Let me put it t…


Let me put it this way – songwriting and producing is 99% about confidence. To me it is, anyway, When you don’t have confidence you don’t write good stuff. And over the years I’ve begun to feel that, well, I kind of know how to write a song now.

– Max Martin, PopJustice

..writer of such hits as “Quit Playing Games (With My Heart)”, “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)”, “I Want It That Way”, “…Baby One More Time”, “Oops!… I Did It Again”, “Since U Been Gone”, “Behind These Hazel Eyes”, “I Kissed a Girl”, “Hot n Cold”, “California Gurls”, “Teenage Dream”, “E.T.”, “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)”, “Part of Me”, “Roar”,  “Wide Awake”, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together”  “F**kin’ Perfect” ,  “Beauty and a Beat”, “I Knew You Were Trouble” for acts like Britney, Katy Perry, Backstreet Boys, Kelly Clarkson, Pink and more.


Emergency Housing for homeless in Nashville for freezing temperatures 2014

Sharing some pertinent info from Open Table Nashville, please share:

The wind chill Sunday night and Monday may reach -10 degrees in Nashville. This is so dangerous for our friends. If you see anyone who is un-housed and cold, PLEASE stop and give them this information: The cold weather emergency # is 615-800-0195 and this will have info about what shelters are open. The Cold Patrol # is 615-255-2475 and they can provide transportation to people needing to come in. Please spread the word… No more deaths!!

horizons…and What’s On Your Plate?

Medley medley medley, I ended up getting soaked in Chelsea today, I think people like getting caught in the rain. Or like watching other people getting caught in the rain. But in a really sweet way. I was grinning like a soggy dog. The little old ladies who couldn’t run out smiled at me. The people in their snazzy duds who couldn’t run out smiled at me. We put on our science hats and our poets pens. Everyone was watching for the rainbows.

Hours later it is dusk and I mount a hill at Fort Green Park, the sky is a tumult of cloudless blue and Manhattan is part of a horizon that stretches to the sea, it is the only view where New York seems like it belonged to the world, like the world is a constellation. New York is all a horizon, it is a city about horizons, it’s another north star, but it’s all a constellation.

We saw this film “What’s on Your Plate” at the BAM outdoor film screening, at Fort Greene Park in Brooklyn.

The film is directed by a broadly thinking social justice documentary filmmaker Catherine Gund, and hosted by two New York middle schoolers. It is a movie that will be shown in schools and to people who are dipping their toes in the world of more progressive sustainability reform. There are several particularly brave moments in it, especially for a film that could have wallowed in safe yuppy yoga mat zone. Gund brings it into the realm of environmental justice, as opposed to eco-chic.We hear about food deserts in ghettos, Latino immigrants inclination to farms, and they even pull out the statistic that there are more prisoners than small farmers (for a cursory primer on some of the wonderful world of environmental justice, read Van Jones’ blazing tract, Beyond Eco-Apartheid).

Gund neatly and provocatively takes an issue that is deeply political and algebraic, and makes it tangible and accessible. The girls have just enough experience living in a city all their lives to be equally in awe of the workings of nature, but worldly and Sesame Street enough to think that growing up vegetarian and eating a plethora of ethnic foods is worthy of a “doesn’t everybody?”. So to them, the idea of making the food system local and fair is as obvious and inescapable a challenge as buying a prom dress.

My friend Kelly and I met the girls and director afterwards, and they all have that sort of matter of factness about the issue, the way kids go about getting a drivers license or a prom dress or a job, that is refreshing, and well, duh.

Duh. Horizons people, horizons.

(this song is so good, Dance Anthem of the 80s. )

minutia of the day (so far)

The happiness of life is made up of minute fractions. The little soon forgotten charities of a kiss or a smile, a kind look, a heartfelt compliment, countless infinitesimal of pleasure and genial feelings

— Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Iced coffee. Waking up to a long lost friend lounging in your living room. Leftovers from home (in Massachusetts), small speakers make for crunchy music, the fan and the street noise and the breeze make up for it. Natural lighting. Good lyrics. Random updates from family and friends via the internets feels as good as is ever has whether through carrier pigeon or pony express or tribal chants. HELLO HELLO say the drum beats. HELLO HELLO says a webcam. Finishing a song. Iced coffee.


This time last week, around 1AM, I was coming back from a truly bizarre gig. on one side of the train over the bridge to Brooklyn, a slouching, smirking, baggy jeaned blonde 20-something guy who could have passed as a drug dealer or a surf bum yells at a tidy, quiet girl wearing a South Africa hoodie. “You from South Africa?” She’s noticeably startled and bristles back “sort of.” He takes her in, and nods in her direction “I studied over there. Ethnofilmmaking.” The tension dissipates, and he leads a chatty conversation. At one point he pats on the seat next to him “come sit here!” She refuses, he continues a schpeel about where he’s from, halfway across the car. When he mentions California, I yell “I’m from San Diego!”. He smiles at me and says “this is why you have loud conversations on the train.” Before I leave he yells “Represent, Diego!”

Tonight, a pile of drunk friends from some outer city, not here, are trying to figure out where the late night 2 and 3 trains are bound. One guy gets off at 42nd st, and another friend commiserates to the ringleader “you better watch after your friend, he doesn’t know where he’s going.” The ringleader points at the girl next to him “she doesn’t know where she is. That’s worse than not knowing where you’re going.” He looks at me for approval. “Poetically speaking, yes.” He looks triumphant.

And other things we do on the subway.


Halfway through singing “Lord Knows” at the rowdy, rambunctious Sidewalk Cafe, I realized something.

I was being between blinded by lunatic spotlights, trying to figure out where the edge of the stage was, where my friend Curtis was sitting, and if the wildly eccentric nightowls who run it actually work a job in the day that could even possibly compare to the gypsy life they lead after rush hour ends. And suddenly it seemed that the microphone head was surprisingly ergonomic. Considering the motley decor of broken trumpets, busted drums hanging on the wall, old cutouts of kids who’d made the big time and bong jokes, that seemed unlikely. The ancient metal microphone I was singing into had formed to shape lips.

It’s the only geology the East Village has. No stalactites. Just old instruments, young bucks on pianos who explode into superstars, and bathroom graffiti. Old, metal microphone carved by lips like cliffs by the mouths of two generations of troubadours. It makes you emote harder, look sultrier, somehow reverse kiss Regina Spektor and Ani DiFranco. They never got rid of it. Just like they will never get rid of their emcees or the woman who plays banjo there, brilliantly. What would do a better job?

One thought ran through my head, not “swine flu” or “cooties”, just, simply, “New York.”