Wednesday, February 11, 2009

in the green room...and I'm alright alone

Knock Knock. "Who's there?" You. Welcome. Doors open. Please come in. 

I went out last night. I have become some what of a homebody so this wasn't an easy task. It's great to be playing music all night, inspired, wired on the creativity or cuddling someone close you care about. But life changes. Music never stops, but relationships often do and we find ourselves rediscovering who we are, without them. 
I rolled solo, dolo baby, that means by myself, alone. I didn't have a posse, no crew, no chicka's by my side. Just me. A little nerve racking, like um, will I look like the weird girl at the party that has no friends?  But I remember a Bridget from years back, that went to house parties at Temple U in Philly by herself, and danced in the middle of the room, sticking out like a sore thumb, the only white kid in the crowd. So I called on that chick, hesitant at first, but the night was resoundingly a success. NYC, as gentrified and expensive as it's become, at the end of the day, when you grew up here your whole life, once you re-enter the world, it's just a small town, and every face is a familiar one and the heart is pumping open and warm, ready to accept you back in.  So I went out to this party, check it, a new spot, Velour. Buttahman from MTV hosting, every tuesday. Nice lounge. Hip-hop, pretty chicks, pretty boys. Everybody trying to make that next great contact. Reconnected with an old friend Russ Jones, who works for J records. Great guy. Then met an amazing visual artist Rizz, wearing a top hat from the 1920's. A gentleman and an icon. I called him the mad-hatter, and he coined me Alice. 
"Remember what the door mouse said, Feed your head, feed your head."

I went down the rabbit hole with him to Chelsea projects then to Sutra on 1st and 1st.

Let me tell you something about this spot. The owners are amazingly cool folks and friends of mine, they always bring great DJ's to the people, fly music, beautiful energy, great drinks, service, crowd. Everything. Rosie Perez told them, "It feels like old New York in here." And she's right. In the middle of Alphabet city, now the midwestern NYU colony, this spot resurrects urban culture and spirit, for real son. 

Tony Touch was spinning, Talib Kweli was chilling. 
Oh Talib, God, I love him. One day in BK, I was walking down the street and saw a figure in the distance, and I just knew, I could tell by his silhouette it was Talib, we stopped and talked about our mutual friends. It was heaven on Flatbush ave. 

Honestly, I was afraid to be out there alone in the world. I fought myself to get dressed and put on a smile.  I could've stayed home, guitar in hand, computer, movies, dreams, heartache and loneliness. But I did it, I forced myself back into the heart of NY and she told me that she's lonely too and that we need each other.

Here I sit between my brother the mountain and my sister the sea. We three are one in loneliness, and the love that binds us together is deep and strong and strange. - Kahlil Gibran

Here is my song "Alright Alone," a song I sing to myself and to you, for all of us.

This song was an evolution. It started on the bed of my lover, waiting for him to return back home. The words began, "The bed and I are missing you..." and as our relationship changed and new truths were discovered, the song reflected these discoveries. 

Someone told me that I am like a journalist with my lyrics. When I was a little girl that's what I wanted to be, as well as a ballerina, anthropologist, political activist...etc
But this song is a representation of that quality I think. I like to excavate, dust off bones and traces of who I am in my life. I read through journal entries, sometimes hardly decipherable, and find phrases that perfectly captured my feeling at the time. This song has pieces of that. 

I finished writing it in berlin. A grey, sad city. And yet there's this feeling like there could be a revolution around the corner, which I love. It made me connect deeply to my feelings emptiness, loss and confusion, in this relationship, but also in the relationships of the world. The truest moment in the song for me is the chorus, "I better get lost, before I get found."
It kind of fell out of me, like whoops, there goes deep truth, not sure I wanted to even hear it myself and I know sometimes when I sing this, people are squirming in their seats. But I like to think that I as an artist can challenge my friends and family in the room, to look deep inside and connect to what they're running from. Cus the running eventually will lead somewhere, might as well have a look while you're in the mess, which is where I am, in the mess and prodding, sifting, dancing, singing and protesting every other moment. 

So in a way I have become the ballerina, the journalist, the anthropologist, the activist and artist. That just totally reminded me of the breakfast club. 

I think I will start my own club, the drunch club. Have you ever had drunch? Haha its breakfast, lunch and dinner all rolled into one. If I wake up mad late, I still need to have a breakfast type of meal, even if it's at 8pm. So maybe one day, you and I, we can go have some drunch. And sit uncomfortable but peaceful in our chairs as we pour our hearts out over scrambled eggs under the stars. 

Now off with your head and on with your wings!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

in the green room... with the angel and the devil

Here. Today. Quiet. Still. Still here, in the green room. Welcome. 
I haven't left the house today. I made french toast and coffee, got back in bed and listened to myself think for hours, which ain't always such a pretty thing to do. It's a war zone in here. There are definitely two sides of me fighting to take over. A true Gemini I am. An angel on one shoulder, and a devil on the other. One believes in me and is always encouraging and loving and creative and has so many dreams and visions for us. Violins and a choir. The other sees the end, nothing, crap, you lose, game over, time is up, what a joke, a fool we were to ever believe we can have a life we truly want. Ghoulish laughter now. 

I heard a story once, a Cherokee Indian legend- An old Cherokee told his grandson, "A fight is going on inside me, a terrible fight between two wolves. One is evil, he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, lies, false pride, and ego. The other is good-joy, love, peace, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, truth, compassion and faith. The same fight is going on inside of you and every other person too. The grandson thought about it for a minute, and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?" 
The old Cherokee replied, "The one you feed."

It's a battle everyday to listen to that angel, to feed the good wolf, listen to that positive voice. Some days she wins and the little devil girl, the evil wolf cowers in the corner cus she got slapped with sunshine. But truth is, she is always there, in the corner, waiting to bite, waiting for her moment to rain on my parade. 
Today, its pouring in here. Down pour. Cats and dogs and frogs. All the shit I never did winds, mad regret puddles, lost opportunity thunder, broken heart clouds, foolish dreams lightning and wasted time twisters, twisting me in knots. 

BUUUUUUT, I am writing now, calling on my angel to get me out of this hurricane.  Get me out now, please. I am writing also to you, if there is a you, to write to. You, whoever reads and connects and understands this struggle that I am in. For us to rally together against our little devil selves that want to hurt us and stop us from being happy. Join in solidarity or whatever, something, anything to get out of the storm. Create an army of laughter and music, paint smiles over frowns.  I am shouting out today to feed the good wolf a delicious meal. Because there is a world out there, people who are fighting real wars and all this stupid mess of an inner dialogue, seems so completely retarded at this point. When bombs are flying over your head, or a bullet just hit your brother, I doubt you are thinking or asking, "Do I really love myself? Do I believe in myself?" You're thinking, love, yea sure, I want to live, I want to save myself, I want to save my brother, can't talk now or think, let's just get the hell out of here! 

Hmm, that saying, just hit me in a different way. Get the hell out of here. Well, yea I know that I'm not running for my life, maybe running from myself sometimes, but I too, want to get the "hell" out of here. The hell out of my mind, the hell out of me. 

My radical, revolutionary friends always tell me that these personal struggles we have, are almost a privilege and that if we just focused on actually helping the world more, and not just ourselves, they would fade away. Because we would really be on the front lines for something real, for humanity, for freedom, for justice. I mean, I know that when I give to others, yes, this self-importance does seem to disappear, I connect to the bigger picture of life. That we are here, for each other. We are here to unite. We are not here, even to fall in love, be famous, make lots of money, have a grand ol' time. But here to become one again. Yes. Yes. Can I get an amen? Or an om shanti or a buck shot in the air! Bong! 
I had a dream once when I was in Paris, where God appeared as a translucent Superman floating through the air. He told me, "You're not just here to have a good time." And I believe that. We got work to do. Celebrate, be joyous, but we have a responsibility too.

Now I don't completely agree with my radical, revolutionary friends. I believe we need to do both. Work on ourselves, work on the world. Outside, inside, same thing. Maybe when we focus on the world, we are healing ourselves and healing ourselves helps the world.
This is why I make music. I am expressing my personal pain to connect to everyone else's pain. This is why I am writing this today, because I needed to get the hell out of here and not be alone in this. Because this green room, this mind, this self of mine, this war that I am in, is the world too. We are the world. 
Everybody hold hands and sing along now. "We are the wooooooooooorld, we are the futuuuuuuuuuuure. We are the ones to make a brighter day so lets start giving."