Thursday, January 18, 2018

Outside Visiting Hours

Those late night demons,
Those 4am demons
Those 4am demon voices
That wake you,
And keep you awake
With their all-knowing Truth,
With their relentless
Telling you
And telling you
And telling you
And judging you...

Those late night, 4am demons,
They are manageable
During visiting hours.
But when you start to notice them,
And hear them,
And listen to them
During your wide-awake hours,
After your visiting hours.

And they keep telling you
And telling you
And telling you things
And judging you
In a voice louder than
The voices in the visiting hours...

When this happens,
There is no escape.

Friday, January 05, 2018

Specks In This Cosmic Storm Of Chance

This is us, New Year's Day 2018. The Dreaded One and me, we made it through a struggle of a year. I don't really know how I made it. The urge for non-existence was strong early in the year. That urge never really leaves. It has always been part of me. It gets close, and it fades away.

But the survivor in me has never given into that urge. Partly because I know moments like this are possible in the future. Grumpy and The Dreaded One, they seem to be making each other happy again. When we're good, we totally fucking rock. After all this time, we still make each other laugh, and we still hold hands.  Humans and that freakish chance encounter thing... The Dreaded One was born three days after me in San Francisco. I was born three days before her in Sydney. What are the chances of us bumping into each other years later? What are the chances of us liking each other enough to eventually love each other for all these years? We're all just specks in a cosmic storm of chance.

And Marciano on my right in this picture is a perfect demonstration. She wrote the perfect job application for the position of working with me in the cafe. Perfect because it spoke to me. As with a previous co-worker, April, I kind of knew from those words on the page that something was there. Some beautiful connection. I was right both times. Both have become treasured friends.

Today was Marciano's last day. I have enjoyed every minute of her company.  We share a gentle, quirky sense of humour. We have made each other happy. We have hugged a couple of times a day, but today's last hug was a long and tight one, and I don't mind telling you that when she said into my shoulder, "Lee... my big brother"... well I might have teared up a bit.

What are the chances? What are the chances that a person born in Uruguay 25 years before a person born in Sydney will bump into each other in Melbourne one day and share such a silly sense of humour and become such close friends? What are the chances, in this cosmic storm of chance?

Monday, December 18, 2017

Finnish, Is Finished

12 months after starting it, I have finished my play, titled Finnish.

It shouldn't have taken me this long. It's only 85 or so pages of writing. But in parts, it is intense, and this has been an intense year. Such extremes of love and the questioning of love, self doubt that brought me to the edge of some very dark places because the person I love most... I had hurt her and she wanted to hurt me. She achieved that goal. I realised that I am, this late in life, still as lacking in self-confidence as I was as young boy. When I was a young boy, my self-confidence was destroyed. Unlike a lizard's tail, it seems your self-confidence never grows back. You cover up this lack of self-confidence late in life... you learn some tricks. But when it gets kicked out of you again, you realise that you are still that lonely little boy.

Writing this play was a coping mechanism. Writing this play was a way of trying to understand things. I really didn't do anything wrong. I loved outside of the accepted parameters of love maybe... meaning just that I love my friends. I have few friends, I am solitary man, but sometimes these random strangers break through and I find myself seeing these individuals fully, understanding them fully, accepting them fully, and loving them fully.

And that is what my play is about. It's about the nature of love and friendship. It's about can society accept alternative forms of love and friendship.

Can a 50 year old man have a beautiful friendship with a 25 or 30 year old woman without it being about sex or lust. This a valid question. It's also about the nature of love. What, exactly, is love, and how do we judge love. Maybe love can be pure, even though you are judging it from your world view. Just because you think love is about lust, it isn't necessarily so. Sometimes love is just about acceptance. You just accept them, and you embrace them, because you love them. Love is a mystery.

So I've finished a play about love. It's maybe the rawest thing I've ever written, and I tend to go for raw. I write to make myself cry or to laugh, and I have done both in writing this thing.

Just like in the closing of the third act of the play, I have no idea what happens next.

Sunday, December 03, 2017

We Are Dreams

I sometimes wonder what would happen if the essence of us wasn't contained and restricted by our skin and bone and the miracle of our inner organs and that mystery that is our brain. What would happen if we were not trapped in this physical skin-prison? What would happen if the skin-prison released us? We would just be out there, swirling thoughts and swirling dreams, swirling with each other, together.

Never individual.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Blackrainbow When He Was Young And Pretty

These two guys were friends when they were teenagers. They have drifted into old age, and drifted apart.

You are more beautiful than you realise. Live now.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Betty Grumble Interview

Betty Grumble

By Lee Bemrose

If you haven't experienced Betty Grumble, you should. If you think you could come up with a creation like Betty Grumble, you can't, unless you are Emma Maye Gibson, because Betty is the most unique force of Sex Clown you will ever behold. And she is here to delight and entertain you and save the world with her fierce love and loving anger.

First up, thank you for taking the time to answer yet more questions. Do you ever get tired of answering questions about yourself? Or do you enjoy this part of the process?

I enjoy the experience. The conversation that art creates should have many tendrils across many mediums. Debate and dialogue encircle practice and we do love a good yarn.

Does the introspection of being asked questions about the nature of your character affect the nature of your character?

It depends on the line of questioning, the mood, the moment. Sometimes you feel strong enough to free dive deep down into your guts for some hard truths. Sometimes you just wanna wriggle across into some solitude. Asking questions about being asked questions is proving trippy today… But I like it.

I have to confess that I chose an email Q & A over a face-to-face because the prospect of meeting Betty Grumble in the flesh is kind of intimidating. Do you find Betty is generally an intimidating presence? Why/why not?

Betty can have that effect. She is a large energy, a fleshy, sensual beast. Some people are drawn into her laugh, some are arrested by it. She allows space for all of these responses and they are all valid. She is monstrous in her way, simultaneous war mask and children’s toy. Betty is going to mean different things for different experiences of the world. The overriding response is ‘give us a squeeze’ but the tension of Grumble’s inner workings - her love and anger - her comedy and horror - gives birth to a storm of energy. She’s a primal one, so I can understand how locking eyes in the jungle with a mythic maiden may induce a quiver. She’s a lover though, first and foremost, there’s always time to sniff each other out. No shame in watching from a distance though… Or not at all.

This is for both of you: What does Betty think of Emma Maye, and what does Emma Maye think of Betty? What aspect of the other do you like/dislike etc. Please answer as though the other was not in the room.

Emma Maye has always spoken about Betty as a survival mechanism. She’s an invocation of the sacred Glamour Spell that has long histories stretching through drag and shamanism. Emma Maye laughs and weeps alongside Betty. Betty gives Emma Maye space to see herself. The mask says ‘look at me’ but also, ‘don’t look at me’. It’s not a mirror so much as a water source, which reflects but you can also submerge into and swim in the other. You have to respect it though, as it can take you under… Performance Art & Sex Clown legend Glitta Supernova calls this phenomenon ‘SHOWCOSIS’. There are healthy and unhealthy cases of Showcosis, where like with any magic, you can go too deep or too far from the spirit into ego. ‘Alright, I’m ready for my close-up, Mr Demille.’ The stage is powerful, you have to respect it. Betty loves Emma Maye, she’s been watching her for some time.

Do you ever have creative differences? If so, how do you resolve these differences?

We have a pretty good symbiotic relationship. You could probably trace a battle of aesthetics through photographs of earlier performances to now. We work a lot with taboo, I think we have learnt a lot about listening to instinct and the world around, together. We have made mistakes together. We try not to chastise each other for it, it’s part of the process. We are open to learning. We are also proud of each other.

Your new show is called Love & Anger. The word I most associate with love is hate. Why Love & Anger?

Anger can be righteous. It’s a moving energy. I feel like hate has arrested itself. It’s stuck. As women, we are often told to ‘calm down’, that we are hysterical or crazy. I think women have a lot of anger, and its justified, we have lived and are living in an ongoing femicide. The feminine spirit has been under attack. The anger we have is in response to this, in can help us, empower us, protect us, ready us for battle, it can also connect us to the sisterhood. The anger doesn’t eat itself or go rancid, it constantly renews itself because it’s so connected to love energy. We are only so angry because we are so full of love, because we know innately how things can be and that the balance is out.

What kind of things stir feelings of love in the heart of Betty Grumble?

Nature, GAIA BABY YEAH. Oh, ole Grumble bum is always perving on the world around, loving that kookaburra cracking itself up on the branch of the white gum. The wind whipping around your thighs, the breath of fellow dancers on a dance floor going in and out. Tenderness incarnate in the human spirit, the resilience of people, the difference in people. I LOVE IT. Betty loves to move and be moved, she loves fantasising about the endless possibilities, thick musical beat, her biological and logical family. Animals, the ecosystem. CAVES! RAIN! It’s raining as we write this now and we want to throw ourselves into the day, mouth open. Love is lurve and love and love and love.

And anger?

People who try and control other people’s bodies… Or the body of the Earth. Fuck you. Fuck a government so corrupt and conservative they don’t even bury their bigotry, they air it with the kind of arrogance we though we left behind post WWII. Enemies of Grooviness - EAT SHIT.

What are your thoughts on hate?

Hate is going to be born out of fear or trauma. Hate is something we need to face and talk about. There’s too much hate disguised as justice. Not everyone needs to live the same life, but we need to live freely, the lives we desire and deserve. Identify those stepping on the throats of others.

You use the word ecosexual, and there is a theme of the impact humans are having on our fragile ecosystem in your work… what do you think is the fate of humankind?

Part of me believes in the ‘volunteer human extinction program’… That we will suffer the consequence of our selfishness as a species and rightly so… Part of me wants the revolution of consciousness to bring us into harmony with the cosmos. Can it be? I find comfort in the idea that Utopia is in the Struggle, that there is a space for us to live in the here and now in the reaching for the groovier future.

Emma Maye - do you ever forget you are not behind your Betty mask and do or say something that is pure Betty in off-stage reality?


Do you think it would be healthy for everyone to have an alter-ego?

I think its healthy for people to play. Our child spirits need to live in us, too many have been stomped out. It’s all dress ups.

I understand that the name Betty Grumble was inspired by Emma’s grandparents. What would they think about your shows?

Realistically they would be shocked. Now they have passed into the spirit realm, I think they would find it all very funny. I think my Aunty, Lynda Gibson would be laughing the hardest up there, she is a big inspiration to me and I think processed the world a similar way to how I do. She was their daughter and I’m their grand daughter, it’s all connected.

Do you ever see faces in the audience that are genuinely shocked by what they are seeing?

If I’m lucky!

Part of the reason I want to see Love & Anger is to find out if this performance really is as hilarious and outrageous as I remember the last one being. What kind of experience are we in for this time?

Thank you! This is an ongoing womanifesto I say, so you can expect a similar approach to the body and fun, of seriousness colliding with surreal stupidity. You can anticipate seeing Betty shift in different ways, there is a deeper autobiographical approach to this go at it. I’m proud to bring this ceremony to Melbourne, the last run was very loving and I think we are going to make a lot of fun and noise together.

Finally, can you (either of you) tell us something about Betty Grumble you’ve never told anyone before?

She gets scared sometimes. 

Friday, November 17, 2017

AnaNA Siniestro

Today in the cafe... I don't really need another nickname or alter ego or personality, and yet...

This is my much loved current co-worker, Martina. I call her My Favourite Martian because of the anagram of her name. She is a treasure. She is a great worker, is great company, is a friend, and every day when she brings her sunshine personality into the cafe - as with The Dreaded One's assistant Jodie - I feel incredibly grateful that fate brought us together.

But the nickname thing. I'm learning Uruguyan Spanish, and apparentlyy my nickname is Anana Siniestro.

Sounds cool, huh? It's got a rhythm. It's got a beat. You can chant it... AnaNA Siniestro... AnaNA siniestro... AnaNa siniestro...

So primitive. So tribal.

So what you are probably wondering, if you do not speak the Uruguyan version of Spanish, does it mean?

It appears to mean "Weird Pinapple." Or maybe "Sinister Pineapple.

So. There you go.