Like I said earlier, after all that grief, I’m really glad Julie didn’t dwell long on the HIV epidemic of 1980s-1990s New York. She could’ve – she was part of ACT UP in those days, rubbing shoulders with Keith Haring and Gran Fury (who designed the original SILENCE=DEATH logo), Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Cookie Muller. 

She also wrote the world’s first Safe Sex For Women Handbook and ran a queer women’s disco-cum-performance-space, The Clit Club, for 12 years.

And she’s posed for Madonna’s Sex book! This is the stuff they should put on the Flying Circus Project cover. Sex sex sex sex nineties pop music sex.


UPDATE: Julie's told me there's a reason she doesn't advertise that stuff so much, because it reduces her - she could've made her whole career by building on the fact that she's hung out with so many famous people. The fact that she didn't, that she crafted her own identity, is something she's extremely proud of. Thus, she's supremely ambivalent about me using the below image:
But she's so sweet she also left the decision whether or not to up to me.

One really cool thing about this presentation was Julie’s decision to link it to specific quotes from our Burmese public intellectuals. From Ko Tar she got “little democracies”, from Ju she got “I want to touch it” (about her desire to touch the gold leaf on the Buddha). Ideas about intimacy, about contact.

Thus projects like “For You”: 552 unique dance performances, performed individually for 552 people, giving them maximum power to select songs, viewing angles, viewing times.
Julie: Performance art is a term I’m not comfortable with, because it’s got an aggressive, confrontational aspect to it which I’m not really comfortable with. I thought it would be ice to invert the roles of the audience and also to create a bit of agency for the audience.
Thus also endurance works, allowing herself to be covered with 50 lbs of honey while contemplating the ‘O’ mouth of orgasm and deathmask. Also macabre, scary works like IT WILL ALL END IN (Ultra-Red) TEARS, where she and her dance partner carried in the names of dead, with the names of the people in the room added to the list…
Julie: We were also working with our lips sewn shut. And then at once point we remove the needles and we very unceremoniously share the exchange of fluids. In this way we are working towards a productive resistance.

Me: (Panicked squeal)
I really did squeal aloud during the presentation. It was very, very audible.

But what folks centred on a little more was Julie’s migration from New York to the Mohave Desert, now centre of the multidisciplinary artists’ community Joshua Tree. 
Julie: I figure you only turn middle-aged once, and you should always do all the things you always wanted to do. And moving to the desert was what a queer old lady does when she’s older. 

Part of the trip to the desert was to consider my old age and to think about my fairly seriously arthritic body since I was in my 20s. And also, really, to think about how I could support myself and my peers in terms of art practice. 

I live there (shows us image), part-time, in Feral House Studio. It’s a very small house, a solar-powered house – an official slow-home. I basically set it up as a space for residencies for artists. I’m inviting you right now.

Wen Hui: I’ll come!
From the madness of pre-Giuliani NYC to the more docile insanity of the Mohave, then, where she has to barter goods and cooking skills with her neighbours and her trans partner in order to survive.

But there are stranger trajectories. People cross the globe. People come here, of all places.

And why not, of all places? Why not here.

A postscript: apparently being on four hours’ sleep shortly after recovering from minor illness makes you really emotional and rambly. Also, hyper. (I tried to rappel up the stairs of IFB today.) 

I thoroughly recommend it. Good night!    
 


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