Saturday, January 15, 2011

Another 48 hours

CULTURE CULTURE CULTURE! In the thick of winter and all of these goddamn snow storms that Mother Nature's hurling our way, these last couple days were like a storming of the fort. Children were out on the street in droves and every event was booming! Thursday night I attended Light Asylum's premier for their first-ever video, "Dark Allies," directed by Grant Worth. Shannon Funchess, the group's masculine lead, repeated over the hordes filling that weird back bar at NP Contemporary Art Center how the video was shot for free by the Worth, a video artist. They were handing out EPs in black envelopes and raver day-glo crosses to those who came, all of which were long gone by the time my late ass made it there. Light Asylum's music is nice, dancey and well structured, though I'm not sure I'd go so far as to say "Dark Allies" is catchy. After two listens, it sort of misses the lyrical hook that could drive the tune home. I happened upon a director friend of mine Larin Sullivan and we discussed the video, which you could only barely make out over the heads of the throngs. Too much rainbow, we decided, though it's way stocked with attitude. It also takes some cues from Grace Jones' recent "Love You To Life" video; Funchess is constantly compared to Jones, a fact that's based almost exclusively on aesthetics (or, per Larin's observation, racism), since her delivery (while singing, in particular) is quite different from Jones'. Maybe Skin, the lead singer of 90s Brit sensation Skunk Anansie, is a better comparison, since, to these ears, there's a lyrical reference to their "She's my Heroine."

Up front in the gallery space, Robert Smith hosted "The Death of Brother, My Lover." It wasn't really an end, as such, as much as an intermission. Mother Flawless Sabrina was in attendance to work her magic, reading from a new book-in-progress. After the reading, I shuffled over to Bushwick and attended the first Kitty, a Queer Weekly at the Wreck Room since my friend Zan aka La Rubia was DJing the thing. They had cheap plastic rings for the take and indulge I did. And how can you resist this flyer?

Then yesterday, QuORUM inaugurated their "week and a half of FREE workshops, skillshares, screenings, performances and parties to be held in queer homes around the city" with a Pop-Up Museum of Queer History. It was a wonderful project, held in a Bushwick loft (Starr, if that means anything to you). See, I had to go on the front end of the night which opened at 5pm. There was a wonderful little screening room, showcasing essential gay cinema from Un Chant D'Amour, to Barbara Hammer and beyond. This is in a loft bedroom, mind you, projected on a sheet (by MIX NYC executive director Stephen Kirk Jusick). It was intimate and kind of wonderful, sitting on a bed with perfect strangers and watching these films projected. Outside there was a gingerbread house replica of Stonewall, a vigil dedicated to the Sister of Perpetual Indulgence and a monitor playing pre-AIDS queer documents. As is the case with many such home-spun events, some works were quite craft-y, but an overall academic sensibility in texts orchestrated by Hugh Ryan and Buzz Slutzky gave the event real poignancy. I look forward to checking out more QuORUM events.

I dipped over to the opening of Ridykeulous' READYKEULOUS The Hurtful Healer: The Correspondance Issue at Invisible/Exports which was just absolutely PACKED! But then why wouldn't it be, with an exhibit showcasing works by Ali Liebegott, Allyson Mitchell, Bernadette Mayer, Carolee Schneeman, Catherine Lord, Chuck Nanney, Daniel Feinberg & Rhyne Piggot, David Wojnarowicz, Dr. Weeks, Eileen Myles, Gary Gissler, Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, Glen Fogel, Harmony Hammond, I.U.D. (Lizzi Bougatsos & Sadie Laska), Jack Smith, Jibz Cameron aka Dynasty Handbag, K8 Hardy, Kara Walker, Kathe Burkhart, Kathleen Hanna, Kathy Acker/Dennis Cooper, Laura Parnes, Leidy Churchman, Louise Fishman, Mike Albo, Nao Bustamente, Nicola Tyson, Simon Fujiwara, Tobi Vail, William Powhida, Zackary Drucker, Zoe Leonard …and other special selection from the patriARCHIVES?! Swarming with every amazing art world power lez imaginable (Eileen Myles, Saddie Benning, Dynasty Handbag, to name but a few), a dressed down Genesis P. Orridge rocked a most memorable beenie which read "FUCK CANCER". It took me 20 minutes to move from one end of the tiny Lower East Side gallery to the back where they were serving up refreshments. I partook but had to split to make it to my next event. On the way out I was fortunate enough to pass by Pam Tietze and Annie Rossi. Least to say, I was not able to see much of the work, though, like a bloodhound, I happened upon a wonderfully wordy letter from Jack Smith to Jonas Mekas. Another handwritten Smith artifact lingered above, a Lotusland fragment. Must return to see this fantastic looking collection of queer ephemera.

Instead, I made my way to Brian Christopher Bauman's play ATTA BOY. I have known Bauman (and his work) for some time. ATTA BOY culls texts from various sources: Noam Chomsky, youtube posts, blogs from the Concerned Women For America and Family Research Council, Bauman's own expansive and perverse brain. The action centers around a middle-aged Pakistani man and a not-quite legal twink who meet in a seedy motel to extract sexual fantasies from social traumas. 9/11, Columbine, homophobic attacks are the sources for this erotic psychodrama. The young Jason Zeren gives a remarkable performance as Matthew. Bauman's found an archetypal twinky body and an adept performer who can incant the vicissitudes of adolescent anguish. For the amount of times this boy strips down to his cherry-red wrestling suit (and ultimately one shy moment of blue jock-strap), the desirous body is the powerplay in these love games, and Matthew is allowed the upper hand written for him through this livid performance. There's lots of wonderfully shocking moments and surprisingly effective uses of choreography, if it does take the play a moment to gain in momentum, it does so with a vengeance. ATTA BOY runs for one more night at The Wild Project. GO SEE IT!


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