Around this time, the people running the door at Cake Shop wouldn’t allow any more people in—the basement had reached capacity. Near the bathroom, 24-year-old Max Steele, a hipster with a mop of red curly hair who was stripped down to nothing but a pair of black briefs, was waiting in an impossible line.
“Gays love a recession because we hate the capitalist economy that’s found in the hetero-normative patriarchy anyways,” said the young man, a law-firm drone by day and a performer and go-go dancer by night. “I say burn the motherfucker down! Right? Fuck Prop 8! Who gives a fuck? We should burn down Wall Street and take over New York.”
He took a sobering breath.
“Gays are the only people with dispensable money—dispensable income or whatever?” he said, telling us he was a Sarah Lawrence grad. “Well, not for me personally.”
So we wondered what he was doing out.
“I’m like $60,000 in debt from school,” he said. “I’m fucked anyway.”
"The recession hasn’t directly affected my art, because I never really made money from it to begin with, and that’s never been the point, and that’s not how I measure success (thank goodness!). However, the cultural shift around the recession has, I think, made it a very interesting time to make art. We’re in a period in America of having to take a hard look at what we value– and our country doesn’t provide much support for art, either institutionally or socially, though of course we very much value the art itself. I actually went and saw Courtney Love speak at the Guggenheim last weekend, and she talked a lot about how artists are more valuable dead than alive, and to simultaneously want to be an artist and want to be alive (and have a good life) are sort of contradictory impulses. I think the recession has emphasized this."
Interview with SLC Speaks, January 2012.