vote for sissy

You may have seen my “vote for debbie” post yesterday, & now I have another artist I want to pimp. The other queen I’m voting for to appear on the fifth season of RuPaul’s Drag Race is Chicago’s Sissy Spastik (one of the best names ever)! …Influenced by great transgressive and counter-cultural artists like Grace Jones, Leigh Bowery and Divine, she’s one of the coolest stylists I’ve met (check out the set design for her audition video! …it’s all in the details), with a range of looks that are edgy but glamorous. Sissy’s aesthetics are way up my alley, and I would really like to see her make a strong showing. Check out her video and vote for her here.

vote for debbie

Hello Big Other readers!

I’ve got an artist to share with y’all, and I am hoping you will help me support her work.

Debbie Fox is a Chicago drag queen who is competing in an online “fan favorite” contest that will secure her a slot on the fifth season of the reality television series RUPAUL’S DRAG RACE. I am a big fan of queens in general — not just because they are glamorous and often subversive — but because they are true DIY multimedia performance artists who must develop skills in a broad range of visual and performance-based media, often in bar and nightclub environments that are not especially conducive to art-making. This impresses the shit out of me.

I like Debbie in particular because while on the surface, she appears to be a very beautiful, polished, pretty queen — not my usual cup of tea — she is versatile and full of surprises, able to dirty it up, take risks and get unconventional, as well as funny and theatrical (when I first saw her perform a couple of weeks ago, she did a live performance of a musical theater song usually associated w/ male performers). I like people who can code switch and are canny. The camera loves her and I think her personality will be well-suited to television.

Anyway — she’s actually doing really well in this online voting thingie and stands a decent chance of winning, so I wanted to see if I could ask y’all to take a quick minute to watch her hilarious video and vote for her. There are some other folks in the running whose personal style is maybe more aligned with my own, but I think she is very “full package” in terms of how well-suited she is for this show, and I am excited to see her kicking as much ass as she is. And so I want to do what I can to help push her up over the edge. Thanks!

Merry X-mas…. War is ON!!!

Hello lovelies, I would like to share with you my latest XXXmas classic, a special gift for all my atheist nearest and dearest.

This song addresses the question: Have the inclusive language-minded indeed, as Rick Perry and his ilk accuse, declared a war on Christmas? And answers YES! If a war is what they want, let’s give them a war! Declare war on Christmas! Death to all believers!


Sequins is the Reason for the Season

One of my favorite things about the holiday season is the glorious carols that remind us that now is the time to reflect upon the year that has passed, our joys and frustration, all the glorious potential that awaits us in the New Year and the wonderful gift that is our Lord and Savior’s birth, the gift that can never be returned, because Girl, Jesus ain’t come with no gift receipt. I have many fond memories of my family crowded around the piano, the stereo, the victrola, singing along to the carols that we know and love. Music IS community, and with that in mind, I am thrilled to share this new carol with you, Big Other’s loyal community of readers and supporters and followers without whom we would be nothing. NOTHING. Peace and love and joy and prosperity and sequined, spangled blessings! ~ TJY

Infinite Swoon

I am obsessed with gazing at this wall of animated GIFs of the VAMPIRE DIARIES’ Steven R. McQueen. It’s like the distillation of everything I find appealing about teenage dramas where everybody looks like airbrushed candy.

I love tumblr because so often, as Kate Zambreno and Kate Durbin have noted, it feels so much like looking at a teenager’s bedroom wall. I love animated GIFs because although tumblr has made them quite contemporary and “relevant,” and at the same time, they are really such an antiquated technology, and I find appealing many things that are anachronistic and kitsch.

What I love about animated GIFS is how they decontextualize and delinearize and make recursive and infinite images from linear narratives. And these Steven R McQueen GIFs are like extra good, because the affect they produce, through the sheer quantity of fetishized Stevens, and through the Stevens’ attention on the viewer — looking back at me over and over and over again — is total swoon.

Infinite, recursive swoon is a neverending state of ecstatic anticipation. The most stimulating and pleasurable experience of unrequited longing. It’s like feeling like a teenager, forever and ever and ever and ever. Like: Someday, my prince will come, but right now, I am already coming. Or I am on the threshold of coming. Or smack dab in the middle of the first shudder. (That never, ever ends).

When I was a teenager, I would look at adult men and wonder whether I wanted to touch them or be them, and now that I am an adult man, I sometimes look at teenagers and wonder the same in reverse.

Eff Why Aye


1. Rose Metal Press’s Sixth Annual Short Short Competition is now open for submissions. The deadline is December 1st. This year’s judge is the excellent Randall Brown. Things turned out pretty good for me the year I entered the competition. I’d LOVE for you to join me. Submit.

2. This year’s Queer issue of [PANK] is up now, and available for your reading pleasure/discomfort/confusion/unidentifiable affective experience. I really want as many folks as possible to encounter these amazing texts, SO… I will send a copy of one of my favorite queer texts to the first five people who blog, tweet, etc. about the issue, then let me know in this comment thread. And if you engage with one of the issue’s text(s) in some deeper way (ie a review, analysis, etc.), I will think up something extra special to thank you.

“i think marie howe just said that all poetry has silence at the center of it. i think i want a breakdancing lemur at the center of my poetry.” — Poet Robb Q Telfer, on Facebook

On Evil Uncles and Power Pumps: Riffing on Johannes Goransson and Joyelle McSweeney’s Presentations at &Now

One of the highlights of this past weekend’s &Now Conference was, for me, the “What’s that Mess? It’s Excess!” panel, where Johannes Goransson spoke about watching Disney’s The Lion King with his children (child? …I forget how many), and made a case for the film’s villain, the effete, swishy, nonsensically-accented “creepy uncle” Scar, as supplying the most compelling parts of the film. Art, he argued, is the “creepy uncle.”


When I was a kid, Scar was my favorite character in the Lion King. I staged backyard performances with the children of a family friend, where we sang songs from the Lion King. I always insisted (without much resistance) on singing Scar’s song, “Be Prepared.” I loved inhabiting Scar’s persona, his elongated vowels, the revolution of his wrists, the curl of his queeny nails. I loved sulking, stalking, flailing, plotting, preening. Flaring my eyes. I liked to imitate his line delivery when Simba says, “You’re so weird, Uncle Scar,” and he responds, suggestively, “You have no(ooooo) idea.”


Continue reading

At Face Value: Gaga, Surfaces & The Superficial

I have been thinking this morning about Lady Gaga, and what it is about her that makes many intellectuals and artists reluctant to fully embrace her, and I believe part of what’s up is that many are made uncomfortable by her complete lack of irony. She presents a text that is earnestly flat, earnestly surface, and earnestly pop, rather than self aware or winking. Although many of her texts — particularly her video texts — seem conversant with critical theory, or at least offer an array of images and narratives that can be “read” through critical theory, it is never fully clear that she knows precisely what she is doing. She will invariably follow these moments with statements in the press that are either absurdly pretentious and “meaningless,” or else aggressively shallow, seeming to mimic the well-worn tropes of divadom and celebrity (ie her obsessive love affair with her fans). And so artist-intellectuals, if they are to authorize her work as “art,” first want to know once and for all whether she is self-consciously performative, or just ridiculous. They want some authoritative confirmation that she is something more than another pop star simulacrum, albeit one who is slightly better read, and who wears more outlandish clothing. Continue reading

Tyra Banks, On Art as Affect and the Rejection of Character as Subjective Depth

From Modelland:

“Your goal in CaraCaraCara is not to mirror, but to mask. In other words, make the opposite expression of what you see or feel. You see happy…You make sad…If you are tickled, do not laugh. Frown! Mastering this will get you one step closer to being an Intoxibella. But fail, and you will be relegated to spending your life as, heaven forbid, an actress...Actresses are incapable of ‘opposite performing.’ They must think about sad times in  their lives to project sadness on the silver screen. Nonsense! We mustn’t let that pitiful fate happen to you.”


Chiming in on the BlazeVox Situation

There’s already a gazillion posts up around the lit blogosphere about the situation at BlazeVox Books — probably the last thing anyone needs is me chiming in, but there are some things I’m not hearing anybody else say that I would like to put out there. In particular, I’d like to respond to Johannes Goransson’s post at Montevidayo, because I admire Johannes’s support for collective, community-based approaches to sharing great writing with one another, and also his commitment to counter-hegemonic practices and his critique of institutional “legitimacy.” …At the same time, I am troubled by some of the rhetoric I’m seeing used in defense of BlazeVox’s practices that is also slightly present, although to a  lesser and more nuanced degree, in Johannes’s post. Continue reading