I didn't watch the VMAs, because I don't have cable and I don't care. I was talking with Bradford and Sam over beers at Metropolitan yesterday, saying that I didn't really have a horse in this race at the VMAs this year. Bradford was saying how there's always a few years, in your teens, when they seem really important, and then you stop watching them. That feels pretty accurate. I felt a little bit left out, but I got to catch up today. It sucks that you have to have cable to watch the VMAs, if they're so fucking important.
I woke up at 6am to go to the gym this morning and I watched recaps of the most memorable moments. I guess it all comes down to Miley, huh.
I had this thought when I was at the gym this morning, watching clips of the VMAs on the morning news, that I was probably up before most of the pop stars were. I wondered where Miley was sleeping. I wonder what Miley dreams of, after such a sensational performance.
I think what Miley Cyrus is doing these days is really interesting. I think the cynically well-crafted and prefabricated controversy surrounding her "twerking" schtick is exponentially more interesting, at least, than the pantomime psychodrama of Lady G**a's plumbing the depths of her supposed self for the sake of "art". People are upset by Miley and people are excited by Miley and they should be. That's actually more interesting and more important to people than someone with a lot of money and privilege just refining their self-image. I think Miley's work needs to happen right now and the conversation around it, why or why not it's okay to steal from Black culture, that's important. That's a real thing that's happening. Mx Justin Vivian Bond once said that every generation gets the pop star it deserves, and I'm inclined to agree. Miley is a product of the current moment. Miley is made possible by consumers like you. Vote with your money, right? I'm painfully aware of being on the wrong side of history here, but there's something kind of charming about the quest for the white girl soul singer, right? Is wanting it badly enough all it takes? This is pop Libertarianism. What is authenticity? What is just being yourself? I don't want to defend Miley because she can defend herself and it's indefensible, but there is something to be said for the artistic gesture here; highly stylized and yet guileless. It's not mock innocence, it's just misdirected.
And then this morning on the news, after Miley and the VMAs, it was news about Syria. What a strange time to be alive. I love my neighborhood but the time I love it the most is early in the morning, when I get up to go to the gym, or when I've stayed up all night (which rarely happens anymore). It's so quiet and peaceful then, only later do all the assholes come out of the woodwork.
What a strange and fun weekend. I've been working on the cabaret show Molly Pope and I are making for the Afterglow Festival in Provincetown next month. I'm super excited to be making this type of performance, and beyond excited that I get to make something with Molly (!!!) and that we get to perform it at the Afterglow festival. It's literally a dream come true. But, on point of fact, there's another thing going on here, with me, in doing this. I'm not a singer. I mean, I sing, as part of the performances I do, often in fact. I can sort of yelp along to tracks or whatever. I'm *really bad* at karaoke. I can't read music vocally. I've never trained as a singer at all. Working with the brilliant musical director, he would ask what key something should be in, and I don't really have a sense of what that means. Only a few times did I need him to actually sing a line so I could know what melody to sing. But I'm doing it.
I mean, I'm not very good, but I don't need to be. I just want to do my best. So I need to be a little bit better, and I will! It's really exciting and gratifying for me to get to make something that feels new and fresh, and in which I can't just rely on stuff I've done in the past. I like being outside of my comfort zone. I never in a million years thought my life would allow for this type of thing to happen, so I'm really grateful that it does. What a fantastically weird trip.
The world of MTV feels very far away. I know it's not, not really, but it's like radio airwaves, it's happening around us all the time but it's invisible. You have to tune in. You have to decide to listen, and I've been too busy, man.
What have I been too busy with? I've been too busy to listen to the radio or find out what the new hip songs are, because I'm so preoccupied with this feeling of deja vu. With this feeling of trying to get you to remember when we first met. Did you like me more when you knew me less? I wouldn't blame you if it were true. What a strange last few days, trying to tell you that I do, really, like you. That I am, really, attracted to you. I get the sense you don't believe me, maybe. It's hard. It's totally a show don't tell thing. It's a fun predicament, this trying to convince. And it doesn't cost me anything. I'm glad to do it. I believe that practicing, demonstrating, makes me better at it. Affection, a verb. Affect.
This morning at the gym I was listening to another white lady soul singer. This profoundly unhip song feels really right for me right now: