“and drunk the milk of Paradise…”

8134_1169920819898_1584316885_30445753_4115416_n

A late breaking Thursday-morning update… alert readers have written to me pointing out that clearly the creature pictured next to me is actually the THING, not the HULK, a distinction so obvious I’m mortified to have failed to comprehend it.  Thing, all rocky;  Hulk, green.  The Times regrets the error ….and to be serious for just a fraction of a second, this THING is actually one of my favorite gentlmen in the world, Ox Freeman, who is a stalwart of SoCo as well as the trans community, and I have tremendous respect for him.  Ox needs no disguise to pull off superhero status, not in my book anyhow. …also, please note the just-arrived photo of Mara Kiesling and herself at the bottom of this page, taken at the NCTE reception. … more photos as they arrive.

Original post: Okay, so I’m back from Atlanta, where the PORCUPINE WOMAN show went just fine. Very different to perform that material for a trans audience. Felt like a home game, as opposed to, say, an away game. A few photos of the whole debacle are now trickling back to me from friends. Above, for instance, observe my dear friend, The Incredible Hulk, who always only wanted to be a girl. To the Hulk, what could I say, but, Man. I know exactly how you feel.

Later, I was drafted at the last second to sub as the co-host of the talent show, a duty I performed at the behest of one Mara Kiesling, head of the National Center for Transgender Equality. Here we are, in the photo below right, on stage together, moments before singing “You are my Sunshine” in two part harmony, with me on autoharp.

10517_164993950959_755325959_3635562_472479_n Southern Comfort is its own deranged, delightful world, a place where I spend the first ten minutes thinking, whoa, this is really strange, and the rest of the time thinking, Ah, if only the world were like this. There’s a lot of hope, and jubilation, and fear, even, in the air there, and I always leave deeply moved. The most poignant moment for me is always Sunday morning, when I see all those trunks and suitcases going by, being hauled by men (and women) of many sizes, none of whose private selves you might guess at from looking at them. And you realize that in those trunks and suitcases are so much of what these good people value, and is kept secret from the world. What’s the Paul Simon line? “People singing songs, that voices never share.” I feel lucky to live my truth out in the open. But I know that this comes at a price, and I do not expect that everyone need, or even ought, to pay the price that I had to pay, or that my family did. And does. Anyhow. All of this notwithstanding, it’s a gas. And I send my love out to everybody who said hello to me, or who was touched by anything I managed to say, or do, or, uh, sing.

DSC_5403I left SoCo with Coleridge’s “Kubla Khan” upon my brain– “In Xanadu did Kubla Khan a stately pleasure dome decree.” That poem, famously, is the story of a vision of an enchanted place, but which fades when the vision is broken. But were we able to summon back that song of the dulcimer, we might build that dome in air. Those caves of ice.

And all who heard should see them there,
And all should cry, Beware ! Beware !
Weave a circle round her thrice,
And close your eyes with holy dread,
For she on honey-dew hath fed,
And drunk the milk of Paradise.

10328_1228057670525_1501569217_30647149_4290220_nWednesday, 9 PM….And now, another late breaking photo– here’s Lindsay Nowak, along with herself and her fabulous Oscar Schmidt 21 chord autoharp.


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3 Comments

  1. Emilia
    Posted September 30, 2009 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

    That’s the Thing, not the Hulk.

    The Hulk is green (or grey or red depending on which comic your reading).

    The Thing is all rocky.

  2. Gina James
    Posted October 1, 2009 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    Sunday was maudlin,is that hoow you spell it??Anyay,it always is.Breakfast was beautiful tho!!!I spent the remainder of the day loading out the SCC stuff to the warehouse which left pleanty of time to reflect.This was probly the first year I didnt shed a tear after it was over.I guess because it was such a relaxing,wonderful time.Seeing your show and the adhoc performance later on!!
    The hosting with Mara was great.I missed your seminar for the first time ever.Oh,and the acoustic jam in the middle room was a hoot-mammy!I got plenty of goos comments on it.Perhaps something a bit more rehersed next year.
    Once again,it was lovley to see you…hanging with Donna,Elizabeth and Chloe and 500 plus other fab attendees was the best week of the year.
    Ill be trying to get a picture or 2 in the coming week…Love you like coffee!!>Gina<

  3. Jenny Sand
    Posted October 6, 2009 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    It really was fun.

    Emotional sure, as it should. This is a big deal for all of us. This tra… , this ge…, this cond…, this thing we share. It is a language in itself, isn’t it? Language is communication, and communication leads to friendship. And sometimes love even. How beautiful is that.

    And now I know what an autoharp sounds like.

    Next time I’ll bring a bagpipe.

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