I am now the proud owner of How Do You Want Your Hair Cut Today? from the wonderful Lesbian Art Show by my beautiful and talented friends Mary McAllister and Asza West. When I saw it online I thought it was cute, and then when I actually arrived in Portland and felt the enormous relief and joy and love of being among My People in such great numbers, and then saw it in person, big and beautiful and real, I knew I had to take it home with me to Ohio.
On Friday, driving through the Columbia Gorge en route to a video shoot, I listened to Mary and gallery co-owner Leslie Miller talking about the show on KBOO. Mary talked about the hand-painted barbershop posters that inspired her, and how hair is such a cultural marker, and the ways "lesbian haircuts" are both stereotypes and meaningful signifiers. I felt moved hearing my friends' voices on the radio, broadcasting real truths about queer art and life and culture. It's only when you actually do hear it that you realize how little it shows up on the mainstream radar.
The conversation hit me in an unexpectedly deep place, and the stunning stretch of the Columbia River I was on made everything feel epic and meaningful, and the second the show ended I called up Leslie and said, "I want it."
The Pacific Northwest in the summer is so beautiful I literally cry a little or at least feel that swelling in my chest every time I really look at the world around me. The green here is so saturated, so dark; in the winter the evergreen-covered hills are almost black, gothically so, but in the summer the golden light coaxes out the richest deepest green ever, stippled with the lighter-green of the deciduous trees that spring up between and in the clear-cuts. Red and gold cliffs jut out of the green, and the Columbia River is even bluer than the impossibly blue sky, and Mount Hood is sharper and whiter than ever by contrast, no mist or clouds to hide it.
I spent all weekend out on these mountainsides working on a video shoot for the Builders and the Butchers' new song "Golden and Green." The days were incredibly long and sometimes arduous, and most of us were working for free, but what better place to spend the weekend than in the sunshine in a place like this? Alicia Rose directed with meticulous attention to detail and a 20-person crew, and it's going to be gorgeous and spooky. (Henry Darger meets Deadwood!)
For really amazing shots, check out the Flickr sets of Casey Parks and band member Brandon Hafer.