Tinkerbell Talking

On Monday night, I saw dear baby girl angel sweetness Miss Cole Escola do a scintillating set at 54 Below, which is where Studio 54 used to be (doncha know). The show was called "Downtown Darling". Playing piano was the inimitable Kenny Mellman. The show was fucking fantastic, of course. I'd never been to the venue before. It was packed, which was hardly a surprise. Cole did a few favorites, but the bulk of the show was new material. To promote the gig, Cole did a really funny and smart interview with the Huffington Post about his work. This is my favorite quote:
Q: What are the pluses and minuses of working in front of a live audience as opposed to YouTube or TV? 
A: I sort of treat them the same way. In a live performance, you need the audience’s permission to edit.
I think that's so cool. That struck me, in a way, the idea of getting the audience's permission. It's totally magickal right? Cole is savvy enough to know that this is, of course, a kind of very polite (we can say 'formal') lip service. Even in a cabaret setting, even among his crowd of adoring fans who know and love him, it's impossible to get the audience's permission as such. Consensus building is always a fantasy, and Cole knows this. He's being cute, and letting you know that he's being cute. He concedes that he needs the audience's permission in order to "edit" or assert his will, but of course he doesn't actually solicit the audience's permission. It's impossible, but the nod towards the phantom of willpower, control, "permission" are at the heart of what makes Cole's work so exciting.

On Tuesday night, soul sister Dan Fishback came over and cooked dinner. We watched Dude, Where's My Car? and talked about how great Cole's show was. I met Cole through Dan many years ago, and I remember a number of times, back in those halcyon pre-Recession days, when Dan and I worked together at the law firm and would hang out at the front desk, watching Cole's YouTube Videos, and saying to each other how we wished that he would do more real, live performances. How brilliant we thought he was, how we couldn't wait for him to do shows so we could go with all our friends and everyone would know how amazing and talented and smart Cole is. And I think I can safely speak for Miss Dan when I saw that we feel vindicated.

Of course Cole is adorable. Of course Cole is cute, and seems very sweet, friendly, good-natured. Of course he has excellent stage presence, having been trained as an actor. He can, of course, sing and dance very well, and has eclectic, idiosyncratic taste in music. These are great things, but they do not necessarily a great show make. They're not enough. Cole's work is so striking because he's not subverting the actual tropes of performance or cabaret or anything. It's not like he's going onstage and being horrifying and ugly and aggressive, daring you to find him charming (meanwhile, this puerile kind of low-intellect "punk" shtick is exactly the kind of thing shit I would pull). What Cole does subvert is the audience's expectations. It comes back to this idea of "the audience's permission". Cole makes you strikingly aware of what you want. It's a really hard thing to do: how can you make an entire room of people not only cheer for you (which any fool can do) but be conscious of their desire to cheer for you. Cole makes you make up your mind. The way he does it is by performing a kind of fearless making up of his own mind. For me, everything is about courage. Cole may or may not be actually fearless, in his day-to-day life, but onstage he shows that questions of fear or comfort are more or less irrelevant. He admitted during the performance on Monday that he was nervous. He admitted that he was scared of fucking up the lyrics to one of the songs, and he did fuck them up-- more than once. And he admitted that he was frustrated and he tried to stop the song. But then Kenny started playing the chorus, and Cole shrugged and jumped back into the song and fucking nailed it. It was sort of like that awful moment in Peter Pan, when the audience has to cheer really loudly or Tinkerbell will die. You sort of know that she's going to live, anyway, but you clap regardless. That suspension of disbelief is comforting; it's a game, you want to play it. Cole abandoning a song mid-verse is uncomfortable. He might really just walk out (almost).

And then, you know, technically, it was a fucking flawless victory. Who cares about Queen's dusty, musty old lyrics? I've seen Cole perform a number of times, and while it's always been a treat, I can say with some certainty that on Monday night his voice sounded better than I've ever heard it before. It was frankly staggering. Kenny's work was absolutely pitch-perfect. Of course Kenny is known for his work in Kiki and Herb and Our Hit Parade, but like Cole, the range of musical interests and styles he indulges in is intimidatingly vast. How I wish I could have seen Kenny's solo show about Grace Jones (which he said in an interview I furiously read just after moving to NYC was about the death of nightlife culture), or his collaboration with Bridget Everett, At Least It's Pink. His heartbreaking solo chamber musical about being a queer in the armed services, musical Say Seaboy, You Sissy Boy? broke hearts all over town. Kenny's of course also a member of The Julie Ruin. Like Miss Escola, Miss Mellman has worked across a variety of genres and themes and brings his wisdom to the cabaret stage. They're not fucking around; they're not experimenting. It's not research, or it doesn't seem to be. They're actually doing all of this on purpose. The songs were well-chosen, beautifully paced, and I gotta say, performed really fucking well. It was such a treat to see two performers clearly and earnestly plying their trade, applying their weirdo musical passions along with good old fashioned elbow grease to make something really good. You can tell they worked on this. It shows.

Cole makes really intense eye contact, when he wants to. Sometimes he tries to be a little bit unnerving, I think, for comedic effect. I would liken this less to the stare of a deer in the headlights, than a deer glaring at you from behind the wheel. I've always thought that discussing Cole's performance strategy alongside a dichotomy of "cute vs creepy" was kind of pedestrian, sort of misses the point. However, his show on Monday really was scary, in a way. In full disclosure, I'm friends with Cole. I totally love him as a person, and I know that he's had kind of a crazy year this year, so maybe that's informed my reading of his show. But even for those in the audience who don't know him, the show had the feeling of someone who has clearly become aware of the stakes being raised. His sort of cynical references to his own love life (the original ballad he penned "Slut on a Monday Night" never sounded better) dovetailed into jokes about name-dropping and people's fear of mortality. He openly addressed his nervousness onstage, his feeling of fear and failure with the same earnest eye contact that he discussed his first scandalous kiss, in the backwoods of Oregon. Cole seemed to be inhabiting the world of his performance in a new way. There was extra gravity onstage on Monday night. I got goosebumps. I'm so obsessed with this idea of getting the audience's permission to edit. I thought maybe it refers to a kind of utopian consensus-building, the kind that's nice to imagine but practically impossible. Maybe the idea of the audience's permission as Cole referred to it is actually consent, like how you would ask for consent when you're having sex with someone. Is it okay to do this? Do you like this? And Cole, like any Slut past a Monday night worth her salt knows, getting consent is a two part process. Part of it is of course asking the other person (the audience) if they are okay with what you're doing, if they like what you're doing. As a cabaret performer that's easy enough to do, the audience claps. But the other part of getting consent is making yourself vulnerable. This is what I like. This is what don't like. Here, let me show you. 

In OTHER inspiring news, Gio Black Peter has just released the fantastic new video for his song "Flip Flopping" which is maybe my favorite song off of his Virgin Shuffle E.P. It's NSFW and is directed by Matt Lambert & Gio Black Peter.

Gio Black Peter FLIP FLOPPING from gio black peter on Vimeo.


A family member works for a health-food and vitamin-supplement distribution company and so sometimes for birthdays I get some very special woo-woo supplements which I would never think to get for myself. And sometimes they're great and weird and sometimes they're just weird. Like, I got this body lotion that is L-Tryptophan, which I actually do love. I mean: a sleeping pill that comes in a sticky brown body lotion. This is exactly my fantasy. Ultimate Fantasy Boyfriend. Most recently I got a big bag of chia seeds, which I'm adding to everything I consume.

Or, I'm trying to. Chia seeds so great, they're like... the new Kombucha. Not to talk shit about Kombucha. Although, Sexy Psychedelic Santa aka Dr. Andy Weil (who seems pretty right-on in a lot of other ways) has some pretty harsh things to say about the 'booch. Which is a little bit vindicating, because I don't really like Kombucha too too much and now I know I'm not missing something so important. Or, I don't know I think. Anyway Chia's been given Miss Honeybear Weil's Blessing.

How weird that my life, that I'm being excited about this: a new type of seed! Did you know that most insects don't like the Chia plant (what are they, crazy?) so it's a lot easier to find organic chia? Fucking kill me. Jesus.

The weekend was boring, was hard but boring. I didn't do as much/enough of anything. How weird to be able to notice the rhythms of your body. Like, the weekend before I really went out and partied too hard for my own good, but last weekend I slept, mostly. Cooked. Thought. Meditated.

Having a hell of a time putting together this new art piece. I guess I tend to think kind of thematically, conceptually, and not so much narratively. I understand that most artists sort of just make the thing they're going to make, and try to enjoy the process and not worry about the end-point. That seems like good advice. I'm totally scared about what I'm doing because what if it sucks? Or even worse, what if it doesn't suck, but it just seems like it's going to suck, so people don't come? Is that even worse? I can't worry about this.

I want to make art that makes people feel really encouraged and excited and welcomed because that's how I would like to feel, myself, personally. I think a lot of the time I make art (or whatever) because I can't feel a certain way so I try to make other people feel that way. Or at least call attention to the fact that that's what I'm doing-- a strategy.

Projection, I guess.


Ghost Measure

What if you were a spy who was so good at keeping a secret that you didn't reveal your identity, even to yourself? Is that even possible? I guess what I mean is; what if you had subconsciously changed and didn't realize it? What if you weren't who you said you were? This, I think, is the beginning of me going through my Saturn Return.

Which is ridiculous. I feel like Saturn Return is a self-fulfilling prophecy. I used to live with a bunch of really cool older lesbians, and I was 21 they were all 28 and Going Through It. Or so they said. I thought they were making themselves go through it. Now I see that they were not, that the impulse to Go Through It is deep, and immediate. I want to change. No, I want to be done changing.

I feel like I'm going through puberty except instead of gaining pubic hair, I'm gaining wrinkles. Laugh lines. Should I quit smoking? It's too late, I already have a wrinkle. I saw it this morning in the magnified mirror in our kitchen. Unmistakable. A wrinkle on my face. I'm not who I used to be.

But who even am I? I look around, I look at the things I used to do, the feelings I used to have, the ways I liked to think (or didn't like to think) the art and writing I used to like to make. It all seems so distant. I feel like a foreign exchange student in my own life. I am walking on eggshells around my host parents, afraid that I'll unintentionally offend them. It's like I don't know the customs here.

And who are the rest of the people I suddenly find myself surrounded by? Where did you come from? These people who just moved here to claim yet again yes again the aesthetic culture that was never there. To make a scene that seems vibrant and encouraging and accepting but not, of course, accepting of me. Where am I, even?

Do I even want to make art anymore? Do I even want to be alive anymore? I'm not going dark I'm just saying I think it's so important to constantly interrogate yourself and your desires. Even if the answer is "I don't fucking know." I don't fucking know. I don't know who I want to be or what I want or how I want to get it. I really don't. I think I might be moving towards a theory of narrowing-down. Moving on from what I do not want.

Like: I don't want to get famous. I've actually never wanted to get famous. I've been more or less entirely willing to participate in whatever's happening around me, though, so long as it strikes my fancy. That seems to be confusing.

There's only one rule in improvisation, and it's this: "Say Yes".

Liza knows what I'm talking about.

But really, I've never wanted to get famous as such. I just have always felt more or less resolutely that it's more fun to say yes than to say no. Other people have accused me of wanting to get famous, and I feel like I've been punished for that, but I never wanted it. So, while keeping the idea of always saying Yes! I feel more than ever that I do not want to be famous. That's not what I want. Not that it's an option for me, but I feel like it's important to me to be clear about it: I don't want to have to appeal to everyone. I mean, sure, of course I want everyone to like me, but not if I have to pander to everyone. What about people who are assholes? I don't care if they like me. Like, if someone's a total jerk? Whatever, they can stay away.

I used to think that if someone was a jerk, it was because they were unloved. Maybe they didn't love themselves enough. I think that's probably still true, but I no longer feel that just because I notice this about someone means I have to have the ability to address it. It might not be my mess to fix.Noticing and being able to affect change are different skills and I might not have both. Sorry to say. Not all the time.

This might be new or might not be a new realization. I think, recently, how I'm changing so much I don't know who I am anymore, but I feel so left out. But y'know, I've always felt that way. Left out. Especially over the last few years, but for a long time before then. Going to back to when I was a little kid and no one would let me play with them because I was the new kid and I was really queer-seeming (duh). I've always felt like I was on my own and not included. In a way, I can't trust anything that I don't have to make myself.

For a long time recently I stopped making things, because it was too painful to feel like a fuck-up all the time. But I feel like a fuck-up whether or not I'm making something. So I might as well make stuff as long as it makes me feel better. But how do you know when you feel better? Better than what? I'm lost. I am unmoored. I've been reading Colette's collected stories all summer. It's been my summer reading project. I'm nowhere near done, but summer is done. I'm behind.

I'm behind in everything else.
What to do? What to do.

I used to think that if only I got more attention things would be better. But I got all the attention I could have ever hoped for, and more. Which is, in a way, worse. By my mid 20s, I had accomplished so many of my wildest fantasies. I got what I wanted and it didn't make a whole lot of a difference. It just taught me about wanting things. I mean: my life has not appreciably changed. The quality of my life isn't so much greater, on a day-to-day level. I still have a day job. I still have my student loans. I still feel lonely. I still don't know how to fit in. Now, I have wrinkles. Now, I have the memories of these fantastic things, and they are in the past. I'm not trying to be snide or downplay how much I've enjoyed my life so far. I'm trying to say that it's great to want attention, but it's not enough. What happens when you get what you want? You have to want another thing. That's what I'm saying.

I think I used to know what I wanted, or I used to be able to imagine things that would be fun for me, but I can't really imagine any right now. Which is kind of cool. I get to have room for new things to happen. But it's also a little bit scary. Like maybe my imagination is dead. Maybe I'm a ghost. Would that be so bad, I wonder.

Sometimes I think that all I am capable or, or good at, or that my seeming vocation in life is to piss people off. To inspire one of two reactions in people (sometimes both, one after the other). I feel like I'm only capable of:
A) making people resent me outright for having something they imagine they want, or
B) making people love me to the point where they want to destroy me, whether or not they're conscious of this.

But it's hard to measure yourself by how you're treated by others. How would a ghost measure herself? I think what I want, more than attention, or more than imagination, is to wake up and to wake other people up. I keep talking about this. I'll talk more about this later, too-- but the point, the goal might be a bucket of cold water. It really could be that simple.

Today I got my new shoes in the mail, after waiting more than a month! They're official German Army Trainers and I bought them from Germany.

Loads of very fancy designers make versions of these shoes but if you can find them, the originals are pretty cheap. The last time I was in Berlin I found a pair of deadstock shoes, unworn but very old, at a Berlin thrift-store. I've worn them pretty much every single day since then, and they need to be replaced.

I hate throwing out shoes. But I have to. So I got a new pair. They're just the greatest.

Now, thinking of Berlin and what I want from there (other, of course, than my dearest La JohnJoseph) is some Club motherfucking Maté.


I want to wake up and I want to take you with me. I used to be such a different person. The only photo that's on my profile on that dating website is a photo I took of myself when I had longer hair, many years ago. It's a trick question.

Do you like the boy in that photo? He's dead.

A new one has replaced him. Get to know him. There are no photos of the new boy, but you'll like him better than the old boy. Because the old one's dead. And the new one is the one talking to you right now.


Mortally Adorable: Two Nights by Joan Diddy Un

Kind of too epic, these nights. I meant to say before, last week, about last weekend's epic nights too. But they made me so sick last week I almost smudged them out of my memory. And now it's been so long... I'll do my best though.

That Friday, the before last Friday, PLD and I met up, packed up our things, acoustic guitar and my cello and the keyboard, and went to Dixon Place to perform at Jason & Jill's CRAFT FOR YOUR LIFE talk show/art show. The other guests were John Early and Travis Steele Sisk and they were real fantastic, of course, but the main stars of the night were Jason and Jill. How wonderful they were and what a treat to be part of that show. If you're in NYC you should come to any performance they ever do.

B0DYH1GH performed, of course, as the musical guest. We did an acoustic, drone-y, scary and fun version of Cat Power's 1996 American masterpiece "Nude as the News". Perfect Little Daniel worked very closely with Chan Marshall's original text (source material) limning out a sense of foreboding, imminent doom and disaster that the original composition seems to merely hint at. I played the cello, contributing some dissonance. Right? I was sick, PLD seemed to be sick too: we had Cat Power Cocktails (tequila and soda). After the show we walked up to the subway with Brian Belukha and Ben Ha'Bear, the JUDY boys, and got cheap pizza and saw lots of people on the corner of Astor Place swearing that it was legal for them to try to sell us drugs (we didn't buy any). It was so weird.

PLD and I went home to drop off the gear, then high-tailed it back to Manhattan to go to dear heart Paul Icon's birthday roast. We were late and so missed most of the actual roasting. Caught the last little bit though. It was hilarious, and sweet, and really kind of "in-your-face". I could never in a million years have a roast at one of my birthdays. I don't have that kind of skin. After the formal presentation, Paul's friends, sexy kids all, had a dance party. I drank some blueberry vodka and soda it was delicious, but probably not good for my sickness. They had a real nice snack table at that party. Lots of fruit and skewers and cute boys and everyone liked all the music.

Oh, and it was carpeted, too, this fantastic apartment. Carpeted and air-conditioned. In an interview a few years ago, Björk draws this distinction between Matthew Barney and her. She says that Barney likes being the city, but she likes nature. She describes her ideal circumstances, and I can't find the quote but I think it's something like, her idea of heaven is being out in the woods somewhere with birds flying around her and a deer licking her hand. Not to imply any commonalities between M. Barney and I, but my idea of heaven is a carpeted, air-conditioned apartment in the West Village. So two Friday nights ago I went to heaven and I was sick but I didn't mind. I had taken a lot of Sudafed, which I never do, so I guess that explains it.

After the birthday party, we went to Greenpoint to see Miss Teebs, Miss Jessica Paps, Miss Diego, Miss Lola, and the out-of-out visitor Miss Mickey Pussy. Oh, my gosh! Such a brief, altogether too-too brief rendezvous, at a charming little Greenpoint minitime black-hole called (I think) the No-Name Bar? I was pretty drunk. I didn't stay that long but I hugged a lot and took the bus home.

No, wait. I didn't take the bus home. I took the bus to the subway stop, but it was 3am and I was starving so I went to get one of those fancy sandwiches at Hana. There, I ran into an old boyfriend but we didn't say hello to each other. I felt kind of territorial, being at my late-night sandwich shop. He looked good. But you know what? I also look good. And while so few things in life are graded on a curve: my ex always looked good, and so him looking good now isn't that big of a surprise. But when we were going out, many years ago, I wasn't that cute, and I'm a lot, so very much, cuter now. So I feel like that's superior somehow.

But you know what? Anyone can get an A. The trick is, can you keep it? Maybe it's harder to stay cute, to stay the same, than it is to allow yourself to change, blossom, ripen and rot. The way I've been doing it. Just being mortal. Just being Mortally Adorable.

The point is I stood my ground and got my sandwich and went home after the epick night.

Last Wednesday, B0DYH1GH performed at Gio Black Peter's party, SUPER BISEXUALS at Sugarland. We wanted to do something new as well as something which would be easily portable, meaning that we wouldn't have to bring along our fantastic musical instruments for. So after much soul-searching PLD and I came up with an homage to this historic performance.

Our act at SUPER BI was pretty much exactly like that. We fucking NAILED it. Such a wonderful evening.

This past Friday I hung out at Lola's new apartment, listening to Donna Summer LPs and talking about the Jewish New Year and sexy queer witchy rabbis. Just hanging out. Also talking about boys.

I have perilously little to say in this regard, these days. I might not mind that.

So then after chilling till midnight, Lola and I went to The Metro, where we saw Teebs and Ha'Bear and Boogers and old college Chums including Bennetrice Madison and Frank OMGblog. The place was p-a-c-k-e-d and when they closed down the back patio at 1am I knew I it was time for me to hit the fucking road, right? The point is that I knew I was to have an epick night on Saturday.

And I did. It was a beautiful day, Saturday. I had a beautiful time. In the evening, early dusk, Sam and I, who are newly neighbors, met up and went to a very chic art opening in the East Villlage, in someone's apartment. Sam's work was in the show, as well as a cast of literally international superstars, loosely-organized around the theme of The Picture of Dorian Gray. The art was fantastic, for one thing. Buddy Tyler joined us at the opening, as did Paul, another of the artists in the show. Got to see Miss Matt Nasser as well, which was long overdue and entirely a treat. Miss Nasty if you're Nasser is organizing the art who at La MAMA featuring Stevie Hanley and Sophie Iremonger. I'm very excited to see the show and told Matt as much at the opening. The apartment was gorgeous and they had two small dogs there and a cage full of parakeets, and a no-shoes rule, which wasn't being strictly enforced but I do like to play by the rules. And an open bar and a snack table with vegan spring rolls. We had such a great time, being there early until not even that late, drinking sparkling wine and talking about art and men and beauty, etc. But, you know, the night was young. We left the East Village, I ate some gross $1 pizza (ugh) and we got in a car to go to the FiDi (Financial District) to go to China Chalet for the launch part of a new magazine having to do with Sex.

Punctual as we were, I guess the rest of the party hadn't arrived. We went up the street to the charming McDonald's bistro where I got (ugh ugh) a milkshake. I've lived in New York for seven years and I've never been to a McDonalds here, and I guess I just broke my streak. Feel only a little ashamed. Fortified with milkshakes we went back to the Chalet and had a Chinese Chalet Cocktail but still the crowds were slow in arriving. We didn't see much of this magazine, or anything having to do with it. And while the Chalet was carpeted (which was nice) and you could smoke indoors (a Continental indulgence, to be sure) we were pooped. As we left, we saw some friends coming but told them we were just leaving. Sorry guys, enjoy the Sex Magazine Party.

We took a cab to beautiful historic Williamsburg to go to the Badussy & Reggay party at Public Assembly. A soupçon of schmoozing got us a discounted door entry and I did dance for a bit, before burning out and declaring that I would go home. But I didn't go home, I went just up the street to This "N" That, Williamsburg's newest gay bar, formerly known as the Cove. apparently so new that some of the clientele didn't know it was a gay bar. But how could you not? I saw a very nice, totally inspirational drag queen give a nice little speech and song and dance number about believing in yourself. That's one piece of advice (the advice to believe in yourself) that you can never hear too many times. Thanks, Queen!

Having grown bored of This 'N That (mind you, the fourth place I went to that night) I ran into Maffew and Daniel outside on North Sixth and we all went to the Metropolitan. There it was Gag and that was fun, I guess. So many laughter/jokes. At Metro though I ran into Gio Black Hot Chili Peter and also Chris and Tyler. We went to Sugarland (yes) where another judicious soupçon of schmooze got us through the door without the cover fee. Sugarland's green lazers were their usual mix of welcoming and bracing. We had fun at Sugarland, for sure. All retired for the afterparty at Chris digs and after the sun came up we all went home, having laughed and had just so much fun. I very very rarely stay up so late.

Sunday morning I had an understandably splitting headache. I felt really horrible. Like, amazingly so. Still, I managed to get my act together and do the things I needed to do, meaning grocery shopping and my laundry. And I took out my air conditioner, because it's no longer so hot.

I watched Johnny Mnemonic and went to bed quite early, dulled, stupefied by my hangover headache. Was it worth it? I don't know. Keanu Reeves is so good in that movie, even though it's mostly awful. He plays, basically, a hard-drive who's overloaded himself. He whines constantly about how full he is of data.

Also Henry Rollins plays a renegade surgeon. I'm not surprised that Hank is a natural, sensitive actress.

I always knew she had it in her.


Viva Worship

I feel like there is no simple or cool or cute or funny way of saying how much I love Grace Jones. I listen to Grace Jones' records about as much as I listen to anything else, ever. I have the record sleeve of Nightclubbing pinned to my bedroom wall and I look at it every single day.

Favorite fictional character: Weetzie Bat.
Favorite non-fictional character: Grace Jones. Duh! She's gonna live forever, man, and she will always be crazy-thin and will always be having sex and will always beat you up.
- Interview Magazine
WB: Speaking of music, describe the depths of your love of Grace Jones.
MS: Y'know, through sheer luck, I've had a little bit of publicity in the last couple of months, and in everything that comes out I manage to mention Grace Jones. I'm getting a reputation and I just want to say that I am totally one hundred percent fine with that. She is a constant reference point for me - an inspiration every day. When I'm feeling blocked, I listen to her records, watch her videos and performances. Grace Jones is the sound of New York City.
WB: Nightclubbing or Warm Leatherette?
MS: Nightclubbing for sure. It's one of my all-time favorite records ever, and the record I play when I'm in bed with someone. The first week I moved to New York, in June 2005, I remember going to Kim's Video to buy a copy and spending the rest of the afternoon walking through a summer rainstorm - which we don't have in California - listening to it on my CD player and cruising the East Village. I wasn't around when it first came out, but it still feels like an entirely new sound to me. Warm Leatherette is a lot more cohesive, much more of a product, too put-together. Nightclubbing leaves a lot more room for interpretation and renegotiation. It's just so weird. The sentiments there aren't as sure of themselves, and it's where you really start to see just how sexy, powerful and fucking strange the mystique of Grace can be.
WB: Conan the Destroyer or View to a Kill?
MS: This is a loaded question, Weston. Grace Jones fans lovingly forgive these movies. That being said, View to a Kill because a) fuck Arnold Schwarzenegger and b) Grace's character in View, May Day, had better outfits, topped Bond in bed, and climbed the fucking Eiffel Tower.
WB: Grace Jones' new album starts out with "This is my voice, my weapon of choice." What's your weapon?
MS: My weapon is Grace Jones' voice.
- EastVillageBoys

Photo of me in homage to Grace by Stuart Sanford.

On July 30th 2009, Grace Jones performed in New York. I didn't go, because I was performing a piece I made called Lover, Ferocious at the New Museum that night , but a lot of people I know went to go see Grace and said it was just the best night ever. My night was also the best night ever, but I am so sad that I didn't get to see her. A few weeks ago I found out that she's playing again in NYC, and I was so worried that I wouldn't be able to get a ticket. But I did. I feel so fucking relieved, and excited. It has the ring of justice, to me. I'm not, as a rule, much for idol or Diva worship, but Grace Jones is pretty much it, for me. That's it. And it's happening. I'm gonna see her. I can't wait. I'm so thrilled.

SPEAKING OF DIVA WORSHIP. My dear heart friend Ben Rimalower has a brilliant one-man show about Diva Worship (in addition to many other things) called PATTI ISSUES, which he's performing at the DUPLEX. It's heartbreaking and hilarious. I've seen Ben work on a few different iterations of this show, and being able to see both him and the project blossom and grow over the last few years has been really inspiring. His writing his witty and sharp without sacrificing nuance. He manages a very fine balance of comic and tragic tones, using his utter fanboy's love of Patti LuPone as lens through which to examine love in general. It's smart and funny and sweet, and captures one of the highlights some of the most wonderful things about Ben's personality (which I recognize because he's a friend of mine) as well as his sensibilities as a director and writer. Ben Rimalower does not suffer fools gladly. He demands that everyone interrogate and answer for what they love and don't love. You could never just say "Oh I LOVE her" about some song without having a reason WHY. This engaged, fully-conscious kind of loving, worship even, makes for a scintillating performance, and I absolutely highly recommend that everyone go see it. This is an eminently doable thing to do, since the show's just been extended:


I went on opening night and had just the best time ever. I'm bummed I went that early though, because look who came to one of the other shows, and also had an amazing time:


I've Been Sick

My new thing, this new comeback I've been thinking of lately is to say to someone, right after they've said something nasty to you, look them in the eye and softly smile and say: DON'T EVER CHANGE. It sounds like a compliment, but it's actually kind of a curse, in a sort of "zen" way, y'know? It's like saying "Never evolve." It's sort of mean, right? But it's a thing that whoever you say it to has to think about. I actually think it's kind of okay to plan awesome comebacks.

One time I was really stressing about running into this guy, who was friends with my ex. And they were both so obnoxious (this was a long time ago-- maybe they've changed). But I thought, "Y'know, if I run into that guy tonight, and he brings up my ex, I'm going to think of something awesome to say." And I thought something up, and I ran into that guy that night, and he totally brought up my ex! And I had this awesome comeback, and I said it, and it was great. It totally sounded spontaneous and the guy felt, probably, impressed by my wit. So it was worth the effort.

This morning in our meeting, we were talking about being afraid to take a stand. Being afraid to object, because of the repercussions. Like maybe people will agree with you, in private, but if you get punished for speaking out, then they won't support you anymore. It's a frustrating situation. Someone said that they've been noticing that across the board, in our culture as well. We've gotten away from the forms of expression of the 1960s and 1970s, those forms of consciousness and communication. And it affects the art that we make now. Or at least that was true of the art that this person had seen.

I do sort of think, you know, about how that is true. This being afraid to take a stand. That is new. Or maybe to just measure right now by an old tool-- of course it'd fail. Maybe being outspoken in and of itself isn't as crucial now as it was in the past. Maybe being able to not take a stand-- or as we now know, take all stands all the time, together, simultaneously, as if to erase them like with a black hole. Maybe that is the new way we should be measuring. So, basically, find a new way to measure right now so that it looks good.

And then tonight I waited to meet my cousin for dinner. She's my second cousin and was in town for a conference about the type of work she does which is in marketing. I was also meeting my third cousin, who just moved to New York to go to college, two weeks ago. While we were waiting for the second cousin to arrive at the hotel, we saw Cyndi Lauper walk by. Does she stay at the hotel? Doesn't she have a very nice and cheap apartment? Isn't that part of the myth of her?

When my Second cousin arrived we all went out to dinner and we were talking about speaking to people about marketing, and about art. I don't remember how it came up, but I told my Second Cousin that I didn't know a ton about marketing, but it seemed to be very "in" right now. It seems to be really cool to be into branding, per se. My Second Cousin nodded sagely. Of course it did. She said that her daughter was really into watching America's Next Top Model and at some point they always bring on a marketing person to talk to the girls about their Brands. I told my Second Cousin that I know nothing about branding. I told her that she must get this all the time, but I really don't have a brand. She smiled. I know that everyone's supposed to have a brand but honestly, I don't have one.

Sometimes I think maybe I was born without one. Who wants to be more consistent?

My Second Cousin laughed at the joke she thought I was making. We talked about art and about how artists sometimes have difficulty thinking about art and commerce together (I know I sure do!)

My Third Cousin who just moved to New York to go to college, two weeks ago said "Yeah, it's called Overjustification." Then we talked about how, for example, she's an actress, and in Theater there's such a thing as knowing your Type. You don't audition for roles that are against type.

I've been so obsessed with monk fruit lately. I found this kind of disgusting ice cream that's only 150 calories for the whole pint. The secret is a) it's not actually ice cream it's frozen whey protein and b) monkfruit. It's like a miracle food. What's it called?

A superfood.