Category Archives: Personal Shit
Nikol Hasler used to get up to a lot of nonsense, but has aged and mellowed into a no-nonsense type of bird. Author of “Sex: An Uncensored Introduction” and mother of three, she pays her rent on her valley apartment as the Project Manager of the web team at KCET. She’s an avid pickler and cook, and spends far too much time watching television. Also, if you want to know anything about wombats, she’s a decent source for that.
You can see her and all these other people at Stories Books on Sunday, Nov. 29 at 2 p.m. at our A Rrose in a Prose: Luscious Leftovers event:
Carolina Hoyos (A Girl I Know)
Rick Lupert (Poetry Super Highway)
lucifer sam (Dee-Are Records)
Jason Lynn (Act of Love, with Hans-Joachim Roedelius)
Christopher Zeischegg (The Wolves That Live in Skin and Space)
Sean Carnage (the host with the most!)
Plus bring food for our potluck, and puns for our pun contest!
Don’t be a turkey. You should relish this opportunity. PEAS, for your own sake, attend this event.
Hi Guys/Gals/Groovy Ghouls,
It’s funny how you can care so much about the world yet not even know what’s up with your own soul.
It wasn’t that long ago at all that I confessed my unease with being considered “queer.” That wasn’t because I would be ashamed of being part of the LGBT world, but because I didn’t think my behavior and emotions, which run juuuust straight-of-center on the Kinsey Scale, qualified me to put myself in the same grouping as gay, lesbian, and trans people. Historically they have been marginalized in ways far harsher than anything I would ever experience, and I knew I could always “hide out” in heterodom if the Nazis or Christian Fundamentalists ever retake power.
I also knew that, while I loved to perform sexual acts with people of more than one gender (and yes, I’m good enough to use the word “performance”), I didn’t want to be defined primarily by that part of me. And I hated the binarism of “bisexual,” and the muddiness of “pansexual” or “polysexual,” and didn’t feel like certain behaviors or inclinations meant I had a right to join a movement.
You know those guys who say they can wear Native American headbands because they are 3% Cherokee? I didn’t want to be them. I felt alone and bereft in many ways, but I didn’t want to steal an identity that wasn’t mine.
I’m glad I started that conversation, though, because it led me to finally meeting others who have similar backgrounds and inclinations. And that led to my learning a lot about myself. I found, first of all, that I do belong to an identity, and I’m not the only one. I am part of a group that, perhaps more than other groups, has such a wide variety of feelings and emotions incorporated within it.
Perhaps that’s why so few bi people are out? We don’t feel a kinship with each other, much less with gays and lesbians or straights. And so there’s no sense of unity to help us feel strong, or brave? Compared to gays and lesbians in “America,” we’re the only group that still has its majority in the closet. And the schism is vast:
I’ve heard gay guys talk about coming out as “coming home,” but my experience felt like the opposite, like going out onto an empty stage. Even when you do come out as bi, recognizing that about yourself can feel a bit lonely compared to what, from the outside, it looks like to be fully straight, gay, or lesbian. “Bi” contain such a spectrum of people, e.g. men who mostly like other men and pass for gay but also like some vagina now and then, e.g. women who love other women but whose “straight” look traps them in a straight world most of the time, e.g. men like me, who like to feel androgynous and find receiving vigorous, tooth-rattling anal sex from other men is somehow much easier than forming relationships with them like the kinds we form with women.
And it is gendered. Aside from trans people, who face a prejudice still sharper than almost anything out there, bisexual men tend to have it the worst:
There are so many distinct ways to be bi that really, by comparison, “gay” looks like a large nation state, and “straight” looks like a whole continent, but “bi” is sort of like a sexual Micronesia.
And yes, I do now identify as bisexual because I want this to end! I want us to be seen as real, and I want not to tiptoe around my relationships and loves. And the only way to do that is through showing off our numbers.
With that in mind, I now see “bi” as a blanket term that includes the more specific terms and inclinations, basically anyone who does not fit info the gay or straight slots (in fact, Vee Ritchie has a great video explaining why “bisexual” actually means both “same” and “not the same” which actually does NOT imply a binary of merely two genders, and even though that may sound like loophole logic, it helped me feel at ease with the term a great deal).
At first even saying “I’m a bisexual activist” felt so antiquated, like saying the phrase “American Indian Movement,” or “United Negro College Fund.” But like those organizations’ names, the phrase “bisexual” contains all the history of the “B” in LGBT, our forefathers and foremothers, people such as Brenda Howard who was not only a pioneer in 20th Century bisexual awareness, but was at Stonewall and was a radical activist for queer folk in general. And who cares if the straight world thinks “bisexual” means we have to love women the exact same as we love men, or if they just think it means we’re gay. They were never going to understand anyway … but then again, if they want to understand, I want to make sure we’re represented, that we’re seen as real, that our true numbers are reflected–far from being rare, by some measures our numbers rival or exceed those of gays and lesbians:
So yes, I’m bisexual, and if you feel you are not a 1 or a 0 in the digital game of gay/straight, you could be, too!
I want to talk about this more, but I have to get in the bimobile and go do some bi things tonight… I feel like I’m rambling, so maybe re-watch this video I did for #StillBisexual a few months ago, open up your hearts and minds, and … I dunno, call me for a hot threesome.
-D. M. Collins
P.S. Did I say threesome? I meant “orgy.”
When I was a teenager, I had a wonderful mentor who helped me tremendously in becoming the public speaker and champion of the logical alternative that I am today. But later, when I was an adult, I learned he was accused of “indiscretions” with a juvenile and fired from his job.
Sound familiar? Let’s not talk about it. Let’s just let the shame we feel about the chipped paint on our own superhero statues hold us upright, hard as tack, keeping our ribs clamped tightly against the bounds of our hearts, which will shrivel more with each passing year until we too can fail just as spectacularly as our heroes.
But are our heroes really all that terrible? Maybe they’re just humans, perhaps innocent of everything except perfection?
My mentor, the one accused, was only accused in the court of parental opinion: he was never charged with anything. He might even have been completely framed for a petty political workplace reason, and it worked, because he’s a closeted gay man in a state where that still isn’t acceptable the way it is in our protected enclaves of California and the liberal West Coast. I may never know.
I can’t help but think: maybe it is I who failed him?
Maybe heroes actually make us happy when they fall, because in our hearts, we really know it is we who are failing them. The only thing even easier than simply failing is to point out the failings of someone else, a big star that we can lampoon and mock. Remember Pee Wee Herman?
Paul Reubens may not have deserved the public shaming he received for being caught masturbating in public. But why does no one bring up the fact that as a very young teenager, he was accused of shooting his own uncle in what is still technically an unsolved murder case that was huge, even for its day?
Of course, the section of newspaper highlighted above doesn’t really reference an uncle murder, because that’s just a work of fiction on my part. And if you liked that, you’ll love the fiction, poetry, and general literary amazingness of all the below performers and readers, which you’ll get to hear if you show up at 2 p.m. on Sunday, September 13, at Stories Books:
Joshy Fadem (wrote 356 stories in as many days!)
Nancy Lynée Woo (founded Lucid Moose Lit)
Cyrus Sepahbodi (Mad About Ink maestro)
David Gale (the man behind the man behind Mad About Ink)
VerBS (rapper and regal beagle of maverick music events)
Krista Husar (performer and poet!)
Mecca Vazie Andrews (Sex Stains)
Rebecca Gonzales (NOT the Rebecca from the Bible!)
Bhella Bell (the spirited stranger!)
Raelee Nikole (singer/songwriter siren!)
The whole thing is hosted by DM Collins and Art Currim and wrapped up in a heaping helping of schadenfreude all made to order for the fan of fiction and the peon of poetry! We got readers and rappers and singers and word-slingers, enough to make you forget all about that theme we talked about earlier, and the fallen heroes, and the sadness, and the lies. A lot of lies. Let’s talk about those brutal statues of doom who hurt you with their lies. Lies.
And stay even after we’re done, because at 5 p.m. is an amazing party/reading for the release for the new Jabberjaw book, hosted by friend of A Rrose in a Prose Michelle Carr (and featuring an amazing assortment of musical mavericks)!
This was a fun one: an interview with my old pal, Jessie Jones, who I first met seemingly yesterday when she was a teenager, a member of Feeding People, and now have to stand back and admire as a full-grown solo artist!
Truth be told, the interview we did at Sage to prepare for this article went on FOREVER. What ended up in print is only a small portion of the rambling talk we had about all the crazy stuff she’s gone through in such a short period of time, including working in a factory in a rural town, hiding out from Bigfoot, and trying to escape society by moving off into the woods.
Of course, the L.A. RECORD folks had to trim even more off to get it to fit in the magazine, but there’s one fun part at the beginning that I wish had stayed!
… and since I wrote the darn thing, and ONLY because I like the original intro enough that I think it’s worth sharing as an outtake, I’m reprinting my original beginning to the interview here. You can read this first and then jump into the article, or just go to the article now if you think I’m already long-winded enough.
She may look it, but Jessie Jones is no longer the same shy, young singer from Orange County with the bold, weathered, jazzy old woman’s voice that she was when D. M. Collins first interviewed her in 2011. Back then, she sang with the psychedelia-tinged, Burger Records-approved garage band Feeding People, who then seemed to be just approaching the lip of the cusp of the edge of greatness. Instead, they quickly burned out; but Jones never truly faded away. After a few years in wandering the country trying out dead end jobs and engaging with supernatural phenomena, Jones re-emerged in full force in 2015, first on a triumphant tour co-singing lead vocals with Death Valley Girls, and now, as of this month, with her first solo album, which has been tickling the fancies of folks from the bowels of Gnar Burger all the way to the corridors and clicks of NPR. She speaks now, again, to D. M. Collins, who has convinced her to join him for a very candid interview at the vegan restaurant Sage in Echo Park, a place so opposed to animal cruelty that even the arachnids have started getting cocky…
FUCK! FUCKING FUCK! I giant spider was just in my mouth! Oh my fucking god. Did it bite my lip? It just, like, swung whole into my mouth! I didn’t swallow it; it’s climbed somewhere back up on the umbrella and disappeared….
JESSIE JONES: Maybe it’s trying to bless you?
Jessie, you are such a witch! People think you are this innocent little lamb, but you are a witch! Is that giant spider your “familiar?”
JESSIE JONES: I have weird relationships with spiders. Sometimes when I’m about to make a really drastic decision, I’ll wake up with like six spider bites! Their symbolism is tied up with the mythology of the Fates, the makers of destiny.
So, that reminds me, I’ll forgive the spider, because I have a confession. Remember when I interviewed Feeding People in my backyard in 2011 [in issue #104 of L.A. RECORD, e.d.]? You were all so young and so charming; it was obvious the band was going to implode horribly, and soon. I should have said something. Do you forgive me for not warning you that your life was about to go to shit?
JESSIE JONES: Um….. yes!
Yay! She forgives me! That apology on my part was far more than casual conversation. Glad she’s not mad at me for not trying to “save” her from the future fate had waiting for her. Then again, that spider certainly did act suspiciously, as if bewitched…
Okay, with the above original text out of the way, feel free to hop to the actual article and continue reading.
And in honor of labor day, please make sure to savor her words when she starts to describe some of her experiences out there in the “eye of the storm” of capitalism. This part of her responses really struck me as both insightful and beautiful, while at the same time, you know, scary as hell:
“South Carolina, when I was just living in the middle of nowhere—that’s where it hit me: there’s so much poverty, such a lack of education, and not a lot of opportunity for people who are born without any guidance or any money. Just seeing how capitalism and consumerism really exist only when you’re in the eye of the storm. And when I was working weird jobs and stuff for companies in weird factories to keep existing, and I could see like, all this crap is coming from China. And I’m sending it to some person’s house in like Anaheim or Chicago, but they don’t see what’s going on behind closed doors. It’s like I could finally see how big America was, how small I was, how small my little bubble in Orange County was. And I had to talk about it, I guess. I had to get it out.”
-D. M. Collins
If you don’t enjoy seeing giant cocks explain to you why the Screamers and Buzzcocks are in the same sticky stream of history as Ma Rainey and Lesley Gore and Schubert and Little Richard and ancient cross-dressing shamanic rituals of our pagan past, then you are not fucking punk rock. And you probably deserve to be smothered to death by Donald Trump’s wig.
And so you better stay far fucking away from Spirit Studio tomorrow night, Saturday August 29th, at 8:30 p.m.
Wait, actually you should come. COME!
Ian MacKinnon is a theatrical genius who can play Jobriath songs on piano as good as the original (practically in the middle of a costume change), and he performs an incredible, video-heavy multi-media one man play that I co-wrote TOMORROW night (Saturday, August 29).
Unless you are doing something CRUCIAL, like playing your own show or experimenting with knives, I better see you there, you fucking cads! Or else I will evoke the disco spirit of Sylvester and have him pump jism into your prudish, homophobic hearts.
You don’t own me.
-D. M. Collins
P.S. Here are the details, darlings:
The Gay Music Revolution is back for one night only!
August 29th, 2015
$20 / $15 students & seniors
3711 Evans Street
Los Angeles, California 90027
P.P.S. Full disclosure: I co-wrote the script. I realized my friend’s play had a small but prominent hole in the backstory, and I stuffed a meaty chunk of the Germs and Buzzcocks and Screamers into it.
P.P.P.S. I have sex with men.
I still have one more day to finish four poems! Here is the second!
lack of armpit hair
pragmatist scoring big in the
black of life’s youth ledger,
I saw no dividend in
what loss to
lawns, office shoulder
being is in doing:
no geniuses except makers of
things of genius.
somehow, the walk towards the
easel became the art.
crooked gait? artistry!
if essence can’t contain
sly pride, courageous shuffle,
I might never even have
-D. M. Collins
Apparently there is some kind of challenge going on in virtual land about writing five poems in five days?
It couldn’t come at a worse time. I’m ridiculously busy, seemingly incapable of transcribing simple interviews I need to present to publications I’ve been writing for; and meanwhile, my day job has gotten harder, longer, and more prone to fatiguing me early in the working day than ever, making writing that much harder.
In short, I needed an excuse to push my ADD to the limit and take on a NEW task! Here’s my first example:
Random I Movement
I wanted to sleep, but
I want a
I wanted to write, and I
But it was
-D. M. Collins
I had a blast this year at Burger Boogaloo in Oakland, interviewing bands for BRGRTV and seeing some amazing performances!
At some point, I found a few clothespins lying around that the crew had used to hold a backdrop into place, and I stuck ’em to my face (it’s one of the few skills I have: a high threshold for face pain in regards to pinching via wood or plastic).
Of course, it was in this state of wacky self-harm that the geniuses at Wild About You Photography found me, interviewing Gooch Palms and Audacity and generally looking like the goofball I truly am. And notice the lederhosen? I’m so cool!
I think bands only let me interview them because they can’t help but look better in comparison to me? You can see the whole set at the Wild About You site here. A bunch of other famous folks show up. Maybe you’re in here, too!
-D. M. Collins
P.S. Stay tuned for the BRGR TV segments I recorded with Jack Sample and Steele O’Neal… we got Black Lips and Jonathan Richman and Mummies interviews, and so much more! Plus lots of clothespins and drooling.)
I made a video for the #StillBisexual Twitter-y YouTube video campaign thingie. The music is by the delightful Kyle Souza.
Mom, please don’t watch. There’s sex stuff mentioned.
I know this is an old episode, but there have been so many good ones, and I don’t have cable, so I was unaware of it.
Thank you, John Oliver, for saying that our prison system is broken. Thank you for saying that prison rape, and “drop the soap” jokes, are tired and cruel and silly and unacceptable.
And thank you for keeping it up with similar messages. I was so moved by the clip above that I had to check out Oliver’s most recent show. I was not disappointed by this one, about the ridiculousness of municipal fines for tiny little infractions, and how the fees on those services can snowball into a world of fuckedness:
I’ve recently been unemployed, for the first time basically since 2001 (give or take a week here and there in 2012 and 2013 when I got laid off and then hired within a fortnight). This lack of work couldn’t have happened at a worse time, since I’m kinda crazy and have incurred thousands of dollars in fees for things I was late on paying, even though I had the money, like a ticket for driving with an expired tag, or a minor tax fee to the state of California (where I got over $1000 just as a penalty for about $2000 worth of overdue taxes).
I’m in a world of financial hurt. And yet I am technically a lucky fella–on a good year, I can pull in an upper middle class salary doing tech work. I can’t imagine what it would feel like to be gainfully employed, working hard, making minimum wage, and trying to pay off these ridiculous fees.
I’m glad someone is preaching the healing truth about how fucked up our federal, state, and local governments have become, and how we’re making billions of dollars for private companies at the expense of the poor, and even at the expense of government. We needed someone to tell us this.
Thank you, John Oliver. Now it’s up to us to do something about it.