Saturday, August 30, 2014


Yeah, you read that right.  I know you've probably never heard anyone say that before, especially if you live in certain places, but it's true.  I'm sure there are a few people out there that also don't like it but if they're smart, they'll never admit it.  I, as you well know, am honest about everything, so I'm hiding no longer.  I'm coming out of the closet.  I really just can't stand live music.

I wasn't really aware that this was such a big deal until I left Austin, where I spent my adolescence and college, and told others where I had come from.  "OH, I hear Austin's GREAT!  Why did you leave there?" 

To which I would often reply, "It's okay, the food is good but the weather is awful."

This would always spark the "But I hear there's so much good live music!  I'd love to go there, it sounds like so much fun!  Did you go see bands all the time??"

No.  No I didn't.  As a matter of fact, when my friends and I would go out to bars, we'd get pissed off if some band was playing at one of our spots instead of the normal Saturday night DJ that played stuff we could dance to.  When it was SXSW, we actually took the entire week off of going out because suddenly our fun, cheap dance bars had been commandeered by unknown bands and were charging cover.  We hid inside until the tourists and the bands rode away into the sunset and gave us back our social life.

Upon hearing that I not only didn't take advantage of the live music scene I was so "blessed" to have at my disposal for years but I actively didn't like such activities, the person I'm talking to looks at me as though I've just said I set puppies on fire for fun.  How can you not like LIVE MUSIC?  Do you not have a SOUL?  There are children in Africa with AIDS and no food who would DIE to see live music and you're throwing away this gift of American culture?  YES, YES I AM, SO LEAVE ME AND MY QUIET PLACES ALONE.

Why do I hate live music?  Oh, such a list.  First, I'm a grandma.  I don't like loud noises.  I don't care what that noise is - if it's loud, it's irritating.  I also don't like people.  Especially crowds of people.  Now put those two things together and you have live music.  The only way to make it worse would be if you handed me an infant as I walked through the door and forced me to drink IPAs all night.

Now don't get me wrong, I like MUSIC.  I'm not some weirdo who doesn't appreciate musical sounds.  Yes, I have an "eclectic" taste in music, and yes, this music doesn't generally include music that's played live (unless it's at a giant arena concert).  Granted I have a strong affinity for hip hop and rap, but I'm not completely one-sided - my likes include talented artists such as Adele, Marvin Gaye, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Sarah Bareilles.  I enjoy a good symphony, which is technically live music but I'm sure you see the enormous difference between a night at the symphony and a night in a dingy club listening to a no-name band with their guitar amps on too loud and sharing the space with a bunch of drunk, sweaty hipsters.

But you're right, I DON'T want to "discover new music" or whatever the hell people do when they just go see random local bands play around town.  I can discover new music just fine - there are apps for that.  And don't get all up in my shit about "too much technology" - I wouldn't have discovered new music by going to live shows BEFORE I got my smartphone, it just allows me to listen to things I would never have heard by choosing new music that is similar to things I'm playing on my Pandora or whatever.  The best part?  I can discover it in the quiet comfort of my own home or car.  No sticky floors and temporary deafness of a seedy club.

Wait, so you haven't ever been to a concert?  No, that's also not true.  I don't particularly like concerts except ones in large venues with amenities like "seats" and "personal space."  I've seen Weezer, the Rolling Stones, RHCP, Justin Timberlake and Christina Aguilera (NOT SORRY), Sarah Bareilles, Snoop and I'm sure some others that I've forgotten.  The commonality?  These are people that I REALLY LIKE and their concerts were held in places where I could sit down and enjoy the music.  I'm lazy.  I hate standing in one place.  If I'm walking, fine, but standing on one place touching people on all sides of me who are moving in all different directions makes me feel like I'm on some sort of weird grope-y rollercoaster and that's just not my idea of a good time. 

I also just generally don't care for the type of music that's played live - alternative, whatever hipster shit like Mumford and Sons is happening right now, folk music, country... All of those genres I wouldn't listen to anyway, let alone at hyper-volume.  Sometimes jazz is ok, if it's not super loud, but honestly I wish they'd just play the same stuff on a cd at a lower volume so I could talk to the people I'm hanging out with. 

Then there's the whole issue of live music in random places... a singer-songwriter playing on the patio of a food court or in a coffee shop.  Those are places that most people didn't go to hear the music, it just happens to be there.  Now what the hell am I supposed to do?  Is it rude to not pay attention to someone I didn't come to see?  I just wanted to get some goddamned dinner and I didn't know you were going to be here with your guitar and emotions.  Should I clap?  I feel obligated to clap when you're through even though you've suckered us into it, but I really don't want to encourage you to continue.  You're interrupting my meal and my conversation.  But then if I don't clap, as one of the ten people around, I look like a giant dickhead.  So thanks, not only for making me feel uncomfortable but forcing me to pretend like I want you there so as not to appear like the giant asshole I am.  I JUST WANTED A SCONE AND THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS.

So no, I don't want to go check out that band with you.  No, I don't want to go to that particular bar because they always have some loud live band.  And I sure as hell don't want to go to the 3-day music festival and spend it listening to bands I don't know while I sweat profusely, get dirty and have to hang out in a giant crowd of other dirty sweaty people.  Concerts are just a combination of everything I hate with the exception of children.

Sorry. My complete and utter lack of a soul and I will just be hanging out over here, in the air conditioned place with places to sit and some goddamned peace and quiet.

Monday, August 11, 2014


I've been lucky in my life to have very few people close to me die.  But when you lose a family member or close friend, you understand your feelings and that your grief is a normal reaction to such an event.  People know, at least to some degree, how to treat you and what your loss feels like.

Today I lost my childhood hero.  Robin Williams was and is the inspiration for me to want to make people laugh, to appreciate comedy, and honestly, to do things like write this blog.  I don't remember when or in what I first saw him, I just remember seeing a hilarious man who could do the voice of any human on the planet, as well as some aliens.  At the time I could do a decent Donald Duck impression, and a spot-on Marvin the Martian, so Robin Williams gave me hundreds of more voices to aspire to.

I don't remember how old I was when I decided I wanted to be like him.  The shy little kid had a side that desperately wanted to make people laugh, to be liked and to be recognized as funny.  I was the smart and quiet one.  I wanted to be the funny one, but I didn't have the confidence outside of my family and close friends.

When Aladdin came out, I instantly became obsessed with the Genie and learned all of his songs - complete with all of the voices.  When the fifth grade talent show rolled around, I desperately wanted to get up there and sing "Friend Like Me" with a perfect impression of his voices, but I knew I could never put myself on the spot like that.  Kids are cruel, and somehow I knew that even if I got up there and did it perfectly, it wouldn't have the effect I desired - not the way it would if I did the same thing right now.  So I just sang along with my tapes alone at home, thinking someday I could show everyone how good I was.

People were always asking us little kids what we wanted to do when we grew up.  Granted, I went through periods where I wanted to go dig up mummies or design houses, but for most of my life (and secretly to this day) I wanted to be in comedy.  I didn't ever just reply with "actress," or even "comedian" when asked - I specifically said "I want to be Robin Williams."  I didn't want to just do normal movies, or do stand up, I wanted to play crazy characters with accents and voices and hilarious backstories.  I wanted everything I said to be hilarious.  Even once I moved on to slightly more obtainable goals, I still followed Robin Williams in whatever he did.

To grieve for a person you never met is an odd feeling.  You feel like you don't have the right to really be that upset, that just because I didn't have a personal relationship with this person that my grief is somehow silly or unfounded.  But to someone who has been your hero - your FIRST hero - and shaped your life as much as Robin Williams has shaped mine, you feel like you know them.  I feel like he was a funny uncle, as though if we met he'd give me a big hug and smile with his smiley eyes that made him so likeable. 

The circumstances of his death are what makes it so much worse.  Knowing how he felt in his final hours, and in the months and weeks leading up to them, is heartbreaking.  I have suffered with depression for more than 14 years.  While I was only diagnosed when I went away to college, I recognize I had it in high school when I look back.  It is painful, debilitating and so misunderstood.  Waking up in the morning only to remember where you are and how you feel, reminding you that life just doesn't seem worth living - it's dreadful.  And what's worse is that no one understands that you physically cannot get out of your bed, eat, shower or walk down the street to the grocery store. 

Remembering those times, which have happened sporadically in the past few years, it fills me with pain to know other people are experiencing the same thing.  People who, unlike me, had millions of people who loved them, enough money to live comfortably and a career that they loved and cherished.  To "know" you have these things but be completely incapable of appreciating them because of depression is devastating.  And to be so convinced you'll never get better that you end it is even worse.  While I have never seriously contemplated suicide, there were days when I really just didn't want to be alive anymore.

I hope there were times when he was able to understand that there were people like me out there whose lives he touched and who loved him so much without ever meeting him.  I hope he knew how happy he made people. 

In college, I got the amazing chance to see him do stand up live at Bass Concert Hall in Austin.  I went with my parents and my college boyfriend.  It was a once-in-a-lifetime thing, like when parents talk about going to see the Beatles.  He was my Beatles. 

He was my inspiration in my hardest years as a kid, and I credit him for helping me come out of my shell a bit and be a little funny.  He's why I go to stand up shows instead of concerts.  He's why, when asked what my actual dream job would be, I still say a cast member on SNL.  He is honestly part of why I'm me, why I have the sense of humor I do and have embraced ridiculousness.  He's why I use humor to diffuse uncomfortable situations, and he's why I try not to take life too seriously.

Rest in peace, old friend.  I hope that I turned out to be a person you would've liked, someone who maybe could have made you laugh.  Part of me will always be you.