Street way one

I forget sometimes how much is accomplished with so little.
The word for this, getting a lot across with only a little exertion: grace.
Strange, then, that I feel like: a bull in a china shop, a drunken Labrador, unhinged scissors.

I can give permission, participate, and make by just not saying no.
I can make null just by thinking it.

Friday night Paps cut my hair and read my fortune.
Saturday I drank coconut juice and ate fig newtons. Bobo and I went shopping.
Today I made a dance movie with the Regular Motion crew. The light in our stairwell is broken, so I smoked a cigarette by candlelight. I'm listening to the new Portishead record and drinking cherry bark tea. I'm going to read Eileen Myles' Cool for You until I fall asleep.

Tomorrow I'm cutting toxins out of my life for a week. Work on my grace.

I'm thinking right now about two things:
-- that events flow inexorably in one direction only
-- among these events are things like gasoline, money, cocaine, love, fever and absence.

I miss you very much, Chuck.


C'mon Build Me An Ark

I've been lucky enough to be invited to dance in my friend Richert's new project. I know him from college, where I was the sometimes accompanist for the improv dance group he was a part of, which in turn led to me working with members of that troupe as back-up dancers for my band, which Richert now dances for as well. The rehearsals have been really eye-opening. As someone who is really Not A Dancer, it's really amazing to watch how Real Dancers can look at a dance phrase and, without ever having done it before, totally ace it the first time. Proprioception: who knew? What's also been amazing is to watch how Richert and the other dancers actually communicate, and organize ideas. I can't even begin to grapple with the idea of 'making a dance'. But somehow Richert can dance over to Miriam at rehearsal and they'll both nod in agreement. Yes, they understand each other and no, they don't need to talk about it.

As someone who has spends a lot of time resenting and denying his body, any practice that relies on gesture seems like an unnecessarily cruel trick. Like a reduction in meaning, the lowest common denominator of expression. Punitive. And mute. It's particularly cool to be proven wrong. Especially about movements and motion (I won't call the work Richert's doing 'gesture'). In fact, it's an entirely different vocabulary. Obvious, I'm sure, to anyone who knows anything about dance. But pretty new to me. We can open these things up and there does not have to be a lingual 'idea' about it. In fact, these dances are ways of communicating in not just minute, arcane little phrases. These are not things that have to be deciphered within ancient contexts of history and form (say, the way we talk about Sherrie Levine or something). There won't be a picture for me to look at, no one will ask me to share how it makes me feel, I can't describe it by taking notes, it won't result in a drum beat. The revolution will not be televised, we'll dance it.

Anyway, here's my point: I don't really keep up with other people's blogs. Not even my friends. Not really. I mean, sometimes. But I generally forget about them and check them once a month or so. I don't listen to mix CDs and I don't follow links to YouTube videos (sorry Francine). Just last night, my best friend Bobo told me about her blog. I had never seen it.

Richert, however, has a really amazing blog, which I do read (NOT AT WORK!). His website has a bunch of dance films, which are certainly worth checking out too. His blog, which I saw once and sort of forgot about until recently, is a combination or texts, found images of celebrities, porn, and personal investigations into the previous categories. It's kind of amazing. His aesthetic focuses a lot on power, the minute, routine and the erotics of these worlds at play with one another. His own photography and self-presentation, however, speak a vernacular of full-bodied ease. I feel a sort of kinship with his work because we know each other, sort of (we don't really discuss fucking that much), and we're both Leos. I have, however, tremendous fan-boy admiration for his work when I read his blog. I'm not comfortable in my body, so I really like seeing the work of people who are. I can't, in fact, make those shapes. The kinetic is not a familiar conduit of pleasure for me. Richert displays (what seem to me) to be pretty new kinds of pleasure, and talk about them fluently and articulately. And do so within the context of, among other things, fucking. His blog will be musings on Grace Jones, pictures of porn stars, then descriptions of the sex he just had. All things being equal. Wonderful.

He seems to point towards what I'm going to call the New Gay Underground. I doubt he would even want to be described as such. It's really unfair that I'm even doing this. I won't name names (other than, like, Paul Sepuya who you should already know about and I rode the train with him last weekend and was too shy to tell him I love his art and it makes me hopeful for the future of faggots and queers and photographers and people who want to talk to and look at and touch each other). There is a real sense of gay art (music, theater, writing, performance, visual, talking, witchcraft) being made right now that is grappling with similar ideas. Sort of an undercurrent in the mainstream art world. Like, right now the idea of the social network is sort of in vogue. Or whatever. Queers, being more or less disenfranchised from the politically bourgeois luxury of social networking (for power, I mean), have had to use systems of meaning that did not translate entirely into mass culture. A certain amount of mystery, leaps of faith in meaning, and overtones of isolation pervade the work I'm talking about. It's really exciting.

New Gay Underground. I generally feel not talented enough to be part of it. Too boring. Honestly, I feel too chubby. Ever since that Swede told me I was fat "but only in the stomach". I mean, I'm pretty thin guy, I know. But I do have sizable love handles. My fat bits do look really out of place on my body. At the same time, I have absolutely no desire to alter my lifestyle in any significant way, even if it means having a more desirable body. It just doesn't seem worth it to me. So I don't know. Too fat / undesirable to participate? Maybe.

This is the Big Sky Outfit I mentioned earlier. This photo was taken last Friday night by the fabulous artist / writer / singer / yeah, party photographer Brad Walsh (Mordecai was with me but didn't want his picture taken). Brad isn't exactly what I mean by the New Gay Underground. He is a really cool artist, though. I think he might be best known for running Junk Magazine, but he's also a singer. The reason I wouldn't group him in with the New Gays Underneath is because he works with Pop music in way that makes a lot of sense. I mean, he is part of an entire subculture and underground that goes beyond gayness (the type of stuff I have no inkling of). It's kind of hard to describe, sort of like pop music inside out. Like you can take it as being either 100% bubblegum or kind of dark. I like it.


Maybe I am going to start lumping myself in with the New Gay Underground. I can't tell whether or not I should just notice and comment or perceive of myself as a member. I mean, it is basically forcing a name on a scene. Probably other people have named it already. I know, I know, participating and critiquing are not mutually exclusive. If there is one thing I have learned in my life so far: fans matter! The audience matters! It's a totally viable and vital way to interact with something, even something you don't understand. In fact, I think that's a really noble and beautiful way to participate, to make art.

I'm thinking about Maggie Murphy and how she used to perform as Teen Rabbit, and sing a capella. I was always struck by how seriously brave that is. It's hard to describe with words (maybe I should dance how I feel). But like: sing it! That is a good way to participate in feelings you do not understand. It's a way of understanding; commenting, noticing.

Okay, so as part of my inclusion into the New Secret Gay Underground, I'd like to remind the few people reading this that I have printed up more copies of my zine, Scorcher. You can get one by e-mailing me, or you can go to Cinders Gallery in Williamsburg, where they are sold. Hopefully more places soon.



The Newest Club Is Opening Up

Occurs to me this morning:

It's been a long weekend. Thoughts trace inexorably back to what I was doing a year ago. I would never be able to convince you to listen to Kim Deal. Or anything. I never got to pick the music. I bought new sheets. I guess you should know that. I'm a lot happier now than I was a year ago. I mean GENERALLY, not so much this morning. Which I guess is the point: moving in the direction of 'better'. Moving, I guess, at all. That's the point. (Sometimes, you know, it's better to not run, to not move. That works too).

After a lovely Easter Sundae party, and a taxing dance rehearsal, I went home, sore, and spent the night with my new boyfriend:

(lover, relax)

Anyhow, I'm ready for the springtime. This time. I need to catch up on my correspondence. Things are blooming. I'm reading Rip-Off Red, Girl Detective and thinking about endings. All kinds. Any ending that makes you feel good. Mostly nerve.


She's Not Having Any Fun

Couldn't squeeze out even one tiny crocodile tear last night. Despite trying. This means we're dry. Or this means these things take time. Make like Sun Ra: give it space. Tonight I'm going to a drag ball to watch the kids walk. Maybe learn some new moves.




Towards An Aesthetic of Dubious Pleasure



This is what it feels like: draw me a map of your nervous system and then trace it to a splinter in your foot. How do you know what hurts and how did you find out? How to wrestle with the mitigating circumstances going backwards over your whole entire life? How to 'spin' your experience as a narrative ending in any way except in disease, institutionalization, throwing yourself off of a building, subway platform, bridge or into a bullet's path? I feel like I need to catalog some of my higher points.

You know, I've actually made quite a few performance pieces. Even if downtown theaters don't think I'm enough of an emerging queer cutting-edge artist. There were certainly points in my life during which I felt really served and included in the realm of art-making. At various points both before and after my 16th birthday I saw myself as existing in part of a larger community of artists, queers, humans. I should make notes, for my website, about these old pieces. They were, actually, really good. I listened to an old cassette tape last night, of the backing music to Boyish Charm, a piece I did for the Experimental Music Festival ("commissioned", as we say, by the Festival Organizer). Exactly fifteen people saw that performance. I almost cried last night listening to the tape. Did you know that I used to play the bass guitar? It's been between two and three years since I've shed a tear. I guess I'm trying to act like I like myself. Certain gestures of sureness. Pantomiming sanity, happiness, coherence. I can't even hold my own attention. Sort of like: I don't blame you for dumping me, beating me up, not accepting my performance proposal into your theater for downtown queer emerging artists, quitting our band, kicking me out of your house. I would do the same. I agree.

So! Then, how to make it productive? I feel pretty certain, as a water balloon, that my wetness, my own glass-tipping-over feeling must be of some use somewhere to someone. Not me. Trying to think of how to enjoy myself. Being as sure as I am that the world is in fact a Dark, Mean Place and that really, deep down, Most People Will Not Like Me Because Why Would They, and being completely certain, as I am in bed staring at the ceiling listening to metal records, this certainty that I Do Not Deserve Good Things. So being aware of all of these things how to cast this pleasure out to others? How can I describe the fact that I do, really, smile when I hear Rebecca Gates sing about driving along the California coast? How do I make a map of nerve endings without using the letters I A M S O S O R R Y? How to write a love letter to someone who doesn't want to hear from you? Who's dead? How to say goodbye and still keep your eyes open? On a budget of negative infinity dollars and the amount of self-respect amounting to suicide, how to make something beautiful, when the pleasure I can cough up seems very doubtful?

So listen to the radio. Smoke a cigarette. Same old thing, yeah I know.

Everybody does it.


Calendar Magick

On Wearing Many Hats: I start at a new position today, the TECH PERSON at an arts nonprofit. You should be jealous. How TECH am I? This remains to be seen.

SO I committed to too many ideas / projects / people. And now I need to scale it back.
Maybe going on a date this week.

Reading only reading Joan Didion and listening only to Silvia Night's cover of "Material Girl" and Utah Saints' "Something Good". Working actually on a new story, involving the following images / elements:

- Our mouths filled with coins, we kiss expensive
- Here is a hint: we suck the nickles clean before spitting them into wishing wells
- Keeping castles, thrones, crowns clean
- Taste of artificial sweetener at the back of your tongue

Were it not for the winning combination of my pachydermal memory, stoner nonchalance, campy fag humor, and witchy bitch jealous tragedy, I might not be able to keep all of this together. I might not be able to notice and then use all of these fabulous things.

Lucky for me (my horoscope said I'd be LUCKY), I take fantastic notes.


It Did Not Surprise Me

Rode the plane home, taking pain pills and watching reality television. I saw that show about a matchmaker for millionaires for the first time. It sort of took all the dignity and glamour out of prostitution. It made me really sad to watch it, but again I was too comfortable to do anything about it, other than notice the small death it seemed to signal.

Began reading Didion's White Album, after seeing Justin Bond's brilliant hypothetical meta-piece about her, White Woman Down, at P.S.1 last week. It's pretty perfect. It was particularly reassuring to hear someone else describe (articulately, clearly, ironically, clinically, meanly-- thanks Joanie) the same paranoid anxiety that I often have. The feeling that there is some larger "meaning" to the events of one's life. Maybe everyone feels this. By "everyone" I mean clued-in 20somethings who work in some aspect of media and culture. By "everyone" I mean Californians.

The particular anxiety that's become the hallmark of Didion's style is distinct to Californians. The feeling that one is out of one's place, that one's life narrative is elusive, and fleeting. I'm really interested in the waiting for the other shoe to drop, the mindset that at any moment someone could break into your house to rob you and hurt you, kill you, no matter what kind of house you have or where you live. Rather, the belief (couched as "knowledge") that it's only a matter of time until someone does this, seems Californian. A sort of pre-apocalyptic view of the world.

We make fun of New Yorkers for being high-strung and neurotic and intellectual. But I think Californians are not so different. In New York, they make fun of Californians for being "laid-back" and fake. As if Californians were unaware of how ridiculous we are.

Here's the thing: we know.

To be Californian is to grow up with the acute and terrible knowledge that you are living in a fake world created only a few moments ago, and that this world will be ripped away from you and that it will hurt. To grow up in California is to know that the water you drink is stolen, the ground you live on is not solid, that the money you see everywhere came from somewhere. It is to know that you are living in a Fabulous Place and that this Fabulous Place is not Forever. I grew up in a pretty typical Californian landscape, but one that sounds sort of horrible when I recount it to my friends on the east coast. Of course I lived through earthquakes. Of course I remember the Rodney King riots. Yes of course the Hollywood hills caught fire. Yeah, my elementary school was evacuated because of gun violence a few times. Yes I saw movie stars (including my mom) every day. When I was a kid we couldn't play outdoors for too long because of the smog. You could see it, and you could feel it. Have you seen six year-olds cough up brown goo? California here I come.

The thing about Los Angeles is that most of the people there are not fabulous. One is constantly reminded that the narrative is not accessible, and this is a really awful feeling.

Anyways, this is to say that I'm thinking a lot about moving to Los Angeles even though I haven't been there in 14 years, don't know how to drive, and know nothing about it.



Given that I've been out of work, I've been shopping a lot. Tomorrow I'm going to California for a few days. To "rest". Bobo and I went to Saks and I got some Marc Jacobs shirts. Mordecai and I went to Barney's. I've been watching The Legend of Leigh Bowery again, feeling pretty inspired. Like: DRESSING UP! Obviously! It encompasses every medium, even if you don't do it so well all the time. I go-go danced on Saturday night, and a drunk Swede (told you) told me I was fat. But just in the stomach. So, in response, I think I am going to make fag City about style (style not fashion, there's a difference). I sort of already write about people's styles.

To begin with: my own style. Maybe I should just write down what I'm wearing, make lists of descriptions of how fucking fabulous I look when I go shopping at Zabar's. I wish I could film it. Today is the BIG SKY outfit, because that's the only song I've been listening to all day. Tell 'em, sisters. It is tight black velvet skinny jeans, a purple tank top underneath the oversized Gucci sweater. Ubiquitous green sunglasses and platform shoes. I am a monster and I am taking up as much space as I can. Coffee, Kate Bush, Cheeba, Florida Water. Keeping myself posted.