Friday, September 21, 2018

Grinding Groundedness + Birthday Action Sept 29

Tasha's Birthday 
Act of Disruption and Resistance
September 29, 2018
12 noon-1 pm
Across from the Empress Hotel
Government St
Victoria, BC

All welcome to witness or participate.

Facebook event

Atrocity Cheer. Aug 26, 2018.


Grinding Groundedness

I signed up to do a fun thing but I woke up that day and I felt shitty so I cancelled. Cancelling also felt shitty.

Aside: I have a confession to make. I almost never go back and read past blog posts so I probably repeat myself and for that I apologize for anyone who reads this stuff. Anyway, I do know that even before the schmancer, I have often written about my susceptibility to illness and emotional pain. And I've written about it in relation to the MOST DESTRUCTIVE CULTURE THAT EVER EXISTED that I live in and am complicit in creating. That's what this post is also about but I hope I'm covering some new ground.

In the last week or so I've had two very vivid dreams. Dreams from HELL (i.e. EARTH), you might say. You would think you cannot make this shit up. But here is my brain...

The first dream consisted of me sort of accompanied by what could hardly be called a following, maybe like a small loosely organized class, or even just a random raggedy group of people who had nowhere else to go and looked even more lost than me. Except for being near each other, we seemed to have no comprehensible connection. For the duration of the dream, which felt interminable, I was trudging around a cityscape with few open spaces; where the spaces available were cramped and the ground was all ditchy or really steep. Everywhere, I had some sort of entourage and it was very difficult or impossible to stand without slipping or needing to find new footing. 

And, I'm not kidding, for the WHOLE dream as we painfully wandered in this way, I kept asking myself: Why am I here? Why am I here? Why am I here? Why am I here?

If there is a distillation of my struggle in this existence this dream is it. Thanks Mr. Sandman.

Dream number 2. Definitely the work of the same auteur. I went to bed, disappointed with myself that I felt so unwell and would probably not be able to attend the thing that I had to cancel.

Again, this dream had the interminability and repetitive qualities of the previous one. In this case, the "star" was a woman I am acquainted with who bears a strong resemblance to the neighbourhood mother of my youth who, in my critic brain, represents the apex of judgmental, white, upper-middle-class, Calgarian, 1960s-1970s, NARROWNESS that I grew up in. And she played this role in my dream simply by showing up with her harsh, crabby face (a resting bitch face, as the lovely expression goes and as I, myself, at the age of almost 57, now sport as well or, perhaps better, than Mrs. X. ever did.)

I'm not kidding about this dream, either. For almost the whole dream, I was crying and apologizing to this apparently unyielding lady for missing an important event I had promised to go to. For a LONG time. This one had more of a conclusion, however. 

Somewhere in my desperate remorse, literally sobbing on her bosom, her shirt came off (no, of course, it did not turn into a fun sexy dream) and exposed an atrocious sight. Her breasts were there but covered or simply composed of red, raw-looking scar tissue, as if burned with oil or acid. Her nipples no longer existed. Witnessing the brutality of the damage was traumatic!

I know I am often a buzzkill kinda gal. You should get into my brain people! Never a buzz!

It's challenging to find a nugget of hope from these "messages." But what I have gleaned is an ever deeper and pointed groundedness in the grinding here and now. (I know I wrote that alliterative phrase last month, but it still rings my writing bell.)

And by GRINDING, I still mean, as I have written about and spoken about for years: in my body and self. I.e. I get sick a lot, whether it's mental illness or physical or both or I can't tell the difference. Many days I feel like I have a cold in my head, which also feels like I have no energy. Or, as I tell my kids, I am not able to function as an adult today. I will make you macaroni and wieners and watch Netflix with earphones. They don't want the macaroni? I have no idea what they eat. We have food.

Have I mentioned my low bar, which I need to remind myself of now and then? Keep the kids alive. (Living pets are a bonus.)

"Grounded" is an interesting word. It often means that someone is stable and functions well. But I wouldn't describe myself that way. I use extreme amounts of emotional energy in the adult functioning and interacting that I either have to do or choose to do. More than anything, that's why I get sick a lot.

It's not that I have to interact with awful people. On the contrary, I am fortunate enough to interact with many lovely and engaged people. It's just that I don't know how to do it in a way that works for me in this language and culture. My inside me is wide open and vulnerable but also filled with rage and grief and my outside me has resting bitch face and Canadian-English conversational and relationship skills honed in the excellent years of the latter decades of the 20th Century, i.e. crusty and awkward.

I'm grounded. I'm just grounded in a parallel reality.

I saw this video of Zoë Dodd speaking passionately for thousands of people dealing with the opioid crisis, especially people who are disadvantaged. It spoke to me so deeply.

If the link doesn't work, basically a woman named Zoë Dodd is speaking with authentic emotion, as well as intelligence, clarity, and volume, about the urgency of acting on the crisis of people dying on our streets in the thousands. A roomful of people not used to authentic communication looks on awkwardly and a platform of politician-types gaze out uncomfortably and respond with platitudes.

This is how I feel about everything. I feel like I'm grounded in an emotional reality similar to what
Dodds is expressing in the video. URGENCY. And those people on the platform are not necessarily evil or unfeeling, but they are probably grounded in a different reality. 

Monday, August 20, 2018

Fires+Cancerversary Action Sun Aug 26 3-4 pm Quadra near Pandora

Fire$, tree$. $orry, not $orry.

I hope everyone who is reading this can breathe.

August 26th will mark the third anniversary of being admitted to hospital with what turned out to be Stage 4 ladybits cancer (ovarian, fallopian, too difficult to be sure).

So I'm holding a...

Cancerversary+Fires Action
Sunday, August 26
Quadra St near Pandora, Victoria, BC

This action will entail a performance of what I'm dubbing an Atrocity Cheer.
I'll be in my version of cheerleader garb, complete with pompoms.
All are welcome.

Facebook event

I'm still breathing.

30% to 50% of those in my schmancer boat are still alive after five years. I do plan to continue to be in that number even though I feel quite sure I landed on an incorrect planet, or at least an incorrect time period on this one. Having landed here though, I've made some heart connections and whatnot so I've gotta do the time.

To recap, I've been holding the Monthly Actions / Acts of Disruption+Resistance / Vulnerability Vigils for more than six years, doing the performance artwork under the umbrella of the Human Body Project for more than 12, and, while cancer sucked, the intense emotional pain that I've come to identify with being on the wrong planet has been a longer and harder road since about age 12 on.

When I had the idea for the Human Body Project in 2004 (it took me two years to get the courage up to be naked), the main reason I felt compelled to do the work and chose the overarching theme of vulnerability was because everything I felt was important and URGENT was nowhere to be found in any accessible discourse I could enter into.

Lately, many of the conversations that were impossible to imagine people having are finally happening in a much more open way: the severe pain and cost of capitalism; non-binary distinctions; systemic corruption, violence, racism and misogyny; the ongoing effects of colonialism; ongoing colonialism; etc. Or at least that's how it looks to me in my self-curated social media feeds.

Dots are finally being connected. Compartments are being pried open. The dark layers are becoming visible.

So I've been confused. Should I still follow the impetus that has taken me this far? Like, do I still have my unpaid, embarrassing job?! Haha.

NON-TRANSCENDENT. It recently dawned on me that this word describes my work.

It helped me realize it is still an important artistic statement in the sense that it's SUPPOSED TO BE grounding and extreme in the grinding and excruciating here and now.

I do still have my cop-magnet, buzz-kill job!

Link to Saanich News story about last month's action:

Support? Hey, I recently won an award for my show Naked Ugly Dancing at the Montreal Fringe but the money from my award and ticket sales did not even cover my plane fare. If you'd like to support this work by, say, buying me the equivalent of a latte or two once a month or even once please consider checking out my Patreon site.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Montreal Fringe Award; Patreon; 31/7 Action

I had a super-duper time at the Montreal Fringe in June and I won the juried MainLine Theatre (hosts of the fringe) Creativity Award! 

Thank you Montreal Fringe! Funnest fringe!

It was particularly meaningful for two reasons. One, because of the words the lovely Geoff Agombar, juror and G.M., spoke when honouring me:

"In a space with no limits, we nonetheless carry limits in ourselves, play roles, seek confirmation. Our winner is a show that isn't comfortable in its contradictions and cares so deeply it just can't give a fuck! Fierce nonchalance and the full power of extreme vulnerability: it challenges everything we believe about theatre and undermines all hierarchies. It is the ultimate feminist act and the ultimate act of fringe." (I feel a bit like Sally Field: You value me! You really value me!)
And two, because the two shows that were runners-up were stellar; both deeply feeling and intellectual. Devon More's Flute Loops and Ulfet Sevdi and Nicholas Royer-Artuso's 4'33" in Baghdad. 4'33" in Baghdad is my favourite fringe show that I have ever seen. A sardonic but heartful academic addresses imperialism and atrocity through the lens of musicology. Dry wit and brilliant. Unfortunately their fringe run is over but Devon is bringing Flute Loops to Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver Fringes. If you have the chance, see it!

I came home with pneumonia, though, and that is why my July offering is happening so late. (And I'm counting the Montreal Fringe as June actions!)
Monthly Act of Disruption and Resistance (aka Vulnerability Vigil)July 31, 201812 noon-1 pm
Near Regina Park homeless camp (near Uptown Mall on the Trans-Canada highway), Victoria, BC 
Our nation's continued persecution+prosecution of the vulnerable+impoverished is an atrocity. Showing up for my Monthly Act of Disruption and Resistance near Victoria's newest tent city is my artistic response to the disgust+despair I feel living as a privileged, complicit person in a money-laundering economy that creates brutal homelessness.
I will be wearing my new Monthly Actions uniform of inside out menstrual pads covering my genital area. 
Perhaps you feel some of the extremity and intensity I experience and want to join me; all are welcome to join in the spirit of solidarity and respect for those who are most vulnerable. Wear what you want. (I can possibly change the time for later in the day if noon doesn't work for you.) 
Facebook event

Also, I have created a page in the community, where artists get paid for their work. You could figuratively buy me a beer or two every month. Please consider subscribing! I will send you a t-shirt!

Here is my Patreon video as well:

Thanks for "listening," Tasha