Wednesday, April 07, 2010

The outskirts

Here the outskirts start so fast, you turn a corner and it’s stripmall hell or almost rural, but another corner and it’s cutesy adobe houses and art spaces, the only thing I can figure out is that it would be hard to live here without a car or bike. Jessica's house is right next to a park, which means an open field with brown grass and an asphalt path, leading to mountains. It's perched right between wilderness and a new subdivision, old adobe with hardwood floors and so much space and we’re on our way to the seder, who knew that there would be 15 cars parked outside a fancy house really perched on the edge, outside the city limits? Inside there are maybe 50 people in a huge living room set up in the center, I guess to hold 50 people, mostly dykes and people on the transmasculine continuum, seven or eight kids, a few straightish types, maybe a fag or two -- mostly white people in their 20s through 40s. My favorite part is walking around outside on the dusty hills. Oh -- and when I get to ask a question, after the host opens up the four questions by asking about a victim mentality that some Jews embrace, and how do we get past that to do the work we need?

I talk about how, as a kid when I went to a seder it ended up feeling like all this talk of past enslavement of the Jews served as a cover for current-day racism, talk of schwartzes and goyim and all that, and how do we talk about this history while also challenging the violence privileged Jews are enacting? And then, to take it into a queer context, we can see a mainstream gay identity that uses the rhetoric of community to oppress everyone else and get away with racism, classism, misogyny, ableism, body fascism, ageism, etc. -- using the rainbow flag as cover for gentrification, nationalism, etc. -- how do we create a queer identity that doesn't further this same violence?

The hosts are excited about my intervention, and there's one other person who keeps looking me in the eyes with excitement. Jessica too, who says I dropped a bomb. Oh -- and the singing -- that's my other favorite part, I love the singing, although there's not that much, and I kind of feel out of breath -- the altitude, or nervousness? Afterwards, we stop to check out Arcade News, the porn shop no one seems to know about -- it's on one of the rows of stripmall hell, in a compound with a sports bar and a strip club, the guy working asks us for our IDs, I guess because we don't look like we're 18 yet? Or maybe because two of us appear to be "women." Or maybe New Mexico is just strict about those types of things. But then the guy working is super-friendly, tells me they fired the manager who I read about on craigslist, the homophobe who threatened someone with a tazer. But apparently that wasn't all -- this guy says he was a racist too, just an all-around asshole, actually he did Taze someone and the cops were called but they didn't do anything. Another time he went outside and beat someone with a bat, he would insult all the customers and he wouldn't give you change and he would chase people out all the time.

At least they got rid of that manager, although it took a long time. The place has an actual theater, in addition to video booths, but I wonder if I would ever get there. It's on one of the bus routes, but the buses stop running at 10 pm. But I need to figure out other ways to meet or not-quite-meet people anyway, right?

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