Toulouse! Toulouse!

Sunday, June 5th, 2005 | Film

So I’ve been watching a lot of John Huston films lately. Like, every one’s a masterpiece. Tonight, after Negulesco’s The Best of Everything, which was quite a delight in itself, and something I’ll maybe have the energy to discuss some other time, I watched Huston’s Moulin Rouge of 1953. First of all, Henri is totally my type: hairy, brilliant, and emotionally unstable. I remember seeing the film as a kid and being totally crushed out on him, recognizing something about myself that would only later find expression. I’m not talking about homosexuality. I’m talking about loving emotionally and psychologically unstable hairy people. This film, which, for the sake of my own interests, I, of course, take for a totally accurate and faithful representation of his life, deals with two loves in the life of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. Two women love him for different reasons. The first is a bit wild, of the streets, and is drawn to the access that he provides to a world outside of her reach. He is consumed by a passion for her that is made more intense by her cruel rejection of him. The second is a woman who is drawn to Henri because they both understand what it is to love and be discarded. She actually falls in love with Henri, understanding him, but he’s too distracted by drinking himself to death and too full of self-loathing to comprehend what she sees in him. When he finally sees the depth of her love for him, it’s too late, and she leaves him to marry someone she doesn’t really love. He speeds up drinking himself to death and in the process makes some really great art.

I suppose we’ve all… wait, I shouldn’t be talking for all you people, I suppose that I’VE experienced love in a very similar way–the longing taking up most of the space between the intense interaction and muscular contractions. One thing that I think is so unusual about my relationship with BC is how, now hold onto your hats, normal it is. Normal in the sense that it’s about two people struggling with their own identities and insecurities, supporting each other’s growth, but not losing oneself in the other’s shadow. It’s very new to me, and at times, as all of you know, I don’t trust it and want to run to the familiar, to just longing, to that agitated state of pure desire. I know, it doesn’t sound very enticing, but it’s what all of my art has come out of. Perhaps this is why I haven’t been making anything lately, my relation to love has shifted to something positive and healthy. I’m not relying on this other person to provide a narrative structure to my life. With my upcoming show, it’s a good place to be in, because I’m acting more like a curator of my own experience over the past few years, rather than churning out responses to stimuli.

But what’s next?

This week BC and I are off to Moline for his niece’s graduation party, and only one big night in Chicago to dine at Alinea.

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