The Souls of Babies

Tomorrow I'm coming back to New York from California. I spent most of the time on my parents' couch, eating. Reluctant, and hopeful, about my real life. I need to rearrange some pretty difficult, but not impossible, things.

Among other things: need a haircut, need to eat more greens, need to work on my new song, need to stop watching television, need to finish two stories and need to stop wondering how you're so horrible all the time.

ca m'etegal

San Francisco nightlife never fails to disappoint!
And everything tastes exactly the same everywhere you go.

On Christmas day, a tiger named Tatiana escaped from her grotto in the San Francisco Zoo, and attacked three teenage boys. She followed a trail of blood to where one of the boys had collapsed, and slashed his throat.

I do not understand the aesthetic of Irony, and I'm only saying this because I've had some new buttons made. they're purple an have blue words and they read JE M'AIME. I'm not being ironic, exactly.

Feel pretty sad about Benazir Bhutto's assassination.

"You can imprison a man, but not an idea. You can exile a man, but not an idea. You can kill a man, but not an idea."

Reading Lorrie Moore's Birds of America and found this bit particularly apt. Thinking of dictatorship and freedom. Political coups. Writing a song. Escaped tigers. Learning to make love to someone.

"Talent. I don't have talent. I have willingness. What talent?" As a kid, she had always told the raunchiest jokes. As an adult, she could rip open a bone and speak out of it. Simple, clear. There was never anything to stop her. why was there never anything to stop her? "I can stretch out the neck of a sweater to point a mole on my shoulder. Anyone who didn't get enough attention in nursery school can do that. Talent is something else."


Equivalence Examination

Some ideas:

-- Magay and I performed as Aries Heiress. We both wore purple (I made him). Magay performed a song called "Silver Dagger". We began by playing the opening lines from Ike & Tina's "Poor Little Fool" through a loop peddle. So it made Tina the drums of the song.

I want to tell all of you, that ain't doing nothing for me, and can't do nothing for me, yous attend to YOUR business. And leave mine alone.

Then in between songs we made a loop of Janis saying same fucking day, man. I sang Laura Nyro's "And When I Die". It was pretty gorgeous.

-- Watching a movie about early 1990s "Dance" music culture. I'm getting a lot of fashion tips. Or, as Dimitri from Deee-Lite says in the video: "It's not really fashion. We don't do fashion, you know? It's just, like, having style." The movie makes me think a lot about wearing necklaces. Generally. And wearing clean clothes. they say in this movie that Kylie isn't "rock n roll" enough. which I think is a) true and b) wonderful.



(I'm the blond one. Y'know, the one with wings.)


-- I am having a flash of that kind of panic that happens in the spring time. I'm feeling very anxious and nervous. i sort of wish this winter was over already. I have had enough.

ok happy holidays


oh babe yeah

and I think to myself, "Well, why would these unattractive drunk faggot hipster bitches be so mean to me? What can they possibly have against me? What could I have ever done to them, other than fuck their friends?"

so I have two choices: worry about it or don't worry about it.

I mean, why wouldn't these awful, boring, so-sorry-about-your-face, gay bar five nights of the week, drinking because they hate their corporate jobs and they're only 23, personality of a can of tuna fish boys hate me? Why wouldn't they resent Miss Thing? I'm well over a foot taller than any of them, always show up with some modicum of self-resepect (very small bit) and don't depend of toothy drunk blowjobs to know who I am. I'm fucking fabulous, apparently. I wear nice shoes and clothes and my hair is messy but at least I have all of it. I don't need to buy records and then talk about the records in order to carry on a conversation. How could they not resent me?

alright fuck this shit I'm going to California for two weeks.


Took You To Make Me Realize

I sort of don't want to even blog about it because it is so close to my heart. I'm seriously invested in this desire and I feel a little vulnerable writing about it because I don't want people to ruin it for me. But I feel pretty confident in articulating these desires and don't think that I'm risking anything. This will still get me hot under the collar, regardless of whether anyone agrees with me or understands.

What I'm trying to say: I have a Perfect Dream Man and his name is Trent Reznor.

One of my favorite records, Free Kitten's Nice Ass, has a song ("Rock of Ages") that ridicules Trent Reznor, among others. The song attacks the mid-1990s fake self-hating "loser" rock star boy myth. Some of the lyrics are:
You think you're a loser, baby
But you drive all the girls crazy
You're not too screwed-up punk
You're a total Cali hunk
You say yr head's like a hole
But yr tune's have so much soul
Stop bringing back the bitch who screwed you
There's a million who would do you
And I totally agree with the sentiment here. Kim and Julia are talking about a kind of narcissism, swagger, cockiness and machismo that presents itself as self-hatred. Beck and Radiohead and Nirvana and stuff. Songs from the early 90s about "I am so bad I am so awful how creepy and misunderstood and unreachable I am". This is a way to brag without looking like yr bragging. Nine Inch Nails is totally part of that. I get that.

But Trent is different, and part of that difference is why he is my Perfect Dream Man.

This is different than what Kim and Julia are singing about. Beck and the other fake self-hating boys are fiishing for complements. They say "I'm a loser" then a chorus of girls across America says "No You're Not! We Love you for who you are!" Trent hates himself for what he has DONE not who he IS. NIN is music about what happens between people. Marilyn Manson works towards a mythology of the self (see: 'The Reflecting God'). Trent stays at home picking at old wounds. Rock Star Men look outwards for confirmation. Trent looks deep inside and fingers the parts that hurt.

Trent's whole shtick in NIN was the fusing of industrial music with dance music. He's often credited with working with Marilyn Manson, producing his earliest records and helping to mainstream Industrial music. Manson's primary influence in terms of instrumentation was Big Black. He only really used a drum machine because it was easier, y'know? He still had his horrible kiddie wonka factory Black Sabbath violent pervert thing going on. He used electro elements, yeah, but mostly his concerns were with subject matter.

NIN, however, was dance music from the get-go. Pretty Hate Machine is heavily influenced by Chicago industrial dance music. Trent totally loves Depeche Mode. Manson wore eyeliner because of the shock value, but Trent wore his with fishnets and leather and raver boots. He was able to make it seem like metal, just angry enough for the jocks to get into it. Just this side of acceptable. But still there was a definite effete vibe to Reznor's presentation. His anger isn't violent, the way Billy Corgan's or Marilyn Manson's would be. Trent broke instruments on stage yeah, but he didn't even play the guitar! He broke Korg SYNTHESIZERS. Even Courtney Love was more butch than Trent.

He always came across as ambiguous, just slightly, in his gender presentation. At 13 I got a VHS copy of the video collection Closure, which pretty much constitutes my sexual awakening. Trent is sort of girly, but still a dude. In hot pants, fingering himself onstage. He is not, of course, like other boys. His sex isn't named or discussed or even really enjoyed (he never smiles).

He is petulant. He is a bossy bottom.

Trent was a sex symbol to his male fans. Boys at school who were otherwise totally scared of being called a fag could admit a sexual attraction to Trent. This was somehow acceptable. Trent was almost above or outside of the realm of queerness. He was up for grabs. This was a popular sentiment among a certain type of straight boy at my high school. I don't know if they are a specific type to the Bay Area. Boys who wore all black and doc martens and were sort of stocky. The boys who got facial hair really early. They shaved their heads except for one long section at the front, which they wore slicked back into a ponytail. Sort of like a mow hawk if you gelled it down. These boys were pre-Trench Coat Mafia. Sensitive, but behind a wall. Awkward. They had goth girlfriends. These are the boys who would always work on the stage crew in the drama department. Strong, husky, aloof guys. Vaguely threatening boys. Perpetually smoking clove cigarettes. And admitting, timidly, that they would go bi for Trent.

Part of being queer is that we have to map our desires onto a largely heterosexual culture. I have to pretend that when boys sing about love on the radio, that maybe they're singing about loving another boy. Trent Reznor sanctions this ambiguous desire. The object is probably female, but the expression is female too. There is so much in the slavery, power play, and false masculinity in Trent's songs. Nearly every boy I've ever kissed has had something in common with Trent Reznor. Either superficially / physically, or some other reason (junkies). He is my TYPE. My Dream Man. Trent shows us the pain and power in explicit desire. To articulate our sexual wants is the most dangerous thing we can do. The only thing more powerful, more dangerous than having our desires, is actually getting them.


I Can't Shut Up About Lykke Li

I want to build on yesterday's post about Lykke Li.

It makes me sound like a crazy person, I know, but Sweden is sort of ruining my life. Every time I've been dumped, it's been either so that the other person can go on to date a Swede, or because I do not measure up to the person's Swedish former lovers, or they're leaving for Sweden or something. The phantom of Stockholm has been ruining my love life and emotional well-being for almost ten years. I'm not kidding.

Which brings me to the fact that I FEEL LIKE SWEDISH POP MUSIC IS RUINING MY LIFE. Everyone who name-checks these Swedish bands is participating in what I see as my downfall. Anniemal was a great record. Yes. But for me, it was also the soundtrack to the singularly worst times of my life so far. Swedish music inspires a very real panic in me. As anyone who has had the good fortune to go out nightclubbing with me can attest, the opening bars of "Bubblegum" come on and I start running.

Similarly, I was sort of the Knife last year, but more than a few nights spent at the bar elicit a sort of Pavlovian response to 'Heartbeats', where I can taste cigarette smoke and stale beer and feel like I'm going to punch somebody out. Right then.

So whatever, I won't belabor the point about how nearly all unfortunate things in my life somehow connect to Sweden. Suffice it to say that in my opinion, Lykke Li is the only thing of Swedish origin (in terms of pop music for American kids) that doesn't make me want to speedily and messily kill myself, in public.

I wrote yesterday about 'Little Bit' and it's video, as well as Leif's brilliant cover of it. I was thinking last night about cover songs and trying to sort of subvert a song when you cover it, like, if it's a disco song do it as a punk song or something. So then I found this video. It's Lykke Li doing an acoustic version of 'Little Bit' on a street corner in what I imagine from my nightmares to be Stockholm.

So, a really sparse, staccato, post-Bjork pixie-ish song. Definite nods to New Wave and Reggaeton. This version totally refigures the song as a, like, folk sing along. Seems kind of cointerintuitive. Here's the thing: IT TOTALLY WORKS AND I LOVE LYKKE LI AND CANNOT SHUT UP ABOUT THIS FUCKING SONG. SOMEONE DUMP ME SO I CAN MOVE ON.

(actually no don't really dump me)


And Forget About My Tainted Heart

I wrote that I was going to put interviews here, and I will. I haven't forgotten. I remain devotedly behind the times, never knowing about what cool music people are listening to and generally not paying attention to culture. Especially "alternative" culture and hipster culture and youth culture. So i'm always behind the times and don't listen to new records, really. So maybe everyone is already into this and I'm still super lame.

But oh my god, Lykke Li.

I rarely agree with or even pay attention to music blogs (unless they mention me, obvi). But Lykke Li is so right on. Her songs are fucking amazing. The big favorite, "Little Bit" is of course gorgeous. I understand the comparisons to Karen Dreijer of the Knife, I guess. Maybe it's the way that English sung with a Swedish accent sounds? Like the weird Scandinavian cadence. Also, the staccato string and steel drum bits do sort of remind one of the first Knife records, but "Little Bit" is so much better. Lykke Li isn't going for the same opaque doom that the Knife has. I mean, yes, she's from Stockholm and that must be depressing as hell, but it sounds like she's listened to a lot of American pop music records, and this is serving her well.

The video, of course, is the most wonderful thing in the fucking universe as well.

Full Disclosure: I only heard about Lykke Li and "Little Bit" because of a cover version done by my new friend LEIF. His version captures the same soft-footed sadness as the original, but capitalizes on the inherent freakiness of the bass line. My experience of Leif's version and the original and the video are sort of intertwined. His version is in most ways more interesting and I think everyone should go listen to it now.

This is the song that I am going to remember as the song from the winter of 2007.


It Feels All Right

Talking about the continuous present as a gay utility in writing. For instance: Gertrude Stein, Kathy Acker, David Wojnarowicz, Andy Warhol. Smattering of postmodern queer writers using it. The thing about being here all the time is that it doesn't allow for the hierarchy of gendered identities. No past or future means you can't really subject anyone's genitals to psychic torture. Or, you can but it has to be a different thing.

Anyhow, thinking a lot about the continuous present as a tool for queering language and making gay ideas. The thing about trying to "get my life together" is it revolves around a continuous present. I cannot depend on my upcoming vacation to fix everything. Nor can I blame the boyfriend who broke my heart at sixteen for everything bad about me. I'm trying not to smoke cigarettes and I forgot the thing about quitting.

The thing about quitting is that you have to keep quitting.

I read a really inspiring quote from Wynne Greenwood a long time ago about coming out, and coming out again and again. The thing about getting my life together is that I have to keep getting it together and I will not, in fact, have anything to show for it. That I have to make a better decision, and then I have to keep making better decisions. Make decisions all the time.

This is on a list of songs that:

a) I know all the words to and

b) Will always make me feel better


Before You Know it You're Frozen

Drama, Black Ice, Wind, Ash, Blankets, French Kissing, Wine Stains, Candles, Anticipation

Winter time begins now


Monday Night in Fag City

How To Do Monday Night For bruise-hearted faggots who have considered annihilation and death when parts of the rainbow flag (the red, purple, and blue parts) was enuf.

How to finally get out of bed, after seven false starts. Drink sour bad coffee from the bodega near the train. At work in the morning, your boss keeps threatening to fire you, via e-mail. Take it personally. Eat a small salad for lunch, with cashews and resentment and cucumbers. Think long and hard about sleeping pills vis a vis Winona, Britanny. Fail, utterly, at your job in the afternoon. Work as hard and as fast as you can, and still don't finish on time, still with mistakes and still without having alphabetized all of the entries because you were iworking as fast as your blithe little fingers could carry the paper. Leave in a huff. You run home mid panic-attack and you worry how come your jobs make you feel so scared and hurt. And you worry about no one ever liking you, that maybe you fail at everything because you are a basically deficient person. You think long and hard about the words "Personality Disorder" and about how you don't really have many friends, let alone the guys you're dating who you alternately idealize and plot to murder. You get into a screaming match with your mom on the phone. You change clothes into your party outfit and you run out the door.

And then.

You're running because you've accepted an invitation from your gorgeous friend Jiddy. You meet her in the West Village and you both look fabulous. You go into what appears to be a church but is in fact a luxury condo, where a gigantic bouncer asks your names, but doesn't check them against the list. You take the glass elevator up to the penthouse, where a young socialite who reminds you a lot of that television show 'Gossip Girl' is snapping polaroids. It is an insane "art opening" with guest list including international fashion moguls who made it big in the early 1990s, and their adorable daughters. It is a room full of adorably / obscenely wealthy 14 year old girls and they have all the best shoes.

A woman wearing all black, with long Japanese-straightened red hair and high heels that pu
t her well above your own stately 6'2" offers you Pernod in a cocktail. You have two since Jiddy can't drink. You eat hors d'oeuvre and the private photographer eyes you suspiciously because you look famous (and in some respect are, if only because you say so). You are wearing tight black pants just like the ones your ex-boyfriend used to wear when you would go to interminable SoHo wine bars and he'd regale you with tales of growing up next door to republican politicians. You just wanted the pants. And a blue and purple sweater (you're the only one wearing color). And bright green John Fluevog shoes. You finish your drink and go back downstairs, where the bouncer isn't letting anyone else in.

Jiddy and you scrounge for cigarettes and go out for Japanese food, fulfilling your most beautiful ego edification fantasy in a long time. You kiss her goodbye and walk through the village, smoking, looking gorgeous and feeling Pernod-loose, listening to Sarah Cracknell.

You come home and gab with your room mate. take photos on her new computer. Marvel at your own face, after all. Sometimes you need to act, or presume, a life of an égoïste in order to not throw yourself in front of the train. Think long and hard about the performance piece you're doing on Thursday. Eat a vegan chocolate cookie and read a Diana Ross biography in bed.

That's how you do it.