Friday, May 13, 2005

Well, we had an eventful week (sorta). With planes flying 3 miles (!) from the white house and people running for their lives, breaking a sweat and pumps, I was glad that our fearless leader was working out.

"Nothing says performance artist like a naked fat dyke in a Spandextm sack."

I went to Baltimore with some friends this Saturday to see the Charm City Kitty Club Collective perform in a night of art, music and dance. I was impressed with Baltimore's girls. The crowd was diverse and energetic. What a difference 40 miles makes! I really miss the grassroots arts scene. DC may have a great music scene but it lacks organizations like this. I was very struck by the performance of Beth Smulyan, a fat activist/performance artist. In her performance, she stripped herself naked and asked members of the audience to paint her.

The performance was different in that she was at least 400 lbs. The audience had to face their prejudices almost immediately. Her point of the performance was that as women, especially fat women, don't own our bodies. Our bodies are subject to the evaluation of others. The diets, the vertical stripes, the stomach stapling are all about who has control of our bodies.
She made the connection that no matter what the size, women will never be he owner of her own body if we buy (literally) into the the beauty myth.
I have always struggled with the way I look. Who doesn't? I think it is easier to come out as a lesbian, a Latina, a child of immigrants, working class, even a harness wearer than coming out as a fat girl. Fat is the smoking of the 21st century. Fat is dangerous, fat is evil, fat will kill you and the people you love. We are so fatphobic that children as young as 9 are having stomach stapling.
In a nation that celebrates excess and greed, the super size and the hummer, we despise the very culture that we have created.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Little picayune things…

I haven't been particularly erudite and/or insightful lately. Which is probably a good thing. I spent most of the weekend enjoying the spectacular weather DC has been having. I spent it at Dupont circle, which is the closest to the Castro that DC will ever get. The dupont area is a historically gay neighborhood but it’s changing into a place where straight girls get their hair done and walk their little dogs. Although we queers may have the prescience to move out of an increasingly homogenized place into someplace less than desirable and then make it fabulous, it seems we don’t forget where our roots are…in DC it’s dupont circle. I decided to walk over and enjoy the day, perhaps reading a good book… But browsing for a book became an ordeal. A book about the holocaust? No thanks. How about a crime novel that’s 600 pages long? Eh, I’ll wait until the movie comes out. Poetry perhaps? I didn’t want to think today. Nothing jumped out and said “read me!” I didn’t even get the Sunday paper, which is my usual thing to do. I just didn’t feel like reading about Bush in Russia, or the fact the Iraq is superfucked up, or that Kansas decided to go apeshit about evolution.
So I ended up sitting on a bench that encircles the fountain and watched people for a couple hours. It seems like I wasn’t the only one. There were all kinds of people there today, there were the readers-they take a book/magazine/newspaper to the park and read. They don’t look up, they don’t talk to their neighbors, they just read. Then there were the cruisers; they check out the other guys who are walking their dogs (what’s with the itty bitty dogs and gay men?), or the joggers, or the skaters, or the bike riders, or the guys with their girlfriends…you get the picture. Then there are the homeless who make the circle their homebase. I particularly enjoyed watching the homeless lady with leathery skin wearing an elaborately embroidered bikini top ask the man next to me if he’d like to buy some handmade jewelry, which she never displayed. Mostly there were a lot of people like me, alone, watching the scene continuously change in front of them. It made me think about our need to be accompanied even though we are alone. Even though I didn’t talk to anyone today (other than my girlfriend), I still felt like I was connected somehow. In a city that has everyone in permanent transition, the need to have some human connection is fostered in places like Dupont circle. I don’t know if the city fathers intended to have places like the circle be a public recharge zone, I’m glad it was today.

You gotta love this dame! Betty, you are my hero!

Lauren Bacall with Larry King.

KING: Wait a minute. Are you a liberal?

BACALL: I'm a liberal. The L word!

KING: Egads!

BACALL: I love it. Being a liberal is the best thing on earth you can be. You are welcoming to everyone when you're a liberal. You do not have a small mind. Little picayune things. You want to welcome everyone. Liberal, little picayune thing.

KING: You're open to...

BACALL: You want to welcome everyone. Liberal, I'm a Roosevelt. I'm a -- and I hear anyone say anything about FDR...

KING: You're a new dealer, fair dealer.

BACALL: I'm a total -- and I was a kid and I'm total, total, total liberal and proud of it. And I think it's outrageous to say the l word. I mean, excuse me. They should be damn lucky that they were liberals here. Liberals gave more to the population of the United States than any other group.

KING: Well, Social Security.

BACALL: Everything.


KING: Very well said. Spoken as a true liberal.

BACALL: Don't knock the liberals.

KING: I'm not.