I am so excited to be raising funds for my first music video in a VERY long time (See above for the campaign.) I wanted to wait until I was inspired, so I got inspired and now I am all set with a carefully-crafted screenplay to go with my song "Wednesday Guy," the single that I released a few months ago. "Wednesday Guy" is basically a torch song about an emotionally screwed-up nerdy hipster prince with daddy issues ("He knows a lot of big words, but he doesn't know any sentences..."). You feel bad for him because you see his suffering, but on the other hand, you feel angry with him because of the way he treats other people, and because you love him and can't have him. The subtext is that like attracts like and so there's something screwed up in you that caused you to be attracted to him in the first place.
My nosy friends and fans and associates would sometimes say "ooh, that's about a specific person, isn't it?" And I would answer--I answered honestly because I'm a lazy liar-- "yes and no; it's about four specific people all smushed into one, like in Frankenstein when you smush together different dead people's body parts and make a monster."
Then I got inspired. I decided on a concept for a video: a re-enactment of Mary Shelley's famed Frankenstein story, with me as the misguided doctor who creates a monster and then abandons him and has to deal with the consequences. Except in the video, I will specifically be seeking to create a boyfriend (a.k.a. sex robot) for myself--in this, I will be creepily both mother and girlfriend to my creation. The Oedipal implications are there, but I also see it as an exploration of power dynamics within relationships and the sense in which all relationships--up to and including sexual ones--are about power. (By pure coincidence (or is it?), we have now entered the age of the Sex Robot, according to the Media the be.
Spoiler alert: I have decided to incorporate another image of creation into the video: I'm going to also make a scarecrow and bring him to life as a second attempt to make my own boyfriend after my corpse-reanimation creation goes totally wrong. This is an homage to another work of old-timey literature (L. Frank Baum The Wizard of Oz was first published in 1900, Frankenstein in 1818), but it is also a very personal, primal reference to my first crush: Ray Bolger's portrayal of the Scarecrow in the 1939 film made me swoon with a totality that my then four-year-old self could not comprehend. (Not that I was four years old in 1939; I wasn't born yet!!!! I was four when I watched the movie for the first time). Honestly, I shouldn't have been allowed to watch it.
This memory got me thinking about the Power Dynamics in the Wizard of Oz. My dad (Phillip Margulies) has a theory that the Wizard of Oz (although written by a man) takes place in a Matriarchal Universe . It is a place where females have all the power. The Wicked Witch comes and goes in a puff of smoke and terrorizes everyone; Glinda the good comes and goes when she pleases in a bubble and transports Dorothy across realms; Dorothy melts the Witch by pouring a bucket of water on her. By contrast, the only men we encounter are severely handicapped: the Scarecrow and the Tin Man are both completely immobilized until Dorothy frees them (and they allegedly lack a heart and a brain); the Lion is psychologically and socially hemmed in by his own cowardice (and thereby cannot conform to the gender or species norms of his community); the Wizard is revealed as a fraud and a con-man with no real power. Oz is a Woman's World.
The Scarecrow's story, as it applies to my video concept, takes on a bit of a new meaning for him. It occurred to me for the very first time this morning when I was procuring straw (of both the real and fake variety, city girl that I am) that when Dorothy takes the Scarecrow down from his post, it is the first time he has ever been able to move. In this sense, she is kind of like a Mother Figure to him , as she gives him the gift of mobility, which, of course, his insensitive creator--the unnamed farmer--never did. Then, of course, he stumbles around like a toddler for a while, learning to walk. Perhaps that's why he appealed so much to me at the end of my toddler years. In the video I will play both farmer and Dorothy, as I create my second Artificial Boyfriend.
But anyway these comparisons--between mother and lover and creator, between straw man and toddler--also got me thinking in a meta sense about myself as a creator. I was inspired by a Nathaniel Hawthorne unit in my Literature Class at Hunter College to wonder if there is a kind of wannabe-Scientist subconscious urge present in the mind of a Writer who decides to write about a Scientist. Literary talents such as Shelley and Hawthorne, living after the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution, saw Science becoming more powerful: perhaps they felt inferior on some level, as mere writers, and they wrote about science, because, well, those who can't do science will write about science. Are artists aware of themselves as doing the inferior kind of creation? I'm probably projecting on to them because, for a very long time, I have struggled existentially with my role as a mere singer and a mere writer on a planet where some people can make iPhones and cure diseases.
Hopefully this insecurity and existential angst will inform the heartfelt-ness of my performance in the video.
It's the penis of New York and it's my favorite of all the boroughs
There's this ongoing debate about how big New York's Penis is
whether that blobby thing next to that's Brooklyn slash Queens
is the testicles
one of my friends says that that would make Manhattan a grower
because noone's ever seen it hard
but it's Manhattan
land of skyscrapers and excitement
and so we have trouble imagining
that it's always just dangling there and looking pretty
Other people think that the Bronx are the testicles of New York
and Brooklyn and Queens, together, are a face that's finished going down on Manhattan
and that little thing that's Staten Island
is the cum
giving New York a bigger dick than it would have if we interpreted Brooklyn and Queens as the balls
I like to think it's the second one
New York is like a father to me
So I know I probably shouldn't be thinking about New York in that way
but I guess my logic is that if I'm a daughter of New York
and New York has a big penis
I would have one also if I were a man
I know I shouldn't think about New York in that way
because I'm not a pervert
but a friend of mine pointed it out once when we were on the subway
and we all look at that map every day
it's hard not to think about it
I love New York New York hates me
it's like a friend I never see
I'm like a tourist in my own home
Among my tribe I'm all alone
Among the Geeks I'm just a Dork
what did I ever do to you New York?
New York hates me we never talk
he's like a guy I like to stalk
star of the show little nothing me
I love New York New York hates me
I feel like a post-party piece of cork
Or a cobweb that hangs from New York
I knew I would be lousy
when I was sixteen
I had a nightmare that it was my twentieth birthday.
That was the entire nightmare.
Like a soldier
I lay my weapons down
for General Winter
I had big plans for this morning.
So this is Spring.
I remember you on that first day
asking a random stranger
if smoking pot
would help with your constipation
I was charmed
by your accent
Once upon a time there was a girl who was very beautiful and very clever and very funny, and gifted in many ways. But she was unhappy, and very tired all the time, and since she was very young felt that she had been born in the wrong world. Often she wished, as she was lying in bed, that she would fall asleep and not wake up for many years.
One day her wish came true. She fell asleep and woke up a century later. Everyone she knew was gone. Her roommates were gone. Her parents were gone, her friends were gone, her acquaintances were gone; everyone she had ever known had left this world for the next. However, she found that her roommate's affectionate cat was still there, and that it had borne kittens; two tiny soft white kittens. And she found that there were more cats where that came from, and dogs also, and that she was in fact the last human on earth. She was happy at first, and then it occurred to her: I hope they didn't shit all over the place.