Pasadena Daydream Festival, or: Gothchella

Posted Posted in Gothic, gothixxx, halloween, los angeles, music
Photo By Alexei Barrionuevo

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.

Jackie Kashian and Friends!

Posted Posted in comedy, feminism, los angeles, Virginia Jones, women

“BLANK with FRIENDS” is a common name for comedy shows, but it’s nice because Jackie Kashian really is my friend. I had a great show at Dynasty Typewriter with heavy hitters like Kira Soltanovich, Janelle James, Wynter Spears, Zach Galifianakis and of course- Jackie Kashian and her new Ms. Marvel jacket, of which she is very fond. Jamie Flam got a nice greenroom picture of us that I thought I’d share.

Postscript: Jackie and Laurie talked about my set a lot on the Jackie and Laurie show afterwards, and Kashian mentioned that we butt up against many of the same topics (gender issues, feminism) but that we each have our own spin on it. Apparently, my talk about butt stuff (against) led to a lively discussion in the green room between Zach and Laurie that neither of them appreciated. SORRY ABOUT THE BUTT STUFF.

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.

Where Earthquakes Come From

Posted Posted in comedy, los angeles

Where Earthquakes Come From

Not the earthquake we were just in

I’ve been in a couple of LA earthquakes, and usually it feels like a big truck is driving past the building where I am. It rumbles and moves on. Then, my faraway friends and family start texting to see if I am still alive. I smile at their naive, not-earthquake-having ways.

My First Earthquake

The only earthquake that left a real impression on me was one that happened a couple of years ago, at a comedy show in a dress shop that my friend Brandie booked me on. Handsome nerd actor James Urbaniak was attending with his girlfriend. During another comic’s set, I felt the room moving and watched pictures swing on the walls and thought: Wow, I’m gonna die in the same room as James Urbaniak. But nobody died, and we had great earthquake chitchat and went home. Once we have an earthquake it becomes THE small talk for the next 24 hours, outstripping weather, traffic, and who got onto a Harold team on their first try.

My Second Earthquake

The first big earthquake this week happened on the 4th of July, because God hates America, or at least, California.

I slept through it. I was awoken by many texts of friends asking did I feel it, and then talking about the biggest earthquake they had survived. I felt so left out. I wanted to feel the earthquake. It was like I hadn’t been invited to a cool event, just because I was sleeping in on a holiday. I couldn’t write a funny earthquake tweet, I couldn’t do anything.

At the fourth of July party, my friend Rick commented that he didn’t even know what to do during an earthquake, but he was pretty sure it wasn’t cuss and look for his pants. Everyone laughed. I felt so alone.

Got out of that party and went home. Couldn’t sleep, worried about not being in the cool earthquake club. At 3AM, my bed shook and I realized I was experiencing an aftershock. I was so happy, I stayed up until 5AM worried that I was going to die.

My Third Earthquake

The next night, I was eating dinner when the earthquake started. I walked outside to check on my car, walking 25 feet on tarmac that was shifting in the most unpleasant way. It was all the bad things about being on a boat, no drinks or swimsuits but nausea and choppy water. I asked the dog why he didn’t warn me. He indicated that he still wasn’t entirely sure what was happening. He may have missed that day of dog school. It lasted maybe 90 seconds but it felt like a whole episode of BBC’s Sherlock. My car was ok. Rick tweeted that he had been caught by the earthquake without pants on. I think that Rick taking off his pants might be where earthquakes come from, so please, Rick, if you’re reading- keep your pants on for the next little bit, OK?