2.26.2009

Jay Fararr

(2004)

While on the subject of St. Louis music history,
here's a picture of talented hometeamer, Jay Fararr,
who you might know from Uncle Tupelo or Son Volt,
two decent bands he was in.

He solos, too, and I got this at one of those types of shows he once did at Blueberry Hill's Duck Room.*





*Lisa

Subterranean Music News, Vol.18

Here's something I found upstairs at Fred's house.
This is probably from around 10 years ago or so.
Near as I can tell, it was a monthly guide to all the bands playing at the St. Louis music venue, Cicero's
(back when Cicero's was cool, I'm told).
I woulda totally gone to The Night of 1000 Spoons Again, too.
I miss all the best stuff.





Regarding this cover, Fred said, "I have no idea what they meant by, "ranch dressing afficiando (sic).""

2.25.2009

Insects

(2000/2008)

Caution: This picture contains pictures of insects!

Violet & Vulpine

(2000/2009)




These two frames were taken at the St. Louis Zoo,
the one and only home of the purple fox.

No.5 for Susan

(2009)

Alright then, Miss Susan.
What about this one?
This has gotta be good for something.
Big strawberry!
Come on!


2.24.2009

Oh, Sure

Yeah, this dude's the poo.
I spelled his name wrongly before, though.
It's Dettmer.

Dig This Guy

Just noticed this guy Brian Detmer again.
Supercool.

The Execution of Mata Hari, 1917

2008





Mata Hari was the stage name Dutch-born Margaretha Zelle took when she became one of Paris' most popular exotic dancers on the eve of World War I. Although details of her past are sketchy, it is believed that she was born in the Netherlands in 1876 and married a Dutch Army officer 21 years her senior when she was 18. She quickly bore him two children and followed him when he was assigned to Java in 1897. The marriage proved rocky. The couple returned to the Netherlands in 1902 with their daughter (their other child, a son, had died mysteriously in Java). Margaretha's husband obtained a divorce and retained custody of his daughter.

Margaretha then made her way to Paris where she reinvented herself as an Indian temple dancer thoroughly trained in the erotic dances of the East. She took on the name Mata Hari and was soon luring audiences in the thousands as she performed in Paris, Berlin, Vienna, Madrid and other European capitals. She also attracted a number of highly-placed, aristocratic lovers willing to reward her handsomely for the pleasure of her company.

With the outbreak of World War I, Mata Hari's cross-border liaisons with German political and military figures came to the attention of the French secret police and she was placed under surveillance. Brought in for questioning, the French reportedly induced her to travel to neutral Spain in order to develop relationships with the German naval and army attaches in Madrid and report any intelligence back to Paris. In the murky world of the spy, however, the French suspected her of being a double agent. In February 1917 Mata Hari returned to Paris and immediately arrested; charged with being a German spy. Her trial in July revealed some damning evidence that the dancer was unable to adequately explain. She was convicted and sentenced to death.

In the early-morning hours of October 15, Mata Hari was awakened and taken by car from her Paris prison cell to an army barracks on the city's outskirts where she was to meet her fate.

Henry Wales was a British reporter who covered the execution. We join his story as Mata Hari is awakened in the early morning of October 15. She had made a direct appeal to the French president for clemency and was expectantly awaiting his reply:

"The first intimation she received that her plea had been denied was when she was led at daybreak from her cell in the Saint-Lazare prison to a waiting automobile and then rushed to the barracks where the firing squad awaited her.

Never once had the iron will of the beautiful woman failed her. Father Arbaux, accompanied by two sisters of charity, Captain Bouchardon, and Maitre Clunet, her lawyer, entered her cell, where she was still sleeping - a calm, untroubled sleep, it was remarked by the turnkeys and trusties.
The sisters gently shook her. She arose and was told that her hour had come.
'May I write two letters?' was all she asked.
Consent was given immediately by Captain Bouchardon, and pen, ink, paper, and envelopes were given to her.
She seated herself at the edge of the bed and wrote the letters with feverish haste. She handed them over to the custody of her lawyer.
Then she drew on her stockings, black, silken, filmy things, grotesque in the circumstances. She placed her high-heeled slippers on her feet and tied the silken ribbons over her insteps.
She arose and took the long black velvet cloak, edged around the bottom with fur and with a huge square fur collar hanging down the back, from a hook over the head of her bed. She placed this cloak over the heavy silk kimono which she had been wearing over her nightdress.
Her wealth of black hair was still coiled about her head in braids. She put on a large, flapping black felt hat with a black silk ribbon and bow. Slowly and indifferently, it seemed, she pulled on a pair of black kid gloves. Then she said calmly:
'I am ready.'
The party slowly filed out of her cell to the waiting automobile.
The car sped through the heart of the sleeping city. It was scarcely half-past five in the morning and the sun was not yet fully up.
Clear across Paris the car whirled to the Caserne de Vincennes, the barracks of the old fort which the Germans stormed in 1870.
The troops were already drawn up for the execution. The twelve Zouaves, forming the firing squad, stood in line, their rifles at ease. A subofficer stood behind them, sword drawn.
The automobile stopped, and the party descended, Mata Hari last. The party walked straight to the spot, where a little hummock of earth reared itself seven or eight feet high and afforded a background for such bullets as might miss the human target.
As Father Arbaux spoke with the condemned woman, a French officer approached, carrying a white cloth.
'The blindfold,' he whispered to the nuns who stood there and handed it to them.
'Must I wear that?' asked Mata Hari, turning to her lawyer, as her eyes glimpsed the blindfold.
Maitre Clunet turned interrogatively to the French officer.
'If Madame prefers not, it makes no difference,' replied the officer, hurriedly turning away. .

Mata Hari was not bound and she was not blindfolded. She stood gazing steadfastly at her executioners, when the priest, the nuns, and her lawyer stepped away from her.
The officer in command of the firing squad, who had been watching his men like a hawk that none might examine his rifle and try to find out whether he was destined to fire the blank cartridge which was in the breech of one rifle, seemed relieved that the business would soon be over.
A sharp, crackling command and the file of twelve men assumed rigid positions at attention. Another command, and their rifles were at their shoulders; each man gazed down his barrel at the breast of the women which was the target.
She did not move a muscle.
The underofficer in charge had moved to a position where from the corners of their eyes they could see him. His sword was extended in the air.
It dropped. The sun - by this time up - flashed on the burnished blade as it described an arc in falling. Simultaneously the sound of the volley rang out. Flame and a tiny puff of greyish smoke issued from the muzzle of each rifle. Automatically the men dropped their arms.
At the report Mata Hari fell. She did not die as actors and moving picture stars would have us believe that people die when they are shot. She did not throw up her hands nor did she plunge straight forward or straight back.
Instead she seemed to collapse. Slowly, inertly, she settled to her knees, her head up always, and without the slightest change of expression on her face. For the fraction of a second it seemed she tottered there, on her knees, gazing directly at those who had taken her life. Then she fell backward, bending at the waist, with her legs doubled up beneath her. She lay prone, motionless, with her face turned towards the sky.
A non-commissioned officer, who accompanied a lieutenant, drew his revolver from the big, black holster strapped about his waist. Bending over, he placed the muzzle of the revolver almost - but not quite - against the left temple of the spy. He pulled the trigger, and the bullet tore into the brain of the woman.
Mata Hari was surely dead."

Hungarian Kids’ Game

But God only knows which one or how you play it.
I’m not even sure how I have these.

2.23.2009

To the Memory of Amelia Earhart

(2008)



Some Amelia Earhart Facts

Birth Name: Amelia Mary Earhart
Born: July 24, 1897
Birthplace: Atchison, Kansas
Died: July 2, 1937, en route from Lae, New Guinea to Howland Island
Married: February 7, 1931, to George Putnam
Despite having to attend six different high schools, she was able to graduate on time.

Earhart was called "Lady Lindy" because her slim build and facial features resembled that of Charles Lindbergh.

Earhart refused to don typical flying gear -she wore a suit or dress instead of the "high-bread aviation togs," a close-fitting hat instead of a helmet, didn't put on her goggles until she taxied to the end of the field and removed them immediately upon landing.

She developed a friendship with Eleanor Roosevelt, who wanted to learn how to fly. Earhart had planned to teach her, for which the First Lady even got her student permit.

Earhart met Orville Wright at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia in 1937, the same year she disappeared.

Earhart made such an impression on the public that people often wrote and told her about naming babies, lakes and even homing pigeons "Amelia."

The United States government spent $4 million looking for Earhart, which made it the most costly and intensive air and sea search in history at that time.

She was the 16th woman to receive a pilot's license from the FAI (License No. 6017).


More information to be found here.

Foreshortening

(2000)





A Picture Of A Chair

(2000)

2.22.2009

You're Okay But...

Rocket Bar Confidential

(2000)

Anyone remember the Rocket Bar?
Oh, sure you do.





Do any of you remember where you were on the night of April the Seventh, 2000?
Well, neither do I but here are some pictures from that night anyhow.
(Identities concealed to protect the guilty)














2.21.2009

Dow Machine Detail

(2000)

Spilledwateronthekeyboard.
Nowitdontworkright.
Itsgonnabejustpicturesforawhile.

2.14.2009

HVD



Just under the wire!
Yippee for pair bonding!
It's just the greatest thing!
You guys are so lucky!

Two Valentines

(19??/19??)

Happy Valentine's Day!
Here's hoping the year so far has broughten you all the love you desire!
And also that that desired amount is reasonable and modest.
You don't want to make a pig of yourself.
I think that as long as the love you desire does not exceed the love you deserve, you're pretty much okay.
But even less than that is better.
Sometimes, you know, it's difficult to gauge how much you deserve.
People usually way overestimate.
I suggest you take what you think is fair, and then cut that in half.
Then cut that half in half and you're probably okay.
An expectation of nothing is, of course, best.


Anyhow, here're a couple valentines I sent out years ago.
Or, well, obviously I didn't send these very ones, but others like em I did, for sure.

This one's from like '97 or '98.
I remember just having met Lois Chiles around that time (Yes! THE Lois Chiles! Not making this up!) and sending her one along with everyone else. Of course there was a full page of text behind the cover with the perforation and I remember feeling maybe just a little bit weird about this one line in there about, "your nipples in my mouth" or something...

True story.





Yeah, and this one's from... I'm gonna say '89 or '90 or '91 and was sent naked like a postcard, but mounted on a piece of 1/2" thick foamcore. It's always fun to challenge the U.S.P.S. but get this: my buddy Ed told me that just after the cards went out that he went down to his local Post Office, back when he was on Cahuenga in Hollywood, and one of our esteemed postal workers had xeroxed one of the cards and taped the copy up on the wall for their customers to enjoy. 




A shining moment in my career and a story I'll have to remember the next time I'm feeling suicidal.

2.11.2009

Lesley Gore


Interview with Lesley Gore
by Shauna Swartz, 
June 23, 2005


Former 60s teen idol Lesley Gore, who is best known for her classic songs "It's My Party (I'll Cry if I Want To)" and "You Don't Own Me," talks to us about her career, her new album, and why she hasn't officially come out as a lesbian (until now).

AfterEllen.com: So, you’re about to tour with your new album, beginning in New York--is that right?


Lesley Gore: Yes. We’re concentrating on New York during the summer…kind of trying to sneak it out in New York over the summer and then on a more national level come September. The release date is June 28th and our first performance is at Joe’s Pub. New York is where I live.

AE: Do you live alone--besides with your dog [which appears in a photo with her on the In the Life website]?


LG: I have a partner of 23 years and I have a cocker spaniel who turned two--what’s today?--she turned two on Friday, June 4th. Little Billie, named after Billie Holiday, one of my favorite singers. And I thought, you know, a little gender confusion makes a better person. A little adversity in life at an early age. It’s character building.

AE: Our readers are interested in representations of lesbians and bisexual women in the media, and I imagine a lot of them will be surprised to be able to claim you amongst ourselves. I was wondering, have you ever come out on the record?


LG: On the record? Well, you know, it’s funny. I just never found it was necessary because I really never kept my life private. Those who knew me, those who worked with me were well aware. And what I actually started doing was, well, for a couple of years now I’ve been hosting [the PBS series] In the Life, and that was just kind of my way of saying, here I am and this is what I feel I should be doing now, and it was sort of a natural evolution for me as opposed to, you know, this great gong in the head.

AE: I knew you had hosted an In the Life episode earlier this year. I didn’t realize you’ve been doing it for two years.


LG: Yeah, the show I just hosted is I think the second one I’ve done for them, and I think they’re terrific people and they know if they ever need to call upon me, I’m there. It’s a great program.
You know, the interesting thing about having traveled around the country as much as I have, and I think it’s sort of inadvertently what made me come out or at least begin doing things within the community and thinking more about that, was that I get to travel quite a bit. I meet a lot of young people in the Midwest, and I saw what a difference a show like In the Life can make to their lives in some of these small towns where, you know, there are probably two gay people in the whole damn town. It’s made a real inroads for them. They come and they talk to me about this stuff, so I know how important it is.

AE: Would you say that people knew you were gay back when you were first performing? You were pretty young, about 17, right?


LG: Well, I didn’t know until I was in my twenties, so if they knew it, they knew it before I did. [Laughs] You know, maybe someone did think that. I don’t know, but I certainly didn’t know it until I was in my twenties.

AE: Once you did know, did you have to go to lengths to conceal it in the music industry?


LG: Well, I don’t think I went to lengths. I just kind of lived my life naturally and did what I wanted to do. I didn’t avoid anything, I didn’t put it in anybody’s face. Times were very different then, so, you know, I just tried to live as normally as humanly possible. But as truthfully as humanly possible.

AE: And how would you say that times were different?

LG: Well, there were was very little acceptance of gay people. I think the record industry, by and large what’s left of it, is still totally homophobic. I think it’s much less so in the film industry now, but the record industry, it’s always been a man’s world. It’s always been a patriarchal situation, and it’s always put women, not necessarily down, but certainly on a lower rung.

AE: I wonder why that would be so different from the film industry.


LG: It is fascinating to know. You know, I read an article a couple of weeks ago in the New York Times talking about how many new women CEOs are in film companies, and it’s certainly been a long and gradual change. And there are, of course, some women in the music industry who have always been there and have been pioneers and there were even a couple back in the fifties--Florence Greenberg, for example, who started Scepter Records. She was one of a kind. She was one woman in a field of men. And I think because the industry is so stymied, a lot of women haven’t fought for their rightful place. Um, the record companies are disappearing, so I think women are finding different ways to go into communications.

AE: It seems like it would be a little bit easier in the film industry just because you have certain parts that have to be performed by women, whereas with music--

LG: True enough. I can remember in the early ‘60s that there were a couple of really dynamic women performers at the time--Brenda Lee, there was Connie Francis. And because the fact that they, on a huge show, they usually used twenty male groups and one female, it was years before I ever met Connie or Brenda because we were never on the same show.

AE: It seems like that was sort of an era when there were a lot of women songwriters and girl groups coming out, but I guess in terms of their percentage…


LG: It was still a low percentage. Given that there was that era of girl group music and it’s still very popular, but I think if you looked at the chart from that time you would see many more men on it. Because the industry, they were catering to young girls. I mean, that’s what they thought their audience was. So you can understand their logic, but I don’t think it necessarily gave women the role models that we needed. I know I had to kind of search for mine. I mean, I had mentors.

You know, Quincy Jones was a great mentor, but he was a man in a man’s world. Fortunately he’s a very sensitive man and a beautiful human being, and even though he was 14 or 15 years older than me, he’s a capable human being and has great communication skills. He was able to get a great performance out of me because he made me feel comfortable in the studio. But I know I had a conversation just a couple of days ago with Kathleen Hanna of Le Tigre, and she said to me, “Who were your female mentors?” And I said, Gosh, I didn’t have any. There weren’t any.
I had many people that I idolized who were singers like Sarah Vaughan and Dinah Washington, but these weren’t exactly women I could call up every day and say, Hey, how’s it going, you know?

So I didn’t have a woman mentor until many years later—many, many years later when I became friendly with Bella Abzug. She kind of mentored me as to what’s important for women and where to put my energies in terms of gay women, and what I could best do to help women in our community and children. And that’s pretty much what I live by now, pretty much where I like to concentrate my efforts. You can only bite off so much, so you gotta know what you want to do.

AE: Right. She sounds like she was really a remarkable woman.


LG: Oh my gosh, she was remarkable, and a great, great, dear friend. And we lost her too early, and it was seven years ago recently and it feels like yesterday. The whole community really misses her a lot. We all get together periodically, and it’s Bella we talk about, because she was so dynamic and we miss her so. And there are so few women who can pull women together that way. She was a great human being, a great woman.

AE: You mentioned that you were having a conversation with Kathleen Hanna. How did that come about?


LG: Yeah, it was great actually--we did a kind of interview; she interviewed me for Ms. Magazine, and it’s kind of based on some years ago in Ms., I had interviewed k.d. lang, and it was sort of a singer-to-singer kind of a thing, and they wanted to kind of recreate that with me being questioned, and they thought it would be interesting for Kathleen to do it because, she, after all these years of being an independent songwriter and artist, has become mainstream. She’s now on a label, which is under the Universal Music Group heading, so she’s got the big machinery behind her now. And I’ve moved to a little indie label, you know, where we pretty much do everything ourselves, and it’s all exclusively on the Net. So, we kind of changed positions, and we kind of had fun talking about that and looking into the future a little.

AE: And when is that issue coming out?


LG: I don’t think that will be out much before September. She’s a great gal. A really great gal, and very smart. It was a pleasure.

AE: So, you said that you interviewed k.d. lang. When was that?


LG: It was about thirteen or fourteen years ago.

AE: Was that the first time you met her?


LG: Yeah, actually what I had done was, she was performing in Rochester, so I took a plane up there and I saw her concert like on a Tuesday or a Wednesday night, and then we did our conversation the next morning. So I had an opportunity to meet her after the performance and meet the band, and actually see the show. I had heard her records before but I had never seen her in person, and I thought that was an important part of the interview.

AE: So, who are you listening to these days?


LG: [Laughs] Lesley Gore. Actually, the funny thing is, after all these years, I’ve got all these new songs to learn for the show we’re doing at Joe’s Pub, so it’s kind of fun to get down and rehearse new things, and also rethink some of the older songs, how we’re going to do them. It’s kind of fun. It’s a whole new challenge.

AE: I wanted to ask you about Grace of My Heart. I’ve read that Bridget Fonda's closeted lesbian teen character Kelly Porter was based at least partially on you.


LG: Well, I think that’s what they were trying to intimate. Was it true? I don’t know, everyone seemed to be based on somebody and yet the stories weren’t absolutely carved in stone. There was sort of a Carole King character, sort of a Brian Wilson character. So I think that was their intent.

AE: Did you have any input when they were developing that character?


LG: You know, I really didn’t. They called me up to write one of the songs and I felt good that they called me, and then the next thing I knew, I received a song in the mail written by two guys, whose names I can’t even remember, and I was so disappointed that I wasn’t brought in on the ground level. And basically when I heard the song, I thought it was kind of terrible, so what I wound up doing is what I call doctoring, which is making some changes to make it a little more palatable. There were things that were totally unmelodic, and there were some lyrics that were just horrible, and I wound up making it, to my mind, a little bit better, and then I got a third writer’s credit. And then they had the nerve never even to invite me to the opening when it premiered in New York. So I say fuck them. [Laughs] So if it was meant to be me, they didn’t handle it very well. There may have been some exploitative motive there--I won’t second guess it--but that’s what I suspect.

AE: When you say some of the lyrics were less than palatable in the original song, did they seem homophobic?


LG: Oh, no. They just seemed bad. [Laughs] They weren’t homophobic at all, just bad rhymes and incorrect grammar--just real pet peeves of mine.

AE: Nothing that you wanted your name associated with?


LG: Not really. Until I put in a few lyrics that meant something to me, then I felt, well, at least I can put my name on it.

AE: I read, I think in Vanity Fair, that the parts you did contribute to that came from genuine anger that you felt at the time. I was wondering if you could elaborate on that.


LG: I don’t actually remember saying that, but I do remember feeling somewhat used by them and somewhat hurt by the whole situation. But I’ve outgrown it. [Laughs]

AE: Oh, I actually thought that wasn’t about the experience of working with them but about what you were feeling in the sixties.


LG: Ah, well, that did come out periodically. You know, "You Don’t Own Me" is a very powerful song: Don’t abuse me, don’t misuse me. It comes from the same place. It’s the “don’t” folder. The interesting thing about "You Don’t Own Me" is that it was written by two men, John Madera and Dave White, and they played me this song on guitar live at a hotel up in the Catskills in 1964 on a Saturday afternoon. And I had these guys come back to New York on Monday and meet with Quincy and me and play him the song and he fell in love with it. So you never know where these things are going to come from, but when I heard that song I knew I had to sing it.

AE: I was wondering if you could tell me a little bit about when you were first discovered, because I’ve read probably four different versions of it.


LG: Right. The short story and the truth is that I was taking vocal lessons here in New York with a wonderful vocal coach.
And one day, instead of my lesson, the piano player and I went into a studio right in the building and we put down some demos, just piano/voice. Those demos got to Quincy Jones through an agent by the name of Joe Glaser who was very friendly with Irving Green, who was president of Mercury, and Quincy was working at Mercury and Irving put my demos on his desk. He listened to them, he called me, and we started to record.

AE: When you did the demos were you about 16 years old?


LG: Yeah, I had just turned sixteen, and I was still sixteen when we cut "It’s My Party." In May of that year I turned 17.

AE: And what was that like growing up and maturing both musically and personally in the spotlight?


LG: It was very difficult, to be honest with you. You have to take into account that this was a long time ago, and we didn’t have things like answering machines, okay? So when the disc jockey on WINS or WNCA, which was a big station here in New York, would say, “That was Lesley Gore, the sweetie pie from Tenafly,” well, people just came to Tenafly. You know, I’d wake up and there were people camped out on the grass.
Or they’d show up in town and someone would say “Where does Lesley live?” and they’d go, “Oh, up the hill, then you make a left over there and it’s the third house on the right.” And it was the same thing with the telephone. People got on the phone and said, "Give me Gore in Tenafly." So we were getting phone calls that we didn’t even understand half the time. So I was really thrown into it, and those things are, how shall I say, double-edged swords. There’s a lot of positive but there’s a lot of negative and you need to find a way to balance it out.

AE: It sounds like you really did not have much privacy.


LG: Well, no, we hardly expected it, to be honest with you. We recorded the record on a Saturday afternoon March 30th and I heard the record for the first time on April 6th. I was driving to school, literally seven days later. You know, that doesn’t happen anymore, so when it started getting played, we weren’t prepared for it. We didn’t even know it had been released.

AE: I heard that it got rushed out. And you always hope for it, but you couldn’t have known that it would be as incredibly successful as it was.


LG: I’ll tell you the truth: When we left the studio, everyone was pleased, but even the president of the company, a wonderful father-like figure, Irving Green, said “Now, sweetheart, if this never gets released, I don’t want you to be disappointed.” And I said, “It’s okay, This has been a great experience. I enjoyed it and I thank you for that, and it’s okay if you never release it.” I never thought it would see the light of day.

AE: Really?


LG: Truly. I was 16 years old--what did I know? I went into a studio, that was an amazing experience, the whole band was there. Ellie Greewich and twelve singers were there--I mean, it doesn’t get any better than that. So if it was going to be released, I couldn’t even envision that. That was too far away to even think about.

AE: When did you transition from performing other people’s material to writing your own?


LG: You know there was a period of time in the ‘70s when I was living in California and there was not exactly a lot of work pouring in, a lot of these records, Party, You Don’t Own Me, there wasn’t enough perspective on them, there were no club dates, and I think I turned to writing really just to wake up in the morning and be a musician and to have something to do, and feel like a musician every day even if I wasn’t working.
And that’s what got me to the piano, that’s what got me up in the morning: a blank piece of paper and a hope to have something by the end of the day.

AE: Was it a struggle at first?

LG: Absolutely. It always is trying to self-motivate. I think it’s the hardest thing a person can do.

AE: Is it still a struggle?


LG: I’m sort of used to it now. I don’t know any other lifestyle. I get up in the morning and I really do feel that the world is my oyster, and I start that way, the same as I would if I were preparing to write a song: put a blank piece of paper up on the piano and you go for it. That’s what you’re there to do.

AE: You said that it was a double-edged sword, your rapid fame. Can you tell me what was rewarding, what were the good parts of it?


LG: Well, people pay a lot of attention to you, and that’s kind of wonderful, and at the same time, after a while you go, Oh my God, enough’s enough. I’m only a little 16-year-old person. So I tried to keep my head through things. Doing Hullabaloo and doing Ed Sullivan were frightening but wondrous experiences, doing the T.A.M.I. show, performing in front of 50,000 people at Lake Ponchartrain--these are memories that are amazing.
The Tonight Shows the Merv Griffin Shows, Batman, Smokey Joe’s CafĂ© on Broadway--I’ve had some wonderful opportunities and I’ve tried to take advantage of as much as I possibly could whenever something came along.

AE: It seems like it would’ve been difficult at such a young age to maintain friendships; it must have shocked your friends as much as it shocked you when things took off.

LG: Absolutely. But you find a level. After two years, I had my hit when I was a junior in high school, "It’s My Party," and I matriculated into college a year and a half later. So I arrived as a sort of celebrity. Never a good idea in college. And it took a while but eventually I found my friends, on my level. I found people that I adored and felt that they adored me for all the right reasons. It’s like all things in life. You work it through and find people you can share things with.

AE: Was that in New York that you went to college?


LG: I went to Sarah Lawrence in Bronxville, which is only 30 minutes outside of New York. And I think that the reason I went there is I wanted to stay close to the music scene in New York--Quincy was still here--and also be able to do some TV. It was my first choice.

AE: How did you manage to keep up with the work and with your music?


LG: Well, I basically did not go on tour unless it was a holiday or summer. I pretty much tried to maintain as normal an educational schedule as possible. So there were times I would work on the weekends but maybe I would have to skip a Friday class to get there. But I stayed in school most of the week.

AE: That must’ve been difficult.


LG: Yeah, it was okay. I was a good student and I enjoyed school. It was good to get away from the attention. It was a good place to go, and if I didn’t have to travel on the weekend I enjoyed staying on campus and just sitting in the library all weekend. The school was a beautiful school and the campus was kind of like a haven for me. A beautiful school and an excellent philosophy. They treat women like human beings, and they were doing that back then. It felt really good to…to feel good being a woman, and Sarah Lawrence had a lot to do with helping me feel that way.

AE: So you started out at such a young age, but you’re also still in the recording industry now. Has being so famous so young affected your career as an adult?


LG: Yeah, sure. Again, it’s a double-edged sword. "It’s My Party" will get me in the door but then I’ve gotta do it. You know, do you want to do that 42 years later? You take the good with the bad, and you make it work. There is no point in me getting up on a stage and not doing "It’s My Party." There’s no point.

AE: What do you mean by that?


LG: I’m saying there’s no reason why I shouldn’t do it. There’s every reason to do it. Where do you want to be: your career before or your career now? Well, they’re the same thing. It’s my career, it’s my life, it’s my work in progress. And I do "It’s My Party" ever since, and I’m just broadening my foundation a little. When I get up on stage I do "It’s My Party," I do "Sunshine Lollipops," I do all the songs people expect me to do, and then hopefully I give them a little something extra.

AE: I think a lot of artists would outright refuse to do that so many years later.


LG: That’s what I meant about it being a double-edged sword. You’ve got to realize your task at hand. There’s no point in alienating your fan base. What I think you want to do is bring them along and then pick up a few more people along the way. So, can you be bitter and make that choice? Sure you can, but it’s not one that I feel comfortable with.

AE: I know "You Don’t Own Me" is a favorite, especially at gay pride celebrations.


LG: Exactly. Imagine me doing a show and not doing "You Don’t Own Me." It’s not going to happen. I can’t imagine an audience not being really unhappy if I didn’t sing "It’s My Party." And I’m not there to alienate. The idea is it’s entertainment; you’re supposed to make people happy.

AE: Are there any things about yourself, any misconceptions about you that you run up against online, in magazines and in daily life?


LG: Oh, absolutely. Very early on, when I was 16 my family and I were up in Detroit and we were doing a television show for WXYZ, sort of a lip-sync show--they were popular in almost every city in the ‘60s. We were staying at a Ramada hotel and there was a photographer following us around. So at one point my father was sitting in this large leather armchair and I stood next to him in front of a huge fireplace, four times taller than I am, and they snapped some pictures and then there was a limo that took us to the television station. Well, needless to say, the mansion of the television station became my home. The photo in front of the fireplace, that was my fireplace at home. The huge limo was... So, I went, "Well, this isn’t true." But it’s sort of the way publicity was done.

AE: And would you say it’s different now?


LG: No, I’d say it was pretty much the same, but I wasn’t prepared for out-and-out lies. I mean, could I live with them? Yeah, I could live with them. But as a result, people actually thought that I came from a wealthy family. And while I come from a very comfortable family, we were hardly wealthy. So I think they were trying to push a poor-little-rich-girl syndrome, and they did, so I think that’s how some people think of me. It was kind of a forced PR, a push.

AE: Are there things that you come up against currently that are misconceptions about you or misinformation that’s out there?


LG: Well, there’s a lot of misinformation but that’s because there are so many websites. So I roll with the punches. I try not to get upset when I read things or feel as though something has been misperceived. Again, everything in life, not just show business, is a double-edged sword. You know, if you’ve got a lot of money, you’ve got to figure out how to be a good person with it. So even when your dreams come true, you‘ve gotta watch out. You know.
I’ve been watching what the press is doing to Angelina Jolie, and I look at that and I’m really just happy to be me. People look at me and they wave, “Hi, Lesley.”
They know me in the neighborhood. It’s no big deal. I lead a pretty normal life now. I don’t know how many poor kids survive when the press is out there to get the worst possible shot of you and to exploit you on that level. I had to deal with it a lot. I had stalkers through my life. Really you just gotta keep chugging along and keep a positive attitude and get through all the problems. You gotta face them, otherwise you don’t get through.


2.09.2009

No.4b for Susan

(2009)

Okay, Su, I think this might be it.
I'm pretty into this.
Just needed a feather was all.
Are you feelin' it?
Maybe?
Should I keep going?
We'll see how we feel about this tomorrow or the next day
but, I don't know, I think this could be the one.