Oh shit there's so much to catch up on and look forward to. And in between, the meat of the sandwich, the condiment (the spread) is right now, today. This second is the middle part. So last week I went to go see miss Penny Arcade and miss Mink Stole in Tennessee Williams' The Mutilated. I was raised by actors. It's not that I saw them perform a lot (though I did, sometimes), but my parents are artists, aesthetes. They know how to appreciate and understand acting. They don't go for cheap thrills. They think my admiration of Sharon Stone is cute, but I remember my mom specifically remarking how great this new actress Reese Witherspoon was in her big break Freeway. My point is: Penny and Mink are fucking fantastic in this show. They give deeply emotional, striking performances that more conventional actors would probably be too chicken to do. I was utterly transported and definitely inspired. It's kind of a mind-fuck, the show. The starring ladies have fantastic chemistry onstage. There's a lot of other things in the show, all of which comes together beautifully, but for me it's all about Penny and Mink. Literally a legendary show. In addition to miss Pennifer's fantastic feature in the Style Section last week, the show gets a very nice review from the Grey Lady. It's up until 12/1, and if you're in New York you should definitely go see it, very much.
Last Friday, I went to the opening of the new Yayoi Kusama show, I Who Have Arrived In Heaven at Zwirner. It was, of course, fantastic. It will be a madhouse throughout it's exhibition. I didn't even get to go to the infinity rooms or darkroom installations, as there were lines around the block to get in. The paintings are fantastic, there're a couple darling sculptures, it's Kusama. You kind of have to go.
Love is Calling
Party in the Dead of Night
Not quite an unknown quantity, but fantastic nonetheless. You cannot fuck with Yayoi Kusama. This is, in a way, almost as good as the retrospective last year, because this is totally $free, and all brand new stuff. I definitely love Kusama's work throughout the 60s, 70s and 80s-- don't get me wrong. But it's also pretty rad to see the energy and force of her creative mind today. As a woman, as a non-American, as a poet, multidisciplinary artist, abstract thinker, person with mental illness: Kusama is an inspiration and an indictment of so much institutional ignorance. Her work is (I know I use this word a lot) scintillating. Such a treat to live in New York City where, on a Friday night, you can go to a Kusama art opening and see all this really fantastic work for free. Like "Oh yeah, that's why I live here. Okay then."
Saturday night I had dinner with dear heart Ben Rimalower and we went to go see Mike Albo's new solo show, The Junket, at Dixon Place. I've long been a fan of Mike's work, and have been lucky enough to perform at the same events as him a few times. I remember specifically that I read on the same bill as him at a reading at the Hose, once, because that was the reading where I wanted to experiment with getting drunk before I read, and it seemed to go pretty well until I fell off the stool I was sitting on during my reading. Mike did great that night as usual. I'd never seen a full-length solo show of his, and I was totally blown-away. I'm specifically impressed with the way his sensibilities combine a few different practices. That sounds fancy-- he's a really brilliant writer, who's also a really wonderful, engaging performer, a painfully rare combination. The show seems like it moves pretty quickly; it covers a lot of ground. It's deeply funny and also kind of scary. I saw a really interesting interview with Mike about the show and the experiences that spawned it over on The Slant. The show and the novella that spawned it are about culture and media, but the bigger questions Mike is asking, about consumer culture, are really exciting to me. In the interview, he says "Shopping has turned into a lifestyle and we don’t know when we aren't shopping anymore because we shop for everything." I'm really interested in the ways in which the modern imagination and shopping have come to shape one another. I think the notion of shopping moves way, way beyond actually buying sweaters, for example, and I'm curious to see Mike Albo explore this. Anyway, The Junket plays again at Dixon Place this weekend, you should go see it!
Afetr the show we met up with PLD and went to the Phoenix to celebrate Guy's birthday. The Phoenix is fun and weird, huh? I couldn't remember the last time I was there-- then I did remember: the time I ordered a beer and it smelled like feet. This time the drinks were fine. After Phoenix, we went to Brooklyn to go to Clump, where the theme was Electroclash, and where I heard so many early 2000s favorite songs. It makes a girl feel old, but I was so young when those songs came out, so I guess maybe not all that old. After a little Clumping, moseyed over to Metropolitan for GAG!, where La'Fem LaDosha was the featured performer:
God, I love her. I love that shirt. I love her make-up. I loved her new SONGS (including a very cute one she wrote on tour in Australia-- down under, you know?). The House of Ladosha is so near and dear to my heart. I'm VERY excited to see them listed in the OUT 100. I normally don't really care too much about the OUT 100, for a number of reasons (100 reasons) but if they're upping these kids then I think it's cool. So, kudos all. Right?
Sunday I rehearsed some more and then I went to go see The Blow perform at the Music Hall of Williamsburg. It. Was. So. Amazing. I had seen them do a few songs at the Kitchen a couple weeks ago, but they've spent the last month on tour supporting the new self-titled album, and they did the full set and it was just so fucking cool. Again, I'm biased: I've been a fan for over a decade, but the new record is so different, and complex, and exciting. It was really gorgeous to see the songs taken apart and put back together live. It definitely made me excited to see and make more performances. It reminded me of the possibilities of what you can do onstage, or around stage. What constitutes a song. I was surprised, as I am often am with The Blow, by the sudden poignancy of the work. Things will be coming together in a way that seems pleasant or easy to understand, and then all of a sudden everything kind of clicks into focus, and I have a kind of "oh shit" moment when I realize what's going on; when what's going on is suddenly revealed, to itself. The new record is a lot, to my mind, about thinking through things. It's a lot about reckoning; about figuring stuff out, about changing your mind. About deciding. They played all of my favorite songs from the new record, and at least a couple old chestnuts for the fans. A totally excellent showing. Afterward we hung out and I drank a lot of beers, and then we went up the street to This'n'That, where Hamm Sandwich was hosting Karaoke. I sang "Ooh La La La" (like I fucking always do). Carla sang "Just The Two of Us" because it's her and D's special song. Otherwise, she said, she'd do a New Jack Swing song. I met a very nice computer literate boy named Max, and he took the Tori Amos Challenge and sang "Jackie's Strength" and KILLED it. Another contestant sang Karaoke and we all cheered him on and it was a fantastically fun night and I got home at like 3:30 in the morning. Monday I was a ZOMBIE but eventually I made it to Max Bernstein's APOCALYPSE WOW comedy night at it's new home at Cameo Gallery. He was hilarious. I'm so glad that show happeend again!
SO NOW, today Thursday 11/14 is the beginning of NEXT TIME, a series of symposiums, screenings, events and performances hosted by Envoy Enterprises and Macie Gransion. Organized by Colin Self with help from Caroline Contillo, Isaac Pool, David Geer, Jessi Probus, & Max Steele, and Hannah Daly. Check out the site linked above or the Facebook Event Page for a full schedule of events.
In addition to the event series, NEXT TIME has put out a publication featuring: Bradford Nordeen, Brian Droitcour, Caroline Contillo, Crystal Palmer, Gordon Hall, Isaac Pool, Jamillah James, Jessica Posner, Jessi Probus and Charlotte Perkins Gilwoman, Johanna Fateman and David Geer, K8 Hardy, Marie Karlberg, Max Steele, Ratty St. John, and Sam McKinniss. You can purchase it at Envoy this weekend or online HERE. I have a new story in it, "KLLEPTO." It's my first attempt at drag.
I'm performing in a reading at NEXT TIME this Sunday at 4pm, alongside Anthony Thornton and Isaac Richard Pool. I'll be reading my new story KLEPTO, and I really hope you can come! Isaac just put out a really cool new eBook called Alien She on Klaus eBooks, which is SUPER cool.
ALSO this weekend, I'm performing some new material at the BAX / Brooklyn Arts Exchange open studio series. My presentation is this Saturday 11/16 at 1pm. I'll be doing a few songs from my upcoming cabaret noir project MAPPLETHORPE. I hope you can make it. I'm pretty nervous.
Also this weekend is the legendary MIX NYC festival, celebrating it's glorious 26th year. There are amazing shows and screenings and parties happening literally every night this week at MIX. I'm particularly excited to see Valencia as well as this Saturday 11/16 at 8pm, when, in addition to screening Jasan Yamas' Not Me, Murphy, there will be screenings of two brand new short films by lovely boy genius favorite Jonathan Caouette, including a new music video for April March. What? Totally exciting. There's so much to do this weekend!
OK this is the end. There's a new single released by Planningtorock!
I'm excited. I can't wait. I'm too excited to wait.