It doesn’t feel right to use pictures of Luka as my muse anymore. My tone is going to shift and wander so in the spirit of moving forward I’m digging through my draft folder, ideally looking for something that will make me laugh. My mode in this current climate generally alternates between sad or blisteringly angry.
A rare picture of me, with filthy scarred legs because I’m at the farm. My family and friends know they have to be quick and they have to be sneaky regarding photos of me. Given the opportunity I will step out of the frame, look away or cover my face. Alex caught me off guard. What is funny about this picture is not that I am smiling while the dearly beloveds on either side of me are looking away, or on with faint disgust. It’s what you can’t see that has caught my fancy and captures my essence.
It was cabaret night at the outdoor theatre I’ve been working for for nearly 15 years. Cabaret night is an in-house party where anything goes. We celebrate the Fool. Someone in the company volunteers to MC. There are skits and music and rituals; dressing in drag is part of the tradition, and heartily embraced by local cowboys. A regular act performed by our resident 76 year old qween involves him screaming at us, his rapt audience, as he invariably strips nude while showering the crowd with beads, all purpose flour and shaving cream. It is as equally transgressive as it is poignant.
An introvert and a stage manager, I opt out of performing. I take my station in the shadows on one of the kitchen counters not far from the make shift stage set up in the cook shack; our multi-use gathering place and kitchen where we hang out and eat together. From this vantage point I feel safe with my back to a wall, a close exit through the mud room if I feel panic; also I know at some point shit is going to get thrown at everyone and this is far enough away from the firing line. Individuals can come and converse, or just sit with me and observe rather than mingling through the scene. Even among a crowd of friends, I just don’t fair well in these situations. Advice my brother gave me years ago on handling large gatherings was: Find the other introvert in the room and support each other.
My smile. There were two actresses on stage dressed in full chicken costumes wearing large diapers. One had a ukulele and the other a violin. I can’t remember the song they were singing. I think it was about the spot around the backside of the cookshack we call Cafe Poubelle. At sunset a group of us would sit there and relax after dinner, out of sight of the audience as they arrived for our summer show. It has a vista of the sloping pasture that rises into the forest on the neighbors property. It is also next to the compost so depending on which way the breeze is blowing it can be pretty rotten, hence Cafe Trash Bin.
At the climax of the song the ukulele player pulled off the violin player’s diaper to reveal she’d laid chocolate eggs, except to their surprise the eggs had melted and smeared. Ever professional and for sake of not breaking the fourth wall, they proceeded to scrape the chocolate out of the diaper and eat it. My face confirms it was wonderfully played.
My smile. This picture reminds me that subversive transgression against the ever archaic and abhorrent status quo always appeals to me. Yesterday I was playing an interview with a Mexican-American horror writer who musing on the near future predicts we’re going to see a revival in horror, punk and metal. As a life long fan of these genres that observation, listened to through my iPod, made me happy to consider as I trudged and squinted my way home through a blizzard but the fascist root cause of this necessary revival makes me rile deeply with dread.
Humph… it seems impossible to keep my thoughts inherently ebullient. Maybe next time I’ll talk about my experience being the only vegan in the theatres village, that sounds like fun doesn’t it? Find and support one another. Head up, heart open. Peace.