This fall I was given the assignment of answering the question, "What is your fantasy meeting?" My friend EE Miller posed the question and organized a public event part of the MIX Festival which included screening a video piece she made called Cash Free as well as footage of meetings, all kinds--ACT-UP, group therapy dramatized for film, and some young wimmin in the late 70s talking about sex.
This is my response to Describe your fantasy meeting
I was on tour with my bandmates for the past six weeks while I pondered this question, in the minivan fully surrounded, so my mind went to jam band, fantasy jam band, and the jam band as a meeting space to explore something in private. Well I guess I assume meeting as private, a space for people to explore ideas together only with each another, with intention. Of course jam band can also be public, a public improvisation, but that's not really where my conception of meeting was happening. I took fantasy seriously, my first participant who I pulled from the past being Gertrude Stein. GS on vocals, or writing lyrics for someone else? And then I was stuck. Do I want to be in this jam band, or am I just pulling together an all-star fantasy band? I mean, I think I would want Joan Armatrading there and one of the Raincoats, Yoko… It is kind of endless.
When I got back from tour I did my usual ritual, sweating it all out at the Russian Turkish baths on tenth street. I went alone because I had hardly been alone for so long. I used to have to convince myself to go to the baths for four hours alone, trying to round up friends to go in groups and massage one another. But now all I wanted was total independence from anyone else’s interests I might have to compromise with and the obligation to talk to someone about tour.
So I was sitting in the cedar sauna and realized maybe my meeting would take place in a sauna, not with the musicians, but with a group of people who could potentially meet in my reality. Literally the inspiration was where I was. I was sitting in this dark wooden room half naked sweating and breathing, and thought this would be the perfect way to start a meeting. Am I imposing my pleasures though? I thought of people I would invite to a meeting, people who are in this room now, and realized there are those who would not want to take their clothes off and sweat together. And how can I shift my ideas around imposing pleasure to sharing pleasure? How can I shift my thinking about personal pleasure as a burden?
What about a hot spring, a meeting in a hot spring on undeveloped land? New Mexico? Nevada I think has loads of hot springs… And then we move from the water to the land, laying on blankets, wrapped in blankets. Some people can submerge in the water, others can dip their feet and even others teetering on the edge.
What kind of meeting do I want?
I have fantasized organizing a meeting on queer land, an intergenerational gathering of separatist wimmin living communally and people living on queer land with those who fantasize about it, that’s my category, the dreamers still.
My dream meeting is the last meeting of a group starting communal land together, the meeting before we all move. The land is secured, it is our last conceptual meeting, we are down to practical logistics. We are where our situations will shift into one common. A shift from private to shared private. We are about to inhabit some chosen place together and share our cereal and yogurt and quinoa. Of course we will continue to meet and shift relations, but this meeting is the last meeting in a certain configuration. What happens when our landscape changes and we are coming together with more in common regarding our shared basic needs, we’re not going to all go home to our apartments again. We’re gonna have to talk about your five cats and all my shoes. Do you keep your nut butters in the fridge and how often do we wash the dishtowels?
Are we? Do we? Basically we’re moving in together.