Saturday, October 3, 2009

Leonard Cohen.

Since I seem not to have much of inspiration to write today, I'll share some Leonard Cohen with you. I can't think of another artist I revere like Leonard Cohen.

A friend posted an old video on facebook today of Cohen and Judy Collins singing "Suzanne," which, until everybody went batshit over "Hallelujah" a few years ago, was probably his most famous song.

One of my favorites is "Chelsea Hotel #2," which Cohen says he wrote about Janis Joplin. The Chelsea is still open, and my friends M and B stayed there when they went to New York for the opening of my show a few weeks ago. My friend P is staying there in a few weeks. Rooms are a little cheaper than average for New York. The Chelsea Hotel's bohemian heyday is decades in the past, but it must hold onto a bit of its color. M said there was a stinky cat litter box in the hallway next to her door.

The Warhol shenanigans are interesting to me, but my real attachment to the Chelsea comes from An American Family, the PBS documentary series from the early seventies. Lance Loud's sojourn at the Chelsea was the first bit of gay culture I was exposed to even though I didn't know that's what it was at the time. I'm sure that glimpse of New York art sex freakiness planted the seed of my desire to move to New York as soon as I could.


It's a gloomy gloomy rainy day and I have a cold. The last few years I've been getting these frustrating colds that start with about 3 days of a sore throat and, just when the sore throat is waning and I think I'm over whatever it is I have, I wake up the next day with a full on congested running nose head cold. Since it's happened several times now, I should see it coming and not get so bummed out. So much for my short-term memory.

Being a little sick shouldn't matter much since I have nothing much going on right now. It's only important in the scheme of things because I've been seeing someone. Well, if two dates qualifies as "seeing someone." It has been over a span of time, so it feels more substantial. He travels a lot with his job, I've been going back and forth to New York, several weeks passed between our first and second date which was last weekend. Then I got sick. I thought I may have even gotten the cold from him, or he from me, because we both felt under the weather on Monday, but he didn't get any worse and got better soon.

We have a date tomorrow, which I will probably cancel because I feel like crap. He's leaving again Tuesday for a week, and then I'm leaving the following week for New York again.

This is probably the most boring blog post int he history of the world, but I'm determined to keep blogging daily for a while to get back in the habit.

Bad Science.

Once again, scientists conduct an elaborate, expensive (and, to my mind, extremely dubious) "study" in order to "prove" something that we already know is true from simple observation and experience.

Thursday, October 1, 2009


I've had a hard time sitting down to blog lately. Lots of reasons -- many of them to do with laziness and disorganization because of a transitional phase in my life and career -- but also a lot of the stuff that's occupying my thoughts lately is not stuff I can share. For instance, my collaborators and I on Lizzie Borden have been negotiating a legal agreement to lay out things like billing and percentages of royalties. It's a very interesting conversation, complex, bringing up all kinds of issues related to career, ego, art, business ethics, and friendship. Subjects I love to pontificate on. But the conversation is private. I wouldn't share it -- at least not until I'm very old and writing my memoirs.

And I've been dating. Lots of anecdotes about men and sex, food, nightlife. This is the stuff I'm dying to write about. But it's personal. Private. I don't feel right sharing intimate stories that involve other people.

And why is that? Why is sex private? I guess I'm jaded, but when you've traveled for so long in a milieu where people have sex in bars, in clubs, in parks, in the woods, in public restrooms, alleys, and parking lots between cars, it's hard to regard sex as something that is or should be private. Why private? I can't come up with any reason that I myself might avoid having sex in public other than shame or embarrassment, and that doesn't seem like a very good reason. If I'm in a situation where I don't feel in danger of shame or embarrassment, I'm all for it.

I can buy that some sex is or should be private. Maybe sex is like conversation, sometimes it works better if it's tete-a-tete, and sometimes it's nice to let the whole room in on it.

An article I read last year about bonobos' sex lives had a huge impact on my thinking about sex. Basically bonobos are constantly having sexual contact of various types and degrees, homo- and heterosexual, all day long for myriad reasons: to smooth over or prevent conflicts, in exchange for food or other favors, to express affection, for fun, to make baby bonobos, or because they're drunk and horny and some guy just told them they looked hot ... oh wait, sorry, that was me.

So why do humans create this arbitrary thing we call "having sex" and insist that it's super-serious and has to be kept sacred and private, rather than just let sexual contact be one of many ways we might naturally interact with each other.

Of course, now the whole notion of privacy is sort of antiquated. We think we have privacy, but we don't. Somebody's always got an iPhone and he's taking pictures to put on facebook. I find it exhilarating when my secrets are revealed. Shame is heavy.

Am I missing something? Is there some real reason for us to hold our sex lives so close?


Okay, I know I have a problem. But, seriously, Mama Cass, Buddy Hackett, Martin Landau, and Barbara Bain. What is going on?

Nowadays, They Call This Performance Art.

"I've got an idea Julie; why don't we do a medley of my hit songs?"

A Little Simon & Garfunkle Medley?

This kind of stuff is the first mass entertainment I remember. I think it accounts for a lot -- at the very least, it explains why I love marijuana so much.

I don't think popular entertainment has been before or since as surrealist as it was in the late 60/early 70s. This is some weird shit. Keep watching. It doesn't stop getting better.

"The Inimitable Miss Mama Cass."

How could you not love this?