Tuesday, October 06, 2015
The Vagimule doll is overwhelmed with sadness. I don’t know exactlyhow to write about the recent passing of Mrs. Michael Glass in Los Angeles. Jeffreyland Hilbert his good friend and guardian angel has taken great care of him in the last decade. Mrs. Glass had been in bad health for a very long time having suffered several strokes and heart attacks even though he was quite young being only middle aged in his mid 50s. His death is one of those Los Angeles tragedies that could have easily befallen me had I stayed in the southland.
How or why I started calling Michael Glass Mrs Glass is unclear to me now. It just seemed to fit his personality, and he didn’t mind and somehow the nickname of Mrs. Glass just stuck and everyone started calling him that which is the usual case that tends to happen when I re-name a person. My relationship with Mrs. Glass is unusual in that I had been aware of him for many years in the peripherals of the punk and post punk scene but we didn’t become close friends until the late 1980s during the explosion of the queer zine movement when he was working at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions. Being that there are few African Americans in the punk and post punk scene we had of course noticed each other, but I believe we were both suspicious and gave each other a bit of shade like saying , “who does she think she is” . . . I first was aware of Mrs. Glass in the early 1980s as a figure around Exene Cervenka of the punk band X. At that time I figured that Mrs. Glass was most likely a snow queen and wouldnt appreciate seeing another black person around who could possibly snatch the white dick out of her mouth. Through mutual friends Mrs. Glass actually got a hold of my telephone number when I was running my home art space the Hag Gallery on the Sunset Strip and called me and made an appointment to view the artwork on display. It was very sweet of her to use that as an excuse to get to know me better, and we wound up spending hours chatting away about innumerable subjects. Mrs. Glass had a great fashion sense and dressed very much like a member of a black soul group from the early 1960s with her hammer shaped curvatis haircut, Vneck sweater shirts and peg leg gabardine pants. Mrs. Glass was also an impressive DJ with great taste in music and was the ultimate black intellectual with a mind as sharp as James Baldwin. Mrs. Glass was a major force in the success of Amok Books and their Dispatch series as well as editor of some of their most inspiring and influential books galvanizing the apocalypse culture movement. Not only that but Mrs. Glass was a genius contemporary artist who collaborated on several art photography projects with his Cal Ats colleague Nancy Barton. Because Mrs. Glass wasn’t a careerist he didn’t become an art star but he should have been one in a more just world. Mrs. Glass grew up in the same part of Watts that my family lived in when they first came to Los Angeles during the great migration, so we had oodles in common. His father was a Baptiste preacher and I believe Mrs. Glass is survived by an estranged brother. He told me more about his family but those facts have somehow vanished in my memory banks. Now of course I wish I had written some of it down as he was a fascinating character. Mrs. Glass remains an enigma and a bit of a mysterious figure to many. Like many blacks with roots in the American south he was deep down a very private figurine. I will always remember seeing him dance along with Nancy Barton and some other scenesters in a Robert Alton style production number at one of Jack Zinder’s tiki style underground nightclubs in the mid 1980s. He really had some mad terpsichorean skills. When he was the manager of the Amok Bookstore location on Vermont Avenue in Los Feliz Village he would grandly hold court with a myriad of visitors seeking audience with him. Included in this informal salon was writer Dennis Cooper who lived around the corner and a teenage Leonardo DiCaprio who lived on the same street as Mr. Cooper. Mrs. Glass was also a fantastic country comfort food chef and would make the most divoon Thanksgiving and Christmas Turkey I’ve ever eaten with exquisite mashed potatoes, dressing and stuffing, (African American Style)and his sweet potato pie was religious in its ecstatic delight. When I produced the 3rd Annual Judy Garland Parade & Festival on the one block street in WeHo Melrose Place Mrs. Glass created an incredible float featuring Uppers and Downers medication bottles prescribed to Miss Garland aka Bruce “Judy” LaBruce by her doctors Samuel Goldwyn and Louis B. Mayer. What a hoot that was.
Went to Haus Der Kulturen der Welt or the Pregnant Oyster in the Tiergarten to see fearless leader of CHEAP kollectiv Susanne Sachsse perform in the lecture performance by Judith Raum, Am of the Opinion Strike is Useful for the festival 100 Years of Now. I found the material concerning Deutsches Bank and the Anatolian Railway timely, but I felt it would have come across with a little more oomph if there had been a soundscape accompanying the nice reading of the text material especially if you are utilizing the supreme talents of someone with such perfect diction as La Sachsse---she isn’t a classically trained actress for nothing. With a sound carpet functioning as another character it would have enhanced things but of course the artiste Frau Raum who has a background in philosophy, art history and psychoanalysis choose the typical tuetonic approach where kunst with music is felt to diminish the seriousness of the text.
The opening lecture called Europe, Racialization, Coloniality: The Problem of the Present for Future Scenarios by the Slovinian philosopher Marina Grzinic was quite brilliant. Ms. Grzinic has a wonderful throaty voice that made her sound like Medea crossed with a lesbian vampire of Sodom. I am all wrapped up in her terms and pronouncements :
the necropolitical injunction of neoliberal global capitalism is “Still too human”,
One is the category which I will name biopolitical citizenship (the EU “natural” nation-State citizens)
Deading life is a procedure employed to supress, reduce,diminish,impoverish, ruin life, but it is not death.
Its so funny whenever I go to any big art event in Berlin things here always feel a bit forced and even when the ideas behind the festival are important and pivitol the people attending all seem to be going through the motions and are somehow still disconnected and joyless. Maybe its because there isn’t a real audience here but just middle class industry professionals as spectator mixed with academics and students.