Weddings, Bohemia, etc
Hi, my love. So many new subscriber faces here this week.
(Hello to you, beautiful new person!)
(What a great face you have!)
Welcome to the weekly Sunday ttalk party. We talk about fun things like a career in music, Jewish food, tour stuff. I sometimes write recipes. I sometimes talk about fear. I talk a lot about mailboxes.
This week was heavy on the tour stuff. I believe, if I’m clocking right, I spent only one of the seven days at home in Hamsterdance. Ended up in Paris, for example, on our wedding anniversary.
Paris was magnifique. But our wedding and the memory of it is its own complicated song and dance.
Every year I think, “This is the year I’m going to write about it,” and every year I also think, “I’d rather just focus on the amazing family and the beautiful ritual that happened that day, and not give any undeserved words to the difficult lessons I learned.”
And then every year I write something new. Vague, but a little closer to the truth.
(One of the best things about having my own space.)
(Something I always wanted, something you’ve helped me cultivate.)
(Thank you, as always.)
So what does vague but a little closer to the truth look like?
This, I suppose. José and I have been married for three years as of May 5, 2022. On May 5, 2019 I trusted bad advice and let someone cake makeup on my face despite my own misgivings, so it’s hard for me, still, to look at photos.
But it was a momentous day nonetheless.
Three years as of May 5, 2022.
A lot of my favorite people in the world came together that day to celebrate. A few people I rightfully don’t speak to anymore came together that day for different reasons of their own choosing.
Vague, but a little closer to the truth.
Three years later what I remain in awe of is my family. Large, supportive, joyous. I remain in awe of my husband. A brilliant, compassionate, treasure trove of a person.
I spent the rest of this 2022 week with him in Germany, a little mini tour before heading out to Asia.
(and, wildly, before we move out of Amsterdam?)
(she drops uneventfully mid t-talk to check if you’re still reading!?)
(we’ll discuss soon i promise)
(here’s a photo of berlin on a rare sunny day until then)
The quick shift back into Europe touring alongside the wedding anniversary served as a sort of forced reflection of how much I’ve grown. How much I’ve culled my life of toxicity, and how much the new seeds I’ve planted have flowered.
I used to surround myself with a bevy of brilliant, interesting and talented artists.
Absolutely sensational narcissists with the occasional epic borderline personality disorder frond thrown in.
I loved them and all of their plentiful crises.
But as soon as I could see those “friendships” for what they were I spent a decade dismantling, exiting the final stubborn few on May 5, 2019.
In the enormous space left I found fewer, infinitely better people.
A bevy of brilliant, interesting and talented humans.
Some are artists.
Many are not.
None are absolutely sensational narcissists with the occasional epic borderline personality disorder frond thrown in.
A crowd that speaks to Penny Arcade’s reflection on bohemia, from her 1996 performance piece, “New York values” (which I discovered through forever goddess Sarah Schulman).
“Bohemia has nothing to do with poverty or with wealth. It is a value system that is not based on materialism…There are people who go to work every day in a suit and tie who are bohemian and will never had a bourgeois mentality like the loads of people who graduate from art school and are completely bourgeois…There is a gentrification that happens to buildings and neighborhoods and there is a gentrification that happens to ideas.”
Our own little Bohemia on this spinning circle.
The very, very few who understand this life I’m living.
(So few people, even well meaning ones, understand.)
We talked about this a bit a few weeks ago, you and I, how many people are intent on putting a baby into my life or forcing me into a space that makes them more comfortable, even when I’m perfectly happy where I am.
I can’t even blame them.
JJ and I have chosen to live a somewhat countercultural life. And when you choose to live a life counter to culture, you’re sailing your boat against the current. Can you really blame the other boats for being confused and/or inconvenienced by your boat’s trajectory?
I try not to. But it does become exhausting, having to fend off these constant judgments, suggestions, etc. JJ mentioned the other day that all of this “well meaning” noise around what I choose to do with my body and life even makes it so that I can’t consider these choices sanely if I wanted to.
So as you can imagine I find deep, deep comfort in our wonderful community of like minded humans around the world.
Some of them married, some not.
Some with kids, some without.
All bohemian, all my people.
I meet them when I’m in their city. We hang for 30 minutes or we hang for 8 hours straight. The connection is the same, the experience always different.
Maybe, for example, I find myself in Berlin. The show doesn’t start until 10:30 pm, with a merciful line check right before it rather than a grueling / needless soundcheck.
That means a real deal dinner, my love. I call my friend Jacob, whom I’ve known since I was 20 at the New School. Back then he was taking a music pedagogy course so he took me on as the worst piano student in history to finish out the credits.
The piano lessons didn’t stick, the friendship did. Jacob recorded my first album, taught me Ableton, signed my Ketuba at that wedding three or so years ago. Here is a fracking epic photo of us in Japan 2019 on my first headlining tour, a solid 11 or so years after we met.
I call Jacob because he has now moved to Berlin with his queen Marta, and also because, alongside being the synth player for Kimbra, Nerve, and his own badass project Taut, he truly, to quote the Jews, knows from food.
He suggests a pizza place called Gazzo. The food is magnificent, the hang even better. The waiter is a vivacious beacon of life. A bobbing ferry of joy. Midway through the meal we are best friends, at the end of the meal I find out his name is Shmuly.
(A Yehudi Australian, serving us pizza here in Berlin!) (Bo!Hemia!)
Shmuly and Jacob both suggest that I try Fritz-Kola, Germany’s fancy face take on Coca Cola.
I oblige, because I love them both.
It is a loving disappointment.
Here I am explaining why, though delicious, Fritz Kola comes nowhere near Coca Cola (no hard feelings).
Or maybe, for example, I realize that I have only a few fateful more days to visit my friends Kurt and Leen while living in Europe. They recently bought a house in Antwerp that I have heard only rave things about. And, considering Kurt and Leen are two of the most interesting humans I’ve ever met in my life (Kurt has a literal world famous traveling exhibition of cat album sleeves and Leen is widely known around Antwerp as one of the best dressed humans in a city of best dressed humans), I have no doubts.
So we re-route our train out of Berlin to Antwerp. It’s a 6 am lobby call, we arrive in Antwerp at 12:30. When we land I am curious as to why NOONE told me that the Antwerp train station is one of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen?!
Kurt is standing staring at the ceiling waiting to meet us. He tells us that, as artistic director of the legendary Ancienne Belgique, this is his daily commute spot. Then he takes us to his house, which lives every bit up to the hype. We eat lunch in their garden, all perfect vegetarian food that Leen has somehow cooked up while raising her luli Polly (3.5 yrs old) and full on newborn Rocco (3 months old).
The hang spans from 12:30 to 7:30, including an epic walk through Antwerp with Polly leading us on a scooter romp. At some point she points to the sky and shrieks at the top of her voice (in Dutch, of course,) “THE MOON IS IN THE SKY! LOOK! AND IT’S NOT EVEN NIGHT!”
We float through the city with Polly, this perfect north star ray of light (+Kurt and Leen’s expert city knowledge navigating). At the end of the hang I get to enjoy a real Coca Cola to make up for the Fritz.
Leen agrees there is no substitute.
I jump a train back, crash into Amsterdam around 9:15 pm. Been up for who knows how long, 6 am lobby calls pretty much all week.
I write to you, my fellow Bohemian, about our little interwoven bohemias throughout the world.
I think on this next move, a big one, coming so soon it doesn’t even feel real. Type to you and send this out truly just before midnight, exhausted and full of love.
I don’t know where JJ and I land next. But I know that in the shelter of this community I have grown, written, loved. I know, then, that there are no wrong steps.
(So I tap the blue “publish” button.)
(And keep writing.)
More next week.