The bourgeoisie and the rebel

Did you miss Art Basel Miami Beach 2013 – the who’s who of no one you know? Are you worried that others will think you are not cultured? Do you even know who Marina Abramović is? 

Don’t fret (fret is a fancy word for worry, and is used by people wearing scarves with high-wasted shorts at Basel). I got you.

Below I’ve assembled an easy-to-follow five-step plan that will help you get through that uncomfortable Monday morning what-did-you-do-this-weekend conversation with the twenty-something-year-old that will judge you if they were to find out you didn’t really go.


When asked, “Did you go to Basel this weekend?” respond with any of the below non-answers and let the other person take over the conversation.

  • Oh my God, the traffic!
  • My feet are pounding! 
  • So many people!
  • Wynwood is so much better than the Beach!


In the event that you are asked a follow up question like, “Which fairs did you visit?” Respond by choosing any three of the following:

  • Blip
  • Score
  • Plus
  • Dot
  • Smack
  • Taste
  • Splash
  • Zero

You can also create your own, as long as you stick to single words that could double as names of gay bars.


Update your social media accounts with random photos of “art.” Don’t worry about quality. I mean, it doesn’t have to be “real art,” by any means. The more random, the more believable. Walk around your house and snap a photo of dust bunnies under the couch, the spoons in your drawer or yogurt in the fridge. In case this task is too daunting, I’ve provided you with a few examples you can use:

so realistic.
“Hanger/Untitled” OMG so realistic.
"Lifeblood/Untitled" my faves.
“Lifeblood/Untitled” This was my faves.
"Tears of a Clown on LSD/Untitled" was really moving.
“Tears of a Clown on LSD/Untitled” Really moving.


Inevitably, someone will ask you about the Basel parties. “So, did you go to any of the pop-ups?” To make it through this final gauntlet of face-saving, you will need to incorporate all of the above techniques into a 30-second monologue of nothing.

Start with your non-answers:

  • Oh my god the traffic! And the people! It was crazy! Wynwood is so much better than the Beach!

Create new names for gay bars:

  • We ended up at (choose one of the following) Silent Sound, Spray, Cherry Lips

And then drop names of celebrities:

  • You know who I saw? I saw Marina Abramović! I know right? Hold on. It gets better. And she was with Pharrell. I almost died. Let me show you a picture <INSERT BLURRY NIGHT PHOTO>. That’s them in the corner! Crazy right?

Feel free to use this photo or create one of your own:

That's me in the corner next to the Hammer.
Crazy right?!


Whatever you say. Do not. Repeat. Do not mispronounce Basel and call it Art Basil.

Art Basil.
Art Basil.

Follow this plan and you will be transformed from basil rebel to Basel bourgeoisie. However, if you are too convincing, you may find yourself in some deep philosophical conversation about what is art and what is not, at which point you should just quote anything Madonna says from her (Not) Secret Project Revolution – or her Ray of Light album. Either one will do.

Red letter year

As I was putting away my Halloween costume I missed Thanksgiving and Hanukkah. And while I was trying to figure out who won “Dancing with the Stars,” the librarian asked me to go pick up a Christmas tree. The speed in which this year is leaving us is equivalent to a Porsche GT in the hands of an actor from a movie franchise about illegal street racing.

Two-thousand and thirteen has been a strange year. A year of dichotomies and contradictions. Of simultaneous joy and pain. A year when the Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality, but the House of Representatives won’t bring the Employment Non-Discrimination Act up for a vote. A year when three women and a six-year-old girl were rescued from captivity, but a woman in Florida was sentenced to 20 years in jail* for firing a warning shot at her abusive husband.

A year when George Zimmerman was found not guilty for 2nd degree murder, but O.J. Simpson is still in jail for robbery. A year when two bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, but the Boston Red Sox won their 8th World Series. A year when South Florida did not get a single storm this Hurricane season, but the Philippines received the brunt of the strongest typhoon ever recorded.

A year when a mentally unstable navy contractor passed a background check, but the NSA is keeping track of everyone’s Facebook status. A year when the minority party exercised their power to shut down the entire U.S. government over healthcare, but Americans are now signing up for insurance by the droves.

A year when I changed jobs, but kept the same salary. A year when I traveled to Nicaragua through my job in academia, but have traveled nowhere through my job at a cruise line. A year when I quit my magazine, but also quit smoking. A year when I turned 35 as a human, 12 as a partner, and 11 as a pet parent, but 10 as a half-orphan. A year when started I a new writing project, but failed to finish it.

A year that should end as quietly and subtly as this post, but followed by a better and more meaningful year like the posts to come.

*Marissa Alexander was recently granted a new trial date and was able to post bail.

You don’t know a thing about me

Over the weekend I saw “Blue Is the Warmest Colour.” You may have heard it was awarded the Palme d’Or this summer at Cannes. You may have also heard it had an exceptionally long and excessively graphic love sex scene between two women, which is why it was slapped with an NC-17 rating.

The following by no means is a movie review. It’s more of a public service announcement – for heterosexuals:

Dear straight people,

As you may have heard, there is a provocative and award-winning lesbian movie making its rounds in art houses across America. You, being progressive and supportive heteros with lots of gay friends, will want to go out and see this film. And that’s okay. I’m all about supporting your independent theater. However, before you go, please understand that you don’t have to like this movie. As a matter of fact you can “come out” of the theater feeling like you just tossed $12 in the trash and cursing the day the director was born.

Seriously. This movie will make you uncomfortable and will not make much logical sense (it’s French). However, it’s not because of the theme. It’s because the movie was terrible, choppy and strange. And it’s okay not to like it. Lots of gay people didn’t like it either.

You may think that I’m overreacting. After all, this film was awarded the most coveted prize at the world’s most prestigious film festival. But that’s precisely why I’m writing to you today.

You see, I’m pretty sure the group of straight jurors at Cannes were too afraid to say that the movie was horrible not to sound bigoted. As a matter of fact the guilt of not liking this movie was so apparent that the jury awarded the prize to the director and the movie’s two leading actresses, which is unprecedented at Cannes.

This reminds me of a coworker that for no reason or doing inspired so much anger and hate in me that I would periodically buy her lunch and gifts to sooth my guilt. Maybe that’s not the same thing. But that over-showering of prizes seems a bit too much for a poorly-adapted, three-hour French movie.


There are very many things I didn’t like about the movie, which I’ve outlined below. Don’t worry, they won’t spoil the plot, as there is none. Did I mention it’s a French movie?

  • The director is obsessed with butts. I think he is the poster child for Freud’s anal stage.
  • There was nothing butch about the butch.
  • Blue hair is so edgy, said no one in France in this millennium.
  • Spaghetti.
  • Adele should really close her mouth.
  • The lesbian artist only paints lesbians.
  • The few tender moments were ruined with nonsense.
  • And, of course, there’s the infamous scene, which brings up a new set of things that really irk me:
  1. Do they even like each other?
  2. Is there a laptop off camera that is beaming them into Chat Roulette?
  3. I appreciate the length of the scene, I do. Our process takes a long time. But it’s a process. This is a highlight reel of all of the positions in the lesbian Kama Sutra.
  4. Where is the nervous laughter? Where are the tears? This is Adele’s first time with a woman and she’s as stoic as Eleanor Roosevelt.
  5. Random ass slapping, salad tossing and/or ass play in general doesn’t happen on the first time or the first date or, for many women, EVER.

For full-disclosure, I found myself tearing up three times during the movie. There were some universal experiences that happen to the young that fall in love, especially with someone of their same gender. And the reason that comes through the film is because of Julie Maroh, the woman who wrote the graphic novel “Blue Angel,” which was the inspiration for the movie.

“Blue Angel” by Julie Maroh

And for even more disclosure, I find that there are very few movies and T.V. shows that really nail it (pun intended). I find that movies and television shows directed and/or written by women come close (pun intended). Jamie Babbit, Rose Troche and Kimberly Pierce understand me. They know that I have insanely high standards, but I also have an insanely low threshold for being turned on by two women on screen. Unfortunately, Kechiche missed the (g)spot.