Six more degrees of GW nation

In the words of the immortal Neil Diamond, hello, again. Hello. (That should give you an indication of where I fall in the great Bowie vs. Jagger debate; yes, I’d trade ‘em both for the likes of, say, Barry Manilow. Sue me.)

So inspired am I by Farrell’s and Bryan’s reflections on the GW gang – and by all the enthusiastic commentary! – that I’ve decided to emerge from hiatus to offer up my own personal history with the Northeast Corridor Social Club. Herewith, for the further edification of the West Coast contingent, a chronological recounting of how I met these people, and What I’ve Learned about them. Um, and about… the human condition, for those who don’t know us all and are wondering why you should care.

Bacon: I met Bacon’s (now ex-)wife before meeting any of the rest of youse, in late 1997. I was helping to write a book about the then-hot-shit Internet company she worked for, and she was suggested as a possible source. After plying her with a couple of martinis one evening, I realized she might not be willing to offer much dirt on the company, but damn, she was fun. “You have to meet my husband,” she told me. “You’re going to love him.”


So, one evening in the summer of 1998, I was welcomed to a poolside table at their house for a repast of Cornish game hen. Bacon bustled about like a fifties housewife, preparing and serving a magnificent feast; I had met my first true metrosexual, years before the term was coined.

That night was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Bacon is also our go-to guy for wacky fun evenings in DC, be they poker games or art openings. (If we are lucky, we are joined by his searingly funny girlfriend Andrea, who I’m now deeply in like with after an almost comically rocky beginning.)

Within a few weeks, Bacon introduced me to:

Dave B: Ah, Davey Barber. Back then he was young, wavy-haired, with the faux-geeky cool of a smarter-than-you college boy. So, basically the same as he is now. Dave offers his multitudinous, deeply-researched opinions with a super-confident air.

Elder Barber

He is right, dammit, more often than he is wrong. Sparring with Dave, especially over a sip of scotch, is one of life’s singular pleasures. He is also a most excellent sounding board, and not only because he always has his phone in his front pocket, ready to respond to your call. Since he moved to NY, I miss him every day.

Soon after meeting Dave and Bacon, I was initiated into the greater NECSC fratern/sorority. First up were:

Bryan and Stephanie: I met Bryan on 17th Street in Washington, DC when he and Bacon roared up to the Fox and Hounds pub on Bacon’s Harley. Bryan hopped off the bike, took off his helmet to reveal that head of luscious curls, and embraced me like an old friend. He’d just gotten a tattoo about an hour before – the Superman logo on his calf – and although he’d been instructed not to peel the gauze off for another few hours, he did so because I really wanted to see it. Bryan is so gentle, smart and sexy that it’s hard to believe he actually exists.

Waterman and his sideburns

Eventually, I met Stephanie, at Bacon’s house on one of those long-lost summer weekends that involved copious amounts of food and alcohol, Stevie Wonder blaring out of the stereo, and endless hours in the pool. God, I miss that pool. To me, Stephanie’s signal attributes are her incredible warmth, her nurturing ways and those wonderfully blue eyes. I have a crush on her. Please don’t tell her.


Also through Bacon, and also on a poolside weekend, I met:

Lane and Adriana: My recollection of our first meeting is this: Lane and Adriana, pre-Jasper, had driven to DC in a car without air conditioning. They entered the house through the front door, dropped their bags, tore through the hallway and then leapt fully-clothed into the pool.

Lane 'n' Adriana 'n' Jasper

Lane was the most exuberant, fun person I’d had the pleasure of meeting in a good long while. He put favorite songs on the stereo and danced like a fiend, pausing occasionally to rearrange Bacon’s art and lighting to create new effects. I am no expert, but I find his art transcendent. If I could afford it, I would buy a bunch of it.

Adriana was wry and engaging, an excellent foil in any conversation. I will also note that, on one of those summer weekends, I was an inadvertent witness to an impossibly sweet moment when Lane was singing to Adriana (along with Stevie Wonder) and got all teary-eyed. The intensity of the moment: Lane’s defining trait.

Now, as a writer, I am aware that I am violating several cardinal rules of blogging. First, this post is getting so long and “inside baseball” that anyone not part of the GW nation is surely bored (hello, Skippy!), assuming they’ve even gotten this far. And second, it’s so filled with “here’s-why-I-love-these-people” treacle that even I am in sugar shock. So, apologies to those looking for something a little more universal and/or hard-hitting. Next week, back to the usual…whatever-it-was I was writing before the hiatus.

But I must push on, because there are several more GW’ers to cover. I will, however, endeavor to be briefer, if no less adoring. And no more photos, as I can’t seem to find any digital shots of the following:

Farrell and Trixie: Farrell’s reputation preceded him: He was the hub of the wheel, the guy everyone couldn’t stop talking about. When I met him, he had dyed blond hair. I found him intimidating, partly because he was the arbiter of cool and I had that hidden love for Manilow. I like Farrell more every time I see him, which is not nearly frequently enough. Same with Trixie, whose company I would eagerly seek out in any crowd. Plus, I love her GW posts. Plus, she’s really pretty. I have a crush on her. Please don’t tell her.

Cedric Cedarbrook: Had a mullet when I first met him, at Bacon’s in DC. And was supposedly straight. No one was really sure. What I love about Cedric is, you never know what will come out of his mouth – but it will often contain the phrase “making love” in the context of a direct, embarrassing question about your habits. G-Lock and Cedric together is the absolute perfect match, as anyone who’s met them both can attest. Congratulations, boys!

Rachel Berkowitz: I met Rachel in New York, either at a Waterman Thanksgiving feast or some other party, can’t remember. Smart, funny, insightful, lovely. What’s not to like? I have a cru… oh, you know the drill. And ditto for:

Pandora Brewer: I met Pandora at a Waterman affair. I liked her immediately, but we’ve rarely been in the same room again since then. What I love about TGW is that I’ve had a chance to get to know her so much better through her posts.

Nathan Waterman: I love that he moved to France to be with his Frenchy girlfriend. And I love that she has such… ah… nice friends, too. ‘Nuff said.

Oh… and I almost forgot about the GW poster who I met before any of these people, my favorite all-time blogger lady:

Stella: I met her at my 30th birthday party, when she had come to Washington from England for a two-week vacation to visit a friend. Happily for me, that friend was also a friend of mine, and had been invited to the party.

She brought jet-lagged Stella along, and after a brief, scary moment when Stella started to pursue some other chick who thankfully went out of town on business the next day, the rest is history. That was nine years ago, and we’ve been living together for the last seven. I still have a crush on her. Please tell her.


65 responses to “Six more degrees of GW nation”

  1. Scott Godfrey says:

    Holy fuckin’ shit, Lisa, you and I are on some crazy Whatsit wavelength. Not only is Hello, my Favorite Diamond song, which I am just about to get into my car and listen to on the way to the gym, but I just finished a post for tomorrow with the exact same sentence, “Nuff said,” in it.

    Your’s in vibration, SG.

  2. Allow me to be the first to say “Welcome back, Ms. Parrish.”

    I hope you’re planning to stick around.

    I’ve tried to sort this out — I need some kind of mapping software, I think — but for us the hubs were Farrell and Karen. I’ve known F, as he pointed out, longer than I’ve known anyone else on here (except for Nathan, of course, and I remember his birth very clearly, since I was already the ripe old age of — gasp! — 13). I met Rachel right about the time I met Farrell, too. I knew both of them just prior to meeting Stephanie, in fact.

    Farrell is my link to a good half of TGW. The other hub is Karen. When we moved to Cambridge in 1994, we had some friends who had lived there who told us to look her up. She introduced us to Pandora and co. and to Bacon, whom she’d known when he was at MIT. The links are pretty traceable from there.

  3. Lisa Parrish says:

    Scott: What better way to get pumped for the gym than Neil Diamond? That’s hard core, even for me. Rock on, brother.

    Bryan: Funny how Farrell is the hub for so many people, but we didn’t really get to know him until fairly far along. Bacon was definitely our entree to the NECSC world.

    And thanks for the welcome. It’s good to be back.

  4. Rachel says:


    I love seeing how the whole puzzle fits together. Ms. Parrish, you did well to make the most of your 30th birthday! Isn’t it amazing how some of the most consequential relationships of our lives seem to unfold from chance?

    Everything I know of the NESC, I owe to the Smith-Watermans. My roots with Bry run so deep that I can’t remember exactly how we met about 15 years (!) ago, but it involved dancing. We were at a college Battle of the Bands and he insisted on dancing on a sprained ankle. I’ll never forget his little one-footed skanking. Stephanie (aka World’s Best Conversationalist) is just the first of the miraculous people he has given me the pleasure to meet and love.

    One of my first memories of Farrell involves dancing, too. He had a party at his house and put all the furniture out on the front lawn so people could dance inside. The wood floors bowed from all the revelers–I thought we’d literally bring the house down.

    My other most notable memory of Farrell involves the campus police. After he transferred away to someplace cooler, he sent me postcards he nicked from the Met.

    I have spent all the time since college in Chicago, except for a brief span in NYC, during which my soul mates Bryan & Steph moved there too. That gave me the opportunity to spend time with Adriana (whom I also knew back in school–super smart), Lane, Karen, and a slew of illustrious others.

    At Christmas everyone was headed down to DC to stay at Bacon’s, and I was invited. Sort of. The conversation went something like this:

    “Bryan, I have never met this man. Are you saying he doesn’t mind if I come and stay for ten DAYS?!”

    “It’s OK. I told him you’re coming. He even bought a new bed for you so there would be enough room for everyone.”

    And THAT, ladies and gents, is Bacon. The consummate host, the man who will make you a Cheap Trick CD with no irony, the one who can rock a silk shirt and a motorcycle (probably at the same time), the guy who will always have a fifth of gin in the freezer AND fresh limes. What can I say? We went to Europe together! For the *weekend*!

    Bacon introduced me to Lisa P., Stella, Dave B, and (a little later) Andrea. Have you ever crushed out on half a dozen people at the same time? Have you ever shared a room in which every person is radiating charisma? It’s a strange, tingly feeling.

    That was a magical visit. I remember us all dressing up for New Year’s Eve and not sitting down until close to midnight because the meal was so elaborate. I remember Lane’s lighting effects and Adriana’s life-changing mole.

    For years everyone, EVERYONE, had been saying I had to meet Pandora, that she was the greatest, that we would hit it off. How can anyone live up to that much hype? And yet when Pandora and her clan finally moved from the haven of Cambridge out to the Great Midwest, I felt like I had instantly made a lifelong bond. I suspect a lot of her friends feel that way. She draws people out and envelops them in warmth. She sees your greatest potential even before you do. She is a consummate observer of humanity, and lets you in on the secret.

    Since then, I have also had magnificent (and far too brief) encounters with Cedric and Trixie, both of whom could be rock stars if they weren’t so good at their chosen work. I am dying of curiosity to meet the rest of you folk, and can’t wait to see where else the NESC spreads, now that it is no longer limited to the NE. We’ve gone national!

  5. Scott Godfrey says:

    Yes Lisa, on the drive I had time for Hello, Cracklin’ Rosie, Love on the Rocks, and I Am I said. Pumped, I was.

  6. andrea says:

    Oh spare me! Can you jump the shark any higher, my good friends at the greatwhatsit?
    My great friends and the now only goodwhatsit?
    Am I still searingly funny? or just a bitch now?

  7. Scott Godfrey says:

    Um, a bitch i think.

  8. bryan says:

    i love it. the good whatsit.

    if we ever have that greatwhatsit east/west faceoff ruben’s itching for, i’m glad andrea is on my team.

  9. farrell fawcett says:

    scott i love that image–diamond’s ‘hello’ getting you pumped up for the gym. you and yor writing makes me laugh.

    and as for the rest of you–bryan and his nostalgic post from yesterday which i loved and lisa’s sweet post full of fascinating eyes and generous descriptions which i also loved. all of these posts contain such interesting new information about these TGWs. i am so proud to be your friend. thank you rachel for including your version of august events and fabulous people–just as rich with lovely descriptions. now it seems that the phenomenon is definitely creeping west. who is going to offer up the west coast geneolical tree? it deserves its own week of essays and reminiscing, and please god, a bit more roasting.

    do i hear any nominations? j.a.z. comes to mind. as does Swells.

    please include

  10. farrell fawcett says:

    please include a nonny mouse, minor abominate, pigpie jones, bertha vanation, and literacy h. dogfight in your family tree.

    thank you.

  11. Lisa Parrish says:

    That’s RIGHT, bring the LOVE. ff!! Take that, Andrea, you searing BITCH!

    And this is what it’s like now that we LIKE her.

  12. Rachel says:

    Oh, we can roast if you want, now that all the love is out in the open. Should we start with Andrea?

  13. Stephanie Wells says:

    thanks for your vote, Mr. Fawcett (when you pass your boards, will you be Dr. Fawcett-Majors?), but I do think the only one who should be able to narrate our connections out here on the west coast is Mr West Coast Wednesday himself, the curator of Wednesdays, Jermajesty. Though I could certainly say a thing or two about alla dese folks myself . . .

  14. Stephanie Wells says:

    and how many times do I have to remind everyone tha literacy h. dogfight is neither west coast nor east coast. S/he is interplanetary and lives in all of us. And for the record, i was not having a precocious little debate with myself on the strip maul post, though it appeared that way! literacy takes many forms!!

  15. Lisa Tremain says:

    Yeah, right, Literacy, I mean Steph. Really, it’s okay if you debate with yourself. We all do it. Just maybe not nationally.

    Definitely J.Zitter for west coast historian.

    I’m feeling regularly honored to be surrounded by such wickedly intelliigent people, and even though I have only met a few GW east-coasters, I’m pretty sure there’s a little somethin’ goin’ on between me and Lisa Parrish. A cyber-crush. Alas, we’re both taken. Lovely friends and a lovely post.

    Scott, what’re your feelings on “America”? I know it’s a bit hokey, but it somehow always gets me to pump my fist in the air and sing along.

  16. Lisa Parrish says:

    Oh, my god! Was it that obvious? I am so transparent. Transparrishent.

  17. bryan says:

    I can’t wait for the meeting of the Lisas. We very much need to film that one (and then put it on the Internets!).

    #12 — the best way to get back at Andrea wouldn’t be to roast her, it would be to kill her with gushy kindness. it would be to love-fest her to death. i first remember andrea when she was (embarrassingly) known as “Andrea 2,” since she shares a name with Bacon’s ex-wife (with whom many of us had been friends and some still are). So Bacon and I were cooking in the kitchen on one occasion (literally, you smut-hounds) — we were making this lamb dish over an eggplant puree, a dish Adriana actually dubbed “the Lamb of God,” when Bacon kept getting all these phonecalls from his real estate agent. And he would perk up each time, talk and giggle like a little schoolboy. Then he would return to cook, and then she’d call again. I knew he was hooked. Especially the way his eyes lit up when he described her rosary bead tattoos.

  18. bryan says:

    by the way, before the west coast chronicler gets to work, someone needs to force all you west coasters to cough up bios and pictures for the “about” page.

  19. Lisa Parrish says:

    Yes, I believe that cloying kindness is the only way to penetrate the blackness of her soul. Upon being called a “bitch” by S. Godfrey and me in rapid succession, her response was to instantly email me: “Oh, sweet sweet celebrity.”

    Andrea, I love you. More than you could know.

    [Die! Die!]

  20. Lisa Parrish says:

    Um, meaning, Die Evil Cynical Spirit, of course. Leave Andrea, please. I got carried away, there.

  21. Tim Wager says:

    can’t . . . take . . . any more love.

    must . . . erg . . . instigate . . . conflict.

    i know (stroking chin). i’ll call out the shadowy presence of bacon and draw him into mortal combat, thereby initiating the mancillas-desired east coast/west coast internecine throwdown!

    hey! bacon! no one calls me ‘wagner’ and gets away with it, mister pork product! you heard me! you thought i’d forgotten. ha!

    (cackles with glee . . .)

  22. Porkpie Jones says:

    What’s wrong with being a pork product? Don’t forget, there are two of us, Wagner.

  23. Tim Wager says:

    I’m besieged by enemies! And it seems all of them must hide behind pseudonyms.

    Aah, the battle begins. Hand me down my sword and shield! I’ll make mincemeat of all of you.

    I love the smell of pork rind in the late afternoon. It smells like . . . snacktime.

    Well, Mr. Jones (if that is your name) they don’t call it (you) the other white meat for nothing, you know. Versatile and tasty, yes, but cloven-hoofed all the same.

  24. Porkpie Jones says:

    Let’s not get personal toe-boy.

  25. Tim Wager says:

    If toes are good enough for my lord Jesus, then toes are good enough for me, by gum.

    We all know who has cloven hooves where feet should be, though I hesitate to invoke him on a family-friendly website. He hides behind many names. As do you, pork chop.

  26. Porkpie Jones says:

    And all the great things that’ve been done in JC’s name? I’ll take the Dark Prince any time, Wagner.

  27. Tim Wager says:

    So, the lines are quickly drawn: good vs evil, as usual. By these “great things” I take it you mean the spread of health, joy, and everlasting life where once were disease, depression, and death. Sign me up. Notice how all these begin with “D,” just like “Defeatocrat.”

    But I sense we share a time zone. Evil lurks closer to home than I previously thought. At least we have agon where up till now has been only monotonous harmony.

  28. Jeremy says:

    Well, I won’t be posting for a little while (we have a full slate of other west-coasters in the coming weeks before we get back to ‘lil ol’ me), but maybe I can chronicle the west-coast connections as a comment on Lisa’s or Farrell’s post? Or maybe I’ll just wait until we need to generate some good TGW-communal vibrations again?

  29. Ruben Mancillas says:

    I heard the Easties talking shit about the Westies…and vice versa.

    Pray continue.

  30. Lane says:


  31. bacon says:

    Wager (I got it right this time, didn’t I),

    You might remember, but I was drunk at the time in a Hong Kong internet bar trolling the local escorts, so I don’t remember a thing. But I stand by every word!

    Give me your address and I’ll Amazon you a copy of Cheap Trick Live at Budokan.

  32. Stephanie Wells says:

    Ah, the international olive branch . . . Cheap Trick. Sorry Ruben, but your long-dreamt-of feud has been nipped in the budokan by this gesture of harmony.

  33. Tim Wager says:

    Oh dear, I’ve been foiled! It’s like the Care Bears around here.

    No need to Amazon, Monsieur Bacon, but thank you. I’ll gladly accept any cheap trick you send my way when we’re next in a Hong Kong bar.

  34. i don’t know: i’d wager that bacon pronounced “wager” as WAY-jur, not WAY-gur, with a hard “g.” So for my money, the fight’s still on.

    I think Lane shorted a circuit up there.

  35. Lisa Tremain says:

    here’s a west coaster that had no idea how to pronounce tim’s last name until bryan phonetically explained it above, so stirring the pot between easties and westies using pronunciation-tactics just doesn’t work. even though i’m all for rivalry, as evidenced by…

    i heard that the girls were talking shit about the boys (at least, i was).

  36. Tim Wager says:

    No, Bryan, I think you will find it fruitless to sow the seeds of discord between my good friend Bacon and me now. I cannot hold a thing against a man who offers me Cheap Trick. I mean, think of the songs!

    Porkupie, on the other hand, seems to have given up the fight before it was even well in hand.

    Mr. Jones!? Paging Mr. Jones!

  37. Lisa T: You’re on to something. I’ve been mulling over this idea for a “Girls of the Greatwhatsit” 2007 wall calendar …

    We could get Literacy to hire out Fantasy Castle for the backdrop. Or maybe White Castle if we shoot on this coast.

  38. Way-grrr: Pull back, buddy. Bacon likes a little bit of the chase. Besides, the CDs will keep coming if you don’t relent. Unfortunately for me I disclosed my enthusiasm for Bowie too quickly and had to buy the rest of the discography myself.

  39. Tim Wager says:

    Dag! You mean if I’d played possum I could have gotten a box set or something? Oh well, I’ve been outfoxed.

    Maybe I’ll keep picking at Jonesy until I can get something good. Jones!

  40. Porkpie Jones says:

    What is it Flip-Flop boy?

  41. Tim Wager says:

    Yes, my porcine friend: What are you going to offer up so that I don’t destroy you, rhetorically speaking? Perhaps the Stages box set?

  42. Ruben Mancillas says:

    nipped in the budokan…again?!?

    I would be glad to share my boxed set, Sex in America, with the third disc having some real treasures, with those interested.

    Apparently, the Trick is available for private shows at a very affordable price, given their status-no irony needed nor asked for here, these boys rawk-can we wrangle them for the TGW convention?

    From a radio interview-when Cheap Trick was touring with Kiss, Peter Criss was having some serious problems with his drinking and almost didn’t make a couple of shows. Before one of these near misses Paul comes into the Trick dressing room and points at Bun E., “get ready fat boy, you may be putting on makeup in five minutes.”

    Now can you smart people come up with a decent feud already?

  43. bryan says:

    you guys play basketball better than we do.

  44. Lisa Parrish says:

    Forget the S. Wells – Literacy debate; I think that Wager = Porkpie, and that whole anarchic romp above was an unexpected little glimpse inside his head. I see no other plausible explanation.

  45. Tim Wager says:

    If I have to split myself in two to generate some controversy around here, I’d certainly do it, Lisa. All the same, I’m not Porkpie. I’ve got a fair idea of who is, but I dassn’t expose him/her, seeing as how I might want to use an alias here or there myself.

  46. Porkpie says:

    Yes, Wager is I and I he.

  47. Porkpie says:

    Wagner, can we at least agree that that S. Godfrey is some funny little cuss?

  48. Tim Wager says:

    Nice try, pork boy. Nice try.

  49. Lisa Parrish says:

    I am so excited – finally going to meet most of the West Coasties, tomorrow evening in LA! I will hardly be able to sleep tonight!! I feel like I’m meeting a big crush after a long email flirtation. Will it be love at first sight? A girl can hope…

  50. Lisa Tremain says:

    Wow, I hope your crush isn’t ruined by the in-person meeiting. I mean, the third nipple and Turrets syndrome rumors about the Westcoasters are true. Ugly but true.

    We look forward to seeing you!

  51. Tim Wager says:

    Aargh, so very sad that Jen and I won’t be able to make it! I’m sure it’s going to be one of those you-had-to-be-there-to-be-part-of-the-now-very-well-bonded-group evenings. I’ll *never* get the jokes!

  52. Lisa Parrish says:

    Update: I have met the West Coasters. I am in love with all of them, every one, sugar shock be damned.

    Post to follow.

  53. Lisa Parrish says:

    PS: Dave, I’m home.

  54. Jeremy says:

    We lovedlovedloved you too, LP!

    Alas, your visit ended all too soon… can’t wait ’til Philly…

  55. Tim Wager says:

    Double argh! Almost called you late last night once our dinner guests had left. Alas, too tired.

  56. Scott Godfrey says:

    Tim, you missed out; we had a blast. And the Parrish, oh the Parrish, dreamy, creamy and screamy!

    What a time.

  57. Lisa Parrish says:

    Tim, when in doubt you always must call! We shut down a bar in West Hollywood at 2 a.m. Had to drag SWells out kicking and screaming.

    West Coast Contingent = Lives Up to the Hype.

  58. Tim Wager says:

    Yer killin’ me.

    P.S. Dave, I too am home.

  59. Lisa Tremain says:

    We’ll always have Parrish.

  60. Scott Godfrey says:

    Such a Trumainism…

  61. bryan says:

    West Coast Contingent = Lives Up to the Hype.

    and you gave me so much shit at the end of the summer …

  62. Stephanie Wells says:

    Try all ya want, folks, you can’t help but get hooked on us.

  63. Scott (Oh) Godfrey says:

    “Don’t believe the hype” ( F. Flav).

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