Oct 15, 2010

i hate words

maybe what i'm trying to say is this...

as i'm WORKing my brain about DAMELO TODO, i keep returning to the events of the LA WEEKLY article ("best of LA" 2008).

to quickly recap, the LA WEEKLY article was written by sam slovick in sept 2008. it was supposed to be positive publicity for our party but it turned out to be extremely racist, classist, and transphobic in it's characterization of the silver platter community. (example: "This is a lovely little pit stop where a she-male doing car dates can stop in for a breather. A place where a lady-boy can take a load off her feet and wipe a load off her skirt before getting back to business in the back of a Toyota.") you actually can't read the article online anymore because they took it down. basically there was an outright war between us and the journalist, which involved a letter-writing campaign, a blogosphere blowout, a physical confrontation, and even a sit-down interview with the journalist for the movie.

at the time i was so enraged in my desire to get the article taken offline that i didn't see the extremity of my behavior. but now with more perspective as i'm editing the movie, i'm less interested to recreate the personal drama, as i am to reflect on WHY i was so mad and so obsessed about obliterating that language, and why it basically transformed my life. and in a nutshell, i truly believe that it's not as simple as that i hated the article because it accused us of gentrifying the bar. like, it wasn't just that i didn't want to hear it, although of course maybe a little. but really.

instead, i think that the article was a watershed event in the life of our little club, because it was the most tangible evidence of the widening GAP between what wildness was to us and how it was seen by the wider public.

i think what's most important about that GAP, is that it raises an essential question about how do we describe, understand, experience community? like if wildness felt a certain way to me, or to my immediate circle of friends, or even to the folks at silver platter who were intimately involved (Koky, Javier, Nicol, and some of the women patrons), or even to this audience of blog readers who feel personally invested in these issues - what does that mean about everyone ELSE who encountered silver platter/wildness? knowing that HOW those 'outsiders' encountered us was directly affected by what WE ('insiders'?) did. i mean, Wildness was a PUBLIC event. the Silver Platter is a business establishment that has a physical location, address, and by law it must admit anyone. so WHO ends up crossing paths there is a constant variable. but more importantly WHO decides who belongs, and who doesn't? but obviously some people DO belong, and in this scenario, for the people who made the silver platter their home- that sense of belonging is such a precious valuable rare and fragile thing. or is it? it is. is it?

the indisputable fact is that the bar was, and is, a safe place for a community of transgender/latina/immigrant women and their friends and allies. and it has been that way for a decade and beyond.

the other fact is that wildness temporarily messed up that equation - or disturbed the equilibrium or something. or did it? it did. did it?

i find that it's really hard to make these statements definitively - without being fucked up (on the level of language) to one person/group or another. sometimes i really hate words all together, which is maybe why i'm so involved with nightlife where complex experiences can be so wordless. but i'm trying here.

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