Happy ending

•January 25, 2011 • 2 Comments

I spent most of yesterday morning crying.  And then, to be honest, I cried right on into the early afternoon.  I tried to write an email to the man who is either leaving or staying in my life, saying that I was angry.  Then I thought I should say that I was sad, which was less immediate, but also true.  Then I tried to tell him why.  Then I thought of all the things he would say back to what I was saying, so I progressed my argument to the next point.  Then it was too complicated, so I clipped it down, hoping to bite.  Then it was trite and too aggressive.  By the time I shut my computer down the midday light was already fading, I was flirting with lateness for some random thing I had promised to do  and I hadn’t even written anything worthy of saving for later review.

It was in that bedraggled state that I arrived at Too Much, the 10 hour marathon of queer performance, at which I had promised to spend a half hour reading into a microphone as a sound score for my friends’ installation.

I got there at 4:30, I was supposed to read at 5:30.  An hour to mill around.  I kept catching the ends of things that seemed like they had been cool.  And then I wandered into the corner studio, where Phillip Huang was passing a pipe around a circle.  He had an audience gathered, watching the people in the circle get high as a performance.  Sativia, I think, though I don’t really know.  I just know that I walked in right as he was asking if anyone else wanted to take a hit.  “Me!” I said.  What a surprise I gave myself with that.  I hardly ever get high.  I like sobriety, normally, and certainly can’t relate to any version of Emily that would just smoke whatever random thing was getting passed around.  But suddenly there I was, in that circle, with my orange scarf wrapped around my head as a defense against the impulse I had had to caress Phillip’s ankles.  I peeked out briefly, feeling like I should rejoin the room, and Keith was there, giggling on unstable legs, asking me if I was feeling the undersides of myself.  Why was he trying to make me talk?  I put the scarf back in place and cuddled up to the girl next to me.

Phillip released his circle just as it was time for me to go read for Hana and Kira.  They were wearing underwear and zebra masks and dancing slowly in a room filled with balloons and party favors, but I only know that because I had been watching them before.  When I staggered up this time, it was enough just to try to remember why I was there.  I found the microphone, hid in a corner and started reading without even looking up to acknowledge what I had just walked into.  I read from David Foster Wallace’s A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never do Again.

Now that I’ve reached this place in my story, though, I think I have to say that the only point of it is to talk about what a tremendous pleasure it is to get high and read David Foster Wallace’s words into a microphone.  He never sounded so good to me, plus there was this way where I was getting to take credit for it.  I felt lazily strong, letting David dance me from petty, catty ship gossip to ruminations on nautical suicides and back again.  If I can’t be that smart, I’m so glad, at least, that I’m smart enough to enjoy someone who was.


Losing my religion

•January 23, 2011 • Leave a Comment

The first time I saw my boyfriend I had a premonition.  It was the clearest, strongest vision I have ever had in my life.  He was onstage at a small theater in the Mission.  He juggled giant metal tubes, danced carefully with a woman with cerebral palsy and balanced a broomstick on his ass.  He was good, but it was something more.  This man is important to me, I accidentally thought.  An impossible, silly thought, but it bothered me more than seemed reasonable.  I even cried a little that night, I was so confused by the strength of it.

Two years later he was back in SF.  The weird chill of that night had passed and I arrived cheerfully at the theater, saying to the usher, light as air, that I was here to see my husband.  And when I saw him later that night, at the bar across the street from the theater, it was just as lightly that I decided to get him to take me home.

To skip a lot of laughter and a lot of tears, it’s been 5 years since that night in the bar, 7 since my original vision, and it looks like it’s time to say goodbye.  What, though, about that premonition?  Was it real, even if the relationship didn’t work?  He was important to me, it’s true.  But, in the end, if it’s just another failed relationship, it certainly feels less divine.  And I wonder how much of it I forced because I got a crush on a good performer and decided to call it fate.  Is this what all groupies do?

Fear and self-loathing in San Francisco

•January 12, 2011 • Leave a Comment

I performed my trapeze solo last Thursday night.  It’s not so often I do that anymore, so it’s become really special.  Plus, this wasn’t just some random club gig.  There was no understanding that I would be sexy.  I could wear boy’s underwear and no makeup.  I had a live musician instead of the song off of the Crash soundtrack that I’ve been meaning to find something better than, except that maybe I don’t even want to be a trapeze artist anymore.  We both wore blindfolds, Jeff and I, our inability to communicate a little tribute to Merce and John, and laid flowers under my trapeze so we could find it with our bare feet.  We took our time, indulged, luxuriated in this moment on stage together.  The audience was full of friends, family, artists.  Afterwards we were showered with compliments.  One man told me I made him feel like he was at Madison Square Garden.  Whatever he meant by that, he was really happy to be saying it and I took it to be praise!  The amazing cellist who followed me with Bach asked if I wanted to collaborate with him.  Still, I left that night worrying about the awkward moment at the beginning, accusing all givers of kind words of being drunk, stoned and/or too nice to tell the truth.

Then, on Sunday, I took part in an amazing SF phenomenon called SQUART!  40 performers arrive at 6 pm, are divided, randomly, into teams, and then have two hours to make a performance which will not only have an audience, but judges too. It’s a wild and crazy night.  I had been to one before and was shocked at how creative, risky, funny and human people could be in these conditions.  I was terrified of exposing my lack of all those things and almost didn’t show up.  I managed to get myself there only by forcing myself to think of other things all day, telling myself I could always, still, just bail.  And what happened?  I ended up running wild and naked around the stage, screaming like a baby until I was tackled, dressed and delivered to be breast fed by a woman I like, but barely know.  I let myself get free and alive.  And our team won.  And afterwards I was, again, given compliments.  Plus people who had seen me the previous Thursday gave me even more trapeze praise.  I felt liberated by the experience, but also I knew that Team 2 had been stronger than my own team.  It’s performers were seasoned and intelligent and the work they did was both risky and thoughtful.  We were more pop-y and easy and we followed the rules better.  And, me personally, I know how to go crazy, but I can’t do mature or nuanced and I was just lucky to find a way to be crazy and get away with not having anything more to offer.

But, so, then this morning I took a dance class that didn’t feel very good.  There were beautiful, accomplished dancers there and I wasn’t one of them.  And the teacher, who normally likes me a lot and is happy to have me in her class, didn’t acknowledge me at all with all the really good dancers around.  Afterwards I felt like such a loser.  I felt phony, like I spend my life on the periphery of these physical arts, not quite good enough, watching my life pass by as I more and more lose my chance to do something else in any kind of a meaningful way.  I felt totally defeated.  I cried.  Why, in situations like this, do I have no reserves to draw on?  Why, in the face of compliments and praise, do I always have plenty of self-loathing to keep me from feeling too good about myself, but nothing to balance me out on the other end?

Hello world!

•May 19, 2010 • 1 Comment

For my very first post I guess I’ll just start with the very basics.  My name is Emily.  On Saturday I will be 32 years old.  This does not scare me.  Or, to be more clear, it does not scare me nearly as much as the fact that I am in France.  It’ll be two weeks tomorrow since I arrived.  I have a return ticket on the 25th, but, as I have commitments in Berlin the following week, a language class in Strasbourg that I’ve already paid for at the end of June and  place to stay in Paris in July, I guess I’ll be letting that departure date slide away.  I guess.  Nice that it’s still there, though.  I still could just leave next week.  Spend my birthday climbing the infamous Fontainebleu boulders, basking in the feeling of being loved (that’s right, there’s a man involved…), and then go back to where it’s easy.  Where I speak the right language and already know how things work.  Culture and language, after all, are two separate beasts. Still, in this, the last week of my 31st year, I’ve taken a contact improv class in French, eaten escargot and ridden a bike through Paris.  Not so bad.  Plus there is that overwhelming feeling of loving and being loved.  Damn!  Cannot discount that. Ok, for my first post, I think I am done!