I Was Born Free

"We're all one thing, Lieutenant. That's what I've come to realize. Like cells in a body. 'Cept we can't see the body. The way fish can't see the ocean. And so we envy each other. Hurt each other. Hate each other. How silly is that? A heart cell hating a lung cell." - Cassie from THE THREE




I can’t do the exact math but I probably spend half the time I’m awake absently worrying about my brother. He’s fine, but every time another black male gets shot for no reason, I start getting panicky and shut down and worry about him. He would never be in a position where this would happen to him. He’s not antagonistic (the women in my family are notoriously unbalanced and aggressive so the men have seemingly adapted by being calm and passive) and he’s endlessly polite and patient, so nice that I used to think we weren’t even related. He does not have an inherent distrust of cops. I have been known to stupidly scream at police officers; my brother has taken state exams to become one. 

But he is a black twentysomething-year-old dude, and he is slightly darker than me, and he wears baggy clothes and boots and crooked baseball hats and an earring. He lives in my old, poor neighborhood where cops are constantly on edge because of gang violence and where I’ve woken up due to drive-by shootings or stray molotov cocktails. He sometimes drives a motorcycle with a group of guys in matching Ruff Ryder vests and other times he drives a Mustang while blasting loud music. These are things that Cops Don’t Like. He would never, ever in his life hurt anyone or doing anything bad — I mean, he’s even basically straightedge, so much so that he wouldn’t even take painkillers after a car accident required multiple painful surgeries — but that doesn’t matter, right? I worry because he looks a certain way, because he’s tall and can seem intimidating until you talk to him, because he wears earbuds that impair his hearing, because we both get followed in stores but I’m the only one who notices, because he carries a large cell phone that cops could claim resembles a gun, and because he has metal rods in his legs that set off metal detectors and cause him to limp, preventing him from being able to quickly exit a shitty situation.

If anything were to happen to him, there wouldn’t be any talk about how he is the nicest person anyone knows or how he wanted to be a police officer or join the military. They’d mention that he dropped out of college, though. Or that he was once in a motorcycle gang (which is definitely not a gang, but a group of cool guys who ride bikes and watch movies and lecture me on not going to church). They would say he’s in a gang but would not mention that a car once nearly broke his body in half while that gang was delivering Christmas gifts to children in poverty. But nothing good that you’ve ever done matters if you’re young and black and cops don’t give a fuck, and it’s terrifying.



Teddy Wayne imagines a short film from Amazon: http://nyr.kr/X58AAC

Two towheaded young boys, Timmy and Pete, are playing a first-person action shooter and a mobile-device game.

PETE: Yo, yo, yo, check out this awesome book that all the youths have been SMS text messaging about on their Amazon Fire phones!

TIMMY: Gee whiz—it’s that young-adult book featuring two male and two female junior-high students without parents in a future dystopian society who discover they have supernatural powers and some other things happen.

PETE: Oh, shucks: it’s outrageously priced at $14.99. That’s enough to make me never want to buy anything by that selfish book-length-content creator again!

Photograph: Kevin Dodge/Corbis

Towheaded means ‘very blonde’.

Sincerely, The Fun Ruiner


79 plays



had a tab issue

Song of the summer, suckaz!!!

Pretty proud of this one.


A Young Child Named Maya Rudolph

In 1975 I had just come off a brief tour I was on with a band that was opening for Joe Walsh, when Irving Azoff’s company, Frontline Management, which managed Walsh suggested I’d be a good fit to tour with Minnie Riperton.

They were right; when I met Minnie I felt I’d met a long lost older sibling, and would continue working for her after she left Azoff’s management, and throughout the remaining years of her career.

Besides a voice seemingly from heaven, she had the most delightful family as well. Her two children Marc, and Maya were a joy, and her husband, Richard Rudolph, who still to this day, is one of nicest people you could ever meet.

I was just in my early 20’s, toting around a Hasselblad camera wherever I went. When I was working as Minnie’s tour manager, I rarely had the time, or situation to formally photograph her. Although I always had my camera, I was still a very young photographer, and had not yet developed the skills to capture what it was I saw in her, so my collection of photographs of her is limited.

However, during our off time off from touring, I was often at their home around her family and photographed Maya frequently. Most children get very antsy in front of a camera, but she seemed to be fascinated with the photographic process. She held a firm gaze and always seemed to be studying this photographic process very closely, so I’m not at all surprised that she’s become one the finest comedic actors working in front of a camera today.

I’m also not surprised that Maya found her way into comedy. What few people may know about her mother is that Minnie was one of the most hilarious women you’d ever meet. She had a wry, even ribald wit that would totally disarm the coolest of characters, the biggest record producers, and the most pompous industry executives of the day.

Maya was five or six years old in this photograph. It was taken at their home in Westwood, CA near the UCLA campus. Maya in her swim suit, sitting in front of the TV with a vintage cable TV box, near a baseball bat & glove, while Minnie in one of her flowing dresses steps out of frame right, and “Sparkle” their devoted Standard Poodle slips by behind her.

This photograph captures so much of the special warmth, and familial connection I experienced at their home during those days. They were a very special family, whom I will always appreciate how generously they brought me into their lives.

I wish people still did interviews at tiny tables.

How’s your Saturday night?

Toilet seat :)