Lowlands is a three day music festival that takes place about 2 hours outside Amsterdam each August. The acts are top-notch, but since it typically involves camping, I said no no no. But this year I was given a day guest pass because ...,staat designed a giant (and so cool) compound for Converse. Sunday I gathered my camera and Chucks and took the train down for a day of wandering and photography. It was a great, great time with a superb performance by Yeasayer and lots of enjoying the special treatment that the special "Guest" wristband gave me. More than once I found myself wondering how I got there and marveling at my continued good fortune.

The entrance to Lowlands. Deer! Guns! Good!

Fantastic swamp things drinking Veuve Clicquot in the guest area.

Sneaker pimping in the Converse compound.

Funny puppet. He traveled with his wife puppet and heckled the crowd in a posh English accent.

Cotton candy leads the way. Woo hoo!!

Universal truth: you have to love the guy in the chicken suit dancing to bluegrass music.

Public toilets that I didn't have to use because I was doing the "Guest Pass Gives Access to Nice Bathrooms" dance.

More fantastic numbers

Gup covered the walls between areas of the festival with daily photo uploads.

A Hunter S. Thompson sort riding along with a disco DJ parade.

Lead man from Yeasayer. Their set completely blew my mind.

The Guest/Press tent. Oh how sweet it is to have perks.

Me. With a very 70s shag and camera.


A day out in (transport) Maastricht

What? Color on the buildings? Shocking!!

I just saw Tom flail his arms around and nearly fall off the couch because a fly flew by his head. And this morning Rabito was so excited when Tom got up to take him out that he jumped up and promptly fell down flat on his belly with a loud bang. I live in a house of funny.

After far too many weekends staying in Amsterdam, Tom and I took a day trip to the town of Maastricht in the sound of the Netherlands on Saturday. As is the norm when we travel, there were transportation issues. How could we know that there was work on the tracks and we would have to get off the train at Utrecht and take a 45-minute bus ride to re-catch a train? Or that the train labeled "Maastricht" wasn't actually a train to Maastricht, but instead a train you take to another stop where you had to get off and get on another train? It was silly and has provided some good dinner party conversation because stories about your fellow travelers are always interesting.

Especially if:
- a man gets on the train after you and sits directly across the aisle, staring intensely at your dog. When I acknowledge him, he tells me that he has been away from his dog for three months because he has been in prison. I debate whether or not to let Rabito cross over to him, but figure why not. He pets the dog, Rabito wags his tail, he pets the dog again, Rabito decides he is a bit too needy and comes back over to me and stays firmly out of reach. And after a few minutes of the man begging the dog to come closer, the man leaves. We saw him get off the train a few stops later and he didn't seem in too much a hurry to see his dog again, judging from the amount of time he was spending drinking a beer and talking to some guy in a car who was waiting outside the stop.

- on the 45 minute bus ride, you get the only two remaining seats together, behind an old couple. The man has leaned his seat all the way back, so his head is almost against my chest. You know when old people have white hair that is sort of yellow underneath? He had that. And some dandruff. He and his wife got out some soft cookies to eat, emphasis on soft, because they didn't have teeth! They gummed the cookies, which involves A LOT of jaw movement. I was fascinated. Better than tv.

The town was very pretty and looked quite different than Amsterdam. There was a plethora of skinny women in white jeans and ballet flats, which signaled its proximity to Belgium and France. It is good to know that the love of olive green and cheap vinyl shoes is perhaps more regional than national. We walked around, oggled a Roman wall, Rabito met goats and chickens when we stumbled upon a mini zoo of sorts, saw many churches and Catholic ephemera on our wanders (the south is Catholic and much different than the Protestant north -- a bit loosened up and decorative), and had a generally lovely day.

My sister had to put Shandy the Wonder Dog to sleep yesterday, which is very sad. Shandy was a great dog and she will be missed. I am sorry for my sissy because it was a very hard decision, but she did the right thing.

Shandy the Wonder Dog (right) and Pepper during the days of sisters and pets.


And now for something completely different

For the first time ever in my entire life, I am putting someone else's needs before mine.

9/8th's of the people reading this will be smirking right now amidst the whole "it'sabouttime"ness of it all, and the remaining 1/8? Sorry to tell you, but I am a completely selfish brat. My smile and jazz hands might have distracted you up to this point, but it is very true. But not in a particularly bad way...I like to think I am a super fun selfish brat that distracts you from your usual world and causes you to buy impractical garments.

Tom is more important than anything I have ever had or anyone I have ever known. So for him I keep going and plan on staying in Amsterdam for who knows how long. Sigh. I am so ready to go back and put down some roots and experience being in New York for the first time, closer to family and friends but still writing new chapters in my life book. But. BUT! The experience of staying for someone else is a new chapter too because, as I have already said, I have never done anything for anyone else on any long term level. And who knows what this will uncover. As I write this I am listening to a play list made while living here and wonder what other bands will I discover by working around crazy creative Eurofabulous people. And the jaw-dropping nature of the vast number of Dutch artists and photographers I am exposed to on a daily basis. And working around fashion, which is like Charlie going to the chocolate factory. Not to mention learning what it is like to put myself second for once. There is a jewel out there, I know, and it will take me being unlike me to find it.

At the end of this strange rainbow will be me walking down some pathway toward Tom and a figure who channels God's goodness. And we will look at each other and proclaim our love to the heavens and promise never to let go ever ever ever, followed by dancing. The trials we have had here make that vision all the more exciting because it will be a day a serious celebration. Growth and change and compromise and sacrifice and being humbled and being so freaking lucky and another Amsterdam winter and another Amsterdam spring and friends moving away and happiness just the two of us and enduring and keeping yourself for moments of strength are all reasons to lift a glass and sing a happy tune. I can not wait.

Whatever Tommy needs, I want to give to him. This ask is tiny. And this is love.



So simple, beautiful and well done.


Gay Day #3

Not as many drag queens as last year, but the canal parade was still full of shiny goodness. And aging bears in tiny black shorts. And Sinter Klas with a boatload of gay assistants. And lots of rainbows. Enjoy!

Love the exuberance in rainbow afro wigs. Why can't every day be like this?

What makes our shockingly un-PC holiday even more un-PC?

Drag queen in pink. Hot! But looks a little like Tony Clifton...

That diva bitch in black was FIERCE mmmkay!

These bodies were not hot.