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David Bowie Is

12 Mar


This weekend, I went to with some very dear friends to go see David Bowie Is at the Brooklyn Museum. To say that I had my mind blown and then reformed and then blown again and then reformed again would be an understatement.

Firstly before we get into the finer details can we take a moment to appreciate the Bowie doll my friend made?




I mean gosh.

Before we get into the exhibit I feel the need to mention what Bowie means to me. In the darkest time of my life, Bowie was the only music I could still listen to. After diagnosis everything was severed, except for him. The starman managed to traverse that chasm and I am forever grateful for it. I needed a starman to help me stitch back together the ruins that this diagnosis made of my life. I needed his voice to distract me from my premature death. I needed a starman, a hero.

In a very real way David Bowie saved my life.

So with all of that in mind, you must know this was a big day for me.


Going forward, these pictures are not mine. You weren’t allowed to take photos in the exhibit so everything coming up is from articles or the Brooklyn Museum site.

The first thing you see going in is this.


I mean honestly this is how it STARTS.

You also get headphones. As you move through the exhibit you’ll hear different songs playing, snippets of conversation and as you get closer to different television screens, you’ll hear the songs that are playing or the interview that is going on. It’s a completely immersive experience. And I do not use the word experience lightly. Lots of things claim to be an experience and more often than not they rarely are.

But this. This is an experience.

Yes, there are the costumes.

bowie costumes

The 1984 “Blue Jean” costume by Alison Chitty, left, and the 1980 “Ashes to Ashes” costume by Natasha Korniloff. Vincent Tullo for The New York Times

bowie costumes.2jpg

The pink jumpsuit Bowie wore in his “DJ” video in 1979. Vincent Tullo for The New York Times


Cage boots created for Bowie’s “Dead Man Walking” video in 1997

There were his paintings, litographs from album covers, sketches of set designs for things he created, like the 1980 Floor Show


Bowie’s original sketches for some of his costume designs for “The 1980 Floor Show.” Vincent Tullo for The New York Times

One of the things that really got me were his set of keys from his Berlin apartment on Haupstrasse 155. I went to that apartment in 2015. I saw the door those keys opened and now here, were the keys.

Another of my favorite were his paintings.


Portrait of Jo – 1976


Self-portrait – 1978, Inspired by the cover for the album cover of Heroes (Victoria and Albert Museum)

There were clips of his movies, including Labyrinth which if you know me you know that was my second introduction to Bowie (Space Oddity was my first and it scared the crap out of me). They also had Jareth’s riding crop and one of the crystal balls.

Oh and because I couldn’t decide WHICH of my Bowie shirts to wear I went old school.IMG_3401[1]

I was in there for four hours. Towards the back, you are instructed to remove your headphones and you enter a room with wall to wall screens upon which are live clips of David playing different concerts – including the Reality tour (a personal favorite of mine). I never saw Bowie live.

This was the closest I ever came and let me tell you, it was damn good.

Oh and if you go, his cocaine spoon is in that room so be sure to check it out.

But by far my favorite parts were the lyrics, including marginalia for himself. He was so nice to himself as a creator – noting in the margins if something wasn’t working that he just needed to give it a little more attention, a little more time. That he was sure it would work out. The exhibit is filled with little moments like that. Where you can really feel his joy in creating.

I have marginalia notes too and let me tell you, that’re not nearly as encouraging. I think I should change that. (Thanks again, David).

And the journal entry where he mentions recording Fame with Lennon is classic. When he first mentions meeting him he writes “Lennon (a beatle).”

The exhibit ended with Blackstar, of course. They had the book the preacher holds up in the video, notes about set and concept and costume design.

When you went into that room, you could listen to Blackstar, a ten minute work of art, which I did, leaning against the wall, with my eyes closed. When it ended, I whispered, “thank you david,” and then handed my headphones back over and exited through the gift shop (much poorer than when I had entered!)

It’s a stellar exhibit and if you’re even a casual fan and have the opportunity I highly recommend it. I for one will be going as many times as I can between now and it’s closing date in July.

Afterwards, we stopped at The Norm for some much needed, Bowie inspired drinks.



Left – Thin White Duke Center – Fame Right – Starman

Again, there really is nothing like this exhibit.

Nor do I imagine there ever will be.

I mean, who other than David Bowie could have the scope, the talent and the body of work to inspire something like this? Let us all thank our lucky stars we were fortunate enough to share the same time and space with our Starman.

It began in London, where Bowie is from and it ends in New York, where he spent his final days. If you’re in town, please by all means, come see it.





Art Has Power: Winedrunk Sidewalk Submissions Call for Women’s History Month

26 Jan


In times of uncertainty art can be transformed into both a weapon and a shield. It is used to remind us who we are, to capture where we came from and to imagine where we could be. Art has the power to wake people up, alter their path, shake them into awareness.

This past year, since the day before the inauguration, what he called Day Zero, John Grochalski has been posting a piece of art every day on his blog Winedrunk Sidewalk: Shipwrecked in Trumpland.Image-1

This is a protest. Just like marching in the streets and calling our senators, keeping an account of what has happened, what we have been through and fought against matters. We are, sadly, living through something historic. I believe it will take generations to undo what damage will be wrought from this administration.

His submissions are rolling. Submit as much as you like. Submit often. He needs your work to keep this going – to keep shining a light through this darkness.

In March, for Women’s History Month, I will be taking over the blog and for the entire month I’ll be publishing pieces by women so this is my official call for submissions.

Couple things:

  1. “Women” means anyone who identifies that way
  2. Submissions include but are not limited to the following: poems, stories, rants, essays, photographs, images, drawings, paintings, collage, songs, etc. ANYTHING.
  3. Submissions CAN BE previously published. This is not so much a journal as it is a PROTEST. Just let me know where so I can give proper credit.
  4. Topics can be anything you like as long as it is relative to today’s times. Could be about Trump or the #MeToo movement or climate change or globalization or your experiences as a woman in this world. Whatever you like. The point is I want to hear your voices; your stories.
  5. Submissions go to Please put “March” in the subject heading.

And finally if you are reading this and don’t think you have something to offer but know someone who might, please share this with them.

Chins up. Claws out. This is how we resist.

Peace, love and Starbursts,


Maybe What if Everything Wasn’t Terrible in 2017

29 Dec

“Hope is not blind optimism. It’s not ignoring the enormity of the task ahead or the roadblocks that stand in our path. It’s not sitting on the sidelines or shirking from a fight. Hope is that thing inside us that insists, despite all evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us if we have the courage to reach for it, and to work for it, and to fight for it. Hope is the belief that destiny will not be written for us, but by us, by the men and women who are not content to settle for the world as it is, who have the courage to remake the world as it should be.” – Barack Obama

As this long year slowly winds down I was thinking about how awful everything has been. And by everything I mean our government, Trump, Paul Ryan and his stupid face, that horrific tax bill, the lies, the money wasted on golfing, the people in Puerto Rico who still have no electricity.

It’s been a terrible year my friends. We’re all weary.

So I started thinking there had to be something right? Something that wasn’t terrible. Some small moments of joy or gratitude where human kind proved themselves to be something more than a scourge upon the earth.

Let’s list them shall we? We do love year end lists, after all.

  1. The Women’s March


Okay this was all because of Trump obviously but the Women’s March in DC was one of the most incredible experiences of my life and one of the most important moments in history. With 53% of white women voting for that monster this was a clear visual display of true feminism and with an estimated 1 million people in DC (and another 2-3 million across the country) we lit the fire that is the resistance. Which lead to….

2. All the Other Marches



We had a tax march, a day without immigrants strike, a day without women protest, March for Science, protests against the Muslim ban, May Day protests, March for Truth, Impeachment Marches, hell there was even a protest in SPACE. The Women’s March lit a fire that is still burning today. We are doing this. We are standing up and resisting. Here’s a whole long list of everything we have accomplished. 

3. People saved each other


In no way is it ever good that a natural disaster happens. That is always a tragedy but within that tragedy we have the opportunity to, as Mister Rogers said, “to look for the helpers.” During Hurricane Harvey so many people risked their lives to save strangers. In the end we all have the chance to be good people. When you are offered that chance, you take it.

4.  #MeToo Movement


Over 10 years ago Tarana Burke started a movement calling to light sexual harassment and assault, trying to make clear the depth of this problem. In 2017, after the Weinstein story broke, #MeToo flooded social media. It was a watershed moment. It allowed men to really see, maybe for the first time, the power that they have. It was a moment when women did not need to be reduced to “sisters or mothers or daughters” but were in fact fellow humans who had experienced harm. Our humanity was on full display

We detach women’s bodies from women’s humanity so frequently and so seamlessly that we have to work backward to realign them. – Heidi Stevens

And more so it showed our Brothers – our true Brothers not just the Good Man® – what we have been fighting for and against. Maybe they will now, finally, join us.

5. The Hate U Give By Angie Thomas


“They finally put a sheet over Khalil. He can’t breathe under it. I can’t breathe.”

For 43 weeks (at the latest count) The Hate U Give – a powerful story based on the Black Lives Movement – by Angie Thomas has been on the New York Times Best Seller list. While in many ways it is just a drop in the large bucket that is white publishing this is a huge event and has helped to kick open the door to other writers including Nic Stone’s Dear Martin and When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon and lots of others. As I’m always saying representation matters. People’s ability to see themselves in the art they experience is revolutionary. It does so much to combat erasure. The world is a diverse rich place. There’s room for everyone. And speaking of representation mattering….

6. Wonder Woman



Grossing over 412 million dollars, Patty Jenkin’s lush film was made perfect by Gal Gadot’s exquisite portrayal of Wonder Woman/Princess Diana – a fully realized character whose heroism comes from pure altruism. She is the hero our daughters deserve. Let her be the first of many.

7. The Women of Star Wars





What the Last Jedi gave us more than anything else is Star Wars infused with feminism. With women leading, women planning, women sacrificing for the greater good. This is the most patriarchal white supremacy smashing Star Wars yet. It is a film about letting the past die and building something new and that something new is diverse and women-lead.

8. 13th Doctor



After 12 Doctors and fifty years everyone’s favorite two-hearted alien is a woman. I cannot be any more serious when I say that I experience utter and complete JOY when I saw her regenerate (the process by which the Doctor gets a new body hence new actors).  I watched the episode in the theater and there were literal gasps when she appeared.  One of the best things about it is how goddamn happy she is when she sees herself. Look at that smile. They say every generation gets the Doctor they need. Never has this felt more true.

9. Winedrunk Sidewalk – Shipwrecked in Trumpland



As of this posting it is day 344 since Trump took office and for all 344 days John Grochalski, (poet, novelist, Beatles impersonator, and all around good guy) has been posting a piece of art every single day – plus week end recaps of all the horrors the government has tried to do. The blog is a steady act of resistance because in these horrible times ART IS RESISTANCE. We must stay vigilant, kittens. We must keep resisting. Chins up. Claws out. If you have something send it to winedrunksidewalk at gmail dot com. We are all going to keep this resistance going.

10. The Solar Eclipse



For a few brief moments on August 21, 2017 it felt like the whole nation stopped what they were doing and looked up at the solar eclipse as the moon passed between the earth and the sun. In that moment we were all reminded that our lives are a complete fluke – that we are standing on a rock that is hurtling through space. That every one of us is so incredibly lucky just to be here. That we should never ever forget that fact.



Oh….and for good measure, one more.

11. I finished cancer treatment




I had been photographing myself for the final five months counting down to the last shot. Day Zero.


Okay I admit that this has very little bearing on anyone else but I figure if you’re reading this you probably know me and maybe you like me so this might be good news. It’s good news for me. Especially after 3+ years. It’s scary of course but also good. And more so it’s time. It’s time to move on. It’s time to get back to the business of living – the messy beautiful business of living.

So Happy New Year everyone.

Let’s make 2018 the most magical of all. Let’s stay curious. Let’s go exploring.

But most of all let’s be kind to one another and let’s never ever lose hope.

Even Barack has hope.

Peace, love and starbursts,


No Vera. It Was Just A Really Good Day

20 Dec

“Hope is like the sun. If you only believe in it when you can see it, you’ll never make it through the night.”

— Leia Organa


The day before my last cancer treatment I went to see Star Wars: The Last Jedi. I adored the movie – found it to be the most feminist Star Wars that has ever existed and while I love Rey and Rose, it was Leia that stuck with me. Partially because we lost Carrie Fisher, yes, but more so because it was Leia that I had as a little girl to look up to. Leia who never once faltered in her belief in goodness.

In her belief in hope.

That night I had a nightmare that I missed my appointment and had to walk from my hometown about an hour north of NYC to Mt. Sinai Downtown. Needless to say I woke up feeling pretty anxious.

I know that seems silly. It’s been three and a half years since diagnosis. Three and a half years of active treatment. Three and a half years of injections and constantly hauling myself onto the scales to ask am I good enough? Am I doing enough? Am i trying hard enough? Am I somehow going to be free of this burden?

Who wouldn’t want it to be over?

But it being over meant I wasn’t seeing my doctor every month to look at my charts and tell me I’m okay. No, obviously he couldn’t tell me if I was popping off another tumor somewhere but he could tell me what my estrogen levels looked like and that was important. It was reassuring.

It felt like a safety net.

And now it was over.

When I was at my appointment I double checked with my doctor. I asked him, “You sure it’s okay to stop now?” and he told me the same thing he’s been telling me the whole time: There’s no scientific evidence that continuing with the ovarian suppressant beyond three years yields a better outcome.

I nodded. Okay. I believe in science.

I left him and went down to the treatment area for my last injection. Again I’ve been coming here for three years so it’s a bit of a Norm situation when I walk in the room:

Image result for norm cheers gif

That’s what happens when you have treatment for three years and every time you go in you’re the youngest one in the room.

My nurse, Avada gave me my last injection. I was lying on the cot and she took one look at me said “What’s wrong with you?”

“It’s my last injection,” I said. “I’m done.”


I had been photographing myself for the final five months counting down to the last shot. Day Zero.

She was so happy. Gave me a big hug. When we were finished I hugged my other nurses and NPs, especially Camry whose been there from Day 1 when I walked in that office so afraid my hands were shaking. They all told me to come visit when I get my check up in 3 months. I thanked them for taking such good care of me.

Camry said, “That’s our job.”

Nurses are amazing people. One day you’ll need them, and they will be there. No matter what.

I walked out and cued up Lady Stardust by David Bowie.


And I stepped outside into a chilly winter morning and I felt……alive.




I felt like I was floating.

I don’t know what’s going to happen in the future. I’ll still have scans and MRIs for years to come but in a very real way this chapter is closed. I feel like the board has been reset. In a way, I can join the rest of you who never know what’ll happen. Who don’t wonder and worry every day. Who pass through their life in the moment.

Those who just live.

That night I went out with some very dear old friends to celebrate. It was a truly wonderful time full of much laughter and tears and wine. At one point we tried to guess our waitresse’s name. I guessed Danielle.

When we asked her she told us her name was Vera.

She was wonderful and dutiful and because we were making such a ruckus at the end of the evening she asked, with a wide smile, if it was someone’s birthday. Clearly we were celebrating.

We all sort of stopped and I looked at her and I said, “No Vera. It was just a really good day.”

It was just a really good day.

I woke up this morning feeling fantastic. Truly completely fan-fucking-tastic.

As this terrible year winds down, I hope all of you feel as fan-fucking-tastic as this ex-cancer patient does. I hope you have hope that gets you through the long night. I hope you have joy and wonder and beautiful friends to share it with.

I hope you all live in the moment.

No matter what always remember, it’s a magical world. Here’s to the New Year.

Let’s go exploring.



Peace, Love and Starbursts,


National Novel Writing Month is Ending…What Now? #NaNoWriMo Unsolicited Advice.

30 Nov

Hello kittens

Today is November 30th which means tomorrow is December 1st.

To some of you that means something more than the start of the quick slide into the holidays. I means you have only a few hours left to finish a 50,000 word novel.

I have never participated in National Novel Writing Month for a couple reasons. One, I’m a slow writer. Two, deadlines stress me out. Three, word count isn’t usually a motivator and four, I write every day all year long so I’m sort of doing NaNoWriMo all the time. Regardless I think one of the best things about NaNoWriMo is that it gets your butt in the chair every day putting down words and that is the only way novels get written.

To quote Neil Gaiman


As we are in the waning hours I have some thoughts:

First off CONGRATS! Writing 50K words in 30 days is no laughable feat. If you didn’t finish, also CONGRATS! Trying to write 50K words in 30 days is no laughable feat.

Because more than finishing you STARTED something. And truth be told that is the hardest part of writing. The starting. But you did. You started a story that only you can tell. This is huge.

So now what?

Now the work continues. First things first you need to rest your creative brain. Get some sleep. Go for walks. Read and read and read and read some more. Put your book away.

Let it hibernate and percolate. Let yourself forget some of the finer points. Let the characters voices fade. Let the stress of writing a novel in one month go.

Then when you’re all rested and recharged take it out and read it. Then read it again. Then read it again. Then read it one more time just to be sure. Then edit. Then read. Then edit. Then read. Keep doing this for as long as you can. Then put it away again.

Then do the whole process over again. Read and edit. Read and edit. Trust your gut to know when it’s ready. Publishing is a sloooowwww business. It rewards patience. Let someone you trust read it. Make sure they’ll be fair and honest. Listen to them.

If what they say sounds right, make some changes. You’ll know it’s right because your gut and heart and brain will tell you it’s right even if it means killing parts you love. Don’t be afraid to go there. If you don’t think what they’re saying is right move on. This is your book. Rip it apart. Then stitch it back together.

Then read it. And read it again. And read it again. Then edit. Keep doing this over and over again until you’re done. You’ll know when you’re done. You’ll know because you’ll be exhausted and wrung out but also pleasantly satisfied because you created something from nothing.

Then read it again. Then write a query letter. Then rewrite that query letter. Show it to other people who have read it. Does that query sound like your book. Is it precise and careful. Is the voice YOURS? Rewrite it again and again.

Research agents. Really research them. Learn what they publish. Spend time on to learn more. Your agent is going to be your champion. You have to find the perfect one. Send out your query. Wait. Wait. Some more.

While you’re waiting, start another book.

Because the only thing you have control over is how hard you work. Work hard. Make art. Do again. Do it in July. Do it in August. Do it all the time. Keep reading. Keep writing. Everything else will is out of your control.

Work hard.

Make. Good. Art.

Make good art.Make it on the bad days Make it on the good days too.-Neil Gaiman

Congratulations, kittens.

You’ve just finished 50K words and you’ve only just begun to write a novel.

Peace, love and starbursts,



Book News!

16 Nov

Lordy it has been a long time since I’ve blogged.

So we have much catching up to do!

First and foremost, I’m so excited to share that my new poetry book FITTING THE OCEAN IN YOUR MOUTH is now available from Blue Hour. It should be up on their site soon and I have a box full of copies that arrived. If you’re interested in getting one my email is on the about page.

IMG_3030 (1).JPG

I’m really excited because working with Blue Hour has been something I wanted to do for a long time and because I think the poems in here are some of my strongest.

Here’s a few excerpts if you’re interested:

and I wonderon such a moonless, starless night,on a stark unholy, un-kissed night,what song is itthat will save our lives-Because tomorrow I will go to the doctorand he will listen to my heartand I will think about dying.Because that is what we think about when someone listens to our heart.Think about the hI cannot think of love as a constant.It must, for me, wax and wane,the way a wave comes to the shore but is still always part of the deep.I have to think of it this way – as somethingI want to know what time I can be awakewhen no one else is, what second of what hour can I find myselfthe only thing fully aware in this world,eyes openin day or darkfeeling the groaning

In other writing related news, I recently published an essay with Drunk In A Midnight Choir. It’s called “Off the Rag: The Story of How I Got Cancer, Lost My Period and Found My Way Back to Womanhood”

Here’s an excerpt:

Rousseau spent a lot of time musing about the body versus the mind. What was the mind? Where did it live? Was it your soul? Was it your brain? He did as men are apt to do and prescribed the mind to be the realm of man. The mind was clean and logical and precise. It calculated and mused and did the sort of things like philosophize about the body vs mind dualism. The body on the other hand was messy, wet, sticky, and damaged. Capable of dying. The body, according to Rousseau, was womanly. He could not keep these two things together.  For Rousseau they were distinct and separate. There was the perfection of the mind trapped in the imperfection of the messy doomed body. The body’s mortality would destroy the mind’s potential immortality.

I wonder sometimes if I ever thought about these things before the cleaving. Before the doctor with the soft voice, before all the needles and blades that would cut me open, scoop me out and sew me back up. Did I spend much time thinking about where the mind lived? Did I consider my body and mind to be one thing that made up what I called woman? This person called Ally? Did I ever even think about it before the hatchet of diagnosis came down and separated the two? Before I became, like Rousseau, a mind trapped in a dying body.

And I also had the pleasure of being the Writer of the Month over at Drunk Monkeys.

ally wotm

It’s their Trump themed issues so prepare for me having all the feels and the angers.

Speaking of Trump, to all my creatives out there, remember John Grochalski is still going strong with WinedrunkSidewalk: Shipwrecked in Trumpland

If you’ve got images, photos, paintings, rants, essays, poems, whatever you’ve cobbled together send it his way. Putting art into the world during these horrible times is RESISTANCE.

Hit him up at winedrunksidewalk at gmail dot com.

Yesterday was, horrifyingly, Trump’s 300th day in office. On a brighter note it was also the 20th anniversary of my first date with Mr. Grochalski which is crazy. Look at us! BABIES!


I remember a month or so later when I was home for Christmas I told my mother he was “the one.” She raised a skeptical eyebrow, understandably, I was 20, but I knew the way you know about a good melon.


And finally my agent started subbing my novel Palimpsest 44 days ago and my face has basically been like this the whole time.

IMG_2786 (1)

Hold me.

Peace, love and Starburts



Seattle: The Emerald City

26 Sep

“I used to hate playing Seattle shows.” – Chris Cornell

This was the first thing I saw as the captain told us we were beginning our descent to SeaTac International Airport.


It had been a harrowing flight. Long. Hot (especially in that lymphodema sleeve). And full of turbulence. I hate turbulence on any flight but each bump on this plane called back the man in line behind me at the Delta counter in JFK, just hours before, that collapsed and had a massive seizure. There’s really no way for me to properly talk about the effect this had on me or the reactions of people nearby or the experience for this man so I’m just going to leave it at that.

When we finally landed in Seattle and existed the airport, there was Mt. Rainer, and the moon, just cutting up the sky together. During our duration, it never looked nearly as clear or as majestic. I grew up in Hudson Valley. I thought we had mountains. We did not have mountains. Not like this.


It was late and as New Yorkers felt even later by the time we were able to grab some noodles and collapse into bed.

We had breakfast the next morning at the Five Points Cafe5points

Originally opened in 1929 it is the oldest bar in Belltown and the longest running family owned eatery in Seattle. It also serves a plate of hash browns bigger than my head. It was fantastic. (Except on the second visit at the end of the trip when my waiter who is clearly a MONSTER served me English Breakfast when I clearly asked for Earl Grey because as we all know, English Breakfast tastes like it was run through my grandmothers socks. I will never forgive nor forget this monster.)

One of the most touristy but still genuinely awesome places in Seattle is Pike’s Market.

pike market

If you’re wondering why this sounds familiar it’s because this is where they throw the fish around. You’ve seen the videos. Yes, I watched them throw the fish. I don’t have any photos because there were a million and people and it was hard to catch (Ha!) but also because ew, fish.


pike market2

They also sell these huge bouquets of flowers crazy cheap. I’m talking $10 cheap. If I lived there I would Mrs. Dalloway that shit every single day. I mean look at these:

pike market3

Pike Market was sneakily much bigger than I expected. There are LEVELS within LEVELS. They have a magic shop in this place. I’m not kidding. I haven’t seen trick gum for sale anywhere in decades.

Behind Pike Market is the gum wall. But Ally, you ask, what’s a gum wall?



and to Gum Wall’s defense it should actually be called a Gum Alleyway because it just keeps on going


Then, being that we were in Seattle we did exactly what you think we’d do. We went to find the apartment building from Singles and Kurt Cobain’s house.

Don’t judge me!

The building from Singles is located in a super adorable area called Capital Hill. While adorable this is a misnomer. It should be called “Capital Mountain” or “Capital You Need A Tow Rope To Get Up This Bitch” or maybe “Capital You’re Dead Now”

Because this was seriously steep shit. I’m talking 18% grade steep. Some of them just turn INTO STEPS. Like, screw your car, it’s mountain climbing time!

For instance let’s look at this image I found online. This is Denny Way which we talked. Do you see the parts where it levels off and then it’s all mountain again? It’s like a giants staircase!


I walked UP that. And it was really hot too. Figures I wind up in Seattle when they’re in the 90’s.

Anyway, we found the Singles apartment. Being a 90’s girl this movie was on a constant rotation with Reality Bites. I could probably act it out.

The apartments are located at 1820 E. Thomas Street and yes (minus the fountain which they added) it looks exactly the same.


“I was just no where NEAR your neighborhood”

Then we headed back down to Lake Washington to find where Cobain lived…and well, died. It felt strange. I’m not going to lie. I’ve found lots of artists homes and graves and what not over my traveling years but I don’t think I’ve ever been to a place that was so tragic and so important in my own life.

The walk out there is gorgeous. The lake is gorgeous. To get to Kurt’s road you go down little winding wooden steps.


You wouldn’t even know you were only a few miles from where Pearl Jam used to rehearse back in Belltown

pearl jam

And I couldn’t help but wonder as we crested the hill that was Viretta Park that is right along the property if maybe that was part of the problem. All I know is that the Denny-Blaine neighborhood looked alot different than Belltown or Capital Hill.

In Viretta Park is a makeshift memorial – a bench that has been graffittied. When we were there someone had left flowers.


From there you can see just the top of the house. It was sad and solemn and I felt a bit like maybe I shouldn’t have come.


To offset that feeling, we headed up to Fremont (via bus cause you can’t walk and also because at this point I COULDN’T walk. Damn hills. I’m so old).

Fremont is a very cool neighborhood full of record stores and cool restaurants but more so it’s got this:


This is the Fremont Troll and in case you couldn’t tell, he lives under the bridge. He’s big.

Like climb on him big


(Dear god, we have sunburns in September in Seattle because of global warming.)

Down the road is a giant statue of Lenin with a red hand. Interpret that as you will


But as I was saying we came over to Fremont for something else too. Something Kurt.

This is Reciprocal Recording Studios. reciprocal

This little tiny shack has quite a history. A band called Ted Ed Fred wanted to record here because Soundgarden recorded Screaming Life. Ted Ed Fred would soon change their name to Nirvana. In this little space they recorded their first demo on January 23, 1988. They had no drummer at the time, just Cobain and Novoselic so they borrowed the drummer from the Melvins. Jack Endino recorded and mixed ten songs. Two would go on to be on Bleach. Endino kept a copy which he brought to SubPop which landed Nirvana their first record deal.

I stood in front of the door thinking how excited they must have been when it was all starting out. I tried to make that memory burn brighter than that bench or that dusty park or that peaked roof of that mansion.

Just down the road from Fremont is the Gas Works Park

gas works

It’s really cool with an incredible view:


And we stopped into Linda’s a couple of times and had some pints of cider. This was the last place Kurt was seen alive.


And yes of COURSE we did the Space Needle. Which I should get a few snaps for because this girl is afraid of heights. You should have seen me walking across the George Washington Bridge one time. I nearly made my peace with having to live in Jersey forever.


It’s so tall

But I was cool about it.


My hands down favorite thing we did in Seattle was easily the Museum of Pop Culture

This place was incredible. First off every exhibit was cool. Every. Single. One.

There was a fantasy one that had…..


Dorothy’s dress


Yeah that’s the witch’s hat


Oh just Princess Buttercup and Westley and Indigo’s gear No biggie.


What’s that you say? Oh yes that IS all the weapons from Lord of the Rings.


Susan Pevensie’s bow and arrow. I’m screaming!


The White Witch’s ice crown

And then there was the Bowie by Mick Rock exhibit

Mick was Bowies photographer from 1972-1973 and he captured some of the most iconic images from the Ziggy Stardust years. He told his manager that Mick seems him as he sees himself.

Mick also took these:

Hang on cause we’re JUST getting started with this museum.

Then they had the Jim Henson Experience. I had recently been to the Museum of Moving Image and seen their now permanent Henson exhibit which I loved but I was delighted to learn that many of my favorites were currently at MoPOP.

They even let you make a little video of you working as a puppeteer. I forgot to make my dude turn to the other camera so that’s why there are blank spaces! All the same, if this librarianship thing doesn’t work out I think I might have some options.

<p><a href=”″>seattle 068</a> from <a href=”″>ally malinenko</a> on <a href=””>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Okay I just re-watched that and it was pretty terrible. I take it back. I have no future in puppeteer.

And some from his movies too!

And Jareth’s outfit and Sarah’s dress from the ballroom scene in Labyrinth


Then, because we’re still not done with MoPOP they had a Star Trek exhibit!

and a science fiction one, which according to the website had Doctor Who props. So I go in figuring they’ll be small stuff, like maybe K9 but no. There was this:



And this:


Yes they had an actual Dalek and I just about lost my mind.

They also had Mork’s outfit, a jawa, the ghostbuster’s pack and hoverboards from Back to the Future!

We also went down to the International District which is home to the Uwajimaya Market which served the best Udon chicken soup of my life. I burned every layer off my tongue and it was worth it. The whole area is really pretty.

There was also a lot of information about Japanese Seattle residents and the internment camps in 1942. 127,00 people were imprisoned, more than half of whom were American born citizens.IMG_2608[1]

And just like that the week was up and we were heading home, home, home.


Thanks for a lovely time, Seattle. I’m sure I’ll be back.

Peace, Love and Starbursts,


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