in list, we must

HEY, YOU. Welcome to the latest edition of the Must List, wherein I chronicle the aspects of the world that pluck me outta bed in the morning. Here is the best shit of right now.


1. The bassline of the Beverly Hills Teens theme song

Yo, do you know about Beverly Hills Teens? The smash cartoon bildungsroman that followed a group of rich-ass California teenagers around their country club? You remember. The one that aired from 1987 right up through…uh, 1987. (September to December. YouTube any episode and see for yourself why—maybe “Diet, Please,” where the fillies are competing for a beauty contest. Notable quotable: “Gag me with a lobster fork.”)

I FUCKING LOVE THIS SHOW. The characters have names like “Larke” and a proto–cell phone thing—“the Gossip Hotline”—that buzzes harshly, like a panic alarm at a nuclear plant, whenever some new social scandal emerges. More mellifluous than that: The stupendous theme song. This week, I have seriously not wanted to do anything but jam to the tune of these BevHillzTeenz. Come on and make your dreams come true. It’s so horrible. I’m so in love.

2. “Twist My Fingaz,” YG

Actually: There is a second song on my end-of-July playlist. In terms of real West Coast music made for human people instead of a group of profligate animations: This single goes and goes and goes and GOES.

This track reads even more “California” to me than the above theme—who knew that was possible?

3. Back rubs

I’m an elderly boy now. I can tell because yesterday, fed up full to bursting with the world entire, I dipped into one of those “$10 for 10 minutes” outlets where a person punches you in the spine for a little portion of your life. I had never had a massage before! It turns out my vertebrae adore pummeling.

I didn’t know whether to take off my clothes?

Whatever. I’m into it. If, like me, you (a) are prone to kvetching re: feeling mad Sisyphean, even though you have litero nothing to complain about, and/or (b) recently texted your sororal group chat that you “seriously want a breast reduct-o” because of persistent back pain, go get socked in the back some. You will like it, or at least not be texting diatribes about your life/tits to your siblings for a hot 10.

4. The southern flannel moth, aka the Mrat’s identical twin

Mritter has a body double and I’m never going to stop making fun of her about it.

5. My First Time

I am very stoked for this forthcoming video series. In it, experiences with first books are recounted by writers like Donald Antrim, Sheila Heti (“I remember thinking, I just have to work harder than any other writer in the world“—yes, and if I didn’t feel this way, I’d quit), Akhil Sharma, and Ben Lerner (I loved 10:04; shove it). So far, only the trailer and a few excerpts have been released, but even just those little bitsa flotsam are making me feel way okay.

6. Too Faced Lip Injection


By and large, lip plumpers are temporary bullshit that taste like smoking a Newport without the tobacco part. To these, I say, “FERGIT IT.” The ringing/stinging exception is this injurious and beautiful gloss, which burns as though you smoothed fiberglass over your chomper (in a nice way?) as it expands it exponentially.  It’s so horrible. I’m so in love.

7. Lisa Hanawalt


I have long adored this person‘s work for Lucky Peach (this strip, where she goes all spirals-for-eyes at a Las Vegas buffet, is my favorite of those), so clearly I was like YEA DOYE MY DUDE uh sorry I meant to say thank you but got excited, is all when the proprietor of the best comic/zine store in my neighborhood suggested that I might like her new-ish book, MY DIRTY DUMB EYES. And doye, did I ever! Cop it if you like lewd animals/are, yourself, one. (Oh, and on that note: If you like that show Bojack Horseman, Hanawalt designs that.)

8. The Rufous hummingbird

In terms of my Instagram consumption, the two categories I follow above any others are similar in tone: Sneaker-enthusiast and bird-watching accounts, with sparse exception, are both captioned all like, “[STERN RED EXCLAMATION EMOJI!] AUTHENTIC PICTURES ONLY. NO REPOSTS. TAG US FOR A FOLLOW BACK. [STERN RED EXCLAMATION EMOJI!]” Do not fuck around with, like, Sole Supremacy or BirdExtremeFeatures if you are tryna get them to redistribute photos of some spurious sparrows/SBs that you actually have no business with. The avian/sneakerhead social internet: “ACCEPT NO FAKES [AN EMOJI THAT LETS YOU KNOW THEY ARE IN NO WAY PLAYING AROUND ABOUT FINCHES/FOAMPOSITES!]”

Given the gravity of all that cartoon punctuation, I knew my love was AUTHENTIC when I happened upon this species of hummingbird, of which I had never heard:

Screen Shot 2015-07-30 at 8.11.38 AM

WHAT THE HELL IS THIS WONDROUS LITTLE GUY? I got me over to the Audubon Society’s website for more intel, because, like the above Instagram captions, Audubon has its own sort of stylistic rapture inherent to its language. You can just hear the organization’s bird-os caring SO MUCH as you read their rapt characterizations of each species. Here are the first two lines of their description of Rufous:

Although it is one of the smaller members in a family of midgets, this species is notably pugnacious. The male Rufous, glowing like new copper penny [sic], often defends a patch of flowers in a mountain meadow, vigorously chasing away all intruders (including larger birds).

WHAT AN UNDERDOG. Mountain meadows are worth scrapping for, though, if anything is; I knew I liked Rufous for a reason outside its “glowing like new copper penny,” although the photo above is of a female, whose cranial plumage is…let me try and Audubon this…verdant like freshly-minted dollar bills.



All right. That’s everything I like right now. Have a good summer-remainder, and remember: Come on and make your dreams come true! It’s fun for me and you! In Beverly Hills!


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taking a broadway bite out of the large apple

Some recent New York times:

1) Jesse and I made some lists—click to enlarge.

Screen Shot 2015-06-10 at 5.01.49 PM
Screen Shot 2015-06-10 at 5.00.22 PM

2) Gabby and I went on a bus tour.

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fire bugout


“Essayer” is the French infinitive for the word “to try,” according to verifiable linguistic fact, plus also a sentence with which I reminded myself of this in my journal a few months back, put the exact way as I just did. A slim three-or-so seconds later, a radio progrum I was using as a stand-in companion recited it back to me from the stereo, verbatim. I felt holy—and wholly corny—then back to sacral, because FUCKIT: When I was 16, I had an august older playwright friend who let me run away to his house and read his scripts, and the line “coincidence is God,” committed in one such set of plastic-bound printouts, wallpapered the heart of your frenzied-ass trylobite here for permanent. So essay that shit on for size, I guess.

How’s it all playing out of late? I spent the winter/spring feeling, myself, mad played out, which I think is unavoidably symptomatic of finishing yer book, especially your first. But Action is done, and now I’m back to my savage regularity. I can tell because I interrogated someone thusly on the morning before last, squinting at a massive and reflectively shiny hairball nearby: “Did I try to sleep in my wig last night?” It was hard to overlook the implications of “Man in the Mirror” chiding me softly in the background, but your girl essayed as diligently as she could, as I have zilch interest in changing that particular one of my ways.

Oh, yeah! I bought some wigs. They are a lynchpin of my summer style direction, which is actually a combo platter of two vectors:


realize that having short hair means being able to realize the dream of wearing a different wig every day, aka the sartorial joy-equivalent of that new Jamie xx/Young Thug/Popcaan jam. I KNOW THERE'S GONNA BE GOOD TIMES.

Finally stopped fuckng around long enough to realize that having short hair means being able to realize the dream of wearing a different wig every day, aka the sartorial joy-equivalent of that new Jamie xx/Young Thug/Popcaan jam. I KNOW THERE’S GONNA BE GOOD TIMES.

2) BAD BOWLING TERRIBLE UNCLE. See: vein-skinny gold neck chains, intentionally grease-distressed muscle tanks, that one Kiko Mizuhara x Opening Ceremony collection, the old black T-shirt with a merit badge reading “GIRL SCOUTS GO BOWLING” stitched on that my bad-news cousin gave me when I was in seventh grade, dice-shaped cufflinks, eight ball–shaped cufflinks, wheedling my tablemates to the tune of letting me bet my own cufflinks after losing momentously at five-card-stud and being rebuffed, flame shirts. Catch you at the Saul Bellow retrospective later on this month.

So! I’m back, after far too long a time talking to the man in the mirror in the form of essays spewed into the book that I, momentarily, hate (extended proximity bred such a seething loathing in me toward Action, that demanding, longstanding buffer to real-life action), but also know so much more adhesively has re-wallpapered my heart in patterns complementary to the above exteriors, plus my life entire.

I HAVE BEEN TRYING WILD HARD FOR WILD LONG, AND IT’S OVER. Now, excuse me while I go attempt all manners of new shit. Look for the sleaze in the wig.

Yours of course,



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geographically, i’m not entirely sure, but i know you were there

Hello, meat grinderz. What’s it to you lately?

God DAMN-A-LANG, am I ever busy. This isn’t to paint being stuffed to the gills as a cool/bad/fragrant/fractured/frantic/orange/matronly/ANY-QUALIFIER-ASS time; it’s just how it’s been the heck going. My book deadline grins at me from where it sits on my shoulder. And I keep making it worse! I keep doing all the fun shit that I love! PLUS WORKING ON THE BOOK THAT I LOVE! My dance card = sustenance for benevolent termites, like:

– I’m really into working for Rolling Stone, partly because I pitch them GI-GAN-TEUR ideas that sometimes begin: “I hope you’re enjoying your weekend! I was thunderstruck by a scene report–type pitch on my walk to the donut shop just now. It’s as follows: They Might Be Giants is a nerd band for math losers, right? YO, NOT AT ALL.”

And then I spout off for a little, and then it works and I get to harangue one of my all-time favorite bands. And then the Johnses tell me stories about GG Allin that I will clutch right here (gesturing to heart and brain and crotch with the one hand that isn’t holding a promotional radio station mug of vodka-soda) in saecula saeculorum.

– I’m reading McGlue by Ottessa Moshfegh, whose feet I would agreeably dry with my hair:

“Where I see myself in five years? Well, that’s a great question…” McGlue rules.

A photo posted by Amy Rose Spiegel (@verymuchso) on Feb 21, 2015 at 7:18am PST

A difference of opinion, but not of spirit. Re: McGlue—if your nose levitates ceiling-ward upon the very THOUGHT of reading a novella, try her attack-dog-voiced short stories, both of which, here, are fixing to make my lay my extendos across the floor like a blonde shag carpet.

Also reading: Sex and the Single Girl, but it’s for research, which is I guess why anyone has been reading it for the past 50 yearzzz. Helen Gurley Brown, its author, I would adore and prize and send groceries to as a friend, but god DAMN if a segment about homosexuality doesn’t clear its throat and gravely intone, “Before you rule homosexual men out of your life, however, let’s consider: Are they really monsters?”

I know what you meant, but you meant what you said, and (though you wrote it ’62) our tentative comradeship comes to an end. The book: not my favorite! Out of five stars: All the imploding ones that we can still see after they’re dead, if we squint!

– One little-known factoibdt about me: I’m fond of putting clothes on my person so as not to be mistaken for one of the lesser primates among our animal QUEENdom. (You are welcome, feminism. No longer 1962 up in this here w’bsite, NOW IS IT?) Dazed & Confused, in a partnership with Racked, noticed this and made a home movie about it. Consider this lunacy:

I mean, you can watch me turn lazy roller-skate arabesques around my apartment—God, we’ve come so far!—but what I’m hoping you’ll read is the accordant interview.


– I started a website after spending a year saying, “How do I glue the squad together?” Enormous Eye is one way, but far from the only. I ask writers I revere to chronicle a Saturday, which is exhausting and fruitful, and then I publish those chronicles on Monday. Sick 2 do!

– I continue to grit my smiling editorial teeth with Rookie between ’em, plus I write there too! Who wouldn’t? Rookie is brimming with world-class readers and writers, like Zadie Smith, and it is the wish on non-extinct stars that delivers every day regardless.

That’s not all, but it seems like it righ nah, so I’m calling it. Mad love to you and yours, my heart-butchers.

Halfway everywhere,


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cardinal rules

Hello to all you howling wolves out there (and the silver bullets that love them)! I just got back from a five-day stint in Los Angeles with varying motivations behind it. Here’s the first glamorous, old-Hollywood historical attraction I visited:


BEHOLD: THE TIKI THEATER XYMPOSIUM. No need to wipe your glasses, because you read that last bit correctly: XYMPOSIUM. IS THIS PRINCE’S PRIVATE SCREENING ROOM, with that? What a fiendishly perfect commercial descriptor. (Related update: My apartment, the artist formerly known as the Terrordome, has been similarly renamed after the mythical Greek ceremony at which the central philosophies of love were decided, only, like, if it were possible for that event to be pornier than it already was.)

As I found out, there wasn’t anything particularly Xocrates-level revelatory about Los Angeles’ last extant den of forbidden sensuality/filth videotapes, unless you count a small TV to the right of the main screen on which an unctuous DVD menu repeated itself listlessly, over and over and over over over. Look at me when I say this to you: I had never been so turned on in my entire life. Nah, but I wasn’t there for any untoward purpose except paying my dirtbag respects to this fossil-establishment, so please know I was xymply charmed by the whole affair in the end. I wonder if that menu is still recursively beaming itself into the Tiki, steadfast and unselected, as I type this to you from back in Greenpoint.

Despite its flagging perv culture, I also liked the rest of Rose Angeles so much that, one morning, while in line buying my customary breakfast of two Diet Cokes, I didn’t discompose a woman with blonde dreadlocks coated in inexplicable tinfoil when she marveled over how “WAY CUTE!” she finds the dark-ass ad campaign Coke is doing at current. The idea is, you pick a carbo-sludge fizz product that says, like, “Father” or “Pal O’ Mine” or “Rat Whore” on the packaging, then give it to whoever the indicated party is in your own animal life. She peered at my cans (this encounter, despite this clause, did not also take place in the porn theater). They read “BFF” and “Buddy.”

“Are those for someone you love?”

“I think so?” I said, clutching the sodas. Then I went back and pounded them one after the other by the pool of the Hollywood Downtowner Motel as I affectionately tried to make sense of The Changing Light at Sandover. Like I said, L.A. ruled. Now that you’ve got the full Californian smut/beverage report, how else is it going? Well…

My whole life has changed / Since you came in

My whole life has changed / Since you came in

– CHECK OUT MY NEW SKATES AND YOU TELL ME. (No one is allowed to sing the song. I am deadly serious about this.) Try to tell me these aren’t exactly the tightest rollerskates you’ve ever borne witness to and I will just breeze on by you in them all like, “My condolencesssss…” Also, dudes, do you know how clumsy I am? Do you understand how many legs I’m going to break, not only from trying to jeté in these immaculate motherfuckers, but from the classic physical comedy sitcom trope of, like, stepping on one in the dark in my hallway and being all, “!!!!” with my arms akimbo and windmillish before I crash into a disassembled (albeit stylishly leopard-printed) heap? Do you also understand that I don’t care and welcome the opportunity to put these on the ends of my crutches if I have to? I’m enchanted, guys. Feeling mad “Boy About Town” about this new development.

– I wrote an essay for Rookie that lends itself to an egregiously high number (at least two) of Velvet Underground/Lou Reed allusions, if you’re so inclined to make them, which, save for the title, I’m mostly not.

– I’ve also been writing record reviews for Rolling Stone every now and again. You can find a selection here. Dads only; I’ll be checking Coke cans at the door.

– PLUS TOO a short story in the form of a sestina for The Hairpin. It can be both, right? It is. It’s called “Just 4 Kydz Fun Zone” and it’s about a guy in a rat suit.

– I made this post chiefly as a letter of intent, because I’m going to propose marriage to Schoolboy Q. I lied when I said the first thing I did in California was get way too jazzed about watching an indecent DVD menu on loop. First, I listened to “Los Awesome” approx. 7,208 times while I jumped on the bed of Room 12. I always feel so gold in motels. I bumped my head on the ceiling and I didn’t even care or stop!

– I’m reading Middlemarch and basically writing my official memoirs in its margins. Or, I was, until I left my idiot copy on a Phoenix-Burbank connection! Some acerbic flight attendant is probably making fun of my annotations as we speak. And who could blame him, when I distinctly recall making one that said, like, “Marriage vows as mutual imprecations? Foreshadowing…for all of us?” Whatever, Earth. I love writing these kinds of masterful, trenchant analyses of high littra-cher and you can suck my left rollerskate about it!!

Anyway, don’t let my hott radical views sully your impressions of Middlemarch, since it’s heaven if heaven were a book. As I wait for my replacement copy, I’m reading David Mitchell’s new deal, The Bone Clocks. A lot of the symbolism up in is expressed via these stellar confetti and butterfly motifs, like a metafictional rave/seven-year-old girl’s birthday party, except WAY more ominous (/entirely 100 percent just as ominous?). You can bet I’m wild about it. READ IT WIZ ME!

TOY SYNDROME + MANDATE OF HEAVEN = THE ONLY DESIGNERS, to me. I wore them to the Proenza show.

TOY SYNDROME + MANDATE OF HEAVEN = THE ONLY DESIGNERS, to me. I wore them to the Proenza show.

– I went on a research trip to the Spring/Summer 2015 Styletime Conference For Fashionable Wellness, where I took in the Jeremy Scott and Proenza Schouler shows, then presented my findings in Dazed & Confused.

– As I hang around the postbox pining for the return of the mack (George Eliot), I’m using this downtime to write not my official memoirs, but an official (this, only in that it’s being published by Grand Central next year) book of essays. It’s called Action—as in lights, camera!! I FELL UNDER THE GLITZY SPELL OF HOLLYWOOD V. HARD, you guys, and am publishing an account of my hardscrabble life as an aspiring menu-selection starlet. Really: It’s a collection of the sorts of essays I write for Rookie, but for adults. Specifically, for Adults—please see the photo of the first stop on my book tour at the top of this post.

All right, then. UNTIL NEXT TIME, lupine loves of mine.



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thrill patrol

Getting lifted at a recent Sisters of the Dick function. I spy Sarah, Belle, Haley, Hazel, Lai Guy...who else? Photo by Rosie O.

Getting lifted at a recent Sisters of the Dick function at Fort Consolation. I spy Sarah, BabyBelle, Haley, Hazel, Lai Guy, Bree, Kathleen. Photo by Rosie O.

What up, dandelion heads? The sidewalks and already-way-pale awnings of Greenpoint, where I type this to you, are scorched, and everything is pretty untenable i/r/t heat, sweat, y “why didn’t I bring sunglasses”–style regret. But, since I am (a) wearing my favorite linen jumpsuit (this red paisley deal-o that’s very Skank Joan Baez) and (b) undeterred as ever, I’m out in the world, staring loosely at a paper cup of coffee, and feeling mad aestive.

AND QUITE CLITERALLY PECKING AWAY TO YOU ABOUT THE GODDAMN WEATHER! Is this who I am now? I gently ask you to lead me out to pasture, should this meteorological bloviatin’ go unchecked for too much longer. At least maybe it’ll be breezy there!!!! (Seriously, my temple aches for a gun.)

Some stray addenda plucked from my recent-style lifezone:

– I wrote a Rookie essay about Mark Ruffalo/Sappho, crotchvasions, being a cool sex-haver in stylish denim jeans, and wanting to howl foul invectives at a stunning wonder of the natural world, which is to say, I wrote about the mechanics of sexual consent!

– If you would like to read my first Rolling Stone piece, you first have to guess what it’s abou—WHOA, quick draw, the answer is Morrissey, but maybe give the others a chance next time! You don’t always have to be the smartest li’l eukaryote in the room. (Aw, don’t give me that look—you know that’s part of what I like about you. Your arrogance, and your having-of-a-nucleus. Great work.)

– I cannery stop making playlists! This one has an overwrought name and an overwrought tonality, but what else are you supposed to do when your heart is a protean mass of carbonated slime, the Ramones cover of “Needles and Pins,” glacier shards, this poem by Marianne Moore, yawnin’ yearnin’, actual needles and pins, and discarded gum wrappers? I mean all that in a good way. (Kind of.)

To this end: Here are the jams I’ve been kicking out of late. If you’re not into Terry Reid, unfocused shoegaze, Ike & Tina (or just the latter, at the very LEAST, and if not: I ask you press a finger to one of your pulse points immediately—I’m concerned about your status as a living human person), ’80s coke-shimmy optimism, and/or Mary Wells, TURN BACK NOWWWW.


So that’s WHAT IT IS, your girl–wise, this restless aestivus. Consider my amorphous heart hot and pale, like the shredded awning of a second-rate pharmacy. Consider me “your obedient servant, but also, in this age of supermarkets, your friendly neighborhood grocery store.” Consider me yawning, yearning, slimy, and sunnily shredding.

ABOVE ALL ELSE: Consider me Skank Joan Baez.

Photo on 7-7-14 at 4.16 PM #5

I really do feel I’ve earned it. Wouldn’t you agree?

In diamonds and lust,


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collective corrective surgery

An impossible comic by Ken Doll Koch.

An impossible comic by Ken Doll Koch.

Hey smiling strange

You’re looking happily deranged, which, coincidentally, is exactly the feeling I’m living inside of righ nah, as ever. How’re you, though, really, ya little multigraph? Keeping them terrible teeth n’ claws well-sharpened, I hope? Some new things happening to/for/with your girl:

– I wrote my first piece for The Guardian recently, if you want to read me doing my serious voice about Kultural Koncerns.

– As of a week ago, I’m home from a two-leg flânerie to:

Me, me, and Jessica Hopper's knee in our Seattle suite, as told to Instagram.

Me, me, and Jessica Hopper’s knee in our Seattle suite, as told to my Instagram.

A) Seattle, where I attended my first-ever EMP Pop Conference. I presented a paper about the way introversion/extroversion is expressed in Morrissey’s music (and inside/outside of me and other listeners) and appeared on a panel called Critical Karaoke, where I mumbled a weird half-poem I wrote about this Kendal Johansson cover of a Big Star song, feeling pandered-to in the series of yellowed rec rooms where I yawned through the dull romances of my teenage years, and the whooshing ocean.

Radio, my Transmission. Photo by Nick Kozel for City Pages.

Radio, my Transmission. Photo by Nick Kozel for City Pages.

B) Minneapolai, where I inhaled Westerbergian air, bought some INCREDIBLY salacious denim shorts in preparation for the looming, blooming SUMMERTIME, and did a little soft-shoe and a little boogaloo (for you) at an excellent Smiths night called Transmission. I’ve since become breathtakingly obsessed with its DJ’s radio show, which I aggressively recommend you check out on The Current, Minnesota’s lovely public station.


– I’m currently scarfing down Kenneth Koch’s visual poems (see all the way above),  this teeth-licking, bouncy Italo disco track by Baby’s Gang, the collected Lingua Franca (if anyone can hook my brain up to some old issues, EMAIL A BITCH POSTHASTE), this De La Soul megamix by DJ Platurn, the occidental, wondrous, and hella grisly novel Lonesome Dove, and Arab Strap’s Philophobiaa handsome little cut of which you can hear in this video YouTube sound-o-gram.

I spoke to the Huffington’s Proste about the tinctures and balms I smooth onto my face in order to feel a little bit less monstrous as a human being with other human beings’ eyes scuttling across her.

Overall: I’m okay. I’m cool. I’m blooming, and looming, and, above all else, happily deranged. I hope the same is true of your own personal soft-shoe-ing and boogaloo-ing, however it is you may be doing it at the moment.

Yours in sweaty fervor,


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