“‘A teen-angst masturbatory love poem, a clowning drag king punk show, ‘tofuhotdog’ critiques the failures in masculinity through actions of shallow rage, notions of an iconic American ‘Man’ through food processed poetry, and the limitations of a body bound and desireful. In a phallic duet, this ‘notdog’ is shaken, eaten, stomped on, sung about – a choreography to digest and transform the excess. Perhaps never achieving this, ‘tofuhotdog’ is a beautifully humiliating mess.”
“tofuhotdog” was created over a year and a half of solo research, sometimes in collaboration with friends visiting my process as ‘outside-eyes’. I first showed this piece at a work-in-progress event called REHEARSAL run by Sophia Cleary, (though as it is a true work in progress feedback session I have listed differently above) it was an episodic in structure, and a sketch of itself. I created “tofuhotdog” after a four year relationship ended that left me deeply insecure about my body, hating myself, my genitals, and intensely at odds with where I met gender, it would be hyperbolic to say I made it to survive that period, but it felt like that. The messy relationship did give me a greater awareness of gendered action which I am happy for, but more so it gave me a paranoia of it. ‘tofuhotdog’ deals with desire for something outside of, and a paranoia of, the performance that male bodies put on to survive each other, and the destruction that patriarchal masculinity causes, through the lens of my own body. It’s necessary (if not already a given) to say that my pain is nothing in comparison with the violence women are dealt by men every single day. Much of this piece is me asking what is useful that I can do in relationship to feminist performance work, so I created this piece to process the anger and resentment that I felt towards my own cisgendered white male body, the odds at which I was and am with masculinity and gender at large, in hopes to be able to make space for something else. I think of the piece as an presence exploration of “feminist masculinity,” a term used by bell hooks. I use absurdity to perform aspects of masculinity to the degree to which men lose their power, asking what am I left with? These are moments where I hope vulnerability allows a transformation to occur.