Clay Cane is a New York City-based writer who is recognized for his contributions in journalism. Clay is a regular contributor for various print and online publications such as The Advocate and BET.com. He is the author of the highly anticipated novel Ball-Shaped World, which is a fictionalized account of the black and Latino ballroom scene. Also, he is the Entertainment Editor at BET.com and a member of New York Film Critics Online. He can be reached at claycane@gmail.com.


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    Monday, October 31, 2005


    mood: elated
    music: "21 Questions" by 50 Cent "you know my style, I'll say anything to make you smile"

    Today is Halloween, which is the day of ghosts and goblins - however, for all the single people it will determine your LOVE status for the holidays!

    There's a rule when it comes to the singularity of the holiday season and the barbaric search for that one good piece of tail that will ride you threw the cold, bitter, frigid nights ... Here it goes:

    If you're still dateless by Halloween -- still complaining to your friends how everyone is a piece of gutter trash who are full of mental deficiencies -- still trying to convince yourself that you’re perfectly fine being single and there's nothing someone can give to you that you can't give to yourself …. THEN ... YOU WILL BE SINGLE FOR THANKSGIVING. There’s usually a five day or so grace period, but it's basically a wrap by November. EVEN if you find a good date on November 15th -- Thanksgiving isn't but a week and a half away! If you bring the date back home or to your friend’s house (that's for some of the gays that aren’t as PRIVILEGED as the straights to bring the significant others to family!) what are you going to say, "Oh yes, we've been dating for .... a little over a week." Your family won't take you seriously, and if you have any gay friends they will say to the closest person in earshot, "This whore brought her last minute date to Turkey Day!"

    So Thanksgiving doesn’t work out -- after going home and feeling bloated, you lay in your bed with a glass of straight vodka, listening to Nina Simone and watching The Color Purple reciting every line like you wrote the script. "All my life I had to fight --- awwwww damn, DAMN, DAMN ... I'm single on the holidays AGAIN!" Nonetheless, you convince everyone that you're perfectly happy being single and it doesn’t even cross your mind in your busy, productive life. Uh-huh, okay…………. Well, there is hope ... CHRISTMAS! However, the same rule applies ... if that November 15th date happened then you can spend your "first" Christmas (hopefully it won't be your last) with the new "potential." If you're still dateless with NO potentials by the end of Thanksgiving weekend it’s a WRAP for Christmas and NEW YEARS!! You’ll be singing yuletide greetings by yourself and watching It's A Wonderful Life wondering to yourself for the millionth time, "Why are there NO black folks in this movie?" AGAIN - if a good date comes along by mid-December you really can't go all out and buy a gift because you barely know the person. God forbid you do, and it ends a few weeks later! It may even seem too much to spend Christmas night with someone you barely know -- and do you really want to bring the New Year in with a date you just met a few weeks ago ... if it ends that sets an atrocious stage for the following year!!!

    HOLD UP, WAIT A MINUTE - LET ME PUT SOME PIMP IN IT! You still have a lil' hope left ... so on that Christmas or New Years weekend when everyone has Monday off -- you meet someone! What a Christmas gift ... you get to know them and end up with a Valentine's Day date! Congrats!!!! HOWEVER, if you didn't get that connection by New Years (considering the five day grace period) anything after that is a last minute hot-whore-tramp date to just compensate for Valentine's Day. So, you’ll walk the streets that week seeing all the flaming red, colorful candy and cheesy balloons looking like someone coughed up blood all over the city. You will justify to everyone how foolish Valentine's Day is, knowing if you had a Valentine's Day date you would have a lil' something in your hand, or at least BE with that person (I see the posts coming now with people saying they don't believe in Valentine's Day ... blah, blah, blah! I'm not saying you have to believe in it, but if you live in America, especially in a city, you can't avoid it!). The single life ...

    There are exceptions to every rule ... for example, if you just got out of a 10-year relationship last weekend then yo' azz does not need any connection. Many claim they don't care about the holidays ... but the holidays ... ESPECIALLY NEW YEAR'S does make one reflect on their life. A year has passed ... you're closer to your next birthday ... what are you doing with your life (maybe you're in a relationship you shouldn't be in) ... the world hasn't ended yet .... Bush is still in office ... Beyonce is still popular ... Madonna is still trying to make a comeback .... Diddy has a dog named Cha-Cha ....One cannot help but reflect during the holidays and we reflect on the future -- the future often includes that human, soulful and passionate connection. So good luck on the savage hunt!

    Labels:

    Posted by Clay :: 12:19 AM :: 22 comments

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    Friday, October 28, 2005

    The last time I went to CBGB’s I saw the amazing TAMAR KALI who is the punk rock version of Tina Turner. Her voice, energy and passion are unmatched. I encourage everyone to check her out if you can. Anyway, I go to CBGB’s excited to see another black rock artist - I was by myself because none of my friends could endure the trek on a Thursday night. The room was filled with alternative black rock folk -- NOT the crazy type ... you know, punk-rocked with blue hair and a listless look in their eyes that makes you think they tested every substance in the drug alphabet. Also, not neo-soul-ish type looking like they fart incense and piss ginger tea - just alternative in a natural way. I loved it ....


    I got there a little early so I casually walked around admiring the grit of CBGB’s. I locked eyes with a young woman - actually she locked eyes with me that screamed she wanted to grab my dick, bang me over the head with a club and bring me to her cave like a true a Neanderthal! I knew she wanted me with a stare that was "I just got of prison" intense. I’m a nice guy so I nodded, smiling at her – THE DOOR WAS OPENED.

    She motions for me to come over - I reluctantly walk over and she puts her hand out for me to shake. She says, "You're cute!" I laugh and thank her for the compliment getting a better look at her. She was a thick, tall, brown-skinned girl with so much make-up that she looked like she dipped her face in a bowl of light-brown chocolate frosting - Momma was painted! She had fire-engine-my-coochie-is-on-fire RED, RED, RED lipstick spread over her healthy lips ... I have a slight issue with women of color in hot-whore red lipstick... I think the skin tone throws it off -- earth tones ladies! But I digress ... she was tossing a crown of lovely locs down to her shoulders that were an odd contrast with pounds of make-up and hot-strumpet lipstick. She would've been more attractive if she wasn't BEAT FOR THE GODS (translation - too much make-up on!). Very interesting girl ... she pats a seat next to her and insists that I sit down.

    "Who are you here with?" She demands to know.

    "By myself."

    "Really? Do you have a girlfriend?" Her eyes spread over her face like two tablespoons of butter on Aunt Jemima pancakes waiting for my answer. This always confuses me when straight women ask me this ... my gay/bi boys know this feeling.

    I answer honestly, "No, I don't have a girlfriend." Her butter eyeballs melt and she asks my name. She tells me her name and for her own protection I will refer to her as "Mango Coochie" - you will see why. So she grills me in an intense interview session that made me feel slightly uncomfortable, but I thought it was cool that this woman was being so aggressive. I love women who are out of the box.

    After this heavy interrogation ... she confirms again that I don't have a girlfriend. I tell her no and laughing as I’m answering. She seemed to interpret my laugh as something that satisfied her and states extremely seriously, "Yeah, you look like you need some pussy." I'm thinking ... YOU DON'T KNOW THE HALF OF IT, LOVE JUICE!

    "Really? Why do you say that?" I ask ... knowing I was getting in dangerous territory asking questions.

    "I can just tell ... my coochie is really good." It takes a lot to throw me off with words (any of my friends know this), but Mango Coochie brought me RIGHT TOGETHER.

    "Really?" She glares at me like I was challenging the worth of her coochie. "Yes, it smells like MANGOS!"

    "Mangos?"

    "Yes, and I make the best mango pancakes. I'd like to make them for you!" I'm reeling now and trying to contain myself ... still wondering if I should tell her I’m not hetero. However, her intensity was so dramatic that I was intimidated by her, which NEVER happens. I start laughing hysterically and she uses my laugh as a cue to fall all over me and mash her bosom in my face. Her bosom that did ... I tell no lies ... smelled like fresh mangos -- picked from the tree of a colonized Jamaican plantation!!! I was DONE! She kept ramming her breasts on me and throwing her head back with wild laughs. I was waiting for her to tear off her denim skirt, wrap her legs around my neck and slam her mango coochie in my face!

    I tried to pull myself together and reclaim my personal space that was invaded by her mango bosom when I asked her, "So, why don't you have a boyfriend?"

    She quickly replies like she was waiting for that comment since the moment she locked eyes with me, "Because I’m the best girlfriend in the world!"

    "How so?"

    "I don't mind if my boyfriend fucks around -- as long as he tells me."

    "Really?" In my head I’m thinking - that isn't the best girlfriend in the world, that's the girlfriend with the lowest self-esteem in the world! "So does that mean you can fuck around too?" I ask.

    "No!" She corrects as if that would ruin her chances. "I'm a serial monogamist and women just can't do that." I almost wanted to explore that comment, but I knew that would get me into some overly revealing grounds with Mango Coochie. The show was getting ready to start and I wanted to be right up front so I could absorb every ounce of Tamar Kali. She gave me her number and questions, "Are you gonna call me? I really want to make you those pancakes!" I HATE lying ... I do, but Mango Coochie kind of scared me. That was my opportunity to say I was not one of the straights, but why should I ... why should I explain myself for the walking mango??? So, I lied and felt bad saying I would call her - but I was scared she might put some mango coochie curse on me! She was satisfied with my answer and stared at me throughout the night like she was ready to LICK me from my locs to my yellow goodness!

    I saw Mango Coochie dancing to the hard core soul-punk music .... I remember saying to myself, "She dances just like Molly Ringwald in the Breakfast Club on the staircase in the library!" I never called Mango Coochie ... I felt guilty because I could FEEL that she was waiting for my call with the pancakes on the grill and her coochie freshly marinated with mango! Oh, Mango Coochie …

    Labels:

    Posted by Clay :: 12:10 AM :: 30 comments

    ---------------oOo---------------

    Tuesday, October 18, 2005

    music: "Don't Mess With My Man" by Nivea

    I’ve had some crazy jobs but I don't think anything is crazier than one summer when I worked for the psychic hotline. I needed some extra money and I saw an ad in the
    Village Voice looking for "psychics." My major in high school was theater so I just took it as a character I needed to play for some dollars!

    I called the number and spoke to a man who I was trying to convince that I was “psychic.” He told me to cut the crap and explained I would call into an 800 number from home, get a logon ID and receive incoming calls with a special ring tone – BAM! I would give psychic readings. I would make twenty-nine cents pre minute - the goal was to keep the person on the phone as long as possible --- you had to average twenty minutes per call, or they would put you in the "slow lane" and you would barely receive any calls.

    When I would login there would be a “motivational supervisor” saying things like – “We have to step this up people! These calls are not lasting long enough! Push harder and stop putting people on hold!” So basically it was a hustle to keep people on the phone ... I know some of you are thinking, "This is horrible!" Well, what's really horrible is these people REALLY thought a psychic was on the other end!

    My psychic name was "RONNIE" -- I had some African tarot cards that my neighbor let me borrow, which I used as a "prop" to really get into my psychic character. The calls were INSANE .. The majority of the callers were white women from the South. In one of my first calls this ultra-country white woman called in all distressed and frantic, crying on the phone: "I'M CALLIN' 'BOUT MY BOYFRIEND!" I replied in a mystic, mysterious voice, "He hurt you, didn't he?" She screams back, "HOW DID YA' KNOW THAT? OH SWEET GOD!" ..................

    Other calls were more white women from the South calling about FINANCIAL problems. It took everything in me to not say, "Well, ya' dumb azz if you’re calling the psychic hotline, which charges you $4.99 a minute, obviously you're going to have financial problems!" Outside of the white women I got a lot of gay/bi people and they were just amazed when I clocked they were gay on the phone. I would feed into every stereotype and usually it worked! For example, one woman called about her girlfriend and out of nowhere I said, "One moment ... does your girlfriend listen to MELISSA ETHERIDGE?"

    "Oh my God! That is amazing!"

    "Yes, I keep hearing Melissa songs throughout the reading!"

    Okay, I KNOW some of you are thinking this is horrendous, BUT someone had to do it! What if the callers would've gotten some other psychic who (in my Blanche second season of Golden Girls voice) wasn’t as worldly and sophisticated about these things as I am ... ? They could've been told that a demon was going to destroy them due to being a carpet muncher!!! At least I was a good person to talk to ....

    One of the rules on the psychic hot line was that we couldn't discuss death. It was a rule I always stuck with and I'll never forget I got some thuggish-ruggish boy who stumbled across the psychic hotline and wanted to talk about his life and how he was destined to die like Biggy or 2pac. He thought he was BIGGY reincarnated.... now, this was about five years ago so if Biggy would have lived he would've been about 27 or 28 at the time -- the guy on the phone was 30! I was like (in my psychic but still keepin' it hood voice) "Uh ... you're older than Biggy. You can't be reincarnated!"

    One of the most disturbing calls I had was another white woman from the South who was getting BEAT by her husband like unreleased footage from What's Love Got to Do with It! I still remember the confusion and sincerity of her main question ... "Does he love me?" She explained how the main WHOPPED HUH with the PHONE and BROKE her jaw. She had kids with him and she continued to question, "Does he love me?" I know women in my life who were beat by their boyfriends/husbands so I felt particularly disturbed by this call. I told her that he does NOT love her, but she didn't seem to believe me. She said her mother lived at another farm in the area and she wanted to go stay with her, but she just wasn't sure. If he did LOVE her she didn't want to leave.

    So, as a PREVENTION tool I said, "At
    midnight tonight he is going to kill you! Pack your bags, get your kids and go to your mother's house NOW!" I always wondered if she listened.... ONCE AGAIN ... I know some of you may think that was pure savagery to say her abusive husband was going to kill her, but good-God that was my only tool. I questioned if she had domestic violence centers in her area but she knew of nothing. She was calling the PSYCHIC HOTLINE for ANSWERS...

    The calls began to get increasingly EMOTIONAL ... It was as if they patched the Jerry Springer show to my line! I got every imaginable situation --I had an extension and people would call BACK with their significant other on the line to talk to ME. I never understood how people could still think I was a psychic after the first conversation ... you've already revealed so much about yourself -- now I'm just talking to you as a counselor!

    Then I got a wave of DEMONIC calls ...... oh lawdddddddddddddddddddd .... The majority of my calls would be during
    12am - 4am because that is when the most calls came in. I was getting people saying they had demons in them! My last call was a guy who said, "I have a demon inside of me and he doesn't like you. He wants to come through the phone and get you!" I slammed that phone down with all the power I had in one had -- logged off the psychic hotline and never took calls again!

    There is a moral to this story ... For $4.99 a minute (while I was only getting 29 cents a minute -- capitalist bastards!) they could talk to ME!!!!!! Seriously -- all these people wanted was someone to talk to. They were incredibly lonely and isolated. They reached out to this line that says on the television screen "for entertainment purposes" looking for answers. It was comical, fun, draining and basically a hustle, but it made me acknowledge a more candid side of people. People were revealing things to me that they supposedly never revealed to anyone else. Emotionally, the psychic hotline was taking its toll on me ... I know it sounds dramatic, but there were too many fucked-up, lonely people. It was a good experience – and came in handy whenever I had/have vapid conversations with potential dates who had/have the personality of a dial tone!

    Labels:

    Posted by Clay :: 1:00 PM :: 36 comments

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    Friday, October 07, 2005



    music: "Ever Blazing" by Sean Paul

    Okay, I know I praised Fiona and gave her all the life in the world a few posts ago, but the times they are a' changin.' On Tuesday, October 4th Apollonia and I trekked to Virgin Megastore to finally get our legal copy of Fi's latest CD Extraordinary Machine. As I said in my FIONA! post we got the jacket of the CD signed, but they would not give us the actual CD until October 4th. However, I had already downloaded all of the songs back in January and signed the FreeFiona.org campaign to release the album. The "leaked versions" of these songs were flawless, amazing with superb lyrics and a growling voice filled with angst and bitterness -- JUST THE KINDA WHITE WOMAN I LIKE!

    Being that the leaked versions were not completely finished I knew there would be some mastering, but I assumed … nothing extreme because the songs were classic Fiona, but seeming more evolved. Fi dropped Jon Brion as a producer (same guy who produced Kanye's latest album) and signed on Mike Elizondo, who should be dipped in honey, hung by his toes and let a family of wild grizzly bears lick him till he is skinless --THIS ALBUM IS AWFUL ...


    Fiona Plum has abandoned the passion she once had for this overproduced, but meant to sound organic, poorly done, minimalist bore that solidifies her lack of caring about music is finally coming to the forefront. Fiona has always said she just "shows up" and she accidentally fell into the music industry. However, when she got on stage or in a studio there were feelings inside of her that communicated to an audience... no feelings were communicated in this record. She seems to have given up on sustaining notes and resolves her voice to fast rambles and bouncing in her falsetto. The music is choppy and is poorly mixed/mastered.

    Worst of all, she took some of the most amazing songs from the leaked versions like "Better Version of Me," "Not About Love" and "Red, Red, Red" completely changing the tempo and melody. "Red, Red, Red" is a dark upbeat, morbid tune that was my favorite song on the leaked version. However, on the new album she turns into a fatiguing ballad with emotion that is empty as a broken crack pipe! The songs that I thought were extremely mediocre like "Waltz" and "Get Him Back" she barely touched. The leaked versions were filled with irony, sarcasm, angst, which was at society, relationships and even her record company (“Please, Please Please” was to Sony) -- now each song is stuffed with pure capitulation and trite compliance.

    Fiona Kiwi is still a lyrical bitch ... the lyrics haven’t changed -- only the voice, emotion and music. There were still moments I was amazed that these thoughts and ideas came out of this woman's head. For example, in "Not About Love" -- a song which was DEMOLISHED in the new version. With each second of the song I felt I was being raped and violated as I cried like a white woman in a Lifetime Movie! Fiona sings:

    Conversation once colored by esteem
    Became dialogue as a diagram of a play for blood
    Took a vacation, my palate got clean
    Now I could taste your agenda
    While you're spitting your cud


    Or in the haunting "Oh Well," which she butchered by making the song in a higher key forcing her to sound like Ashanti on heroin, she says:

    Oh what a cold and common old way to go
    I was feeding on the need for you to know me
    Devastated at the rate you fell below me
    My peace and quiet was stolen from me
    When I was looking with calm affection
    You were searching out my imperfections

    The only good song is “Parting Gift,” which is the one song that captures her essence and is not a contrived empty ditty that sounds like a raging lion who is now spayed. Like I said - some of these lyrics still gave me literary elite from the school of hard knock white girls and I loved it ... however, when coupled with the echoes of this broken machine … no ornamental words make up for the musical and vocal failure.

    This is horrendous!!! Fiona is my wife and I am officially filing for divorce! This is a terrible thing to go through --- when an artist that you adore comes out with this common gutter trash! Lawd... this must be how Toni Braxton and Brandy fans feel on a daily basis (uhh ... but ... this album is still better than ANY Toni "My Nose Job is About To Cave In" Braxton or Ray J.'s receding hairline of a sister!).

    I recommend everyone listen to the leaked version of this album and I deeply apologize to anyone who bought the album due to my raves about her from my previous post.

    Labels: ,

    Posted by Clay :: 2:20 PM :: 17 comments

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    Tuesday, October 04, 2005


    LISTEN TO MAYBE

    LISTEN TO BO DIDDLEY

    LISTEN TO CRY BABY

    On October 4th, 1970 Janis Joplin died at 27 years old of an accidental heroin dose. There is no VOICE that has guided my spirit to a fevered climax like the voice of Janis Joplin. Her bluesy, savage, excessive wails are filled with sadness, salvation, redemption and even glimmers of happiness. In a world of over-produced spoiled pop it's challenging for people to appreciate a sound like Janis -- Janis didn't just sing a melody, she went to the gritty rust of every note and squeezed it with all the strength she had in her vocal chords.

    When Janis burst onto the scene in 1967 at the Monterey Pop Festival people were amazed. No one had EVER seen a white woman get on stage and roar with that type of conviction. White women at the time rocked blonde bouffants and cardboard eye lashes! However, Janis would perform with no make-up, sweating and ripping her throat into shreds. Even black women at the time (with the exception of the blood, sweat and tears of Tina Turner) did not get on stage that rough. The black community was tired of look, sound and feel of the gritty blues. In 1969 legendary blues singer
    Big Bill Hill said: "Blues has something to do with that bastard part of life that most black people want to forget."

    This is part of the reason why Diana Ross claimed the 1960s, she was the first glamorous black woman accepted by the mainstream. Artists like B.B. King, Etta James, Muddy Waters, Esther Phillips (all artists who were around before Aretha Franklin and Donnie Hathaway!) and many others were confused at this rejection of bluesy soul. Nonetheless, Motown accommodated white audiences and represented black people in a polished, clean, non-threatening manner (Marvin Gaye would go on to despise this side of Motown).

    The introduction of Janis Joplin was a violent shockwave to most of America ... this was not just a white singer trying to sound black. She was no Elvis Presley, who robbed black music and became the self-proclaimed “King of Rock N’ Roll.” Janis gave constant credit to her influences ... in every interview she spoke of her favorite singer, Bessie Smith, (shame on ANY of you if you don't know who Bessie Smith is!) and explained she would've never sang if it wasn't for Bessie's music. She would speak of the brilliance of Billie Holiday (who was virtually forgotten by the 1960s), Leadbelly, Etta James, Big Mama Thornton and many more. Also, she revered Tina Turner, Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding and many others. This was a first (with the exception of Eric Clapton) for a white artist to truly credit their black influences. She once said: "Billie Holiday and Aretha Franklin can go no further from an A to a B and milk you in one note."

    Janis grew up in an incredibly racist town called Port Arthur, Texas. She would come to school singing blues songs and was called a "nigger lover." One time she went to a bar and sang a song called "Hang Man," which was about lynchings and was nearly lynched herself when they threw her out of the club. She was a bit "masculine" and not the most attractive woman. In her only year of college she was nominated "the ugliest man on campus." Janis would eventually discover San Francisco where there were freaks like her. Eventually she connected with legendary music moguls like Chet Helms and Clive Davis.

    Janis caused controversy on her second and arguably her best album Mama, I Got Dem Ole Kozmic Blues Again. She had an interracial band -- which upset her white fan base. In addition, she made comments in Newsweek that her lips were too thin and she thought pale skin was unattractive -- this was unheard of in the 1960s. Musically the album was praised, but these comments in the late 1960s nearly destroyed her core fanbase. Whites constantly questioned the soul in her music (surprisingly most black artists felt Janis' soul and there wasn't much to question). Janis once said: "I keep trying to tell people that whites have soul too, but white people don't allow themselves to feel things; they've just got to give into it."

    Janis did not have a huge black following, as I mentioned black folks weren't embracing the blues, but Janis got respect from artists like Otis Redding, Tina Turner, Etta James, Little Richard and B.B. King once said: "Janis Joplin sings the blues as good as any black woman I know."

    In August 1970 Janis received a call from Bessie Smith's estate who informed her that Bessie died with no tombstone on her grave (Bessie died penniless when she was once the richest black woman in America). They asked if she would be willing to donate money for the
    tombstone. I find it interesting that Janis did this, but the Dianas and Arethas of the world didn't, but I digress! A tombstone was placed on Bessie’s grave -- the ceremony/funeral for Bessie was held October 4th, 1970. Janis did not attend the funeral because she didn't want the press/media to overpower, which would take away from Bessie's moment. Ironically, October 4th 1970 was the same day Janis overdosed on heroin.

    Janis suffered incredible loneliness - she once said: "Every night I make love to thousands of people on stage, but I go home alone." The night she overdosed she was stood up by her male and female lover -- Yes, Janis was extremely bisexual. When rumors swarmed about her sexuality she said to a friend (wasn't released to the public till after her death): "You tell them that Janis Joplin has slept with over 200 men and 100 women!"

    I've always had a passion for music and I grew up on soul/R&B music, but I must say - if it was not for my discovery of Janis Joplin I would’ve never learned the blues. Sadly, many of our black artists today, or even yesterday, do/did not give credit to that "bastard part of black life." We've forgotten names like Memphis Minnie, Ma Rainey, Muddy Waters, Leadbelly, Odetta, Bobby Blue Bland, Screamin' Jay Hawkins
    and so many others. My discovery of Janis at 20 years old (not saying she is the only path to this road) helped me to fall upon the true beginnings of soul music.

    Janis also helped me tap into that place in myself that I sometimes avoid in fear of feeling too much … in fear of not coming back to the shell … in fear of being judged … in fear of the consequences of the truth. Janis taught me you have to push and take risks for yourself if you want to even have a chance at succeeding. As she once said: “I may never be happy, but I’ll be fucked if I don’t try!” Rest in peace Janis -- and the drinks are still on Pearl!

    Labels:

    Posted by Clay :: 12:20 AM :: 21 comments

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