Step 1 of healing from loss involves music. Really good music. Fortunately, I’ve discovered some. Like this song. It’s one of the most amazing things I’ve ever heard. It’s the musical equivalent of lying on the beach with your eyes closed under your sunglasses, letting the waves wash over you until you obtain a state of bliss. (And good news! Glass Animals are playing at Larimer Lounge on September 25. There is nothing better than discovering a new band when it’s at what I refer to as Larimer Lounge Level. It’s when a band is awesome but not too big. Once a band plays at Red Rocks or the Fillmore it’s just not as exciting.) (Playlist coming very soon. Music is just about the most important thing in the world to me right now.)

Sunday Smoothies

Sunday smoothie

Saturday nights are for, well, partaking and other fun things. Sunday mornings/early afternoons are for running and having a smoothie. I’ve finally perfected my Sunday smoothie, like so:

  • one banana (preferably frozen)
  • up to one pint strawberries (I usually use 1/2 to 3/4 of a pint) (preferably frozen)
  • 6 nice big kale leaves, stems removed
  • one cup water (or ice if your banana and strawberries aren’t frozen)
  • one Medjool date, pit removed

Put that all in your fancy blender and blend on high until smooth. Enjoy!

Also here’s a good Sunday song for you.

Twisted Diamond Heart / I’m the Weekend Warrior

MGMTAnother bad picture of MGMT

We walk through the cold air conditioning to the outside area, where it’s stifling hot, and get seats at the concrete bar. I’ll either get panicky or forget about the heat. As we look around, we realized we’re in an 80s teen movie. I always play the same character in these movies: one of the freaks, standing at a distance assessing everything and providing “witty” commentary. Sometimes I don’t want to be this character any more but by now I’ve been typecast.

“You can smoke out here!” he says, and sure enough, there are ashtrays spaced at even intervals on the bar. So retro.

As a woman, it’s hard to walk the line between looking like you’re trying too hard and looking like you’re not trying at all. I try to accomplish this by wearing something interesting and never doing anything to my hair or wearing eye makeup. Actually the hair and eye makeup aren’t part of a plan. For years, I would spend hours getting ready to go anywhere. Now, I’d rather do anything than stand around a bathroom putting on mascara or, worse, eyeliner. I figure I use the time saved to work out instead. I’m wearing a patterned, sheer dress that makes you look like a butterfly if you hold your arms out, brown fringey ankle boots, big earrings, giant glasses.

The other women here are wearing sleeveless sheath dresses with belts. The men are wearing polos. All of them. That’s right, it’s an 80s teen movie. Someone is Anthony Michael Halling a woman who looks like she just came from a wedding shower where she had to feign enthusiasm over bad drinks and her friend’s upcoming wifedom. Matthew Broderick is nowhere to be seen (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is highly overrated).

We drink our canned IPAs and aside from an occasional why in the hell did I wear boots ping I’ve forgotten about the heat. In my many years of observing people I’ve learned two things about being an appealing woman: (1) have shiny hair; (2) walk like a runway model. I try to do these things even though I technically don’t need to be appealing to people in bars or anything but it’s nice to maintain at least some relevance. A guy in a turquoise polo might be checking me out as I fiercely tromp to the bathroom.

We have time for only one beer before it’s time to sit in front of someone’s exceptionally fancy house smoking weed and then head to the show.

“I wonder what it’s like to live here and have to deal with all the people going to shows.”

“Fuck, man, they’re really rich,” which can mean either fuck them or they have ways of dealing with it.

I honestly didn’t realize “80s” was still a viable fashion decision. Fashion blogs have moved on from this except when they post photos from a roadtrip that involves a music festival in rural England. I quickly realize that headbands worn the way I want to wear them (around the head, like an NBA player, not like Blair Waldorf) tend to read as trying too hard even though I wish they didn’t, plus they run the risk of pushing your hair up so the top of your head looks like a loaf of bread.

I do, however, need a shirt with a cat on it. A fashionable one, not the kind an actual cat lady would wear. (Full disclosure: I have at least one of those.)

It’s been a long time since we’ve been to a show. I don’t remember what it’s like to be in a dark place where the music pulses under your skin. It’s crowded (but not ridiculously so) and hot, so very hot, in the Fillmore. We scope out the first floor and as promised, it’s big and flat, not sloped like most venues (it was originally designed as a roller rink). This is why I wore heels, but the boots were a terrible idea. We end up upstairs anyway because even in heels, with all the dudes here if we stay downstairs I’m probably going to end up trying to peer over people’s heads all night. The good news is I’m high and I love everybody.

The opening band sounds like Def Leppard had sex with some hipsters who recreationally hunt raccoons. The sound is terrible, too quiet and too echoey at the same time, and I can’t tell if they’re good. I might kind of like them because I love everybody. Still, we don’t need to see this so we sit against the wall and watch people go by and check out some artwork that’s on the wall above us. The crowd is 1/2 80s teen movie, 1/2 random normal people, and 1/2 teenagers on spring break in Miami. (I say “Miami” in my best Fiona Glenanne voice.)

“You watch too much tv.”

This is true but I hate to admit it because I’ve reached the Mexican yoga blanket stage of hipsterdom and hate to be so common. “So you’re saying Abu Nazir is in the country?!” (We’ve been watching season 2 of Homeland because we got free Showtime for a while after our internet got screwed up. I refuse to watch any of those fancy-cable-network shows but this one because it’s so good and we’re not paying for HBO or that shit after our free trial runs out.) This becomes our inside joke for the rest of the weekend. A shady figure leaning in a doorway. Two matching helicopters flying overhead. So you’re saying Abu Nazir is in the country.

I note the women who look awesome; there are fewer of them than I’d imagined. The crowd isn’t what I expected, not quite a parade of models who look like they just had sex with the Free People catalog in the back of a VW bus. People are real. People are bored. People wear athletic shoes to concerts. Not necessarily stylish athletic shoes — the ones you’d wear while “cross training” at a strip mall gym. It takes a while to realize we’re drinking the wrong beers and then we trade and oh, that’s so much better.

I am deeply in love with MGMT in general and Andrew VanWyngarden in particular (Congratulations on your face!), so when MGMT starts we find a place to stand, behind a couple, just outside the VIP area, where the sound is decent and we’re at the edge of the balcony so we can see. Aside from the one time he goes to get a beer for us to share (at $10 a pop, we were trying to minimize the damage) we don’t move from this spot until the show is over.

They play a lot of stuff from Congratulations and I love this, bobbing my head and singing every word. It’s not really dancey music. A few songs in, he says, “Nobody here knows any of these songs except you.” I’d normally be the one to make a snotty observation, but the pot really takes the edge off. I’m exceptionally charitable tonight and not ready to admit this is true until they play the hits: Electric Feel, Time to Pretend, Kids, and the crowd changes from the kind of creek even I’d raft on to a rollicking ocean, arms up, everybody into it. Everybody, even the rich people down the street, screams at just the right time: Decision to decisions are made and not bought but I thought this wouldn’t hurt a lot I guess not!

Because I am deeply in love with Andrew VanWyngarden I also don’t want to admit that I see the Robert Smith influence seeping in through the seams of his oversized white shirt. Even he comments on it. “I know,” I say, rolling my eyes at the absurdity of it (my deep teenage love for The Cure did not survive to adulthood and now I find Robert Smith tedious and unappealing), “I’ve been noticing that for a while.” I’ve never heard Andrew VanWyngarden even mention The Cure, but it’s there, the same way a writer doesn’t tell you what he enjoys reading because then you see the influence in everything he writes.

When the show is pretend over, quite a few people leave, either because they’ve never been to a concert or because they heard the hits and are ready to go stand around Colfax bars waiting for something exciting to happen. After a not-too-long wait, MGMT comes back out and plays a new song and Siberian Breaks, which, if you left before they played Siberian Breaks you might as well spend the rest of the weekend listening to Pitbull, drinking Coors Light, and eating McDonald’s (that’s the best insult I can come up with right now because like I said, I’m exceptionally charitable; MGMT makes me soft). Stay far gone for all eternity.

We kind of mean to go somewhere after, but we’re tired and go home, where he falls asleep and I eat bread cheese, my latest food obsession. Bake it until it’s nice and melty and serve, for example, with fancy apricot preserves or, lightly salted, with pumpernickel bread (recipe here).

As they say, collect experiences not things. We are well on our way to destroying the fun deficit.

July 4 Party Playist (2013 Version)

This playlist started as something other than this year’s July 4 Party Playlist. At first it was kind of a Van She appreciation playlist, but then it became something else, and then I realized it actually was this year’s July 4 Party Playlist. It kind of took me on a trip, which is exactly as it should be.

You’re wearing, well, if you’re a dude you’re wearing whatever because who cares you’re a dude, like pants and a shirt or something. If you’re a woman, you’re wearing your favorite vaguely Brazilian Olympian shirt (there’s nothing wrong with wearing this shirt all the time, just like there’s nothing wrong with listening to the same song 5 times while running), cutoffs, gladiator sandals (fuck yes I did not fully live until I wore gladiator sandals), a gigantic American flag scarf wrapped carelessly around your neck, and large earrings. You’re at a beach party in Australia. Van She is playing live and they’re hot (I hope they’re hot) and you’re drinking and maybe playing volleyball and it’s weird that you’re in Australia what with this being the Fourth of July and all, but sometimes these things happen. Everybody is smiling and beautiful and they probably swim professionally for a living and nobody at this entire party would ever spend a July 3 evening drinking beer, smoking weed, and putting noise-canceling headphones on their Rottweiler. It’s super chill. Someone has a house on the beach with a lot of wooden stairs and you’re there and you’re on the deck under a big umbrella to get out of the sun for a minute. Maybe you eat a sandwich or some artichoke dip — with tortilla chips, not bread. This does not have anything to do with anything, but artichoke dip with tortilla chips sounds nice.

Then it’s night, dark, late, and you’re at a hipster party in someone’s yard in an up-and-coming neighborhood under a string of lights and there are too many people in the inflatable pool. Some asshole is playing a ukulele but you don’t really hear him because there’s music and you’re dancing and you’re not sure there actually is “you” or “not you.” It’s hot but you don’t care, you don’t care, you don’t care about anything but what comes next, as long as it doesn’t involve the guy with the mustache. You’re relieved when he gets distracted by the woman in the too-tight polka-dot dress. She has roller-derby bangs but still you can see that she’s sometimes insecure around men. The music gets louder and it winds its way into your body and you love everyone everything everybody. There is no furniture, only space, and you dance and dance and dance and dance.

You wake up alone in a bed in an unfamiliar apartment, sunlight streaming in through the tall windows and think, “Shit. That was a party.”

Get it here for one week only.


July 4 Party Playlist (2013 Version) Track List
Changes – Van She
Contact High – Architecture in Helsinki
Hollywood (feat. Penguin Prison) – RAC
Dreaming – Smallpools
Nightwater Girlfriend – Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin
Bagboy – Pixies
How Deep is Your Love – The Rapture
So High – Van She
Any Way You Choose to Give It – The Black Ghosts
Get Lucky (MSTRKRFT Remix) – New Young Pony Club
Kicking & Screaming – The Presets
Move – CSS
Pow Pow – LCD Soundsystem
That’s Not My Name – The Ting Tings
Boogie Down – MGMT
Edge of Seventeen – Rayko
Ice Cream – New Young Pony Club
Get Lucky (feat Pharrell Williams) – Daft Punk
One Pure Thought – Hot Chip
Thing Called Love (feat. Haddaway) – Wolfram
Light & Music (Boys Noize Happy Birthday Remix) – Cut Copy
Future Starts Slow – The Kills
Bounce (feat. N.O.R.E.) – MSTRKRFT
UFO (Van She Tech Remix) – Sneaky Sound System
It’s the Beat (The Teenagers remix) – Simian Mobile Disco
Eye in the Sky – Alan Parsons Project
Be Mine – Lane 8
It’s Love (Joshua’s Mo Love Vocal) – Naked Music NYC
Drone Logic – Daniel Avery
A New Sky – The Presets
Get Some (Beck remix) – Lykke Li
Addictive (feat. Rakim) – Truth Hurts
Love Suicide (Acid Arab remix) – Marie Madeleine
A Tooth for an Eye – The Knife
Memories (feat. Kid Cudi, Armand Van Helden remix) – David Guetta
Trampoline – Tinie Tempah
Dancing with the DJ (Chiddy Bang remix) – The Knocks
Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell – Das Racist
Where Do We Go – Yung Berg feat. Twista
Hey Baby (feat. Mos Def) – Stephen Marley
Initiation – Angel Haze
Heel Toe (prod. Harry Fraud) – Action Bronson
Hood Party (feat. Kool A.D. and Despot) – Fat Tony
Cherry Wine (feat. Amy Winehouse) – Nas
LoveHate Thing (feat. Sam Dew) – Wale
Mellow Mood – Bunny Wailer
Kelly – Van She
Siberian Breaks – MGMT