Happy Birthday, Fiona

Thinking a lot lately about the Fiona Apple cover story from the January 1998 issue of Rolling Stone, with the mortifying title "Fiona: The Caged Bird Sings". But then, I think of this article a fair amount. It's kind of a touchstone for me. I don't necessarily want to reread it but I'm thinking a lot about it lately. As a kid I wanted to be like that. Written about like that. I wanted to be so fascinating the way Fiona Apple was in the interview. To live a live worth scrutinizing. As I recall, in part of the interview she listens to Janeane Garofalo's parody of her 19967 VMA acceptance speech and gets upset. Fiona says something about how "Of course I have an eating disorder. Every girl in fucking America has an eating disorder." The reporter writes somethings about her getting upset, about her breaking down. The reporter writes something beautiful about Fiona's tears. Okay I looked at the article again and the exact quote of Fiona's reaction to the parody is: "It's then she cracks. Big tears dollop down her face." I loved this as a kid and part of loving it was that I felt so sad for Fiona. She was being teased. She's actually really articulate and seemingly "on it" in the interview, in a way that I didn't put together at the time.

Thinking again about the cover of Tidal. It was so personal and so weird and dumb and intense but not corny. It was real, it was too much it was somehow excessively personal but it was real. It made me feel sort of seasick. This is my experience of Fiona in general, I think.

Fiona Apple also performed at the first concert I ever went to. I often tell this story. It was at Kamp KOME 1997. I remember that it was was Fiona's birthday that day. Her band gave her a present, and she unwrapped the glittery ribbons from the gift and wrapped them around her waist for the rest of the show.

I remember that it was Fiona's 20th birthday that day, and I remember thinking "God, she's so old." I must have been what. 14? 15?

Oh -- that concert was on September 13th, 1997.

Happy Birthday, Fiona.

I hope you're happy Fiona. I remember an interview (in Pitchfork) where you talked about just being either at your house or the club nearby. I don't know. Do you want to come home Fiona. Do you want to come back to New York? Do you want to go back?

Birthdays are so hard. Just ask anyone who's ever had one. But I want you to feel good.

I remember in that Rolling Stone profile thinking how gorgeous how smart if you just listen closely enough if you just provide enough of yourself to fill up the frame. If you just listen to yourself. If you go crazy with listening. I'm not trying to make it be some crazy sad genius girl thing (though it is that too). There was just something so appealing to me about the thing of ones life being worth watching that much. Something along those lines. If you believe in it it's there. If you give yourself credit for making something then it's there.

I remember watching the infamous speech at the VMAs that year when it was broadcast live. I was, I think, Sarah's house. That sounds about right. She was who I went to the concert with. That speech was incendiary.

I've gotten to perform it twice and Michael Schulman and Rachel Shukert's legendary awards show tribute night "YOU LIKE ME". Apparently last time I performed it Tavi was there but I didn't see her. I was too busy acting. Here's a video of thus year's performance:

I want to feel like that, in the profile, like my every move is scrutinized. Like people know and love my for my genius and my generous sharing of my pain. Like I'd have an army of fans mailing in apples on my behalf to get my lost album released.

I'm sure it's not all autograph booths Fiona. I know your life isn't easy. I'm sorry for making you into a fairy tale. I don't know you. I'm sure you're a real person too. You deserve a private life. Am I able to feel sympathy for a reluctant pop star. How delicious right. The passive sadism of the fan the consumer. Someone's always worse off than you are on the New York City subways. There's always someone drunker, weirder. Worse. Not that its bad to be weird or drunk-- just the feeling of subjectivity which I've said before is seawater (it encourages insatiability).

When I first hooked up with Scott Panther who I gave a new nickname to (I now refer to as "the cokehead who wouldn't share"), the first night we hooked up on his stereo we listened to a lot of things, including Fiona Apple's cover of "Frosty the Snowman". I can't believe that song exists, to be honest. To hear it for the first time when you're having sex with a stranger and it's nowhere near Christmas. Fiona you are magick and have been with me for so long.

Fiona's response to Janeane from the article:
Well, I best be off now to primp and preen
But before I go, here's an end to your mean
I be a paradox of gestures and genes
But you are a cowardly bitch, Janeane
Today I'm not happy with how I look in New York - everyone else feels so stylish and I feel very frumpy, bland, uninspired. I want to feel how I imagine Fiona Apple feels: that there's something inside worth noticing. Maybe I want to feel how Magazine Articles feel: that the beautiful art is the product not of industry, history, fate, etc. but the sheer fascinatingness of the personal pain. That we are archives to ourselves. That we contain and overwhelm ourselves. That we crash into one another and can bear each other's beauty and pain.

Is it sick or sycophantic of me? To think that this was the ideal? This having a music journalist write about seeing you cry? How is that ideal? I guess maybe it's the thing of no hiding. I'm so sorry, Fiona, that you had to do this in a magazine so I could see it as a tiny little baby queer in California but it means so much to be, this thing of letting yourself be real, painfully, and forcing that to occupy the space of a pop career. Fill up the album cover with your gaze. Let multiple meanings reverberate, revise your statements. Say you meant more than what you meant at the time. Be mean. Go with yourself. Go with yourself.

Dear Fiona what are you going to do to celebrate your birthday? Fiona I hope you have friends and cake and presents, again. Even if you don't I'm glad you're here.


All the day the wire is spun

Construction noises. I think I need new underwear. I want something new, something I keep close to me.

On my way uptown to Zabar's.
I Fucking hope they still have gazpacho but its September 9th and mercury's retrograde I'm starving I've wanted it all summer and I wonder if I've missed my shot. (Well see)

Woke up this morning thinking I finally I got good sleep, enough sleep, for the first time in a week. A solid seven and a half hours. Next thought the sound of jackhammers. Construction has started on the building next door.

I've lived above a bodega and a live chicken shop for eleven years. The bodegas changed names many times but there's always been a chicken shop here, which recently became halal. They both closed and someone bought the properties and is building restaurants in the ground floor and high rise apartments above. It's going to be nuts. One of my bedroom windows will be blocked. Our kitchen window will be blocked.

At work as well they're doing construction next door. It's ominous. I mean I think we're aware and not of how it works. You think you're driving but you're a passenger. You think you're talking but you're advertising.
You think you're a person bug you're a brand. Your stock is falling.

Sometimes when I tell close friends about feeling bad or depressed or crazy etc. they say well it's maybe a rational response to your conditions. Facebook wants us to feel sad. Like also in that Ann Cvetkovich book, explaining how depression is the logical result of a system (or number of systems) and that system is capitalism. There're lots of other systems too.

I'm taking a long bus ride. I feel the walls closing in I mean they're making them as we speak. I'm watching them go up. Where will I go?

How will I find a place to be in the new world when all of my life I've been living in the old world. To be honest I haven't been doing an amazing job there but it's all i know.

What could I be so afraid of? Leaving New York? Dying? Being someone other than me. What death is left unfeared. What nightmare undreamed. I got it. When do I get to pull my hand back from the stove. When is my lesson learned. What lesson anyway. What mystery what depth what cool delicious plumbs un tempted. What mistake not made. I thought it was just a thing of not being enough not disappearing enough. I'm secretly weeping. On some level.

I'm a vampire stalking gazpacho like my clone doppelgänger tumor I'm desperate for minerals but this train underwater smells like compacted farts and belches. Bodyghosts.

Will I have to move. What will I eat how Will I live?
Am I afraid of having to make more decisions it's like I'm trying to dream don't wake me up I'm sleepwalking afraid to be woken up. It's dangerous right, for what reason.

Last night I sang at Hot Fruit at metropolitan. Sparkles hosted it was cute. I sang my Laura Nyro cover "Captain for Dark Mornings" but I end with her other song "Captain Saint Lucifer". A guy in the crowd recognized both songs and said he liked it, which was really cool. No one ever gets it or is a big enough Laura Nyro fan to care. Only a very few other super cool people have gotten it.

Someone else said they had to go back to school today. I said I'm sorry. They asked if I didn't also have to go back to school I said no. But I wonder if they knew that on some level I do in fact have to as I do every year. In the fall.

But how if everything feels so desperately vulnerable. Not in a precious life moments way but a painful way. How can I make this beautiful right what's the low key Buddhist evolved response aka what would my psychoanalyst recommend my response be. Like how best to think act be like everything's fine I'm just you know not inspired big that's not true. It's not just that I don't care it's that I care but everything feels scary and bad. I don't know.

Will anything ever matter.
I don't know what I want. My body is falling apart and has been for a while. I need to quit smoking. I need to get minor plastic surgery. Just a few things some benign miles burnt off.

Barnacles of attention.
I wonder would it make me feel better if I got my tattoo removed? Would I be free of myself.

I've already imagined it the worst the betrayals the feelings of surprise and pain. It doesn't matter if it's true or not I've experienced if. I remember it. So it's in the past. This is what I mean when I am this chandelier this paper bag full of shattered broken glass.

It's my Monday.
I had gazpacho at zabars among the elderly they eyed me suspiciously. I adored them.

I'm alone at a bar drinking a beer and smoking.

A guy rummaging through our trash warned me he said its gonna rain I said not till later he said you better walk fast I said I know. I will.

I love this wind this offshore hurricane it's how I feel. Windy. Weepy. A little unstable but bearing moments of clarity, beauty, and pain.

Moved inside because of rain.
I love this bar. I wish they weren't playing Michael Jackson. I mean I wish there was no music.

Been so into En and their album City of Brides. Drone music. You see.

Artwork by Justin Almquist "Religious Rally or their Satanic Majesties Final Request" 2011 - Ink and collage on paper.

Like I want art that's bigger than art. Louder slower and more beautiful than music.
It's not that I want to be a singer it's that singing helps me get there.
I want people to feel good. Feel fed feel smart feel clear eyes.
It's a difficult pivot to go from sick sad failed artist TO psychotherapist who specializes in working with artists.

Whitney Houston was an angel and she always will be.

How do we do this watch each other burn up expire. Is the human condition to be a fuck up? To witness and do nothing? I'm excited and curious for Sarah Schulman book Conflict Is Not Abuse.I'm scared of both. I've been accused of mistaking the two. I think I've seen abuse directed at me. I think I've been abused. But conflict is hard.

"Ohh I wanna dance with somebody I wanna feel the heat with somebody."

As of today I've been with my boyfriend for eleven months which is the longest relationship of my life. So far. It's kind of inexplicable the way an anything truly amazing is.

I am writing a new Scorcher too about partly things before we were together but seen through the lens of my life now.

On the train again to go get dinner even though I'm not like officially hungry yet. I mean I am. Just making my life a to do list. Distracting myself from something. I don't know what. Not boredom. Not pain. Not uncertainty. But if I can pin my sense of empowerment to painting my toenails, at least trick myself for a few hours then why not so be it. I did not manage to paint my toe nails today though.

I think this should go. I think we should go. I think I ought to make something new like a new blog instead of Fag City.

Now it's Wednesday my Monday. My chosen Monday. It's also sort of my Thursday. I woke up at 6 and the sun wasn't up yet. THAT was unexpected, and a little bit disturbing. But also exciting. That chill.

Construction update: they're covering the buildings. They've partitioned off the sidewalk which I don't think is legal and are putting up panels of plywood. I guess they'll finally destroy the remnants of the buildings.

There has been a chicken shop in that building for over one hundred years.

I guess that's just what it is in New York. Maybe America. Maybe everywhere. That thing of watching. Witnessing. I mean you pick your battles and your life is about that perceived choice of how to do it, navigate being a human. Okay.

It's just a commitment to affect. It's not that I want to be free of feeling it's just this fanciness. This fantasy. This imagination. This will. It makes me feel strange.

More internet on the L train I certainly have noticed in the last few weeks. Which I suppose is nice before they shut down the L.

Imagine the lifestyle that leads to making this kind of beautiful music. Imagine the amount of time you need. The skill to hear this, envision it somehow.

Should I move to California and become a drone musician or drone musician journalist or something.

Last night I watched a documentary about James Booker. Trying to find that clip of him performing live, screaming about his mothers death. I think he was so cool. A genius. It's like songs can be so good so smart so unreasonably logical. Queer geniuses.

I don't want to go someplace else. I just want to go inside.
Good thing it's almost autumn then I guess.


Hillary Clinton telling me not to kill myself, generally. In general please don’t commit suicide. We need you. We need your American minds, your special talents, to help us realize a better future together. Don’t deprive us of your brilliance.

Don’t drop the ball.

Don’t call in sick to work. Don’t fall asleep on the job. Don’t miss these once-in-a-lifetime deals.

At the designer boutique the manager remarked that I'd gotten sun. I said I was in California. Where? The Bay Area. She said oh were there wildfires in that area? I said no thankfully. She said she's from another part of the world with wildfires and they have one now that they're just going to let burn. To get rid of the dead trees left by an insect infestation. I said its so strange to watch it on TV and know there's not a lot anyone an do about it. She said no they're just going to let it burn till October.

I thought: could she tell that I am having a nervous breakdown?

But of course wildfires are natural.
Of course nothing (else) is. Thinking /Not thinking
Talking a lot lately about the Kim Gordon song "making the nature scene"

You know me and my friends, and strangers, everyone we all used to talk ALL DAY at school ALL NIGHT on the phone ALL DAY on line ALL NIGHT on line AND NOW no one talks.

i mean we all talk but now our speech is media. we're being mined for content. it's like that's how I know how young I am how Millennial is my relative not caring about being spied on.

Charming snark popular mad fm any hot blooded tough love thick weapons big machine complex calculation

Answer me with computation
Answer me with industry

Your paycheck is ready
When that direct deposit hits
When your guy shows up (finally!)
When they shine you, your outside. When they accept the ransom payment.

Walking back into a bed of nails.

All I do is go from one be to another. It's a reverse pendulum. I bounce. I'm aloft. Work home lover home work home. Beds everywhere.

At work I get paid to take pain. Under capitalism pain is money. I don't know why people see it differently. Fuck what you heard all human consciousness is masochism.



Yesterday Jamie Lee Curtis type art lady hustled her way onto the train behind me at Bedford so forcefully I though it was a gay dude (because haircut) but when a seat opened up greedily jumped in front of me (and everyone) to sit down and open up the New Yorker app on her phone. The face of gentrification. The feeling that you have to be proactive of taking what's yours, what you've paid for. She has someplace to be. She's from somewhere, she's somebody, she has somewhere to go and is ready to fight for autonomy.

My neighbor was talking about the new building by the Grand street stop where the former store Liberty was. He said it's gonna be that many more people on the subway. Well yes. But there're new buildings all over town. Everyone's clogging the subway-- that's what the subway is for, no?

I guess I'm lazy. I'm taking the ambition the rudeness the entitlement personally because it feels like who I am. The person who gets trampled on by rich hipsters.

Certain death - either way I lose - why suffer? But then how to proceed in any other way ethically? How to act like I'm a person without acting like white older art butch lady gentrifier on the train. Even the New Yorker app is gentrifying because of the way it uses data and battery your phone.

My jaw hurts for the first time. It's a new pain. Do I have TMJ? Is it related to my other sicknesses? Is it stress? Why do I keep falling apart.

How to convey?
Wanting to share, to explain the context.
To project, imagine together the circumstances I'm operating under.
How can anyone know? What can I do to give you a sense?

Of the precarity.
The entropy.

My house being literally devoured. It's collapsing slowly around me. Everything's falling apart.
I'm watching the world end. Silently.

If you knew how chaotic it was you'd see how I'm actually doing a lot. A lot of beautiful goes into making even the smallest peace here. On planet chaos.

I want to instead of showing something beautiful I worry about adequately conveying the ugliness of the context.

I want you to appreciate the void I'm screaming across. It's a miracle any echo makes it through at all.

Typing this morning on my iPhone I imagine isn't so unlike stenography shorthand which my
Grandmother did.

Free writes. Feels like cages. Got bars got chains. Got jeweled cuffs. Got perspective. Got lenses.
To have to move. To go to school or something. Just be a fiction writer or something. Be an artist somewhere else?

God, can you imagine if I moved to some new city and had to make new friends, now, at 32? That would be cool. Imagine at 65. Maybe it's easier.

Do people even have friends
I mean does anyone.

All I want is to be someone. To mean something. To be a thing, to mean someone.
I sound like a fucking idiot.

I went away and I came back and I feel myself dragged across the surface of a stucco wall. Suburban and bloody and burnt and irrelevant. Aborrhent. Escape-bait.

Last night my analyst was saying how I'm hiding, how I've been hiding for years. How I'm afraid to come out. What would it take, he asked, for me to have a coming out party. What would it take for me to be able to come out?

Other people, I said.


Under yr Crown

Local upcoming pretty girl, performance art star, writer and astro-witch Jaime posted something on Facebook asking about what the best thing about being a Leo is. This is a question dear to my heart. We're in Leo season these days, and I am in love with another Leo (who is also a Cancer rising, natch).

Madge: "A meeting of the Leo’s! A Cosmic Convergence!!"

This question of the best thing about being a Leo also reminds me of one of my favorite bands in the world, a crucial queer root for me, The Need. In particular, the 7" record they released in January of 1997 which is maybe my favorite record in the world.

It's six songs, but really two. I mean each side has one bigger song and then two smaller (shorter, I mean) songs. It's kind of a masterwork. "Majesty" and "Crown" are the sort of hits here, they were also recorded for the self-titled CD that came out on Chainsaw later that year (I think?). I remember reading somewhere that they wrote "Crown" and "Majesty" to be about each other (as Leos would) but I can't find the source. The B-sides here are amazing, and were part of the live show for many years, and very important to me as well.

The infamous bloody knuckle sexing poster. 

I remember having a VHS bootleg of a daytime performance they did at a college somewhere, where they played "Crush". I saw this before I had seem them live myself, and before I got the self-titled 7". I only had the Chainsaw album, and "Crush" wasn't on it, and I was obsessed with The Craft (like everyone was) but I was too cool to really fully admit it (because we felt like it was sort of exploitative of, you know, actual Wiccans) and I was thinking about magick and alternate ways of understanding and being in the world because I was 14 and I was starting to think that I was probably queer, that I probably had mysterious urges and desires that seemed scary and suddenly it occurred to me that they could be powerful (this desire, these ways of being) and The Need had a fucking song where the chorus was Rachel chirping "Light as a feather! / STIFF! AS! A! BOARD!" I love "Crush".

"Stiff as a board" isn't even the best part, the best part is the end with the "Do you believe in vibration?" bit. That's the thing about this record and these songs; they're fucking PACKED. Of course The Need was packing back in 1997. There's so many hooks. There're so many catchy phrases and anthemic moments, but they're all strung together. It's a kind of metaphor for the shorthand of emotional intimacy with someone, like inside jokes. It's trusting, like it expects you to follow (and you do).

There's something very Leonine, as well, about the actual material of the songs. It's this thing of abundance, generosity, focus dressed up in extravagant drag as distraction. It's like what I was saying earlier about the sense of being packed full of hooks, gems. It's a fascination. It's a kind of dorkiness, the willingness to get so specific and so tender and lovingly "into it".

In this interview with Plazm Magazine from 1998 they talk about being Leos.
"When a discussion of lesbian pack mentality and gay male isolation prompts Rachel to quip “Each a king in his own domain,” I mention that images of majesty crop up throughout her lyrics and artwork. 
Radio: Well, Rachel’s a double Leo, and I’m a triple Leo. 
Rachel: Leos have pride, they’re attention lovers, they have big egos. Honestly, a common Leo trait is to feed off attention, and it makes perfect sense that we would be in a band together for that reason. Trying to impress one another inspires us. Radio sings me love songs in our practice space-a new one every day. Tomorrow’s the heavy metal Rachel one. I can’t wait. 
Radio: I sing different genres, all about Rachel. She gets this funny look on her face, like she doesn’t know what to think, because I can’t sing very well."
I remember seeing them perform (in 1999? 2000?) in Oakland, at Club Not. That was the warehouse around the corner from the much more widely-known Club Hot!, which is where Seth from Panty Raid and Jenny Legs from Erase Errata lived, where they would often have shows. No, the Need played at the warehouse entrance around the corner, where Luis from Pansy Division lived, called Club Not. It was smaller and felt strange, a little "off" or queer. It was perfect. I remember seeing that both Rachel and Radio had Leo tattoos on their forearms.

Ian from Panty Raid kept requesting "Kathy Qualuude" (one of the songs on this record) and I thought that was such a weird request. But then they DID perform it, and it was fantastic. All of their songs are good songs. It's like you think they focus inward, and they sort of seem to, but it explodes outwards. It shines. Much like the Sun, or the way that diamonds trap light.

After being out of print for many years, you can (and should) download the record HERE.



I trick myself into feeling I'm having a conversation.

I was talking to my Analyst this week about how there are some people or some incidents that upset me at the time, but were too painful to really experience, so I kind of take pride in being able to repress something. There are people who I'm totally fine with, who don't bother me and who don't upset me and who I'm past and have almost forgotten, and mostly don't care. And like I said I'm totally fine with them, unless I have to run into them or think about them or see them or be reminded of them, in which case everything comes flooding back and I flip out. I don't like this about myself.

It seems to me, I was telling my Analyst, that I've been asking the present moment to account for the past, to fix the things that happened before. Lately it's felt quite clear to me that something upsets me, and it connects to other things that have upset me before. But that connection isn't working for me. I want to bring the accumulated wisdom of my past experiences to bear in making the present moment bearable. In making the future possible.

My Analyst: It sounds like you have a long shitlist.
Me (stunned): Wow... You're right. I totally do. I don't like to think of myself as holding grudges, per se, but I do totally have a shitlist. Oh my god.

I was horrified. I don't want to be doing that. I want to feel the thing, get mad or get sad or whatever, when it happens, and then move on with new understanding. But I can't go back, I guess. Later that night, I came home and ate a big salad while sitting on my floor and listening to Sunn O))) and then PLD and I went out for happy hour.

Me: I was talking to my Analyst tonight about, like, anger and stuff, and he said it sounds like I have a long shitlist. And I realized, like, 'Oh my god I totally have a shitlist.'"
PLD: Yes. Everyone's on your shitlist.

My Analyst said that it might help to write or make art about revenge fantasies. I mean I'm not gonna make the world read more revenge fantasies of mine. But I'd been telling him (and anyone else) that I don't have fantasies. That I don't have a fantasy life, or goals, or dreams. I never remember my dreams. I never cry. But the point he was trying to make is that I often feel like I don't have a fantasy life, like I don't have hope, and maybe it might feel good or be good to explore the fantasies I wish I was having.

Another thing from that session was that I was saying that I so often feel like I'm not invited. I feel like I don't have a place at the table. Analyst encouraged me to make art about that -- to make art in which I imagine myself at the table. That, I thought, sounds like a fucking fantastic idea. So fantastic, in fact, that I feel like I had that idea and then forgot or abandoned it.

Remember: THIS IS FAG CITY. I'm pretending that we're here, that we can all be here whenever we want. I mean it's not just pretending.

I think back to the period in my life when I was happier, making more art work, being more successfully or whatever, and it seemed to be about that phenomenon; making something up that other people like, or want to be part of. Tell a story that other people want to hear. I disagree with that Joan Didion quote about how "we tell ourselves stories in order to live". It's not that I'm trying to survive by telling myself a story that feels good or rekindles my interest in the world. I can't convince myself. I don't believe myself.

I need to tell myself a story in which I'm not sad. I need to tell a story in which I'm invited. I'm trying to tell a story of a better possible world. It's like utopia, maybe. I'm trying to imagine a better future. This feels different than the Joan D thing.

It's frustrating in a way, because for the last few years (several years) I've felt like that's not a story worth telling. I feel like I don't want to reward people for being hopeful. I've felt so bad and I thought that I needed to figure out how, or why, in order to make it stop. The answers are not so forthcoming.

In many aspects I feel like I am running towards a cliff, but stop right at the edge. And then retreat. And then do it all over again. I need to cry. I need to move through. On one hand it's recovering something I lost: I need to get back. On the other hand it's finally admitting that I have needs and desires that aren't being met: I need to get out of here.

Is it possible to be hopeless and hopeful at the same time? That's what I think I am. Someone recommended that I look at Sarah Kane's 4.48 Psychosis. It was excellent but it hit too close to home. I feel like this blog has become something like that. In the litany of "no hope" etc.

I spent the last month mostly off of social media, and I'm back. But it's boring, in a way. This exhibitionism. I've made myself into an effigy so that I wouldn't have to live. I turned myself into a flag.

I spoke with my Analyst once recently about how all of it, the social media, the blogging, the performance, the outwardness, the exhibitionism, the state of emotional nakedness, it's all part of a master project of hiding.

I've been hiding for so long that I tried to convince myself that I didn't exist.
It hurt!

There's this tension between being and feeling and I don't think I can do both. It's like I this pressure have to make all these specific and fatal choices, none of which are easy, some of which are totally impossible. But I don't. I think maybe there're some false distinctions I'm making and I guess I understand why and how I make them. Subconsciously.

Thinking of another ukulele show I wanna do. More songs written by angry women. I feel like these two songs are kind of the same chord structure, right?

Magician revealing her secrets. I wanna sing a very tenor growly version of both of these songs. I think it'd be sexy. I mean I think it'd feel good to do. I mean I think both. I guess I feel like it's a thought worth having. Hello in there.

I don't have any shows coming up, that I know of. Nothing on the docket. I realize how sad and pathetic of a story that is. I saw some shows today (on, thanks, Facebook) and it made me living. I wish I was invited to play these shows. I wish people wanted to see me. Not even me, a sexy press photo version of me. I wish that was the real me. I wish there was a real me.

Urgent and Ancient; unresolvable self. Nothing would fix this, anything would fix this. I should book my own shows, but you wouldn't come, would you? Does it matter? Even here, even writing this here, is a kind of exercise in a sort of Zen calligraphic futility. I want to find purpose in meaninglessness. I want to make peace with the fact that no one cares about me; that I'm unloveable, but I buck against this at the same time. There's a part of me that wants to use my voice to say something important. There's a part of me that I think is worth loving. There's a part of me that I use to love other people and I don't want to keep acting like I don't have it.

I let my guard down. I took off my guard and I threw it away.

It's not so bad. It's just, like everything else, temporary.


Feeling a kind of post-lunch torpor. I love Julie London's cover of this song. She's barely even singing it, and Laura Nyro wrote it so beautifully. I guess the word I'm looking for is graceful or something. In the sense of accomplishing more in terms of ephemeral beauty, with less obvious effort.

In an elevator yesterday they had one of those TV monitors that shows the time, the weather, and a deliberately innocuous news headline. This news headline was a new study conducted by the University of Southern California can apparently analyze someone's speech pattern to identify if they have depression.

This headline reminded me to think of myself as depressed. Imagine that you could listen to what someone says and know if they're depressed. Isn't everyone depressed.

I feel so futile and so infantile. I'm going to go for a long jog when I get home from work. I guess listen to techno or something. Julie London on the running track. I want my sweat to taste sweet and not salty.

I think maybe I have unrealistic expectations.
I guess I don't want to be glamorous. I wish I had an art project or something to occupy my time. I wish I felt like I was moving toward something and not just waiting to die or waiting for some thing to pull me out of this weird funky cloud of boredom.

That's not at all true. Okay.

I keep coming up against it but I feel myself palpably blocked, closed off. I feel like I've cut myself into pieces and need them to go back together again.

Like the different members of the band that is me are not all in the same room. I need to find a way to be whole. I want to be good.


Haunting / Waking

So inspired by a lot lately, especially this Margot Bergman show I saw recently at Anton Kern Gallery.

Speaking about the paintings in the show (kind of portraits within portraits -- she painted her pictures on/around found paintings she's collected) Bergman says: "It was a process - living with them, understanding what I was looking for, beginning to draw it out, slowly and without a plan, responding to the original paintings. I didn’t know what the next step would be. Once I found my way to the portraits, it was magical for me."

I'm really obsessed with the new Two Ton Boa album Certain Years too. It makes me wish I was still trying to get paid to write about music. I want everyone to know about this record. Even if you're not already a huge Two Ton Boa fan (which I am). It's mostly acoustic, folksy. It's haunting. It's kind of nuts. It reminds me a bit of what Goldfrapp did? Or what Portishead did? It's this thing of going to a less formally rigorous sound but losing none of the power.

Sherry Fraser's voice is haunting much in the same way for me that Bergman's paintings are. It's this effect of harmonizing with yourself, and composing between your own voices. The feeling, for me, is a kind of vertiginous wisdom, a nauseating collapse of context. It's as if you meet someone who looks familiar, and they tell you they're you from the future and they have to give you advice, and then you make out, you argue, you converse. You write a future together.

My favorite song on the album is "Waking"

Sherry Fraser's other records are amazing and absolutely worth hearing, but the new one sounds radically fucking different, but still recognizably Fraser's voice, her songwriting. Her lyrics. The power of the older songs is still there, it's just different. If I was a music critic I'd talk about the history of West Coast punk rock, which Fraser is a part of. I'd talk a bit about the Paisley Underground. Two Ton Boa is (or has been) sort of goth, sort of steampunk almost, sort of post-rock, sort of performance art, sort of narrative and sort of abstract, experimental but tightly-wound. Like coiled dynamite or something.

I remember when I saw Two Ton Boa play in Olympia in the year 2000, as part of the first Ladyfest. They played at Thekla and were amazing. I think there's a recording of that show somewhere. I remember asking Sherry to sign a poster for me some time later that week. I think she had fancy eyeliner on (drawn to be like lightning bolts). She signed the poster "To Max, Always look both ways". This is good advice.


notes out

I'm not rich, but I can spend it all. I can spend a lot.

(I remember as a child asking my dad "Are we rich?" I mean, we're white and we lived in LA and then the suburbs of the Bay Area. Both of my parents were actors who had pretty unglamorous day-jobs. But we were effete, bohemian-seeming. We had middle-class values. "Daddy," I asked "are we rich?"
"We're not rich in money," he'd say, "but we're rich in love.")

I'm not rich but I can spend a whole lot. It's as if I don't have any sense of reality or scarcity.


I want to cut myself off. I want to destroy myself. I want to hide.

And I have been. I'm really trying really hard to be good and I've been off of twitter and facebook which if you know me there is significant. What would I do without all this fake attention?

Probably not a lot.

I'm getting the feeling that there's not really anything worth doing. It's not scary and it's not sad or anything but it's also sort of uninteresting.

It seems so disingenuous to think that your thoughts and your vision are necessary.

The thing of taking a stand. Inhabiting your life. Seems insane to me.

I don't know where I am so I am looking for myself.

I truly don't think I need to write anything or sing anything or do anything ever again. It just doesn't feel necessary.

One hundred thousand false starts.

The best part of any book is the first page. The best part of a song is the first verse. The icing, the frosting.
Looking like something is the same thing as being it.

We think a wish is real. That the image is the same as the thing.

Should I bother following through with anything. Should I write about the shows I've seen, the sex I'm having, the ideas, the hurts, the pain. What is the point of the catalog if it only makes me want to die. But then again everything makes me want to die. It's funny that way.

Want to write to my old friends. Hey I'm listening to this old record and I thought of you:

We were childhood friends.
We came of age together. We never said goodbye we just disentangle very slowly over the course of the rest of our lives.

Is there anything that's not excruciating.

I see them but they don't see me. My friends. My internet friends. My ghosts. Remember. Remember?
I'm online I'm (always) online (who isn't)
but I have to take myself out of the conversation because I can't stop going too deep. I mean what's not a threat. Who isn't trying to hurt me. There're no small answers. I can't even --

Is there a way for me to bring comfort or joy or peace to anyone? Is there a way to be a force for good? How? How could I possible do this when everything feels, you know, as I said, fucking excruciating. Rich in Love is not a thing. That's not richness. Maybe I'm being a brat because I have credit card debt.

I want so badly to work for Comme des Garçons. I don't know how I could make this happen though. To feel like I know what I want, what a trip. But you know I choose an impossible thing. Not impossible but impractical.

Realizing, I mean no remembering, again that I have no idea what to do.

Don't you think I should make this blog private?

I've worked myself
I've worried myself
I've painted myself
I've danced myself
I've sung myself
I've written myself into a corner.

It's just too painful to bear. To be online on Twitter or online anywhere and begging screaming for help and to have the question are you kidding? I think it seems like I can't tell the difference. I probably can't.

Did I cry wolf.


What should I do. Should I stop performing stop writing stop blinking stop breathing stop talking stop standing still. Can someone in charge please -- I guess it's a tautology. There's no one in charge. I can't trust an opinion, if I can't trust mine.

I don't have an opinion or a strong feeling about myself.

It's too late for me. I find myself past my expiration date. Rotten by being uneaten. I have to be thrown out.

You won. You wanted me to know how worthless I am if you don't believe in me so okay you won.

Everyone's always just asking me for stuff. Seriously. Not because they like that I have it because they think it's all I am.

Me, Now: God fucking dammit I was trying to be nice to you.
You, A Year Ago: Well you should have thought about that then.

Why does it have to be me not here.
Why do I have to feel like I don't matter. Why can't I be your favorite. Anyone's.

Why is everyone always telling me to leave. To want to be there but to not be allowed to be there but to try to be there. I'm spiraling. Why can't I go down the drain. I feel like I'm blocked somehow. Like I can't cry.
I want to be one of the ones on your list. I want to be on a list of your favorite writers, performers, people, boys, citizens, names, numbers. Anywhere. Just to know I'm like one of the ones that matters. I know it's too much to ask -- to feel this way. But why? Why is it too much. Isn't there enough happiness to go around?

I know I'm blocked because I think a lot about these thoughts and then it calms down because I realize that nothing matters. It's not comforting it's like I feel like -- often -- at least lately -- I feel like I'm about to cry
which would make it the first time I've cried in years
(but who's keeping score anyway)
what happens is I feel like I'm about to cry and it's like edging but with crying instead of orgasm which I know isn't that different but what I mean is that when I feel like I'm about to cry, about to actually feel the thing, I stop I get blocked somehow. It's like I can't unlock the last door. And I don't want to but I know I need to.

It's like who else do I have to apologize to?
Oh shit, I know exactly who.


deactivated my twitter and facebook accounts. i can't deal. might delete or deactivate this too.

you know how to reach me if you need to.


Really struggling to keep it together. I feel like no matter what I try or where I go I just fail, just piss people off, just destroy everything. Another party. Another guy who is better than me cuter than me more successful than me.

Another invitation to another reading I'm not part of. I mean I don't have anything worth reading anyway. I don't blame people for not inviting me. I feel like I am dying or about to die or disappear. I can't leave. I mean I can't leave enough I can't get far away. Going home to sleep wouldn't help. Nothing would help. I ate half a pill and am struggling to not go buy cigarettes. There's no comfort. There's no solution. There's no help.

No friends. No help. I don't know what to do.


OK I'm gonna do it. I'm gonna get back to it.


I'd been staying off of social media this past weekend to take care of myself even before Orlando. But I had this interaction and it brought me some comfort and I wanted to share it.

I want to thank the older man who approached me yesterday at Punjabi Deli while I was eating by myself. He asked me how to spell Orlando because he and his friend behind the counter were looking at the news. He wanted to tell me how sad he was about what happened, and to say how sad he was, as a Sikh, for the inevitable xenophobic backlash, that as a man who drives a yellow cab in new york wearing a turban, that he experiences racism daily, and even though he had nothing to do with the massacre that he wanted me to know how sad and sorry he was. He wanted me to know that it wasn't his religion, and it wasn't even about religion. That it was about someone who was sick, and sad, and scared. He told me about his son, getting angry at college and flipping over tables in the cafeteria, and he and his wife didn't know how to help him but they tried and were able to take care of him. He said that the killer probably didn't have anyone to take care of him. That this kind of tragedy is the product not of religion or even just homophobia but that it's something else, too. It's just sad.
I felt strange about our interaction, like I'd been asked to bear witness or something, and the older man thanked me for listening and I thanked him for talking to me. I felt really seen and comforted in a strange way.


The building next door, which is one floor below mine, has been vacant for a few months. This morning when I woke up there were men on the roof doing demolition. Taping up tarps of white plastic, including over the windows just beneath me.

I woke up this morning and the heat was on, somewhat miraculously.

I woke up this morning and had a nosebleed again. Worse than before. I’ve had one for months. Maybe this is related to the radiator being on or maybe it’s related to the asbestos next door, being abated as we speak.

I don’t remember them but I know I had many scary dreams last night. I kept waking up. It could be from the wine and the spicy food before bed. I think I was just upset. I had the palpable feeling that I was too angry to sleep. Too sad, too upset to get any rest. I feel like I need to hurt someone. Probably myself.

Trying to find a way to reason into this without sounding like a moron. I’m not holding the present accountable for the past. I’m not blaming them for making me feel the way I’ve so often felt before. But I’m also not blaming myself for being oversensitive.

It’s like, I don’t want to give them any more power by discussing them.

I thought, it felt like I was kind of doing okay. Like I was making progress. This is the last week of me tapering off my antidepressants. I’m going on a short vacation this week. Other than the chainsmoking I’ve been pretty okay about taking care of myself. I’ve been meditating. I’ve been trying to be in better touch with people. I’ve been quiet. I’ve been listening.

I’ve been trying really, really fucking hard. I’ve been working at this. By myself.

Last week I asked if anyone wanted to get a happy hour drink and Eric was the only one that did, so we met up. I got there early and he got there late so I had a drink before he came but it was fine. We chatted about our weekends, our boyfriends, shopping, etc. I made some comment about how I wish I was like Maria Bamford or Melissa Broder or Jacquline Novak. You know, someone who could parlay my struggles with depression and anxiety into a lucrative comedy project, book, TV show, movie, career, etc.

In the 90s, straight men did this with grunge music. They were rightfully pilloried for this and it’s over.

But no one wants my pain. A pathetic washed up 31 year old loser faggot with no friends. I haven’t earned it. There’s nothing to make jokes about. There’s nothing to complain about. I’m too sad to be sad.

I was talking about this with Eric at drinks. He said he couldn’t tell if I was being serious when I was being sad on twitter, sad on facebook, speaking openly about hating myself and feeling like a loser. He said he couldn’t tell if I was joking.

I’ve had a few people say some variation of this to me recently.

I’m not joking. I mean I’m never joking. It’s hard to describe because there’s a part of me that’s acting like it’s a joke, with no punchline. Maybe I should say that I wish I was joking. Trying to find the humor in it.

But no, I made it abundantly clear to Eric that I wasn’t joking, that I really have been struggling, that I seriously am feeling the things I purport to be feeling.

At a different art opening last night (Raul de Nieves’ gorgeous work at Company Gallery), I passed Eric on my way out. He made a point of inviting me, again, to his show last night. Are you coming tomorrow? He asked. Oh right, I said. Yes. He said you should.

So after work I rushed home and I took a shower and got changed into my nice clothes. I rarely get to go to Talk Hole, the comedy show that Eric does with Steven, because it’s normally pretty late at night and I’m kind of a wimp about that stuff. I have a 9-5 day job that I have to get up early for. So I was excited that this was a show during the 6-8 gallery opening time slot. I thought maybe I didn’t understand by reading the brief, but I did. This was a performance that took the form of an art opening. Okay. I go to a lot of those. I thought Eric and Steven were funny in social media and when I saw them in real life or performing elsewhere, I was excited to go.

They hired a protestor to stand outside the gallery and pretend to protest it.

There was a girl with an ipad at the door, and also a small sculpture sort of blocking the door. She asked for my name and I told her. She said I wasn’t on the list and asked if I’d RSVPed. I said yes. She asked Eric and Steven if I could come in, they both pretended to be too busy to turn around and said no. She kept asking if I had another name I could be under. I said no. I told her to ask one of them again. Steven turned to me and said he needed another name. I said I didn’t have one. He said they needed “a bigger name”.

Okay I get comedy. I get that the thing is that they’re pretending to be awful. I did the bit. I let them have their joke but I felt like it was time to move on.

I told the girl to ask Eric. He turned to me and stared at me and said no. He asked if I had another name “a bigger name”. He asked if I had “a longer name.” I was beginning to lose my patience. Although I was being polite I was, I think, pretty obviously ready for the joke to be over. Eric stared at me in my eyes and said no.

Someone walked by and knocked into the sculpture that was hanging in the doorway. The girl with the ipad hustled to pretend to fix it. I saw on the ipad there were only three names but didn’t see what they were. I walked in. Eric sighed angrily and shove me out of his way, saying I was making a whole thing at the door. I wonder if this was there way of ending the joke and letting me in.

The gallery was packed full of people. Some of whom I knew from around, most not.

There was art all on the walls, but like actual art or something, made by other artists. It wasn’t clear what was part of the installation and what wasn’t.

I saw Ian tending bar, doing this thing of pouring himself a huge glass of wine and then deliberately pouring guests a tiny thimbleful. I just grabbed the bottle and served myself. I saw Brian there and I talked to him for a minute. I felt really bad.

No one else at the gallery seemed to get the treatment I did at the door. At least not that I saw. If they did pretend to not let people in, they certainly didn’t do it for as long as they did for me.

When Eric and Steven saw Brian they made a point of saying how glad they were that he was there.

I felt like I was being tricked into being mean. Like the joke was to see how mean we can be. I wanted to start smoking indoors. I wanted to break something. I wanted to hurt. I felt the worst that I’ve felt in probably years. I stole a bottle of wine from the cooler on my way out. I went to a bar to get a beer and eat a Xanax and chain smoke. I went home and tried to sleep but couldn’t, as I said.

I feel like a crazy person. I don’t understand.

I guess it’s a thing of critiquing the art world. Making fun of art openings. But these people aren’t artists. I’m usually reticent to say that about people, to call something not art, but it’s not. These guys are trying to be actors on TV and they’re making clever performance art about how vapid and bad the art world is by replicating some of the horror.

It’s not that I’m not down for comedy or that I’m particularly sensitive. I make performance art too. I see a lot of work and I’ve certainly felt good and bad about various intense things I’ve seen. I’ve seen Annie Sprinkle do her titty ballet. I’ve had Ann Liv Young smear her shit on her hand then scream at me to say, into the microphone, what it smelled like. I’ve called out audience members to pretend to put people on the spot. I think there is something cool and exciting about live performance.

I’ve seen eric do his slideshow performance where he narrates a powerpoint of his nudes. I thought it was sweet. I saw him do another show where he was going to do a slideshow of things he saw in a store and almost bought but didn’t. But then, the slideshow technology didn’t work, so he got into his underwear and did a monologue narrating how to douche before sex. I thought that was sweet too and kind of brave. I thought it was cool. I haven’t seen Steven perform aside from going to Talk Hole once or twice but I thought he was attractive and funny. I guess he’s on TV sometimes or webseries.

I was excited to go to this performance, as I said. I had been friendly with eric. I got dressed up, I sort of planned my night around it. I felt like I was punished for being earnest. I was being humiliated and attacked for trying to show up.

Granted, unless you read this no one would know that this is how I felt. But that’s just the problem I have – they went out of their way to make me, personally, max steele who knows them, feel bad. I am the audience.


It feels personal. It feels vindictive. I've asked for help. I've begged for help. I've paid and waited and paid and waited and worked and paid and waited and borrowed and listened and begged and died and I just wanted some help. I just wanted some advice. Support. Understanding. Help. Anything I'm incapable of giving myself. I know it's shitty and I know it's annoying it's like bad food it's sickening I know I'm aware but I have to say it does feel personal. It seems pretty clear to me that there's some kind of consensus about me, about not including me. About writing me out.

There are people who want me to feel bad and they're winning.


When You Were All About Yourself

Last weekend was the opening for SLEEPING BEAUTY & THE BEAST, a new ballet by Katy Pyle and Ballez. There are five more performances beginning on Wednesday at La Mama. I play a Dying Swan. My part is not big, but ballet dancing is excruciating and difficult and I'm excited to be part of this. It's huge, sprawling, very Queer, heartbreaking, sexy, dangerous, funny, sad, and gorgeous. I can't say enough about it. In a way it's an interesting thing -- getting what I want in so many ways. To be part of something so fulfilling and supporting and engaging and challenging and important and social. I feel tremendously proud to be part of it and I hope you can come see it.

It's an interesting thing, too, to notice that even in situations such as the show, and some other places, where things are good, what parts of me still beat blue. What part still beats black. Where the red parts are. I feel at once bigger and smaller than I reckoned. Simpler, more straightforward, and much more complex than I thought I would be.

I know it's only natural, it's regular and ancient but I feel myself noticing how loud the birds are. It reminds me of the first night in Berlin, staying in the flat in the all-female building where Stevie was living on Oranienburger Straße. The birds were insanely loud and kept me up all night (all morning). I marveled at how loud German birds were, that anyone could sleep through them. Now I often find myself turning off my music to better hear the birds near my apartment. Anywhere where I'm walking or sitting. I want so much to be distracted. Pulled up and out.

Yesterday I had an hour in between work and analysis, so I went by DSM to see if the Golden Week merchandise was out, as it is in CdG's Japan stores. The theme is "collage".

The new collection wasn't there yet, but as I was leaving, I saw Rei outside the store. She was surrounded by assistants, staff members, and her husband, who was gesturing to the entrance where something was probably going to go. She was wearing a long black skirt and a golden leather motorcycle jacket. She did not seem small or diminutive and was impossible to miss. She had an energy, an aura, or something. I was shaking. I smoked a cigarette up the block and watched her wordlessly interact with those around her. She did not smile. It was beyond surreal. I spend an inordinate amount of time reading about her, looking at photos of her, wearing her clothes, looking at pictures, thoughts, etc. that come from or relate to her. To see her as just a person up the block was disorienting. My Elvis. I wanted to interrupt her, give her a copy of my zine, ask if she would hire me, kidnap me, save me. I wanted to say "Thank you, Rei, for all of your hard work. It means so much to me." I was too shy, I didn't say any of these. Besides it would have had to go through her translator and she was surrounded by the staff members who certainly didn't want me butting in. I was wearing head to toe CdG, as I often do, because it makes me feel strong, makes me feel good. Active. Energetic. I feel so bad in so many ways and that's one way I feel good. I don't feel guilty about this.

Of course I can't calm down. I'm thinking that there's something I ought to worry about. I feel it prudent to worry. I wish I could harness, identify, control, locate, redirect whatever impulse or energy it is within me. I cling so hard to this: to this beating myself up. The only truth I feel confident holding onto is the one, the premise or world-view in which I am reprehensible and worthless. I was telling my Analyst I literally do not know who or what I am without this feeling, without this premise.

It's what I know, and all I know.

And I feel so frustrated. As if I've been working at a cross-purpose with myself. There is no self, no ego to believe in. What constitutes a person?

I feel a sense of urgent doom. Impending deaths, of all kinds. I feel as though I've abdicated. I've been toppled. I have assassinated myself. I've achieved power through a military coup of my mind. I've been trying to kill myself in fits and starts and I'm not done yet.

I ran into a someone a few weeks ago at a performance and we were catching up. It's a friend, someone I like a lot and whose work I've liked a lot and who I'd hoped likes me too. They were talking about someone else, someone who's moved out of town or come back into town or something. They kept talking about the like I knew them. I said I'm sorry I don't know if I know who you're referring to. They looked perplexed. Apparently I had met the person years ago. I said maybe I would remember if I saw them but the name doesn't ring a bell. They said "Oh, that must be it was because it was during the period when you were all about yourself."

What period was that, pray tell? Any who's known me for any length of time knows I've never been particularly about myself. I don't know. It's frustrating.

All I can do is be this thing that repels people, makes people angry/hate me. Taken in aggregate this is how, in part, I arrive at the worthlessness, right? All I can accomplish is upsetting people, driving them away from me and into each other. I spoke a lot with the Analyst, again, about radiation, about radioactivity.

I feel that I am radioactive. Maybe there's potential but as it is I feel myself being slowly poisoned. Unable to wrangle, contain or harness the energy burning me up. I can't even touch it. I just
know it's there.


A thought too horrible to remember. Not worth writing down. As soon as I try to put it into words I think: “is this worth remembering? Probably not, no” then the task becomes one of forgetting, soothing, erasing, blotting out, superimposing something nicer onto, ignoring. To make weeks, seasons of this. It’s exhausting.

I feel like I’m always fighting a little. It’s that heightened state of panic. I worry about my health. I think it’s not good to have constant low-level inflammation I think it’s bad for my to always be fighting a little, for my glands to always be a little bit swollen.

I woke up this morning and I thought I should look I should check but there’s no good news. Only more shell. More debris, more sharp things. What was I going to forget again? Oh yeah.

I’m here I’m cooling. I’m your girl bunny
skin glue.
I’m boiled hoof. I’m waste I’m just here to combine to exist in interstices. Everyone wants to know each other around through against me. Why be connective tissue. Why be plumbing. Not that it lacks glamour but it’s just so nowhere.

I thought these worth thinking of, writing down, but no. I mean why even bother trying to make something beautiful.
Ocular migraine. Seeing spots.

My body's subtle revenge. Corpse sabotage. My eyes quitting. My body quitting.

Hot flashes of jealousy. anger. Where is my love and attention. Who can care for me. Why do I make myself so ugly. Why am I so eager to regret. I tried running into it and I stayed there. Why can't I be fascinating. Why can't I matter to myself. As if having an itch. As if made of dried wood. Feeling nervy and flammable.

I woke up and I said I wouldn't I did I regret it.

I want so badly. I am aching for it and I know I'm going to fuck it up, again, and again.


who walks through a forest or a field or an ocean floor and doesn't feel thesmelf exposed? Who is so delusional, what animal doesn't care about it's own self-preservation? I don't anything of my own just everything everyone else has. Why am I never the one asked to be the opening band? Why am I never invited to be the one, one of the ones. Why does it feel so futile, more and more. Why did I -- what did I do wrong?


I don't need an underground machine smashing atoms to tell me the way the universe is constructed. I don't need to know the details of the whole system to notice that time has stood still, backtracked, shifted directions and become a loop. A torus. Utterly flabbergasted. How is it that I can stay, as I am, in stasis. How is it that my heart can break over and over again and stay breaking and yet I don't know why. Why am I overcome with the urge to cry. Why am I unable to cry. What is wrong with me. Why am I in so much pain. What am I so upset about. What is it I want. I don't have any of these answers. Would I know it if I saw it. If was secretly okay, if I was secretly happy, if I was secretly strong, optimistic, resilient, present, not doomed-- wouldn't I have some indication? Wouldn't I have betrayed it to myself, at some point? At one or another of these points, days/weeks/months when I've backed myself into a corner, clawing out of a well. If I had it to give wouldn't I have given it? If I had something within myself, something solid, something "there" wouldn't I have recognized it? I'm fucking starving, I'm not withholding. The theory, the story is that not only do I deserve to suffer but it's all my fault anyway and I'm not even trying or not trying hard enough. No optimism. It's like it shouldn't be possible. At some point I should by rights hit the ground, change direction, stop, lose inertia.

It's like magick. Part of the reason I do feel cursed or something. I feel very certain that there is a cabal of people who are indeed out to get me.

That party photographer, for one, who makes a point of never photographing me.
Look: I don't even like having my photograph taken. But when you do a show and they take photos of literally everyone else who performed except you. You know?
It's not subtle.

And I don't blame them- I want you to know that I agree. Who else can I apologize to? I feel so wrong, so bad. As if I couldn't do enough to make up for it. I'm so miserable I feel weak.


Asking for my own worst enemy

I feel like I'm getting sick. I feel like there's nothing important enough to write down except when I'm getting sick or something. My reactions to the new collections that were just shown in Paris. My feelings about the Presidential election. My allegiances to pop stars. My sex life.

Perpetually frustrated. I mean I guess I'm curious too. It's like, I felt like I had to trap myself. Not gonna waste everyone's afternoon describing it. But I've waffled for so long as to whether or not "knowing why" was either possible, useful, avoidable. Like I was telling my Analyst I don't really know if digging is helping. Like will I ever find a satisfactory explanation for why I'm so fucked up? isn't looking for an explanation-- doesn't that become a distraction at some point? Just another way to torture myself? I guess the conclusion we came to is that there's some amount of analysis that's necessary and inevitable and unavoidable so I might as well be the one in charge.

Being of two minds. I mean ignorance is such obvious bliss that it seems suspicious. Dying seems like a drag but being dead sounds pretty fucking cool, in a way. Hear me out: what if one's experience of the world was fundamentally suspicious, anxious, circumspect? How would you bear that? Asking for myself, asking for a not-friend. Asking for my own worst enemy.

Like does it matter why. Does the how matter. Does one how or why matter more or less than another how or why? I don't really care. I mean, maybe I should feel guilty for not caring, but no. I don't feel terribly burdened by this (or most things) so I feel free to share it (and most things) here: looking at pictures of myself from when I was a kid bums me the fuck out. That, I guess, is why for most of my adolescence I never let my parents take my photo. Some chagrin when I let strangers take them, as a 20 something, right? But like no: I don't know "what that says about me" or something I don't really care. Does paying someone to hear me ruminate on it make me feel any differently about them? No. I still wish my mom wouldn't send them to me. I mean it's sweet but it bums me out. The way everything more or less does, is. But yeah no, no shame, no regrets, about sharing here. I mean: constant shame, like white noise. Here being history. Here being online. It's like hiding, I keep saying that.

It's as if on some level

It's as if in an alternate universe, I took chemistry the summer in between junior and senior years and in some alternate universe I never stopped. Everything feels continually experimental.

I mean what else, right? What isn't an experiment to a greater or lesser extent. What even is certain. My reflex is to equivocate. My only impulse is to doubt, to freak out. I evolved to panic. Maybe we at some point needed something like this, a canary in search of a coal mine. A singer for a stage. What's the way in, to fit in or feel useful or something.

Is it a matter of knowing the right people? Wanting the right things?

Desperate for some vague abstract sense of success. I wish I had a book deal. I wish I had a book party coming up. There's nothing I want to write a book about. I don't really want to feel like or know that anyone's reading my book. I just mean I wish I could have the idea or desire to put something into the world. That's corny as hell. I wish I had the desire to be in the world? Also corny.

I mean here we are halfway between eclipses and everything else is changing it feels like I'm just not in the driver's seat. I'm in the divers seat ha ha ha. Yeah I guess I like music. I guess I like feeling good. it's okay. I mean nice work if you can get it right? Speaking of.

Not gonna talk about grudges. I was pissed this morning but then I had breakfast. Felt good. It always feels good to do something important for myself.

To not leave myself enough time.

It's just like that Bikini Kill song. It's so fucked up getting sick. Feeling like I'm getting sick. Like

when you're a smoker, everything feels like it's your fault.


Sense Memory

"When are you gonna start?"

What time's the show. Do you know when you're going on? Is this part of the act? I guess I've already begun. I have some notes from when I was here last. You know, breadcrumb trails and all. Sense memory.

I realize that I've stopped reading my horoscope. It occurred to me this morning as I was eating my oatmeal that I had no idea what was supposed to happen to me astrologically. I don't really care. My fortune doesn't concern me, and I'm not quite sure it should. Do normal people think about their destinies? Is there such a thing as normal people, or destiny for that matter.

I remember in college taking the train into New York from Westchester and seeing a huge portait of Lumidee on the side of a building in the Bronx.

Been mostly not flipping coins either. Weather-checked religiously but out of necessity. It doesn't really matter what I wear or where I go or who I am.

Shopping. Shop instead.

Practice choosing. Make a practice out of decision=making. make taste make you. make what you love define you, your world, your objects and your desires. Make art environmental. Philosophy is climate. Change your dosage.

It feels as though I have open wounds. As if my veins terminate in waterfalls. I'm just wasting, spending, endlessly emptying out. That pseudo-factoid I remember from childhood; that the human heart processes enough blood each day that it could fill a swimming pool. To not matter. To be a vessel, machinery. To be broken, to be fixable. To be fixed. To be made of part. To change states; to go from solid to liquid to gas and back. To multiply.

I feel so keenly the sensation of letting go and I imagine that this is the emptiness I've been trying to cultivate. But it's excruciating. There is nothing there, nothing left.


Birds I'd Never Heard Before

I got to Austin Texas on Wednesday the morning, delirious. I can't sleep on planes and I was too excited to sleep the night before.

Dana picked me up from the airport and drove me into town, talking about New York and Austin and moving and New Orleans. I arrived at Lapland, where I was hosted by the lovely Jacob. Lapland is a legendary queer house in Austin and was gorgeous and spacious and better than any hotel in the world. The house was home to four cats and one dog and I loved them all as if they were my own.

I was in town for the OUTsider Festival. It was like a dream. The festival was incredibly well organized and had fantastic programming and the whole community around it was so welcoming and truly inspiring. I feel like I was at some magickal queer art summer camp or something.

I took a little nap and woke up in the afternoon and met my housemate Star Amerasu, who was also staying at Lapland. Star is an artist from Oakland who had briefly lived in Austin. She was very sweet and funny We walked up the road to the festival's opening night reception and ran into Star's friend Mia Tu Mutch, an artist, activist, and future first Trans mayor of San Francisco. We went to the opening reception at Mi Madre's and I was a bit intimidated. On our way to the performances that night one of the women had to run an errand so I went with them.

I always want to be around the cool girls. It's all I want. I had just met Star and Mia and they were catching up and gossiping about dates and including me in the conversation and we were walking the roads of east Austin where there are no sidewalks and I was chain smoking (cigarettes are cheap) and the weather was warm and the night was loud with bugs and birds I'd never heard before and it was perfect.

I was a little late to the Salvage Vanguard Theatre, where the show was. I saw almost all of the opening night burlesque show, which included LaWhore Vagistan, Chola Magnolia, Foxxy Blue Orchid, Lola LaStrange, Maxxy Radd, Queertini Time and Jasper St. James and La Chica Boom who headlined, and did a fucking amazing set. Went to bed early.

The next morning the "Conference on the Couch" hosted at organizer Curan & Pj's home was about queer bodies in art and activism, and was moderated by Evan Garza and featured Bug Davidson, Shannon O'Malley, Drew Riley, Beth Consetta Rubel, Alyssa Taylor Wendt, and Keith Wilson. I can't sum it all up except to say that it was a really cool, engaging, stimulating, welcoming and exciting way to talk about academia, art, politics, philosophy, sexuality and identity. Bug made this really mind-blowing comment about how there is a kind of "nostalgia of gender", which was so cool. There was excellent food at everything. I got to hang out with my big gay sissy sister Jim Fouratt, which was a real highlight of the festival. He introduced me to Annie Sprinkle (!!!) which was a trip, and I accidentally broke a houseplant, but I think the plant survived.

That night the shows were THE LOST BOYS, a dance created by Kevin Williamson, and featuring Julio Medina, Kevin Le and Raymond Ejiofor. It was fantastic. Sad and smart and funny and dark and bright and kinky and... great. The entire theater erupted into a well-deserved standing ovation. After that performance, I saw Tara Jepsen and Beth Lisick's performance, Uncorking the Butt of Jokes (And Success!). It was sort of a retrospective of their work together over the last 17 years. It reminded me that i saw them when I was 14 in Olympia Washington as part of the first Ladyfest. I think they are hilarious and brilliant and it was a thrill to see them again and get to geek out like olden days. They also showed their hit movie Rods and Cones, which features Jibz Cameron and dear heart Erin Markey.

The next morning the "Conference on the Couch" was about Sex in Public, and was moderated by the legendary Ann Cvetkovich, and featured Marcus Cruz Sanchez, Julie Gillis, Rockie Gonzalez, Jonesy, and Travis Mathews. Another fucking fantastic time, I must say. Friday evening I also saw The Gun Show, an installation and durational performance by the legendary John Moleteress, about mass shootings in America. It was scary and beautiful and oddly, surrounded by children. I was and am impressed by any performer who can think so clearly and beautifully about such difficult feelings and subject matter.

That night I went to see Annie Sprinkle and Beth Stephens accept the Legacy Award presented by OUTsider, and see them do a slideshow presentation of their work together and apart. It was definitely surreal to see Ms. Sprinkle, who I've long admired, speak so openly and generously about her work. Hugely inspiring, to think of how to connect yourself to a large world. How to make sense of your passion and make your love work for you. I felt enriched, for sure.

Friday night was ALSO the first night of SHABOOM! The official afterparty for the festival, hoseted at the secretive Museum of Human Achievement, featuring hobo clowns, cardboard glory holes/tickleboxes, an onstage "let's play doctor" exhibit, booze friends and lots of excitement. At a semi-secret warehouse location. Who could ask for anything more?

Friday night I had an incredibly scary and vidid nightmare, which I very rarely do. It was beyond affecting. Took me more than a little while to shake it off.

Saturday I sound checked my performance, a re-vamped version of The Good Daughter. I ended up missing most of the programming that day, sadly, in an effort to try to focus on the show that night.

My performance was fun and funny. I got some good feedback from people who recognized, or didn't recognize, my references. People made comments along the lines that they weren't entirely sure what I was doing, etc. I'm not trying to be mystifying but I am (or was) trying to make something new out of something that's familiar to me, so in that measure I succeeded. To be honest I've been so inspired and excited by the other artists in the festival I felt really intimidated! I don't know how I feel about that work of mine anymore. I've been feeling really weird about myself lately, and am beyond grateful to have the opportunity to try this stuff I've been thinking about.

Saturday night saw the second evening of SHABOOM!! but to be honest I was a little wiped out (and dehydrated) from performing, so I didn't stay too too long.

Sunday morning Lapland where I was staying hosted a beyond-epic brunch for the OUTsider artists, cooked up by the lovely Jacob (who hosted me) and his friends. It was maybe the highlight of the festival. Amazing vegan food, drinks, coffee, endless cats, partying, community. All in the glorious house where I was staying. I found out that Jacob and other of his housemates are Leos (like me) so that explains part of themagickal cat energy. I mean honestly, when in my life would I ever be sitting in a room with Annie Sprinkle and Nao Bustamante eating muffins? Never in a million years did I imagine my life would be like this.

Sunday afternoon I saw short performance art pieces by elements, A Shining Attribute and Little Stolen Moments. Again-- beyond inspiring. I felt so lucky to get to be in the room with these fucking people. It was like... I can't really explain it enough. Excuse me.

Sunday night was the closing night party at Cheer Up Charlie's, featuring music performances by Stanley Roy Williamson, Ah-Mer-Ah-Su, Theo Love, Kegels for Hegel, L E S B I A N S, GAYmous & DJ JD Samson.

You guys.

I knew I liked Star as a person when I met her, but seeing her perform was next level. I'm pissed that she's based on the west coast because Ah Mer Ah Su is my new favorite performer. I have not fallen in love with a live performance that way in a long time. It reminded me of the first time I saw people like the Blow, Pash(ly), Tracy + the Plastics, all my favorites. Her songs are deep, beautiful, dark, shiny, resonant, funny, funky, and are stuck in my head.

We need to talk about Star Amerasu more. Her website is WWW.MAKESTARFAMOUS.COM and we need to do this right fucking now.

Here is a loop of part of one of her songs "Little Bird" which she closed with on Sunday. I woke up to her practicing it in the shower that morning and it has been stuck in my head and in my heart.

Star: I love you.

ALSO performing that night were L E S B I A N S, the project started by Jenny Hoyston (!!!) and Tara Jepsen. Singing songs about being Lesbians, about the Goddess. Again: I was totally blown away by this band. I wish they were here, in New York.

Some additional faves from Sunday night and in general were Kegels for Hegel, featuring L Klotz who I went to college with, and GAYmous, who blew my fucking mind.

I was having amazing vegan cocktails at Cheer Up Charlie's all night and feeling so inspired. It reminded me of why I started playing music, making art in the first place. These are the feelings and passions I have and I want to connect with people about. It was dreamy, it was inspiring. It was too short.

I went home but didn't get any sleep and I came back to NYC and I'm struggling to reintegrate myself.

HUGE THANK YOU to Curran and PJ and everyone at the OUTsider Festival, everyone I met in Austin, and the other artists I got to encounter. Especially John Moletress who hipped me to this scene to begin with!

Very Grateful.


Marzipan Tin Foil

It's like there are two states: frozen and on fire and of course they overlap. I wish I had an idea. I wish I had a feeling.

What a fantastic time for my skin infection to come back. It did over Christmas, when I was home in California. And now it's back, just in time for Valentine's Day and then my trip to Austin. I'm going to try to go to the doctor's office to get oral antibiotics instead of topical ones because the topical ones take too long, I think. It's not only unsightly (it looks like my skin is burning off) but it's also really painful (it feels like my skin is burning off). My lymph nodes are really swollen and painful. This is all gross. It's funny because given how much complaining I've been doing lately and how publicly and shamelessly, it might seem counter intuitive but I don't love to complain. I don't like to be in pain. I guess that there are more than one ways to be sick. It feels like my body and my mind, my heart are going through the same thing. Oh yeah, this bacteria. This same old stupid painful awful thing that rears its ugly head every once in a while. Too often. Is there a cure? Not really.

As of today I am taking doxycyline, mupirocin and chlorhexidine gluconate. Don't ask. Trying to burn this shit out of me. The very sweet doctor who said she could "work with me" in prescribing oral versus topical antibiotics asked why I keep getting the same infection over and over again. I said I didn't know. She looked in her doctor database an it said that factors leading to recurring infections are: poverty, crowding, poor hygiene and being a carrier for staph. I asked if there's anything I can do to stop being a carrier, she said no.

I spend all my time packing. Wondering what to bring with me. Making lists instead of a story. Things I need to buy, things I want to buy. Marzipan. Tin foil. List of things to worry about. Endlessly interrogating myself. What should I wear for where I'm going. Where am I going. My new year's resolution was to stop flipping a coin, stop equivocating. I did this mostly, obsessively, with deciding what to wear. Both the most and the least important decision a person could make. I've only broken the resolution a couple of times.

Presents I meant to buy. Give. Compliments I meant to send. Thank you notes. I mean there's no rush it's not like anyone's going anywhere.

But still a body does reflect a mind, is like a drum for the heart of something. It reverberates outward and I do feel a bit as if I'm being buried alive. Now by my physical body as well. What bright contrast in taste and texture. I can't act as though it's not strange that other compartments of my life seem to be going ok. I mean I am for real in love. It's amazing.

It's like I know and I don't know what to do. I know what's wrong generally: I feel bad. But beyond that... it's like I don't even know what I want until I see it elsewhere. Like oh shit, I'd love to perform. I do love to perform. I'm glad I get to, to the extent that I do. I want to, more. It's so hard. Some optimism instead of ambivalence.

I feel drained. Boiled. I feel very much that I'm struggling to get somewhere, get out of somewhere, get to somewhere. I can't shake the feeling that something is wrong. I mean I know it's a matter of perspective, and I can look away.

And I've been looking away. And I've been taking a break. I've been working on me. I've been taking care of myself. The self I don't think I really have. And as I get a little bit calmer and a little bit more stable. As I begin to feel like I'm making progress. As I begin to feel like I'm ready to go off my antidepressants. The doctor congratulated me on going off of them (slowly). As I feel like I know where I should be looking. I turn and face the void again and it's as scary as ever! It's like there's no middle ground between just sleeping and being in denial and turning myself off and dying.

I am holding myself hostage. I don't know why.