I have written elsewhere about DV8 Physical Theatre, a foundational experience of mine. I call it an experience even though for years all I ever did was watch DV8 on TV. Later I saw a production of theirs, MSM, in Montreal in 1993, and Enter Achilles here in 1997 (as I saw after I wrote this).
I feel almost embarrassed about my strong memories of 1990s cultural touchstones. I imagine a withering glance from my old friend de l’époque, the one who bugged out to Vancouver and whom I obviously still miss and take seriously, and, I realize now, require the approval of. I imagine being told to stop living in the past. But he’d only tell me that because he’s more embittered or discouraged or disaffected than I am. Living in the past is what you do when you’re our age. And of course I feel sad there’s someone who’s worse off than me on those axes.
I had a terrible Sunday and for some reason I looked up DV8. I saw that Dead Dreams of Monochrome Men is available – and not in seriously worse quality than the original, either. (The library has it. The bravest teenagers ever to enroll in art school condensed Dead Dreams and performed it themselves.) But there was also a samizdat posting of The Cost of Living, whole and in parts. And, just as I first saw Dead Dreams of Monochrome Men by chance and it was a foundational experience, I saw this snippet by chance and the same thing happened.
I remember dancing in gay bars
In fact I dearly remember dancing in gay bars. I especially remember another old friend and I complimenting each other on our dancing. This would have been when we were very young and before his boyfriend was murdered. And I guess before the life went out of us and queer began its genocide program against gay. Dance at your revolution, about architecture, etc. – no, thanks. That part of me has been killed. I can’t even tell you that without writerly references.
As a writer since childhood it has taken me a lifetime to understand people with natural grace and physical gifts and the ability to move and what I am missing. The difference is you can teach an athlete to read. One of my ginger athlete friends (naturally I have amassed a stable) tells me a lot of athletes really aren’t that smart. Smart eldergays whose smarts are all in the mind secretly would love to swap lives with these guys.
Do gay intellectuals make up for it by engaging in sex? Nope. As 26-YEARS OLD COCKSUCKER LERNERT FROM AMSTERDAM put it in Butt, nothing’s worse than a gay intellectual with a big dick.
I learned a lot about this distinction from Camille Paglia, a professor of English who teaches artists and accepts paintings and dance pieces as responses to literature. What a great idea. (And that’s another ’90s reference, one I can’t actually back up.) Paglia also said Madonna thinks with her body.
This thing still brings tears to my eyes. Who says a dance film can’t have its own set piece set to a set of Cher’s “Believe”? Only Lloyd Newson would do that.
I just gave you 550 words explaining how words are inadequate and are not really “life.” And it took me a month to put them together. I’m having a lot of terrible Sundays.