Monday, April 26, 2010

Cuz I'm a Free Bytch, Baby!

"Bad Romance" was my theme song for our trip to VA Tech's Conference, Lady Gaga my muse, my Athena/Artemis/Hermes/Dionysus/Zeus/Hephaestus/Ares/Aphrodite/Demeter/Apollo/--my pantheon of personas blessing me with the gift of agility. In a nutshell: everything went swimmingly and we were well received. I was in rare form! Before leaving for this conference I say to the Grand Dame of our department, "I will reflect the glory of our department!" (I will channel Alcibiades for as long as possible!)

More to the point, I had a grand time with the Vegan, Cocoa and Parkaboy.

I also had the unique opportunity to get to know the local gay flora and fauna of the city of Roanoke.

We opened our night at "The Back-Street Cafe" where we saw a BRILLIANT drag cabaret show featuring Bunny Flingus and a stellar supporting cast. There I met a boy who did the make-up for Joe Biden and John McCain and Jerry Falwell Jr. (that's right the fucker's kid--Lynchburg is one of the "larger" cities in the area, along with Christiansburg, and the home to J. Crew and Jerry Falwell, until he died on my birthday, which also happened to be the birthday of this gorgeous boy, Caleb, who is a hair dresser/drag queen--tall, skinny, and looks 22 when he's really 27.) As the Vegan said, I scanned the room, found the cutest boy, bee-lined it to him, and was making friends within 3 minutes of being there. Well, more like 2 minutes, but w/e. hahaha...

Anyway, so apparently the place has been shot at. Surprise, surprise! But the Vegan loved it, and so did I, and though I wouldn't go so far as to say that they have gay culture "right," it is true that you don't usually see this sort of thing in Chicago (a cabaret that used "Alice in Wonderland" as the thread that wove all the performances together--for instance, the caterpillar performed--in a full caterpillar plush body suit--"Because I Got High" and the Queen of Hearts did "Poker Face" ect... all told, very clever deployments). The next night they did, at The Park--the only gay dance club in the tri-city area, with the "best sound system in Virginia!"--a rainbow themed show (obviously, Prince's "Purple Rain").

Friday the Park was next to deserted. It was interesting because the only nights they are open are Friday, Saturday, Sunday, so I had expected people to come out on Friday/Saturday, but alas: I was the only boy there who wasn't a total hot mess.

On a more somber note, I did meet a boy who was just tragic. (Tragic, not pathetic--the former, so far as I can tell, implies an overwhelming confrontation with Fate; the latter implies a confrontation with Fate which is not overwhelming but treated as if it were--victimization, "the spirit of gravity.") After a car accident, the boy is rushed to the local hospital which, because (no doubt) it is under-equipped and under-staffed, they send him to another hospital, which for the same reasons, sends him to a third. He is 6 y/o and wakes from the coma when he is 7 y/o--he literally lost a transitioning (symbolically, but with "real" affects)--and, though he is a lefty before the accident, has to learn how to write with his right hand because of uncontrollable spasms that rock the left side of his body. (We can imagine that if medical care were more immediately forthcoming the trauma he suffered, and which still plagues his body, would not have been so intensely damaging. We should keep this boy in mind, we pious theorists, when we feel compelled to issue forth denunciations of the "speeding-up" of time, of its terrible effects on our bodies, and when we sound the nostalgic call to "go back.") A scar, and a noticeable depression around his right eye, still indicate where the site of impact, crushing bone, probably damaging the nerves in his right eye (which is probably why he tripped and fell so many times--a dis-coordination of perception, which is only the organ-izing of sensuous data). He wants to be an actor, move to NYC and "become famous". It's Brittney over Gaga, but he still knows all of Gaga's songs and whenever one of them would come on he would take to the dance floor and mimic, with impressive accuracy, the stylized postures, gestures, moves, struts, syncopated jerkings of the video divas he has obviously studied with a desperate eagerness. And no doubt that I had bought him Coca-Cola's to get him to talk--Coca Cola because he was underage--had something to do with his choice to dance to Lady Gaga, as if still not believing my reassurances that I wasn't expecting anything in return. He was broke. Had driven over an hour to get to the Club. But the club was empty--saving some rather impressively trashy, and (to be perfectly honest) rather frightening, locals. "Hill people" the "city folk" call them. And indeed, we are in the valley of the hills out here. But this meant he could dance his little body all over the place, working himself against a pole in the middle of the floor, grinding his ass against it with all of the rapturous vacancy of a body on camera two lines down the rabbit hole, dropping to the floor back-down, pumping his torso up as if it were a mechanism in a car-jack, twisting himself around to simulate fucking the floor itself--as if the sexual energy were seeping up from the ground itself, an intoxicating perfume of sound and pulse and life giving him a freedom of movement, of unencumbered corpo-reality invigorating the musculature of his form--his performance at once the beautiful release of pleasure, and a gratuitous homage (he left his head and his heart on the dance-floor: a gift of self (to himself, and to the occasion itself for this opportunity, ).)

Then, and perhaps most interesting, I should say, was meeting "Tall J." as everyone called him. Indeed, he was J.'s doppelganger. Though he knew how to dance dirty.... lots of grinding, with no problem playing "top" or "bottom" on the dance-floor. But really: a spitting image: chops, skinny (with skinny jeans), the same mischievous smirk, the same unsure but cunning look in his eyes--a cinema major at the University (just as J. is a directing major--the visual arts). It was uncanny. He was both an impostor in my imaginary and an intriguing simulacra--the discrepancies fascinated me. I wanted him, to possess him--or at least the parts of him that reminded me of J. So strong was the resemblance that I could not help but want him. As if letting him go was losing some parts of J. that had become detached, which had followed me like a spirit or ghost and landed in this boy's body. As if not touching him, not hearing him breathe sporadically into the curve of my neck, not enjoying the pleasure of his attention... as if all of this loss was like losing J. I needed him. I begged for him. This imposing simulacra. Graciously, he was more like J. than I could bear: he said no, as if he were himself J., channeling his voice--the kind reminder that I wasn't in danger of losing what I had, that gentle reassurance (all spoken in the name of J.--"your boyfriend"...)--I clutched him before he left with his girlfriends, thanking him for knowing more than I knew--for understanding more than I could understand--even when he didn't even know or understand the desires wracking my body. I was thrown back--thrown back onto my own longing, my own desire, my own memory, my own anxieties: I wanted my lover, and this boy understood that. Better than I did, he understood, he knew--even though I can give no appreciable account of how. Perhaps I am that obvious.

Anyway, that was Saturday night. I also met Jeremy, who told me how, in W.VA, after one year of name-calling and taunts, his coming-out set a trend and "the cheer-leaders, the football and baseball players were all hooking up." I was stunned, having to flee the high-school in my own Liberal top-10 wealthiest American counties because the homophobia was so debilitating. I was jealous. I was completely flabbergast. I didn't understand, and I still don't. I desperately want to. Yes, there is homophobia in the South, but there is also something else that doesn't map onto the accounts that I'm so fluent in--from experience and academic training. (Interestingly, this plays out the same with bull daggers, too--the few I talked to also said that generally they were left alone, a sort of "not my business so long as you don't make it mine" governmentality operates in this area of the South. While obviously politically problematic, I'm was still jealous of the relative ease of these kids' experiences.)

Anyway, I made is home the next day. Made it back to the world where I dance "right," where I'm barely trendy enough to pass, where my lover and his contours and rhythm synched into mine like they so beautifully do. I made it back through back-water Ohio (where, at a gas station, a white woman just punched in her eye by her husband picked a fight with a Black woman for staring--as we all were--calling this woman a nigger, threatening to shoot her, threatening to burn down her house). I made it back past countless erections of trifecta Eucharist crosses. I made it past bad drivers, past XXX adult video stores, through rain, on badly maintained highways. I raced home. I sped back to my love, my home, my world. I fled. I did. I really did: it was a retreat. This world, this horror and this wonder, was too much. Enough for 3 days. But I had to get away. So much for the amor propre. I needed coherence again. My own frame. My world.

But that was because being there, in VA, was like living between two paradoxical frames, two mutually exclusive worlds: it was neither here nor there--we were like angels visiting from on high, and we were so readily recognized, but we were still spectral--our lives had no traction there, nothing solid to grasp onto--and so we dissolved, happily, into the pulses of music, the energies of the dance-floor, the indistinguishablity of the dark club where abjection, where shame, where fear was assaulted, buckle, and shattered under the insistence of the freeing siren call of the music (oooh lala!). Here we are just beautiful bodies, pleasure machines, wet with sweat, hot with energy, brimming with sexual need. We poured ourselves into the music, and we infected one another--our desire traveling on the tendrils of the webs of sound that bound our bodies together, quivering, spasming, "loosing" (but without loss--"orgasm")...

It is impossible not to fall in love on the dance-floor. I am you here, and you are me. We are not "WE"--we are impossibly separable. The dance-floor is where the paradox is kind, where it is loving--and we love this, we abject bodies and pleasures. This doesn't need a fortress of mountains to house, nor does it need a hip sophistication. I am so undone by this weekend... I left something of myself there, and I brought something of it back with me--and it is like a cancer now--it's cure is still there, somewhere, enigmatic and undecipherable--only showing signs.

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