Nottadate With Katie Berns

Katie Berns is an artist, musician, performer, neurodiversity professional and one of the most legitimetly cool and interesting people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting.

She once caught me longing at a Best Practices event held at Bread & Salt, and I mistook her empathy or awareness as interest. Who knows what relationships are anymore.

I find myself pressing the matter by asking bluntly about dating while on the long ride home from maybeadate at Jacumba Hot Springs Hotel.

The hard won lessons of our twenties win out and after a few months of pointedly short interactions at parties I find myself at nottadate with the Excellent Human Katie Berns.

We meet at MOPA and hug and disperse and point and talk and linger and quickly move to the ICA.

I am delighted that as often as I come to Balboa park, there can still be nooks that I’ve never visited. Something something we only care about artists when they’re dead. The stairs lead down to a basement that was occupied by: Sreshta Rit Premnath: Grave/Grove.

While I didn’t care to look for an artist statement, talking all over the work I’d say I’ve found a lot of joy in the in between places of infrastructure.

Grave/Grove was a number of sculptures with human? forms flopping about flashing filled with dead and dying street weeds hooked up to IVs of refuse.

Katie said her favorite was one that simply had a form wetting herself, with signs-that-might-still-be-art requesting viewers not touch this being. I was overwhelmed with a story a good friend once confided in me. She had visibly wet herself while on a zipline, then was promptly stranded above her classmates as she didn’t quite make it to the end of the zipline and they had to fish her over.

Katie and I found ourselves talking about projects in front of The Watchers. SDFaSoLa is a singing group that I have been participating in and I had just initiated the DNS transfer from the old caretaker of the group. I told her that the thing felt a little ritualistic, an artifact of the early web, a handoff of keys and a changing of the guard. In a way I felt like I was handed a congregation in that I have the flag that they would follow.

I told her about this blog and how I hope to use it to lift Artists and Community. Covid has left scars and a lot of folks are looking for community. I’m doing my best to learn how to hold a totem for people to find each other.

Katie gave up some wisdom. Artists work for an unknowably laundered amount of time to make a very particular presentation to share with the world. She is incredibly sensitive to the feedback and processing of others and how it destroys the slowly evolving inner image an artist wants to externalize. She has performed at Tenam Studio and told me that she actually dislikes the expectation that the artist speak with the audience for a short time after the performance. They would never tell you if the performance was bad.

For the record:

I don’t think everyone was into her BikeCore noise performance directed by lazzliee@instagram, despite me laughing my ass off at their incessant joyous greetings.

We talked about my own recent perfomance at tenam where I was a polar bear searching for food who gets shot just before satisfying this base need. I hadn’t considered children being there. Tradgedy for children. Maybe they’ll talk about it in therapy; maybe it’ll save their life knowing that not all things work out. I didn’t write the story, I don’t really know what Lexi intended.

And now I’ve talked about all these things with my own intentions, expectations, aesthetic and profound ignorance and colored them in a picture frame that I own with little discussion or input from those I’m talking about.

I found the golden hour striking on Katie’s face above the quince street bridge. We’re sitting on the guardrail of the road and I’m not exactly sure what message it might send if I were to ask to take a picture of her.

She’s going to a thing and I’m not invited.

Postscript: I wrote this a while back and let it stymie the whole project. I wish I had permission or cooperation to have interleaved dialogue, but I guess sometimes we just need to accept the lesser thing that we do have permission to do and appreciate it for what it is.