Just got back form the Upper East Side, where I went to the opening of Hugo McCloud's Put in Place at Vladimir Restoin Roitfeld. It was definitely gorgeous, and much more toothsome than I expected. I thought it'd be pretty and petty installations, but there paintings were surprisingly striking, bracing and pert, like when you forget that you ordered hot sake instead of cold. I was getting my homegirl Nancy Spero, I was getting a lilting political (poliltical?) take on space, time, class, on place. The context of the Upper East Side residence is overwhelming, but McCloud's use of the space, the gallery as such, was smart and forthright.
I mostly went because it was a gallery opening and it was on the UES. I want to live there very much someday. All this talk of moving; I've been interviewing potential new room mates all weekend. I just want to be settled. But the building is gross and old, so although the rent is very cheap, there is the palpable sense of impending doom. But I feel like I feel that everywhere, that impermanence thing, right?
Last night I went to go see Erin's new show, A Ride on the Irish Cream, at BAX. She's so fantastically smart and hardworking; a real inspiration to me. I can't be biased at all; she's a friend but I'm also a huge fanboy. I love pretty much everything I've seen her do, even stuff she's not super excited about anymore. Her new show is really ambitious and complex and narrative and funny and sad and fucking brilliant. The scenes she wrote for her co-performer Becca Blackwell were a highlight. There're a bunch of new songs, they're all totally gorgeous and catchy and fucked-up. I was really impressed. Dumbfounded, you might say.
After the show I went to Gio's house to hang out for a minute before going to SPANK. It was at Drom in the East VIllage, in the space that used to be Opaline, which was my first experience of nightlife in New York. In the summer of 2005, Isabelle lived on 1st and 9th and we'd get drunk on, like vodka we had to have someone help us buy, and diet coke, and we'd put on brightly colored underwear and go to the Rated X at Opaline, which was DJed by Michael T and Theo from the Lunachicks, and which was hosted by Peppermint Gummybear. It was there that I saw go-go dancers for the first time. People who, I was flabbergasted to learn, just got paid to dance at parties. It's a very special place for me. SPANK was fantastic as usual, but I didn't stay super duper late. I went to Hana Food on my way home as normal and watched bad TV in bed.
Friday night I went to Julia Norton aka Jiddy No-No aka Ewok Vixen's MFA Thesis show. I can't believe she's graduated! Again, I'm a big fan of her work, and similarly with Erin it's been so cool to be friends with this person because I've been privy to their work developing over the last few years. Anyone could see this, though. Julia's work has deepened and changed in unexpected ways. It's more cerebral and it's also kind of coquettish. There's a newfound but troubled sensuality in her new work. She used to make pictures of uninhabited places, impossible-to-reach utopias, castle estates buried in jungles, perched on mountaintops. She's also been making pictures of obstacle courses, almost like maze architecture. Her new work is dense, lush, tactile, inviting and overwhelming, but at the same time it's restrained, veiled, taut and chewing on it's leash. I am so excited for what comes next.
After her exhibition we went to an after party, and then I walked to the train with my friend Joey Kipp. He's, as you know, a very talented performer and choreographer, and has been super busy as an actor lately. We were talking about how it's fun, but a problem, a fun problem, to be so busy doing the things you ostensibly love.
Today I ran into someone who said he saw me perform, and thought "wow this guy cannot sing" but he was intrigued so he looked me up online (hi there!) and saw an interview with me where I spoke about being a bad singer, about not being a good singer, and then he said he thought I was brilliant. I was dying to know-- which show did he see me sing at and thought I was a bad singer? Definitely for MAPPLETHORPE that's part of what the show's about, but also, you know... for many years in New York and in other places, and still, I plan on continuing to do this, I performed music just as Max Steele, and I sang. And I was kind of trying to pass for a not too bad singer. This new show was like, I'm making art about this gesture, this reality. But in my real life I do feel like it's a political thing. The thing of not being a good singer. You know who else isn't a good singer? Bob Dylan. Whoever you're into. Who is a good singer to you? You know? Adam Levine? Whatever. I thought it was funny. This makes me feel like Lynda Barry, and her thing of calling out when people say her isn't art because it doesn't happen in the highly controlled official art world. She's like, that's classism. Maybe this is different. It's also that thing of being super scary and painful. That fear of, like, "What if people think I'm not a good singer? What if everyone is muttering to each other about how bad I am?" That's a real fear, for me and for other people too. And it's kind of my way of facing that. And that's cool too.
I just got my thai food and I'm going to watch a Sharon Stone movie.