Saturday, March 31, 2007

This spaciousness touring allows




Metro-North is not as comfortable as Amtrak, that’s what I’m thinking on this train to Beacon, New York where I’m meeting Kara who’s going to accompany me to Hudson. Almost like the subway is more comfortable when there's no one sitting next to you. I'll admit that the river is gorgeous, although I can’t help gawking at all of the mansions perched on cliffs and over swamps, in between trying to take a nap because I woke up too early -- downstairs, Alan was playing very loud music -- I mean making loud music. The music was kind of relaxing, but not relaxing enough to sleep to.

All of these tiny towns on the river and even ruins on an island, what on earth could that be? Still I’m too tired, stepping out of the train and what -- there’s no bathroom? Oh well -- over to the back of the harbor, Kara says I hope you don’t get arrested -- shh… She’s wearing a plaid skirt, I think I’ve only seen her in a skirt once before -- I'd say she’s working the sexy dyke schoolteacher look, but what do I know about Beacon? Korn’s there too-- we were all in Fed Up Queers in NYC together in the late ‘90s.

In the car, I’m kind of too tired to talk, but I’m talking. Apparently a one-bedroom in Beacon is now going for $1400, in spite of the fact that the local economy is exhausted and one of the main industries is prison-- of course, these rentals are targeted towards people escaping from NYC, all of the horrors gentrification once more. In the bathroom at the rest area, there are guys who are cruising me from the urinals while I’m looking in the mirror, like this one guy taking a while to do his pants -- I’m ready -- but wait, I have to get to an event, I mean I am the event. We get lost in a different city I mean town -- Catskill -- but not too lost.

Time and Space Limited where I’m doing the event is this huge brick building with a theater, offices, an area with tables and chairs, galleries -- it’s beautiful. I’m suddenly nervous, but luckily we’re not too early I mean we’re late, but just a few minutes. No one’s nervous yet, I mean I’m nervous but not too nervous. I think the theater setting makes me nervous, like wait will I be performative enough? I’m eating a few bites of food from the audience, while my wonderful host, Konnie Michael Chameides, introduces me.

Of course I’m performative enough and the audience is amazing -- they're laughing right away, all the way through -- disturbed and saddened too at the moment when I talk about my father --then in an absolute uproar at my critiques of assimilation, they love my anecdote about gay cops, which has become quite popular I must say. Gay cops murdering unarmed people of color -- we have ARRIVED! They love it.

The questions starts slowly -- how have the audiences differed, do people use different vocabularies in different places to talk about passing and politics, accidental passing, passing for different things in different spaces, what about passing for minor gains? Someone asks about electoral politics of the presidential variety and so it’s fun to go off. Another person asked about psychiatric diagnoses, gender identity disorder, I go off on psychiatry too. Later, one person talks very emotionally about passing as maybe more or less straight in an activist context where she believes she won’t be accepted as queer, but has come to realize all of the pain and exhaustion from basing the way she acts on her fears of what other people might think. Someone else adds that sometimes the fears of what other people think are more draining than dealing with what they actually do think, and someone adds a brilliant comment that serves as a great conclusion because I’ve realized that it’s already 10 p.m., time to wrap everyhing up. The comment is that choosing not to pass can often be a lot about discomfort, not necessarily only comfort. But it’s more eloquent than that, I can’t quite remember it exactly.

I’ve missed the train I was going to catch back to New York, but I don’t care -- I know that there’s a bus later. I want to stay here with all of this engagement. There’s a local bookstore, Spotty Dog Books, with copies of Nobody Passes for sale at a separate table, so I move over there. The first person to come up is the woman with the brilliant final comment, she says I brought something for you, it’s porn, and at that same moment I realize oh, it’s Tristan Taormino. She sent me an email saying she was coming, but I scanned the audience and didn’t even spot her, hilarious. I hadn’t seen her in so long, so I didn’t immediately recognize her -- I love surprises like that, especially when I was just thinking what a great final comment, who is that, then I realize oh it’s a friend of mine!

The people from the bookstore are excited and great to chat with, as are all of the people who come up of course, one to ask a question about apathy and jadedness in San Francisco-- oh no, I’m going back there! I mean I’m certainly ready to rest, just want to make sure I can take all of this excitement with me.

Then it’s time to leave, hugging people goodbye I love hugs -- I really love hugs, really -- then to the bus station in New Paltz which is hilarious-- all of these Renoir remakes on the walls, wood paneling, an incredibly hot guy working there with round black plugs in his ears, I think I have a thing for those round plugs somehow-- not to mention this guy has spray-painted his skateboard hot pink, although his demeanor is not necessarily giving faggot. I’m asking him questions to flirt, Kara’s funny too the way she adds questions of her own like she’s flirting too except I think she’s flirting for me. His answers make him kind of cartoonish in a too-young straightboy kind of way, not to make you think that I wouldn’t flirt with him longer but there’s a bus I have to catch, more hugs, a way-too-crowded bus smelling like rancid liquor + a screaming baby all the way back to NYC and the maze in the Port Authority where the bus drives around and around until finally there’s a spot.

In the subway I’m seeing so many hot guys, guess this means I’m horny again, it seems like an endless journey back to Carrie’s house but then I’m there, walking in the door, into all this space both in my head and in the apartment. I feel so relaxed, so grateful for Carrie’s hospitality and the hospitality of so many people along the way, how would I do this tour otherwise? Makes me want to figure out how to have a larger apartment so that I can host people-- my apartment’s not that small, but it’s a studio and I can’t sleep at all when someone else is in the room.
But anyway I want to record this moment of softness and desire and calm, sure my body also feels tight and twisted from the bus and traveling, but traveling -- before I left San Francisco, I kept talking about this crazy tour, what am I thinking? Several of my friends said Mattilda, you always do well on tour, you like traveling -- I thought what, are they crazy? Not realizing all of the obstacles?

But actually they are right, I love traveling -- I love being on tour, it’s incredible -- still I’m exhausted and drained, but also living in this spaciousness touring allows.

No comments: