Saturday, September 27, 2014

Get Haunted, October 4 and 5 in Silverlake

Fell Swoop Playwrights is presenting two evenings of new plays, one of which includes my new script, Hope House. Come check it out. See below for details.

Get haunted. Photo by Emily Raw.

Fell Swoop is thrilled to share new pieces by four of our member playwrights. Please join us for two haunting nights of secrets, ghosts, family curses, and fallen fruit.

A different program of staged readings will be presented on each evening, including one short piece and one longer piece.

Broadripple is Burning, by Korama A. Danquah
Hope House, by Kyle T. Wilson

Wet, by Abbe Levine
Picture Perfect, by Michelle Meyers

Doors open at 7 p.m., with readings beginning at 7:30 p.m.

The event is free and open to the public, but donations are welcome. Drinks and finger foods will also be available for donation.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

I'm reading some new stuff this Thursday

At Stories Books in Echo Park. Check out the Facebook invitation here.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

I was doing some writing

last night in an old legal pad and I found this line I jotted down on a page in the middle of the pad. I guess it's still in search of a play.
It could be like they do in the movies where you say something kind of smart and funny and I say something kind of smart and funny and then you're really mean to me.
Figured I'd post it here so I could throw out the scrap of paper, which also says the following--
Street full of people, a parade
Everyone has cancer

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

I was doing so well there

with the posting in July, but I don't know what happened after Outfest ended.

Well, I do know that I went up to Sonoma County to hang out with my friend Tony and his family for a bit. I wrote a play in a few hours that got produced the next day in one of those 24-hour festivals. My show was called "Gladys Kravitz" and was performed at the Raven Theater by three delightful actors and mounted by a very smart director. Of course I took no pictures. I also didn't think of pics when I ran into my friend Marcia at a pancake place in Windsor. We had a great chat, but I'm bummed I didn't get a photo.

I did take a fair amount of pictures of some of the tooling around Sonoma that we did, so here are those.

I was a big fan of Guerneville, and JW seemed to like it too. We went twice in two days.

I was also a fan of this bird, who harassed us not in Bodega Bay but at the Korbel Deli where we had lunch.

I enjoyed seeing some redwoods at Anderson Valley, including Col. Armstrong. It was hot and dry in the forest that day (quoting the droll gay retiree volunteer when we asked him where we should hike, "well you know, it's very hot....") so we didn't stay long. 

Because I was doing a bit of theater we didn't go all out with the wine tour agenda, but here's one of the two places we stopped, Hop Kiln, which I chose for the historic building.

And of course we loved the coastline the best.

But JW doesn't know how to take iPhone pics without getting his finger in the way. 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

My Outfest 2014 - David Wojnarowicz

Wojnarowicz in a photo by Marion Scemama
My Outfest weekend started at REDCAT last night with a couple of David Wojnarowicz short films. This was a must-see for me, as I just finished reading his great bio by Cynthia Carr, Fire in the Belly.

Here's a favorite quote from it--
In the last entry in the journal of rough notes...his handwriting is ragged. He wrote, "My life is no longer filled with poetry and dreams. I can smell rust in the air. Sometimes the fact that we can't deal with death, our mortality -- it's the same with cultures -- anything that doesn't reflect our faces and soul. We wish to annihilate things when we fail to see ourselves inside it. 
Even here, in what I think of as the last journal entry, he felt compelled to connect his situation to the wider world. That had always been his style. His writing, his neo-Beat prosody, was built on the long breath that leaves one body to engulf the endless world and, returning, sees the universe in a single action. Call it a Howl.
You heard that Howl, that long breath in Listen To This, a film by video artist Tom Rubnitz that is primarily David playing the role of the TV talking head, lecturing the viewer on how media brainwashes the masses into complacency. Check out a clip here. It's mostly a tirade -- I learned from Carr's bio that he was prone to those -- but the rantings soften at times to marvel at why the world doesn't stop, why buildings don't collapse outside the hospital room window of his friend who just died of AIDS. At times the rantings rev up, get focused, and the picture goes black, almost as if it shorted out by the rage in his voice, saying things like--
I imagine what it would be like if friends had a demonstration each time a lover or a friend or a stranger died of AIDS. I imagine what it would be like if, each time a lover, friend or stranger died of this disease, their friends, lovers or neighbors would take the dead body and drive with it in a car a hundred miles an hour to Washington D.C. and blast through the gates of the White House and come to a screeching halt before the entrance and dump their lifeless form on the front steps.
It was fitting that the second of his two films in the screening was the loud one. The first film, Beautiful People, an unfinished short from 1987, was all imagery and no soundtrack at all.

It has a Super-8 charm that initially reminded me of the fun Ron Rice / Taylor Mead collaboration, Queen of Sheba and the Atom Man; I saw that at Outfest in 2012 and wrote about here. In Beautiful People, David's friend Jesse Hultberg starts his day in his shabby NYC apartment with a cigarette and some comically made coffee for his Abba coffee mug. Then he dolls up in adorably sloppy drag costume, walks out and hails a taxi.

As Carr points out in the bio, it needs some editing, but it has its pleasures; Hultberg looks great, especially when he throws open the door and struts down the street in wig, gown and elbow-length gloves, and he's reliable with the occasional campy Crawford-style mugging. After he leaves the city for the country, returning to nature and running a hand over the surface of a wooded lake, the movie roughly shifts from black-and-white to color in charming surprise.

David wrote about the effort that he wanted to see "drag queens as true revolutionaries who fuck with visual codes of gender," which is all well and good until Hultberg wades into a lake and disappears into the water. Maybe it's a baptism, but it feels more like oblivion.

I knew there was a Youtube clip of it online but hadn't looked at it until just now. Jesse Hultberg posted it as a 7-minute edited version with a score, saying that he and David performed it at La Mama with a live accompaniment. Both the edits and the score reduce the film's interest and power (and possibly watching it on Youtube instead of the huge REDCAT screen), although some of the nature sound-effects towards the end are charming. I'd embed below but it's disabled, so check it out here. You can mute it if you feel so inclined.

Friday, July 18, 2014

This whole Sierra Mannie

white gays are stealing black female culture business is bizarre to me, mainly because I must've missed the point at which Time Magazine was reduced to looking for op-ed material from college newspapers. Kevin's response to hearing about the article was, "I want to write an article called, 'Dear Internet, Stop Telling People to Stop Doing Things.'" What is this meme of "Dear___, stop___." and where did it come from? It's not cute. Enough, y'all.

Anyway, there's a fun response by Anthony Michael D'Agostino on HuffPo that makes some good points. He's a little hard on her, spending a little too much time on whether or not she understands how to use the word "bottom" correctly as a verb (She does, and she also knows where to put a preposition, which is what D'Agostino must've missed, but who cares?) (Although he'd suggest my responding with "who cares" suggests that I care.) (Seriously. I don't care.). He also cheaply suggests she's just jealous of white men stealing the attention of black men from black women. But hey, he does call his response "slightly angry," and it's not like her piece took the high road, exactly. Overall, D'Agostino does a righteous job of schooling her.

It's hard to narrow down what to quote, so here's a healthy chunk of it.
What's at stake when you talk about "woman-hood" isn't so much the social identity or experiences of women. It's femininity, in your own words the "language," "stereotypical mannerisms" and culture (you make reference to the "appreciation of Beyonce") we associate with women but encompasses a category of gender performance. Gay men (you aren't only talking about the white ones here) are ok until they start acting like women, stealing their feminine culture. Because femininity is yours.
You're wrong, though. The idea that only people born as women generate, and therefore own exclusively, femininity is probably one of the more outlandish of homophobic ideologies. Genderqueer, m-to-f transsexuals, and feminine gay men exist in their own right, Sierra. Feminine gay men don't, as you say, merely "adopt" or ape women's behaviors and mannerisms. The truth of the matter is that some men are as authentically feminine as some women. And some feminine men who are white grow up around black people who are feminine, so, yeah, their femininity might seem a little "black" to you. Really not their fault. Really none of your business. This is to say, your heterodominant feminist fantasy of owning "womanhood" is not the reality of queer people or feminine men. Femininity is theirs also and it is not for you to allow or deny their gender expression. 
I say "heterondominant fantasy" because your gender normative moralizing flies in the face of facts. For instance, when you position black women (with Beyonce as the exemplar) as the original producers of black feminine culture, creating "our music, our dances, our slang, our clothing, [ and] our hairstyles [which] ... are rounded up, whitewashed and repackaged for ... [the] consumption," of culturally parasitic white gay men, you aren't just nastily defaming gay men, you are asking your reader to believe the impossible, namely, that Beyonce's hair, fashion and choreography are authored wholly by black female artists. 
Read the rest here.

For Elaine