Patient readers may remember a coy aside posted eons ago about my Russian photo professor! After four months of negotiating my unpleasantly deft sexual fantasias—wherein he featured in alternating encounters as a cringe-worthy, Solzhenitsyn-intensive, BDSM labor-driver, in a gulag-situated pleasure palace; and, more roaringly, as a foul-smelling Tolstoyan on the lam in tsarist Kiev (the link between the two fantasies being dirt under our nails)—I’ve acquitted myself of achieving any and all carnal knowledge of the man. With no little reluctance do I hereby announce our collaboration on a documentary film! He sat me down Tuesday and asked if I would write the script; we’ll look at footage this coming Wednesday; and during the last half of May we’ll be in the editing bay with a friend flying out from D.C. Another friend, this one from Michigan, will score the film as it’s being made. Grant money is involved, somehow? For what it’s worth, I don’t think our aims are mutually exclusive. And, if not in duration, isn’t collaborating on a documentary film the same as making sweet love? I’ll offer a rough statistic now about my vital being that until recently I thought was a defensive strategy to puff me up when I was feeling rather blue. But. I now truly believe that of the guys I crush on, I have a 40% chance of either bedding or making an art happening—usually within three years. Those are numbers to take solace in.
In other news—gay prom for the gays at Notre Dame was this last weekend, and I had a real breakthrough vis-a-vis my relationship to leather-daddies and guys who are into leather, affiliated with a “leather tribe,” or generally care to comport their sexuality in terms of material rawhide, straps, buttons, gags, bandanas, spurs, and really props of any kind whose base-function is to form a binary of submission/domination in the bedroom. At an after-party I got cornered by a perduring psuedo-friend who, since coming out two years ago, has based his sex-life on finding that special someone with whom to share his passion for leather. I want to take a moment to quote our conversation, which I’ll have to reconstruct.
Him: Hey man, good to see you.
Me: Yeah. [fussy eyebrowing] Good [quaver] to see you [quaver] too.
Him: Stag, hey?
Me: Yep. You, too? You and the guy no longer dating? [sad face] I thought you’d arrive with a date tonight. [sympathetic sad face]
Him: I ended things with him two weeks ago—
Me: Oh no…
Him: —because, I just felt, I didn’t want to hold him back anymore, sexually, you know, especially because we wanted different things.
Me: Oh, that’s too bad.
Him: Yeah. I know what my needs are and I need leather.
Me: [sympathetic sad falsetto] Yeah! Yeah… you do like leather.
Him: It’s just such a big part of my identity and sexuality, I didn’t want to bring him into the scene when it was obvious he was so uncomfortable with it.
Me: Sure, yeah, definitely. [nodding] A reprieve. [nodding] Sure.
I realize that I can’t fully construct the abrasiveness of this conversation, and all its petty misfirings, without explaining a sordid back-log of other encounters with this fellow, who is often very dear, but! I have decided that the best way to get out of a mind-numbing discussion of leather sex—which, on principle, I have nothing against—is to declare, at its crescendo of insinuation and patronizing: I’m a fucking vegetarian, no shit I’m not into fucking leather. Jesus God. Then my friend Samuel texted me from across the room to see if I needed a save. Like butter.
I am avoiding writing a 20pp paper on Liam Gillick’s relationship to Anglo-Irish artist/writer forebears in the Post-War period of emigration in Great Britain. Does he relate to Philip Donnellan? Sam Selvon? V. S. Naipaul? Frank Auerbach? John B. Keane? You bet he does! In his treatment of the body in labor; in his concerns with negotiating power, and institutions that act on human agency; in his deeply collaborative works with other artists, politicians, architects, and public works planning commissions; and in his own “exile.” Can anyone out there tell me what part of Ireland his father’s parents hale from? My thesis may be somewhat dependent on his post-grad flight from England having an analog with his grandfather’s flight from poor rural Mayo (maybe Galway, or Cork; TBD). Columbia art students out there? No takers? No?
Also the past has come back to haunt me in a very writerly way. Maybe I will write more about that, soon, now that I’m officially off for the summer (pending the completion of this damn seminar paper). That’s what I’m actually writing about—the past.