My interview from Cindy Crabb's new MASCULINITIES zine!


Friend and former Radio Harvester guest Cindy Crabb just put out this really cool zine about conceptions of masculinity and she interviewed me for it and I'm really honored to be included and also stoked that it's finally out and I can share it. I think these kinds of conversations are super important and I feel really lucky to have been given the forum to have one publicly.

I haven't read the zine yet. I literally just got it from my mailbox and texted Cindy like, "OMG YR ZINE IS BEAUTIFUL CAN I PUT MY INTERVIEW ON MY BLOG?!!?!!?," but I'm sure the other interviews are great. You should pick up a copy of it if you're interested. Cindy says she'll have it up on her distro website by Monday, so go buy it and other zines she's made and other zines she sells because she's amazing.

Anyway, here's the interview:

Cindy: What was masculinity like growing up?

Colin: I have a really contentious relationship with my masculinity, so I like the idea of this project. I wish there had been more resources like this when I was younger.
I grew up in a fairly affluent suburb of NYC, with a diverse public school. I didn't think about masculinity much when I was very young, but when I was a teenager, it got tied up with my substance abuse history in a really intense way. I started getting fucked up all the time when I was about 15, just smoking weed all day, and then when I was like 19 I started drinking all the time.
A lot of the social and societal discomforts I was medicating by being fucked up was this anxiety I felt around gender, masculinity, my masculinity, how to perform masculinity. I've been off booze for about two and a half years now. When I was 28, I quit drinking.

Cindy: What kind of messages about masculinity were you receiving?

Colin: I didn't play sports growing up, and that wasn't something that was made a priority. I remember my Dad got me a baseball mitt, and I never wanted to use it. And I remember one day telling him, "I'm never going to want to play catch with you." He was basically relieved because he didn’t want to play catch either, so being athletic wasn’t a paradigm that I had to butt up against at home, though I still do have anxiety around playing sports even now based on how unpleasant I found the mandatory, gender-segregated ballgames in school when I was a kid.
            My father drove a cab and didn't take shit, but he was in general pretty low-key.  His father was incredibly unavailable. I think about masculinity a lot in the frame of how it's been passed down through generations, and how the previous generations inform the version of masculinity today that's being put on me.
            Grunge was a huge thing when I was a little kid. I read about Kurt Corbain, read the liner notes for Incesticide where he pretty explicitly calls out bro culture and toxic masculinity in a way that, looking back, was super radical for something so mainstream. It just seems like the dominant culture in the 90’s was a little more gender ambiguous in ways it hadn't been before.  Or maybe it had been like that in the 70's with disco, I don't know.

Cindy: Yeah, it does seem to come and go. Like there was disco and then it got more traditional, and then there was Glam, and then it got more traditional, and then there was Grunge.

Colin: Yeah. Well, I grew my hair out super long when I was really young. I remember being at my Grandparents 50th anniversary or something, at this Eastern European, Jewish schlocky steak-house in the Lower East Side. I must have been 12 or 13, and my hair was down to my nipples, and I thought it was so cool. And then this old-world waiter thought I was a girl, he addressed me with a female pronoun, and I was so STOKED! I was like, "he doesn't know what gender I am, this is so cool.” I thought it was funny, and then I looked at my Dad, and he was bummed. But he wasn’t bummed that the dude had thought I was a lady, he had long hair in the 70s and him and his cousin Luke used to always get mistaken for women hitch-hiking. He seemed disappointed in me that I enjoyed being misgendered and I didn't understand why. My therapist calls this sort of thing micro-aggressions. Or like, I joined NOW when I was 13 or so, and I remember one Thanksgiving my shitty uncle Donny saw a NOW bulletin laying on the table in the hall, addressed to me, and he was like, “What’d you grow a vagina?” He actually said “vagina” because he’s this weird Christian who doesn’t curse. And like, that wasn’t a big deal, and neither was my father’s disapproval at the anniversary, but then these little tiny things end up adding up and making a clear picture for me that there are specific things I’m not supposed to do because I’m a guy.
            I was also really into dressing in drag when I was young. Just before and up until puberty. I remember wearing this slinky dress with these Jackie O glasses to see The Craft in the movie theater and I was like, 13 or so and I was scrawny so my body itself was kind of this neutral, genderless canvas and people would assume the gender based on the accessories, right? That’s why I was so into Judith Butler when I found her in college, talking about gender being a performance, because that’s how it had felt to me. And I remember at the time, the way that I thought about it wasn’t that I was doing any sort of transgressive gender play, what I liked was that I was tricking people. Like, I was undercover as a different person.
            And I stopped doing that around the same time as I started getting really fucked up, which is also the same time that all the micro-aggressions had finally crystallized into a clear picture for me of what behaviors were off limits. Probably also around this time actual violent reprisal for men failing to be masculine enough came into the picture too, though none of it was directed at me. But that was on the table. Kids started getting beat up at school for being faggots, excuse my language. It’s only now, looking back, that I can see the correlation between when I started suppressing all my instincts to be a gender freak and when I started mediating all my lived experience through substances. The other thing is that getting fucked up was like, an easy out if I acted weird. Like, I wasn’t a failure as a man, I was just stoned. I think if the culture had been different in regards to gender, I likely would have become female at some point in my adolescence. I didn't do that, though, because I didn't even see it as an option.

Cindy: Of course.

Colin: My introduction to punk was kind of crazy too. I brought home a NOFX tape a friend of mine had made me, and played it for my dad, and he gave me a copy of the first Dead Kennedys record. And both him and my mom were really into Gang of Four. So things that were rebellious for other people were not even remotely rebellious for me. But then when I was 14, someone gave me the first Bikini Kill record, and both my parents were like "What is this!?" and were freaking out, so I'm like Ok, here's something I can use to rebel. I finally have a thing that's not ok. So a lot of my politics when I was young came from a very cursory understanding of feminist issues. I remember thinking at the time that my life would have been easier if I was a girl. I had the political understanding that navigating the world as a female-bodied person was more difficult in a lot of ways. I didn't think it would be easier like that, but I had this notion that it would make more sense, my life would make more sense, if I were travelling through the world as a girl instead of a boy.
            I don't know if it's a great tragedy that I don't feel that way anymore. Because now, in this life I have, I love my body, I love being a man in the world. I'm fascinated by it, it's intriguing to me, it's interesting and it's fun. I like the clothes, I like being a dude a lot, and I'm very grateful for who I am. 

Cindy: Can you articulate more what do you find intriguing about it?

Colin: Maybe. All of this is going to be intrinsically tied to punk. Growing up punk in the 90's in New York was a pretty wild time for studying masculinity. Like I would go to see Blanks 77 on a Friday night, and see Anti-Product at ABC No Rio on Saturday, and then go see some New York Hardcore band on Sunday. And the way I would act and dress and speak, and even my posture would change, in these different places. It was something I did without thinking, but it was totally different. I felt out of place at the hardcore shows and I LOVED it. Well, I don't know if I loved it actually. Maybe I hated it, but I kept going, so there must have been something that I was into. Sometimes these days I describe my forays into the Sunday afternoon CBGBs Hardcore Matinee as being motivated by wanting to witness the spectacle of male violence, but I think that’s just me trying to seem precocious in retrospect.
Hardcore was so different from the Peace Punk and Street Punk scenes, both of which resonated with me way more because they were explicitly about either fighting injustice or partying, which were two things I liked to do. The NYHC scene was these huge dudes in camo cargo shorts, doing windmills and beating the shit out of each other. But at the same time there was this notion that - this is a thing that we share. This hyper-masculine bond of hardcore shows.
            I understand the response to the masculine aggression at hardcore shows - like "you can't do that. You have to make space for other people too." But at the same time, some people really needed those spaces and people to get that out with and be able to participate in violence with. Looking back on it, going to those shows was really a way to see into a very dark place, but it was also a hopeful place because it was clear that there was something almost therapeutic going on.
            I don't need that kind of catharsis, I never have, but I have known people who really did, and most of them came from much more violent backgrounds than me, and they needed to let it out somewhere in the world, and I think that was a really healthy, important outlet for those people to have. I don't know where the balance is.     
            I guess I'm at a place now in my 30's where I'm like -- do all places need to be inclusive to everybody? You know. I went through a pretty unfortunate folk punk phase in my early 20s and I didn't necessarily bring my hardcore friends to the neck bandana housepunk shows where I was playing a ukelele with my shirt hanging coquettishly off my shoulder. They would feel probably just as uncomfortable and awkward as I felt in their hyper-masculine spaces.

Cindy: I know what you mean. I had friends in the hardcore scene - female friends, and they hated riot-girl for trying to demasculinize it or stop the violence. They were like "these are our spaces. We need this!"

Colin: Right! And I say this as someone who never needed that, and who found it alienating.
            I also remember going to see a Barbara Krueger exhibit at the MOMA with my mother, and there was a print of some dudes fighting, and it said, "You construct intricate rituals in order to touch the skin of other men." And I immediately just imagined replacing that imagine with like, a pile on sing along at a hardcore show. There’s a certain intrinsic homoeroticism to a lot of those super-hetero, hyper-masculine spaces that I find really compelling.
             I think the problem isn't really the degree of violence in those spaces, but rather the degree of censure against those who don't conform. And I think it’s because the participants know they’re participating in something that could easily be construed as homoerotic, and because masculinity is defined largely by what it’s NOT rather than what it IS, they need to violently defend their straightness at all costs. The fact that all these men are shirtless and sweating and touching each other is only okay if they’re all straight, so anyone who punctures a hole in that reality is met with violent reprisal. I think that’s very dangerous and problematic, but I don’t think the consensual, cathartic violence of a hardcore show is bad or wrong at all.
            And you know, I still act differently depending on where I am. Like I went to the junkyard the other day, and the way I talked to those guys, the way I made eye contact, it was very different than how I would be at home or at a punk show.
            I love that in this world, there are all these spaces, and you have to learn the rules and you have to learn to navigate them. I think that's so fascinating and potentially this beautiful thing, where there's all these eclectic, different ways for people to see each other. I don't know. But obviously, there's the same problem, the censure of people who don't conform, which is actually super terrifying.
            I remember in high school I was at band practice and I was like "why don't you wear earplugs," and my bandmate was like "only pussies wear earplugs."  Neither of us were “like that,” but he said it because it seemed like a tough-guy thing to say, and I laughed.
            And I don't want that. That's not positive for anyone.

Cindy: How did you make the transformation from self-medicating around issues of masculinity and gender, to the kind of acceptance and celebration of who you are today?

Colin: I think that happened largely via my sobriety, which it took me a few years to even realize was something I wanted. In 2008 a really good friend of mine died. At the funeral, I couldn’t cry. Like, I went and I looked at his body in the casket and I had written him a little note and I slipped it in his shirt pocket and I wanted to cry so bad but I couldn’t. And then someone asked me if I wanted to go get a drink at the bar across the street and I had about 8 drinks in 40 minutes and when I got back inside it was like I had found the key to access my caged up emotions, and I was able to cry and it felt so good! That’s another thing about masculinity, the idea that we can’t be outwardly emotional. There’s just this idea that we’re not emotional, we take care of shit, not having any problems, not letting the little shit get to you. You know what I mean? Some of those things are good things, but taken to these extremes, they’re not.
            People came to the funeral from all over. On trains from Seattle, from places all across the country and across the world, like this huge dirtbag convention. Everybody was shitfaced. I went to a show that night at a bar that he used to work at. They were sad too, the bartenders, so no one had to pay for a single drink. Everyone was WASTED and people were weeping and punching out windows and freaking out, and I had this moment of clarity where I was like “Ok, our friend died from overpartying.” He had struggled with addiction for as long as I had known him. And the collective, community response to that was to just blot it out I guess, but like, this did not feel good.
            People had died in my community before, but there was something about this death that really hit home for a lot of people. For me, prior to this moment, being fucked up and never having a job and not giving a shit and rejecting capitalism and rejection of the shitty fucked up world was all tied up with getting super fucked up and being like “We don’t care about tomorrow we care about right now!” and like “We’re gonna live our lives how we want it, when we want it!” After my friend died, it stopped feeling like a life-affirming thing and just felt like we were all waiting in line to be dead.
            I think at first it had been a healthy outlet, but it turned from like this beautiful thing to this totally nihilistic thing. I never correlated the two till I was reading old journals a few years later, but I took my first ever “sober week” a few days after the funeral. It was actually like 5 days, and I was eating pills the whole time. But I didn’t drink! It was a big deal. I’d toyed with sobriety, I’d stop for a few days, just smoke weed. After the sober week eventually I stopped for 3 months, and then I stopped entirely.
            It wasn’t until I stopped that I even could pinpoint my reasons for wanting to just dull myself all the time. I didn’t have an understanding that I had these deep-seated gender anxieties, and that I had dealt with them by self-medicating. Also like, whatever masculine traits I felt I was not achieving, I knew what I did have was I could get so fucked up and still more or less take care of shit, and at least that was like, a solid, masculine quality. Like, I may look like a wuss, but I WILL outdrink you.
            Towards the end of my drinking I had started this relationship with my current partner, and I just acted really shady to her and a lot of it was centered around how deep in it I was with booze. I had been doing Support New York since waaaaay before I got sober, and all of a sudden I was doing processes for people who had done things that were similar to what I was doing in my own relationship in terms of being manipulative and untrustworthy. I realized this was super problematic, but didn’t do anything about it until my partner brought things to a head in this really intense way that I kind of forced her into via my own inaction, which just compounds the unfairness of the situation. Not only was I the architect of this heinous dynamic, but I was also leaving her responsible for dismantling it.
I think my shitty behavior in that relationship was rooted deeply in my alcoholism for sure, but equally in my masculine identity and socialization. A lot of it was about intentionally not being aware of what my emotions were because I didn’t want to deal with them. Making decisions that would affect my partner without her input, because I was a man and I could figure out what was best. Seeing that behavior in myself, realizing I was capable of it, that really made me want to quit booze forever because I could see how much pain I was putting my partner through and I didn’t want to be that sort of person. And then through the ensuing clarity of my sobriety and really interrogating my own life and motivations I started to piece together this story of myself as a little boy AND a little girl that I had stopped telling at some point.
Also Nevada, have you ever read the book Nevada? By Imogen Binnie? It’s a transwoman road trip novel, more or less. The protagonist, Maria, she leaves out of New York City and goes on a road trip, and meets someone in the midst of a gender crisis in a small town. It’s a great novel, and the gender crisis aspect of it struck a really deep chord in me. When I got it, I was in the process of acknowledging that I had a narrative tension in my own life. That was the beginning of me considering that maybe I have more than a general discomfort with gender in the culture, and in fact have discomfort about my own gender.
           
Cindy: Where are you at with your gender identity now?

Colin: I’m fine with who I am right now. Maybe someday I’ll be an old lady. For now, I take care of myself better. I eat better, I take vitamins. I take a holistic antidepressant. I feel more at home in my body than I ever have. I don’t know why. I think little stuff. Like I grew my hair long again and got my ear pierced. None of that is essentially “feminine,” like I have a pretty “butch” earring, but I think I’m being a little more playful with my masculinity. I do my hair up funny and wear a headband sometimes and dress and act a little more femme when I want to and don’t really think twice about it. I curtsy a lot.
Also having a writer friendship with Imogen has been really amazing. When her book freaked me out, I wrote her a letter and was like “Your book freaked me out! I’m in this gender crisis now. Don’t feel responsible for it. Actually, thank you. And I’d love to talk some stuff out. And, I think we’re very similar and would be good friends.” And she’s just been really warm and receptive in helping me parse a lot of this stuff. This was also after Laura Jane Grace came out and transitioned, and that opened the door to me thinking “maybe it’s not too late for me.” I think realizing it was a possibility for me at any time was helpful, because prior to that when I would think about transitioning, it always seemed like something that happened to people who were younger than I was. So even in my 20s when I had trans friends and knew it was an option in the world, it still didn’t seem like an option in my life.
            It’s like this, I barely smoke anymore, I smoke like 2 or 3 cigarettes a day, and I can leave the house without them. But there was a time when if I left the house and I didn’t have cigarettes in my pocket, I would start panicking, not because I needed a cigarette right then, but because I needed to have a cigarette there in case I needed one. Just having them there gave me an out. Laura, who is older than me, transitioning in her late 30s, that was like me having a pack of cigarettes in my pocket. I don’t necessarily need one right now, but I know they’re there and that’s comforting.
            And so I’m getting to a point within myself where this is an option for me, and it’s something I can start to do tomorrow if I want to. That just opened up a box that I’d locked myself into, and so then it became a thing where I had room to be like “there’s so much about being male that I like, and that I’m grateful for.”
            I actually do like my masculinity. I don’t want to destroy it. But I like the notion that I can feel like a girl and still maintain my male identity. How do I embody all my female role models, and all the incredibly powerful and rad shit that I respect and appreciate from the women in my life?
            A lot of my anxiety definitely comes from these essentialized notions of gender that I know are problematic. I was thinking about it a few years ago after I had written a letter to you. I was having a freakout and I wrote you about it, and I was thinking about how great punk is, and all these older people I could turn to as a resource, even though you and I didn’t really know each other, and how wonderful our community was, and I was thinking about all the people I had reached out to in various ways, and I realized that when I was having a crisis I either wrote you a letter or called Kimya Dawson, and when I needed advice about creative shit, I called Aaron or wrote to Eric Lyle. And I was like “oh, this is fucked up! I have very gendered roles for who I reached out to.” That helped me start to examine why I develop certain relationships in my life.
Being sober I was thinking about the fact that even when I was wasted and suppressing a lot of my gender stuff, I did do these types of gender play. One of the things I did was I had a pearl necklace, and about once a month I would get in the bath, put the pearl necklace on and I would drink my Ballentine out of a champagne glass and fake shave my legs like an elegant lady in a shaving cream commercial. I would listen to this Brahms tape and pretend I was Imelda Marcos or Cruella Deville, some vicious rich woman. It was a thing I would only do alone. And when I would clean my house, I would dress up like what I thought of as a rockabilly housewife. And when my cats were kittens they had repeatedly tried to nurse on my nipples, so I referred to myself as their mom.
            So when I started reconsidering my own gender, I thought about “what do I consider female?” and all the things were things that were nurturing. Like caring for myself. Whereas things like standing up to jerks on the street, these things were implicitly masculine. That’s something I’m trying to critically examine now, especially considering that most of my lived examples of people standing up to jerks have been women, yet I still somehow gender it as male.
Another person who’s had a big impact on me recently is Kiese Laymon. In his book "How To Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America," he has this one essay that's been really important to me, both in my personal life, and in the work I do. It's an essay that's a series of letters amongst a group of six black men, (the essay has six separate authors), all talking about masculinity and how it's confined and defined their lives. The first letter is from a straight identified man, Kiese is straight identified. Then the next letter is from a gay man, and then a transman, and then a man talking about being a childhood sexual abuse survivor, and a man who just got out of prison. They're all talking together about their own personal experiences and working on forming positive notions of black masculinity.
When I approached him over the internet after reading it and said, "Hey, your essay totally blew my mind. I been doing transformative justice work for a decade now, and I would really love if you would let us use this essay in our processes. I think it would be a really useful lens to look at masculinity and socialization through." He was basically like, "I have been waiting for someone to ask me that. Thank you so much."
I think what he's doing, this project of his, actively redefining what it is to be a man in this world; part of the point is that there is no universal notion of what being a man means. It's our responsibility as a community, as various communities, to create modern examples of what masculinity can be. The work he's doing in his community is really useful and beneficial to me, and to the larger community of men, in deconstructing masculinity and trying to build a version of it that will be beneficial and nurturing to the world, instead of violent and toxic. He's unapologetic about his being male, but understands the need for a recuperative effort on the part of men to basically everyone else.
            His work, coupled with the notion that I can walk away from it at any time, has a lot to do with my new-found comfort in masculinity and being male because I feel that there's positive work to do, in this body and as this person. Being male no longer feels like a prison. It’s a choice I’m actively affirming, rather than something proscriptive that I’m stuck with. And although the difference between now and before is almost purely ontological, it turns out that was all I needed.

Radio Update // Art Shit

Me and Sue hanging out with the owner of Casanova Pizzeria

RADIO UPDATE:

Radio Harvester continues to shine as a guiding light on the internet for the losers and shlubs of NYC or anywhere really to reach the path of inner acceptance. This month's broadcast has us talking to

Sue Jeiven

who is a total badass, an incredibly talented tattoo artist and one of my longstanding Older Punk Rolemodels. We talked about how she got into tattooing, the correlation between pizza and punk, what it's like dealing with terminal cancer, and much more.

You can listen here:

Sue has asked that I emphasize that this tattoo is NOT her work.

But if you wanna be a mensch will you please subscribe in iTunes and give it a 5 star review that uses at least one yiddish word?

ITUNES ITUNES ITUNES ITUNES ITUNES

thanks.

ART SHIT

My number one homegirl

Caroline Paquita

 has a show opening tomorrow night at Booklyn and it's gonna be SIIIIIICK. Seriously. Hella pubic wigs, self-cunnilingus wooden puppets, weird tits with lights on the ends of them, total freak shit. To quote the gallery, who doesn't sound like a dickhead when they talk about art:

GARDEN OF THE WOMANIMAL explores a recurring theme throughout the recent years of Caroline’s work, depicted in a wide variety of media, a cult of “womanimals” half-women/half-wild animals are illustrated in landscapes of playful sexual scenarios, mystical adventures, and explorations of nature and the body. The womanimals’ corrupt playfulness and exuberance are contrasted by the meticulously clean line work of Paquita’s drawings and paintings. Newer works are surrounded by thirteen years of imagery demonstrating the evolution towards this theme and its stylized representation.

For real, just go to this shit. I'm sure there will be some food or something that you can eat and you probably just sit around playing Street Fighter all day and could deal with having your horizons broadened by an amazing weirdo.

GARDEN OF THE WOMANIMAL

CAROLINE PAQUITA

Opening reception + Book Launch, Saturday April 12, 2014, 7 - 10pm

April 12 - June 8th, 2014

MISCELLANEOUS REPORTS ON THE PATRIARCHY DEPT

1. I been basically a sober dog for like over two years now, which is generally awesome. In that time I have developed a weird affinity for horror movies that I never had before, I think mostly because the physical sensation of being scared is kind of like getting fucked up in a super PG way. ANYWAY, I have been through the dregs of the Netflix and Hulu Plus horror sections, obviously a lot of that shit sucks and is full of superfluous violence, sexualized violence towards women, hella patriarchy buttressing, gender role reinforcement, yadda yadda yah. As Chief Keef so eloquently said, "that's that shit I don't like." But like gangsta rap, I have a really complicated relationship with horror films that is in many ways made possible by my privilege as a straight cis-dude and blah blah blah, you know what I mean, right?

POINT IS: I have watched like, two movies in the past two weeks where the killer was some unhinged man dressed like a woman and I think that shit is SO WHACK and played out. First I watched "IN DREAMS" where Robert Downey Jr plays a murderous transwoman who just wants to be masculinized by having a heterosexual nuclear family so he kidnaps a woman and child to make them let him be the dad and it's all because his dad left and so he had no male role model as a child. Puh-lease. It was directed by Neil Jordan who I realize now directed the Crying Game so obviously FUCK HIM and he is added to the list of people I'm gonna fight after I get my weight up. Current list: Tucker Max, Hoodie Allen, Neil Jordan.

Far more upsetting than that, though, was watching Insidious 2 last night and look, the first one was good until they went into the SHADOW WORLD or whatever and then the villain turned out to be some bullshit TOM WAITS character, but it was good enough that I was stoked when the second one came on netflix and there was at least only regular amounts of patriarchy reinforcement rather than like, brutal overwhelming amounts. AND THEN in the sequel you learn that the killer is some dude who puts on a black wedding dress and makeup and murders women because his dad left and he didn't have a male role model. REALLY?! Thanks Insidious Chapter 2 for ruining yourself for me by trotting out the same tired ass gender tropes. COVER SOME NEW GROUND.

Like, I would be SO STOKED to see a horror movie that had a trans character in it that wasn't totally pathologized. I don't know, whatever. Fuck everything.

MY KURT COBAIN STORY


Kurt Cobain died 20 years ago tomorrow. I think I was in 5th grade. I pretended to hang myself from the monkey bars on the playground to impress a girl that day and got in a small amount of trouble. I definitely was a tiny weirdo with long greasy hair back then, and I felt my slight, childish alienation expressed better by GRUNGE as it stood than anything else I had come across, but you know, I was a kid or whatever.

ANYWAY. When I got to Junior High School I got into PUNK in NYC which was very exciting. Punk is all about participation, rather than consumption, which I realized even that young, so I started writing a fanzine and I printed up two t-shirts to sell at shows, along with my shitty publication. One shirt had a picture of the state of New Jersey and it said "Kiss Your Girlfriend Where It Smells, Take Her To New Jersey" (I was fourteen when I made it okay?) which I think I stole from another fanzine. The other shirt just said I KILLED KURT COBAIN which I thought was a super punk sentiment, even though I still secretly liked Nirvana.

My freshman year of high school I went to a party at my friend Andrew's house. His parents were divorced and it was one of those situations where you tell your mom that you're sleeping over at the one parent's house but then actually the other parent is out of town and you have a party there. Andrew's step-sister Kristen was a cheerleader and she invited all her friends and Andrew invited our crew (me, Bruno and Diego) and we smoked bongs in the attic and like, listened to bootleg Operation Ivy tapes Diego brought back from the flea market in Mexico City, which is what we would've been doing even if Andrew's dad was home.

Eventually we wandered down to the living room and a bunch of dudes from the football team were in there getting drunk. Imagine a room full of wasted Moose Masons but listening to Biggie instead of whatever music they had in Archie Times. I was a young Freak on a Leash back then (metaphorically speaking, though the year prior I had spent much of my time wearing a LITERAL leash) so I was wearing: my brand new from 8th Street Grinders Combat boots with the neon NKOTB laces I stole from that weird biker store on St Marks Place, some big black JNCO jeans (do you remember those?), my I KILLED KURT COBAIN shirt and my hair in four pigtails (to invoke the corners).

Some of Kristen's football friends sold us Budweiser 40s for $5 a pop, which we thought was reasonable because we'd never bought beer before, and we started to drink and kinda hang out with them a little. And it was like, this weird moment where these young freaks and older jocks were getting along okay. AND THEN, this one gigantic sports dude just got all devil eyed and pointed at me and was like, "TAKE THAT SHIRT OFF!" and I laughed because I thought he must be kidding and then all of a sudden he was across the room right in my face and we were having one of those weird Man Moments where he was butting his chest into mine and talking through his teeth and he was like "I SAID TAKE THAT FUCKING SHIRT OFF!" and I was still laughing, albeit a little more nervously, because I still just thought he was fucking with me and was gonna laugh about it too any moment because why would some jock care about my I KILLED KURT COBAIN shirt?

And then he picked me up by my collar like they do in the movies and shoved me against a wall and I was scared. Kristen was like, "oh no Travis put him down leave him alone" super feebly and it was clear that she was actually so stoked on this display of raw masculine power. Very quickly and very quietly I said to him "what's your fucking problem man? You've made your point, you're bigger and tougher okay just put me down now." because everyone was watching and I hated it.

And then in that placid voice that shitty dudes get right after they Hulk out when they are gonna instill the lesson that was supposed to accompany their display of force, he was like, "My problem? My problem is with that shirt. I love Nirvana and I love Kurt you little faggot. So take that shit off."
And at that point, I busted out laughing so EARNESTLY and so intensely that he just dropped me on the floor and walked away mumbling that I was crazy. If I had any chutzpah or more of a death wish I would've leaned in and kissed him. What a perfect moment! Like three hours later he was asking me to teach him how to play "About A Girl" on Andrew's dad's acoustic guitar.

Thoughts about internalized white racism with a passing mention of pizza.


Sophomore year of high school I was two years advanced in math, so my class was comprised of like, one other sophomore, a handful of juniors, and then mostly seniors. In New York at the time they had these standardized tests called Regents Exams, that you had to pass in order to graduate with a Regents Diploma. I don't know if this was true, but the pervasive atmosphere was that if you didn’t get a Regents Diploma you might as well not graduate, the other diploma was thought to be essentially worthless.

There was this older Puerto Rican girl who sat behind me who I didn’t know that well but we had smoked weed a couple times together at lunch. She knew I was really good at math and just straight up asked me if she could cheat off me on the Regents because she wanted to get that Regents diploma. I couldn’t see a single, substantial issue with letting that happen, so I did it. She cheated off me and she passed her regents and she was really happy and I felt good I had helped her graduate.

In return, she invited me to her birthday party. That weekend, me and my best friend Juan showed up at her mom’s apartment not knowing what to expect. We walked in and there were her and these two guys we had seen around school but didn’t know, a couple pizza boxes, and so much weed smoke. Me and Juan were definitely PUNKS, and these guys were like, rap dudes or whatever. Is there a succinct noun for that? Like, they wore white, ribbed, tank top undershirts and baggy Mecca jeans and had cornrows and those beaded Puerto Rican flag necklaces that everyone used to wear back then. I knew black kids, Mexican kids, white kids, Jewish kids, Indian kids, but I didn’t really know any Puerto Rican kids, or know much about Puerto Rican culture beyond Big Pun yelling “BORICUA” and that the US was bombing Vieques for Airforce drills thanks to a Crudos interview in MRR.

Anyway, these two dudes were definitely the sort of blustery, hyper-masculine teenage boys with stringy muscles who strut around and make noise at school and act hella tough. I did that too when I was on St Marks place or in a pack of teen drinkers outside No Rio, but in school I was meek and passive where they were loud and confident. My masculinity was constantly embattled whereas their’s seemed self-assured and confident. I went to a big high school, but I remembered both of these dudes from seeing them around the hallways because they were cool looking guys who, though they dressed differently from me, nailed whatever aesthetic they were going for so perfectly that it was almost impossible for a fashion conscious person like myself not to notice. But the point of all this, honestly, is just that they were basically just two pretty normal teenage boys.

Anyway, we smoked a ton of weed, ate all the pizzas, which were slightly undercooked and doughy, but had a delicately flavored sauce and the perfect amount of cheese—objectively flawed but ideal for a "blunt to the dome" kinda night. There was a little stilted awkwardness when we first got there because we were practical strangers walking in on three best friends, but that eased off as we all got so blazed and soon everyone was having a good time.

They were watching Dirty Dancing when we walked in. I expected these two, tough masculine (non-white!) guys to be making fun of it a lot more than they did. In fact, one of the dudes (I’m sorry I don’t remember any of these people’s names, but this was like, fifteen years ago and I have smoked a lot more weed since then) mouthed almost every line. I don’t think it’s crazy to find it novel that a hyper-masculine guy has memorized all of Dirty Dancing, but I also don’t think I would’ve been as shocked had this been one of the affluent Italian boys who drove Escalades their dads bought them and pretended to be gang bangers.

Because for me, even though my best best friend was Mexican, my “crew,” while majority white, was incredibly diverse (thank you New York), I still saw many people of color as two-dimensional archetypes, rather than fully fleshed out human beings. They were characters from New York Undercover or from a Mobb Deep track or a fucking Ralph Ellison novel, even, but they were not people. The fact that this tough, masculine dude knew all the lines from Dirty Dancing, even shed a few tears at the end, is certainly notable, don’t get me wrong. The shock of walking into this rugged, kinda thugged-out girl’s birthday party and seeing just three friends hanging out, eating pizza and watching a movie might be legit too. (What was I expecting, though, the Gin and Juice video?) But in my retelling of this night—which WAS a cute night where people from different backgrounds had fun and smoked weed and ate pizza and watched Dirty Dancing—I found myself emphasizing that these PUERTO RICAN GUYS were watching DIRTY DANCING and one of them EVEN MEMORIZED SOME LINES?! And I found myself telling it mostly to other white people, white people who had much more homogenously white upbringings than I did. And it was this thing that I did and it sucked.

Like, why did it gotta be crazy to me that a Puerto Rican guy could like a really good movie? I guess because I saw Dirty Dancing as a "white people thing." But then like, when my punk friends who weren't white liked "white people stuff" I wasn't shocked because they were punks and also because I saw them as fully-formed, complicated people who had a plethora of interests that might seem out of the ordinary to some small-minded square, but not to me. And like, the fact that I was way into rap music and like, reading Black Feminists didn't seem suspect or weird because like, I am a fucking extraordinarily sensitive and intelligent individual and I'm just trying to make sense of the world, right? BUT THESE TWO PUERTO RICAN DUDES LIKE DIRTY DANCING?!!? 

And as the years went on and I'd find myself telling this story, the narrative began to change, as narratives often do. Suddenly these kids were Latin Kings. They were drug dealers. They were stick up kids. And here I am bumbling white punk, gaining access to their sensitive side or whatever. And like, I knew actual gang members in high school, which made it easier for me to fill in realistic details. I was friends with some folks who were in that world. But the thing is, I didn’t actually know if these two guys were in a gang. They just "looked like they could be," whatever that means. (We know what that means.) And it made the story better, right? So why not exaggerate. Hyperbole never killed anyone.

Except that kind of hyperbole just did kill someone. You get what I’m saying?

I’m saying the kind of logic that makes it seem like benign hyperbole to change these two normal teenage boys into gang members in a story that I’ve told in order to improve the dramatic tension or whatever is actually the same pernicious misconception that allowed an adult man to turn a teenager buying a bag of skittles into a menacing bad guy who needed to get dealt with. It allowed six adult women to let that adult man walk free. I made the same fundamentally racist logical leap as those people, the consequences just weren't as bad when I did it.

And I like to think that I’m one of the good white people! It feels good to think that. But check this out, this is next bit is important: I am still racist. And other white folks, y’all are still racist too. And creating this “us” and “them” mentality where “us” is non-racist regular white people who don’t judge anyone based on skin color (although maybe we are pragmatic about certain issues, or maybe we do a certain voice when we imitate certain brown people to other white people, or maybe we change normal teenagers into gang members when we tell a story) and “them” is the racists, (who are like, people who live elsewhere or maybe your shitty libertarian Uncle, but it’s never you or anyone you’re actually close to)… creating that mentality helps to further entrench your racism, it helps to obfuscate your own racism so that you never have to deal with it. AND THAT IS FUCKED UP, OTHER WHITE PEOPLE! Cut it out!

So instead of doing that, try just dealing with it! Be critical of why you think certain stuff, why you find certain things funny, why you draw certain conclusions. Accept the criticism of other people in your life without getting defensive. If the goal is to not be racist anymore, actually work on that goal instead of just pretending that the racist shit you do or think or feel is okay. It isn’t that hard.

Also realize that no matter how completely you wipe out racism within yourself, you are still complicit in a white supremacist culture and unless you are working actively to dismantle and destroy it you're still part of the problem. ;)

Some New York Moments.

Hey y'all. Sorry I been MIA from the blog, but I didn't really have anything substantial to say, so I figured why say anything? I am still pretty active on my facebook and twitter if you can't get enough of me in your life, but really, who needs overkill?

Part of why I've been so absent is that I'm writing a book! I don't know why I never announced that publicly. Maybe I did and I just can't remember because I haven't updated in so long. Regardless, I'd like to keep this blog alive, so I think I'm gonna try and write at least one decent update a month! Not necessarily about pizza, but hopefully a little about pizza. This month will be the former.

Part of why I'm posting is that I was in the Wall Street Journal yesterday! I always like being in that paper because my dad hates it. Even though I pretty much agree with all of his criticisms, it will always be cool to piss off your dad. Take that old man! (jk dude ily).

They called me for an article about "the disappearance of the pizzeria" or something. The thesis of the article is that the traditional pizza place is being supplanted by dollar slice joints. I told the really nice reporter who called me for a quote that this phenomenon was only happening in the shittier parts of Manhattan that are already basically barren cultural wastelands and that actual neighborhoods still have neighborhood pizzerias! Big up Pizza Palace, big up Carmine's Original, big up New Park Pizza.

Speaking of Manhattan turning into total garbage, I was coming over the Williamsburg Bridge onto Delancey the other night and noticed that new 7-11 lit up on the corner of Stanton, with the AT&T store lit up right next to it, and I for real almost started crying because Delancey Street was never the coolest place on Earth or anything, but it didn't have weird mall stores on it and New York in general wasn't so willing to cater to corporate presence. Like, that 7-11 used to be a bodega that was basically the same as a 7-11, except it was unique and not a replica of a million places identical places all over the world. It was a generic bodega, but it was our generic bodega. I'm sure the AT&T store used to be one of those sketchy cellphone/beeper places too, and it is like, possibly more useful as an AT&T store but FUCK THAT anyway. RIP my youth. He was so young.

And now I'm just gonna post an edited version of an email I wrote a friend in LA. He doesn't look at the internet anyway, so there's no reason to worry about him finding out I was workshopping material for my blog in my letter to him! This is one of the many incidental plus sides to old punks hating the internet.
Aaron-

I have two (maybe it's actually two and a half) wonderful New York moments for you:

Tina's lease is about to be up, but she's been working like 500 hours a day at ______ and doesn't have time to look at apartments. Yesterday, I took a tiny bit of time out of my day to see a couple of places for her that were walking distance from my house. The first was on _____ and _____ in this wonderful-looking old tenement building. I was supposed to meet the broker at 1:15, but walked over a little early to just check out the block and feel the ~vibes~ or whatever. When I got to the building there were two tattooed white women (not punx) outside smoking and I was like, "hey do you guys live here?"
And the one of them was like, "We're trying to."
"You're waiting for the broker to see the apartment, too? The $1800 two bedroom?"
"Yep."

Okay so these people were now potential enemy combatants or whatever, but I was cordial. They were complaining to each other a bunch very vocally about the broker being a few minutes late, which didn't seem like such a big deal to me. They seemed like generally sour people.

The broker finally showed up and unlocked the door to the building. Right after he walked in, this older abuela was coming out of the building with a rickety laundry cart full of clothes and detergent bottles. One of the wheels was wobbly and she was having a really hard time getting it out the door and down the stoop. The two women who were at the apartment when I got there pushed past her to follow the broker. I slowed down all "esta bien?" and helped her get the cart down the damn stairs and then walked a little faster to catch up to the broker and the two ladies. The one lady turned to me as we were heading up the stairs and was like, "you're not from New York are you?" and I was like, "No, YOU'RE not from New York."
In all previous tellings of this story I've just let it end at my snappy comeback, because it makes for good narrative, but here's the truth: she was from Long Island, which is about as "from New York" as I am! I sure felt stupid. I think even if it had "worked" and she had been from like, Delaware or something, I would've felt like a jerk for making her feel bad, even if she was a clearly not a nice person. But then again, I overthink and overanalyze everything. Why'd I have to go and make things so complicated?

The apartment was a bust, by the way. Too small.

Fast forward a few hours, I have spent some time writing, made some food, had a coffee with Caroline in a park, etc. I had an 8pm appointment to see another possible place, this one on _____ and _____. I biked over there and met the Chassidic broker, who walked me over to a dilapidated building where there were a bunch of older Boricua dudes building a basketball hoop, laughing and joking with each other really loud. We navigated through this fun, boisterous assemblage and into the building, where he showed me an apartment that I think may have had punks living in it. I saw an H2O record and a Latterman poster. May have spotted a back patch. As we were leaving the Chassid dude sniffed in the hallway and turned to me, "is this drugs I smell?"
I hadn't noticed it, but it smelled like weed. I didn't wanna blow up anyone's spot, so I just shrugged my shoulders, looked confused and said, "maybe it's a cigar?"

I headed home, thought about leaving my bike outside, but it was cloudy so I decided to take it upstairs. I leaned it up against the laundromat and sat on the stoop to smoke and call Tina to tell her about the apartment. As I was talking to her, my friend Ronda walked up with her granddaughter Noonie. I got off the phone with Tina and went to the bodega with Ronda, bought Noonie an ice cream sandwich, and walked them home. I walked back to my apartment, went upstairs, wrote some more, fucked around on the internet, ate a brownie, pet my cats. At like, 1am I was sitting at my table smoking a cigarette and watching youtube videos of this guy Eddie Pepitone doing standup (he is very funny, by the way), when I thought to myself, "where is my bi... OH SHIT." And I knew it was gone, and I ran downstairs to just see that it was gone and hate myself for being an idiot.

I put my shoes on and ran down my steps and sure enough, there was no bike there for me. I stood for a minute in the foyer processing my grief, wondering if I could ask Cory to give me back the bike I had given him two years ago because I now didn't have a bike, when my neighbor's kid came in walking his dad's pitbull. He is like, 18 or 19 and one of those super cute fixed gear emo teens. He has like, big cursive words tattoos all over his forearms and a lip ring and rides a track bike that really matches itself and his sneakers and the plugs in his ears. I gave him our regular nod, asked how he was doing.
"I just came from the hospital. My girl had a baby today! I have a daughter!"
I told him mazel tov, or whatever, the usual platitudes, though they were genuine! I am psyched for this kid. 
We were walking up the stairs and he was like, "oh yeah, do you still have that same pink bike?" I shook my head yes. "Cuz before I went to the hospital I saw a couple of crack heads looking at it so I brought it upstairs. You should probably lock it up next time. Can you come get it out of my living room?"

Anyway, things are good here. Hope they're good there!

love, Colin
That's that! The moral is twofold. First, don't bother trying to "put people in their place." It's stupid and you'll probably end up feeling like a dick. Second, be friendly to your neighbors! It feels really good, and also they will be friendly back to you. Unless Phil Chapman is your neighbor, then you should trip him on the stairs.

7. Must Yearn

My dad's best friend Eddie died last week. He fell off his bicycle and hit his head. It happened out of nowhere. He was pretty much my dad's last old friend. Tonse, his best friend from High School, whose real name was Anthony, died in 2009. His kid brother, my uncle Scott, died in 2006. My dad's only 60. He should still have a lot of living friends and I am really sad for him that the people he loves keep dying so young.

For years anytime he does something sweet or especially funny, he'll jokingly chide my sister or me, "make sure that goes in the eulogy." It's dark comedy, and it's definitely funny in a very New York way. Let's defang the things we're scared of by embracing them and laughing at them. But with all the death that seems to be hovering around him, something's different. I can't tell if the joke has become more urgent or less funny. Maybe both.

I had last seen Eddie at the shiva call for my Grandfather this summer. I didn't talk to him much, but I was happy to see him smiling and looking well, and I was touched that he had come out to see my father, having assumed they had lost touch, just because hadn't seen Eddie in years. Chalk it up to the myopic selfishness of youth, I guess. But at Eddie's memorial service, my sister reminded me that Eddie and my dad used to talk on the phone for hours when we were teenagers. And they used to IM together! Think about that, my dad IMing with someone. I guess I just didn't understand until recently that sometimes you reach a point in your life where you prioritize stuff besides hanging out. It makes the hanging out better because it's a more precious commodity.

At the memorial my dad gave this beautiful speech. We joke sometimes, in my family, that if we were back in the old Jewish Europe of Shalom Aleichem, he could've eked out a meager living as an itinerant eulogist. The guy is not the most eloquent in his day to day. Not that he's especially inarticulate, but he's known to make up or misuse words with some frequency. But put him in front of a casket, and this motherfucker can SPEAK.

During his eulogy for Eddie, who he had met in college, he rattled off this stream of consciousness list of things his friend had introduced him to.

...drinking beer, Dylan Thomas, the White Horse Tavern, riding a bicycle, running, The New Yorker, The history of New York, the love of THINGS, Tacos, Taj Mahal, Sonny Rollins..

I paraphrased that. I don't remember exactly what he said. But listening to it I couldn't stop thinking about my friend Jamie Ewing. It would've been hard not to, anyway. I was wearing his old shoes to the funeral.

Today is the four year anniversary of Jamie’s death. He died the night Barack Obama was elected, and I’m still mad at him for it. The nerve of that kid. And in the four years since we lost Jamie, I've lost a handful of other friends and acquaintances. Flipping through my box of 7"es is like walking through a graveyard where only people I know are buried. To my friends and my friends' friends: PLEASE stop dying.

The week before Jamie died, I had been listening to his old band's record Stray Dog Town almost every night as I closed the diner. Every night I would close up the place and think about calling him to let him know how much I loved that fucking record, how brilliant I thought he was, see if he wanted to get a beer. And every night that week I went to the bar and started drinking a decided to call Jamie tomorrow. And every tomorrow was the same.

And I regret that, obviously. But instead of fixating on what a dipshit I am or whatever, I make up for it. Every year, just after midnight on November 5th, I call or text a few people I care about who I know may also be feeling that same sense of loss. I do it just as much for myself as I do it for them, maybe moreso.

This is how I ended up texting with Aaron until 1:30 in the morning last night. Among other things, I told him that most of my motivation to Do Stuff is to assuage this lingering sense of guilt I feel for still being alive. After Jamie died I pretty much lost it for a little while, and I think I've almost finished picking up the pieces and reassembling myself.

But everything I've done since I woke up the morning of November 5th, 2008, way earlier than I was accustomed, to a phone call from Kevin Morby, crying at the hospital, has been informed by Jamie's life and Jamie's death.

I always felt slightly competitive with Jamie, though I don't know if he felt it too. It was amicable! But every time he would seek me out to make sure I got a copy of some awesome new record he had put out, or show me a drawing he had made, in my head I'd be saying, "so you think you're better than me, huh?" And it would drive me to try and finally get a zine out, or to try and push whatever shitty band I was in to record or play a show or write a new song.

And now, that he's gone, everything I do is to try and measure up to how much awesome shit I think he would've been doing by now. It's so that if he were to drop into the diner to give me a tape or show up at my house with a 7", I'd have something cool to give him in return.

So thanks for that, Jimbo. I still miss you every day.

Some thoughts on sub/counter-culture and its absorption by and place within the capitalist death machine.

Hi guys! Slice Harvester here. Long time no see. I've got a lot of stuff in the works, but I'll mention that in future posts. Right now I want to talk about the capitalist vampires that are sucking our world dry!

The other day I was over at my girlfriend's house when the Verizon guy, a kind older dude, was over fixing the internet. We were making smalltalk with him, and by way of conversation, Tina asked how he thought the strike had gone. He said he was disappointed that his fellow workers hadn't held out longer, because he felt like the concessions made by Verizon were minimal and that the strike had been for nothing. We offered our condolences, but he was resigned. "We had to go on strike just to stop them from rolling back the advances the last strikers made. There's never any progress anymore, we're just fighting off this seemingly endless worsening of everything. It seems like everyone's too tired to actually fight for anything anymore. When I was young, we had so much to fight for, so much we believed in. Four years ago, there were people your age everywhere going door to door for Obama. He may not be the answer to all of our problems, but I saw that and I thought to myself, 'at least these kids are out in the street DOING SOMETHING.' This year, no one seems to care. Everyone seems willing to just take whatever is handed to them. No one is willing to fight. What do you believe in? What are you willing to fight for? "

I explained that there was plenty I was willing to fight for, but that I was maybe an odd case compared to many of my peers. Tina speculated that maybe people have been conditioned to believe that they don't have the power to initiate actual change in the world. And I didn't want to agree, but then I got an email yesterday that forced all my illusions to crash down around me like ill-stacked pizza boxes and I knew that she was right.



The email was from some weird corporate entity called Superfly Presents ("the producers of Bonnaroo"), the people who put together that failed indie-rock and food festival in Prospect Park this summer. Their "manager of content & social media" wanted my input because they are planning on making a zine! How exciting! I love it when people want to make a zine! There should always be more zines!

So, now that we're duly excited at the prospect of there being a new zine in the world (and they want my input? How flattering!) let's see what Superfly Presents have in mind for it:
Handmade. Artful. DIY. These words define the spirit that a zine can convey. While the value of a memorable concert or meal lies in a tangible experience, translating that experience into media is often difficult. Utilizing the grittier, mixed-media format of a zine, GoogaMooga will present the many crossover points shared by food and music.

The zine will define a clear GoogaMooga editorial voice - the consistent thread between festival programming and what exists beyond the physical event. Its “hip”, “edgy” and “punk rock” aesthetic will position GoogaMooga as a trusted tastemaker, building a deeper relationship with its target audience. While humor and a celebratory tone will be used throughout, the zine will also present the brand as having in-depth knowledge of its subject matter.
Oh cool!! Thanks guys! Here's the thing about zines: there are very few rules, but one of them is that they have to be made by actual humans. A brand can't make a zine! While a zine might by hip, edgy or punk rock, a zine is never "hip", "edgy" or "punk rock" ! Zines don't "present crossover points" !!  What is a crossover point anyway? This thing they are making might be a magazine, it might be a brochure or a pamphlet, but it is not a zine and by it's very nature it can't ever be a zine.

So I wrote them back an email and told them all this, reiterating that this thing they are making is not a zine throughout my epistle. And here's the thing: they are going to make this atrocity and call it a zine anyway! And then some people are going to think that this is what a zine is! And then another beautiful thing will be gone from the world. Another thing that used to be the genuine cultural output of True Weirdos and Losers will be diluted and subsumed by the free market and then sold back to us, or given away for free to us as a tool to eventually sell us other stuff. It's really gross and insidious and it makes my head and heart hurt and it makes me wanna puke up my breakfast bagel all over my own lap!

And the thing is, the creation of these fake diversions that actually just help to indoctrinate us further into the Death Machine is an integral part of maintaining the structures of power and keeping people from making anything for themselves. Why make stuff when you can just buy stuff, right? Why create change (and never dare to DEMAND change) when you can just passively absorb everything going on in the world around you?

I have to go to work, but I will flesh this out further if need be. Mostly, we're just repeating tons of stuff everyone already knows: corporations are bad and they try to trick you and don't fall for it! Make stuff for yourself because it's cooler and it feels better to do it like that! Get out of the house! Start a band! Draw a picture! Make a sandwich!

Okay, bye.