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LOST ANGELES

Richard Newton

 

19/09/2019 - 20/10/2019

 

Get Lost: A Hitchhikers Guide to Nowhere

 

"All paths are the same: they lead nowhere."

Carlos Castaneda, The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge.

 

From the beginning, my provenance was highly suspect, like a bastardized counterfeit piece of art. As my mother and I traveled south on the train, from Oakland to the outskirts of Los Angeles, I began, at age six, a nomadic life of confused identity. I don't even remember my mother's face on that trip; just the mug chatting next to us. Eva, my mom, had a way of striking up conversations with strange men. We were on the run now because she'd forgotten to mention to her husband in Oakland, that the son he so proudl named Junior, was possibly the progeny of a passing Portuguese Man. My feet were thus planted firmly in the moving landscape that was and is the hallucination we call California. My journey across this landscape is and was a search to know my place.

 

So, I took to the road. Destination: unknown. But like The Thing, a roadside attraction in Southern Arizona, the unthinkable was just around the bend, in trucker rest stops, all night cafes, and motels in towns with deadbeat bars. Like Simon & Garfunkel, I was looking America, and myself and finally for my mother, whom I never saw again after the train ride to L.A. I was abandoned to find myself in Los Angeles, and Los Angeles allowed me to invent myself. There is a name on my birth certificate, but like a Hollywood actor, I took on the persona from the script my life was writing. I love California.

 

Art crawled over me like a stinking cockroach in a fleabag motel. I pulled back the sheets and reached out for the voluptuous clammy body next to me. Then it hit me. The smell on onions. From the post office just north of Mexico, I sent out a few hundred postcard invitations to an art performance: I take you to a room in Brawley and we smell onions. At the time and on the surface it was a gender bending excursion into the erotic landscape. I would live in this landscape for several years, creating visceral and conceptual art. As the feminist art movement asked for equality, I wondered where masculine merged with feminine. It was my own path to whole body sexuality, to completing the puzzle of a fractured identity, and unsuccessfully knowing my mother.

 

As a child I learned to appreciate smut. A word that described indecency and pornography. But sounded dirtier. Much dirtier. I knew there were things you could do In The Privacy of Your Own Home. Some of them were being done by my foster parents, the Newtons.

 

When I was old enough to stick my thumb out, I did, got picked picked up and got lost.

 

 

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