or at least I can, and did, but today I'm paying the price. What I have is chronic tendonitis in the tendon attached to my left malleolus. If I don't walk too much, and ice it three times a day, and see the chiropractor, and sleep on my back with a pillow under my knees, and wear my orthotics, and use a Theraband for five minutes before standing up in the mornings, and rub arnica on it periodically, it's almost functional. BUT if I don't do these things, and then I go dancing for, like, hours, in what used to be the engine room of a large metal boat, on an unsprung steel floor, the next morning I'M FUCKING CRIPPLED. FUCK. This is very annoying and I want it to go away. I have been attending only the gentlest of gentle yoga classes and it still gets worse. This week I had my first acupuncture treatment ever and it didn't help at all. Fuck. I'm too young for this.
Things are almost ready for my show. My bank account is correspondingly empty. My open studio was mildly encouraging; some old white guy came while I was out, and asked for prices, and hung around until I got back, and didn't blink when I told him what the prices were. All my friends were like, "did you hear from that guy? Did he buy the painting?"
Well, no, of course not, that's not how it happens. People who buy my work always have to think about it, sometimes for years, until they come to a boil at the most unexpected moment and blurt out, "I want to BUY THAT PAINTING." The fact that a total stranger walked in and started to simmer, now that my prices are between $2-$3K, is very, very encouraging. Then the BWAC mafia came in and curated me into the summer Earth show, right off the bat. BWAC is supposed to be an egalitarian community organization, totally un-curated, but the mafia has decided that you hit a critical ceiling that way. They're right, and I'm glad to be on the good side of a mafia, for once. Everyone from BWAC who visited said, "you painted that thistle painting? I LOVE that painting. I'm so honored to meet you." This made me happy, because the thistle painting was the one I dropped off at BWAC last summer, came to visit it, someone had put a HOLE through the center of it, I pitched a fit, took it home, fixed it, returned it, and picked it up again six weeks later. I felt the whole process was futile. But People Noticed It. Energy Builds. It Will Be Okay.
Then, I've been performing. Last night I performed in O's event at the boat, which was downright surreal, and a hell of a lot of fun. O. is phenomenal and I'm so glad to be working with her. She organized a performance event that included art installations, videos, comedy, music, literature, improvisation and clowns, with lighting cues and tech cues and programs and printed material, and it all happened on time and nobody got bored and people jumped up right on cue and rocked all night long. But I feel OLD. I only had two beers, but today I slept as much as if I'd had four margaritas and wrecked my reputation.
Some guy seemed to be watching me dance, and he must have approved, because he kept going over to his friends and talking to them and pointing at me. I wasn't imagining this because after the band finally stopped he came over and tried to initiate a conversation. Unfortunately he was drunk and dumb as rocks, and probably from New Jersey. He had that Jersey haircut and the nose that sort of joins the forehead without a noticeable indentation. I realize that the reason I've never been good at the bar/club scene is that I demand too much from even the most random attempted pickup--mesomorphic AND darkly attractive AND wittily intelligent AND a decent person. In other words, I never, ever get picked up. At least now that I'm older I feel sorry for the guys, having to try so hard to get shot down over and over, and now that I'm over 35 and mildly crippled I even feel sort of grateful that they try. Which is why I'm bothering to blog about it.
Over the weekend I did another performance, this one completely spontaneous, which surprised even me. I went to the opening of the Brooklyn Artist's Gym. I thought it was a great idea, but I didn't know anybody and the art was highly amateurish, so after scarfing up a free meal and a couple of glasses of wine, as though I were still a starving art student, which I actually am, I decided to leave. Only it was thunderstorming and I'd ridden my bike. While I was waiting it out, they started to auction off the amateur art.
But what people do not understand, many of them, when they plan a fundraising art auction, is that you can't sell art by standing in front of it and saying, "who wants to bid on this piece?" Which is what they did. Ouch. Ooooh. Painful. Silence. Ouch. Oooh. Things were headed nowhere fast, and there was a lot of art to dispose of. I didn't have any vested interest in this enterprise. I didn't especially care if the whole thing descended into a humiliating debacle for all concerned. But I'd had quite a bit of wine, and I was bored and stuck.
Suddenly I found myself standing in front of the bad art, bullshitting like a pro. "Note the vivid use of color, contrasting with the delicate superimposed line work, juxtaposed with small elements of collage," I declared. "Who wants to start the bidding at $25? Do I hear thirty? Do I hear thirty-five?"
"You're a genius," whispered the deposed former auctioneer. I sold the entire show. I had a blast. Everybody had a blast, even the people who actually bid on the art. I really didn't think they would; I just thought to provide some comic entertainment by describing it in pseudo-ArtForum language. But evidently this language DOES sell stuff. After the auction was over I thought I'd just disappear, nursing my sore vocal chords and hoping my bicycle seat wasn't too uncomfortably soaked.
But everybody wanted to talk to me. A girl stuck a tape recorder in my face and said, "I'm from the Brooklyn Rail. Who are you and what do you think?" I've been trying to get the Brooklyn Rail to acknowledge my existence for three years. I plugged my show, I plugged S1Te Osm0sis, I got her email address. The next day, I had an email from the deposed auctioneer. "You're an angel," he wrote. "I've been telling everybody."
Wow. Angel. Me. On Sunday my SHOULDER actually felt better, from all the freed-up kundalini energy flowing through my back. My bullshit-art-auctioneer personality self is one that I have been sitting violently on top of for, oh, about ten years now, ever since my Saturn return, when I realized that witty wry attention-getting personalities can get you BEATEN UP. For ten years I have been demure and polite and sweet, and for the most part have avoided microphones, and dancing really sexily in clubs, and saying things at parties that get quoted for the rest of the week. It's not good to be like this all of the time; other people need their moment to shine.
But there are those moments when lack of charisma is fatal, and you just have to pull it out of the hat. And oh, those moments are sweet.