Month: May 2017 (page 2 of 3)

Schpiel (Mach One)

Taurus 6°

Working double duty as I put together a whole bunch of “speak” I need to send out into the world. This is information on the new Glow Festival I’m putting together for Cambridge MA this summer.

The Creators of the Afterglow Festival and the Glowberon Series Announce:
The First Annual GLOW FESTIVAL to be Staged in Cambridge, MA

at the Oberon/American Repertory Theater, July 27-30, 2017

Fueled by the success Provincetown’s acclaimed non-profit performing-arts Afterglow Festival, and the growing collaborative Glowberon series at Oberon/American Repertory Theater, comes the first annual Glow Festival in Cambridge, MA, which aims to to score this most creative New England city a shining star on the international festival map along with Edinburgh and other fringe theater and performance capitals around the world.

Best known as one half of the author (Sextrology, Cosmic Coupling) and performing duo Starsky + Cox, with wife Stella Starsky, Quinn Cox founded the Afterglow Festival in Provincetown in 2011 with John Cameron Mitchell, Tony-award-winning creator of Hedwig and the Angry Inch. With an advisory board that includes Pulitzer-prize-winning novelist Michael Cunningham and native Cambridge poet Eileen Myles, who received a Guggenheim Fellowship for her forthcoming Afterglow (a memoir), inspired by the festival name, Cox’s non-profit Afterglow has produced, premiered and developed over sixty, mostly solo plays and performance pieces, which have won major awards and grants and moved Off-Broadway and to top theatrical venues around the globe.

Just as he sought to preserve and champion Provincetown’s birthright as the birth place of modern American theater and as an active incubator for new stage works, Cox turned to Cambridge in 2015 to curate and launch the touted Glowberon series collaboration with Oberon/A.R.T.. After two years of packed houses, A.R.T. has commissioned an expanded third season of the series for this coming year and agreed to play host to Cox’s newest not-for-profit enterprise, the Glow Festival, taglined: Cambridge Live Performance Arts Festival.

With a rich theatrical history, supported by Boston’s own cultural heritage, Cambridge is known for its legitimate theatre (most notably A.R.T.) as well as its progressive spirit, being a bohemian bastion that has birthed innovative performance from punk to neo-cabaret, alternative comedy to spoken word, burlesque to cirque, art to folk rock, interpretive dance to dramatic plays, much liike Provincetown, with its artsy ties to New York’s downtown scene.

The Glow Festival mission is multifold: It aims to create a home for innovative international performers who have heretofore not had a base in our New England capitol. It seeks to establish Cambridge as a global festival city, growing year on year in scope to rival that of other cities synonymous with their fringes. Glow aims to connect eager audiences with exciting, emerging and established artists expanding and ever evolving the forms (and our notions) of theater and performance today. And the Glow Festival intends to invigorate the community, culturally and commercially, in cultivating audiences who will stay, eat, drink, shop, visit, and otherwise be served, locally.

Hosted by Starsky + Cox, the first annual Glow Festival takes stage at Oberon at the American Repertory Theater, July 27-30, 2017. Artists slated to perform include the stellar talents of Justin Vivan Bond, Penny Arcade, Marga Gomez, Tammy Faye Starlite, Brian King & What Time Is It Mr. Fox?.

Unlike the collaborative Glowberon series, the Glow Festival is a unique entity that must be self-sustaining through non-profit fundraising of sponsorships and donations. Glow will, in effect, rent Oberon at A.R.T. and must cover the costs of the space and its staff and technicians along with other expenses which include travel, lodging and administration, promotion and marketing.

As such, the first annual Glow Festival will be purposefully contained, runing just four days, with a small projected budget. The Glow Festival is a 501(c)(3) charitable arts organization operating in Massachusetts to which donations are tax-exempt to the full extent of the law. Please visit www.glowfest.org/sponsorships to make an online contribution or send your check to Glow Festival P.O. Box 129 Provincetown, MA, 02657.

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Typos happen—I don’t have time or an intern to edit.*

Copyright 2017 Wheel Atelier Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Get your HAUTE ASTROLOGY 2017 Weekly Horoscope ebooks by Starsky + Cox

Wax Poetique

Taurus 5°

How to speak on the subject of nothingness: The day was devoid of meaning, there was nothing to discuss, the televised news headlines were the same as last night’s, it was toast as usual, today, with almond butter and honey, not miso-tahini sauce. Alas, it was a no-nonsense day, with varied purposes being personfied in beings moving too and fro, like birds, in the morning.

There was beauty; there always is. But today it had a special spark suggesting something significant might happen. Use of simile, unawares. And somewhere via something else a corner of the mind awakes from long sleep not hindered by worry and longing. There was poetry, too. Somehow, inside ones head, verse was heard, sounding like voiced by Laurence Olivier, which inspired Kenneth Branagh. And now, I have nothing to fear.

I asked the door to move if there were spirit here and it didn’t. So I know that it is just me. And before I exercise license I must feel, and that is near impossible. Of inspiration take a sip and swallow. Make of yourself vehicle and vessel. It’s uncomfortable but it gets the lead out. Golden years, gold, whop whop whop.

 

Typos happen—I don’t have time or an intern to edit.*

Copyright 2017 Wheel Atelier Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Get your HAUTE ASTROLOGY 2017Weekly Horoscope ebooks by Starsky + Cox

Right On Time

Taurus 4°

I just popped onto Facebook where I rarely am these days compared with times past. Not that I’ve replaced it with other social media. That is a whole other topic. (I’ll tackle that next maybe). The funny thing is: I thought I was late getting the ball rolling on outreach to would-be sponsors of my now two not-for-profit live performance festivals; but I had put in my planner that today was the day I was going to start the outreach in earnest.

Well, you know those little flashbacks to “this day last year” things that greet you when you log onto FB? Apparently this day last year is when I started the outreach so, in that sense, I’m not actually late. I’m on schedule if there is such a thing. Really the whole process of putting together a festival with it’s myriad elements is a four month period of just doing the most urgent thing next while trying to work down the list of what absolutely needs to be done.

Here are just some of the things that need to be done after contracting the venue(s), engaging the artists, getting them to contract, collecting all their bios, descriptions, photos and press and links, updating the website(s), finding accommodation for the artists, booking their trains and ferries and sometimes planes and automobiles, getting a new set of logos—for the new festival having a new logo designed—by the graphic artist, design our signature “names poster,” input all the artists descriptions into the ticket section of the website and linking it to the venue website, putting all the artists bios and collateral in the artists section of the websites, create a comprehensive ticket list, set up discount ticket and passes on all sites, design a postcard to be printed, design individual posters of each artists for the marquee, then we can begin raising the necessary thousands of dollars to make this happen and write a press release and send the release to all press outlets who will then need descriptions of all the shows and artists and a bunch of photos to choose from and somewhere in here I will write a newsletter that will go to our advisory board and also to anyone on our mailing list to which I have to add a slew of addresses from the myriad cards sitting on my desk and then I have to activate all our social media outlets and make a schedule for promoting each of the individual shows in festival(s) and then collect all the tech requirements from all the artists and sit with the tech staff at the venue and go over everthing in advance and make sure everyone received their travel tickets and that there will be taxis waiting for them at the pier to take them to their hotels and that we have bicycles for them already reserved; and that all our business sponsors are being worked onto the website, that their establishments are properly touted, that there logos are prominent both online and in our program—oh yeah i have to design a program—and send our “concierge” listing of hotels, restaurants, lounges and other services out to all audience members and that we put together our opening night party in time for all the artists and audience and sponsors to come together pre festivals to have a really swell time.

More on this in the coming Blague….

 

Typos happen—I don’t have time or an intern to edit.*

Copyright 2017 Wheel Atelier Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Applause

Taurus 3°

I couple of days back I posted the monologue I wrote for Stella for the opening night of the Afterglow Festival last year. So I thought I would post my bit too although you’ll have to use your imagination a bit here because my bit relies a lot on pantomime; anyway, coming off the “polarization” theme of yesterday’s post I thought I would throw this out there because, as along with Stella’s bit, both monologues are really about how our little town at the end of Cape Cod is a microcosm of our deeply divided culture on a grand scale. Also, as we’ve changed venues this coming year and won’t be performing our own opening-night show in which we feature festival artists performing that week, I thought it a bit of an homage to the past. I am now cranking up the machinery on all aspects of the Provincetown festival, and working on a new festival for Cambridge so you might expect that much of my Blague-ing will be about the cosmic jokes I encounter in so doing. Because I always do! 

The following was performed September 12, 2016 in Provincetown:

Good evening. Thanks. Applause. Nice. Applause. I’ll Take it. If only for fitting into this tux. Seriously. Not to self: Don’t buy formal wear after completing a 30-day Bikram yoga challenge. Don’t do it. As it is Provincetonians traditionally fatten up as summer ends, like squirrels, before all the restaurants close for the season. Nice that more are staying open. Still, we are going to move the show along this year because: Oy.

So, as you can imagine, I’ve been busy putting this entire festival together—thank you—and (if they applaud: you’re going to doing a lot of applauding here tonight as nine of the fourteen festival performers are here tonight to give you a sampling of what they have in store for you this week with their individual shows, plus some special guests, right) so I’ve been busy organizing and so I don’t have any brilliant stand up prepared or spoken word or anything like that to perform—really I’ve got nothing—so I’m just going to wing it something my acting teacher—Uta—said never to do so, I don’t know I thought I’d just talk about the weather. Really because I love the weather this time of year.

It’s one of the main reasons we chose this time of year for Afterglow, you know, post summer glare. It’s my favorite time of year. I just love it. September. It’s so beautiful. The navy seas, the white caps, the perwinkle skies the bleached parchment sand and still the sunkissed skin and salty brow and the best part of all….Sweaters. Sweaters. So comfortable. And sweaters on the beach. I’m sorry but it’s so chic. Negligent chic but..and sexy so sexy, I think so sexy. Sweaters. They’re like Yankeen lingerie.

And there are fewer people. Or as Stella Starsky calls them the Ford Taurists—the day trippers—they’re gone. And that’s why this is the perfect time, too, for Afterglow, because it is so reminiscent of a summer in Provincetown, say, oh, sevent years ago when an artist, a performer, anyone could come here and have room to move, room to stretch, room to roam, room to create, room to grow and room..s to rent. Not to mention a stage on which a performer could play. So free and comfortable. September really is so conducive to “Try(ing) to Remember” a simpler, more easeful, twinkly and electric time.

And how about you are you comfortable. Yeah? Oh good. Your comfort means a lot to us especially in these times because even here over the rainbow flag in Provincetown we live in a polarized, fractured us-and-them kind of world. Yes even there are factions—mainly outside these doors, if not concurrently on other stages, but even in here we have a bit of a mix. You’re all mixed together. And we want you to feel comfortable amongst the various groups and sects and xenos—is that a word xenos?—amongst the various xenos you find yourselves.

There are our sponsors here tonight of course; and our sparklers, too; but our sponsors esepcially are easy to recognize. As they are the ones leaning in. No, literally leaning in. You would have spotted them earlier coming in, lurched forward, edging up behind you perhaps stepping on your heels a bit, giving you the old flat tire. Not really seeing you but looking over your head maybe on tip toe. Or not. It’s just that sponsors tend to be taller than other people—really, they’re taller, it’s a thing—and they would have been focused down front making a beeline to find their reserved seats in the second or third row. Not the first, no never the first—God forbid. Which I don’t really understand: when people don’t want to sit “oh no! not in the front row.” Why not? “I’d rather sit in the back.” Really? Why? You do realize that the first row is just that much closer than the second, right? We’re not Gilbert Godfriend. Nobody’s going to sledge hammer a watermelon. We’re not Blue Man Group. You don’t need a bib or a slicker. It’s not a log flume. But hey, sponsors though forard leaning, are discreet—some are even anonymous—so fine they found their seats in the second, third, fourth row and they’re happy still leaning forward on the edge of their seats some still on tiptoe, legs shaking in eager anticipation. Like parents at a children’s recital, having invested in their talent, shelled out a few clams, and they’re smiling up at me now, I see you, with your perma grins—those are going to hurt later—nodding in appreciation like the beaming bobble-headed benefacts that they are. They just want it to be good. It’s good right. It’s good. Is it good? Is it good? Is it good? Yeah. Would make a great Snapchat filter wouldn’t it. The sponsor?

And then of course there are the invited audience of townspeople here, the townsfolk if you will who hopefully left their torches on their porches. The Townies though meh they don’t really love that word, the T-word, especially when uttered by someone who isn’t one. The T-word. T for touchy. And they’re easty to spot too because they’re the ones leaning back, mainly with their legs crossed like so, arms folded, typically looking at you sidelong with just half the face, not wanting to commit, just the one eye, most liekly the left, not commiting the full gaze with the right eye no just the left and not the whole left just the corner, the outside corner, without the tear duct, just the dead corner of the eye. Like impress me. And they are strategically seated on the ends in the back on the side in case they have to make a Brexit, a quick get away without being noticed. Which by the way is rarely achieved. People who try to “slip out” always spill something or knock something over or step on someone or trip on someones handbag or especially the heavy doors here always make noise or cast light. But my favorite Brexit move is when people cross, the were seated on the end but they have to cross, and then the do that barely bent over walk through the spotlight so their giant head shadow is cast across the stage, and you get this perfect bent over cameo, going by and the person thinks somehow this makes them invisible the bending but everybody wants to know where the hunched over giant shadow head is going. But for now the Townspeople will stay, won’t you. They’ll see. Anyway this is something different, it’s something different it’s something different—the Massachusetts mantra—it’s something different and maybe they’ll like something different and spread the word, right? Right? T-people?

And the last major faction we have here tonight are passsers by, the already dinters, the strollers, mainy couples who are working that delicate mix of wine and espresso perhaps with a cognac thrown in for good measure, which is always a recipt for impulse shopping or the impromptu purchasing of show tickets. And maybe they were just passing by the box office and asked if there was a show starting and thought: Should we? Do we want to? You think? I don’t know—it’s up to you, and they just said “Okaaay, let’s do it” and then speeed-walked from the box office to the door just in time and then suddenly they were like whoa and sort of stopped startled and did that kind of deer head caught in the headlights two-dimensional heiroglphy walk, their buzz shifting, shades of buyers remorse setting in, what…is…this…where…should…we…? These all say reserved. Those have weirdly smiling people in them those others have are-they angry people in them. Where do we go. What do we do. Someone is yes that guy is waving he is waving at us is he waving at us. Us? He’s nodding and pointing to tow seats. Two seats? You want us to ok—go quick, go quick before someone else…ok this is fine. And then it begins. “Is my bag, where should I put my bag, is it safe on the back of my no I can put it on the floor is the floor clean is it sticky no it’s okay but what if someone spills a drink I think I’ll just hold it, I’ll hold it, I’m going to hold it. I said I’ll hold it. Is it cold? Are you cold? I can’t tell is it cold? Maybe I’ll put my shall should I oh you’re warm? are you warm? do you want to take that off? I can hold your…or…I can pull your sleeve. I don’t know should I get a wait waiter what what’s happening is he talking to me again is he talking to me are you talking to me? Yes.

Because this is opening night….

Typos happen—I don’t have time or an intern to edit.*

Copyright 2017 Wheel Atelier Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Vacancy No

Taurus 2°

Living in seaside towns you see your fare share of inns and B&Bs and so forth. And there is something about the signage that can tell you something right off the bat, I find, about the personalities of the owners. If full and they hang a little NO to the left of VACANCY I take it as a polite, time-saving gesture for all involved. It’s polite enough without being cute. I hate cute. The only exception perhaps is when a shop says OPEN and then scrambles the words to read NOPE when they’re not. I can sort of deal with that. But when an inn or B&B is full and they hang the world NO to the right of the VACANCY sign, I feel we’re in for a bit of a problem. I mean there won’t be a problem because obviously I’m not entering to inquire about a room—I wouldn’t anyway; but I might subliminally steer visiting friends or strangers, even, away from some a place. Somehow that particular combination of the two words is the equivalent of the kind of 1980s joke, like, “I’m so interested in this—NOT.” It’s something Roseanne used to say as the character Roseanne on Roseanne. It’s a little dangle-y, as if there is a silent question mark after the work VACANCY? and then boom: NO, loser. It’s just a bit passive aggressive.

And then there is the more cloying passive aggresive version of the no vacancy sign which is SORRY. Really? Sorry? Are you. Why. Who asked you to be. Who says I’m disappointed? How did we jump to disappointment. It’s assuming a lot: To think you have the power to disappoint me. It’s so condescending. It might be worse than VACANCY NO now that I think about it. Like it’s so fucking great to stay at your crappy B&B. SORRY. That’s like breaking up with someone because you know they are just about to break up with you. Like I have to be shut out from staying at your crappy place and also be noble enough to let you down easy that I didn’t want to fucking stay there in the first place. God. It’s such a victimy projection. Like don’t fucking worry about it. I’m fine. I don’t need your fucking pity that I can’t stay in your lousy room with the squeaky double bed and eat your mini muffins with bad coffee in the morning. Trust me we are good.

Whatever happened to FULL. I love FULL. It’s so simple and direct. It’s the opposite of VACANCY, that would be EMPTY which wouldn’t be accurate because a place isn’t empty then full it’s filling up and then full. FILLING UP would be a cute way of saying VACANCY but, yeah, we don’t like cute so never mind. And so what—damn the parallel structure—FULL works just fine. It’s succinct and yet it feels a little friendly. It’s not assuming anything about me or asking me to feel away. It’s not like the other codependent nightmare signs. It’s just like FULL. That’s it. We’re cool. No need to discuss. I have boundaries. I wish you well. I’m not going to waste your time. Just keep looking and I wish you well. God Speed.

While on the subject of signs: I have this idea to market a two sided Provincetown Paddle whereupon, on one side it says COME HERE and on the other GO AWAY. Because after living and working in this town for quite some time what I’ve noticed is that it’s a petrie dish for polarization. And ultimately people fall into two categories—those you want or actually need to see for one reason or another on any given day OR those you are definitely trying to avoid seeing or being seen by. So I thought I would market an auction paddle. I could call it the “Provincetown People Polarization Paddle”™ I think it would sell like hotcakes.

*Typos happen—I don’t have time or an intern to edit.*

Copyright 2017 Wheel Atelier Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Get your HAUTE ASTROLOGY 2017 Weekly Horoscope ebooks by Starsky + Cox

Spring Back

Taurus 1°

In my endeavor to catch up on these Blague entries (I have another month to go before I can get to the desired one a day) it’s nice to hit the milestone of Taurus while we are actually still in the sign of Taurus.

Here today on the East Coast it is really hot hot hot outside. One of the bummers of our climate is we tend to go from Winter to Summer with very little Spring in between. Meanwhile the less extreme seasons of Spring and Autumn are my favorite, Autumn probably my absolute. I always considered my preference for Autumn to be akin to my favorite color being green, or my love of auburn hair (my own having long lost the reddish bit, leaving me with just a silver reminder of what used to be there).

As a small child in Jersey City we used to have soot showers. That’s right. There was a nearby factory or something and sometimes soot would fall from the sky like black snow flakes, wafting down. It was very odd and frankly something I hadn’t thought about probably since the last time I witnessed one—sometimes sitting down to write a Blague without any exact idea about what that Blague might be can trigger memories of this sort. These soot showers used to happen, I recall, most, in Spring, which seemed longer when I was a kid, in no small part due to the manmade changes in our weather patterns.

There was something magical that happened to kids in Spring, which I can’t quite explain. In the city, there would come that day where bubbles and water balloons and kites and kids trying to ride bikes for the first time without training wheels, bats-and-balls, those paddles with the ball attached with a rubber band, and hopscotch, water pistols, and hulahoops, and those small pink balls one used, in cities, to play handball against a brick wall, and the two dangerous early-seventies toys called Clackers—two balls on a string you would try to make hit above and below your quick-flicking grip, only to hit yourself in the head or face—and that other gadget, a loop with a string and ball attached, where you strapped the loop around one ankle and you would try to jump over the ball as you swung it in a circular motion with said ankle, only to trip yourself and fall face first onto the pavement—all would all start to surface. Girls played elaborate patty cake and jumped rope and everyone played Red Rover and May I.

Later in the more bucolic suburbs, in addition to paper airplaines, boys would fold up paper footballs and shoot the between a buddy’s goal post—index fingers connected at the tips with both thumbs up, while girls made what I was told later in life by someone were called Cooty Cathers, little magical folded and numbered creases of paper with numbers that you manipulated with your fingers and to which you posed questions about love, for the most part. I didn’t describe this at all well. Under flaps of paper were “answers” to the questions girls would ask. Suburban girls played less patty cake it seemed and gymanstical feats seemed to replace jumping rope, but that might be Nadia Comenici’s fault. And of course little league and new gloves and mitts and such played a major part in the childhood estate of Spring. And for some reason candy seemed to be more a Spring occupation than it was in other seasons. I think that had something to do with marketing and the knowledge that kids could sneak away to candy stores more readily in the clement weather.

All this innocence and youth of Spring is very much in keeping with the blissed out pre-fall Edenic experience of the fixed-earth sign of gardeny Taurus.

Copyright 2017 Wheel Atelier Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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From “Us & Them”

Aries 30°

For our Afterglow Festival opener last year I wrote something fairly political for Stella and myself to perform, together and separately. Using the frequented Herring Cove beach in Provincetown as a metaphor for the political climate, the right and left, and their varied alliances with foreign power I wrote the following monologue for Stella to perform:

 Originally performed September 12, 2016 in Provincetown as part of the Starsky + Cox “Us and Them” show:

So if you know Herring Cove beach then you know that you drive out and you get to a fork in the road at the entrance where there’s a ranger station and you can either swipe left or swipe right. And really that’s what you’re doing because: If you swipe left you enter the lefty liberal beach of the gays and lesbians. The boys and girls, well, the men and women. Well the women first because they stick close to the beach entrance; not because they don’t like the exercise but because they have so much, shall we say, equipment—folding chairs and tents and typically dogs, if not kids, and books and hats and towesls and sweatshirts and floats and games and sporting goods and dinette sets and, you know, equipment—which is in sharp contrast to the boys who are further down and, depending on the tide, will have taken the short cut to that outer beach, “the boy beach” through the dunes, traveling super light, you know, with just a David Sedaris book, a towel and a TimScapes tanktop slung over their shoulder. So even if you swipe left you encounter that contrast, that sub faction.

However if you were to swipe right when you enter Herring Cove you really are swiping right, except if you venture really far out, which you can only do on foot, to the very tip of the beach where you will encounter a small colony of elite, off-the-grid libertarian gays, but for the most part, when you swipe right, it’s RV after camper after mini-van after trailer, many of which are festooned with right-wing bumper stickers and “populist” propoganda or patriarcal paraphenalia like those disgusting truck balls. Just a few weeks back, On my way out to visit my gay libertarian friends, I passed one vehicle with a bumper sticker that read Trump That Bitch. Yeah that’s what it said Trump That Bitch. I always travel with a Sharpie so I added a comma after Trump and drew a quick caricature of Ivanka. (Period.) I’m not proud of it. Vandalism. It’s typically not my style. But these are drastic times and the polarized duality of our existence here is stunning. Again, especially here. And it works every which way….

….The other day, I bumped into a friend as he pedalled back from his travel-light daily jaunt to the Boy Beach, who was terribly distraught because he felt what he called his “safe queer space” was being invaded by straight people. Apparently a forty something hipster couple was trying to cross the dunes to the Boy Beach with a stroller which must have been a sight and a big surprise to them and the fellows sunning themselves sans thong upon their arrival. And I get it. Provincetown has long been a refuge for the LGBTQ community for a century but as it becomes less marginalized, which is the goal, right, it loses it’s margin, it’s outer fringe. And so, yes, though it would be jarring to see some likely well-funded artisinal chocolatier millionaire couple in what appears to be19th century garb—she in a gunny sack, he sporting suspenders and a Smith brothers beard—crossing what must seem like the Sahara with a stroller, it’s just the way, it literally goes. This is where it’s going. I tell me gay friends here: You can’t have the World of Interiors, or House & Garden or Elle Decor or Guns & Ammo come and photograph your mudroom and then expect to keep out the Brooklynite offspring of the Fortune 500. You know the expression?…I think it was Shakespeare or maybe it was Christopher Marlowe…who said: First the gays, then the girls and then everybody else? It’s true. But I’m talking beyond that, beyond that. More globally.

It way goes beyond the domestic cultural wars playing out here microcosm. It’s global. Yes the global conflict is right here, in Provincetown. Oh yes. You don’t go to other boutique destinations like Key West or Palm Springs or Asheville or Marfa and see what we see here. I mean in terms of global dichotomy as far as we are concerned, there is a split, right, wouldn’t you agree, between the former Soviet Union, still espousing many of their cold war ideals, and the rising power in the world, that is China. And of course, closer to home, we have this dualistic vision of Mexico. The right seems to be all about the once and what could be the future Eastern Bloc—and the left seems to be more welcoming of China, and they are split down the middle on Mexico. And, though I don’t have as many Mexican friends in Provincetown as I used to, I certainly know a lot of people here who hail from the former Soviet Union and, at the same time, I’m being slowly introduced to our new friends from China. And I don’t have to fly seven thousand miles to understand the historic and cultural significance of this particular brand of global dichotomy—all I have to do is stroll from here to Canteen next door for a dish of sauteed brussel sprouts in fish sauce to get a sense of the cultural waves that are occuring out there on the world stage. With all the different factions that make up the Provincetown experience, it is said that walking down Commerical Street is like cruising the halls of high school with it’s myriads cliques and hootsbut walking down the street is also, in its own way, a playing out of the great race for world power and dominion, some factions driving pedicabs, some shielding themselves from the sun with parasols, some sticking to the tar in forshadowing of the dinosaurs we are to become. (take mic out).

And then Stella sang the Tori Amos song: China

 

Soon To Be Monochrome

Aries 29°

Keep talking and keep Tweeting you salmon colored fuck. Go to the Middle East and make a hundred gaffs. The people there even know that you are not us. You are you and you always have had the opposite of the Midas touch. You are our nation’s biggest loser and you will end up in jail because, for a liar and a thief, you are not clever or stealthy. You are a bafoon and everybody hates you; even the Republican lawmakers were just waiting long enough to satisfy their own greedy agendas before the wheels fell off your rickety wagon of an administration. You throw everyone under the bus and now that bus is coming for you. The deputy AG was not about to risk his entire career reputation on you scapegoating him. You think this new special prosecutor isn’t eternally faithful to the FBI of which you made an enemy, like so many enemies. I cannot wait to hear about you handling your own press conference today. I won’t watch it because the sight of it makes me sick. And now we know nothing will happen on health care or on your stupid wall or on anything you wanted to achieve because now the entire Congress is focused on finding proof you are a petty criminal in the highest seat in the land. And you have gavinized our patriotic spirit against you.

At this point there is no going back. There is no normalizing. That ship has sailed, as you have pushed even your supporters to the limit. The most they can do for you is nothing. Nobody can come out for you at this point. It would be career suicide for anybody of any party to align themselves with you, Agent Orange. This takes me back to the summer of 1972 when, even as eight year olds, we would watch the dry, laborious senate hearings and independent hearings on our television sets, in our individual households, with as much laser focus as if the Muppets were on. I won’t say even children hate you; I will say children, especially, hate you. You scare them. And they have the visceral knowledge to know: “you’re a bad man.” I think children make natural patriots as their innocence tends to attach to what is the purest good about any situation or entity or group or individual. I myself have been feeling that we (even, especially, those of us on the left) should now own the most traditionally patriotic trappings about being American, much of which has been hi-jacked, over the years, by hypocrites on the right, appealing to “middle America” while duping them into believing they have its wellfare in mind when, in truth, it has only been a ploy, the sheep’s clothing, for forcing a wolfish agenda.

We the good people of America who care about the poor and diabled (don’t make fun of them) who embrace our traditional spirit of diversity and compassion (while you build walls and impose bans) who seek to preserve our natural resources, our air, our national parks, our water and fight against poisonous corporations who produce drugs and pesticides and for-profit schools and prison systems to line the pockets of the few, it is we who should be wrapping ourselves in red, white and blue and waving flags and marching to Sousa soundtracks with fife and drums to stamp out the corruption you so vividly personify.

You are not long for this White House world. We already know you love the color orange. Just think how swell it’s gonna be when your onsie matches your skin and hair!

Copyright 2017 Wheel Atelier Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Get your HAUTE ASTROLOGY 2017 Weekly Horoscope ebooks by Starsky + Cox

Truly Cosmic (Agency Part 2)

Aries 28 °

So picking up on the previous post, I was thinking I’ll have to share my publishing history with a new agent. the question is how to give them the whole story without seeming crazing and boring them to death. I will really have to distill it all to some kind of timeline but I figure I might as well kill two birds and just diarrhea-write it all out here so that I’ll have something to distill from and anyway there are probably some funny cosmic things that will come out in the airing, and, more importantly, and most probably: I need to exorcise some of the thoughts and feels around the whole subject of publishing from which I suffer a bit from PTSD.

Where to begin: Astrology was always a hobby and a passion growing up and something Stella and I found we shared when we first met. Part of our original shared starry philosophy was hinged on the fact we felt that males and females of the same were actually very different signs—we would later articulate that as: men and women of the same sign draw on separate energies and archetypes. But we were nineteen so cut us some slack.

Fast forward another decade and we are living in the West Village in NYC and Stella is working in fashion and I am acting a bit while mainly writing for magazines and newspaper about entertainment and fashion for the most part. I would take “runway reporting” jobs in Paris and Milan to coincide with her being in those cities during fashion weeks. After hours, we would meet friends and read their astrological charts for fun. Many friends were stylists and editors for magazines. And as some moved up the mastheads at their jobs they would be in a position to hire us to do astrology features.

Wec ame up with our pennames stella Starsky + Quinn Cox (Stella Star Sky….Quinn Cox, a viable verbal massage of the word Quincunx) to disguise ourselves, mainly, from other editors at other publications I wrote for like the New York Times. After a few years of writing features for dozens of magazines one friend became the edtior of Teen People and approached us to write a regular column. We said we would if it could be a his-and-her format, befitting our gender philosophy on the subject, which was a great fit as Teen People was positioned to be the first unisex teen publication, geared to both boys and girls. It was a huge hit—both the magazine and the column. For our entire tenure there over the next several years our column ranked first among all the magazine pages with readers in market research and focus groups. We didn’t dumb down for teens, you see. We treated them like thinking adults. It was an aspirational column that kids cut out and pasted in their lockers and such.

 

Teen People was a huge success. At the time Ellen Degeneres had this joke where she said God’s waiting room had two publications: Guns & Ammo, and Teen People. The fact is that not just teens were reading it. It was a major guilty pleasure for adults, particularly urban influencers working in publishing, the arts, fashion and entertainment.

One such reader was Rob who had his own imprintat William Morrow. Now, the funny thing is: we knew Rob socially through a mutual close friend who died at thirty ,to whom Sextrology is dedicated—there is a major cosmic story regarding her which I’ll try to fold into this as I contemporaneously (a word contemporaneously made popular by the news of Jim Comey and his FBI memos) forge ahead, my fingers slightly ahead of my brain. I will try. Anyway we were visiting with Rob one day when he launched into praise about this horoscope column he read (secretly) in Teen People. Um, we admitted: That’s our column. After a big No Way! conversation, Rob intimated he was interested in finding these authors—us—to see if they—us—would like to write a book—would they!—us—and could we tailor it toward an adult audience and include sex and sexuality in the content. But of course. So we put together a proposal—we first blurted out the working title Sextrology on the beach with Rob in East Hampton—and he hooked us up with an agent whom we secretly called Lady Chardonnay because she seemed to perspire it after climbing the three stories of stairs to her office each time we met her—we always arrived earlier than she did.

Lady Chardonnay got a large sum for the sale of Sextrology, which I always wondered if Rob found ironic since he introduced her to us. It was a whopping sum expecially since we were first time authors and writing on the subject of astrology. But we weren’t complaining. In fact the book was worth every penny and has gone on to make our publisher millions. I should say that soon after we got the deal, Harper Collins bought William Morrow and desolved Rob’s imprint. He was gone which was scary and Lady Chardonnay (said she) tried to sell the book elsewhere before apprising us of the situation: that even though Harper cancelled most of Rob’s contracts they wanted to keep Sextrology (probably because it had sex in the title); and that we would be a “Harper Resource” book which was not great news. Harper Resource published things like updated editions of The Joy of Sex but otherwise they were kind of a dry resource book imprint at their core. Ut oh.

Starsky + Cox were determined that Sextrology would break the mold on astrology; that it would redefine the genre, that we would be dragging the subject out of the occult aisle and plop it smack dab in the designer display window. We had a design clause in our contract that allowed us to direct the look. I already said it was supposed to be a hardcover but the publishers lied about that and tried to conceal the fact they were making in paperback. The publisher and editors who inherited our book didn’t want to hear how we were going to launch the book at fashionable stores around the world, that celebrities (and royalty) would attend our events, that we were going to have early adopters of the book in mover shakers, intellectuals, artists, fashion designers, and other authors who referenced our book for their own works. They certainly didn’t think that we were the start of an entire new movement which is now, a dozen years later, known as Mysticore or the Now Age. They couldn’t believe we decided what our book looked like, let alone that we were given six figures for our first foray. They fought us at every turn and made our lives really miserable. Our editor lost a quarter of our manuscript “at the gym”. Yeah, you’ve no idea the litany of issues we encountered and why? Because when you’re not a known commodity or, more acurately, a celebrity you are treated like fucking dirt in publishing. But we were undaunted. And we proved “our people” at Harper wrong at every turn.

And I performed a Jedi mind trick on them as only a Libra can: A year after publication I contacted them about our contract and said “you see this bit about ‘electronic rights’ I’d like those reverted to us—and they did it! So before ebooks became a thing we had already got the rights back to publish the ebook of Sextrology ourselves. Of course that didn’t stop our publisher, on two ocassions, from trying to publishing the ebook themselves, losing our paperwork, doubting the rights had been reverted to us, taking the opportunity again to treat us like shit before they had to eat their words. Though publishers never truly apologize. Just last year I saw a new Sextrology ebook was going to be hitting the market—from our publisher!—it was every Amazon site in every country accepting pre-orders. Do you know how much of my time went into getting them to shut that shit down? They don’t care. They get a paycheck and flop around their offices caring little about the fact they might be messing with your livelihood and intellectual property. Harper Collins, in case you didn’t know, is owned by Rupert Murdoch.

So, okay our friend to whom the book is dedicated, the person who introduced us to Rob. She died around her 30th birthday. And we all to gather at her house to say goodbye but she died before any of us got there. But we all gathered anyway for the weekend. And Rob was there and that’s where we truly bonded. There was this friend of hers from her writing program at Binghamton called Peter. We bonded all together about a dozen of us that weekend and then went our separate ways. Email wasn’t even really that much a thing. Well, when we got our book advance we bought a house on Cape Cod in a sleepy little town that hardly anyone ever goes to. There was one bookstore in town and road down to the main beach. First, before I tell you the kicker I will tell you that I saw my then ancient history professor from B.U. there. Professor Schumann was heading to the beach one day and I recognized him from 1983 when I asked him if I should try to transfer to a better school in the U.S. or study abroad in France in Grenoble. He urged me to go to Grenoble which he called the Harvard of France and so I went and that’s where I met Stella. But if that isn’t weird enough: Upon moving to this town we went to the bookstore which had just opened that same month. Of course, Peter was the owner. We had moved to a town on Cape Cod with the money we got from a book deal from Rob with whom we connected at our friend’s passing and when we got to the town her best friend from her writing program had just opened a book store there.

 

Copyright 2017 Wheel Atelier Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Get your HAUTE ASTROLOGY 2017 Weekly Horoscope ebooks by Starsky + Cox

Agency

Aries 27

Starsky + Cox are best known for writing books I guess. And yet it’s been a while since we’ve done so, but for our yearly Haute Astrology weekly horoscope books. Publishing has always been such an uphill battle. Editors at publishing houses I find are not on the whole very happy people. And most agents lie for a living. It can be a lose lose for anyone in any profession who has an agent unless you’re a super star because the agent’s relationships to the publishers, in this case tend to be more important than the agent’s relationships to the author, despite the fact the agent makes money off the author. It’s just that an agent needs publishers in their lives to sell books by an author who is typically, to their mind, a dime a dozen. There are rare instances where agents actually have blood running in their veins that wasn’t sucked out of other people’s, but on the whole they are leeches. Especially at the big agencies, which is why we dumped ours at WME about seven years ago after writing our second book and being lied to by our “team” of agents who, at that agency in particular, are completely devoid of souls.

And yet a writer would like to write books and have them published. Happily our writing is based on a practice that we can perform every day in person (or on Skype) with real people, and we are fortunate that we have an outlet for our thoughts and feelings on the subject with which we have become synonomous and that we actually make a difference in people’s lives, one divine soul at a time. And there are myriad other spokes to our brand, thank Goddess.Yet there is always that gnawing feeling to write another book in which to represent the evolution of our thoughts since last we published a weighty tome. So, starting New Year’s Day this year I sat down to write a book proposal, drawing on notes we’d been making over the years, and I completed it in a matter of days. And then what? I thought. I guess I have to “find an agent”, a notion that was most repellent.

In the meantime, I could hand the book to a couple of key friends in the business to get their feedback. I reached out. Crickets. I reached back out. And received some vague though helpful responses. Oh well. The truth became clear: I don’t feel like actually looking for an agent. I suppose, over time, I would peruse the acknowledgment pages of books I liked to see what authors had which agents and maybe I would reach out to this person or that over time. When I had the time. Which I don’t have much of. And anyway, I’m just happy I wrote the proposal because it helped order my thoughts. And we can always self-publish, although, despite the direct cash in hand from reader to author, less the amount to Amazon or iTunes, there is nothing like having a physical book in hand. Especially in hard cover.

Sextrology was supposed to be in hardcover. We only found out accidentally from our publisher after it had been all edited and was “in house” being prepped for publication, accidentally. The editorial director we worked with at Harper Collins accidentally cc’d us on an email sent to her boss, the publisher, who played good cop to her bad. “Don’t tell them it’s not hardcover” she wrote one fine shot day. WTF? Oh, we decided it would be better as a “trade paperback” just one of several uphill battles we had to have with the company during the lengthy writing period and preparation of our first book which, we told them, was going to be a game-changer in the astrological genre. We’re going to break the mold we told them as we wrote the book. That’s why we have a design clause in our contract. The book will be smart and chic and fashionable and funny and sexy and many other things never before expected from or delivered by an astrology book. Peole were not inclined to believe. But we did prove them wrong.

The book launched at Selfridges and Harvey Nichols in London, Edinburgh and Dublin, and Marc Jacobs stores everywhere, and at Colette in Paris and at similar shops in Geneva and Zurich and other cities and at Barneys New York when it was still something, with Simon Doonan decorating the windows on a Sextrology theme. Parker Posey came to the Barneys event which was funny and confusing to fans of Will and Grace on which she portrayed the manager of Barneys at the time.We did radio and tv in the US and Europe, we ultimately wrote columns for every publication and website from Paris Vogue to the Daily Beast. Sextrology made quite a splash. Several different production companies tried and failed to build a tv show around us, both in the U.S. and, ironically, mostly, in the U.K.. Ari Emanuel at WME physically handed our book to Charlize Theron with whom Stella met as she, too,wanted to produce a show about us but, once again, agents in the form of WME got in the way. That’s a long story in its own right. Suffice to say they lied to both Charlize and to us telling the other that we didn’t want to do the one type of project we both wanted to do. Lying for a living.

I could go on and on and on. And I’m sure I will. I always do. But I want to get to the main point of this particular Blague which is a little bit of magic and or cosmic humor:

I wrote the book proposal. And though I had pretty much resigned myself to the fact it wasn’t going to be circulated to would-be agents because I just couldn’t bring myself to do that, it soon looked like we would have a great agent after all. Through other successful writer friends we had met this great agent years ago and have stayed in touch socially. When asked what we were up to we simply explained we had written this proposal but didn’t have the stomach to do some directed search. Well you can pretty much guess the rest. The point I’m making is that somehow just the writing of the proposal was enough. Perhaps there was power enough just in that process and in the intention alone to bring this project to light that it sent out its own beacon of unspoken inquiry. And so when asked what was up with us in book world, the very simple honest answer was all that was organically necessary to make a connection. At leat that is the hope. As we are known to say: Most things don’t happen, but everything happens eventually.

Copyright 2017 Wheel Atelier Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Get your HAUTE ASTROLOGY 2017Weekly Horoscope ebooks by Starsky + Cox

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