Venus DeMars

Venus DeMars
Glass Plate photo

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Last night I woke up...

Last night I woke up, and wondered about how cold it'd gotten. I was walking about without a coat just a week ago! My cat Totoro, was laying between us on top of the blankets on his back, stretched way out... He's a Norwegian Forest Cat who was a stray, and we'd found that he'd taken refuge in our yard this same month 2 years ago.

We was softly purring as I laid my cold hand on his fuzzy stomach. He's a huge cat... stretched out, he's almost 3 feet long to the tip of his tail! No fat... just bone and muscle.

When we'd taken him in 2 winters ago, he was so scared and cold... he'd growl and purr at the same time, not willing to let us near him... but so hungry, that he'd run from his hiding place to get the food we'd put out for him till he finally decided he was homeless, and really needed someplace warm to live.

The night we finally decided to take the chance and bring him in, it had dropped to 30 below windchill. he had a cold, and his eyes and nose were running... He had curled up on one of the bench seats from the band-van which I'd taken out and had sitting in our garage. I bent over, and taking a breath, knowing he may bite, or scratch me, I put my hands around his cold body, and picked him up to my chest, then carried him inside... He didn't growl, or struggle. When I set him down in the basement, he just looked kind of stunned. I brought him a big bowl of dry food. Our other cats, were shut upstairs, and were totally out of their minds over who I had brought in ... and upon hearing them yowl, and claw upstairs, he ran and hid.

2 years later, he's now king of the house... though still scared when something unexpected happens. Pan-Pan, our other male, (and the stray we'd taken in 2 years before Totoro, has had to grudgingly give up control of the house except the 3rd floor, where he can still call the shots. Bat-Girl, our tortoise-shell rescue cat is the glue that helps keep Totoro and Pan able to deal with each other.

On this cold night, I understood how so much of life can change by just being willing to take a chance.

I think it's also why I'm still slugging along in rock and roll after so many years... I keep taking chances.

Please consider coming to our gig on
Saturday Nov 27th at Chicago's Club EXIT. And please, those of you who can't make it to Chicago, tell your friends down there about us, and this night. We're all crazy rock and roll people still trying to change the world, and still slugging it out as best we can, taking chances all the way. ;)

PS, our friend Christina, is also having her Birthday Bash event this same night at the EXIT... I expect nothing like this night will ever be seen again... don't miss it.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

I see you peeking out at us from under the bed covers. You curled on your side with the blankets pulled up half over your face.

Your uneaten lunch from four hours ago still on the rolling table next t you.

You're happy to have us there as we chatter about family and new things which are happening.

I wonder what you are thinking as I watch your eyes scan across the room at each of us.

Do you know who I am?

You're 92 now.

And back in the hospital.

I remember being in Amsterdam sitting in the audience at the Paridiso as the documentary premiered.

You appeared suddenly on that huge screen.

You quietly but fiercely defended me as a trans-person, ...but "still your son" you'd said.

I remember how the audience loved your comment about 'being scandinavian... not too emotional you know."

Do you remember that interview? Is it still somewhere in your forgotten memories?

A few months ago, after you'd moved from the house you helped build, into a new place with hallways and staff.. I had a dream:

Driving on a quiet and dark night, I pulled up and parked next to your back yard. I left my van, and joined you while you were sitting outside on chairs set along your back sidewalk facing out onto the back year. I sat with you as you talked about how much you loved your flowers which were blooming and visible in the circle of the back yard light. The night was warm and quiet.

Then I noticed how quiet it really was... no sound from the usual night creatures. no sound at all. no breeze, or rustling leaves. I looked around the back yard and it was all there in the dark, softly illuminated by the glowing street lamps, but as I looked up, I saw that there was no stars. and I could just make out how at the edge of your yard and slightly into the woods things cleared away... and a large quiet warehouse floor became just visible. And I remembered that I had come to visit you at your new place which was reconstructed to look like your old house. But always night, always quiet, always isolated.

You talked about how something just wasn't right, but you couldn't put your finger on it. Still, you loved how the flowers looked, and you were content.

I remember the sadness overtaking me, as I eventually climbed back into my van, and drove away from you with the headlights on, searching for the exit that I couldn't remember in that huge, empty, still, darkened warehouse.

What are you thinking as you peer out at us?

When asked what your favorite dessert is you reply "Cream of Wheat."

2 days ago you pulled the needle from your arm twice, so now they watch you swallow pills instead.

But you don't always.


I love you Mom.

I can't say goodbye yet you know... but maybe that's what you've been quietly saying to me? To us?

As we leave, you smile... pull the covers away from your face a bit, say you want photos next time: "Remember to bring photos next time."

I can only nod an agreement after I hug you.

My voice is gone.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

A pastel my Dad made of my Mom before I was born.

In my dream last month, the car was parked in the driveway of my Mom's house. It was winter, and I was standing over the open trunk. My job was to saw off the paws of the cat laying there. A long-hair golden cat.

I was horrified...but I knew it had to be done. I began the process... holding one arm securely, I steeled myself, and sawed through the flesh and bone with the small toothed saw not unlike a coping saw.

The cat didn't struggle, or react to pain, it just laid looking at me with sad eyes. They scanned over my face. I took another breath, and moved to the second arm, again sawing through it, feeling the resistance of bone. Then onto the left leg. Finally, as my eyes were welling with tears, I made it through the final leg.

Just as I'd finished, the cat jumped up, and slipped through a small rusted hole in the side of the trunk, into the winter snow, and running on stumps, it left bloody tracks as it slipped down a hole in the snow, and disappearing from view.

Guilt and horror overtook me. I screamed for help. I imagined the cat slowly dying from blood loss and frozen flesh. I howled in grief, tears running. I struggled with why I had done this, knowing it was wrong... why didn't I stop? why did I continue? Who'd convinced me I even had to do this? and why didn't I refuse? I hugged my sides, inconsolable, wanting to throw up.

I collapsed in the snow next to the car and curled into a ball.

The end of last month, I spent my final week in Duluth taking care of my Mom. She's now in an assisted living hospice. 5 days there now, as of this blog.

It's a good place, and has all 3 facilities for final living:

1. Independent living apartments; Come and go as you wish, within an accessible designed living complex, near help if needed.

2. Assisted Living. (where my Mom now is;) Round the clock checkins by staff. Scheduled care taking and health monitoring, 3 group meals a day, but within an apartment like living space where you're free to hang your own pictures, and bring in your own furniture, bed, tables, etc... an activity schedule.

3. End of life care; (I only asked about this, but my understanding is it's more like a hospital stay environment.)

My mom sleeps most of the time. Napping in her big chair.

During our day trip there 2 days ago, Just after her dinner, and after we'd hung some pictures we'd taken there from her house, I dialed my aunt's phone number on my cell, so I could let my Mom check in her. (My Aunt also has memory issues, and is having a hard time understanding, and remembering that my Mom has now moved.)

From my Mom's end of the quiet conversation, we heard her say she was fine, and of course she was home. "...I'm sitting in my big chair, The 'kids' are here, I'm comfortable...., Yes, every thing's fine. ....I'm just sitting..., in the house."

Then she slept again till we said goodbye, and we left for Minneapolis.

My sister said she'd stayed with her longer. Sitting in her wheelchair, they went through the halls and common spaces of the complex.

They stopped near a group of other residents who had gathered in the lobby. One resident had his acoustic guitar with him, and was singing and taking requests. I guess he sang "Don't Fence Me In" for my Mom and sister.

I still worry though.

One morning during that last week a month ago, while I stayed at her house with her, she told me over morning coffee: "It's Mine."

I asked what, and she said: "I own it now, free and clear. Last night they came and gave me the deed." she said with a smile. "I own the house now! It's mine!" I reminded her that she and my dad built the house years ago... way before I was even born, and of course she owned it... there wasn't really any deed involved, cuz they'd built it.

She just smiled.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Did I tell you guys that I cried the first time I saw this:? "I Have Always Loved You."

I'd just come back from walking out and around in the morning after Lynette and I had one of our big blow out arguments in NY... ( that argument was what inspired the song: "Love Is Nothing" ... just some trivia I suppose.)

It was a rainy week... and we were there painting the room which is now featured at the Carlton Arms hotel as one of the more popular rooms: #5-D; the "Venus & Lynette / All The Pretty Horses" room.

Anyway... it was one of those arguments, where Lynette is so angry at me for being so self centered, and "screaming quietly" ... you know what I mean... as we walked down the rainy wet sidewalks around Gramercy Park... I, of course, kept silent, which is what I always seem to do in arguments... I just don't know what to say... I try and stay calm... try and think... never seems to work... then sometimes I blow up.

Did I tell you guys I broke both my hands cuz of blowing up? Yeah... stupid. Once when I was about 21: (the right hand..., first band..., strummed with a cast..., played the Cabooze on a trip down to Mpls from Duluth for a gig..., (Back when The Suburb's were the big Mpls band.) Lynette and I weren't married yet..., I punched a wall.

- Then again once just a few years ago: The left hand..., the ATPH band..., learned to fret with 2 fingers..,. played Milwaukee...,Club Anything... I had punched a door frame.) ....I think I'm done with all that now.

Anyway.., yeah.., I came back the the room we were painting... Lynette was painting poems on the walls, I was painting theme and imagery. We were still stupid mad. I got back, and Lynette was out, I wandered around, then decided to work in the bathroom on one of the murals, and I saw what she'd painted... Pretty much broke my heart.


ATPH in NY 2-2010

I'd started writing this blog a few times... even did the full point to point follow up of the last few days of the NY tour for you... then just gave up.

I went to Duluth to put in my week helping take care of my Mom... and then while driving back I decided I needed to re-write it all.

It was tough in Duluth... Mom's content enough, but money's slipping away cuz she needs 24 hr care, and we need to compensate for that time spent taking care of her even with help from family and friends...

We need to look at moving her to an assisted living place where we can get help with financial costs... and better care for her... but, of course she's not understanding how things have changed...

Her memory is worse... it's now good hr's instead of good days. The rest of the time... she sleeps, or kind of 'swims' through time. I bring her to a senior lunch, where my Aunt (who's in her 80's ) also goes... she wants me to bring my Mom to come visit... but there's the 12 stairs up to her front door, and Mom just can't make it up that many anymore. My aunt's memory is almost as bad as Mom's... and she doesn't believe Mom can't make it up the stairs... so we argue. ("Fire from her eyes!" my Cousin sez when she's argued with her about the same thing...)

We're pushing it for having Mom at this lunch... it's not really set up to take care of someone with these kind of memory issues, or health issues... but they really like my Mom there, and she likes it there too.

Back at home we play domino's a lot.

4 nights ago, Mom called my aunt and asked if we could come over to visit... (I'd suggested that she call, and ask my Aunt to come visit us. )

I had to call back, and correct all that, and argue some again, then tell my Mom we couldn't go visit her cuz of the stairs... and she gave me the deepest - saddest look. she said: "Oh, Let's Go! We can do ti!! It'll be fun!! Let's Go!" Broke my heart again...hard.... hard.

How did it happen that I'm now telling my Mom "No, you can't do that." instead of the other way around? .... all those years growing up. the push and pull of life and desire.

I suggested we just go for a drive instead... went to the lake shore... drove out to the end of Park Point. Went down Superior Street into downtown Duluth... Saw the sunset... saw the city lights. My Mom loved it... forgot all about the stairs... by the next day, she'd forgotten all about the drive.

Me and Mom at Lake Superior


Back in NY:

Yeah, what did I write in the unpublished first draft blog?


Well, we got drunk.... some of us too drunk. Fought the headaches the next day...LeFreak's knee got really, REALLY bad... Emily visited her Mom on Long Island, Eden (one of my former bass players,) came to see us with her Boyfriend Adam... The gig at Arlene's Grocery went really well... but had to do a solo cuz my drummer Trev had personal conflicts which eclipsed the trip at the last we had to scramble to make it work... but it did. My long time friend and producer Barb (or 'Super Buddha') came to the show. My other long time friend Michael, a.k.a. Mistress Formika, Jones MC'd the event. The event was "BadAss Burlesque" hosted and created by Velocity Chyaldd. LeFreak and Emily danced onstage. Then also on the floor after the set, and the event.... till the last-call locals replaced the event audience... (they kept asking me why I was dressed like I was..., all the rest of the burlesque troupe having left by then, & only me, the only one in the bar wearing a corset and pasties.... Weird!! ... Did you feel it?... I just had a flash back of small town America right there in lower east-side Manhattan!

I'd decided it was time to go...

LeFreak and Emily stayed, Me and Eden and Adam went to catch a cab. I dragged my sorry-ass guitar and lights along with me down the sidewalk..., still in heels..., still in corset and pasties, but also, tastefully, in a long coat.

-- Did I tell you guys how Eden was feeling so bad for me, after we'd left Arlene's Grocery that she insisted she carry one of my things.... heavy as they were? She tried... got about 10 feet, and totally fell flat on the sidewalk! off balance from the weight, her small stature, and perhaps that last scotch? ... I took my guitar back, while wishing I could scoop her up as well, like a kitten, and carry her along with me and the equipment. Adam, screaming at the cabs for not stopping... and about as wiggly as Eden. me too almost by then-- all very cute in the struggle I'd like to think.... the memory of that will stick in my mind for some time to come I think....

No cabs willing to stop, All had fairs going to Brooklyn. ...Had to walk for about 10 blocks towards the hotel till we finally hailed an empty cab... Blah, Blah, Blah... normal last-call NY.

Got home...

Got to Duluth...

Talked the tough talk with my drummer about trying to follow through, but also understanding how life gets smack in the way sometimes... but still... and I Hate doing these talks!!! and so, how to balance? How do I balance?

Finally back home now... Another argument about time... No time... an argument about feeling alone, aloneness, about too much self centeredness... you know, normal argument stuff.

Got through it... kind of.

So now I'm thinking about us... all of us.. We're all so alone... We're born alone.... struggling to breath.... but we grab onto life as hard as we can, tight! fighting all the way. And we struggle to be together... Find that lost soulmate... carrying each other... carry each other's things... For a time, perhaps we really do it... We get our balance... we help our friends.... We find our partners.... perhaps we make that difference. And we live that life, ....OR we live it...., then lose track...., then live it again.... and lose it again... eventually we get old... and things fall away, our balance gets shaky, and the stairs become too many. Maybe our partner dies.... our friends drift. But we keep trying..... up until the end I think seeing my Mom... remembering my Dad.

Yesterday it occurred to me that even when we're hating, we express love, cuz we're feeling it's loss so intensely.... Maybe???

The night before I left for home, (3 nights ago,) my Mom wanted to know if we needed to get up for anything... and I said I was leaving that next morning, but we'd been getting up at 7:30 or 8 am, so I wouldn't worry... and she said: "Well, I guess... but, when we start school, we're going to have to get up even earlier cuz school starts so early..., but I keep forgetting..., it's still summer vacation."

I said: "yeah..., I guess we will."

Did I tell you guys I cried the first time I saw this?: "I Have Always Loved You."

Thursday, February 18, 2010

(An Image of 'behind the bar' at the historic Stonewall Bar)

So, I'm back in NYC. at the moment, sitting at Fitzgerald's Pub at the bar... just as a Basket ball game ended with a very clise score... and last minute shots.

LeFreak, having a The First Scotch of the day...8 am Milwaukee Airport.

We walked around as soon as we got into the hotel..(tomorrow, we get to stay in 5D; the room which I painted, and Lynette wrote, and also painted poems in... it's been so popular, that I haven't been able to get into it for the past few years of coming out to NY.)

We made it down to The Stonewall Inn,.. after wondering for a while in the cold winter wind...but still feeling wonderful about being back here.

LeFreak had a subway map... (I'd left mine in the hotel room.) I'm pretty familiar with the system, but didn't want to lead the way and get us it was a good thing he had his.

Then we walked up to the meatpacking dist. and walked the Highline Parkway. it's it's first winter...and still a beautiful walk even though it's now covered in snow, and the wind was sharp.

...took a cab back to the hotel, but stopped off at Fitzgerald's, (The pub under the hotel (The Carlton art hotel) where we've been stopping at for many years of touring here. we Know the bartenders, and got suggestions to dinner. had Indian food... After getting up at 3 am this morning... everyone's pretty tired...but after a short nap, I'm here doing this quick blog of the first day.

Emily 'Star' at the 14th St. Subway stop off the 'L' train.

Not much else to report... except, Emily 'Star' is now the only band member from the 'old' days of the band. She's toured with me to England twice, and all over here, the east coast... and regionally. We reminisced about some of our past drummers... from waaayyy back... Emily was in the band just after Billy left, and Matt Batchelor she and I share a number of memories... funny now to only have one member who can do this with me... I fear I just bore the other newer members now when spinning tales about past tours etc... yeah,yeah,yeah...Blah,Blah,Blah they, I'm sure, are thinking when I drift off.

A Small 'icon' image in the front entryway of the hotel of the large one which I painted in my room!! (Fun to have found...done by another artist.)

More tomorrow... seems like I'm not able to get online in my room at present...perhaps tomorrow I'll have better luck on 5D. Otherwise... I'll keep up with the Pub, and Coffee shop connections.


Friday, February 12, 2010

At 7:15 am this morning, when I'd just stumbled down the stairs, I saw a dozen red roses in a vase in front of the fireplace.

I had no idea where they came from, and I asked Lynette, who was hurrying to get ready for an early meeting at school.

She said she'd brought them home last night for me, but I hadn't noticed because I was so caught up in doing my taxes... adding up the faded numbers off mounds of crumpled, and torn receipts saved from the past year. I'd been working on it all day, and with an accountant appointment scheduled in just over an hr, and I wasn't sure I'd be done in time.

I was crazy scrambling.

I felt pretty stupid this morning... but I love red roses. And I **think??** Lynette's forgiven me? well, she acted as if she did.

(She's left for that meeting now.)

I Love them!!

I love you Lynnie ;)

Stupid taxes!!

My cat Eliza was followed me around too.... Everywhere!

...Wouldn't move more than a few feet away.

She was being very cuddly. (She's off sleeping somewhere now I think.)

She's from the 'old guard' kitties. The group we first got... one of the first stray's we took in, and now the last of that group.

3 days ago we found out that she has cancer, and only has a few months to live.


But she's happy now now... though dealing with a slowly draining ear, and some nerve damage effecting the left side of her head, (It's inner ear cancer.. never knew there was such a thing.)

It makes me pretty sad... but I want her to feel loved for as long as possible.

My dreams have now shifted to not being on the move... they usually lag about 2 weeks behind whatever I'm doing, and it's been a little over 2 weeks since getting back from tour.

Last night I dreamt she was attempting to drop down a square hole broken through the floor of some 2 story carriage house we'd evidently fixed up in my dream world. I kept trying to stop her, grabbing her tail just as she was slipping through, and pulling her back onto the floor next to the whole. I knew she's be really hurt if she dropped that far to the cement 1st floor.

She'd look dissapointed... nose around... then she'd start at it again, giving it another try.

-- Lynette is walking more now without using her crutches. her broken ankle from her car accident while I was on tour, is slowly healing... but not fast enough for her. She did well getting out the door to her meeting.

These random thoughts have me thinking about crossing boundaries.

- When I was 19, I saw some trans Male to Females on the old 'Donahue Show' one afternoon on my little B

black and white portable TV in my 1st Street, downtown Duluth Brownstone 2nd floor condemned apartment. (I'd gotten it for $125.00 a month through a friend who'd worked out a deal with the landlord.)

The apartment was a construction mess when I'd moved in, but that was part of the deal... I'd fixed it up since..

This was he first time I could put a name on how I felt gender-wise. Up until then I thought I was the only person in the world dealing with my 'gender frustration.'

I eventually crossed that boundary, but in my own unique way.

- Years later, during the first line-up era of "All The Pretty Horses,' (Bill and Ed and I,) we thought we'd get rich off my being public about being transgender... This was the early 90's. It never happened.... the getting rich part. But we'd broken the rules. Crossed the line.

That time in Rock and Roll didn't have room for Trans people... (not sure it's much different now.)

- When my father died, I was there. I saw him die. His eyes rolling back... muscles straining, trying to make some sort of noise...

That was 17 years ago. I still see him now in my dreams, sometimes as a young man, sometimes as he was before he died. And we talk about life now.

I imagine him having crossed the line of life.

- My Mom remembers it differently.

She's now dealing with memory loss... Last month, my sister told my sister that my aunt was vacationing in Cuba. That being the reason she hadn't seen her for so long, even though they were both at the neighborhood senior community lunch. the day before.

She remembers my Dad drifting off easily, when he died. (she was there too.)

She's crossed the boundary of independence.

She'd always been one to strike out on her own, tackling life on her own terms.

I imagine it's hard for her to have to be dealing with these physical and mental limitations now.

- In NY while ATPH was touring there early on, I met Jayne County... one of, if not the first, trans Male to Female rock performer to publicly acknowledge her transgenderism... she'd even transitioned mid musical career, starting out as Wayne County.

I kept running into her whenever I was out in NY... saw her DJ set at 'Otto's Shrunken Head' tiki lounge.

At a small 'Trans-Party gathered in the back room of a bar just down the street from the old 'Meow Mix.'

At another bar somewhere in lower Manhattan where we were meeting mutual friends for an early evening drink.

We'd talk and catch up on just daily stuff... She'd mentioned her desire to move back to her hometown roots down south. I don't know if she ever did, as our mutual friends have now drifted away, and I no longer see her out.

Her performances were raw and jarring.... coming directly from the early, messy, 'fuck the audience' Punk days. At odds (as is usually the case with performers,) with the daily persona I'd gotten to know.

Seeing her perform towards the end of her career, and also knowing the work she'd done as a young person... she did, and I'm sure, continues to cross multiple boundaries.

- I had a 2 hr long conversation with a closeted trans-friend of mine. Someone who passes flawlessly as male, Having crossed that boundary quite successfully long ago, but now, life is pulling him towards having to deal with coming out... A whole other boundary. But he doesn't want to. He's content and happy leaving that personal information out of his life.

We talked about these feelings, the craziness of unpredictability, and how to deal with the unexpected.

- A former band mate of mine, who joined the band before Her transition, has now become heavily involved in the porn industry... seemingly to have set aside music, friends, relationships, and consideration in order to pursue it.

We've broken ties, (Her decision,) because of an article written about the band's history, and it's many line-up changes. Her birth name having been noted in a sensational way by the article's author. Her anger towards me stems from a feeling that I shouldn't have let that happen, and should've apologized to her for using her birth name when I acknowledged her previous musical work. (this, I also I did all the other past band mates,) And since she was known in the musical circles as her previous male self, and wasn't shy about being open about her own transgenderism, I didn't think twice about giving her the same props I'd given everyone else.

She'd blamed me for the author's use of highlighting her name, and took the article as a personal insult.

So, here, with this event, many lines and boundaries have been crossed.


The morning of the day I left on this last tour, Lynette was sleeping, the morning sun was poring in, Eliza (our 'old guard' kitty,) was awake, purring, and following me down for breakfast.

I was thinking about how perfect things were right at that very moment.

I knew everything would change.. time never stopping.

I didn't want to let go of it.

I stood still at the top of the stairs looking back at Lynette, the sun on the floor, and Eliza.

Then I went down to make the morning coffee.

Friday, February 5, 2010

The door stickies Lynette put up for my 'tour return'

Lynette drove her new car to work today for the first time. Hope it all goes well... though I'm 98% sure it should.

We're both happy that she's now one step closer to getting back to her old self. Still, it'll be about 6 more weeks of crutches if that all goes well, and she's given up on coming along with the band on our short tour/gig in NY on Feb 20th. (That's the one place she usually comes along to when we gig out of town.... I wonder why ;) ;) at "Arlene's Grocery" as part of "Bad Ass Burlesque," who invited to be the 1st musical guest for this night. (so DON'T be late if you plan to go!! 11:30 p.m. sharp!)

I'll miss her.
We often take a time just for the two of us to be on the town in NY... (we have our favorite restaurant: The Gramercy Tavern ( just near the hotel we always stay at, and in which we created an installation room: (#5D the "All The Pretty Horses" or "Venus & Lynette" room.. top floor... I did the paintings, Lynette wrote the poems:) "The Carlton Arms"( -- but I'll miss that night out this trip.

Our #5D Room (..stolen from the Carlton Arm's website --
(forgive me guys ;))

The last two weeks have unfortunately been pretty stressful on both of us.
Mostly because we're just not good under stress.
I tend to get quiet, which makes Lynette worry, and she tends to be more direct in her dialogue with me, which triggers my reactionary self.
-- A Bad Mix!!

So we kept taking our walks down the old 'spiral staircase ' of habitual ' Let's just Irritate each other for a while, shall we? ' Sheesh! you'd think after all this time we'd know better... but there you go. I know those of you out there in relationships know what I'm talking about. - Then the guilt kicks in... and just makes everyone feel worse. Ugh!

But we do talk through these things... at least we've learned to do that. Stumbling as we do...but we at least, stumble forward.

I just finished reading a book a friend of ours lent us: "Still Alice," (review link) about a woman who got early onset Alzheimer's. As some of you know.., My mom is dealing with age related dementia now. (it came on noticeably pretty quickly for us over the past 3 years... but perhaps it was a few years before that she was dealing with it without knowing.) You may remember seeing her in the documentary about me and Lynette and the band: 'Venus of Mars' ( by Emily Goldberg.
- Anyway it's a very good, but very sad book. and it reminded me of how crazy tangled relationships can be.

How we manage the tangles makes the difference.

It's kind of a found, and lost, and found again kind of path we take. I feel often now that I've lost my mom... but she's always happy to see me when I take time to be up in my hometown taking care of her. So I know she doesn't feel like she's lost me.
When Lynette and I are struggling through a stupid 'torn a part' relationship situation... there's that 'Lost' feeling which can overwhelm you... but then, just as suddenly, you find yourself, and your loved partner...and you remember just how lucky you are in life.

--- I'm thinking it's about time for another song writing session for me. (My usual outlet on this subject ;)


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

I Hate scrabble!

I'm sorry to anyone reading this who loves it.

It's been about a week since I'm back from tour, and a week and 2 days since Lynette's accident.

It's WAY cold, and TONS of snow! (see picture of our back-yard: just taken an hr ago.)

Back yard... early morning... today.

We're still dealing with day to day untangling from the accident.

There's also a fair amount of anger and the frustration.

I've been helping with the small 'run and grabs,' pick-ups and stuff, also the rental and return of a car, and generally being available for whatever.

The 'high of survival' has worn off.

Turns out that the insurance we have, IS supposed to cover property as well as medical when the other driver is uninsured...but it's taken a lawyer to let us know about this, and now will also need a lawyer to help us convince the insurance company to admit it. (a meeting with this lawyer happens at noon today, a friend of a friend.)

In the mean time, we've paid for everything so far out of pocket... the impound lot's fees and towing charge, (just so we could get to the car and recover what's inside... )

It's still accruing daily fees since, so there will be other payments needed till we can either have it crushed, or sell it for parts to someone.

The rental of a car for a week was expensive, (perhaps I shouldn't have agreed to their basic insurance package?) - Happy, we're past needing that, now that Lynette is just able to crawl up into the band-van for rides... but still needing help getting back out.

Surface driving in the van sucks gas.

And I've always hated scrabble.

Lynette knows this... and thinks I'm just mean about it.

(She loves it.)

It's really not the game.

And I've never really explored why I hate it till just a few days ago.

We had friends over for an 'in-house' - 'night out.' (Lynette still not up for too much time on her broken ankle, and also the troubles with getting around on crutches.)

Scrabble was the game of choice... (though I was outnumbered, and also, I'd felt guilty about not liking it for so long, keeping Lynette from playing it...)

With Lynette's insistence, (her being the 'sick-girl,') it was decided that the two couples would make up the two teams.

Lynette is an english professor.

Words are second nature to her.

I, on the other hand, am hard pressed to come up with a 2 or 3 letter word from the tiny blocks set in front of me.

I don't want to go way into the night's game, as that's not really the point of this blog... So I'll cut to the chase:

* I drifted away from the game...

* Lynette scored highest,

* There' was spilt wine.

- (ps On this... my laptop seems fine, though its looking very 'well loved' now.)

* The game ended.

But here.

I discovered why I hate the game so much... It's memories.

I spend about 3 years in special education classes: 2nd grade, 3rd grade (which I almost failed,) & 4th if I am remembering correctly.

In 3rd grade, I stopped doing my work... I was part of an experimental era of grade school teaching. We were on our own to test ourselves, do the assignments, etc... I figured out how to work around it all, and just quit.

I drew, played games etc... for most of the year, until it was discovered.

The 'whole-spelling' type of spelling technique I was taught... (remembering the full word shapes?? or something like that?) as opposed to phonics, caused me to fail miserably in spelling.

The results became more apparent in 4th grade when 8 or 9 words out of a 10 word spelling list, would be misspelled by me.

The teacher, I'm sure now, in an attempt to encourage my motivation, would hold it up in front of the class for ridicule... that, of course, only made me want to leave. It never sparked a self motivational fire in me.

As it is now... I am bound to spellcheck... and only recently have I begun to explore writing as a way to pull the crazy life impressions out of my head out. (I think also writing music all these years, and working with lyrics has also helped me get beyond a fear of words.)

Scrabble? Suddenly I'm back in 4th grade.

Who knew?... but there it is.

I've also discovered (or should I say re-discovered,) that neither Lynette nor I are good under stress when we're together.

You know how after a while, couples can press each other's buttons? without even trying? - I know... there are 'good buttons' of course... but I'm talking about the 'bad buttons.' here!

Well, we're constantly pushing them!

We'll be fine... so don't worry..., it's just how it works.

It makes troubles, more troublesome.

But we always get through it... (Lynette sez it's helpful for my songwriting ;)


So, enough for a second blog posting... and I suppose, (now that I know,) I may give scrabble another try at some point... but forgive me if I drift away after a time.


Friday, January 29, 2010

Venus DeMars and All The Pretty Horses 2010 3D 'Out West' Tour

THE FINAL Venus DeMars & ATPH- 3D 'Out West' Tour update & review:
(these were also sent to the event members on my Facebook page...sign up and be my friend IF you haven't already:

The "Window Kiss" we got after the 'Ice Pic's' gig in Phoenix AZ
(Survived and STILL survives on the Van even back home here in Mpls.)

I'm sitting near the sun in my living room having arrived safely back in Mpls last night at about 7 p.m.
It's Cool-Cold!! and tons of snow still piled up all over...brrrrrr...
(Snowbanks like the ones you remember when you were a kid, and tried to tell people about but they always said you were just remembering from a 4 foot high kid's mind...?? well, they're all eating those condescending words now, huh... the snow really CAN pile as high as you remembered. - "would a little salt help those words go down?" Ha! ) - 10-20 degrees below zero: tonight's Minneapolis forecast.

First I will give a short update on Lynette's accident which happened early Monday morning.
Initial Accident Update:

When we finally arrived in Mpls. last night, Lynette had made it to a 'Stave Circle' (sp?) she's a part of. at a keltic pub here called 'Merlin's Rest' The circle is basically an old pagan-based group chanting involving rhythmic clicks from a wooden spoon or short stick hit against a stave (wooden cane or pole,) while the stave is being tapped on the floor also in rhythmic time. The chants are sung to this rhythm. (Lynette has an English, and Finnish and German heritage, so the old world pagan traditions fit.)

She had gotten a ride and help Having just gone through her accident and broken ankle that morning before...a fresh splint and wrap the only thing keeping her broken bones together... (the tibia of her left leg was broken clean through in the accident.) Today at 4 she's going in to get the official cast in place. Pretty incredible I'd say. No letting a car accident stop her.
NEW Accident updates:
First, Thank You All for replying to my tweets about it while I was in Oklahoma having morning coffee and breakfast at a Waffle House. I had just called her and she cut me of saying she was late and needed to get into her car, and to call back in a few minutes... When I did, she again cut me off saying she'd been in the accident, and needed to call her Work/School. Then she called back saying she was on her way to the hospital, at which time I knew this wasn't just a fender-bender, and started tweeting updates, and sent out a call for help with everything, frustrated that I was still so far away. Tons of replies, (Which LeFreak was able to relay to me via his blackberry while I drove. (My phone is just a regular phone.)
And with your help, we got Lynette home safely from the Hospital and follow up help with accident and medication errands after.
Now, She's found out that the other driver did NOT have insurance... so it's on us to sort out the financial damage. The car is totaled (this was a head-on/T-Bone collision. The other driver ran a red light as Lynette was driving through and she hit him broadside at full surface street speed.)
It's still in the impound lot, so we need to get there and settle all that with them, get her things out of the trunk and inside..(she wants to get the snow tires off... yikes, not sure If I can do that at this point... we'll see.) and then say goodbye to her 'baby' SAAB. Today, while Lynette is attempting to continue teaching,) I am arranging and paying for car rental since Lynette cannot get in and out of the 'Black-Pearl' without the help of 2 people lifting her into the passenger's seat. (what LeFreak and I did after her Stave Circle.) Luckily here in MN there is a state insurance policy dictating that If you only have collision insurance, and the other driver has no insurance, your insurance HAS to pay your medical expenses, Thank God.... but this does NOT cover property damage, so we're now digging into our personal funds to figure out how to get through this, and to buy a new car for Lynette within a week's time.

(The Final Leg, Full Review, and archived initial tour Updates)

OK... so last update left off at leaving Bisbee AZ.
We arrived again in Phoenix, for 2 over nights at Paul and JoHanna's... hoping to get warmed u once more before the drive home...but it was way stormy in Phoenix... The second day started with rain and wind advisories, and ended with Tornado warnings, and two touch-downs in the suburbs!
During those 2 days, we were able to catch the debut performance of a friend's new duo-band: "Scrupulous" ( and I was able to do a coffee-talk planning session with 'Ms. Pandora' about the solo stage project he's wanting me to present back in Phoenix in March. (a solo stage performance about my music, and life experiences and thoughts... something I've been also wanting to create.) so that's on schedule, and I will be back to Phoenix for a short weekend run of the finished 'work-in-progress' performance somewhere there mid April. Please set that time aside, and come see it (Those of you in Phoenix,) we'll want your thoughts of it so we can continue to develop it for a more formal presentation/run in other cities...(maybe even back here in Mpls!!)

We left for Albuquerque the morning after the tornadoes, in the rain. (Forget warming up!)
We took the southern route for an overnight at Las Cruses. A very beautiful route.: highlight was going through the "Texas Canyon" ? I think that was what it was named... even though it was still in NM. Crazy weird massive red stone/boulder outcroppings ...looked like something created for an episode of 'The Flintstones' almost unreal in it's natural construction.
We made a gas stop somewhere half'-way between in a desolate part of highway 10, at a lone tiny gas outpost. Of course very expensive gas prices there, but I had no choice but to fill up. I wanted to stay there for the shortest possible time because of my 'uniqueness' of appearance.. but seemed to pass just fine, so no direct hassles ... LeFreak, on the other hand, who wanted to stay for a half hr at their 'lounge' for a rest up and beer, had a holler directed at him while visiting the restroom "Heeah-Boy!!!" loudly shouted from behind him while he was finishing up. Needless to say, the idea of lounging over a beer was dropped, and we were on our way as soon as the gas was paid for.

The Desolate NM Gas Stop!!

Las Cruses:
We over-nighted at a Day's Inn in Las Cruses. had dinner at "Billy's Bar and Grill" on the property... seemed like the record screeched to a halt for each of us as we walked in. But eventually we were forgotten and dinner was fine... & the House band continued to play.
A VERY noisy night in the room, neighbors slamming doors and crashing into walls on both sides of us... (a House Band after-party?)
Next morning I went to breakfast back at Billy's... first one into the place... later the rest of the 'Horses joined me, and as I was checking out, the house band from the previous night showed up to load out, and stayed for breakfast as well, ended up talking to the remaining 'Horses about touring and musical careers. They wished us well, and we continued onto Albuquerque.
I resisted knocking on the neighbors door again when we did arrive , (Kenny got a kick out of that.) Ran to get some 'Electric Lava Manic-Panic" for my hair, and we got ready and got set up for the gig at "Burt's Tiki Lounge."
Kenny, (of "Vertigo Venus",) just texted me that 'Burt's' capacity is 189, and we had 250+ in the house. It was packed! and (sorry Bisbee,) topped out as the most highly attended performance on the tour... BUT being in the middle slot of 3 bands... we had to deliver the Short but Sweet 45 minute set as opposed to the 2 1/2hr special performance we gave to our lovely Bisbee fans. (that still holding as the overall most unique & extended performance experience of the tour.)
My "95% real vinyl" DJ set at Burt's went over quite well, and crowds remained till the bouncer was cursing everyone out the door at bar close.
(To Albq fan Anna: Thank you so much for sharing about your Mom who is transgender, and who couldn't make the performance because of health concerns... I will send that e-mail to her as soon as I can get at the merch-box where the written out e-mail resides on our e-mailing list. It's been impossible to get online for more than a few minutes, till now. By the end of this week it should be out to her.)
Kenny's NM House (where we stayed.) His neighbor's house (which I knocked on by accident,) is just down the block on the other corner.

The Wind on the road: Oklahoma

Oklahoma City:
Stayed at a Motel 6.
Still no snow, but windy and colder.
We saw a Mom-cat and her 1 Kitten making the rounds between the 'Motel-6' the 'Day's Inn,' the 'Waffle House,' and the 'Flying V' Truck stop. (T-Rev, who was missing his own kitties at home... wanted to get them into the motel room for a visit... but they would have none of it.)
No bar to visit at the Oklahoma Motel 6. we walked to the 'Flying V' and bought some 3.2, had a snack at the 'Waffle House' ,(where the 2 lone 'Waffle House' late-night workers said they didn't know how to make the specials posted on the menue...yikes!) and crashed out in the hotel room.
Next morning as I was back at the 'Waffle House' having morning coffee and breakfast, I called Lynette, and then her accident happened between the first call and the second. (You know that story's details now.)

Waffle House the night we arrived in Oklahoma City

Onto Kansas City:
Kansas City:
We drove to Kansas City Mo. arrived mid-afternoon at Mercury Mad's ( house for a clean-up, (during which LeFreak provided a quick band photo shoot of Mercury's 'Plastic Bitches' band which Mercury needed to quickly get sent to their manager/record label for a possible opener spot with an LA band. Fingers crossed Mercury!)

We loaded into Balanca's Pyro Room at 7:30 and got set up for the last gig of the tour.
Balanca's ( is a small Goth/GLBT Bar downtown Kansas City... but we've never been able to get the word out successfully in Kansas City for our gigs there. But Lori (the owner,) is a staunch supporter of the band, and generously supports our gigs there despite this lack of press each time we gig there. (Can't quite figure out the Kansas City press scene yet... our publicist Jessica (of the minneapolis based 'Dead Collective,' which we are members of,) Worked hard on the tours publicity for us, scoring that very nice Albuquerque 'Alibi' weekly preview article of us. ( But no such luck in KC. ...Suggestions anyone???)
Our sound man for the night : Mark Shoffner, (FB profile) who used to manage the band "Incubus" and others pver his long musical career, did the hands down best stage mix of the tour. It was Brilliant! And because of this, I think that particular 1 hr. set was our BEST technical performance of the tour. I was able to play with my vocals, and we all were able to accentuate the dynamics of each song with pleasure and ease. BUT alas, we performed for Lori, the door person, Mark, (the sound man,) The DJ, a few of Lori's friends, and Mercury's band.
A Total private party performance.
Still we very much enjoyed it. And every one after told me they felt extremely lucky to have witnessed it. Mark was texting friends in LA through out the performance, his having no idea who, or what we did, he went out of his way to let me know how impressed he was with our performance. That, in itself made my night.

The next morning I awoke to a 7:30 am text from Paul (In Phoenix,) who had heard on NPR about highway closures because of a severe Blizzard in Northern Iowa and Southern Minnesota along the I35 corridor. We had no idea.
I called Lynette, and she confirmed that there was talk, and tried to google info, and did indeed find I35 was closed just after Des Moines Iowa overnight because of it.
We turned on the TV, (Which simply sucks as a media information source,) and saw breaking footage of it... crazy bad looking.
It was clear but cold in Kansas City, and the same in Minneapolis. But suddenly we had to make plans on how to get through this thing in order to to get home.
Lori had put us up in the 'Ameristar Casino' Hotel for the night... but it being on the outskirts of town, we couldn't get online. (PS. I did play some slots at 3 am after checking in.... made $10! =D Though I'm sure people thought I was crazy, still wearing my worn down stage make-up from the performance... took 3 Casino security people at least 4 minutes, and length of time paging through a state to state ID guide book, and repeated ultra-violet flashlight scans to verify the authenticity of my MN drivers license!)
The Last Drive Home:

With some tense talks about safety concerns and our combined desire to get home as quickly as possible, we decided to go for it, with the back-up plan of overnighting it in Des Moines, or Boone (where LeFreak has a friend.) If it was still closed when we reached that part of I35.

We made it through... but it was carnage for at least 15 miles. at least a 100 cars (mostly trucks and SUV's go figure huh?) spun off and abandoned on both sides and median of the highway...some severely damaged. at least 6 semi's in the mix... One Semi pile-up in the median had a cab that was so crushed in that it was almost unrecognizable as a semi-cab I am sure no one survived that crash. it made us all quiet and sick feeling, as we crawled through the still blowing snow conditions of that stretch. Like seeing human skeletons drifted over with sand in a desolate desert ... it was truly a frozen desert of hellish collisions and the aftermath of brutal driving conditions.
That, combined with Lynette's close call car accident just the morning before, I was again struck by my own mortality, and the precarious nature of life.

We arrived home by 7:30 p.m. last night... T-Rev and his partner Jay, drove on to their home in Wisconsin, arriving there safely by 11 p.m. that same night
Reflections on the tour as a whole:

It really was a 'Walk-a-Bout' tour... Each of us on our own life-reflecting emotional journey. This was NOT a tour about 'getting known,' or 'generating label interest.' This was a tour about re-connecting with friends, making new friends, and a tour of emotional, and physical exploration on a human level.
On this, we all feel it was a complete success.
LISTS of Thoughts:
Favorite Dinners:
(the 'Tour-Overnights' band-group foods.)
- Mercury's Mad's wonderful veggie dishes prepared by him on both the night we first arrived and the morning of the first stop of the tour.

- The grilled stake, and veggie patties with cheese potatoes and asparagus dinner sides which T-Rev's partner Jay prepared for us for an evening outdoor patio dinner setting at Paul and Johanna's place in Phoenix.

- The BEAUTIFUL dinner at the Roka restaurant in Bisbee ( upon our arrival there. (Gretchen (FB profile) as our host, the 4 courses, special appetizers, dessert, and the never ending glasses of lovely red of wine!)

- The wonderful chicken and veggie-cutlets dinner with sauce and rice prepared by JoHanna (& Paul) again in Phoenix on our return from Bisbee.
Small meals and snacks, the personal fav's of mine; (Venus)
- The fresh oranges picked from the trees at Paul's old place on Palm lane in Phoenix... I ate bunches of them every morning while in Phoenix, and brought the bag of what remained with me back to Minneapolis, (LeFreak, I still owe you all that you'd like from the bag ;)

- The 3 late night iHop meals we did after gigs and travel: (Wichita KS, and Albq NM)iHop: Wichita

The Odd & Strange. - late-nighter meals...:
- The 'Whataburger' drive through after the Ice Pic's ( gig just before the after performance visit to the 'Babylon nightclub' ( (where my coffin purse opened, and spilled all it's contents across the nightclub's floor without my knowing it. PS...I did recover all of the spilt contents after being alerted about it by another patron.)
I ordered a triple stacked cheeseburger and large fries for some reason...could only eat half.

- The 'Chili over Hash browns' - late night at the 'Waffle House' Oklahoma City. -Did wonders the next morning.
- LeFreak never did get an order made right at the few stops we made at Burger King.

- We all hate Subway's now... can't stand the smell of their bread.

- I hope I NEVER see another Gummy Worm!!

- I hope I NEVER feel the need to munch on a chip, cheese corn-puff, or Funyuns® ever again!!

- A purchased, then discovered as a 10 day expired, jumbo piece of beef jerky
- To Jar-Jar ("Who's the chosen one? - Who's the chosen one?"): "Glad you got your 'doggie-sweater' off, and yes, you are awful cute... but lay off the Bisbee fudge! (and leave kitty-Pandora alone.)"

- To Kitty Pandora: "I tried to smuggle you into the van... really! Sorry it didn't work, you wouldn't have gotten along with my 3 kitties anyway... and the cold up here?? Sheesh!! 'nuff said."
"Kitty Pandora"

- To whichever of you 2 Kitties (living at Kenny's,) who peed on my sleeping bag: "Thanks a ton!! See you in Hell!"

- To the Pugs: "Miss ya! (" Oowwuu Who's vicious? - You're sooo vicious!! - Get the bunny!!") "
- Best Mixed: Balanca's (Kansas City)

- Best technical performance: Balanca's (Kansas City)

- Longest and most love infused performance: Hot Licks (no web site yet,) (Bisbee)

- Most intimate Performance: Colleena's Gallery: 'Candelabra' (Tucson) (

- Smallest club, and most outgoing audience: Kirby's Beer Store (Wichita)

- Largest Audience, and Loudest (Both Audience & performance): Burt's Tiki-Lounge (Albuquerque) (

- Best 'hang out after performance' audience: Ice Pics (Phoenix)

- Strongest first set & Drunkest second set performance(s): Ice Pics (Phoenix)

- Best break-down situation (a.k.a. 'being able to do it the next day'): Hot Licks (Bisbee) / Colleena's Candelabra Gallery (Tuscon) / Ice Pics (Phoenix) --Thanks you 3... that break-down situation is a band's total dream come true!!
Best performance After Parties:
- Going to the gay bar in Tuscon just down the street from the Candalebra Gallery.

- Hanging at Ice Pics... and for some of us, stopping over at Babylon's

- We Heard: --- Bisbee's 'Venus DeMars' After Party was really good... (NOTE: To the after party organizers... hey, we found out about the 'Venus DeMars' after party the day AFTER the party!!! Sheesh guys!!! next time, remember to invite the band! ;) ;)
Best &/or Strangest discoveries:
- The Van has a black hole under the passenger's seat. (a close similar to the one in a old vehicle featured in an unnamed popular underground film we all love.) ........Gone missing: T-Rev's sunglasses, My Pillow, My deep-brown matt lipstick, LeFreak's 'sock-monkey' virginity, ... and tons of stuff we think we have, but soon will discover we really don't.

- Unisex Bathrooms!!!! All of the center oasis service stops on the Kansas Turnpike have a Unisex Bathroom! (my bladder thanks God!!) ....Also one small gas station in or just before Flagstaff.

- That Mini DV camera I bought for $10: Upon your advice, I DID buy a universal battery charger from Batteries Plus, and it works fine... with the exception of the tape loading mechanical drive doesn't work... but it also records to SD memory, so once I buy one of those, I'm good to go!

- Filming the tour: well, that all broke down to little bits of video I took on my cell phone... Next time, we'll have to find someone who wants to tag along JUST to be our camera person. Anyone out there?? We pay in adventure.

- T-Rev broke 5 sets of Drumsticks at the Bisbee gig!
Most radical ATPH fans:
- Louise and Judy: the BBF Sock Monkeys residing in Bisbee
(Read all about them:
To Louise: "Always Loved your fashion sense Louise, but can't believe you dropped me for LeFreak!"
To Judy: Love the implants...but Girl! don't you miss the tactile nipple sensation you get from a hormone-only treatment.??


Archive of the first Tour Updates:

First one:
Initially sent out via Facebook: January 15 at 6:51pm
Hey everyone,
So we've made it to Phoenix! performed last night at Ice Pic's video bar... went wonderfully, ended up doing 2 sets... (the second one was the *Buzzed set* yikes! but we had a blast.

MPR's 'The Current' radio host (and my friend,) Mark Wheat... who is our Tour-Travel Patron Saint. Goes everywhere the "Black Pearl" goes. (at least so far ;)

Here's some other highlights:

In order:
Kansas City Overnight:
Snow and unplowed side streets.
Stayed at Mercury Mad's house, talked to him and also Leslie (his drummer,)... got it at midnight-ish... a bit later.
Merc, made LOVELY food for us both that same night & in the morning!!!
When we headed out, we noticed the van was really dragging to one side... finally stopped at an independent service station... and they found one tire had split it's steal belt, and had a big old 'goose egg' on it... they checked the spare (which was a new tire,) and found it had a small leak in it, but fixed it and replaced the broken tire with that... and all was fine... they only charged us $25!!! Kick Ass!!

Wichita Kansas gig: Kirby's:
(not much snow at all... but frosty, and a bit of ice now and then)
Yes it IS still the smallest club on the planet... (well seems like it anyway ;)
Still as cool as ever too! Had an old poster of me on the ceiling from our last tour 2+ years ago with my "House of Flowers" in-between band.
It started out with just the locals... but once we started our set, everyone texted, and called, and spread the word, and it ended up being a full house. One person even turned back from a trip up to Kansas City so he could catch the performance. I offered to sign the poster on the ceiling if someone wanted to tear it down, and someone did, so now we owe Kirby's a replacement.
(I've got it sitting in the Van's window sill... it's 'in the mail' within days of this posting ;)

Inside Kerby's Beer Store upon arriving, and sitting at the bar.

Stayed at a Motel 6:
Left the next morning with Ice Fog over EVERYTHING... looked beautiful, all the trees frosted white... but a bit tricky for driving.
Switched drivers at 7-ish in Texas... pulled over right where there must have been a pig farm... could hardly breath from the smell!!!
Then onto Albquerque
Albuquerque overnight:
Backing up: we hit Albuquerque and did an interview with the local weekly "The Alibi" for our upcoming gig at Burts Tiki Lounge on the 23rd... should be in their next week's issue... check online.

When we first arrived, We stayed at Kenny's house... but I got confused at 1 am when we arrived... went to his neighbors house (Yes the one with the 2 big "rotties" barking up a storm,) and spent a fair amount of time knocking on the door, finally calling Kenny at his work (he was at "Burt's Lounge") saying his room mate didn't appear to be home... he suggested I ring the doorbell, I couldn't find it... (should have clued me in,) well, he called the room mate, and I saw him walk out of a house down the block!! so we carefully snuck out of the yard, and down to his REAL house, dogs barking at us all the way.)
Into Phoenix:

We hit a snowstorm in Flagstaff on the way into phoenix... windshield wipers quit working... White out conditions at 11 pm down the mountain side! had to pull over to get them fixed... figured it out whew!... breaks chattered from the weight of the Van, plus the wet conditions, and the 13 mile long grade going down from Flagstaff... held our breath all the way down. T-Rev drove that leg of the trip.

So we're enjoying the 70 degrees here in Phoenix for one more day... grilling tonight, and then heading to see the local production of "Hedwig" at 8 tonight.

The WARM backyard of Paul's and JoHanna's (Can't believe it!!) ps the drawing I'm working on too ;)

T-Rev, LeFreak, Ms. Pandora, & T-Rev's Jay, sitting in back of Ms. Pandora's house. (Phoenix AZ)

Tomorrow we head out to Tucson for my art opening , and then ATPH performance at 'The Candelabra Art Gallery"

Rest of the tour dates as follows:

1/16 - 'The Candelabra Art Gallery" - 9 pm Venus' Art opening / 10 pm ATPH performance - ($3-$5 Donations welcome ;) - Tucson AZ 412 E. 7th St. 85008

1/18 - "Hot Licks" Bisbee AZ 9 pm - 37 OK Street 85603 (Call club for price) - ATPH performs, (Venus also spins Hi/r 95% vinyl DJ set)

1/23 - "Burts Tiki Lounge" Albuquerque NM doors at 8 3 bands... ATPH is the middle time slot! don't be late! - (call club for price) 313 Gold Ave. SW 87102

1/25 - "Balanca's" - 10 pm $5.00 cover - ATPH performs the last show of the tour - 1809 Grand Boulevard 64108
The Tour's Financial updates so far:
A few of you, who couldn't be at our In-Studio Kick-Off performance/fundraiser have made Paypal donations to us for gas and travel expenses.. THANK YOU SOOOO MUCH!!!
And again THANKs to everyone who did donate at the Kick-Off fundraiser...
it all so very much helped!! We ran out of cash shortly after Wichita... made it to Texas before our cash funds dried up, and we had to go on credit cards... Now have gotten another small boost from donations and sales at Ice Pics... should get us down to Bisbee without the credit card... The trip back will be a bit more Iffy... "The Black Pearl" (our Ban-Van) Loves to drink gas.. but she's doing really well for us..., and we lost our overnight in Las Cruces for Jan 22nd... so we'll need to Motel 6 that now.
IF anyone cares to still donate anything, it would all be welcomed warmly ;) (paypal to

Hope to see a number of you at the next gigs, and those of you who've said you couldn't make it... hopefully we'll catch up with you on one of our future tours!

Thanks so much, keep spreading the word on these remaining dates!
Second Tour Update:
Initially sent out via Facebook: January 19 at 11:51am
OK everyone... here's what's been going on for the furthest leg of the tour.

We arrived in Tucson... and I backed into the space right in front of "Candelabras Art Gallery' (Colleena's) where we performed. I TOTALLY didn't see the tree on the boulevard, but missed it by inches WOW... (we didn't move it till we left the next morning.)

While we waited for Colleena, we looked over stuff at a small yard sale infront of one of the other shops just 2 doors down. I bought a new toy for the dash board, plus some CD's and a mini DV video camera for $10!!! with 2 batteries... BUT no charger... (hence the price,) the 'seller' sez it works just fine... but didn't want to deal with finding a new charger, (he lost the original one,) and he'd bought a newer digital one anyway... SO anyone have any suggestions as to where I can buy a new charger for this camera?

OK... then we got into the gallery, and spend the day setting up, (the navigation of the old ungrounded wiring.) and getting the art up... the show started a bit slow... just a few people showing up, and a few of them a bit impatient about us starting as there was some other multi-band event happening near by which they wanted to be at... (yeah, yeah... well it's the way it is sometimes when people aren't familiar with your wok.) Well, a bunch of other people showed up because of knowing we were there... and it crowded, and warmed up nicely.

Needless to say when we finally DID perform our set in the gallery (small as it was... people were standing outside listening cuz there wasn't room inside,) the particular person who was impatient... ended up quite happy to have let the other event go in favor of catching our once in a lifetime TINY 'house-party' style performance. (So was everyone else) So Good!

We scrammed to a suggested bar around the corner to see if it was a place we might be able to perform: (The Surly Wench) and the door person let us stay without paying cover for about a half hr.. Seemed like a cool club... But we got kicked out when the time was up, so LeFreak asked the bartender IF there might be a gay bar somewhere near... and sure enough she knew of one just up the street... we headed up there... and had a total blast for the rest of the night (see my Tucson 'tweet' ;)

Mid Load-Out the morning after @Colleena's Gallery: "Candelabra"

Next morning, headed to Bisbee... climbing Through Tombstone.. and up and through the mountain (The 'Black Pearl' couldn't do more than 45 miles an hr up those hills, and slower yet on the downgrade but she made it fine... (with a bit of burnt breaks from the slow decent.) The Black Pearl (a.k.a. 'John Claude Damn Van,') upon arrival in Bisbee AZ

So we all really feel like we've done it now... reached the furthest part of the tour, and Bisbee is the gem!!! Lovely Lovely Lovely!!! google it everyone... you'll see what I'm talking about! (I like to think of it as the own of tree houses... so many stairs and little passageways and tiny-tiny little houses perched absolutely everywhere you look far far above you.

The gig was great!!! and for us performing in a new club in Bisbee... most likely the largest space we've done on this tour... but totally in the smallest city!!! ('Hot Licks' BBQ is the club)
We did a special extended set, (a half hr solo set, which turned into the full band set... Shawnee, (Gretchen's partner and our sound person, said we performed for about 2 hr's steady... maybe a bit more.! Yikes! My DJ set starting the night, and closed it.
(PS thanks to everyone for filling the 'TIP Hat'!!!)

Gonna climb the hill to the 'cross' today... and heading to a special 'Cocktail Party' being thrown for us at 5 on.

The Cross on top of the hill, and the view down of Bisbee

Just 2 more gigs left:

Albuquerque: Sat 23rd - Burts Tiki Lounge - (ATPH middle set) I'll DJ between sets for the whole night too)

Kansas City Mo. Monday the 25th - Balanca's

the Tour's Financial situation to date:
So far we're doing well with everyone's support! THANK YOU ALL for the continued Paypal donations for gas etc... we bought our replacement tire in Phoenix on the way out of town (it's a used tire... but seems o be holding air nicely, and good enough treads to get us to safety if we blow a tire... we're breathing a bit more easily now knowing we've got that back-up.
I've been able o put my credit card away for a time now... so Thank you so much for that. (what a relief!)

So far The 'Black Pearl's' doing well, seems to be managing the mountain driving well, but slowly at times.

I'll keep checking whenever I can get online ;)
(paypal payments to

the Band's Physical condition.... we're all seeming in good health. but...
my throat is a touch sore... dry air? or early cold... not sure. fingers crossed... I'm eating Vit. 'C' !
T-rev stubbed his toe a number of times yesterday morning... I had too much scotch 2 nights ago.
LeFreak seems to be managing flawlessly as always...
I'm missing Lynette. (her B-Day is the 21st. Don't forget...) it's tough with me on tour. (**I Love you Sweetie!**)

The 3rd Update:
Initially sent out via Facebook: January 21 at 2:00am
Just a quick note to everyone... new photos are being posted on the events wall of the tour... stop in and see them. post some yourself if you have any ;) (thought you'd like to know.)

OK here's the last tour update for Bisbee:
The last update from Bisbee... we leave this afternoon for another 2 days in Phoenix, then on our way towards Albuquerque.

It Snowed last night here in Bisbee... started late, as heavy rain... (which is what I thought it only was,) but when I got up this morning at 7:30... and headed out for morning coffee, it was clear and sunny... but a covering of snow over all the cars, and roofs... so the melt now is falling from the eves like a rain storm, and every thing's wet... but it's clear, not a cloud in the sky, and sunny bright.

Brad and Kelly (of the 'VaVoom' shop,) have now 'leathered' ALL of us in the band. I've had my belt since the first visit here... (Brad has fixed it once, and I did another repair on it just a few months ago.) It's my Fav! and now LeFreak's bought to arm cuffs, and T-Rev and T-Rev's Jay, both bought a few more leather accruements... arm bands etc.. I LOVE that shop!

1 of my Paintings sold! So it will now a little bit of my art will live in Bisbee! Yeah! ;)

All 4 of us made the climb to the top of the hill with the cross on it. Beautiful!! I found a heart shaped stone on the climb up, and found a nice resting place for it among one of the memorials on the top.
Where I Left the Heart Shaped Stone.

The small cocktail party we were at last night (just after the climb) was wonderful! Great to relax, have some wine, and talk about stuff with everyone... The subjects often turning to: 'How did you first discover Bisbee?" or " What brought you here?" and for those living here: "What made you want to move here?"

My early cold seems to be under control... Gretchen brought me to the co-op and I bought Zinc and vitamin C, seems to be doing the trick... keeping it low and not a trouble so far.
The check out person, (who recognized me from the band, told me with a smile as I paid for my cold stuff: "Do you know how many people I've had to deal with this morning with hangovers because of your performance last night!" I told her That was going to go into a blog! so here it is. ;)

Oh yeah!!! And I Got to ride in Gretchen's "Hillary's Army" car!!! (she couldn't believe I hadn't gotten the chance before...) I took video!
The Hillary's Army Car (By Gretchen)

Thank you, everyone in Bisbee for taking time to come see us once again! Not sure when we'll be back... but you know we will ;) Seems like everyone comes back to Bisbee.

The Bisbee Angels...(One of my Fav sculptures there)

PS update:
The earlier was written the morning of our last day (wed.) in Bisbee... it's now 12:08 am Phoenix time... (1:08 am Minneapolis time.) (Thursday... still up from the drive.)

I just had a video chat with Lynette... and wished her a happy birthday... It was lovely, and bitter/sweet.

How do we as humans manage to be alone and also be together? missing because of distance. I chose to put this tour together... I am loving the re-connection with everyone, the spiritual 'walk-a-bout' this tour has become... but I am also feeling the loneliness of separation from the one I love, more and more each day.

So far the thing that has struck me the most while on this tour, is the change of relationships we've seen and felt:

This has struck me more than the typical tour stories... how was the show... etc. There is plenty of time to spin those out for you, and we are collecting them... but it's the ever changing relationships all around us, and those in our own lives which have made the strongest noise;
New relationships... full and wonderful, but stumbling through those first negotiations of difference.
Relationships which have ended, and the sadness hollow and still.
Relationships, established. And yet, now attempting to re-discover the well worn paths, now strange and winding.

For my part on this 'walk-a-bout' tour, I have found that I am learning each day how to be more human, though I am still feeling so totally lost at times.

My dreams now only reflect strange journeys of travel and my fractured attempts at emotional balance... a cascade of struggle and fascination.

I miss yesterday.
I miss tomorrow.
I miss home.
I miss you.
... and I am lost and found all at once.


That's The Full Venus DeMars & All The Pretty Horses 2010 3D "Out West" tour Blog!

Thank you all!!!
I got back from the tour with only $300 in the hole (still on my credit card.) Thought it would have been more... and should make rent with $15.00 to spare!!! Pretty successful I think!!

Thank you for the paypal donations!!!! and the support!!! and the 'Getting the word out!!!' it all so TOTALLY helped!

A number of you suggested that I keep a running blog somewhere... you've convinced me... I'll give it a try. I've let a blogspot site languish for a while...but will see if I can't get it up and running again:

Return Plans are for attempting to do another Our West tour (Hopefully with some new product) sometime in the fall (2010), OR if not then, we'll attempt another winter tour (2011.)

To my Lovely Wife: "Thank you so much for being you! I am so glad that I found you safe and sound when I finally got back. and thank you for letting me be me. I Love you!
Next Stop: New York City, Manhattan, Feb 20th at Arlene's Grocery (as part of 'Bad Ass Burlesque') Just before Midnight!!! --- All You NY ATPH fans:....DON'T BE LATE!!!!

-Venus DeMars and All The Pretty Horses.