Live Music is Better – Max Bemis at the Bell House (12/2/11)

Max Bemis isn’t crazy anymore. And he’s married (weird). But his following is strong (-er than I expected), and we who have liked him since/when he was crazy (really crazy) came out to hear his solo acoustic set Friday night, December 2, at The Bell House in Brooklyn.

The Bemises... or Perma, I suppose.

His wifey, Sherri DuPree of Eisley fame, opened up the night, but Bemis joined her for a few Perma (the duo/band they formed together… sigh) tunes before DuPree left the stage, telling the crowd that Max was going to come out and “spit on all of you… or whatever he does.”

Bemis came out with a lone guitar, and the packed Bell House crowd sang every word along with him (especially for the older Baseball and …Is a Real Boy tracks), sometimes shocking the Say Anything frontman to the point where he’d ask “how do you guys know this shit?!” He let us sing choruses, stepping back from the mic in moderate awe, but when he took over he belted his (gut-and-heart-wrenching) lyrics with passion, and angst, and fervor – everything we all fell in love with his music for.



Keep Looking.

I was waiting to catch an L shuttle (UGH weekend transit pains) from the Morgan stop in Brooklyn, a hop skip and a 10 minute walk from my house, when I came upon this picture, glowing amongst trash and graffiti.


There are gems amongst the wreckage here. And it seems that I am not the only one looking.


All Flash and No Fire.

As the MTV Movie Awards came to a close (yes, I watch them. What?), I heard sirens outside, whining to a crescendo. I exchanged quizzical expressions with my roommates and visiting sister. “Um.. is that on our street?” one of them asked. Red light dancing on our living room wall answered the question.

Why, good evening.

Perched on a balcony, we watched a total of four fire trucks roar onto our street. Most impressively, one of them parallel parked directly in front of our house. Firefighters entered one building and investigated the front foundation of several buildings next to it, seemingly without haste.
investigation station.

After around 15 minutes of scrutiny, the members of the FDNY hopped back into their trucks and rode off without explanation or any sort of fire fight.
What were you guys doing?

2010 : What I’ve learned (about life, love, loss, and living in a big city).

It’s 2011. Whoa.

I remember watching 1999 tick over to 2000, and for the life of me, I can’t quite wrap my head around the fact that we’re now a decade deep in the 2000’s. My brain is something of a sponge, absorbing masses of details every second I’m living and experiencing, but doing a full recall on the decade sounds a bit taxing on my noggin. And terribly boring for all of you. So, I’m going to talk about 2010.

January 2010 marked six months of living in New York City. Well, I was living in Queens and working in Manhattan, and I certainly learned the differences (real and perceived) between all of the boroughs. Absurdly (to me), there are Manhattanites who refuse to step foot in Queens. I am generally a laid-back lady, and I did not feel the same — my roommate and I gave our new-found home borough the tagline “Queens : Come as you are.” In Queens, you can leave your house in sweatpants.

Waiting for a 7 at 82nd and Roosey.

The spring was bustling, mixing concerts with visits from family members and friends, dancing in my neighborhood (please go look up Jackson Heights), dancing everywhere. Easter Weekend sangria. So many friends, mostly old and Penn State or hometown-proud (respectively amongst my closest friends), but a few new. But certainly there are downs that accompany the wonderful ups. Such is life. And during the spring, like the sporadic but necessary storms that rumble and erupt overhead, I had a decent amount of rain.
Easter Weekend sangria. Oh yeah.

The weather warmed up, and the streets became sweaty, sometimes steamy with unfortunate smells. City smells. Despite how grass-less summers in New York City may seem, I learned that you never have to give up the sports you love, even if they require a field. I was wrangled into a softball league during the summer of 2010, and though I had the same first-day jitters I had when trying out for Varsity as a measly 15-year-old, I found that I loved those jitters. I loved turning them into cockiness (read: confidence) on the field (and I got to explore places like Randall’s Island in order to get to said field), and I loved the feeling of going full-force for the first time post ACL replacement surgery in 2007.
Red Hook Fields

Fall blew in, breathing change cooly on my neck. A fresh start in a new apartment, sampling life in yet another borough (Brooklyn). New professional opportunities sparked a ferocity to continue growing in my field, I challenged myself to a 10K Mud Run (replete with military-style obstacles), I dined at restaurants I’ve never been to in neighborhoods I’d not yet explored, I took walks in the city at night. I did handstands in the middle of a basketball court in the dark. I reveled in the football and hockey seasons, getting used to being a minority fan. A displaced Pittsburgher. I learned what it felt like to spend Thanksgiving in a different state, yet still with my family.
Carolina turkey.

In the pacifying cold of winter, I felt the sadness of older relatives slipping away. And the shock of losing one who wasn’t so old. I learned that moving forward is the best direction, the only direction. I learned that drinking wine and laughing with my family is an incredibly important activity in my life. And I learned that I can love again.

Teach me something, 2011.