Tuesday, July 30, 2013


HOLY MOTHER OF FUCKING FQR3UIBG4CR139CH443B [yes, that's my professional assessment of this teaser. Also, read this little Wired article.]

Saturday, July 27, 2013

In between all my big adventures, Buenos Aires, Brazil, PhD school, the Eastern United States, are all my tiny daily adventures. Learning to cook. Spending time with friends. Making something out of nothing. Making nothing out of something. The tiny adventures are what keep me grounded, keep me stable, keep me moving forward [though I resent directional metaphors].

Tonight, my parents and I tried to make ravioli. I made the filling, my mom made the pasta, and my dad cooked everything. It was reasonably successful.
Though I might have made myself sick eating a lot of raw pasta during the preparation process. 

Also, three of my closest friends have babies now. Four babies between the three of them. I love my friends' children more than I could ever possibly explain. Tiny people made out of the bigger people who have been a part of me for years. I am so fortunate to get to watch my friends' kids grow up, from a few weeks old, to a few months, to a few years. I love buying them things. I love feeding them, bathing them, reading to them. I love seeing the way they see the world. How they learn more in an hour than I probably do in a year at this rate. Especially the youngest ones. Like M's baby, L, who was exactly one month old the day I finally got to meet her last week. I drove to the Springs. M had a beautiful lunch prepared, as always. There's something so intimate about eating a meal with someone in their home. Especially when they made you that meal. Especially when their home is filled with this small person they made, too.
M took this photo.
Sweet baby Lucy.

I also got to spend an afternoon with the first little boy to have ever come into my life. I am floored, constantly, by how much he knows, by the way he forms complete, complex sentences with adjectives all over the place. How fascinated he is by every little thing, how sensitive he is to sound and music and how he can pick out particular instruments. This time, I was especially awed by his knowledge of and obsession with road construction. We played with trucks in his sandbox, and instead of saying "the yellow truck" or "the green truck," he would say things like, "the steam roller," "the paver," "the front loader," and "the digger." On our walk to lunch, he made us stop at the construction site near Logan so he could see the equipment in real life. He told the construction worker what all the trucks were. I could spend forever with that kid and never get bored. Between his brilliance and his sister's hilarious faces and his mother's constant warmth, calm, and continual support of me in all situations, I was filled with so much happiness. I love that family. They are such a part of home to me.

Sometimes, all it takes is late night video skype with my best friend N, or even later night phone calls from Ohio while I wander the asphalt of my cul-de-sac post-rain, hopping in puddles, talking about carnicerias, change, memories, while lying on the wet street under the midnight clouds and stars.

Or walks with the dog at dusk on the paths that lead through my old elementary school. Rabbits and foxes and deer pausing to give us brief notice. 

Sometimes it's just saying goodbye to my friends so they can start a different kind of life somewhere far away, spreading us all apart even more, but giving all of us yet another wonderful place and home to visit when the distance becomes too hard. Florida, I'll be seeing you soon.
Oh, and making new friends.

Sometimes all it takes is something unexpected. A flower the size of my face. I firmly believe that if you can make an adventure out of everything, you'll never want for anything.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

I'm currently working on contributing two pieces to a project started by one of the professors from my former English department at the University of Utah. The project is called Mapping Salt Lake City. You can visit the website here, and listen to Paisley Rekdal's radio interview about the details here. My contributions are a photo essay on the Granary District [West Side SLC], where I lived during my two years in Salt Lake City, and a street art map that traces 30 some photographs I took in the SLC area both while I lived there and while I've visited.

View Street Art, Salt Lake City in a larger map

The tumblr for my Granary District piece is pictured below. Click on the photo to link to the website.

This project means a lot to me for a few reasons: 1) I fucking love maps. I love looking at them. I love making them. I love listening to that one This American Life episode about mapping and Dennis Wood and his conceptual maps. I even own Dennis' book put out by Siglio Press. 2) I love Salt Lake City. And I feel like I owe it something. I hated on that place every day that I lived there, and I sobbed as I drove away for good back in 2012. Now when I visit, it feels like my home. The place that took me in when nothing and no one else would. Put up with my abuse. I took all these photographs one day when I was too overwhelmed with work to actually do any work. I wanted to capture a place I swore I'd never visit again. 3) I love the U and my friends and colleagues and professors at the U, and I'm supportive of any project they passionately throw themselves into. 4) I'm all about community. I love my little community of musicians and artists in the Baker District in Denver, I love my Boulder community, I love my community of Echo Park kids and families in LA, I love my East Hollywood, Virgil Village neighborhood in LA, and I love Salt Lake. Especially the epic weirdness that is the Granary District. 

Monday, July 22, 2013

The thing about South Broadway is, it's the only major artery that runs through my body. There's a metaphor here, somewhere, for my bloodline, this city, my hometown, the music that fills these bars, these streets, especially one weekend every year in July. Something about how the Hi Dive is my heart. How if I hadn't seen Born in the Flood 7 years ago when I was just 18, I wouldn't have any of this, might not feel like these names of these people and these bands are what would appear in my cells if you looked at them under a microscope.


Last night, front and center, I stood almost against the railing at the Main Stage in the Goodwill parking lot while my favorite band finally played the UMS again for the first time since I was someone I no longer am. I used to keep a little notebook by my bed that listed every Born in the Flood show I went to. I was that girl. When they broke up, I compared it to the end of The Beatles, got scorned by DW and JL outside The Thin Man under a tree of hanging lamps. When I was 19, I walked up to the little stage in the backyard of South Broadway Christian Church, back when the UMS was only two days long. I told NR that his music meant everything to me. I did the same thing sometime last year, in Hollywood, at an almost empty merch table while talking about home state tattoos. I know how fan girl this all sounds, but understand:

I never felt like someone until I felt connected to home. I never felt safe until I found all these places to go, to see music, to hear people who love this town as much as me play songs that assured me I was in the right place. Born in the Flood did that for me. I remember standing, wide-eyed in the Ogden as Nathaniel Rateliff yelled everything he had into a microphone, near tears. I remember driving my little brother all the way up to Boulder to see Born in the Flood in what is basically a basement on the CU Boulder campus, just so I could share this part of who I was becoming with my only sibling. I remember a particularly bad day at work, sliding down a wall in my sad waitress uniform, the lyrics to "There and Missing" running through my head. The bright orange and green of The Corner Office and The Curtis Hotel, my place of employment at the time, still appear when I listen to certain songs on If this thing should spill... Every calculus test I studied for in college while listening to that album. Every time I screamed there is no fear in love to the stars from the passenger seat of a car, screamed it like I believed it, because I did believe it, because I was 19 and I didn't know a goddamn thing.

Last night, I got to dance my heart out, got to dance my feet raw under my own vast Colorado sky. I got to scream there is no fear in love like I was 19 again. I got to scream loud enough every word to every song that my entire body felt like it might catch on fire.

No other band has given me this. This connection to my roots. To my home. To Colorado. To Denver. No other band has made me want to build an entire new world for myself out of their music and the music of their friends. I would miss my own wedding to see a Born in the Flood Show. I would drive 1,000 miles. Just to feel that connection to myself. I used to walk around 16th Street with headphones in the snow. I used to recall seeing those boys on stage that very first time, NR singing, do you think in terms of fire and dust/and does it level all that stands? me nodding along, knowing that from then on, everything would be different, that I found a place to belong.

Born in the Flood got back together last year in December of 2012. I was ecstatic when I bought tickets to their reunion show at The Gothic. Unfortunately someone very important to me passed away that week, and even though I went to the show anyway to dance out some of the grief, I couldn't do much other than cry. So this show, outdoors, UMS, mid-summer, was what I'd been waiting for forever. And even Born in the Flood will tell you, forever/that's a hell of a wait.

The UMS itself was wonderful this year. Though I do miss the days of sitting on a stack of oriental rugs watching Gregory Alan play songs off that album he recorded all alone back in the day. And I miss Bela Karoli. And I miss that time Houses owned the Hi Dive for a night. But we've still got good folks here. Amazing musicians. Committed artists. Friends. Everything that makes Denver the incredible place it is considering everything that it lacks as a major city. I will never miss this weekend. Here were my shows this time:

Thursday:
The Centennial. Hi Dive. Midnight. I was at their first show at the UMS 3 years ago.

Friday:
Sweet Tooth Meat Tooth. Irish Rover. 7pm.
The Raven and the Writing Desk. Irish Rover. 8pm.
Miss America. Gary Lee's Motor Club. 10pm.
Chimney Choir at 11pm, which isn't pictured because Gary Lee's was so packed, I couldn't even breathe, let alone reach for my camera. And, like the old person I now am, I bailed on A. Tom Collins after decided I didn't want to wait in the massive line outside of 3 Kings. Because a massive line outside meant a packed crowd inside. And I'd had enough sweat for the day by midnight.

Saturday:
Somerset. Hi Dive. 1pm. Sadly Somerset was the only band I saw on Saturday
because I went to a friend's going away party the rest of the evening. Bummed
to have missed The Blue Rider and Snake Rattle Rattle Snake, but sometimes
love trumps bands I've already seen.

Sunday:
Residual Kid. Hi Dive. 6pm.
So here's the deal: I was going to see Ian Cooke, and then M was like, you
HAVE to come to the Hi Dive to see these 12 year olds. So I waited in a hell
of a line. But I got in.
These kids TORE UP the Hi Dive. They broke the ceiling. There was crowd
surfing. There was somewhat of a mosh pit. Like nothing I've ever seen.
The lead singer of Residual Kid on some dude's shoulders
In The Whale. Hi Dive. 8pm.
In The Whale made us get on the ground. At the Hi Dive. And we did, because
RESPECT.
Born in the Flood. Goodwill Main Stage. 9pm. Both this photo and the one
below it are from heyreverb.com. I did not take them. I'm posting them because
I am in both of them.
Off in the upper left corner, a blur of joy. You can see M next to me, bearded.

And here's what else happened:
I met M the second night of the showcase. He plays bass in this band. He
gave me their album. Now we are friends. Music=friends. See how that works?
G-Hicks introducing Born in the Flood. Our governor is better than your governor.
Shadow of my front bun, because 100 degrees.
This.
In The Whale being even more awesome.
We dunked her 3 times.
Love & Music & South Broadway

This is my home. Because this is where my heart is. This is where I grew up. Because this is where I learned what it means to be a person. This is the place and these are the people that changed my life. Because I think in terms of fire and dust, and it levels all that stands.

driving back to Columbus red lightning muffled behind dark clouds fireflies lighting our way home

[All the following photographs are by Andrew Spear]



splashing around in the small pool of a waterfall at the base of a cave my grandmother used to visit as a little girl in the 1930's 



drifting in and out of sleep to the sound of rain to Bon Iver to an impending drive to the airport


she will look at the print and know herself, at last, and she will wonder how she missed herself all along 

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Taking a mid-Saturday afternoon break from the UMS so I can read a book, nap, and go to N&S's going away party. Here are the non-music updates:

Boulder. Creeking. Love. Happy Hour. Nap on Pearl Street. Whiskey ginger with W.

Also, babies. Golden. More people I love cooking me meals. Trying to feed the most adorable, feistiest little goose who loves gnomes, grapes, and his uncles.

In other news, this is my new favorite outfit...
...and I just bought these glasses at Warby Parker. PhD year two, I hope you're ready for me, because I'm going to own you.