6:48 AM

you have any questions..

me: no, just opinions

as usual

6:49 AM

Ernesto: tell me

me: i don’t like it

Ernesto: hehe

what about it dont you like

me: the concept is looking too backwards, and i dont think a map is worth anything

6:50 AM

Ernesto: really is what is done with it

me: i understand the point is to capture and document the city

i want to look forward

in a way i think “the moment” has failed

6:51 AM

and i think the language in the notes and the on the offcenter website about the event is too insitutional, too vague

it’s art=speak

it doesn’t cut

Ernesto: help me out

me: it doesn’t pierce through

Ernesto: so let me tell you then what the idea is

6:52 AM

maybe you can help me so that it pierces more

me: i want sf to look forward and think about what the hell we stand for as a city

as a mecca of queer performance

what is our manifesto?

Ernesto: is what i am asking

but i have realized we are not one city – we are many inside of one

me: hwo do we influence the national and international agenda

6:53 AM

no, i understand that, there are many scenes

in a way this is my critique of offcenter

Ernesto: so the goal for this moment is to capture the past present and future of that scene as best we can

me: the problem is you and wolfgang and julie and harold and everyone involved with offcenter are too damned nice

: )

6:54 AM

you don’t have an asshole

Ernesto: a document yes – but in it we have the chance to ask for what we want

me: you guys are too damned sweet

Ernesto: is all part of an ecosystem

me: of course, and it’s beautiful

6:55 AM

but it lacks a bite

it lacks arrogance

Ernesto: i’ll play sweet if it gets us all inside conversations like this – inside of spaces like this – we have a chance to bring it to them they way we want

but thats it

thats why you all 5 are so different

me: there needs to be a concrete vision

6:56 AM

the language really needs to talk about a movement

it needs to name an enemy

it needs to say why the vision for sf is different from whatever’s going on at counterpulse or ybca

Ernesto: i hear that and i see the value in that but we all have different notions of what that enemy is

6:57 AM

me: that’s the problem, leadership isnt about consensus

Ernesto: the concept is to get each of you to speak to your lineage’s enemy if you wanted to

me: it’s not about taking everyone’s opinions into consideration

Ernesto: i’ll provide the space – what happens with it (much like the tools we are creating) is up to the individual

6:58 AM

me: it’s about seeing and naming, this is what the problem is, this is what we’re all concerned about–

i’ve been to too many arts functions and conferences and meetings where people get to share and share and share, and it ends up going nowhere

Ernesto: no see. i am not making decisions i am only staging platforms.. i cant or shouldn’t make decisions for the whole – we are not one people

6:59 AM

me: if the offcenter is to be the spearhead of the queer performance scene in sf, and I think that’s the ambition, you have to be comfortable setting the agenda

Ernesto: so instead we are a bunch of many peoples

we can take this somewhere

this is a whole year project thats began with the blog salon

me: people can agree or disagree, but you have to give them something to react against

the blog was great

7:00 AM

but i do think the year-long project is a mistake for offcenter

ernesto, you’re so committed to bringing everyone together

that’s a great quality

Ernesto: you dont think to have a searchable database of who is here and what they are doing might be useful for us all to have –

me: no, i don’t

7:01 AM

i think people already know what’s happening

think of mason and caden’s project

contemporaty performance

it’s similar

when was the last time you actually used that?

7:02 AM

i don’t know anyone who actually uses it

Ernesto: we know what is happening in our immediate circles – these would be a decentralized way – much like caden and mason’s project but its self curated

but then again, these are steps towards somewhere

me: what people need is to feel a part of a movement

7:03 AM

Ernesto: maybe then is it you who has earned the space to declare that

me: that movement can involved all the scenes and bubbles

you know i’m a big mouth

: )

Ernesto: we all play a part here


i know

i play nice and get us in places we might have not been allowed before

7:04 AM

me: you have that superpower, it’s true

good cop, bad cop

Ernesto: we have the potential to change it all – in our terms

me: but you see, offcenter is all good cops

you need a bad cop

Ernesto: i think playing good cop will get us farther inside – yes we need a bad cop

7:05 AM

me: i’d rather see offcenter say, this is what sf stands for, this is the next edge for queer performance, throw it out for chicago and new york to play catch u


Ernesto: wait..

7:06 AM

tell me more about that

me: look at what “the moment” birthed

Ernesto: a very strong DIY arts community

me: SQUART, QAZ and HTF were all critiques of the status quo

Ernesto: yep

7:07 AM

me: they were all rebellions in a way

Ernesto: i agree

me: if the offcenter is to capture and capitalize on that energy, you need to state the rebellion you’re leading

and to say, this is SF, this is what we’re saying fuck you to

7:08 AM

Ernesto: who is this enemy tho?

me: we can set the national queer performance agenda, get into rivalries with other cities

for me it’s the artist’s reliance on insitutions for resources and legitamacy

7:09 AM

Ernesto: but even that is changing

me: i feel the offcenter is playing too much the instiutional game, the language of it, the cooperativeness

7:10 AM

Ernesto: institutions are looking to us for legitimacy these days – their ways are antiquated, more so they are not getting audiences (which is how they measure success)

me: it’s a big tent that everyone can get under, yes, but because it lacks bite, there’s no sense of a vision or a movement

7:11 AM

Ernesto: so yes perhaps it feels as tho we are playing to their tune – tho we really arent – we are getting in and bringing everyone with us – so that at the end is our tune they are dancing to..

me: the offcenter was supposed to lead when everyone was feeling lost after mama calizo’s

Ernesto: and you dont feel we did

me: no

i felt disappointed, and i know a lot of peole did

7:12 AM

Ernesto: i feel we did the best we could

me: i think offcenter has produced a lot of work that wouldn’t be produced otherwise

you guys worked you asses off

but it lacked the feeling of a movement

it lacked a spearhead

7:13 AM

Ernesto: we have collectively created more work with less resources than many institutions

we have to be strategic about it tho

me: i’ll be honest, after a year, i still don’t know what offcenter stands for, and half the time when i read offcenter’s website, it feels like institutional speak

Ernesto: to puncture out of dispair or anger is not a sustainable practice

me: it’s still borrowing from the old model

7:14 AM

i agree with that

Ernesto: i hear that and you are probably right – it does feel that way sometimes ..

me: but if you don’t tap into people’s anger and despait at the status quo, you don’t have a movement

7:15 AM

you have to tap into it first before you can channel it

Ernesto: so how do we achieve a balance – i feel that the work in the first year was to stay afloat – to become visible to be a part of the whole even without a space

we lost a lot of support once we we no longer a space

me: the HTF was all about tapping into people’s feeling, and then getting them to find another way

7:16 AM

Ernesto: so then i ask you to help me

me: i said this a year ago at those planning meetings: losing the space actually frees us

Ernesto: you philip to help me ernesto to tune in to that voice –

i am strategic and yes i play good cop

but yes i need you and i need this

7:17 AM

me: and the fact is, you’ve done a lot of good in the community

keeping everyone afloat

it’s time to stop floating and start flying

Ernesto: afloat was the 1st year goal –

now we get to say something

in our voice

me: the map won’t do that

Ernesto: i am there with you on the flying

7:18 AM

me: it feels like something cooked up by arts administrators

you know what it’s like on the ground

you know what people are frustrated about

Ernesto: once thing i have learned is that i dont know it all – a map will help us to plan and execute better – to know where and what – to organize

me: what people’s dreams are

Ernesto: is a tool just that – what we do with it is up to us

thats the secret of it all

what we’ll do with it

7:19 AM

me: let me be more plain: the map is a waste of time and energy

you’re going to lose momentum

Ernesto: is not the only thing we are doing

is one thing of many

me: no, but it’s going to eat up your energy, and that’s a limited resource

here are my ideas for what offcenter can get into

7:20 AM

Ernesto: the map will grant us at least 3 more chances like the one on Saturday

me: start an ambassador,/exchange program with another city

Ernesto: where we get to go up and say something relevant

i am working on that

me: i’ll say it again: the map is a waste of energy

no one will use it

Ernesto: not only within the states but beyond

7:21 AM

me: it’s like google plus

i really, really advise you to give up the mapping project

we don’t need it

we don’t need another tool

Ernesto: as a city we have lost the spark – we were so caught up in identity politics we lost our voice – (as a performance/activator hub)

7:22 AM

me: not true, we found our voice when “the moment” splintered

Ernesto: what is our voice?

me: we suddenly had competing schools of thought


Ernesto: there are many voices — we went and started talking to our peers and cemented what we knew already – but that made us even more fragmented

7:23 AM

we became each other enemies

me: you see, i think competitiveness between communities is a good thing

Ernesto: i agree

me: nope, look at you and me

we have divergent views, but we’re still in communication

Ernesto: but i not based on putting the other down but instead on raising one and alongside everyone up

7:24 AM

me: you need to do both

talk a little shit and give a little praise

Ernesto: my job has been to stage those divergent voices – so they are heard

me: i talk shit about counterpulse all the fucking time and i still see shows there

7:25 AM

Ernesto: i do when i bring you allĀ together Ā – to say what you have to say – again we all play our parts

me: you’re a uniter

it’s a virtue

7:26 AM

Ernesto: i want what you want

me: but over-applied, it becomes a weakness

the offcenter has to be comfortable setting an agenda

you have to say, this is the agenda, join us

Ernesto: my agenda is for a sustainable performance community

for more incubators

7:27 AM

for artists rights

me: you have to say, if you join us, we can help you make your dreams come true

that’s a movement

here’s a path

here’s what you stand for when you take part

leaders tap into people’s sense of their own potenntials

7:28 AM

Ernesto: what i found is that people dont knwo what their dreams are – or if they do they are dreams that pertain to them alone and they will just as fast jump ship if they are offered better or larger mirrors elsewhere

what i am working with is the soil –

7:29 AM

me: that’s the difference between us, you’re a farmer, and i want to put rifles in people’s hands so they can hunt

Ernesto: so that people can grow here and develop here with intentionality, with support – so we can have a voice that outlives the one

we need both

7:30 AM

dont you think?

me: i don’t know

Ernesto: what are we fighting for then if not for our notions of the beloved “here”

what is this here

7:31 AM

we have to be more accountable of this here now

that is our legacy – that is the work we can spread out to the world as if it were a virus

HTF is doing it

7:32 AM

mcvf went to shit –

who from this community gave a damn but us? –

and i dont mean offcenter

7:33 AM

and i mean us – this DIY community we are a part of

it was the last fort

me: i think i got logged off

interesting conversation, though

Ernesto: i am working so that we can make a bigger one – and when and if that is ever in peril it is the whole damn city that stands for it – because it is our fort

7:34 AM

what part?

what are we fighting for then if not for our notions of the beloved “here”

what is this here

we have to be more accountable of this here now

that is our legacy – that is the work we can spread out to the world as if it were a virus

HTF is doing it

mcvf went to shit –

who from this community gave a damn but us –

and i dont mean offcenter

and i mean us this DIY community we are a part of

it was the last fort

i am working so that we can make a bigger one – and when and if that is ever in peril it is the whole damn city that stands for it – because it is our fort

7:35 AM

me: you see, this is the language you need

finally, some fucking passion!

the failing of theoffecenter isn’t the practice, it’s the language

7:36 AM

Ernesto: i have it – i keep it in me and it drives me – to infiltrate i have to use their language

me: where’s this passion and bite in theoffcenter’s mission?

stop infiltrating

Ernesto: is how change is made – from within

me: theĀ institutionsĀ don’t need ass-kissing

Ernesto: they need help

7:37 AM

so much they are totally aware we are their future

me: they dug themselves into this whole, the infrastructure’s totally unsustainable

Ernesto: so lets make that work for us

they are catching up to what we are capable of

me: all their evenrgy is going toward paying rent and staff

7:38 AM

what’s what i mean when i said losing the venue is freedom

Ernesto: is why we havent gone into renting one either

me: mama calizo’s wasn’t the last fort

here’s my metaphor

7:39 AM

our mother died, and we had to go into the world alone

what’s the advice?

stand on your own, or find another mother?

Ernesto: how about become a hybrid mother

7:40 AM

me: i don’t want to reform the institutions, i want to advance the aesthetic

theĀ institutionsĀ are a means to an end, and they need to understand that

Ernesto: i want to advance the aesthetic too

and they will

its just gonna take time

they are used to being a certain way – for over 30 years

me: fuck them

7:41 AM

Ernesto: they are fucked

yet your rich friends keep sending them the phat checks

me: haha, i’m trying to woo big donor to donating directly to artists

Ernesto: me too

7:42 AM

but for that they need more than a recommendation –

me: i don’t think counterpulse and ybca are useless, they have their role in the ecosystem, but they’re not looking forward

that’s our job

Ernesto: yes i agree – it is our job to look forward

7:43 AM

so this talk about aesthetics – lets have it

thats what i want you to bring to the table on saturday

7:44 AM

me: i’m happy to

Ernesto: and that is how we change the world


7:45 AM

me: i think the conversation we just had is more itneresting than anything that’ll come up saturday

i think you should publish it on the website

Ernesto: what would you want to title it?

me: Ernesto vs Philip


Ernesto: hehe

7:46 AM

me: we’re all trying to figure this out

Ernesto: everyone from the institution to the individual

things are shifting

that much we all know

7:47 AM

me: if you don’t publish it, i will : )

Ernesto: how about you publish it on the toc site

me: we can both publish it

Ernesto: lets.

me: haha, i love it


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