Jim Pirtle, founder/owner of Houston downtown establishment/art space NotsuoH is an dear, old friend. We’ve known each other since the height of the Commerce Street Warehouse days in the late 80’s. On the last day of the exhibition he and I talked about how emotions affect society. Jim described the Bad Apple Theory - the jerk, the slacker, and the depressive pessimist; his theory of five personality traits that describe communities; how he hates safe zones and how some arts spaces that do not challenge people’s ideas can only serve their own tribe. Ironically, he says how anger is the most destructive emotion in a democratic society.
I challenged him about how righteous anger can be beneficial. I mentioned the example of Martin Luther King Jr., he talked about the rhetoric of Malcolm X. Jim said he read a study how women are better than men about reading emotions when only looking at the eyes of another person (27/30 for women to 17/30 for men). This was an intense and animated conversation reinforced by years of intimate, intense experiences.
Alice Serna McDougall, on the other hand, is a brand-new friend. We met through volunteering with United We Dream earlier this year. In addition to UWD she is a member of LGBTQ support groups and the ACLU observer. She always has been a civil/social rights advocate since the aids crisis in Houston in the 1980s. It’s what she’s about. I admitted to her that I worry about her and others like her from the burn out that eventually happens during charged periods of our lives. Caregivers for the traumatized need help as well. This is a lot of daily stress for her, her partner and family.
The Resistance will test the stamina many activists. Alice reassured me. She’s a veteran and knows how to take care of herself. It seems she is impervious to falling apart, she will never burn out. Then maybe I worried about myself.
Other last day visitors:
Angel Latrigue is a young artist making work about the intersection of cultural identity and bio-science. I encouraged him to stick with it and how this type of work is an open frontier that very few people have tread upon. Must let him borrow my book, The Molecular Gaze, by Suzanne Anker.
My Aunt Laura, in town for Thanksgiving, came by to see what I was doing. A long time public school teacher, she’s another outraged progressive. She loved the work and told me she was very proud.