Pasadena Daydream Festival, or: Gothchella

Posted Posted in Gothic, gothixxx, halloween, los angeles, music

This August, The Cure threw an end-of-Summer celebration at the Rose Bowl grounds called the Pasadena Daydream Festival. Who hates Summer more than Goths? Nobody.

I love the Cure, I love the Pixies, and I have never EVER seen Throwing Muses and was absolutely DYING to. Since the ticket was expensive, I steeled myself to going alone, but my friend Johnny Skourtis posted a self-pitying story on Instagram the morning of the show saying he was going alone, so I had a festival buddy!

The Day Of:

It was hot as shit. 30,000 goths were sweating and drinking. They sold out of Donut Friend brand vegan donuts. But: everything else was great. Throwing Muses, also known as Some Dudes and Kristin Hersh, were tight and AGGRESSIVE and wonderful. Pixies and their rotating Kim Deal impersonator were good, and The Cure have only gotten better at being the Cure. You want pedals? Layered guitar? Drone? You got it, babe. The band has gotten famous 40 years into their career, and Robert is wearing it well, and seems much happier than he was when he was 30.

Meeting New Friends:

I was wearing an ancient Cure t-shirt that my sister has been begging me to throw out, and instead of throwing it out, I had repaired the holes with lace scraps, and a twenty something came to compliment me on it. He claimed that he was “the world’s biggest Cure fan” and that he had seen his first show in 2009. I told him I had seen my first show in 1986 at the Bronco Bowl, for Head on the Door, and he protested, I wasn’t even BORN then. That can’t be my problem, man!

Here’s the Cure’s playlist, including Just One Kiss, which was never played in the US before, but which I really like.

  • Plainsong
  • Pictures of You
  • High
  • A Night Like This
  • Just One Kiss(first time live in the US)
  • Lovesong
  • Last Dance
  • Burn
  • Fascination Street
  • Never Enough
  • Push
  • In Between Days
  • Just Like Heaven
  • From the Edge of the Deep Green Sea
  • Play for Today
  • A Forest
  • Primary
  • Shake Dog Shake
  • 39 (Altered lyric from “half my )
  • Disintegration
  • Encore:
  • Lullaby
  • The Caterpillar
  • The Walk
  • Friday I’m in Love (with “Where Is My Mind”… )
  • Close to Me
  • Why Can’t I Be You?
  • Boys Don’t Cry

The Morning After:

The morning after, I was complaining to Johnny that although we had been drinking all day, it was so spaced out that I was never really drunk, but that I had a hangover, and then he sent me a video of myself singing to the Pixies that he believed disproved my theory. Anyway, it was nice having a friend for one day. Thanks, Pasadena Daydream Festival!

Postscript: Looks like everyone is searching for an actual festival called Gothchella, and I can’t help you there, but if you want to dress like a hot weather witch, a big floppy hat and a black slip is a great place to start!

A Fun Meditation On Death

Posted Posted in Gothic

I am writing my morning pages and find myself in a meditation on death.

Looking at the date, I realize it’s my Dad, John Ryan’s, birthday, or- it was his birthday when he was alive.  I personally don’t think you can have a birthday after you die- the date stops being relevant to you.  It is, perhaps, the anniversary of your birth- but Mozart doesn’t have a 263rd birthday.

Where We Came From

My father was born Sept 9, 1948, to his mother, Ruth Ryan, who is now dead.  His father, Robert Sloan Ryan, was present at the birth, and is also dead.  The doctor and the nurses who attended the birth are all dead.  The maintenance workers at the hospital are dead, the policemen walking the streets of Houston, TX the day my Dad was born are dead, the mothers and fathers of the other babies born that day are all dead, some of the babies born that day are also dead. 

  Every singer on the radio that day is dead.  The number one hit song that day was the 12th Street Rag, by Pee Wee Hunt and his Orchestra.  Pee Wee Hunt is dead and all the members of the orchestra are dead. 

  The Oscar winner for Best Picture that year was Laurence Olivier’s Hamlet.  All the actors in the film are dead, the most recent being Jean Simmons, who died in 2010, three years before my Dad. 

  The stars of the most popular TV shows of the day, Ed Sullivan, Howdy Doody, and Candid Camera are all dead.  Most of the people who watched those shows are dead.  Everyone who worked writing or shooting those shows is dead.

Where We Are Going

  One day, Beyonce and Kim Kardashian and PewDiePie and Shane Gillis and David Duchovny and Taylor Swift and Lin-Manuel Miranda will be dead, and everyone you’ve ever known or looked up to or hated or had a crush on or wronged or bought dinner for will be dead.  It’ll happen so quickly you won’t believe it, sweeping unapologetically through the population and leaving you wondering what it was all for, all the striving and the cutting each other down and the aspirations and the heartbreak.  Nobody will remember your failed Etsy business, the time you threw up at Homecoming, the time Patton Oswalt retweeted you. If you’re lucky, 100 years after your death your descendants will remember your name. So, yes.  I am having another Frappuccino.

The Incredibly Stupid Story About My Tattoo

Posted Posted in comedy, Gothic, los angeles, Virginia Jones

The Lack Of Origin Story 

I survived a questionable adolescence and young adulthood without a tattoo, and I thought, well, maybe my thing is to be weird WITHOUT a tattoo.   My dumb hot goth boyfriend had BAD RELIGOIN tattooed on him at a party, which is now covered with a demon, and probably also with dirt because I think that guy’s dead now.

 I am of a somewhat perverse personality- if there’s something everyone else loves, I hate it.  I’ve never seen Titanic or worn acid wash jeans.  Once something is a cultural phenomenon, I’ve already moved on.

   When I left school, I found that every punk, every goth, every hip kid, every overpaid graphic designer, every coffeeshop-clogging creative was heavily inked.  How cool could it be?  I worried that a tattoo had to mean something deep and eternal.  I worried about getting something that would later be dumb.  My friend Bryan had a Stray Cats tattoo from the 80’s that I watched go out, and in, and back out of fashion.  So, I just didn’t worry about it.

Joker’s Comedy Club

   Then, one time I was doing comedy in Tri-Cities, Washington.  That’s right.  Three small towns: Kennewick, Richmond, and Yakima, gather their low-self-esteem populations together and call themselves the Tri-Cities in an attempt to matter.  The Thursday night show had a promo table with a local tattoo shop, and they were giving away a tattoo to the prettiest girl in attendance who didn’t have a tattoo.  This really brought my two worst personality traits into the foreground: I am cheap and I am vain.  The nice tattoo lady said I was cute, I should put in to win the contest.  I laughed and said OK.  I didn’t think she was right.

   I had a really good set, I blew my headliner off the stage.  He was murky and resentful.  I was drinking for free.  I checked in with the tattoo lady.  She said I was still the winner by a mile.  I was feeling small-town famous.

  I hung out longer than I usually do.  I started thinking about what kind of tattoo I wanted.  I decided on an octopus.  Like on the Kraken rum bottle, although that is a Kraken, which is not real.   We got ready to line up for a vote.  At 11th hour,  she showed up: Brianna.  Brianna was 24 and had blonde hair piled up on top of her head, and was somehow wearing a pink baseball hat perched on top of that.  She had dimples.  I knew I had lost, and lost badly.

  Brianna got a dynamic ribbon reading “ALWAYS RESILIENT” tattooed on her ribcage, which I am told is a very painful spot, and that was a comfort to me.  It was executed right in public, on a rickety massage table in a dark corner of a nightclub.  I started to think maybe I was glad I didn’t win.

  But then, I woke up surly and resentful that I didn’t have an octopus tattoo.  Complaining to my friend Richie, he told me: believe, there is nothing more expensive than a free tattoo.  You’re glad you didn’t get inked in the tri-shitties.  When I got home to Los Angeles, I got a birthday gift from my baby sister so I could get a tattoo at a fancy shop, from the lovely Amy Nicoletto @amynicolettotattoo, and I don’t think I could love it any more.  It looks good with dresses, it looks good with t-shirts, it’s just an accessory that I have all the time, and it doesn’t mean shit.

Wisdom Of The Ages

 Looking back, I realize that if I had gotten a tattoo in my 20’s it would have been for The Cure, and if I’d gotten one in my 30’s, it would have been for Nick Cave, and they’d still be great today.  This is an often-overlooked plus to being someone who maxed out their taste and personal growth at 17, and will always be the same asshole, and who is also cheap, and also vain.

My Star Hits Interview

Posted Posted in comedy, Gothic, music, Virginia Jones
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Growing up in Texas but *with* MTV, I quickly identified myself as a New Waver and found the lifeline for all aspirational cool kids at the time, Star Hits magazine.  It was heavily influenced by its UK parent, Smash Hits, and was chock full of awesome photographs of the most important people in my life, including Duran Duran and the Cure.  They called Morrissey Mozz and Madonna Madge and they had advertisements for punk clothes and rare records and everything I dreamed of.

I always wanted to be interviewed by Star Hits, and realized that if I was going to be interviewed in that style, I would need to do it myself.  So, here it is.

I meet Virginia Jones in a coffeeshop near her Silverlake abode.  The coffeeshop also sells perfumes that are named for alternative rock hits but cost one gazillion dollars.  She is sitting on the patio, dressed head to toe in black, and drinking a Dirty Ginger, a soy milk latte with spicy ginger syrup in it.  She smiles slyly and says it’s her fourth. I greet her, take off my suit jacket, brush the shaggy blond hair out of my eyes, and set up to record our chat. She says she’s sorry but she only has half an hour before she has to go do comedy in the basement of a wine shop.

Who was your first crush?

Ohhh, this is weird but it was definitely Boy George.

Oh wow!

Yeah, I just thought he was spectacular.  I still do. When I was a twelve year old, I had a poster of Culture Club on my wall that I would kiss every night before bed.  When I took it down, George’s lips were clear with greasy little-kid Chapstick kisses.

What was the first record you ever bought?

The first single was Celebration by Kool and the Gang.  This was about ten years after it came out, but I heard it in one of my mom’s Jazzercise classes and I had to have it.

And the first LP?

Chipmunk Punk, obviously.

Obvi.

Which had no punk songs, but some new wave songs and some Billy Joel.  The weirdest inclusion was My Sharona, which was written about a 15 year old girl and has some semi-explicit reference to thighs, but the chipmunks DGAF.

What is your most treasured possession?

When I was living in Portland, I did a show on Christmas Day at the same karaoke bar where I did my first open mic.  This is probably ten years ago. It went, as I remember, horribly, but my friend Bri Pruett, who was KJing there at the time, gave me a card that permitted me to go next to sing karaoke.  That potential, the idea that I could be next, even in a bar that will one day close in a town in which I do not live, makes it one of my most prized possessions. Also, that Bri gave it to me.  I’ll never cash it in. I’m perpetually next!

Do you get presents from your fans?

Yes, isn’t it weird that people give you images of yourself?  But I have some awesome fan art, including a Barbie doll of me, an embroidery of my album cover, and a pen and ink rendition of me and my many interests. They are displayed proudly in my home. When I was in Portland, I used to be given a lot of weed, which I saved in a tin and forgot in my apartment when I moved.

How often do you wash your hair?

I like to wait at LEAST three days between washes.  If I can stretch to four, even better. My hair is long, so every time I wash it it gets tangled and dry and is basically a hot mess.  If you ever see me wearing a hat, you know it’s day four! Sorry.

If you were an animal, what would you be?  

I mean, I love the idea of a three toed sloth, but that’s not really my lifestyle.  I’m more like a squirrel, out there hustlin’, always starting projects and forgetting about them, and of course, looking adorable.

Oh, certainly.

Thank YOU.  

Ok, the last question, and this is a deep one:  Where do all the lost pens in the world go?

You know, I’m glad you asked me that, because it’s something I have thought a lot about.  The size and shape of pens mean that they take up space on the horizontal, but also they can slip through any hole or crevice, and we live on this earth full of holes, and which is always rotating, so if you think of the world as a big Pachinko game, and pens as the ball bearings, pens wind up:

(Flabbergasted) In the center of the earth?

Yes, precisely.  And that’s what magma is made of.  Melted pens. That’s what makes it so dangerous.

I effused my thanks to her as she killed her last inch of coffee and took off, yelling thanks and that she looked forward to the interview.  I had to take a second to catch my breath, and, folding up her paper coffee cup into my pocket to take with me, (don’t judge me!) went home to write.