How many pizza guy stories have I written? Maybe only this one? I honestly don’t have a clue, but it seems like I should have written at least a few by this point in my life. At any rate, check out Meat Lovers, which was originally published in the Bruno Gmunder anthology Hired Hands.
I think the word that ties the following four movies together is “insidious.” (Incidentally, there was an “Insidious 3” that came out this year, but I didn’t see it (the first one sucked)). They get under your skin and feel like they could be, in time, deemed cult classics if not outright classics.
‘The Nightmare‘ – Seriously, fuck this movie. It has changed my life in negative ways. The whole reason I’m writing this list, on January 7, 2016, is because I had my first legitimate experience with sleep paralysis last night. The reason I had that experience is I couldn’t sleep, and I started thinking about this fucking movie. I willed it to happen. The whole movie is about the fact that it can will horrible nightmares into existence, and for that it has my utmost respect.
‘Crimson Peak‘ – Severely underrated and will get its due as a classic, in time (he says with authority). I saw this on an IMAX screen and man, what texture, what costumes, what color! Watched it a second time on a TV and the story held up – I really don’t understand the criticism saying the narrative is frayed or all over the place. I think it’s gripping and airtight. Also a lot of fun and most of all, fucking gorgeous.
‘Inside Out‘ – Will this movie influence the way an entire generation perceive themselves? That’d be pretty crazy. It definitely rearranged my brain for at least the couple of days after I saw it.
‘It Follows‘ – Saw this one twice and could not get it out of my head. Loved the dreaminess of it more than anything, the out-of-time, out-of-place retro styling. Great score. Just an altogether original movie with a premise that didn’t make any sense to me when I read about it. It hits on a specific, post 9/11 type of anxiety: that no matter how much you relax and tell yourself that everything’s fine, there’s always something new and horrible coming around the corner.
Honorable mention: ‘Marfa Girl‘ – I’ve written about this one before. I’m a little iffy about putting it on the same tier as the previous four movies, but I want to give it some love cause it’s underrated, batshit insane, and totally worth watching.
Dug em: ‘Amy’, ‘The Martian’, ‘Clouds of Sils Maria’, ‘What Happened, Miss Simone?’, ‘Welcome to Me’, ‘Magic Mike XXL’, ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’, ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’, ‘Nasty Baby’, ‘Iris’
Haven’t seen but my camp-value hopes are high: ‘By the Sea’, ‘We Are Your Friends’, ‘Jem and the Holograms’, ‘Stonewall’
Want to see: ‘Carol’, ‘Spotlight’, ‘Anomalisa’, ‘The Diary of a Teenage Girl’, ‘The Duke of Burgundy’, ‘The Forbidden Room’, ‘Ex Machina’, ‘The Gift’, ‘Maps to the Stars’, ‘The Visit’, ‘Love’
Hopelessly cynical sentence I refrained from tweeting about ‘Star Wars’ on its opening weekend: “Enjoy your market-tested and approved movie-product, nostalgia whores.”
A couple of weeks ago I started writing what was supposed to be a quick n dirty scenario caption to BR0B8, my porn caption Tumblr. It was this muscle-guy condom-to-bareback fantasy, and it wound up turning me on so much I swear I jerked off twice before I finished writing it. I can’t remember the last time I jerked off to one of my own stories.
And so I feel I must fess up to the fact that I am really feeling the condom-to-bareback thing lately. I’ve written about this before in the context of “stealthing” videos, where the fantasy is that the bottom doesn’t know that the top is slipping off the condom. That’s way too non-consensual to interest me in writing about it (agreements turn me on more than anything), but I have to say, the idea of two guys who try to fuck safe but can’t resist going bare is doing it for me in a way that few fantasies have in the past couple years.
All of this is because of Truvada and PrEP, which has, for me, made entertaining these types of fantasies possible. Of course I know that barebacking carries the risk of transmitting all kinds of other diseases, but none of those are a life sentence. I’m not really interested in debating the ethics of barebacking anyway. I’m just fascinated by the way my own fantasy life can turn on a dime. I can’t say that I was ever really turned on by the whole barebacking thing before. It’s funny – I think I gravitate toward taboos that aren’t quite taboo anymore, that are maybe on their way to becoming mainstream.
The thing is, it’s really difficult to find condom-to-bareback stories or videos. They are kind of scarce. Maybe that’s just because it’s an esoteric fantasy and it always will be. But that Tumblr post I mentioned earlier has gotten more traction than any other stories I’ve posted on Tumblr, which I think says something. So today I wrote another one. Which is almost exactly the same as the other, but oh well. At least I’m having fun.
Hey. So I did a reading in San Francisco for the RADAR reading series. It went pretty well! I don’t think it was really “my crowd,” in the sense that what I was reading was a little different than what the other performers were reading, but I got some good reactions. The other performers were uniformly amazing, by the way, especially Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha whose memoir Dirty River I’ve been enjoying the past couple of days. And hey, I got paid, which was awesome.
In San Francisco I hung off the edge of a cable car and held tight to my luggage which ended up slapping some cars and people on the street nonetheless. I stayed in a hostel on Fisherman’s Wharf and watched the bridge while I had my coffee each morning. From there I rented a car and drove across California. I bathed in a hot springs in Mammoth, CA, then hiked the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest where I presumably saw the oldest living tree in the world. Then I saw swirling, Martian-like red rocks in Nevada and some epic, Biblical shit at Zion National Park in Utah. Then the Grand Canyon, which was a little incomprehensible to my puny human mind. Driving out of the Grand Canyon National Park, I pulled off on a scenic byway and walked down a dirt road to see a gaping chasm in the earth – the edge of the canyon. It was twilight. I shouted into it and got the most perfect echo. It was a dreamscape. I felt like I was looking into oblivion, the abyss. I spent two nights in Monument Valley, that iconic Western landscape, where I watched “The Searchers” and ruminated on The West, distance, and loneliness. A couple nights at a commune in New Mexico then back to Pittsburgh. It was all very eye-opening. There’s nothing like that part of the country, or the world for that matter. I seen things I ain’t never seen before.
Tuesday, November 10, 2015
San Francisco Public Library
100 Larkin Street
Latino/Hispanic Room (basement level)
Hosted by Juliana Delgado Lopera
Reading followed by artist Q&A
Did we mention there will be cookies?
Arisa White is a Cave Canem fellow, an MFA graduate from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and is the author of the chapbooks Disposition for Shininess and Post Pardon, as well as the full-length collections Hurrah’s Nest and A Penny Saved. She is a 2013-14 recipient of an Investing in Artist Grant from the Center for Cultural Innovation and a BFA-Creative Writing faculty member at Goddard College. arisawhite.com
Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha
Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha is a queer disabled femme writer, performer, teacher, healer, and organizer of Burgher/Tamil Sri Lankan, Roma and Irish ascent. The author of Dirty River, Bodymap, the Lambda Award winning Love Cake, Consensual Genocide and co-editor of The Revolution Starts At Home: Confronting Intimate Violence in Activist Communities, her writing on healing justice, disability justice, transformative justice, femme of color identity and survivorhood has been widely anthologized, including recent work in Octavia’s Brood, Dear Sister and Undoing Border Imperialism. She co-founded the queer and trans people of color performing arts collective Mangos With Chili, is a lead artist with Sins Invalid and co founded Toronto’s Asian Arts Freedom School. She heals through her intuitive counseling practice, Brownstargirl Tarot, and is a long term member of the Allied Media Conference family. In 2010, she was named one of the Feminist Press’ 40 Feminists Under 40 Shaping the Future and she is a 2013 Autostraddle Alternative Hot 105 member. brownstargirl.org
Natty Soltesz’s novel Backwoods was a 2012 Lambda Literary Award finalist and features illustrations by Michael Kirwan. His erotic fiction has been widely published in magazines and anthologies. He co-wrote the screenplay for the 2009 Joe Gage-directed porn film Dad Takes a Fishing Trip. He is the co-founder of the semi-annual Pittsburgh newsletter QueerBurgher and his creative interests include collaging and zine making. He lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. nattysoltesz.com
Wendy C Ortiz
Wendy C. Ortiz is the author of Excavation: A Memoir (Future Tense Books, 2014), Hollywood Notebook (Writ Large Press, 2015) and the forthcoming Bruja (Civil Coping Mechanisms, 2016). Her work has appeared in The New York Times, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Hazlitt, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, and The Nervous Breakdown, among many other places. Wendy co-founded the Rhapsodomancy Reading Series, which she has curated and hosted since 2004 in Los Angeles.Visit wendyortiz.com.
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New story alert! This is the titular story from my recently-published collection of college bro dude erotica, College Dive Bar, 1 AM, available! now! from Go Deeper Press (or Amazon if yer dumb). This was originally published in a Cleis Press anthology that I won’t bother mentioning. Cleis Press blocked me on Twitter because I criticized their recent Best Gay Erotica call for submissions which declared that “all sex scenes must be between gay-identifying characters” and that “safe sex, when called for, is mandatory,” whatever that means.
That’s not true, but I feel like I need to defend his most recent movie Marfa Girl (streaming on Netflix as we speak). It’s fantastic, but the critical response to it has been tepid at best. For a few decades now it seems like any praise given to Larry Clark – and he’s gotten a lot of it, to be sure – is conditional, because, well, I dunno. Because he finds teenage sex fascinating and has the gall to show it? (Even though prepackaged, sanitized teenage sex is sold to us on an hourly basis.)
I mean we all know the story when it comes to entertainment: fucking is bad, killing is whatever. Marfa Girl may explode this fascination with sex and violence and splatter it all over the screen, but it is always on the side of what brings pleasure, what gives life rather than what takes it away. Yeah, our teen hero might impregnate two different girls through the course of the film, but there are much more dangerous things afoot. What people seem to be missing about this and Clark’s last movie, Wassup Rockers, is how profoundly goofy they are at the core – over the top, campy, and melodramatic. That is to say they’re tons o’ fun, and the actors (many of whom are amateurs) seem like they’re in on it.
There is horror to be found. The villain – a disturbed Texas border patrol officer – is the most loathsome character Clark has come up with yet (which is saying something if you remember the asphyxiophilia kid from Ken Park). I was full-on shouting at the screen, horror-movie style- “Don’t go in that house, girl!” – and the violence can be a little hard to take given how naturalistic the production is. In other words: all the trigger warnings.
I loved how engaged this movie was with racism. At one point I thought Clark was making a direct reference to Trayvon Martin – but it came out in 2012, the year Trayvon Martin was murdered, and must have been produced around the same time if not beforehand. That says as much about how long we’ve been letting brown people get murdered and not caring about it as it does about the fact that so few movies choose to talk about the issue.
I’m going to tread lightly across the problematic (how I’m starting to hate that word) elements, of which I’m sure there’s more than a few. There’s a fucking wonderful scene where the titular girl, an artist-in-residence/tourist who, okay, fetishizes race a bit and walks awfully close to being a white savior stereotype, talks to two border-patrol officers, one of whom calls her out on her privilege. They trade barbs and it’s like listening to heinous-if-reasonably-pitched internet comments thread, until they finally drop their guard and find some common ground, some understanding. Then they eat mushrooms and have an orgy and it’s completely insane and made me laugh out loud.
Then there’s the movie’s central image, two beautiful Latino kids canoodling in a windswept-desert landscape. It looks just like a Ralph Lauren ad, pure kitsch Americana – Clark even has someone ride a horse behind them. The message is clear and wonderfully subversive: This is America now, and these are its cowboys. What were minorities will soon be majorities, and a tenuously-ruling class is going to become increasingly insane and violent as they try to hold on to their power. Fighting back is one way to go. But to win hearts and minds we might also give fucking a try.
Hi, friends! I’ll be reading from my latest book College Dive Bar, 1AM at a few different places in the coming months:
Thurs, Sept 17 – Pittsburgh, Modern Formations (4919 Penn Ave) @ 8PM. My buddy Seth Bickford will also be reading this night and he’s hilarious so it should be a fun time. Facebook event.
Sat, Oct 3 – Pittsburgh, Bunker Projects (5136 Penn Ave) @ 5PM. This is a mixer for the Zine Fair the next day and I’ll be reading with a bunch of other fun, zine-y people.
Sun, Oct 4 – Pittsburgh Zine Fair, Union Project (801 Negley Ave) 2PM – 8PM. I’ll be selling books and zines here and it’s a great time, come by! Facebook event.
Tues, Nov 10 – San Francisco, RADAR Reading Series. More info on this to come. A reading in San Francisco! I’m psyched. Check RADAR’s event page here for more info closer to the date.