A prisoner of the white lines on the freeway

Sitting in a Haggen’s parking lot behind a laurel hedge, eating grocery store sushi and listening to Joni Mitchell’s “Hejira” on sunny and stunningly warm Friday afternoon. Everything smells like spring flowers, fabric softener, and hot pavement. I just dropped $250 on 2 pairs of shoes for my trip to France. I am loathe to spend it, but I wear a size 6.5 WW, so if I want something decent I have to spend the dough. Next up is acupuncture, then my Husband and I are off to hang the curtain rods at my Paramours house. I can’t believe he’s moving here. I can’t believe I am going to France! I can’t believe my German classes are almost over. I can’t believe I am just a few months away from finishing my first year in the ADF. I can’t believe they are selling Cheerwine at the local Haggen’s.

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Music Monday – For the Ladies

Madonna is not a feminist, she is an opportunist. Lady Gaga is not a feminist, although she is closer than Madonna. It isn’t that being pretty or overtly sexual preclude feminism, they just do not automatically make you a feminist icon. In fact, when I was writing this post, I was dismayed to see that many “top 10 feminist musicians” lists included the likes of Britney Spears and Rhianna (RHIANNA??? Since when did sticking with the guy that beat the crap out of you become a feminist act?? We are fucking doomed.) If all you have contributed to culture is grinding your hips and moaning overproduced pop songs you don’t even write yourself, you are a highly paid stripper, not a feminist. You are selling other women down the river for your own profit. I’m not saying that Madonna isn’t a good business woman, I’m not saying her music isn’t fun, I’m not saying she isn’t sexually empowered, I’m just saying that those things are not inherently feminist if the message you are sending is how awesome it is to be a walking vagina with no dignity or hope of aging gracefully.

These are women who speak their minds, aren’t afraid to get ugly, aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty, and aren’t afraid to play rough if you fuck with them.

Diamanda Galas – Double Barrel Prayer

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Music Monday – Pop!

As an antidote for last week’s musical excursion to hell, I think we need a little bit of what my Paramour calls “Unicorns and Muffins”. I am not a total music snob, if it moves me I dig it, I don’t care who it’s by. Here is some of the fluffiest music in my collection.

Outkast – Hey Ya
(How can you hear this and not want to dance? I am using the Charlie Brown video version because I am STACKING TEH HAPPI!)

La Roux – Bulletproof
(This is the perfect “homo a go-go” dance song formula, driving beat, dripping with synths, and a woman singing about how invincible and free she is. Works every time)

Robyn – Call Your Girlfriend
(Oy, Robyn, that haircut and atrocious outfit make you look like a hot mess, but I can’t get this damn song out of my head!)

Foster the People – Helena Beat
(OMG this is so wrong, but I hear this thing in my sleep. The “Road Warrior-esque” video is completely baffling, but the jump-kick nutshot did elicit a Beavis and Butthead chuckle from me)

Music Monday – Transgression, or Something to Offend Everyone

WARNING: THIS STUFF IS NSFW, NC-17, AND WILL PROBABLY OFFEND EVERYONE. IF YOU HAVE ANY PERSONAL ISSUES WITH LYRICS THAT PORTRAY ARTISTIC AND CONTROVERSIAL IMAGES OF VIOLENCE OR RAPE, TURN BACK NOW. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED. DON’T COME WHINING TO ME LATER.

Ah, the little goth chick in me still likes to be shocked and titillated. In case you hadn’t noticed, I am a rather staunch Transgressionist. For most of my life, this has been more than just an aesthetic, it has been a lifestyle. The transformation of the flesh into a living manifesto and commentary on the repressive moral stranglehold of our society has been my raison d’être since I was old enough to wield a razor blade. That, I am just generally a big, ol’ degenerate. Granted, others have been far more extreme, but then again I managed to live long enough to see the far side of 40. As I have aged, I have certainly mellowed. I still enjoy my deviance and shock culture, but gone are the days of listening to extreme avantgarde noise music while reading “Les 120 journées de Sodome” before running off to work as a professional bondage slave or to see someone mutilate themselves onstage at some random performance art piece. I will never forget the moment I realized I might have become too jaded. It was the New Years Eve we spent with Aesthetic Meat Foundation. As I watched a woman bound on a piano being sexually violated with a raw calf’s liver to the blare of industrial music and some vaguely Eastern European guy yelling about how “meat is life” into a bullhorn, I turned to my friend and said, “You wanna go to Canter’s after this?”. He shrugged and said, “Sure”. When shit like that makes you crave pastrami, it’s time to reassess your life.

Here are some of my favorite songs from my youth. If you are the sort of person who likes Marilyn Manson… go back to fucking kindergarten, this shit is for grownups.

Crass – Reality Asylum (1979)

Yeah, it gets worse from here…
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Music Monday – Weird and Wonderful

I love quirky, goofy people. People who aren’t afraid to make a complete jackass out of themselves to accomplish their vision. This post is dedicated to some of my favorite weirdos.

Tiny Tim – Living in the Sunlight (This is what it is like inside my head)

The Residents – Semolina (this song has a very twisted memory associated with it involving tequila, a handful of Valium, and a friends living room floor… those were the days)

Crispin Glover serenades a rat with “Ben” (I had a huge crush on the original Willard when I was a kid, and I also used to raise rats)

Nurse With Wound – Cooloorta Moon (if you ever want those last few party guests to leave, play this on a loop. That slide whistle get’s them every time.)

Pagan Blog Project Week 5: Craft Name, or H is for Harlot

Craft names. I don’t use one. Generally, I think they tend to be a bit silly and pompous (naming yourself “Lady Circe Stonehenge-Faery” seems a little self-aggrandizing), the absolute hypocrisy of that being that I legally changed my name years ago to conceal my identity, and my legal name is about as ridiculous and attention-getting as they come. It wasn’t intentional. I compiled a list of first names and a list of last names and gave one to each of my best friends and asked them to pick. I then took my my niece’s middle name (which is also an old family name), and with this Mad Lib moniker I walked down to the county courthouse with the man who is now my Paramour in tow. In this way, my rebirth had new “parents”. Male Friend acted a symbolic father, Female Friend acted as a symbolic mother, and my Paramour was my midwife, guiding me into my new identity. I chose this method deliberately, as the naming of a thing is a sacred act and calls for a certain amount of care. The fact that the end results sounds like an Alan Moore superheroine was not important, it was the act of renaming that mattered to me.

My reasons for changing my name were primarily to disassociate myself from my past. Having been a former adult entertainer in the age of the internet means your past is never more than a few clicks away (granted, when I went into the business, the internet was new and more a novelty that the ubiquitous presence it is now). Simply googling your name will turn up a wealth of things you do not want an employer finding once you try to go legit. Due to what I can only assume was a “clerical error”, much of my work was released under my real name. I have had male coworkers approach me for sexual favors in exchange for “keeping my secret”. I have had female coworkers cattily state thinly veiled allusions to what they had discovered about me in front of the entire staff. I have even had people bring in copies of magazines I was in and ask me for my autograph at work. Eventually, I had to change my name if I ever wanted to be able to function in society without the stigma of being the town whore. This angered me, since I did not and still do not see anything wrong with what I have done. However, I was never particularly attached to my name, having always felt it didn’t suit me.

Of course, this has made my life awkward in many ways. In the Pagan community, people often mistake my name for a craft name. In public life I frequently get comments on the strange nature of my name, which of course means I have to pretend it is my name by birth or risk the myriad of questions that will follow. There is a weird embarrassment to confessing you have legally changed your name, like I need to justify my decision. Half my family forgets to call me by my new name, the other half refuses and will announce this in front of people who don’t know that I changed my name. My friends have all adapted, but new friends will eventually have to be told if they become more than acquaintances.

In some ways, my original name is my magical name; it is the secret name known only to me and a few close relations. I have had so many different names over the years, I can literally get confused in a crowd if I hear someone calling out anything phonetically close to any one of them. I have 2 different names from the various S&M clubs I used to work at, the names that I modeled under, names I used for film work, nicknames I have had, online monikers. These are all names that I have responded to, identities I have had that sit on top of my original self like layers of experience. My name now seems to bring them all together so I feel a little less like Sybil Green, but I still have this weird sense of the different chapters in my life having happened to someone else.

Music Monday – Classical Music

I love classical music, but I am woefully ignorant of it (hence Herr WMFH’s Music Appreciation class. Hey, it isn’t all about me being a man crazy nympho!) I am one of those hunt and peck classical fans. I listen to things I like, follow the recommendations on eMusic (I hate iTunes, they are overpriced and draconian in their restrictions), and generally just try to find things that work for me. I used to buy albums (that’s vinyl LPs, kiddies) at used record stores just to try things out. I have no idea if what I am listening to is considered “good”, I just know I like it. I tend to like Beethoven for symphonies and Wagner for opera. Chopin gives me serious girl wood. Literally, listening to Chopin physically turns me on, I’m not kidding. I recently discovered Faure’s Requiem and fell in love with his shimmering, icy, angelic beauty. I have a total crush on Gustav Mahler, his music has this brilliant awkwardness to it, as if he’s a brooding teenager who desperately wants to say something profound but it never comes out right. And people can smack talk Sarah Brightman all they want, she has an incredible voice and flexibility, I don’t care if she was a disco biscuit in her day.
After memorizing (and now being able to recite from memory, thank you very much) “Der Erlkönig”, my next German conquest is learning to sing “Ode an die Freude” from Beethoven’s 9th. Unfortunately, because I was always stuck in the 1st tenor section in choir that’s all I can manage to sing in a choral situation (I’m actually a Dramatic Mezzo Soprano, but I project best in my lower register. When I was singing daily my voice was like a weapon: strong, loud and powerful. Sadly, I am completely tone deaf and lack the precision to actually do anything with it. In other words, I’m a total Ethel Merman).

Most Played Classical Tracks This Week
Tristan & Isolde: Isoldes Liebestod – Richard Wagner
A Village Romeo and Juliet: The Walk to the Paradise Garden – Frederick Delius
Lohengrin Prelude to Act III – Royal Philharmonic/Richard Wagner
Polonaise No. 6 in A flat major, Op. 53, “Heroic” – Chopin
The Flower Duet (Lakmé) – Leo Delibe
Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen: Ging heut morgen übers Feld – Gustav Mahler
3 Gymnopedies: 1ere Gymnopedie. Lent et douloureux – Erik Satie
Messe Basse – Kyrie eleison – Gabriel Fauré
Berceuse in D flat major, Op. 57 – Chopin
Hungarian Dances, WoO 1: No. 1 – Johannes Brahms
O Mio Babbino Caro – Maria Callas/Puccini
Finlandia: Op. 26 – Jean Sibelius
9th Symphony (Choral) – Ludwig van Beethoven

Music Monday – Eivør

Eivør Pálsdóttir is a singer from the Faroe Islands. I am a huge Kate Bush fanatic, and I have never once heard a cover of a Kate Bush song that didn’t make me want to punch someone in the junk for daring to defile the Toe-shoe Fairy Princess’ art. Until I heard this. Don’t tell Kate, but I like this one better than the original.

This track… wow. She busts out some serious Faroese folk chops on this. A girl, a drum, and some incredible vocal work towards the end. This could have easily sounded silly, but she deftly turns it into something primal and fierce.

Embedding is not allowed on this track, but this video gives me the biggest girl crush on Eivør. Her ecstatic expressions are spot on, and she is virtually making love to her drum. Plus, I WANT that dress.

Eivør Palsdottir – Faroe Islands My Mother

This Week’s Playlist: When We Were Trees

Ecci Mundi Gaudium – Mediaeval Baebes – Worldes Blysse
Bierdna (The Bear) – Hedningarna – Hippjokk
Annuka Suaren Neito – Hector Zazou Feat. Värttinä – Songs From The Cold Seas
Quimmiruluapik – Tanya Tagaq – Sinaa
Ugla – Amiina – Seoul EP
To The Dancers On The Ice – Emilie Simon – La Marche De L’Empereur OST
Odin’s Raven Magic – Chapter 3 – Sigur Rós & Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson – Hrafnagaldur Óðins (Odin’s Raven Magic)
Das Rheingold – Entry of the Gods Into Valhalla Berliner Philharmoniker & Klaus Tennstedt – Richard Wagner
Prospero’s Magic – Michael Nyman – Prospero’s Books
Hounds Of Love – Eivør – Larva
Inní mér syngur vitleysingur – Sigur Rós – Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust
Halling Från Makedonien (Halling From Macedonian) – Garmarna – Guds Speleman
Oró Mhíle Grá / A Thousand Times My Love – Susan McKeown w/ Ensemble Tartit – Sweet Liberty
Maany Hatyn – Ayarkhaan (Айархаан) – Dobun Duoraan (Sounds of ancient land of Olonkho) (different track)
Yakut Song – Hector Zazou Feat. Lioudmila Khandi – Songs From The Cold Seas
Í nýju húsi – Ólöf Arnalds – Við og við
Northern Sky – Nick Drake – Bryter Layter
Elephant Gun – Beirut – Lon Gisland

Music Monday – Scott Walker and Rainy Day Playlist

Scott Motherfucking Walker, bitches.

His music will make you pee yourself in terror, then giggle at the absurdity of it all, then question your purpose on this earth, then resume peeing yourself. This is the soundtrack to surrealist existential despair.

Here’s a cheerful ditty he wrote about Elvis’ stillborn twin. I dare you to listen to this on headphones in a dark room when you are home alone at night. Here, go read some of this page first, THEN come back and listen to this in a dark room by yourself.

Here is a slightly more pop oriented and accessible track from the 70s… about torture in South America.

This Week’s Playlist – Rain Songs

It’s Raining Today – Scott Walker – Scott 3
The Rain – Song Led Zeppelin – Houses Of The Holy
Make It With You – Bread – The Best Of Bread
Lover, You Should’ve Come Over – Jeff Buckley – Grace
Op. 28: No.15 in D-Flat Major, “Raindrop” – Claudio Arrau – Chopin: 24 Preludes
I like London in the Rain – Blossom Dearie – Whisper for You
Ocean Rain – Echo & the Bunnymen – Ocean Rain
Your Time Is Gonna Come – Sandie Shaw – Reviewing the Situation
Rainy Days and Mondays – Carpenters – Carpenters
Clair de lune – Debussy – Debussy
Asleep – The Smiths – Louder Than Bombs
Farewell Reel – Patti Smith – Gone Again
Sweet Jane – Cowboy Junkies – The Trinity Session
The Boy With the Arab Strap – Belle & Sebastian – The Autumns
Morning Sun – Dot Allison – Afterglow

Music Monday

Since I am taking Music Appreciation this quarter, and I haven’t addressed the subject here before, I am here to tell you I freakin’ love music. I am one of those nerds who has (or rather USED TO have, until my hard drive crashed, I am still rebuilding. *sniff*) a music collection that would be the envy any reputable DJ out there. Granted, my tastes are odd and eclectic (I collect Hawaiian music, sound effects, and sea shanties on vinyl), but I love Funk and Punk and Rock and Folk and Classical and World and Country and Electronic and you name it. Except Hip Hop and the majority of what passes for Top 40 these days. That shit makes me cringe, the lone exception being Outkast’s “Hey Ya”, which is the single greatest pop song of the last 20 years. But, as usual, I digress…

When I say that music is the second most sacred thing a person can do, I mean it. Music, whether you are performing it or listening to it, is the closest thing to ecstasy I can think of. I distrust anyone who doesn’t like music, or worse yet, is apathetic about it. I don’t understand people who’s only contact with music is when they flip on the car radio to whatever station the billboards tell them is the one to listen to. My husband doesn’t listen to music, and it boggles my mind. He likes music, but he never actively seeks it out. In the car we fight over my music and his NPR. I have just resigned myself to headphones, which is fine because I prefer the solitude when I am listening anyway.

I was rather amused at the patchwork of genres of this last week’s “Top 20” most played on my iTunes:

This Weeks Top 20
Ecce Mundi Gaudium – Mediaeval Baebes
Prospero’s Magic – Michael Nyman
The Drum – Slapp Happy
Lover, You Should’ve Come Over – Jeff Buckley
Coyote – Joni Mitchell
Kick out the Jams – MC5
The Ship Song – Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
FAURE: Requiem, Op. 48: Sanctus – Gabriel Faure
Another Nail In My Heart – Squeeze
Institutionalized – Suicidal Tendencies
Why Do You Let Me Stay Here – She & Him
Cadillac – T. Rex
Hungry Wolf – X
Suo Gan – Ambrosian Boys Choir
Save Me – k.d. lang
Infected – The The
Sea Talk – Zola Jesus
Come to Daddy – Aphex Twin
Third Uncle – Brian Eno
Straight To You – Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds

Nobody writes the soundtrack to an epically doomed love affair like Nick Cave.

Gabriel Faure’s Requiem is a recent discovery of mine. I had heard some of his choral music before and enjoyed it, but his Requiem is like butterfly kisses from an angel, and I mean that in a good way. It manages to be soft and embracing, yet somehow detached at the same time. The Sanctus and Pie Jesu are particularly lovely.

And as far as Squeeze is concerned, even today I would still volunteer to be the tomato in a Difford & Tilbrook sandwich. Genius turns me on. Musical genius even more so. Being adorable and British doesn’t hurt their cause either.

Today’s musical discovery is Genya Ravan. I have heard some of her music before, but didn’t have a name to go with it until now. Bitch has the Funk in a huge way, she’s my new rock chick hero. I love really good, nasty Funk and Soul. It’s like Gospel music for fucking, the most ideal Dionysian soundtrack in my book. When it’s done right, it makes you want to throw the object of your affections against a wall and undress them with your teeth.

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On Maenads and Valkyries

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A celebration of me and my interests. Unapologetically.

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"Everything is full of gods." - Thales

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