Archive for the 'visual art' Category

17
Oct
11

Where’s Your SelfEfuckingSteem? Send Out The Clowns!

Today I killed a clown, or did a clown kill me?  I was feeling so fucking great waking up with someone holding me again, wrapping their arms around me and kissing me and kissing me and kissing me.  Someone massaged my shoulders and made me breakfast again one morning…I was doing everything better.  I wasn’t seeing this person or talking to him every day.  I wouldn’t allow myself to spend all day in bed love bonding with orgasms to fuel the toxic formula which has been proven to be the downfall of most codependent relationships…

Where is your self efuckingsteem?” He asked me when I picked him up shitfaced from OccupyLA.  I thought it was funny when he said it at the time, I really did.

[If you treat me like shit] I will NOT love you LONG TIME.  Nope.  Definitely not.  This I know from experience, especially if someone causes me so much pain in such a short period of time.  Luckily all this stuff goes in vicious cycles, so if you missed it the first time it hit you [me] in the face, rest assured it would come around again and again and again and as you kept trying so hard to juggle all the balls, they kept being thrown at you and all of them falling faster than the music, faster than you could chase after them down the hill, onto the freeway, lost forever….

I found out today that I have codpendent tendencies, but no, I am not a hopeless codependent.  I am becoming less and less so with every romantic partner.  They are following a vicious cycle, but they are coming in and out of my life like acid rain storm clouds.  Messing up my atmosphere and then it clears up faster and faster and faster disappearing into another bright and sunny Los Angeles day.  Rinse.  Repeat.

Love and Sex addicted I am not.  My counselor is always suggesting I go to meetings of different types.  I look up the definitions and read the meeting descriptions and laugh.  the funny thing is that once I stopped using weed, the sex between us changed.  it was sooo amazing the first night and then it was decent, but he still needed to be trained.   It was the intimacy/cuddling/affection and passionate kissing is what I live for everytime.  It’s what I turn my phone off and drive across town to get even for a little bit.  Even if it means sleeping on a mattress on the floor in a messy 23 year old’s room in his mama’s house.   I had temporarily quit using marijuana for most of this affair, which was related to me catching a cold and wanting to have a different relationship to substances of my own accord.  Now that I look back on it, that’s how I should have seen that he was an addict.  Because he was in no way trying to respect my desire to try to be sober, trying to get me to break and give in to using weed every time we saw each other.  It was pretty easy to resist as I was determined.  Even when I told him it was for the future baby (not his necessarily).  This is why he didn’t drive.  This is why he had a broken collarbone and a broken heart.  I only went back to MaryJane tonite but I don’t feel guilty about it.  I knew I would break down and use when it was “absolutely neccessarily.”   I felt stronger instantly.   It was Maryjane or the clown.  And I chose wisely.

This affair was short but sweet sixteen days,  because we went through all of the same bits and pieces faster for some reason.  He flaked on me again.  Twice in a row, the second time was the last time.  He was unapologetically drunk again and I did not desire to pick him up and make things better with his alcoholic embrace.  The last time was to fix my pathology and this time would be to appease his, and I was able to refuse it much easier.  An obnoxious drunk is easier to turn down than a slick romantic abuser manipulator.  If he had called me up drunk telling me that he was sorry he didn’t mean to hurt me, he needed help or some other smoother story like my other abusers were able to come up with other than the sorry pathetic one he presented I may have gone to pick him up instead of cut him off.

I did not imagine that he was massaging his female friend’s shoulders in front of me the other day. She was low key challenging my worth, even asking me where I went to school. (I have a Master’s Degree actually, I told her).  I didn’t like the situation at all. I felt like I was amazing artist Frida Kahlo watching her asshole fat ass non deserving but talented husband Diego Rivera paw her sister in front of her (“I know I don’t believe in monogamy, but I know I don’t feel good right now”) It challenged my views on open relationships and non monogamy even though me and the clown were not yet in an official relationship he knew that I liked him and should have talked to me about her before touching her in front of me.   Jealousy and pain.  Too much too fast.  Do they do this on purpose just to see if you will still be there after they shoot daggers at you?

He actually told me that he wanted to keep fucking me and stop kissing me when I told him I had herpes.  I burst into tears and cried so hard all day that my eyes hurt at night. (you cannot automatically get herpes from kissing/fucking someone with herpes, even if they have an outbreak on their lip (tho of couse MORE risky indeed as any open sore is), but it is especially not risky if they don’t though the “always contagious”  and “even condoms won’t protect you” doctrine is still prescribed by some doctors and sex educators).  I don’t even get those big open sores that you often see on people’s lips.  And condoms don’t protect you when your making out with someone, that is the reason behind that statement.

I did not use weed to feel better that day.  I called him and asked him to make it better, to kiss away the pain he had caused..   I do not kiss my clients because I want every kiss I give someone to mean something.  I want commercial intimacy and personal intimacy to always be different and mostly but not always something special. It makes making out with someone as exciting as it was when I used to do it at an 8th grade dance at times.   I don’t have the strength to fight the whore stigma anymore these days.  I really really don’t, even though when I wear my fancy sexy whore revolutionary outfit it appears as if I do.  And I do on the outside.  A trained warrior.  Just not on the inside.   I’d been through too much lately.  Had a shit of time internet dating on several sites,  so I had literally just given it up before I met him.  He was like a godsend when I met him at a Burningman party.  I stumbled into someone I had been looking for on the internet in the “real world.”  The first day he made me cry so hard was the first time I asked him to make things better in his embrace.  “You need to make it better.” I cried, knowing that that was just a band aid solution and that I was willingly following an unhealthy relationship pattern that was too familiar to me.  I am a survivor of relationship violence, so I will always have a tendency to seek comfort in asking the violator to heal me when I can.  And of course, he did, gave me a colorful lollipop to cheer me up (in one hand, and a can of Modelo beer in the other) when I picked him up and kissed me passionately, holding my face like I love, filling me with hot flames of desire, making me feel whole again as I rocked my hips towards him.  Later that night as we were walking to the protest (it was awesome that we were both activist/artist types), he was laughing while I was telling him about my feelings from the day and I guess I punched him pretty hard in the chest to stop his laughter.  I didn’t think that I did but he acted pretty wounded.  It’s likely since I’ve returned to martial arts and he made me cry earlier that I could have hit him harder than I thought.  But this is another codependent trick, to flip the blame on the victim. (An ex abuser has started an argument based on the fact that I “accidentally grazed him in the balls on purpose”)  Now I am the abuser.  I have been the person to hit my boyfriends in the arm or chest (the way you may have seen teenage couples fight)  or make violent motions towards their face without touching them to express my anger and desire to tear into them for the pain they have given me.  This is still violence I know.  I know.  If a man did this to me it would be equally problematic.  Now I am the one who should apologize profusely.  Good trick.  Do it again.  Again! Again! Again!

But the later offenses weren’t fixable with an apology or an embrace.  I had seen it before and I had walked away before.  Except the last time it took me 2.5 months and way, way more damage than this little affair had caused.

I went to (my best friend that died at 26) David’s burial ground and held my palms out and stared into his gravestone, hoping to channel his love and support, hoping like I have many times before to get his ghost to appear and talk to me for a few minutes.  I needed a friend bad.  I needed a lover and this floppy clown came along.  It was super fun for a while and taught me so much about me.  It was because I was more sober I was able to see his addictions with a clearer lens.  But I am no classic codependent, and he was a classic case of a borracho payaso drunkard.  Big clown shoes and sad story of time and creative potential wasted, lover after lover of his gone lost and walked away in sadness and anger before me and after me too no doubt…Promising talent, dedicated to his craft and a heart with the potential to shine a room full of children or make even the smartest, sexiest female in the room take him home.  But he clearly had no self esteem only self hatred that filled his belly which was not fat with food.  not fat with love.  Addicts make it so hard to be loved but they want and need it the most.  I know this because I have fallen in love with too many of them, except that they were closet addicts able to hold up a facade much better than this clown so our affairs would end up being longer.  No mas.  Where is my self efuckingsteem?  I still have it apparently.  I would rather be codependent with Maryjane than an alcoholic.  What I was proving to myself lately though was that I wasn’t a drug addict, I could exist without cannabis medicating through traumatic times, through the triggers, through the sadness.  But tonight,  I took comfort in her vapor and through the steam cloud I was able to dry my tears and open my eyes and see again.  I am going to use weed differently.  I am still committed.  I am going to love and do relationships differently.  I already have been.  I mourn for the loss of him and placed his number on my wireless carrier block list.  The familiar block list that I put all my ex boyfriends and lovers so I do not have to cave into them calling me in the middle of the night with sweet promises, even if they talk of them after the pain has subsided months later….I will not go back.

Yes, I am a naive child spirit that still wanders lost in the body of a 35 year old woman, but apparently I am not as vulnerable and desperate as I look sometimes.  I did do better this time, So send out the clowns.

07
Apr
11

People’s Choice Award and The Power of Self Competition

I recently entered my self identity art pieces from my visual art collection from 2000 to present in a NYC based juried art competition that cost about $70 to enter.  Times were still hard back then but now they are even tougher.  If you win this contest, they say, they will pay for “one year of your life.” (this includes my weed, right?)  How that gets interpreted is kind of a laughable prospect but I like the way it sounds, especially recently.

What would one year of my life look like at its very basic?  It would look very similar to how it looks now, EXCEPT I would probably not being doing sex work to pay for everything in my life, including my art projects, musicians and solo show director.  I’d throw out a few select ads and price my rate extremely high like many of the other girls in the VIP section of Eros.com.  (they rate themselves at $6-800/hr! Do they get any clients I wonder?)  I would do sex work because I enjoyed it, because I wanted to, not because it paid my rent or put food on the table. My art and music would do that. I would be paid for my artistic talents adequately to support myself.

I MUST say however, that I have had some amazing sex this month!! whew. I fell infatuated with one of my new clients, and converted another into a lover who offered me solace in recovery from PTSD moments after the martial arts incident…Reverse escorting has proved to be easier and better than adultfriendfinder. Most of the aff guys I met and/or fucked were sooooo lame. broke, boring, too religious, too cocky, ugly, LAME.

One of my new hot clients called me at 3am on a rainy Saturday and turned out to be an account manager for Adam Sandler’s film studio and was actually able to say that he played basketball with him in between shoots and would get yelled at by Happy Gillmore himself on a regular basis! sigh, my dream job with my ex-future husband from high school…I LOOOOVED ME SOME ADAM SANDLER for a good decade or more. I dreamt of a man that would be as dorky, charming and retarded as me! We had fucking amazing gushing multi-orgasmic sex on his amazing expensive mattress. I reverse escorted him almost instantly and made a home in his cuddle, sleeping over without asking after our second round. He had a nice home, nice car of course. A single man who loved yoga but didn’t look like a vegan hippie. I wished for a day or two that I could really date a guy like him, that he would even want to date a girl like me in his “real life”. Cinderella from South Central LA. It’s weird moments like these that I am ashamed of my class and what I do. What happened when he and I graduated from our prestigious colleges that deemed that he would have money and success and I would have strive and struggle? Would I give up my life of adventure for a real job of creative management status like he had, a job that all your relatives, even your distant ones would be bragging that you did…

If I didn’t have to do sex work, I would be able to have the privilege of turning off my phone to cuddle and have sex and play WWF wrestling imitations on my bed without feeling guilty!  I would be able to take showers and baths with my lovers WITHOUT my two phones next to us….THIS IS ONE OF THE REASONS WHY I AM STILL ESCORTING AND STRUGGLING, pushing and hoping that a big break, a small break, even a medium break of any kind will come my way and I will be able to float for a little longer.  Anti-prostitution feminists are always asking us,”if you could do anything else right now, what would it be?” or “If you didn’t have to do sex work, what would you be doing?”  I think of those questions as inane as “What would world peace look like?” or “What would it look like to not use cannabis everyday?”  IMPOSSIBLE!  Sex work is what I do to make money because i choose to be an artist.  I do not choose to be an unpaid or barely compensated artist and musician.  That is not my choice.  The universe has really crafted this path for me, and it is a path in which the main way for me to pay for my existence is by being an urban geisha and personal companion for those men that are as emotionally starved and lonely as me!  But real jobs are lonely, being in your cubicle alone, overhearing the watercooler conversations, office politics are all lonely.  the grass is always greener. When I am in production for a big show, like the premiere of my solo show Modern Day ASian Sex Slavery: the musical, I was not able to do anything but write, memorize, revise, think about the show, make set pieces, prepare, memorize constantly…no social life. My escort phone would ring and I would just ignore it. I didn’t even think about it. I would figure it out later. I knew a check that would cover the rent was on it’s way and I would worry about the rest after February 8th. I turned down a pile of money, cocaine and an overnight rate with a client because I had a rehearsal the next day and I didn’t want to seem too fucked up for rehearsal with my director in a few hours. The 3 hour show that we did was one of the few clients that I saw during this prep period. Somehow it all worked out. seamlessly. It feels great to pay your rent on time without fear of your bitch ass manager calling you with a 3 day notice.

A dude I was trying to date recently (not a coverted client!)  once said,”Why don’t you get a good job with your Master’s Degree so you can have something to do during the day?” As you can only imagine, he just erased himself out of my phone with that comment.  I could have kept him around, but I was so bored with his acceptance of everything that he didn’t even understand.   You DO NOT need a Masters in Fine Art (MFA) to understand art, to understand performance art or conceptual art.  WWF wrestling, Michael Moore and The Yes men are all conceptual artists and once I explain it to the non art educated fan, they can get other types of conceptual art projects and happenings and gain a new appreciation of all of it.   Some people, however, will never get ANY OF IT.  In moments of pure acceptance of my path, I can say with confidence, “this is my day job.  This is what I was meant to do.  I’m doing it.  I’ve been doing it.  I will continue to do it.  For the rest of my life. I can’t get a day job, because I HAVE ONE ALREADY. I can’t teach or tutor or work at Radio Shack because then I would be cutting out of my art and music making time. But we all need to pay bills and rent. When I add up my monthly income it seems consistent and decent, like I shouldn’t be struggling but I seem to always have trouble. 4 days at the agency was great for me, although it was definitely exhausting. I had a great situation with that boss lady. I was able to save up and travel, come back to LA stack chips and soon go off to travel somewhere else. But, that work came with its costs as well.

I am currently broke and struggling again and it always seems more hopeless than it is so I try to keep the faith.  I am looking in all the different job sections of Craigslist and freaking out about the future because I remember canvasing for donations in the parking lot of Trader Joes and trying to make ends meet in that way without agency sex work and how devastatingly hard it all was.  I spent the whole day today applying to different agencies but two of them already turned me away because I was an independent escort.  I used to work with an agency that didn’t care what I did on my own time as long as I kept running calls for them.  This is the way an AGENT should work.  AROUND YOU.  Not vice versa.  But they aren’t really agencies.  They’re pimps and bosses at best. I tried to explain this to one of the agent guys I applied for a job with an he hung up on me in 10 seconds.  I told the boss lady that sent me on the call where I had to get my stun gun out with a guy who grabbed my butt to “call me” and she didn’t.  I really wish my former agency was still running although I complained about it all, it was really nice to have them to fall back on when there was any kind of emergency.

If I was somehow privileged enough to not do sex work, I wouldn’t have to recover from job related PTSD.  I would only have to recover from OTHER non work related trauma.  (which recently happened via an instructor at my martial arts gym).   For the entire span of my professional art career (since graduating from college with an Art degree) I have focused on using my self identity as a performance character and a canvas for the themes in my art and politics.  My work has always talked about the very things that are inseparable from my experience: my race, gender, sexual orientation, beauty and weight standards, occupation, heritage and sexuality….I was first captivated by Cindy Sherman’s untitled film stills series and all of its Black and White grainy bold 60s feminism and I’ve since used it as an undercurrent for justifying using my self as an object, subject, narrator, seller and storyteller in my own series of artifacts.  I have had the great fortune of collaborating with amazing artists and photographers along the 13 year journey.

Modeling in my own photomedia has always been a way for me to generate my own untitled film stills, sometimes owning them as my own stories or projecting a made up or over dramatized version of a story I may have dreamt.  Although dressing up like a hooker and going to the Japanese Tea Gardens in San Francisco in 1999 seemed like something an exhibitionist would do, it came to be my modus operandi in which i was able to become a prostitute performance artist creating a safer and more accessible version of my own reality to the public. I don’t do it for attention, I do it for self exploration and some form of therapy is found in performing and giving life to concepts, archiving them in images.  I wanted to be a fashion model since I was 16 and though I only grew to be 5’1, high heels and the sex industry gave me the same sense of satisfaction, power, and even money that the Barbizon type modeling schools tried to promise me in exchange for $1500 (in 1992??) in runway and make up classes.  After I became a stripper, I became a model, an art director, a make up artist, a fashion photographer, a producer, a singer and all those job titles that little girls want to be when they grow up. I was not too short, or too fat, I was in erotic spreads with the sexiest men and women…(ones that i have only had hot implied sex with!)
 Except, in order to pay for those expensive dreams that COST money to pursue and did not PROFIT, even after years and years of investing time and energy into them I continued to do sex work, mainly escorting.  After my “retirement” from stripclub stripping at 25 I ventured off as a free agent, working for agencies, entities, houses and myself for whoah, the last 10 years now.  When I first got word of this competition, I was like, this is totally MINE.   but lately, it’s so hard to keep the faith, when I haven’t had decent income in almost 3 weeks and the rent is late AGAIN.  87 octane gas is $4.15 a gallon and I have burned up so much of it going to no shows and prank calls around LA that when times are tough, I am forced to stay home. Save gas.  I am having a bad run.  The tide will turn soon.  Power of Self.

Help me out won’t you?  Click on the link below and VOTE on your favorite images!

power of self portfolio

12
Nov
07

HELLO KITTY HAS NO MOUTH and Pimpin Ain’t Eazy

“Happy Endings, American Dreams” photomedia series by Mariko Passion, copyright 2007.

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The director of Girl Fest, Hawaii takes a stab at feminist critique of the We, Asian Sex Workers postcard seen in the post BELOW this one, which depicts one of the images that I did as part of the “Happy Endings, American Dreams” photomedia series above that I displayed on the ar+space gallery walls.

“…Notice how this girl on the flyer is made to be or at least look underage, wearing a Hello Kitty jacket– a popular youth logo. Keep in mind, Hello Kitty has NO mouth to speak for herself. This girl is sitting on a bed in a brothel. Below her are the credit card logos of visa and mastercard with the words “BUY FINE ART” in caps. This flyer is not only promoting the pimping and selling of young girls, it is COMPLETELY racist, perpetuation the hyper-sexual underage exotification of Asian women and girls.

To be clear, Girl Fest and I have been working for the rights and protections and services of women and girls with no economic option but to have their bodies sold for sex to survive. We want to get them out of the industry and help them heal. However, WE ARE COMPLETELY ANTI-PIMP and JOHN. We are firmly against the legalization and decriminalization of prostitution. This SWOP/APLE Pimp Lobby is subversively anti-woman, under the guise of the arcane term “Harm Reduction.”

Kathryn Xian and Girl Fest Hawaii (www.girlfesthawaii.org) which also ran a Girl Fest San Francisco the SAME week as the Sex Worker Film Festival and the WE, ASW art show represent the anti-prostitution position that believes that women and girls in sex work are not capable of self determination and that sex worker rights feminists are and should be called out for the PIMPS that they are. She uses Melissa Farley as her source for credible information on why prostitution is harmful. Farley believes that ALL sex work is forced prostitution/rape, all women in prostitution have been prostituted and are unable to consent due to their post traumatic stress disorder, and all male clients are rapists and need to be cured of their insatiable, morose desires.

So, Kathryn showed up at one of our University of Hawaii speaking gigs and called me and the rest of the APLE (Arresting Prostitutes is Legal Exploitation) a bunch of pimps, accused us of taking money from ‘the pimps’, and implying that we make underage girls lapdance at our lapdance fundraisers from SWOP. She was just waiting to throw her accusations at the end of our (Carol Leigh, Stacy Swimme and I’s) presentation, upon which she kept saying,”Hello Kitty has NO MOUTH, Mariko! She CAN’T speak for herself!!” and then in classic high school fight style, she stormed out saying “JUST BECAUSE YOU ARE A QUEER ASIAN FEMALE DOESN’T MEAN YOU CAN’T BE A PIMP, MARIKO!! See you on Monday!” …leaving us to deconstruct her accusations without her….

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Before Kathryn’s beautiful illustration/performance of the unreasonable hostility anti-prostitution feminists embody when dealing with sex worker activists in feminist spaces like the Women’s Studies Coalition Meeting of the University, she had sent the above analysis in email blast to all the local feminist organizations. I was honored to have been the subject of her deeper examination. That, after all is the POINT of making GOOD ART. If I have made you THINK, (re)think, re-examine and converse about MY work–then I’ve done my job as a post-porn modernist (as Annie Sprinkle might say) artist.  Success!

and now for some thoughts, STRAIGHT FROM THE KITTY’S MOUTH:

First off, calling me a pimp is CRAZY! Not because I have not perhaps technically participated in what could be considered as pimping (I ran a failed escort agency, which never never profited off of prostitution, it was more like an expensive experiment in advertising debt) believe me, so I’m apt to think it wasn’t pimping). PIMP is a an amorphous, ambiguous, misused and misunderstood term that has a pop culture definition (big hat, feather, gold grill, cane..a Black man usually) and a LEGAL defintion (profiting off the avails of prostitution) which makes an escort agent, a stripclub manager, a boyfriend/partner/husband ALL technically able to call themselves pimps. Then there’s the pop culture def which is like the N WORD in that it’s used just as much in songs and movies but has been so far removed from what it originally was that it’s lost it’s meaning because of cultural appropriation and bastardization.  Just like with many racially weighted and charged words, like the N word.

What do people MEAN when they say the word PIMP? And what does it mean to call a SEX WORKER ACTIVIST a PIMP? And to say that in some way, we are being PAID by pimps is even more ridiculous, cuz if any of you know the rules of the game: REAL PIMPS GIVE THEIR MONEY TO NO ONE, especially not to [NO BITCH.]

Pimps and self determined, independent, outspoken prostitutes like myself and the rest of the activists on the speaking tour with me, would certainly not work together financially. We WISH we got funding for our activist efforts by other donors besides OUR CLIENTS. At best, in some situations, like with Pam from APLE who did street outreach for years in Waikiki to girls who DID have stereo typical pimps who wreaked stereotypical violence on their workers, the activists and outreach workers who worked on giving the sex workers some sense of POWER, LOVE AND FREE CONDOMS were at best, tolerated.

Hello Kitty was born and created in Japan in 1976, and is “made in China” these days, making her half Chinese and half Japanese and 31, JUST LIKE ME!! The girl in the image is made to imitate the many, many, faceless, long, black haired, shamed, trafficked Asian sex slave that she thinks I really am in that photo.

To be clear, I have been working on giving Hello Kitty a mouth my entire sex work activist career of 9+ years. In this sense, HK stands for the voices of Asian women’s sexuality, Asian feminism, Queer Asian women even. On a more personal note, I do IDENTIFY with Hello Kitty because of her childlike sexuality, it’s true. But that has always been a part of my specifically very hyper sexual, hyper ethnic style of art making and performance art; ever since I was known as the asian****… If Hello Kitty is the voice of Asian women, Asian sex workers, Asian culture then, in every way, with the work that I do, I try to give HK a MOUTH to speak for herself. We, ASW was a group show, not a solo exhibition and it featured the MOUTHS of many many Asian women from Bangladesh to Chicago, and it seems to me that anti-prostitution events like Girl Fest might do the opposite of allowing the Hello Kittys of the world to speak for hersel[ves].

13
Aug
07

We, Asian Sex Workers San Francisco 2007:: BIG SUCCESS.

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**CLICK HERE TO SEE
a COOL VIDEO from the show**




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