HAPPY TAURUS SEASON!!! Rise up, my fellow stubborn, self-indulgent, loyal af homebodies! Our time is now! Tauruses are the best sign of them all and my favorite part about being one is that you can't change my mind about that opinion!
Anyway. I hope everyone had a good week despite the garbage fire of heavily redacted news and is now enjoying their Saturday. Also, happy 4/20 if you celebrate. If you need me, I'll be texting all my friends "do you think i should try getting into pot? or is today too on the nose? sorry, im baby."
p.s. — if you're new here, gmail imported all my contacts and i don't know how to fix it!!! so just unsubscribe yourself if you hate it! but also if you don't hate this, maybe tell a friend or seven. sharing is caring! thanks sorry love u!
SOME THOUGHTS I HAVE BEEN THINKING
i find that part on the velvet underground live at max’s album where jim carroll asks for tuinal kind of charming because does anyone even still do barbiturates
Spring arrives every year like a surprise, popping up when we were certain it had forgotten us. I always find it kind of funny. Despite all evidence to the contrary, every April when it’s still sweater weather and the sky remains thick with steely clouds that threaten to assail you with cold pellets of rain at a moment’s notice and tree limbs are still embarrassingly scrawny and bare, we are convinced that we will never know warmth again. Then overnight, change.
Taxi-hued daffodils are sprouting through their sidewalk planters and the tree lined streets of the West Village look a little bit like the ramble in Central Park, pale green starting to contrast the sky and the ground all dusted with fine, white, nondescript flowers that have been shaken loose by the breeze. The powdery perfumes of the older women of the Upper West Side linger in air that’s neither freezing every scent within seconds nor overpowered with the stench of rotting garbage and sweaty tourists and it's just all so very delightful.
It is difficult, if not downright impossible, to avoid falling helplessly, furiously in love with New York this time of year. In a way, New York is the ultimate toxic relationship. This city that just kicked our asses for months straight, had us ready to surrender and pledge allegiance to somewhere milder, somewhere less difficult, turns up with a hug and asks for our forgiveness and we oblige with sloshed smiles and open arms. We know that this is temporary; the cycle will repeat itself come October. And yet, we dive right in anyway, drunk on this feeling of life starting back up again and wanting more.
I am exhausted to an extent I don’t think an entire week’s worth of 8-hour nights can resolve and yet with the balmier temperatures, I suddenly have a spark of energy. Stepping outside without a coat for the first time all year, I am consumed with an overwhelming feeling that time is both infinite and fleeting and so I must stuff my months of saying no and staying in back in the hallway closet with my thick, knee-length puffer. I'll fuel myself on sugar free Red Bulls the size of my head and cold brews laced with almond milk and I will charge forward to do as much as I can while I’ve got the chance.
Already, I’m dreaming of another season full of late night walks down the entirety of the west side. I can almost feel the sweat beading in the small of my back, under the waistband of jorts that once hung from my hips but now fit perfectly, which I resent them for but wear regardless. I stroll aimlessly from the 125th street A all the way down to Columbus Circle, moseying from Columbus Avenue to Riverside until I move back east again, hop on a train, and make my way home. My airpods may be insufferable, but they’re light in my ears and provide a soundtrack when the air that surrounds me is thick and soupy. This has been my favorite summer activity for the past four years, each year providing a new perfect album to spin on repeat for the duration of it, the kind of album that leaves me feeling a delicious mess of young and ancient and alive and happy and longing all at the same time. I am still waiting for what this year’s music will be.
In the meantime, it’s late on a Friday night and I am drinking a peach-pear La Croix spiked with vodka in my bed and listening to the Velvet Underground live at Max’s Kansas City as it spins on my turntable. I’m coming off two weeks straight of Doing Things nearly every single night, and just like any kind of exercise, throwing yourself all-in right away with no build-up is a recipe for a quick burnout.
I like to sometimes drink in my bed because it feels like its own safe island, one where I don’t have to worry about being On or what I look like or how I will get home or who I’m with or how much liquor went into my drink. I can just unwind and be. I like this album because it makes me feel like I’m out when I am decidedly not. I like it because it, specifically, makes me feel like I’m there. I know that’s the point of most live albums, but there’s something about its gritty, straight to cassette recording that makes it feel all the more real. I like how it feels a little far away, like I’m standing at the back near the bar because trying to push through the crowd just seems like too much effort. I like the way I can hear people chatter in the audience, like they’re standing right next to me and I’m partially annoyed because I want to hear the music, but partially intrigued, as well. I can imagine myself leaning in a little further, my ears perking up, seeking to know everybody’s business for no reason other than because I can, because aren’t they offering it up anyway, because I’m a writer and, baby, didn’t you hear that thing about how we’re all cannibals?
I often choose this album after sitting on my floor flipping through my records for 20 indecisive minutes, a little lonely and wanting to fill up the silence with something other than Netflix but not quite sure what. It’s good company like that. Sometimes I feel so happy, sometimes I feel so sad. My copy starts popping right after Lou Reed sings this part, waking me from any passive listening I settled into after flipping to side two a few minutes prior and I nod and silently think “same.” When I first heard the song as a 15 year old, I thought it was so wistfully romantic, thought about a boy writing some sort of longing tribute to me and my pale blue eyes one day. Years later, I learned that the subject was married, and her eyes were hazel.
Listening to the Velvet Underground, I can’t help but remember the girl I was the summer before my senior year of high school, driving my mom’s minivan with the windows down, sucking on a cold blue raspberry Slushee in the carefree days before every empty calorie was a threat to be taken seriously. I’d blast a ripped CD copy of Loaded — ”Sweet Jane” a few times in a row for good measure — with the volume so loud it eventually blew out the speakers, a pretentious little bitch who wanted to let every passerby know I had Good Taste.
I think about the first Lou Reed album I swiped a few years ago from my dad’s extensive collection that sat untouched in our basement. My parents have an elaborate old stereo system in their living room, but I can’t remember the last time they actually used it. It’s always something about a broken needle or an old, decaying belt — something that’s an easy but tedious problem my dad will mention repeatedly but never actually solve. He told me I wouldn’t like Berlin because it was “too depressing.” I rolled my eyes and said “actually, I like that kind of shit.”
I don’t have a car in New York, but if I did, I would drive up the West Side Highway late one summer night playing “How Do You Think It Feels.” I would turn the volume all the way up when the shredding guitars and horns hit the outro and scream.
STUFF I LISTENED TO
Lizzo - Cuz I Love You
If you are still, somehow, in the year of our lordt 2019 sleeping on Lizzo, I’m sorry, but naptime is over and it’s time to wake up. The brash rapper/singer/twerker/flautist has been steadily making bangers for years, but has exploded within the past six months. (Seriously, if one of you replies to this having not heard “Juice,” I’m calling 911 on your comatose ass because that song is, quite literally, EVERYWHERE.)
Lizzo’s generous helpings of self-love and empowerment could easily seem disingenuous from anyone else. It’s not hard to see some of the tracks on Cuz I Love You — particularly “Like a Girl” and “Soulmate” — getting snatched up by marketing teams looking to sell women tampons or Kashi bars. (Weight Watchers has already co-opted one of her older tracks for an ad campaign). That’s on them, though, and who’s to fault Lizzo for that? Bitch, get that coin. In the meantime, the music she makes remains authentically Lizzo. Building on the tight funk grooves and slick raps she’s honed over the past few years (she has the range), the only thing she asks you to buy is her infectious brand of self-positivity, and damn is she a good salesperson. Whenever I feel like a janky garbage monster who has just crept out from under a bridge, Lizzo’s music is there to remind me I’m not actually so terrible. And we're all better for that.
STUFF I READ
There’s Gotta Be Something Better Than This - Alexandra Molotkow
I admittedly have yet to watch Fosse/Verdon, FX’s new miniseries that examines the complicated partnership between iconic choreographer/director Bob Fosse and Broadway star Gwen Verdon. I’ve gotten sidetracked doing what I do best, which is rewatch series I’ve already seen while my to-watch list grows. (Listen, Enlightened gets better and more relevant every single time and a Big Little Lies recap is essential season two prep right now, but I digress.)
This longread from Hazlitt, however, is fantastic and insightful material for anyone who is watching the show or is interested in showbiz’s power dynamics. It unpacks Fosse’s complicated legacy, its current reckoning, and the way history has allowed men to behave badly if they were “genius” enough. Extremely! My! Shit! (And hopefully yours, too.)
STUFF I WATCHED
Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé (2019)
SOMETIMES I THINK ABOUT HOW LUCKY WE ARE TO LIVE IN THE TIME OF BEYONCE KNOWLES AND I GET OVERWHELMED WHEN I REMEMBER THAT SHE IS ONLY 35 BUT NOT IN A WAY THAT MAKES ME FEEL BAD ABOUT MYSELF OR UNACCOMPLISHED BUT IN A WAY THAT CONSIDERS THE VISIONARY ART SHE HAS CRAFTED SO FAR AND THE VAST WONDERS OF ART SHE HAS YET TO CREATE AND UNLEASH ON THIS WORLD IN THE MANY YEARS TO COME AND I THINK ABOUT HER MIND AND HER METICULOUS ATTENTION TO DETAIL AND LEGACY BUILDING AND ARE YOU AMAZED BECAUSE I AM AMAZED.
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okay that's it that's the end thanks bye