Category Archives: Love
We’re excited, at long last, to feature Christopher Zeischegg at A Rrose in a Prose tomorrow!
Christopher Zeischegg spent eight years working in the adult film industry as performer Danny Wylde. He’s been a contributor to The Feminist Porn Book, Best Sex Writing of the Year, Coming Out Like a Porn Star, and a variety of online publications such as Somesuch and Nerve. He recently published his second novel, The Wolves that Live in Skin and Space, through Rare Bird Books.
Come see Christopher read, along with a slew of other authors, poets, and performers such as Rick Lupert, lucifer sam, Jason Lynn, Carolina Hoyos, Sean Carnage, and Nikol Hasler!
And bring your leftovers (whatever that might mean to you), because we’ll be eating them at our potluck… followed by a pun contest, judged by celebs such as Anna Ureña (DRYLAND) and Rich Yap (PLANET QUEER).
As always, the cats will be herded, and hosted, by D. M. Collins. Things start at 2 p.m. at Stories Books (in the back).
Hi Guys/Gals/Groovy Ghouls,
It’s funny how you can care so much about the world yet not even know what’s up with your own soul.
It wasn’t that long ago at all that I confessed my unease with being considered “queer.” That wasn’t because I would be ashamed of being part of the LGBT world, but because I didn’t think my behavior and emotions, which run juuuust straight-of-center on the Kinsey Scale, qualified me to put myself in the same grouping as gay, lesbian, and trans people. Historically they have been marginalized in ways far harsher than anything I would ever experience, and I knew I could always “hide out” in heterodom if the Nazis or Christian Fundamentalists ever retake power.
I also knew that, while I loved to perform sexual acts with people of more than one gender (and yes, I’m good enough to use the word “performance”), I didn’t want to be defined primarily by that part of me. And I hated the binarism of “bisexual,” and the muddiness of “pansexual” or “polysexual,” and didn’t feel like certain behaviors or inclinations meant I had a right to join a movement.
You know those guys who say they can wear Native American headbands because they are 3% Cherokee? I didn’t want to be them. I felt alone and bereft in many ways, but I didn’t want to steal an identity that wasn’t mine.
I’m glad I started that conversation, though, because it led me to finally meeting others who have similar backgrounds and inclinations. And that led to my learning a lot about myself. I found, first of all, that I do belong to an identity, and I’m not the only one. I am part of a group that, perhaps more than other groups, has such a wide variety of feelings and emotions incorporated within it.
Perhaps that’s why so few bi people are out? We don’t feel a kinship with each other, much less with gays and lesbians or straights. And so there’s no sense of unity to help us feel strong, or brave? Compared to gays and lesbians in “America,” we’re the only group that still has its majority in the closet. And the schism is vast:
I’ve heard gay guys talk about coming out as “coming home,” but my experience felt like the opposite, like going out onto an empty stage. Even when you do come out as bi, recognizing that about yourself can feel a bit lonely compared to what, from the outside, it looks like to be fully straight, gay, or lesbian. “Bi” contain such a spectrum of people, e.g. men who mostly like other men and pass for gay but also like some vagina now and then, e.g. women who love other women but whose “straight” look traps them in a straight world most of the time, e.g. men like me, who like to feel androgynous and find receiving vigorous, tooth-rattling anal sex from other men is somehow much easier than forming relationships with them like the kinds we form with women.
And it is gendered. Aside from trans people, who face a prejudice still sharper than almost anything out there, bisexual men tend to have it the worst:
There are so many distinct ways to be bi that really, by comparison, “gay” looks like a large nation state, and “straight” looks like a whole continent, but “bi” is sort of like a sexual Micronesia.
And yes, I do now identify as bisexual because I want this to end! I want us to be seen as real, and I want not to tiptoe around my relationships and loves. And the only way to do that is through showing off our numbers.
With that in mind, I now see “bi” as a blanket term that includes the more specific terms and inclinations, basically anyone who does not fit info the gay or straight slots (in fact, Vee Ritchie has a great video explaining why “bisexual” actually means both “same” and “not the same” which actually does NOT imply a binary of merely two genders, and even though that may sound like loophole logic, it helped me feel at ease with the term a great deal).
At first even saying “I’m a bisexual activist” felt so antiquated, like saying the phrase “American Indian Movement,” or “United Negro College Fund.” But like those organizations’ names, the phrase “bisexual” contains all the history of the “B” in LGBT, our forefathers and foremothers, people such as Brenda Howard who was not only a pioneer in 20th Century bisexual awareness, but was at Stonewall and was a radical activist for queer folk in general. And who cares if the straight world thinks “bisexual” means we have to love women the exact same as we love men, or if they just think it means we’re gay. They were never going to understand anyway … but then again, if they want to understand, I want to make sure we’re represented, that we’re seen as real, that our true numbers are reflected–far from being rare, by some measures our numbers rival or exceed those of gays and lesbians:
So yes, I’m bisexual, and if you feel you are not a 1 or a 0 in the digital game of gay/straight, you could be, too!
I want to talk about this more, but I have to get in the bimobile and go do some bi things tonight… I feel like I’m rambling, so maybe re-watch this video I did for #StillBisexual a few months ago, open up your hearts and minds, and … I dunno, call me for a hot threesome.
-D. M. Collins
P.S. Did I say threesome? I meant “orgy.”
Okay, so let’s talk about the term “queer.” How do you feel about its use as a self-identifier, as the “Q” in LGBTQ?
I’ve noticed that it’s gendered: many of my female friends identify as queer, whether or not they seem to date other women. Yet guys like myself who are generally straight but occasionally date (read: sleep with, make out with) other men don’t use that term to define it. Or maybe some guys do?
I actually don’t know very many guys like me. We don’t really have a community. Despite the last 20-40 years of broadening acceptance of homosexuality, passing between sexual gender preferences still seems far less acceptable for guys. We’re supposed to be straight, or openly gay, or secretly gay (“come on, just admit you’re gay/straight!”), but not bisexual. Actually, I like the term “bisexual” even less. It sounds too polarizing and falsely egalitarian at the same time. Who really is evenly ambidextrous with their preferences?
But I feel almost as uneasy identifying as “queer,” and not because I’m ashamed of people putting their gay-ass prejudice on me. It feels kind of false to claim such solidarity with my gay friends just because I occasionally have sex with them. I do not truly suffer from the same oppression. When push comes to shove, if the fundamentalists take over and anti-gay bigotry returns, I could always bunker down in a nice safe relationship with someone of the opposite sex, and my gay friends can’t. Calling myself “queer” feels a bit like the awkwardness of the MC5 in the 60s trying to appropriate the righteousness of black nationalism with their sympathetic “White Panther Party.”
That sounds harsh, and I don’t mean to be offensive to anyone regardless of how they identify. But I think we need another word. Hell, maybe we should navigate without a need for taxonomy, for specific words identifying people by the ratio of penises versus vaginas in their lives.
What’s your opinion? If you’re 110% gay, how do you feel about people who identify as “queer” but date primarily from the opposite sex? If you identify as “queer” but aren’t a full time, card-carrying homosexual, what about the term do you find useful or empowering? And does anyone feel comfortable identifying as “bisexual?”
So, last night I found myself rushing downtown to a gig that I ended up not even playing (a story for another time–let’s just say “fuck the Down and Out” and leave it at that). I was in my Scion xB going south on the 110, and for some inexplicable reason when I turned on the stereo, KCRW popped on instead of a CD, and this song from half a decade ago was playing. And suddenly I was transported through time and space to another point in my life, very different from where I am now, yet not much different at all.
There was a time during the second half of the George W. Bush administration where I went through the second most painful breakup of my life: the girl I was living with left me and almost immediately took up with a far handsomer, younger, and incredibly richer guy. The life we’d just started together in a fancy-schmantzy loft in Santee Court downtown went belly up. And yet wouldn’t you know it? Somehow my ex sublet another apartment in the same building, which meant she moved out but didn’t really move out. I had to get out of there and find better accommodations before I wound up torturing myself over whether I did or didn’t see her car in her parking space every night.
In hindsight, I might have landed on my feet even better than she did. I had just conned my way into a lucrative tech job, and then I immediately earned a bunch of money in a weird stock sale thing. Theoretically, I was a single man, young, okay-enough looking and with a bunch of money in my pockets.
But I was depressed as only a 20-something in love can be. I ended up frittering away a lot of that money on boozin’ and random purchases and partying and bad car choices. And then one afternoon, I jumped over a friend’s fence on a goof and broke my right foot, which meant expensive cab rides all the damn time, even to work in the morning. Downtown L.A. to Pasadena every morning in a cab costs something like a million bucks.
But there was one feather in my cap that I never failed to appreciate, and that was the loft apartment I moved into on Santa Fe and 7th. This was the best home I have ever had. It wasn’t a mere loft apartment with tall ceilings–it was a warehouse, made out of bricks, with a real bathroom and hardwood floors and couches and nice partitioned rooms, but also the scuffiness that comes with converting something industrial into something homey. It was a ground floor space that was as convenient for functional warehouse behavior as it was for living; my roommate frequently brought his car in to work on, which you could do easily, since there was a huge metal garage door on one wall. This had once been the kind of place where train cars pulled up and unloaded cargo, where men got to work and punched a card to prove they’d been there. And now it was a haven for a would-be artist trying to quit smoking, a blisteringly precise drummer who bartended the Standard at night, and me.
My room, semi-partitioned off from the meat and potatoes of the loft, was over 1000 square feet, a huge cavern all to itself. There was no doorway to it, just an entrance so big I had to commission a seamstress friend to make giant curtains to provide a little privacy. Cleaning was a snap: just push stuff over to one wall and run a broom through things. Over the bed area in that room were two giant black metal beams that came to a point above my bed, like something straight out of Metropolis, or maybe a Ronnie James Dio video. For the girls who came over and ended up having sex with me, climbing into my bed must have been like climbing into some cushiony corner of the Blade Runner set, with a bit of the live-action He-Man movie and Larry Clark’s Kids thrown in (me being a mix between Tully and, I dunno, Chloe Sevigny, but when she’s all drugged and talking to gross cabbies).
That was an era when, by my meager standards, I had incredible success getting women to sleep with me. Bear in mind, I was a complete wreck, with a weird page boy haircut and a bunch of goofy hats and no sense of style—and due to the broken foot, I was on crutches a good portion of the time. Clearly it wasn’t my own charms that seduced these ladies: it must have been the apartment.
I mean, even the exterior of our building was cool! There were fake double-doors in front, since it had been the exterior of Rolling Stone Magazine in the movie Almost Famous!
Actually, our neck of the woods was kind of like Exterior City. This being the Toy District, we were near a lot of industrial looking facades, including our own building, and the L.A. River was basically our backyard. Every other week we’d have bulletins on our doors letting us know that they’d be shooting an episode of 24 or an action movie, and to expect “helicopters and gunfire.”
But it took us until one of our roommates moved out to find out how badly people wanted to film inside of our warehouse. One of the first responses we had to our Craigslist post for a new roommate was a music video director: “I don’t want to live there, I want to film there!” One Russian pop group video later, a lucrative side business was born. Another, then another, then another music video was shot at our warehouse on Santa Fe Ave, each one leaving tons of free craft services and a bunch of gouges in the floor.
And so it came to pass that one morning I found myself lying in bed, me and my current amour unable to keep sleeping, because this song was playing over and over again just outside my bedroom. Even compared to all the bands that had been there before, this video shoot was loud. FUCKING loud, like louder than a metal gig, loud enough that I was afraid the cops might come, even though it wasn’t even a live recording; the band (think they were called Colorforms at the time) were just lip-synching to their own loud song and hitting drums over it.
Given what I know about myself at that age, there was a strong chance that I’d drank a lot and partied a lot and had probably been up until the wee hours the night before, doing god knows what with the angel next to me. I was NOT pleased with this volume situation, not at fucking all. And worse, the band kept playing the beginning part of the song over and over again, the part where her voice starts up at the top of her range and twists its way down, like a sing-song, Regina Spector nursery rhyme: “IIII think that we make a pretty good team/don’t think we should break up, nooooooo...”
It was a fucking terrible experience to snuggle your way through, groggily, from the other side of a flimsy wall. And as you can see in the video, the singer kept changing outfits, and each new outfit change meant a run through the song about ten more times. In my memory, the shoot only lasted until mid-day, but they must have kept recording for a while to get all that footage in all the permutations.
Eventually we got up and wandered around the borders of the house, just off-screen of the giant white background they brought (or was it a green screen?), bemused with how many people it took to make this video that didn’t have a lot of things going on in it, and yet how few people and little money it seemed to be requiring.
You know, suddenly it didn’t seem so terrible that this was going on. What fun to see people baring their souls to a camera in your own house! It was clear that the singer really wanted this to work: there was confidence in her eyes, but I also detected something like desperation, that this shoot had better work because she had invested so much time and probably so much money, and that all the people around her might very well disappear if this video didn’t lead to even bigger and better things. The other guys in the band—well, they looked like serious nerds to me, which in my utter exhaustion, I found both hilarious and humbling. I wasn’t a nerd at all! And yet no one wanted me to be in their videos (well, not yet, but that’s another story).
Years later, I can listen to this song with much different ears. I can hear the craft in it, and the bouncy bass lines care of the long-haired “nerd” I now realize was Bram Inscore, who went on to play with Beck and Coco Kixx and a ton of others, including my personal fave, Electrocute. And of course, there’s Alex Lilly’s wonderful voice. Yes, only now after hearing the song and looking her up do I realize that it is this Alex Lilly who is in the Living Sisters, where her melodious voice blends with some of my other favorites of the modern era). It looks like she and Bram have a new incarnation, Touché, and I’m excited to hear more from them.
It’s a wonder what seven years and a good, non-hungover night’s sleep can do to improve your sense of enjoyment. Now when I hear this song (and I’ve been playing it all day) it makes me smile. It makes me remember being in a bed, the noonday sun coming in around those metal beams, a lovely young woman with me to curse the loud music and yet laugh at how fun life is, how ridiculous it can be, in a world where people would pay money to put a screen in someone else’s house because it was kind of like a warehouse, on the ground floor, near the L.A. River.
And now we don’t live there anymore, and it’s a real warehouse, and the company that operates out of our old place smashed out that bedroom wall. Even if somehow I could kick out the guy whose desk now sits below my metal beams and get the keys for myself, there’s no wall anymore to put the green screen on one side of, with sleepy hungover lovers on the other side to grimace and grouch and grin. The way I’m headed, I might never be woken up by a band recording a video again.
But I doubt it.
-D. M. Collins
Our era has no anonymity! Here is me, downtown at the Last Book Store, reading a poem that I was convinced might never see the light of day again:
Thanks again to Justin Maurer for putting this event together! It was a serious inspiration.
I love old-school L.L. Cool J, but man, this has to be the opposite of a love song. Who could possibly be wooed by these words?
But where you at? You’re neither here or there.
I swear I can’t find you anywhere.
Damn sure you ain’t in my closet, or under my rug.
This love search is really making me bug!
I wonder if L.L. actually ever told a girl he wanted something “clean and unsoiled, yet sweaty and wet?”
This is a fantastic film, one of my faves, an adaptation of The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade, the Peter Weiss play that provided Arthur Lee of Love for some of the lyrics for “The Red Telephone,” as you can see in this clip:
In particular, notice how hot Glenda Jackson looks as a narcoleptic thespian assassin! And Patrick Magee, the “Try the WINE!” dude from A Clockwork Orange, is particularly effective as a detached and mischievous Marquis de Sade, who watches over the inmates of this asylum as they put on his play about the assassination of French Revolutionary Jean-Paul Marat. And it’s a musical, no less, done almost purely as a stage-play on one set (in what seems to be the asylum’s bath-chamber) with the moviegoer sitting right next to the audience in the asylum itself! Goddam, it’s good.
This isn’t so much a blog as an endorsement. Go see this film, or you’re scum!
I was trying to write something lighthearted, to cheer me up after the crushing defeat the Democrats brought upon themselves and us today when the Senate voted for the FISA bill.
The thought struck me after reading the words of Howie Klein and company on Crooks and Liars that there’s another former musician/music curator, namely one Lenny Kaye, who rules the school and has influenced my life for the good several times over, as a member of the Patty Smith Group, as the force behind the Nuggets records in the early seventies, but more importantly to my young ears, the Executive Producer behind Elektra Records’ Rubaiyat collection that came out in 1990. When I was a kid still in middle school, this collection of Elektra records bands from the present covering bands from the past clued me in to some fantastic sounds that weren’t really available in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in any other form. It had Billy Bragg covering Love, John Zorn covering the Stooges, and the Cure covering “Hello I Love You” by the Doors, not to mention appearances in song and performance by the Pixies, Sugarcubes, Metallica, and Faster Pussycat covering “Your So Vain,” which I thought was kinda cool even though I was starting to be way too punk for a band like that.
However, I’m in such a state that after pulling out the CD and seeing the cover by They Might Be Giants of Phil Ochs’ “One More Parade,” it just brought me back to the terrible fears I’m having about Obama turning his back on the vision we had for his presidency, a vision he made manifest by omission if not by admission. Obama, when you become president, please at least remember how much we want you to get our fighting men and women out of Iraq as soon as possible. We’re tired of warmongering and money-burning and no-bid contracts, and most of all of the senseless deaths caused by illegal and useless wars. Even if you go back on so many of the liberal principles we supposed you to have, at least do this one thing for us.
I am sick and tired of being sick and tired. I’ve had a sore throat now for seven days or so and it has been one bad trip all the way through, especially now that I’ve run out of Naproxen. I wish someone would bash my brains out and put an end to the shreeeking, clawing parasite that has laid its hooks in my throat.
And what really pisses me off is that I was so looking forward to sitting on a blanket with my baby at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery and watching The T.A.M.I. Show, as part of the Don’t Knock the Rock Film Festival.
There’s also a couple cool films at the Egyptian Theater I’ll be missing, including Love Story (about Arthur Lee and Love).
But one freak benefit of being sick is that I went to bed early for once on a Saturday night, and am up in time to hear Dominic Priore do his show “Riot on Sunset Strip” on LuxuriaMusic. So I’m listening to Love and Gary McFarland on his show, which is making my morning not so horrific.