He's waiting (and you know he is)

I feel totally reptilian. By which I mean extinct, cold-blooded and carnivorous. A life form incompatible with other mammals. Something similar, walks the same ground, but deeply different. You get the picture. On the plus side, I haven't had a cigarette since Sunday morning. My chest felt dusty. Now it's just heavy. Thinking almost every day this week about Amy Winehouse. Y'know, ruminating on Amy Winehouse is basically how I wallow. She has the early stages of emphysema, you know. In addition, I mean, to everything else. It's just awful.

Soul Sister Pico makes these stickers of quotes, and these two are sentences that I wrote. Wrote, even, on this blog. I'm beyond flattered. I never think of myself as a writer. Or, of a writer of anything other than slogans. But really, if you can say it in a sentence, do you really need a novel? I don't think so. Speaking of Pico and writing, check out the website for his fabulous literary zine, Birdsong. Went to the therapist last night to discuss how much progress I've made over the last year. We're taking a break, their office is closing for a month, and we talked about how solid I was, how I could use the break to reflect on my situation, notice my feelings, feel really capable and in-touch-with-myself. Came home from therapy and got into an argument with my mom. I spent the bulk of the evening crying. For those of you keeping score (nobody) I haven't shed a tear for more than two years. It's been a sick point of pride. Spell broken. I just started sobbing hysterically. Called Bobo to tell her about it and then started crying all over again.

You know that scene in Good Will Hunting? Where Robin Williams keeps telling Matt Damon "It's not your fault. It's not your fault. It's not your fault."? And Matt tells him to back off, to stop saying that, but Robin doesn't, and eventually Matt just melts into a blubbering heap? It was like that. Except I was both characters, or something. or, I was the interaction, the space between then in that part of the movie. I know that scene was about childhood abuse, but I'm saying that I consoled myself, opened myself up like some kind of magic can of beans. I just started crying because I felt like it really is my fault. If someone's mad at me, or mean to me, or treats me unfairly. If someone breaks up with me, hates me, hurts my feelings. If I just feel badly, I feel like it really is my fault. Like I'm responsible for it. And that's kind of a lot to manage. And when I realize that it might not be my fault, that I might not deserve to feel the way I feel or get treated the way I do, then I totally lost it, man.It's not my fault when I'm upset. I want Minnie Driver to fix my life now. Recover my sense of self with your long, European-yet-somehow-semitic hair!

I feel really weird. Drained, uneasy. Lonely, too. That's actually the real thing I talked about in therapy: I feel like on one hand, I want to start dating people again. But on the other hand, I can barely stand myself, I don't want to have to deal with anyone else. You know?

Anyways, I'm go-go dancing on Saturday night.


More of You

I realized that I only really talk about Art History (when I'm talking about myself / the writing or art that I make) because I want to talk about Minimalism and conceptual art. Then, I realized that when I refer to conceptual art practice I'm mostly referring to intentionality. Like, that the work's meaning is in an abstracted "goal" or "task" or something. How much of minimalist and conceptual work relies on allusion? Discourse and evidence as distinct, only sometimes interlocking, ways of thinking about art. Like Tony Smith's Die.

So then I realized that when I'm talking about art in relation to myself, I'm talking about the aesthetics of being passive-aggressive, basically. And let me tell you: it's gorgeous.


Fuck Kitty

In lieu of talking about myself, or giving any salacious, specific details about the number of feelings I've been having (physical / emotional / psychic), I just want to say that I love the Frumpies. Their music is really important to me. I've gotten through some, uh, difficult moments by listening to their records.

Fuck Kitty.


Never Even Asked Her To Come Over (She Doesn't Care)

Friday night Lazarus came over and we drank beers with Isabelle and Sam, who was in town this weekend for their Fabulous Art Show (which is still up, go see / buy it). We went to a loft party around the corner, where there was a keg of beer and home-made bruschetta. It was really, really hot and Sam and Izzie wanted to get their rest before their opening, so they went home.

Laz and I went to Ruff Club at the Annex and mercifully didn't have to wait in line. Is it shallow of me that not waiting in line is one of my favorite things about going out? Am I shallow for admitting this? Or, does my candor kind of diffuse the snobbery, and make me seem adorable? I'm okay with people thinking / "knowing" I'm a snob, I guess. Anyways, the girls behind us in line did not look too pleased. We met some really fabulous fashionable Swedes (don't we always). Laz had a late-night rendezvous and I stumbled home.

Saturday Bobo came over and we suntanned on the roof, dressed up as each other. Watched Spike Jonze music videos and Disney cartoons to get inspired to get dressed up. I like that idea. We went to her house so I could take a nap while she got ready for Izzie and Jiddy's art opening. Which, while a bit warm in the gallery, was a huge success. I am so tremendously proud of them. It was great. Laz and Bobo and I headed up to Long Island City to go to the DFA after-party at the Deitch space. the music was loud, and pretty good, but none of us particularly felt like dancing. Walked with Bobo's gorgeous sister Leslie to the G train and promptly passed out at home.

Sunday I went to the gym, cleaned my room, and went grocery shopping. Laz came over for tea, we met La JohnJoseph at the Metropolitan. Ate veggie burgers and beer and talked about performance art, La JJ's recent performance in the Hamptons, etc. Went down to Tasti D-Lite, whew I got chocolate and Laz and JJ both got some passion fruit sorbet and people kept stopping them on the street to talk about the fabulous color of their ice cream cones. I had never been so glad for the relative anonymity of chocolate soft-serve. Yikes.

La JJ and I went to Joe's Pub to see JUSTIN BOND IS LIVING!, ran into the ever-generous Glenn Marla on the way who got me into the show. Glenn's nickname, oddly enough (and chosen by La JJ) is Passionfruit. Go figure. The show was fucking hilarious, a wonderful time had by all. Downtown culture all around etc. La Jj and I split up when he ran into his gorgeous SF punk friend and went to a potluck. I went home and watched Greg Araki's The Living End. Or, tried to. Eventually the nihilism took the fun out of the music, the haircuts, even the fucking. Ah well.

So anyways, La JJ and our friend little baby Allan K. and I are all DJs, you know. We have a regular slot, it seems, at Eastern Bloc, on Tuesdays, during Happy Hour from 7-10:00pm. All the drinks are $4! We play wonderful music. We keep fretting about the name for our DJ group and La JJ are playing our Age Cards (Allan is only seven years old, the poor baby) and have re-dubbed ourselves DJs GIRL POWER. This is the flyer for our party, named YUMMY! (again, from the subconscious of La JohnJoseph). The Julianne Moore photo is an homage to our first DJ name (DJ Julianne Moore), favored by myself as well as Mxr. Bond. To everything there is a season, or whatever. Something about change being positive, productive, inevitable. Anyways: DJs GIRL POWER. Please do come.

Speaking of GIRL POWER, as well as REDHEADS as well as 1990S MUSIC as well as THINGS TO LISTEN TO OR WATCH THAT INSPIRE ME TO BE A BETTER-DRESSED AND GENERALLY BETTER PERSON. This video pretty much captures it all. It is a perfect illustration of what my weekend days are generally like. Pretty great, huh.


Now I'm Down In It

Blogging (or I should say, my blog) is pretty useless for getting people to go to things. I understand that. However. two of my very dear friends are having an art opening tomorrow in Brooklyn, and I think you should go.

July 26 - 31

Opening Reception July 26, 6-9pm
Brooklyn Artists Gym
168 7th Street, 3rd Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11215

It features new work by dear friends Isabelle Rancier, Julia Norton, and
Sam McKinnis.

Link to the event: http://www.brooklynartistsgym.com/events.html

In other news, this is how I feel today. Awkward, but trying to express a pretty basic feeling. Failing at feelings, sort of. Or, not finding the right way to express a thing. I feel like: I want to set clearer boundaries, and say exactly when things bug me. But I feel reticent doing that, so I guess I get all passive aggressive and awkward. Kind of like Trent Reznor (my love) rapping. I was up above it. Now I'm down in it.

Also I feel like this because my eyesight is going, I really did see a tiny little dot and I watched it for too long. My room mate makes me think that my retina is detaching. Scary.


Whenever You Need Me

(Still from Graphic Glory, by Richert Schnorr. Miriam Levin, left, and Me, right)



Finally, I'm getting around to posting the interviews. I first met Susan Ploetz (a.k.a. Pash(ly)) when she toured with Anna Oxygen and Khaela Maricich in 2003. She performed a "choose your own adventure" opera. I played her first EP "Pash Please Don't Hurt Them" until I wore the CD out. We became pen-pals for a few years, and she recently moved to NYC (from whence she has since relocated). Susan's music, visual art, video, writing, and performance limn the distances between communication and isolation. Even at its most complicated, her work has a certain beguiling ease. Ploetz mines emotional experience (trauma, joy, love, boredom, and optimism) and reveals it as gorgeous, comprehensible, significant, and something you can dance to. I am a huge fan of her work, and tremendously proud to call her a friend.

FC: Something I'm really curious about is your lyrics. I always assumed that they're really personal and about "real life". Is this true? I once asked you what the title of one of my favorite songs of yours, "eSSI", refers to, and you said "I don't know yet", which kind of blew my mind. When you're writing, how does this figure?

SP: Well mostly they are personal, I guess, from my life, but I guess there are more...un personal or, more-than personal (?) elements. like, there is me and my emotions and this other person, and then....a tree or water. Maybe because I’ve made up a lot of lyrics on walks, so I will have an feeling, then pass a tree. eSSI, that is based on my life, but the eSSI itself... I thought maybe this is what you asked me? well, that place is kind of a mysterious place, but its a place, or, a space really. its a s/p(l)ace that exists inside when its raining outside... (I have written a companion song to eSSI that explained more about what it was, hope you get to hear it soon..!)
I took a writing course from Anne Waldman and she taught us a method of haiku where you had to have one line about heaven one about man, and one about earth---above, below, and here. so I think I try to balance out my songs the same way I try to balance out myself, by remembering things greater than myself, on both ends...above and below. I guess things just come out of me sometimes and I know what they are later. a lot of songs just start out as choruses or chants I sing to myself to keep myself upright...from falling over, and literally I have nothing else in my life to keep me going and connected. or some sort of rhythm that happens, some movement of my arm, that makes those words come to me. I write down a lot of slogans too, in my journal, all the time. Some of them are premonition-y, phrases that just come to me. and seem weird or out of no where, but then become true somehow. like I will write HER BIG TATTOO because I don't know why AT ALL, then a bit later, I see a woman with huge peaches tattooed on her back at a performance with Japanese dancers who also have huge back tattoos! they aren't lyrics, really, they really seem more like they should be posters or banners, BUT, some of them get into songs.
every once and awhile, a song will seem to just rise up out of me, like a dream, sometimes right when I get up, or often I will make some music and the lyrics will just all tumble out to fit into the music, but I go back and realize the seeds for those lyrics usually came from a line or two I had already thought of or written down awhile back. its all floating around, everything is use-able. or sometimes, I will start writing a song, but can't finish it until something happens in my life to finish it. or, a thing starts in my song then happens in my life. it's a magic thing, and I think I more and more realize the magic of songs, not just to figure out my life or cathartic or expression, but also as reality-making...its sort of a heavy responsibility and also a source of power, or, maybe just a way I can feel like I have power to do something in a world that often feels too big for me to do much about. which is why I would like to move away from the more "personal" songs.
I think, now that I’ve written all of this, the eSSI is where my songs come from....

FC: You've lived and made performances in a lot of different places, and across a lot of different contexts (PICA's TBA Festival, Punk basement shows, nightclubs). Do you alter your set depending on where you're performing? How has living and working in really different parts of the country affected your work?

SP: yeah I’ve played almost every different kind of place! except nursing homes, and street fairs, I would still like to do that.... I do alter my sets, sometimes according to the venue, hopefully not to what I think people want/expect (and, I have done that and sometimes its ok but sometimes it not, I don't suggest it really).....you can't really predict what a night will be like. BUT, I guess I have to think about what the limits of the space are. Like both TBAs I performed with video, but most shows I play are in venues where they don't have projectors, and I don't have one, or a screen, (which also means I don't ever get to rehearse with the visuals, which adds to my un-comfortablity with them sometimes), or just, the right technical set up, or...time to rehearse in the space. its also about my own comfortability, and making sure I feel comfortable on stage. its pretty vulnerable being alone up there, and when I start to feel too naked or uncomfortable I think I don't perform well, and having to deal with a lot of technical stuff before and during my show can be distracting and knock me off of what I am really there to do. which is sing and feel my feelings and connect I guess. I think I’ve always tried to set things up where I have at least my basic little talismans and security blankets, like, a thing to do, a thing to wear, and maybe, a thing to say. little tricks for myself, I guess its sorta like a weird stage autism....! having a balance of enough prepared so I have an anchor on stage, but enough open-ness to let magic happen, this is the most important thing to have at every show, which sometimes I fail to give myself, but sometimes there's only so much you can do. I think its BECAUSE I’ve played so many different venues that I’ve had to develop this sort of skeleton for myself, and have sort of a warrior attitude towards performing, because I’ve played so many venues where it was just sort of wrong, wrong space, wrong crowd, but...the show most go on!
I use to be really exploratory and switch things up almost every night and every show, just to try out new things, and be fresh to what I was feeling or thinking that day. I miss the craziness of those days, like one show where I only pump up the crowd, got them to beat box, I took off clothes for money (but always had more clothes under), I didn't sing or anything...! or where I stole someone from the audience and hid in the closet and made them play act a scenario with me. or, just sitting in the audience on the floor with people. maybe it was more wild but it was also sort of a cover up. I was too scared to sing and really reveal who I really was/am. but I think I was intoxicated by the feeling, maybe some feeling of the happenings in the 60s, that you can do ANYTHING! really! but lately I’ve been more into rehearsing and refining, and trying to find new subtle things and adding layers to a thing I’m already set in. but I think it's time for a really new thing.........I can feel it, and its sort of scary. I guess I liked feeling like maybe I was getting more professional or something.
My location, of where I was living...well, Olympia influenced me a lot. I probably wouldn't have really pursued performing if I hadn't lived there. I mean, I went to Indonesia, and there I started singing again. I mean I think there's this myth that everyone is an artist there, and that's not totally true but music IS everywhere, the first thing I saw out of the airport was a boy playing guitar sitting in the grassy median of a busy street! and people have parties and everyone sits in a circle and EVERYONE gets up and recites poetry (sometimes composed on the spot), or sings, or performs, and basically I was sort of forced into doing it too, like you would be weird and un-generous if you didn't join in. and I came back from Indonesia, and lived in Seattle...I was writing and singing to myself a lot and found a guitar to play in the trash, but not really showing anyone what I was doing. But in Olympia, it was sort of like Indonesia, where everyone is doing stuff, so you should too! and everyone's really supportive... will clap, dance, to just about anything, and mostly mean it. and also at the time there was a lot of people doing interesting things, I guess Khaela was one of them, Wynne , and Phil, and Calvin, and McCloud and Jenn Kliese and K--Mrozcek and Anna Oxygen to name a few...of visual arts and performance and storytelling and audience interaction. so that was exciting to me. I started off doing puppet shows, or spoken word things with puppets...not singing. then at evergreen I took a class and made this piece with live piano and film loops and a weird audio soundtrack (that DID have singing in it actually) and I didn't sing live but it was the first time I felt like a real artist doing the thing I really had always wanted to do, maybe because it had weird things like film of sleeplines in it. and playing piano just improving, for the first time ever in front of people. it was live, but also combining all these different ways I think and work, with sound and visuals, with technology but also really raw performance and energy.
so I think I still have that whole north-west DIY attitude, but also I think there was a point where I ran into limitations with that....like, no one really dressed up when they performed. I sort of wore costumes when I first started but it seemed weird, I mean, I always toned it down a little more than I actually wanted to do, mostly out of my own fear of my own ideas but also it really wasn't a thing people did, and I would even get little comments about it. I think there was still some left over grunge attitudes, and now, I think there is a sort of electro-clash backlash.
moving to Portland, I dunno....I don't know how it affected me. I first saw Modern Garage movement there, and that effected me deeply. they work with color and costume and space in such an amazing way....it really made me want to work with color and movement more. I took voice lessons and mind/body centering stuff and yoga and dance and therapy there....it's cheap so I could do it, when I had jobs and enough money I guess. I worked for an advertising agency for a little bit and that was educational. it kind of gave me a greed for a little bit, wanting a piece of that world, scheming for it. but also a complete repulsion of it. but I honed my technical skills a lot there, and learned a lot about GETTING THINGS DONE.
now that I’ve been in new york....I don't know how new york has effected me. I worked so much when I first lived there, I haven't been rehearsing or writing much. it takes awhile to settle in there, but I don't think I want to settle there. I guess new york opened my eyes to all the money in the art scene especially, all the greed, and how creativity is a real industry there, and how there are trends and market ups and downs.... and just the dangers of ambition. because you can be getting a lot of attention for a few years, and be selling things, or getting a lot of myspace hits and being written up and down all over, and all of that, and then 5 years later not be. so you really have to focus on what's important to you in your making: you don't have to, but to survive with any amount of humanity left, you do. I think I thought I would go to new york and work hard and really exploit the ambitious feelings I was having, make things "work" for me there, but really it has made me want to shed everything, become really humble and naked and...I guess I am still sorting it out. and now, actually I am in Iowa!! hiding and thinking and recording and making and getting ready for the east coast again, and Europe, and hopefully beyond.
being from the Midwest I think informs me a lot. I am really deeply connected to the land there, having spent some more time there recently (here) makes me realize how grounded I feel when I’m here (there), and sometimes I feel like if I came back here my life and work might have more meaning. I think I have a connection to the land that people from the east coast don't have as much maybe, but also since my grandpa was a farmer, and I spent a lot of time on his farm as a girl, I have a visceral connection to LAND that....I feel like not many people my age have, that I notice. there is a tradition of land stewardship and humanism and populist liberal politics that runs pretty deep in the Midwest, Minnesota especially, where I’m from, and I forget that it's my lineage. even though in a lot of ways I think I really stick out in the Midwest, and I would probably not be making what I need to if I had stayed here. when I was in high school there was a rave scene that I sort of tried to be a part of, but was too scared of drugs, and didn't really have money for....and then the punk scene was crusty/drunk mostly, something I really didn't fit into as much as I tried. and, it didn't seem like there was much performance art happening, really. hippie punk puppetry was as far as that went.
so, hmm to sum it up...I guess I’ve just gone where I’ve though I’ve had to do what I need to and be who I am, so I guess I’m in a place to get something new or something that was missing, or see what's there and if I can get those things. but also I am realizing a simple change of local is not always the answer. I have tended to seek isolation, so moving helps with that...I’d like to think I am more well rounded because of all the different places I’ve been. but also I have sort of played this price of not being solidly in one scene or community for a long time and established deep roots there. but I also impose that disconnection on myself. but there is this way I have where I am never satisfied, and always want to combine things....like I in my ice cream I NEED to have nuts AND chocolate AND coffee or some other thing....! and my art is the same way, (singing AND video AND conceptual-ism AND story AND...) and that's probably why I am always moving, because I NEED city AND trees AND excitement AND quiet AND friends AND isolation....

FC: What's the ideal audience reaction to your performances? Do you think about what kind of reaction the audience has when you're onstage?

SP: Ideal reaction? well I love it when people dance to my music. I really love it. but often times they don't so I have to find other things to be satisfied with. well one time people went wild and danced so much to the music I felt like they weren't even paying attention to me anymore, and then I was like...wait a minute!! please look at me a little!!... ha ha!! but that's really great too. because then everyone's performing. and it is a huge united front.
someone told me you can't go by a face....like a person could be deeply effected by a performance but not really be showing it in anyway, or the performance might bring up some sort-of negative feelings, like shame or sadness but that's still good...I do long for the feeling of that the audience and I sync up, and a loop sort of happens, where I put my thing out and then they are putting out their feelers towards me and are engaged. I like feeling like I get some energy from the crowd, that they receive what I put out and amplify it a little and I get to feel it reflect back onto me. I guess the worst is when there's no reaction at all, just blankness, even if people are being polite, I guess I’d rather them be rude and a little engaged than polite and blank. but even then, you can't judge what's going on in a person.
I think, though, performers have a responsibility to the audience, to really give their all, and if the audience doesn't dig it then the performer needs to figure out if any of it had to do from holding back or not being true to yourself...sometimes you are doing a good thing that people just aren't ready for or don't understand, but sometimes you just are being fake or false or hiding or egotistical....its a challenge to figure out what is what sometimes. it takes a lot of faith to stick to what you believe is worthwhile in what you are doing when you don't get a lot of feedback from anyone that it is. and, usually, if you are staying present and aware, you start to figure out what you need to change. so, in some ways, every reaction is ideal, because it is always a mirror to reflect on my work. even if I figure out that, so what, it was a weird crowd, and they weren't open to what I do, and I can't do anything about it. but I like to believe we are all humans and have some commonalities and that's the spot you try to reach as a performer.
I hate feeling removed from the audience. but its also good to be a little removed, so you don't crumble if one person looks at you weird. I am a little crazy that way, like if someone whispers something to someone else, I LITERALLY hear the thing they are saying as "BOY SHE REALLY SUCKS! THIS IS REALLY BAD!". I think playing as many shows as I have where there is no stage and a person is RIGHT BY me talking to someone else, has made me more sensitive to this sort of thing. having a separate space, at least, energetically, is good. when people hang back, and don't stand close to you, I use to try to get them to come in, but now I think it's sort of a sign of respect, like, they are respecting that imaginary sacred line. another deep thing for me that I wasn't really ready for anyone to like me, or my work. so the audience hating me and me being desperate for their approval me while I performed was the only reality I could conceive for myself, my only reality was that I was making these sucky things. which is actually a heavy thing to lay on an audience! performing has really forced me to work on my own shit, which is great, but I kind of feel bad for the audiences that had to witness some of it. but I guess there might be some merit in being just who you are, and exposing some of the terror and feelings of unworthy-ness that a lot of us carry around. its not something you're gonna get from Madonna or Beyonce....
I do think of audience reaction while I am performing, and I am trying to not think about it too much but also I want to stay engaged and sensitive enough that I can deliver what's needed at the time. I think about it all the time, while I am playing but just have to shut a lot of it out. often I play a song that I think people won't like, like the girls the breakdowns, because it's a bar or a party, but I think its a good song people need to hear. that song especially I think about the reaction as its happening. I just feel like it's important for people to hear and I try to structure it in a way in the act so it won't totally kill the buzz or whatever.....but esp boys I watch in that song, how some boys seem to get really mesmerized, and other boys literally turn their backs to me and can't watch it. really interesting. sometimes its good to just give people what they want, and other times you have to challenge them, and ultimately I want to give both.
I think its when I start commenting on the reaction and catering to it too much, or am at its mercy, then that’s when trouble starts. I have a lot of feelings like the thing I do is too weird, or people aren't into it (never were, or not anymore, or?), or my voice is weird/bad, or my songs are dancey but too complicated in subject matter, or too choppy, or my movements are not animated enough, I’m not a good enough dancer, I’m not "into it" enough, or that I am trying to do this thing that's impossible either for me or for anyone.....with me just being alone up there, it's a lot and can really weigh me down. I think in the past I had depended too much on the audience for my support while playing, and it became a dangerous thing because they didn't always want to give it, ...or were too freaked out? man, Portland freaked me out, that it seemed like I would freak people out....so I had to separate from the audience and cling to other things, like breath, or costume. ! I am still working on the perfect balance, I always will be probably.

Check out Pash(ly)'s music on MySpace


Don't Touch Me Unless Your Mean It

I don't feel like describing the past week. Reading at the gallery and performing at the art space and going out to bars and having parties. I don't care. I don't want to talk about distances between the dance floor and the stage. It's only three feet. Half my entire height. I had a productive few weeks. I hope I can continue, somehow.

I sort of want to describe having (another) Black Sunday yesterday, in which every thing is unsuccessful. The heat, and the feeling of being suffocated. My horoscope said that yesterday I would feel isolated and alone. That I would use the day for a radical reappraisal of my relationships, and how equivocal they are. And as usual I tend to agree with Mr. Cainer's Horoscopes. Yesterday was awful.

The only things making it bearable: drugs, air conditioning, Liz Fraser's voice, frozen drinks, and La JohnJoseph. Who, really, has entered the inner circle of my friends. The Seventh Layer: The Soul Sisters Who Get To See How Ugly I Act When I'm In A Bad Mood.

Susan Sontag, from her journals: Poor little ego, how did you feel today? Not very well, I fear — rather bruised, sore, traumatized. Hot waves of shame, and all that. Pretty much sums it up. Suzie wrote that after getting dumped, but it still feels right. I haven't had occasion to be dumped in a while. I've been doing the dumping, the quitting, the severing. Mostly I just break up with myself.

Really, though, the thing that made yesterday bearable was falling asleep at 10pm, only to be woken up by fireworks going off outside of my window. I decided to watch Gregg Araki's Totally F***ed Up in bed, at midnight. I sort of expected to hate it. It's the first in his "Teen Apocalypse Trilogy", and I felt like I didn't really need any more pessimism. I've had a rough few days (in my head, at least, I mean). Here's the thing, even though it's "Another Homo Movie By Gregg Araki" I totally loved it. It's about a group of disaffected gay teenagers in LA in the early 1990s, chain smoking and listening to industrial records. The lesbian couple is particularly great. Even though the movie is set in (ever "post-apocalyptic") Los Angeles, where everyone complains about the heat. Duval's Andy is constantly in a leather jacket. The goth boy date scenes really ripped me up, for some reason. Reminded me of being a gay punker in high school, minus the sex, I guess. We still sneaked into places though.

Of course, this is Araki's first movie with James Duval, it reads like a love-letter. That the movie is at all compelling is due entirely to Duval's hair in his face. The dialogue is totally corny ("Don't touch me unless you mean it"), but it still works. I felt particularly alienated yesterday, so it was some relief to watch other bored queer teenagers sitting around, smoking cigarettes and listening to Ministry, talking about how scary fucking is. And how love doesn't exist. It has every trope of disaffected homo youth: hating the "scene", doing drugs, befriending resourceful lesbos, "processing". Abandoned buildings. It did make me feel a bit better, I guess.

The magic:


Jealous of Yourself

I feel like a highway architect. I make roads. I illustrate routes. Then I build them for my friends to ride on. (I don't go anywhere).

Some kind of fucked-up magic cartography at work here. Admire me for my parachutes. My rationing of food, my survival instinct. Let's put it this way: would you rather have a fabulous escape plan, or have no need to abandon ship in the first place?

I make award-winning lifeboats. I never pull into port.


Teach a lesson and then take a atand

I'm sorry about the previous post. Sort of bragging, or it seems like bragging. and I really hate that. I have absolutely no patience for bragging, from, like, anyone in the world. I don't care if you've just won the Nobel, there's no reason to go spouting off about how great you are. It's totally transparent and really obnoxious. Very boring. But I'm not going to take the post down, I want to document some stuff. Every summer, it feels like, my life kind of picks up. The past two (or, maybe three) summers in New York I've had these cool opportunities and I never capitalize on them. I get scared. I worry that I'll lose my touch. I don't call back. I never follow-up. I'm afraid of having to show up to my own life. I'm getting over it.

Yesterday, talking to two downtown media mavens about myself, giving them the laundry list of "What I Do" (excepting my day job, obvi), one of them asks me how I came to be so well-rounded. When I mention all the projects or things I do (or work on doing) it sounds like a lot. When she asked how I do it, which means why I do it, I instantly answered that I always say yes. Which is obviously not entirely true. I wish I said yes all the time. I say yes a lot of the time, but I'm working on saying yes more of the time. The picture at the right is me, just after my performance on Friday night. I'm saying the words "Thank You", to someone who complemented my piece. I'm performing the first part of it, 8 minutes as per the producer's time limit, at the Deitch space in Long Island City. I'm terribly nervous about doing just an excerpt, but again: what's the worst that can happen? I get booed off the stage? People are bored and leave? No one ever books me again ever? I believe in the message from LTTR, a really brave and inspiring lesbian art collective. Their motto for the third issue of their magazine was PRACTICE MORE FAILURE. I think that's fabulous. If you're not afraid of failing, then you can go make art. Making a performance while having a fear of failure is the most painful and awful thing, I think. Let it go!

I saw a really gorgeous boy on the train this morning. I was looking disheveled, grumpy and bleary-eyed. I wear only black and purple, and my headphones are blasting Christian Death. It seemed nice. He wore a buttoned-up shirt with the sleeves rolled up. I felt envious of him for a) being cute and b) having what seemed like elegant, meaningful tattoos on his forearms. One, on his right forearm, was in Arabic. What can I say? It looked pretty. I won't get into whether or not I thought this achingly white boy can read Arabic (I don't think he can read Arabic-- I'll say it). After staring for a few stops, I noticed that he had another tattoo, on the inside of his left forearm. It said, in italic cursive big blue-black letters: TAKE DRUGS. If there us such a thing as a sign from the Universe, I guess that'd be it.

So I'm incredibly nervous about the reading tomorrow night and the performance Friday night. I want to get back to: writing a new zine, maybe. Starting to, anyways. Writing songs with my new friend who is a music producer. Working on videos for the dance band I'm in. Hanging out with my friends. Exercising at the gym. I want to incorporate these things back into my life. I kind of want it all. I want the relaxing parts along with the crazy hectic exciting public parts. These are an insane two weeks.

Things that fill me up and calm me down. I have an insatiable appetite. I need to eat sugar round the clock or I get cranky. Wood, steel. I mean to say: bones and the things that make you feel them. Reminding myself of my capacity to feel fortified, strengthened. I really like the remix of this song (the video is dumb), mostly for the Brooklyn-accented "I told you not to call here no more". It cheered me up this morning on the train, when I felt dirty, ugly and misshapen, staring at a pretty boy's tattoo's instructions.


Naming The Monsters That Scare You

The frenetic pace of Tuesday afternoon. Today's not bad. Today's great. But busy! When did I become one of those people, constantly breaking dates, planning for things months in advance? One of those people complaining about how busy they are? Oh, yeah: I became this person two weeks ago.

It's a good kind of busy. An unbelievable busy. The kind of busy where I keep asking myself "is this really happening?" and "if this is really happening what does it mean?" It might not mean anything. I can't extrapolate my circumstances into a judgment of myself. History has taught all of us, everyone ever in the world, that you do not always get what you deserve. As such, what you get may be unwarranted, or unfair. Right now what I'm getting isn't particularly fair or unfair, just a lateral shift outside the usual doldrums of my life. Again: being vague on the blog. I write horoscopes for a magazine under a pseudonym, I go-go dance, I do performance art downtown and then people talk to me about doing them in bigger art spaces the very next week, I'm working on songs with a producer, My friends and I make plans on my roof at sunset, I write stories and my friend puts them in his literary magazine, I'm in a dance group, we make movies, I'm planning a nightclub party. This is out of control. I'm reading my writing at a Chelsea gallery show. I'm running from work today to go to a Polaroid casting thing at a magazine. Who am I? (Who are you, Polly Maggoo?) There's both the insistent pull of feeling like I don't deserve this, and the inescapable inertia of living like this anyway.

What I want to know is: what's for dinner?

(probably edamame)


Little Libertine

Friday night I performed at Dixon Place's HOT! Festival. Alongside the luminary Glenn Marla, whose "Man Boobs" was scintillating. La JohnJoseph's show, "Notorious Beauty", was galvanizing, but we knew that already. I performed in the middle.

Look, friends: I hate bragging. I hate it when people brag to me, even if they deserve it. I have a tremendously negative self-image and am proud of that. You will never catch me talking about how talented and wonderful I think I am.

This being said, I think that my new show, still a work in-progress, was successful. I could not have performed for a more perfect audience of friends. So many of the amazing other younger artists, in the weird downtown performance art scene were there. I was honored to be showing my work to this crowd. I got really good feedback. Meaning: people noticed the things I wanted them to notice. Like that scene in that dumb Miranda July movie, where she goes "Macaroni"? Like that.

Making art or writing or whatever is like being a very lonely satellite. You ache and you ache and you work and you play with sentences and phrases and codes and euphemisms and devices and gestures. And you hope, you pray that somewhere out there someone will hear you. Somewhere in the audience someone is going to understand, will maybe "get it". I'm not so narcissistic to expect people to like me, to have my art be their favorite work. I don't want you to LIKE it I want you to UNDERSTAND WHERE I'M COMING FROM. And on Friday I felt like people sort of did.

This is all the more exciting because the other cool thing going on in my life is this Thursday. I'm participating in an event for a Chelsea gallery show. Readers of this blog and friends from my life will no doubt know my storied past with Chelsea, being rejected for every job in NYC's commercial art universe. It's totally insane to me that I was invited to participate in this, it feels like I'm getting away with murder. As a reader we were asked to read something of our own (I'll be reading "Puppeteer: Gold Codes" from Scorcher) in addition to something by Wojnarowicz or someone of his coterie. I've chosen a piece by someone in his coterie and I hope it goes over well.

Please come!

Thursday 7/17
6-9 PM
PPOW Gallery
555 W 25th ST NYC

Things are picking up. I go-go danced on Saturday night at QxBxRx, NYC's best (only?) gay punk party. Sunday I saw my favorite band the Breeders play a free show. I have some secret plans, projects, offers. I can't go into it, but I feel very lucky. And very busy! I had the distinct thought this afternoon that I am so, so glad I'm not going out with anybody. Not responsible for anyone else. What I mean to say is that I'm glad I'm not going out with anyone I have to take care of. The last thing I want to do before falling asleep every night is "check in". Is that bitchy? I guess if I met someone perfect things would change. But for real, boys are generally so dumb.

It's really exciting. I feel like as a writer / performer (I usually just say "artist" but I'm told that's pretentious. Erm, too pretentious) I'm starting to find my voice. My logic is expanding.
It's like learning to read, and the book is me.

(Can you tell that the sun is going into Leo?)


What you gave was worse than what you took

So much time on this blog talking about the feeling of ABSENCE. About how I feel like my capability has left me. My health has left me. My good nature, my sense of humor, my curiosity is gone. I talk a lot about people who are gone. The feeling of being a hole, you know?

(Few people know this, but when Courtney Love named her band Hole, it wasn't to be nasty. It was from a line in Medea, and because her mom once told her "You can't just walk around with a big hole inside of you forever". You can, in fact, speak to wounds that will never heal. But that's a choice, and a hard one.

All roads lead back to Courtney Love.)

So what about the feeling of being PRESENT? Of PARTICIPATION in your own life? Hunter just wrote a really nice and inspiring post about this feeling. It inspired me.

Yesterday I went to work at my new job, where I had the distinct feeling of capability. Of being capable and competent. For the first time in a long time. I went to my tech rehearsal atDixon Place, and my show looks fabulous. I ran back to work, then down the street to PPOW Gallery, where I went to the opening for a group show of artists responding to the legacy of David Wojnarowicz. I'm reading at the gallery next week in conjunction with the exhibition. I'm tremendously proud, but figured no one there would know who I was. In fact, a few people pulled me aside to speak to me about it, one of the gallery assistants gave me a t-shirt with the (One Day This Kid ...) image on it. I was invited to the dinenr after the opening, where I ran into Jiddy's gorgeous sister Margot. We ate soul food and I felt totally thrilled to be part of a Real Art World Thing.

Then I hoofed it downtown, listening to Saint Etienne and drinking Evian. I got to Dixon Place to see La JohnJoseph perform his new piece. It was amazing, friends. His show relays the gorgeous, hilarious, and heartbreaking trauma of being a real person in a world driven to wound, cut, bifurcate, label, and define. I am immensely proud of him.

Tonight, I'm going to perform at Dixon Place, a new piece (work in progress). It's about the possibility of love. Sort of.

Anyway, I feel really present and really real.


Wide and Wily Sea

My horoscope says that this week I'm going to have exceptional difficulty in communication. This doesn't upset me. I accept this. It's okay.

I've started my new job. It's pretty cool. I don't make as much money as I would like to, but that's okay. As of today, I have health insurance.

I want to run into oncoming traffic. Which is not an unusual desire for me, I often want to run into oncoming traffic. I grew up in Los Angeles, where the freeways are sort of magical. Normally I envision myself dying that way. I am sure that I will die by being hit by a car.

Today, though, I want to run into traffic because I CAN. Because I have HEALTH INSURANCE AS OF TODAY. This is exciting.

In the rest of my life, I feel sort of stymied. I want to express a lot of big things, but I am waiting. Right now, little things matter. People noticing things. I'm starting a new band, sort of. The other member, he likes me sentences. I like his tremendous talent, his ear for all things groovy. The boy I sort of like, he's like an oracle of fucking. He likes my bedsheets. I'm glad someone notices these things. Not to belabor the point, but, again, I have really nice sheets. They're 1960s Vera Neumann. One of the few things that consistently make me happy, in fact.

Planning my birthday party. August 9th. Thinking along the lines of this:

Here's what I'm doing this weekend.

performing at Dixon Place's Hot! Festival
debut of my new piece-in-progress, "The Horrible Time"
10pm $15
258 Bowery
Opening for the legendary La JohnJoseph

GO-GO Dancing at Queers, Bears and Rears.
NYC's Fabulous Gay Punk Party.
Live show: Dead Betties, French Letter, and TWO TEARS (feat. members of the RED AUNTS)
Cake Shop
Ludlow St NYC


Baby You're a Baby Too

Is it weird that everything in my life sucks, like a lot, in a clinically objective way, and I'm totally fine with that?

Anyhow I feel great.
Talented, even.
(My talent is being me).


Dependence Day

I write on my blog in vague, coded ways. In part, because I want to relay an experience with a certain amount of lyric glory. I want you to have to figure out what I mean. I want to imply that if you really knew me, like, in real life, then you'd know what I'm referring to.

But also, I use vague language because I don't know how kosher it is for me to write explicitly about the sex I'm having, the parties I go to, and what kind of cocktails I drink. Having sleepovers with celebrities, deep conversations with witches. I also am reluctant to air my exact feelings in real life.

This is all to say that I am withholding on purpose.

Tidbit: She makes herself feel better by controlling the one thing she has a little bit of power over: what goes into her body. And what her body goes into. Fucking to the sounds of fireworks. Half-sleeping lovers and safety belts. Glamorous girls in bathrooms at parties and nature walks.


Out of the Rain. Out of the Range

I won't get my dream job.
I won't get my back-up dream job.
My friend slept with the boy I thought was cute.
They discovered a genetic disease in my little brother which everyone seems to think I have too.
No money, almost no social life, and health in limbo!
Times like this: make new things.

If nobody comes to my show on July 11th I'll be really disappointed.
10PM Dixon Place 258 Bowery.



Not Lost But Gone Before

These days I really miss my friends Chuck and Grey.

That's not fair, I haven't seen Chuck since he was, what, 22? This was years ago. I miss that Chuck a lot. Chuck and I's friendship was a secret from almost everyone else in my life. No one hung out with him and only a very few of my friends ever met him. He was monumental in my life, and probably helped me decide to come to NY for college. He held me to an impossibly high standard. I felt like a failure the whole time I knew him, but it was thrilling, too. I couldn't compete with the image of me he had in his head. That version was sexier, smarter, funnier, taller, meaner, more talented. He acted as if this is what he saw in me every day. He never let on if I didn't match up to his ideal.

I haven't seen Grey in almost a year (x-mas). And I miss him terribly. New York is really vicious in a lot of ways, and Grey seemed to know how to make, basically, everything, feel better. I could call him when I was in a rage. A deep, violent funk that would last for days, drive everyone I know away from me. Grey would call or I'd run into him when in a bad mood, and he'd look at me and talk to me just like I was a real person, not a crazy person. I always thought of that as a kind of in-born empathy he had. He's in CA and we haven't spoken in a very long time and when I get lonely or don't know the answer to questions like "Why here right now?" I wish he were around. He always understood, and if he didn't, tried. He did not, despite having many opportunities, judge me. Once, though, he said he thought less of me because I went home with someone. But generally he didn't put this moralistic shit on me that everyone else does. This is a courtesy I wish I could extend back to him.

Alright boys.


I Am / Feeling / So Detrimental

On a lighter note:

One of the things that is central to my identity as a queer is the Need.


Rooms, Somewhere

I have such a case of the Tuesdays.

In which: the other shoe drops, the party ends, you wake up feeling sick. Back to a reality inexplicably but reliably denied every Monday.

I feel like there's never enough time to do the things I want to do. Go to the gym. Eat better, spend time becoming skinny. Read more. Rehearse my new show. Get in touch with my friends. Fall in love. Spend a little bit of time cleaning. Being lazy.

I'm not mad at anyone, but I am also not in the mood to do anybody any favors at all. Especially if the favor involves helping you get laid.

I shouldn't say "Anybody" because La Johnjoseph is exempt. I will still do her favors.

Qui Je Suis?

I really identify with this.
From my new favorite movie, Qui ĂȘtes-vous, Polly Maggoo?.