Thursday, March 30, 2006

hacking away the time

I'm still sick, and my cough is getting worse and worse instead of better. I can't sleep at night because I just cough and cough and cough, and at least once a day I get a headache from coughing so hard for so long. Plus now I'm at that point where I'm trying to cough but my lungs won't even engage enough to cough anything up, so I just end up making these weird fake-sounding cough noises that really sound more like I'm about to throw up. Lovely, huh?
The last few days have been pretty fun, though. My friend Jesse was visiting from Santa Cruz, and so we got to eat lots of good food (indian buffet, the Heartland, Sultan's Market, and the Heartland) and do some fun things. We also went out sans Jesse to go dancing at the Funky Buddha on Tuesday night (which didn't help my cough, I'm sure) and JD Sampson from Le Tigre was DJing. Good times.
But now, I have a headache, so I'm going to drink yet another cup of tea while I waste the last half hour before I head out to Civic.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

the start of a long strange night

A picture of Anna, pre-wig party.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


I know I already posted today, but I neglected to acknowledge spring's arrival on Monday. And today I saw my first flowers!!!!!!!!! The crocuses and these other little purple flowers and the jonquils are starting to open. It's a lovely sunny day today, and it made my heart beat so hard when I started realizing that things around me were visibly alive again. Hooray!

teatime's over

I think one of my least favorite things about being sick (aside from feeling shitty and not getting anything much worthwhile done, I suppose) is that I generally stop drinking coffee and stick to tea for a few days. Not that I dislike tea, but there's just something about a cup of coffee in the morning, you know? Right now I'm being rebellious and drinking my first coffee in two days even though I still have a scratchy throat, and it's great. I spent essentially all day yesterday in bed after suffering a cold relapse during my civic rehearsal on Monday, but today i'm feeling better, hence the coffee.
Other than that, not much is up. Jesse will be here in a few days, which is exciting, and we will eat lots of good food and hopefully do some other fun stuff. Then a week after that, I leave for my Buffalo audition. Whoo! I wish I was going somewhere warmer.

Monday, March 20, 2006


I'm listening to a Mozart symphony right now that I need to know part of for my Buffalo audition, and here is what the track listings on my computer came out as:
1)Speed Train
2)I Fly
3)Romance O'Blue
4)The Shoe
5)Hope and Glory
6)The Young Man Years
7)Fortress Around Your Heart
8)Static (D.J.)
Either somebody screwed up somewhere and there's a pop cd out there with pieces supposedly called "Allegro moderato" and such, or somebody is messing with the heads of a few Mozart fans.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

you better work!

I know I've said this many times before, but I really do love RuPaul. He's just so refreshing sometimes, you know? I just finished his autobiography, "Lettin It All Hang Out." It's amazing to me because sometimes he'll say some really inane thing and follow it with something really cutting and intelligent. It makes it kind of a weird read at times, but definitely entertaining. (You should really go to his website and listen to the song "Supermodel, where I got the title for this. It's hysterical!) Anyway, he seems kind of like a less focused Kate Bornstein to me, talking about certain aspects of gender in ways that are kind of more accessible to readers, and with that kind of campy humor evident.
The only other news really is that we're going to wig party tonight that some of Anna's Americorps friends are throwing. I have this long sparkly purple wig with bangs, and Anna has this short punky one which reminds me of David Bowie in "Labyrinth." It's a shame it's gotten cold again, we're pretty much planning on wearing pants there and then changing so we don't literally freeze our asses off.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

the good, the bad, the terrifying, and the weird

Most of these links are straight from my lovely girlfriend Anna. This is all continuing in the vein of "interesting things Ammie has seen or done recently," which seems to have been a noticible trend lately. I guess it's just been a good time for seeing cool stuff.
1) The group slam poem from Anna's high schoolers is here, you can listen to it. It's not as cool as when we saw it in person just because the energy is different, but it still rocks. They won a "spirit award" and got to perform this piece at the finals even though their team didn't get to compete there.
2) An illustrated video for the perceived (as opposed to actual) lyrics of a Fall Out Boy song. While a bit heavy on the body-part-and-feces humor, this still cracked us both up. I'm not entirely sure why.
3) A very scary documentary about how the US government might have staged 9-11 for their own benefit. We watched it last night in fascinated horror, and then both had dreams about scary things all night long. I don't know if I believe everything in here, but I definitely wouldn't say I disbelieve it either. There are a lot more things that don't make sense than I had realized, perhaps because I shut myself off from the media after 9-11 because I would start crying every time I thought too hard about it. I imagine I'm not the only one who avoided really studying thisjust because of an emotional reaction. Anyway, it's about and hour and 20 minutes long, and I would recommend watching it if you have the time.
4) This one's not a link! We went and saw Jenny Lewis, the lead singer of Rilo Kiley, perform things off of her new solo album on Tuesday. We got there late in an effort to miss the opening bands, and arrived at the coat check just in time for all the people who worked there to yell at us "Don't move!" while they escorted Ms. Lewis and her band right past our bemused eyes in the lobby. So we checked the coats and went inside, and just as we found a place to stand they all came on stage and started playing. The set lasted maybe 45 minutes, and then it was over. We all agreed it was our most succinct concert experience ever. Anyway, the music is good but totally different from Rilo Kiley; it's very kind of old folksy country sounding, and the lyrics are a bit less, umm, interesting? At least to me, but I still like the sound. She was backed up by a band and these twin sisters, the Watson twins, who were dressed exactly alike and did exactly the same things for just about the whole show. It was kind of creepy and Shining-esque to have these two identical women simultaneously hitting tambourines and singing backup. We talked a lot after the show was over about them. Did they agree to dress identically? Did they resent it? Is that a way of life for them? Etc...

Monday, March 13, 2006

inertia at work

As always, the transition from "school" to "vacation" mode has kicked my ass and made me into a sad apathetic person. Anna's been pretty sick all weekend with a bad sore throat, so I've been hanging out here and making tea and cooking and sleeping 'til noon and not a whole lot else. Except, ooh, going to the Sex Workers' Art Show. We were sorely disappointed that Michelle Tea was not there, but it was still an awesome show, full of hardcore dancing (one woman did a striptease while swinging on a giant hoop suspended from the ceiling of the art gallery), reading (about lackluster prostitution gigs and past lives as anti-porn feminists), performance art, and a webcam presentation. There was also quite a bit more nudity than I for one was expecting, which was kind of refreshing. One woman (this is what I mean by performance art) ran around the packed gallery totally naked, retrieving manila envelopes with her clothing in them, then spirit-gummed chopped-off pieces of her own pubic hair to her face to form a little mustache and goatee. I have no idea really whan that meant, but it was impressive to see nontheless.
I also have been reading Inga Muscio's new book, "Autobiography of a Blue-Eyed Devil," an examination of racism and how people constantly partake in and perpetuate it. It was a good read, but one that was somewhat emotionally devastating at the same time. I spent all day on Thursday basically sitting on my couch immersed in the horror of police brutality and public complacence after an intense reading session. Combined with the fact that I just finished Malcolm X before this, I'm at least feeling better informed if not as proactive in antiracism as I should be.

Sunday, March 05, 2006


It has been, I have to admit, an inspiring week. Anna and I went to go see kids from her school perform at Louder Than A Bomb last night. LTAB is an event that brings in kids from high schools all over the city, from the suburbs to the extreme southside to West Town (where Anna works) to compete in a poetry slam again each other. So we went to their first round, and I was just blown away. So many people talking about so many powerful things! Talking about race, about immigration, about Bush, about teenage moms and prostitution and hiphop and the power of kids from the ghetto writing poetry. Talking about what's really important instead of what their being told to think is important, talking about how teenagers are silenced and treated as nobodies and like they can't think for themselves. It was truly a great event.
The big finale was the performance of a group slam from each school. One school, which had until then had pretty good poems but poor performance technique, supassed themselves in an indictment of the government and the pledge of allegiance. Another group did a piece on hiphop and how it should be, what role it should be filling. And then, Anna's school just blew us all away. God, it was amazing. It was kind of loosely in the form of a letter to Bush, about how people like them are the real weapons of mass destruction, the real terrorists, and how they really were louder than a bomb. One boy said he was embracing his identity as a gay border-crosser, and how every time he touches a boy's hand he feels the bulls-eye on his back. God, I wish I had known in high school what these people seem to have such a grasp on. They finished with the phrase "we are louder than a BOMB!" with the "bomb" whispered into the mikes as they stepped back, and the crown totally exploded. Everybody was on their feet, even kids from other schools. It was so powerful.

Friday, March 03, 2006


I've been reading the autobigraphy of Malcolm X lately, and it's really been challenging my assumptions about certain things! He's been talking about how ridiculous he thinks the civil rights movement is and how the leaders of that movement are basically puppets of the devil white man; initially, I was shocked at the criticism of what I view as such a crucial and important movement, but then I also started comparing it to the feeling that I and others have about other social movements. Have I not heard people say the same opposing things (It was/is great and worthy! It was/is a sell-out!) about, say, feminism and Gloria Steinem? What about the split in the LGBTQ community right now over gay marriage? It's easy to place the movements of the past on pedestals, an even if you do think that the civil rights movement was good and important overall (as I still do) you shouldn't let that keep you from critiquing them as well. Some of the things he says, about how many black equality groups were bankrolled and partially under the control of white men, really make me question what I previously assumed. Also the March on Washington: according to Malcolm X, it was initially concieved as a big angry protest led from a poor grassroots base, and then the white people in Washington freaked out thinking there was going to be a riot and diffused the energy that was building by welcoming the March and then controlling every aspect of it. I guess this is just a fresh perspective on something I hadn't been critiquing very hard. Also, even if something is kind of a sell-out, is it okay if it ends up benefiting people? I suppose it depends on what you consider to be a benefit. At this point in the book, anyway, I don't think Malcolm X would consider the aftereffects of the civil rights movement to be beneficial for black people.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

"a secular sense of the spirit"

Anna and I went and saw bell hooks speak at my school tonight. Listening to her reminded me that I haven't read enough of her books; she seems to cover such a wide variety of topics, and many of them seem definitely interesting enough to me that I should really look into them. Her speaking style was really what I noticed first, because it seemed like such a logical thing: she would read a bit from her prepared material, then step away from the podium and engage the audience in a much more personal and wide-ranging discussion of what she had just read. She's also quite funny at times, and there was a lot of audience response going on more or less throughout. Things that seemed particularly notable to me:
-The use of the black female body as a site of the reinscription of conservatism, such as the Bush presence at Coretta Scott King's funeral and several examples of portrayals of black women in movies
-how the presence of a state-sanctioned fascist Christianity allows religion to be used to silence critical discourse (her example was a southern christian lady telling her that "if she had Jesus in her heart she wouldn't have to talk about racism anymore," I believe)
-the strategy of personal agency and forgiveness vs. blame of the oppressor in political movements, and the binary of victim and oppressor and how that has hurt the self-esteem of people of color
-a lack of black images in mainstream media pre-1960's was also a lack of racist mainstream-accepted images (what about, say, political cartoons in newpapers? I suppose that t.v. is more widespread than those, but it seems to me that racist accepted images were not really lacking. I guess maybe it matters what kind of specific images and such you're talking about.)
-Initial violent acts in political movements (like the civil rights movement) leading to violence on the part of white patriarchal supremacist etc society, which led people of color to either embrace assimilation or despair, which led to a greed-based drug economy in black neighborhoods and their eventual decay
-the link between fantasy and addiction, particularly in terms of wealth-fantasy
-the link between ethics, spirituality, love and secularism; why are these not connected for us? Spirituality doesn't have to mean religion, as she noted, but more a "secular sense of the spirit." She also noted that political awareness in many American political leaders has come from some form of spirituality (Martin Luther King, Malcolm X).
Basically, I really enjoyed myself. She was really articulate but still academic and theoretical, and she made some really good points. She also signed my books, yay! I hope you all will have a chance to see her talk some day.