Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Being Hated So Much Right Now

I need to stop eating red meat before bedtime. I had a dream about Kelis last night. She was pumping gas - or was I? I think she was riding in a tour bus or camper van. It was a dark tan color. I had a similar moment as one which I shared on the phone recently with avant-garde filmmaker Luther Price. I started talking about his film on which I'm basing a project (Luther, who has never done any kind of home distribution and doubtfully ever will) and he asked me how I'd seen it. I had to leave this long pause (it was a bootleg). Stuttering, I told him that I had acquired it from someone who collected video art (leaving out names) and he listed on a hand the people who could have "leaked" it. The experience was vaguaely mortifying, especially since it was one point of discussion that had never crossed my mind. And based on a deeply personal event for Price that was now in an endless stream of illicit reproduction online.

Last night I was critiquing Kelis' new album 'Flesh Tone' based on the 5 leaked tracks so far. I wasn't sure about Flesh Tone cause I'm not convinced from what I've heard thus far (a problem since the 5 surfaced tracks leave only 3 cuts unheard). I was spinning this criticism TO KELIS. And there was this similar horror. How would I know if I hadn't engaged in such non-egalitarian behavior? She shot me daggers with a look that made me blush. This truly skin-crawling dread resurfaced when I remembered the dream the next morning.

(I'm covering that album for Fanzine later in July so I want to excise/articulate some of this anticipation before I sit down to narrativize my decade-long lovefest with Kelis. Call this a free-form sketch. I'm also thinking of the form that Dodie presented at the Ugly Duckling Press / Kitchen event last night. She read from Barf Manifesto and her seemingly-effortless barfing is so inspiring, though so difficult to pull off adeptly.)

My oneiric Kelis is looking at me with how-dare-you eyes. And it's a desert gas station. Retrospecutively, I'm wondering if the deserted location has any significance on the anxiety the moment is producing in me. Why this Hills Have Eyes setting for this, my fanatic confrontation? My verbal fuck-up.

Deric was asking me recently who wrote about smooth space and I remembered it was Deleuze and Guattari, but not from reading them (for a film study post-grad, I've read criminally little Deleuze), from Laura U Marks, a writer who always seems better in theory, then I go to her and can't quite find much productive to use outside of the context she creates for her arguements. This one's called 'Touch: Sensuous Theory', or some such thing. So, of course she goes on about smooth. She's looking at textiles and grainy video art and Deleuze's smootheness and spinning into a new theory of "haptics". It's like phenomenology without the sticky idealisms of early 20th century philosphy. She became famous (in film studies circles) with her book 'The Skin of Film' (a line Luther just spoke to me over the phone to much great excite).

The desert stretches out around Kelis and she just leers at me. There's just this photo-shoot paper like monochromatic landscap stretching out but going nowhere. I got into a fight with Deric about the meaning of this space. See, for D&G smooth space exists in oposition to striated space which is, in laymens' terms, formless or freed conception of space (or concepts) and organized, grid-like spaces (which connotes progress, science, culture). Think desert versus city. Popular music, my D argued, cannot be smooth because it's rooted in capitalism (an organizational principal best suited for the striated). But, in my seemingly lifelong effort to argue for the liberatory elements lurking in (the monetarily nefarious popular) pop music, I feel that the groundless, welling and invasive euphoria that good pop music builds at its core and the clandestine counter culture of fanatacism that this engenders frees up some of the stickier implications to marketing tactics and moneyed interests. Smooth space is the space of nomads, and I can think of no more nomadic of a space than the fan chatroom. Perhaps this desert of my dreams reflects the space I've forged for Kelis in my heart, a sensuous relation to these songs that drift in leak form, song by song. Smooth space is too-close, which any fanatic is, of course. I'm never embarrassed by this subjectivity. It's always a project.

There's not really a narrative to the Kelis dream. It was a moment - a moment of ardor, anxiety and panic, which is to say, a fleshed-out moment, one in which I'd created a causality around Kelis. Rationally dreaming about this kind of exchange? This is the comedy behind fanatacism. Perhaps in my dream I sensed that the likelihood of such a confrontation is so slim and moot; the gravity seems so hyperbolic, too. Still, you wouldn't want Kelis mad at you. It was a weird distillation and fever dream. Too much red meat and swedish fish. I want all of this to make sense. I want it to add up to a larger narrative or significant moment. I want to force this language to impart meaning on the moment and make it as significant as that feeling which emerged when I was reminded of it today in one silly wave of gravity. I love popular culture because it creates these huge public excitements across platforms. It feels communal. I've participated in a Kelis concert (as in, gone). I've been slowly downloading this album for 6 months now and the album only has 8 songs. Remixes, videos, wallpaper, scandals, speculation, announcements, waiting. It makes futility a form of productive and rewarding projection.

Kelis made me wait for 3 hours when I saw her last month. Kelis is not Grace Jones. I did not take to this lightly. Now I'm waiting again, inventing instances of hype, self-implicating confrontations between a mirage and this self that she's made of me. She's in there too. 'Saving All My Love' just played on my coworker's radio station. She turns it up and we have a moment. I harbor its big feelings, this pathetic tendency of good pop that probably inspired my fever dream in the first place. But it's prone to taste, too. Cause Beyonce comes on next and ruins my moment. As always.


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