Category Archives: Musings

Skin In the Game

A dog in the fight. A horse in the race. Colloquialisms for a vested interest. Recently it occurred to me that this (these?) sentiment is what can be the difference between an event and a memorable event. If you’ll pardon the sports analogy.

Over the past few weeks I’ve been at a few parties that restored my faith in…yeah, parties. In nightlife. Last night I hosted the launch party for the Figment book and the author, David Koren, read a chapter to the guests about “metrics” or numbers. About how we attempt to quantify everything. And as I was laying awake in bed, mulling over the evening and my recent successful forays into nightlife and the many events that vie for our attentions — and our dollars — and what it takes to make them “good” it felt like all the tumblers in the lock clicked.

Skin in the game. A dog in the fight. And not just by the event’s producers. That would be an easy thing. No, magic happens when everyone in attendance has some sort of vested interest. When everyone contributes. Participates. Is dedicated to the night being a success. For not only the producers but for them. The paying public.

My tired little brain and its tumbling lock parts made a mental note: Write a blog post about this. It is everything. It is why Burning Man works. It’s why Figment works. It’s why House of Yes is a huge success. And it is also why so many events that look great on paper fall as flat as…paper. Without passion they are all sports commentator and no sport.

So what were my recent experiences that brought me to this realization? One was a Rubulad. Yes, there have been Rubulads for years. I’ve been to many but certainly not all. As with any recurring events, some have been more successful than others. What made this one feel so…warm? I will chalk it up to the collaboration between Rubulad and JunXion, the many musicians and performers, the artists who had created art for the event and the venue. There were so many people who had a dog in the fight that just about everyone there was tangentially invested in the night being awesome. And it was. People danced. People smiled. It felt like…old times? I dunno. But wonderful. Dare I say…ecstatic.

Also recently I co-emceed the annual twirl-a-thon that is Night of a Thousand Stevies, “the largest and most beloved Stevie Nicks fan event in the world.” It is one of my favorite nights of the year because it is such a lovefest. The glow lasts for weeks afterward. I look at the photos and feel my heart expand in my chest. Everyone in the place — and it now sells out a pretty big place: Irving Plaza — is soooooo happy to be there. They are so excited to catch the tambourines we toss. They lavish those onstage with shrieks of enthusiasm and So. Much. Love. It’s difficult to explain. There are three full acts with dozens of performers: dancers and singers and puppeteers and lip sync-ers, each with at least one friend or “dresser” but more likely a bunch of friends. Some people have been attending NOTS (as it is affectionately known) for many of its 26 years. Yes, 26 years. The event itself is older than some of its fans. I’m sure I don’t need to point out that this is a rare thing. And in my late-night reverie I thought, this night succeeds so brilliantly because everyone in the building is seriously passionate about the party. No one is half-assing it. You can’t half-ass an evening of non-stop Stevie Nicks.

Obviously one also cannot half-ass Burning Man. The scare tactics of “the desert will kill you” aside, this is not an event that you bumble through. It takes planning, supplies and water. Lots of water. And while people have been lamenting that there are more and more “spectators” every year, the scales are still substantially tipped toward participation. There are more burners who bring or build, serve or spin fire. Who show the fuck up. All to make the week a success. Not just for themselves but for the 69,999 other adventurers out there.

Yet how do you get everyone invested? It isn’t an easy equation. And I certainly don’t have the answer. But when the room — or the acreage — fills up with nothing but people who can’t think of anywhere else they’d rather be and anyone else they’d rather be doing it with — drinking or dancing, painting, playing or pillow fighting — you will feel the love. You will look across the room — or the bonfire — and see the sparkle in the eyes of others and think “I am in exactly the right place.” There is nothing better. Nothing. So for a rapturous experience, make sure you have a horse in the race.

This Explains a Lot

First, lemme say: Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler! I am FOMOing like mad about not down in New Orleans, strolling from the Marigny to the Quarter in the Parade of St. Anne. So many friends down there! Bah.

Second, my biggest reason for not being down there: this bar! And yes, progress is being made. Though it is seriously trying my patience! I’m gonna go say farewell to one of my favorite bars today: Ninth Ward. It is a New Orleans-themed bar with cute little banquettes with curtains you can close and a real wood-burning fireplace. SUCH a shame they are closing. Ugh.

Also causing me some FOMO? So many friends in Barcelona! This past weekend was the Euro Regional Burning Man Summit (or whatever they call it) and this coming weekend is the big birthday bash for my Sign Shop cohort, Jedi. My big reason for not being there? Small Claims Court Monday. Double ugh.

So aside from freaking out about the glacial pace of this bar biz, I’m cursing Facebook as shots of my pals scroll by in other, more enticing places. With over a dozen windows open in my browser (How to Make Bitters! Custom Pint Glasses!) one more window that’s featured in my attempt at distracting myself is 16Personalities. For anyone who’s seen the alphabet soup on dating profiles and doesn’t know what they mean, the 16 personalities classifications are a combination of Jungian psychology and the Myers-Briggs test, with modern influences. Read their web site for a far more in-depth explanation.

And what is it that I fell “explains everything”? I tested out as “The Debater”:

The ENTP personality type is the ultimate devil’s advocate, thriving on the process of shredding arguments and beliefs and letting the ribbons drift in the wind for all to see. Unlike their more determined Judging (J) counterparts, ENTPs don’t do this because they are trying to achieve some deeper purpose or strategic goal, but for the simple reason that it’s fun. No one loves the process of mental sparring more than ENTPs, as it gives them a chance to exercise their effortlessly quick wit, broad accumulated knowledge base, and capacity for connecting disparate ideas to prove their points.

There are pages and pages describing each personality and all of mine seriously spoke to me. Since I can remember, my parents have said, “You’d argue with the Lord.” I probably should’ve been a lawyer. Here’s what it says about us ENTPs as “subordinates”:

This dynamic is clearest with ENTP subordinates, as they are comfortable challenging their managers’ ideas and have a strong (and well-expressed) dislike for restrictive rules and guidelines. ENTPs back this unorthodox behavior with their keen minds and curiosity, and are as capable of adopting new methods as they are of suggesting others do so. If something can be done better, it’s as simple as that, and ENTP personalities gladly take criticism, so long as it’s logical and performance-oriented.

I’m sure if you asked any of the managers at jobs where I was fired or “laid off,” they would agree. Their inflexibility translated to my being “unhappy in my job.” That could never have been further from the truth. I loved just about all my jobs. But loving my job and still believing there was room for improvement — in everything! — was interpreted by my managers as my misery. So weird. Thank heavens for Burning Man and DPW (and Tony!) for recognizing the true me!

Some readers might balk at the passage of my ability to “gladly take criticism.” I wish they could all be in the room when my friend Marianne calls me on my shit. She does it so succinctly that I can’t even respond. I just nod. Though the two of us have certainly engaged in plenty of (almost 30 years!) of critical banter.

Anyway, have fun today! Happy Mardi Gras!

 

You Can’t Rush Perfect Timing

hurryMercury is in retrograde so it’s probably just as well that the lawyer part of the bar-buying process is still dragging on. It sounds like the closing will happen right when Mercury goes direct. Which is a good thing, since during the retrograde period it’s best not to sign any contracts. So I’m continuing to obsess about the songs and CDs for the jukebox, what sort of wacky drinks to serve and whether or not to tile the bathroom with pennies. I’m doing my best to be patient. This will be a long process. As Ariel said, “You can’t rush perfect timing!” Uh-yup.

Today was going to be domestic bliss — grocery shopping. cleaning and the gym — till I got a text to cover a shift at Double Down. A good thing, since my wallet was pretty much empty. It’s been a while since I’ve been behind that bar but most of it came back to me easily. Can I say, I love to bartend. LOVE TO BARTEND! When Ariel came in and said, “You look 17 behind that bar!” I loved it even more. It is, most definitely, my milieu. There were a couple people there through my entire shift. I got there around 1:15 and they were there when I left at 8:15. That’s an impressive haul. There were young professional, muggly dudes and bike messengers, employees from other bars and people who live around the corner, single 20-somethings and I even had a visit from an old friend who’d posted on Facebook that he was lunching at Katz’s. Ya just never know who’s gonna walk through the door. Ahh. So good. And that extra wad of cash isn’t too bad either.

When I got home, my Burning Man Thank You card was in my mailbox. It’s always nice to receive this little missive of appreciation. They have card-signing gatherings and anyone’s welcome, which means a few dozen people sign each one. Stickers and stamps augment the “You’re awesome!”s. Which means I wrapped up my day with dollars and adulation. Oh. And some leftover Chow Fun. Tomorrow? Grocery shopping, cleaning and the gym.

Three Tinder Dates in Three Days

Nights, actually.

Yes, I’m off OKCupid. But I’m still online with the Tinder app. I figure, why not use an app that was designed to facilitate immediacy? Well, no surprise that it hasn’t yielded as much of that as I’d hoped. But I have found the men to be slightly more…game.

Thursday evening I met a gentleman from Tinder at the Punk Magazine 40th Anniversary Show at HOWL Happening Gallery. Proving himself to be a true iconoclast, he showed up at the all motorcycle-jackets-and-tight-jeans event in oatmeal-toned Indian garb. It was a frigid night and he was in sandals. Barefoot. Okay, I can groove with your “Oh, I’m so different” deal, dude; I’m different too. We looked at the art, I introduced him to a few people and then we drifted to 2A, where he more than held his own with some of my slightly mouthier friends. I thought we were getting along pretty well, if not spot-on perfectly. I offered him the “It’s probably best not to talk about your ex-wife on a first date” advice and he admitted I was his first. Date. He apologized for texting his daughter and it didn’t bother me. For the first hour. In the end, I’d enjoyed his company. We weren’t much of a match but I would’ve included him in just about any social gathering in the future. (And would’ve loved to introduce him to other women.)  When he left I thought he felt the same. Apparently he didn’t because after a few steps out the door he began texting me somewhat nasty stuff. I responded with a “Dude, go home, you’re drunk” and suggested we communicate in the morning. He’d consumed three pint glasses of double-shot Cuba Libres and I just figured, eh, he’s sloshed. But he kept on. So I unmatched him. Who needs that shit?

Date number two had been arranged for Thursday night and we were gonna meet up, just the two of us, until a friend texted that she’d been served divorce papers. “I need a drink,” she told me. “Join me?” I texted the guy and he had no problem with it. He even said he’d buy her a drink himself. Well he did. A bunch. He bought drinks for me, for her, for her male friend. I don’t think I’ve ever had a date throw that much cash around. I mean, I’ve been on coffee dates where the dude didn’t even pay for my Americano! I am soooo far from a money-freak but man, that was a refreshing change! We had a blast. Truly. He was the most fun date I can remember. In New York, anyway. I was his first date (What is it with me and the just-divorced virgins?!) and his “profile” was the sincere admission “Not sure why I’m on here. Just looking for friendship.” I got no problem with that. I’m hoping he’ll show up at Happy Hour on Wednesday. He asked if he could bring a bunch of his friends. Now that’s what I’m talking about!

And last night I met up with number three. He was just as entertaining and engaging as the others. Smart, interesting…and interested. And there I had it. I could interest and engage. But that may not be such a good thing. Both #2 and #3 were interested enough. Yet I wasn’t. Sure, in friendship. But beyond that. No. I’m not sure I’ll ever feel like having sex again. In the past five years I’ve felt motivated in that direction with exactly three men. And had sex exactly four times. That’s not a lot. It’s actually kinda embarrassing. Especially from a self-admitted former slut. I don’t know how to handle myself. Last night’s date challenged me: If that’s how I feel, why was I bothering? Because I’m an optimist? I keep hoping? I’ve said so many times that meeting in person is the only way to know and then…meeting in person…I’m still left cold. Not by the men but by my libido. Or lack thereof.

I felt physically attracted to someone fairly recently. Someone taller and older and, sadly, 3,000 miles away. Well, he wasn’t at the time. But he is now. So I’m going to maintain my optimism. I’m going to continue hoping. And, quite probably, continue disappointing the men who’ve swiped right in hopes of meeting someone fun and interesting (done and done) and having sex with her (not so done). Surely one of them might be the one?

Good Riddance, 2015

My 2015 started with a close friend in the hospital. In intensive care. He died early in January and the whole year has been tinged with that horror and sorrow and grief. He was only the first. There have since been two deaths by suicide, two deaths by cancer and two deaths that could be attributed to ill health.

I’m sure there will be death in 2016. Just as there will be hardship, tough times and lessons to be learned. I’m entering into the scariest — and most responsible — year of my life and I’ve never felt so ready to be challenged.

I want to wish everyone a safe and smooth segue from this year to the next and a joyous, prosperous and wonderful 2016. Aw hell, I’m just gonna quote Neil Gaiman, who put is so eloquently:

“May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.”

Cheers to 2016!

Happy Almost End of the Year

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday, whatever you celebrated! I was in Paris with my family. Not as amazing as it sounds…since it was quite a bit of togetherness and absolutely zero time to myself. But…it was Paris! So it was beautiful. And unseasonably warm. And free!

Now that I’m back in NYC, I’m poised to sign the paperwork to buy the bar. Last night was the one-year fall-aversary that set this whole thing into motion. A few days into 2016 will be one year since he died. And the only bright spot is this bar. Because his death lit a fire under my ass that should’ve been blazing a long, long time ago.

Once things start moving, they’re gonna move quickly. At least I hope they do! I’ll be taking a bartending course. Yes, to learn how to make drinks that I will then refuse to make people. Guffaw. But also to better educate myself in general. I will continue to interview my bar owning and bar managing and bartending friends. And I will be decorating and buying and ordering and inventing. It is going to be grueling and scary and exciting and I can’t wait! It will also mean that I’ll be super busy, too busy to bother with online dating. I’ll probably keep my Tinder account because it’s silly. And can offer opportunities to invite people to the bar. But OKCupid? It’s gonna have to go. For posterity, I’m posting my current profile. It’s about as big a turn-off as it’s possible to be with an online profile. But, well, there ya have it.

So stay tuned for more news about the bar. And here is who I was on OKCupid:

NEW EDIT
Okay. I’m gonna try this one more time. As I’ve written below, chemistry is elusive. I am only interested in meeting in social situations. No dates. I’m over it. Small talk? Hate it. Dates are like job interviews. They’re boring. Do NOT mistake this as me being “fearful.” Far from it. The only thing I’m afraid of is being bored. I suppose you all think you’re riveting. Maybe you are. And IF you are, hanging out with me in a bar will only showcase your ability to intrigue. I go to a weekly happy hour where new people and out of towners are the usual. It happens in different bars (and different neighborhoods) every week. If the prospect of meeting a FEW new people, as well as me, sounds horrible to you, we probably wouldn’t be a good match. Perhaps you won’t find ME riveting. Then you’ll have a bunch of other people to meet who might be. If you have something similar to offer me, I would be super game! Anyway…now that I’ve alienated every man in America…read on if you’re the one who I haven’t offended…
END NEW EDIT

Please be open to MEETING and the possibility of being FRIENDS. Finding that elusive “chemistry” is rare. But I can honestly say that every man I’ve “befriended” on this site now has a far more exciting and interesting life than he did before meeting me. If you don’t believe that, I’d be happy to connect you for an honest conversation. Who doesn’t want to expand their social circle? The chances of finding romance online aren’t the best. Meeting new people will always result in meeting MORE new people. Meaning, if you and I don’t “click” perhaps you might with a friend of mine. Or I will with a friend of yours. It’s a big world. If that sounds appealing to you, please read on!

A very close friend died this year and it has made me reevaluate. I am not desperate, just determined. If you can’t meet up within a week of us contacting each other, please don’t bother. Life is too fucking short. I’m tired of this site and I’ve never been a fan of dating.

So there you have it. Let’s meet, figure out if we want to fuck each other and take it from there, shall we? Seriously. That’s about all it boils down to.

It doesn’t matter a damn what music you like or what you read. You’ll be on your side of the bed reading what you read and I’ll be on my side of the bed reading what I read. I’ll listen to whatever the hell you want to listen to. Food? Whatever. It’s sustenance, not an art form. For me, anyway. Happy to consume your art form if that’s your thing. Happier to consume your thing. Haha!

Anyway, none of you read this shit. You look at the photo, think, “Yeah, I’d fuck that,” and you click. I wish it were as simple for women. It’s more simple when I’m less sober. So let’s see who responds to THIS version of my “profile.”

What I’m doing with my life
Apparently, online dating. Still. I do all sorts of things with my life, all of them interesting. I usually have a dozen projects in the works at any one time and make money doing a number of different things.

Oh. And three months a year I’m out in the Black Rock Desert working for
Burning Man. It’s a pretty great job!

I’m really good at
Writing. Costuming. Millinery – making hats, tiaras, crowns. Managing the Sign Shop out at that thing in the desert. Remembering all the lyrics. Event production. Graphic design. Listening. Cleaning. Brunching. Finding the bargains at the flea market. All kindsa stuff.
The first things people usually notice about me
My smile. And that I’m tall. People seem to like my hair. You tell me!
Favorite books, movies, shows, music, and food
Books: Lots.
Movies: Old stuff? Clockwork Orange & It’s a Wonderful Life. New stuff? Ummmm…
Shows: like TV? I don’t have a regular TV anymore so I binge watch: Downton Abbey, Walking Dead, Breaking Bad.
Music: Shit you can sing along to. Mostly.
Food: Aw, stuff ‘n’ things…and Mexican food. And ice cream. I’ve never met a chocolate chip cookie I didn’t like…
Truly, this stuff is the kind of thing that’s fun to find out when you’re first getting to know someone. Don’t you like discovering?
The six things I could never do without
Hmmm, how to fill in this blank? Be clever? Literal? List more than six and be all, “Ooooh, I’m such a renegade!” I am often reaching for seltzer (lemon-lime) or my phone (Words with Friends…I’m an addict). My friends. My family. My health. Something to look forward to. (I’m not one to sit at home and wait for people to call me, so I’m always planning something.)
I spend a lot of time thinking about
whether or not online dating will ever work for me. I’m really a brick & mortar type person, who prefers to hear and smell and get a live, in person vibe. So if I’m insistent upon meeting in person (as opposed to volleying endless emails, talking on the phone or “chatting”) be patient with me. It’s just the way I’m wired.
On a typical Friday night I am
doing something fun! Going to a party, dinner with friends, having people over, making something. There’s nothing all that typical about my life, really. However, weekends are sort of amateur hour, especially in my ‘hood, so I tend to avoid the local bars and restaurants.
The most private thing I’m willing to admit
There’s nothing all that private. In fact, if you Googled me, you’d find just about everything.
You should message me if
You’re tired of being bored on dates, being single at your friends’ dinner parties, being alone on those nights when you don’t feel inspired to go out but would like some company…well, you get the picture. You just should! I’m an avid responder.

A Bit of (Bar) Back Story

So I’ve been thinking that, given I may not have the time (or the patience) for the online dating blather soon, maybe what I will blog about is the process of starting a whole new life. At 56. Dunno if it will be as compelling but, well, it’s what I’ll be going through and this blog has always been about that! I know Jeff might be disappointed (sorry, Jeff!) and I won’t be ruling out dating altogether. Meaning if someone asks me out, I’ll certainly go! But if I’m gonna have a new life, a whole new frame of mind might be good too!

Anyway, the beginning. Last January a close friend of mine died. I still haven’t blogged about it because I…just can’t. Yet. Maybe never. Plenty has been written about grief. Probably more eloquently than I could muster. I’ve never really had to deal with it. Relatives have died, yes, but never anyone so close to me. This death — my grief — motivated me to look for a “kick in the ass.” Years ago I did the whole Lifespring thing and I wanted to experience a similar “reset” so I took the Landmark Forum course. It provided me with so many “ah-ha” moments. The same few days I was taking the course a friend called to ask if I wanted to buy a bar his company was thinking of selling. I asked my sister, “Hey, wanna buy me a bar?” Surprisingly she didn’t say no.

That series of events set this whole thing into motion. I had already been researching the business and interviewing bar owners, taking notes and receiving “homework” from people. It’s been a long journey, one that obviously is far from over. I’ve made an offer. Nothing is inked yet. It could all fall through or I could be holding the keys by next week.

Stay tuned. Gulp.