Tag Archives: Halloween

My Kind of Town

31 Oct


Hello friends.

I’m 100% trying to be better about keeping this up to date. Now that my revisions have gone back to my agent and I’ve started a new book (more on that later) this all seems like it might be possible. I’m probably setting myself up for failure, but hey….

So this month we went to Chicago! And let me tell you, I love this town. This is my third trip to Chicago but it feels like the first time I got to actually see and understand this city. The first time I was in college and I sold off all my cds to get gas and hotel money. We were only there a weekend and I never got off the Miserable …ahem, Magnificent Mile which is like being stuck in Herald Square forever. *shudders*

The second time we were traveling the country and it was another short trip with similar results. But this time I finally got it right.

It’s a really beautiful city.


This was a very far walk.


Of course we made it up to Wrigley Field


and out to Andersonville to got to this incredible feminist bookstore, Women and Children First.



We at cheezborgers at the Billy Goat Tavern (three times, DON’T YOU JUDGE ME).


Yes you know them from this Saturday Night Live skit

Speaking of we were at the Billy Goat Tavern when Jason Van Dyke, the police officer who murdered Laquan MacDonald was found guilty. They had it up on the television and when the verdict was announced it was incredible. They read each “guilt” by bullet so he had to sit there and listen to all sixteen bullets. It was like a poem, it was so intense. I was so happy the people of Chicago got some justice.

When we first got there we hit up Millennium Park to see the Cloud Gate or as Chicagoians affectionately call it, The Bean.


This park is full of lots of cool things like fountains that spit on you.


And obviously we went to the Art Institute – home of NightHawks by Edward Hopper. It was the piece of art my husband was most looking forward to seeing. On the way he joked about it being lent out so naturally……it was.

We were standing in the ticket line and there was the sign saying it was in Shanghai for an exhibit. The poor boy just started laughing but trust me the whole thing felt VERY familiar.

Not that we didn’t see great art:






Amy Sherald (yes she painted Michelle Obama’s portrait)




van Gogh


van Gogh


van Gogh





And we went to INTUIT – The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art and it was incredible.

This is Lee Goodie – she lived on the streets of Chicago and made these paintings


And this is Aldo Piacenza – he made to scale models of famous chapels. They’re BIRDHOUSES!


But the center piece to INTUIT is Henry Darger. Henry Darger is probably one of the best known outsider artist. He lived here:


and in this space he created In the Realms of the Unreal –  approximately 15, 145 page work that was bound in 15 densely typed volumes, many of which contained hundreds of scroll-size paintings.


And the subject of the Realms of the Unreal is even better. From wikipedia:

The largest part of the book, The Story of the Vivian Girls, in What is Known as the Realms of the Unreal, of the Glandeco-Angelinian War Storm Caused by the Child Slave Rebellion, follows the adventures of the daughters of Robert Vivian, seven princesses of the Christiannation of Abbieannia who assist a daring rebellion against the child slavery imposed by John Manley and the Glandelinians. Children take up arms in their own defense and are often slain in battle or viciously tortured by the Glandelinian overlords. The elaborate mythology includes the setting of a large planet, around which Earth orbits as a moon (where most people are Christian and mostly Catholic), and a species called the “Blengigomeneans” (or Blengins for short), gigantic winged beings with curved horns who occasionally take human or part-human form, even disguising themselves as children. They are usually benevolent, but some Blengins are extremely suspicious of all humans, due to Glandelinian atrocities.

And the INTUIT museum recreated his living/artist space:



It’s strange. You got to a place like INTUIT and you see these amazing works of art and then you go to the Art Institute and you see equally amazing works of art. It’s strange, the gatekeepers of culture, how they decide who lives on the street making art and who is hung in the most hallowed of halls, decreed with genius. Is Lee Goodie’s work any less affecting than deKooning? Is Darger’s?

We also found the Biograph where Joe Dillinger was caught by the FBI


and murdered in the alleyway behind


We also went to Oz Park, a tribute to Frank L. Baum and his creations. The city put up these amazing statues. They were adorable. Look how cute the lion is!


I scored some new buttons


and a tee! (yes I’ll be wearing it to the premiere of Bohemian Rhapsody do you even have to ask me that?)


Also our walk to our hotel most nights lead us past this horrible building so naturally I paid my respects



We stopped at the Green Mill, an old Al Capone haunt, for some drinks and stumbled into a free comedy show which was lovely.


Not sure if you can see it, but seated in the last booth to the right are two dope queens (yes I said it) who together form the rap group Glitter Moneyyy who were amazing. They’re streaming on all the things so please, do yourself a favor and download.


Oh! And before I forget yes, we found the Haymarket Riot memorial (if you don’t know about the Haymarket Riot you need to do some reading about this damn country).



And because I couldn’t resist, we found Championship Vinyl…because JOHN CUSAK



It was a really fantastic trip even though our flight home was cancelled and we were stuck in O’Hare for far too many hours and then entire flight home was a turbulent nightmare that had me swearing I was never going to fly again and we landed very late at LaGuardia of all places.

So since then, I’ve been back to writing. Palimpsest, as I said before, was re-written for middle grade and my agent has that now. I still need to work on the all girl pickpocket heist book – mainly on world-building – but I set that aside to write a new middle grade ghost book with a scary Preacher Man. Must be all the Nick Cave I have been listening to.

So yeah, that’s where we’re at. I’m making things. MAKING ALL THE THINGS!

And in even better news, today is Halloween. Happy Allyween, my witches.


Peace, love and starbursts,


Happy Halloween

31 Oct

Happy Halloween kids!

You want to know what’s REALLY scary?


That movie is twenty years old. TWENTY! How is that possible? It’s not because I distinctly remember going to see that with my best friend and it was NOT twenty years ago.

Since I’m clearly far too old to go out, grab your masks, raise your pumpkin goblets and go harass your neighbor’s till they give you candy. And when you’re done, here’s a helpful guide for all your trick-r-treating swaps. I’m pretty sure my sisters always stuck me with the Brachs.

via Boing Boing

Thus Ends Banned Books Week and Thus Begins Halloween Time

6 Oct

So I COMPLETELY missed Banned Books week. I don’t know how that happened. I was going to post something each day – talk about books that I love that had been banned. It was gonna be great.

Instead, I did nothing. Figures, huh? In my defense it was a rough week. And now here we are at the end of Banned Books and I’ve said nothing. Since I don’t want it pass unnoticed, I’ll say this: Read Banned Books. Celebrate the freedom to read. Some of my best friends are Banned Books.

Here’s a list of the top banned books in 2011. The vast majority of them are YA which just goes to show you that people who ban books have no recollection of what being a teenager was really like. Nice to see To Kill a Mockingbird still on there, for “racism” of all things.

  1. ttyl; ttfn; l8r, g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle
    Reasons: offensive language; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group
  2. The Color of Earth (series), by Kim Dong Hwa
    Reasons: nudity; sex education; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group
  3. The Hunger Games trilogy, by Suzanne Collins
    Reasons: anti-ethnic; anti-family; insensitivity; offensive language; occult/satanic; violence
  4. My Mom’s Having A Baby! A Kid’s Month-by-Month Guide to Pregnancy, by Dori Hillestad Butler
    Reasons: nudity; sex education; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group
  5. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
    Reasons: offensive language; racism; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group
  6. Alice (series), by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
    Reasons: nudity; offensive language; religious viewpoint
  7. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
    Reasons: insensitivity; nudity; racism; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit
  8. What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones
    Reasons: nudity; offensive language; sexually explicit
  9. Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily Von Ziegesar
    Reasons: drugs; offensive language; sexually explicit
  10. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
    Reasons: offensive language; racism

Egads! Who are these people who ban books you ask? And terrifyingly enough the answer is anyone who thinks a book is offensive and wants to challenge it. According to the American Library Association parents are the most common source point for challenged books. Way to encourage reading, parents! The good news is that though anyone can challenge a book actually getting it banned is not as easy.

So now that I’ve missed Banned Books week let’s move onto Halloween Times which for me, will begin this evening at my house with saucy, noodle-y, cheesy goodness for dinner and then Rocky Horror Picture Show to kick off the Halloween season. Cross your fingers and hope my husband remembers to bring home a pumpkin.

Let’s do the Time Warp Again!

Happy October!

2 Oct

It’s finally October! My favorite month of the year. Not only is it autumn but it ends with Halloween, the best holiday ever.

I love this bit from Neil Gaiman’s short story, October in the Chair (Fragile Things, Harper Collins):

October was in the chair, so it was chilly that evening, and the leaves were red and orange and tumbled from the trees that circles the grove. The twelve of them sat around a campfire roasting huge sausages on sticks, which spat and crackled as the fat dripped onto the burning applewood, and drinking fresh apple cider, tangy and tart in their mouths.

Doesn’t that sound lovely? Now, dear Brooklyn trees please do me a favor and turn all orange-red delicious and get all crunchy underfoot. The stores are full of fat fat FAT pumpkins one of which I plan to bring home with me this evening.

This weekend I watched the BBC/PBS/Royal Shakespeare Company’s version of Macbeth starring Patrick Stewart (what can’t he do? Piccard, Dr. X, Macbeth. The man is walking Genius). It was a modernized version, which normally I’m not a fan of, but this WWII/Stalin-esque retelling was fantastic. Fantastically acted, produced, everything. Check out the Weird Sisters:

Have you ever seen Double Double Toil and Trouble done like that?? As my husband said, it’s Shakespeare meets American Horror Story.

We also watched a similar production of Hamlet starring The Doctor, er, I mean David Tennant which was equally fantastic. Course he is a Time Lord. And next weekend we’ll be lucky enough to see the Globe Players (all the way from London) performance of Hamlet at Pace. Support the Arts, folks. One day it could be gone.

So raise your pumpkin goblets because the only thing better than regular October is a Very Shakespearean October! Cheers!

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