Tag Archives: Beef

Back in the Saddle…and on the road to riches!

While “riches” may not be the most robust fit of a word for a shoestring queer DIY performance art project, I have had a fabulous initial outpouring of support for this research project and show over the last few days. Thanks so much to everyone who has pledged their support, and/or passed the project link on, and thanks in advance to those of you who are reading this and thinking–hmmm, I do like that beef print…maybe I’ll donate a few bucks.

I am back in Seattle after a raucous week of California travel (San Diego, Palm Springs, Santa Cruz, and San Francisco with varying doses of academia, lesbian spring break/Dinah Shore, and my mother in each locale), and am entering into an intensive ten days of rehearsal. I promise to pull out of it to post more interviews, images, and clips from the Texas adventure, and to post show content as I begin to document it!

xoxox, and thank you again for your support!

Honeysuckle.

Sure_you’re right in liking meat (Meat Art Installment 1)

My biggest question is about the use of the underscore, or is that just a really low hyphen? My next question is a story: I’m sitting alone at the counter at Mistral Kitchen, polishing off some kushi oysters, sipping something brilliant involving gin and waiting for my pork belly (served on a sweet steamed bun with cippolini onions-gone-asian and cilantro?  Was that even cilantro?  Might I never need to touch another actual burger?).

WAIT: My PORK BELLY. On day four of “taking a break from meat,” the day on which I reflected back on the smoked chicken I had Thursday (Jack Timmons had smoked it in his backyard for 14 hours! How could I resist? And he’s from Texas, that dreamy drawl…), the Seafood with our hand-shaven noodles on Friday…and…

Waiting for pork belly.  Which was fucking delicious.

I’m not sure what the question is actually.

Look at her fingernails.  The red of the poster and the red of the steak and the red of her FINGERNAILS!  I am in the process of responding to interview questions from Cassie Marketos of Kickstarter.com, who asked:

Where did this idea sprout from? Meat is an interesting entry-point into conversations of sexuality and power. I’m curious to know how the idea evolved!

And I keep on wanting to respond with images.  Because meat is simultaneously so un-ladylike to devour, and so owned-by-men in most narratives of “how labor has been divided” and such an essential part of the ideal American woman preparing food at home for her husband and children and used as an explicit stand-in for “penis,” for “a woman’s ass,” for woman more generally, in language, in images,

Which we could either say perpetuates the idea of women as commodity, as consumable/consumed…

Or acknowledges that this image in an almost magical realism way is a better representation of what it feels like to live in a female-marked body, or to work in the sex industry or pornography, or to wake up in the morning, and make it all into a day marked by meaning and whatever it is we each hope our days might be marked by…than this image

Miss Wasilla 1984

Finally, as the title of this post was written before the post itself, and it seems to plead for one more piece of Meat Art,

Roy Lichtenstein  –  Meat
acrylic/canvas    21 1/4″ x 25 1/4″   1962

The chef in charge of pork belly came over and asked how it was.  Fucking delicious, I told him.  I asked my waiter where it was from, he asked said chef, and the relay response was Snake River, Idaho.  Before leaving for the evening, I asked chef/owner William Belickis if I might come in some time and talk to him about meat: the hand-powered slicer, their butchering, charcuterie, sourcing, their menu.  He said of course, Tuesday through Thursday, any time, and asked what I’d ended up deciding about love, women, immediacy, and patience.  He remembered the conversation we had my first time in the restaurant, when multiple women felt like the most enormous metaphors of decision-making: protection v. vulnerability, immediate return v. investment, love v. fear.  I made the right choice I told him–didn’t you meet her the next time?  I did, he said, I just didn’t know which one it was.  That, I think, is a special thing: to have someone, particularly someone you have only met twice, remember what matters to you most.

Mistral Kitchen  –  Pork Belly
Saturday March 27, 2010

Not so solo

Up until sundown of the night before the slaughter, I imagined I would be going alone. Waking up early, putting on a version of drag that is in between suburban Texas day wear and stage-ready Honeysuckle, listening to the same five hip hop songs on loop on the local station, and driving my little rental car up to the slaughterhouse. That all changed, as things do in East Texas, in a backyard over a six pack. Stephanie Scherzer of Rain Lily Farm and Farmhouse Delivery in Austin sat next to me, and the moment she started talking, I started taking notes. It was the first of what I hope will be many interviews with local farmers, cooks, and lovers of food on this adventure.

I’ve spent the last few days thinking a lot about death, the grit of raw, clawing living, and what it means to have people to lean on, to process with, to take care of you, or just to be beside you. It now seems foolish to have planned something that could be so emotionally intense without plans to have another human there, and I am so glad to get to have Stephanie’s company on the trip tomorrow. Even if the process just makes me crave steak even more, or feel instantly more connected to and more appreciative of the beef jerky backup stash in my glove box, it will be wonderful to experience it with another person, and with someone who is phenomenally passionate about meat and change.

I’ll plan to complete and post the interview with Stephanie promptly, and of course to report out on tomorrow’s fieldtrips as soon as humanly possible. And then, at the request of a reader, to try to document the aftermath over the next several days.

There is something about writing and posting the experience though, I am realizing, that makes it all feel not so solo. Thanks for following along, and please do share your thoughts if you’ve made it all this way.

1. Anticipate the Slaughter

Slide 8: In Austin, Texas I saw my first slaughter.

What’s funny is I haven’t seen it yet. I am writing down a future imaginary, I am committing it to real.

I have no idea how I will respond to the experience. It could be incredible: uplifting, transcendent, or terrifying.  I might run, vomit, cry, shit my pants.

I might gasp out loud, make some sounds involuntarily, and only realize afterward that I was the one who made them.

I might not be able to watch.

Will the animal look at me? Will I be looking in its eyes at the exact moment of death?

Will I ask to take a cut of that meat, of that animal, will I be able to fathom the connection, life to mouth, to actually walk the whole path?  Shit.

Will I be able to watch hanger steak ground up to become a burger? Will taking the steak as a Steak feel more respectful?

What if there is still meat in the grinder, what if the burger isn’t just my animal anymore? What if it is tainted, disrespectfully mashed together with some other meat from some other animal, what if the meat becomes JUST MEAT?

And maybe that moment, the moment of death, won’t be the climax at all. Maybe it will be the sound of the door as I leave, or words spoken by another human, living. The thing about trying to imagine and predict what will come is that we can’t know. Which has not yet stopped me from trying, ever, or from making up stories, or spending days at a time living in them.

In five days the infinite possible imaginary moments will all be killed. I will wake up that morning with a knife in my hand and run around killing all the ways that I THOUGHT the day might go. Then I will do what we always do: take it step by step, drive a mile at a time, and wait, and see.

cow/blood

(excerpted from our Passover Haggadah-2009)