Tuesday, June 8, 2010

I Made a List.

It's true, making a list is a good way to see a problem clearly.

A friend told me that I should make a list of all the things I am looking for in a job. I can't remember now what she said I should do with this list -- I have trouble with multi-step processes. Making the list was edifying, but also depressing, because I see now why it's so hard to get a job:

1. Part-time (20-30 hours/week, so I have time and energy for the other things I do)
2. Flexible hours (because things come up that I need to be available for)
3. Time off when I need it (for instance, 2 weeks off in October if my show gets into the musical theater festival in New York we applied for)
4. No dress code (because I don't want to buy a bunch of stupid clothes, and because it's hot as hell half the year)
5. Right livelihood (I won't work for anyone whose products or business practices are harmful -- there's a lot of leeway here, but there are certain things I won't be a part of)
6. Preferably something in the arts or non-profit or queer realm, because the people are more interesting.
7. I have to make enough to live on. I have a simple life, low living expenses, but I have student loans and credit card debts. So, for instance, I could work at a book store or coffee shop full-time and still not make enough to meet my expenses (which is a sign of how fucked up the world is, but that's what I've got to work with).

1, 2, 3, and 5 (and 7?) are pretty much non-negotiable. I fret about 2 and 3, because I know nobody is going to hire me if I say that I might need to take time off here and there for my work. People tell me, "Just don't tell them that. Work it out when it comes up." It's not that I'm so morally pure, but that kind of deceit is just ... stressful for me. It's a headache.

My friend's advice was basically that it's easier to find a job if you know exactly what you want. What I want is not to have to find a job. What I want is to get on with my life. A job is an obstacle, a distraction, a pain in the ass.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Jane Olivor.

I just watched a movie called Saturday Night at the Baths. It was made in 1975. The central character is a straight man who takes a gig playing piano at the Continental Baths in New York. The story revolves around this guy, his girlfriend, and the manager of the bathhouse, with whom this couple become involved. There was some awful acting, some scary dialogue dubbing, and jarring music edits (which I think might be a preservation issue) but the script and editing were good, very tight and clear, and the actors who play the two main characters give really wonderful, natural and affecting performances. It was a much more complex, interesting film than I expected.

1975! It looked like my New York. I didn't move to New York until 1981, but I don't think the appearance of the city changed much in the 70s except to get dirtier and more run-down.

An extended section of the film is the actual floor show at the Baths, with wild modern dancing by boys in tighty-whiteys, a gorgeous performance by Jane Olivor (the cabaret singer who shot to stardom in the late 70s and then disappeared), drag queens impersonating Diana Ross, Carmen Miranda, and of course the immortal Miss Garland.

My grandmother turned me on to Jane Oliver when I was 15. Did the whole world know I was gay before I did? I love this so much.

Working on this high school diary project has me listening to and thinking about music I loved at that age. Steely Dan, Moody Blues, ELO, Led Zepellin, Joan Baez, Judy Garland.

I had these records on vinyl, and I sold all my vinyl on the street for $1 an album in front of J's and my 10th St. apartment when we moved to Nashville in 1998. I just downloaded Jane Olivor's version of Don McLean's "Vincent." It has as much power tonight as it did back then to tear my heart out like only a 15-year-old gay boy's heart can be torn out.