Useless Faggot

 
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Stephen Beachy

Art by Dean Sameshima
from the series Young Men at Play, 2005
courtesy of the artist and Kristina Kite Gallery, Los Angeles

 
 

Maybe you’ve seen their video, Greg and Joey. It was made in the nineties, a VHS tape. One site claims it’s from 1990, but that can’t be true, because at some point you can hear Where in the World is Carmen San Diego in the background, which ran from 1991 to 1996. The tape was copied and recopied, men received it in the mail, men taped it for their friends. It opens: “Greg and Joey Tape 2.” The first tape has disappeared from the historical record. The complete version, the most complete version that remains, runs ninety-six minutes and forty seconds, and about forty-six minutes in, Joey’s face pops up on the screen, a face you’ve barely been able to make out throughout the video. It’s often hidden by pillows or Greg’s body, often you only see the back of his head, sometimes the face is actually blurred, as if the video editor is trying to mask his identity. Then here he is, clear as data, “I’m Joey,” but his voice gets cut off before he can finish. It is said that on the original tape he’s about to tell you the 1-800 number you can call to order more videos. Then another title: “Greg and Joey Tape 3.” Here we get an establishing shot for the only scene that takes place outside of the little room with the blinds and the TV and a horned mask hanging on the wall that some commentators fancifully interpret as Satanic. It’s a men’s room, probably in a park. For the first time, the camera actually moves. The cameraman never speaks, although Joey clowns around for the camera, the only time he breaks the fourth wall.

 
 

Who were Greg and Joey? Nobody knows or nobody knows much. On Reddit and justusboys, discussion boards are devoted to parsing the particulars of the Greg and Joey mythology. It is claimed their videos were sold in the back of gay magazines. Somebody claims to have been Greg’s lover, claims that he’s dead. Somebody says that’s ridiculous and offers a link to the Twitter page of somebody he says is Greg. The guy looks sort of like Greg, but not really, and probably not old enough either. Many of the porn sites advertise the extended clips as involving brothers, or stepbrothers, but most serious commentators dismiss this as a myth with no evidential support. They don’t really look like brothers. One site advertises it as a drunk straight guy fucking a gay guy rough, an interpretation that doesn’t hold up if you watch more than the first few minutes. They are imagined as frat boys, or occultists, or Greg is imagined as an alpha and Joey as his fag. Many men like to imagine that they aren’t really equals. One guy who was involved with selling porn claims that he received a call in the late nineties from a man claiming to be Greg, offering to trade tapes. Greg described it as a tape of him and his boyfriend. Still, Greg is often imagined as straight, he keeps lifting the blind and peeking out the window into a space outside the room, we can’t know what kind of space—because he’s afraid his girlfriend will come home and catch him filming himself fucking Joey or because their parents are in the next room. Others like to think of Greg as Joey’s slightly older neighbor boy, a neighbor boy who has known the family for so long that Joey’s house sometimes feels like an extension of his own. I don’t know why it must be Joey’s room in which they’re fucking, in which Greg tells Joey to shut up, in which Greg covers Joey’s head with a pillow to keep him quiet while he does it from behind, in which Joey moans and cries out recklessly while the camera records it all, and the dog sits next to them on the bed watching, and Where in the World is Carmen San Diego blares from the TV. When Greg tells Joey to be quiet, when he peeks out the blinds as if somebody out there might discover what’s going on in this room, I have a sentimental reaction. What I mean is that I feel like I’ve always known Greg and Joey, and that I’ll know them again someday.

Also: Joey should shut up. Not to let Greg speak, that would just be creating a microcosm of the culture. But to explore freedom in silence, to create a space apart from language and self-expression. Greg isn’t a brother, not even a neighbor boy. Joey just met him in the park, suggested they could make money together, selling VHS tapes. Joey didn’t really care about the money, he just wanted Greg to fuck him. Greg wanted the same thing, and the money offered cover. They both gravitate toward weightless moments with strangers, moments in which they barely exist. At the same time, they tell each other lies. At the same time, they reveal something that’s true. They’ve been hanging out enough together, killing time, that a kind of intimacy has developed between them, and then Joey sneaks Greg into his room. Greg’s an intruder, that’s why he’s so concerned about someone hearing. They aren’t using condoms either.

It’s as if they’ve stepped into a space outside of the world for a moment, a meaningless space, a shadow of the world. Like a book or a video. Be quiet, Joey.

What’s most compelling about this video is just that they seem human. Nostalgia for the human means nostalgia for representations less scripted, I suppose, less managed, less aware of the audience. When I think about the early nineties, I think about two young men who could, in intimate conversation together, entertain the possibility of almost any crime, and this seemed valuable, philosophically, and also a source for a rare tenderness.

Many people agree that Greg’s accent is Australian. Some people think it’s Boston or New Jersey. Joey’s definitely seems northeastern US to me. I wonder where Joey is now, if Joey misses Greg. I wonder if Greg misses Joey. Does he miss the way Joey made him feel like his cock was the greatest thing in the world? Does he miss the way Joey would repeat back to him things that he’d said, as if he was actually listening? Nobody else has ever cared that much about Greg. Nobody else has ever cared that much about Joey.

“I often have composed love poems,” wrote Karl Heinrich Ulrichs, pioneer of the modern gay rights movement. “Indeed, more than half of these manuscripts are moist with tears.”

I can watch the first eight minutes of the film, but after that I lose interest. The first eight minutes have all the best lines, the most interesting context. The first eight minutes are the most pathetic.

 
 

I wanted to write a book that was like a moment of not knowing who I am, a moment that would last forever. It would last as long as the book. I wanted to write a book that was like flickering in and out of view at the edge, somewhere beyond, outside, but so far outside that the idea of inside has disappeared. You can hear the sounds of traffic on the highway just over there.

Last night I dreamed again about Tom, my childhood friend. Since Tom died of AIDS in 2008, he is always dying in my dreams, or going to Europe, which is the same thing. He’s never quite yet dead. Last night Tom had a servile “foreign” caretaker who I sometimes inhabited. Tom’s teeth were falling out, he seemed to be pulling off chunks of his rotting face. I was sometimes Tom’s servant, but then transformed into his audience. Suddenly he was in drag, he was actually a woman. My partner Jonathan joined me and we were amazed together by his performance as an embittered former glamour girl, a blonde, Fassbinder’s Petra von Kant spewing witty and scathing invective.

In the dream’s other part, I was going to Europe, not to study, just to go.

Tom and I grew up together without realizing we were both gay, and then compared notes as adults: early experiences, the other boys from elementary school we’d done things with, the boys we had crushes on. We grew up, both of us, without understanding the circumstances of Tom’s birth, which were explained when he was eighteen. His father, a lawyer, impregnated his mistress, a mentally unstable woman who would kill herself a few years later. Tom’s mother, Bev, adopted the child and raised him as her own. They never claimed that Bev was Tom’s biological mother but claimed that his father was not his biological father. He was told he was adopted, that was all. I wrote about Tom in my novel Glory Hole, but I changed his name to Bob Miller and called it fiction.

“People who didn’t know better would remark that he looked like his father, and they all would laugh. It was a family joke—how funny that he, an adopted child, shared this resemblance with Dad. Bob Miller thought that the way an adopted son could come to resemble his father was the same way people started looking like their pets, and his laughter reflected this belief. It was nervous laughter, but sincere, the hilarity and terror provoked by the idea of biological mutation. His father’s laughter, in retrospect, gives him the creeps. His mother’s probably makes him want to die.”

Tom had always been what mothers call a good boy. He had perfect manners, and he never got into fights or any other kind of trouble. To please his mother, he was overbearingly nice, he said Golly and Gee as if he meant it. To please his father, he’d gone to Harvard and become a successful lawyer.

I realize now that I’ve left out a moment, a moment or a recurring realization. It’s when you figure out that you don’t have to do it, whatever it is that they want you to do.

Tom was making tons of money, and then his father died, and he’d decided that the life of a high-powered lawyer didn’t really suit him. When I reconnected with Tom in the Bay Area after a couple of years without contact, he wasn’t working, he was staying with friends, or whatever they were, here and there, in Oakland, in the Tenderloin, he’d been doing meth and losing himself, or the false self he no longer believed in, in the world of gay meth orgies. He was a total mess, and he seemed to be loving it.

Another thing was that he’d had a weird experience a couple of years earlier on a highway that was also a bridge. He’d started to cross the bridge with another man, a lover, a friend. Tom had known this man for maybe just thirty-six hours, but they’d been together constantly since they met, sex, meth, meth orgies. It was his friend’s car, and it ran out of gas. There was an accident and only one of them made it to the other side of the bridge alive, and that was Tom, and now he was haunted, obsessed, rereading the dead man’s favorite book over and over, Don Quixote.

When Tom told me this story he always used his friend’s full name, an Anglo first name, a Mexican last name. I don’t remember the name, and there’s nobody alive to ask; in my fiction I called him John Garcia.

 
 

We go for a walk, Jonathan and I, along the river at the edge of one of the towns to the east of San Diego. The sky is pale and wintery, the air is warm. I am thinking about this writing, the way it will end, but the ending doesn’t matter. What matters is what keeps going after the ending, a question. On our side of the river, it’s dystopian subdivisions, identical suburban homes, and doomed bunnies hopping along the path. By dystopian, I mean that it looks like right now: conformist, under surveillance, ready for dictatorship. What is wrong with America, I’d still like to know. A plaque tells us that the river walk was once the site of a Kumeyaay village. They’ve dug up pots and basins. Then, during the era when this was Mexico, it was a ranch. More recently, they mined for sand here. An enormous dredge lies next to the plaque like a sculpture. The trees are so thick you can’t see the river, willows mostly, with yellow and orange leaves, some sycamores, some cottonwood, and then native shrubs, lush and convoluted, and the back of an old drive-in movie screen just across the river. The back of the screen is gridded, like an enormous antique checkerboard, and it looks like a ruin. Rusted posts, and the squares are smeared with something yellow that from here looks like lichen or mold. From behind it seems to be a screen on which only phantoms would appear, films so old that all of the actors are dead.

 
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Tom’s deathbed scene was well-attended. He was beloved; he’d managed to remain beloved despite everything. I abandoned his unconscious body several hours before the final breath, deep in the middle of the night. When I wrote about his death and called it fiction, I left out an afternoon I’d spent with Tom earlier that summer, because I couldn’t make it fit in the truncated and reorganized timeline of the novel. In 2008, I was in Des Moines for my parents’ fiftieth anniversary, and I hadn’t seen Tom since he left the Bay Area. I’d only just discovered that he was back in Iowa living with his mother.

In those days I still felt a dull panic every time I arrived in Des Moines, as if I might never be able to leave.

When I arrive, Bev’s neighborhood is shady and empty, although the sound of unseen power tools and lawn mowers creates a buzzing and ticking that is like the ambient noise of being buried alive. The house is at the end of the street, tucked in next to a little patch of woods that descends toward a soggy drainage ditch. Tom looks calm, but awful. Drawn, skinny, and missing several teeth. His greeting is subdued and oddly formal. His face twitches in peculiar ways. Where’s his mother? Out with their houseguests at some kind of reunion thing, Tom explains, although she was sorry to miss me. The house is tidy, although a disheveled reclining chair in the living room flounders next to an oxygen tank and a bevy of shoeboxes overflowing with prescription bottles. One of the houseguests, Tom explains. Old friends of the family are here, from Chicago. Friends who have carte blanche to stay with them whenever they’re in town. The door is always open, and we are nothing if not gracious hosts, says Tom. This week they have some sort of family event, however, and in this case have rather abused the hospitality. Without even mentioning the fact to Tom or his mother, they offered Bev’s home to some distant cousin who they’d never even met and who was arriving several days before they were. So now there’s this seventy-eight-year-old guy here who sits around in the recliner wearing only a lurid pair of shorts and sucking on his inhaler, popping his painkillers. The old guy keeps flirting with Bev, Tom says. He actually used the phrase Hubba hubba. When he’s here, in the house, he never leaves the chair. I mean never, says Tom. He even sleeps in it.

I love painkillers, I tell Tom. Tom wonders how you could not love them. He shows me around the house. About ten years ago, Bev built a little sunroom in the back, overlooking the woods.

Where are Bev’s owls? I ask.

She’d resembled the owls she collected, cute and squat with big round glasses. Disney owls, refrigerator magnets and ceramics, embroidered little bookworm owls.

Tom says that after the fire, she never really got back into the owl thing.

 

“The sauna was always empty. A handsome naked man had just been there, but he’d left only the damp imprint of his ass on the wooden bench. At the Howard Johnson’s Motor Lodge, it was like you could be in Des Moines and not be in Des Moines at the same time.”

 

The Christmas we were in sixth grade, their house caught fire. The smoke ruined everything and so Tom and his parents moved into the Howard Johnson’s Motor Lodge on the strip out past the mall for a couple of months while the damage was being undone. Sometimes I spent the night. Outside it was snowing and dark, but the indoor pool was warm and moist, and smelled strongly of chlorine. I sat next to Tom at the edge with my feet in the pool, making the lights ripple on the water’s surface. Voices of strangers were indecipherable echoes. There was an “exercise room” with a machine that offered a belt you could use to vibrate your ass, shake it into shape. The sauna was always empty. A handsome naked man had just been there, but he’d left only the damp imprint of his ass on the wooden bench. At the Howard Johnson’s Motor Lodge, it was like you could be in Des Moines and not be in Des Moines at the same time.

Now, Tom gets exhausted just going down the stairs into the basement, seems to have difficulty breathing. A swordfish still hangs on the wall. We’d had slumber parties down here with other boys, terrified ourselves with Ouija board messages. Sometimes it was just the two of us, and we invented games that were fantasies we shared, worlds that don’t exist anymore because one of us can’t remember them and the other one is dead.

Later, when we were fifteen or sixteen or seventeen, we drank together sometimes. At high school, in public, we weren’t really friends anymore. Tom was in band and debate, while the kids I hung out with weren’t in anything—my friends owned guns, they had jobs, they were into The Outlaw Josey Wales, Lynyrd Skynyrd, sentimental versions of America’s rural, impoverished, murderous history; my friends mounted speakers on their bicycles, got stoned, and rode through the hushed nighttime streets, listening to Pink Floyd—but Tom and I still liked to spend time together, just the two of us. We walked over to the bowling alley from his house once, got tipsy and played video games. Donkey Kong and Frogger, the one where you cross the water, stepping on stones or alligators. The bowling alley isn’t there anymore, it burned; the McDonalds next door, where I used to work, has been razed. Once, we drove to the drive-in east of town and drank a six-pack or a twelve-pack and watched Dawn of the Dead. Zombies have laid waste to the world, and so the heroes search for a new home in their helicopter. The bird, they call it. Three men and a woman. They imagine finding a wilderness where they can hunt and fish, but instead they find refuge within a shopping mall. The helicopter is parked on the roof of the mall, and the heroes are safe inside. There’s nothing much within the shopping mall worth having, but it takes a while for the question to get asked of what is worth saving, what is worth keeping, and what could just as well be left behind. It takes a while for anyone to wonder if this space is really worth holding and protecting, just because it’s safe. The zombies eventually make their way inside the mall anyway and wander the stores and windowless spaces as they did when they were alive. The Muzak is playing. Two of the men, the white ones, will die. The remaining man and the woman will take off again for points unknown. “How much fuel do we have?” “Not much.” “All right.”

 
 

That summer in Des Moines, Tom had AIDS, he was really far along, he had only a T-cell or two, but I didn’t know that yet. I’m not sure if he knew it yet, or if he was just about to figure it out. To go for years and years of unsafe sex in rooms with strangers without getting tested is something that only somebody who secretly wanted to die would do. But probably the opposite is true; he wanted to live and the only way he could live was to live in denial—of something or everything, I don’t know.

Rooms full of strange men, Tom sucking every cock in the room: he isn’t sure who he is anymore or what the difference is between his own consciousness and a larger category he can’t locate precisely in time. It’s his favorite experience. It’s what he lives for, really.

We decide to get out of the house, drive downtown to one of the city’s gay bars.

On the way downtown, Tom explains his basic situation—he let his license to practice law expire in California, stupidly. He couldn’t afford the fees at the time and he wasn’t working anyway. It wouldn’t have been a big deal, but then he got in some trouble. Tom was tricking with this guy who was under surveillance; Tom was in his Tenderloin apartment when the cops busted in. They mistook Tom for some other guy, some major meth-dealing figure, and although the charges against Tom were all eventually dropped, it cost thousands of dollars to get them dropped, money he didn’t have. His mother’s money. More recently, he was coming home from Sacramento after a party—an orgy, he corrects himself—and he’d had a little bit too much to drink, and was stopped by the cops, and there were drugs in the car too. In any case, he had thought he could sit for the bar in Iowa, live out here and help take care of his mother—she’s almost eighty now, Tom reminds me. But after he paid thousands more of Bev’s money to clear up the new charges in California, he found out he couldn’t sit for the bar until his probation is up—in three years. In the meantime, he’s doing volunteer work for the Community Justice Center as part of his community service. It’s really great, Tom says, and for a minute, as he describes the work they do defending people who can’t afford lawyers he sounds like the old Golly gee Tom I used to know, the Tom whose enthusiasms always tested his listeners’ patience. He assures me that he’s not doing speed. He doesn’t even want to do it, not even a little bit. He has zero desire, he emphasizes the word zero, to do meth. He can’t legally drive so he gets around on his bike and he doesn’t know anyone here who could get him speed anyway and more importantly he promised his mother. He swore to her that he wouldn’t do any drugs while he was living in her house.

There’s three or four bars downtown, the liveliest on a Sunday afternoon the one with a Western motif, Blazing Saddle, surrounded by the semblance of a gay neighborhood. Sun-drenched and empty, they call it the East Village. Des Moines has changed, I know. Even my Sunday school teacher has come out of the closet. Maybe it’s not such a bad place, I say. Maybe it’s just that I grew up here. Maybe, says Tom. The bar’s inhabitants seem way too wasted for a Sunday afternoon. The music doesn’t match the oblique cowboy theme—instead it’s an updated version of the house music that’s been percolating from these spots consistently for the past few decades, upbeat dance music permeated with a crushing melancholy. The message is usually that the dance floor is everything. However pathetic this stage, this party, this night, it’s the whole universe. The search for love is doomed, but in the meantime, glamorous costumes will transform something empty into something beautiful and sad. I spent my early twenties touring every gay bar in every Midwestern city I could reach on my motorcycle, a blur of sad little dance floors and disappointments. All those grim, festive rooms, and I couldn’t find another person. The bars were all discreetly named after their addresses or something French. If there was a second bar in town, it was called The Mine Shaft. I could never understand why someone had to wear either Levis or leather. Now, Tom thinks that he’s finally maturing, he tells me. He points out a hot young thing across the pool table who he’d met here not long ago. I don’t say anything, but wonder how Tom got downtown if he can’t drive. On his bike? If he could get here, he could get anywhere, and if he could get anywhere he could surely find meth. When Tom met him, he goes on, the guy was really drunk and Tom could have gone home with him. He’s really drunk again, I notice. Times were, Tom continues, he wouldn’t have been able to say no to the hot young thing, but he was like: why? Nothing was going to happen that hadn’t happened a million times before. It wasn’t like I really wanted to know him any better, says Tom. I’d spent the evening listening to him, says Tom, and I’d already heard his entire life story.

Was it horribly dull? I ask.

Well, says Tom, it ended with him being a hairstylist in Kansas City.

It is the rapid shift, every now and then, from the old polite Tom to a venomous, cynical Tom that I find most spectacular. It happens sometimes without any signal of the impending change whatsoever. We talk about other people we knew who are still around, about high school reunions Tom has attended in the past. The stories all blur together, and later I will remember just the most caustic comments, all of which will have made me laugh far out of proportion to their actual hilarity. I’m feeling old and jet-lagged, and Tom barely has any teeth, but a ridiculously drunk man stops by, tries to strike up a conversation. He discusses his dog and mentions a softball team. Maybe he plays or maybe he’s just a fan. He wants to give me and Tom massages.

There’s plenty of other men in this bar, says Tom. One of them will surely say yes.

I started with the hotties, the guy says.

It’s time for us to go. Tom apologizes for having brought me here. With all the grodies, he says. But we linger a bit longer and talk about other things, laughing together, but later, a month or two later, when I’m back in Des Moines because Tom is dying, when Tom is dead, when I’m trying to remember it all, my afternoon with Tom, how much fun we had, how we laughed together, I’ll mostly just remember that word. He actually used the word grodies.

We wander from the two-square-block gay district over to a taco place which isn’t actually serving food, just beer, and so we decide to try The Spaghetti Factory, a restaurant that’s been here since we were kids and that one of us—probably me—remembers as having an excellent reputation. Inside, we discover that each plate of pasta comes with two free extras they call toppers—incongruous vegetables and meats and sweets one could have dumped on top of the pasta. Still, we forge on, but then Tom really doesn’t eat a bite, just moves his food around with his fork.

You’d think it would be hard to fuck up a basic pomodoro sauce, I say.

It’s disgusting, isn’t it, says Tom.

Back at Tom’s house, Bev still isn’t home, or the houseguests either.

You want some painkillers? asks Tom. He’ll never miss them.

I rummage through the shoebox, find Vicodin, Oxycontin, Codeine.

How many’d you take? asks Tom.

Just two, I say.

Take ten, suggests Tom. Take more. Take as many as you want.

Sometimes it’s just too much work to always have a human face.

 
 

One way to approach death might be to widen your interests until they are no longer personal. I read that on the internet. Stop caring about your own obsessions, invent new ones, identify with the species or with biological life or with matter, instead of your own history. Lichen, dead alphabets, vapor trails.

It was while I was searching for Greg and Joey online that I came across a more contemporary video titled on one site “Gay Boy gets Bred and Fed by Str8 Neighborhood Toughs.” The title isn’t compelling, but there are moments in this film I find quite moving. As the film opens, the cuter but skinnier neighborhood tough is fucking the gay boy while the gay boy sucks Neighborhood Tough #2. The cuter tough slaps the ass a few times and fucks quite forcefully and impersonally. After four and a half minutes of this, there must be some sort of signal from the director, because they switch places, but with a certain exasperation, an eye roll, on the part of the gay boy. As they switch places, Neighborhood Tough #1 ruffles the gay boy’s hair, says something to him, and makes him smile. It is perhaps the sweetest, most affectionate moment I’ve ever seen captured on film. After another six minutes, with the gay boy flat on his belly and the other tough still fucking, also now making jokes, the first neighborhood tough ruffles his hair again, leans down and teases him, before sticking his cock in his mouth. Halfway through this twenty-eight minute scene, the gay boy seems to be in actual pain. And yet when it’s all over, and the two toughs have both cum, first inside him and then standing over him while he kneels, saying “Que rico” over and over again, his pleasure seems authentic. The film ends with the three lying back, affectionately, the toughs teasing him about a repeat performance in the near future. When he says “Que rico,” the sweeter tough suggests that this superlative is in no way sufficient. “Stupendo,” he offers instead.

For twenty-eight minutes, one of them has forgotten that he had his clothes thrown out on the street by his mother when she found out he slept with men. For twenty-eight minutes, one of them hasn’t thought at all about the sad dinners his mother used to feed him when they didn’t have any money. One of them has avoided thinking about his teenage years or that time he witnessed other people die. One of them has been imagining watching the video to discover what the world will see when they look at him. One of them has been thinking that everybody pretends they want to be closer and closer, but everyone together has constructed a world that is farther away, so far away that it feels like the greatest intimacy just to pretend that all of us live together in the same distant space. One of them has been thinking that “evil” is just a word people give to things they don’t want anymore, like their children or an old book. One of them has been thinking he can get a room tonight and won’t have to sleep in the park. One of them has been counting the money in his mind. One of them has been confusing the future with money. One of them has been thinking that at some point all of the people you meet, all of their voices, along with all of the voices in the porn you watch and the books you read become a part of you, they mingle and become a style complicated enough to confuse with yourself. One of them has been zapping the other people in the room. He’s done this since he was a child, imagining he could depopulate the world with just the powers of his mind. One of them would like to say goodbye to you without having done you any good. Without having performed his necessary service. One of them would like to say goodbye now. He would like to travel far away. We wouldn’t see him anymore. We wouldn’t hear his voice. Where would he be then? What would he be doing? Existing? Only that? And then? One of them is wishing the director hadn’t insisted the other guys cum on his chest. He wishes he didn’t have to pretend that he liked it. He wishes he didn’t have to pretend. One of them stops thinking. For just a moment, his mind is as empty as some sky.

I would like to retitle this film and send it into outer space. I would like to preserve it for future species. I would call this film The Story of My Life. It would be left unclear whether it is the story of the gay boy or one or both of the neighborhood toughs. Without the title, there would be no gay boy, no toughs, just nameless friends. It would be left unclear whether it is one friend’s story or all of them. It would be left unclear whether all of them together are performing in some oblique way the life story of someone who isn’t visible, the director or the cameraman perhaps, or maybe somebody who isn’t even present, maybe somebody who never was and never will be in the room.

 
 

Fall / Winter 2023



Stephen Beachy

Stephen Beachy is the author of the novels Glory Hole, boneyard, The Whistling Song, and Distortion, the twin novellas Some Phantom and No Time Flat, and the Amish sci-fi series that begins with Zeke Yoder vs. the Singularity. His fiction and nonfiction has appeared in BOMB, The Chicago Review, the New York Times Magazine, New York magazine, and elsewhere. He is the prose editor of the journal Your Impossible Voice, teaches at the University of San Francisco, and lives in San Diego.



Dean Sameshima

Dean Sameshima lives and works in Los Angeles and Berlin. His work explores the history of gay male histories, subcultures, and pleasure through the lens of documentary photography, painting, video, and installation. He received his MFA from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena and has participated in numerous exhibitions nationally and internationally, including solo exhibitions at O-Town House and Gavlak Gallery (both in Los Angeles), Peres Projects, Berlin, and She Works Flexible Gallery, Houston. Group shows include History of Sexuality at Museu de Arte (MASP), São Paulo, Art/AIDS, America at the Bronx Museum, and Naming Rights, Thomas Dane Gallery, London.



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