— Matt Bell (though I frankly, have no idea who he is) in an interview for The Believer
I had a pretty great weekend, all things considered. It started out with a stellar hang with some (mostly new to me) literary ladies and continued through Erykah Badu’s amazing show “You’re Causing Quite a Disturbance” with the Brooklyn Philharmonic at BAM.
Through all of this self love, the importance of self love, was very much on my mind. Ms. Badu’s presence and performance really drove that home.
Rich Juzwiak, did an interview with her pre show for Gawker.
It ends with this quote.
“I got [my confidence] from my mother. She told me that I’m the best, starting at about 2. ‘You are the best. You are the winner. Somebody else may get the trophy, but you are the best.’ The best is kind of relative, it means you did your best. You are it. There’s not another Erykah. You only have one chance to be Erykah, so don’t waste time trying to figure out some shit you already know. You know who you are, you know what you want, you know what you like. Don’t second-guess yourself. Follow your heart, no second thoughts. That’s what she taught, and if that brewed confidence, cool. I’m also an asshole. I got that from my father.”
Just found this little promotional interview I did a while back on the book I edited about designer and architect Lella Vignelli.
I worked on the project over a good two years or so (though not constantly) and met with the Vignellis several times to interview them in their home – an amazing space on the Upper East Side containing almost exclusively objects of their own design, from the couch, through the coffee cups and the clothes they were wearing.
I didn’t know much about them when I began, but talking to them and thinking and writing about their life together was very moving and profound.
They’ve been together since they were students and are now in their 80s. Their lives seemed completely integrated, with very little separation between the romantic, creative and professional aspects of their relationship. Something I can barely imagine for myself but had to be in awe of.
— I Love Dick, by Chris Kraus
I want a dyke for president. I want a person with AIDS for president and I want a fag for vice president and I want someone with no health insurance and I want someone who grew up in a place where the earth is so saturated with toxic waste that they didn’t have a choice about getting leukemia.
I want a president that had an abortion at sixteen and I want a candidate who isn’t the lesser of two evils and I want a president who lost their last lover to AIDS, who still sees that in their eyes every time they lay down to rest, who held their lover in their arms and knew they were dying.
I want a president who has stood on line at the clinic, at the DMV, at the welfare office and has been unemployed and laid off and sexually harassed and gay-bashed and deported. I want someone who has spent the night in the tombs and had a cross burned on their lawn and survived rape.
I want someone who has been in love and been hurt, who respects sex, who has made mistakes and learned from them. I want a black woman for president. I want someone with bad teeth and an attitude, someone who has eaten that nasty hospital food, someone who cross-dresses and has done drugs and been in therapy.
I want someone who has committed civil disobedience. And I want to know why this isn’t possible. I want to know why we started learning somewhere down the line that a president is always a clown: always a john and never a hooker. Always a boss and never a worker, always a liar, always a thief and never caught."
— Zoe Leonard (via sonofbaldwin)
Each spring, the Brooklyn Botanical Garden hosts the Sakura Matsuri Festival – a weekend celebrating traditional and contemporary Japanese culture. This year, I teamed up with a journalist, Sarah Clyne Sundberg, to scout out the festival’s “cosplay” —short for “costume play”—scene, in which participants represent a specific character from fiction, as a kind of performance art.
As we wandered through the cherry blossoms trees, we found plenty of cosplayers for me to photograph and Sarah to interview.
Two years ago when friends took me to the Sakura Matsuri festival in Brooklyn Botanical Gardens for my birthday I was blown away by all the people in costume and vowed to to come back and document one day. So glad I finally did.
There’s so much more I’d like to say about these people, I love their expression and their staunch refusal to conform. Cosplay strikes me as boundary-crossing in every way imaginable and I’m always down with that.
Plus, at the end of the day, aren’t we all in drag, in some form?
I aim to make this a longer piece down the line.
So, I just learned Shulamith Firestone died last August.
Recently, at my mother’s birthday party, my uncle reminded me she had Firestone’s The Dialectic of Sex in her bookcase. (In addition to a whole host of other seminal sixties and seventies political literature.)
The Dialectic of Sex resonated with me when I was 20, though I now see what an un-sane book it was. Still, no less sane than the world that Firestone grew out of.
Susan Faludi has written a long text for The New Yorker on Firestone, very worth reading to the end. Among other interesting threads there is a part on the sources of Schizophrenia (from which Firestone suffered).
“[The schizophrenic is] acutely aware of the inauthenticities and compromises of normal social existence.”