UNITED STATES—Kathy was a fanatic, an extremist, and fundamentally flawed like the rest of us. She was also dangerous. Kangen Kathy, as she was known in her neighborhood was 75 percent water and rising. No wonder there was a drought in California. It had been four years, nine months since she moved to Los Angeles from Canada. Her girlfriend of eight years was into team sports particularly soccer, Krystyline’s catch phrase; ‘The only way the USA ever wins the FIFA World is through their women’ preceded her. Kathy’s sport was diet and exercise: Kundalini Yoga, Kangen water, chanting and meditation. She looked fantastically youthful and alive which KK attributed to a juice and raw food diet, yogic exercises and ‘staying in the light’ hummed periodically and often loudly, throughout the day. She was of course a yoga teacher.

KK religiously referenced Yogi Bhajan’s book ‘The Mind’ frequently misquoting it sparking off a chain of Chinese Whispers (her words not mine) and giggling after classes. Krystyline was a short film filmmaker, big on the festival circuit with regular slots in all the Lesbian and Gay Film Festivals since 1998. Her latest film, ‘Segments’ was in a program called ‘Roast Beef & Dumpster Diving’ taken from the title of another film in the same program by an emerging filmmaker who was famously known as the G-Triange: Famous for her fiery ginger hair and all the power lesbians she has ‘relations’ with within the Golden Triangle. EVERYONE was talking about this iPhone & Vine mix with found Super 8 footage back onto High 8, Period Drama. There was so much noise about who was possibly in it, that dug dirt was still being piled onto many a lady’s dirty laundry ahead of its World Premiere at the Director’s Guild. As the program had also been curated by the G-Triange all the tickets had been sold out and the touts were tooting.

KK&K this particular morning, went for breakfast at Soho WeHo House. They were fighting again. Who’s turn was it to eat the waffles?

Natalie sat with her back to a low hissing sound in the garden restaurant as she leafed through the Outfest LA 2014, film program. She was familiarizing her self with the program details. Both ‘Roast Beef’ and ‘Dumpster Diving’ were urban terminology. She had procured a ticket for this gold-bar event through her ex’s boyfriend, Frankie. She was going to check out what was going on and report back to Benjamin about this Lesbian hijacking of his downtown, New York street slang. (Was there really zero moral parameters in our world today?)

KK&K were irritable because earlier that morning, over in Brentwood (below Santa Monica) the couple had an odd experience. Krystyline dreamt about her dead father. During the witching hour, just as the clock struck three Kathy was wakened by her girlfriend’s whale-like holla and monstrous shout as Krystyline forced herself awake from the rem cycle. With arms reaching out she sat up, her face drained to a porcelain whiteness. “Oh God! That was just TOO much,” she said. “Can you believe this crap?” “What happened?” “Its so ridiculously corny. It would be laughable to put it into words except that it seemed so real. I really fought to wake myself up.” “What happened?” Kathy’s left hand positioned to stroke her girl’s back.

Thorns between two Roses.
Thorns between two Roses.

“Ok… bright white, backlit doorway, dad standing there in silhouette as I lay in bed. I did NOT want to see or hear more. What the f*** do you think he wanted?”

“Maybe it’s got something to do with your mother?” “Well you would say that.” And just before Kathy formulated a Bhajan quote Krystyline maneuvered swiftly and sat on her face. Neither of them really wanted to have another talk about Krystyline’s ‘Family of Origin’.

Natalie’s Alien ringtone shook the past. Heads turned to see if she would dare take the call. She did. It was Oulevar, she asked him to text. The conversation went something like this: “Yo ma, wassup? U in sohocribs right now?” “Yes. What time are you arriving?” “Be all up in LAX at 9. That’s a pm to you, ma.” “Oulevar, you have to stop calling me ‘ma’. It’s inappropriate.” “I feel you. Peace.” “Is your father coming too?” “Na” “When’s he arriving?” “Dunno ma, U better call Frankie, he’s the glue.” “What? Ok, I’ll call Frankie. I’ll see you at the airport take a cab to LaGuardia darling, ok? Stay focused.” “Biggie all ways, ma.” “Please don’t fill your case with only red tees, remember last time?” “Do-rag in and Do-rag out.” And that was Natalie’s teenage son, Oulevar, signing off. Natalie grimaced at the screen, how was she going to get through a whole week with Oulever. He’s still such an embarrassment. The question was ‘would he be anything else now besides a Wigger?’ What if his aka Icy Barnacles takes off in Philadelphia? She had to find him a mentor. Greggor and his husband were too soft. She moved towards the balcony to make the call passing some children near the sofas playing ‘You’re Not on The List.’

Natalie was fond of Frankie he was good for her ex. Natalie and Greggor met Frankie back in ‘02 at The Gaiety Theater he had been one of the strippers. This was towards the end of Natalie’s live stripper series. Her dialogue with the art world concerning the Nude began in 1997. Natalie wanted to paint what she considered to be the former most powerful dynamic between two or more people in any given space: Money for sex. She had already produced a body of work of the latter: A graphic depiction of emotions in a war zone: The Battle Paintings, her first public interaction within the Art World, the BA degree show. She had, back then, been honored with a Burn Notice, 1983.

Greggor accompanied his beard the first few times to The Gaiety, the last male strip club left in Times Square after the Koch clean up. She went to paint the mainly straight, young males dancing for the older gays. The lounge area of The Gaiety displayed a series of B&W photographs taken for Madonna’s SEX book. Madonna was Natalie’s doppelganger, they had been crossing paths since the mid 80s Danceteria days. Which of the two could be said to be taking the High Rd. as opposed to the Low was debatable. Natalie often replied to: ‘You look like Madonna’ with ‘Yes, she’s my Material Girl.’ The three sisters who ran The Gaiety loved Madonna as did Natalie, only the three sisters decided that they did not love Natalie and although she always paid her way, tipped appropriately and was polite, after eight months of painting they 86’d her. While painting in Sunset Strip (club), London some years earlier, Natalie always visited Bar Italia for two cappuccinos, on several occasions she heard someone excitedly whisper ‘Its Madonna’ only to be disappointed when Natalie stepped further into the light.

Benjamin’s doppelganger turned out to be another celebrity, Lil’ Wayne. He got the short-straw, he already had enough baggage walking out the front door: He was a black man with dreads, he was petite (his words), he often got mistaken for a woman and when Weezy’s ‘Lollipop’ dropped there was not a day that went by without people mistaking Natalie’s tenderoni for Lil’ Wayne. Natalie adored Benjamin. He was very charismatic and so completely original. Everyone wanted him to ride with them, his snaps lit up the night and therefore the stream. The LES flowed with laughter when he was in town. She loved him too for being so able to cover his pain.

Crash Only in the Desert.
Crash Only in the Desert.

While painting strippers Natalie decided to make tee shirts, ‘Cash Only,’ the label. She got Benjamin involved, and they set about making money. Dreaming of good times ahead their measure of success partially ruled by the racehorses they would own. ‘Cash Only and Gangland Empire’ Natalie named one night as they sat around the storefront. Benjamin walked to the fridge, popped another beer, turned and ran amok with this: “And one called That N*gger.” Everyone died as he steamed through a racetrack commentary: “…and now, to the winner’s circle to talk with the owners of That N*gger. Tell me, Mr & Mrs Ward how does it feel to have That N*gger on top again?” On and on, as tears ran down faces. Benjamin was gold dust & moonshine. Word on the street that ‘Crash Only’ was going to hell in a hand basket was true and Benjamin left Natalie for an older woman. However, they remained intertwined over the years as only two meteors coming together in space would.

Don’t f**k with the Magic Makers unless you Expect heavy weather.

Krystyline was calling Kathy from her mother’s house in Chislehurst. It was Christmas 2014 and things on both sides of the Atlantic were taking a nosedive.

The paranormal visits from her father had increased and she felt guilt tripped into participating in a psychic snap-back. Mid November she left Kathy for England, back to her childhood home. Mortified to find herself in a farcical nightmare before Christmas. Her brothers had been positioning themselves to cut K out of everything as soon as the mother passed. They no longer bothered with any civilities. When K was alone with her mum in the kitchen, pieces her father used to play on the Grand would start playing on the radio. Had the atmosphere in the house been less hostile the two women might have allowed those moments to bond, to but under the circumstances they continued to suppress the enormity of trapped thoughts. Krystyline’s face would burn bright crimson as she fought her father’s interference.

“They’re the three ugly sisters, straight out of Jekyll. The energy here is so dark even my nephew is innocently causing deathly problems. He stuck a pan over the gas- heating vent on the outside of the house yesterday. If Tommy hadn’t pointed it out to me, the house would’ve quietly filled with gases. I nearly burnt the house down the other night, one of those ancient bedcovers fell off covering the lamp I’d put on the floor. A sweet, caramel, burning smell woke me and I pulled the cover off seconds before it burst into flames. This whole house is toxic. These people have always been toxic to me. I can’t stay in this house alone. You have to come over, Kathy. I need you.”

Questions in the Plasma.
Questions in the Plasma.

KK wanted to go but she couldn’t fly. Something had gone terribly wrong. She had become completely flammable. Overwhelmed by feelings of loneliness and fear, KK went on a three-week binge. Irrational anxieties that K wasn’t coming back coupled with the fact that she was childless mushroomed negativity all over her yogic discipline in an alarming abstract chaos. After the binge she upped her Sadhana, especially during the Amrit Vela. Started on an intense version of The Virgin Diet while flushing her body with more and more Kangen 9.5. Kathy had become a collection of charged particles. She could combust at any time. She was also able to see without her reading glasses and she could hear the neighbors talking, not like the usual low murmur but as if they were standing in the same room. She didn’t dare go outside because when she looked out from the balcony she saw mass-energy separating.

Airwaves on the west side of Los Angeles were breaking up. Helicopters were circling continuously alerting local police, FBI and the airports. Airplanes were in trouble after take off. There was some sort of gravitational pull, which had a lot of the big aircrafts flying dangerously low. The air hung heavy and menacing as collective feelings kicked in. Colors drained out of cars and most accessories drawn into the area were predominantly black and white. Added security guards were called in for businesses and residential buildings. KK&K’s apartment block was in danger. It too had become combustible. Everyone was ordered to ‘walk on eggshells’ and not frighten the woman in #10 or themselves. Obama’s team was notified. This situation had to remain Top Secret. Kathy had combined with many separated renegade electrons in the surrounding fields becoming the first bomb of its kind, yet to be named. The whole of Brentwood and Bel Air would blow, how much fall out towards Beverly Hills there was no way of knowing. Arnold Schwarzenegger, on his way home from his favorite local Italian had called The CU Dept directly. They were on their way from New York. Kathy had unintentionally joined in on a very Top Secret secret. Another question being asked: ‘Was this the significant shift in Plasma needed?’

Natalie is scrolling through some YouTube music award ceremonies from her Brentwood (above Sunset) home. She can hear the sirens and incessant helicopter noise that has been continuous for over two weeks. No one seems to know exactly why, only that the increased darkness in the atmosphere is creating a lot of negativity on the streets, people getting stopped by the police. More violent vehicle accidents and it all seems a little sinister. FBI and other law enforcement group the area. Then she watches it again and again and laughs, Madonna and her gold fronts at the 2014 Grammys. Its not a great look but she’s laughing because it reminds her of something Benjamin said back in 2007 ‘Go buy yerself some gold fronts! Look at you, you’ve got all that money and talent and you go around like you’re nobody. I don’t wanna hear that Francis Bacon crap about getting the bus to the studio again. This is America! We shine!’

By Jane Gang