so yo i'm in ny. a little ragged already (super cute JAM CLUB in brooklyn + ridiculously wrong new pink silk jumpsuit + DJ TELFAR last night!!!) i had an amazing conversation this morning with my ahem "Creative Consultant" aka genius old friend Matt Wolf filmmaker extraordinaire. matt and i are pretty much the same age, we were both born in the early 80s... we are grown up now or something. people are way younger. anyways, discussing Damelo Todo really getting to nitty gritty point of making this movie. matt has a way of parsing things out into the most lucid judgment-free realities, SO GOOD of him. what exactly did he say...?...oh yes...something like... Damelo Todo is a story about immigrant experience, as told through the social history of a bar in downtown LA, from the perspective of young artist(s) working creatively and collaboratively inside the forces of gentrification/urban development. is that what he said?? i'm sure he said something that was way more intelligent nuanced and to the point, but these are the pieces i got.
social history of the silver platter
(luv that transsexuality is just like a prism to look at other waaay more tripped out issues
such as race class violence femininity citizenship tricking etc)
my father and his family were illegal immigrants. growing up, i remember being told tales of their political exile -that sounded as fantastical to me as ghosts stories in the rural new england town where we lived. i was also transgendered and like many multi-multi queers of my generation, i sought community far away from home; found it in a lesbian-feminist art scene in NYC the early '00s (LTTRRRRHUH). i have spent the past 10 years living between ny-chicago-la. gay triangle urban modern being.
as a young creative person i have always operated inside the throes of gentrification. i find it difficult to say anything intelligent or interesting about this fact - but over time i will try. something ashland once said comes back to me... "i dont even really know what gentrification is - we need like a new word or something... like are we really talking about a class of horseback gentry or something - its a weird word. like its just so wide too - like what are we talking about? like land rights? LAND?? or like minority culture "authenticity" stabilization?" anyways the material point is that these forces are epically worldwide and they do not need to paralyze us. i also think there are other ways to act besides reactionary or just like anti-ness. if you have read this blog for more than a minute you know i'm not much an "anti" person - i'm kind of more of a YEEEESSSSSSSS person, so i'm always looking for this way forward.
what i have arrived at is that wildness exists. we are an irreversible presence now a part of the bar's evolution. i hope, out of humble respect for its long history, that we are a minor event in the overall scheme of things. however, if by chance, as we know to be the trend of gentrification of bars and neighborhoods in general around the country -IF wildness is in fact a harbinger signaling the end of an ethnic/minority/"authentic"/stabilized/thing -REGARDLESS OF OUR INTENTIONS (as individuals sharing in solidarity)- it is my hope that the film may actually serve as an intervention. because macarthur park IS changing, just the way silverlake and downtown changed 4-10 years ago, macarthur park is the next neighborhood to go. the problem is not simplistically that these changes can be prevented, but that these stories get lost. La Cita, El Sid, Silverlake Lounge - there must be literally hundreds of bars with the same ghosts, which are lost forever. my hope is that if the story of the bar AND of our presence could be better understood, then maybe it might affect the trajectory of what happens in the future... i just don't know. but i have been wrestling with it since day one will and continue to do so every step of the way. it's part of why i wanted to create a fictional narrative section, as a way to obscure the "truth" of the place - at least to the point that if someone is curious enough to see the movie and want to visit the bar, then it would be the kind of person who is able to think complexly enough to be able to uphold respect.
just where i'm at today....
OH PS WE GOT BLESSED TODAY WITH AN ADDITION TO THE PIG TEAM - CADEN MANSON - MY NEW ART AND POSSIBLY LIFE COACH - LEARNING SO MUCH ALREADY AND GETTING TO KNOW EACH OTHER IS THE BEST PART
more about this when i have visuals