Heather Gold Show: Intimacy rundown

Heather Gold Show guests
Photo credit: Heather Champ
Left to right: Betsy Salkind, Derek Powazek, me (HG) and Michelle Tea.

We moved the show to a bigger room because some folks got turned away last month and then we sold out Gallanter Hall. It was another great show last Friday. There was a great, diverse crowd (it may have been the first show at the JCCSF to draw both Jewish grandparents and a drag queen) and we ate glazed lemon tea cake and brownies made by my sweetie and Lanya from the audience.

Betsy announced that she was there to represent the “con” position (oh it’s hard to convey the irony in a text blog post). She followed up with dozens of hilarious insights about the difficulty of having intimacy and the genuine possibility of one-way intimacy, especially during a sexy dream about an acquaintance who refused to acknowledge in waking life what her body remembered as true.

Michelle Tea read from her new novel Rose of No Man’s Land and had her own anecdotes about the odd one-way intimacy that comes from performing and writing intimate details about ones life. She distinguished between physical intimacy in sex work which is real enough, but that renting that didn’t mean you the person providing it was actually going to be present. She talked about being loved for a day by love artist Kathy Izzo and what a difference it made to her day, knowing she was loved as she worked in a book shop.

Derek observed that human beings are “intimacy machines,” that we “can’t help it” and will use any tool we create to be intimate or “get laid.” This was true with the telephone which has become invisible to us and it is now true with the Net. He noted that the ideas now of a computer not connected to the network was an odd one. Does this mean that we not only end up using all technologies to connect but are somehow driven to create them in order to have intimacy?

The banter was so quick and clever that I really found myself stretching to keep on top of it which was a delightful feeling. It was conversation as jam session, complete with a timely reflective pauses from audience members. Steve shared how intimate death is, having been in the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus during the height of the AIDS epidemic in the city, and how every “dropped their shit” and “got real” with each other because the loss around them. Another audience member advised that she was able to have more intimacy when she started listening to friends without thinking about her own ideas in her own mind when friends were speaking, but giving her entire attention to regarding the friend. I asked her how she noticed that she wasn’t really doing this before and she said ” I has to ask people to repeat themselves a lot.”

I’m wondering now. Is this kind of mutual attention and intimacy the same thing as prayer?

Insights + Highlights

  • The intimacy that comes from being drunk or high together, in your own secret, shared space, is real, but not sustainable.
  • Intimacy cannot be bought.
  • Safety is necessary for intimacy
    • this is why distance and online connection is easier for some
    • it’s also why for years my family got intimate only on car rides on the way to the airport
  • Intimacy can be experienced by practice and consciously wanting it. This can require confronting fear.
  • I got intimate with the audience and read a poem I Love You With Technology

Audio podcast of the whole show 80 minute show and video highlights to come shortly. Do you want to see the whole show streamed in video? Let me know if you can help that happen.

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