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my thoughts are so jumbled in my head and they don't seem to be making any sense. a lite melancholy has been coursing through me as of late, oddly resonant with the scorching east bay heat...i feel some sense of impending doom, but its not terribly urgent - peep show has been giving me comfort in these weird times...
i feel some anticipation around a 'white boy summer,' but maybe its just that i need to give myself something to look forward to. today, i got an iced green tea latte from the starbucks in the brookvale complex, just like i did every summer in high school when the weather started to warm and my seasonal depression began to wane. last summer we talked about getting an inflatable pool, or a big tub like zach did in nashville. we never did it - but i'm hoping the neighborhood pool opens up soon, it's one of the only good things about being home.
when we were teens we would play king's cup in the hot tub. we'd throw empty handles behind the fence and climb up on the roof to watch the sunset. sometimes we'd bring water bottles filled with some toxic amalgamation of alcohols stolen from our parent's liquor cabinets...
when i get out of the habit of worming, it's hard to get back into it. maybe I'm still recovering from LA - i felt very much in my own head there, everything was so considered and unfamiliar. it wasn't so much that people felt necessarily hostile, rather self-absorbed to an un-relatable degree, and this forced alienation from others made me feel even more unusual than usual. i can't tell if i'm making all this up because i was reading city of quartz while i was there, which really digs in to the ludicrous image of LA in the cultural imaginary, but i feel like there is some truth to how i was feeling. you can't trust anything in LA - every place was hit-or-miss, i found myself gravitating to known 'spots,' which is so different from how i live in SF, where everything is great and i have an insatiable desire to experience new things. a little bit of that desire was hampered in LA, where i felt myself disappointed or bewildered around half the time i left the house. is one of these better than the other? it seems like having your favorite 'spots' is a way of claiming a city, but an article i just read in NYT about Erewhon says that in LA people build their brand by identifying with spots (WeHo, Alfred's, Erewhon. not exactly me...) in any case, LA is kind of generally unreliable, and i think that affected my feelings towards it: skeptical, critical, mistrustful, suspicious. i felt like a Weimar exile lamenting the decimation of culture in a Hollywood bungalow in the early 20th century...
in some ways, San Francisco is a rich person's Disneyland just like LA - maybe even more so. but for whatever reason, LA's voyeurism just does not translate to the Bay Area. in LA, the obsession with aesthetics/image manifests itself in bizarre ways: people's fashion choices, of course; conspicuous consumption, like Erewhon; the line-to-get-in as a de facto stage; restaurants like the Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hills, where surely everyone can agree the food is mediocre and ridiculously over-priced, but still chic Instagram women dine in and post it to their story...it doesn't exactly compute for me.
SF is profoundly more casual: i felt that, in LA, if someone asked me while I brunched at Figaro in Los Feliz who was sitting to my right, i'd be able to tell them. but in SF, the other people present at the thing (and what they look like, and what they're wearing, and what celebrity they might be) are totally incidental to the experience. maybe that is just the inevitable result when people don't put in the effort, don't carefully consider their appearance, aren't intentional. you just dont pay attention to anyone, because no one is worth paying attention to. but that is exactly why I went down to LA in the first place - because SF can feel like a bit of a bore when no one's stunt knob is turned to 10. maybe LA is just too good at its own game for me, and i'm jealous I cant stand out in such an oversaturated market, in such an unmanageable geography. whatever it may be, i was happy to return to SF, where i can walk down the street in my adidas sweats, birkenstocks, and giants hoodie and no one will bat an eye (and it doesn't mean im ugly.)
i had a mini existential crisis about moving to new york after talking to some guy who ran manual arts in LA - alex perweiler, i think. he said, move to NYC if you want to make it big in art, 10 years minimum. i did some soul-searching and decided that would be a silly mistake, because i love san francisco to the bottom of my heart and don't care about selling paintings to angel investors. what i really want is to know the city deeply and fully, instigate a countercultural revival a la Merry Pranksters meets Crazy Rich Asians, continue the legacy of the bohemians, beats, hippies, and maybe be a local celebrity, is that too much to ask? the first step is opening an exhibition space with Jeffrey, which is a project i am too excited to start. i think zach is right about needing to be in one place for a long time to really start and finish something. i do like to travel, but i feel like i just want to get started on doing this thing that i want to spend my whole life doing, which is contributing to the cultural fabric of SF, meeting the people who make up my community, and documenting it all for the future generations. maybe one day they will be looking up the wikipedia entry for e-worm.club just as i look up ant farm, or owsley stanley, or whole earth catalog, or jefferson airplane. the soul of SF still runs through glen canyon, through haight and ashbury, through the fillmore and the presidio, through the myriad staircases scattered around the city. i think it so beautiful, so rich, so full of potential...i always have.
"Don't tell me this town ain't got no heart (don't tell me this town ain't got no heart)
When I can hear it beat out loud!"

Is Erewhon’s Arrival in Silver Lake the Final Nail in the Gentrifying Neighborhood’s Coffin?


"At the time, [Chaka] Khan worked with the charismatic young Black Panther leader Fred Hampton (later gunned down in his bed by Chicago police), hawked the party’s strident newspaper on street corners and worked in an old South Side church at one of the Black Panther’s innovative free-breakfast programs for children. She even owned a .38-caliber long-nose Colt revolver and recounts in her 2003 autobiography Chaka! Through the Fire that she spent time target practicing and 'toying with the idea of doing something radical.'

Instead, Khan quickly grew tired of the violence that surrounded her. “As for the gun,” she wrote, 'I hurled that sucker into the University of Chicago Botany Pond. Immediately, I felt free.'"

Burger King rebrand


"On October 15, 1962, Lansdale wrote a memorandum on “Illumination by Submarine.” It proposed firing “star shells from a submarine to illuminate the Havana area” after dark on November 2, All Souls’ Day, in order “to gain extra impact from Cuban superstitions.” The memo did not mention the Second Coming, but it did suggest that the star shells could be coupled with a CIA-generated “rumor inside Cuba, about portents signifying the downfall of the regime and the growing strength of the resistance.” The “Elimination by Illumination” scheme did lasting damage to Lansdale’s reputation, but he was hardly the only or even the main culprit behind such far-fetched plots. Long before Lansdale was assigned to work on Cuba, CIA officers in 1960 had come up with brainstorms such as slipping Castro a box of cigars contaminated “with some sort of chemical” that would lead him to “make a public spectacle of himself” or feeding him a depilatory drug to make his beard—supposedly a source of his power—fall out. It was almost as if the Marx Brothers had been put in charge of America’s premier intelligence agency. Once Mongoose got under way, the flow of far-fetched ideas turned into a deluge. Brigadier General William H. Craig, the Defense Department representative to Mongoose, submitted proposals such as Operation Free Ride (“Create unrest and dissension among the Cuban people … by airdropping valid Pan American or KLM one-way airline tickets good for passage to Mexico City, Caracas, etc”) and Operation Good Times: “To disillusion the Cuban population with Castro image by distribution of fake photographic material … such as an obese Castro with two beauties in any situation desired, ostensibly within a room in the Castro residence, lavishly furnished, and a table brimming over with the most delectable Cuban food with an underlying caption (appropriately Cuban) such as ‘My ration is different.’” An Air Force lieutenant colonel came up with an even more outlandish idea in response to a shortage of toilet paper and sanitary napkins in Cuba. He suggested that the CIA air-drop toilet paper into Cuba with pictures on alternate sheets of Fidel Castro and Nikita Khrushchev to “drive Castro mad.”

Genthe Collection @ the LOC




a dainty black girl wiggling up and down the street, with the little shiny pom-poms on her headband feverishly shuddering in the cold night of the COVID party scene in West Hollywood, the air stale but brisk in the early spring, where and to whom was she wiggling to?

amid the circus outside the Abbey, two fat white cops leaning against their unmarked cop-car parked at the front of the line, sipping on coffee suspiciously, wrapping a middle-aged white man—fully naked except for socks and slip-on shoes— in a towel, and sending him on his merry way...in secret alliance with the gay establishment, perhaps, or getting off on a weird kink of intimidating/making uncomfortable all the queers trapped in the endless line to get in...

a welcome rain in Los Feliz, not always sunny in Los Angeles, contrary to public opinion, a fog-drenched gray morning, wet leaves sinking under the weight of the sky;

everyone is stunting at Maru on a tuesday morning, where do they come from, where do they work, what do they do besides dress up in finery at 10am to get a morning cup of joe (or matcha, or spiced cold brew) and get off on looking at people look at them?

in the dark we stood like sardines in the kitchen, peering out the window through layers of refraction into the adjacent apartment, at a beanied Jeff Ward, a b? c? list actor i had never heard of before, but still wouldn't have guessed lived in a random Los Feliz apartment complex. i felt indignant last night when he closed his curtains, as if he forgot that the whole point of living in L.A. is to see and be seen, in real life through the window if not on tv...

two twins in Hannah Montana drag fondling each other sentimentally on Robertson Blvd, anonymized totally, in sunglasses, wigs, and masks, like someone pedestrian trying to look famous, and a group of queer black men hanging out by their parked car, blasting music, absorbing the pathetic energy of the 2 hour line outside the Abbey, shivering gays and straight girls in skimpy clothes and heavy makeup ("who are the idiots that would wait in this line," i said back in september), and turning it, for themselves, into a thing of entertainment and spectacle...

a distinct feeling of noir descending upon the city at its most chaotic, but not in Los Feliz at 2am with not a single soul around, as if the depravity only comes into focus when you're at brunch with a woman whose outfit is themed around multiple cleavages, in line (always in line in L.A.) with cringey Kim K and Ariana lookalikes squishing around WeHo without masks, waiting at the intersection with mobs of venice ex-frat boys who peaked in college and brunch at the rose, watching the dystopian grammys from a few miles away which reward neither art nor transparently commercial success, but the wily hobknobbing of former theater geeks, rags-to-riches rappers, bullied laptop-kids-cum-producers, and whoever else makes up "the Academy" of mainstream culture...

a genius autobiographical documentary about Paris Hilton, self-involved and incoherent to a comical extent, where the plot device is that she becomes an activist, like Kendall Jenner in the Pepsi commercial, and for the cameras she leads an extremely specific protest where she is the only one without a mask, but looks glam:
(her mom says she is one of the smartest people you will meet in your life...)

voyeurism pervades every aspect of life, in such a stylish and sceney city how could it go any other way? at brunch you sit in an alcove where you can see people, remark on their outfits, their potential for stardom, "don't look now, but i swear that's Nico Hiraga/Gwyneth Paltrow/Nick Robinson", you almost forget not to stare... lukas says you have a 50% chance of being right, its a fun little game here in L.A., to look without remorse, to partake in the conjuring of communal myths, to sell the mirage in every tagged Instagram story and post, like free propaganda, an investors' delight... the eros of sight, the economy of other people's scarce attention, the unadulterated orgasm of being remarked upon, of being appreciated, of being seen... it's enough to make someone go a little bit mad, and actually maybe miss the sleepy nature of S.F., with its unpretentious fashion and casual (elitist) vibe...everyone here is so willing to perpetuate the fiction of L.A., the nth buzzy italian restaurant/sandwich joint/pop-up which always actually is decidedly mediocre, but the inflated lines and social media hype belie the elusive truth... maybe the problem is that Angelenos are just too charitable, but more I think my previous hypothesis might actually be true, that people parrot opinions that they think will gain them favor, maybe everyone is too eager to be part of the consensus...and, maybe i am too eager to be critical...

we went to frogtown, and the experience was gold – i've never been in a place that more felt like the ground zero of gentrification, with modular shipping container buildings selling pink-branded cupcakes and $15 over-hyped sandwiches in the midst of what was clearly a residential Hispanic neighborhood. how the zoning allows for these stupid yuppie businesses to crop up right in the midst of streets lined with single-family homes is a mystery to me. the coverage of frogtown by the L.A. Times is laughable, calling the formerly gang-terrorized neighborhood by the highway "a wonderfully weird creative hub blossom[ing] along the L.A. River", "secret and self-contained" with a single paragraph obtusely mentioning gentrification...i wonder if the Mexican grandmother chatting on the phone in her front yard thinks of her neighborhood as a secret waiting to be discovered by the aggressively flamboyant 20-somethings rabidly mobbing the corner of Knox and Blake, spilling out into the street aside the ever-popular "quirky nook for jumbo sandwiches," while they wait for over 2 hours in their baggy jeans, workout wear, birkenstocks, to devour 'culture,' 'trends,' be a 'part of something,' or whatever it is. we ate our sandwiches by the L.A. river, calmingly industrial and ugly, and i whined about the idiocy of the entire experience, ever true to my coastal elite kin, matcha in hand. the woman in the tiny sandwich shop had an urgent and chipper voice, which felt on the verge of cracking, as she shepherded the throngs of wannabe influencers away from the window and into the neighborhood streets, saying the wait would only be "a couple more minutes, just a couple more minutes" ad infinitum...the whole scene felt straight out of hell, as if any moment the fraudulent sense of order would disappear and the whole crowd would descend into chaos, a violent fistfight over the "playful, piled-high sandwiches named after celebrities", the "Ira Glass", the "Terry Gross," tote bags and over-sized sunglasses flying while fat little Latino boys look on in dismay from their porches...


Marc Canter on Canter's: "I was born in 1965, so when I was three or four years old, it was still a hippie scene here. There were lines out the door, we were open 24 hours, and we didn’t have a dress code and it didn’t matter — they paid their checks, so it wasn’t a problem. Frank Zappa would come and start a table with some friends and then some other people would come who he knew — musicians, whatever — “Yeah, come sit with us!” Then at some point, you gotta go home, right? But the table didn’t break, because some people came an hour after he came. So, he’d come back the next day, and the table would still be going, because it was a revolving table of hippies — whatever you want to call it. My dad called them beatniks."


Was Modern Art Really a CIA Psy-Op? (via JSTOR)


the story of california is a story of highways, meandering, endless, with hills and valleys and glimmering oases on the horizon, a heat-induced fever dream...driving down 880S i remembered all the early mornings driving to school in San Jose, over-caffeinated and under-slept, in 1 hr. and 15 min. of bumper to bumper traffic, at some point during which the sun would decide to rise above the east bay hills...once, on my way to a graduation party, i got a ticket for speeding, going 83 in a 65 (in california the speeding tickets are $400, by the way, not $70 like in other states) and that summer I got a job at the personal-pizza place (2015 was the peak of those chipotle-style establishments) to pay off that and a couple other tickets. the first day i drove my new car to school, two cars were weaving in front of me, maybe racing, in any case fooling around, and they hit each other right in front of me—i came to a screeching halt, and the car behind me slammed into me...i called my dad crying and he drove the 10 miles in maybe 5 minutes, weaving through the morning traffic, he gave me his car to drive to school, where i continued to cry out of guilt and shock the whole day...a gleaming white 2016 s550, it went into the shop shortly after...
california's highways probably carry many more-interesting stories, like maria from play it as it lays (the 'LA highway book,' as mike davis calls it) deftly swerving through seven or so lanes to make the exit, just for the thrill...back when i was in LA in september, also maybe for the thrill, i'd drive back maybe a little too fucked up from culver city to koreatown, always just past midnight, like a little baby mario crouched in his bullet bike, listening to heavy bass bangers, zooming across the asphalt and missing exits left and right...
our favorite place for 'fun coffee' was this drive through joint masquerading as a retro auto shop, on a random intersection in ktown, where chris and i would get quadruple shot lattes and 32oz cold brew growlers to fuel our over-extended lifestyles...there is no california culture without cars, although maybe my acquaintances who grew up in San Francisco proper (and didnt get licenses until college) might disagree, but what could they say to possibly counter that iconic scene in Palo Alto where the angsty gay kid drives the wrong way into oncoming freeway traffic? the foundational premise of growing up in California if there ever was one, at least in my opinion...
i took the i-5 down from the bay, it was the first time i'd ever driven down alone, and all in one stretch. i thought for some reason i might be somehow incapable of the feat, but not only was it perfectly fine and doable, even in my crazy painted car, but i got to LA ready to rage in all my space cowboy splendor. people love to complain about how barren and empty and ugly i-5 is – i felt the opposite, and not just because i like to be different. i was truly struck by the beauty of the agricultural heartland, the rolling hills in the distance, glowing golden behind the most majestic plains, dotted with cows blacker than black... (i think where i'm thinking of is called Tejon Ranch.) the scenery changed fairly often, all things considered, and i found it actually a really enjoyable drive, and i wonder why people don't like it or say there is nothing to see. my most uncharitable take would be something to the effect of: people parrot opinions they think will gain them favor and camaraderie with others, without regard for their accuracy or truth, but maybe an even more uncharitable view would be that people fail to open their eyes to more arcane beauty that might not show up on postcards...the stretch of pacheco pass highway between gilroy and santa nella almost made me crash my car, as i strained to see the gorgeous glittering blue of the reservoir out of the corner of my right eye...but probably, my most uncharitable takes are not the ones that are actually true, and so i wonder why people hate i-5 so much, when to me it surpassed so many other drives (especially through the midwest)...
claudia woke me up a few hours after our party to drive her to LAX, and coming back bleary-eyed at dawn on i-5N past elysian park was so beautiful, with everything turning a faded purplish blue and the lights coming on slowly in the valley...a quiet drive, no music for 5am, and the eclectic desert birds chirping while i came up the stairs to lukas' apartment, their lives already bustling in our early morning.


bussin to cardi b at the olive garden with my cousin


driving high in the suburbs at night one hand on steering wheel other feeding myself an insane coldstone creation... listening to bangers


home is very overstimulating- within a number of hours I am working, listen to an (enjoyable) lecture from my brother about gordon ramsay and his various cooking shows, get to see my grandma/feel all the complicated granddaughter feelings, get in a weird mini fight with my mom who was being silly and coming for me and my brother, see all these pictures of my dad, hang out with my cousins and be reminded of my fleeting youth and getting older, engage in a socratic dialogue with my brother about non autistic trans people (who he has hyphenated as NATs), im gonna go get coldstone from my cousin who works there tomorrow and for that I’m excited, also want to get my nails done, eyebrows done, clean my car, try out my grandma’s skincare rituals, get coffee with my mom, fremont is fun and really so nice in many ways, but it is just all a lot, especially compared to the odd peace and comfort of my san Francisco home