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9:30 PM - Fri 1.19.18
Ghost Stories

Ghost Stories

Earlier today - mid-afternoon or so - I told myself "Instead of fucking around now, then being too tired to write later on, why don't you write now, and fuck around later on?".

It was good advice...that I totally didn't take.

As a result, it's 9:30, and I'm having a hard time putting my thoughts together, just like "Mid-Afternoon Jim" predicted.


No auditions this week, which is part of why I'm feeling low - Since nothing came of the four auditions I had early on this month, it would have been nice if some new auditions had come along to get the old auditions off my mind.

(In my view, that's the way things are "supposed" to work - Where you can't obsess over what did or didn't happen with the audition you just had, because you're too busy focusing on the ones coming up.)

I'm still thinking a lot about the audition at the museum - Not about the audition itself, and definitely not about whether I booked the gig (I didn't - The exhibit begins a week from tomorrow), but about the piece itself.

I went from hearing about the audition, to doing it, to spending the past two weeks waiting for an email that clearly isn't coming (Which pisses me off, because I asked whether we'd be notified regardless of the outcome, and was told we would be)...and at no point during this process has it been clear exactly what this piece ("selling out") is, and what it's supposed to "say", if anything.

I was full of questions at the audition, but it somehow didn't seem "appropriate" to ask, for various reasons (It's his piece, not mine, for one thing - If he thought of the dancers as "collaborators", I imagine he'd say so, so the fact that he offered no insight into the work was telling).

I've talked with Mark and Jane about it a couple times now, and they made me kind of regret it wasn't going to happen, because it was fascinating to discuss in terms of "performance art" (How does the museum patron, or patrons, respond, and how does that effect the performer? What is "stripping" like, for the stripper and the viewer, shorn of music, a stage, a costume, etc? Who's the "vulnerable" one, the person taking off their clothes, or the person surprised by someone taking off their clothes in an unexpected environment?).

But I don't know that any of that is actually on the artist's mind - I don't even know if the stripper is supposed to "engage" with the patrons, or if they're just a "kinetic sculpture" for the patrons to look at (The one description of the piece I've read just had the guy stripping, as the art critic, "mortified but curious", waited for him to finish, at which point the stripper said the name of the piece, gathered his clothes, and - I think - just left).

From what I've read about his work in general, Sehgal is more about questioning "what art is", and art's intersection with commerce - hence "selling out" - than having much to do with the nature of "performance" (Again, if it were about "performance", I think he would have had us performing for each other, or for him, instead of just dancing around, without any particular focus/ focal point to our "stripping").

I'm kinda over wanting to do it at this point (kinda)...but I'm so curious about the nature of the piece, I'd like to sit in on rehearsals anyway, just to have my questions answered (At least as to how it's to be executed, if nothing else).

(And I have a tentative date with Josh, to go check it out sometime during the run. Which prompts another question - Doesn't it change the whole thing if you're going through the museum and this is something that just starts to happen, much to your surprise, as opposed to being something you're specifically going to the museum to see?)


I haven't written about it much, if at all, because for a time I wanted "plausible deniability" (i.e. I wanted to pretend it didn't happen, so didn't want a record of me telling you all about it in here), but in July of last year, I got not one, but two red-light camera tickets, in quick succession.

(It was in Culver City, where I work on Sunday mornings, at an intersection I'd been negotiating without incident for years - The camera had been installed maybe a month previous.)

As you might imagine, I was very not-happy about this turn of events - To my recollection, I'd never gotten a red-light ticket up to that point, so to get two in the same month (At the same stop, no less) made me feel, rightly or wrongly, like I was being extremely fucked-with.

Being too neurotic to actually "pretend they didn't happen" (Which some people say you can totally do with a camera ticket), but at the same time not wanting to take the financial hit (Almost $1200, a point on my license, and a likely increase in my car insurance), I decided to engage The Ticket Clinic, and have them fight the tickets for me, hoping I wasn't just "throwing good money after bad" (It cost me $400).

So for the last half of last year (The court dates were put off till almost the end of December), the specter of those tickets haunted me - I hoped-against-hope I'd somehow get off, but strongly suspected I was going to end up taking the full hit (And would have thrown away another $400 in the bargain).

Anyway, I finally got word about the tickets earlier this month.

And as is often the case with things I worry about, the reality was not as good as I'd hoped, but not as bad as I feared - Long story short, one ticket got dismissed...and the other did not.

So I'm on the hook for $585, which I would rather have spent on...well, pretty much anything else.

But I saved a little off having to pay the two tickets outright, so there's that.

And I'm doing traffic school online, so the point won't go on my license, and my car insurance won't go up.

I can't say I'm happy bout this turn-of-events - I wanted total vindication, even if I didn't really deserve it - but at the same time, I'm smart enough to know a "partial win" in this instance is better than no win at all.

(One thing that's been something of a surprise - While I'm not eagerly racing through traffic school, it's not proving as onerous a task as I'd imagined it would be. The material is not exactly scintillating, but it's decently written and presented, and just the fact that I'm able to do it at home, at my leisure, instead of having to schlep somewhere, makes a world of difference. I've been working my way through it, two sections at a time, and expect to finish up either tonight or tomorrow.)


Sat 1/20/18 (7:21 pm)

Just got home a few hours ago - After work today, I had lunch with Tobi and Hillary (We'd done it last year, and had been planning to do it again for awhile).

They are both Leaders and LCs (Location Coordinators), so way more "into" WW than I am, being a mere Receptionist. And that being the case, I worried a little that the entire outing might be "shop talk" I would find deadly dull.

(Though I will say this - While I might be less "invested" in WW, because it's a career for them while I want very much to be doing something else, I do think all three of us are invested in the members.)

But our boss visited our second meeting (At Tobi's request, to watch her do a meeting and "coach" her on technique), and the three of us had a spirited dialogue with her afterward (Also at Tobi's request), regarding some of our frustrations with the job (Which, to me, basically all centered around wanting to do a good job for the members, but feeling stymied by our hardware, our software, and particularly in the case of Tobi and Hillary, by WW bureaucracy).

So thanks to the boss, we had a jumping-off point for discussion we could all get behind.

And while there was some "shop talk" I felt...less passionate about, I didn't feel excluded from the conversation.

And happily, the conversation wasn't just confined to WW, because eventually that would have been depressing - We talked at some length about the current political situation (We're all basically on the same page, but Tobi's a bit more hopeful, Hillary is a bit more cynical, and I'm a bit the indistinct middle).

It made me realize how much I really miss conversation - Other than the weekly phone call with Mark and Jane, I don't talk with people, not in any meaningful way - how much I like using that part of my brain, and how much I like the two of them.


Watched A Ghost Story day-before-yesterday.

If you're not familiar with it, it's a quirky independent movie, distinguished by the fact that the "ghost" of the title is portrayed by an actor (Maybe Casey Affleck, but who really knows?) in a sheet with two eye-holes cut out of it.

(The other most-talked about thing in the movie is a 4-minute scene that consists of actress Rooney Mara stress-eating an entire pie, then throwing up.)

The movie is available on Amazon Prime, and I watched it specifically because I didn't think I would like it (I tend to only watch movies I strongly suspect I'll like going in, which I think is fine if you're just a regular citizen, but not so good if you're an actor).

And I was right - I didn't like it. I found it tedious (So much so that I dozed off at one point and missed the pie-eating scene). Though I will say that the device of the ghost being a guy in a sheet with cut out eye holes worked better than I imagined it would going in - You basically just "get used to it" and accept that this is what a "ghost" looks like.

But while I didn't like the movie, and was kind of bored by it, an aspect of it affected me more viscerally than most actual horror movies - We initially spend some time with the human character (played by Affleck) that, upon his death, becomes the ghost, but for most of the movie, we're following the ghost as he watches life go on...and on...and on...and on...and on...without him.

I'm wrestling mightily these days with the fact that my life isn't really "working out", means nothing, and I will leave nothing behind of note when I die.

That being the case, I'm not sure I needed a cinematic depiction of life going on and on as our dead hero just keeps on being dead.

And as I wrote those last couple paragraphs, it hit me - I'm basically a ghost right now, watching life go on and on, around me and without me.

(Maybe I was wrong...maybe, from now on, I should just watch movies I know I'm going to enjoy going in.)


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