Way Bay 2! Creative energies emergent from the Bay Area

At the Berkeley Art Museum PFA
June 13–September 2, 2018

My two videos that were part of the first iteration of this giant exhibition about Bay Area artists – Gay Tape: Butch and Femme and Leslie (about the writer Leslie Scalapino) are also in the second part of the exhibition.

postcard of video still from Gay Tape: Butch and Femme by Cecilia Dougherty
Postcard from my 1985 videotape called “Gay Tape: Butch and Femme” produced by the Way Bay exhibition team

From the Way Bay 2 website: The second iteration of an innovatively organized exhibition of art, film, performance, poetry, and archival materials, Way Bay 2 continues our wide-ranging exploration of the creative energies that have emerged from the San Francisco Bay Area over two centuries. The exhibition features almost two hundred works by Bay Area artists and others whose work engages directly with the region’s geographic and cultural landscape. Dozens of works not seen in the first iteration of the exhibition are on view, including pieces by Rosie Lee Tompkins, Jay DeFeo, Larry Sultan, Frank Moore, Sadie Barnette, Ajit Chauhan, Nicole Phungrasamee Fein, Conrad Ruiz, Michelle Vignes, and Lewis Watts as well as films by Jordan Belson, Lawrence Jordan, Lynne Sachs, and Chick Strand.

Ranging in historical scope from the early nineteenth century to the present, the exhibition explores the enduring themes and powerful artistic voices that have emerged from the Bay Area across times and cultures, highlighting transhistorical affinities among the many artists, filmmakers, authors, and other creative practitioners who have drawn inspiration from the region’s distinctive character. Rather than a conventional historical survey, Way Bay 2 is an open-ended and provocative attempt to reveal hidden currents and connections among works from disparate times, cultures, and communities.

Continuous film screenings in the galleries showcase the Bay Area’s rich history as an incubator for avant-garde and experimental cinema, beginning with a silent film that captures life on the streets of San Francisco just days before the 1906 earthquake destroyed much of the city. The exhibition also includes highlights from BAMPFA’s extensive archive of video and audio recordings of Bay Area artists.

A section of the exhibition is devoted to poetry by Bay Area writers, presented through an original, interactive postcard project. A series of performances and other programs, including readings by local poets and participatory workshops in the museum’s Art Lab, complements the exhibition.

In addition to works from BAMPFA’s collection, including a number of recent acquisitions on display for the first time, Way Bay 2 includes exceptional paintings, prints, photographs, and other works from UC Berkeley’s Bancroft Library and Hearst Museum of Anthropology.

 

Desire as Politics at the Valade Family Gallery in Detroit, Feb-Mar 2018

Exhibition of LGBT Media in Detroit

Gay Tape: Butch and Femme (1985) screened recently at the Valade Family Gallery in Detroit. Many thanks to curators Scott Northrup and Jonathan Rajewsky!

Desire as Politics, gallery installation, Valade Family Gallery, Detroit Feb-Mar 2018
Desire as Politics, gallery installation, Valade Family Gallery, Detroit Feb-Mar 2018

Work by:
Sadie Benning
Cecilia Dougherty
Matt Lambert
Zachary Marsack
Benny Nemerofsky Ramsay
Rashaad Newsome
Ira Sachs
Akram Zaatari

Desire as Politics presents a selection of LGBTQ perspectives in contemporary film and video from 1985 to 2017. The exhibition is not meant to summarize this arbitrary span of time, but rather to look at works exploring a range of identities, social constraints and prejudices unique to LGBTQ positions, including representation, fantasy, fear, love and the blurring of binaries, positions that we feel are vital in our current climate.

Scott Northrup & Jonathan Rajewski

video still, gallery installation, Gay Tape: Butch and Femme by Cecilia Dougherty, 1985
Larger than life, a mural-sized installation for my video Gay Tape: Butch and Femme (1985)

From the exhibition catalogue:

Dougherty’s first video, made while she was studying at Berkely:
“I made it just around the time when the term ‘gay’ was for everyone and then ‘lesbian and gay’ become the new term, until we progressed to ‘LGBTQ’.

“Gay Tape is a documentary about some of the regulars at Ollie’s Bar, a lesbian dive on Telegraph Avenue in Oakland. The 1970s sartorial statement of flannel shirts, 501s, and Frye boots was passé and at odds with the new eighties aesthetic—tons of makeup, big hair, and complicated lingerie. Along with the new aesthetic came the reemergence of good old fashioned butch-femme role-playing. While the femmes pranced around like Stevie Nicks, their butch girlfriends reverted to an earlier role model, acting out fifties and sixties-style tough girl with brilliant aplomb. I asked some of the women from Ollie’s to talk on camera about role-playing.

“The camera instantly gave me too much control over content, so I tried to balance it by providing a platform for the women to speak on the butch-femme issue without overtly directing them. I relinquished authorship in favor of revelation and avoided coming to conclusions; the speakers were experts as well as subjects and could say whatever occurred to them. They spoke extemporaneously about their lovers, the details of their sexual identities, and their fantasies. My girlfriend at the time was one of the subjects. As her story unfolded I realized from my privileged position behind the lens that the lover she was describing in detail was not me. So much for the power of the gaze!

At a recent screening, the audience was interested in the difference between butch and transgendered, maybe not understanding that there were trans people in the community in 1985. I think there’s a distinction and as always, the people making the distinction are self-identified.”


Just launched: ‘longcat’ by Luba Drozd on In-Between Theories

 Dec 30 2017

In-BetweenTheories is the online artspace of Cecilia Dougherty and David Kalal. We are pleased to welcome Luba Drozd to with a new digital artwork commissioned for the project’s website. Inspired by the longcat meme that flourished in online forums and discussion boards of the early 2000s, LONGCAT repurposes the very body of that meme and infuses it with political content. Drozd makes visible in LONGCAT the current deeply divisive moment in American politics with all of its strategies of avoidance, overkill and misinformation. Riffing on the how digital debris of online eras just recently past continue to echo and be re-purposed, LONGCAT looks at how the virtual becomes tangible and the tangible then shapes our lived realities.
 
Discussing the genesis of the project she says, “Somebody … would post a longcat and you would have to scroll and scroll and scroll through it just so you could give them an answer. So, it’s basically something that precludes the debate and dialogue as “won.” Just because you’ve posted the longcat that’s it
– the debate is over – you won. Even though it’s completely illogical and non- negotiable. So, I was thinking about these devices … in the beginning of the Trump presidency. [KellyAnne Conway] uses a verbal longcat quite often where she just barrages you with nonsensical information, that you, in the end of the conversation you forget what the question was in the beginning. You just scroll and scroll – she just makes you scroll through, until you can’t hang on to any semblance of an idea of a question that started it.
 

PODCAST here

 

 

WayBay Video Screening at the Berkeley Art Museum Jan – Mar 2018

video still from Gay Tape: Butch and Femme by Cecilia Dougherty
Video still from my first video, GAY TAPE:BUTCH AND FEMME, which I made as an undergrad at UC Berkeley.

Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive Exhibition

Current exhibition at the Berkeley Art Museum Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) includes my work, Gay Tape: Butch and Femme (1985), which I made as an undergrad at UC Berkeley, and Leslie (1998), a portrait of writer Leslie Scalapino, in a new BAMPFA exhibition, Way Bay, that will open in January 2018. Way Bay–which is co-curated by Lawrence Rinder, Kathy Geritz, and David Wilson, with Jon Shibata and Matthew Coleman–”will be one of the most expansive exhibitions of art from and about the Bay Area in recent memory.” You can read more about Way Bay by visiting the BAM/PFA website.

video still from Leslie, by Cecilia Dougherty
video still from LESLIE, a portrait of writer Leslie Scalapino

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA
BERKELEY ART MUSEUM & PACIFIC FILM ARCHIVE
2155 CENTER STREET, BERKELEY, CALIF.

BAMPFA.ORG

 

Put An Egg On It

Put An Egg On It magazine
The cover the latest issue of PUT AN EGG ON IT

Food in Transit
by Cecilia Dougherty

Just published in the semi-annual art and literary culinary magazine, “Food in Transit,” an article I wrote on eating on the go in New York when you happen to be teaching at three campuses in one semester. It includes my research on some of the best and less-than-best food trucks near college campuses as well as what’s on offer at embedded cafés like Café O at The New School, and Joe’s, at the School of the Arts, Columbia University. With a special homage to The Mud Truck, usually parked just across the street from The Cooper Union.

Where to locate: Pratt News & Magazine, Dekalb Convenience, Printed Matter, MoMA PS1, McNally Jackson, Spoonbill & Sugartown, Barnes & Noble, among others.

More info:  http://www.putaeggonit.com/

The blurb:

London-based John Broadley plucks moments from film history where food has stolen the show in his illustrated series “Culinary Cameos.” Photographer Julia Gillard visits Troy, New York for a kimchi lesson at Sunhee’s Farm. Bradley Sumrall beautifully tells the story of his experience as a 20-something gay fry cook in the 90’s at The Clover Grill, a legendary 24-hour diner on Bourbon Street in New Orleans. Kimberly Chou Tsun An takes us on a tour of her ex-lovers via emblematic moments in eating and cooking. Artists Ann Magnuson, Matias Viegener and Cammie Staros dine together at interior designer Alexandra Loew’s Los Feliz home discussing art history, pig farming, prep school, art world politics and more. Bruce Benderson elucidates the ancient relationship of host and guest. This issue also features contributions from Cecilia Dougherty, Charlotte Dumortier, Snacky Tunes’ Greg Bresnitz, Anyx Burd, Anya Davidson, Greg Kletsel, Josh Neal, Chef Justin Warner and more! 


New Narrative Conference to screen my videos ‘Eileen’ and ‘Kevin & Cedar’ at the Roxie Theater, San Francisco, October 2017

video still of Eileen Myles
Video still of Eileen Myles from my 2000 video portrait, EILEEN

Communal Presence: New Narrative Writing Today, UC Berkeley and UC Santa Cruz Conference October 2017

Two videos from my Writers Series are being screened at San Francisco’s famed ROXIE THEATER, where I personally have sooooo many memories of screenings and events from the days when I lived there. You can watch EILEEN (2000, 10:20) and KEVIN & CEDAR (2002, 8:30) on the big screen as part of the UC Berkeley/UC Santa Cruz jointly-organized New Narrative Conference. Pretty hot stuff.

video still from film Kevin & Cedar
Video still of Kevin Killian and Cedar Sigo from my 2002 video portrait, KEVIN & CEDAR

I’ll post more information about the conference dates, screenings, and venues as well as links as the news comes in.

Also screening with EILEEN and KEVIN & CEDAR are Marc Huestis’s Whatever Happened to Susan Jane? and Curt McDowell’s short Confessions.

 


Washington State, 90° and dry, every single day

These are only three of the photos I took of this expansive part of the American Northwest. This is Washington State, but it’s not Seattle. Walla Walla is a small town with suburban development that extends out into what used to be the ending place for the Conestoga Wagons of the early pioneers, the people who moved westward in the late 1800s.

Wheat Fields near Walla Walla, WA

 

Northrup Canyon near Sun Lakes-Dry Falls, WA
Northrup Canyon near Sun Lakes-Dry Falls, WA

 

Grand Coulee Damn
At the Grand Coulee Dam in Washington State

Where one might spot a bald eagle.

 

Writers Who Love Too Much book launch at City Lights, San Fran

book cover, WRITERS WHO LOVE TOO MUCH: NEW NARRATIVE 1977-1997, edited by Dodie Bellamy and Kevin Killian
Newly published WRITERS WHO LOVE TOO MUCH: NEW NARRATIVE 1977-1997, edited by Dodie Bellamy and Kevin Killian

Nightboat Books has just published Writers Who Love Too Much: New Narrative 1977-1997, an anthology of stories, essays, plays, and other writing edited by Kevin Killian and Dodie Bellamy. A kool cover by Brett Reichman, too. A lot of the writers are West Coast people, LA and San Fransciso (I really miss both cities), some East Coast, and some have got to be in-between, but if they are, I have yet to discover it.

City Lights Bookstore, San Francisco, CA
City Lights Bookstore, San Francisco, CA

Anyway, I’ve just started reading Writers Who Love and have begun with Gabrielle Daniels’ essay on Our Nig by Harriet E. Wilson, “the first novel by an African American woman” to be published in the US. Our Nig was published in 1859 and I read this book over a decade ago. It’s on my shelf now. It’s amazing. My girlfriend at the time, Susan, asked me to remove it from the shelves because the title is outrageous, offensive, and needs explaining. But in 1859 it was not. I kept it on the shelf – maybe I moved it to a more private part of the house (I don’t remember). I was always the only person I knew who read this book. The daily life of a Black woman in 1850s New England. Rough, to say the least.

book cover, Our Nig; or, Sketched from the Life of a Free Black by Harriet E. Wilson (1859)
Our Nig; or, Sketches from the Life of a Free Black by Harriet E. Wilson (1859)

Henry Louis Gates has also discovered this book, and with his skills at finding people from the past, has tried to find Harriet Wilson to learn about her history, the writing of the novel, and anything else he can find about it. His claim is that it is absolutely the first African American women’s novel. 

Daniels’ essay is bringing Our Nig back to me and as soon as I’m finished reading it I’ll read the book again. Yes, the title is harsh in 21st Century America – I kind of agree with Susan – but the book’s important!

There’s lots more in Writers Who Love Too Much! My summer reading. It’s a sexy, scholarly (sorry, I don’t find academics very sexy, either, but I find scholarship to be pretty sexy), writerly history of New Narrative. 

Thanks to Kevin and Dodie for including me! I am humbled and also kinda proud, too.

Read about the City Lights Books book launch of Writers Who Love Too Much.

Maybe buy a copy, either from Nightboat Books, the publisher, or from amazon.com. Either way, you’re bound to be rewarded.