Archive for January, 2012

January 31st, 2012

mehan: This week, I wrote a piece for MTV Hive about “Wicked…


This week, I wrote a piece for MTV Hive about “Wicked Clown Love,” a new performance art piece from Neal Medlyn that draws much of its inspiration from Insane Clown Posse fan culture (i.e. the “Juggalo” lifestyle). I hope that my admiration for Medlyn’s bravery comes across in the piece—instead of taking the easy route by poking fun at a culture that’s almost universally loathed, he’s taken the time to really understand ICP and its fans, in order to produce a performance that generous, nuanced and thought-provoking. Neal’s challenge, I think, is convincing an NYC audience to take a subject as deeply uncool as Juggalos seriously, though based on what I saw at the rehearsal, he’s more than up to the task. In addition to Neal, I also interviewed Riot Grrrl O.G. Kathleen Hanna (Bikini Kill, Le Tigre), who designed the sets for “Wicked Clown Love” and had some really thoughtful, eloquent things to say about Neal’s work. This means that I can now claim to have talked to Kathleen Hanna about Juggalos—I’m guessing that there aren’t very many people who can say that.

Neal and Kathleen are inner circle. Period.

January 31st, 2012

psychotropicpolitics: that awkward moment where you can’t find the opinion data you want and you…


that awkward moment where you can’t find the opinion data you want and you say aloud, alone in your room, “i’d like to see that poll.”

boringcore. it’s an art.

Seriously you guys something is happening.

January 31st, 2012

"Her voice is not agile and overwhelming like Florence Welch’s; nor is it as aerobic as…"

“Her voice is not agile and overwhelming like Florence Welch’s; nor is it as aerobic as Beyoncé’s or Gaga’s; nor is it desultory and small, with a dollop of cuteness, like Feist’s or St. Vincent’s. It’s low and dark, with a threatened upper register that conveys rather than sheds its emotional burdens. It makes whatever she’s singing sound a little like the songs David Lynch and Angelo Badalamenti wrote for Julee Cruise back in the Twin Peaks days, but those songs were about the atmospherics, and Lizzy Grant’s are about whatever led her to create the entity known as Lana Del Rey.”


I’ve purposely not read what “professionals” write about LDR because music writing is almost always awful, and music writing about women is definitely about 99.9% awful. And writing about women, also awful.*

But the above paragraph, in an otherwise excreable piece in Esquire by Tom Junod, is actually about LDR’s work, and descriptive and insightful about the art. Unfortunately in order to get to it, you have to wade through the rest of the piece, which begins with this apocalyptic scenario:

Like all other worlds these days, the world of female singers has become riven and divisive. The divide is so large that it’s not merely a matter of style anymore; rather, the female voice itself seems to have been split in half. On the radio, there are the booming divas singing of empowerment and revenge with their mechanistic melismata; in the drizzly samizdat of what used to be called indie rock, there are the wan wastrels, the massed legions breathily pleading for us not to hurt them. Once it seemed that every great girl singer was capable of generating her own style and fomenting her own revolution; now female singers seem bound to make a choice between sounding like precocious 12-year-olds keeping secrets or, well, like machines, complete with auto-tuning.

RIVEN AND SAMIZDAT. Plus, an epic battle between waifs and glamazons, which I thought was what happened in the 90s modeling world, or possibly in a Henry Darger film treatment.

Sure, it’s a ridiculous scenario—can’t wait for the Pop Conference to take it on!—but once Junod committed to only comparing females to other females, he had to liven it up somehow.

*Although you should read this terrific piece by Laura Hudson explaining the difference between a sexually active and empowered female character and one that’s been created for the male gaze in the context of comic books, because she breaks it down, like with side-by-side visual examples and still the comments are epic in just the way you know they would be.)

January 31st, 2012

"As we have so recently and publicly discussed, girls and women have “anger issues” in that they are…"

“As we have so recently and publicly discussed, girls and women have “anger issues” in that they are socialized to not demonstrate anger, but instead to sublimate it where it can sometimes then manifest itself as anxiety or depression. Girls are not born less angry and more anxious, they’re rewarded for being less angry and more anxious. So, it should come as no surprise to anyone that large groups of stressed out girls and women collectively facing the dissolution of a cohesive social structure might be more disposed to fall prey to mass psychosis. It is arguable that men and boys experience similarly jarring episodes of anger and anxiety-channelling mass psychosis, but we call it male aggression and fund military industrial complexes to deal with it.”

- Soraya L. Chemaly, Stop Telling Girls They’re Hysterical  (via sparkamovement)
January 31st, 2012

karaj: (meteoramusic) “video games” by lana del rey “for women…



“video games” by lana del rey

“for women modernists, aesthetic and phenomenological boredom provided a homeopathic cure for the banality of the present—a restless self-consciousness (a “desire to desire”) very different from the ideal of disinterestedness that characterizes traditional historiography.” 

—patrice petro in “historical ennui, feminist boredom” in aftershocks of the new: feminism and film history 

January 31st, 2012

fiercenyc: On Friday, January 27, 2012 at the Creating Change…


On Friday, January 27, 2012 at the Creating Change Conference Baltimore, FIERCE delivers a message to the LGBT Liaison to the White House, the Department of Defense, the Department of Labor, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development at “The Obama Administration and LGBT Community” session.


 “Mic check” a single voice, a little shaky, interrupted from the back row. 

“Mic check!” echoed nine more voices in a roar of anger, love, support, solidarity. 

“MIC CHECK!!!” a little louder now, yelled the voice more stably grounded in the feeling of security that love and solidarity gives to oppressed voices. 




Our collective interruption—written down on paper so we didn’t choke up with feeling, but truly imbedded in our hearts and minds in a way that we would never forget—had one main goal: calling out the injustice we saw as LGBTQ Young People of Color trying to reframe the so called “LGBT agenda of Equality” that was about to be discussed at the Obama panel meeting. 


Later, as we reflected on what happened, everyone voiced a true feeling of fear.  A fear that was so viscerally intense that it was pulling our bodies to leave; walk out the same doors that our shaky legs and inspired minds had just compelled us to enter.  But there was something that kept us in that room.  Whether it was our individual needs of speaking out, our collective understanding of our speeches’ importance, or just out of love and support for each other.  We stayed.  We stood our ground.  We embodied our vision of “Building Power, Taking Action, Creating Change.”

The reactions to our mic check were varied.


Some people shook their heads in uncomfortable disapproval while others applauded us, seeing the truth and necessity in our words.  Those in the audience that agreed did so passively—not actively speaking up after we finished our mic check with “Is there anything anyone else needs to say?!”  This lack of response, though, might have been due to the fact that almost immediately after we were done, Amanda Simpson, a representative from the Dept. of Defense quickly and aggressively deflected with, “Okay, so back to our regular agenda.” 


Five minutes of overtly ignoring us passed while tension in the room grew.


It wasn’t until Jennifer Hadlock from CVH stood up and derided the panel for not acknowledging us that the conversation finally shifted back to addressing our disturbance. Also in solidarity, Urvashi Vaid advocated for us by asserting that we had presented a challenge to deepen and broaden the conversation of what it means to be Queer in this world.


After the attempts made by adults to validate our voices, some of the panel timidly talked around the issues with lists of the Obama Administrations’ ‘successes’, while others remained silent. But, in frustration to the lack of a direct response, we collectively exited the room.


After our exit, and as many people greeted us outside with thank you’s, one thing was for certain: we had grappled and shaken the room—transforming it into a space that promoted creating change.  We stripped away the sophisticated suit of regular panel Q&A discussions, making it much more real than it would have been. 


We uploaded the video of our mic check on Friday afternoon.


What followed has been a steady outpouring of gratitude, excitement and pride from conference attendees and social network commenters, followers and writers.


It is Saturday evening and there are 1,255 hits on YouTube.


As we take in this solidarity around celebrating and affirming our resistance and our message, we have hopped, skipped and jumped with pride. Our feet have felt more planted on the ground, our smiles wide, and our chests open, fearless.


We knew we did good. We knew we were powerful. What we didn’t know was precisely how threatening that power was.


So threatening, it was erased by NGLTF on their blog— which described a peaceful Friday morning session as if our act of dissent never occurred:  


Would you have ever known about what we did and said after reading the NGLTF blog? Friday morning is history now, and that history has so quickly been rewritten.


Our voice, already shaky with a message so vital for our existence in this world, swiftly deleted. The sweat stains of fear from Friday morning have settled. Our bodies are tired from unpacking what it means to be excluded from our own movement.


Who benefits from this erasure? And more importantly - At what cost?


Does youth inclusion at Creating Change only mean hospitality suite burritos, dress up parties and photo ops? Does youth inclusion mean sitting in silence in workshops and feeling like we don’t have the language or the experience or the knowledge to speak out?


In her “State of the Movement” speech, Rea Carey (The Executive Director of the NGLTF) called on conference participants “to not [play] the game, to do something extraordinary…to work against the forces that drag us down as human beings, that pull us down and limit us as a movement, that portray us as something that we are not”.


Isn’t it ironic that a national organization claiming to represent the LGBT movement strategically polices a message from Youth of Color leaders doing exactly what Rea Carey called on us to do? What does it mean to erase a message that so boldly steps up and speaks out against the militarization and policing of our people, and demands an end to war and violence?


We are fighting for queer justice. We will not be co-opted. We will not be silenced. We will not policed and militarized. We will continue to fight for our liberation!




 My friend Jesse founded fiercenyc for queer kids of color. Look at them! I am crying my eyes out. 

January 31st, 2012

"Because I mistrust my head & hands, because I know salt tinctures my songs, I tried hard…"

“Because I mistrust my head & hands, because I know salt

tinctures my songs, I tried hard not to touch you
even as I pulled you into my arms. Seasons sprouted

& went to seed as we circled the dance with silver cat bells
tied to our feet. Now, kissing you, I am the archheir of second
Because I know twelve ways to be wrong

& two to be good, I was wounded by the final question in the cave,
left side of the spirit level’s quiver. I didn’t want to hug you

into a cross, but I’m here to be measured down to each numbered

A trembling runs through what pulls us to the blood knot.
We hold hands & laugh in the East Village as midnight autumn

shakes the smoke of the Chicago B.L.U.E.S. club from our clothes,
& you say I make you happy & sad. For years I stopped my hands

in midair, knowing fire at the root stem of yes.
I say your name, & another dies in my mouth because I know how

to plead till a breeze erases the devil’s footprints,

because I crave something to sing the blues about. Look,
I only want to hold you this way: a bundle of wild orchids

broken at the wet seam of memory & manna.”

- Yusef Komunyakaa, Canticle (via yesyes)
January 31st, 2012

psychotropicpolitics: Classmate: I think [other classmate, not present] is gay. Classmate #2: Oh…


Classmate: I think [other classmate, not present] is gay.
Classmate #2: Oh definitely.
Me: Has he said this?
Classmate: You can tell.
Classmate #2: He’s so effeminate.
Me: Not to break your hearts guys, but I’m kinda an expert on not-gay effeminate men.

Upon your return to America, we will open a consulting firm.

January 31st, 2012

theawl: maura: Just what the world needed: MORE…



Just what the world needed: MORE MANSPLAINING. 

Things are getting ugly.

How about meta-splaining?

Why is pop music the only art form that still inspires such arrantly stupid discussion? The debates that surround authenticity have no relationship to popular music as it’s been practiced for more than a century. Artists write material, alone or with assistance, revise it, and then present a final work created with the help of professionals who are trained for specific and relevant production tasks. This makes popular music similar to film, television, visual art, books, dance, and related areas like food and fashion. And yet no movie review begins, “Meryl Streep, despite not being a Prime Minister, is reasonably convincing in ‘The Iron Lady.’

Sasha Frere-Jones, “Screen Shot”

January 31st, 2012

I’m never getting married, obv, but this would be the…

I’m never getting married, obv, but this would be the song, right?