Saturday, 8 March 2014

farewell vivian girls: new york

Last Thursday Katy, Eloy and I flew into Newark, NJ for the final Vivian Girls shows. We landed at night on my mom's birthday, so I went down to Toms River, while Katy went home to Ridgewood. Eloy stayed with our friends in Elizabeth.

Friday morning my parents and I got breakfast at a little deli in Beachwood, NJ and my mom and I went to the Ocean County Historical Society Museum. That night Eloy and I stayed with friends in Long Island and I drank Fireball for the first time.

It's now been one week since Katy, Cassie and I played the very last Vivian Girls shows. Having come up in Brooklyn, we agreed we should lay it to rest there as well. When our Death By Audio show sold out in a matter of minutes, we added a second New York show at a new Brooklyn venue, Baby's All Right.

Night one, we had Juan Wauters of the Beets (who we toured with in 2009) and Waxahatchee, one of my current faves. On the second night, and the true final show, we asked Shellshag and Potty Mouth to open. We curated two nights of old and new. I think it's a bit self indulgent to make a break up too nostalgic. I prefer to look forward and keep momentum. Celebrate the happy memories, express gratitude, and get excited about the future. I am not a fan of living in the past.

However this weekend, living in the past was sort of inevitable. It was a unique feeling to celebrate a period in your life in front of strangers. The first night I didn't know how to process it. I wondered if I regretted agreeing to play these shows, but the Baby's All Right show changed that. I noticed a girl crying in the front row during our encore and I just looked at her and shook my head, urging her not to cry. As soon as the set was over I cried my eyes out. I hugged Cassie and Katy backstage and spoke to fans through my tears. Anything remotely nice or inspiring anyone said to me made me well up all over again. I didn't know what to make of it, and I spent the next two days in mourning in my childhood bedroom.

In tandem with the death of Vivian Girls, I was home to pack up the bedroom I grew up in. My parents are moving to Florida in the summer and giving the house to my brother and his wife. I packed up junk into boxes for donation and rifled through old photos and diaries and love letters for preservation. It was strange and touching to look at my life thus far. All of a sudden the old show flyers and demos of my first bands seemed much more profound. I found photos of myself drumming behind Katy in a New Brunswick basement and thought "Man, if only you knew what was next."

The tears I cried over the weekend weren't tears of sadness I don't think. They were due to the profundity of the moment. The symbolic death, closing of a chapter, celebration, transition, change, whatever you want to call it. My tears were born of the same feeling I get at weddings and graduations; excitement for what's next, mourning for what's gone, and satisfaction with the way it came to be.

Jenn Pelly summed up these feelings beautifully in her piece for Pitchfork. You can read it here.

Since I can't live a moment of my life without posting about it online, here are some of the photos I came across while packing up my room. I also brought my Hi-8 video camera back to LA with me so I can digitize the film. God only knows what's on there, but I am certain there is a very young Dog Party and a lot of footage from our tour with Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti.

I've held onto these flyers forever cause I love them both so much. The first is from a basement show in New Brunswick, NJ hosted by the feminist club at Rutgers. The second flyer is from a show at some D&D place.

This is from a show at 12 Lafayette, where I spent most of college. My band with Katy, We're Not Virgins, played with Allison Wolfe's band, Partyline.

Allison actually DJ'ed the LA VGs show.

This photo was taken in someone's living room, I think on Robinson Street. Casse, Josh, and I were Liveournal friends. They had a band together called Upholstery. They were great and they played a show in New Brunswick that night.

Josh came to the Baby's All Right show. We recreated the photo.

This photo was taken outside the venue in Boston on the first night of our first tour after I joined.

Someone wrote this on the wall at a house show in Pittsburgh.

jumping on a hotel room bed somewhere in North Carolina

I remember Jay Reatard was supposed to play this Goner Fest, but he cancelled, and then showed up to the show anyway, but didn't play.

hanging out with Mikey Erg in Minneapolis

In n Out Burger on Sunset with Ariel Pink, Cole, and Tim Koh

 Walking with Cassie my first time in Los Angeles. We played the Echoplex.

On our first West Coast tour we met Nathan. I had never heard of Wavves, but Cassie was a fan of the album Woodsist had put out.

Seattle photobooth

This French dickhead heckled us at a show in Metz. We later realized he had a drawing of a vagina on his jacket.

My favorite tour of all was probably our tour of Japan and Australia. I couldn't wait to use the Japanese photo booths.

P.S. There are like, so many feelings and thoughts around all of this that I can't even begin to articulate so I'm not going to try. It won't do it justice and it'll just be even more wordy than this entry already is. Just know that I am feeling overwhelmingly grateful for everyone and everything.

1 comment:

  1. Ali, I'm so happy you posted this!
    I had so much fun at your last show. I don't think I was able to tell you any of this after but I feel like I was definitely late to the Vivian Girls party. I grew up in New Jersey too and always felt like nothing cool was going on. I didn't discover your music until I went to college in Maryland. Even though I missed out on your early years, your music really inspired me as a Jersey girl and woman in general. It was kind of weird to have your last show also be my first show but it did give me a good sense of closure in a way. But like you described, it's very much a beginning of another chapter and I'm excited for you and everyone else who is a part of it.

    Also I'm totally loving all these photos, particularly the Japanese purikura ones. I am going to Japan in less than a week so I will be sure to eat some black sesame ice cream for you.

    Thanks again for being awesome. I'm looking forward to your new projects and wishing you lots of luck.

    xx Carly