Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Musings on New York City during a pandemic

I'm not from here. I'm from a beachside town in Alabama where tolls, parking fines, and subways are not a thing. Another thing: I'm starting to feel like I'm cursed.

During hurricane Katrina, I was in Mobile. During the super tornadoes, I was in Tuscaloosa. Now, amidst the worst global pandemic in over one hundred years, I am in New York at the epicenter of the crisis. That's my third national emergency in just 15 years and they were all in different towns. I sort of feel like I'm being followed.

I've only been in New York for about a year and a half, living on the outskirts of Queens in a village called Hempstead on Long Island. I decided to move here because, frankly, as a southern girl with three dogs, I needed a yard. Nowhere with an actual dirt and grass yard that was affordable could be found inside the city limits. We got our hearts broken over a few houses in Jamaica before we finally decided to settle just on the other side of the Nassau County border. I'm a filmmaker, scenic builder, and writer. There are way more jobs here in my areas of expertise than there are in the south. They also pay better and have opportunities for advancement. I was stoked to get out of Nashville, where I was living, and branch out up north in the greatest city in the world. I was.

I didn't hit a breaking point until last year, in September. For the first time, I said out loud "I want to go home." There was a huge mix up with our car insurance payments, so our registration was taken from us. Getting to and from the city isn't a huge problem because we live walking distance from the Hempstead Rail Road. However, getting anywhere on the island without a car is a bitch and a half. Especially when you're still getting used to public transport. After a few weeks of thinking and writing my therapist about it, I decided I was going to use this opportunity to better myself instead of giving up. I found people who could carpool with me to my job at a grocery store where I was working in between trying to find other work. It was going great!

Then... Covid-19 happened. I don't know if you're aware, but being kicked while you're down and still being made to go to work when everyone else gets to stay safe at home is fucking frustrating. I'm grateful that I still have an income, even if it isn't the best, but I have anxiety attacks every day at my job because people do not understand the concept of personal space or that you need to wear your mask over your nose. Broadway and all other theatre productions shut down so I stopped getting scenic paint calls. I was on my second round of interviews for a film editing position in Manhattan and they shut down the city. The friends that I was finally starting to make are now self-isolating. I feel... lost.

This morning, as I was sitting down and drinking my coffee with my wife, I finally figured it out. We had been talking over the past two weeks about giving up and moving back down south. "Fuck New York! It's expensive and unsafe. I miss southern food and hospitality and being close to my family. I miss the DIY music scene and being able to get places easily. Do I really want to keep struggling here or should I just go be happy somewhere else?" We were watching videos of bands playing at venues we used to go to in the city and mourning that we still haven't gotten to break into the punk scene in Amityville. Then, it hit me. The reason I've been so disillusioned about being here since the shutdown is because I'm experiencing all of the negative things about living in New York and none of the positives.

Right now, I am in a limbo where all of the shitty things about living in New York keep going: the taxes, tolls, higher cost of living, closer neighbors, less wide open space... But the great things about this city are quarantining behind walls. I love spending the day getting lost in the city, stumbling upon things like the Museum of Sex or a brunch place with jalapeno margaritas. I love that all of my favorite bands come through on their tours, sometimes playing Manhattan and Brooklyn on different nights. I love the badass women I've met that ride motorcycles and go camping upstate. I love going to the beach and trying to surf, even if it's cold and I need a full wetsuit. I love teasing and being teased about my accent. I love driving to Coney Island and wandering around Luna Park on a Sunday. I love all the used bookstores, coffee shops, tiny parks, late night Southern State Parkway drives, brownstones, people walking dogs, subway buskers, and god damn it I even love Brooklyn hipsters!

We couldn't move back down south right now anyway, because we would definitely lose money trying to sell our house. Also, have you ever tried to sell a house when you have three dogs and three cats? You have to spend about five hours cleaning and getting all the animals out of the house before every single showing. It is murder. So instead, I've decided to stay. Not just stay, I've decided to be happy about staying.

This won't last forever. The things I hate about New York will always be there, but the things I love will come back eventually. I'll go to Luna Park again. I'll drive back from the city on the back of a motorcycle late at night again. I'll work in my chosen profession again. I'll meet my friends to talk about writing and horror movies in a pub again. And when I do... watch out, New York. You'll never know what hit you.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Rose Gold: A Review

Long time fans of Kitty agree: every time she releases something, we're convinced she cannot outdo herself. But here we are again, with another Kitty album, mind blown at the artist's creativity and perseverance.

Rose Gold, releasing April 5th, 2019, is truly a triumph. Not only is Kitty taking the reigns on all of her production aspects, and releasing a splice pack in the process, but she has opened up on this album in a way that she never has before. It's vulnerable. So vulnerable, in fact, that the first single she released from this 12 track album is about her struggle with PTSD and the second single she dropped was a BOMB, literally, about her work in the findom industry.

I had the extreme privilege of having access to demos as Kitty's album was evolving and she has truly outdone herself with each iteration. The finished product is a surreal, sparkly ride through the mind of a creative genius. While she has a confidence in her sound that is beyond anything we've heard before, she is still serving us Impatiens realness with tracks like "look demure" and "strange magic." We even get some trip hop vibes in the album's interlude, "don't panic."

With a smooth and sultry sound, she delivers mesmerizing vibes in "sweat" and "mami." The singer stopped smoking cigarettes at the beginning of 2019 and her vocal range has widened for this newest release. The closing tracks of Rose Gold filled me with melancholy in the greatest possible way. "Window," which was performed with American Pleasure Club, is the bedroom emo sound that kitty always sang about in previous releases in songs like "Emob0unce" and "Watch Me", but now she's attacking head on. The closing track, which is a revamping of one of her early singles, "Florida," is sure to grip the heart strings of any long time Kitty fan.

Rose Gold is here on Friday to show the world how much Kitty has grown as both an artist and a woman. It's a revelation in a sea of mind numbing top 40 and repetitive indie trends. We can't wait to watch what she does next.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Things I Wish I'd Said To My Psychiatrist

You know what, I’m not actually doing okay. I just feel okay in your office right now because coming here makes me feel like I’m in charge of my mental health. I immediately begin flailing for the things I’ve been doing lately to curb my symptoms so that you’ll be proud of me and make me feel like I’ve made progress. This is an act.

I’m either on a high or a low, and most days I experience both. My family members and friends feel estranged from me because I can’t control my temper when they trigger me, even if they don’t mean to. I get triggered all the time. But I can’t calmly explain to them why they’ve just hurt me because I’m being manic and it just makes them feel bad. So I act like a bitch and then they go away thinking I hate them. I don’t hate them. I hate myself.

I feel bad every time I do an act of “self-love.” Every. Time. “You could have been doing something productive. Your brother is mad at you because he wanted to hang out and you were selfish with your time. Your wife thinks she’s done something wrong and you didn’t even clear that up for her. Would’ve taken you 15 minutes to have a cup of tea with her and then explain that you feel like reading a book tonight instead of going out. But no, you couldn’t do that could you?” My inner monologue is a fucking bitch, but maybe she’s right. I honestly can’t tell the difference anymore.

What I said to Dr. Wampler: “Oh yeah, I’ve been making time to garden and read lately and I really feel like I’m finding myself again.”
Translation: “I’m doing everything people tell me to do and convincing myself I’m better for their sake because I know they want to see me happy and I don’t want to let them down.”

What I said to Dr. Wampler: “I’ve been seeing more of my friends and family lately and it makes me feel grounded.”
Translation: “I get guilted out of all of my alone time, but maybe next month I’ll be able to say no and stand up for myself.”

What I said to Dr. Wampler: “I’ve been eating more fruits and veggies!”
Translation: “I’m dissociating in a major scale to the point where I don’t recognize myself and I’m obsessed with losing weight so I might be able to look in the mirror and see myself again.”

The only thing I’m really doing to take care of myself mentally and make sure I don’t hallucinate is get enough sleep, and part of me is convinced that it’s just the depression and that’s not even real progress. But I can’t tell you any of this because you’ll want to take my medicine or switch it around and I’m so fucking afraid of that. I can’t function without prozac. I literally cannot function. If I wake up later than usual and take it late, I hallucinate for a half an hour while it kicks in. I don’t want you to take it, but how the fuck else are you supposed to help me?

How the fuck else are you supposed to help me?

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Problems You Have If You Became A Nerd Later In Life

When I was growing up I couldn't afford game systems or cable TV. So while everyone was watching anime on Toonami, I was watching Arthur's built ass preach about library cards on PBS.

So there's a few problems you encounter when you don't become a hardcore nerd until a little later in life. Biggest problem: all your friends have a massive head start on you. It's incredibly intimidating to tell a friend you've been getting into Full Metal Alchemist and them have them ask you about something from Brotherhood LIKE I'M SUPPOSED TO KNOW. Bitch, they just took it off Netflix, I haven't seen that shit yet.

1. You haven't seen Yu-Gi-Oh, but you've seen Yu-Gi-Oh Abridged.

I honest to god can't imagine that the original Yu-Gi-Oh is better than Abridged. The abridged series really highlights the important things, like how gay everyone is and the fierceness of a child's card game. *angrily shuffles deck*

2. You remember Pokemon: Soul Silver vividly because it was your first Pokemon game.

I don't know about all ya'll hoes that got to play Red and Yellow, but Soul Silver was my mothafuckin' jam. It came out right as I was starting college and could afford to buy my own video games. You better believe I lined up for that shit.

3. You spend your Saturdays off catching up on old anime and sci-fi.

My other older friends spend Saturdays cleaning, playing kick ball, drinking, or playing that new Assassin's Creed game. Me? I'm elbow deep in Star Trek: Voyager. Why? BECAUSE THE NERD KINGDOM COMMANDS IT. Also I have this weird crush on B'elanna Torres...

4. Your dying words will be, "I haven't seen it yet, BUT IT'S ON MY LIST."

All the Saturdays in the world won't get you caught up on 800 episodes of One Piece. You frequently find yourself with the depressing realization that there just isn't enough time in the day to watch all the anime or read all the comics you've been meaning to. You also pride yourself in that summer that you watched all 200 episodes of Sailor Moon... and then they came out with Crystal.

5. You envy your friends' comic book collections.

"Yeah I got this vintage comic for 25 cents when I was a kid." *fervently grits teeth*

6. You might actually kill for your little brother's Pokemon card collection.

There's been quite a few times when my younger brother has gotten away with something heinous and I've wondered innocently about how much he doesn't deserve that Pokemon card stash he's got. But innocent thoughts often become SAVAGE. Where are my bungee cords?

Monday, December 5, 2016

What To Do After You Finish Buffy... Again

So you've just finished binge watching Buffy: The Vampire Slayer for the 5th time in your adult life. What the hell do you do now? Well, you could sit here, stare at this stock photo, and count all the ways it's completely inaccurate to your reality right now. Nobody's house is that white. You could start it over again until you fall asleep, hoping you'll get over it by tomorrow. You could fall into a deep pit of depression. You could do a bit of crying.

None of these options are of very sound of mind... although they all sound pretty tempting. But no, soldier. Buffy didn't defeat the first evil so you could sit in a bed of slimy tissue papers. #CALLEDOUT. 

Once you get the bad sting of finishing all of Buffy, it's easy to sit back in a bed of your own tears. But never fear! Here's three ways to cheer up a die hard Buffy fan after the caving in of Sunnydale, California.

1. Dance like a maniac to this Spotify playlist of music from The Bronze.

That's right, folks. Some benevolent creature named Jesha Stukonis compiled a playlist of over 6 hours worth of music from the hippest Sunnydale hang out. For a small town, they had some pretty bitchin' bands play on a school night.

2. Dive into the wider Buffyverse by reading the graphic novels.

That's right! Buffy continues! She lives on in the pages of beautifully drawn graphic novels. Don't worry, Joss Whedon is totally in that shit. It's from the official man himself. No nerdling could run off and leave their baby, right?

3. Find something that everyone agrees is TOTALLY binge-able so you can move on.

I know, at first it feels like cheating. But I promise that after you get into it, you'll feel better. Try Orphan Black, Stranger Things, Lost, or Wentworth (it's like the Australian Orange is the New Black). Once you feel that mad rush to press the "continue watching" button, you'll know deep down that you might one day feel happiness again.

Hopefully you'll see the light of day tomorrow knowing that there's always next year's rewatch to look forward to. Buffy proves once again that being a Scooby is more than a hobby... It's a lifestyle.

Monday, October 3, 2016

New Blog!

Hi friends. I'm writing here to let you know I'm also going to start doing reviews on a different blog, Stoner Girl Sesh. The link is here:


Follow the link for my "Stoner Review of the Westworld Premiere"!