Friday, September 30, 2011

Red slippers

There's a dirt road.
It's wide. Wide enough for two carriages to pass side by side.
She walks with hesitation towards the trees ahead, one on either side of this sad, desolate path.
As she grows closer and closer he steps from behind the shorter of the two trees.
He is tall and faceless. White and finely dressed, clean and smiling. The girl is fearful of him yet cannot explain these feelings.
I am knee-deep in the marshlands of North Carolina. A French waiter with strong crow's feet brings Italian wine to the nonexistent table. He sees that I have blue eyes beneath my geeky frames. The girl from the road is in the boat. She is being taken advantage of. A man in the dark is sketching her features without her consent. She feels our eyes. I sink to my chest and feel the heavy clouds of pitch pass across the moon. My heart races as I scream a silent scream. I yell for Carlo.
A staircase in a broken house. It's Mr. Thomas' house. Keanu Reeves' construction boots are by the door. But he's out of town. I see the waiter walk past. I call out to him. His name is Gee, short for Guillaume. I become incredibly frustrated. Why won't people answer me? I pick up China plates and smash them to the floor. They clang but do not break and I become even more enraged. The green man calls me Rock Star and I pick up my blanket. The one with the unicorn. I hop scotch on the street with Lucy and tell her I love the boy from behind the tree. Lucy says I hate him and I agree. I run and get stuck in a bank door in Philly. Those spinning revolving doors. Around and around I continue. I wake myself up hearing me say "Big Ben, Parliament, Big Ben, Parliament, Big Ben, Parliament...."
what can it all mean?

(i wrote this several years ago and decided it was bizarre enough to post)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Saturday AM w/The Goonies!

This Saturday, my niece Ashlee and I are going to The Bryn Mawr Film Institute to see The Goonies on the big screen. I'm picking her up Friday night to sleep over and after a Saturday morning breakfast of pb&j on waffles, we are heading across the bridge to Bryn Mawr. The excitement is palpable - I can't wait!

(photo kidnapped from doblu)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

My Tuesday Afternoon

Home sick today, I sit curled up under a million blankets surrounded by nine different types of liquid and a slew of medications trying to fight off whatever has intruded my being. In between reruns of Seinfeld and It's Always Sunny (hoping that laughter will cure my illness) I have cracked open Mickey Spillane & Max Allan Collins' Kiss Her Goodbye. So far, I'm lovin' every page that I'm a-turnin'!

(photo kidnapped from amazon)

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Louis Armstrong Story

In 1996 I worked with a German woman who was in her mid-60s. Her name was Maren and she was super sweet and I loved leaning over the coats to chat with her. Maren told me that as a teenager in Germany, she worked at a highfalutin Chocolate House and that one day a group of black men came into the shop. Having never seen a black person in her life, Maren was slightly frightened, as is a normal human reaction to the unknown. She ducked into the back room and told her boss about the strange men in the store. He peeked out and saw them. He immediately directed Maren to get out there and give them the best possible service, for those men were Louis Armstrong and his band. They were performing in town that very night! Now Maren was really scared. She, in her best English, spoke with shaky hands to Louis Armstrong who asked her to put together a five pound box of chocolates and wrap them as a gift. Maren painstakingly selected the chocolates, arranged them delicately in the box, and wrapped them to perfection. He then asked for a one pound box of the house's finest chocolates and to wrap that box with specific care. She did so, rang him up and as Mr. Armstrong turned to leave, he passed the one pound box back to Maren as a token of his appreciation for her service. "Well, I will tell you," Maren began, "I went right down to the record shop on my lunch break and bought every Louis Armstrong album they had and I've been a fan ever since. He was a lovely, lovely man!" Top that story, kids. I double dog dare ya.

(photo kidnapped from imdb)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Dark Forest

In the midst of a dream I find myself wandering through a darkened wood. The moon is a fingernail clipping and we are in the autumn of the year. Stars fill the heavens as I feel the echoes of crinkling leaves and crunched pinecones beneath my feet.
There's a cremation of ashes swirling in the air, mixing with the smells of coffee and grief. The wind that sifts through the trees whisper stories that only I get to hear. I am approaching the clearing deep in the farthest reaches of The Dark Forest.
A soft, gentle voice speaks with the solemn rolling of the night clouds. It's dreamy weather and as twilight draws near, I awaken calling out for Alice.

(for blaine)

Saturday, September 24, 2011


Twenty years later and it's still a damn good album.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Great-Great Granny Freddie's Home

In the early part of the 20th Century, John and Friedrike Roch, my great-great grandparents, lived in a three story home on Spruce and 3rd Streets in what is now referred to as Olde City. My mother and I drove past it the other day with stars in our eyes and drool on our chins. It's just so gorgeous. Whoever lives there now, we are glad to see that it is so well loved.

Thursday, September 22, 2011


1: Black and White or Color; how do you prefer your movies?
i don't really have a preference-i like both equally. but i really don't like the technicolor thing that they do to classic black and white movies like 'it's a wonderful life'. ruins the whole vibe of the picture for me.
2: What is the one single subject that bores you to near-death?
when people talk about reality shows like Jersey Shore and The Real Housewives. i get so bored that it makes me think about jamming a meat thermometer into my ear.
3: MP3’s, CD’s, Tapes or Records: what is your favorite medium for prerecorded music?
i still like records. the scratchy sound they make is one of the best sounds ever.
4: You are handed one first class trip plane ticket to anywhere in the world and ten million dollars cash. All of this is yours provided that you leave and not tell anyone where you are going … ever. This includes family, friends, everyone. Would you take the money and ticket and run?
no flippin' way! who am i without the people i love?
5: Seriously, what do you consider the world’s most pressing issue now?
the most?? the world, i have to go with extreme poverty. runners up are genocide, genital mutilation, pollution, and inequality. we've got a lot to fix...
6: How would you rectify the world’s most pressing issue?
i do what i can. i donate money and try to make good decisions. i do my best not to waste food or add to the mess and i try to educate those around me about the issues that i want to see rectified.
7: You are given the chance to go back and change one thing in your life; what would that be?
i think about this a lot and struggle with would i have taken insanely good care of my teeth or would i never have gotten that bad perm in '88 that ruined my hair. i think i would choose my teeth cuz i look pretty cute with a shaved head. 
8: You are given the chance to go back and change one event in world history, what would that be?
to have prevented the death of martin luther king. we coulda used him around for much longer than we had him.
9: A night at the opera, or a night at the Grand Ole’ Opry – Which do you choose?
totally a night at the opera. hopefully puccini's 'turandot'!
10: What is the one great unsolved crime of all time you’d like to solve?
unsolved crime? the zodiac killer comes to mind...but i don't really follow crime stories.
11: One famous author can come to dinner with you. Who would that be, and what would you serve for the meal?
dead? james stockdale for vegan chicken cheese steaks from govinda's with ginger ale and a side each of fries and rings. and afterwards, cigars and cigarettes with scotch to go with our incredible conversation.
alive? mo willems for pizza and garlic knots with soda pop and wine followed by chocolate mousse and strawberry shortcake with tea and coffee.
12: You discover that John Lennon was right, that there is no hell below us, and above us there is only sky: what’s the first immoral thing you might do to celebrate this fact?
boot up some black tar heroin.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Dark Forest - Telephones

Ring Ring - Abba
Saturday Night Couple - Sid Caesar & Imogene Coca
Name and Number - Curiosity Killed the Cat
Hanging on the Telephone - Blondie
Call Me - Aretha Franklin
Hung Up On You - Fountains of Wayne
911 - Cyndi Lauper
911 Is a Joke - Duran Duran
The Elvis Tapes - American Comedy Network
Wrong Number - The Cure
Ring-A My Phone - Brenda Lee
Pennsylvania 6-5000 - Glenn Miller
Operator - Jim Croce
She May Call You Up Tonight - Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs
Silent Telephone - The 101'ers
Car Phone - Sheeler and Sheeler
The Beverly Hills Telephone Directory - Bob McFadden and Dor
Branded on a Telephone - Jandek
Call Me - New Classic Singers
Chantilly Lace - The Big Bopper
Call in Sick - Big Daddy Graham
Don't Hang Up - 10cc

~June 2, 2010

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Monday, September 19, 2011


i wear glasses. like buddy holly.
i have a huge mouth. like billie holiday.
i am often filled with lots of hate. like adolf hitler.
i want to kill myself. like meriwether lewis.
i am silly. like no one else i know.
i will die childless. like gilda radner.
i speak french. like sid vicious.
i have dull coloured eyes. like jim morrison.
i try very hard to be kind. like father damien.
i have many scars. like tupac shakur.
but mostly i have dreams. like martin luther king.
(dug around in some old corners of my life and found this piece from way back when.)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Whoever Saves One Life, Saves the World Entire.

Years ago I was watching a tribute to The Tonight Show with Jack Paar. There was one segment in particular that I never forgot. He discussed the time he and his wife, Miriam, went to Hawaii and came upon the island of Molokai. He went on to discuss the history of the island and a man named Father Damien de Veuster. His story stayed with me through the years and has fermented in my mind these past few days. I will unfold the tale for you now.
In 1866 a colony was established to hold and incarcerate victims of leprosy and to keep them isolated from the rest of society. Leprosy, as you may well know, is a terribly disfiguring disease which afflicts the extremities; the hands, feet, nose, ears. It was not until 1873 that Father Damien went to Molokai to bring a sense of order to the more than 700 people abandoned there. Due to seven years of complete and utter despair, the colony was overrun with crime and immorality. People had been shipped to the island and left to fend for themselves, without food or shelter. Father Damien brought with him hope and spiritual comfort for those who had all but forgotten the existence of such things. He helped to build homes, bring food and water, as well as order, peace, and guidance to people who so desperately needed it. Life on the island was rarely pretty and Father Damien was there to dress open wounds, build coffins and dig graves. He was a priest, a doctor, and a friend to every person in the colony.
Jack Paar talked of how Father Damien would begin each sermon to the people of Molokai by addressing them as "My Dear Brethren." In 1885, the forty-five year old priest would instead say, "My Fellow Lepers, I am one of you now." After sixteen years of devoted servitude to the afflicted people of Molokai, Father Damien would die among them on April 15th, 1889. He is the spiritual patron of lepers, outcasts, and HIV/AIDS patients. At the start, he was just a thirty-three year old Catholic priest from Belgium and I doubt that he could have imagined the impact that this undertaking would have on the lives of so many. Not only those he dealt with on a daily basis, but those who would keep his work alive. People like Mother Marianne Cope, who joined Father Damien in 1888 and continued her work with the people of Molokai until her own death in 1918 at age eighty. Many years later, Mahatma Gandhi claimed that Father Damien was an inspiration to him and his work. It should also be noted that Gandhi in turn went on to inspire the great Martin Luther King. Father Damien was officially canonized by the Catholic Chruch on October 11th, 2009.

(originally published on coneyislandbaby may 3rd, 2006 by me! lisa star. it is as originally written; all but for the final sentence.)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Amber Brown, Makin' that Art

Everytime I hear the song Hero by Regina Spektor, I for some inexplicible reason, imagine that the singer is Amber Brown. And it's only Hero, not any of Ms. Spektor's other songs.
Anyways, I guess I stumbled across Amber's etsy site about a year ago through a link on Renegade Handmade. I discovered Renegade at the end of 2009 when I was looking up pastry recipes from the film Stranger Than Fiction, and stumbled across Brown Turtleneck Sweater. That blog's author, Britt, did a post on Renegade and I followed it, thus discovering Ms. Amber Brown's fabulously cool felt cd cases. After purchasing several thru Renegade, I decided to check out Amber's shop on etsy and have been addicted ever since (as she herself will tell you).
If you ever get a chance, visit her website: amberbrownmakesart and check out her fabulous photographs. I think she needs to post some for sale on her etsy site because I'm already thinking of asking for a couple prints to display in my home...

(by the way, i am now the owner of that lovely scarf that ms. amber is modeling. booyah!)

Thursday, September 15, 2011


XPQ-21 featuring Jeyenne - Gumpie's Return
Funker Vogt - Killing Fields
Cubanate - Body Burn
Icon of Coil - Floorkiller
In Strict Confidence - Kiss Your Shadow
Neuroactive - Visualize
Switchblade Symphony - Witches
Apotheosis - O Fortuna
Beborn Beton - Another World
Neuroactive - Put Your Trust in Me
Mesh - You Didn't Want me
VNV Nation - Kingdom
Covenant - Stalker
Plasmic Honey - The Funeral

~mix by Lori Koelsch~

At the turn of the century, I was known to frequent certain clubs in the City of Brotherly Love that catered to the Goth community. I, at the time, had either blue-black or purple hair and am also extremely pale. Aside from that, I am far from goth. But I did so love to dance to the music. Melissa, Lori and I all worked together and we all went clubbing together. We were young and fantastic and listening to the mix that Lori made me of all my favourite club songs, always takes me back. Back to the days when I would stomp my Doc Martens surrounded by fog and flashing lights and smoke cigarettes while I danced. (God, those were the days...) Lori in her Type-O Negative shirt and black mini skirt, Melissa in her motorcycle tank with knee high boot and short skirt and me with my black floor length ball gown skirt and tight black shirt. We were a sassy sight to behold.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Little Z, my nephew, left this note for me the other night. I work late and often times don't get to see him until he's fast asleep. I always tell him that if he doesn't stay up to see me that I will sneak into his room and smother him with kisses while he sleeps. Z does not like kisses when he is awake, but luckily he's all about the hugs in the daytime. But he's so dang cute, it's impossible not to smooch the hell out of him. This note had me in stitches. Man, I love that kid...

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Hooray for Mo Willems!

Oh how I do so love Mo Willems and his creative mind. I picked this book up at the library and raced home to read it, because I am in fact five years old. I loved every page. He has such vibrant, fun, and simple drawings and they are oh-so-charming. I went over to my brothers' house and immediately read it aloud to my little brother. My twenty seven year old little brother. He laughed right along with me because he's as looney toons as I am. Mo Willems - you are a genius!

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Last year I began what I hope will remain a new tradition on this date - a mini pilgrimage to Grounds for Sculpture. Marina and I went together in 2010 and it was a fabulous day. She had never been there before and I was so glad that she got to see some of Keith Haring's work up close and personal (he's my favourite artist of all time)
Today I will be going with Melissa. We won't be able to escape the day's topic, and that's as it should be, but we will make the day something good, rather than focus on what happened to us all those ten years back. After Grounds, I will stop and see my mom, who was the first to tell me the news that day, and then I'll head over to Bishop's. His hug was what made everything that day seem like it will be okay. I'm so looking forward to seeing him and scoring yet another of his spectacular hugs.

(Resting at the Spring by Allan Houser)

(First Love by Itzik Benshalom)

(Birth of the Messenger by Viktor)

(dear marina, i miss you lots and lots and can't wait til you come home in december. know i'm thinking of you as i do every day.)

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Johnny Zander

by Scott Caan

When I first saw this photograph I was convinced that these were Mickey Rourke's beat up cowboy boots and ragged jeans. I was mildly disappointed to find that I was completely wrong, but I still love the hell out of this picture.

Friday, September 9, 2011

9th & Hennepin

...and the girl behind the counter has a tattoed tear,
One for every year he's been away she said, such
A crumbling beauty...

~Tom Waits

(photo kidnapped from jgerenaiarock photographed by Anton Corbijn)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

No Country for Old Men

Best line in any movie ever:

All the time you spend trying to get back what's been took from you, more is going out the door.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


I etched your name in the clouds
But it was lost when the thunder cried,
I etched your name in the surf
But it was stolen by the rising tide,
I etched your name in my heart
And forever it will there reside.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Dear Miriam,

Who is the woman on this postcard?? Her skin is like fine porcelain. Did Miriam ever join Bert and his friends in Padanaram down in Bristol County, Mass.? I like to think she did.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

More Friends from The Loft

Roy Jones and his nephews

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Young Again

Few people in this world are as hip and cool as my Nana. She currently has five, count them, five celebrity crushes. Her first love is of course, Skeet Ulrich. Ever since watching The Magic of Ordinary Days, Nana has seen as many of his films and television series as possible. Recently she discovered Benicio del Toro, whom she refers to as del Toro because she cannot pronounce his first name no matter how many times I teach her. She saw him in Excess Baggage last month and found him to be delightfully charming. There aren't too many of his films that I think she would enjoy, so I gave her Things We Lost in The Fire and The Wolfman to check out. She wasn't crazy about Things (too serious for her taste) but thoroughly enjoyed Wolfman. "The blood didn't bother me, dear. I just slept with the lights on," she told me matter-of-factly. Other favourites are Johnny Depp, Chris O'Donnell, and Brad Pitt, but none compare to her favourite fella, "Oh all these handsome young actors! Makes me wish I was twenty years old again - but only for Skeet." Count your lucky stars, gentlemen. The classiest, most elegant woman ever to walk the earth thinks that you are all wonderful.

Friday, September 2, 2011

The Artist is Present (a look back)

Last year I spent many an afternoon online watching Marina Abramović's live performance of The Artist is Present at the Museum of Modern Art. I wanted so desperately to go to NY and see her, but alas, it was not to be. Recently I discovered two sites with gorgeous photographs of some of the participants of Ms. Abramović's piece. Marco Anelli's photos are absolutely stunning and the ones on Marina Abramović Made Me Cry damn near made me cry. The faces, each and every one, are beyond beautiful. It's truly remarkable how just by looking into their eyes, that Ms. Abramović was able to draw out such deep emotions from total strangers. These photographs all need to be placed in a bound book so as to be looked at again and again. Each picture is near perfection. (Marina Abramović Hotties featured equally beautiful portraits of select audience members.)

(photos taken by Marco Anelli)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Dear Sis,