28 June 2010

una memoria del verano porteño.

[this photo's actually from my friend tony's roof on charcas, which is a few blocks away from where i used to live. same idea.]

on a sticky, steamy night in buenos aires, my host family and i were finishing up with a late dinner when the power went out. as summertime in argentina can reach scalding temperatures (compared with boston, anyway) and the rio de la plata doesn't do much in dragging the humidity out to sea, power outages during heatwaves aren't all too uncommon. i mean, think about it: refrigerators, air conditioners, fans, you flick one switch too many in one of the most densely populated cities in the world and you're bound to exhaust some power lines.

the lot of us - mariano (host dad), ines (host mom), andrés y francisco (host brothers) and i were finishing up the wine and starting to clear the plates when all of a sudden the room went dark. mariano started grumbling, ines went to the kitchen for candles and andrés, francisco and i threw open the door to the balcony and shuffled outside. our apartment was the penthouse in a nine-story building, and though nine flights of stairs doesn't seem that high up compared with the sky scrapers i've previously known, the traffic from below was muffled and far away and an eerie calm settled over our corner of palermo viejo.

andrés and francisco, both lanky and at least a head taller than their father, leaned over the edge of the balcony and were looking out below when someone started banging a pot against a railing a few blocks away. andrés and francisco started laughing and shaking their heads, with francisco pounding his fists half-heartedly against our railing as andrés explained that this happened during el críses when people would lose their power on a regular basis. within minutes, that one resounding CLANG CLANG CLANG-CLANG-CLANG was joined by leaden thuds and aluminum refrains as the neighbors broke out various kitchen utensils and took to their doors and rooftops as we had. everything for the long length of our street, was pitch black - no street lamps, no illuminated locutería signs, just the occasional headlights from cabs creeping onto our side street in the middle of a cut through. mariano and ines joined us on the balcony, mariano chuckling at the ruckus echoing around us, and the five of us stood sweating nine stories up until the streetlights came on street by street and the dining room lights glowed behind us. just as quickly as it had started, the balcony railing clamor subsided and everyone went back to their TVs, their dinners or their bedrooms, and mariano and ines went back to clearing the table.

andrés, francisco and i stayed outside for a minute or two longer than our parents, and i stayed out for a minute or two after andrés and francisco got bored and moseyed back inside. i spent a solid fifteen minutes hanging over the edge of the balcony looking up and down my street to make sure that it wasn't a fluke, and i went to bed that night completely in love with a power outage and everything about my neighbors and my home.

maybe it's the world cup madness and the fact that argentina is kicking SERIOUS ASS right now, but i find myself missing buenos aires and my host family more than i have since i left.

(if we lose power in this crazy humidity, i think we should start bangin' our pots and pans together.)

X H

14 June 2010

back on the grid! and back to june.



¡SHALOM FRIENDS!

i've left oh hey! in the dust this spring and that's just SAD. basically, i've been up to a lot of ridiculous life changes, including another layoff and another move, and both of them have left me picking up the pieces and putting my life back together (in a good way. i think.) here's the basic gist of what's going on:

I MOVED! my last landlord, who essentially kicked me out of my one-bedroom in porter because his brother moved into the apartment underneath me and wanted an upgrade, wasn't the nicest dude ever. unfortunately, this new guy, who lives in the second story of the house alaine and i have moved into, is much worse and the apartment was in such a state of filth and disrepair when we moved in that we freeeeeaked out. six weeks later we're still sorting everything out, but it's a livable space now and the place has definitely benefitted from a woman's (or two women's) touch(es). with that said, alaine is awesome, the neighborhood is fantastic (i can literally throw a rock at dalí and the wine and cheese cask, not that i'd want to) and we're trying to make this place a home. so far, so good. progress is the name of the game here.

I GOT LAID OFF! that's pretty much self-explanatory and my feelings about it are pretty mixed - liked the job, but am always up for new changes and challenges. (and let's be honest, my last commute was absolutely terrible courtesy of the ever-failing MBTA.) i've got a few interviews/prospects lined up for the next couple of weeks, which is encouraging, but in the meantime it's back to Funemployment for your favorite Gonzette. everything at the Dig is going great, though, which brings me to my next point -

I'VE BEEN WRITING TONS AND TONS OF THINGS FOR THE WEEKLY DIG! since SXSW, my editor at the Dig has been super benevolent with the story handouts and i've had the chance to interview and write up tons and tons and tons and tons of fascinating and fiercely talented artists. i wrote my favorite piece ever last week (it's coming out this wednesday so PICK IT UP) and i had the chance to write a Boston Pride profile on MEandJOANCOLLINS and MRS DANVERS, AND i got to do a hefty feature on Nathaniel Rateliff, who's my new obsession. long story short: Weekly Dig, I love you, thank you for reminding me why i love what i do on a daily basis.

I'VE BEEN HANGING OUT WITH ESME! my favorite Brit hopped across the pond about two weeks ago because she's got an internship in Deval Patrick's press office, and she's shacking up with me for the month! SO. MUCH. FUN. i love this girl to pieces. we've had a blast so far, she's met nearly all of my crazy, crazy friends and she fought jet lag like a champ on her first night out at zuzu. i'm a proud american mama.

I'VE BEEN PLOTTING THE REST OF MY ENDLESS SUMMER! the Newport Folk Festival is coming up in 6 weeks (AHHH!) and i have a slew of weekends blocked out at the lake house, so i'm a little too excited about what the rest of the summer has in store.

I'VE BEEN HANGIN' WITH THE GIRLS OF NEW BRAHMIN! so, i'm one of the newest contributors over at New Brahmin and i can't quit with the gushing about 'em. (granted, half of the ladies over there were friends of mine to begin with, but still.) my beat at NB is The Dressing Room, a column i contrived that raids the closets of boston's rock goddesses and discusses the difference between donning a costume for performance and rocking hoodies and jeans on the regular. mikey takes the photos, i do the interviews, and we walk away with some style insight from some of the most inspirational women in town. yesterday we had a shoot over by the train tracks off the mcgrath highway and some uninvited guests showed up (like gigantic mutant raccoons and people who live in bushes) but we came out unscathed. look for the next installment of TDR on thursday!

I'VE BEEN TAKING PHOTOS WITH PHOTOBOOTH! ok. so this last one happened during an unforgivable bout of writer's block at Sherman Cafe the other day. colors are fun, ok?

also, oh hey friends: I NEED NEW MUSIC. lately, my inbox has been jammed with press releases and album downloads, which is AMAZING, but I WANT MOOOOORE. if you've got a record, band or song that you've been blasting nonstop, leave it in the comments. i think i'm going to be making a few mixes in the near future...

X H