9/19/14

The Elephant Which Is Us

Woke up this morning on the wrong side of the bed. Wished I had a round-shaped bed, this morning. I'm not sad, I'm mad. I'm not tired, I'm bored. I'm angry that I'm not more talented. I have a lot of grief about not being successful. I want to be rewarded for these things; I want to be accepted for not trying to fit in, for not marketing myself. I want the fact that I'm just beyond the purview of some kind of sexy trend piece to be a virtue, but it's not. And I'm upset about that. No profile piece. No symptom-mapping. No fascination. I don't want to be fascinating. I think that's more evolved, but it hurts.



I struggle to get people to book me and then when someone makes the mistake of booking me to play a show, I do something deliberately "off-putting" and am incensed when no one gets it. I feel like no one ever asks me to perform and I so desperately want the opportunity to perform. Music. And to do readings of the stuff I'm writing these days. And I know, I know, I know that I can't do every show. But I also feel like I don't really get asked to do many shows, at all, anymore. I want to, very much.



Twice, people referred to me in the past tense this week. As in "I loved your blog back in the day". People who I didn't know back in the day. Who didn't say anything at the time. People who wouldn't be caught dead asking me to perform at any of the 7,685,766,324 shows/events they organize, but want me to come support them. Because they read my blog back in the day. It feels like there's some weird shared understanding that I suck and that I'm over-rated and that I need to be brought down a couple of pegs. Maybe that's just how it feels.

I feel like I can't win for trying. I see so much shared sentiment among so many people right now. In New York and elsewhere, and in me too: we're fed up. But we're having a hard time talking about it or making the connections between our hang-ups make sense. And for me I'm experiencing it as this culture of consensus. How the shit that gets done gets done by clique. Like: the same groups of people perform together and mostly for each other and work in the media industry to further solidify their "legend" while not, you know, doing anything other than making rules for themselves as to who's in and who's out.

It's not unlike in American Vogue, when you'll see the Marc Jacobs perfume ad, the magazine feature on new clothes you should buy this fall (including that Marc Jacobs dress), then an editorial featuring models wearing that hot new Marc Jacobs dress, and then personal anecdotes from the editors where they say their favorite newest item of clothing is that hot new Marc Jacobs dress. We can say gesamtkunstwerk. The "total work of art" in Wagner's imagination-- inseparable from totalitarianism. The abject beauty and power-fetish-kink of the feedback loop. EVERYthing looks prettier when it's smaller, when you're up above. Or so the thinking goes.



Maybe people feel like we need those scenes, zones of of self-comfort, of affirmation, of "security" as a kind of escape from or safeguard against the horrors of an unjust world.

Like: "My life is hard, I get a lot of negative attention when I walk around New York because of my style, because of my gender style, because of my poverty, because of my gendered poverty style, so I need to be part of a community that makes me a star. It's my right, for being so imaginative as to demand it. I deserve-- I'm entitled to this. I am correctly identified as a star, the Future of Queer Art in America, I am the most important thing and I demand respect. I demand that the world sees me the way I want to see myself." Maybe that's how these scenes get justified, right? Are we not having the same conversation people have had for centuries? About the necessary of beauty over truth? The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie? Belle Epoque? I remember this is a similar reasoning used by Rose Melberg in describing Tiger Trap's twee imagery back in the day. I'm not saying it's not justified, I'm not saying it's bad. I'm saying it's going on and we're pretending it's one thing and not the thing it actually is.

It's not just that I'm sore about not being included. Thought I am sore about not being included. But it's a two-way street: I don't get invited to glamorous shows and I wouldn't be right for them, on some kind of philosophical level. Maybe I'm just not meant to be hip or celebrated. Or included. Maybe this is just a cop-out and I'm just trying to make myself feel better about the fact that no one wants to book me.



The fucked up thing is that I'm actually not trying to get famous. I'm not trying to get rich. Someone at Afterglow asked me what my ultimate goal was. Was I an Actor hoping to make in in a movie or TV? Did I want to get a record deal and become a famous singer, like the character I played in MAPPLETHORPE? No. My answer is that I really love making art work and it feels like that's what I'm best at and want to do. So I want to be able to spend as much of my life as possible doing that, making art. For me right now this means performance.

I feel like: if you're in a scene that doesn't challenge you, that is just about telling you how special, pretty, good and fantastic you are, you need to be in a bigger and more challenging scene. I'm really good at being nice and also being challenging. I have a lot of cognitive dissonance. I'm really compelled by the inherent paradoxes of social practice. I'm funny, I'm not the worst singer in the world. I know how to get an audience's attention. I consider performing live to be a kind of sacred ritual. I don't think there's any reason to perform unless we address the elephant in the room, which is us. Maybe that seems weird and maybe it's not as glamorous and maybe won't affirm your white dick and the feelings you have about your white dick, but I think what I'm doing is useful and important and I want so badly to get the opportunity to perform it for you and to read you the writing I'm doing about it.

I'm good. I'm available. I'm working. Please, please book me for your shows.

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