PRINT December 2019


Morgan Bassichis

Last winter, Gregg Bordowitz, ever the yenta, gave me and Douglas Crimp a copy of the Bible, because neither of us had read it. (For the sake of “Best of 2019,” let’s call it Robert Alter’s The Hebrew Bible: A Translation with Commentary [W. W. Norton]. In our shared ignorance—Douglas’s because of his devout skepticism of religion, and mine because of an evangelical loyalty to television—we started where it literally all began, in the Book of Genesis. We took turns reading to each other about humans trying and failing to be better, shouted at the misogyny of blaming Eve for everything, tried to keep our eyes open during the lists of “this guy, son of that guy, son of that other guy, etc.,” and used dirty gay bookmarks to hold our place between stories about the world being made and unmade over and over. We found ourselves utterly enraptured (weird word choice?) by such an insatiable dom top of a God. We sped through Exodus because Douglas was going to die soon and really wanted to get to the Gospels, which are in what Gregg calls “the sequel.” We skipped ahead to the Book of Job one night with Gregg, all three of us painfully aware of how much Job’s suffering mirrored Douglas’s own, and ultimately we did make it to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The last night I saw Douglas, we read Song of Songs together. Its chorus echoes what the many people who know Douglas will always feel: “We rejoice and delight in you, we will praise your love more than wine.” 

Morgan Bassichis is a performer whose recent shows in New York include Nibbling The Hand That Feeds Me (Whitney Museum of American Art), Klezmer For Beginners (Abrons Arts Center), and Damned If You Duet (The Kitchen).