I had a rare evening out last night. Whoohoo! My friend Pam invited me to Union Hall to see a musician I really wanted to see, Andrew Bird. Pam and her husband, Jim, own Union Hall in lovely Park Slope, Brooklyn, and it makes me feel sort of satellite cool that I know cool people who own a cool place where cool artists come to play intimate shows. Because I have very little cool factor of my own. More on that in a minute.

Anyway, I met Pam and her friend, the extremely funny Jonathan Valuckas, who, it turns out, works at Scholastic, proving that even though New York is a city of eight million people, you will run into a pool of about forty of them over and over. We went downstairs to the crowded, tiny space to see Mr. Bird play. Pam said his record company had bought out a ton of the tickets and made them available to their list. Apparently, only people who are 6’7” are on that list because I swear to you I was the shortest person in the joint. (For the record, 5’3″. If I wear a lot of mousse in my hair and strain.) I had to angle for a neck hole (a space between the necks of two tallish people in front of me) in order to see. Fortunately, I have sharp elbows and a nasty disposition, honed at many a rock show, and that helps.

So for about a nanosecond, I’m feeling sorta cool to be there. And then I looked down and realized my fly was open. I’m in a sea of hipsters trying to figure out how to surreptitiously zip up my fly without looking like I’m doing something illegal to myself. And in trying to be oh-so-clever about it all, all “look Ma, no hands” fly, I manage to zip my shirt into my pants and it gets…stuck. I have a half-open jeans zipper with my shirt caught in it, and it ain’t moving for love or money. Okay. I examined my options: Fake an epileptic seizure, and while on the ground, manage to dislodge my shirt? Turn to the person next to me and say, “Excuse me, I’m part of a performance art installation here called ‘Public Humiliation.’ Would you like to participate by shielding me with your hands while I rip my shirt free and pull up my zipper? I suppose I could have really cemented my budding friendship with Jonathan by asking him to cough and make lots of inappropriate noises while I, um, liberated myself.

Of course, in the end, nobody gave a crap. I ripped my shirt free, yanked up my zipper, and that was that. And Andrew Bird was amazing. Haunting and hypnotic. There is just something about standing in a dark, crowded club, listening to music with other people–the communal experience–that is so wonderful, so exalting. But I’m a big dork like that. There were a couple of tuning glitches but they only added to the cozy charm of it all. If you like, you can catch him tonight on the Letterman show (4/10).

In other news, Maureen Johnson, who is not only an amazing writer (13 Little Blue Envelopes, Devilish) but one of the world’s funniest women, has a humorous account of a lunch she and Justine Larbalestier (www.justinelarbalestier.com) and I had last week. If you’re so inclined, you can read it here:


For the record, I never would have knifed that waiter. At least not until after he’d brought me my pasta.

108 thoughts on “

  1. i have a pair of jeans that has a zipper that does not stay up ever. i thinki it has gravitational issues. most of my friends and family can recognize those pants since my fly is allways undone :S not fun. i have since learned to wear very long shirts and sweater swith those pants…

  2. old acquaintance – probably forgotten

    You won’t remember me, but I bought your books for my daughter and recognized that our paths had crossed years ago. It’s going to sound weird, but I realized that I’d been in a play with you at UT during my freshman year. I transferred from SMU, majored in RTF (really did have a career in TV/Film production in Austin until an accident left me limping for life), was very young and you were extremely nice to me — even dyed my hair for the play. I believe it was called “Flesh Dunce”. Anyway, I remembered your accident and your eye, but most of all, I remember your great humor and what a fun person you are to be around. My name is Kathy. I have no idea how your name suddenly triggered the whole memory, but there you go! Anyway, I wanted to thank you for writing two such terrific books in this genre. My daughter is 12, starts her Freshman year of high school in the Fall, and just completed her second major complex abdominal surgery since birth. Your books are exactly the sort of thing she likes to write herself, but also to read and I managed to find them just in time for this most recent surgery and she and her friends really enjoyed them. As a 12-year-old HS Freshman, she’s too damn smart for her own good, and has a wicked sense of humor. I think she’d enjoy the person I remember because of your humor and your dramatic and creative nature (you wanted to be a comedienne when I met you, but worried about your eye). She’d also admire and enjoy how you managed to pull it together despite the pain and suffering you went through (and may still go through today). She’s dyed or rather had her hair streaked, either deep purple or bright red for the past 2 years and is pretty amazing as a person, an artist, and a writer herself. I enjoyed both books myself, so thanks again for your hard work and success — we’re looking forward to what you do next! If you want to get in touch, feel free (but you don’t have to – I couldn’t find an e-mail address easily for you, so I’m using this public forum to thank you rather than comment on your colorful journal entries — nice job with the web-site). You can find my e-mail at the University of Colorado in the Center for Integrated Plasma Studies (no, I’m not a physicist, but that’s where I do my research; yes, my “real” first name is Ronda; you won’t need a last name because there are no other women with my first name(s) in the center — Kathy at CIPS works just fine). Again (and again, and again) — really nice work and congrats. on your success and your family! From what I remember, you really deserve it

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