Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Teen 'Zine Chronicles: Churlish Meg Makes Me Cry In A Good Way

Limited edition Churlish Meg original
Somewhere between Bedford-Nostrand and Flushing Avenue I'm crying. It's the G train so literally no one cares. A girl cries on the G train every twenty minutes. Because they only come ever twenty minutes and where else can we do our crying but in the public-private space of the G train.  And I'm sure the skeptical Hispanic guy across the way from me is wondering what about this pamphlet with a jizzing dick on the cover is making me cry.

@ChurlishMeg's 'zine arrived today.  She made a limited number of copies and I rushed to request one.  I have the only one in America!  I've been anxiously waiting all evening to read it. I've just left an epically long comedy show with some good bits and some dull bits. My ass is sore from sitting on concrete for hours and I'm thinking about Richard Pryor, comic delivery, and what the Melbourne Comedy Festival is actually like.  And my train comes promptly.  For the G train this is a Christmas miracle.  Once I am seated, I crack into the 'zine.

Seriously made me cry it's so good
By the Anselm Kiefer section I'm crying.

They are tears of joy. Because I want to feel one tenth of the enthusiasm that Meg feels.  The pages of the 'zine are buzzing and I'm not sure how the paper can hold all this energy without bursting into flames.  She's celebrating art exhibits, and travel, and theater, and all the things that were good this year.  And not in some mamby-pamby facebook algorithm way.  She's got quizzes to tell you what Young Vic production you are most like and a crossword puzzle.  And it's all handwritten and cut out and it's incredible. 

Everything about this 'zine makes me want to dance in the train.  I want to daaaaaaaaaance. 

And they are tears of sadness because I wonder if I ever will feel anything remotely like this joy and wonder at the world around me.  Ever.  And I think of my acting teacher at college who tells me in a thick Hungarian accent I have walls that need to be torn down.  I've been working on those walls for a while. But if you know Italians, we're fucking great bricklayers. We make a solid wall.  But I'm working on it. 

And I pull it together mostly and smile through the quiz section. I'm almost through when I have a flash of anger.  She pens an ode of worship to Chris Goode. Men in the Cities.  That's a wound I don't want to reopen.  Let that go. 

I'm reminded that we are all different people and there is no monolithic audience.  And thank god.  I want to be the weirdo who laughs at the line no one else does--sometimes.  And I want to be the person who gets the shouty, karaoke show that alienates everyone else.  I want to know that I am not alone...and sometimes I'm comforted to be alone with someone else's work. 

It's the joy and the challenge of theater and art.  How do ever find a way to communicate to each other when we are all so different?  Our experiences are vast and varying and it's a miracle we can ever really understand each other.  But that's the reason I do this.  To find even a remote connection to someone else.  For them to see what I see for just a second even if they don't agree with it. 

And Meg's 'zine is making my head spin with things I wish I had seen, things I did see and am seeing in a new light, and longing for a hookup with a boy in Berlin.  Well I'm human. 

For Meg, Anselm Kiefer made her think of Anselm Kiefer in everything.  He made me think about banned art, Exhibit B, the Death of Klinghoffer, fighting your parents, challenging the narrative, and the fact that nothing stays buried forever (yeah still working on that essay).  And Pomona is exactly the show for Meg.  And I can appreciate why.  And it won't make my Top 10.  But I too love the ode to jizz. 

And I start to think we all have a 'zine in our hearts. There was a time I sat around my pink-pink, froufrou bedroom (Let's face it, I never had an edge) cutting up theater flyers and making a collage of everything that was wonderful about London and theater.  It was 1991 and I'm pretty sure the collage included Blood Brothers (even though I hadn't seen it) and Cats (now and forever) and Me and My Girl (which I did see and loved and danced around my room to).  And I'm grateful to Meg for reminding me of a time when things came on paper.  And we cut them up as part of our worship.  And it was good.

Now I'm wondering what my 2014 theater collage would include--a giant Kitson head surrounded by Christmas trees and hearts natch, the 10 opening pages of An Octoroon and an altar built to worship Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, a queso fountain in honor of Rude Mechs, Young Jean Lee's pre-show music for Straight White Men and the puffin pillow, and maybe a Sheldon Best action figure.  What would be on yours?

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