Posted in Almost Dorothy, The Potty Mouth Interviews

Zasahanell: Her & I


Zashanell travels by umbrella, dances with giant pink cotton candy soundclouds, and hangs out with angels. Seriously. Born and raised in good ol’ South Florida, singer-songwriter Zashanell is busting her chops creating music that makes people forget their worries and dance like wild bobble head dolls. Her latest track “U & I”, signed and remixed by international superstar DJ Laidback Luke, is all the rage against the deus ex (house music) machina. And, there’s more to come! In this Potty Mouth Interview, Zashanell & I talk about what makes her move, what moves she plans to make next, and how to make $14,000 off Ebay in one day.

Almost Dorothy: What do you love most in life?

Zashanell: Love is what I love the most. It’s my Sigmund Freud self-theory, my drive for tomorrow, dream to find the same passion in some one else; it’s what catapults me out of bed each morning. I haven’t hit that wall yet but I do believe in true love.

AD: I hear love, the dopamine it releases in the body, is like heroin. Love is a drug, or at the very least, a dope show. So, what energizes you (besides music!)?

Z: I randomly ask strangers to share their life stories with me. Some share, some stare. Starbucks, a short walk IN CIRCLES, the sunrise at 6am on the way back home from Miami Beach, a shower, pictures of nature or lights.

AD: Tell us about your song writing process. When you write songs, do they all come to you the same way,that internal space? Or, does each song come from different places and sources of inspiration?

Z: My process for writing is different every time, I tried doing the pick a spot for writing kind of thing, smoke your lungs out thing, drink your life away thing, cry your heart out thing, then stopped and just did the breath and relax and the write thing. That can some times work, but some times I do need that anger, pain, stress in me to write beautifully.

I’m inspired by truth, by real feelings. It can come from a movie, a line in another song, people sitting at a bus stop, a message on a bill board, a motion, a beautiful sound, a sigh, an old lady’s wrinkles. I’ve actually stopped on the middle of the dance floor to grab pen and napkin to write a feeling I got while dancing to use for lyrics.

If there were a specific way for writing, I probably would get it all wrong. So thank God there isn’t. That’s why I love writing so much; I can do what ever I want with my words.

AD: Me too! I often grab pens and napkins on dance floors to get phone numbers from extraterrestrials. How did you come to write “U & I”?

Z: I was fed up with giving 100% and getting back 50%. I put so much time and many years of me into a love that never happened but could of, should of, would of, but never did. I walked into a small room with a microphone with a beautiful melody, pressed record and sang.

I will continue to always give 100% though, that’s what the song is about, never holding back and always giving all of you no matter what.

AD: Collaboration is a big part of your musical career. What’s it like to collaborate with a diverse group of artists and musicians?

Z: A different side of me comes out depending on the kind of music or musicians I compose with. So I’d have to say it’s an awesome experience for me. Let’s me experiment new things.

AD: Any fist fights or funniest moments you want to reveal?

Z: Nope. Oh, I fought a fan once because she didn’t want to be my fan anymore. I sold my pen on Ebay for 14,000 dollars. I’ve been using a broken 2005 Blackberry with half the keypad missing. When I’ve had a bran new Iphone 4 sitting in my bag waiting to be connected on it’s own for the past year. Not all are true stories, guess which ones are false.

AD: As a musician, what is your proudest moment to date?

Z: Sharing my music with my Grandmother and Father before they passed away. They both supported my music, which means the world to me. 2006 Won Second place at a Battle of the bands without having a band lol, I think that’s why I couldn’t win first place. 2007 Performing in Texas in front of 1,000 plus. 2009 My first real Recording with pro Musicians as my mentors. 2011 Getting a single signed to one of the biggest names in House music.

AD: Proudest moment as a human being?

Z: I was sitting in my car ready to get out and walk into my house, when my dad called me while at work just to tell me how proud he was of me.

AD: I think Madonna said, “Music makes the people come together.” What is it about the power of music that brings people together despite cultural, linguistic and even socio-economic differences?

Z: It’s all about a feeling. Music has the power to make two strangers in a room that have never met in their lives feel the same thing at the same time, make them move in their own way and no one would have had to speak a word. That to me is powerful.


AD: Who cares about the future! What does it feel like right now to be Zashanell? To be creating music? To do what you were born to do?

Z: I feel normal now that I’m doing what I was created to do, at least that’s what I believe. If not, I don’t think I’d have the gift I have today.

AD: What is the perfect day for you?

Z: Getting at least four songs written and recorded and the rest of the day spent with my family.

AD: Finally, what’s at the end of the rainbow?

Z: A stork dropping off my album. Another Stork will pass a bill board with my tour dates, and stop at the end of the rainbow and leave you my heart. I’ll be dressed as pot of Gold.

Zashanell is a Hispanic-American Miami, FL based Singer-Songwriter. Zashanell & GTA with their latest track release titled “U&I” has achieved considerable worldwide success. From the cold corners of Finland to the heart of South Africa to the night clubs of New York City and Miami, everyone is infatuated with her seducing sultry vocal melodies. It is no surprise that when Laidback Luke heard the track “U&I” he immediately signed it to Mix Mash Records and created a remix of the song. Zashanell will be performing at Dayglow – Atlanta, GA on 10/8/2011 and Dayglow  Columbus, OH on 10/21/2011.

Links:Twitter & Facebook.

Posted in Almost Dorothy, Culture Clash, Politics

10 More Reasons Why I Love New York

Man-made - New York City - Empire State Buildi...
Image by Trodel via Flickr

1. Because love is framed by the words “I” and “New”, I love New York.

2. Because the Hudson River and the East River together bear hug New York City just like ma bear hugs me like her ma bear hugged her–with her extraordinarily long arms, I love New York.

3. Because reason prevails in a city dominated by liberalism, I love New York.

4. Because the Empire State Building (almost) poked me in the eye when I flew over the city on Delta Airlines, I love New York.

5. Because of the sounds that resonate from the Brooklyn Bridge when we biked across it on the first day of summer, I love New York.

6. Because of the sanitation department, I love New York.

7. Because New York was once New Amsterdam and thus proving that nothing is permanent especially when it is new, I love New York.

8. Because New York taxi cab drivers represent the true melting-pot philosophy of our founding fathers, e pluribus unum, I love New York.

9. Because the Village is not a real village, I love New York.

10. Because New York City admits that its very foundation was built on the backs of slaves and cheap labor, I love New York. As a matter of fact, ma and I read this fact on a subway poster.

Posted in Almost Dorothy, Politics

10 Reasons Why I Love New York

Gay Pride Miami Beach | Photo by Neil de la Flor

1. Because New York is new and full of York, I love New York.

2. Because New York doesn’t reject people and opened her arms to ma’s ma, my grandma, who is more or less the same ma that lived in a concentration camp in Europe during the second war, the same second war that turned all moms into orphans and all orphans into moms, the same war that saw the bright light of the first atomic bomb, I love New York.

3. Because of Union Square & China Town & Madonna, I love New York.

4. Because New Yorkers have nice hair, I love New York.

5. Because during the Pleistocene ice age, New York’s Central Park was carved out of bedrock by gigantic glaciers, I love New York.

6. Because New York is the home of the Empire State Building and Broadway, Lady Bunny and Bunny Rabbits, Bergdorf Goodman and M&J Trimmings, I love New York.

7. Because the other day a New York cabbie saved ma’s life when she was choking on a Hebrew National Hot Dog splattered with mustard and sauerkraut, I love New York.

8. Because New York is, I love New York.

9. Because I am full of love and hope, and I believe in the primacy of equal and equitable human rights of all humans and Florence’s machines, I love New York.

10. Because homosexuals like ma and me, Newt Gingrinch and Rick Scott, and the entire cast of Jersey City can now legally marry in the great State of New York, I freaking love New York!

Posted in Almost Dorothy, The Potty Mouth Interviews

Michael Klein Is Still Living

Michael Klein

When I read Michael Klein’s memoir The End of Being Known, I circled my favorite passage: “I think the stranger’s desire for me is as strong as my desire for him because of the breezes between us, which carry hope into the unknown. Being in public makes it famous sex.” After I read that line I had infamous sex in the space between the breezes and found hope in running sneakers. In other words, I had public sex and almost got arrested. (I made all of that up, of course. I’m a virgin.) In Klein’s latest collection of poems, then, we were still living, which was just named a finalist for a 2011 Lambda Literary Award this morning, he reveals that we’re all made of bread and the encounters that encase our living lives. Yes, there’s more public sex, but this book is not about the sex. then, we were still living is about living because we are (or were) still living. Klein takes us into church and into his bathtub. He asks us to consider Afghanistan and the fall of Kabul. He pulls us in and shows us who he (we) is (are)–creatures of habit, objects of desire, and objects to be desired. And we don’t need a photograph to prove it.

Warning: partial nudity below, so keep reading. This is a Potty Mouth Interview, FYI!

Almost Dorothy: I’m obsessed with this question: what is a poem? But, I’m not that obsessed with it anymore. We broke up. So, what do you love the most?

Michael Klein: I love jazz (Wayne Shorter, Miles Davis, Keith Jarrett) and theater and modern dance and Andrew and the sun and Ruby and the ocean and parts of the south and more parts of the north and salt water and night walking on the beach and laughter and Walker Evans, Charles Ives, shameless love, Jean Ritchie on the dulcimer.

AD: But I’m still in love with him (or her) (or them): what is a poem?

MK: A poem is a song and a prayer as opposed to a wing and one.

AD: Haha! In your latest collection of poems, then, we were still living, I want to be clear on this: are we still still living and when will this still living be over? And is it life like a still life?

MK: We are still still living and we shall remain so until we were living. And no, it is not like a still life. It is like a memory of the future.

AD: A future memory is like a past memory but it just hasn’t happened yet. In the poem “Five Places for Sex”, you write:

The sex we were having held on to the flimsy hangers
until we pulled them down with us into our orgasm
looking for its rightful place to land in the dark—our cum, I mean,
all mixed up with the sparks and streaming its white noose
into the very slightly serious tennis shoes.

No question. I’m just very distraught over the serious tennis shoes. Is there anything better than church sex?

MK: Yes, I think sex on a train and in a bathtub are two places better than church. Also, on the floor of a restroom of a gas station in Saratoga Springs, New York.

AD: Do you have a photograph of this?

MK: That was in the days before photography.


Michael "Foxy" Klein


AD: I didn’t know you were so young. Seriously, “What War”? (Read the poem here.)

MK: Every war. Everything that is at odds at our staying human and vulnerable and fragile and beings who wonder and are drawn to wonder.

AD: I am drawing wonder right now. I heard that you like Tori Amos. My favorite T.A. songs are “Baker Baker” (always makes me cry for a day) and “Mr. Zebra“. Oh, and also “Hey, Jupiter” and “Upside Down”. What’s your favorite Tori Amos song and why?

MK: “Caught a Lite Sneeze” because it says at the end:

Boys in their dresses
And you’re not here
I need a big loan from the girl zone


AD: How is your dog?

MK: My dog is my guide.

AD: Favorite word & why?

MK: Rain. It says everything.

AD: In your memoir, The End of Being Known, you write that you see a lot of your childhood through water in three pools. Sometimes I see my childhood sitting on the edge of the pool, feet dangling. What does the view look like now since you wrote the memoir?

MK: Steeper.

AD: Okay, who are you?

MK: Nobody. Who are you?

AD: A shoe. Are you everything you imagine yourself to be or have been?

MK: Completely different. My imagination doesn’t face back in my direction. It looks out.

AD: Good answer. Last question before the last question: Chris Abani writes, “that in order to have an honest conversation with a reader, I must reveal myself in all my vulnerability. Reveal myself, not in the sense of my autobiography, but in the sense of the deeper self, the one we keep too often hidden even from ourselves.” I don’t see you as a hider, but as a revealer and maybe a reveller. Are you vulnerable?

MK: Always, and always resisting what would change that vulnerability.

AD: Best pickup line.

MK: “Here’s looking at you and putting it in me.”

AD: Gross!

MICHAEL KLEIN is the recipient of two Lambda Literary awards (“1990” and “Poets for Life:  76 Poets Respond to AIDS”). His other books are “Track Conditions”, “The End of Being Known” both memoirs, and a new book of poems “then, we were still living”.  He teaches at Goddard College and in the summer program at The Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, where he lives when he is not living in New York City. Read excerpts from then, we were still living here.