4/28/13

Cooking without Tasting

I was worried that I was taking myself too seriously, so I thought: "What would it look like to take yourself all the way seriously? To take yourself seriously to the point of delusion?" I was worried that I cared too much about what other people thought of me, so I tried to imagine what it might look like to follow that caring to its logical conclusion. To depict a kind of relating to the world that is so dysfunctional that you charge money for people to share you company. To have such unwavering, natural entitlement and air of expertise that you don't have to bother making sense. I was worried about being not charismatic enough. Or, to be perfectly frank: I was worried that I was already too charismatic. That people only looked at me to get a sense of self, validation. So I thought: "What would it look like to live entirely for other people's sense of validation?" I wanted to make a show about the failure of charisma. It's not charisma's fault, but there is a death of charisma. It has a natural lifecycle. It has an end. I understand the basic task of humanity as accepting death as an inevitable and inextricable part of life, of existence. Charisma is like this as well. To be merely charismatic is to make the audience feel good, be happy. Yeah, sure. We like movie stars and pop singers who make us happy, and make us want to strive to be more like them or embody their qualities. But that's not enough.  To be truly charismatic, however, is to make the audience feel good, be happy, and feel responsible for that. To make them realize that the good-feelings are generated by them. If done correctly; if you can find the time and space and patience to do it, you disappear. There's no space to be a diva. Narcissus is a red herring. There's no room for egotism. I wanted to try to find a way to do that. And I feel like I am pivoting towards taking baby steps in the right direction. If you wanted to congratulate a group of people, all at the same time, what would that even look like, y'know? It might look, at first, so familiar as to be ignored, unless your attention was called to it.

The big lesson I learned in making this, though, was that I could really have used some more input, help, a director, dramaturg, intern, collaborator, co-writer, costume designer, anything. If only to just talk about it. And say if I'm making no sense or a little sense. I think I could have saved myself so much greif by having another person (or people) there with me. SO: lesson learned. I'm definitely seeking any of the above, if anyone is interested. Please write me. It was a trip. It was like cooking without tasting.

4/25/13

Li'l Click

I know I meant to disappear into the anxiety cave, getting ready for my performances tomorrow night BUT the interview I did last weekend GAYLETTER just came out and I think it turned out so well. Check it out: MAX STEELE WANTS TO HELP YOU SEDUCE YOURSELF. Big thanks to Parker and Mansi and Abi and Tom. How sweet!

Here's a video of my favorite Spice Girls song, "If U Can't Dance", which I mention in the interview.



(And it's true, I totally do want to help you seduce yourself.)

4/24/13

Impossible Rhythms

Coming down to the wire, folks. I'm debuting the full version of my new solo show ENCOURAGER at Brooklyn Arts Exchange this weekend. GET YOUR TICKETS NOW.

Check out, if you haven't already seen it, a cool interview I did about the project with GAY CITY NEWS.

It's 3:35pm and I'm drinking coffee, this is dangerous. I'm excited to go do my rehearsals tonight in the theater. Things feel like they're moving so quickly! I like having deadlines, something to worry or stress out about.

I had a typically fantastic weekend, before hunkering down into my performance preparations. Friday night I saw Jess Barbagallo's Without Me I'm Something at BAX, and was pretty blown away. I've loved watching that work develop throughout the year here, and something about the longer, evening-length format was really successful. I don't mean to say that I had an emotionally pleasant experience the whole time. i don't mean to say that I didn't get bored or uncomfortable during the show. I did, but that was part of it. The piece, a stand-up set by Karen Davis, was so subtly brilliant. It made me jealous, at times, that I hadn't written it. Karen Davis tells her jokes with an unbelievable candor. She structures her set (and comments on how her set is going) with a supernatural, impossibly lifelike rhythm. Jess Barbagallo probably does know how to write the way people talk, but instead has set about writing the way people would be afraid to talk. And I think that is fucking fantastic and I want to see more of it. Saturday I hung out with Miss Jiddy Non-No and Miss PLD and we watched the Elmchanted Forest, which I inexplicably have on VHS, in case anyone wants to come over and watch it.



Sunday I rehearsed and rehearsed and rehearsed, after doing a tiny little interview in the morning with Gayletter. I stopped by the Brooklyn Zine fest to see Sister Pico at the Birdsong table. Birdsong just reached their Kickstarter goal, so thanks guys! I'm so excited that the "Best-Of" issue is going to get the full production it deserves, and also of course excited to be part of the issue. After the opening, on Sunday night I saw the fantastic Gary Indiana show at Participant Inc.

Here's my thing with Gary Indiana: he scares the fuck out of me.

Don't get me wrong, I love his work, it's meant a lot to me for a long time, and I know people who know him, and who say he's great. My old college pal Ben wrote a really cool interview with Gary for VICE, and said wonderful things about him. (Happy belated birthday, Ben! By the way!). I've met Ms. Indiana at the New School when we were both on the AIDS in Literature panel organized by Miss Dale Peck. And Ms. Indiana was totally sweet to me and really nice and absolutely charming during her reading as well. But look: she deals in difficult topics and plies her trade in dealing with levels of human emotion which we would otherwise like to avoid, if at all possible. She's heavy! Her work can bum a girl out. But anyway: the show at Participant is SO GREAT. I was totally surprised, maybe I shouldn't have been, by how touching, how truly romantic and sweet the work was. I thought the juxtapositions, the color palette, everything was so romantic and almost nostalgic. Very tender. Kind of made me think about how so many artists, even outside of the world of Queer Art, try to do similar work, and it so often falls flat, or feels saccharine. Ms. Gary Indiana, as I hope I don't need to tell you, is a serious intellectual, and is far too intelligent for her own good. This work done by Indiana is quick-witted, not fluffy, but seriously sweet. Like dark chocolate, or blood. Nourishing? A wonderful way to end the weekend, and highly recommended. There are a bunch of readings at Participant during the exhibit, so maybe I'll see you there.

Monday was Earth Day and also PLD's bless├Ęd birthday. After work I rehearsed then came home and gave PLD some Red Vines and hung out with his BFF Ana. We went to Earl Dax' new party Friends and Family at Hotel Chantelle, which is kind of turning out to be an amazing experience every week. (Next Monday 4/29 it's a reading organized by Sister Pico and a DJ set by Kenny Mellman, which will be rad! And earlier that night Sarah Schulman is reading at Communitas Literary Series at Dixon Place. Lots of fun things to do.) This past Monday night, however, we were treated to a DJ set by Amber Martin, performances by Matty Crossland, Bridget Everett, and Khaela Maricich. It. Was. Amazing. I have to say. I was really blown away by all three performers, each of whom I absolutely adore, and who is very different. It was one of those nights that makes me so excited to live in New York, where you can see such a totally fucked-up amalgamation of performances, for free, with your friends. And anyone can come (as long as you're 21). You don't need to be on the list. You don't need to be friends with the performers. You don't need to have an arts degree from a fancy institution. You don't need to be famous, or sexy, or rich, or "important". You can come because you want to come-- that's reason enough. Matty took drag and blues and burlesque and dragged it through the mud of American Romance like so many of our stars-and-striped flags. Bridget gave a somewhat sleepy and unsuspecting crowd a great deal more love, funk, power and intensity than we had any right to imagine asking for. Khaela unleashed a sensual, guttural rhythmic rage. Provided access into the world of unnameable emotions. I felt really fed. Does that make sense? I don't want to brag about this show, because most people probably weren't able to make it. But it was really special. if you get the chance to see any of those people perform any time soon please go. Also I have to say, again, that I will never stop bragging about the fact that Bridget played my mom on TV (she did, actually). I know that doesn't mean a whole lot, it's not a referendum on me, my value, my character, etc. But to be fair, who played your mom on TV? That's what I thought.

I'm worried, you guys, that people aren't gonna come to my show. This is a displaced anxiety. I know, my friends, know, my Analyst knows. I know it's silly to worry about. I know that I'm distracting myself. BUT: I'm worried people won't come. So, if you're reading this, then please come!

But you might not even be reading this. A cursory look into one's stat counters let's a girl know that people don't really read her blog anymore. The amount of attention I used to get has had no bearing on my life today, as I thought it likely would not.

I'm just so mixed up! I'm dedicating ENCOURAGER (at least these performances) to a friend of mine who passed away, and whom I think would have really enjoyed it. He would've "gotten" it. It would probably have made me uncomfortable, actually, but he can watch it from Heaven.

Coffee is kicking in. I'm going to rehearse at least three times tonight and then eat some soup and go to bed.

Please get a ticket if you haven't already. And I'll see you afterward.

4/21/13

I was having dinner with a guy recently. We didn’t know each other terribly well, but he’s smart, funny and cute. An attractive person. And he was telling me that he felt like he was losing. He said that he felt like he was a loser. I certainly didn’t think he was a loser. I thought he was smart and funny and cute. I thought he was an attractive person. I wanted to say something to make him feel better and at the same time be honest with him and what I said was: “Well, what’s wrong with being a loser?”

4/17/13



I feel like things are getting worse which is to say staying the same.

4/16/13

Full Circle thing

Hey you guys, Gay City News did an interview with me last week about my new show at BAX. I'm so flattered and happy to have gotten such a serious interview. Woah. If you're reading this, I definitely want you to come to see my show. Please. For some reason I'm really stressing out about whether or not lots of people will come. I've been working on this show for a long time (beyond the last year of my residency) and I really want people to come see what I've been doing. It was at least a few years since I did a solo show before this one, and I don't know that I'll ever do anything else ever again. So. Please come!

I'm debating changing the ending every time I rehearse. But I can't trust myself.

I suppose I had as good a Friday night as one could expect. After work I ran home to get changed, then to the Paul Thek opening at the Leslie Lohman Museum. Which I absolutely adored. I must say, I didn't even go to the Whitney show for Paul Thek not even once. I understand that there were some valid critiques of that show, and the supposed erasure of Thek's queerness (community) from the show. I didn't see it, I didn't care to, so I don't know. I've always loved Paul Thek's work, and skipped the Whitney show because I guess I felt like I had kind of seen the greatest hits already?

The show at Leslie Lohmann is so cool! It's almost entirely work which has never been exhibited before, and it was cool to get to see more about the context he was making work in. Hanging out on the beach with his friend in the 1950s. Sort of a utopian vision. I was a little disoncerted that there weren't more younger people at the opening, but I guess I left sort of early. I saw young Anthony Thornton and Scotty Hugg, art bros that they be, holding court on my way out.

I hustled up the street to go see Marc Arthur's Mascot for the Dead, which I liked a lot. I saw a reading of the play a few months ago, and was pretty confused and even a little alienated by the work. Which I suppose was successful, and is not a criticism. I definitely had a totally different experience of the show this time. Getting to see the live painting, the choreography, the way the fullness of the work kind of came together was very exciting. I was really turned on by what I am imagining to me Marc Arthur's patience, his equanimity as a writer. I feel like with some people who are writers and work with performance (including yours truly) there is a kind of impulse towards showing off, in a way. Like, making a joke and letting you know that they know that they're really funny. It indicates, to me, an anxiety about being fully understood and fully loved. Which is an impossible thing. SO, it's really cool for me to see Marc Arthur's work, where he's really patient and slow and intentional about his writing. It's fiercely intelligent and very subtly funny, but pretty ego-less. There's no showing off. There's no time to show off, it wouldn't make sense in the show. And I just adore that. As chaotic and messy as the piece is with regard to certain visual motifs, it's very sparsely written, very clean. Bracing. It reminded me of reading a story by Colette where she said that after a big mean she didn't want to have coffee, and she didn't want to have sweets. She ached, instead, for a slice of lemon. I had that feeling; the thought of "Oh, that would never occur to me on my own but it is in its own way exactly perfect." I had a good time. I hightailed it back to Brooklyn to celebrate Miss Lola's birthday, with the kids. I drank some vodka and we all chatted about where are lives are. Lola is one of my favorite Aries ladies in the whole world. I sneaked out, exhausted, to get a sandwich and turned in early.

Saturday I did basically nothing, pretty much nothing, except went to get a haircut from William. I was so long overdue, it feels like I lost weight from my head. It's also freezing. But it does look good, so I'm glad I did it. I took naps at home and did a tiny bit of housework before going to the East Village to go-go dance at the SPANK party at Drom, which used to be Opaline, my first NYC haunt. Spank parties are always totally amazing, over the top and fun, and this one was no exception. I go-go danced with deer heart Nath Ann, and we donned crazy inflatable light-up flower costumes, threw garlands of fresh flowers into the crowd while Viva Ruiz gave a disco incantation, and got tied up onstage. I was, I have to admit, in a foul mood on Saturday, for no reason, so I think I didn't give my go-go dancing my all, but I would like to think I got into the spirit of it. I did have fun. Opaline was my favorite place ever when I was 19. I remember seeing punk guys in eyeliner go-go dancing, and thinking how cool that was. That that was a thing that you could do, like for a job. This is because at the time I was also getting super into Deee-Lite and Lady Kier had worked as a go-go dancer after college, and so it was in my mind. It was a sort of homecoming, for me, in a way. A Full Circle thing. Here's a fantastic video of Lady Kier performing at thee old Opaline, a criminally still-unreleased song:



Sunday I rehearsed, then came home, then went to go see Mariangela Lopez' show ta BAX. It was so beautiful! I had seen the beginnings of it at previous works in progress showings, but it was so gratifying to get to see it all put together. I really like getting to see something more than once, in different stages. I didn't think I would like it but I do, because I get a little bit of insight into the artist's imagination (or what I imagine it to be). Mari's piece, El Regresso was made in collaboration with her movement collective, including my dear old room mate Jaime. I really loved the way the piece balanced the impossible, vertiginous emotionality of the task (a solo performer returning to her body) with a kind of totally rational vitality. I loved seeing Mari explode, change her mind, come to conclusions. Can you dance through an emotional process? Probably not. Probably it's not a thing that can be done, really. I'm describing it poorly, but Mariangela did it, you guys. And it was great to see.

Last night I went to rehearsal in another bad mood and kind of phoned it in. I'm really worried but I don't know what I'm worried about. I read this article about 5 ways your brain is tricking you into feeling miserable. It's awful. it talks about how people who worry more (like me) don't actually get more done. It's a waste. Obviously I'm upset and freaked out about the bombing in Boston. Obviously worrying is sort of a waste of time.

I went to Earl's new party at Hotel Chantelle and hung out with Miss Khaela and Miss Melissa who I hadn't seen in a bit. I sang one song, my Laura Nyro cover, to an audience of about six people. It was fun, in that I sang good. But I was so tired. I'm always so tired. I'm in such a bummed-out mood, I feel pretty miserable. I wrote an e-mail to my mom saying that I felt miserable. This feels like the ultimate defeat. I read this New Yorker profile of Shulamith Firestone and it sort of implied that schizophrenia is a result of so-called "social defeat", or social/emotional isolation. It was scary for me to read, because I feel absolutely defeated, socially. I definitely feel lonely and alienated and isolated on the daily, and could easily end up destitute and insane. It was scary for me. But then I realized that Firestone didn't have the internet. Nowadays we don't go crazy, we just go online. You can't have a personality disorder, you think, if your personality is a machine.

Tonight I'm running some errands and them I'm going to the gym and I'm just running. And then, maybe, I get to sleep. 

4/8/13

It seems like a mighty long time.

Thursday after work I was under-dressed for the cold-ish weather but still hustled over to Paul Kasmin gallery to see Kenny Scharf's opening. It was fantastic, and warmed me up. I just love Kenny Scharf's work (like duh), the new show is giving me some retro club-night Abstract Expressionist, Pop-Art-You-Can-Actually-Feel-Good-About effects. A perfect pick-me-up. I didn't spend a whole lot of time in the show, I must say. Not that I didn't enjoy it or that the work doesn't bear long periods of gazing. I had to go and I feel like I was getting recharged or something. I plan to go back and look at it again. Totally cool and highly recommended. Funny and fun, I can't unravel the connection between Scharf's visual output as a Fine motherfucking Artist and his joyfully chaotic nightclub organizing. It informs my experience of the work.


Purple

I guess I've seen some stuff and been to some parties. I often think of myself as more or less totally uninformed and illiterate, so it's nice when I have the opportunity to remind myself of the context I'm actually working with. I ran downtown to my Analyst's office and talked about that old chestnut of how I blame myself for the fact that sometimes people treat me in a weird way. Like, people often tell me they have dreams about me. I'm not bragging. We all have dreams about everybody, it's pretty normal. What my beef is is that I actually pretty much remember my dreams and really wish I did, so I feel fucked up being in other people's dreams instead of my own. I think sometimes people treat me in a way that's kind of a projection of their own stuff (again, not bragging, we all do it). I do wonder though if I'm somehow subconsciously inviting this from people, or encouraging people to treat me a certain way which I then come to resent. Like, my whole thing is let me be a real person. I'm like Pinocchio in a world full of wooden puppets. People don't get me. Some people don't. There's no controlling these things, I guess.  The conclusion I always have to come to and to broadcast to the world is that, despite everything, you're probably not responsible for the way the world treats you. I need to remind myself that it's not my responsibility.

And I get the whole thing of making it your project to DETERMINE your fate. Like, decide for yourself. Make the world take you seriously and give you want you demand. That's a nice thought but unless you're Napoleon it won't work forever and then even then you lose. Worrying about getting what you deserve is a way to live a miserable life. let yourself off the hook. Whatever. I came home from my Analyst and I cooked a really gigantic meal of tempeh and it felt really appropriate somehow. Epic, like creating something big and nourishing in place of understanding my feelings. I am totally fine with that as a stopgap solution. If I can't understand my feelings then I am totally fine feeding myself in the meantime.

Friday I went to BAX to see RoseAnne Spradlin's showing of a new work she's been making, studies for disappearence. It features this song which has been stuck in my head all weekend. Did you know Barbara Lewis was a) still alive b) still sounds amazing and c) wrote her own songs, including this one? A digression.



I've actually never seen Roseanne's work performed live before. I'd only read about it and seen clips online. I've enjoyed getting to know her at BAX, as she's very nice, smart and seems really clued-in. Her work was fucking amazing. I am often kind of flummoxed by what I perceive to be challenging or "real" dance work. i feel like I don't have the vocabulary, and therefore also lack the basic human facility to understand or respond to dance in the way it deserves to be engaged with. But whatever, studies for disappearence hit me on a few different levels, really strongly. I was surprised, I got scared, I was touched. I got bored for like one second, and was swiftly snapped back into the performance the very next second. The pacing, the precision, the fucking complexity of the movements, scenography, theme, etc. were really inspiring. Watching how the elements of the show seemed to come together and interact made me really excited. And then to watch the elements of the work slowly shift in relation to one another. It was like watching someone doing a really amazing magic trick; it seemed kind of unbelievable and kind of obvious but both at the same time. Really awesome. I feel like a total fool for having missed her show last fall and will make it a point to see her work whenever I possibly can. I think you ought to, too.

Saturday I got up extra early, went to the gym and listened to lots of Stereolab (preconscious, and yet yearning for my right brain), watered the houseplants, forgot to eat breakfast, and was blessed with a visit by the ever lovely Miss Jiddy No-No. She's finishing up her first year in grad school, and I'm absolutely salivating to see her new work. She said she's been working a bit more painterly, and on clear cellophane, so a bit of a departure from the Utopian drawing/paintings I fell so much in love with last year. I am urging her to  register with the Bushwick open studios this year so we can see her work. I hope she does!

We went gallery hopping in Chelsea. Jiddy's the best person to go with cuz she has good taste and is super smart (but not a snob) and also seems to know what's on view and where everything is. Also she has good snack ideas all the time. Kinda a perfect buddy? The first thing we saw was Mark Dion's "Drawings, Prints Multiples and Sculptures" at Tanya Bonakdar. Which I liked but not too much. I don't know. I'm so rarely in the mood to be wowed in that way? There were totally pieces (or collections) I liked in and of themselves, which seems entirely antithetical to the show. This collection below was my favorite because it looks like a mixture of sex toys and those cool plastic rubber balls I use in the dryer instead of dryer sheets.


Mark Dion

The collections and installations were probably my favorite parts. There's a ton of drawings upstairs which I did enjoy as well, but only about half. half of the drawings, individually, were pithy, dark little maps or graphs of ideas, which I liked a lot. The other half, a whole room of line drawings, seemed a bit too cutesy for me. It felt, as Jids noted, a little Wes Anderson-y. And I like Wes Anderson, I guess I just don't want to be lulled all the time. Some of the work disposed with such niceties and I felt appropriately called-upon by those. Give it to me straight, you know? Sometimes you want to be slapped in the face instead of hearing someone apologize for wanting to slap you in the face. It's rare, but it's there.


Mountains and Sea


Next we went over to see the Helen Frankenthaler exhibit "Painted on 21st Street: Helen Frankenthaler from 1950-1959" at Gagosian. Frankenthaler is obviously great, you cannot fuck with her. I wish I had more to say on that score. I think of Helen Frankenthaler as not unlike Unwound versus Sonic Youth, where Unwound was the West Coast version, slightly less intellectual but probably better in many ways. The type of thing where if I spent the time getting into it (I do) I'd probably find I prefer it. Frankenthaler is like that but with American painting, right? It's this thing that's kind of too iconic for its own good, it gets in the way or how and why it works. Anyway I'm totally smitten, it's a sprawling and wonderful show and definitely makes me feel very old and unproductive and as if I've wasted my youth. Which, I think, good art ought to do. It ought to be the domain of a kind of good art, to lovingly push that existential crise button. That's what we need it for. So, thanks, Helen!

And then hey: speaking of art that makes you feel bad, we went over to see the new piece by Miroslaw Balka at Gladstone Gallery. It's called "The Order of Things" and it's a monster. It's pretty, but it's huge and loud and imposing and sort of mean.


The Order of Things

I definitely didn't think we were allowed to sit on that little wood pedestal. I thought it was like an altar. No matter, I didn't really want to sit and beautifully contemplate the piece. I mean: it works, it's great. But it's unpleasant. It's not meditative. It's kind of oppressive, it dares you to sit peacefully and ponder one's mortality and the life cycles of the natural world, decay, waste, etc. That's all well and good, but it's really fucking loud. That is, I imagine, the point, I thought it was cool. We spent some time circling it, talking about it, and then escaping it.

We went over to the BLACK CdG store where I got the new fragrance that just came out. Like you knew I would.



I've been wearing the CdG3 scent since I bought it last summer on my birthday and it's basically empty now. Since they've stopped making my favorite perfume (the Series Six Synthetic ones) I wanted to try this new one. I'm so obsessed with the BLACK CdG concept (classics but cheaper, somehow optimistic, an evolution of their guerilla store project). The perfume is great, a little weirder and butch-er than I would normally like to be. Kind of woodsy and masculine and mean. I like it. I feel put-together. Assembled. It may not be pretty, but there you do.

I stopped off at home after our epick Chelsea adventure to get changed and then high-tailed it over to Dixon Place to see Joseph Keckler's brilliant new show "I am an Opera". I went into it as a fan so I gotta say that I'm biased. I just adore Joseph's work. He brings a tremendous set of technical skills (as a writer, an actor, and a fucking SINGER) to a really complex, subtly gorgeous script. I had seen tiny bits and pieces of some of the songs surface in past performances, but they were barely recognizable here. His work is newly pared-down, slick, muscular. It was taut and tense and spare and really wonderful. The ending song was especially gorgeous, and his three curtain calls were the least we could do. Not a dry seat in the house. It's playing weekends throughout April at DP so you should definitely go see it.

I had a lot, too much even, fun hanging out in the Dixon Place lounge after the show with dear heart Erin Markey and Max Bernstein, chatting with bartendrix Damon and cutting loose. I had so much fun but I was so tired! Look at this photo Erin took of me. Look how tired I look.



That is a boy who needs a nap. For no reason. I slept the night before. I used my apparent exhaustion as an excuse to blow off not one but three different parties I was supposed to go to on Saturday night. I spent all my energy loving Joseph from the audience and drinking and telling jokes with my friends. So sue me. I'm going out tonight, and actually almost every night this week. So that'll be okay. Maybe I shouldn't count it as going out. I'm just rehearsing my show, but it feels like going out because it's fun and exciting and I don't get home until late. And I'm always starving. Tonight I'm actually going out though.

Sunday I walked over the Williamsburg bridge listening to old Taja Sevelle songs and really feeling relaxed and joyful and windblown. Yikes. I was supposed to get a haircut but it got postponed, which is okay (these things happen) and was sort of glad to have the day off to myself. I walked for hours and hours. I went to the Artists Space book sale and contemplated buying million things but ultimately left empty-handed. I went to the Sadie Benning show at Callicoon Fine Arts in the evening.


War Credits


It was called War Credits and in addition to the film, there were some painting/installations as well. It was great, deceptively complex. Cerebral and guttural. Let's go there. Sadie Benning's work is so cool; I always think things are kind of going in this one facile way, pulling my dumb Californian blonde art appreciation routine, and then I realize what's going on in the video, or why something looks the way it does, and I have to remember how the world is infinitely more nuanced than I think. Benning's work usually forces me to shut up for a second, take a step back, and think for a minute about what I'm seeing. Isn't that fantastic?

Tonight I am going straight from work to the BAX studio to work on my show after having taken a ludicrously long break from the piece. And then going home to change. And then going to Hotel Chantelle for Earl Dax' birthday party. I'm excited / exhausted. Here we go.

4/3/13

Oharu Who May Be Dead



Listening to this song this morning on the train. Minnie Riperton's voice is literally magick, eh? Last night I went to the NYU MFA show to see deart heart Sam McKinniss work. I'm such a big fan. He's fantastically talented and is a rising star. Bound for greatness, get in while you can, these are the days, etc. The show included a sound piece Sam made in collaboration with Rizzla which was fantastic as well.  The show is up for two weeks (until April 13th) at the NYU Gallery at 80 Washington Square East. Absolutely worth checking out right away.


Untitled (SG)


BOYTWEETSWORLD

The catalog for the show (which also, I should say, includes the dark, gorgeous, serpentine and sardonic work of Ms. Sarah Feehily, with whom I am also deeply obsessed), includes this artist statement from Sam, which I think gives a little glimpse into his sensitive yet rigorous style of thinking:
THE HAUNTS:

“He loves me, he loves me not, he loves me, he loves me not, don’t interrupt, my angel, he loves me, he loves me not, oh, heaven, heaven! He loves me! I may as well tell you, my darling, that the second big thing in my life has begun.”
A most sinister ray of light suddenly fell upon the future.

-Nancy Mitford, Love in a Cold Climate 1949.


Ecstasy refers to the empathogenic club drug as well as to the rapturous bliss caused by contemplating divine things, and a glow-stick necklace is a cute accessory to wear at a party but it also resembles a halo that’s slipped and fallen into the noose position. I went to a lot of raves as a teenager and recently the style has made a return to contemporary metropolitan nightlife, so that’s been fun for me. Painting and partying are two things I do to dazzle myself into the throes of a trance-like quest for advanced material pleasure.

I’m looking for a sinister ray of light. Like moonlight hitting narcissus’s pool, the soft glow emanating from a smartphone screen is incredibly seductive. The ghost paintings came to me because of another nighttime sensation, from the terrible impression that spending time in warehouses crowded with people dancing and taking MDMA felt something like being surrounded by the recently disembodied. Smoky, dimly lit rooms filled with kids on drugs have started to resemble the dynamics and movement of rapture depicted in the cloudy, cherubim and saint-filled ceilings by Tiepolo or Maulbertsch from the late 18th century. The major differences are lighting and costume.
Pretty fantastic. At the opening last night I was reminded of the Stone Roses, and how when they were getting big in Manchester in the 80s, it was when people were first starting to do MDMA. I didn't know about any of that when I got into the Stone Roses in the Bay Area in the late 1990s- I had no clue. It always struck me as weird. Like, why would you take E and listen to the Stone Roses? They're so weird and sad and slow and emo. But I guess maybe it's more fun on E. But what isn't, right? I guess it's just to say that no one experience is any more real or natural than another. If you're using tools like drugs or art or boys or glow sticks. Or music or costumes.

You know what else is going on, which I am so super duper excited about, is that homegirl Joseph Keckler is getting some much-deserved shine right now, and I am so into it. First of all, there's this awesome video he made with Laura Terruso, for "The Ride":



THEN there's also this very fancy and totally cool interview with Spookz where he charms the pants off the New York Times Style Section. I love Joseph's work, and have for many years, and I'm really excited to see his work get the attention and respect it deserves. This press blitz is particularly deserved, because Miss Thing is debuting a new full-length show commissioned by Dixon Place this week! It's called "I Am An Opera" and it is going to be MAJOR. I'm going this Saturday night, and you can get your tickets HERE. That is, while there're still tickets to be got. This is likely going to sell out, and I'm totally going to say I Told You So. People: you need to see this show.

I was looking recently at the website for Earl Dax' Pussy Faggot, which I would encourage you to do now as well. I am so honored and happy to be included on this page! It's such a big deal for me to have my work (ENCOURAGER) listed alongside artists like Joseph Keckler and Ben Rimalower, who's solo show Patti Issues keeps getting extended and keeps getting rave reviews and is becoming every bit the sensation it deserves to be. I can barely believe that my life consists of a) getting to be part of this peer group, b) getting to be friends with these people, and c) getting to live in New York in a time when this work is being made. It's really exciting, I think you should all go check out all three of our shows.

SPEAKING OF awesome things I'm excited about, original homegirl and downstairs neighbor Sister Pico is putting together a special 5 Year anniversary issue of Birdsong, and he needs your help to make the project as cool as it needs to be (e.g. printing zines is expensive, kids). Check out this video:



SO COOL, right? Please give some monetary love to the BIRDSONG KICKSTARTER PAGE. It's also worth mentioning at this point that there is a NEW issue of Birdsong, #19, featuring a new story by Yours Truly as well as some more fantastic writers. You can get a copy for free by contacting Sister Pico Directly. So many wonderful things to know see and do. Be part of.

Last night I watched this 1979 erotica b-movie/horror film from Japan and France, called The Grass Labyrinth. Have you all seen it? It was fucked up. I feel like I slept much deeper than I usually do, in a sort of weird way, from watching the movie. Like, I feel like I did my dreaming while I was watching the movie (which is totally great and worth seeing) but then I went to sleep and was just a black black spot.



But I never remember my dreams. Actually I did remember an image from last night, which was a secret party or festival, a secret show? A secret store? I remember watching people, workers, entering a secret entrance to a space (it looked like a gallery) in preparation for an event and in the dream, I was excited to go to the event but wished that I was working at it. And then I woke up.

So.

4/2/13

Elaine and the Bad Ladies Who Lunch Seeds

Friday night I did hustle through a sandwich and a quick-change before going with the PLD back up to midtown to see a workshop presentation of Julia Crockett and Colin Self's new multimedia dance/performance piece ME DOING YOU DOING ELVIS. It was really fantastic. Just, on a formal level, really gorgeous and smart. But also really hard! Challenging! I think a lot of times the idea of the spectacle gets a bad rap, that the idea of "flattening" somehow implies ease, facility, simplicity, rather than the sort of layering or coding that I think ought to be recognized as the gesture. Elvis swaying his hips and snapping his finger is never "just" Elvis. What I'm trying to say is that ME DOING YOU... was complex and difficult in a way that I thought was generous. It gave me a lot to chew on. There was some unpacking there, and I appreciated being given the opportunity (as an audience member) to step up to the plate in that way. The dancers worked very hard, and I can tell that Colin and Julia have put a lot of work into the piece. I'm excited to see where it goes next. Also of course there were fantastic costumes by BCALLA, my favorite American Clothing Designer. Super fun.

The performance was free so I showed my support for the arts by buying lots of glasses of wine. I soon found myself more that bit drunk and it was the ripe old hour of, like 9:30. Good job, Billy. I slunk back home and hung out in the downstairs apartment with PLD, Ponyboy Deegs (who's new zine has just been published by Birdsong), Paps, Sister Pico and the lovely Lola. I'm so happy to have all of them downstairs!

On Saturday I went to the Whitney to see the Jay DeFeo exhibit. It was a gorgeous day and I was by myself, just blissing out in the sunlight on a warm day in my favorite New York neighborhood, the Upper East Side. I saw a short person hustling down the street in sensible white shoes and a full-length fur coat, which I thought was weird. And I mean really hauling ass down 74th street. As they passed me I saw them grimacing and realized that it was Eliane Stritch. I finally had my Stritch sighting! I feel like so many other people I know have run into her or seen her around town, so I feel sort of blessed. I had heard that she's leaving New York to return to Michigan soon, so it does feel quite lucky to have gotten to see her.

Obviously the Whitney was rad. I adore DeFeo's work, and am often talking about it. I went to see a retrospective of her work at the Whitney when I was in college, and seeing The Rose for the first time had a really profound impact on me. That piece is why I went back on Saturday, and is absolutely worth the price of admission. I spent literally 10-15 minutes standing right in front of it, hyperventilating and weighing whether or not I wanted to be That Guy Who Is Crying In The Museum, so I ducked away to look at some more work.


Jay DeFeo, Apparition

Also saw some work on the other floors, including this, which I had never seen before.


Edward Hopper, Woman Standing in the Sun

I feel like it's me. I feel like: that's me. I'm like that. That's me. Right? Saturday night I got some drinks with Teebs and Wilkes, then went to GAG! at the Metropolitan with Ryan Reporter and we hung out a bit, talking about records like we usually do. She just got to go see miss Nick Cave perform last week. I am unspeakably jealous! Hopefully Nick Cave and Elaine Stritch will live long enough to do a show together so I can get two birds with one stone, eh? The best part of Saturday night is was and will ever be the late-night snack attitudes I so often find myself pulling.

Sunday, I don't know if you guys all know, was Easter, so I celebrated by watching cartoons in bed for a while, then going to Chinatown to find the best taro bun I could find. The one I found was just ok. I went to a very fancy Easter Party at the very edge of the neighborhood, in a real two story house with a real backyard which seems like it's from another dimension. It was a party thrown by glamorous southerners, so all the punch drinks had everclear in them, which means it was really stupid of me to have so much punch. I tried to switch to wine at one point, and a cute boy wearing a hoodie indoors (where it was not even raining) offered me some white wine. I graciously accepted and began drinking it only to discover that unfortunately it was not white wine but tequila. Which is the opposite of white wine. I felt like a mess but probably other people were messier. I flirted a little bit with this guy I know and like, and then he flirted with someone else, so like whatever. I ate about a million cupcakes and smoked literally a million cigarettes. That famous NYC drag queen who's known for talking shit about gay people was there, saying how miserable she felt around everyone. It was cool. I was glad I had Monday off of work but to be honest I actually went home at like 11pm. My throat was so sore yesterday from drinking.

There's actually a lot of exciting things coming up, but let's save that for another post and start finish up this one with this cute new dance video from LA superstars KEVINCITY: