Wednesday, October 29, 2014


In 2009, Lindsay Lohan granted an interview to Us Weekly where she aired her emotional vulnerability in a way that felt shocking. You can read the full text of the interview—and it really is worth reading—here.

In the interview, Lohan brags about collaborating with J. C. Penney's, admits to getting into it with TV C-Lister Drea de Matteo, and acknowledges being devastated by her breakup with Samantha Ronson. Her career was more freshly in the toilet at the time: it felt like a terrible step to open up to a publication that had thrived on pointing out her every misdeed since she started out as a stage-mom–dominated child star. 

This was the point where I first acknowledged that Lindsay is delusional. I sat down to write a story that encompasses her desperation, and titled it after the Us Weekly cover: ‘I Am So Alone’. Here’s the broadside I adapted from what I wrote:

What sort of world had been built for Lindsay, I wondered, and then I used Millions of Milkshakes as a launchpoint. The planet of ‘I Am So Alone’ consists of a surface made of helium balloons suspended from a central cherry-pit core. The strings that connect the balloons to the pit form the planet’s mantle. By the story’s end, a disoriented narrator (Lindsay) performs a sexualized parlor trick Dina probably taught her at a young age.

Pre-order The Story of How All Animals Are Equal & Other Talesthe collection that features 'I Am So Alone'HERE! The first fifty people to order the book from the Brooklyn Arts Press website will receive a free limited-edition broadside adaptation of a story from the collection—and yours could be 'I Am So Alone'!

Thursday, October 23, 2014


‘Little Tiles of Wealth’ is a story that focuses on a single mom who works as an ER nurse and worries as her pre-pubescent son’s interests diverge from her own. It’s just one of the 22 fiction pieces included in The Story of How All Animals Are Equal & Other Stories, a collection Brooklyn Arts Press is publishing in December. If you don’t want to wait, though, you can pre-order the book HERE.

The story’s protagonist hears cryptic advice emanating from the philanthropic plaques she passes as she walks to work and makes her way through the hospital. ‘A walk down a hospital corridor reveals the outrageous inequality of contemporary health care …’ says writer Carol Guess about the story. Some of the more absurdist scenes from the ER in ‘Little Tiles of Wealth’ are courtesy of my friend who works the nightshift in a busy hospital. 

Another of the story’s themes was first suggested to me by my boyfriend: the campy potential of sports. One of the protagonist’s biggest fears is that her son is forsaking science for the pleasure of watching athletes onscreen. D. A. Miller writes about how athletes are seen as active rather than performative—although they are being watched, their movements are not scripted, but rather made in ways that deny the fact they’re on display. They’re part of a team that works together to dominate. Men on stage, however, have difficulty reading as masculine. They are not doing, but rather performing. According to John Berger, ‘men act and women appear.’

‘It is no accident ...’ writes David M. Halperin, ‘that sports matches—with one or two rare exceptions—are never reenacted, restaged, or reperformed exactly as they originally transpired. They must be seen to occur only once, because their very definition demands that they appear to be unscripted: in order to qualify as an “event," they must consist in a single, spontaneous action that concludes once and for all when it is over and that cannot be repeated.’

As athletes allow themselves to be more flamboyant, though, and—like David Beckham—sexualized, I wonder if spectator sports are changing. Maybe I’m just too gay for ESPN, but when I see its commentators debating, their humor feels frigid in a way that's weirdly outdated. The protagonist from ‘Little Tiles of Wealth’ feels this each morning as she walks past a sporting goods store and sees its employees clowning around, roleplaying as star athletes behind Xeroxed-face-on-popsicle-stick masks.

Visit Brooklyn Arts Press’s website to pre-order The Story of How All Animals Are Equal & Other Tales.

Friday, October 17, 2014


‘Toy Story’ relates an interaction between two classic toys in their break room. I adapted it into a broadside, which you can learn more about here.

'Toy Story' is also included in my forthcoming Brooklyn Arts Press collection, The Story of How All Animals Are Equal & Other Tales, which is now available for pre-order. The first 50 people who order from BAP's website will receive a free broadside adaptation of 'Toy Story' or another piece!

Monchichi, based on the early 1980s anthropomorphic monkey-doll phenomenon (spelled Monchhichi), has recently had her heart broken, and melodramatically pokes at her chef salad as she attempts to recover. Here she is in happier times:

Meanwhile, her stickler co-worker, Madball, regales her with libertarian propaganda. His political philosophy is a natural extension of his upbringing as a popular toy that tried to be as gross as possible:

Pre-order The Story of How All Animals Are Equal & Other Tales HERE.

Thursday, October 9, 2014


The Story of How All Animals Are Equal & Other Tales is due out December 1! Meanwhile, though, you can pre-order it HERE

The book's Orwell-inspired title story appeared earlier this year in Grist 7. A depressed narrator engages in a power struggle with a strong-willed fashion design student who he platonically shares a bed with. The narrator watches Lena try on different animal identities as she sews clothes inspired by farm animals, adopts and discards—then rediscovers—a Pomeranian, and incongruously dresses as Jessica Rabbit for Halloween. At night, they re-equalize:
We slept in a Murphy bed that never went up. There were hooks mounted on the wall above it, with hats piled thick enough to keep the bed from lifting. The mattress was too short—if we extended our legs, our feet made contact with an icy iron bar at the foot of the bed. I imagined us as batteries recharging, the cold shock pushing exhaustion up through our bodies and sparking dreams. 
Sometimes Lena made animal sounds in her sleep. I would break the iron current then, and cuddle. We’d be warm together, my knees locked into the back of hers. Of course this place is haunted, she’d say, with all those hats falling on the bed all the time. She’d say it like it was my fault, but most of the hats were hers.
Things become tense as the narrator grows jealous of Lena’s other relationships. He finds himself mirroring her tyrannical personality, the thing that drew him to her in the first place:
Lena was eight days older than me, and shared her birthday with Hitler. I shared mine with Saddam Hussein. We had a joint birthday party where we spent the day in bed. We read to each other, played cards, and gossiped. We took turns going to the store for more champagne. When it got dark, we took a nap, then got up and went out dancing. She brought home an NPR reporter who said he couldn’t take her home because his house was being painted.  
That means he has a girlfriend, I told her. 
Whatever, she said. It’s my birthday. 
 It’s my birthday, too, I said, and refused to yield the bed. 
As the narrator’s depression deepens, the rainy season sets in, and Lena obsessively listens to Prince’s ’17 Days’, a song that tonally syncs with the story’s up-tempo sadness. Because the Artist is such a freak about copyright issues, I can’t post the video here, but hopefully this link will stay up for awhile:
One time Lena said, Prince is such a man. 
Prince wears mascara, I said. 
I don’t mean a man like macho. I mean a man like human. Listen: there’s nothing animal in Prince’s world. It’s all artifice and emotion. 
I moved a beret from the bed to the hat rack.  
All you ever listen to is this one song, I said, and it’s the b-side to ‘When Doves Cry’. That’s maybe the most animal song ever. 

Friday, October 3, 2014


I never noticed how much Angelina Jolie's acting relies on posing until watching The Tourist on an airplane. I was too cheap to buy earphones, and the postures were probably heightened by the lack of sound: the silence made me conscious of how much the actor's striking appearance must limit her range. I haven't seen Salt, which came out around the same time, but it seems to be essentially the same role. Turn down the sound and see:

It’s a face that wants to be static—when she has to move and talk, it feels a little like someone made a puppet out of a Vogue cover. Thus, she becomes the default Woman of Mystery, someone remote enough to never emote. So is Angie Jo an extremely well paid character actress? 

Intrigue is essential to everything she does (at least, in recent years). And when I sat down to write ‘The Hare, I tried to harness—and satirize—the emotions that filmmakers set out to evoke when they do intrigue: the frisson of realizing things aren’t what they seem, the heart-sink that comes with betrayal, the childish thrill of being chased.

‘The Hare’ first appeared in BOMB, along with the above collage. The story is just one of 22 featured in my forthcoming collection, The Story of How All Animals Are Equal & Other Tales. Click HERE to pre-order it.