ROCK STAR SIGHTING: DUFF McKAGAN (GUNS N’ ROSES)

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Duff attending the CBGB Music Festival in the Lower East Side, but before that, he walked over to check out the Banksy. Lookin’ good!

9OCT13. Lower East Side, NYC.

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DITA VON TEESE: MEETING HER…

As my blog followers know, I travel year round for my job and mostly abroad. And wherever I go, I try to log as many experiences as I possibly can. Last year, I found myself in San Francisco for a two-month stint and I knew that the historic Fillmore was a place that I always wanted to experience. So, I looked up its schedule and I saw that Dita Von Teese was going to be there. Burlesque, check. Dita, check. The Fillmore, check. Three birds, one stone. My first time seeing Strip Strip Hooray made me a Dita admirer forever. She is pure class and the people working for her clearly know how to show appreciation for the people who attend her shows. After that night, I decided if I’m ever in the same city as her, I’ll always check out her show. Then, off to Colombia, Mexico, then Venezuela, I went, and when I did return to the states, she was never performing in the same city I was in.

Then came this month and she was doing a week long gig at the Gramercy Theatre at the same time I was working in New York. Theoretically, due to my constant moving (no rent, no car payments) and thirst for shows, I could have gone to every show of the week (except Friday, which was long sold out.) But, I feared her MC Murray Hill may publicly proclaim me a stalker, as he would easily recognize me (haha), so I decided to play it cool and just go to the first two nights, The first night was a great reintroduction for me. The ‘powderpuff’ act was replaced with the “Birdcage.” The second night, I thought ‘what the hell, I should meet her.” Why? No idea. Maybe I was hoping she would do something to disappoint me and break the spell and then I wouldn’t be inclined to have to see her shows all of the time. But, no, she doesn’t disappoint.

Stupidly enough and out of nowhere, I got nervous and my heart literally skipped beats. Why? Ridiculous. When the time came, I went in to see her. Murray, funny guy that he is, asks “are you a lesbian?” And looking at Dita, I said “I am tonight.” Which caused her to laugh. So I sat down and said “I have three things to say!” Dita: “Ok.” Me: First, I saw you in San Francisco last year and thought you were amazing! Dita: Thank you. Me: You do the best Vines EVER! Dita: Oh! Thank you! Do you know the man who invented it is here tonight? Me: And you have the sexiest cat. DIta: Oh! Thank you! Have you seen I haven’t done as many Vines lately? People may think there are too many of my cat. Me: No! You must! He’s funny. DIta: Oh, thank you!

I mean, yeah, I’d love to sit with her for longer, sip a Margadita, and tell her more about my life which she would surely find intriguing, but no, when you get 5 minutes with someone like that, those are the kinds of things that come out. Anyway, she was kind and gracious. And I’ll see her again for sure.

People ask me why I like her. First of all, I wouldn’t call myself a fan, as that creates a line and separates people. Fans tend to look up to people that they don’t know and treat them as though they are better than them. This isn’t the case. My life is awesome and I wouldn’t trade it for anyone else’s. I admire Dita. And you can admire people and remain at the same level. She’s self-made. She has gone through public duress and come out pure class. I mean, I can’t stand it if ONE person in my circle says something about me, can you imagine having to deal with your life so publicly?! I don’t envy that at all. She is clearly someone who is passionate about what she does and she has sought ways to make her dream a reality. You can see she has worked and continues to work so hard. Those are the reasons I admire her. It’s not the other ‘obvious’ factors that cause people to take someone like her at face value. I could go into more details, but here are the images from the week (no pictures of the actual show are allowed):

The posters around the city:

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The sign at the Gramercy and a Graffiti sticker tag:

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Before Monday night’s show:

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The tickets:

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With MC Murray Hill after Monday night’s show:

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With Dita after Tuesday night’s show:

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photo by Kaylin Idora http://kaylinidoraphotography.com/

The meet and greet bag came with an official signed pass, a signed program, Dita’s brand of body lotion and shower gel, all in a Cointreau bag.

I forgot to mention the best part of the night. In her opening act, she gave me a ribbon as she was stripping. Nice. That’s the pink tie around my neck in the picture above.

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And a Dita quote to end with:

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(photographer unknown)

SEP/OCT13. New York City.

CLASSIC CARS: PLYMOUTH SUPERBIRD

The short-lived Plymouth Road Runner Superbird was a highly modified version of the Plymouth Road Runner with well known graphics and horn. It was the factory’s follow up stock car racing design for the 1970 season to the Dodge Charger Daytona of 1969, and incorporated many engineering changes and modifications (both minor and major) garnered from the Daytona’s season in competition on the track. The car’s primary rival was the Ford Torino Talladega, which in itself was a direct response to the Mopar aero car. It has also been speculated one motivating factor in the production of the car was to lure Richard Petty back to Plymouth. Both of the Mopar aero cars famously featured a protruding, aerodynamic nosecone, a high-mounted rear wing and, in the case of the Superbird, a horn which mimicked the Road Runner cartoon character. (Wiki)

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14JUL13. Old Sykesville, MD.

SELF-PORTRAITS, THE MEXICAN FINALE

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I paint self-portraits because I am so often alone, because I am the person I know best.” – the incomparable Frida Kahlo

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3JAN13. Mexico City Airport (waiting to board for Caracas)

AN ODE TO CLARA AND LORETTA

ImageTwo influential women and loves of my life: Clara E. Gartrell, my beloved Grandmother, and Loretta Fuller, my beloved Great Aunt. They’ve passed away (2005 and 2008, respectively) and I am always seeking something tangible to represent them and keep them ‘alive’ in my heart. From something simple as a stranger asking, “Who’s Clara? Who’s Loretta?” — it gives me the opportunity to tell their stories, to pay homage. In 2005, it started with a necklace with my Grandmother’s name spelled out in little silver cubes, but after constant wearing (many times deep in the oceans while diving…) the necklace broke…I got one or two more necklaces made by putting the same cubes on new strings…

Last year in San Francisco, I had two bracelets made with their names on them. I plan to remove them today. Yesterday, I got the new necklace you see above made here in Playa Del Carmen — their names on a shark’s tooth (i LOVE sharks) surrounded by Che Guevara. This necklace represents me in numerous ways.

30DEC12. Playa Del Carmen, Mexico. Instagram.

HELP ME TO RESPECT BRAD PITT AGAIN

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I’m not joking. This is a horrible campaign. There are many great reasons to live abroad and one is, not having ‘sell-out’ commercials thrown in your face. I became aware of this campaign even existing, from watching a spoof on a Saturday Night Live episode I had downloaded. I thought that the guy obviously must be overdoing it, the actual commercial can’t be that bad, the writing so stupid, the voice so nimrodic. THEN, I saw the actual commercial and it turns out the spoof was spot-on. He even looks awful with caked-on makeup and hairspray/frozen helmet hair. What happened, Brad?

DEC12. 5th Av. Playa Del Carmen, Mexico. Canon 550D-LensEf18-135mm

MY TOP 3 ALBUMS OF 2012

#1. THE LUMINEERS

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1. Flowers In Your Hair
2. Classy Girls
*3. Submarines
*4. Dead Sea
*5. Ho Hey
*6. Slow It Down
*7. Stubborn Love
8. Big Parade
9. Charlie Boy
10. Flapper Girl
11. Morning Song

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  • Wesley Keith Schultz – vocals, guitar
  • Jeremiah Caleb Fraites – drums, percussion, mandolin, vocals
  • Neyla Pekarek – cello, mandolin, piano, vocals

They’re from Denver, CO…they’re up for two Grammys: Best New Artist and Best Americana Album. They should win.

#2. SEA WOLF

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*1. Old Friend
*2. In Nothing
*3. Priscilla
4. Kasper
*5. Blue Stockings
6. Saint Catherine St.
7. Changing Seasons
*8. Dear Fellow Traveler
9. Miracle Cure
10. Whirlpool

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Alex Brown Church

#3. OF MONSTERS AND MEN

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1. ‘Dirty Paws’
*2. ‘King and Lionheart’
3. ‘Mountain Song’
4. ‘Slow and Steady’
5. ‘From Finner’
*6. ‘Little Talks’
7. ‘Six Weeks’
8. ‘Love Love Love’
9. ‘Your Bones’
10. ‘Sloom’
11. ‘Lakehouse’
12. ‘Yellow Light’

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Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir
Ragnar Þórhallsson
Brynjar Leifsson
Arnar Rósenkranz Hilmarsson
Kristján Páll Kristjánsson
From Iceland. Formed in 2010.