Last night while I was prancing around as Dodie Bellamy at Heather’s celebrating the release of the buddhist, I encountered one of the most obnoxious examples of New York gentrification fascism I have ever dealt with and as if it couldn’t be more dire, it was from the mouth/hands of a “queer” person, a person I want to consider apart of my community, not an enemy… The experience reminded me of a section in the buddist wherein Dodie explains that if she lived next door to one of her friends, they definitely wouldn’t be friends. But Dodie explains the universe has allowed them to meet on grounds accommodating for parties, so they are able to see the good in one another and have a friendship “who, in a slightly different situation, I would hate… Lacan said, that all relationships are about finding the right distance….” I guess the following is a confession of my inability to find the right distance…
I stepped outside for a cigarette break with my girlfriend when outta nowhere a scowling little girl came barging up to us, demanding we relocate to the corner to continue with our cigarette. She was the barback for Heather’s and she cried that the bar’s neighbors would close Heather’s down if we didn’t immediately move up the block… For those unfamiliar with the bar, Heather’s, it’s located on the middle of a block in the bustling Lower East Side area, an area known for its eclectic mix of citizenry and for starting movements like punk rock and heroin chic. It’s a colorful neighborhood that has always welcomed in the weirdo’s that have escaped suburban nihilism. Anyway, I think last night was the first time I have ever been told not to smoke or that I’ve been too loud while standing in the Lower East Side.
The power trippin’ wanna-be trendsetting egomaniacal dyke that attacked me came careening at me with her eyes bulging from her sockets after having just finished harassing a guy for standing in the doorway with a glass of beer. At first I thought she must be best friend’s with the guy she assaulted for having a beer in the doorway because I thought her ferocity had to be sarcastic. But to my dismay I watched her come at me with the same level of anger. I knew I was dealing with a megabitch as soon as she opened her mouth because there was no level of concern in her demand, she simply wanted to be in power and tell me exactly what to do. My girlfriend is not one to backdown so when “megabitch” came at us and demanded we relocate up the street, my girlfriend yelled back. As they argued I cowered up the block, eager to avoid confrontation. I went three buildings up the street thinking that suffice distance to be removed from the bar but was I wrong! Not a moment after I puffed a puff, the little “megabitch-fascist-power-trippin’-wanna-be-trendsetting-egomaniacal-dyke ” reared her fugly little face, this time instead of just insisting I go to the corner she started name calling and threatening that I should be kicked off the block… I tried briefly to insist that being 4 buildings away was enough and besides, it was only 7pm, hardly late enough for neighbors to complain…
But it wasn’t enough… the little bitch just had to keep attacking so I demanded she recognize that everyone she was harassing was at Heather’s for an event that was giving her and her coworkers significantly more business than they otherwise would be receiving. Had we not all been there, Heather’s surely would have been dead and the tip jar empty. The little bitch needed her ego popped but it didn’t work… I asked her for her name, “Melissa Plaut” she yelled, “and you should google it because you obviously have no idea who you’re dealing with! You’re really gonna feel like a dooshbag after you google my name… Lemme spell it out for you, M.E.L.I.S.S.A. P.L.A.U.T. now go home and google it…” Then she dashed away… A few moments later the bartender approached me and asked what happened, told me she was there to “reprimand me” on behalf of the barback, we both laughed, acknowledged the absurdity of the situation, then went our merry ways…
Around this time, the fellow party attendees approached me and asked for my experience with the “fucking fascist” (name we gave her…). We all swapped stories and at some point I relayed my story to Masha Tupitsyn… Masha told me Melissa Plaut had just demanded she stop talking on her cellphone. Despite the fact that Heather’s was blaring music, Melissa Plaut thought it was inappropriate for Masha to talk on her cellphone on the sidewalk. After we finished bonding over our recent abuse we introduced ourselves to each other… I had seen Masha read a year or so ago at the RedCat in Los Angeles but never met her. She’s responsible for one of my favorite collections of writing on film, “Life As We Show It.” Once I realized I was sharing abuse stories with Masha, the incident evolved into a positive experience. Thanks Melissa Plaut for providing sucha awkward experience that I was forced to meet someone whose work I’ve admired for quite awhile! And soon I’ll be receiving a copy of her new book Laconia in the mail! Once I devour it, I’ll post a review with an interview with the author!
:::an aside for Melissa Plaut::: in the future I suggest you change your tone and how you approach people, had you been polite and nice and explained why you needed us to move up the street and stay off our cellphones I’m sure we would have been sympathetic to your request, there is no reason to attack paying customers! No reason whatsoever! Nor is there any reason for you to gloat about the things that come up when you google your name… so you made yourself a wiki page to promote your book, no one is impressed because you’re a total hack:::
Masha Tupitsyn is a writer and cultural critic who lives in New York City. She is the author of LACONIA: 1,200 Tweets on Film (ZerO Books, 2011) Beauty Talk & Monsters, a collection of film-based stories (Semiotext(e) Press, 2007), and co-editor of the anthology Life As We Show It: Writing on Film (City Lights, 2009), which was voted one of the best film books of 2009 by Dennis Cooper, January Magazine, Shelf Awareness, and Chicago’s New City. She is currently working on a new book of essays on film and the star system, Screen to Screen and Star Notes, a book about John Cusack and the politics of acting. Her fiction and criticism has appeared in the anthologies Wreckage of Reason: XXperimental Women Writers Writing in the 21st Century (2008) and the Encyclopedia Project Volume II, F-K (2010) and BOMB, Keyframe, Puerto del Sol, 2nd Floor Projects, Vertebrae Journal, TINA, Venus Magazine, The Rumpus, Animal Shelter, Fanzine, Make/Shift, NYFA Current, Bookforum, Fence, Five Fingers Review, and San Francisco’s KQED’s The Writer’s Block. She regularly contributes video essays on film and culture to Ryeberg Curated Video, which features writers like Mary Gaitskill and Sheila Heti. She teaches writing and is a PhD student at The European Graduate School.
Here’s two reviews for Laconia:
There’s something about the way Masha Tupitsyn’s mind works when she addresses gender and film. It’s different from how pretty much all other contemporary feminist theorists do it. Amid so much detached deconstruction, Tupitsyn’s criticism is refreshingly full of life. Laconia, a document of Tupitsyn’s public thoughts on film, is a stream of intimate, immediate, and specific reflections on movies, as well as a broad and sustained interrogation of things like whether we can any longer truly see corporatized cities like LA and NY other than in old movies, how to understand David Lynch’s women, and whether there is any real possibility for connection in social media, or for that matter, in watching films. (Jessica Hoffman, writer and co editor, Make/Shift Magazine)
The 1200 tweets that constitute Masha Tupitsyn’s LACONIA are, each one, an aphorism in a bottle set adrift into the midst of all the other crisscrossing messages that movies and the media universe have spawned and continually and more or less blindly emit. Everything is happening in real time – not recollected in tranquility but intercepted in passing – even when the messages emanate from the deep past or (perhaps) a future around the next bend. It’s a collage of the present moment, a continuous and unyielding dialogue, open-ended and alert to the barrage of signals that has become our home. (Geoffrey O’Brien, author of The Fall of the House of Walworth: A Tale of Madness and Murder in Gilded Age America, Hardboiled America: Lurid Paperbacks And The Masters Of Noir, The Phantom Empire: Movies in the Mind of the 20th Century.)