Whose world is this?

*Pardon my ridiculous pictures. I was debating whether to post them, but I kind of like that the blurriness reflects the dream-like experience I had. Love it!

It should be no secret by now that I love hip hop. Love love love love hip hop. I'm not talkin' your Lil Wayne-Drake-radio hip hop either. I'm talkin' soulful, intellectual and deep hip hop. Depending on who you talk to, you can call it conscious hip hop or if you've found a poophead they might call me a "backpacker." Alls I know is I love me some hip hop.

This past Monday I was at my apartment, chilling out, trying to figure out something to do. Again, as before, I was called to Burro Bar. I'm friends with them on Facebook so when I was diddling around on my phone I saw that they had a show going on, with these guys Louis Logic and Ceschi. I hade never heard of them before, so I looked up Louis Logic. The first video I saw on youtube when I searched his name was a live set he did at StrangeFamous Records. This immediately caught my eye. StrangeFamous is an incredible label out of Rhode Island, home to a few of my very favorite rappers (Sage Francis being the major one and the founder). Corey and I had the pleasure of seeing a spoken word poet from the label by the name of Jared Paul at a club Downtown last year and it was SO good. All of this is to say that by the time I was done reading the title of the video, my mind was made up.

Corey was at work, so I went by myself. Why did I fly solo? Well...I figured that the show was probably gonna run pretty late, and it was a Monday night. Besides that, I haven't really found anyone readily available in my friend group that'sas enthusiastically in love with this music as I am...apart from Corey, obviously. Plus I'm a big girl, dammit, I like to do stuff by my damn self every once in a while! Haha. Anyway, the door time was at 10 and I didn't get there until almost 11...which was fine, since there wasn't any action until about 12. There was a really good DJ though spinning a bunch of awesome music, and I was blissing out between the music and my Duke's beer. The place was empty though. Par for the course for a Monday but I was still kinda surprised.

Empty bar...

DJ doin his damn thing

The DJ, this big hulk of a black gentleman with an epic beard, ended up coming over to me to introduce himself and say hi. It was nice to sit and chat with him, he said he was surprised to see a little white girl all by herself knitting at a hip hop show but he could tell I was a hip hop head since I sang all of the words when he played The What by Biggie. We indulged in the obligatory namedrop conversation ("Could you play some One Be Lo for me?" "Oh, well I mean I have that on vinyl but not here with me" "Well do you have any CunninLynguists?" "Yeah I can get that for you."), it was cool. He shocked the hell out of me when he got back on the decks by playing Only You by Portishead....and singing all of the words to it. The two performers, Louis and Ceschi, came up and introduced themselves to me and said hi too. Man, you just can't beat an intimate show.

So finally, Ceschi gets ready to take the stage. He ended up gathering a few chairs right around the little platform stage and gesturing for me to come sit in front of him. It turns out that I was the ONLY ONE who came to the show, and the only there besides staff and performers. Whoa. So basically these guys performed just for me. It was incredible! Ceschi pulls out a guitar and plops down on the steps right in front of me, and starts singing these incredibly acoustic songs. I was like, hold up I thought this was a hip hop show? And then he started incorporating rapping INTO the acoustic songs, and 3-beers-in-Keri was blown away. He started off with this song, Galapagos, which has these incredible chords and just...oh my gosh. I fell in love.

Blurry love

Ceschi sorta looks like a more attractive Zach Galifianakis, and the intelligence and introspection present in his material just struck every chord in my soul. He asked my name and made a comment about how I was the only one that came out so I must be the coolest mother(expletive deleted) in Jacksonville, and then sang all of the songs to me. He went back and forth between rapping over a beat to doing the acoustic songs on guitar. To make things even better, the DJ bought me another beer to sip on while I watched the show. Be still my heart.

The next act was Louis Logic, and I won't lie. I wasn't really that impressed. I don't have any pictures of him because I spent most of his set wishing Ceschi would come back on...haha. I will say this, there was one really awesome moment where Louis played a single chord on his keyboard, and let it hang in the air, and then sang "whose world is this?" which is of course the first line of a classic song by Nas. All six of us in the audience, in unison, shouted back "It's yours!" and began to sing the entire song. Every single one of us knew every single word, and it was a magical freaking moment. Just beautiful. I was the only girl in a room full of 30-something hip hop devotees, all more than a little buzzed, singing our anthem.

After the show was over, I hung around for a bit to talk to all of the guys and drank on some water before I had to drive home. I ended up talking to the DJ (F. Kyle Marshall, or DJ Chef Rocc) for a good while about the Jacksonville hip hop scene and how I want to dig deeper into it. He seemed like a really cool guy, I look forward to seeing him spin again. I also talked with Ceschi for a bit, and I bought both of the CDs he had for sale. I did a double take in looking at one of them, which features another rapper named Sole. Now, Sole happens to be the founder of Anticon Records, which was elemental in the foundation of a lot of my favorite artists (Slug from Atmosphere being the biggest one). So...pretty much, I stumbled into a concert on a Monday night expecting nothing and I ended up seeing an artist who is connected to every single rapper that I love. Um....sweet! In conversation I mentioned that seeing the name StrangeFamous in connection with Louis Logic is what brought me out, and Ceschi was like "yeah? I just had dinner with Sage three nights ago."

Uh....this is the part where I fall over myself slobbering. I don't know if words can convey how much respect and awe I have for all of these EXTREMELY talented men, they are my role models and my indirect mentors and frankly I was not prepared for this kind of experience. I left shortly after, and once I got home I realized that there are so many questions I had and conversational topics I could have pursued with this powerhouse of an artist... and I basically just choked. I bought the cds, thanked him for being amazing, hugged him, and went home. Doh! Haha oh well. I got home around 1:30 and stayed up until Corey got home so I could tell him about my night...and because I was pretty wired, frankly. Anyway when he got home I told him who I saw, and spelled out Ceschi's name (I wasn't sure how to pronounce it then, I know now that it's CHESS-key). Corey's whole face lit up - "you saw CESCHI?? Keri I've been trying to get you to listen to him forever!" ...haha cue Doh #2... so long story short I didn't get to bed until well after 4am..with work in the morning.

Oh well, man, you're only 22 once.


Scheer Joy

So...I think this will be Post 1 in a series about things that Keri GEEKS OUT about.

Today's post, darlings, is about an email I received this morning.

First, a little backstory.
So there's this show on TV called The League. And I freaking love it. Real talk: it may be my favorite show..yknow, the show you'll drop everything and change schedules and do what you gotta to be in front of the tv with friends when it comes on. That's a pretty big deal for me, since I really don't give two hoots about tv. I'm fine if the tv doesn't get turned on at all, so for a show to have me hooked like this should say something. Anyways, I didn't even get into until the 2nd season because I figured it was just a dumb show about Fantasy Football. Yeah, uh, I was wrong because again, it is hilarious!

But my favorite actor on the show is a guy named Paul Scheer. I love his character, I love his goofy looks, I just love him. He's actually in a BUNCH of stuff that I count among my favorites. In doing research (namely checking out his IMDB) I realized he pretty much works with every show I love, with every actor I love. For instance, he is on an episode of Party Down, he's also on Children's Hospital, he was in a hilarious sketch show with Aziz Ansari and Rob Huebel. AND he loves Odd Future just as much as I do. It's a freakin match made in heaven.

One day I was wondering if he had a blog or anything, and I stumbled upon his Tumblr. This was back when I was first starting there (I'm 22 and a non-hipster, it takes me a while to get to new things) a few months ago, so I immediately clicked follow. I noticed that he had an email address, and ever one for spontaneity and slight creepiness, I figured I'd send him one. I wasn't expecting a response (I was emailing mostly out of boredom), but regardless last May I fired off this email:


You sir are a scholar and a gentleman. I'm sure you get tons of mail but I was feeling generous and wanted to give you a completely superfluous email chock full of hyperbolic and gratuitous butt-kissing that maybe you can look upon in your hours of less-than-ebullience. Big words!

Alright, here goes.

If the very gods had deigned create a comedic genius as subtle and wonderful a comic as you, they could not have had any expectation that their hands were not capable. A true work of humor and brevity as you can only rise organically up out of our Earth's roiling core leaving the crumpled debris of tectonic plates rent asunder in his wake. Roaring up from the magma-filled bowels of the hell pits of our planet you, Paul Scheer, appeared like a shining vision of all that is gloriously funny and smirked down upon the masses. With hands raised, his hairless dome glistening in the preHellenistic sun, the writhing and despondent populations bowed and began to rejoice. Hope was spread throughout the planet in forms of slow smiles and reluctant chuckles until finally all of society was wrought with the most pleasant of plagues- that of comedy.

That is all. Um...I think I exhausted my verbal lexicon. Well, now I have. Uh...I'm excited to see the cast of The League at Bonnaroo this summer....happy Friday the 13th...have a good weekend!

See? I told you. Spontaneous and a little creepy at the same time (it's how I roll). Anyway, I fired it off and never heard back and frankly I had forgotten all about it. I didn't end up getting to see The League cast perform at Bonnaroo, though we did get to see them drive past in a golf cart. We followed them for a bit but didn't get to them in time to get a (creepy stalker) picture.

SO imagine my surprise when this morning at work as I was doing my first-thing-email-check and saw that Paul had actually written me a response! Oh my gosh I was dancing in my chair. It's always really cool when I'm reminded that entertainment figures are just people, after all. Anyways, his response:


That is the best email ever. I'll forever save your hyperbolic gratuitous butt kissing, rest assured that I'm a truly horrible person.
I hope you got to see the League at B'roo. Our Sunday was really good. The 1st day was was rustier.

Thanks again Keri for your email. Sorry it's taken me so long to get to it.
Be well.

Le sigh....so short and yet so poignant. Haha. Like I said, I am completely geeking out. This is my favorite celebrity-ish encounter since Patton Oswalt verbally sparred with me on Facebook. For reals though, Paul Scheer is a ridiculously funny dude. I'm pretty frickin humbled that he wrote me back! Ack! I feel like such a little fan girl!


Who am I kiddin, who am I foolin?

Yesterday was a day worth blogging about. Really, this past weekend was pretty extraordinary but I feel yesterday was one of those rare cocktail-of-emotion kind of days that really bears marking down in the annals. Or, yknow, something like that.

So I started my day by waking up late, since I was kinda out late the night before. You know those nights, where you don't even get home until 5 in the morning? It was one of those. So I wake up to my beloved kissing me, saying he's going to work...which woke me right up. "What?!?! You don't have to leave yet, it's only..." and then I looked at the clock. "Crap." I made him come back for one more kiss, coherent this time, and I watch him leave. I don't like his schedule, his off days are during the week and he works through pretty much all of my waking hours on the weekends...it's bollocks. But it is what it is for right now, and to be frankly honest I do enjoy getting to have some alone time. I slowly roused myself and got up, and then remembered that some friends from school were having some bands play a house show in one the more hip parts of town. I speed dressed, speed walked the pooch, grabbed two cans of beer from the fridge and tossed them into my catch-all bag, and hit the road.

I pull up to a house around 7 or 8 that matches the address, but there's no one in sight and I can't hear any noise. I walk up the driveway and see an open door going into the backyard, but again when I poke my head through and see/hear nothing. My socially awkward penguin instincts take over and I walk back out the driveway...as someone is pulling...which just makes me speed up and get the eff outta dodge. It occurred to me that I could have just waited and asked the people if I was in the right place, or maybe I dunno knocked on the freaking door but it just so happened that I was already in the car three minutes down the road when my sanity took back over. When I am alone I am more prone to freak out and flee the scene in the face of an unfamiliar social setting...when I have someone else with me, I am invincible.

After I left, I was driving in Murray Hill feeling like crap. Feeling like a phony, like I only have self-esteem and confidence when I am bolstered by a crowd. I like to think of myself as unflappably cool, but the truth is I'm just as shaky as anyone. I'm rarely alone so I rarely have to deal with the shakiness but it's definitely there. I ended up deciding to go down to Chamblin's Bookmine Uptown to see if I could grab a cup of soup and some sweet tea. I took my time, eating and basking in the downtown light from my window seat, playing on Reddit (trying not to laugh out loud at points) and replenishing my good mood vibes. I realized that this was the third Sunday in a row that I found myself chilling at Chamblin's, and I think I might try for a habit.

I remembered while I was eating that there was a CD and Record Show going on at Burro Bar, which just a few blocks up. I made my way over, and was treated to a variety of characters. I am never disappointed when I go into a bar because the people are always so different and wonderfully flavored. While I was looking at records I overheard a hipster/indie dude explaining Bright Eyes to a random homeless man, and I even got to jump in and add a little bit about the principle of intentional discord. The indie dude offered to buy me a beer but I politely declined. Then, the man with the records gave me TWO free records! The magic, though, happened in the next room.

In the next room, there were three tables. I assumed that they all belonged to one vendor, so I dove right in and started looking through a box of $2 CDs at the first table (table 1). I really love digital music, but Corey is a 'physical music' collector so I'm always on the look out for him. I grabbed a handful, and then went back to table 3, which is where I thought I was supposed to check out. I go to check out some of the CDs at that table, when the two gentlemen running the table came over. They were father and son, both with very long hair in a low ponytail, and both wearing metal shirts. They were very stereotypical Norwegian looking metalheads. The older guy comes over and asks me, in a very heavy European accent, "What is your favorite type of music? This," cue sweeping hand motion, "is metal." uh....hahaha so obviously he immediately typecast me, a little 5'2" girl with long hair and a swishy skirt, as someone who was clearly in the wrong section. And he was right, I don't like metal. But I was already dying laughing inside, so I decided that I had to buy something from him. I was just imagining the look of surprise on his face when he grabbed the CDs from my hand and starting rifling through them. "This is the music you like? It is very different," he says, in that clipped heavy way of speaking that non-english speakers can have. It's true, it was very different- I had The Strokes' Is This It next to Ludacris' Chicken and Beer.

He says again, with emphasis: "This, this is metal. Do you want metal?"

I was trying very hard to keep my composure here. The way that he was saying metal, in such a reverent tone as if metal music was all that was worthy in the world...it cracked me up. I decided, now that I knew that each table was different, to go pay for the CDs in my hand. After I did so, I only had a 5 dollar bill left. I went back to my metal friends and asked how much his CDs were. "Oh well they are expensive. You want? They are metal..."

Yeah, shit was getting pretty old by that point, but whatever. He told me that the CDs were 8 bucks, so I showed him the fiver and asked what I could get for it. He rummaged through his CD bins and picked me out a double-disc compilation of the most metal metal that he could find...trying not to die laughing from the aburdity of it all, I hand him the five and he says "no. it is 8. 8 dollars are my CDs."

Really? I just told you I only have a - nevermind. Whatever. I was pretty sure I had a dollar or two in my bag, so I dug for a few minutes and finally came up with 2 dollars. This seemed enough to satisfy him, so he gave me the compilation CD. He also handed me a new-release sampler from one of the harder labels, handing it to me as if he were entrusting some jeweled heirloom. "This, for you I will give you this." Oh man. I very greatly appreciated this man's obvious undying dedication to one specific genre of music...I could never do that. There is too much for me to listen to in the world to only listen to one type of music over and over. But alas, for some that is all they need. Anyhow, Mr. Metal gave me his business card and told he that he expected me to email him and tell him what I thought. I assured him I would, and I left the bar laughing out loud as I walked back to my car.

Oh, joy... I really am surprised by our city, every now and then...the secrets that lay underneath the stereotype of small-town-redneck-city are vast and complex, these beautiful and random-ass people for me to meet. And the story's not even done! Once I got back to my car, a homeless black dude came over and very politely asked if I happened to have .71 cents. I was in a very gregarious and open mood so I told him "hell yeah I got .71 cents!" and started digging in my door. The gentleman told me that he just got out of jail and needed money for the bus, and that I was sure a blessing to him. "Just a blessing." Because I was feeling particularly ballsy, I decided to further our conversation.

"Well, I mean you say I'm a blessing...but I want you to know that I am an atheist, and I am doing a good thing for a fellow human because I want to be nice and not because a higher power is telling me that I have to." I say this as I continue digging out change for him, moving onto the floorboards because I thought I saw a quarter there. He was kinda stunned, which I expected him to be. He surprised me, though. He replied "I have to say, I appreciate your honesty, and whatever it is that brought us together I'm glad that happened. Thank you for your kindness." We chatted for a little longer, and then I gave him the change and he turned to go. I stopped him and asked if he was thirsty, and I tossed him one of my beers. His face lit up and it for real made my day. I wish I could just go downtown and hand out free beers....haha nothing bad would come of that!

After I left downtown, I was in a soaring mood. I was listening to Atmosphere, with a bag full of cheap music next to me and the rest of the day spread out before me. I ended up driving around the city in a huge loop, ending up at my house a few hours later for a good old fashioned hang out session with some of my best friends. It was all in all a freaking magical day.


It's time to get back into the swing of things.

It's time to get back into the swing of things.
Oh pooh, that sentence is such a frustrating jumble of brick-wall words that leave me so terribly flustered...

It's true, though. It's time to get back into the swing of things. There are so many many things that I have to do right now, and by the weekend, and by November 12th...it all drives me nuts. It feels like there are so many loose ideas and thoughts flying around my head like little gnats, and when I have the fortune to grab even one of them and make it sit still for a moment it feels like a major victory. This entire month so far has been screwy - starting with Memorial Day and ending with my sick day I took yesterday (with, yknow, Bonnaroo thrown in there) I haven't had a week yet where I haven't missed a day. Luckily I'm not getting any short paychecks because of it, but I'm still left feeling dazed wondering the days have gone. It's almost July, and I have so much left to pay on my dress, let alone the photographer and the reception hall and the food and the....oh my gosh pretty much all of it.

Whatever happened to the days when parents paid for an entire wedding? Oh my goodness.

I don't say that to mean that any of our parents have been unhelpful or unsupportive, we went into this headfirst saying the whole time that this will be "our wedding our way"...and that also means "our wedding our financial responsibility." In better moments I look at the silver lining, which is that I am fortunate enough to have my own wedding and that I will be able to pay for it (though it may be hard)...and that when it is over, I will feel extremely accomplished for it. Not to mention that whole joining-lives-with-my-best-friend thing..that's a pretty nice perk!

At the end of it all, this is what's important.

I'm just a taskmaster on myself, is all.
It's hard watching the end of a day go by and not feeling like I made full use of it.


Thank you, you're far too kind

Ok. So I've been a little delinquent in posting because we have doing SO much these past two weeks. SO freakin' much. I have a bunch of posts that I will be sporadically releasing into the Blogosphere, starting with this one.

Where did we leave off? Oh yeah, the poetry reading. Well, let's start that evening from the beginning...

Pretty city

Corey and I went downtown for Artwalk, which is basically a huge block party that spans the urban core the first Wednesday of every month. We try to go every month on principle since supporting our city's 'funness' is big. Everybody always complains that there is nothing to do in Jacksonville since we are a "small" city (at 1 million people I don't think that really applies) and I always disagree. I love getting out and about in Jax and finding something new to do.

Anyway, we have sort of a routine when we go to Artwalk. We park in 'our' spot and then walk a few blocks over to our favorite bookstore ever in the history of anything to smell the old books and check out the used cd collection. Then we ramble over to Hemming Plaza to check out the vendors and artists, and we hit the Museum of Contemporary Art.

Capoeira demonstration

Reading quirky old books at Chamblin's Bookmine

This is Corey's emo-kid face...
he starts pulling crazy faces to let me know I'm taking too many pictures of him.

Art at the MoCa: I don't remember the name of the piece but the artist is Howard Finster.
I was stopped dead in my tracks by this art...enough to write a full on post about it later.

A quote in the Howard Finster exhibit that struck a chord within me

After we had wandered around downtown long enough to lose track of the time, I was jarred back into reality by my best friend calling and asking where the eff we were...oops! Last time the poetry didn't even start until well after 10, so even though the start time on the web page said 8 I kinda shrugged it off. Luckily Miss Alex called me so Corey and I hightailed it over to Brooklyn Royal for the show. I got there just in time to read my own pieces, surrounded by friends and loved ones. It was really cool. I was nervous through the first poem, but I hit my stride in the second and finished strong. I was very pleased with how it came out, Corey took some video and my voice was clear and sufficiently loud (but not too loud!). My night was further made by one of the creators coming up to me and asking if I'd be interested in joining up with her spoken word troupe... which sounds really cool but I don't know if I'm quite there yet. I definitely feel inspired to keep writing and reading, though.

On to some pictures, and then I'll share one of my poems that I read.

Here's a good shot of the interior and the stage of Brooklyn Royal, the event hall. Also seen here are my best buddy Stephan (left) and my little stepbrother Kevan.

Best friend Alex was there...

And of course my big ole' blurry head!

And poetry:

Ours to Frolic In
Put me in that place
with my head squished up against pillows
Your face that hovers illuminated
speaks of every other time
that every other person has ever loved another

In my spot, love
is where I watch you
Your face speaks of happiness untold
Happiness that has no translation into English

Put me in that place
with your whiskers trailing tiny scratches
across my skin, I am your canvas
and I stretch against your frame

Where the words stop and the speaking begins
It’s yours and mine, this place we're in
This place is ours to frolic in

Copyright - Keri Mezo 2011



I'm a little nervous about the poetry reading tonight.
So...instead of blabbering on about that, I'm going to post some colorful pictures from around our apartment.

These are some hanging birdies sent back from Bahrain, when my older sister was stationed there.

Colorful doodles and magnets on the fridge


Alrighty, time to put on my big girl pants and go read my words to strangers!