We drove west through Ohio on I-70 towards Columbus, my dad in the passenger seat and my mom in the backseat trying to sleep, asking if I could turn off the music. The landscape was preternaturally flat, any hint of elevation change smoothed away by prehistoric glaciers. Monochrome fields merged with the horizon. Forests of apocalypse-black trees stood beneath a sky the color of wet newspaper.
I was on stage. In Beijing. In front of about 400 young Chinese kids. It was June 10, 2011, and the city’s swampy mixture of pollution, dust, and air had me sweating through my tank top at Tango, the mega-club next door to Jin Ding Xuan.