Broke-Ass of the Week – Christian Ceres Merry

Every week we feature a different person from the community shedding a little light on their life of brokeitude.  Who knows, maybe you’ll learn something about the human spirit…probably not.

Wanna be a Broke-Ass of the Week?  Holler at us here and we’ll send you the questionnaire.

Christian Ceres Merry is a bit of a renaissance woman.  She makes music, videos, incense, crafty shit, and she blogs.  With all that going on I’m surprised she even had time to fill out this silly questionnaire.  But I’m glad she did.  She’s lived in the East Village for a long time and has some great stories to prove it.  Read below.

Name: Christian Ceres Merry

Age: over 21 under 100

Occupation: Artist, singer, animal mamma, blogger, Jack of crafty trades, I sew , make stuff and sell it – mainly my incense.

What neighborhood do you live in?: East Village. We have lived here since before it was cool to live here. I feel I grew up here, I went from a kid state of mind to now feeling strangely wise. I never expect silence but the area is better now for generally being out alone at any time. I love Manhattan, I am an EVill girl though. I also love the LES.

What are you listening to these days?: My own band’s music is prog metal but I am in this quiet state of mind lately. I listen to Duchess Leo, Stars of the Lid, Amy’s Ghost, Band of Horses. I also have a large extended family in the fantasy community and through them found and love Woodland, Faun, and Adam Hurst. Also my partner’s instrumental band Another Silent Day (you can hear some of their work in my video). I mainly let the TV drone on when I work because if music is worth listening to I need to stop and listen to it so I get nothing done. I like sound and chatter so the TV stays on all the time talking to itself. Sometimes I talk back to it. Yeah it’s a flaw of mine but I don’t yell at movies in the theater I am not that bad yet.

Best money saving tip: Thrift stores. I go mainly to Monk on Ave A btw 10-11th. Clothing books furniture, I find so many great things at thrift and vintage places. I pull stuff off the street too. Right now my laptop is on a medical storage table for test tubes I cleaned and painted. My incense display for conventions was thrown out of the school near here. I got my small display off of eBay for 20$, the textiles from a cheapie dollar store everything else from a thrift shop. I bought a vintage silver wood frame mirror from a street guy for 15$ that a place around the corner has one similar for 175$ and I like mine better. Just get what you like, sand it paint it love it.

What do you refuse to spend money on?: Pasta in restaurants. Ravioli sometimes is an exception but boiled pasta with stuff on it I guarantee you I can make better at home and I won’t pay someone to make me a simple dish like that. I am a vegetarian though so maybe the whole meat thing is different but veggies tofu etc I can do. Mainstream magazines, my neighbors are responsible recyclers and I might get some a month late but I usually think I would like a magazine and it shows up in the recycling area a month later then if I am not keeping it for an inspiration board cut-out I’ll put it back downstairs for someone else. Sometimes I buy a foreign zine but then go see if they are online and most of the time they are.

Most expensive thing you’ve ever bought: Ongoing pet care. All of our pets are rescues. If they need an operation they get it, they get the medicines they need and when they pass away they are treated with respect. If I find a dollar I will probably buy a can of Fancy Feast for them as a treat. Rick, my partner, is amazing this way (and many other ways), he could have bought a whole lot of things for himself and us with the money they have needed over time but we love the babies.

Also a vintage leather coat/blazer, a nice one that was the wrong color but I rubbed it down with olive oil to darken it and now it’s beautiful. Shoes, Trippen Shoes (I have Vivienne), they last for many many years, almost forever and when they do wear out you can send them back and they’ll fix them or send you the soles to have a local do it. Its perfect.

How’d that feel?: Good. All of it.

Favorite cheap eat: San Loco Ave A’s avocado quesadilla or as I call it “cheese sammich”

Breakfast special at Life Café, 7A veggie burgers, buy a loaf of bread a wedge of pepper jack cheese and some sauce and make mini pizzas at home in your toaster oven for a week.

Favorite dive bar: Boxcar on Ave B when its empty and Angels and Kings in my building when Jesse, Dan or Betsy are working and before the fleets of drinkers arrive. Dan at AK is also the other half of Duchess Leo the band. Problem about loving the people behind the bar is when it becomes busy and they need to hustle I no longer want to stay there disturbing them at their jobs. I also hate when it gets loud and crowded. I remember walking my dog Pippin and she ran into the gutted bottom floor of our building and some nice people were sitting in a circle with blueprints. I’ll always remember the big wooden wall piece with three big circle holes cut into it. Now if you remember Orchid and its now Angels and Kings you see those three circles but I always remember when it was just a piece of wood with holes. I have the large girl with the vase painting from Orchid too. They asked me what I wanted when they sold the place to Pete Wentz and I wanted her. I also kept one of their leather bound drink menus. We had some great times there, still having them at AK now. According to the Federal Marshal’s order slapped on the doors the previous “art gallery” and “photo studio” were drug dealers. The deli too (that is now part of Bar on A). We have traded junkies in the doorway for drinkies and smokers. We will sometimes just wander in to a place too, many great nooks around here.

Best deal you’ve ever gotten: Years ago I needed to make a portfolio to drop off somewhere but had no money for a new one not beaten up, and downstairs a neighbor had left in the recycling area a huge set of boxes of black paper acetate covered pages. I made a new portfolio tying them together it was great. Wish everything in life happened like that!

Favorite free thing to do: Walk and ride the bike. We get the bikes out and sometimes go for night rides along the water, west side up to the boat basin, east to Battery Park and South St Seaport. Walk in the park, just generally wander. The East Village is always different you see so many different things it’s never the same. Go to 2nd ave and when the traffic stops stand in the middle and look uptown. Those canyons of buildings make you feel there is still so much to be discovered, seen, and experienced. Before our poodle-man passed away we’d take him walking all over and when he couldn’t walk well we’d pull him in his wagon. Once people watched us take him out so he could make the walk to the building by himself and a girl in an outdoor café called out to him “You can do it!” Sometimes the world can be a very beautiful place.

If you woke up a millionaire, what’s the first thing you’d buy?: An apartment in the EV or the LES and a shack up in Woodstock. Then enough tech to make my video “Happily Ever Over” into a “real” film. Then make sure my friends and family are okay and get that operation I’ve been needing. I would also give $$ to EB research, I have it in a so-called mild form which means it only messes your life up, in its worst form its unbearable pain and suffering. In fact if any millionaires see this feel free to donate until I get my mine.

Despite not having money, do you still love your life?: One good thing about reality TV series of rich people being idiots is seeing more proof that money does not make people happy. What makes you happy is what you carry inside you, who you have in your life what you do with your life. I may be down on myself about stuff sometimes but it’s the stuff I put on myself. I have goals I personally want to reach. If I stopped all of that I realized one day the dreams I had in the 8th grade all came true but I have new goals so I still stress. If you catch me on a down day, it’s probably because maybe a pet is not feeling well or I am missing someone.

Do you own my book?: No, sorry but I come to the website.

Best hangover cure: lots and lots of water and 2 Tylenol extra strength before falling asleep.

Are you a hipster?: Some of my best friends are hipsters, if I understand what a hipster is. I take people on a case-by-case basis and if they are good people I really don’t care “what” they are. I have never had any idea “what” I am though.

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About the author

Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

I've been called "an Underground legend": SF Chronicle , "an SF cult hero": SF Bay Guardian, and "the chief of cheap": Time Out New York, but to those familiar with my work, I'm just "that douchebag who writes books about cheap stuff and drinks a lot".