Sunday, October 31, 2004


The big shoot for Valerie Loves Me went off with nary a hitch (and at least one bitch) Friday and Saturday, despite some unforseen circumstances. With one exception (LK)., each and every extra we thought we'd secured did not show up on either day. So we improvised. The characters we thought would be hard to cast for the Black Man Group scene -- on the street, at the last minute, for $20 and a free t-shirt -- were not. And the employees at both shops where the owners had given us permission to shoot knew nothing about it. So in a way it was like India; we learned to expect the unexpected.

Thursday night I negotiated through people in a frenzy to complete their Halloween costumes (they were spending far more energy on that choice than the upcoming election) and tried my darndest to track down some falsies, since my character (the lead) is supposed to grab potential male investors' attention from the get-go.... and apparently that's one way to do it (I'm an ass man myself). The people in Store #1 with the Motion Lotion and catsuits were perplexed when I asked for falsies. "Huh?" It was like I was in Mysore again, as I had to find several different ways of saying it before they understood. "Fake boobs?" finally got 'em. "You know, someone just came in here asking for those! We only have nipples," said the Girl with the Thousand Piercings, who showed me some pink, stick-on pencil eraserlike nipples with big areolas like the ones Samantha bought on Sex and the City. "That's OK. I already have those."

The kids at the nearby place with the lingerie and vibrators seemed equally confuse-ed when I requested falsies. Apparently the term went out in the 1940's. Or I'm just OLD. When they finally understood what I wanted, the jaundiced Crispin Glover-looking kid with lank dreads and Bush/Cheney button lounging behind the counter went into a long, detailed explanation of implants (I think his twin takes tickets at the Music Box). His female cohort suggested I try Beatnix.

After dinner at Mia Francesca with the Hex, where I did not have dessert and limited myself to just two pieces of bread and even scraped off some of the butter (for Art's Sake, as the yoga shoot was the next day and I wanted the belly to be minimal), he accompanied me to Beatnix, which is in Boystown and not unlike Ricky's in the Chelsea just before Halloween. Only with fatter, dumber, not as stylishly dressed people. It was buzzing with pale, thin youngsters clenching bondage suits and vintage wedding dresses. And me, asking for falsies. "OH!" said Mr. Flamboyant in the purple striped stockings, who was overseeing the trannie lingerie room. "Do you want whole breasts?" No, I have some, I said, and pointed. I want to enhance them, and made the big bazooms gesture. OOHH!!!! YOU MEAN TITTIES!" He led me at a fast clip to "the wig room" where he screamed, "BRING THIS WOMAN SOME TITTIES!" A troll-like woman with a crew cut grabbed her own DD set, proffered them to my chin, and cackled, "You want some-a mine?" No, thanks. I was then shown two types; big fancy silicone stick-ons in a huge box ($20) and crappy foam ones (with nipples) in a baggie with a twist-tie for $10. I went for the latter and stood in line for HOURS to pay cash for them. When I finally got to the front, I pointed to the set behind the register and said, "Those falsies are for me" and that at least got a laugh (the guys taking the money were "older").

While we waited for Friday's shoot at the yoga studio to start, I showed the other women my new set, which turned my B- into a solid C. That led to an animated discussion of what happens to boobs after the children have have sucked the life out of them. Apparently some deflate, while others just sag. One woman was actually saving for an enhancement. Once again I was glad to be the exception.

And on Saturday, when I put 'em in for restaurant scene, the two male crew members and my co-star all treated me with even more attention/deference than usual. Even the Hex said something to the effect that "If only you'd had those when we were dating ---..." which reminded me again to thank Durga for all past breakups, including the most recent. Later that night I wore the entire Valierie outfit, including falsies, big makeup and big hair, grey roots covered, to Bindi's going away party -- where not a single soul noticed my new look.... But I did thwack the them with my middle fingers to show Bindi that if someone in India were to grope or Eve Tease the things, they'd be sorely disappointed (if they even noticed). Or at least I wouldn't notice. So I might keep 'em around for awhile.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004


On Friday I began interviewing local "celebrities" for a hard-hitting piece on weight and dieting. I spoke to a local shock jock about the regimen that has allowed him to lose 50 lbs for his 50th birthday. He actually lost 45 so far and turns 50 next month, and told me that as a child he used to wake up, open a can of soup, take it out to the back yard and eat the whole thing, straight out of the can. I told him, yeah I did something like that too only I had to climb up onto the kitchen counter (very dangerous) to get to the candy. The *candy*. At least I chose something tasty. Soup??? Anyway on Monday I was doing my yoga practice and listening to his show (yeah I know but these days it keeps my mind on two things rather than 5,000) and said radio personality spent over an hour talking about the things we'd discussed on the phone. And I thought, Thank god I could contribute, and, Hmmm, I'm not the only one who recycles material. Like I'm doing at this very moment. And like we're doing with the sit-com. In fact there was zero chemistry on last night's blind date with a 36 y.o. (Yeah I like 'em young. And old) so I found myself taking mental notes. You know, taking a couple of observations and magifying the nuggets several hundred times, thinking: why yes, there could be an ex-boyfriend (why not cut to the chase) character who's a tall, handsome, paranoid low-talker and former Naderite who mentions things like Blue Man Group and Pro Tools in every conversation and doesn't like to share his appetizer. Yes, why not indeed.

Saturday, October 23, 2004


Today, procrastination at my house worked in reverse: instead of cleaning and shedding to avoid deadlines, I embraced deadlines to put off the purgin'.

My goals for the weekend included getting rid of stuff and cleaning out the basement storage space so I can get the rest of my things back from The Vexx and call it a something-or-other.

But I did not go into the basement. Instead I tackled the large stack of scary papers on the desk and organized my stories. I brainstomed my December media column and subsequent episodes of the sit-com, pitched a story about a hot young painter and started writing a review of the Icelandic band, Singapore Sling. Turns out SS is not at all like their countrymen Sigur Ros (who are like Radiohead minus the overwrought Moody Blues thing). I was prepared to be underwhelmed as I am with every CD they send me to review but they're good! -- pure pop full of fuzz, flange, feedback and Farfisa. And unlike the Raveonettes they don't seem to be faking it.....I was a big fan of the Cramps and Scientists and the Jesus and Mary Chain back in my mohhicanned days and this brought it back tenfold.

I did practice in yoga today the few 2nd series poses I do (bad idea, as the back is tight from missing a chiro appointment). Afterwords I ate at Wishbone with two other Girls With Pierced Noses Who've Been to India (the best kind of girls if you ask me), and visited the hairdresser. During coffee the other day I noticed my 'do was doing some kind of bell bottom-y thing and was horrified. So I got another mohawk, only it's not as tall so it's easier to drive my car this time.....NO! I had all the red cut out, so now I look like a grey-haired man....... NO! Actually Milio just cut off a bit and added a few layers. Now it's less Roseanne Rosannadanna , more Breck Girl (conservative on the outside -- not a bad idea considering the upcoming election).

Despite the fact that my my stepmother made me wear super short hair, which I HATED, for four long Bushlike years (more on her iron rule some other post. Suffice to say that like Saddam's indicted torturers, she too wielded a cattle prod), I think I cried over a haircut only once -- two years ago in NYC when I was subletting a place in Chelsea for three weeks during Pattabhi Jois' 2002 tour. I asked for some layers at the place on the corner and the woman with unnaturally red hair HACKED away at my own mop til very little was left. I should have known something was amiss before I got in the chair, when the woman said dramatically, in a Russian accent, "First, I must smoke," struck a pose, and went outside to do just that.

I think this is first time I actually liked a hairdo on Day One -- which means tomorrow I will realize how awful it really is and indulge in a big, fat tantrum. Haircuts and I do not get along. Back in sixth grade I was surprised to learn that Joey D., who was kind of popular in a smart assy way, liked me. Of course I went along with it, despite the fact that he was far shorter than I with a too-big, adultlike head. He was nice to me for a couple of weeks and even gave me a chaste peck in front of his friends (I didn't really have any of my own). Then Xmas Judy dragged me to her friend Mrs. Gehrke for one of her ghetto basement $5 haircuts (While she cut bangs that would invariably hang at a 30-degree angle, my eyes would water from the permament wave fumes and I'd ponder the big wooden paddle on the wall that had carved on it, "To My Swingin' Ma. Love, The Brat"). The next day at school funny-looking, smart-assy Joey wanted nothing to do with me, and I became invisible once again. Except for when my classmates wanted to make fun of the Puritan dresses, knee socks and sensible shoes I was forced to wear three times a week (more on Xmas Judy's Mommie Dearest dress code in another post).

I have stayed away from short hair and short men ever since. Well, except for that time in the mid-90's when after eight hours in the chair the woman at Big Hair couldn't get the black dye out and I could no longer stand having Fall Colors hair anymore (Every single leaf color was represented, from bright red/orange to dark brown). It was subzero outside and late on a weeknight and my hair felt strawlike and staticky and I was living in a basement and just wanted it to end. I called the nearest salon, which for some reason was open. I walked over, nostril hairs freezing. They didn't want to do it. I insisted. So as soon as the man with the orange pompadour started cutting it off his toy poodle rolled around on the floor in it; at least someone was happy... Later I had to have Tom from 'Nam fix their awful hack-job (it was supposed to look like Single White Female-era Bridget Fonda), and girls started to look at me with great interest..... And then there was the time I went out with Jeff M., who was incredibly good looking with perfect hair and a great family. But it couldn't last, because I was a whole foot taller. I still have an out-of-focus Kodak 110 picture of us in front of a row of turd-brown East Campus lockers; I am slouched low so we looked like we're about the same height. But we weren't, and he kissed weird anyway.

....Oh yes..... I suppose I am also procrastinating on the basement (and being way overly self-indulgent) by retelling irrelevant events on this here blog.... Oh, well.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

to do his f-ing job

They've torn up each and every street I use to get from Yoga Studio A to B to C on my bike. And they never ever return to repave. Every day they've wrecked another one or two or three or four. So for months I've been negotiating giant chunks of concrete in the so-called street and/or scaring stroller ladies on the sidewalk. And today I got yet another flat. On the back wheel no less. You know it has to do with contracts and campaign contributions. Thanks, Mr. Daley.

Apart from that....
I spent the afternoon in the rare sun traipsing around Roscoe Village with Blaine scouting locations and doing some scene run-throughs for the big All Hallow's Eve shoot. He actually requested The Smirk more than a few times during "rehearsal." I explained that we no longer call it that (it's now a Bemused Smile). I also had a very pleasant meal with him and Bunny at The Cult. She said the Cult Leader was just on TV for levitating someone. Apparently painting, playing music, lifting ten-ton weights, writing poetry, spawing restaurants and running events, enjoying photo-ops with dead luminaries like Mother Teresa and Ladi Di, and convincing millions to give up their worldy possessions and wear saris with gym shoes and Balinese print bags emblazoned with the words "Bad Girl" just wasn't enough.

Glen Campbell's Greatest Hits (in particular."By the Time I get to Phoenix" and "Southern Nights")
Velvet Underground: VU

Million count purple pillowcases

Fat City Cycle Monster Fat (really beat up and really, really slow)

Tuesday, October 19, 2004


from SLATE (yes, this man was PAID for this -- which is one of several entries):

Trying Really Hard To Like India
From: Seth Stevenson
Subject: Step 5: Actually Liking Stuff
Friday, Oct. 1, 2004, at 11:27 AM PT

In the mid-1970s, famed author V.S. Naipaul (of Indian descent but raised in Trinidad) came to India to survey the land and record his impressions. The result is a hilariously grouchy book titled India: A Wounded Civilization. Really, he should have just titled it India: Allow Me To Bitch at You for 161 Pages.

I hear you, V.S.—this place has its problems. As you point out, many of them result from the ravages of colonialism … and some are just India's own damn fault. Still, I've found a lot to love about this place. For instance:

1) I love cricket. The passion for cricket is infectious. When I first got here, the sport was an utter mystery to me, but now I've hopped on the cricket bandwagon, big time. I've got the rules down, I've become a discerning spectator, and I've settled on a favorite player (spin bowler Harbhajan Singh, known as "The Turbanator"—because he wears a turban). I've even eaten twice at Tendulkar's, a Mumbai restaurant owned by legendary cricketer Sachin Tendulkar. Fun fact: Sachin Tendulkar's nicknames include "The Master Blaster" (honoring his prowess as a batsman), "The Maestro of Mumbai" (he's a native), and "The Little Champion" (he's wicked short). His restaurant here looks exactly like a reverse-engineered Michael Jordan's Steak House. Instead of a glass case with autographed Air Jordans, there is a glass case with an autographed cricket bat.

And in what could turn out to be a dangerous habit, I've begun going to Mumbai sports bars to watch all-day cricket matches. These last like seven hours. That is a frightening amount of beer and chicken wings.

2) I love the Indian head waggle. It's a fantastic bit of body language, and I'm trying to add it to my repertoire. The head waggle says, in a uniquely unenthusiastic way, "OK, that's fine." In terms of Western gestures, its meaning is somewhere between the nod (though less affirmative) and the shrug (though not quite as neutral).

To perform the head waggle, keep your shoulders perfectly still, hold your face completely expressionless, and tilt your head side-to-side, metronome style. Make it smooth—like you're a bobble-head doll. It's not easy. Believe me, I've been practicing.

3) I love how Indians are unflappable. Nothing—I mean nothing—seems to faze them in the least. If you live here, I suppose you've seen your fair share of crazy/horrid/miraculous/incomprehensible/mind-blowing stuff, and it's impractical to get too worked up over anything, good or bad.

(This is a trait I admire in the Dutch, as well. They don't blink when some college kid tripping on mushrooms decides to leap naked into an Amsterdam canal. Likewise, were there a dead, limbless child in the canal … an Indian person might not blink. Though he might offer a head waggle.)

4) I love how they dote on children here. (I'm not talking about dead, limbless children anymore, I'm being serious now.) At our beach resort in Goa, there were all these bourgeois Indian folks down from Mumbai on vacation. These parents spoiled their children rotten in a manner that was quite charming to see. In no other country have I seen kids so obviously cherished, indulged, and loved. It's fantastic. Perhaps my favorite thing on television (other than cricket matches) has been a quiz show called India's Smartest Child, because I can tell the entire country derives great joy from putting these terrifyingly erudite children on display.

5) I love that this is a billion-person democracy. That is insane. Somehow the Tibetan Buddhists of Ladakh, the IT workers of Bangalore, the downtrodden poor of Bihar, and the Bollywood stars of Mumbai all fit together under this single, ramshackle umbrella. It's astonishing and commendable that anyone would even attempt to pull this off.

6) I love the chaos (when I don't hate it). Mumbai is a city of 18 million people—all of whom appear to be on the same block of sidewalk as you. If you enjoy the stimulation overload of a Manhattan or a Tokyo but prefer much less wealth and infrastructure … this is your spot. (Our friend Rishi, who we've been traveling with, has a related but slightly different take: "It's like New York, if everyone in New York was Indian! How great is that!") And whatever else you may feel, Mumbai will force you to consider your tiny place within humanity and the universe. That's healthy.

There's more good stuff I'm forgetting, but enough love for now. Let's not go overboard. As they say in really lame travel writing: India is a land of contradictions. A lot of things to like and a lot of things (perhaps two to three times as many things) to hate.

It's the spinach of travel destinations—you may not always (or ever) enjoy it, but it's probably good for you. In the final reckoning, am I glad that I came here? Oh, absolutely. It's been humbling. It's been edifying. It's been, on several occasions, quite wondrous. It's even been fun, when it hasn't been miserable.

That said, am I ready to leave? Sweet mercy, yes.

[You can share your views with the author via}

Saturday, October 16, 2004


It took two cups of chai to get me to S's Mysore class today but I made it and 'twas well worth the effort -- one of those rare (every two years), amazing practices that feel so good on the body that the mind is similarly affected and all that's wrong with the world shrinks to the size of the diamond in one's nose. Perhaps last night's frozen mango lassi with protein powder had something to do with it....

That said, I cannot help but wonder why the hell my classes are shrinking, not growing, it being perfect yoga weather (ie cold). Plus the studio where I do most of my teaching is offering a promotion in which the first class is free for new students. So why the dropoff? Could it have something to do with the few weeks of robotic Stepford-led classes earlier this autumn? Is it them or is it me? At the same time, my myriad male admirers seem to have fallen victim to paralyisis of the fingers and gone AWOL as well. All that is but the vegetarian with the good head of hair who's been to India and has a sharp wit indeed....

In other news... I've been looking for a sign as to when I should travel next to Mysore -- January or July (Guruji's birthday). Apparently the family is touring from March to May and the shala will be closed. That's one sign. Last night I had a PG-13 dream about Pattabhi Jois. Another sign? We were in Mysore. Sharath was there, and the rest of the family. It seemed like summer. But was it summer in India or in the US...?

Friday, October 15, 2004


After hauling around a few ounces of extra stuff in my shoulder bag last night (and getting caught in the rain while on the bike) I woke up with a massive headache today *and* a sore neck. Since my two private lessons both cancelled I slept in (no Target Therapy for me for awhile), which only served to make me more tired, and did Surya A and B and the standing poses and drank some mediocre chai (wrong soymilk) then headed over to the so-called shala to teach. It was FRIGID in the studio, and after a discussion with the director (who wanted *me* to call bldg management) I started class in a foul mood indeed. But about ten minutes in the heat came on (noisy, knocking radiator steam heat, the best) and it was as if the clouds had parted and music started playing. Afterwords some compliments on the class, which helped considering that all morning I had earned less than $10 (cancellations + low attendance + free classes for newbies in Rocktober = no catfood for Kirby). Which I promptly spent across the street at S&G.

Thursday, October 14, 2004


Could it be? It seems as though at long last the mythical nurse has finally come and removed the lead vest. This can only mean the x-rays are over, and one can move about freely like the self that's gone missing since 2003...

Mehopes this does not mean the yoga practice will start to suck again.

Monday, October 11, 2004


Well, this color matches my mood.....

On Saturday I went to to my alma mater's Homecoming........ for work-related reasons (It wasn't until senior year that I realized we had both football and hockey teams). The date coincided with the fifth anniversary of my father's death, and I'd been morose, to say the least, all week -- and dreaded the trip. Once there I proceeded to cry buckets during the "moment of silence for Foresters we lost over the past year" during the awards convocation, and then fumbled and dropped my notebooks and stuttered while interviewing Oprah's favorite interior designer Nate B., who is quite charming and took it all in stride. Then across the street to The Mansion, to crash breakfast with the Really Important Alumni. I got right in despite my giant pants (apparently I'm now a size five) and jacket from Dots, and turned on as much charm as I could given the circumstances, and wound up talking to a geezer who'd attended the school at the same time my mother'd been there (she had to leave and become a model after her father ran out of money sophomore year). He was a treat, talking about how there had been WW2 vets on the football team (apparently they had one even back then), and how he went there because he didn't want to work in a factory...... and how he stayed because he didn't want to be drafted into the Korean War. I liked that guy. He had a good face. Then there was the parade, in which the frat that once wanted to kill me (and did indeed have their pledges publicly attack me) threw tons of candy in my direction. I also caught a giant white 2004 pledge t-shirt, which my radio station friends and I took care of later. At the football game I interviewed an upperclassman guy from the Really Rich frat who also did a radio show way back when about why he goes to HC every year (apparently some people find it fun). Then he asked if he could ask me a question. Uh, Ok. "Do you give?" What? "Do you give to the College Fund." I can't give, I'm POOR. "Well, you could give $25, couldn't you?" I LOST HALF MY INCOME THIS YEAR, ASK ME NEXT YEAR.

After leaving campus, which is always an emotional experience, almost as intense as going back to my hometown, I had to spend an entire hour doing Target therapy. (The one in Highland Park is much better than the two we have here in the city).

And I'm still reeling from the experience....

Friday, October 08, 2004


So the other night Add. and I worked on *tweaking* a couple of scenes we're going to shoot next month. The scenes are from the sit-com pilot we submitted to Bravo, and have a thing or two to do with the title character's ex-boyfriends (the supply, apparently, is endless). Our plan was to cast the Hex* as himself. Out of the blue (so to speak), earlier this week the Hex and I spoke for the first time since we were both in Mysore. He says he's in. So now almost all is well in my little world, as the list of people to whom I'm not speaking has been halved. But that's not what this entry is about. It's about my personal relationship with televison.

On Tuesday Add was visiting his favorite big box stereo store and picked up on DVD the first two seasons of Dream On, the early 1990's HBO sit-com that spawned every cable TV show that followed (and for which Our Friend Charlie served as prop master).
Upon returning home Add searched for info about its release and could find nothing; apparently the big box put it out on the shelves a week before the official street date. Oops. So we watched the first three episodes -- you know, in the name of sit-com research.

I remember watching the show Back in the Day, when I was a black-haired black-wearing twentysomething waitress/filmmaker's assistant who lived in a basement and hated baby boomers for taking all the good jobs (I was born in '64 and am neither a boomer nor an Xer, although I possess many eXes). I also hated Martin Tupper (lead character, seemed short) and his bracket-faced ex-wife (Wendy Malick, who was 40 at the time) and precocious son (turns out the actor was four years older than his character). I thought the flashbacks were OK but a silly gimmick designed to lure in 40-year-olds of inferior intelligence; after all, *I* had grown up with *color* TV (ie my flashbacks would have been from I Dream of Jeannie and Hogan's Heroes and Julia). This time around, some 14 years later, the show (directed by John Landis) was riveting. We could not stop watching..... until the Daily Show came on. Brian Benben has a certain charisma and is indeed a minor genious at physical comedy. His relationship with the ex is nicely nuanced, and the flasbacks are flawless.

Oh my god, Carey just invoked Michael J. Fox. And "Chris Reeve." He's gone nukular!

Anyway the show this time around was brilliant, and if I had it I'd put it in right now. It all falls into place when you're finally the same age as the characters. I'd almost forgotten about the spirited smart-ass secretary, Toby (Denny Dillon). And there's a certain nostalgic sweetness to stepping into pre-mass cell phone, pre-internet, pre-DVD Manhattan (Tupper doesn't even have a computer in his office). Not only that, but you get to see characters wearing giant Linda Ellerbee glasses and straight-leg jeans that cinch a foot above the navel. So if you get a chance, go out and buy it (I think it's $40). If enough people do, they'll release all 118 episodes. At least that's what Add says. And we'll need some TV meth to replace Rescue Me, which ends Wednesday. Now that we're 40-year-olds of inferior intelligence.

*Not to be confused with the Vexx

Tuesday, October 05, 2004


So much media over the weekend, so little time to process it.

In addition to Last Shot (or do you say Final Cut) I saw one of the final performances of Matt & Ben (in which women play Msrs. Damon and Affleck during their early days in Boston. They're struggling to adapt Catcher in the Rye into a screenply when the script for Good Will Hunting falls from the sky... which is *not* how Add. and I got our teleplay, by the way). We also watched Supersize Me. Can I say the director is no Michael Moore, and that he and the famed vegan chef girlfriend are not believable as a couple? Why didn't they ever show the food when it came *out* of him? And how about the part where he says all of his memories of his mother place her in the kitchen (cut to stills of her in the kitchen). Maybe it *does* make sense that his S.O. is a chef atter all......

Oh yeah, touched my feet (ok, big toes) again in Kapotasana. And held the wrist in supta kurmasana and pashasana....Not that it matters.

The heat has finally come on in my apt. So where it was frigid 'tis now sweltering. Which could be why they put in so many windows. *Love* waking up in a place with windows. And a real bed. And water pressure. And a kitchen, dining room, living room, etc.....

Saturday, October 02, 2004


The only ashtanga blogger I follow with regularity just finished up his first week in Mysore. It appears his experience ("I love being here" / "I love my fellow yoga students" / "I love the Indian family I live with" not to mention he gets tons of adjustments, the food agrees with him, etc.) is the flipside of my own:
Maybe it's just an attitude thing. Or maybe his parents took the Xmas tree down at the appropriate time.

Lately I too have been enjoying some of the smaller things. Like Last Shot last night followed by ice cream at Something Something Slab in Evanston. Good company, free parking, popcorn, and some laughs (in which the women got the best lines) followed by amazing full-fat coconut chocolate mint decadance. OK, so all three of us were wearing Mary Janes and needed Coca-Cola to stay awake and the jazz band on the way to the W.C. was far too loud (the poor employees) and I lost my favorite earring, which I wear every day and they don't make anymore....It was still a pretty good time.


Denis Leary

Gen. Wesley Clark

German Chocolate Cake


Happy Students

Cold Snap

Nag Champa Candles

Smart Wool