I sort of treated the weekend as an opportunity to 100% indulge myself, and not judge the impulse to only rest and do things that feel good. But despite my big idea to just chill out and not judge, I do feel kinda guilty. I have a lot of work I need to be doing. Or, there're so many good places to put my intention and energy besides Just Feeling Good All The Time. I was kind of a slacker this weekend. But it's the holidays! Anyway, it is what it is. I'm getting back to work, I swear. I'm having some ideas, and just in the nick of time, too! I have some events next weekend. I'm very excited. Going to put up a new blog post about THOSE in JUST A SECOND. But first, some other little bits:
Remember how I did a reading at PPOW with Brontez Purnell, Kat Case and Joseph Whitt a couple weeks ago? Those lovely kids from Lambda Literary wrote a nice little blog post about it, which you can see here. It was such a nice reading event, I'm glad so many people came. I've gotten a lot of postive feedback from people about it, and at least two strangers have stopped me at other events around town to ask me specific questions about the language in the piece I read, which is totally nuts, because I often don't know what they're talking about. But really flattering, because it's like... people listened! They came! And they listened! It feels like a magick trick. I hope it always feels this way for me. Anyway, the reading got me really stoked to do more writing and reading and organizing, in a way I haven't been stoked for a while, so... Do you want to do a reading? Throw a party together? let's do it!
Oh hey, also, check out this video I just finally saw. I don't think I've posted this before. Who's that girl in the front right-hand side?
Lyndsy Welgos + Fatima Al Qadiri - Yelwa
They let me keep that white shirt-dress garment. That was a really fun video to make.
Okay! Back to work! Blog post with next week's events coming right up! Everyone be cool!
Anyway. feeling really positive and good about just about everyone. Even people who bug me out, I am feeling very tender and protective of. For example, recently, a girlfriend and I were complaining about a mutual friend for whom, let's say, winter has come early. Frosty the Snowgirl has emerged well in advance of the snow this year. This chick is bugging! She's being rude, and mean to us. Maybe unintentionally. So my girlfriend was asking me, you know, if I'd noticed it too, or if it was just her. I told her no, that I noticed it as well. The Snowgirl in question is a sweetheart but I dunno, has said some kind of creepy things about me to other people, for some reason? Anyway, I was telling my girlfriend that Frosty the Snowgirl's little attitude problem is exactly like anybody's attitude problem: she's bummed out. And when people are bummed out they take it out on other people. And rather than getting all butt-hurt about my precious sensitive feelings, the logical response to getting static from a normally loved-one seems to be: empathy. let's hug it out. I don't know.
I also feel so genuinely proud and excited about my friends. So lucky to know everyone. Last Friday I went to a private showing of Erin Markey's new piece: The Dardy Family Home Movies by Stephen Sondheim by Erin Markey. It was kind of mind-blowing. So lovely to see such an intimate showing, for a hand-picked crowd, for one. For two: Erin's a genius. Her show is beautiful, and hilarious, and heartwarming. It definitely gave me a lot to think about. After the showing, a bunch of us retired to Lady Rimalower's house for her signature Italian-inflected cooking. We ate a bunch of ice cream and I started to pass out around midnight.
Saturday, I woke up to some tremendous news: my original homegirl La JohnJoseph just got her art funded by the UK government! She won a nice big grant, and absolutely deserves it. I've long been a fan of JJ's work, of course, and am thrilled to see it get some support from the higher-ups. It means that he'll have an easier time producing and creating new work, and that more people will get to see it. And I am just so happy. I wanted to run around high-fiving everyone. This is very good news. You should be excited. Good.
Perfect Little Daniel came over and we went through some of our B0DYH1GH demos, for an upcoming mixtape we're going to put out soon. I don't want to give away even the title (which is really, really good, you guys), but get excited! It's going to be wonderful.
Later on Saturday, we went to NYU's MFA open studios to see dear heart Sam McKinnis' new work. He's so dreamy, and so are his paintings. I especially loved a new piece consisting of fingerpainted gold pigment paint with the words "TEENAGE KUNST" scrawled across it. It sort of reminded me of a more luxe version of Kim Gordon's recent "noise paintings".
After the NYU open house, we high-tailed it down to the New Museum to see LA genius Wu Tsang's new piece Full Body Quotation in the glamorous New Museum Sky Room. I was hipped to the piece because my buddy (and new neighbor) Nicholas Gorham made yet another star turn performing in it. The piece is based off of material from Jennie Livingston's groundbreaking documentary Paris is Burning, which seems to be having a very strange renaissance these days. Maybe that's the wrong word-- it never really went away, but people seem to be looking at the work, the community it documents, and the themes of queer viewership and the white gaze in seemingly new ways. I like that. The piece was really interesting, a bit brief, a lot of fun. After a tiny disco nap, went to Hey Queen! in Brooklyn. Always such a fun dance party. Thee Irish Horse was the performer that night, and he sang a very beautiful, heartfelt rendition of "Maybe" from the hit musical and motion-picture Annie. Zan from Little Victory was the DJ that night, and as Thee Irish Horse sang, I could see that Zan was living. for. it., and afterward, when we all met up again at Metro for some nice warm PBRs, copped to being a total Annie geek. I knew it! When are we going to hear Little Victory's punk rock cover of "You're Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile"?
Sunday I got a haircut at Seagull Salon. I'd been long, long, long overdo for a haircut, and my friend Craig from Cubist Literature just started working there, and booked me an appointment. I really like my new haircut! It's made a big difference! My stylist also reminded me of dearly-missed Jeffery Self. Sometimes I miss Jeffery and wish he could come to all the NYC parties I am at, but then when I miss him I just look at the videos on his blog. It's a poor substitute for hanging out, but it's close!
After my haircut, I had a girls' night date with Miss Jiddy No-No. We ate gluten-free snacks (ginger snaps, dipped -ill-advisedly- in guacamole) and invented a new cocktail of French grapefruit soda and red wine. We didn't name the cocktail though (I know!) so I'm gonna call it a Jiddy. We watched The Craft, which I never get tired of seeing, and I was compelled by the similarities between the cultural significance of The Craft and Paris is Burning among certain neoliberal white queers. Like, movies which stand in for knowledge of cultures. Hmm. Anyway, a lovely Sunday night.
Last night I went uptown to my favorite neighborhood, the Upper East Side, to visit Walter Cessna. We took some photos:
I dunno why I look angry. I wasn't angry. I was having a blast! Walter is always too much fun to hang out with. I got to choose music for part of our shoot, and I played this Pram song which, for some reason, I've been really obsessed with.
It's all I want to listen to. Like, over and over and over again.
I feel good. So much better than I had been feeling. Things come and go, it's true.
Last week I did a reading at PPOW Gallery with Joseph Whitt, Kat Case, and Brontez Purnell. It was organized by Jamie Sterns, who runs the Hostess Project and Create Art Today. It was such a really special night. I read a new piece, called RINGO, which I was kind of nervous about. It went well! I think. People seemed to be into it, I didn’t feel like an abject failure or anything. I derived a certain amount of power-feeling from the pants I was wearing:
Thanks Naruki for taking this photo!
Saturday was my favorite dance party in NYC, JUDY! The theme was PSYCHIC MALL. It was so great! Miss Lady Cole Escola Honey Girl opened the show, doing a psychick séance (and I helped!)
Here’s a video of Bridget Everett performing:
Sorry it’s kinda sucky, I made it on my phone.
Right after she finished the song, as the crowd was busting into rapturous applause and screams of ecstasy, she shouted "YOU MOTHER LOVES YOU!" What a fucking genius. Perfect Little Daniel, Cole, Bridget and Mx Justin Vivian Bond and I all rode the subway home from JUDY!. Can I say that that was probably the highlight of my weekend? I got a really awesome sandwich when I got off of the train. That's part of the highlight.
The play I was in closed this weekend. It's bittersweet; because on one hand I am sad that it's over. People seemed to like the show, which is cool. A lot of people came to see the show, which is wonderful. Often times I feel like I am only ever performing for secret, private audiences of hand-picked individuals. Friends I've had to bribe or beg to come to stuff. But people bought tickets! And, really, the main thing I loved about being in this play was getting to work with such amazing people: Joseph Keckler, Erin Markey, Mink Stole, Everett Quinton, Regina Bartkoff, Trystan Trazon, Liz Piccoli, Jonathan Warman, Allison Carrol and Adam Weinstock. And to get to do a funky, un-heard of psychedelic play at La MaMa! What a treat. I am sad that it is over. But I am also excited about what comes next. What comes next is, obviously, whatever the fuck I want.
I'm thinking of making a dance. A short, one-song dance. My friend Miriam (who was in Richert Schnorr's dance band GRAPHIC GLORY which I performed with) just moved back to town, after a brief European sojourn, and I am excited to get her roped into helping me make this dance. Whether or not she wants to. Okay. The dance is about aging. Sort of. It's about kids. I'm gonna not talk about it until I've made it. Alright.
Hey thinking of aging dancers: This Yvonne Rainer versus Marina Abramovic thing, eh? I think Yvonne Rainer is pretty much in the right, for a number of reasons. I want to go on record, however, as saying that she's in the right because she's gay and Marina is is not. And that is all that matters to me. Or, that's the most important thing that matters to me. I might or might not be telling the truth. I don't have time to stop and think about this!
I just recently finished reading Larry Kramer's brilliant book, Faggots.
I'd been putting it off for a really long time. Almost as long as I have been a queer person (like, 12 years). I guess I had all these preconceptions about Kramer and his book and his whole generation. I felt like he was too obsessed with masculinity, and I felt like the book would be self-hating and I wouldn't be able to take the negativity, that the negativity would rub off on me, and I'm so insecure anyways I thought it would bum me out.
So anyway my friend Matty sent me a copy of the book, in a big box of other great queer gems (Acker, Genet, etc.) well over a year and a half ago, and I finally read it. And it was great! His masculinity thing, I think I can sort of make peace with as a stylistic/fashion thing. I get it; it's rooted in the place and time. Okay. The self-hating thing? No. It wasn't self-hating. It's sort of about how to be critical of people you love. It's a book about how to ask really hard questions. And the way, Kramer suggests, to put yourself in a position to ask these questions, is through generosity. He's so generous and empathetic to this Fred Lemish narrator. It really inspired me. I definitely wrote my most recent story (RINGO) before reading the book, and finished it afterward, and notice a real influence. I think that reading Faggots made me a more patient writer, and a more sympathetic thinker. I feel like I know a lot of Fred Lemishes, and I usually have no patience for them, and this book is making me want to work to be more patient, more understanding, and connect more. I definitely think all people (queer and not) should read it. I promised to lend my copy to my friend Austin, so you'll have to get your own (or bug him for it).
Also been totally obsessed with Mariah Carey's Unplugged e.p.
And not just because it's Mariah Carey and she's a really good singer. There's a good deal of context for this release, which is worth knowing about, I think. Basically, the MTV Unplugged session was suggested for Mariah because up until that point, people had been saying that she was a studio artist, and couldn't really sing live, so they released this recording to silence the haters. I think that's just great. Because, really, the winner here is the fans. And that's who ought to win. In the way between Mariah Carey and her critics.
Okay and speaking of needless extravagance, I kind of really, really want one of the new COMME des GARÇONS champion rings. Are these tacky? Are they prohibitively tacky? I've been thinking a little bit about jewelry. I kind of agree with bell hooks; men who wear jewelry are awful. But I also feel like I don't want to be a man, you know?
LIVE FREE. STRONG WILL. I love the idea of there being CdG slogans. Because, you know, obviously, these are translated from Japanese. At least once. It's also nice to know, I guess, exactly what Kanye West will be wearing in six months. He will be wearing these rings. So, if you want to be like Kanye (and I kind of do, one could do much worse) then wear these rings. I have such a deep-seated hatred for marketing and advertising that I think I am intellectually well-equipped to me an ad man. So much wasted potential. This gives me strength.
50% because I want to be able to eat whatever I want, and 50% because I am tired of dealing with negativity. But I feel like, you know, maybe the very people I think this about think the same thing about me. Maybe we're all quitters. That's okay. I'm just really into this video because it's, like, PROCESSING done by people who our culture does not think are that articulate or intellectual. Like, see? They can do it! You can do it!
Naomi's been listening politely but manages to get to the real matter at hand: Naomi. She stays constantly on-message. She's really into empiricism, it seems like. She knows. She knows, and she is the only one who knows, and is untroubled by this gap. She has faith that despite the fact that she is the sole custodian of her own experience and feelings, that she'll be able to communicate them. And she's right! Such a genius.
Fuck. Don't you feel it? I love the astrology connection, too. (Tyra and Naomi's mom are both December 4th Sagittariaus. Naomi is a Gemini, born on May 22nd). And they get back to down to business.
I mean, I obviously look like them.
I resent being put-upon. I feel like, especially recently but also in general, I'm so often called on to witness, validate, soothe, support. It feels like a real drag sometimes. Like I'm only in the room to say "No" when someone says "Does this look bad on me?" Like I exist solely to be a mirror. Why do I resent this so fucking much? I always have.
For me, the ideal expression of intimacy and affection is not asked for; not demanded. I am allowed to lavish praise on the object of my admiration at my own speed, unbidden. Perhaps this is why I historically am so attracted to people, places, things which I can never really lay claim to. They can never demand it.
Maybe I don't want what's real. And what's wrong with that? Isn't it okay to admit it? What I want is a fantasy? Who can fault me for this.
What irks me is that I don't make these same demands. The reason I resent it so much, the validation, the patting on the back, the cooing, the nannying, is because I don't actually ask anyone to do it for me. Because I don't feel like I deserve to ask for it. I don't feel like, really, anybody deserves to be able to ask for it or demand it. I have this very weird idea in my head (I want to say it's a Californian thing, since I think it's also in Joan Didion's bones) that if you have to ask for something then you don't deserve it.
I'd qualify this by saying that if you have to ask for it, you'd better make it such that the asking is in fact the pleasurable part. Asking for what you want is one of life's great joys. Not getting what you want is also a typically human experience. I guess you can't have one without the other.
I think I am trying to engineer a situation in which I can control my own feelings, my falsely managing my expectations, so that I won't be disappointed when I don't get my way (which happens all the time, and I'm still disappointed every time). It takes an extraordinary amount of energy to come up (and maintain) with this scheme. broadly speaking, the scheme is: be really down on yourself so that no one else can do it for you. It doesn't work, and it is exhausting.
Understanding this rationally does very little to help change it.
And again, complaining! How unattractive. Is there anything more important in life than being attractive? Isn't being attractive synonymous with happiness? I don't mean to the sexual object, I mean to yourself. Shouldn't you feel like your life is exciting, fulfilling, attractive?
Being so down on yourself is basically the inverse of this. But still a form of morbid self-obsession. I feel like I get a lot of shade and anger from people for my so-called narcissism. Which is frustrating, because I always want to make the distinction that my narcissism as such is really a tremendous amount of time and energy spent attacking myself, not celebrating it. But it's still time and energy spent thinking about myself.
It makes it hard to take this criticism seriously, too, because the people who get down on me for being narcissistic (as such) are generally insecure, and seem to think that my energy would be better spent thinking about them. So that they don't have to. No, that outfit doesn't make you look weird. You look really good. I would want to fuck you.
It's Monday and I am in a bad mood. I feel like I can't do anything right. Like all I get is negative feedback. I'm really tired of everybody telling me how bad I am, or how wrong I am. Or how my thoughts and feelings would be better spent on them.
And so we go back, back, back to the fire of making art work to invent a world in which everyone isn't criticizing you, in which you do not deserve constant fear and pain, in which you do not worry. Imagining a world in which the question of deserving was a moot point, because everyone deserves, just for being alive, to be happy.
Wouldn't that world be great?
The Tennessee Williams show I am in, NOW THE CATS WITH JEWELLED CLAWS, is running this weekend and next at La MaMa. It's a really fun and weird show to do. We're getting some interesting and positive press about it, which is kind of a mind-fuck. But it's good! You should come see it. The star of the play is, of course, Mink Stole. It's such an honor to get to work with her, duh. She's a really really good actress, which is always amazing to work with (people who are really good at what they do) but she's also a really fun and funny person. Check out this recent video interview she just did, where she mentions the show, and a couple other tidbits:
AWESOME. So come to the play.
Also, next Wednesday 11/9/11 I will be doing a reading at PPOW Gallery with Brontez Purnell, Joseph Whitt and Kat Case. It's going to be free, and wonderful. Here's the flier:
Facebook event info HERE.
Writing a new CONFESSIONS OF A NAMER story to read at the event. Super excited as always to be reading with Joseph Whitt and Brontez. Brontez, as you may know, is going to be on the Sister Spit tour this year, reading with such luminaries as Justin Vivian Bond, Erin Markey and Dorothy Allison. Yes, really. How fucking awesome is that? And Bronny is in town this weekend playing shows with his amazing band the Younger Lovers. I'm seeing them tonight at QxBxRx at Glasslands after we perform the play at La MaMa.
Alright! Back to Saturday Cartoons.
I mean: GOSH, right? She's totally my hero.
So glad that I brought back the Diamanda Galás book, The Shit of God the last time I went home to California. I've been thinking a lot about this text piece today. I remember reading it when I was in high school and it really blew my mind. It seems today perhaps apropos, a bit:
CRITICAL KNOWLEDGE:Genius, no? Diamanda's voice is so encouraging and open. She is unafraid of force, to acknowledge power, to depict it/embody it. How nice.
The Taming of A Music Critic
I held that hairless brainpan down and said, “Bitch, take it like a man.” “Oh, god, stop it !”, he whined. I said, “Take it bitch.” Bitch squealed, glasses and bald head, pancake ass heaving… “Take it peanut dick,” I screamed, his hiney splitting in pain, sweat pouring from his anus. “Repeat after me Sandie,” I yelled, “Diamanda is a great genius. Diamanda is a great genius,” while I cornholed his flat buttocks, laughing. “Oh my god, Diamanda,” he pleaded.
“Say it, say it bitch! Give me that bald head, bitch,” while I urinated in his mouth. “Take that genius, take that elixir, bitch… take it all down. Take that godhead. Sandie. Corndog loves his mother, doesn’t she?”, I laughed, my fuck-stick thrusting. “Can you feel it?” Blood spurting from his anus, peanut heaved again. “What does the good music critic say? Repeat after me… ‘Diamanda is a great genius. When may I kiss her ass?’ ““Diamanda is a great genius, when may I kiss your ass?”
Yes! You’ve got it, literatus, polly purebred, while I split his ass and god rushed from my loins, and I vomitted, and the skies opened wide, and the squinny lips of the literatus shook silently and he could suddenly hear again, his piglet brain too tired to spend its time in understanding… and he could finally HEAR the voice of god and her angels, while the rivers of blood poured from his grateful anus. And a pregnant and magical silence descended upon us at the Death of Good Reason and the Rebirth of Beauty, and then we knew that we could finally hear again.
-- Diamanda Galás
Hey let's check back in with Lydia. This is an interview, from Italy, a few months prior to the other video. Lydia seems to have much less patience in this clip, and I like it a lot.
I learned quite a few things from this video, including how she pronounces BOZULICH. Hmm! Also, I wish I could see her perform Queen of Siam. Dang.
We had escaped, but I wasn’t so sure that we were safe. I suspected that the old man we were with had secretly been infected by this nature-virus, and that it was only a matter of time before he’d reveal himself as the Green Man, or something. One among us was describing the warning signs, or symptoms, of infection. I only remember two of the warning signs or symptoms, and there were a few, but the two that I remember hearing right before I woke up were:
- A desire to grow plants from your chest; and
I remember wondering “Does that mean that if you give birth, then you are infected? Or does that mean that your baby is infected?” Then I realized, of course, that it’s both. I think also, that eating dirt was one of the signs or symptoms. I was very scared. I woke up and both my arms and legs were tingling and numb. I had fallen asleep with my limbs crossed, muscles flexed tight.
I think I had this nightmare for a bunch of reasons. Yesterday I conflated the words “rib cage” and “rib cave” and it made me think of that Rasputina song “Cage in a Cave”
Anything having to do with caves makes me think of skeletons. Also cave-related, I was thinking yesterday about my buddy Stevie Hanley’s new work. When I visited Berlin last summer, I saw a some of his gorgeous cave paintings. As in, paintings of caves, not paintings inside of caves, natch. You can see some of Stevie’s beautiful work here.
Last night I was listening to Water Cuts My Hands, which might be my favorite Mecca Normal album, last night. In one of the songs, Jean smith screams “Night-mare! Night-MARE!” over and over again. I was writing a story about insulting someone to their face and calling their face a soccer field. I don’t know. I was in a bad mood before bed last night. Scared/scary. It’s just nature. It’s scary and it’s just nature. Also it was Halloween.