I suppose it's just that time of year when people are starting to want to leave New York. For LA, for Europe, for other cities, or else beaches, the woods, wherever. It's true, this winter has been particularly hard. And yes, Winter will in general get more and more extreme and more and more difficult. But no one ever promised you life would get easier as you went along, right? I think of what my buddy Caroline said during a reading I saw her do a few weeks ago: "Dying is literally the most normal thing you can do." Anyway, I don't want to leave New York, at least not yet, uncomfortable though I may be. I don't want to leave because there's too much great stuff going on. What a fantastic weekend I just had.
On Friday at Saturday nights, I got to host Isaac Richard Pool and Chris Udemezue at BAX, for a weekend of performances I curated called NEWS CYCLE. I am so happy with how it went! Even though I wasn't performing, I was really nervous about the weekend, and the artists totally brought it. I think the weather affected the turnout a little on Saturday night, but other than that I think the weekend was a total success. I am so happy and flattered that these folks agreed to be part of this thing I was trying to put together, and that they made such fantastic work. Really inspiring for me, and, I hope, for the other people who got to see the shows this weekend. My heart swells.
Sunday night I had the sincere honor of being invited to see a screening of the new Elaine Stritch documentary, Shoot Me. I ran into Dan Fishback and Michael Schulman and Molly Pope there, it was great. The film is just fantastic. I say this as someone who is not well-versed in the Broadway canon, someone who is not already a huge Stritch devotee. Someone who does not necessarily think Sondheim is the most important American artist of his age. I mean, he might be, but I don't really know. Anyway, the documentary is so great. Elaine Stritch is an icon and deservedly so. I wish I had an ounce of her self-possession. The thing that keeps coming up in the documentary (SPOILER ALERT) is that her strength is derived from not holding back, from making herself vulnerable. Her legendary power comes from being real, being honest, being scared but going ahead with things. It was a real joy to see, and very funny. There was also a talk-back hosted by Perez Hilton. Molly asked Ms. Stritch at what point in her career did she realize she could handle anything. Elaine had a lovely but sort of meandering answer about wisdom and the gifts of time, I didn't really follow it but it was lovely to finally get to see Molly and Stritch have a convo in public. Then Michael asked if there was a story about Stritch's aversion to pants. At many points in the documentary people allude to her signature outfit (an oversized white button down worn with black tights). Perez even introduced Stritch in the after-screening talk by saying "She's here, and she's not wearing pants..." So I kind of thought we were all on the same page about how Elaine Stritch doesn't wear pants. Evidently this was not the case, as when Michael asked if there was a story about her aversion to pants, she definitely went off on him, saying how offended she was by the question, how (again a little hard to follow) that kind of thing should go where it belongs, right down into the gutter. A nice lady who had been sitting next to us at the screening said maybe it was a vocabulary thing; if he had asked about slacks she might have answered better-- maybe she thought "pants" meant underwear. The nice lady who suggested this had a point. She was also sitting next to me and was sleeping and snoring during a lot of the movie, but she had a nice big fur coat to sleep underneath, so I don't blame her, and was even kind of jealous.
That was another takeaway from the Stritch documentary, for me: get a fur coat. I want a fur coat! It felt a little fucked up to drink booze after the movie, considering Stritch's much-storied struggles with alcohol. But free booze is free booze and I definitely availed myself of as much white wine as I could guzzle before the hotel staff sort of began shooing us out.
Monday was a Holiday, so I went to the gym and then spent the day cleaning the house. I was on Living room/hallway and Bathroom duty. I also cleaned my room a bit. It was disgusting but totally worth it. I want to buy new slippers. Am I am old person, because I want slippers? It's okay to get older. We're all getting older, as Elaine Stritch says. So I cleaned my apartment, and then I went to see Tina Satter and Half-Straddle read from the newly published book of some of Satter's plays, Seagull (thinking of You). I have a confession: I've never actually been to a performance of one of Satter's plays. I've seen videos, and I've read a lot about them, but I've never been. So many people I love and admire are involved in the production of her work, it's kind of deeply shameful that I haven't been to the shows.
Anyway, I went last night and I was so inspired by the talk! And the readings! Eileen Myles was "in conversation" with Tina, but it was mostly her speaking about her process, about what she is trying to convey, how she tries to convey a feeling, say, of being an adolescent and wearing one earring to the mall and feeling cool. I wish I could more articulately convey how reassuring it is, how exciting it is to be in the same city as Tina Satter.
I wish I could handily explain how exciting it is to be on the same planet as these brilliant women who seem to just get on with the business of telling the truth through their art. I wish I could just say, real easily, "Oh yeah, and then she said this crazy thing that we were all thinking, it was so wonderful." It's not so easy. SO: go see the Stritch documentary and go buy Tina Satter's book and then sit next to me the next time they have a Half-Straddle performance in NYC.
So that was this weekend. Then I came home and ordered takeout and watched the first half of All About Eve, but then I got bored and started watching this Spice Girls documentary but then I fell asleep. That was this weekend.
BUT NEXT WEEKEND there are some really exciting things. One of which involves me directly.
FRIDAY 2/21/14 7pm FREE
LAUNCH PARTY FOR FUTURE PERFECT
Bureau of General Services Queer Division
83A Hester St. NYC
This will be a reading to celebrate the launch of FUTURE PERFECT, the benefit book for the Bureau. I'll be reading my contribution to the book, which is a brand new piece that doesn't appear anywhere else. I am so over the moon at being included in this project and in the company I'm with! These are some of my favorite writers in the world, and I'm so excited. I think/hope you can buy the book at the event as well? Please come join us on Friday night.
"Join the Bureau of General Services-Queer Division in a celebration of the book we produced for our fundraiser last year: Future Perfect. Edited by Andrew Durbin and published by Publication Studio, Future Perfect includes contributions from: Penny Arcade, Felix Bernstein, Stephen Boyer, Lonely Christopher, Nicole Eisenman, Bad Grammar, Bruce Hainley, Ed Halter, Juliana Huxtable, Ted Kerr, Kevin Killian, Wayne Koestenbaum, Rachel Levitsky, Trisha Low, Stephen Motika, Eileen Myles, Tim Trace Peterson, Luther Price, Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Pamela Sneed. Max Steele, Laurie Weeks .
If you donated $50 or more to the Bureau's fundraiser and you selected Future Perfect as a perk we welcome you to claim your book at the event. Several of the contributors will be at the event, some of whom will read their contributions. Confirmed readers at this point include the book's editor Andrew Durbin, Juliana Huxtable, Pamela Sneed, and Max Steele. We'll announce additional readers soon."
Then SATURDAY 2/22 I'm going to see Nadia Tykulsker/Spark(edIt) Arts perform on a bill with Heather Bregman and Katie Dean at Triskelion Arts in Brooklyn. Spark(edit) is performing a new piece titled Sheathings from a Steep Slope, and I saw a rehearsal of an early version of the piece a few months ago. I totally loved it, it was like finding out you had cable and you never knew it; some weird alien cable from the future. HIGHLY recommended. The show runs all weekend but Saturday is the only night I can go so please join me!
February 20 – 22, 2014 at 8pm
Triskelion Arts' Aldous Theater
118 N. 11th Street, 3rd Fl., Brooklyn, NY 11249
Ok, and then on SUNDAY 2/23/14, the legendary Erin Markey returns to Joe's Pub in: There's A New Emergency Contact In Town: Erin Markey at Joe's Pub with Kenny Mellman.
I'm not gonna bullshit you: Erin Markey is the Sun. If you're reading this you already know. She's been writing these fantastic new songs with Mr. Mellman, and they're going to sing some of them, and I might cry? You definitely have to buy your ticket right the fuck away, because this show will probably sell out, because she's a huge star and everyone loves her and the show is too important and exciting to miss. So don't miss it, dummy.
And then finally, next MONDAY 2/24/14, my home-girl, soul sister, close personal friend and constant inspiration and guiding star, Tommy Pico will be reading at the Poetry Project. That's right, that's correct. Sister Pico is of course one of the most exciting voices in American poetry right now, and so it is only fitting that he be performing his work at the most respected and important institution for American poetry and I could not be more proud of him. He'll be reading work from his forthcoming e-chapbook/spoken-word app Absent Mindr. This is the thing I will see you at on Monday night, wearing my lil' cheerleader pompoms and painting 'TEEBS' on my bellyfat.
Monday February 24th, 8pm
the Poetry Project @ St. Mark's Church
131 E. 10th Street
NY, NY 10003
Tonight I'm gonna go grocery shopping, then work for a little bit in the studio at BAX (sing a little bit).