Who’s that girl that you dream of? #jerryblossom #fulldrag #gender #performance
Check out this interview I did with Nia King, a Bay Area artist/activist.
"Veteran. Fashion Designer. Yoga Instructor. This interview investigates the many lives of Kiam Marcelo Junio, world-traveler and former resident of the Philippines, Japan, and Spain. I sat down with him in Chicago to find out how he explores themes of colonialism, assimilation, and nostalgia through performance, queer "drag", and fashion. Highlights include:
- how his experience in the US Navy informs his critique of US imperialism,
- why being Filipino on stage is a political act, and
- when to intentionally shut out your audience.
Stay tuned until the end to hear Kiam’s attempts to explain the role of jockstraps in gay male sexual culture to me (to no avail).”
A transcript is also available in the link if you don’t feel like playing the audio file :)
NEWSFLASH: I’M GIVING UP PORN.
So I’ve decided to give up internet pornography for a while. Indefintely. Maybe forever. We’ll see. I’ve been watching porn for almost 20 years now, and though I think it’s become a part of developing sexuality, I can’t really say how healthy it is for me.
The first time I saw a pornographic film was when I was about 8 in the Philippines. We heard my uncle and a few of his buddies congregate in the living room. My neighborhood friends and I were playing in the yard and one of them ran up and said, “you’ve gotta see this!” We snuck around onto the porch, which had windows that looked into the living room, and there I saw for the first time (white) bodies fornicating. I already had a basic knowledge of sex (this goes there and that happens), but until then, had never seen it in action. My uncle and his friends were hollering and cheering at the TV, as if they were watching a sports game.
Gay porn came later. I was about 18 or so, and not yet out of the closet. In fact, I thought I was still straight, or maybe bi-curious. I had downloaded several straight porn videos before (through Napster, or whatever downloading software was popular at the time), and curiosity got the best of me when I stumbled upon male-male porn. I began downloading those, entranced by this new show of intimacy I had never seen or experienced before.
These days, I find that I use porn as a time-filler, a distraction, and easy, quick satisfaction. I’ve developed patterns of thinking such that I reason with myself that I can please myself better than anyone can, but usually with the aid of porn. I’m coming (ha!) to a time in my life where I’m looking to shift paradigms, and change my relationships with people on a real level. I feel that cutting out porn from the equation will help give me more time for myself to share with others.
Recently, I decided to start developing a sexual practice that’s about play, exploration, and discussing boundaries, rather than trying to replicate the power dynamics and patterns I see in pornography. The narrative of porn, especially gay porn, is very specific: meet, foreplay, full intercourse, cumshot, the end. I’ve been finding that I don’t particularly enjoy this pattern in real life, so why continue to reinforce that?
I am also trying to decolonize my mind from the constant barrage of white male domination in pornography (and, hello, in real life). And if it’s not white male domination, it’s usually black male primitivism, latin body objectification or blatant Orientalism. As I’m trying to disengage from these patterns of gaze in real life, I feel it’s only in keeping with this that I should also give up pornography.
I’ve already begun unfollowing the porn Tumblrs I follow. I’m getting ready to block myself from the websites I frequent. Another step, which I’m preparing myself for, is deleting my digital porn collection, which I’ve amassed over the years. I’m gonna see if I can just avoid clicking on them, but if that proves to be too difficult, I may delete them entirely. Time will tell.
This short TED talk goes over some of the other reasons and benefits for giving up porn. Granted, it’s told through only one (heterosexual male) perspective, but it’s worth a watch.
The Great Porn Experiment: Gary Wilson at TEDxGlasgow (by TEDxTalks)
Anonymous asked: You seem to think a lot in the "us vs. them" mentality; Whether it concern race or sexual preference/orientation. It's people who think like this that give more concern for cases like Trayvon Martin over cases like Edward Snowden.
I don’t really think in an “us vs. them” mentality. Rather, I think in terms of scale and time. On a macro scale, I look at larger social dynamics and histories of colonization, oppression, and power structures. On a micro level, I look at the reality of the daily lives of different people, including myself. Then I connect them together and see what has led to what.
Social dynamics are much more complicated than what we think them to be. Each “side” (and there are an infinite number of “sides”) will always think in the way its been taught and socialized to think. I don’t judge people for the way that they’ve been taught, but I also don’t silence my own dissatisfactions, especially when assessing how I’ve come to them. And I too, of course, am a reflection of my own learning, whether that be normative (Roman Catholicism, the US Navy), radical (queer theory, performance art, etc), or otherwise.
When I make blanket statements about white people or straight people, I don’t necessarily intend to call out every single person of that group. Rather, they’re observations of specific people in that group that act in a way that’s indicative of their social normativity. They are observations of learned and embodied behavior in function. When I talk about “them” (whomever “them” is at the time), I am assessing my place in history and in social power dynamics. And when I express my dissatisfactions, they are usually because I know of other ways of existing that are more akin to my own ideals or vision of a future.
Furthermore, I reserve my right to choose what to believe and what to listen to or care about. I don’t expect everyone to feel passionate about what I do, nor do I care to care about what everyone else cares about. I choose what is closest to me and what resonates with my own search for knowledge. I care about the Trayvon Martin case because as a person of color, I can identify with the rife conflicts that the case brought up about racism, police state, and the prison industrial complex. I make my work about race and gender and power dynamics, and I find what’s happened with that case to be reflective of the social condition of America in a way that both challenges and increases my own knowledge base about these things I care about. I have little interest in the Edward Snowden case because espionage and national security issues do not affect me on a deeply personal level, nor do I have the background knowledge, nor the time or patience to research, to really and fully investigate and involve myself in those conflicts.
So I would like to correct you in your assumption about me. I don’t think in terms of “us vs. them,” but rather “us + them + me + history + society + shit I care about”
And if you don’t believe me, you really don’t know me at all.
It’s taken years of de-conditioning to truly believe that my body is worth loving.
That my presence is valid.
That simply realizing the space I occupy and the time I mark, that marks me, is in every way relevant and revolutionary.
That beauty standards are socioeconomic constructions that I refuse to continue to value and believe.
That my body is unique and beautiful.
That despite histories of trauma and abuse, I am not broken.
I am whole, and I am blessed.
Sometimes I have to remind myself that I’m awesome and hella cute. And that if someone doesn’t think I’m awesome and hella cute, then that’s their problem, not mine.
The summer heat has finally arrived in the city, fashionably late. I’m already a warm-bodied person to begin with, and as the balmy air heats my veins, my desires boil over, and every guy looks like a potential mate/date/meal. It’s an exciting frustration, to want to peel off whatever light garments they have on, touch their skin, sticky and moist, kiss and lick the salt, dirt, and sweat.
I then wonder if anyone is looking at me and thinking these thoughts. I desire desirability. I want to be someone’s object of affection. Someone’s mental image to masturbate to. Sometimes I want to be fetishized, just as I fetishize thin pretty educated bearded white boys.
I’ve told my friend, “I want to date more men of color. I’m thinking of going off the white meat.”
For me, sex and intimacy with white men are always fraught with undercurrents of power and subjugation. As much as I want to separate myself from these ideas, to say that I only value the person in front of me, and not everything else - all the cultural signifiers and the challenge or impossibility of attainability, these things always come into play on the street and in the sheets.
Can I see someone else just for who they are, who they’re trying to be, and how they’ve constructed their reality? I see myself as a product of socialization, as an embodiment of Philippine history, of colonialism, and diaspora. How can I not see others as such?
Sometimes I have to remind myself that I am worthy of love, most of all, from myself.
It’s easy to blame white culture, white supremacy and western beauty standards. It’s easy to realize that these social constructions are discriminatory and dangerous. It’s easy to see that they are the result of colonialist, capitalist patterns of behavior, and they have a long histories of enslaving people, cultures, minds.
I’ve been wanting to free myself from this, to say that these constructed notions of desirability have nothing to do with me. That I don’t need to follow them. And yet I find that I instinctively use them as well. I’m not as free as I’d like to be.
But I’m trying. The more I remind myself that I’m fine, I’m great, I’m whole, I’m beautiful and magical - the more I begin to believe it.
IAMKIAM.COM - brand new site for the brand new year, updated with current works.
Check it out, y’all!
I’ve been working on this for the past couple days, and it’s finally ready. My old homepage was beginning to feel too cluttered and unorganized. So, ready for the new year, here is a brand-spaniking new IAMKIAM.com.
Enjoy, and comments are always appreciated.
<3 U ALL. Happy New Year!
Art is a circle jerk.
Which is fun. And I’m in it, and I enjoy the fact that I both benefit and take from it. And to many it may seem frivolous and in excess, that there are more important things to do than make art, or to keep with the metaphor, better and more productive ways to have sex.
People often criticize artists for creating work that only other artists understand (circle jerk), producing products for the consumption of the circles that support the institution, completely removed from the rest of society. In many senses, it’s correct. One must be invited to a circle jerk, or an event with a circle jerk. One does not normally meet a group at a bar and decide, “hey, you know what would be fun, we should have a circle jerk.” There normally involves planning, and selecting which friends will be participating. So circle jerks are often elite institutions, but this does not preclude that it is the only way for them to happen. Art, after all, is not made in a vacuum. People’s personal “real world” experiences and tastes will always influence their art, and therefore, the circle jerk. The world that exists outside of art, and the people outside of the circle jerk, will still see, influence, and benefit from the event.
Circle jerks, and therefore, art, are important means of communication, and provide a vital role creation of cultural capital. Circle jerks negotiate boundaries between parties, seeking to provide equal voices and honor one another’s presence through the giving and receiving of pleasure, or in the art sense, the provision of pleasure to the viewer, on whom the artist depends for survival. Whether for simply aesthetic, or profound purposes pertinent to the human condition, art, and therefore, circle jerks, are essential developments in the human experience.
Actions for an Asian Immigrant
performance, 45 min. duration
Kiam Marcelo Junio, 2012
Marina Abramovic - Art Must Be Beautiful (1975)
Kiam Marcelo Junio - Art Must Be Beautiful (Study), After Abramovic (2012)
Tonight, Kiam Marcelo Junio / Jerry Blossom will be re-performing Abramovic’s durational piece at Salonathon Presents: LEX-IC-A. In an effort to re-contextualize the celebrated artist’s feminist critique of the art institution and update it with current discourse around race, gender, and queer theory.
During the early and mid-1970s, Marina performed a series of works in which she “explored passive aggression, constructing the actions around her rather spectacular body.” She notes that Art Must Be Beautiful, Artist Must Be Beautiful is one example of how, in the early years of performance art, female artists used their own bodies to challenge the institution of art and the notion of beauty. Marina has said in an interview that during the 1970s, “if the woman artist would apply make-up or put [on] nail polish, she would not have been considered serious enough.” Through this performance, says Stokić, Marina comments on “the commodification of art and artist by critiquing conventions of and demands for female beauty in art and contemporary culture.”
A fantastic essay about David Torrey Peters (from Chicago), about one person’s experience with the fluidity of gender performance.
I don’t think that I’m a woman. I just think that parts of my psyche are female, resulting in a deep-seated need to act that out. For me, crossdressing isn’t something I do; it’s something that I am. I shift the presentation of my body to match what seems to be a constantly shifting gender.
Jeff Sheng’s ‘Fearless’ Project Features Intimate Portraits Of High School And Collegiate LGBT Athletes
In 2003, the year after Jeff Sheng graduated from college, he began working on a project photographing and interviewing high school and collegiate athletes across the United States who openly self-identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT), but continued to play sports on their predominantly “straight” school sports teams.
The series, which he titled “Fearless,” features individuals immediately after an intense workout or practice, in a location of their choice where they feel most comfortable as an athlete. Sheng chose to exhibit his work in locations such as student centers, college gyms, dining facilities and dormitory common areas to force an otherwise non-art-going public to see the images and consider the issues being presented.
Where do I even start? I am so sick of fucking binaries and expectations on how people are supposed to act, based on their genitals.
UGH. White heterosexual males/frat bros
Advertisers just love to continue perpetuating this image, and so people think it’s ok, and even desirable to act like a buffoon. “BOOM!” Wow. Gag.
How the hell is it still OK for Hooters to do shit like this? Granted, I’m pro-sex workers rights, and people’s ability to do with their bodies as they please, so the problem here is not the individuals but rather the system that perpetuates these attitudes about women, and in turn, about men, and furthermore, everyone else who doesn’t fit into these disgusting and false images.
UGH. Body-shaming and Ageism
Why are certain bodies inherently bad? Why is it wrong to gain cellulite, or grow old? Fuck you, Hooters.
Why is Hooters still in business?
Okay, I know it’s like the most obvious uptight-feminist cliche ever, but god, I hate Hooters. I fucking hate Hooters so much. Mainly because I like to eat things that actually taste good, and also because I dislike being reminded that a lot of people’s ideal woman is a pliant sex mannequin who delivers fried foods…
From commenter I Still Dream:
Good god no (and I will never go to Hooters as long as I live). While the *goal* of misogynist, patriarchal media is of course to demonize and commodity women, it also has some fairly ugly things to say about men—at least all men who don’t fit into their convenient little box. If you’re a man who’s an intellectual, or an artist, or you do theater, or you like to cook, you’re denigrated for being feminine. If you’re shy, or contemplative, or dare to express the slightest feeling of vulnerability or tenderness, then you’re denigrated for being a “pansy.” If you’re not interested in accumulating wealth then you’re a loser, and if you’re more interested in getting to know women than getting them drunk, you’re an emasculated prude. The MRA’s are psychos, but we DO need a men’s liberation in this country—a liberation from the patriarchal culture that teaches boys that being anything but a grunting, sexually aggressive predator is unacceptable.