PRINT November 2017


Jibz Cameron

Jibz Cameron (aka Dynasty Handbag) is a Los Angeles–based actor and artist working in performance and video. Cameron hosts a monthly Weirdo Night!—with experimental performance, video, and comedy—at various venues. On November 11, she will appear in the live soap opera Room for Cream as part of programming for “Trigger: Gender as a Tool and a Weapon” at the New Museum in New York.


    I abhor the myth of the genius man alone in his studio forsaking all human relationships for the development of his own opus. But Prince, this “human” anomaly of otherworldly talent—who was queering before queering—gets my vote as the No. 1 genius man alone in his studio. Obsessive and perfectionist, Prince was brazenly ego-driven in the best, most hilarious way. All other male geniuses are jerks. Talking about him actually feels like a spiritual betrayal, so I am going to just sit quietly now and pray to meet him in hell.

    *Prince, _Minneapolis_, 1991.* Photo: Herb Ritts. Prince, Minneapolis, 1991. Photo: Herb Ritts.

    I used to dream of being discovered by him, accidentally on purpose, while attending one of his public appearances. When I went to see him talk at the Museum of the Moving Image in New York in 1998, I cleverly brought a glossy photo of Don Knotts with me for him to sign. I stood in line and when I got to him, I said, “This is you, right?” I was positive he and I would have an instant inside joke. That didn’t happen. He is my favorite cultural critic. Female Trouble (1974) is the best film contending with the horrors of motherhood, beauty standards, and fat-phobia. Hairspray (1988) is the best movie ever made (by a white person) about race politics in the US. All of his movies, flawless in every way, address the despicable nature of white heteronormativity, with straight copulation being the ultimate monstrosity. He has always inspired me with his endless curiosity. I attribute his longevity to his kind and supportive parents (although that might be one of my own sick fantasies). We should be able to knight people.

    *John Waters, _Female Trouble_, 1974*, 16 mm, color, sound, 97 minutes. Chicklette (Susan Walsh), Dawn Davenport (Divine), and Concetta (Cookie Mueller). John Waters, Female Trouble, 1974, 16 mm, color, sound, 97 minutes. Chicklette (Susan Walsh), Dawn Davenport (Divine), and Concetta (Cookie Mueller).

    I have been listening to this perfect record since I was a wee rat child (my mom had it). I never get tired of “Unlucky Creature,” whose lyrics blew my mind as a depressed youngster. “Just cremate my body and throw the ashes in the sea, nobody ever cared about me”—was Tina Turner in my brain? Plus, of course, her dancing, her energy, her everything-I-want-to-be.


    Not sure about you, dear reader, but I never have to look very hard for anything anymore. My desires seem to be magically matched with my taste, automatically, electronically! This was not always the case, however. I was in high school when I first heard the compilation The Trojan Story (1972). I loved reggae and was versed in the basics, but when I discovered classic rocksteady, ska, and dancehall, I was driven to the brink of madness with desire for these perfect sounds. And then I knew where to look.


    When I was twelve, I decided my identity was going to be “punk,” as much as it could be among negligent hippies in the wilds of Northern California. But I was plagued by my secret love of pop culture and dance music. This passion became a source of shame for me—those were different times, and you were either punk or you were a fucking corporate-devil Reagan Youth piece of shit who loved nuclear war. My most coveted possession at this time was a videotape of Janet’s 1986 “Control,” which I hid from my friends out of fear they would find out how uncool I was. The combination of her precise and exclamatory dancing with the anthemic quasi-feminist teen-independence jammiest jam had me in ecstasy. Her semi-androgynous looks, dangling key earring, and shoulder pads gave me hope for my future. I am still uncool, as it turns out; “Control” and “Rhythm Nation” (1989) remain in heavy rotation for me. I am so excited she is on tour again.

    *Cover of Janet Jackson’s _Control: The Videos_* (A&M Video, 1986). Cover of Janet Jackson’s Control: The Videos (A&M Video, 1986).

    The perfect artistic combination of persona, showmanship, humor, and politics is matched by its brilliant music and astonishing giant metal spaceship landing onstage at the start of each show during the band’s 1976 Earth Tour.

    *Parliament-Funkadelic’s Mothership landing during a concert, ca. 1976.* Parliament-Funkadelic’s Mothership landing during a concert, ca. 1976.

    This is my favorite Herzog film. What I like about it is that it proves that God is real! Or wait, no . . . That there are no accidents. Or, that there is no such thing as coincidence? Something to that effect. This could only have happened to this guy and no one else. All of his life was set up in “odd circumstances” to train him to survive being a POW in Vietnam. And Herzog sickly takes him back to retrace his steps through this traumatic ordeal. Only Herzog would do that. So there you go. Nonbelievers, beware.

    *Werner Herzog, _Little Dieter Needs to Fly_, 1997*, 16 mm, color, sound, 80 minutes. Dieter Dengler. Werner Herzog, Little Dieter Needs to Fly, 1997, 16 mm, color, sound, 80 minutes. Dieter Dengler.

    It’s often repulsive to talk about sensual joy; if I could hate myself more, I would, but as I am now entering the second half of my first half of life, I have less shame in my pleasures, and one of those is swimming naked. Must needs I tell you about the silky softness of water caressing oft-neglected body parts that are receptors for undiscovered sensations?


    Oh, Yoko! Creating peace through art, what could be more noble? So funny. Angry, gentle power. History. Pizzazz. Style. Hats. Not screaming . . . bird opera and cries of war! So grateful for you.


    May I never stop drawing. Drawing is seeing. I love to draw animals, or things I come across all the time, like refrigerators, to investigate what I know about them. And I love to see how others see. Some of my favorite drawers are David Shrigley, Kerry James Marshall, Carol Rama, Kara Walker, Nicole Eisenman, Lynda Barry, and Edward Gorey. There are many more, but I only have eight hundred words for this list. I am available as a pen pal, should you want to know the rest.

    *David Shrigley, _Bold Style_, 2014*, ink on paper, 11 3/4 × 8 1/4". David Shrigley, Bold Style, 2014, ink on paper, 11 3/4 × 8 1/4".