Archive for Austin

DWTS Exploited My Weakness for Cho

Posted in Fame & Celebrity, Goof & Glamour, Got My TV Eye On You, I Heart Funny Femmes, I Heart Robots, I like big butts & I can not lie, Strange Science, Style & Fashion, Technicolor Pop, Top 2% of Coolest Mofos, TV with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 21, 2010 by alphabetfiend

When I first heard that Margaret Cho was on the new cast for DWTS, I was in the Austin audience at Margaret Cho’s performance at The Paramount. She was kvetching about being sore from all the dance practice.

My initial response was “Crap, now I have to watch that shit n’ shinola. Dancing with the stars? Ugg.”

Yet another reminder to never say never.

“Why must you?” you ask. Well, because I love Cho more than I hate DWTS. DUH! Don’t you?

C’mon! We gotta take Cho when and where we can get her. Whether it’s on Lifetime’s schlocky yet charming series Drop Dead Diva, doing the tango on DWTS, or live at The Paramount.

Plus we’ll get to see her mom, which features prominently and hilariously in Cho’s stand-up.

Now that I’ve resigned myself to my pitiful fate, I hafta say I’m really looking forward to seeing Cho in sparkles, sequins and spandex. While performing her stand-up, she was already sporting a street-wear version of DWTS style. She wore a loose silky tunic — one-shoulder, sequined — that showed off her gorgeous shoulder tats. She paired the sparkly tunic with American Apparel’s metallic spandex leggings in spaceship silver; grounding the get-up with a great pair of ass-kicker boots. Mmm. Rugged and mmm soft buttery leather and mmm.

Sorry. My clothes-lust kinda took over for a second there. Lemme wipe the drool from my chin and we’ll move on.

I’m gonna enjoy seeing her twice a week for as long as this lasts. Once she’s booted, I’ll be free but I’ll be bummed.

I just hope she does the Robot. Cause that would totally rock.

No go show Cho some love! Give her some sugars! Form a rallying crowd for her to surf through. Join Team Van-Cho. GO!

“Smoke Bend” Dollar Bill Johnston (Sunday P.M. Punk Rock Gospel)

Posted in country music, I Heart My Love-Tribe, Music & Life & Sundays, politics, Republicans scare me, Spirituality & Religion, Sunday AM Punk Rock Gospel, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 30, 2010 by alphabetfiend

Now it’s winter on the river, and a cold swift swollen tide meets a warm southern breeze from the gulf of memories.  

Every year, around the 9th of October, I fall into a funk. This blue mood is a complete mystery to me until the part of myself that’s been trying it’s best to keep the date from me will lag,  inevitably exhausted, and it will hit me. Oh! Right. That. The day that my father left this lousy place for good. The day that changed everything. The day that was so swollen with uncontainable sadness that even now, all these years later, it still will not be contained.    

      

I have another tough week in the spring. Another mysterious doom. “So?” Steffe’ll ask, pensively. “How are you? You always get down whenever y’know… me too. I miss him too.” And then it’ll hit me. Oh. Right. That. The week that our friend Paul had a heart attack in Florida, while shacked up with another poet on a houseboat.     

   

Souls have a secret calendar of agony.  

The Robot fades to black every year ’round labor day. The holiday serves as a hard-to-suppress reminder of the weekend his cousin/ little brother/best friend put a gun to his own temple. He was drunk and fighting with his girl friend, suddenly desolate, momentarily stupid. Maybe he meant to mash the trigger, maybe not. Those kind of over-wrought emotional moments can color the future with what is really just a temporary explosion of too too much. I keep a close eye on RB as the holiday nears. He wouldn’t do something so drastic but still, the date itself is a reminder of how hopelessness can swallow a grown folk whole.  

Like a snake eats an alligator.   

The gator goes down easier than you’d think.     

   

(Though I did see a story where a python tried to eat an alligator and the snake exploded… so that’s oddly comforting.)     

These last few days, I was hit by another mysterious gloom. It began with three days of insomnia — I was amped & aimless, annoyed with TV, avoiding the computer –followed by 15 hours of boulder-like sleep. It was a sleep-monster Saturday: ’round 4, Robo put me down like a toddler in need of nap; I reluctantly dozed off at the approach of 6; woke up at 3am to finish/post the gospel but mostly spent 2 hrs staring vacantly into space; then came Gospel!? We don’ need no stinkin’ gospel!; at 10am the Robot woke me with my favorite breakfast. I’m still annoyed and considering sending him back for reprogramming. It wasn’t until I finally got online that I ran smack dab into the Oh. Right. That.     

 Katrina.     

   

There, on the wordpress dash sat a letter from a reader/ friend, bummed about the anniversary of Katrina and wondering where-o-where was the Sunday AM Punk Rock Gospel? Ah. Arggghrr. (That’s an argh that becomes a grr.) In a split second of watery blinking, I decided to forsake my previously planned song in favor of another song which we played constantly in the wake of that fateful & fatal storm. Before too, but so so often after. This song has meant the world to myself and the loverman (why, he was just a little robot, maybe 8 or 9, when he first started reading The Times Picayune; wishing he could get into the city, good old Big Easy, to see Black Sabbath at City Park.)     

We played that record ragged. That album was our refuge in the storm. That smoking Piggie was a good gentleman friend to us. The song is “Smoke Bend.”  The album is The Gourds 2002 release “Cow Fish Fowl or Pig.”      

   

Yes, I know we’ve just done The Gourds recently but we’re talking about Katrina today and for me, there is only one Katrina song.     

 “Smoke Bend” by the Gourds with Dollar Bill Johnston.      

Dollar Bill Johnston joins The Gourds on stage

Dollar Bill is the father is the father of Gourd, Max Johnston (also of Wilco and Uncle Tupelo.)  Interestingly, Max’s sister and Dollar Bill’s daughter is singer/song-writer Michelle Shocked, who I love.       

        

They’re sandbaggin’ the levees     

They’re shovelin’ night and day     

It’s the year of ’27     

Gonna wash us all away     

 This song was not written about Katrina. Which in my mind, for my purposes, makes it better. Rather it’s about the ever-present worry that the levees might break and if so, then what?    

 The levee gonna bust     

On your side or mine     

A little dynamite on your side     

Help the river make its mind     

It’s about the day that you hope never comes. It’s about the risks we all take in life whether it’s living in the basin of New Orleans or loving even when you know know how much losing is gonna hurt.    

 Folks left that west bank town     

 Left it all behind     

 Start life on higher ground     

 Gonna get out just in time     

 I didn’t grow up in New Orleans, but I was worried by my own what-if’s.    

Even as a small child, my attachment to my father was so enormous that I was haunted by his mortality. This what-if stayed with me through-out my life. In college, laying in bed one night, I tried to picture the cruel day and could imagine no future for myself beyond it. I saw myself in my messy closet, tucked in the fetal position, refusing to come out. Ever. By the time it happened for real, that closet was long gone, and I was living in Austin, but I could still find the fetal position.     

It must’ve been crazy growing up in New Orleans in the shadow of what if?    

 After all, that’s was the place I wished to be.     

   

I’m a corn-fed midwestern girl (by way of A! I! Ohio!) so I’m not native to the south. But I wanted to be, oh I wanted it so badly, always, and I think that counts for something. It always made sense, jived with my version of self. I’ve kinda secretly way-down-deep-in-me thought of myself as the Delta Lady, the epitome of southern eccentricity. When I was very young, probably too young to long for such obscenity, I’d listen to Joe Cocker’s “Delta Lady” and think “That’s me! There I am! Standing wet and naked in the garden.”     

   

So it’s no surprise that this secret self-appointed Delta Lady found herself a mint julep of a southern gentleman.     

The Robot’s often spoke of the hurricane parties people have while weathering out the storm. They drink hurricanes, play cards and hope like hell. His stories were always punctuated with “Oh, you’d love it. You especially would love it!” ??? 

A hurricane party?     

   

It did sound like something I’d adore — the enforced play, the mandatory leisure; the tendency towards hedonism or at least too many hurricanes; the chaotic familiarity of community and iffy festivity of gatherings; kids running wild, adults divulging secrets; all that human energy, all that snap crackle pop, and over-top — the bristling electricity of sky & fear.      

But after Katrina, I dunno… it sounds too… scary.      

Robotboy grew up in Mississippi, just outside of New Orleans, so his family was hit. The eye of the hurricane passed directly over the family home. It was scary and it was scary even for us, waiting to find out if everyone was okay. They were. They lost a roof and few 100 year trees, a prized pecan, but our people were all very lucky. But then they weren’t depending on the levees…       

    

“Smoke Bend” is about the day that we hope will never come, and yet we know it will, and still that changes nothing.     

Now there’s mint juleps at Oak Alley     

  There’s poison in the air     

 There’s new dangers on the river     

 It’s so good to be from there      

    

We continue to love whatever it is we’re so afraid to lose. Once we’ve lost out, the love goes on. That’s another little something we can count on.     

{{MP3 17 – Part II – Smoke Bend}}   

Smoke bend 

CHORUS:

Now it’s winter on the river

And a cold swift swollen tide

Meets a warm southern breeze

From the gulf of memories

Missouri and clear Ohio

Give their currents to the tide

Now the river’s Louisiana’s

For the willow tree-lined ride

From cruel Angola down to Venice

Scatterin’ horseshoes everywhere

The river’s Louisiana’s

With no glory or bank to share

If the river had its way

The Atchafalaya’d be its home

Straighten out them horseshoes

Find another bank to roam

There’s cane fires up the bank

Of that horseshoe of Smoke Bend

The smoke was double thick

And the fog was rollin’ in

Tie your boat to a willow tree

Climb the bank so high

Above the blanket on the river

See every star in the sky

Smoke fog and family

Kept to that west bank town

Smoke and fog would burn and blow away

The folks they’d stay around

There was catfish with the Kingfish

And a culture spice gumbo

There’s coonass music playing

On a glowin’ radio

Klan and crackers on the side

At the Last Chance Cafe

Crawfish etouffee

Warm red river Beaujolais

CHORUS

They’re sandbaggin’ the levee

They’re shovelin’ night and day

It’s the year of ’27

Gonna wash us all away

The levee gonna bust

On your side or mine

A little dynamite on your side

Help the river make its mind

Folks left that west bank town

Left it all behind

Start life on higher ground

Gonna get out just in time

Now there’s mint juleps at Oak Alley

There’s poison in the air

There’s new dangers on the river

It’s so good to be from there

CHORUS

**************************************

Stay ahead of the snake, y’all, don’t get swallowed up cause really that’s silly, a gator in the belly of a snake, c’mon? Even a python! C’mon! And it’s not safe for the snake either. So just lift yer snout outta the swamp n’ hum a little cajun tune or maybe that one about the river, who did that one? The potatoes? The parsnips? The Gourds! With Dollar Bill Johnston!   

 So whaddaya say, alkies, got a hankerin’ for hurricanes? Well, why’ont you whip us up a pitcher!     

  

Thank’s to Mike — fellow Austinite, who grew up in Chalmette — for documenting his own (from afar & helpless) vigil during the storm and subsequent obsession with the recovery of his homeland. See his story and more of his storm photos (like above.) 

Immerse yourself in gourdy goodness at the band’s sweet sight, complete with wood round rekerd playa.   

If you’re in love with “Smoke Bend” (and you should be) the song can be downloaded for 99 cents. A great song for the price of a candy bar. The album “Cow Fish Fowl or Pig” available on amazon.  If you’re not ready for the I couldn’t nor wouldn’t begin to suggest where future aid should be sent so I open comments to suggestions.  

*************************************************   

Today’s edition of the Sunday AM Punk Rock Gospel is dedicated to everyone who saw Nola through that storm as well as to those who continue to be with her now. To those who lost lives, loved ones, homes, schools, churches, haunts. To those still healing and still helping in the aftermath.     

My heart aches for all of you, for your families wherever they may live, and for every one who had their heart mangled by that hurricane (even if “only” in an an empathic human way)  

Today was hard for people, people’s hearts are still hurting. Even those not directly affected by Katrina, even those hearts are clenched like angry fists. In a strange sad way, Katrina became a shared trauma, a throbbing dated ache that yearly seizes up. Katrina blew through our TV screens and flooded our family rooms. Which is not to diminish the unfathomable experience of being in New Orleans both during and after that storm; nor the losses borne by other areas hit by Katrina.

Sunday Morning Coming Down (Sunday A.M. Punk Rock Gospel)

Posted in country music, Friendship, I Heart My Love-Tribe, Music & Life & Sundays, Sunday AM Punk Rock Gospel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 15, 2010 by alphabetfiend

On the Sunday morning sidewalk, wishing, Lord, that I was stoned.
‘Cos there’s something in a Sunday, makes a body feel alone.

Some sad-sacks say this song is depressing but not me.   I say it’s breathtakingly beautiful. 

 

A feeling doesn’t have to be “happy” to be worth something. 

A Sunday doesn’t have to be “joyous” to be well, a SUNDAY.  

I think this song — this “sad” song — is very life-affirming, very human, and very very AUSTIN.   It’s everything I’ve come to know and love about my life in this stony Texas town: Saturday nights spent with people I adore, music that moves me, drunken 6th street hugs as we all disperse after a great show.   

Maybe in the morning you will feel achey or godless or lonely but that’s okay because you are an Austin punk-rock darling who loved Saturday too much and now Sunday is giving you the cold shoulder.  

Have a smoke, eat an egg, enjoy being alive.  

Make amends with Sunday.

Now go pick a handful of yer neighbors posies and see how easily Sunday forgives. 

Sunday Morning Coming Down

Well I woke up Sunday morning,
With no way to hold my head that didn’t hurt.
And the beer I had for breakfast wasn’t bad,
So I had one more for dessert.
Then I fumbled through my closet for my clothes,
And found my cleanest dirty shirt.
An’ I shaved my face and combed my hair,
An’ stumbled down the stairs to meet the day.

I’d smoked my brain the night before,
On cigarettes and songs I’d been pickin’.
But I lit my first and watched a small kid,
Cussin’ at a can that he was kicking.
Then I crossed the empty street,
‘n caught the Sunday smell of someone fryin’ chicken.
And it took me back to somethin’,
That I’d lost somehow, somewhere along the way.

On the Sunday morning sidewalk,
Wishing, Lord, that I was stoned.
‘Cos there’s something in a Sunday,
Makes a body feel alone.
And there’s nothin’ short of dyin’,
Half as lonesome as the sound,
On the sleepin’ city sidewalks:
Sunday mornin’ comin’ down.

In the park I saw a daddy,
With a laughin’ little girl who he was swingin’.
And I stopped beside a Sunday school,
And listened to the song they were singin’.
Then I headed back for home,
And somewhere far away a lonely bell was ringin’.
And it echoed through the canyons,
Like the disappearing dreams of yesterday.

On the Sunday morning sidewalk,
Wishing, Lord, that I was stoned.
‘Cos there’s something in a Sunday,
Makes a body feel alone.
And there’s nothin’ short of dyin’,
Half as lonesome as the sound,
On the sleepin’ city sidewalks:
Sunday mornin’ comin’ down.

***********************************

I’m on the road, heading back to Austin from my dog days in Mississippi. I hate to go. I hate like hell to be separated from Thing 2, my baby niece who is at the cutest age (almost 2) and will grow too much before I’m back. We’ve forged quite the juicy bond. Uncle Robot sez, “She loves you! Your name is an exclamation of joy to her. Dia! Dia! She says ‘Dia’ like most folks say ‘hooray’.”

Who wouldn’t miss that?

Anyway, back to Texas I go and so I have chosen this post ( another repost* “Sorry” gulps the gasoline gypsy) because it was a love letter to Austin and I need to feel some of that love. But it’s also a love letter to Saturday nights and Sunday mornings, wherever you may be, and an ode to the punk rock good life.  

*An inferior version was originally posted on the 21st of September 2008 as one of the very first punk rock gospels. Back when the idea still had wobbly newborn legs. Back when I tried to keep things brief. Do y’all prefer a shorter gospel? Let me know! 

If you’ve read this before, don’t despair. Check back in the next couple days for I hope to post a brand new special “Belated-Birthday” edition in honor of my Dad’s August 9 birth. So you know it’ll be a good one, being as I am a daddy’s girl who loves that man more than books. Fur reals.

Alphabetfiend is Dia VanGunten — a writer & wanna-be circus freak living in Austin, Texas.

“Cracklins” (Sunday P.M. Punk Rock Gospel)

Posted in country music, I Heart My Love-Tribe, I Heart Tricksters, Music & Life & Sundays, Mythos, punk rock, Rock & Roll, Spirituality & Religion, Sunday AM Punk Rock Gospel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 26, 2010 by alphabetfiend

I gotta find some weed and some wine! I just got to find some trouble sometime!  

They’re called The Gourds. They say their music is for “the unwashed  & the well-read.” I’ve oft-referred to them as “Austin in a can”…frothy, cold and startin’ to sweat straight outta the icebox. Pop the top and out comes the sound of Austin in a musty, malty swoosh.  

The Gourds are (left to right): Max Johnston, Claude Bernard, Jimmy Smith, Keith Langford and Kevin Russell.

Goof-damn, there’s been so many good gourd-carved memories!  

Hearing ’em live for the first time ever at the tiny Cactus Cafe, a room as big as y’all’s den; dancing with Leah at Antones, on one of her last A-TX visits before she got married and became Sophia’s momma; flirting with Cha by the lake at twilight as The Gourd’s tore it up cuntry-style.  

Then there was that sticky sunset, driving into El Paso on my way to The Unified Science of Consciousness Conference in Tucson (University of Arizona.) After a long blistering day on I-10, I celebrated crossing the Texas border (finally!) by repeatedly cranking “El Paso.” Cigarette on a rumble seat, drive all day got nothing to eat. I’m Drivin’ all day,  got nothing to get me to where I’m going to. El Paso I’m going to, El Paso I’m going tooo….  

Let’s see? What else?  

Ah, the annual New Year’s Eve Masquerade Ball. One in particular, at The Parish. I wore my elaborate indian headdress & daisy yellow tights under a black mini-dress (trusty LBD of the day) and all night long I played the hell outta my tiny toy accordion! We passed a bottle of bubbly (my prize for best-dressed) and we sputtered laughing cause it was just the kinda New Year’s Eve that you expected to have as a kid, while all the Grups were out partying and you stayed home to watch the ball drop with Grandma. The RobotBoy had a robot mask and we danced all night –rung in the new year right.  

Yep, so many of the gourds-soaked memories are romantic: like “Hallelujah Shine” on the radio those days, those nights in a dark dash-lit car, when the Robot and I were first falling in love.  If you want to meet the Jesus, you gotta go down there brother. If you wanna meet Muhammad, you gotta get in the water. If you want yer hallelujah shine, you gotta go under. You gotta go under Jordan’s mighty waters. This hallelujah shine is mighty dark & old!

If we ever get married — the ‘bot and I — we’d love to have an old-fashioned country carnival: snake-charmers, burlesque dancers, fried chicken and gin-soaked watermelon. RobotBoyLoverMan would don a seer-sucker suit and candy-striped socks. My dress would be all sweet & kicky; something shorter, since a long train would collect grass-stains. Instead of flowers —  as my “bouquet” — I’d tug a swaying, bobbing bunch of balloons. My bridesmaids would sparkle beneath paper parasols, six gorgeous faces shadowed from the Mississippi sun. Speaking of that sun! Let the sucker set! As the sun melts like a butterscotch, The Gourds’ll kick off a raucaus set with “Cracklins!” (Maybe later they’d indulge with a cover of Cohen’s “Dance Me to the End of Love.”???) 

(At this point, after 11 loyal years together, it’s worth waiting until gay marriage is legalized or until we have the budget for The Gourds.)
 
  
I’ve only  just arrived back here in Podunk, Mississippi, having come from Austin, Texas (at this point, I call both cities home… each one homey for different reasons) and after a long roadtrip, I’m thinking damn if it isn’t high-as-hell time that we featured “Cracklins” by The Gourds as a perfectly punk-ass Punk Rock Gospel selection. 
 
The song makes me wish I was a wicked cracklins connoisseur but no. I’m no fan of real-life pork skins. They’re stinky and they’re furry. I prefer my snack foods to be hairless. But hey, I got nothin’ but good things to say ’bout some weed and some wine and some trouble some time.
 

 

“Cracklins” is about recovery, reinvention, redemption! 

Reincarnation! Resurrection!! 

“Cracklins” reminds us that “living out loud” (as G*word would say) is a joyous & good thing — a great big noisyness, a holy ruckus, a prayer the gods are sure to hear!!!
 
I just gotta find a little trouble sometime.
 
When Blood of the Ram first came out( in 2004) I played “Cracklins” for my friend Mary Knott and she thought I was nuts! Especially when I started crying at the end — weeping really, like a stone statue of Mary. All overwrought & goof-touched. All giddy & awe-struck.
 
It’s been years and “Cracklins” still gives me chills.
 
Them Mississippi state police chased me, Pascagoula all the way to Metarie. I robbed a federal bank with a rack of ribs. A jar of sauce, some white bread and a bib.
 
“Cracklins” is an anarchist psalm & a trickster yodel. A holy hell holler & a crooked halo.

An ode to the outlaw! 

A sly nod to all that’s mysterious & mischievous & miraculous about the human spirit.

 Hot DAMN! 
 
Come all ye holy hedonists, this shit’s for you!

  

Listen up! 

Don’t read the lyrics until you’ve listened to the song or you will spoil the surprise at the end which is the very best part and the reason why “Cracklins” makes for good gospel.   

   

Cracklins  

31 days my fingers feel like rain. 

This jail was built on cracklins and cocaine. 

Policemen knocked me down and then charged me, 

With smokin and inciting vagrancy,

yes ‘ey did, yes ‘ey did. 

***

Chicken sneezed, eatin’ my cracklins. 

Buttercup, bloomin in the badlands. 

Kaboom kaboom, piss on the curses. 

Hospital, kiss all the nurses. 

I got to find some weed and some wine. 

I just gotta find some trouble sometime. 

***

Them Navasota troopers ran me down, 

Escorted me right out of town, 

For cherry pickin’ squirrels and feedin’ dogs, 

And dreamin of Jamaica in a fog.

Yes I did, yes I did.

***

Chicken sneezed, eatin’ my cracklins. 

Buttercup, bloomin in the badlands. 

Kaboom kaboom, piss on the curses. 

Hospital, kiss all the nurses. 

I got to find some weed and some wine. 

I just gotta find some trouble sometime.

***

Them Mississippi state police chased me, 

Pascagoula all the way to Metarie. 

I robbed a federal bank with a rack of ribs, 

A jar of sauce, some white bread and a bib.

Yes I did, Yes I did.

*** 

Chicken sneezed, eatin’ my cracklins. 

Buttercup, bloomin in the badlands. 

Kaboom kaboom, piss on the curses. 

Hospital, kiss all the nurses. 

I got to find some weed and some wine. 

I just gotta find some trouble sometime.

Time, time. I’m gonna find ya, I’m gonna get it.

*** 

I was eatin cracklins as the Feds were closin’ in. 

They watched the water as my car went rollin’ in. 

They dragged the river and notified my next of kin. 

But brother, pigs do fly and so can a man! 

When he’s full of fried pork skins!!

Yes, sir! 

Whew!

**********************************************************   

Love love love! 

How ’bout a talisman to honor The Gourd’s teachin’? By PaganGypsy, only $5 bucks on etsy.  

 

In the mood for pork cracklins? See Emeril Legasse’s recipe for homemade cracklins!  

 Go thee to the gourds website  

Two Gracelands — Sunday AM Punk Rock Gospel

Posted in Lipstick Shamaness, Sunday AM Punk Rock Gospel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 14, 2008 by alphabetfiend

“And my traveling companions are ghosts and empty sockets, I’m looking at ghosts and empties but Ive reason to believe that we all will be received in graceland.” — Paul Simon

elvis_vid_grindarna_till_graceland_jpg_w300h281

Every time I’ve ever driven through Memphis I’ve made sure to have this song Q’d up and ready to go. Then I push repeat like 10 times at least. It’s just so great. It’s about a city, it’s about Elvis, it’s about God, it’s about heavan. It’s about the way those things blur for some of us… rock & roll redemption. It’s about a state of grace. It’s about suffering and yielding to life. It’s about love & losing love. It’s grief and it’s healing. As if all that weren’t enough it’s also a really great travel song and goof knows I love one of those.  

The first time I ever heard Willie Nelson’s version — “There is a girl in Austin Texas who calls herself the human trampoline” — I was in a Tennessee truck stop en route to Texas. I was moving to Austin actually so I was en route to becoming “the girl in Austin Texas”.  It was one of those magical moments where you feel saint-touched… a nod from the gods… ancestors saying yea, keep goin’, you’re on the right road to the right place.

Graceland

The mississippi delta was shining
Like a national guitar
I am following the river
Down the highway
Through the cradle of the civil war
Im going to graceland
Graceland
In memphis tennessee
Im going to graceland
Poorboys and pilgrims with families
And we are going to graceland
My traveling companion is nine years old
He is the child of my first marriage
But Ive reason to believe
We both will be received
In graceland

She comes back to tell me shes gone
As if I didnt know that
As if I didnt know my own bed
As if Id never noticed
The way she brushed her hair from her forehead
And she said losing love
Is like a window in your heart
Everybody sees youre blown apart
Everybody sees the wind blow

Im going to graceland
Memphis tennessee
Im going to graceland
Poorboys and pilgrims with families
And we are going to graceland

And my traveling companions
Are ghosts and empty sockets
Im looking at ghosts and empties
But Ive reason to believe
We all will be received
In graceland

There is a girl in new york city
Who calls herself the human trampoline
And sometimes when Im falling, flying
Or tumbling in turmoil I say
Oh, so this is what she means
She means were bouncing into graceland
And I see losing love
Is like a window in your heart
Everybody sees youre blown apart
Everybody sees the wind blow

In graceland, in graceland
Im going to graceland
For reasons I cannot explain
Theres some part of me wants to see
Graceland
And I may be obliged to defend
Every love, every ending
Or maybe theres no obligations now
Maybe Ive a reason to believe
We all will be received
In graceland

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“LOOK OUT FOR THOSE NODS FROM THE GODS, Y’ALL,” sez the girl in Austin Texas. “Cause I’ve reason to believe that we all will be received.”

storyville-ect-226

There is a girl in Austin Texas who calls herself the human trampoline and sometimes when Im falling, flying or tumbling in turmoil I say Oh, so this is what she means. She means were bouncing into graceland. — as sung by Willie Nelson

Autumn Leaves like a Hardigree Painting

Posted in Art & Culture, I Heart My Love-Tribe, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on December 11, 2008 by alphabetfiend

But do people living in Toledo
Know that their name hasn’t travelled very well?
And does anybody in Ohio
Dream of that Spanish citadel?
–Elvis Costello

I never expected to miss Toledo. After all this is Ohio we’re talking about, not Spain. And in the winter, hell no I don’t (well maybe a little romp in the snow but not snow for four straight months until it’s black & crispy at the side of the road.) But come fall, I yearn for the crunch of leaves beneath my feet. Feet clad in boots the color of Turkish tobacco. For red, orange & yellow leaves be-dotting all the trees — and sweaters to match. Which is why I love this painting by Carolina Hardigree. For a southern girl, she sure managed to capture this Yank’s Autumnal nostalgia.

sycamore

In Austin fall happens in a flash. Blink and you’ll miss it. The leaves change overnight and drop just as fast. So imagine my delight when, about a week and 1/2 ago, I awoke to Hardigree’s painting in real life unfolding. My bathroom window looking onto my back yard might as well have been a canvas full of Hardigree’s dreamy evocative brush strokes. Oh it was lovely!

I have loved this Hardigree painting since I first saw it propped up in her bedroom half-done. Normally her paintings have to do with the spiritual link between human & animal but in “Sycamore” the tree is the star. The tree is the girl and the girl is the tree.

That sweater! I want its creamy goodness nestled in my nostrils.

And I could use it. Brr. It’s cold out. It snowed last night.Ah, the wonder of weather. Austin: Home of the weirdest weather ever.

I love you Carolina Hardigree!

I love you Austin!

I love you leaves. I love you snowflakes.

I miss you Toledo. It’s true. Sometimes I do.

Sunday Morning Coming Down (Sunday AM Punk Rock Gospel)

Posted in Art & Culture, Music & Life & Sundays, Spirituality & Religion, Sunday AM Punk Rock Gospel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 21, 2008 by alphabetfiend

Some sad-sacks say this song is depressing but not me.   I think it’s breath-takingly beautiful.   A feeling doesn’t have to be “happy” to be worth something.  A Sunday doesn’t have to be “joyous” to be well, a SUNDAY.   I think this song — this “sad” song — is very life-affirming, very human, and very very AUSTIN.   It’s everything I’ve come to know and love about my life here in this stony Texas town…. Saturday nights spent with people I adore & music that moves me, drunken 6th street hugs as we all disperse after a great show.    Maybe in the morning you will feel achey or godless or lonely but that’s OK b/c you are an Austin punk-rock darling who loved Saturday too much and now Sunday is giving you the cold shoulder.   Have a smoke, eat an egg, enjoy being alive.   Make amends with Sunday.<BR><BR>See you next week for another installation of Punk Rock Gospel Blog… now go pick a handful of yer neighbors posies and see how easily Sunday forgives

Alphabetfiend is Dia VanGunten — a writer & wanna-be circus freak living in Austin, Texas.

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