American Realness

300 Words on Realness: myendlesslove

300 Words on Realness: myendlesslove

by Lydia Mokdessi
Published on: January 17, 2014

Meditating on the poetics of gay sex, Miguel Gutierrez’s myendlesslove is a mysterious dance; it is honest but nostalgic, funny, and deeply sad. Dressed in briefs and high-heeled boots, Gutierrez surveys us serenely as we enter. He chats with a VHS tape version of himself on a TV screen as if giving a pre-show interview (“what are you going to show us today?” “whatever happens.”) that turns flirtatious (“I hope you try all the possible positions.” “I’m hot to find out.”). The other screens flicker on to show Gutierrez, thrusting and making eyes, a cuddly fantasy date between two young men, and just the faces of four others.

Cigarette in one hand and harmonica in the other, he watches himself in a mirror held by collaborator / object-of-desire Connor Voss before building a solo vocal track (“loveyouloveyouLOVEYOUloveyou”) with a looping pedal. It starts off sweet and meek, accumulates to multilayered many-part harmony, and abruptly turns silly (“I went online last night, I didn’t meet anyone nice. No one wants to know that shit.”). He strips down and whips around wildly like a club dancer, changing gears to swap the bass-heavy electronic music for his own acoustic rendition.

Pulling Voss by the waistband, they slither along the floor and walls, mouth to groin. There’s power in Voss’ detachment — Gutierrez is the vulnerable character now. He has been performing wildness but we suddenly wonder if there’s been something shaky about him from the beginning. Maybe it’s impossible for him to deliver what he thinks is required.

The melancholiness of the scene is offset by porn playing loudly on another screen. Gutierrez sings drunkenly, held up by Voss, before being lowered to the floor for a brief and clumsy duet. It’s haunting to watch the previously cocky / seductive Gutierrez lose control of what he’s made — his dissolution gets at a slipperiness between desiring someone and desiring something to make you forget about what makes you sad. The shiny exterior is brittle and the inside is dark; we are not immune to the complex politics / self-delusions of sex and love, even when we’ve been warned.

image:Ian Douglas