Monday, December 27, 2010

I really miss Yeller. He's gone for six months to the States, just to wander around. He's got a few places that he knows he wants to go to, but other than that he's just following his nose through various punk communities. It sounds completely awesome, but I do miss him a lot. When he was here we would talk on average 3-4 times a week. Now, if we manage to pull off one Skype convo in a week and a half that's good.

When we Skyped the other day he told me that he was thinking of cutting his trip short. This didn't come as a huge surprise to me because a couple of years ago when he was doing the same sort of trip in Europe I got the same sort of phone call. He loves what he's experiencing and the people he's meeting, but he misses having a social community around him. He loves traveling but at the same time feels "traveled out". This time he said that he's been thinking about his future and realized that he needs to make long-term plans (specifically about re-entering some academic framework), and in order to make those plans he needs to come back.

God knows I can identify. We're both introverts and deeply nerdy- like him, it's hard for me to make friends, and we both get comfort from books. I don't take my friendships- the real ones- for granted. They've been around for years and the people I have them with are extraordinary. With all due respect to the romance of being a citizen of the world, it's hard just packing up and starting fresh, building those relationships- that safety net- up again from scratch. It's lonely thinking of most if not all of your relaitonships as here till they're gone. I want to do a second degree, and I know that the single greatest obstacle is going to be the fear of being in a new city by myself. I've traveled a great deal, I'm good at picking up languages and understanding social cues (at least enough to not fuck up too badly)- but it's still very hard.

It's kind of depressing, all in all. We're both deeply ambivalent about this place we're in, which is a very polite way of saying that we feel ill on a daily basis at what goes on here. He's much more active politically than I am, and even he's ready to cut and run at this point. But he keeps coming back, and I never leave. It's getting to be kind of a joke at this point- I go on and on about all the different things I hate about being here, and eventually the person I'm talking to says, "Well, go then! Nothing's keeping you here!" And nothing really is, in the sense of school/army service etc. Financially, it probably wouldn't be that difficult to leave. But it's not that simple, and the thought of actually being stuck here just from the inertia of having stayed is..unsettling, to say the least.

I miss him so much. I know that he's having a ball and I wish him all the best in the world, but even so I wish he was back here in this horrible place, so we could watch zombie movies together and gossip. Skype's just not the same.
So last night's drag performance kind of sucked, all in all. I was in all honesty completely underprepared- the lipsync was off, the clothes were tossed together and while I did plan a little very basic choreography I still missed every single cue I had set. It passed, I got a few compliments despite everything, and that was that. This morning I'm kind of marinating in "oh god I suck"-edness, and am trying to snap out of it. It really has been a while since I performed that badly.

Look, all in all I have a good track record of strong performances. This time really was a combination of being genuinely very busy the week before performing coupled with procrastination and not a small amount of arrogance. I really thought that stage presence and generalized fabulousness would be enough to swing a song, and I know that it isn't. I've seen umpteen drag performances that failed because of this sort of arrogance- people get told that the sun shines out of their ass one too many times and they start to believe it, and get lazy. I really dislike that sort of thing, which is why falling for that is particularly painful for me.

I don't think people will hold it against me or anything like that. While I know exactly how underprepared performers are talked about back stage, I also know how long that sort of thing lasts, and it isn't very long. I just need to make sure that my next performance is completely awesome, so I can get back to having a strong track record.

Ugh. It'll be fine. It's good to take some lumps sometimes, it keeps you humble. I just gotta get back on the horse.

That said, though, dancing with Hill and Bella was wonderful afterwords. I do love the Rogatka and what they've created there. And I am happy to be moving in with someone who takes their debauchery as seriously as I do. :)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

So, I definitely don't want ranting to be the default function of this blog. But since no one reads it anyway, and this is the first time..once in a while can't hurt, I suppose. :)

Anatomy of a failed proposition:

So this woman messages me on Facebook this morning. I vaguely remember friending her a few days ago- I friend people automatically, because what the hell. She says good morning, I say good morning back. And then she says. "so I see you're into Sado and Bizzare."

She loses a point right there, for basic manners. It's 8:25 in the morning, and just because I am at my desk does not mean that I am in any way awake. There must be people out there who respond to this sort of thing immediately, because asshats keep trying, but I am not one of them. Seriously, lady, I don't know you from Adam, and that's kind of personal.

Also, I personally find the term "Sado and Bizzare" to be affected, irritating and non-inclusive. I agree with Bitchy Jones on the use of deliberately obfusticating language. Or maybe I can just see in my mind's eye a girl in too much eye makeup saying, "I'm into Bizzaaaaaaaare", as though that gives her extra points in whatever scoring system of how completely awesome you are at sex we're using. Maybe I'm just cranky cause it's 8:25 in the morning. She couldn't have known that I don't like that particular phrase, so she gets a free pass, but I'm already ticked off at this point.

I answer, "Okay..." because I'm willing to give this conversation about 30 more seconds. And then she asks, "So are you a top or a bottom?"

Friends, this is not an appropriate question to ask a total stranger. I know that sometimes there is a certain lowering of what is considered acceptable hitting-on behavior because it's kink and we're all so sexually experimental! And free of social mores! And what are you, some kind of prude? Are you sex negative or something? And just ugh. Here is the thing: kink is more complicated than vanilla sex. It touches on powerful emotions and requires a great deal of trust. You need to be more careful, not less so, when selecting partners. I use far more rigorous filters when looking for kinky partners (if I was right now, and I'm not), which means that a person needs to be extra special fantastic if I'm going to play with them. And I don't need to justify that to anyone- I let into my bed only those who I want to, period.

It's not that I never have casual sex. But you have to be a pretty compelling person/I need to be a very specific kind of drunk/ the stars need to be aligned just so for that to happen. Of course, a perfect stranger can't know that about me, and that's the point. I think it's gauche to assume that someone you don't know is just going to hop into bed with you. Maybe (maybe) if I had spent some time at a party with someone and gotten physical cues that they were interested too I might proposition someone straightforwardly. But not online, and not a stranger.

Maybe I'm wrong in assuming that she wanted to play. But I don't think I am.

So, yeah. Rest of conversation similarly unproductive, unfriend, block.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

So the Japan project is finally (finally) coming to a close. After this week a lot of commitments will have ended- finding a studio, that performance in Jerusalem. My life will become less hectic, I will be able to concentrate on one thing at a time.

I certainly hope so, anyway. I've reached a point in this generalized anxiety which I would definitely call a danger zone: having trouble sleeping. I have trouble falling asleep, don't sleep well when I do and feel buzzed and erratic all day. It's bad. And if we're being entirely honest..I haven't been taking my hair medication like I should. I'm just tired of doing it, you know? I just want this to end. It's much easier to have a can-do "we're going to beat this!" attitude at the beginning of tackling a health issue. It's a lot harder when you've been doing this expensive treatment for months and months and there's no end in sight and you've been getting better (sloooowly) but now you're actually getting worse.

After this ridiculous week I'll look into a yoga class- I really need to get recentered. And mayeb once I'm unemployed I'll be able to sleep better, or at least longer. #crossing fingers#

Monday, November 8, 2010

Moving day today. I am beyond tired. Everything-but everything- is packed. I don't want to leave a thing there. There's actually less than I thought there would be. Maybe things look like les when they're packed in boxes, rather than put in trash bags or tied toether with string or whatever dumbass ways of packing I've had over the past year. I sincerely hope that hiring movers will make this my smoothest move this year. And soon it'll be over. Well, for a month or so.

I finished the limbo paper yesterday too, around midnight. I have a performance Thursday, but all in all I feel responsibilities slipping off of me like water. All I want is to get to the new place (which is small but whatevs), cook a big meat meal, eat and go to sleep. Not do anything else. Not hold anything together. I swear I'll deal with everything else later.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Marsa and I fought two days ago. It was awful- she uses exactly the type of communication style that presses all the wrong buttons for me. I start out trying to separate out what she's actually saying and what's dredging up bad memories but it's as though I'm participating in two fights at once, and I'm just exhausted by the end. It was just bad. I barely slept afterwords, I was so angry, and then I was angry because being angry is part of why I lose my hair and I just lay in bed churning and beating myself up for letting her get to me, and for letting myself be in this situation in the first place, for having to move in in the first place. There is more than enough pissed-offedness to go around.

I'm going to have to move out ASAP. I'm going to have to find a short term rental in which I will stay, all of my things in boxes, until Hill and I find a place. This is exactly the situation that I did not want to be in- I hate uncertainty, I hate temporary living situations. Of all the stressful situations I can think of, this is easily in the top five. And here I am, at the end of a year since I moved to Tel Aviv, and the entire year has been a temporary living situation, and waiting for it to be over. Little wonder my hair's been falling out. Little wonder I haven't been able to stop grinding my teeth.

I want to be angry at other people for this situation, and to a certain extent I think I'm justified in doing so. But yanno, it was me who allowed a lot of this stuff to happen. I took my sister in, instead of telling her to find a short-term gig. I moved out when the landlord started playing dirty, instead of putting my foot down and insisting she find her own place. I said that it was alright, that I would wait for Hill, even though his trip got put off by three months and I'm living with a pregnant lady. I put aside my frustrations with the way Marsa talks to me (and insists on the way that I live, as though I were her ward and not her boarder) again and again, because I told myself that her comfort zone (no matter how bizarre) was more important than mine. I have to take responsibility for that. I have to know when my boundaries are and be vigilant about not letting people walk all over them. Why is that so hard?

So I'm waffling back and forth between simmering-angry and wanting-to-cry upset, depending on who I'm blaming for my current situation. God help the next person who comes in the archive with some dumbass request.

Monday, November 1, 2010

So this is definitely final countdown time. Three weeks till Hill gets back from Texas. (He called and wanted to know if I would look up gay bars in Amarillo fricking Texas online for him. The boy is not overendowed with common sense.) Friends have been consulted about power tools, blogs have been perused (interior designing! organic roof gardening! make your own chandelier out of nothing but tin cans and dental floss!) and plans have been made and made and remade. I have at least two sculptures waiting to be made when we have eveything put together, so I won't lack for things to do.

I probably won't end up stenciling this wonderful ornate penis pattern onto my bedroom floor. But let a girl dream, won't you?

Scared wouldn't be the right word to describe how I'm feeling about this. I'm uneasy and a little worried- especially about whether Hill and I can live together as well as work together, and whether or not we'll actually build everything we said we would. I can easily see us sitting in a filthy living room, picking building materials out of our food and bickering about who's turn it is to change the cardboard that we've used to patch the roof leaks. I do not want this scenario to happen.

But I am ready for this. Lord, I am ready. It's gotten to the point where I need space for myself as much as I need food every day- I feel the lack of it like a chronic ache that you learn to live with but wouldn't it be nice if you could get out of bed without making sure that your spine is aligned just so? I need to have a table I can fuck up if I want to, a kitchen I can cook whatever I want to in it, a work space I can spread out in with impunity- and without flatmates (god bless their souls) who'll give me the stinkeye if I do.

Meanwhile I'll go look at clothes that I would totally make if I had a decent sewing table/cloth stores in my vicinity. This is a lovely site for that and also this one. There might just be some sort of self-indulgent fashion post in the future, who knows? Stay tuned!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Plan for performance (and as usual I figure out the last bit just a day before the event. I really really need to figure out how to work according to a plan.):

*Clothing: not sure yet. need to go through costumes. For sure I will need an apron.

1. Shoo everybody away, so that there is a big, circular space around me. The motions should be like you're shooing chickens. Flap your hands at people.

Materials needed: none.

2. Find someone in the audience and have them hold up empty "mirror". Take plastecine (red and white) out of pocket and mold it over face in the shape of nose. Take your time, knead it out and bang it against your palm. mold an oversized nose onto your face and tie it on with a strip of cloth. take a birthday candle out of your pocket and place it in the plastecine.

Materials needed: plastecine (red and white), "mirror" (cut out of cardboard and hung off a belt), strip of cloth, birthday candle already melted in to holder.

3. Collect people from the audience and hand them bags of flour, taken from pockets in apron. clip off the ends of the bags and shoo them away, out of the rogatka. Make clicking noises with your tongue. The purpose of this is to make white flour trails out the door.

Materials needed: bags of flour (4-5), scissors (hung off a belt).

4. Climb on top of someone (make sure they know you're going to do this beforehand). Get your nose (and the candle) as close to the ceiling as possible. Light other birthday candles one by one from the candle in nose and hand them to people in the audience. The performance is over when the candle in my nose burns out by itself.

Materials needed: birthday candles (a handful or so).

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I keep going over and over in my head different plans for the future, for as soon as I finish working at the firm. I only have a few months left, after all, and I'm pretty worried about it. It's kind of funny to be so stressed about this when during this entire period I have been pretty much non-stop complaining about how I want it to end already, and when am I going to finally have a stuuuudio? And now that it's getting closer I'm getting a little scared. Which makes sense- this will be the first time that I dedicate myself entirely to making art, as opposed to the half-assed calling-the-balcony-a-studio attempts. What if I actually turn out to be full of shit?

I'm trying to do what is good for anxiety, at least in my case: making as many concrete preparations as I can at this stage, seeing if I've missed anything that I could be doing to make this transition as smooth as possible and reminding myself that I'm doing all I can and I can't control everything. It's helping.

I'm also reminding myself that the studio (despite the ridiculous amount of money we're going to put in it) is not going to be some magical solution for Becoming An Artist. It makes things easier, by proiding space, tools and hopefully a social atmosphere conducive to work, all of which are very important. But the art-making and the work ethic needed to go with it are up to me. I think that's what worries me the most (other than running out of money in the middle): that I will find myself in a fancy-schmancy studio and still not being doing the work that I want to be doing. That not having enough space etc. will turn out to have been an excuse.

I really hope that's not the case. I don't think it is. And there's really only one way to find out.

I also know that having a studio isn't the be-all and end-all of my practice. I might find that I work better in spaces I have to negotiate, as long as they're my own. I'm just..I guess I'm just trying not to get caught up in unrealistic expectations, which will only serve to foster anxiety, which will sabotage my work and make me miserable. Sometimes it works better than other times. Which, while a pretty bland statement, is sometimes all you can say about containing anxiety.
Yeller and I seem to have passed through the phase of being attracted to each other and moved directly into AwkwardLand. We keep making bad jokes in slightly-too-loud tones of voice at each other and are avoiding physical contact entirely. It's weird, but I'm pretty sure it'll pass. We're good friends, we'll figure it out.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I don't want to take money from my folks, but I will.

I mean, Dad lost his job. And I don't know where that leaves my parents, because they don't tell me how bad (if at all) their financial situation is. They spend money as though everything's fine- just got the garden area redone, Mom wants to buy new patio furniture- but that doesn't necesarily mean anything. The only answer I'll get from them is, "you don't have to worry about that, that's between your Father and I." Of course their financial matters are their business, but I worry. And I wish they would confide in me, the way adults do.

But I did have all these unforseen expenses, and I haven't been able to save the way I wanted to, during this period of employment. And it's not as though I've sought them out- they've offered to help. I also think it's completely awesome of them to be so supportive of my trying to get a foothold in the arts. I just feel odd and bad taking money from them at this point. I don't want to be part of the constellation of things they need to worry about funding.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I am at work, and on so few hours of sleep that every few minutes my eyes just gently drift shut. And I'm running on tired-logic: when you tell yourself that it makes sense to keep your eyes shut unless you hear the clacking of heels in the hallway. This is the kind of logic that ends up with me not impressing my boss. I am wondering if I can get away with sneaking out early and going to nap for a few hours before meeting Hill to work on that paper together. Probably not.

There is something really satisfying about skinning your knee at my age. "I was wrestling with Yeller on the roof and skinned my knee on some asphalt". I seem to have accumulated quite a few scrapes and cuts, more than usual even for me. Burned my arm on the iron. Cut on my thigh, also from the iron. Blisters on my ankle (sandals and sweat) and a bruised wrist (also from wrestling). And my red, weepy puffy eye: perfect for grossing people out.

What I'd really like to do is shave my head and wear hiking boots forever.

Monday, August 30, 2010

It is incredible the extent to which a dress code implies heterosexuality. It's casual dress day here at the office, and all of a sudden I realize how many gay folk there actually are here.

Monday, August 23, 2010

So there's this ad campaign. It shows women being tied up (with giant boners in the foreground). Women's groups have objected, and the offending ads will be taken down. Statements have been made by the ad company that jeez, women, why do you have to take everything so seriously? It's not like we meant to offend anyone. Their not having meant to has been duly noted.

I'm kind of on the fence about the whole issue. Obviously this is violent imagery. Just because the women are smiling while they're tied up doesn't make it any less violent. The ad company has come out with a statement that they're showing women's power in their own sexuality- I think that that's a pile of poo. They're not showcasing submissive sexuality. They're using images of women bent over because they believe that that is what sells clothing*. It's a business first. If art is involved at all, the art comes after you make sure you make money.

However. I don't think that images should be censored. Ever. I'm a visual artist: being in favor of ideological concerns controlling the production of imagery would be like having an urge to cut off my own hands.

(I also remain sceptical about the actual effect of objectifying imagery on a societal level. It's clear that popular culture is awash with pornified imagery and equally obvious that looking at a bajillion porny images will eventually have some sort of effect on people. But it still hasn't been proven unequivocably (through accepted sociological practice) that a specific behavior was caused or affected by looking at violent imagery**. Often the rhetoric that states that X did Y because they looked at a lot of porn reminds me of the hand-wringers who blame Marilyn Manson for school shootings. It's a little like trying to hunt chaos butterfies with a shotgun.)

And see! At the end of the article it says that the exhibition of fashion photography (connected with the ad campaign) will keep pictures of nudity out of the public realm. Not the point, friends. And this is why censoring images is so problematic. Can Socialist Realism be far away?

I used to work at the library at The House. The House is kind of a sleepy little historical site under the auspices of the Not The National Museum. Tim (the administrative director/curater there) is really kickass, and she would put together exhibitions at The House's gallery that were often incogruent with the middle-and-upper class pretensions of the place. For example, a retrospective of Valie Export, a wonderful performance artist who often dealt with female sexual agency in the public realm. Tim got a lot of flack for that from patrons, who insisted that the blatant sexual images had no place at The House, even though the exhibit was clearly marked as having adult content. "I may not know much about art, but I know shit when I see it" was a common sentiment that I would overhear. Tim smiled graciously at the criticism and continued to do just what she wanted. And this is why only artists get to decide what art is.

But let's go back to that statement a moment- where I said that imagery shouldn't ever be censored. Really? Racist imgery shouldn't be censored? What about vagina ashtrays? Or asshole pencil sharpeners? (Google it if you really must, I'm not going to link to it.) We really need to keep the metric fucktonnage of horrible, offensive shit around, just for the sake of artistic freedom? I mean, this imagery does hurt people. A rape survivor shouldn't need to get triggered by violent imagery while walking down the street, just so that some company can sell some more jeans. Marginalized folk don't need to be told for the umpteenth time that they are less than.

Also, much imagery that we see is largely controlled by corporate concerns. Meaning: we don't get to choose what we see. Culture largely isn't consensual. And the ability that we may have to pick and choose (or even navigate freely through) various cultures are often due to the privileges we have which are the product of those very systems of oppression.

So I really don't know. Like I said, on the fence.

*A good rule of thumb to know whether an image is showing women's actual sexuality is to try and find out who the intended audience is. From the images I've seen, it really looks like another take on the tried and true "women should want to be her, men should want her" fashion photography trope. That is- the visual framing of the photo (as opposed to the content) places the women as objects without agency. And showing women bent over for the purposes of men's wankery is not edgy or revolutionary- it is business as usual.
*If there's a paper out there that proves me wrong, I'd love to see it.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

When I get my license, I will get a beat up old taranta and travel all over the country. It will be easy, because the country is the size of a postage stamp. I will take my camera and take pictures on the beach and swim and come back to find my camera stolen and my car windows busted and thank god that at least my cellphone was in the back pocket of my shorts that I left on the beach before I went swimming and wasn't it funny that I was worried about my cellphone being stolen? Standing there in the middle of all that safety glass with sand drying in my hair?

Or maybe I won't go to the beach? Agriculture is also pretty to photograph.