I live a block from the La Bianca Manson murder scene
and when passing by I cringe when I think of irreverently playing a Manson girl in a campy
theatre piece in my misspent youth. (I am deeply apologetic for that). That being said, I am indeed proud of
having been a member of the ultra legendary and elite Blacklips performance
cult. Indeed there was an element of bad taste that we prided ourselves in but
there was also an element of sheer genius, just look at the alumni, including
Antony of Antony and the Johnsons fame.Manson girl aside, I also played many a prostitute, a dwarf with a giant
penis, the little girl in Frankenstein and several other decadent children
(because I was short and many of the other members were doing drag in 6 inch
heels which made me look extra tiny) and one of my favorites, Candy Darling,
(opposite Kembra Pfahler), talk about underground superstardom and glamour!
I’ve written about this phenomenon before. If you were
in new york in the 90’s and knew what was going on, you knew about Blacklips,
it was like that. We would do a new play each week and go on around 1am on a
Monday night at the Pyramid and shockingly we almost always had a good house
there. I can hardly believe the words as I type them.
Now, the crowd I ran with was not the most maternal.
Very few of my exes and old friends have kids. There was a reason we were doing
what we were doing and it was not because we came from great homes or shared
traditional values. So when I went the route of motherhood, I did not know many
other mothers who shared my past, some but not many. No big deal, but there is
something great about sharing an arc with someone, going from there to here,
being able to laugh about the stories form then and the stories from now,
uncompartmentalized, unapologetic, without having to explain things, and still
being understood. I can live with having those friends and these friends, but
having both is priceless.
The colliding worlds I am referring to here are that
there is a mom in my daughter’s school that was also a member of Blacklips.
There were only 10-20 of us I am estimating. And many a morning when I pull up
at the public school safety valet my door is opened by “one of us,” who did
indeed glue hair to her ass as part of her chaps wearing costume when she
played a gay leather guy in an adaptation of John Rechy’s Rushes. (I,
incidentally, still have and cherish a poster from the set that said, and I
paraphrase “keep our bar leather, no jeans, no sandals.”) Man, did she go
there. They all did. The Blacklips actors were some of the most dedicated
actors I have ever known. Brilliant beings, each and everyone. I cannot tell
you the joy I feel when I run into this woman and we casually discuss gluing
hair to her ass, among other things, while wrangling our kids. It feels so good
to be so fully understood, to have a great laugh, and to have someone just like you when you are part
of such a marginal subset.