blog #2 = Being In-Between

In our first entry, we left ourselves at that point in time in which I had just moved to Brooklyn, and was in between apartments. I had not found anywhere to live yet, but had a two month sublet in Carroll Gardens. This is a form of being in between, a strange often disconcerting place, where one is not really “at home” for where one lives is not one’s own, But it was comfortable = as in, not couch surfing, nor on the streets. The place was near the subway, in a safe hood, on a street that was newly paved, as Smith Street was being gentrified with new clothing boutiques and cafes.

As I had written last time, I had danced the Naraya for the first time in Maine that September. One thing I’ve learned from the Naraya and reading in indigenous spiritual practices, is the concept that qweer people are thought of as “In-betweens” inasmuch as we blend the feminine and the masculine energies in our energetic systems, our bodies, and our worldviews. This changes the way we see the world, as we experience it with a different set of inner wiring, and process our sensual perceptions in ways that may be seen as unusual by the “norm” = which is often set by the majority, permeates the media, and the way most public discourse is created. Harry Hay famously said (bad paraphrase): “The only thing gays + straights have in common is what we DO in bed, everything ELSE is different.” Malidoma Some, the noted writer of the Dagara people from Burkina Faso, points out that among his people gay people are the gatekeepers to the realm of Spirit, it is something our inner wiring allows us to access. Most Native American tribes have more than two terms for gender, allowing for multiplicity of sensibilities within their worldviews.

I like these ways of describing who we as qweer peoples are. Actually, it is my belief that there are as many sexualities as there are individuals, as these matters are entirely idiosyncratic to the individual and their own particular experience. For instance, while I identify as what now is called a “cis-gendered” gay man, I have felt strong erotic attraction to women at times, and have enjoyed cunilingus over the years. Perhaps Kinsey was correct in creating a staging system for homo-erotic sexual orientation. Thus, the terms gay, straight and bisexual seem meaningless these days. What does this do to “identity politics” which has been at the center of civil rights struggles for sexual minorities since Stonewall?

There has been a lot of uproar in the recent years about the use of language to correctly (accurately?) describe folks who called themselves Trans-…another form of being in-between (I suppose). But then, as a being, I do not really feel being “in-between” most of the time, I just feel like me, going through my day, experiencing thoughts, emotions, etc. What I find most problematic is how language is not serving the experience of so many people, because definitions put people and their lives into boxes that do not match their worldviews. The problem is in the language itself and its use, not the people trying to use a set of words that fall flat to fully describe intimate feelings and longings.

These questions do not take away the experiences I have had as an “in-between” through the years, especially as it concerns my relations with the living and the dead. Now through the power of our imaginations I am going to zoom to present time as something just happened three weeks ago that highlights another form of being in-between. I have struggled with how to tell this story, as I wanted to be more reflective (versus reactive) and compassionate. This simple story can give one insight from whence I came, and how far I’ve traveled over these intervening years.

It came to my attention two weeks ago in a set of emails I received from my brother that if you use Google or Yahoo image search under my government name you will see an image I took years ago and sold to the Tom of FInland Foundation, who subsequently posted the image online. My brother (who sells used computer equipment) was thinking of trying to sell some of my art via his business’ e-bay account, as a way to help my grim finances.

https://www.google.com/search?q=Paul+Wirhun+images&client=firefox-a&hs=VZ0&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&channel=fflb&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=wH1zVM6oFoqlNpHGgbgH&ved=0CAgQ_AUoAQ&biw=1600&bih=833

Amidst the many images of my work on and with eggshells, there’s that BINKY image, tongue out staring into the mirror “en full flagrante!” I took this image as part of some fun I was having on April Fool’s Day with fellow faeries (a NYC tradition) after riding home on the subway in clown face. In fact, I spent the entire day in clown face, and enjoyed the experience and the perspectives garnered in this form of masking. This was about 10-13 years ago, when I was learning B+W photography and had been taking erotic images of myself as an exploration of my sexual self and the empowerment it gave me. Being in clown face seemed like a fun way to investigate the boundaries of my sexuality, its crazy edge, including my own narcissistic side.

I had already been a model for nude photo shoots since the 80’s, so this was nothing new. What was new with these images was that I was taking the images, thus this was very personal and allowed me a level of control for what I would create with the camera. For me it meant fun, kooky fun, crazy fun = taking it all a step further, to an edge I had not experienced beforehand = I had a great time doing it. AND I liked some of the results, so I printed the few images I thought were worthy of showing and exhibited them at the Erotic Art Fairs the Tom of Finland Foundation used to organize in NYC. I find it even more hilarious that this BINKY image (on my most recent Google search) appears next to me with a ring of kielbasa on my head with a platter of sausages I am about to grill at one of the House of Delicious’ famous Sausage, Sushi, Sake parties, our annual Summer fete.

Well, to put it lightly, my straight brother was NOT amused when he saw this image. He emailed me that he would NOT be able to connect his business with my name, for fear that this image would somehow impugn his professional reputation. He also surmised that perhaps the reason I was having difficulties being represented by art galleries was due to this image. His concern included worrying that such an image would essentially ghettoize me as being an artist who could only sell to gay men. He also worried that his grandson (who I think is gay) was being bullied in school, and that if someone in his school found that image it would increase the child’s problems. He continued that the image was essentially a stain on the family name, and that I ought to see if I could get the image removed.

I was surprised this image was there (I had not posted it) and texted him, which lead to a day-long back-and-forth about his concerns and my response. At first I was amused and honored by his upset as I thought if more in the art world might see this and respond in the same way = I might get some recognition for being outrageous, leading to MORE gallery representation. He was simply freaked out, did not think the image merited being called “art,” considered the image crass, and in his mind thought it was akin to child pornography (clowns raping little boys!). Where that idea came from I can only assume was in his freaked out mindset.

The texts started getting heated as he kept trying to shame me, which did NOT work, and I found myself getting a bit annoyed by the level of upset I was reading, and how much time I was spending responding to his upset. Of course, texting is probably the worst method of reconciling differences of this type = short snippets of ideas and feelings going back-and-forth in that flat formula over a machine, not even the sound of the voice to hear one another’s views, much less being with one another to see each other’s face and read what we see in the facial and bodily gestures that make up a larger part of communication beyond language.

At one point he noted how he disliked (something I had heard before from him) how gays acting out was uncomfortable, which is somewhat reflected in this online survey I found later on Facebook.

http://gawker.com/survey-americans-like-gays-but-hate-when-gays-act-gay-1661231622

While this piece does NOT speak to this situation exactly – it does reflect his attitude.

Let me be clear, I feel like I have a good relationship with my brother = there is a lot of loving and caring for each other. This whole story began with an idea for him trying to help me sell my art. I am not interested in making him wrong. In the texting we did, my annoyance was the voice I was hearing in his tone = it really sounded like my mother’s, who is known within the family for having a sharp tongue. I pointed out that the way he was expressing himself was similar to how she has criticized things he has done in the past, that people in glass houses ought not throw stones (like any of us, he is not perfect). It was sad to me that he modeled her sharp words in these texts, essentially judged me from the outset without asking anything about why I had created the image in the first place, and used pretty harsh language while blowing up his concern into a real drama between us. By the next day he sent me an email pointing out that he reacted due to his freak-out, which is understandable to me = it is a strong image!

If I deny my brother his feelings, or fail to hold him in compassion for his views, I lose my status of being ‘in-between’ = thus this place is a dynamic place, it is not static; there is energy in being in between one’s past and present. Perhaps this dynamism is the energetic that allows us to moves between worlds, whether they be relations amongst the living on the material plane or that between the realm of matter and spirit. The heart is the muscle that is toned in this exercise. I love my weird whacky life and the crazy things I’ve done, the edges I’ve walked AND I love my brother and my family, the people whose DNA I share, and the experiences we had growing up together. To deny either side of this equation is to deny myself who I am. This dynamic place allows for a view on the world that is much more dynamic and removes the possibility of rigid morality and extremism that is the root cause of hatred and wars between peoples.

As I finish writing this blog post (which has taken me three weeks to complete), I am writing from my mother’s kitchen table; I have been spending Thanksgiving week here in Connecticut helping her around her house and enjoying a family feast yesterday at my sister’s. This past week we have witnessed some awful events ripping apart this country due to events in Missouri. When I woke up this morning, this is the understanding I am left with:

We who are “in-between” can be a powerful voice of healing and reconciliation, a role this world sorely needs right now. We are all facing many challenges on this Planet right now; may we rise up to accept this power of being “in-between” so that we all may work together to rid ourselves of economic + political injustice, war, and tackle the seemingly insurmountable hurdles toward social harmony and ecologic restoration.

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“The House of Delicious” blog #1

THE HOUSE OF DELICIOUS

blog entry #1

1998

It’s a warm cloudy day as we pull into a rest stop on the Merritt Parkway: “GRL i gotsa open de door from de outside…” in perfect black-eeze…sez Rosette Royalle, driving me in her 10 yr old beat up red Jetta from Ptown, dashboard replete with sage, feathers, and other assorted woo. It’s 30 October, later in the afternoon, the traffic is getting thicker as we try to make it to Brooklyn in time to unload her vehicle, settle in and get to the faerie Samhain ritual that eve in Prospect Park.

Rosette and I lived together three years beforehand in Pearly Heights, before she moved in with Philip Yenawine near a pond in the woods of Wellfleet, while she was still journalisting for the Ptown Banner, owned by that fat dyke (who opened an alternative voice to the earlier Portugi minded rag operated by the Steele’s, whose intentions were dubious if not civic minded). I can remember hearing from Duane Steele the first night I was washing dishes + mopping floors of the The Red Inn (which they also ran into the tidal flats, before it was saved by some better financed fag who who moved to town when Ptown had been getting gentrified in the later Clinton administration = yes, after Glass Steagel act was abolished and Wall Street took off); well, he was telling me his version about the fire that hit the restaurant the Winter before = and as naive as I was, something smelled fishy about this account…

THAT was in 1990, when I moved to Ptown on the fly from DC, thinking I would get a great waitering gig and make some big bucks before moving to California to get my permanent residency and get a PhD in religious anthropology from either UCLA or Berkeley. But I was disabused rather quickly as it WAS 1 August 1990, and as I learned later, the GOOD jobs were gone by 1 April every year, but what did I know, except that I HAD to get out of DC, loved Ptown, and was happy just to wash dishes, mop floors in between the beach and it’s assorted pleasures. THAT was many moons ago at this point, with a lot of tides going in and out…I never left Ptown until now, PhD be damned, I was a working artist…the Eggman.

NOW it was 30 October 1998, a ‘4’ day, which adding it to my life path number (5) meant it was a ‘9’ day for me = how auspicious, the totality of it all and the end before a new beginning. Prince LavaLava had taught me about numerology, tracking it daily and the signs one might find allowing one to create meaning.

ALL meaning is applied.

Rosette moved to Ptown with her lover, Paul, who was dying of AIDS. She used to be Toffee Fey before she found the faeries, was known for fierce fun riding her girl’s bike thru crowded Commercial Street screaming “WATCH OUT WHITE BABY in my BASket = watch out for dat WHITE BABY!!!” with her dreadlocks pulled back and tied up like tresses comin outa her long face wearin some shades and something fey on her slim figure on the streets….she used to dj a weekly 60’s/70’s soul and r+b 2-4 a.m. slot on Sunday nights and would get so HIGH on that yardlong red bong she used 2 use (she introduced me to snowbongs on that thang) = oooof!

Now she would be also wearing a porcupine beaded choker as she was on the red warrior path in a red Jetta jetting me to a new life in Ms NYTitty…I had done the Maine Naraya that September, her second there, and that confirmed my choice as I was also splitting up with Prince LavaLava (who was moving to his parents’ house in the Catskills); and it felt like it was time to move. Ptown was changing, so me Rosette and PussPuss all left Ptown at the same time. PussPuss was heading back to San Antonio, TX, to help his mom take care of his Baptist preacher father die in their double wide trailer (I call them tornado traps = you know how it’s always trailer parks getting ripped apart by tornadoes in the South?)…and I was headed to further my art career + Rosette was going to live with her Mom for a bit outside DC.

We arrived at Union and Smith Sts, found parking in front of the corner building and proceeded to unload boxes and bags and suitcases of clothes up 4 flights to my 1 br. sublet, owned by a chef I knew and worked for briefly as he opened a new cafe in Ptown that Summer. The floor was strewn with boxes from previous trips we had made; this was our third and I wondered how I had accumulated so much crap! Well there were clothes, books, and – o yeah = art supplies, including boxes of broken eggshells (why the HELL did I save them? well – they were the lightest boxes to haul up 4 flights!) Rosette left to relax where she was staying and there I was = ALONE in a mess called moving; the ritual was a couple of hours away, it looked like rain, and I was exhausted! So what do I do? Get on a phone sex line…

You may asking yourself = what the HELL was I doing getting on some line to whack off or try 2 connect 4 sex b4 the ritual? I sure am = but this is what my memory is serving me right now; and memory is a weird thing = the things we DO remember amidst the multiplicity of sensory perceptions and experiential moments that bombard our minds – especially in a fast-paced, crowded and noisy place like NYC! I will not try to deconstruct in the inner working of my psyche as that moment = that is what this writing project is about = so that I too may learn, with you, the intricacies of my experience as I dole it out as creatively as possible to keep your attention in these lines. All I can say now is that THIS story is about a crazy artist, who is also a sex freak and a spiritual seeker…or would it be more accurate to say a sex seeker who is an artist becoming a spiritual adept…or perhaps a sexual adept who works as an artist while seeking spirit? Play with these words in your mind, mix them up and toss them out for different views on the same one who writes them for you to ponder.

Samhain is the end of a cycle and beginning of another; is a high holy holiday for those whose path is ‘pagan,’ which generally means the cycle of the year as interpreted by the Celtic Druids. In fact, “Happy New Year!” is the most appropriate greeting to give a witch in this tradition, as it is the beginning of Winter on that ancient calendar, a time when the veils between the worlds (meaning the worlds of the living and the dead) is thinnest – if not torn asunder, that one may commune with one’s ancestors: give them gifts and/or entreat them for wisdom. This communing with the dead is the basis for much of the ‘spookiness’ that pervades American Hallowe’en, but the silly way most folks approach this time belies the serious intent behind what pagans view as the meaning of their rites (not that these rituals, especially among the fey, cannot be riotous, jovial events!)

The faerie Samhain ritual that Friday night was in the Sacred Grove, a ring of large American Elms that ring a mound that juts into the Lawn in Prospect Park; they are old and twist about in their dance with the aethers looking for as much sunlight as they sway yards above the ground. It’s a great spot for Hallowe’en ritual, as the gnarled branches create a spooky aura against the sky which is never truly black in the city with so much lighting coming from the streets below….I probably got there as most had gathered, being encumbered by the time on the phone sex line…I remember little else that evening. The ritual was scheduled for Friday as Saturday was the 31st, when most of us would be going to Dick n Daisy’s loft for a fab costume party overlooking the Village Hallowe’en Parade marching up 6th Avenue in the city.

Hotel 57, the aforementioned loft on the NE corner of 6th Avenue and 16th St, was a 4th floor walk-up above the Holiday Diner (bad Greek cooking), which included a HUGE living space that could accommodate large parties, AND have guests stay over. Both qualities are a rare exception for NYC apartments, hence the name befitted the place. It was now occupied by Dickie, a freelance photographer, and Daisy Shaver, a nurse practitioner, who were old friends from Ptown (NO – they were NOT boyfriends! they used to retort adamantly when queried, as many would simply say = “oh we’re going over to Dick n Daisy’s for such n such…leading to this FALSE impression). The loft’s living space had HUGE industrial style windows that overlooked that corner, hence it was the perfect place to have a throw down on Hallowe’en as the parade wound it’s way up 6th Avenue.

We had just gotten into the city and were psyched for the fun we would co-create through cavorting, dancing and prancing in our costumes as we overlooked the crowds below…and I do remember that party was BIG = amazing crowd (you HAD to be costumed or your entry would be denied = unless you stripped to nothing!), a great DJ (though no one can remember who spun that night), plenty of weed and other assorted comestibles were to be had…who can remember? What I can recall is that folks seemed to come from everywhere = even Stoney was in town from Indiana wearing a fierce Centaur outfit…we had a great time looking cute – though I have no recollection of what I wore (perhaps due to something whipped together out of packed boxes?),,,and the dancing went on till 4 a.m. The music from our party spilled into the streets and whoever was handling the door had to deny entry to those who did not know the password, or we would have be inundated with strangers.

At one point I must have gotten up on a chair and did some gogo routine that garnered some attention, for the strongest memory to this day of that party is talking to DIckie afterward. He’d say something like: “We’ve heard that someone got fisted while gogo dancing at our party…Was that YOU Rosie?” I’d try to remember who or what I did that night; but all I can recall retorting:”NO Dickie, three fingers does NOT constitute getting fisted!”

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Welcome 2 the House of Delicious

The House of Delicious is an evolution in extraordinary good taste.

This place online exhibits the collective works of Rosie Delicious, Mother of the House of Delicious. The House of Delicious exists in the realm of the Ideals, and as such manifests through temporary exhibits, salons, performances, as well as expressions in the eggshell arts, fashions, writing, and video.

While known by many names (named Paul Wirhun, became the Eggman, masquerading as Marine Debris or BINKY), we have decided to house all our creative endeavors herein. By showcasing all our works on one site, whether personal or collective, we intend to give a fuller perspective of our world view, aspirations and exhortations to the world.

 

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