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Thursday, March 31, 2005

like a very whiny Sphinx, she watches

My cat, Cow, figured out how to get on the refrigerator, which is often unnerving; one does not expect to encounter a cat at eye-level.

Following the scaling of the fridge, Cow figured out how to get on top of the kitchen cabinets. It looks like this:

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harlem got the pace in it/crooklyn keeps on takin it

I'm listening to Cocoa Brovaz' "Spanish Harlem." I feel bad for all the people whose neighborhoods don't have hip-hop tributes.

I be frying bitches up like cuchifritos.

"rice is great when you're hungry and you want two thousand of something"

Mitch Hedburg has died! Mitch was one of my favorite comics, a master of the one-liner. I haven't slept for ten days, because that would be too long.

He has a DVD available on Netflix called "Mitch All Together." The title comes from this joke (which is much better delivered in his trademark stoner voice):
You know they call corn on the cob, corn on the cob, but that's how it comes out of the ground, man. They should call that corn, they should call every other version corn off the cob. It's not like if you cut off my arm you would call it Mitch. Then reattach it and call me Mitch-all-together...

I may have to send this in to Engrish.com

My friend Megan gifted me with this fabulous Japanacrazy bee-themed pencil box! (All bumblebee items now refer to spelling bees, whether entomologists like it or not. Funny, it's like the concept of the "spelling bee" is the one thing that unifies entomologists and etymologists).


The poem reads:

Good luck and happy will be friends
It is a funny and amusing story for you
We show you the real friendship
Come and join us quickly!

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Wednesday, March 30, 2005

there will be world enough, and time, for my inbox

I am tremendously behind on all of my email; if you've sent me some, rest assured that it will be answered in due time, and that your message is healthily fermenting, developing a bouquet of cherries and sandalwood.

I have discovered that Bridget the Midget has retired from porn and joined a band.

I had leftover pad thai for breakfast. Thanks to the cowboy for that one.

Monday, March 28, 2005

tonight is your last chance to spell!

========================
The Williamsburg Spelling Bee
Monday, March 28
7:30-9:00pm
Pete's Candy Store, 709 Lorimer St.
http://www.petescandystore.com
========================

Compete tonight for prizes and a berth in the finals on April 11. We have massive PRIZES for the finals -- including a grand cash prize, t-shirts, a "spelling bee champ" NEIGHBORHOODIE and other nifty goods. This is your last chance to qualify for the finals!

Make sure to ARRIVE EARLY -- be there between 7:00 and 7:30 if you want to compete.

- Jenisfamous.com + bobbyblue

p.s. - Put April 11 on your calendar for the finals plus a spelling AFTERPARTY up front in the bar with drink specials and celebration into the night!

Yes, my last name is Polish.

I am wearing a blonde wig and making kielbasa. Truly, this must be someone's fantasy.

I find this whole Terri Schiavo business extremely boring

The somewhat perturbing point for me is: why have liberals been backed into defending the position that we must, must, MUST not feed a hopeless vegetable? What kind of party platform is "We will station guards outside a hospice room door to make sure no one administers hopeless medical care to an empty husk of a former human being"? Who cares?

I sort of view feeding your vegetable like having an expensive pet that will never love you back but somehow gives you pleasure -- like maintaining a very exclusive tropical fish.

Sure, you might question the wisdom of someone spending all their time and money on their tropical fish, but hey, that's the pursuit of happiness. Cool. If you want to take care of it, go for it. That's a hobby.

I suppose we might want some laws about taking care of vegetables -- kind of like how, technically, I think animal welfare laws would prohibit you from abusing your exclusive tropical fish. So, don't take your vegetable home and beat it with sticks. Just make it some soup. Oh, wait -- it can't eat soup. Well, read it a book. At least it'll help keep you from getting Alzheimer's. Reading is for everyone.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

praise Jesus, now eat some ham

Today is Easter, when Christ rose from the dead and squatted outside his tomb to bring forth multicolored eggs from his cold, ashen loins.

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Saturday, March 26, 2005

maybe they could use hip-hop to teach proper capitalization

Today while art modeling, I thought, apropos to nothing, why hasn't some Japanese hip hop artist put out an album called "Rapanese"?

When I got home, I googled the phrase and discovered that "Rapanese" is a language learning method, best known in a Spanish language learning book, described here by a publisher apparently unfamiliar with the rules and conventions of English:
First the lyrics (each of twelve lessons) are repeated slowly without music in both Spanish and English, just like conventional language tapes. Then the lyrics are repeated, sometimes long, with Awesome music. We repeat the Spanish and English words and phrases twice. You Do Not Get Bored because your mind fixates on the music and you pick up the Spanish the way you pick up the words to your favorite song. Your Mind Becomes Bilingual.
According to the reviews, the "Awesome music" is not, in fact, rap. Thus, Rapanese is neither rap, nor Japanese. What a waste of a perfectly good word.

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stealing men's pants

The stealing of a tall man's pants by a short woman is not as impractical as it may seem; women have proportionally longer legs in relation to their body size, so the difference in leg length between a tall man and a short woman is less than the difference in their height.

This has been a public service announcement from women who steal pants when it gets cold out.

p.s. - Belts are still a good idea.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Salon post of the week re: feminism

I spent a couple of semesters at Dartmouth taking women's studies classes. I'm not sure anyone's ever quite hit on this before. On Salon, from one very perspicacious Mary Schumacher:
After 58 years of being a thinking, observing, participating woman in America, I've come to the conclusion that in our culture sexism is in many ways a secondary problem shaped and intensified by a much more primary problem -- our hypercompetitive culture's concept of masculinity is almost entirely bound to the concept of winning.

The upshot of that is, inevitably, that our culture is highly emasculating. Because winner-take-all competitiveness must naturally produce many, many more losers than winners.

Hypermasculinity (masculinism) is used both as a competitive tool (winners are more masculine, so the more masculine I act the more likely I am to win) and a face-saving device (the more masculine I act the less likely I will be seen as a loser).

Underneath all the acting, of course, are a lot of men who are and feel like losers. Especially as middle age approaches (when the hypermasculine browbeating of people deemed even weaker than oneself -- women, minorities, liberals -- administered by loudmouths like Limbaugh and O'Reilly -- offers some psychic compensation for the low rung you've settled on in the pecking order.)

In this dynamic women are seen not so much as inferior as outside the game. This is a competition between men. What women are suppose to be is reward and compensation, what they are suppose to provide is consolation.

When women enter the game, when they do compete, there is a double whammy -- more competition, and, even more important, less consolation. This creates incredible resentment.

This resentment and fear of losing the compensation and consolation women are expected to provide is, I think, a much more important component of sexism in our culture than actual feelings and ideas about women's inferiority.

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Thursday, March 24, 2005

if I keep selling CDs at this rate, I'm gonna buy myself a pony. okay, a My Little Pony.

A friend of a friend bought my CD, and I've since been informed that he's listening to it on a continuous loop while he works, because it makes him feel like I'm "standing over him with a whip, urging him to work faster, work faster!"

On a positive note, CDBaby has sold out of my initial shipment of (five) CDs and has asked me to send more. My CD will also soon be for sale at Bowery Poetry Club!

My new variety show, the People's Democratic Republic of the English Language, is seeking a venue. I've sent out a couple of proposals and am trying to get a good monthly spot. PDRoTEL will be a monthly comedy and musical comedy themed variety show, emceed by me, and rife with audience participation contests, including trivia, spelling and literary quizzes ("guess the author"), and other wordy diversions.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Help, I'm covered in Big Green! Just like on "You Can't Do That on Television"

I've had a strange amount of Dartmouth contact today. When I visited my parents last weekend, my mother had re-framed my (large, Latinate) diploma, as the previous frame had been broken by the cat. I took this new framed leviathan of a document home and have yet to decide exactly what to do with it, as very few people display their diplomas in their apartments, and I don't have an office.

Then, I got a call from the Dartmouth Alumni Magazine, which is publishing my article (about being the first woman captain of the boxing team) in July, but is going to pay me sooner! How nice is that? They run a quite decent magazine up there in the frigid north.

Finally, I got an email from the alumni relations folks, wanting my answers to some "where are they now" questions for a class newsletter. My answers will be printed next to my picture from the freshman year "Green Book." And here are those answers...

*Where you lived FRESHMAN year: East Wheelock

*Where you lived SENIOR year: Phi Tau

*Where you live NOW: NYC/Spanish Harlem (a.k.a. "SpaHa")

*Major FRESHMAN year: Making out with girls.

*Major SENIOR year: Philosophy

*What you're doing NOW: I'm a freelance writer, spoken word performer (like Spalding Gray, but not dead!), alternative comedian, occasional model, and general urban revolutionary. I also run the Williamsburg Spelling Bee at Pete's Candy Store (a bar) in Brooklyn.

*Do you still have The Green Book on your bookshelf?: Totally.

*Biggest regret about picture submitted for the Green Book (if any): The photo was really, really dark, so my hair blends into the background. Also, the original nickname I submitted was like "Ultimate Fighting Champion Grand Emperor of All That is Good and Loquacious, Plus Luxembourg," but the Green Book called me and said that was too long, so I asked if I could have "Q6L?@&C3P0" and they said yes.

*Biggest difference between you when your Green Book picture was taken and you now (can be physical or personal--use your imagination!): I've finally hit puberty!

*Any other information you would like to share about what you're up to/what you've accomplished/where you're headed: You can listen to me on iTunes - just search for my name. I am also engaging in shameless PG-13 rated acts on www.jenisfamous.com

*Who or what are you most excited to see at our five year reunion this June?: Whose ass has gotten fat! Of course.

"Stitch-N-Bitch" good, "Oz" bad

From the NYTimes today, on the changing meaning of the word "bitch": And so the word that once defined a misogynistic double standard ("If a man is assertive, he's called ambitious; if a woman ...") now defines another: If a woman's called a bitch, she's powerful, formidable, a winner; if a man's called a bitch, he's shamefully weak.

Monday, March 21, 2005

"your mistress coughs blood"

Molly Crabapple has created a quiz: Which Victorian stereotype are you?

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Sunday, March 20, 2005

well, i'll bet THOSE spelling bees don't have beer specials

From Yahoo News, an article about the Lincoln, RI school district's attempt to cancel a spelling bee and the resultant public outcry. While some parents point to the "human drama" of bees, some claim that spelling bees violate the No Child Left Behind Act and damage the self-esteem of the losers (who, I think, should get a grip and - dare I say it? - learn to spell better).

On a more charming note...
who can forget 13-year-old Rebecca Sealfon of New York City exuberantly spelling the word that earned her a National Spelling Bee victory in 1997? The home-schooled girl screeched each vowel and consonant in the word "euonym," then pumped her fists in the air and screeched again.

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some personal assistants are very literal-minded

An article on Salon today discussed various celebrity blogs, the best being Wil Wheaton's and the most bizarre being Jeff Bridges', which is a long list of handwritten notes and hand-drawn pictures that is either a tremendous exercise in creativity, or else what happens when you decide you need one of these crazy "blog" things and you'll just scribble on some napkins and pass them to your personal assistant, who'll take care of everything.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

i'm on iTunes!

Seach on iTunes for "jennifer dziura" and you'll find me.

Incidentally, I am now changing my job title to "writer and alternative comedian." (Changing it from what, I'm not exactly sure. But it's the to that's important).

On a largely unrelated note, I just heard an old Outkast song in which the duo rhymed "nasty ho's" with "pistachios," which kind of tickles my sensibilities.

turn the pigs up to 11

My friend Kim and I went to the Angelika to see whatever movie happened to be playing at the time, and we ended up seeing the "totally original but rather nasty mockumentary" (as the NY post put it) Mail Order Wife.

Amusingly, neither of us were aware that the film was a mockumentary going in, so it took me a few scenes to be sure that it wasn't for real. (No comment on how long it took Kim, just in case she's reading ;)

What was kind of funny about the movie was that it felt so very culturally bound (sub-culturally bound?) in the sense that this was "Spinal Tap" for people who've already seen "Waiting for Guffman" or "Best in Show" after seeing "Spinal Tap." It's like "Not Another Scary Movie" being referential not only to classic horror films, but intermediately to "Scream."

One absolutely priceless exchange in the film occurred when Lichi, the titular mail order wife, is being questioned by her husband about her penchant for purchasing (dozens and dozens of) pig figurines. It went something like this:

Lichi: Piglets are cutest animal!
Andrew: What about dogs?
Lichi: Pigs cuter than dogs.
Andrew: Well ... what about puppies?
Lichi: Oh... (thinks). Puppies cuter than pigs.... But piglets cuter than puppies!

Anyway, it turned out Kim and I were at the NY premier and didn't even know it until the film ended, the lights came on, and the actors from the movie were standing up front, ready to answer questions. I seem to remember this being somehow related to why I moved to New York.

I want to form an all-girl band so I can call it this

Reader Mariluetta suggested I could submit my new word mammating to Wiktionary, as she did for "sugartime," as in "Sarah and Sally went home early to enjoy some sugartime."
...it derives from the episode title of a children's television program that was condemned by the Bush administration and its ultra-conservative allies, then censored by PBS.... In January 2005 Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings wrote an open letter to PBS, complaining about an upcoming episode of the children's show Postcards from Buster.... Spellings objected to the episode "Sugartime!", which shows how maple syrup is made. The episode takes places in Vermont and features a little girl whose parents are a lesbian couple.

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Tuesday, March 15, 2005

the Williamsburg Spelling Bee nears climax

The Williamsburg Spelling Bee last night was utterly fabulous, and won by newcomer Maria Luisa. Bobbyblue performed a shorter, punchier version of the spelling bee theme song (which he and I co-wrote a few bees ago), Block Magazine was in attendance as research for an article about the bee, bobby was wearing his spelling bee neighborhoodie, and a photographer was on hand to photograph all the contestants.

The theme of the evening was "short words are harder!" Contestants struck out on challenges such as "taiga" and "imago."

Bobby has done an amazing job of getting sponsors for the April 11 finals, including the Brooklyn Museum and ReadyMade Magazine. Also on hand last night was benjones from the Jigsaw Gallery, who kicked in a $25 gift certificate as a finals prize. The love just keeps coming.

I received an unusual number of compliments last night on my emceeing skills. I'm not sure what was different last night; I think it may have been a somewhat kinder, gentler Jen. Or else a crowd made up entirely of people I could totally date ;)

Best icebreaker answer of the night:
Q: "What flavor of Bubblicious gum doesn't exist but should?"
A: "Ham."

There is one more spelling bee before the finals:
March 28
7:30-9:00pm
Pete's Candy Store, 709 Lorimer St.
Also put April 11, 7:30 to whenever, on your calendar -- the finals will run longer, til 10pm, and then there'll be an afterparty up front in the bar. Still working on, um, spelling-themed drink specials.

The DVD cover reads "Why be John Malkovich when you can be Ron Jeremy?"

An ad in today's am New York informs the reader that he can "Meet Ron Jeremy!" at the Virgin Megastore today from 5-7. And then, in what I'm sure was much-deliberated wording, the ad says that Mr. Jeremy will ONLY be signing copies of "Being Ron Jeremy." As in, "don't bring your nasty-ass old porn into our store."

no, i'm not going to give them a chance

Frozen peas are not a welcome addition to scrambled eggs.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

On Tuesday ... a superstar, in his sister's blue leotard

I wouldn't miss this if I were kidnapped by a handsome cowboy!

Teen Tawny is performing with new songs, guest stars and lots of Razzamatazz!

Tuesday, March 15
Apocalypse Lounge
189 E. 3rd St (btw Ave A & B) 
7:30PM
No cover, 2 drink minimum


Best of the Dark Show photo by Gary Winter

Wednesday, March 9, 2005

quoth Schaffer the Dark Lord upon reading the lyrics to "Mimefucker"

Now I know how Coolio must have felt when he first heard "Amish Paradise"...except that Coolio threatened to kill Weird Al. So, on second thought, I guess I still don't know how Coolio felt the first time he heard "Amish Paradise." I'd like to strike that from the record.

Tuesday, March 8, 2005

Photos from the Dark Show

This past Wednesday at the Best of the Dark Show, I performed a spoken word set in which I ironically played the triangle, talked about Spalding Gray, impersonated Schaffer the Dark Lord, and performed a parody, called "Attack of the Mimefucker," of Schaffer's rap song, "Attack of the Clonefucker." Here are some pictures!




"I'll make dirty videos of me fucking my mimes/That'll get reviewed in the theater section in the New York Times."

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a small club of people in Virginia still remember my teen newspaper columnist days

I have had some flash fiction and an audio spoken word piece published in the Ghent Reader. They had this to say...
Dziura’s sense of humor and popular culture references add irony to the profound and, at times, cynical message she communicates through her poetry and fiction. As with “Milk,” a spoken word performance, the skies open up and the white liquid floods the streets. It’s an absurd situation that Dziura describes in all seriousness and detail. It’s a piece that leads a listener to smile until he suddenly realizes that her point has given him something to ponder.

Monday, March 7, 2005

what makes a good variety show

This past Wednesday and Saturday, I performed in two variety shows. The difference between them has really made clear what differentiates a good variety show from a suboptimal one.

Firstly, one wants to have a theme, or some kind of coherent set of standards for booking the show. One should not book a combination of, say, comedians and Serious Opera Singers. When you put a Serious Opera Singer on the stage right after a comedian, everyone is waiting for a punchline. Like, they're waiting for the opera singer to start off singing opera, but then the music would change and she would rap or do a striptease or sing really funny lyrics in an operatic singing style.

Secondly, performers who perform funny songs should not make the song last longer than the joke. Dark Show performer Adira Amram is a master of the one-minute funny song. If the entire song is "I wanna have your baby, and it's gonna be ugly," then she'll just do a forty-five second song and then move on. If the entire song is one joke, it does not need a traditional repeat-the-chorus-five-times structure, just the same as how a non-musical comedian wouldn't tell the same joke five times.

The show I did on Saturday featured not one but two Serious Opera Singers. One was Totally Serious and accompanied by a Serious Art Guitarist who basically raped an acoustic guitar on stage while Emoting in a Dark and Serious Manner, punctuated by Dramatic Silences. The other opera singer, however, knew what was up -- she did a traditional opera piece, but she was wearing really ridiculous glasses (big plastic joke ones with fake cartoon eyes painted on them) and singing over a background tape of, um, sex noises. It went on rather too long, but, for an opera singer in a variety show, it was very well-adapted.

For me, the found gem of Saturday's show was Thaddeus Rutkowski, a spoken word artist who did two pieces, one about his fetish for women in bathing caps (their latex-wrapped heads drive me mad!), and one from the perspective of a man who steals other people's socks from the dryer, defiles them (I'll leave it to your imagination, but he referred to his "argyle destoyer"), and returns them to the dryer.

Mormons collectively refer to their blogs as "the Bloggernacle"

An article in Saturday's NYTimes about religious bloggers alerted me to the existence of Mormon and Hasidic bloggers. There's even rumor of an Amish blog, but the Times apparently couldn't get the URL.

it's all in the nose

I was art modeling today, and the instructor did a lecture in which he discussed the John Singer Sargent's Madame X, and while he was talking, I found myself feeling really possessive about the painting. About every artist who's ever drawn or painted me has told me I looked like Madame X. And, sure enough, about five minutes into the lecture, the instructor turned to me and said "You know, you remind me of -- you've probably heard that before, right?" And I'm like, yes, indeed.

strangely, ReadyMade has also thrown in a carpenter's pencil

My co-host at the Williamsburg Spelling Bee, singer and bee founder bobbyblue, has gotten us even more kick-ass sponsors for the April 11 finals! The Brooklyn Museum has kicked in a prize, and ReadyMade magazine is giving a subscription and t-shirt. We've also got The Strand and Neighborhoodies on board.

Sunday, March 6, 2005

You missed the only chance ever to see me rap! Sort of.

Schaffer the Darklord has reviewed my performance at The Best of the Dark Show this past Wednesday:
Jen Dziura had a surprise up her sleeve for the Best of the Dark Show. She began her set with the intro portion from her S & M poetry piece “Seven Nights.” However, when the body of the poem began, Ms Dziura stopped short. She then donned a black blazer and a pair of nerdy, rectangular, black-framed spectacles and RE-introduced herself as “Dziura the Dank Mistress.” She cued her CD, and the familiar opening music of “Attack of the Clonefucker” began. I’ve been writing parody songs for YEARS, and yes, Ms Dziura, I DO love Weird Al, but this was the first time I’ve ever heard of a parody of one of MY songs. Jen rewrote my ENTIRE “Clonefucker” song with new lyrics about an attack of a MIME-fucker! She read them as quickly as I rap them, and left in just enough of the original material that a few audience members actually tried to sing along. It was hilarious, and I was terribly flattered.
Teen Tawny won the Best of the Dark Show award, and I've now spent days giggling at Tawny singing his own reverb in "I'm a superstar/in my sister's blue leotard ... tard-tard-tard."

if only my cat knew I'd been thinking about her

Today I came out of writing class and saw a pigeon trying to eat an entire sandwich that someone had dropped on the ground. It was cute, and I instinctively looked at the pigeon and said -- in my cute-babies-and-pets-voice -- something like "Oh! What's little kitty doing?"

And then, of course, I realized that I had called a pigeon "kitty," and I scurried away before the universe laughed too hard.

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Friday, March 4, 2005

journalism quote

"Any story about bar goings on in the greater Williamsburg area must contain the word 'hipster' no less than a dozen times. If said story is appearing in the New York Times the quota is double that."

"How do you spell hipster?"

Here is the article about the Williamsburg Spelling Bee by Adam Bonislawski that ran on Wednesday in the Metro newspaper:

click here to enlarge your manhood ci*lis viagggra

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Thursday, March 3, 2005

need newsprint for posterity!

Metro newspaper ran an article yesterday (Wednesday) about the spelling bee, and it had a picture of me in it. Does anyone have a print copy of Wednesday's Metro they can send me? I didn't get out to the box in time. Please email me (jen at jenisfamous.com)!!! Thank you!!!

Tuesday, March 1, 2005

good things cooking in the easy-bake oven of life

The more divine life is, the less I blog. Incidentally, I'm off to teach a class about inverse proportionality.

Molly's opening at the Jigsaw Gallery was a tremendous success; she sold a couple of pieces, and easily 200 people came through. Here's a photo by Gary Winter of Molly, me as Victorian merch girl, and go-go dancer Lady J.

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