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Let There be Pink Light
by Tim Miller
© February 2005, Tim Miller

Tim Miller

Time to hit the road again now that the Bush II oil junta has started up again. I flew away from the United States a couple of days after the election for a month-long run in London of my show, appropriately titled “US.” I was depressed, enraged, freaked out, frustrated, angry, laid low by the hideousness of what happened on November 2.

These days, I often find myself wishing I was a little bit Ukrainian. No small thing for someone who spent ten years of his life in New York’s East Village, eating daily at Ukrainian restaurants, danced around their Easter festival, and rolled my eyes when they said: “Someday, the Ukraine will be free”

I wish we Americans had shown one-tenth the courage they showed in Kiev these last two months. Why didn’t we do that in Florida in 2000? Why did we let those GOP thugs fly in from all over the U.S. to threaten people. How come they got to have a putsch, and we didn’t? In Kiev they have all that Ukrainian orange and we’re stuck with this ridiculous, oversimplified red and blue.

Even though we know this red-blue color map is too simple, false, designed for despair, it is interesting to compare the color-coded current maps of the U.S. to maps from 1860 which show the free and the slave states. Scary how much the maps look the same!

I am a gay person with a foreign partner. As an Australian-Scottish alien, Alistair will soon be forced to leave the U.S. Our relationship is that of legal strangers, according to the federal system, I have no way to sponsor him.

Not knowing, day-by-day, when we will have to leave the US. Soon we will be in British Columbia. So glad I just got my contract for the Vancouver East Cultural Center for a year from now.

I spend much more of my performing life in those so-called red states. Not sure why. It’s just how it happened. Maybe it’s cuz I’m such a giant civil war queen, or the Jesse Helms attacks on me created a strange bond, or because of how I was shaped by Alternate ROOTS (the Regional Organization of Theaters South). North Carolina was the state I perform in the most.

I spent the weeks before the election in “Red-landia.” In Dallas, Texas at SMU, up at Out North in Alaska, and at LSU in Baton Rouge. I finally figured out “Baton Rouge” is French for “red stick.”

I slipped in one blue state with the Theater Offensive in Boston, the Vatican of Liberalism. Just for variety.

On election night, Alistair and I slumped over the kitchen table and had a serious talk. Maybe it’s time to give up. Maybe after ten years of fighting to try to keep him in the U.S., we need to throw in the towel and go somewhere gay people are treated like human beings. This was the mood I was in when I got on the plane.

When I arrived in London, someone gave me the Daily Mirror newspaper. The cover headline: “How can 59 million Americans be so dumb?” This cheered me up.

The run in London was totally sold out. They invited me back for three more weeks this spring. And a month after the election, I got back on the plane, to come home to red and blue.

Flying over Greenland, and then Canada where gay people have rights and can marry each other. We slipped over Saskatchewan, clipped a corner of Alberta, into Montana. I once got queer bashed during a performance in Bozeman.

I imagined I would see the states colored in, just like on CNN. Red Montana. Red Idaho. I started to hallucinate a bit. After ten hours over the arctic, doesn’t everyone? Blue Oregon. Red Nevada. Blue California.

I always travel with one of my performer’s bibles with me, the Roscolux Theater Lighting Gel Guide. When painters mix colors, red and blue make purple. But when you mix light, red and blue make pink. Light is our secret power.

Pink is in between. Liminal. Interstitial pink is generous. Queered. Sexy. Think pink. Show pink.

As a performer, during the coming years, I want to be in the business of smooshing these two rigid red and blue colors into the potential for transformative pink light! I am in the business of making pink light. Where windows open! Where ideas shift. Where stories get told. Where people get laid! Where hearts soften! A pinker place where our country finally starts becoming the country it should be.

Performance artist Tim Miller is the author of
“Shirts & Skin,” and “Body Blows.”

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