Why don't you go find out for yourself?

You didn't think I could go without blogging about his 5 night stint in the city, did you?

Je Suis Morrissey?! Only Moz himself would wear and/or sell a shirt like that. Such is the madness of a Morrissey concert! (No stage rushers could get past the security at the first show and only one or two made it to the stage the 2nd night. By the weekend, Morrissey must have told the guards to let the ones he touched get through. So if he took their hand and helped them up, the guards backed off. Quite a few made it onstage to hug Morrissey to the cheers of the crowd. --Photo on the right by Juan Miranda Pix. posted on Morrissey-solo.com Photo on the left by Eric M. Townsend: LoudPIX.com.

Still sporting the Pompadour. . .
Morrissey Week in the NYC has sadly ended. I went to 4 of the 5 shows. They were AWESOME. He played the best sets I have ever heard from him. He wasn't there to promote his newest album, Ringleader of the Tormenters.* He was there just to enjoy performing and to satiate the crowd. And that he did.

Each night he played slightly different sets. The highlights were new arrangements of "The Loop" and "Death of a Disco Dancer", some people were in tears. I got goosebumps. And of course, the crowd favorites, "Please, please, please, let me get what I want", and "How Soon is Now". He ended each night with How Soon. The other exciting thing was that he played some rarely performed songs, like "Interesting Drug", "National Front Disco", and (See the setlist for details below). Altogether, the sets oozed with somber emotion and unrequited love --that which Moz does best. Made even better by his new, exceptionally tight band, which backs him with 3 guitars, a gong(!), Keys/synth which simulate Marr's guitar on How Soon, and, of course, Boz Boorer.

I know, I know, his solo work isn't monumental and life-changing and/or influential,like The Smiths. But his performances are the best shows I have ever attended. EVER. And I have seen an awful lot of bands play live. Even the concerts of my favorite bands were not this fun. He is so engaging and enthralling that all the obsessions and ruminations in my mind go silent. What would I pay for 90 minutes of mental peace and the pleasure of being soaked in my favorite songs? I did pay $75 for one night, $55, and $35 twice. But I would pay a lot more.

Three of my best friends came up to go to the concerts and stayed with me. I had so much fun. We had dinner a very yummy dinner at Yaffa's in the East Village, went boutique shopping in Hoboken, watched movies at home, AND I got to drive to the Hammerstein for the last show with the 4 of us. We paid $34 to park in the garage right next to the venue. It took 30 minutes from door to door, only because of the tunnel traffic. It felt so incredibly decadent!

My friend Paul crossed to the other side, he was veclempt at the performance immediately. He even said "I'm having a sexual experience watching him." Steff replied: "I know. Why do you think we go to all of his shows?" Because, when Moz is in a good mood, his sexual charisma permeates the venue. It's a non-vulgar thrill for us celibates. He doesn't strip or get nasty (except for losing his shirt) he is just SEXY.

*Critics are calling Ringleaders Morrissey's best solo work. (Read the album review)
Morrissey has never sung better, not so much soulfully as with an emotional elegance that consistently snaps the icy, burning words to attention.

Visconti[the producer] treats him as a handsome Latino melodramatist suffering from a kitsch surfeit of imagination as much as a damp, exiled Mancunian miserabilist with a cold tendency to nostalgic self-obsession. Ultimately, Visconti helps transform Morrissey's dogged oddness and phenomenal fussiness into pure magic. Love him or hate him, there's no one better at loving and hating.
--by Paul Morley

Here are his set lists from the shows I attended. Taken from Morrissey-solo.com
Oct 28th, Morrissey at Hammerstein Ballroom
Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before / Billy Budd / Interesting Drug / Shoplifters Of The World Unite / Irish Blood, English Heart / I Just Want To See The Boy Happy / Girlfriend In A Coma / The Last Of The Famous International Playboys / Human Being / I Like You / Jack The Ripper / Why Don't You Find Out For Yourself? / Stretch Out And Wait / The World Is Full Of Crashing Bores / Good Looking Man About Town / Sister, I'm A Poet / Death Of A Disco Dancer / I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris / You Have Killed Me / Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want / How Soon Is Now? // First Of The Gang To Die

setlist provided by Amsden

NOTE: The Sunday show was cut short due to a wardrobe malfunction following a shirt change after Death of a Disco Dancer. Moz was so upset by it when he noticed, that he talked to his band and they skipped to the last song. Poor thing. He was horrified. I don't want to discuss it because the man brings so much pleasure into my life, that I don't want to further his humiliation.

Oct. 27th
Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before / The Last Of The Famous International Playboys / You Have Killed Me / The Boy With The Thorn In His Side / Irish Blood, English Heart / I Like You / Jack The Ripper / I Just Want To See The Boy Happy / The National Front Disco / Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me / Why Don't You Find Out For Yourself? / All You Need Is Me / The World Is Full Of Crashing Bores / Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want / I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris / Sister, I'm A Poet / The Loop / Death Of A Disco Dancer / Stretch Out And Wait / Dear God, Please Help Me / How Soon Is Now? // First Of The Gang To Die

setlist provided by Amsden
Note: David Johanssen was in attendance and acknowledged by Moz on either Sunday or Saturday. The band played a rousing cover of the New York Dolls "Human Being".

Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before / Billy Budd / All You Need Is Me / Irish Blood, English Heart / The Boy With The Thorn In His Side / Human Being / I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris / Tomorrow / That's How People Grow Up / Jack The Ripper / One Day Goodbye Will Be Farewell / The Loop / Sister, I'm A Poet / Stretch Out And Wait / The World Is Full Of Crashing Bores / Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want / Why Don't You Find Out For Yourself? / Death Of A Disco Dancer / Disappointed / Dear God, Please Help Me / How Soon Is Now? // First Of The Gang To Die

setlist provided by NYCWolf
Tuesday's set was my favorite. But I think Saturday's performance was the best.

Oct. 22:
Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before / Tomorrow / Sister, I'm A Poet / London / The Loop / That's How People Grow Up / Jack The Ripper / I Like You / Why Don't You Find Out For Yourself? / Stretch Out And Wait / The World Is Full Of Crashing Bores / Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me / Billy Budd / All You Need Is Me / Death Of A Disco Dancer / Irish Blood, English Heart / Shoplifters Of The World Unite / One Day Goodbye Will Be Farewell / You Have Killed Me / How Soon Is Now? // First Of The Gang To Die

setlist provided by NYCWolf

As a final note, the Hammerstein Ballroom is a fabulous venue. There are no bad seats, and it was so well air-conditioned, that we had to put on sweaters.

Goodbye until next time!

Stretch Out and Wait

Too much is happening. Two Morrissey concerts saturated with volatile emotion, dear friends visiting on the weekend--and more Morrissey, disgust with Farmer Ted, sorrow for his sweet girlfriend, confusion at work, the best observation ever!, the best students ever!, my mother's breast cancer, new medicine headaches . . . and then, there is this . . . some knot that lives deep inside me unraveled itself and released its dark burden. I felt something strange in my center, a glowy lightness that had not been there before. My friend said it was Hope.

Someone I call 'George', wants to renew our friendship. I still don't believe it. I won't believe it for a long time. Our conversation, so excited, and full, woven with concurrent patterns like a torn tapestry re-aligned for mending, feels like memory. A voice I used to know falls back into place. As if the wretched crucible of my last four years never happened, all gone but for my hard-won maturity. His voice too, has a change in timbre, his words slightly edged with scars. My natural instinct is to run while I still can. But I won't do that again. I will 'stretch out and wait' for good things.

These days, I sit in the middle of a whirlwind of emotion, plans, ringing phones, too many people, dreams, good and bad memories, email, surprises, songs, appointments, and fears. . . fears. There is no time to think, no peace to place myself in events, no analysis here: No slicing or dicing or looking for answers. No predictions, and no calculations can map what's ahead. Time now, one can only march forward and pray to make no mistakes. Blindly, I crash into life. More likely, life has crashed into me.


Called to Serve

My talk with the Bishop has born fruit already. He did listen to me and take me seriously! Since then, late August, the ward has gotten CES missionaries for the first time, started Institute classes, started monthly family home evening, and the Bishop has called me twice just to check up on me, missionaries have dropped by, and I had a home teacher visit. Very, very impressive. On top of all that, he has also given me a calling (a volunteer church job), because I asked for one. (Singles, go talk to your Bishops! It works! They really have no idea what we need.)

Well, when he said he wanted me in Young Women (program for teenage girls), it made me cry. Being the nursery babysitter is the only calling I wanted less. The last time I was in Young Women, I went inactive because it overwhelmed me. So I tried to talk him out of it. I told him how much I disliked the program. I also explained that the girls look up to you and I don't feel worthy. He said he had faith in me and gave me a blessing. Ok, I did ask for it. But now, so has the ward . . .

The program seemed so weird and silly when I was a teenager. My high school friends were doing lots of drugs, having lots of sex, and literally trying to kill themselves, someone was always being sent to the ER ... My parents hated each other and lived on opposite ends of the house. I wanted to die and had to fight to go on each day . . . "and now it's time for our Mia Maid Class! Gather around girls, we've got the pretty table cloth and fake flowers ready. Now lets look up at the pink posters and chant our values". . . I remember the jarring discontinuity between the YW lessons and my life. They were always about marrying a Return Missionary, serving your family to keep everyone happy, and remaining virtuous. Everything was about 'eternal marriage,' 'temple wedding', 'families are forever' . If you had asked me then, I would have told you that sounded like a nightmare to me. (I was a very angry child.)

My other problem: I feel like a hypocrite teaching the girls to follow the standards in 'For the Strength of Youth'. Honestly, I don't follow most of them myself. I prefer to use my own judgment, which has kept me straight so far. But that's not going to fly. I can see it now:
  • "Girls, never let boys touch your bo*bs! Even though I might have let so-and-so do it last night. But you shouldn't until you are married!"
  • "I know I have a collection of rated R zombie movies in my house, and yes, I went to the 6 hour horror festival, but you should only see movies that are rated PG."
  • "Yes, that is a pen*s (google-blocking the pervs) in the Picasso print hanging over my bed, but it is art! And my Jesus picture is next to my mirror."
  • "Hey! I did not come here for you kids to judge me! I'm a 31 year old virgin, if you're a virgin at my age, then we can talk, until then . . ."
Tsk, tsk. Not pretty.

It did occur to me that this is my chance to clean up my act, a do-over.  But, I like the way I am. We'll see what happens.

Young Women Rewind

I will take this calling seriously. Despite my whining, I am grateful to have the opportunity. I desperately need to do more service and get out of my own head. As part of my commitment, I have come up with a list of things I wish I had learned in Young Women. Because, I don't know that I learned anything applicable to my life. This may be too harsh, something clearly sunk in since I am still hanging on for dear life to 'my virtue'.

Things I wish I had learned in my Young Women's classes:
  1. How to say 'No' when appropriate. Especially how and when to say 'no' to men. That skill would have saved me a few years of agony in college.
  2. When it's necessary to be rude, i.e. to stave off the drunks trying to hit on you. As opposed to re-enforcing the docile and submissive behavior that good girls are supposed to always exhibit, teach me to stand up for myself as a daughter of God that deserves respect.
  3. What qualities really make a man marriageable: no, being a return missionary and priesthood holder does not automatically qualify a man as good marriage material, nor does dental school. (What's the deal with all the Mo's becoming dentists?)
  4. How to tell when you are dating a loser.
  5. How to get rid of said loser.
  6. Exactly which sins/offenses need to be shared with the Bishop. (I still don't know.)
  7. Etiquette for turning down alcohol at social events.
  8. Etiquette for serving/not serving alcohol at your own social events. I deal with this by telling my party guests to brink their own beverages. Though I find that practice very tacky.
  9. Smart dating strategies. More than just saying "Don't date until you are 16." Teach the girls to avoid risky situations.
  10. Nutrition for healthy living.
  11. How to take care of yourself in a loving and respectful way. The importance of taking care of yourself emotionally as opposed to sacrificing your sanity to serve the family. "If mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy."
  12. Learning how to love yourself.
  13. Career Planning, i.e. don't spend your youth pursuing a doctorate in the humanities.
  14. Study skills.
  15. Teach me the truth, that a temple marriage does not guarantee happiness, and being a 'good girl' does not shield you from pain or tragedy. (I already knew these things in high school, the fact that my teachers wouldn't tell this truth made me suspicious of everything else they said.)
  16. Teach me to use my voice to express my feelings and my needs so I don't grow up to be a depressed housewife on Prozac.
Now is the time when we dance! Add your own lessons to the wishlist, but don't touch my monkey!


Reel around the Fountain

After all these years. I can hardly believe it.

Exactly what I said would happen, has. Only, I expected it to take longer, and for his sake, I wanted to be wrong. My old boyfriend George, the best man I ever dated and the one I wanted to marry, the one who hurt me the most, the one I believed was for me . . . and now this.

Interesting timing. Last week I decided I was done with Farmer Ted for the 13th time. But this time I called him a pig with a text message to seal the deal (childish, I know). It didn't work. He apologized, I crumbled. . . Then I came to my senses again. I do want to be done with him. I want to leave him alone to wallow in the bed he made with his girlfriend. Obviously, I'm still weak for the men who treat me like dog doo, despite all my better judgement, therapy, education and enlightenment. Beyond scary.

That's what made George so different. He didn't trea t me like garbage, he was kind, and I still loved him. I loved him with my brain and my heart. That scared me so profoundly I couldn't breathe a word of it to him, I couldn't let him know. I couldn't give any person that much power over me. But I let him break my heart thrice, in secret.

In the 'Tainted Love' posts about George, I described what happened after we dated, the second heartbreak. And last year, when I sought closure, I described the third heartbreak, my pain over his unhappiness. The short version: We got together, I quickly fell in love, we broke up, I moved to NY, we stayed best friends and he planned to move up to NY when he finished school, but then he ran off and eloped with his roommate after they dated for one month. It sounded to me like he probably slept with her and then married her to assuage his guilt. I guessed the girl had manipulated the whole thing, he had been a virgin and was very naive about women. But, what do I know?

The woman was not religious. After they eloped, she got baptized. Baptisms for love tend not to stick. He told me last year he wasn't going to church. That hurt me for him too, I knew how much he had wanted the whole Mormon family deal.

All of this happened in 2002-2003. I promised in my posts to write our dating stories, they're good ones, yet I could never do it. Maybe I should try now.

My sister called me last night with some news. "Guess who is single again?" "Your loser ex-boyfriend Brent?" "No." "I don't know, who?" "GEORGE!" "Really. Hmm. And how do you know this?" Through his MySpace page. Really. My sister was MySpacing and she clicked on my empty page--that I made last year so I could email him. There she saw my friends: herself, MySpace Tom, George and George's band. She looked at George's page. Status: Single. All the pictures of his wife: gone. He's had a haircut and looks much better now.

I remained non-plussed. We didn't know the story or situation, and he is still in Georgia. I logged in to see if he had tried to contact me. He had. He sent a message in August, said we had some catching up to do and asked me to email him. So, I did. Then I went to bed and did not sleep. I don't know how to deal with this information.


The Best Worst Movie Ever!: "Troll 2" and the Mormons

"Troll 2? Never heard of it, there was a Troll 1?"
"Yes, but this movie had nothing to do with the first one. And there are no trolls in it."

While on one of our non-date movie outings, Farmer Ted asked if I wanted to see "Troll 2" at a special midnight showing. Sure.

Later, he mentioned that 'his girl' was going too. Excuse me? Did you just invite me on your date with your girlfriend? "Oh? Well, then I'm going to bring my friend Mike. I don't want to be a third wheel." He did not like this at all. Too bad.

The four of us met at the theater, but the tickets were sold out. Um, Troll 2 has sold out? Are you freaking kidding me? Nope. So, we scrounged up a plan and got in line anyway. These people make minimum wage, they don't care if you have the right tickets. Yes, my friends and I are a bunch of over-grown juvenile delinquents.

In the lobby, we saw a small movie crew. One of the actors from the 20 year old film was shooting a documentary about the cult status of 'Troll 2'. Some of the super-fans dressed in goblin costumes, some wore all green, one woman dressed like a crazy witch. It's been a long time since I've seen this kind of crowd. I remarked that we were definitely too sober to see this movie. (Visit the official site here for photos of the mad fans!)

Once inside, we had to split up our little group into two rows. I stayed with my friend, and Farmer Ted had to sit with his lady, who promptly draped herself all over him. He didn't respond in kind.

The movie. What a freaking good time!! My face hurt I laughed so much. It might be the funniest movie I've ever seen. The crowd added another element of fun by quoting the movie, shouting out wisecracks and even doing a synchronized 80s dance routine. But the movie does not need the extra entertainment. Every scene is worse than the previous one. I'd think that it couldn't possibly get any worse, but it did. This is the perfect bad movie: crappy effects, bad costumes, non-sensical plot, poor taste, horrible acting, comedic soundtrack, homo-erotic undertones, 80s cheese, green goo, a mini-van, anorexic sex-object, floating head dead grandpa... and the memorable line: "You can't piss on hospitality!" The use of which was literal, not metaphoric. And...... redneck Utahn Mormon extras!!!! The extras are the scariest thing in the movie. (That's right, folks! This little flick was filmed in the backwoods of Utah.) If you look at the scary sheriff's hands as he drives, you can see his CTR ring.

After the movie, some of the actors did a Q & A session with two comedians. You can imagine the questions asked by this cynical, mostly drunk, film-school drop-out filled audience: (I'll give you an example as soon as I remember one)

The dentist, whom I called 'Sexy Dad', explained how the tour got started. He called Blair up to the front, a nice boy from Provo. Blair is an RM-looking dude who told us his movie club watched Troll 2. A member of his club said he went to church with one of the actors. So, Blair decided to look up all the actors. He figured they still lived in Utah since they obviously weren't living large in L.A. due to their fame and success. He was right! He found most of them in the local phone books. He organized a screening in Salt Lake. The theater sold out. Then they took the movie and Q&A on tour. Good times.

Ted and his date wanted to leave right after the movie. She obviously didn't like it. He was either tired or in a bad mood. But my buddy wanted to stay. I told Ted he could leave without us. I had a great time, as did my friend and the strange guy sitting next to me named "Casper". We laughed together the whole time. (I unabashedly chatted up Casper for Farmer Ted's benefit. Isn't that evil? Maybe I'm from Nilbog too!)

Every B movie fan and obscure Mormon pop culturist must see Troll 2!

A clarification of diction

I used the term 'emo boys' in this previous post. One reader asked what an 'emo boy' is. Having thought about it, I realized I do not know what an emo boy is. And, upon further reflection, the gentlemen to which I referred were really wannabe 'hipsters'. If you'd like to know exactly what a hipster is, watch this video of the Hipster Olympics. Very Entertaining and wickedly accurate. The boys at the party were cleaner than real hipsters, and not quite as hung-over because they were still in their early 20s. They won't look that bad until the pass that 25-year-old hill.

The same post also sparked a discussion about my use of the word 'boring' to describe a 'nice' girl in a derogatory way, the assumption being that 'boring' is the opposite of crazy. I did use the word 'boring' to denote the girl's shyness, politeness, bland clothes AND lack of interesting conversation; i.e. her horridly snoozerific stories about traveling in Switzerland when she had a crisis of fear on the meter high dive and how it was one of the defining moments of her life, or the one about the train station with the out of place box sitting on a bench--yes, you read that correctly, a plain brown box was there and did not belong!... THAT is why I called her boring. Believe me, I know that the nicest, quietest folks in the crowd can be the sickest mofos there. I enjoy finding that out about them and usually try to engage the wallflowers in conversation, when I am not holding up the wall myself. But this girl disappointed, I offered to pass out the mustard just to get away from her.

Back to church, with a broken heart, again

The ironic thing about meeting Farmer Ted is that he has scared me into going back to church. Knowing how close I came, how much I wanted to give up this chastity thing, and how resentful it made me, showed me how far I have gone from the Lord. He showed me I need to get my behind back on the pew every Sunday.

So, I did go to church, on that Sunday after he told me about his 'new girl'. The ward completely ignored me again. As I sat there before the meeting, I watched the bishopric walk around introducing themselves to all the new people. The bishop glanced at me. No one came over. No one said hello. I knew they didn't know who I was. Some missionaries sat next to me because they had no other choice. I had spent the entire weekend in my apartment doing nothing. I already felt lonely and rejected, and this happened at church again! I needed some attention, I needed some love from somewhere. I was not going to get it here, in the 'house of the Lord'.

By the time sacrament ended, I felt so bad I couldn't stay any longer. I got up and walked out of the chapel. As I came through the lobby, I saw the huge painting of Jesus Christ with his open arms extended in love and welcome. I burst into tears. The irony! I started running down the stairs to get out of there. "Wait!" I turned and looked up. One of the missionaries. He had followed me out. He asked my name. What was my phone number, could they come visit? I choked out a yes, said that the sisters had been visiting me. I tried to hide my red blotchy face from him. He told me to call if I ever needed anything. Ok...bye. What a sweetheart...Then I drove home.

Instead of waiting for Farmer Ted to not call, I went to bed and cried myself to sleep. When I awoke, I semi-waited, but I knew. The call never came. He was getting serious about the girl. It was not even about him, really. He wasn't that great a catch, I could do better. It was the rejection, again that hurt me. Having my hopes destroyed once again caused an unbelievable pain that wrenched through my body. Alone again, while he was having lots of sex with the boring girl. I screamed into my couch pillows and beat the floor in frustration. Would this never end?!! How much heartbreak can one person take!?! WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME??? Then I sobbed for hours.

There was something seriously wrong with me. I am 31 years old and could see no end. The hours and force of my tears made my chest hurt, my lungs sore, and my head throb...the thought of the rest of my life continuing this way... a loveless life seems absolutely unbearable. As I choked on my sobs, I wished I could stop breathing. I wished I really would choke, so this could be over...Then I pictured myself filling the bathtub and holding my head under the water, flooding my lungs and escaping the pain. Surely hell is better than this... No one is meant to live this way.

Suicide fantasies?! Holy crap!--it's been 10 years! Someone help me!...This is very very bad. I called my Bishop but got no answer and no voicemail. Of course. I remembered the sweet missionary from church, I dug out his number and called. I left a message, the words stuttered with sobs. Finally, the Bishop called, who had heard from the Elder. He asked what I needed? I told him that I felt so alone I didn't think I could go on anymore. This was it for me. It was too hard. I didn't know what more to do. The Bishop didn't understand me. After some talking, he agreed to come over.

They came. He gave me a copy of the 'Every Single One' story from the Ensign, which I had read. He wanted to know what I thought of it. I told him it didn't go far enough. I told him that church was the loneliest place in the world. He wanted to know why. I said that as a single person, I am alone all the time. No one cares if I come or go, get sick, or anything. So when I go to church, I need to be noticed instead of completely ignored. I told him no one had said hello to me that morning. Then he said he remembered seeing me but didn't know why he didn't talk to me.

I explained that I needed a family, that I found no support at church. I had no home teachers, nothing. And because church was not a source of comfort and support to me, it made these men who wanted me all the more tempting... how was I supposed to keep resisting them and the "love" they offered when I had no other place to go? Then he understood. He hung his head in shame and his eyes filled with tears. He admitted that he had been negligent with the singles. He wanted to know what they could do. So I told him. I gave him a list, starting with Family Home Evening. He promised to do something.

Then he gave me a blessing. The other brother offered to be my hometeacher.

I did feel better. I did feel comforted. I didn't drown myself in the bathtub that night.


Poll: Aug. 2007

When should you tell your date you are religious and celibate?

2--Right when you meet
4--On the first date
**16--After first date, but before they ask you to come home with them
1--When they start groping you
4--Never! Live and let live baby.

And the winner is: After the first date, but before they ask you to come home with them.