Counting Backwards / The Rice Cake of Feelings

I don't think I had posted about it here yet, but if you haven't seen it yet, please go check out this interview I did with Viv Albertine up on Noisey. Big thanks to EastVillageBoys for helping to nudge me to do it in the first place.

I'd been sitting on this interview for a long time, and I'm really happy with how it turned out. I tried to ask questions that she hadn't gotten a million times before, and I think I got some good nuggets. I'm so floored by her new album, The Vermilion Border, which I got yesterday.

Last night, I went to the MIX Festival to a midnight screening of James Brooks Caperton's brilliant film "High Bi Girls". It was so fantastic. I had seen snippets of it a few months ago, but I was so into it. I've known Jimmy for many years, since we were 13 or so. His band, The Judy Experience, is one of my favorite things ever. Here's one of their songs:

They have a new record just coming out now on Cochon Records, which my old homegirl Cotton made the art for. It's AMAZING. Also on the program was GB Jones' "The Yo-Yo Gang" which I had never seen before, and which was so brilliant. There was a dance party happening after the screening, one of those legendary epick MIX Fest parties which we've heard tell about. But I was exhausted, so after a few awkward hellos with some folks, I scampered home.

Today I went to see some of the other artists-in-residence open studio performances at BAX. They were so inspiring. I feel really humbled and grateful to be part of this program. My open studio presentation is Sunday. The trains are kind of fucked up this weekend, but the crowds were great. I had a good time.

Thursday night, I went to the BGSQD launch party/reading. I read my story "RINGO" and Joseph Whitt read, stud muffin wordsmith that he is. Also Ella Boureau read a story featuring Paul Ryan, which was so fantastic! The BGSQD space at 27 Orchard St. is adorable, and stocked with all kinds of wonderful queer books and art (including Scorcher). I'm tickled to have been part of it. I think I did my reading just ok. I feel so nervous about everything lately. Mercury Retrograde?

After the reading, Sam and PLD and I went over to Envoy's Chrystie St. space, to see SUPERM (Slave Mogutin + Brian Kenny)'s new show HEAVEN. There's gonna be a HELL exhibition soon too, but the pieces we saw on Thursday were great! Sensual and sexy but not actually explicit. A little bit unnerving and scary in cool new way. My take on it was that in the photo collages, you don't actually see genitals (or faces), so it's safe in a sense. But it's like how, I kept thinking about angels supposedly don't have genitals, or genders. Is that true? I don't know the first thing about angels, but the figures in the SUPERM show seemed, to me, to be about divine creatures. Angels always imply devils too, necessarily. Great show.

After Envoy, we went to Bluestockings to pick up miss Erin, who was there for a reading celebrating the release of the Sister Spit's new book on their own imprint at City Lights Bookstore. I missed the reading but got to see folks. We all hung out at Bluestockings, browsing for a minute, before going over to Julius' bar for the Mattachine party, where we met up with Nath-Ann and James Brooks. Fun dance-y evening. I could have stayed all night but I had to work in the morning.

Wednesday night I was in the studio, working on the new little selections I'm going to show tomorrow at the open studio. I gotta say, I'm so nervous. I'm worried that people won't get it, or like it, or both. I'm worried about a lot these days, I guess. Worrying is so much more filling than anything else. It is the rice-cake of feelings. I love Rice Cakes. I always think they're such a good snack. A good diet snack. They fill you up but don't bother you with anything along the lines of nutrition. They're a sort of 1970s way of depriving yourself. So, you know, right up my alley. But then I recently read an article by a nutritionist that rice cakes are the worst thing you can eat, because they're just empty carbs, and you don't really need them. They give you a false sense of energy, or something? Again, it makes sense why I like them. Worrying is like this. You think it's gonna help, it really doesn't. You think it will fill you up as a substitute for something else, a substitute for what you really want or what you really need. But it's a poor substitute. The only gratification to be had is one of self-denial. That's a hard way to live, constantly getting off on not getting off. Worrying is like that. You never think: "Wow, I'm so glad I worried about that. All that worrying sure paid off." Maybe there are exceptions there. Making art probably isn't one of them.

Tuesday night, I went to see the inimitable Dr. Vaginal Crème Davis do a performance/public discussion with Dr. Jose Munoz at NYU. It had been rescheduled from earlier before, because of the hurricane, and it was so much fun. Vag is of course an icon and a huge inspiration, and I was tickled to hear her share some of her trajectory, her story, her life in Berlin as an ExPat Goddess. Here's a cute photo of the two of us together, snapped by Conrad from USELESS.

Adoring! I never smile in photos, almost never.

She showed a clip of a film of Suddenly Last Summer, with miss Davis playing Katherine Hepburn's role. Now this is significant for a number of reasons:

a) Who doesn't love Suddenly Last Summer, obviously Vaginal Davis is a sensitive, nuanced, skillful actress, it was a treat in its own, of course.

b) Been thinking a lot about Katherine Hepburn lately. Last weekend, PLD and I were going on the deep end watching some clips of Katherine Hepburn being regal on TV. She's been on my mind all week. To wit:

I love the "very strong and very pretty" part. Such a Taurus! Also: "I'll wear it to your funeral". NICE, Kate. And that lead us to this wonderful Bette Davis clip:

It's so crazy how that final point she makes, that fame must never be your motivation, that you have to want to make work, to be unknown, etc. How that point seemed so obvious to her, and seems to irrelevant today. How many times have you had a conversation with someone in New York who says "I just want to be really famous"? I feel like I hear this a lot from people. I wish I had Bette Davis' self-assuredness so I could properly tell people off. But the good news is, I guess, if I hang on long enough, some day I will get Bette Davis' self-assuredness. I will, absolutely. It's only a matter of time.

c) There was another Kate Hep clip where she rearranges the furniture on a talk show, which was funny because the Vaginal talk had an adorable, meticulous stage set-up, which reminded me of the video. Thinking a great deal about how to make a space to be in, in the best possible way. What would that space be like? Then, how would you be in it?

Tonight is the Metropolitan's 10th anniversary party. I'm going to wear the Comme des Garçons shirt I got that says "GOLDEN BOY" on it. So weird to think that bar's been there for ten years. It feels ancient. But so do, I in a way.

I was looking over this blog, and over the last year, the thing that seems to appear on here more than anything else, more than any other phrase, is "I don't know". Sometimes rendered as "I dunno." How funny! As I get older, I seem to know less. When I was younger, writing this blog felt totally certain. Or, more certain more of the time. I really don't know, these days. I used to know. I used to think I knew. I think that felt good. Often it felt bad, though, too. It was just constant feelings. But not anymore. Now I'm a grown-up. I eat rice cakes and worry. I don't have time or space for real feelings. I'm kidding.

I feel like between the eclipse last week and Mercury being Retrograde and the holidays approaching, everything seems to be making people feel shitty. I think part of being so plugged in, as we are, across all these social networks, we're all sort of engaged in one long epick protracted conversation. I feel like I'm listening in. Anyway, this past week, it seems like so many of my friends are having a rough time. Really going through it. And up until last night, I wasn't. I felt, like, oddly left out, in a way. Like, where's my pathos? I felt a little bit proud for not being down in the dumps when everyone else is. I wanted to be the supportive one. I want to prove my durability, by demonstrating it, using it.

But then last night and today, I feel kind of shitty too. Just touching on all my old-fashioned neurosis of, like, not existing. Or only existing to give people stuff, like people only want something from me. And when I'm in a bad mood I feel like that. So it's a clue that I'm in a bad mood, when I notice this feeling. It's not that everybody just wants stuff from me-- it's that I'm nothing. The things they want from me are irrelevant. It's that I'm not real, the person they want something from doesn't exist. How can I be supportive or validating or say or do what you want me to, when I don't exist? How can I tell you that the person you're talking to isn't real? When I'm in a bad mood, I feel guilty, responsible for being unable to tell you how I'm not real.

But it's not an issue when I'm in a good mood. I'm still not real, but when I'm in a good mood, it's not so impossible to articulate. None of us are real. I have this mortal fear of disappointing people, revealing my nothingness. It's a total chicken-or-the-egg thing: how can I show that I am not real, when I feel so bad? and how can I stop feeling bad if I'm keeping this secret (that I'm not real, that none of us are real) to myself? I know, I sound like a crazy person. This is what I'm making art about, though.

I'm excited to work on this new project, and share it with people. I don't want to be popular. I don't want people to like me, because I don't exist. What I want is to make art that lays bare the terrifying and gorgeous facts of the matter: we are all not real, none of us are getting out of here alive. We're eating air meals and pretending it's delicious food. The Emperor's New Clothes. The thing about that is:

The thing about the Emperor's New Clothes is not that he was such an egoist  It's that the poor townspeople, the peasants, seeing him walk through the street naked, they noticed it. They noticed he was naked, because they were poor, they knew what it was like not to have any clothes. They recognized that you can be rich, be powerful, be beautiful, and still have an impoverished imagination. You can think and wish and ache and work and strut and you will still be naked. And if you've ever been naked, then you can recognize nudity when you see it.

We're not stupid. We know the difference between styrofoam and food.
We forget, but the choosing reminds us.

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