How Are You Feeling Today?

August 23, 2010

by Tommy

Cos I’m feeling great. No seriously, and naturally. This past Saturday was the release party for birdsong #13 at Rose Live Music in Brooklyn.  We read some things, sold some zines, I got to reference that Roseanne/Ab Fab crossover, PAPS made everyone cry (god, “Sometimes” is like the best song in the Universe [it plays toward the end of the video]), Wilkes talked about w33d and a story where a sparrow named Jack is getting surgery to appear more human I mean– we have it going on. And now, starting the birdsong publication cycle over has made me realize there are some loose ends to tie up and new beginnings to mention.


Mainly I’ve been using it to visually catalogue where stickers of ours have popped up

and where our publications have made themselves available,

but I also have a different intention.  With birdsong #12, I made a bunch of postcards, addressed them to the Birdsong HQ, stuck each one with a stamparooni, and began leaving them around neighborhood cafes, inside books at The Strand, against bathroom windows, inside refrigerators.  I also had friends in Philly, San Francisco, LA, San Diego and Seattle leave them around for me.  The postcards simply say, “How Are You Feeling Today?” leaving the rest up to the discoverer.  I’m sure many got lost in the mail, thrown away, or still sit in the books, BUT.  A few made it back to me, and starting today I’m going to publish them on a regular M/W/F schedule on the tumblr until I run out of lovelies.  Here’s the front of them:

The first polaroid is of a brick wall that used to say “DO NOT FALL IN LOVE” but is now washed clean (and a pet grooming store!).  The second is a polaroid from 2007 when I lived with Isabelle and Sav, in a windowless room in an apartment Max lovingly named “Pussy Heaven.” The guy sitting is Jesse Benjamin (who created the buzzing animated series Nature Boy) and the hands belong to Jess Paps.  There is a painting of a pug, a picture of John Travolta from Saturday Night Fever, Mondonna in her “Italians Do It Better” t-shirt, and a poster of Janis Joplin (amongst other ephemera).  The back says, “birdsong year 2.”

SO follow us on tumblr and see results of all the casting.


L Magazine contributing editor and birdsong contributor Paul D’Agostino also operates the Centotto gallery, which is now housing Citational Graphologies or A Show of Hands, and they are still open to submissions:

Select a quote, in any language and from any source — book or film, song or speech, periodical or website, or even something you’ve heard uttered by a stranger in passing — write it out BY HAND on any sort of piece of paper, scrap or not, noting the source and your name, and send it via post to Centotto or bring it to one of our events. Submissions from any and all will be welcome, and all will be exhibited.

You can see some of the entries they’ve already received here, and it’s a good addition to yr CV!


Birdsong fave Erin Markey will be performing this coming Wednesday for Our Hit Parade at Joe’s Pub @ 9:30 pm (you can get tickets here).  This Thursday Max will read some poems for a night of contemporary poetry and music at A Gathering of Tribes, with other local literary luminaries like Chavisa Woods, Gian Maria Annovi, and Tiq Milan, with Maria Gran on sax– 6 pm.



June 21, 2010

by Tommy

TODAY IS THE FIRST OFFICIAL DAY OF SUMMER!!! aka it’s fucking hot.  Tho whenever I question my skepticism of air conditioning, I remember the #4 bullet point on Aretha Franklin’s contract rider, “AIR CONDITIONING,” which reads:

All air conditioning vents must be turned off or taped shut, to prevent and cold air from flowing into Aretha Franklin’s dressing room.  In addition, all vents from Ms. Franklin’s dressing room, backstage area and stage and in the venue, must be turned off at least one hour prior to Ms. Franklin’s scheduled rehearsal and performance times.

I mean, the Queen knows.  Speaking of the Queen, as at any given time of the day I probably am, remember “A Rose is Still a Rose”?  Aretha taking all heartbroken women into her (bountiful) garden/bosom?  Not-so-thinly-veiled vaginal metaphors?  Lauryn Hill?  Let me refresh yr memory:

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaand with that empowering number, on to the week.

Monday June 21

Tonight, birdsong babes PAPS are playing Death By Audio with Baby Alpaca— speaking of people who will welcome you into a Garden of Eden.  Look for me in the front row swaying like whiskey and hugging myself I TOTALLY LOSE MY SHIT everytime they play “Sometimes.”  I’m trying to convince Jess to make this pic the cover of their single (via my brand new tumblr):

Soma Time

Tuesday June 22

oh hai its me matthew

Former birdsong Five On It interviewee slash five-alarm-hottie Matthew Hittinger is reading some poems with Stephen Motika and Michael Montlack for the Gay & Lesbian Center’s “Center Voices” series.  You can read one of Matthew’s poems here (which I chose for the L Magazines online poetry section #editor).

The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center, 208 W 13th St NY NY, 6pm-9pm, FREE

Wenesday June 23

the operative word here is "wood"

So at a party this weekend I finally met the boys of Mirror Mirror, whose music I lovingly genre’d “incantatory rock,” and who(m?) I was able to interview for our new newsprint publication BRD SNG.  They were both super fucking nice, frontman David Riley was WEARING OUT the party in these high heel black strappies, and his band mate Ryan Lucero was pretty touchy-feely and I LOVED EVERY SECOND OF IT OH MY GOD– as birdsong publicity guru Chantal Johnson famously put it, we live in a touch deprived society. Aretha Franklin, A Rose is Still A Rose.  Tonight Mirror Mirror are playing for Robert Melee’s Talent Show at the Kitchen in Chelsea.  It’s both Wednesday and Thursday, and you can get tickets here.

the Kitchen NYC, 512 West 19th Street NY NY, 8pm, $13.99

Thursday June 24

Once, I erroneously said that there are only two places I want to be in the summertime in NYC: on someone’s rooftop or in someone’s backyard.  I forgot one thing– watching a movie outside at night preferably on a gigantic screen.  When I first moved to Williamsburg, they used to show movies at McCarren pool (before they found a dead body in a shed) so watching movies outside makes me nostalgic for my first year here.  And grisly murders. Thursdays screen on the Brooklyn Bridge, and this week is Rear Window.  You can find a schedule for the rest of the summer here.

Under the Brooklyn Bridge, movies start at sundown, FREE

some loveless family

Sunday June 27

just listenin 2 some tunez

My other favorite band, Little Victory, has been playing a lot of shows recently slash they are going to be famous soon slash I am an unceremonious groupie (J/K I love ceremonies) so they’re stuck with me now.  Tonight they are playing the debut of Phoenix bar’s music series (apparently they set up a stage in there) with MKNG FRNDZ (my other, other favorite band I mean guys srsly Tami Hart has one of the best voices in America), with Horoscope and Skeleton Head.

The Phoenix, 447 East 13th Street NY NY, 5pm-10pm FREE


June 7, 2010

by Tommy

Thanks everyone who came out to Bushwick Open Studios this weekend, and to Vol 1 and Slice Magazine, who let us take part in the BOS zine fair. We met a lot of fellow zinesters/independent publishers and and a lot of generally curious people who walked in on a whim. Tabling took a lot more out of me than I realized (all that socializing and pep) and at the beginning of the season I always underestimate the physical toll of the heat/humidity– so this morning I definitely had to remind myself that water goes in the coffee maker before you press brew. #mondays #whatsthatsmell

u lyke my sliperzzzzzz

Also, I had yet to officially announce this on the blog, but you should know what we at the Birdsong HQ are holding a writing contest for our Winter 2010 issue.  $50, publication in birdsong #14 and a featured spot in our December reading series awaits one short (less than 1500 words) prose piece and one poem.  We’re changing things around, publishing the zine just three times a year– but laying it out in InDesgin (instead of Word), printing the art in full color (instead of photocopying it), and screenprinting the covers.  The deadline is October 1st, and the details can be found here. And on to the week.

Monday, June 7 (tonight!)

Little Victory is playing tonight and I don’t think I can top my blurb from before, so I’ll just reiterate: they “make fun music that sounds like jumping on the hood of a purple Impala while spray painting Newt Gingrich’s leathery face.” Yup.

Bruar Falls, 245 Grand St., 10pm free

Thursday, June 10

This is where the week gets a little busy. Tonight, birdsong contributing editor Lauren Wilkinson is a judge at the L Magazine’s 3rd (and final) semi-final round of the Literary Upstart Short Fiction Competition. Here’s a photo from the last one, where a birdsong face-off ensued during the literary trivia round.

birdsong videographer Diego Medina vs publicity maven Chantal Johnson. It's you-know-what is crooked.

and here we are, deep-dishing/I’m clutching my pearls.

C: "it engorged" T: "oh dear!" D: "tell me moreeee"

and Lauren, getting her judge on.

Three men and a rude baby

ALSO!!! that night, and closeby,  birdsong‘s  favorite band PAPS plays Mercy Choir’s CD release party.  I just heard their new song and it’s the SHIIIIIT, it just keeps getting better and better.  I know I’ve posted this before but I love it so who cares, here is a really great video of PAPS (shot by Diego) at the release party for Max Steele’s Scorcher #5

Lit Upstart- Spike Hill, 184 + 186 Bedford Ave, 7pm
PAPS for Mercy Choir- Bar Matchless, 557 Manhattan Ave, 8pm

This Weekend: Hillstock 2010: a D.I.Y. Music Festival

This weekend you should definitely check out the Hillstock Music Festival.  Like BOS, there are a lot of different shows at different venues around Brooklyn, including rooftop picnics and backyard BBQs (clearly the only place you want to be in the summertime), so check out the schedule.  And come see PAPS play the roof (they go on around 7:30pm).  T’will be on fire.

PAPS @ the singer/songwriter rooftop picnic, Sunday June 13 7:30pm, 967 Bergen St.


May 24, 2010

by Tommy

In between writing/working, sleeping, and eating a big sandwich, I can usually be found combing the internet for ways to take advantage of the City, slash if there is any second of my day unaccounted for, I get the panic sweats.

just sit back and google "angry taco."

SO my neurosis is your gain, b/c here are some things I’ve excavated for the week in a section I’m titling THIS WEEK IN BIRDSONG

Monday, May 24 2010

Tickets go on sale this afternoon for NewFest, the New York LGBT Film festival, where they will show (amongst others) my boyfriend James Franco in the Allen Ginsberg biopic, Howl.  He’s really nervous about the critical reception so come support us tee hee!  Get a full schedule and ticket prices here

NewFest, June 3-13, SVA Theatre, 333 W 23rd St.

Tuesday, May 25 2010

Here’s something random I stumbled across while the Nyquil was wearing off– a sock puppet storytelling hour.

As long as they’re clean, right? Read the rest of this entry »

Simply Frump Day

March 26, 2010

by Tommy

Dear New York: I’m back   -_-

This might come as a shock to most people, but San Diego is pretty damn simple compared to the Big Apple.  I’ve only been back a couple days and already my dark circles filled back in (thanks for the drum n bass, neighbors), I’ve had some hand-wringingly awkward conversation with an ex on the street, and nearly saw Wilkes punch a stumbling-drunk stranger in the jowls at 1:30 AM for walking up to us and saying, “White man… black woman…” She took off after him and all I heard was “HEY, FUCK YOU He’s not white and we’re not together…” or something to that.

Foreshadowing the crazy (STORY TIME):  A passenger on my NYC-bound plane decided to act up/shout racial slurs/be a misogynist and eventually we had to taxi back to the gate and air marshals ejected him from the flight.  Because of some malarkey he told the agents (I think he said someone was smuggling weapons or something) our near-full 140 passenger flight had to de-plane and be re-screened at the security checkpoint.  Then the plane had to be searched. If you’ve ever tried to wrangle people together for dinner or karaoke or whatever, even getting five of them to do some shit is hard. Imagine 140- some of them children, some of them old people, one of them a mumbling mess of tie-dye and space cake cos he’d taken his plane-vicodin a little early.

Read the rest of this entry »

Thump Day: I’m never eating lamb sausage again

February 4, 2010

by Tommy

I still taste it in my nightmares

Soooooooooooooooooo it’s a Hump Day post on a Thursday. Be kind. Submissions for birdsong #11 were due this past Sunday, and around this time every deadline it’s the bsong equivalent of Hell Week. Read/order/read/edit/read/cover/read/flyer/read/layout/read/layout/read/layout. But  this time, instead of spending a million godamn hours letting Microsoft Word suck the living daylights out of my eternal soul, we’re finally wising up to InDesign. Birdsong’s growin up, y’all!!! Thankfully I’ve got some help from our new managing editor Daniel Portland, and the new coffee maker is keeping me alert (and regular, IYKWIM).

As you may or may not know, every Monday night at Huckleberry Bar they pull down a projection screen, play some classic movie, and extend happy hour til like… 11pm. They also serve free popcorn that sort of tastes like its from the C-Town “last chance” bin, but free is free you know.  Roy and I sometimes go because they have been on a Sci Fi kick recently, and they seriously have the best grilled cheese in America. It’s enough to conquer even my fantastic lactose intolerance (not).  This week, they screened Tron.

pancake batter from an aerosol can

Read the rest of this entry »

Five on It Spotlight: Mark Murphy

December 4, 2009

Here’s a sneak preview of birdsong #10, an interview with inspired artist/curator/author/publisher/designer/dilettante Mark Murphy!

Mark Murphy actively archives living artists. Mark’s sole mission over the past 20 years has been to market, exhibit and publish the best in the visual narrative arts movement— rich in story telling. Mark has curated 3 museum installations and 32 gallery exhibitions in Los Angeles, Charleston, Cleveland, New York, Laguna and San Diego. Mark has an eye for detail and recognizes living talent who celebrate a deep and rich aesthetic. You can learn more about MarkMurphy and the artists that he celebrates by visiting and

Much like the Five on It interview with Julia Wertz, Mark presented some links to images in his interview that would probably translate better on the blog than the zine. So a version is in print and a version is up here for you all. I must say, it never ceases to amaze me when big shots like Mark are supportive of our community. I mean he doesn’t owe us a thing! Thanks so much for the opportunity Mark, and on with the banal questions!

1) What’s the last song you listened to?

“Svefn-g-Englar” by Sigur Ros. In my opinion, they are the greatest embodiment of music making and art going right now. Very inspiring.

2) What did you want to be when you were ten?

I honestly can not remember. Maybe a Jonny Socko or Ultra Man character. Some type of robotic superhero that could fly.

3) What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

When I was 21 I worked for a Toledo marketing mogul, Mike Zapiecki, where I served as production assistant/stat camera/paste-up/junior designer kind of guy. Mike decided to layoff the entire design department with exception to me and my pal Andrea, due to a client firing, officially moving me up in the ranks to art director. Needless to say, there was a bit much on my plate, and with the absence of able bodies, there was much to do. I was killing myself to stay ahead of due dates and daily pilings on and had personally forfeited the idea of sleep for many months. Suddenly, it had occurred to me that sacrificing mind and body might be ok if there was more money involved (sadly, I was only bringing in $12k per year at that point and it was a weeee bit below the poverty level). There was nothing to loose, so I arranged a brief office visit with Mr. Zapiecki to humbly request a $20k salary increase through my manager. To my surprise, it was company policy to submit a written request, along with a multi-page document that proved individual value and accomplished work while working at the company. Bull-shit I can assure you, however I put an impressive document together and awaited a sit down with the company Dom. PS, it only took 29 working days to finally meet up with the owner of this 32 person company and visit with him in his big corner office.

And now the story begins, “Paul, nice to see you, please come in.” “Paul? I thought to myself, ok just roll with it…” So what is it that you came to see me about today? Mike said to me. (Further thought to myself, I put together a pretty extensive overview and presentation as requested. Still rolling…) I replied, “A salary increase of $20k for my many months of service, to help me get by in the world, since I have been carrying a heavy work load and managing over $3M in accounts. ” Mike looked at me, smiled and raised his head (blood dripping out of his nose, hmmm I wonder why?), “It might be time for you to find another job. You may want to remind yourself, you are one of the lucky ones. Is there anything else you would like to say?”

4) What’s the last thing you were obsessed with?

Obsessed with many thoughts over the recent project by NASA to slap the face of the moon with a 5,600 mph bomb the size of a bus. The LCROSS, (NASA’s title for this irreverent concept), inspired me to paint a series of paintings about NASA’s attempt to crack the creamy center of our lunar friend, only to find something more horrifying. I think the concept of looking for trace signs of water and ice by raising levels of moon dust seems a bit riddling and weakens the notion that we landed up there in the first place. And thus a series of small paintings posted up on

Unsettled Moon (click for more)


Moon Blast

5) What are you afraid of?

All of these Zombie movies make me feel like there is some reality to the fact we are all turning into this slow to move, mumbling, flesh eating race. But seriously, I think my fear is running out of time. Working in the arts is an amazing gift, provides millions of considerations I would have otherwise never thought of, and those who are creative minded have provided countless moments of inspiration. I think all of it pulled together makes for a life enriched and my life worth living for. There is much work to be done. A lifelong commitment to archive as many living artists now, so that there legacy can be celebrated beyond their years. A museum project, more books, exhibitions, a foundation to offer scholarships and commissioned paintings. All of this can be done, but in a short while.