I'll go with thee to the lane's end... I am a kind of burr, I shall stick. Shakespeare, Measure for Measure

I write not to teach but to learn. Rebecca West

drew's writing:

  • "Always Forever Now," Ideomancer volume 13, issue 2
  • "Black Sun," Black Static # 32
  • "Bread or Cake" and "Pride/Shame,"2nd Annual Philadelphia One-Minute Play Festival
  • "Copper Heart," Polluto Magazine issue 5, A Steampunk Orange
  • "The Accomplished Birder's Guide to Overcoming Rejection," Last Drink Bird Head, edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer
  • "Another Night With the Henriksens," Player's Theater Halloween One-Act Festival NYC 2008
  • "Hating the Lovers," and "Pipe Down!" Geez Magazine: Thirty Sermons You Would Never Hear in Church
  • "Beth/slash/Nathan," Paper Fruit Blogiversary Contest

Thursday, December 16, 2010

the temple of martha graham cracker

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Who's that lady? It's Martha Graham Cracker! We saw Martha's show at L'Etage last week so it seemed a good time to post my photos from her appearance at the art museum in the spring, which was one of the most incredible things I've ever seen, along with the Doves show at the Trocadero, rain falling in sheets over Welsh hills, the trees of British Columbia's coastal temperate rainforest, and a rhinoceros shooting cylinders of hay-sutured rhino poop from its cannonical ass. How could a lone entertainer compare with these wonders and marvels? As her first-act closer, Martha Graham Cracker mounted the museum steps in towering heels singing Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me better than its author, Elton John, better even than The Who's brass-lunged Roger Daltrey.


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Or just as good. I associate drag artists with disco and r&b hits that are thin and sugary as the glaze on a Dunkin' Donuts cruller, so I love it that Martha's a rock diva; when she changes key mid-syllable in Love Will Keep Us Together, it's raw, hungry, and fearsome as a lion's roar.

How happy Martha's mostly-straight audience looks! I am trying to work out why her following is so heterosexual. What do they get out of this? What do any of us get out of this? I was raised with a deeply Protestant suspicion of the culture of celebrities and entertainers, so I feel like an anthropologist in this crowd, Indy in the Temple of Doom. Is Martha's exceptional, cross-over appeal related to that tendency of transvestite and gender-straddling personas in cultures around the world to naturally step into roles as priests and shamans? She does seem goddess-like in person. (Though that may be just that she's so tall.)

At her L'Etage show last Thursday Martha opened by telling the audience she wanted to make love to each and every one of us, individually, or en masse, and it was possible to believe not only that she might want to, but that she could. Isn't that what we want from a goddess, love, more than protection, favor, fertility, or victory, just love? Whether Venus, Astarte, or Mary, it's wonderful to imagine that the most fabulous person in the galaxy might love us back. Someone said the approbation offered to celebrities is sublimated self-esteem we might more profitably have paid to ourselves (who was that?)--but the impulse to worship is a hard one to quench. The Martha Graham Cracker Cabaret lets us honor and enjoy that impulse within a protected sphere of irony, and sheer silliness. Is this why I tend to see Martha at Christmas? Our gods may want us to sacrifice Isaac for them, but they'll make do with the ram.

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