5/28/09

Can You Hear Me?



I was thinking lately about anatomical drawings of hearts. I was thinking, I guess subconsciously, about the Heavens to Betsy record, Calculated. Another of my Favorite Things of All Time. There's that line at the end of the song, "Donating my body to Science" about it:
You want to diagram my heart. / Is it so that you will know how to take it apart? / You wanna know how I feel. / You could never just ask me.
I love that song. It's kind of adolescent and sweet and accidentally morbid, the way H2B always are. Were. I put that song on a mixtape for my first boyfriend when we were 15. You know how when you'd make a mix for someone, how sometimes you'd put on songs with secret messages? Like really pointed lyrics? This was like that. I wanted him to know that I knew that he was trying to do something awful to me. Then he totally loved the song and said he really identified with that line. He was an emo boy. I used to be into emo boys. Anyways it really pissed me off that he felt like the lyrics described him. I thought, 'Hey wait a minute, I'm the victim here. I'm the one in perpetual pain! You're doing this to me!'

But we were young, then. Now I know that in love, we can both be the victims. There can even be more than two victims in any one relationship. We can also both be victorious though. We can all do everything. Even if we like the same records.

So everyone: check out this really sweet interview with me on my friend Brandon's blog. He also gives a pretty sweet review of my new zine. I'm excited and nervous about the reading at Envoy Gallery. Again: June 6th, from 6-8pm. Yikes. Come!

It occurs to me, thinking about my last post on Isadora Wing and the discreet charm of anxiety-ridden nice jewish sex-positive pro-feminist canons that I am leaving the big one out. I sort of don't really like to talk a lot about Kathy Acker, I guess, because whenever I do then people always wanna school me in it. Whatever. Kathy Acker is probably my favorite writer, is a constant source of inspiration to me. And when I'm feeling down, or stuck, or crazy, or turned-on, I read her writings. I came across this really cool new documentary about her called WHO'S AFRAID OF KATHY ACKER?.



This sample is courtesy of Women Make Movies, the fabulous organization that made this movie. Please watch it and note that my birthday is this summer and I would really love a copy of the DVD.

Okay.

5/26/09

Isadora Wing

Personal iconography / superheroines / matriarchs. I'm talking about the idea like Black Mountain College the idea of claiming a lineage. In art of poetry or whatever it is you (think you) do. In claiming a lineage it's just another kind of storytelling only it's also like gossip columns. It celebrates and defiles at the same time. Praise of Isadora Wing. The blonde-haired culturally / ethnically Jewish anxious libertine world of the freak-out (all meanings of the phrase) where I locate myself. Sometimes, today.




We're all blonde and blue eyes (except for Erica Jong), sort of a juxtaposition of Aryan features and Jewish anxiety about Aryan-ness. Maybe it's not fair to lay claim on Judaism here. I'm about as Jewish as Courtney Love. Also, all of us in the pictures are more into Buddhism. Well, Erica's not, but her religion seems to be LOVE more than Judaism. SO we're all spiritualists. And we all think it's ok to be sexual and / or sexy. And we're all punished for that. That's okay too.

Claw Control

Friday night PLD, P the Witch, Sister Pico and I drank cosmos on the roof ("Up There") ostensibly to save money. I don't know about this. We all got smashed before going to Public Assembly for the Pantyhos party. I know we met up with Diego, Roy, and Mickey Pussy there, but I don't know how this meeting up happened. I know that we saw House of Ladosha perform, but I don't remember it. I took a brief sojourn away from my friends and turned into a monster. I bought a slice of pizza and spent some time flipping out in an alley in Williamsburg. On the phone to a recent lover, screaming at him for absolutely no reason. I returned to my friends and we all walked to another bar, stopping twice along the way so we could lay on the sidewalk and Mickey could vomit into someone's overpriced real-estate hedge. P the Witch and I managed to walk home, the way infants do: by leaning forward and letting the force of gravity pull them towards their destination. (Some instincts, we've managed to keep).

The night was rough.


Saturday the thing that helped was meeting the Trannibals at Dallas BBQ to have a dinner of oversized margaritas. The medicine is the poison is the doctor is the patient is the cure. Later in the wknd, Bobo mentioned something about the song "Satellite of Love" in reference to last summer. She said that was part of her summer because I just kept playing that song over and over again. I forgot about that, that I was obsessed with that song. I remember thinking it had some really big optimsitic significance in my life. La Johnjoseph turned me on the great remix of it. I feel like that song is emblematic of la JJ and I. He would of course be Bowie and I would be Lou Reed. He'd be the androgynous british mastermind, sticking glittery painted fingernail fingers into every hole of choruses and I would be the dark ugly junkie new yorker with a hardon and anxiety about the hard-on. Things like that drive me out of my mind.



Monday I shot another video with Jeffery and Cole. I'd been feeling really out of sorts from the weekend, really crazy. But it was a lot of fun, I got to say some funny things and then they bought me a veggie burger. Shooting videos is hard! They're all this stuff of close-ups and setting up shots, and I keep forgetting that I have to say my lines and act in the scene even when the camera isn't pointed at me. Confusing!

I went home and laid on my roof, feeling very crazy and sad. I got groovy and took some painkillers and watched the sun set while I read Sontag and listened to Laurie Anderson talk about her dreams. I ordered Chinese food. I've been reading Sontag's essay "The Pornographic Imagination" and feeling inspired. I couldn't find Story of O at Strand yesterday afternoon so I got Erica Jong's How to Save Your Own Life. Sounds like the right idea, to me.

Watched Inland Empire because I love Laura Dern. I got pretty freaked out. I felt just like her character in that movie, shooting scenes earlier in the day and losing all sense of reality. I really identified with that. I feel like in this movie Laura Dern is giving some Miranda July effects. Discuss.



SOME THEMES IN MY LIFE LATELY:
  • Poetry
  • Rice Cakes
  • Tauruses
  • Aloe
And also this incredibly passive-aggressive (and therefore, to my mind, EMOTIONALLY ACCURATE) song, by the gorgeous and much-undervalued Madeline Bell:

5/25/09

For a number of reasons all bad including fear I do not know how to drive. But today it's fucking hot and only 10:30 and I want to grab you by the collar of your shirt and pull you into a car with me and I want to drive you around where I'm from on the highway to the reservoir take you to chinatown and get you a watermelon slushie and tell you to just stop freaking out.
I was with my friend Arizona and our friend D was in town for one night. Just passing through. I think he was coming from Europe maybe, but his destination was California, where he lived with his boyfriend of like eight years on a mansion. They were in love, Arizona told me.

I spent all night trying to tell D how much in love with him I was, too. He was really funny and very smart (he started a literary magazine at school before I even thought those things were cool). He had a reading series and would invite me to perform songs in between the readers. I'd be singing along to my ukulele staring at him with open longing. I didn't really perform music, I performed my affection for him. He read poems about being a bride, wearing white. I melted. D looked sort of like me, too, but an ideal version of me. A better one. His eyes are bluer, his hair is curlier, he's maybe a bit taller, more muscular. My body moves nervously and quickly and awkwardly. His is sure, and calm. And that makes me feel really sexy. He works with his hands, he makes books. What could be better?

In town tho for one night only Arizona and D and I have a contest that we admit openly: who can drink the most whiskey. We are listening to Kate Bush as loud as we can and painting our faces and drinking and smoking too much for our 19 year old bodies to take. The other contest we are having and not admitting is who is capable of more extreme love. I'm winning. I keep hitting on D interrupting him even when he;s talking about his boyfriend. I get so angry with him that I keep saying his name like it's an insult. I keep asking him to just "open his eyes" or something. I feel myself slipping and I know I'm seeming desperate and he doesn't want to get any closer to me and I know it's tacky and gross to keep hitting on someone, even a friend of yours (D is a friend of a friend I could never be friends with him or this would keep happening). I keep staring at him meaningfully and hoping that somehow he'll "get" it. It feels like it's okay to do this, though. I know he doesn't really like me and if he did wouldn't do anything so it's like being at a firing range or something. It's hermetic, it's good practice. I went to bed and in the morning D was gone and I was mortified by what I had been saying to him. I called our friend Arizona and she said that instead of being grossed out D had said just that I was a "Lawyer of the Soul".

And it being summer again more later I am still, I think trying to argue the case for Feelings.
Yours, mine. Free them!

If I had three political parties they would be:
-- Liberation
-- Feelings
-- Cats

It's summer, now, and things are sticky.
I feel very guilty. I feel very a lot things, too.

5/24/09

Made a Mistake on Fire Escape in San Francisco

ANTHEM

At a party in college Charlie brought in a vaporizer which none of us had ever heard of and we all smoked weed out of a plastic bag (it wasn't really smoke, though) and I had so many ideas I had to write them down on a legal pad. I look at the ideas now and it's really just drawings of snakes.

I wanted to play a game. We'd go around the room saying what animal we'd be. Mel said she would be half pig and half unicorn. Pig front, unicorn back. The game then became about what food would you be? I asked Nick what food I would be. I'd always had a crush on him. He was cute and his birthday is the day before mine and he was sort of slutty or seemed that way. You know, CONFIDENT. I was always too intimidated to ask him out. I asked him, though, what food I would be. He sighed and said "Broccoli." I like broccoli so that was okay, I guess. I asked him why and he said "Hard to take, but you know it's good for you. Y'know?"

Nick said "C'mon! You know what I mean! What food do you think I would be?" I thought about it.

"Chicken pussy."

5/20/09

The Pain In Me

Small bright spot in otherwise Black Tuesday. My friend Richert has been hard at work on a show with mvworks, called ...within us and I saw it last night at PS122. It was fucking amazing. Get more info and tickets here. It opened last night and runs until the 24th. If you're in NYC this is absolutely worth seeing. I don't want to give too much of the show away, but it was sort of... political? In a sort of social commentary way. But not hokey. It felt really organic and (even though there are some elements of the piece approaching violence) really gentle, sort of. Gently political. It's less an indictment than a well-researched reply, I think, to a kinetic culture of disassociation. It felt somehow wrong to Tweet about it, it feels sort of wrong to blog about it. Go see it. It's really great.

Needless to say, everywhere else I feel totally crazy and depressed and don't know what to do with my life ("What's new, Pussycat?" / "Girl, you need Pussy Control")). I was talking about this last night with Sister Pico at the only bar I go to. He listened to me complain and plied me with vodka drinks and for this I love him endlessly. He said that when he feels crazy and out of control he just buries himself in work. This goes against my personal work ethic, but I am staying late at the office tonight to catch up on filing. This is my life.

Dear Max at 16: this will be your life, but you'll be skinny and cute boys will want to make out with you. Worth it? You decide. Also, Max at 16: stop dying your hair and never smoke. Ever.
I love you.

So throw myself into work. I guess. I've got to throw myself into something and the Apocalypse is still a ways away. Reading Snarky Sontag again. Planning my trip to Berlin for late August / early September. I don't really have the strength or inclination to Make Things Happen right now. I want Nothing To Happen. I wanna check all the way out of my life. I don't feel bad.

I went record shopping last weekend and I got Planningtorock's genius Have It All on limited edition white vinyl. I love that album. I don't know what prompted me to get it in 2006. Maybe the clothes. I think the hair in the face and the all-white outfits really struck me. I think I was aware that Janine Rostron was living in Berlin, I guess I knew there was some kind of immigrant thing going on.


(This is what Planningtorock looks like, these days)

The record and Planningtorock in general get compared to Sparks a lot, which I guess is fair. Her work is often kind of talked about as being sort of cheeky and funny, "quirky" or whatever. To me, it is not so funny. To me, Planningtorock's album is about grappling with feelings of profound isolation. Exploring the idea of loneliness, the possibilities of social interactions, the limits of finite desire. Searching to know where you're from. Hiding from yourself. The weird, multilayered orchestral arrangements speak to a certain kind of obsessive-ness, I think. One of the helmets that Rostron wears onstage looks sort of mottled from the audience, but in a video she explains that it's actually covered with pictures of her, she refers to it as "a kind of voodoo". I love it. That record has gotten me through some pretty rough times. I remember listening to it over and over again when I worked at Pratt and was utterly miserable and it was the coldest winter I could ever imagine. Walking around frostbitten on my lunch-break, sad about the world and feeling like a real failure. I had just graduated school and had broken up with a very sweet boy because of political differences (betcha didn't know that, did you?) and had no career or money or freinds or anything going for me. That record made me feel like I didn't need to always know what constitutes "me". It made me feel a lot better and I have a lot of really great memories from it. And on limited edition vinyl, white, for only $5. Bargain city.

Anyway. There's going to be a new Planningtorock record soon, titled BLACK THUMBER. I'm very excited. Here's a preview of it:

"Black Thumber" promo video from planningtorock on Vimeo.

5/19/09

Entirely New Boys

No more familiar faces. No more "I've heard so much about you"s. I only want to meet new people, who I don't know and who my friends don't know and who my friends haven't already slept with. Entirely New Boys. Girls from the Future. I don't want any of them to speak English or have any idea who I am or have any opinions on the state of current "indie rock".

I think this makes me a bad person, the desire for Entirely New People. Good Buddhists are supposed to be able to thrive and find empowerment and compassion by exploring the fact that there are no new people-- we're all connected. Maybe Good Buddhists don't beat themselves up about being good. Maybe this makes me good. Maybe 'maybe' is as far as anyone's ever gonna get, and I oughta just give up here.

Speaking of wondering whether or not you're good or you're entitled to your feelings, especially when you're feeling socially claustrophobic:



(explanations for everything-- I've got them)

5/18/09





I don't have any idea what to do. Like, at all.

(I'm sure I'm not the only one in this position)

Graduate school seems like the wrong idea. Or, for the wrong reasons.
Ouch.

At a loss. Big time.

5/15/09

INTIMIDATION



Backstage at last month's JUDY vs. BOOTY party at Glasslands, teaching my fabulous co-star Cole the words and moves to the song. Photo by Earl Dax.

One in Three Million




One of my favorite records of all time.
I always find out about her concerts right after they happen.
I want to see her perform so bad.







5/14/09

Fucking Mercury Retrograde. Just when you think you might have everything set, you have to re-do.

Last night after work I met up with Sister Pico to make some copies of my new zine, to sell at Sarah Lawrence this weekend when I perform. We made two master copies and I printed up 20 to sell this weekend. Only to find this morning that in addition to my usual typographical errors (which I don't mind in my writing-- respect the process, etc.) I had mistyped my publisher's website. Great! So I am hand-correcting the zines I'm selling this weekend and making a new master copy on Sunday. Wonderful.

Umbrellas turning inside out. Errors, miscommunications. No fun. Having to slow down and do everything twice.

Here's how I feel:

5/13/09

all gone up in smoke

too much fun. too much thinking about everything.

Had a fantastic weekend. Went to see the Star Trek movie with my new boyfriend Matt Nasser. You heard it here first. I thought Spock was so dreamy. I don't want to spoil your experience of the movie, but I will say that I wish there was about 78% more on-screen making out between Spock and Kirk. That's my only complaint. After the movie our lil gaggle of faggles went to five different gay bars. What's that called? Making the rounds.

Saturday I finished two new songs (as in, made them performance ready, not recorded). One is an updated version of the First Song I Ever Wrote, "Stamp to Stick", and the other is a really cute (if I do say so myself) cover of Miss Lydia's "Mechanical Flattery". I wanna put them on the new SOUL2KEEP EP. I also laid out my new zine, and I'm going to actually start making copies this evening. Sister Pico came over at night to get ready to go out. I suggested that we get drunk at home because it's cheaper, so Pico made cosmos. I guess I got drunk. I say "guess" because I don't remember, but I know that when I actually got to the club, James pulled me aside and said "You look like you have a nervous energy. You know, there's no shame in going home alone." For reference, it was 11:30pm. Girl in a hurry.

Sunday Bobo and I got dressed in our absolute chicest clothes (DVF and Louboutitn for her, MiuMiu and Tim Hamilton for me-- yes, this matters. I want you to know that we have very nice clothes and that we are not rich) and went to a sui glamoreuse birthday parity in the east village where famous people may or may not have been. Bobo had to carry me home. At, again, 6pm. Nice!

I have been feeling sort of left-out and weird lately, about the world. I sometimes feel like I'm excluded from my own life. Does that make any sense? I have a real sense of being isolated and not being present. It takes all kinds of forms but mostly feeling really ugly / stupid / untalented / irrelevant. And the way in which I negotiate this feeling, the way I've always negotiated this feeling, was by writing. So I'm very excited to be putting out the new Scorcher.

Here's a really sweet music video.

5/6/09

When you let them

Monday night was the final performance of Dan's Play. We took the set apart and I decided that since we had an unopened bottle of wine as a prop for the show that we drink it. I went with my costars Joseph and Cole to meet up with Jeffery in the East Village at the Tuck Shop. We shared stories about showbiz, it was nice.

We went over to the Boiler Room and no sooner had we perched ourselves in a tiny corner, than an animated tranny bounced in off the street and came right to us to let us know she "gave readings".
She asked us one by one to open our palms so she could tell us our futures. She also asked us what sign we were. Her readings were said really quickly and sort of by rote, making me think that she was just saying things that might correspond to our astrological signs. The way she recited things made it seem like she had simply memorized some factoids about every sign in the zodiac, but isn't that what astrologers do, basically, anyhow? Some of the advice was pretty staid. She told Joseph, a scintillating Scorpio, that he needed to express himself sexually, embrace his sexual identity. Well, duh. She told Cole, a fiery Sagittarius, that he should test his lover, by making him bring Cole flowers and presents and prove his love. Again: duh.

When she got to me she traced her bright red painted and chipped thumbnail along my palm and said gave me some advice about my life or whatever in the same tone of voice that telephone tech support people use. Like it was from a script. Some of the stuff was way off. For example, she told me that as a Leo, I needed to reconnect with nature. If you know me at all, you would know that I absolutely hate nature. Nature and I are not speaking. I mean, I like nature but I don't wanna go camping, or something. Obviously I like the natural world blah blah Gaia.

She did tell me two interesting things, though. She said that I had been an insomniac recently, which is true. Then immediately clarified and said "Well you
thought you were an insomniac and that sleep was missing from your life. In truth you were just dehydrated." This is very exciting for me. I am always so worried about getting enough sleep, I'm terrified of being under-slept. So now I have permission to drink water and stay up all night as long as I drink my magickal H2O. She also said that in my love life, I would need to 'screen' my potential lover, saying "Classical music. Classical music or jazz music. You will meet someone and you need to screen him; find out what kind of books he reads, what kind of movies he likes and what kind of music he listens to. He'll be someone who listens to classical music or jazz. Classical or jazz. Screen him."

I don't know anyone who listens to classical music or jazz. The only records I listen to (in case you haven't been paying attention) are records by Girl Singers and Junkie Singers. Duh.



Mercury Retrograde begins tomorrow, but I've already been feeling it. Mail going to the wrong address, etc. Run into people from my past, to remind me where I've been. My boy life is sort of insane lately. I might be well-served to hold out for a jazz aficionado but we all know that's not going to happen. I need, need to be working on my new zine, Scorcher. I'm almost done writing it, and then soon I'll just whip it together and put it out. Big zine release party June 4th at Envoy Gallery. You heard it here first. Also working on songs for an as-yet-still-imaginary EP, titled "SOUL2KEEP". Cute, huh?

Everything is cute. When you let it be.

5/4/09

A few years ago my homegirl Cotton was teasing me about how "busy" I was since I had just moved to NYC. He said I should change the name of my band to Mr. Busy. I like that.

Can't really process the last few days, don't know if it makes sense to try.

Go-go danced at QxBxRx. Brontez' fabulous band YOUNGER LOVERS played and were duly amazing. Saturday I also applied for my first passport. Finally. Literally 4 years after I meant to. Mercury turns retrograde this week, but we already feel it's effects. I'm trying to sort of get into the swing of things. I use it as an opportunity to reconnect with people from my past, for instance. It is a good time to fix old problems. I am not writing a ton but I am editing a lot. Organizing. Not signing anything new. You know.

I have a lot of thigns to work on but I am kind of holding back. I'm waiting for the fog to clear before I keep driving, right? I am allowing for the possibility that things will become clear and nice and good.

Tighter



New Favorite Song

5/1/09

Hot Hearts

LA JOHNSJOSEPH


photo by Akif Hakan


My inspiration. My dreams. My sister from another mister.