Well I’ve certainly learned a thing or two since creating the Doilies of Intolerance prototypes featured in this month’s Mankato Magazine.
Namely, I’ve discovered that the text should be not-centered, so that the plant or scented candle or whatever can sit in the exact middle of the doily while the text basically stage-whispers from the left or right. Centered text looks good when you’re considering the doily on its own, but in order for the message to function effectively in social and/or domestic situations, it really needs to move over.
It was the randomly stained tea towel that brought me to this breakthrough. See how the text is somehow more effective off-center, not symmetrical at all? As if it’s got some far more important function than mere cleverness. I think that gives these fucks their gravitas.
Fortunately, thanks to friends and every thrift shop in Mankato and St. Peter, I have lots to work with. The Arts Center’s weekly sewing circle, Stitch Witchery, starts back up Wednesday, March 15, 5-7 p.m. This is not so much a shameless plug for that program, as it is an admission that the program exists in large part because I’m so stoked about these doilies. Stitch Witchery is free, with donations to the Arts Center encouraged.
I mean what else are you going to do with your doilies or your Wednesdays.
As a person who is downtown-HyVee-famous*, sometimes people thank me for doing good things for the community, and that’s amazing because they aren’t even aware of my efforts to combat the dick humor that’s been creeping into the Sunday night comedy scene like so much common buckthorn.
Video below, and full text below that. Props and thanks to Greater Mankato Area Comedy Coalition host Dan Bacula, who’ll keep you updated on GMACC happenings if you ask.
*That’s where you get recognized while shopping at the smaller of Mankato’s two HyVee stores, but only at the smaller store, definitely not an issue at the big HyVee on the hill, the one with the salad bar and the liquor store.
Hey thanks, Dan. And thank you, everybody. Boy, there have been some allusions to it tonight, but I’m just going to go for it, and say it, about us here as a comedy community: We have become quite scatological, here on Sunday nights.
It’s something I noticed after being away this summer, and then coming back this fall, and wow. And another thing I’ve noticed, I don’t know if it’s related, but we’ve become also quite a boys’ club. So, it’s a lot of men, getting up for five minutes or sometimes more, and talking about their privates and how they function. And in a way, you know, good for us, we’ve become a safe space for men finally to come up here and be vulnerable in that way, here at open mic comedy.
And I don’t say that to make anybody uncomfortable. I know that identity politics are very personal and very sensitive, so I don’t want to be putting a label on anyone who doesn’t own that. And I know that some of the people I’m thinking about, the comics who come up here, they might not identify as men who love getting up in front of a lot of people to talk about their pee-pee. But if they do, if you do identify as a man who loves getting up in front of a lot of people and talking about your pee-pee, I want you to know that I see you.
And I know a few things about respectful communication with people from other cultures. I think that’s probably obvious, because I’m a white lady with dreadlocks. And that’s not my only credential. I have attended a fair amount of diversity, equity, and inclusion webinars. And so from that, I know a few things about communicating with other cultures, and one of the most tried and true strategies that I will share with you tonight, is that a really powerful thing you can do to show empathy and ally-ship for cultures other than your own, is, try to speak in their language. And, it’s going to be messy, it’s going to be clumsy, you will step on some toes or crush some balls, but you do it. You do it because it’s how we show up, it’s how we do better. And so I’m going to do that tonight, as an offering between myself and those of you in this crowd who identify as men who like to get up and talk about your privates. I’m going to offer a bridge. I’m going to try to build a bridge, and I’m going to do that by trying to mansplain scatological humor to you.
“Oh, I’m so sorry to interrupt, but I couldn’t help but overhear you tell a joke about your penis. Now, it’s a little-known fact that telling jokes about your penis is not really scatological humor. A lot of people think that that’s the case. That’s not really the case. What a lot of people don’t know is that telling jokes about your penis, that’s a small, small subset of scatological humor. It’s called ‘dick humor.’ Now, the origin of the term ‘dick humor,’ it originated with the British. British military. 1891. That’s something I know because I’m a bit of a language buff. I’m an amateur linguist. Some people might accuse me of being a ‘cunning linguist.’ That’s just me, that’s my humor.“
Now, what I’ve just done, is tell you that I was going to mansplain scatological humor to you. And then I effectively held you hostage while I talked about not one, but two things that no one asked me to talk about. On my way to explaining something that no one asked me to explain. So that’s an even better bridge than I was trying to build. That is even better than mansplaining scatological humor. That is mansplaining how to mansplain scatological humor. And so I hope I’ve built a bridge. Thank you.
Weekly Comedy Open Mic takes place every Sunday at The Circle Inn, North Mankato. Sign up is at 7:00 p.m., performances begin at 7:30ish p.m. Direct questions to Dan Bacula, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Turns out, no one. Nobody sank and it’s not like we didn’t try. Top: Me, Gail. Next: Ronda. Third: Jill, Emily, Sara. Last: Modesty skull courtesy Megan Hoogland and Michael Cimino. Ambience courtesy Hallett Pond. Photos and vision by Emily Stark Photography.
The Empress [Reversed] appeared in 100% of the four (4) tarot readings I’ve delivered over the past 48 hours. The readings were a pledge premium for KMSU, which, turns out the demographic that 1) supports public radio + 2) wants a tarot reading = middle aged white women. We will throw me into that sample as well, as middle-aged whitelady fortuneteller. Anyway. The Empress right-side-up is about being expressive and generative and putting stuff out there. It’s the you-go-girl of making and saying things. The Empress [Reversed] is about taking a beat.
That seemed to make sense for everybody personally, like relative to whatever personal circumstances caused them to seek a reading. It also seems to make some sense for the group as a group. Pretty sure I’m bound by science or tarot or both to publish these findings, so I did just that in the nearby Public Art Box owned and operated by the artist Patti Ruskey who does zero social media probably because she’s busy being attuned to higher powers. Here is evidence of the dissemination of my findings.
It is beyond the scope of this research to tell you what to do instead. All I can tell you is that The Empress is not saying you-go-girl, at the moment. She’s taking a beat and then some.
Unrelated to this study, but offered as verification of the powers of midsummer astrology, turns out the traditional 29th wedding anniversary gift is furniture, which on one hand is less mystical than 30 which is the year of the pearl, but on the other hand IS AWESOME because today is our 29th and WITHOUT EVEN KNOWING THAT, so far Scott and I have spent the year sitting on a couch.
So maybe book now, if you’d like your cards read sometime around the next summer solstice. Obviously it shifts my powers into high gear. I mean if the Empress showed up(-side-down) in all my whitelady readings to urge active listening, and if my furniture anniversary year magically mystically saw the world couchbound, then surely, certainly, scientifically, there is lustre ahead.
Well guess what, turns out Zoom is great for tarot because who wants to be stared at while absorbing their truth. You don’t. Doesn’t matter if the truth is harsh or pleasant. Either way, you want some privacy, and GUESS WHAT, here is what it looks like when your tarot reader is politely off-screen so it’s just you and the cards and the truth.
I figured this out yesterday in a meeting that wasn’t supposed to be about tarot, until it was. You don’t switch gears like that and keep making eye contact. You just don’t. If the Querant needs a while to ponder, a decent reader will prop the card and go get a refill.
Other new methodologies I have developed to suit our present moment: 1) Shuffle for at least 20 seconds. 2) Pick cards based on what falls out (this is not really quarantine-related, it’s just spookier).
Readings are free, although I do enjoy payment in the form of hearing, later, that you went from regretting to loving your box-bleached hair. Or, you embraced the regret and called your stylist to book for late July. Or that you were sooo happy after some alone-time staring at cards, that you spent a bit less of the evening screaming into a pillow. Now booking. Like, now.
Well this is awkward. The World is supposed to be about closure but we don’t have that right now. So, I have created this tool for your shelter-in-place survival kit, portable and fully reusable any time you’re craving the feeling of closure and not getting it from the actual world. I know it by heart because it’s what my dad always sang as a lullaby. We thought he’d made it up, of course, until he told us it was the last song the band would always play at every high school dance circa 1957. In hindsight I think it’s possible that he sang it not so much for us, but to remind himself of a time in his life when he wasn’t responsible for calming down a houseful restless girls, he was just a kid who didn’t want the dance to end yet.
Goodnight, Sweetheart (Ray Noble, 1931)
Good night sweetheart, till we meet tomorrow Good night sweetheart, sleep will banish sorrowTears and parting may make us forlornBut with the dawn, a new day is born(so I'll say) Good night sweetheart, tho' I'm not beside youGood night sweetheart, still my love will guide youDreams enfold you, in each one I'll hold youGood night sweetheart, good night
It feels soooo good to know I’m not alone over here engaging in high-risk style experiments, because usually I’m doing that anyway, so WELCOME TO MY WORLD. You are free to leave it once we’re no longer sheltering in place, but for now, I implore you to stay the course. If you’ve cut wispy bangs with a disposable razor, keep at it, maybe add some wisps along the perimeter. Don’t even use a different razor and I’m not kidding. If you’ve quit wearing eye makeup, or quit curling your hair or quit caring about any other thing that used to seem like a necessary trapping of your look but now ONLY NOW are you realizing it was exactly that, a trapping that kept you trapped, please keep not-doing what you’re newly not-doing. If you’ve launched a quest-beard then I know you already get this because you’re calling it a “quest beard” and I could not be happier that that’s a trending term. “Quest” is exactly what we’re on, style-wise. A quest only ends when you learn whatever the inner voice that demanded it wants you to learn, and if you stop now you simply won’t have enough data at the end of this to figure that out. And then you’ll be doomed to repeat the same experiment next time life gets weird.
This is definitely a law of nature and I got a sobering reminder of it when I switched up my #StayHomeMN uniform by wearing the one other pair of jeans I own, and a long-sleeved instead of a short-sleeved t-shirt. Sure enough, a few hours into the day I was vaguely pissy like you get when everybody said they’d go along with a thing but now nobody’s going along with it. I felt worried, despite that nothing personally worrisome was actually happening. I was weepy (as noted in a previous blog series I no longer have the benefit of PMS to legitimize routine weepiness). I was bored and cranky and the worst version of myself.
The mood plummet wasn’t about how I looked. I looked pretty much the same as in the original getup, i.e., absolutely exotic because jeans and t-shirts are not a thing I wear in regular life. But these different-than-the-previous-14-days-jeans and different-fitting t-shirt felt just different enough to signal my whole system for a gear-shift. It was as if I’d gotten my body and therefore my brain all ready for an all-new agenda, which turned out to be a cruel cruel joke, because it was day 14 of same-same-sameness. Fortunately I recognized this disparity and wrested myself from the liar-jeans and stupid long-sleeved t-shirt which honestly I’d never loved in the first place.
Back inside my unlaundered #StayHomeMN jeans and a now-standard short-sleeved t-shirt, the rest of the day went fine.
If you’re new to the thrill of staging a production in your living room, using only household items as costumery, and then nailing it, and then your whole mind/body gets flooded with joy regardless of the fact that only a handful of people liked it, welcome. I officially welcome all quarantine-inspired online performers to the joyous joyful most joy-inducing feeling of putting on a show. Here is me inventing that in 1971.
Here is a recreation of the even-more-stunning photo I spent last night trying to find, of my April 1972 living room production of “Jesus Died on the Cross” (original lyrics to the tune of “The Bear Went Over The Mountain” which Amy sung while I wore a bathrobe and taped-on paper beard and solemnly held the space of Jesus the Christ) (same jump rope as above):
I love this photo, and this memory, so much. My search for it, last night, was maddening. And I mean that literally, like at one point after going through every album in every plastic bin in the basement I sat down on the damp shitty crumbling floor and cried.
And then shortly after that I wondered if there could be any way the absence of this particular photo, from where I KNOW it existed the LAST time I went looking for it, could possibly be my husband’s fault.
The Sun, in tarot, is about uninhibited joy. Right now it’s also a cautionary tale about tantrums, and your own personal edge, and knowing when to let go of a vision that can’t be realized despite how good it was.
IKNOWRIGHT, it’s the worst right now, waking up and longing for the dusk of this weirdass day. Longing for The Moon to swoop in like some sexytime gypsy orb. Problem is, The Moon is not that, she’s more like a combo librarian/poker master who insists that you shut up and refuses to show her hand. She is not who any of us feel like spending more time with, right now.
This is hard news for a fortuneteller to deliver. Anybody seeking a reading in the first place, is seeking clarity. A directive. Transparency. In general, no querant gets excited upon hearing “you don’t get to know,” or, worse, “quit asking.”
What I can offer, right now, is that it’s fine to be dissatisfied with this. It’s fine to be just flat-out pissed at the lack of answers. The thing about The Moon, scientifically speaking, is that she doesn’t care whether you think she’s hot. She will continue to push and pull your tides even as you stomp around. She will glow in your dark, maintain gravitational pull, urge you to howl.
Yes I DID just now send an audition video to the Dreadlock Artist Collective and no you CANNOT see it because I am not about to break the rules of The Star.
The rules of The Star are that not only must you nurture any brand-new-baby-dreams that float to the surface in the wake of weirdness, you also have to hold them close. Private, for now. The more outrageous the idea, the better, except you don’t even have to use a word like “outrageous” in your own private brain which is where to keep anything that’s right-now rising up as a glimmer of a thing you might want to try/do/be. A thing upon which you only stumbled due to a billion hours per day on Instagram, thanks to the stay-home order, thanks to a pandemic. Ultimately, when your new thing comes to fruition in a way that may or may not resemble how it looks in your dreamydreams right now, you don’t have to feel grateful for the disaster. You do, though, have to admit that disaster has a way of hacking up some unlikely gifts.
The Star says, all dreamydreams are ordered to shelter in place.