At first I almost titled this piece: Rules for Being a Tourist in a Big City. However, I realized that there are, in fact, many people who live in big cities who don’t know the basic rules of functioning in a city, or even functioning as a human.
I recently took a weekend trip to Boston, where I lived for 3 years, and just like New York, I saw the same stupidity from tourists and locals alike.
So, in order to do my duty as a citizen of the World, I present you,
Shan Babe’s Rules for Functioning in a Big City.
1. Walking on Sidewalks.
General Rules: Walk on the right, pass on the left. Walk fast or risk being run over. Keep your bike off the sidewalk.
Yes, sidewalks get crowded, and sometimes you just have to weave in and out, (a bit like Frogger) but just try to at least follow of the basic principles of human decency and be mindful when people are trying to pass.
Tourists: I know that where you’re from, you probably don’t walk to get from point A to point B very often, but just imagine if I were in a car in your city, moving 15 mph in a 65. Would you be mad? Most likely, yes. So if you want to walk slow in the big city, you better wear knee pads.
DON’T, for the love of CHRIST, stop in the middle of the sidewalk to take a picture, answer a phone call, search for your phone/keys/etc. If you bump into a friend, (or worse, a guy/gal you used to hook up with) and would like to catch up with them, kindly step aside into the nearest apartment stoop, minding the fresh urine from the homeless man who just peed.
Please don’t walk like a fucking idiot with your stupid friends 3, 4 or 5 people wide. This doesn’t make you look cool, it just annoys the shit out of everyone. This is a big city, people have places to be. Be mindful.
And while we’re on that topic… GET THE FUCK OFF YOUR CELL PHONE IF YOU CAN’T WALK AND TEXT/TALK/SEARCH SOCIAL MEDIA while still using basic brain function.
I’m a big fan of bikes! (Yay Mother Earth!) But get your fucking Citi Bike off the sidewalk. There are bike lanes for guess what??? BIKES! There is also the street where bikes are actually considered a vehicle. (Traffic laws DO apply to bikes as well, even though most cyclist think they are exempt). If you are too afraid of the bike lanes or the street, go to Central Park and ride your bike.
Also, the yellow ones don’t stop, so if you aren’t paying attention and get hit by a taxi… your fault. Sorry.
2. Accessing Public Transportation.
General Rules: Have your metro card/T-Pass/whatever they call it in other cities, OUT before you stand in front of the turnstile like a fucking dick. Let people off the train before you enter.
Don’t be afraid to ask a local for help finding a place/navigating the subway. Yes, you run the risk of that person being a bitch, but I’m happy to give a friendly tourist the help they need if it means one less stupid person clogging up the public transpo system.
If you don’t have your transportation card out when you reach the turnstile, kindly step out of the way. If you would like to piss off a New Yorker, you will prevent them from catching their train. I don’t wish that wrath on anyone.
If you do happen to reach your scheduled train on time, it is IMPERATIVE that you let the people off the train before you enter. Basic logic will tell you that the train cannot, indeed, depart until all the people are off, so elbowing your way onto the train while people are trying to get off only slows the process… and again, makes you look like a dick.
3. While on Public Transportation.
General Rules: Seats are for sitting, not for your piles of shit. Give up seats to people who need them. Move into the center of the train. Don’t be a pole-leaner. CONTROL YOUR FUCKING CHILDREN.
In an empty train, it is acceptable to put your purse, grocery bag, shopping bag on the seat next to you. I do it sometimes. However, once the train starts populating, you are NOT so special that you can simply hold this seat for your imaginary friend, Fred, or whatever your imaginary friend’s name is. Move your shit.
If an elderly person, pregnant lady, person with crutches enters the train, get your ass up and offer them your seat. In New York, some folks of these demographic will refuse, (being the tough New Yorkers they are,) but it is always appropriate to ask. You have two legs, good health, and are capable of standing. Yeah, you worked a long day at work, but so did everyone else. This is a big fucking city, most of us are overworked and under-slept.
Staying close to a door on the train is often prime real estate, especially when you’re trying to get off in a few stops. That being said, if the train gets crowded, scoot your ass over. Or, if you can allow enough space to squeeze by without assaulting your neighbor, please get the fuck out of the way.
FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY DO NOT LEAN ON THE POLE. If I have to busy out my balancing skills to not fall over on a train because you are leaning on the length of the pole, I’m going to go bananas.
Next, we have the children of public transportation. Crying babies get a pass… they are babies, and although incredibly annoying, cannot help their annoyingness. Your toddler and kids though? They aren’t cute. Their iPad that is blasting their video game with no headphones? Not cute. Them treating the train like a jungle gym? Not cute. Them blowing snot rockets and spitballs across the train? Not cute.
YOUR KIDS ARE NOT CUTE.
4. Personal Hygiene
General Rules: Deodorant, deodorant, deodorant. Hand sanitizer is a must. Crop dust in less concentrated areas.
We all stink. We all fart. We all poop.
In a big city, everyone is closer to one another because the population is exponentially condensed into a confined space: the subway, the bus, the sidewalk, the “hottest” nightclub where everyone is packed in like sardines.
Be courteous for us, and shower. Bathing is essential for living in a city. I understand some of us may be smellier than others, but I tend to carry around deodorant, a toothbrush, mouthwash, gum and floss with me in order to keep myself smelling up to standard. I realize most of us may not be THAT particular, but I see it as me doing my duty to society by being one less smelly New Yorker.
Also, be mindful that millions of people are touching that subway pole, that turnstile, that bathroom door, etc, etc every day. Don’t cough or sneeze and then wipe your hand on public property. There is a reason I contracted the swine flu a year ago, and it’s because there are fucking nasty people who inhabit this city. Do yourself a favor and go to Duane Reade, CVS, Walgreens or your closest neighborhood bodega and buy some .99 cent hand sanitizer. The world will thank you for it.
And just as a courtesy, if you have to fart, just look behind you. There is nothing worse than being downwind of a silent-but-deadly bomb. Research says that farts release fecal particles into the air, so think about how you would feel if a piece of shit hit you in the face.
Speaking of poop…
5. Public Bathrooms
General Rules: Wipe up your piss. Girls, don’t get gross with your lady business. Smelly poop can sometimes not be avoided.
There is no excuse for piss on a toilet seat that everyone uses. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t like to sit my ass cheeks on a public toilet seat. I’m well-versed in the art of the “squat and pee.” There is, however, a little rhyme all of us should remember: “If you sprinkle when you tinkle, be a sweetie, wipe the seatie.”
Simple. Or, just lay down TP on the seat an then sit your ass down. A Myth Busters episode took cultures of toilet seats and said they are often much cleaner than people assume. Also, fun fact: the first stall in a series of stalls typically has the least amount of germs since it often gets overlooked.
Now… next up: ladies. Once a month we have to endure Aunt Flo and all her glory. Most of you have been experiencing this every month over the course of many years. WHY, THEN, is it so impossible for you to not be the GROSSEST HUMAN ON THE PLANET, and clean up after yourself???
Get it together.
The last uncomfortable topic I will talk about is poop. Sometimes it’s unavoidable in a public place. If you find yourself in public, and know you need to poop, try these tips. Use the stall furthest away from the closest human. Use the restroom in the basement of the facility or the top floor; those are usually less condensed. If you find yourself in the awkward position of being in a single stall with a line outside the door, simply flush a few times, and apologize to the next person in line… or just blame it on the previous occupant…
Sometimes shit happens… literally…
This one deserves it’s own category because it INFURIATES me when people don’t know the basic rules of the escalator.
IF YOU WANT TO STAND, STAY ON THE RIGHT.
Do NOT stand side-by-side with your stupid friend and clog up the whole damn escalator when there are people trying to pass on the left.
It is so simple, yet there is always that ONE MOTHERFUCKER who ruins it for everyone.
7. Eating Out
General Rules: ALWAYS TIP. Large parties: be prepared to split the bill or just bring cash. Don’t be a dick.
This one is for all my friends in the service industry.
Some people may disagree with me here, but there really is not ever a reason not to tip. Especially in a big city where wages are usually meager enough, and some people live SOLELY on tips. Unless that server or bartender came to your home and slaughtered your first born, cut off your sexual organs, or physically assaulted you, you should ALWAYS tip.
Are there situations where I’ve dealt with some real cunts as servers/bartenders? Sure. Have I ever given someone a crappy tip for being a cunt? Sure. Have I ever not tipped? No. My hope is that karma gets the best of these people, and in the city, it’s likely they won’t last long anyway if this is how they treat their customers. Also… YOU might be the cunt, and the attitude you get from them might be deserved.
This is especially true with large parties. Large parties are fucking annoying. If you are going to go somewhere and have a large fucking party, discuss the details ahead of time. Is everyone expected to split the bill evenly? Is everyone bringing cash? Is the server okay with splitting checks? How about the person who has one beer and an appetizer? Is there a person designated to work out the bill at the end of the night? (In my case it was always my friend Christina, she was a MASTER of working out the check).
If you find yourself in a large party, DO NOT assume that because you want to order fucking mozzarella sticks and chips and guac and potato skins, that everyone else wants to eat them… OR PAY FOR THEM. I’ve been in so many situations where we’re all supposed to “split the appetizers” when all I had was a small salad and a glass of the cheapest wine. I’m broke as a fucking joke. Don’t assume everyone has money to throw at your fucking potato skins.
And don’t be a dick. If you can’t afford this birthday party, be honest. I’ve gone to dinners where I’ve let the birthday boy know that I would be eating at home and had one drink that I paid for in CASH. If you know that you need to bring cash, go to an ATM. We’ve all been in these situations, and they are THE WORST.
8. Going Out
General Rules: Have your ID out when you get to the bar/club. Don’t be an idiot and order a crazy complicated drink at a dive bar. Don’t get white-girl wasted. Spilling drinks is not cute.
Just like having your metro card ready when you enter the subway, have your ID out when you go somewhere. I want to drink, and if some dumb bitch is standing in front of me is giggling while she tries to search through the bottomless pit that is her purse for her ID, I’m going to get aggravated.
Don’t get between me and my whiskey.
Again, I have a lot of friends who are bartenders. They tell me what annoys them the most. Girls who come into dive bars/sports bars and ask for mojitos or cosmos or some other complicated drink that you usually get at a cocktail bar. If you’re at someplace in Midtown Manhattan that has some kind of incredibly Irish-sounding name, chances are you’re going to annoy the piss out of the bartender when they have to make you some stupid fucking sugary drink, when you should have just ordered a beer or a well drink.
Don’t get white-girl wasted… or try not to. This one is more of a guideline… not law.
However, if you choose to get white-girl wasted, pull yourself together. None of this spilling drinks bullshit or taking off your shoes. Remember our lesson on personal hygiene??
General Rule: Different strokes for different folks
Just because you don’t understand a lifestyle, does not mean it’s wrong. As long as no one is hurting you, anyone else, or infringing on your rights as an american, I see no reason why we all can’t co-exist. Big cities tend to be filled with all sorts of weird birds.
Especially if you’re a tourist, or a non-native, you cannot be judgmental when you come into OUR city. Keep your racist/sexist/homophobic/naivety to yourself. You are a visitor. I don’t go to the Bible Belt and start shouting about how I’m an atheist. Don’t come to Hell’s Kitchen and run around screaming about how you hate gays.
Tolerance is a beautiful thing.
10. BE SMART
The city is a beautiful place, but you share the city with millions of people. BE MINDFUL. The universe does not revolve around you and your smart phone. BE ALERT.
Also, remember your manners. Remember to be kind. Try to be patient with those who deserve your patience. If someone is being an idiot, and you absolutely MUST call them out, try not to be the bitchiest version of yourself. Stand up for intolerance. Practice basic principles or cleanliness and hygiene. Don’t hold up the line… whatever line that may be.
No matter what city you live in, be it New York City, Boston, Chicago, LA, Rome, Paris, Tokyo or Beijing, remember that there are different cultures and ways of operating. If you are visiting, figure these things out BEFORE you travel. The natives will thank you for it.
Now go! Get out there! Frolic wild and free through the streets! You now have the basic principles for functioning as a human!
Goodnight New York City, Goodnight moon
A New Yorker,
Well hello again!
So I spent some time in hibernation. Partially when I was home in Cleveland, and then when I came back to New York. This was all part of the plan to “figure my life out.”
Unfortunately, I still don’t have all the answers, but I have come to several realizations.
Being alone for long stretches of time is not really my “thing.” I’m a social butterfly; I thrive on human contact and emotion. However, I needed time to clear my head of what everyone else’s opinions were of me, and figure out what my own opinions of myself are.
So here are my thoughts.
1. Being alone sucks at first, but then it gives one clarity
I did NOT like my first few days alone. I felt depressed and low. I wanted to sleep a lot and felt lazy. After about day two, I decided enough was enough.
I started taking walks, connecting with myself. I went to bookstores and coffee shops. I went to parks and people watched. I cleaned my room and purged unnecessary clutter. I worked out and appreciated all the bone and muscle and sinew that made up my body. I cooked myself meals and put leftovers in the fridge for later. I submitted for castings that I never normally would have deemed myself worthy of submitting. I auditioned for a show where I knew I wasn’t the best fit (it was a very technical dance audition), didn’t get a callback, but still felt like I rocked it out. I went to an open mic alone, and soaked up all the unknown talent in the room. I prepped for singing auditions. I re-did my resume (both professional and performance). I watched World Cup soccer with strangers. I wrote a few more chapters of my book. I worked on a new demo. I wrote music. I went to an art exhibit called The Strangers Project and anonymously shared my story on an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper for this artists collection.
Over this time, I cried a little bit, but I also smiled a lot. I got headaches from thinking too much, but I also started to feel my old feelings of self worth. Which brings me to my next thought…
2. I am worth a lot more than I give myself credit
The great thing about being alone, is you can completely separate your own thoughts from the thoughts of others, because there is no one else around you but yourself.
I started to realize that most of the negative thoughts that I had about myself, (ie my talent as an actress, my talent as a singer, my weight, my looks, my personality) were not coming from me. In fact, I’m pretty damn sure I like everything about myself at the moment. I was letting people on the outside project their insecurities on to me.
And the moment I was truly aware of how low my self esteem had gotten over the last 6 months, was when I was lucky enough to work with a high-profile actor in a featured roll and no one even thought twice about the fact that I wasn’t a size 0. No one fucking cared. Wanna know why? Because I’m fucking great at what I do. I have a great fucking attitude. And because I’m extremely fucking talented.
3. I’m not apologizing for being talented anymore
We are taught growing up, especially if you happen to be female, to be modest and humble about your strengths. I agree with this to a certain point. I don’t believe we should all walk around thinking we’re better than anyone else, because in the end, we all end up in the ground. However, I’m not going to allow myself to undermine my talent anymore.
I remember after Ro died and I was just getting back to Berklee. I saw a music business job pop up in my Berklee email about a talent buyer position. It was asking for people with “experience” of which I had very little in the actual business. But you know what? I was so confident in my ability to do that job that I went in and impressed the HELL out of my future boss. Did I have the credentials some of these students had? Absolutely not. But then, not only did I get that job, but I ended up working for a woman who became a mentor, a friend, a second mother to me. She told me later after I’d gotten the job, that it was clear from the moment I walked into that interview that I was qualified, even if I didn’t have all the technical “qualifications.”
For a while out here in New York, I was paralyzed with the fear of going to auditions or submitting for things I didn’t think I was “right for, or “skinny enough” for, or “talented enough” for. Fuck that.
I’m not saying this to try to brag. I’m saying this because I don’t believe it enough of myself.
Last week I went to an audition for Rock of Ages for their open dance call for a cruise line. When they called my group of about 20 people into the room, I could tell everyone was sizing each other up. Not me. I was calm, confident, only concerned with myself. I tuned everyone else out, and focused solely on my performance. When the choreographer taught the dance, I knew it was a bit of a stretch for me since it involved a lot of technique that I simply do not have. I’m a great hip hop dancer, and I pick up choreography quickly, but there were elements like turns and kicks that I was only able to display with mediocrity. When it was my turn to dance in front of the casting director, I threw them my fiercest face, hit every single count with raw energy, and had passion shooting out from my fingertips all the way to my toes. I didn’t get the callback, but I had people come up to me afterward and commend me on standing out in the crowd. I was a little sad about not getting to sing for them, but there was nothing in that audition I could have done better. I left everything on the dance floor, and that was that. Maybe next time they’ll see me in a different light and maybe they won’t. It’s out of my hands, so why stress?
4. Sometimes seemingly serendipitous events occur, but they just turn out to be fruits of my labor.
I got some great news the other day, and had an amazing opportunity thrown my way. (I apologize that I can’t really discuss specifics. The industry and productions deserve all the respect and privacy they ask for, so please respect my vagueness.) When I got the call, I couldn’t believe that I had been chosen, and thought maybe this was a “sign” that I’m on the right path to where I want to be.
While I do believe this event occurred at precisely the right time, this wasn’t serendipity. No, this was my hard work paying off. Had I just sat in my room beside myself, none of this would have happened. I put myself out into this strange world that we call the entertainment industry, and someone finally said, “Yes, Shannon. We believe in you. You are our choice.”
I get told, “no” a lot. It takes a strong stomach to walk away from those “nos” and keep searching for that one “yes.”
AND BOY DID IT FEEL FUCKING GREAT TO GET THAT “YES!”
To be incredibly honest, today was the first day where I thought to myself, “Hey Shan, you might actually be able to make a career out of this,” and actually mean it. Sure it has always been my hope and my dream to sing/act/perform for a living, but I seldom every call it more than just that: a dream.
This is not a dream for me anymore. This is my life, my livelihood. Today when I walked off set, I was so sad that my day was ending, even though I was dehydrated, sweaty and tired from waking up at the crack of dawn. I live and breathe to be in front of an audience. I can’t even go to a concert, a movie, a play without an intense anxiety and want to be up there. I don’t want to be an observer of the arts, I want to be the art. I want to share my talent.
Having said all this, I have not gotten any of these opportunities by knowing someone famous, or having a lot of money, or being the skinniest/prettiest girl at the casting. I’m the underdog. I’m the loud/quirky girl with big hips and a bigger personality. I got down on my knees, dug in the dirt, planted my seed, and slowly watched it grow. I’ve clawed myself to the top of a mountain where I’ve been bruised, cut, knocked down, even knocked out for a while. I’m not at the top of the mountain, but maybe I’ve reached a small peak.
5. Positive thinking is quite the powerful tool
I let my life be controlled by the negative. My thinking was always, “How long will I be able to do this?” or “Will I ever ‘make it?’” or “Will I ever be skinny or beautiful or perfect enough?” When it should have been, “How can I make sure I will be able to do this for the rest of my life?” or “What is my definition of ‘making it’ that will make me happy and fulfilled?” or “What is unique about me, my personality and my looks that no one else has?”
Every day since I’ve come home from Cleveland, I’ve looked at myself in the mirror and told myself one thing that I like about myself both physically and spiritually. For example, one of the first few days, I wasn’t feeling so hot about my body, but I looked at myself and told “mirror Shan” that I had nice eyebrows and I have the ability to make people laugh. I started small, and pretty soon, every time I caught myself in the mirror, I was screaming inside with happiness about the person I was looking at.
Sure, there were points where I went a few steps backward and stood in the mirror and pinched at my thighs and wondered why I was still single after 2 1/2 years of not dating, but who cares? My life is pretty damn great with my big thighs and no boyfriend to distract me.
6. There are plenty of people who still want to see you fail, but more people want you to succeed
Ro used to always tell me, “Misery loves company.” She was right. If a person is unhappy with themselves, they will project that unhappiness and those insecurities on to you. Plain and simple. Fuck, I’ve been guilty of it. I’ve probably unintentionally projected my negative feelings onto others, and for that I’m sorry.
I hate to quote Mean Girls right now… Awww who am I kidding? I would LOVE to quote mean girls right now: “Calling someone fat won’t make you any skinner. Calling someone stupid doesn’t make you any smarter. Ruining someone’s life won’t make yours any better. The only thing that you can do in life is solve the problem that’s in front of you.”
And with that:
7. THE LIMIT DOES NOT EXIST
I kept putting caps on my dreams because I thought only if I were X, Y or Z that I would be able to “make it.” There is no limit on talent. There is no cap on how many people can function in this industry. There is no rule that says you must “be this tall to ride the entertainment industry ride.” Of course there are shallow, political and shady things that go on, but I don’t need to be a part of them to survive. I’ll be over here, in my hippie clothes, spiky boots, and red lipstick against my pale face, watching everyone else crash and burn, while I’m hunkered down, focused in my bomb shelter.
Thank you Cady Heron! (or shall I say Tina Fey for writing this brilliant piece of pop culture)
Shan Babe ***DROPPING 1,000 MICS*** OUT!
Now THIS is a happy girl!
PS! I am VERY MUCH still raising money for my breast cancer walk in October. Click here to spread the love… bit.ly/shannonavonwalk
I just wanted to give everyone a quick update, since it seems many of my friends and family are concerned about me.
I’ve always been a fighter. This is nothing new.
However, my last few posts have given off a rather defeatist, sad attitude.
I recently went home to Cleveland to recharge. Since I’ve returned to New York, I’ve been a bit silent, and my friends have expressed their concern.
What I want to reiterate to everyone, is that I’m in a tough spot, and right now the best thing for me is hunker down and focus. My days since I’ve been back have solely been devoted to applying for castings, setting up auditions, attending fittings, working background, singing, going to open mics, writing and really reflecting on what my hopes for the future are.
I know that many of you think I’m just pulling away, but I’m not. I’m not trying to be mean. I’m not trying to ignore you. I’m not sitting at home and crying my eyes out, wishing my life would get better.
I’m just focused.
I understand that everyone is just trying to help, but I’ve realized that when I have 100 different opinions and suggestions thrown in my face, my brain just gets confused and shuts down completely.
One of the problems with my personality is my tendency to reach out to others to tell me what to do when I get myself in a rut. Most of my friends have unfortunately been at the other end of these conversations: calming me down, giving me advice and telling me that everything will be okay. But the problem with these conversations is I never really end up considering what I want. I always try to make a logical decision, and take what I feel like the “best” or “right” advice is from friends.
This is why I haven’t been posting to Facebook, texting, or calling much within the last few weeks. I’m trying to figure out what I want. I’m trying to figure out what will actually make me happy. I’m trying to take everyone else out of the equation because once I consider the fact that someone else wants me to do something, my brain automatically goes into “pleasing mode” and I ignore my basic needs in order to appease another person.
I’m sure I’ll be back to my old self soon, but in the meantime, just know that I’m not trying to become a recluse or pull away.
I also need everyone to respect that I don’t have the answers to anything. I don’t know anything about anything. I have no answers about how to “make it,” how to pursue a “dream,” or how to be “successful.” When people approach me as an expert in the struggle of how to be a creative in New York, it stresses me out beyond belief. I’ll start giving out advice once I reach some level of success. Until then, “all I know is that I don’t know nothing.”
I’m also broke. So if I decline an invite to your show, birthday, hangout, bar night, it is simply because I cannot afford the social liberties of New York at the moment. However, if you want to come to my place and watch Netflix with me or walk around one of the city’s many parks, I would gladly welcome that. As long as we don’t have to talk about my life or career.
So cheers to being young. Cheers to being confused. Cheers to being broke. Cheers to being a struggling artist. Cheers to allowing oneself to be young, sad, confused, broke and struggling.
Shannon Rose Allen
PS: I know that some people will want to respond to this post with comments like, “Keep working hard! You will succeed! Never give up on your dream!” etc, etc. I appreciate the positive encouragement, but I am not inviting lectures on the importance of following my dream. I KNOW you all believe in me, but until you are a broke, unemployed, struggling singer/actress, please hold off on the lectures. I’ve gotten my fair share.
Single woman, 26, seeks a professional, attractive soccer (football) player.
Me: Lives in New York City. Fun. Rock and Roll singer/songwriter/actress living the starving artist lifestyle. Likes whiskey, craft beer, and live music.
You: A professional soccer player. Speaking English is NOT a requirement (accents encouraged). Likes to drink, have fun and go on adventures. Must love curves.
Not required, but STRONGLY suggested that you look like this:
(Miguel Veloso – Portugal)
(Geoff Cameron – USA)
(Gabriel Achilier – Ecuador)
(Roman Burki – Switzerland)
(Sergio Ramos – Spain)
(Ciro Immobile – Italy)
(Gerard Pique – Spain)
Thank you for your consideration.
Serious inquiries only.
Single, Broke and Looking For Love (or a fun night with a soccer player)
Last weekend I went to the Governors Ball with my mentor from the Berklee College of Music.
It was a fucking BLAST.
The 2014 Governors Balls popped my festival cherry. Tons of my friends have been to Bonnaroo, Coachella, SXSW, Lollapalooza, etc, but for me, this was my first.
Now, there are several articles online about who the best acts were, who delivered, who fell short, acts to watch out for, so on and so forth, but I don’t necessarily want to focus on the acts in this post.
Having said that, I would like to say that my top performances of the weekend were The Strokes, Sleigh Bells, Empire of the Sun, Lucius, and Foster the People.
But now I would like to discuss an important part of outdoor music festivals, and talk about the people that fill them. Yes, the good, the bad and the ugly. People watching at these events is often just as entertaining, if not more, than watching the actual bands.
So here are my list of “People you Might See if You’re at an Outdoor Music Festival”
1. The Rolling Stones looking dude with a MUCH younger hot woman.
I think I may have found Keith Richards’ doppelgänger at Gov Ball this year. His skin was hanging off his bones, was wearing and incredibly tight pair of black jeans, combat boots, and a plain white tee. He was dripping in silver necklaces and leather arm bracelets. You could absolutely tell this man was a former rocker, and had a lot of cash. If his rock star appearance and attitude didn’t prove this point, the phenomenally hot, skinny Asian woman hanging all over him drove the point home.
Who knows, maybe this guy is absolutely charming and has a well endowed… you know, things…
But honestly… this girl hanging all over him, with her legs draped over his lap, drunk at noon, with her tongue down his throat, made me think that this was her sugar daddy.
Hey, who am I to judge? Get it girl. Hopefully the guy’s brain isn’t too fried from all the acid he did in the 60s and he can still carry on a conversation with you. Oh who am I kidding, you don’t date him for the stimulating conversation. Although I’m sure this guy has some pretty cool stories… and possibly herpes…
LOVE YOU KEITH
2. The model threesome
The perks about being in VIP the whole weekend, were the nicer bathrooms (porta-trailers instead of porta-potties), better booze, and of course, shade and seating near the bar. On an adjacent couch from our Keith look-a-like and the hot Asian, was another insteresting group. The threesome.
The two ladies were impeccably dressed in their Boho-chic blouses and skirts, Michael Kors sandals and hombre hair that was just the right amount of wavy for a summer day. Side note: I am forever jealous of these women who can make a summer outfit look ever-so flawless. How do they do it??? GIVE ME YOUR POWERS PRETTY LADIES!
Anyway, these two girls were at least 5’8″ with legs for days. The guy in question between them was also a young 20-something with a trendy haircut that was much shorter on the sides and longer on the top. You know, the one EVERY gay man in Manhattan possesses, that the trendy straight boys have now picked up? Yep. That’s the one. He had plenty of artsy tattoos, including a double band around his forearm and a triangle on the underside of his bicep. His expensive Nikon was being tossed around between the two gorgeous girls as they made out, taking pictures at artsy angles, cigarettes hanging from their perfectly-pouted lips.
I’m guessing these photos will end up in a gallery in Soho soon, or in this guy’s private stash… or both.
Perhaps they were the Blurred Lines girls??
3. The girls who have no clue who any of these bands are
Oh Jesus. These girls.
Listen, I get that a festival is often more about the “experience” of it all than the actual music, but COME ON girls! We know that you look great in hippie clothes and headbands that caress the front of your forehead, but at least PRETEND to be interested in some of these bands!
These were just too many of these girls at Gov Ball. They spent most of their time taking pictures of one another for Instagram (where they perfect the skinny arm, and lean so far back from one another that you think they might tip over), charging their phones (another perk of the VIP tent), and pumping themselves full of THC, cheap beer, nicotine a MDMA. If that’s really all you want to do with your time, just go to Brooklyn warehouse party… it’s a lot cheaper than a festival ticket.
If you don’t believe me that these people don’t know the music, watch this video.
4. The Lonely Dancers
I applaud these people. The ones who aren’t afraid to dance on their own.
This particular lady I saw was just LIVING while Lucius did their set. And I mean… who wouldn’t!? That band is INSANE.
Anyway… I just hope to have the swag this lady possesses some day.
Oh wait… I DO!
5. The girls who burned out halfway through the day and fell asleep in the grass
On day 2, I popped over to one of the stages to watch Sleigh Bells (who SLAYED me… or shall I say, SLEIGHED me… he he). It was an amazing combination of Rage Against the Machine meets the Beastie Boys with a chick for a singer/front woman. They were LOUD and had the audience all on their feet.
And then I glanced to my left and saw two girls passed out in the grass. I knew they were sleeping (and not dead) since they were leaning against one another with festival t-shirts draped over their eyes. How these girls slept through this set was beyond me, but after Sleigh Bells finished, I watched these Sleeping Beauties wake up from their slumber, looking confused that the sun had gone down, examining their awkward tan lines from sleeping with a shirt over their eyes.
Booze will do that to you. Don’t burn out kids!
Nipples. Lots and lots of nipples and side boob. A festival is not complete without boobs of all shapes and sizes.
Let them FLY FREE ladies!
7. Buttcheeks, so many buttcheeks
The high-waisted cutoffs are definitely in style right now, especially for festival goers. However, there was a GRATUITOUS amount of cheek-action going on at Gov Ball.
Now I love me a good pair of cutoffs, but ladies COME ON! Can’t you tell when you got some breeze on your cheeks??
8. The Russian models who only know “The Skrillex”
So many people were only at Gov Ball the second day to see Skrillex. It was kind of like this…
9. The “partied-out” Dude
This happened on my ferry ride home:
10. Every kind of tattoo you could ever imagine
Some tattoos I didn’t even know could exist. I’m talking about the weirdest phrases and pictures I’ve ever seen. Everything from your typical birds flying away on the shoulder, to symbol on the back of the neck, to the artsy script. And then there were the awful pictures of loved ones that looked incredibly creepy, the misquoted/misspelled, and the unicorns that made you think to yourself, “This person got this when she was 18 and wanted to piss her parents off…”
11. The overly-friendly drunk
This doesn’t really need much explaining. They are EVERYWHERE.
12. The overly-friendly high kid
Again, you all know who I’m talking about
13. The frat daddy
Oh lord. The festival bros. These kids were all decked out in their Ray Bans, salmon/American flag shorts, sport coats and backward hats. You can pick them out immediately. They can’t stop using the word “bro,” pronounced like “brah,” and cheers-ing to just about everything.
Now, I have no problem with frat guys. I, myself was in a sorority. But if you’re going to go to a festival, at least TRY to look like you’re going to see music and not a clam bake.
They are often accompanied by…
14. The girl with a temporary tattoo of the Vineyard Vines whale
No, girl, just, NO. This is a music festival, not a weekend in Nantucket. Wearing your hippie festival attire along with this temporary tattoo, not only makes you look like an idiot, but by displaying an extremely affluent clothing brand logo (in TEMPORARY tattoo form) is the very antithesis of what a music festival is supposed to be about.
15. The EDM kids (or the kids who wouldn’t know what a real instrument was if it smacked them across the face)
I do enjoy me some EDM music, but shit, the culture is just so FUCKED. I can’t deal with some of these crazies. Perhaps if I were on drugs, people like this would annoy me less…
16. The parents who brought their infant
REALLY?!! You brought your baby to a music festival?!? REALLY?!?! I don’t care if this baby has noise-canceling headphones on!!! You want your child around all these drunk, drug-addled humans?
You’re nailing this whole “parenting” thing.
17. The mom reading a book on her Kindle
Yep. THIS happened.
18. The beautiful goth lesbians
Oh I WISH I took a picture of these two. I believe they were with one of the bands because they were seen in the side stages, as well as VIP. They both wore all black, one had dreads and the other long, black silky hair. They didn’t look overdone, as some people who try to pull off the goth look do.
It made me smile.
19. The bad-ass smelly sock man
20. The bro-deo
These boys made me smile. Wasn’t sure what they were on, but BOY were they having a great time!
So there you have it.
They come in all shapes, sizes, ages, genders, and styles.
Rock and Roll
The amount of concern coming from people today is unbelievable. If I had this many “friends” in real life, I might not be feeling the way I do about my city.
I need to clarify this to everyone who has chosen to flip out at me via Facebook, Twitter, blog comment, phone, or text:
I’M NOT GIVING UP.
Just because I’m considering moving out of New York, does NOT mean I have any less plans about pursuing my dreams.
All it means is that New York might not be the right place for me.
Also, never did I ONCE say that this is something that is for SURE going to happen.
Everyone should calm down.
Let me explain, before I bite someone’s head off.
LET ME CLARIFY EACH OF THESE STATEMENTS BEFORE EVERYONE JUMPS DOWN MY THROAT. Also, I’m entitled to the way I feel. Just because YOU may not think these things true, does not mean that they are any less real or important to ME. Let me try telling you how to feel about something you are incredibly insecure about and let’s see how that conversation ends.
1. I might leave New York because I feel like my talent is wasted.
Now let me explain to you what this feels like.
Imagine you spend your time going to audition after audition, and having casting directors tell you that you are a wonderful singer, have a mature voice, and can clearly hear my range of vocal style. And then not getting a callback.
YES, I realize that there are MANY people who don’t get callbacks at auditions, and spend YEARS and YEARS going back to face only more rejection.
But my question is, why am I feeding into this bullshit where a “tastemaker” (ie casting director) sits there and tells me how wonderful and talented I am, but then chooses another direction? Aren’t there places where I can go and be appreciated for my talent?
Yes, I believe there are several different places I can go and be a singer. Perhaps New York is not picking up what Shan Babe is laying down.
Perhaps it’s because I’m a rock singer and not a theater singer. Perhaps it also has something to do with my body type. I’m not sure.
I also was lucky enough to get my SAG card this past year, but what those of you who don’t work in the industry may not realize, is that a SAG card does not guarantee that you’re going to be a rich and famous actress. Basically all it means is that I owe them a SHIT TON of money up front, pay dues twice a year, get to vote at the awards, and make more money per day than non union, but also sometimes receive less work since there are often limited union spaces on shoots. Also, being a background actor, although very cool at times, is not really a big deal. It just means that I am used to color the background of a scene, so it doesn’t look awkward when a lead is in a scene.
Again, New York is not the only place in the entire world where I can be creative. There are so many places that I’m sure would be happy to accept my talent.
I’m also not afraid of being the little fish in the big pond. I’ve done it for two years now. I have absolutely been validated that I HAVE the talent, but I would just like to use it, rather than beating a dead horse and continuing to audition for parts that are not right for me. There WILL come a day when someone gives me the big, “YES,” and it might not be here.
2. I might leave New York because I’m the “fat girl.”
If ONE more person in New York City has to make some fucking comment about what I eat, how much I weigh, or the shape of my body, I’m going to respectfully tell them to fuck off. ESPECIALLY the gay community. I listen to all my Queens complain about their bodies 27/7 and I have NEVER once made a negative comment to them about anything of the sort. But for some reason, gay men find it incredibly fulfilling to tell me just exactly how they feel about my body. And it isn’t always so in-your-face either.
I’m talking about the backhanded compliments. The, “Oh you look SO much better than you did 6 months ago,” comments. Or the, “I love grabbing your love handles,” comments. Or the, “You’re such a REAL/THICK girl,” comments.
You don’t want to sleep with me, so get the FUCK out of my head about my body.
Since I’ve moved to New York, I’ve accrued a severe case of body dysmorphia. I can’t even look at myself in the mirror half the time in the morning, because all I do is pick myself apart or immediately start telling myself how ugly and fat I am. I then turned to the gym, where I blew out my knee from obsessively exercising 7 days a week without breaks and cutting my calorie intake, so that I barely had enough food to sustain myself the day.
I’ve NEVER had a problem with this before I moved here. In fact, when I was at my skinniest in Boston, I had a boyfriend who I would constantly drink mass amounts of craft beer with and eat things like fried chicken and nachos and hot dogs. Sure, I was active and went to the gym, and I didn’t indulge ALL the time, but I think I was skinnier back then because I was just plain HAPPIER.
3. I might leave New York because I’ve become a prop rather than a friend.
I’m tired of being invited out by friends, and then ditched when it’s time for them to hook up with their significant other. When I signed up to be your friend and go out with you on a Friday night, I did NOT sign up to become your prop until you find a hot girl/guy to sleep with that night.
I did not sign up for a half-of-a-night friend date.
4. I might leave New York because no one wants to make art, everyone just wants to get paid.
I haven’t had a band in two years since I left Boston. Every single player I’ve encountered who wants to play because they believe in me, is too busy with their lives, which I can’t fault them.
However, then there are the players who clearly have no idea how the music industry ACTUALLY works, especially when it comes to unknown bands and original music. I was told that in order to keep my band happy, I need to pay each player $50 per rehearsal, and $50 to $100.
So this means, in a band that is bare bones (ie singer, drummer, bass, guitar), I’m paying $150 for rehearsal (in addition to the cost of a rehearsal space which is usually $50 for 2 hours), then shelling out another $300 at a gig that will most likely only pay me a percentage of tickets after the break-even point, which then is most likely split between a few bands. (There are many kinds of deals, but I don’t have time to give you a lesson in the music industry at the moment.
So let me ask you this, where the FUCK am I getting $500 every time I want to gig? Also, PLEASE remember, that I’m not getting paid for these gigs either. I don’t get paid to write the songs, the charts, the arrangements, book the show, rehearse, or sing. So the fact that someone wants to come to me, TELL me they want to play with me and believe in me… but for a price, is just about the most insulting thing you could ever do to me.
I’ve ALWAYS been up front about the fact that I will split my earnings with my band evenly. I’m not trying to play the diva.
If you want to make that kind of money for a gig, you better join a touring act, a cover band with a residency, or a wedding band.
Don’t fucking insult me and my talent. That is INFURIATING.
5. I might leave New York because I’M BROKE.
Rent sucks. Food prices suck. Utility bills suck. Transportation – ehhhh, it’s okay considering we don’t have to pay for gas or car insurance. Beer/wine/liquor prices suck.
The job market is still very lean. No one is hiring. Even the shit jobs can’t pay more than $10 an hour, which is insulting considering what the average New Yorker pays in rent every month. Most of my friends have multiple jobs, and STILL have trouble paying the rent.
6. I might leave New York because I simply CANNOT go on another first date in this city.
I actually shouldn’t even call them dates. They are more like, “wanna meet up for casual drinks where I’m going to tell you that I don’t want anything serious and if you try to contact me after this ‘date’ or whatever it is I’m going to label you as a ‘crazy’ girl because I told you I didn’t want anything serious and you read too far into it,” thing.
Misogyny is alive and well in this city (as it is everywhere) but throw in the egomaniac nature of the finance, layer, even the actor/musician guys and it’s amplified times A THOUSAND.
I don’t even know the last time I was even treated like a proper lady.
7. I might leave New York because there is a great big world out there, and I’m only 26.
New York is not going anywhere, and I’m not getting any younger. Shouldn’t my happiness trump living in a city that is currently making me unhappy?
So there you have it. There’s my short list of BIG reasons influencing my POSSIBLE decision to move.
Now, you may be asking, “Where will you go, if not New York?”
Well, my short answer is this, “Anywhere I fucking want to go.”
But honestly, my first move would probably be home. I might need some time to regroup and get my life together before I make another big move. Since I’ve been 18 I’ve moved to Cincinnati, Boston and now, New York, so making yet another gigantic move is a big deal.
Somewhere I’ve been considering very seriously is Austin, Texas.
Some of you might be wondering why my answer wasn’t LA.
Well, to be quite honest with you, I feel like I might have similar, if not the EXACT same issues in LA.
But something about Austin, Texas appeals to me.
1. First of all, it’s cheaper. I could make my dollars stretch significantly further in Austin than in New York.
2. I would have to drive, but Austin is also a very bike-friendly city and I would most likely live someplace where I would be close my job and my industry.
3. I would be close to my family. My brother and his wife are in Houston, which is only a few hours away. It would be nice to be around the corner from them.
4. The weather.
5. I could bring Blue (my dog)
6. Just based off the ads I’ve seen on Craigslist, I would be better off moving to Austin and finding a band, than sitting around here for another six months to have more musicians flake out on me.
7. There is live music (ESPECIALLY rock music) EVERYWHERE. EVERY. NIGHT. I’m not hating on the theater, because LORD knows I love the theater, but I wouldn’t have to worry about being talented, but not the right “fit” in Austin. Austin is a rock and roll city. The place THRIVES on it.
9. There is a large Berklee community in Austin. Even though I’m not currently close with any Berklee alumni in Austin, I know that connection is there. It’s like when I go somewhere and find out they were in my sorority; I don’t know then personally, but there is always a connection.
10. New York will ALWAYS be there. Period.
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE stop sending me text messages asking me why I’m leaving. I’ve already made is CRYSTAL CLEAR that this is only something I’m thinking about and not allowing myself to make decisions about until I’ve weighed all my options. Who knows, in two days I could write another post saying that I was just being dramatic and that I’m back in love with the city and want to live here for ten more years.
I don’t, so STOP badgering me and just please respect that this is something I’m trying to work out.
I’m NOT giving up
I’m NOT doing this for attention.
I’m NOT moving right this second at this very hour.
I also would appreciate if everyone would stop telling me that my feelings are wrong or incorrect. How a person feels is never incorrect. You may see something one way and I may see it another. Unless we’re talking about laws of science (which we’re not) I’m pretty sure that I’m allowed to feel the way I want to about subjects pertaining to my life.
Glad I got this off my chest.
Shan Babe who is NOT giving up, just considering her own happiness as a priority.
Dear my love, New York City,
It’s Shannon, here. You know, your loyal girlfriend for the past two years. Today actually marks our two-year anniversary.
I wasn’t exactly sure how to tell this to your face, but I think we need a break.
Trust me, it’s not you, it’s me. You were never insincere about who you were; you were always honest. I think I just played into a fantasy of you. I loved the idea that you could give me everything I always wanted. I’ve had this imagine in my head since I’ve been a little girl, that you would be the one to save me, fix me, make me happy.
But that’s just not the case anymore.
Believe me when I say I haven’t fallen out of love with you. The reasons I initially fell in love with you are still there, but I can’t keep pretending that I’m happy in this tumultuous relationship with you when I’m not.
So, because I love and care for you so much, I’m going to give you one month to see if I can see myself continuing in this relationship.
Now remember New York, I’m not saying this to scare you or test you, but I think I’ve given pretty much all I can to you up until this point, so I need to think carefully about where our future together lies.
You will have my final decision on July 3rd, 2014.
All My Love,