At semi-regular intervals, she spoke to save her life, or something like it.
Tuesday, May 07, 2002
Ok, so I think I'm getting sick-- I'm all tired and parched with an itchy throat. How did this happen? Last month I was sick for weeks. I take vitamins, eat all these salads... Why???
I have two piles of papers that must be graded by Thursday. How will I ever muster the stregth to teach tonight, especially after grading all day? No Fun. It's going to be an echinachea and red pen day.
On a good note, I just got Lainie's interview for the 1983 issue of Die Cast Garden. She just rocks-- totally inspiring and fiercely productive.
Ok, now to the soul-stealing papers. (Seems like it's time for a new job, huh? Or at least a little break).
Ok, so I think I'm ironing this whole blog thing out-- you can just type HTML into your post. So maybe I am a little slow, but I'm getting it. Next stop.. monkeying with the template. But I'll save that for later.
On Saturday we went to the vintage clothing expo in Santa Monica because my friend Joey had a booth there and got us in free. Check out the website for his store Geez Louise Vintage. (see-- I'm using the power of HTML in my blog!!) Actually, I designed that site. It was such a blast to do. When I grow up I want to be a web designer.
Anyway, the expo was mildly interesting, but filled with overpriced collectable vintage. Not really wearable stuff. And I felt like every vendor whose wares I rumaged knew I had NO MONEY. Sad. In fact, I did break down and buy one beaded 50's choker, and another fab celluloid necklace with a black heart and speckled leaves on a pink celluiod chain. That woman's prices were reasonable, but as I paid her she kept saying how she keeps her prices down because she knows young people don't have a lot of money, and it's young people who have been her best customers.
Now, what to make of this? I was kinda flattered she considered me a "young person," because teaching will take that feeling right out of you and make you just feel like a senior in cronesville. At UCI when I taught there we used to joke about it. You get older but the students, year after year, are always 18. Dorian Gray students! At the JC it's not so bad, especially teaching night classes, as the students are often my age or older. But that presents its own problems. Try failing a 45 year old woman with grown children because, really, she can't read very well and every one else has passed her on, so now she arrives in your research and argument class, expecting to be able to fake it yet again.
So that was a teaching tangent. The second thing that the vintage vendor implied was that I didn't have much money. I mean-- does it really show that badly? I suppose so.
But the worst thing about the vintage show was how discouraged I was. I love vintage stuff, not only is it cooler, but it's good to use the things that have already been produced. And I mean *use* them, not put them in a case. I think that's the thing about the whole "collector" aspect, is it just gives me the creeps. It seems to fight mortality in this vampiric way-- if objects are saved from use and ruin, somehow we will be, too-- that it will count for something later, either in life or after. I don't believe that-- let the museums take care of that, and the rest of us use up the emphemera of the 20th century.
I'm sure that those vendors at least doubled their prices for the show-- and there were some LA costume designer types loading up boxes-- thousands of dollars worth of stuff. So in comparison, me hovering indecisively over a $30 necklace does mark me as "not much money." But I see that even Salvation Army (who have really homophobic policies, anyway) has caught this fever and consistently asks too much for its wares. Now, when it's cheaper to go to Target and get mass-produced, slave labor goods than it is to buy vintage or just plain used stuff-- we're in trouble.
The other update of note was last night we went to the Parlor Club to hear Ron Athey read. If you don't know of his work, he's visionary. Check out his site. He's putting together a new performance based on his life with his schitzophrenic mother. I think he's just performed it in Amsterdam, but the LA performances haven't been arranged yet. I've seen him perform twice, both times utter life changing. But his performance at Beyond Baroque for the Kathy Acker memorial was completely unforgettable. He came out dressed in this amazing black gown, like a Glenda the Good Witch Death Goddess-- his eyes sparkling with rhinestones (and the thing is, he's incredibly manly-- so this was a total transformation.) His lips were then peirced in such a way that they were turned outward, so he was transformed into this sex-doll silent thing. But there was no blood, until the needles were taken out and then the blood came like this forgiving, knowing path down his face. It was such a wonderful tribute to Acker, who turned sex and the body inside out to get to that very same trickle of life. It was the kind of catharsis I rarely feel, and it was profound.
He read last night about his performance process and said that he channels the same power he used when speaking in tongues in church as a boy when he had to speak to this "tall god". Yes, I completely sense this, and as far as I know, he's the only person who is harnessing spiritual ritual in this way. I spoke to him at Beyond Baroque after the performance and his lips wer amanzingly unmarked-- truly as if he were a magician of some sort. He was so kind an genuine, very charismatic and gracious.
But I also spoke to him last night and I was totally awkward. I'm good in writing, but in person, especially with some one I admire so profoundly, I turn into this Little Miss Nobody. I think what I said to him was pretty blathering, but he was still very gracious to me. I asked him if he got my email that I had sent-- so stupid of me-- how would he know without a context? Then I told him that I was an online editor and would like him to send us work, I asked him if he remembered Rick K., an old aquaintance of his. He didn't, but he still listened, and then Lydia Lunch, that queen of whine, escorted him away to read. But at moments like that I feel I have nothing at all to offer but my own sincerity, and maybe that's not enough, an that makes me sad.
OK, and can I just say that Lydia Lunch looked really bad? And not because she's getting old, as we all are, but she just looked tired, and conventional, like a bargain basement Barbara Stiesand-- that blond stringy dye job! Now I know I'm being catty, but of course she relied on her old crabby-girl-cynicism, complaining about Mother's Day and how she couldn't train straight guys to pull pearls from their asses.
I will probably further the humiliation of my exchange with Mr. Athey by writing to him again, reminding him of our meeting and sending on the URLs. I feel like a schmoozer, but I really, really would like to publish his work. And I would like him to know he's made a difference in my life.