Sunday – Philip Roth in the Park

July 18th, 2014

Okay, it’s on this time.  July 20th in Propect Park.  Join us in the southern end of the Big Lawn in Prospect Park under the tree on top of the hill with the Teddy Roosevelt Boy Scout Tablet.  We’ll be the ones playing songs inspired by Goodbye Columbus by Philip Roth.  

Sunday, July 20th, 3 pm
Prospect Park – Teddy Roosevelt Boy Scout Tablet

PerformersPierre de GaillandeJessie KilgussSusan HwangLeslie GravesDave Voigt,Chris RaelDon Rauf, Geoffrey Scott Diesel, Julie LynnMark Lessereaux




My hair knows things now.

July 11th, 2014

It was just a haircut, but it was also a reflection of my evolution as a being.

I tell Hannah that I want Brigitte Bardot hair (the usual).  She gives me layering options.  We let the pendulum (Pendgie) decide on the classic cut/shape for me, and I head off for shampooing.

I’m met by a lithe young woman named Ford.  I’m a little intimidated at first at how lovely she is.  She’s effortlessly beautiful in her strappy white top and brown skin.  The kind of girl whose only needed cosmetic is a nice tan.  Her loveliness has this eternal quality to it.  Surely, she must be immortal.  I should have asked.

I normally feel like a truck driver around women this pretty.  This happens  a lot around French women who have a built in, cultural or genetic quality of impossible femininity.  Like Asians have this genetic connection to cute things–hence the creation of Hello Kitty and Hello Kitty-like things.  But the French women have this extreme, hyper, yet refined, femininity.  It is a force.  And around it, I always feel like a truck driver.  Actually, when I think about it, I often feel like a truck driver, whether I’m around the French or not.  It’s weird when I catch myself in the mirror and realize I don’t actually look like one.  I am, however, a very good driver.  And I can parallel park with the fearless abandon of an Olympic figure skater or um, Errol Flynn or Inigo Montoya (prepare to die…). .  I’d like to learn to drive camels and elephants one day, because I have a friend who says he needs a mahout.

So I didn’t ask if Ford is immortal, but I found out she has the hands of a goddess.  This is the view I have of her as she presses and rubs my head. Come on, mythic beauty.  You can see why I was questioning her mortality.  She does this amazing thing where she presses hard on the very top of my head.  Oh, this must be my reset button!  Ford, is making me new!  I make  sounds.  She asks if it’s too hard.  I say, you can’t press too hard on my head.  You just can’t.  And we talk about how expressions of pleasure and pain are sometimes indistinguishable.  I think, what a wonderful thing to give a person for a living.  Of course, she’s apprenticing to become a stylist herself there at Blackstones.   But I was thinking, if I could, I would give up my mahout dreams and just wash peoples’ hair, pressing on their heads until they felt like heaven.  I think that would be fulfilling.

So they start haircuts at Blackstones with ecstasy, which is a very nice

way to start.  And then I go to Hannah’s chair where you can bare your soul and be received with expert attention all while getting that much closer to Brigitte Bardot.

Speaking of bare..  yes, that’s a bear in between us.  And an antelope.  Or I guess a deer.

I tell Hannah that I’ve finally made peace with my forehead.  It only took about 41 years.  My whole life, I bemoaned my mediocre forehead.  I wanted it to be as large as Rita Hayworth’s Hollywood-altered forehead.  Or this.

Now this is a forehead.  This forehead is royalty.  And romance.  You can dream on this forehead.  Carol Lombard’s forehead is moonlit nights and mystery and the height of everything.

Hannah and I have had similar forehead issues.  We’ve both tried covering them up with bangs and strictly-enforced side parts.  For over ten years I had Bettie Page bangs, then various bang-like fluctuations, and then finally, in my forties, I’ve said, you know what, I’m going to just let my forehead be my forehead.  So what.  And you know, for the first time in my life, I love my hair.  I walked into the salon that day and said to Hannah (who gave me my last cut as well), I love my hair.  I don’t know why I’m here.  I love it.  I guess maybe trim it a little?  She did.  It was a touch up refresher.

I told her that I’m not married to my side part either.  She agreed–why be committed to a side part?  Yes, these days, I let the part fall where it may.. the middle, off from the middle, left right.  It does what it wants.  All the time.  Which brings me to my new motto:  Do What You Want All of The Time.

Honestly, anything else only gets you in trouble.

So see, sometimes it takes you 41 years, but you eventually get to learn flexibility and acceptance.  Even my hair knows it.

I’ll leave on this note.  Hannah is one of my heroes.  She’s one of the amazing young women I met working at Goodbye Blue Monday.  What I lacked in tips at the bar I certainly made up for in inspiration from the young people around me.  They were all (still are) like 15 years younger than me, but they moved me so much in how they shaped their lives into what they wanted them to be.  Hannah was working at the cafe, but wanted to be a hair stylist.  She got up the nerve to ask her favorite salon, and they hired her.  She worked her way up to being a top stylist/cutter there.  She transformed her life, and she spends all day transforming other people.  She’s all about making everything more beautiful.  I think that’s beautiful.

I feel like that generation of girls has less fear than mine?  Or maybe just less fear than me…  but I don’t think I’ve ever changed my life like that, where I get to do what I want most of the time.  I think it’s because I never believed I could, so I just let things happen instead of directing myself where I want to go.  I’ve always been a good driver, but if you don’t have a sense of where you want to go and the bravery to move in that direction, then you’ll just parallel park or sit in traffic.  Well..  better late than never.  And I have great inspiration from those friends I made at GBM.  My hair is already learning things like flexibility and acceptance.  Where is that elephant..



Educational App

June 27th, 2014

I’m so excited about this, I can barely write.  Surely, it must exist already.  I was sitting on the train and looked over to where a boy was squiggling his finger rapidly on his device…  He startled me, but he was just playing one of those video games where you have to zap a bunch of things with your fingers.

I know and am related to people who know and love video games, and I had my time with the likes of Frogger and Pitfall and Tetris…  Pong too, sure, but in general, I much prefer to stare off into space than stare and poke at a little screen.  Besides, my fellow commuters give me plenty to look at.  Sometimes too much.

Something about that young man’s intense fingering of that screen made me think–my, if only people paid that much attention to pussy, they’d be really good at it.  It just takes attention, focus, practice, repetition.  Like anything.  If they made pussy into a video game, boys would be really good at it.  It would be an educational app.  You would manipulate your iphone va-jj until you hit your goal.  You would have to pay attention to the sound, heat, movement and swelling, and if you got really good, you would hit the bonus level of magical multiples where you earn points like crazy.  And each clitoris and vagina would would be different with different characteristics and different rhythms and different sensitivities, so even if you scored into multiples with one, the next time you played you’d get a completely different one and have to master that…  You can play with your friends..  at the same time, you know with the headsets like they do for those simulated flight games, right?  You could get very good at Virtual Vagina or Practice Pussy while playing with friends around the globe.  You can buy the plastic screen cover to protect from moisture damage for when you get to the oral manipulation levels which is really for experts because you can’t see what you’re doing.  Oral manipulation is a blind art.  It’s all feel.  Imagine, an iphone app that would help you develop feel (and a feeling other than addicted frustration that you’re not getting more messages and updates…).

Of course, the idea of this game is that you would get really good so you could go forth in real life with a certain knowledge and confidence and skill level.  I mean, people who play those flight games may never fly a plane, but we’re hoping that those who practice, hone and learn on the Virtual V-JJ go on to please many actual v-jjs into the realm of magical multiples.  It’s win win.

This is just an idea…  I wonder if this would take all the sexiness out of sex?  But then again, mindless fumbling with being too embarrassed to ask isn’t sexy either.  Or complete ignoring of because you’re a man and supposed to know everything.. that doesn’t get anybody going either.  What we really need to cultivate in this society is excitement about learning about sex, definitely about vaginas.  Vagina education should be the best part of the day or week.  I’ve always been very into learning in general.  Usually, I do it the hard way, but none-the-less it makes you feel alive.  And if you’re alive, you may as well feel like you are.  It’s such a jip to be alive but feel like you’re dead.  What a dumb joke that is.  No thanks…


Playing the Julia Child-inspired Bushwick Book Club show TONIGHT!

June 25th, 2014

It’s that time of the month.  Yes, I’m irritable and angst filled and eating to distraction… because I’m writing a new song.  Sometimes, you have to turn into a horrible person just to get a song out.  I don’t know how other people do it, but that’s my, um, process.  And now I’m single.  But I have this new song to play tonight for Bushwick Book Club, and it’s inspired by Julia Child’s Mastering The Art of French Cooking.  Come see and hear what souffles and omelettes and butter inspire in performance tonight.  It’s making me hungry.

June 25th, 7pm at Barbes in Brooklyn

The Bushwick Book Club takes on its first cook book with a show of new original music in response to Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking.  It will be a literary/musical feast at our favorite Park Slope venue.

Performers:  Bob Holman (poet, founder Bowery Poetry Club), SPACE MEOW (Dool Chao, Adeline Thery), Susan HwangLeslie Graves (GOLD), Casey HolfordJessie Kilguss, Sophie Malleret and Shannon Pelcher .  Hosted by BBC creator, Susan Hwang.

Wednesday, June 25th, 7pm
376 9th St.New York, NY 11215
ph: 347-422-0248
Door: by donation


Show in Red Hook Tonight

June 20th, 2014

If the animal parts have trouble coming off, we’ll just change our name to The Relasticats.

The show is tonight at Bait and Tackle in Red Hook, Brooklyn.

Tonight, Friday, June 20th, 10pm
Bait and Tackle
320 Van Brunt St.
ph: (718) 451-4665
Door: by donation

We are playing songs inspired by physicist, Richard Feynman, plus a new doo-wop inspired by Philip Roth and girl parts.  Join us at Bait and Tackle with our friends Jessie Kilguss and her band playing her beautiful alt. country originals.  We can walk by the water afterwards and gorge ourselves on negative ions.  Oh look, we’re making up our own perfect pre-solstice rituals.  That is so resourceful of us….

Last night, we raised money for this guy:


Charlie requires 2 surgeries to have an abscess removed from his ear.  He’s got an active lifestyle.


June 17th, 2014

I saw this at the grocery yesterday.

People don’t have time to toast their own bread anymore.  This is what the world is coming to.  And a soul-less bear with dead eyes is selling it to you.  I don’t trust that bear.  It’s a cartoon zombie, and it might be what you turn into when you finally give in to pre-toasted bread.

Pre toasted bread.  Why don’t they just sell you pre-digested food.  Sliced excrement so you don’t have to make your own.  Look at the brand name “Bimbo.”  See, food for dummies.  No thanks..  I have enough problems without being turned into a cartoon zombie Bimbo.

Also, I was wondering if it means you’ve made it when you can make this face on city advertisements:

Some other examples:

I think it’s supposed to signal that the story is a comedy.  Or it could signal Armageddon or something, I don’t know.  It could be the face that lets the devil know you’re ripe for hell?  The face you make forever in hell.  Maybe something like that.


Ddong Peh

June 11th, 2014

I got to my desk this morning.  That’s already success right there.  You get up, you grab what fits, you feed your cat and run out the door.  I got to my desk and I looked down and saw this:

Oh..  my ddong peh.  I thought I grabbed clothes that fit this morning, but I grabbed clothes that barely fit, and I seem to have a problem with clothes that stay fastened.  Part of why I’m alive is to wear clothes.  Shoes in particular.  You would think that I’d be better at the details.  Once, I walked into my bosses’ office at Goldman Sachs with my belt unbuckled (so professional).  Another time, my shirt was unbuttoned (same boss).  I once escorted an executive from a European office clear across the trading floor with my dress tucked into my underwear.  I’ve looked down while on the subway train and noticed my shirt dress was unbuttoned just so that my entire navel in addition to ddong peh was exposed.  Last week, carrying my accordion around town, I noticed I was getting funny looks.  I looked down and my shirt was wide open.  I’m a walking Seinfeld episode.

I have no conclusions about this except that apparently my intimidation with physical objects applies to my garments as well.  Listen, I sing songs.  What do I know about appearances.


Getting better

June 5th, 2014

My friend Steve gave me a wonderful gift recently.  He jury-rigged, macgyvered the door handles of my car with bits of whatnot and copious gorilla glue.  The driver’s side wouldn’t open from the outside, the passenger side from the inside.  Getting in and out of my car has only been increasingly acrobatic and stupid for the last 2 years.  Some of my friends are nice about it and say they enjoy the “quirkiness” of my vintage ’94 hoopty.  I would just grin and bear it and try not to fixate on the latest sign of decay.

When Steve sent me this picture of his handiwork, I was elated.  I told him so.  He asked if there was any sarcasm in that.  I was taken aback that he might think so.  Of course I was sincere.

Don’t you know, that most things in this world get worse, not better?  In particular, cars?  A mechanic told me once, “They’re not like human bodies. If you leave it alone, it’s not going to heal.  If you don’t fix it, it just gets worse.”

So the fact that Steve took the time and care and attention to do this was a huge gift that was not lost on me.  And yes, I understand about cycles and birth and death and rebirth, so I shouldn’t be so sad about things falling apart, but still, I appreciate that this focused application of gorilla glue means you’re willing to act against universal laws of decay and chaos.  It’s a form of love.  And I will take it.  Every time.  It’s a note my heart hears.  It’s a color that it knows.  The fixed door handles, unclogged drains, air conditioner put in, snow off my windshield, enter my heart as a sweet variety of pure love.

Thank you for defying the universal trend toward decay and chaos for me.  Thanks for making something work.  It’s one of the nicest gifts you can give a girl.

I get such a kick every time I pull on that little pig tail curly cue to get into the driver’s seat.  Ha!  Look at that!  It works!


When the roommates are away… Tubers and Tunes

June 3rd, 2014

My new roommies both skipped town for the holiday weekend.  I didn’t have any exotic Memorial Day plans, so I’d be home alone.  Luke said, “Behave.”    I’ve lots of experience in all kinds of behavior, so it was hard to decide what to go with.

I was worried that I would collapse into lonesomeness.  I’ve grown a little attached to my new family, but it turned out to be a perfect weekend.  I got to make up for all that alone time I’ve been starved for.  Lots of Chutney bonding time.  I got 3 new songs out of this weekend (the last one is a little dippy, but it’ll serve its purpose).  I rode my bike multiple times.

The morning after a night of depravity looks like this for me:

Yes, I brought the accordion, horn and ukulele down.  Yes, I forced my guests to play songs with me.  Yes, I played the trumpet even though I can’t play the trumpet.





Yes, those are root vegetables.

Yes, I used one of those twirly vegetable “noodle” makers.

No, those noodle makers are no good.  It’s kind of a piece of crap.  Not sturdy, not sharp, gets food stuck in them.  I don’t know why they make things that are crap.  I mean, I write crappy songs sometimes, but they’re songs.  They stop as soon as I shut up.  They collapse into thin air.  Physical crap like those crappy vegetable cutters take up space.  In our homes and then in the landfills.

I managed to take noodle-like shavings of carrots, parsnips, sweet potatoes and yucca and deep fry it all in coconut oil.  I had my head set on deep-frying experiments, so it was this, chicken wings and several accordions (not fried) that night.

2 accordion night is a good night.  2 accordions, plus fried tubers is called a house-warming.

I got a new motto out of that night:

Less crying, more frying!



I couldn’t resist the gratuitous Chutney and pyramids shot.  Those are orgonite pyramids made by the talented Michelle Hood.  You can find out more about those on her site:


Walk With Me

May 31st, 2014

Here’s a new song.  I wrote it for the Bushwick Book Club show at Barbes inspired by Jonathan Ames’ very funny and moving book, Wake Up, Sir.  It’s called Walk With Me.  Chris Rael of Church of Betty who I like so much, tweaked the arrangement, wrote an interlude and made the entire backing track with his own hands!  Who does that for a girl these days???  In case that link went unnoticed, click on the Jonathan Ames below to hear the song:

That’s Jonathan doing the “Hairy Call” that ended the show that night.   That’s the closer.  You really can’t follow that with anything.  It’s the hairy call, and then it’s good night…

All the songs from that show were recorded live and are now available for listening on our bandcamp site.


© Susan Hwang 2014. Photo: Dany Nierman. Site design by