It’s the end of an era.
The Club Scholar saga came to an end not in a death but in a divine encounter, an exultant celebration, an inner cleansing. Here in this city where I came of age do I leave behind those shreds of myself that are too damaged to be salvaged: my selfishness, my imposed isolation, my flightiness, my self-hatred, my need to change for men who have never met me, my need to always write about me.
I knew – heading in to the Lady Gaga Concert/Glam-ou-Gaga marathon – that I was getting ready to change again. I had been through a full mood swing cycle but I was coming back. With each night out, culminating at the It’s Britney Bitch party at the Block on Friday, I was becoming more aware that no matter which party I went to, nobody there would have what it takes to save me. I don’t have anything to prove anymore. I don’t care about any scene. When I come out of a showdown with Mr. Shadow, I am reminded of the fact that no one’s judgment or cruelty or violence could rival the poisonous conflict inside of me, that when you have a mental illness you are your greatest nemesis, which can give you the power to be invincible to the world.
I set my intentions for the Lady Gaga concert, strapped on a JJ Wienkers original jazzercise unitard, and headed to park hayarkon. THE HILLS WERE ALIVE and thriving with basic teenage bitches (a fact of life in all countries) – many of whom asked to take a picture with me – and an assortment of lively whackjobs. I jammed my way pretty close up in the crowd, left to pee twice, fought my way BACK in viciously, and finally settled in for the show. After forever, it was on, and like only the best live performances, it made me forget everything that had come before, everywhere I had been, all the time that I’d stood on my feet waiting.
When I saw the Monster Ball Tour twice in Boston, Gaga was playing for stadium seats. Back then, she was so popular that moms were bringing their fifteen year old daughters. These people weren’t getting out of their minds dancing – they were sitting and watching dinner theatre like the conservative poo that they are. So Gaga had to up the stakes to entertain them by employing complex hair pieces that multiple strong men would have to hold up, pyrotechnics, and blood. This time, because the audience was comprised of 23,000 living non-corpses on their feet who were ready to DANCE and not text their cousins, she could make the show more 2d and actually stay with the crowd.
SHE BROUGHT IT in the best concert I’ve ever been to. The dancing was tight and when Gaga chose to flip her goddamn hair, she did it with the slow-mo power of a mermaid goddess. “ANI OHEVET OTCHEM” she growled at us and I felt personally gratified. I didn’t have to worry about offending some Boston bros this time so I was free to unleash my body odor everywhere. I leapt and screamed and lost my voice as I recited every word with my hand on my heart.
During “Applause,” Gaga looked down upon me – me – and reminded me that I am meant to be more than I’ve been – more than a wanderer or a loner or a bane – I am meant to be a star. Not in a fame way but in the true sense of the word – I am ready to build worlds and attract talented people and radiate new ideas and powerful feelings. No thing could stop her momentum. So long as she kept performing, she was untouchable. After six or so costume changes, we arrived at SWINE, my anthem of self-loathing and dark magic, and watching her and her dancers in perfect sync was a big bang of pure sickening power. She left the stage, and left us totally exhausted, but I knew there would be more. 10 minutes later, she returned for Gypsy, and I cried. I knew that it was time to let go of this song as my theme.
My body was creaking and dismantling with soreness from exertion but behind the wheel I was totally unfazed. I had a mission, a last battle to attend to. I had to return to where it all began: Glam-ou-Rama.
I ate, checked in with Aba and Loring, got naked, and stuffed myself into my black leopard bodysuit with no sleeves and nude paneling that doesn’t allow you to wear underwear. I beat my eyes to a pulp with black eyeshadow and hit the road. I had gotten some Israeli Molli and started breaking it into my water during the ride up there. My costume – spectacular as it was – wasn’t meant to make it this long. A crotch hole which normally would have been benign was becoming a situation because MY SCROTUM WAS POPPING OUT. I prayed that the cabdriver wouldn’t notice.
I saw the Silver Fairy as I entered. He had adorned his bare chest with a feathered streak and his eyes with shimmering sailor moon gold. He was a shining sphinx, immaculate as always, but tonight he reminded me of Hedwig at her end – ready to face Tommy Gnosis as an all-powerful self.
Welcome to a brimming club of freaks – in equal assortment beautiful and horrifying – dancing and exalting their queen. I felt all eyes upon me as I walked down the stairs in slow motion. The pink lights exploded behind my black visage and I felt like a slick dark avenger. I didn’t care that my waist was past beyond the point of no return in this costume – I was absolutely perfect tonight.
INTRODUCING LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, MARY JANE HOLLAND!
DJ Shahaf Moran didn’t take the traditional glam kitsch route but rather stuck to the Gaga oeuvre, with a few surprises. I normally post up by the wall under the DJ booth, but for the first time ever I couldn’t remember why I ever needed to hide. I strutted to the center of the floor and let the MDMA make time my toy. Within a few songs and a few more hits in the bathroom, I was soaked in sweat thriving on music. With “Schiebe” and “G.U.Y.” I reached spastic new levels of wild thrusting and jumping and kicking and spinning. No more performance or fighting for attention or anonymity. This was our throne to share, and nobody here needed artifice. I could die here on this floor, and they would all understand what I was doing. I wasn’t thinking about who saw me or how I looked because my brain had been rewired to only hear music and see lights.
I went and hung out with the Glam founding council and we went batshit bananas to VENUS, a song I had fantasized about on so many car rides in L.A. I was here. At my arena.
By 3:00 AM, I decided I should just take one last really big hit and throw the rest away. That would get me through the rest of the night. I had to pee every ten minutes because of all the sweat and water and drugs. Better not overdo it.
I did way too much.
The Silver Fairy made his prophesied arrival on the floor, which was emptying quickly, and we formed a united circle. The lights went to black and white for “Applause” and I never wanted the song to end. I could see bodies coming together, crashing and rollicking in slow and fast motion and I didn’t even need to worry about my own. Her power was in our limbs, in our toes. We had to dance.
I hit a climax at Swine, and then around 3:20, Dope came on.
“NOPE,” I yelled. “CAN’T HANDLE THIS WITHOUT CRYING.”
“Well it’s the last song,” The Silver Fairy said.
Oh shit. I thought this party was going until five. I was way too high to go home.
But there was no choice. I said goodbye to the glam gang and kissed sweet, sensitive Sapir after he got me a cab.
When I got out, I knew I was fucked.
“Oh my god,” I said to nobody. I couldn’t really keep my neck still and I felt like the sky was actively pushing me into the ground. I needed to drink 39 gallons of freezing water or I was going to BITE IT. My teeth were CHATTERING like I was in a Roz Chast cartoon and my heart was running around like the monster book of monsters.
So my parents are really light sleepers, which means to say that if I get up at 3:00 AM to pee and eat a hard boiled egg, they will be able to paint by memory the shape and size of every shell peeling. I know this sounds weird but for some reason I think the sneaking around in total abject silence somehow made me more high. I could feel and hear the impact of my toe hitting the ice cold floor, hear the rickedy creak of the shower door. But it was the best shower of my life. I was sizzling.
I got in underwear and looked in the mirror. HOLY SHIT. My eyes were so dilated that I looked like fucking Dark Willow. They were HUGE. I just looked in the mirror for probably twenty minutes, trying to will them to get smaller, but THEY JUST GOT BIGGER. The cold AC, the fresh skin, my stepmom’s body wash – I felt myself as a fresh sexual creature in new ways. I didn’t know what to do with myself so I listened to “Champagne Supernova” by Oasis and half of Grimes “Darkbloom” CD. I felt like she was walking me through the forest of Snow White. There were flowers blossoming and trees growing, new creatures being born and flying by. Then it got fucking terrifying so I took my headphones off and went to will myself to vomit.
I chugged bottle after bottle of water but pee was not coming out. WHERE WAS ALL THAT WATER GOING? WHERE? My head was imploding just like the Witch King’s does when Eowyn stabs him in the face at the end of Return of the King. BITCH I AM NO MAN EITHER, considering the fact that I was silently holding in a rupture with reality on my stepmom’s rug. WAS I DYING? Was this what overdosing was like? I didn’t lock the bathroom door in case I started having convulsions.
If my father, who is the world’s best physician, saw my eyes, it would all be over. There was no covering it up – I looked like Dracula from Penny Dreadful. And if I vomited, he would definitely wake up. But I had to throw up.
It felt good, and no, not in a bulimia way, to get it out. I was saving myself, cleansing myself. But this would be the last time I’ll do it alone. I astral projected Candestiny standing behind me the last time I tripped too hard, rubbing my back and giving me water to gargle. She wasn’t there this time. I knew that next time, she’d be back by my side. No more wondering if I would die alone as it was happening. The future will be shared.
I looked in the mirror and my eyes were just a little bit less fucking terrifying – some more light green was starting to materialize around the edge of my pupils. By some miracle my parents didn’t wake up.
I turned to my new panacea, the biggest show in my life since Girls – My Mad Fat Diary. Rae Earl was my new companion and I knew that we had each other’s backs. She helped me calm down. My heart stopped throbbing.
I went to sleep and spent the next day in a clear delirium. I knew that a new cycle in my life was coming. This would be my last move for a while. I recognized that Mr. Shadow could return, and at any time so could my self-hatred, my anxiety. But there will be no more escaping – to distracting practices or to new cities. I would become a part of the greater world, not just spiral around in my own mind, worrying about myself alone.
Whatever I need won’t arrive at to me at the club. It’s within me, and with those who love me. The music is the herald, the dancefloor the temple. New York is my Mecca.
But I am my own Messiah.