Bridge Project 2016: thoughts on process

(i'm one of 4 choreographers for Velocity's Bridge Project this year. i made a piece called Doin' it Right. here for you is a slice of my brain, transcribed in English.)

I walked into the studio the first day of rehearsal and flat out told the dancers (there's 5 of them Katie Thompson, Kate Pope, Britt Gaudette, Liz Houlton, and Lindsey Palmquist), that Hi, Welcome, and I have no idea what this piece is about. I knew something about my approach to it, working with language and the idea of text, subtext and supertext. But I had no idea what I wanted to say with this piece. Which, maybe for someone who isn't me, this wouldn't be that big a deal but pretty much every piece I've made up till now I've know, with varying degrees of certainty, what the piece was about. And that informed what happened on stage. Whether it was a straight narrative piece with still images, or a voice over'd piece with movement along with it. My work has a very strong storytelling element to it. Well, not just element, it's like the whole molecule. That's kind of the driving force behind my art. And so to walk in day one and not have a story to start with, I was like, well. . . let's see what happens.

It wasn't until about 2.5 weeks into the almost 4 week process that I figured out what this piece is about, for me. And I'm not gonna tell you what that is here, you have to come to the show to find out. But, sneak peek, it turned out to be a lot about a specific ongoing experience and that in turn really made it about process. Just following the movement, a lot of exploring, finding what it is that moves me, what it is that moves my dancers, on an unspoken level, and building from there. And it turns out the story was there the whole time, it just took us a little playing around to find it.

Side note, I've never been more thrilled to go to rehearsal in my life. Well, I mean, I've had good rehearsals in my life, they were fun, but this one took it to the next level somehow. Like, I've never felt more alive in a rehearsal process in such a consistent way. And I was telling my dancers that the difference between me alone in the studio, and me in the studio with all them, was dialog. I love dialog. I mean, don't get me wrong, I love to monologue, but there's something extra special with dialog. With conversation specifically. This piece has been an incredibly collaborative process. I feel really, like, fuck yeah! to have had time with these five people to just open up the process, this creative process and get to know one another in order to figure out answers- What are we doing? Why are we here? Why do we move? What moves us? On like a physical level, yeah, but on a mental, spiritual, emotional level as well. Those things to me are just as important, or, have equal importance, rather, because for me the movement comes from those other levels, from that emotion, from those feelings, those thoughts. That's what movement is for me. Or at least, that's the interesting part for me of movement. I mean, yeah, there's dance vocabulary, great, and you can say a lot with dance and these dancers are super fluent and articulate in that language, but I'm like, as a writer, as a human, as as an artist, as a relative newcomer to dance as a mode of expression, I'm, like, well, that's fine and all, but What are you trying to say??? What are you telling me??

And for me this goes back to this other influence: this core observation that when we talk, we move our bodies, some people more than others, of course, and some of that is cultural, some is personal, but there's all these hand gestures and shrugs and eyebrow arching and we're not even really conscious about that but more interestingly, these movements are not exactly necessary to move the story along, to say what you wanna say. So if they aren't necessary, then why do it? And then the other question that comes up for me, is like, well shit, are words inadequate by themselves? I mean, that would explain the use of all caps and bold and italics. And why my text messages get so misinterpreted sometimes.

So this idea of movement as communication. And not that it's compensating for, like, a lack in just pain text, but the idea of What if they are inseparable, movement and language? That you can't, that you can't, that, that words alone don't tell the full story, and that dance alone doesn't tell the full story. I mean it can, yes, in both cases, you just fill in the blanks with your own story. But yeah, this is just my opinion. I just don't think you can separate the two. For me they are in intrinsically linked. I mean, all the elements of performance are, if you think about it. the music, the setting, what time of day it's happening, who you are sitting next to, what you did 10 minutes before walking thru that door, it's all part of it. And so it's taking this like, I don't know, bigger picture approach, or something. Or not even, I mean, noting that for sure, but I think it just boils down to: I'm just really interested in this connection between writing – both the written and spoken word – and movement and dance. I've been calling it Dance Narrative, and so yeah, I made a Dance Narrative piece. With 5 dancers. And i'm not in it. Oops! Spoiler alert! Ha! Yeah, I'm not in it. Well, not physically, at least.  

come check out the show: velocity dance center, jan 29, 30 and 31, 8pm

THE VENUSIAN

this is an excerpt from my yet to be written book: THE VENUSIAN

let it be known that I, Pat Dry, Science Officer of Veneria 3, the 5 personed space mission to Venus, did not die on Venus. there was a wind storm, my crew left me for dead, I would have done the same, it was not their fault, and to them I have but one thing to say – thank you. sorry it's taken so long for me to contact you via this broken com system that I ingeniously fixed by the power of my own wit and engineering skills, but i've been busy.

turns out this planet is in fact presently inhabited by an ancient civilization. of tall beautiful alien women. i've befriended them. all of them. as a representative of planet Earth, I am doing all I can to learn their customs.

at this point, my only chance to get back to Earth is to meet up with the Veneria 4 mission in a couple years time. And to that I say, take your time.

60sec max, Annex Theater, 11/06/15

a love note disguised as a a book review disguised as an apology

sometimes when i don't keep up with my daily writing practice, city employees become the recipients of some real stream of conscious gems. enjoy! (transcript below)

 

dear library,

let me start off by saying i love you. truly. like, more than the internet. you've brought me such joy and fulfillment and a bevy of other emotions over the past 10 years here in seattle. i can't imagine a life without you. well, yes, actually, i can. it would be bleak. which is why it pains me to be the bearer of the following news: i totally fucked up one of your books. unintentionally. it was on the bottom of the stack of books on my floor in the corner of the room that is dedicated to stacks of books from the library and it just so happens to be real close to the window i left open when i went out of town for two weeks which made it impossible for me to a) realize it was raining and b) close the window in response to such rain. as a result, i came home to a rain stained floor and a wet book. no book should be left in the rain. not event the atheist's guide to reality. which, truth be told, i had only gotten a few pages in and was only mildly committed to finishing but renewed (it) anyways just in case my interest/curiosity in atheism outweighed how wrong of a way the author's voice rubbed me. along with loving the library, i love god/the universe/the great mystery/spirituality and am fascinated by other peoples view points and beliefs/non-beliefs and really wanna how how their brains work but alex rosenberg (the author) is really making it difficult to get past the first chapter and even with all that i'm bummed that this hard back incurred the damage it did on my watch. i will do my best not to let that happen again.

acts of god notwithstanding.

do let me know what i can do to remedy this/make up for it, be it in service hours or monetary compensation or whatever else you dream up.

ok, so it's just a little water damage. still, i thought you should know.

i can be reached several ways . . . .

warmly,

ilvs  

acute artistic therapeutic therapy

share time. sometimes i get down. not like Cutting A Rug getting down, tho certain conditions do allow for that particular phenomenon to occur, but the particular seasonal fog of My Particular Body + Change In Said Body + How My Perception Of That Is Wired In My Particular Brain getting down where no amount or combination there of of coffee/cat time (probably would help if i had a cat to have time with)/netflix+cereal/ok fine i'll go for a walk around the block/talking with roommate Beth Leppard will cut through. sigh. 'twas even a semi recent moment when i looked at my phone, simultaneously wishing it and thanking it that it did not have the capacity to dial for me just from me looking at it, wondering if i should call my erstwhile therapist to see if her plant/sensible shoes/corner of the room over her right shoulder would be available for me to stare at while i talk to the rest of the room and oh she just happens to be in there listening and repeating things back to me in a learned way. 

that moment quickly passed. 

and in the wide open field of that next moment, a new option presented itself to me in the form of a text: what are you doing sunday? (nothing.) do you want to be a russian dancer for CHWS? (yes.) details to follow. (ok great!)

details being the requisite time and place, sign this waver. oh, and bring a dance belt. uh. . . . scanning the email list and realizing i am the only female bodied individual cast in this fictional ballet company. . . uh, excuse me, costumer? i must clarify. . . ah yes, no worries? dance belts will be provided? great. . . that was me saying YES to being filmed half naked while in the snag of a body image issue hick up. well, ilvs, how bad could this be?

well, ilvs, turns out not bad at all, once i got past the Am I Actually Going Pant-less On Camera? Yes I Do Believe I Am! factoid. follow up factoid: nothing, and i mean nothing, negates negative self image issues like wearing SOMEONE ELSE'S DANCE BELT for 3 hours in a chilly workout room with 2 walls of mirrors and 1 bank of windows that look over pike street, in the company of 8 sculpted male dancer friends, also in dance belts (their own), while your Not That Kind Of Lady Friend lady friend, dressed as a russian ballet troupe's mean queen bee, smacks your calves with a riding crop while yelling 'CALF!! CALF!!!' in a thick russian accent, all the while cameras are rolling on the set of your friend's web series to be viewed in the not so distant future by probably most of your friends and pretty much everyone else in the far reaching corners of your community. 

so, to wes and the cast and crew for both fully witnessing and fully documenting both my external and my internal growth, a big ridiculous, awkward, liberating, scintillating, challenging, heartfelt Thank You. who knew that's exactly what i needed?

 lumi + ilvs 4ever

lumi + ilvs 4ever

this dandy just got back from India

well, i'm back. and now that the whole week long trial and tribulation of the resetting of the internal clock business is pretty much now squared away (dear mercury, is this what retrograde feels like??? good goddess, i'm so sorry!!! love, ilvs), i can return to my regularly scheduled With A Tendency Towards The Verbose program.

today's discourse shall revisit the topic of the previous discourse, The Dirty, and my particular relationship to it because i had a lot of time to think on it in India because India is/gives/has a lot of everything, including time and The Dirty, and wouldn't you know it, i have more to say about it. 

as it turns out, The Dirty really only irks me when The Dirty is not my decision. por ejemplo, if i decide, for whatever unholy reason, to step into a sandbox, it is my choice and in that moment i have consciously (yet inexplicably) chosen to embrace The Dirty, thereby bypassing my deep seeded neurological cringe and reducing it to tiny dry silica particles aka Mere Sand. on the flip side, if someone pushes me into The Dirty, well, let's just say that that person best have a really good reason for griming up my fancy. 

me going to India, while not exactly 100% my idea, was in fact 100% my choice. no one but i dunked myself neck deep into the cold, blessed, filthy waters of the holy Ganges while monkeys watched from the rocky beach. no one but i forced me to sit directly under where that green parrot was perched as it unabashedly relieved itself upon my trousers in front of throngs of Taj Mahal visitors. no one but i thrust my foot into piles after piles of cow manure ranging from Ancient to Maybe That Just Happened Not Too Long Before Now while hunting down the street food yam man thru impossibly populated streets. and no one but i twisted mine arm as i climbed the Never Really Swept Thoroughly In 1000+ Years steps to the top of the temple where holy persons smudged colorful powders on my third eye and i filled my lungs with the thick, borderline acrid smoke of incense and burning ghee. 

all this and more, done on my own accord. and it was lovely.

in fact, i reached a level of comfort hitherto unknown to me. when my fellow travel partner person spilt their milky street chai on my travel pants that one morning, i was completely nonplussed! something about the combination of having woken up in an ashram that morning, having super sugared caffeine coursing thru my pre-breakfast veins, and really having settled into the warmth of the thin, week old cloak of The Dirty i was sporting, magically turned that capitol D Dirty into a lowercase 'namaste, my sister'. 

India, it has been observed, does not give you what you want; India gives you what you need. so, thank you India, i couldn't have gotten to where i got without you. now i know that while it may take an entire village to raise a child, it only takes 1.27 billion people to change me of my peculiarities.

namaste.

 dedicated to my parrot friend. 12feb15.

dedicated to my parrot friend. 12feb15.

this dandy's going to India

[since i will be on a plane during the superbowl this year while Team is 4th Quarter Winning, i am choosing show my support for Team by waiting till the final hours before i leave for india to blog and pack. for the win. #pullingaseahawks #fareastmode]

'oh my god how exciting!' you may find yourself saying upon learning of my impending world travel. yes. . . i'm going to india. . . exciting. . . but. . . .ok, Real Talk? i'm terrified. of what? of The Dirty. and the detritusy beachy part of india that my travel guru is sending instsphotos of, appears to be not short on it.  

'well, that's poverty' my roommate, wise in their non gender specific pronoun ways said. well, yes. but it's not the poverty i fear (tho i will be the first to embrace, in spite of my independent wealth status, my run of the mill scarcity thoughts about money), it's The Dirty. specifically, the thought of getting The Dirty on me. 

now, hear me out in my hygienic complexities. i write this wearing the same outfit i've been wearing for the past oh i dunno 5 or 6 days (socks and unders did undergo a change of guard, thank you very much). so making The Dirty apparently is not the issue. it's being plopped down into The Dirty that ice baths my gut. and this is not just a foreign country induced idiosyncrasy, mind you.

rewind 30ish years to: Little ilvs in a frilly blue dress bawling her eyes out, screaming 'SUCIO!! SUCIO!!' at Mother who had just, after placing Sister in the sand box to play, placed her in the sand box next to Sister to play with Sister. SUCIO, for those who did not have espanol as their first language but then grew up speaking so much english that their comprehension and speaking skills of the mother tongue have digressed to sand box level, means DIRTY. i, dapper-ish still in my ruffles and patent leather shoes, was brought to tantruamatic tears over The Dirty, perceived and otherwise, that i found myself sitting in. 

fast forward those 30ish years minus 1ish week to dance class where, after cutting the rugs modernly, we were asked to pair up with a fellow dancer in the room. having been in this class before, it was safe to presume that this partnering up would lead to touching of said partner. i glanced quickly to the closest person to me and my internals froze when it became apparent that i was to be better halfed with My Friend. which, in and of itself, is not a problem, he is a gentleman and a scholar. except he also holds the title of SWEATIEST MAN EVER TO WEAR A LOW CUT TANK TOP. 

sweaty man = The Dirty. 

The Dirty + ilvs' bare hands = ilvs on the verge of tears.

as it turned out, our partnering time together started with just standing and staring into each other's eyes. so. i stood there. and stared at him. and he stared back. and tears rolled down my face for the entirety of our face off. the beauty of the moment (and his kindness as witness) was not lost on me. despite the overlying strata of discomfort that was demanding my full attention. 

'you also don't have to go.' again with the wise words from the roommie! or should i say 'rumi'. true. . .pause. . . but i want to. and i'm excited for new life experiences and amazing adventures and challenging challenges. . . that, and i'm getting picked up to go to the airport in like 5 hours. also, it should be noted that after my cry session in class, i felt a lot better. i washed my hands immediately after, but i totally felt totally better. so, it only follows that after befriending The Dirty from far away lands, this Dandy is going to be OK. after a long sesh of standing on a sunny warm sandy beach, peppered with cows and debris, weeping at the unkempt beauty of it all, of course.

ok, i should really go pack. see you in a few weeks!

namaste,

ilvs

if she walks like a lamb and quacks like a lamb, she's probably an artist

for approximately Several Days last week, i sallied forth about the overcast and kinda rainy seattle city administering to That Which One Does When One Is Mostly Self Employed As Performer Of The Art much like any other Several Days save but for one noticeable detail: my hands were bright red. 

fortunately, 'twas not due to a You Need To See A Doctor 5 Minutes Ago medical condition. in blessed fact, it did not involve the pain or the harm to anyone or anything, myself included.

and so how does one find themselves with fire engine red extremities? well, in this particular instance, it was a direct result of a combination of not wearing protective nitrile examination gloves and waiting too long to use ACTUAL SOAP to wash my paws off after being tasked repeatedly to hands and knees it to the deck and sop up several gallons worth of RED using an astonishingly absorbent sponge. the RED being neither actual blood nor a corn syrup based liquid representation of vital fluid, but just plain ole water from the mop sink dyed the certain color choice of a certain ALICE GOSTI, whose art performance project i am at her technical beck and call for. the take away on my end of aforementioned duties being that i left theater von theater with palms and phalanges looking like a person who just committed some kind of ritual involving at least one but probably closer to many a sacrificed lamb. needless to say, it was noticeable. fortunately for me, other pronounced visual clues (walking around in broad day light with a retinue of artsy looking folk) and universal safe assumptions (i mean really, who sacrifices lambs these days?)(don't answer that.) meant that i, with my wildly out of place tinting, was read as not just AN ARTIST, but a WORKING ARTIST at that. 

never you mind that the presumptions were based off a pedestrian occupational hazard that comes with being a stage lackey, this clandestine outside validation from my fellow humans i will willingly take! (the smattering of jesty crime scene/slaughtered lamb Dad Jokes that tagged along with this misdirected recognition, i could pass on, thank you very much.)

and during those Several Days, while basking in my By Association Artist Aura, it occurred to me Several Times to instaphoto document the task at hand, but, lest i give all the members of my Virtually Assembled Via Some Overly Complicated Algorithm online community a heart attack upon seeing a photo of me covered in RED, i resisted.

instead, i give to you a photo of Cap'n Ron's hand crafting a BUTTER LAMB.

point your dreamy eyes to the upper left corner and you will see fingers slightly red. now imagine if the red were from RED and not poor lighting/extreme color incorrection, and that the lamb crafted was a lamb slaughtered and then you will begin to get an idea of what it would have been like to lay eyes on a photo of what my hands looked like in the moment.

speaking of moments, this one moment now now is a good time for me to preemptively field your question of: did you specifically googleimagesearch 'hand + lamb + art + would be gore'? or did you happen to be on Cap'n Ron's website and worked the blog plot in order to showcase a photo highlighting the how to's of the misunderstood art of butter sculpturing and your fascination thereof?

it's the latter, thank you very much. i love EASTER and it's just around the corner and i'll be damned if i am caught THAT SUNDAY with a bunch of rectangular sticks o' yellow laying out on the table with all those right angles and pointy corners casting harsh shadows and poking holes in my soft focus pastel ambiance. o yes, between the moments of sponging art gore and going about my other artistic ventures, research on the upcoming Big Day is being done. i know of no better way to spend the day/night/wee hours/crack of dawn. well, other than blogging about it, of course. 

till then.

best of 2014?!?!?

'tis bean a whale my friends! do pardon my virtual absence, i became overly preoccupied with the thesbionic revival of a certain dead 2000+ years associate of mine, Jesus 'Hey guys! Whatcha doing?' Christ. the show went well, thanks for asking, special shout out to those responsible for the creation of over the counter and thru the dale day time cold medication. and since the sweeping of that theater floor, i have been tied up with things that have so little to do with watching my friends shower themselves in glitter and being secondhand glittered in the process or standing in bright lights barefoot and bearded, that all mine energies have been diverted into figuring out what the heck is going on here, why is no one drunkenly applauding my every move, and where oh where is my entourage of back up dancers?

speaking of drunkenly applauding my every move. well, no just the applauding my every move part, can't vouch for the imbibed beverage part, a male dancer friend of mine tipped me off via a messaged congratulations that i had been included on a 'BEST OF 2014' list in Dance Magazine (the heart spasm sidestepped by serendipitously omitting that it was a best/worst list, intentional or not, was much appreciated). quickly and quietly, whilst parked in the church parking lot  in my grandmother's lezbaru (my words, not hers) waiting for her to get done practicing Administrative Catholicism, a google search ensued, and low and behold:

Best Dance-Plus-Talking Premieres
• Ilvs Strauss in Manifesto at On the Boards in Seattle: masterfully honed androgynous presence, a sly script, and a bodacious California Red Sea Cucumber costume.

(read more of the list by clicking the part i lifted).

huzzah! yes, thank you i accept this laud for my solo piece MANIFESTO. i am deeply honored.

and perhaps now yes now would be an excellent time to announce that i will be performing a full evening length (the exact duration of which patiently awaits discovery) of said performance come late May (22nd, 23rd, 24th) at Velocity Dance Center. 

 so it is written, so it shall be done.

so it is written, so it shall be done.

you can prepare for this momentous event in one or more of several ways: 

1) by keeping abreast of quasi regular, totally and not at all related to the project Updates here on this here website here.

and

2) by adding yourself to my lighthouse beacon of a mailing list. not only will you be kept informed of my doings, but you will be less likely to crash ashore on those sneaky shallow water rocks called I'm Home On A Weekend Night With Nothing To Do. you may sign up on the column to your right, my left. that's right, i can see you reading this. 

and,

3) to be used in conjunction with 1) and 2), watch this video on repeat:

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xcahs4_california-sea-cucumber-3d-renderin_tech

(who are these people and why are they so amazing????)

 

on my end of things, i will be preparing as i do:

1) by rehearsing/thinking/plotting/snacking/writing/meditating/gyming/aquarium docenting

and 

2) watching, on repeat, this video on: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xcahs4_california-sea-cucumber-3d-renderin_tech

(no really, who are these people and why are they so amazing????)

which, come to think of it, is remarkably similar to how i spend any other day.

so, until the next belated entry, i bid you adieu.*

regards,

ilvs 'staying the course' strauss

 

*deepest of condolences to those affected directly and indirectly by the recent tragedy in france. sending thoughts of love and peace.

i am proud new possessor of a baby raptor/i joined a gym

disclaimer: i scribbled the following at 3:30am the other morning. or evening, depending on your temporal constitution. read at your own discretion.

sweet merciful mary mother of baby jesus, i had no idea this was a, uh, a 'perk' to signing up. it's not in the bold print, or fine print even, of the paper work, but rather nestled in the 'meh, they'll figure it out soon enough' section of the 'hey thanks for joining your local y' sign up paperwork. this being this: included in my pool access (a privilege that i will probs never take them up on because i'm not keen on swimsuits (you call that a suit?!)) (also, interestingly enough, there is not an official APA approved term for swimsuit anxiety) (at least, nothing that came up in my .44 second google search) (ugh, why is my internet so slow???) (and my preferred alternative, public nude bathing, partial or otherwise, is only cool on certain lake washington beaches, weather permitting), locker room access (apparently there's a sauna somewhere in the nether parts of the women's locker room. i know this from having stepped into the first 20 square feet of said locker room long enough to change and overhear that one enthused lady in nary a towel exalting the virtues of tight quarters steamy rooms with only one entrance/exit, and i quote, 'yeow!'), and gym access (again, have yet to cross that threshold for the ludicrous reason of not having yet found the workout buddy who matches my idea of what a workout buddy would look like, which has everything to do with having an outfit to match mine and a venereally witty sense of humor to compliment mine that is only activated by close proximity to squat machines), they sent me home with a baby raptor, henceforth referred to as BabyRaptor, which is code/literary metaphor for 'when you go from not really exercising beyond the weekly modern dance move and bike commuting the 1.2 miles from home to work (uphill both ways!), to taking intense group workout classes with benignly deceptive names such as 'cardio&strength', there's gonna be a period of adjustment, ie yr gonna wake up starving - not literally malnutritioned to the point of eternal rest, but more of a figurative Now I See Where The Phrase I Could Eat A Horse comes from. 

and so, my new to me BabyRaptor decided, after a handful of classes peppered over the past two weeks, to make her formal introduction to me at the wee hours of the night. unbeknownst to me, baby raptors sleep with one eye open. or so it seems by the needlepoint sharpness of their innate ENT faculties at any and all hours of the day/night, which were triggered to level defcon 1 alert by the stray nocturnal pitter patter of 4 tiny feet that was Upstairs Neighbor Cat 1 or 2 chasing something while being invariably cute. mistaking the noise of the feline for FoodMealNowSnack, BabyRaptor began climbing the freaking walls of my cozy, sparsely furnished room, chasing the phantom footsteps in a tazmanian whirlwind of sharp claws, an irrational zest for life that includes the termination of other life forms, and ballistic Prehistoric Animal Just Trying To Get Her Basic Needs Met behavior. this, for the record, is a bit difficult, nay, impossible, to sleep through. coupled with the fact that BabyRaptor was not to be talked down from this imminent feast to end all feasts that had become her soul purpose in life, i begrudgingly threw back the covers, extracted my tiny warm self from my tiny warm bed and made my way to the East Wing of my sweet digs where the kitchen is located. 

time was of the essence in this situation and after a quick survey of feast options, my heart simultaneously sank and skipped a beat at the realization that the only thing that was ready to go now was Still In The Now Cold Rice Cooker cooked millet. now, trying to quell a baby raptor's AliveSnack gastro itch with cereal grain is akin to Sharpie drawing a pizza on a piece of damp cardboard, bringing it to a 5yr old's My Favorite Food Is Pizza pizza birthday party and calling it good. a hyper 5yr old. made of pure muscle, razor sharp teeth and a flight or fight response set to NowKillNow. nonetheless, i persevered.

'chew slowly,' i cooed, flavor-shy millet particles tumbling from the heaping fork as it traveled it's trajectory from tiny bowl, past trembling lizard (ok, ok, bird) lips, into DangerZone mouth with teeth area, 'it brings out the nutty, earthy flavor of the grain. . .' 

and so, Upstairs Neighbor Cat 1 or 2 was spared the unfortunate position of being reappointed Midnight Snack 1 or 2, ravenous extinct beast was gently lowered into the daintiest of food comas, and yours truly got a few more hours of sleep before getting up, having somehow not been dissuaded from the idea that joining the y was still a pretty good idea that i'll stick out for three months at least. 

epilogue:

as fortune would have it, yesterday i was able to make amends to BabyRaptor with half a cooked bird, a third a flank of fish, several a soft cooked egg, something that passed as bacon, and, for old time's sake, a waffle made of plain cooked millet. yes i may have some difficulty in convincing BabyRaptor that holidays are special because of their Not Every Frickin Day status, but that conversation is somewhere still in the future. ie whenever she awakens from her vegetative digestive state.

 

puttin' the xo in 'thx you'

dearest of mid November!

oh, how the crisp weather stings my Exposed Due To Stubborn Refusal To Wear Neither My Warmish Black Knit Hat Because Of It's Tasteless Hair Flattening Properties Nor My Warmer Than Black Knit Hat Grey Fleece Hat Because It Does Not Match My Outfit ear tips! oh, how i observe the radiant colors of fall, which apparently pale in comparison to the fall colors that make the East Coast 'hella worth living in, sister' but i wouldn't know because i've only ever visited the old country in the cold tomby grip of Winter and really when it boils right down to it, this uni-costal autumnal personal experience that is All That I Know trumps that which is hearsay so this Seattle environs is, for all intents and purposes, Technicolor Magic, sister.  

it is in this backdrop that i can't help but milestone my days with moments of sheer gratitude for that which makes up my 24 hours in one day experience called Life This Time Around On This Planet. (one time, while riding in a beat up old Toyota pick up thru the organic farm in the hills of Northern California with my South African companion, the bed full of freshly harvested red and white onions, i couldn't help pick up the fact that the new age lady, whose self produced seminar we were listening to on full volume to compensate for the truck's internal racket, kept tagging on the qualifier of 'Here On Earth' after pretty much every sentence that pretty much made sense on it's own, rendering said qualifier redundant, at least to the causal observer/non-new agey person/i have yet to try LSD, in a way that landed somewhere between delightful and annoying, what with it's implications dashing the bold assumption that all the things that could actually happen to a human would actually happen to a human Here On Earth, cuz well, that's where we are. that'd be like staring into the face of your quasi first date coffee date and spouting out this scene ender of a line: 'my what a stunningly captivating shade of blue are your eyes. the one's on your face.' hmmm. . . charming, and hey, looks like maybe someone forgot to shut the door all the way before leaving the house, i think that's my cue. anyways, to that chatty cathy pre recorded new age lady, a much belated homage.) specifically, for all the wonderful art thingies that have transpired over the past half week (amongst other things: an endearing potlucked Seattle Salon, a fundraising event at Open Flight Studio wherein i preformed, a workshop with the incomparable Tere O'Connor, meeting Mister The Mayor at the Capitol Hill Arts District announcement assembly, and full cast rehearsals for the upcoming Homo for the Holidays), the breadth of which has pronounced me a truant to mine own self imposed weekly blog posting duties. for this non-transgression transgression, i dutifully apologize. i shall return to my somewhat regularly scheduled disquisition starting probs next week or so. 

so until then, i invite you to snuggle up with me under the So Thin It Actually Makes You Colder Out Of Sheer Incredulousness Of Still Not Being Warm Despite The Addition Of Adding A Layer blanket cover of clouds that this week has pulled over us and bask in the wondrous reality that is All The Days Ending In Y. 

 

sigh. ilvs, not everything is a vagina. oh wait, i stand corrected.

whilst i was poking around in the dimly lit far NW corner of the basement the other day, looking for acceptable paint shade options, i chanced upon a slightly yellowing, large sheet of parchment, curled up and resting in a plastic waste receptacle that some former tenet used as a storage capsule. 'perhaps it is a treasure map!,' my Fresh From Hulu-ing Garfield's Halloween Adventure Circa 1985 Wherein Garfield And Odie Dress Up As Pirates mind ventured to guess. there was only one way to tell. well, one way that made sense that didn't involve back stalking all previous owners of the duplex and questioning them about this all but forgotten artifact.

and so began the careful process of unrolling this papyrus gem. slowly, a simplistic thick black ink line drawing of the face of a koala bear revealed itself to me. 'oh how completely charming and totally uninteresting! oh how i casually observe how not a single emotional response is elicited from this sweet bear face that is not a bear at all but in fact a marsupial!'

speaking of koalas, they make some crazy unexpected sounds (click on this link - once you've finished reading the entirety of this blog entry, of course:  http://www.soundboard.com/sb/Koala_Bear_Sounds ). ok, you know the sound the TREX makes in Jurassic Park? that's actually the sound you hear when you put a mic up to the cute grey face of a koala bear during mating season. seriously (http://voices.nationalgeographic.com/2013/12/02/why-do-koalas-have-such-low-voices/). similarities could be drawn to a certain dude friend of mine's 'sawing of logs', a nocturnal sonic phenomenon i experienced first hand on the Deliriously Unforgettable Due To Me Being Totally Awake The Whole Time night i spent in a dark yurt with him, an ex friend, a lover, a dog, and 2 other friends, one of whom is the dude's wife who is apparently gonna sleep right on thru the apocalypse, i swear.

their little audio idiosyncrasy effectively plunks those furry little koala buddies down on the list of reasons To Never Go To Australia, right up there with CANE TOADS, DROUGHT, and. . . well, ok, it's a short list. wait - i should be clarify. it's only the dude koalas that have the secondary pair of humungous 'vocal folds' at the back end of their adorable little mouths that they use to make the uncharacteristically deep sounds to attract le femme koalas. apparently it works, cuz, well, koalas are still around. looks like dude friend's wife's gonna have some company on the morning post-apocalypse in the form of a colony of bright eyed, stubby tailed lady koalas. huzzah!

but, i digress. . . where was i? 

ah yes, but wait - this discarded work of art was only 1/2, nay, 1/3 of the way rolled out! lest i leave myself in tortuous, interminable suspense, i continued, with fevered anticipation, to unroll the scroll. soon so soon it became apparent that my earlier assumption had a bit hasty, and i was not dealing with a koala bear at all but was about to come face to face with an entirely different beast from Down Under. 

while my upright/mammalian/cognizant brain was slow to comprehend, my lizard brain was quick to light up with bells and whistles, taking over the driver's seat for a sec and steering my hands to rotate in planar space 180 degrees so that it made clear that what at first glance looked to be a spirited contour drawing interpretation of a well known marsupial, was in fact, a spirited contour drawing interpretation of a vagina. a giant one at that. a vagiant. 

treasure map indeed!!! dear roommate, please purchase a 24"x33 1/4" frame on your way home today.

roommate: why?

me: to frame a glorious work of art that shall be hung above our dining room table.

roommate: what's it of?

me: you're welcome. 



what i put in my mouth when left to my own devices

my roommate left this in the fridge:

 yum!!!!! :D . . .. .  :/

yum!!!!! :D . . .. .  :/

the tone in my voice should be read as : oh, thank god! i was afraid B was gonna throw it out. 

yes, it is grey-ish in parts. but not entirely, which is why it ended up back in the kitchen instead of being added to the nearly depleted guacamole bowl in front of guests actively chatting it up at Family Diner (not a typo. it's like Family Dinner but without the pressure. or actual relatives present.*). 

one of us will totally eat it. probably not Courteous Me (unless it's still there in a few days) because i already ate the other half. most of it. there's that thing that happened where i ate all the Green parts of the Green and GreenGrey and GreyGrey and DarkGrey parts, but then with the Green parts gone, the GreenGrey parts looked not so grey compared to the GreyGrey parts, so then i ate those. and what did i have left? GreyGrey and DarkGrey, which, by the light of the sun struggling to be heard thru the perpetual nimbostratus, look remarkably not all that grey really. . . 

insert really meaningful text about how, when judging whether or not to put something in your mouth, it's really important to take into consideration all your options as they stand there juxtaposed but not to the degree that you're completely overtaken by compare/contrast instead of taking each individual option as a stand alone tract complete with viable traits and a dedicated place/purpose in the world.

did i mention i am a food texture person? as in, the crunchiness, smoothness, grittiness, lumpiness, chewiness, etc etc etc is basically how i categorize food. crunchy and smooth are my protein and vegetables.

did i also mention that i am under said weather and my taste receptors are firing at half their full capacity? mmmyes. . . .

while you're at it, maybe touch on how, when options slim and your third choice is placed right next to your 66th choice, number 3 rockets to the top like there's no tomorrow, so there really is something to be said about perspective and relativity (not in a directly einsteinian way, i'll save that for another sermon).

for. the. record.

 but there's still green left!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

but there's still green left!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

no, i did not eat the entirety of the cool silky smooth avocado innards. 

i only ate most of it. 

with crunchy (chips, if you will). 




*save for the occasional sibling.

talking about my ex gf's basement is a euphemism but not in the way you'd think.

dear reader,

i'm writing this from the cold basement of my ex girlfriend's duplex. what exactly leads me to write to you from the bowels of this herstoric two story hovel? delight in progress. allow me to explain, you see, as far as duplex underbellies go, this one (well, this one corner of the entire whole) is quite charming, what with its freshly painted white walls, custom sewn curtains and festive lighting, especially when compared contrasted to what it use to look like/what the rest of the basement looks like still. before the pearl that is my makeover bug kicked in, this place had the aura of a registered sex offender. allow me to, since i can't show you the Neglected To Be Taken Before Of Before/After Photo photo, paint you a picture. it's like if that disgruntled kid from high school, the one who always sat in the back, whose wardrobe consisted solely of army fatigue pants and Big Jonhson t-shirts, oh and who bathed in not so subtle Eau de Stale Cigarette, was commissioned by my well intentioned land lord to create an art installation that tackles the Sorry I Opened That Can Of Worms topic of HOW I FEEL ABOUT HIGH SCHOOL. cobwebbed corners, dilapidated cement, moldy cardboard, exposed splinty wood and pure dank ensue! and then with a sloppily heavy handed stab at irony that misses its mark and just ends up well, sloppily heavy handed, painted the the wall parts that weren't falling apart or obscured by half bits of drywall, a School Bus Yellow (or Ticonderoga Yellow, depending on how warm the CFL is). this color, harmless in the light of day on objects familiar, becomes, under these circumstances, downright demoralizing, an assault to my greater well being that i was not willing to endure. 

 

did i mention my ex chose this color?

 

she, along with opinions from A (my ex J's ex/J's best friend/current date of one of my ex's C), and input from K, former roommate of S (the ex of which i speak of), who is ex's with my bff M (who is bff also with my present flatmate B). that sentence is as anxiety producing as that incomprehensibly life or death determining SAT math problem that showed up on that test i failed to study for in that dream that took a turn when i looked down and realized i was half naked, half engaged in some consensual (does that exist in dreams?) sexual activity with an older woman in a butcher shop that over looks the peaceful and deserted ocean cum aquarium. (actual dream! :D) (hey there, Psyche. . . uh, you doin' alright? just checking. . . ). 

oh, why hello world, i didn't realize how freaking small you were!!! gnnnaahhhhh!!!!!

to be clear, my ex gf does not currently live with me. in fact, there was no overlap between she and me in this house. it's pure happenstance that my current blessedly platonic friend of friend turned roommate asked me to move into S's old room. ah yes, happenstance, or what we in the queer community call 'Totally Normal Albeit Sometimes Uncomfortable'. we, S and i, in fact, find this Somewhere Between Nepotistic and Incestuous shared housing situation mutually hilarious and are on good terms despite the fact that she is responsible for the heinous color palette that permeates all rooms of this establishment. clashing shades of ship grey, electric blue and dusty saffron that disagreed with my senses when they first went up during our courtship, and still disagree with me to this very day!

ahoy! do i detect a hint of grudge in those illuminated pixels above? is that a twinge of 'ha! look at me i have better taste than this other person who holds a degree in visual art from the institution of HARVARD!!!!' ? maybe a little yes, the smallish bruise on my ego that is bitter singlehood is a splash of vitriol on the hot log that fuels my redecorating fire. but she and i, that was 2 years ago, i attempt to reason! which leads me to believe that there's something else at play . . . namely, the futility of attempting to eradicate every last vestige of my ex, of any ex, and claiming any space as 100% clean slate mine own. 

it's pretty much impossible, and even if it was, i'm not sure i'd want a matte finish white washed fresh start. i mean, i wouldn't be here now if i wasn't here before with her, right? and i don't think i would know myself here now in the same way if she didn't know me here then. so, there's that.  

don't get me wrong, i'm still gonna repaint the house. except maybe the kitchen, whose bold blue, the color S painstakingly, lovingly chose, i've grown dare i say, fond of. even though it vibrates at a different frequency than the tan cabinets creating a constant visual minor chord buzz. just saying.  

 

excuse me, tiny dancer, but where are you from?

today in advanced/professional modern dance class, i had what some might call. . . thoughts. while staring at the Wade Madsen, standing completely motionless and open mouthed, doing my best to graph his spiraling about the front of the room thru the cartesian coordinate grid i mentally superimposed around him, a small stream of information trickled in and dispersed itself through my body. while this stream made its gurgly way around the rocks and bones of my still dry from the evening sleep self, a thought in the form of a very large, benevolent bird of prey (the kind that look like they're wearing feather sweat pants) swooped through my field of vision with the announcement that: i don't really know this language very well. (figuratively, now, though for sure there's a definite parallel here with my relationship to the spanish language). i'm seeing this language called dance, and seeing all the other students speak it back to Wade in jealousy inducing fluency. i'm like a foreigner, or ESL person out of their element. but, well, i speak the language, and i understand it on more than just a fundamental level, but my vocabulary is pretty rudimentary. my sentences come out clunky and sometimes awkward, and sometimes spot on, and for sure at some point i've totally sounded out a swear word on accident. 

frustrating? yes. 

enough to keep me from coming to class? almost.

but i keep coming back. 

partially influenced by the dry fact that this is class and last i checked class is for people to learn something they have little to no previous knowledge of.

partially influenced by the 'eh, fuck it' voice pulling my dance pants up over my hips and pushing me out toward the nearest back corner of the room. 

oh, and i do get a kick out of it, dancing. it feels good, this weird language. even though my brain hurts from sometimes from the concentration and try as i might, i can't shake the accent. 

and then i started really thinking and came to the conclusion that if how i move can be likened to speaking with a heavy accent, then all might not be lost. 

even though i grew up around strong accents, and carried a slight accent growing up (a small mouthful of words still escape my mouth with the subtlest twinge of foreign), i am a bona fide individualistic individual born and raised in the continental us of a, and think that accents are one of the most crush worthy circumstantial character traits a person can have (with maybe one or two exceptions that i can't think of off the top of my head but would know it from the second i heard the first syllabic utterance of it). me thinks i am not alone in this affinity. i mean, come on, the mystery! the intrigue! the borderline fetishization of other cultures! to hear those familiar to the point of disappearing into the gross aural scenery phonemes spit shined and carefully held up to the light is such a refreshing wash of sensation, who wouldn't be charmed? 

now, i suppose if you live somewhere where culture crossings form a interesting lattice structure and not just a lonely x or single hashtag, or if you grow up with accents around you, or coming out of you, you may or may not be immune to said weakness. but probably not. and even if you are irked by one accent, there are 6,500ish in the world (googled it), so yr still not impervious to the allure of an alien lilt, or mis-accented syllable. 

so now, if all that holds true, which it does, we who came to dance at a late age (relatively speaking) can step ball chain with ease knowing that if our physicalized soliloquy feels or is perceived by others as ungainly, or dare i say, graceless, however grammatically sound, it is actually, logically, a work of art that is nothing short of, como se dice. . . exotic. 

sympathetic burrito eating

after more than a half year long status update hiatus, i have this to report:

yesterday i came to the realization that: ya know, dental work would be really not all half bad were it not for the soft parts. specifically my lips and my gums. as the dentist was wrapping up her work she casually noted, 'oh hey, we nicked your lip during the procedure,  those discs sure are sharp! heh heh. . uh. . . you might be in pain for the next few days.' 

'uh, that's ok,' i said. followed by a, 'and by that i mean, i'll be fine.' and shrugged it off with a half slack faced bravado smile. 

and i was. 

several minutes later, i tasted blood.

and was still fine.

several hours later, the novicane wore off. 

which, interestingly enough, synched up with the plummeting of the blood sugar in my system. 

factiod: being hungry and having your mouth hurt to the point of not wanting to put anything into your mouth is some cruel joke. it's kinda like, well, being hungry and having your mouth hurt. mere similes will not suffice in this situation. it was all i could do from falling into some kind of weepy tailspin piloted by the honorable hangry mchangerson III.

and then i remembered this: the goddess invented smoothies. and little colorful plastic tubes, sometimes called (say it with me now) 'straws', that allow precious tasty liquid to not only bypass the ouchie bits in one's mouth, but french kiss the sweet taste receptors on one's tongue on it's way to filling one's soft innards with said nutrients. at that point, my world was restored. 

and tonight i shall enjoy another peaceful night of sleep knowing that, due to the immeasurable genius of the goddess, i will be fully healed by tomorrow, day of satur, just in time for me to fully participate in semi-cross country sympathetic burrito eating. my dear sister runs the chicago marathon this sunday and i shall show my full support by preparing as she prepares (gastronomically speaking): by ingesting a very large burrito the night before and falling asleep at like 9:30pm (central standard time).

wish me luck. er, her. . . wish her luck. . . us. . . join me?

ahoy!

this website is an event 34 years in the making. 

and now i shall christen it by ceremoniously breaking a bottle of champagne over the bow of my laptop. let the voyage begin! huzzah!