Bargain Ransoms

Triple Patti

A) Erin Markey began her performance on Sunday with a pun. She said something about how people from Michigan must be really excited about the show, because the show was free. Then she admitted that she is from Michigan (as if we didn't know), so she was also excited about the show being free, and being a Michigandress herself, knew how much other people from Michigan like things that are free. She smiled and said "Daylight Savings."

B) I think it must feel good. Right? It must feel good to point out hypocrisy. Because then, you know, you have this really clear, this totally unfuckwithable moral imperative, a duty to tell the truth, a really clear-well-lit path on the moral high ground to take. I think that for you it must feel good. Like:I caught you. It has to feel good or you wouldn't do it. It's like being a cop or a superhero or having a really important job: I know who I am and I am the one who tells you why you're not real. I caught you in a lie.

But for me, it seems a small price to pay. A low bid. A cheap ransom. What's that word? A pittance. Discount. I mean: it costs me nothing to be called a liar. It costs me so little, to feel the rage of your three-inch fury. You caught me saying one thing and then saying another. it's not as if I'm actually a liar, or actually a hypocrite, I'm just not defending myself against you because it doesn't hurt. I want to be a rag doll for you. I want you to love me for the same reason you loved your dog, the one you tortured as a kid. She can take it. She can't talk back to me.

C) I like your face. It's ugly. The pressure's off. I keep thinking of that Christine Baranski quote: "I was never beautiful so I’m not unbeautiful." This sounds like I'm being mean but I'm not. I like an ugly face. I want bad things to happen. It's not morbid. Do you know what a sky burial is?

D) I haven't read any of her work, but I'm totally bowled over with Sheila Heti. Been reading all these fantastic reviews of her new book. In a recent interview with Heti, there's a quote which really resonated with me:
Q: I read in a Paris Review interview with Jean Rhys that she could never write when she was happy, which struck me as a sad fact considering how much she wrote. Is that the same kind of necessity that you are referring to?

A: No, it’s not about feeling bad. Someone can be writing in a state of great joy. What I mean is that it can’t be like a writing exercise. It has to be more than that. It has to be connected to the writer’s living. I don’t care to be shown off to. I don’t find people impressive because they show me an impressive skill. Making art is an instinct. As much as sex or wanting to eat. I think it’s a real drive, and it should look like that.
Woah, right? I'm just now finding out about her work, because I really don't follow what cool writers people are into for a number of reasons, and it's totally blowing my mind. I definitely am having this moment called inspiration where someone articulates something which I've been struggling to understand. It seems like certain themes of Heti's work: identity, postmodernism, morality, etc. are things I wrestle with as well. It seems like some of the places she's looking for answers, like the language of self-help, like recordings of conversations with friends, are places where I like to look for answers as well. So, in a way I sort of feel like just as I was about to begin work on this project (which I am about to being work on, but more later) there's someone else doing similar stuff. I mean: probably there are and have always been people asking similar questions and in similar ways. It's not all about me. My point is: I feel sort of freed up to go on and find some more specific question to ask? Or in another way? And also: I'm so excited to read all of Sheila Heti's books, like right this fucking second. So, expect to hear me gushing about this for a long time.

That quote from the interview also makes me think of that Kiki Smith quote: "We're not doing research here, our lives are at stake." I am definitely of the class of artists and thinkers who feel like we need to interrogate our priorities and our pleasure. A lot of times I deliberately make things look easy in order to show that ease, comfort, pleasure are myths, are over rated. I like the idea of taking a clear-eyed look at what you're thinking and why you're thinking it. I just feel so plugged in, for some reason, to know that there's this brilliant writer I had never read who is doing cool work that is right up my alley. I have an alley! This is great.

D) This morning I woke up and brushed my teeth I made coffee and I meditated and THEN I turned on my computer and PLD sent me the link for this song, the new Cat Power song. You guys it's so great. When I saw her on Twitter talking about her new album, responding to bewildered twitter users who didn't know what "#CatPower" is and why it's trending, I made a joke about how we finally have a hip-hop album from Chan Marshall. But I was right! Now we finally do.

Although this isn't her first hip-hop record. I guess that song she made with Handsome Boy Modeling School is kind of funky, right?

E) Sad about Nora Ephron. Did you know that When Harry Met Sally is one of my favorite movies? I'm actually not really into meg Ryan or Billy Crystal or Love or Romantic Comedies or Fantasy Versions of Manhattan but for some reason, the two title characters' abilities to be so unlikable and still manage to find each other really touched me. And Ephron's always admitted that the way those two end up together is not how things happen in real life. I don't know. Something about them really loving each other and both being so uptight, so prohibitively horrible (let's be honest) really made me feel good. This fantasy that you can get back together with your ex, that things work out, that everything will always wind up okay. It's a classic fantasy, and Ephron's nuanced understanding of the ways in which people admit what we want, to ourselves and others, made her such a perfect person to play with this fantasy. I liked her work a lot and I am sad that she's gone.


Lit Light

I woke up to the thunderstorm this morning. My first thought was "How romantic!" Weird, right?

Had such an amazing weekend, you guys. I guess it all started on Wednesday, when I got a haircut and then went over to Envoy Enterprises to see the Brian Kenny solo show opening. It was so great! He made this really fantastic photo installation that (without giving anything away) is basically about dance. It's dancing photos. It's really great! You should see the exhibition, which is up until the end of July at Envoy. Ran into Deer Heart Sam and Perfect Li'l Daniel at the opening, and of course the Gallery Mistress Jamie, who is definitely a favorite, running Envoy like a well-oiled Art Machine. We drank some nice fizzy white wine, and then ventured downstairs to Home Sweet Home, delightful dank grotto. We watched a band setting up, they seemed to be a band with nothing except for keyboards? It was happy hour and we got some very salty margaritas. I got some, I don't know what everybody else did. I was too busy touching the back of my newly-shorn head and licking kosher salt off the rim of a glass to pay attention to anybody else.

Thursday it was, really, far too hot. After work I went to get a manicure and I ruined it, just outside the nail salon, and had to go back in to have them touch it up. Twice. They were very sweet about it. I went to my analyst and complained a lot. It felt good but not as good as it had felt the week before but que sera sera. I'm kind of into this thing lately of not feeling good. I should clarify: I think feeling good is fine but not the entirety of existence. A lot of life does not feel exactly good. And what is good, anyway? So I go to analysis to ask these questions. Afterward I hopped an incredibly chic crosstown bus, where a pair of homely tourists and their incredibly ugly little child and I were the only people on the bus, and the ugly little kid had the gall to throw shade at MY after-analysis look. I was wearing new shoes and a new haircut and had a new manicure and was feeling pretty fucking invincible though, so, like, whatever. I know I look good. Go back to wherever it is you came from. Men can paint their nails. Ugh. I went to the Gayletter Happy Hour at Bedlam, co sponsored by One Medical. it was so rad. There were hors d'oeuvres and an open bar and live performances and I was in fucking heaven. Plus it was early, and air-conditioned, and you know. I'm a huge baby. I saw Geo Wyeth and Joseph Keckler perform. Kind of not the most conducive space to live performances, Bedlam. But the nice part was that both strapping young lads really rose to the occasion, belting beautifully and basically slapping the crowd in the face with their singing. It was so cool. Joseph sang a deep-sea blues number about water and I got goosebumps all over my whole body.

So wonderful. I scurried home just before the stroke of midnight, being as I am the Biggest Baby. (I love how in Gertrude Stein's books she always refers to herself as a baby-- butch bossy baby). Friday was more of the same, don't you know. After work I had band practice with PLD for our B0DYH1GH set on Sunday. After band practice we went to celebrate Deer Heart Sam's birthday on Gay Powers Street, where a handful of gorgeous Brooklyn queers made pitchers of margaritas and we all had a good chuckle in the backyard.

There was cake. It was great. What a special evening. We took a cab from Gay Gemini Bday Party #1 over to Gay Gemini Bday Party #2, in lovely Bushwick, described by Neon Ladosha as "The Cunt's Nest". I guess I don't really life in Bushwick, or Williamsburg. I might not live anywhere. Wouldn't it be cool to be a ghost? Anyway the second Sexy gay Gemini Bday Party was at David from Mirror Mirror's old house, which he moved out of but decorated in the spectacular fashion to celebrate his bday with his beau Max. It was so fucking hot in that house. It was unreal hot. We drank some whiskey and saw all these amazing deer friends including extra spooky Joseph Keckler, who arrived with his cohorts Dan and Chavisa looking for trouble. Joseph, who exists as a kind of mystical creature always, was like a vision in head-to-toe black silk. I was jealous but I was also so sweaty that I couldn't get too worked up about clothes. Cunty Crawford LaDosha was DJ-ing and I got really into dancing to that ancient Missy Elliott song "Pass That Dutch". I love how that came out right after the Anthrax epidemic (and maybe even after SARS) and there are those barely funny intros about a "virus that's attacking all clubs" and the five-second pause in the middle of the song to catch your breath. I tried to catch mine but it was so hot in that apartment, the black lights were not having their usual desired cooling affect on me. At least not consciously. I had to go. I did go. It was fine.

Saturday I did basically nothing. I lied low, tidied the house, and went to get brunch at my favorite place, Vanessa Williamsburg's Dumplings and took a nap. I've been trying to meditate every day. It's so hard. But I did it on Saturday! The big thing I did Saturday was go to beautiful Miriam's wedding to the lovely Phil. I've known Miriam since college, and she was for many years a back-up dance in my band, Max Steele & the Party Ice (I believe she was "Party"). She had spent some time living in Scotland and is deeply in love with a beautiful man and their wedding was on Saturday. I did almost cry. I haven't been to a ton of weddings, so I was scared I wouldn't know the etiquette, but I did wear a nice suit, and had so much fun. It was kind of beautiful and emotional and sweet and perfect. I am so happy for them and had a beyond fun time eating delicious fancy food and drinking delicious fancy drinks with my good old college pals. Everyone is so grown up and yet looks so cute young and nubile. What an interesting time to be alive, I think. Everything was gorgeous and I was so happy.

I did, though cut out a little bit on the early side (11) to run up to my neighborhood. I got outta my suit, took an ice cold shower at midnight (which Miriam recommended to me, as a personal trainer, as a good way to work on my body) and I put on short-shorts and a polka dot t-shirt and went to a dance party at the Spectrum, the local queer Utopia founded by Nicholas Gorham and Gage of the Boones. Saturday night was a very special night, being DJed and organized by Nath Ann Carrera and Savannah Knoop aka WOAHMONE. It was the best fucking dance party ever, oh my goodness. PLD was working the door and I would occasionally go say hi or loiter out on the curb because I was like, glistening with sweat. Everyone said so. I'm not embarrassed, I was having fun. I can't remember dancing so hard for so long. I saw a great many queer legend friends and lovers and good souls there. A real highlight was one of the DJs playing Planningtorock's "Living It Out"

I seriously danced until I could dance no more. And it was 4am and I went home and went to sleep ecstatic.

Sunday was a big day, folks. Yesterday was Gay Pride. PLD and I met up early and loaded the gear into a pretty uncooperative cab. The theme for the weekend was creepy cab drivers, man. So! We went to EVERYBOOTY 2, a fantastic all day concert and party and alternative Pride event organized by Spank, Earl Dax, and Hey Queen. It was kind of a beyond-magickal gathering at a gorgeous outdoor venue. So many of my truly favorite people performed in the show: Dan Fishback, Nath Ann Carrera, Sequinette and Heather Acs, AB Soto, Gio Black Peter, Jack Ferver, Erin motherfucking Markey, Justin Vivian Bond, Xavier, and more. It was the kind of thing where I had to pinch myself constantly to remember that it was real. If you had told me even a few short years ago that I would be playing a show with these people I would not have believer you. It was such a fantastic day and I am still high from it. Here's a photo of Nath Ann and me and PLD that Earl Dax (Girl Snax) took:

I'm so happy. On my way home from the bus from PLD's house, my way was lit by fireflies.



Once I was home sick from school and there was a thunderstorm. I was home alone listening to the radio and the power went out. And I was scared (for some reason) even though it was broad daylight. And then the power came back on and this song was playing on the radio and I danced and coughed and danced.

I say this all the time, and I mean it all the time; This is my favorite song.


How to Wait

Yeah, no, wait, also.

Last night I fucked up. I won't go into it but I've been paralyzed with indecision lately. Can it take so long for symptoms to manifest themselves as crippling fear? Is there a clinical term for fundamental ambivalence? Being unable to leave the house, decide what to wear, plan a meal, think clearly about how to communicate. Are these real problems? I had a friend who I loved very much who was really rich, his folks were loaded, but he became a junkie at age 13 (seriously). A friend of ours referred to him as "one of those rich kids who make problems for themselves". Maybe in a case like this it's easy to make that judgment, but don't we all make problems for ourselves? If we're going to go around blaming ourselves for being unhappy, I mean, shouldn't we all get blamed?

I'm getting ahead of myself. I've felt like such a fuck-up this week. I'm just charging ahead, being a fuck-up, pissing everyone off. Testing the limits. Trying to look forward and not back. And I've (clearly) felt way confused and upset and bored and freaked out. And then last night things kind of came to a head. Like, I was invited on a sort of casual date to go see this pop star who I used to kind of love do a free private performance. And instead of going I stayed in and totally beat myself up. And I felt shitty. But then I was glad I stayed in, because I found out about the new Cat Power song.

What can I say about Cat Power? I am so excited for the new album. I was not the hugest fan of The Greatest or Jukebox but Chan's haircut, rapping (she's totally rapping) and lyrical scope are really exciting. It feels like a return. Cat Power was huge for me and my friends when we were in high school. She was known for doing shows which would end abruptly, which could be painful to the audience members. Sometimes, Cat Power clearly did not want to perform. She would get nervous, or start crying, and storm off of the stage. I'm not saying this to be funny-- I think it's easy to forget that for a long time, Cat Power was an artist whom her fans felt very protective of and forgiving towards. For me, personally, as someone that has struggled with some issues in his life, it has always been a real source of comfort to see Chan Marshall working hers out. I can't even deign to imagine the experience of being Cat Power in the mid 1990s, and have to do these grueling tours and storm off stage. But I can say that as a young person who wanted to make art, wanted to perform, and was too scared (and still is) it meant the world to me for Marshall to prove, again and again, that it was possible to fuck up, to be a fuck-up, to be scared and freaked out, and still be okay. And to still keep going.

So to hear a new, upbeat, clear-eyed catchy and complicated new song is particularly exciting. Just at this moment it's really the best. Maybe I won't like the new album. Maybe this will be her last record. Maybe things will be different in the future, but right now it feels like taking a hard look at yourself and the world is possible, inevitable, and pretty fucking awesome.
So really brilliant. So optimistic-making. I do get such a kick out of Mecca Normal, pretty much always. Here's a video of a new song that happened, for maybe the first time, on video.

I think maybe I am so into Mecca Normal now, because I wasn't as a kid. When I was a teenager I liked all these artists that were influenced by Mecca Normal, but I couldn't stomach their own records. I think maybe I wasn't patient enough, or I wasn't a good enough listener. Something changed, I guess, when I got a little bit older. And then I got into them. And then their records became so beautiful to me. My favorite Mecca Normal record is probably still Dovetail. But that might be an arbitrary choice. Calico Kills the Cat is also a classic. And of course, Who Shot Elvis?


As A Magazine

I do feel pretty grateful and pretty happy, still. Trying to focus on the positive. It's working! I mean, it takes work and work makes things happen.

I don't want to be one of those people who is always talking about how great they are on the internet, showing self-shot photographs of themselves and talking about how talented and interesting and funny and sexy they are. It sounds like they are trying to convince themselves or something. I'm not, I should note, trying to convince myself or anyone of anything, ever. However, I am a Leo and I do like to have my picture taken sometimes, and this is the week when three really sweet and awesome photographers' photos of me came out, so, this is what I look like when things are good!

Amos Mac took this photo of me a few weeks ago, as part of a whirlwind exciting afternoon when we also shot some B0DYH1GH photos. He had help from his intrepid and very nice young assistant Mars. So much fun. I got to wear my own clothes including the David Wojnarowicz Untitled (One Day This Kid. . .) t-shirt which I got when I first moved to NYC and did that Wojnarowicz tribute reading at PPOW Gallery, and the lovely gallery director Jamie Sterns gave me one of the shirts gratis. You can't really see it, but I'm also wearing a little button on my jacket which was made by the artist Alex Da Corte and given to me a very long time ago, when I first met him in Philly. I am wearing my lucky charms in my lucky space. Okay!

This photo was taken by Adam Gardiner who I've known for a while through our mutual friend and psychic poet warrior Thain, and I've always admired Adam's work. Perfect Little Daniel and I went to Adam's house to take photos a few weeks ago, and the awesome Mary Cassola did our hair. I'm wearing a shirt by Paolo Raymondo which I sadly do not own. I really like these photos which Adam took so much! I had no idea I could clean up so nicely. It's almost dissociating to see something that is you but also not you. Maybe everyone else feels this way. Cute, huh?

Last Friday afternoon, I went up to my favorite neighborhood in New York City, Spanish Harlem ("SpaHa") to visit my good buddy and personal hero Walt Cessna. He's extra extra busy these days promoting his new book FUKT 2 START WITH as well as his ongoing, internationally-renowned visual art career. So I did feel extra extra lucky to get to catch an audience with him last week, before he jets off yet again. We walked around the neighborhood taking photos in the scenery, and I do think we got some good ones. I was looking delightfully shlumpy in my Tim Hamilton t-shirt, but Walter has a way of making even banal, shlumpy, or ugly things seem exciting, beautiful, or, to borrow his preferred term of affection "correct". So much fun!

But the real reason for this post, kids, is about B0DYH1GH. As you know, we made the soundtrack for the polaroid photo exhibition organized by East Village Boys and the Queer New York International Arts Festival. The exhibition was so cool, and I am so excited to be part of the project. Another photo by Amos Mac, this time of B0DYH1GH with my room mate's cat, Frida, was used as press in conjunction with the exhibition, and put up on The Advocate's website. Cool, huh?

But really, okay, this is the end. The musical soundtrack which Daniel and I made, titled BUTTERBAWL is now online. It's an instrumental, seven-part song cycle, which we worked very hard on, and are quite proud of. And it is now available for download over on EastVillageBoys.



Okay you guys I'm ready to tell you my good news. I've been holding back on telling people about this for a minute, because the information wasn't actually public, and I felt self-conscious or whatever (I've been kind of going through it these last few weeks I must say), but now I guess I am ready to talk about it. I applied for and have been selected as an Artist In Residence at Brooklyn Arts Exchange (BAX) for the next year. The fellowship involves studio space, technical and administrative support, as well as something like a home-base to make work in. I'm almost overwhelmed with my feelings of gratitude, relief, joy and excited to be included in this group of amazing artists, and to be able to work with such an engaged and forward-thinking institution. I want to specifically thank my soul sister Dan Fishback for encouraging me to apply for the program, and believing in me, both in the specific and in the general as well. As lonely as I feel sometimes, I do have friends that support me more than I could ever ask for or probably even deserve and for this, as well, today, I am particularly grateful.

For the last six years I've lived in New York and have been really struggling to make art work and to have good ideas and do them justice, and I've often felt like I needed to do things entirely on my own. So, getting this kind of institutional support is a really huge deal for me. It means a big progression in how I think and make. It's also a fairly awesome challenge. So often, things have come together for me mostly out of necessity. I'm very proud of the work that I've been allowed to make here in the last six years, but I would be lying if I said I got to do everything in the best way possible-- things get performed because it's time to perform them. That is just the way it is. Despite my feeling proud of what I've been able to achieve, I have often felt a tangible regret, thinking how differently things could or should go. I try, as a rule, not to talk about my plans, for fear of not having the resources or ingenuity to bring them to life. So I have not really deigned to dream this big before.

But now I can say that there will finally be a big new full-length Max Steele performance art show. It is going to happen and I am going to make it and being able to say that means pretty much everything to me right this second.




It does seem unfair, right? The way that being smart hurts. The way that knowing too much-- it's heavy, right? It takes up a lot of space. We think of ways to express wealth, success, power, imagination. The big one, one of the biggest ones is space. Who's house is bigger. Who has the more elaborate vision. Who is the loudest.

I was thinking that I ought to make a list of Things I Am Tired Of:
  • Playing shows to empty rooms
  • Screwing up my courage
  • Not being taken seriously
  • Never getting paid
  • Feeling stressed out
  • Being a fuck-up
  • Not being talented
  • Settling
  • Being resented
  • Being complimented, always snidely
  • Basically... everything
I do definitely feel like there's this thing that happens, where it's like... people I don't know feel like they need to take me down a couple of pegs. It's totally this thing, this paranoid fantasy of how I think people secretly think I'm really lame. But like, this has always been a constant in my life, even before I started talking about myself (or anything) online. I'm older than the internet. I've always been secretly afraid that the kids I think are cool secretly talk shit about me. And you know what I've always been right. Why would I think they are cool? Their art sucks, they are mean, and most importantly they don't want to be my friends. I think maybe I need to have my values a little bit clarified. 

Fuck being cool. Fuck being mean and fuck being cool. Fuck uniqueness. Fuck being discerning. Fuck making decisions. Fuck paying attention. Fuck being smart. I hate this. I get so exhausted. All I wanted to do all weekend was sleep and so that's pretty much mostly just what I did. I don't want to talk to anybody. I have been holding my breath and waiting for something to change. I guess for me to change. For me to feel different. One idea I had was that I was not going to make anything say anything or write anything because as soon as I do I feel like I've lost it, and that's really just the worst (I thought). The worst, I thought, was feeling ripped off, was feeling like my ideas, thoughts, feelings, words, actions, were stolen, co-opted from me. I thought the worst thing that could happen would be to put myself out there and find myself degraded, taken away, stolen, killed. Now I know that there are worse things. 

I guess the point is, y'know, that despite everything, my impatience, my seething, object-less anger. The point is that, you know, I did perform. I got up on stage, and sang and danced to an empty room, and I did have fun. I might have just enough. Here, this thimbleful, right? This is enough. I am okay. 

I mean, I know how it looks, I know how it sounds. I know what it's like, for you. But you don't know what it's like for me. There's a kind of secrecy at work here. A psychoanalytic butt pleasure, a holding back. It is unfair and it is pretty, too, the way that asymmetry always is. 

Honey there will be a man for you who finds your particular scars the most beautiful. The odds are he is out there some where. Always. 


Always Been My Excuse

Some updates.

There's a great photo diary with commentary by Bruce La Bruce about his new installation, which I wrote about, over at VICE.

Gotta say, I think I still stand by my interpretation, limning out the feminist content (ha). I am so bummed that I missed this! But at the time I was doing the reading at Dixon Place, it was fun. It's always fun.

Speaking of queer art, my old housemate Cassandra Maude just wrote a really rad article about Queer Art over on CultureBot which is also worth checking out.

In other news: yesterday was really hard and painful and today is much better. I guess I really needed, more than anything, to:
a) Speak my mind, stand up for myself, speak truth to power. Say the feeling. Do that thing of telling the other person what you notice, how it makes you feel. and what you want them to do about it. Be honest.
b) Go to the gym and tire myself out by running really fast while listening to Kylie Minogue.

I gotta say, Kylie Minogue feels like Al Gore to me. She should have been our Madonna. Al should have been our president. It's like a window into an alternate, Utopian reality.

I still feel bummed about some things but other things are going pretty okay. Tonight is the debut of the new B0DYH1GH opera "ButterBAWL" at the EastVillageBoys gallery opening. Sister Pico and I are going out to dinner afterward and I am going to wear these fancy new shoes I bought last summer.

Everybody be good to yourselves.

For some reason this song makes me think of college.


Now you live in chaos

So angry! So furious. So upset. You know how one thing turns into a handful of things? How being angry about one thing sort of makes you angry about another thing / all things? I'm definitely having that today. It's hard to tell what is you and what is the world. I'm really angry. I feel scared and ashamed of feeling angry, like I have no right to be angry in the first place and certainly no right to express it. Because I feel so conflicted about this feeling, I'm having a really hard time processing it.

I got into what felt like a pretty nasty argument with a lady who works at the deli near my office. I have this $1 off coupon for hummus, which has been sitting on my desk for weeks, and I decided that in my constant effort to keep my weight down, I would just bring some vegetable to my job, and eat them with the hummus which should be cheaper since I had the coupon. I had to go to like four different stores to find one that accepted it, and the lady at the deli told me she didn't want to take it. That the coupon was for bigger stores, like K Mart, not for a small deli. Her deli was pretty big. I had just come from K Mart, they don't stock hummus. It was only a dollar. She made me wait in the line holding out my coupon and my tub of hummus and then said no. I read it and I asked her again why they wouldn't take it and she just said no. I stormed out and angrily ate some celery with nothing on it for lunch. But I'm not really mad about the hummus.

I do definitely feel like I can't stand up for myself. Like I'm incapable of affecting change in my life. I absolutely feel like nobody has my back, like I need to be able to depend on myself, and I can't do that. A number of things have made me feel this way in the last several weeks. Including getting our bathroom renovated and having the repair guys root through my bedroom and steal shit (seriously). I feel really ripped off and taken advantage of across the board. But I'm savvy, and I know what I am actually upset about.

What I'm actually upset about is that someone I had cared about very much, and definitely considered a friend has betrayed my confidence. Which, you know, happens. It's a fact of life. People hurt each other's feelings. We're all still learning. That is okay. But I've tried, many times, to make it right with this person, and to ask them to fix the situation. Without going too into detail, it seems like a simple fix on their end, to make this thing right. And they've let me know in very uncertain terms in the past that they would do it. And over the last several weeks it's been made clear that this will not happen, they had never intended for this to happen, that they do not want to make it right with me, that my feelings do not matter, that they do not consider me a friend. I am pretty devastated. I don't have much recourse, apart from some very unpleasant options. I am loathe to take the next steps. I feel really sad and angry and it seems to confirm some of my own insecurities: that I am helpless, stupid, etc.

I don't know what to do. I feel powerless and humiliated and I am just trying to stand up for myself.

Last night Venus went in front of the Sun and I couldn't see it. I was hanging out with my girlfriend Lola, playing with her sister's little puppy, Lucy. Lucy seemed to understand what Venus' dance portends, and was barking hysterically.

We were listening to Donna Summer and talking about the future. Somehow things feel sort of okay. Like: this is your life. Now you live in Chaos. Nothing will ever feel good again but maybe you can learn to dance here.

I am heartbroken and livid.

I take consolation in the fact, solely, that I have a happy piece of news to share in the coming days / weeks. That's all. I wish I had some more.


Erotics of Radicalism

OK here are a bunch of things all strung together. Getting back into shape, you guys. I have so many exciting things to tell you!

The Queer New York Festival kicks off this Thursday night here in New York . EastVillageBoys and QNY are opening the festivial with an art show called FOR PERSONAL USE.

June 7–June 16, 2012
The Impossible Project
425 Broadway, 5th floor New York NY 10013

PARTICIPATING ARTISTS:. Mx Justin Vivian Bond, Jeff Hahn, Jayson Keeling, Josh McNey, Christian Schoeler, SUPERM: Brian Kenny and Slava Mogutin, Andrew Yang.
CURATED BY East Village Boys
COMISSIONED BY Queer New York International Arts Festival

So the opening party is this THURSDAY NIGHT 6/7/12 6pm at the Impossible Project. 

B0DYH1GH has been working quite hard on the soundtrack to the exhibition, and we finally came up with a 7-track suite, titled BUTTERBAWL, when majority of which came to us on, largely, Mother's Day. I would love to see any of you NYC friends at the opening. It will be a cute show and our music is great. I am hoping that we can somehow release BUTTERBAWL as well, after the show maybe. Get excited.

Okay, also. I'm playing a show on Saturday night at Lit Lounge! As Max Steele & the Party Ice.

With many cool queermos, including deer heart Nath Ann Chimera. I'm doing all these shows with Nath Ann lately, it's just the best. I so rarely do Party Ice performances. So, if you are curious what it's like, you should come. Remember that Music Video That The Party Ice Has?

I so wish that this song was four seconds longer. Y'know? 

So! Come see me sing and dance on Saturday, lovers.

This weekend was great too. Sunday morning I woke up early and did laundry. As much as I like to stay out late and have fun or whatever: I'm totally an early bird. I am all about getting that worm, honey. Waking up early on Sunday and silently making coffee, doing housework is kind of my favorite thing in the world. If only that was my job. I did laundry, yes, and cooked some pretty random Sunday morning fare: tempeh and quinoa and green peas. Does that sound gross? You're right, it was gross.

Anyway the point of Sunday is that I went to Bushwick Open Studios, for, like, a second, to see my friend Julia aka Jiddy No-No's open studios. It was fucking great! Julia's new work is, one on hand, clearly an evolution of the themes she's been working with for the last few years, but also uses new techniques, and newer kinds of content. Here is my favorite piece I saw in her studio. It's called "THE HIGHEST"

As gorgeous as this is, you really need to see her work up close. It's huge, holographic. You can see more of Julia's work and ideas on her Tumblr: ANDROID JIDDY. I'm really fascinated with how she combines sort of conflicting fantasies. She said that throughout the weekend of open studios, people who visited had asked her more than a few times whether the landscapes she makes are Utopian or Dystopian, and her response has been that they're all both. I think they're mostly Utopia. Or, they're a Utopia in the sense that nature and civilization seem to be in balance. It's as if the planet fights back, the jungles grow into the cities. I like that the tension between paradise and apocalypse, between science-fiction future and mythological prehistoric past, the dual, multiple readings are equally real in Julia's work. The so-called tension is neutralized. I asked her about the architecture in her work, and she said that she deliberately depopulates her landscapes, there are never people in the pictures. But buildings are there, as a sort of comment on how buildings will outlast us. So, I guess, Julia sort of works with the issue of scale. Physical scale, environmental scale, historical scale. Internal states of balance and perspective. I love her work and am beyond proud to call her a friend. She's starting her MFA this fall, and I can't wait to see what she does next. Hey someone, help me set up an art show for her. Let's do that, you know?

So then after the open studios, I went to B0DYH1GH band practice to run through a few things. Then we went to the Metropolitan BBQ, the Cheapest SummerTime Dinner. I am pledging to live more frugally these days, and the Metro Summer BBQ does dovetail sort of nicely with that. I want to say that it's always a good time, but that's not true. So, instead, maybe, the slogan should be : "The Metropolitan: Sometimes It's Fun". But you can't blame the place, right?

After BBQ we hustled over to Cameo Gallery, where B0DYH1GH was playing a fantastic show, Naked Brunch, organized by Joseph Keckler. The other performers were the Idiot, Milena (cousings with Ms. Joseph Keckler), Hari Nef, Joseph Herself, and of course Gerry and the Twinks. I wore my black and white Lanvin Luke/look, comme d'habitude. Here's a cute photo Gerry shot of it backstage.

I sort of realized that I am basically going for a Trish Keenan effect. Rest in Power. 

Couldn't you just

I think B0DYH1GH did a great set. Some of our newer, more upbeat but still creepy material. Here's a great photo of us onstage: 

The other acts were so much fun. Deer Heart Nath Ann Camerra DJed this event as well. Such a fun night! The headliner was, of course, Miss Gerry & The Twinks.

If you think about it, is Gerry Visco sort of #Seapunk? I'm being actually serious. I have felt (and vocalized this feeling) that Gerry and Ms. Nicki Minaj are sort of headed towards the same logical glamorous pink-haired conclusion, but now looking back at Gerry's work after her performance, and knowing what I do know about her, she seems to jive with the Seapunk stuff.

She closed her set with everyone onstage, her group of twinks singing and dancing along, to an Alvin & the Chipmunks cover version of the Black Eyed Peas' "I Got A Feeling". You guys, it was so good. Like, one of those magickal moments that makes you glad that you live in New York. Gerry Visco is so fantastic. Ugh.

I've been seeing a lot of really amazing shows lately, you guys. I just recently went to go see Jukebox Jackie at La MAMA. It was so fucking rad, you guys. It stars Mx Justin Vivian Bond, Bridget Everett, and Cole Escola, and is based on the life, stories, and songs of Ms. Jackie Curtis. It was maybe the snazziest show I'd seen all year. It's kind of mind-blowing to watch the cast all together. They're all such superstars, everyone's so fucking good. And the show seems like a big hit. A lot of celebrities are going to see it (other than yrs truly). Like, here. Check out this photo from last weekend of Patricia LuPone with Cole:


Cole has that shit.eating.grin on her face. Seriously, it's great show and it's only up for one more weekend in NYC and you should go see it!

Also in great shows lately, I saw that dog. perform last week. Seriously! It was kind of so amazing. Oddly had figured into my dream life, so it was nice to come full circle on something as well. Such a nice experience. I went with Dan and Nath Ann, and they all seemed to know all of the words. basically everybody at the venue knew all of the words. I knew, like, some of the words. that dog. used to be one of those bands that you couldn't casually bring up in conversation among me and my friends, because everybody had feelings about them (about that one record, really, I mean-- let's be real). I do like the last that dog. record, possibly best? There's probably nothing Petra Haden can't do. Probably.

I also went to go see Carmelita Tropicana's new piece, POST-PLASTICA last weekend:

In no small part because Becca Blackwell and Erin Markey are in it. I had gone over to their new apartment to help them move in the day before. They live right near me now! It's rad. Well, the next, maybe, two neighborhoods over. Anyway-- social call. Their SHOW was fantastic. It's closed, but it might happen again. I had a really good time. I had only seen Carmelita's work on video or in other snippet forms. She was part of the Vaginal Davis Is Speaking From the Diaphragm evening I was part of at PS122 oh so many moons ago (Becca was also part of it, as one of the "Sit-on-my-Facial" go-gos, but not at the performance I was in).

So the show, POST-PLASTICA is a post-apocalyptic, futuristic, sci-fi fable about identity, culture, authenticity. It is kind of hard to get into the story of it. I hope that it happens again. I will say that everyone in it did a really great job, the show was kind of bonkers (in a good way) and it took me three whole days to fully "get it". Like, I was at the gym last night, and it sort of struck me, what the show is about. It's about, to me, delving into a kind of cautious (dare I say AMBIVALENT) understanding of culture on macro and micro levels. The ways in which power sort of infects, like a virus, the imaginations of artists. The villainess (played with scintillating vigor by our favorite Erin Markey), sort of reveals herself to be compassionate at the end of the show, without letting the audience immediately know. Colonialism is insidious, more insidious and pervasive than you realize, maybe. To understand how power infects it means stepping back, all the way back, possible out of the picture frame of reality. Carmelita Tropicana is so brilliant to ask these questions this way, when I realize what she's doing. I hope this turns into a movie. Wouldn't that be great?

After the show we went to get tacos at this great restaurant by the 103rd St. stop, where I once went with my good buddy Walt Cessna, who I'm actually going up to visit on Friday. I might go back to this restaurant? They had really amaizng horchata? I ate too much that night.

Last week there was this performance at the Hole in NYC by Bruce LaBruce featuring Slava Mogutin, Brian Kenny, Gio Black Peter & Carter. I missed it. But I saw these photos from it, the leftovers from the performance. As Bruce La Bruce said about this piece: "It was in support of feminism".

Now, at first, I was like, well, he's got to be fucking with us, right? How is this about feminism? Is that true? Does he even really believe that? But then I decided that BLAB isn't stupid, he knows exactly what he's doing, which is asking us, by making this claim, to locate how this performance is in support for feminism. It took me a couple of minutes, but I do see that this piece is in support of a certain kind of feminist aesthetic. The post-second-wave thinking of many sort of "classic feminist artists" also informs, I think, BLAB's work. Bruce LaBruce maps out the Erotics of Radicalism.

Okay, so. How is this piece in support of feminism? For me, the piece is another homage to Ana Mendieta:

Here's a film of BODY TRACKS:

Mendieta's iconic work, echoed in the BLAB piece, was covered, or used in homage by the similarly visceral and violent Nancy Spero:

It also made me think of Carolee Schneemann, who has done her own tributes to Mendieta, but specifically the BLAB piece made me think of one of my favorite of Schneemann's work, Up To And Including Her Limits, from 1973.

So, for me, Bruce LaBruce's art work is, in a sort of punk rock fanboy sense, "in support of feminism". I made it true by thinking about it hard enough! BLAB seems to approach feminist discourse in the way that a teenager shops for records, finding the parts that speak to him and illustrating why. Namely, locating the political discourses of violence, militarism, power and oppression within the human body. Locating an erotics, as I said, of radicalism. Making it sexy. Bruce LaBruce's whole trip about zombies and the apocalypse isn't "just" a metaphor for queerness. I think it might be tempting to see this as a case of men appropriating feminist thought and artwork but I think that LaBruce is actually trying to recontextualize, rather than appropriate, the iconic language of Mendieta and others. He's trying to insert himself into this history, to make the history of feminist art include his own artwork, from the outside. This is in support of feminism. I dunno. I think I get it. I got it, I mean, for myself.

Hey speaking of being in support of feminism, check out this cute article about Jabberjaw by Dr. Vaginal Crème Davis in Artforum. Vag is such a great writer. What a cool read.

Finally, I just found some more copies of the most recent issue of SCORCHER: WHITECHOCOLATESPACEEGG. If you want one, for a cut rate price of $2 plus shipping, e-mail me: billycheer@gmail.com

This has been the most fictitious issue yet, and I am beginning work on a bunch of new projects, including a new Scorcher for this fall (hopefully/possibly maybe). Now is a great time to get this zine.

It's about the press. It's about revenge, the press, war. Magick and love.

Man. Okay! here we go.