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.


cookie time

I can't believe I'm here. I mean you are too. I can't believe we're here, together. The new year drew to a close and I got my shit together. I mean I didn't; I've been a mess, but making progress. I haven't known for the last few months, and I still don't know, what's worth saying, thinking, feeling, noticing, remembering. For who, even? Right?

I did Dry January and there is romance in my life and I feel much less urgently hopeless than I have in maybe a year. Retrospect is funny. I'm still really frustrated by some things though. I wish I was performing more. A weak, stupid part of me wants attention for the sake of attention. What part of the person, the personality, is it that craves identity, existence. What evolutionary impulse was perverted into narcissism? Which biological imperative has mutated such that I don't know if I exist anymore?

That's not fair. I know I exist I'm just not doing it the way I have been and I feel alternately awful and great about it.

I want to be doing more readings. I want to do more poetry readings and performances but maybe
with a mask on? I want to do more ukulele shows. Read more. Talk more. Just... I don't know. Show up more. Disappear less. Have somewhere to disappear from, and to.

I'm performing in Austin, Texas this month, where I've never been and am quite excited to go. I'm doing a revamped version of The Good Daughter. With only the best songs. My idea for this performance is also me working through a question my therapist asked a few weeks ago:

Why Make Everything Harder for Myself Than It Needs To Be?

Why not just perform the things you want to perform, right? Why go looking for trouble? There are legitimate reasons, I guess, to look for trouble. In general. But for me, right now. I don't need to. Being cautious, cognizant of risk, that's not the only affect that I have inside of me.

Went to see the Mickalene Thomas show Muse at the Aperture Foundation last week. I'd mostly known Thomas as primarily a painter and have long liked her collage work as well. The photos in the exhibition were awesome.

Racquel Leaned Back

The photo set used as a background in many of the images was installed in the gallery. A wood-paneled, cat-decorated carpeted living room, seemingly straight out of the 1970s. Replete with stacks of records and fake houseplants. To the extent that I'm familiar with her work I really love Mickalene Thomas' art. It's vital, exciting, and gorgeous. She also has a penchant for the Comme des Garçons clan (she named her kid Junya Rei), so I feel an affinity there as well. If I were to decorate my own room/fantasy photo studio, it would probably look a look like the space she used. It's a fantastic show and it's up through March 17th and worth seeing.

Negress with Green Nails

I feel like the last year I was so worried about how bad I was. How worthless. And I don't feel contrary to that anymore, but now I feel sort of stupid in a good way. Like; I might have a use. I might be good at something and I don't even know what it is and I might find out. And that feels good.

Some things feel good. Really good. Maybe even too good to get into here, yet.

Speaking of Comme des Garçons I liked seeing the new collections from Paris last week. The COMME DES GARÇONS HOMME PLUS Fall collection had the theme/title "Armor of Peace":

It's complicated, the continued explorations of armor, peace, war, etc. I'm not crazy about the sleeves but I AM crazy about the floral flower-power hippie shirts and I hope she makes a t-shirt version. It's weirdly moving. Not weirdly. Just that it's so much, it's so immense, if you think about it. The scale of the creativity here. It's in a way admitting it's limitations, reveling in them, even.

and the COMME DES GARÇONS SHIRT / SHIRT BOY presentation:

Like, what even is a shirt, right? I'm really into the crazy tartan SHIRT BOY things that opened it. I like the feeling of basics being expanded, being blown open and redefined. I like the extent to which shirts can become a kind of metaphor or symbol for youth, masculinity, identity, history, whatever.

thanks mom

as I was finishing this thought, the Girl Scout cookies I ordered arrived.

I'm thrilled.