Judging by the referrals on my site meter, a lot of people are getting to my page because they are looking for pictures or information about Gloomy, The Naughty Adult Bear. Since I sometimes pretend to myself that I am providing a service, here is a good page from Wikipedia about Gloomy, a toy series and his creator, Mori Chack.
From his press release: Gloomy, an abandoned little bear, is rescued by Pitty (the little boy). At first, he is cute and cuddly, but becomes more wild as he grows up. Since bears do not become attached to people like dogs by nature, Gloomy attacks Pitty even though he is the owner. So Gloomy has blood on him from biting and/or scratching Pitty.
The moral: wild animals are dangerous, even when they are cute and/or pink. I’ll bet you didn’t know that a hippo will take your arm off if it gets a chance. I met a guy who was pulled out of a boat in Africa and badly maimed by the cutest, fattest hippo ever. Hippopotamus means “river horse” in Greek, but you absolutely should not ride him.
Many celebrities exhibit the same behaivor, appearing cute and harmless but lashing out when cornered, like Mel Gibson, Peter Buck, and that guy from Seinfeld.
Crispin Glover was in town at the Clinton Street Theatre last weekend, presenting the oddest film I’ve seen for awhile, called “What is It?” It deals with Crispin’s rejection of the censorship involved in corporate backing, and his continuing interest in the “aesthetic of discomfort.” Almost all of the actors in the film have Down’s Syndrome, and although both Shirley Temple and a minstrel performer are in it, there is zero tap dancing, which I consider a tease. Crispin is on tour presenting his movie, which for various reasons is unreleasable, alongside his slide show presentations and readings from some of his books.
The evening started oddly when Crispin headed out onto the stage and immediately fell off the one-foot drop at the Clinton Street, hard. The audience held its breath, but when the actor sprung up and started reading from Ratcatching, we laughed in relief that he had executed a pratfall. Later, when he told us that he had really fallen and hurt his elbow, we felt badly. We didn’t know any better. We’re just an audience.
All in all, it was kind of nice being in a small room with Crispin and letting him make a world. He’s interested in Victorian novels, cut-ups, madness, films, sex, and animal skinning. Here’s a reading from the event from an unpublished book, Round My House.
For no reason, I’d like to point out one of my favorite Crispin trivia facts- He was George McFly in the first Back to the Future movie, but declined to be in the rest of the series. When the director opted to make up another actor in prosthetics to imitate the appearance of the original George, Crispin successfully sued for trademark violation. No matter what the pod people think, you can’t steal another person’s face without their permission, both written and verbal.
Well, if you recall, I threatened that we were dressing as deceased lifestyle artist Leigh Bowery for Halloween, and here are how the outfits turned out. They are a simple combination of 15 yards of fabric, four gloves, 500 pink paillettes, including those that have dropped off in my glittery wake, and a replica WWI helmet.
They are great to drink and dance in, but terrible to eat, negotiate cramped parties, and do rifle practice in. After 6 clubs and parties, a total of 6 people identified our artist, which was 5 more than we expected. I was somewhat surprised that when I ran into friends and acquaintances, I was recognized as myself with 100% accuracy.
Apparently, my voice is distinctive, as is my propensity for yelling. However, two of my friends said that talking to me in the mask for extended periods of time was “creepy.”
I found that answering the question “What are you?” with the actual answer, “Leigh Bowery“, was tedious after awhile, because if we were not recognized immediately, giving the answer did not help the observer.
Our final count for Halloween was THREE costume contests won, one of which Ryan had to pull off solo, and one of which we won despite having already left the bar.
*Please note: I have replaced my former spouse’s name with Ryan Gosling’s in all posts, because someone searched for him and wound up here and screw that. Yes, I am extremely mature.
I am looking forward to seeing the Queen of Performance Art and half of the Coolest New York Downtown Couple, a Laurie Anderson, performing in Portland tonight as part of PICA’s TBA festival. I have been a fan of hers since before I knew who she was, after I caught the last third of a performance of “Babydoll” on SNL in 1986, and carried the voice around in my head for two years until I was at a friend’s house listening to “Sharkey’s Day” from “Mister Heartbreak.” I met her once in Houston, TX, in 1992 at a pro-Dem art event, where she sat coolly on a picnic blanket in a baseball cap and I gibbered to her like an idiot.
And yet, I wouldn’t give a rat’s ass about meeting Paris Hilton.
P.S. It was a lovely show! Spouse was surprised that we were on the front row, because evidently did not understand the level of my Laurie worship and ninja ticket-buying skills. She has stripped down from previous shows to storytelling and violin playing, with a minimum of extra clutter. She dressed like a little Buddhist monk and told stories about her stint as N.A.S.A.’s first (and last) artist in residence, and about the 10 day walks she’s taken with her rat terrier, and about space and time and nature and owls and Thomas Pynchon.
We have started making plans for Halloween, and I wanted to emotionally prepare you for it. Last year, I made my husband dress as a girl for the costumes, but this year we are both dressing as the (male) costumer and performance artist Leigh Bowery.
Leigh_Bowery was a larger-than-life Australian who relocated to London in the 80’s. His club, Taboo, was the subject of a Boy George-starring musical that was a big hit in the West End, but tanked in the States and cost Rosie O’Donnell a pile of money.
Leigh was constantly changing up his “look”, and influenced Michael Alig, Damien Hirst, and a young Alexander McQueen- although the last two have not yet killed anyone. (Sad postscript: Alexander McQueen has now killed himself.)
Michael most noticeably lifted the Polka-Dot Man look from Leigh. Leigh’s cast-aside material has been used to craft entire personas and careers for other people. Leigh’s band, Minty, had an extremely dirty song as a hit in the Netherlands , “Useless Man.”
The photographer Fergus Greer did a book of portraits of Leigh over six years called Leigh Bowery Looks.
Leigh is also one of best-known portrait sitters.
There’s a great film that documents some of his projects and his attempts to elevate life to an art, The Legends of Leigh Bowery.
This is a shot from the excellent UK sci-fi comedy show in which David Walliams portrays a Leigh Bowery-type character called Vulva. Strangely, when Boy George vacated the West End stage, the other half of Little Britain, Matt Lucas, took over as Leigh.
Thanks for coming on this wee journey of Leigh!
When I got to the Boiler Room last night for five minutes of open mike time, I sat down at a table with two other gentlemen, finding one of them kinda familiar. I assumed it was someone I had seen do stand-up, but then I noticed was that he was drinking a three-olive Martini, which I thought was a little Pearl District for Old Town, and then I realized that I was sitting with Oscar winner Gus Van Sant, and his suitcases, and his PA.
I tried to eavesdrop a little, and was surprised to hear that he was actually talking moviemaking with his compatriot while I tried to memorize jokes.
I was excited that the man behind a Drugstore Cowboy might see my five minutes of stand-up, and I thought that he might be impressed by a joke I was telling in German and decide to do a fantasy biography of my life, possibly casting Nick Cave as my husband, but when our esteemed emcee Kevin Michael-Moore launched into a version of The Girl From Ipanema where said girl is legally blind, my new famous friend found his legs and skedaddled, his attractive drinking partner carrying his bags. It was clear after his departure that every other comic had also noticed who it was, and most had prepared a joke for him, but then we just told them to each other, like usual.
Singapore is kind of a dream-state Fantasy Island. At least, the hyper-trendy-spendy Central area is. Every shop is playing Madonna’s Hung Up. At one point, I walked out of one shop playing Hung Up and into another playing Lucky Star. It was a Material Girl Node. Singapore is named after the word for Lion in Sanskrit, but there aren’t any lions there. It’s super hot and Houston-humid outside, so the residents have done the only logical thing, which is build a hamster trail of malls from place to place, and all through the subway, so you never have to be un-air-conditioned or without an espresso coffee drink. One of the disadvantages of living in such a wealthy, capitalist city is that you feel a little like a cog in the wheel of a money-making machine. One of the advantages is that there is a lot of public art and sculpture, and you are never without a coffee drink. Also, it is nice to be somewhere that at least feels more superficial than the U.S. This is one of the pieces I really like, it is a Frank Stella from the lobby of the Ritz-Carlton hotel, and to get it all in frame, I think I would have to lie down on the floor, which the employees would really not have liked. On another note, I never cared for Dave Chihuly until I saw some of his work in Singapore. I’ve been to paradise, but I’ve never been to me.
This is a “Tanuki”, the Japanese raccoon-dog. He’s got huge balls and represents good luck, but you can probably feel your luck change just looking at him. He lives in the Japanese restaurant at the hotel where we were staying. Apparently, there is a children’s song about the size and length of his scrotum (tankuki kao’s balls shake/even when there is no wind blowing) and I wonder if it is related to the song we sang about do your balls hang low, do they wobble to and fro?
At long last, I have found my own tube of Darlie toothpaste. Darkie toothpaste was a brand from the 30’s that is still available in Asia as Darlie or Black Man Toothpaste. And here it is. Smiling Black Minstrel toothpaste, for your mintiest mouth.
Last night at the giant mall that is central Singapore, we went upstairs to a section called “The Groove Zone”, and I noticed that “The Groove Zone” is really “Asian Teenage Land.” I went B*apeshit. I went to a store called Newbie and a clothing store called Milk and store called Make-Up Store that is a make-up store that carries a brand called Make-Up Store. A nice shopgirl asked if I was here on a shopping trip, and for a moment I fantasized about having the kind of life where I jet off to Singapore to buy Japanese T-shirts and listen to the latest Madonna single in the mall.
Postscript: I never thought my responsibility in this world would be writing a blog as a repository for un-PC foreign products, but a friend has brought me back this item from Helsinki that just would not fly in the States. It is described to me as “salty licorice.” Eccch.