4/16/17

I am the snow. I am the snow. I am the snow.

There ought to be a star named after Mykki Blanco. Call it Quattlebaum. A girl so famous, so beloved that one of her patrons bought her a place in the firmament. A home away from home in a galaxy out of town. That would make sense: that Björk sends you a note saying that she's bought a star and named it after you.

That morning I went for a run at sunrise and when I got home I saw a man sitting in a bakery truck, nervously and slowly driving through red lights, smoking. I thought about the pastries (I'd still eat them and gladly).

It's not that I'm falling backwards it's that I'm using what I know to heal myself. I really felt out of control for a while. It's like in some ways I'm done being a teenager, but in other ways I ache to not be getting to do it all over again. All I want is to begin again. To master adolescence. Knowing what I know now.



Two phrases I hate and why I've come to hate them:

- "Self-awareness" this is so frustrating to me because I feel like its willfully dispensing with consciousness the word the concept the feeling. And I'm fine to dump it there are a lot of good reasons to do that and none of them come to mind when I hear "self-awareness" it's particularly annoying to me in adjective form as "he's totally not self-aware" it feels wrong. I literally hate grammar but this feels like an incomprehensible sentiment.

- "Self-care" I'm all about soothing. I'm all about healing. Empowering. But the premise of self care is that you provide care for yourself, inherently a performance of dissociation. Treat yourself like someone you care about. Give yourself the care that you know you deserve but which am ignorant selfish world cannot give to you. It's not the pathos that bugs me (pile it on) it's the premise that you don't take care of yourself. I mean I don't. I think deep down most people don't but want to. I think I have a good sense of human nature. Not to brag. But "self-care" is a call to be a parent to yourself. Which is great but nothing works forever and why trap yourself in a dynamic where you need a parent? For me self care is like gently reminding that I need it I'm not getting it I think I need it I think I'm not getting it the world is insensitive or I just think the world is insensitive. It's more about admitting my needs than doing a magic trick, putting on a fake mustache and funny voice and pulling a rabbit out of a hat.

Wore my new baseball cap on the subway. It's oxblood dark maroon and it says SCAB in stylish bright blue fake farsi embroidery. It's by Undercover and while I love it part of me does worry that it makes me seem anti-union.

You know when I was younger I was really into the thing of the home wrecker, the libertine, that position. But a scab, as in someone hired to cross picket lines? How awful. Because they're desperate too. It's a notion of no winners. Not even the bosses. Nor the witnesses, the customers.

But a scab as in the healing crust of a wound? That I support. Something daring you to pick it. The body's way of demanding patience, management, attention, care. The veiled threat of a scar. A great fashion statement.

Waking up on only the wrong sides of the bed. Hungover, un-joyous, distracted, angry, pissed-off and confused. I sat on my stoop and smoked a cigarette and tried to make out the tiny buds coming in on the tree branches across the street. I've been in a bay mood forever. I've been moody.



Revisiting my favorite 10"s. When human beings upset me, when the ghosts online are barking on their wire leashes, when my newly aging body betrays me, when Spring isn't fast enough, when the Sun ain't gentle and the world doesn't care I can always comfort myself with the records I listened to in high school. My favorite format, the ten inch. I had to wait until my 20s to finally find my favorites on vinyl (Sleater-Kinney's Self-Titled on Chainsaw, Cat Power's Dear Sir on Runt, and Huggy Bear's Taking the Rough with the Smooch on Kill Rock Stars). Just put my angry records around me. They never let me down. They don't boss me around, they don't have parties without me. They don't hurt me.

Part of me thinks jewels are tacky and vulgar and part of me thinks mineral, geological proof of age and development is the most sophisticated and straightforward type of value: adornment. I want to protect myself from my own insecurities.

Thinking about the first two lines of Cat Power's "Great Expectations": I am like powder, I am relaxation

4/10/17

Pita Palace

So it looks like Bushwick Pita Palace has closed. I’ve been going there at least once a week and have since I moved to New York in 2006.



Back then it was a Mexican restaurant, which I seem to remember being called Mission Burrito. I was obviously leery because I am from the Bay Area where so-called Mission burritos are not a joke. However I did eventually get into the Mission Burrito near my house because they had good vegetarian burritos (fake cheese and tofu sour cream) and horchata and salsa verde, so eventually I was down.

I took everyone there. I think I took my boyfriend there. I wonder if I went there with Walter. I feel like I did.

They had a buy 9 burritos get one free card, of which I fastidiously availed myself, reasoning that with regular use it brought the cost of my weekly burrito down a whole 78 cents.

At some point they got bought, or half merged with a Yemeni Middle Eastern restaurant. I ordered falafel and burritos alternately for many years. There was a vague sense of tension between the two counters/kitchens and menus. Like which were you more loyal to? I honestly came to love both nearly equally, but was miffed that a falafel sandwich never counted toward the free burrito on the frequent buyer card. It was years before I actually read the full menu (or they updated it?) but at some point a few years ago I finally saw the “Crazy Burritos” section, which included the falafel burrito.

It was a kind of platonic ideal of a sandwich, it requires both chefs to work together to make the falafel and tahini etc. ingredients plus the Mexican restaurant staff to make the burrito. It was overwhelming and almost disgusting and I loved it and I ate it almost every single week, usually on Thursday or Friday nights.

I was last week. Everything seemed normal. In fact they seemed really busy, it was annoying. I redeemed my free burrito and left a $7 tip, as I do whenever I get my free burrito, which is basically every two months, like clockwork.

It was one of those things where by going so often I became a regular and the man who usually worked the cashier would recognize me and call out my order to the respective cooks, essentially letting me cut the line. Which is sort of unfair but sort of sweet too. A lot of people dithered in line and did t seem to know what they wanted, between the Mexican, Middle Eastern and middling "American" menus (honestly who goes to Bushwick Pita Palace to order a hamburger? Turns out lots of people). Between the gentrification and the band practice space and the methadone clinic the layers of white bullshit I had to wade through, far surpassing my own, had increased dramatically in recent years. I often saw people earnestly ask what a burrito is.

When I moved to my neighborhood I thought I was the bad guy, the yuppie. Temping in midtown for a cool $11 an hour, wearing sweaty h&m sale rack button downs.

The thing about the falafel burrito is that it requires both kitchens to work in tandem. It's therefore easy for the falafel burrito to get lost in the shuffle, especially if it's busy. But they always took care of me.

Anyway now it's gone. I found out the other night because I'd been looking forward to a falafel burrito all day and night. I went for a jog with PLD.

I’m trying to feel relaxed. I mean I'm not trying very hard. I'm starving.



Some dread. I mean everything's changing. Max B and I went to Best Pizza then to this bar on Union, across from Over the Eight, which is closed now. I remember when it was Royal Oak. I used to date a boy who lived across the street we'd often go there and drink beer out of tiny little mugs and dance to 60s music. There was a pair of twin boys who threw an oldies dance night.

There was also if I remember correctly this gay couple where one was older and they styled themselves to look the same, or had matching names or something, some kind of proto-branding and they threw a dance party there too but I never went. It was kind of a concession bar, Royal Joke. Between Teebs and I and our straight girl friends. None of us would get laid but we'd all get wasted. Dancing to like, Annie.

Some things you don't miss and some things you miss very much.

This weekend was perfect running weather, warm bright and incredibly windy. I was in heaven, delirious. Kind of unsure what else to do with myself after I’d spent an hour running. What else is there to do.



UPDATE: Today I did some more stalking online and found someone who posted about Pita Palace closing. Someone online who I recognize as one of the staff said they’re not closing for good. Only for renovations, and that they’d be back soon.

Feeling grateful.



4/6/17

I Will Come Again



I was going to walk away from this altogether, but in the spirit of Mercury and Venus Retrogrades, I had another idea.

I started this blog on August 24th 2007, and so I will finish it on August 24th 2017. A full decade. I need some time to figure out what to do with this, and what to do next. I've had online diaries of some kind of another for what is now most of my life, and I'm sure I'll have another one.

So I've decided to finish strong.

9/13/16

Happy Birthday, Fiona



Thinking a lot lately about the Fiona Apple cover story from the January 1998 issue of Rolling Stone, with the mortifying title "Fiona: The Caged Bird Sings". But then, I think of this article a fair amount. It's kind of a touchstone for me. I don't necessarily want to reread it but I'm thinking a lot about it lately. As a kid I wanted to be like that. Written about like that. I wanted to be so fascinating the way Fiona Apple was in the interview. To live a live worth scrutinizing. As I recall, in part of the interview she listens to Janeane Garofalo's parody of her 19967 VMA acceptance speech and gets upset. Fiona says something about how "Of course I have an eating disorder. Every girl in fucking America has an eating disorder." The reporter writes somethings about her getting upset, about her breaking down. The reporter writes something beautiful about Fiona's tears. Okay I looked at the article again and the exact quote of Fiona's reaction to the parody is: "It's then she cracks. Big tears dollop down her face." I loved this as a kid and part of loving it was that I felt so sad for Fiona. She was being teased. She's actually really articulate and seemingly "on it" in the interview, in a way that I didn't put together at the time.
























Thinking again about the cover of Tidal. It was so personal and so weird and dumb and intense but not corny. It was real, it was too much it was somehow excessively personal but it was real. It made me feel sort of seasick. This is my experience of Fiona in general, I think.

Fiona Apple also performed at the first concert I ever went to. I often tell this story. It was at Kamp KOME 1997. I remember that it was was Fiona's birthday that day. Her band gave her a present, and she unwrapped the glittery ribbons from the gift and wrapped them around her waist for the rest of the show.



































I remember that it was Fiona's 20th birthday that day, and I remember thinking "God, she's so old." I must have been what. 14? 15?

Oh -- that concert was on September 13th, 1997.

Happy Birthday, Fiona.

I hope you're happy Fiona. I remember an interview (in Pitchfork) where you talked about just being either at your house or the club nearby. I don't know. Do you want to come home Fiona. Do you want to come back to New York? Do you want to go back?



































Birthdays are so hard. Just ask anyone who's ever had one. But I want you to feel good.

I remember in that Rolling Stone profile thinking how gorgeous how smart if you just listen closely enough if you just provide enough of yourself to fill up the frame. If you just listen to yourself. If you go crazy with listening. I'm not trying to make it be some crazy sad genius girl thing (though it is that too). There was just something so appealing to me about the thing of ones life being worth watching that much. Something along those lines. If you believe in it it's there. If you give yourself credit for making something then it's there.

I remember watching the infamous speech at the VMAs that year when it was broadcast live. I was, I think, Sarah's house. That sounds about right. She was who I went to the concert with. That speech was incendiary.

I've gotten to perform it twice and Michael Schulman and Rachel Shukert's legendary awards show tribute night "YOU LIKE ME". Apparently last time I performed it Tavi was there but I didn't see her. I was too busy acting. Here's a video of thus year's performance:



I want to feel like that, in the profile, like my every move is scrutinized. Like people know and love my for my genius and my generous sharing of my pain. Like I'd have an army of fans mailing in apples on my behalf to get my lost album released.

I'm sure it's not all autograph booths Fiona. I know your life isn't easy. I'm sorry for making you into a fairy tale. I don't know you. I'm sure you're a real person too. You deserve a private life. Am I able to feel sympathy for a reluctant pop star. How delicious right. The passive sadism of the fan the consumer. Someone's always worse off than you are on the New York City subways. There's always someone drunker, weirder. Worse. Not that its bad to be weird or drunk-- just the feeling of subjectivity which I've said before is seawater (it encourages insatiability).

When I first hooked up with Scott Panther who I gave a new nickname to (I now refer to as "the cokehead who wouldn't share"), the first night we hooked up on his stereo we listened to a lot of things, including Fiona Apple's cover of "Frosty the Snowman". I can't believe that song exists, to be honest. To hear it for the first time when you're having sex with a stranger and it's nowhere near Christmas. Fiona you are magick and have been with me for so long.

Fiona's response to Janeane from the article:
Well, I best be off now to primp and preen
But before I go, here's an end to your mean
I be a paradox of gestures and genes
But you are a cowardly bitch, Janeane
Today I'm not happy with how I look in New York - everyone else feels so stylish and I feel very frumpy, bland, uninspired. I want to feel how I imagine Fiona Apple feels: that there's something inside worth noticing. Maybe I want to feel how Magazine Articles feel: that the beautiful art is the product not of industry, history, fate, etc. but the sheer fascinatingness of the personal pain. That we are archives to ourselves. That we contain and overwhelm ourselves. That we crash into one another and can bear each other's beauty and pain.

Is it sick or sycophantic of me? To think that this was the ideal? This having a music journalist write about seeing you cry? How is that ideal? I guess maybe it's the thing of no hiding. I'm so sorry, Fiona, that you had to do this in a magazine so I could see it as a tiny little baby queer in California but it means so much to be, this thing of letting yourself be real, painfully, and forcing that to occupy the space of a pop career. Fill up the album cover with your gaze. Let multiple meanings reverberate, revise your statements. Say you meant more than what you meant at the time. Be mean. Go with yourself. Go with yourself.

Dear Fiona what are you going to do to celebrate your birthday? Fiona I hope you have friends and cake and presents, again. Even if you don't I'm glad you're here.


9/7/16

All the day the wire is spun



Construction noises. I think I need new underwear. I want something new, something I keep close to me.

On my way uptown to Zabar's.
I Fucking hope they still have gazpacho but its September 9th and mercury's retrograde I'm starving I've wanted it all summer and I wonder if I've missed my shot. (Well see)

Woke up this morning thinking I finally I got good sleep, enough sleep, for the first time in a week. A solid seven and a half hours. Next thought the sound of jackhammers. Construction has started on the building next door.

I've lived above a bodega and a live chicken shop for eleven years. The bodegas changed names many times but there's always been a chicken shop here, which recently became halal. They both closed and someone bought the properties and is building restaurants in the ground floor and high rise apartments above. It's going to be nuts. One of my bedroom windows will be blocked. Our kitchen window will be blocked.

At work as well they're doing construction next door. It's ominous. I mean I think we're aware and not of how it works. You think you're driving but you're a passenger. You think you're talking but you're advertising.
You think you're a person bug you're a brand. Your stock is falling.

Sometimes when I tell close friends about feeling bad or depressed or crazy etc. they say well it's maybe a rational response to your conditions. Facebook wants us to feel sad. Like also in that Ann Cvetkovich book, explaining how depression is the logical result of a system (or number of systems) and that system is capitalism. There're lots of other systems too.

I'm taking a long bus ride. I feel the walls closing in I mean they're making them as we speak. I'm watching them go up. Where will I go?

How will I find a place to be in the new world when all of my life I've been living in the old world. To be honest I haven't been doing an amazing job there but it's all i know.

What could I be so afraid of? Leaving New York? Dying? Being someone other than me. What death is left unfeared. What nightmare undreamed. I got it. When do I get to pull my hand back from the stove. When is my lesson learned. What lesson anyway. What mystery what depth what cool delicious plumbs un tempted. What mistake not made. I thought it was just a thing of not being enough not disappearing enough. I'm secretly weeping. On some level.

I'm a vampire stalking gazpacho like my clone doppelgänger tumor I'm desperate for minerals but this train underwater smells like compacted farts and belches. Bodyghosts.



Will I have to move. What will I eat how Will I live?
Am I afraid of having to make more decisions it's like I'm trying to dream don't wake me up I'm sleepwalking afraid to be woken up. It's dangerous right, for what reason.

Last night I sang at Hot Fruit at metropolitan. Sparkles hosted it was cute. I sang my Laura Nyro cover "Captain for Dark Mornings" but I end with her other song "Captain Saint Lucifer". A guy in the crowd recognized both songs and said he liked it, which was really cool. No one ever gets it or is a big enough Laura Nyro fan to care. Only a very few other super cool people have gotten it.

Someone else said they had to go back to school today. I said I'm sorry. They asked if I didn't also have to go back to school I said no. But I wonder if they knew that on some level I do in fact have to as I do every year. In the fall.

But how if everything feels so desperately vulnerable. Not in a precious life moments way but a painful way. How can I make this beautiful right what's the low key Buddhist evolved response aka what would my psychoanalyst recommend my response be. Like how best to think act be like everything's fine I'm just you know not inspired big that's not true. It's not just that I don't care it's that I care but everything feels scary and bad. I don't know.

Will anything ever matter.
I don't know what I want. My body is falling apart and has been for a while. I need to quit smoking. I need to get minor plastic surgery. Just a few things some benign miles burnt off.

Barnacles of attention.
I wonder would it make me feel better if I got my tattoo removed? Would I be free of myself.

I've already imagined it the worst the betrayals the feelings of surprise and pain. It doesn't matter if it's true or not I've experienced if. I remember it. So it's in the past. This is what I mean when I am this chandelier this paper bag full of shattered broken glass.



It's my Monday.
I had gazpacho at zabars among the elderly they eyed me suspiciously. I adored them.

I'm alone at a bar drinking a beer and smoking.

A guy rummaging through our trash warned me he said its gonna rain I said not till later he said you better walk fast I said I know. I will.

I love this wind this offshore hurricane it's how I feel. Windy. Weepy. A little unstable but bearing moments of clarity, beauty, and pain.

Moved inside because of rain.
I love this bar. I wish they weren't playing Michael Jackson. I mean I wish there was no music.

Been so into En and their album City of Brides. Drone music. You see.


Artwork by Justin Almquist "Religious Rally or their Satanic Majesties Final Request" 2011 - Ink and collage on paper.

Like I want art that's bigger than art. Louder slower and more beautiful than music.
It's not that I want to be a singer it's that singing helps me get there.
I want people to feel good. Feel fed feel smart feel clear eyes.
It's a difficult pivot to go from sick sad failed artist TO psychotherapist who specializes in working with artists.

Whitney Houston was an angel and she always will be.

How do we do this watch each other burn up expire. Is the human condition to be a fuck up? To witness and do nothing? I'm excited and curious for Sarah Schulman book Conflict Is Not Abuse.I'm scared of both. I've been accused of mistaking the two. I think I've seen abuse directed at me. I think I've been abused. But conflict is hard.

"Ohh I wanna dance with somebody I wanna feel the heat with somebody."

As of today I've been with my boyfriend for eleven months which is the longest relationship of my life. So far. It's kind of inexplicable the way an anything truly amazing is.

I am writing a new Scorcher too about partly things before we were together but seen through the lens of my life now.

On the train again to go get dinner even though I'm not like officially hungry yet. I mean I am. Just making my life a to do list. Distracting myself from something. I don't know what. Not boredom. Not pain. Not uncertainty. But if I can pin my sense of empowerment to painting my toenails, at least trick myself for a few hours then why not so be it. I did not manage to paint my toe nails today though.

I think this should go. I think we should go. I think I ought to make something new like a new blog instead of Fag City.



Now it's Wednesday my Monday. My chosen Monday. It's also sort of my Thursday. I woke up at 6 and the sun wasn't up yet. THAT was unexpected, and a little bit disturbing. But also exciting. That chill.

Construction update: they're covering the buildings. They've partitioned off the sidewalk which I don't think is legal and are putting up panels of plywood. I guess they'll finally destroy the remnants of the buildings.

There has been a chicken shop in that building for over one hundred years.

I guess that's just what it is in New York. Maybe America. Maybe everywhere. That thing of watching. Witnessing. I mean you pick your battles and your life is about that perceived choice of how to do it, navigate being a human. Okay.

It's just a commitment to affect. It's not that I want to be free of feeling it's just this fanciness. This fantasy. This imagination. This will. It makes me feel strange.

More internet on the L train I certainly have noticed in the last few weeks. Which I suppose is nice before they shut down the L.



Imagine the lifestyle that leads to making this kind of beautiful music. Imagine the amount of time you need. The skill to hear this, envision it somehow.

Should I move to California and become a drone musician or drone musician journalist or something.

Last night I watched a documentary about James Booker. Trying to find that clip of him performing live, screaming about his mothers death. I think he was so cool. A genius. It's like songs can be so good so smart so unreasonably logical. Queer geniuses.

I don't want to go someplace else. I just want to go inside.
Good thing it's almost autumn then I guess.



9/1/16




Hillary Clinton telling me not to kill myself, generally. In general please don’t commit suicide. We need you. We need your American minds, your special talents, to help us realize a better future together. Don’t deprive us of your brilliance.

Don’t drop the ball.

Don’t call in sick to work. Don’t fall asleep on the job. Don’t miss these once-in-a-lifetime deals.

At the designer boutique the manager remarked that I'd gotten sun. I said I was in California. Where? The Bay Area. She said oh were there wildfires in that area? I said no thankfully. She said she's from another part of the world with wildfires and they have one now that they're just going to let burn. To get rid of the dead trees left by an insect infestation. I said its so strange to watch it on TV and know there's not a lot anyone an do about it. She said no they're just going to let it burn till October.

I thought: could she tell that I am having a nervous breakdown?

Probably.
But of course wildfires are natural.
Of course nothing (else) is. Thinking /Not thinking
Talking a lot lately about the Kim Gordon song "making the nature scene"

You know me and my friends, and strangers, everyone we all used to talk ALL DAY at school ALL NIGHT on the phone ALL DAY on line ALL NIGHT on line AND NOW no one talks.

i mean we all talk but now our speech is media. we're being mined for content. it's like that's how I know how young I am how Millennial is my relative not caring about being spied on.

Charming snark popular mad fm any hot blooded tough love thick weapons big machine complex calculation

Answer me with computation
Answer me with industry

Your paycheck is ready
When that direct deposit hits
When your guy shows up (finally!)
When they shine you, your outside. When they accept the ransom payment.

Walking back into a bed of nails.

All I do is go from one be to another. It's a reverse pendulum. I bounce. I'm aloft. Work home lover home work home. Beds everywhere.

At work I get paid to take pain. Under capitalism pain is money. I don't know why people see it differently. Fuck what you heard all human consciousness is masochism.

8/23/16

precarity



Yesterday Jamie Lee Curtis type art lady hustled her way onto the train behind me at Bedford so forcefully I though it was a gay dude (because haircut) but when a seat opened up greedily jumped in front of me (and everyone) to sit down and open up the New Yorker app on her phone. The face of gentrification. The feeling that you have to be proactive of taking what's yours, what you've paid for. She has someplace to be. She's from somewhere, she's somebody, she has somewhere to go and is ready to fight for autonomy.

My neighbor was talking about the new building by the Grand street stop where the former store Liberty was. He said it's gonna be that many more people on the subway. Well yes. But there're new buildings all over town. Everyone's clogging the subway-- that's what the subway is for, no?

I guess I'm lazy. I'm taking the ambition the rudeness the entitlement personally because it feels like who I am. The person who gets trampled on by rich hipsters.

Certain death - either way I lose - why suffer? But then how to proceed in any other way ethically? How to act like I'm a person without acting like white older art butch lady gentrifier on the train. Even the New Yorker app is gentrifying because of the way it uses data and battery your phone.

My jaw hurts for the first time. It's a new pain. Do I have TMJ? Is it related to my other sicknesses? Is it stress? Why do I keep falling apart.

How to convey?
Wanting to share, to explain the context.
To project, imagine together the circumstances I'm operating under.
How can anyone know? What can I do to give you a sense?


Of the precarity.
The entropy.

My house being literally devoured. It's collapsing slowly around me. Everything's falling apart.
I'm watching the world end. Silently.



If you knew how chaotic it was you'd see how I'm actually doing a lot. A lot of beautiful goes into making even the smallest peace here. On planet chaos.

I want to instead of showing something beautiful I worry about adequately conveying the ugliness of the context.

I want you to appreciate the void I'm screaming across. It's a miracle any echo makes it through at all.

Typing this morning on my iPhone I imagine isn't so unlike stenography shorthand which my
Grandmother did.

Free writes. Feels like cages. Got bars got chains. Got jeweled cuffs. Got perspective. Got lenses.
To have to move. To go to school or something. Just be a fiction writer or something. Be an artist somewhere else?

God, can you imagine if I moved to some new city and had to make new friends, now, at 32? That would be cool. Imagine at 65. Maybe it's easier.

Do people even have friends
I mean does anyone.

All I want is to be someone. To mean something. To be a thing, to mean someone.
I sound like a fucking idiot.

I went away and I came back and I feel myself dragged across the surface of a stucco wall. Suburban and bloody and burnt and irrelevant. Aborrhent. Escape-bait.



Last night my analyst was saying how I'm hiding, how I've been hiding for years. How I'm afraid to come out. What would it take, he asked, for me to have a coming out party. What would it take for me to be able to come out?



Other people, I said.

7/30/16

Under yr Crown

Local upcoming pretty girl, performance art star, writer and astro-witch Jaime posted something on Facebook asking about what the best thing about being a Leo is. This is a question dear to my heart. We're in Leo season these days, and I am in love with another Leo (who is also a Cancer rising, natch).


Madge: "A meeting of the Leo’s! A Cosmic Convergence!!"

This question of the best thing about being a Leo also reminds me of one of my favorite bands in the world, a crucial queer root for me, The Need. In particular, the 7" record they released in January of 1997 which is maybe my favorite record in the world.



It's six songs, but really two. I mean each side has one bigger song and then two smaller (shorter, I mean) songs. It's kind of a masterwork. "Majesty" and "Crown" are the sort of hits here, they were also recorded for the self-titled CD that came out on Chainsaw later that year (I think?). I remember reading somewhere that they wrote "Crown" and "Majesty" to be about each other (as Leos would) but I can't find the source. The B-sides here are amazing, and were part of the live show for many years, and very important to me as well.


The infamous bloody knuckle sexing poster. 

I remember having a VHS bootleg of a daytime performance they did at a college somewhere, where they played "Crush". I saw this before I had seem them live myself, and before I got the self-titled 7". I only had the Chainsaw album, and "Crush" wasn't on it, and I was obsessed with The Craft (like everyone was) but I was too cool to really fully admit it (because we felt like it was sort of exploitative of, you know, actual Wiccans) and I was thinking about magick and alternate ways of understanding and being in the world because I was 14 and I was starting to think that I was probably queer, that I probably had mysterious urges and desires that seemed scary and suddenly it occurred to me that they could be powerful (this desire, these ways of being) and The Need had a fucking song where the chorus was Rachel chirping "Light as a feather! / STIFF! AS! A! BOARD!" I love "Crush".



"Stiff as a board" isn't even the best part, the best part is the end with the "Do you believe in vibration?" bit. That's the thing about this record and these songs; they're fucking PACKED. Of course The Need was packing back in 1997. There's so many hooks. There're so many catchy phrases and anthemic moments, but they're all strung together. It's a kind of metaphor for the shorthand of emotional intimacy with someone, like inside jokes. It's trusting, like it expects you to follow (and you do).

There's something very Leonine, as well, about the actual material of the songs. It's this thing of abundance, generosity, focus dressed up in extravagant drag as distraction. It's like what I was saying earlier about the sense of being packed full of hooks, gems. It's a fascination. It's a kind of dorkiness, the willingness to get so specific and so tender and lovingly "into it".



In this interview with Plazm Magazine from 1998 they talk about being Leos.
"When a discussion of lesbian pack mentality and gay male isolation prompts Rachel to quip “Each a king in his own domain,” I mention that images of majesty crop up throughout her lyrics and artwork. 
Radio: Well, Rachel’s a double Leo, and I’m a triple Leo. 
Rachel: Leos have pride, they’re attention lovers, they have big egos. Honestly, a common Leo trait is to feed off attention, and it makes perfect sense that we would be in a band together for that reason. Trying to impress one another inspires us. Radio sings me love songs in our practice space-a new one every day. Tomorrow’s the heavy metal Rachel one. I can’t wait. 
Radio: I sing different genres, all about Rachel. She gets this funny look on her face, like she doesn’t know what to think, because I can’t sing very well."
I remember seeing them perform (in 1999? 2000?) in Oakland, at Club Not. That was the warehouse around the corner from the much more widely-known Club Hot!, which is where Seth from Panty Raid and Jenny Legs from Erase Errata lived, where they would often have shows. No, the Need played at the warehouse entrance around the corner, where Luis from Pansy Division lived, called Club Not. It was smaller and felt strange, a little "off" or queer. It was perfect. I remember seeing that both Rachel and Radio had Leo tattoos on their forearms.

Ian from Panty Raid kept requesting "Kathy Qualuude" (one of the songs on this record) and I thought that was such a weird request. But then they DID perform it, and it was fantastic. All of their songs are good songs. It's like you think they focus inward, and they sort of seem to, but it explodes outwards. It shines. Much like the Sun, or the way that diamonds trap light.

After being out of print for many years, you can (and should) download the record HERE.

7/26/16

shitlist

I trick myself into feeling I'm having a conversation.

I was talking to my Analyst this week about how there are some people or some incidents that upset me at the time, but were too painful to really experience, so I kind of take pride in being able to repress something. There are people who I'm totally fine with, who don't bother me and who don't upset me and who I'm past and have almost forgotten, and mostly don't care. And like I said I'm totally fine with them, unless I have to run into them or think about them or see them or be reminded of them, in which case everything comes flooding back and I flip out. I don't like this about myself.

It seems to me, I was telling my Analyst, that I've been asking the present moment to account for the past, to fix the things that happened before. Lately it's felt quite clear to me that something upsets me, and it connects to other things that have upset me before. But that connection isn't working for me. I want to bring the accumulated wisdom of my past experiences to bear in making the present moment bearable. In making the future possible.

My Analyst: It sounds like you have a long shitlist.
Me (stunned): Wow... You're right. I totally do. I don't like to think of myself as holding grudges, per se, but I do totally have a shitlist. Oh my god.

I was horrified. I don't want to be doing that. I want to feel the thing, get mad or get sad or whatever, when it happens, and then move on with new understanding. But I can't go back, I guess. Later that night, I came home and ate a big salad while sitting on my floor and listening to Sunn O))) and then PLD and I went out for happy hour.

Me: I was talking to my Analyst tonight about, like, anger and stuff, and he said it sounds like I have a long shitlist. And I realized, like, 'Oh my god I totally have a shitlist.'"
PLD: Yes. Everyone's on your shitlist.



My Analyst said that it might help to write or make art about revenge fantasies. I mean I'm not gonna make the world read more revenge fantasies of mine. But I'd been telling him (and anyone else) that I don't have fantasies. That I don't have a fantasy life, or goals, or dreams. I never remember my dreams. I never cry. But the point he was trying to make is that I often feel like I don't have a fantasy life, like I don't have hope, and maybe it might feel good or be good to explore the fantasies I wish I was having.

Another thing from that session was that I was saying that I so often feel like I'm not invited. I feel like I don't have a place at the table. Analyst encouraged me to make art about that -- to make art in which I imagine myself at the table. That, I thought, sounds like a fucking fantastic idea. So fantastic, in fact, that I feel like I had that idea and then forgot or abandoned it.

Remember: THIS IS FAG CITY. I'm pretending that we're here, that we can all be here whenever we want. I mean it's not just pretending.

I think back to the period in my life when I was happier, making more art work, being more successfully or whatever, and it seemed to be about that phenomenon; making something up that other people like, or want to be part of. Tell a story that other people want to hear. I disagree with that Joan Didion quote about how "we tell ourselves stories in order to live". It's not that I'm trying to survive by telling myself a story that feels good or rekindles my interest in the world. I can't convince myself. I don't believe myself.

I need to tell myself a story in which I'm not sad. I need to tell a story in which I'm invited. I'm trying to tell a story of a better possible world. It's like utopia, maybe. I'm trying to imagine a better future. This feels different than the Joan D thing.

It's frustrating in a way, because for the last few years (several years) I've felt like that's not a story worth telling. I feel like I don't want to reward people for being hopeful. I've felt so bad and I thought that I needed to figure out how, or why, in order to make it stop. The answers are not so forthcoming.

In many aspects I feel like I am running towards a cliff, but stop right at the edge. And then retreat. And then do it all over again. I need to cry. I need to move through. On one hand it's recovering something I lost: I need to get back. On the other hand it's finally admitting that I have needs and desires that aren't being met: I need to get out of here.

Is it possible to be hopeless and hopeful at the same time? That's what I think I am. Someone recommended that I look at Sarah Kane's 4.48 Psychosis. It was excellent but it hit too close to home. I feel like this blog has become something like that. In the litany of "no hope" etc.

I spent the last month mostly off of social media, and I'm back. But it's boring, in a way. This exhibitionism. I've made myself into an effigy so that I wouldn't have to live. I turned myself into a flag.



I spoke with my Analyst once recently about how all of it, the social media, the blogging, the performance, the outwardness, the exhibitionism, the state of emotional nakedness, it's all part of a master project of hiding.

I've been hiding for so long that I tried to convince myself that I didn't exist.
It hurt!

There's this tension between being and feeling and I don't think I can do both. It's like I this pressure have to make all these specific and fatal choices, none of which are easy, some of which are totally impossible. But I don't. I think maybe there're some false distinctions I'm making and I guess I understand why and how I make them. Subconsciously.



Thinking of another ukulele show I wanna do. More songs written by angry women. I feel like these two songs are kind of the same chord structure, right?




Magician revealing her secrets. I wanna sing a very tenor growly version of both of these songs. I think it'd be sexy. I mean I think it'd feel good to do. I mean I think both. I guess I feel like it's a thought worth having. Hello in there.

I don't have any shows coming up, that I know of. Nothing on the docket. I realize how sad and pathetic of a story that is. I saw some shows today (on, thanks, Facebook) and it made me living. I wish I was invited to play these shows. I wish people wanted to see me. Not even me, a sexy press photo version of me. I wish that was the real me. I wish there was a real me.

Urgent and Ancient; unresolvable self. Nothing would fix this, anything would fix this. I should book my own shows, but you wouldn't come, would you? Does it matter? Even here, even writing this here, is a kind of exercise in a sort of Zen calligraphic futility. I want to find purpose in meaninglessness. I want to make peace with the fact that no one cares about me; that I'm unloveable, but I buck against this at the same time. There's a part of me that wants to use my voice to say something important. There's a part of me that I think is worth loving. There's a part of me that I use to love other people and I don't want to keep acting like I don't have it.

I let my guard down. I took off my guard and I threw it away.

It's not so bad. It's just, like everything else, temporary.

7/13/16



Feeling a kind of post-lunch torpor. I love Julie London's cover of this song. She's barely even singing it, and Laura Nyro wrote it so beautifully. I guess the word I'm looking for is graceful or something. In the sense of accomplishing more in terms of ephemeral beauty, with less obvious effort.

In an elevator yesterday they had one of those TV monitors that shows the time, the weather, and a deliberately innocuous news headline. This news headline was a new study conducted by the University of Southern California can apparently analyze someone's speech pattern to identify if they have depression.

This headline reminded me to think of myself as depressed. Imagine that you could listen to what someone says and know if they're depressed. Isn't everyone depressed.

I feel so futile and so infantile. I'm going to go for a long jog when I get home from work. I guess listen to techno or something. Julie London on the running track. I want my sweat to taste sweet and not salty.

I think maybe I have unrealistic expectations.
I guess I don't want to be glamorous. I wish I had an art project or something to occupy my time. I wish I felt like I was moving toward something and not just waiting to die or waiting for some thing to pull me out of this weird funky cloud of boredom.

That's not at all true. Okay.

I keep coming up against it but I feel myself palpably blocked, closed off. I feel like I've cut myself into pieces and need them to go back together again.

Like the different members of the band that is me are not all in the same room. I need to find a way to be whole. I want to be good.

7/11/16

Haunting / Waking

So inspired by a lot lately, especially this Margot Bergman show I saw recently at Anton Kern Gallery.





Speaking about the paintings in the show (kind of portraits within portraits -- she painted her pictures on/around found paintings she's collected) Bergman says: "It was a process - living with them, understanding what I was looking for, beginning to draw it out, slowly and without a plan, responding to the original paintings. I didn’t know what the next step would be. Once I found my way to the portraits, it was magical for me."





I'm really obsessed with the new Two Ton Boa album Certain Years too. It makes me wish I was still trying to get paid to write about music. I want everyone to know about this record. Even if you're not already a huge Two Ton Boa fan (which I am). It's mostly acoustic, folksy. It's haunting. It's kind of nuts. It reminds me a bit of what Goldfrapp did? Or what Portishead did? It's this thing of going to a less formally rigorous sound but losing none of the power.

Sherry Fraser's voice is haunting much in the same way for me that Bergman's paintings are. It's this effect of harmonizing with yourself, and composing between your own voices. The feeling, for me, is a kind of vertiginous wisdom, a nauseating collapse of context. It's as if you meet someone who looks familiar, and they tell you they're you from the future and they have to give you advice, and then you make out, you argue, you converse. You write a future together.

My favorite song on the album is "Waking"



Sherry Fraser's other records are amazing and absolutely worth hearing, but the new one sounds radically fucking different, but still recognizably Fraser's voice, her songwriting. Her lyrics. The power of the older songs is still there, it's just different. If I was a music critic I'd talk about the history of West Coast punk rock, which Fraser is a part of. I'd talk a bit about the Paisley Underground. Two Ton Boa is (or has been) sort of goth, sort of steampunk almost, sort of post-rock, sort of performance art, sort of narrative and sort of abstract, experimental but tightly-wound. Like coiled dynamite or something.

I remember when I saw Two Ton Boa play in Olympia in the year 2000, as part of the first Ladyfest. They played at Thekla and were amazing. I think there's a recording of that show somewhere. I remember asking Sherry to sign a poster for me some time later that week. I think she had fancy eyeliner on (drawn to be like lightning bolts). She signed the poster "To Max, Always look both ways". This is good advice.

7/6/16

notes out



I'm not rich, but I can spend it all. I can spend a lot.

(I remember as a child asking my dad "Are we rich?" I mean, we're white and we lived in LA and then the suburbs of the Bay Area. Both of my parents were actors who had pretty unglamorous day-jobs. But we were effete, bohemian-seeming. We had middle-class values. "Daddy," I asked "are we rich?"
"We're not rich in money," he'd say, "but we're rich in love.")

I'm not rich but I can spend a whole lot. It's as if I don't have any sense of reality or scarcity.

I DON'T KNOW WHO I AM.
I KNOW WHO I'M NOT.



I want to cut myself off. I want to destroy myself. I want to hide.

And I have been. I'm really trying really hard to be good and I've been off of twitter and facebook which if you know me there is significant. What would I do without all this fake attention?

Probably not a lot.

I'm getting the feeling that there's not really anything worth doing. It's not scary and it's not sad or anything but it's also sort of uninteresting.

It seems so disingenuous to think that your thoughts and your vision are necessary.

The thing of taking a stand. Inhabiting your life. Seems insane to me.

I don't know where I am so I am looking for myself.

I truly don't think I need to write anything or sing anything or do anything ever again. It just doesn't feel necessary.

One hundred thousand false starts.





The best part of any book is the first page. The best part of a song is the first verse. The icing, the frosting.
Looking like something is the same thing as being it.

We think a wish is real. That the image is the same as the thing.

Should I bother following through with anything. Should I write about the shows I've seen, the sex I'm having, the ideas, the hurts, the pain. What is the point of the catalog if it only makes me want to die. But then again everything makes me want to die. It's funny that way.

Want to write to my old friends. Hey I'm listening to this old record and I thought of you:



We were childhood friends.
We came of age together. We never said goodbye we just disentangle very slowly over the course of the rest of our lives.

Is there anything that's not excruciating.

I see them but they don't see me. My friends. My internet friends. My ghosts. Remember. Remember?
I'm online I'm (always) online (who isn't)
but I have to take myself out of the conversation because I can't stop going too deep. I mean what's not a threat. Who isn't trying to hurt me. There're no small answers. I can't even --

Is there a way for me to bring comfort or joy or peace to anyone? Is there a way to be a force for good? How? How could I possible do this when everything feels, you know, as I said, fucking excruciating. Rich in Love is not a thing. That's not richness. Maybe I'm being a brat because I have credit card debt.



I want so badly to work for Comme des Garçons. I don't know how I could make this happen though. To feel like I know what I want, what a trip. But you know I choose an impossible thing. Not impossible but impractical.

Realizing, I mean no remembering, again that I have no idea what to do.

Don't you think I should make this blog private?

I've worked myself
I've worried myself
I've painted myself
I've danced myself
I've sung myself
I've written myself into a corner.

It's just too painful to bear. To be online on Twitter or online anywhere and begging screaming for help and to have the question are you kidding? I think it seems like I can't tell the difference. I probably can't.

Did I cry wolf.



CAN I PLEASE TALK TO SOMEONE WHO KNOWS WHAT'S GOING ON?

What should I do. Should I stop performing stop writing stop blinking stop breathing stop talking stop standing still. Can someone in charge please -- I guess it's a tautology. There's no one in charge. I can't trust an opinion, if I can't trust mine.

I don't have an opinion or a strong feeling about myself.

It's too late for me. I find myself past my expiration date. Rotten by being uneaten. I have to be thrown out.

You won. You wanted me to know how worthless I am if you don't believe in me so okay you won.



Everyone's always just asking me for stuff. Seriously. Not because they like that I have it because they think it's all I am.



Me, Now: God fucking dammit I was trying to be nice to you.
You, A Year Ago: Well you should have thought about that then.

Why does it have to be me not here.
Why do I have to feel like I don't matter. Why can't I be your favorite. Anyone's.

Why is everyone always telling me to leave. To want to be there but to not be allowed to be there but to try to be there. I'm spiraling. Why can't I go down the drain. I feel like I'm blocked somehow. Like I can't cry.
I want to be one of the ones on your list. I want to be on a list of your favorite writers, performers, people, boys, citizens, names, numbers. Anywhere. Just to know I'm like one of the ones that matters. I know it's too much to ask -- to feel this way. But why? Why is it too much. Isn't there enough happiness to go around?



I know I'm blocked because I think a lot about these thoughts and then it calms down because I realize that nothing matters. It's not comforting it's like I feel like -- often -- at least lately -- I feel like I'm about to cry
which would make it the first time I've cried in years
(but who's keeping score anyway)
what happens is I feel like I'm about to cry and it's like edging but with crying instead of orgasm which I know isn't that different but what I mean is that when I feel like I'm about to cry, about to actually feel the thing, I stop I get blocked somehow. It's like I can't unlock the last door. And I don't want to but I know I need to.

It's like who else do I have to apologize to?
Oh shit, I know exactly who.




6/29/16

deactivated my twitter and facebook accounts. i can't deal. might delete or deactivate this too.

you know how to reach me if you need to.

6/28/16

Really struggling to keep it together. I feel like no matter what I try or where I go I just fail, just piss people off, just destroy everything. Another party. Another guy who is better than me cuter than me more successful than me.

Another invitation to another reading I'm not part of. I mean I don't have anything worth reading anyway. I don't blame people for not inviting me. I feel like I am dying or about to die or disappear. I can't leave. I mean I can't leave enough I can't get far away. Going home to sleep wouldn't help. Nothing would help. I ate half a pill and am struggling to not go buy cigarettes. There's no comfort. There's no solution. There's no help.

No friends. No help. I don't know what to do.

6/23/16

OK I'm gonna do it. I'm gonna get back to it.