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Why I Do This

My work aims to create live, intimate community by exploring universal subjects that connect us. My interactive plays create community through the performance: To use humor, personal storytelling, and most of all the audience themselves to create a deep sense of connection and inclusion. Unlike most stand-up comics or audience participation shows, I never make comedy at the expense of the audience. I create a space for them to shine.

Live performance has an opportunity to do what our Congress and perhaps our real courts are failing to do: Be a public space in we can be whole together. I’m interested in creating experiences that challenge folks as well as bring them together. The commons is shrinking quickly in this nation, with conversations, academic and otherwise, happening more and more between folks who already agree with each other, listening to more of what they already think. Performance has the opportunity to strengthen bonds as they can bring folks together who are different, or already in disagreement. “Creating the space” has everything to do with whether or not we’ll truly be able to explore disagreement, or just talk at each other. My goal is to have people leave the show thinking, laughing and feeling connected to themselves and each other.

Why your signature on that online petition vs Prop 8 won't do anything legally

I’ve received many requests to add my name to an online petition to Gov Schwarzenegger in the past few hours to redress Prop 8s injustice. Accompanying the petition is a nice list of corrections of popular arguments for Prop 8. You may have seen it too. I don’t believe Schwarzenegger will change his past 2 vetoes of gay marriage (which passed the CA Legislature) and I don’t think that a law like that could even happen now that Prop 8 has passed and the Constitutional has been Amended (by popular intent if not under the correct legal method which is being litigated)

I checked in with a legal/political pal who knows what’s up and here’s what she says if we want a genuine petition to put gay marriage back on the ballot:

To qualify an initiative for the CA ballot, you need to get a certain # of physical signatures by registered CA voters within a certain timeframe set by the second of state. the # you need is a percentage of the # of people who voted in the last election in CA. don’t remember what that percentage is, but it’s easily findable on second of state’s website.
A petition drive has to register with the sec of state and have the specific legal language in place before gathering a single signature. 

As for starting a petition drive, I recommend following EQCA‘s lead (Equality California, the gay lobby).  They will have the resources to put it together, to hire lawyers, figure out the statewide political strategy, etc.  For example, picking the time period to collect sigs is very important, which will depend on which upcoming election you want to qualify for.  some off-year elections will have low turnout, which is bad for us, and a lot will depend on whatever else is on the ballot at the time.

Also, the rules for a statewaide petition drive, including what the petition looks like, and who is qualified to gather signatures, are highly technical, and require advice of counsel to make sure you get it right.

If you want to sign up something to Overturn Prop 8 join this facebook groupso that you can be part of whatever drive occurs. This way you can be contacted by EQCA or whomever does the drive and we won’t lose al the momentum.

Why Didn’t People Vote?

November 14, 2016

Why did people not vote?

Comey FBI “surprise” delighted on from the Bannon / Trump campaign. Last minute suprise plot twist! Stay tuned!

But you can’t pull the pieces apart.
Patriarchy, sometimes “she’s not one of the good ones, like me. Sometimes ”uppity cunt.“”

White supremacy.

Media, global economic change, failure of straight up talk from elected officials, GOP stonewalling for a generation, liberals failing to vote in midterms, hammered narrative about Hillary not Ms Rodham Clintons wickedness evil ambitious Lady MacBeth cackling. Email email. So much media time about email.

Very little coverage in media and TV of Trump’s fascist working and rallies. I’ve never been anywhere that men don’t get to say and do what they want to women. Isn’t that what life just is? Economic depression, felony convictions, systemic imprisonment of people of colour, lies to white folks from the GOP, the Roseanne show ending.

SCOTUS gutting the Voting Rights Act, States doing the same. Voter ID requirements. Fear of the government for deportation. Fear. Not knowing you can get a lift to the polls. Not having many polls. A long line at the polls. Not getting time off work. Believing fake news you saw on Facebook or TV. Trump and Bannons and Ailes and Stone getting in the vote. It’s rigged. I’m not sure I’ll accept it.

Bernie Sanders and so many others telling you “they’re both the same.” Not learning in school how the basics of democracy work. Not understanind that Trump is fascist and corrupt. The word tremendous. Not knowing where to go to vote. Having a doctors appointment. Not wanting to miss your show on TV. Did I mention she sent emails?

I don’t get exactly what I want. Being afraid people will have guns at the polls. Failing to know that people died for your freedom to vote. Not having someone growing up who always voted. Not having someone who believes in you and says you matter. Helplessness, not believing your vote will matter.

Where’s Daddy?

Bitterness for Sanders. Bernie or Bust. Humans have nothing to do with it, what happens is up to Jehovah and so she will never vote, said two young Black women to me. “I’m not going to vote,” said Trent pushing me in a wheelchair through the Las Vegas airport. “We’re going to have a war no matter who I’d rather save lives than take them.” He is going to play D+D still. He still is going to recycle his soda can.

So many reasons. So many versions of helplessness, so many versions of “Daddy beat me for my own good.”

It came down to not so many of them in a few neighborhoods in the midwest.

There is a third party in the US. This is it.

Ryan. The Ultimate Lesson in Show Don’t Tell and a More Moving Computer Animation Than Anything Pixar’s Done.

Ryan by Chris Landreth, National Film Board of Canada

My girlfriend Mariko showed me this animation by Chris Landreth at the National Film Board of Canada the other day. It hit me like a rock.

It won an Academy Award and made one of those happy occasions when something superlative won. It is perhaps the best piece of documentary I’ve ever seen and one of the most whole expressions of what it means to make art and what it means to live in suffering I’ve ever seen.

It captures what is handed down from generation to generation. Its characters embody what our mental anguish does to us, literally. It shows what a hold money has on art and why art is oxygen. It has tenderness and such self-awareness and love. And it does all these things compactly in beautiful small, detailed gestures. It is exquisite storytelling. Chris Landreth has committed the greatest act of art: he has paid great attention. And he has cared. And he has not turned even one inch away from the truth.

A note: You will probably cry. I did. But it is the most satisfying and important kind of cry. The kind that lets you know that the very point of being alive has not been overlooked.

How do you know you matter?

I just got an email from a conference that made me sad. It was only two sentences long. It was a dismissal in the guise of being a favour. It showed me that I didn’t matter to this person professionally anymore. We are done.

It hurt. It still hurts.

When I started out there years back I was just doing what was fun. I never thought of myself as in any kind of “in crowd.” Some people told me then that I was some kind of miniature celebrity in a miniature world. I didn’t see it. But I did feel like I belonged. I felt like I was with my people: the kind of people who were excited by ideas and who said to the new person who showed up at lunch “come on here and sit down.”

This is making me re-think how I learned that what I had to say mattered.
It mattered to me that what I had to say or who I brought together mattered to others. A conference or a show or an audience.

I’m having to learn over and over that what I have to say or do has to matter to me first. it sounds so simple and perhaps brain-dead to you that this is a thing to know or to learn. But it is for me.

In every world I’ve been in: artistic, entrepreneurial, or political everyone wants to know what people like. The truth is that even in the worlds that consider themselves “indie” they care. For me independent performing, publishing, creating business was about being able to follow the creative impulse you have. It was about an environment that preached and modeled empowerment.

You *can* do this.

You are allowed to do this.

I’m the kind of girl who needed to hear that. You can always tell who else needed to hear it: they’ll say it to anyone else, anytime.

Great encouragers of others always need encouragement.

People are always talking about themselves. Always. Whether we know we are talking to ourselves is another story.

I’ve never been a big triangulator of creative talent. Either I like your stories, your voice, your perspective, your jokes, your vulnerability or I don’t. I don’t like it because someone else does (no matter what any database, social media platform or popular kids table might say).

It never made a lot of sense to me to like someone because they were popular. That was true in junior high and it’s true when it comes to indie art too. I’m not interested in someone because they’re alternatively popular. Truth is, the people whose work I often love are often dismissed. But I don’t love someone’s voice or work *because* they’re dismissed. I love what resonates with my heart. That’s all.

It’s easy when I think about other peoples’ work: Justin Vivian Bond, Patti Smith, WhoopDeeDo.tv , Paul Mooney. The kind of folks I want to interview for my news upcoming subvert podcast (you can also follow @subverting on twitter). I’ll be subverting the SXSW conference live with impromptu gatherings. Add me on twitter and foursquare to join. I want to see what’s in your heart.

So why am I afraid of what’s in mine?

 

Why Blog? (and tools we need for it) feat. my 2011 WordCamp talk Tools for Tummeling in the age of Google +

I just came across this post which I wrote about a year ago when I was near the culmination of finally getting a central website up at heathergold.com, something that I stressed about and thought about for *years.* I’m posting it in the event you may find it helpful. And because I recently gave a talk at WordCamp (the annual WordPress conference from Automattic) about my view about the need for changing blogging tools. It’s interesting to see how much further my feelings about blogging platform needs have gone only a year after I was about to end my insanely long struggle to have a “proper” central site / blog under my name.

A couple of key notes from the performance/talk Tools for Tummeling in the age of Google +
(but it’s pretty funny and includes some awesome 9 and 6 year old sisters dropping some serious web knowledge, so it’s worth a watch)

• blogs are still brochure-like and one-to-many-ish which seem static and unsatisfying in the era of social activity streams. People are in “social media’ to be with each other. How do we create a “with” space and feeling on a blog?
• the emotional interfaces of blogs and the web haven’t progressed farther than the era of an 1997 Site Under Construction animated gif. We have emoticons. We can do a lot better than that.
• How do you make people comfortable on your site and create a sense of space? How do I do the equivalent of offering you a piece of cake here?
• How do you let people know you are with them even when you are not speaking and commenting
• How do you know when someone is listening to you?
• People speak and express differently when they know they are being listened to and cared about.

Extreme Web MakeOver + Under (written 9/21/10)
Have you ever dealt with something so overwhelming and confusing that you just gave up? That was me and my web sites. For years they’ve felt like a jewelry box full of knotted and tangled chains. If only I could get it together, I know there’s something valuable there.

I’ve been embarrassed and annoyed with myself. You can imagine how productive that has been.

So now I’m coming out with it. Being open and vulnerable and authentic is something I speak about, practice in my art and believe in. It’s always worked for me. So I’ll be sharing the journey.

And I finally think it’s possible to conquer the confusion. I’ve got a great team shaping up and I decided, as I often do, that the most helpful thing to do would be to own up to it publicly and share the journey with all of you. I’m not the only person with old web sites that don’t quite work now, or abandoned technical ideas making things difficult. Perhaps there’s something in this that will be helpful to you and perhaps you’ll have some good ideas. Perhaps we’ll discover something else

Maybe the mess isn’t your site, but you.
Ah, how can you tell the dancer from the dance?

I create in many different ways, often spontaneously on stage, and speak to many different “audiences.” I might keynote for Internet professionals at Web 2.0, I might be bringing together students at a southern college that’s been having hate speech problems performing my show Cookie, I might be giving advice to queer folks about coming out, I might just rant about Hillary and Obama running for President.

But as the always insightful Merlin Mann said to me “anyone is only one Google search away from other parts of you.” That’s our current version of Whitman’s insight that “I contain multitudes.”

So I will be combining, and organizing, my work and information about me for the many different people who are interested in my work. I am not my keywords.

Why focus on a web site in 2010? Aren’t you on twitter?
Wired Magazine recently questioned the future of the web itself. At a time when the shiniest attention is going to iPhone and iPad apps and Facebook and other “activity streams” which are certainly unmoored from a central place or site, why do this? I’ve been tweeting way more than blogging. Why should I go back to focussing on my web site(s)? Just as some are declaring email bankruptcy, shouldn’t i just declare web site bankruptcy?

There are 3 good reasons:
1. I’ll be able to better find and share all the work I’ve made.
I have lots of writing and years and years of great video and audio content from all kinds of shows, including: stand-up, Cookie (my first interactive show in which I’ve baked over 25,000 chocolate chip cookies with audiences all over the US) and my deep love the Heather Gold Show (soon to be renamed subvert w heather gold and based on subvert.com), a talk show in which the guests are there to spark a conversation with everyone. Don’t you want to see Maria Bamford riff ridiculously on her depression or see me call out Julia Allison in the audience and have her sit on my lap when she booed then Valleywag editor Owen Thomas on my infamous SXSW Gossip panel? How about punk rock legend Lynnee Breedlove connecting with Darfur survivor Gadet Riek? I have amazing moments but it’s hard to share them if they’re just going to be like another tangled necklace in the jewelry box.

2. I’ll make more work.
I need a sense of space in order to create. Working with designers at Wolff Olins years ago made me conscious that blank space is essential for me to make something new. I need to know that something will have a place to go. Knowing where something will go and that it has it’s place to go helps free my mind.

3. It’ll be easier to find my stuff and me and much easier to give me money.
Like many artists I work to support myself through my creative work. In my case that includes speaking about what I learn through my art and teaching it to others and applying it to business (which needs art the most). I need a clear central place where people can find my work and out about me, get to know me, hire me and access and buy my work. I want to get to know you too and I’ve got twitter and facebook and podcast chats and live shows to help me do that. Perhaps that will happen on my site too. But not until something simple and basic works first.

Bonus Reason: The open web matters. I don’t care how many streams I end up creating or that my stuff will travel and be posted all over the web (I will creative commons license most all of it), all those links need to go somewhere. Tummeling, which I do and speak, teach and podcast about,  is all about making connections and the best way for me to make connections between different kinds of work that I’ve done is through a central site.

The obstacle of being early
I started a web presence back in 1996. Like many I knew I was blogging before it was called that and before there was handy software to make it happen. So some kind friends who’d begun a small (now defunct) web agency developed a custom publishing tool for me to make subvert.com possible. (Thanks Eric Lawrence and Dan Eckam / eyephonic) Unlike Ev or Ben and Mena, it didn’t occur to me that they should sell this tool to everyone. But I have no right to feel bad. I can always listen to Justin Hall‘s Great Opportunities I Missed at my 2000 Internet Roast)

I can’t tell you how long it took to get all the stuff I’d published into real blogging software. (Thanks Paul Schreiber). It’s easy to get attached to the tool you’ve used, but it’s easier to use the open tools lots more people are using *now.*

Recent interviews: Internet Collaboration and why SXSW fun is good for art and business

I recently guested on Feast of Fun, a delish gay podcast hosted by the adorable Fausto and Marc. That’s Fausto’s sister above who came to their queer meet up at this years SXSW. We talked about canv.as, Color, and what makes web apps, sites , parties and the Internet great : collaboration.  Of course we meandered into Ani DiFranco, Kirstie Alley, Rosie O’Donnell and how to pick up a nerd.

I was also part of a Business Insider piece about SXSW, written to justify partying as work. SXSW has had a huge impact of my life  and my work. It has certainly got some new issues but I still found it really worthwhile and energizing to be there.  The place now does have massive attendance and it’s crawling with marketing and old school media companies trying to be all Internet cool now. But I actually found that I learned something from this. More on what that is soon.

Why Self-Organized Networks Will Destroy Hierarchies

The people in authority who make the rules interfere with the people who know how to do the job and are in direct contact with the situation. The people who make the rules know nothing about the work they’re interfering with.

-Kevin Carson, Why Self-Organized Networks Will Destroy Hierarchies

Kevin’s post give me food for thought. It’s my preference not to abstract the hierarchy / network thing into information but view it as people problems or challenges. Tummeling is a kind of human self-networking that happens even within hierarchies. Many corporations function because there are individuals who take it upon themselves to make connections and bring people together across “silos” (man I hate that word). Sometimes it’s an admin assistant or project manager or someone with low “authority status” (something else Carson’s post critiques, the mistake hierarchy managers make when they look to what they see as authority rather than actual experience).

What’s most important to me about what Carson refers to as “people who know how to do the work” is not their abstract knowledge but what is experiential. Experience happens in the present. It’s where all real authority and creativity emerges.

-cross-posted at TummelVision.tv check out our podcast there with some of the most humanizing folks in tech, biz and culture.

Posted via email from subvert with heather gold

Facebook's "everywhere" doesn't understand some basics of meaningful social engagement

From TechCrunch’s piece on Facebook’s recent announcement/http://techcrunch.com/2010/04/21/zuckerbergs-buildin-web-default-social/

Facebooks concern for themselves over their users (and disregard of their privacy) also shows up in creating poor “social” experiences much like the ones Google Buzz made as the comment above shows.

Self-agency is a core element of social engagement.

Everyone participates in different publics. But technology doesn’t differentiate between them well. People do. That’s why algorithmically driven automation (made more intense by fb by default opting in people to sharing their info across the web) assumes that what one says to this group one says to everyone or even more clearly..that everyone is sharing the same context all the time.

re: social-agency. I very much am a fan of openness and use it a great deal in tummeling and opening people up is part of creating a socially engaging space or conversation. But if people don’t feel they are choosing to participate, if they are doing so because of peer pressure only or because of tech defaults then the act of engagement isn’t actually engagement. Your sense of self isn’t coming with you. In FBs case it’s even lamer (Google Buzz did this too) because it’s placing information / people where it and they make no sense.
By definition, controlling relationships, ones which are not consciously chosen ( and I don’t just mean initially I mean continually) are not relationships on one being WITH another. It’s one reason tummeling is so critical. It’s how we people can help make connections but it is based on seeing the other person and connecting with them subjectively. (Facebook and Google in its own way) aren’t trying to do this. FaceBook wants the *result* of you but they aren’t particularly interested in you. This is still industrial era relating even if it happens in a web 2.0 candy “social” shell.

Posted via email from subvert with heather gold

Facebook's "everywhere" doesn't understand some basics of meaningful social engagement

From TechCrunch’s piece on Facebook’s recent announcement/http://techcrunch.com/2010/04/21/zuckerbergs-buildin-web-default-social/

Facebooks concern for themselves over their users (and disregard of their privacy) also shows up in creating poor “social” experiences much like the ones Google Buzz made as the comment above shows.

Self-agency is a core element of social engagement.

Everyone participates in different publics. But technology doesn’t differentiate between them well. People do. That’s why algorithmically driven automation (made more intense by fb by default opting in people to sharing their info across the web) assumes that what one says to this group one says to everyone or even more clearly..that everyone is sharing the same context all the time.

re: social-agency.. I very much am a fan of openness and use it a great deal in tummeling and opening people up is part of creating a socially engaging space or convo. but if people don’t feel they are choosing to participate..if they are doing so because of peer pressure only or because of tech defaults then the act of engagement isn’t actually engagement. Ones sense of self isn’t coming with you. In FBs case it’s even lamer (Google Buzz did this too) bc it’s laying info / people where it makes no sense.
By definition, controlling relationships, ones which are not consciously chose ( and I don’t justm ean initially I mean continually) are not relationships on one being WITH another. Its one reason tummeling is so criticaal. It’s how we people can help make connections but it is based on seeing the other person and connecting with them subjectively. (Facebook and Goolge in its own way) aren’t trying to do this. FB wants the *result* of youy but they aren’t particularly interested in you. this is still industrial era relating even if it happens in a web 2.0 candy “social” shell.

Posted via email from subvert with heather gold



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