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a dance score of [my] queer existence, in letter form

Originally published in Swedish Dance History (Vol. 2), Stockholm, 2010.


[This score can be read, spoken, danced by anysuchqueer anytime anywhere. I use [my] both to specify my (lack of) understanding of the post-post-(post?) queer existence as well as to acknowledge the input from other queer-identifying and –identified (by me) thinkers and makers: Brian Bauman, Alex Borinsky, Lily Diamond, Sarah Field, Fernando Gallardo, Brian Getnick, Boris Hennion, Gianna Marotta, Séléna McMahan, Joe Moran, Raphi Soifer, and Takahiro Yamamoto. The contributions of these individuals followed an open call for submissions to contribute to the writing of this score.

This is a performance of options. It is therefore written as such – a “Choose Your Own Queer Adventure” as it were. The options are endless. They may be shifted, rearranged, erased, interpreted. Edited. Custom made à la queer.]


Dearest fags, dykes, trannies and queers [The appearance that this letter is addressed to a particular group/s is a myth. It aspires to address itself to the ideal ‘whatever’ individual, singularly.],


In a corner of the space, I’ve placed a collection of stuff: a McDonald’s Happy Meal, a packet of Haribo gummi bears, [my] favorite sex toy, enough clothes for ___________ different outfits, a pumpkin, a knife, a spoon, a candle. I also have access to a sound system, which I control myself.

I take the pumpkin, the knife and spoon. I cut a circle around the stem, and remove this portion. I scoop out the inside of the pumpkin, seeds and all. With the knife, I carve a face into the pumpkin: eyes, nose, mouth and other details I find necessary to this particular pumpkin face. I put the candle inside the base of the pumpkin and replace the stem. The pumpkin glows throughout the rest of the performance.


I change into something more comfortable.


I walk to the front of the space in which I am performing. Facing the public, I state: “I am afraid of the following.” I recite a list of fears, true fears that I have of the following topics: performing, telling my deepest secrets, intimacy, aging, social behavior, and family. This list goes slowly, there is no rush to get through it. It is a list I have memorized, it is not improvised.

I drag a floor fan into the space. I turn it on the highest speed possible and face the fan on all fours (hands and knees). I play Queen – literally: a Queen song comes on. I sing along to this song, with Freddie – in his register, into the fan. I strive to keep my eyes open.


I change into something more comfortable.


I empty the packet of gummi bears into a bowl. I sit with the bowl in my lap. I put one into my mouth as the song “One Sweet Day” (sung by Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men) plays. I suck on the gummi bear until the song finishes. If the gummi bear is gone before the song finishes, I put another one in my mouth. If I am still sucking on a gummi bear when the song finishes, I play the song again. I continue this back-and-forth until the song finishes at the exact time that I finish sucking on a bear.


I change into something more comfortable. This time, something a bit more chic.


As I change my clothing, I hum a John Coltrane song. I realize the impossibility of this task, but I have also practiced. I aspire to perfecting this hum as I change my clothes. I hum this song to a lover I haven’t met. I am not cynical about this moment. The song does not have to take the time it takes to change my clothes, but it might. I walk to an edge of the space and finish the song.

I eat a Happy Meal from McDonald’s – it doesn’t matter which kind. As I eat it, I list as many former lovers as I can remember. After each name I say, “I love you.” When I finish, I have ketchup and mustard on my face.


I change into something more comfortable.


I lie on the floor, with my arms stretched out to either side, bringing my feet as close to my ass as possible, thus shortening the length of the bottom half of my body. I lay in this position for some time. A deep blue light bathes the space. The light surrounds my body. After some time, the following text is heard (voice-over):


Is there a doctor in the audience? An MD? A Nurse Practitioner? Anyone with a green thumb?
Perhaps a dark comedy?
Or a gentle melody?
Or a fearful malady?
Or a tearful tragedy?
Or a horrible prophecy?
Or an erotic story?
What is it you want from me?



I am always changing into something more comfortable.


With great love and respect,
Ben