I have known a creepily lifelike doll named Eliza Rickman for several years, and today she released a video for her song, Start With Goodbye. It’s composed of forced perspective vignettes with taxidermied animals. Please enjoy it.
I recorded a medley of Prince songs interpreted for America. Finally.
When I was young, full of hormones and Anne Rice novels, I wanted to be a vampire, because living forever would be GREAT. I would get multiple opportunities to make out with David Bowie, for one. I had watched the Hunger so many times that I wore out the rental tape from the Blockbuster in Plano, Texas. (As you know, all the most sinister people rent from Blockbuster).
If I were a wampyr, I would feel powerful and important and I would save a lot of money on food, and I would outlive all of my enemies- except for the very small percentage of them that also became vampires. When life feels like it’s full of infinite possibilities and people and combinations, this is an attractive concept. There will never be enough time to read all you want to read and see all you want to see.
Twenty years later, you couldn’t pay me to be a dirty stinking vampire! If I’m this sick of humanity and media right now, how bad would it be at 500? There’s only fifteen different kinds of people in the world, and I’m sick to death of fourteen of them- Also, if I lived forever, how many Spiderman remakes would I have to endure? Who am I going to talk to? Already, my interests and music references are met with blank looks of incomprehension by young people in bars. What about the little girl vampire in Let The Right One In? Two hundred years old, and all she gives a shit about is sucking blood and working a Rubik’s cube! Who’s gonna talk to me about Robyn Hitchcock and Twin Peaks and Heathers in a hundred years? Huh? Answer me, goddammit!
The fat man came onstage in a poncho. He took it off and spoke to us about free love.
The fat man was wearing a tie-dyed top, which he raised and began to soulfully fuck his own belly button with his finger.
The fat man took the top off to reveal a silver unitard, which he grabbed his crotch through. He left the stage to clamber up a tree.
The fat man climbed into a tree and hung upside down in a silver unitard.
The fat man asked for all the lights to be turned off, and asked for flashlights. He put one in his crotch.
The fat man got down to his underpants and sang to us. He stood onstage with the unitard pulled down to his knees and danced under the lights, his sweaty torso gleaming in the lights.
The fat man draped himself in a beige dress, which he pulls up to his tits.
The fat man produced an 8 foot ladder.
The fat man sat onstage and decorated himself in 3/8” black electrical tape.
The fat man started to climb the ladder. A roadie tried to steady the ladder while the fat man got on the top rung and was shooed away. He stood on top of the ladder, singing majestically, while I worried that he would fall off.
The fat man tried to jump off the ladder and land on his feet, but had to tuck and roll. He lays, grandiose and Dionysian, upon the stage and didn’t stop singing.
The fat man produces a tiny striped sweater. He starts trying to put the sweater on. The armpit rips out but he gets into it.
The fat man produced a box of toilet paper and threw it to the crowd, so that we could pitch it through the air in arcing parabolas, shedding twisted paper paths. I caught one but I throw it too straight and it doesn’t unravel much. I think this is because I never threw footballs. The empty box that used to hold the toilet paper is also passed around the audience, apropos of nothing, until it hits a girl in the head and we drop it. I am impressed that one forcefully thrown bog roll lands on the top of the giant truss that forms the top of the stage rig. It’s a beautiful moment but I also reflect on the fact that all of the bathrooms will be out of toilet paper by the last show, and we could have used it.
The fat man announced that it was the last song. I was caught admiring the tendrils of toilet paper everywhere and missed the moment when he laid the folded-up ladder on top of the crowd, climbed atop it, and made rowing motions until the people below began transporting him through the crowd. I walked over to where it was happening and was amused by the sea of people taking photographs of the event. We could probably make a 360 degree hologram of it at this point in composite.
It was amazing.
I am close to taking my Summer Sabbatical, which is not really what it is, but it makes my Mom feel better when I say “I’m Taking A Sabbatical” instead of “I’m quitting my job and hanging out all Summer”. I thought it was time to get my list of “OTHER” skills together and post them on the Internet.
If you feel like you read a slightly different but kind of the same list as this one, it’s because my site was hacked and my service restored from last week’s restore point and I lost it. It’s because SOMEONE was very jealous of my 70 hits a day. Eat it, haters!
1. Pit Toilets: I’m very good at using pit toilets in Asia. You just have to pretend you’re camping, which you kind of are.
2. Sleeping on Airplanes: Also work related. I can sleep bolt upright on a red eye to Turkey and emerge as fresh and ready as if I had slept in a garbage- filled car.
3. Tap Dancing. I’m not the world’s best tap dancer (SAVION GLOVER, because we can really only have one famous tap dancer at a time), but it’s the skill that took the most time and expense to learn, and which has the lowest street value. I’m considering trying to make people pay me NOT to do it.
4. Bemani. It’s no longer fashionable but I can totally do it- I get more points for style than accuracy on Dance, Dance, Revolution, but Karaoke Revolution is my bitch.
5. For that matter, I can lead in six count swing, and I can lead about five things in Lindy hop- I’m a good Lindy follow- I like a lot of dances.
6. I can make dance parties happen. I can make people do it. At karaoke, at coffeeshops- most of the time.
7. Karaoke. I’m good at it. I don’t have the most amazing American Idol style voice, but I know my range and I will perform the SHIT out of a song. I like to work a crowd. When I do it in Hong Kong they are upset with the dancing and eye contact.
8. Comedy. I do it for money and for free. Mostly for free. Don’t ask me to tell you a joke, I’ll make you laugh, m-f. Just you wait.
9. I can draw- I haven’t for around five-seven years, but I probably still can, right? I’m sure I can. I have an art degree. I can blind contour the shit out of something.
10. According to the Munsell test of Color Acuity, I am a Superior Color Discriminator. I will discriminate the shit out of your color. I need a lab coat and a light box with a true North setting. But I will do it.
11. I can make patterns and sew. Again, I usually don’t. But I can make seriously obscure and fucked up Halloween costumes!
12. Goth Makeup and Fantasy Make up! I have an airbrush and I’m not scared to use it, including airbrushing a fake tattoo on you!
13. I’m really good at telling long, involved, interconnected stories to people on acid. I can be on acid or not, it doesn’t matter.
14. I can tell a fake art history lecture at the drop of a hat, especially if the hat is from a particularly evocative period
15. I’m really good at making one kind of vegan chocolate chip cookies. Just one kind.
16. I’m really good at maintaining a blog for 8 years that only my mother consistently reads!
17. If I had just bought my first guitar, I would be a crazy natural guitar playing genius- however, I have had my own guitar for a decade, and play it occasionally. I’m mediocre, but proud!
18. I’m really good at steering an oversized Costco shopping cart with my elbows while eating free BBQ nuts.
19. I’m a good trivia team member- I don’t know that much about television or sports, but I’m very good at arbitration to try to determine the likeliest answer. Also, I like to win but I don’t care if I do.
20. I’m really good at running a White Elephant party. I will whip the crowd into a frenzy over Scratch tickets and a rubber garden gnome. Blood will flow!
21. Despite all the above, I’m really good at not going to Burning Man! I haven’t gone every year it’s happened! Consecutively!
With this kind of skill set, I’m gonna destroy this job market!
I went to London last week to see the David Bowie Is exhibit at the V&A, to visit my sister Emily, and to experience 32 degree weather and a light dusting of snow during the week everyone usually calls Spring Break. We hit Camden market, ate some local vegan food, and enjoyed the Tate Modern, but the most important thing was the exhibit I flew across an ocean to see.
The Bowie exhibit had sold tickets by time slot, in order to have some semblance of crowd control. It is currently sold out until it closes in August, so there’s not a lot of good to me telling you about it, but I am anyway. In the traditional style of my family, my sister and I were late for our slot, because the exchange for the green circle line was inexplicably closed, and a very nice man with teeth that splayed out like a water spigot told us in a very friendly manner that there would be a bus along in only twenty-five to thirty minutes. Luckily, I got in without crying or striking any marble countertops.
Photos are prohibited at the show, which at first seemed like a bummer, but when LACMA opened the Kubrick show and anyone could take non-flash photographs, the flood of Instagram photos of dispensers from the Cordova Milk Bar made the whole thing feel less special. Granted, the image is not the thing itself, but sometimes it feels like the thing.
The show itself was arranged in rough chronological order, but mostly as clusters of influences and connected things interesting information. There were famous outfits, but also some amazing Berlin era paintings of his friend James Osterberg, instruments, handwritten lyrics, stage props and designs, and other ephemera. The show stayed away from salacious gossip about Bowie’s drug use, love affairs, and mental problems, but returned again and again to the theme that Bowie is an editor, collaborator, and borrower, always consuming, interpreting, and composing music and image that is consistently ahead of its time.
Speaking of Kubrick, Space Oddity was a pun on Space Odyssey. Seems obvious now.
I was glad to see the SNL footage of Bowie with backup singers/prop managers Klaus Nomi and Joey Arias that was used in the great documentary The Nomi Song, but also amused to see photos and drawings of English music hall artists that Bowie’s sculptural outfit was drawn from, which Klaus’ outfit was a simplified version of.
The Alexander McQueen jacket from Earthling that I had always rather assumed was a shiny vinyl thing was, in fact, a distressed and torn Union Jack frock coat- I had been seeing the white lining as “shine”- and of course, it was inspired by another of my favorite bands, Pete Townsend’s mod Union Jacket.
I learned that when David Bowie was writing Suffragette City, he was rocking a 26 1/2″ waist on cocaine.
Bowie has always been a fan of the mash-up and cut-and-paste surrealist method of songwriting, but in recent years, he’s written a program to do it.
Bowie’s a better mime than you are.
Also, the reason I just started seeing the amazing video for “Boys Keep Swinging” with Bowie in various drag aspects is because it was slightly too kinky for RCA records and they banned it.
The wiping-off lipstick gesture from the video was something that came from Weimar-era burlesque, and that would later be quoted in the video for China Girl (written by his friend James Osterberg), and later I would do it in high school, but it just annoyed my boyfriend Philip Montoro.
The Space Oddity cover used a photo of Bowie superimposed over a painting by Victor Vasarely.
The close of the show was a wall of “influenced by” images, including The Mighty Boosh’s Noel Fielding in his makeup and silver jumpsuit, Annie Lennox in all her androgyne glory, John Cameron Mitchell’s Hedwig, and dozens of fashion pictorials. Many musicians have picked up and made careers out of things that Bowie used for a week or two and abandoned- I’m looking at you, Marilyn Manson! ( We love you! Please be on Gothixxx!)
Selfridge’s now has a new David Bowie pop-up shop, though, so even though you can’t see the show, you can buy all the V&A stuff from the exhibit, as well as a specially curated collection of vintage from Decades in LA, and three makeup looks by Illamasqua’s Alex Box!
And that’s a weird coincidence, because the other thing I made sure to do when I was in town was to take a makeup class called Drag Superhero at the Illamasqua store on Beak Street, where we did this amazing natural, no-makeup look!
It was a great deal of fun and I enjoyed working with my makeup artiste, a very darling fellow named Brett from Sheffield, where all the good music comes from. When we were done, I was asked if I wanted a towel or remover to take the look off with, and I was a little surprised at their shock that I would walk back to the hotel with my “face” on. I explained to them that I was not visiting weirdoland, that I had been weird for quite a long time, just never before on Carnaby street.
After going out for drinks, my sister Emily and I were plumb tuckered out and we went to bed.