Posts Tagged ‘bushwick book club’

Five bags of turmeric and my right foot.

November 16, 2017

I have five baggies of turmeric in the top of my luggage right at the zipper.  They are tucked into another ziplock baggie, because if the bags break… everything I own will be a different color.  Plus I’ll have to run and get more turmeric, which I do on a constant basis anyway, because, you know, like everybody, I’m living my life, and I take every avenue to avoid pain.  Like, you know, you might have a friend who likes to talk about how mercury’s in retrograde all the time because some kind of planetarily-inspired chaos is more exciting than the pain of the deep sadness for the connection he doesn’t feel in his daily life and his inability to take in life’s basic pleasures.  I inherited my mother’s trick of keeping myself very busy, and you figure if you run around doing a bunch of stuff, you won’t feel the pain of your own uselessness.  Honestly, it doesn’t always work.  Self loathing is bad, but self loathing and being over scheduled is worse.  If you’re going to hate yourself, you should do it lounging on a beach.  Sipping a margarita.

What does work, however, in terms of pain management, is turmeric.  For me.  It’s something that works. I need it to work.  If it doesn’t, the I go back to my old routine, which was as follows:

— open my eyes.

— go the bathroom to pee.

— stand at the sink to brush my teeth for as long as long as I can before the pain gets so bad shooting down my lower back and left leg and through to the bottoms of my feet that I run back to my bed and lie down.

— lie down until the pain subsides enough for me to get up and go downstairs to make coffee.

— stand there making coffee for as long as I can until…

That’s kind of how it went.  And then I’d take advil, and I’d eventually be able to move around enough to do fun things like walk to the medical center down the block from the pawn shop to wait hours to see someone who wouldn’t have any idea what was going on with me and send me to someone else who would give me tests and tell me to come back to see someone else who you’d have to re-explain everything to so you could be told that you would be in pain for a long time and you should take large horse pills of ibuprofen until you decided on cortisol injections into your spine, and when that stopped working, you could have surgery to cut the nerves in your back that were giving you all the trouble.  Hooray!

And you know, in between, I would do my experimental paleo cooking and worry about money.  And write songs and record an EP with Charlie and schedule shows and edit video for BookClub and wonder what the big deal was about being alive anyway.

I had a running joke with myself that the dirtiest part of my body was the bottom of my right foot, because my left foot and leg was in so much pain that I couldn’t stand on it long enough to lift my right foot and wash the bottom of it.

So you see, this turmeric thing is important for me and for the cleanliness of my right foot. 

It’s kind of a turmeric anniversary for me, because Charlie and I are headed to Seattle to play Bushwick Book Club and Lusterlit shows on the west coast for about a week.  We did this last year, and in the bucket seats of our cheap rental Hyundai is where I really made the connection between turmeric and normal, pain-free functioning.

I had been using turmeric in the paleo cakes I ate daily, and I was taking less and less advil, and feeling better and better.  I didn’t realize it was so connected to the turmeric until I stopped cooking those cakes on my trip, and the symptoms returned.  Sitting in the car was excruciating.  I couldn’t stand up straight without being in pain.  It was hard to walk.  It was hard to be.  It scared the shit out of Charlie.  I told him to run to the Safeway and get me eggs, cocoa powder, flaxseeds, coconut flour, stevia and a shit ton of turmeric.  I returned to the cakes.  The apartment we were staying at was a bachelor pad with minimal cooking utensils, but I found a milk frother and frothed all my ingredients together.  It worked, sort of.  It worked enough.  I was on my way back to relatively normal functioning!  I found ways to keep baking and baking the whole rest of the trip.  I’d sit in the car and shove turmeric cake in my face looking at the Red Wood forest, stretches of that farmland in California where all that gorgeous produce comes from.  Those strange Star Wars oil pump crane things.  The west coast is turmeric tinged for me.

So, that’s the long way of saying, look, I want to share a recipe with you.  And I want to let you know, in case you were on the fence about it, that um, yes, what you eat affects you.  What you put into your body matters, and there are ways of giving yourself what you need.  And what you need may not be a cortisol shot that you wait half a day at the medicaid medical center office for.  It may be cake that you make in your oven that smells great each morning.  It’s amazing that what you put in your mouth affects everything, even the cleanliness of the bottom of your right foot. 

Here are some turmeric cookies I baked in Don and Monique’s kitchen.  Don’t they look great against a Seattle back drop?

Here’s a video of cooking turmeric cakes I shot with Larry Krone in his kitchen in the East Village.  We used a dozen eggs.  I forgot to mention that.

Tonight is the third Bushwick Book Club show for Chuck Palahniuk’s LEGACY – An Off-Color Novella For you To Color.  It’s at The Last Bookstore in downtown LA.  Please come out and hear the new songs about books!!

I’ll be the one wearing turmeric-colored shorts tonight held up by Lusterlit/BushwickBookClub tour buttons because the zipper broke.

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Lusterlit on the West Coast and The Times

October 31, 2016

I’m in Mia’s apartment on the opposite coast.  My pajamas are the same, but I listened to a completely different set of neighbors having sex this morning (why do neighbors come in sets, like legos?), and it made me miss my lovely Bushwick neighbors.  I don’t know why it’s preferable to wake up to their sex noises as opposed to these perfectly nice strangers.  Maybe it’s just bias for the familiar.  However, I’m not here for the familiar, although I am to a degree.  The familiar that I’m here for is the playing and making of songs with my Lusterlit bandmate, Charlie Nieland.  The unfamiliar part is the West Coast.  It smells different out here.  So different.  I was just texting this morning about it with my friend, filmmaker Lisa Barnstone who is in Finland with her son as he listens to the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra rehearse what he wrote for a performance Tuesday of new work from composers who happen to be in the fifth grade. She likes the smells of San Francisco too… I was saying that I wish we could record smells like we do songs and sounds…  We could make smell-notes to ourselves.  Next iphone.  Smell symphonies… holy cow.  A whole new medium of art.  Storytelling through our noses.  Yikes.  I’m getting excited.

I’m also excited because I’m in print!  It hasn’t happened too much before.  I don’t know how I feel about it, but I suppose it doesn’t matter (how I feel).  The bottom line is, here’s the print, and the fun thing is buying the magazine at the counter at the airport and opening it up and getting to tell the cashier, “Hey!  look!  That’s me!”  And she was happy for me and impressed.  The important thing is that Bernice got a kick out of it…

Me and Bernice sharing a moment at 6:30am at JFK.
fullsizerender-11And there’s more online but here’s the spread for the Sunday NYTimes Magazine.  My friend Alison took this one.  She stills gets that delivered on the weekend.  Like it’s 1995 or something.  I like old school values too though.
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AND… look, there was a rainbow outside the book store waiting for us and our first show at ADOBE BOOKS on our LUSTERLIT Bushwick Book Club West Coast Tour!

fullsizerender-7My friend Lisa pointed out that this photo looks “fake as s***.”  That’s the filter I used–it’s called “Fake As S***” or “HDR.”  But really, a double rainbow, and it smells good here.

And I got to meet up with Mia and meet her friend Hawa who were just gorgeous and opened up and spread their gorgeous around the room until we were all filled with it and we became so good looking we didn’t recognize each other but still appreciated it and the sharing of ideas and feeling.  That’s what happens when you play songs about books.  I’m telling you.

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fullsizerender-9Find out about all our tour dates here:

https://www.facebook.com/events/907566202681474/

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RELEASE – Songs about books this WEDNESDAY at HiFi!!!!

September 27, 2016

You know, you write some songs about books, and they seem innocent enough, but then they gain life and become their own sentient beings, and they demand things like videos where all your friends jump naked into a pool.  Or they want to be played all the time and then recorded, and then they want other songs about books to hang out with and soon you have a whole album (or EP), and then that album wants to be released, so you’ve got to have art and a party.  And then they want keys to the car and they’re trying on your clothes.  It’s a spiral.. downward, upward, outward….

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You’re invited to the party–the party that songs about books wanted–on Wednesday, September 28th at HiFi in the East Village.  Producer and musician/songwriter, Charlie Nieland and I are playing as our new, lit-based duo, Lusterlit.  He’s got an incredible album of songs written for Bushwick Book Club too that begged for this party.  And we’re partying with the awesome singer/songwriter, Jessie Kilguss, who is also releasing her recording of BBC songs.  AND we’re having special guest performances from BBC contributors Sweet Soubrette, Casey Holford, Pearl Rhein and John S. Hall.  That’s the thing about songs about books–they’re very social.  They’re like 20 year olds–they’re all about their friends and hanging out.  Everybody dates everybody; it gets incestuous.  I mean, if you’ve never hung out with songs about books, you’ll see what I mean Wednesday night.  We’re all backing each other up on our songs, switching instruments and harmonies all night!  And then we’ll get pizza… metaphorically.  I’m still actually in my forties, and I’m lactose intolerant.

Here’s the video for the book-inspired song party!

Here are the details again:

Wednesday, September 28th, 7:30-10:30pm
HiFi
169 Ave. A
NYC

Here’s the video made by Charlie Nieland for one of my frisky songs to be released on my Vonnegut-inspired EP EVERYTHING IS SATEEN.

EUPHIO – Noise from the Void

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GIRL POOL in Berlin

June 30, 2016

What could possibly be more pleasing than a girl pool.  Who doesn’t like girls and pools.  A pool of girls is a desirable thing, as far as things go.

I’m fortunate in that I’ve only experienced the most satisfying, exhilarating of girl pools with the most talented, true, fearless girls one can know.  That’s how my experience of them has been.

The video, inspired by Chapter 7 of Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle, is for a song written for Bushwick Book Club.  It’s being shown at the Berlin Short Film Festival today.  I’m not there in Berlin, but the director of the video, Deb Magocsi is!  (Incidentally, I met Deb in a girl pool known as the Main Squeeze Orchestra.  I’ve occupied many, and they have all been glorious.)

These are shots from the original Girl Pool.  

Phyllis Junick
FullSizeRender (5)Margaret Langan
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Janine Diorio….  (I don’t have a picture of her).

Gail Malone (the blonde with the sweet smile at the end of the table)
FullSizeRender (1)Sharon Murphy…

Tricia Balsamello.. (look at those eyes!!)

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Donna Ingargiola Mustafa…
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Those are some of my girls from the Girl Pool of M&A Goldman Sachs.

Some of the other girl pools I’m lucky enough to have occupied are:

(as mentioned earlier) The Main Squeeze Orchestra
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The Debutante Hour
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and GOLD

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(we have a show tomorrow night, 9pm at Union Hall in Park Slope!)

People have all kinds of luck. I personally am fond of parking mojo, but I’m also blessed with knowing pretty much only amazing people.  It’s hard for me not to surrounded by geniuses, adorable people and  adorable geniuses of all genders and degrees of genders identifying more or less with one, several or no genders.

That’s all I wanted to say.  And one of the happiest occasions of my life was making the video for Girl Pool.  I can’t explain how fun it was and how many adorable, very good-looking geniuses it brought together at Mark Lerner’s pool in upstate New York and in the offices of Enstoa (thank you Jordan Cram!)  And I’m happy that Berliners get to peek in the Girl Pool that keeps swirling due to the forces of art, love and Vonnegut.

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Yesterday morning and later this week!

January 11, 2016

A remarkable day..  It was a remarkable day.  Someone asked me the other day what I enjoy doing.  I thought that was the weirdest question.  What do you mean, what do I enjoy enjoy doing?  I enjoy doing everything I’m doing.  The day before, I drove a car on the New Jersey turnpike to get to a new acupuncturist.  I enjoyed that.  I enjoyed being by myself in the car and drinking coffee and seeing the wide expanse of sky that the Turnpike bestows you, and I enjoyed wondering what kind of birds those were, circling and circling ahead, and I enjoyed the calm that comes to you when you make it outside the city, when the city finally lets you go, no matter how many obstacles it puts in your path as you carve and scrape your way down Flushing Avenue to the BQE ramp.  I enjoyed how you can hear yourself louder as you’re driving fast, alone in your car, or in the car that was so kindly lent to you by a friend from Texas.  It’s great to have friends from Texas!  I enjoy that too…  What do I enjoy?  Jesus.  What do I not enjoy… Okay, you don’t have to answer.  There are a lot of answers to that.  But this post is not about that.

This post is about New Jersey.

And gambling?  And risk..  and rainbows!  And driving.  And drivers.

It’s a normal day in New York, meaning that it started out raining and then got really sunny.  It was  a balmy 56 degrees… In NJ, it rained again in the afternoon, a torrent for four minutes, and then a sudden stop, and then this rainbow!

2016-01-10 15.20.42

But you see, the morning began with an email asking if I was available for a job this afternoon.  I said yes.  Even though Google was skeptical (they warned me that this could be a fake email; what the..?).  It turned out to be real.  They needed someone to come to a studio in East Hanover, NJ for an infomercial for an online casino.  Yay!  Another opportunity to make rent!  And although my father told me on his deathbed never to play the lottery, he also told me never not pay rent.

They sent a car for me.  It was huge.  An SUV with two rows of seats.  For me.  It stopped at my corner in Bushwick and waited for me.  It shuttled me to East Hanover, NJ.  I got to see this:

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The rain had stopped, and the mist that was lingering was beautiful.  Lower Manhattan was beautiful.

And then the sky was doing this in New Jersey.

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What??

And the car was so big, I was like, “I just want to lay down…” The driver said, yes, of course.  It was my car…  So I laid down and looked at the sky.    And it reminded me of rides in my parents’ car as a kid and watching the telephone lines dip and point on our way to Montgomery Mall or whatever Korean dinner party we were going to.  But this New Jersey sky was great to look at, maybe even better?  Better than those skies I gazed up at from my father’s Chevy Chevette hatchback?  Or my mom’s station wagon with the wooden side panels?  I think it was better.

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And then it hailed and rained a torrent when we arrived at the studio.  And then it stopped, and there was this as mentioned before:

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See…  what’s not to enjoy?

Also, there’s this other story.  It’s weird, but there’s a portion of it being aired this week.  Watch my interview on a show called “In Harlem” this week, January 14th at 4pm on MNN Channel 2 and you get part of the story.

The interview is strange and great because it wasn’t scheduled.  I just happened to walk into the MNN studio that afternoon because I was showing it to my friend and amazing art director and co-producer of my TV show, Storm Garner.  We walked in and then were asked to be interviewed on this show where the guests had cancelled last minute, and I thought, ‘Sure, fine,’ and then I ended up having this incredible conversation with the host, Gerald Shultz, who I ended up asking to help me with technical directing my own TV show (which was fortunate for me because he’s a genius).  I’m also now enjoying knowing someone who doesn’t read fiction, but operating manuals for pleasure.

There’s more back story because the night before the interview, I saw my friend, Rachel Feinstein’s taping of her Comedy Central special at the theater across the street from the MNN studio and drank way too much tequila at the afterparty and then woke up not caring about anything I used to care about and then went back to the MNN studio wearing yesterday’s make-up, because really, there are no requirements in this life but to love people.  Or love… something.

So there’s that.  Watch the show and the interview — “IN HARLEM” January 14th, 4pm on Channel 2!!  I talk about the Bushwick Book Club and the show I’m making, THE LALALA SHOW… which will also air SOON.  Ack.  And a rainbow today.  Can you believe???  Thank you, weekend…

 

 

 

 

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Songs from the last Bushwick Book Club show

September 5, 2014
Our first collaboration with Bushwick Book Club Malmo.
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Songs About Books Gone Wild

August 12, 2014

I was talking with Leslie the other night about how I don’t tend to post things from the lower clouds.  I mean, my last post was from cloud 9, but generally speaking I won’t speak online if I’m not at least coming from cloud 7.  Yesterday, I got to Cloud -5, which included sitting on a train that wouldn’t move after I had already waited 30 minutes for it when I was dead tired at the end of the day.  It sat with the doors open on the platform where a folk singer played and played, making me feel like I was at that eternal open mic in hell.  I cried.

But you know, it never ceases to amaze me how all things exist at once.  There I was crying in hell, but then there’s this great thing that exists now that is the product of some of my very favorite people coming together to make something.  Here’s the new music video for “Girl Pool,” a song I wrote for our Vonnegut-Cat’s Cradle Bushwick Book Club show a while back.  The recording features Matt Menold on guitar (who I miss a lot), Mark Ospovat on bass (who I miss a lot), Adam Amram on drums (yay!) and Julie and Leslie on vocal harmonies (sweet and powerful mix).  Oh, also Cecil Scheib on trombone!  He’s the best.

The video is made by my dear friend and talented filmmaker, Deborah Magocsi.  And the cast of course includes adorable people I know from many different worlds.  And they all came together and got in the water with me.  It was a beautiful experience.

People come together for weddings.  And funerals.  The making of this video felt like I married myself, and all these loved ones came out to witness and celebrate.  Or maybe it was a funeral too.  A funeral of one of my old selves, and the moving on to a different place.  Well, now I want to do it again.  More wedding/funeral/choreographed dance numbers, please.

Speaking of songs about books, there’s also a SHOW next week at City Winery with the founders of BBC Malmo.  TICKETS are on sale now!  You can get them here: http://www.citywinery.com/newyork/bushwickbookclub082014.html

Wednesday, August 20th, musical nerdery reaches new heights as we present our first international collaboration of songs about books at City Winery.  The founder of Bushwick Book Club Malmo (our Swedish Chapter) will be in New York to present new songs and performance inspired by Reidar Jonsson’s My Life As A Dog.

The night will feature original music and performances by:

Sunny Sanam – performance artist, actor
Julie Lamendola – Ching Ching
Sam James – The Wowz
Charlie Nieland – www.hervanishedgrace.com
Christy Davis – GOLD
Casey Holford – www.caseyholford.com
Sophie Malleret
Early Riser – Heidi Vanderlee, Kiri Oliver https://www.facebook.com/earlyriserrr
Susan Hwang – www.susanhwanglalala.com
Summer Morse
Jessie Kilguss –  jessiekilguss.com
Hilary Downes – hilaryedownes.com
Pierre de Gaillande – www.pierredegaillande.com/
Pearl Rhein – pearlrhein.com
Sweet Soubrette – sweetsoubrette.com

Hosted by Susan Hwang with the founders of Bushwick Book Club Malmo – Kristian Carlsson and Thomas Teller,http://bushwick.se/

August 20th, 8pm
City Winery
155 Varick St.
New York, NY 10013
Ph: 212 608-0555
Door: $10
Tickets: http://www.citywinery.com/newyork/tickets/bushwickbookclub082014.html

www.bushwickbookclub.com
bushwickbookclub.bandcamp.com\

“The Bushwick Book Club takes humdrum book reading to a new level.” — The New York Times
 

 

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Sunday – Philip Roth in the Park

July 18, 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

 

bbc_roth.revised

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

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

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Walk With Me

May 31, 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.

Bushwickbookclub.bandcamp.com

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© Susan Hwang 2017. Photo: Carrie Jordan, ShotsByCarrieLou.com. Site design by Billkwando@yahoo.com