Sunday, May 31, 2009

Summer VLog: Featuring Stefhan!

As promised, the new VLog entry features my best friend Stefhan! We recorded this in the living room (we were supposed to tape in Barefoot, but the Sunday jazz session would've drowned out our magnificent commentary on life). We tried doing one long take, but that didn't work out too well with my Dad hovering around ("helicopter parenting") and Stefhan's phone ringing. There aren't enough cautionary words in the English language for this video. We're immature, we make wildly inappropriate jokes, and half the time we're laughing at ourselves. How do I function without this boy around?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Summer VLog: First

Alright, here is my first vlog entry, which I recorded in bed. I must be in that lucid-sleep stage to be stupid enough to publish this post, but whatever. I'll deal with the backlash in the morning. Enjoy the rambling and incessant gum-chewing.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Back On The Island

From Black Sand Journal

Today, I decided to take a nap at 3 in the afternoon and I didn't wake up again till 10 at night. This does not bode well for the start of my 9am gym routine.

I wonder if Emirates reads my blog, because on the Dubai-Colombo leg of my marathon trip home I was cut some serious slack with a free upgraded to business class. I didn't ask anyone for it - the guy who rips the boarding passes just issued me a new one and I didn't realize I was in business till I was looking for my seat on the plane. They were offering freaking Möet before takeoff (of course, I couldn't accept because of a certain bet I have going this summer) and my food was served on a table cloth - A TABLE CLOTH! - oh, the luxuries of life.

Usually when I return to Sri Lanka, I (and those around me) suffer a week-long tantrum until I adjust to the fact I won't be in New York for X-amount of days. It takes time for me to accept I cannot walk everywhere and anywhere (thanks to the unforgiving sun and charming catcalls from men). It takes time for me to remove the words fuck, cunt and asshole from my vocabulary. It takes time to remember I cannot drink the tap water.

But this time round, my demeanor is eerily calm. I think it may have something to do with acknowledging I was in dire need of a 14 week break from New York to get back in touch with who I am (free of certain "stresses"). 14 weeks of sobriety, working out and meditation (yes, that means I'm going to temple...).

Exciting news - as of my next post I'll be vlogging instead of blogging. I really shouldn't be, because every time I post a video on someone's facebook wall I tend to come off as clinically insane. No matter.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Summer in Sri Lanka To Do List

From Black Sand Journal

1. Intern at a newspaper...
2. ... Not die in the process.
3. Photograph what the government doesn't advertise in brochures...
4. ... Not die in the process.
5. Volunteer for Equal-Ground...
6. ... Not die in the process.
7. Gym 5 days a week...
8. ... Not die in the process.
9. Live with my parents for 14 weeks...
10. ... Not die in the process.

To summarize, staying alive is the low bar I'm setting for a successful summer.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Somebody That I Used To Know - Elliott Smith

From Black Sand Journal

I listened to the namesake of this post on repeat all of last night.

Mike and I were taking a tea and coffee break yesterday afternoon at Irving between helping our friends move out of dorms. He'd been listening to this Elliott Smith song and said that it reminded him of my current predicament. "That first line, what was it?" he said before pausing for a tense moment to think. "Oh yeah, it goes - I had tender feelings that you made hard. But it's your heart, not mine, that's scarred."

I can't emphasize enough how horribly apt an articulation the song is of my entire year, so just listen to it.
From Black Sand Journal

Sophomore year is over. I'll be leaving the city in eight days and won't be back for fourteen weeks. People in Sri Lanka will ask, "So, what went on over the last few months?" - and what the fuck am I going to say? I should just link them to my blog and tell them to figure the whole mess out.

But here are a few shards. I never feel more alive than I do immediately after a concert. Photography is therapeutic. The most unexpected people read my blog. My perfect vision probably dulls my other senses. It's worth jumping fences after midnight for certain people. As a 20 year old, I don't take my good health for granted. The same two figures have alternated casting a shadow over the other in my life - while in the presence of one, all I could feel was the absence of the other.

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Thermals at Bowery Ballroom

From Black Sand Journal

I will feel as free as Kathy looks in this photo on Tuesday night.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Patrick Wolf at Le Poisson Rouge

From Black Sand Journal

I love bouncers who can't do math. Approximately 12 hours before my politics final, I stood in line outside Le Poisson Rouge to receive my wristband for the Patrick Wolf show. I showed my real ID, but entered without underage X's marring my hands. I took it as a sign, and walked straight to the bar to order a pint of Red Fish Ale.

Call it irresponsible, call it badass - I value my education, but I don't skim on thrilling life experiences. It doesn't get much better than witnessing Patrick Wolf - the omnisexual demigod - perform a live acoustic show at a club on Bleeker Street.

Befitting the musical tone, the scene at Le Poisson Rouge was quite subdued. Fans obediently occupied tables, while those of us who came late lined the walls. Patrick shared the stage with a violinist, but played more instruments than I've heard of throughout the show.

Patrick emerged from his dressing room in a fitting black jacket and elaborate neck piece - both of which he had stripped off by the second song. I had never been all that attracted to him, but when an inebriated woman in the audience yelled, "C'mon Patrick - Get yer kit off," I found myself nodding in silent agreement.

His onstage banter is second to none. He spoke at length about his family, and what playing in New York means to him. His childhood fascination with Bleeker Street while growing up in a small town near Sussex certainly resonated with me. "I imagined a street full of cafés with fabulous musicians, but instead I got an American Apparel," he joked (I think, I hope).

He didn't have a fixed set list, and pretty much took requests from audience members all night. We sang happy birthday to his cousin Natalie, he asked whether anyone knew of a good line-dancing class for his Aunt Brenda. The show felt so homely.

He sang a bare bones version of Vulture for his encore. Not nearly as hot as the music video, but it was worth hearing just for his costume change. My jaw almost dropped when he said he'd finally found "the Yoko Ono to my John Lenon." I would have envisioned Patrick as Yoko.

Of course, it was pouring rain after the show. It was nearly 1AM and I hadn't eaten since lunch, but Lauren and I decided to run in the direction of the library. On the way she yelled "CART" and we ducked under its awning to order me some lamb over rice, before continuing our jovial scamper back to Bobst. I don't think I've ever shoveled food into my mouth so quickly. If you want to see more photos of the Patrick Wolf show, or just some stunning photography in general, check out Lauren's flickr site.

I ended up going to bed at 5AM, waking up two hours later to sit my final, and now blogging about the show. I haven't even had time to collect my thoughts on the phenomenal New Yorker Summit, but I will say that Ana Marie Cox (a.k.a. Wonkette, frequent guest on The Rachel Maddow Show and writer for the Daily Beast) tapped me on the shoulder to ask why I was twittering about her. Most bumbling, star-struck moment of my entire life. Movie stars? Who cares. Journalists? I'm weak at the knees.

One last thing - Patrick Wolf did an acoustic version of The Magic Position. The sneaky bastard let it creep up on me by blending it into the end of another song. Before I could prepare myself, the chords were booming out of his grand piano and he sultrily whispered the song title into the microphone. It wouldn't be a Black Sand Journal entry without some sort of revelation - and mine came as Patrick sang:

"Out of all the people I've known, the places I've been,
The songs that I have sung, the wonders I've seen,
Now that the dreams are all coming true,
Who is the one that leads me on through?"

It's (still) you.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The End of Poetry

From Black Sand Journal

It is the eve of finals and I know things are bad when my mind subconsciously turns to religion. Not to worry - my real Holy Trinity is Elliott Smith, Feist and Wilco. Since life is a mere exercise in citation, my final swing at poetic writing will be the splicing together of lyrics from my three saviors.

I met a girl, a snowball in hell, she was hard and as cracked as the Liberty Bell. Baby I can't figure it out, your kisses taste like honey. Forget the implications, infatuations end. This very secret that you're trying to conceal is the very same one that you're dying to reveal. You once talked to me about love, and you painted pictures of a never never land, and I could have gone to that place, but I didn't understand. The hope I had in a notebook full of white, dry pages was all I tried to save. It was hard to tell how I felt to not recognize myself. A sleepy kisser, a pretty war, with feelings hid, she begs me not to miss her. You beat up on yourself 'cause there ain't no one else, who feels quite as good to put straight through hell. All my lies are only wishes. You beat it in me that part of you, but I'm going to split us back in two. I thought you'd ask me not to leave. I'm never going to know you now, but I'm going to love you anyhow.