Tag Archives: music

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!

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!

odds and ends

I haven’t gotten many outfit photos lately (shocking, I know) so I did some quick drawings of a couple of things I’ve worn in the past few days:

What I wore for a girls’ night last weekend with some of my friends — Blood Is The Neck Black tank top, a buffalo-check wool peacoat from Gap that I’ve had for a couple of years, skintight leatherette pants and black suede platform heels.  I looked a little fancier in person than in the drawing above…but not much, honestly.


On Sunday I went with some friends for a picnic at the gravesite of our friend Lisa, who passed a year ago. She was a fabulous, flamboyant dresser with a penchant for dramatic skirts and outrageous hats, so I figured it was only appropriate to try to dress in Lisa fashion, in a sheer skull-print blouse, floor-length jersey skirt, floppy wool hat from Forever 21, and big sunglasses.

    

I’ve been kinda under the weather the past few days so I’ve just been laying low, messing around with my lap steel guitar and totally devouring 1Q84 on my Kindle.  I’ve got a friend coming into town for the weekend tonight and another coming out next week so I’m enjoying my last few hours of downtime before what’s sure to be a hectic but fun few days ahead.

i wish i was your jacket

My friend Jennie and I have been spending a lot of time lately working on a new music and art project we’re going to be releasing soon called Library Sciences.  I’m really excited about where it’s going and I thought I would share this video of me playing one of the songs that will be on the first installment.

 

I’m not the world’s greatest guitarist by any means (the very idea of me pretending to be a musician is frankly laughable) but I’m having a lot of fun working on this project and I’m really looking forward to showing you guys the end result in a couple of weeks.

things i want for fall

1.) I already have a pair of half-tint sunglasses but the perfect roundness of this 80s Purple pair is so good.

2.) I’ll be in San Francisco in late November so I’m going to need a heavier coat. Ideally I want something in an unusual color, so I’m really feeling the retro shape and slightly offbeat pink of this ASOS A-line coat.

3.) I’ve been spending a lot of time writing and recording music at home on GarageBand lately, and I really want a Stylophone — a pocket synthesizer invented in 1967 that’s operated with a stylus and has been used by artists like Kraftwerk and David Bowie.  It’s cheap (about $20) and compact, perfect for hyper-amateur musicians on the go like me.

4.) If Chanel is any indicator (which it always is), pale blue will be a popular nail color for the fall/winter season.  I like OPI’s “What’s With The Cattitude?”

5.) Well, these are skinny jeans with unicorns printed on them, so, nuff said.

6.) I’m completely obsessed with the UNIF Hellraiser loafer.  It’s a little out of my price range but I’m considering saving my pennies because it’s basically perfect.

7.) Uh, everything about this Actual Pain “Immortal Mouse” tank is incredible.

8.) And how good would this Disney Couture “Minnie X Mawi” black pearl ring look with it?

9.) I’m doing a lot of traveling this fall and I want to start documenting my trips in different ways.  I’m interested in getting an easy-to-use film camera like this Holga 120.  I’m so used to the instant gratification of digital photography that I think taking film photos might lead to some good, or at least funny, shots.

two types of summertime blues

For some reason I’m really feeling both Eddie Cochran’s rattling original and Blue Cheer’s perfect early stoner metal cover of “Summertime Blues” right now.

I’m a metalhead at heart so the Blue Cheer version really does it for me.

some stuff i want

Just a few items from around the Web that I’m kinda lusting after…


1. John Waters’ Female Trouble is one of my favorite flicks (I even forced my now-boyfriend to watch it with me on one of our first dates) and Divine is Dawn Davenport is my ultimate style icon, so how good is this t-shirt from Sleazy Seagull?

2. These Lipsy dotted bow stud earrings from ASOS totally remind me of Minnie Mouse.

3. I like sending my dude cards through the mail.  The tricky part is keeping my mouth shut about it until he receives them.  I like these cute Gocco-printed cards: a big graphic “♥ you” from Julia Made and a pair of copulating octopi from Three Dog Party, both on Etsy.

4. AHHH, GOD.  How good are these limited-edition ribbon sunglasses by Tatty Devine for John Lewis?  They’re a hair over $100, which is a bit rich for what are essentially novelty shades, but a girl can daydream.

5. As an unabashed bibliophile I’m pretty in love with this letter-print scarf from Patricia Field.

6. Wanda Jackson’s latest album, The Party Ain’t Over, was produced by and features Jack White and it’s really good and I’m really mad I still don’t have it on my Ipod.

7. Really into this shimmery electric blue nail polish, Zoya “Tallulah,” which is the color of an awesome swimming pool and is therefore perfect for summer.

8. Twin Peaks buttons!  Featuring all the best characters and their greatest lines!  For only $3 a set!  This is a “collect ’em all!” kind of situation.

9. Nice girls don’t wear cha-cha heels which is why I’m currently a little obsessed with getting the ultimate retro-feeling pair.  These Bordello mules are basically right on.