Get yer ass to see TARNATION.

What is it that StinkyLulu loved so much about Jonathan Caouette's extraordinary film TARNATION? On first glance, that seems a toughie. What's not to love? As a film, it sorta defies smartypantsiness. (Scroll down to the bottom of the October archive forAfrofuturist's succinct supersmart analysis which says the only important brainy things StinkyLu's yet seen said about the film...)

But what did StinkyLulu love so? Is it Caouette's & StinkyLulu's overlapping cultural obsessions (which include Carrie, Dolly Parton, that tv movie about Jonestown, Bernadette from Zoom, Karen Black and Sandy Dennis in Jimmy Dean, the list goes on...)? The shared investment in popculture collage as a form of autobiographical self expression? The shared familial devastation derived from the late50s/early60s overprescription of shock therapy? The shared ability to refer to themselves in the third person?

Of course StinkyLulu loved all of this but what did StinkyLu lurv so much more? It's almost impossible beyond words but it's in the way Caouette describes the inimitable Dolly Parton: "Dolly is pure hope."

StinkyLulu completely understands what Caouette's talking about with Dolly. And it's that kind of hope that StinkyLulu finds so throttling, so transcendant & constant in Caouette's Tarnation, even amidst the vertiginous whorl of emotion and archival footage that comprises the actual film. Really. It's the pure hope. For all the mental illness & abuse & desparation & fear & filth, StinkyLulu's eyes see this film as most purely about HOPE. How to find it. How to feed it. How to keep it alive. How to give it away. How to know it's there. How to hope. Even when confronted with the likes of Renee's punkin rant -- the reverberations of which are aftershocking StinkyLulu's system even still...
StinkyLulu loves the gift of hope that survives throughout Caouette's cinematic reconfiguration of autobiography as a performance genre. Now StinkyLu's hoping for a revival of the Blue Velvet musical... C'mon, Jonathan -- your fans are waiting...


Same-Sex Marriage WEDGIE -- ow!

StinkyLulu confesses to being more than a little shocked at the brutality of the first wave of reactions to the "mandate" of anti-same-sex marriage decisions has become. Michigan's governor has removed domestic partner benefits from the new contracts for state employees on December 15 even though the voters were not polled on domestic partner status.

But what really hurts StinkyLulu's heart is what's happening in the case of Jiffy & Donita where the INS (or whatever it's called these days) is now denying marriages of couples if one of the partners -- whether legally or surgically the opposite sex of their spouse -- identifies as transgender. StinkyLulu really didn't think that the Bush administration would go so far as to void existing marriages, but here it goes.

So it goes. The same-sex marriage wedge is being used to deny domestic partnership benefits even in states where the marriage amendments were promoted to draw the distinctions between marriage and civil unions. The same-sex marriage wedge is being used to diminish long-fought-for legal statuses of transgender individuals and their families. StinkyLulu now fears legally adopted children being removed from the homes of their parents because of the bans on same-sex marriage.

For all those queers who complain that gay marriage was never their issue, StinkyLulu's sorry to say that it is now. The same-sex marriage wedge threatens to become the primary strategy to delegitimize gay relationships and to make patently illegal the extension of basic civil rights protections to those perceived to be gay.


Cunning Baffling Powerful

327 Days

StinkyLulu's quite fond of this quilt -- the first go at a whole cloth quilting method StinkyLu's been contemplating for almost 6 years of stitchery. The pic comes from the Spring 2004 annual quilt show by the Yale Quilters when the piece bore the temporary title 327 Days. In mid-June the quilt graduated to its intended title, Cunning Baffling Powerful, and was presented Tim G. as a gesture of gratitude and fellowship.

The quilt is entirely hand-constructed, using raw silk for the main panel and the binding. The back was another softer kind of silk, in a somewhat greener matte brown. The entire piece was quilted by hand, using variegated cotton thread. The dimensions of the quilt are roughly 50" by 40".

Cunning Baffling Powerful (2004).

StinkyLulu comes out! StinkyLulu acts up! StinkyLulu's at a loss...

StinkyLulu's been sitting on this page for some time now... But -- oopsiedoodle -- the time it does fly...
Finally, though, it was afrofuturist (whose link to this page caught StinkyLulu up short) that finally kicked LazyLu off the pot...

But in the midst of much punkin pie, StinkyLulu's also been stewing a smidge over the noxious 20/20 about the Matthew Shepard murder/ers that aired on Friday. StinkyLu'll leave the explication of the actual broadcast & its potential implications to those more eloquent & precise but there remain some thoughts aswimming in Lulu's noggin...

StinkyLulu came to homoconsciousness in the later 1970s. Puberty was still around the corner, but protohomo StinkyLulu was nonetheless able to hook onto the thrilling glimpses of visibility snagged by gay men and lesbians circa 1980. Lil' StinkyLulu did so treasure that Village People 8-track and still can feel the thrill of discovering The Joy of Gay Sex at Waldenbooks in Coronado Mall. Only later, during college in the Reagan era, did StinkyLulu begin to appreciate the significance of what some 70s activists called "coming out as an act of revolution."

And by1987, StinkyLulu already had become a teensy bit jaded about how much the singular act of coming out -- individually to friends & family OR collectively at things like Pride or the 1987 March on Washington for Lesbian & Gay Rights -- would ever do to change anything. The later 80s were -- at least for StinkyLulu -- a time when the intransigent silence of the Reagan Right could not even be flustered by the AIDS-deaths/outings of such beloved retrocelebs as Rock Hudson (1985) and Liberace (1987). Indeed, StinkyLulu understood the importance of ActingUp because it really did seem that the Reagan Right's silence did equal a kind of deathwishful thinking.

But in the 10 years between the founding of ActUp and the murder of Matthew Shepard, so many homo things changed. In the later 1980s, folks had to take to the streets and/or jails by the hundreds to get even a glimmer of media glare on the gruesome recent deaths of gay men. In the later 1990s, the media seized upon the shocking murder of a single white sissyboy as InstaMartyr. Just add media attention and stir... At the time, StinkyLulu skipped the vigils. And the play. And the movie. And the teevee movie. The whole thing just made StinkyLulu's head hurt and heart ache.

But now, now, now...
The recent ABC expose of the "myths" around Matthew Shepard's murder signals just how little has changed in the media landscaping of the last 25 years. The core narrative remains the same: gay men lead perverse secret lives & their gruesome fates are but burdens to the modesty of respectable, non-homo Americans. It's been more than 25 years of coming out, acting up, fighting AIDS, being in the life, lesbian kissing, real worlding, talk showing, queer as folking, & will and gracing. Hard to be GLAAD about the plucky promises of media activism when the basest basic narratives (not to mention Andrew Sullivan) survive so heartily in spite of it all...

But so it goes. And so must StinkyLulu, at least for tonite...
(And blessings to the ever-amazing Judy Shepard.)


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