A Conversation with tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE
- by Melissa Meinzer
- published in the Pittsburgh City Paper, March 8-15, 2006
WRITER, FILMMAKER, musician, rabble-rouser and man-about-town tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE's journey from Baltimore to Berlin to Canada to Buffalo finally left him, in 1995, "shipwrecked" in Pittsburgh. He's been making a name for himself, so to speak, ever since. For 30 of his 52 years, he's been using the moniker tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE among many others (id ntity, E.G. head, Party Teen on Couch No. 2, to name a few). And he has a few thoughts bouncing around his tattooed brain-case on who gets it, who doesn't, why, and what it all means.
I'M GUESSING THAT YOUR PARENTS DIDN'T NAME YOU tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE?
No. Would that I'd had parents who would do something like that: My life would have been even more interesting. A friend of mine and I were trying to think of band names, and I thought, "Well, what function does a band name serve, or any name serve?" The answer to that question was "tentatively, comma, a convenience." But then my friend proposed the band name of "Crab Feast" so that we could advertise "crab feast," use false advertising. It had a gnarly sexual context too. So I took tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE for myself.
The original intention was to use it as open-context - in other words, a name that people could use for whatever purpose. Partially [it was] because I was interested in flexible entity boundaries, meaning the idea that we are not necessarily restricted to what we usually think of ourselves as made of.
For instance, I could have a flexible entity boundary that could maybe incorporate part of this table here, or this [fork] or whatever; this could become me, or my arm might be me. The name tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE or open-context names - multiple names, as they're sometimes called - can also reflect flexible entities. Monty Cantsin, for example, or Karen Eliot or Bob Jones or Santa Claus or William Shakespeare or Jesus Christ ro whomever don't necessarily have to be one person.
DO YOU EVER FIND THAT PEOPLE TAKE YOU LESS SERIOUSLY, SAYING, "COME ON, I KNOW YOUR NAME IS FRANK PATTERSON" OR SOMETHING?
Yeah, of course. One thing that's a source of annoyance for me is that sometimes people will call me by my given name to show that they've known me for a long time or to pretend like they're close friends of mine, as if my close friends would call me by my given name. Usually if someone calls me by my given name, it's an indication that they're not a close friend.
I use that name as an entry level for how the other person is going to relate to me. if the other person can accept the name tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE, that shows that they're capable of moving on to something a little bit more substantial. If they can't accept even that name, then it probably means they want to oversimplify me in some way and then move on to literally nothing of any significance from my perspective.
A common question for people is, "What's your real name?" And of course that opens up the whole issue of "What does that mean?" What is a real name? What makes a name more real? To a certain extent, ordinary names - say Susan or John or whatever - names that are really common, don't amtter that much. They're such clean slates, they're so generic that it's not important - really, no offense to you - whether your name is melissa or Jill or whatever, unless you have some sense, some idea based around the etymology of the name.
WHAT ABOUT YOUR FAMILY, WHAT DO THEY CALL YOU?
Well, they certainly can't adjust to calling me anything other than what they gave me. To me it's almost like an ownership thing: "We can still own you as long as we can refer to you the way that we originally referred to you." I have very little to do with my family. I'd probably have more to do with them if they were conceptually more flexible and didn't feel the typical need to own another person by capturing the name.
If you have a name that you refer to a person or an object with, you fix that object - sort of like looking at something through an electron microscope. You kill it in order to have it be something you can study. Because if it's moving all the time, you can't study it, or you can't study it in a particular way. So if your name is in some way a determinant of a flexible entity boundary, then in a way you're not caged, you're not imprisoned, you're not fixed, you don't have your wings stuck through with pins to the little collection. You're still alive.
tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE
idioideo at verizon dot net
to the tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE as Interviewer page
to the tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE as Interviewee page
to the tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE movie-making "Press: Criticism, Interviews, Reviews" home-page
to the "tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE - Sprocket Scientist" home-page
to the "FLICKER" home-page for the alternative cinematic experience
to find out more about why the S.P.C.S.M.E.F. (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Sea Monkeys by Experimental Filmmakers) is so important
for A Mere Outline for One Aspect of a Book on Mystery Catalysts, Guerrilla Playfare, booed usic, Mad Scientist Didactions, Acts of As-Beenism, So-Called Whatevers, Psychopathfinding, Uncerts, Air Dressing, Practicing Promotextuality, Imp Activism, etc..
for info on tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE's tape/CD publishing label: WIdémoUTH
to see an underdeveloped site re the N.A.A.M.C.P. (National Association for the Advancement of Multi-Colored Peoples)