Writer and activist Elizabeth Koke and I shared the bill for the 9/17 Experiments & Disorders at Dixon Place.Read cuts from the following works-in-progress, and a cut from “Raunch Daddy,” the second story in the Gertrude Press chapbook Worker Names.
I Speak for my Difference, a new English translation of the poem Manifesto/Hablo Por Mi Diferencia by Pedro Lemebel, a queer Chilean writer and activist who resisted oppression, authoritarian rule, and the culture of machismo.
Last year, a fellow writer recommended Bruce’s workshop to me. I was familiar with his name but not his actual work. I started reading after joining the workshop, wondering how could I have missed out? I love the voices of the Times Square queer underworld he chronicles in User. His“erotic autobiography, ” The Romanian, is a fervent love letter to hustler Romulus. The tract he mentions, Against Marriage, was published by Semiotexte. In Benderson’s prose the erotic, the personal, and the political form a singular sweaty body.
In this interview for RFD Mag Stonewall Issue “Rebellion Feels Delicious.,”Benderson offers context to the Stonewall narrative. Whenqueer people were criminalized, we had common cause with other criminals. Like them, we sought to get away with our crimes, in our case, living our lives. Not to deny that we were exploited, demeaned, endangered in the process. Whatever current aspirations for bourgeois respectability, there are workers and outlaws among us, now as then. Our creative work should reflect these multitudes, not just this largely gentrified projection of today’s queer representation:
I was on the bill for this celebration of the life and work of Dean Johnson, in support of an upcoming feature documentary from Lola Rocknrolla. I opened the second set by delivering the Living Dean Manifesto, and then reading excerpts from “Raunch Daddy,” the second story in Worker Names. From the manifesto:
There was a spiritual component to Dean’s lifelong work, all of it, the parties, the music, the drag, the performance, the hustle. In 2007, the Times quoted me saying,“Dean was a New York landmark, like a tall tower or a tourist attraction.” Today I’m gonna tell you something else about Dean that you weren’t ready for back then: Dean was a Pagan God. His irreverence was absolutely necessary and his fury was holy: Fuck thermo-nuclear war, fuck Mary Tyler Moore (I mean, rest in peace Mary Tyler Moore, but also fuck Mary Tyler Moore.) Big Red was the God in charge of dislodging the Judeo-Christian hold on the sacred, with its tedious cycles of guilt, castigation, and redemption. We are sacred. This gathering is sacred. Music, dance, celebration: sacred. Sex is sacred, drugs are a sacrament, prostitutes and artists are sacred, our naked bodies are sacred, queer people are sacred.
I answered a call for “essays about the moments you saw yourself in pop culture” from Toronto’s Daily Xtra and my essay was accepted. It’s a tribute to Debbie Harry, and a diss on the film it served as theme. it chronicles the effects of hearing Blondie’s genre-crashing track “Call Me” on me at 16. #RepesentationMatters
I’d taken the lyrics as a sort of instruction manual in the absence of any other. Its beat, repetition, sultry coaxing, and charged inferences accompanied me as I navigated longing.
Thanks to Natalie Wee for the prompt, and to Natalie and Rachel Giese, Director of Editorial, for the thoughtful and thought-provoking edit.
For this mash-up of two Club Cumming events, Reading for Filth got naked for Drink and Draw. Sketchpads out! I gave a read-aloud version of my essay on kink published by the Rumpus:
…I act out a shadow play of a naked and fearless man confronting the reign of solitude. He wants to see it conquered, and I want a warm new hostage. He sees it with his eyes, his deep stare containing the vastness of the night sky. He feels it in his soft, vulnerable places, as I detect his silent pulsing above traffic and sirens. He inhales the scent of conquest flowing from my glands, as I lay claim to more dark territory.
Our founder Dean Johnson died in Washington, D.C. ten years ago to the day. Some of you here knew him and some of you didn’t so let’s pay tribute! East Village legend. Dean and the Weenies–seminal queercore band. He rocked drag on his tall skinny punk frame– the original bald queen. He faced homophobia in the music industry. As he wrote in his blog:
On the night of the Summer Solstice, I filled in at the 🌈 PRIDE edition of Reading for Filth at Eastern Bloc. Told the story of being a gay sperm donor in my twenties:
Nurse Stern, who was separated from me by a Lucite wall, just like in a money bank, slid a stack of porn magazines and a little cup through the deal tray. The porn was all hetero, of course–one issue of Juggs, a Leg Show, the one on the bottom pretty hardcore. I wordlessly pushed the porn back at her, keeping the cup. We glared at each other for a hot minute through the speak hole, then she pointed towards a small room with a bench and a counter.
Carte Blanche, based in Montreal, is an internationally recognized magazine of creative nonfiction. “Canadian Vacation,” an account of that time I smuggled my ex across the 49th parallel, is featured in Issue 29 (Winter 2017).
Sure, we barely knew each other – but that wasn’t the point. Whatever journey we were on was not going to end with this mean mom-lady in beige.
I was cast in the live storytelling event RISK! which is produced and hosted by the balls-out Kevin Allison. The show was at the Theatre Fairmount in Mile-End. Any excuse to visit MTL, NYC’s cooler sluttier older sister who speaks French. Told the story of smuggling my ex across the 49th parallel back in the 90’s. Podcast: