The New Year's Eve before I went to Australia, I coat-checked at a loft party because I had no one to be with and work seemed better than trying to make the night something it was not. I was promised a certain negligible amount of cash and that I'd walk about with at least five-hundred dollars in cash form tips.

But the party turned out to be oversold and the bathrooms failed and as the night went on my job went from being potentially lucrative to pure misery as I and the other girls working tried to stop people from pissing in our basement. Everyone was angry and no one tipped, but at five bucks a coat, thousands of dollars were floating around our coffers.

When the police came to shut down the party, because of the overflow and the toilets and the drugs and everything, the guy running the show tried to fob us off with just $100 each. One of the cops pulled me aside and said, "If I were you, I'd get what's yours now," and so I grabbed my things and grabbed a wad of cash out of the box, before calling Kat and meeting her at a restaurant up in her neighborhood.

*

When I was a kid, I bought things like 16 Magazine and Tigerbeat and cut out the photos of the men I had crushes on. I wanted them, and I wanted to be chosen by them, but without question I also wanted to be them. I admired, as much as anything, the line of their clothes, a notion barred to me due to the form of my flesh. Even when I was a young dancer with no shape at all thanks to the work, my spine curved in a certain manner. My ass stuck out. I was born to never be a ballerina. Or a man.

*

At the restaurant, I told Kat the whole sordid tale, only to look up to find, astoundingly, the man I'd stolen from entering the establishment. She told me to leave, to head down the block to near where she lived and she'd meet me there. I bolted and later she came. I was pacing and nervous. She told me the waitress thought I had just broken up with her.

*

Despite the clippings, despite my following the instructions of girldom in a manner that was as much sincere as it was committed and calculated, I found the pictures of the men I dutifully had crushes on nearly impossible to look at. I have written about this before, about my inability to look into or at the eyes of a photo, lest its subject somehow know and inquire why I should think someone like me should be entitled to look at someone like them.

*

Tonight, as Marci and I were walking to the party, I recognized the car wash on the corner of 12th Avenue.

"I coat-checked at a really awful New Year's party on this block once and stole a shit-load of money from the till. It was kinda fucked up, and why when I went to Sydney, I made sure the plane skipped the 31st."

"Which building was it?"

"I don't know. I'm not sure. Maybe when we get closer. Oh, shit, you know.... I think it's where we're going. Just, you know, renovated."

I laughed, nervously.

*

Since my scrapbook childhood, my ability to make eye-contact has always been impaired. I only manage it with people I trust very much.

Mostly, I am, instead, admiring the creases at the corner of your eyes, a map of joys like the rings of trees. Or I am looking at the texture of your skin, which I imagine tells me whether or not you love yourself and how much time you steal alone in the bath before you put on even your private public face. I look at the line of your hair, the cuff of your shirt, whether your watch fits, the jewelry you wear, and how you hold your mouth when you are not speaking.

I watch your hands.

All because I have no ability to mimic voices, but I can copy anyone's hand gestures, body language and cadence; it's the gift of a girl who can never look at photos the way she's supposed to, who knows that far away is as close as she's ever going to get.

*

I don't know who the fuck in New York City goes to a cocktail party in jeans, but I've given up trying to understand, and possibly even judge, these things. There was more of them than there were of me, so I imagine the possibility is high that I'm actually the one getting it wrong.

I told Marci awful stories from Australia and we were catty about nearly everyone else's wardrobe. We stood, we sat, we wandered around, and I tried not to look over her shoulder too much. There's little point in that when you know you can't make eye-contact, and it breaks the rules besides that say there is no such thing as the cool party happening somewhere else.

Eventually, that thing happened where the crowd collectively knew it was time for something to transpire and Marci suggested we wander towards the front. The part of the venue we were in was shockingly small to me, but it was certainly packed. And yet somehow, merely by drifting we wound up front and center behind the row of photographers, one of whom I recognized, but could not place. Maybe he once took pictures of me naked.

As is the case with these events, someone took the stage to introduce someone else, to introduce someone else, to introduce someone else. I worried that I would blush and that someone other than me might notice, like Richard did in Sydney that time I fell down the stairs.

And when the man said Juliet, I certainly did not expect Claire Danes to appear.

She's younger than me and looks older. I admire that. She looks the age she is. I've wondered what that's like for a long time. As the cameras flash in a way that's overwhelming even from behind them, she reads in a hilarious, odd, monotone the introduction that was written for her and talks too about reading cereal boxes in iambic pentameter.

And then Baz Luhrmann takes the stage. And from over here, for the girl who once coat-checked and stole in this awful place and went to Australia and keeps secrets badly and finds it hard to look at pictures, it was very strange being accidentally front and center and statuesque because damn, these shoes I bought are high.

So I looked at his cuffs, meant for cufflinks, but without; the bracelet on one wrist; a ring on the littlest finger of the opposite hand; the ridiculously expansive hand gestures, and I thought simply that oh, I am silly, which is okay, because oh, I am pleased.

Luhrmann told a story or two in the style of the routine-that-is-clearly-a-routine and the he-knows-that-we-know-that-he-knows-that-we-know thing that is the way, both of these events and also just of people who communicate through story more often than through mere assemblages of fact.

It was super great, and the festival presented him with an award thing that had an amazing design (although I shudder when I think of how likely or not it is that that piece of lucite and mirror and construction could possibly make it back to Australia in one piece) and he told this lovely, lovely story about listening to the album of Jesus Christ Superstar as a boy and how his family only could afford to send one boy to see the show and it wasn't him who got to go.

*

I grew up in New York going to the theater, and I grew up with the daughter of the meanest man in show business and parents who bought me an autograph book for when she took us to see 42nd Street. I grew up a knowing child in a knowing place, and I wonder sometimes if stories would have felt different to me had I not grown up unavoidably amongst the mechanics of them. Would they have seemed real enough to me as a child, that I would not feel so urgent a need to dedicate my life to the truth of fiction as an adult? Maybe, I think, the truth of stories would be even more important to me. But I'll never know.

*

It embarrasses me, sometimes, how hard I find it to look at pictures. But it means that I see instead the lovely rings of trees when confronted with the men I've had crushes on, and also that I feel there is a gentleness in the reliability of narrative and pattern as I perceive it, one I am consistently very grateful for on behalf of the twelve-year-old girl I never really wanted, or knew how, to be.


There are other things to report from this evening, but they don't fit in this narrative. I'll share tomorrow. It was scads of fun. Right now I need to go send an email to a boy I once knew informing him that at no point in this evening's adventure did I, in fact, fall down a flight of stairs; just a little giggle that for those in the know. Then? Bed. Have a good one.

sundries

Sep. 23rd, 2010 09:46 am
  • Patty leaves today. I'm super busy. Talk amongst yourselves.

  • Yeah, I totally booked a little spa thing for us at the St. Davids last night. Hahahahahahahaah. I know.

  • As breast cancer treatments get more effective, mammograms may be less helpful. This and the choices that go with it is the sort of stuff that keeps me awake at night.

  • You should read [livejournal.com profile] reannon's morning random today for her coverage of the impending execution of Teresa Lewis, a woman living with a mental disability. You should know I oppose the death penalty, because even if we can agree there are some crimes people should die for, it's not a business I want my government in. This case is one example of why.

  • [livejournal.com profile] eredien wrote a really long post that expands on what I was trying to say the other day about the lack of queer representation in media and how it's a legitimate part of whether or not I respond to an entertainment property with interest. I'm still really upset about that entire situation, btw, but so it goes. Let's have some Covert Affairs fandom, right here!

  • I may have cadged the ticket I want to the Paley Center thing, in a standby sort of way, which makes me wonder just how early I should get on that line -- it's a fine line between effective and crazy. But I'm not even sure of this much yet.

  • There's this random sentence in the Pam Cook book, that while making perfect sense, sort of comes out of nowhere and immediately recedes back to same. I assume there may have been another tangent that came off of it that then went away in editing, such that the sentence just hangs there:
    "... cinemas as illusion, and the construction of imaginary worlds into which one could escape without being incarcerated."
    Um, is that generally a concern with imaginary worlds? Also, could an Aussie tell me if incarceration implies prison or mental-health related hospitalization more in your English? Is this the author's version of referencing Snape's Wives?

  • Everything is performance, maybe: Stephen Colbert will be testifying before Congress, on a serious issue, and some are claiming it will happen in character.

  • Has anyone seen Catfish? Do I need to care? Or is this just another installment in this year's on-the-Internet-no-one-knows-you're-a-dog there's-no-such-thing-as-the-truth movie meme?

  • There is way too much video porn and shoe shopping spam on LJ today. WAAAAAAAAAAAAAY too much. LJ is also being somewhat uneven with comment delivery today.

  • This may be more of a challenge than I'm up for and not really my format (short is not my forte) or medium, but I'm still very tempted.
  • sundries

    Sep. 22nd, 2010 10:07 am
  • Despite Patty's epic cold, we did make it to dinner with my parents and my cousin last night. I feel I should say how not hard it is to cook gluten-free: chicken strips dipped in egg and sesame seeds and fried; a salad with tomatoes, beets and goat cheese; homemade guacamole with corn chips; cookies made from eggs, cornstarch and cocoa powder. Meanwhile, tonight the two of us are off to Rosa Mexicana.

  • Patty started packing last night, which always makes things real and a bit intense for me. But as much as this can ever seem routine, we're about there.

  • Hey, do any of you have input on cordless phones?

  • The admittedly sometimes problematic Dan Savage has started a great project called It Gets Better aimed at helping queer teens who are facing bullying. If you're a QUILTBAG adult, you can help. All you really need to do is make a video telling your story and put in on YouTube. If you are queer and out, please contribute material to this project. If you are bisexual, a PoC, or trans, please please please contribute to this project -- this is a good opportunity and a necessary opportunity for our community to demonstrate and recognize its own diversity. (Yes, I'll be doing a video too.).

  • Despite the Senate refusing to discuss DADT (and a host of other important things connected with that bill), gay rights continues to advance in the courts. We will, eventually, win. We will, eventually, be equal. Homophobia will, eventually, be far more risky than being gay ever way.

  • The MTA acknowledges that there's been little support for an "unlimited" metrocard with a 90 ride cap. NO SHIT?

  • I'm just 15 pages into Pam Cook's academic-ish book on Baz Luhrmann, and I'm enjoying the hell out of it. Now sure, it doesn't seem like she's going to look into some of the corners I'm really interested in (his writing collaborations, for example -- which were, on my end, the direct inspiration for why Kali and I started writing together), but her stuff on transnational and cosmopolitan cinema vs. nationally-identified cinema and how that plays out in Australia would have been ridiculously valuable reading back before I went to NIDA, because I wound up in that conversation about twice a day.

    Additionally, she's giving way more focus to the construction of Luhrmann's persona than I would have imagined, which makes me jump up and down in an ex-marketing professional/miniature Internet personality way (also, you guys, it's a pretty good map of my own little routine in terms of the way I employ mythologization and nostalgia myself).

    I'll be interested to see how she swims through all the material out there that has served to construct that image to examine it. She's already mentioned the contradictions in a lot of that material and how she seeks to set the record straight where possible, and that's really valuable, but perhaps particularly in a constructed life, there's no such thing as the truth -- just stories emanating from different source points. It's a nightmare for a researcher, even if it poses interesting questions for scholars and fans, and creates a situation in which satisfaction through said explorations is arguably never achieved. We'll see if she gets there. (It is also worth noting here that among the other filmmakers covered in this book series is Egoyan; it was from his Exotica I got a bit of dialogue I often quote to other people: "Why did you believe him?" "I made a choice." While I'm less fascinated with Egoyan's work, I may need to spend some time with that book as well if it engages truth and persona on any significant level).

    Mostly though, I wish I had people around to discuss the book with, but those I know who care about Luhrmann's work don't necessarily have any interest in persona or taste for the academic approach and vice versa. So my brain is lonely on this, which means you all are going to have to hear it. Oh yeah, also? Travesty as an aesthetic concept seems likely to be a recurring theme -- you could point to the whole Internet with that, ne?

  • Have a day, folks. I've got a ton of work to do.
  • This morning [livejournal.com profile] humascot97 alerted me to this: http://www.paleycenter.org/2010-fall-a-master-class-with-baz-luhrmann

    OHMYGODOHMYGODOHMYGOD.

    So I finally got off my ass and joined the Paley Center. Tickets are, of course, already gone (I did snag one for the closed-circuit viewing room, but bleh).

    If you know someone who has one and suddenly can't go, or would be willing to sell theirs for a premium, for the love of god, put us in touch.

    You don't understand. No matter how much I talk about the completely wacky misadventures I've had with everything from Romeo and Juliet to Sydney to matters of commerce generally considered inappropriate, you do not understand, and I would really, really like to be at this thing in the proper room and all.

    I don't know that there's another artist who has had as significant an impact on my life (says the person who is wearing her NIDA t-shirt for the first time in years because she's behind on the laundry).

    Seriously, going to Sydney to study at NIDA was the most ridiculous, and possibly stupidest, thing I've ever done. But it changed my life, although I don't always know how to tell you in what manner. But someone from LJ said to me, in the first few days I was there and writing about it here, that I truly was a magician, for choosing to go and making it happen. It's still one of the things I think of when I don't believe in me. And when I get bogged down in other shit and am angry at myself for not making or doing enough or sleeping too much or worrying about ego over art or my miserable ambitions and seemingly eternal sense of pothos, I ask myself over and over again, if I'm living up to the work I did in Sydney. I don't know the answer a lot of the time; I always worry that I'm failing. That trip helped me set the bar really fucking high, and sometimes that's poisonous, but, well, it's also worked for me and ultimately, I hope, for the stuff I make.
  • We have plan: Patty will be home Saturday. Yay.

  • Tragically, she'll probably be here too late or too tired for the Moulin Rouge singalong. Life is cruel.

  • Have to put up a few more auction things tonight, but remember that bidding at [livejournal.com profile] graduate_maria opens at 12:01am EST on 7/15/2010. You can still add new items to auction after that point, but it's nice to have a much stuff up by tonight as possible. So far things posted including awesome art, handmade items, fanfiction, a steno starter kit, laster-etched glassware with the custom design of your choice and more. For those willing to signal boost, now is a good time!

  • The Argentinian senate votes on the legalization of gay marriage today.

  • While not going to Infinitus was TOTALLY the right choice (I just got off a plane, the thought of getting on another one tonight is AWFUL), I'm a bit sad. Have fun, you all.

  • Last night the new season of White Collar began, and I liked it very much. The show is still very much a 2+2=5 experience for me, in that the thing itself is greater than the sum of its parts, mostly because of the chemistry between all the performers. And it's the opposite of Merlin -- here the chemistry helps the story instead of consistently getting in the way of it.

    White Collar and gender issues, let me rant. )

    About last night's actual episode, probably not spoilers, but I can never tell anymore. )

    And since I was mentioning it to [livejournal.com profile] bodlon last night and he hadn't seen it, if you like Tim Dekay go netflix Carnivale right now, even if it was designed for a three season arc and only got two; even if it's super disturbing and occasionally frustrating in terms of internal mystery. It is, among other things, one of the most interesting examinations of female sexuality I've seen on screen.

  • Then I watched Covert Affairs which isn't very good and also has one of these central mystery plots I don't really care for. Let's talk about the blind guy, though. )

  • I don't know if it's my reading habits lately or if this there is suddenly a spate of Torchwood fic about Ianto adjusting not to the idea of being attracted to and sleeping with Jack, and not about Ianto dealing with being out in the public world, but Ianto dealing with a sense of internal disconnect regarding being out to himself or having a life very different than the one he once anticipated: i.e., waking up next to Jack, negotiating domesticity, not having the easy heteronormative guidance of "okay, I'm the guy, now I do this" about all the weird little nitpicky things about sharing intimate space with someone. Has anyone else noticed this? I'm not sure I'm even explaining it well. Anyway, it's a potentially interesting phenomenon (if it's not just all in my head), both for theme and timing.

  • Did anyone, btw, debunk that Torchwood casting sheet yet? It's fake, btw, but I don't feel like showing my math. Someone should get on that.

  • Despite not being a Holmes fan, and not even converted to such through the research I did for Bristol, I have to say, Moffat's Sherlock looks very smart, and I may be watching. And I'm not just saying this because Moffat is now on Twitter.

  • [livejournal.com profile] redstapler just sent me this: OMGWTF, Batpug!
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