Allegory Of The Closet

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I was away to the Homeland for some time, busy sponging waves of human drama but not forgetting about my own.

I was told that Mother Earth is currently shifting energies, transitioning from yin to yang (or the other way around) which explains the series of catastrophes, diseases and fights since the beginning of the year.

Don’t we all magnetically feel an impending change coming? There may be hope for better tomorrows.

I am initiating my deep changes as well. OK, I say that all the time. But right now, I swear it is different.

I am feeling at a similar stage of my life as back in the summer of 2009. When my nerves broke. I often think about that episode. It’s the period of time when I finally got the courage to bury and mourn for my heterosexuality. I had to endure a nervous breakdown to officially come out of the closet.

I fucked a boy for the last time in the Spring of that year, the week that I started my internship as a cultural journalist. I was 25. He was a tango teacher from Columbia wearing Hawaiian shirts. It ended in my blood. After that, I buried myself in work around the clock and became the shadow of myself. At least, I wasn’t thinking. My subconscious – or some mysterious spiritual forces – started manifesting, though.

A very visceral and deep structural change operated in my guts despite myself. I was harassed by homoerotic dreams after seeing Sunshine Cleaning, an American indie movie. There was this party scene where the so desirable Emily Blunt wears a candy necklace. A girl eats from her neck. Oh man. I remember the shiver in my body in the obscurity of the cinema. I wanted to be the girls on screen. All the gay people in the world have their cult homoerotic scenes, the ones that triggered their own desire. (Ask around, it’s a funny game). I have 3: the sweet derrière of Mylène Farmer in the clip of Pourvu qu’elles soient douces (I was 7)Cécile de France in L’Auberge espagnole (I was 19) and the inénarrable Emily Blunt.

I am grateful that my desire finally grew stronger than my will.

With all the messy changes in my core and my broken nerves in the background, I got close to a girl I was working with. She was more or less at the same stage of her lesbian life as me. We were talking more and more about our doubts and desires during our evening shifts at the sublime and posh concert hall Salle Pleyel. The night before I flew to Toronto for my American summer tour, I made her sleep over at mine after my leaving party where we all ended up in our underwear. Everyone left and I don’t know how I made her stay. Then, I made the first move. I clearly remember the moment when she opened my lips to kiss me. Something flowed in my brain. Her tongue swept away all the remnants of the heterosexual preconceptions that I had of myself. She uprooted my certitudes and moved them to Lesboland.

I left to the Americas in the morning with a 9 week adventure ahead of me. I needed to digest my new identity far away from my mother tongue.

That’s funny, I saw that girl again last week. We remained good friends. She’s getting married in July to her girlfriend and is hoping to be pregnant by the end of the year. She picked the same wedding dress as her fiancée without knowing. As for me, I fuck coke addicts in cars and explore the world on my own. Everything’s at the right place. Our intimate worlds only collided that one night, and it was great that way.

Six years have gone by and I am again on the verge of a nervous breakdown of a different kind. How many times do I have to collapse to reach my true colours? I’m feeling the urge of a new coming out, as strong as the sexual one. I want my deep identity to explode to the face of the world. I believe I am a closeted creative soul and I’m ashamed to say that I want my life to be about that.

There’s something taboo in the action of creating something, because the result only exists in the eye of whoever will watch and like you, and I hate begging for attention. I like being liked, but I don’t want to do anything at all to make people like me. It doesn’t interest me to chase love and recognition. If you like me, good for you, but if you don’t, I won’t try one bit to convince you.

This is how I am a closeted creative girl.

Every single one of my skin pores is sweating for change though, and I am close to implosion, as if my creativity needed to get laid by the right person. I can’t think of a better image. Sex & creation are pretty much the same struggle.

Anyway, everything changes all the time and my life constantly bounces like a kangaroo, but there is one element of steadiness. A recurrent question burns my thoughts till obsession.

Who’s going to love me body & soul? And above all, who’s going to love my brain?

Photos by me (check out that framing!)

1. Grave of Mme Troboa Murcella Asskari (1970-1994) at Père Lachaise cemetery in Paris 2. ‘Trying to be Frida’ by artist Emilio Lopez-Menchero 3. Altered Image I by Deborah Kass (copy of a picture of Andy Warhol dressed as a girl) 4. Evelyn, the cat I live with 5. Simona, a lady I met at the Bull Dog in Brighton. We had the same coat and the same earrings. 6. Anonymous street art in East London 7. Billie Holiday in 1948 photographed by William P. Gottlieb 8. Summer, a cat who lived at my house for a month but left today because she was mean to Evelyn 9. Transgender Miss in Latin America 10. Collection of Jesus statues at my neighbours’ who got them from a movie set they worked on

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Portraits of America #1 – The Drag Queen of New Orleans

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βμ goes by the name of Eureeka Starfish* as a drag queen in the local clubs of New Orleans. His main job is at the Lucky Pierre on Bourbon Street.

He moved to New Orleans two months ago from his native South Carolina where he used to occasionally perform in small clubs. But that wasn’t taking him where he wanted and his ambitions were frustrated.

A few months ago, his dad manifested from Louisiana where he had moved. βμ hadn’t spoken with him for ten years because he disapproved of his homosexuality and queerness. βμ took it as a sign of destiny and made the move to New Orleans to live with his father on the other side of the river.

He’s quickly built a professional circle here and now spends most of his time in drag, working in average 6 nights a week. His skin can barely breathe, and as he “loves his porcelain skin”, he walks around the hot streets of New Orleans with a vintage sun umbrella.

About a month ago, his dad came to see him on stage. He finally understood. (There is hope for everyone!) Not only is he now supportive of his son’s life style and identity, he’s also super proud to have given birth to a diva with that many eccentric yet classy outfits.

βμ now lives with his boyfriend on the second floor of a gunshot house near the French Quarter, where most of his gigs are happening.

On his days off, βμ goes drag shopping in the vintagy extravaganza shops of the city: Fifi Mahony’s, Trashy Diva… he knows his wig and lingerie stuff.

He’s mixing all kind of influences in his numbers and outfits: Japanese pop culture, Pop Art Warholy icons, house wife from the 50s, vintage, mainstream. He also writes his own electro music and would like to bring more arty numbers to his drag club such as covers of the electro French singer Emilie Simon and other French divas who are unknow here. (I HAD to tell him about Mylène Farmer and he obviously instantly fell in love with her. If some Mylène Farmer covers are ever being performed in NoLA drag clubs, I might be the one responsible for it.) He’s finding his balance between paying mainstream gigs and his real artistic, more alternative vein.

One of his favorite part about drag is contributing to the cultural shift in mentalities, especially when working in more commercial venues. He’s very often confronted to audiences who have never seen drag before. They can even be afraid of queer and gay, because it is unknown to them. He takes time to make them feel comfortable about it, to talk to them with goodwill. In most cases, after the show, uptightness and fear have turned into enthusiasm and admiration. These are his routinely little victories.

βμ is changing the world on his own way.

*His facebook account as Eureeka Starfish was recently suspended by Facebook which censored many drag queen artists and arbitrarily closed their accounts under the pretext that they were using their stage name and not their legal name. Facebook has since then presented an apology to the Drag queens in question.

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The Underworld (Play Time)

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My last day in San Francisco was a Saturday.

I reached the town centre by my own means – which is always an adventure in California as the public transportation is fairly nebulous.

I wandered in the city alone and aimless (my usual way to travel). San Francisco is quiet, colourful and laid back, and has some Mediterranean charm in the air. Maybe the bougainvillea?

I took a coffee at the Four Barrel, another coffee in the sun, talked to a Buddhist monk, to a French artist, to a homeless saving for weed. I spied through gates to admire secret gardens. I walked up and down the hills of Hayles, tried on crazy attires in vintage shops (I save you the pic of my butt in a tiger dress.)

When the sun started going down, I went back to Oakland. The way back was scary. I got lost in dodgy areas with no living soul. But I only got told that I had a cool jacket.

I met β³ at his place. We got ready for my first ever Play Party (Sex Party). In the car, he asked me if I was anxious or if I had any questions for him. I didn’t have anything to ask but I was anxious indeed, just at the idea of soaking with the perv’ and feeling like a virgin. I couldn’t imagine one second that this could be healthy. But I had a strong call from my darker side to be set free at the time, and I am grateful that β³ stood on my energetic path at this precise moment to help me satisfy the urge. He held my hand into a world of desires and it felt like earth opened under my feet to reveal a strong part of my universe which I had been ignoring all this time. 

The party was taking place in a private 2 floor loft, warehouse type. Huge space. The theme of the night was “Games”. We were about 150 people. Upstairs was buffet, dance floor, social space, neutral room (no sex allowed in there). Downstairs was “Fucking zone” (floor covered with cushions, hot tub, bed, BDSM equipment.) The space was punctuated with Angels dressed in white. Angels are resource people you can talk to if you feel bad, confused or lost, or if something goes too far. It can be easy to feel strange or very lonely in such an environment. Better to go when you feel fulfilled and are on a strong ego phase, otherwise it can be quite damaging. It won’t fill your inner void.

Of the few parties I’ve been, this one was by far the best. The first half an hour, I was feeling like Mylène Farmer in the clip of “Que mon coeur lâche, and all of a sudden, I felt home and I spent an extraordinary night full of magical encounters.

We started with an ice breaker game, to meet people and open up. We had to go in pairs trying to explain what our expectations for the night were. For some people the answer was straight forward, and for some others, like me, it was an abyssal metaphysics research. I wasn’t clear even to myself: what urge pushed me to accept coming here? And what unknown force made me feel irrationally excited about it way more than scared?

We did some exercises in order to express to someone else a desire we could have for them ; and accept the proposal or decline it in a non offensive manner. The ABC of desire : expressing yourself/saying YES/saying NO. Such a shame this is only taught in the Underworld and not at the surface, I mean, why do you have to join the “scene” to learn the basics of human connection like that? Why don’t we learn that at school? It is fundamental. First revelation of the night.

I teamed up with this guy and when I asked him why he was there, he replied that he was going to be off sex for a while. Me: “- Why is that?” Him: “- I am going to jail for 3 years in 12 days.” Drug deal. What could I possibly reply? “Make the most of it?” Poor guy. Everyone had so unique and different paths. People were generally way more interesting and respectful than in a “normal” party or bar, because the rule of the Underworld is to always check in the other’s consent before doing anything. This is obviously not the case in the regular world.

I had fabulous conversations with a social worker guy, with a painter, with a pretty girl who had thrown her own “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” festival (one of my most cult movies). I wrestled with guys who wanted to kick my ass. I watched the most improbable couples-for-the-night fucking. I received a beautiful kiss from a questioning hippy girl. I got my first bondage lesson with β³. I tied up a woman in her 40s. When I started restraining her with rope and going dominant, something triggered in my brain. An animal signal was flashing in my head, saying “THIS IS THE TRUE NATURE OF YOUR EXISTENCE”. Second revelation of the night. I whipped too, but I didn’t like it. I can’t possibly be serious doing this. I’d be a disastrous Dominatrix, cause I laugh all the time and I make jokes that ruin the fantasy. 

At about 5am, one of the male Angels started hitting on me. He lent me his phone to do my online check-in as I was flying only a few hours later. Energy started fading away, but there was still some action going on as dawn was breaking. He & I talked for a while with moans in the background. He was a Burning Man aficionado. We had a cool talk. He gave me a lift to the station with my massive luggage. I went straight from the Underworld to LAX airport. I can’t recall any of the journey back from San Francisco to LA. I was in a secondary state for hours (maybe days?) because of what had just happened. A lot of my representations, certitudes and preconceptions had shifted in my head.

San Francisco deeply altered some aspects of my life.