Year: 2015

“90’s Red State Sacajewa” outfit

For the first Story Story Night of our flagship season, MY OWN PRiVATE iDAHO: Stories of Wild States, I wanted to find the equivalent of the dress Adele wore on Saturday Night Live, which summed up a haute-couture, native-style Thanksgiving, in my leather-fringed mind. Turns out, I was no Adele. Though I did find myself screaming, Hello, can you hear me? at the Shriners, who, to my nail-biting terror, could not get their sound system to work until five minutes before our show was slated to start. Both my head and my heart nearly exploded. Which seems at least Adele adjacent. When we were younger and free. In my own private Idaho, I am in kindergarten, peeing on a tree made of masking tape in the middle of the classroom. I’d forgotten how it felt before the world fell at our feet. In my own private Idaho, I am at the summit of Thompson Peak in the Sawtooths under a raincloud clad sky. My hair ominously rises up to meet the atmosphere. As I run my hand through the thick, electric-charged air, sparks go …

“Portal to Another Dimension” outfit

“I would go as far as I could and hit a wall, my own imagined limitations. And then I met a fellow who gave me his secret, and it was pretty simple. When you hit a wall, just kick it in.” —Patti Smith I read Just Kids on the plane back home. The book is a wardrobe-esque passageway into the Chelsea Hotel and New York City of the ’60s and ’70s. As seen through the looking glass/lens of Patti Smith—and the snapshots of Robert Mapplethorpe—from the perspective of when they were both nobodies. Just some hungry, curious, passion-struck bodies—risking poverty and vertigo to plumb the depths of art, their voices, their setting, their souls. At the end of Rauschenberg’s reflecting pool, in front of his giant Studio, stands an off-kilter stone sculpture. “Hey, hey,” I would whisper conspiratorially to anyone around, those just dipping their toes in, “This is a portal to another dimension.” They blinked back at me, lizard-like, unsaying, “OK, weirdo.” But I went through it. This is what I found: Fear is a thin membrane. And …

“The future is unwritten” outfit

During our tour of Rauschenberg’s Captiva compound, I took a lopsided picture of this print on the wall of one of the Studios. “The future is unwritten,” it said. To say everything unsaid. This is the white hut where the writers go to write. This is the white path made of tiny white shells that leads to the hut where the writers go to write. It is all light. And all white. Except the inside. That is dark rich wood. That smells of cedar. Inside, there is a desk for you to write. A green chair to sit. To sweat it out into the white. Lauren Conrad flower print top $3.75 Idaho Youth Ranch thrift store  (I accidentally broke this top because I used it as an impromptu swim suit, then skinny dipped in a bioluminescent plankton glow high, and put it on rather hastily. Salty tears.)  | Bill Blass Sport hot pink button up top $7 – Bend, OR Goodwill | Official Boy Scout green cargo shorts with gold snaps and gold studs lining the pockets, $12, LUX Fashion Lounge) …

“Captiva” outfit

I spent the last 5 days at the late great artist Robert Rauschenberg‘s compound on Captiva Island, Florida. The heat a record high. The humidity druggy. The experience magic born of darkness and light. Rumor has it, Captiva is named for the misdeeds of the infamous pirates who roamed here in the early 1800s, exploiting the isle to hold female prisoners for ransom. Instead, I was flown in, with enthsiastic consent, by the extraordinary Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, his legacy nonprofit that dropped a $30k money bomb on Story Story Night‘s lap 2 years ago. Back then, even after phenomenal popularity, we were barely making it as an organization, and as human beings, honestly. I was lost in a horrifying, devastation-slash-stage-stricken major depressive episode. All live and without notes. Even with sold out shows stoked by nervous energy, Story Story Night‘s budget barely squeaked by. Behind the scenes, we had no structure, no nonprofit status. I felt like a husk. Deep inside a panicking, burning, and weeping body, I thought everything I loved was actually a parasite—eating my soul …

“Rapture, Blister, Burn” outfit

I’m going to see this play at Alley Repertory Theater in the Visual Arts Collective in less than an hour, so I don’t yet know what that title means, but damn, I know how it feels. Like brands seared beneath the skin, those scattered scarlett letters. Banana Republic gray see-through silk top – $5 Idaho Youth Ranch thrift store | milano, italia Alcantara fake suede orange skirt – $19.99 Idaho Youth Ranch thrift store, vintage 1970s? | Nine West gray snakeskin heels – $3.95 all leather upper, made in Brazil | Geode gold necklace – $54, Bricolage | Chia orange leather Victorian bomber jacket – $7.99 Serendipity Boutique vintage 1980s? Made in Korea Vinyl of the Day: “Music of Another Present Era” by Oregon Cheep!

“There’s Fire” outfit

The weekend before this controversial Columbus Day one, I drove to McDermitt, Nevada to see my friends Ned Evett & Music Box play a show at the Say When Casino, which even the owners admit resembles a David Lynch movie set in the old west of the uncanny 1970s. On the drive back through fire-blighted rural desert Oregon, I followed a sign down a dirt road to this gravesite for Jean Baptiste Charbonneau, the youngest member of the Lewis & Clark expedition, born to Sacagawea and a Metis French Canadian. He traveled the world and mountain manned the West; spoke several languages; suddenly caught ill and died here in 1866. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, his gravesite is now littered with modern-day sun-burnt offerings—mementos of hard desert living. A pink leopard print bra, folded in half and secured under a rock. A full mason jar of either sickly piss or potent moonshine. A sunbaked acid-eyed toy giraffe gnawing on the straw-capped head of a plastic boy doll who’s either playing a horn or smoking a very large pipe. Who can …

“Where There’s Smoke…” outfit

Red alert. A fire in Grimes Creek is filling the Treasure Valley with smoke. When you wake, it smells of a campfire built at midnight right outside your window. Downtown turns into a hazy wilderness. As does your mind. It reminds me of the end of “Smoke,” a short story by the Boise-based writer Alan Heathcock, from his brilliant collection Volt. I went to see the film adaptation this weekend at the Death Rattle Writers Festival in Nampa, Idaho. The ending line of this story, as the film ended too, never fails to bring hot, stinging tears to my eyes, unbidden: “All that smoke was now just the air we breathe.” And then that Billy Joel song rolls through my ignited tumbleweed mind: “We didn’t start the fire / It was always burning / Since the world’s been turning / No we didn’t light it / But we tried to fight it.” Diane Freis bohemian beaded silk flower print dress (vintage 1980s) – $30, Acquired Again Antiques | Handmade Custom Leatherworks plaid wool & leather vest – $5, Idaho Youth Ranch thrift store | Frye boots – $200 | Geode gold necklace …