Rock My World, I Guess

I do have a really good excuse this time for not being around, you guys. I swear. I was literally at work pretty much all the time, because I just opened a new exhibit. About proms. Which sounds really fun and frothy, and I think it is, but it was also SO. MUCH. WORK. And SO. MUCH. STRESS. (And yes, I know there were a lot heavier things going on besides me having to work slightly harder than usual. The last thing that situation needs is another privileged white girl adding her long winded “perspective,” so just go with me on this, ok?)

So anyway, the last few weeks have been kind of like being back in grad school, and having multiple large projects due all the same time.  Naturally, I dealt with the stress in exactly the same manner as I did in graduate school – through healthy diet and exercise.


Wow, Joey Ramone! Way to be subtle about calling me out! via

Ha ha, no. I never deal with my stress through healthy diet and exercise. I deal with it through poor food choices and by watching increasingly bad television.

via Wikipedia.

via Wikipedia.

I watched the hell out of some Rock of Love back in the day. The summer of Rock of Love was not great for me, multiple sclerosis wise, so I spent the majority of my days holed up with a friend who had a similarly shitty disease gleefully watching this train wreck and eating as many popsicles as our (carefully monitored by a physician) diets would allow.

On paper, Rock of Love  is the sort of television program that girls like me should eschew with a firm hand.  Would Daria watch Rock of Love? I highly doubt it. Jane probably would, though. At least, that’s how I rationalize it to myself. How else to explain this? After all, I willingly bought into some kind of mystical alternative universe where the the nation’s finest feature dancers are passionately competing for the affections of Ed Hardy-festooned hair extension enthusiast Bret Michaels, the erstwhile former frontman of Poison. Poison, you may recall, is a seminal 1980s hair band which the Horrorpops helpfully remind us were “never cool.”

And I didn’t just watch the first season of Rock of Love. Hell no. I enthusiastically tuned in for three season and numerous spin offs and wasted countless hours watching strippers accuse other strippers of being former strippers as if stripping were akin to child molestation or working for Richard Nixon while Bret Michaels clutched his pearls over revelations that one or another of these women might still be talking to a (considerably younger and hair extensionless) ex-boyfriend back in Topeka or wherever. Why? I don’t know, man. I just don’t know.

Rock of Love Two...arguably my favorite season. via Wikipedia.

Rock of Love Two…arguably my favorite season. via Wikipedia.

So when I discovered that Rock of Love, in several of its various incarnations, was streaming on Hulu, I immediately tuned in. I am solely responsible for our Hulu account now recommending increasingly embarrassing reality shows. Including Daisy of Love (which, it must be said, Mr. Lamarr remembers with frightening acuity).

“God, why do I watch this? I am so embarrassed for all of these people,” I said out loud one night, over some dubious tacos while fixing a particularly tricky museum label.

“Oh, please,” Mr. Lamarr said. “If this was ‘Joey Ramone of Love’ you would be the first person to sign up.”

But what would that even look like? Let’s pretend for a minute that Joey Ramone wasn’t painfully, intensely private and would even want to participate. Let’s say we call it “Joey Ramone Wants to Be Your Boyfriend.” Let’s say that you get booted off the show with the words, “I’m sorry, but I don’t wanna walk around with you.” Ok.

Roberta Bayley for Punk Magazine, via

Roberta Bayley for Punk Magazine, via

But it would probably be the least interesting reality show in the history of reality show. Joey Ramone was notoriously shy – after all, when Welsh band Helen Love was staying at his apartment, with him, at his invitation, it was four days before they even saw him in the flesh.

Ergo, I imagine we would seldom see Joey Ramone onscreen. He would likely communicate with contestants mostly through, perhaps, text message. “Oh my God, you guys!” one would say, waving her cell phone at the camera. “A text from Joey! He said he really liked the Who t-shirt I was wearing three days ago!” Riveting.

The challenge aspect of the show is another…well, challenge. Rock of Love contestants found themselves participating in a variety of contests designed to, ostensibly, tell if they would be able to “hang” with Bret Michaels’ rock and roll lifestyle, which apparently consists mostly of playing football in the mud and preventing roller derby teams from abusing Cabbage Patch dolls. So how would contestants on “Joey Ramone Wants to Be Your Boyfriend” prepare to deal with the realities of life with Joey Ramone?

Well, his lifestyle was more or less dictated by his crippling OCD. So I guess challenges would have to be stuff like, “Get Joey Ramone Out Of His Apartment and Down To the Ramones Van in One Hour Or Less,” and everybody’s favorite, “Prevent Joey Ramone From Getting Crushed To Death by A Bus Because He Has To Step On and Off the Curb A Million Times Before He Can Cross the Street.” While, if one were being very, very charitable, this might help educate the viewing public on the realities of life with OCD, the main value here would probably be trying to watch your average reality show dolly convince herself and everyone else that she’s 100% totes okay with all of this.

And how about dealing with life on the road? Stay tuned to see who wins a great solo date to the hotel pinball machine for winning “Facilitate a Conversation Between Joey and Johnny Ramone, Who Are Refusing to Speak Directly To Each Other, Even Though They Are Only Sitting Three Feet Apart!”

Photographer unknown, via

Photographer unknown, via

I think about strange things when I’m under a lot of stress.

But! The stress is letting up! Stay tuned to see more kind of blurry photos from various shows I’ve been to, including Buzzcocks and a return visit to Marky Ramone’s Blitzkrieg!


Reports of My Demise Have Been Somewhat Exxagerated

“Where the hell have you been?” I hear you hiss. You sound angry, by the way. I mean, I don’t know if you actually are angry or if you just have some really intense feelings about my prolonged and frankly inexcusable absence, but that’s how you’re coming across.*

 My boyfriend Joey Ramone is just glad I'm not dead, frankly, because could have at least called. I'm so inconsiderate.  via

My boyfriend Joey Ramone is just glad I’m not dead, frankly, because I could have at least called. I’m so inconsiderate. via

So where the hell have I been? Well, mostly at work, sadly. I’ve been focused on two big projects – putting some grant money to good use preserving and protecting the museum’s photo collection, and prepping for a temporary exhibit entitled Prom which, it may surprise you to know, is mostly about proms. Highlights from these projects include:

1. Trying to figure out what the hell is going on here:

Any ideas? Anyone?

Any ideas? Anyone?

2. Falling down the rabbit hole of looking at other people’s prom pictures, which led me to revisit my own prom pictures. Please enjoy my blinding dress, prominent five head, and incongruously blonde hair from 1997.


But! I haven’t been spending quite all of my time at work! I’ve done some other things, too! Like:

Going to see Sleater-Kinney!

Carrie Brownstein, I kinda wanna be your boyfriend.

Carrie Brownstein, I kinda wanna be your boyfriend. Mainly so I can borrow that incredible outfit.

You may recall how excited I was to score tickets to this show back in October. As a general rule, I am drawn to performers who are often described as having a “signature bleat.” Or “yelp.” Or “hiccup.” (See: Buddy Holly, Gwen Stefani, Joey “My Boyfriend” Ramone). I don’t actually like any of those descriptors, so I’ve come up with a portmanteau of my own to describe my preferred vocal styling: snarlcroon. I love a good snarlcrooner. And I think we can all agree that Sleater-Kinney’s Corin Tucker is one of the preeminent snarlcrooners of this or any generation. Throw in some strident feminism, rock goddess guitar brandishing, and fist pumping riot grrl antics and I am a fan for life.


So, just how excited was I to see this show, you may be asking. Well. This is how excited I was to see this show:

How excited? SO excited.

How excited? SO excited.

“Gosh, I sure do look excited and happy,” I thought to myself when I saw this photo. “I bet no one has even been as excited and happy as I look in that photo!” And then the existence of this photo was pointed out to me:

Photo by Bob Gruen via

Photo by Bob Gruen via

I’m sure there’s something weird and ironic I can infer about the similarity of these two images, as well as my choice of shirt, but I’m too tired/lazy to articulate it.

Speaking of my choice of shirt, I wore it mainly because my favorite Sleater-Kinney song is I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone, natch. I had high hopes they would play it, since its arguably their biggest hit, and Kim Gordon’s book dropped the same day as the show, and they’d been trading out that lyric in the song that goes “I wanna be your Thurston Moore” for “I wanna be your Kim Gordon,” but Mr. Lamarr said I was digging way, way too deep on that one.

They wound up not playing it, but they did not disappoint, delivering a blistering 25ish song plus five song encore set that included most of my other favorites, like Oh! and Dig Me Out. Their set was super tight, as well – we were out before 11 pm, which is probably the earliest I have ever left the 9:30 Club. Upon reflection, my guess is Sleater-Kinney is well enough aware of the age and likely career choices of their fan base to know that we all probably had to get up really early the next day to go to our non profit jobs.

Go home, everyone. That grant to help underprivileged bobcat punk rock prodigies isn't going to write itself.

Go home, everyone. That grant to help underprivileged bobcat punk rock prodigies isn’t going to write itself.

Also, NPR was there recording the show for broadcast. See if you can spot us in the house left balcony. I mean, literally see if you can spot us, because I can’t. So what else have I been doing?

I Bought a Bass Guitar!


So, for awhile I’ve been (jokingly. Mostly.) threatening to quit my job, take up bass, and go work in the record shop. I’ve made good on part one of that threat. I’d just gotten a clean bill of dental health and had stopped off on the way home for my traditional “No Cavities!” celebratory burger at my favorite burger joint, which happens to be a few doors down from a guitar shop. I’m not sure if I was emboldened by the joy of not having to get a filling, or if I was on a carb-fueled high from my half organic beef, half vegetarian burger, but I soon found myself striding through the door of the shop and announcing, “I want to play bass guitar. I have no idea what I’m doing. I just want to be Dee Dee Ramone. But, you know, not do heroin.”

And then I was suddenly (by which I mean, “After a week of careful research, because I am a RESPONSIBLE ADULT WHO IS HAVING THE MOST FUN MIDLIFE CRISIS EVER!”) the proud owner of a Squier by Fender P-Bass in metallic red with accompanying Fender Rumble 15 v3 amp and a standing weekly appointment with a bass teacher.

When our bank called about some possible fraudulent charges on our bank card shortly after I’d picked up my P-Bass, Mr. Lamarr thought he knew exactly what they were referring to. “It’s nothing to worry about,” he assured the bank rep. “You see, my wife has recently decided she is a bad ass and has purchased a bass guitar.” However it turns out that the bass hadn’t raised any red flags with the bank – the $400ish purchase at a Walgreen’s in another part of the state, which definitely wasn’t us, had. It’s good to know that at least the bank recognizes and accepts my badassery.

Slightly embarrassing fact: every time I see the phrase “P-Bass” I think of Ernest T. Bass, of Andy Griffith fame. I then have to try very hard to pronounce “P-Bass” to sound like “base,” and not the fish. To reiterate:

Not a Punk Rocker


Not a Punk Rocker


Punk Rocker!

photo by Dean Simmon via

photo by Dean Simmon via

Punk Rocker-ish


“So, Lipstick,” I hear you say, and you sound a lot calmer and less angry now, I am pleased to report. “How good at bass are you?” I am glad you asked. I am freaking awesome. I am so good that Geddy Lee has called and said he is going to quit being Geddy Lee now, on account of I am so good.

No. I can kind of play something that resembles I Wanna Be Sedated and I’m working on what will eventually be the Animals arrangement of Bring It On Home To Me. But mostly what happens is something that goes like this:

Me: Mr. Lamarr! Mr. Lamarr! Come listen to me play I Wanna Be Sedated!

Bass: plinky plinky plinky plinky GRATING UNINTENDED REVERB SOUND

Me: Ok, wait, let me start over.

Bass: plinky plinky plinky plinky plonky plonky plonky GRATING UNINTENTED REVERB SOUND

Me: No, wait, I’ve got it.


Me: And that was it! I’m pretty freaking awesome, right?

Mr. Lamarr: What? I’m sorry. I was watching the cricket on my phone.

*I’m aware that probably almost no one noticed and/or cared. But listen, being a little delusional is what makes me, me.

The Most Swoonworthy Man of 2015

And now….here it is…the moment you’ve all been waiting for…

2015 Compendium of Swoonworthy Men

Number One: Mr. Lamarr!

Clearly, I love my men long, lean, and covered in cats.

Clearly, I love my men long, lean, and covered in cats.

I wholeheartedly admit that I am completely incapable of putting into words my love and admiration for this man. So I am going to take the lazy blogger’s way out and make a list instead.

1. He is not afraid to engage in borderline gas station fisticuffs if he feels someone is not showing the proper courtesy to the employees.

2. He let me recite all the dialogue to Gone With the Wind that time they were playing it with the sound turned off at that bar in Chicago for almost ten minutes before he asked me to stop. And then he bought me oysters.


3. He willingly takes me to embarrassing theme restaurants where they make you wear bibs that say things like “Queen of Crabs,” even though it is an affront to his dignity.


4. He does not protest when I write hilarious blog entries about excursions to bad theme restaurants, even though his dignity is downright wounded.


5. He gamely and enthusiastically went along with me to visit Joey Ramone’s grave. Even though it meant taking a bus. From Port Authority. To New Jersey.


6. He takes all the pictures at concerts because he knows my view is going to be crap.


7. If he notices that I usually eat most of the oysters when we order a dozen, he doesn’t say anything.


8. He supports me in whatever I do. Even if it winds up costing us money.


9. He didn’t get angry that time Gary Busey hit on me.

In fact, he mostly laughed at me....

In fact, he mostly laughed at me….

10. He has beautiful hands.

Photo by Johnny Martyr

Photo by Johnny Martyr

11. He always picks up a roll of Bottlecaps or a pack of C. Howard’s Violet Mints when he sees them, because he knows I love them even if they are the grossest candies in existence.

12. He described our marriage thusly: “We’re pretty much perfect. We both like Rifftrax; you love Joey Ramone and I think he’s okay; and I love cricket and you know what that is.”

Be jealous, cretins.

2015 Compendium of Swoonworthy Men, Part Three

I’m counting down the lucky ten who made the 2015 Compendium of Swoonworthy Men, which is an incredibly prestigious and important honor that will probably go down as one of the top three things the honorees have every accomplished! Or it would, if they either weren’t dead/knew that it exists! You can check out numbers Ten through Eight here and numbers Seven through Five here.

2015 Compendium of Swoonworthy Men

Number Four: Clark Gable

And here, cretins, is how I can prove that being a weird kid inevitably pays off. Sure, crushing on a movie star who’d been dead for thirty some years in my early adolescence may have alienated me from my peers somewhat. I had little to offer in lunchroom conversations about, say which cast member of Beverly Hills, 90210 was likely to be the best kisser or which was my Corey of choice. (Fun fact: I once filled in all the male celebrity blanks on my Girl Talk board game fortune cards with “Tom Hanks,” because I literally couldn’t think of any other (living and not now extraordinarily elderly) male celebrities my (non-existent) friends attending my (never happening) slumber parties might know, and also I had just seen A League of their Own, so. Tom Hanks).

But now, while my peers moan and bury cover their faces with their hair while admitting their juvenile crushes on say, Vanilla Ice or Joey Lawrence, I can look really smug and say, “Actually, I rather fancied Clark Gable when I was a nubile young thing,” and I sound completely cool and not at all insufferable.


Clark Gable was undeniably a beautiful man, but for me I think my attraction lay mostly in what he represented. He was undisputed King of Hollywood, the poster boy for the golden days of the movies. He was also incredibly down to earth, once famously saying, “This King stuff is pure bullshit. I eat and drink and go to the bathroom just like everybody else.” He certainly was not one to take himself very seriously.

Onscreen, Gable was paired with the women who represented the thing I most wanted to be in the world as a young girl – a dame. A dame who raised one eyebrow like Vivien Leigh, who owned her body like Jean Harlow, who wisecracked like Rosalind Russell and Ava Gardner. Dames didn’t take shit from nobody. Dames were loud, and funny, and made no apologies for who they were. He married the damiest dame of all time – Carole Lombard – and was by all accounts devastated by her tragic death.

Clark Gable was a man who appreciated dames. Swoonworthy, indeed.

Number Three: Michael J. Nelson

In 1998, I wasn’t particularly sure of where I was going to college, but I knew where I wanted to be an intern: I wanted to go to Eden Prairie, Minnesota, to work on Mystery Science Theatre 3000. (It didn’t happen – the show ended before I had even picked a school. You can still get your MST3K fix, though, thanks to Rifftrax).

If you haven’t seen MST3K I….don’t know what to say to you, really, except that you should watch it. MST3K, which featured a man stuck in space making fun of terrible movies with the two robots he’d built for company, was (and still is) some of the most clever and most brilliantly written comedy I’ve ever seen. Mike Nelson was the head writer, and eventually host of the show, and there’s something about his kind eyes and easy smile combined with his incredibly sharp sense of humor that’s extremely endearing. Also, for ten glorious months in 2007, I was number four on Mike Nelson’s MySpace Top Eight. (And yes, that’s when you could arrange your own top eight). Many, many people were pretty impressed. (No one was at all impressed).

The gorgeous hands don’t hurt either.

Number Two: Joey Ramone

photo by Ian Dickson via

photo by Ian Dickson via

Oh, Joey. Joey Ramoney.

I have been more or less in love with Joey Ramone since I was about five and saw Rock and Roll High School. I realized I liked boys when I saw Joey Ramone sitting in the back of a pink Cadillac singing “I Just Wanna Have Something to Do” into a piece of chicken. It’s also entirely probable that Joey Ramone is likely responsible for the vast majority of this list being made up of slender, slightly awkward, dark-haired, long legged men with full lips and beautiful hands.

Joey had his demons. It’s well known now that he suffered from a vast array of illnesses, including extreme, crippling Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and the lymphoma that eventually killed him. He checked himself into a psychiatric hospital as a teenager, which took an incredible amount of courage in a time when psychiatric diseases were very poorly understood. The love of his life left him for Johnny Ramone, who was (let’s admit it) a bit of a dick.

There is  nothing I could say that this picture doesn't. via

There is nothing I could say that this picture doesn’t. via

That drove him to substance abuse, but he bounced back and was very close to another woman for the rest of his life, even becoming godfather to her daughter.

Joey Ramone deeply understood what it felt like to be lonely and alienated.

And he could have let all of that define who he was. I don’t think anyone would have blamed him if he did. But he didn’t. He decided to redefine what a rock star was instead.

Also: he liked cats.

Photo by Caroline Coon via

Photo by Caroline Coon via

He was basically the best.

Joey Ramone's passport photo via

Joey Ramone’s passport photo via

So….who’s in the Number One spot? Tune in tomorrow for the thrilling conclusion!

2015 Compendium of Swoonworthy Men, Part Two

I’m counting down the lucky ten who made the 2015 Compendium of Swoonworthy Men, which is an incredibly prestigious and important honor that will probably go down as one of the top three things the honorees have every accomplished! Or it would, if they either weren’t dead/knew that it exists! You can check out numbers Ten through Eight here. And you can see who came in 7th, 6th, and 5th below!

2015 Compendium of Swoonworthy Men

Number Seven: Jon Hamm



“Does he fit your awkward/not arrogant criteria?” I hear you ask, skeptically. And you’re right to be dubious! But Jon Hamm unequivocally qualifies for the 2015 Compendium. Don Draper does not. Don Draper is a fucking nightmare. But Jon Hamm? Oh yes. Jon Hamm definitely qualifies.

This is not a man who takes himself too seriously. via

This is not a man who takes himself too seriously. via

Have you seen Jon Hamm in anything other than Mad Men? Like Bridesmaids? Or his guest appearances on 30 Rock or SNL? His complete and utter willingness to be a little silly and poke fun at himself is wonderfully refreshing. You know that Jon Hamm is never going to throw a temper tantrum in a restaurant because he doesn’t think the waitress is refilling his sparkling water quickly enough. (Don Draper would totally do that. And he would complain that the sparkling water was not Scotch). And maybe its because Jon Hamm was not famous, or even particularly visible, before Mad Men. Sure, he had some small parts on television shows and in movies, but he mostly worked as a waiter. Or a softcore porn set designer. Or teaching eighth grade drama at his high school as thanks for their support. Or having this hair on Singled Out.



In addition, Jon Hamm has been with his girlfriend, the supercool Jennifer Westfield, since 1997. There are few things more attractive on a man than being in a long term relationship with an age appropriate partner.

Home Base Photo via

Home Base Photo via

And finally: check out those hands.

Number Six: Buddy Holly


According to my very scientific and not at all anecdotal research, there are Buddy Holly girls and Elvis Presley girls. Buddy Holly girls tend to be drawn to shy, slightly awkward types who let their amazing talents speak for themselves instead of loudly insisting everyone recognize their greatness through insane entourages and ridiculous demands. Elvis Presley girls… don’t.

I am here to tell you that I would have been all over Buddy Holly like white on rice.

Waylon Jennings and Buddy Holly goofing around in a photo booth. via wikicommons.

Waylon Jennings and Buddy Holly goofing around in a photo booth. via wikicommons.

The fact that he died so young, and so tragically, makes him even more endearing. You do indeed cry when you read about his widowed bride, who he proposed to on their first date.

You know what else makes me cry? The fact that that time Gary Busey, who played the title role in The Buddy Holly Story, hit on me at a horror movie convention is the closest I will ever get to Buddy Holly.

Gary Busey, or: as close to Buddy Holly as I will ever get.

Gary Busey, or: as close to Buddy Holly as I will ever get.

Number Five: Jemaine Clement

Is it Business Time? I think it’s Business Time.

Not only does Jemaine have the adorably awkward/beautiful hands thing working for him – he’s also from New Zealand. So, accent bonus points for Jemaine. Jemaine also scores very high in the self deprecating sense of humor department and the not being a total dickwad to women department. Also, he named his kid Sophocles!

Jemaine has a new film out – a vampire mockumentary entitled What We Do in The Shadows. It will be in limited release in the United States shortly, so you should check it out.

There’s also a rumor going around that there may be a Flight of the Conchords reunion. Until that happens, I will leave you with this to tide you over.

Check back for the rest of the list this week!

The 2015 Compendium of Swoonworthy Men, Part One

So, first things first…I still don’t have a winner for the Punk Rock Blitzkrieg giveaway!

 My boyfriend Joey Ramone is incredulous. via

My boyfriend Joey Ramone is incredulous. via

I’m going to extend it until February 14th. Go here and leave your favorite Ramones lyric in the comments for a chance to win!

And about February 14th….it’s Valentine’s Day.

Warner Bros: Rock and Roll High School via

Warner Bros: Rock and Roll High School via

And I have a present for you, regardless of where you stand on the relative suckitude of the holiday.

Yes, cretins….it’s time for….


Longtime readers probably remember my criteria of swoonworthiness from years past, but to quickly sum up for new friends: I tend to like my men a little awkward. They must have a sense of humor. Arrogance and taking oneself too seriously are grounds for immediate ejection from the Compendium.

So, without further adieu, let’s start counting down from Number Ten to Number One.

Number Ten: Dee Dee Ramone

Let’s get the obvious out of the way: Dee Dee Ramone is absolutely adorable. He is the human incarnation of the big eyed puppy that followed you home – there’s just something about him that makes him very, very attractive to the type of person who wants somebody to save. And that’s exactly why you must resist him.

Sometimes it seems like he lived his life to exemplify the phrase “hot mess.” He’s not so much a candle in the wind as he is a human Chernobyl in the wind. But he could also be so sweet, and so funny, and he could write such clever, witty lyrics. Questioningly? Written by Dee Dee Ramone. Pet Sematary? Also written by Dee Dee Ramone. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that maybe, just maybe, if Dee Dee had the right person in his life, he wouldn’t want to do heroin and Qualuudes and Tuinals anymore.  In extreme cases, this kind of thinking can create Ted Bundy groupies. Or Columbiners. “If only he’d met me!” the thinking goes. “Then he wouldn’t have OD’d on heroin/been a serial killer/perpetrated a school shooting.” But, trust…he still would have. Dee Dee’s first wife, Vera (who, by the way, is way more qualified for sainthood that John Paul II) would concur.

And, if you don’t believe her, don’t forget the sage words of Nancy Spungen: “Never trust a junkie.”

Number Nine: Damien Echols

Photo by Karim Sadli for V Magazine.

Photo by Karim Sadli for V Magazine.

If anyone on this list has the right to take themselves a touch too seriously, it’s Damien Echols. After spending 18 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, he, more than anyone, has definitely earned the right to be a little lacking in the sense of humor department. But not Damien Echols. He’s like a beacon of strength for any kid who grew up weird and sarcastic in a small town, which may be why people like Johnny Depp and Eddie Vedder rallied around the West Memphis Three case and really helped advocate for their (albeit incredibly imperfect) release – because they could easily imagine themselves in his shoes.

As important as films like the Paradise Lost Trilogy were in drawing attention to this incredible miscarriage of justice, it is truly the efforts of Damien’s wife, Lorri, who kept hope alive – something Damien never hesitates to point out.

Also? He has beautiful hands.

Number Eight: Conan O’Brien

Conan’s just…dreamy. A tall, dreamy, self-deprecating way-better-than-Jay-Leno television host. He has an owl in this picture! He’s ordained through the Universal Life Church, which he did to perform a gay staffer’s wedding. He is also a member of the Lipstick Lamarr Men With Beautiful Hands Club (which is not a real thing, but should be).



That concludes this installment of the 2015 Compendium of Swoonworthy Men. Keep checking back to see who else made the list!

Rock Rock Rock Rock Rock and Roll Contest!

It’s been a bit of a sad week here in Lipstick Lamarrland. Frankly, it’s been downright terrible. Mick, a True Tales of a Punk Rock Pinup star and all around top cat, was diagnosed with feline lymphoma shortly before Christmas. There wasn’t much the vet could do, so we elected to keep him as happy and comfortable as we could, for as long as we could. Mick the Cat has always been incredibly good at letting us know what he wanted (spoiler alert: It was mostly food. And belly rubs), and he let us know early this week that it was time for him to go. Mr. Lamarr, Dev the Cat, and I miss him very, very much.


But it hasn’t been all sadness and general crapness around here. On Monday, we had a great time at our local Alamo Drafthouse, which is probably the greatest place in America to see a movie. If you’ve never been to one, you are truly missing out. You select the location of your seat when you purchase tickets, and you can order food and beverage from a full service menu before and during the film. Best of all, Alamo enforces a strict no talking/no texting rule, which cuts down on the surly obnoxious teen population tenfold. Also, Alamo offers film series that you simply aren’t going to find anywhere else. Into watching cheesy gorefests from the Eighties, projected onto the big screen from the original VHS? Alamo has a series for that! Want to quote all the dialogue to your favorite film along with many other slightly drunk like minded people? Or maybe sing along to all the songs in your favorite musical? Alamo has a series for that, too!

And fried pickles. Alamo also has friend pickles.

So, why were we at Alamo? For the most wonderful reason of all: to see Rock and Roll High School.

via Wikipedia

via Wikipedia

Have you seen Rock and Roll High School? If you haven’t you absolutely should. Right now. Seriously. Go right now and watch Rock and Roll High School.

Do you remember all those girls in high school who were, like super into Grease? And how you didn’t really like Grease all that much, but they looked like they were having such a good time with it and you kind of wished you liked it, too? Well, this is the movie for you.

It’s about my first feminist hero, Riff Randell, played by PJ Soles of Halloween, Carrie, and Stripes fame. Riff and her proton splitting, nuclear physics majoring, enormous glasses-wearing best friend Kate Rambeau attend Vince Lombardi High (where “Winning isn’t everything – it’s the only thing”), which has just been taken over by the evil, fun hating Principal Togar. Pretty much all you need to know about these three is summed up here:

Riff is just FANTASTIC. Her clothes are completely off the hook. She rocks pigtails like literally no has has ever rocked pigtails or will ever rock pigtails again. And all she wants to do is find a way to meet her favorite band, the Ramones.


Incidentally, I met PJ Soles once at a horror movie convention. The stupid thing I randomly blurted at her was, “Do you still have that amazing jacket from Rock and Roll High School?” She said she did, but her daughter mostly wears it now.

“What’s so feminist about a girl who just wants to meet the Ramones?” I can hear you asking. Ah ha! You see, Riff doesn’t just want to meet the Ramones – she wants to write songs for the Ramones!

That being said, I don’t exactly think she’d kick Joey out of bed, if the opportunity – ahem – arose for real, and not just because she’d been smoking the pot. Riff is a sex positive feminist.

So – will Riff make it to the big Ramones concert? Or will she be thwarted by the evil Miss Togar and her bumbling Hall Monitors? Does manic super groupie Angel Dust stand between Riff and songwriting stardom? How does a van named Warlock figure into all of this? Will Joey Ramone ever be allowed to eat pizza? And who, exactly, is Mr. Magloob?

Seriously – just go watch Rock and Roll High School. No matter what your trials and tribulations may be, I promise that you will feel much, much happier by the end of the movie.

This particular screening of Rock and Roll High School included a great Q&A with Marky Ramone, as part of his Punk Rock Blitzkrieg: My Life as a Ramone book tour – and an autographed copy of the book! I got my own autographed copy a couple of weeks ago at the Marky Ramone’s Blitzkrieg show, and I can’t recommend it enough – it is truly a great entry in the ever expanding field of Ramones Studies. It’s an incredibly honest portrait of the Ramones that is still very endearing. And its worth reading for the chapter about Phil Spector alone (spoiler alert: Phil is somewhat less endearing….)


So, what am I going to do with all these autographed copies? Well, I thought I’d give one to you! Just follow True Tales of a Punk Rock Pinup and leave a comment with your favorite Ramones lyric for a chance to win! You have until Friday, February 6th to enter – the winner will be announced on Saturday, February 7th.


Good luck, cretins!

Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

It snowed the day we visited Joey Ramone’s grave.


It wasn’t supposed to snow – it was supposed to be sunny, a little windy, with temperatures in the upper 30s. In fact, the sky still looked blue in patches, but when I knelt down in front of Joey Ramone’s grave, in the Jewish section of the Hillside Cemetery in Lyndhurst, New Jersey, the snow began to fall.


I am not a superstitious person, or someone who looks seriously for signs or omens, but it was a little spooky. In a nice way.

I spend quite a bit of time visiting the graves of famous people. It’s a thing that happens when most of the people you admire are dead, and also because I am a bit morbid and quite enjoy cemeteries. I usually take something with me to leave at the memorial – something that signifies what that person means to me. Pencils and small bottle of gin for F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald. Three cigarettes for Patsy Cline, since my favorite song of hers is Three Cigarettes in an Ashtray. This behavior really isn’t all that strange – my totem is seldom the only one left at a grave marker, and my city recently commemorated the 200th anniversary of the Star Spangled Banner by briefly reuniting the song’s manuscript with Francis Scott Key, who is buried almost literally in my backyard.

The t-shirt was left by a fan from Brazil. Other things left by fans include kids' drawings, souvenirs from a recent CJ Ramone tour of Japan, lighters, and guitar picks. The "Joey Lives" rock has been at the grave more or less since Joey was buried.

The t-shirt was left by a fan from Brazil. Other things left by fans include kids’ drawings, souvenirs from a recent CJ Ramone tour of Japan, lighters, and guitar picks. The “Joey Lives” rock has been at the grave more or less since Joey was buried.

I didn’t have to think much about what I was going to leave on Joey Ramone’s grave. It was going to be a  copy of Alice Cooper’s Love It to Death.


Here’s a fact – if you’re a rock and roll kid, chances are very, very good that you are not the sort of person who peaked in high school. You are likely the sort of person who tried to keep your head down and get through it until you could get out and be the person you really felt like inside. You’re the sort of person who found refuge in music and spent hours in your room or in your car, listening to escape. And you probably had that one album that, above all others, gave you permission to feel ok about being who you were. For me, that album was a cassette tape of Rocket to Russia.

via Wikapedia

via Wikapedia

“But she just couldn’t stay/she had to break away” from  Sheena is a Punk Rocker repeating over and over in my head as I navigated the halls of my high school. I Wanna Be Well the day the doctor told me I had multiple sclerosis. I Can’t Give You Anything when I failed another math test. We’re a Happy Family when I was bored out of my mind and couldn’t bring myself to care about the expectations I wasn’t living up to. The sheer, delerius joy of Do You Wanna Dance? and Surfin’ Bird, songs I’d loved hearing blaring out of the oldies station on my dad’s transistor when I was a little kid. I could crawl inside that album, and not only feel like someone else understood about not fitting in, but like I didn’t have to. That is was ok not to want the same things everybody else wanted and to be the same things everybody wanted to be.

For a kid in Queens named Jeffry Ross Hyman, that album was Love it to Death. His brother, Mickey Leigh’s, book I Slept With Joey Ramone describes pre-Ramones Jeff listening to The Ballad of Dwight Fry repeatedly, and writing his first song, I Don’t Care (also on Rocket to Russia, and also in heavy rotation on days I needed to escape) based on I’m Eighteen. I’m Eighteen, coincidentally, is probably one of the first songs I knew all the words to, since my dad was a big Alice Cooper fan.

I spent a couple of weeks before our trip to New York sniffing around my local record shops for a copy of Love it to Death. I have a copy of my own, and I listen to it about once a week, and I was pretty sure Joey would be ok with me getting him his own copy and not sacrificing mine. Much of this time was spent in bargain bins, where I had two major thoughts:

1. Who the hell originally bought and listened to all of these Andy Williams albums?


2. It really serves Humble Pie right to be in the ten cent bin, after the way they bought Penny Lane for fifty dollars and a case of Heineken. (I am aware that Almost Famous isn’t real, and Humble Pie are probably very nice guys, but I have very strong feelings about that scene).

Getting to Joey’s grave from Manhattan is pretty simple. You just go to Port Authority and take the 190 bus to Lyndhurst, New Jersey. The Rutherford Avenue bus stop is literally across the street from Hillside Cemetery, which is located on Orient Way. Joey is buried in the Jewish section – New Mt. Zion, which is (appropriately) near the intersection with Second Avenue. Walk down the pathway until you see the marble entrance labeled “New York Social Club” – it’s the third one down. Joey will be on your left.

Joey has a quite nice view of Manhattan.

Joey has a quite nice view of Manhattan. And also Medieval Times.

Getting back to Manhattan from Joey’s grave should also have been pretty simple. It would have made infinite sense to go across the street to the cute little 50’s diner (which I understand has great food, and also probably would have had heat, which would have been ideal on a day of unexpected snow) and then headed back to the same place the bus had dropped us off. But no. Mr. Lamarr (or, more specifically, Mr. Lamarr’s phone, which is quickly assuming a frighteningly HAL like position in Mr. Lamarr’s life) had other ideas. HAL the Phone felt, quite strongly apparently, that we ought to cut down Meadow Rd., which would, according to Mr. Lamarr “let us see more of the (random) neighborhood (in New Jersey).”

However. Meadow Road turned out to be more like Murder Road. It wasn’t even a road anymore – probably on account of all the bodies the Mafia has likely dumped back there. So then HAL the Phone instructed us to keep walking down Polito Road, which took us on an incredibly long (and often sidewalk-less) walking tour of a makeshift 9/11 memorial, a picturesque specialty chemical plant, and the world’s most depressing Medieval Times. When we finally got to the bus stop, Hal the Phone informed us that we had walked seven miles.

So. Visiting Joey Ramone’s grave is a really nice experience. If you go, please be respectful. Also, please end your visit by going to the cute little diner across the street before heading back to the same bus stop you got dropped off at. Do not go on a seven mile walking tour of potential body dump sites and specialty chemical plants.

Well, New York City Really Has It All

Finding a place to stay in New York presents a special conundrum, as my aversion to looking like a tourist is well known. Most of the AirBnBs we looked at were either out of our price range or had a minimum stay requirement. The Chelsea Hotel has, in the past, been a great option. Not only is it reasonably priced, it has rock and roll cred (Sid and Nancy! Janis Joplin! Dee Dee Ramone!) AND is also home to a sizable population of residents you can blend in with. Unfortunately, the Chelsea is in the process of gentrifying and becoming an exorbitantly priced boutique hotel, which makes my poor little punk rock heart wither up and die a little. So what to do?

Enter The Pod.

There are two Pods – one on East 51st Street and one in Murray Hill (Showbiz!) on East 39th Street. We were at the one on 39th – called Pod 39. (Do you get it? Do you?) It’s a little like staying in one those “Look! This is how you can live in 125 feet of space!” mockup apartments at Ikea – the rooms are very small, but the space is used very intelligently, so you have everything you need without a lot of wasted space. It’s perfect if you’re not spending a ton of time in your room. Pod 39 also features the added benefits of a rooftop bar (closed during the winter, but the view was still nice) and Salvation Taco in the lobby. This last was especially important, because I am famous (by which I mean someone “liked” it on Twitter once) for saying that the only reason I work out is because of tacos.

It's dark because the place is lit by prayer candles. It is not because I am a bad and slightly drunk photographer.

It’s dark because the place is lit by prayer candles. It is not because I am a bad and slightly drunk photographer.

Our room was on the 17th floor, at the very top of the building, and accessed by a black and white striped elevator, which I immediately used to pretend that I was on the cover of Blondie’s Parallel Lines album.


Our room faced the rear of the building, so our window overlooked the back of the buildings on E. 40th Street.


We had a tiny bathroom, separated from the rest of the space by a sliding glass door with a frosted area in the middle for modesty reasons. All the same, it’s probably best to either be fairly close to your traveling companions, or to make an agreement to head out to the rooftop terrace for a few minutes if one of you needs to avail yourselves of the facilities.


We also had a safe, which I can only assume was cunningly disguised as a microwave to fool burglars of the more clueless variety. One can only wonder how many times the concierge has been sheepishly called to retrieve a Hot Pocket a traveler has inadvertently locked inside.


To sum up, here is a brief room tour I made when I was high on Marky Ramone and slightly drunk on something called a Fly By Night, which is why it is shot vertically, which Mr. Lamarr tells me carries a penalty of death by a firing squad of obnoxious teenage YouTube commenters.

It poured down rain on Sunday, and if I was any other place in the world, I would have suggested holing up someplace with a fireplace to read Punk Rock Blitzkrieg: My Life as a Ramone. But not this day. Today, we were heading to my favorite place in the city – the Lower East Side.  I’ve always had great affinity for the Lower East Side. It started when I was about 9 and learned all about the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire and then spent an entire summer poring over the employee list and plotting out where they had lived (you know, before they died horrifically in a fire) on a map, which is an entirely normal, wholesome, and not at all morbid thing for a nine year old girl to do. And, as our visit to the amazing Tenement Museum on Orchard Street would affirm, is actually a quite valuable skill. The LES was, also of course, famously the center of the punk rock universe in the 1970s, so it wasn’t exactly surprising that this was where I wanted to spend my day.


One of our stops included the Strand Bookstore, which is undeniably a world class institution. If it’s legendary reputation as one of the world’s best bookstores doesn’t convince you, this should:



No trip to the Lower East Side would be complete without a visit to Trash and Vaudeville. This legendary rock and roll outfitters was the first place to carry Doc Martens in the United States, and, over the years, has clothed (and still does!) people like the Ramones, Blondie, Iggy Pop, Joan Jett, and tons more.  If you visit Trash and Vaudeville, you will more than likely run into Jimmy Webb, the buyer and manager. Jimmy looks like a walking dictionary definition of the word “sinewy,” and, if you see him from a distance, it is not uncommon to mistake him for Iggy Pop – Mr. Lamarr did exactly this when we saw him the night before at Marky Ramone’s Blitzkrieg. He is also possibly the warmest, most enthusiastic person I have ever met. I think anyone who has met him would agree – in fact, Cracked  has him at number 2 on their list of Four People Who Deserve to Represent NYC More Than Taylor Swift.


I also felt it necessary to stop in at 315 Bowery to pay my respects to the former CBGBs. It’s now the home of John Varvatos – a high end clothing store where, in addition to buying new designer garments and insanely overpriced records, you can also purchase beat up studded vintage leather jackets for $2,500. To their credit, they’ve left some of the walls and the memorabilia intact (no sign of the legendarily disgusting bathrooms, though), but its hard not to feel an overwhelming sadness that such an amazing part of music history is, for all intents and purposes, gone.


The most stolen street sign in New York City, the one that says “Joey Ramone Place,” sits at the corner of Bowery and E. Second St., about half a block from John Varvatos. The weather was way too crap to get a decent picture, but rest assured it’s there.

For a happier rock and roll experience, we headed over to Manitoba’s, the friendly neighborhood dive owned by Dictators frontman “Handsome Dick” Manitoba. Joey Ramone made his last public appearance here, shortly before his death. The drinks are cheap and strong, the walls are covered with photos by some of rock music’s best photographers, and the jukebox is a thing of glory. Unfortunately, the jukebox was out of order, but I did wind up engaging in some truly terrible hula hooping with the bartender. We both agreed to work on our skills and meet up again in a year or so for a rematch. If you want that to happen (and I know you do, because there will probably be video), you should head over to Save Manitoba’s and make a small contribution to their Indiegogo.


Hanging out a Manitoba’s with Joey and his jar of mayonnaise.

We finished out the night at the movies, where we saw Whiplash, which is a good movie with some truly great performances about very sweaty jazz drummers who bleed a lot. We recommend.

Then we headed across the street to Tuck Shop for some savory pies, which were exactly the thing for a cold, rainy day. We also learned how to stay alive in New York City. Steps are as follows:

1. Go to Tuck Shop shortly before closing.

2. Be entertaining by becoming overjoyed that the Shonen Knife cover of Sheena is a Punk Rocker is on the joint’s playlist. Also, explain your theory that the definitive sign that a great night out is over is when you see a crying girl on a cell phone sitting on the curb wearing only one shoe.

3. Have an enormous sack of all the leftover savory pies and sausage rolls handed to you for free.

Mr. Lamarr had never really hung out on the LES before. “Is it your favorite neighborhood yet?” I would ask him, after everything we did, every cool person we met. And, on our way home to take gloriously hot showers under the waterfall showerhead at the Pod, he finally answered, “Yes.” Because how could it not be?

Rock and Roll Is The Answer


I met Marky Ramone on Saturday, and I managed not to ask him about falafel.

 My boyfriend Joey Ramone is incredulous. via

My boyfriend Joey Ramone is incredulous. via

I am notoriously bad at meeting people I admire. I attribute this mainly to the fact that I’m rather academic when it comes to subjects I like and am quite interested in. I tend to read a lot of books and watch a lot of documentaries and interviews about my favorite topics. I often tell the docents who volunteer at my museum that the key to giving a really engaging museum tour is to become an expert at their favorite aspect of our collection’s focus, and I apply this advice to my own interests tenfold. However, a side effect is that it makes meeting the people at the center of my favorite subjects – such as, say, the Ramones – a bit awkward. It’s as if I know too much about a person I am ostensibly just meeting. Often, my first impulse is to blurt out some completely random thought that has just popped into my head. On the rare occasion when I happen to see a person I admire – famous or otherwise. I’m usually loathe to go up and say “hi” – I don’t want to bother them when they’re “off duty,” or I worry that I’m mistaken and that woman over there who I think is Debbie Harry is actually a harried accountant who just wants to get her freaking five dollar footlong and get back to the office before that stupid marketing girl takes her parking space again. Both factors were at play during the Joey Ramone/Howard Stern/falafel incident, after which I vowed to not be such a weenie anymore. This is how I wound up telling John Waters in excruciating detail, about my college film professor (who was something of a Waters protege) and his creepy snakeskin cowboy boots in a movie theatre lobby once, and then John Waters’ mom patted my wrist and said, “It’s so nice to know that people still think of Johnny.” And then John Waters said it was really nice to meet me, and thanked me for thanking him for being one of my favorite film directors, and I wanted to disappear into a vat of movie theatre popcorn butter.

After that, I mainly hoped that I looked interesting enough that people I admired would want to talk to me, and I wouldn’t have to approach them. This method has worked exactly once. At a horror movie convention. On Gary Busey. Which wasn’t really what I was going for.

Gary Busey, or: as close to Buddy Holly as I will ever get.

Gary Busey, or: as close to Buddy Holly as I will ever get.

I would be meeting Marky Ramone in a formal meet and greet before the Blitzkrieg performance at the Gramercy Theatre in New York on Saturday night, which relieved one of my anxieties. The show was part of a launch party for his new memoir, Punk Rock Blitzkrieg: My Life as a Ramoneand I would be getting a personally autographed copy as part of the meet and greet.  While I was waiting in line for my two minute audience, I couldn’t help overhearing a lot of the conversations Marky had with other fans. Mostly a lot of “What’s your name?” and “I’m a huge fan,” etc. Cool. I could do that. I could manage that without going off the rails.


And then it was my turn. I walked over completely prepared to have a normal conversation. Marky cracked open my new book and asked my name so he could autograph it. I told him, and then blurted, “So, was that your Dodge Challenger on Instagram? Or was it just a promotional thing?”

He looked up at me. “It’s mine.”

I said, “Do you love it? I’m in the process of getting one.”

And we were off. We talked about how awesome the movie Vanishing Point is, and he told me he was on the list for a Hellcat. He asked me what kind I was getting. I told him just a plain V6, which would still be the most powerful car I’d ever owned. His manager started making the “wind it up” motion at him, since there was still a line of people out the door, so I obediently started heading out the door. “Get the Redline 3.6!” he yelled after me. “You’re gonna love it!”

So. For once in my life, blurting out the first thing that came to mind paid off.


Another perk of going to the meet and greet? Getting onto the floor before everybody else. I got probably the best spot I have ever had at any concert I have ever been to: on the barrier, right beside the super special VIP seating area.1898112_10153047318167433_816988932551240645_n

I was basically Riff Randell.

 I was a little apprehensive going into the show. It was the same way I’d initially felt when we went to see Queen with Adam Lambert last summer – after all, Joey, Dee Dee, and Johnny were not going to be there. Was the show going to feel like I was watching a well loved movie on an old TV – basically the same, but a little fuzzy, a little out of focus and ghostly?

Andrew WK was on vocals. We’d caught his set at Riot Fest in September, and had a blast – his show was so high energy and joyous. He seemed like he’d be a good fit, and he was. Marky Ramone’s Blitzkrieg was electrifying. Andrew WK didn’t try to be Joey Ramone – in some ways, in fact, he was a polar opposite, dressed in his traditional white T-shirt and jeans and eschewing a mic stand completely (also, before the show I saw a ton of pizzas being carried back stage, so one can only assume that the “No pizza for you, Joey!” rule was not in effect). But he got it. He got the humor, and the energy, and the pure joy of being at a Ramones show.


The bassist had the Dee Dee thing down, and the guy on guitar was intense, and completely shredding, but he was obviously having a blast. He did not have that signature Johnny Ramone look on his face that said, “I would seriously like to murder each and every one of you motherfuckers with my bare hands, but I’ve got to play this guitar, so I’m not gonna.” You all know that look.

You know. This look. Photo by Chip Dayton via

You know. This look. Photo by Chip Dayton via


Being that close, and being able to see Marky Ramone at work, was an amazing experience. It was like taking the back off of a fine Swiss timepiece and seeing all the inner workings ticking away seamlessly. He was so tight and so precise that I wondered how a human being could be that fast and that powerful. The work on the chorus of Chinese Rocks alone was revelatory.


The sold out crowd was a joyous, throbbing, mob scene. And after three encores, I collapsed, sweaty, exhausted, and probably partially deaf. And it was totally worth it.  I never got to see the Ramones perform live. Marky Ramone’s Blitzkrieg is as close as I’m going to get, and it blew completely past my expectations like Kowalski past the Highway Patrol. Thanks to Marky, the Ramones live.

(PS: I did a lot of other really cool stuff in New York. Keep checking back here for more!)