Something Very Scary

I wasn't feeling very Halloween-y. But then last night I went to go see No Bra and the Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black, and now I am feeling the spirit. I believe in Halloween.

I LOVE TVHOKB. There was a time in high school when they were my favorite band. I saw them open for Switchblade Symphony and The Creatures in San Francisco in 1999. My dad went to the concert with me. I think they recorded their set for the live CD they made? The SF goth crowd could have been warmer. I loved it. It was so cool to see them in NYC! On home turf. I remember when they performed at the Armory and BFF Bobo was one of the TVHOKB girls, looking gorgeous.

So proud of lil Bobo. Doesn't she look great?

Anyway, the show last night was great! A hometown love-fest. During "Fuck island" when they cracked paint-filled eggs on Kembra's crotch (spoiler alert?), some white paint got on my blazer. I thought it was tempera... but it seems like it was not. So I'm taking my jacket (my FAVORITE vintage polyester blazer which I've had for YEARS) to the dry cleaner tonight in the hope that they can work some Halloween magick.

The opening act was none other than international sensation NO BRA, performing songs from her new album CANDY. Here's a video for the title track, featuring many dearly beloved NYC personalities:

And the album, which is AWESOME, has some pretty adorable cover art too.

You can buy it HERE. I really loved No Bra's set. Can you believe I had never seen her perform live before? I was turned onto her work in college when Bobo visited her sister who was studying in London. Bobo told me about this cool performance artist named No Bra she thought I would like. I was resistant but I fell in love. Her work is so smart it hurts.

Lyrics from "Date with the Devil":
Such a fun show!

This morning, The Business of Fashion posted an except of a new interview between Rei Kawakubo and Hans Ulrich Obrist in the Autumn/Winter 2013 issue of System Magazine. Kawakubo's manifesto, below:

Obviously, I love this. A kind of intellectual bondage, right? The idea of creativity as being only possible by working with constraints. Be these actual constraints in the world around you or, as in Kawakubo's case, entirely internal. I've often felt that, for me, creativity seems most easily understood within the context of some kind of formal constraint. This is why I like using vintage Casio and Yamaha keyboards. It forces me to work within the limited tone palette and the scope of the octave and a half. What I like about this manifesto is that it does seem to vindicate my interpretation of the SS14 collection, that she found the creative impulse in disregarding the idea of clothing. Another thing I like is that she stresses the importance of suffering. It reminds me of this John Waters quote from his book Role Models, wherein he dedicates a chapter to Kawakubo:

“Fashion is very important to me. My “look” for the last twenty years or so has been “disaster at the dry cleaners.” I shop in reverse. When I can afford to buy a new outfit, something has to be wrong with it. Purposely wrong. Comme des Garcons (like some boys) is my favorite line of clothing, designed by the genius fashion dictator Rei Kawakubo. She specializes in clothes that are torn, crooked, permanently wrinkled, ill-fitting, and expensive. What used to be called “seconds” (clothes that were on sale in bargain basements of department stores because of accidental irregularities) is now called “couture.” Ms. Kawakubo is my god. The fashion historian Kazuko Koike has described Rei as “almost like the leader of a religious movement.” I genuflect to Rei’s destruction of the fashion rules. She is formidable, reclusive, intimidating, and has described her work as an “exercise in suffering.”

And indeed it is. This takes me back to another somewhat gnomic Kawakubo manifesto:

"Something very scary" indeed! Happy Halloween! This reminds me of some other scary fashion advice from Miss Bitter Mommy Trash Pope John Waters:

"You don't need fashion designers when you are young. Have faith in your own bad taste. Buy the cheapest thing in your local thrift shop -- the clothes that are freshly out of style with even the hippest people a few years older than you. Get on the fashion nerves of your peers, not your parents -- that is the key to fashion leadership. Ill-fitting is always stylish. But be more creative -- wear your clothes inside out, backward, upside down. Throw bleach in a load of colored laundry. Follow the exact opposite of the dry cleaning instructions inside the clothes that cost the most in your thrift shop. Don't wear jewelry -- stick Band-Aids on your wrists or make a necklace out of them. Wear Scotch tape on the side of your face like a bad face-life attempt. Mismatch your shoes. Best yet, do as Mink Stole used to do: go to the thrift store the day after Halloween, when the children's trick-or-treat costumes are on sale, buy one, and wear it as your uniform of defiance."

Good advice if ever there was any. Why not emulate Mink Stole in everything? She is, as we know, the fucking bomb. I once wore CdG drop-crotch shorts to a rehearsal with her and she raised an eyebrow, asking, "Are those Comme des Garçons?" I said yes. "Don't they restrict your movement? Are they comfortable?" I said that they were, but the pants, with an even lower crotch, do restrict my movement. She shrugged and said she had a friend who wore nothing but CdG. I didn't ask, but I assumed it was Mr. Waters. Mink is a true style icon who, being preternaturally young at heart, doesn't need designers. Especially if you know how to thrift, post-Halloween, as she legendarily does. Speaking of Mink Stole, I'm SO excited to see her in Tennessee Williams' The Mutilated, co-starring with Penny Arcade, next week!


Buy your tickets HERE. I'm so excited. Miss Pennifer, perfect timeless face and legendary icon of inspiration, gets a long-overdue and appropriately glowing profile in thie Sunday's NYTimes Style Section which you should go read right now.

Finally, Contessa Stuto dropped the video for the debut single, "Reign in Ratchet" from her forthcoming EP Cult Classic. I like it so much. It's obviously gorgeous and well-made, but there's also something so... I don't know, exuberant? Present? I don't wanna say "real" but real. She's not fucking around. It's not a look, it's not a pose, it's not just an attitude. It's the real thing and god bless her for it. (recognize her from No Bra's "Candy" video?) Check out her SoundCloud for more news. Happy Halloween.


The other half of me

I'm really feeling Berlin today, you guys. Sometimes I wish I lived there, but I'm sure it's freezing there right now. It's pretty cold in Fag City, too. But we just got our heat turned on.

I've been doing my morning meditation by the radiator, with my little scented candle, each morning, in the dark. I wonder, though. Am I kind of sabotaging myself by sitting in front of the radiator just because it's comfortable? I asked about this last night at Caroline's Mindfullness Meditation Class at the Spectrum

I highly recommend this glass, you guys.

She was very helpful. She said that the most important thing is to remove barriers to sitting. So if sitting near the radiator helps me sit and meditate every morning, go for it. If, after a few years of actually trying to develop a daily practice, I want to challenge my need for physical comfort, then I can deal with it then. I'm saying: it's cold and I've been meditating. I've been thinking while I'm meditating.


"Beautiful flowers form a foreground, through, and beyond which wild animals surge. But something is out of kilter: these poppies are taller than a rhino, and why is a horse flying, as if catapulted, through the air? The Opium Monoculture series explores how plants and animals adapt to new post-apocalyptic conditions. The beauty of the flowers, and Iremonger’s glowing pink skies, hide an animal world avid with the energy to survive."

This gorgeous image is NOW FOR SALE ON ARTFETCH. I've long been an admirer of Ms. Iremonger's work, ever since I first met her in Berlin three (!!!) years ago. She's also obviously a totally hilarious and sweet and charming and wonderful person, personally. But these qualities are in her paintings too, along with something else. There's a kind of frenetic, joyful energy to her work that's really striking. I don't want to compare her paintings to other artists' work, though I'm pretty sure I have before, because I think that's sort of silly. Her work reminds me of when you revisit the children's programming from your youth, and you notice all of these coded messages, ambiguous motifs, and obsolete references. There's a kind of thing in her work, the 'clutter' for lack of a better word. It's not exactly hoarding. It's not trash, per se, but there is an accumulation of images that resonates with me. It's as if she's superimposed a zoo, a menagerie onto a kind of echt-archive. For some reason I get the image of a library that is also a jungle. A beauty spa that is also a courthouse. The deft incorporation of ego, super-ego, and id always strikes me as particularly clever. Her warm-hearted and clear-eyed engagement with the full range of human fantasy is, yeah, inspiring. The 'clutter' as such is a really brave tactic. Ms. Iremonger sifts through the detritus of postmodernity in a way that most artists working today would probably be too scared to do. I think the fear is that people don't trust their own judgment, so they either celebrate everything including trash, or become overly precious about what gets remembered, organized. Ms. Iremonger limns out a kind of middle path, neither sentimental nor expulsive. She chooses what works for her, and seems to have a real trust in her eye, in her ability to map out and process information. And she has a good eye! Thank goddess for her gut instincts. It seems easy, but the actual craft of her work belies this petty bourgeois effortless chic. I know (because I know her) that she works fucking hard on her work. And to be in the room with one of her gigantic paintings is not unlike going to a zoo in Berlin for the first time. I was struck by the fact that at the Berlin zoo, the perimeters of the animal cages are mostly symbolic. In American zoos you'd see all kinds of barriers and fences between the viewing public and the wild animals. But in Berlin, I was surprised to see that there were nominal, mostly decorative markers of distance between myself and the animals. Yes, the more dangerous creatures, such as leopards and big cats (a favorite motif in Iremonger's work) were kept in cages, but I had an eerie thought: "What if, in America, we're being unnecessarily careful about our zoos?" Sophie Iremonger's work, especially in person, prompts a similar feeling of vertigo and bravery. To me, it asks "What are you so afraid of?"

Check out this scintillating, radical, and fucking sexy new photo of International pop star Alexander Geist show by Merja Hannikainen, which will be the art for his new single, "A Woman's Right to Choose", out on 11/25/13 on New Pangea records. I love this. It's so new and now, etc. A favorite. Continued favorites!

Also on New Pangea and out now is the video for the new single by GODMOTHER: "These Things Take Time" which you can cop at the New Pangea site.

Love that it's 4 minutes 20 seconds, right? There are no accidents. So dark and sad and sardonic. And funny! So sophisticated, yet unfussy. Arch but not inaccessible. I dig it!

Oh gosh, and then finally, the new single from Geri Halliwell. Inexplicably released ONLY in Australia. Seems something of a Minogue carry, n'est-ce pas? Let alone the "all the lovers" drag. I mean, Geri. Girl. But still, she can sing. You knew she could. This is so dorky and corny and sweet and fizzy. Like corn syrup and carbonation.

Y'know, what pop should be, right? Excited for band practice tonight, then to go see No Bra and The Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black perform tonight! I can't wait.

OH SHIT WAIT there's a new Planningtorock record coming out in February and they just released a new video teaser for it:



True Mansion

Right, so on Thursday PLD and I were on ShaneShane and Heather Litteer's talk show, Good Morning Queer New York, to promote out upcoming show as B0DYH1GH in the Queer New York Festival. The show is called ALIEN AFTERLIFE at it's at La MaMa on 11/3. And I hope y'all come! The talk show was so much fun! Nath Ann went right before us (HER show is on 11/2 at La MaMa and not to be missed!). She's a real great talk show guest! We went last and tried to be polite and not controversial but, I gotta say, I failed. Daniel obviously held his own with the generous, gregarious hosts. But, when asked to describe some of the highlights of B0DYH1GH'S oeuvre thus far, I started obviously with our fan base, since so many wealthy powerful blonde white women seem to be such big fans (I'm thinking of Chloe Sevigny, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kim Gordon, etc.). I don't know if some of the crowd didn't get my sense of humor or if they had somewhere to be, but they left. Fine. It was a good time anyway and I think the people who got it really liked it. We drank a bunch of wine.

Talk show looks

After the show, we went back to Brooklyn and had band practice. We wrote a bunch of new songs for the La MaMa show, I like the direction we're going in. It's been so long since we played, especially a real nice long set, so I'm excited. After some practice, we collected Ptrck and went to Manhattan to go to Jill's East Village digs, where we met up with Nath Ann and had a shot of tequila and watched some very lovely Amber Martin videos on YouTube, such as this gem:

"...a basket of surprises!"

We piled into a cab and drove across downtown to go to Julius' where Amber and Angela and JC's dance party Mattachine was happening. SO much fun, of course. As usual. I danced to Klymaxx' "Meeting in the Ladies Room" and loved it. I forgot how great that song is! That slow-burning monologue at the beginning. it's a timbre, a feeling that isn't often heard in pop songs. Fun night! Tired night.

The next evening I went to sweet little baby star angel lover Cole Escola's newest solo show, The Deadliest Baby at the Duplex. I got to sit in the front row with John Early and Becca Blackwell and Adam Feldman and that felt very fancy. Cole's. Show. Was. So. Fucking. Genius. I almost wish I hadn't congratulated him, because I'm kind of furious at him. In the way that you could be furious at anything that's too good for the world around it. He has no right to be so smart and funny! I mean, I bought tickets and the two drink minimum but it didn't feel like enough. He did a bunch of sketches, some featuring Mr. Blackwell to glorious effect, in vocal overtone capacity. It was just really intelligent humor. Like, jokes that seemed crafted? Maybe they weren't-- maybe Cole doesn't spend his time rehearsing his act. He was tremendously entertaining and I feel real lucky to have been able to see it. I'm excited to know that he's going to be two nights in November as Elaine Stritch at the Duplex and you can get tickets here. Not to be missed!

After Cole's I high-tailed it over to Joe's Pub to see a concert of Dan Fishback's The Material World which was obviously fantastic. I have so much love for so many people involved in the show. I had a great seat and a fantastic time. I met some kids sitting next to me, a cute younger queer couple, who said that they had tried to go see TMW during it's run last year at Dixon Place but couldn't get tickets, because it was such a big hit and sold out so often. It was sweet. Molly and Erin totally killed it. Everyone killed it. I'm tremendously proud of everyone involved. I hung around Joe's Pube for a little bit, managed to cop a free drink through being charming, but ultimately begged off. Miss Erina and I walked east and got a sandwich, then met up with Miss Molly and decamped to the very far, ultra far, nearly-Oriental East Village to go to Miss Amber's house, where we hung out on her floor with Miss Jill, sipped fancy whiskey from a travel-size bottle, and listened to records. This is obviously my idea of heaven. Amber put on the first Sinea O'Connor album, The Lion and The Cobra, and talked about how much she loved it when it first came out. I forgot how weird and funky and wonderful that album is.

We also listened to the Chipmunk's Punk album, always a trip. I did accidentally touch a votive candle and burn my thumb pretty bad. So now I have this cool blister. That's something.

Saturday I woke up a little bit hungover, since so many places these days have those pesky two-drink minimums and I'm not creative enough to think of another way to deal with things. That all being said, I went down to the Brooklyn Museum to see a panel on collage, fashion, feminism, identity and art practice. It featured Colette Lumiere, Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, and K8 Hardy, and was moderated by the genius Judith Rodenbeck, one of the coolest and most interesting people I've had the good fortune to be able to study with.

A collage of the talk about collage.

I liked the talk a lot. I would normally have thought of these three artists as being wildly different, but in going through their work there some pretty surprising points of intersection. K8 Hardy described the collage process as one which resists mastery, one which is inherently anti-patriarchal, which of course seemed true as soon as she explained it, but I hadn't thought of before. It seems like all three artists' work could be read that way, it was really interesting.

There was some really freaky thing that happened at my apartment building that I don't feel like writing about publicly except to say it was SO SCARY AND FREAKY and luckily everyone is OK. At least right now. Yikes. After the talk I high-tailed it back to the city to go to Robert W. Richards' legendarily well-accoutered house to rehearse the text for Roy Garrett’s Hot Rod To Hell, a performance which will happen this Saturday, 11/2 at 10pm at Dixon Place.

Illustration by Robert W. Richards

A scorching ride through the underbelly of the 70s underground sex scene, from Times Square to the West Side piers.

Saturday, November 2nd, 2013 at 10pm @ Dixon Place, 161 Chrystie Street (between Rivington and Delancey) New York, NY TICKETS: $12 advance, $15 door, info 212-219-0736
order advance tickets available here
Young, beautiful, and naive, ROY GARRETT arrived in New York City, specifically Times Square, hungry to explore the sex and porn scenes he’d seen advertised in The Village Voice’s classified section. One of his first stops was the Gaiety Theater where, to his amazement, men offered him money for sex. From there it as a quick descent into the hedonistic hustling and porn industries which ultimately destroyed him. Throughout this turbulent period he wrote the poems that became HOT ROD TO HELL— visceral and personal– a record as any that exist of that moment in Gay History just before AIDS changed everything.
Reading the poems will be an illustrious group of New York Artists, Writers, and Poets including Mike Albo, Casey Spooner, Brian Kenney, Max Steele, Scooter Laforge, Joey Stocks, Jonathan Daniel Federico. Original Music by Lorant Duzgun. An after-party will follow in the bar with DJ Aaron Cobbett.
With support from the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art.

OK so after the read through I went home to cook a little dinner. Then PLD and I ventured to deep dark lovely Brooklyn Heights for a Hallowe'en party at our good friend Boogers' house. A few fun facts about Boogers:

- He was a founding member of the legendary NYC art-rock band The Gentle Laxatives (B0DYH1GH covers one of their songs, "Tigermilk", which the lead singer Jenna Gross dedicated to yours truly).
- Apparently we are among the very few folks who refer to him by the nickname Boogers.
- A few years ago on PLD's birthday, we visited Boogers' at the UES apartment where he was living at the time, incidentally my actual New York City Dream Home, and to celebrate PLD's birthday we ate Princesses and decided to start a publishing company called Gay Sunshine Press, even though there's already one by that name. Gay Sunshine Press always welcomes all submissions.
- He currently lives in Brooklyn Heights, which is very glamorous and fancy. He's neighbors with Björk. He lives in a True Mansion. Do you know what makes something a True Mansion? It's if the garden has a Water Feature. That's what makes a home a True Mansion. Boogers' house has such a Water Feature (thought it was turned off), so it's a True Mansion.
- He is inexplicably single! And completely adorable. And a Leo.
- His shows with Jill Pangallo (Jason & Jill Craft Magic) are my favorite thing ever. I miss it dearly and can't wait till the next one.

So we went to his house to carve pumpkins and watch scary movies. Instead, we ended up making Frito pie and eating it in the garden by the light and heat of the outdoor fireplace, and told dirty stories. It was so much hilarious fun! And since I hate horror movies (who wants to be scared?), I was very pleased with this alternative. Took a cab back up to Wburg to go to GAG! at Metropolitan. So many queers in freaky costumes! Hung out a bit with my buddy Ryan, the intrepid adorable reporter, then begged off to bed.

Sunday I woke up fairly early because the landlord sent some guys over to finally turn our heat on. I did some writing and then went to BAX to rehearse my new project, Mapplethorpe. I have a showing of some of this work (eeek!) on November 16th at 1pm, and you should come see all of our open studios! Mine will likely be the least impressive, I'm not just being humble. But also being impressive is not my forte, probably. Not anymore, eh?

I left rehearsal in a jiffy to go to La MaMa to see ShaneShane's AMAZING solo show LIQUID NONSENSE. I. Just. Loved. It. I really can't say enough about ShaneShane. I am shamefully sad to have missed some of his early shows in NYC. I remember Earl Dax asking me if I'd seen him yet, raving about him. Once I sat at a bar at this party next to him and we didn't know each other but just bonded over free drinks and our love of Miss Lady Kier (since she like us is a Leo Goddess). But then I started seeing ShaneShane's shows, and fell in love. LIQUID NONSENSE was a blend of his songs and dancing with new songs, new dancing, live piano ballads, fantastically hilarious and heartfelt (and informative!) monologues, and videos, such as this amazing gem:

I really can't say enough. I mean it. ShaneShane is what I always hoped I would get to see. He is kind of my dream of what queer performance art and music should be. He's sexy, smart, politically engaged, earnest, creative, punk rock, funny, and fucking sweet. He's not about making people feel left out. He's a lover, not a hater. I'm tremendously proud and lucky to get to be in the same city as him right now. His work is exactly what I want to see and what I want everyone else to see. I learned a lot during his show, about poppers, about the fifth cast member of the Golden Girls, a gay houseboy named Coco who never made it past the pilot, about love, about feelings. I loved the show a whole lot. Viva ShaneShane! He is exactly what we need.

After the show, PLD and I and Nath Ann and Enid Ellen and ShaneShane all had a big photo shoot to promote our La MaMa shows. Hopefully images coming soon. We tried (as I often do) to capture an early Free Kitten vibe:

I mean, that's basically us, right? After the photo shoot we went back to Brooklyn and debated going to the Candy Magazine party drag ball at PS1, since it seemed like it was sold out. Decided against it and I ordered vegan Thai food (like I do every Sunday night). Then we got word that there were list spots so we went. But then one of the list spots wasn't there, but then everything worked out with the other list spot being roomy. Whatever, we got in. It was super cool! Lots of sexy kids dressed up in all kinds of ways. Not us, though. I felt sort of proud for being one of the few people not dressed up? I don't really have any Halloween costume ideas. I know it makes me kind of a spoilsport but I just don't have the energy. I typically dress up like a monster to go to the deli, you know what I mean? It's not really playing for me. Besides, it's kind of punk to not dress up at the dress-up thing. I feel like it sort of made me stand out, which was weird. Ran into coolest girl in the world Miss Jill! Who was there with miss Angie DeCarlo, both looking fan-fucking-tastic in their get ups (wish I had pix!). I was totally broke but PLD bought a vodka shot and shared, which was nice. There was a very busy bar at the space, and waiting in line (where I ran into NYC's favorite upcoming celebrity Miss Hari Nef! Hearts!) I saw a somewhat well-known pop star, and I saw them surreptitiously swipe a full bottle of vodka from the bar without anyone noticing. Anyone but me. I thought maybe I'd get to share it with them since no one else saw, but they disappeared and I couldn't find them, so we had to pay $3 for a shot. I mean, if I lifted a bottle of vodka I'd disappear too.

So, if you can't find me one day, it might be because I've absconded with something really great, like a bottle of Absolut, and I'm in hiding, enjoying it. If you want, I'll probably share it with you. Just ask.


More than a few times I've had the conversation with people of, maybe they're a Beatles fan or a Rolling Stones fan. Or a Zeppelin fan. I hate that conversation for a number of reasons (since i'm more of a Yoko Ono or Marianne Faithful fan). But if I had to choose one classic rock band as such, it would be the Velvet Underground.

I remember when I convinced my parents to buy a new needle for their record player (this must have been in the year 2000)? I dug the crates of my parents records out of the garage. My dad didn't have anything that interested me, but my mom did. My favorite was The Velvet Underground and Nico. The cover was worn because my mom had tried to peel off the banana sticker. I listened to that album until it warped. I spent much of high school and college poring over Velvet Underground albums, outtakes, b-sides. I got into Lou Reed's solo work, some. But not as much as I could have (or as much as I'm about to). When I made my first real performance art show in New York it was in 2007 at Dixon Place. La JohnJoseph let me open for him one of the nights of the Hot Festival. I ended the performance (an early version of Lover, Ferocious) with a remix of "Satellite of Love". JJ told me about the remix, he tells me about all cool things.

This song has been very important to me over the years. I'm having a hard time explaining why. It's kind of optimistic and grandiose and romantic and sweet. Lou Reed meant a whole lot to me, because he was a fucking weirdo queer. He wrote songs about being sent to psychiatrists for being gay. He wrote songs about his girlfriends and their druggy and sexy and existential exploits. He wrote songs about ambivalence, about being bored, about being freaked out and lonely and nervous. But also happy and funny. Expansive. He influenced everyone.

I try not to go into sentimentalism for pop stars. Especially white boy middle-class ones. But growing up in the suburbs as a lonely kid with no friends, I did think (as many of us do) that the world would not make a place for me. That I was too freaky, queer, weird, fucked-up in the head, whatever. That there was no place for me to go, or no way for me to operate and make a way for myself in the world. And Lou Reed's music seemed to be proof of some alternate world. A world in which you could be banal and sexy and dark and weird. But still have friends. But still get to make music. And get to treat your weirdo arty pervert feelings as material enough for making music. You could be like that; a weird dude and still be part of the world. I am really sad he's gone.


Shows for shows about shows to show you the shows

ATTENTION NEW YORK CITY: Tomorrow night, Thursday 10/14, B0DYH1GH will be part of this fantastic live talk show at Participant Inc. hosted by ShaneShane and Heather Litteer.



Also appearing on the talk show are my favorite crooner soul sister Nath Ann Carrera, as well as SINEGLOSSA and BRUNO ISAKOVIC. Everyone involved is performing at the Queer New York Festival, and we're all so excited.
--a very late morning news show--
hosted by actress, chanteuse and downtown club legend HEATHER LITTEER and songwriter, party hostess and video artist SHANE SHANE.

THURSDAY, October 24
Free and open to the public
5:00-8:00 PM
Refreshments served

Participant Gallery
253 East Houston

This interview on Thursday is also in preparation for B0DYH1GH's new evening-length performance at La MaMa on Sunday 11/3 at 5:30pm. We've put together an evening-length show called ALIEN AFTERLIFE. and I really hope you can come! We'll have new songs and new outfits. It's going to be a very special night, for many reasons. Secret reasons, too. You'll see.

Yesterday I got up at 5am and went to the gym and listened to Millie Jackson. I've been reading this book The Soulful Divas, which is obviously fucking amazing (though for some reason the author, who's totally read to filth by basically all of the aforementioned divas) refuses to be out as a queer person, it's obviously a totally queeny romp. I love it. I read it when I'm eating dinner. I read it when I'm on the toilet. I read it when I'm smoking cigarettes, waiting for someone to come over. So I just read the chapter on Millie Jackson and forgot how much I love her. How genius she is, truly.

Something about being known as a bad girl, right? Being known for a foul mouth. The rapping, the stories she told becoming at one point what she was more known for than her singing. Content versus form? I'm really into the idea of rapping, onstage. Of inhabiting the seemingly impossible position of being the Other Woman, too.

I am trying to make a new show that's sort of a cabaret show. I'm kind of worried about it, but I'm also excited. In the way where, if everything was falling into place easily that would mean I'm not pushing myself. Not to be a snob, but if it's freaky-- if I'm freaked out and uncertain, I'm headed in the right direction. I know it!

After the gym yesterday I went to work and Kept It Together and then after work I went to a script analysis class at this Meisner studio where my friend teaches. They were discussing Ionesco's The Lesson. I loved Ionesco ever since I did The Bald Soprano in high school. Fran Liebovitz: "The girl in your class who suggests that this year the Drama Club put on The Bald Soprano will be a thorn in people's sides all of her life." (Metropolitan Life/Social Studies). I didn't suggest it, my friend Miriam did. She was never a thorn in anyone's side. I sort of am? Just saying: Fran, maybe not this time ok.

Anyway I read The Lesson in preparation for class and I was not expecting to be into it. But we talked a lot about acting technique, about how to relate to people onstage. The difference between an action and an activity. A transition and an adjustment. I'm so into this stuff. Acting theories. It's almost more fun that the actual acting part? Should I go back to grad school? It was pretty fruitful and inspiring, but did kind of make me sad that I seem to only make work by myself. I guess that's only for right now, and there are a lot of really good reasons why things are like that right now. I mean: yikes. But one thing my friend was talking about was the idea that you don't rehearse as a way to entertain. Rehearsal is not a bad performance. It's not for the viewers. It's so you figure out how to do what you need to do. That was good to hear. I needed to hear that. Also, the idea of playing against someone. That you can't play a role in a scene as "I am trying to be ___" You can't act "to be". You can act "I am trying to make the other person fall in love with me. I am trying to seduce them. I am trying to convince them to love me. I am trying to flatter them. I am trying to teach them a lesson." That was a subtle distinction that seems pretty important to me. We also discussed this Tolstoy quote:
“One of the most widespread superstitions is that every man has his own special, definite qualities; that a man is kind, cruel, wise, stupid, energetic, apathetic, etc. Men are not like that . . . Men are like rivers; the water is the same in each, and alike in all; but every river is narrow here, is more rapid there, here slower, there broader, now clear, now cold, now dull, now warm. It is the same with men. Every man carries in himself the germs of every human quality and sometimes one manifests itself, sometimes another, and the man often becomes unlike himself—while still remaining the same man.”
Delightful professor asked us initially to acknowledge the inherent sexism in the "man" of this quote, noting that in Tolstoy's native Russian, it was almost certainly "person" rather than "man" and that the sexist interpretation lies with the translator. But, again, this is on one hand a sort of woo-woo thing of us all being the same or at least similar, deep down. But it's also a useful concept for artists (not just actors). We want to think that there are more or less immutable truths about ourselves and other people. Things which we can rely on, which we can know. Know, in the sense of control. But of course the actual knowledge, the actual traction, the actual control (as such) comes from the understanding that it's all temporary, it's not real. I was really struck by this quote but I'm doing a bad job of explaining it. Maybe I don't need to explain. Maybe you already get what I'm saying.

This dark morning (Captain!) I am again so in love with this video of young Autoclave!

So gorgeous. DC prog rock. How funny. I always think they were so far ahead of their time. I wish there would be an Autoclave reunion. Or a Casual Dots reunion. or a Slant 6 reunion or a Quix*O*Tic reunion. I wish all the bands would get back together. Zombie music festival.


Never be a doormat

I met my friend uptown on Saturday morning, at one of the many houses he has. I was exceedingly hungover from the night before. I had been part of Guy Branum's hilaruous Talk Show the Game Show event in long Island City, which was a ton of fun. I stayed out later than I meant to with Miss Max Bernstein, sipping whiskey drinks that other people bought for me. It was kind of a lot. On the way home I realized, I'm not proud of this, too drunk to get into a cab. That's what friends are for. So I woke up super early the next morning and hoofed it uptown to meet my brilliant mentor writer thinker friend chum. The occasion for our meeting was this new whipped cream vodka he's obsesed with. We drank it with iced tea at 11am in the morning. It was a completely novel experience and did make my hangover feel a whole lot better. We were talking about some projects I had done recently, and about some things I'm working on right now, and just some questions I had. My friend made a point of telling me that he had me over to tell me something. What he told me was: he growled. For almost a minute. I said "I know... I know, but--" he shushed me so he could finish his growl. The growl was part of what my friend had to tell me. When he finished his growl (it was a long one), he said "I'm just going to tell you this: Don't ever be a doormat." It was kind of striking, because he's not the only person in a more wise and experienced relation to me who's told me that lately. I've had similar feedback from other people in other areas of my life lately. And it's funny, because I never think of myself as a doormat. At least not consciously. I would not consider that to be something I let myself be.

But, if I'm really honest with myself, I do often think that being a doormat is the best use of my time and energy. Like, I think people just want me as a punching bag, and since I seem to be good at that I let people do that to me. And then i get really bummed out that people just want to use me as a punching bag. I think this is what my friend was saying. So, while I'm not interested in being demanding or self-important, I need to stop acting as if my ability to withstand torture (which isn't even such a great ability, it's not even something I can do, really, not comfortably), I need to stop acting like that's the thing that I have to trade on. There are no prizes given out for putting up with trouble. I mean, there are, but not in this context. No one who wants me for a doormat is going to love me for being their doormat, unfortunately.

My friend also described Berlin, hilariously, as "Nazi bottoms and Turkish tops". I told him what Dr. Miss Vaginal Crème Davis usually says about Berlin dicks, how it's a size queen's fantasy, but they're all kind of ugly. My friend agreed. I skidaddled from the Upper West down to the Brooklyn Museum, to see a talk with Colette, K8 Hardy, Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, and lead by my old prof. Judith Rodenbeck. I was too organized. I tore through the Museum's entrance, paid a nominal entry fee, ran up the stairs to the forum, and got into an argument with a very made-up Russian security guard lady about whether the talk was happening and where. She directed me back to the information desk. After much fussing we discuvoered that in fact the talk was not on Saturday, but this upcoming Saturday. So maybe I'll go back and see you there? I was pretty mortified that I drunkenly accosted the staff at the Museum, but then I realized that no one would know I was drunk, because who ever heard of getting drunk on Saturday morning and going to the fucking museum, right?

I wandered around Brooklyn, went to that vegan Jamaican juice place, and made my way home for a nap. I felt pretty awful by this point. Pickled. Eventually I moped out to dinner by myself. I don't know how I get into this position. Yes, I was hungover. Yes, I was underslept. But I was pretty miserable. I thought; how strange and sad my life is. I have nothing to do on Saturday night. No friends to hang out with. It was kind of intense. I wasn't very organized about reaching out to people, but you know how it is when you feel bad physically, it's hard to connect. Anyway I came home and had a drink with Ptrck and then we decided to go to Metro. That bar was kind of lame, but we had fun and ran into my friend Cute Erik and it was good I'm glad I went out of the house that night.

Sunday I got up pretty early, felt FANTASTIC for not being hungover, went to the gym and had a really amazing workout. I went grocery shopping and cooked myself a sort of epick meal of tempeh and green beans and pasta. I went to PS1 to see the fantastic Dirty Looks performance dear Bradford organized with Luther Price. So Christmassy and scary! Really trippy and great. A total happening. Worth the hype, etc. I also checked out the Mike Kelley show. How sad! How really gorgeous and sad and surprising and sad and beautiful. And sad. I felt so bad for him. I felt bad for everyone. Not in the lonely way I had the night before. I felt bad in the sense of, like, how Kelley's work is sort of about the gorgeous and awful fact of being alive. Innocence being lost, growing up, etc. It's just excruciating and inexorable and so gorgeous. It's unbearable. None of us can bear it. Those of us that think we can bear it ultimately have to give up, when we die, right? Such a fantastic show. I would maybe even go back? Who wants to go?!

After that I met up with PLD downtown and we got a drink, then went to go see miss Erin in "God Hates This Show." That show was so fucking crazy. I love, in a way, seeing Erin in new and different types of shows or projects. God Hates... was really funny, obviously dark, but really funny and weird and unique. I hope it gets more of a run somewhere. Erin stole the thing, for me, as well she should. I loved the songs and I loved the monologues. The whole thing really.

Here's a fantastic video of Erin in a new webseries called The 3 Bits:

After the show, Erin and Becca and us went out for another drink. It was so nice to see Daddy Bex too. I got home and felt a little dizzy from accidentally getting drunk (again!) but then I ordered thai food and watched the beginning of this Russian sci-fi movie Solaris.

Tonight's a quiet night, I hope. I'm going to write this story for a new collection and I'm going to bake an acorn squash and also bake a yam. I think I've sort of figured out, this thing about not being a doormat. Or, this thing of working towards trying to be less a doormat, is in some ways also about getting out of the way. If you know this is where people are wiping their feet, then don't lie down there in your nice whites, right?

There are things that I can rely on to piss me off, and I can avoid them. Or, when they come up, I can get pissed off and then it go. I don't need to be the boss of my feelings of anger. I'm so cautious about reminding myself of that thing, "you teach people how to treat you." Because it sort of makes it your fault if people are mean to you. And, look, I've been picked on my whole life. Er, not my whole life. The last twenty years. And, as bad of a person as I am, I know, rationally, that I don't deserve it. So I don't want to be like "I should just teach people to be nicer to me!" because it's not my fault. But at some point, I guess I do have a responsibility to take care of myself, the way anyone else would, without thinking about it. Where it's a thing of "Okay this is what I can deal with or what I want or what I cannot deal with or do not want." and then if someone wants to be mean to me, if someone lives to get a negative reaction out of me, then I think it's time to move away from them and just cut it out, you know?


Max Steele Gay Blues Explosion

Thinking a little bit about Gaslighting. As a real thing that happens in the world, and as a kind of rhetorical though experiment. Essentially-- is what I think is happening actually happening? Who can tell. I have some friends who are in some dire situations, and I want to be able to say "No, you're right. The other person's wrong." or "I understand." but I don't know if I can be sure. How do I know that what I think is really true or really real or happening? It's always this thing of, you know. Be nice and also be honest. How funny sometimes these things seem to be at odds with one another. Rarely, but it happens, you know?

This morning on my way to work I went to the drugstore to buy yogurt and an apple and a pack of cigarettes. There was a new bank opening next to the drugstore in midtown. There was a huge crowd outside the new bank. Lots of guys in suits. Big tv cameras, a whole production. They weren't like, paparrazi, and they didn't look like they were waiting for a celebrity or anything. What do guys in suits get into crowds for? Who is the banking celebrity? I asked the girl who was ringing me up if she knew why people were waiting outside the bank.

"Bloomberg's supposed to come."
"Ah ha."
"The mayor,"
"Yeah... not for much longer."
"It feels like forever!"
"I know."
"It feels like it's been... two ages."
"It has been."
"Like, twenty years!"
"And I'm only 23!"

I woke up before the sun this morning to go to the gyn, felt out of place, uncomfortable, but triumphant. I fought against all my instincts and did the painful, uncomfortable, but healthy thing of going to the gym. The gym was totally empty except for this guy who I know lives around the corner from me, and I think he's cute and once a few weeks ago I said "hi" on grindr and got no response. It was just the two of us working out this morning, so I ignored him and he continued to ignore me. Last time I went to the gym before the sun, I got there before he did, so I felt morally superior. This time, he was there before me, so I felt like a schmuck. None of this is the point.

I was listening to Boss Hog, and the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, and thinking how cool they were. How there should be more artwork like that. I had the fleeting thought: "Oh, I want to make the gay version of the Jon Spencer Blues Exposion. I would call is the Max Steele Gay Blues Explosion." I think that could still be a fantastic idea, getting to sign both the Jon and Cristina parts of the Boss Hog songs.

But then I realized, there's already a gay version of JSBX, and it's the Make-Up, right? My ultimate fantasy boyfriend, Ian Svenonius kind of hits that mark, for me. It satisfies my craving to fuck with the JSBX hipster white boy blues rock thing by adding a sissy. I mean, Ian has an actual lisp. (A natural lisp). He's perfect. I felt sort of sad. Ian S. is such a good singer, such a good dresser, a fantastic charismatic perfomer, a wonderful talk show host, and a truly brilliant writer and philosopher. Gosh, I thought, I wish I was him. But like actually gay. I wish the conversation around Svenonius had been about his queerness. Not in terms of having sex with men. C'mon guys, grow up. But in terms of queer aesthetics and practices. I wish it were more about "I want to be a queer sex symbol" or something.

And THAT got me thinking about James Franco. James is sort of the film world's Ian Svenonius, right? Except with that added intrigue of queer lust. He actually goes for it, in a way Svennie doesn't. He also wear all those hats. It's kind of sick in a way, because Ian was doing this middle-aged queer boy wunderkind thing for a while before James rolled out of bed, and it seems like all these writers and thinkers and poets or whatever are so into James' so-called queer allure. And Ian doesn't get so much credit for being the one to have come up with it.

But, you know, JSBX was pretty queer too, in a way. I guess if there were actually a gay version, it would look like the video for their song starring Winona Ryder right?

I still want to start a  MAX STEELE GAY BLUES EXPLOSION project. I think that could work. Tonight I'm going to two art openings then therapy and then a reading. And then I get to sleep. What a long fun day. Gay Explosion. It's great.


Healthy Choices

I played a show last night with ClapperClaw and J-A-H at CoCo66. It was really great. Not a lot of people came, but I had fun. I did a set of covers:
A photo of me performing Captain St. Lucifer (I asked them to make the lights red for that song). 

I was happy with how it went. I sometimes forget how much I really love playing shows. Like, Oh yeah. Even if not a lot of people come. Even if people come but they hate it. That didn't happen last night, I think people liked it. It's just this thing of changing your attitude, or kind of just paying better attention to things. I love performing. I don't think that makes me a mean or bad person, necessarily. I think it's where my skills are best put to use. It may not seem that way to other people, but everyone has their own way of looking at things. I didn't get enough sleep but I was so blissed out and reading Depression: A Public Feeling in bed. I think my mattress is fucked up again. It's only a year old! I wake up every morning in excruciating pain. Today was alright but I slept later than I should have. I'm so sleepy today. Exhausted. 

I think you can tell a lot about a person by what they eat for breakfast. I imagine that people who are rich, or well organized or happy eat really good, elaborate breakfasts. The way you do anything is the way you do everything, right? Some people only eat for nutritional value. Some people have breakfast as part of a larger master plan. I routinely deny myself breakfast, almost subconsciously. On one level, it's the thing of "I never have time" to eat, and when I do eat it's usually because I breakdown and get something with no nutritional value.

Anna Dello Russo eats what she calls a Japanese breakfast every morning, which includes has miso soup. Don't you want to be like ADR? I do.

So thank heavens for man who sells fruit on the Southwest corner of 34th St. and 8th Avenue and his cheery, toothless smile. I go to him sometimes when I'm late for work or just want to have some fruit for breakfast (if I'm trying to make a healthier choice). I usually buy a raisin-bran muffing from the coffee guy next door. He doesn't smile, since I only ever buy muffins and never his stank-black steamed tar coffee beverage, sizzling little fistfuls of heartburn and dry cleaning. I got a muffin and an apple today. I feel like I am taking OK care of myself by stopping to get it. I ran into the cute boy who works in my building in the elevator, was too shy to say anything, and then a coworker got on so I chatted with her. That probably makes me seem like so much more of an asshole. He was really cute.

So let's talk about the Spring/Summer 2014 COMME des GARÇONS collection. On her process for making this collection, Rei Kawakubo told reporters through her husband/interpreter/CEO Adrian Joffe: “She says she couldn't think of anything new, so she decided not to make any clothes."

This god a typically rapturous review from the NYT, Cathy Horyn loved the freedom of Kawakubo's imagination (as she does every season). The folks over on the CDGTENPOMAP blog worried briefly that this augured Kawakubo's retirement. Thankfully, this doesn't seem to be the case. At least not yet. Dis Magazine said the "irrelevant, redundant, and fairly obvious, padded, stuffed, and structurally unsound handmade garments felt gratuitous, meaningless, and even trendy:" and wondered if perhaps she needed a "Re-cation". Ba-dum-DUM. That's fine, Kawakubo seems to thrive on negative reviews, right?
"If I do something I think is new, it will be misunderstood, but if people like it, I will be disappointed because I haven’t pushed them enough. The more people hate it, maybe the newer it is. Because the fundamental human problem is that people are afraid of change. The place I am always looking for—because in order to keep the business I need to make a little compromise between my values and customers’ values—is the place where I make something that could almost—but not quite—be understood by everyone.”
I was really into this collection. At first I thought about how cool it was that Kawakubo seems to be displaying a kind of fundamental ambivalence about fashion, clothes in general. But thinking a bit more, that's not really what's going on here. Ambivalence is multiple options, Kawakubo is fairly consistent in the way her line of thinking leads her in one direction. It's not that she could take or leave the concept of clothing; it's that no progress can be made until the concept of clothing, and the baggage (sorry) that comes with clothing and designing fashion is abandoned, neutralized. These looks might not work at the office or a dinner party, but they don't have to. She's not trying to make clothing here. At least not clothing as we know it.

In a way it's a more emotionally honest collection than we've seen from Kawakubo in a long time. Remember, she'd almost never concede that her clothes are unwearable. In fact, to the contrary, she'd often indicate that the mechanical complexity, the violent ugliness of some of the clothes worked almost as mystically, to convey energy, strength, rebelliousness. This is the woman who thinks of spraying $200 perfume as analogous to drinking a cup of coffee or smoking a cigarette. It's great. But for Kawakubo to be presenting a collection that simply dispenses with the notion of wearability, it's sort of forthright and, I don't know, kind of sweet. She seems to be demanding that the garments (as such), the constructions be evaluated on their own terms, rather than how they might fit into your wardrobe. She does not seem to want to present a collection that makes you excited to go to a red carpet premier or benefit gala. These looks are not for the feint of heart.

Yes, Dis, we've seen these shapes before. Yes, more forcefully and more clearly articulated. But, to my mind, this is the utilization of a CdG vocabulary. There are a number of classic CdG codes she's working with here (bones, skeletons, armor, protection, bondage, girlhood, blackness, jewelry, etc.), but the design part is in the context; the codes and gestures are applied outside of the realm of "making clothes". It's something else.

The show does remind me of the CdG S/S 2004 collection (gosh, ten years ago!), in which Kawakubo showed only skirts. This time, there were no pants or skirts or bottoms at all, really. It would be naive to think that these big terrific things are the only things CdG is going to produce next season. In 2004 they produced a number of gorgeous jackets. This time the ideas of the presentation will certainly filter into the actual pieces that get produced. As Joffe notes in a recent and wonderfully informative interview, they produce 95% of what's shown on the runway. I'm excited to see what actually gets made from these looks, and how eternally cool CdG sales staff styles them.

There's something so refreshing, and maybe even optimistic about the idea of just changing the frame. Like, if you don't have any ideas for new clothes to make, start by not worrying about making clothes. The existential point here is, I think, a beautiful one. I'm trying to find the quote from Nina Hagen where she's hosting the German version of American Idol or something, and makes some cockamamie point about how God is the vase and you are the flowers, but you need to change the water. I'm messing it up. What I'm getting at is that the new CdG collection is a fundamental statement on nature, on reality, on the force of creativity and will. Which aspects of your circumstances seem permanent, immovable, and how sure are you exactly? What would it look like to free yourself from the constraints you think are permanent?

Make healthy choices, kids.


Nobody's Favorite

I didn't meditate this morning like I wanted to and now it's Tuesday and once again I'm feeling like Nobody's Favorite. Nobody's favorite person. Nobody's friend. An Artist Nobody Wants to Know More About. This is probably not true, it's probably just a feeling I'm having. Statistically, there must be someone out there whom would like me best. I guess I just don't know them yet. How sad to think I mayble already know them and have fucked it up. You know how Tuesdays are.

Yesterday on the street I saw an old friend of mine but we didn't say hello. I was dressed pretty ridiculously, I must say. Maybe he didn't recognize me. Neon (actually neon) green drop-crotch CdG pants and a SWANS t shirt and glasses and a hat. I felt cold. And bold. It's so funny, I'm too shy to say hello to someone who I've known for years, someone who I was once on "I love you" terms with. That seems too difficult, I was too shy, I couldn't do it. But walking around town in neon green low-crotch pants, looking very much like a literal clown, that feels fine. Well within my comfort zone, even. It was a really pretty and lazy day yesterday. I went to the gym, I went grocery shopping. I bought myself a shirt at a thrift store.

Took myself on a date to see La Naissance du jour last night at Film Forum. Part of a Jacques Demy festival I wish I had been more on it to know was happening. It was perfect. I thought I might be a little bit lonely at the movie. I invited a cute boy to go with me, but he declined. I wasn't too lonely. It was sort of fitting, though, right? I just recently read that book (Colette's Break of Day) last summer. It's about, i guess, being alone. Or, being alone with yourself. It was a gorgeous, but incredibly slow-moving film. Lotf os shots of Colette writing at her desk while speaking her internal monologue. "Death doesn't interest me." Colette writes, "Not even my own." It's nearly all internal action. She reproaches one of the other characters who suffers a kind of emtoional breakdown in front of her, summing her up with as a horsey-faced girl who smokes cheap tobacco and screams at her parents. Ouch. In another scene, Colette hosts a dinner party and when it ends early, the guests decide to hop into cars and go to a dance club. The bar is dingy and empty except for a few desultory same-sex couples. The dinner party crowd has a great time. Except, of course, for Colette, who sulks. Luckily she thought to bring her cat with her to the club. I loved it. It's not about resignation, really. More about knowing what you want. Or at least where you might look for what you want. Knowing what you do not want. I liked it a lot.

After the movie I came home and watched the Teena Marie episode of that "Unsung" TV show. It was amazing, and I only learned a few things I didn't already know about her. Here's a video of her singing "If I Were a Bell"

Pretty amazing, right? So much has been going on! But it feels like nothing important has been happening. What's new, pussycat? People are still trying to trick the world into loving them. I'm still convinced that no one likes me, that I have nothing to offer. That's not entirely true: I got invited to some things today, actually. There are some people who still want to be my friend! I have to try to remember that, I guess.

I'm sad because someone who was I was friends with in New York, though we weren't very close, passed away last week. And I just found out. I feel really sad about it, because he was a really sweet and talented person, and he definitely wanted to be my friend, and I liked him a lot but didn't give our friendship the chance it could have had to bloom. And I do regret that. I don't want to talk about it more than except to say that it is, you know, so important to tell the people you like how you feel about them. Or, fuck it, even if you don't like them? I think it's important to try to maximize our time together and be as honest and true to each other as we can. Because you never know. People get sick, accidents happen.

You know, to be fair. I'm not giving myself enough credit. There's a lot of nasty shit going down right now, and I'm continually surprised, today especially, at how I'm able to let shit roll off my back the way I wouldn't have been able to even a few short months ago. Let's be okay. It's hard to look at something as an opportunity to succceed, to enjoy life, instead of just an opportunity to fail. I'm really frustrated with a few things in my life right now. I wish things happened a bit more easily. I wish people could be nicer to me. I just want everything to be the same. I want everything to hurt the same amount, and to feel good to the same extent.

I've been seeing a lot of good shows lately. I'm playing a show tonight in Greenpoint, I'm excited about, at COCO66.

I'm tired of being the target, man.


Hex Yourself

Seeming to be plagued, invaded. By insects, by thoughts. I'm keeping my cool. I'm not freaking out, which I normally would. I wonder, did someone Hex me? Is it possible to hex yourself? If so, then I'm definitely one to do it. Not even accidentally hex myself, just subconsciously. Like, because on some level I need that pathos (In high school a friend once mentioned that, that I apparently like to feel shitty, she used the phrase "needing that pathos", I thought that was so chic). Yeah, but psychic invasion:

I remember when this video came out in 2005, I was so bummed because this is what my friends were doing in San Francisco, making cool art and stuff, while I was in college in frigid old New York. I loved Veronica Lipgloss and the Evil Eyes.

New Lauryn Hill song:

As an actor, I can tell you that Lauryn is breathing from her diaphragm. Such a crazy good song. Needlessly good. It's such a shame about Ms. Hill not being given credit or the context to properly release her work and get paid for it. I hope someday this and all of the fantastic songs you know she's just sitting on get released.

Crazy week, an easy week. I'm sad my parents are gone but I bought my plane ticket home for the holidays. I got to go to my college friend's wedding last night, it was so fantastic. I'll write more about it later but it was really a gorgeous and completely surreal feeling to be dressed up walking through central park to the reception with my college chums. Who am I, even? Trying to be super cognizant and (I'm sorry) present enough to just clue into these moments and feel grateful I get to have them. Not just fancy stuff, anything. Like right now I'm listening to my 7"s (remember that awesome band The Moves?) and drinking coffee and burning incense with the windows open and it's drizzling: this is great. Last night was great too, I'm glad I thought to realize it at the time.

The night before, Friday night, I had gone to see Miss Erin Markey perform at the Prelude after party. She was gorgeous and it was worth the trip. She made a joke about how someone had thrown her shade about performing to backing tracks. I used to get that a lot, but in a punk rock context. Like, I'd be playing in punk basements or rock clubs or something, to backing tracks of songs I made on FruityLoops or (even older) my Casio keyboard on a 4-track.

I used to perform to backing tracks that would be played from a cassette.

It was always so weird to me. People would often ask me "Yeah but who makes your music?" like, as if I had some Svengali hidden away, making these crappy out-of-sync beats somewhere. Or like, people would ask who wrote my songs for me (this is back when I performed more original songs). Like, duh: me. Or the lyrics? But I guess it's different in a punk context than a theater or cabaret context. It's weird, no one would ever ask Lauren Devine why she performs to backing tracks. But it's a different time, I'm talking about ten years ago. It would be pretty cool to see her in a full live band version though. Unplugged? I guess I always feel sort of dorky and out of step. Like I was too smarmy for the punk world, cuz I went to college and performed to backing tracks instead of playing an instrument live (before that I played both the cello and keyboard live, it's really hard!). And then in the chic world of fanciness, my songs are too crusty sounding and amateurish. Too punk or something. There is no place to fit in, I think that's good. To be honest I do sort of look for places of no escape, or places that are impossible, that don't fit in. On some level, you know, I don't want to fit in because I don't think I should have to, that anyone should have to. I am really really opposed to the idea of fitting in by being the same as someone/group of people. So I kind of subconsciously chafe at that work against it. But then it's like, I'm sabotaging myself and am always bellyaching about how no one wants me in their club. It's such a trip to be a grown-up.

Going to BAX this afternoon to sing. I ought to be, actually, writing more material for the new show. But I think it starts with singing. It starts with singing songs that I didn't write, or arrange, or record. It starts with laying down a tarp so that you can then make a mess on top of it and it'll be okay. That, to me, is the thing about performing live. It's the tarp. It's the membrane of like: "okay, we're gonna talk about how crazy it is to be a fucking human being, right?"

There are so many cute boys in New York City and there are so many cute boys in every town, and sometimes you forget that the fantasy, much superior to the circumstance in one's head, is actually the same. it's just the second-life, web 2.0, waking dream superimposed onto the fact of the world. They're here, we're all here. We've been waiting. Wake up.


Power Drinking

My parents went back to California this morning and I've been on the verge of tears all day. I don't know, I really miss them! It's weird, when I go to visit them at home, I'm usually sullen and angry and feel frustrated and am too stressed out to enjoy their company in the same way. But they never come to New York, and we had so much fun together. They like to party, though. Jeez. I had such a fantastic visit with them. I'm very sad to see them go. I want to book my trip home to California for Christmas right away so I know when I'll see them next.

ENCOURAGER at LaMaMa went pretty well, I think. My friends came, some people who I did not personally force to came attended, and my parents came. I was happy with the turnout and the final version I'm working with now. The actual content of the show (as such) didn't change, but the acting choices did. I think that made it better. Two people told me they cried during the show. I feels at one deeply edified to hear that, since it was in a way my intent, and deeply, deeply ashamed for making people sad. Not even sad. I want there to be a way to have a poignant experience of that show. I want people to be able to really hear me when I say: "The things that make you you don't exist, really." Because they don't. That's not a dig.

So much of making art is for me a thing of trying to find a way to have a conversation I couldn't have in my real life.

Also: futility! What a nice concept. Without putting too fine a point on it; my best days are behind me, there's probably no payoff in writing here. Or in reading anything here. Or in reading anything anywhere else. I sometimes think about this thing of wasted potential. Who doesn't think they've wasted their life? They're kidding themselves.

Reading this interview in an internationally renowned art magazine with an artist who's younger and much more accomplished than I am. I feel a pang of jealousy. I feel like my veins are full of fire. I see people I'd like to be friends with (they're cool and smart and seem popular and have pretty solid opinions about the world) and they all know each other and don't want to be friends with me. I feel a hot rush of shame. I'm savvy, really, enough to know that it's not about them. It's not about me not getting what I "deserve". No one gets what they deserve. I just wish I could more reliably take comfort and inspiration in what's actually going on, rather than constantly seeing someone else and wishing I was them. Do you all know that Gina Birch record, The Hangovers? It's so good. Really depressing and amazing. My favorite song is "I'm Glad I'm Me Today". But you can tell she doesn't really believe it. Who could? It's an impossible position, but not one that's not worth trying to work yourself into.

So I did the La MaMa show and my parents came. I'm going to bleach my hair. I'm going to write one story for a collection and then finish the new Scorcher and then work on the new show, tentatively codenamed M! It'll be a little bir easier to digest but still dark. I may never get written about by another magazine. My heros might not know me. I might disappear and become nothing. Let's not rush things.

I knew a boy once who wanted to disappear, who wanted to (sometimes) be invisible. I am writing a song for him which he will not be able to hear, about how you can't just disappear. It's not that easy. You can't just wish, and if you think you can just want something bad enough, then you're wrong. A love song to someone who you think is wrong. Why hadn't anyone thought of this before?

Was thinking about this cool article on Kate Berlant. I've only seen her perform once before, I think B0DYH1GH opened for her at Max Bernstein's Apocalypse WOW event. She was great! I'm really inspired by this article. The idea of performing expertise, right? Drawing from academic performance, acting like a professor or a TED talker. I guess the difference between Kate Berlant and me is that I'm not funny and not trying to be, and she embraces the possibilities of comedy. I'm really excited by the way that the landscape here seems to allow for new expressions. I don't mean the downtown theater world or comedy as such, but like, the permission you give yourself (which I imagine Berlant feels?) to let certain types of things happen. Just nominally allowing for something to be possible, then for it to be the exactly perfect thing. I don't know about that headline though. Maybe this is my own damage-- I don't want to be fake. I want to be real. To really be nothing.