Had a good night. Jammed with the Swingers. I used the new guitar, Munificent Samurai. I was pleased with how good she looked. Timeray was too. She liked how I wrote on her.
"That's so cute," she said. "You wrote, 'I am Pirooz. This is my guitar.' "
"Yeah, I like that."
"Why is it covered up? I want to see it."
"Oh the varnish dripped. I had to cover it again. I'll put it back there."
I put it back this morning. I am glad I did. There is nothing like making a guitar come into this world Red Violin styley. I am happy about her sound too. She sounds purdy. Especially with the new chords Brett taught me.
"Just slide it down two frets. It's like a C."
"Oooh, I like that."
"Yeah, it's a pretty chord."
"What's the other one?"
"Just move down-"
"You mean up?"
I used both chords for the latest song, "Suicide Note." I don't really know what it's about. It's still percolating. Hopefully, it will come together with all your favorite members of Slipshod.
The version below is just a demo with yours truly. Maybe, it will make the album. No idea.
Click on The Official Slipshod Swinger Guitar of Munificenceor Munificent Samurai(Ms., for short)to hear a snippet.
hand me a wish hand me a dollar don't know if this suicide note will bring you home
The first is Brokeback Iraq. My friend Kris asked for a protest song. This was what came to me. It was done in about 6 takes. Each time I sang a different verse. By the time I got to the last verse, I knew what I was talking about and re-did the first three. Panauh did the music. I sang like Johnny Cash.
Click here or on music bar to hear Brokeback Iraq.
Yo, I did it. Balls to the wall. I decided I would go over to the Persian girl's house and just ask her out. I might be dead tomorrow, you know?
Oh, man, it was hilarious.
She lives with her Grams. I knock on the door and her grandmother comes to the door. She knows no English. Only Farsi. I do my best to convey that I'm looking for Gorgeous Girl. She is having trouble understanding me, because it comes out my mouth like, "Hi. How are you? Hi. Gorgeous girl. I Farsi. Hi."
She decides to call Gorgeous on the phone, who is at work.
So there I am with her Grandmother in her house asking her out.
"Hey," I say. "It's Pirooz."
"Pirooz, from next door."
"I was just calling to see if you want to go get some coffee."
"Yeah, that sounds good. Today is bad though, because I have to work for another hour and then head over to Glendale. Then I head out of town on Thursday."
"But let me get your number."
"Okay. I already gave it to your grandmother."
"Oh, you're with my grandmother?"
"Yeah, she's really sweet."
I give her the digits. Then I bolt. The Grandmother follows me out. She says how she's so glad I'm Iranian, and wants to make sure Gorgeous has agreed to go out with me. At least that's what I think. I don't really know. I catch glimpses of a language that sounds like sandpaper to me - all underwater it's been so long. But I'm pretty sure she dug me. I figure that's a good in.
But what the hell am I going to do on this date?
Sprigs, help me. Dacheux?
Ah, forget it. I'm just going to have coffee and then take her to The Rainbow Room and a couple clubs. Who knows? I'll play it by ear.
So funny though.
I told the executives at the office about it, and one of them just railed me: "Pirooz," he said. "You're a good looking guy. You're all tatted up. You sing in a rock band. Why are you getting all bent out of shape about this girl?"
"Because she's hot," I say. "And such a dork. I dig that. It's so awkward."
The female executive is a lot more docile about the whole thing.
"Just put a note on the door, so the Grandmother doesn't know about it."
I might have gone overboard. It was just how it played out though. Who knows?
What makes it even funnier, is this same girl, Gorgeous, tried to front me 6 months ago and I just realized it today.
I was walking back from writing Golden Ashtray at the Sabe, when I see this girl tying her shoes or something on the sidewalk. Then when I walk up near her, she pops up and says, "Hey, how are you doing?"
I think she's in trouble or something because, mind you, I have just gotten out of a marriage and am kind of slow on the uptake, so I ask her if she needs help.
"Are you in trouble?" I ask. "Something wrong with your car?"
"No," she says, "I just wanted to say hi--and--well--"
Then she just turns and walks away. Real flustered and shit.
I didn't even realize she was trying to get up on my grill till I was halfway down the block and then it was too late to run after her.
Now 8 moths later. I live right next door to her. We'll go get coffee. Should be interesting. Exciting too. I am such a spaz, you know.
Anyway, that's how it's going down. (JP you asked to hear about my crazy love life.) I will let you know if I drool, or say some crazy shit only the poltergeist would do a 360 for.
[ Only you know best. This is what works for me. Take it or leave it.]
There are 3 ways to get rid of writer's block or launch yourself into creative expression.
#1. Let go of judgment!
Once you let go of the idea of good or bad in your art, the possibilities will be infinite. I have written in detail about this on HOW TO BUILD A LIGHT SABER, but for simplicity's sake let me break it down into its bare minimum:
Negative thoughts change your body chemistry. The only way to lose them is by asking questions. You can use Byron Katie, and identify the stressful thoughts you have around art i.e. "This is not academic enough" or "My painting sucks." Are these thoughts true? Who would you be without them? And then turn it around.
#2. Find gratitude.
I usually find that the reason I get art depression is because I become goal-oriented, or as I call it, "endzone-oriented." I am consumed with how to get something out to the world, rather than what I am or have actually created. In order to get out of this future thinking, I have found that gratitude is the easiest path to clarity. When you look around and appreciate the little things that make up your life, goal-oriented thoughts are left by the wayside and you are brought back to the centered place from which your art began.
#3. Discover your intention.
Another way out of writer's block or stressful thoughts around creation is to discover your intention. I recommend asking the following: What inspires me? Why do I write? What is my intention? These questions will return or catalyse the possibility for creation. It will help you lose the idea of the waiting game 'it will come when it comes' mentality, which is not true, and if you don't believe me, take it to inquiry and find out for yourself.
Now, finally, I will give my advice on the following questions which I have been asked in heart-to-hearts, emails, etc.:
"Can you tell me how to get published?" and "How can my writing be better?"
I will take the last one first. "How can your writing be better?" you ask. I say, "Lose that thought." Once you stop being consumed with approval, applause, and your own self-preservation, you will come face-to-face with what makes your particular work the best that it is. It is this simple.
So many times I see artists so busy worrying about genres, classifications, or if people like them, that I think, 'How in the world do these people have time to create?' I mean it really is a testament to how all human beings have unlimited potential. We can be filled with so many thoughts and still manage to make a painting. But imagine not having this clouded mind. What if there was no mind when you approached your art?
Yes, my sentiments exactly. And it really is easy. Just question your stressful thoughts, get grateful for being alive, notice the little things, and roll with it. Some people will like particular pieces more than others, and this is just taste so don't take it personal. And if you do, look at the critique; ask if it's true, see who you would be without it, and move on.
For artists who believe canons are important or a certain sense of lineage when approaching art, good luck! I have no real advice for you, besides the truth, which is you're going to have to drop the conceptual frameworks you learned at your MFA or PhD programs before you find that voice which is yours.
And this doesn't mean I am against classical education or advanced programs, I just know that some human beings are better served painting without any frame of reference, while others are seeking a more, academic route of exhibition or livelihood. Neither is better than the other. It's just different tastes. Don't get hung up on it.
I, personally, dig dirty music more than refined pop, but then again, I don't mind dropping a little Justin Timberlake on itunes after a Doors-Nirvana-Foo Fighters marathon. It all depends on how I'm feeling.
This brings me to the last and most important advice I have to offer and that is openness. As soon as I have thought solidly about something, it invariably turns jellyfish on me and oozes on the floor.
Don't be afraid to be open. It is a healthy position for the mind. It takes itself easy on us when we are this clear. It also zooms out of the picture frame or microscope slide of our lives to reveal a much, bigger scope of what our lives may mean for one another, and the unlimited possibility such a super telescope provides.
I wish you all the best on your journeys, and happiness with your creative and life endeavors. Please know that I will respond to all art that is sent to me. It may take time, but feel free to send me work or links. I will do my best to respond as soon as I can. And know that I really love being sent little gifts like that. It is so thoughtful and a real blessing. Thank you.
If you would like more information on my approach to art or life, visit HOW TO BUILD A LIGHT SABER or download GOLDEN ASHTRAY. Oh, and one last thing. Reading. I read a lot. If you're working on craft or language, etc. Reading is so nutritious. Anyway, like I have said earlier, take or leave my approach. Only you know best. Trust that.
The Desert Rose Pirooz M. Kalayeh
PS. How do you get published? The Internet. Do-it-yourself. Meet someone.
____________________________________ Slipshod went great. It was Brett, JP, and myself. We went straight through Hollywood Boulevard and this new tune Bob Marley. Very cool song. I will post it if Panauh gets his ass together and sends it to me. (Now that he does the recording in the other room, he's got to make everything perfect, you know?)
But why am I listening to Jack Johnson early in the morning on a Saturday?
Well, as Slipshod rocked Little Armenia (meaning 1807 Taft Avenue, Apt 1), I could hear applause. Our neighbors were cheering. Next thing I know I'm out having a smoke, and this chick comes up and introduces herself. She says she was just listening and wanted to come over and introduce herself.
"You know like in college you'd just go over to the dorm room. I know it might seem weird, but I figured you were people on the same wavelength, you know?"
"Yeah," I say.
She's pretty. Persian is my guess.
"You speak Farsi?" I ask.
"Yeah," she smiles.
I say hello in my native tongue. She gets cute, bats her eyelashes, and replies. It is evident her heart is curious about me. I'm way too strong for most ladies though. I'm like a heart attack. That heavy. I prove it too.
"You sing?" I ask her.
"That's what they asked me inside," she shifts all nervous and shit. "Why you guys looking for a singer?"
"Slipshod is always welcome to other musicians," I say.
"I only sing in the shower."
"Well, come sing on this track."
"Yeah," I say.
"Well," she pulls at the bottom of her shirt, "maybe if I was prepared."
"What do you do?"
"I'm a head hunter for audio engineers. I find them jobs."
"Good for my brother," I think and say (because these days it just drools out of my mouth).
"Yeah," she agrees.
"There's something else though. You're a headhunter. I hear that. But there's some kind of art there."
"Yeah," she says. "Well, I did the whole acting modeling thing, but I got tired of it. I also danced."
"Mmmm," I think and say. "But the hot girl was going to be here."
They look at me like kids who want to go to McDonald's, and I've learned long ago not to argue with reality.
"Okay," I say. "Lets go."
"Alright," Pinchie says. "Going with the flow. I love it."
We walk aimlessly for a bit. Pinchie drops some of his spoken word. Timeray sings her latest piece. I listen and harmonize on certain parts, until we hit some bar on Cahuenga.
We drop in fast. I tell them that drinks are on me, because they are poor and I'm not, so that's how we'll roll tonight.
They don't argue.
I order 3 rum and cokes. A girl comes up to me right away. She shows me her crap, handmade tattoo. I show her the new one I got last Saturday. She thinks it's fake.
"No, it's not," I say.
That's all I say to her. I probably should have stopped there. I didn't though. After we hit the dance floor, I caught her watching us break it down in the packed club.
"Come," I say. "Dance with us."
"I have two drinks," she says, and hold up her hands.
"I'll hold one," I say. "Pinchie will hold the other.
She grinds up on me for a bit. I sing in her ear. Don't think she liked that. She took off in a hurry.
"Did that girl diss me?" I ask Pinch.
"Dude," he smiles. "There are hundreds.
I like Pinchie, I spin. He's right.
We proceed to hit several more clubs on Hollywood. Tim and Pinch are star dancers. Pinchie taught hip-hop dance, so he tears it up wherever we go. So does Timeray. I dance okay. It's more like an inspiration for others to dance. I got rhythm. I can groove with it. But I'm so manly, you know? I've got that vibe that on a dance floor comes off as a sheik in the desert, while onstage people would be like, "Who is he?" I roll with it though, you know?
Anyway, we are on our last club, when Pinchie tells me that he wants to talk to the owner.
"Dude," he says. "I want to talk to the owner. This place should be packed."
"Okay," I say. "You find the guy. I'll be your partner. Let go do it."
Pinch asks a couple of the bouncers who to talk to. I go and talk to a girl. She points out the owner, and then the 3 of us roll up to him. Pinchie does the sale. He fronts about how many bottles he could get the place to sell. Timeray mentions her showcase and sways ever so gently in front of him. I stand there and look menacing. (I know my role).
He is swayed. He gives Timeray his card.
"Good," I say to the group. "Lets get this place packed next Thurday."
"Next Thursday?" Pinchie says
"Okay," I say. "The Thursday after that.
We walk back down Hollywood Boulevard. We talk about many things. We sing songs to each other. We hit Tommy's for burgers. We say goodbye.
Now it's morning. I listen to Jack Johnson. I think about how I can get that Armenian girl next door to come over.
Maybe, I'll just sing love songs all day. She'll hear them and come say hello again.
The DIY revolution is taking over America. I find it interesting and very much in line with the artist bohemia of the 1960's. Now why the trend? Why are more people starting to create their own products and clothing lines? Some say it has to do with the creation of the portable drill. Others are quick to point out the reactions to corporations and their 'everything is exactly boring and mundance transparency.' I don't really know. Thankfully, I am ordering "DIY or DIE" on Netflix to find out.
"We're like Mork and Mindy's kids because we used to live in Colorado."
"And everyone thinks we're brother and sister."
Coffee drips on my thumb.
D gets money from an ATM.
"I wonder what it would be like," I say.
"What?" she asks.
"Mork and Mindy's Kids, our TV show." "Oh," D says. "It'd be good."
We walk past vegetable bins. They have big tomatoes. Big everything.
"Aren't those the tomatoes Alan likes?"
"I already got some."
"What do you need?"
"Bok choy," she says, inspecting a bag.
I walk over to a group of street musicians. I listen. I hum.
D joins in as we walk down the alley.
“That would make a great theme song for Mork and Mindy’s Kids.”
“Yeah,” D agrees.
“Want to record it when we get back to my place?”
"Okay," D says.
"You don't have to if you don't want to."
"No, I do."
We walk up Franklin. We talk about the beautiful weather. We look at tall palm trees in a line.
"Oh," D says. "Look at this plant!"
D lifts a long-stemmed flower hanging from a vine.
"This would be a great microphone!"
"Yeah,” I laugh. “Wish we had a camera."
We take turns singing into the plant without taking a picture. It fills me with nostalgia. That’s how I know it is magic.
Cam ZI to MCU 'FLOWER'
text scrolls: Friendship and loss in one afternoon is enough to make a flower wilt. It hangs above them. It is a shower. It is Ralph Macchio. It is pine needles on a forest floor. It is make believe. It is alien. It is Mork. It is Mindy. It is life. It is Cancer. It is best friends in Hollywood and how their voices echo.
So hear I am a bit tipsy with my head on a dresser drawer and writing with my right hand while my lips are tasting the great cherry wood of my own beautification.
Beautification, you say?
That's right. Beautification. A wonderful night of small moments and extraordinary ones. It started with laundry. I did a load. It went well. I was proud of myself. I had been saving the growing pile for a little wash and fold at a dollar a pound becuase that's how lazy I am when it comes to laundry, but I found it within myself to do a bit, so I did.
There is something so relaxing about doing laundry. Going to Spaceland too.
Mickey rolled up in his usual Ford Tempo. I had to push down the window and figure out how to get the bucket just right, but I did. That's when intentions were laid for our Monday night out.
"I go to Spaceland every Monday night," the Mickster said.
"Yeah," he agreed. "I got to find my all girl band."
Anything "all girl" piques my interest, so I was extra thrilled to be going on the excursion. I even entertained a nice moment where we were able to recruit 4 beautiful women for his group in one swell swoop, before reality came through in the name of Sarah.
I jump straight to her because she was a bombshell. Mickey had been fronting lip to her as we drank our way through the first set of a mediocre band.
"The drummer is the shit!" Mickey shouted over the music.
"He's okay," I said. It wasn't until later that I really watched the guy that I could tell the man had a point. He was feeling the music. He was passionate. I can see how that turns people on. It even turned me on a little bit, but not as much as Sarah, so lets take it back to her because that's all I really want to talk about.
Mickey was ready to split. I pointed out Sarah and asked if he knew her.
"I just met her," he told me.
"Introduce me," I said.
Mickey did a dip of the head way back and let out an empty laugh, "Yo, man! I'm not good at that."
"Just say the truth," I said. "Say this is my friend Pirooz, he wanted to meet you."
Luckily, Mickey is a man of action and one of the coolest emcee's on the planet so he did the trick, introduced me, and it was just me and Sarah - who from a brief sound byte - I was told was a band promoter.
"Hey," I said. "Pirooz."
"What's your name?" she said, and grabbed my jacket to pull me closer.
"Pi-rooz," I enunciated.
"What are you here for?" she asked, pulling me back again. "Are you with a band?"
"No," I said. "Just here to meet you."
"What do you do for bands?"
"I sell merchandise," she said.
I looked down at her leather gloves, with the fingers cut-off. She was a throwback between Madonna, Blondie, and the Donnas - my God what a bundle of joy.
"Do you sell those gloves?" I asked.
"Maybe," she said, thinking.
Then I got thoughtful. I had nothing really to say, and the band kicked it into a higher gear, trying to see if Nigel was right, and amps could really go to eleven. This was when Mickey pulled the international sign for split, with his hands like a pair of scissor and his gait ready to step when the drill sergeant yelled march.
Sarah saw the exchange. She yanked my collar and got her mouth close to my ear again.
"What is it?" she asked.
"He wants to split," I said, doing my part to touch her taste her earlobe. "I just wanted to whisper in your ear one more time."
She smiles and draws away.
I start walking.
She blows me a kiss. Damn, I think. That is one fine Blondie-Madonna-Donna hoochie mamma. We would have fun.
"That's for sure," Mickey agrees, as he strolls at a fast pace down the street.
"I wouldn't even mind sloppy seconds," I tell him.
Mickey laughs. He is so effortless. He knows. We are both the same.
Isn't that the bomb about great friends? You know what reality is. You know things don't need to be sweat over. It's just a beautiful woman. It's just a band contract. It's just life or death. It's just friends, best friends, going out on a Monday night to find laughter, joy, and an earlobe to whisper in.
"She is a fun one," Mickey nods.
"Yeah," I say and open the door to the Ford Tempo. "You got her number?"
"No," Mickey frowns. "I just met her."
"Oh, man," I say. "I would have gotten her number. I thought you already had it."
"Nah, I just met her."
I don't give it another thought though. There are certain things that are meant to be. Sometimes it's just getting to whisper in someone's ear. Sometimes it's riding in a Ford Tempo with your bestfriend. Sometimes it's hearing your friend's band play as you roll up the 101. Sometimes it's the sound of a laundry machine breathing it's last turn through a spin cycle.
I get out of the car, do the old hip hop hooray shake and go straight for the laundry room at the back of the complex.
My clothes have that toasty feel.
"Right on time," I think. "Where else can I start laundry, hit a club, and finish my laundry on the way back?"
No one answers though. I am alone. It is 1:27 AM. I take a sip of Diet Coke. I pull the mouse across the screen. I hit
Yeah, so this song isn't done and Slipshod will do another version on Friday. I am in love with it though. It's so dirty and sexy.
Here are a couple lines: I got my Fendi bag motherfucker don't you know I look good!I got my Pontiac Trans Am don't you know I look goodon Hollywood Boulevard...on Hollywood Boulevard...
We also have the new line-up complete. I will be playing rhythm guitar, John Lennon styley. Brett will play textural lead. Petey Pete will play bass and guitar. John Posatko will play djembe. And we have so many great singers: Timeray, Belinda, Ashleigh, and Catherine. I am so thankful to have this new line-up for the MARS record. It is going to be a great one. And if you haven't heard the first song, RTD, then go to the previous post.
In the meantime, here is the rough shot of Hollywood Boulevard. Raw and on the 7th take. (The Swingers started grumbling when I took it to 10 and kept stopping, because Belinda's gorgeous voice kept making me forget who the hell I was.)
Click here or on music bar to hear HOLLYWOOD BOULEVARD Not everyone is on this particular track. Here they are as I recollect them: