Saturday, October 25, 2008

headache in a rainstorm

The wind outside is scaring me. I want to take my riffle and shoot bullets into it. stop the rattling.

my head
this three-story cardboard box I live in

Thursday, February 21, 2008

my new friend plays drums all the time

sweet black indian hash

does this make you happy?

my friend dustin is coming to brooklyn to see jonathan richman.

black blankets used as doors

last night was the lunar eclipse. really great and slow.

reena spaulings is better than i thought it would be. photo teacher made someone cry today, and im glad it wasn't me.

i had a really nice lunar eclipse, enjoyed by all. i am happy to be moving out of my current apartment, but ill miss the building. maybe ill be back to mckibbin sometime.

Thursday, February 14, 2008


my future roommate. im going to check out the new digs right now.
what i think of my current loft------------->
i wonder if any of my ex-boyfriends gave other girls flowers today, if they liked them, or if the flowers were stolen. i couldn't pronounce 'charybdis' and it was embarrassing.

my photo teacher, charlie harbutt, told me i don't have steady hands. probably true.
i love those little hearts that taste like sweet minty chalk.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


brightblack morninglight "everybody daylight"

daniel johnston, "lousy weekend"

sonic youth "sunday"
Macaulay / Harmony / Thurston

notes on mason

my brother and i don't get along too well. he dosnt think im too cool and i think the same about him usually. we don't have much in common; none of the same friends, we went to different high schools, have different interests, different tastes in music, and different ideas of fun for the most part. but for a recent assignment i wrote about him and his music. i talked with him about his band and i made a tape recorded the whole thing. it was probably the best conversation we've had for a long time.

Becoming So Clear
My brother and his dreams of getting into heaven

I am at my parent’s house in Atlanta, sitting at my old desk. Mason, passes by the doorway, each time I visit he seems less and less familiar. His arms are bigger, like tree limbs; he lifts weights. What’s up with yer face? I throw across the room. He checks out his reflection and says Dude, fuck pimples! I then ask if he has some time later, to sit down with me so I can tape him talking about his band, he agrees.

Mason, my younger brother, is now 16. A junior at Milton High School, he is more importantly the lead singer and guitarist of Becoming So Clear, a suburban Atlanta alternative/emo trio with a growing teenage fanclub of short skirted girls and parking lot stoners. BSC is not just a hobbyl; they play regular gigs at local bars and house parties, they have over 2,500 plays on Myspace, two Facebook groups in their honor, and a swarm of groupies loyally gathered at the edge of their stage and sending them love notes online. BSC’s current line up is Mason Alexander (16, vocals & guitar), Chris Bullock (16, guitar & keyboard), and Kenny Roberts (16, drums.)

The first question I had to ask was about the name of the band. What do you think of the name, what does it mean?

I think it’s good. It means a lot. I don’t know it’s about trying to figure shit out for yourself. It’s becoming so clear.

I tried again, But what is ‘becoming so clear’?

It is Everything said Mason.

I laughed. My brother’s answer was as empty as the band’s name.

As little kids, my brother and I tried piano lessons. We both quit pretty early on, but it was different a few years later when, at age 10, Mason picked up a guitar. He taught himself the chords and technique, learned new songs and started writing music and lyrics to his own. Mason has been involved with various music projects before, but he has never been as dedicated to one like Becoming So Clear. The band has been practicing, writing, recording, and performing together for about a year now. An archetype of a high school band, the guys face many of the same problems as those that came before them. They sit through long and boring school days and at night they work crappy part-time restaurant jobs, they save their money for recording time at a studio. There is also the usual romantic entanglements, inner-band fighting, and parental expectations to think about. Mason has no intention of heading off to University of Georgia, or any college at all, like the majority of the MHS class of 2009. College is the monster Scylla and whirlpool Charybdis he and his band mates must navigate beyond in their epic musical journey to fame.

To date, BSC has self-released only one single. The song was recorded this past summer, during a 12-hour session at End of Autumn Studios. While bringing their instruments and equipment into the studio, the boys had their first brush with musical royalty. As they were heading inside to lay down their very first track, local Atlanta rapper, Ludacris was exiting the studio after throwing down lyrics to the remix of Gucci Mane’s “Freaky Gurl”.

Becoming So Clear's single, “Alice”, is a simple upbeat pop song, it sounds a little 90's, like the Spin Doctors or Polaris (Nickelodeon’s Adventures of Pete & Pete), and is an allusion to Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. The song was featured on 99X station’s Sunday School, a radio showcase of local musicians. The chorus urges the listener “Don’t believe what they say, because they just want you to stay. Don’t fall asleep under that tree, just stay right here with me.”

"It’s really just about peer pressure,” says Mason, “… you don’t have to listen to anyone else, and you can do things for yourself. It’s a lot about people trying to get you to do drugs and shit. Everyone thinks Alice in Wonderland is about drugs, but really it’s about some girl’s adventure- and then these druggies are like, ‘the cat is acid, and the white rabbit is cocaine.’ No. It’s some girl who is confused and listening to a bunch of other people tell her what to do."

Listening to my brother talk about this song, I think that he is probably right, many of the people in his audience probably consider it a lyrical wink to high school drug use. But, in defiance of certain stereotypes, all the members of BSC claim that they do not use recreational drugs (note: I unable to find evidence supporting these claims.) When asked to describe the typical audience breakdown at a show, Mason has no problem, “mostly girls and pothead dudes. It’s nowhere in between, it is seriously just those two people. Some guys that drink and smoke weed and girls, all kinds of girls.”

By Milton high school standards, the band is fairly eclectic in their musical tastes and background. This may be part of the appeal to such a wide range of the underclassmen female population. The drummer, Kenny, is tall, blue-eyed and friendly; he listens to what he calls ‘hardcore’ music, like Bless the Fall and Chiodos and favors the double bass pedal. Chris, rhythm guitar and keyboards, is only a sophomore, a year below his band mates, he wears sunglasses indoors, listens to pop/punk, and is classically trained in piano. Mason is tall and lean, he wears tight t-shirts, tight ripped jeans, dark shaggy hair, and a smirk like Keaneau's in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure. His favorite musicians are The Kooks, Elliott Smith, Circa Survive, and Jack Johnson. He is a showman: loud and confident on stage. At one point during every show, even those going particularly poorly, he commands the audience to clap their hands and sing along.

Mason worships Anthony Green, the singer/songwriter behind Circa Survive and Saosin. If you could meet Anthony Green and ask him anything, what would it be? I say.

Could I kiss you on the lips? he replies then laughs.

A meeting with Green two years ago at the annual The Warped Tour festival confirmed my brother’s plans to become a professional musician. Mason talked his way back behind the tour buses and smoked what was probably the best cigarette of his life with his songwriting idol. Mason composes the majority of the BSC’s lyrics, and besides Green, he is also inspired by the poetry of Charles Bukowski, Jim Morrison, and Elliott Smith.

What have been the best gig you’ve played so far and what made it better than any other? I ask.

The first time we played the Apache Café. ‘Alice’ had just come out, a bunch of people bought tickets, and there were people at Apache already. Everyone knew all the words, and everyone was singing along to our songs, and it just felt really good. Now we need finish the demo and put out more singles.

The band has not written new material for some time, instead focusing on perfecting their current set list. Occasionally, lyrics are reworked, as was the case after a particularly awkward Christmas card was received by BSC's keyboardist, Chris Bullock.
Our guitarists’ last girlfriend wrote him some hilarious letter, it was for Christmas. It all talks about some stupid shit and then the last two lines are, ‘I would tell you “I love you”, but can’t because I don’t- but maybe some day I will. Merry Christmas, baby’. We went and added those lines to this instrumental song we had.

Other than the heartbreak of high school relationships, other elements of everyday life seem work their way into the boy’s songs. Recently, the band’s former bassist, 17 year-old Kyle Pind, quit. Kyle’s abrupt departure eerily parallels the lyrics to the upcoming single, “Which Road Would You Take”, originally written to address teenage suicide. According to BSC, Kyle did not take his commitment to the band as seriously as his commitment to the Milton High School theater program and his goal of attending the Savannah College of Art and Design in the fall.

Being in a band is definitely our top priority, and it just wasn’t his. We’re not looking to get into state colleges and stuff right now.

The boys are currently looking for a new bassist, but in the mean time they continue making sweet music without Kyle, performing nearly every weekend at local venues and house parties. BSC works with Big Time Entertainment, which while most definitely a scam, it does provide the band with bi-monthly shows at somewhat respectable bars and smaller venues, including the Apache Café and the Red Light. Big Time requires that the band print and sell their own tickets to their performances, and in return the band only receives 30% of the profits from ticket sales. Mason and the guys agree that these venues are not ideal for their fan base; the bar’s regulars tend to be much older, and because the venue serves alcohol, the band can only perform earlier sets.

Next month, BSC has booked their first show at Swayze’s, a venue that attracts an offbeat teenage crowd.

But Swayze’s also gets lots of weirdoes I warned my brother.

Yea, but girls will go. Girls will definitely go. It’s harder to get the Masquerade, especially Heaven.

I once heard that one of the couches in Heaven once got set on fire and fell through Purgatory and down into Hell I say.

Another one of the goals of the band is to play the Masquerade, a decrepit, ramshackle but arguably awesome venue with three separate stages, Heaven (top floor), Purgatory (main floor), and Hell (the basement). Naturally, only the best bands get to play on top in Heaven, where Becoming So Clear intends on going.


Tuesday, February 5, 2008

i am

losing the talent show to the kid with the strait jacket

i have an ally

i have an ally. and lots of bullshit i write down when other people are talking:

not writing, but typing.
rats in front of the school, crawling across the sidewalks.
inflation, dream confusion. cosmic jumping. planet hopping.
heliotropic optimism.

leisure time. the ladder of beauty. what is justice?
Do you want my justice?

One of my favorite things ever:'s_Rhinoceros

ideas for next photo assignment. I want it to look like the camera is being pulled to a subject by a string.
ROPES, stairwells, scaffolding, smoke bombs, balloons, the color red

Regular Day




between buildings

puppy eyes

scarlet johansen taking a break from tom waits to photograph her shoes



Sunday, February 3, 2008

why is the formatting so fucked up?

i smoked too much this weekend

ever since i was a caterpillar

now im thinking about health insurance, and how i wish i had it so i could be on pointless birth control

i see her daily. am i supposed to be reminded of something? maybe ill invite the past over for dinner?

and tomorrow ill be scanning newer pictures and sketches. i love america.

mixmash for sitting in uncomfortable chairs:
One Step Beyond 3:32 Madness
Wild Night 3:34 Van Morrison
Let Me Lick Your Pussy 3:30 Ween
Painter in Your Pocket 4:10 Destroyer
Child Star 2:52 T. Rex

you dont want to know what i think about you

I hope the giants win the superbowl.

my mom told me last night that when my grandpa jerry found out he was going to die, the lifelong new yorker (who was living in florida by then,) he flew with my grandma to watch the giants practice.

the butterfly knew it.


I met a guy at B+H last week. So he very well may have been orthodox. weird, i thought he was Mexican.

Besides that here is a list of things I've become into lately.
René Char
fires and glow
hiking boots
the phrase "going postal"
sativa january
Scott Carrier
both of the Dakotas
little dinosaurs
couch surfing (a few months ago)
John Dillinger
Bob Dylan- 'She Belongs To Me'
kirlian photography
Francesca Woodman
the positive darkside vibration
Jay Reatard's face

Friday, January 18, 2008

health insurance

"everything else is tertiary, everything else is a lie."

overheard in the stairwell of my new apartment building, last night, not too late- 12:30. slightly drunk, saw s. she looked the same. and didn’t ask me at all about europe/afrika/israel travels. she is unemployed and possibly toxic.
she is having a party on saturday and marc is coming into town.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


Spoke with Greg. Happy about Brooklyn. And the springtime.

I feel so spent, I couldn't form a unique thought if I tried.

These pictures are from Belfast. IRA cemetery / Belfast murals.

picures past

a long time ago.
mason's arm

in motion

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

brooklyn rail

i have an internship with the brooklyn rail.

i visited riker's island with my mural painting class last spring. then i wrote about the experience for the new school paper.

MAY 2007

My visit to Rikers
-Emily Alexander

On Friday, April 20, 2007, at about 11:35 AM, I was admitted into Riker’s Island correctional facility along with five other Eugene Lang students. The purpose behind our visit to New York’s largest prison facility was meet with students attending the Island Academy High School. We discussed art and one particularly disturbing mural inside the halls of the prison.

Ella Turenne, Lang’s Director of Special Programs, who organized the visit, gave us a brief run-down on Riker’s do’s and don’ts before we left- security protocol, what not to wear, what topics to avoid, etc. My class, mostly young women, was told to wear loose-fitting clothes. We had originally intended to wear our bright orange Lang Mural Project t-shirts, but later received an emphatic email.
“...DO NOT wear the orange Lang Outdoors t-shirts,” it read. “Some of the incarcerated men's uniforms are bright orange. Any other colors are fine.”
We rode the F uptown to Astoria and transfered to the Q101R bus to the end of the line.

Checking into prison is a slow process, after arriving and putting our things into lockers, we waited in the first holding room for close to an hour. My class and I watched as countless police officers in street clothes, guards, visitors, and janitors in prison uniforms walked by. To pass the time, in an exercise of poor taste, we discussed our own brushes with the law.

After clearing security and receiving blacklight stamps on the backs of our hands we waited for the Rikers bus to the high school. Island Academy looks exactly like all of the other prison buildings: a massive thundercloud-grey block with very few windows and surrounded by razor wire. The school’s assistant principal, Mr. G, led us through a second security checkpoint and gave us a tour. There was a thick black line painted down the center of the hallway, prisoners must always stay on the right side of the line, shoulder touching the wall. Painted in bright colors on the brick walls were several patronizing, elementary styled murals of smiling cartoon teenagers walking on a curvy sidewalk towards a giant diploma.

It wasn’t until nearly the end of the hallway we found the mural we had come to discuss. The painting depicted a young man kneeling beneath a razor-wire fence, he is trying to climb out. The man is dissected in two halves; his left half is dressed in a traditional olive-colored prison uniform and his right half, the side closest to the reaching out of the fence, is dressed in military camouflage with a mask and night vision goggles concealing his face. The title of the mural is “Choose Your Green.”

Inside the classroom, there were about 20 inmates classified as juveniles, all between the ages of 16 and 18. As I walked in 40 eyes stared at me. All of these men were either black, Hispanic, or mixed and representing all five boroughs.
America’s current system, referred to as the prison-industrial complex, focuses more on making money than lowering crime rates and rehabilitating criminals. Prisons provide the US with low-cost labor and house (almost exclusively) economically disadvantaged and politically underrepresented members of society. There was a reason that all of the young men, many younger than me, were minorities, and it is not because they are all bad people. According to the US Department of Justice, 64% of prisoners belong to a racial or ethnic minority and an estimated 32% of black men will enter state or federal prison in their lifetime. America holds more prisoners than any other country in the world, over 2 million.

By Lang standards my mural painting class is very racially diverse. However, I felt that as soon as we had all entered the classroom the students probably saw us all as exactly the same--the same way we are conditioned to see them. Despite being white, Asian, Hispanic, Black, male, female, Jewish, Catholic, pagan, nerds, and artists, we were all privileged upper-middle class college students that can never understand what these young men are living.

Ella, who accompanied us on the visit, instructed us to play an icebreaker game. We introduced ourselves and asked questions like, “What do you do for fun?” One of the guys asked me if I smoked pot or had sex. He said that’s what he used to do for fun. After the icebreaker we broke up into groups and talked about “Choose Your Green.” We asked the students how they would like it to be different if it were to be changed, and to draw pictures of what they’d like to see. One student drew a helicopter bombing Rikers Island.

I smiled and nodded to hear one of the other students said that there was no way he would ever join the army. Some members of the class discussed how it might be another way of being a detainee of the U.S. government. I learned that as part of their high school classes, for one hour, once a week, an NYU social work student comes in and discusses poetry with them and that they had taken a liking to Dead Prez.

The Lang visitors asked Island Academy students about their plans for after their release. Answers varied from traveling to working in construction to attending Hunter College in the fall. About half of the class didn’t know what they were going to do. ‘Shouldn’t our correctional system help prisoners, especially juveniles, figure this out?’ I thought silently.

My class and I left Rikers Island only a few hours after our arrival, spending most of our time in transit or security. We went home and enjoyed the start of the weekend and some of us probably participated in recreational activities that could potentially get us arrested, but usually do not. Besides taking back several phone numbers (where they would pick up, I do not know,) I gained a deeper and unique insight into the U.S. prison-industrial complex, and also about the judgments we have on others. I did not ask the young men I met what led them to Rikers and I still do not know. I do not pretend to know them or what it could possibly be like to be where they are at such a young age.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

dawn some pictures

ive been back in atlanta for a while.
in a few days i leave for new york.

the pictures below are from one morning i woke up around dawn in amsterdam. there was a weird circus/beach/dump/skate ramp by my old apartment.