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#FromtheVault: Sexual Violence Everywhere, or what i learned the day after david bowie died [TSM02]

#FromtheVault

TSM02

April 2016


Sexual Violence Everywhere

or what i learned the day after david bowie died

by +

 

Do you think I came to give peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.

And where there’s one

they’re bound to divide it,

Right in two.

Right in two.

This is a vignette about shame and anger, about the disgraced fall of a beloved icon from my childhood. That man is Jackie Chan. And also David Bowie. I’m listening to Tool’s “Right In Two,” for the first time in maybe ten years. I just finished Pitchfork’s review of the new David Bowie album Blackstar, it talks about him dying a little more than I’m comfortable with. I think ‘I hope David’s still alive when we figure out how to stop death. Of course he will be’ but am still a little uneasy because of reality. Tool’s “Right In Two” centers on a very basic metaphor of Biblical angels watching humans fight over things, have communication problems, I let it play over the beginning of Jackie Chan’s Project A.

The first fight in Project A is a bar fight. Jackie Chan, a sailor, repeatedly tries to resist provocations by the rival police force. Again and again, he holds his fellow sailors back. That’s the Jackie I remember, the sweet man who only fights when he absolutely absolutely has to. He knows better, he is on the right side of unity, Tool would say. When the fight starts anyway, Jackie and his main opponent are equals and mirrors. They shouldn’t be fighting,’ I imagine Jackie, the writer and director, psychically saying to us, the viewers. ‘They are the same, with the same goals, only communication separates them.’

As the movie goes on, I understand it less and less, my interest wanes, starts to turn into anger at what I find to be incoherent pacing, unlikeable and one-dimensional characters, and sexism. I pause Project A with a half hour left and send Dylan a screenshot of a pirate character, the main baddie. The pirate has just grabbed a woman he is holding hostage and looked down her blouse and thrown her aside, she looks aghast and sexually aroused. ‘Maybe Jackie is making an complex point about humanity’s conflation of sexuality and violence’ I half-think, knowing it isn’t true.

Then I see the Huffington Post article. “David Bowie Dead At 69” or whatever, and I know it isn’t true, I am horrified, I am clicking scrolling refreshing looking for the signs where it is a joke. And it isn’t a joke. I start posting about him immediately. I start getting Likes, I start reading things, I go on Twitter and start tweeting, start retweeting and getting retweeted, I almost cry for a second, I am getting high off of loving this man, I feel purified by his life, by his legacy, I feel close with all of my late night social networkers. My history, my self, things bigger than me.

When I start the movie again, Jackie is giving a speech about how the pirates must be wiped out. After the movie, I re-read about Jackie’s pro-fascist comments in the media, wonder about his upbringing, feel bad, sad, weird.

Then he also said to the crowds: “When you see a cloud rising in the west, at once you say, ‘A storm is coming,’ and it happens.

Angels on the sideline,

Baffled and confused.

Father blessed them all with reason.

And this is what they choose.

Sasha texts me, “what is the drama about Calvin Johnson in your event lol” and I already know what’s about to happen. I’m scrolling the comments, “creep” … “money” … “asshole” … I’m waiting for it why did she say creep why did she say creep “underaged girls.” Ernest the dog keeps trying to hump my friend, she says “NO MEANS NO,” I don’t laugh or almost laugh this time, I start talking about the work I’m doing with artists and communities. I assume everyone I meet is a perpetrator now, I’ve seen too much. Or just enough, “Someone’s going to say ‘David Bowie cut off my dad’s head,’ or some shit I know it” I say. She doesn’t say anything, downstairs Jerrod is strumming Bowie “NO MEANS NO” we’ve been listening to nothing but Bowie.

When we are leaving Jerrod is still singing “Life on Mars?,” we all hit the high note together, us in a triangle, I half-think “we are his disciples, we are conjuring him, he is alive, we are so alive” it’s not unlike what happens in Bowie’s second to last video, “Blackstar,” a thinly but richly veiled metaphor for his own death and influence as an icon that people worship and convulse to in their little hovels. When we watch “Blackstar” and the skeleton is floating through space, I get the sickest déjà vu. I hope I am the one to pick up David’s crystal skull.

I’m back at home, rushing, eating too fast, listening to David Bowie, my brother is talking to me, I feel abused by him, a lot is happening, too much for me to swallow, I have to get to the sexual violence townhall, and then…

the organizer of the townhall makes a status, listing David Bowie with Bill Cosby and R. Kelly

I’m a blackstar, I’m a blackstar

I scroll, and click, another angry status, “pedophile,” “check your idols,” my brother is talking

I can’t answer why

I am dizzy somewhere a thinkpiece, I have to go

why are you attacking me

something happened on the day he died

somebody else took his place

and bravely cried

I walk into the townhall, I am wearing the glitter tears I have been wearing all day for Bowie’s death. A white man talks a few times, “not trying to be insensitive” starts one phrase

why are you attacking me

I feel the air leave the room when he talks, then he is a victim, then “i’m going to play devil’s advocate”

why are you attacking me

every time he speaks, and someone is politely but obviously reacting with the microphone, we don’t have time for your shit, white man, don’t have the emotional capacity. 8 of 10 women, less than one percent,

I am speaking, about support for survivors and perpetrators, utilizing the community, the perpetrator’s friends and mentors, and transformation, the perpetrators must be cared for it is good but I am hot, and what are they doing maybe I am saying the wrong thing,  or it the wrong way, I am attacking everyone I am sure of it, I came here to do the work, and I instead I am a fool, I knew it, I know it, it’s my fault we don’t have time for this.

It’s over, so many friends, warm hearts, good thoughts, exchanging emails, my friend says something about de-friending people who she’s disappointed in for all their David Bowie shit, she is smirking, he is a “pedophile” and a “Nazi sympathizer”

why are you attacking me!

I laugh and make an excuse, my joy is gone but I am still smiling/smirking back. Lazarus has died twice in one day, and I am dying too. The organizer of the townhall says my glitter makes her so happy!

Diamonds in my eyes,

I’m a blackstar, I’m blackstar,

something happened on the day he died

Hypocrites, you know how to examine the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to examine this particular time? Why do you not judge also for yourselves what is righteous?

For example, when you are going with your legal opponent to a ruler, while on the way, get to work to settle the dispute with him so that he may not summon you before the judge, and the judge deliver you to the court officer, and the court officer throw you into prison.

‘There is nothing wrong,’ I say slowly to the floor. ‘I’m in here.’ I’m raised by the crutches of my underarms, shaken toward what he must see as calm by a purple-faced Director: ‘Get a grip, son!’

DeLint at the big man’s arm: ‘Stop it!’

‘I am not what you see and hear.’

Distant sirens. A crude half nelson. Forms at the door. A young Hispanic woman holds her palm against her mouth, looking.

‘I’m not,’ I say.

 

The Sick Muse 9 Cover by Ursula Andreeff

The Sick Muse #9 Now Available!

The Sick Muse #9 was released at a smash of a fashion show/party last Saturday, December 2nd at Archer Beach Haus. No. 9 is housed within covers by Ursula Andreeff and Xander Black, and features:

  • An interview with performance artist Glamhag
  • An exposition of DIY venue bathroom art
  • An interview with Adam Zanolini of Afro-futurist free jazz collective, the Participatory Music Coalition
  • Poetry by Rui Carlos da Cunha and + (“Plus Sign”)
  • An interview with rocknrollers A Million Rich Daughters
  • Lyrics, illustrations, photography && more!

Letter from the Editors

To our loyal and disloyal readers,

People are still making music and art, so we still make this zine to make art and words out of the art and words others make. A regurgitation of sorts. An ordered, tabbed, aligned, italicized, bolded, kerned, edited, paginated, collated, folded, stapled, purchased regurgitation. But we can look at the regurgitation and see beauty in the transformation, sort like the pretty yellows, pinks, and reds one may appreciate after a good puke.

A big thanks to all who took part in the regurgitation; all of this issue’s contributors are amazing. We interview with multifaceted performer Glamhag, discuss bathrooms, taste the memories of a drummer turned poet, get lost in a photograph, read a magical/unmagical poem, interview with Participatory Music Coalition about freedom and music, dig some amazing paintings, as always ingest some wacky lyrics, interview with A Million Rich Daughters, and shout out some dope folks to close it out.

This issue just about marks two years we’ve been at this, and it has been a very fun and humbling experience all around. It is so exciting to realize just how little we can grasp of the relentless commitment to art that takes just in Chciagoland. Stay warm, and see you when the spring thaws out.

In sickness and in health,

the editors

Pick up your copy at any of our stockists, find us tabling at a show, or send us an email to place an order!

Huge thank you to all of our contributors!

Another huge thank you to everyone who participated or came to the fashion show release party! We’ll be posting pics soon!

Flyer by Ben Karas.

From the TSM #9 release party & fashion show on December 2nd. Garment: An Authentic Skidmark x Edaa Birthing. Model: Jesus Hilario. Photo: Eric Sowin.