Venus DeMars

Venus DeMars
Glass Plate photo

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.