My Face for the World to See (Part II):
The Diary of Sherilyn Connelly
a fiction

December 11 - 20, 2003


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Friday, 19 December 2003 (bathed in silver)

With all due respect to the frothing Tolkienians storming the googolplexes, I have to be dragged kicking and screaming into a movie theater, and this is why. Aside from the expense and the fact that most movies suck.

We performed Hitch-hiker's Guide at The Odeon Bar last night. The props and costumes were hauled over from Spanganga, but no sets. The production was divided up between the Odeon's two stages and the actual bar itself. The blocking had only been worked out a little while before the actual performance, and things were a little bumpy at times, but overall I think it went well. We even had Dr. Hal Robins doing the narration live—normally we use a recording of him. The audience seemed to enjoy it, and certainly got their five dollars' worth. David West was there, though I didn't see him until after he'd come in. Otherwise, I would have comped him. Alas.

After the show, after I'd changed back into my regular clothes, and audience member commented that while I looked good in the suit ("dapper" had been David's word), I looked better in my regular clothes. God, that was nice to hear. I mean, I appreciate the compliments about the costume, but at the risk of sounding binary, it's total drag for me and not something I'm entirely comfortable with. That said, Maddy has suggested I offer to buy it from Erin when the show's over, and I might. Might come in handy in the future, never know.

During the evening, two other people in the show asked if they could vent privately in my direction. I don't mind at all; friends can always talk to me about whatever's on their mind, and I'm touched that they trust me. I swear, though, I must have one of those faces. Kinda like how tourists are always asking me for directions. Never have understood that. I'm scary, damnit! Grr!


Oh, man. The Boss is out of the office, as is half the staff, and I am feeling sooooo unmotivated. Wanna know how productive I've been today? I've come to the conclusion that I want to see this with Bucky, in spite of my earlier comments about movie theaters. That's how productive.

I'm also the new owner of a 32MB Thumb Drive, courtesy of Google. They sent it as an xmas present for a salesman who quit a few months back. I'm here, and he isn't. So neener. Okay, yeah, he probably earned (and currently earns) at least three times its $10 retail cost per hour so he probably wouldn't have wanted it anyway, but still.


Friends are angels who lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly.

Okay, this has been pissing me off for a while now. It's the sig of a rather annoying person on a list to which I only remain subscribed out of inertia. A quick googling reveals it to be an inspirational platitude which has probably been around for decades. (Follow that link at your own risk. Your gorge will rise.) (And, no, I don't have a good answer for why I continue to read her posts. For the same reason I look at blogs of people whom I don't like, perhaps.)

Anyway, it makes no fucking sense. Let's apply a micron of brainpower to it, shall we? The first half: Friends are angels who lift us to our feet... I'll look past my general loathing of angel imagery (one exception: Wim Wenders' Wings of Desire, one of the most beautiful films ever made) and say that, yes, okay. Fine. Guardian angels. I can live with that. But, when do they lift us to our feet? ...when our wings have trouble... Whoa! Wait a minute! OUR wings? If our friends are the angels, why the hell do we have wings? Are we also angels? If not, what are we? Pterodactyls? Fruit bats? If we're also angels, doesn't it make our friends being angels less significant?

...remembering how to fly. When I was about five, I had surgery on my legs. I was born deformed, you see; my feet pointed inwards, and I couldn't walk correctly. The doctors broke my legs and reset them. After several months recuperating in casts, wheelchairs and crutches, I quite literally had to learn how to walk again. The whole thing was rather traumatic, especially the time in the hospital, and I know my mom has always felt guilty about it. I've tried to assure her that I am in fact extremely grateful for the fact that I can stand up straight and walk and run today, and that I'd probably be one miserable soul right now if she hadn't made that decision. But, well, you know how it is with guilt, even when everything turns out for the best. It was the first in what would be a long road of enhancements to a body which was genetically predestined to be something else entirely. A clone from my DNA would be a very different creature.

My point is this: my legs didn't "have trouble remembering" how to walk. They don't remember, or even know, a damn thing. Like wings would be (even if we were angels), they're just limbs controlled by impulses travelling down the spine from the brain. Besides, why do our friends only lift us to our feet? Doing so means we're on the ground, and doesn't that imply that the problem is with our legs, not our wings? If I may run the risk of channeling Paul Addis for a moment, motherfucker, if you can't tell the difference, I don't want your fuckin' help.

Feh. Good thing David Cross has already covered "Footprints."

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Thursday, 18 December 2003 (sets and rises)

See? Always a crash.


Maddy and I recently spoke to our mothers on the phone.

Even though she lives in Fresno, my mother follows San Francisco politics and listens to KPFA. Disgusted by Clinton and Gore's endorsement of Gavin Newsom, she says she's finally realizing that the Democrats don't truly represent her, and that following one's conscience is more important than simply voting for the ostensibly less evil of the two major parties. Most of her friends have registered Green, and she's strongly considering doing the same.

In Clay Center, Kansas, Maddy's mother was sobbing with joy over getting Toby Keith tickets.

I'm very glad we're going to Fresno next week.


The Wicked Messenger fly0r: created in photoshop as a .psd, printed out as a full page on white paper, reduced to a half-sized negative image on white, copied onto blue paper (among others), and finally scanned as a jpeg. Viva Brakhage!


The Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy closes after this weekend, but pictures are already up. I'm in them, if you squint and know where to look. Kinda like the play itself.


Sometimes there are signs of hope in mass culture. Not that things are changing for the best, because I know they aren't and never really will, but it's good to know that sometimes the most surefire marketing grabs fail. For example, while The Cat in the Hat will probably eventually turn a profit in the ancillary markets like foreign and video—especially officially licensed merchandising, without which the film might not exist at all—it's only domestically grossed about eighty percent of its $109M budget. In other words, it's a flop. Maybe not by Pluto Nash standards, but it's nowhere near the cash cow the cynical-in-the-pejorative-sense bastards who made it were expecting, either.

This doesn't mean there's a god. No god, even the vengeful Old Testament one which got retconned out of existence when the writers created the "Jesus" character to expand their demographic, would allow this to exist. But it does mean the ol' Geiselmeister can probably rot in his grave a little easier and not worry about any of his other books being turned into Kraft tie-ins in the near future. Although I'd kill to see a Private Snafu feature.

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Wednesday, 17 December 2003 (refusal of leave to land)

Busy night. Got home from work just in time for phone interview in which I was able to keep the blathering about my phantom love for breakfast goods down to a bare minimum. We mostly talked about Wicked Messenger, how it started, my philosophies about it, et cetera. Although it did come up, it was nice to have my trannyness be not so much of a non-issue as simply a given—there were no "So, how long have you felt like a girl?"-esque questions—so I didn't have to delve into 101. It's not so much that I'd refuse to do that in an interview situation as I just really don't wanna. (Everything's been said before. Nothing left to say anymore. When it's all the same, you can ask for it by name.) She actually seemed more interested in the goth angle, such as me bringing in people like John Shirley. I'd imagine the way I was dressed Sunday night probably had a lot to do with it, too.

I then burned some Django Reinhardt CDs to take the company holiday dinner, which was at a French restaurant inexplicably lacking French music. The Boss wanted an appropriate atmosphere, and I was more than happy to oblige. Though neither Maddy nor I especially wanted to be there, it wasn't quite so bad; we shared a table with Kelly and Ted, so it ultimately felt like going out to dinner with them and having someone else foot the bill.

I'd also made sure beforehand that the joint knew that there would be two vegans present. Granted, Maddy only considers herself vegetarian and I still haven't completely weaned myself off animal products (though I'm damn close), but we wanted to make sure that we didn't end up with the only overtly vegetarian item on the menu, "Stuffed Brie with Pistachios and Goat cheese." Maddy still loves cheese, but is more prone to simply nibble at a hunk of cheddar. Cheese stuffed with cheese? Um, no.

The Boss has always reminded me of my father, in an abstract way. They're far from dead ringers for one another, nor would I say they're cut from the same cloth, yet they're clearly of the same generation. Seeing him drunk last night only reinforced it. Like my father, he's not a belligerent drunk, but all smiles and bit on the teetery side. It was more than a little creepy. The only thing creepier is that, as I write this, it's just past ten in the morning and he's not in yet. Hasn't even called. While I'm always happy to have the office to myself, I hate not knowing if he's going to walk in at any moment, or what.

If we'd had what my parents call "our druthers," we would have skipped it entirely and spent the evening at Lynnee's holiday-slash-birthday party. As it was, we didn't get to Lynnee's until around eleven, when it was starting to dissipate. Just as well, really. (If nothing else, it meant we could park right out front.) We met the new bassist for Tribe 8, as well as the somewhat legendary (to us) Anna Joy, the inspiration for the objet d'desire of Lynnee's novel Godspeed. And, of course, we helped decorate the tree and put up lights. Always putting us to work, that one is.

Didn't get to bed until two, or asleep until half past two. Up again in a few hours. At least no hangover.

Twenty past ten, and still no sign.


Finally got in at a quarter to eleven. In a pretty good mood, said my friend from last night (Maddy, natch) was very nice. Yay.


to hell with it. i'm not letting you in.

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Tuesday, 16 December 2003 (unruffled)

Reverend Michel presents Wicked Messenger II: After the Apocalypse. As the weary, ash-drenched survivors huddle together to wait out the long nuclear winter, an alien-looking creature takes the makeshift stage, presenting a series of strange and exotic acts...

Seriously. though, I dig the look of the infrared, even if it drives home why I don't wear white. I wonder why my black clothes went negative, but not my hair. Probably has to do with, like, light frequencies and stuff. (Odds are I would still think my face looks weird even if pictures were in color.) Even moreso than post-apocalyptic, I'd like to think the grainy b&w gives some of them a Weimar Berlin vibe. Unless that makes me Joel Grey. Eww. Quite frankly, Liza Minnelli wouldn't be a whole lot better. (Joely Fisher or Jennifer Jason Leigh, on the the other hand...)

The performance pictures are great, but I like the atmosphere ones more.To me, that can say more about an event than what's happening on stage. Like, your poor, tired, huddled masses. Jim and Erin, among the multitude. I must have been standing on a box or something, because I'm not really as tall as this makes me look—and note the liquid light on the wall. Joie Rey admires Larry-Bob's glow from across the room. Chupa in the DJ booth, looking extremely hot with her hat and newly cut hair. The original running order, which is considerably different from how the show eventually went. The blacklight lamp, honestly. Ladies and gentlemen, Meliza "Chiaroscuro" Baņales. And, proof of our inclusivity: a swarm of amoebae enjoy the show.

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Monday, 15 December 2003 (someday soon)

...and then back at the job, doing evil things for an evil man. Well, okay, that's not entirely fair. Doing capitalistic things for a capitalistic man. Whether that ends up being the same thing is for the individual to decide. Either way, I'm doing it while listening to the recently released third disc of Nurse With Wound's Soliloquy for Lilith, which makes anything tolerable.

Still feeling pretty high from last night. What a weird, wonderful life.

and one day we will die
and our ashes will fly
from the aeroplane over the sea
but for now we are young
let us lay in the sun
and count every beautiful thing we can see


Reverend Michel wasn't the only media jackal present last night; there was also a reporter from the Chronicle. Rocco had told me about her earlier in the day, saying she was going to be there to see him as part of a story she's writing about the tranny performance scene. Figures it would be last night, of all nights, when it seemed like half the trannies in show weren't actually able to be there. Actually, that's not strictly true; even for the cancellations, in the form of Rocco and half of the Rent Boy$, it was still pretty tranny-heavy, even by Wicked Messenger standards. Next month will have a higher ratio of Biologicals.

Anyway, I don't how long she stayed after learning Rocco wasn't coming, but I spoke to her briefly before the show and gave her my number. Her idea. I don't trust the mainstream press and never will, but I am kinda putting myself out there as a public figure (albeit an extremely low-profile micro-nichey one), so I can only play shy so much. I would never presume to speak for anyone other than myself, however.

It does sound like the article might have a different focus than the standard "look at the freak" tranny profiles. Mind you, that's not a slam on the subject of the article; I've met her, and she's a very nice person. Rather, the guy who wrote the article—and lemme tell ya, he's a guy with a capital "I'm not a fag!"—needs to be put to sleep. Admittedly, the one involving Rocco from back in June wasn't so bad, though it probably helps that the writer was female and thus wasn't prone to castration anxiety. And at least it's not a talk show. Never, never, never. Period. Thank you, drive through.

I dressed high goth last night, velvet with flowy sleeves and all. Michelle said my hair was "perfect." For that, I thank the queer boi who did cut and blackened it the night before at the salon across the corner from Spanganga. I'll admit, I'm curious to see Reverend Michel's pictures.

I'd originally planned on reading an existing piece, but since the flu has been cutting such a swath of destruction lately, I instead read a capsule version of an AP story about the ineffectiveness of the current vaccine. Because I could, damnit.

In addition to the blacklight lamp and fadey xmas lights from last time, Maddy and I brought our liquid light projector, strategically placing it so the projection was visible but wouldn't actually blind anyone. Very considerate, no?

While plugging Hitch-hiker's Guide, I gave a shout-out to Jim and Erin, who were in the audience. (Sadly, Jim didn't bring his guitar for the open mic, but has agreed to feature in February.) I mispronounced Jim's last name. Argh. Felt all kinds of bad about that one. Sean from Spanganga also showed up later in the evening, having originally gone to the Lydia Lunch gig at DuNord. Very sweet of him.

Big Burlesque was fantastic, as was Max Wolf Valerio, Shawna Virago, Meliza, Butch (subbing for his mostly incapacitated fellow Rent Boy$), and Max Voltage & Rusty Hips. Not a bum note all night long. At least not while I was offstage.

Chupa was the DJ, though she wasn't able to make it until after the show began. No biggie, though. She started when the show ended and kept going through El Rio's last call, and I used up little energy I had left, dancing. Chupa closed with "Baby's Insane" by Diamanda Galas (her surprise song for me), followed by my request of "California Stars" by Wilco. It was a perfect way to end the night.


Although neither of us are quite sure how she got his number, the reporter called Anders earlier tonight. This is a good thing, as it occurred to me this afternoon that I'm really the wrong person to talk to regarding Wicked Messenger. I can hold my own, but it's ultimately his baby, his concept and even his title (though being a Dylan fan from way back I got the reference immediately). So, it's only right that he be the spokesperson. I've left a message with her saying that I'm still available if she wants to talk to me, but at this point, I'm not sure why she would.

I can just imagine how it would go:

"So, do you feel the emerging scene is evidence of—"

"I like muffins!"

See what I mean? Horrible.

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Sunday, 14 December 2003 (blank / blank)

Woohoo! Saddam has been (allegedly) captured! Take that, Osama!


A friend once told me that when you hate someone, it's because you see the parts of yourself you don't like reflected in them.

What a terrifying thought. And, in all likelihood, an accurate one.


December has always been, shall we say, a wicked month. I've survived it before, I'll survive it now.

sometime after midnight

Though I'd feared it would be something of a washout given the difficulties in putting it together and the fierce competition (like Lydia Lunch at Cafe DuNord), tonight's Wicked Messenger was a success. Sure, our already-postponed feature Rocco had to cancel again because of the flu, and I emceed along since Anders was bedridden from throwing his back out earlier this week, but in spite of those things, everyone onstage and off had a blast. (Solo hosting was quite fun, actually.) We got a good crowd, and Reverend Michel was even there taking pictures. Fuck you, December.

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Saturday, 13 December 2003 (la forme du temps est un cercle)

The show last night felt a little clunky at times, probably because it had been nearly a week since the last one. There were a few blown cues and missed lines, including one while I was on stage; as a result, one of the best gags was skipped ("Treated. Prepared. Diced."), and overall we just didn't get the laughs that we should have in that scene. But, as I say, it's been a while. In this context, six days can feel like an eternity. I'm sure we'll be tighter tonight. Jim thought it went great, though, and the audience enjoyed it. That's what matters. And I'm way more critical than necessary.

Allegra and Rachel were there. Afterwards, Allegra told me that Cameron and I as the mice reminded her of anime characters. High praise, indeed.

In addition to him being in my Twilight Zone episode (the script for which I really need to get cracking on), Lynnee and I have started talking about doing a different project together. 'cuz, you know, neither of us have enough on our plates as it is.

sometime after midnight

...then i'd know that i am not alone

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Friday, 12 December 2003 (joy in repetition)

Okay. So it's an oversight at best, or a snub at worst. Given the recent low-level hostilities, I'm inclined to believe the latter. Either way, I'm not calling him on it. If an oversight, then I'll seem even bitchier than I already so. And if it's a snub, then I'd just as soon let him have his little victory, since it's ultimately such a minor detail. Besides, him getting to blow off that steam might actually make the situation a little smoother. (Lookit me, I'm bein' all professional and stuff.) Still, I wish I didn't have this tendency to ruffle the feathers of the regulars.

the preceding was not about anyone you know.


Speaking of dead cats, Maddy saw one at Tristan's last night. A ghost cat, to be precise. (Probably not the one Clay Aiken ran over, though.) She glimpsed it out of the corner of her eye, and it was gone. Tristan says lots of people have seen it, even his mother. Of course, testimonials don't make me any more likely to believe in something—and I don't believe in the supernatural—but there's something about those old Victorians that makes it feel plausible. Like, if anywhere is going to be haunted, that's the place.

Oddly enough, though, I didn't feel particular spooked on Thanksgiving night at Tristan's when the fuses blew . I remained in the apartment alone and in the dark while he and Violet went downstairs to locate the fusebox. Which they did, and they were able to successfully resuscitate the lights. See? Boys are good to have around.

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Thursday, 11 December 2003 (when to spit and when to swallow)

There was an article on sfgate earlier this week about NASA's plans to explore the oceans of Jupiter's moons for life. Pretty neat stuff. The sidebar, however, is a poll: "Is it worth it to send spacecraft to Jupiter's moons?" The possible answers are the awkwardly phrased "Yes, with ocean on Europa, there could be life;" "No, billions better spent on earthly needs;" and my personal favorite, "Too heavy for me."

The second one is a peeve of mine, and not just because I'm in favor of the project. I've heard that logic countless times before, though it's usually phrased more idealistically: "That money should be spent to improve life on Earth."

News flash, folks: it won't. Sure, the cost of the mission could probably provide food, clothing and shelter for everyone on the planet, or at the very least everyone in America. But that's not going to happen. The space program could be completely dismantled tomorrow, and nobody's quality of life would go up an iota.

Schools won't suddenly get the money they need, nor will homeless shelters or clinics or any other underfunded services. Taxes won't decrease as a result, either. Hell, even if NASA, with money in hand, said, "Fuck this geek shit! Let's make sure nobody ever goes hungry again," it would get taken away from them in a heartbeat.

Besides, if the money's going to get spent on things which don't necessarily improve the quality of life (and the discovery of life beyond Earth is certain to change things around here), at least it's better than it being used to bomb Iraqis. Seems to me, anyway.


More airline ticket silliness at work. Not as bad as before, really; this particular airline's cancellation/exchange policies are considerably less draconian, and more importantly, it's not remotely my fault. What's more, both of the Expedia people with whom I've spoken on the phone have called me "miss" before learning my name. That can make all the difference in my mood.

My voice must be improving, since I'm getting called "sir" on the phone less and less. Maddy also said that while I'm on stage during my brief scene in Hitch-hiker's Guide, when she can hear me but not see me, she reads it as female, moreso than my usual speaking voice. It's not like I'm a stranger to her, of course, but I still consider it to be a good sign. The obvious irony is that I'm playing a friggin' mouse, and went for what I thought was a slightly cartoony delivery. Who knows, though. Maybe I've nailed it.

Beyond the voice, my primary human inspiration in the role is from Yapping Out Loud, a video of Mirha-Soleil Ross's one-woman show which I saw at the Sex Worker's Film and Video Festival. Specifically, a segment in which she portrays bouncy, PTA/civic booster-type housewife, outlining her plans to keep prostitutes out of their neighborhoods, treating it like an infestation which must be stamped out. In fact, she comes across like a relentlessly upbeat version of Bill Murray in Caddyshack, treating the (implied to be) imagined whore infestation with about the same level as disdain, all but calling them "varmints." At the end of the sketch she poses, hands on hips and huge grin on her face, looking tremendously pleased with herself and her utter brilliance. That's what I'm trying to evoke. Not that anybody's ever going to pick up on it.

Meanwhile, the first weekend of the play did much better than expected, certainly much better than opening weekends of plays at Spanganga usually do—even (especially?) moreso than Night of the Living Dead, which one would think has a broader appeal, being a based on an iconic horror movie rather than a comparatively obscure sci-fi/comedy novel. One should never underestimate the geek factor in this town.

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