Thursday, September 29, 2011
WC Beck and the Ford Building
Too Long, I know!
So, the papers are really taking it out of me. I think I'm done with the one for this month, but, SHEESH! I'm not sure! I have a great editing team, including my mom, who drove about 500 miles out of her way to help me out. (And go to the Nicki McClure show- http://www.nikkimcclure.com/ Y'all should check her out, cut paper wonderment) Anyway, I've done almost all my writing here at the Ford Building coffee shop in scenic (if not always sunny) Portland, Or. Right now there's a kick-ass blue grass band playing, and I'm trying, very hard, to think about art work.
Recently I attended nearly all of the events at the local happening "TBA"(http://www.pica.org/tba/) One of which was a dragqueen cabaret guy named "Taylor Mac" (http://www.taylormac.net/TaylorMac.net/Artist_Statement.html)(I'm sure I can get a few more links and parentheses in here if I try...) Anyway, Mr. Taylor Mac was a little bit over the top for me. It was one of those performances where I left feeling played, which is not how I like to feel. Bits of the performance have stuck with me (luckily, unlike the next night, where he ripped off duct tape underwear). Most notably, he made a great argument, for something I'm going to put in it's own paragraph.
In Taylor Mac's almost words (because, did I write it down? No!) "Comparison is the gentlest form of violence." Which had never, I swear, occurred to me. The way we critique in art skuul- "Have you looked up so and so? Your work is similar to such and such-" the pigeon-holing, the niche-ing... No wonder it never feels good. As Mr. Mac explains it- Whenever you hear "oh, you're work is like Tiny Tim, cuz you play Ukelele" a huge knife goes through the universe, cutting you away from a lot of what you love. Even if you are getting compared to some one really great, like David Bowie, hey, you aren't getting compared to Ravel, so, you know SLICE! there goes half of what you love. Even genres are a little like ritual tattooing- maybe you don't want to be stuck with those marks forever, and yet, there you are!
I've been tarred with the "Drag" brush. Taylor Mac called how we were all dressed at his performance "Audience Drag," which was pretty funny. Of course, none of us were wearing sequins on our faces. But we were all kinda dressed alike, safety in resembling each other. Our costumes of well prepared Oregonians- long pants and tee-shirts, rain coats and flip-flops. Anyway, all my research into drag, and exhibitionism, has been really depressing me.
I was told by my advisor to read "Infinite Variety" about Marchese Luisa Casati, a very rich Italian lady from about 100 years ago. And though the book is entertaining, it's like a shallow, well-researched gossip column. Then the Marchese did that with black and white marble, wild animals and nudity. The best part so far has been the introduction by Quentin Crisp. He described exhibitionism as being like a drug, which I agree with. Needing to be ever more outlandish to get your fix. Which is not, at all, where I am, or where I've been for years. Maybe, maybe, as a teen. Since then it's been more about self-satisfaction.
I have no desire to make people look at me. I want to be satisfied by how I feel in what I'm wearing. How I look, how I am perceived, is not interesting. & I have no idea how to express that in a costume, since, of course, how I feel has a lot to do with how I appear to myself (not in a mirror, but in looking down at myself). I learned a long time ago that the people that were attracted to my physical appearance, especially in a desirous sense (as Casati's seem to be) are generally assholes. But those who want to be inside the costumes, on the other hand...
And with that... the beer is flowing, the band is fantastic, and I think I'll be right here, right now.