Archive for Valencia

Valencia, Cafe Lafayette

Posted in Book, Guide to What's Good with tags , , , , , , , on November 11, 2008 by thebrooklynsocialite

I just finished reading Michele Tea’s Valencia, this is the second book that I’ve read by her, not including Baby Remember My Name an anthology that she edited. The first was Rent Girl, which I found to be really interesting and would require a whole other post to discuss properly. About Valencia, what I can say is this: Tea is something of a hero in the world of lesbian lit, one of the more successful writers in this heavily marginalized genre. Like watering a dry garden, her words effectively begin to fill the void of queer stories. It is good to hear something relatable, depictions of characters that I can recognize and landscapes that I have at least partially inhabited. However, it all feels like one long spit session, perhaps thus originated the tittle of her Sister Spit literary tour. The chapters all inhabit one novel/memoir/autobiography, but they don’t seem to flow together and it feels like she hasn’t completed any of her stories. It reminds me of commentary, would make for excellent blog posts, but I don’t think it functions as well as a consecutive, ideally complete book. Tea talks a lot about drinking, smoking, drugs and sex, a little bit about prostitution and love and self-loathing, but a sense of emptiness is transferred more than anything else. It’s strange to talk about love, yet express vacancy more than depth. I did enjoy it though, it had that addictive quality and really made me consider moving to San Franscisco. In a way I like Tea’s voice, but kept wishing she might write slower and consider craft over expressive explosion. But what do I know? I ‘m not the Queen of queer lit, not yet anyway! I know crossing Michelle Tea could be like crossing Oprah, but the Brooklyn Socialite is nothing if not honest.

A quick mention goes out to Cafe Lafayette. If your in Ft Greene, check out the amazing Lafayette burger, French bistro style, chill with the Mexican waiter, drink Corona’s after closing, or come on the weekend for yum crepes and good coffee. I love this place (G L)

Acousitic Cash, Impermanence, The Rubin Museum, San Fransisco-Michelle Tea

Posted in art, Book, Guide to What's Good, Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 8, 2008 by thebrooklynsocialite

Acoustic Cash last night was quite beautiful. It was held in this warm small theater inside the Rubin Museum of Himalayan Art. Roseanne was classy and sardonic, saying things like, “I liked the Rubin better when it was a Barneys.” Tongue in cheek of course, because the Rubin really is a cool space, forever in reference to Buddhist thought, the floors spiral upwards towards a stunning glass dome.The theme of Roseanne Cash’s musical interview with Joe Henry was Impermanence. They played songs which related to the Buddhist concept that nothing is permanent except for the self. Clinging to that which is fleeting, (almost everything) is what causes human suffering. Roseanne played some of her father’s songs and Joe managed to charm the audience with his twinkly smile, constant tuning, and that confidence that comes with knowing you are really good at something. Most of the people there were middle aged straight women, with husbands in tow. He sang a song called Flag and talked about how Americans resist letting go of dead ideas, such as bankrupt nationalism. Quickly, he added something about how in the new Obama-America maybe some of those beliefs can be rekindled.

America sees itself as a constant-a self, so to speak. Can it be permanent?

roseand-joe

The night ended with a Tupelo Honey/ People Get Ready duet and then, yes, a sing-along to The Times They are a Changing! (ha ha)

Just a quick note about Michelle Tea and San Fransisco: I am reading Valencia and although it takes place in the 90s, I can’t help but wonder if San Fran is really that cool? What do you think, how does it stand up against Brooklyn (ok NYC)?

I’m off to see Dr Atomic at the Metropolitan Opera, will report back later today.