INTERVIEW : JESSICA LAWRENCE
This commendable lady just biked across the nation from Portland, Oregon to the Atlantic Ocean this summer, with a brief stopover at Ace Hotel New York before she crossed the finish line. In a self-initiated tour de wellness supporting an active, grounded and playful lifestyle, Jessica has taught us so much. When she’s not riding the steel pony like a boss, she runs Cairn Guidance, consulting with public schools about health and wellness. Soon, Jessica will be celebrated by our friends at the Clinton Health Initiative and the Alliance for a Healthier Generation at the Healthy Schools Forum in Little Rock, in honor of the funds her adventure raised to fight childhood obesity.
We were really inspired by her journey and wanted to snag some photos of her in the photobooth and ask her a few questions, to which she obliged.
What was the moment at which this idea came to life and started germinating for you?
I was 15 years old and had just returned from a bicycle tour trip with other teens in Europe. I told my parents I would someday ride across the US. 23 years later, I fulfilled my dream.
When you first set rubber to road after your send-off breakfast, how massively free (and terrified) did you feel?
Three friends joined me for a few miles on their bikes from the Tin Shed Restaurant to the Springwater Corridor Trail. I remember my body was buzzing. Buzzing with excitement, independence and freedom. It was a gorgeous day. Once my friends left me, I remember looking ahead on the beautiful trail and thinking, “I’m doing this. I’m bicycling all the way across this country.” I felt more proud of myself in that moment than I ever have in my life.
Was there ever a moment where you wanted to give up? Who egged you on?
Of course there were challenging moments and days. My first challenge brought me snow in Montana (blog post entitled First Tears). My second challenge was in Kansas with thorns (6 flat tires in 2 days), 105 degree weather 4 days in a row and brutal head and side-winds. My third challenge was fatigue starting in the Appalachian Range for the last few weeks. These challenging days taught me to ask for help and reach out for support when I needed it. I might have been the one pedaling and carrying 80lbs of my own gear, but I never felt alone. Hundreds of people supported me, texted me, emailed me, posted about me, loved me, prayed for me, donated to my cause, fed me, hosted me, cheered me on and celebrated with me. A few people were there for me on a daily basis. My parents, Elin and Rick Lawrence, my personal trainer Aaron Sompson, at Kinetic Integration Manuel Therapy and Performance, Jamie Sparks, a colleague and close friend in Kentucky and Jamie Waltz, Alison Hansen and Ginny Ehrlich, all close friends. There was one day in particular I reached out to Aaron and cried. I was fatigued and didn’t know if I’d make it through the day. I rarely felt lonely as a result of all the people mentioned above.
Any revelations from the road?
Many. I would say my top three revelations include: 1. I’m so proud to be an American. I never want to take for granted how safe I felt as a female bicycling across this country (in spandex!) alone. We are fortunate that we live in such an amazing country with access to potable water and well-paved roads. Meeting Americans was the best part of the trip. People were unbelievably generous, inquisitive and supportive. 2. Laugh a lot. I loved the uncertainty of what my day would look like and where I would stay each night. It could be scary, stressful but also incredibly freeing. And, with that much alone time, you heal, process, reflect and laugh at yourself. Laughter played an important role on my trip. 3. My last revelation is the belief I can do anything I want. Doing something like this, as a solo female was the most empowering experience I’ve ever had. I’m incredibly proud of myself. Road to Rhode was a dream come true.
WARM UP INTERVIEW : KIM ANN FOXMAN
Kim Ann Foxman performed last weekend at MoMA PS1 Warm Up 2013 in Queens, NY. Enter now to win a pair of passes to this Saturday’s Warm Up shows. Make sure to be quick, they’re a hot commodity round these parts.
What’s the song, producer or moment that propelled you from being a fan of house to a maker of house? What drew you to that culture before you became one of its producers?
Growing up on stuff like technotronic and freestyle tuned my ear to love electronic sounds. I always gravitated towards that. Later came the rave scene, which was really exciting for me: it was so underground, so wild and so much fun. Moving from Hawaii to San Francisco, I really dived into that scene and I got really into DJs and started collecting vinyl and mixed tapes. I always loved to dance so much. One day in San Francisco, at a party, I took a break from dancing my ass off and I somehow got into a conversation with this guy. He mentioned that he made dance music, I thought that was really cool. He invited me over to see how we could collaborate if I was interested. So I went over to his studio a few days later. Eventually we started working together, I got my first sampler and drum machine. After that, I was hooked: we ended up as a two man electronic band. We had ten shows in San Francisco… and then I moved to New York.
American house music has its roots in New York, from the Paradise Garage, and in Chicago. Now that house is moving to the foreground of dance music in the United States in a sort of unprecedented way, people tend to associate the genre more with New York. What do you think of the current, possibly less appreciated, house scene in Chicago, and do you draw any inspiration from that culture in the past or present?
That is true but I think that although there is now much less of a “scene” in Chicago for house music, people everywhere else are still inspired by the sound and acknowledge it, and there is a lot of respect. It may be a really small scene but the tiny part that is left of it is proper. And you can see that the roots are deep down in there although current trends may have shifted very much. I get a lot of inspiration from classic Chicago tracks and I play a lot of that sound in my Dj sets as well.
If you weren’t making music, what would you do for a living instead — in an alternate reality?
Something creative and fun. I am pretty open to creative possibilities: design, or have a brand of some sort. Maybe have a quirky venue, even. I also always thought it would be dreamy to do something adventurous, like documenting exotic places, new species and discoveries for something like National Geographic. At least I think that would be really exciting anyway.
Dear faithful readers — if you know us and love us at all then you know who Linda Gerard is. And you know that we love her beyond reason. And you know that she is currently facing off with the asshole named cancer — and we’re hoping everyone can chip in to help her out. Coin, vibes and kind words all matter.
Above, you’ll see Linda’s brief chat with Andrew Andrew during Desert Gold 2010 — the fifth edition is fast approaching this month. And below is part three of Linda’s interview with DJ Day — you can grab Linda’s Sissy Bingo t-shirt and her latest record, a compilation of greatest hits, Fabulous Selections, on our shop — all proceeds go to Linda’s Kick Cancer’s Ass Fund.
Next up in our interview series: Ira Glass!
Can we talk about Funny Girl?
Well what happened with Funny Girl — I was with William Morris, and the pianist for Funny Girl was a guy named Peter Daniels. Peter Daniels was my accompanist. He was also Barbra Streisand’s accompanist and Lainie Kazan’s. He worked for all three of us and when Funny Girl opened, I went to opening night with my husband at the time, and I remember nudging him and saying, “It’s going to be me up there someday.” I knew that role was written for me.
Our friend, fashion idol and philosophical guru Linda Gerard serenades devoted fans every Monday night at Sissy Bingo at Ace Palm Springs — a storied songstress of Broadway and Follies fame, she also peppers random lunches and dinners at King’s Highway with show-stopping belters, raising her bejeweled hands to the sky as she slays the final notes of Zing! Went the Strings of my Heart to thundering applause, having, each time, gained a couple dozen new groupies.
Recently, we were shaken by the news that Linda is in the process of kicking cancer’s ass. She was diagnosed earlier this year and is currently in the process of treatment and recovery. We love her dearly and would bend over backward to help and support her. This Monday, join us and her massive posse of friends, family and fans in the Commune for a festival of positivity, love and posse-rallying, with DJ Day, Alf Alpha, Giselle Woo, JP Houston and others. Donations at the door enter you to a raffle with damn good prizes, and proceeds from drinks go toward Linda and all rooms booked for that night at Ace with code FABULOUS are not only 25% off but go toward Linda’s support fund as well. See more about the event on our calendar.
Find here part two of three chapters of DJ Day’s interview with Linda about life, love and Lawrence Welk. DJ Day’s ridiculously great new record Land of 1000 Chances is up on our shop, as is Linda’s Fabulous Selections — which we released recently — and, you guessed it, proceeds from her record and our Sissy Bingo shirt go toward Linda as well.
Read on, show the love and stay tuned for chapter three, forthcoming soon.
Talk about the Rose Tattoo time…
What happened was, when my girlfriend broke up with me in ‘87, I needed a new beginning. I bought the Rose Tattoo in ‘88.
This was in West Hollywood and obviously huge at the time. I mean, Barry Manilow?
They all came. They all came to the Rose Tattoo and it was very, very exciting.