Monday, May 7, 2018

“every day the same story is played out before our eyes…”: on consent and weekend’s adventures

Like the cycle of water, our lives shift, issues evolve. 

Friday, we got up early for a trip to Albany.   The splendid day of conversation only extended well into the evening, chatting on the roof later that night, hanging with the kids, watching the sun set on another day.
My friend Laura and I were going to House of Yes for a dance party, dubbed House of Love, later that night.  “Dressing to theme is mandatory,” noted the invite. “Consent is required for all touch at our venue. Use your words, not your hands, to communicate with others and get affirmative consent if you want to interact physically with someone.”
Standing in line, a woman in a ball gown gave me an orientation about consent outside the club, highlighting the same point as the invitation.  No means no, consent is affirmative and active. You can’t walk up and touch a woman’s back without asking.  If they are too drunk to say no, that is not consent.
Inside people romped about in slinky outfits, semi-nude, greeting friends, looking each other over. People made out.  People were tied up. They cavorted on the bed in the middle of the dance floor, go go dancers romping in the distance.
We played and danced late into the evening, watching woman on the trapeze, swing through time, people meeting, dancing, touching, asking, pleading, shaking, connecting.
I can see why their name is the house of yes, noted one woman.
My friend Molly and I sit on a bench outside at 1 AM, talking about life, the way the world is changing, along with our lives.
People are still lining up to go inside.
On the way home, I think about the ways clubland is teaching us to think about consent.
Their policy reverberates through my mind.

House of Yes!

Behave with beauty, connect with intention.
We are obsessed with CONSENT.
Always ASK before touching anyone at our house.
Anyone who cannot follow this simple rule will be escorted to the sidewalk.
::::: Community and Accessibility :::::
This is a space for everyone to feel welcome and loved. Racism, sexism, ableism, ageism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia will not be tolerated at our House. All entrances and spaces within the venue are single-level and handicap accessible. There are stairs leading to the upper portions of the stage, for those who wish to dance in the spotlight. Gender neutral bathrooms are located in the main room.
I wasn’t asleep till two am, not too late. But nyc still lulls and intrigues, even on the edges.

Kenny Rodriguez Photography and other scenes from house of yes!

Every day every day the same story is played out before our eyes…declares Marx in chapter four, the general formula for Capital. Like the cycles of water, evaporating into the air, forming rain clouds, and then descending, capital is circular, moving circling us, ever changing, with movements around us.
It was Marx’s two hundredth birthday.
May his influence loom for another two hundred years, noted one of the members of our group.  I’m not sure.  It’s a great book.  But an orthodox reading doesn’t move us forward.
Maybe its time to free ourselves of such constrictions?
So we debates meanings, read the prose and I meandered to La Plaza Cultural in the East Village, where we were planning for an orientation for EcoFest.
Standing in the majestic old garden, we talked about what and ecological city could be.
The big march is next Saturday.
Have you been to this before I asked my friend Joe Macellaro , from the Revolting Lesbians.
I went in 1999, joining my friends from WHAM and the Reclaim the Streets, Elizabeth Meixell and Brad Will, both activists gone from NYC. In 2003, the battle between Gaia and the Machine scared our little one.  And we had to leave.  We’ll be back together again next Saturday.
How do make sense of this?  Are climate issues queer issues?
Of course, they are. They are all connected.
A marching band started to pass by the garden, kids dancing by.
And I walked up to the Museum of Reclaimed Urban Space, where Bill showed me a new zine he authored with FLY, about how not to get arrested at a demo.
“Shark theory is my idea,” explained Bill.
“You gotta keep moving.”
I took some photos of Seth Tobocman’s work on the floor.
“Our next show is about punk and organizing,” concluded Bill.
And back to Brooklyn I rode, joining number two at Greg’s house, watching Una paint, before we made our way to the park, played ball for a bit, said hi to Joe at the farmer’s market and made our way home.
Mom and I walked around the garden on Sunday.
“You have no idea how happy this makes me,” she declared, looking at her garden growing, even now in her eightieth year, a lifetime of tending her garden as the world shifts and evolves around her
She gave me some flowers and I made my way home.
I thought about weekend, cycles of activism, with issues ebbing and shifting through time, moving from one movement and idea to the next. The myth of the eternal return ebbing, as our lives take a cyclical turn, as all that’s old becomes new again, and the world moves forward.

You have no idea how happy this makes me, said mom. 

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