Tag Archives: art

Compare & Despair no more, oh deary! Luckily, Queer Films are here to stay.

First Off, HAPPY INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY!!! I love being a woman and I love loving women.  Yayeeeee!

Secondly, I’m trying to snap out of my sullen funk.  Sulking in the drab anguish of “I suck” feels nicht gut.

My Mission: To cease & desist Operation Compare & Despair.

Compare & Despair: To compare myself — as a whole or in separate parts — to another in order to pinpoint the specific ways they fit the mold of my version of “perfect” more completely than I do.  They are the perfect beauty, perfect filmmaker, perfect strategist, perfect body, perfect lover, perfect lesbian … and well I am … not.

Immediately following this brutal self-flogging, I sink into the tar pits of nihilistic hopelessness, and despair for numerous heart-wrenching hours.

Until I say, “Ya basta!”  Let’s breast stroke up through the thick gunk toward the surface again …

In my opinion, “Perfect” is an objective concept interpreted by a subjective human mind that can’t help but capture only a variation of it.  In other words, every individual’s idea of perfect proves innately biased and therefore imperfect. Consequently and contrary to popular belief, perfection isn’t limited to one version of itself, but branches out into countless versions.

What I’m trying to say is that I know feeling simultaneously “not good enough” and “too much” is a futile masochistic act with no basis in reality that hurts, like a brick slammed against my forehead, and makes me want to sleep all day.

So, let us refocus!

I’m striving to expand this experience:


I
is the total black, being spoken
from the earth’s inside.

– A. Lorde

Into this one:

I
is the total black, being spoken
from the earth’s inside.
There are many kinds of open
how a diamond comes into a knot of flame
how sound comes into a words, coloured
by who pays what for speaking.

Some words are open like a diamond
on glass windows
singing out within the crash of sun
Then there are words like stapled wagers
in a perforated book – buy and sign and tear apart –
and come whatever will all chances
the stub remains
an ill-pulled tooth with a ragged edge.
Some words live in my throat
breeding like adders. Other know sun
seeking like gypsies over my tongue
to explode through my lips
like young sparrows bursting from shell.
Some words
bedevil me

Love is word, another kind of open.
As the diamond comes into a knot of flame
I am Black because I come from the earth’s inside
Now take my word for jewel in the open light.

– A. Lorde

— I believe this the best opportunity to discuss the fabulous films I saw at Fusion: The LGBT People of Color Film Festival this past weekend.

On Saturday, I picked up my little sister and we drove over to the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood to catch Pariah: The Making Of Q & A, which proved informative and inspirational. Director Dee Reese and producer Nekisa Cooper gave a priceless discussion on making their first feature film Pariah — based on my favorite short film EVER by the same name.

Afterwards, we saw the Fusion Short Films Program, which ROCKED-my-socks-off-onto-everyone’s FACES because it twas’ sooooo good.

I’ll recount my favorite shorts in the order they screened:

STOP IT – ALMA


Dir: Mike Rose
A spoof on intervention reality shows that features a woman, who compulsively cooks to the dismay of her family who just wants her to Stop It!

— All around HEELAREEOUS.  What a blast!

REVOLUTION


Dir: Abdi Nazemian
A coming-of-age story about Jack, a 16-year old Iranian boy growing up in 1989 Los Angeles.

Fascinating and educational.  I didn’t know much about the Iranian queer experience before this film, which has piqued my interest in it.  Additionally, I enjoy films that explore the interpersonal dynamics of families exiled from their homelands after a revolution.

Ah yes, and the Iranian mom was super hawt!  Gorgeous woman.

REMEMBER ME IN RED


Dir: Hector Ceballos
Fidelia must find a way to honor what would have been her friend’s wishes before it is too late.

— Amazing.  Almodovar-esque.  When a transgender woman dies her birth family, a traditional Mexican family, attempts to have her buried in men’s clothing.  All the while her adopted queer family of trans women — namely her best friend Fidelia — struggle with how to honor who she really was i.e. appropriate their impulse to bury her in her beloved diamond-encrusted pageant outfit.

Favorite quote in the movie: At the funeral, a trans friend looks into the casket and sees the deceased dressed in a man’s grey suit .  She rushes over to Fidelia and whispers in her ear something along the lines of, “They dressed her like a lesbian! She’d be pissed.”

LOL! Amazedawg.

THE QUEEN


Dir: Christina Choe
Bobby, a Korean-American teenage outcast, is working at his parents’ dry cleaners on prom weekend. When the prom queen and her boyfriend, stop by with their dress and tuxedo, Bobby has his own prom to remember.

Memorable, Endearing, & Comedically Sharp.  The overall execution was Grade A tight: concept, script, directing, lighting, cinematography, acting, etc.  You’ll LOL out loud throughout it.  Would be a great short flick to show high schoolers to help promote GLBTQ awareness and acceptance in the classroom. 

CHANGE


Dir: Melissa Osborne & Jeff McCutcheon
A gay African-American teenager grapples with his young identity on the night Obama was elected president and Proposition 8 passed.

LOVED. loved. LOVED.  Wow.  Emotional & Monumental.  From beginning credits to end credits, mind salivated while heart palpitated.  A moving reflection on the profoundly complex dynamics of African-American identity — on both individual and group levels — and the poignant role that played in the black community’s 2008 votes.

On Sunday, I went with Baby Dewds to see The Legacy Project restoration of three Queer Cinema antiques. The Legacy Project is my favorite Outfest arm because it focuses on restoring, preserving, and showcasing rare GLBTQ films of the past. In my opinion, the films are usually masterpieces due to their brilliant insight, artistry, and/or exposition of the ancestral GBLTQ community.  Most times all of the above.

My faves were:

QUEENS AT HEART


Dir. Unknown, 1967, USA, 22 min.
An extraordinary bit of ephemera, this proto-scientific documentary, verging on exploitation, presents four male-to-female transsexuals in candid discussions about their private lives and identities. The four subjects gamely respond to probing questions providing an intriguing portrait of Americans on the fringes of gender identity just before the Stonewall Rebellion two years later.

Fascinating and heartbreaking.  Borderline funny at times due to the campy style of the documentation.

CHOOSING CHILDREN


Dir. Debra Chasnoff and Kim Klausner, 1984, USA, 45 min.
Debra Chasnoff and Kim Klausner’s groundbreaking documentary presents with grace and towering authority, portraits of several lesbian mothers who were among the first to make the historic choice to become parents. Free from didacticism, the film exerts a powerful emotional undertow as it frames the lives of these families as arenas of love, commitment and work.

Well-executed:  Intelligent investigation of lesbian families, which still prove pertinent today.  Great film to show people who voted “Yes” on Prop 8.  Humanizing. Straight baby-making masses can relate to our trials and tribulations.  GLBTQ families also deserve the legitimacy, protection, and rights that marriage contracts afford!

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Love passages & quotes more than mini churros from Jack in the Box.

More from Conversations before the end of time:

“It is only by discovering the biological origin of this intrinsic human imperative to make art that we will truly come to understand what art means for human life and what its future might be.

… Today the question of ‘community’ is much debated — not only ‘what’ art is for, but ‘who’ it is for.

… To understand what art is, or might again become, Dissanayke claims that it is useful to consider the bigger span of human history and not just the restricted field of modern Western Society, in which art has become identified with salable objects rather than with kinds of behavior or ways of doing things that embellish and enlarge life. Although small-scale, less-specialized, premodern societies may not possess the abstract concept ‘art,’ they do offer all their members frequent opportunities to be ‘artists,’ and to be a vehicle for group meaning. The paradox of the isolated, elitist view of ‘art for art’s sake’ is that art is simultaneously sanctified and dismissed as rubbish; it becomes the subject of complex exegesis and yet is totally ignored; it commands millions in the auctioneer’s salon and yet is irrelevant to most people’s lives. According to Dissanayake, we are in this paradoxical spot because Western society treats art as a dispensable luxury, when it is really an innate behavior that is essential to our human, biological nature. Art, in her sense of making special, is important to the lives of everyone, not just to an elite group of artists in an art world. A fundamental human need is being expressed, and met by artistic activity.”

Thanks to one of my favorite blogs Riley Dog for the always splendid & stimulating image finds.


Tic Toc the alligator chimes — And Bradley Manning’s on my mind.

3:17 am or so …

I’m blogging with one finger on my annoyingly tiny android keypad. The power in the house is out, which means no computers are available to fiddle with and distract me from the ocean breeze reverberating through my ear.  It sounds as if I’ve had a concha shell pressed against it for hours.

I have SO much to do. If only I could use my computer  RIGHT now, but alas I must wait till’ morning.  The email replies, personalized query letters with accompanying press release, and book packages for mailing to reviewers will just have to wait … until well, later today.

Tic Toc the alligator chimes in the ambience of night.  My To Do list can’t be ameliorated and Bradley Manning overpowers my anxiety.  He’s become louder than the simulated concha shell reverberations.

Bradley Manning has been on my mind for the last several weeks.  Since I first read his story.

Please read it Here 1 & Here 2.

I keep replaying his quote about simply wanting to have had a normal life, to have had a nice family, help others …

All the things most of us middle-class Americans were raised to want to do and be …

I keep thinking about how his wanting this too genuinely, too purely has cost him his freedom and safety, the rest of his life.

I keep thinking about his humanity — how his humanity got the better of him, made him  susceptible to self-sacrificing heroic acts, and vulnerable to getting caught and punished for them.

I keep thinking about how Obama, one of life’s sad disappointments, gets the Nobel Peace Prize based on no real showmanship, but on Hope that he’ll show half the self-sacrifice, half the compassion, half the conscience, half the heart of Bradley Manning. Beyonce sang before millions of viewers at Obama’s inauguration while he and his wife shared a proud and tender dance.  We all hopefully celebrated that dance as one of two well-intentioned people who wanted to promote fairness — peace, freedom, equality, honesty — in the world  through their leadership and guidance. We rolled out the red carpet and handed over our futures, and the social security funds of our grandparents, to this union hoping that they’d embody the integrity and bravery of Bradley Manning.

And what do we do with the real, as opposed to symbolic, Bradley Manning?

We allow him to be charged with espionage, to be locked in a cell where he’s stripped naked, humiliated, and tortured off and on for almost a year (and counting). We allow our military to seriously consider sentencing him to either the death penalty or life in prison. We allow our elected leader of hope, our nobel prize winning Commander-in-Chief, to punish — in this 23-year old man — all the courage and compassion we profess to unitedly stand for.

I won’t lie. I get nervous posting such political rants — voicing my disappointment in the president of the US and the way he’s run his presidency (not like a Nobel Peace Prize winner), voicing my support for an “enemy of the state” —  in such a heated political climate on such a public forum.  Probably because, as I write, I wonder whether political allegiance or opposition to any person and/or party is even worth the risk?

I come from a Cuban family who supported a revolution that became the dictatorship which stripped them of all their rights. What did all their self-sacrificing support get them?  Immediately following its success, their “for the people” political party (communist) and its leader (F. Castro) turned their beloved Cuba into Alcatraz.  When they grew tired of his tyranny, disagreed, and tried to leave, that political entity quickly deemed them “enemies of the state.”  My mom would get beat up by kids at school who called her “gusano” while the teachers cheered them on. Where did my family’s risky and self-sacrificing political involvement get them?  As soon as they exercised their basic human right to disagree with the politicians they helped bring to power … harassed, robbed, and exiled.

Was it worth it? Opposing Batista, supporting Castro, disagreeing with the Castro regime … getting political at all?

I guess I could ask the same about Bradley Manning.  He’s a brilliant, beautiful, blue-eyed All-American boy from a military family who worked in a cush well-paid military intelligence job, behind the front lines — far away from harm. He had no need or obligation to sacrifice his limitless potential for prosperity, but he did anyway.

Manning joined the military to help his country because, rarely enough, I think he actually respected and believed what it stood for.  Apparently he loved its values — life, liberty, and justice for all — too sincerely because he laid everything on the line to promote them.  Manning seemed motivated in his “treasonous” actions by a genuine disturbance with the inhumane murder of civilians and the military’s hypocritical cover ups.   Manning seems to be a person with heightened empathy and an evolved conscience who cared simultaneously for the welfare of our nation and that of the nation we invaded.  It’s understandable that someone with such a unique double-edged guilt would seek relief from it by confiding in another person. In the person who ratted him out — Adrian Lamo.

I’ve compiled a couple of quotes of from Manning’s IM correspondence with Lamo:

‎”Manning: ive been so isolated so long… i just wanted to be nice, and live a normal life… but events kept forcing me to figure out ways to survive… smart enough to know whats going on, but helpless to do anything…americans have so many more rights than non-americans, its awful… i guess i follow humanist values though, have custom dogtags that say “Humanist” … i want people to see the truth… regardless of who they are… because without information, you cannot make informed decisions as a public…i dont believe in good guys versus bad guys anymore…  only a plethora of states acting in self interest… with varying ethics and moral standards of course, but self-interest nonetheless”

Read most of their IM Discussion here.

Now he’s locked up, his rights trampled on, and his name dishonored in the name of our national security.

So yes, I’ve been thinking of Bradley Manning a lot lately.  About how we live and die politics, are benefitted or harmed by each other’s political actions,  whether we choose to “get all political” or not.

As an artist, I acknowledge that art usually affects its political landscape subversively.  This often gives an artist the luxury of either negating or accepting the truth that all art is innately political, and every artist responsible for the messages in their work.

As a literary artist, I’ll many times say literally exactly what I mean. Obviously, there’s nothing subversive about this blog post.  It’s political and apparently so am I. Ugh.  It runs in the blood.

Please read more about this American war hero & SIGN the petition to save his life!

Also, please “like” his facebook page to receive regular updates on his trial.

Thanks for reading!


Transgender Film Fest, rah rah rah! The 2011 Oscars, hellz nah nah nah!

Alright, I’ve got movies on the brains.

On Thursday night, I attended the Los Angeles Transgender Film Festival at the Echo Park Film Center with my little sister who identifies as bisexual.  Twas’ a gaydies family night!   We had a blast.

I am madly passionately in love with cinema, more now than ever before. Probably because the passing years have exposed me to a multitude of films that reveal the medium’s innate power for educating and changing people. For educating and changing me.

Back in 2007, I was a femme lesbian who was attracted to other feminine women. Never lesbians — always bi-curious potentially bisexual women or straight women who questioned in secret.  I mainly hung out with gay men and straight girls, rarely any lesbians.  Maybe 1 or 2 lesbos from time to time.  My hair reached down past my shoulders, I wore stilettos and was obsessed with my weight — how fat and ugly I was, and how well I did or didn’t hide it.

I’d developed an aversion, a disdain really, for all things masculine — especially in women.  I had not yet begun to question why it was I proudly owned and cultivated this prejudice within me.  Until Outfest: The Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Film Festival accepted my lesbian short film A Two Woman One Act in June 2007.  That year at Outfest, I became aware of the fluid nature, and varying expression of human gender and sexuality.

On a gender front, the films at Outfest explored the lives of butch women, feminine women, androgynous women, boyish women with soft feminine edges, feminine women with strong masculine edges, women who identified as / were transitioning into men — transmen, and men that conversely fell under similar categories.  On a sexuality front, they depicted the experiences of bisexuals, gays, lesbians, closeted homosexuals, the bi-curious, and transmen and transwomen who identified as straight, bisexual, & homosexual.

I spent most of the festival watching documentaries on the Transgender community because my film fest partner-in-crime was gay filmmaker Dante Alencastre whose documentary works focused on Transgender issues and rights. Through these Trans-world expositions, I became aware of my own internalized homophobia and began the lengthy process of understanding the wondrous, brilliant, NATURAL NORMALCY of our “otherness,” our “queerness” and how negatively affected I’d been by a media-centric society where the media predominantly represents the white straight population’s take on normal.  In learning about the Transgender community through these movies, I began uncovering the layers of my identities — as woman, lesbian, and feminist — and learning to whole-heartedly accept their often unboxable nuances.  These films united me in understanding, solidarity, and passion with my GLBTQ cause and community.

The Movies have always been my great love — ever since I was a wee little girl watching The Neverending Story on repeat.  Long before I understood the terms “woman” and “lesbian,” I connected with, felt impassioned by the word “moobie.” The older I’ve gotten the deeper I’ve fallen in love with cinema arts.  The Transgender Film Fest provides a great example of why.  The Transgender (TG) community is an underrepresented group of people that are often trivialized, villainized, and dehumanized by mainstream culture — both in media and mass society.  Their lives and identities are often ignored, pigeonholed, and misunderstood.  Sadly, even by some of the GLB’s  (Gay, Lesbians, & Bisexuals) in our GLBTQ community.   I’m grateful to relay, however, that the TG community has taught me much about their experiences and causes through film.  A medium of expression that stirs the viewer’s individual mind by touching their universal heart. In other words, one person’s experience is another person’s experience no matter how different their outside circumstances may appear.  In my opinion, it’s through empathy that one little movie …  a string of little movies …  a narrative feature film …  a documentary … changes someone’s perspective.

Over the past 4 years I’ve seen about 15 films on the Transgender community at film festivals, Laemmle’s Movie Theaters, and streaming online.  Following the triumphs and tribulations of their oft overlooked tales, I’ve come to relate with a group of people I had little knowledge of or interest in before 2007.  Films like the 1987 narrative feature Vera (An Outfest Legacy Project restoration) and the 2008 long-form documentary STILL BLACK: A Portrait of Black Transmen have transformed my relationship to my own gender-expression (female) and sexual orientation (lesbian) from a place of self-loathing and ignorance to one of self-knowledge and acceptance. They’ve broadened my consciousness and conscience …

Movies are a powerful tool for education and change.  I am honored, grateful, and proud to be a part of the Queer Film community.  I am constantly blown away by all I have left to learn on the human “being” itself — especially being its self in TRUE form.  I was thrilled to take my little 18-year old bisexual sister to a film fest by and about Transgender people where she learned more about the profound and complex GLBTQ community she embodies and represents.  Especially since, unlike myself, my sister tends to be romantically/sexually attracted to women with a more masculine bent, butch women, questioning trans.  I’m glad to say that in these years I’ve healed that senseless prejudiced self-hating side of myself, and grown to relate to, respect, and appreciate the varying expressions of human sexuality and gender-identity.  As a result, I’ve been blessed to form beautiful priceless friendships with butch lesbians and transmen in my community.

That being said, I also acknowledge that movies — being a powerful medium that affects change on individual and mass scales — can also be used to oppress people. Sadly, many movies still often perpetuate negative stereotypes or ignore an entire section of the population by choosing to spotlight one group experience over another. This is especially evident in Hollywood.  The world according to Hollywood films tends to center around Anglo, straight, and Jewish populations.  Once in a while, when Hollywood films do stray from depicting formulaic characters in regurgitated plots and strive to convey the stories of “minorities” — a.k.a. all other members of society — we’re often victimized, marginalized, or turned into one-dimensional caricatures of ourselves.  The Token Black, Gay, Latina, etc. gets to star in their own token movie … yay!  Not yay.

One of the many reasons I won’t be watching The Oscars this year.

Another reason is because I’m tired of supporting the community-destroying system of Meritocracy.  Meritocracy: A competitive system in which human beings earn self-esteem through achieving merit i.e. outside validation. A system where professional colleagues are pinned against each other, compared, and then anointed “1. Better than the rest.”  Maybe that system works for boxing or sports, some physical game built around the accumulation of points, but I believe Meritocracy has no real constructive place in the arts — a subjective realm of individual expression.

At the Oscars, 5 supposedly “best” actresses, writers, costume designers, etc. of films — that were LOBBIED into nomination by usually affluent companies — go up against each other for the Homecoming Queen crown.  Nominees wear abhorrently expensive outfits, blow winks at each other, and weep at tha’ podium o’ “success” upon receiving a statue of naked golden dewd while shouting, “I haven’t had an orthodox career, and I’ve wanted more than anything to have your respect. The first time I didn’t feel it, but this time I feel it, and I can’t deny the fact that you like me, right now, YOU LIKE ME!”

I once bought into that?  Yuck & sad.  (P.s. I think Sally Field is an AMAZING actress.  Her acceptance speech just makes me sad.)

My dislike for Meritocracy isn’t just limited to The Oscars, however, but stretches outward to all award shows with set nominees.  You want to take a fair vote and choose “best” film or “best” artistic anything of the year?  Fine.  Let all the Academy members actually vote for THEIR favorite film of that year then.  Don’t choose their nominees.  Just ask them very simply, “What’s been your favorite film this year?,” “Who’s been your favorite actress this year and for what role?,” etc., tally the votes up, and then announce the results at the award ceremony like so, “We’d like to congratulate Sophie’s Choice for being chosen by The Academy members as their favorite film of the year.”  Let’s call a spade a spade.  The Oscars like most award shows are not an objective forum where “high quality” projects get the recognition they deserve.  It’s a circus tent where rich people who know other rich people entertain their egos by jacking each other off in front of a TV screen for millions to see.  The Oscars are, in essence, a televised 4-hour group masterbation session between professional exhibitionists.  At least when they have a comedian host — like Ricky Gervais — who calls out the event for exactly what it is, the audience derives some joy from the lewd acts of heavy petting taking place on stage.  The Oscars enjoy pretending they were created to award the most worthy piece of art (i.e. film) and artist (i.e. director) of the year the acknowledgment they deserve. When the truth is, and everyone knows it, The Oscars are as objective as art/film itself, which is NOT objective at all.

Maybe I’m just annoyed by the fact that The Oscars confuses its 100% subjectivity for 100% objectivity, takes itself too seriously, and then doesn’t hire Ricky Gervais to host.

If you’d like to read the brilliantly hilarious introduction Ricky Gervais drafted (in jest) for this year’s Oscar hosts Anne Hathaway and James Franco, read below or directly from his blog!

—->

(Drum roll)V.O.
Ladies and Gentlemen.
Please welcome your hosts for this evening…
James Franco and Anne Hathaway 

(Music and applause)
(James and Anne walk out looking absolutely perfect)

JF
Hello and welcome to The 83rd Academy Awards,
Live from Los Angeles.

AH
That’s foreign for City of Angels.
And this room is certainly filled will those angels.

(Applause)

JF
Thank you. I’m James Franco.

AH
…and I’m Anne Hathaway.

JF
You probably know me from 127 Hours where I play a man trapped in an enclosed space who decides he would rather cut his own arm off than stay where he was. Now that sounds “way out” but wait till half way through this fucking ceremony and you’ll start to identify with him.

AH
And I’m the new Catwoman. The first white woman to play that role since Michelle Pfeiffer. I want it to be an inspiration to all white people everywhere. Your dreams can come true in Hollywood too.

JF
It’s a daunting task hosting The Oscars but we’re not alone. Presenting awards tonight will be a string of Hollywood legends and some other actors who have a film out in March or April.

JF
Usually they hire comedians to host The Oscars, but tonight, instead, you get us!

AH
No comedians tonight. And do you know why? Because comics are ugly.

JF
Especially that rude obnoxious one who played the Steve Carell part in the English remake of The Office.

AH
But you can all relax because Ricky Gervais is in London…

(Nervous laughter)

He’s doing some charity work.
Yeah, he’s visiting orphans with cancer.
He’s telling them what bald little losers they are…

JF
Yeah, cos he’s rude right?

(Applause)

Thank you.
No rudeness tonight.
It’s going to be a night of the most privileged people in the world being told how brilliant they are and thanking God for loving them more than ugly poor foreigners.

(Applause)

That’s not to say that we don’t care. No, apart from all the great movies we made this year we continued our life-saving philanthropy. Mega stars like Angelina Jolie, George Clooney and Ben Stiller brought light to third world poverty and famine and shocked the world with visions of children so hungry they’d been living off dead beetles all their lives.

AH
Yeah and Yoko Ono said. “What’s wrong with that?”

(Laughter)

JF
Oh Anne you are naughty. In a respectful, wholesome way.

(Nodding and smiling)

That Ricky Gervais should do more for charity.

(Murmurs of agreement)

Ricky Gervais is now worth $80,000,000. The obnoxious Brit confirmed the figure, adding,”Yes and my dentist hasn’t seen a penny.”

AH
Yeah, why doesn’t he get his teeth straightened and bleached like everyone else in Hollywood?

JF
It’s a good question Anne. For the same reason he doesn’t have botox or suck up to important producers – there’s something wrong with him.

AH
There must be. Why isn’t the stocky, fangy, little slob more like us, right?

JF
That ugly dude needs to get a Hollywood makeover, big time.

AH
Quite. And even though most of the actresses here have eating disorders, that’s better than being fat right?

JF
You bet it is gorgeous.

AH
You are so handsome.

JF
Exactly.
You know Ricky Gervais used to be bulimic.

AH
Really?

JF
Yes. He’d often gorge himself for hours with cheese and cakes.

AH
And then vomit right?

JF
No he left that bit out…

(Mild laughter)

AH
That’s because he couldn’t get his fat fucking fingers in his stupid mouth.

(Big laugh)

JF
Anyway let’s get this show on the road.
There were some great kids’ movies this year.
I took a five year old to see Toy Story 3 last week.

AH
Did you enjoy it?

JF
No it was ruined for me because the little brat was screaming and crying all the way through the film saying, “Who are you?” “You’re not my daddy.” “Take me back to the park where you grabbed me…”

(Laughter)

AH
Oh James, you are a card. And your slightly risky jokes are not threatening because you’re one of us. And you are so handsome.

JF
Absolutely.
So let’s get this show on the road.
Our first presenter is a Hollywood legend whose boots Ricky Gervais would not be fit to kiss…
The wonderful…
Mel Gibson…

(Standing ovation)

And so on…



Theatre gets me high & then Romance pulls me down, but I lived happily ever after anyway. Yayee.

Well, I’m sitting in my granuelita’s walker next to her in the emergency room lobby. She’s feeling a whole lot better, thank goodness. We’re just waiting on the Doctor’s final ok. Anywho, she’s making friends and talking up a storm with the ladies in emergency. Lol! As usual. My grandma — The Cool Chick.

So I’ll take this time to blog it up. Theatre in LA rocks my socks off. I’ve seen a lot of killer underground shows here. Live performances that leave me feeling high. Higher than alcohol and oreo cookie shakes ever did in my wild-thing years ;p

Alas, Art calls blackjack.  I’d rather be conscious of, fully attentive to the real manifestation of fabu BRILLIANCE than lulled into satisfaction with mediocrity by belly-warming frontal-lobe butchers. What I’m trying to say is that I saw a HILARIOUS genius theatre show and didn’t sacrifice any of it to go chug Mickey’s Malt in the trunk of my Ford — not once!  If you feel like getting high on the arresting brilliance of the unpredictable human imagination — FairyTale Theatre is your show.  It basically warps childhood fairytales into moral fables that twisted adults can relate to, laugh with, and — strangely enough — learn from.  I ate lemon rinds & cackled for an hour straight, like a hyena on shrooms.

To think I wanted to cancel so that I could go home and work on my book promotion til’ my eyes dried out! The spiritual nourishment and replenishing creativity I would have missed. One of my beloved best friends & spirit sisters — Kunteemonster — generously got me a ticket.  I wanted to see her and promised I would go. I’m working on cultivating being impeccable with my word — for the purely selfish reason that estimable acts seem to fortify my self-esteem.  27-years into this game and now I figure it out!  😉  SO I threw a 30’s hat onto my overgrown greasy hair and lugged my makeup-less eyebags from the hood to the westside. I’m thrilled and grateful I did.

As I elatedly sauntered back to the car after the show, I thought of 3 people who would especially LOVE this show: 1) My mom “Mamushka” 2) Baby Dewds — another bestie & spirit sister and 3) An old friend I once fell in love with / got the romance cramps for …

The first 2 people I can actually call via android and vulnerably, passionately invite them to share the great discoveries of life’s madness with me — like this show.  The last woman though … well she’s traveling the other way, in the opposite direction of my trek — so I can’t.

It made me sad to think of her.  It makes me sad to think of her.   Side Note: I hope she finds the used Ella Fitzgerald CD I bought in Paris when I was 19 / 20.  I miss singing “I got a pebble in my shoe” while reminiscing about watching shape-shifting cobblestone streets through speeding amtrak windows.

Once a dear friend she’s now not even an acquaintance … a love of mine that never was mine.  Ah vell, life ticks on in the hands of train station clocks and beings fall in and out and in and out of love until the end of Nature.  So it is with me.  Although often times after having seen some great piece of theatre, I do still miss her friendship and then a tinge of ache about what never was but could have possibly been between us shoots to the tips of my nerve endings.  Both sentiments, however, have waned and faded into memory with passing days.  They’ll eventually take on the look and feel of photos developed at a Thrifty’s fotomat circa 1992.  This I know from past experience.  Thank GAWD! ;p

Another notable came after her. Conversely, this other young woman had a bountiful of love to share with me.  Through her, the world revealed that its vast seas of sweetness stretched far beyond the horizon. Her gentle transparency brought the embarrassed tenderness guarded within me out of dark corners into the light and lulled my dejected cynic to sleep for a brief lovely while.  In a breath, our paths intertwined and then diverged again.  Having reached a perpendicular fork in our road, we mournfully followed our selves away from each other and bowed in respect with “goodbye.”

Sometimes, on a night like yesterday’s, I feel the singe of halfness echo through my chest again.  After which I think to myself, “Maybe if I had a girl, I’d finally feel whole.”  Melancholy wonder warms my healing, pockmarked heart as I remember gazing into sundry pairs of eyes whose circular shades of blue sky, green bark, and velvet turquoise hugged a fixed black dot.

That being said, personal experience has taught me that the romance-solution is a “quick-fix” falsity.  I know better by now.  Wholeness has only come about through honest self-search and service to others.  A romantic partner is much like Life herself — palpable and powerful, but transient.  Relative to relevance.  Some girls accompany you for a month, others for a decade … All of which depends on whether you’re walking toward personal wholeness together or away from it.  The more I accept the romance process for what it is, the less I try to curate and manipulate my romances.  The more I appreciate each circumstance exactly as is, let it be, and, if needed, let it go.

Que Será Será.

Okay, now onto Awesome Photos I Found on The Internet!!! Let’s end this post by reflecting on these images, shall we?


Venti Agoraphobia Latte w/ a shot of Awesomeness!

Alright, I’ve decided to take a break from the mania of emailing the 60-page list of killer blogs I compiled with queries for review of my book The Voting Booth After Dark: Despicable, Embarrassing, Repulsive.

It’s truly been a blast revisiting their pages, and clicking on their recommended links through which I have discovered a whole nother’ slew of kick-arse blogs!  The author of the now closed Readerville blog put it best in 2009 when he said:

“It’s been an exceptional nine years. In June of 2000, the web was a very different place than it is today. Online resources for readers were comparatively few but pretty terrific, and Readerville was proud to be among them. Back then, if you told someone you talked to people on the Internet, they still looked at you funny, and most in the book industry couldn’t really grasp the idea of readers handselling books to each other in forums such as ours. These days, I’m thrilled at the vast assortment of tools for people to connect online—from blogs to Facebook and Twitter, to the many social book cataloging sites, and beyond. Readers have resources nobody could have imagined nine years ago, and it’s a joy to see books being talked about in every corner of the Internet.”

Not only books, but ALL the arts!  There are SO many AMAZING Art & Literary Blogs. Visual, Performance, Culinary, & Journalistic (Politics & News), Activism. The list goes on.  Finally, we the world’s citizens get, and give each other, choices. Yum.  I have to stop subscribing to all their RSS feeds though or I’ll never be able to clear my inbox! Gah! We live in some fabulous times — Tis’ truly the Information Age. I’m thrilled!!!

I’m also pooped and I have group therapy/meditation in an hour so I’m going to make this short.

From ages 18 – 23, I was one of the hugest party girls — in Gucci look-alike Payless Shoesource stilettos — to ever strut the planet .  At age 25, I’d partied the party out of my system.

Being an extremist by nature , I have since then grown to hate leaving the house unless it’s to go to a film festival, art showing, or performance (theatre, dance, etc).

Contrary to the V-Dawg of yesterday, I hate parties, clubs, and 99% of social engagements.  Not only do I dislike them.  I loathe them.  A panic runs from my toes up to my head and back down again from the phase of anticipation until I am out of the situation.

Me & Kim Basinger are apparently the only agoraphobics in entertainment, lol.  The anxiety doesn’t come from being “afraid” of people or what they’ll think of me or blah blah nah nah.  I rarely buy into that boring nonsense.

I think mainly it comes from feeling wildly out of place, like a train that’s been derailed.  All I want to do — ALL THE TIME — is work on my writing and films.  Or hang out with friends 1 or 2 at a time — go get dinz and catch a flick, save the world one convo at a time.  You know, I’m 80-years old.

From reckloose to recluse.  Yikes!

I must face and accept that I am a bona fide introvert.  I absolutely positively do not like “hanging out” and absolutely positively love staying home and working on my art.  GAH!  My party-girl inside never thought she’d have to embrace this day, but alas … so it is.  What a pain-in-my-arse I have become at 27-years old ;p

Ah vel, I must accept my newly mutated ways and stop telling people I’ll go to their parties so I don’t have a panic attack, cancel last minute, and then suffer the punches of guilt in my chest for the rest of the day 🙂

Gah!  Tis’ sort of duro. Oh vell …

Anyway, speaking of working on art.  In doing my book promotion email fest 5000 today, I came across some awesomeness I’d like to share with you before I jam out the door to group therapy/meditation a.k.a. therapeutic convos with other like-hearted cray crays ;p

Enjoy!!! :

Some of Today’s Fave Blog Discoveries:

Some of Today’s Fave Photo Discoveries from Awesome Blogs:


Meritocracy: The Way The West is Run & Happiness Won.

So, it’s 4:48am and, per the usual, I’ve barely caught a wink of shut eye.  Slept about the usual 3 1/2 hours.  I know I have to buy sleepy time tea or some other herbal blah blah to help me slumber, but to tell you the truth — I LOVE working on my art stuff from 10 pm – 7am.  The only problem is that I have to stay awake from 7am – 10pm, as well.  If it were up to me, I’d do that every night and then sleep during the day, but alas I’m a mere worker among workers and must live in the light of day if I’m to afford living at all.

I’ve been spending these last few nights contacting awesome blog reviewers from the 50 page list I compiled and pitching them my book for review.  It’s actually been a blast!  I’m 5 pages away from being done.  There’s nothing quite like the feeling you get when you’re about to accomplish a goal that will move your artwork deeper into the consciousness of the wide open world.

My artwork (writings & films) are like my children and I only want what’s best for them.  I want them to be whole, healthy, and available for experience.  Yes, it feels great to create art with integrity that I love, that I’m proud of, and make it available to other people who may be moved, provoked, and comforted by it.

As my granuelita always says (in Spanish), “You want to stir someone’s mind, touch their heart.  That’s the pipeline.”

Everyday I kill Tha’ Brass Ring-chase within me — a.k.a. my Ego’s search for validation — a little more, which opens me up to the endless, priceless, fitting possibilities for my works of art.

What I mean by that is: I’m no longer peddling my art toward the general public or the elitist 1%, but toward ITS people … my people.  Queers, Latino-Americans, Artists, Feminists, Eccentrics.  Hey, if others like random republican football players feel for The Voting Booth After Dark: Despicable, Embarrassing, Repulsive (my book) too, well that’s an added bonus.  As Seth Godin states in one of the latest posts from his phenomenal marketing blog:

When was the last time you bought a tie?

“When was the last time you bought a tie?

My guess is not lately.

When you first got a fancy job, you had a tie shortage, and thus attention was paid to ties. You bought “enough for now.” Then you solved the tie problem and moved on.

When you first bought an iPhone, you had an app shortage, so attention was paid to apps. You bought “enough for now.” Then you moved on.

Music might be an exception (buying a new stereo doesn’t often lead to a new music binge). But in general, some external event occurs that creates a fissure, an opportunity, a problem. We search, we buy, we’re done.

The challenge, then, is to develop products that match what the market is looking for, and more important, to overtly and aggressively seek out the people in that situation and ignore the rest. Which is precisely what most marketers large and small are not doing right now.

RELATED: Many marketers I know have a great idea for a product or service that will target a segment of the market that doesn’t know to look for the great idea. For example, you might want to sell a better, easier to use hatchet for women. The problem is that women, long accustomed to never being able to find an axe that they’re comfortable with, have given up looking, perhaps several generations ago.

Alerting a market segment that isn’t looking is a thousand times harder than activating a segment that just can’t wait for your arrival. Since it’s your choice, since the segment is up to you, why not pick one that is itching for you to show up?”

I used to believed that to be truly successful the select 1% — those at “The Top” — had to approve of what I was peddling and be a part of it.  They always made it sound as if promoting my artwork to the niche, minority communities — those the art in actuality represented — was a second grade choice, “settling for scraps.”

The more I take my Ego out of the equation of my career, however, the more I realize what a hilarious falsity “The Top 1%” and their definition of worth/worthwhile proves to be!  I was hustled!

Who cares about Sundance this, Golden Globes that, Grant Recipient of blah, Pulitzer Prize Winner at Age 3, being Anointed “Enough.”  It’s like when People Magazine comes out with their Top 100 lists: 100 best actresses of all time, 100 most beautiful, etc.  These subjective check off lists are perpetuated as objective truths …

In Western society, even in the freest of democracies, citizens become imprisoned by the by-laws of Meritocracy.

In other words, we become slaves to the praise and acceptance of those at “The Top,” often sacrificing love for our nuanced identities, our unaccepted “flaws,” in the process.  Western society is built upon that culture of COMPARISON, where people constantly have to prove their inherent worth by showing it’s greater than someone else’s through merit.  Meritocracy lies at the core of our Capitalistic Society.  Exemplified by our tendency to quantify our personal value in numbers.  For instance, every bloody effing activity we partake in has to have an Award Show and a 1st place, 2nd place, and 3rd place winner.  I mean we even have dog-strutting competitions a.k.a. Dog Shows! Gah!

Consequently, if you’re #1 then I’m automatically #2 or #3 or #30 or #100, which means I’m less than you as a person, artist, success — both numerically and symbolically speaking.  We spend our entire lives trying to prove to society, to our family, to ourselves that we’re #1 and therefore “enough.”

… Even the most liberal of us, equalists at heart — people that believe the worth of everyone is inherently equal.  We who at our core believe there’s no difference between the value of the company janitor and the company CEO because we understand that the only real difference between the two is how much we personally like them. Yes, even we — who comprehend that bureaucracies are founded upon a completely subjective, biased ratings system — become shackled by the ominous system of cultural governance: Meritocracy. According to Merriam-Webster’s online free dictionary Meritocracy is defined as:

1: a system in which the talented are chosen and moved ahead on the basis of their achievement.”

And by Wikipedia as:
Meritocracy, in the first, most administrative sense, is a system of government or other administration (such as business administration) wherein appointments are made and responsibilities assigned to individuals based upon their “merits”, namely intelligence, credentials and education,[1] determined through evaluations or examinations.
Meritocracy itself is not a form of government, but rather an ideology. Meritocracy itself is frequently confused as being a type of government, rather than correctly as a methodology or factor used in or for, the appointment of individuals to government. Individuals appointed to a meritocracy are judged based upon certain merits which could range from intelligence to morality to general aptitude to specific knowledge. A criticism of this methodology is that [3] “merit” itself is a highly subjective term, potentially lacking in clarity and therefore open to misuse.
Young’s fictional narrator describes that on one hand, the “stolid mass” or majority is not the greatest contributor to society, but the “creative minority” or “restless elite”.[12] Yet on the other hand, describes that there are casualties of progress whose influence is underestimated and that from such stolid adherence to natural science and intelligence, arises arrogance and complacency.[12] The casualties of this progress described by the phrase “Every selection of one is a rejection of many”.[12]
What I’m trying to get at is that I have blindly suffered from internalized meritocracy since I was 4-years old.  You get the “A” and it means THIS 🙂 about you, you get the “B” and it means THIS :/ about you, you get a “C” and it means THIS 😦 about you — about your “enoughness.”
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I attribute this self-destructive Darwinian attitude to Western culture’s conception of “worth.”  The Western mind often functions under the belief that “worth” isn’t a quality human beings are born with, but EARN over their lifetime through actions considered “worthwhile.”  Individual worth is assessed by a system of qualification founded upon the idea that actions are either “meritorious” or “nothing special.” I can’t speak much on the Eastern way of quantifying individual worth as I didn’t grow up in it, but I know this to be my experience with The West’s definition of life’s winners and losers.  Many people in this society choose, on a daily basis, to be “successful” over “happy,” if it means they’ll be considered worth more by society.  Somehow, success and happiness haven’t become synonymous the way I once thought they would.  I was trained to believe they would by school, parents, religion, and television.
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NPR recently did a fascinating report on “The Secrets of Happiness” in which anthropological researcher Dan Buettner concludes that the happiest communities in the world exist in San Luis Obispo and Denmark because the people there chose careers that moved them a.k.a. made them happy as opposed to raked in the most $$$ …
“Finally, Buettner says that he has learned that people are happiest when they spend their time and money on experiences, as opposed to objects. He advises taking up an interest in sports or the arts, which will provide longer-term satisfaction than any one purchase. ‘The luster of an experience can actually go up with time,’ he says. ‘So learning to play a new instrument, learning a new language — those sorts of things will pay dividends for years or decades to come.’

When asked about his own happiness level, Buettner admitted that he is incredibly content. After all, he has spent his life in the hot pursuit of adventure and helping others discover how to live longer and smile more. ‘I have always followed exactly what interests me and never really worried about the money,’ he says. ‘And when you think about it, to be able to travel the world … on an expense account and do exactly what interests you, it just doesn’t get much better than that.’ “

Hear the fascinating 6 minute podcast here.

I’ve realized in recent days how truly happy I am for the advent of the internet.  The internet has made it so that the everyday woman/man can realize how valuable their nuanced attributes are.  The internet has created an open space where “the little people” can share their bigness with each other without the direct meddling, filtering, and manipulation of elitist opinion.
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We’re realizing how much we all have to teach and offer each other, a lot more than the top 1% would like to have us to believe.  We no longer have to limit ourselves to the criteria devised by the TOP 1% of the population — the meritorious “chosen ones” of our communities — about what and who is valuable, and what and who is not.
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As I stated in the blog post before this one, I recently began reading Conversations before the end of time, which I LOVE.  I’ve compiled a couple of passages from the book that best sum up how Western Meritocracy is crumbling (within our communities anyway, our foreign affairs are a totally other discussion).  These passages, I believe, encapsulate the exciting changes taking place in the macrocosm of the Western World through the microscope of the art world.
“In my conversation with Barbara Kirshtenblatt-Gimblet, she defines meritocracy as a form of gate-keeping: a way to keep some people in and some people out.
the move away from autonomous art — art that is cut off from any social or communal definitions — is happening whether we like it or not, and is bringing about a very different relationship between artists and the public sphere.

Rejecting the isolationist tendencies of modernism, Richard Shusterman questions the whole enterprise of defining art as a specialized category of objects or activities separate from their influential connection with real life.

Aesthetics can no longer protect itself with a thaumaturgy of ‘formal’ and ‘purist’ values, or a notion of art isolated unto itself, separate from the experience of other things.”