The Thermals! The Books! Tender Trap! Jane and Serge! Oh My!

By Alison Wonderland

This past summer I’ve been writing up a storm for Venus Zines website. I’ve been writing profiles of bands and reviewing a slew of great records. Check out my latest here:
Bassist Kathy Foster, part of the Pacific Northwest rockers The Thermals discusses their new album
Indie pop icon (and Economist!) Amelia Fletcher talks about her latest project, Tender Trap
Quirky experimenters The Books talk about their latest album and moving out of NYC

Plus album reviews of the reissue of Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg’s Je t’aime… Moi, non plus, and Savoir Adore’s In the Wooded Forest.

Appalachian Trail Metro North Stop

Thanks to SMH and other friends the weekends have been full of adventure that is accessible via public transit. We finally explored the section of the Appalachian trail accessible via Metro North (though we had to take a bus from South East due to weekend track work) and it was lovely. I am always so surprised at the idyllic landscapes accessible to NYC. I am beginning to understand the Hudson River school painters and their obsession with the landscape upstate. We had a lovely temperate day, got started down by a herd of cattle and had the Pawling Nature Reserve to ourselves! As a child I hiked the AT frequently during the summers in Maine and New Hampshire and it was pretty amazing to see another segment of it and imagine that I could keep going to Maine… or Georgia.

Leaving Berlin Ostbahnhof 2006

I am feeling quite nostalgic today for Berlin and thinking about the fall of the Berlin wall 20 years ago (when I was a mere wee thing). In honor of that I finally re-made and posted a short video clip I took in 2006 as my night train pulled out of Berlin Ostbahnhof bound for Paris (a very slow ride to Paris, I might add). The trip goes through central Berlin, past many important landmarks, and would not have been possible when the city was divided.

Opportunus Gladiators Eleanor quod Mary Jane

I am really looking forward to the Duke Riley organized naval battle on Thursday in the World’s Fair reflecting pool in flushing meadows Corona park in Queens. I love how the artist is basing this project off of the fact that the Romans staged these kind of battles in a flooded colosseum during times of extreme hunger to amuse the pleebs. How fitting for the recession! I hear it will be the summer’s ultimate art party, so please join us (in a toga) at 6 p.m. on Thursday, August 13th. For more information, please read Will Cary’s excellent blog entry here:

Reflection for the New Year

Those of you who read my blog regularly know that I rarely write very personally here. However, today I got some news that really struck me and I felt I wanted to share some thoughts. A friend reposted this very thoughtful post from about the recent, untimely death of young feminist Emma Bee Bernstein. I met Emma only briefly when she came to the Museum to speak on a panel about different generational approaches to feminism. She was working on a book called GIRLDrive, which will be coming out soon, about young feminists of all kinds all over the United States. She shared her reflections about the state of feminism and her relationship to it, some comments which are included in the feministing post. Though I only met her once, I was moved by her artistic vision, her drive, and her ability to move through generations- to connect to both adults and young people and inspire those she met. I am saddened by the death of this young woman like myself who didn’t make it, who was surrounded by art, community, politics, friends, and family. Though I can only speculate, I hope she has found a place more peaceful. I suppose this is cliche to say, but this put my own emotional ups and downs and dark moods in perspective and made me feel lucky for the community of friends, activists, artists, and family that surround me. Sometimes these things don’t feel like enough, but I want to say hold on, reach out, love. Time is too short and all who we know and the lives we touch are too precious. My heart goes out to the family and friends of Emma Bee Bernstein.

Indulgence #10

Indulgence #10
Originally uploaded by killerfemme

After four years I made a new issue of Indulgence! True to form, this one is essays about my life, but I’ve shifted from political analysis to personal introspection, framed by places I’ve lived or visited. There are three essays about Paris, Portland, and Brooklyn, and the cover is printed on the Print Gocco and it is hand bound. Of course. I never staple. If you would like to receive one in the mail, please paypal me $3 to killerfemme (at) I’d also trade for your zine/art proroject or a really good letter. Thanks!

A summer week in provence

Roussillon Arch
Originally uploaded by killerfemme

We met my family in Avignon and spent a week exploring Provence. I knew this area has been totally hyped, but I completely understood why. It is stunning- limestone hills, scraggly bushes, vineyards and olive trees everywhere you look. We ate local goat cheese and the famed melons de cavaillion, which were perfectly juicy and sweet. When I saw the quality of the light and the sunsets, as well as the perfect, sunbaked old stones, I could see why plein aire painters went ga ga for this region. My mom and I want to go back and plan a bike trip on back road to lunch in small towns. It’s seriously the good life. You can see way more pictures on my flickr stream.

Paris first, before the rest…

Originally uploaded by killerfemme

In July my family went on a huge trip to the South of France, where I had never been. Before joining them, I flew to Paris and spent a jetlagged day and evening there before getting on the TGV with Gael to go to Avignon. Of course our city wanderings took us to Belleville, a neighborhood that has excited and intrigued me since I first set foot in it. To me it seems more “real,” more gritty, less perfect (shall we say, because it’s more working class) than the sparkling neighborhoods of central and western Paris. I’m not the only one who thinks this though, as Belleville is gentrifying rapidly, especially the street in this picture.

Flat White, Soho, London

Fueling my need for coffee, this was my first stop in London. The staff were super nice and they were even playing My Bloody Valentine when I walked in. Keight had recommended it and I was thankful for a good, independent coffee shop to visit in Starbucks land (I think there’s even more Starbucks in London than in NYC!). In case you were wondering what a Flat White is, Keight looked it up:

“i had to look it up…

a flat white and a latte is almost exactly the same thing, generally same 1/3 espresso to 2/3 milk ratio, but a flat white doesn’t include much of the foamy milk at the top (either it’s held back or mixed in with the rest of the milk, descriptions conflict on this detail). hence the “flat.”

as some dude stated on the coffeesnob forum:

“So if a flat white is a latte without 10mm of ‘more aerated’ textured milk in it, what it a long black with a dash of milk?

Lets face it, most cafes would not produce a discernably different product if you asked for both, other that being served in a glass and a cup.

… it’s a subtle distinction.”
Thanks Keight!