Category Archives: Green Day MInd's Life

Vote for Me to Win A Trip to Lollapalooza! (And some other stuff, too)

Lollapalooza Vote Now for Fan Photo! Help Us Go to Lollapalooza!

I have exactly three photographs of me with celebrities besides those few friends of mine that I know from undergraduate theater school who are still making great theater and a living from it. Those three are: Regis Philbin (I used to work as a researcher for Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?), Billie Joe Armstrong and Mike Dirnt. One day I hope to have a picture with Tre Cool, but we’ll see if that ever happens.

I don’t really like asking “celebrities” for their photos. I can’t really pinpoint why I don’t like it, but it might be because I do know people in the “business,” and know how sometimes it’s just creepy to want people to talk to and take pictures of you all the time. I always feel like pictures should be taken of friends, families and things, not people I don’t know. I’m just strange, what can I say? That doesn’t mean I don’t begrudge others who ask for pictures, I don’t, but I would really just want to hang out, so unless folks are around what I consider friends, I don’t really take a lot of pictures of people that I don’t know that’s not in a performance setting.

Anyway, with that long, tortured intro, one of the three people that I do have a picture with, superstar Mike Dirnt of Green Day (and superstar-in-training, Jim Graz of Honah Lee!), I entered into a contest to try and win tickets, roundtrip air fare and hotel to Lollapalooza, which is coming up in hotter-than-hell-in-the-summertime, Chicago, August 6-8 or something. I should probably go and look that up… hmmm.

Vote for the picture, if you’d like! I kinda love it, it’s crazy funny to me, and that’s the way I like my celebrity photographs. If I win, I’m taking Jim and his girlfriend… yawzah… HOT. Here’s the link to my photo and entry. You can click on the photo below, too!

Mike, Jim of Honah Lee and Me. Click to Vote to Help Us See Mike and Company at Lollapalooza!

The vivacious Toniann is also in the contest, so take a look at hers, too! She has a lot more PR personality than me, but you can vote for more than one person per 24-hour time period. The contest ends on July 25th. Please vote! I’d love to go to Lollapalooza, but, who wouldn’t want to go when Green Day is playing at the festival? I’ve never been to one of them, and Soundgarden (yea, I know, I know, I love them, get over it) is also headlining one of the nights. Here’s to me!

You do have to fill out a short registration form to enter, but I do hope you’ll vote!

I tried to find my photo of me and Regis, but it’s no where to be found. It was taken prior to the digital era and is actually just on paper. Actually, it’s only from 2001, but that seems like ages in Internet years. Anyway, here’s my only other pure celebrity photo, with Billie Joe. I could only submit one photo to the contest, so I had to make a choice. I love both of the photos, but the one with Mike and Jim just makes me laugh a good bellylaugh, so I had to go with it. It’s from the Foxboro Hot Tubs show at Don Hill’s, one of the best nights of my life. The photo below of Billie Joe Armstrong and me is from what I call, “Fake New Years,” back in November when Green Day taped their New Years Eve show for Carson Daly in Los Angeles.

Me and some dude

Green Day Show in Venice Canceled

I was going to write about the canceled Venice show with the wind and hail and evil Venice weather, but it kinda made me so sad to think that the European tour ended by storm, that I didn’t want to think too much about it, so I didn’t write it, but I do have an awesome title for it, “Green Day in Europe Goes Out With a Storm – Venice Canceled Due to Various Acts of God (y’know, Thunder, Lightning, Hail),” haha… I felt really bad for the fans in Venice who didn’t get to see the boys, and I’m sad that the boys didn’t get to go out of Europe with a bang that ended in fireworks instead of lightning. The GDA covered it here [LINK] and here [LINK]

American Idiot on Broadway Cast on Good Morning, America[n Idiot]

This coming Friday, the cast of American Idiot on Broadway will be headlining a Good Morning, America broadcast at Summerstage in Central Park. It’s hella early, but I’m going to go. Here’s info from

You are invited to join the Broadway cast of Green Day’s American Idiot for a free, live concert on Good Morning America in New York’s Central Park! The intimate performance will be at Central Park’s Summerstage this Friday, July 16th. Enter on 72nd and 5th Ave at 6:00AM. The show will take place from 7am-9am EST.

Billie Joe Armstrong and Michael Mayer Talk With Jordan Roth

Billie Joe Armstrong and Michael Mayer will be interviewed by Jordan Roth, head of the Jujamcyn Theaters, of which the St. James, where American Idiot is playing, is one. Roth hosts a series of theater talks at the 92 Street Y.

Here’s the info and a link where you can get tickets:
Date & Time: Sun, Sep 19, 2010, 7:30pm
Location: Lexington Avenue at 92nd Street
Venue: Kaufmann Concert Hall Seating Chart
Price: $29.00 All Sections

Prima Donna in New York and Hoboken, July 25-26!

Star Fucking Hipsters and Prima Donna at Maxwell's, July 26, 2010. CM Productions

I need to take a few more days off from the blog, I have some work that I have to get finished, but one last thing! Prima Donna will be coming to NYC later in the month to rock our socks off at the Bowery Electric in Manhattan and Maxwell’s in Hoboken on July 25th and July 26th. I’ll post more about the dates as they get nearer. Hope to see you there! The Maxwell’s show is with Star Fucking Hipsters, that’s gonna be a rocking crazy night!

I’ll be back in a couple of days! Please don’t forget to vote!

East Jesus Nowhere – Ticket to Hell Has Never Been So Fun!

NOTE: I drafted this a while ago but never published it.

Blasphemy - A Ticket to Hell Has Never Been Funnier

Blasphemy - A Ticket to Hell Has Never Been Funnier

I will mince no words: I like to curse and I have little respect for organized religion. In this video from Green Day’s show in Sacramento earlier this year, Green Day managed to provide me with cursing and remind me just how little respect I have for organized religion. Once again, Green Day has the courage to call hypocrisy when they see it.

Billie Throwing a Guy Out and East Jesus Nowhere – “Fuck me? Nononononono, fuck YOU mother fucker.” – Green Day, Sacramento, August 24, 2009

With that said, I want to take a moment to put the title of the posting into context… and then hopefully say something. We’ll see if any of the above happens.

During the American tour (which can provide a basic roadmap for those of you looking forward to the European, Australian, New Zealand and Asian tours), “East Jesus Nowhere,” was usually the fourth song of the show, preceded by “Song of the Century,” “21st Century Breakdown,” and “Know Your Enemy.” Billie may say some crazy stuff about pot-smoking and fornicating at the beginning, (haha, one only hopes he does!), and then the band launches into the song. At the record’s bridge, Billie asks the audience to provide a child, any child about 10 years or so of age, which parents in the house readily do. Billie then ‘saves’ this sweet and innocent youngster. I’m never sure what he’s saving the kid from, but I know that I would have much rather been saved by a Billie Joe than by a preacher.

Here comes the requisite disclaimer in this day and age: I do not dislike religion itself. My philosophy is worship anything you want but do not force me to worship the same way that you do. Don’t try to save me and I won’t try to save you, unless I see you about to get hit by a car on the street. Don’t preach purity when your bathroom is filthy. Or something like that.*

East Jesus Nowhere” is a powerful and problematic song. It’s destined to be on the radio. It’s also destined to cause some religious circles to go ballistic if it makes it there.

There’s been some buzz about whether the lyrics will be changed when it gets more airplay. I really hope the band doesn’t change a bit of it. We’ll see what the future brings. In fact, I heard it on the radio when driving in my rental car a while back and some words had been obliterated. Needless to say, I screamed a little bit.

East Jesus Nowhere lyrics

Raise your hands now to testify
Your confession will be crucified
You’re a sacrificial suicide
Like a dog that’s been sodomized
Stand up! – All the white boys
Sit down! – All the black girls
You’re the soldiers of the new world

Put your faith in a miracle
And it’s non-denominational
Join the choir we will be singing
In the church of wishful thinking

A fire burns today
Of blasphemy and genocide
The sirens of decay
Will infiltrate the faith fanatics

Oh bless me lord for I have sinned
It’s been a lifetime since I last confessed
I threw my crutches in “The river
Of a shadow of doubt”
And I’ll be dressed in my Sunday best

Say a prayer for the family
Drop a coin for humanity
Ain’t this uniform so flattering?
I never asked you a God damned thing

A fire burns today
Of blasphemy and genocide
The sirens of decay
Will infiltrate the faith fanatics

Don’t test me
Second guess me
Protest me
You will disappear

I want to know who’s allowed to breed
All the dogs who never learned to read
Missionary politicians
And the cops of a new religion

A fire burns today
Of blasphemy and genocide
The sirens of decay
Will infiltrate the inside

-also, these are my opinions alone and do not reflect anything that anyone else might think or say. There, I think that covers it.

Happy New Year Comes Early and California Dreaming

Happy November New Year from Punks in Hats

November New Year’s Big Adventure

New Year’s is one of those holidays that I dread. I never know what I’m going to do and I rarely venture into the heart of the beast, Times Square, to celebrate a new year at all. I’ve done it a couple of times, once when I worked as a cater-waiter for a Millennium Party in 2000 and once when friends stayed at the Bryant Park Hotel and we walked over to view the festivities from a comfortable distance on a side street. I didn’t see the ball drop live in either case, and it was fine by me.

This year, when it was announced that Green Day was going to be the special guest of “New Year’s with Carson Daly ‘live from’ Times Square,” I immediately made mental plans to be there to watch the ball drop and hope to hear the song “21st Century Breakdown” ring in not only a new year, but a new decade as well.

And then the other ball dropped: Green Day was not actually playing live from the Square, but live from Los Angeles. Oh well, shit happens, back to Square One of doing nothing for the night.

At the same time, a live concert was announced from Los Angeles that took place this past Monday, November 23, live from Nokia Plaza in downtown LA. A small outdoor concert, presumably with footage from this show, was being used for the New Year’s special. I really wanted to head to California to attend, but I’ve been so blessed (’cause I’m not cursed) in traveling this year that it seemed impossible for me to do it.

A friend demanded that I come out some how, but I couldn’t see my way clear to do it. I knew the night would be special if I could make it, but alas, it just wasn’t working out that way.

Pee Wee Herman’s Big Adventure

But then I remembered one of my credos from this year: the Lushie Gods are good. I sent out mental waves of Lushdom and the Wednesday before the show, I decided to head to LA, which depended on a number of factors: flight, car, places to crash. I set the wheels in motion for all of the above and then went off to see a remastered version of “Pee Wee Herman’s Big Adventure,” introduced by Tim Burton, at the current retrospective of Burton’s films and artwork at MoMA. (Thanks, David and Melody!!)

I’ve never been a huge fan of “Pee Wee Herman’s Big Adventure,” but I remember it fondly as a film that brings a lot of happiness and joy into lives as well as a positive philosophy of keeping your inner child close to you. Pee Wee may have been super jealous of his bike, but he learned along the way that if you are yourself and seek to open your heart for something you care about, you’ll find your bike again and will meet some crazy and fantastic people as well as Large Marge, along the way.

When I walked out of the film with my friends, I was in a happy mood. I called my friend who could get me a special rate (practically free) on an airline to California and confirmed to meet him the next day for it. I called other friends to double check that I could stay with them, and by Saturday, I was on a flight to Los Angeles.

Riverside, California, 1977

As a Midwesterner and Eastcoaster, I’ve always made fun of California, especially since I suffered greatly in that State back when I was a kid. Riverside, 1977, when Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours and the song, “Go Your Own Way,” was the rage hit of the day, my mother and I traveled to the Golden State to visit my nephew, my ex-brother-in-law, and his new wife. We had driven from Phoenix through the desert and landed at my brother-in-law’s pretty ranch house with the swimming pool and the dog kennel in the backyard. He had been a dog trainer during the Vietnam War and continued this line of work when he got out. There were two beautiful Doberman Pinschers, a miniature blue Pinscher, and in the kennel itself, a pair of Alaskan Huskies with their brand-new litter of green and blue-eyed fluffy Husky puppies. I was a kid in California heaven, escaping the misery of my hometown, Detroit, and would not have despised California until I returned in 2003 if it were not for an incident that clouded my brain about Cali for a good many years to come.

We had gone to Disneyland for the day and it was pretty much a mindfuck of my mother not letting me ride on anything that “looked” dangerous, so we didn’t go on very many rides. A fire had also broken out in the Haunted House, so I didn’t get to go in there as well. It was a disappointing day at the park, and as we headed back to my relatives’ place, all I could think of was playing with the Husky puppies to ease my crappy Disney Big Adventure.

When we finally got back to the house, I ran to the kennel and got a most horrible shock: one of the puppies was dead with a massive hole in its head and a rock laying beside his motionless body. Needless to say, this 13-year-old girl freaked the hell out.

My ex-brother-in-law and his backyard neighbors apparently didn’t like each other. My brother-in-law was Black and his wife was White and while there may have been other issues going on between the neighbors as well (my ex-brother-in-law was a Vietnam vet, after all), it seemed to me that in 1970’s California, mixed-race marriage was an issue that caused asshole children to throw rocks at puppies in an attempt to kill them. Because, y’know, it’s all the puppy’s’ fault and shit. My California dreams were completely dashed by the entire day’s incidents and I had nightmares of dead puppies and being trapped in haunted houses for years afterward. To this day when anyone mentions Riverside, I recoil with disgust and horror.

Los Angeles, 2003

Flash forward to my next encounter with California, in 2003. I had gotten a project archivist job with the Newport Jazz Festival and I headed out to Los Angeles in order to survey hundreds of Festival videotapes that were stuck in a warehouse in the City of Industry and arranged to ship them to New York. I was also attending the Society of American Archivists conference in Century City and visiting some college actor friends who had moved out there years before. My visit was picture perfect and wonderful and I even managed to miss the gigantic blackout that happened that year on the East Coast. My visit occurred at the same time as the two-country and multi-state Black Out of 2003, which knocked out power to the entire Great Lakes and Northeast regions on both sides of the border. I watched it all from the comfort of my hotel room and then got in my car to visit friends. It was a most excellent trip.

Berkeley and Crockett, 2009

My next visits to California, to Berkeley and Los Angeles this year, were equally as enjoyable as 2003, but luckily no blackouts this time, either from power failures or alcohol. I came out to Berkeley to see Green Day’s American Idiot musical and visit some long-lost friends who had moved to the Bay area years ago. While I had mixed feelings about the show itself, I did quite enjoy American Idiot and loved seeing old friends and making a few new ones that I hope will be around for years to come. I even got to unexpectedly go to Toot’s in Crockett, CA, to try and catch the 12-piece band, the Mystic Knights of the Cobra, but we missed the show and ended up hanging out until the small hours of the night instead.

Mystic Knights of the Cobra on Creepy KOFY Movietime

(The El Camino riff in the above video was chanted by the FBHT in London earlier this year. Go COBRAS!)

Los Angeles, 2009

My recent visit to celebrate New Year’s in November was equally enjoyable. I flew in on Saturday, arrived at 6:30 PM, stayed on my friend’s couch for two days, visited another friend who I hadn’t seen since 2005, and just had an amazing time with people that I love.

Fun in California, In Johnny Goldstein's Convertible, Los Angeles, November 22, 2009

Rachel True and Tanya doing like the old days and hanging on the couch

After two days, I headed to downtown L.A. where I met up with East Bay friends. We hung at our hotel for a while and then marched to Nokia Plaza to see Green Day perform an hour-long show that consisted of so many old and wonderful songs of theirs that I thought my head would explode. I unfortunately didn’t end up being close to the stage at all, but I was hanging with some pretty cool people, including a friend who, like me, was one of the few people around us that actually knew the words to these wonderful and vibrant tunes from the 1990s that the Boys were drumming up on stage.

It was heaven.

There were three highlights of the show for me, not in any particular order. First, the people I hung out with all day are some of the funniest, liveliest, and craziest people I have ever met, and I’ve hung with many fun, live, and crazy people in my life. Thank you for a wonderful time! The second highlight is that I FINALLY GOT TO HEAR TRE SING “DOMINATED LOVE SLAVE” LIVE, as he and Billie switched up guitar and mic for drums, and I literally had a grin on my face that could not be wiped off for anything in the world. The third highlight of the night is that I actually got to meet Billie and Tre and had a short conversation with Billie and an even shorter one with Tre. I stuck out my hand to both of them with a simple, “Hi, I’m Tanya,” and they both responded with handshakes back, “Hi, I’m Billie,” and “Hi, my name is Tre.”

Me and some dude

Needless to say, even if my phone got shut off for a bit due to this trip, it was a mighty fine time, and a Happy New Year’s in November with California Dreams was had by all.

Thank you, California.

I know that visiting California and living there are actually two different things, but seriously, I’ve come to the conclusion that I would rather live with beautiful mountain ranges, fruit falling from trees, bushes that smell pretty and sunshine then the cold hard reality of New York. Mind you, I love New York and I have lived here for a number of years, but I’m tired of the climate, the scene, the lack of creativity that has engulfed my life here since 1985. I’m ready for a new big adventure in a broke State, sailing out my years on a porch, looking at burning mountains with the ever-present notion of shifting earth under my feet rather than my cold, hard, and beloved Brooklyn.

I never thought I’d say it, but in the next five years, I’m moving to California. It’s always good to dream.

I wish everyone their own Big Adventure and a Happy New Year!

Nokia Plaza Setlist – Show and Soundcheck, November 23, 2009

Nokia Plaza Concert (GDA):
1. Know Your Enemy
2. East Jesus Nowhere
3. Burnout
4. Coming Clean
5. 2000 Light Years Away
6. Welcome To Paradise
7. Who Wrote Holden Caulfield?
8. Dominated Love Slave
9. Holiday
10. Murder City
11. Christie Road
12. Going To Pasalacqua
13. Disappearing Boy
14. Are We The Waiting
15. St. Jimmy
16.21 Guns
17. American Eulogy
18. Minority
19. Last Night On Earth

Nokia Plaza Soundcheck (GDA):
Murder City
I Want You to Want Me – Cheap Trick
St Jimmy
Coming Clean
Having a Blast
Sassafrass Roots (First time ever played live or since it came out, according to my brief conversation with Billie Joe)
Nice Guys Finish Last
Pulling Teeth – Acoustic
Stairway to Heaven
Gilligan’s Island theme song
Favorite Son
American Eulogy
I Fought the Law

See the Light: My Year of Green Day and Genocide

I really hope that when Green Day puts out their next album, whenever that may be, that they and we can go back to “happier” times and lyrics, singing at breakneck speed about burning out, growing old, obsessive love, masturbation and pot… but… we’ll see.

Why Green Day?

I’ve gotten the question of “Why Green Day?” so many times this year that I thought I should finally explain myself. My friends are a bit astounded at me for following Green Day intensely this year. They knew I was a fan but never knew how much of one I’d become. All I can really say is that it’s been one of those years and Green Day has gotten me through a rough season.

Green Day recently celebrated their 21st year together, but I’m a relatively new fan (read about that here, if you care) from the American Idiot era. It’s well-known among hardcore fans that their lyrics have spoken to fans for two decades now, but for me, this year has been the second time (during the latter Bush Administration being the first) in which Green Day helped me through a bad political and social time.


Do You Know This Man?

Raphael Lemkin, Father of the Genocide Convention

Five years ago, I worked as an archivist at the American Jewish Historical Society. At the Society, we have a collection of archival materials written by a man of the name, Raphael Lemkin. Never heard of him? Don’t worry, you are not the only one. He coined the word genocide (Greek word genos, meaning tribe, and the Latin word cide, meaning to kill) in 1943/44 and was the first person to systematically write about a human condition which pops up more than we would like: the intent to destroy specific groups of humans by other groups of humans. There had been no word for this crime prior to this time, but there had been plenty of genocidal incidents before World War II (primary case in point: Armenia, 1915-1917).

Lemkin single-handedly pushed a major treaty through the United Nations in 1948, a document that he felt would be the beginning of the end of this disease that occasionally afflicts humans now named genocide, the United Nations Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide. Boy, was he wrong, but at least he tried. (Ok, he wasn’t wrong about the concept, just wrong that humans would do something about it if there was a law, a treaty, a will, a way…)

I was assigned to archive his papers and afterward, I wrote a journal article on Lemkin’s collections which was published in a jaunty-sounding journal called the Journal of Genocide Research. The paper (LINK HERE IF YOU CARE) has since been used by genocide scholars around the world to access Lemkin’s papers for their own historical and future research into the worst of human traits: the ability for one group of people to lose their collective minds and kill other groups of people who aren’t like them.

This Year

This past June 7-10, I was asked to present a paper at another jaunty-sounding event, the International Association of Genocide Scholars, held in Washington, D.C. The conference itself consisted of scholars with one goal in mind: presenting papers on this most heinous problem of mankind from numerous countries and perspectives, but primarily the social, economic and human toil that genocide inflicts on humankind.

I didn’t want to do it. I’m not a scholar, just someone who has the ability to put one and one together and present facts with some conclusions. But my previous paper had made such a big impact on the community of scholars that I had no choice but to present. I had to drag myself kicking and screaming to do my research and write the paper. I was my own worst enemy when it came to putting my thoughts on paper, it was ridiculous. And Green Day came to my rescue with the song, “Know Your Enemy.”

Do you know the enemy?
Do you know your enemy?
Well gotta know the enemy right here
Well gotta know the enemy right here

Silence is an enemy against your insurgency so rally up the demons of your soul.

I listened to KYE probably 100 times to help get over myself and plow through the research and writing. My topic was on a group of African-Americans, who just happened to be Communists, that accused the United States government of genocide toward blacks in America. The group published a petition in 1951 by the name of “We Charge Genocide” at the start of the Cold War and against the backdrop of the intense ideological struggles of the time between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. The petition was also one of the many precursors of the Civil Rights movement and caused quite a stir in the FBI and State Department.

The group’s premise was that in America, blacks had been terrorized and murdered under the willing eye of law enforcement and as such, were being destroyed as a group. Their accusations didn’t quite fit under the covenants of the actual Convention, but when you are trying to make a point, you can fit your argument into almost anything.

By the time I hit D.C., I was physically and mentally drained. I stayed at a friend’s house in D.C. for a night, which was nice, and headed off the next day for 2.5 days of non-stop genocide talk. Oh joy. Oh bliss.

The conference itself was ok, and my paper was well-received, if a bit light and fluffy. I was on the same panel as a woman from Australia who had done some intense research regarding the genocide which occurred in Cambodia from 1975-1979, asking the question whether Cambodia constituted genocide, crimes against humanity or revolution. Yes, people argue constantly over what constitutes genocide, subtly trying to undermine the premise of it until the distinctions become useless and paralyzing. Her conclusion was that it was genocide, plain and simple.

The conference was supposed to end at noon on the 10th, but these things never end on time, and we were having our final session at the Capitol, a place I had never been before. The session dragged on until after the noon hour and I had promised another friend that I would meet him for lunch, so I left. A few minutes later I got a call from him saying he needed to blow through a deadline and we were unable to meet. I now had nothing to do until my Bolt Bus left at 5:30.

I could have gone back to the meeting, but I was mentally done with the conference, so I pondered a bit and decided to head to the Holocaust Museum since I had never been there. As I was approaching the METRO, I became apprehensive about going and by the I reached the Capitol stop, I said forget it, turned around, and went across the street to the Library of Congress since I had never been there before. I toured what I could of the building for about an hour and decided to take my leave back to the hotel and that’s when I started to hear people talk about some incident that had occurred in D.C. I didn’t hear the details of the incident until I got on the METRO and it was still innuendo and rumor. People knew something had happened but not quite what.

When I entered my hotel, the big screen television in the lobby was focused on the Holocaust Museum. I froze and just stared, realizing how close I had come to being there. I sat in the lobby, watching the screen and hearing the most devastating news possible, a shooting had occurred and one man was dead. I began crying, particularly since the death crazed aspects of me being in D.C. were overwhelming and I had just spent 2.5 days listening to talk of genocide and presenting a paper on the subject.

In a nutshell, a white supremacist had walked into a Holocaust Museum and killed a black security guard. From that moment, I went into what I call, Humanity Overload.

Crying uncontrollably and still looking at the T.V., I put my headphones on and listened to 21st Century Breakdown. I was having one, that’s for certain.

Billie Joe's Guitar of Conscious

Billie Joe's Guitar of Conscience - Screenshot by CarmenPunkGirl

I don’t really remember much of the album as I was listening. I just know that its effect on me was calming, despite the guitars and Billie’s screamed lyrics. I kept the album on as I went to catch my bus, and all I could think of was how much humanity sucked.

From then on, it was Green Day for the rest of the summer. I took a break from politics, I didn’t think of genocide, I no longer watched the news. I primarily found comfort in a crazy band of fun misfits who sang about everything I felt. I went to four of their concerts in the States (Albany, the two MSGs, and San Antonio), and two shows in England. I began this blog the day before the conference, on June 6, to personally document their tour and escape from the harsh realities of life. I still haven’t paid much attention to the news. I needed a break, a respite. Sometimes you just have to DO IT.

But genocide never really leaves you once you think about it in any serious way. My place of work is holding a conference on Lemkin’s collection of correspondence, papers, and life’s work coming up this weekend in New York (click on the picture below for more information), and I’ve had to help with the accompanying exhibit and will also be presenting a short paper on the recently digitized collection of correspondence we now have on the web.

Letters of Conscious - Raphael Lemkin and the Quest to End Genocide

Letters of Conscience - Raphael Lemkin and the Quest to End Genocide

However, I don’t feel as panicked and hopeless about it or humanity in general as I did earlier in the summer. In fact, I’m regaining my sense of fight and hope, of pluck and stamina, and I have Green Day to thank for helping me, kicking and screaming all the way, renew a sense of purpose. As Billie Joe says, you have to live here, in the moment, right now, so get up, stand up.

Mind you, I don’t want to equate Billie Joe Armstrong’s lyrics or actions to the words or actions of Raphael Lemkin as being equal. Lemkin was determined to stop a very real problem of humanity by using the law and political will to stop the mass killing of groups. Billie Joe wants to raise our conscience a couple of levels while raising a few beers and forgoing our guilt in having a good time. However, I think Lemkin and he both possess a special and rare human quality that few people possess. This far-reaching quality is the ability to encompass large groups of people, embrace them, and try, for just a moment or their lifetime, to ease their pain.

I told my fellow GD friend, Tony, that I had listened to “Know Your Enemy” to prepare for the conference earlier this year and that I had no desire to think positively about a myriad of things in regard to humanity or the upcoming conference. He succinctly said, “you just have to ‘See The Light’ instead.” I took his advice and began to listen to this song from Green Day. And slowly, but surely, it’s been helping to pull me up from the abyss.

I really hope that one day genocide will no longer be a problem and that no one has to think about such a horrible crime again.

So, that’s my story of 2009: Green Day and genocide. What a year its been.

Well I crossed the river
Fell into the sea
Where the non-believers
Go beyond belief

Then I scratched the surface
In the mouth of hell
Running out of service
In the blood I fell

Well I, I just want to see the light
And I, I don’t want to lose my sight
Well I, I just want to see the light
And I need to know what’s worth the fight

I’ve been wasted
Pills and alcohol
And I’ve been chasing
Down the pool halls

Then I drank the water
From a hurricane
And I set a fire
Just to see the flame

Well I, I just want to see the light
And I, I don’t want to lose my sight
Well I, I just want to see the light
And I need to know what’s worth the fight

Well I crossed the desert
Reaching higher ground
Then I pound the pavement
To take the liars down

But it’s gone forever
But never too late
Where the ever after
Is in the hands of fate

Well I, I just want to see the light
And I, I don’t want to lose my sight
Well I, I just want to see the light
And I need to know what’s worth the fight


Rocktober Group Photo

Rocktober! Group Photo

Rocktober Idiots in London

This was only a fraction of the Rocktober Idiots who met up from around the world (including Germany, the U.S., Australia, Brazil, and South Africa) for a crazy weekend of Green Day at London’s O2. We had a fabulous time and sang loudly to Green Day music at the Slug and Lettuce restaurant. More to come!

*Photo by Mary O’Neill, American Idiot!

Rocktober is Out of the House!

Ok, that’s a pretty stupid headline, but I don’t care. I’m off to see Green Day in London. My flight takes off from JFK at 9:00 and I’ll be standing in London’s 02 tomorrow night. All I can say is… “Welcome to Paradise!”

GD UK Rocktober

GD UK Rocktober

Green Day Mind’s Breakdown Diary Blog Redesign

So I was messing around the last two days updating this blog’s layout. The Green Girl was fun, but the green color was getting to me. Sorry, sometimes when there’s too much green, there’s just too much green.

Being that I’m not the best wizard of HTML and XML and CSS and all that crap, I decided to go with this nice customizable header template called “ChaoticSoul” (why, of course) from WordPress. You’ve probably seen it around out there on the Blogdom somewhere or the other. I also bought the customizable CSS, and I’d love to tweak some things, particularly size to the titles to entries, so as soon as I figure out where WordPress keeps saving my stylesheet, I’ll get right on that.

The logo photograph above is one that I took from the first Green Day show at Madison Square Garden. (See larger version below.) It’s during “Minority” and Billie Joe is standing at the end of the catwalk in a haze of confetti. I love the way the blog template breaks up the one large photograph into two frames because this photograph becomes a reminder of the thing that I love most about a Green Day performance: the band’s ability to break through the barrier of the theatrical fourth wall between audience and band whereupon (fancy word), they become one during the course of a show.

And having Billie stand past that wall is a reminder to me that his energy is so outstanding as a performer that this barrier goes down about 65% of the effort due to him. It’s a reality that should not be taken for granted or lightly. It’s rare when a generation gets a performer like BJA. Love him or hate him, he knows how to perform.

At the same time, the erupting pyrotechnics on stage is also indicative of the energy vibrated by Mike Dirnt and Tré Cool and the entire production crew of a Green Day show. Good work all around, boys (cause most of the crew is guys… erm.)

Anyway, I hope you like the redesign. I do!

Green Day at Madison Square Garden, July 27, 2009

Green Day at Madison Square Garden, July 27, 2009

For a gallery of photographs that I either took at Green Day concerts and events or were used in some way in this blog by the rules of Fair Use, can be found here.

Song of the Century: Louder Than Bombs and Eternity

Green Day – Song of the Century – 21st Century Breakdown *

Sing us a song of the century… That’s louder than bombs … And eternity

Do we realize that it’s the 21st Century? Sometimes I wonder. The 21st fucking century, and yet humans are still arguing and fighting over the same issues spawned at the start of the 20th: land, privilege, sex, God and money.

Honestly, I can’t remember a time in my life when there’s never been tension in the air. I’ve been tense since the second I was born. (If you’ve not been tense for the past 45 years, don’t worry, I’ve been tense for you.) This last election in the States wiped me out so much that I’ve decided to take a break from politics, the universe, and almost everything… except work and Green Day. I am forgoing television for a few months and haven’t watched for about a week now, which is saying something for me. I’m listening to music and trying to think. I’ve been listening to rather loud music, but still, the music frees my eyes from concentrating on tiny moving pictures. I’ll keep up with the world as much as I can, but really, the world can go to hell in a handbasket for all I care right now. I’m sitting here in the ghetto that I love, in my new Brooklyn home with the amazing view of Manhattan. Big sky. I am as happy as a clam. Ahh. The coming of the second decade of the century is so far soaring above bombs and eternity for me. Aren’t I lucky?

As the Buddha says, all every one wants is to be happy. I would add to that: and to party.

Sing Us a Song of the Century… that’s louder than bombs and eternity.
What a beautiful way to start a lullaby. The song of the century should be so spectacular that it drowns out all ways and means of destruction. When I first listened to 21st Century Breakdown, I was surprised that the album began with such a sweet song as if sung in a newborn’s ear and captured on a Victrola. The lyric begins with an earnest hope quickly deafened by metaphoric bombs and projecting the future. Eternity is a hell of a long way away; everything comes down to the present.

I suppose I should not be surprised that the 21st Century reminds me of all the centuries that have gone before it. Although I studied history in college, I’m not much of an academic but from lessons learned and books read, the past and the present just spin around again and nothing really changes. Sounds finally captured through technology and heard at the start of the 20th Century — hand-cranked — are the same tales of progress, earnestness, hope against despair, madness, war, and peace that are present in our current world of bytes and bits.

The era of static and contraband… That’s leading us to the promised land
A major theme of 21st Century Breakdown echoes around static, presumably the white noise of television and electronics and the heat of popularity, fame and status. Stolen images and stolen time, seconds ticking, adding up to hours and years, and then poof, you’re gone. Gone off into that magical hereafter. Ah yes, magical, indeed. Today is ignored while tomorrow is constantly dreamed about, heaven. It’s always about heaven, either on Earth or the great beyond. It’s always about reaching for something that you cannot see, and may not want when you finally adjust your eyes.

Tell us a story that’s by candlelight… Waging a war and losing the fight
Have you ever listened to a story while a candle flickers across the bedroom wall? Real, living light, not the artificial brightness surging through our electrical grid. Sure, it’s bad for the eyes, but imagine, huddled under your covers, with your father close to you. He’s spinning tales of Br’er Rabbit or a frightening Grimms Fairy Tale. The flickers across your wall create moving pictures — there’s the Witch tricking the children! — there’s the children being baked! — lesson learned, don’t go off into the forest by yourself! — childhood stories of fear and triumph, war and death, peace and love; the same themes from the 20th to the 21st. The means of communication may change, but the human heart rarely does. Nothing changes and children still grow up learning war is right, even if you have to fight the same types of wars over and over again for land, privilege, sex, God and money.

They’re playing the song of the century… Of panic and promise and prosperity
There goes that song again… dawning of a new era… calling…don’t let it catch you falling… ready or not at all… the 21st Century is ‘hear’ and the Victrola cranks out its old themes of stock market crashes, something for nothing, you too can have it all!

Tell me a story into that goodnight… Sing us a song for me
So tell me a story long into the dark hours, were I can dream of a world that doesn’t chase me with its fears and desires. A world where the Bill of Rights has a clause to “Let the People Party,” and we all earnestly grab the time to take care of each other, just like Billie Joe Armstrong takes the time to care for a drunken fan who’s about to get booted by bringing him onstage, telling him to calm the fuck down, we’re all here to party… why fight?*

This past Saturday, I was in my old place packing up during a hellacious street party on my block, complete with wall of sound speakers. After the sixth hour of salsa across the street mixed with heart-shattering beats up the street, both played at volume 11, I thought my brain would bleed. The Victrola has been replaced with massive woofers, where the sounds of panic and promise and prosperity come at you in mega-death decibels. At the end of the night, police helicopters started churning overhead. When that happens in New York (or anywhere for that matter), you know that something has gone wrong. Two people, aged 19 and 17, died half a block away from me due to gunshot wounds to the head. Their young song of the century is over now. I wonder what bedtime stories they learned?

Yes, if only the Bill of Rights possessed a “Let the People Party” clause to it. Who the hell am I kidding? We’d find some way to fuck that up, too.

*All lyrics by Green Day


Back in the Day

Green Day on the Cover

Green Day on the Cover

This 1997 cover of Britain’s punk rock magazine Big Cheese cracks me the hell up. Shitty, snarky white punk boys with funny-assed faces completely on the edge of mayhem. If I had met these guys on the street back in the day, I would have crossed it. Scary looking dudes, if you ask me.

I didn’t pay much attention to the band back then. And I’ll tell you why:

Graduate School.

I went to graduate school from 1991-1992 and then again between 1996-1998. Prior to 1991 I had left New York to go back home to Detroit and between graduate school stints, I moved to Philadelphia before ending up back in NYC for a second torturous round of  grad school hell. If any of you have never been to graduate school, let me tell you, it sucks the living life out of you. I was broke and thinking about other things besides music or Green Day. I do remember watching them on MTV  in their 1994 Jaded in Chicago tour stop, though, and being completely blown away. Who the hell were these crazy motherfuckers?

And then… life as I knew it became a music-less proposition as school and work converged into one tired girl by 1995. Sure, I listened to the radio here and there, but I hate radio, particularly New York radio and I tend not to listen to it… and thus I get my music few and far-between.

Please, don’t cry for me, as I know you’re not. It’s my own damn fault that I probably bought less than 20 albums between the years of 1994 and 2004, the year that I finally came up for air from life in general. Yes, I had heard GD songs in-between and I knew who they were and I always thought that they were great, but I was more into Nirvana and the Red Hot Chili Peppers and my 80’s die-hard leftovers of the Talking Heads, the Police, U2 and some others when I had the time to listen. I also tried to keep on top of my former life in an acting ‘career.’ I had studied Experimental Theater at NYU in the 1980s and I wrote and performed several one-woman shows and curated a program of storytelling called Oral Text. I was a busy girl, so sue me.

One other vital fact: I am not a punk, but I tend to have a punk attitude, whatever that means. If it means hating overbearing authority, despising organized religion for the most part, liking loud music (I tend to gravitate to music with a heavy beat) and trying to do things on one’s own terms, then in some sense I have a punk sensibility without being one. If it counts, I’ve seen Gwar live twice and the Butthole Surfers once… does that help?

By 2001, I was a bit more settled in life, though not by much. (I am always living on the edge in some ways which really has got to stop.) I had a strange job as a researcher on the television show “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,” and I traveled to Amsterdam, city of my dreams, in June 2000 and August 2001 and things were beginning to mellow out a bit.  Then came the Bush II Horror Show Part One followed by 9/11… well, let’s not even talk about 9/11.  I was angry and frustrated and felt as if I were ruled by a bunch of bumbling idiots, because, you know, in reality, I was ruled by a bunch of bumbling idiots from 2000-2008. Fear was everywhere, nervousness was in the air, and xenophobia was the impending meme. What a nasty, nasty time it was.

In order to alleviate a sense of helplessness that would turn into self-mutilation if I didn’t stop banging my head against the wall, I joined the satirical political group “Billionaires For Bush” to find some political relief, laughter, and outlet… and then… Green Day’s American Idiot album came out. After four years of living in an American society were dissent was publicly ridiculed and mocked, Green Day came out and said it loud and raucously: I will not be an American idiot. While we did turn out to be idiots anyway by voting Bush back into office… well, that’s a different story.

American Idiot dragged me through the years of 2005-2008, gave me some hope and helped me to focus my unending longing for a smarter, live-free-or-die and greater country than the one I was handed. I will always be grateful to Billie Joe Armstrong, Tré Cool, and Mike Dirnt for the support that they gave me and millions of others (American or not) during these years as well as during their long and wacky career. They are always quick to laugh, have one of the greatest live shows ever invented, and well, they seem like fun people to hang out with as long as no one is crapping on anything.


They have come out with a new album, 21st Century Breakdown, and I love it. It’s not the best of their records and its got its ups and downs, sounding more like the sequel of American Idiot than a standalone album. It’s not my favorite Green Day album, but really, after American Idiot, where could they go? AI was perfection and it would have been hard for anyone to top it. It took a good five listens to really fall deep, but it’s been in heavy rotation on my iPhone along with my other Green Day albums since it came out on May 15. I have also been to my first Green Day concert, at Good Morning America, of all places and no less! My goodness, I’m a geek.

That’s my backstory. I will add that I’m originally from Detroit, am adopted, racially mixed black and white, grew up in my father’s bar and my mother’s hardcore Pentecostal religion. I studied theater and I am now an archivist at an undisclosed location. I’m sane, but not by much.

I’m actually just a basket case.

Big Cheese Magazine picture found courtesy of the Idiot Club.