Saturday, December 10, 2016

Saying No To The Echo Chamber - Art vs. Network

One month later. the fog has lifted. Literally. It REALLY helps that the sun has come out in Vancouver this week, snow or no. I always forget how much I need more of it.

I have to admit that my profound disappointment and shock at Trump's election win brought about some un-useful behaviour -- like ohhh say, calling the Americans that voted for him "assholes". Sigh. In the moment it seemed to be WAY TOTALLY HELPFUL, but I acknowledge that and I apologize in general. Reactions aside, I am actually completely on-board and in fact INTERESTED in having discussions about different viewpoints, so long as they do not promote hate and or disrespect. I'm glad the perspective of openness towards discussion seems to be encouraged among my peers and moving around the web.

Since the election, I've been drawn to learning more about this echo chamber effect the media world is chattering about.  Loosely speaking, I'm referring to the idea that social-network based media tends to provide world views limited to the (usually) like-minded people on your feed. Up until this year, the likelihood of me deleting someone who said something (subtly or unintentionally) sexist from my friend feed was very high. Now I'm reconsidering whether that is really the most helpful thing to do. Isn't the reason why I'm here to share my ideas to those who haven't seen it that way before? Isn't that what all artists do?

Reminded me of why I've always strived to bring burlesque to multi-disciplinary festivals. Performing for each other in the burlesque scene can be a great way to keep building on excellence as an art form, sure, but I think it's part of the work to make sure our messages get OUT there beyond those who already get it. IMHO, nothing says "being naked isn't an invitation for sexual assault" like a quality burlesque show at an outdoor music festival. I felt great about trying to branching out from the burlesque scene, even if I've performed at some places where there have been some fat-shaming idiots in the crowd heckling me or propositioning me after the show. I think it's worth it.

I decided this month to finally start setting up a broader access Page on Facebook. I've been reluctant to do this up until now as I was mega burnt out on admin stuff while managing the Sweet Soul troupe. Now we have shifted, and I'm only leading the projects I want to. I've had a good break and I feel refreshed. I've become a lot more comfortable with my boundaries, which was another source of reluctance around putting myself out there more.

It's a process...  hatching again is awkward, and it'll be a trial and error like everything until I find my footing. :) If you've read this to the end.. thank you, sincerely.

I love you and I'm NOT AFRAID TO SAY IT. So there.



Friday, November 11, 2016

10 Things I'm Doing To Not Freak Out

FYI I'm not sharing these necessarily as suggestions. I'm just sharing, period. I'm one of those people who usually has a delayed emotional response when serious shit goes down. Like Jen Kirkman says in her awesome book, my feelings generally write themselves into a letter that my heart will open much after the fact. I work with it. Luckily, I've been around long enough now to know when a letter has been written.

In the meantime, I do this stuff.

1. Hug people I love. A lot. A lot tho.

2. Take a 5mg melatonin before bed. Whatever. I'm not above it. Or 10 mg even if my head is really racing. I'm getting better at meditating, which YES, does help with the thought circles, but honestly it then will ofter make room for the creative to come through and then I'm UP FOREVER. For me, the only thing worse than being upset is being TIRED and upset. It's like shifting the engine into crazy town o turbo. So I take a damn supplement and I read an engaging-enough-but-not-insanely-thrilling book to distract myself until I fall asleep. Classics work beautifully. (I borrowed Rupaul's autobiography Open Library last week which is borderline too good. The key is you have to be willing to put it down.)

3. Have really soothing, non-psycho-weed on me at all times and a shit-ton of rap music to listen to. Been listening to Outkast "Atliens" after it was featured on Atlanta's season finale. (FYI I really feel like Atlanta is the smartest, deepest, coolest show on TV right now. Donald Glover = the shit.)

4. Buy a bunch of healthy groceries, including treats. That way I can't do that thing where I order 80 pizzas and a cheesecake because "I have to eat anyway". You KNOW my mouth luvvvvvvs doing that, and I couldn't give a fuck about gaining weight, but my insides don't like it much anymore. SIGH. Stupid "getting older".  

5. Be a bitch about it on my microphone. That works.

6. Catch myself in any non-productive spirals of despair and STOP to watch a baby bunny video. Legit tho, I do that. Then I  go back to whatever I was doing, which ideally requires focus. ORRR I load up an episode of Rupaul's Drag Race. Or rather --- Skin Wars, because I've seen all the RPDR episodes like ten times and I need my Ru fix NOW DAMMIT. Side note: I mayyyy be a little obsessed with Rupaul. I really do think HE should be the president.

7. Realize that technically, only a 1/4 of Americans are Serious Assholes. Just because half the population didn't vote DOES NOT automatically mean that half of them would've voted Republican. My hope isn't lost for the non-voters... even if they totally suck right now.  

8. Think about how most Officially Serious Assholes are old white dudes.  Boy, they sure do feel like they're important eh? They're SO OLD tho. Getting older every day.

9. Deeply consider the damage that Officially Serious Assholes did in our own country.  I recently learned that there are the thousands upon thousands of Canadian humans who don't have safe running water.  Over 100 reserves. WHAT THE FUCK?? That shit is fucking crazy. How did I not even know that was happening?!! Correct me if I'm wrong, but that's all just more fallout from racism and fascism in the name of economic power, right? Trump is an Official Serious Asshole, but we have not exactly been asshole-free up here. If I'm gonna stick my fist in the air for future America, current Canada is getting bumped up the list too.

Sometimes I don't know what the thing is that I can do to help with that, honestly, like tangibly. Maybe it's time to start asking people.

10. I feel the effing feelings. UGGGGH THIS ONE'S THE WORST.

You never know when the mail's gonna show up for someone. I hope we all stagger a bit.


Friday, September 30, 2016

Progress: Requires honesty, apparently.

You know what path you're on. You feel hopeful that you can send some good ripples out into the world. You are immeasurably grateful. You can't wait to get out there, and for what you'll get to experience. And for whom you'll get to meet along the way.

You’re excited. You enjoy the sights, sounds. You make stops. You bask in the adventure. You’re always eager to get to your next milestone.

The longer you’re on the road, the more eager you become. After awhile, the eagerness starts to become anxiety.

Sometimes you’re not sure how long it will take to make it to the next gas station… so you drive even faster.

You start to miss things.

Sometimes the wheels are spinning so fast that you can’t figure out if you’re even on the right path.  

There are other people on the road, people who come in and out of tandem with you. Some have been road buddies for a long, long time. Inevitably, you feel them start to drive off into other directions. You consider trying make them passengers, because you want them close. At some point you’re reminded that everyone needs to have their own car… including you.

Sometimes... sometimes you run something over by accident.

When that happens it scares you.

You STOP.  You get out. You see tiny leaks. You see little patches where rust is slowly setting in. You see the residue from the muddy roads
fucking up your sassy shine. And even though that at this stage losing time has always felt like the last possible resort, you stop. You have to stop for a minute.

You enjoy the rest. You see how many things were slowing you down. You give extra love to all the areas that needed love. You know it was the right decision. And finally, when your belts are whirring happily again and your antifreeze is topped up, you notice something.

In the distance, a FUCKING FREEWAY has been built in your direction.


Time to get on that, then.