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Month: May, 2014

Mirando

Jonathan GroffMurray Bartlett

M and I were on a tear walking from the showing to the train. I’ve seen so much art this week, most of it really fucking good. That day alone I’d been to a museum for a few hours, then saw the one show and was on my way to the other. I told M I was having “advanced perceptual training” day. I’m lucky to get to see so much right now. It’s not always the case, I miss a lot cuz of traveling, rehearsing, blah blah blah poor me. I told my PT, and then M, that for a while I’ve been fantasizing about taking a year off from seeing dance so that I could just go see other kinds of shows like music (though I hate drunk people and I get bored standing around), art openings, classical shit. But then I forget how much I like seeing dance shows and anyway, these “clever” ideas I get about not doing X for Y amount of time… I dunno they just seem like excuses, a conceptual platform to make me feel smarter. If I wanna see a music show I can just go nobody’s stopping me. I don’t need to make some big announcement about it.

M and I can really fucking WALK and TALK. It’s alarming. It’s Olympic-level ping pong, which is just one of the many reasons I love her. I had the wherewithal to suggest walking down one of the quieter streets. I get these eruptions now – Turn now and find serenity! Find trees! I guess it happens when you get older, or so everyone says. Anyway it’s funny that I wanted a chiller detour given that we were being such manic freaks, chatting away as if we were earning miles for how fast we could speak. Suddenly there he was, walking towards us, wearing a t-shirt, khakis, a backpack. He’s so regular looking and so cute at the same time. As I realized who it was it was like I was fitting some outsized image into the body of him. He’s just a person walking down a street duh. Was he singing a little bit to himself? No that’s not true, I just have this idea he’s singing to himself all the time. He looked like he’s been hitting a keg. Or maybe the hotter weather doesn’t agree with him. It kind of just made me want to hug him and lick his neck. He totally cruised me! I swear. We locked eyes for a bit but when I looked back he didn’t turn. I think I was giving off something special that day, maybe it was my boots. They make me feel confident and grown-up. I’d gotten cruised that morning for the first time ever by the barista at the café I go to and I was so thrown cuz usually he plays it so cool and aloof. It’s exciting to get cruised. It’s so ancient, a lost art. I found myself wondering if J is filming the next season of that show anytime soon or if he did already and do they put pressure on him to be a certain weight or whatever. When I looked back I got caught up looking at his hips – I feel like there’s so much story in a guys’ hips: discomfort, hope, frustration, ease. If any of you know him tell him I’m available. That face.

But then the kicker was later that night I saw the other one! The other out gay one I mean and yes I wrote kicker. I think I heard that most of the other ones are straight. Gay for pay. I was with J (a different J obviously) and he was like let’s go to the club even though I really just wanted to go home but she’s visiting from outta town so we went to get coffee at fucking midnight and well if I’m gonna do something I’m gonna do it all the way so I had a double espresso and we were singing Kate Bush and Stevie Nicks songs in the rain and this cute couple we had run into had to endure our caffeinated lunacy as we harmonized onto the train and we made it over into the Kingdom of the Hipeoisie and right before we arrived to the club J and I turned around to realize that we’d lost the couple and that was when I saw him arriving with some young friends, wearing a black t-shirt oh it had a word on it what was it fuck I can’t remember and he had on some very regular pants almost like cargo pants but not cargo pants but the same idea without the big pockets and that signature moustache and I thought about how J says that in Berlin people dress way down to go clubbing, which made me imagine being at home trying on successively less impressive t-shirts. With M, different than with J (obviously now I’m talking about another M but now also the previous J) there really was a direct one to one correspondence between who I saw him as on the show and who he was in person. Aura, character, everything. It was unnerving actually, the congruency. Inside he met up with a taller, swarthy guy who he knew and soon they were on the dance floor all up in it and I thought, good for him. I’ll admit that I grazed his ass with my forearm on purpose as I passed him, which was inappropriate and I felt weird about it then and I still do. That club was so silly. Like a club wearing the costume of a club.

People really talk about that show on the internets. I feel sorta whatever about it. I mean, I watch it, I like it. I feel only slightly guilty about it. It’s pretty as hell and I like the music, especially when it bleeds into the end of the episode and the sexy font of the credits comes up. It’s utterly inconceivable to me that, set in THAT city, these guys never cross paths with dykes or transpeople. I mean they say that city has changed a lot but please. It’s laughably myopic. When we saw M, J said slowly the politics of that show are. so. problematic. I mean of course. Maybe it’s some basic mistrust in me that says I should never expect what I see on TV to be realistic. Probably from a lifetime of not seeing “myself” on it, as if I even know what that means, as if I’m one thing anyway. Nevertheless it’s terrible that you get used to it, all these shows where POC, women, transfolk are peppered in like decorative cushions on the enormous sofa of white gay guys’ dramas. But I know that the show’s a vessel. It serves a basic biochemical function for me when I’m sitting in my kitchen at night drinking tea and pining for a bf or needing a good cry. I get seduced like so many others, suckered into believing in the coherence of cause and effect, even though I know otherwise. That’s why I love what I do, not telling stories. Well I’m certainly not telling one. I could never live up to a single story. They’re all incomplete. People want too much from them, put so much pressure on them. I do much better with confusion and fragmented myths where you get what you want or don’t or fill in the blanks.

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ben stiller

I saw him again. What are the chances. Technically it’s only the second time we’ve seen each other. Or is it the third? No, he didn’t see me what am I thinking. It’s maybe the third time I’ve seen him and possibly he has seen me once but he wouldn’t know that because nobody remembers waiters.

I was on my bike. It was a hard day. Everyone was irritating me. From the moment I got to my training I was annoyed with people who wanted to talk to me. Even as I felt my annoyance at others I felt annoyed at myself for being annoyed. What is wrong with you I thought. Don’t be such an asshole. Sometimes I just want things to go a very certain way. Mine. My mood changed throughout the day. I got good feedback from the person I partnered with at the training. I felt like maybe I’m good at this thing I’m studying after all. Why is it so hard to accept being good at something? Or believing it. Everything I learned as a kid was about doubting yourself. I never got an unequivocal compliment from my parents. That must mean something. Meanwhile, my god this record I’m listening to right now is good.

I was thinking about how I almost ran into a car on that block earlier this year. I remember the look of horror on the driver’s face as I careened through the intersection. It seems like every time I ride my bike I have at least one near death experience. How do people do this drunk or stoned. There was some kind of festival or party happening in the park. Bands playing, people going crazy in the sunlight. It was just going to be a day where I rode by a lot of groups of people doing things that I felt alien to. It would be the same that night after the show. The rhythmic sensation of flying by vitrines full of laughter and impenetrable sociality. Right before I left my friend at dinner I felt a wall slide down inside me that signaled it was time to go.  There’s no not listening to it. My efforts to push past it come across as half-hearted at best.

He was hunkered over like a linebacker. Is that the guy who plows through the crowd? Now that there’s a gay football player I might learn the rules before I forget them again. I know they have to keep the ball moving at least ten yards at a time I think. My father once watched an action movie and shouted at the screen It’s just war propaganda! B had a duffel bag over one shoulder. That sounds absurd but he had the hunch of a person walking with a big duffel bag. A steely expression of determination. An unkind face. Leaving wherever he’d been or whatever he was doing to go on to the next thing. My whole fucking day. Why do I mostly see white ones? Mostly men. Is it an indictment of my eyes or my contexts? Both probably.

I googled “Rimbaud on loneliness” and found this:

Sensation

Through the blue summer days, I shall travel all the ways,
Pricked by the ears of maize, trampling the dew:
A dreamer, I will gaze, as underfoot the coolness plays.
I’ll let the evening breeze drench my head anew.

I shall say – not a thing: I shall think – not a thing:
But an infinite love will swell in my soul,
And far off I shall go, a bohemian,
Through Nature – as happy, as if I had a girl.

Life out of balance

Philip Glass

I’ve been debating whether or not to include him, which led me to think about what justifies someone’s placement here to begin with. I realized that it’s about what happens to me when I see them – they take me out of my experience while somehow plunging me more deeply into it. I question the very fabric of what is real or normal. I step back from the situation to ask myself – is this happening? Am I here? And I record the moment. The time is noted, held apart and distinguished in some way from the millions of other moments I’ll have that day. I’ll remember where or how I was standing, how I steadied myself with the seat in front of me as I leaned in to make sure I was seeing correctly, which is exactly what happened in this case, because the flight was already in the air – we were well along our way over the ocean. I thought, how could I have not realized he was sitting in front of me? How could I have missed this? My friend E had called me right before I boarded the plane, so I must have been distracted, talking to her during the whole walk from the gate through the jet bridge to my seat. I was THAT person, gabbing away on my phone unapologetically. Granted I wasn’t as bad as the woman who got on across the aisle from me. She was talking to her dad about a work situation that must have gotten incredibly stressful because I overheard her hissing “… And I had already been sitting there for four hours in the meeting and now suddenly I had to deal with this?” while she turned to the window to hide, sobbing.

E and I talked about my show and I told her I felt pretty good about how it had gone and that for once I hadn’t fallen into a post-show depression, which was kind of true I guess, though I’m always waiting for the emotional shoe to drop and maybe it’s happening this week instead. Did I tell her about the boy I’d gone on a date with? The most perfect, awesome date with the cutest boy in NYC, which is really saying something because most of the time dates feel like job interviews for a position you know you’re gonna hate. Oh god I hate dates so much. One time I met this guy on that website, the one for people who allegedly don’t wanna JUST fuck, and I offered to pay for his dinner because he was broke and he showed up an hour late to the restaurant – the same one where I later had the really great date actually – and I had already ordered food and he got there and of course he didn’t look like the picture and he didn’t look me in the eye ever and it seemed like he was on anti-psychotics or something hardcore like that because he was sleepy and manic at the same time and he told me that his roommates were about to kick him out because they didn’t like him, which p.s. is just about the stupidest thing to tell someone on a date. I paid for dinner and then quite literally RAN out of there cursing myself, all of dating and all of mankind, went home and promptly took myself off of that site for almost a year before I tried it again only to find that it was pretty much as stupid and useless as before.

And I can’t remember if I saw P before or after I watched the movie about the future where the guy falls in love with his computer, which was good more for the idea than the execution, though it was definitely made the more haunting by the fact that the words uttered by the most pathetic character in the film were almost exactly the ones that I had told the boy a few days earlier on the date, words asking for promises so weighted with need, so fraught with a history that I had no business burdening him with, that when I heard them spoken by the movie character I felt my whole body recoil from the screen into my uncomfortable seat.

P was arranging himself to sit, having just come back from the bathroom. He was talking animatedly to his seat neighbors, two women around his age, a little younger perhaps, who may or may not have been a couple, or friends of his already. I was about to sit, too, having gotten up to get something from my bag, and in the ensuing daze after I recognized him I remembered my ex, who worked with him on a recent project, telling me that on tour he stays in his hotel room all day long working on music, which I took as evidentiary confirmation of my laziness as an artist because if I’m in my hotel room I’m usually just watching porn or serial television. I remembered my recent massage from J who told me that he could hear P’s kids yelling at him through his window because they live in the building next door. And I remembered walking up Second Avenue with my other friend J and seeing P who crossed us in the other direction and just about ten paces after the encounter J and I turned to each other and burst into ascending/descending “do-do-do-do-do-do, do-do-do-do-do-do!” scales which immediately cracked us up. All of these memories erupted before I sat back down, at which point I thought, fuck he flies economy class? If he’s in economy I’m fucked.

Come to think of it I saw him yet another time in that Polish restaurant, which renders this entire post truly meaningless. I shouldn’t be surprised at all to see him.

But that time twenty years ago, when C’s and my friendship was more real than conceptual, we drove around the Berkeley Hills at night, stoned, talking about everything, listening to P’s music, and the choral vibrancy of those scales transcended its tinny provenance of the crappy car speakers to soar into my still young, inchoate heart.