the price is Right

This blog was originally posted to The Dresden Dolls Diary.

I’ve come home, this time, i know i’m staying.

But it doesn’t change the feeling i get the minute i walk in the door–that i’ve grown so accustomed to, that i realize is normal: that i need to get out. Every time i come home from tour (and for some reason, usually because of the night flight times) i drop my bags on the floor, hop in the shower if i’m feeling ambitious, and head straight out to the bar and grab whomever is in the house to aid and abet me to listen to whatever entertaining stories i can come up with (there are usually none, either that or i’m always so wasted and tired that i can’t be entertaining).

Not to drink. just to be out, i can’t stand the instant silence; it compares well to being on a train that stops with a jerk. your brain keeps moving. Here, i’m still in London a little bit. i don’t think i’d feel very much different if i was sitting in the lock tavern in camden instead of on columbus street a few blocks from my house. same buzz, same bullshit, same noise of humanity covering me like a soft sponge that i need to get lost in. it can be anywhere you go, anywhere you find yourself. but…the music in the bars and cafes in the UK in considerably more interesting.zzzzz

tonight the house is empty…lee is in montreal and pope is on his way to tierra del fuego or greece or wherever artists go to escape the brutal boston winter. i don’t think he even knows where he’s going, and he’s probably sitting in the airport. killing time, at some parallel bar (but being far more entertaining than me).

i never feel like i need company but i sometimes want it. i watch my itchy finger reaching for the cell phone the minute i get in the cab, just to connect, with someone. what did i do before i had this phone? reflect with less distraction, this much i know. i noticed yesterday that on my london off day i didn’t even consider leaving my hotel’s neighborhood. to do what, exactly? sight-see? i can’t imagine anything i’d rather not do. cafe-seeing is about as far as my tired imagination can go.

i watched the couple in front of me with 7 pieces of matching red luggage while i was waiting for a taxi at logan airport in boston. i got off thinking on a wild tangent about the Price Is Right and those afternoons eating ramen noodles in front of the TV, watching people absolutely LOSE THEIR SHIT about the matching luggage set, fingered and pawed at by those barbie negligee-clad vixens, only to obviously reveal “….and you’ll need that matching set of luggage when you go on your all-expenses-paid-10-day-vacation to…..ACAPULCO!!!!”

hand sweeps over 12-ft airbrushed poster of beeeech
4-inch-high hairsprayed hair in turquoise banana-clip goes WILD!!!!!

they were EXCITED? to get on a PLANE?? and go to some random place and stay in some random probably-two-bit fucking hotel and do…what? escape? stir-fry themselves on a poolside doing nothing but feeling lost? argue with each other over Myties and fried shrimp appetizers with special spicy sauce? fuck it, i just have become completely bitter and removed from the working class and their desires. i’ve become able to commiserate only with the traveling businessman, the traveling salesman and the typical touring band. none of which i actually have Fuck All in common with except for our flight itineraries.

I remember when i was about 13 or 14 and i realized that the Price Is Right was actually one long commercial, I was PISSED. and i was even more pissed at myself for still being in awe of that huge, green, sparkly spinning wheel they used to determine who would contend in the Showcase Showdown. Let’s not even START about Press Your Luck and the whammies.


sitting here alone with my 2nd pinot noir i contemplate whether bob lefsetz is drunk when he writes his blog-posts. i can totally imagine gearing up, saying…ok, i’m going to WRITE ONE, and going to the the fridge, whereupon he cracks open a microbrewed beer and sits behind his laptop at his desk, cranking out those very capitalized-word rants about how rock as THEY knew it is DEAD. i love him but i want to hate him. he’s a different monster, from a totally different era, that man from the glory days of rock, but i relate to his enthusiasm. he wants people to CARE about MUSIC, he wants the dream the way most genuine musicians want it, except he’s coming at from the viewpoint not of a musician (which everybody today seems to be), but as a CRITIC.

the day after our show at the roundhouse, he posted a blog-thing-mailer-i-don’t-really-know-what-they’re-called-it’s-basically-a-letter-that-goes-out-to-gazillions-of-people-on-his-list thing about seeing the Who play in the states at the hollywood bowl. and how totally awesome and powerful and meaningful it was and how (suggested) there’s nothing around like that today. It’s not like it WAS. and i wanted to strangle him and put him in a brief time-warp and drop him 5th-row center at the roundhouse show the other night with everybody freaking out and being all in love at the dresden dolls show and say, NO SEE? it’s just not where you’re looking. every time i read a post from him about how nobody BELIEVES anymore and how the spirit of music is GONE i want to fucking scream.

here are some choice excerpts from his…:

“Back before it was how you looked. Back when what came out of a speaker could save your life. There was a song on the radio that appeared infrequently, but riveted your attention every time it came on. There was an acoustic guitar. Which started off slowly, and then the player started to STRUM! And suddenly, there came a blast, from over the horizon, like a SHOFAR! Calling you to worship at the altar of rock and roll. That song was “Pinball Wizard”……

….There’s never been another [Keith, drummer of the who – a.] Moon. You know this if you saw him. His reputation as a loon undercuts the legend of his playing. This guy was not the bombastic Bonham, he wasn’t about brute force, there was a subtlety within his sound, it had CHARACTER! Akin to a Jackson Pollock drip painting, initially it was hard to comprehend, but it all made SENSE!…..

…Nobody’s looking anymore. They’ve found it. You do what you must to get the money. Whether legal or illegal. You need a nice ride, a crib in a gated community. Flowing champagne. We’re not all in it together, everybody’s about pulling AHEAD! Leaving the general public BEHIND! And once you make it it’s all about lifestyle. Supposed heroes like Paris Hilton claim they’re dumb. When did stupidity become revered? Intelligence radiated from the Who records like brain waves from Einstein, and that was part of the band’s appeal….

……We used to look to musicians for direction.
We can again. By playing his heart out, by not just replicating what was on the albums, by doing a ton of new material, Pete Townshend was serving notice that he was not done yet. We should embrace this message.

And if tickets were fifteen or twenty bucks, if only the younger generation could see a show like this, they might believe too. Pricing has made this the Bentley of rock tours. It’s exclusive when the music of yore was INCLUSIVE!

You can debate ad infinitum whether music can change the world.

But I’ll tell you one thing for sure, music can change the individual. Can inspire him. Can instruct him. Can change the direction of his life.

That’s what it used to do. That’s why it’s so powerful. That’s why
they call it classic rock.”

(if you are interested in reading more:

somebody out there who knows bob lefsetz, please invite him to a dolls concert (and buy him a few drinks when you get there).


meanwhile, back at the bar in boston.

the roundhouse shows were all that for me and more, because it went way beyond the music. all of those people, all of those artists, the feeling backstage, the feeling in the crowd, the feeling in the lobby, the challenge of giving people not just a show, but an experience. something that they themselves feel a part of of, simply by existing in the crowd. that we’re not here to sell tickets or t-shirts or cups of overpriced beer…that we genuinely want to grab people and give them a good time, more than that, something to make them open up more, think more, feel like they were a part of something genuinely real, whether it’s good or bad, amateur, or professional, that’s totally irrelevant, the idea is that you’re right there. this thing we all fantasize was happening all over the plance in the sixties. back THEN, when, according to bob lefsetz, people still BELIEVED. i see people wanting to believe so badly they do it til it hurts them. it keeps me up at night when i try to go to bed. maybe i’m taking something for granted. eh?


i just noticed how different the SHAPE of my blog is from bob lefsetz’s. he writes in SENTENCES (with frequent capitalization, which i find charming). i write in long rambling paragraphs. one-line sentences keep people’s attention for longer. more space. less density.

fuck it. i could try it.

none of this necessarily has to even make sense.

pony pony pony pony pony pony pony pony pony pony pony pony pony pony pony pony pony pony

there are those moments, sometimes they happen in clusters, sometimes rarely as i find myself brainwashed by my own life, the denial and simultaneous realization that EVERYTHING is NORMAL, that there is no such thing, that everything is relative. i walk to the bathroom on the plane, always performing, feeling all those eyes on my as a brush pass this little swath of humanity, black-man-old-man-all-business-man-white-woman-japanese-man-hip-kid-small-child, smell that familiar smell and realize that i’m at home here, that i’m used to this. that i like the privacy of the bathroom on the plane the way other people look forward to walking to the coffee shop across the street from work on a lunchbreak. i’m thirty, i tell myself, i’m flying to london to shoot a few days of video and then return home a few days later to work on a play. that this is normal. that i’ve very possibly achieved what i’ve always fantasized about.

i sit there, smelling the combination of chemicals and air fresheners in the metal bathroom, that anorexic airplane air that swirls into your hair and pores, and all of a sudden i’m fifteen, i’m sitting in the bathroom stall in C-house during english. so bored every period that i take strategic bathroom breaks during each and every class just to have something to look forward to and somewhere to go. i look at my 15-year-old self in the mirror, god knows what i was wearing back then…i remember a blur of colored hair and berets, heavy overcoats and long thermal underwear worn under mens’ boxer-briefs – printed with diamonds and polkadots – with crucifixes dangling suggestively over the thin, open flap in the front (the more expensive once had a single button but the kind that we usually wore, me and holly, came in three-packs from sears and had no such adornments). all that heavy black eye make-up, all that hiding, all that hating, all that confusion and loneliness, wet my hair perfectly messy and make famous faces in the mirror, daring someone to barge in and catch me.


i also wonder, truly, how this blogging phenomenon works as a social conversation forum. mr. lefsetz culls and selects the comments he posts, pro and con, like an op-ed puppetmaster.

i’ve noticed that the nature of comments comes in waves, that they follow patterns.
that i’ve come to rely on them and their existence the way i rely on certain people calling me back when i leave messages and some people…..may never call back, some people can be counted on to not call back.

so i have to ask you: do you people who comment read each other’s comments?

do those of y’all who don’t comment read the comments of others?


trick question: when the blog is this fucking long, do you find you usually don’t get to the end?


cross-posted to


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