Which Was A Dream

"Right now the first girl is thinking about the man she wants to fuck. 'We can,' she says to her friend, 'by fantasizing, increase our possibilities and joy in living, more important, understand how things work. Why's this? Examine these two events: 1. Last night I fucked with you. 2. I'm fantasizing fucking with you. But these events are now my only mentalities. There there's no distinguishing between the two of them. But what if we hadn't fucked? Take another example: We don't love each other. Is it possible that by fantasizing we love each other, we can love each other? Possibly? Fantasy is or makes possibilities. Are possibilities reality?"


Thoughts of Knowles

Work in progress.


Beyoncé's work is concerned (both formally and aesthetically) with destruction. Her songs don't function around "choruses" so much as break-downs / breakthroughs. Hooks and samples are syncopated into mantras. Her "riffing" leads invariably to explosive conclusion. Every song finds Beyoncé reaching some sort of limit (emotional, musical, lyrical) and abandoning self and voice. She sings her way out of her own songs.

[I can't find the article right now, but I read a brilliant piece about how Beyoncé may well help the Western Empire defeat the Islamic fundamentalists. Like Elvis and Rock and Roll, Beyoncé's flavor of coded, commodified, and indelibly American sexuality serves to destabilize oppressive aspects of global cultures. I did not come up with this theory, but I am expanding it to say that, basically: Beyoncé's "Bootylicious" is arguably the West's most powerful weapon of Imperialism.]

"Irreplaceable" is lyrically triumphant, mean, tough. Her vocal melody, however, is tragic, belying the meaning of the lyrics. Beyoncé entirely self-consciously subverts the ballad form (and in this subversion tops radio charts all over the planet). Part of this subversion is a certain implication of the listener in the emotional schema of the song. We are to understand that she sings new kind of ballad, employing a form she is familiar with to her own ends. The humor of the song includes the listener, we know what she is talking about. Beyoncé's songs are thus written "for the fans" because of some empathic bond between she sees between herself and women, lovers, hearts everywhere. We are in collusion with Beyonce, in our tacit understanding of the difficult, specific emotional stance of the song (this is what songs are for: to express the inexpressible). By the end of the song, 'to the left' includes us, we know these words. The song's emotional landscape includes us, and therefore the formal sleight-of-hand includes us as well. By including us in the psychic discourse of the wronged lover, Beyoncé collaborates with the listener in reframing the ballad form.

Every Beyoncé song is sort of a sing-along, since we are all supposed to be familiar with Beyoncé's work. This familiarity is readily available to us, one need only turn to the radio, Internet, television or newspaper to encounter some aspect or mention of Beyoncé Knowles (this is what 'Superstar' means). And it behooves us to familiarize ourselves with her work; Beyoncé's work is America's work. She references, includes, assimilates and recasts the entire history of American Pop and Soul music.

Where Warhol employed methods of pastiche, using the visual lingo of advertising and blue-collar American commerce, Beyoncé similarly draws upon traditions of American soul music.
This serves a number of aesthetic aims:

a) Beyoncé appropriates postmodern popular culture by literally inserting herself into the discourse of modernity, thereby rendering void any discourse that does not include her. Where Warhol screened Monroe in varying hues to reify her icon status and nullify her humanity, Beyoncé works as both subject and maker of her own art. Marilyn screening herself, to make herself look like Aretha Franklin. Beyoncé's overwhelming influence, popularity, and media presence recast the mediums in which she works (balladry, melisma, soul, funk) with her own songs as culmination, end-point. In designating the first Destiny's Child album as "Neo-Soul", Beyoncé necessarily inserts Destiny's Child's entire career, iconography and legacy as the vanishing point of Neo-Soul.

b) In canonizing soul music and black culture, Beyoncé challenges the American idiom of popularity versus ethnic identity. It is no longer a function of her racial, political, gendered, class- or location, specific identities. The desire Beyoncé sings is neutered, commodified, and intricately reconstructed beyond personality. This elevates elements of actual identity into dominant social discourse (while simultaneously rendering them, again, flat, facile, and void).

c) By introducing soul music to white teenage girls in the Midwest (and across the world), Beyoncé reinvents and comments upon not only the discourses of Soul music in general, but her own work. Beyoncé's work is so over-reaching and all-encompassing that the only thing it can be compared with is itself. Beyoncé is able to create an art which contextualizes and comments on itself.


See All Her Faces

Take another little piece of my heart, now, baby.


Vissi Di Ferocità

When life gets me down, as it has been lately, Maria Callas always cheers me up. Cheer is maybe too strong a word. I feel fortified, inspired, and emboldened, as many fags do, by Callas' tragically flawed voice, similarly tragic personal history, and immaculate eyebrows.

(For your reference, this is what we mean, when we talk about 'fierceness':)


Baby This Evening

Highlights from weekend in fag city.

Friday night, on our way home from a party at 2:00AM, Cuddles and I stumbled to the subway station, where I whined and implored him to cross the street with me, my reason being that I wanted to cross the street to go to the "good" corner deli because where they have better quarter-snacks. There was a single car waiting at the crosswalk, a really nice tricked-out sedan with crazy fluorescent headlights and music playing inside. Tough dudes. Cuddles and I stood on opposite sides of the street, decked out in our party finery (our look: boyish, mean, modern, not too fancy), while I whined at him to JUST COME ON OVER HERE PUH-LEASE. It occurred to both of us after a few seconds that we had an audience. I heard the window of the sedan roll down and stared at Cuddles. At best, I figured they'd call us faggots or something and drive off, but we were standing directly in front of the car, and were afraid for our physical safety. (I live with the assumption that at any moment I'm about to be shot, strangled, or stabbed. Just generally.) After a nanosecond of sheer panic, thinking to myself "Cuddles is about to watch me get run over by a pack of wild dudes because I threw a hissyfit about snacks" the driver leaned his head out of the car and yelled to Cuddles: "Yo," we locked eyes and got ready to sprint, "quit frontin', give him what he wants!" At which point, realizing that the big bad men weren't trying to kill us, only resolve what they saw as a lover's quarrel, Cuddles dutifully followed me across the street to get snacks. I thought that was really sweet.

Saturday I go-go danced at
QxBxRx Lives at the Cake Shop. (Someday soon I'm going to write a whole essay for this titled "WHY I'M A GO-GO DANCER", but not today). John, Cuddles and Travesty came with me for moral support. Von Iva and DREAMBURGER played really great sets, by the end of the night most of the boys in the crowd had taken their shirts off. It was sweltering. I actually only go-go dance for a few minutes out of the night, the rest of the evening is spent milling around the club in my underpants, drinking free gin and tonic. You know, putting my Liberal Arts degree to use. I guess it goes without saying that people treat you differently when you're in your underwear. People generally don't talk to me too much, assuming (I guess) that I'm some combination of a) drugged up b) snobby and mean or c) sexually available and therefore dirty. Anyhow, lonely life of a part-time go-go boy.

Generally the sleaziest thing that will happen is someone coming over to say hello. It's a really nice crowd. Saturday, one guy kept STARING at me while I was dancing, then afterwards on my break while I was talking to friends. At one point he came over, not to introduce himself or say anything, but to have a toast with me. He was sort of okay-looking, but had that weird grimace people get from being drunk. I think he was going for smoldering. He came over while Cuddles and John and I were talking, and raised his glass, saying "Congratulations". He then proceeded to not only follow me to the bathrooms, but cut ahead of me in line, asking me how my night was going. I told him it was going alright, but that I really had to piss and I hoped he was having a good night too. He said "It's gotten a lot better since I saw you in your underpants, man. A lot better." I told him that he was really sweet for saying that.

I feel like that's an appropriately compassionate way of saying "No, thank you", right? Like if I wanted to join you in a bathroom in the basement of the punk club, I would, y'know? But it's sweet for offering, get it? Okay. So he waits in the bathroom for I don't know how long (I went and used the second one, obviously). People in the bathroom line all pulled me aside to tell me how glad they were I didn't go in there with him. Okay, cool. Sweetheart doesn't get any tonight. Check.

Five seconds later I'm back onstage with gorgeous go-go girl, dancing to the Vaselines, when she points over my shoulder. Sweetheart has FOLLOWED ME ONTO THE STAGE to say "Seriously, man. I hope you have a good night. Like, congratulations man." I tell him again, how sweet he is and thank him and inquire why he's up on the stage when clearly it is the space for people without clothes on or in bands, and he says "I meant it, you know, about my night getting better once I saw you in your underpants, man".

Another guy pulled me aside towards the end of the night, introduced himself, then said "Listen honey, don't change your nose." I guess I looked a little confused, because he clarified. "I mean, it's perfect how it is. Don't get it fixed. No matter what anyone else says to you." I frowned and told him I wasn't about to get a nose job. "But people have said things, haven't they? It's crossed your mind, huh?" I had to concede that yes, I suppose I had entertained the idea of a nose job. It was the first part of my body to go through a growth spurt during puberty (1997-Present), and the only vestige of my Semitic ancestry. I've given it some thought.

"Listen, how old are you?" he asked.

"23, how old are--"

"Oh! Well then! I'm 27."

"Oh, that's cool. That's not that much older than 23..."

"Hah! Yeah right."

"Hey, what sign are you?" I figure I may as well ask, since lately it's how I screen everyone. It turns out that my critic is also a Leo, so I figured he's good people.

"Listen to me, you need to wear more eyeliner."

"Oh, yeah, I know. It's running, I'm really sweaty."

"No! Don't touch it! It looks GREAT! You just need to wear more." Then, pulling me aside, and in a very tender voice, he continued, "look, you're 23 years old. Your nose is fine, I swear. You have everything going for you (gesturing to my outfit of studded belt, underwear and eyeliner) you're 23 years old, you have the whole world in front of you. All you need to do is wear MORE EYE MAKE-UP." That kind of made my night (I didn't put on any more eyeliner, though. Less is rarely, but sometimes, more).

Sunday, BoBo came over to do a tour of my favorite East Williamsburg eateries (donuts, pizza, and Ralph's). We meditated on the comparable merits of pills, booze, narcotics and nicotine. Decided that clean living has some advantages. I guess. We finally made it out of the house, and my room mate came home from her month-long sabbatical. The Soft Butch House is reunited once again.


...or are you toxic for me?

This time I am going to stick with it.
(Get sick with it.)

We could hear her all along, you know. The lyrics aren't so indecipherable. Really it's that she was singing in quasi-gibberish for ten or so years. When they got signed, she waxed poetic about boys. How nice.