Friday, February 22, 2008

No Obama, Hillary or Colton Berry

Instead of watching the Democratic candidates debate or the first American Idol results, Annie and I went to the San Jose Museum of Art for a reading by David Rakoff.

He lived up to his sassy, bitchy--often outrageous--This American Life reputation by starting out with a juicy piece about becoming an American citizen (he was born in Canada), that involved some incisive cutting-up of Barbara Bush and her son.

He also read an edgy and surprisingly quite moving piece about being a (short, queer) outcast in high school.

During the Q&A he was asked if writing is easy for him. He said, "Have I been very foul-mouthed during this talk?" and the audience, obviously egging him on, said, "No." "Well," he said, "for me writing is like pulling teeth ... out of my dick." Then he shyly grinned and said, "Okay, that's my bluest material for the night."

Speaking of blue, there was a Picasso exhibit--"Etchings of Love and Desire"--at the museum that we perused prior to the Rakoff talk. Whoo-wee was he into genitalia (and not just female) in the last stretch of his life. I thought it was all refreshingly frank--while also being richly expressive. As Picasso said, he didn't paint life but life as he saw it.

I like another Picasso quote displayed on the museum wall: "Art is never chaste. Art is dangerous. Where it is chaste, it is not art."
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