“We wanted to see what would happen if there was a space in the city that wasn't trying to sell you anything. The idea was to rent a private space and make it public. And to put our private book collections there, and make them public, too. This might end up sounding like Marxist propaganda, but we thought, and we still think, that the people need spaces that exist on the margins of capitalist logic. [Raises fist in the air, like a good Communist.]”
I write to you from the land of Walser’s Selected Stories. The edition with the Susan Sontag forward, and the man-standing-alone-with-umbrella bad cover. Everybody, including Sontag, says Walser’s at his best with his stories. I reread Jakob Von Gunten, Walser’s most famous novel, just to be sure, and have found that everybody is correct. The stories are the masterpieces.
Ana Karen and I are both from the state of Guanajuato, a conservative leaning state located in the central part of Mexico. Currently, Guanajuato has one of the highest homicide rates, with femicides being a large portion of those deaths. For this reason and a multitude of other pressures, Guanajuato has a large migrant population.
How nice it would be to only be challenged in the ways one can handle, with reality checks that aren’t overly harsh but just gently abrasive like a friend with a witty sarcastic comment that cuts to the core but is wrapped in genuine affection! Lol.
I haven’t received your letter, so this one will cross it in the mail. You’d suggested such a possibility yourself, which I liked—like two people speaking to each other at the same time without being able to hear each other, but maybe later it will sound like a conversation.
I used to be really proud of the flaming chili pepper on ratemyteacher.com from a while ago. And, also really proud of the fact that on ratemyteacher.com, nobody knows my pronouns, which is hysterical in that format because the entries somehow alternate pronouns one after the other. Which I now find completely amusing.
Sex-testing reveals more than the slipperiness of binaries within the sex and gender spectrum—it reveals the mess around the idea of equity in athleticism. How can we enforce equity in sports that were never “fair” in the first place? In sports that have always operated first and foremost as a cis man’s domain? Fair for whom?
Chelsea: Let’s get a working definition: How would you describe your work?
Philip: It doesn’t have to make sense. If it looks good, eat it. Please don’t leave me. Byeeeeeeeeee.
An important thing to me is intention even when we’re doing a bit that is aggressively stupid. I don’t like things that are weird just for weird sake, or like some Burning Man shit. I want everything we do to have a reason for being there. Some of the more outlandish things we’ve done include: trapping our contestants in a micro-studio built live on stage, an elaborate flashback narrative that involved a 1950s set sitting on top of our regular set, a high school drumline surprising the audience with a very long digression, a too-long ode to Las Vegas, and unleashing a wet dog to run through the audience.
The ecstatic is another theme I see consistently in your work, along with the disappointment involved in existing alongside the search for the ecstatic. I see in your work something I connect to other poets of Occupy Oakland: a piling-on, a constant over-fullness, a desire for complete inclusion of experience, specifically including mess.
Before scientific advancements with genomic research, phenotypes, the visual were the things people had to go by and make assumptions on and think through. So, now, contemporaneously, genes and blood become the new medium for political agendas (we discussed Elizabeth Warren in my race and genomics class yesterday!)
You bring so much gusto to everything, Julio, as if you were totally unafraid, but your art makes me think that you live in a world that vibrates with danger. And to choose to make art, each time, is difficult enough. How do you bring yourself to grab your paintbrush, that snake-birthing snake? Does it scare you?
I’ve long been drawn to the epistolary exchange between writers. Before I was involved in any sort of creative community, I turned to these exchanges with an urgent desire to know what it was like to be a part of a network of people thinking, writing, & fucking. The unarchived moments of what precedes the published book, the historic performance, what were they thinking about & what were they wearing.
I feel some deep shifts happening as well as a need to keep going. I’m thinking about what it takes for us to connect deeply to ourselves, be our very most and help our friends, family and community to be their very most without being sucked up in capitalist and ableist ideas around “proving yourself/productivity.”
Undefined spaces in places and in relationships often are the most productive ground for creative thinking, problem-solving, digging deep, and transformation. I spend a lot of my relational practice working to draw community members together in new ways/venues, in order to establish veins of solidarity that relationships can grow out of. So maybe it’s more about water-witching for compassion points, rallying moments, and unity energy—and knowing that I can lean hard on those powerful hot spots in order to navigate difficult differences.
two writing-ass blk wimmin connected via email to discuss our relationship to drapetomania—“the disease causing negroes to run away.” one a mental health practitioner. the other phd student. both drawn to poetics as a medium of articulation. both kind of into black women performers in vintage porn. both curious about the other’s work.
I decided to look at the fringes of these markers and present a performance that will not feed into the narrative. I remember after one of my performances a Japanese friend came to me and was like, “When I read that a Ghanaian and a Nigerian are performing, I thought it was going to be a beautiful dance but no, you guys talk about serious issues, it was dark and too much for me.” So immediately you see you’ve deflated their Expectations 101. Now you can have a genuine and proper conversation on the performance.
I’m new to the world of the archive, a world where you dig through text and images in an attempt to excavate some new or previously rejected truth. Kathleen Bomani is not. Our work became entwined with one another's through our shared attempts to find answers to questions about Germany that history and relationships to communities have guided us towards. And also questions we didn’t know to ask.
I went to summer camp with designer Mi Leggett. Back then, we were both kind of hippie-ish theater kids. I think we were in a production together that involved large paper mâché puppets? But it was a long time ago.