i’m back

Two years ago, I stopped writing on this blog. A lot’s changed in the past two years. I got a girlfriend, I got a second cat, my girlfriend moved in with me, I quit my job, I got another job that consumed all my time (I learned a lot in that year), I returned to what I love doing, and I started another job that will afford me to continue doing what I love doing.

I’ve decided to start blogging again because:

a) I have the time again.

b) I think I was taking the wrong approach to this a couple years back – namely, I was over thinking what I wrote here and taking too much time publishing.

c) Now, I’m interested in how the social interaction of the internet affects my work as an artist.

Since this is the first time I’ve jumped on to this account after such a long time, I’m noticing some changes Blogger has enabled, namely the video feature seems much easier to use, so I’ll probably try that out someday. Too, I’m finding that a couple people have posted comments that I’ve recently discovered. Good comments, too. So, I’ve approved them.

The main comment that deserves attention is one from atogcheese@hotmail.com. He wrote: “Hi there. I’m a feeder, and I feel moved to point out to you that feedism is >not<>FEEDER: A Love Story, the story has undergone quite a massive overhaul. It use to be a solo monologue that I performed at the 2005 soloNOVA Arts Festival, and then I met some women who asked me some tough questions.

This post will explain what I chose to do next.

Luckily, one of those women, Janie Martinez, was gracious enough after a mutual friend of ours, David Anzuelo, signed on to direct the new version of the play, to give great notes on the ins and outs of feederism and the play. Thanks to these amazing people, I’m viewing the story from a very different angle. Most importantly, the new character of Jesse, Noel’s wife, now tells her side of the story, and the two of them have multiple scenes in which they interact with each other. The other major change is that Noel does not journey with Judith Angel, the play’s antagonist, across the country in a van after kidnapping her to teach her a lesson. It’s a very different direction, and I’m planning on having a public showing of it in the New Year. I hope you’ll join me for the next incarnation of FEEDER: A Love Story in 2009.

______

On another note – I also want to share a few fun links every day. They may or may not be associated with the subject at hand, but they are things that I find interesting and fun. I hope you’ll find them fun, too.

Today, I’m posting some links to Jessica Hische’s work. She’s a young illustrator/graphic designer/typographer based here in NYC. She just did a huge spread in the NY Times highlighting 2008 Buzzwords. Her website is very cool as is her blog.

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what a week

It’s taken me over a week to process all that happened last week, for it was wild, teaching me not only about human nature, but the impact one has with one’s words (namely, my own).

Three days after the first woman who told me I was “remarkably accurate” in my portrayal of feederism and posted a link to the show from the Dimensions Magazine website (if you go to this site, there will be plot spoilers from my play…so, if you plan on seeing it in the future, you may want to avoid), two woman showed up and sat in the front row, indignant and scowling during the entire play. After the show, they stopped me, asking all sorts of questions about the show: “What was my point?” “What research did I do?” “Did I talk to any feeders or feedees?” After 45 minutes of their grilling and my friends leaving one by one without my getting to hang with a them, I realized I handled the situation very poorly. Not only was I starving and out of my mind with hunger, I was “post-show” head space, which is not very coherent. As a result, I wasn’t as articulate as I would have liked. Disappointed, I chalked it up to a bad experience, one which if given an opportunity, I would’ve handled differently.

Kicking myself for having done such a poor job explaining my show, I went to the Dimensions Magazine website, and I checked out the chat thread that started after the woman on Saturday night. Sure enough, one of the women disgruntled with the show went on and posted a scathing review of the play. Then, she talked about how, after the show, I described my play as “bad art” and misquoted me on a few facts. Basically, she asked me what the show meant. Did I want people talking about my show after they went home from the theater? I told her I believe “good art” should resonate. People should continue talking about it when they go home. I don’t propose to tell people what they should think – “good art” should just provoke people to conversation. Then, I qualified and said, “Not that I’m saying this is “good art…I’m just saying that’s what good art is, and if people keep talking about it once they get home, that’s great.” Trying to be humble. Didn’t work.

As a result, I figured I’d revise my previous post and “thesis” regarding the show and post it here:

A van speeds across country. Inside, a man tells a tale of a relationship with a woman named Jesse. To whom does he speak? Where is he going? And what will happen when he reaches his destination? FEEDER: A Love Story is an oddly touching, surprisingly funny, dark and twisted tale of passion, revenge and dessert. The play delves into a fringe fragment of the BDSM (Bondage, Domination, Submission & Masochism) world of feederism, where feeding and “growing” ones partner to enormous sizes is considered beautiful.

Living in a country where “thin is in” and plastic surgery is the norm, FEEDER: A Love Story holds a fun house mirror up to society and forces the audience to question the absurdity of typical beautification tactics. Additionally, it questions the fetish of feederism, imagining what would happen if said feeder became obsessed with the fetish, knowing no boundaries, and broke all the rules.

We are obsessed in this country with beauty. And beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The point of the play is not to say that if someone finds a fat person beautiful that they are crazy (as the third woman who posts on the Dimensions site suggests I am saying), it suggests, as with any relationship, it can move to obsession when one refuses to accept the change in that relationship.

Too, one last point, the ladies who disliked my show were very polite (while obviously unhappy) to me, and I’d like to thank them for challenging me. The anger they show in their posts are not to be mistaken for how they treated me in person, which was with respect. I don’t want to disrespect them either, but it seems I have, which brings me back to my original point. You can’t please all the people all the time. And, the challenges these women presented me have forced me to rethink the mission of this play. I am writing a second act. I am going to try and sit down with either a feeder or a feedee and interview him or her…and I the second act will be from the feedee’s point of view (while the monologue I presented was from the feeder’s point of view). It’s a love story. And there’s always two sides to every love story. So, why not tell it?

Thanks to everyone who came out last week and supported. Your thoughts and comments have been invaluable and have also been instrumental in bringing me to the decision to expand the play. And, for those of you who couldn’t make it, it will return soon.

meeting a feedee…i think

Wow, it’s been a whole month since I’ve posted here, and with good reason. terraNOVA’s 3rd Annual Solo Arts Festival has been taking up all my time. It’s been a wild ride this year for more reasons than one, but I suppose that’s all part of producing a festival.

The best thing about it for me, quite frankly, has been acting in a play I wrote, FEEDER: A Love Story. It’s the first time I’ve done this, and it’s the first time I’ve acted in a play in about 5 years. I’d really forgotten the jazz one gets being on stage in front of strangers…and, I think, the craziest part, was walking out from backstage afterwards, receiving congratulations from friends, family and strangers. I’d anticipated enjoying the performing, but I’d forgotten that people come up and give props after the show. It was a funny and great experience.

The craziest part of the after show “meet and greet” was an introduction to a very pretty, overweight woman who approached me with a beaming smile. She introduced herself and told me what a great job I’d done. Turns out, she attended the show because her “friend” got the email from PS122 and he brought her. Then, I did it. I asked…

“So…do you know about this?” (‘This’ meaning ‘feederism,’ a fringe fragment of the BDS&M world where one feeds one’s sexual partner and ‘grows’ him/her to great sizes. – for those of you who don’t know, that’s what my play is about.)

“Yes…I do.”

“Well…what did you think?”

“You know when you see something on the news or on T.V., you know a lot about it, and you say, ‘That’s not quite right?'”

“Yeah.”

“You got it right. Remarkably accurate.”

OH MY GOD! She was very sweet, gracious and, I’m guessing, a feedee (one who gets fed). The first night I do the show, and I had a feedee in the audience! And, if she wasn’t a feedee, she knew a lot about the world. Interestingly, it was the greatest compliment I received all night, and I got a lot praise from a lot of wonderful people I love and respect.

I also received a lot of people turned off by the show (too, from people I love and respect) which I expected. This is what fascinates me so much about this subject and other people living on the fringe. They are polarizing. They are ostracize. And people are judgmental. Nothing new on this front. People have watched Geek/Freak Shows for centuries, engaged because of the differences between them.

At the same time, much of the message of FEEDER is about accepting who one is – we shouldn’t have to augment bodies, making them beautiful for someone else’s ideal. We, then, do become a slave to our need to be accepted by others. It’s only in the acceptance of one’s self that we can truly be happy, and I believe that’s the major message I want to convey in my work. It’s about loving one’s self, not augmenting one’s body into something else in order to be adored.

PS: I do believe in augmenting one’s body for the sheer fun and joy of it. And, as long as it doesn’t damage your health physically or mentally, go for it!

One more thing: In discussion, someone brought up the question of what is a fetish. And my sister relayed a bit of information from a friend of hers, a fetish photographer:

“If you are in to fetishes…and you enjoy it…but it’s just something you enjoy…that’s healthy. If you cannot enjoy sex without the fetish, it’s an obsession…which isn’t healthy.” My play explores the unhealthy side of fetishism, and when it goes truly wrong.

As Calvin Klein said: “Between Love and Madness lies Obsession.” I believe obsession and madness are closer cousins than Love and obsession. And in the case of fetishes, when one obsesses over his/her fetish, madness is just around the corner, as with anything in life.