LESLIE NUSS--artist, music and otherwise

 
 

Blog

California Dreaming

 

It is great to be here. I'm always nervous before a recording session and my imposter syndrome kicks into high gear, but then...we lowered the key for Bell Tolls just 1/2 step and the song finally clicked into place--it's been recorded several times and just didn't feel right, and I was able to deliver the vocal I wanted, which is a heavier vocal than my per usual--but everyone should get to rock out a few times.

So, today is the last day, most likely going to do some overdubs and doubling of vocals, which I always say, is a challenge, mostly because some of my lead vocals are a bit meandery and then trying to duplicate that is hard. But whatever, we get it done.

Ainjel really is an incredible producer and I'm so grateful to work with her and desperately want her to be working more because she is so great. ok!

Chilly here in the AM, but so sunny. And my friends have an incredible view with fruit trees in their tiered backyard. It's like they have peace in the middle of this sprawling city, which seems unique compared to Manhattan or Chicago even. I just love these old Spanish style homes and the no bugs thing is also pretty cool--to have your doors open and not worry about everything crawling in.

My hands are cold and it's hard to type. But I gotta get it together to get to the studio and be productive on my last day. I started a new song yesterday which was nicely unexpected--Ainjel did say, "Let's write together" but I wasn't sure what that meant. But I'm cool with generating something. I was joking that after working on a song about helping a friend's LGBT child, one about my son and one that's anti-suicide, maybe I should just write something about nothing. As if. What the road meandered to was one about the idea of the need for us to all come together, as that's been on my mind as of late.

Jesse says I'm addicted to Twitter, but I get a lot of good info on it. But it's good to delete the app every once in a while, but then I wonder what Seth Abramson has to say and I'm back on. 

I'd write more...maybe later I will. Damn, am I relieved. I think I've been stressing for a few months about getting back out here and working again. It's hard to leave a project hanging, and when Ainjel said she wanted to rerecord 3 vocals that were previously recorded and ready to go, while I didn't doubt her judgment, I also thought, uh oh, that puts this project back further. But no matter. She really is a master at getting the right vibe and intensity for the song and the lyrics--which she actually digested. 

I'm kind if in awe at her the level of her enlightenment. She's very Zen. 

Ok, going to be ready and just maybe go and sit outside on my friends' deck before I have to go.

Have a good week-oh wow and Thanksgiving is NEXT WEEK!!! What a shocker. Happy Thanksgiving. Even with all the crazy in the world, there is much to be grateful for and much beauty and we have to stay focused on that, too.

xo

Leslie

 

yep. this is overdue

 

Hi. Trying to type while listening to my friend Jesse tell me about his favorite bridge which is in Big Brother, a song by David Bowie. And we're listening to it at the same time, but yeah, gotta get to this post.

I have to admit. I love this song. 

In Silver Lake, and life doesn't get much better. My friends do live in Paradise and I am so grateful to be staying here. Soon it's off to the studio to work. Today I'm going to shred my voice, but only after I get the softy whispery stuff I also came to do. 

Jesse's getting me to put my bandcamp page up. I registered, but with the sheer volume of tasks in my cue, I never got to it, but Jesse swears by it and working side by side really helps. I can see that it will be cool, but there is time required to get it up and running. What will be cool is to add merchandise for my back catalog...as I do have most of the silkscreens and can even make new stuff.

Recording yesterday went well, Ainjel's studio is just the perfect space to bring whatever it is I need to a session and Ainjel is an amazing vocal coach and can direct me. It's so great to have that trust. I felt a little rusty on some of the songs and sometimes I have to sing something a few times to get the muscle memory going. It's like doing a floor routine in gymnastics and doing the trick over and over again until it becomes automatic.

To not think and just channel. 

Being in LA is great. Had ramen noodles last night, then Thai with Jesse and Heather and their 5 chihuahuas. Jesse is a complete audiophile and his knowledge blows me away. He has his own small label called LA's Fine (also on Bandcamp). 

I wish I could stay here for a few weeks, but the kids are at home and so short stints are best. BUT, I might be able to get back soon because now I'm going to work a little harder to make things and have a pop-up shop December 8th. Maybe I need a short deadline and some pressure to force me to work at light speed-which it seems like I can do. 

Looks like next year I'll be relieved of doing out taxes, which is awesome. And the accountant is (I think) going to motivate me to spill less red ink on my artistic pursuits. 

OH. I know now why I didn't get to write last week. I did a craft with my son's class in the AM, which was great but hard. He's in the "severe and profound" class room at his school and so most of the kids are totally non-verbal. When I got in my car I cried a bit-it takes a special person to dedicate their lives to working with these children. As a parent, I get totally overwhelmed. 

Then, piano lesson. But there was something before that, too. 

well, it's too hard to type, talk to Jesse and listen to (now) this woman named Victoria who released two LP's in the early 1970s-Herbie Hancock played on this. 

Sorry. But...it IS a post ;)

xo

Leslie

 

Hallelujah

 

Well, if you check out my instagram later, you will see that I've finished my first song on piano. It's a good day! 

I'm sitting in a hot-fish sauna with my running clothes on because I thought I'd better type before my ideas go away and I sit here and go--now what to say?

It's sort of an icky feeling, being hot and sweaty, in my book. Ok, I took off my cap. 

The fun thing about finishing a new song is when the melody sticks in my head. I love that! My piano is basic, but I don't care. I told Waz that my goal is to give a concert (someday) and play 1 song that I've written on piano. Which means, I'll have to be good enough and rehearsed enough and confident enough to do it, so that's a good goal. 

The ep got reviewed online at lamusiccritic.com I'll put the link on the home page here. Super exciting! And I'm on track to be interviewed for a music blog in a couple of weeks. 

OOH. my laptop's fan is working overtime. Opened the door. Still about 150 degrees in there so I just got out. Not worth hurting my laptop. 

Going back to LA soon to sing some more. Excited. Wonder if we'll start something new. It would be really cool. Kind of hard to get these eps out in an orderly and timely fashion, but whatever. 

My mudroom has been turned into a lounge. It had been taken over by legos, so this if of course more adult and calm, but I wonder if my daughter will still play/use the legos. That's the challenge of living with the phantom fred as he shall be called. I like kids to be kids, but he wants little sophisticated adults. Or so it seems. But maybe a bit of both is the way to go. 

Halloween was great! My son walked the whole way except had me hold him for a few minutes-he probably needed to rest--and he did have a great time, and my daughter's costume turned out so good and it was fun to help make it with/for her. I got a giant men's tuxedo shirt and cut it down. Now I want to wear it because I think it fits within my rules of wearing clothes I make (I still have not made exercise clothing, so I am not adhering to the rules rn,fyi.)

Trying to get my life done, the things I need to do done is a challenge, and a challenge to make money. I did finish a handbag for the local store. Want it to sell immediately! Because I need the cash. For my music/videos. 

Well, that means I should stop writing now and get cracking! I'm going to make a few scarves for the shop, too. I made one for myself and my Aunt-in-law and it passes my test....

I hope you are doing well, thought about your ancestors yesterday, and are looking forward to the beautiful month that is November. 

xo

Leslie

 

fall break

 

One kid is home and the other kid has 1/2 day.

So, brevity is ..... a virtue. Took me a minute, during which, I could have been typing.

Things are good. 

Got pulled over rushing to take my kids to the local arcade. My son loves to ride the go karts and I said we could go. But time was short. Thankfully got a warning and I do realize how lucky I was, and even though that shook me up, we still managed to get to the arcade and have fun. So, I consider that an internal victory.

Then, I spent what I could this week organizing my desk/office/studio and it feels so good. It's taken over 3 years so far to get this space where I want it/usable in an efficient way and looking beautiful, too. I thought of Radiohead's, "Everything in its Right Place" and played that on LP. It's so true, and uprooting yourself/your stuff a lot can get in the way. But, now better!

Still writing my first full song on Piano. I came up with some chord progressions/lyrics this week but it wasn't enough. The piano (for me) is something I want to play well, so I keep trying out different chord variations, single notes and that slows me down. I may have to finish the song on Guitar to get the chords/structure/lyrics, then move back to Piano. But, it's a protest song of a different, more unifying sort and would be nice to get it together.

Read some article about the 12 things never to do when contacting someone about a "sync" placement (for film/tv) and it's just hopeless for me. I probably do everything wrong. I follow up, am friendly, try to give some personal information about myself, all Wrong Wrong Wrong. Two placements I did previously I was solicited for from the directors themselves, and the other 5 (?) placements I got were through two agents, who are no longer agenting. (just made that up for brevity)

Getting my husband to emotionally and sometimes financially support my music when it seems more and more to be a hobby is. Is something that is ok. I keep a meticulously beautiful home and constantly seek to improve the art and beauty here, and that seems to engender (is that a word/the word?) a lot of support. Previously I was of the mindset that the house/interior was beautiful enough, because compared to how I grew up, it's out of the ballpark, but, if I start with our house now, as ground zero, then of course there is some new stratosphere to explore, albeit inexpensively. And I'm pretty good at inexpensive:

1. Growing up without a lot of money. 2. earning my money at a young age (8-delivering newspapers, 10-babysitting, etc) 3. living as a "starving artist" in NYC for 10 years, 4. paying off 34K in credit card debt and 10K to family in friends after moving to Chicago and getting a FT job, the debt acquired while living on credit cards while trying to "make it" with my second CD, Action Hero Superstar.

So, that's my resume for frugality. 

anyway, and now I can apply that to the rest of my musical releases for the next two years. 

I'm not going to release physical eps, etc for the next two eps. Only digitally. It's a shame, but I want to keep making music. 

I'll see about the videos. If more people watch them, I'll keep making them. But for a few hundred views, no. I'll make them myself. 

gotta go. Motherhood beckons.

Happy Halloween!

Leslie

 

Music Schmusic

 

I'm printing out some instructions to learn how to solder. I took a jewelry making course, well, I audited it after college for free/no grade, but that was a long time ago. I'm ready and want to try again. 

It would be cool to learn how to wield a torch, then I could make new stained glass windows, jewelry and other accessories and maybe, eventually, one day...maybe weld! wow. I know a woman who welds out here. The welding class is actually hard to get into/fills up fast.

(welding would lead to large metallic sculptures, if you haven't guessed) But tbh, I'm not there.

No, I want to solder so I can make more accessories so I can sell them so I can earn some money to finish my music.

And the videos.

I've got 3 videos (I think) in various stages of being edited and it's awesome and they are great, but I also did two on my own, without really planning and I like the second one, for "Et, Tu Lindsey" because I get to listen to my song. The video is not too distracting and it's super simple.

I could get better at recording myself live and I might! I got an update on how to do my sound last week from my buddy and former producer, Mike Shimshack who is...producing again!!! He produced my 3rd CD which is called :LESLIE NUSS: (it has the sort of magazine cover as album cover cover.)

Anyway, I am shite (as some say) at recording and Ainjel even gave me a lesson/started me in Garage Band but...I am all thumbs there. nmt (not my thing) though, of course, I could try harder. 

But whatever. So right. Maybe after all of these new recordings, I'll just release songs on YouTube with my own simple videos and call it a day. I'm not going to make any money from the music anyway, or so it seems, and unless I can start touring, No biggie. 

I added the video for "Et Tu, Lindsey" to my homepage here and I think it looks awesome! Like, wow. I have TWO videos here. And pretty soon, I'll have 5. V. Five. And, that almost seems like too many, but I can do what I please.

Still working on my piano cover version of "You've Got a Friend" and using a metronome. There's a "walk down" which I get nervous about, so play that slowly in the beginning then speed up. But I'm working on it :)

Going to learn another song. Waz and I usually go over some chords which leads me to shouting out the songs that also use those chords, so we ended up on "Rocket Man" which would be fun to sing. I like playing around with genders, well, I've used the phrase "whipping boy" in a song because when I was tying to think of examples of what I wanted to sing, there didn't seem to be a good equivalent for females, but I digress.

To recap: Learning how to solder so I can.....make stuff to sell*. Using proceeds to finish recordings/videos. Might play shows but hard to book/get a booking agent, etc. Will work on releasing more videos that I can make/edit myself. *though I have other things to make/sell, I think this is sort of a "eureka" moment for me. 

rock on with your big bad self.

xo

Leslie

 

Back on Track

 

So. We got back and then Monday I took my daughter to Staples because I wanted to buy a journal. 

For years, maybe more than 10? I consistently kept a journal. It was a specific kind of journal, one I had seen in a magazine in the 1990's, and one that had to be ordered. 

For much of that time, I would keep a concurrent notebook with me, where I wrote down song lyric ideas and also did some CBT "homework" when I was stressed or upset about something.

Then I stopped the official journal and wrote in many many other journals without thinking too much about it, until this week. People would give me journals, sometimes very nice and expensive ones, leather bound, special paper, etc. and so of course I wrote in those, but there was something about this green "Record" journal that never left me. 

Over the years, I thought I saw the exact same one at Staples, but didn't/wouldn't buy it because...I had others, why buy this one? etc. But lately I've realized that I can hardly remember what happened yesterday let alone last week and why is that? And I wanted a record. A place where I could put some thoughts, some things I've done, etc.

So. I found a very similar journal, only larger. I got it. My friend in NY had just given me some really beautiful moth stickers and I put one on the cover and started writing again on Tuesday, October 9, on what would have been my father's 86's birthday. And if felt good, like picking up a thread again. Of course, I thought--do I really need to be doing MORE writing? The blog, the tweets, the memoir, the screenplay and now, again, the journal? But so far it feels good.

Then, I got up the courage to find the last of my former green journals--all in a crate in a closet because I wanted to see when I stopped writing. It was in March 2001, either on my trip to London or shortly after I got back. I left a significant number of pages blank, which is not really like me, so it forced myself to think about why I stopped. 

I took a mental/emotional fall and felt like I had to devote myself to my CBT homework. The forces of fkery were too great--my father had basically declared war on me, my finances were frightening and it seemed like my dreams of succeeding in music had gone up in flames. I felt deeply betrayed and manipulated and...I guess angry is the word I'm looking for. 

This morning I was thinking of taking that old journal and trying to sort of "catch up" write a bit, short condensed posts mainly stating facts about who what where when how, to pick up the thread to 2018. Even if my daughter has no interest in reading this, it would (I'm thinking) give me some peace of mind. 

My great Aunt Ethel (memorialized in the song "She Has Gone to Heaven") kept a record, but it was mostly of her travels, the what/when and data about her health--how much she paid for this operation, to this Dr. this hospital--fascinating in and of itself, but no real data into her internal, private thoughts. I have her diaries and *hope* to one day get it all in order. 

Not sure if my daughter will do the same. So far she does not like to write much. But, that could change, of course. Just trying to let her be her own person, even though I have sort of encouraged music and fashion. 

Anyway, my friend in NY loved the dress I had made/was wearing and said she'd pay for one, so I have one almost done for her. I have to go and buy some fabric dye because I did overdye the fabric. "Staff of one" is my awareness.

My friend did not seem to buy my interest in painting. It's definitely hard to have more than one creative endeavor. But, she's right. I do have this fabulous maker studio now and so...make away!

And music is just such a quagmire. Even though--I can now play "You've Got a Friend" on piano AND sing it at the same time, which is honestly, an achievement. I am not playing the same notes that Carol Kind plays. I'm playing what Waz taught me. And it's fun, and I changed the melody a bit here and there, which I like. But Waz is right, I need to practice with a metronome. 

Anyway, it's a day off for my kid here, and she wants me to dye her hair a color. Like purple. We will have to see. It seems like a big project and her hair is so beautiful and natural, but...not what she wants.

I do have a gig tomorrow at the farmers market!! I think it's the last market for the season (?) or near last. Gone cold here all of a sudden, have a great week, until next time.

xo

 

ok, wow. so this will be a double

 

Hmmm. Last week I didn't blog because I was trying to finish/record/make a video of a second protest song called Et Tu, Lindsey. I did it, it's on YouTube, yea! The video is very primitive...as my friend Jenny wants me to "get into iMovie" more, but hard to find the time. I agree-making a compelling video is awesome! but...am I the person to do that, too? dunno.

Then, it was pack and pick up my daughter and drive off to the airport so we could go to NYC for the weekend. 

And, I guess I thought I'd write a post on the plane, but then I did something else--oh yeah, read, and then once we were there, forget it and then, once back, well, it was all about the new week.

NYC was great. We went to see the exhibit "Heavenly Bodies" at the Cloisters and the Met and it surpassed my expectations. I did get teary at the Met because going head first into fashion was something I considered off an on, and am still considering it! The clothing and the choices and the mannequins and the styling and the hair were all lovely. It was very inspirational and I came back energized.

My daughter's favorite part was hanging out with her favorite babysitter who has relocated to New York with her husband! It was cool to see her there--we met in Bryant Park and then did some shopping because Ruby wanted to--and got some clothing...

then we walked down to FIT because my daughter wanted to see where I went to school...and there were some more cool exhibits there, too. So it was a big fashion weekend.

We hung with my friends in their super luxe renovated/expanded apartment and I joked with my friend about our former apartment on 9th Ave and 45th St. We even drove by it in a cab...has a very shiny handrail now. But my friend's place is super nice and will undoubtedly give my daughter a skewed impression of how New Yorkers live. 

I wore my "Free the Women" t-shirt on the plane both ways and got some nods from fellow passengers. Sadly, things have probably died down a little because it's so unhealthy to maintain that level of outrage, even though we need to. 

Day by day, little by little, the thing gets done.

Ok this is short but I am going to jump and write another one so I can be consistent with the weekly blog.

xo

 

what a week/protest song

 

Jeez, what a S*(Tshow, at least for me. So much triggering of trauma and dismay at the machinations and ministrations of those who run this country. It's hard to even being to express what I feel. I feel, as a songwriter, I'm supposed to be neutral about a lot of things, and yet, also, as a songwriter, I'm a person who basically gets on stage to perform a very long speech set to music, in a way. 

I feel like there is some leadership involved/required/granted to us. Many of us (songwriters/musicians, etc) try to skirt the whole issue entirely by performing/writing dance music or music strictly for entertainment purposes and there's nothing wrong with that, but again, due to my background, my father, my experiences, it's more than just showing off for me. The ironic thing is that some of the harshness that my father directed to me about being a songwriter/singer was due to his thought that I was just a "ham" which was probably projection on his part. Or a justification for being a jerk to me. 

Anyway, my friend Jenny asked me to write a protest song and I had one almost done so I recorded that for her, but that was not specific enough, I didn't name any names, so I (I almost want to say I have "no idea" how I did this) but I sat down on Wednesday and wrote another one, which is now called "Putin's Call" and I spent 1/2 the day today tweaking it and writing it out/practicing it, getting ready, trying to do a quick set up in my music studio to record it live. I mean, I did it. And it's up. 

I didn't really have the time or inclination to be super elaborate with it because I'd already spent a lot of time all together on the songs, etc. and other things to do and my daughter only had 1/2 day of school today, etc. etc. But Jenny thought my voice wasn't loud enough in the video and she wanted me to rerecord it but there was no time.

I'll be the first to admit that the technical aspect of recording is illusive to me. I wish I had a better basic knowledge of recording myself, but whatever. Jenny's idea is for this song to *go viral* which is like the lottery these days. It's similar to the canard back in the day that "if you're *good* enough, you'll get discovered." Whatever. As a long-time someone who is not well-known, I can only really say, whatever. 

However, if it IS my civic duty to rally the troops, then I will heed the call. Will the songs be great? I dunno. Does it matter? I mean, for some song to resonate with a large group of people, it probably should be sort of accessible, with easy to understand metaphors and simple, singable melodic hooks. Right? Some of my songs I really do sweat over. Every inch, every note, etc. 

Whatever.

Ok, here's the link: https://youtu.be/PDj78oePAI4 I might try to replace the video with a louder track. I'll see.

gotta go.

xo

Leslie

 

Friday already?

 

Well, since I wrote on Monday, I can hardly be surprised but wow, how quickly time flies.

I've been particularly triggered this past week with the news and the SCOTUS mess and the idea of character and how yes, we all make mistakes but maybe SCOTUS needs to be exemplary? And how maybe some spots are hard to get out, hard to change? (i.e. can a leopard change his/her spots?) Sorry, felt the need to spell that one out. Sometimes I make obscure references. But also, Shakespeare, Othello, right? (Out out damn spot)

And I remember those high school days, too. And I'm glad women are speaking out and telling their stories. Will things change *this* time? All we want is some equality, some respect, the ability to earn a living, to be recognized for our contributions, our talents, our intellect, to not feel as if we need to do everyone's emotional laundry, all the cleaning, all the sorting. 

I think about the importance of mothers, of teachers. How can you instill values? And what if in a two parent home, the parents have different values? I think too much, that's obvious. And sometimes the weight of the world is heavy and too much to bear. But then someone or something makes me laugh heartedly and things dissipate until the next time. And so on.

We saw the movie "Dawn Wall" about the first free climb up the Dawn Wall of Yosemite. It's fascinating and amazing how much internal drive + external support was evident. Tommy Caldwell's wife willingly allowed him to spend so much time climbing, even with a little baby. Not many men would do the same thing, or so it seems.

The weather has been uncomfortably hot here, as most places. That has really gotten me down. The idea of conservation only really works if *everyone* gets on board and some people are so freakishly selfish and full of hatred. Zero Population Growth. Why is that such a hard thing to swallow? It goes back to some of my core considerations, like, how much is enough? Years ago I wrote a song with the chorus, "Too much is not enough, too much is not enough, too much is not enough for you."

And I can be guilty of that as well, as I look directly into my maker studio and see all the supplies that I have--though to be honest, I am trying to use them up. For a long time I've tried to not buy any more supplies--though it's hard. I do have plenty of leather, fabric, findings (that means things like metal hardware, zippers, etc) and my challenge to myself is to try to use what I have to make something of value that I can sell to fund my other creative endeavors like music. 

I guess it's greed and some people being so uncomfortable with examining their own shortcomings that they want to overpower the entire conversation so that they can avoid doing the reckoning and feel the deep grief that comes with repentance. But, again, at what cost? 

--aside for anyone who used to live in NYC, remember Cost/Revs? That graffiti? 

I guess, on the flip side, there are some women who are so fed up with the Patriarchy and the Misogyny that they want to "burn it all down," so maybe we do need to "burn it all down" but, and this is the awareness that Environmentalists have, burning the environment will be extremely painful. Water wars. Sometimes I think about this when the tap runs. 

Back to family values, I come from a much more strident conservation background than my husband, and my entreaties to save water go nowhere with him because he says that our water comes from a well, and whatever we flush down the drain goes back into the ground and then (eventually, but how many years???) back into the system. 

BUT, there is a new factory in our vicinity and this factory uses some ungodly amount of water per day, like close to 1,000,000 gallons of water, and so then I'm reminded of the scene in "There Will Be Blood" where Daniel Day Lewis says, "We drink your milkshake" 

For all my father's faults, and they were many and some were extreme, he did raise us to be aware of our resources, whether they be financial, elemental, or physical/material. I wouldn't say he was miserly, but more like Bill Cunningham, who famously rejected the trappings of "the rich" (though at the end of his life, my father did really enjoy driving a Lexus--until the Prius came out and he bought  that, because, and yea, yes, gas milage.)

Sometimes character is not obvious. But character is something that doesn't cost anything to acquire, necessarily, and something to be proud of. A good, admirable character, that is.

have a great week,

xo

Leslie

 

 

1 year Anniversary

 

Wow. I just checked. I've been doing this pretty much every week/Friday (ok, today is Monday) for a year now, since last Sept. 15. I need to celebrate a minute, right? 

Sometimes progress is really slow. But, since last year, so much has happened. Got the first ep out, made some videos, redid my music studio (I'm staring at it right now, I organized a huge pile of papers today--feels so good) started selling some garments at a store, painted, now working more on selling more accessories, etc to pay for the music, started taking piano lessons--very cool, started a screenplay, etc. whew. It's a bit overwhelming when I even think about it. 

I get bitter sometimes over the barriers for women, POC and non-binary peeps in the industry and that was really getting me down, but that doesn't do me or anyone else any good, really. So, the only way out is to keep going. 

And now, my "side project" Specx is going to get a show/do a show. I ran into the guitarist and what do you know, it's all, water under the bridge and let's play! Which makes me actually WANT to put our single, "My Baby's Got" on Spotify and make a video for it. I'll have to come up with some ideas for a video, but that would be fun, I think.

Peter let his hair grow so I think he would be all for doing some head banging. (!) But that's really the only issue-playing too loud for my vocals. What guitarist wants to voluntarily turn down? Not many, tbh. They always comply, then just turn it back up after a song, because, well, to them, it sounds better! hahahaha.

Solidarity. We all need some. And I'm fine with letting some people speak for me. And I'll speak for some others. 

I realized that maybe, on Twitter, I should just *stick* to music and keep the politics at a minimum. It's kind of fun and there's not really a shortage of things I could tweet out. I had to mute a few people I'd been overdosing on because...honestly, how much more about narcissism do I need to read? Unless it's how to disarm a narcissist. Verbal Judo. 

Been listening to the first Suzanne Vega LP recently. It's so good. I never ever thought about doing a song of hers live, but now that it's a long time ago, now I'd like to work one up. Maybe Small Blue Thing. I printed it out today, going to give it a whirl. 

Waz is having me learn, "You've Got a Friend" but some of the chord changes are weird/I don't like them, so what did I do? I started writing a NEW song based on a few of the changes. I need a new song like I need a hole in my head! Sometimes, I piss myself off because.....so many ideas. And then, which ones to finish? But I did like the chorus. And, it's playing more of the black keys. And using the things Waz is teaching me, which is super nice. 

Two weeks ago I wore this dress I got at an estate sale that is Iranian. So it's black and floor length with a print. Waz said I looked like a princess and we laughed about it and I told him just wait until I wear a headpiece! So last week I wore this dress I had just made-which was this cool printed fabric with birds on it, but I had to "overdye" it dark blue, and the dress is longish and anyway, of course I found a cool headband from my old accessories days, that had a beautiful purple feather. Waz thought I had dyed my hair purple! 

So Grey Gardens.

Still no after school help. So my day ends early, but that's ok. Fingers crossed the kids are happier as a result. I think they are. 

I'm going to try promoting one of the new songs, "Writer," with this website 50djs50states. I'll give it a whirl. 

xo

Leslie

 

 

 

Make it Snappy

 

Well, I almost bailed out of this post today because I'm working on a speech and that involved a lot of writing, but whatever.

I wanted to write about comfort. How comfort gets a bad rap and comfort is a good thing. We could use more comfort in this world, but what I've found, is that unless or until you can articulate what you want, (or unless you're willing to scream non-stop, like my son) it's hard to get what you want.

damn. composing on the site, like I know I shouldn't. To save time. texting fkery. 

ok. where was I? So, I had to look up the word Comfort, in my old school dictionary, because that's how I like it and yeah, that's what I want. Comfort. I think before, I was more willing to tolerate or overlook situations or people who made me feel uncomfortable. I would think, "I can handle it." But, is that the point? To show how tough I am? Fk. That. 

And, to speed things along, I sanitized the feathers, but I don't think it was the feathers. I think it was anxiety. Last week was pretty anxiety fueled. And filled. My lungs seem fine. There are now 12 teenaged and 4 adult turkeys. And I did get a very long feather, but I picked it up with a glove. Just to be safe/sure.

Something I want to put out here is that I don't think parents realize how hard it is to learn piano. It's hard. I was talking to Waz about it and he joked that kids get it quicker than adults, and maybe some do, but there's a lot of fine motor skills that need to be developed. Muscle memory. We're still working on Ab Db and Eb going back and forth in all the inversions. Like "The Karate Kid" wax on, wax off. Now I'm to do each exercise 7 times without making a mistake, then on to the next one. Waz has a piece of wood with holes and a piece you move after each time right. So today I made one, too. Actually, that sort of makes it easier, because you can see the progress and don't have to think about it.

Things always seem to take so much longer than expected. I can't say I got much done on the fashion front this week, though I did make a sample sunglass/eyeglass case and started to cut out fabric for a handbag. 

Writing letters takes a lot of time, sometimes. Taking care of kids does, too. But whatever, it's Friday!

Our town has an annual popcorn festival tomorrow because Orville Redenbacher is from here. Vendors, bands, parade, the whole bit. It should be fun. 

Then next week. ok. I am cutting this short. You don't come here for my political opinions or whatever, do you? You come here to find out what I'm up to, who I am. "What makes me tick." I like the phrase that JK Rowling has used a few times over the 5 Harry Potter books I've read so far, "Rooted to the spot." How about that? Does that work for you?

rock on,

Leslie

 

turkey feathers

 

So, I think I contracted some illness from handling wild turkey feathers, which serves me right, seeing's how even my daughter asked me about their cleanliness. I think it will require me fasting again and if that doesn't work, then to the Dr. I feel a bit like a dope but now, going forward, I'll figure it out if I still want to collect them. BTW at least 5 big ones, the little ones are hard to see, because we don't spring ourselves on them, which would be rude! We approach very slowly to give them time to saunter away and feel safe and secure here.

The gig was really nice, a lot of people would stroll by and give me the thumb's up or a word of praise, which is good to know, as I always wonder how the songs/show will come across. 

Music, still such an uphill thing. And hard not to feel discouraged. And that makes me think about optimism vs. pessimism. Sometimes, when I'm optimistic, I can put too much faith in "things will work out" and gloss over red flags, and end up in a bad situation, but then being a pessimist is sort of a bummer, and doesn't make me feel very good. Plus, then I feel like I'm spreading doom. 

Today maybe I had a thought. It's something that I've been aware of for a while, but it's not on the front burner, and that is: DON'T STEP IN THE TRAP. Because, sometimes I think I am reluctant to see that something is a trap, when actually experience tells me that it most likely IS a trap. I was thinking of stamping that into leather and making myself a wallet so that I could see that phrase more often. 

In my studio, I do have a few phrases and they change. One is "Do it now" and another is "The whole point of dancing is the dance" And "You can do it" but yes, "Don't step in the trap" is key. 

Because I don't think I need to know what the experience of being in the trap is anymore, and I don't need to test myself to see how I'm going to get out of the trap or even IF I'm going to get out of the trap, you know? But obviously, you can't live your life thinking everything's a trap, either.

screw it, just meditate! haha. 

..watched a short documentary on Ram Dass last night, and he's at peace. That really IS the goal, even if I spend a lot of time worrying about the state of the world. I guess why he's a spiritual leader is that IF everyone really WAS at peace, then the world would be so much more awesome, and he's setting an example. But I bet he doesn't sell anything on eBay! and I do wonder what he'd say about the misuse of power as evidenced by the haves and the have nots.

...some slight progress on my bag making, need to make some production. I think I'd like to try to do some kind of trunk shows. And it would be very fun/cool to sell things out of the trunk of my vintage BMW2002 from 1975. All great, all very much not music, but....unless some of my songs get picked up for sync placements, I'm ?????

Other things from this past week--good book review in the NYT about challenging the wealthy's belief that they are changing the world for the better but really just making themselves feel good without addressing the aspects of their lives/practices that create the mess we're in in the first place.

And I grew up with a father who hated wealth, and conditioned me to strive to be more on the low end. And to live in a beautiful house as I do now was never really my aspiration, so it's a conundrum.

--I'm in the middle of a text convo about how to sign (or not) my paintings. My 90 year old painting mentor wanted me to, but my former roommate who works for the Carnegie Museum told me no, which is what I thought. I tried, but Nuss looks does not look good on a canvas. --because, keep painting, too. right?

Neil perked me up so much! So, I'm to put a label on the back of the paintings. Cool and done. 

This turkey feather illness is in my lungs. They feel a bit clouded. 

OOOh, I almost lost this blog post again, because Neil gave me a link to see the data museums collect...and well, see, anyway, I better end here, hard to chew gum and talk at the same time.

have a good week,

xo

Leslie

 

haste post haste

 

Ok, well, I do feel like writing today. procrastination for my gig? mos' def. I just had to add that apostrophe to mos to prevent auto correct from turing it into dos. Doh!

Waz taught me how to play "Natural Woman" yesterday and it was awesome and a challenge and confronting my fears as he played the flute and there were so many things, like playing a song I'd never played before from a chart with someone else who knew the song. 

And Aretha. May her legacy live on and inspire others. 

And today was picture day for my daughter who plotted her outfit and her hairstyle for a week. She has forced me to learn how to do hair and I want to scream, "I don't know how to do this!!!!" but I patiently live up to her ideal vision of me, that mom can do anything. And she looked great! But her hair, down, would have looked nice, too. 

And the news! I clip out a lot of things from the newspaper, things I want to remind myself of, arguments that other people make that I apply to my life/my situation that reinforce my beliefs, values, illuminate things I've been churning over in my head. Maybe our world will start to breath a little easier, but the depth of the corruption and naked greed is astounding. Why do some people embrace the 7 deadly sins so much? Sometimes I think I am a little bit wrathful, and for that I am a bit saddened, though I think it's a necessary defense after all the things I've been through. When you try to live at the top of the loving-kindness pillar, others can use that against you, and so it's actually not so good to strive to be so far up there. Or at least you have to be aware and work to know how to handle those who want to manipulate you.

Something I read maybe a week ago (?) in the NYT was an article about the office and benign envy vs. malignant envy. Benign envy is when others are inspired by someone/some achievement and that makes them want to be a better person, etc. Malignant envy is when others are jealous/envious (a deadly sin) by someone/something someone's done and want to do harm to them. Again, something to be aware of. People used to tell me that they thought my father was jealous (malignant envy) of me and I always found that so confounding-why would one's father feel that way and then try to stop them/hurt them? Misogyny? He gave me life, after all. But one time he did tell me that he wanted me to do "better" than him in life, but just a little bit better, i.e. not too much better. Yet, he was the one who left the farm and moved to a metropolitan area. Anyway, why ask why sometimes.

Maybe lastly? because I really do need to prepare for my gig, my husband has been playing chapters of a book on Buddhism at bedtime and it's so good. The nature of illusory feelings/beliefs. Usually he'll want to talk to me but I'm intensely listening! So I think we'll need to play this for a long long time. Feelings are designed for approach/avoid, and sometimes they are accurate, i.e., simple example-if a poisonous substance smells bad, you think, "yuck" and you avoid it, then, bingo--feelings work! But life is rarely so simple, and feelings came into play when life was simpler, so we need to check them for accuracy all the time.

The dogs are right outside my window, peering in, looking for me. Well, Mr. B is staring right at me. Like a statue. He's not the barker to be let in, his mom, Macy is. But, I just went, opened the door, and yes, they both strode right in. 

Video #2 has been sent off for editing, a few radio stations have been sent the ep, Next week I'm going to start working more on my screenplay and going to figure out how to make some bags, wool wraps and skirts-[I came up with a simple pattern/design for a skirt that I think would fit more people--doing sizes when you have a staff of 1 (that's me) is a challenge] and finding some more radio stations to contact, get ready for my next recording session...ok, that's a tall order, but that is the order/what I need to do.

The woman who gives my son behavior therapy remarked on the ep and how the songs were written after I had my son. She usually says how she wishes she had some of my creativity but I tell her it's a curse, also. It's hard to chart a course. 

ok, really that's all. I think sometime soon I'm going to do a traditional blog post regarding my carrot cake, with recipe and photos. I've been tweaking the recipe for 11 years now. It's not too sweet, and I'm constantly trying to take out more sugar from the frosting. 

xoxo have a good week!!!!

Leslie

 

Gig this weekend

 

Hi, I have a gig on Saturday and so why not just write this early/now so that on Friday I can focus on the gig. Two hours is a long time to play by yourself, and even though I have a lot of songs, it's a challenge. Last time I did more talking than usual, but I think I *should* focus on the music. Sometimes I wish I was good enough on piano to play keyboards/sing at a gig, but in due time.

Today I didn't want to take my daily dose of humiliation so spoke up at the Dr. office where my son and I were waiting around extra early for about an hour before the Dr. showed up. White male privilege is something at least some men are becoming aware of, but I don’t really think they are at the point (yet) where they see that maybe, just maybe they need to change. The snarkiness, the condescension, it’s shocking to me, but I spoke up for myself and my son and that’s really all I want to do about it today. 

A few weeks ago I did fight a battle for someone else, and I don’t think it was worth it and that was also a turn of the wheel. The layers of people are something to discern. I used to say that most people can appear to be *norma* for about 2 weeks. Then after that, you start to notice things, if you haven’t already. 

I did take the kids to the beach on Sunday and that was sort of great. Sort of because my daughter was incredibly resentful of my son and that was something else to manage and it didn’t end particularly well. Before that, though, he went around to everyone’s tent which was kind of great because we talked to a lot of new people and they were all very kind to him, even when he messed up their blankets and got sand on them, and talking to new people helped me feel less lonely, which was a goal.

Indiana’s dunes are really an insanely amazing feature of this state. For $7 we got to go and park right there. The beach got crowded which reminded me of being on the Jersey (that’s New Jersey) shore which are cherished memories from my childhood. I especially liked seeing all the POC and the whole melting-pot-ness of it all. People are all there to relax and have a good time and be respectful of others, which is the meaning of life.

The day before my daughter, our dog Mr. B and I were also there but went on the hiking trails. There is camping there, and it was really something to see how many people take part in outdoor recreation. Previously, we rarely went to the beach, mostly because of the difficulty in taking my son (who has multiple disabilities) but we also thought we needed to be on the more private parts, which we have been. However, I like crowded beaches. 

And back to my post from last week, now I think that being wealthy is kind of lonely. Being “secluded” with your own “private” beach and all that can be lovely, but also very lonely. I think in our culture we are somehow urged to strive for this ability to be secluded, but maybe that’s not really healthy. 

Ok, so now it’s during the week and I’m back to thinking of ways/organizing my brain to focus on making money. I modified some bags I had made and think I’m just about ready to do some production. What I struggle with is educating the consumer so they understand why my products should not be/are not the cheapest things around. Our culture also seems to be so bargain fixated. I guess I should mark everything up and then say that the “introductory” price is 40% off, right? But now my bags have cool leather straps and all hand cut/hand sewn. Simple but cool.

While I was waiting at the Dr. office I wrote out some thoughts, maybe I’ll print out a card for the inside of the bags with my philosophy on bags and what should go inside them, etc. because it’s something I’ve thought a lot a lot about. I don’t just carry bags, I think about them and every aspect of them from the materials, the construction, the durability, the fashion, and on and on. I started making bags in 7thgrade and haven’t stopped. Often I just make one-offs for myself because I like to think that I’m just “too lazy” to make them for other people, but no. 

One summer when I lived in NYC I did production for a friend’s company called Jinx and I made over 1,000 items. I had to add it up because I was curious and then how could I ever forget that? It was coin purses, small make up bags, things like that, and he was so good at selling. He’d go around to the shops downtown with his bag full of things I’d made and sell them outright. Genius. 

Plus, people tell me all the time that my future is fashion. It’s sometimes a downer considering how much time, money and effort I’ve put into music but as my dad would say, “We shall see.” The main thing is that I need to start having my artistic pursuits break even and not be a drain on the family finances. As I’ve told a few people recently, with all the money I’ve put into music since 2016, I could have bought a “nice” car by now. 

Ok, no afterschool help for my son at the moment, so I only have 80 minutes left. Gotta go. Xo check out my video-here is the link again:

https://youtu.be/fwClTwAJKqk

watch it a jillion times, tell ALL your friends to watch it and then maybe, just maybe, in a few years I can come and play your town. Xo Leslie

 

blah blah blah

 

Making money at music is very hard for someone at my “level” and it’s an inquiry for myself why I am doing this, what am I going to do about it, etc. It gets me down, that’s for sure, because I want to keep going, finish all the projects I’ve started, and it’s stressful to just pay out and not make this break even, so I’m churning over ways to make money, which I realize is no different than it was when I lived in NYC. 

 

I’m going to start by going to fb and asking peeps I know for their opinion. Should I do a gofundme? A kickstarter? Offer to make/sell items like fashion, ceramics, skin care—basically all the things I can do? I understand Elon Musk’s existential crisis.

 

I’m not typing this directly into the website after last week’s lost blog post that resonated with me for a few days. And earlier this morning, I wanted to write some different things—I wish I could directly type out my thoughts when I’m having them, and not have to “recreate” them, but when you’re having breakfast with other it’s not really appropriate to jot things down.

 

I did want to mention some children’s books that I go back to, one being, “The Story of Ping.” Such a good one about taking your lumps/accepting personal responsibility vs. trying to get out of it. It’s about ducks and the pictures are lovely, too. 

 

 

Yesterday when I was getting ready for my piano lesson—I’ve had to move the day/time due to my lack of afterschool help at the moment, it dawned on me that practicing is lonely and that I’m lonely. I don’t think I ever really thought or registered that before and the feeling of being lonely is also one that was not really on my radar much, or at least not before I moved to Chicago—I always loved loved being by myself, but now when I play the piano, often I feel selfish-just trying to get better at this when I –could- be doing something for the direct benefit for my family, and so maybe that’s where meditation comes in? 

 

So I mentioned it to Waz (my teacher) and he said that he has read some research that says that learning an instrument is lonely and the piano in particular which at least I was glad to hear that other people think so, too. 

 

My solution to this is that I am going to look for a yoga class to take. 

 

When I lived in NYC and even Chicago, but to a lesser extent, there were people everywhere, sometimes it seemed like too many people, but out here in the wilds, not so many. Maybe it’s because I’m aware that we’re heading into fall/winter/days are shorter, but I’m also aware that even out here, there’s less wildlife than, say, 100 years ago. We have a few wild turkeys and it seems like a big deal, and sad that there just aren’t that many, though I’ve been collecting the feathers I find “ethically sourced” and I wonder if they feel sort of lonely, too. 100 or so years ago there were so many crows that they could fly as a group and block out the sun. Now? no.

 

And I had to delete the twitter app for a few days, because I realized that my interest in the WH crime syndicate was not helping bring about a positive sense of well-being. It’s such a train wreck, and the mafia boss/reality show mastermind is right, it’s hard to turn away, though not paying close enough attention is what got us here in the first place. Did you see “Vanilla Sky”? I want to scream, “Tech support!!!!!” 

 

I had a coaching call this week, and I thought it would get me fired up, but it didn’t and that’s how it goes sometimes. Taking personal responsibility for everything all the time is hard. I’m mostly about the long view and scanning the horizon, keeping the goal, the end, in sight. If the waves are rough, can you expect to feel like having a party all the time? No. It’s navigation. 

 

Then I think, “Well, maybe it’s time to find calmer waters.” So yeah, there’s that.

 

My son did have a nice birthday this week. He’s 10. He did let me put a sucker in his mouth on Monday which was actually sort of a big deal and I did get very excited. He also took bites of a banana, again, big deal. We rode the go Karts nearby and are going again today after school…He did let me put a piece of my delicious carrot cake in his mouth, though he spit it out, but that’s mostly because he doesn’t eat cake. And then we all played Frisbee and he had a great time. 

 

Oh, my brain is drained. Time to end.

Have a great week

Xo

Leslie

 

Fashion, etc.

 

Ok, I'm super bummed because I forgot to hit "publish" on the post I just typed, did a few other things and now that post is gone. I don't have the stamina to retype what I had, and am actually surprised at how losing this post ground my momentum to a halt. 

It's ok and I will get back to it, maybe just need to regroup and type tomorrow when a few more things have happened or I feel like typing it all again. This happened once before, and so for a while I typed my post on Word, then copied and pasted it here, but then I just went back to typing it here, all in again. 

But I'm feeling the crunch, the crunch of now needing to justify my own creative output/need for funding and so am considering more of an e-commerce site to sell some of the things I've made. (damn that lost post was 100% better than this)

so, just to recap:

busy last week. My daughter was in a fashion show. I was very proud. She's still sewing!

Went to a super cool wedding, a melding of two cultures, Indian and whatever this culture is, western? I cried. Indian weddings are amazing! If I ever go to another one I will make a sari. 

Last week before school starts. Trying to make it good.

(I won't let this losing a blog happen again because this is incredibly painful, being aware of what I had written and not being able to rewrite it)

Music is expensive. Making music is expensive, I mean. We make $0.0029 per stream of our music on Spotify. Ouch. 

(I was so eloquent in the other post. The lost one. Now I am like a person who is very thirsty)

Videos-coming out soon! A few more to shoot, but hopefully that won't get in the way of me trying to earn enough $ to pay for the editing. 

Speaking up for people with disabilities is something I take seriously.

(I explained it all so much better in that post)

I am a bit mad at myself, can you tell? Because I was just going too fast, moving on to registering a domain name as soon as I finished typing the blog post, actually, I think what happened was that I merely was checking to see if a domain name that I alluded to in that lost post was available (it was not) and then got carried away by registering the one that was. 

anyway, this one sucks. I know. Sorry, but since it's been two weeks I have to have something here. Will be better next time, I promise.

xo

Leslie

 

 

New Video for Glory Days

 

so, I'm a few days late here, but good excuse. I was filming a video for "Glory Days" and really needed to finish on Friday. Personally, I think editing doesn't get enough credit, because the editing will make this footage that I shot into something great. It sort of tells the story of the song. But the loft of the garage where I filmed was sweltering and it shows in some of the takes. But it was fun to do and now I'm excited to work on the next one, which will be for "The Subway"

Waz is here tuning my piano. He has been very kind to give it such TLC and work on the action of the keys. He's the piano whisperer and even though I don't practice nearly as much as I should, I am still learning so much. 

The other day I had wanted to write a post about my move from Champaign IL to NYC but the things I wanted to write then are not the things I want to write now. However, I can say that sometimes I still regret that move to the extent that my career is not where I'd like it to be, because I had been playing in a band with my best friend Alison on drums and we could have toured quite easily from a home base in Champaign/Urbana. 

And, had I not been so offended at how my job as a recycling coordinator was perceived, and how i was perceived, i.e. too young to be taken seriously or given a respectable salary, I would have stayed. Because the irony is that the salary I was offered at UIUC was not much lower than the salary I received in my first job as a designer in NYC, and my rent in NYC was 3x what it had been in Illinois, though I couldn't have possibly known that. 

And I think about that young girl who was upset by the unfairness of it all, and I would coach my daughter differently, or at least try to think through everything. But that's only because I really would have liked a bigger career in music. Because, going to the Fashion Institute of Technology was great, and I am proud of my work in the fashion industry. And I've done a lot of things that I did feel compelled to do, like take care of my mom, but it all goes back to my irritation of the lack of recognition for women in music. Will I get to help rectify this deficit? I dunno. I can try, though.

One think though, too, is that since I'm so indie and no one really cares what I do, I can actually go back and make videos for songs that I've already released, like "Drive," which I did on Saturday. There happened to be a 1960's Cadillac in pristine condition and so....I ran home, changed and shot one. Piece of cake, except, darn, there's that editing. But, this one I think I'll try to edit on my own (unlike "Glory Days", etc which will all get pro editing). However, if I can't match the lip synching to the song, I may get help. 

Going to try to shoot footage for The Subway tomorrow and Wednesday. I lent one of my nightgowns to a friend and she still has it which was a fear I had. Maybe I can get her to send it today.

ok, gotta run and see if she can.

xo

Leslie

 

Busy Week

 

Well. am writing on time, on Friday. But a bit tired. My son's been up since 5:30 full of energy and I'm getting a break now, but he really runs me. I let him ride the elevator at the public library today. Maybe...we did it 15 times? I think of a line from the book Ferdinand: "Because he had an understanding mother...." (the whole book is great!) so I try.

Anyway, a song from the new ep will get played on the radio tonight and I'm so honored. To be honest, I was a bit nervous to send it to Charlie Edwards, the DJ because I've always been a bit intimidated by him, even though he's a super nice guy. He ran the record store in town when I was in college and seemed to have the best music taste in the world. He'd put little stickers on albums he liked with his thoughts and of course those sold really well.

My music is not entirely his taste, because he likes music that's a little grittier, and I totally understand, and I even told him I've tried to make gritty. It's really hard as a female artist. But anyway, he loved my voice and so I'm curious to hear what he'll play. it's tonight, Central time 6pm, WESN.org. He said he'll play me first, which is awesome!! 

It's such an honor to get feedback from people I've known, who've known me. Now I'm asking for permission to use their comments. I have to make some sort of ads. Have started it, not sure what I'm doing, "beginner mind" as my friend Jenny would say. Need to get it on Amazon, think I've figured that one out--where there's a will....it can be done.

My daughter called me yesterday from camp. "I called you 5 minutes ago but you didn't pick up. Did you think it was spam?" oh dear. The week seemed to start off great, but she needed a hug and I told her to ask her cabin counselor for one. So, off to send the 3rd care package today, putting in a few things she asked for and a few other things. Last year my husband told me he was told to NOT send packages, so I didn't then got a teary call, "Mom, the other girls are getting packages." So I was on it and sent her one straight away on Monday. She's a lover, that's for sure. 

She's taking experimental fashion (what a cool sounding course!) and is making a dress and asked for a white button. I can't wait to see it! I have tried teaching her how to sew a bit, but it's such a challenge for me. I feel like I can help her, but maybe I need to designate or get her her own machine (I got my first one at about age 9--it was a kids model from Sears. I wish I still had it!) and let her experiment. 

I'm working on a video, going ok, a bit worried about how amateur it might look, but have to push through. Just get it done! I could always get it revised later. Cut out a garment for another one. I spent some time working on the painting I started a few weeks ago. It's very colorful now, seems like it's going through an ugly duckling phase now, but it will get there. Eventually. 

The photo shoot for last weekend using garments I made was cancelled due to rain. 

And, my friend Nancy wants me to sell the plates/platters I've been making in ceramics. I was making them in advance to give as gifts, and of course I can make more, so that's something to think about. Amassing enough to sell. 

Need to work on/figure out how to get a review or two. That would be super nice. 

I'd write more but am going to get back to work here. I hope you are having a great day! and a great week ahead. 

xo

Leslie

 

On the Road

 

my daughter is heading to 3 weeks of sleep away camp and this is the first time for me to do a blog post via the phone. And I only type with my left index finger so this is a laborious process for me. But, it’s been an incredibly busy week. 

Today the garment that I spent most of last week making are being worn for a photo shoot somewhere on the beach in Brooklyn, I think. Years ago Kellene Kulas and I collaborated on a collection for a Betsey Johnson runway show-which was influenced by Patti Smith. Kellene is a master jeweler and has made diamond encrusted pieces for Tiffany’, but her own work is more big stones and less precious. It was my own private project runway with me running to the post office on Thursday afternoon after she asked for an additional two garments last minute, but it’s all good. I just had to make a denim vest with my friend Bari’s incredible silk screened fabric. Looking forward to seeing how it turns out. 

I squeezed in a “modeling” job for an architectural photo shoot for one of the houses my husband designed-they wanted a human in some shots. The house is incredible, on the shores of Lake Michigan, and the owners have amazing Japanese artifacts from their years abroad. And I wore a dress I made, and another one I made with fabric Bari printed—so it was fun for me. Who knows where this clothing thing will go, but it’s good to keep going. 

Then my first radio interview for the new ep. went well. Rich has interviewed me before and it’s a pleasure to talk to him. I have a link to the interview on the front page of this website. 

Then I got a mix of a song that Anthony Lopez is working on in LA and wow. From the opening it’s good. He sets the tone in the first 10 seconds-you know you’re going to listen to something beautiful. And I realized that He, Ainjel and I have not hit our peak-which means the music is going to be getting even better and that’s sort of a profound space to be in. Now we need to find a hip-hop artist to add to the mix or remix. 

plus we had house guests Tuesday-Friday and dinners which made for a lively week. Jenny‘s advice: YouTube videos (yes, on it) and Perry and Indah are hooked into Indonesia and there’s that. And local radio (on it) and all grass roots because I am a staff of 1 and that’s what I can afford. Found it interesting to read about Drake’s image consultant—she picks his clothes, designs his album covers and I thought about how many of these jobs I am currently doing. But no worries, it’s where I’m at. 

There’s always more to say but a good place to stop. Xo

 

untitled

 

Every blog post has to have a title, but I didn't want this one to have one. 

Last week I brought 3 of my paintings to the store Society. Good luck! It would be super awesome to sell them and without delay. The owner has plenty of wall space, but it's a hard thing to let them go, which I guess is a good sign, meaning I really love them and love to look at them. However, if you can imagine, painting is a luxury at the moment due to my other activities.

Did I mention that I agreed to make some clothing for a friend's photo shoot of her jewelry? Yep, I did. Shoot is next weekend and I'm busy making today and over the weekend. Probably need to finish by Tuesday and get in the mail. Kellene and I collaborated on accessories for a Betsey Johnson runway show and now she makes jewelry on her own, mostly pieces with big stones. I get myself into these kinds of things, not wanting to turn down an opportunity, but it's a good thing to do. I wish I could make a lot of items for her, but I'm sticking to one dress and one outfit for the male model. And it's hard, too to not finish things as beautifully as I'd like to. As it is, I'm ripping out the hem and redoing it by hand because I didn't like the way it looked. 

Getting some reviews in for the ep. Words like "gorgeous" "passionate" "redemptive" "Psychedelic, trippy" "Serene" and everyone loves the packaging. Now need to go a bit further out. Each time, it's definitely validating and vindicating. I'm going to do a radio interview next week, will be nice. 

Then, in about a week, I'll start with the videos. It's a challenge to hold myself to my own production schedule, but that's the only way to get things done. I checked out some books from the library to try to learn a bit about iMovie but the books seem to be outdated. I'll just have to look on the internet. I'm not planning on doing anything too technical, in fact, I'm probably going to champion low-tech, but unless it's just footage + music, then there are things that need to be known.

I can't get over how good the Moody Blues sounded at this year's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. Kind of blew me away. 

My dog is going to need to go on anti-anxiety something. I just gave her some CBD oil and will monitor how it affects her. 4 days away then back and it always drives me nuts but I just can't take it anymore. She's constantly pacing, whining to come in/go out or barking, or scratching at the floor, or demanding a massage. Opps, I just spotted her outside my window. At least she's not barking to come in. She's a rescue and I've been giving her so much forgiveness but it's at my expense. I guess this is why people like giant dogs who just lay around. She could happily be outside (and right now she is) but usually she prefers to be underfoot, mostly literally. Nope, she's at my window again. Probably looking for me. I think I pet her too well, that's for sure. Plus, I've saved her life a few times now, so I get her devotion, but it's completely unnecessary. "Be a dog!" I want to bark to her in her own language, although, not too much a dog, because when she digs in the yard and comes in muddy up to her waist, well, then no. But, go ahead and run yourself "dog" tired. Yes, that's it.

ugh. I hear her angry bark. It's this sort of, "Let me in NOW mutha*%ker" that I don't like. I imagine she thinks she just HAS to get back to me, to let me know how devoted she is, but...I'm good. It's exhausting. I might have to go and hide from her, but the only place really, is up in my loft, but she seems to be able to tell that, and then she'll pace underneath or even bark, as if to say, "Hey YOU! Are you ok??? Are you ok??? I'm here, your devoted Macy!" 

Plus, my son is also very demanding with me. With other people he's pretty chill, but me? No. He wants what he wants and he wants it! And if I say, no, not now (or a variation) he will just bug me. I suppose he feels he has to do that, due to his being non-verbal-he will make this very irritating sound, which he has perfected, like a car alarm, to get my attention/anxiety level up/compliance rate to his liking. He's still obsessed with the lawn mower. I guess because *

___breaking news___ my husband just told me that my office needs to be just past the Mississippi river so that she can't sense my presence, because he confirmed that she IS circling the house, trying to find me and he even tried to pet her, but no. He won't satisfy her. 

*I did ride him on it a month ago, and even though I've told him since then over and over that I cannot ride him on it anymore, he thinks I will give in and give him a ride.

However, my daughter and I were just in Bridgewater, SD, population under 500 and for the 4th of July they have a parade of lawnmowers and golf cars. I saw a lawnmower pulling a grill and a pony keg. Very fun. It's like a village there and a nice, slow pace. And, eerily enough, I saw a house there I'd never seen before, a brick house which was very similar to one that was in a vivid dream I had months ago about Marfa, TX, a place I've never been, but now I can see that my mind pulled elements of this town into that dream. 

Ok, I guess I feel better now. One thing I was thinking about today is how hard it is to defeat evil. People have been trying for a long time now, but it seems that once/even if you defeat it in your own culture, then another culture will try to defeat you and then you have to content with their evil. Maybe that's why people are disheartened right now. Evil and corruption seems to be everywhere. I think criminals like other criminals to deflect from their own crimes and that's doubly sad. I think this is the subtext of the song I'm currently working on, working title: "Sometimes This World Don't Deserve You" but that's a bit long. Why don't I just finish it, you might ask. Well, I think I'm still marinating in it. Maybe I do have all the words/thoughts I need. I guess one reason is that I'll go to work on it, and then I'll play some new element, and think, "this goes with it/sounds cool" and I can't decide if it should be a really long song or not. OOOOOOOOHHHHHHH. I know. My friend Jenny is coming for a visit next week. I'll play what I've got for her! 

She's going to drive up from Alabama with a friend and they are going to listen to 3 of my CD's and my new ep on the way! I'm so touched. I better get my studio cleaned up! haha. Need to make them think I have my S*%^ together. 

I hope your 4th was nice. I watched kids light off a bunch of fireworks. It was heavenly. 

xo

Leslie

 

Ep is out!

 

My kid is up and my father in law is chain sawing (6am) so here I am, too. I feel a bit groggy and stop on that word but am outside and the field across the driveway is simply beautiful. Our fear is that someday it will be sold and someone will build a jillion houses on it. So, I dream about buying it and keeping it as is. 

I started sending out the ep and every package feels like a celebration for me. I got special (interruption by my dog who insists on being petted. She knows I can only withstand her entreaties for so long) material for the packaging and a sticker and my labels are nice and so I'm hoping once people start getting them that the whole experience is awesome. 

Got feedback from two pals in the industry: "Great" which is what Greg Calbi told me to shoot for. Now what, well, that's step by step. Have not shot a second video but will most likely do that in mid July when my daughter goes to camp. Have everything ready. Checked out some books from the library on using iMovie so I could try to make a few myself. Simple ideas, yes. 

Piano still going well. Waz makes fun of me but then he lets it slip that he thinks I'm catching on and that I'm creative and probably going to do something with all the major 7th chords he's having me master. I surprised myself by immediately saying "Burt Bacharach" because every time we do something new I try to associate the chord or chord progression with a song. 

Now I'm being pulled so going to stop here and take my son for a ride. Hopefully I'll get back to this. xo

 

jeez. another week

 

So, luckily I'm in a better mood now, but those kids getting separated is a human rights crisis. The idea of the baby snatchers adopting the ones that are cute and young is disturbing and I thought Nicholas Kristof wrote a great column with excerpts from slaves tales of being severed from their mother, Elie Wiesel and now these kids. My grandmother and great aunt lost their mother when they were very young and it affected them a great deal and they stayed with their father! (I mean, they still had one parent).

My new music helps with my mood. The song Lost is just so dreamy and takes my mind to nature and the afterworld where all is rosy. to be a tree and have my friends the birds come and perch in my branches, maybe house a squirrel nest, now that is my idea of heaven. I could have easily written "Butterfly" as "Squirrel" but it doesn't sound as nice. 

So, now it's getting ready to send out, sell, promote, "Pre-Pro" is where I'm at. Kinda a lot of details. No problem there except the list is long, the interruptions are real and the rest of my life doesn't just quit so I can figure this all out. Me, I love the ep. Everything about it, but it might take a while to get notice. 

I've got a few videos in the works, but when the dust is stirred, it seems like a big mess until things start settling, getting closer to completion. No worries. 

Waz doesn't know it but he did buy the first copy off of me. He even tried to give me more money than I asked for but I told him it wasn't that kind of negotiation and we both laughed. His young student had come in at this point and they were going to listen to one song together. I recommended "The Subway" and Waz asked me if it was about the sandwich chain but I told him it was about a recurring dream I used to have. I wonder what he (the student) thought. He played some of the Pink Panther theme for me. So fun. 

Gig tomorrow. Opps! I didn't promote it. Darn. I'll have to send something out. Will have the ep. Made a special bag to carry it around in. I love the bag and wish I could make a bunch to sell but I'm a little overcommitted as it is. It's supposed to rain, but I'll be under a bandshell. 2 hours, and I usually underestimate how many songs to play. Tomorrow I'll have 40-some are very short. Some are long. But better too many than not enough. 

It would be so nice to have an assistant I think from time to time. Someone to organize all this stuff for me. Sometimes I'll imagine the tasks I'd like done-like make a new updated binder of all my songs alphabetically, with a sheet listing them all by name. Kind of a simple thing, but not one I get to. 

Took my son to the waterpark today. It was the perfect day for us because it was cold, and therefore empty and he could sit wherever he wanted to without attracting too much attention. I did make him go on the lazy river with me, but then did a move that was too advanced for me when I tried to get him out without getting him too wet, as he and I were both on one inner tube. I pulled a muscle or something in my leg. Wow. I hobbled out of there as best as I could, and it's not really surprising since I'm kind of a slacker these days, but still. Ouch.

He really wants to go down one of the big slides, but it requires him sitting in 1/2 of a double inner tube and he looks at it like it's a snake that's about to bite him. The slide he really wants to go down would require him to lay on his stomach and hold two handles on a foam sled, but I don't think he can do it. If he and I could sit on one, we could, but (and I get it) they are pretty much sticklers on the rules. 

He did have a great time though. 

Waz helped me work on a piano part for the song "Anybody Out There" that Ainjel wants me to play piano on when we record. I don't have a clue as to how I'm going to pull this one off. Yes, practice. Waz can just come up with something immediately, but me, I am still trying to figure out which inversion of the chords and which note to play in the bass and the grace notes and my fear is that I'll have to write it out in sheet music because I dunno if I can memorize everything that I come up with. But I think it will sound amazing! Luckily I have some time, but honestly, I don't know how much. (this is for EP #4) This will be the 3rd recorded version of this song. Fingers crossed it's the charm. Super slow. 

Have heard one comment so far about the ep. Lost reminds someone of Sigur Ros. What a cool comparison! They are more far-out than I am by a mile but their sonic weavings are beautiful.

ok, better get back to rehearsing for the show. oh and promoting it. duh! Stay positive! Right now I am not thinking how the world seems to be imploding. We have to give it a rest sometimes.

xo

Leslie

 

 

ep/lawnmowers/Groot/Job

 

Ok, like a competing cook given a list of ingredients, I've given myself a few odd words for today's post.

Yes, the ep is back from the mfg. Now, what to do with it? I keep thinking. Doing. Making. You can buy it from CDBaby and on my Pledgemusic page, and right now that's it. I might release a single for streaming/iTunes but I have to look into it. If you don't want to pay for my music, I think I'll roll it out one song at a time and you will certainly be able to go to YouTube for each video. 

My friend Jenny told me to make a vision board or whatever they are called and put pictures on it and look at it each day. I made one but so far it's blank, just spray painted gold. However, I am putting on a picture of a riding lawnmower as the first image. Because that's what I'm going to buy first when my ship comes in.

My son loves to go on the riding mower but it's not mine and for a while we were taking it on joy rides, even though I hit a stump early on and bloodied my nose and hurt myself. However, he loved it so much that I steeled myself for another go. He's non-verbal, but has come up with his own sign to indicate he wants a ride, which fascinates me. I had been using this bag I got in Mexico to hold my cell phone when we rode, and he would search the house to find it and bring it to me, so I had to give it to my SIL because it was too sad/hard to tell him we were banished from riding it.

I almost posted a photo of us on it with the caption, "When I grow old, Harry and I will cut our way across the lawns of America to visit you." Because I thought that was a fun concept. However, I'd get a small one that goes slow because tbh they can be dangerous and people do die every year from rolling over, etc. But I suppose I'd have to install a custom seat that holds two because right now we are sitting side by side in one seat, which brings to mind the sleigh that Almanzo Wilder built when he was courting Laura Ingalls Wilder. LIW made a point of noting how small it was, smaller than usual and that he'd pick her up, cover her with fur blankets and say, "All snug?" which I just loved. Sometimes I still say that to my daughter which cracks us both up. "All snug?" I say. 

Harry's vocabulary is not unlike Groot's in that he mostly says, "Baaaa" and that can mean just about anything. Once I heard a talk (Ted? not sure) by a woman who had had a stroke and she said she thought she was talking but everyone heard gibberish. So I think he thinks he's saying whatever he wants to say but it comes out "Baaaa" and then it's up to me to interpret it. I'm rather lousy with sign language which has not helped. However, he's now hanging out with someone who does know sign language so that might be very helpful. He DID, however make a real effort to say Lawn Mower and it sounded something like "LaaaaaOooohhhh" so, you see, I really DO need to get my own riding mower. Even if I never use the blades. It's not for me. It's for him. 

Why I put Job up there is now not clear. I mean the biblical Job, not a job, as in I could really use a job. The same Jenny used to refer to me as Job back when I lived in NYC, I suppose mostly because of the setbacks I had had. I'll have to ask her. At one point I tried to read the story of Job, looking for insights and possibly a way out of the hell that I seemed to find myself in but I think what I remember is that you just have to endure. You'll never know if/when your luck will change, but the idea is that you defeat evil by being happy. And that eventually you will be repaid many times over. It's certainly not the "eye for an eye" of the Old Testament, and does it lay the groundwork for Jesus in the New Testament? The "turn the other cheek?" 

Oh boy. Now my arm is being pulled, my laptop is being shut and a certain non-verbal child is holding up his shoe (another indicator he wants a lawn mower ride). I can placate him with a golf car ride, but it's really not the same (for him). 

It is a challenge to be happy these days, I'm as freaked out about the state of the state as you'd expect, but it won't do my kids any good to let it change me other than remember that "Happiness you keep is happiness you earn."

have a great week. 

xo

Leslie

 

 

Suicide/Thanos/Nebula/Taserface

 

Well, very sorry to hear about Anthony Bourdain. He is not someone I would have thought would do that, also has a child, seemed to "have it all" but you never know. When these feeling spike, it can be hard to see the other side. The other side of the pain, where it subsides. Some people today on twitter mentioned the creative process and how it can be very draining and I would agree. I think I mentioned in an earlier post my affinity for the book The Crane Maiden and I think of my own process as pulling out my own feathers to spin this gold. 

 

Kate Spade

 

Well, I'm obviously behind in blogging but today seems to be a good day. I'm so saddened by the death of Kate Spade. A fellow/fella accessories designer. Where to begin? I have been shocked by the death of Alexander McQueen, L'Wren Scott and now Kate Spade, designers who seem to have what might have been my dream jobs (thought tbh I don't think I'd ever have wanted to be that big) but I love design, have done it full time/part time/freelance/just for myself, etc. since I was 9. After L'Wren died, I wrote a song, Bell Tolls-still being worked on, doesn't sound right even after recording it a few times, because it was so baffling to me, except she didn't have kids I thought. I thought, well, maybe she just needed a child to give her something to live for. But, no. Kate left behind a daughter. And Kate did it the same way L'Wren did--maybe as a message? 

And I do know that the industry can be brutal, but like I said, I've never been that far up, had my own multi-million dollar company so I don't know how I would have fared. But I love design so much. I've read a few tweets--you never know what another person is feeling, mental illness, etc. But is despair mental illness? Maybe these people mean depression. I don't know.

I've spent time thinking To Be Or Not To Be, and I've felt that hardness of choice, hardness of daily living. But here I am, here we all are (which I suppose is the theme of Bell Tolls) 

I interviewed once at Kate Spade, maybe in 2000? I think I did want the job, it was (if I recall correctly) a part time/freelance job, but I know I could have done it, it was right up my alley-accessories design! But I went to the interview dressed more like a rock star, wearing a t-shirt that my friend Bari had done, and when I got there I realized my mistake because the woman I met with was dressed just like you would imagine--a full-ish skirt, a prim top and I think there was a cute groomed dog in her office. No way was she going to hire me. After I left I wondered if I had subconsciously sabotaged myself by not dressing prim--I'm sure I could have come close! and it lead to some kind of epiphany about dressing for the job you want kind of thing. But I felt like a big idiot because I'm sure I could have used the money and money was always scarce back then and it's not every day that a job or interview at a place like that comes up. 

But the idea of suicide is very sad of course. My nephew was a suicide at 21 and it haunts this family and I feel very sad for my daughter who was 10 at the time and who misses him terribly. And you always think, what could I have done to prevent it, and thankfully his dad said that he thought my talks with Max actually extended his life, but ultimately, there were not enough talks. And I didn't know, though I felt something was off, how much he had contemplated it. I had actually flat out asked him if he had been thinking about it and he denied it and since he was my sister-in-law's son, I felt maybe not ok about pressing more. 

then I think how silly I am to be grousing about the difficulties I'll face releasing my new music. things could always be so much worse. I'm a little shook up today, but just took a look out the window, hoping I'll be filled with a love of nature again asap. I've been so plagued by the current state of our nation lately, worried, though worrying doesn't help, but again shocked by what a fiend "IQ45" is. I don't even think I can type his name anymore. He's become like Voldemort. FIEND. I had to look up this word yesterday. 

I also looked up Poetic Justice. Wouldn't it be nice to experience some poetic justice? I think about this. 

creatively, I finished the 3rd painting in a series that I think will be hanging in a very cool store soon. The 3rd one has to dry. I am also in the middle of doing some dying in a giant trash can outside. My hands are blue but it's kind of fun. My friend Bari (the same one who gave me the t-shirt I mentioned above) has been doing some "vat dying" in Brooklyn and maybe she inspired me. Years ago I acquired a lot of dye and was sort of into dying but on the stove. Like oil painting, don't even attempt it unless you are ok with making a mess. Which I am. "who cares?" is my attitude, plus, I can clean it up. 

Well, I have 4 minutes until the caregiver leaves and it's my son and me. My daughter wants to sleep outside in a tent, but I think we should check to make sure it's not going to rain. So far I don't have as much help with the kids as I'd like, but we've been having a good time. My son played in the driveway while I did the trash can dying and it was ok! 

ok. not sure if I will blog on Friday. It'll be the kids and me and it's actually a challenge to get some head space with both of them pinging off of me all day.

xo

Leslie

 

Sitting on the Roof

 

Well, I better sit up here today because it's probably the last day of morning peace I'll have for the next few months. It's nice. I love having a roof deck. It's taken a while to get it user-friendly, but this year's the year. I've got two chairs and just got an umbrella and will haul up some semi-rotting teak loungers (after I power wash them) and then I'm mostly there. I'd like a planter with some boxwoods, a long rectangular one or two. I have wooden flooring, thanks to IKEA and the door is right off my loft in my art studio. It's super nice. 

I'm almost ready for the video shoot for The Subway. I've got two outfits sewn (except for ribbon on a gown) and getting the green screen up. I've heard a green screen needs to be well lit to work well, but since the song is about a dream, I figure anything goes. Dreams are often grainy when you remember them. And when you're in them, they only feel about 80% real, and that sounds kind of easy to accomplish with the knowledge and equipment I have available to me (an iPhone 8) I mean, it's not some underwater scene or ??? something with crazy cuts or animation. And the audio doesn't have to match 100%. I'm low budget-it SHOULD look low budget. 

But I seem to have stuck in a few paintings which slowed me down a little bit. And needed to clean the rental house. Which isn't really an excuse, but I "need" to make outfit #3 and even though I made a sketch, I still need to figure out how to cut it out--I want to use ivory silk and only have a small amount. So I need to be intentional, and I don't have an existing pattern for this outfit. Maybe I will just drape it on my dress form and try to cut it out without a pattern. Srsly, I need to get busy. 

When I tried to play the song I have been writing for Waz, it didn't go as well as I had hoped, but then I haven't exactly made a full lyric/chord sheet yet, either. I told Waz I wanted to write some "Arena Rock," and he chuckled (yes, it was a chuckle, a word I have never usefore) and said, "Power Ballads." And I smiled, because ok Waz, game on! It would be amazing to write one. My husband told me my new song, "And this is a compliment," he said, "Reminds me of a really great Elton John song." and I thought? DUH of course that's a compliment! wow. My piano playing is very simple, so no, I can't even touch the hem of EJ's bell bottoms. But, I liked the idea of it. 

Now I'm looking into multiple disc releases. There are a lot of options. I want to reissue my first cd, Heliotrope, but then I thought a boxed set with my first 4 releases, with maybe some new mixes/mastering--I have Round 3 session files so I know at least that one could get a tweak, and trying to track down a tape machine/producer seems a challenge and haven't approached any other producer yet. But, time to get in a side dream/vision. Could be fun to get in a Dogwater track, my early demos, photos, video-I have live footage, too. But this may take a year to pull together (or more). And if I could sell 300 I'd do it. I mean, I'm starting work on it, and 300 is my goal. I'm working on pricing now. 

It's weird, but doing this music is not wholly unlike being an accessories designer. Staying on top of things, because that's your job. Samples, counter samples, correspondence, this season, next season, sales, trends, some things I've done and some things I've yet to do. 

The 2nd ep is almost approved. I'm a bit shocked that it's 1. so short and 2. uplifting (well, I knew 2 songs were, but I wondered if the other two would drag the vibe down. Answer, no. 3. one song is SO boomy, that the car shook yesterday. It's the kind of summer/roll down the windows song. It's almost goth lyrically and it's 98% Kyle Paas, which is nice. Ainjel added a few sounds and a bg vocal. But he should get a win for this. 

If I thought I could get my daughter to help me with the preparations of the first ep when it needs to be packed and shipped, I would. I know she COUlD do the things I'm doing-silkscreening, threading the ties into the bag, packing the items in the sleeve, putting on a sticker, adding whatever else needs to be added...I kinda like assembly lines, blame Mr. Rogers--he got me to think factories were fun. 

Sorry. I think I am running out of steam. It's bright out here and hopefully not many typos. I think I need to get back to my to-do list. 

Have a great weekend!

Leslie

 

Hit the Ground Running

 

goodlawd. It's Friday again. The time has rolled around. and so many things I want to write about today but will have to cut it short just due to my workload and the fact that I'll have less time next week due to my son's caregiver being gone.

But. Where to start?

Mother's Day. It's over! Yea. Sometimes it's hard for me, for multiple reasons. Having a child with severe disabilities is hard for me and I feel so inadequate. And the strain sometimes carries over to my general life. But I saw the effort my daughter went to to make it special for me and for that I was truly grateful and wrote her a thank you card which she really liked.

The gig was good, afterwards a woman told me that for some song (wish I had asked her which one/s) she thought I sounded like Janis Joplin. Wow. What a compliment that I have never heard...usually I'm compared to The Cranberries or Cocteau Twins, or Kate Bush or Bjork or Joni Mitchell or you get the picture. However, in Specx, we did some Jefferson Airplane covers-super hard to do, which was a good stretch for my voice. 

Then Waz is teaching me some chord progressions on the piano and said, oh that one is in "Someone Like You" so I started playing it/singing it, but it wasn't in the right key. I told him that next week I'd sing it for him, so I figured out which key it's in- A and am now working on it. In order to sing that song, you really do have to belt it out, which I've heard Adele describe herself as. 

I love my piano lessons. It's like a, no, it definitely is a class in theory. And we get to discuss music. He wants me to get a regular piano book to work on my sight reading. I got out a book I had from when I was a teen and played a bit yesterday. Well, yeah, it is amazing to just pick up a piece and start playing, but that's often hard for me. 

The baby bunny is still alive. My friend Nancy told me that it's really hard to keep baby bunnies alive and I said that if I could keep my premature baby Harry alive without benefit of a NICU, then I could certainly keep a baby bunny alive. The story of Harry's birth is the subject of a dormant memoir I have and not something I really want to get into here. But, yes, it gave me the confidence to feed and nurture this bunny, though my daughter has also been extraordinary in the nurturing department, for which I am extremely proud. 

She and I are going to drive to South Dakota in a few weeks to see my Aunt and cousins and my cousin has some cows that are ready to give birth so we'll get to see some calves. I was super nervous about the long drive, but it's imperative that we go visit. I want her to see and remember where she came from and have positive connections with the whole shebang. 

A few years ago my Aunt sent me a box of all of her sewing patterns and it was a bit overwhelming until I organized them, but in talking to my cousin yesterday, he said growing up she made all their clothing except jeans, underwear and socks. She sent me some cool patterns for snow suits/those work uniforms, plus she used to make wedding dresses so there are some super cool patterns for crazy sleeves, etc. And the thing is (which I did yesterday) is to take different patterns (if you're in a hurry) and combine them to get what you want.

For instance, I had stopped working on the outfits for my video due to getting my ep to the printer (! yes it is being made !!!) but I still need to get the nightgowns together so I got out a pattern but wanted to modify it so I found another pattern with sort of the piece I wanted and just did some hocus pocus. It would be over course way better to make my own pattern from scratch, but - don't have time.

But anyway, since I now have a library of patterns, that makes it easier. 

So yes, the cd is at the plant. I'm working on my packaging, silkscreening little bags and making ceramic evil eye protectors and what ever. But I went to visit Billy this week, too, Billy Pozzo who made the diorama for cover #2 and I really want to do a kickstarter campaign featuring his work and need to carve out time to get that set up. 

To save a little money I took a slow production time, which is actually good so I can get everything set up and make some lists of people to send the disc to, etc. I guess people want an EPK (electronic press kit) but me, of course as a maker, I want them to want the physical copy.

Wow. My mind seemed to empty there for a minute, maybe it's time to stop. Work's calling me. Trying to organize my music archives, including my past promo/all lyrics whether songs or not/all finished songs/all previous releases etc. I saved a lot of stuff like original lyrics meaning the scrap of paper or whatever that I started a song with, notes from my recording sessions, flyers I made, etc. 

Anyway, have a great week. xo

Leslie

 

Gig Tonight

 

Well, it's a beautiful day outside, very green here, birds chirping and the bunny is still alive. I'd forgotten just how wonderful rodents are (my beloved pet Guinea Pig Chupy died in the summer of 2001). I've had to feed the bunny via eye dropper, but he/she (not sure yet) has been eating shredded carrots and clover as well.

This bunny is so incredibly beautiful and we will be sad to let it go, but have been taking it outside several times a day and it's starting to hop so it will only be a matter of time. 

(I was just going to insert a photo of the bunny here but for some reason, the uploader is not working. Sorry!)

Every day my life seems to be coming together a bit more, a process I am very active in and also observing. Clarity is such an amazing thing and having my creative output organized and cataloged feels good. I talked to a friend over the weekend who said something about this burst of creative production and I think it's got something to do with getting this studio organized, having a station for everything, i.e. a cutting area, sewing, leather, music, desk, etc. Also, I think getting toxic people out of ones life is helpful, standing up for oneself, and realizing the haters gonna hate. So, if you suck, they will still hate you and if you're great, and that bothers them, well, whatever.

About to finish up the artwork for ep #1. Shocking. Then, going to visit the artist for ep #2 cover who is doing additional illustrations. I'm still working on a vision for eps #3 and #4, have been thinking of photos of me, but not 100% sure. I suppose I should just go for it and if I don't like them, then think of something else.

Finished the pajamas, took a while because tbh I really don't like making buttonholes on the sewing machine. They never really come out that great, and bound buttonholes are infinitely better, but I guess I didn't feel like making them. I think I need to explore other ways of making buttonholes. I remember reading years ago about how there are people in Manhattan and that's all they do-make buttonholes for designers/garments. That sounds like heaven. I think at the time it was like $1/buttonhole. But whatever. They are done and now it's on to nightgowns. I feel a bit behind here, but then I haven't been sitting idle. 

Even though I am loving playing the piano and learning with Waz, I need to get back on guitar, since I'm still playing it live. My playing is sort of basic, and very rhythmic but not earth-shattering. Now my studio is set up and I'm playing through my PA and posting snips on instagram, which is a good motivator. I know things are not perfect but that's the point, to see the progress. 

School will be out soon and then what. I hope my artistic life doesn't come to a halt, but we shall see. A few years ago there was a day camp for children like my son, but no more. And my daughter doesn't like the day camp I signed her up for a few years ago either. She definitely prefers being at home and hanging out. 

So yeah, gig tonight. I was going to make a really crazy outfit, but maybe it's more of a summer thing. Might wear one of the dresses I made for the booklet/magazine for my 3rd cd, LESLIE NUSS. That way, I have more time today for other things...and I haven't worn them that often.

Just going to play with Andrew. Bill has another gig already, but it will be ok. I would love to cart more merchandise around with me but so far, it's not that kind of crowd. 

The news cycle was really getting me down for a few days. Wow. My heart was really hurting. Somehow, rehearsing with Andrew last night really made me feel better. We are going to do "Keep On Loving You" which will be fun. 

There are so many birds chirping outside. And trees are blooming. And I remember when my son was small, my parents had died/were dying, when I barely noticed because things seemed so bleak and my load so heavy, but now I notice. I watch the bunny in the grass and notice how large a fly seems to it, and how it's navigating in a maze of grass. A carpenter bee checks me out and I look at it looking at me. I enter their world and feel connected. Andrew and I rehearse and I watch the birds eating seeds outside my window cocking their heads trying to figure out what's going on, what is this sound they are hearing. 

It's ok.

xo

 

 

Piano.

 

So. A few weeks ago, I asked Waz what was the purpose of me learning the different keys, etc on the piano. Waz laughed. And here I am, today, playing Carpet Crawlers on piano, Stairway to Heaven yesterday and some of my own songs a few days ago. What a revelation. He came back this week to tweak my studio piano, because after he graciously fixed the clunk with some epoxy, some epoxy wandered and stuck a few keys together.

He didn't even notice how much I had cleaned my studio! But he did notice my self-portrait, if only because of the scarf I am wearing in the portrait (!) Nothing else looks like me, I guess, haha. 

So, this morning I finally rearranged the music part of the studio. It's like I'm getting closer to the finish line or something. "Speed comes with mastery," Waz said. Now my music part looks/feels workable. Still need to sort through my files, because over the years they have become mixed up. And today I'm going to finally put up the poster from my White Album LP that I've been saving since I was a girl. Need a frame. --> Target!

As I type, I'm looking at a large box that temporarily houses the baby bunny we are loving until it's big enough to live on its own. I suggested "Sugarlumps" but Ruby is convinced it's an "Alvin" He's adorable, and she is over the moon. Alvin and his littermate were discovered by Hank who was pouring a driveway here. We moved the nest and observed for a few days, the littermate vanished that night, but yesterday, I found Sugarlumps Alvin tumbling in water and said, "Ok, that's it!" It's such a tricky thing, but as his eyes are open now and he seems to have woken up after a bit of kitten formula, I think it was the right decision. 

Anyway, gotta send off the ep. Hard to get it all done. Packaging tweaks, videos to shoot, gigs to play/book, practice to do, plus everything else. I need a time-turner. oh yeah, and new music to record, other eps to finish. hahahahahahahah, I'm cracking up.

no not really

The child raises the artist. 

What a beautiful day today is. Green outside, warm, my squirrel buddy about to come by for a bit of late breakfast. He's got a real red streak on his back. Kind of a tiny squirrel, but super cure. I put one bowl right next to the glass garage door, so after he/she gets what's in the tree, she/he will come and look in on me. I guess about a month ago a few deer were looking in early in the morning, but I missed it. 

Carpet Crawlers. What a beautiful song. We've got a gig next Friday and I'd like to sing it. 

Here comes a blue jay. Oooh, and some bird that's white, black with a bit of red. Not a flicker. A warbler? A woodpecker? The jay chased it off. I got some meal worms to attract the blue bird of happiness, but as the squirrel seems to be lounging in the jello mold I have out, I'll have to work on it. Some people get super angry about squirrels eating bird seed. I guess I need to put out some kind of feeder that squirrels can't get into, but put some out for the squirrel, too. 

I held a baby squirrel once. It was a thrill. 

Well, I could just write all day, but as I've realized that a lot of our common sayings have to do with sewing/making, I'll end with, "I've got my work cut out for me."

rock on, next week,

Leslie

 

 

last week was a vacation?

 

So. I skipped a week. Should have written some generic post for times like this, but got back from NY very late last Thursday night, so super tired, then my daughter had a 1/2 day and the weekend + Monday was totally shot with kids/family then scrambled to get some things done.

So. Now the first ep is mastered. Working on a few packaging aspects then off to the manufacturer. The mastering session was great, Greg is so skilled, it's like watching anyone who is amazing at what they do. We somehow managed to catch up in between all the commotion-his whole office is moving to NJ and I was just awestruck at how he was able to keep his focus...and after my project-he had another 12 tracks and a single to master by the end of the day! But I did start crying when he pulled up "Lost" and I'm still crying when I listen to it in the car. It really gets me when song gets to the lyric, "A tree...isn't it good...a tree." I've put nature references in so many songs, but this one is just so personal for me. 

So many songs on the radio are about romance, which is great and I love a good love song, too, but there is a whole world beyond human interactions.

So, (lots of so-s) now I'm back to working on the videos. Greg said I should make a video for Lost of the radio edit, and/but I'm thinking I'll have one for each cut. I'm waiting for the land to "green up" a bit before I shoot footage for the radio version, so am working on "Subway" for now. Cut out a pair of silk pajamas and need to sew up. The silk is really beautiful and I had just enough--got it years ago at a yard sale, but/and/as part of my "use it up" thing, I'm trying to use what I have...though have bought some fabric in anticipation for certain future videos.

Yesterday I did get to an estate sale because I saw a photo of the lady's pins and there were so many butterfly ones! I was not first in line, so some got snapped up before me, but I managed to get a bundle and will figure out how to incorporate them into a video/videos. When my first cd, "Heliotrope" came out, people used to give me butterfly everything, but now only a few friends still do. Anyway, pins are super cool and they seem to be an essential if you want to wear one of the wraps I make. Plus-it's an accessory (!) and as an accessory designer, I can't argue with that :)

My self-prepared tax returns are being looked over by our state, which put me in a super foul mood, simply because I am hyper-aware that the taxes have grown beyond my capabilities and I didn't really want to do them this year for that reason, but on the bright side-I think I will be relieved of this job going forward!

So, I embarked on a fast to rid myself of this dark cloud, and it seems to be working! Sometimes I fight myself on fasting, but not this time. And it's been easy so far, no real cravings/only a slight headache. Not sure how long I will go, because next week is a super celebratory week and there will be parties, etc. My Mother-in-Law was going to make an angel food cake, which from what I understand is a super hard thing to do, and therefore shows off her amazing culinary skills, but my daughter has been into Christina Tosi, and her "birthday cake" extravaganza, and while it is a sugar bomb and not something I'd choose to make for myself, it is something that the girl will thrill over. So MIL is going to make it. Yea!

Now the dogs are back. Sometimes I'm honored that they want to spend their time inside during the week by my side, but sometimes I'd also like it if they weren't jumping with my every move. Macy was just staring attentively at me, then came over for a pet. They do go out and in all day, too, and she's the one who barks angrily to be let in. But they are adorable. 

Started a new painting this week, due to my foul mood, just wanted to paint. I never paint the same painting twice, and so it's always a new discovery. I might have the same framework for my abstracts--ie the swirly line, but the execution is different. And it's a challenge. But one involving color and shape and composition. And self-pleasing, though my husband usually stops by to offer his support. 

Piano is still going well. Waz is having me learn a bit of "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" only giving me the chords and the position, i.e. root, 1st or 2nd inversion and it just seems like an impossibility. I watch him feely play it, then play it in a different style and come home and barely get through one measure (I learned how to read sheet music, so this is very hard for me) and I even wrote out some of the chords, though I understand the lesson is to be free of the music. But, after about 10 minutes, I had to play what I heard, i.e. compose something of my own and I found that I have been learning something! because I played a bit then played a variation of it in a different key. wow. And it sounded ok back to back. another wow. It's like being in a foreign land, learning another language. 

Then there's ceramics. I got back some pieces yesterday, they turned out well, wedged some porcelain clay and made some free formed plates after rolling some of my Great Aunt's lovely tatted round pieces in them. And then making a bunch of evil eye protectors. I also tried a plate-after seeing some really beautiful ones at BDDW in NY, where everything in that store is amazing...so I am trying to emulate their technique. I also realized that I want to replace the plastic organizers in a few drawers with ceramic ones, so will work on those. It's best to go in to this studio with a plan, which I'm slowly getting. I'll have to go back to the wheel, but I'm liking the flat rolling and shaping for now. 

Well, that's my week. 

 

Friday.

 

Ok, quick post. Don't want to get too deep here, but here's a thought for today:

Crazy is causing chaos in other people's lives.

(might have to tweet that)

have to finish taking a defensive driving course online today. been putting it off, but have put in a few hours already. It's been a pain, but I'll admit it's good to refresh the driving rules to be the safest driver one can be. 

I got a speeding ticket at 4am en route to the airport to meet Ainjel for the first time. I'd just come off the highway and didn't slow down and--now I'm super aware! the speed limit is 35, but I was going along with the few other cars on the road at that time. I'd been so busy that I hadn't had much time to prepare for recording and was finally giving the mixes I had of the songs we were going to work on a listen, so I wasn't really paying attention to my speed. 

Got pulled over, the cop was nice-ish under a veneer of weirdness, as if he didn't believe my answer to his question, "Where are you headed?" I pointed to my guitar and bag in the back seat. I think he took my speed as I was going through the intersection, which was a bit higher, but I didn't question him, and after trying to tell me he might be able to give me a warning, came back saying no, I'd get a ticket. 

I was super freaked out, even though I knew it would be ok, it's just more money to spend and then this traffic thing. But I had to get to LA and do my best, so I put it out of my mind. Recorded, our first day of meeting/working together, staying in an Air B&B, etc. It all went well.

But, getting me to want to spend the hours doing the course was hard. I realized I'd need longish shots of time, and they never seemed to be what I wanted to do. So, here I am. I have to finish in the next few days or the course doesn't count. 

Better get going NOW! AGGGGGHHHHHHH.

xo

Leslie

 

intrinsic vs. extrinsic, the little red hen, the Lorax

 

so, I am completely procrastinating doing my taxes. Even though as a child I excelled in Math, or Maths, as the English say, or maybe because of that, I find doing taxes completely unleashes all my avoidant behavior. I feel like it's just so painful, excruciating, even, that earlier in the week I listened to my song, "Zen Meditation" to remind me that painful things can yield something good, because I wrote that song while experiencing many of the same emotions doing my taxes years ago. I specifically remember moving my desktop computer into my bedroom in an attempt to make the task seem more comfortable. 

Then I found my demo version of Zen Meditation and wanted to put it on youtube, would love to make a quick video, and you can see where this is going, right? It just led to more procrastination. But the demo version is good, and I would like to make it available. Maybe I'll do it on Sound Cloud. Sometimes I read interviews where artists or their producers talk about the demo version and how the recorded version is pretty much the same, just more fleshed out. And, maybe it's good for people to hear my voice, no nothing on it, as people seem to wonder if anyone can actually sing anymore.

here's the link: https://soundcloud.com/leslienuss/zen-meditation-demo

How does that segue into a discussion about intrinsic vs. extrinsic motivation? I don't know, but I was just thinking about the concept of helping, helping other people. My father certainly thought everyone (or at least his children) should do everything themselves with the very bare minimum of help. Maybe in his mind, if you could do it without help, then, you could really do it. However, children really do need help. Then I was thinking about it some more, thinking that I help people because I like to help people, but actually, as a child I didn't always like to help my mother, because (now I realize) I thought she was somewhat lazy. She didn't keep a clean house, only made the very simplest of meals, didn't sew, mostly sat and read, swam in the summer, watched tv. I would help her, but it was hard for me to understand why she wouldn't clean up (depression) 

But I think that's an aside. 

Some people are intrinsically motivated and others are extrinsically motivated, or transactionally motivated. If I do this for you, what are you going to do for me? Intrinsically motivated people are not necessarily motivated by money, they are motivated by the desire to do, to accomplish, while externally motivated people are (usually) motivated by material things like money, etc. 

But, the segue I am looking for is to the story of the Little Red Hen. Is the Little Red Hen a feminist icon? She certainly held a fascination for me as a child. No one would help her. They couldn't see past the end of themselves, and so, she did it all by herself. While they napped and fished and laid around, she did everything. She planted the wheat, threshed the wheat, ground the wheat and made the bread, and only when it was cooling on her sill and the aromas traveled to the noses of those who refused to help her did they respond. And of course they wanted to help her eat the bread,--they had been too lazy to make some themselves, but she called them out. She told them they wouldn't help her when she needed it, so she was going to eat this bread herself and share it with her chicks. She is the epitome of grace under pressure and self-respect. She is incredibly aware. I love her. 

I am trying to get a handle on this Twitter thing. Maybe I'll post that last paragraph as a thread. 

The taxes will get done. The mastering of the ep will get done. The next songs will get finished. The next next songs will get recorded and so on and so forth. I do have a little army who is helping me. Little but mighty. Talented. 

And, there's always painting. xo

oh and what about the Lorax? He spoke for the trees. 

 

This is my story

 

My name is Leslie Nuss and I'm a singer-songwriter/artist who lives in Valparaiso, IN. This is my blog, this is my story.

Let's start at the beginning. I was born in Illinois, near Chicago to two people who met in Madison, WI. My father, Neal Nuss, was from a farming community about 45 minutes west of Sioux Falls, SD and my mother, Ethel Long was "Pennsylvania Dutch and born in Hershey, Chocolate Town, USA. 

My mother told me that they had met at a dance on the U of Wi/Madison Campus while both were pursing graduate degrees. Apparently, my mom went there looking for a Lebanese guy and ended up meeting my father. When she told me this, I had the feeling she wished she had met up with the Lebanese guy, or at least he must have been very handsome, because she would sort of look up with a faraway look.

In any case, the story isn't 100% clear because they both never finished, and it wasn't until I was well into adulthood that I found out that they had run off to Iowa to get married because my mother was pregnant with twins. I always wondered why there were no wedding pictures to see, but just chalked it up to my parent's eccentricities. 

Then, my brother Steve was born but his twin (a boy) was not alive. My parents did tell me that they were told the twin was "5 months" but it wasn't until after my mother died that a college friend of hers told me my mother had been in a car accident when she was 5 months pregnant. Anyway, my father had asked if he could see this dead child but was told it had already been "taken to the lab," which bothered me. No closure. 

Years ago The Atlantic published a story about twins in the womb and if one dies, how the other one can experience a life-long grief, which I've thought about. Being in the dark, touching something that pokes you back and then all of a sudden it stops poking. Having my own children really hit these things home for me, as did reading the Holotropic Mind.by Stanislav Grof. A woman I had worked with at Ariat, who designed shoes introduced me to that book. It's all about the "watery wonderful world" and

 

Solar Flare?/Action Hero Superstar

 

So, this has been a big creative week for me, or rather 10 days or so. I was just told there was a solar flare (?) and so...that's the reason, haha. maybe. who knows.

I finished the self-portrait and it was super fun to do, so of course now I want to do another one. Frida Kahlo is a big inspiration to me, and I love all the self-portraits she did of herself. For a long time I wanted to paint myself as a tree, so that will be on the docket. But then I did buy 3 more 10 x 10 canvases for my Vexation and Veneration Portrait series. I'm not sure how many I'll do but have 3 so far. Would be kind of cool to have a very large amount, like 50. I also bought a large canvas, maybe 36 x 48. I'm not sure. But it will be my largest. 

Music. Back to music. Mixes for 1st ep are...done. Radio edit. Done. Now, set to Master in April, packaging-almost done. Need song order, but wrote the thank you's. Keeping it simple. Next ep, need to check status, but I know Ainjel is close to done there, too. Had my piano lesson, was good, working on learning the basic chords, the names, how they relate to each other. Like learning a new language, but with an older mind that reflects. Waz (my teacher) is a great guy, very relaxed, kind, gentle. I feel lucky to be his student.

Made a pair of sandals this week. Am wearing them now. (photos on instagram). They look great but the fit is not 100% where I'd like it to be, so...will revise and make another pair. The learning curve in any endeavor can sometimes be a stumbling block, but the goal is to get it right. Waz said that speed is a free gift that comes with mastery, and the idea is to not make mistakes, because otherwise you get good at making mistakes. So True! But then, how realistic is to get it right the first time? And, that can be spooky, too. But the thing to overcome is the fear of failure. 

I wrote my first ever guest blog this week for a Blog entitles A More Perfect Union. it's here:  try that link. Anyway, I wrote it super fast, as it was an "extra" thing to add to my to-do list. But such a great topic, i.e., what do you think would contribute to a more perfect union? And mine is Equality--specifically Equality for Women. Such a no-brainer. anyway, I could get stuck in a rut if I sit and contemplate the why nots and the how long will it takes and what is requires...

I've also been listening to my second cd, Action Hero Superstar in the car. What a great cd. Kyle Kelso did such an amazing job and the music holds up and sounds good and solid. It's pop and accessible and a bit edgy at the same time. The solo part from "Insane" (by David Weintraub) really is my favorite guitar solo on any of my records, and there are some good ones on other songs/cds too. I still hold out that it will still be "discovered" 

In the beginning of "Insane" you can kind of hear me talking, and Kyle had asked me to just talk about something. He gave me a hand held recorder (don't remember what it was) and I think I crawled under a desk somewhere, but when he asked me what was I going to talk about, I said that I had been thinking about what I would do if there was a fire in my apartment, what would I grab, and what would that experience be like, because I thought about the concept of starting over, no possessions, and it really went to the "who are you/who am I?" and would I change (or not) if virtually everything vanished. Don't know if he still has the original tape from that, but that's what I was talking about!

I had hired this cool guy named Robert Martinez to do an illustration of a super hero for the cover, but when I got the final art, I felt uncomfortable, because even though he was true to comic book female super heroes, I thought the boobs were too big. So I put it in the middle of the booklet, which sometimes I regret. Maybe that cover would have been better. I should re-issue it with the comic book on the cover. and "remastered" or something, right? (a girl can dream) 

Kyle knew a lot of great musicians so I was very lucky in that respect. Jon Skibic (who now plays with the Afghan Whigs) Vinnie Zummo (who played with Joe Jackson) and on and on. What I remember is they were so "game" and easy to work with. So open to doing whatever Kyle suggested.

A fun thing was when we did the chorus for "Scarlet Letter" I think Kyle and I did like 12 additional vocals to make the vocals really substantial. It was fun doubling and tripling a part, then doing multiple harmonies and doubling and tripling those. It's when you try to match exactly the vocal you just sang, sometimes easier by taking off one "can" (one headphone). And I had been taking voice lessons for months in preparation for this record so my voice was super strong. 

Ahhh, the good old days, as we joke around my house. But they are still good, recording is kinda the same except that I don't have the same amount of time to spend in the studio. For Action Hero Superstar I was at almost every session. Mostly listening, but very invested in the process and outcome.

The only thing or maybe the main thing that is different, is "back then" I had been taking some empowerment courses and had decided to "throw my hat over the wall" and live on my credit cards and only focus on the record as a way to success. And while that works for many people, it ultimately did not work for me. I had kicked myself for not continuing to work as an accessories designer (though to be honest, I had tried to negotiate a 3/4 time position with my boss at American Eagle Outfitters and he balked) because once my debt got to be around 30K, the level of stress I experienced in addition to other factors was detrimental. 

So, this time, things are different. For one, I am not putting all my eggs in one basket. I am painting, designing, so that if -nothing- happens with these eps, I am already on a path to something else. Plus, if -nothing- happens, I won't be destitute. My husband is doing well and I don't have to worry about my next meal or rent check. As Einstein is credited with saying, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result." 

However, I will be playing at least one show in LA (not booked yet, but probably by the end of summer) and I'm super excited about that. I'll get to perform with some of the musicians who played on these eps and it will be FUN. 

I'll never fit into the industry concept of what a "Rock Star" is supposed to be, or so it seems. But I do like to paint. 

ok, busy day. gotta go. Love to you, keep on keeping on and xoxo. Leslie

 

 

the week in review

 

Listening to a podcast at the moment with Paul Epworth about working in the studio. It's interesting, and always good to hear from someone who is successful in whatever field you're interested in. Put it on pause for the moment.

Was painting earlier, started a self-portrait. It started out great, I painted myself as I am today and have on a small scarf, but took a break from that, too, as it's a large canvas and I remembered the blog!

So, last weekend's shows went really well. Playing with Bill and Andrew was nice and I mentioned wanting a hand massage and afterwards a man told me he almost volunteered! So maybe next time I will actually ask for a volunteer. Some songs give me a lot of cramping and we played a cover of a Siouxie and the Banshees song--so beautiful. I might record it on the 4th ep as that thing seems to be a mess and may be better off starting over. 

Then, the show Saturday was just me, and some different songs and more intimacy/talking which was nice, too. I actually realized that I love playing at this market (and would do others) because i'm such a maker myself and definitely appreciate all the people there, and then it reminded me of more like an ancient thing-a market, not a store. I mean, markets go on all the time, but the concept is so old. It's gotta be hardwired into our DNA at this point.

One time when I did some shows in London, I did two shows at two venues in the same evening, but other than that I can't think of me actually doing back to back shows. Now I need to do 3 in a row, right? #goals

This week I started piano lessons with a local legend, "Waz" something I really wanted to do. I see the piano as sort of like tall grass, and I'm just playing around in it. I don't really know what I'm doing yet, and I like that it's kind of wild, but I suppose it will get clearer and clearer. It's another way to communicate and I am curious to see and hear what I come up with once I know a little bit more. I'd really love to create some "pieces" that have several parts-I don't even care if they have lyrics/melody. 

Waz also tuned the other piano I have, but it's a bit of a mess in that the keys "click" and Waz was so nice and understanding and not upset when I was lamenting this latest (I fear) fiasco. But, he's been thinking about what might be wrong and how to fix it. We do have a lovely piano in the dining room, but it's nice to have one in my studio, too.

I worked on a tote for my Spring collection. It would be amazing to think that I was going to make, like 50, but for now my #goal is 4. I got out my straw hats to sew the suede binding on, cut it all out, now need to finish the leather and then execute. 

Then, ok, I suppose this is exciting news. I got the 4 songs mixed! They are just awaiting the a-ok from my mentor and then...on to mastering! Now, i still need to finish the liner notes, so that's a bit of a pain, not sure why as I've done it 4 times before, but this time I don't really want to do them. Minimalism. Anyway, I really need to make that a priority. Luckily, I have the illustrator who is shepherding this project, so that's very helpful. But the songs do sound great. And onward to #2. 

In other news, I think I can finally throw clay on the wheel. Tbh, I was finding that very difficult and so many of my forms collapsed-very frustrating. Then, I just tried "one more time" and I think I got it. And made a bunch of (small) bowls yesterday. Plus, I got back the palo santo incense holders I made and the one shape I do really like, but it needs a more hip--no, scratch that, next time I won't put on "feet" and just have it be flat on the bottom. Palo Santo wood needs a special holder, so this was something needed. Ok, I just lit a piece and put it in the holder. Yea!

I called my painting mentor today just to thank him for his encouragement and suggestions and turns out he is in rehab after having his gall bladder out. (he's 90). But it was so nice to talk to him. He said that in January when he came to my studio, 

better stop. my down syndrome mentor (she's 87) is here.

 

show tonight

 

Well, was going to get this done earlier, but my daughter needed lunch money and we took a detour to an estate sale where I got a super fun pair of sneaker roller-skates for $1 and we got a painting by a local artist Jan Sullivan-giant canvas-for $60 (sort of a crime that it was so cheap). 

Then, worked on outfit/dress and voice warm up and run through the set-why did I pick these songs? is that goes through my mind. The idea was to slow things down, play slowly, as I think we all need to chill. So that part's good, but we, I say we in this instance to refer to my co-conspirators, Andrew Bray on keyboards and Bill Romer on drums. Surprisingly, they seemed into the slow bit, so we will see. It's an experiment. 

Painting, yes, still painting, but if you do a portrait of someone you know and you have mixed feelings about that person, it's a powerful experience. I am currently doing a good friend, though and have given her a halo of golden hair, "just for fun," as my mother used to say. 

It's sorta spring-y here, some shoots popping up, nice to see some green. I put out some seeds, then was running through the set and a squirrel got really interested and was looking in the windows of my studio. It was so sweet. Maybe soon I'll get bolder and open the garage door and see if some creatures venture inside. But then, it could get tense if they freak out and feel trapped. 

I'll get some video of the show, and hopefully post some songs on youtube. sorry so short, but the day goes by quick.

xo

Leslie

 

Done

 

Alright. I'm listening to a song from the new ep, called "Writer." It sounds good, waiting on my mentor to weigh in. Super excited now. Artwork back on track, very simple for the 4 eps, then maybe a full-length cd release with all of them, maybe adding some extra tracks because I CERTAINLY HAVE THEM. I all caps'd that because I've got alternative take after alternative take for many of the tunes. 

And new songs, too.

I want to be quick today, because I'm rehearsing at 11 with the keyboardist from Specx, Andrew Bray. We have a gig next Friday and need to give it a run-through. I think we'll have some drums/percussion, too. But, as I've been spending an inordinate amount of energy on other artistic pursuits, I need to brush up.

Usually maybe I mentioned this last week, I write a list of goals for the coming year. Then, a few years ago I added 1 new year's resolution (this year's is: No More Backlog) but today I realized that for the coming year I have only 1 goal:

I'm working on calligraphy. I liked it as a kid, did it a bit, but it's kind of fun to have a pen and ink at the ready for times like this. I'm on the 10 year plan here. 

 

And that's all I need. It's kind of a shock for this to start to snowball, but it has. I realized that if I don't clean my brushes, but paint every day, they don't need to be cleaned, and I've saved myself a step. I acquired a painting mentor, a Professor Emeritus of Art & Design from Valparaiso University, Dick Brauer, who happens to be the father of Elizabeth Brauer Allen who is the cellist and co-partner with me in Vale of Paradise. Dick got me to start painting portraits and I am on my second one and so far, so good. Possibly I'm still developing my style, but I think I have it, so the thing is to keep going.

As a birthday present to myself, I got an old spinnet from an estate sale. I missed the Victrola which caused my birthday to take a nose dive, but I'm having the piano tuned next week by a local pianist amazing guy, Waz.  And, I'm going to ask him if he'd give me some lessons. I'm just starting (well, ok, a few years ago) to experiment and would like to write more on it. The only problem currently is it seems to stink, and I'm not sure how to clean it. I'm not one much for old house smells. 

The design stuff, i.e. clothing is still going on, but then I realized that I said I was going to bring some clothes to the Society store in Valparaiso for Spring. If that's the case, I need to get cooking. My only hesitation, is that the owner, Carey, has a complete aesthetic, which I find appealing, and I think if I want to sell more in her store, I need to fit her vision, her color schemes. I really should just make some large leather bags and charge a lot and not worry about it.

Then there's guitar, which I want to keep working on. I thought I'd work on being a better guitar player this week and then got sidetracked by kind of writing a new song. I don't honestly know if that's going to make me a better player. Ok, I just took a mental trip for a minute thinking that I might need to add a few lessons there-and I seem to be doing every thing else except that. Well, I put that on my list. 

I feel like a dilettante, but that's who I am, then, I suppose. We'll see once things start rolling out.

+++++++++++++

So yeah, my birthday, in retrospect, was great. However, getting kicked out of Black Panther because my son was being a jerk (he has Down Syndrome and is non-verbal and thought it was hilarious to make a lot of noise) and then getting in a fight with my in-laws on first glance really seemed to be awful, but then I found myself laughing the next day because I didn't know which was the worst part! The phone calls, cards and gifts-all great, lovely and appreciated. What we realized is that my son needs to get out more and control himself a bit more, too. 

So, here we are. TTG. 

xo

Leslie

 

 

my birthday!

 

So. It's not today, but Sunday! and, since 2005, I have not really felt like celebrating, but maybe this year I will revert to my former self like a jellyfish. It started off like this:

Fred: what do you want to do for your birthday?

Me: nnnnnnnnn  hhhhhhhhhhh

Fred: What do you want to do for your birthday? do you want to go to the Deer Path Inn with the family for brunch? 

Me: No. I don't want to drive that far just to have brunch and that place is not really my thing.

Fred: (starting to get upset) Ok, can you let me know what you want to do?

Me: I'll think about it and get back to you.

This was over several days. And, I knew that it would start off with breakfast in bed, because Ruby loves to do that/participate in that. So, I told her I'd like fruit salad and a piece of toast with fake butter and coffee and maybe juice. Nothing fancy.

Then, I thought: I'd like to do something that Harry could do also, so that meant NO to a hike in the dunes, but I thought I'd like to go ice skating and he can do that, they have some seat-y things he can get pushed in. Then lunch, I don't really care, Fred suggested pizza but there is a new restaurant nearby, maybe there. THEN, WE WILL ALL GO SEE BLACK PANTHER!!!!!!!!! And I am super excited about that. So, maybe the curse that my father put on my birthday has been broken and I'm free to enjoy it unabashedly. 

I've already written out the things I've accomplished last year and my goals for this year, but maybe I'll do it again without looking at what I wrote and see if it's the same. (probably will be, as I've read over it a few times.) Nothing earth-shattering, really. All seem very doable. 

Dinner, who cares. Fred wanted a formal dinner (or brunch) here but then Harry doesn't really sit at the table well, so I'd rather just be casual. Food not really important to me, maybe because his whole family has very strong food choices and if they like what I like, it's a very big deal. 

It's been a good few days, I can't say a week, since I just wrote the other blog post, but good. I just got back from a trek to Munster for an estate sale, mostly great stuff, one thing I probably shouldn't have bought, but a LOT of pieces of fabric, mostly wool. The lady had been a nurse and I bought the most beautiful white nurse's dress, it's a shirt dress, a uniform but it's great. 

I did want to buy the Victrola and all the records, but it was kind of a lot of money. I had never worked one before but figured it out. You have to wind the crank a few times, start the wheel spinning with your hand, then put the needle down. At first the record was playing really slowly, and I just LOVED the way the song sounded. Another lady came over and she got me out of my listening stupor to crank it some more and then it got up to speed. But it was really amazing. With all the money I have outlaid for my recordings, I really cannot afford it and that is a shame. Plus, there was a very nice sounding upright piano that I touched, and started some musical thread. Not expensive, but since we have a piano in the dining room, seems a bit extravagant, although I'd love one back here in the studio, then I could get rid of the keyboard my father bought me years ago that was too much for me--too many controls when I just wanted the most basic keyboard. 

Did a bit of shopping, Whole Foods for fruit for the fruit salad, found a cute donut store out there, got some for the birthday (Ruby will be happy.) I ate the toasted coconut one while driving around. Yum. Left some crumbs for the mouse who lives in the car, not intentionally, but you know what I mean.

Stopped by my friend Carey's shop, she's redone it. Lots more taxidermy, very beautiful. Her shop seems to be always bustling, which is encouraging, but she's really a very gifted shop keeper. 

well, much more I want to say. Have to leave in 4 minutes to show the barn to someone who wants to have an 80th birthday party for their mother in a few months. 

BUT, Ruby did write me the sweetest poem for her English class. She wrote that I'm very rarely mad (really?) and that I find everything funny and care for everything (she had said "everyone" but she wrote everything). That was all she had yesterday but she needed 5 more lines, so she wrote that I liked to design, love music, like to cook, blah blah blah. 

alright. I'm loving making my website better. I'll keep working on it. 

maybe more later, maybe not.xoxo

 

 

rainy. super rainy

 

So, yeah. No blog post last Friday. My daughter had the day off of school and I was in the middle of a small meltdown, which required some rest and a bit of a brain drain. 

I had written my post earlier in the week, which ended up being somewhat confronting, as I had been going through a bin I had saved of papers and ephemera from the University of Illinois, my alma mater before FIT. "how did I get here?" is a constant theme to my thoughts, and sometimes it's hard to square with the person I was and the person I am now. Sounds so self-indulgent which I think led to the meltdown.

I abandoned several career options early in my 20's, namely medical school and a career as an environmentalist to throw my hat in for fashion/accessories design and music, both of which seem to kick me to the curb at every turn despite my intentions, effort, innate ability and study. Again, very self-indulgent, as all I have to do is think of people in Syria or Africa to feel like a big baby. Growing up we were always made aware how lucky we had it, even if we didn't feel very lucky at the time. And I am incredibly lucky. So what upsets me, I think is the invisible net that has held back women for millennia and how unaware I was of it and unprepared for it and unable to escape its grasp. My fervent hope is that my daughter does not have the same struggles, though she will have different ones as she is certainly not a mini-me. 

So, why complain? I am painting-and I really love my paintings! (so that's great). And my husband loves my painting/paintings. He loves it! I am taking ceramics-and again, he loves it and we can spend a long time talking about line and shape and form and purpose and color and firing (maybe too long as he seems to have a list of things that I should make...in due time). And I make some crazy sleeve to wear in a video-and again, he loves it! And this is all well and good, but the next step of making any kind of money just seems fleeting and beyond me. Does that make me a "pure" artist? Maybe. And in many ways, the artistic expression is enough. I really do love painting. And now, at least, I really don't care if I sell any, because I am loving having them hang in my house. I love looking at them. 

But music. Music is hard. Music requires a team, it's not something I, the independent warrior can reasonably do by myself in that I don't play all instruments and have a non-working knowledge of garage band....and in protools I can hit the space bar to start and stop recording, but that's about it. The point being is that achieving what I want requires skills that I wonder if I have sometimes. Maybe I've just raised the bar for myself with this project. I think that's it, actually, as i was awake last night, educating myself on wikipedia...what started with "soft power" led to all kinds of words, eventually landing on Artist (why not read what wikipedia has to say?) and Aesthetics.

Aesthetics really made sense to me, and I think that these recordings really have to do with my aesthetic and encompasses how I want the music to sound and how I want the listener to feel. It's really not enough for me to just record the song, although that is certainly part of it. And I'm certainly guilty of listening to what other people (mainly men) have told me: how to record, how to sound, what they want to hear. But that doesn't always square with what I want to hear or what I want the listener to hear. I realized when I started, now way back in 2016 that I was primarily recording this music for women. Not that I didn't want men to listen to it, but as a woman, I wanted to make music for women. And what I wanted women to feel was good about themselves, and a whole lot of words and descriptors of what that would mean, sensual, powerful, alive, strong, beautiful, hopeful, realistic, persevering, etc. And I realized that I couldn't very well communicate that to most of the men who were playing on the records. Some men got it and some men struggled with that. 

Truth be told, one song (for certain) is more of a rocker, more of an alt-rocker, but I've been struggling with that one, too. And, my mentor keeps telling me not to put something out unless it's great, and my husband is on board there.

But then the meltdown came with my tallying up of how much money I've spent so far and not even being able to make a projection of how much more there was to spend. I've made a lot of mistakes which have been painful to acknowledge, and even if, even when it's done and great, I anticipate a less than hearty welcome due to my gender and age, which leads me in a circular spin back to painting-which is low-cost in comparison, and making my own wardrobe, since I have a studio full of wonderful fabrics just waiting for me to cut and sew. 

Aha! 

I can hear this shitty letter my father sent me years ago when he was trying to convince me to move back home (as if!). He typed--he typed me letters on his electric typewriter, having preferred that to hand-written letters before email due to my grandparents freak out over him being left-handed, which must have affected him, since they told him that was the hand of the devil, and, well, he turned out to be a bit devilish. But I digress.

He said something like, you've put your flag up the flagpole and no one bit. It's time to give up music and move home. (and this was after only really working hard for a couple of years at it). God he was a nasty man! I'm sure I can find the letter. Give me a minute.

ok, then 6 months later he sent me another letter:

So, even though he's been dead for...over 11 years now, he still haunts me. He wanted me to quit. Desperately. He'd make sure to come to my shows, then give me no support afterwards. He even asked if we could sing a duet together, so I let him sing with me at CB's Gallery in NYC once...also in Chicago twice, but no. He never faltered. He was always against me being in music. 

This makes me extraordinarily aware of my missteps. And painfully aware of the "talent" I seem to have wasted. Hence, the meltdown. But, I get knocked down, then I get back up, there really is no other choice. No other way.

I've saved these letters, maybe I mentioned on an earlier post? because I had thought of writing some kind of memoir. It seems that memoir writing might be more lucrative than music, haha. Though it's like scraping your bones inside your skin to relive some of these moments. These years, these experiences. 

Anyway, I haven't given up. I just decided to complete one ep at a time, instead of 4 at once. I think I'm done shooting video for the first one, "Lost" though it takes place in the snow, so maybe that song won't get released on video right away (?). Now I'm starting the next one. I think it might be for "The Subway" since it's about dreaming, and the costumes are clear: nightgowns and pajamas. I think I'll silkscreen onto fabric for the pajamas, though that will require some thought, i.e., what color fabric, what designs and what color for the silkscreens? I might shoot some footage in the actual subway--I was thinking at night, but it should be at all times of the day...and maybe some against a green screen then running footage of the subway behind it--might make it more "dream-like" Me, I'd like to make a whole buncha nightgowns, because the idea sounds great, but I have to be realistic. 

See, I feel better already. New project, new mood.

xoxo

Leslie

 

A day late

 

Well, we have snow, which is great, because I've been worried that winter is disappearing as we know it. But, that meant that the kids had no school yesterday, which meant that I had precious little time for thought, let alone typing. However, we did go out in the snow-deep. Pulled my son in a sled for awhile, but there was really too much snow for that, even. His grandfather took us out for a wild ride in an ATV which was great, as I had my phone and got some additional video for the song "Lost."

My son's caregiver suggested I shoot some in some kind of floaty dress, like a winter princess, but it's been hard to get one made. Though, I might make progress today. I have some silver ripstop nylon, that might be cool, as it would be outdoorsy and kind of tech and maybe even kind of cool. I really want to make another winter coat with it-think a circle, as in if you look at me, it would look like I'm in a circle, but that will be hard to do considering everything else I have going on. 

I have an antique plate strung up in a tree outside my studio windows (an all glass garage door, kind of cool) and it's nice to watch the birds come by. I really love the female cardinals, they don't seem to have many fans, but their coloring is really beautiful and I love their bright beaks. I have some chickadees and such and was told if I want bluebirds I need to put out some meal worms. I might ask my friend Nancy for some worms, as she has been attracting gobs of bluebirds to her deck on Flint Lake. She has an amazing view. Oop, I see a mommy cardinal and a bluejay. The birds are all trying to take turns and not get in each other's way too much. They walk straight down some trunks, wings out. 

My mind is consumed with generating ideas for videos. Yesterday my husband caught me acting out a potential scene for "Bell Tolls" which involves making some cool costumes. I get as excited about the costumes/clothing as I do about the video. But, then I realize you can just about insert anything into a video and it could look cool. I'm sure I'll try more and more things as time goes on.

I am also working harder on my voice. It's a muscle, is a little weak and needs some crossfit training. I have these old cassette tapes from when I made Action Hero Superstar and took voice lessons for over a year, so they are good for now. It's singing weird stuff and singing high and low, really. 

Yesterday I tried to play some piano-fooling around with a minor 7th chord, and even though my son used to tolerate my piano playing (mostly if I was playing Yankee Doodle) he abruptly came over and shut the lid on my fingers, which actually hurt. Then I had to say OWWW, because it did hurt, and then he laughed. And then I realized that he really is like a little buddha, and he was saying, "Ok, now what are you going to do? Are you going to stay cool?" And I wasn't even about to get angry with him, but I was more present to the whole encounter. It just reminded me of lifesaving, in the water, when you swim out to approach a swimmer who is in need of assistance and you get close, then sort of stop and swim a little bit away, to assess the situation. One of the things I remember most about Lifesaving is the concept of Double Drownings, where a person in danger in the water has the capacity to bring down a very good swimmer/lifeguard. Me being me, that concept has stayed with me and I think of it from time to time in dealing with other people/other situations. Maybe that's behind the phrase "Don't bring me down" in my song "Blake's England" Don't drown me, when I'm trying to save/help you, you know?

I'm also still organizing. Now I've been going through the bits and bobs in my design studio, relabeling things and reminding myself of what I have, especially as I go into Costume Shop mode. Right now my giant work table is covered with hair accessories stuff, remnants of things I did back in the day when one of my designs was on the cover of YM magazine, worn by none other than Michelle Williams. She's only gotten cooler with age, which is nice. I had no idea that my headband was going to be on the cover until they called me and asked for my information. I had just made a bunch of stuff to send over at the request/suggestion of my friend Jeffrey Marcus, whom I had worked for/made 1,000 plastic accessories (coin purses and the like) for his line Jinx. Jeffrey is now a gifted Floral Designer who always had an amazing work ethic. I did flowers with him one time in 2001 and still remember shopping with him in the floral district. What a cool job. I even bought myself some flowers today at Target of all places...

Anyway, ooh, now there is a woodpecker, or is it a Flicker at the bird feed plate. So cool, just a tiny bit of read on the head and then all black and white.

But, yes, I need to accessorize all these outfits for the videos, since I have a degree in accessories design and earned the only real money I have ever made designing them. Of course, it seems like an impossible task, but it's about breaking it down into smaller tasks, making lists, and then for me, it will be about not spending too much time getting it perfect. I can for sure make stuff that is not 100% finished-it's not like I'm going to sell it.

Today Pat Sansone of Wilco is recording some tracks for one of my songs at his studio in Nashville. I'm not there of course, but he's such a gentle beast in that he can just do one track after the next. It's quite amazing and intimidating to watch at the same time. I love the song--it's one of the first ones I wrote when I started writing again, one that had a lot of lyrics before I had something I wanted to say. Sometimes song lyrics are like nests, in that I weave bits and pieces into them, and this one is no different. I reference my old life of Action Hero Superstar, being a mother and experiencing some loss around that, my Great Aunt, life, aging, a line of Specx member Peter Kaifais'-- "Walk in Come Down" that's what he would tell us when we were coming over to rehearse, and the idea of the struggle of being a mother with any kind of ambition in addition to motherhood. 

I am going to search for the cover of the YM Magazine and add some photos to this post, but will post it right now because I have lost these posts in the past and losing this would upset me. 

I hope you are well and good and striving for good. xo Leslie

 

It's Friday, Baby!

 

Well, it’s Friday. Blog Day, and I’m in the studio with Josh. Singing a new vocal for a faster version of Anybody Out There, a song I wrote when I was in Specx that we recorded (and that Rich Kaminsky played on his best of 2016 Show, Dec. 31st, 2016). We never officially released it in a print version, so it’s ok to re-do.

The vocal is ok, but I’m at the point where I want to work my voice a bit more. Like getting in shape, it could use a bit of a workout, beyond the exercises I currently do (with irregularity.)

Josh and I have already talked about The Phantom Thread, coffee-Major Dickason’s Blend being the current pinnacle of coffee to my husband, which gives Josh a challenge to find a better one, my idea for a history of sexual harassment in the music industry book, Fiona Apple, health, and seems like so many other things.

Every week lately seems like a year. So many things going on in the news I had to quit a few people on twitter because my feed was overwhelmingly about politics. There are layers of outrage, like the 7 layers of hell and luckily I think I’ve ascended one in that I seem to be able to take more, except outrage in the music industry compelled me to finish a couple of paintings this week. I had started a series of 4 maybe last year but had been stuck with how to proceed.

Luckily (again, luckily) a 90-year old former professor of art, Dick Brauer was at my house and in my studio two weeks ago and he told me to just paint and the painting would tell me what to do, and he was of course right. He’s the father of Elizabeth Brauer Allen, who is the cello half of our Vale of Paradise duo. So, getting back to that series was/is so great, because what I really want to do is paint some huge gigantic canvasses, but I had told myself I needed to finish these first.

I’m super excited to paint a large canvas. I have some ideas, but don’t have a set vision. Well, maybe I do.  Then I’d like to do a large series of many smaller canvasses, like maybe a group of 16, or even 25. So, my work there is sort of cut out for me.

Funkhouser on Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee was very funny. He basically plays a non-comedian version of himself on Curb Your Enthusiasm, so I didn’t know he’d be so so funny – his jokes were so good.

 My daughter and I are reading the Harry Potter series in tandem. She’s a few chapters ahead of me, but I thought maybe I could be the pacer horse to get her to read faster. Then, as a reward, I had told her we could watch the 1st one again, but she was trying to outsmart me by telling me she wanted to jump to the 3rd movie, so I said, ok, after we read the 3rd book. What a struggle. Those kids that love to read-how amazing. She seems determined to not like reading. And, I get it, in that TV/Videos are such an immediate consumption. But here we are.

 She and I made homemade pasta last Friday night and used the pasta machine-y thing, which I have to admit is a lot easier than hand rolling (though I love it). She also made a confession that she loves the salads I make, even though she pretends not to. Awwwww!! I make the kind where I just throw in whatever I think it needs/whatever we have. Lettuce/spinish/cole slaw (any or all) and it might have: corn, apples, cut grapes, sunflower seeds, pistachios, carrots, cucumber, olives, pickles, maybe tomatoes, though I don’t love them in a salad, chicken (or not) edamame, seaweed, avocado. YUM. I like light ranch dressing with a little Chinese hot sauce (my favorite) but Ruby’s off light ranch and likes Italian. I grew up using Wishbone Italian, so I get it/don’t want it—have had enough to last a lifetime.

 Took her to ceramics on Saturday and it was great. She had a fun time and loved the ladies and the attention and the making. She made a unicorn pig. I worked on my bowls, trimming them on the wheel. I confess that I don’t love the wheel, and last night tried it again and am moving on to hand building for the time being. She noticed that Amy only plays Beatles music in the studio and remarked, “Wow, you really have to be a Beatles fan to be here.” So cute. She scored points with Amy because she knew the song, “Here Comes the Sun.” (a fantastically great song, by the way)

I feel like I’m sitting on the bench for a few plays until Josh throws me back in the game and I sing the choruses.

My husband is very excited about my painting. Doing music is so hard, that who knows what will happen after these tracks are all done both Chicago and West Coast. TBH I don’t know how much touring I will be able to do. Play shows-sure. But if it’s: unless I play a large number of shows criss crossing the country for next to nothing no one will hear my music, then…..??? I will probably do a lot more painting!

Better go. Until next week! xo

 

big week

 

A lot was going on this week. I'll start with a Eulogy for the husband of the woman who nurtured me when I was a child, Terry Weishaar.

The adult me has this to say about him: When I met Terry in the 70's, he was the first person I had met who had red hair and was completely covered in freckles. He had a big mustache and the word that comes to mind is unicorn. I was fascinated with his freckles. Laura was my friend/big sister/mother figure who took me in.

This is a polaroid of John the cat and me. Nice pants, huh?

 

 

I spent days and weeks at her house hanging out, petting her cats, Raider and John (after John Lennon) and holding, playing with and eventually babysitting her 4 children. Terry was often at work, so I didn't see him as often, and since my own father was a bit of a bear, I was inclined to be frightened of him.

This is me, a girl named Kelly (I don't remember her, though) and Laura's first born, Cory, named after a member of Terry's favorite band, Three Dog Night. Cory was the first baby I ever held! 

_____

 

However, he was a prankster and would often pummel me and grab my leg to hear me shriek, which would make him laugh and laugh. But he was incredibly good natured and, which seemed unusual to me, let Laura rule. He never seemed to override her wants, whether it concerned the house, the kids or her life. 

I took this picture of a picture from a board at Terry's wake/funeral. It captures his irreverence to life.

Laura always talked to me as if I was her age, which was great. She told me that Terry didn't really like his job, a job his father got him working in the same factory that he did, but he didn't let that prevent him from having fun. They didn't have an excess of money, but that didn't seem to matter much to them. 

It was sad to hear that he had died, having been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer that had metastasized, but he accepted it with grace and was able to have his children and grandchildren around him. Going to the wake and funeral was so good for me. I hadn't been in touch with Laura much after moving back to the midwest and of course realized how much I missed her. I told her, "I wouldn't be the person I am if not for you," and she reminded me that I had told her that when I was in high school. The first person at my high school to win a National Honor Society scholarship, I wrote my essay about her and she told me she still had the copy I gave her. 

She knew that I needed to get out of my house desperately and she gave me a place to go. What a gift that was. She was like the good fairy who tried to lessen the curses of my father, which made life bearable. 

In this photo: Laura drove my mother down to UIUC for Mom's Day Weekend and I am proudly wearing the only garment I have ever knitted!

When I saw her again, it struck me what a good person she is. After I moved back to Chicago in 2002 I sought out a psychiatrist because I was miserable and wanted to know what was wrong with me. After many sessions of him dispelling my latest theory, he finally said, "There is nothing wrong with you. I think you are a really good person who tries to do the right thing." Laura's influence is the nurture part of nature/nurture, and while my parents had goodness in them, they had a lot of dark shadows as well. Now, Laura isn't and Terry wasn't perfect, but she does and he did radiate goodness, which coated me, like a thick layer of salve. I am forever grateful for them letting me be me and helping me become me. 

I did so many things with her, with them. And while I could list them all day, the thing I go back to is that if Terry hadn't been so easy-going, that probably wouldn't have happened. Terry tolerated the chaos, he accepted Laura for who she was, and looking back I can't find any real sexism or misogyny in him, which is remarkable.

He coached his kids' little league teams and told them to play to win, follow the rules, don't do anything dirty to the other team or your own teammates and no showboating. Lessons for life!

He was loved, will be missed, and left behind good feelings. 

___________________________________________________

I was in the studio with Josh yesterday, and resang, "Rainbow" but I think it's still not quite there. Too many words. Kind of a pain, but seems to be necessary. Ainjel sent me a track of "The Subway" complete with sounds of...the NY subway, that is ready to mix. Sounds great. I made a tote bag and wonder if I could sell more if I made them. I was going to post some photos on Instagram, but I think maybe I should do it on pinterest (but then that's another thing!) And then last night I started to work on pottery. 

Using the wheel is cool, but there are a lot of steps and it takes time. I had to switch to a wheel that goes in reverse because using my right hand as the dominant one just does not work for me. I'll post some photos on Instagram but have one for here, where you can see Amy, who owns/runs the studio (and is a huge Beatles fan) and Nancy on the right working on a formed bowl. If you look, you can see my green tote behind my cashmere wrap....

 

 

Moana

 

So, today is the party for my father in law's 80th birthday. I'm home cleaning so I made Fred put on the soundtrack for Moana so I could whistle (or sing) while I work. And, like clockwork, here comes the alert on my laptop to write today's blog post-beat you to it! I say.

Anyway, I love this music. The music, lyrics, performances, all stellar. But, taking a break because blog comes first.

I'm going to try my hand at some ceramics, and I'm thinking, "What the f*ck am I thinking?" because, yeah, so much time, but my friend Nancy does it, and she's a great hang I type as I drink out of a mug she lent me so I could show my husband the color of the glaze, because he's building this wood workshop for himself and wants some tile. (I thought he'd want to make it, but he just told me that I could make it, then he told me some things I could make in the ceramics studio--namely incense holders) I want to make bowls. I kind of thought, why try a million things, and why not just concentrate on one thing-bowls and get good at that. Though, to be completely honest, this mug is awesome to hold. It's a wabi sabi thing, I'll add a photo here.

So, you can see in this photo the residue of the green slime my daughter made and...well, left on this table. I thought it was cool at the time, a green for her lego constructions, but then it dried and hardened, and stained this table. Luckily, the table is a "work table" according to my husband, and therefore not precious. The top came from an old bakery in Gary, IN. Then, you can see the label maker, as I try in vain to sort and label her legos. Just looking at all of those tiny pieces sends me into fits of anxiety. I want to scream, "They need to be organized!!!!!!!!!!!!" But, if that's what I think, then that becomes another project for me, as no one else seems to care. 

So, back to the blog. 

Luckily, my husband's going to run out of money for his new woodshop and be forced to leave it empty for a few months, while he saves up to buy new equipment, which means I'll essentially have a sound stage to make music videos! My daughter got me to buy a green screen a few months ago (a large piece of green fabric) so I'm going to be working on ideas for videos, as I was told last week by someone in the industry that I'll need a video for every song on these eps (that's up to 16--some songs aren't quite gelling yet, but if all goes to plan, then 16). So now, I've got blog post Fridays and Social Media Mondays. This week I did some posts and edited some live footage from my show in December (up on youtube). Wait! I'll find the links:

https://youtu.be/DzCKh2CQW3U this is for "The Subway" which will be on the LA eps.

https://youtu.be/ZGIfi0Fs7Es this is for "Bell Tolls" which will be on the Chicago eps.

glad I checked, as I forgot to make Bell Tolls public.

So, now I need to work on learning a bit more about iMovie and lightroom for video editing. I'm starting to gather ideas, but then I had a 1/2 panic, because I realized that I'll need to make my clothes for every shoot, since I'm only wearing clothes I make. I had been starting garments and then not finishing them, but I just finished an unconstructed jacket yesterday, and am almost done with a vest. Then it's a coat, a sort of turtle neck-ish long-sleeved top...then the costumes. The house might get a little dusty in the next few months. Oh well.

On days like today, I often take this opportunity to do the cleaning that I never get around to, which subsequently then takes me all day. Then, by the time the party starts, I'm ready to relax. We're having a piano player, a local guy who seems to have played with everyone, who goes by the name Waz. He's kind of amazing and can just sit and play all night. 

Moana is a great movie, and I really loved the Grandmother coming back as a Sting Ray because I've been telling my daughter forever that my mother came back as a male cardinal. She really loved them and loved to "feed the birds" which became a duty for her. So, now my daughter will say something like, "Hey Mom! I saw Cardinal when I was X" of "I saw your mom!" which is nice because she doesn't really have any conscious memories of my mom, even though she lived in our house for 9 months on hospice. But, they were together.

If I look, I see the marks on the white walls, so I better not look too hard. Ok, deep breath.

Tomorrow is a studio day, to pick over the lyrics/lines and to have Nic play some guitar tracks. Then Josh has to go back to work so we're going to have to figure out how to finish up. I've been listening to a cd of his rough mixes in the car and I've been loving it. Videos. For every song. The industry guy told me I need 3 outfit/scene changes for every video. 16 x 3 = 48. 48 outfits? Well, I better make stuff I can wear places besides a video shoot. But, I'm sure it will snowball, well, at least I hope it will snowball once I really get started. 

I've had to stop typing as I take in the idea of making 48 costumes. Well, I have some stuff shot already, so let's say, 44 more. 

The industry guy told me that people will want to know what makes me tick. Like any clock, getting wound up and having something to do. I always have something to do. Problems to solve. 

on a last note, I sent in a request to Sony for use of two Beatles lines in a song. I'm curious to see what they say, having read the Lana Del Rey/Radiohead "Creep" story. I can easily change the lines, is my point of view, especially since the song is in development. What I don't want/need is stress or another headache or a battle. But, I'd love to use/sing the lines, because it's like loving The Beatles. As my dad used to say, "We'll see."

have a great week, if you have snow around you-get out in it!

xo

Leslie

 

progress is progress

 

In the studio

So, I’m in the studio today, Thursday, and we’re discussing the idea of internships.

And reviewing a vocal.

Can’t fight the vibe.

It’s all vibe.

I’m a big John Waite fan and trying to get the vocal right on a song I named after his amazing song, “Isn’t it Time” is a fun challenge. It’s the one song I’ve never performed live and have only sung a few times, so there was no muscle memory to guide me, but thankfully Josh is a patient guy who wants to get it right.

Getting exactly what I want after such a long time is an unbelievably good feeling. Someone else might have said, years ago, “I’m stoked,” which I always thought was a funny term.

Now Josh is on facebook trying to show me a photo of a friend who had some pet squirrels. I had no idea you could search someone’s photos like he was. I’m such a luddite. That’s because I just showed him a photo of a cat hugging a squirrel that goes in through a dog door to hang with the cat. This is all because there is now a cat in the studio. She’s incredibly beautiful and makes me want to add a cat to our menagerie.

I let Josh sift through my vocal. Once in a while I say, yea/nay but mostly I let him do his job.

It’s shocking to me that we are getting to the mix/master stage here. WTF. Now I need some music videos, and I need some concepts because it’s sort of a no brainer to shoot outside, but the weather is not great.

This song is a little country inflected. Josh just said it sounds too good. (and whaaaaat’s wrong with that?) but we are going for “cool” so I’m typing and letting him figure that out. And it has a hint of “dock of the bay” (at least in my mind)

You’d think I’d learn something about ProTools here, but no. It goes by. It’s like listening to Japanese, you keep thinking you’ll just “get” it, but no.
Pat Sansone played on this, it’s just guitar, shaker at this point. I’m laughing because now Josh says the Wurlitzer is too pretty so he’s got that muted. Whatever. I did my job. Whew.

Last night on the drive home from the studio, I listened to his mix of “I’m a Writer” not to be confused with Ainjel’s LA version which I think we will call simply, “Writer.” “I’m a Writer” is exactly what I wanted when I started working on this project which is:

1.  Songs that people will want to listen to more than once, because when I proposed making a full-length recording to my band Specx, the guitarist wanted us to make a very low-fi home recording, which I didn’t want to do. I specifically didn’t want to waste any more of my good songs. Now, you might think that writing a song is easy, and sure, I have bits floating around in my head all the time, but getting it all to come together, that is, having the right lyrics and the right melody is not always something that just magically happens in 20 minutes despite what you might read other songwriters say. For instance, this song, “Isn’t it Time” was, ok, maybe initially written in a flurry of white hot emotion, but then I thought about f*ing with it to see if I could make it better. So that part, taking it from 80% to maybe 90% or above is where the sweat comes in. You have to play around with the melody, the lyrics, the structure and be prepared to let it all go, only to come back to it. And that takes a certain amount of experience and confidence and knowledge. So, you judge for yourself. When you hear it.

Ok, that was a bit of an aside

2.  I told Kyle Paas in New York that I wanted to make music that women wanted to take their clothes off to.(I do not say this to Josh, but I have said it to Ainjel. I mean, no one has ever told me that they’ve had sex to one of my (previously released) songs. And, more sex, more good sex, more positive sex in the world is a good thing, and maybe even a public service. And I wanted to have some songs where the woman listener feels good about herself, good and empowered. Now, not all of these songs fit #2. But you can certainly put some of the songs on repeat, like “I’m a Writer” And that feels so super good. I’m no Barry White, but Barry White is the man. His voice is incomparable. And he provides a valuable service-that of bringing people together.

I don’t think I really had any other goals. But I mean, a sub-goal is for me to, of course, sound good. For the vocal to sound really good. And for that, I need to be super comfortable. And I prefer privacy. I’m like the girl in the story The Crane Maiden by Miyoko Matsutani. If I tell you that I need privacy to sing and then you don’t give it to me, that is going to be a problem.

 

We are moving on. I just told Josh this is going to be SO GOOD and he said, “Yeah, I think it’s going to be alright.” So modest. I feel so lucky. What an improbability, here I am!

 

Now we’re working on “Anybody Out There” one of the songs I wrote while I was in Specx (and recorded). Josh sped it up, and likes the tempo better now. He said if I had written this in the 90’s this song would have gotten me a record deal. Aww! (thanks, Josh). But we’ll start over and rerecord. He’s getting such good vocals out of me, and new guitars and what-have-you. But basically we’re listening, making comments, and he’s going to send me this faster version. There’s one melody run that reminds me of Everything But The Girl, a band I really loved. (it’s about 2 or 3 notes, not anything anyone would notice, I don’t think…) Ok, this song is just a typical female singer/songwriter song. Why fight it? But, no one else could have written it. I mean, it’s about motherhood, my past music career, something I admired about my Great Aunt, my son/daughter, old times, reconnecting, being positive. Update: josh just said it needs some serious “Groove Management.”

 

It seems easy to write a blog post from the studio. I can just report on what’s happening, and just joked that I’ll have to keep booking studio time so I can get my blog post done.

 

So much winning.

 

Ok, we’re not done. We are going to stop working on a song called “Love Can Fix” because it isn’t right and we’d have to start all over and…so I pulled up another song I wrote called “Dorian Gray.” Josh told me to go home and listen to the album So by Peter Gabriel. So was what he was going for when he did “I’m a Writer” So that’s great, because So is an album I really love.

 

Josh just told me he has done some work mixing Lupe Fiasco.

 

Ok, it’s Friday and the kids have off due to “weather” which means that while I had wanted to add to this  post, I’m going to post it as is. Have a great weekend, xo Leslie

 

Singing, in the mud

 

Went into the studio this week. Always a bit petrifying, having to rely on my voice, something that is not entirely under my control, meaning that I need to try to disregard or transcend the factors that might impact its quality, like illness, emotions, energy, stress, etc. The flu is going around and so there's that. Then, not being a vegan, and maybe eating some dairy, then there's the possibility of cloud in my voice, then there is the fight or flight of being excited and nervous at the same time. Plus, it's time and money in the studio and aware that I don't want to waste anyone's time. 

Then, it's such a relief/surprise to hear it played back and then, the "wow" moment, where I am amazed that it sounds good. Those moments of beauty, of lightness and delicateness and not just singing the melody, but something that goes beyond that. Then, trying to double the lead vocal, trying to duplicate it exactly, and then it starts all over. The mimic part, one can (headphone) on and one off, so I can hear the lead vocal and hear myself. And there it is. Telling a story through sound, setting a mood. Maybe having a map and maybe just having a destination in mind. Then harmonies. 

Then, needing to crash for a day, just being a bit exhausted from the physical demands of singing, the long drive, the existential "why am I doing this again?" whole aspect, the other people who are crucial to this project, steering the ship. Oh, and have fun, too! haha.

Then Ainjel sends me rough mixes and it's a big wow. She asked for and got some NYC Subway sounds to incorporate into a track, very fun. She is making me sound so good, I feel like it's almost a slight of hand, a magic trick, except that I did sing those tracks, I did write those songs, I did seek and find and here we are. 

Wouldn't it be nice to be heard? I doubt my ability to do more than make an amazing product. Sales-not my forté. And I am aware I don't have a big budget for promotion. And my mom always said, "It just takes one song." Do I have that one song and if so, which one is it? As my father would say, "We shall see." 

Kids off school, snow, sledding, shoveling off the frozen pond for ice skating, sledding into the brambles and ripping our coats (worth it), sleep overs, laundry, immer laundry, dog sitting, dog has anxiety after encounter with coyote and therefore a bit of high maintenance, my daughter just asked me to wear one unicorn and one rainbow earring so I do, then I tell her I forgot to give her something for Christmas, and she opens a glass rainbow ornament I got at the Welcome Home store in Nashville and she runs off to hang it on the tree. Her sleepover friend got her to watch the first Harry Potter movie, so now maybe we will read the series, but good luck getting her off her iPod touch. 

Working on getting a band together to play my next gig in March. Have not played out with a band since Specx, so should be interesting/fun, of course. 

alright, need to do some other things, this was a warm up, thanks! have a great week. xo Leslie

 

Fasting, Memoir, HNY!

 

So, today’s the day to do the blog. Here I am. Showing up even though I have only an idea of what to write. Ok first, I hope the holidays have treated you well. They can be stressful, but there is a lot of joy, too and that’s good.

 

I kinda sorta took a break from Instagram, so I didn’t post, but I took a picture of a gift I received (a first) because I hadn’t gotten a new sewing machine since I was a freshman in High School and I was a bit astounded. Been a bit busy, but might get the courage to try it today, as I have some time, both kids are occupied, It’s a coverlock machine, which is a kind of a serger and they can be very hard to thread and get the tension right, so requires fiddling and patience.

 

Today I announced that fasting is my Christmas present to myself. I’m on day 4, will end it on NYE, and maybe now the ketones are kicking in. I’d been sorta weighed down and even though I seemed cheery enough on the outside, I wasn’t cheery enough on the inside.

 

It takes 3 days of fasting (in my opinions) for the wheels to start turning. The first two-three are a challenge, you have to commit, you have to fight off the urge to eat for a variety of reasons and you need to get through some discomfort as your cravings ease up/disappear. There is the tiredness, too. The first extended fast I did, I did as a purist. Water and water only. Now I take some vitamins at night, and have some coffee, but strictly speaking, it’s not a “true” fast.

 

I’m giving my body a rest from digestion and seeing if it will do some repair work on my knee, which hurts. It’s a new hurt, and I don’t really want it to stick around if I can help it. Might need to get back to yoga or some exercise, but I’ve been kind of loving not exercising/running/swimming/biking one or more that I’ve done consistently since I was in Jr. High. It was hard at first, to not exercise. Part of my identity seemed askew. I was always a “runner,” and if I wasn’t now a “runner,” then who was I?

 

(Who am I?)

(Who are you? Are you nobody? Then I'm nobody, too)  

 

So. Maybe I already mentioned my New Year’s Resolution? I didn’t always make one, as I do a big thing on my birthday in February, but maybe for the past 4-5 years I’ve had one. It’s been some version of “Use it up/Use it or lose it” and while I still have things to give away, I’ve been really Using things up. So this year I morphed the resolution into “No Backlog” which for me means getting those tasks done that are on my mind. The photos and albums. The familial stuff I don’t really want. The papers to organize.

 

 It’s not really a big deal to organize my paperwork, especially my songwriting, because I usually come up with something new, but if there are really horrible lyrics, I could probably purge them. And, I have written a few poems here and there and it would be nice to compile them. I love poetry even though I don’t read it often. My mother used to recite a few Emily Dickenson poems and she was such a big fan that it was hard not to get a bit enthusiastic with her. She was passionate about the one that begins, “Will there ever be a morning, Is there such a thing as day”

Ok, I remembered that wrong: it’s actually:

Will there really be a "Morning"?
Is there such a thing as "Day"?
Could I see it from the mountains
If I were as tall as they?

Has it feet like Water lilies?
Has it feathers like a Bird?
Is it brought from famous countries
Of which I have never heard?

Oh some Scholar! Oh some Sailor!
Oh some Wise Men from the skies!
Please to tell a little Pilgrim
Where the place called "Morning" lies! 

 --Emily Dickinson

 

I went to see the exhibit of some of her papers and work at the Morgan Library in Manhattan. I really liked her pressed flower book, because it showed her visual arrangements and many of the pages were beautiful for their layout and script. Beautiful script is not something that is usually practiced these days, but it can be lovely to get lost in.

 

So anyway, just having a small folio of my poems for my own sake would be nice. I illustrated one when I was in the 3rd grade and my teacher send it off somewhere and I got to attend the Illinois Young Authors Convention as a result. I don’t remember much about it, though there is a picture somewhere and I think I’m wearing an outfit I bought with my own money from K-Mart (I delivered the Park Forest Star newspaper twice a week starting in the 2nd grade). The dress is polyester.

 

I have a certificate somewhere and there was a book with all the authors’s pictures and biographies, but eventually, I got rid of it and only saved my page. I think I say I like my hamster. (I distinctly remember not having a clue what to write and my teacher had to help me.)

 

My father was angry at me for what he perceived to be my lateness in getting ready for the convention, which I think had some workshops and a ceremony where the authors were presented with their certificates, though I think it was held on a Sunday and I would have delivered the newspaper first and then hurried to get ready, and his admonishments made the drive to Decatur (I think it was there) less than optimal. I was never supposed to fuss about my clothing or seem to care about it in any way, though of course I did!

It bothered him to no end that when I was younger, my Great Aunt Ethel had given me a doll I named Karen and sent along matching clothing for the doll and me. The clothing was, to my young eyes, magnificent as she made just about every dress in a different style, with fun kid-centric fabric and colorful buttons. So, who wouldn't be tempted to change outfits multiple times a day? Periodically, until I was about 7, she would send a package and there would be something new for Karen and me. I suppose it wasn't fair that she didn't send my brothers hand made clothing, but I assumed it was because sewing dresses was easier and never having married, she never had a chance to make clothing for men or boys. 

__________________

Well, this is great, because I have been thinking of writing a memoir about my dad, mostly, being inspired anew by one I’m reading now, “The Only Girl in the World” by Maude Julien. My story is not as horrifying as hers is (or I hope not) but I would like to exhume the ghosts and let them rest.

 

I’ve strugged with this memoir for many years, and have a cache of over 40 typed letters he sent me over the years, though there were more. The first two he handed me when I was about 9 have vanished along with others that were ripped to shreds in frustration, but my first idea was to simply publish the letters and be done with it. At the time, 2002? I let a few literary friends read them,  but the way to go seems to be to start blogging. So, here I am!

 

I thought I’d begin with his death, in 2006. And then go forwards and backwards as the story unfolds. I have no idea how this will sound/turn out, but I’m sure I’ll learn something along the way. (I already learned something by relating that Young Authors story).

Sometime shortly after the convention, someone my father knew was visiting our house and my father gave him my certificate to laminate, which upset me. He never gave it back to me and I assumed it was lost, but after he died I found it hidden at the bottom of his dresser drawer.

 

Happy New Year! Here’s to a great 2018!! Love, Leslie

 

December really needs two more weeks

 

Right? Or Thanksgiving needs to be two weeks earlier. Really, I'm ok, all's well, but the kids are off school, and that's something to manage. Maybe.

Went into the studio on Monday and Tuesday, worked with Josh, went really well. I brought him a strand of purple lights for his live room-they really do make a difference and we started tackling the vocals. He had a cool idea for "Hey Lisa" and now my vocal sounds like a gothic chorus. I love a gothic chorus, some of my favorite singing memories are with my high school choir, our "singing olympian" Europe tour and assembling in Cathedrals to sing a few songs impromptu. I still remember the reverb/echo. So, that was great.

I played the rough mixes for my friend who is 70+ and she thought the two songs were really meditative and something she could picture playing in the background. Good feedback. I thought I had the artwork concept to go with these two eps, but might think about it a bit more, or just think about it and get it good and solid in my mind. 

She and I were on a small road trip to a fabric store in MI for cashmere and mohair. I found a purple mohair, seems like it's kind of old, so soft. I have no idea what I'd do with it and didn't buy it, but that doesn't mean I won't the next time I'm there. Josh said I should make some vegan bags, so I got some wool/linen to give it a try. Obviously, my problem is 24 hours in a day and 2 hands. And getting so many ideas and then of course things breaking, like my serger did last week. But it's fixed now, wasn't that hard to do, just order a part and then fiddle with it. 

She told me she thought I was a genius, which a person doesn't hear too often (one other person called me that, who said I was a genius belt designer) which (even though I filed it away) I just sort of glossed over...but we did talk about the #MeToo and what really bothers me...being that when you listen to the radio, you mostly hear songs sung by men with lyrics written by men reflecting men's experiences and viewpoints. And what happens to our collective unconscious when we absorb that? Bugs me incessantly. 

Today I made chocolate/walnut meringues. They are kind of amazing but of course not good for you at all. Superfine sugar, egg whites, cocoa, etc. But I love to make them because I get to lick the bowl, and because I love to watch the transformation of the egg white to this thick (delicious) goo. They are the bottom layer of an amazing dessert, topped with a snowball of coconut ice cream rolled in coconut, then chocolate and raspberry sauce on top. My daughter asked for whipping cream on the top of that. Hmmm. I said, well, if we're going to add whipping cream, then we really need to add a maraschino cherry. (then we can all slink off into a corner). 

My husband's family has a traditional Christmas night dinner which is kind of cool because you know what to expect, you don't have to freak out if you are hosting (which we are) and (hopefully) the dinner becomes something more than the food. I like tradition and I like presentation and I like fancy, so it's all good. There is also the white elephant gift, of drawing numbers and selecting from a pile of silly wrapped gifts, which sometimes are things from the giver's home and sometimes something bought, but since I've given away so much stuff this year, I just might have to buy something (I just thought of this, and might need to duck into Target tomorrow. AGGGH!) But, usually, it's no problem to find something to give away. 

I'm drinking a gin & tonic as I write this-it's sort of my drink, and that makes it easier to drone on and on. My husband has been ordering wine by the case, but I recently realized that I prefer a G&T to wine. And it's because my mom and my Aunt would have them when we were kids and would spend a few weeks at the Jersey shore. Ocean City, and sometimes Cape May. I loved Ocean City and the Boardwalk and everything about it. I just had mine in a Don Ho class from the Polynesian Palace in Waikiki Hawaii. 

I need to make one more batch of meringues, my daughter just threw a barbie shoe at me, better get going. I hope you are well and good and having a great week.

xo

Leslie

 

I am going to cheat a little bit

 

Ok, so Peter Gabriel is a cool dude. Maybe not 100%, because who knows, but he did do two really super cool duets. Yesterday I listened to the one with Kate Bush- "Don't Give Up" and now I'm listening to the one with Laurie Anderson, "Excellent Birds."

I would love to do a duet and have been toying with the idea. There's one song that hasn't been recorded yet for the eps that will make up Album #6 and a duet would fit nicely. But to be honest, I have to curtail my songwriting for a few weeks as the holidays are upon us and Mrs. Claus finds herself a little bit busy.

That being said, the "cheating" is that I'm going to post my year-end holiday letter that goes in the cards I send out. If you read my blog or follow me on instagram or fb or twitter, then some you know, but there are a lot of people on my list who don't do social media.

It feels so self-indulgent to write this letter, add photos to the back, make a card, etc. but then some people really like to receive it (they tell me!) So WTF. Today will be the letter. Maybe next week I'll post the photos (or not) who knows. One step at a time. 

Have a great week! Life always gives you another chance. xo Leslie

____________________________

Hi and Happy Holidays 2017. It’s now December, and the photo is done. What a year this has been, right? I find myself getting worked up over twitter, deleting the app from my phone, then checking it anyway from my computer….may these trying times lead to the light!

 

Well, the year started off with new recordings at the studio where I made my 4th cd (Round 3) with pals of Pete Remm’s—Scott Pazera, Nic Byrd, Kevan Watson and Specx’s keyboardist Andrew Bray…so I thought, cool! (but left after 2 months-not working out)

 

We had a scheduled trip to our fav spot, Holbox, Mexico which was of course very lovely. Every time we return, things seem to be a little bit more fancy, but it’s still quite rustic with dirt roads, and the blue sky and calm water are heaven!

 

Manhattan in March-after seeing the Donald Judd house in SoHo, I decided to radically alter my relationship with my possessions, meaning –get rid of a lot! After cleaning up after my parents and my Aunt, I’m determined to not do the same to Ruby. This whole year I’ve been organizing, cleaning out, stress cleaning, re-evaluating and so on. It feels liberating as I work to only keep what is essential to me (still a lot-don’t worry!) And last week I began to feel like the chaos was finally being tamed. “Clean House, Clean Mind” is a phrase I first heard in yoga at UIUC! I think Fred is thrilled because when I met him, his philosophy was that people “shouldn’t have stuff” (just a big empty house!) Ruby says organizing is my “natural habitat.” Ha!

 

Then, I got to open up for Willie Nile at the Memorial Opera House, accompanied by bassist Scott Pazera. We had a great time, and even got the enthusiastic crowd to clap along. This year there were a few gigs at the Valparaiso Farmer’s Market and at the Hunt & Gather Market in Crown Point, too. I even got my own PA so now I could play just about anywhere!

 

Harry was in a video shoot for Opportunity Enterprises’s 50th Anniversary, but then went through a lot this year. He had surgery on his right foot to cut tendons to help him walk better, then the seizures came back for quite a while, which prompted a 3 day EEG and an MRI and a call for surgery to sever his corpus callosum (for now we are putting that on hold.) We thought about the ketogenic diet (which is mostly fat) but it would be very very stressful and fingers crossed-right now his seizures are infrequent enough that I would consider him to be doing “great,” but just read several posts on fb by parents whose kids have had the surgery and whose kids are now seizure free. It’s a tough call!

 

Summer started with a quick trip for three of us to Yosemite and SF. Harry was not up to the task of hiking so he stayed at home with his lovely caregiver, Sarah. Ruby was obsessed with “Free Climbing” so we checked out the face of “El Cap.” It’s slick! Once back, Ruby enthusiastically started with the French Horn but had to give it up during the school year to focus on her studies. She was also extremely fortunate to go to sleep away camp for 2 weeks at Interlochen in MI. She loved it!

 

Fred has been on a tear- “The Box” (house) was featured on a prominent Architecture website, richly deserved. He’s in a good spot, one employee, and in the past month has decided to add a stand-alone wood workshop next to our house. It’s being worked on right now and should be ready to use by late February. He’ll be able to make more tables and furniture and use up his stockpile of slabs. Yea!

 

In August, I got to drive to Nashville and work with producer Josh Shapera and multi-instrumentalist Pat Sansone (of Wilco). Nashville is such a cool place—loved it.. Josh had been battling an auto immune disease for years and shortly after the trip he had to slow to a crawl while he awaited a donor liver. It seemed to be touch and go for a while, and there was much at stake, mainly a lovely wife and two small children. But then a MIRACLE happened and he got a liver! And he is on the mend!! And we are going to go back into the studio again!!! Music brings a lot of people together, and making music is a joy.

 

Fred also got our barn re-sided and it looks pretty amazing, just in time to host 4 weddings…and one where I was the officiant! Teenage sweethearts, then apart for years, then back together for years before getting married. Lovely to be a part of…

 

Ruby started middle school and has adapted pretty well. School is “not her jam” but she told me she wants to be a fashion designer, which is incentive for me to work with her and get her started. She did make her Halloween costume J And she wanted me to let you all know that she got her ears pierced! She was very brave.

 

Sometime in there, Fred turned into an Eclipse chaser and he and I went to Jackson, WY where we were astounded by the beauty and force of nature. It’s quite something to be completely wowed by the cosmos. And we were!

 

Then, in September, the clean out intensified when I decided to only wear clothes that I’ve made/make.  That cut down my wardrobe in a hurry! There is some “cheating” but enough for me to wear…which prompted me to make some items to sell at a very cool local store called Society -wool wraps, ephemera and pins, belts, cosmetic bags, lotion/bath scrub…to start.  

 

All I would like to say about the #MeToo movement is that I’m glad women are speaking up and out. Long overdue. Let the women lead! Our culture will be richer when women’s voices and talents are heard and fully appreciated.

 

Then, it was off to LA where I got to work with my first ever female producer, Ainjel Emme. She has a super cool studio in East Hollywood and has been a breeze to work with. She’s finishing the tracks started in NYC—very close to done, and she got the keyboardist with Father John Misty (Jon Titterington) to play on some tracks, to boot! These projects have expanded, cost more and taken me to places I didn’t know I’d be going but I’m extremely grateful for these wonderful people and the experiences…

 

Ruby wants to add that Mr. B is now 7. He and Macy are still lovely and “pampered” (as Fred says) and Macy is scratching the pillow under my feet as I type this (v. annoying habit), she still manages to run under the garage door every time I try to close it, and their bark is still horrendously loud but we love them!

 

As I look back over the photos, I have to say it has been a fantastic year. When I’m down in the dumps, I tend to forget that, but that’s why you have to be a “big picture” kind of person, right? Despite all the swirl of crazy in the world, life is pretty good. Thank you for being a part of our lives. We wish you the very best for 2018. Xoxoxo.

 

awww, quick quick quick

 

Gig tonight, finally made this t-shirt that I've had ready to do for quite some time, will post a photo on instagram, kinda busy right now.

Gig is at the Makers' Market called Hunt & Gather, 8:30pm at the Crown Point Fairgrounds and I was told it's a party atmosphere, so that means-let's rock! And I realized that if people knew my songs, I could be up there playing the shittiest guitar and no one would care. So, everyone should learn my songs! haha.

My studio has been a complete disaster for several years, since I had moved and moved it and never got it how I wanted it, but that is ending and super exciting/freeing up some energy. I think that's why I did the t-shirt, plus, I realized I have this gig...perfect timing.

December seems to rush by in a blur. I was busy making things for the store called Society that is carrying my stuff. Then, I realized-I have a gig! need to practice. Every New Year's I have a resolution or phrase and a few years ago it was Use It Up, then maybe it was Use It Or Lose It and then Use It Up again and now it's going to be NO MORE BACKLOG. Wow, doesn't that sound great? I already wrote it out and have it hanging up. This means that the photos will go in the albums, the projects will get completed, the space will get cleared. I don't actually expect it to happen automatically, but it's something that I am chipping away at daily. 

The eps with Ainjel are still being tweaked, some more/new drums/percussion being added, more keyboards ala Jon who plays with Father John Misty (cool!) and Ainjel is going to add some bass and background vox. Can't wait to get that project knocked out/off my list. I do realize that if I didn't come up with these projects, they wouldn't need to get finished, but here we are. 

While I'd love to write more, I really need to get ready for my show and take my t-shirts to the local t-shirt printing place so I can run them through their heat-set machine. They are super nice/super cool guys Rusthead is their shop and I love hanging out with them and seeing what they are working on. 

Well-keep your head up and keep on keepin' on!

Leslie

 

oh. this needs a title

 

so maybe now isn't the best time to start a blog. I mean, I'm kind of busy and all over the place. Should I design something? And if so, what. A handbag? A belt? (yes). Should I write a song? (yes) Should I play on the piano and see what happens? (yes) Should I finish the eps I've started? (yes) Should I perform my domestic duties? (yes) Should I practice for my show next week? (yes) And get an outfit together? (yes)

And then write a weekly blog, too? Hmmm. 

The other day, I got up to about 1,000 words on this to be my first official blog post, but it was dark. I thought it was dark, about my views of gender relations and I thought I didn't want to be that dark.

Then, I got terribly ill-a stomach bug from eating avocados-my body doesn't love them, and had to really slow down for 2 days. I had to lay down and I always think-oh no. Cancer. Or Lyme disease. And I think, can I get better? My daughter really comforted me. She put on warm socks, got me her blankets, a stuffed animal, put an ice pack on my head, took my temperature, got me water and wiped my nose because I started to cry because I hate being sick. And she hugged me. I know she will be good mommy now. She was so proud of herself in a nice, happy way. 

Then yesterday, stomach thing gone, but gravity was really strong. I would do one thing then have to lay down. It must be what chronic fatigue feels like. I felt so guilty, but no one seemed to mind. Thankfully my son has an after school caregiver and I was able to lay down. But I still finished a song. And did laundry. 

Now, today I'm much better. But I definitely don't want to be dark. I thought of just publishing the VM song idea I did today, so people could get an idea of what I do. But, since I had the phone on my lap, it's hard to hear. 

IN other, great and fantastic news, I heard from my producer, Josh. He is doing soooooo much better. It is a miracle and he totally makes the case for signing up to be an organ donor. He is someone truly worthy and his life makes other people happy. (I'm thinking about his family, specifically). We think we will be back in the studio in January. He wanted to start in a few weeks...but I really want him to recoup as much as possible first. Plus, the holidays are crazy. No way, no work.

So, this is this week's blog post. Still not really long enough-I did read that the idea post is about 1600 words. Here's something I made for myself awhile ago. I think it worked! xo have a great week! xo Leslie

 

Ok, I was just warming up

 

So, I think I want to be done with talking about cleaning for a while. It was a good warm up, to get me into the groove of writing on a regular basis, and thought I have a shit-ton of things (left) to write about how I feel about cleaning, I think I'm actually ready to write a "real" blog post. Woah. I put on a Spotify playlist of Women in Rock, am staring at my barbie of Empress Joan Jett and am going to charge on.

I'm sort of lazy so I'd like to write it in one go, but maybe I'll write it and then publish it on Friday, like I'm scheduled to do. 

I recently found the cd that accompanies my first solo show in 1991. It's so bad. The songs are mostly terrible, only one made it onto Heliotrope, (Dream Car--which everyone did tell me would be a hit :) but man, people were just so kind to actually listen! 

Ok, so I'm just saying that, my previous blog posts were mostly terrible also. And, fingers crossed, they won't be going forward. 

Much love!

Leslie

 

Cassette Tapes

 

So. I'm listening to phone messages that I've saved on cassette tape. They are mostly from 1998-1999 but I think I have some outside that time frame. It's fun to listen to people from then-my mom, my landlord, club bookers, someone from a record label, someone from disc makers telling me how much he liked my 1st cd, magazines calling because they used an accessory in a shoot, friends of course-some telling me they left me 3 messages--who does that nowadays? Fred hears a bit and starts to laugh. Usually I used old cassette tapes, so some play out to music from that era.

I have so many cassette tapes. A box of melody ideas, old practice tapes, live tapes of shows, etc. It's hard to commit to listening to them, because they require active listening and I'm such a multi-tasker. 

the state of the eps-not much happening but I got a new vocal mix for the song "When I Wake" which sounds great. I'm sure the release will be in 2018. 

I hope you had a great holiday and are relaxing this weekend. Ours was pretty fun, my stuff turned out great. But my son wasn't quite with it so I took him to the ER yesterday for some testing. The blood work turned out fine, and that's good but I sort of wish it turned up something we could fix. 

Going to get out for a run. Hopefully I'll have more to say next week.

xo

 

 

 

Late. hmm

 

Well, last Friday was a busy day. I had to clean the house so my husband could show it to potential clients (and get the job!) and then I had to clean our guest house and then I was exhausted. 

My son had not been doing well for a few weeks. He has epilepsy and was "seizury" and it might have been from giving him tylenol-because I just found out that tylenol can do weird things when it's being digested and so that was a major damper on my spirits. But, I'm trying different things/amino acids and such and he seems to be improving, so I'm cautiously optimistic that he'll return to his old normal. We had gone to the neurologist who seemed rather unconcerned about his deteriorated state, which was a drag. It's hard to treat a child who is non-verbal, that's for sure. But, whatever. Information abounds and all is not lost. 

So what is on my mind? Not much, haha. In a holding pattern for my recordings, but still going to the piano and trying new ideas and working on new songs. I'm grateful to be in a quiet house for the moment. What's weird is that even though I love love love music, i actually love love love silence. So I am cherishing this silence, which still has the humming of the refrigerator and the tick of the clock and whatever buzzing is in my ears. 

I volunteered to make three things for Thanksgiving. A sweet potato pie (a Mark Bittman recipe) a jello dish with an Asian flair (my sis-in-law is hosting and has assigned Asian-themed dishes) and then I asked her if she was going to have a special cocktail and she texted me one, but the two stores I went to didn't have exactly what the recipe called for, so I'm going to see if I can make some substitutions. It called for Cognac, so I got a bottle of D'usse, which when I got home, I thought I'll just put an N over the D and then cover up the e. Hahaha. N'usse or maybe keep the e. 

Time seems to fly these last 6 weeks of the year. Mrs. Claus must get busy-she usually gives the kids some custom made something (because Santa doesn't sew! duh) and I find it sort of adorable that my 11 year old is sure that Santa is going to give her a phone (MOM-all the kids have one!) Well, she did have an old phone, but got it wet. I let her sign me up for music.ly and she wants to make videos on it. 

I'm playing a gig Dec. 8th at the Hunt & Gather again. Maybe in the Spring I'll have a booth there, too. I brought 4 wool wraps to the organizer's store last Sunday and she sold 2 the same day. So I made some more and made some pins and brought them there this week. I posted a few photos on my instagram account...

Well, I hope you have a great holiday. Don't eat too much, but eat a lot, because it's tradition!

xo

 

Early

 

so, this week I'm going to be early, because I'm in LA and awake and going to the studio in an hour and when I get home on Thursday, I'm sure I'll be pretty busy on Friday.

So, it's great to be here/be back. I'm so thrilled to be working with Ainjel-her studio is gorgeous and has a great vibe and we are doing well. I always worry about my voice. I'm no opera singer, and yet, it "is" my instrument and as such needs to be babied, cared for, used. When I got on the plane yesterday, I felt a slight something in my throat and that's a worry. Who wants to book days into the studio to not perform well? But, then I got over it and we started working and I think I did 3 songs. I resang When I Wake, Swing for the Stars, worked on a little of Glory Days (we had done that last time) and then...she suggested I resing Shook Me...which was done, I thought. But then, yesterday, it got better. What a relief! So exciting! 

We will try to work on Subway today, and then I'd really like to work on Building's Move, though that might need to be put on a 3rd ep. (I mean 3rd of this series-I have those two other eps that I'm working on with Josh). So, that's 5 eps. 

It's cooler in LA than a few weeks ago-got a bit chilly last night and of course since I'm only wearing the clothes I make...will have to improvise. I might need to cheat and wear a long sleeved uniqlo shirt under another shirt today. 

It's such a complete luxury to be able to sit in bed and not worry that...someone will interrupt me, like a family member or animal. I've been up for hours but still will probably have to hustle to get to the studio because I'm on such a slow burn right now. 

Did I mention that I downloaded 17 hours of Voice Memos that I'd been storing on my phone? I use Voice Memos like I used to use portable cassette players-to record song ideas. Some of those 17 hours have full songs from band practice, but...wow. Got to get this sh*t out the door! 

alright. time to get ready. have a great day!

 

good news

 

So, super excited here. The producer who has taken over the "Chicago Tracks" got his liver transplant (for auto-immune disorder) and now recuperating at home. Big Yea. So glad. So, this means that eps 3 and 4 will get done sometime in the winter/spring of 2018. 

And eps 1 and 2 will probably be done around the same time. Who knows. What weights off my shoulders. Then...I can think about recording the next ones. 

I've been also working on the fashion line, which is cool. First, I'm trying to use up my supplies-which are considerable...I have fabric, leather, metal, paint, etc. Fits in with the Marie Kondo-ing of my life. For some reason I think empty will be better, more peaceful.

Not so much to say today. 

xo

 

 

songwriting

 

so, something that really bugs me is the lack of respect women artists get in the music industry besides those in certain genres, mostly pop. It's bugged me for a very long time, and my angst was validated by a recent article in the New York Times where the author listened to the top 150 albums by women and wrote an article that basically reaffirmed what I've long thought: that we are not heard, marginalized, harassed until we drop out, denied entry, etc. 

There are losers all around here when we are denied a say in the popular culture that is music. I think of all the men who helped me, making my records, playing in my bands-they lose too. The listeners lose out, the culture loses out. Equality loses out. It's been a hard battle, vying for relevancy in a field that is so hostile to women. When I was young, I wanted to be The Beatles! They were so cool, and I realized there weren't that many women who got the same respect/attention/etc. 

I have not even been able to read another article also in the New York Times that was about songwriters-because, while they featured 3, they were all men. No women. No doubt those male songwriters are great. But....there are no women who could join that group? 

++++++++++++++++++++++++

There have been so many articles recently about harassment and for me, what bothers me the most, is that when you are harassed, you realize how hard the deck is stacked against you. You realize that no matter how smart you are, how hard you work, how talented you are, how many long and hard battles you've already fought to get where you are, you will only be viewed as a sexual object, only worthy for men's amusement, for the gatekeepers to use and cast aside (unless they let you through). It is demoralizing and debilitating and misogynistic on a level that shouldn't be. I agree with the assertion that harassment is about humiliating the victim and that it is about having power over another. Then throw in some narcissism, entitlement and patriarchy for a fuller picture. 

When I listen to the radio, what I hear is a lot of mediocre male voices. When a female voice is heard (I'm talking about genres other than pop) her voice is just so exceptional, it's an A+. And that definitely sends the wrong message out into the world. I'm actually tired of hearing about life from the male perspective. Cool songs, sure, but...time for some changes. 

And I realize that probably only a few people will hear my music. And I do it anyway. I'll play the chili cookoffs-I think no one is listening, but...people are.

++++++++++++++++++

Apparently making and wearing only your own clothes is going to become a thing. A friend just told me of another one who started doing this in 2016. (I knew of another women who did it a few years ago and blogged about it). I got out a pair of lasts (the form you need to make shoes) with heels-not ready to make some shoes yet but really want to because I got a pair of dead stock heels a few weeks ago. I need to make some more clothes to wear now that the weather is turning but I'm ok. Most of the stuff I've made in the past is a little bit on the weird side, so it's sort of timeless. So far the only desire I have is for some long sleeved t-shirts and I've worn a few I didn't make because I'm cold. 

I visited the Donald Judd house in SoHo a few months ago and was struck by how little was in this preserved residence. It was mostly art. For me, the struggle is getting the things to the right place/people. Recycle/trash/donate/give to a friend/sell/keep. Everything I get rid of, though, feels like a bonus. 

ok, I'm going to end here. It is a beautiful day and the fall colors are really lovely. xo

 

I'm late.

 

Right. So I'm writing on Fridays, but this past Friday I had to drive my son to Indianapolis for a Dr's appointment. It takes 8 hours to make the round trip, then you get back and blah blah blah. "Don't go to a surgeon if you don't want surgery," is how I'd characterize that day. We need to explore some more options before I will let them go into his skull. (Auto-type just put "soul" for skull and that's probably true, too)

This time, I didn't tear up, but then I had just spent 3 days in LA recording vocals. It was so nice to be there and work with my first female producer! Her live room had a super cool vibe-walls were painted black (why does that seem to be a novelty?) She could write the guide on "vibe" 

Got to stay with a friend, too, and check out her super beautiful and very cool apartment. She has impeccable taste. Every object was something I wanted to look at. I want to be her when I grow up!

I want to say something, as there has been a lot of talk around #MeToo. Speaking from experience, sexual harassment is never fun. Neither is sexual assault. Flirting is fun. The ends do not justify the means. The pain is real.

So, anyway, I've been listening to The Cars. So good. It still sounds so good. Now I have a dedicated music space, so, I need to set myself up to finish more songs. 

And in fashion news, still pushing on all fronts. For me, songwriting is theoretical, and fashion/accessory design is more scientific. I started teaching my daughter about sewing/making/designing and...I realized...I actually know a lot! Teaching was never something I thought I could do/would be good at, even though I come from line of women who did. It really is about being extremely patient. 

However...I did think about teaching a songwriting class. That, I thought would be fun. 

Ok, time to get back to work. I hope you are having a great day!

Leslie

 

Where was I?

 

So, it's incredible what has happened in this world since last week. I'm glad things are finally starting to come to light and maybe, just maybe women will. Women will-be seen and taken seriously. Maybe that's it. I still don't think we are taken seriously. 

I just tore my art studio apart this morning and set up a nice music corner for myself. Finally I got a PA system so now I could do solo shows anywhere. I got out "The Complete Leslie Nuss" a notebook I made years ago with all of the songs from my releases plus other ones and am going to run through them. There are about 20 that I could probably play at any given time without much practice, but there are others that would need a review. 

My friend Mike Shimshack got excited about the idea of doing an acoustic recording so I'm thinking about that, too. Do I need another project? Probably not, but I have the songs and why not? It's really a matter of scheduling and well of course finance..but I feel compelled to get this stuff out there. I'll probably try my hand at fb or google live after I catch my breath.

LA bound, looking forward to working with Ainjel, my first female producer. Found a place to stay on Heliotrope St, didn't know the street until I booked-could not believe it! And I guess Uber will cart me around town. 

Last week's wedding went really well-the couple ended up getting married in the barn as it was raining and it was a nice, casual ceremony. They had been together as teenagers, but her mom didn't like him so she was whisked off to Nebraska! and they were reunited 14 years later. So, the marriage was a real union. They all wore converse black for the guys and baby blue/mint green for the ladies. 

Since I moved my art studio around, on the other side of this music space--it looks like a cyclone hit. Sometimes I feel like I'm living the book, "Who Moved My Cheese" or whatever it was called. But, this way you do end up reviewing your possessions and can more easily discard what doesn't serve you.

Next Friday I have to take my kid to the Dr. to review the results of an MRI-not sure how I will post, but fingers crossed I will. I do like having a routine-every Friday, I put something down. I should have some exciting news about how the recording sessions went. 

Keep your head up! Slow and steady is better than crash and burn.

xo

Leslie

 

Friday. Blog.

 

So. Rainy day. Wearing my clothes. The top from the cover of AHSS, pants I made for a show (but wore jeans instead) and the cowboy boots I made as a student at FIT (by request). 

I had a brainwave this morning to make a video of the song "She Has Gone to Heaven" that is on AHSS. Many people probably have not heard it who might own the cd because it's 2 minutes out past the last song which is called "Love Song." SHGTH is about my Great Aunt and it's something I like to play at shows to honor those who have come and gone before us. 

Anyway, I'm trying to update to a new phone-super excited as the new one has a better camera! Then = better videos and pictures! And, in keeping with my "Marie Kondo-ing" I think I will erase all the photos on the phone (they are on my laptop) and start over. I had like 5,000 photos. Who needs that many?

Tomorrow I marry Jason and Melinda. We practiced last night and it should be a fun wedding. I told her, "It can't be a snooty wedding if you are wearing camo (her dress is apparently white camo). So. I read through some wedding vows online, "cut and paste" and then personalize. Hopefully, the rain will cease, otherwise, it's either in the rain or in the barn. Either way would be cool. 

I'm going to start making my own jewelry. I am excited to melt down some old chains and try something new. I have some ideas, but it's just getting the time to make the wax. 

The state of the world is. And, for me, when I venture to have those conversations about my desires by explaining how my past experiences shape my requests, I find that I am taken care of. If I explain to people why I don't want guns on my property--even gun-loving people understand. I'm not ready to type out the whole story, but close. 

I hope you are doing well and thank you for reading. I have a show outside next Saturday, October 14th at the Farmer's Market in Valparaiso. 11-1 I believe. It's free and there are tables and benches to sit on. 

love,

Leslie

 

 

woah. Here I am again

 

So, I used my phone to remind me to do this. I feel like Kristin Wiig in the Target skit-"It's a Match!" I fear I will begin to set alarms for everything. But so far, just a few. 

I was contacted by a female engineer this weekend whose parents live by the shore (Lake Mi). Maybe I could record something here in my barn and she could engineer. Sounds kind of cool. Why not start a new project, hahahahaha.No, but the other one is going. Illustrator/graphic designer. Check. Trip booked to finish 4 songs. Check. Inching toward buying my own PA so I could do solo gigs, house concerts, etc. Check. 

The Marie Kondo thing is a bit messy. Luckily, I'm not worrying about it today. When you want to purge/organize, you need to pull a lot of things out and my studio does look like a cyclone hit it. My dogs are freaked because their path to the door is now a labyrinth.  For some reason Mr. B (dog) is guarding/protecting something I spray painted outside. He is guarding it. These dogs have trained themselves. I'm unpacking and things are going in several directions-use, give, sell. Then I'm pulling in supplies from my shed so I can see/use them more easily. A few years ago I bought a tremendous amount of supplies from a woman who made backpacks, etc. for Patagonia's "Made in USA" products. She could make anything! Amazement. 

I got to see Brent Shuttleworth and The Push Stars this week at Shuba's in Chicago. What a great show! I didn't know TBS, but the producer of my LESLIE NUSS cd (who now manages Brent) said that Chris Trapper is a genius songwriter. There were some really really good songs-the Irish Drinking song? Loved it and a few others. The crowd sang along and was super enthusiastic-Chicago crowds are really awesome....so all good. 

Brent and Mike got to stay with us and now want to put together a songwriter in the round in our barn. He thinks I should do  songwriter's retreat as well. We certainly could house a bunch of people tucked here and there all over the property. 

I don't want to take the time to go to an estate sale today but I might. It's a drive, but there were some cool things in the pictures. I don't need more stuff, sigh, but...."We shall see" as my brother ominously used to say. 

Back to it, 

as always, thanks for reading!

Leslie

yeah, ok, once again: follow me on instagram or twitter, or fb. If you have room. It gets a little dizzying at times. "These people!" xo

 

Blog Started, officially.

 

 

 

Delays and Changes

 

So. luckily a few people in the music biz have told me to keep the faith and that delays are inevitable and it's not really that hard to do, but it does require constantly refiguring out a game plan. The goal is still to finish the music, but the how changes. The why or why not is there and sometimes is a factor.

What I'm trying to say is that the "Chicago" tracks are on hold now, after spending some really wonderful days in Nashville working with Pat Sansone from Wilco and producer Josh Shapera. Josh has an auto immune thing going on and needs time to rest. He's an incredible producer and our only lament was that we hadn't met before the "Chicago" tracks began, but what can you do. 

And then there's twitter, which I've been spending too much time on, though it has sharpened my focus and fed my head. I really resonate with the phrase No fks left. To give. It's powerful. What I'm saying here is that since Chicago is on hold, I decided to go back to finish the "New York" tracks with a female producer. It was shocking how easy it was to find one! And she seems really cool. And even the hub was getting it when I read a message from her. He said, "She's working twice as hard..." (not as Josh, Josh works like a maniac.) But she's on it. So wow. 

My other challenges are to only wear clothes I've made.....from here on out? Who knows. But I've been making my own clothing since high school and often it just sits in my closet. Today I'm wearing the dress from the cover of my 3rd cd with a slip underneath. It grew out of a desire for a closet cleanse. And another challenge that I've given myself which is to start a very small clothing collection for Spring 2018. 4 pieces and maybe 2 bags. I think that's doable and not too nuts. 

Then of course there is album artwork (barely started) but it's all eps so basically I'm looking at 4 eps. 

Show tonight in Crown Point. I was going to do a Facebook live, but I don't know if it will work due to wifi/4G concerns. 

In other non-type of news there are flowers and weeds everywhere around me and I'm trying my hand at making beautiful arrangements. Sometimes the weeds make the best additions. 

xo

 

The state of the state

 

Updating my website, thought I'd write a blog post, too.