Friday, April 30, 2010

Fingerbang Mix REMIX

At last! After laboring for "hours" (this afternoon) in the "studio" (Kram's house) with my "producer" (Kram) on "hightech equipment" (my '06 laptop and free Audacity) I AM FINALLY READY TO DROP MY VERY FIRST (and probably last) MIX. I dedicate this piece to Lauren Johnson and Alessandra Epstein, and like, Hunter College High School Class 0f 2006, 40s of St. Ides, student MetroCards, White Mike, Cartoon Network, that Mexican-Chinese restaurant on 109 and Broadway, Club Lotus, the Ferrari automobile empire, Fowad, the 1 train,, and Mary Lenk (what did I forget?) ------> DOWNLOAD HERE! xx!

She's Funny AND She Cares

My superfriend Heather wrote the commencement speech for Hunter School of Social Work's 2010 graduation as she and her peers take their graduate degrees and max out at $28k a year.

It cracked me up so I share it with all nine readers out there. Enjoy:

About a year ago, I was walking home from my internship when I got hit in the head by a ten-pound box of frozen Chicken McNuggets. I was walking past a McDonalds delivery truck when the chicken struck my skull, rendering me temporarily unconscious. Normally, I wouldn’t have been so careless, but it had been a hard week in the field. I had accidentally given the homeless man outside my office Chuck E. Cheese tokens in lieu of actual money, the youth Christmas party I had helped to plan was broken up by the Queens riot police, and my highest-performing client had somehow legally changed her last name to Delicious. Even my favorite group home had gotten bored one night and carried their house’s 40 inch flat screen projection TV down the block, trading it for what must be a lifetime supply of weed. As my back began to buckle from the weight of four-hundred-and-sixty ounces of preprocessed chicken lard, I started to ask myself the questions that many of you are probably asking yourself right now: How did I get here? What am I doing with myself? And more importantly: what’s there to celebrate?

Some people say we’re here to celebrate our academic achievements. In the past two years, our class has collectively written over 32,000 papers and 120,000 blackboard postings. Impressive and disturbing. A former classmate of mine who has been unemployed for over a year recently called to tell me that he found a job that finally allowed him to take advantage of the writing skills he developed here at Hunter. At $40,000 a year, he was now writing and editing the denial letters for insurance companies. The clean, linear sentence he learned how to construct in his Human Behavior Class now included such phrases as ‘unfortunately the finger you lost in your mining accident was not included under your basic liability coverage’ and ‘the inhalers you’ve been using to treat your daughter’s chronic and life-threatening asthma are no longer part of our family premium package.’ Sure, the job didn’t include insurance and violated a few of the ‘core’ NASW Code of Ethics Principles, but he was putting his graduate degree to work. To me, his argument seemed to be lacking. Maybe graduation is about validating the skills we’ve learned in the classroom, but I think that’s missing the point.

Others have argued that we’re here to celebrate the work we’ve done in the field, which is probably closer to the truth. My first job in social services involved an hour and a half commute to Jamaica, Queens, where I worked nine hours a day without lunch to hurdle children through the foster care system. It was meaningful work, but backbreaking at first. I remember taking the train home from a client’s house very late one night and finding myself next to a group of teenagers, all with red bandanas over their mouths. Somewhat new to the social work game, I had assumed that the poor children lacked adequate scarves and had no choice but to resort to some well-crafted homemade bandanas. The train had just come to a stop when ten more teenagers piled into the car, yelling, “This is a Blood’s Car! Everyone in this car is now a BLOOD!” It was a strange recruitment push for a gang, given that the car was composed of three homeless men and myself, an effete girl from New Jersey drinking a miniature Juicy Juice with a crazy straw. As it turned out, one of those kids would eventually become my client (awkward!), but that didn’t stop me - or really, any of my far more courageous classmates – from riding that late train or early bus, from giving up our weeknights and weekends, or from taking the big, scary risks that are at the heart of our profession.

If I had to pinpoint our real cause for celebration, it would probably have something to do with those Chicken McNuggets. After I collapsed, I was fortunate enough to have a group of my coworkers, all of them social workers, standing behind me. They were with me when I fell and later in the booth with me at Dallas BBQ, where we toasted to my recovery with Texas-sized Appletinis. They were with me on the subway ride home and later in the cab to Woodhull Hospital, where I was treated for symptoms of a concussion. My social work friends were with me at work the next day and the day after that. They were with my when my favorite client finally got housing and her son back from foster care; they were also with me one year later when the city came to take her apartment – and her baby. When my youngest client contracted HIV, they were there, and when my biggest success story was sentenced to jail for many many years, they were there. Phones permanently turned on, batteries charged for good.

I’d like to think I’ve been particularly blessed, but I think what I’ve experienced is at the heart of these Hunter Social Workers, and is the real reason we’re here today. The theme of today’s commencement is building community, but that only touches the surface of the issue. We are not classmates but friends and family. Our treatment of clients is not governed by theory but guided by love. Social workers know more than anyone else that community is just a euphemism for connection; that we are here today not to celebrate our papers or to recognize our field work, but to be able to turn to our neighbor and say, “Congratulations.”


Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Sunday, April 18, 2010

thank you for a funass weekend

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Fashion Boner Files

Mai from the stopped me and Laura during our seven hour camp out at Dolores last Sunday. Man, I wish I didn't look/sound like such a freak! OH WELL, WHO CARES!

This is much better than my last street fashion blog experience. Bay Guardian's Ariel Soto for Street Threads caught me at the crack of dawn in Noe on my way to my shrink's office last month. I was so disoriented I forgot to give my internets name (!!!).

(here's hoping for more glamour, a little lipstick, and less bloat next time)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Our Tambourine Gets a Lot of Action

Here at the Stevie Nicks Love Shrine (neé 7 Duncan) we pretty much have our tambourine shakin' 247. It's no surprise that it rolled with our posse to MY FAVORITE PARTY OF ALL TIME WITH MY FAVORITE DJ OF ALL TIME JAMIE JAMS. The reality that tons of friends and friend crushes come out makes it that much better. Plus the deep satisfaction associated with emptying a tallboy of Tecate on a sweaty crowd is way underrated. Black and blues the morning after are just a face of life.***

(photos via - modern living)

***you know what I mean if you too have ever been battered at a RATM show as a tween.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Oakland, CA: Party On, Garth

Blast from the recent past (via Laura's flickr): Vivek, Henrique, Katie, Laura, and I camped out in Coco in the abandoned diner parking lot across from Ghostown after fun times at pal's (<3) SUGAR SUGAR SUGAR warehouse show. -----> RIP my fav party flannel and the key to Ben Hyphy's mom's house that we flattened on the tracks in Portola. #runonsentences

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Sammy Saves

Laura, Katie and I donned best Easter outfits for brunch/Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence's annual Hunky Jesus Contest in Dolores Park. Too bad the shitty weather and my battered physical condition kept us tombed up on Treat Street. Good News prevailed: our rollerboy homie Sammy Franco resurrected the day with his sweet moves. Fun, etc. ensued (SFW vidz):

Button up


Thursday, April 1, 2010

Highway 1, CA: Pacific Coast Adventure

Alex and I took a springtime road trip down Highway 1, destination Los Angeles. We almost didn't make it after spending the eve of our trip/St. Patrick's Day in the ER with a 104 degree fever on account of viral bronchitis. I got my hands on some of that outlawed meth Sudafed and we hit the road!

Alex graciously took the wheel for the drive south. We stopped at Nepenthe for lunch in Big Sur (indeed, it's all about the vista). This was my first coastal drive. It was littorally amazing! We pulled over at one spot just north of San Simeon and caught a glimpse of a group of fat seals hanging out on the shore. You can only imagine the impression this left on two Manhattanites! We tried to get to Hearst Castle but it had already closed for the day (eh-hem somebody had to see Luc Tuymans that morning). However, we were able to make it to Cambria to see the "folk art" site Nit Wit Ridge. It's always a struggle with Alex: he's all highbrow and I am way way low. But my itinerary prevailed and it was worth it. We spent Thursday night at the Breakers Motel in Morro Bay. I had selected the lodging because I really loved its retro sign. In hindsight, this wasn't the best criterion. Absence of mildew should have trumped font preference.

We woke up early on Friday morning and drove to the Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo for breakfast. This was a real highlight for me! The place is incredible! I felt like someone took my spirit and pasted hot-pink flocked wallpaper on it. Fantastic! I regret not staying longer. Alex was less enthused but was a pretty good sport about taking a zillion pictures of me at mecca. After breakfast we continued southward, stopping only for an obligatory shake at In-N-Out. Once in the city we went straight to LACMA for a glass of wine for me and many paintings for Alex. I was please to finally touch a Richard Serra installation. By nightfall we checked into the Shelter Hotel in K-town. The place was not too shabby considering the dirt cheap rate but it was clear that the brand new hotel was still getting its sea legs. We had a cocktail at the Library downtown while waiting to be seated at Samantha's favorite restaurant, Bottega Louie (yum).

On Saturday AM we gave the LA metro our best NYC effort on the way to MOCA. The subway system itself is pretty straight forward and manageable. It's clean, the cars aren't crowded, and you actually don't even have to pay to ride (!?). That said, we soon learned firsthand that downtown LA isn't quite cut out for pedestrian life. We got off one stop too late (note: I was not navigating!) and ended up spending an hour and a half walking through tunnels to finally get to the museum. MOCA was my favorite of the museums we visited on the trip. It's well edited, obviously stimulating, and it doesn't require a ton of time. After MOCA we went to Venice for lunch at James' Beach, saw some famous people, almost bought some magic crystals, and ate ice cream. Next it was off to the Getty for more art. It was of course beautiful at sunset. Haggard from the day's activities, we dragged ourselves trusty Local in Silverlake for a delicious and nutritious homegrown dinner.

Despite the LA Marathon's best efforts to prevent us, we met Alex (L) and his lovely Hannah for coffee at the Bourgeois Pig in Hollywood on Sunday morning. There wasn't time to be wooed at the Cliffs brunch because it was soon time to head to LAX! I dropped Alex off at his terminal then drove my sorry ass back home on Highway 5.

The Great Highway

Big Sur views; seals! omg!!!

Nit Wit Ridge, Cambria, CA

Breakers at Moro Bay; Morro Palms

Madonna Inn

Madonna Inn

Gimme Shelter

3 hour tour to MOCA in downtown LA

MOCA; love this Pollock shot

zee Getty!