Listen To Your Body

I kept waking up in the middle of the night, or I should say the super duper early morning. I woke up at 2:30 and then again at 3:30. I guess I had been having some kind of dream but both times I woke up I staggered out of bed and stumbled to the bathroom to chug a glass of water. Both times I kept thinking "But... I'm not even thirsty..."

Having done a fair bit of yoga, acting exercises, meditation, acupuncture, chiropractic and massage work, I've come across the phrase "listen to your body" so many times, and it never fails to make me giggle. But it is true, I guess. Your body can want one thing and you can be totally ignorant of it, consciously. Maybe my body wanted extra water. I think actually what it was is that I ate a ton of salty Thai food before bed last night.

Friday night, Amos Mac and his intrepid young assistant Mars came over to take some photos, both of yours truly (rolling around on my bed) as well as B0DYH1GH. I was a bit nervous, I must say, if only because Amos' work is so great, and I want to live up to my life! He's a total sweetheart obviously, and we had a blast. Besides, I had kind of an ace in the hole. Something which I knew would make for a perfect photograph, and which I knew Amos would fucking love. And that is the freaky new haircut my room mate Justin's cat, Frida, got last week. She's a very nice 8 year-old Persian kitty, and she's had very long and kind of matted hair since I've known her (she and Mama J moved into the apartment in September). Last week, however, Frida got a very strange and beautiful and strange haircut:

It's kind of a haircut you'd give a poodle, right? I mean, Frida looks good, don't get me wrong. The only problem is that she kind of knows she looks good. It's sort of bringing out her inner diva. Which, again, is totally cool. Except that she was part of my fucking photo shoot. Amos and Mars were obviously charmed with her, and we did get some very nice shots of her with Perfect Li'l Daniel and I as B0DYH1GH, with Friday clawing my hair, running around our feet, etc. She totally stole the spotlight for a minute. But it's hard to get angry with a cat. I do sometimes make the mistake of projecting human feelings onto animals. Sometimes animals act like people though (more on this next time) so I feel like: Okay, you wanna be gay? Let's be gay.

Anyway after the photoshoot I tried (sort of) to wash off (some) of the eyeliner, and PLD and Ptrck began early bday celebrations with 40s in the kitchen. We went to his friend's house also for more drinks. White wine, though I do adore it, is not a mixer. FYI. This just in. We went to a warehouse party but it was far too crowded for this old lady and I begged off and went home at 2am, feeling quite musty. Mustardy.

Saturday I went to the gym and meant, seriously to go to the Scott Hug book party at Printed Matter as well as the Cindy Sherman opening at Metro Pictures, but I didn't get it together. I was working on a new writing project and puttering around the house, so I just barely made it in time to meet Sister Pico at the movie theater to see this Hart Crane biopic written, directed, edited by and starring my boyfriend James Franco, who also did a Q&A afterward. Now, I don't like to say any negative things about anybody ever but the movie was not fun for me, and the Q&A was not as illuminating as I would have liked and Pico actually walked out of the Q&A portion. I stayed in my seat to finish eating the dust at the bottom of the popcorn bag, but then I left too. We forgive you, Jimmy! The scene where Jimmy, as Hart Crane (ps: Hart Crane-- who gives a fuck, right?) gets fucked in the ass, and Jimmy plays the scene a little too exuberantly-- it's kind of unbelievable. I would like to me Jimmy's sodomy acting coach. That is a job I think I could actually do.

So after the movie I went to dinner with Teebs where we talked about how I got totally hurt last week by somebody though I want revenge it's silly so I will move on. Processing is nice. I went downtown to an art party where PLD and Ben Ha'Bear were DJ-ing, playing Yoko Ono and Uncanny Alliance. It was a super fun party! And early! I had some cheap drinks and ran into my old college chum Morgan, who had just that minute moved back to NYC. After the boys' DJ set (which included a dance cameo by that one really sexy art critic who I have kind of a hopeless crush on, but who doesn't?) the next DJ played SWANS' "Time Is Money (Bastard)" which I hadn't heard in forever, and which I love. SWANS were kind of my favorite band for a while in high school. Let's talk about this: I think Jarboe is a fucking genius and I sort of forgive Michael Gira for his casual obsession with being evil.

After the dance party Ha'Beer and PLD and I went to the GAG! party at the Metropolitan, for, like, a second. Just long enough to gather up our buddy Ryan and collectively decide that it would be a fun, lighthearted adventure to go over to Sugarland.

It was.

It was my other room mate Michael's bday on Saturday and he was celebrating at Sugarland, so I did kind of have an excuse for actually waiting in a line to get in there. Has that ever happened before? Where am I? Sugarland was obviously crowded and fucking insane and full of crazy people and the music was not good. It is nice, though, how everybody knows everybody. Anywhere you go, you have a friend there. Maybe just one you haven't met yet. I did have a good time there actually, but maybe because I had been drinking for a couple hours beforehand. Anyway it was fun-ish, and I left kind of early. I was pretending to be Kyle. Someone asked me if I was Kyle and I said no. But then I felt like "You know what? Fuck this. I am Kyle. If you're looking for Kyle, Look no further." It kind of worked.

Yesterday morning, a bit hungover (or actually still drunk) I decided to start re-potting my houseplants. I want to grow a forest in my room. Mark my words: I will do this. I took a gardening break to go get lunch at my new favorite place, Vanessa's Dumplings on Bedford.

So cheap and so good!

I go there kind of way too much. I was just there on Thursday, after the brilliant Paul Sepuya book party where Wayne Koestenbaum read. I was so excited that night that I had literally one million glasses of white wine and then went immediately to get dinner at Vanessa's. It's comfort food, for me. Because it's so cheap. It's comforting that way. I don't want it to get crowded though. It might be a mistake to write about it except hey no body reads this! Alright alright.

After lunch and gardening I met up with Julia aka Jiddy No-No aka Ewok Vixen for rehearsal. I'm performing at the next Hey Queen! on 5/12 and doing a very short nightclub Max Steele and the Party Ice set and Jiddy is gonna sign and dance the back-ups. So, rather than flying blind as I am usually wont to do, I booked us a rehearsal at the Spectrum Space. Which I do love so. Nicholas and Gage are so sweet and wonderful and I am glad that they've made this fabulous queer art haven right near my house! rehearsal was fun. I'm a fucking horrible singer. I like being bad. It sort of takes the pressure off, eh?

After rehearsal Jiddy and I came home to hang out and process and it was actually a highlight of the weekend. I was exhausted from my epick and productive weekend and slept very early. I did, though, get up twice to drink unnecessary water, before getting up for real this morning at 5am to exercise. I listened to a lot of Janet Jackson. Give me strength.

Tonight, in just a few hours, I'm going to see Erin Markey and Justin Vivian Bond and Brontez and Eileen Myles and Michelle Tea and Narcissister and so many others perform at Sister Spit. I am BEYOND excited.

Okay here I go.


A lot of times I do, yeah, circle back to familiar songs and records as a way of getting myself to feel better. I'm remembering now how I went through this big Lisa Germano phase in 2007, when I was super bummed out. It didn't make me feel, you know, better or anything. But I did think how nice it was to have these songs she made, about feeling shitty. Feeling smart about feeling shitty.


It's like going to the doctor's office and describing your symptoms, but only after having spent serious time checking them out online. It's like I'm going in to see a professional, but all I want is a second opinion. I know what's wrong with me and I know what I have and I'm just hoping, you know, that maybe I'm wrong. Maybe there's some clinical drug trial I can get into, maybe there's some radical new therapy an experimental treatment which someone could administer to me. Maybe at a university somewhere. I'm coming into this whole thing with a sinking feeling. "You don't have to tell me doctor. I already know." In a way I want to be contradicted. Tell me it's not a heart attack but acute angina. Tell me it's not a terminal illness but a food allergy. I want a misdiagnosis, I will pay you to give me one. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

I kind of think that you and I are meant to be together and that us, being together, is a way for us to ruin our lives. Let me back up, and explain. I sort of feel like we're meant to be uptight together. We're meant to be scared. Do you want to raise a gluten-free child? I don't but I would, with you. Pretty much everything about you I find attractive and I am guessing that there's some kind of deep childhood trauma, or some really old and unprocessed fear whirring away inside of you, which you are constantly struggling to overcome. And you totally did! You have totally done that. I don't know a nicer way of saying that you've beat your inner demons. The nicest way I can think to say it is that I am totally, deeply attracted to this success (or delusion) and want to spend as much as time as possible around it. Do you think we could be happy together? Put another way, are you positive that we would be unhappy together?

You are picky. You're fussy. You have pretty strong preferences about what you like and don't like. I bet it would take some serious convincing to get you to even try a new food, but hey: I wanna do that. I feel like you, and I, could have this whole secret world where we push beyond our comfort zones in the smallest possible ways. Like: let's get Tibetan food. You know? What would Tibetan food even be? Totally not that brave. Maybe we'd have a shitty meal. Even then, that would be perfect because we'd have a funny story. I bet you wouldn't even go out for Tibetan food, to try something new, with me. Maybe you would if you really liked me. I would probably take up eating meat again if we were in love. I could do that. I could promise to try to do that. I might fail. But wouldn't you sort of, deep down, like to have a boyfriend (me) who is so hopelessly vegetarian? Think about it: you could feel like I was the one who is too uptight, and that by comparison you would be so open-minded. Wouldn't it feel good to feel more open-minded than your boyfriend? Just a little bit? I want to be that, for you. Because I feel the same way about you. You're too perfect and I am chipped. You have a perfect face, perfect teeth, perfect hair, attitude, body, friends, job, interests, past, everything. And they all go to waste, right? Like, behind glass. You're like a sculpture or jewelry or something like a television. I want to put you in the corner of my living room and just watch.

You make me want to be boring. Compared to you I feel like a junkie, a hooker, a thief, a killer, a leper, a pederast. I like it: a kind of debasement. I bet it would take real effort, I'd have to try really hard, I'd have to push you very far to get you to lash out and try to hurt me. All this humiliation, this shame, it's all in my head; i know that. But I wanna bring it to you and with you I want to move to the suburbs.

We could run. You know. We could quit. We could leave New York. We could watch basic cable. We could stop going to see bands play, stop hearing about movies. Stop reading cool magazines and trying out new restaurants. Stop drinking. We could stop smoking. We could give up on participating in the culture here, at the end of the world, where we come from. The Underground we thrived in in the suburbs, where our roots are: we could forget it. We could sell out. We could live a bourgeois dream. We could sleep. Finally, I mean. I could finally sleep. We could settle. We could give up. We'd be denying a part of ourselves, yeah. We could be double gay white male amputees. This is the fantasy, the dark secret I've been sitting on for weeks, months. We might be able to be happy as quitters, as runners, as losers. Together. That might be a way out.


Happy Birthday, Barbra Streisand

Last Friday my gay goth rap band B0DYH1GH played our Special Gala evening at CultureFIX, organized by Johnny Sagan aka SNOWY WILDERNESS. We had collaborators in the forms of live video projections by Patrick Dyer and dance performances and pyrotechnices by Bradley and Coco.The title for the show was DEEP-FRIED CANDYFLOWERS. Here's a video of it that Ryan took:

I gotta say I think we really nailed it. Thanks for the vid Ryan!

I think we're really sounding great as a band. I think we sort of sound like the KG. You know? Or, I hope we do? Is that okay to say? It's totally been a minute since Nature Morte came out. Tae Won Yu, I was just thinking about this last night, is sort of the cutest boy in Indie rock, right? He might be the ultimate fantasy boyfriend. Anyway, I love the KG. It's totally beautiful and heartfelt songwriting but there's absolutely none of this rock star bullshit. No swagger. (Remember when swagger used to be a negative thing?) Anyway I was listening to this record last night and fantasizing about Tae's voice and how I did, you know, see the KG perform once, at Yoyo-a-Gogo but I didn't recognize any of the songs. But Tae was wearing all white, it was so cool. But it's like, is he even queer? You know? Maybe.

Tae & Liz “Girly Sound” Phair in Girl Germs.

I sort of have bad gaydar but it's only because I have such a good imagination. Here's a rad recent-ish interview with Tae from A Fog of Ideas. Awesome!

Saturday was another smashing time, I saw Justin Sayre's new play, directed by dear heart Ben Rimalower and assistant directed by Austin Dale (straight outta jail). It featured good buddies Cole Escola and Ian Scott McGregor and Paul Iacono. Perfect Little Daniel and I sat in the front next to Dad aka B. Blackwell and we all just loved it. It's really nuts to me to be friends with these people! It was maybe a little overwhelming and intimidating. But so much fun. I thought the show was fucking hilarious. We saw lady tigress Rachel Shukert and sisterhood of the traveling pants Dan Fishback at the afterparty, a mysterious place in Hell's Kitchen, called Fusion (of what? I wondered, and what else?). They had a cocktail there called Nasty Girl aka Dirty Boy. I spent more than a few minutes thinking about what that might mean. The bartender carded PLD and Dad but seemed to make a point out of not carding me. Ouch! After the afterparty we took a long walk in the rain and a long long long train ride went to a high school prom-themed rager for heterosexual children in the abandoned basement of a very fancy brownstone building in Carroll's Gardens. I'm not kidding. PLD and I went to meet out friend Boogers, who lives in a true mansion (I haven't seen it-- yet). By this point it was midnight, officially Daniel's birthday. There was cake at this party, and we ate some with our hands. Travis my dancer friend showed up with a very glamorous homegirl and we all had so much fun hanging out, commandeering the darkened moldy rooms of the basement.

Sunday I stayed indoors pretty much all day because of the rain. Which was great. Not all day, I went to the gym actually.

I dunno. Do you ever feel like someone has something that you want? Like just sort of fundamentally jealous? Ever? It's probably totally not about a particular person or a particular thing that I want, it never is, it's just this thing of feeling down on yourself. Feeling deficient. And I guess I do.

This is a totally corny example, but I got invited to the Jil Sander sample sale and I went, today, after work. Even though a) I'm broke, and b) I don't need anything. But last year I got a pair of shoes for like $45. Anyway I went after work, and the thing was supposed to go until 6pm but they cut off the line at 5:30. And the guys in suits running the show said to come back tomorrow at ten am, but it's like... I have a job. I can't wait all day in line to buy discounted clothes. You know? Like a sample sale should be accessible to the people who are buying the things, right? These aren't the rich assholes, because they can just go to the actual stores or call up the office on the phone and order what they want 360 days of the year. These five days are for, you know, the proletariat.

I have a really big chip on my shoulder about not being let into places. I wonder, you know. I guess I don't really believe in nation-states.

But, so, like, regardless: that was kinda a bummer. And I just sort of feel like I constantly have to prove myself, or something. Like, I printed out the e-mail with the invitation to the sale. This is totally uncool, people. This is needlessly dorky. If they were actually checking invitations (which they were not, duh) I could have just shown them on my smartphone, right? Who prints out the invitation? It's literally like printing out a coupon. I'm not really embarrassed of this. I'm just using it as an example. I feel like I need to always like prove that I'm worthy or belong somewhere or something. And like, I get it. That's on me.

I've just been feeling this really intensely lately. I'm trying to organize my thoughts in such a way that I don't feel constantly left out and down on myself, but it's really hard! And it sucks to be honest, and real, about the fact that I might just need to chill out. Things might not actually be happening, I could just be in a bad mood. Whatever. I'm just trying to say that, you know, things are super cool and also not, at the same time. I'm sure I'm not the only person who feels this way. Who feels like it's work. Fun work! But work. So that's there, too.

My amazing former professor, Judith Rodenbeck, shared this awesome quote online last week and I can't stop thinking about it:

"Pedagogy as a performative modeling asks people to try on versions of the better good life that hasn’t yet found a world. Along with new knowledges, it can provide voice, embodiment, and desire modes to try on and speak from that are unwarranted  by history, unsanctioned by norms, unprotected by institutions, but amazing to experience in life as something that life should sustain. From experiences like this, lived utopias emerge."
From this conversation between Dorothea Lasky and Lauren Berlant

I keep looking at this and the interview. Not to totally debase the actual conversation this is coming from, the maybe the whole idea of pedagogy is the thing I want to get into. Not in terms of, say, being a teacher or anything, but as a performance practice? As a way of inhabiting and "embodying" what I want to see, what I hope to relay, the seeds the utopias I think we could be living. This really resonates with me. What a cheer-up.

Hey also, today is Barbra Streisand's birthday. It's totally Taurus Time.

Here's my favorite Barbra number, which is actually written by Laura Nyro (duh):

I just love how when she sings "Cause the fury of the broken thunder's come to match my raging soul" and sort of starts screaming "SouuuuuUUUUUUUL!" I listen to this song a lot when I'm running on the treadmill at the gym.

And, for a more contemporary twist, this comes at the end of a sweet audience interaction routine:

"I love the truth, y'know? It's so powerful."


Eaten Alive

Epick catching up to do, you guys. I'm on it! At the top of my list is that I recently went to the Brooklyn Zine Fest and I got the newest issue (#4) of Brontez' brilliant zine, Fag School. The title and theme is JOIN THE PROFESSIONALS. You can buy it online from Pegacorn Press. It's totally great, and worth at least the $5 it'll cost you.

So, y'know: Zine Review Time!

FULL DISCLOSURE: I know (and adore) Brontez, and have contributed to a past issue of Fag School, he's contributed to my zine. Scorcher, and we've done a few readings together here in NYC. So, I'm biased. I'm a fan. I have pretty high expectations for his work, and I was not disappointed.

The zine is split neatly in half: one-half is a collection of new fiction writing, detailing his glamorous and exciting life as a working artist in California, and the other half is interviews with a number of luminaries about what it means to be a "professional". Among the greats who Brontez interviewed are: Daniel Nicoletta, Kenyon Farrow, Michelle Tea, Javier Perez, Josh Cheon, Suppositori “Spaz” Spelling, Robert Yang AKA “Robot Hustle,” Justin Torres, Chris Owens, Tobi Vail, Juan Velasquez, and Stevie Shakes.

All the interviewers give great quote, and I'm deeply envious of Brontez' vision here. Taken as a whole, the interviews reveal not only the subjects, but of course the dynamic, versatile depths of Brontez' thinking. He's able to get people from a variety of backgrounds and practices to speak to similar themes, and is able to tease out juicy bits of information. The conversations illuminate each other.

Like Brontez, I do feel a certain fundamental ambivalence towards professionalism as such. And yet there's a certain way the notion of professionalism or being "a real artist" can be re-appropriated in the context of queers and people of color and folk artists and women and punk rockers as a way of signaling the context we are creating for our own work. Such a deceptively smart idea! Michelle Tea's interview was actually pretty great, in terms of how she and Brontez discuss writing as memoir vs. fiction and how people deal with being written about. A definite must.

The other half of the zine, subtitled "Johnny, Would You love Me If My Dick were Bigger" is a collection of stories by Brontez alone. I had the good fortune to hear him read from some of these the last time we did a reading together (with the studly genius Joseph Whitt) at P.P.O.W. Gallery a few months ago. I'm always struck with the combination of courage and vulnerability in Brontez' writing. He's able to simultaneously be tough and tender, to be articulate about his impulses, to be riotously funny as well as sincere and serious. I really admire these things, and I wish I could do them as well as Brontez does! Reading this paragraph, I'm afraid I am making his writing sound too cute or something. It is cute, though. It's totally cute; it's adorable. But I don't mean that in a dismissive or pat way. Brontez' writing is, like him, so cute, appealing, and attractive precisely because he's not (or doesn't seem to be) scared of failing to be cute. It's just, like, a bonus. This is writing that doesn't beg for identification, validation or approval from the reader. There's a kind of brash punkness to this "either you get it or you don't" mentality. But the basic fact of the matter is: you will get it.

I think a lot of time first-person narratives dealing with the queer sexuality get referred to as "confessional" which I kind of hate. Confessional implies disclosure in the context of shame. That's, I mean, what it implies to me (and is why I hate it). Brontez' writing could well be referred to as confessional, I guess, by a straight critic. There's a very graphic (and hilarious) story about poopdick in here. But the thing that makes Fag School not confessional is that it's not shameful. He doesn't seem to be battling his insecurities or notions of what people will think of him for revealing this. Instead, he's charging ahead with the life work of a writer and finding ways to relay his experiences and impressions in language that is engaging, beautiful, smart.

There's also a bit of heartbreak here. Brontez is, among other things, a total romantic! It's kind of fucked up how, even in 2012, male-identified punk rockers writing about their heart feelings seems somehow fresh or radical. Maybe it doesn't seem that way, but Brontez' writing does feel fresh and radical. He'll talk about experiencing intimacy with someone he may or may not want to beat up. He talks about connecting with people despite his better judgment, and is able to comment on the decision-making process to, say, hook up with a junkie, or an asshole, or detail the myriad ways we can sometimes be disappointed by the guy who is so sweet and could be perfect for us. He can relay a story, and also comment on it. It's like he's watching himself in a movie. It's great. His understanding of himself makes me want to understand myself better.

Fag School is kind of my fantasy of what a queer punk zine could and probably ought to be. It captures a voice, a personality, a perspective. It's smart, fun to read, informative, emotional, and portable. There are spelling and typing mistakes. It's not elaborately designed. It's immediate. It makes my heart beat much faster. Go buy it!

Brontez is currently on tour with Michelle Tea's legendary spoken word road-show, SISTER SPIT. The tour is also featuring some of my favorite writers and thinkers (including Tea) such as Erin MArkey and Saint Mx. Justin Vivian Bond. They're bringing the road show to Issue Project Room in Brooklyn on April 30th, where they'll be joined by Eileen Myles and Narcissister. I've been told to get tickets NOW (which I did and so should you).

Justin Vivian snapped this photo of Brontez from the Sister Spit tour:

SO ADORABLE! Don't you wish you were in the van with them? I fucking do.

For some more information on dear Brontez, check out:
Interview with Lambda Literary.
Interview with Michelle Tea for RADAR Productions.
Brontez' piece on Tobi Vail's JIGSAW.

Okay, bonus round!

How I Met Brontez. The first xmas after I had moved to the East Coast to go to college, I came home for the holiday break which lasted about a month. I had gone to see Gravy Train!!!! perform at the Bottom of the Hill in San Francisco. The show was a pretty big deal, because GT!!!! had just finished recording their debut album HELLO, DOCTOR!!! for Kill Rock Stars. They were also my absolute favorite band, and I still think of them as the first celebrities I ever met. So the Bottom of the Hill show in San Francisco was a big deal (at least for me). I was hanging out with them in the dressing room and Chunx asked if I had met Brontez yet. I said no.

I hadn't met him yet, but I did, of course, know who he was, from the internet. He had been on this e-mail list I was on for a minute, devoted to/about fans of the Bangs. He had also been pretty active on this old forum on the Kill Rock Stars site, where you could e-mail questions to any of the bands on their roster, and they'd publish the answers. Which, by the way, was totally awesome and I hope someone has the transcripts of the interview questions. Brontez flirted a bunch with the kids from xbxrx.

So I totally knew who he was, and in a way I sort of resented him? Can I say that? He seemed, to me, at the time, to be living the dream. He knew everybody, meaning people in bands. He was totally out, totally connected to the music and social and political scene. Like, the world he lived in: he seemed to be living in it in a bigger and more fun way than I had been doing. And I was jealous! Like, how does he know the fucking Bangs? Who knows the Bangs? But you have to understand, this was the early aughts. We were still kind of all (in the indie world, the underground world, the punk world, whatever) getting hip to the fact that we could actually connect to and organize our communities and interests online. Like, anybody could know the Bangs, you just wrote them a fan letter, right?

So whatever. Back in the dressing room above the stage at Bottom of the Hill (you know I was feeling particularly V.I. motherfucking P. up in that dingy green room), catching up with Funx, Drunks, Hunx, Chunx, their manager Julie. Drinking beers and smoking cigarettes. I had known all these kids from Gilman Street when I was in high school. I had been 16 and they had been, what, twenty? They seemed so grown-up and cosmopolitan. So anyway we were chatting and they asked if I knew Brontez. If I had met him yet.  I guess that he had just moved to the Bay Area, right after I left to go to college? This is before he joined Gravy Train!!!! Our paths had not (yet) crossed. I said no, I hadn't met him, not yet.

"Oh...." Chunx said, rolling her eyes.
"He's gonna eat you alive!" Hunx giggled.

That night, Gravy Train!!!! played "Double-Decker Supreme" and pulled me up onstage to dance in between Chunx and Hunx. It was absolutely the most exciting thing that had ever happened to me at the time (I was on stage! At the Bottom of the Hill!) and I barely noticed that there was a persistent tugging, pulling, yanking at the cuff of my jeans. Someone in the pit at the front of the stage was grabbing me. Were they trying to pull me down, I wondered? Or were they trying to pull off my pants? It was, of course, Brontez. That was the night we met (I think).

He has not yet eaten me alive but I sort of wish he would.


This is what a curator does.

Dan FishButt!

Lola dressing up her little sister's Maltese puppy, Lucy (referred to as "Goose-y" or "The Goose"). Lola SWORE up and down that The Goose enjoyed getting dressed up, that dogs love, deep down, to be swaddled. She seemed to be onto something as The Goose was all too eager to put on her finest frock for us. And then, when presented with her travel bag, she kept jumping into it. Maybe all dogs don't like to be swaddled, but this dog does.

Reading at Walter's book launch party!



This Friday 4/20/12

Snowy Wilderness and CULTUREfix present:
“DEEP-FRIED CANDYFLOWERS” a 4/20 Special Gala with B0DYH1GH

NYC gay goth rap duo B0DYH1GH (Daniel Portland + Max Steele) will perform a special gala evening-length production, titled DEEP-FRIED CANDYFLOWERS at CultureFix on April 20th. Drawing from a multitude of artistic practices and genres, they will present work from their acclaimed "mythtape" PRETTY BEAUTIFUL as well as new music and special Holiday cover songs. Joining the band for this multimedia extravaganza will be Brooklyn performance art dance duo Bradley and CoCo, as well as multimedia projections from Patrick Dyer. Presenting both their own original dark gems, alongside the matriarchy which makes them possible, B0DYH1GH will turn you on, freak you out, and take you on a magickal journey.



I'm thinking a lot this morning about Jean Smith and Jay DeFeo. Jean Smith from Mecca Normal, I feel like, is maybe the most best brilliant kind of genius, because she has stayed punk and not sold out. This might not have been a choice. It might not have been an option, but part of me thinks it is. Mecca Normal (Jean Smith and David Lester) are fucking anarchists, you know? There was absolutely a time in the early 1990s when they were sort of talked about a lot in what was then the alternative rock press as like "ones to watch" and they have had an extraordinary career, but always without seeming to have to pander to the middle of the road. They're stayed weird, and expressive. I'm thinking a whole lot about this trajectory lately. I sometimes think I shouldn't be allowed to moralize, because it's hurtful and insensitive. But then I realize that I can do whatever I want, and really the fun part is just interrogating what I think of as morals. The point is to have a reason to do it, I guess, not worry about whether or not it's allowed. 

And I think a lot about Jay DeFeo because of The Rose. During college, the first time I ever went to the Whitney, it was to go see The Rose. I didn't know anything about art, really, or the Whitney or anything. I knew a little bit about DeFeo, specifically that she was from California, like me. And that she had spent a very long time making this painting. It was like church, maybe. 

...And I'm also thinking a lot about Anaïs Nin lately. I can't bring myself to re-read her books though. Maybe I'm just thinking a lot about eye make-up. 

I'm going to go buy a wig on my lunch break. A really pretty one I've been eyeing for a long time. It's blonde and black. 

This weekend was really so much fun. But it's over, in the past and now we're moving onto this weekend. Time will fly. 


excerpt from VALEDICTORIAN

Everyone’s always like “Don’t get caught." Don't get caught red-handed, don't get caught trying, to change, be different. Don't get caught being dishonest. Don't get caught making stuff up. Don't get caught dreaming. It's okay to do it at home but don't get caught. But I’m always like “Get caught!” Don’t worry so much. Get caught, honey. You’ll feel better. The wait’ll be over. Listen: as someone who has been caught many, many times, I can tell you. You have nothing to worry about. Whatever it is you’re worried you’re not getting away with. You’re getting away with it. Whatever secret you’re afraid is gonna slip out? Is never going to slip out. Everything’s fine. No one notices, but you. Get caught. Your record’s clean.

Okay WOULD YOU RATHER: be a secret trend-setter, blissfully unaware of the fact that everyone admired you and wanted to be just like you, and never know it?
OR, would you rather secretly feel like everyone admired you and wanted to be just like you, and have it never be true, have to do battle every day with the suspicion that you might not be who you thought you are? As perfect as you are? It seems like an easy choice.

WOULD YOU RATHER be me right now, up onstage giving her Valedictorian speech, or be you, out in the audience, getting to watch me, having no idea what I will do next? I know, right?

Yeah, but you guys, okay: some of us didn’t get to make that choice. Don’t get to make that choice.


When I Wake Up In My Make-Up

"...it's too early for that dress!"

Just kidding, it's right on time for that dress!

The Revolution will not be Televised. It will be on your face.
We seem to be living in a moment which is a lot about make-up.
I spot a trend.

THE MAKE-UP: In Mass Mind (Such a good fucking record)

The thought first came to me by comparing Cindy Sherman's MoMA retrospective to Marina Abramovic's. Someone at a party last weekend had something to the effect of "Oh, it's so nice to see a woman artist get a retrospective at MoMA!" and I reminded them that the Abramovic retrospectacle had just happened. And so I was thinking about a lot of the conversations that show brought up, the tangential things in our culture which the show seemed to be about: public space, celebrity, fashion.

Cindy Sherman's retrospective, for me, points to a wider cultural theme as well. A nascent obsession with make-up as a practice and make-up as a place. Whereas the Abramovic show would encourage viewers to attain transcendence alternately through mortification of the flesh (cutting, public nudity) it also implied by Marina's example, that you could attain another kind of transcendence by wearing Givenchy by Riccardo Tisci, a kind of performance which involved putting animals on your head.

Cindy Sherman's practice, on the other hand, seems to be much more about getting the snake onto your FACE. Looking through the snake's eyes, in a way. I think it's also sort of a balm to the postmodern anxiety which Abramovic's work gives me. The sphilkes from lying naked on a museum floor. This isn't news. That's why Marina paid (barely) college kids to do it.

Cindy Sherman's work, though, seems to be somehow more modern. The approach is that you work alone, in your studio, with a mirror and you smoke your intergalactic space weed and you put on lots and lots and lots of makeup. You use your face. You take the idea, or the art you want to make, the vision you want to manifest, and you manifest it on your face.

As Penny Arcade says: "I take it on, take it on, take it on myself."

I think the Cindy Sherman retrospectacle points to a trend here. Make-up, specifically clown make-up, is kind of becoming a thing. Maybe it's not new-- I can't claim to be new. Probably, if I'm finding out about something, it's already "out there". But it seems like right this second, that make-up is working it's way through our culture, and the Sherman show seems to connect a bunch of different uses of make-up.

Make-up is becoming something of a competitive sport. Think about Face-Off the new SyFy reality TV show which is a competition between makeup artists.

Granted: I don't watch this show, really. But I think we can all get the gist of the show. The make-up job is more important than the actual use of the make-up. The model is just a prop, like an oven in a cooking show. You watch it and you want to be the winner, the make-up artist, not the model. It's totally a skill, but it's a skill apart from, you know, a reason to develop or use the skill. It's like me saying that I can frame pictures (which I can), it's kind of totally irrelevant. But it's really hard, despite the clever marketing by SyFy, to divorce make-up from it's historical context.

Make-up is a tool for self-expression. Even if you get help putting it on, even if you do it to someone else, it's about expressing something. This something includes, now, ambition, skill, proficiency. Winningness.

Cindy Sherman's MoMA show also makes me thing of the original heroes of make-up: drag queens. You what other show is totally huge right now (which I also don't watch but do know the gist of) is RuPaul's Drag Race.

The rad thing about this show, as I understand it, is that it's sort of subversive in a (I'm guessing) unintended way. Look: straight people love drag queens more than gay people do. I didn't come up with that sentiment, but I am happy to echo it. It's a fact. Straight people love drag queens. Gay people like drag queens okay, but we specifically tend to like FISHY QUEENS. Which is to say, funky, imperfect, deliberately homemade, etc. The rad thing about Drag Race (again, from my very limited understanding) is that it ever-so-infinitesimally widens the door of what popular culture conceives of as "drag". There are fleeting glances of punk queens, fishy queens, "alternative" queens, "freaky" queens on the show. So it's nice that mainstream America is getting to see that. And the battles for self-representation among both the more campy stylized "traditional" queens on the show, as well as the freakier "fishy" queens, this fight is being fought on their faces, with make-up.

And it's also nice for the queer subculture to see something sort of like us on TV. Even if only for a second. Of course anything on TV which seems actually cool is probably ripped off from a real, actually really cool, sub cultural thing that happens in real life, you know? In the case of Drag Race I'm thinking specifically about drag performers and artists I know who work in something of a fishy drag milieu in NYC and elsewhere. People like the brilliant Colin Self, and her homegirl Alexis Penney. They've both organized near-legendary drag performance party nights in Brooklyn (Colin Self's CLUMP) and San Francisco (Alexis Penney's HIGH FANTASY), almost inventing the discourse for this type of performance. Populating an audience. It's really amazing and I am deeply excited about it and them.

These are drag parties but they don't just showcase examples of pristine flawless passing. The make-up here is a form of battle. Battle against history, against passivity, against boredom. Battle to win newness. There's a definite punk energy. There's something bubbling up in the queer ("punk") subculture.

It might not even call itself punk. I might be projecting. Wishful thinking. Regardless, something is happening. I'm just trying to find useful examples of what it is, or might be, or could become. It's not about whether or not I like it, or whether or not it speaks to me. It's not about the me, me. I'm just saying.

Thinking also in the radical queer artist community, of performers like Jordan Fox and Glenn Marla, for whom a certain kind of deliberately ornate make-up job relocates the face as both a battlefield (where identity is hard-fought and won) as well as a temple (a sacred place, safe space, keeper of the flame, etc).

Glenn has a really brilliant performance piece where he talks about doing his make-up, beating his face, as a kind of masturbation. This is interesting and, as far as I'm concerned, painfully before its time. The onanism of make-up hasn't been sufficiently plumbed and Glenn might be the one to do it. He might have already done it. This could be a moot point, I guess.

This also makes me think of  a cute image that Cubistliterature's Craig made, as an homage to Ms. Cindy Sherman's clown portraits now on view at MoMA.

It accompany's Craig's pithy and charming review of the MoMA show on XO Jane.

But queers are good at beating our faces, what's new. Of course we are desperate to show our colors and forge identities, using our faces as a kind of personal empiricism.

What it interesting is how it seems to be coming up into the wider culture. It seems to be coming from a lot of different places. For example, I would never have known, had not my uber-cool room mate Ptrck told me about them a few years ago, the JUGGALO thing. Do you guys know about them? To put it very very briefly, they're Insane Clown posse fans who hang out together with scary clown make-up on. It's totally a thing, and I would never have heard of it on my own.

Meanwhile, Ptrck is doing his own Revolutionary Costume for the Face, as documented by Vice Style:

Out of all the examples in this post, I guess this makes Ptrck the most of an heir to Cindy Sherman, huh? I think of how her Untitled Film Stills are about harnessing the power of generic imagery, the collective unconscious. And of course also, the digital make-up technique; some of the strongest images in the MoMA show are ones which she shot without any make-up, using Photoshop (as Ptrck does) to sub in for actual physical make-up. Double-mediation. Performing for the camera. Make-up for the camera. Pretty fucking rad, huh.

But the Juggalo thing, right? The totally rad queer genius NYC Performance Artist Neal Medlyn made a recent performance at the Kitchen based on Juggalo culture, and Kathleen Hanna did the set design. I am totally lame and I didn't get my act together to actually see the show.

I'm woefully under-familiar with all of Medlyn's work, but from what I have seen and know about him, he's fucking awesome. I really like how he deals with culture and the scale of culture. His work is a lot about mass culture and popular culture, but about having a totally personal and earnest engagement with it. It's kind of a balm for this aesthetics of irony age we're coming out of.

Speaking about the Juggalos show, Hanna said: "I find it interesting that Neal, who is from a small town Texas, is presenting the art of ICP in a totally non-ironic way for a NYC art audience. I think it is an aggressive move that will bring up a lot of questions, mainly about who can afford to buy sophistication." (italics mine, natch).

So, Hanna's totally right, again: one of the great things about presenting the art of this culture at the Kitchen is switching the context. This kind of radical make-up might be a kind of folk art, in a way. Right? It's something you can do at home. The technology is accessible. And it's unsophisticated.

Except, I would argue that the folk-art, fishy drag, punk stoner at home on her expensive camera practice is actually converging with a mass cultural interest in radical make-up. Let's talk about the Oscars this year, okay? Who was nominated for Best Actress? I referred to the nominees as being nominated for the BAD DRAG category:

Okay granted, the make-up is hardly as radical. But the sentiment is the same. These women are CARRYING their respective pictures on the strength of their facial drag. The subtle Hollywood make-up is, yes, in a sense, the picture of sophistication. At the same time, it is undeniably Bad Drag. These women are FISHY. Meryl one because her Bad Drag was better than Glenn's Bad Drag.

You know how I know that this trend is over? Not secret? Blown-up? Because Marc Jacobs is going to launch a make-up line.

“Anything to me that is part of the joy, the ritual, of getting dressed — things that women enjoy like bags, shoes, fragrance, clothes, makeup — that’s what fashion’s about for me. I love the opportunity, wherever there is one, to adorn, to decorate, to scent, to dress. That’s what fashion’s all about. It’s not necessary, it’s something you want — it’s a fancy and a whim."

FANCY AND A WHIM. That would be a good name for a book, Marc.

I'm just trying to piece this all together and notice it all. I don't have a big answer. I just want to point it out. I'm, personally, really bad at applying make-up. Maybe I should practice. Who wants to teach me? Again, this shouldn't be about me. Not the real me.

All these examples make me think, duh, like the logical conclusion, the godmother of this whole trend, the person who should be getting the most credit ever, is the insanely underrated and brilliant American artist Kembra Pfahler:

I think of Pfahler's primary metier as, I should think, the Make-Up Job. The LQQK. Yes, it's rock and roll. Yes, she's a real Art artist now. But it's all about the look. I don't mean to be simplistic here: Kembra Pfahler has, since the 1980s, been using radical make-up to create and inhabit an entirely new visual language. To create a new vocabulary for performance. And it's still new. And I still like her a lot.

Wisdom Is Better Than Silver and Gold

Lady Miss Kier has taught me a lot, including this, and how to be a successful, thriving, INDEPENDENT artist.


Here's my favorite unreleased Lady Kier Song:


Pink Trick

I found a picture of this cute all pink outfit Ptrck wore over the weekend:

Made me think of COMME des GARÇONS' S/S 2012 collection: "TAILORING FOR PUNKS":

Pink feels right.


Some Things I Am Doing In April, Kids:

I'm lucky enough to be part of some really exciting shows this month, and I wanted to invite you! I hope y'all can make it! There's this Friday, I am hosting a reading at Pussy Faggot, and I will be doing a short performance at Walter Cessna's book release party on 4/12, and finally, on 4/20, my gay goth rap band B0DYH1GH will be doing a multimedia "Special Gala" performance at Culturefix in the LES, organized by Snowy Wilderness. More info below!

Also if you haven't seen it yet, please do check out my long-lost and recently resurfaced music video for "Pick-Axe & Shovel" directed by Ana Veselic and Tate Nova.

Earl & Penny photographed by Adam Gardiner

**FRIDAY April 6th**
PUSSY FAGGOT! 3-Year Anniversary
Public Assembly
70 North 6th St. Brooklyn NY
8:00 pm – 4:00 am
Admission $10 / $6 with RSVP
Open vodka bar from 8-9pm!

I will be hosting an iteration of my queer performance/reading series FAG CITY at 8pm (coincidentally during the OPEN VODKA BAR BAR). I am VERY excited to present Friday's line-up, and will be doing some more fantastic readings in the near future, and am presenting a little bit of new work, myself :-).

FAG CITY hosted and curated by MAX STEELE!
Doors 8:00 pm / Readings begin at 8:30 pm and feature: JOSEPH KECKLER, CAROLINE CONTILLO, LAUREN SAVITZ, MAX STEELE, YVA LAS VEGAS and PENNY ARCADE.


MORE INFO on the series here: http://www.nextmagazine.com/content/curated-anarchy
FB LINK: http://www.facebook.com/events/291065164280476/

**Sunday, April 15th**
Fukt 2 Start With: Short Stories & Broken Werd by Walt Cessna Book Release
Munch Gallery
245 Broome St. NYC

Walter Cessna is celebrating the release of his first book FUKT TO START WITH: Short Stories & Broken Werd (http://www.desperanto.com/fukt.html ) with a party, art show and readings from the book by Chi Chi Valenti, Alberto Cortes, Nicholas Gorham, Derek Nikoletto, Paul Wirhun, Michael Alago, Max Steele, Jake Ryan & Muffinhead. A very special performance by Kyle Kupres & the bad boy of burlesque Chad Ferro & correct sound effect courtesy of DJ Sheba Legend. Hosted by Heidi Sjursen. This will be a really fun night, and I am so honored to be among the artists this night. I wrote a blurb for the book, and am definitely looking forward to the release party. Walter is of course a living NYC legend, and will be signing copies of the book at the event.

FB LINK: http://www.facebook.com/events/273548106019279/

**Friday, April 20th (FOUR-TWENTY!)**
Snowy Wilderness and CultureFix present: DEEP-FRIED CANDYFLOWERS a 4/20 Special Gala with B0DYH1GH.
9 Clinton Street New York, NY 10002

NYC gay goth rap duo B0DYH1GH (Daniel Portland + Max Steele) will perform a special gala evening-length production, titled DEEP-FRIED CANDYFLOWERS at CultureFix on April 20th. Drawing from a multitude of artistic practices and genres, they will present work from their acclaimed "mythtape" PRETTY BEAUTIFUL as well as new music and special Holiday cover songs. Joining the band for this multimedia extravaganza will be Brooklyn performance art dance duo Bradley and CoCo, as well as multimedia projections from Patrick Dyer. Presenting both their own original dark gems, alongside the matriarchy which makes them possible, B0DYH1GH will turn you on, freak you out, and take you on a magickal journey.

You can see a cute interview with us, as well as link to our mythtape PRETTY BEAUTIFUL on EastVillageBoys