8/18/14

Garlands

I got off work on Friday afternoon early, but it didn't even feel like work because I was working from home. I went to Vanessa's for lunch and had that wasabi noodle salad PLD gets, and it was really spicy and made my nose run. I came home and napped and puttered around, feeling frustrated that everything starts so late at night. I went to Nowhere bar to see WITCH CAMP's DJ set. WITCH CAMP is, naturally, Isis (Nath Ann Carrera) & Isis (Amber Martin). They're definitely my favorite DJs in New York right now. We don't need to have the same favorite everything, but if you want to here obscure 60s psychedelia, feminist punk rock gems, prog-rock orgiastic anthems, balls-deep soul and satanic disco, theirs is the party you need to be at. I got there right at the beginning at 10pm when they were getting set up. I drank some J├Ągermeister to get excited, but then I had to leave to rush downtown.

Here's a picture of Isis and Isis behind the ones and twos:



After some dancing and chatting I ran downtown to the Bureau of General Services Queer Division for Gio Black Peter's art opening: "The Night Gardener". It featured some glory hole portraits, drawings, paintings and photos he's been working on in the last year, and it also featured a king of play, a theater piece he made called "the Longest Night of the Year" and it was read/performed by: Gio Black Peter, Susanne Oberbeck (a.k.a. No Bra), Brian Kenny, Gage of the Boone, Max Steele, and Jordan Hall, with music by composer Gordon Beeferman. I was totally thrilled and honored to be included in this project and I hope I did okay! Everyone in it is obviously a fantastic artist in their own right, and it was a really cool if somewhat short little performance. Brian Kenny's performance particularly impressed me, I knew he'd bust something wonderful out. I've been a fan of Gio's work since before I ever met him, and to see his new stuff is really cool. The piece was kind of abstract, dark and funny. Sardonic. And weirdly musical, jarring, funny and... I don't know. Scary? He's like Brecht. I think of GBP as being a punk in the same way I think Brecht was a punk. It's not really about flamboyance or the posturing of rebellion, so much as a really engaged kind of curiosity about human nature and how to measure it by adding power, society, history, etc. It was rad. I never thought my life would include, like, just casually going to see one friend DJ then be in some cool performance art piece downtown. I felt very lucky and I still feel very lucky.

After the performance and the opening we went to Gio's house to hang out and I played with his and Neil's cat 2 Shy, who I am totally in love with an obsessed with. I took dozens of photos of us together but this is the best one:



I sneaked back uptown to 14th St. to catch the very last call of Witch Camp. Like book-ends or something, then I got home. Saturday I was mostly lazy. I went to the gym early and spent the rest of the day laying around my house, before meeting my old college chum Marcus for coffee down by the waterfront. I love that man.

Then I went on up to Thrust, a performance series organized by Ruby and Julia. The last one I went to featured miss Tommy, this one featured Kayla and Anthony and it was so cool! It was on a gorgeous rooftop in Williamsburg, right after sunset. A really cool mix of performances, writers/readers, musicians, and a cool crowd. I had a blast. So much of a blast that we stayed on the roof (which belonged to a friend of one of the organizers) until almost 1 or 2 in the morning? It was kind of silly. Stopped by GAG! at Metro and that was reliably cute, right.

Sunday got off to a slightly rough start but was soon chugging along swimmingly thanks to the fact that I got to spend it hanging out with birthday girl Julia a.k.a. Jiddy No-No a.k.a. Ewok Vixen. I picked her up in Greenpoint and then we met up with our dear friend Isabelle at the Reynard where we got very fancy drinks and fancy food. I had a peach sandwich that was grilled peaches and almond butter and a weird stinky cheese. It was so good. We also had some Lillet. THEN we met up with Jiddy's Dad who had been record shopping in Greenpoint at Ramona's where they really do make the best negronis anywhere. We came back to Jiddy's house and hung out for a bit more and I took this cute photo of her there:



I came home and watched movies and ate Thai food and passed out. Woke up this morning and immediately got annoyed by reading FaceBook. Then I realized I don't have to-- I don't have to read it, I don't have to get annoyed. None of it, everything is optional. Instead I meditated and then made breakfast and that was pretty great. This is wisdom in action! Tonight I'm going grocery shopping, then to the gym, then to rehearse MAPPLETHORPE and some other songs at the Spectrum. Then maybe to sleep. We'll see.

Some thoughts about secrecy. How there's no way to talk about certain things without going a little but nuts about it. Or without incriminating yourself. Thinking also this thing about friendship, or familiar people, how there's that thing when she's touching you in a way while she talks to you on your back, you hips, whispering in your ear for the first time. I forgot I started writing a poem a few months ago and put it away but I found it again this morning saved on my phone on the train and I was so happy to see it.

8/15/14

Deep Cuts / What is a Man

I went with Max B to see miss Amber Martin's show at Joe's Pub on Tuesday. I am totally in love with and obsessed with Amber Martin. I think she's a comic genius, a shockingly empathetic and intuitive performer, and she posses truly magnificent gifts. I don't know what to say. I'd like to write books about her. I'm such a fanboy. Anyway, her show was a series of songs she loves and has grown up with, and she sort of told her story through her love of music. It showed. There's such a palpable difference between someone doing something because they want to be cute or make some point about their prowess, and someone doing something because they love it. Amber Martin is a fan of what she calls the "deep cut"; she prefers to cover songs you've maybe never heard of, but definitely should seek out. This is why she's such a great DJ: she has fantastic taste in music and an encyclopedic knowledge of music history, and an earnest and electric curiosity about how artists work, how people convey emotions. But there's also a subtler point here, too; by choosing these "deep cuts", Amber superimposes herself, her taste, her story, her technique, onto the songs. It may not matter that you haven't heard this Andrea True Connection song before, because if you do track down the LP, you'll still compare it to Amber's version. Amber lives in the past and the present and the future at the same time. It's a tricky thing, this thing of letting love guide you through space/time. It's hard, not everyone can do it. Amber believes that you can, and she invites you to join her. I loved her show and I love Amber Martin and she is a genius. She talked a bit about being a witch, how she was born into a secret lineage of witches. I thought: that's right. She also practices Rock and Roll, which is becoming an ever-more arcane and occult practice. She knows the Old Ways of Heavy Metal. Rock on. Blessed Be.

After the show, Max B and I hung out with Amber and Jill and Rob and Brett in the upstairs at Joe's, congratulating everyone and falling in love. Then we went to Acme, which was cute, because we danced to Vanity 6's "Nasty Girl" and that's maybe one of my favorite songs in the world. Max B and I took a cab to Queeraoke and had fun there until last call.

The next day I woke up hungover, ate some californian chex mix and went to the Issey Miyake sample sale. I got there later than I wanted to, since it was only open from 8am-3pm. I saw a guy enter the building at the same time as me. We nervously waited for the elevator. He was much more nervous than I was. "I thought there'd be a line. I'm so surprised..." he said. I grunted in response because I was hungover. "I mean, I wanted to come before lunch." He needn't have worried. We got to the space and it was huge, tons and tons and tons of clothes, but not a lot for men. Not terribly crowded either. I was getting into it, starting to feel my west coast oats, if you get my drift. The men's selection was small, there was a real chatty guy (maybe he worked there, or he was an assistant to one of the customers) who sighed and whimpered to me that there were slim  pickings for men. Right, but like... what's a man, right? I saw groups and pairs of fashion cogniscenti guys, the type of men who wear long skirts, trying on the so-called "women's" pieces. Most of the customers were older white women. There were some younger people like me, but for the most part, it was people who were just sprucing up their wardrobe. That was the cool and weird thing about this. It was a sample sale from a luxury designer, whose clothes were very expensive, even marked down 75%, and the people that came to the sample sale were... regulars. These were women I overheard, over and over and over again, who were replacing their favorite pieces. "I have that one but in a skirt, so I'm getting the top." or "I've had this one for years, it's old, so I wanted another one. I love it." It was nuts. They were talking about $1000 polyester dresses. Marked down to $250, but still. One sweet looking woman watched me try on a jacket and said "Oh, sorry-- I'm just looking at you because I'm shopping for my son." I wish my mom would shop for me at Issey Miyake and I bet she wishes she could too. I wanted a jacket or coat but there weren't many that looked like they'd fit me. So I found lots of crazy pants. You know me, I love a fussy bottom. I found a pair of circle-cut Pleats Please trousers with dark navy blue fur. A kind of fake polyester wool. They're amazing. I know they're amazing because multiple people tried to take them away form me. Some customers would wistfully eye them and say "Oh, those are so...nice..." as I walked past them. Others would stop me and ask if I was getting them, if they could try them on real quick. One woman, a lovely older lady who looked like she collected art and probably had a good sense of humor but not right at that second, reached out and tried to grab them out of my hands. She hissed "Those aren't men's pants, are they? I don't think those are men's." And like, okay; point well taken. But again, what's a man? I got the pants. I love them and they were exorbitant. Happy Birthday to Myself.

Last night I saw Molly Pope perform at 42 West. I love her on such a deep level that it's hard to find a cogent way of talking about her. She's hilarious, poignant, deeply nuanced, intelligent and... I don't know, breathtaking. I love seeing Molly perform. There is no one who sings like her. Her sense of humor and humanity and gravitas is scintillating and I had such the best time at her show. She's performing at 42 West the next couple of Thursdays this month, and you should go.

On my way there I finally had a chance to go to Ur Head Is Mine, a series of performances and happenings curated by Yolene and Yulan Grant at AC Art Institute Gallery. Really bummed that I hadn't been able to make it to the previous performances, but was glad to see this one and definitely will come back. The roster of performances is a wonderful cross-section, folks from NYC and elsewhere, and it's always nice to have a capital A Art space to play in. Last night I saw Christopher Udemezue perform, and was struck as always by the way he negotiates complexity onstage. I've seen him perform a few times, and it's always different, but yet heartbreakingly related. It was a rewarding, frightening, sad and scary week to see this work. I don't know what to say other than I'm glad I did see it, as I always am, and especially this week.

Feeling weird about America this week. Here is a clip from MAPPLETHORPE sort of tangentially related:



So, the thinking is: the cops won't necessarily always protect you. Furthermore, the cops could sometimes be out to get you. Specifically black people and specifically kids and specifically poor people. There is no security, the power of protection is not absolutely good. We don't and never have lived in a world where that can be relied on. Your disappointment with discovering this is on you. The reality is awful. I don't know what to do about it. How to think about it. It's not, I realize, about police brutality. And it's not about gun control, either. Not just that. It's about racism, it's about who gets to live and who gets to die, who gets to be a person. Who gets killed as a possible threat, and who gets sympathy as "mentally ill". Who gets to be safe. Who gets the benefit of the doubt. Who does the doubting. What, again, is a man. Who gets to be human.

It's Friday and I'm only working a half day, from home. I'm going to go out to lunch and then I'm going to Gio Black Peter's opening at the Bureau of General Services Queer Division. His new show is called The Night Gardener and it includes a play he's written called "The Longest Night of the Year" and I'm in the play! And we're performing it at midnight tonight. So I'm going to have to take a nap or something before then.

8/12/14

One of the new neighbors is moving. This guy I would sometimes see in the neighborhood, on my way to or from the train. I see him a lot at the gym. He's not the most attractive person I'd ever seen, but he's local. I don't want to be rude. He's cute. He definitely doesn't think I'm cute though. I've seen him on Grindr and said hi to him to no response. He lives around the corner from me. I'd sometimes see him at gay bars, with a dude who I think is less attractive than me. He seems to have similar interests. I think we could have been friends. Anyway, I've often felt kind of humiliated running into him because I run into him a lot, and he clearly isn't interested in me, and it's been a kind of frequent reminder of something. Shame? Anyway, through the serendipity of social networks I came across one of his pages and saw that he's moving. So maybe that chapter is closed.

I was hanging out over the weekend with someone and talking about this Bushwick drag coterie. You know, these bristly young Brooklyn drag queens. It's possible to become a kind of a star in this fairly specific way. Internet famous or something. I was telling the person I was with (who I have a fantastic and 100% unrequited crush on, it's awesome) so I feel like a voyeur to this Bushwick drag moment. They're all nice to me, they generally make really cool and radical and interesting work, and I'm so grateful to be living in New York right now to get to see it. To the extent that my schedule and old bones allow me to. But I said, you know, that they're totally separate from me. That I don't really know any of them, it's kind of like a high school clique or something. i don't mean that in a mean way-- I just mean that they're a circle of friends and I'm not part of it but I still want to go to their shows and give them tips and applaud, etc. The person I was wish kind of scoffed and said "Right, but I'm sure they know who you are. They must," They mustn't, tho. There's no reason for them to. I don't want anyone to know me.

Later, the next day, last weekend, I was out for a jog with another friend, and I don't know how it came up but he made some kind of encouraging remark. I was saying I didn't think I could do something, I felt pessimistic, and he said "Oh come on, you're Max Steele!" I responded: "I'm not though. I'm really not. It's not like that."

I don't feel like me, but I think that's for the best. If you did feel like you, that could be scary.
I was frustrated today but now I'm not anymore.

8/11/14

Burns

Where did the summer go. I've eaten it. I've dried it out, ground it into a powder and snorted it. I've stirred it into my yogurt, smeared it on my sunburn. How has it been three weeks? I went to Seattle, and then I went to Alameda, and then I came back to New York and I turned 30.



I flew from a very bad mood straight to SeaTac airport and into the arms of my best friend Bobo. We hung out at her apartment in Capitol Hill all weekend. She works in a restaurant and all of her friends work in restaurants, so everywhere we went people kept giving us free food, free coffee, free cocktails or something. It was lovely. Seattle was gorgeous. It didn't smell like ANYTHING. Literally every place was blooming with strange, wonderful and gorgeous plants. I hung out with Bobo's can Nino (named after Nina Simone before his gender had been discovered) and fell in love with him. I ate very well. We went out to five bars in one night and we went to a karaoke bar and I sang the Barbra Streisand version of "Stoney End" and nobody got it but I got it and I gave it to them.

Went to a very woo-woo yoga class with Bobo on my last day in town, it was lovely. We talked a lot about "sourcing" the Earth's energy in order to provide stability for our practice, while we opened our hips to access our previously hidden potential, and uncover buried memories. There was some call-and-response chanting in Sanskrit. A far cry from the bicycle crunches of NYC yoga.

Flew down to Alameda, drank Courvoisier on the plane because it was full of screaming babies. Had so much fun hanging out with my freaky and fabulous parents. We celebrated my dad's birthday and ate too much fantastic food all week.

I was reunited with my old friend MayGay in Berkeley, we hung out and climbed around town. He looked fantastic, as always. I also saw my birthday twin homegirl Sam/Appaloosa, ditto great to see her. We've known each other since we were 14 or so-- Like, half out lives. What a funny feeling.

Maygay and I went and danced at Aunt Charlie's for the Tubesteak Connection party, but we were the only ones there. Bus Station John was the DJ. We were there early. It was cute. I hung out with my friend Grey. I spent an afternoon hanging out with Rumi from the Cockettes. I did a really tremendous amount of shopping at thrift stories. So much so that I had to mail my treasures home, I couldn't tote them on the plane.



I had only a few and fleeting bratty moments. As I naturally do whenever I'm with my parents. Becoming, again, a baby, for a few moments at a time, whenever I'm back in the same dynamic.

I came back last Sunday morning and went to go see the voluptuous Horror of Karen Black perform in Thompkins Square park, and got a haircut in the East Village. Then I spent basically all of last week celebrating my 30th birthday, on various levels. On Tuesday I went to karaoke with Sister Pico. On Wednesday I went to that Queer Cocktail Party with the queer artists. Thursday, my actual bday, I went to Zabar's, to CdG (to buy perfume ONLY, jeez) and out to dinner with Erin and Ben, then to See Jeffery and Cole's show. After that I went to Julius to see lovely baby bday twin Brian, who was celebrating his birth there as well. Friday I worked from home then hosted an epick birthday part at the Hose with Jessica, another darling Bday twin and my neighbor. The party was fun! A little overwhelming but great.

I'm skipping over a lot because I don't want to have to track down photos. The rest of the weekend I spent in a daze, feeling sorry for myself and indulging in every appetite I could.

I'm toying with the idea of quitting smoking. I'm going to a dermatologist tomorrow night, and I'm making an eye exam appointment this week. I am ready for love. I'm hungry. I'm going to rehearse tonight for MAPPLETHORPE, for the performance at Afterglow in Provincetown in a month. It feels strange. I painted my nails for the party, something I haven't done in a long time.

What else. I feel okay.

7/14/14

People Beautiful

Had a good, recreational weekend. Lots of fun and killing time. Not a lot of stress. Not a lot of anxiety, it didn't feel like, which was a good change. I was killing time and I wandered into an overpriced vintage store, and this song was playing:



I guess I'm sort of getting into the Andrews Sisters. This morning there was a guy on the train-- he's sometimes on the L during the morning rush hour, often yelling about Christianity and the sins of homosexuality. The sin of not following Gods Plan for your gender. It reminded me of this video Juliana Luecking made starring Johanna Fateman. from her People are a Trip series:



I also wish I had a crazy religion I could sing about. As if to compete? This morning the guy on the train had a new routine. He was harping pretty hard on weed, on pleasure. He kept reiterating how when you get to Hell, you'll retain all five of your senses. And that Hell is a torture of all five senses. Like, implying that Hell would smell really bad, would taste bad, or something. I never think of that when I think of Hell. I wasn't raised Christian, so I haven't really thought much about Hell, or, for that matter, Heaven.

Talking about imagining Hell and Heaven, though, reminds me of this performance and speech. Marilyn Manson makes a good point here, as he so often did back in the day:


This weekend I was at Metropolitan for this party, and a group of really dressed-up (very Fashionable) young boys were shyly but enthusiastically going assez-JAMBON on the makeshift dancefloor when this song came on. Isn't that nuts? I told my friends, I never in a million years thought this would be my life. I wanted to say: dear 13 year-old Max. Someday you'll be at a gay bar in Brooklyn and you'll see porn stars and twinks dancing really hard to "The Beautiful People/" Unbelievable.

Usually, if we're dancing to Beautiful People, it's the Barbara Tucker song:


Or, the Hardrive song that samples it:



Thinking about Manson and how he cuts a bit of a different figure these days.



Over the weekend was some fun understanding. I wanna go into details but I feel like it'd be uncouth.

Maybe I should say that I was both disappointed and thrilled, angry and happy at the same time. Yesterday was pretty perfect. I woke up (hungover), went to the gym, had brunch with Spooky aka Joseph Keckler whom I miss and love very much, and then went to see William Johnson and Nayland Blake read at the Bower Poetry Club. Sister Pico joined me, it was lovely. I went window shopping and met up with PLD when she got off work. I came home and vigorously cleaned my room, ordered take-out, watched anime and hand-washed my designed denim before passing out. I feel okay. I'm really to show you.



That's the funny and fucked up thin about so-called "beautiful people" right? Is that everyone is beautiful if you look long enough. Ugliness is a myth.

7/11/14

"I CAN JUST LEAVE, OR SAY IT'S NOT A BIG DEAL, I'M JUST A SINGER."

Lana Del Rey might not be a Feminist but I do think she is a Buddhist. I mean, I think she's a Feminist, too. I'm actually not that into men saying what is or isn't Feminism. I think Feminism can be understood to be something you do, rather than something you are. And Lana Del Rey doesn't want to do that. We could say that Feminism is about seeing and knowing that women are human beings, and Lana Del Rey says she's not interested in that. Then what, we might wonder, is interested in? People, she says. It's always about meeting the right person, being so fascinated by the people she meets. Strangers, lovers, whoever. She is endlessly interested in, gestures towards disappearing into other people. She's fascinated and obsessed with understanding people. Meeting someone who understands her. Being unguarded, vulnerable around other people. This seems to me a kind of Buddhist way of thinking. She may not believe that women are people but she does seem to believe that Buddhas are people, that all people have the ability to achieve understanding, and through the connection forged by understanding, transcendence.

In that recent interview with the Guardian:
Del Rey likes to describe the more tumultuous periods of her life in romantic terms: she says she'd often spend her nights wandering around New York – "West Side Highway, Lower East Side, parts of Brooklyn" – meeting strangers and seeing where the night took them. "I was inspired by Dylan's stories of meeting people and making music after you met them. I met a lot of singers, painters, bikers passing through. They were friends, or sometimes more. All people I was really interested in on impact." 
It sounds pretty dangerous. 
"Yeah, I was lucky, but I also have strong intuition." 
Does she still do it? 
"Sometimes." 
Does anyone ever say: "Hang on … you're Lana Del Rey!" 
"Sometimes they do. About half the time they do, half the time they don't. If they know who I am I can just leave, or I say it's not a big deal, I'm just a singer." 
Are they not surprised to see you out wandering the streets? 
"If I'm in LA then maybe. If I'm in Omaha, maybe not." 
When she was 18, Del Rey's darker experiences – she has talked about being alcoholic – prompted her to take up outreach work helping those addicted to drugs or alcohol. It's something she describes as her true calling and something she still does when she gets the chance. 
"I live in Koreatown on the edge of Hancock Park [in LA], so I do different things where and when I can. It's not just people with mental illness on the streets, but also people who, throughout the years, have lost identification information, that sort of thing. And I know what to do, I know how I can help, because I was that person."
She sees the good in everyone, she wants to know what everyone is like. If she feels recognized she can "just leave, or say it's not a big deal, she's just a singer." Isn't the image of Lana wandering around, just meeting people, interesting? She feels unbound to any situation, because she has good intuition. She wants to help drug addicted indigents because she was that person.

Is Lana Del Rey the Great American Buddhist Pop Star?







The thing of the Prince, the trust-fund kid who comes into contact with death, with aging, with disease and poverty, then becomes an ascetic in search of enlightenment. This could roughly be Lana's story too. I mean no disrespect to anyone's belief system or religion in asking this. I'm serious though-- if we can see that the possibility for cultivating Buddha-nature exists in everyone, I'd imagine it exists for Lana Del Rey, and that her exploration of it, conscious or not, regardless of what she calls it, can be recognized as such.

And the cool thing is, becoming famous isn't the same as enlightenment. She's totally ambivalent about her position in the world. She says in that interview that she wishes she was dead already. That she hasn't enjoyed being a pop star or being famous at all.  I think that's good. I don't think it's good when pop stars are pretending to be miserable, or celebrating misery. She's not doing that. She's just saying that being famous isn't an end in an of itself, it's not the same thing as being at peace, or happy, or content. Being famous, being "known" is not the same thing as knowledge. It's not a big deal, she's just a singer. She's making music about, you know, people "on impact".

She's trying to understand mortality. She reminds us, as you must know, that we are Born to Die.

A quote from Siddhartha Gautama in the Dhammapada:
Pare ca na vijananti
mayamettha yamamase
ye ca tattha vijananti
tato sammanti medhaga.
"People, other than the wise, do not realize, "We in this world must all die," (and, not realizing it, continue their quarrels). The wise realize it and thereby their quarrels cease."

Thus far, not much of Lana Del Rey's work seems to be about settling quarrels so much as realizing that we must die. This is an important part of the message but it's not the only part. I hope she sticks around to tell us about settling quarrels.

7/8/14

Three Nine

I'm wearing a tight t-shirt. This shirt from that awful boutique with the sexist ads and the 70s nostalgia. I used to wear this shirt at least twice a week. That's the thing; I hold onto shit forever. It's tight. Is it that I've gained weight? Has the shirt shrunk? Maybe I just used to wear tighter clothing as matter of course.

I was reading my Astrobarry horoscope yesterday and it said that good news was on the way and to sit tight until next week. What a nice thought. Who doesn't like good luck.

And yesterday I felt like things were oddly going well. I was surprised to hear from you. To hear back. A pleasant surprise. This weekend was a killer, a good one.

Thursday night I performed at T.B.A. at Bizarre. It was a very cute show, hosted by Merrie Cherry. I sang a slow, "Reggae" version of Kylie's "Breathe", introducing it as a song about sex advice. I mean.

At the end of my song, I said "Give it up for Merrie Cherry you guys!" Because she had introduced me and was the host. No. In fact the NEXT announcer was someone else, who began with "Give it up for Max Steele! I'm not Merrie Cherry, but give it up for..." And introduced the next performer. But the ANNOUNCER hadn't been introduced. I fucked up the introductions. Is this a drag show thing? How did I not get this? It felt like the one thing I could possibly have fucked up. That, and the song. I think people felt ok about my performance. I always think that, so I made MAPPLETHORPE to be this thing of, like, expanding the space for doubt. So in a way, if you're not into the song, that's kind of okay and kind of the correct response and you're kind of rewarded for that. I don't know if any or everyone gets it, what I'm doing. But you never know, so. I hung out at Bizarre a while then came home to have a nightcap with Miss Jessica Paps.

Friday I went to the gym and lazily tidied up around my room, taking naps and feeling good. I met up with PLD and Lola and we went to Xara's art opening near the house. We caught the fever to see the fireworks so Lola and I went to her old apartments roof to try to see. We sort of saw them, and definitely saw everyone else's fireworks. It was like EVERYONE had fireworks. All these rooftop explosions. After the roof Lola and I and her lil sister's new room mate met up with The Other Max at Ryan and Matthew's amazing house. They had fantastic punch and I had a lot. Plus champagne. Ok. Them we went to Lester's birthday party at a bar called The Bar. It was a dance party. There were lasers. There were these fancy margaritas with watermelon ice cubes, it was weird. I didn't wait for the ice cube to melt into an edible piece of watermelon but I probably could have. I also saw a boy with this adorable backpack there:



SO cute, right? OK so then R from SF, Other Max, and Lola and I took a car to 11:11 in the City. We talked about how the basement dance floor, through the secret door, is so cool and weird. And kind of scary! It's a tiny very dark room in an unlit basement with no windows. Other Max said it felt like a death trap sometimes. But there's AC and great music and more lazers, so it's fun so we went. We got there and paid the shameful cover charge and hung out upstairs because the basement wasn't ready yet. Saw Neon at her Bottle Table. Said hello to all the kids. They had a live drummer. It was a cute fun time.

Eventually they let us into the basement. That part was fun and crowded/sexy, until someone lit off a 4th of July Sparkler IN THE BASEMENT. I actually blocked this out and had to be reminded about it the next day. Why was it a big deal? Oh yeah-- because it was a tiny basement secret room full of drunk people with no windows or anything and there were sparklers going off. Crazy and wild, indeed. We all had our fill right around then, and some poor soul, doubtlessly raised by wolves (and very impolite wolves) happened to cut Miss Lola in line for the ladies room.

Well. Folks should know better than that. She lit into him and rightly so and chased him out of the club and into a cab. Fearsome and righteous and my hero! We all walked to the train home.

Saturday I woke up, I went to the gym, I went to Vanessa's Dumplings, I watered the houseplants, I visited the cats I'm catsitting, and I went to go look at the sale at Dover Street Market. Nothing I could afford to afford. I want all of the GANRYU everything. I wish they had the denim. I want the GANRYU denim, and the sharkskin printed t-shirts. Who cares. Went to a BBQ at Opinion Gallery and saw tons of cute fun kids, Neon and Juliana on the grill, well into the night. I ate some kebabs and had some drinks. Epic Bed-Stuy roof, tons of music and laughs. Good times, you know? Other Max and I went to this party nearby, BE CUTE. Indeed it was, full of cute queer weirdos from other parts of Brooklyn besides Williamsburg. Stayed there for longer than I would have wanted to, went to GAG! at Metropolitan and stayed there as well long than I initially would have thought. Got (surprise surprise) a Hana sandwich and passed out.

Sunday I did cat duty then spent the day hanging out with Miss Jiddy No No. We had Apferol spritzes and Negronis and wandered around Bushwick, getting outdoor drinks and processing our feelings. Perfect and lazy and lovely. I came home and watched Galaxy Express 999.



Last night I went to Hot Fruit to see deer heart Joey Hansom of the band GODMOTHER who's visiting from Berlin. He performed three songs and definitely knocked my socks off. Really really fantastic music. I went to bed much later than I normally do (on a Monday!) but feel kind of ok for it. Going to go to cat duty for the last night, then go out to dinner, and try to get up at 5am tomorrow to go to the gym again before work.

I'm in a weird, unlucky mood. But also feel kind of excited, about some other things, too, so.

7/3/14

TBT & TBA

I'm doing a fun show tonight at Bizarre in Bushwick. It's called TBA and it's hosted by Merrie Cherry. The other performers tonight are Charlene, Sparklez, Aja Nicole Marie, Rify Royalty, Boy Georgia, DJ OTTER. I'm really excited to perform at this, with such cool people. I'm going to be doing a short sex workshop and then singing a classic gay anthem which is also a reggae song about bottoming. It's a new number I've never done before. I think the cover is like $5 and it's suggested donation and you should come! It'll be cute.

Here's a flyer for the show:



Someone (hopefully jokingly) referred to me online as a sex symbol. I thought "Oh God." I thought "That's fucked up." There's no response to this. I'm flattered and flabbergasted. It's that picture, a photo taken by Sebastian Kim of yrs truly, for Interview. As any regular reader of this blog probably knows. This photo, above, is a classic Throwback Thursday. I feel like I kind of look the same, right? Maybe not. This photo is five years old. It's actually older; it didn't come out until 2009 but it was taken in 2008, right before my 24th birthday. That's an important detail, because in order to be in the magazine's "Discoveries" section, in order to be a "Discovery" you had to be under 24 years old. And I was just barely under 24 years old when the photo was taken. By two days. I'm obviously hesitant to put too much stock in anything, but suffice it to say that this photo was a cool picture of me to have out in the world, and also kind of fictionalized and magickally unreal. That outfit, for example, I didn't choose. They had pulled a really cute Jil Sander look from the Fall 2008 collection for me but it didn't fit. So we went with this look, about which the photographer said "Depeche Mode". It was cute. I loved it. It's kind of fake, and if I am a sex symbol it's because of this photo, maybe. Or maybe this photo was because I was a sex symbol, I was go-go dancing at the time. And writing Scorcher. If I am a sex symbol it's because I believe in the aesthetic value of disappointment. Of disappointing men. I advertise myself a certain way. No, I don't advertise so much as refuse to correct people. Guys. At least initially. You think you can have sex with me, but you can't. And the anger you feel about it-- that anger feels righteous, but it's not. Or, maybe it used to be, but it's not anymore. I'm here to tell you.

Punk is about destroying symbols, codes, conventions. Replacing them with new ones too, of course, eventually, but the breaking down is the genesis. Chaos is the creation myth.

If I'm a sex symbol it's because I'm really angry. I'm seething. If I'm a sex symbol then it's for the wrong reasons. If I'm a sex symbol, then it's hollow. If I'm a sex symbol then anyone could be one, it's purely circumstantial, meaningless. If I'm a sex symbol then it's up for grabs, because I like to share (at least with my friends). If I'm a sex symbol then there's no hope for any of us. If I'm a sex symbol then there's no such thing. If I'm a sex symbol then Pinocchio. If I'm a sex symbol then
Hey



Gepetto



Where'd you put it?



Oh Gepetto



Poor boy

7/2/14

Chick-a-Cherry Cola Lime

Kinda obsessed with Lana Del Rey's new record. I wasn't so interested in her before but now I am. I'm really into how much of a weirdo she is, as a cultural figure. Like, she kind of disappeared, from America at least, over the last two years, and now she's back with a new record, and it's great, and she's in a bad fucking mood. In a recent interview with the Guardian, she says: "I wish I was dead already." I saw some people online say that this is irresponsible of a pop star to say, that she's encouraging people to kill themselves. I'm not so sure of that, but I'm not in her (or anyone's) demo. I think it's pretty interesting that she is portraying a fundamental ambivalence. She's ambivalent about being a pop star, a singer, an artist. She's ambivalent about being alive at all. That's kind of freaky, right? Like even someone like Lana Del Rey, who is young and talented and successful and beautiful, even someone who has it all, the way she does, she still feels like she wants to die. Okay, so maybe being a pop star isn't a salve for wishing you were dead. I suppose I already knew that? I feel like this is an important reminder, she's giving us. She also talks about wandering the streets of New York, Los Angeles and Omaha, just meeting strangers and seeing where they take her.

My favorite song on Ultraviolence is "Florida Kilos." But you know, it's like one of those things where your favorite song changes all the time/over time. Here's the B0DYH1GH remix:



Reading on the toilet in New York Magazine the article on the life and mostly death of Steve Crohn. I fucking hate this shit: the article seems to imply that for an aging gay man in New York City who does not have money, who doesn't have a fancy job or some hot-shit sexy career, maybe, for those people, suicide is an option. This article is irresponsible and disgusting. It reminded me of the piece on the suicide of the self-help therapist Bob Bergeron in the Times a couple years ago.

This thing of not being up to the task of living. Of romanticizing suicide and death. This thing of romanticizing loneliness. It seems like suicide, at least in these two articles, is the logical conclusion for the loneliness and isolation of being queer, being an old queer. This thing of, well, you're not cute or young or rich so what use is there in being alive? I think maybe I'm projecting a little bit because I'm none of those things and am furious at the idea that I'd be better off killing myself. It's as painfully obscene an idea as I can think of and all the more painful and threatening for the air of inexorability with which we talk about queer suicide. Of course, we say. Finding out another queer person has killed themselves, people say "of course". This is the wrong way to talk about death, the wrong way to understand suicide. We're on the wrong side of it, so I guess we can't understand it.

I am trying to articulate why I like it when Lana Del Rey talks about wanting to be dead, and why I dislike it when actual people die. I guess it's about the role of art, the role of curiosity, the fake social aspect. The actual community tragedy aspect.

I was thinking to myself recently that there really is a time, was a time, when things used to be different. I was at the gym yesterday thinking about some memory that seemed so long ago but was probably just a few years ago. "Oh," I thought "that was back when I used to have feelings like a normal person."

Is it possible to ruin something by association? Is it possible to save something by association. TIME: I think, THE SONG SAVER. or MEMORY: THE SONG RUINER. I'm always struck by how my experience of music is so radically transformed by where and when I heard something, who it reminds me of, etc. For example, I hadn't heard this remix until recently:



You know, that can't be true. I must have heard it at some point. Somewhere. I've certainly heard the original. But now I like this song. Now this song means something to me, I guess.

Sunday was pride and I played a cute show ta the Bureau. I sand Taja Sevelle's "Love is Contagious" after claiming it as a 1980s AIDS-related Queer Anthem. I got to tell Jim Fouratt thank you for rioting at Stonewall all those years ago. I had a nice time. I ran into Caroline and Jessie at a bar afterward. I didn't go out Sunday night. Pride is always kind of a let-down for me. I pretty much always have a bad time. I don't do good with enforced fun. I always feel excluded, every day pretty much, so on that day I feel even more excluded. I didn't have the cash to party like a madman anyway. Nor the energy.

Saturday I did a reading at Popsickle during the day, and hung out with Teebs and Kayla and we drank rose at her friend's uncles apartment in Dumbo. The reading went ok I guess. Mostly a straight crowd. No one came up to me to tell me anything afterward. People don't have to like me, it's okay. I was really really hungover. After my reading I went to the Bureau to see a bill where Teebs was reading. Lots of cute people there. Hung out with some cool art girls and kind of flirted with this boy, but like I found out he already knew a bunch of people I know. Later on in the night, I buried one hatched. I feel good. I felt good about feeling good with someone. Twice on Saturday I introduced myself to people and they were like "Max....?" waiting for my last name.

I feel like a crazy person. I feel like maybe people think of me in a certain way, in certain ways. They think of me as Max Steele. I don't know what these associations are. Even if they tell me. I feel like I never get to be a person. Sometimes it's positive associations, sometimes now. Almost always it feels like it has nothing to do with me. So it makes it hard, in a way, to meet people. To try to get to know someone.

Because they say they know me already. They already know about me.
Twice in the last month I tried to ask people out, who declined. It was a weird thing where they seemed to allude to something about me as the reason but wouldn't say what it was. That I'm a performer. That I'm Max Steele. Can't you just say that you think I'm stupid, that you think I'm unattractive, that you don't like my art or my sense of humor. Why does it have to be this vague thing of me just being inherently unworthy. Why does it have to be a thing that I should somehow already know about, right?

This is all to say that on Friday night I got really drunk and really dark. I was in a bad motherfucking mood. I wanted to play that show so bad, and I wasn't asked to. And I could have bullied my way onto the bill, and kind of almost did, but it was more trouble than it was worth. I really wanted to be invited, by someone, somewhere. And I was, but it didn't feel like enough. Do you ever see the darkness coming? I saw it. I said: "Ok here comes a bad mood" and it sure did. I ended the night with friends though, drinking to excess, kissing and saying nice things to each other. Everything seemed fine. People were trying to be nice to me.

But I felt dark and bad and ugly. I felt heartbroken in my heart.
It's been a rough springtime. And the springtime has lasted many years now.

And I keep hearing new songs and falling in love with them and then ruining them. And then rediscovering old songs.

Thursday I went to Mattachine and I danced a lot and I felt good, then. I didn't feel so bad. And so now it's been almost a week and I'm almost all better. I'm afraid to admit what hurts or what I want because I'm worried it could manifest itself or be used against me. All I want, though, is to be included, to have someone like me or want to spend time with me. I think I maybe give off a different impression: that I'm aloof, that I don't care, that I'm mean. Do you know me? Those aren't true things.

Tonight I'm going to go hang out with some cats and then I'm going to a poetry reading and I'm going to hug my friends and I'm not going to be scared of being alone tonight.

I went to the gym this morning and I was late because I was looking for an mp3 of that Bjork remix and I couldn't find one.

6/25/14

Three working song titles for unwritten songs

#1: ABSENT



Is it okay to say I've been sick? Is that an okay reason to explain why I've taken so long to get back to people.

I wanted to update about a bunch of things but I was sad and weird recently. I guess it's been two weeks. More? I played a bunch of shows, they were pretty much fantastic. I've had some difficult moments. What are you going to do. I want to catch up but I can't catch up. I was talking to my shrink, talking to my friends about how I don't want to blog about anything, I don't want to talk about anything, I don't want to do anything until I can resolve my feelings around this person I knew who passed away recently. We weren't close, I wouldn't even call us friends. It feels disrespectful and invasive to memorialize them, to make their death about me. Let's just say there was someone I knew and looked up to and they're gone and although we were very far from close or intimate in any way, although we only met each other a handful of times, and although I've unfortunately lost a few people I was actually close to, this person's passing really threw me. It made me feel like I had nothing to talk about except how sad I was they're gone, and I had no right to say that at all, so why even start. I've put a lid on this for the time being. Know that I was thinking about some things, but decided to wait until I had a real thing to say about them.  Is this what we mean when we say "holding the space"?

I wasn't sick, I was sad. I was just disappointed. I was going through some stuff I made a few years ago and was totally, totally blown away by how different the voice of the person making it was. I seemed so immature! I think that's nice; progress. Incremental development. But still, I feel like such a fucking baby sometimes when it comes to disappointment: I didn't get this thing I talked myself into wanting and so I keep just turning it over and over in my head.

It's so fucked up and beautiful how disappointment is really just a clarification of desire. How pain is a necessary component of pleasure. How one's ability (okay, my ability) to desire and work towards intimacy is only understood by the constant return to loneliness.

I guess we don't like that word.


#2: BAD COP



The thing of, like, being the one that you know but don't feel good about. You don't want to let me know, you don't want to just say, or just thank me, for doing something you liked. It's like-- I was out with an artist friend of mine who is the same age as me, and we ran into a younger artist person and I introduced them to my friend, I didn't know if they'd formally met before. And the younger artist was very sweet, and told my friend how they'd seen their work when they first moved to the City and they were really into it. I didn't actually hear this, I wasn't listening in on their conversation (I was talking to someone else) but it is that thing of, like, that's really sweet and I felt kind of jealous. Not jealous; it was another object lesson in something I'm doing/not doing or being/not being. I don't have those conversations with people, you know? I'm not the one that, even were it true in such a situation, that you would want to tell that to. I am the Bad Cop. I'm the person who people say is stuck up, snobby, an asshole, because I didn't remember someone's name after meeting them once before, at a nightclub. You know, meanwhile, the person who's name I don't remember doesn't actually know anything about me beyond my name. It's a straw man thing. I feel bad. This is pessimism taking over. I guess it's not how I actually feel but like finding evidence of a dark hunch.

Bad Cops and Dark Hunches. Do you think in terms of song titles?

No, I just mean that I feel like I'm stuck in this role I've adoped for myself where I have to be the Bad Cop. Where I have to be the one most uncomfortable, most impossible to like person in the room. It's stupid. I often feel like this is the only way I get places, is as a punching bag. "Well, we'll need someone at the party to be really resentful of, let's get Billy." Jesus doesn't want me for a sunbeam he wants me for a scapegoat. This is gross, maybe. A running list of demands, of complaints. Why do I do this to myself. "Surely, you think, they must need someone to be the catalog model for these dunce hats. You look so good in them. You really do."


#3: WHOLESALE



This has been coming up a lot lately, for me. The idea of wholesale versus retail pricing. I'd be lying if I didn't admit that part of this is the fact that department stores are having their summer sales, and my gadfly self is always on some kind of calculation. Surely, the t-shirt that sells for $70 when 70% off-- it must cost much much less than that to manufacture it, right? What is the best deal I can get? How long should I wait to buy something. This thing of buying in bulk, calculating the cost. The more you buy, the lower the price. This is the thing of wholesale that gets me. If you bought enough of them, shouldn't they be free? No, it's about getting to the absolute minimum with the supplier. A more perfect transaction. A negotiation. There's the inherent value in something, and the inherent value that only we know and keep to ourselves.

I suppose what I'm thinking about, again, is worthiness. You can only stand up for yourself, demand more for yourself, if you think you're worth it. I'm just so skeptical of feeling worthy, because if I was it'd be different, materially. It would feel different, right? To be good, to be happy, to have your shit together. Surely, it must feel different. Surely if I feel so fucked up, it must mean that I'm not actually good. It's that thing of accepting the face value. If they charge so much for it, it must be worth it. But of course this is a lie. The price is part of the design, right?

And then again, that truism: Nobody pays retail. You know what? I'm a nobody. I pay retail. I don't want something to exist just for the sake of making people look stupid. If those are the stakes (and they nearly always are) then I volunteer to be the stupid person. I volunteer to overpay. I volunteer to test the plank; let me see if I can bounce off of the bottom of the ocean. I want to be the one. Why, why am I so theoretically interested in suffering, in being an example of badness. I'm not a superhero, more like a minor hero. A virtuous villain sidekick. I'm that one who eats the poison so no one else has to. And it sucks. I just want someone to share it with, to remind me I don't have to.

6/3/14

Night time is a feeling

Y'know it's funny: it doesn't feel like morning. It still feels like last night. Is night time a feeling?



I got my iPod fixed by a shoddy intern. It works, it turns on. It plays. What does not work so great is the Pause button. The Stop. The Brakes.



Had such a fantastic and lovely time at the Lambda Literary Awards last night. I'm like: Did I embarrass myself? Was I awful last night? Maybe the last night/nighttime mood is because I'm still drunk? No. It is a fact that in the Summertime, it's always the same time of day. What time is it? Sun.

On the subway, there was an empty seat in front of me and I thought about sitting but then looked around. Behind me there was a nun in a gray habit, a gray sweater and gray skirt, etc. Gray hair. She was standing and I figured I oughtn't take the seat, she should have it. But she didn't take it and I wondered if this was a God thing, the suffering or like denial stuff. Was I supposed to offer it to her? She eventually sat down in front if me and stated off into space, sort of accidentally looking really intense.

I mean how bad could I have been? Don't answer that. Sister Pico was one of the illustrious presenters, and was charming and handsome and the ceremony was just lovely. I was so thrilled to be his guest and get to schmooze with the literati and hang out, it was wonderful. At the after party we hung out with the Bureau guys and this rad new Sarah girl and I felt like: I'm unconsciously flirting with everyone and everything. The hors d'oeuvres. Not because I'm a creep just because I suddenly felt so good and optimistic after having felt kind of rough before. Now I feel great, you know?

Did my little office commuter comfort routine. The fruit guy, the muffin guy, yogurt. I'm a Leo. I am a lion. I am a creature of habit. And we creatures of habit are not history's favorite children. Our loyalty is not rewarded. Time does not withhold his cruelty from the creatures of habit. The world seldom rewards you for staying the same. Consistency is not a virtue, it is a fairy tale. I'm getting a little bit different, though, too. 

6/1/14

Three Fate

I've been racking my brain. I'm a detective. I collect clues. I look for hidden signs. I feel like this is the thing about being into Astrology. I see constellations. I notice patterns. Last night I felt pretty rough, underslept. I felt exhausted. I did my usual Saturday routine: I went to the gym and I got a smoothie and I went out for dumplings and I went window shopping. I saw that famous clothes designer Raf Simons while I was out browsing. I came home to nap and I felt awful, really exhausted. I rallied with my buddies downstairs and we got quite a bit turnt and went out to this new headshop. Paps had seen they had a kitten and so she'd been hanging out there and we went and met the kitty, her name is Yemen. We went out to a bar in Bushwick to celebrate Anthony's birthday, it was cute. Max B. and some friends were there, we had fun. Someone mentioned this guy-- had we heard of him, was he cool. He was my ex, I guess. I could have kept my mouth shut but I didn't. And I feel only a little guilty. Not for hating him or that not being a secret about me but just for, I dunno. Admitting it. He admits it, to everyone (our other friend present seemed to know). It's just like oh yeah, him. I never thing about it and didn't today.

The night before, I had gone out to see Ben's fantastic new one-man show, a work in progress about struggling with money and desire and power and identity, and it was so great. Really fantastic and smart and exciting and timely and engaging and heartbreaking. I'm so excited for the show to actually happen, which it will happen at the end of the summer. Afterward I went out for a drink with Mike and Jill and PLD. Then I headed downtown to see Cole Escola's new show at Duplex, which was totally awe-inspiring and hilarious and nuts. I'm so inspired and excited by Cole's work. I think history will show that Cole is really one of the smartest and most creative minds working in New York performance, cabaret, theater, etc. He's on some totally futuristic level. It's really fantastic to see. After the show we went to Boiler Room and then to the Metropolitan and I hung out for a bit, all night. Kind of awesome and kind of depressing.

Facing a lot of changes. All new room mates as of today, and my residency is ending and my zine is out. I wanted there to be more fanfare about these things, in a way, but I'm skeptical of that desire. Not like drama, but like... I wish I could find a way to acknowledge and live up to the chaos and weirdness I feel inside right now.

I guess I learned some things about myself this week. I'm a little (but only a little) more mature than I used to be, but I'm frustrated and perplexed by disappointment and rejection. And desire. I'm doing an excerpt/remix from ENCOURAGER on Friday night and I was watching the video of the show, to re-learn certain things. And I thought, wow, I was so nervous that night. I'm watching myself freak out. But I think I did a good job. I'm also struck by, how with ENCOURAGER but also MAPPLETHORPE, the task I set for myself was kind of about being crazy. I feel like I'm watching a crazy person. I did what I needed to do and I wouldn't take any of it back, but I'm just trying to find a way to neatly sum up this chapter. I needed to do some kind of weird and crazy stuff, I guess.

I thought I was much more patient than I am. I thought I was a lot more horrible, and ugly, and unloveable than I am. I thought I was definitely stupider than I probably am. I thought that if I didn't have it then it wasn't mine to have, that I didn't deserve it, and that lusting after it was just a form of delusion, of suffering. And it is, I stand by all that. But, I don't know. I guess I just didn't believe that I deserved to be a person, to be dynamic, to make mistakes, to change. I would counsel other people to be well-rounded, accept their flaws and their strengths. The artists whose work I really love, people like Kathleen Hanna, make artwork specifically and explicitly about being a real human being who changes their mind and thinks about things. I just couldn't let myself go there, I guess. But so then I feel like I made these things to find like a back door in. I was like: OK what would it look like if I really didn't have that and couldn't but had to do XYZ without it?

I went to the BBQ at Metropolitan by myself today. It was just okay. I saw some people I know and we said hi. I saw this guy I used to hang out with sometimes and he was with his much younger new boyfriend necking. I saw, like, one million gay dudes I don't know. Who cares. I feel like there's a lot out there but it's not "for me". I feel like I only want abstract things: Oh I wish I was the one he was texting late at night on Saturday night to come over and have sex with him. I think. I wish I was the one he was excited to see. I think I wish I was the one people couldn't get enough of. But I dunno. I kinda can't go there. I wish things were different, I guess. But I think that's silly: we're living in the best of all possible worlds. I wish I had a little bit more romance or something, I guess, in my life. I would not have admitted this any time in the last probably three or four years. But yeah. I dunno. It feels like admitting weakness, or defeat. And I'm so picky! What to do. It is summertime right now, though. After all. I just feel like I'm stuck in this rut of this same thing happening over and over. One time, many many years ago, when I lived in the other room in this apartment (so, I guess, 2005?) my homegirl Cotton was over and we were partying after I got off of work at my temp job, it was great. He'd have the party all laid out for me when I got home. We bought forties. And we met up with this guy I was kind of dating and went to the bar, and it was like, the guy was lovely but clearly a player and I was obviously clingy and nuts. And we got on the bus, but the guy didn't, he was like "I'll meet you there" or something, it was weird. And I said: "Cotton, what do you think he meant by that? Do you think he likes me or do you think he's just like... hanging out and getting off on the fact that I like him?" and Cotton said, very sagely as the way only she can: "I think the real question is: Why do you fall for guys who play games with you?" And she was so right. Not that people are playing games with me, but part of it is like, yeah, why do I put myself in these positions? It's hard to know what position you're in. I think it's always good to try. I think it's always good practice to tell someone how you feel about them (if you like them) and make yourself vulnerable. That's always a sum total good experience. But then it's like, I sometimes find myself (I've talked about this before) putting myself in these positions where it's like I'm being tested. Where I am constantly, like, trying to win someone or prove something or like be something. And that part sometimes sucks.

I was sad so I made this playlist with sad songs. All the ones I'm normally too scared to listen to because they're too sad. Sometimes it feels good though.



Thinking a lot about California. I'm planning a trip to the west coast later this summer.

5/26/14

A character I've never played



Though I've long had a crush on Vega from Street Fighter, I just found out about this new character Cody, and I feel like he and I kind of look similar:







Versus, like, me in that leather jacket, right?:




Cody's more muscular than I am. And he's also in chains. Is he a criminal? I think I could look like that if I worked out more. I don't know about him, he's a character I've never played.

On Thursday night I went out to Mattachine at Julius' Bar, such a fun night. So many cheek kisses. So many really great records. It was hella crowded though. I danced to some deep funk, an early BeeGees song was dedicated to the delightful miss Molly Pope. They played Hole's "Olympia" and cleared the dance floor, but I stayed and danced.

Friday night I came home from work and had B0DYH1GH band practice. We have two new shows coming up: 6/8 for Enid Ellen presents "Lilith Fairy: The Reawakening" at Joe's Pub, the Lilith Fair tribute show that is also an ACT-UP benefit, and June 14th at Macie Gransion with Skirt. These are very special shows for us. The 14th is also the release date of our newest mythtape: LILDED GILLY.



We haven't practiced since January, but we sounded pretty good, and I'm very excited about these shows and these new songs. After band praxis PLDD and I went over to Miss Jill Pangallo's special palace in the East Village. We braved a total rainstorm to get there, thunder and lightning and all. Jill made us special smokey lemon margaritas with frozen fruit in them yum yum, and special toast with ricotta and honey and black pepper. And her house is gorgeous and we watched some sad/scary part of an 80s teen movie, took photos of Miss J trying on wigs, it was pretty cool. We gathered ourselves together and Jill donned a look and we went up the street to see Witch Camp DJ at Nowhere. They are the best DJs and I am so excited that I live in a city where I get to see Amber Martin DJ two nights in a row, you know?

They're such good DJs, too. They played that Can song above, and, like, I'd never known anyone to play that at a dance party, but that's the kind of funky shit I like to dance to, you know? Jill was looking glam and Pailo snapped this shot of us, saying we should be in a band. What would our band be called, he asked? We said MANGO SMOKE.



I seriously want to be in a band called Mango Smoke though. I think that should be a real band that happens. Amber and Nath-Ann also played this record, which was the first time I'd heard it, and I'm obviously so obsessed:



Andrea Fucking True. You guys. How did I not know? It's so perfect. We stayed out dancing for a while, in the rainstorm.



On our way out we saw MXJVB, a lovely sight as always. I came home pretty early and woke up extremely hungover. I had been alternating tequila and beer, thinking that would somehow make me less drunk. I see the error there. I danced so hard and for so long, I forgot that not a lot of other people were there dancing. It wasn't like a nightclub, I was just really feeling the tunes.

Saturday I went to the gym, and then went out for a smoothie at that juice place I like. No cute boys this time, but a very chic hippie lady who strolled in, seemed not to have even ordered, they just made her a wheatgrass shot, and she walked in and drank it and slammed the glass down, all while talking on the phone. It was like the way people drink booze. She was a regular. I went to the Phresh Produce pop-up shop in the LES, it was so cute! There are so many really awesome things for sale there, it was dangerous. Very special BCALLA looks and SAFE HOUSE USA accoutrements, among lots of others. It was still raining tho. Me and Max B. went to Williamsburg and ate at Vanessa's Dumplings, where he'd never been but where I go all the time (I kind of want to go back but it's only been two days).

Later on that night MB and I had a nice little gossip session chez lui, with mister Elite Yelp Brian reviewer joining us. They are probably the only long-haired men in my life whom I really deeply respect. Both of them. It was super fun. I got kind of drunk and sneaked home.

Sunday I woke up early and I went to the studio to rehearse ENCOURAGER, which I'll be performing 6/6 at Subculture in NYC with so many amazing people, on a bill called YOU TIME. You really need to check this out and get tickets ASAP. Kind of weird to re-learn my own material though, I will say. After rehearsal I came home, then went to the Metropolitan BBQ. They were out of veggie burgers and I was pissed BUT I ran into Nath-Ann and they were not out of margaritas and I bought cheap cigarettes from the cheap cigarette place. Nath-Ann told me the story of Andrea True, how she came to put out her debut his single "More, More, More". She had been a porn star and then she was working in commercials (for, like banks?) in Jamaica in the 70s and made all this money, but then because of a political crisis, people couldn't take money out of Jamaican banks, so she used her Jamaican money to produce that song and then she became a star. It's great. Nath-Ann is a deep record nerd, like Amber Martin, that's why they're so great, they really love it. Erin and Thee Irish Horse came and PLD came and we all hung out at the BBQ, among tons of gay men none of us knew. We went out to Mexican food around the corner, it was pretty good. I had Horchata which was really great and felt important to me. Then we went to a goodbye party for a couple of Ryans at Coco66. It was low-key and fun. We took a green cab home, it felt kind of fancy.

I've been smoking a lot and drinking a lot and spending a lot this weekend. I suppose it is a holiday after all. The weather's really warm today, and I need to get my act together. I went to the gym and I watered my plants and I wrote my horoscopes already. On my agenda today are buying a fashion magazine and a new lighter (a nice one) and working on interview questions for an exciting interview I'm doing. And grocery shopping. And I need to go up to the Botanica up the street to get more candles to meditate in front of. I normally sit in front of yellow candles, but then on Thursdays I do green. Maybe I should branch out. Are botanicas open on Memorial Day? I guess we'll find out.

5/21/14

I'm in a really bad mood today!

5/20/14

Earth Sign

After work on Friday night I hustled down to Park Slope, for the first of two blessed birthday celebrations I went to for arty Taurean geniuses, both of whom have names that start with J. There are certain times of year when I find myself wishing a lot of people Happy Birthday, and this is one of those times. I love my Taurus friends. I love going to parties. I love physical pleasure, the Earth, etc. All this Taurus shit. Standing your ground. Being patient and persistent and stubborn. Neutral colors. The whole thing, I love it.

I also love exhausting myself. I went to the first party and I ate delicious cake and drank Prosecco (it's only champagne, after all, if it's from Champagne). I hustled back home to Williamsburg to get changed, and I ate a piece of pizza just so I wouldn't have an empty stomach. I headed into the city for the second birthday party of the night. By that point it was really raining, really pouring. Cats and dogs. I made it to the fete and saw tons of friends and lovely people. And they have the best snacks, really the best snack spread I'd ever seen. Tons (literal tons) of guacamole and limes for cocktails. As Baby Genius Sam pointed out, limes are quite rare right now, so this was a real treat. Avocados are historically difficult and expensive to find here in New York, so I do like to avail myself of them whenever I can. There's bad cholesterol and then there's good cholesterol and when you find some good cholesterol, honey, you have to stuff it into your body as fast as you fucking can. Took lots of smoke breaks and gossiped a lot. Called it a night fairly early, felt pretty responsible and lovely about that.

Saturday I woke up early and cleaned my room in advance of having my photo taken. Ana from Adult Magazine came over to to a little feature, called "Mornings After" which they do with folks in their bedrooms. You can see the feature on me here. Then what? Oh, errands. You know I'm changing up all my room mates. I had to get the internet service switched to my name, which necessitated a trip to the cable company. They had these cool video fishtanks. At one retro and also kind of practical. A little mean-spirited, maybe more ecological. A video fishtank seems an apt metaphor for my generation. Digital video, I mean.

Came home and slowly got ready for the Scorcher zine launch at the Bureau of General Services Queer Division. It was a real fucking blast, I must say. So many lovely people came out and hung around and bought zines, and I had some of my absolute favorite people reading with me: Sam McKinniss, Anthony Thornton, Kayla Morse and Tommy Pico. I'm so happy and relieved that the new issue is out, and I want everyone to see it! If you live in New York, please support the Bureau by going to buy a copy at their store.

If you live outside of the City, you can order a copy of the new issue of Scorcher online HERE. After the reading people all decided what they wanted to do with themselves. Some folks went to various parties. I tried to convince miss Jiddy No-No to come to a housewarming party in Bushwick with me, but I couldn't convince her to come past Beverly's where we met up with my new room mate a Texan Lady. Jiddy begged off and we took a cab to Bushwick to go to a Gay Poetry housewarming party which also featured new room mates friends. The world is at one small and large. How lovely. I got kind of really drunk, it was great. Took a car home with some new acquaintances. I love sharing cabs. They obviously continued on to their destination. I had a lot to drink that night.

So much so that on Sunday morning I felt like a real wreck. Really terrible. Really bad. I went to rehearse for a bit at BAX, which did kind of make me feel better, but there was a street festival going on outside, and the noise, and crowds of drunken parents and unsupervised children was overwhelming. I've been chain-smoking for a few weeks now, and starting to feel the effects of that. Today so far I've had no tobacco and don't anticipate having any until Thursday night. After rehearsal I ate a slice of kind of gross pizza and took a tiny nap and then hustled over to the Delancey for the Pussy Faggot 5-Year Anniversary party. I helped out my hero Jill Pangallo by pressing play on the videos of her performance, an updated version of her solo show Hope is Expensive, at the start of the night. She is amazing and hilarious and horrifying and touching and makes me want to watch more art and make more and better art. I just loved it. Penny Arcade hosted the evening, Joey Arias made a performance cameo, I sang my reggaeton Laura Nyro cover. Someone told me afterward that the bass was so loud as to be unlistenable. That was not something I was aware of, the sound guys are in charge of that, but I was pretty pleased. I've never been told that the bass for one of my performances was too loud. That's a first. Gay Bass, it's a thing I've often wanted.

The show was great, but I begged off early because I had work in the morning. A wonderful but exhausting weekend. I am looking forward to new projects at a slightly slower pace. My ipod broke and so I'm getting it fixed, it's a real bummer. My sunglasses broke too which also sucks, since those I can't get fixed. Last night I went to the gym for the first time in like a week and it felt amazing. I ordered takeout and did a little research project with baby Bobo, and I wanted bad TV in bed and ate a popsicle and slept very hard.

Tonight I have to pick up my iPod, pick up my laundry, buy groceries. Then I'm going to eat dinner, try to wrangle my parents on the phone so I can plan a trip home, and go to an art opening in Clinton Hill. Can I do it all? I'm going to try. Oh-- and then I want to meet folks at a bar to celebrate another birthday.

But I think it counts as being Gemini now? Or maybe it's just, right-- today we're on the cusp.