Thursday, March 05, 2009

Life In a Blender

I came across the Chicken Dance off of "Life in a Blender's website:

Ahhhh, memories.

Where have all the Echoids gone? You know who you are.

Echoids: A group of savvy/smart/somewhat snobbish/cool techno geeks who would get together at haunts like CBGB's, or bars in Brooklyn, Soho and greenwich village, listening to music, going to art openings, theatre, installations -- lots of cool venues. If you were an Echoid, you had to be good.

Mark was our resident working dad and music guy in a band...a very good, smart, snarky, witty band called "Life in a Blender" (Mark is STILL in Life in a Blender, he was also really good with the parenting advice as I recall. I read his parenting posts even before I had any kids, they were so interesting)...we all loved the group... well, at least I loved the group. Let me tell you, you just haven't lived until you've seen the chicken dance live.

I also loved our Echoid softball games in Central Park. We, the ragtag film, music and computer geeks of the world hunkered down every Saturday morning and played assorted teams of lawyers, doctors, film studio studs, (the CPAs were the worst, they played for blood!). I was catcher, that is until I took my position a little too seriously and dislocated my thumb by getting run over by a 300 lb CPA, who did not care that I was a girl -- and a wimpy, unathletic girl determined to stand my ground for my team no matter what at that!

My thumb still aches when it's going to rain. But I did get the guy out.

Personally, I think they should rename the field for me, but-- was not meant to be.

It was also thanks to the Echoids that I got my very own movie magazine "MOVIEWEEK" off the ground (our slogan was that we were a "movie magazine for movie makers"). We were a very well respected online movie magazine at that, one of the first of the kind, WAY before "Ain't it Cool News" or anything else like that came along. Too bad we had no way to actually make any money, and there's just so much writing I could squeeze out of the most loyal Echoid gratis, after all. But oh, what a year it was! 3 films to review a day in plush, cushy screening rooms, with programs, incentives, free tickets to the NY Film Festival -- where I got to interview Catherine Deneuve and Mike Leigh, amongst other luminaries.

I got to review films with my partner Ian (we were the he said/she said of Movie reviewers), and I got to conduct interviews with the creme de la creme of the hot NY indie film scene who loved us... I was in heaven, I tell you... heaven!). We were an all Echoid staff, some double up on jobs under different names because we didn't want the studios who were inviting us to all these screenings to know that we were a bunch of kids working out of my studio apartment on 57th street (Ian got to be "James" head of our publicity department and had to stick up for his annoying, hard headed "boss" -- Iam aka himself... boy was that a kick to watch).

The best part of Echo wasn't just the haughty and helpful conversation on topics on everything from culture, art, movies, music to parenting, cooking, gardening and auto repair (yes, there was an expert on you name it)... the best part was that we took it Offline... we all supported each other's ventures, plays, shows, etc... parents met at playgrounds and playgroups, we met in restaurants in the Village, at the Mermaid parade in Coney Island..or at Joe's...

Where have all the echoids gone?? They're probably all still there... except for me, of course. I lost touch with all of them many years ago, moving around to 7 or 8 different states and back across the country since.

Some have had their books published (like Brett Leveredge, a swell guy, who I had a memorable evening watching "Welcome to the Dollhouse" with. Poor Brett, I remember getting all cathartic, self indulgent and weepy about my perception of my woefully pathetic, unpopular early childhood... despite the fact that I bailed on all that at age 11 when I moved to Los Angeles -- but that didn't stop my tales of woe, all those black eyes and hats tossed in the mailbox to endure. Poor Brett. I'm just thankful that I didn't become the subject of one of his books or commentaries on NPR.)

It warms my heart to see that others, like Mark are still recording cds and performing gigs.

I'm certain that there's an art installation going on in the snow by an Echoid right now, even as I write this from my comfortable West Coast digs. Remember that scene in "Sex and the City" the tv series, when Barishnokov and Carrie went back to see that woman who was "living art" at 2am to see if she went to sleep or ate -- I'm sure that woman was an Echoid. I'd bet on it.

Just for curiousity sake, I took a peek at the Echo URL -- yes, they have a URL now. Back then, you just dialed in via your telnet program (ECHO is still, as it was, a purist of the we'll talk to who we want to talk to, community model).

They are there at I see Echo's founder, author, spokesperson, extremely organized person, and one of the smartest ladies I've ever met, Stacy Horn, is still there hosting the ball. A shout out to you, Stacy. I think you're terrific.

I was pleased and somewhat relieved to see that in today's in your face social online world, with our blogs (ahem, yes like this one), and facebooks and twitters to folks, many of whom you will never get to know in real life or see often, if at all --Echo is an online offline social hybrid. A telnet community. You have to be a member, join, pay your dues and telnet in (yes, people apparently still telnet... and why not, if it ain't broke, why fix it?) The fact that everyone knows everyone on Echo makes it feel warm, friendly and a safe haven for New Yorkers who want to "be a part of it."

I tried to stay in touch when I moved out of the city, off to other states, places, a family, a new life. I telnetted in for a while, but without the actual facetime it just wasn't the same. Not being able to see the gang, schmooze, booze and mingle with 'em. It was the end of an era for me, certainly -- a warm, fuzzy, and gosh, you'd better be on your toes and not say something stupid or you'll never live it down era. But a genuinely caring and supportive community as well.

Echoids, I salute you! Better yet, in your honor, I shall do... the chicken dance... offline.