Saturday, December 30, 2006

Merry Goo Year

Eric Slick with Project Object, Mexicali Blues, Teaneck, NJ 12-29-06

Merry Goo Year courtesy of John Lennon, The Beatles Christmas Album, 1964

So all is slow in blogland on Christmas week - I think most people are on holiday physically or mentally. I've been holding out talking about Friday night's Project Object show at Mexicali Blues to see if any other people wrote about it and I could post their reviews as well but I've been coming up empty so the hell with it, I'll go first.

But before I do, if you live anywhere near Northampton, MA, the band is playing a gig there tonight at the Pearl Street and if it's just half as good as the show I saw Friday night, you are really in for a treat.

So there's a shot of Eric, Ike Willis, and bassist Dave Johnsen

Yeah, Mexicali Blues was AMAZING. But before I talk about the music, I must do the food. I've been all over America and Europe and that was hands down the best bar/music venue food I've ever had. Here's their menu. I had the Mexican spring roll and the mussel chowder, which I think had was so fucking good I never wanted it to end.

But enough about my serious food addiction, let's talk music. Crescent Moon was the opener and they were punk and fun and sounded like a hell of a lot more than just bass and drums. I spoke to bassist Dave Dreiwitz before he took the stage and he was hoping the crowd of Zappa freaks there to see Project Object would be open to their music and I don't think he had anything to worry about - people really, really dug them and I think if he had CDs of that night's gig for sale after the show, he'd have sold out.

Unfortunately, we were busy stuffing our faces with the aforesaid food while they were playing so I didn't get any shots of Crescent Moon, damn it, but here's one Gary took when he saw them play at the very same venue a few months ago:

Anyway, so then Project Object took the stage, and from the first song in, they were amazing.

Here's the set list:

Honey, Don't You Want A Man Like Me?
She Painted Up Her Face - Half A Dozen Provocative Squats - Shove It Right In
T'Mershi Duween - The Dog Breath Variations - Uncle Meat
Uncle Remus
Ms. Pinky
What's New in Baltimore?

Keep It Greasey
Outside Now
I Have Been in You
Broken Hearts Are for Assholes
I'm So Cute
Inca Roads
Sy Borg
Baby Snakes

Echidna's Arf (Of You) - Don't You Ever Wash That Thing?

It was hard to believe it was only their second show of the tour; hard to believe that they didn't even get to have that many rehearsals because all of their musicians are working/touring with other bands simultaneously; but oh man did they rock.

The set list is about 50-60% different from the spring tour and yeah, yeah, as Eric's mother, I loved the additions -- particularly the drum solos and all his vocals. Eric is pretty active singing and hamming it up with these guys and it's really cool and interesting for me to see how he individually approaches his stagemanship with the various bands he's in. With Project Object, he's like class clown and it's great! With Chris Harford, he's laid back steady beat drummer, and with Adrian...well, he's more...hmmm...reflective while insanely rocking out at the same time...I can't think of a better phrase and Eric will probably read this and want to shoot me for the entire paragraph so Er, let me apologize now in advance.

Here's a pic of guitar great Robbie "Seahag" Mangano (by the way, these photos are courtesy of Gary)

And here's keyboardist Erik Svalgard:

Anyway, like I said, I couldn't find anything in the way of reviews yet but I did see this on the Ween Forum Board

"Show was great tonight...Dave Dreiwitz' band Crescent Moon opened and they were pretty dang good too..

The kid on drums for both acts is a monster!!! Fantastic guitar playing all through the night...."


Re: Lastnight's Project/Object show, Bit Torrent

Quote: The kid on drums for both acts is a monster!!!

Holy Shit..I'll second that.Eric Slick I believe. 19 years old and unfuckinbelievable..found my self at times tuning everyone else out and zoning in on's like he's one with his kit..amazing..add a lil Seahag and Soulboner to the mix and it was on! Those dinner tables in the middle of the dance floor gotta go..."


"i saw the Adrian Belew trio a few months ago, it was Belew, Eric Slick, and Eric Slicks sister on bass."

"Soulboners gf was telling me about that trio and how awesome it was. She said his sis is just as much of a virtuoso as him."

Yeah, yeah, I know I'm a broken record with these forum board quotes I find but I can't help it, they make me smile from ear to ear. Damn I wish I could be at the show tonight. Gary is going to the Eagles game at 4:00; Julie is working, so I get to spend New Years Eve pretty much alone until later tonight and I can't say I'm unhappy about that at all. I never liked going out on New Years -- I hate crowds of people and banquet style food and ugh, kissing strangers at midnight. But worst of all, I hate New Years resolutions.

Err..anyone got any? Feel free to post. Or, feel free to post that you hate them, too.

If I find any reviews or anything else of note happens between now and midnight, I will be back. If not, Merry Goo Year!


Friday, December 29, 2006

Tonight at Mexicali Blues in Teaneck, New Jersey: Project Object

Ike Willis and Eric Slick of Project Object

So yep, tonight is the night -- I get to see my son on drums with Project Object since their final show of the spring tour on May 14, 2006 -- so much has happened since then it's ridiculous and it feels like ten years ago already. To say I'm psyched is putting it mildly. Anyway, their gig is at Mexicali Blues (which I have on authority has a kick ass restaurant as well), doors open at 6:00 p.m., and depending on which reports you read on which website, the opening act -- Crescent Moon -- which is also Eric on drums and Ween's Dave Dreiwitz on bass, takes the stage at either 8:00 p.m. or 9:00 p.m. and Project Object 9:00 p.m., 10:00 p.m., or 11:00 p.m.

Gah! I hate not knowing.

Therefore, me being me, got totally frustrated and wrote to the venue so as soon as I know for sure what time the show actually does start, I will come in and edit this post.

I'm also on the prowl for a review of last night's show in Baltimore so if anyone who was there reads this, please let me know how it went in the comments section here.


Thursday, December 28, 2006

Tonight in Baltimore - Eric Slick with Project Object!

The band strikes a pose during the Spring tour, 2006

I am such a dork! I've been so crazed with the holidays and writing and stuff I neglected to promote my son's show tonight -- for those of you new to this blog, besides his regular gig as drummer for Adrian Belew, Eric is also drummer for an amazing Zappa cover band Project Object featuring original Zappa guitarist and vocalist Ike Willis. They begin a sixteen day tour tonight in Baltimore at The 8x10 and Eric is the opening act as well - he has a bass and drums band called Crescent Moon featuring Ween's Dave Dreiwitz.

Here's the rest of the tour schedule -- and you'd better believe I'll be at the show in Teaneck, New Jersey tomorrow night and d'oh, World Cafe Live in Philadelphia on January 9 - whether I'll make any other shows is up in the air right now...but oh my god, if you live in the area near any of these venues, this is one of the all time greatest bands and trust me, you will have the time of your life. These lunatics play for 3-4 hours a night and literally close the bars down and have to be kicked off the stage -- and after I post the tour schedule, I'll give you a link to a You Tube of them -- coincidentally filmed in Baltimore on May 6, 2006 -- that will blow you away.

Project/Object with Ike Willis
performing the music of Frank Zappa
New Year's '06-'07 Tour

12/28 Thu - The 8x10 Club - Baltimore, MD
12/29 Fri - Mexicali Blues - Teaneck, NJ
12/30 Sat - Century Lounge - Providence, RI
12/31 Sun - Pearl Street Nightclub - Northampton, MA

1/2 Tue - Club Cafe - Pittsburgh, PA
1/3 Wed - Club Cafe - Pittsburgh, PA
1/4 Thu - The Beachland Ballroom - Cleveland, OH
1/5 Fri - Martyrs' - Chicago, IL
1/6 Sat - Martyrs' - Chicago, IL

1/9 Tue - World Cafe Live - Philadelphia, PA
1/10 Wed - Chameleon Club, Lancaster, PA
1/11 Thu - Regatta Bar - Boston, MA
1/12 Fri - Nectar's - Burlington, VT
1/13 Sat - Revolution Hall - Troy, NY

And for your viewing pleasure, here's the link to the boys doing an absolutely incredible rendition of Cosmik Debris.

For some unknown reason, the embedding feature has been disabled so you'll have to click on the link to go to You Tube but it is so, so worth it.



Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Ho Ho Ho - Part Two

Monty dying of embarrassment on Christmas morning and if he could talk, he would have said "Mom! What are you doing to me! I thought you loved me!"...but at least I managed to get that shot of him before he ripped off his Santa hat in disgust.

So...much has occurred since I last posted -- the best Christmas ever, the death of James Brown...but I'm kind of taking a couple days off from serious blogging because it's just been too hectic around here -- Eric leaving to go on tour today, all kinds of stuff, really, but here's a couple things of interest.

Sometime this week I will post one of my favorite gifts -- lyrics to an MP3 which Julie and Eric wrote and recorded for me entitled "All I Want for Christmas is a Book Deal". They actually went through my entire blog for the year and said lyrics include some shout-outs which are hilarious. (Yeah, yeah, I do believe the name "Gaiman" is mentioned a few times). And of course I'll give the complete holiday run-down complete with who got what and accompanying photos.

Also, thank you to the many people who came to my rescue and translated the Hungarian groupie piece. My favorite was an email I received as follows:

Dear Robin,

Your cry for Hungarian help went out to everyone in the world who gets a Google e-mail alert when the word "Hungarian" appears in new web content. There aren't many of us -- mainly journalist types like myself, I imagine, who cover this country, or hacks at the Hungary desk at CIA headquarters.

I'll give you a quick translation of the title, lead and section on you -- I'll just did the subtitles on the other persons mentioned. Note that some idioms were very colloquial and I may have fudged one or two by putting them in non-idiomatic language where I couldn't think of a corresponding English expression.

Best wishes,

Budapest, Hungary

Groupies, number 3 in a series - Where do we go from here?

We hope you've noticed our little series of articles in which we spread information (as well as rumors, which perhaps cannot be classified as information, but are perhaps even more important) on chicks that hang around rockers. We now continue by introducing a few of these chicks who started as groupies, but who did not end up in detox or the abortion clinic, instead turning their past as rock kittens into capital to conquer the world. Let's look at the aces among groupies!

Pamela Des Barres - The Classical Groupie


Marianne Faithful - Who Came Into Her Own


Robin Slick - Who Just Writes

After her wilder years, she (also) came into her own through writing. But it seems Robin Slick's younger years may not have been as hot as others'. All available autobiographical and non-autobiographical accounts remain coyly silent about her years before becoming an authoress, and only one thing is certain - that Robin always loved rock. Of course, the silence leads many to conclude the worst - that Robin really as wild as can be imagined based on her mildly successful memoir Daddy Left Me Alone with God and her "women's" novels that lean toward soft porn.

In any case, her blog is award-winning, and certainly makes for interesting reading. It also proves that Robin's life - at least until now - really does revolve around rock. Of course now, she mainly pushes her children - her daughter plays bass guitar and her son is a drummer. We have to add: who wouldn't want a mom like her?

Bebe Buell - The Posh One


Germaine Greer - Scientific, Fantastic


by Dr. Bence Gyulai, our groupie researcher


Ha ha - thanks T, that was awesome. And as for you, Dr. need to do more research and that's all I'm saying on the subject...other than the only people who have read "Daddy Left Me Alone with God" are me and and an agent and she doesn't even have the (yet again) newly revised/completed version because I had an epiphany the other evening and ripped out a chapter and added a new one.

So I'm hoping my alleged "memoir" turns out to be more than mildly successful. As Eric and Julie wrote in the above mentioned song, all I really do want for Christmas is a book deal. For that book, anyway. I already have book deals and if you click on the links on the right, you can even buy them. (Oy...I hate the saleswoman aspect of this business, I really do)

Right. I'm off to breakfast with my son and daughter to meet with my brother and his wife and two young sons -- they are in from Connecticut for the holidays and this will definitely be another highlight of the season.


Friday, December 22, 2006

Okay, Who Knows Hungarian?

Ha ha - finally, someone got it right.

Here's an article about me where I am strategically placed between Pamela Des Barres, Marianne Faithful, Bebe Buell, and Germaine Greer!

But for godsakes, it's in Hungarian and so not only am I unable to translate it, there are no free on line services which will do it for me...places like Babblefish, etc. only translate Spanish to English or Italian to English...I cannot find one Hungarian to English website.

This is driving me crazy! What could it possibly say? I mean seriously, I was just joking when I said "finally, someone got it right". What the hell am I doing in an article with those four, err, luminaries? It links to my blog, so I'm thinking I'm in there as "groupie mom"?

Anyway, if anyone reading this can translate what this says, please shoot me an email...otherwise, I know me, I'll be at Borders later buying a Hungarian to English dictionary.

ETA: Oh my above little blurb just made the infamous Zappa fan site Kill Ugly Radio!

In other news, speaking of groupie Mom, my son, Eric, continues to rack up press.

Another shot of Eric on bongos with Joe Lally of Fugazi on bass and Yanni P. on guitar at the Lit Lounge in NYC Saturday night

The Pittsburgh City Paper has an article highlighting "A look back at 2006's live music highlights" which says, in part:

"As the year's end approaches, it's time for me to take stock of countless nights of seeing and hearing live music, whether in posh theaters, smoky bars or just some basement party. Despite insidious devices keeping drones glued to screens, many Pittsburghers value the live experience as much as I do -- like record-store dudes.

Classic-rock heroics don't have to be as predictable as WDVE's rotation. Rob Tabachka of Brave New World mentions how amazing the nearly 60-year-old Frank Marino (of Mahogany Rush) was at the Rex, blazing through two hours of blistering guitar, yet still eager to talk to fans afterwards. Dave Whaley, manager at Dave's Music Mine, flipped over Frank Zappa tribute Project Object, which ran two nights at Club Café. "This band's incredible," he says. "There's a lot of young musicians in it, including this 18-year-old drummer, Eric Slick, who just got out of high school. He also plays with Adrian Belew."

Eric on drums with Project Object, Spring tour, 2006, to which this article refers

I mean, I know I'm Eric's mother and all, but this writer has his show with Project Object in like the first paragraph of music highlights of 2006! That's pretty intense and I got goosebumps when I saw it.

And over at the Benevento Russo Duo Fan Community, someone who caught my son playing with the BOC (Chris Harford Band of Changes), said:

"the lights really were awesome....great job split smile the music rocked as usual...really dug powder...

and ps the eric slick kid from school of rock playing with boc, well i really got a kick outta him...3 great bands one great night..."

Pretty cool, huh.

Okay, switching gears, in writing news -- ha ha, I've made the bigtime -- autographed copies of Three Days in New York City are now available at eBay! And, if you are so inclined, you can purchase my books directly from my publisher at a special discount as follows:

"Effective only on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, customers can get 50% off on purchases through the Phaze cart using this code: SANTA50.

From 12/26 - 12/30, they will get 25% using this code: SANTA25"

This offer not only refers to my novels but to other Phaze authors as well and I strongly suggest you check them out -- we have two Eppie award finalists, Alessia Brio for Fine Flickering Hungers and Tula Caesar for Lipstick and Other well as amazing novels from Leigh Ellwood, Madeline Oh...the list is endless and terrific. Why not visit the site and browse -- there are several excerpts available for you to review prior to making any purchase decisions.

Finally, back to the music again, here's a 15 second tease of Adrian Belew, Eric Slick, and Julie Slick doing Three of a Perfect Pair...this is a taste of what's to come via professional DVD for sale...I cannot wait!

Anyway, I'm sure there's more news but I need to get myself in gear for the dreaded last minute Christmas shopping today so I'm sure I'll be back this afternoon/evening with more stories of that, but for now...


Thursday, December 21, 2006

The Week That Was

Joe Lally of Fugazi, Eric Slick, and Yanni Papadopalous performing Saturday evening, December 16, 2006 at the Lit Lounge in New York City

So after last leaving you with that gruesome post about Gary, who is doing okay though still full of bruises and lacerations and generally pissed off at our lovely society right now with its skewed sense of what's important and what's not (i.e., money for war and not public education; gun violence...I could go on and on), I am going to backtrack and tell you the whole story of my weekend in New York and I dunno, I'll see how it pans out. Whether I will go into more Gary detail and keep this whole thing in chronological order I have no idea...I'm just writing as I go but it's been a rough couple of days and I don't think I want to revisit what happened nor does Gary...we just want to let it go and move on. But do know that our family thanks you all profusely for all of your warm emails/blog comments of support and good wishes.

Alrighty then. Saturday morning Julie and I woke up at dawn and raced to to the bus station (yes, she made me take Greyhound and not Amtrak because she is cheap and I squander money) where there was already a huge line for the 7:00 a.m. express. I was having heart failure that the bus would be full by the time they got to us and we'd have to stand in line for another hour for the 8:00 local, but I can't believe it, we not only got on our bus of choice we got the last empty seat for two so we didn't have to sit next to any strangers.

Luckily, by the time we sat down, the bus had already been boarding for fifteen minutes and the guy behind me was asleep. Why do I say that? Because about ten minutes into our ride, I leaned back against the cushion and my seat went 3/4 of the way down. I pulled on levers, pushed buttons, stood up and tried to physically make the seat go back straight, but no luck.

Julie of course thought this was hilarious. I was practically reclining on the sleeping man's knees behind me.

I felt like that episode in the Simpsons where Homer is driving, his seat breaks, and he continues to drive flat on his back while eating a donut.

Me: "Julie, I'm never going to be able to ride two hours to New York this way. I'm gonna die."

Julie: "Go to sleep, Mom." Meanwhile, she's laughing her ass off.

Me: "I can't sleep on busses. If I fall asleep, we'll crash. Don't you know that's the law?" (My daughter has never read Fear of Flying)

Julie: "Take a nap, Mom. And shhh..."

So I'm on my back and I'm exhausted from practically running two miles to the bus station and much to my shock, I did in fact fall asleep and the next thing I know, Julie is shaking me awake like I'm a little kid.

"Mom, we're here. Wake up."

"You're kidding me."

"No, look. We're in the Lincoln Tunnel."

Best bus ride ever.

We got to New York in an hour and a half -- an all time record by bus -- and went to New York School of Rock to drop off cookies for Paul Green -- which has been a yearly tradition since Julie and Eric were his very first students back in 1998 -- before there was even such a thing as School of Rock.

Anyway, Paul showed us around the New York school -- well, Julie had seen it before, I never did -- and it was very impressive and cool. Paul decided to help us out with our "tourist plans" and gave us a little map of the Upper West side/Central Park because believe it or not, Lennon fanatic that I am and frequent NYC visitor, I'd never been able to bring myself to visit either the Dakota or Strawberry Fields.

Julie being Julie and the consummate researcher, had already mapped out our day's activities which somehow included a walk from our hotel at Times Square (43rd and Broadway and oh my god do I have a story about that place) to Zabar's Food Emporium, Fairway Market, and Citarella Foods between 75th and 80th Streets and Broadway...all the way down 5th Avenue for upper scale visits to places like Saks Fifth Avenue...and then, she actually had plans for us to then walk to 2nd Avenue and 5th Street to the Lit Lounge where Eric was playing that night. I'm guessing if you take into consideration all of the sidetracks she also scoped out on side streets...between her plans and Paul's, we logged twenty miles of walking.

But I digress.

Naturally after we left Paul (which was at 45th and 9th), we were starving and desperately needed coffee. Unfortunately, all we saw were Starbucks. I can't drink that stuff - it tastes burnt and loaded with crystal meth, which is my only explanation for the long lines that appear in every single one of their evil shops every morning, even intersections where there are four on each corner.

We walked to Rockefeller Plaza and ooh'ed and ah'ed over the Christmas tree and the skaters but you know, we're kind of jaded and were pretty pissed off that it was so crowded the police had barricades up making it difficult to cross even the smaller streets and we're really jonesing for caffeine, when Julie and I both looked up and simultaneously shouted "Citarella To Go!". We went in and it's incredible -- the pastries and bagels were were the lunches they were getting ready for later in the day -- huge slabs of roasted salmon, oh my god, I can't even begin to describe what they had -- click on the link and read the menus. Anyway, much to our dismay, there were only a few seats at a bar like thing and they were packed with tourists.

"Oh crap," I said to Julie. "I hate walking around with hot coffee. I want to sit down and have one of those huge bagels, too."

Luckily, we had a very nosy person in front of us in line who said "Oh, there's additional seating downstairs!"

Not believing our luck, we ordered two large coffees and two toasted bagels and headed downstairs. was the subway. Julie and I looked at each other, totally perplexed, and then I saw a sign that said, inexplicably, "Ice Skating Rink and Banana Republic" with an arrow.

Me: "Maybe she means there are seats outside the skating rink? That's kind of cool. Let's follow the sign."

Julie: "Yeah, why not. I hope it's close, though. This coffee cup is burning my hand."

Me: "Yeah, me, too. Jesus, what did they do, boil this stuff?"

So we followed the sign to the skating rink and err, Banana Republic. And we walked. And we walked.

Did you know there are like three miles of stores under Rockefeller Plaza? I didn't. But of course they are all the usual stores you find at malls. It's so depressing. Why would you want to travel to New York City and go to the same stores you can find in malls in Topeka, Kansas and Cherry Hill, New Jersey?

Naturally there were also seventeen Starbucks down there, too, which is where we ultimately found seating. At this point I realized I'd left my camera home, which in reality was no big deal because we were in tourist hell down there -- it was kind of nauseating, actually -- but I did call Eric back in Philadelphia and asked him to please pack it in his backpack because he was leaving for New York in an hour to rehearse for that night's show which is what I did want my camera for. Which is why I was able to take the above pic of him performing on bongos with Fugazi's Joe Lally and the incredible guitarist, Yanni, not to be confused with Yanni the idiot new ager keyboardist who used to date the woman from what, Dallas? Dynasty? Whatever.

Anyway, Julie and I finished our awesome breakfast, laughed when we saw more signs pointing to mall stores, but then we actually saw a sign for Saks Fifth Avenue.

"How the hell did that happen?" I asked Julie.

"Because Saks is at 49th and Fifth which is a block away from the skating rink."

Julie knows all.

I get totally disoriented in these situations, even though I've been to NYC a million times. But again, I never do the tourist stuff...I usually walk down 6th Avenue because that's where the music stores are and then get to Saks that way.

We went into Saks merely because they have the world's best Christmas window/store designer -- it was literally turned into a winter wonderland with white/silvery branches across the ceiling and twinkling white lights -- if you have the chance to make it there before the first of the year, I strongly suggest's really something to see.

Then the coffee hit and we had to, um, pee, which is another reason you want to be in Saks.

But before we reaches the elevator, we noticed they had a little kiosk set up with Laura Mercier creme brulee and coconut hand creams.

I own the creme brulee cream. It costs as much as a mortgage payment and is worth every cent, but Julie and I could not resist the urge to slather our hands with the coconut, which must be new. Out of nowhere, the young salesman from hell appeared.

He tried to hard sell us the stuff, and even after telling him we already owned it, he kept staring at Julie and then said to me "A woman as beautiful as her should own the gift set -- look, you get three jars for only $850.00 (slight exaggeration here but not much)."

Me: "A woman as beautiful as her? What am I, chopped liver?"

Salesman: "Well, um, yeah, I could see where you would have been beautiful once."

Me: "What? Nice way to make a sale." But I laughed and to his credit, he turned red.

Salesman: "I mean, you still look good for your age, what I meant was, when you were younger, you must have been really pretty."

Me: "You want to take your foot out of your mouth now? Or do you want to keep talking?"

He got very flustered which I enjoyed immensely.

Julie was actually thinking of buying me the coconut cream for Christmas.

"I'd rather walk on burning coals than give that guy a sale," I muttered, checking my reflection in a mirror and fully expecting to see a ninety year old crone staring back.

Of course that's what I did see but Julie reassured me "the lighting is bad in here, Mom."

I love my daughter.

Anyway, after hitting the ladies' room, we meandered through the "active wear" department, which included $600.00 jeans and thin little crappy t-shirts for $300.00.

There really is a sucker born every minute.

But we looked around for ideas and then headed for H&M on 5th Avenue where we proceeded to buy every single thing we saw at Saks for 1/100th of the price. It was hilarious. They had knock-offs which were identical.

But thank you, Saks, for telling us what the latest fashions are. Ha!

Meanwhile, while you can no longer smoke anywhere in New York or eat transfats, it is now legal to bring your dogs into stores. Well, it is in Saks and other suchlike places. I have to admit, I really enjoyed that. Especially the punk rocker who came in with a tiny dog dressed in diamonds and actual leather shoes.

Oh, where oh where was my camera when I needed it.

So we're meandering down 5th Avenue passing Bergdoff Goodman -- where we also made a ladies' room stop -- see, these stores are good for something -- when we hit the protest from hell. Now, I love a good protest, but there were at least a million people in the street, all carrying signs, doing what I love best, protesting police brutality. (This had to do with the man who was brutally shot/murdered on his wedding day by NY police) Well, I loved it until someone white in the march pointed at Julie and me and shouted "White supremacists!"

Who, us? Are you kidding me? I was ready to cross over the police barricades and join the march! Ugh, he had us profiled all wrong. Geez. If you are going to profile me, at least make me a hippie.

So far that day I'd been pegged as an aging, faded beauty rich person at Saks and a white supremacist. Nice.

But I was having a blast with my daughter and kept my spirits high.

Unfortunately, the protest was such that it totally prevented us from going any further down 5th Avenue, but as luck would have it, the detour up 58th Street took us right to Central Park! It was an absolutely gorgeous warm day for December and the park was full of people having picnics, rollerblading, etc. We normally would not have cut through the entire park but it was so lovely we just started traveling down paths, not knowing where we were going -- we stumbled on the carousel, the ice skating rink, and then finally, Strawberry Fields, which is directly across the street from the Dakota where Lennon lived.

I looked at the Dakota, then down at the marker in the park:

It was hard not to get choked up. I fact, I saw a woman weeping on her husband's shoulder and started to lose it myself. But then I saw all of these hawkers selling Lennon, a trio of framed pics -- the first being Lennon in his NYC t-shirt, the second being the Dakota, the third being the Imagine marker.

It was sickening.

"Mom, is this where Lennon died?" Julie asked, pointing to the spot where we were standing.

"No, honey, he was shot directly outside his apartment," I said, glancing up at the Dakota.

"You are kidding me! Right outside his house?"

"Yes. Please. Let's not talk about it." I was really getting emotional and finding it difficult to speak.

So I shook it off and we headed for the various foodie places on the Upper West side.

But not before stumbling on Tavern on Green, which, because I don't do the tourist stuff, I'd never seen before. I have to admit, it was impressive, and we peeked inside and gasped at how gorgeous the holiday decorations were.

"Let's go inside and see if we can look at the menu," Julie said.

"Yeah, okay. I also want to see the whole Christmas decoration thing up close, too. It really looks spectacular in there."

So we went in, and yeah, it was beautiful, and they also wanted $23.00 for a BLT.

What was that I said about suckers?

Zabar's on 80th Street is everything you could ever want in a gourmet shop. But I wish to register a complaint. At like places in Philadelphia, speaking of Homer Simpson, you can run in and hit free sample counters on every aisle and basically eat a meal there for free featuring nibbles of imported cheeses, chunks of rustic breads to dip in small bowls of imported olive oils, etc. These places had nothing!

And of course by this time we were starving again.

We rambled around the Upper West side and stumbled on a place called The Earthen Oven which was amazing! It's so funny -- Julie and I always scope out all of these restaurants we want to hit when we visit NYC and we never end up where we expected...anyway, this place was a real winner because they had a prix fixe lunch served until 2:45 (which it was exactly) catering to both vegetarians and carnivores.

We started out with amazing samosas stuffed with potatoes and peas; then Julie had a mixed vegetable curry and I had a fresh fish curry; it came with a huge bowl of creamy lentils and massive slabs of hot Nan what you in essence did was make yourselves the ultimate wrap by spooning all of the ingredients into the bread and folding it up. Mmmm...I'm getting chills just thinking about it.

The lunch also included a choice of desserts...a bunch of stuff with Indian names we could not identify but at the end of the list was coconut gelato (which cracked me up) but it was exactly what we wanted after eating that hot, spicy food but for some reason, the owner came out with two totally different desserts, looking so proud that we were afraid of saying anything because he presented them to us as if they were gifts.

Mine was a bright, neon orange slab in a glowing red sauce.

Julie had a fried dough ball like thing swimming in a clear syrup.

We looked at each other dubiously and dug in.

"Um, this is interesting," I said, chewing and chewing and waiting for it to break down in my mouth. "I think it's shredded carrots, rice, and an entire bottle of honey molded together and floating in maraschino cherry juice. I don't know how else to describe it. Wanna taste? How's yours? And by the way, what is yours" I asked Julie.

"I think it's a fried sugar ball in sugar syrup," she said disdainfully, causing me to crack up laughing.

"Here, let's taste each other's," I said, and we dipped our respective spoons across the table and immediately started giggling again.

"I think we're on a sugar high," I laughed helplessly.

"Here, Mom, want the rest of my sugar ball?" Julie choked.

"Only if you eat my chewed up carrot thing," I giggled back.

"I really wanted that gelato," she said.

"Me, too. We should have said something. Maybe they were out of it. But the owner looked so proud, giving us this, I felt ungrateful saying anything."

"Yeah, I know. Oh well. The rest of the meal was really good, wasn't it?"

"Yep, I'd come back here again in a heartbeat," I agreed.

We then called Eric because it was now 3:30 and we figured he had to be done rehearsing by then and we really wanted to go with him to a drum store on 30th Street for his possible Christmas present (arghh...yes, I know, 42 blocks away, all of which Julie was going to make me walk, especially after that fattening lunch)...but alas Eric was still busy and told us he would not be able to meet up with us at all.


"Hey, Julie, what we really need to do is get back to Times Square and check into our hotel before they give our room to someone else. Check in time is at 3:00 p.m."

(And besides, I was ready to pass out from exhaustion and we still had to walk to the east village for Eric's show which was another forty blocks in the other direction from Times Square)

"Yeah, okay. Let's cut through Central Park again."


It was getting near dusk and the park was breathtaking.

"Mom! Look!"

I looked and did not believe what I was seeing.

In the middle of Central Park, there were about 1,000 Santa Clauses. I'm not kidding. And then I glanced up and saw thousands more, coming from every direction. And not just any Santa Clauses. Oh, there were the regular, old fashioned kind...but there were Rastafarian Santas, punk Santas, porno Santas (don't ask -- just think costumes with strategically placed peep holes and women Santas with very big boobies). It was a mind boggling thing to see.

A cowboy Santa strolled past us.

"Excuse me..but can you tell me what this is?" I asked. I'm sorry, I had to know.

"THIS IS SANTARCHY!" he shouted.


A couple with a little girl were standing next to us and you could see the shock and awe on the child's face. She was about six or seven and I saw it all registering. Aha! So this is how Santa manages to get presents to everyone all over the world! There are more than one!

Anyway, for some fun photos and a cool write up about the event, click here. This is apparently a yearly occurrence and you'd better believe I'll be there again next year, this time with a camera.

So Julie and I are in great spirits as we headed for the hotel.

Now the real fun begins.

Even I wondered how I was able to find a hotel in Times Square one week before Christmas without an advance reservation. And it was outrageously inexpensive. So I looked at a few pics of the place on line, it reminded me of like a Hampton Inn or Red Roof or something like that -- Julie and I, used to staying at places like the W Hotel because, yeah, yeah, we are princesses, decided we didn't care because we weren't really planning on spending any time in our room, we were going to be out doing stuff so it didn't matter where we stayed.

A decision we would come to regret.

Our first realization that this hotel, which shall remain unnamed, was not quite right was when we walked in. Oh, from the outside, it looked very nice; in fact, it was just two doors down from the Westin. There was a man outside, polishing the brass door handles. It was brightly lit and decorated, though extremely weirdly, for the holidays. They had a panorama when you first walked through the double doors of figures lit up which made absolutely no sense...nothing religious, looked like statues you'd buy at the dollar store and backlit. But it was the huge, flashing sign which really did it for me:


" you see that sign? Is that hilarious or what?"

So we go to check in, but while I'm handing my credit card to the clerk, a guest of the hotel walks up, an elderly lady, and she asks him to call her a cab.

"No," he said. And he said it rudely.

"No? You can't call me a cab?" she asked, shocked.

Julie and I looked at each other.

"No," he repeated.

"But..." she sputtered.

"Go stand on 7th Avenue like everyone else," he muttered.

Uh-oh. Julie and I again exchanged shocked glances.

He gave us our room key -- and we had to give him a $1.00 deposit.

Double uh-oh.

We got into the elevator with what can only be described as refugees from a trailer park who proceeded to tell us how scary and creepy this place was. Julie and I got off at our floor, terrified. It looked like a tenament...peeling walls, smells of mold...arghhh...and we're totally screwed, because there's no way we're finding another room the Saturday before Christmas in New York City.

With great trepidation, we opened the door to our room.

Okay, not terrible, there were two huge beds in the room but yikes...blankets which were supposed to be white but were now grayish yellow, a bathroom door that didn't close, a T.V. with three blurry channels and no remote...a phone which didn't work...and worse, a window that you could open...along which a huge catwalk ran...meaning the person in the next room could hop out his/her window, walk on the catwalk, and open your window and pop in for a visit.

No locks on the window.

I dialed up Eric.

"Hey, Eric, done practicing? How'd you like to spend the night with Julie and me at our hotel? We have two beds and everything!"

"Aw, that would be great, Mom. I have another rehearsal in North Jersey tomorrow so it wouldn't make sense for me to go home to Philly after the show tonight."

I felt so guilty I had to tell him the truth.

"Oh, I know the hotel you are staying at. It freaks me out! A friend of mine stayed there and they gave another dude his same room! He checked in, went out for a while, and when he returned, there was this dude in his bed."

"Oh my god."

"Don't worry -- I'll stay with you guys. It'll be fine. Anyway, I'm about to have dinner. You and Julie should get to the venue around 8:00 p.m., okay?"


The problem was, we were both fried from literally eight hours of walking but it was only 5:00 p.m. and there was no way in hell we were hanging around that hotel room.

"Julie, let's just start heading to the east village. It's going to take at least an hour to walk there, and we'll just stop in stores and stuff on the way. It'll be easy to kill three hours. I just can't stay in this's creeping me out."

Julie totally agreed, though we were nervous as hell leaving anything of value in the room. Luckily, we just had some clothes we'd purchased and these insane truffles we bought at a craft fair we stumbled on in Central Park.

I was more worried someone would steal the truffles than the clothes.

Anyway, yeah, time does fly when you are meandering down streets in the east villlage and before we knew it, it was 8:00 p.m. and we showed up at the Lit Lounge where Eric was performing with Joe Lally and Yanni P.

The place was empty.

The bouncer at the door, who at this time was just a young chick hopped up on something -- Starbucks, probably, said "Oh, there are no bands here yet, just go in and have a drink."

So we walked in and it was pretty strange, being the only two people in a bar...I immediately ordered us two glasses of wine and we sat back and started to laugh over the events of the day, especially our hotel.

Eric finally arrived...because apparently the show had been pushed back to 9:00 p.m., but said he had to go downstairs where the bands would be performing... but yay! He gave me my camera. Julie took this shot of me while I was laughing and drinking wine at the same time -- something I do not advise:

But it does confirm I'm not a ninety year old crone, anyway.

Now the real fun began. The bar started to fill up, and people went downstairs. The smell of vegan latkes coming from the back was wonderful. But where was the dildo menorah? And why were there men wearing dresses and lots of lesbian couples? Not that there's anything wrong with that...and I have to admit, I loved this one guy who looked like a CPA except for the fact he was wearing a short black mini skirt and fishnet stockings and standing alongside a guy in a denim vest and a yarmulke. What I didn't know was that this was a rally held by Jews Against the Occupation in Palestine.

I thought that was fucking fantastic. I am so against war of any kind, and I've talked with people who live in Israel...they don't want war, either -- they also agree the land should be given back to the people of Palestine. But just like here in the United States where you have war mongers running the country...ack...never mind...I don't want to get on my soapbox now, you get the picture.

Speaking of pictures, here's a blurry one of our emcee for the evening, the self-proclaimed Miss Jewish Universe of the 14th Street Y, who had the tiara and sash to prove it:

I loved her. She was so vivacious and devoted to the cause...the vibe coming from the room was simply awesome.

And they even lit a menorah, which was, alas, not a dildo menorah at all...and someone was even kind enough to leave a comment on my blog about that:

"A dildo Menorah, DIY punk-style, consists of three Putz-n'-nuts shaped candles, purchased for Bupkes from the novelty rack of your local porn shop, along with a Dreidel received last Thursday at the Chulent party from a missionary of the evil cult known as Chabad-Lubavitch.

The party being on the second night of Chanukah, two candles were set up in a row. The third candle was set on top of the Dreidel, to act as a Shamosh. The candles were set up on the table with the Shondes merch.

The initial idea was for the anarchist rabbi to say some Hebrew mumbo-jumbo and light the candles, but someone said that it would be a fire hazard; so they remained unlit."

So that was pretty cool...I appreciated that, as well as their subsequent post about the evening. Make sure you click on that. Trust me, you'll love it.

Speaking of cool...let's talk about the music.

When Joe, Eric, and Yanni took the stage, it was mesmerizing. Joe started out by saying he wasn't Jewish (or something like that) but was totally against all war and his songs said as much. It was interesting and most excellent to hear Eric play bongos instead of his usual drum kit, and Yanni on guitar is AMAZING. So is Joe...what a nice, laid back guy...great voice, great songwriter, he had a Hoffner bass (see photo above -- just like Paul McCartney's)...and he sat down and chatted with me which was totally awesome. He just sauntered over, introduced himself, and ironically in light of what at probably was happening to Gary at that very moment, asked me about Philadelphia because he was thinking of moving here from D.C. And I of course talked it up bigtime and even tried to tempt him into buying a house in my neighborhood because it seemed to be exactly what he was looking for...Victorian homes with fireplaces in every room and the original woodwork, etc.

Crazy, huh.

Anyway, Julie and I were exhausted and even though we hated to leave the party, we were falling asleep and once Eric finished, he was headed for another gig across the street to see Henry Cow. Julie and I hailed a cab and braced ourselves for the midnight return to our lovely hotel.

Eric in the meantime got the bad news that Henry Cow was sold out so he hopped the subway and met up with us a half hour later.

Despite being terrified in our surroundings, we crashed until early the next morning. Julie and I ventured out for coffee, brought it back to the room, and said "Let's get the hell out of here."

But there was still the matter of Gary's Christmas present to buy, which, besides our annual holiday trip to New York and seeing Eric play with Joe Lally, was the main reason for our visit.

I can't give away any details about that now but I will next week after we've exchanged gifts. All I can say is, what a fucking story that is as well but I do believe we've managed to top all prior gifts to Gary and we're hoping this will help erase the evil which befell him at least a little.

So we spent over an hour at that shop and rather than return to the flea...I mean, hotel, we decided to take an earlier bus. As I said, Eric was hanging out in New York to meet up with yet another band for yet another tour (he goes on the road with Project Object in one week.

Julie and I raced to the bus station to take the 11:00 a.m. bus only to find out there is no 11:00 a.m. bus, damn it, there's not another bus until we waited in line and Julie said "I'm bored - want me to go and buy us some magazines?"

I thought that was a great idea -- I very rarely get a chance to read stuff like that anymore (yeah, yeah, I'm a snob who reads Ploughshares and Glimmertrain -- stuff you can't buy at the Greyhound Bus Terminal) I went for it and said "Yeah, get me an In Style or something like that".

Julie disappeared for what seemed an hour so I decided to call Gary on my cell and tell him we'd be home around 2:00 p.m. and could he please pick us up at the bus station.

"Hello," he said, his voice sounding distant and cracking.

"Hi! What's wrong?" Wife radar. I know the man since I'm 15 years old. Just that hello sent off all the bad signals.

He could barely speak.

"Gary! What is it?"

"We...we...we have a problem," he whispered.

My heart sank. I could not imagine what he meant. Oh my god. It had to be the dog.

"Is it Monty? Is Monty alright?"

"Monty is fine."

"Gary...what is it? Are you okay?"

And then he proceeded to tell me what happened. Okay, I'm not going to go into any details after eyes are filling up just typing this. It's just that I cannot believe this happened to him Saturday night and he didn't call me...he didn't want to worry me and he knew I had no way of getting home.

Fuck me. I would have taken a cab to Philadelphia at 2:00 a.m. and put it on my credit card if he would have called.

So not only was he mugged and our car stolen, but our house keys were also taken. Battered and bruised, the cops drove him home and he literally had to break our door down to get in and then re-hang it which is the job from hell even in daylight when you are feeling fine.

He spent the rest of the night wide awake shaking and in shock until I called him. Can you imagine that? I can't. I really can't.

Oh my god, that two hour bus trip home was the most agonizing ride of my life. I could not wait to get home and see for myself that he was okay. I never heard him sound that way, ever. In the meantime, the police called him with the good news that they'd found our car and other than the broken windows, everything else was alright.

Anyway, to make a long story short, we have our car back, luckily, Gary is a very spiritual guy and just wants to let this go. He lives a day at a time and really, that's the only way to get through's a brilliant philosophy and one that every human should follow. He who stands with one foot in the past and one foot in the future is pissing on the present.

So that's the story and I'm just glad it's over. To steal a line from our pal Adrian Belew, Happy Hollandaise to all.

The end.


Sunday, December 17, 2006

True horror


People ask me why I have this blog and I joke it's to promote my kids or post pics of Neil Gaiman but it's a lot more than that. It's not just my daily gossip column -- it's a place to vent because in the real world, I'm someone who internalizes and it's really great to have this outlet.

While I was in New York City this weekend having possibly the best time I have ever had in that city with my daughter and son, my husband went out to buy gas in Philadelphia and was thrown to the ground and brutally beaten by three thugs who then grabbed his car keys and sped off in our Jeep.

He's home now and okay though badly bruised. The police just called -- they found our car -- ironically twenty miles away and mere blocks from where Gary and I both grew up (!)...its windows smashed.

I guess it wasn't enough for them to hurt Gary -- who is the original long haired peace loving hippie -- and steal our car -- their rage was such they had to smash and break the windows, too.

Anyway, I do want to talk about the weekend and focus on things that are positive in this world and I will -- but right now I need to chill and be with Gary and make sure he really is okay. I worry about stuff like post-traumatic stress disorder and if I have it right now, I can only imagine how he must feel.

This sucks. It truly, truly sucks.


Saturday, December 16, 2006

Where there will be a dildo Menorah...

Eric Slick behind the drums at Slim's in San Francisco

So Julie and I are headed for New York City at the obscene hour of 6:00 a.m. this morning because we're into cramming like a month's worth of stuff into one weekend. It will be incredible to spend some one on one time with my daughter; we've already scoped out the best vintage stores, restaurants, foodie haunts (i.e., cool cooking supplies/Zabar and Zabar spin-offs), and music emporiums. And then of course tonight we're going to see Eric play with Fugazi's Joe Lally at the Lit Lounge.

Funny thing about that. I was worried about being the oldhead in a moshpit. As it turns out, Google blogsearch has informed me that tonight's concert is...a Chanuka Party!

"We're a one-party people! Life is all one big fucking party!

Chanuka parties will be happening all week. Here's the quick scoop on where Sholom will be:

...Saturday night, December 16 - Lit Lounge on the Lower East Side, a benefit for Jews Against the Occupation NYC. Featuring Joe Lally, The Shondes, Rude Mechanical Orchestra, vegan latkes, and a dildo Menorah."

Ahem. Yeah, that's right. Vegan latkes (this makes Julie very happy) and um, a dildo Menorah (while this doesn't make me exactly "happy", it does make me smile at the possibilities and yep, I'm bringing the camera. I would normally rather be shot dead than be caught taking tourist photos in New York City...but come on, how many times do I get to go to a Chanuka party let alone a Chanuka party featuring a punk band, vegan latkes, and what I can only assume is a dildo with eight candles sticking out of it?

I'm going to be offline until tomorrow night or Monday morning so I'll be back then with Fan Mail From Some Flounder Part II as well as a recap of our weekend.

In the meantime, thanks so much to all of you who voted me for Best Blogger 2006, Diarist. Out of 4,500 nominations, I came in at #5 in my category. That's like the coolest thing ever.

Next to that menorah, that is.

Okay, I have to run upstairs and throw some stuff into my overnight bag so we can get out of here on time.

What does one wear to a Dildo lighting, anyway?


Friday, December 15, 2006

Oh no!

I've lost my hold on 5th place in the Weblog Awards and am currently spiraling downward. Gah! Just under ten hours left to vote. Pretty please?

Here's the link.

I know. Get a life, Robin. And I will. I promise. Just as soon as these awards are over tonight.

Fan Mail from Some Flounder -- Part I


Well, as you can see, I am not in jail, and neither is Gary, though it would have been REALLY EASY to lose our tempers and be incarcerated as we speak.

I don't want to talk about the Nazi fascists in that courtroom or in that particular township of New Jersey because they've got a scam going on down there that is not to be believed (and so much for our great U.S. court systems where you are innocent until proven guilty, especially as we were not even given a proper opportunity to tell our side of the story or to even speak)...but since this is the "fan mail from some flounder" post where I want to share some really cool emails I've received lately, I will merely copy (in part) the email I sent my good friend Ellen Meister following my four hours (yep, four hours) in the courtroom (plus add the two hour round trip ride and that would be six hours of pure hell):

"Hey hey:
So I'm about to burst a blood vessel but what you said is true: We had to cut a deal and pay a $189.00 fine...thereby "admitting" Gary was 5 miles over the speed limit, not the 23 miles they alleged. He gets 2 points on his totally clean driving record, but since the ticket took place in NJ and we live in PA, the points will not make our insurance go up. However, the police did not even bother to show up -- the prosecutor, who, by the way, looked like Adolph Hitler, said he was going 88 mph! Our jeep doesn't even go above 70 and I am a hysterical front seat driver who keeps her foot on the invisible break on the passenger side the whole ride no matter where we go...but anyway, I may blog it, I may not...right now I'm too fucking upset by the travesty of justice. If we wanted the charges thrown out, it would have been $189.00 plus $33.00 (?) plus another $300.00 "surcharge". "A surcharge?" I blurted, furiously. "You mean a bribe, don't you?"

We took deal A.

I wrote Happy Holidays on the bottom left of the check and the clerk said "You don't really mean that, do you."


Gary: "The state of NJ will never see another fucking dime of our money. We have a house in Ocean City where we spend at least $5,000.00 every summer and I won't ever set foot in this fucking place again."

Me: "Shhh...we're going to end up in jail."

But inside I laughed my ass off and I actually did agree with him loud enough for the clerk to hear.

We walked outside.

Gary: "I mean it, Robin. We are never, ever entering the State of NJ again. We'll get a summer place somewhere in New England or maybe we'll just do Europe next summer; if we need to go to New York to see Julie and Eric in concert we'll find another way."

Flap our wings, maybe? Hey, if it means avoiding the New Jersey turnpike, I'll try anything...Gary rocks, that old hippie, he!

And err...Europe? Oh yeah!

Actually, that might be true because Project Object has been invited to play Zappanale next August and assuming Eric isn't on tour with Adrian Belew and Julie can stay home and watch the dog, Eric will be behind the drums with Project Object and yep, Gary and I will be going to Germany, not just for Zappanale but for a Zappa street naming festival in Berlin in 2007 where Project Object has also been invited to perform. So it will be like a ten day trip with stops in other cities on the way. More info to follow on that.

But um, Adrian said something about possibly touring Japan this summer, so that could be happening as well/'s all good.

Speaking of Zappanale, you can now purchase the CD/DVD of Zappanale 17, featuring Adrian Belew with Julie and Eric Slick among other lumaries right here.

And while I'm on the topic of Adrian, yep, the news I've been hinting at is now on his website.

A live 11:08 recording of Beat Box Guitar by the Adrian Belew Power Trio will be available for download in the next few days. This version was recorded at the Triple Door in Seattle Washington on November 4, 2006 and has been mixed at StudioBelew. There will be a small charge for the download but this version is worth it!

Adrian played the rough cut for Eric and Gary when they visited him at his home in Nashville last month and it brought Gary to tears. Julie, Eric, and Adrian are so freaking tight and fantastic on Beat Box Guitar it's mind blowing, and I cannot wait to be able to hear it for myself. Of course I heard them perform it live throughout the east coast tour but by the time they recorded this in Seattle, they had something like thirty performances under their belts and they really took it up several notches, as if that was possible!

Okay, and now for some fan mail from some flounders...(and if you don't know what that means, google Rocky and Bullwinkle, the most brilliant cartoon ever besides The Simpsons and Family Guy).

In some cases I'm going to keep these emails anonymous because I didn't have a chance to email the various people who sent them to me and ask permission. So if any of you guilty people are reading this and would like to be identified properly, you may do so in the comments section or write to me and I will edit this post...and likewise if your anonymous or non-anonymous as the case may be email removed, the same applies...just shoot me an email and I apologize in advance.

First up is a hilarious email I received from fellow writer I will identify, N.L. Belardes, who is actually reading my book, Three Days in New York City:

"Wow, I wish I could afford plane rides to the East coast for the weekend! Fugazi! I might be headed east in April. I will let you know... would love to meet in
person, blog about your punk kids, etc...

Finally started your book. The nipple clamps falling off the boob and white bread lovemaking is hilarious!

Though you might be interested also in a letter I wrote to N. Frank Daniels behind the scenes:

Hi Frank,

I was out of town for the weekend. When I came back I jumped on LitPark and read the great responses, I added a few more of my own just to see what folks would think if I suggested a little stronger, "Let's take action.."

I dig what you're doing and the bravado.

A few months ago I read a poem to 10,000 folks who had gathered at a park in Bakersfield for immigration marches. The poem was titled, "Immigration, Interrogation." Bakersfield is an epicenter, and is where the UFW marched. I marched right at the front with professor friends and folks like Dolores Huerta. The film Bobby that is out right now, she was near Kennedy when he was killed. and she was the second in command to Cesar Chavez.

Bobby had a screening in Bakersfield.

My point? I just think you're doing a great job. What's next? I guess we'll have to see. We might fail, but we might not. Writers are listening. They want to chant right alongside...

But will the readers? I hope so.

Immigration, Interrogation blog

All the best,


Note from Ms. Slick: Please, please, please click on the links I've provided for this. Read Frank Daniels' article in Lit Park and the subsequent comments, and for god sakes, click on Nick's links as well.


Okay, next up is a wonderful Christmas email I received from bassist extraordinaire, Bryan Beller:

"Well, my holiday e-mail idea (ever original) was so successful last year that I've chosen to do it again. In the best spirit of the holiday season, I hope this note finds you happy, healthy, and thankful for the past year on this small ball that we silly and amazing little humans call home.

Life in Nashville is great. I'm thrilled to be so close to my love and life partner, Kira Small, and we've grown together in ways that I couldn't have even imagined before I got here. I've also gotten to know her charming and irrepressible cat, Lucian, whose cuteness (see attached picture) is only outdone by his consistency in requesting more nuggets in his food bowl (he tends to start knocking things off of counters when this request goes unheeded for too long). He is a world-class snuggler, however, so he tends to get whatever he wants.

The folks in the Nashville music community have been extremely kind and welcoming. I've been given wise advice and counsel from some of the town's top players and writers, been referred to gigs and sessions here and there, and made a lot of new friends. I'm humbled and inspired by the process of moving somewhere new and seeing how much time and energy folks have invested in making this place their professional and personal homes, and look forward to hanging around town a bit more and planting deeper roots in 2007.

Plus, it's nice to see actual seasons again. Sure, Kira has to listen to me bitch every once in a while about the weather (a saint, that woman is), but seeing the colors turn over all year long has gotten me back in touch with nature in a cool new way (he says, turning up the heat on the thermostat). And, yes, I admit, it's really nice to see those colors change on the seat of a Harley-Davidson going 50 miles an hour (picture attached). Yes, Mom and Dad, I got a Harley. I can't possibly be the only Jewish guy in Nashville with a Harley...can I? Someone speak up, quick, so I can tell them I'm not alone in this... Then again, I did take my parents to the Grand Ole Opry when they came and visited in August, and it was the first time for all of us Yankees in that particular venue. It was, as they say, a hoot.

Hanging around with that Mike Keneally character continues to help me get around. This year we went to Europe and played with the Metropol Orchestra together in Holland. A fellow I met on a 2005 Keneally tour in Italy brought me back to Milan for a week this summer for a masterclass/concert event I'll never forget (and not just because my luggage didn't show up and I wore the same clothes for nearly four days!). And in the fall, Keneally and I did a tour for Taylor Guitars in the upper midwest, where we learned how to speak Minnesota nice, ate bratwurst, and learned a lot about North Dakota's Red River Valley along the way.

Our community continues to celebrate the life of our dearly departed friend Wes Wehmiller. The first annual WesFest benefit concert, held in February in Los Angeles, raised over $12,000. for the Wes Wehmiller Endowed Scholarship at Berklee College Of Music. A concert DVD of that event is now being sold to raise additional monies for the fund. If you're interested, or want to know more, just go to Wes Fest and check it out. And just in case you're wondering, future WesFest events are already in the planning stages.

Finally, I'm busy writing the material for my second solo album, which I hope to release in late 2007. It's been four years since I wrote the first one, and I'm very, very thankful to be back in that headspace again.

That's all - just good vibes and hopeful wishes for the possibility of a more peaceful 2007, both here and abroad. May you and yours have a wonderful holiday season and happy new year, however you choose to celebrate it...

Love to all,
Bryan Beller"

I never met him in person, but just by our mutual emails, his love of my son, Eric, and his music, I totally adore Mr. Beller.

Here's an anonymous email (though of course I know who sent it) from someone I inadvertently upset when I called him a smartass on my blog...I totally misunderstood his intentions and I apologized profusely:

"Hi Robin,

Umphrey's McGee lists a few dates with Adrian Belew in March on their website. I presume Eric and Julie will be involved, yes, no?

Also I'm the one who anonymously posted "the CIA??" on your blog. I'm sorry. I did not mean to be anonymous, but I rarely post comments on those things and didn't realize that's how it came out. I'll gladly sign my name to anything. Anyway, I don't believe in conspiracy theories in general so I was just wondering if you really thought the CIA was involved? I guess you do. Don't get me wrong, I don't trust our government, I hate the Bush administration, and I really hate big government, but I just happen to believe that Mark David Chapman was/is a kook who unfortunately stole the genious of John Lennon from the rest of us, and that he acted alone. Jimmy
Carter was President when it happened. Anyway, we can just disagree.

On a better note, I'm a huge Adrian Belew fan and now a fan of your kids. The show a few months ago at the World Cafe truly rocked and I can't wait for the return appearance for the live recording. I'll be there!!! I'm also psyched to see Project Object as I'm a pretty big Zappa fan.

Thank you for your dedication and devotion. Your blog is truly a joy to read, even if we disagree on one small thing.

Cheers and Happy Holidays."

Naturally I wrote back all contrite (ha ha, I'm always contrite about something, aren't I) and we've worked out our disagreement about Lennon though I'm thinking about getting his snail mail address and sending him a few good books on the subject.

An email from Uberlord Paul Green when I wrote to him and asked him his Slick Christmas cookies of choice this year and listed the various varieties"

"As much confidence as I have in all of them, which is a lot, I dream (literally) of the Reeses (peanut butter cup cookies) beginning Dec 9th or so. So PLEASE give me a small tin just of those in addition to the mixed tin."

It makes me happy that Paul dreams of our cookies. He's a busy, important man these days hanging with internationally famous rock luminaries while his empire of Paul Green School of Rock Music explodes nationwide and truth to tell, he could probably buy Hersheys Chocolates (they make Reeses cups) so the fact that he's still lusting after our cookies is a big deal.


Okay, I just realized this is a mega-long post and I need to get to the post office and mail out some cookies. So part II of Fan Mail from Some Flounder will continue later today.

In the meantime, oh thank God this is the last day I have to do this...please vote for me as best diarist, hold on 5th place is slipping! Remember, you can vote daily, so even if you voted yesterday or the day before, you may vote again today! Pretty please? I will send you cookies....

The 2006 Weblog Awards


Thursday, December 14, 2006

I'm freaking terrified....

Okay, at 7:00 a.m. this morning Gary and I are headed for court in the State of New Jersey to fight the ticket he got for speeding six weeks ago when we went to see Julie and Eric play a gig at the Asbury Lanes.

I am freaking terrified.

I know we are innocent - we had our Jeep on cruise control at 65 mph.

Gary has been driving for over thirty years and has never gotten a speeding ticket. In my former life, I worked as a personal injury paralegal for two decades and looked at horrible automobile crash photographs on a daily basis. There is just no way we are guilty.

So we are going up against "The Man" right before Christmas...I'm afraid of everything from thousands of dollars worth of fines, ending up in jail, or having a major panic attack in the courtroom and ending up in the emergency room.

Wish us luck.

I will be back later to report on what happened, and also, I've gotten some really incredible supportive and funny mail lately, some to do with the Weblog awards, some from pals who are emailing their yearly Christmas letters, and some that are just plain hilarious having to do with a multitude of things. So I'm really looking forward to posting excerpts and sharing them.

Assuming I'm not in jail.

Or in the hospital.

So in the meantime, here's the dreaded case I come back home from court a broken woman and destitute (due to paying the fines) right before Christmas, at least let me have a lock on fifth place in the Best of Blog Awards. So please do the daily click thing and vote for me as best diarist. Okay? Okay!

The 2006 Weblog Awards

Later...I hope,

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Ho ho ho

So Aaron, a/k/a Geen Ween of Ween got a cool new camera, and during the recent rehearsals for the Chris Harford show, could not wait to try it out. That's my awesome son Eric on the drums of course, Chris right in front, and with his back to the "audience" is I believe guitarist Scott Metzger.

The Ween house/studio living room -- Eric spent the night on that sofa

Every room has a fireplace (ha)

The band just chilling out

A shot of the studio

So that was fun to find this morning, as was this little blurb over at Jam Bands News:

"Prog-rock guitarist Adrian Belew will join Umphrey's McGee for a run of shows this March. Belew will open for, and later perform with, the prog-inspired jam-titans at Urbana, IL’s Canopy Club (3/14), Grand Rapids’s Orbit Room (3/15), Pontiac, MI’s Clutch Cargos (3/16), and South Bend, IN’s Morris Performing Arts Center (3/17).

‘Tis the season for side-project and while at home preparing for their New Year’s Eve run, the members of Umphrey’s McGee have remained busy. On Thursday drummer Kris Myers sat-in with Hack'N Wheeze for a cover of Trey Anastasio’s “Burlap Sack and Pumps” and Ween’s “Roses are Free” at Chicago’s Joe's Pub. Friday and Saturday guitarist Brendan Bayliss and bassist Ryan Stasik performed with the New Deal’s Darren Shearer and Jamie Shields at the Windy City’s Martyrs'. Billed as The Omega Moos, the quartet offered two evenings of improvisational dance music, including numerous Beatles teases and a nod to the Top Gun theme. On Friday Bayliss and guitarist Jake Cinninger will host their annual acoustic holiday show at Chicago’s Vic Theatre. Myers will also perform a free show with Sicky Lupree and Rich Stitzel at the city’s Webster Wine Bar tonight.

Since I just found this article fifteen minutes ago, I don't know if this is just going to be Adrian solo, his gig with Projekct 6, The Bears, or if it will be my brilliant offspring, Eric and Julie Slick with Adrian as the Adrian Belew Power Trio...Ade did say he would be going out on tour again with J&E the last two weeks of March so I'm not sure if mid-March qualifies for that or not...but you know I will be posting billboards across the internet as soon as I find out more details. I do know that when Julie, Eric, and Adrian played with Umphrey's McGee at the Acoustic Planet Tour in Atlanta this summer, all of the musicians involved had an incredible time as it turned out to be a mass jam kind of thing so it would be way cool if this was going to be a repeat performance of that.

In other news, this has become kind of old so I'm pretty glad there's only another three days of voting left until the polls close at midnight on Friday, but here's the dreaded logo to click on to vote for me as best diarist...or if I must be honest, 5th through 10th place finalist. Just a reminder - you can vote more than once -- in fact, you can vote for me daily -- but only once a day.

The 2006 Weblog Awards

I've pretty much got a lock on 10th place (ha) but it would be nice to finish around where I am now...6th I guess, though of course being in the top five sounds better.

Anyway, I have much cooler stuff to talk about.

Like, my son, Eric received the following email from an extremely prestigious cymbal company:

Dear Eric:

xx is very interested in working with you.

You will get contacted by xx to work out the details.

Thank you for your interest.

Best regards,

In other words, yesterday Eric got word of possibly the world's best endorsement from the world's best cymbal company. Only another real musician (and his mother and father who usually have to pay for suchlike stuff) would know the true meaning of this...but let me tell you, it's major, and this is the best cymbal company around -- Eric is foaming at the mouth at a chance to own some. And it's incredibly cool that out of all the drummers out there, they are in talks with Eric to represent their company...and he's only 19.

(Due to the jinx factor, I won't name the people involved until the cymbals are actually attached to stands in my house, but judging by their mutual correspondence, this is pretty much a done deal)

So Merry Christmas, Eric!

I also don't want to forget to mention that besides the Fugazi gig in NYC Saturday night, Eric's got a show with **PRFSR**DRSZ** at the Black Lodge on Thursday night - admission is all ages and the low, low price of $2.00 and I believe CDS for each band will be available for the same low, low price...and further, that daughter Julie recorded Dog and Pony in her studio

1508 Brandywine

Thursday Dec 14 8pm
performances by:

Dog and Pony (Mike Sabolick and friends)
OODS (ex:Sweatheart/Flamingo/Atlas)
Planet Y (its Yanni!)

So that's the news for today. Ho ho ho, I am so not done my Christmas shopping but we are almost done baking our fabulous cookies. I counted ten different varieties this year, each sicker than the next...not only are there the usual peanut butter delights topped with miniature Reeses cups and powdered sugar Russsian tea cookies with a chocolate kiss (well, it's better than that, it's a Wilbur bud inside), we have chocolate chip toasted coconut pecan cookies, butter almond sugar cookies, almond cookies with apricot thumbprints, caramel shortbread, imported chocolate chip shortbread, cinnamon butter cookies, sour cream cake-like tarts with almond joy/mounds centers, and white chocolate macadamia nut cookies. I somehow found huge tins yesterday at, of all places, CVS Pharmacy, so if any of you are insane cookie fans, better write to me now because trust me, I'm only making one trip to the post office this time of year and it's going to be this Friday morning...after that, if you want to stuff your face with Slick cookies you are going to have to visit us personally.

Oh god. I retract that statement. What I really mean is, you'll have to wait until next year. Or arrange to meet me on a corner somewhere in Philadelphia or New York. Between the tree, presents, drums, guitars, amplifiers, and usual general chaos around here, there's no room for any extra humans.

Just the way I like it.

And somehow, between worrying about the post office, gift buying, and being way excited about my upcoming weekend in New York City with daughter Julie, I do believe my novel is finally finished. I can't look it at any more. I think I can now recite all 400 pages by heart. And yeah, I'm going with the title "Daddy Left Me Alone with God". And me being me, I'm already fantasizing about the cover art.

Can you say "Black Fender Stratocaster"?


Monday, December 11, 2006

The contrite post

Eric doing his Neil Gaiman imitation while autographing CDs at the Chris Harford/Ween show on Friday

Yet another example of why I need to read the manual that came with my digital camera...I had no idea I was taking an avi and can be heard to exclaim "What the hell?" while I was trying to take photos of my son, Ween, Chris Harford, etc. They all sat at a really long table after the show for a meet and greet autograph session like it was a Rolling Stones press conference or something -- so freaking cool -- and I had to wait in a long line to say Hi to my own son (where I was also a major dork, bought a Chris Harford t-shirt, and made everyone autograph it)

So yeah, this is called the contrite post because I feel kind of bad I dissed the chick who is winning the Best of Blog, Diarist right now...especially as yesterday she really did post a pic of her naked tits in the shower. I mean, who can or wants to compete with that, no wonder she's got a lot of readers. I know half of you are rushing right now to go click on her site...go ahead...I'm not going to make it easy for you by posting a direct link...but um, you can find her site by clicking on the Finalist Best of Weblog logo below and voting for me, where you will find links to her and all of the finalists.

The 2006 Weblog Awards

So that's enough out of me on that subject...I am officially letting it go and prefer to carry on with other stuff.

Daughter Julie and I did in fact get a hotel in New York City this coming Saturday night so we're gonna hang out all day, have the New York Christmas experience, shop here and here among other cool places, and then later in the evening we'll go and see Eric bang on the drums with Fugazi's Joe Lally at the Lit Lounge. So yeah, sounds like an awesome weekend. Julie and I have made it a yearly tradition to hang out for the weekend in NYC at Christmas every year, and if you want to read about one of our more insane experiences, you can find it in my archives -- here's Part I and here's Part II.

Let's see. What else. Oh yeah, over at the Adrian Belew store you can order new t-shirts with the Side 1 cover on front and Ade's name at the bottom:

That's the cover, and it's a long sleeved black t-shirt. Oh, and while there, you can also order a bunch of Belew CDs for Christmas...right now you are listening to "Asleep", from his brilliant "Side 2".

Speaking of that, the most amazing thing happened. Rena Fay, Ade's most diehard fan, sent my family the greatest Christmas present yesterday. For me, a handmade Belew of four that exist in the world, one of which is owned by Rena herself, one of which is owned by Martha Belew, and the other of which is owned by daughter Julie. So now I'm in the exclusive club and yep, I feel special.

Oh, and she also included the most incredible chocolates and a funny, photoshopped picture of Gary.

I was going to take a pic of the chocolates but I turned my back for ten minutes to look for the camera and it seems they'd already been eaten. Too bad. They were really pretty, too.

But I will take a photo of the shirt when I wear it to New York on Saturday.

In other news, I've added some new permanent links on the right side here...Your Drum, which I've been meaning to do for a while because I love it and not just because yesterday they featured me; Jon Swift, who is also a weblog finalist in the Humor Department (and please vote for him!), writer David O'Neal, author Frank Daniels who is on a mission to change the world and I totally adore him; and also, The Publishing Spot/Jason Boog, who did that wonderful interview of Susan Henderson last week. All required daily reading for sure...lots of fun and good stuff.

And not one is naked in the shower. Imagine that.

Oh well. Today I must be "normal mom" and bake massive amounts of Christmas cookies with Julie and then go out on a hunt to find tins large enough to accomodate mailing them all across the universe (why oh why do I forget about buying tins every year and then the only ones left are the tiny ones at the dollar store in which you are lucky if you can fit six cookies...and since I don't have the tins, so far we've eaten every batch of cookies we've made ourselves because they are just too damn good and too damn easy to get to just piled on trays); in a perfect world we'll also do the family tree-trimming thing tonight -- we bought a beautiful Balsam yesterday that is way too big for our house but who cares; and then naturally no one was home to decorate it -- Eric had a gig; Julie had a date, so I drank a bottle of wine and re-read the revisions to my new novel for like the twenty thousandth time this month and maybe, just maybe, it will finally be done this week.

Okay, I've got to go. The television is blasting VH1 Classic (it wasn't me who put this had to be Eric before he went to bed!) and God help me, they've got an Aerosmith song playing. I've got to jump up and change the channel before I suffer serious and permanent brain damage.