Favorite fictional character: Weetzie Bat.Or,
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.
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:
You can GET TICKETS HERE!
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: