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hipstercrite

Austin, Film

Please help one of the last great video rental stores in America

When I moved to Austin, TX, in 2008, it was exactly what my weary soul needed. I had left a career in Los Angeles as a Hollywood assistant and was seeking solace in a new town — a town I had never even been to but knew would be my salvation.

You see, Los Angeles had taken my love for film — a love that includes forcing horrified friends to watch Last Tango in Paris at the tender age of 16 and being the proud owner of the first DVD release of David Lynch’s Eraserhead and putting photos of a shirtless Marlon Brando from A Streecar Named Desire on my college dorm wall and carrying around a ragged copy of Harpo Marx’s autobiography Harpo Speaks! — and completely squashed it.

Realizing that Hollywood was only marginally full of masters of art and creativity was one of my biggest heartbreaks as I entered adulthood. Instead of being immersed in the excitement and magic of cinema, I worked with producers, agents and lawyers — three types of common players in Hollywood who are often angry, greedy (more…)

Hipstercrite Life, Travel

Pittsburgh: Not the Next Hipster City (And Maybe That’s a Good Thing)

Many moons ago, I wrote several articles that went mini-viral about the next hipster cities.

(Side note: Looking back at those articles, I want to barf.)

One of the cities I included on my next hipster city list was Pittsburgh.

Though I had never been to Pittsburgh, I had been seeing many articles about the Rust Belt city’s renaissance. (Barf X 2 that I wrote about a city I had never been to.)

I never would have imagined that five years later I would actually live in Pittsburgh.

So here I am–a Pittsburgher.

I now have a much clearer window into the city, and I can tell you: It’s not the next hipster city.

And maybe that’s a good thing.

Heinz Lofts in former Heinz factory

Pittsburgh is crumbling.
And it’s progressing (slowly).

There is a slew of empty storefronts.
But Google is here.

The air quality is some of the worse in the country.
But the area has made strides since the days when (more…)

Hipstercrite Life

13 Habits for Living a Perfectly Fine, Average Life

First of all: I’m not an expert on anything.

Except for maybe Jeff Goldblum, The Clash, salad bars and the undying love between Fox Mulder and Dana Scully.

Other than that I’m a human being just getting through life.

My life is not perfect, but at my core I’m a happy person, and I believe that many small yet positive habits I’ve developed through the years have helped me stabilize that core. I’d like to share those habits with you, but I don’t want you to think that I think I’m an expert.

We have too many influencers vomiting their truths as fact, and subsequently creating a false paradigm of how one should live their life. It’s unhealthy and stressful; their message implies that you are not living properly, and that if you don’t post a staged photo of yourself laughing while casually getting squirted in the face with a water hydrant you are somehow unhappy.

I don’t want to add to that stress.

You can take or leave what I’m about to tell you.

These habits (more…)

Hipstercrite Life, Thirty-something, Travel

Tap, tap: Is this thing still on?

Oh hello! Longtime no see, friend.

It’s been a hot minute since I’ve written here, and I’m currently sitting on the couch, bloated after eating an entire pizza, and thinking, “Maybe I should check in, see how everyone is doing and let them know I’m bloated on pizza.”

So, friends.

How are you?

Me? I’m bloated.

But other than that I’m ok.

I mean, my grandmother died this year.

Any of you who have hung in here with me know I thought the world of that ol’ broad.

A good cry sneaks in every day, particularly when I see a Golden Girls-branded anything (Grandma was my Dorothy) or smell garlic. Shit, pretty much EVERYTHING makes me think of her.
Mothballs (the sweaters in her armoire).
Crumpled tissues (she used to stuff them in her sleeves and drop them everywhere).
Shoulder pads (the woman LOVED them).

My beautiful grandmother.

Grief is a very, very strange thing. Sometimes you can joke about (more…)

Writing

To Geoffrey Owens —Thank You on Behalf of Working Class Artists

Like many of you, I was moved by the unmasking of actor and teacher Geoffrey Owens as a Trader Joe’s employee by the Daily Mail.

My emotions were stoked further when I read Owen’s response to this unsolicited revelation.

“There is no job that’s better than another job. It might pay better, it might have better benefits, it might look better on a resume and on paper. But actually, it’s not better. Every job is worthwhile and valuable.” — Geoffrey Owens

In the same People Magazine interview, and numerous interviews Owens has given since, he has asked us not to feel sorry for him. “I’ve had a great life. I’ve had a great career. I’ve had a career that most actors would die for. So no one has to feel sorry for me. I’m doing fine!”

I don’t feel sorry for Owens; like many of you, I feel admiration.

I see a man of integrity who takes pride in being a productive member of society.

I see a man who is an artist and who will do whatever it takes to ensure he can continue to create his art (more…)

Hipstercrite Life, Thirty-something

The Secret to Enjoying the Internet: Pretending to be Your Cat

I love my cat.

I love my cat in the way that most childless 30-something women do: whole-heartedly, unconditionally and a little creepily.

When I look at my cat, FatFace, a former feral with three teeth and mouth herpes, my heart bursts with pure joy. There are no cats cuter than my cat, I whisper to myself. Every pose she makes is pukingly cute and therefore must be photographed and shared online. In attempt not to overload my friends who look at me with great sadness in their eyes, I decided to create an Instagram account for FatFace from FatFace.

But her account was also born out of the bloody aftermath of the 2016 election. Tired of participating in and watching poop slinging from both the left and right and everyone in between, I decided that losing myself in the blissfully ignorant personality of my apolitical cat was a better place to be than the hell we humans had created for ourselves. The more I masqueraded as my cat and the less I added to social media (more…)

Writing

When Death Happens, Nature Welcomes You.

Since my grandmother’s death, I’ve found myself wanting to immerse myself in nature for many reasons.

First, I want to escape my daily routine — to get out of my head, which has become a very manic place— and second, because I want to be surrounded by life. To hear the conversations amongst birds and prairies dogs. To watch the deer, and the bighorn sheep, and the elk scavenge for food, mate or relish the sun. To see the leaves turn from a morbid brown to a thunderous green. To watch the Western flowers burst from beds of dirt and parched grass.

This want has brought me all over the valleys and peaks of Colorado as of late, with trips to Rocky Mountain National Park, the Flatirons of Boulder, the mesas of Golden and the red rocks of Colorado Springs.

Leading up to now, my view had mostly been of hospital walls. My grandmother — my dear, beautiful second mother — had been ailing back home in Upstate New York, and I wanted to see her as much as I could. A broken hip in August (more…)

Hipstercrite Life, Pop Culture, Writing

Photos my Grandfather Took During WWII

My beloved grandmother passed away recently, and my mother and I have been going through old photos. We rediscovered photos my grandfather took while stationed in Africa during WWII. Here are some of my favorites.

*As far as I can tell, these were all taken by my grandfather. I’ve tried to verify the accuracy of the photos as best I can. These photos were snapped with my iPhone, hence the added fuzziness.

This is my grandfather Carl. He was an airplane mechanic in the Army Air Forces during the North African Campaign of WWII. During the war, he had a pet monkey named Jocko, he was stabbed and he contracted malaria. Those were the only things he shared with my mother. He died in 1974, before I was born.

This is him with one of his favorite planes, 1943. (Possibly a B-25?) *I* wonder why it was his favorite…?

Here he is in the beginning of the war with some of his Army mates.

Here’s another. Grandpa is in the lower left corner. 1945.

Army mate working on an A-20. (I think (more…)

Writing

How Joe Strummer and The Clash Have Helped Me Through the Trump Era

don’t remember the first time I truly listened to Joe Strummer.

It may have been when I heard “Clampdown” off the band’s seminal 1979 album, London Calling. The song warns young men of the inherit soul-crushing nature of capitalism and reminds them that they — not the government, not The Establishment — have control of their lives.

“Let fury have the hour; anger can be power — do you know that you can use it?”

That line was my driving force in 2016, during the height of the presidential primary cycle. At the time I was volunteering for Bernie Sanders, a self-described Democratic Socialist and agitator of the status quo. I found parallels between Sanders and Joe Strummer of The Clash: Both were champions of socialism and the proletariat, and both were vocal critics of injustice and the oligarchy.

Though The Clash became my soundtrack during that tumultuous political year, the band hung with me long after Sanders lost the primary, Hillary Clinton lost the general and Donald (more…)

Writing

On Understanding My Jewish Roots

While growing up, we didn’t discuss being Jewish. We practiced no religious rituals, and no family member went to temple. A Yiddish swear word or phrase of exasperation often spilled from my grandma’s lips, something she picked up in her youth, or an occasional Jewish dish was prepared for family gatherings, but that was about as tribal as we got.

Our lack of Jewish cultural identity was not decided for us. It was chosen by my Eastern European great-grandmother Sophie, who upon coming to America erased any trace of Jewish identity. As I’ve aged and attempted to connect with my Ashkenazi roots, I’ve had to check my frustration with this woman I had never met. Why did you erase your past? I often ask out loud to her. And why did you decide that your kin would never know the truth?

These questions I’ve searched for in public records, DNA results and photos and documents hidden in my grandmother’s house to little avail. What facts I have been able to dig up often conflict with one another — Was (more…)