Out here in Nassau County, Long Island most of the people that take public transportation are people of color, workers earning low wages, and immigrants on their way to work or to school. When he was a teenager, BoyBoy aspired to be white, but if you had asked him then, he’d have had no idea what you were talking about. Instead say Hollister and say blond. Say not wanting to smell like the fish his sister just cooked before he went to school. Stress the soft TH sounds instead of the hard T, F not P: First, myTHology, THree, PHoenix, Four, Full, Faggot, teeTH, Five. Even Filipino, which he is. ConFused, too. He hated taking the bus.
This month, the writers of Private Commission were prompted by the “normcore” trend (google it if ya haven’t heard). The discussion of normcore triggered one of our members to have an intense flashback to her 12-year-old self living in suburbia. And so we found our perfect writing prompt: the Shopping Mall. Something all suburbanites exist in relation to, and that even urbanites have at least a passing familiarity with. What follows is the first in a three-part series generated by the writing prompt. Continue reading →
Editor’s note: On Saturday March 1st, Visual AIDS organized a panel to discuss the YOUR NOSTALGIA IS KILLING ME poster which created so much online controversy. A vibrant crowd turned up at the NYPL to hear from both Ian Bradley-Perrin and Vincent Chevalier, AIDS activists and creators of the poster. Below is the speech Ian addressed the crowd with.
A lot has been tossed around about the poster’s meaning for and engagement with an older generation, and it’s certainly true that it speaks using a rich history of which the people sitting here with me are all part. However, that the poster uses much of the canon of AIDS agitprop and historical narrative, as well as the symbols of the commercialization and capital appropriation of AIDS represented by the United Colors of Benneton ad and Bono’s Inspi(red) campaign, is speaking less to the lived experience and many layered contextualization of these images in the experience of my co-panelists, but more to the place these images are taking up in a master narrative of HIV and AIDS. This is a distinction that I wanted to emphasize.
A common critique of the work of Vincent and me was that it is an academic piece with no place in the hard world of a lived experience with HIV or the direct action that ACT UP has long participated in. I am not going deny that the poster has many layers to it, and my studies in capital H history are part of that, but I wanted to talk for a moment about the poster as a personal appeal. Continue reading →
Yesterday, Commissioners gathered on a freezing Tuesday night in February to eat cookies and hear lewd and lascivious stories at Dixon Place’s cozy lounge. It was the launch for the Uncensored Collection, an e-book of lesbian erotica published by Private Commission, a Brooklyn-based queer writing group. You can purchase your own copy of the collection for $2.99. Please write a review and say what you think!
In the typing of this introduction many cigarettes were smoked. In the Flesh does not smoke, but bought a pack when it got locked outside of a friend’s apartment and all there was to do was sit on an orange crate and wait outside the building chainsmoking. That is what In the Flesh did. It waited, and looking cool made the waiting more bearable.
The difficulty with HOLDING ON is that it is about being stuck, or it is about not knowing, about trusting without evidence that trust is what’s called for. It is waiting for her to come back on the telephone, it is Wile E. Coyote running in mid-air. Lately, In the Flesh has been wondering: How do you forge ahead when there seems no clear way forward? How do you know when to cut your losses or re-double your efforts?
In the Flesh has a hunch that HOLDING ON comes down, not to truth, but to desire. We hold on to ideas, to things, to people, because we want what they represent to us to be true. Holding on can be an act of jealousy, of purest love, of fear, of deception, or simply, blindness. Sometimes we are rewarded, and sometimes we are punished, but we have no way of knowing in the moment of holding on itself.
Chicano writer José Villarreal writes, “All I can tell you is that you should have faith for the present, and when the time comes when you feel you do not need the belief, the doubts will help you discard it, forgetting the friend it once was to you.”
Come to In the Flesh at the Bureau and hear what contributors have to say about how they held on, how it shook them, and how it shook out.
Erica Cardwell is a queer romantic, educator, and activist. Recently, she served as co-organizer for an anti-violence week of action called, POC Rising– an intercultural, multi-gendered alliance within the platform of Vday’s One Billion Rising campaign. Check it out at –www.pocrising.tumblr.com. Her most recent essay on phonics and feelings entitled, victory,appeared in The Feminist Wire, in January of 2013. Erica lives in the land of make believe in Astoria, Queens. Follow her @theomnivorous
Ella Boureau is a writer, teacher and translator living in New York, Marseille and her own twisted little mind. She runs the monthly reading series and online magazine In the Flesh. She also has a reputation for turning people gay with her presence, at least temporarily. So if you weren’t before, you will be now!
Emily Skillings is a dancer poet poet dancer. She earned her BA from The New School in 2010. Recent poetry can be read in Bone Bouquet,Lingerpost, Stonecutter, La Fovea, and Maggy. Skillings dances with Saifan Shmerer, the A.O. Movement Collective and The Commons Choir (Daria Faïn and Robert Kocik). She lives in Brooklyn, where she is a member of the Belladonna* Collaborative, a feminist poetry collective and event series. She is a co-curator of the Brooklyn reading series HOT TEXTS with Krystal Languell. In March 2012, she co-organized the festival HOW TO CONTINUE: John Ashbery Across the Arts at The New School with Adam Fitzgerald and Robert Polito.