When I was 14 I went to go see Miranda July perform in Berkeley and the opening band was MeMe America, which was Wynne Greenwood and Sally Quaasar. They were fantastic. The whole show was fantastic. The next year I saw Tracy + the Plastics perform at Ladyfest Olympia, and Wynne got a me a copy of their VHS tape "album". I also bought the Plastics' Turn Video cassette and was totally hooked. Tracy + the Plastics mean a lot to me. I made a glow-in-the-dark Tracy + the Plastics t-shirt, and because of wearing it to queer punk shows in San Francisco, I met my first boyfriend at 16. So, Wynne Greenwood's music and artwork have a lot of significance for me, in terms of coming out and being queer and living in the world. I've had the good fortune to meet her when I was in college and booked bands to perform at the school. I think I have pretty much everything she's ever released, and it's all great. And I know that she was making art work on the west coast, and that there were songs that had been recorded, but they've finally been released.

Last month, Wynne's first solo record under her own name, titled A Fire To Keep You Warm was released, in conjunction with her new solo exhibition Peace In at Lawrimore Project in Seattle. It's pretty much my favorite thing, and I can't stop listening to it.

I'm kind of also into the fact that I didn't even know this was a possibility. I wasn't expecting it. Like, last summer, at almost exactly this time, Planningtorock put out W and it definitely changed my life and was the best record I heard all year. But Wynne's record I was nor prepared for. It feels like a gift from the Universe or something. It's definitely my new favorite record, and unless she puts out ANOTHER one in the next six months, it's probably my favorite record of 2012.


Okay. What to say about it. Now seems as good a time as any to share the review I wrote of the record over on Noisey. Did you know that I sometimes write record reviews for that site, under various sundry pseudonyms? Well, I do. And I was so glad to talk about this record!

So much of Tracy + the Plastic's work, I think, was about potential. Was about changing, imagining, leaving, digging up, moving. Being in transit, going from one space, one world, one reality, into another. Mapping out distances and articulating them. The new record seems to be much more about going inside. About internal states.

It feels, and I mean this in the best possible sense, like self-help. Like, I feel smarter and more sensitive and more engaged when I am listening to this record. My favorite song on the record is "New Mouth". I mean, my favorite song changes a lot, but I keep coming back to "New Mouth". It's functionally an R&B jam. Wynne Greenwood, as a singer, has never sounded better ever, and I always thought she was a really good singer. But on "New Mouth" there's a part of the song where the melody pauses and a chorus of voices call out "EVERYTHING IN THE ROOM IS ABOUT TO SAY SOMETHING TO YOU". Like: duh.

I am so moved by this music. It is the sound of the room you're in talking back to you. We are so often astounded by the bolt from the blue that we forget that it's the blue, and not the bolt, whom we should be thanking.

This record is also about taking care. It's about work. It's about changing, I guess, from your outside self to your inside self. In so many Tracy + the Plastics performances, Wynne would introduce one of my absolute favorite songs of theirs "Dawn Feather" by saying that it is about being better, a better audience, a better performer, etc. I'm paraphrasing. But it's a theme that she's used before, and it's always surprised me. So much rock music, pop music, indie music, so much art, so much video, so much of our identities seems to be about wanting to articulate ourselves, to be taken seriously. To be celebrated. But, for me, Wynne Greenwood's artwork has always been about articulating not just the present circumstances, but imagining beyond them. It gets me riled up.

Here's a video for "Big Candy" which surfaced a few years ago, and never fails to bring a tear to the eyes:

The songs on the record are slower, more pared-down. Definitely funky, definitely sexy. Kind of restrained. Pared down to the absolutely most economical sounds and themes. And still, there are unexpected touches of levity and joy and beauty. Little 1960s-style riffs appear sometimes, vocal hooks murmur beyond the verse or chorus, adding a little shine. Like how real people are, when you are really paying attention to them: they unexpectedly surprise and charm you. Maybe you could do this to yourself, if you listened closely enough.

These are not songs about displaying darkness, plumbing the depths of isolation and pain. These are songs about doing the opposite, making fantasy and hope into reality. Turning something difficult and hard to put into words into an anthem. Making love. You know this phrase? I don't mean having sex I mean making love. That's what this album is about, to me.

(picture by Devin Elijah)



You Will Know

Hey listen everybody: I am going to be reading at The Spectrum this WEDNESDAY, MAY 23RD. With M. Lamar, Tanya Philipovich, Nicholas Gorham, Elizabeth Orr and Nath Ann Carrera. I adore the Spectrum and all of the co-stars and I still have to 100% decide what I want to read. I have some ideas. I hope you can come! It's $3 at 59 Montrose Ave and there sill be cheap drinks! More info HERE.

Last Wednesday I went to go see the Blow perform at Mercury Lounge. It was really just the best. I was thinking about how I first saw them perform more than ten years ago, when they were called Get The Hell Out Of The Way Of The Volcano. Or, actually, I think the first time I saw them perform they had JUST changed their name to the Blow, and at the performance I saw (which was at 40th Street Warehouse in Oakland-- does that place exist anymore?) there was a question and answer period, and one of the questions was why they changed the name. I like the Blow, as a name. I think it's a great name. (SIDENOTE: did you know that the name of my band, Max Steele and the Party Ice, came from Khaela of the Blow? It did. The band used to be called the Icebergs. I think Max Steele and the Party Ice is a better name).

So what was the new Blow show like? There are a bunch of new songs, from a forthcoming new Blow record. The new songs sound a bit more sure of themselves, in a way that is sort of disorienting and exciting. Like how when you drink something really fizzy, it takes a second for your face to process what's happening. The performance itself was a little bit different than previous performances I'd seen, where there was an overarching narrative or story guiding the whole show. On Wednesday it felt a bit looser, structured much more subtly, simply sharing these new songs and the places they take you. The songs are a lot about, it seemed to me, getting real with yourself. In a way that the Blow's songs sometimes are: about rising to the occasion. Dealing with difficulty. It's about a kind of resourcefulness.

It was also, for me, such a really intense and nice experience to go to a show by myself, to see this band I've seen for ten years, and has been totally one of my favorites ever, and to see these new songs. And, like, the crowd, man! Listen, the last full-length album by the Blow came out more than a minute ago, and it was really rad to see this super energetic crowd excited to see what comes next. Like: oh, yeah. We're all excited about what comes next. How fortifying or something. I really can't wait for this record to come out.

Friday I went to see Jack Ferver's new show, Two Alike, at the Kitchen. It was a collaboration with Marc Swanson, who designed the set/space. I really liked the show, a lot. But it didn't make me feel good. I don't think it was supposed to. I mean, duh, right? Like, art being exclusively about enjoyment, how small of a feeling, etc. I think jack's new piece was about exhaustion and about economy and about resourcefulness. And also about trauma. And also about how to articulate, survive, and reflect the experience of pain. I always love going to see Jack's work, and he is definitely one of these things that makes me so excited to live in New York. You can just... go see Jack Ferver do his new show, and it will pretty much always be brilliant. It's easy. I felt really excited to get to see this work. It did make me feel sad. Sad, I guess, but not hopeless. It's so funny, because Jack has been giving some really pithy interviews promoting the new work, where he says that his work is not about hope, saying "I feel it’s a very corrosive thing. People can get sleepy and lazy in hope." But his work, and especially Two Alike, did make me feel pretty optimistic, in the sense of, say, widening the discussion around queerness and pain and ways of talking about it. I think: oh, cool, look what Jack Ferver did, he made this performance about these experiences which a lot of people have had, and did it in a new and interesting way. That does makes me feel hopeful. I think that is the word for it.

After the performance I went home and hung out, drinking this white wine, Cupcake brand. It was okay. Perfect Little Daniel and I went to this TOP 8 party in Williamsburg. It was nuts! Like being in the future. I saw a lot of really cute, I guess I'm going to say Seapunk kids, raver kids, kids with dyed hair. Tons of adorable chicken dressed in glossy superhero drag. It was really nice, a wonderful change of pace. I did see some of the rad kids whose tumblrs I wrote about a few weeks ago. Was nice and shy to say hi. Hello! I am your creepy aunt. I am sort of relieved and also anxious that there are all these cool parties happening and I would have no idea. A totally different world. And I like nightclubs. It's strange. You think you know the world and then you go to bed and when you wake up it's a totally different world. Or you're different. Or both! Who cares. A fun experience.

Saturday I woke up early and went to the gym and watered my houseplants and did my writing homework and then went to have B0DYH1GH practice and recording for this new project we're working on. Then we went to the JUDY! boat party! It was really the most fun. Mykki Blanco and Cher both performed. Both looked great.

I sometimes get paranoid that certain cool kids in New York are mindlessly hating on me. Like it seems to be a thing about people just not liking me. This one circle of friends. That did cross my mind on the boat. But you know what, fuck it. Some people won't like me ever because they're too busy hating themselves and I'm often a target of projection. I don't know why they're so mean to me! Some of us, I guess, are only capable of living out the things we experienced as kids. Whatever. Again, brief dark shadows.

But only for a second! It was all in all a really nice and fun and perfect evening. I was sad that it ended. It almost didn't end, really. The open gin bar was great, too much fun. I had four cocktails before the boat even LEFT. I had too too much fun. Two much fun. On that BOAT.

Sunday I took the B43 home, then back down to Prospect Park for Ben Ha'Bear's bday picnic. We got insanely, epickally, three hours in the wrong direction, LOST in Prospect Park. But I got to see the park and get some sun and walk around so it wasn't all bad. A Led Zeppelin cover and was playing. It felt like we were sent back in time. Like: Friday had been the future, and Saturday had been the open seas, and Sunday was back in time. When we finally got to the bday picnic it was just in time for cake and margaritas, so, you know. Some things work out.

I came home and finally took a shower in my newly renovated bathroom and it was great. I ate Chinese take -out and fell asleep, really hard. And then I woke up to the sounds of thunder. And now it's raining alllll day.

It felt like a really great weekend. I am okay.



- Take a shower even though the bathroom is still being renovated and there is plaster dust everywhere (in the air) and it is killing you.
- Splash your whole body with Florida Water.
- Wear all red including the Malcolm X t-shirt that one of your mom's friends (aka teachers at your high school) gave her to give you to. You also have this exact same t shirt in white as well.
- Because the floors (and every surface in the apartment, really) is covered in carcinogenic plaster dust, you will wear shoes. Your old Doc Marten creepers. And socks, so that your freshly-washed feet don't stink. Worry about which pair of socks to wear. You know what you have too many socks. You choose an old pair of dress socks you never wear and roll them on. They're really tight. You cut off the elastic at the top of the socks. They feel more comfortable and you look like a total creep.
- Cook beans and rice (add spinach, +5 invincibility points).
- Listen to Lee Perry and the Upsetters.
- Burn sandalwood incense.
- Drink sake mixed with pineapple juice.

I lose my temper so easily and I get so angry sometimes and I feel so tremendously guilty for it.



Hello NYC I am performing as Max Steele and the Party Ice this Saturday night:


Autobiography of Reflex

Spent most of the weekend being indecisive, sleepy, hungry. I feel like there are a bunch of things I used to be good at, or at least used to care about being good at or enjoying doing and these things just don't have the same appeal right this second. These things are getting dressed, picking out an outfit.

But like any New Yorker, what does one do when one doesn't want to choose an outfit? One wears black. There's something so coy and perfect and beautiful about this. It's emblematic of how not making a decision, as my wise friend Caroline recently tweeted, is a way of making a decision. Wearing black is a way of not having to make a decision. A reflex has a story. Shall we let them say it out loud?

In other news I did have a super duper fun reading on Saturday with dear hearts Brontez and Kat Case and Cristy Road and Joseph Whitt oh goodness. Hung out after the reading at a big house in Bushwick. It felt like San Francisco. So many buddies and friends, drinking and smoking and carrying on. I had entirely too much fun and by the time it was 11pm I headed home to bed.

11pm on Saturday night. Cinco de Mayo. The Supermoon night. Not for me. I bought cold noodles and ate them in bed while half-heartedly trying to speed-read my way through the last suite of essays/reviews in Eileen Myles' The Importance of Being Iceland before falling asleep. I woke up, did writing homework, walked around a bit.

My buddy Emma aka The Duchess was in town this weekend and although I did miss her on Saturday night (she came to the reading then we got parted) we had dinner and walked around on Sunday evening. Which was actually not just fun because I love her, but fun because for the last month (or two) I've been sort of obsessed with these fancy people that go out to dinner on Sunday night. Who are you? Why can't my life be like that? It could, I guess, it was.

I think maybe I need to be interrogating my reflexes a little deeper. It just sucks, though, how something can be really interesting and important and then it changes and is no longer those things, at all. I guess that happens to everybody. Probably all the time?

This might be where reflexes come from. The story they would want you to tell is that they're trying to help. They're trying to, have always been trying to, see their ultimate higher purpose as trying to help you adjust, acclimate. When really they hold you back.

It's possible to know something about someone else that they don't know about themselves. And it's similarly possible that someone else could notice or believe something about you which sounds ridiculous to your own ears. Our autobiographies might not be right, they might be holding us back but then what is the alternative?


Deux Plus

A) Look at this cute photo from last Friday!

Photo by and © Amos Mac
(B0DYH1GH) Max Steele and Daniel Sander.
Photo Assistant Mars Hobrecker

We're so cute, huh? Do you like my dress? It's Lanvin.

b) I'm doing a really cool reading this Saturday, 5/5/12 (Cinco de Mayo):

"What We Do Is Secret" Free Reading at Essential Hues Art Show
Wayfarer's Studio, 1109 DeKalb @ Boadway, Brooklyn (J train to Kosciuszko or M train to Central)
Readers: Kat Case, Terry Clifton, Brontez Purnell, Cristy C. Road, Max Steele, Jessica Strang, Joseph Whitt
Get here on time, enjoy a cocktail, and see all 7 readers.
THIS SHOW STARTS AT 4:00 p.m. SHARP. Not punk time.

This reading is a collaboration with the Essential Hues art show. Essential Hues is a collaborative group show featuring the work of Adee Roberson, Anna Luisa Petrisko, Caitlin Sweet, Caroline Paquita, and Sam Lopes. The exhibit includes paintings, works on paper, sculpture, textile art, video, and more. This collaborative installation will be up until May 13th, 2012.

So that's gonna be rad, too! See you there.

More Than You'd Know

Woke up this morning extra early again to go to the gym before work. Such a chore. I must say, though, going when I'm pretty much not really awake does take some of the sting out of it. Like, I can exercise for an hour, listening to the same three Janet Jackson songs and time does just seem to fly. It does seem, though, like every time I try to do this thing of getting up early, that I have some insane scary dream or something the night before. This time at 3am there was some kind of street fight, or performance? I thought I head clapping. I thought I head a guy screaming about how something was "fucking gay" and I heard applause. And it was so loud! It woke me up! But then I heard the sound getting quieter so maybe the performers walked down the street. I heard something like a garbage can get kicked over and fell back asleep. You can never tell.


Sister Spit on Monday night was so fantastic! I of course know and adore Brontez and Justin Vivian Bond and Erin Markey and fucking THRILLED to get to see them read and sing. I've been unspeakably jealous of them all in that Sister Spit roadshow van. How awesome. Seeing Eileen Myles read, as well, always a fantastic treat. I had never seen Michelle Tea read, actually, and it was so cool. She sort o, vocal cadence-wise, was giving me a little bit of Gerry Visco effects, but maybe it's a Boston thing. It brought back memories of reading her first two books, (The Passionate Mistakes and Intricate Corruption of One Girl in America & Valencia) and how much I really loved them. What a wonderful night.


This morning on my way to work in the rain, I ran into that one shopgirl. The one who is sort of nice, sort of not nice (depending) to me. I mean: I don't deserve to have her or anybody be nice to me, least of all because I never buy anything. But so I ran into her at an intersection this morning, and we had an awkward moment where we recognized each other, outside of the usual  context-- the boutique. On the street though, I felt more powerful. Like: "Now we're both real people. Now I'm not the only real person. Now I'm at work. (Or on my way to work.)" She looked away. I don't know. It was strange. It's not like we would have a conversation or anything. She's actually been nicer to me the last few times I've gone in.


Okay, so. I feel like I'm about to make this huge mistake of posting about this, but, y'know, mea culpa and shit. This is a mistake because now this thing I've been quietly and secretly obsessing over in my own individual way is gonna be something I will probably have to discuss with other people, which I am kind of loathe to do sometimes? Let the cat out of the bag? I love it and I hate it. Whatever.

I feel like recently, with queer male people my own age, and actually mostly a tiny little bit older than me (tee-hee), there's been a lot of talk about how "the younger generation" is more radical and more apt to be into drag and freakiness and embracing femininity, and how they've had all this access throughout their adolescence, etc. because of the Internet. And I guess that's all mostly true, but I kind of hate this generational thinking. This gay generational thinking. It seems unnecessarily divisive. As an older sibling, I'm also really wary of anyone younger than me being cooler or better adjusted or happier than I am or was at their age, and these things are obviously inevitable. Plus: I feel like I'm still part of the younger-ish generation?

The point is: I'm really into all these freaky queer "boys" on Tumblr and I think you should get into them too. Now, I don't really know them, in real life, but I want to? I think I met the first one at Pussy Faggot, in the green room, he's one of Gerry Visco's Twinks.

That Gerry Visco is kind of on the cutting edge and doesn't get nearly enough credit for being such a genius. I'm being serious. Remember that really brilliant interview she gave to me over on the Birdsong site? But like, for real. These kids are young and freaky and cool and doing their own thing and I don't know where! It's happening totally apart from me, from a different world than the ones I am in, I think? And it's exciting.

Okay so this is a photo of Hari Nef taken by Ben Taylor. These are both new names to me. I guess he's in school and from reading his blog he's kind of a club-kid. He seems cool and I think we maybe met at Public Assembly after or before Gerry's set (I was drunk sorry). He makes hilarious jokes and good looks. This is art. Slash: is this art? Slash let's all start a band, right?

Okay I don't know this person's name but his Tumblr is Prince Nebulas. He posts a lot of cute self-portraits and Japanese stuff but this one is by far my absolute favorite. Is he a model? Are they all models? What is going on.

I feel like Kathy Acker interviewing the Spice Girls. Err, maybe a little bit less creepy.

Here's a pic of the two of them out together. At a party I had never heard of in NYC. There's so much I don't know about. I'm not being sarcastic when I say that it's great.

The lovely and be-braided style activist and Certified Funky Chicken Spacepopstar. Is she a ginger? Am I hallucinating? Sometimes her self-portraits are kind of giving me a little bit of post-apocalypse raver mixed with vintage La JohnJoseph, no? This might be wishful thinking.

I feel like I definitely went through a thing, in my life, on the Internet, where I got so much fucking shade for posting pictures of myself, and or talking about myself. Like maybe even this blog too: people really resented it! So I do feel vindicated to see that actually cool kids, way cooler than I ever would've been at their age (I don't know how old these kids are, I'm being hyperbolic for effect) using themselves in interesting ways.

It used to be, I used to feel that having a lot of friends on the Internet was different from being famous. Then that changed, or I changed, or something changed and now I see it as the same. Or, actually, I see it as an irrelevant distinction between two pretty irrelevant concepts. These freaky queer kids are making looks and making slogans ("&what", "goddess blog", and Hari Nef's new one: "french mani"), seemingly without concern for popularity, fame, whatever. How refreshing! Like, what if this was just real life now? You know? Like, about being articulate and DOING YOUR OWN THING rather than, say, trying to look like people on TV or trying to emulate someone else. I'm into this especially to the extent that it is and is not "a scene". Like do these kids and their friends even live in NYC? Does that even matter? Do you even have to be here, physically, anymore, to participate? I guess the answer right now, right this second, is "Nope". These kids aren't here, and if they are here then I don't know them so they may as well not be, but I still want to have elaborate conversations about how rad I think they are. Are there more? Is everyone secretly awesome? Am I 100% late to the party?

It's springtime, now. Let's all make new friends, eh?



So tonight I'm going, after work, to these Ryan McGinley art openings. I am excited and also pretty nervous because the last time I went to one of these it was really. fucking. nuts. But like it's okay to be sort of nuts, sometimes, right?