Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Destroyer (Part II)

Egads!!! I just found this on youtube. I'm so pissed at myself; Destroyer played on my birthday! What the fuck was I doing not being there?

Destroyer (don't let the name fool you)

I think I just found the band for my 30s. It's like when I first discovered The Smiths and The Stone Roses in my teens, and Felt and Belle & Sebastian in my 20s. I've had Destroyer's new album "Destroyer's Rubies" for quite some time now from a friend but never really bothered to listen to it until it kept popping up on the iPod on tour (it's very intuitive, my iPod). And now, a month later, Destroyer is all I listen to. I downloaded and bought all the other LPs once I got home. I've never been into one particular artist this intensely in a very long time. Dan Bejar (aka Destroyer) is a brilliant poet and his music are works of art - dense, literate, referential, melodic, sweeping. It's like the perfect soundtrack for me at present, it says everything I'm feeling now, have felt and want to feel. You see, I get very affected by music, especially lyrics... Some painter girl must have really hurt him in the past... And it's not just about love and despair; Mr. Bejar throws down the gauntlet for other writers, challenging them, especially East Coast ones to step up their game, to be ready for the bout.

And the asinine thing is that Destroyer recently played in LA but I hadn't "discovered" him yet; I was probably at home working on this silly blog.

Here are two of my favorite songs from his 2001 album, Streethawk: A Seduction -
Farrar, Straus & Giroux (Sea of Tears).mp3
The Bad Arts.mp3

Monday, November 27, 2006

I am a bad-ass feminist

I went to Anna's studio for her LTTR (Lesbians to the Rescue) Tying party. Along with other friends, I tried to help her complete the edition of 1300 Bloody String necklaces for the forthcoming LA release of the Fall/Wtr LTTR V/Issue 5/Positively Nasty. Basically, I came to drink some wine, gossip, and tie some knots.

The LTTR release party is on the 9th of December at Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects. I think that LA's Finest Crew will be djing at the afterparty which will be at the Mandrake.

Here's Anna's blurb about what this is all about.

A piece of red suede cord, knotted 13 times. the number 13: "Joie" (joy; the usual use of this number is as general luck or gambler's luck). The knots are the drops of menstrual blood which would be placed in the drink of someone you desire in order to make them fall in lust with you. An eyeball or ring is tied to the cord as "eye" of the cervix.

An amulet "an object that protects a person from trouble" (Greek) or a talisman (from Arabic tilasm, ultimately from the Greek word "talein" which means "to initiate into the mysteries.") consists of any object intended to bring good luck and/or protection to its owner. Potential amulets include: gems or simple stones, statues, coins, drawings, pendants, rings, plants, animals, etc.; even words said in certain occasions – for example: vade retro satana – (Latin, "go back, Satan"), to repel evil or bad luck.

"The blood of Isis, the virtue of Isis, the magic power of Isis, the magic power of the Eye, are protecting this the Great One; they prevent any wrong being done to him." Thus reads a portion of the 186th chapter of the Egyptian Book of the Dead, which was engraved, often with other invocations, on the Buckle of isis amulets. Great faith was placed in the magic power of this buckle or tie. It was believed that the wearer would be protected and guarded from every kind of evil for ever and ever.

The tying party

Anna (the hostess) & Pearl

As you can see, we are wearing many cervices and are drunk with power in the magic of the Eye. Beware guys (and gals), you won't be able to resist us!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

The Art of Vietnamese Haggling

Been hanging out with the folks a lot lately in Little Saigon, it's holiday season afterall. Anyhow, my very long gold necklace chain broke last year and I've been too lazy to get a new one. I was inspired last night about making one of the sea shells I found on the beach in Cabo earlier this year into a pendant. But first, I had to get a new chain. So we had a family outing to Phước Lộc Thọ, known in English as Asian Garden Mall.

When buying gold, I always bring my mom, she is an expert haggler, it's a sport to her and she always win. I'm just her apprentice. For the Vietnamese, 18k is supreme, 14k is too meager, and 22k is too soft (totally acceptable but a bit too yellow gold for my taste). This is because our history has been one of unstable currency and gold is seen more valuable (which it is). My mom has always told me and sister to invest in gold cuz' "you can always sell it when you need money." Yep, that's the rufugee mentality. But it makes such sense right?

So here are some rules you should adhere to if you're ever in the mood to buy some jewelry at a Vietnamese mall:

1. know what you want
2. find it
3. compare it - it's always good to know the proprietor; at this mall, my parents know between 4-5 which makes it quite easy for us to get a realistic initial quote.
4. discuss, negotiate, chit chat (be friendly) - this is the truly fun part of this experience. I love it. I'm getting to be really good at it.
5. walk away - unless you know that the price is really reasonable, walk away and compare again. I love walking away; like I'm all snotty and bitchy; I make this great face.
6. decide - go back to the lowest price and make a last ditch effort to bargain some more, you can always go down just a little more but you gotta know when to stop. There's a fine line; you don't want to insult the proprietor.
7. commit - once you agree on the price, there is no going back, you would be losing face if you back out now. It's like the item is yours once you commit so be decisive and confident of your decision.
8. buy it - it's yours and you're better for it!

This is the third place I went to but it was more than the second place. Nice selection though.

Back to the second place where I
finally committed as it was the best price. I got him to go down just a little bit more which felt good; like I accomplished something major. That's my gold on the scale!

This is the repair man who made my sea shells into pendants with very nice gold hardware. He works hard.

After shopping, we were hungry and decided to go get some balut downstairs. Just kidding, I'm adventurous but not quite enough, too scary for me. We opted for sugarcane juice instead.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Grievous Desert

Got the opportunity to travel to Joshua Tree for work earlier this week. Perfect timing, perfect weather, perfect escape.

Made a pilgrimage to Gram's spiritual site, it was more adorned than I've ever seen it. There was an empty bottle of Patrón Silver, a "Fallen Angels" DVD, a compass, a harmonica, guitar picks, some pennies including a Canadian coin dollar, and graffitied love messages.

Hilz against the desert sky.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Pie Season

It's pie season and for Thanksgiving this year, I've decided to make pecan pie. I did a test bake this evening and I think it turned out pretty alright. I used one of the recipes from the hillbilly country cookbooks I recently purchased at a Civil War store in Tennessee. To fancy things up, I added Jack Daniels for a more grown-up flavor. It's pretty tasty.

Good for a first try though I have to use one of my smaller pie dishes next time as there's too much crust here. More pecans too I think.

These cookbooks are the best! I've been looking for something like this for a while now. They're so precious, eggs is spelled "aigs." Next time I cook, gonna have to make "Squirrel & Sweet Taters" and "Clinch Mountain Vinegar Pie." Yummy.

To Find Me Gone

Then I went see Vetiver at the Jim Hensen Rec Center. "To Find Me Gone" is one of my favorite records this year. Was pleasantly surprised to see that Farmer Dave was playing pedal steel with them. The show was amazing, Andy's voice is beautiful, Dave made aural magic. There were some lovely freaky folky peeps there which was comforting to see; I'm back in LA.

w/ Farmer Dave. This is the shortest my hair has been in like 8 years. Got it cut the night I got home from tour. Such a good feeling. Now I'm thinking I should go shorter? Should I?

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Bò 7 Món

Once I was done with the museum, I drove to Little Saigon to visit my parents, whom I haven't seen in months. Turns out they already had dinner plans with old friends but hey, I was invited to join (of course). The best part was that it was Bò 7 Món (7 courses of beef) at Pagolac Restaurant, a traditional Vietnamese culinary extravaganza, a glorious celebration of beef. Sounds too beefy? It's actually quite healthy for you, lots of veggies and protein, prepared 7 different ways. Some restaurants also serve Cá 7 Món (fish) and Chó 7 Món (dog) but that's only available in Vietnam. :)

Not eating any Vietnamese for a month, I was eagerly waiting for the gluttony. My favorite part of this dining experience is the dipping sauce, mam nem. It's not fish sauce (though my parents prefer this), it's fermented shrimp with freshly chopped lemongrass and pineapple, very specific to this dish. Sounds gnarly right? It's so damn good, I go through it like it's nobody's business.

The banter during dinner was of the usual sort: "you look cuter now," my mom's friend would say to her, or "she has good sweat," referring to my jade bangle which has become quite green of late, or "you should tell jokes in between songs, the audience will love it!" my dad's friend was advising me.

Pagan Rights

After yoga today, I drove down to the Orange County Museum of Art to view the 2006 California Biennial show. I wanted to see My Barbarian's video installation, "Pagan Rights." I'm in a bit of it, you see, and hadn't seen it yet so was curious. This is the greatest thing My Barbarian has ever made, so visually stunning, so visceral, so fun to watch (I was giggling in the gallery) and so embedded with social and political commentary. The show is up until New Year's Eve.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

The Homestretch (East Coast Grease and Southern Hospitality)

Making my way back home. In a way I feel like I've been gone forever but it's all in the head, my perspective is all messed up. I just need to be alone and wallow in my own misery. Thanks to Steak'n'Shake, Culver's Butter Burgers & Frozen Custard, Waffle House, Cracker Barrel, Perkins, Denny's, McDonald's, Wendy's, Country Inn and Tim Horton's. Kinda makes me sick to even write these names down but they really made my dining experience especially special on this tour.

Gorgeous Hilz in NYC.

Always in New York will I run into someone from Los Angeles. Saw Alex’s profile ahead of me, and sure enough, there he was strolling down 1st Ave. with Jade. They were in town for a private My Barbarian show. Lovely lovely folks.

Beautiful Phuong w/ Sanford, who graciously gave us their LES apt. Suggested Clinton St. Bakery which made for a nice breakfast one morning. Clinton Street – thought of Leonard Cohen and Famous Blue Raincoat.

Mr. Fanuelle. He really stepped up the game with the scarf and suspenders. Genius as ever.

The Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel - I can see why it's one of the seven engineering wonders of the modern world, quite impressive and makes for a lovely sunset drive.

Ducktape Man, Robbie, modeling his homemade Halloween costume in Virginia Beach.

This is probably my favorite photo I’ve taken so far on this tour. It’s saved as my wallpaper right now. It’s so East Coast, so Atlantic at its best. It was great waking up a block from the beach and having it sunny and warm for the first time on this tour. I thought I had lost that feeling.

That’s me jumping for joy I suppose. I really don’t know why I did this. Kinda stupid now though.

Southern hospitality in North Carolina. Aslan, in his wonderfully eccentric abode, welcomed us for the night. We listened to Nina Simone which put me in a nice slumber.

Somewhere in Tennessee today. I wasn’t able to capture the real shock and excitement of this image as my timing was off. But I do believe that there are around four deer in the back of this pick-up truck. Looks like they were just shot this morning, so fresh and so young.

George Jones at the Civil War Country Store. Click on the image to enlarge the pic so you can see where Mr. Jones signed his name; it vaguely reminds me of Jeffrey "No Neck" from Project Runway.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Into the Great White North

The hectic drive into Utah.

Snowy fun at the rest area.

Jacknifed again. We saw about 15 of these unfortunate fellars driving through Wyoming.

With some of my precious friends at Memories Restaurant in Colorado.

I guess in Iowa, Super Unleaded is cheaper than Regular. Radical.

Surprisingly hip "Little House on the Prarie" look in Minneapolis.

The merch girls budget Halloween costume in 3-D.

Going down to the stoney end with The Black Angels in Montreal.