Maura Magazine | Internal Tags | issue-4

Internal Tags issue-4


The pieces in this issue all have longing at their core, whether it’s the desire to figure out one’s place in the world or a deep-seated need to be closer to one’s idols through membership in a fan club.

The Psychology Of Sales

I love a man who believes in multi-level marketing schemes. We sit in a hotel meeting room, a room named after the state flower followed by the letter B. My boyfriend, this man I love, is on the edge of his seat. There is a thin sheen of sweat on his forehead and upper lip. He is taking furious notes, digging his pen into the legal pad on his lap so hard everyone can hear his desperation.

When we first met, at a cocktail party for my job, he was tending bar. He wore a crooked bowtie and a wrinkled vest, a stained, short-sleeved white dress shirt and black slacks, also stained, which were a different black from the vest. I ordered a gin and tonic and he told me I had beautiful eyes. I watched as he made my drink, deftly pouring the right amounts of gin and tonic, cutting me a fresh slice of lime. He blew his shaggy hair out of his eyes and smiled as he handed me my drink. I took a sip and stared at him coolly. “You are a real mess,” I said. He shrugged, looked behind me and nodded for the next customer to give their order.

The man at the front of the room walks back and forth across the stage. He talks with his hands, is the kind of person you would say is animated. He is a short man with a bright shiny bald spot that gleams beneath the fluorescent lights. Every few minutes, he points one of his thick fingers toward an audience member and pulls them up front. I keep my head down. I don’t care for audience participation. His name, or the name he goes by, is Billy Bobby. I’m not quite clear on what Billy Bobby is selling but his racket involves websites and reselling and search engine optimization. I know enough to know his ideas are total bullshit while my boyfriend thinks Billy Bobby is preaching some kind of gospel.

Riding The K-Pop Wave

The kids in the crowd want lights dimmed, an apparent prerequisite to see the abs belonging to the pleasant-looking young man onstage. “Take it off! TAKE. OFF. YOUR. SHIRT.” We are at Toronto’s Korean Canadian Cultural Centre for HallyuCon, one of North America’s first conventions devoted to Korean music, and if the unnamed object of this lust isn’t an actual K-pop idol, he’s a reasonable facsimile. The physical boy-band template leaps borders like any other universalist concept, although certain male idols favor outfits that would look avant-garde on One Direction.

Into The Light

When Enlightened premiered at the end of 2011, its parent network, HBO, promoted it under slightly false pretenses: There was Laura Dern—her mascara smeared, her mouth contorted into an expression somewhere between a heaving sob and a rageful shriek—as “the new face of tranquility.” It played the cognitive dissonance for laughs, setting up a slapstick show that would play off Dern’s endlessly pliable face in order to heighten its inner tension.

I Guess This Is Growing Up

Recently I was seated with four moms about my age at a baby shower. Some worked, some didn’t, but they had children in common. When the conversation moved on from sitting in a car for two hours to let a child sleep and dealing with other moms at daycare to ripping vaginas and cord-cutting, I reminded the ladies we were eating. They looked at me like I was an alien. Then one of the women asked me what I’d normally be doing on a Saturday—they had already reeled off lists of classes and activities—and I said, deadpan, “Yoga, then… whatever.” They laughed, all in on the big joke that I had nothing important to do. I wanted to say, “I might spend three hours on the phone with my mother trying to convince her to move to a single-story house, because I worry every night she’ll fall and kill herself.”

Unwound: The Untold Story

Tumwater, Washington, might not have turned out as much legendary music as Evergreen State cities like Seattle or Olympia, but it did birth two pioneers of sonic bludgeoning: The sludge-ripping Melvins disciples KARP and DIY art-punk heroes Unwound. A decade or so after each of those bands melted down, both trios have more or less escaped M.I.A. status. KARP stars in the awesome yet tragic documentary on record and the tour circuit throughout the ’90s—have teamed up to bring their band back from the dead. Guitarist/singer Justin Trosper, bassist Vern Rumsey, and drummer Sara Lund have launched a website replete with stories, pics, and video and released the double LP Live Leaves.