Taking Brad Back: an interview with Holiday Black, Emily Raw, and Laura Marie Marciano

The radically glitterful Holiday Black, Emily Raw, and Laura Marie Marciano, all came together to write, direct,  score and star in the audacious gemstones produced “BRAD” video.

Brad is an archetype many self-identified females are extremely familiar with. No one likes Brad.  In fact, we loathe BRAD.  There have been times, we used to love to hate him or hate to love him.  The BRAD video  breaks it all down for us.  It is, among other things, a bold, creepy and radically joyful take down of patriarchy.   It’s pretty on the surface but brash and loud beneath the paper trail of Brad.

Working on the registers of play, truth, and social critique, these artists deftly guide us through the uncanny abyss of “HIM”.   Brad has become a  thing, a flattened lifeless  paper droid. For our own self reflection, possibly even for fun.

We are taking Brad back.  And He is ours now. This isn’t all about Brad as much as this is about all of us.

This video is glitter and guts.

BRAD in bed

So Who is Brad?

Holiday: The original Brad is a white man. Actually, he is a republican political consultant. Not kidding. He believes in hamburgers and strip malls–let freedom ring, right? He’s the absolute limit of patriarchal masculinity, and simultaneously it’s apex. Brad is a force of a colonial empire building which finds it’s basis in white-washing, consuming, and firm borders that police who we can be. He possesses of infinite authority, yet is made out of paper. For me, his cardboard form brings up a lot of questions about what masculinity means as defined by the patriarch–and what does femininity mean in contrast? I don’t know. Are these just questions about gender or do the questions about gender also intersect with our reading of Brads IRL who look capable, stoic, clean–do these virtues mirror our conception of nationhood/patriotism? And what does that mean? Idk. For me Brad brings up all these things, so I’m not even sure that he is just one person.

Laura:  Brad – Brad was born from Holiday’s head when we ladies were driving up a mountainside to protest the death of Ana Mendieta last winter. We were all pretty emotionally wrecked and we were so happy to have found the archetype of the patriarch, aka Brad to spew our hatred towards.It was a fucked up day. Emily even comfort braided my hair.

brad_ferry_takeover Creepy Brad

Emily: Holiday’s much better at putting this into words than I am — there are reasons I work in images – but Brad is the gatekeeper. He is the embodiment of white-cis-hereto-patriarchal-capitalist privilege, entitlement personified. I had a hard time explaining to people before making the emoji who Brad was, would try & get a wall of blank stares in response, but as soon as an image existed everyone immediately recognized him. We all know Brad.

Tell me a little bit about the story behind the making of Brad?

Holiday: This time last year I was a teacher at an extremely conservative private school on the upper east side. One of my most abhorrent (ok I also secretly adored her) co-workers was a woman with a husband she talked about all the time. She used to vent to me and I heard all about this man’s thoughts on American Sniper and his dreams of buying a mansion in Connecticut (which he would fashion w/ 6 flat screen tvs, duh). I heard about how he would come home drunk and act like a toddler, and about how Brad picked a fight at Bed, Bath and Beyond over monogrammed pillows. Between the draconian school policies and non-stop Brad anecdotes, I felt like I was working in gringots. It took six months of hearing about Brad before I finally met him at a school fundraiser (where he actually told me that I liked teaching and classroom dynamics because it was like reality tv, which of course women like because it’s such ‘mindless’ entertainment) but for those first six months I started imagining him as a character subject to my own imagination. I took notes.

Emily, Laura, Monica, Gio and I all met up to caravan to JT’s Crying; A Protest at DIA Beacon. We were just talking about our shitty lives and exchanging tales of misery when my Brad and the patriarchy inevitably surfaced as conversation fodder. People seemed to relate to my Brad-related angst, and I was stoked because it made me remember that this tension and frustration I harbored for Brad didn’t exist in a vacuum. Like, the reason Brad made me wanna shove my head through a brick wall wasn’t because I didn’t eat breakfast or was pmsing or something. The anger I had towards Brad was something bigger than the forever-present 13 year old mall brat deep inside me–it wasn’t just idiosyncratic. I guess in an oppressive world, one thing we all share is this sense of a silent, invisible tyranny. Naming the omnipotent felt important. Dashing through the snow that day in Laura’s car, it felt good to widdle down the ambient doom into this one asshole dude–Brad.

read more →

BRAD is coming

9f37f519-ee52-4385-b4b5-716dbf353408

Poets and filmmakers Holiday Black, Emily Raw, and Laura Marie Marciano joined creative forces to summon an evocative poetry video entitled “BRAD,” featuring a cardboard cutout named Brad and perhaps even a love affair with said cutout.

“Structurally the video’s a truncated horror comedy satirizing romance tropes, a joke among friends. But jokes, of course, are super serious. We were taken aback while filming by the response to the Brad object. To us he was relentlessly creepy. Holiday & I both freaked out walking past him in our apartments. You’d head to the bathroom in the night & catch him out of the corner of your eye, sitting there leering… Ugh, I’m still shuddering,” says Raw.

The teaser for BRAD is now live, but the full video will be aired at Gemstone Readings Winter Mourning event at  A.I.R. GALLERY tomorrow (Friday) at 7 PM.

The video will also be available for viewing online next Tuesday at NewHive accompanied by an exclusive interview with its creators.

BradPark

“The original Brad is a white man,” says Black. “Actually, he is a republican political consultant. Not kidding. He believes in hamburgers and strip malls — let freedom ring, right? He’s the absolute limit of patriarchal masculinity, and simultaneously its apex. Brad is a force of a colonial empire building which finds its basis in white-washing, consuming, and firm borders that police who we can be. He possesses of infinite authority, yet is made out of paper. For me, his cardboard form brings up a lot of questions about what masculinity means as defined by the patriarch — and what does femininity mean in contrast? I don’t know. Are these just questions about gender or do the questions about gender also intersect with our reading of Brads IRL who look capable, stoic, clean – -do these virtues mirror our conception of nationhood/patriotism? And what does that mean? Idk. For me Brad brings up all these things, so I’m not even sure that he is just one person.”

 

Confessions of a Gemstone


psilocybin by qualiatik

I gchatted with Laura Marie Marciano, founder of Gemstone Readings, a series “that promotes the narratives of female-identified and/or queer poets and media artists. Gemstones hosts readings and curates, directs, shoots and edits poetry videos.”

We spoke about Internet confessions, poetry videos as the new music videos, the creation of Babysitter Club-esque poetry environments (via IRL and URL), and the goal for no young (or old) poet/artist to ever sit alone at the lunch table.

In Laura Marie’s pixelated world, poets and artists of all race and gender norms can express their weirdest and bravest work without judgment.

Girl A by Poppy Jones – produced by artist independently for Gemstone

How would you describe your gemstone readings project? What makes someone a gemstone?

The idea for gemstone readings is interdisciplinary in nature. The intersection between poetics, media, and performance art, is a space of inquiry that I find myself most at home within. There is impulse in poetry, perhaps it is somewhat Futurist in nature, to go beyond the word into the poem. To dissect it -quite literally. This is the impulse that tends to lead for me. As an MFA student at Brooklyn College, I completed a program that was interdisciplinary. I knew a workshop environment may stifle that impulse, and at the time, that was the last thing I needed to be creative, to create work. I felt like an outlier. I wanted to build performance and media that reflected the ideas in my poetry. If an architect gets to live inside of their dream, well, I wanted to live inside of the poem. I did things with my classmates to build on my poetic impulses- a womb like installation made of hot pink spandex with a hidden kissing booth, an electronic opera about the Barclay center, a series of poems made into art pieces that I left in the museum, in the library. My impulse for poetry, at the time, was off of the page.

I wanted to create a collective that expressed this impulse. I think gemstone readings supports written text, and the reading of text, but also, leaves possibility for inhabiting poems in however the writer/artist images. My friend, author Gabby Bess, and I used to talk a lot about the blurred line between writer and artist. This was crucial to my identity as a graduate student, and I thought I could expand upon it for other poets who felt similarly. I have gone so far as try to convince the art dean of Brooklyn College that there ought to be an MFA concentration that supports these kinds of writers more directly. She certainly seems receptive.

As far as gemstones being conceived, our first reading was in the basement of Unnameable Books and Bunny Rogers, the featured poet, had a pianist play before she read her poems. Plus the heater was leaking and we were all freezing. That was a wow moment for me. It just worked. This could happen.

read more →