Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Philadelphia, I always love Philadelphia!

Suddenly it’s summer in Philadelphia -- yesterday I was wearing a scarf and mittens but today it’s hot even with just a t-shirt. The air is so fucking thick, but sitting in the sun is somehow relaxing anyway -- it's all about the sun going through my eyes to regulate my pineal gland for sleep sleep sleep, right? A great conversation with Jacks who arrives to help me get to the reading, on the streetcar we’re talking about health and fibromyalgia and passing and the Bay Area where Jacks is actually from. We arrive at Giovanni’s Room a few minutes late and the place is crowded but comfortable I mean every chair is taken but it’s not overwhelmingly crowded except for the fact that it’s sweltering, oh well.

(Here’s what’s annoying: my voice activation software is not working well at all right now, I don’t know what’s wrong but it’s super-annoying because I have so much to write!)
Anyway, Cei Bell, a friend of Tommi Avicolli Mecca from way back, reads part of Tommi’s piece which is intense because it’s about a homophobic father of one of Tommi’s friends threatening to kill Tommi because of his 1970s radical drag (the father describes Tommi as “it”), but … oh, this is so annoying -- the voice software is driving me crazy, I think I need a new headset but don’t know where the hell he get one while I’m on tour… Anyway, Cei reads the piece super-fast which adds to the tension, but I will admit that some my tension comes from the fact that she’s reading the whole essay instead of an excerpt, oh well. Then an excerpt from Rocko, who’s arrived from New York, and Irina, who’s come all the way from LA!

Cei is the first to comment, about something Irina brings up -- passing privilege with respect to who can risk arrest at protests, especially for people of color and transpeople + immigrants and Irina adds class into the mix. Jacks talks about the horrible things people bring up when they perceive you incorrectly, in her case as non-queer, non-feminist, and the invisibility this entails, but also the potential privilege with using this information. A question about JT LeRoy, of course I love talking about JT LeRoy! What’s great about this reading is that it really becomes a conversation between the people in the audience as well as between audience and speakers, I like that. The store sells out of books, which of course is a good thing in some ways but that always stresses me out-- when there are more people that want the book and it’s not available.

Afterwards, it’s on to dinner at a delicious Laotian restaurant in West Philly with I think 14 people, including Shaw who wrote to me when he was still in high school + his friend Jane -- they are a lot of fun. A few other people say they remember me from my 2000 reading for Tricks and Treats, that’s amazing -- I like the way it gives me a sense of my history! Another thing that gives me this sense is the warmth from Ed who runs Giovanni’s Room, he says you’re a great speaker and gives me several great hugs.

Back at dinner, someone asks what’s going on in San Francisco and I evade the question. Of course I haven’t been there in a while, but I’m also preferring this rotating space of a more saturated, concentrated experience in all these different cities and at all of the readings -- San Francisco seems terribly lacking, vapid with scenesterism and the gentrification of the imagination in comparison -- although of course I’m having such a privileged and idealized experience of all of these places where people come to engage with my ideas and projects and the sparks they can ignite.

Shaw and Jane help me to the train station where the machine won’t give me the right ticket and there’s nowhere available to purchase tickets except through the machine but it turns out I already have the right ticket in my bag. There’s no escalator to the train, just stairs so I’m so glad that Shaw and Jane are able to help me, otherwise what the hell would I do? We hug goodbye just as the train to leave and they get out just in time.

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