Thursday, January 29, 2009

PIG SLAUGHTER WEEKEND GETAWAY


FB: "Oh, by the way, my Mom wants to know if you want to go to a pig slaughter next weekend."
ME: ".........a what?"
FB: "A pig slaughter. In Burgundy. You wanna go?"
ME: "......." (lost in images of Charlotte's Web meets Texas Chainsaw Massacre)
FB: "Hello?"
ME: "Uh.....sooooo....like, the invite is to go watch a pig get butchered? With like, a knife? Is it like...alive?"
FB: "Yes, of course it's alive, then it gets slaughtered. Then it's dead. Then you butcher it."
ME: "Right. Of course. My college degree in Theater covered that. Wow. OK. Well, sure, I'll go...I mean when was the last time I got invited to a slaughter? I should get out more anyway."

Each year my French in-laws buy a pig from the farm next door and help slaughter and butcher it. We ate last year's pig for months, every time we visited we would walk away with a bag of meat. So I decided to go this weekend. For a week I have been professing my noble reasons for wanting to become one with the animal before I eat it, for wanting to witness where my meat comes from. If I am to eat it, then I must bear witness and thank it for it's meat. Become at peace with the food chain, blah blah blah.
My Greek accordionist friend who grew up with many farm animals asked me today after I told him where I was going and after spouting my lofty city/fake hippie girl "gets" the country life reasons.....

GA: "So, have you ever seen an animal killed before?"
ME: "Wulll....not really....I guess...(desperately searching for any moment in my New Jersey suburban childhood that might include an animal slaughter)...hmmm.....no. I guess never."
GA: "I have to tell you, with a pig, it can be quite brutal, especially the squealing, it's very human and you may be traumatized. And there is a LOT of blood."
ME: "But....like, I just like, want to...(images of knives)...you know...(sounds of humanlike pig squealing)....SEE what I'm eating (bloody carnage images).....and....uh....you know....(trails off)....become....one...with...stuff?"

I'm still going. Tomorrow morning I set out solo on a train to watch Wilbur's throat get cut and chopped into pieces. Just a weekend getaway with my French in-laws, the farmers, a pig and one possibly vomiting, crying city girl traumatized for the next six years. I may return on Monday a vegetarian. Or more likely strapped to a gurney, frothing at the mouth, eyes bugging out of my head while I scream uncontrollably "IT WAS ALIIIIIIVE, IT WAS ALIIIIIIIIIVE, IT WAS ALIIIIIIIIVE!!!!"
Gulp.

Bon weekend.
Party on.

xx

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

YOU HAVE MORE GUT.



My Savate teacher told me point blank I am fat today.
In front of the whole class.
The class where I stand in the front row.
The class where I am the only girl.
Right before he started the warm up he looked at me, grabbed his own gut and said "I see you have more...somethingsomethingIcouldn'tunderstand". I suddenly felt five pairs of eyes behind me boring into the back of my apparently GIANT ASS. I almost choked but managed to laugh it off with a "hahaha oui....hahaha....oui".
hahaha yes...hahaha yes?
THAT'S my best comeback?!

OK, so I have kind of sort of been in denial that eating up to two galettes a day mixed with giant bowls of pasta at 11PM for weeks would have any physical effect on me whatsoever. And OK, so I have kind of sort of noticed that this past week my pants got like, kind of sort of really tight. Even my purple fat pants which were dug out of obscurity a few days ago. Then yesterday I rolled over in bed and I felt my stomach kind of sort of roll slightly AFTER the rest of me rolled over and I thought "hmmm, that's interesting". But a public humiliation seems to me a kind of sort of I don't know, HARSH way to break someone out of their denial.

I am taller than any of the French dudes in my class. And now, apparently, I am also wider. Throughout the warm up, my anger at my teacher, galettes, French dudes, French language, everything started to boil as I angrily double timed my sit ups like a crazy person, steam shooting from my ears. They were all talking about Obama and didn't even look at me and I couldn't understand what they were saying about him or the US and that made my rage even MORE palpable.

Here you all are talking about MY country and all any of you has to say to me is I AM FAT?!#$%@! Well, guess what, mofos? I AM fat and America frickin' RULES and so does BUTTER and FU if you think me and my cake rolls are gonna let this one slide by like bacon on my back fat.
Game ON.

While the French dudes leisurely made their way through sit ups, talking the whole time and pausing every so often to have more animated discussions I couldn't follow about the US and Obama, I stopped caring about understanding and tuned them out, pretended I was in the Marines and ripped through warm up like I was going for drill sergeant. As soon as warm up ended, adrenalin pumping and game face on, I sprinted to the locker room, pulled my gloves on, body slammed the heavy hanging bag twice on my way out and happily stepped onto the floor to work with my teacher.....

BAM!
Yes.
BAM!
We.
BAM!
Can.

I hit him so hard at one point his contact flew out. But he seemed to really enjoy it and the harder I hit, the more he smiled and the more enraged I got so the harder I hit and the more he smiled and so on and so on. Towards the end of class I nailed a series of head kicks that sent him across the floor. As I bounced back across the room with my gloves up, I realized the class was silent. I looked up and saw five sets of eyes silently staring at me.
Breathing heavily, I stare back.
What are YOU lookin' at?
I notice no one is sweating.
Silence.
Sweat drips off my brow and falls to the floor.
Silence.
"Wusses", I think.
My teacher breaks the silence with "I think that's enough for today." Enough for who? My rage workouts last waaaaaay longer than just an hour, Teach. I wipe the sweat off, do 45 more minutes of weights in the weight room, grab my bag, put my best and brightest red lipstick on and roll myself right on out the door.
You mess with the bull, you're gonna get the horns, son.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

AU REVOIR & BONJOUR, MR. PRESIDENT

A friend sent me a live clip from my smash hit/standing room only/reduced the crowd to tears but brought them back with peals of laughter/three encores/four people fainted/medics/fireworks stage show the other night.

The clip is my butchered French intro to what recently became my "George Bush" song titled "The Monster". Originally written about corporate America and performed with my former band Stupid, it has since become my homage to George Bush and is my instant crowd pleaser song here in Paris. I dedicated it to Mr. Bush for the last time at a show last night and it made me a little sad. But it's ok, I can just go back to railing on corporations. As the video clip my friend sent of the show cut off right after the intro, I thought I would add the original recording of the song. But I couldn't figure out how to just post an audio file, so I got all fired up and decided to make what could best be described as WORST MUSIC VIDEO EVER MADE BY ATTEMPTING TO GET POLITICAL WHILE MAKING OBVIOUS STATEMENTS AND ASSOCIATIONS USING SHITTY INTERNET PICTURES AND CHEAP GRAPHIC TRICKS WITH IMOVIE.

But the song is there. :)

video

Au revoir, George Bush. Bonjour, Barack Obama. I may be in Paris but I can feel the hope and excitement from here on this historic day. Cautiously optimistic......

Sunday, January 18, 2009

ODE TO LES MUSICIANS

The feature film I just scored premiered this weekend at Slamdance Film Festival. It is called Drool and stars Laura Harring from Mulholland Drive (you know, the hot brunette who makes out with Naomi Watts).

I am really happy how the score came together and had a hectic yet amazing time recording over a month with my New York posse.....

Jeff Byrd - engineer extraordinaire and my partner in crime.

Matt Bixby
I went to his studio twice where he proceeded to do what he does best....ideas. "Matt, play me something like, plucky, not loud, not too sad but a little tense".
I walked away with 36 tracks. He will never ever play the same thing twice which means my engineering skills had to be on "A game" cause if I didn't get it the first time...well, just forget it.


Benjamin Hoyumpa I know he's a little young but hey....(this is actually Parker Hoyumpa, son of best drummer ever, Ben. The one with the camera). He knocked out 9 songs in 3 hours. It ruled.


Liam Carey I was so happy to work with Liam again who added his beautiful voice, guitar playing and amazing harmonic ear to several songs.

Chern Hwei Fung
Came up with five part harmonies off the top of his head in single takes. Seriously.

I love finishing projects....


Merci mon posse. I'll be back for the next one....

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

LE SHOW



I am particularly excited about tomorrow night's concert because...

a. It is my first show at a venue where I don't have to worry about my levels of loudness, aka my levels of ROCKNESS
b. I am playing with two French singers who I really like
c. I haven't rocked it outside of a studio in three months, I'm like a crack addict about to get her fix.

I play at 10PM, 22h00 and it's free free free.....lalala....
xoxo Dana

Monday, January 12, 2009

THE WORLD IS MINE


Having lost the throne, I went on an all out galette bender. For three days I ate an almost exclusive diet of galettes. By myself. One by one. Piece by piece. Picking out prizes, shoving the rest of the cake in my mouth and adding another crown to my ever-growing pile.

I'm not sure if it's the horrific gas or the 10 lbs. I gained from eating an exclusive diet of butter and sugar but somehow, none of the new galettes made me feel any better. Though I technically already gained my kingdom back by winning (albeit against myself) 11 times over, I couldn't forget the one that got away. The one I couldn't cheat my way into. Somehow I just...didn't feel like a king anymore....or queen for that matter. All I felt like was a big fat buttery nobody.

So I decided to go search out the wisdom of previous kings. What better place to go king soul searching than the Basilique Saint-Denis, the mother of all resting places for French royalty?


Situated in a suburb of Paris, it was there that I found peoples who could really relate to my plight. Dead peoples who knew my pain. Dead peoples who had BEEN there. I walked between the tombs and crypts of French kings and queens and sat meditating quietly. I'm not sure if it was the blistering wind drafts but something hit me right then and there among the dead monarchy and I gained a sudden clarity.

It doesn't matter HOW you gain control, what matters is that you HAVE control.

So I lost my kingdom for one night? So what? I got it back 11 more times and it doesn't MATTER that no one else was playing! I am still the KING and I have 14 crowns to prove it! What would Napoleon do? Duh! Smash the crown, call yourself EMPEROR and call it a day!

I got back on my horse the very next day for a visit to the American Legion Post #1. My father (an American Legion member) was in town visiting and we decided to check out their New Year's get together where they would be serving.....that's right....galette.

Guess who got the prize?
Crown # 15. M.I.N.E.


It's not as nice as Louis XV's....but it's MIIIIIIIIIINE. The galette craze ends this week as the bakeries one by one stop selling them. Until next year my little almond butter ones....

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

REVOLUTION


My reign of galette terror ended last night abruptly and left me with a hole in my heart and anger in my soul for what could have been, what SHOULD HAVE BEEN MINE. My strategy of hording the galette and systematically fishing out the prize for myself was brought to an end when we had one of FB's French friends over for champagne and galette. Not wanting to reveal my Napoleon side right off the bat, I stood in the kitchen quickly trying to scheme a way to get the prize. I decided my best bet would be to cut the galette into four pieces, give myself the biggest piece and leave a piece in the kitchen (as every one I have eaten so far had the prize in the last piece). Smiling at my ingenuity, I confidently brought out the three plates:

FB #2: Wait, you can't just serve up the pieces you want.
FB #1: And why did you only cut three pieces out?
FB #2: You just cut THREE pieces? Where's the last piece?
FB #1: Yeah, where's the last piece!? Are you hiding it in the kitchen? You can't do that either!
FB #2: And why is your piece enormous??? No way. We're redoing this.

Damnit.
OK, so these guys are harder to play out than I had expected.
Fine.

FB #2 hides his eyes and as I point to a piece of galette, he says who the piece will belong to. I hate this game. This is stupid and I don't want to play anymore. I wolf down my piece and find it prizeless. I try and hide my scorn as I watch them slowly eat their pieces. Why should THEY win the prize when I CLEARLY want and DESERVE it the most??? My mood lightens when I see that they too....are PRIZELESS. The prize is still out there. In the kitchen. In the last piece. And it will be MINE.

"Oh! I have a GREAT idea!" I say as I run into the kitchen and quickly devise another scheme. I will feel out where the prize is, put all the pieces under three bowls and put the prize one under the bowl with a mark on it.
Suckas. They don't stand a CHANCE! Hahahahahahaha

I bring the bowls out and start the switcheroo. Switch. Switch. Switch. But in my delusions of grandeur, I somehow manage to forget the most important step, the step I have to do for this to actually work....I MUST go first but FB #1 is already choosing a bowl. MY BOWL. The one with the mark! Waaaaaiiit.....nooooooooooo! I can't show what a lying, cheating immature grade schooler I really am. At least not in front of a guest. In my mind, Napoleon is dying as I reluctantly hand over the winning piece to him with a tight smile "Here you go. Good luck."

My insides turn over as I watch him find the prize and happily announce that my reign is now officially OVER and could I run and fetch the crown for him please? I can't believe I let it go so easily. Napoleon would have NEVER made such a stupid mistake! But there is always tomorrow.....

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

REIGN OF TERROR


It's Epiphany time here in Paris which means the boulangeries all carry my most favorite cake ever made on the planet...past, present and future. The galette des rois, aka kings' cake. The most delightfully deliciously almondy, buttery piece of heavenly AWESOMENESS I have ever tasted. My epiphany this year is that I need to replace as many meals as possible with galettes, to be the best I can be, to eat as many as I can and most importantly, to win the prize every time.
BRING IT.

Each galette comes with a crown. There is a little trinket baked in each cake and whoever gets the trinket is crowned king. My reign of terror began last night when I systematically sliced and ate my way through an entire galette for six people in one sitting. In the last piece was the snowman trinket. YOU ARE MINE, LITTLE MAN for I am now crowned KIIIIIIING, mwahahahahaha! I wore my crown to bed and repeated my assault this morning on another galette for four people, this time no knife, just chomping my way to the little panda bear trinket on the other side. YOU CAN RUN BUT YOU CANNOT HIDE, ENDANGERED ONE!
Victory is mine again. DOUBLE KING!
I shall save my crown for an heir.

This is super easy holding down my iron fist reign of terror, just don't let anyone else near the cake(s). FB asked me where the galettes went.....I told him I didn't know.

Off to the boulangerie to try my hand at a galette for ten people....

Monday, January 05, 2009

SON OF FIVE & A HALF



These are the shoes that launched a thousand ships.

When I lived in New York, I basically had half my apartment stored in the hallway outside my front door. Everything from the air conditioner to a broken vacuum cleaner, seven trash bags filled with clothes, wire desk organizers, plates, two bathroom gift sets and a pair of crusty pajamas that sat on top of the pile for approximately three years. No one ever said anything. Why would they? No one cared that the fire escape was perpetually blocked by the sports nut next door neighbor's giant duffle bags of sweaty gym clothes and various baseball bat collections. No one cared that the painter downstairs would consistently drag his giant canvases into the tiny, unventilated hallway and proceed to spray them down with toxic paint fumes, then leave them there for weeks, sometimes months on end. No one moved a muscle to clean up the dead mouse on the second floor. Or to remove the plaster chunks when the ceiling caved in....again. The only thing you had to "worry" about was your piles of shit outside your apartment getting stolen when the crack addict on the 1st floor quit N.A. and went back to using. My rollerblades (used once) disappeared around then. I think I finally noticed the following year. 'Cause no one cared.
The least of all....me.

But now I live in a fancy building in France. Where seemingly everyone cares. Deeply. Emotionally. About EXACTLY what I choose to leave in the hallway outside my front door. Fortunately for me, I am the foreigner in the building whose wide smile and frequent, terribly improper tendency of using the familiar CA VA?!!?? (and way too loud) with everyone I see has...

a. rendered me so dimwitted I am not to be spoken to EVER
b. rendered me so frightening and so toxic I am not to be looked in the eye or have my presence acknowledged IN ANY WAY unless I am with the French husband
c. all of the above

The only one in the building who actually speaks to me is the concierge from Portugal. She's down with me 'cause I'm a foreigner like her and I keep asking her to teach me how to say her dog's name with the right Portugese accent. She had a conversation with FB while I was in New York about the "shoes situation" by our front door. Evidently, it has caused quite the stir in the building. This came as a surprise to me as we live on the top floor in an isolated hallway with no neighbors. No one has any cause to walk by our apartment unless they come up to look for something. I suddenly got the vision of the snoopy old rich ladies who live here coming up to rubberneck the foreigner with her foreigner ways, finding my well worn sneakers and recoiling in horror before running down to complain to the concierge.
It seems someone, or someONES.....care.
WHO, I wonder, WHO are the shoes actually bothering???
So naturally, we just left the shoes there.
Like shark bait. Waiting and wondering if they would come ask us directly while my suspicions about the identities of real complainers began to form....

FIVE AND A HALF, the REAL cuplrit.
We live on the sixth floor but technically it is the seventh floor because the apartment below us is on a half floor. It has a little half front door and it is the only apartment where I have never seen the woman who lives there. I know she is there all the time because I can hear her below me all day. I have seen the woman in FIVE peeking through a crack her door to stare at me as I come up the steps but FIVE AND A HALF has remained an unsolved mystery until....

ENTER SON OF FIVE AND A HALF
About a month ago, I was home alone when the doorbell rang. I froze in my usual terror before tiptoeing to the door and sheepishly answering. It was a man of about 45 years old and he asked for Veronique. I told him "Veronique for it has been six months moves and now I live here with my husband". He told me he was the son of the Madame who lives below me and asked to use my phone because she does not answer when he knocks on her door and he forgot his phone. I asked him to wait there, shut the door, returned and brought him my cell phone. He asked to use my home phone claiming it was cheaper but I insisted he use my cell phone in the hallway. He made his call, left and I thought nothing of it UNTIL.....

NEW YEAR'S EVE 9PM
I am in the kitchen preparing food for our friends who are coming over. FB opens our front door as he thought he heard someone outside and who is standing there? None other than SON OF FIVE AND A HALF. Again. But this time, he is just standing there. He seems taken by surprise but then proceeds to complain to FB about the "shoe situation", how it is REALLY out of control now and that this space is common space and it REALLY needs to be taken care of. And that we should watch out because things outside the apartment can get stolen. I'm sorry, is that a veiled threat in there? Dude, I dealt with a crack addict, SON OF FIVE AND A HALF doesn't scare me in the slightest. Go ahead, steal my shoes. I have six more pair exactly like them. And don't MAKE me go get an air conditioner for the hallway too, pal. I could have six plastic bags of crap out here faster than you can say GIVE ME THE MOTHERFUCKING ROLLERBLADES, I NEED SOME SMACK.
Whatevs.

As our friends arrived at just that moment and filed past SOFH loudly with flowers and champagne, I had to wonder...why on earth did you feel the need to bring this up on New Year's Eve of all nights and more importantly...WHO SENT YOU??!!
WHO. IS. FIVE AND A HALF?!!
And how can she HATE MY SHOES when she NEVER comes OUT???!!

I moved the shoes inside today after realizing I had spent waaaay too much time on this and in the end, I didn't really care all thaaaaaat much. I grabbed my shopping cart, walked down the 7 flights of stairs, staring at the mysterious half door as I passed five and a half. As I walked through the courtyard, I felt someone staring at me. I quickly turned around and looked up directly at five and a half just in time to see the curtain rustle and move back into place. I stood there in the snow for a moment before smiling and waving.

FIVE AND A HALF.....who AAAAARE you?
The mystery continues......