Efforts to not feel impossibly behind on everything ever continue to flounder, and I’m starting this Thursday evening, so let’s see how much content we can create!
What I’m Up To
I finished “How to Be an Egg in the Age of Lilith Fair,” and it’s started going out to Patrons. Be on the site in a few weeks. So now I get a handful of days to look at fiction before the month rolls over and I have to figure out where my ten thousand paying words are coming from this time.
You may notice a certain grind-hardened jadedness there.
Penn’s done layouts on the next scene of Britain a Prophecy, though I think now he has to bog down and do two big pieces of character design.
Oh, and I went to New York and hung out with Lexi.
Obnoxious Vacation Recap
So yeah, Lexi’s usually Ithaca based, but is spending the first chunk of the year living in Brooklyn because she’s a big city girl at heart. The downside of this is that Penn and I don’t get to see our girlriend regularly. The upside is that when we do, we do it in Brooklyn. So we headed down on Friday. The Ithaca to New York drive is actually one of my absolute favorites—looping through the Poconos and then heading over the Delaware Water Gap is just gorgeous, and then you get the thrilling suspense of whether you get to suffer through the abject misery of the George Washington Bridge or the slightly different abject misery of beating your way through Manhattan. And it’s the perfect length to build what Penn and I refer to as my frog boil playlists, long multi-hour things that slide impishly among genres. Here’s the one we listened to, which moves slower than usual, preferring a sort of meta-frog boil structure that slides from the Lilith Fair stuff I’d been working on into harder stuff that’s closer to what Lexi listens to. Music as pretentious ritual and all. (Entertainingly, we brought Lexi our copy of Phonogram to borrow.)
So we got in late afternoon and started our trip with dinner, which was at Claro, a Mexican place in Gowanus we’d previously gone with Christine before my Neoreaction a Basilisk talk back in October. Within fine dining—a sphere in which I have numerous preferences on account of being a bougie cunt—I’m very partial to the more casual and relaxed style of fine dining. Which is to say that I’m always going to prefer a Brooklyn Michelin star to a Manhattan one, and this is firmly an established favorite now.
Although in some ways the real highlight was the trip down, which we decided to take on foot in a spirit of psychogeography, and so had a nice two mile walk through Brooklyn to reflect on extremely pompous notions of cities as human-created gods and use the word “vibe” a lot. And then, at the end, there was food.
Christ, This Is Already Obnoxious, Can We Do a Tumblr Ask or Something?
Sure thing, bold-faced and centered text.
Something you said a while ago really resonated with me, I forget the exact quote but something to the effect of “Gender is something you do” and more broadly your statements that a gender identity that only exists in your head is not particularly meaningful. I guess my question is, at what point do you think a trans identity becomes meaningful? Like, I don’t want to simply declare myself something other than my sex assigned at birth, I want a change that is more substantial than that, and I’m loath to be an interloper or an appropriator. Is there like a threshold at which you would think it’s more justifiable to say one has, well, transitioned away from the previous gender?
I don’t remember what you’re talking about exactly, and I certainly hope when I said that I offered some crucial caveats about circumstance and didn’t just crassly invalidate the gender of, like, my fucking daughter prior to my getting her out of Virginia. Or perhaps, in the wake of my evolving relationship with Ahania, I’m simply more sympathetic to private realities than I was when I said that. Either way, I cringe at it, at least as you’re presenting it.
That said, sure, there’s some truth being expressed there. Identity exists in social context. Praxis matters. The word “queer” implies a relationship with the mainstream, with the everyday. Removing it from a social context robs it of its ability to be queer.
But at the end of the day, I’m never going to get behind policing the boundaries of trans identity. Even if I do privately scoff at some specific claims of transness—and I have done so and undoubtedly will again—I recognize the host of reasons why those are inside thoughts, not things that should be offered any normative force whatsoever. It’s your gender. Yeah, it’s something you do in the world, but you’re the one who’s going to be doing it, and you get to set the terms of that, not some random middle aged bitch on the Internet.
Cool, Thanks, You Can Go Back to Being a Bougie Cunt Now
I never stopped, baby.
Anyway, we kicked off our first full day by going to the Brooklyn Museum, with our main destination being the Thierry Mulger retrospective. I got way fewer photos of this than either Lexi, who put them on her Instagram, or Penn, who’s no doubt going to steal things for Britain a Prophecy. I was quite taken by this look, however.
And here’s another cute couple shot, cause I’m committed to my own obnoxiousness about this.
We also saw Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party, which I hadn’t been familiar with, and which is almost as amazing as the phrase “Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art.”
And this exhibit, called Death to the Living, Long Live Trash, which showcased the work of Duke Riley, who has been doing satirical scrimshaw-style carvings on recovered plastic trash. More than most things I’ve ever seen, it’s the scale of this that really stuns—the sheer amount of material Riley has created, which of course befits the sheer quantity of plastic waste in the ocean. But in any case, here’s an example of it, along with a bit of the wallpaper in one room of the massive and frankly astonishing exhibit.
Anyway, after that and a bit of a rest we headed out to the Film Noir Cinema in Greenpoint to see the delightfully goofy Night of the Bastard, which I cannot in good conscience recommend, but which I loved absolutely every second of. As I said to Lexi at one point, “they’re both terrible actors, but they’re terrible in the same way, and so at least they’re pulling in the same direction.”
Nope, Gotta Take Another Break, Sorry
I get that my ecstatic description of a weekend with my girlfriend is quite a challenge for you, a typographical subheading style that will never enjoy the touch of a woman, so no worries at all. Here’s another Tumblr ask.
Now that you are old, what is going to keep you from becoming more conservative in outlook or losing your touch with the younger generations?
Hats off for “now that you are old,” well done.
Anyway, the short answer is sheer force of will. I am mindful of that danger, and inclined to work against it.
Well. Mostly. I don’t care about touch with the younger generations per se. I think one has to transition to being an elder, and that my duty is to remain true to myself and my interests, not to try to keep reinventing myself as trendy. But my interests include radicalism, constant change, and embracing new perspectives.
So I suppose the real answer is by doing the work to stop myself from becoming a conservative with nothing of value to say well before I got old.
That Crack About How I’ll Never Be Loved Hurt My Feelings, But Go On About Your Vacation
I didn’t say you’d never be loved, I said you’d never have sex.
You’re Displaying a Troubling Lack of Imagination About The Horizons of Eroticism for a Polyamorous Trans Woman
I’ll bring that up with my therapist.
Anyway, Sunday was much more low key—Christine came up from Stony Brook and we grabbed brunch at Serendipity 3, famously Andy Warhol’s favorite ice cream place. Here’s the cute photo from that, along with one snapped on the way of Lexi being well labeled.
And the rest of the day was just the four of us sitting and talking. Which, man, I expected Lexi and Christine bonding over Christian mysticism. I hadn’t thought about Czech New Wave cinema, but the moment it happened I wasn’t surprised. But when they recited, in unison, multiple lines from a Brennan Lee Mulligan sketch (who I’d never heard of until pretty much this moment) I had to concede that I had clearly made some good choices in life.
That’s Fucking Touching, Are We Done Now?
What, with the New York trip? Yeah, basically. Monday we just sat around, had breakfast, and drove home, not least cause we were up til like 3am talking the night before, so not a ton more to say. I’ll be back down in February and no doubt be obnoxious again, but we can be done. You need another Tumblr ask or something?
The Only Thing I Need is the One Thing I Can Never Have, Which is the Sweet Release of Death
Well that got dark. But alas, it is not in my power to give you that. But I can give you
The Part Where She Leaves You With a Song
Introduced to me by Lexi, and put straight on the cyberpunk playlist.