A quick look over at the Tracy + the Plastics Website reveals that you can buy an mp3 version of this cassette and a bunch of other Tracy rarities directly from Wynne. Awesome!
Here are some stills from the forthcoming video for "Pick-Axe & Shovel" which we began shooting a few weeks ago. It is directed by Ana Veselic and Tate Nova.
Cute, no? I can't wait to do more on this. Very exciting. Joe Gregori plays the romantic lead in the video.
2009 was a good year, more or less. I had a lot of ups and downs. 2009 was a big year for Billy Cheer. That's funny to me, but probably not to anyone else. I've been very lucky this year.
I got some really nice press at the start of this year. I sort of got scared that I would have to spend the rest of the year apologizing for it. I didn't have to. I really lucked out. Even with the weird nastiness that it brought about, I think I came out okay. In the green. I fell in love this year. I should say, I rediscovered capacities within myself this year.
I think the big turning point came halfway through the year, when I was set to perform as backup in La JohnJoseph's performance at this year at the Hot! Festival. At the last minute, days before his show, there was a slight scandal, La JJ became a political prisoner and was summarily sent back to the UK. I was devastated. I woke up the following morning and went to the dentist for a filling, and there was a very bad accident and a fairly innocent tooth (not the one I was getting the filling on) was broken. I stumbled to work, and Earl Dax and Joseph Keckler called me to let me know that I would be filling in for La JJ at the New Museum, opening for Joseph, in just a week's time. The Novocaine had barely worn off by the time my work day ended, and I smoked a joint in Chelsea and took myself out for pizza (I hadn't eaten all day). I could only chew with the left side of my mouth but it was the best fucking pizza I'd ever had in my life. I stumbled to the Highline Ballroom that night, where I saw Justin Bond give maybe the performance of the year. I was a little stoned and a little dazed and missing a fucking tooth, but he shimmered and for a few hours all was right with the world.
That was a highlight. So was getting to perform my piece at the New Museum.
Please watch the video if you haven't already.
Trying to gather some ideas for my 2010 slogan. Of course, my first thought is:
but my room mate Ptrck the Witch prophesied something really astute the other day, his is:
2010: FIND YR TWIN
Which I always translate to 2010: FUCK YR TWIN
Which of course makes me think of the piece "WSNO" from Miranda July's early days, in which a caller to a radio show ("The Secret Believer's Walky-Talkathon") is revealed to be mind-controlled, and she states that her goal is to "FIND. YOUR. BODYDOUBLE." So I like that too. Fuck yr twin. Find yr twin. (Though, of course, twins and twinning as a verb implies a binary, and it implies that there is one perfect match for every person and of course in this day and age we know this kind of thinking to be repressive). Taking, as always, cues.
Gathering some information.
This will be my last post for the year.
Much love to all.
One wonderful thing was that I saw, for a second in SF, this really awesome show of riot grrrl zines, music and videos called YOU ARE HER: RIOT GRRRL AND UNDERGROUND FEMALE ZINES OF THE 1990S at a really cool zine store called GOTEBLUD. The show and the space are both organized by Matt from Outpunk. There're hundreds of really amazing / legendary zines in the show, and a photocopier on-site which you can use (for free) to make copies. If you're in San Francisco in the next few weeks, y'know: walk don't run. Super awe-inspiring and sheepish to meet Matt Outpunk, I gave him a copy of my zine and we watched some of the "Getting Close to Nothing" VHS compilation (Frumpies busting out an early "Safety First" with only Tobi singing and Kathi playing the drums is a real highlight, Matt has graciously put the video up here).
There was a cassette listening station, stocked with legendary riot grrrl demos. I had just been at my parents' attic, fingering my own collection. Thinking, do I really need to keep the Heavens to Betsy cassette in California? I don't listen to it there. And I don't listen to it in NYC (at least not on cassette form, I have it on MP3). I had just dug out my copy of Tracy & the Plastics' "Turn Video", though Matt's copy had different art (I'll scan it later).
I was VERY INTRIGUED, however, to see a blue cassette demo, circa 1995/96, by THE NEED. At the time, THE NEED consisted of Rachel Carns, Radio Sloan / Radio Tragedy, and Miranda July. The tracks for the cassette were: Do You Believe In Vibration?, Margie Ruskie, Margie Ruskie Again, and Another Girl. Okay, where to start? First things first, I was in a hurry and wasn't thinking and I DIDN'T LISTEN TO THE CASSETTE. Next: What are these songs? I am guessing that "...Vibration?" is an early version of "Crush" (my favorite song) from the Kill Rock Stars 7", but that's just a guess. I am assuming that the "Margie Ruskie" pieces are similar to the ones that were released on another 7" by KRS as "Miranda July with the Need". I talked with Matt about this crazy cassette, because many people do not know that Miss Miranda was in the CeBe Barnes Band with Radio, and that the Need was originally just Radio and Miranda. I had no idea they had recorded anything else in the Miranda-incarnation of the band other than the "Margie" 7" and them playing on Miranda's first solo album. I didn't know there was even ever a Need demo cassette. What? My mind is blown: I must have those songs.
old school Miranda July
old school NEED.
Whenever I think of the Need I think about another double-Leo dark-haired sex bandit deep-vibes band, Paps. Everything goes in circles.
Everything goes in circles, I should clarify, when you believe in the power of the Universe.
More, I think, to come. 2009 is almost entirely over.
I am optimistic, and I am debating whether or not to sweat certain minor details. Mercury is retrograde.
Róisín Murphy in Comme des Garçons for Zoo Magazine
By Daryoush Haj-Najafi
Fashion Editor: Sarah Bachs
Hair: Kenichi @ Caren Agency, using Bumble and Bumble
Makeup: Ayami Nishimura
Makeup Assistant: Joanna Banach
Fashion Editor’s Assistant: Ruth Lexington
So many ideas this morning. Like that movie with Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson and they're in love with each other, but having a fight over AIM and Jack asks Diane how her writing is going and she's sobbing but she writes: "Great. Pouring out of me now." I'm not crying though.
Thinking a lot about new beginnings and designations and starts. And fits. They're making a movie based on a cartoon character named Max Steel, and a lot of press and stuff has been written about it spelled Steele. It's kind of weird. I'm not going to change my name. But I've been thinking about changing my name, for this and a number of reasons.
For one thing, I am working on this project called "Confessions of a Namer". It's sort of a memoir about someone wrestling with gender. Or something. Wrestling with gender and power. And the main way I talk about these things is through the act of naming, calling, designating.
And I'm also always trying to think of new DJ names.
DJ BEAUTIFUL STRANGER
DJ FEEL GOOD TIME
God, who knew that William Orbit was, like, making the sound of my adolescence? Weird. I wonder what kind of music he was making in 1990. Here it is:
Also thinking of possibly,
DJ AMIR O'QUAI
I really love that song. Once in high school they played a free concert and I couldn't go because I was grounded and I very clearly remember listening to Live 105 hype the concert all week by playing "Alright" on the radio every four songs and being so sad that I wouldn't be able to go but I have absolutely no idea what I would have done that was so bad my parents would have grounded me. I was (and remain) a good kid.
Continuing this thread, feverishly, through the detritus of the last ten, fifteen years. Now we are here at the end of a decade and I'm looking even further. Something from being a kid or a teenager to confirm the hunches that I would grow up to have as an adult.
A few weeks ago I was having dinner with two of my favorite people Erin Markey and Sara Jane Stoner, both super famous NYC writer / actress / performance / artist / genius / inspiring women. And we were talking about being younger and Sara Jane recounted a really sexy and wonderful story about being at summer camp, and the older female girls taking young Sara Jane (who, she thinks, already read as a lesbian, even at like 13) and making her give them back massages by walking on their backs, as the older girls laid in a row, on their stomachs.
I'm not doing the story justice, and if and when you ever get a chance to meet Sara Jane you should really ask her to tell you, anyway, but the point of this is that after she told us this memory, she said "And that, my friends, is what we call a root."
A root, of course, of her queerness. A subconscious, repressed or forgotten memory or event that, in retrospect is often both a foreshadowing and product of nascent queerness. Walking on the backs of her counselors probably thrilled the young Sara Jane, though she perhaps didn't know why. It encouraged and confirmed a secret desire in her. At the same time, the older girls would never have picked a straight girl out of the bunks that night-- they chose Sara Jane for her delicious whiff of Sapphic futures. She wasn't even aware of it. Memory is there to help us recognize and reincorporate these things into our contemporary queer identities.
For me, one of my roots was the feelings that have always been and probably always will be stirred in me by Jimmy Ray.
I mean, right?
For many reasons, including mostly the fact that I got a package from Nancy Boy in San Francisco. I love it! They sent me some really nice sprays and creams and shampoos and they're all-natural and "Tested on boyfriends, not animals". Too cute. I am really into it b/c my apartment is newly clean, and now I have a nice clean space to be clean in my new clean bathroom with nice new clean products. Squeaky. Thank you, Nancy Boy!
Also really into the idea of having grooming products designed for use by Queer Bodies. Let's look at this for a second. This reminds me of a really cool interview I saw once with Wynne Greenwood and Fawn Kreiger about their collaborative project called ROOM. The interview was conducted by Lanka Tattersall, who I would later get to meet and be friends with when I moved to NYC. Lanka was the only NYC person I saw when I was in Berlin this summer, she came to see us perform at Chantal's House of Shame. Lanka was a beacon of hope that night, which had been very crazy, and it was so wonderful to see her smiling face. Also we used to babysit her cat, Video. Anyways.
In the interview, Wynne talks about making queer spaces, and how having a lesbian body requires you think about bodies in a certain way. Wynne says: "As a lesbian woman and a feminist, I'm required to project my body onto that of the mainstream images of women. Even for hair care products, it is hairspray for straight hair, not lesbian hair. So I have to be able to imagine that the woman in the ad is a lesbian in order to want to buy the product. I have to be able to abstract my body, and hers. To look at the tree and see a bush." And I am in no way equating a queer male body with a lesbian body, but I'm sort of tickled to have these Nancy Boy products designed for queer hair. And they smell really nice.
This morning I stumbled out of bed and opened the door to the bathroom really fast, slamming it into my forehead. I have a huge bump on my head. I look like a six year old.
And I am really sad about Brittany Murphy passing away. Of course I loved her movies.
In college there was a period in which I was singing a lot of ballads on the cello and the ukulele. I'm sort of getting back to those impulses, lately. I wrote a few songs on the ukulele, mostly for my country/goth band Bang Bang Indians, but also for solo songs. Many of them were just about my friend Chuck who had recently passed away. Pretty facile.
But one song I wrote and was really proud of and often performed, I guess it must have been some time in 2003/4, was "The Brittany Murphy Song". I wrote a song about how I felt just like Brittany Murphy after Ashton Kutcher dumped her and started seeing Demi Moore, and poor Brittany became romantically involved with Eminem. It was littered with references to her most famous films and though I do not consider myself a "song-writer" (I prefer medium, spiritualist, witch, lover) I was always really proud of that song and it's clever lyrics and poignant description of crushing heartbreak.
And even though I'm trying to get back into performing live music, I guess I can never sing that song again. And that also makes me sad. We now live in a world without Brittany Murphy.
Alternately: The world is looking for it's next Brittany Murphy. Thoughts? Maybe Brittany Murphy will only be dead if her spirit and memory die. Maybe she's in part of us. There's a tiny Tai in each of us, waiting to accept our curly hair.
Other thoughts from this weekend. Revenge versus Karma versus Romance. I feel at once the victim and the perpetrator, the perpetuator I guess. I wish I could control everyone else's thoughts. I have been noting to myself, recently, in my head, that if I were somehow able to go back in time, to start certain relationships all over again, revisit certain parts of my life, with my current Emotional Maturity, that I'd be able to do things "the right way". Like, I've grown so much and become so fucking 'real' or 'nonexistent' or whatever-- become so something that I would be able to succeed, do things the right way, avoid fucking up. It is a little disheartening to know that this isn't true, but the thing that keeps it from being true is not that I'm not emotionally mature enough to avoid the same mistakes. The sad part is that I am, actually, smart enough now to avoid making the same mistakes and that really sucks. Cause they're fun mistakes.
I woke up Sunday morning with sunlight reflecting off of the snow on the street and I swear all I saw was the word "SILVER" behind my eyelids. Wish I could find a nice .jpg of SILVER but it does not translate over the internet. Not the shine, the precious metal. The second best. The first loser. The Benvolio. The lucky. The thing that kills demons. Through the heart. I'll protect you.
Images from this weekend:
After trudging through the snow yesterday, I went to Zabar's to get expensive tea and dried cantaloupe and ate it in my room, dark, writing a new piece about psychic powers and dream violence and fucking.
I'm really getting into Miranda Sex Garden. Hello 2009 Winter obsession. Today is the Solstice, it's the shortest day of the year, and I think it's important to treat some things (such as LIGHT and DARKNESS) as sacred, holy, everyday magickal.
I think my only anger is that it's just been such damn foolishness about the difficulties. I've been working for 43 years. Now, if I were as difficult or as ill, I wouldn't have been able to be working for 43 years. So I think it's time to put a stop to that.
I can only say that I have so many people here, that have worked with me for 15, 20 years, and, you know, if I'm such a bitch, they must they must really be a glutton for punishment because they’re still here.
Me: I'd rather be ugly on the outside than ugly on the inside.
Cole: Well, nature has set its course for girls like us, Max. We will never be pretty on the inside.
by Max Steele
The video's a bit dark, and you can't see everything that's projected on the screen, but you can hear everything I'm saying. Reviews of the show, by InfiniteBody and Dusterz.
Last night I dreamed that I was in London, but I didn't have a reason to be. I had bought a ticket and gone over but didn't have anywhere to stay. For some reason I couldn't communicate with anyone. I was walking towards a bank, when I realized that I hadn't called my credit card to let them know that I was traveling so they wouldn't let me take out money. And for some reason my phone didn't work overseas. A nice young blonde woman said hello and asked if I wanted to stay with her. I went to her house and it was some kind of crash pad for different homeless expat kids. There was this blonde girl, Hannah, I went to college with. It was so nice to see a familiar face. I was in the living room feeling dejected and scared and I saw Ben, the singer for my old punk band was there. That was nice. But then I needed to get home and I couldn't.
(I have an elaborate fantasy in which you sleep over and in the morning we go out for blueberry pancakes. It's not even that elaborate of a fantasy, see? I shared mine. Now tell me yours.)
In college, I became obsessed with scallion pancakes too. One of the few places to eat near my campus that wasn't part of the campus was an exceedingly greasy Chinese take-out place called Sun Xing Garden. It was my first introduction to east coast Chinese food (maybe I should say "Chinese") and my first taste of scallion pancakes and while those are also similarly nutritionally void and terribly bad for you they remain another kind of obsession for me. It's like food porn. WHY PANCAKES? There's nothing good about them.
(Maybe, before, in our fantasy date, we'll go out for Chinese food and get scallion pancakes. Maybe we'll order food and I'll make you a picnic on my roof, if the weather's nice enough. I want to make out with you under the open sky and the quickest way is up. But you know that.)
About three years ago, I came home one night, drunk, to find a note in my kitchen. My room mate Jenny had scrawled out a note saying that she had rescued a cat who had been hanging out on our stoop, that she would be taking care of it (as she did her other cat) and to please be nice, since the New Cat was probably really freaked out. I went to the bathroom and found a very skinny grey cat sitting in the tub, staring up at me with an angry face. As angry of a face as a cat can make. I sat on the edge of the bathtub and held out my hand and eventually she nuzzled me. She saw that I was no threat and I saw that she was no threat. We bonded and I loved her very much.
I named her Pancakes. None of my other three room mates wanted to call her that. They all said I could call her Pancakes "for now". We had two other cats in the house-- Cassie had a 24 year-old black cat named Midnight, who I called Munununu. Midnight / Munununu was, at the time, older than I was in human years. She stayed mostly in Cassie's room and, since she was my senior I stayed out of her way. She had no interaction with Pancakes. Jenny had an obese male cat with serious social anxiety issues named Ilja. Ilja and I never got along, I teased him incessantly about his weight. Ilja and Pancakes immediately hated each other, so while Jenny wanted to be the Cat Person of the house, Pancakes often came and hung out in my room, being as it was the furthest from Ilja and Jenny's.
I adored Pancakes. She liked to hide for days at a time in one of our many closets of under my bed, sneaking out for about fifteen minutes of affection a day, making her appearance for either food or the litter box. She was low-maintenance and I really admired that, since I am the opposite. At some point she started acting weird, and Ilja would literally chase her around the house. Jenny thought maybe Pancakes was giving off some kind of pheromone, but since I couldn't keep her, really, we had decided that we should start looking for a home for her.
I brought a boy home with me, once, around this time, and I remember making out with him in my room, standing up, when he shrieked: "Oh my god something is moving! Something's under your chair!"
"Oh," I said "that's Pancakes, she's our cat."
"Will she bite me?"
"No, of course not, she's nice. She's just shy. Take off your belt."
Pancakes jumped into a chair I had in the corner of my room and stared at us. She nestled on top of my jacket, where I had kept my wallet and iPod.
"Um, Billy" my date said "your cat is peeing."
I turned to see Pancakes staring at us, now in our underpants, pissing all over my iPod, hoodie, wallet and chair. "PANCAKES! NO!" I screamed. Everyone in the room was sorely embarrassed but I eventually cleaned it up and threw out the chair (it was from Ikea) and anyways my date still put out. (Everyone puts out).
So now Pancakes had turned on me. We had decided to get rid of her when it became somehow apparent that she was pregnant. As soon as we realized this, everyone started calling her Mama or Mamacita. But to me she was always Pancakes:
She had six adorable kittens, whom I named things like Ganja and Ninja. No one liked my cat names. Jenny kept one of the kittens, the only male (and the runt of the litter) and found a home for the other cats, including Pancakes. That is how Quinn entered my life, one of the most significant relationships I've had in the last few years:
Anyways. Mondays and cats seem to go together and now I really really want some pancakes, but I guess I'll go to the gym instead.
Besides, I'd rather get them with you.
(The teeth, the red hair, the British storm-cloud meets Gregg Araki meets showbiz cutaways. The teeth. The near-rapping.)
I spent Saturday in my hangover and Sunday in my apartment, shooting footage for a video of "Pick-axe & Shovel". It's an old song, it sounds like a different person. I think we got some cute footage. Weird shadows and strange tall figure playing romantic lead. I felt very fancy. really lazy actually, but that's what rainy days are for.
Y'KNOW WHAT I LOVE? PASH(LY)
Just generally. She gave me a really good pep talk the other night. It was so out-of-nowhere. Pash and I have been pen pals since... 2003? We used to have this big group blog where a bunch of us would write about specific topics. And Pash(ly)'s music is really important to me. Please go to her Myspace page and give a listen. The remix of "Morning Sun" she just put up is really trance-hop-y and gorgeous. But today specifically I've been thinking about sartorial and philosophical stance posed by Pash(ly):
This is really interesting to me on a number of levels.
A) Pash(ly)'s gaze in the photo.
B) Invoking a sense of "backlash", Pash(ly) is a modern woman, think abotu why she's using this.
C) "Lash Back" references both the glamour of eyelashes (which figure in her performance work) as well as echoes of the early 1990s activist slogan "Queers Bash Back". But "Lash" as a verb is an interesting choice-- the whip is an interesting tool of counter-oppression, 'lash' as eyelashes seeming to imply that the backlash, our struggle against conformity and a hedgemony, could be accomplished by batting our eyelashes, too.
It's all true. I love this so much. I want to make this shirt.
And then, tonight there's this:
And then also check out FIVE QUESTIONS WITH MAX STEELE.
I looked at the clock on my phone, and saw that it was just about 5:30. I stood outside of the building and stared up at the sun. Then suddenly I saw a tall, beauteous figure with flaming red hair and tight purple cutoff shorts. It was La JJ, who was just finishing up a date with a German mathematician. And I ran into the middle of the street, screaming, to hug her. And then we went out for pizza, Gauloises, pastries and very strong espresso.
I really love this momento, and I just happened to find it again today.
DON'T TURN YOUR FEARS TO FACT.
YOU ONLY GET WHAT YOU EXPECT.
YOU DETERMINE WHAT COMES TO YOU NEXT.
I fucking love the Casual Dots. They only made one album, their self-titled debut which came out on Kill Rock Stars in 2004. And it is now on SALE at the KRS Shop for only $6. Worth significantly more than that, I think. This is the record that you'll hear if you come over to my house. I'll put it on right after I light the incense and before I ask you how you take your tea, while I'm sizing you up.
You want to show me to myself. You want to explain me to me.
My teeth hurt today. I don't know if the procedure on Friday really went well. I may end up needing this root canal after all. Uncertainty isn't always fun, but it is always present. So sometimes you have to not know.
I want to wait this out, but I know that's impossible.
On the other hand, I don't think I particularly have to prove something at this moment. I know what I am doing. Believe it or not.
Friday afternoon, though, I went to the dentist. As readers of this blog may know, I went to get a filling on tooth number 5 earlier this summer. Due to a freak accident, tooth number 4 (right next to it) was broken and had to be removed. We didn't get to the filling that day. I cannot get an implant to replace number 4 until I have had tooth number 5 filled. I was told that tooth number 5 in fact needed a root canal and crown, not a simple filling. So I went to the doctor to begin my root canal. After drilling for a few minutes, my saintly dentist stopped and took off her glasses and said.
"Well, we've taken out the decay and we haven't reached the pulp." Gross, but very encouraging. The difference, readers, between a root canal and a filling is that if the decay in a tooth reaches the pulp (the blood vessels and nerves inside all of our teeth), then the pulp needs to be extracted, medicated and thus is a root canal. HOWEVER, when doing my filling, my dentist said we had NOT reached the pulp which means that i DIDN'T NEED A ROOT CANAL AND CROWN. Now, we were CLOSE to the pulp. So I may well end up needing a root canal anyways, but as of right this second I don't. And that is pretty fucking great. Here's hoping.
Friday night, feeling my new lease on life, I went with Bobo to her company's xmas party at a fancy restaurant in wburg. Had champagne and gourmet foods and good times. Jotted uptown to meet up with Jeffery and Cole, where we shared our philosphies on life and love and drank white wine and chitchatted.
One highlight of the weekend was Jeffery and Cole showing me this amazing clip. I admitted a certain lack of knowledge, experience about Judy Garland and Barbara Streisand, and they showed me this. I once saw the inimitable Glenn Marla read a piece he had written about taking home a drag queen and them negotiating sex together. Glenn referred to the encounter at one point as "The Dance of Two Tops, which is arguably more interesting than the Dance of Two Bottoms". This clip made me think of that. Kind of beautiful, no?
In response to this, I showed the boys my own reference point for this kind of onstage double-diva interaction:
O PJ, icon to femme tops everywhere. Friday night went on well into Saturday. For most of the real day Saturday I did chores, cooked and cleaned. I went to QxBxRx to go-go dance along with Lusty J and Nick Gorham, two total faves. MKNG FRNDZ performed, it was Tami's birthday. it was such an amazing show.
A really great time, all weekend. Really, just... amazing.
Ok. Back to work.
EVERYTHING IS WEIRD.
I think I feel this way (at least in part) because tomorrow afternoon I'm going to the dentist to begin my root canal. Once the root canal and crown are finished, then I can work on getting my implant. That process may or may not involve cutting my face open and rearranging bones to make a new place for the tooth to be implanted. I wish I were kidding or exaggerating. But this is a couple months off, even. Tomorrow I go for a filling (which is really a root canal, let's not bother with), then I am going out! I hope I feel okay. I've had a root canal before, but it was an emergency one and I was in such insane pain that I don't really remember how I felt afterward. So we'll see.
I'm just anxious. Today has a fever. Today smells like ozone. Today there is no tide.
Alright, I can't get myself too worked up, it's only 1pm.
Let's switch gears, lovers. I think the best way to deal with creeping paranoia, apocalyptic fear and bad vibes is to remain loving. That sounds corny and maybe it is, but it's going to help. And then, of course, even if it doesn't help then at least all you've been doing is exposing yr beating heart and there's not a nobler use of energy. So: win-win. Stay loose.
I'll be more specific. Being uncertain can be so scary, I know. Being scared is tortuous. Fear is so unpleasant. When we realize we're on unsteady footing we don't know what to do. But here's the thing: we're always uncertain even when we're in love and have an awesome job and perfect health and plenty of money. Things change. Not knowing is okay. And if you have to jump instead of walk, that's okay too, it's like flying, sort of.
Hey, let's try to look for something really wonderful and then let's decide that whatever we find is it. Let's set a trap for ourselves in which we set out to feel good and then catch ourselves doing it.
Check out this amazing picture I found by way of Jess Paps.
So what are we gonna do? I say: accept every aspect of every detail of everybody ever. I have decided today to be a warrior of loving the shit out of you. Even if you're mad at me. Maybe even ESPECIALLY if you're mad at me. God, I am so scared of the future and I know you are too. I know you've got a lot on your plate and you think that no one, even I, really gets you, or understands you, or likes you or something. Hey friend! We feel the same way.
It is so super easy to let paranoia bring us down. We can construct a narrative in which no one cares or no one cares enough. But that's lazy. Let's maybe get into the more complex project of proving that everything will, more or less, be okay. This is a hypothesis and you're the one I want to test it out on. If you can't relax then don''t. Don't force it and don't fight it. Just, you know. Feel it, or whatever.
Tomorrow after my root canal I'm going to go see my friends in this cool art show and you should come too!
at 303 Grand St, Brooklyn, NY 11211
Then on Saturday I'm Go-Go dancing at this awesome show at QxBxRx:
Age of Consent delves into the collective teenage psyche of the 1990's, remembered through obsessive attachment to pop culture, celebrities, and works of fiction. These visual artists, who emerged from that decade, employ mixed media to reanimate and re-appreciate this unadulterated state with today's eyes - the end result is the ability to be in two places at once; to be both there and here, then and now.
ART OPENING : Friday, Dec. 4th, 2009
Show Hours - Friday 1pm-6pm, Saturday 1pm-6pm
Age of Consent artists:
Isabelle Rancier - isabellerancier.com
Julia Norton - http://julia-p-n.blogspot.com
Daniel Cassaro - http://YoungJerks.com
Colin Matsui - www.colinmatsui.com/
Claire Lin - http://claireraelin.com
Kenton Powell - http://www.kentonpowell.com/
Drea Zlanabitnig - http://www.dreaz.net/
Ross Fredella - http://ROSSFREDELLA.com
I really like this song, it reminds me to chill out when things are hectic. Energetic and smart. And cool like Lætitia, here.
A few weeks ago I was at a dinner party talking to this really great guy named Matty. He's a Leo like me, we look kind of similar (we're both gorgeous everyone thinks so). We have sort of lion / cat faces. Way sexy. Anyways we were all talking about having hangovers, since it was a party and we were all drunk. And Matty was talking about how having a hangover makes him feel sexy, horny, randy, whatever you want to call it. I smiled and nodded but I didn't really believe him. But now I do. God. Walking to work this morning was so fucking difficult because I have such a boner for the world right now. I literally want to make out with and make love to literallty everyone. Crazy people, homeless people, mean-faces ladies with thinning hair chainsmoking outside the bakeries they work at, guys in camo pants selling newspapers. I want to have all of your babies inside of me. Seriously. Whoa.
What do you guys think of the name ACTRESS for my new DJ Name or the name of a band? It's officially my idea copyright me so don't steal it, but it'd be a good name, right? Does anyone wanna join the band ACTRESS with me?
- The fact that I still need to get my teeth fixed.
- How stressed out I get at work.
- My student loans.
- Being almost physically unable to have a meaningful interaction with anyone.
- Feeling like a failure / rejected / slighted by the entire world (of cute boys).
- Anger, Jealousy, Regret.
- How behind I am on all of the projects I would like to do.
- Feeling like I never have any good ideas.
- Not having any time to myself to find out if I do ever have any good ideas.
- My friends, who wouldn't be friends with me if I was actually as horrible of a person as I feel like. So there're some nice counterarguments.
- Setting up an appointment with a real life psychoanalyst, a la Erica Jong.
- Really obsessed with green nail polish and by extension Taking Care of Myself in Any Small Way that I Can.
- Lil' Kim. Just generally.
- Optimism, Luck, Romance.
- Things can and should and could be different.
I'll be specific because I love you and I want you to feel good (all the time, I'm totally obsessed with it). You're always telling yourself and other people that you don't deserve to feel happy, that no good news is coming your way. To wit: you assume yourself that the boy you think is hot doesn't like you back, will never like you. Or doesn't like you back enough, or something. You decide that you will always feel bad, that there's no use getting your hopes up. You figure that if you convince yourself to feel shitty and slighted and unhappy now, then when the boy you think is hot doesn't want to go on a date with you, or you don't get the job you wanted, or you feel too tired and angry to hang out with your friends, or whatever, then later on the disappointment won't feel like so much of a surprise. And, you figure, by dumping yourself beforehand, you'll save yourself some heartbreak when someone else does it to you.
How's that working out for you?
I'm sorry-- I don't mean to make a joke out of it. I only make jokes because I love to see you smile. I'd do any number of embarrassing and painful things just to get a chuckle out of you. It's true.
You think there's no reason to get excited or to get happy because at a moment's notice things can and do change, and then where will you be? So instead of enjoying an afternoon before you have to go do your chores, you worry about your chores all afternoon. What good is that?
Futility is exhausting. I absolutely know this. I want to convince you of it as well, using my body and my words. You and I are not exhausted, this proves we have potential. We're made of highly volatile and combustible atoms. Our molecular structures are changeable; when we kiss it's an actual science experiment. That's what there is to get so fucking excited about.
You're refusing to participate, because you're holding back. You think you can arm yourself, preempt every single disappointing thing that could and will ever happen to you. This is so insanely arrogant that I think it's sweet, in a way. Sort of naive, the way you think you can trick yourself into experiencing disappointment beforehand. I'm talking mostly but not entirely about Romance. You break up with yourself so someone else can't. You stand yourself up. You cheat on yourself. And you catch yourself. And it hurts.
But what if the next time we could just chill out, you know? Not worry so much about something that might or might not hurt. We're so scared of pain that we end up putting ourselves through more of it by fighting it. It's like we're training for a fight with Pain and we think that if we practice fighting pain we'll get better at it. We don't ever get better at it. Pain takes us by surprise, that's why it's so formidable. But pain is only half of it.
What if we didn't think about what might / could hurt? What if you let yourself feel exactly as good as you ought to? What would it look like if you greeted your future with an open heart?
I think often about this photo. It's very inspiring to me. It says that we can greet the new day with a steady gaze, a calm energy, and Total Fucking Beauty. It's in my collection of Things I Look At Or Think About When I Am Feeling Overwhelmed, and it's only one of many things I'd like to share with you.
The image of a baby, I kept repeating. I kept saying to Cotton in my dream, then to myself as I got to the next one, that I am like an infant who is trying to learn to walk the same day as he's trying to learn to use a fork. Disastrous consequences. I bite off more than I can chew. My eyes are bigger than my stomach.
Scott shows up at my house. It's my apartment but he's not here to see me. He's here to see someone else (I don't know who). I tell him to come back into my room but he wants something to drink so we stay in the kitchen. He is genial in way that he never was when he was alive. He's nice. He's sweet. He leans over me when I am pouring him a glass of water and he touches my hip (I read in Scott's diary once about a date of his finding excuses to touch his hip and it really turned Scott on-- I do this to every boy, now). He kisses me and asks if that's okay. Says we have some time to kill, do I want to fuck. I tell him to go to my room and wait for me. For some reason my parents are in one of the other rooms of the house, I tell them not to disturb me but I don't want to tell them why. When I get into my bedroom Scott is mad that it's different than how he knew it. Everything I own has been pushed to the center of the room. He's found all his old love letters to me and he's rereading them. From before he went to jail for murder / cannibalism / being mean to me. I have to pee (even in the dream) so I go and when I come back he is typing on my computer (this very one now) he turns around and says "You know, when we used to have sex it was always half and half. Like you'd wanna fuck and do that part and we'd do that but then we'd spend the rest of the time cuddling. You wanna just do that?" I don't know what he's talking about. I hate to cuddle. In the dream we are in bed and it is perfect. It occurs to me that I am dreaming, this makes it a lucid dream. Image of babies impaled. Image of hubris. The sunlight is coming my windows even through the curtain. Some mean policemen wanna follow us into the nightclubs.
I've made my life around a handful of goals but most primarily to feel better. I realized that in order to feel better I had become (or am at the risk of becoming) Scott Panther and I hope I can change back before it's too late. In the dream sex I am withholding, cold, impersonal, I won't kiss him, really. Not on the mouth. I won't tell him that I'm glad he's back. Because he's not back.
I wake up sick and I know where I'm going.
This is basically what heaven is like, right? Hanging out with two cool rock chicks, just jamming at home. Loving Jiddy's leggings / sweatpants in this video. And Jess Paps, gorgeous as always. I listen to their records more than is really appropriate considering we're friends. But I'm such a fan! It's creepy.
Jiddy has an art show coming up next Friday 12/4 with my friend Isabelle Rancier at this cool gallery space in Brooklyn. I will post more about it soon but clear your schedules.
Today is also Cole's Birthday. Happy Birthday, Cole!
Here's a drawing he made for me once.
Isn't it so great? I wanna put it in my zine. Cole, as you know, is a woman of many talents, including visual arts.
Also, let's hang out, and I'll tell you all the things you've been waiting for me to say. You didn't think I would, but I do and can and will.
Really excited in a sort of shallow way (sort of?) to see my name mentioned in Vaginal Davis' fabulous blog about her recent trip to NYC. Her blog is, as PLD put it "it's like a gossip rag, but with people I actually care about and respect". I'm thinking a lot about gossip columns these days. In one way it's not that different from the project we're all engaged in, which is creating our own communities. There's no difference, between what we say about ourselves and what Page Six says Marc Jacobs eats for dinner (poached fish). We can document what we notice. We have the power, kids! So, so, beyond flattered to be called out zinestar by Ms. Davis and MORE INTRIGUED by her mention that while we met at the scintillating speech she gave at NYU (where I sheepishly gave her a copy of my zine, she was a real sweetheart about it), My Boyfriend James Franco who was also evidently in attendance. I didn't see him. But my eyesight is bad and I was starstruck by finally seeing Ms. Vag in the flesh. Also, any time I mention My Boyfriend Jimmy I wanna link to this cool blog post from my soul sister Paps.
I also want to take this moment to remind you guys that I am printing new copies of the fourth issue of my zine, Scorcher. The fourth issue is titled Be Billy. I put a lot of work into it last summer and then sort of didn't promote it as much as I could. I'd like to have more people read it! Especially as I am now working on the new issue and it's gonna be a bit different and I'd like to get some more people on board with me.
IF YOU WANT A COPY OF MY ZINE SCORCHER PLEASE EMAIL ME: BILLYCHEER@GMAIL.COM
Moving right along. Thinking more and more about the idea of a "society column" except, of course, that I hate society. I am trying not to use the word "scene" these days either because it's a loaded term and makes it really easy for people who feel left out (which is, hello, everyone ever) to criticize. So whatever-- writing about people I think are cool.
So this is a sort of viral video for a NYC performer named Monica Rush. Her song is cute, she herself is cute, check her out, be amazed. Etc.
I'd be lying if I didn't fully-disclose the fact that the main thing that attracted me to this video (Thanks Chris for sending it to me even though you didn't know this about me) is that it stars the incredible Nicholas Gorham. I'd met Nick at some parties this summer and he'd always been very sweet. Then we got booked to go-go dance at everyone's favorite gay punk party, QxBxRx a few months ago. It was goth night, so I didn't know what to expect with all these freaky new-wave bands around. But Nick and his room mate made these really incredible construction paper hats and gave me a gold glitter mustache and we had so much fun. He is, as you can see from the video below, a really great dancer.
Whenever I see him out and about at events or parties or bars or whatever, it's always a fortuitous omen. He brings good news. After seeing his portrait by Mx Justin Bond at the really fabulous COLD WATER show at La Mama's Gallery a few weeks ago I remarked out loud that if I ever did a society column, I would write about how fucking great Nick looks whenever I see him out. Check out more fabulous lil tidbits of Nicholas HERE and HERE. (Both courtesy of everyone's secret crush Walt Cessna).
Also in society column news, my long-lost friend Grey, whom I'm totally in love with and miss a lot since he ran away to SF to become an aerialist, has evidently recently unlocked the secret of auto fellatio (the secret, apparently, is stretching). I remain skeptical, having not yet borne witness to it. I hope to soon, if only in the name of science. In any case, congratulations!
OK so let's talk a little bit about Why Living In New York Is Sometimes Worth It. I am proud and lucky enough to have been able to perform with and witness the genius of a new NYC-based all-female performance troupe, named BABYSKINGLOVE. They do these sort of Bacchanalia-inspired performances incorporating dance, theater, music, puppetry, violence, gymnastics, you name it. Every time I See them I am continually impressed and inspired. I feel like a total Aunty Billy but I feel like they're one of those things that could only exist in NYC. If you ever get the chance to see them-- run, don't walk. I (obviously) find them intriguing and mysterious and compelling, and look forward to spreading the gospel shortly. Check out their promo video of them getting ready for a recent show, below (I make a very brief cameo in it with my polka dots).
And now, friends, for some sad news.
Tomorrow morning, my dear friend Michelle will be driving across the country with her sister, moving from NYC to Los Angeles. I can hardly blame her, LA is great, but I will miss the shit out of her. Michelle, as you may know (possibly from her nickname Mickey Pussy-- which I gave her which has yet to actually take off) is a member of the Birdsong Collective, where she writes the hilarious and often life-affirming advice column DEAR MICHELLE. She also writes a sexual fantasy blog called BONER JAMS which is equally vital. Mickey, along with my friend Tatyana, also co-write what may be the best blog in the entire Universe, ever: SERIOUSLY, YOU'RE THE WORST.
Anyways, Michelle is driving away tomorrow morning. I am very sad about this. She is always a really sweet, hilarious, understanding, insightful and valuable friend. I am looking forward to crashing on her couch, and clearing my schedule for weeks at a time when she comes back to visit NYC. Love you Mickey!
Call me when you get over yourself.
Cause I still won't be over you yet, and I'll wanna talk about it.
I don't want to seem presumptuous. I know you hate it when I try to finish your sentences.
I get them right about 80% of the time, but the other 20% is proof enough for you that I cannot read your mind, at least not yet, and I know it upsets you when I try, so I don't want to seem like I'm condescending or telling you what you really mean.
How can I convince you that I like you? I'm not doing it to elicit a response from you. I can't control your feelings and I wouldn't want to besides. But I want to convince you so, so badly that I think you're great. I guess I ought to take up painting or learn to play the guitar and write a really beautiful ballad. That wouldn't even work though. It's like I'm the tourist and you're the castle and you're also person in the ticket booth, charging admission and staring skeptically at my Student ID.
You caught me: it's out of date. I wanted a deal. I wanted the easy way into you. And I'm sorry if I seemed sneaky it seemed like a victimless crime. But now I'd pay the full-fare and I'd even scale the walls if you'd just let me in for long enough to convince you how wonderful you are. That you are to be shared and celebrated and photographed for free. That you don't have to charge admission to be certain that we (the world, potential lovers, your friends and family, even people like us who you may not know so well) are dying to come to and see and know you. You're someone's favorite person in the whole world. Probably more than a few people would say this about you, and the crazy part is that a good percentage of the people who claim you, yourself as their personal favorite? You don't even know them yet.