Wednesday, January 30, 2008


I'm late, I'm late...must be at the Po'keepsie train station in 2 hours...heading down to the Associated Writing Programs Conference... sounds like it's going to be madness. 7,000 people. New York City. And plenty of opportunities for me to compare myself unfavorably with others. Ah, the high road . . .

Just to continue my plug for the 1980s, I should have posted this with the photo in my previous post. Something I unearthed last time I moved. I'm sure I wrote it about 10 minutes before that picture was taken.

I don't know who Steve is. But I'm sure he was totally fine.

Saturday, January 26, 2008


Oh Eighties, how I miss you so...

Thanks to Mom, for sending all the old pics!

Friday, January 25, 2008

laugh away

Sometimes, things like this make just as much sense, if not more, than anything else:

Monday, January 21, 2008

Zlatne Uste Golden Festival 2008!

Ever folkdanced with about 300 other people at the same time? Me neither. Until Saturday night and the Zlatne Uste Golden Festival, entered my life--it hails as the biggest festival of Eastern European music in North America.

I think my ass is still in the Good Shephard school on Isham Street in upper Manhattan where I danced it off. E and I got our Balkan on into the wee hours of the morn (well, 2:30 am, which is pretty wee for me).

Here's a video from before it got crowded (I didn't take any of these videos but found them on You Tube)... (this auditorium, where all the videos in the post were taken, was just one of three rooms hosting music...)

This one is a little later in the night...during what I think is Zlatne Uste, the collective Balkan brass band that is at the heart of making this festival happen. You'll notice in the video that the dancing starts out in mayhem and then lines start to form. I love the loud "hopa!" you can hear part way through...

It was so FUN! So many happy, excited, sweaty people together in one space dancing to the most gorgeous music in the world. It just doesn't get much better than that. About 40 or so bands of varying styles and covering a range of regions.

Slavic Soul Party of course!
Lyuti Chushki: A great Bulgarian band from DC with this incredible woman phenom. What a voice...
Veveritse Brass Band A funky balkanic explosion from Brooklyn (led by the trumpeter from the Hungry March Band)
Raqy and the Cavemen--wow, they were tight! (must thank my good friend in Alabama who gave me the tip off to GO SEE THEM...definitely one of the highlights). Free-form percussion-heavy Middle-Eastern fusion funk.
The West Philadelphia Orchestra. These guys completely rocked...I would travel to see them. Here's one video from their performance. This was later in the night--or early in the morning rather--so the population is a little sparser than it was an hour or so before...but you can see some of the fun folkdancing you get to do to this music...(if you go to their link, you can really hear their music...)

Not all the bands were brass...they just happened to be some of my favorite! I'll post more videos as I find them.

Check out Slavic Soul Party's schedule. Looks like they are doing a little touring (A, they are coming to Seattle at the end of Feb!).

Friday, January 18, 2008


Heading to NYC tonight for the annual Golden Festival.... so come 8 or 9 pm I'll be joining hands with many others to do dances I can't yet pronounce to live music by bands I've never heard of.

Here's a clip I found on You Tube from last year, a band called the Balkanics...

The schedule on Saturday night runs from 5:30 pm to 4:00 am. Dancing?! Into the night?! Aw yeah.....

p.s. I asked Dr. Sips if he wanted to attend but he has clients visiting from out of town. I did what he said. I walked. 30 minutes. It felt good except I got blisters on my heels from my sneakers, just in time for Balkan Dancing. You must endure it, he says. You must live with the small discomforts of the 7 incline, the 2.4 em pee aych. The law has no sympathy for sensitive feet.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Dr. Sips

I have a new doc. Self-taught. Goes by Dr. Sips. Hails from Williamsburg, Brooklyn. He told me: "Tomorrow, you gonna get on the treadmill and walk for 20 to 30 mins [yes, he said it like that: 'mins'] at a 7 incline at 2.4 em pee aych. That'll take youse one step closer to your notion of joinin' the gypsy punk circus."

I told him that I can't possibly go that slow. What's the point?

He said: That's the law.

I said: If I'm going to exercise it has to be fun.

He said: There's ya problem. Youse a pleasure hound.

Yes I am. I said. Yes, I am.

He said: Dr. Sips says walk.

An Rx from Sips is nothin' to mess with.

So I'm a' do it.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Some New Lands Worth Visiting

So I added three new links over there to the left.

1. The Holy Consumption of Chicago, the home of several comic artists, including a new favorite of mine named Jeffrey Brown. Here's one of his (click on it once, and it won't open, but if you go back and click on it again, it'll open big for readability):

2. A page that houses the making of the soon to be documentary Little Brothers of Saint Francis by my dear friend Maureen. Check it out. She's a great photographer. Here's a photo of one of the monks:

3. Last, but not least, another good and dear friend of mine, Dave, is documenting the creation of his very own farm, called affectionately Muddy Farm. Dave is really funny. And he's a talented farmer.

May the force be with you in your travels.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

It was salty and bitter and tasted like guts

Last night I dreamt that my boyfriend was Orlando Bloom but his name was Taylor. And I had to eat a live goldfish. It was much smaller and not as finny as the one pictured here but gross nonetheless. I spit it into my hand and put it on a white window sill. The orange of the mushed fish was the only color in the room. We were in an office I used to work in in Birmingham, Alabama, same view and everything--except there was nothing in it but me, a fish tank that took up half the room, and the mushed gold fish.

It's crazy all the stuff swimming around in here that I don't know about until I go to sleep.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

My Life as a Gypsy Punk

[article to be written and printed in Laura's dreams] “My Life as a Gypsy Punk (a.k.a. How I Convinced Punk Rock Band Gogol Bordello to Let Me Be a Member, Go on Tour with Them, and Dance on Stage)," Didyk, Laura, Rolling Stone, February, 2009.

This is not going to be a behind-the-scenes article about Gogol Bordello (tho that would be interesting to say the least), the drunken escapades of lead singer and now-best-pal Eugene Hutz (tho there were many), my friendships with the Gogol Bordello women Pam and Elizabeth (hard-won, valued, and immensely satisfying), and my on-stage collaborations with the Latin-American member and best-DJ-on-Earth, Pedro, but about how I went from mildly interested in Gogol Bordello’s music to being a front-and-center fan to a devoted supporter with the unshakable knowing that what felt like an urgent and completely unrealistic dream of being a Gogol Bordello dancer would be fulfilled. This is an article about how anything can happen.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Singin' 'round the table

A short video clip of Didyk and Palylyk families singing a Ukrainian Christmas carol...!

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Ukie Christmas

I write to you on this eve of Ukrainian Christmas (thanks to the Julian Calendar). I will be spending this evening at my cousin's in Ridgefield, CT, along with about 19 other Ukrainians/Didyks on my dad's side.

Much varenyky (as in perogue, as in boiled dumplings filled with sauerkraut, potato, etc--mostly it's just a really fun word to say) and holubtsi (not as fun to say, but yummy if you like stuffed cabbage stuffed with roasted buckwheat).

At some point there will be, my favorite, the Christmas Eve Kutia--hot bulgur wheat, poppy seeds, and honey.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, January 05, 2008

For now...

I hear a killer concert slideshow is on the way from one of us--until then, click below to see someone else's (I think the bottle of red wine is their newest band member).

Gogol Bordello, New Year's Eve, Terminal 5

ciao, L

p.s. Here's priceless pics of me, Maggie, Kate, and Joyce on our way to the Terminal 5 show last November....

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Holiest Happiest New Year Ever!

Before the show, Kate and I deemed my new glittery striped socks "MAGIC"...we rubbed them, we asked them to make it the best New Year ever...we told them "we trust you!" (At AJ's request, I bequeath you with an image of said's worth it to click on the picture so you can see the magic up close):

My knees are giant bruises, and my ribs are black and blue, but as DJ Hutz sings, "just as you think that it's all's just the birth of something new!" (and holy crap, the socks only cost $2.99).

2007 ended and I got a kiss on the cheek from the Hutz as he walked the front-row rail after the show--he recognized my smile I suspect, and my striped arm sleeves, and from a couple playful exchanges we had during the show. Then at Mehanata (the Bulgarian Bar), I got a couple more sweaty kisses, including a few hair tussles, and a casual arm thrown over my shoulder. Nothing better than kisses from a lithe, beautiful, sweaty Ukrainian man. Well, maybe there a few things better, but not for New Year's.

2008 here I come.

There's a concert to share about (they played songs I've never heard them play live), and, socks be told, one magical cab ride at 5:15 am this morning (after leaving Eugene in the dust at Mehanata).

The show was unbelievable! More on that soon...