Saturday, December 19, 2009


With the first lying snow, starting to record piano demos of my next album at home, using velcroed homemade Italian denim curtains in the windows. It's about refining subtleties - pressure on each note, speeds, emotion of sections. I'm getting to know each song more intimately - it's so valuable. The piano was just tuned and the songs are glowing.

Atune to my apartment too in a new way after 13+ years here, mic'ing it. Stove timer clicks stuck in "on" since the 90's, neighbors keys, brakes of the B69.

My one-minute piece Corset, about a girl being tied into one, had its New York premiere at Le Poisson Rouge in October. Pianist Guy Livingston commissioned the piece in exchange for a mini-bottle of whiskey. The video for my piece, directed by Nelleke Koop, was filmed twelve feet below sea level on a moving piano. The DVD, which features 60-second pieces by 60 composers with a video for each one, is called One Minute More.

(I'm very excited about my own International Video Commissioning Project for the next album, and already there are inventive animators and video artists on board from Italy, Austria, The Netherlands, the UK, Brooklyn and beyond.)

October also sprung a puppet show about a girl who cries magic orange teardrops into a watering can. We wrote it for at the PS 10 Harvest Festival and made wooden pumpkin patches and funny animals. The Orange Teardrops was later revised, adding swearwords and a medley of The Debutante Hour songs for their telethon at the Ukrainian National Home.

November brought beautiful guests from Spain, Italy and Argentina. Here they all are in the subway:

Monica is an English researcher, Gius is a drummer/trumpeter, and Paula's a great photographer who took this shot of me with rice cereal.

The month's grand memorial service for The Issue Project Room's Suzanne Fiol was a reminder of how deeply you can affect people with your strong vision. The Kenny Wollesen Band led us raucously from St. Ann's church to 3rd Ave - apartment buildings bobbing with heads, kids hanging from scaffolding smiling, Mardi Gras beads dropping. Suzanne-inspired music made me feel more connected to my regular streets than ever. Here's a video of me playing accordion that Sonic Youth's Lee Ranaldo stepped into.

Went to LA where I met this Black Jerusalem cricket,

this fish in Koreatown,

this pole,

and got to swing around with my light-filled niece and nephew.

LA was an intense family time, where I ended up crying in a toy store about life's paths.

I took refuge in nature.

My boyfriend's been taking photos of US bathrooms.

I've been baking piano cookies for my students. This season we've worked on Bartok, Bach, and Fire Burning.

Hiding out in my ultra-juiced apartment recording til 2010, and hoping to start it with the finishing of a few key musical projects, benched on my subconscious wanting to leave some free space.

Saturday, October 3, 2009


Back to the Brooklyn engines: ritual morning 7-second Black Magic coffee grinding, my friend the school bus idling her motor 1 to 2 am, the treadmill ovaling under me, last turnings of the ceiling fan, and my lyric engine going too - tonight finished one inspired by a visit to a Mount Etna crater last summer in Sicily. Once you realized how pliable the hardened lava was, you could jump around in those coffee grounds with no fear! In the new song, the lavatongue takes me on a journey to the sea.

First full week back in NY was slightly more tea-infused, with the happy arrival of Roshi from London. Between the final summer sighting of the Atlantic and blue pedicures, we performed co-bills at Goodbye Blue Monday and Joe's Pub.

Roshi's voice soars effortlessly, and her songs are gorgeous and other-worldly. Her new album, Roshi Feat. Pars Radio The Sky and the Caspian Sea is launching October 19, and features her songs about pills and sheep, paces, and beautiful corners.

Goodbye Blue Monday was graciously hosted by The Debutante Hour, and it gave me the opportunity to return a postcard they had left in Padova of a semi-racy nun.

A concert can be an excuse to buy a dress. Here's me trying it on.

Our co-bills gave Roshi and I the chance to play each other's music. Besides a comedic mic-wobbling situation, the Joe's Pub show had a serenity and relaxed vibe to it. And the audience glowed with special artists and musicians...

 Pianist Rob Schwimmer!!

After, we ate "A Slice of New York"

and Roshi ate hers from the top!

October's IBEAM show was cancelled in the moment because only one person came to it. Warming up on some song excerpts with Peter Hess was lovely though, and we all got to drink some Brooklyn beers instead. I feel like transitions are happening for everyone, where we're all, via disappointments and triumphs, reaching to a higher, more intense level of life. A big, fearless caffeinated mountain.