Cranky things and good things

Dinner last night at pub – ate a very non-irish salmon with chili sauce and an equally non-irish pomegranate mojito though why it seems non-Irish and not non-US-ian I don’t know. I would call it all California and leave it at that. At that point drinking the pomegranate thing made me wild and sleepy at the same time… Then off to DNA Lounge where I felt ill tempered at the door person telling Rook that I would have to show ID. hello! I’m right there, tell ME. But, you know, whatever! I enjoyed the club, a straightish crowd but not too bad, people doing very jolly swing dancing which I love to watch (but loathe trying to do… I have only done it halfheartedly when Rook begs… but then I can’t stand it.) Rook danced with b. and with xyzzy and then with some random cute swing dancing enthusiast chicks. I felt frisky again and tried some lame-ass wheelchair dancing moves but mostly that meant swinging a bit at random, off tempo, while nearly killing anyone near me who was in the way; then some wholesome looking not-my-type women about 22 called me “honey” and kept saying “come on you CAN dance!” to urge me onto the dance floor in a social worker sort of way. As I remarked later to xyzzy, if they aren’t rubbing up against me or humping my leg, they are not dancing with me properly and I’m not all that interested.

A work guy or 2 of his showed up and I was amused (not for the first time) at their medieval identifications of themselves. “We’re Rowans!” they chirped happily…. I do love this especially if it is sweet and positive and a good culture and not a grotesque zaibatsu sports-team pseudo-nationalism mindfuck of fakery. I love how it shifts when you shift companies and how also people are assumed now to have multiple allegiances and identities so you are You of Yourblog and of Groupblog and of J.Random.Company and all those things can shift and be true simultaneously.


Then the show – which was “comedy and burlesque” and had a fake-irony-patriotism theme I had not at all expected and that I thought was squalid and embarrassing and not successfully ironic enough. The “comedy” was just sad. It reminded me of oral reports from junior high that tried to be sophomoric, but didn’t even achieve that level. So in addition to being unfunny and boring… it was painfully dumb.

It also presented a very annoying framework.

In this show let me make it clear that the dancers were good! They had cool costumes and props and talent and knew how to do burlesque properly – homage to the genre. And technically as strippers and dancers and performers they were awesome.

In particular the Queen amazed me – her understated dance – and her outfit – the best outfit I have *ever* seen – constructed perfectly and stripped perfectly – ingenious – tasteful – historical costume – Also splendidly beautiful –

But here’s what I found to be a problem -

I have been to burlesque shows – I am thinking of Good Vibrations ones or perhaps their New Year parties – that are fun and positive and sleazy and celebratory and actually DO have that vibe of being feminist sex-positive and the audience taking it that way (which is crucial)

This show was the total opposite…

The guy MCs and “comedians” were desexualized – made deliberately unsexy – their bodies hidden – and they did all the talking. The women who were on stage with them all the time were in sexy skimpy costumes and did only mime sort of humor – including bending over to show their asses and crotches while sweeping the stage with feather dusters and while the men pointed and commented and the crowd hooted. The women never said anything or had a voice. And then the dancers also don’t speak. The unfunny, boring MCs meant that the crowd was at best going “bring on the titties” and in fact the MCs themselves kept saying “Oh well you dont care about this you’re just thinking “bring on the titties!”

Instead of being edgy and ironic and hip, this was just sad and annoying!

I wondered what all their backstage life is like and if the untalented pretentious hipster MC dudes act like top dogs of everything and like the stars and the bosses. The men of the act (except for two sailor-dancers, who were cool) did the non-sexualized outfits and in fact deliberate “pimp outfits”. While it can look sharp, again, it does not sexualize men’s bodies as burlesque does. Why not have some awesome guys also dancing – or more of them – and lose the misogynist framework of the show? Or if your peculiar genius is for event organizing and promotion, stick to that and stay off the stage – because, embarrassingly, everyone will kiss your ass and pretend to be your biggest fans if you suck but are the one with the power.

Watching the whole thing together, I saw clearly how feminist sex-positivity, framed by misogyny, gets co-opted. Forces to do that are so strong; but at places like the dyke march though there are creepy guys taking videos everywhere you can still go shirtless and feel empowered and strong… because you outnumber them at that particular moment so overwhelmingly that cultural meaning of actions and bodies SHIFT. And I do believe we have to strongly establish our own cultural currents in order to seize that kind of power and there are some shifts in mainstream media; just, not enough. So that (depressingly, but not depressingly enough to make me stop doing it or believing what I believe) the images of us topless in the dyke march (as with riot grrl images) become co-opted and framed rather horribly and pornified and exploited.

For GOOD THINGS I was happy to be out and at a club and feeling frisky and frothy and fun! And to hang with everyone at once. C. showed up too and I was super happy to see her & that she saw the groovy Strip Brittania act. We got home by midnight so while I was wiped out completely, I didn’t overdo it.

Looking online – I think the amazing amazing dancer is The Flying Fox and I am her fan for life!

I was stunned by her haughty perfection – a lot of subtle hand gestures and posing – and especially by that outfit which must have been easily over $1000 of outfit – clearly handmade – fantastic creative design.

Other good things, hanging with my parents (in between tense weird moments) was great, and fun, and relaxing. They are so amusing and I would love to get into some serious board game playing with my dad. Eliz. and Sophie being over was nice too. Now Moomin is home from camp – all in bed again with computers and cats and comic books – showering every once in a while to deal with heat – Also I have two new crushes simultaneously – and wish I could blog them thoroughly but won’t – well, three really but we pretend the third one is not there because it’s hopeless – and unrelatedly I wish I could talk about another fascinating yet unbloggable thing (professional not personal) which happened last year and which I just found out more bits of the story which blew my mind completely, but it is so unspeakable that I just can’t, right now, and so will be driven to commit fiction. Another very excellent thing which I’ll write up properly is that I am reading Carnival which so far has pleased me on multiple complicated levels at once with its subtlety, creative wtf-ery, subversiveness, and good writing. Claire and Leeann especially should read it. Oh that reminds me — I owe Naamen my extra copy of Illicit Passage! And the other good thing is I called Squid suddenly thinking maybe I could charm my way into her swimming pool, and lo, a bbq is happening and possibly we can see fireworks from her porch up on the hill, and I ahve not seen her new house yet so my mad curiosity will be assuaged. And while being social I can also remain low-key, not exhaust myself, Moomin can have fun, and if I swim it will count as virtuous physical therapy.

The best thing was that this morning I walked well though limpingly. I laid down at intervals, but pushed myself to walk around for no real reason other than to get my legs moving. And al the activity did not destroy me. That’s so encouraging! Last week’s relapse sucked but now I think I”m back on the path to slow improvement.

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