Trying to Write About Beyoncé by Paul Pescador
Paul Pescador, September 1, Photograph
I sit here struggling to write about her. I’m 30. I’m too old for this. Fan worship. Nor am I being merely ironic. I ask a friend, “What do I have to say about her that hasn’t been said?” He tells me, “Just say it again. Say it your way.”
I dream about her. I’m working as a PA on a set. She stares at me. I’m intimidated by her confidence. Her carmel, curly hair. She tells me that this is all a character, this isn’t her real name, she’s a fantasy, a celebrity whom I project onto. I see the world and my insecurities about my own accomplishments. She asks me why I want to be a PA. I explain this isn’t what I want to do, it’s just a job, something to pay the bills. She looks at me, confused. She says, “I want to be an a singer, so I sing….”
She is criticized for being a feminist. She is criticized for making music that doesn’t address homosexuality. She is criticized for lipsyncing the National Anthem at the Presidential Inauguration. She is criticized for becoming vegan.
In her music, sex is an instrument of power. I lay in bed with my legs spread open and my knees pressed against my chest. I watch as he stares at me and then plunges his face down into it.
My boyfriend says, “She’s a perfect construct. We listen to her and we think we can obtain some level of intimacy with her- through her vulnerability, but we don’t know anything about her. Everything is so produced. We are told only what she wants us to know, there is no room for slippages.”
I remember trying on women’s underwear as a child. In front a full length mirror, I tucked my penis between my legs and stared at the young hairless body in front of me.
I’m preparing for a photo shoot. I make costumes out of cardboard boxes and colorful patterned fabrics. The materials are cheap and will barely hold until the photos are taken. The costumes are somehow both masculine and feminine, yet also lacking in sexuality.
I think of Pop Art. I think of Warhol. I think of the repetition of Marilyn as she’s silkscreened over and over onto the same canvas, and her image fades. I think of Warhol’s screen tests. Their banal interactions are heightened by the camera, which functions as both viewer and predator. Their banality reminds of us of own daily lives. We too are this uninteresting.
In the car, I listen to her with him. We are parked on the basement floor of the parking garage. Both our pants sit at our ankles. I wear striped underwear. I don’t remember what he’s wearing.
He asks me if I’ve ever done drag. I react angrily. NO!
I listen to her as I sits on the couch, cutting out wrapping paper for my next film. They are sitting at the table eating breakfast. They are talking about yoga or maybe fighting. I’m not paying attention. It’s just me and her.
In a few of my films, I use karaoke music or the muszak versions of pop songs as a stand-in for dialogue and their pace determines the emotional feel of a scene. I tried to use one of her songs in my last film, but it didn’t work. The colorful imagery against her music felt too similar. Neither one complicated the other.
I want my Pop stars to be more than constructions. She is currently the spokesperson for Pepsi. I ask her whether pop music can be more than the soundtrack for corporations. I ask her if her feminism is more than a strategy to get girls to drink more soda.
I’m on a walk alone, feeling depressed, having just fought with my boyfriends, and I imagine the perfect song that should be playing at that moment. Something that will help me transcend my daily life. A song to make the moment bigger, more cinematic than it actually is.