Posted in Almost Dorothy, Characters, The Mother

The Seelie Court

Easter is ma’s favorite holiday, but it reminds me of the time we spent huddled together with our Seelie Court in a Port-A-Potty while hiding from the cops after throwing rolls of toilet paper at churchgoers. Easter is also ma’s favorite holiday because it’s the only holiday in recorded human history that celebrates someone who (supposedly) has (or is) risen from the dead. The kitchen table is set. The bacon is burnt. The eggs are too wet, but I don’t care because ma is risen from the bed. Bobo the Mutt howls aimlessly in the backyard because he is a fact of canine history. He is also risen from the dead.

“It’s incredible,” ma says. “Truly remarkable. A man rises from the dead when most men can’t even rise out of bed. Truly, remarkable.” (I never know where to place the comma. Commas are the common enemy.)

“Ma, you rose from the dead,”  I say.

“For that mimosa,” she says. “Let’s drink to that!”

We drink to that. We drink to this. Ma giggles. I laugh. I’m not of age, but it doesn’t matter because I’m not real and the cops can’t arrest magic. I’m not part of the official record of human history, anyway. I’m just a fiction unburdened by my own holiday.

“Pour me another one,” she says.

Ma is an insatiable bèbè.

It’s been 7 days since ma lost her job, or was fired, or laid off, or furloughed until better days. It hasn’t been a holiday and we’re still waiting for our Pandemic Impact Payment from the IRS. Ma has been a real hot & cold mess and her hair is falling out or off. I can’t tell if it’s the weave coming undone or her real hair or both. Ma got the chills and the shakes last night. She rattled her teeth and mumbled in Roman Numerals, which sound a lot like regular numbers, but more sophisticated. She kept repeating 21418, 21418, 21418. It was, by far, her best Glenn Close moment ever. I was terrified.

The first thing I do every morning is log onto ma’s busted up laptop from 2006 and visit the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 Dashboard to see the total confirmed infections and total confirmed deaths in the United States and around the world. Every morning I visit the dashboard and hover the mouse over the county in which we live. Every morning I click on that bright red dot that reveals the total number of confirmed infections and deaths in my county.  Our country is all lit. I travel from state to state, city to city, to visit the dead. It’s a morbid Easter Egg Hunt. These red dots are all I have to make some sense out of this catastrophe. Ma doesn’t make much sense. She never did.

This morning I logged on again. Total confirmed deaths in the United States: 21,418. I closed the laptop and took a bit of burnt bacon. Ma looked at me all serious and crusty-eyed because she knows I only like medium rare bacon. “21,418,” she said. I nodded my head. She didn’t waste the last sip of her mimosa before she spoke again. “Real people don’t rise from the dead,” she said. “Not even fairies like you and me.”

Ma broke her smile. Bobo the Mutt went silent. I crossed my legs. The eggs.

 

**The Seelie Court were described as those fairies who would seek help from humans, warn those who have accidentally offended them, and return human kindness with favors of their own. Still, a fairy belonging to this court would avenge insults and could be prone to mischief.

 

Posted in Almost Dorothy, Culture Clash

A Story About Biscayne Bay

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The bridge & cranes dream of dogs and cats.

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They squint and find wormholes into other worlds.

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What they discover: there’s always one light that’s brighter than the other. And they are drawn to its luminescence with purpose.

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But there’s always something else in the distance, they think. Their fiercely squinted eyes look funny to humans.

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Something centered and floating appears in the distance–a home of sorts–

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tethered to a reality made of foam.

Posted in Almost Dorothy

Answering the Call

Sometimes when it’s really quiet in the house, I think ma is dead or locked out in the backyard. This morning when I wake up I find ma on the floor with a chocolate chip cookie in her panties. I swear, I’m not lying. Not even a little.

I check her pulse and she has a pulse, so I just left her there pulsing on the floor and I give her a pillow. I think ma had a rough night at the call center. A rough night saving lives for nothing cause she makes nothing because ma is a philanthropist. When she wakes up, she eats the chocolate chip cookie. Then she hands me this from the Switchboard:

“Every 43 seconds someone in the U.S. attempts suicide; Every 17 minutes someone in the U.S. dies by suicide. For every single completed suicide there are at least 25 attempts. More people die by suicide in Florida than by homicide. Florida has the 2nd highest rate of suicide in the nation.”

It only takes ma two-days to learn how to save lives, to minimize attempts, to keep people pulsing when they just want to quit. I saved 3 lives last night, ma says. But most of the night the phones were dead.

Ma’s cell phone is dead because she forgot to charge the battery. It’s not a sign. It’s nothing to worry about. We all die, ma says. Some of us just need a cookie till it’s time.

I’m not concerned about ma. Her new job makes her serious. Makes her consider the world as it is and not as she would like it to be. For lunch, ma makes chicken pot pie without the chicken and extra pot. She pours herself a glass of sake. She likes sake. Likes the way it tastes like burning rotten water.

We gotta move out of Florida, ma says. I nod in disarrangement.

We will never leave Florida. Never leave her to fend for herself. Florida needs us just like we need Florida. Swamp-like in summer. Heaven in winter. And just blah in between. In the end, ma says. It’s better not to go. Between you and me, it’s better to stay. Better to sleep on the floor. Just in case someone calls.

LivingWorks logoIf you would like to join Switchboard Miami two-day “suicide first aid” workshop for communities created by LivingWorks,contact Demian Laudisio, Switchboard of Miami, Inc. dlaudisio@switchboardmiami.org 305-358-1640 x 156. When: Tuesday January 10, 2012 from 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM. For more information, click save a life.

Posted in Almost Dorothy

The Specificity of Red

Ladytron | Miami | Photo by Neil de la Flor

1. I’ve gone missing inside of reddish hula hoop.

2. I’m back from the red.

3. Now I’m ready.

4. And I’m running away from an invasion of solidly insane chickens

5. or the sound of chickens.

6. Chickens are impossible pests like the possible pests in my red oven.

7. I’m not specifically red.

9. Not as poetic as chick peas or a marble pieta of Jesus and Mary.Or Joseph.

10. The photograph above is a photo[graph] of a ghost eating toast.

12. Not really.

13. It’s a lady

14. tron.

Posted in Almost Dorothy

Sandra Beasley Says Foof

Sandra Beasley | Photo by Neil de la Flor

I first met Sandra Beasley when she came to Miami for LegalArt Miami, a residency dedicated to providing artists with a support structure (or legal art?). We met in real life and and ate real food at Wynwood Kitchen, a cool place with fun graffiti murals but okay food ( 2.5 stars). We met again during Wynwood Art Walk and had a nice pre-Walk dinner at Joey’s, (5 stars) a yummy northern Italian restaurant in the Wynwood Art District. During our dinners, we spoke about life, love, robots (or maybe I just mad made that up), jukeboxes, love again, poetry, traveling through space & time, bungee jumping out of airplanes and Beasley’s soon to be released memoir Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales from an Allergic Life. No, we didnt’ talk about bungee jumping but it would have been a fun topic of conversation. Sandra Beasley is a mighty human who uses language to illuminate and elucidate the nature of human nature. In this interview, Beasley reveals what she wants to be when she grows up and other glorious things–like the identity of “Floof”.

Almost Dorothy: What is a poem?

Sandra Beasley: A poem is an idea, anchored by figuration and heightened into revelation. A poem’s dominant strength should be verbal (in other words, a visual artwork is not a “poem” just because it incorporates text). A poem should be an act of exploration, something that asserts a new truth about the world. I am not interested in passive observation, no matter how artfully constructed. A poem is a tough shard of a thing.

AD: After reading your book i was the jukebox (W.W. Norton & Company, April 2010), I was left wondering what you were before you were the jukebox. Care to explain?

SB: So much of the attention we give to emerging writers is focused on cultivating voice. Make it distinct, we say. Make it yours and yours alone. Naturally, this concept of a unique voice gets conflated with all the biological and cultural things that define the writer as a person—gender, race, age, slang, class—so it’s no great surprise that many first major works adopt a veiled but heavily autobiographical point of view. That’s mostly true of my debut collection, Theories of Falling.

But then I think it is important to step back and think of all the other ways a voice registers: level of formality, pacing, an ear for sound, a style of syntax. These are the truly defining characteristics of one’s voice on the page. In my second collection (i was the jukebox) I wanted to write about worlds and perspectives wildly different from my own, whether an orchid or a platypus, and have faith that the poems would still “sound” like me (as the author) in a way that provided cohesion. After all, the best jukeboxes don’t hold completely random songs—you need a sense that someone’s aesthetic curated the catalogue.

If you’re looking for a great jukebox in DC, by the way, I’d point you to the Red Room Bar at the Black Cat.

AD: I’m not of age but I’ll check it out once I turn 16. Sandra, are you still the jukebox?

SB: You got a roll of quarters that you’re looking to spend?

AD: No, but I have sliced pickles. When I read i was the jukebox, I wasn’t expecting any potty mouth language coming out of your jukebox. In your poem, “In The Deep” you write: the “boys are fifteen/and fuckwild:/Fuck the glass fish…/fuck the nautilus…/fuck her blue rings./fuck her three hearts.” What is it about cursing, especially using the f-bomb, that activates a poem?

SB: Diction is a tricky thing. This poem has two engines: the octopus, all elegance and intelligence, and the brute energy of fifteen-year-old boys. I wanted to get in all those rich anatomical details, but I didn’t want the poem to become a nature study. So I put the observation into the mouths of the boys, complete with their litany of introductory fucks. I’m sure anyone who has ever overheard a teenage conversation that appears to be entirely composed of “Fuck, yeah” can relate.

AD: Fuck,yeah! I love to say that word.

SB: The irony is that while the boys emanate aggression with all those f-bombs, that’s an empty threat. It’s really the octopus, with her quiet handling of the baby doll, that could do some damage.

AD: When doesn’t fuck or cursing work in poet-tree?

SB: Most of the time. There are exceptions: Ntozake Shange‘s “crack annie” comes to mind. But if a poem goes for shock value that isn’t grounded in a particular character or social condition, that poem is going to have a short shelf life. I may be sipping coffee out of a Rumpus mug that reads “Write like a motherfucker,” but the truth is that I hardly ever swear. Nine times out of ten, there is a better and more original way to get your point across.

AD: In the poem “My God”, you write that your god is short, likes bacon, and never flosses. That sounds like my ma. I’m wondering if she’s god. Anyway, what kind of god does this? And don’t say my god.

SB: I was raised without the reference frame of religion. Maybe my parents thought that would leave me free to choose (or not choose) a faith later. As it turns out, it is really difficult to relate to the concept of “God” unless there has been some groundwork laid in childhood. This poem tries to articulate an understanding of God in the same way I understand myself and the people around me—in details and contradictions, in everyday mess, with both love and resignation.

I’m always surprised by the number of high school students who read that poem and assume it’s about my father.

AD: How’s the memoir coming along? It should be out soon, correct?

SB: Yep, Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl will be out in July. Writing a memoir (or any nonfiction book) is very different from the organic process of assembling a poetry collection. In poetry, there is only a minor distance between the Platonic version of a poem in my head and what makes it onto the page. But the gap between a Platonic understanding of my life to date (not to mention all the attending science of food and allergies) and what one “memoir” can capture—that gap seems so big and messy in comparison. I took some risks; I think they were good risks. I just can’t wait to see the damn thing in print.

AD: Can you reveal a morsel from it, a blurb, a line or two, or make an oblique, cobwebbed reference to what it may or may not be about?

SB: The first chapter includes the following references: Mickey Mouse, small town waitresses, malnutrition, a pink polka-dot dress, needles, Reader’s Digest, milk (bad), avocadoes (good), Hippocrates, Red Rover Red Rover, and Russian roulette.

AD: I love hippopotamuses and corn on the cobweb. What do you want to be when you grow up?

SB: A writer. If that doesn’t work out, I’d love to perform trapeze. That’s one art blessedly unchanged by modern technology.

AD: Favorite curse word & use it in a sentence.

SB: I was serious about not cussing much. Ever since I was a kid I’ve used “Foof!” as my go-to expletive of surprise. If I do happen to truly curse, I tend to look upwards (as if toward some holy audience) and apologize under my breath afterwards. Ridiculous, especially since I don’t practice a religion and use “goddamn” freely. But there you have it—my inner puritan.

So I will hearken back to the great Redd Foxx, a better man than I, or at least a saltier sailor. He said this: “I say ‘shit’ and ‘fuck’ for one reason: people do. If you ain’t fucked, shit. And if you ain’t shit, fuuuck.”

AD: Ohmygod. I’m going to chruch or church now to repent for Mr. Foxx. What was your biggest-giantest breakthrough.

SB: I feel like the answer should be when my first book won the New Issues Poetry Prize in 2007. But it was really the Maureen Egen Exchange Award from Poets & Writers, which I received in 2008. In part, because I got to carry out the prize of that award (a weeklong trip to New York and a reading at Housing Works) with Theories of Falling in hand, which put it on the radar of those it might have never reached otherwise. In part, because that trip was when I got introduced to the man who became my agent, who eventually landed the nonfiction book deal that allowed me to quit my job. In part, because they bought me sushi and put me up in the Library Hotel and let me dream that my talent could actually make a way for me in this world. I will always love Poets & Writers for that.

AD: Biggest setback.

SB: Once upon a time, I was devastated to be rejected by the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. But in hindsight, I am profoundly grateful I came home to Washington, DC, and received my MFA from The American University while staying close to my family in Virginia. Artists tend to regard regional history as either a burden or an inheritance. In my case, it has been a gift.

AD: If you could be any beverage, alcoholic or non-alcoholic, what would you be and why?

SB: My love is scotch: strong, tied to the land, sometimes smooth, sometimes smoky, improved with age, warming on a cold night. I could think of worse things than being a neat pour of scotch.

AD: How will it end?

SB: I don’t know. But if it turns out we’re all a dream in someone’s mind, I hope that mind belongs to Jim Henson. I’m flexible on whether that leads to The Dark Crystal or The Muppets Take Manhattan.

AD: Maybe it will lead us to the The Dark Crystal Muppets Take Manhattan.

Sandra Beasley | Photo: Matthew Worden

Sandra Beasley is the author of I Was the Jukebox, winner of the 2009 Barnard Women Poets Prize, selected by Joy Harjo and published by W. W. Norton. Her debut, Theories of Falling, was selected by Marie Howe as the winner of the 2007 New Issues Poetry Prize (New Issues Poetry & Prose, 2008). Beasley is also an essayist whose work has been featured in the Washington Post Magazine. In July of this year, Crown will publish her memoir Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales from an Allergic Life, which offers a cultural history of food allergies in America. Awards for her work include a 2010 Individual Artist Fellowship from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, the 2009 Friends of Literature Prize from the Poetry Foundation, and a 2008 Maureen Egen Exchange Award from Poets and Writers. Residencies and fellowships include a 2011 LegalArt Residency in Miami, the 2010 Summer Poet in Residence fellowship at the University of Mississippi, a Walter E. Dakin Fellowship to the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and fellowships to the Jentel Artist Residency, Vermont Studio Center, Virginia Center for Creative Arts, and the Millay Colony for the Arts. Beasley lives in Washington D.C.

Posted in The Potty Mouth Interviews

Lolo Reskin Is Wonder Woman

Lolo Reskin as Wonder Woman

Ma and I love Lauren Reskin because she has red hair that matches Wonder Woman’s red boots. She may even be Wonder Woman but I have no proof. I couldn’t find her wonder boots. All I know is that Lauren Reskin goes by Lolo and she was born in Miami and loved the city (and the weather) so much she never left. Music is in Lolo’s blood, which is also red! Her late grandmother, Joan Field, was a concert violinist who released records on Deutsch Gramophone and her late grandfather, Alan Reskin, originally opened Allegro Music House in 1961 making Lolo the second Reskin to open a music store in South Florida. Her father Charles is a Julliard graduate, professional trumpet player and composer. Oh, I almost forgot: Lolo is the great-niece of Alan Freed, the (in)famous 1950’s radio DJ and music promoter who coined the phrase “rock and roll.” I wish I were a great-niece. Or nice.

I met Lolo a few months ago at the yummy yum Vegan Pot Luck Dinner event at her store, Sweat Records, and that’s when I decided I wanted to conduct a Potty Mouth Interview with her (because of her hair!). Since opening Sweat Records in March 2005, the store has become an institution and refuge for creative geniuses, weirdos and freaks like me and my ma, and I wanted to know what powers Lolo’s creative combustion engine. In a world of ever shrinking independent record stores, Sweat Records stands as both an artifact and a cultural dam holding back the tsunami of fast (and free) Internet music downloads that has wiped out many independents. But what makes Sweat Records a solid Miami institution is their commitment to local music, hard to find stuff, great stuff, and their innovative programming–the Vegan Pot Luck, Waffle Party, Sweatstock and more. So, if you don’t know Lolo, here she is. And come see her at Sweat when you have chance. (She’s a little older now, but still pretty damn cool.)

Lolo Reskin as Wonder Woman

Almost Dorothy: What it is that motivates you, moves you, and makes you so passionate about Miami’s cultural landscape?

Lolo Reskin: I love this crazy city and everyone in it. Miami has its shady and shallow sides but it’s also full of geniuses, weirdos, eccentrics, and a massive potpourri of truly nice, down-to-earth people fighting the good fight and spreading goodness.

AD: As an entrepreneur and owner of Sweat Records, the biggest challenges for you were probably starting the business followed by the recovery after the destruction of the original Sweat Records store by Hurricane Wilma. But what are the biggest challenges you face daily?

LR: First challenge is how to keep what is essentially a physical format music store alive in the digital age, but we’re making it happen. Tied for second are a) dealing with the mountains of emails, texts, calls and meeting requests I receive on a daily basis, and b) the behind-the-scenes realities of running a small business. A broken gate, the city about to tear up our street, bills, bills, bills–it’s never-ending.

AD: What is your vision for the future of Sweat and Miami’s art & (sub)culture scene?

LR: More venues and alternative spaces, more bike culture, the further cross-pollination of Miami’s high art organizations and “the downtown scene”, and hopefully a larger audience actively supporting local music.

Sweat Records | Photo by Neil de la Flor

AD: So, I’ve been way too serious. What do you want to be when you grow up?

LR: Sweat opened when I was 22. All in all it’s been a ridiculously wonderful experience but there are other businesses I want to open, projects to work on, and areas of interest I want to delve deeper into. Eventually I’d love to open a vegan diner or bakery or some sort of food-oriented establishment. I also love embroidery and makeup art and would be happy spending way more time on either.

AD: Why?

LR: I’ve always been well-rounded and into all sorts of different things. Supposedly I’m the rare balanced Gemini.

AD: Oh, you’re a Gemini. I’m gonna call the cops! (Or not). So everyone probably knows you’re a resident DJ at The Vagabond. For those of you that don’t know, Lolo is a resident DJ at The Vagabond. Would you share with us your favorites? The ones you think everyone should listen to, to seek out and get to know better in order to become better humans. (You can read about ma and I doing bad stuff at the Vagabond here.)

LR: I’ve never prescribed to the notion that everything must be new, new, new. I still spin off CD mixes I make and I play a lot “indie classics” from all decades. My personal favorites are still Blur and The Smiths. To me both groups’ music just gets better with repeated listening. Other groups/artists in perpetual rotation are Prince, Serge Gainsbourg, The Shins, Lush, Outkast, Belle & Sebastian, Air, The Beatles, Pizzicato 5, Pulp, Supergrass, ANR, Queens of the Stone Age, Saint Etienne, Massive Attack, Doves, George Michael, Arcade Fire, Brian Eno/Roxy Music, Kanye, Yeasayer, Pavement, Kings of Convenience, Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, Aphex Twin, and so on. I also love classical music and listen to Classical South Florida (89.7 FM) in my car non-stop.

 

 

 

AD: Favorite non-curse word?

LR: “True”

AD: Favorite food.

LR: My last meal would be grilled tofu and artichoke hearts, vegan mashed potatoes, mangoes, cherries, and chocolate chip cookies.

AD: Yum. Lolo Reskin is…

LR: Constantly evolving.

AD: Last question: If you were a crystal ball, where would you want to be placed and why?

LR: In David Bowie’s hands in Labyrinth, please.

 

A little more about Lolo. She sits (very still) on the City of Miami Arts & Entertainment Council and has served on the Florida Chapter Board of the Recording Academy. Her weekly party is Fridays at The Vagabond where she DJs from 10pm to midnight. Last week ma and I danced our butts off at the Vagabond and we still can’t find them. Hopefully, our butts will be located soon. Sweatstock, which is Sweat Record’s next big deal event, is coming up soon. Find out more here. and she’s working like a mad to make it fly. After Sweatstock, watch out for “Sweat Cinematic 6-Pack at O Cinema” starting in May. It’s going to be another cool Monday night series of music-related, indie and cult films. And meet ma and me this Sunday for Sweat’s “Waffle Party + Bold Native Movie Screening“. It’s going to be tasty for sure and I may (or may not) wear a wig. Keep in touch with what’s going on in Miami on Sweat’s events calender.

Posted in Almost Dorothy, Culture Clash

The (Sub) Atomic BBQ @ Wynwood

Ma and I just got back from the Wynwood Art Walk and we didn’t win any wood. We tried real hard to win wood but all we got was a photograph of this “While You Were Fucking Off” poster which hung next to another poster titled, “Andy Warhol is Over!”

Ma said she was a big a fan of Studio 69. She also said Andy Warhol reminds her of grandma Jipsy who was grandpa Buck back when he had a penis and one ball. He lost the other in World War II or during an alligator hunting accident in the Everglades National Park when grandpa forgot how to hunt. Sex changes, ma said, run around the family. I scratched my ear and wiggled my toes. Ma picked her nose and put on her glossy pink glittery lipstick.

 

 

FYI #1: Andy Warhol is not dead!

FYI #2: I’m not ashamed of anything when I’m with ma. Not even back hair.

FYI #3: This story will go through a meltdown. (See: later on.)

 

 

The gallery owner didn’t like us or our conversation so he asked ma and I to leave. And so we did. And so we floated out the door. But not until ma stole a beer from the bar and $2o bucks from the tip can. We needed cab fare to get home because ma left her purse on the bus, which means she left her bra on the bus, which means someone probably has ma’s dirty bra and her 20 bucks. We started a small fire and fled the gallery.

 

 

That’s when we ran into Adora saluting us like we just joined the gay military makeup brigade. When we ran across the street, which was actually 41st Street, which comes right after 40th street, ma was like ohwhoashit that’s Adora. I was like who is Adora and ma said that’s Adora and pointed to a photograph. Ma went up to the photograph and kissed her on the lips. Ma bowed her head and stayed silent for a minute. She became a buddhist monk smoking a cigarette in an instant. Then I did what ma did as an experiment.

As we walked out of the gallery, ma told me that all art is the communication cord that cannot be snapped by indifference or disaster. We’re always connected, ma said, to the past in the present. No matter what happens. And no matter if we forget that it happened. Like all matter, memories are forever.

I told ma she’s a plagiarist and faux-philanthropist, the anti Niels Bohr who also happens to be one of ma’s Danish ancestors. I told ma that Jeanette Winterson said those words and ma said no one owns words. They own us. Just like we own our lips.

Before we left, ma got on her knees. I thought she was going to do something sick. But she left the $20 bucks she stole across the street and left it at the makeshift altar at the base of Adora’s photograph. As an offering of peace. As a piece of an offering twenty years in the making. She gave me my first hand job, ma said, I owe her for that. I didn’t ask any more questions.

 

 

I’ve always wanted button eyes.

 

 

I’ve always wanted to break out like Superman can.

 

 

This is the world on red alert. This is how I felt the day my BFF Squinny died or passed away or flew him or herself out of the ionosphere. Into the tricked-out arms of firemen. This is every other Sunday in my head.

 

 

This is my heart everyday.

 

 

This is what we do to women. This is what we have done to women.

 

These are subatomic particles made out of a pink army of (possibly) Japanese women who march in synchronicity on film projected onto a proscenium for an installation by Felecia Chizuko Carlisle at the Dorsch Gallery. This is ironic. This subatomic scene. As Japan prepares for the “possible meltdown” of a second nuclear reactor, ma and I watch this scene (New York Times). This is Niels Bohr’s atomic legacy, that subatomic particles, all subatomic particles, are the quantum mechanics that cannot be stopped by man or Superman.

 

This is a man. This is a man who will save the world. This is a man who will feed BBQ baby back ribs and chicken to our kids. This is a man who will reinvent fire. This is a man who is powerful and proud. This is a man who will never tire even when the whole world wants BBQ. This is a man made from a woman.

 

These are yellow cage birds projected onto tiny televisions. Ma pulled the plug and then we left.

 

–Neil de la Flor

–All photographs copyright 2011 by Neil de la Flor. All photos, except for “Pink Toes”, were shot using Hipstamatic for iPhone with the Salvador 84 Lens & Dream Canvas Film.

–Location: Wynwood Arts District, Miami, FL

Posted in Almost Dorothy, Culture Clash

Ma & Almost Dorothy Go to Hell (Again)

Phallussy by Pioneer Winter

No, we didn’t really go to hell. We went to the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, the most amazing place on Earth (or Miami), and watched Pioneer Winter’s Phallussy, which was long-v very nice. The dancer people performed artistically in funny costumes, wigs, and monkey mask faces. Some people even performed naked and exposed their fallacies, especially when Pioneer Winter, who is really a pioneer in winter, summer, spring and fall, took his pants off.

Ma was like whoa that’s hot. She almost had a catastrophe and stood up-ish and applauded his butt even when the show wasn’t yet over. I wasn’t disturbed, but the audience was. Ma popped her Hubba Bubba bubble gum like that and when the gargoyles booted us out, we weren’t tootles disappointed because the tickets were free. Thank Dorothy.

Phallussy by Pioneer Winter

Seriously, we were in red hell. I wore my red shoes and my red red hair to the theater or theatre. I was flaming. On fire. But I wasn’t turned on. The photograph below proves the power of red and of a red performance flown out of or into hell. The wild stage was on red red fire and all I wanted to do was make monkey love to the lighting director’s cousin Vinny because (unfortunately) the lighting director was a woman named Sally. I love men, silly.

Phallussy by Pioneer Winter

In one part of the performance the dancers faux masturbated their phallus in front of a giant screen where three woman ah-haaed and mmm-oohed them until they finished their stuff. I’m not sure what kind of stuff they did down there but when they were done, they flew. Ma said they really weren’t fake masturbating at all because all masturbating is fake love making anyway. I was in awe of ma’s undisclosed hat.

Phallussy by Pioneer Winter

In the end, everyone came out. They wore triangles pointed toward South Beach or somewhere left. Ma was impressed with the triangles’ ability to stay askewed while the dancers danced and tumbled like tumbleweeds and hopped or hoped like grasshopper-poppers. No one ever looked like Wilt Chamberlain. Not even the two guys below who lost their tops (or bottoms) as they looked indiscreetly into each lover’s eyes and lips for the answer to blue.

Phallussy by Pioneer Winter
Posted in Culture Clash

Julieta Venegas: Review of the “Otra Cosa” tour

Cover of "Otra Cosa"
Cover of Otra Cosa

On February 27th, 2011 Jack Daniels presented Julieta Venegas at the Gusman Center in Miami for her “Otra Cosa” tour. The stage, unexpectedly dark, was illuminated with one spotlight where Venegas sat at a black piano. She shined with the intensity of a million suns.

She opened the concert with the song, “Limon y Sal” and the audience burst into applause.

Tengo que confesar que a veces
no me gusta tu forma de ser
luego te me desapareces
y no entiendo muy bien porque
no dices nada romantico
cuando llega el atardecer
te pones de un humor extraño
con cada luna llena al mes

During last Sunday’s performance, Venegas began with slow, melodic songs and wrapped up the show with heart-pounding dance beats. Everyone, of course, was on their feet even though the sound system was problematic. Venegas exemplifies the difference between an interpreter of music and a true artist because she has an intimate relation with the instruments she plays.

Since the 1996 release of her first self-titled album, “Julieta Venegas”, she has delighted fans with her extraordinary voice but what caught my attention at the concert was the diversity of the audience, children with their parents, single ladies and men, gay & straight couples, Spanish and non-Spanish speakers, who sang along with Venegas. Next to me were a non-Spahish speaking gay couple, who, delighted by her music, sang along in their awkwardly-sweet Spanish. It is the sign of a true artist when that artist can connect to an audience that intuitively gets her. Venegas’s music is inclusive, barrier-less, and its power is transmitted to the listener at  a primal, subconscious level. (Listen to “Bien o Mal” here.)

Venegas rocked the stage! She left her fans in awe. We wanted more and more. She is what I call a complete musician—one that sings, writes her own songs, and plays her own instruments. Julieta Venegas can sing any song from any other artist, like she did at the concert when she sang “Sin Documentos” by Calamaro, and no matter what song she sings, I know it’s her. Right away. Because Venegas’s voice is unmistakably extraordinary.

For more information about the “Otra Cosa”, which will continue on May 28 in Valladolid, or Venegas visit her website http://www.julietaveneas.net. For tickets information you can visit Livenation.com

Posted in Almost Dorothy, Culture Clash

“National Penis Day”

Penis Graffiti | Granada, Spain | Photo by Neil de la Flor

Ma says she loves Poya Linda. I ask her why she loves Linda and ma says she doesn’t love Linda. She says she loves Poya Linda. I think ma is a lesbian and is in love with Linda but that’s on the other side of the point. Ma looks at me like I’m a jerk for talking smack about Linda. I’m eating baked beans with my mouth open while ma explains what Poya Linda means in English. I almost have an aneurysm. Beautiful Penis, she says, is Poya Linda. I tell ma a beautiful penis is an oxymoron just like she is an ox and a moron.

National Penis Day | Japan

I look up Poya Linda on the internet, just to confirm ma’s theory of penises, and discover that the citizens of Komaki, Japan are celebrating “National Penis Day”. Actually, Maureen Seaton sent me the link yesterday and she is kind of like the internet but she is real real and not like the internet at all except when she sends ma and I links about penises.

National Penis Day | Japan

Ma and I celebrated “National Penis Day” in Miami. We didn’t wear our penis glasses. Instead we showed off our pride and stuff, which means we showed our proud penises to neighbors and pedestrians. They said hurrah and oh my god. The guy who lives four houses down called the cops because he said he’s religious, which leads me to the crucifix penis.

Crucifix Penis | National Penis Day | Japan

Ma says that when she had a penis she felt like she was carrying a giant crucifix between her Netherlands. Ma doesn’t have a penis, at least not anymore, but she showed the neighbors a picture of her penis when she had a penis. It looked like a real penis. That  photograph was taken way back when before I was conceived or born or brought to life. Back when ma was a boy with two balls and such. I’m not exactly sure how I was made, or if I exist in this or that space-time condominium, but I have a new appreciation for penises that I never knew I had before.

National Penis Day | Japan

Ma says everything is big and better in Japan. Just look at the smile on their faces, she says. If only we appreciated the dicks we have, instead of the dicks that we are, this country would be much a happier space. Ma is generally brilliant when she reminisces about penises and about the past she lived before she became my mother during a time period in which the Heisenberg uncertainty principle was the only principle she was certain of.