Unhappiness: The Movie

alexkat08

The first script I ever completed (not counting the handwritten childhood plays I put on in my living room wearing my mother’s sequin dresses for an audience of exactly zero) was as short film I co-wrote with Alex in 2007 for our group project in the Carolina Production Guild. The film was called “Unhappiness,” and starred the two of us as an even more bitter and disaffected version of our post-teen selves. Actually, I had only just turned 18 at the time. The premise, I guess, is that the two of us are best friends who hate everyone and everything and can’t seem to get anything right. I slip in the shower getting ready for school. We sit in the quad complaining about how sunny it is. We force-feed ourselves at the local sludge buffet while complaining about the food. We make fun of a homeless guy. Then, at the end, we both call our parents and cry about how hard college is and how depressed we are because we have no friends.

When it came time to actually shoot the film, the production was a huge mess. Alex and I couldn’t focus on anything and fucked around the entire time. The rest of our crew were actually interested in producing a movie, so they effectively wasted a weekend standing around disgruntled watching two totally vain underclassmen obnoxiously act out a movie they wrote about how obnoxious they are. By the time the sun was setting on the last day, we’d only shot about 3/4 of our scenes, and Alex and I waged a french fry fight in the courtyard across from the Franklin Street McDonald’s while our three-person crew sat around, equipment in hand, bored and annoyed. It was amazing.

When we got to the editing lab, we realized that in addition to not even shooting our entire script, there had also been a major audio fuck up for the scenes we actually filmed. As in, none of it had been recorded. No audio whatsoever, out of two whole days of not working really really hard. We had to re-record every scene in voiceover and dub over each individual shot. By that I mean, Alex and I provided the voices in between singing songs from Britney’s “Blackout” while Brandon, our director, did most of the actual, technical work.  Looking back, the two of us must have had major undiagnosed cases of ADD, because at points we were just blurting out lines that weren’t in the script and INSISTING they were funny enough to make it into the final cut.

We presented the movie at the CPG screening by standing up in the auditorium, giggling.

“This is a movie by assholes, for assholes” we said to the crowd.

Embarrassed by the fact that it wasn’t really a movie at all, we watched the final product while slumped down in our seats, laughing hysterically, hiding our blushing faces.

When it was the next group’s turn to present, they made their own announcement:

“Well we’re not assholes, so we decided to make something beautiful.”

The group then unveiled their film, a dramatic period piece set in the Depression, sepia toned and everything, about a man whose wife dies from Typhus or something.

It was the hardest I laughed in 2007.

Now, seven years later, and I often wonder what became of our movie. There is no record of it having ever existed – Alex and I don’t even have a copy of our original script. We never did another year of CPG, because at that point we were pretty sure they all hated us. I hope if we are ever a success someone from the Guild will dig it out of whatever old hard drive it may be in and put it on youtube for us and the world to laugh at.

In any case, we had attempted to make something funny based on real experiences. It didn’t turn out so beautiful, because we were just disorganized kids making fun of ourselves. But it was honest. And I guess if the only thing I ever achieve in life is a volume of bad but honest work, well, that’ll suck. But it wouldn’t be the worst thing.

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Virtual Reality

IMG_8220 I don’t talk to Alex enough. You know Alex, my long time friend, the third big brother I never had, the one who has lived in LA for a few years and has what I think is an assistant-ish super Hollywoody-type job? We sometimes write together. Mostly he writes without me. He is very productive. I am very, well, you read the blog. One of Alex’s major pastimes is cyber-bullying me. He does this because he knows I don’t take criticism very well and he likes to take his emotions out on the people who will react most strongly. I’m trying to learn not to take it personally. Usually it ends up okay if I can keep my cool long enough to get him to apologize. We tried talking about this through text recently, and it quickly spun into a different conversation.

Me: I’m stressing myself out. You’re a real ballbuster you know

Alex: Same. I was having really bad panic attacks so now I’m not drinking caffeine But that won’t solve everything What’s going on w you

Me: Last night I had a dream I was raped by two guys and then my teeth turned to sand dollars and crumbled out of my head

Alex: Oh my god

Me: I’m sure that has to do with some underlying psychological something

Alex: Yeah…

Me: But I actually feel pretty okay on the surface

Alex: I’ve been feeling mentally unstable the past month Like losing reality Idk why

Me: We should talk more

Alex: Probably I just don’t even know what the problem is.

Me: Things are definitely feeling unreal, but in a way that is almost too real.

Alex: Yes that’s a nice way to put it I just feel useless

Me: Essentially we’re all insane and nothing is really worth it, and all the things that seem good are bad and vice versa, happy people are actually sad, alcohol gets boring after a while, and you just find yourself asking, “what now?”

Alex: Seriously That’s why I’m like “going sober” I like weed and booze but it does nothing. Success is the only high I want.

Me: Truly I don’t really smoke weed ever. I find it upsets me often

Alex: AND a cute boy that is nice and loves me

Me: Unless I literally have nothing else that I should be doing

Alex: It fucks me UP

Me: Which is never

Alex: I can barely handle it Right! It just makes you anxious about doing things you need to do so you don’t and then you feel like shit

Me: I’m glad I have James. Things are going well, but I find myself a little too pleased with the habitual domestic things we do like make dinner, and I worry that my ambition is dwindling and that the sum of my accomplishments will be having kids and a yard and a husband and being normal, and that I’ll like that
But maybe the secret is to just get a Xanax addiction and become a Stepford wife
At least then there’d be hope for a reality show

Alex: I mean if you like that then who cares But kids KILL That’s my cynical wisdom

Me: I do love kids Maybe for my 25th birthday I’ll freeze an egg

Alex: You literally can’t do anything with kids I’m sure they are great! Lol It is the future

Me: I’m going to write a funny mom book

Alex: YEA but that’s not a reason to have kids

Me: It’ll be called “mommy why are you crying: stories of how my children ruined my life”

Alex: You have like 12 more years
My mom had me at 36 and I’m completely normal
….. Lolol ok

Me: Yeah but she had two kids before you

Alex: That’s true

Me: You’re supposed to have ur first like
Basically when ur my age

Alex: Does that make it better?
Wow
But it’s just biology!

Me: Yeah :/

Alex: Drink those voices away!

Me: But seriously I’m freezing my eggs

Alex: Might as well
Mary is already 26

Me: Turning 25 is like

Alex: Jesus
But you see these cool couples with their kids and it doesn’t seem so fun

Me: Oh hey next big bday I’m old as shit

Alex: It just seems like prison
Dude 25 SUCKS
26 is better
But ppl will say it’s the other way around

Me: Not depressing, I mean kind of nice and exciting. I don’t hate my life or anything so I’m not like disappointed in myself
You always disagree with me on this tho
Ages

Alex: Oh god I am.
On getting older??
I think I’ll be chill when I’m 35

Me: On which ages are the worst

Alex: Bahaha

Me: Idk if I’ll ever be chill? Let’s be honest

Alex: 20s are just hard. It’s just weird seeing all these people I know getting married
Hahahahah
I think so
You’re pretty cool

Me: Basically I just keep telling myself that every stupid failure and shitty experience will make a fun story someday
And at the very least maybe I’ll have a rich husband, if I’m lucky someone I love
Woo dream big
Thanks btw you too

Alex: Hahaha
Yames

Me: It’s not that I should suck less at life, it’s that I should be writing more about sucking at it

Alex: He seems great to me Mmmm yea

Me: He’s great in a lot of ways.
You’d like him
But he’s an easy target.
Sensitive

Alex: I think I probably would
He IS sensitive
I think he’s just Italian

Me: He’s a Capricorn
And he’s only half Italian
But I like that he’s traditionally masculine in a lot of ways. Plus he loves me. I guess that’s really the point here.
You wanna start a literary zine?

Alex: I like that And he’s sexy

Me: Yeah he is

Alex: To me
Lol In a platonic way

Me: And to me, obviously
His body is incredible it like sucks that he won’t dress for it
He buys his work shirts at Costco
Which is like hot in its own way

IMG_8251My boyfriend standing in front of his high school alma mater and doing some pose that I choose to pretend is tai chi

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A picture of Lindsay Lohan’s family’s house I took on a bike ride through Merrick, NY. Lindsay and James have the same hometown. This is relevant because it just is.

Alex: A zine sounds fun but I have a lot on my plate at the moment I can’t make a commitment
He is so normcore but not even bc I don’t think he’s post indie

Me: I was mostly joking

Alex: This is v funny

Me: I was going to toss out the potential title “are any of us doing anything”

Alex: Most frat guys are like that though. When he makes more money you can help him out.

Me: Yeah he’s not normcore he’s just norm, like I’m aware that he interacts with the world without quite as many levels of irony as me, and I’m fine with it, because it’s all bullshit anyway
The fact that I’m fine with it is what makes me scared I secretly wanna be norm
But I wanna be norm in this like fantasy sort of way, like only because New York is a dystopia in so many ways. Like I don’t even wanna be norm I wanna like actually live inside a sears catalog or something

Alex: Hahahahha Norm is the new weird tho
Weird as we know it is the new norm and it’s kinda tired
Like being OUT THERE AND WEIRD
Hahahah sears

Me: Yeah. Doesn’t it seem like society is tricking itself into believing homogeneity is a style choice when actually we are probably just giving in to the pointlessness of asserting individualism in the digital age

We might as well all turn into iPhones. That’d be phat

Alex: Cyborgs is the next thing

Me: Borgcore

Alex: It is pointless I’ve been saying it for years what’s next? Bc if you try to assert your individuality and everyone is trying to because that’s the norm, it’s impossible so the movement, it like collapses on itself
That’s why I think fashion will die eventually

Me: People just revert to indulging in the simple commercial pleasures of life

Alex: No one believes me

Me: Eventually our generation will give in and assimilate
People just get tired

Alex: We’re all going to wear government controlled silver jumpsuits

Me: Yeah but even without government control

Alex: That help us live in a harsh world where it’s too hot or too cold cuz we fucked everything up

Me: I have a theory that people will basically control themselves

Alex: Yeah I guess

Me: And trick themselves into thinking it’s individual expression

Alex: Government matters less than corporations

Me: Like social media, everyone was all worried back in the day the government was going to be spying on us, then we just willingly started putting every detail of our lives out in public. I agree with you, individuality is played out.

Alex: Hmmmmm
You just have to have fun with whatever you can
While you can

Me: In fact the millennial infatuation and ultimate disappointment with individuality may be the beginning of its death

Alex: Ugh on the plus side my apartment is nice

Me: Aw yay

Alex: Yeah let’s capitalize on the death of individuality

Me: A monopoly on identity If you can’t beat em join em. I’m sure that’s what Orwell was trying to say.

—-

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Life is plastic, it’s fantastic

We complain about being out of touch with reality as though there is any reality to speak of, and we know that’s not true. In June’s mercury retrograde I attempted to do a bit of soul searching, some personal and some societal, I guess. Whether intentional or not, I live on the line between high and low culture, shallow and meaningful, absorbed in such trivialities as my Internet stats while failing to ignore my yearn for meaning in my actual life. Just like everyone else, I can’t really decide what is “real” or what is “meaningful.” I’ll watch KUWTK in the suburbs with my boyfriend and enjoy it. I’ll go to an exhibition of artworks praising Kim Kardashian as a deity and agree with it. I’ll read an article about the OJ trial and the connection between the Kardashian family and other reality show stars, in which they are dubbed the murderers of popular culture, and I’ll agree with that too. I exist in two worlds; one is where instagram likes are currency, where Heidi Montag is a genius and looking good is the equivalent of reaching nirvana. In the other world, holy cow, I actually want to emotionally invest in substantial things.

IMG_8369Open bar selfie at art party called The Passion of Kim Kardashian

We are living in a world where the art, the consumption, the media, the criticism, the satire and the daily fucking struggle are so simultaneous that writing about this, even caring about it, feels redundant. It can sometimes feel like we have only three options. Lower our expectations and settle down, go to grad school so at least the conversations we have about relevant things will be somewhat intelligent, or act like a child forever. Who even has time to be a good person? Who has time to make themselves happy, or the world a better in a real way? If the struggle for substance and meaning is Sisyphean, then why even bother to stress? Might as well drink kool-aid with the Church of Kim K. If I’m ever nostalgic for the nineties it’s because the nineties were the time I had to do the least. While my social anxiety was at an all-time high, I was actually unironically enjoying the pleasures of suburbia and consumerism without asking any questions. Slip-n-slides and trampolines were making me happy, just like they were supposed to. I wasn’t disappointed, I wasn’t looking for beauty in truth, I just assumed this was the truth. I was privileged, and I may not have known it, but I wasn’t deluded into thinking I didn’t want to be. Reality TV is totally bullshit but nobody really cares, so maybe life can be like that. After all, whatever we accept as true becomes the reality. You might as well put on the costume. You might as well pretend. And at the end of the day, you might as well participate in the scam. It’s almost the same thing as having hope. Right? What’s so great about the truth anyway? When it comes to my future, I don’t want to know the odds. I’ll keep my blinders on for now, and when things get too rough, I’ll visit someone’s neighborhood pool. IMG_8462

da fam disaster

Happy Holidays Yall copy

Happy holidays n shit, folks! Allow me to ring in the season with this jpeg of my festive card (photo by Sass), which, now that I’ve stabbed every fed ex/kinkos employee into a bloody pulp to have prints made on time, figured out exactly how to buy stamps and then spent an entire night addressing and personalizing 100 of them…have now probably arrived at your door (if you did not receive a card I suggest you become BETTER FRIENDS WITH ME. This was the first card in what is sure to be a tradition for years to come. I’d love for you to be included). These pictures were so hard to take. I wish I had some behind the scenes footage of Sass trying to make the Chokey (my apartment) presentable and then trying to keep Kos n Gon’s attention for long enough to snap this pose. It was near impossible. Maybe I’ll post the outtakes sometime!

OBViously the reason I haven’t posted anything in so long is because of the job I had (or so that’s my excuse) the last few weeks of which I spent delirious, looking like this
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and of course, answering emails like this

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Welp.

During my free time I was spending all my money on BRUNCHES and not giving a single fuck cause, I mean, ya gotta eat. One must eat. Also, I was involuntarily waking up at 9:30 am and starting to feel weak around midnight. Sometimes my friends would convince me to come out to things and I’d show my lazy face. My fav night was one where Moe, Lamonday, Emma and I went to SHADE: DETROPIA and it was shut down for some unknown reason (they have since had their ‘redux’ but I didn’t feel like going. I’m not kiddin bout this lazy thing, and also it was raining so like, nah). Afterwards we sauntered over to Wreck Room where I fended off randos who kept striking up convos about the teeny tiny Eli Manning jersey I was wearing. I don’t know anything about sports! I bought this cause it made my boobs look big and the guy I have a crush on is a huge giants fan! What are you talking about, sahn!  Moe met some dude he kept calling DJ Khaled who was most definitely not, and we ended up jumping in the back of his jeep(?) and going to Bossa Nova, where his aggro muscleman entourage wouldn’t let me talk to any boys or walk home alone. I was like, mane, I just needed a ride. I’m a free woman! The fuck is this shit! It was so much fun.

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two idiots & their cartoon counterparts

Oh, and once I went to a house show to see my friends Junior Astronomers play. Reid kept yelling stuff like “TWITTER POLL: WHO HAS A BLUNT?” and “FAM! FAM! TWITTER POLL: DO I GIVE A FACK?” and then he pulled his wiener out. It was one of the more eventful nights of the last month.
IMG_3104twitter poll: is u crazy?

I guess I have to admit something that is a bit suspect, which is I’ve probably only visually absorbed about 30% of my life over the last 2 months because I’ve been texting someone I refer to as “Teen Boo” (he’s 21). I’ve sent about a nude a day, which is out of control, and have gotten pretty much nothing else done. Meanwhile, he lives far away and I only get to see him like once a month or less (it’s the perfect relationship!). The first of those times was just before I left for Thanksgiving when he was in town visiting family. The night before he came over, I tried to tweet this
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I def did not. When we finally met IRL I did not fuck it up. We actually had a fabulous time that looked a little something like this:
IMG_3459The next day I packed up and left for a Martha’s Vineyard Skanksgiving Extravaganza, which was to take place at my brother Nate’s, and included the couple affectionately termed Winnah, a lot of vodka cran and TONS of food. As Nate prepared the turkey in his surgical gloves and we quoted got2b real and talked shit about everyone we know, I got drunker and drunker and drunker. By the end of the meal, we were apparently listening to old Daft Punk and I was apparently doing this…

and then I took this selfie on nate’s couch
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The next day I didn’t even have a hangover, but I did poop enough to make room for a MASSIVE seafood dinner that was basically a giant bowl filled with lobster and potatoes and mussels and sausage and I ate it ALL because…I don’t fuck around. This booty didn’t just appear out of nowhere, ok? Before I left we did an offroading trip around Chappy, and I instagrammed this pic that my friend Cassie called my “alter-ego who wears clothes!” which basically sums up the family-friendly side of my persona. I was still drunk, though! I mean…let’s be real.
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Since I’ve been back, I’ve been BRUNCHING MY LIFE SAVINGS AWAY with friends (Stacey visited last weekend! The look on her face when I told her I asked for Uggs for christmas was just priceless) and feeling sorry for myself because the company I work for just elects not to pay its employees whenever it’s in the mood. I’m not great at budgeting as it is, so when you’re living paycheck to paycheck, not getting one can reeeally hurt. That’s why I always eat for two, in case I have to skip a meal.
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NOW I’M IN NC and waiting for all my best homies to arrive. This year’s holiday party theme is well under construction and about to pop the fuck off. This Saturday…at 3801…they are coming.
xxxmasaliens
BE THERE.

FASHION (turn to the left)

fam gang

Damn, y’all! It’s certainly been a crazy couple of weeks. Last time we spoke I had just begun my most recent job, the hours (10 am-8 pm five days a week) I am just now getting used to. Of course, now that I’ve gotten the routine down pat the gig is drawing to close, as such is the nature of freelancing. And with the additional drawback of inconsistent pay, I’ve just barely made enough in the meantime to pay off my August debts with a little leftover for that other thing. Survival. It’s been so long since I’ve eaten anything not on my Trader Joe’s Budget Friendly Shopping List that when I went to buy toilet paper from my local bodega just now, the owner asked me if I’d moved. More than once I’ve seriously considered the “ride n ditch” method of drunken taxi transport. I’ve gotten more overdraft notices in the mail in the last month than I have birthday cards (which is to say, ONLY ONE. Don’t worry, family. You’ve still got a full two days before I disown you completely.)

I have managed, though, as I usually do, to indulge myself with some top-notch extracurriculars. Most notably, I’ve hit a major milestone in my top-secret entertainment project with OMGAlex, who btw finally has a blog of his own (thank god). It’s really quite perfect if you’re into that whole “sardonic account of psuedo-bougie urban gayness” thing, which let’s face it, you are.

Someone told me recently that I am “obsessed with living in Bushwick.” This is in fact true. One of the main reasons for my allegiance, right below “semi-affordable housing if you get lucky enough on craigslist” and “large population of friendly stray cats” is that there are always parties worth attending within walking distance of my apartment (this of course is due to the other great reason for living here, that it’s where everyone worth seeing resides). One example of this is the Dizzyland party, which had its one year anniversary, Dizzy /World/, two weekends ago. The circus was hosted by pretty much all your favorite Bushwick supercelebs (Trey Latrash, Ms Fitz, Allison Wwonderland, Brian Whateverer, Genevieve Belleveau & Juliana Huxtable to name a few) and included performances by Pictureplane, Lil Internet, and House of Ladosha ~~and many more~~ so it was a basically one of those can’t-miss things. Hannah and I, getting a late start to our day, arrived around 2 in our best attempt at anime-inspired self-infantilization. I even wore two pink bows from my early 90s days.

IMG_1665I only wish I had been there for longer (although I generally find that no party /really/ gets going until 2 am). We could have gone to the Spectrum for after hours, but being the old farts that we are, we opted to walk home at 4:30. Here I am holding my shoes on the way back, looking as real as ever:
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You can find more (better) pixx from the night on PAPERMAG.

The following week was hellishly busy, as the job I’d been working on was set to take place at Lincoln Center during the shit show that is MERCEDES BENZ FASHION WEEK. I had never been to fashion week before and part of me was excited to see it up close. In high school I used to willfully lap up allll that industry bullshit. It seemed like such a fantasy land compared to my bored suburban life.  There was GLAMOR and CELEBRITY and LUXURY at fashion week. I had bedroom walls covered in pictures of Gemma Ward and Jessica Stam and a casual eating disorder.  Of course, any grown New York woman with two eyes and an awareness of culture consumption and class struggle in this city would be a little disconcerted by the whole thing. One popular picture from last year comes to mind.
I spent most of the day on location last Saturday guzzling free Doubleshots and storming around for 13 hours with a walkie talkie on my hip. I think the most fun I had all day was eating two giant plates of chinese food amongst a parade of cigarette-nursing models. At most I have a post-ironic relationship with fashion, and always try to have a sense of humor about it. That being said–

Later that evening, despite not getting any decent sleep in days,  I decided to attend the Alexander Wang after party, hosted by SHADE in the abandoned Pier 17 mall. By this time I’d been working since 6 am, had been drinking caffeine since, and wasn’t going to stop any time soon. After plotting 12 murders and a suicide on the L Train Shuttle I ultimately decided all I needed was a very large pick-me-up in the form of a few champagne and red bull cocktails and a lot of hair and make up. Around 11 I rode into the city with the New Bushwick Fam, over caffeinated and plenty drunk (though neither perceptible by me.) The party was a gigantic, crowded mix of ~club kidz & celebz~,  a thrilling mishmash of fame and anti-fashion that culminated with a bizarre surprise performance by Nicki Minaj. It pleased everyone. By this point the open vodka red bull bar had burned a sizable hole in my brain. I stepped out to make an exasperated and ill-advised phone call to my ex before silently weeping into my hair extensions as I rode down the mall escalator.  Outside on the pier I sat in a corner and took a quick one-hour cat nap, then spent $30 on a cab ride home. The next morning I had the worst hangover I’d had in 2013. It wasn’t the best night ever, but I didn’t really care. At least I had shown up and looked good.

The other night at Body Actualized Center, Brian was taking instagrams of people in his Whatever 21 line (which btw is now available on Vfiles). After asking him to redo my shot more than once, I laughed and took a selfie instead.

“I’m so vain!” I said to Rachel who had watched this all transpire.

“You are,” she replied. “But it’s part of your charm.”

#kanyeshrug
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