“Ball so hard, this shit crazy”
It was a money-draining party and I had a blast.
Heart Of Douche-ness or “The Imperialism Of Young Assholes”
Take up the White Mans Burden, Hipsters. Conquer the middle class with your bougie contempt and self-loathing fashion. But don’t complain when you’re branded the enemy.
EULA, Life Size Maps & More at Shea Stadium
Five great bands at a Friday show in Shea Stadium.
Silent Barn Public Meeting Tomorrow
Panelists gather to discuss All Ages venues, with some necessary rocking out.
alt-J at Glasslands
Lead singer Joe Newman asked us to sweat with him and we did.
Confession: Loving Brit Pop Left Me Lonely
I’ve been an anglophile since I was sixteen, and an outcast in suburban Long Island. In 1996, the outside world was still knee-deep in grunge and alternative, while I was living in the past. I met my first “real boyfriend” in a Britpop AOL chat room where I rambled on about The Beatles. He, upon finding out I was American, rambled on about Nirvana. So began my first long-winded love affair: he in West Yorkshire, England and I, stuck in the suburban world of malls and shopping centers. I was happy. I was in love. I was also alone. The internet was more innocent then, and so were we. Over six months, we evolved from dial-up internet chats, to letter-writing, to phone-calls and eventually he visited me in New York for ten days.
Leah with musical inspirations, Mom & Dad
I already stood out at my suburban high school, being the Editor-in Chief of their literary magazine and a music weirdo. Now, my British internet boyfriend arrived with me to school my first day of senior year. It was a wonderful six months of letters and phone calls (all before Skype) but being eighteen in the United States is different then being eighteen in the UK. At eighteen in the U.S, you are getting ready to start your freshman year at College at the end of August. In the UK, you already know where you are going to college and you start in October. My boyfriend became a freshman and was adjusting to life in a dorm. Naturally, our phone conversations went into the wee hours of the night, when I was finishing homework and he was coming home from bars and parties. We had many a conversation that ended with him snoring and me sighing. He joined the soccer team, made new friends, and bought a ticket to come back to NY for Christmas. About two or three months later, he broke his leg and couldn’t travel internationally. I was devastated. Still, we were okay, until January came. I turned 18, and got a phone call saying that he had too much time on his own, with the broken leg and all, and got to thinking that this wouldn’t work out. We were fooling ourselves. We were being young and romantic. He gave up, and I survived my senior year in high school, while he started a relationship with a woman who would become his wife. I’ve had so many opportunities to see him, as I go to England quite often, and never has it worked out.
After that, I felt even more alone in my interests and passions. I blamed books, Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, but I think it is really because of my parents. They introduced me to music at a very young age.
In 1973, my parents were Jewish hippies, who had met their second year at Queensborough Community College. Dad was 23, born in Montreal, Canada. He grew up in a low-income, sheltered, Jewish area of downtown Montreal, the Canadian equivalent to New York’s Lower East Side of the 1930’s. His grandparents introduced him to music, Sophie Tucker spinning on the record player. The television introduced him to new singers, actors and comedians. He learned to play the guitar when he was eighteen (I’ve never seen him play) and began to discover what was going on outside of his small world: The Rolling Stones, The Kinks. He came to New York when he was 17, alone and without any friends until his mother followed a month later with his stepfather. He would have been an outsider, but his love for music brought him into the Village where he became one of many, known as a “weekend hippie.” He checked out bands at Café Wha?, The Fillmore East, and Folk City. He had a big brown afro and was living in Queens. Mom, 20, was born and bred in Brooklyn. Her parents were Russian immigrants who spoke Yiddish in the house. She had long, dark hair that grew strong and free.
My father asked my mother to marry him on their first date. She didn’t refuse, but said she needed to think about. On the second date, she said “yes.” Music is part of what connected my parents, and part of what I love about my family. It has always been a part of my life. My parents are concert junkies, and I clearly inherited that gene. My mother is all about rock and roll: The Doors, David Bowie, and Led Zeppelin. My father has a softer side: Eric Burden, Pink Floyd, and CCR. My whole life I’ve been wondering if this is what linked my parents. They were outsiders, too. My mom went to Woodstock, on a day off from her B’nai B’rith sleep away camp, something she still holds over my father’s head.
My family took road trips twice a year to Montreal in September for Rosh Hashana, and April for Passover. Eight hours in the car meant eight hours of rocking out. “We’d all sing Runaround Sue despite your mother’s efforts to lower the volume,” Dad recently told me.
Music always makes me long for the past. I think this is what isolates me. In February, I got an email that Paul Weller was playing in May. I got one ticket. Always have.
Leah Umansky is a New Yorker by birth, a teacher by choice, and an anglophile at heart. She received her MFA in Poetry from Sarah Lawrence College and is a recipient of a 1-week fellowship at the Norman Mailer Writers Colony. She has been a contributing writer for BOMB Magazine’s BOMBLOG, a poetry reviewer for The Rumpus and a guest blogger for The Best American Poetry Blog. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in: Barrow Street, Women’s Studies Quarterly, Contemporary Verse 2, Cream City Review, The Paterson Literary Review, and Magma Poetry. She is also the Founder and Host of COUPLET: a poetry and music series on the Lower East Side of NYC. Her dad still sells the rock and roll art of Paul Bryan Jr. Read more about Leah.