Monday, May 30, 2011
Sunday, May 29, 2011
the jacarandas are in full bloom, a frenzy of purple pushing up against the living room window. sun-splattered petals line the sidewalk, some still fleshy, slick to the touch while others, just husks, lack any identifiable color. there is spring in southern california, if you squint: a shock of pink in an otherwise green bush; great big blossoms, with their faces turned towards the sky, as if waiting for a princess with stained red lips and braided hair to trot down the boulevard on her silver shetland. today i will not write about tornadoes, dpi technology, or the knot of exhaustion at the top of my neck, but the unmatched pleasure of canvas sandals smacking the bleached concrete as i walk, at noon, to the korner kart for a spicy fajita burrito and beer with lime and salt. i sprawl out on the patch of grass between two parking lots and the freeway on-ramp to chat with a vagabond iraq vet about habeneros, spider solitaire, and sex. we eat our burritos slow as possible, sauce running down our wrists, grease splotches on my skirt. we split a spliff in the shade. his whole face falls slack as he leans back against the chain-link fence, kicks his legs out shit man. the sun a small triangle of heat on my back. that nothing is anything but itself is sometimes enough.
on the walk home, i stop by the overgrown lot where charlotte perkins gilman lived after divorcing her husband in 1888. in her autobiography, she refers to this period of her life as "my first years of freedom." in a rented wood-n-paper cottage, during a week of sweltering heat, she finished the first draft of the yellow wallpaper. the restorative effects of the city seem to have been the same for her as for me. “I have lived much here. I love the place—Pasadena, and mean earnestly to return, build, and live,” she wrote on her last night in town. when she was diagnosed with breast cancer many years later, she returned from the east coast to pasadena where she took a lethal dose of chloroform in 1935. her suicide note read: “human life consists of mutual service." i snap pictures of the swath of air where her house once stood, then walk on, up the street.
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Renee Petropoulos / a reading
Jen Hofer / a reading + surprise
Kate Durbin / "Procession of Figues"— a mini fashion show of hats inspired by Les Figues books and modeled by the authors
w/ special emcees: Stephanie Taylor & Vanessa Place
Monday, May 23, 2011
last friday was the calarts graduation. i missed the ceremony due to a brutal, otherworldly migraine. as i laid in bed, face spangled with sweat, wondering when i would throw up next, i began to feel rather sentimental about my tenure in the calarts mfa program. as a general rule, i loathe school. my whole life teachers and professors have tended to dislike me, and, in high school/undergrad, i often feuded with other students. (the most infamous was at GSU when i blew up at this vegan girl with braids feminism is about more than body hair and words!) but calarts, so i was told, was an institute unlike the rest. this was the home of womanhouse, the naked marching band, and pee wee herman. by the end of my first semester, however, i had finished the necessary paperwork to drop out. considering how warm and fuzzy i now feel, i thought it necessary to remind myself of my mental state in fall 2009. below is an unedited entry i wrote in my paper journal after my first seven days in the mfa program:
the first week of class was harrowing. met a few students who seem to "like" me or whatever while others avoid me altogether. i blame the latter on the bizarre conservativism of a few students and a late-night conversation about pornography. apparently word got round that i don’t think its unnatural to watch someone fucking or to want to be watched. when millet was asked about her infamous orgies, she responded in other words, i am not afraid of being glimpsed unaware.
thursday night was our first "visiting artist" series. wine and beer were served by a bartender wearing a faded calarts t-shirt. most of the students drank from flasks or 18-pks tucked in the trunks of their cars. by the end of the artist’s performance—he did a piece about the trans bar the silver platter—several mfa’s were visibly sloshed. i cruised through the room, consuming no more than two vodkas, stopping to chat whenever i could bear it. endurance in the truest sense: i have little to no tolerance for the wholesome. i didn’t drive 2,835 miles to stand beneath a half-lit moon discussing body politics as if women didn’t enjoying fucking or marijuana-use from the perspective “yeah but you have to wonder why someone wants that to begin with.”
friday morning B. sent an email to the entire program: hi! i’m house sitting tonight! want to come for some fun? its OK to bring a guest but DO NOT bring anyone you do not know PERSONALLY. when T. asked if i planned to attend “the party” i asked what party? rolled into koreatown two hours late, circled B’s house six times before locating a parking spot four blocks from the front door. walked inside helloooo? the living room and kitchen were completely empty, silent save a parrot which stared out from his perch hello, hello, hello. through the window, voices. we’re on the back porch. i poured myself a whisky neat then grabbed a bud light for m. who said i thought this was a--? on the porch: chinese lanterns strewn red and blue, a rickety picnic table where sixteen people sat blank-faced and silent. whenever someone did, by chance, speak up, the only response: uh huh or totally. not even a “dude” or “man” added for duration. after carrying the conversation for twenty minutes, i began to chain smoke. was the only smoker. B. said try not to blow it inside. hid my pack in m’s pocket, counted down the minutes till midnight, a “respectable” time to leave. on my way out the door, a girl named K. rushed over, tapped me on the shoulder oh hey wait i just wanted to ask are you on probation? i heard—. m. laughed, slapped his knee are you fucking kidding me?
the next morning, i met with my adviser for over an hour. she said i was an “autodidact.” wikipedia says: self-teaching and self-directed learning are not necessarily lonely processes. some autodidacts spend a great deal of time in libraries or on social networking websites. after the meeting, i hung out with m’s friends from claremont who, despite being history majors, were chill as fuck. we smoked, walked to a belgian bar, and bashed south carolina's lindsey graham for at least thirty minutes. on the walk home, the cutest boy i know called and left a message: you, me, probation. oh honey. fuck ‘em.