Monthly Archives: February 2012

guitar therapy

I try to hang out with my guitar a little bit every day because nothing really takes your mind off shit like noodling around on the strings until your fingertips are numb.  I put a lot of work into writing my own material, but no matter how much time and energy I expend on creating my own stuff, the songs I always end up coming back to and playing over and over again were written by other people.  I’m hardly a musician, but I guess I do have a little bit of a knack for deconstructing punk rock songs down to their bare bones — that’s what I do in Cunt Sparrer, and it’s what I’ve been doing lately when I get frustrated with my inability to come up with my own tunes.

So, for lack of anything else to post about, here are a couple of my super-rudimentary punk rock covers, which I record periodically and upload to my Youtube account, saraplayspunksongs:

“All This & More” (with apologies to the Dead Boys):

“Adult Books” (with apologies to X):

“Don’t Mess With Cupid” (with apologies to the New York Dolls):

As you can probably tell, I can only play a handful of chords, but I make do with what I got.  And what I got (as one of my original songs says) has got me to the gettin’ place.

My buddy Kevin Seconds liked my New York Dolls cover enough to ask if I want to record it and include it on a new comp he’s putting out for his upcoming Arms Aloft Musical Roadshow tour, so that’s pretty cool.  (Actually, it’s really cool…like, a-little-bit-beside-myself cool.  I’ve known Kevin for a couple of years now and he’s watched me make a complete drunken fool of myself in more than one southwestern state, but I don’t think I’ll ever fully get over being able to collaborate with someone who has been a huge icon to me for, like, my entire punk rock career.)

A comment I hear pretty often from girls, both here on this blog and out at my shows, is that they’d like to be playing music but they think it’s “too late” to learn or that they don’t have the innate ability they think is necessary to get the hang of an instrument.  I really get this.  I used to feel like this too.  I didn’t start teaching myself to play guitar until I was 20, and I was almost 25 by the time that Cunt Sparrer started performing.  I still don’t feel like I have much more musical skill than I did back on the day I took my old Daisy Rock acoustic out of the packaging, but the point is that over the years I’ve managed, somehow, to fake it.  Listen — I really don’t have any illusions about my talent or lack thereof, but I used to not know how to strum a lick, and now I can get a guitar to do pretty much what I want it to do.  And it feels good!

It’ll probably be several more years (if ever) before I stop correcting people when they refer to me as a musician, but I’m at least starting to get used to the idea that talent is what you make of it.  There are detractors — there will always be detractors! — but having the confidence to put your shit out there is seriously way more than half the battle, and you never know, it could end up dumping some cool opportunities in your lap.

I think it would be cool to hear from female musicians (and aspiring female musicians!) in the comments.  What are you guys doing and playing and creating and covering and recording?  What projects do you have in mind for the future?  Show and tell!

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l.a. zine fest!


On Sunday my best friend Jennie and I took our new music/art zine, Library Sciences, to show at the first annual L.A. Zine Fest!  We’re new to the zine world and we weren’t totally sure what to expect from the fest, but it ended up being the greatest DIY event either of us have ever had the pleasure of attending.  We were so happy to be a part of it, and the organizers really turned it out when it came to putting the whole thing together.  There were almost a hundred exhibitors from all around the country, and as you can see from the L.A. Zine Fest Flickr pool, the place was packed all day long.

What was really great about the event was the huge variety of incredibly talented people represented — everyone from Ayun Holliday of The East Village Inky and the trio behind Henry & Glenn Forever to local artists selling their print-and-staple comics — and how amazingly cool everyone was.  When Jennie and I walked in and saw all the girls setting up in their candy-colored tights and killer accessories, we felt like we had finally found our people.  The DIY spirit and sense of community was seriously inspiring.

Speaking of seriously inspiring, I can’t even tell you what a treat for the eyes this event was — everyone was dressed in cartoon style, looking effortless and completely delicious, and I was in total heaven.


Above are the really fabulous Emi of Pygmy Hippo and Marie of Agent Lover, whose ensembles I basically killed myself over from the second I saw Emi’s polka-dot headscarf and Marie’s hot pink knee socks.


Sheika of OMGcow.com was there with a ton of incredible comics and was basically a total beacon of adorability in her bright yellow dress — you couldn’t help but be drawn to her table!  And she drew a really cute portrait of me in about two seconds flat:


So cute!


Grissel, above, was at the fest with Never Press, and I loved her retro printed dress, nude fishnets and cute little flats, not to mention that hair (and her super sweet personality)!


Sylvia of The Doktor Is In was one of the first people I saw when I walked into the fest, and I was immediately drawn to her amazing tone-on-tone outfit, which reminded me a little bit of Velma from Scooby-Doo (a style icon if I’ve ever seen one).  I got to pick up a couple of her zines and I really love her self-deprecating sense of humor and straight talk.


And how cute is Sarah, above, who was at the fest with No More Geeks?  Girl is serving some modern indie Mia Farrow and I like it.

Thanks to our friend Emilio of Aperture Priority for the fisheye photos!

To our huge surprise, we sold out of the entire first run of Library Sciences Issue One!  We listed more on Etsy today and are really looking forward to putting out our second issue and participating in a lot more events like L.A. Zine Fest.

Not too shabby!

february mood board

Just a quick collage of some things that have been inspiring me these past couple of weeks…


My usual mix of cartoony, creepy, and country, I guess, with a heavy dose of pink and red for Valentine’s Day.  The dagger flash in the upper lefthand corner is by artist David M. Cook, whose Tumblr I am really into right now.

Speaking of stuff that is cartoony and cute, yesterday I exhibited at L.A. Zine Fest, and the girls there were pretty much the greatest-looking things I have ever seen.  I took some great photos and I’ll post them soon!

jezzy belle’s giveaway winner!

Happy Galentine’s Day!

The winner of the Jezzy Belle’s Vintage giveaway is…


Congratulations, Elisa Marie!  Email me at mycartoonheart@gmail.com for your $25 gift certificate to Jezzy Belle’s!  Thanks to everyone who entered!

i ♡ jezzy belle’s

IT’S GIVEAWAY TIME AGAIN.

This time I have a $25.00 credit for my favorite Etsy vintage boutique, Jezzy Belle’s, up for grabs!

All you have to do is comment on this post!  Just say that you want to enter the giveaway, and I’ll draw a winner at random on February 13th — consider it a Galentine’s Day celebration, except instead of a throw pillow with your face and the newspaper headline from the day you were born on it, you might get an awesome twenty-five bucks to spend on vintage clothes and accessories.

My girl Deborah, who runs the shop, sent me this awesome leopard silk blouse to entice you:

I don’t actually wear a lot of vintage, which might result in me having my fashion blogger card revoked if my fashion blogger card hadn’t been lost in the mail (I mean, that’s the only reason I don’t have one, right?). It’s not that I don’t like vintage clothes — I do — but I’m in Southern California, where the thrift stores are picked over and the vintage stores are totally overpriced. I live all of two blocks from Long Beach’s famous* Retro Row, a whole strip of really cute vintage shops, but I’ve never been the type to spend a day scouring the racks for hidden treasure. Lack of patience, I guess. And lack of money (because anything worth buying from Retro Row is usually priced exorbitantly high). That’s why I like vintage shops on Etsy like Jezzy Belle’s — someone else has already done the work for me (I’m lazy and not particularly talented at spotting gems amongst crap), and things are generally priced way more fairly.

Like, I probably never would have caught this leopard-print silk blouse in a thrift store, but thank god someone (Deborah!) did, because it’s really cute.


I’m wearing it with a retro-style longline bra and a pin for my friends’ band Honey Badgers.  Also hot pink lipstick to match the hot pink pin, because I’m matchy like that.


Vintage blouse from Jezzy Belle’s, Mossimo for Target skinny jeans, Forever 21 belt, Rampage longline bra, Qupid velveteen loafers.

After a long search for the perfect hot pink lipstick that also costs less than $10, I finally hit on Cover Girl’s Lip Perfection in “Spellbound” (stupid name, cute color).  For some reason it doesn’t show up nearly as vibrant in photos as it does in person.  The webcam shot is much more true to life.

Don’t forget to leave a comment and enter the Jezzy Belle’s giveaway!  I’ll draw a winner at random and announce it on February 13th!

 

* Not famous.

hairy teeth & bellbottoms

I can’t start this next post without acknowledging my last one. I really want to thank all my readers and friends, both online and in my real life, for the support and encouragement regarding my ongoing struggles with depression. It’s always difficult for me to come forward and talk about my own emotions (that whole issue of “having a wall up,” I guess), but it’s also always a huge relief afterwards to be reminded that I am far from alone in grappling with this stuff. All the emails and comments I’ve received have been hugely helpful to me — thank you guys so much. If you ever want to have a dialogue with me about this or anything else, please feel free to write me: mycartoonheart@gmail.com.

ANYWAY. ON TO LIGHTER THINGS.

My friend Josh, né JOSHR, is an incredible artist (I have a huge painting of his hanging over my bed to prove it), and his two-man show with Stink, called Hairy Teeth, is opening at Hurley’s H Space Gallery in Laguna Beach tonight.  My super-bestie Jennie was also heavily involved in getting this show together so it’s basically going to be a night of friends and art and tacos.  Really stoked that my amazing friends are getting some recognition for their hard work and serious talent.

Here’s what I threw on for the show tonight:

Gap coat, Ambience cardigan, H&M scarf, vintage t-shirt, Forever 21 bellbottoms, Steve Madden wedges, MAC lipstick in Russian Red.

Nothing exciting, basically just what I wore to work but with wedges and lipstick thrown in to fool people into thinking I made an effort. I think buffalo plaid and leopard spots are two prints that play well together, though. The white t-shirt is an ancient Neil Diamond concert shirt I’ve had since I was 18 or so, hence why the neckline is sliced off as if it is 2004.



Not gonna lie, I’m feeling the bellbottoms. I’ve been a skinny jeans girl since before skinny jeans were even something that you could easily buy in stores (before that it was all about hand-tapering for maximum tightness, usually using dental floss in lieu of thread because dental floss is more punk rock), but secretly I’ve always had a thing for bellbottoms. Probably because when I was in eighth grade I had a Really Extremely Cool1 pair with burgundy-and-pink tulips embroidered on the flares, which I always wore with a matching burgundy chenille sweater, and it was in this outfit that a boy first asked me for my phone number2. So clearly I equate bellbottoms (embroidered or not) with being completely and totally alluring.

Hopefully I’m right and they are completely and totally alluring and some dude will once again be hypnotized by the ringin’ of my bells and ask for my phone number tonight, though honestly, I’m not holding my breath, because there is still the whole issue of the Neil Diamond t-shirt working against me, and also that whole thing about how I am totally awkward and ridiculous in any kind of social situation. Oh and also that whole thing about how I am actually currently terrified of human contact and basically incapable of being in a relationship sooooo maybe not.

1 Really not cool at all. I was painfully uncool in junior high. LOOK AT ME NOW, SUCKERS! Oh, wait.

2 I was not even interested but the very idea that someone would ask for my phone number was so foreign to me at the time that I gave it to him. He used it to call and give me running commentary on the episode of “The Simpsons” that he was watching. I never have been a “Simpsons” fan. Needless to say our relationship was over before it ever truly began.