I didn’t drink or do drugs or have any sex in high school. I was compulsively extracurricular. I was in every play. I was an editor of our newspaper. I was president of the Thespian Club. My best friend was president of the Latin Club. Not Latin as in Latino but as in the Latin language almost all western languages are based on. I was studying Spanish. I was jealous. But not because Spanish is just a beauty mark on Latin’s pretty face, but that she was in a club that I was not in. I liked the idea of being in “clubs.”
I always took a voluntary extra early morning class too. Nobody was forcing me and I didn’t even really want to. It just felt like I should always be at school. I was at school from 7am til about 9pm every day. When I wasn’t at school I was hanging out at Kroger. Which is a grocery store chain in the South. They had a campaign called “Dare to Compare” which allowed you to compare the tastes of, say, Snyder’s hard pretzels to the taste of Kroger brand hard pretzels. Me and Natalie would shut our eyes and dare each other to compare. In a blind taste test, the name brand always tasted better than the Kroger brand. And we felt really smug about our scientific process of finding that out. If the price hike was simply about money spent on Chips Ahoy’s ad campaign, then YUMMY. Those commercials are delicious. And all you have to do to find that out is close your eyes, stick out your tongue and trust your best friend. Not a problem.
We decided to do a Kroger photo shoot. We had to do it in aisle that didn’t have a lot of traffic. Paper products. Not as beautiful as canned goods or produce for a photo shoot, but it bought us time. Natalie pretended to run over my body with a grocery cart. Garrett snapped the photos. I tried to make fake pain look different each time. Natalie had to change her motivation for running over me each time. Sometimes she feigned malice, sometimes it was a tragic accident, sometimes she was heroic. Sam Cooke’s “You Send Me” played over the PA.
This is my first memory of reverence.
I said to Natalie, “My future husband will have to sing this song to me. And mean every word of it. And he will have to think of it on his own.”
I never felt so sure of anything.
Setting up nearly impossible rules for my romantic future. Only Natalie knew the rules. I drove Natalie and I to school every day and we would always play oldies. It was hard to get her to sing. (She was a stage manager theatre person.) But if you sang hard, she would forget herself and do the same thing. In my Volvo.
Right now I am in love. With somebody who seems like a husband. Strong. Short hair. Big dad kind of smiles. Freckles. We are trying to live together. We currently do not. We’re trying to live in this one apartment with stained glass windows and no buzzer.
It’s a much simpler idea than I thought it was. Everything’s always like that.
The Kroger photo shoot pictures were part of a surprise calendar that Natalie made for me for Christmas. One picture for every month of one year. When the year is over, the calendar no longer serves a purpose. I keep it in my bedroom at my parent’s house.
I am playing a newlywed right now in a play. She is covered in bruises and scratches and although the source of these bruises is the mystery of the play, I choose to believe that they are from her husband. I choose to believe that she feels lots of different ways about this, and one of them is turned on.
When I was little, my Aunt Pat gave me a a teddy bear dressed in a nurse’s uniform. I looked at it and saw some kind of future. I don’t mean that I explicitly thought I would become a teddy bear nurse or even a nurse, but that for some reason, i felt like a stuffed animal in an employer uniform was a weird hint. Aunt Pat was the only woman in my family who had a job. My mom, Aunt Chris, and Aunt Ruth were all homemakers. Aunt Jo was a nun, and that just felt like she was a different gender than the rest of the world, and that that was a job, and that job meant having short grey hair, singing way louder than other people at church, and joyously playing Kings In The Corner with me and Granddad on Thanksgiving.
When you’re a kid, people want to know what you want to be when you grow up. Given my options, I obviously wanted to be a nun.
(I think it’s important to note that a subletter in my apartment who does a lot of coke is doing what sounds like filing his nails really really fast in the room next door to mine.)
I’m not a nun. And I’m grown up. I’m an artist who accidentally took the vow of poverty.
The difference between taking the vow of poverty as a clergy member and accidentally taking the vow of poverty as an artist, is that, as a clergy member, you get to make up a meager budget that covers all of your basic needs. Rome pays for it. Nothing extravagant. Shelter. Medical. Food. Utilities. Car. Gas. Stuff like that. You work related to what you specialized in, medical, administrative, etc. in the context of your spiritual practice.
Rome doesn’t pay for my art.
But here I am dressed as an elderly teddy bear. Reading a monologue at an art party. a few years ago.
on airplanes: eighteen hundred and ninety seven. In hotel rooms: Sixteen hundred and sixteen things. On bus benches, trains, and other stations of public transit: ten thousand and fifty-two. These things include:
A fur-collared, cinch-waisted jacket with four coffee stains and three red-wine stains on its cuffs and hem.
An almost-full journal stuffed with lust-poems written on pieces of order-pad from Pannikin Coffee Shop and Café in Point Loma, San Diego.
Forty-seven pairs of underpants in assorted colors, fabrics, and styles including: bikini, boy-short, crotchless, tap-pant, and thong.
A red leather jacket with cigarette-burned lining and no buttons.
A three-pound bag of tangerines.
Fourteen packages of chewing gum.
A Thrifty Drugs Brand disposable flash camera containing exposures that, if developed, would undoubtedly be illegal to possess in Texas.
Three pairs of prescription eyeglasses in unflattering, sale-priced plastic frames.
A porcelain doll (named: Amelia) in a blue-lace dress
Two hundred and seventy-nine novels, poetry collections, feminist anthologies, vegetarian cookbooks, algebra workbooks, history texts and science lab guides.
One Revlon Cocoa Disco lipstick.
Four hundred and eight rhinestone-stud earrings.
Seven hundred and nine dollars and twenty-two cents.
A drawing of a pink brontosaurus by Lily O’Malley, age five and a half.
An electric popcorn popper.
One almost-full tube of Loreal Sublime Bronze Cream.
Nine hundred and two hairpins.
A green post-it on which was written my brother’s new address.
This is of course not including items lost at dinner parties and dance clubs, while bicycling down Mission Street, in a waterfall in Yosemite National Park, out the window of an office building in Tucson, in moving trucks, and in the clothes-dryer at a Laundromat in Atlanta. Neither does this count include items that may have fallen from the van at EZ Mart in Newkirk, Oklahoma while stopping midway through a cross-country drive to buy seventeen gallons of gasoline and a bottle of Diet Rite Cola.
thursday, feb 25 @8pm
THE DARDY FAMILY HOME MOVIES BY STEPHEN SONDHEIM
by erin markey
Cole Escola (LOGO)
Bridget Everett (Joe’s Pub)
Elizabeth Hoyt (Under the Radar)
Joseph Keckler (New Museum)
Erin Markey (Hell)
Jeffery Self (LOGO)
The Dardy kids are leaving the nest, but they’ve forgotten their entire childhoods on VHS. Now mom, Molly Dardy, has to find a place for it all. Too bad everywhere is a good place. A dark musical comedy based in a small industrial city in dark musical Michigan: Saginaw.
HOW ARE US?
tara jepsen and beth lisick
Turning an insolent gaze at the petty undertakings of femalia and regarding the chemical stink that is hormones and pleasure by Beth & Tara.
Tara Jepsen and Beth Lisick have been lady comediennes together since 1999. They have performed at endless events, festivals and fundraisers, including Billionaires for Bush, NYC’s Dixon Place, Homo-a-Gogo, and in a vegan’s living room in Santa Barbara. Their award-winning short film Diving for Pearls was taken down from You Tube for an unstated offense, probably nudity or the portrayal of women as ugly. It is now here: http://blip.tv/file/2428930
Friday afternoon, I sit in front of the monitor, swallow a dildo, spit into my hand and rub wet palms on my tits and hair for the 3-dollars-a-minute internet audience. Friday night I want your boozy fist in me. I want to suck the sake from your tongue. To be only yours.
On Saturday afternoon in Sebastapol – buying slippers and bouncing a rubber ball through the aisle of Rite Aid, photographing maria’s shoes in the parking lot as you lean against the jeep, drawing with the etch-a-sketch – I can feel the small ache of where you’ve been. I’m embarrassed that I can’t know the right things to say.
While we are weeding the asparagus beds at Leah’s farm, you remind me that it is AVN weekend – that it is Sunday, the last day of the convention, and all of the signing and florescent booths and photos and madness has gone on while we were walking through the soft-dirt holly grove, drinking California wine next to Leah’s fireplace, picking red chard in the dark with a pocket knife and flashlight, chopping the mint and olives, watching the hawks and setting the gopher traps and climbing muddy through the fern-bed amphitheater. It’s Sunday afternoon and grey-cold and you are wheel-barrowing dug-up fenceposts to the barn and cut-down holly branches to the compost pile. You’re wearing ripped jeans, flannel shirt and trucker hat and you keep calling me Daisy and I keep calling you Farm Boy. I’m sifting through the dirt and lettuce-roots, letting an earthworm crawl between my cloth-gloved fingers. I think that this is the first time in years that I have missed the convention; it is certainly the first time I’ve forgotten about it. For a few minutes I wonder if this means something.
This morning, while you are at work, I make coffee that is stronger than you like. I read your books and get weepy with sentiment, leaning back on your leather couch in the same position as the night you first kissed me – when we both knew we shouldn’t have, and had to wait a year for the right time to kiss again. While you are at work, I peel both of the hard-cooked eggs you left and eat them with the salsa verde from your cupboard. I think of the way your hand felt last night, the way we were so tired, all of a sudden and I want to tell you this thing that’s in my throat, I want to and want to and it’s too much and I can’t.