I am White; I have a lifelong relationship with the violence of Whiteness and life long work undoing/indoing the violence of white supremacy. I was born with a vulva; I have a relationship with Sisterhood, with Womxnhood, with the violence of patriarchy. I am genderqueer in the sense that I feel and express my masculinities and femininities running fluidly through me and do not desire to be read as one single gender, although I understand that I present in many different genders in many different ways at any one moment in time. I am not a self made person, there are many mes, hes theys and wes living inside me. I am attracted to many different genders and many different genitals.
I was born in 1979 in Virginia near Washington D.C., but my parents were transplants to that area initially because of my father’s job at George Mason University. My mother grew up in Iowa and Wisconsin. My father was a first generation German immigrant; he arrived on a boat in 1952 through Lutheran World Refugee services. We lived in central Illinois together as a family for about three years. I have family in Ohio, Connecticut, Texas, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Colorado, and California. My first language is English, but as a child I heard my father speaking German to his brothers and his parents and I am working towards fluency. I learned to speak Spanish in University and used it in my work when I worked with asylum seekers from Latin America.
I have had freedom to move–across borders, and, in physical space, in most physical ways that I desire to with my body. I went to public school my whole life–I went to seven different public primary and secondary schools. Being the new girl became an identity and I learned to adapt to new contexts and adapting became part of my identity. My parents were both teachers. My father died in 2009 from ALS. I got my MFA in Writing and Consciousness from the New College of California and a BA in Peace and Conflict Studies with an emphasis in Gender and Sustainable Development from the University of California, Berkeley. I have practiced polyamorous and open relationships since 2001. I am a parent in a 3-parent queer family. I am a Dada, not a birth-mother. I am a worker. I am a sex worker and a sex positive feminist. I am an artist. I have been working a job since I was 16 years old. I have been living in Berlin since 2004. I struggle with understanding how to be a parent, a friend, a lover, a worker, an artist.
I examine the various signifiers carried by clothing and costume on my/our bodies, nudity and the skin that holds our bodies. Each thing worn on my skin has a story of migration, of labour. Has a historical and cultural context. Has been touched by hands and made significant or erased. Many of my costumes have been made in collaboration with my lifepartner Juan de Chamié of EXIT.
I experiment with the presentation of my body in various contexts–gallery, stage, bedroom, concert hall, squat. I am in constant dialogue with various selves, with the exploratory sexual body and the body that plays and presents on stage, with the writer body and the body at work in its many forms.
I produce electronic music and create multimedia and immersive performances with my polypartner Adrienne Teicher for our project HYENAZ. We are scavengers and androgynous creatures. We are determined to create the fabric of our music entirely from found sounds that relate closely to the conceptual content of the song, so that process relates to product. We are committed to the practice of creation of our art to align with the values that we try to speak about with and through our art.
We are learning and conversing with the world around us, a world that is increasingly harder to survive in without amassing money. We are challenging ourselves to live with less and interact with the world more. We intend to create art that is consistent with our politics, not only in what we present but how we present it and the methodologies we use to create and present it. We are interested in using the occasions of our shows to interact with our audiences in an intentional way, specifically to understand the importance of being together physically in a room and what power can be harnessed by being in close proximity. We are interested in practicing touch and consent with other bodies in a room and understanding why touch is vital to our survival and to understanding our sense of empowered and respectful self-in-selves.
In 2009, the year my father died, I started exploring, moving within, singing and writing about a concept that I call ALIVE:ness — the extent to which we understand others as alive to us — his death crystalized the myriad ways in which “being alive” is shifting and defines itself to “us.”. I have been trying to understand how this sense of aliveness (of others) calls us into action or inaction to be there (for others). I have been investigating this idea relative to the contemporary digital context in which we live, one in which we are divided by geopolitical borders and encouraged to draw personal and moral boundaries between self and other, and one in which the differences between death and life have faded at the margins. I have been writing about our tendency to count, measure and create hierarchies, to categorize ourselves and our experiences, to divide ourselves. It is my intention to queer my identity in the world, to see myself as similarly different with all bodies in the world. I sing, create music, move and incorporate my texts into a multimedia project with acclaimed guitarist Jaco Bertacco aka Tide of Sound, a project that we call Mad Kate | the Tide. I am given the opportunity to explore many genders and identities in a multimedia, hyperlinked and textual approach to live and recorded musical performance.
My performative, artistic selves and my sexual selves are deeply integrated; these are all examinations and explorations of my body in various contexts that I understand as deeply linked between sex, work, performance and art. My work as a performer is in constant dialogue with the various ways that I practice sex(uality), all of which I see as valuable and similarly different (partnered, paid, casual, anonymous, etcetera). There is deep power and wisdom available to us in the playfulness of sexual encounters and in learning about our desires and fears; this is just one of the reasons I work to de-stigmatize sex work and discussions around sex in general. I believe that like performative play, sexual play offers us the possibility of imagining ourselves and our partners as differently bodied, it can undo deeply held assumptions about borders between bodies and hierarchies between bodies. Investigating those power dynamics and playfully imagining ourselves as more similar than different has far reaching implications for how we interact with the world and take on responsibility for each other. These are all themes which are investigated in my life’s questions, brought into every realm of my artistic and sexual personas.
I am fascinated with how my poly-queer-identities dialogue with my sense of home, a positioning I began to describe as poly-home-full, where home becomes multi-locational and grounded in relation. I am linking these ever-widening senses of home(s) to how I interact with the world as performer, as sex worker, as parent, as activist, as advocate. It is a decentralized sense of home that is tethered to people and energy. I am investigating home as a site of a performance, a stage/perspective from which we speak. Our first home is our skin; inside our skin we perform the labour of care, the expression of our art, of our passion, of our representations of these. Homes reverberate outwards from our skin to our clothes to our communities at large.
Widely speaking we live in a violent home, we live in a structure of violence in which we all play a role in consenting to the structure, even as we are actively trying to tear it down. I am trying in some small ways to minimize my waste and divest from the cycle of consumption by touring and traveling sustainably (flying as seldom as possible and riding my bike as much as possible), refusing the perpetual choice of consumption (finding and resourcing things), making better choices around what I eat, and by sharing a large collection of costumes, masks, wigs, jewelry, fabrics, and inventive props with fellow artists so that we can re-use, up-cycle, and share our creations. Anyone can come by and take a look inside Carni Closet, located in the back of the Berlin boutique, EXIT.
I loved school and I love learning. But I never wanted to just study other bodies so I had to take my body out of the academy and experiment through and with it. I want to share my writing and especially engage with my readers. I try to blog regularly in my LOVE LETTERS and I am occasionally published in other places.
There will never be enough time to explore all the different genders I would like to inhabit. But in each of the personas I explore, the through-line has been my intellectual and artistic interest in the politics of borders–both between bodies and within bodies.