Thursday, September 30, 2004

that time of year

fri 10/01 - jessie diamond and the thousand (dara's band) - lit
sat 10/02 - bloc party - tribeca grand (ugh! posh venue! ugh!)
wed 10/13 - hidden cameras/decemberists/french kicks/miho - bowery
fri 10/15 - mates of state/trail of dead/aesop rock - bowery
sat 10/16 - the faint/tv on the radio - webster
sun 10/31 - le tigre/gravy train!!! - irving
thu 11/11 - hidden cameras/arcade fire- bowery

And I've only got tix to the Faint and Le Tigre. I need to buy these tickets, need to find money to buy them soon. It's a good thing I already bought tix to Le Tigre otherwise I would be very torn now that I know Hidden Cameras AND Feiry Furnaces are playing a Halloween show at Maxwells.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

First of all, you should take Dave's, aka illscientist's poll and let him know that mustaches are so over, had their time with faux-hawks and white belts, and that I would look Grade A stupid with one. For some reason though, he thinks otherwise. Or maybe he doesn't and just wants to laugh at me. Either way, tell him no.

Second of all, it is dreary today after yesterday's monsoon weather. Do you know what that means? Morrissey weather! I had the foresight to bring Morrissey with me yesterday to work and it was the perfect music to listen to as I scurried from place to place under my umbrella - my umbrella which was blown all over the place, which failed to protect me from the sidways rain. The remnants of some hurricane.

I listened to Morrissey as I headed all the way out to Franklin Avenue on the 4 train in Brooklyn, where a police station was located, and where I was to examine photographs of black males between 30 and 35 years of age. One of the police officers set up a computer for me to look at photos, which I did for about five minutes, getting terribly depressed looking at all these mugshots of black males. The computer froze up and I went to the room he was in and told him so. He was watching a reality show on Fox about boxing with a few other cops. He sort of grunted and said that I could just look at them in this room, since he obviously did not want to miss any of the show. He set up the program on one of the computers in this room, half his back turned to watch the tv, and I again looked at mugshots of various black males, all of them becoming a blur, while the tv was blaring in the background along with commentary of all the white cops talking about boxing. I saw a guy that sort of looked like the mugger, but then I looked at the next page and saw another guy who sort of looked like the mugger. I then went back to the last page to compare the two photos to see that really they did not look that much alike, and I asked myself what I was doing there, asked myself if I was part of the problem.

It sounds horrible to say, but I was having trouble distinguishing between all these mugshots of black males, and I asked myself, I ask myself: If it had been a white mugger would I have had an easier time identifying him? I am pretty sure I know what the answer to that, and the answer doesn't sit very well with me, didn't sit very well with me last night, and I was getting increasingly uncomfortable with my inability to recall for certain what the guy looked like and after looking through all the photos in that program, I told the cop that I didn't see him and that I was just going to go home. "Giving up that easy?" he said, ready to show me more photos, and I told him that yes, I couldn't do it anymore, that it was all blurring together and that I was tired. He seemed disappointed with me, and as such I was reluctant to ask for a ride home (even though the other day, they told me if I came out, they would drive me home), and so I hurried out of the station back into the pouring rain. Shoes soaked, socks splashing with each step, made it through this black neighborhood to the station where everyone waiting for the train was black also, and I am not sure I would have been so aware of this normally, but after just looking at all those photos, I was acutely aware of racial distinctions, felt a little uncomfortable waiting there for the train, a little unsafe to be totally honest.

I put on my headphones, put on Morrissey and felt a lot more comfortable, got on the train. Three trains total to get home. Two transfers. The rain was wicked at the Broadway Junction stop where I waited for the L. I can say I live in a diverse neighborhood, can mention Poles, Italians, Puerto Ricans, and Hasidic Jews. On those three trains I rode, waited for, I saw that I live in a really white neighborhood. When people ask me which train I got robbed on, they are always shocked when I tell them, and they say, "You got mugged on the L?" Prior to this, I don't think I had really been aware (or as hyper-aware) of the racial dynamics of various train lines, that the L is a pretty white train line, especially in comparison to the other train lines that run through Brooklyn. It is pretty shocking, the contrast, the segregation.

And maybe it won't be a Morrissey day. The sun is now breaking through, and I can see a slight glare off the roof outside my window.

Monday, September 27, 2004

I am getting sick in that slow way. Where your throat is just sore enough and your nose is just runny enough to be annoying, but not serious enough where you should be lying in bed and doing nothing else. I sort of like that later form of sickness better than this. I am tired because of the sickness, but also because I am trying not to drink coffee to make myself get better quicker. Basically, I don't want to go to work today or ever again. I hate the Strand. I want to puke all over it and all over everybody that shops and works there. I wish I was sick enough to do that.

I have been listening to the new Le Tigre album courtesy of Lauren. I really like it so much. It is nice to have such a quick method of escaping your terrible reality. Normally, being the Strand. As soon as I leave on a break, I will throw on my headphones and instantly be happy, be somewhere else.

I saw Bruce LaBruce's Raspberry Reich last night and if I were not tired and sniffly, I would say a lot about it, but for now I will just say that it is awesome. It is about a gay terrorist group and has lots of sex scenes in it, and lots of slogans: "The Revolution is My Boyfriend," "Join the Homosexual Intifada," "There is No Sexual Revolution Without Homosexual Revolution," "Heterosexuality is the Opiate of the Masses." It reminded me a bit of Sympathy for the Devil and Cecil B. Demented, probably because I was just talking about the Waters movie yesterday. It has that same Waters attitude with a little ragtag band of outlaws fighting social norms. The movie is pretty awesome. It's funny and hot. I went home and masturbated to thoughts of this movie until I fell asleep. I woke up in the middle of the night, thought more about the movie, and jacked off again.

Friday, September 24, 2004

I am now having a hard time noticing the good things about this city. There was the sun setting this evening and the dusk that followed, and that wowed me like it always does on hungover days, but I think that is the nice thing about every place. No matter where you are there is always that beautiful hour of dusk, where people walk slower because the sky is great looking and they were once children and these were there last moments on the block to play before they were called in to dinner.

And obviously the reason I am noticing the ugliness of people today is because I witnessed it in such a major way last night. This afternoon, I was walking through Union Square and there was this old, homeless looking man playing the harmonica to make money. A kid ahead of me, twelve years old or so, a rich looking kid, tossed some change at his feet, did not hand him it to him, did not set it before him, but instead scattered a handful of pennies around his feet so that he had to pick up each fucking penny from where it was thrown. On my way home, I stopped at the Chinese place to pick up an order of dumplings and there was a group of young guys hanging out in there waiting for their food, and one of the boys yelled to this nice, beautiful woman, "Hey Chang, how much longer?" I saw the frustration in her face, and she paused before grudgingly saying way too politely, "It's almost ready."

Both of these things made me so sad, made me want to leave this town for somewhere else, made me wish I had the money to do so. And neither of these incidents would have affected me so much if I already wasn't disgusted with our inability to treat other people as human beings after my treatment last night when I got mugged. I had left Plaid where I went with Luke and some other hot queers to celebrate his birthday. I got into the Union Square subway station, had just missed the train, and tired and drunk, waited about twenty minutes for another train to come. One finally came and I plopped myself down at the empty end of a car because I was tired and didn't want to sit next to anyone. Then this other man got on the train and sat right across from me, which annoyed me since there were so many other empty spaces in the train to sit. I sat there spacing out until I heard him saying something to me. "Huh?" I asked, and he repeated himself: "Which club did you just come from?" He saw the stamp on my hand and I told him which one. He kept on asking more questions, just the where are you heading, how was your night type questions that people hitting on you normally ask. I kept on having to ask him to repeat himself since I couldn't hear him, and so he just came and sat next to me, which I was real annoyed about. After a couple questions, I said, "Look, I am really too tired to try to have a conversation right now. I just want to sit here and space out."

He went back over to his seat and I felt even more uncomfortable now and really wanted to move, but did not want to seem rude or make him uncomfortable. That was definitely a decision that I regretted this morning. He shortly came back over and sat next to me, and asked me if I had any money I could spare him. I told him no, that I am far too broke to part with any money. He asked again and gently set his hand on my knee. I said, "Hey, don't touch me." He had an intense, crazy look in his eyes in response to this, and guided me with his eyes to his other hand where there was a razor blade sitting in his palm. He asked again if I could spare him any money. I told him that I didn't have any money, told him how little money I make an hour, told him that I eat chickpeas for dinner, and that no, I cannot spare him any money. He then told me that I could run, screaming, hollering through the trains, but that he would catch me, and did I know how easily a razor can cut my throat.

"Now, I am not asking for a lot, just whatever you can give me, ten or fifteen." This, with the razor near my leg. "All right," I said, "I can give you two dollars. Then will you leave me alone?" Sure, he lied. Once I opened my wallet though, which I tried to do away from his eyesight, he said come on just one more dollar, make it three. I consented like you do when someone is threatening you with a razor. He then sat there staring at me intensely, saying that I had lied to him. "You lied to me. You said you didn't have any money on you. You don't do that. You don't lie to people. Especially in Brooklyn. I saw at least fifty in there. Now let me see your wallet." I hemmed and hawed, tried to interrupt him, thought about telling him you also don't steal from people, don't threaten them, forget fucking lying, but didn't (probably for the best), because I was cut off, him telling me how last week, he had to slice a girl, young too, that wouldn't listen. As you probably also would have done at this news (a lie or not), I handed him my wallet. He took out the cash, my money to eat and ride the subway this week. I told him this also, that that's what he was taking, and of course, he didn't care. He handed me my wallet back, told me not to get off, to stay seated, as he exited at the Bedford station. He stood right by the door until they were closed to make sure I didn't get up. The train I was on was pretty full, but apparently no one noticed this, that or no one cared to say anything.

I got off at the very next stop, the Lorimer stop, and ran to the tollbooth attendant to tell her that I had just been mugged on the train, that the guy just got off the Bedford stop and to alert the police. I was hoping that this person could still be caught. Leisurely, she called the police and told them, and told me that an officer would be by soon and to wait there. I waited close to fifteen minutes (!!!) in front of the tollbooth before the police called her back and told me to walk to the police station which apparently is right in the subway station. Why the hell wasn't I told to go there fifteen minutes ago? I gave a description of the incident to a policeman who filled out a few forms and this took at least half an hour. Then, at the end, he told me that there was a cop waiting at the top of the stairs to drive me around and see if I spotted the guy. Annoyed, I asked him if that was really going to do any good to go looking for someone an hour after the fact. He assured me that it might do good. I met the two officers upstairs, told them what happened and told them that it had happened an hour ago. Shocked, they said, "An hour ago?!" And I got in the car, was driven around and both of them talked about how outrageous this was, how there is a policeman in the Bedford stop and that he should have been called by the dispatcher right away, how there were six cars waiting to go at the Lorimer station, and someone should have put me in a car immediately to look for the guy, rather than an hour after the fact. I was glad to hear that the people downstairs had messed things up, because I was really wondering if this was standard procedure. These two cops were nice and smart, and I think they were going to go complain about how poorly this was handled, which is nice of them to care, but also pretty obnoxious that the people downstairs were so inept.

I spent the day asleep and annoyed, conjuring superhero fantasies about dropkicking this subway asshole, thought about power, how a tiny piece of metal had the effect of rendering me powerless and how it has always been this way, how those with weapons will always be able to render those without them impotent, will be able to dictate what happens.

Yesterday, I wanted to tell you all about the great exhibits I saw, now I don't have the energy. But, I will just say that the Hernan Bas show at Daniel Reich is amazing, filled me with wonderful sensations. These are the best paintings I have seen in so long. And I have to remember these paintings, the people I saw yesterday, have to remember that for the most part yesterday filled with so much joy. I am sure that joy is still there, it was not devoured by the incidents later in the night, that it is just shaded by the event, in hiding, but I have to keep loving, bring it into the light, keep talking to strangers, have to not fear certain people, have to keep in mind that everyone is a human being, my sibling.
I was planning on coming home and masturbating to remembrances of seeing many of my crushes' penises tonight, but now I am nervous and may lock my bedroom door, and want to feel safe, cannot even muster the horniness needed. I was held up on the subway with a razor blade, lost all the money I currently have in the world ($48), and have spent the last hour at the police station bored and thirsty. I am going to drink lots of water and sleep forever. Tomorrow, I will tell you about the dicks, about all the great art shows this afternoon, about Plaid, and the story you really want to hear involving me, a man named Lord, and a razor blade.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Two days ago, that was in fact someone trying to break into our house. Our landlord did not hire a handyman. I think to the, "What if's": What if we had not been home; What if it had just been one of us, as opposed to the downstairs guy, Jillian, and I; What if we had outright accused him of lying about being a handyman and being an intruder - would if he gotten aggresive? Not that I am in a wealthy setup, not hardly, but appearantly more so than intruder guy - and should I feel sympathy for him? But can I also be fearful and sympathetic? Beacause I am. And things like this make me sad, that this is neccesary for someone's survival, that while it does strike at my saftey, stability, and finances - these three things are all enabled, are all created by the mass of people lacking these three things. So, I can't really get angry about what happens, just sad that it must.

Yesterday, my job interview did not go so well. This did not make me so much sad, as frustrated. Before the interview, Melissa showed me around what is more of a printing press, rather than a copy shop . I was very overwhelmed with everything, especially her assumptions that I knew how to operate presses. For example, Melissa says: "Oh, that's the one color press, there's the two color one. That's the four color one. And that's the four color digital one, which doesn't need plates. But don't worry, you already know plates." I didn't contradict her and really wondered what I had ever said to her to give her this impression that I knew how to operate industrial presses. Then, I sat down with owner guy, Chris, an old Korean who didn't speak much English and blinked his eyes every five seconds like he was on speed. Things were going all right until he asked me about my Illustrator experience. I confessed that I had never used Illustrator but that I had knew Photoshop, so I could probably learn it easily.

He told me that Illustrator is the main program they use there, and then talked about the specifics of color formatting for a two color print job which seemed way above my skill level. He then said he now had reservations about hiring me since I didn't know Illustrator, even though Melissa never mentioned this program at all, said all I needed to know was Quark and Photoshop. So, I think that I was going to get the job, but now am probably not. He said he would call me by the end of the week to let me know after he interviewed a couple more people.

When I got to the Strand yesterday, I gave Ben the man's business card so he could apply for the job since he knows all of these programs and is excited by this kind of work, whereas I think getting the job would give me a nervous breakdown, being responsible for so much technical stuff. Tomorrow and Friday, my goal is to apply at every temp agency possible.

Did you hear? Mates of State in a CMJ show, October 15? (Sidenote to Dave: Aesop Rock is playing at this same showcase). Gravy Train and Le Tigre doing a Halloween show? But is that how I want to spend Halloween?

Monday, September 20, 2004

In disturbing news, I was reading in bed, and I noticed an eye peering through the large gaping hole in my door where normally a doornob would be. I don't have a doornob, just a gaping hole, and a padlock since it was too difficult to install when I first moved in. But, I noticed someone with their head bent down to the hole peering in. I thought it was Jillian and I was a bit annoyed that she would not just knock, rather than peer in. I was glad I was not masturbating, got up, opened the door, and saw a large, unfamiliar, black man on at my door. He asked me where the super was.


I told him on the first floor and was puzzled why he was on my floor but too shocked and taken by surprise to question him. He went down to the first floor. I started to write this here in the living room with the door open in case he came back upstairs so I would hear him. At the point where those two stars interrupt this narrative, I walked to the door to just peer down the stairs and see if he was still around and found him out in my hallway again. He had obviously tried to make as little noise as possible coming back up, and he told me that no one was down there on the first floor and did I know a way he could get in contact with them. I said no, and asked me what he wanted, who he was. He told me his name was Anthony and that he was the handy man, that they had hired him to do some work, like fix the hole in my door. And I knew he was lying right then. And if you knew my landlords, you would too. They do not fix anything, especially stuff they aren't asked to fix.

I asked him how he got in. Our front door is open because the door handle fell off. It falls off just about every week. But the second set of doors is normally locked. He said they weren't locked. I asked him if he could lock them on his way out. The man on the second floor then asked him not to lock it because he is waiting for the Terminex guy to call. After Anthony left, I went downstairs and told second floor guy about what just happened and he agreed that it was weird, that Iris definitly would not hire a handyman, that they don't fix up anything. Not to be totally offensive, but it was pretty obvious that this man wouldn't be doing work around the house because he was black. They don't hire people, they have their Spanish speaking realtives and friends come over and fix things up when they reach absolute levels where something must be done. So, I am little worried that this man knows how unsecure our house and my room is.

But when I had first started to write this, I was breifly going to tell the disturing news and then the exciting news. Tomorrow morning, I am supposed to stop by the copy shop (Jenex Graphics) to talk to the owner, Chris, and to hopefully be hired. Whoo! Whoo! Whoo! U-S-A! U-S-A!

Sunday, September 19, 2004

head on

The cold weather came in quickly without much transition. Yesterday, when I went to lunch at work, it was cold outside. I was only in a t-shirt and needed something to protect me from the chilly wind. I went to the Salvation Army, put on a sweatshirt, and walked out wearing it. I clasped the sweatshirt together against the wind trying to reach my skin. And this act, huddling against a chilly wind brought me into the happy land of nosalgia, of doing this same act every fall, of fall rock music (think Jesus and Mary Chain), and I felt like a different person. Fall is mood lighting sans the tackiness, a more natural, more rock version.

Also on my break yesterday, I ran into Melissa and now I have good news, something to look forward to, a reason to cross these fingers of mine. I was complaining about still working at the Strand and telling her that I was going to apply at temp agencies this week, and she asked me if I knew Quark and Photoshop. I said that I sort of knew Quark and barely knew Photoshop, both perhaps slight exaggerations. I haven't used either program once in three years. She then got really excited and told me that I should take her job, since she is an art director now at some magazine and needs to leave this copy shop job of hers, but I guess needs to find someone to replace her. The job would pay twelve an hour and would be a nine to five job. I was so excited about this, am a little less so today. Last night when I was e-mailing her my resume and cover letter to forward to her boss, I thought about how unqualified for this job I might be. I am scared that I will get the job, which would start real soon, and not remember either of the two programs and mess up in some gigantic way. I got a Photoshop book last night to refresh my memory, and am going to go hang out in Barnes and Noble's a lot to read their Quark books.

But I would also really love that chance to learn these new skills, to do pre-press stuff at a fancy print shop. I've always wanted to do work with the technical side of printing, and this is basically that chance. So we will wait a couple days and see whether boss man likes my resume or not, and until that time, I will be learning and relearning these programs in case I do get this job. God, I love getting excited, and this coninciding with the abrupt change in weather is making me so giddy. The coffee also. And the J and M Chain. And the way I feel tonight / Oh, I could die and I wouldn't mind / And there’s something going on inside / Makes you want to feel, makes you want to try / Makes you want to blow the stars from the sky / I can’t stand up, I can’t cool down / I can’t get my head off the ground.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

I went out with my mom to dinner last night. It was the first time I had seen her since Easter. I had spent the day cleaning my house, getting things cleared up at Hunter and tried making my life seem a little more presentable. I have been living in the exact same situation for a year and a half now. I have been in New York for that long, have had the same job at a bookstore for that long, have created nothing, had one brief romantic involvement, and have been too content with too many aspects of my life. I am not really sure that I have developed much as a person here in any big way. I am better read and more knowledgeable about art, but so what? Am I better person because of it?

So whenever, I am about to see my mom again, I rush and do things beforehand so that I have things to tell her, so I can make it seem not only to her, but to myself, that I am doing things with my life, that I am progressing toward something. There was this line in David Sedaris’ new book that stood out not only because it was a moment of sharp insight, but also because it was the only one to appear in the book. A stranger comes into his house, his disordered house, and only in those moments does one sees how one’s house actually looks, how messy it is, when the eyes of someone else notices those things. Seeing my mom produces a similar effect. It is not so much an attempt to please my mom, but the stunning realization that my house is disgusting. My life is just as messy, just as in need of cleaning.

My mom had highlights in her hair, a new thing. It was odd when I saw her walking down the street approaching me and saw that her hair was not totally brown. When our bodies met, when we hugged, I saw that her hair was longer also. Her boy haircut that she has had ever since I can remember has grown out. It looked really good. I asked about it, and she said that it’s the first time she’s had long hair since college. She was wearing a really nice suit, and a pink shirt. These were all shocking to see. My mom does not wear bright colors often, or didn’t. She even had a pink handbag and pink nail polish. She had nails. Normally she chewed her nails and had none. She was even wearing pumps. Normally, I am used to seeing my mom doing that female bureaucrat habit of wearing ugly sneakers with a nice outfit. It was really nice to see my mom making changes. I think she is really enjoying her life now that both her kids are grown and my dad is out of the picture. It makes me really happy to see this, and if my mom can continue to change and improve in middle age, than surely I, twenty some years younger than her, can find a drive, can find the desire to will happiness, the life I want.

The remnants of Ivan have been causing the occasional shower this evening. I walked through one on my way to the grocery store under the protection of an umbrella. While waiting at an intersection to cross, I looked up at a streetlamp and saw the rain furiously passing beneath it, looking like snow. Add this to my favorite sights in this world: precipitation passing in front of the yellow halo of a streetlamp.

Most of this day was spent incredibly hungover. I did manage however to go to the dermatologist and to Hunter. The rest of the day, though, totally shot, and spent sleeping or trying to in my bed, my body aching from the insane quantity of rum I consumed last night at the Hole. It was that ten dollar all you can drink deal, and this always causes me to way overindulge. And rum makes me a little more wild than I normally would be. I danced to lots of fun music, smoked some pot, talked to various people including Andrew Hossack, who I secretly wanted to make out with. I then did make out with this boy I had traded shirts with at a party back in March. And I gave him brief head at the bar. I stopped though to dance to a Violent Femmes song.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

At the Cock last night, I smoked so much weed with Allen, and really that was my night, being gleefully stoned and dancing around to eighties music. I remember dirty dancing with Adrian (my kind of crush) to a rock song, and I was sort of aware that that was not how one danced to pounding, alt-rock songs, but not caring because we kept grinding our crotches into one another, and I felt his back under his shirt, and liked the feeling. There was a strobe going that contributed to this erotic haze also. See also: chronic.

Waiting about twenty minutes for the subway to come while I was stoned out of my mind was not so fun. I was acutely aware of sound, the lack of it, how there were all these groups of people on the platform, but none talking. I kept on hearing a metallic whir whir, and had no idea where it was coming from, or what, it could even possibly be. I watched the rats on the other platform scatter back and forth and dive in and out of little holes in the wall. They never looked more cute.

When I got off the subway, I picked up a carton of milk, a chocolate chip muffin, and a candy bar. I ate them walking home, washing down each yummy bite with a yummy gulp of milk.

Monday, September 13, 2004

There is a glare on the roof right outside my window. I looked at, happy, not shielding my eyes, as I just smoked a rolled cigarette. This morning I read a large chunk of Russell Banks' The Darling, and enjoyed it much more than the chunk I read of it yesterday. There are things I repeat each day. Will I also enjoy them more today? It is a sunny day, warm, and I know that they are few now that it is nearing the middle of September. Soon the green leaves on the trees behind this glaring roof will fall to the ground. A man showed me his dick yesterday, a homeless man named James. Smoking in Union Square, he started to jack off in front of me until a cop car pulled up near. I touched his dick through his pants. It was really large. I am going to work now, will listen to music until I get there, and am hoping that when I take off my headphones, this feeling will not end, that it can be sustained without the soundtrack.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

The inside of my right thigh hurts and I just limped back from the grocery store. I rode on the back of Peter's bike seat while he stood up and pedaled last night from Chelsea to SoHo. It was hurting at the time, negotiating ass space on this not very sturdy bike seat, but it is today, that I am paying the real costs. Last night, I saw two video art shows in Chelsea that I was real impressed by: Pipolliti Rist at Luhring Augustine, and Annika Larsson at Andrea Rosen. There is also a video show by Shannon Plumb that I saw Thursday night somewhere (I can't find a listing for it) on 20th Street. Normally, I am not impressed by video art, but all three of these shows, I really loved a lot. I must go back soon and spend more time with them and with everything else that I zipped by, and everything else that I didn't have time to zip by. God, there are so many shows up right now, it is really crazy.

Then after Peter biked me to SoHo, I met up with Ramsey and Niki and saw the Terry Richardson and Nari Ward shows at the Deitch spaces. It was a mad scene with Wooster street closed off because the entire block was filled with people, all presumably there for the Richardson show. A bunch of Vice reading, trendy rich kids (trying to avoid saying "hipsters") all out there to see one of Vice's big names. I am not that big a Richadson fan, especially not of the stuff on view last night, all shots of him getting blowjobs from chicks with dicks. I am a little wary of this whole school of contemporary photographers that have descended from Nan Goldin. Tillmans, McGinley, and pretty much everyone that's doing photography and adored by young, trendy kids.

I sometimes feel like a moralist at events like these, where there is a room full of my peers, a whole street full of them outside waiting to get in, and all presumbably liking the art on view. I want to ask what this stuff is saying. Is there anything behind the veneer of hip naughtiness? What's the fucking point? Does it do anything besides shock and provoke giggles? At what cost, though? Stuff like this photo show and Vice though solider on and add more people to its rolling snowball of stupidity, amoralism, and trendiness. When I saw that mass of people on the street, a whole street full, I knew that there was no stopping this force, that no matter how much I deride it in conversation, there are always three people that outnumber me, a force, telling me that it's just funny. I am not sure they realize the significance of the qualifying just, that that might be all it is, funny, and maybe not even that, when what the source of that humor is, is examined.

Just funny. That is not what I want from art. I don't want just anything. I want it all. I even expect my humor to be more than just funny. That says nothing. Where is the point of connection between me and that, or even you and that, you and I? Where the fuck is the reckless beauty, the showing me the treasure in your hands?

Friday, September 10, 2004

aryan nation, or look what i can do with my new camera phone

Yesterday, riding from somewhere to somewhere else on the subway in that state of mind where neither the destination nor the starting point was relevant, my attention was caught, I was whipped out of one dreamland, whipped violently into another unreal land, a nightmareland. I got up from my seat to see if the sign really said what I thought it said, and seeing that it did, I thought I had to take pictures just to document the outrageousness. Pills selling whiteness, equating whiteness with beauty, albeit under the coded name of European. The first part says, "Are European Women More Beautiful?" The ad then answers the question, presuming that normally the answer would be yes, but saying, "There's No Chance Now." Of course, that being if you buy the pills, aptly and terrifyingly called "Perfectil." I was so dismayed by this sign, thought about starting a chant, "You're selling whiteness, and we're not buying." Dreamed of defacing the offensive sign. Not that most advertising also does not equate whiteness with beauty, but they at least don't come out and say so explicitly. It is the subtext that one can read if they choose to. This ad makes me so mad.

Thursday, September 9, 2004

i think they call this passive aggresive

Tonight was pretty much the big bang opening of the gallery season with about fifty openings occurring in a five block radius, and of course, booze hound that I am, I was there for the start. And really, since I was, you would think I would have more to say about art or the pieces I saw, but really I did not pay attention to most of the art, and the stuff I did look at, I don't remember. I do remember boys however. Adrian came along with Peter, Joe, and two girls (whose names I cannot remember even though one was Peter's sister). Luke eventually met up with us, as did Adrian's dreamy roommate, Dustin. My crush on Adrian had definitely waned.

But then there is the appearance of another boy, a boy whom you would scold me for still liking, but whose name I will reveal anyways: Matt. Yes, and I should not still like him, should not still have a crush on him when there are eight million other boys. But, at the last opening (one curated by Jerry Saltz, who I saw!!!), I saw him and was excited, yes. The gallery was packed, was huge, took up practically the whole fifteenth floor. There were people carrying around trays of food. It was that type of opening. And I went in seach of more beer and joined this mass of people that was moving one way against another mass of people that were moving the opposite way. I saw Matt moving in the opposite flow and tried to turn around to avoid walking past him, but then thought better, that I should not hide, and kept walking straight, but Matt had caught sight of my hesitation and when I passed him, he said, "Way to totally freak out." And I confessed that I had been trying to avoid him but that I decided to be brave and get beer even if I would have to pass him. Then his crowd and mine thrust us in opposite directions, almost acting like people concered on my behalf, keeping me away from this boy who has treated me like shit.

These crowds were not outside the building though to keep me away when I saw him hanging out front. I ran up to him and talked to him about his summer, about mine, about our necklaces, and then before I could say anything I would regret, I waved good-bye and ran up to Adrian and Dustin. We walked toward the subway. Adrian and Dustin continued on to Pianos. I headed back to Brooklyn with Peter and Joe to Metropolitian. On the subway ride there, I saw our reflections, the three of us, in the window across from us. It was not a pretty sight. I saw three young men totally unsuccesful with boys, hung up on people not interested, and all not doing anything with their lives. BFL plural: Big Fucking Losers. At Metropolitian, Joe confronted me about being a dick to him while Peter was on his cellphone. I sort of shyed away from answering his questions, not telling him that I am, that yeah, I am annoyed with him lately, that I spend far too much time with him, and that I have been trying to cultivate friendships with new people. I left shortly after the confrontation and my failure to say anything. I took my shoes off as soon as I left the bar because they were hurting my feet. I walked home barefoot, my shoes under my arm, to the stares of many people shocked (so it seemed) that I was walking NY streets barefoot. I made it home without cutting my feet, turned off the water to our apartment, since the bathtub has been running all day (something that would take too much time explain, and cause too much irritation to even try to), and now am thinking about boys, what they mean, and why, why it is that I desire them, and why it is rarely the reverse. And I don't have any running water. I have little pride, even less hope, and I am going to go to bed and wait for the plumber to get here, and hope that sweet dreams, sweet, sweet ones may visit me this early September night.

Sunday, September 5, 2004

Last night, I was sad until I went on to the top of a roof, a large roof out in Bushwick and talked to lots of cute homosexuals, and marveled at the lack of a skyline, at how beautiful the sky looked orange, foggy and backlit by all the light pollution in New York. It was a marvelous sight which was the backdrop to last night, to conversations with fun people I intend to spend more time with, to a forty ounce of Budweiser being drunk, and to more than a few cigarettes being smoked.

But up until this party, I was sad. And the reason, the reasons are petty, are nothing new. And the sadness was provoked my someone else's good news. Joanna, one of my managers, told me that she was going to be quitting the Strand to try to go to college. I am over the Strand, have been for a while, and all of these people that have been there since I have been there are all leaving or have already left. Joanna was just the straw that broke the camel's back. I thought about how much I don't want to work there any longer, how I need to find a new job, how daunting that would be, and how unsuccesful I may be in my attempts to get a new job. I make absolutely nothing. I am often bored there. I am not striving to be successful. I would be happy doing many things. I was happy at the Strand for a long time, but things run out of steam, and I need to hop around, to do other things. There is a lyric in a Bob Seger song that I never paid attention to until a couple months ago. It was just one of those moments where the lyrics of a song will conincide with the current problems in your life. The lyric was advice someone gave him, advice I liked the sound of also: "The trick you said, was never play the game too long."

I don't know if that means anything to you, but at the moment that meant about the world to me, it was why I feared staying there too long all summed up in a nice little song lyric, about even staying here in New York, about stasis and progression, and which side I was going to take in the battle. When I think about my time at the Strand, that I have spent a year and some months there, and how there is no visible end on the approaching horizion beside the desired one, then I start to get really sad and lose hope, want to move away.

Today, this crisis was reignited when I found out that Matt, my crush and my fave employee, no longer worked there, had got a job doing silk screening. I almost wanted to leave work and go home and cry, to curl up and pity myself. This bout of sadness also was halted by the company of a homosexual. I went to Union Square and was smoking a cigarette on a bench and this boy sat at the bench across from me and I did not even really notice him. I got up from the bench to go sit in my favorite spot, at the top of the tiny park across from Circuit City. I like to sit at the top of that park, outside of it, on the fence, behind the potted plants. There I can watch the traffic from both sides of the traffic island, merge into one street. I really like watching this and no one else ever sits there except for the occasional homeless person. I had my headphones on, listening to "Triumph of a Heart" on repeat, watching the traffic visuals, and I saw this same cute boy walking toward me. I was sure he wanted a cigarette or a light and saw that he had both, so I was a little confused why he was there and thought he might just be walking across the street. He sort of stood near me. I lifted my headphones to hear him, and he asked if I wanted to talk.

I put my headphones around my neck and talked to him. It was an awkward conversation, partly because he is from Turkey and doesn't speak English perfectly, and probably more so, because he wanted sex, and thought I did also. I told him I was just on my break from work. When I was getting ready to head back to work, he asked me when I got off. I told him ten thirty (it was then probably nine) and he sounded excited, but I told him I was going to go to a bar after work. He said he didn't really like bars and then during our awkward good-bye, he sort of apologized and sort of insulted me by saying, "Sorry. If I knew you were at work, I wouldn't have talked to you." I don't know whether to take that as positive that some cute boy wanted to have annonymous sex with me, or to read it the other way, that I look like a slutty fag who would get with just about anyone. Either way, the encounter made me full of adrenaline and I totally forgot about how much I hate my job. Will males, will human bodies, and the possibilty, even the remote one of sex, always have this ability to make me forget about everything else in the world; to fill me with an erotic joy which numbs me to everything? And is this for the better or the worse, that sex, boys, penises, and even the slightest chance of contact with them can make me forget about everything else in the world? What was I saying about the Strand?

Friday, September 3, 2004


Walking up Grand Street toward Washington Mutual, the sun was at back, making its descent. A man was sitting on the stairs outside a building and playing with a lighter, setting the flame to the back of his hand. I did not know what he was doing. I had thought he was gay before I saw him setting fire to his hand. Afterwards, I was no longer so sure.

Walking down Grand Street, home from the bank, the sun was in my eyes, making its descent. The street, the buildings all had that early morning or late afternoon glow about them when the sun is near the horizion. I crossed over Manhattan Street, right next to Matt's house and remembered walking home from his house early each morning to a similiar sight, and how happy it would make me to see the day starting and the sun just coming up. Shuttered buildings unshuttering. This afternoon, some buildings were in the process of shuttering, some already shuttered.

At the grocery store between the bank and my house, Key Food, I bought two cans of chickpeas, a cucumber, and a quart of milk. I stole a nice bag of coffee and salmon in a bag. The total was two thirty nine. I paid two forty and do not remember what the penny I got in change looked like.

I am going to play Trivial Pursuit tonight. The sun is still up. I am happy today. The new Bjork album is amazing. "Who Is It" is my favorite song so far. Talking to people, I find that everyone has a favorite song, a different favorite song, and no one is really familiar with anyone else's favorite song yet. I have been listening to the same song or two over and over again, and it appears other people have also. Talking to Rupert about the album, he told me about his favorite song, saying it had "mouth" in the title, but could not recall any lyrics, but did a good job describing the song and his reaction to it. I told him about "Who Is It" and he didn't recall it at all. Both of us agreed to go listen to these songs. And I went home and realized how pretty this "Mouth's Cradle" is. I really like sharing with people objects I love, and having other people share objects they love with me, and seeing what other people find beautiful. It allows me to appreciate the song better, looking for this beauty, knowing that someone else thought it was so melodic.

I finished reading Stephen Elliot's Happy Baby today, which is depressing and beautiful, and a totally differnt portrayal of the foster kid system than the really clean image presented in the background of Motherless Brooklyn. It is interesting to read these books in sequence because otherwise, I don't think I would have noticed what a benign view of the foster system MB has. However, HB sort of annoyed me with its hit-you-over-the-head life is awful bit. I also thought it was depressing (although probably true) the causal system of abuse and just general fucked-up-ness. How this happened because of this event earlier which was caused by this earlier event. The book has a reverse chronological set-up, going from his fucked up adult life to his fucked up childhood in and out of various foster homes to his own fucked up parents. This sort of social determinism really grates on me, and I want to say that it is not true, that it is not how things work, but it probably is. Maybe I want puppy dogs and lollipops from my fiction. Maybe I do read to escape. Maybe you do, too.

I went into the Strand to pick up my paycheck to see that walls had been taken down, and there is a huge staircase connecting all the floors in the middle of the store. The now removed walls that were hiding this construction were erected soon after I started working there. I am sort of glad that I was witness to these three stages of the Strand. The before, the construction, and the after. They are rushing to make it look nice before their big tv debut this Sunday on C-Span 2, when Art Spiegelman will be reading along some others. Maud Newton even mentioned it, and for some reason this made me oddly excited to have this store blurbed in some blog I read.

I am drinking iced coffee. My living room is now pretty dark to the point where I should turn on a lamp. It was not so when I started writing this.
Last night, thinking I hadn't done enough to protest this week, I took advantage of the last good chance, and headed into the city at about nine to meet Joe at Union Square. From there, we walked up to 31st and 8th where ANSWER was having a rally. As soon as we had got up there, the police were dispersing the crowd and sending them back downtown marching. So we headed back toward Union Square, and before getting there, we heard synchronized shouting a couple blocks away. "Move Bush, get out the way, get out the way." A cheer, which I thought was hilirious when I first heard it on Sunday since it is done to the tune of that silly hip-hop song, and which I still found terribly amusing last night. So we headed toward the shouting crowd and of course, ran into a pack of Strand employees (Dave, Keith, Will, Erin, and Joanna). We then marched back up the route we had just walked up and down. This time, the streets completely closed off as thousands of us marched, taking up a few blocks. We marched right ahead of this really rad marching band. Once at 30th and 8th again, the police had barricaded off the streets to prevent further marching and some people sat down to protest, and rumor was that the police were going to arrest everyone in the pen who was still in it at 11:30, and so at 11:20, Joe and I left. On the way to the subway, I ran into the Radcliffe brothers for the third time that evening. I think it is so funny that in this crowd of thousands in town for the protests, I keep encountering these siblings from Florida.

I talked to one crush yesterday, Adrian, at the Strand until the owner, Nancy, scolded me for not shelving. We talked about ways of continuing QueerFist after the RNC leaves town. I really like him and am inspired by his idealism. I am inspired by the idealism and tirelessness of half of this town this week. I have had brief conversations with so many random activists, all working for change, doing so with a smile, happy people. This week has made me so happy and I think a large part of the reason for this feeling of happiness is that it reminds me, harkens back to the activist energy at New College. It feels so wonderful to be surrounded by this large mass of people progressive and proud about it. This week is probably the first time I have experienced this feeling since leaving New College. Could this also be that there is such a large contingent of New College folks here? Regardless, I am so excited that Adrian is taking lots of initiative to see that this energy extends past the convention, to continue QueerFist in other ways, to create a more radical community here in New York, where I can feel a similar feeling.

BTW, two short days, I did a brave thing. I called Scott's number after asking for it, asked him if he wanted to do something this week, and most likely will go dancing with him at Raffifi's this evening. Is this what it feels like to not act neurotic and actually talk to people you like? Baby steps, baby steps. Dr. Leo Marvin.