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Dialogue with a Vagina Monologue (Chapter IV)

By Nick Fracaro at 8:32 am on Friday, February 16, 2007
amazon poll jpg

I have exhausted my exploration and research. I have grown weary of my vagina studies. This is my final chapter on the subject.vday vote

Like my study, the above Amazon poll on Valentine’s Day has also just ended. Turns out that these poll results were not even as close as the last two Presidental elections. The clear majority has voted Love Stinks.

But it’s nice to know that which ever way you voted, there was a shopping link available to you.

The celebrity of V-Day and The Vagina Monologues insures its survival. Scandals can help feed celebrity. From the start, the act of V-Day stealing Valentine’s Day was likely considered as much for its publicity garnering ability as for whatever philosophical mooring it had. Like stealing candy from a baby, cupid and his chocolate were an easy mark. Never a real scandal, only a “scandal,” all opposition to the theft of the sentimental holiday ends up looking silly and serves the celebrity of V-Day’s cause.

vcapWith that in mind, I’ll end my dialogue on this chapter with a few links of tabloid fare quality.

The Vagina Warrior pictured has been dressed for success at the V-Day store, but I think he looks like a bit of a dickhead in the outfit. The V sign means vote, vulva, victory, peace ???? I’m all mixed up, but I got two fingers and a nice smile. And the cap says I practice Safe Sex.

These gynecologists also have nice smiles and want your vote on this elective surgery day. Cooper Anderson reports on the perfect Valentine Day’s gift some women are planning to give their sweeties.

Drag Kings

And of course Eve Ensler is always in the process of “altering” the Vagina Monologues. One of the ‘turgs from the listserv reports:

In 2004, a male-to-female transgender monologue was written. This year it will receive its Tucson premiere. Two transwomen I know are acting in this year’s “Vagina Monologues”. Another did act in them a few years ago, but was not identified as trans for the show, though she is out. Apparently, Eve Ensler wants a transmale (i.e. femle-to-male) companion piece. But, knowing the struggles transmen have had (having been a significant other to two of them) with the parts they were given, I’m not sure how likely it is that there will be one.

The well-read Tboy seems fairly astute on the gender bender front, so I was totally disappointed that in his comment he missed my Elvis third sex turn in my earlier dialogue with a monologue. I first noticed the king’s resemblence to the queen years ago when the drag queens had their own night at the Pyramid Club once a week. At the time I was was performing poetry in the Elvis suit above the club in an alternative space that had once been Nico’s old apartment. Afterward, in mingling with all the female celebrity impersonators from the Pyramid, Elvis felt right at home. We all seemed to be in a similar state of transformation. The king is also the queen, and vice versa. Just like the Marines, Eve’s vagina monologues could use a few good men.

HooHaa Hooplamarquee

Now that it has made the paper of record, the Florida marquee will probably rate as scandal du jour for this season of the V-Day monologues. I heard of it first from theatre bloggers Adam, then Jason, but I was surprised when haha on the hoohaa reached the Times. Other theatre blogs weighed in on it. No haha about the bruhaha from The Playgoer, “every time Ensler’s work encounters resistance, it’s a fight for all of us.” The angry Chicago guy thinks there’s stupid juice in the Florida water.

But by now a local television spot on the story has been nationally broadcast via CNN and late night host Jimmy Kimmel has sent staffer Beatrice out into the street for The HooHaa Interviews.

The Apartment Monologues

Eve Ensler’s Valentine sweetheart for many years was Ariel Orr Jordan, a psychotherapist and a director of television movies and commercials. The Apartment Monologues are outlined in a pair of his and hers lawsuits over property. The therapist’s lawsuit goes well beyond the real estate property that is at the center of the dispute. The jilted lover claims that he developed a therapy workshop tititled, “If your vagina could talk, what would it say?”. He claims this workshop was “foundation and inspiration” for the play, giving him co-author status and half the revenue from the production company that holds the rights to The Vagina Monologues.

F-hole Bypass Surgery

Love Is in the Air and then Love Stinks. That’s why B.B. King sings the blues and that’s why he took the f-holes out of Lucille. In controlling the feedback from the sound hole, he’d be better able to create a dialogue with Lucielle’s monologues, but as he explains, he’d be at a loss for words without her. He tells the backgound story of his beloved and one story on how Lucille saved his life.

severed V

So this ends my vagina studies for now. But should I ever begin again, I’ll employ once more the steadily growing universal library of Google’s snippets and Amazon’s “Search Inside the Book” feature. Both are digitally searchable using key words and give access to full-text excerpts from hundreds of thousands of titles for research and reference.

search inside
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The Bounty

By Nick Fracaro at 9:25 am on Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Josey Wales: You a bounty hunter?
Bounty hunter: A man’s got to do something for a living these days.
Josey Wales: Dyin’ ain’t much of a living, boy.

Richard Nelson confesses he doesn’t have a philosophy for teaching playwriting. Instead he offers as the criteria qualifying him as chair of the playwright program, the fact that he believes he is the first “working playwright” in that position.Nelson begins his video presentation for the Yale School of Drama with a personal rendition of its legacy. Citing the playwriting program as the oldest in the country, he emphasizes that the founder, George Pierce Baker, was the teacher of Eugene O’Neill. He then singles out O’Neill’s wife Carlotta and her bequest of the playwright’s papers, specifically the publication rights of Long Days Journey into Night, as the gift that keeps on giving to the program.

hismastersvoiceThe infomercial is an enthusiastic mixture of hype, flimflam, and self-delusion with the implicit message that the young playwright enrolling for study at the School of Drama will be taught how to make his living writing plays. And like the school’s patron, Eugene O’Neill, the playwright need not sacrifice his art to achieve this.

The ironies of using O’Neill as Yale’s patron abound. Although O’Neill did study playwriting under George Pierce Baker, it was at Harvard, and a full decade before the program at Yale began. But more, whatever talent O’Neill possessed in 1914, was negated by his submission to the jejune “dramatic technique” of Baker’s teaching.

With the appointment of Richard Nelson and the institutionalization of his new product-oriented vision of playwriting, the biggest irony in flaunting O’Neill as patron is no longer simply an irony. The unpleasantness of Yale’s complicity in the bad faith exploitation of the playwright’s masterwork Long Days Journey into Night has never been called to task. Only with the help of Yale was Carlotta O’Neill able to usurp the playwright’s intent that the drama not be published until 25 years after his death and never be produced.

deadman

With this attitude and policy shift, the School of Drama flips completely on end the notion that the legacy of authors and dramatic literature is an act of commerce essentially within the realm of art and ideas. The “bounty” of future playwrights will now be abridged into its most pede$trian value.

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Dialogue with a Vagina Monologue (Chapter III)

By Nick Fracaro at 8:17 pm on Thursday, February 1, 2007

Harry Potter’s pubic goes public and a white guy in Chicago is angry about it, although we are not sure why. But the media frenzy suggests he is not alone. Elsewhere Tboy is asking for the girl’s name for the boy’s name of that which is unnamable on a 17-year-old.

equus

Daniel Radcliffe will shed his child actor image with his clothes for his West End stage debut. Sixty people from the audience will actually be seated on stage when the Harry Potter star, in his role as the troubled groomsman Alan Strang in Peter Shaffer’s celebrated play Equus, simulates a sex act while naked and astride a horse. The play is about a boy who blinded six horses with a groomsman’s spike, so even though it opens for previews in mid-February, it’s probably not the best night out with your Valentine. The story centers on a psychiatrist discovering the forces that drove the boy to harm the horses, and follows an intriguing discourse on myth, religion, and sexual awakening. The main argument becomes whether psychological healing will do the teenage boy more harm than good.“Passion, you see,can be destroyed by a doctor. It cannot be created.”

I have been reading Germaine Greer’s beautiful book, The Beautiful Boy. I say reading, but it’s more like studying; the book is laden with full color reproductions of art and evocative photos as it documents “the boy” evolving through Western history.


Alessandro Allori (1535-1607) The Disarming of Cupid

Through this study I am beginning to understand the necessity of V-Day to exclude “the boys” from its Worldwide Celebration, except in supporting roles. I am also understanding better V-Day’s direct competition with Valentine’s Day. Cupid, that cute little sexless cherub we have as mascot, has a much more storied history in mayhem.

cupid

“Cupid, with his bow and fiery arrows, is always male and always immature. He is male because he is the aggressor: in no myth does Cupid play a passive role. He is a boy because a boy is more sexually active than a man, has more erections, produces more sperm and ejaculates more often. If society provides no legitimate outlet for boys’ sexuality it will be expressed in ways that are chaotic and destructive. Therefore Cupid is both blindfolded and in charge of a lethal weapon. His arrows infect individuals with with infatuation and sexual obsession, bringing havoc and anguish, disrupting friendships, households and the state.”

Cupid, as this beastie boy, would always fight for his right to party. This party animal would be exactly the wrong element to inject into the more serious V-Day celebrations. I think V-Day’s vision is that matriarchy would serve the world at large better than patriarchy. Boys being being boys, they would fuck that vision up big time.

Germaine Greer acted in a 2002 V-Day production of the Vagina Monologues, but she is no fan of the script or the event. “This V-word is no victory for women.” She seemed most annoyed that Eve Ensler did not chose one of the more inclusive words like “pussy” or “snatch” in naming the monologues, and points out that vagina is from Latin root meaning “sword-sheath.”

There is more to the female sex than accommodation of a male weapon, and much more to female sexual apparatus than a hole. Having decided to focus on the hole rather than the doughnut, as it were, Ensler happily disappears up it. These days, she is apt to talk of herself as living in her vagina, as if she had transformed herself into the sword, turning herself inside out in an orgy of inverted penis-envy.

In Greer’s short essay, Eternal war: Strindberg’s view of sex, she eulogizes theatre’s most famous misogynist. She sees him as a true male feminist contrasting him with contemporary pseudo male feminists who having

successfully trivialized the question of male-female hostility in their own cases, they are quick to denounce the more perspicacious men who have glimpsed the archetypal conflict in all its terrible grandeur.

Greer positions Strindberg as a feminist because he examines the sexual conflict not as trivial or peripheral question but as something radical, tragic, and overwhelming. The implacable eternal war.

Strindberg understood that that expression of radical enmity between men and women in social and political action would have appalling consequences…. he embodied his vision of internecine sexual war in archetypes so simple that they could appear preposterous or simply perverse.

CapedCrusaderV-Day’s mission proclaims Valentine’s Day as V-Day until the violence stops. In appropriating “the couple’s” holy-day, and excluding the boys, they have created a meta-theatrical version of Aristophanes’ anti-war comedy Lysistrata.

Ephemeral as all theatre is, the Lysistrata Project came and went in 2003. And as “cock-eyed” as Germaine Greer sees the Vagina Monologues and V-Day, the Lysistrata Project was even more so. Their call-to-arms in soliciting readings and productions was “Become a Lysitrata Spearhead!”

…to be continued.

Chapter IV: Lupercalia and Women Who Run with the Wolves

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