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Entries in NYC (4)


Dreams Are Real 040: New York City

Sxip and I were sitting on the mattress of his East Village apartment.  He had let me play with the new set of bells he had gotten and we were discussing good covers of songs and our art. I was in red velvet coming from Gabriel's birthday dinner and he was settling in for the night after composing all evening. I remember I was on a yerba mate kick while he sipped his beer. "You're going to be up all night." He said. It was already midnight and I had just started to drink it.  I looked over at the small Eshu head on the shelf, something the tenant he was subletting had left.  This was a composers apartment.  This was the type of apartment you expect an artist to live in.  It was full of NYC charm, one brick wall, and a bathtub in the kitchen. His instruments set up on tables and various sound equipment occupied the tables.  He had set his computer on a chair as a makeshift table so we could watch our newest obsessions in music without moving. I was envious and told him so numerous times.  The night made me wish I had my film camera, so I could document these kind of moments in black and white. "These moments, moments like these are the ones we live in New York for." Sxip said and I nodded my head.

We start talking about Patti Smith and he's asking me about Just Kids.  I told him I never read it. 

"But you love Patti, I thought you did."

I shake my head. I was afraid to tell him why.  I made up a story, not sure what but I know I made up something.  The truth was, I just wasn't ready for it.  There's certain books or films that you have to prepare yourself for.  You know they are going to impact you.  You know the moment your fingers touch the page and you start to take it in that you will cry, that it will cut and bleed you.  That this is a part of you too, that it's a univeral message in a personal journal. So I lied and badly too.

But it stuck with me and I knew the time was coming. That was a few weeks ago.

A few days ago I met Laura McLaws Helms at Cafe Pick Me Up, one of my old haunts from college.  I had forgotten how good it feels to have home bases.  We had tea and read tarot, we talked fashion and business, one of those conversations that feeds you. This was the beginning of a very big shift.I came home and painted.

I told Laura before I left.  "I feel like I've lived this book and the creative passionate relationship Patti had with Robert is one I'm living right now with Shahriar.  Nothing is done until I show him."

Friday brought another reading and a night out with the amazing and wonderful Maria Headley,  Zay Amsbury, and Kat HowardMelissa and I headed over to the Anyway Cafe (another old haunt) for an evening of music, conversation, mulled wine, and exchanging ideas.  I like to tell people that Maria and I met after one of Sxip's shows but we fell in love over twitter, bonded at a gay bar in Chelsea, spent the night celebrating at the bar at Sleep No More, and fell asleep holding hands.  She is an amazing friend indeed.  Maria also gave me an amazing present of Dolce & Gabbana which I will be photographing very soon.  There's something really wonderful that happens when you get a group of people together that instantly get along.  It's good to be creative in the city.  We live joyful passionate lives.  Late night a cover band took the floor as a woman named Rita celebrated her birthday.  Rita got up and danced, more joined and soon everyone was up and dancing.  Maria and I held each other and laughed.  You can usually find Maria and I with our heads held back in laughter.

There's Maria giving me a kiss.  As you can see I'm blissed out by it.

Saturday brought rehearsal for Speakeasy Dollhouse and the return of the Swimming Cities crew.  Orien and Angie invited me and a few other people over to his Mom's place to celebrate. Being back at Val's brought great comfort to my heart.  Orien was one of the first people I met when I moved to New York and that apartment has always felt like a second home.  Angie and Orien showered me with gifts and hugs.  It was good to be back with them.

I really like ferrets.

Me and Angie.

Orien and I wearing matching noserings.

Zack Tucker.

Val and I love each other.

Mark Krawczuk.

Me and Val again.

Orien and his dad Malcolm.

My favorite apartment in the world.


Later I met up with Mani and Jason Price to celebrate Jason's birthday.  We ate delicious Chinese food and ate incredibly yummy cupcakes (okay I had flourless chocolate cake) at Magnolia bakery.  I came home and started to write.

Sunday brought a full day of art modeling.  I hadn't modeled in a while so I forgot what it felt like to stay still for so long.  But I felt grateful because the life I live is pleasing.  I enjoy every moment of it and it nourishes me to no end.  We create our lives as we live them and it's up to us to decide how we live them.  There are no barriers if you tear them all down.  I thought about Patti and Mapplethorpe and how they lived to create.  I thought about why I moved to New York and how my life mimicked theirs in certain ways without even knowing.  Things are changing, shifting.

Tonight I sat in the same cafe Laura and I sat in sipping lattes with Anya Kless and discussing spirituality, art, and life in general.  I feel blessed to live this life in this time and space.  I feel blessed to be living in NYC.

Photo by Mark Krawczuk


Dreams Are Real 031: Making Magic With Beth Hommel

I met Beth through the internet and tarot.  When we did finally meet face to face it was instant love, and we've been friends ever since.  Recently Beth and I decised to do an impromtu shoot.  I am completely in awe of the photos.  So much magic in them and so completely NYC. More images in my modeling section



Dreams Are Real 018: La Gitana

La Gitana was a name given to me a few years back.  A wonderful Palero named Alfredo had blessed me with a ticket to Miami.  I was checking out some prospective design firms and he needed help bringing his Olokun back to NYC.  He purchased my favorite set of tarot on this trip.  An old Spanish style set and I read for his Godparents.  They were impressed and as a gift bought me a Flamenco dancer doll.  I fell in love with it.  Alfredo got into the car.  "It's special because it's like you.  La Gitana,  that's who you are." And it was true.  I had never embraced it as much as I did at that moment. We drove back to NYC.  We talked about Santeria, the Orishas, Palo, and the ancestors.  I knew I wanted to be a part of it all.  You see, Miami had been very good to me but I was happy to be back in the city.

Robin LeBlanc emailed me a week or two ago letting me know she'd be in town.  Like most people I know her through twitter and through Warren's Whitechapel.

We met up for coffee and cupcakes and walked around the city before deciding to do a quick photo shoot the next day.  My week was packed but I felt this shoot was important.  And when you get that sense you should always follow it.  I went home, painted throughout the night and went to bed exhausted.  Robin and I met up around noon the next day and headed into Williamsburg.  I was to be posing as Frida Kahlo later in the day, so I dressed in advance, leaving only the costume change to be dealt with at four. 

It was the day of coffee and mantillas.  You see I had fallen in love with a comb from Spain and a black lace veil.  Mantillas are gorgeous, everything about them speaks to me.  Years ago I had fallen in love with Spanish culture. 

Robin and I chose Williamsburg to shoot, not only because it was close to where I had to be later in the day but also for the worn brick, street art, and skyline.  We walked up and down the streets stopping only when something interested us, snapping photos, drinking coffee. 

This is one of the first photos she snapped as we walked down the windy road.  It happens to be my favorite.  There are certain moments where you just let go.  You're not really thinking about what you look like, where you're going, or who you are.  You're just there, being.  And I think this captures that. 

The next photograph both of us laughed over.  It was so perfect, a decaying city, the last few sips of caffeine, and a gorgeous piece of lace flowing back and forth as the scent of the water wafted through the air.

We walked down to the water.  The wind swirling around us becoming too much.  She snapped what would become my favorite image of the city.  Construction and all the skyline before us.  It's the kind of photograph that makes you appreciate where you live.

Today I spent the day swinging on swingsets and taking it easy from the weekend.  Last night I live sketched at Gemini & Scorpio's Swing House.  That blog will be posted soon.  Until then, here is my lovely recipe for sopa de salchichon.


1 yucca
1 large salchichón (sausage)
4 small potatoes cubed
1 packet ham sazon
7c. water
1 tbsp. oil
1/2 c. noodles
1 tsp.mashed garlic
1 onion chopped
1/4 c. chopped celery
2 envelopes beef sazón
1.5 tbsp. Adobo seasoning
2 ears of corn cut in half
1 small can of tomato sauce


Before heating anything take a grater and peel and grate the yucca until you have a pile of shavings.  Sprinkle a little adobo into the yucca and then form balls with the shaved yucca.  Place in a bowl for later.

In a soup pot, heat the oil; add the salchichón, mashed garlic (a pilonazos), adobo, chopped onion and stir fry a little.

Add the water,sazón, and tomato sauce and bring to a boil.
Once it boils, bring down the heat to medium.

Add the cubed potatoes,corn, yucca balls, and celery.

Wait approximately five minutes and add the noodles.

Stir frequently to avoid excessive sticking, adjust water when necessary.

When the noodles are fully cooked, turn the heat off.

In a separate pot cook some white rice.  When it is finished place in a seperate bowl.  Place soup in bowl of it's own.  Take a spoonful of rice and gently dip into the soup.  Delicious isn't it?

This recipe is an improvised version of my Godmother's "hangover soup".


Dreams Are Real 012: Charmed Life

Last year Aidinah, Dan, and I sat a table in Veselka sipping coffee.  "You live a charmed life." She said smiling.  We hadn't seen each other in years, not since her East Village apartment.  I looked down at my coffee.  I had been sulking all morning that I wasn't living there myself, that NYC wasn't the place I had moved here for, and it wasn't the 80's graffiti strewn streets.  But when someone brings that to light, it's a whole other story.  So I sat there, smiling, nodding, holding my coffee with both hands, like they do in the movies.

I forget that I love NYC sometimes.  I forget how I feel when I'm walking down the street and I catch a whiff of a bakery, or back in the 90's a cigar shop.  Pipe tobacco wafting through the city streets is still one of my favorite scents.  Brings me right back to the BMW Bar, and drinking wine while listening to bands play on Sunday nights.  You could smoke in bars then.  Travelers of all sorts lit cigarettes and breathed in the music.

The BMW Bar no longer exists, CBGB's lost it's lease, and The Chelsea Hotel lost it's soul in 2007. I was even upset when I saw the plan for what was going to happen to Coney Island.  Looking at that strange tight map all I could see was Miami's Deco Avenue and Vegas combined.  But even if NYC is changing, walking down the boardwalk with Chelsea Summers made me remember why I love this city. We had just come from the Mermaid Ball wearing gowns and tiaras.  We walked off the walkway and into the lot, looking at the Cyclone's neon light.  She snapped a picture and I remembered.  I like hanging out with people who live in the city, who love the city for all the frustration, chaos, creativity, and wonderment it brings.

Photos by Chelsea.  You can check out more on her NYC photo blog here

As it turns out, I write about NYC quite a bit in my own script.  I recently wrote a piece for The Red Umbrella Diaries.  Oh New York you pesky demon you, always showing up in my thoughts, my dreams, and my heart.  And a big thank you to Mike Lala for being my wonderful editor on this piece, who saved all my grammar in a matter of minutes, and the man who gave me the brilliant first line.  Mike says I'm not ready to leave New York yet.  Maybe he's right.

Umbrella by yours truly. 

I found this ring on the street after receiving a special message from a friend.  Yes, je t'adore aussi.