Every once in awhile I’ll second guess a memory, like “did that really happen?” or “how was that my life?” After confirming yep, that was me I usually have a smile on my face. Now I’m wondering where the hell my Police t-shirt went!
Kmart is opening at 6 AM (AM!) on Thanksgiving and WILL NOT CLOSE until 11 pm on Black Friday. Macys and Sears are opening on 8 pm on Thanksgiving. (This means employees will have to be there at least several hours prior to opening, btw.) Toys R…
Bravo! Bravo! Well said. I couldn’t have said it any better.
Ten years ago today I was 20 years old and living in New York City for the first time over the summer. Landing an apartment in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and various internships within the music industry my summer was a complete dream come true.
I had three internships over the course of three months, which keep things interesting. I don’t remember the exact setup of my schedule but it went something like this Monday/Wednesday at Big Hassel a PR company for acts like The Strokes, Kings of Leon, Rufus Wainright, etc. then Tuesday/Thursday at Astralworks, the record label for Fat Boy Slim, Basement Jaxx and Röyksopp. I spent my Friday’s stupid happy interning at Definitive Jux Records, home of El-P, Aesop Rock and RJD2.
Thursday August 14, 2003 was an epic day that I’ll never forget. I had already started the day out on a slightly hung-over but naturally giddy high. Just days prior while delivering concert tickets to the messenger office at Rolling Stone magazine this extremely hot guy rushed to follow me back to the elevator. He asked if I would be at the show that night. I nervously answered, “Yes! See you there,” as the elevator doors were closing.
We met at that show and sparked an exciting relationship. A few days later he invited me to attend the Bob Dylan concert with him and his follow co-workers in a box at Hammerstein Ballroom on August 14.
The day finally came and I was beyond excited and looking forward to my evening. After cutting and pasting some articles about Astralwerks artists I was eager to finalize my details for the evening. Sitting in the lounge at my internship desk, I called his office. We were just getting into details of where to meet for the show when the phone line dropped and the power went out!
Within a few minutes we realized that the power was out all over Manhattan. That’s when my boss’s cell phone rang. It was the Chemical Brothers on the line. They were in a cab on the way to MTV studios when the power outage caused complete chaos and traffic jams across the island. We instructed them to head to our offices while we all assessed the power situation.
They called all the interns into the conference room to assemble press copies of albums in an attempt to keep us busy until the staff figured out what to do. I tired calling my guy back via my cell phone but nothing would go through. I assumed the concert was cancelled.
Then the President of Astralwerks called me into his office. He liked me. We had established a friendship just a few weeks after being there. He offered me a Heineken, a seat and then introduced me to the Chemical Brothers. They were telling me about the chaos outside while we all speculated about causes of the power outage. After hanging for a bit we all decided to watch the chaos from the buildings rooftop. Going up five or so flights of stairs in complete darkness was challenging but it was fun and exciting to watch it all from above.
After a few hours pass everyone is trying to figure out how to get home. No subways are operating, no cabs are available and buses can’t even make it from stop to stop without traffic lights. I decided that I would just walk home. I head southbound through Manhattan and over to the Williamsburg Bridge during my five mile walk home. It was such an unreal scene. The only way to get back to Brooklyn was over one of the bridges so they shut down the Brooklyn bound lanes so that pedestrians could walk home. I vividly remember walking in my flip-flops, hoping that they don’t give me blisters, as the sun went down and hearing in my head, “It’s the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine.”
Walking through the neighborhoods to my apartment I witnessed a real community feel in Brooklyn. Families and neighbors banned together to have BBQs and not waste any food in their fridges that had no power. Cars were blasting music to keep everyone entertained. It was a different New York that night, but one that I loved!
Back at my apartment building there was a huge communal BBQ going on in our backyard. Everyone pitched in to help out and keep everyone entertained. The guy I was supposed to meet for the concert biked over and hung out in the backyard while we watched a movie on my laptop. After a few hours the party died down and I went to watch the dark city from my neighbors rooftop. I was determined to stay up incase power came back on in Manhattan. I wanted to watch the city light up on building at a time thinking that it would be so magical. Hours passed and I fell asleep on the rooftop. Brooklyn didn’t have power back on until mid-day the next day.
Apparently I lied at the doctor’s office today when she asked if I had ever full on fainted and lost consciousness. I said, “No. Never.” Then on the way home I remembered, why yes I did. Right after I graduated college I fainted during a Primus concert at the Aragon. Security drilled me for a good 30 minutes thinking I was on lots of drugs when in all reality I wasn’t and had just outright fainted.
We’ve been chilling out since July 1st. It’s been great getting to know you. You’ve taken over my body for most of the month of July with the exception of the few days where I felt good and went to the Pitchfork Music Fest. Even though I did enjoy some of the extra sleep that you have afforded me I think we are over. As of this morning I am kicking you out. You are not welcome here any more.
August is going to be a better month, just you wait.
Seeing various artists at the Pitchfork Festival over the weekend sent me reminiscing about previous years of my life.
In the summer of 2003, I moved to New York City to intern in the music industry for three months. I had about nine different interviews and in the end, I accepted opportunities at Astralwerks, Big Hassle Publicity and PFA Media. A couple of weeks into my internship at PFA Media I realized that my favorite record label at the time was next door. I quickly made friends with the staff at Definitive Jux and before I knew it, I quit PFA and started interning at Def Jux. I spent the summer running around going from one hip-hop show to another. I helped with the release of one of my all time favorite records, Aesop Rock’s Bazooka Tooth and exceeded all of my expectations of the summer.
That fall with teary eyes I moved back to Chicago while fighting it with all my might. It was not what I wanted to do but I knew that it was what I NEEDED to do. I had one semester left before graduating from Columbia College Chicago. My time at Def Jux naturally lead me to my last and final internship at Biz 3 Publicity, a Chicago PR firm that worked on all the Def Jux artists plus my all time favorite female MC Jean Grae! I had stumbled my way into an indie hip-hop heaven. I was rubbing elbows with the best of them. One night at the old Bottom Lounge, I grabbed the mic and nervously introduced El-P and Aesop Rock onto the stage to perform. I had arrived.
It was a glorious night. Already wasted from the drinks that were made for me back stage at the show, I went with everyone to Rainbow Club to continue the debauchery. I was sitting next to El-P talking about a vacation he was about to take as he kept getting closer to me and starting to hit on me. I had a lot to drink that night but was still sober enough to turn my head and miss his advance to make-out with me, all the while spilling my entire Jack and Coke into my best friends purse and killing her phone. Thank god for that spill, as it was my excuse and my escape out of a night that could have brought many bad decisions.
Back to this weekend, as I stood there and watched a larger than life crowd cheer on El-P as he played the Red stage at the Pitchfork Festival I remembered that eager, excited and optimistic girl that took on New York City and her dreams with no regard for anything that could go wrong. I remember who I was then and at the same time, I miss it. I’ve grown so cynical over time. The various personalities and egos in the music industry have caused me to become a bit jaded. I almost felt lost watching his set on Saturday. Looking back it’s somewhat crazy to consider how much I’ve changed over the years. I kind of feel bad because I found myself complaining during his set with Killer Mike. I was all, “Yeah, this is great and all but I’ve never been that into El-P live, I’d much rather see Mr. Lif, Aesop or Cannibal Ox perform.” Then again, that’s who I am. A woman with strong opinions who has always know exactly what I wanted while being very vocal about it. So I take it back, I don’t feel bad because in my opinion those other artists would have been much more fun live!
Bjork’s performance took me thinking back to March of 2007, I had just moved to New York City to accept a job at Atlantic Records. A few months after arriving I had the opportunity to see, Bjork live for the first time on May 5, 2007. It was 6pm that evening when my boss at the time, Livia Tortella, called me to say that she wasn’t going and that I could have her tickets as long as I picked them up. I invited my boyfriend at the time (our relationship was currently on the rocks or beyond) and we rushed to the Upper West Side to claim our tickets. We eagerly navigated our way through the subway system and into Harlem for the first time ever. The show was at an extremely old but amazingly large and beautiful theater called the United Palace Theater, which was a fit name for a venue hosting a Bjork show!
We arrived and were instantly amazed when we realized we had 10th row seats! Björk was amazing from the moment she stepped on the stage. Her costumes and the children’s choir that backed her up, was for lack of a better way to describe it, out of this world! Here’s the full set list of the show. Her encore performance of “Declare Independence” moved me in an almost life changing way. It was a performance that I was beyond lucky to have seen and one that I would never forget. Here’s a clip that I took of the performance.
A few months later after moving into my second apartment in Brooklyn (the first on Montrose), I set my room up so that my red Sony cd alarm clock as far from the bed as possible. It was a silly futuristic looking contraption that I arranged so that it played Björk’s Volta album as my daily alarm. I was so excited. Every morning that quiet intro and sweet little voice of Björk singing, “We are the Earth intruders, we are the Earth intruders” would slowly pull me out of my dreams and into reality. I loved this idea and this daily experience. It was almost as if every morning I relieved the live show.
Living in New York while working as an Art Manager for Atlantic Records was amazing. It literally was my dream come true. I was beside myself with excitement and proud that I had made it in the music industry. I had an amazing team that I worked with. I was VIP at a slew of amazing concerts. Life was grand.
Then the Internet progressed. Apple launched iTunes. Music had evolved to be consumed in an electronic format and less and less people were buying albums. At work, the size of the album packaged began decreasing. We were asked to produce 2’ x 2’ squares of the album covers to display on iTunes. Before I knew it, I found myself in my boss’s office almost in tears at the news that I was being laid off. The dream was over. It was time to wake up to a new harsh reality of life. It was the first time that I had really been knocked down where I found it hard to get up again. I lost the job of my dreams but during the last final months of working there, I had found the man of my dreams.
After months of job and soul searching, I had come to terms with losing one but finding the other. If the music industry had taught me anything, it taught me that I didn’t want to be a 40-year-old single woman going from concert to concert night after night and coming home to a lonely apartment and an empty bed.
After many months of focusing on my inner self via my yoga mat, a stint working for Sting’s manager and various bouts of tears I stumbled upon a new career in Social Media which lead me on my path to where I am now, living in Chicago while working at VivaKi. On the daily, I help brands navigate the social media space.
Watching Björk live this weekend took me back through all those memories and struggles of my previous personalities, relationships and versions of myself. This time I was standing next to the man of my dreams, the man that I am going to marry in 82 days. I thought of our future together and contemplated raising a child that would be familiar with Bjork and her crazy costumes. A little one who would grow into an interesting individual that would fearlessly take on the world as her mother had done previously. Regardless of all the struggles, I realized that I wouldn’t change anything in my past because all those experiences made me who I am today.
Last night as R. Kelly closed down the Green stage at Pitchfork fest with “I Believe I Can Fly” as his final song I transcended beyond the basic trials and tribulations that life has brought my way. For a few moments, I was completely content. It was the perfect end to an amazing weekend and it made me realize that I should go to more festivals!