Friday, June 6, 2008

stand back

At the Gay Center yesterday, there was a Cockettes symposium, many Cockettes, now in middle age, there to talk about their experiences with the group. Also on this panel was Mink Stole of John Waters fame. It was interesting to see these people in the flesh, but the recent documentary, featuring many of the same people, covered much of the same ground. There were some really interesting anecdotes that were shared but I thought more often about these people now and these people then, about what age does to a person, how it neuters them in some way (or at least gives that appearance to me, someone in my twenties). I tried to imagine myself in thirty years time, what my body, my person, would like. I thought about that and also about communities of friends, of artists, really inspired by these like-minded friends letting their freak flag fly and making something from that. The inclusion of Mink Stole in this discussion furthered these thoughts, particularly when someone referred to the eastern seaboard group when talking about movements all across the country occurring around this time, and by that geographical group, he meant John Waters and his circle of stars. I had never thought of them so clearly in those terms as an artistic community, a group - more often than not, I tend to think of it in the terms of a single person, Waters. With Mink Stole up there, I hung on to her every word, me being a long-time Waters' fan, his movies really what awoke in me in high school this current self of mine, what set me off on the right path - and here was one of the stars of all those great early movies, talking about their community in Baltimore and their process of filming these beautiful objects that have so influenced me.

From these thoughts about these two groups across the country, I thought about the impact of both and about how the lifespans of an unfilmed theater piece and a film may play some role in the import given to each. I thought also about cities and how amazing it is/was that this community, this art group, Waters and his gang, flourished in Baltimore. I am so in awe of Waters, of this freak kid going for it, of filming his weird friends and making lovely things from that, and mythologizing, making art, from Baltimore. The city is such an integral part of his work and something which he creates such a specific idea of - in this way, he is similar to another favorite American artist of mine, Philip Roth, for whom the city is Newark. And there, so close, was someone involved in all of this, Mink Stole, talking lovingly about her experiences both with Waters and with the Cockettes. The stories shared were quite amazing and made me slightly envious, made me feel too lazy, that I need to be helping to create a community, that I need to start producing.

Afterwards, hellos exchanged outside with various people, among them Diego. From there, I went with him to some Chelsea gay bars, among them View Bar, where there were two dollar frozen drinks and where I downed way too many of them. We had come there with other people, the other people had left, and we sat at the bar together and talked about things. He mentioned how originally I had liked him and been really serious about him and now that he is, I am distant. Somehow rough sex came up. I said that sometimes it is really nice to be slapped around and abused, what a turn-on it is for someone to treat you like shit. He made the connection that lots of people have and that seems to be true, that that isn't confined to the bedroom for me, that I like people that don't like me, and when people do like me, I lose interest, that I like the abuse. Because we are amazingly honest with each other in a way that I really love, there being no jealousy or hurt feelings when one of us talks about other people, I gave evidence to his hypothesis, told him that there had been this boy I liked and who liked me and also a boy I liked and who didn't seem to like me, and that I went after the one who didn't really care. He is so level-headed sometimes that it really astounds me. I had so much affection for Diego last night at this bar, us having such a warm conversation about what exists between the two of us and how both of us were fine with it leading to something maybe or it ending at some point, and either way still being friends. I am aware of how incredible he is and wish I could totally give myself to that, to not live out this pattern of losing interest in those who care about me and chasing after those that I want to. I have no idea what it is I want and I love so much that Diego doesn't care, that that is okay, that things can just be, and for that reason be amazing.

Later, a Stevie Nicks video played at the bar, "Stand Back," the close-ups of Nicks singing to the camera, her big hair halo-like with the spotlight behind her. I thought about Mark because I remembered being at karaoke with him and someone singing this song, me losing my shit, and telling this boy how amazing this song was, how amazing Stevie Nicks is. Though this person hasn't really responded to my last couple of texts, that the brief romance is probably over, and despite Diego and I just having talked about this subject, and despite Diego at this bar with me, I texted him again. He didn't respond. The back-up dancers in the video were such an enchanting sight to watch, so of their time. And the song itself, so beautiful, and I wanted something because of it, that the tune, the words, Nicks' voice, the memories attached to this song, some about this boy, made me want to see him, to kiss him, and God, the song is so beautiful.

Reading about the song today, I learned that it was inspired by listening to Prince's "Little Red Corvette." While recording the song, Nicks called Prince to tell him so. Prince jetted over to the studio in his car, listened to the song, picked up some synthesizer equipment, helped out for half an hour, then left.

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