclay pieces I’d seen at Seattle Art Museum years earlier, but also some Damien Hirst and Gilbert & George and Richard Serra- a very British selection, on the whole.  Really cool.

Q: Did you take bunk acid on the boat?

A: Yes, but in my defense, I thought the world was maybe ending.

Q: Did you really think the world was ending?

A: No, but I like acid, and I’m sorry it was bunk.  Frank Mojica wasn’t sure, but he was wearing an eyepatch at the time.

Q: Were the staterooms really big enough for four people to share?

A: No, not unless they really liked each other and didn’t mind sleeping with parts of them inside of their friends.

Q: Was it sad that you went stag?

A: No, I met up with a tremendous group of people and had many funs, including an opera singer, a fabulous girl from my town and a mentally deficient gap-toothed Scouse!

Q: Who are the most obnoxious members of any international group?

A: Australians!  I think it’s because they’re in the wrong hemisphere, and feel that there  are no repercussions for their actions.  That being said, they are very hot.

Q:  Did you get seasick on the boat?

A: No, but I could sometimes feel it move, which made drinking all the more sensible, so that I could feel like I do when I’m drunk on land.

Q: Remember when Pulp had the lightshow with the dolphin in it?

A: Yes

Q: Did they do that again?

A: It was a Santa, it was cute but kind of weird.  Also, please note that the neon PULP sign swayed constantly with the ship’s movement, which was strange!

Q: Does Jarvis really buy his shirts in the children’s section?

A: No, he has them custom-made, and he has a tiny JC embroidered right under his left nipple.  MMM!

Q: Did you see celebrities on the boat?

A: Har Mar Superstar, Perez Hilton, Haley Joel Osment and Thu Tran from Food Party were all on the boat!

Q: What song did Hot Chip end their set with when we thought the world was maybe ending?

A: Prince’s 1999

Q: How many bars did Virginia take to identify 1999?

A: Two bars.

Q: Who are the cutest and spookiest and rockin’est girls on earth?

A: Warpaint!

Q: What are your predominant thoughts when surrounded by young, wealthy hipsters?

A: I wish I was skinny enough to wear unflattering clothing.  Is shit-weed a type of weed?  Because that’s what it smells like in here.

Q: What does it look like when there’s a Coachella party on a pool deck in the middle of the ocean?

T60C2496 Lasers during The Gaslamp Killer on the SS Coachella 2012: Bahamas
Photo By Ivankay

Q: Is the cruise ship food as great as everyone says?

A: No, but it’s extremely available!  There is pleasure in walking drunk out of a show and eating french fries at 3 in the morning.

Q: Is it OK to have sex with the cruise staff?

A: NO.  Only band members and fellow cruise attendees, which is not fair, given how many of the waitstaff were hot Italians.  Apparently, if you sleep with a staff member (heh), they put you both out on a life raft labeled SHARK FUD to fend for yourselves.

Q: What do you do if someone breaks up with you before a cruise?

A: Find someone who looks just like them and have sex with them, it’s a lot simpler!

Q: What was the funniest thing that happened the first day?

A: Overhearing a pretty hipster girl berating a barman for having Grey Goose as his top shelf, and then she mixed it with Red Bull.  Pick a lane, Amber!

Q: Did you find that, despite your own suspicions about yourself, you loved being on the beach in Jamaica?

A: No, the reef bit my feet and I don’t like being hot or dirty.  That’s why I never went to a Coachella in the first place!  And the lunch was served two hours after ordering, which meant that some of the people in our group had died.

Q: Were the two cruises, to the Bahamas and Jamaica, a financial success?

A: According to the rumors I heard, no.  Both legs went out at half capacity, which made for GREAT shows where people filed gently into their seats and respected each other, but apparently $5 million was lost on the venture.

Q: Did you enjoy Jarvis’ Powerpoint lecture on song lyrics?

A: Yes, he pointed out that lyrics don’t really matter, which makes it strange that he became a lyricist- but Pulp has always been more about atmosphere than turn of phrase- he made me laugh with a Shakespearean reading of A Hard Day’s Night, which is by Livepool’s second most-popular band, the most famous and popular being Echo and the Bunnymen.

Q: What are some of the hilarious lyrics presented as possibly being obscene words to the Kingsmen’s Louie, Louie?

A: “Each night at ten, I lay her again

I fuck my girl all kinds of ways

And on that chair, I laid her there

I felt my boner in her hair.”

Q: What prizes did Jarvis hand out for a music quiz at the end of the lecture?

A: Pieces of clothing he no longer wears, including a suit worn, and torn, on the Jimmy Fallon show.  Amazing.

Q: Was Pulp the Most Important Band On The Boat to you?

A: Is it that obvious?

Q: Do you want to see Josh Tillman of Father John Misty sing R. Kelly on Karaoke?


Q: Do you still have the listing of band-related activities onboard?

A: Yes!  Here it is, straight from 2012:

• REAL WINE: A NATURAL TASTING – Come try a selection of the best Natural Wines with hosts JAMES MURPHYand fellow oenophile JUSTIN CHEARNOAdditional $20 fee for this tasting required. Wines featured will also be available for purchase on board. 

• DESERT CREW – Ever wonder who’s behind the scenes and how we put these festivals on year after year? Here’s your chance to go behind the curtain and find out. Be part of an intimate dialogue between moderator JASON BENTLEY and some key players within the Coachella world. They may even answer some of your questions. 

• ALL HANDS ON DECKS – A highly trained professional will guide you through a live DJ tutorial. Then some of you will get to DJ or run the decks. Each participant will receive their very own S.S. Coachella Poster with their name prominently featured in the lineup! *sign up available at S.S. Coachella customer service desk.

• DEAR DIARY – It’s time to have a good laugh at your unrequited middle school love or that time you stole your bff’s squeeze. Scan and send us the juiciest bits from your cherished diaries. Are they in a dusty box? Call Mom! Selected entries will be read live for all to enjoy, by a very special guest.  (It was Har Mar Superstar!)  

• BOATS N’ CRAFTS – The Coachella Art Studios convoy invites you into our euphoric, free D.I.Y. arts n’ crafts workshop. This is where if you can imagine it – you can make it, and if you can make it – you can take it. Chop and screw new fashion accessories, make a zine, upcycle materials and much more. Open 5 hours a day most days. *no sign up required, come on by!

• MIDNIGHT MOVIES – Come get shlocky with GIRL TALK in the Celebrity Central Theatre!
Ghost Ship
 will be screened on the Bahamas leg (12:01am 12/18).
Open Water (12:01am, 12/21) and Under Seige (12/01am, 12/22) will be screened on the Jamaica leg.

• POINTER SISTERS – We all know SLEIGH BELLS’ ALEXIS KRAUSS comes correct with her style. With help from nail master RIA LOPEZ, you can too! S.S. Coachella staffers will buff your stuff and hand you over to Ria to do her thang. You’ll have two chances per cruise for this activity. 

• IT’S A BEAUTIFUL MORNING – Rough night at sea? Dust yourself off and get your day started right with a hearty *Bloody Mary or refreshing *Michelada on our pool deck with the ladies of WARPAINT! You’ve got a lot of bands to catch! *Cocktails must be purchased. *sign up available at S.S. Coachella customer service desk.

LAZY BINGO – B34, G52, N48. Stop by and play some Lazy Bingo with special guest caller GRIMES. One hour per cruise up on the beautiful lawn club. $5 per bingo card or 4 cards for $15. Fabulous prizes to be won!

• EXCERPTS – Join J Tillman (FATHER JOHN MISTY) as he reads passages from some of his favorite pieces of literature. An intimate affair located in Michael’s Club on Tuesday for Bahamas or Saturday for Jamaica, followed by an audience Q&A. *sign up available at S.S. Coachella customer service desk.

• SNOWBALL BAR CRAWL – Get to know your fellow shipmates. Start in small groups, move on to a designated location where you’ll meet up with more groups and so on. As you progress, groups snowball until there are more people than you can count. We won’t spoil the surprise. 

• S.S. MINNOW PUB CRAWL – Are you a Ginger or a Mary Ann? Dress as your favorite shipmate & tag along with THE BLACK LIPS on a tour through the ships finest bars. Watch out, Skipper! 2 hour aprox. crawling time, once per cruise.