Monthly Archives: September 2009

An Open Letter To Guys Singing At Concerts

Dear Guys Singing At Concerts,

I hope you enjoyed the Grizzly Bear show as much as I did. By the sounds of it, you enjoyed it plenty. Too plenty, if you ask me. For you see, I thought there were only four members of Grizzly Bear. But I seemed to be mistaken. For you were screaming in my ear their lyrics to every A-track you knew (You shut up for the B-sides. Why is that? Why?). Did you hurt your hand? Is that why you weren’t on stage with your bandmates, riffing along, shredding on an instrument or bang banging on a drum? Maybe the band planted you in the audience, as some sort of audio experiment. You know, give the audience a feel of surround sound.

Maybe you weren’t a bandmate at all? This would explain your inability to sing on key to ANY, I repeat, ANY fucking song you sang along too. Really. That’s what you think a middle A sounds like? More like middle Ass. A cat on a hot carburetor would be more melodic. I like your heart, I do, but I’d like it more if it just stopped beating.

Do you just come to concerts because you were kicked out of your garage band for huffing all the WD-40 before your gig at John Barlycorn’s? Do they even have live music at John Barlycorn’s? I’m asking you, guy who sings at concerts, because I’m sure that is your favorite bar to feed women lies about your success so that they’ll sleep with you. Or do you come because you are a raving schizophrenic who in any other environment aside from a rock concert would be fingered as the blabbering, unrestrained, yelling ape-man that you are, thus rock concerts being a sort of brotherly sanctuary for you, like a gay bathhouse is to frat boys (There are secrets in the steam).

Is that beard you sport because you are trying to fit an image or are you just lazy…or are you not allowed to use a razor for fear you may cause harm to yourself or others, like your mother who obviously looks after you. Because you seem to be a walking, talking archetype, an embodiment of douche disguised as hipster wrapped up in academic do-nothing. Your button-up shirt, unironed and unremarkable, screams that you put probably as much thought into your fashion sense as you do your social sensibilities. And what a dearth of social sensibilities you have. I’ve mentioned the screaming, the incessant non-stop, in-my-ear screaming. But the head shaking and the spitting! Was that all really necessary? All those theatrics? All that spitting? In my direction? In my ear? On my hair? MY HAIR!!! I thought it was a seizure, and I thought I’d call for help. But then I realized you were just trying to shake the douche off of you, like a dog drying itself. Well let me tell you something, buddy. It don’t wash off.

I thought after the show I should have shaken your hand, gotten your autograph and handed you a Lincoln. It’d be the least I could do for your contribution to my night. I mean, Grizzly Bear was outstanding. But you, you outshined them like a thousand suns exploding into a fiery mess. Whereas the members of Grizzly Bear each have their own parts to sing, you know, so that their voices mesh into beautiful and otherworldly harmonies, you managed to sing each musician’s part while in the process making it sound like chimes, specifically the chiming of vomit striking the inner walls of a prison toilet. Kudos.

But alas, you did not receive your moment in the spotlight. You quickly scurried out, under the cloak of night, like a humble good Samaritan who’d rather let a good deed go left unclaimed. If only I knew where you lived, guy singing at concerts. Then I’d know where to direct my…gratitude. I’ll keep an eye out for you, or rather, an ear.

Blow me,

Keith

I'm singing with Grizzly Bear!

I'm singing with Grizzly Bear!

I Am Parsley

I have ten minutes to write something before I receive another e-mail about Essay Fiesta, my new monthly, charitable reading series premiering at the Book Cellar Nov. 16. Become a fan on Facebook. Aaaaaaaand end plug.

Anywho, I was thinking about writing the other day, as I do everyday, so it was really just a day, which nullifies this sentence entirely. Jesus, I’m wasting valuable typing time! TEN MINUTES!

Okay. Breath. I realized the other day how, for me, my perspective on writing has progressed in the same manner as my opinion of parsley has. Yes, I’m trying to tie two unlike things together, making an association that is both humorous and personally true. But this isn’t a forced partnership. No. Parsley and writing really have shared strange and otherworldly connections for me, connections where both began as unsubstantial decor that colored my life and my plate and eventually grew to eclipse my very being and/or palate. But I’m getting ahead of myself. So let me catch up.

When I was young and but a wee lad from the humid plains of the outer-eastside of a little known village known as Dallas, I had large hoop dreams of one day becoming an electrical engineer. “I want to build microchips, Mommie!” I’d say, high on a love for cutting-edge technology and computer cleaner. I would sit and program in C++ until I tired my nerdy little brain out, and it had to sleep (or defragment for you fellow geeks). Why for fun I once made a math tutorial program that, due to incredible foresight on my part, had the added built-in safety of never accidentally dividing a number by 0, a feat that if accomplished could very well suck the Earth into itself like some kind of flexible dog sniffing its own butt. Because I was that uncool, that math-minded, that much of a techno-geek when I was little. But really, none of this was what I ever really wanted.

Writing, that trivial and tedious task, I thought. Don’t get me wrong. I love it. If masturbation was a way for me to pleasure my body, writing was a way for me to pleasure my brain. But there was no career path, no end goal, no purpose in this thing that required so much sitting still and complaining. To me, it was merely a deviation from Intel Pentium Processor dreams, something I could do on my downtime in between smashing atoms and voyaging to the nether regions of both space and time. It was the garnish to the entree that was my life.

Which brings us to parsley, that green, leafy stuff that they give you with a wedge of lemon that one time a year you swallow your pride and make a trip for Lobster Fest at Red Lobster. By the way, Lobster Fest is NOT a federally recognized holiday (but it should be). Parsley, that close relative of the much tangier and prettier leafy green, cilantro. Cilantro you hot attractive chick who gets asked out by all the bad boys with pompadours and motorcycles. Parsley, that frumpy girl you try to erase from your memory like a dream of a reality of your uncle massaging your shoulders in a sauna. Oh, parsley. I didn’t understand you, and if I ever tried to touch you, to nibble your leafy ends, I’d quickly make a prune face and spit, spit you out upon the table or worse, the floor. But oh, how the times do change.

For where both writing and parsley were always relegated to the sidelines, like me in nearly every sport I ever played ever, I have since realized how central these things can be in my life, if I just learn to understand them and accept them. Writing is not a stupid career choice. In fact, it is admirable, and it is hard. But I love it. And although I’m currently making my money by tap dancing for big corporations, it’s keeping my instincts sharp and my wallet not empty, all of which is allowing me to write what I want to write with the hope that the great literary agent in the sky will one day rain gold deblumes down on me in a sign of complete and sweet validation. Likewise, I have learned to cook with parsley, making such delicious delicacies as tabbouleh and a mustardy potatoe salad that simply is to die for (bacon optional for you sons and daughters of David).

So yes, let it be known, that although you may think something is just for fun or a garnish to your otherwise fulfilling and perfect life, it may actually be the missing piece of the puzzle, that herb that completes the soup. And when you discover that, your life will be that much more flavorful.

It's parsley, mom!

It's parsley, mom!

Sorry For My Absence

Forgive me for my absence, but pulling together this Essay Fiesta hooha is taking up a lot of my free time and energy. Not to worry, my lovely friends, for I shall be writing once more…hopefully tomorrow.

In the meantime, THIS!

Call For Artists! EssayFiesta!

Pass this along to anyone you think might be interest, y’all! Ignore the e-mail part. I just copy and pasted this from my inbox.

pinata

Hi!

If you are receiving this e-mail, you are something special!

Please read this e-mail and pass it along to anyone you might know that would want to participate in this charitable, comedic, literary event. We’re looking to book December and January now.

EssayFiesta is an hour-long reading series hosted by me and my talented friend Alyson Lyon. Every third Monday of the month, we invite three artists from various fields (e.g., writers, comedians, playwrights, journalists), to read personal essays at the Book Cellar for an evening that not only allows a platform for writers to share their work and for artists from different circles to meet and communicate, but to also benefit an important cause. During the evening, we will have items from local businesses that we are raffling off. 100% of all money made from the raffle and any donations taken at the event go to benefit the Howard Brown Health Center, a medical facility dedicated to helping the health needs of GLBT individuals and those living with HIV and AIDS.

So what do we ask of our artists?

Well, this is an essay show, meaning all artists are to read pieces that are first person and true. Some embellishment due to the use of your artistic license is allowed. But we want to stick to serving two purposes: either anecdotal (like this is what happened to me once) or soap box (like I believe in this and here’s my thoughts). Inspired by David Sedaris and coming from comedy backgrounds, we’d really like it if you could inject some humor into your pieces. But if you want to be serious, that’s fine too. We just want you to tell an engaging story that speaks for you and hopefully connects with others.

Every artists gets about 10-12 minutes to read. You can bring in multiple pieces. You can bring in pieces you’ve read elsewhere. You can bring in excerpts from a larger piece. We don’t care! Just bring work that reflects you because you’re awesome. Oh, and we’ll gladly plug anything you are working on, performing in or whatever.

Finally, we do need all essays to be PG to PG-13-rated at the request of the Book Cellar, which is graciously allowing us to host our event there. So find some clever synonyms for those beep-worthy words.

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact me.

Best,

Keith

Word Of The Gay Ep. 1

The name is wrong, but the face is right. Watch and learn.

Word of the Gay Ep. 1

Faces Of Death, er, I Mean The Healthcare Debate

1. The True Libertarian

You’re a rebel. You walk your on path on your own time in your own boots. After all, you worked hard for those boots with those bootstraps that you pulled yourself up by. You’ve read 1984. You know about Big Brother, and you walk the line between high and overdose levels of suspicion toward the government. You’re against all taxes and believe Capitol Hill should keep its nose out of your business. What purpose do they serve? Military? You guess, but you’d rather have a bunch of well-trained, well-armed militias. You’re fine with gays doing whatever they want. Abortions? Whatever. The government has no right to legislate what a woman does with her body. But a public healthcare option? Not on your watch, buddy. And while we’re at it, you want to take away Medicare, Medicaid, public libraries and interstate highway maintenance. You know, because it smells like a Marxist plot waiting to unfold.

2. The Moronic Libertarian

You love Glenn Beck. In fact, you lie awake at night, fantasizing about a naked Glenn Beck hovering over you, beckoning you with his titillating rants and his brow sweat. You’re a teabagger and you have the “Obamanation” shirt to prove it. The government is spending too much money, your money, your hard earned money that you earned on that factory floor. That factory floor where you get paid $10 and change an hour to do the same task over and over again. Thank God for cigarettes because that’s the only respite you get all day. Too bad you’ve been developing that terrible cough, that hacking. You know you’re probably going to go the way of your dad, getting the cancer. But he was a man damn it and so are you. But your employer-offered health insurance won’t cover your chemo costs. Too bad you voted to get rid of that union. Economy’s bad so the man has been cutting back your benefits. Still, that cigarette, that sweet sweet smoke, always takes you away to a place where there are no problems like screaming children, Libtards and black presidents. A public healthcare option is both socialist and fascist. You’re not quite sure what either means, but that naked image of Glenn Beck whispered those words in your ear as the image of Jesus on a piece of toast gave him the reach around. Hopefully you’ll live to see 65 when Medicare kicks in. Thank God for that.

3. The Fiscal Conservative

You think the government does have a place at the healthcare table. Hell, you already have Medicare, something you fought hard against, but, well, it’s here to stay, just like your mother-in-law who, thank to Medicare, won’t fucking die! Ever! Why does she have to live with you, you wonder? If only we could create some sort of a death panel…but you digress. In any case, you believe the government should not offer a public option. You’d be breaking the bank, what with those forgotten wars going on overseas in those countries with all that sand. Thank goodness everyone forgot about those or else you’d never stand a chance as a political party ever again. Those things cost an arm and a leg, and now they just sit in the corner collecting dust, like a GameCube. You do see that healthcare should be reformed. In fact, you would like to see people pool their efforts together to collectively get insurance from private insurers, bringing down the cost of premiums. Pre-exising conditions and drops in coverage? Um, pass. You’ll talk about that later, if anyone ever asks, which hopefully they won’t because, thanks in part to your efforts, there’s so much hoopla with those Dems that no one is even thinking of asking you for your opinion. Since this is such a headscratcher, you think it is best to just sit this one out, take a backseat to the more fanatical members of your party, and bask in being a No Man.

4. The Liberal

You love spending money, money that, quite honestly, the country questionably doesn’t have. Regardless, you believe you start with healthcare for all and work your way back, at whatever cost is necessary. After all that is the role of the government, isn’t it? To protect the well-being of its citizens. And isn’t promoting a healthy citizenry only going to benefit the country in the long run? Healthy people are productive people, that’s what it says on your desk calendar today. You think purchasing health insurance should be mandatory. After all, auto insurance and fire insurance are both often mandatory. And isn’t someone’s health more important than a car or a home? Or, you wonder, do we really live in a country that is so fixated on the O.C. and Sweet Sixteen that we really value a pony or a Land Rover over a set of healthy teeth and gums? You’re happy you’re against possessing fire arms because you know if you were down with guns, you’d totally blow your brains out. Has the world gone mad? Get a grip on yourself. You believe a public healthcare option is necessary to ensure that everyone receives coverage. To you, it’s not so much socialized medicine as it is a promise of a society to its people. After all, no one asked to be born here. You just are. So let’s try to help each other out a bit, okay? Oh, and at night, when Glenn Beck is chirping his fat fucking head off, you sit back in your armchair, a bottle of whiskey in your hand, and you laugh and laugh and laugh until you just find yourself sobbing until you fall asleep.

An Open Letter To Tattooed Moms

Dear Tattooed Mothers,

Remember when all the conservative newscasters (e.g., the O’Reillys, the Hannitys, the Limbaughs) chortled about your impending fate, echoing the sentiments of your douchebag, hypocritical parents who smoked too much weed in the 60s and felt they needed to be hard asses while raising you to get back on God’s good side? Remember how these conservative talk show hosts would talk about how foolish you were to get that “tramp stamp” or that Chinese character? That Tweety bird on your inner thigh? That ladybug on your big toe? Remember how the sting of those words was a minor nuisance compared to the prick of the needle as you lay back in the tattoo parlor chair, drunk on cosmos, and laughing it up with your gal pals as they held your hand while you got that princess crown tattoo after Dustin dumped you for the Tri-Delt down the hall?

Well all has come to pass (except of course that butterfly tattoo on your lower back).

These conservative newscasters and their tongue clicking…your parents and their omens of regret. They have come true, haven’t they? You have grown up, becoming wiser, more self-assured and an account executive at a regional PR agency. You’ve donated those mini skirts to the homeless and replaced those whore heels with reasonable pumps and a pant suit. Because nothing screams I’m a woman in a corporate man’s body like pant suit. Scream it, sister.

And now, like so much frat party vomit, your past has been flushed away, replaced with a life of couplehood and motherhood. You may have met your hubby your senior year, after Chad fell off the homecoming float, breaking his leg, causing him to replace his calorie-burning ultimate frisbee routine with beer chugging, resulting in an unsightly, obese mess that you no longer had any desire to one day spawn with. Then along came Steve, a cavalier young gent who was Chad’s frat brother, you know, the one you secretly slept with during the Spring Break White Water Hash Bash.

Or maybe you met your hubby post-college. Maybe one day, while living your Gossip Girl big city dreams, you saw him standing on the train platform. Your pant dress neatly pressed, you invoked the inner courage to reclaim your feminine authority and hit on him (oh the roll reversal was so sweet). He, being a man of the times and possessing the ability to sniff out easy poontang, abided. It was settling at first sight.

Soon a you got knocked up. He didn’t plan on it, but you had been waiting for the day since you could do the splits. You made no hesitation in telling everyone you knew about your pregnancy and immediately quit your job, mollifying your husband’s financial concerns with empty promises of, “I’ll return to work soon after the baby is born. I swear.”

Nine months later and the little loaf slips out. You bring him home. While your husband is at work, you stand in front of the bathroom mirror, rocking the baby in your arms and staring at that mark, that imprint, that tattoo that forever stains your skin, reminding you of that time when life was simpler, more carefree…BABYFREE.

You begin to fear the day your child learns to speak. For he is undoubtedly going to question what does mommy’s strange markings mean? And you won’t have the nerve to tell him you have “no fucking clue” because mommy “can’t read a lick of Chinese,” but that the man at the tattoo parlor said it meant “love” and “unity” but the man at the Chinese grocer snickers and calls her “back fat whore” for no apparent reason. “No apparent reason, my ass,” you will think to yourself. Or perhaps, one day you dread your child, getting a child’s-eye view of his mommy, will ask why you have a frilly heart above your ass crack. And mommy will have to lie and say it’s an adult thing that adults do, even though you damn well know you still have no fucking clue how it got there.

So what is there to learn, young mothers with tattoos? What can we take away from all this? You can’t just remove a tattoo, just like you can’t just remove a child. Sure you can get laser treatments, and of course you can find a shallow pool of water. But those are for quitters. You’re someone who obviously has an inability to learn from their mistakes. Don’t quit that. Keep making more. That takes real sticktoitiveness.

Sincerely,

Keith

momtat

Mom says I'm like a tattoo. I'm permanent!