Failing in Front of People You Actually Respect

Greetings! 

How is everyone?  Good, I hope? 

I’m going through some creative shit lately.  I’ve been writing new material.  It’s headier stuff, but I’ve been writing it out at my laptop, trying to get the language more precise.  From my videos, I’m sure you can tell that my material can be dense.  I’m making it denser.  I’ve been working on something tying together masturbation fantasies with racism, the way our fantasies and fetishization of black men is an expression of our deeper anxieties.  It’s an ambitious thesis so the material needs to be strong.  I’m working it out. 

I’ve done the set a few times, and its done well, but then something happened.  I was booked on a show with a comedian I really respect and I psyched myself out.  He’d never seen my standup before and I wanted it to be good, but I also wanted to run my new material.  I ran my new material.  It didn’t go well, the laughs weren’t coming, I was too stiff, I was looking at him the whole time, feeling that I wasn’t doing my best. 

It’s a decision you make as a comic, try new stuff at open mics and save your best shit for booked shows, or run you new shit at booked shows.  I tend to do my strong material at clubs, and for bar shows to let it ride, try out my new shit.  A booked spot I get more time, an open mic, you’re getting 3-5 minutes, you never get to run your set altogether. 

The good thing about bombing is that I came home and started writing, trying to fix it.  In that sense, I should try bombing more, because it makes me work harder. 

 

This week on the podcast I have Beowulf Jones!  (http://twitter.com/iambeowulfjones)  Beowulf is the LA producer for the RISK! Show.  RISK! is a live storytelling show and a podcast.  I’ve done the show three times so far.  If you want to hear those episodes you can check them out here: http://sovereignsyre.net/media I gathered all my podcast appearances there, so you can listen to them all if you’re really into me talking.  Beowulf and I talk about the storytelling scene in Los Angeles and about how to turn your life into a compelling story for the stage. 

 

This week in comedy Aditi Mittal had her one hour special released on Netflix.  It’s called Things They Wouldn’t Let Me Say.  She’s an Indian comic and one of the first female stand ups in India.  It’s really good stuff.  I get tired of stand up specials because the material feels stale.  I’m really in love with the Netflix specials with comics from other countries.  They don’t promote them on the front page, but there are a lot of interesting voices out there.  Get into it.  She’s funny and unexpected. A solid special, dirty, relatable, fun. 

You can watch the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xTLsFUk5fTk

 

I’m going to be running my full hour in San Diego for the Arte Pad (https://artepad.org) festival that Ash Hollywood is producing.  I’m not sure which days I’m going to be there yet, I might be at the Laugh Factory on one of the days.  I’ll keep y’all posted.  For my show dates: https://sovereignsyre.net/shows

 

I’ve been listenign to Qveen Herby lately.  She’s a singer from the YouTube machine, but she does an amazing cover of Desiigner.  You can watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZZKpHH6IHC0

Another singer I’m really into right now is Yebba.  She’s super young but already full of a soulfulness that is absolutely haunting.  I just love her.  Check out this performance.  Get your life: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RXwE1G7_U9M

 

Interesting people to follow on Twitter:

Sparkle http://twitter.com/hersdayatoms

Denzell http://twitter.com/dzlfbk

Dr. Ben Carrington, a sociologist and previous guest on the podcast: http://twitter.com/benhcarrington

Leigh Cowart, for all your science porn needs: http://twitter.com/voraciousbrain

Reggie, ex soldier and anarchist type person: http://twitter.com/tesseraconteur

Black Feminisms, academic blog focused on Black Feminism: http://twitter.com/blackfeminisms

Spenser Wells, anthropologist and geneticist.  He was the explorer in residence for National Geographic and is responsible for filling up that DNA database that ancestry.com uses to tell you how African you are and how Native American you’re not.  He went around the world collecting everyone’s DNA.  He’s also been a guest on the show so check that episode out.  http://twitter.com/spwells

 

Some good reads this week:

Journal of African and Ethnics Studies: #sayhername a case study of intersectional social media activism.  http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/01419870.2017.1334934

People Lie But Search Data Tells The Truth: https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-05-09/people-lie-but-search-data-tell-the-truth

Author of “Everybody Lies” Seth Stephens-Davidowitz goes in our search histories and what they reveal about the character of the country. 

 

Word of the week: 

Bombinate: to hum and buzz.  Have fun with that one!

 

That’s all for this week!

 

If you love the podcast, enjoy my Twitter, or aren’t able to make it out to my stand up shows to support, please consider becoming a patron.  If 1/12th of my followers on Twitter gave a dollar a month to my Patreon, I would have the funding to do every last thing I want to do. 

You can support here: https://patreon.com/sovereignsyre

If you can’t support financially at the moment you can still support by tweeting about the podcast and the patreon on your social media stuffs, getting your friends into the podcast. 

 

I love you guys.  Be excellent to each other. 

XOXO,

Sovvy. 

 

 

 

It Did Feel A Little Weird.

I've decided to take a less formal approach to this blog this week.  I'm going to make it a bit more like what blogs were supposed to be for way back in the day, which was before my day, but lets call it a day.  It'll just be a collection of things I found interesting this week.  But first, some me stuff:

If you listen to the podcast you know that I talked to my biological father for the first time in 15 years.  To mark the moment I recorded him on the podcast after we ate Thanksgiving dinner.  I did it this way because I wanted to give us a bounded space within which to process our feelings, so that our baggage didn't crowd the entire holiday.  I think it went well.  He cried.  I cried.  I got to ask a lot of questions.  Some people told me I went to easy on him, but the thing is, I know that his excuses for abandoning are flawed and I could have gone after him for it, but that wasn't really the point.  I've worked through the anger and despair parts of it and now I wanted a healing.  For a long time I didn't talk to my dad because I wanted to punish him, he abandoned me, so why should I reward him with a relationship now...but I changed my mind.  He may not deserve a daughter, but I deserve to have a relationship with my natural father. 

It did feel a little weird.  Having an adoptive father that I've very loyal too, I didn't know how to talk about him to my father.  I just started saying "my other dad."  That seemed to work ok.  I'm going back to spend Christmas with him and my other mom, so I'll keep you posted.  My mom also listened to the podcast, which I wasn't expecting.  I would have been more diplomatic in discussing our relationship if I'd known she was going to listen to it.  She actually approved.  I'll have her on soon. 

In other news.  I've been listening to a lot of conservative rhetoric lately.  I'm less concerned with sympathizing with the "other side" than I am just entertained at listening to conservatives try to be funny.  Anne Coulter can actually be funny, and Milo can too, but some of the humor labors under broad generalizations that aren't true enough to warrant a laugh.  Most of Milo's jokes are about how feminists are fat lesbians, but I've worked as a model and a porn star for seven years and most of the women I work with consider themselves feminists and most of them are super hot and attracted to men, so, I just don't think the jokes are funny.  Moving on.  Here's fun stuff from around the web:

Milo on Joe Rogan

Interview with my dad.

The oldest bridge in Manhattan

The history of the Tampon.

Adam Curtis's HyperNormalisation (how Trump and cyberspace won)

This week on OBSERVATIONS with Sovereign Syre I talk with award winning adult performer and trans activist Venus Lux!  Subscribe on iTunes.  Rate. Review.  It helps!

I'll be in NYC October 10-16.  Check out my show dates: HERE

XOXO,

Sovereign.

 

Not Much To Report

Not much to report this week.  I've been doing very good at the lying fallow thing I was talking about last week.  Just working on my book, editing my graphic novel and working on my jokes.  I'm exhausted by politics and I'm really looking forward to the election.  And then the election being over.  I think I've always been in denial about the possibility of Trump winning the presidency and excited about Hillary getting into office because, like most other ladies, I'd like to have a lady president.  And she's the most qualified candidate ever to run, but she also has troubling foreign policy and a strained relationship to queer issues.  I don't like Trump mainly because I think he's very unattractive and his arrogance is off putting.  It's an emotional reason I know. 

I'm most frustrated these days with the culture that's emerged of feigned outrage.  More and more the alt-right and liberal sensibilities seem interchangeable.  I don't have the energy to articulate the feeling better.  It's the feeling you get when you see think-pieces about how offensive it is that people refer to their pets as if they're children, or why Amy Schumer's Formation video was problematic.  If you don't know what's wrong with Amy Schumer's video, a think piece can't tell you, you're beyond hope.

I've really taken to listening to Milo Yiannopoulus's podcast for this reason.  I don't agree with anything he has to say, but at the same time it's refreshing to hear someone saying how they really feel.  Is that weird?  It's weird.  I call it hate listening, and I do think it's important to know what the opposition thinks.  I'm not a conservative, but listening to conservative rhetoric helps to remind me why I disagree with the alt-right and also why conservatives feel what they feel, or even what they feel.  So that's my confession.  It actually feels good to hear someone saying what they really think, knowing it's unpopular. 

A lot of my comedy friends didn't have anything to say about her Amy Schumer's Formation video.  I'm gonna guess it's because they didn't want to potentially damage their careers.  A lot of them know her or have known her.  A lot of fucking voices were silent, which is the same as endorsing it to be honest.  If you really believe that institutionalized and systemic racism is wrong, why not speak out when one of the most famous white women in the world does something so tone deaf?  It left me dejected.  I don't know.  What the fuck do you really care about you guys?  Like really?  Because think pieces about how people talk about their dogs are sign of liberal ideology in deep shit.  We look ridiculous y'all and we need to get in fucking #formation. 

This week's guest on OBSERVATIONS with Sovereign Syre I have stand up Matt Kirshen.  We talk about the experience of being on Last Comic Standing, the difference between English and American comedy and then we get into stuff about polyamory, slut-shaming and forgetting when you have a tampon in. 

XOXO

Sovvy

I Wish I Was More Interesting

I wish I was more interesting.  What can I say, my life has slid into the kind of monotony that it does when you decide to lie fallow for a minute.  I needed a break, the travel, the working, the writing, the stand up, all of it was stressing me out.  I needed to do it, the hard push, to shake myself up to get myself out of the mud.  Now that I'm comfortably doing stand up and am editing one novel and a third of the way into the next I feel like I can let my life settle into a bit of a routine. 

It is hard to get stage time out here in LA though.  It makes moving to NYC or London very tempting.  I'd love to be able to work on an hour of time for two years straight.  Holy shit.  I'd get so shiny.  Alas, not yet.  I want to finish these books and put them in the hands of agents and editors before I make a move somewhere, but I know that it will be the next step.  I'm gonna try to make it London if I can.  A year there would do me just fine I think.  I'd really like to get really good.

I'm relaxed.  I'm confident.  The novel is good.  The graphic novel is good.  The stand up is good.  I'm not working on it as hard as I could be, but it's good. 

Cobra Juice had one of the best shows ever Friday night.  Margaret Cho, Tamer Kattan, Open Mike Eagle.  I mean it was magical.  We had a full house, people were standing in the aisles.  It was really good stuff.  It made me feel like I'd arrived or something.  I'm really lucky to have had Kyle Shire ask me to be a part of that show, it's really something special.  I have high hopes for it, I'd love to get it on Comedy Central or SeeSo or something.  I think we have the most diverse lineups out there and Kyle and I have amazing chemistry. 

Plus everyone laughs at my jokes about blowbangs and rape and the decline of Western Civilization.  It just feels like my people and Kyle and I did that. 

November 11th for Cobra Juice we have Jackie Kashian, Theo Von, Allan Strickland Williams, Nick Thune, and Regan and Watkins! Mark your calendars!!

This week on the podcast I have Ela Darling.  Ela is the president of APAC, (Adult Performer Advocacy Committee).  In this special episode we talk about Prop 60 on the upcoming California ballot.  She explains why this initiative threatens to shut down the porn industry and puts performers in danger through stalking and harassment. 

OBSERVATIONS_e84 Ela Darling.

XOXO,

Sov

I'm Not Sure How To Sustain The Enthusiasm

I'm not sure how to sustain the enthusiasm.  I feel less excited about comedy lately, it's something that wanes quickly when I stop going up.  I started editing my graphic novel script and I was surprised at how good it actually is.  I'm not saying that as a brag, I mean it in relation to how bad I was convinced it was.  When you spend eight months writing something, you kind of forget what you were writing in month one.  I'm looking forward to working on it, it's going to be a lot easier than I thought.  I've never completed such a long piece of work before and I learned a lot along the way.  I tend to over write, I like to layer like Nabokov, but having some distance from it has made it easier to see what can be pared away.  I think it's a really good story and I'm excited to see exactly what shape it takes. 

I've also been burning through the novel I'm working on.  I think about it all day, I dream about the characters.  I feel like a mother giving birth.  It's hard to sustain the enthusiasm for other things...which makes standup more difficult.   I write on stage and I write about things that are going on in my life, but the only thing going on in my life is sitting in front of a laptop writing stories about the lives of imagined people hundreds of years ago. 

I think I'm going to have to go on another one of those quests where I try to go up 100 times before December 20th (the first time I did stand up).  I guess that's what life is, being consistent even when you don't feel it.  Forcing myself to go up and tell jokes even when I don't feel inspired.  I've been working on a bit about rape culture, Milo Yiannopoulos, the alt-right and pc culture.  I think it's good stuff, but I get scared sometimes up there.  The language is strong, though so is the point I'm trying to make.  Wish me luck!

This week on OBSERVATIONSwith Sovereign Syre, (please subscribe, rate and review, it helps) I have Jonathan Larroquette on of the two hosts of the wildly popular Uhh Yeah Dude podcast.  We talk about everything from turning a podcast into a phenomenon to growing up with a famous parent and trying to find yourself.  He has a gold tooth that I'm super jealous of.  I'm getting my own made. 

I have a new clip up over on the media page.  It's Dave Foley helping me read some of my email at last month's Cobra Juice show.  This month's Cobra Juice is October 21st.  We have Open Mike Eagle and a secret special guest.  She's a comedy icon.  You'll regret not going to this show.  Go get tickets!

XOXO,

Sovvy

I Keep Forgetting To Breathe

I keep forgetting to breathe.  It's a thing with me lately.  I get to the end of a sentence and realize I forgot to take a breath.  Or maybe I'm having low grade panic attacks, like those little shocks that travel down a fault line before the tectonic plates do a little shifting and trigger a massive quake.  I can't shake the feeling that something is about to happen, something big.  I don't know if it's good or bad.  Things I've been feeling more of lately, paranoia about how much of myself I put out there or perhaps the feeling that for the first time I'm putting my real self out there.  Doing stand up, writing as a writer and comedian and not the character of a pornstar, requires you to put your real self out there.  The opinions you have, the life experiences you've had, they all belong to you, not a made up character.  That's been an adjustment for me.  On the podcast I'm starting to talk more about myself, the conversations are becoming less focused but more intimate. 

Writing a novel length piece of work is an emotional sine wave.  Every day I wake up and feel something different, excitement, apathy, fear, despair.  You run the gauntlet of insecurities.  Is this good enough?  Does anyone care about this story?  Is this even interesting?  Why am I writing this?   What am I trying to say?  I know that I can't get to the art if I'm too focused on what other people are going to think of it, if I'm creating some imaginary audience.  I have to write as though I'm the only one who's reading.  It's a balance.  To spend time, A LOT of time, working on something that you're not sure will have a pay off or not.  If I work on this novel and nothing comes of it, have I wasted a year of my life I should have spent working on a TV pilot so I could get into a writer's room?  Those kinds of questions.  At least if you're me.  I'm always trying to comfort myself with a plan. 

This week on OBSERVATIONS with Sovereign Syre I talk with retired pornstar and current stand up comic Alia Janine.  I let her get me stoned, which I don't do very often.  Get into it!

No One Cares

So, I watched the debates last night.  I don't really follow politics, at least not in the specific sense of backing a candidate or following bills and propositions passed.  I can't tell you who the police chief is in my area of the city.  I do care about politics, but in a more general sense, I worry about the effects of racism and sexism on the culture and how those institutions are perpetuated by the laws enacted to regulate society.  I get it.  I care.  I'm worried about inclusion and intersection. 

I usually just vote for the democrat.  The democratic party is a constellation of moral and ethical views that I align with.  After watching the debate between Trump and Clinton, I found myself wondering how it is that we've gotten to this point.  I'm not even voting for the democrat, I'm just voting for the politician, and she's running unopposed. 

What was really frustrating, or what has been frustrating, is watching people constantly point out Donald Trump's lies, his obfuscations, his racism and sexism like it's going to make a difference, like anyone cares.  Trump doesn't even care.  No one cares that he's a horrible person, he's promising to make America great for white people again. 

All the progressives ideas that have taken root in the culture and allowed women and minorities to be included in the conversation also mean that white people have to make room, they have to give up privileges that they're now realizing they relied on.  Trump is a protest against progress.  Progress is inconvenient if you're white, if you're privileged.  You have to think about the language you use, in effort to be inclusive.  You can't go around raping women or using racial slurs as a punchline.  You have to consider other people.  No one wants to do that work.  Americans have become lazy and apathetic.  Fucking Vote.  For Clinton. 

This week on OBSERVATIONS with Sovereign Syre my guest is stand up Katie McVay.  She's an incredible human and so so funny.  We talk about body image, body hair, genetic legacy.  All the good stuff.  Subsribe on iTunes! Rate and Review.  It really helps!

XOXO

Sovvy

 

I Hate To Be Redundant, But It Is What It Is.

I just got back from visiting NYC.  I was staying with a fellow comic, Alia Janine.  She has a sweet place in Bushwick that has a podcast recording studio in it.  Since I started writing my novel, I find that it's all that I want to do.  This was the first time I was in NYC where I didn't really go out at all unless I was doing a set.  I sat up till three and four in the morning sometimes in her office working on the book.  I've become a bit obsessed with it.  I think about it all the time, imagining different scenarios, watching people interact with each other and imagining how the characters would react in the same situation.  Sometimes it give me ideas, some times it drives me crazy. 

New York is always a strange trip for me.  I have the weird kind of nostalgia where I can remember every fight, every desperate moment that I spent on various street corners, in random store fronts.  I spend a lot of time thinking about the trajectory of my life, how I've ended up where I am now.  I'm grateful every day that I made it out, that I made it through all the hardships that I've encountered on my way through life.  I truly was the last person that thought I'd get out of the Hell I'd built for myself when I left home.  I never would have thought that any of the things I do every day would even be possible. 

I hate to be redundant, but it is what it is.  Every day I have to stop and wonder at how far I've come.  I'm always aware it could go away at any minute.  I try to keep moving.  My friend Daniel says that's my best attribute, that I'm always moving forward.  My mom thinks it's my worst, that I never stop to appreciate what I've done. 

I'll figure it out someday. 

This weeks guest on OBSERVATIONS with Sovereign Syre is Civil Justus.  He's a recording artist, director and activist.  He's also if Barbie came out with a "Woke Bae" Ken doll.  He's a sort of pinup for male feminism that's genuine. 

Subscribe, download, rate and review on iTunes

September 24th is Cobra Juice at the Steve Allen Theater.  Ticketing and more info is available over on my shows page.

XOXO

Sovvy