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  • Writer's pictureLisa Czarina Michaud

#6: author photos + julien from the strokes' dad

Updated: Dec 15, 2021

Hello, hello!

So, I have been holding off on sending this newsletter, frankly, because it's embarrassing. As many of you know, a few weeks ago I got my author's photo taken. You know the one that will go on the back of the book and used for any promotional author-y stuff coming up.

Having my picture taken isn't my favorite thing, mainly because I don't really know what to do with my mouth since fake smiling and looking stoic both make me look like I need to use the bathroom. But it's also not the worst thing. The day went well thanks to the brilliant photographer Gabriel Omnes who knew what to say to make me feel less like an asshole taking "serious" author photos seconds after stepping on my son's Legos on the floor.

But first, a question: Did your local mall have Glamour Shots? You know that place next to Wild Pair or Contempo Casual or in front of the fountain that did teen photoshoots? Was this nationwide or was this another weird Long Island thing? Please do let me know!

Doing this shoot reminded of Glamour Shots in a way. Not that my photographer brought a laser beam backdrop or my coiffeuse gave me rainbow bangs, but because I realized just how unprepared I would have been had my mom actually agreed to one of these shoots. Her answer was always, "No." No further explanation. "Just no. You're not doing a modeling shoot at Roosevelt Field Mall."

What I didn't tell her was that the idea was to get my amazing professional photos done at the mall and then send them to John Casablanca's (the father of Julian from The Strokes) modeling school. You know the one that was advertised on the back of YM Magazine. Be a Model...or just look like one...? (There really should have been a Strokes song called this. It feels sort of like a missed opportunity if you ask me.)

Doing the shoot I learned that long gone are my Glamour Shot dreams, as I have evolved from an oblivious pre-teen wanting to send a SASE (self-addressed stamped envelope) to Madison Avenue to a middle-aged woman wearing slippers in her kitchen.

Action shot.

Craft services.

And local news, I have something fun to share...

But before we get into it, let me provide some back story.

Last year, after the first confinement, I decided to organize a block party. I went all out and got authorization to close our street, I put flyers in mailboxes, strung festive-looking garland from house to house, set out rosé, and put on a rock show with my ukulelist-slash-drummer neighbor, Dimitri.

The band part actually was research for the novel to see the inner workings of a two-piece band. I didn't get much research because Dimitri and I don't write original songs, are so-so musicians, don't communicate with each other through music, and don't want to have sex with each other but what I didn't get in research I got in laughs with a new friend.

Dimitri and Czarina. The new Boris and Natasha.

Calling his buddy who lives an hour or so away to play guitar with me, we did an acoustic set of CCR, White Stripes, Babes in Toyland, Iggy Pop, Brigitte Bardot, Dutronc, Black Keys, and Serge Gainsbourg songs. So fucking random. I know. Hell, I think we may have even done a Phish song.

We played whatever we wanted, the neighbors were happy, Dimitri's sheet music kept knocking over with the pages blowing down the street, and we made it onto the local blog on "happenings" in the village making it a good time for all.

And then Dimitri moved away.

And a dark cloud shuffled in from stage left over my local garage band dreams.

And I was sad.

Then... a few weeks ago, Aurelien was picking up a baguette as one does and was approached by the village's cultural deputy wanting to know if his "wife's band" was available this year.

His wife's band...

But this year, he noted, we wouldn't be playing in front of our neighbor's house.

We'd be playing in front of...the bakery.

And it wouldn't be for a makeshift block party but for...Fete de la Musique (France's annual Music Day).

Thinking Dimitri would be thrilled for a road trip to go on Fete de la Musique tour, I sent an email to him and his friend thinking we were getting the band back together. But as it turned out Dimitri has moved on from our medieval enclave and is somehow above acoustic Babes in Toyland and Phish covers.

So weird, I know.

I figured, oh well, it's a bust and we'd try again next year. That was until Aurélien, my dear voice of reason was like, but why?Do it anyway. And after a night's sleep, I also was, like, yeah, fuckingdo it anyway. I mean I don't pride myself on being the best musician like I can "carry" the show or anything since last year I kept leaving the barre chords to our outsourced guitarist where I would flat out stop playing. But still, why not? So I emailed his friend on the side and said, "Can we still play?" And he was, like, "Oh my God, can we?"

So, it's that weird thing of like, can we be friends independent of the friend we have in common? It's touchy because some people don't like when friends branch off. I had this one friend who flat out said, no I don't share friends. And it was always weird because she always liked having us all over her house, so it was never clear if I was allowed to laugh at her friend's jokes, or eat her friend's hummus, or acknowledge this other beating heart, sitting fucking next to me. Anyway, something tells me Dimitri might be cooler than this girl...but still are we rock band cheating on Dimitri?

To give the impression that's it a side project and that we're not continuing the band without him, I enlisted an English friend of mine to play the violin in our drumless rock band.

When bouncing back with the musicians about songs, I noticed a military-like precision to our communication. Everyone was quick, and resolute in what they wanted to play and the organization behind it. The perfection was palpable. Growing suspicious of the efficiency, I stopped the music chat for a second and asked what month everyone was born in, and yep, we're all September kiddos. Figured.

With that said, Like A Virgo will be playing "Main Stage" (again, in front of the bakery) at this year's Fete de la Musique! Now all I have to do is learn a few Sepultura songs on my folk acoustic and we're all set. (Sorry..nerdy rock joke.)

Now to keep to my word with the promised exclusive treat.

This newsletter, I admit, was on the more glamorous side. So not to be all, I do photoshoots at my house with professional hair and makeup and always have cultural deputies booking "my band", I'll leave you off with this.

Me. Probably not long after I wanted to send my pictures to Julian's dad's modeling agency.

I may not be Jenny from the Block but I'll always be this chick. The clumsy girl who shouldn't have bleached her Italian-girl hair and felt the need to draw attention to it with a fucking tiara. Until next time....

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