Tuesday, July 29, 2008


"Are you okay?"
"Where'd you go?"
"Is something wrong?"

No no, my friends. Nothing is wrong. After a bout of homesickness, I just decided I needed some bagels, pizza and a really fast paced conversation with ten girlfriends, at the same time and preferably switching topics at least six times per minute. So.....New York...here...I...am!

Travel tip for you...gouge your foot open on a screw the day before you leave rendering it impossible to carry anything heavier than one pair of shoes. It works. I also amped up my limp at the airport to qualify myself for pre-boarding both my flights. Just mention "flesh wound" to an airline employee and you'll be surprised how the questions stop. I'm thinking of bandaging my face and crawling my way to the gate on my return trip in hopes of crawling my way right into first class.

As I sat at the bar yesterday at Chili's restaurant in Detroit waiting for my connecting flight, I chowed down a giant taco salad with ranch dressing and ordered a beer. The waitress asked if I wanted a double pint as she pointed to the gallon sized tumbler behind her.

"Uh, no thanks. Do you have a demi pint?"
(blank stare) "A what?"
"Oh...um, sorry. Just a small glass."
(blank stare) "You want the double pint?"
"Uh..no, just the smallest one you have."
"You want to add a double shot of whiskey for only $3?"
"Haha, you REALLY want to get me wasted! No thanks, I just want a very small, tiny, tiny glass of beer."
"Hon, this is the smallest we have."

Ahhhh, hooooooome. Love you to pieces Paris but for the next week I will be busy super-sizing, reading US Weekly and People, talking a mile a minute and understanding absolutely....everything.

I'll be back in a week...this girl just needed a brain break.
Pass the cheese fries, please.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


I just finished reading My Life In France by Julia Child and Alex Prud'Homme. A friend gave me the book to read a few months ago and I had absolutely zero idea how inspiring it would be. All I remember of Julia Child was she that she was that funny, always slightly drunk English lady who did The French Chef shows I saw as re-runs on PBS. In reality, she was a 6 foot 2, hilariously funny, native Californian (how did I confuse that??) who moved to France in 1949 at age 36 without a word of French and proceeded to discover her true calling here to which she would devote the rest of her life to....the art of French cuisine. I almost choked when I read that she lived on the exact same street that I just moved to and I finished the book in tears as I was so moved by her tales of falling in love with France and all things French. Today I went down the street to visit the building she lived in a lifetime ago. I grinned as I stood there, imagining her life here and smiling at my own adventure 60 years later.

Oui, c'est vrai. I just moved into the 7th arrondissement by a random stroke of chance that gave me a small and very cheap apartment near the Seine with a magical and beautiful quiet view. I had wanted to live in the heart of the music scene, in the 18th or the 20th but this apartment fell out of the sky and gave me an unexpected turn.

All my life I have lived on the outskirts of a city, both in Los Angeles and New York. I have always lived above a bodega or a cheap restaurant, I have always had cockroach problems, rats on the front stoop and a roof that caved in every time it rained hard. I laughed out loud the first day we moved in and I saw that the store downstairs is actually a realtor who only sells castles. Not houses. Castles. As in, real BIG castles. "Honey, I'm just going downstairs to get some milk and a castle, be right back...."

I panicked my first week here. Each time I walked out the door in my worn Converse sneakers, I thought someone would surely throw me out of here. I feel like an outsider in this area. It is rich, beautiful, soft, manicured and quiet. There are lots of old people....old women who slowly walk to the market in beautiful old dresses and smart summer hats. Old men with canes and old couples who stroll down the sidewalk with a dignity from a time long gone by. Not only am I out of my element in a foreign country, but I am also in a part of a city I would have never EVER thought to actually live in. What? No one puked on my front doorstep? No dead rat in the hallway? No heroin addict from the first floor banging on my door asking for money again?

So this is my Paris adventure continued, always something unexpected and always something new to be inspired by to write more music. There are interesting people to be found wherever you live, there are stories to be heard if only you just ask, and there is art to be made no matter where you are. Make your own scene....just buy your groceries in a cheaper part of town.

As Julia Child would say, "Bon appétit!"

Thursday, July 17, 2008


I knew the moment she stepped onto the metro, she was going to sit right next to me. Her hair in a perfect ponytail, bangs in a perfect line, skin aglow and makeup parfait, stylin' minidress, clanky yet understated and therefore chic bracelets, tanned legs, summery strappy heels, manicure/pedicure and an easy oh so breezy attitude. All eyes on the train turned towards her as she slowly and gracefully sat down next to...

Five days unwashed hair in an uncombed mess of what could loosely be described as a "ponytail", fucked up bangs in an 80s hair horror across my forehead, unshowered, no makeup, unstylish yoga pants with a skirt on over the top, old t-shirt, old Converse sneakers, a granny sweater and a ripped gym bag to carry all my Savate gear in.
Hot. I know.

As the entire train stared at the perfection sitting next to me, I thought to myself "hmmm...did I even brush my teeth this morning?" I looked at the various sets of eyes gazing at her, then quickly glancing at me, then back to her. Yeah, yeah people, I get it. I look even more homeless sitting next to HER and she looks even more glamorous sitting next to ME. Quelle surprise. I glanced over her shoulder as she pulled out a date book filled with loopy girly writing of all her activities and she carefully ran a manicured hand down her busy busy schedule that day. I rolled my eyes. All that was missing was 11:48AM - make smelly hippie girl on #4 train realize she could stand to step it up a notch or ten and stop it already with the homeless look.

So I decided to do the most immature thing I could think of. I pulled out my gym bag, pretended to search for something at the bottom and let my boxing gloves "accidentally" fall onto the floor, coughed loudly and then proceeded to put them back as slowly and conspicuously as I could so as many people could notice them as humanly possible. Why? Because I'm retarded and immature and it made me and my fuzzy teeth feel better. After class I went home and dug around my closet for my one pair of heels I have here. I'm wearing them out tonight...complete with gym sock marks, mosquito bite scabs and some leftover pedicure from February.
Hot. I know.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


I have one more week sans internet at home and I've reached my end. McDonald's may have free internet but it comes at a price. I can't bear the smell anymore and I was nearly puked on a few nights ago so I'll be brief here.....the show.....was....AWESOME!! So much fun, loads of great people and an audience attitude I would have killed for in NYC. As I sat down to play, the entire room went silent. At first I thought something was wrong but no, they were just ready to listen. And listen they did! I played for over an hour and they still clapped for more.
In NYC I would have had to shoot myself in the face to make a room go silent and even then, it might be sketchy.

Paris, I love you more every day.

Saturday, July 12, 2008


5:12AM Friday morning
ME: (shaking FB) Are you awake? Can you hear me? I need your help right now. Are you awake?
FB: What? What?
ME: I need you to look at my throat. It is covered in white spots and I think it is strep throat. I can barely swallow, my glands are totally swollen, it hurts to breathe...
FB: Quoi?
FB: (pause) Are we seriously talking about this right now?
ME: Yes! I need you to look at it with the light. Pleeeeease, I am seriously sick.
FB: (sigh) OK, turn on the light.
ME: Ok ok ok ok ok. There. Look. Ahhhhhhhh.
FB: What am I looking at?
FB: (starting to laugh) I don’t see anything.
FB: (putting down lamp) Look, I am trying to take you seriously right now but you are making it really, really difficult. Yeah, I guess your throat is a little red but I don’t see any “lesions” and I certainly don’t see the bacteria cesspool you are describing. You need to seriously RELAX. Go back to sleep. (shuts off lamp)
ME: WHAAAAAAAT? Oh my god, you totally don’t get it.
ME: I said you TOTALLY don’t GET IT.
ME: Hellllo? Oh my god, are you SLEEPING????

7:03PM Friday evening
I trudge back to my apartment from McDonald’s where I get my internet these days (don’t ask). Thoughts of doom fill my head. I hope I can make it home. I hope I can get up those steps. I hope my throat doesn’t close before the show on Sunday and I die and can’t take over France anymore. Then I see it and stop dead in my tracks.

Oh my god. Of COURSE. Chinese TAKE OUT. DUH! I’m a NINJA! How could I NOT have noticed this restaurant around the corner from my new apartment?? My mouth starts watering as I have not had Chinese take out food since I left New York. My lesions start to settle. It’s the miracle I needed and it’s RIGHT HERE. I funnel all my doom thoughts into positive miraculous rapid Asian take out magical cure for strep throat thoughts. These noodles will SAVE me. Especially if I dump half a jar of mustard on them and wash it down with two-day old white wine...isn’t vinegar an antiseptic? Oh Chez Poon, how I adooooore you!

10:33AM Saturday morning
FB: What?
ME: My strep throat is GONE. And guess what else? I dreamed last night that I was playing a show for like, 50 THOUSAND people and my hair looked really really good and behind me was a GIANT lit up screen, like in all colors, flashing really REALLY big...HUGE...IN...FRANCE!
Isn’t that AWESOME?!
FB: (laughing) Yeah, that’s really awesome.
ME: Wait, are you laughing at me? Seriously, I had strep throat.
FB: Yep, I’m sure you did.

Adding to the Kung Fu magic, I got an email today announcing my CD is now available for purchase online. It's MAGIC! I’m ready for my show tomorrow and I’m ready for you, France.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


A few days before I play a show, I usually get sick. It starts with the throat, a fever and then moves onto chills, cough, headache, joints aching, then wraps itself up nicely with me lying in a horizontal position crying “BUT I HAVE A SHOOOOW!! I CANNOOOT GET SIIIIICK!!!!”.
Then it “magically” disappears…usually...oh...right after I am done playing.

No mystery here at all. But I don’t even have the slightest bit of stage fright. My favorite times are spent playing music to an audience but I REALLY wish I could be that “chill” girl, the one whose feathers never get ruffled, the one whose stomach doesn’t hurt all the frickin' time. But I’m not. I am a high strung, over achiever who sometimes vomits at any sign of change. Change being most accurately described as in anything involving leaving the house.

No surprise then that today I woke up sick. Throat ache, check. Feverish. Check. Nice work. Right on schedule. This should flare up nicely into a full blown flu by Friday, leaving plenty of room for a full blown panic on Saturday leading right into Sunday’s show. Voila.

But this time is different. This time I decided to mix it up a little and REALLY up the ante. Give myself something REAL to panic about. So I sliced my finger open across the joint with a bread knife while opening some boxes.
FB: “Are you retaaaaaaarded???!!”
ME: “Uh, yes?”

NICE!! Why stop now? Why not take a pair of scissors to your hair and give yourself a brand new set of...

Pantera called, they want ALL their fans back. Immediately.

These bangs are not doctored, sprayed, gelled, blow-dried or styled in ANY way. Yes, my friends, they were washed and let to dry on their downy, feathery own. I spent 20 minutes trying to glue them to my head this morning and all it took was one small puff of wind to send them flying gracefully into the unicorn wings they were born to be.

Guess I better start learning some Slo-Jazz numbers for Sunday. Sigh.

Monday, July 07, 2008


This was my first thought as we tried to carry my 6,000 pound super sized extra large keyboard up the 104 steps to our new apartment. SLAM! OW! OK, 4 more flights, 4 more flights. WHAM! AAAAAGH, ok keep going, keep going, you didn't need that part of your arm anyway. A bus would be easier to move than this thing. And I thought I was going to play SHOWS here with this beast of an instrument? There is simply no WAY. The keyboard is as tall as I am and as long as most of the Parisian taxis. I could just picture trying to catch a cab with this. And to top it off, I also have my 600 pound accordion, an amp, keyboard stand, mic stand, CDs, etc. etc. Why oh WHY did I decide not to play the guitar instead...or the piccolo?

Cue: more panic. I have a show and no gear.

I guess I should have thought about my gear situation more before booking my first gig but this morning I quickly realized I had to go find a smaller keyboard to bring to the show on Sunday. Either that or transfer all my songs onto the pan flute. So off I went to Total Music in the 4th, my crap French in one hand and a huge list of gear I needed in the other. And magically, I found most everything. The staff there was SOOOOO nice to me and helpful, I Frenched it 100% the whole time, they taught me all the words for the music gear and they even called a cab for me to carry it all home. As I waited outside the store, the security guard came out and said to me..."Citroen Bleu."
I nervously handed him my store receipt and instinctively started digging in my bag for my passport and papers, thinking "Oh my god, he thought I stole it, oh my god, oh my god, there's a problem with my card, oh my god, I'm going to French jail, oh my god, oh my god...." I guess it was the uniform. He looked at me puzzled and said again...
SG: "Citroen Bleu." I stopped my digging.
ME: "Uhhhh, Citroen....limonade? Un bois?" (A drink?)
SG: "Hahaha, non. Le TAXI." (pointing to the road)
ME: "AH! Le taxi est jaune comme un citron!" (The taxi is yellow like a lemon!)
SG: "Hahahaha, non." (shaking his head)
ME: "Uh...c'est possible boire un limonade....uh...dans le taxi??"

As the guard cracked up again, a blue taxi pulled up to the curb and I saw the make of the car was Citroen. Ohhhhh. Now I get it! "Citroen Bleu!!! Je comprends!!! HIGH FIVE!" To my surprise, the guard actually returned my high five, helped me load all the gear into the taxi and off I went on my merry way with some cute new Parisian sized gear for my cute new Parisian gig.

Thursday, July 03, 2008


If you ever decide to move apartments across town in Paris, don't try and use the metro as part of your moving plan (especially during rush hour and on the hottest day of the year)...think it over again and choose something else, like maybe hire some movers or, I don't know...get a van or truck? Using the Paris metro as a moving truck is better known as "the most retarded, inefficient and painful way to move." WHO moves by hauling large garbage bags with crap falling out of them onto the metro? I'll tell you who does. Complete morons who didn't plan right. I don't know why we ended up dragging giant suitcases and various bags of junk down the 68 steps of our apartment, into the subway at 8AM, pushed and shoved out of three different hot and miserable trains, across town, then up the 104 steep steps to the new apartment. Multiple times. For 12 hours.

Uh.....we waited til the last minute and couldn't find a truck?

I tried to calculate the number of steps I climbed yesterday but I stopped counting after 1000. Why even bother at that point? As I made the last trip by myself at 9PM, I had to pull from the bottom of my very soul to find the energy to drag the last two giant garbage bags, one of which had a vacuum cleaner awkwardly sticking out of it and busting the plastic.
61, 62, 63, 64....go, go, go, you can do it, you can do it...65, 66, 67, 68....what would Bruce Lee do? ...72, 73, 74, 75....you're a ninja, you're a ninja, you're a ninja.....92, 93, 94...

As I Rambo-d it down my new street, a short girl wearing dark sunglasses and pouty lips was doing the sexy prancy walk up the sidewalk in my direction. She saw me coming, my face in a crazy grimace, grunting, sweat pouring off me, body shaking, one giant plastic bag on each shoulder with various plastic pieces falling out. As I approached, she made no move whatsoever to get out of my way. I was kind of stunned because I SAW what I looked like yesterday and it is very close to "completely and utterly insane." If I saw me coming down the sidewalk, I would have crossed the street. Maybe it was the fact she was wearing sunglasses on a cloudy night but she didn't move, I didn't move and the bag with the vacuum cleaner slammed into her as we collided. Neither one of us broke speed or looked back (at least I didn't look back). For the first time all day, I broke into a smile.

It was actually a pretty fun day.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008


I am smiling ear to ear because last night I booked my first show in Paris for Sunday, July 13th. Yes, I will be ringing in Bastille Day with a solo show at my favorite bar and most delicious restaurant, Le Delly's. In addition to serving the best cous cous on the planet and having the best music playlist ever, they have live music twice a week. Last night I gave the owner one of my CDs and asked if I could play there sometime. He looked surprised, looked at the CD, thought for a minute and asked me what my plans were for July 13th.
I said "I'm playing here."

After that, FB helped translate all the details for me. At the very end of the conversation, I could tell it was about money. After they shook hands and the owner left, I asked FB what he said to him.
FB: "Oh, he said they would pay you something at the end of the night. I told him you weren't too concerned about that."
ME: "You said I am not too concerned."
FB: "Yeah."
ME: "He offered me money and you said I was not too concerned."
FB: "Yeah, why?"
ME: "OK, let me break something down for you real quick. If someone, ANYONE offers me money, never EVER even THINK ABOUT telling that person that I am not too concerned with being paid. I AM concerned with that. DEEPLY concerned. Always, most definitely, irrevocably, indefinitely, ABSOLUTELY concerned. Crystal clear?"
FB: "Oh. Ok. Sorry."
ME: "You'd really make a great band manager."

NOTE TO SELF: Must learn French WAY WAY faster.

Sunday, July 13th
8PM, free show
Le Delly's
with Liam Carey