Feminine Icons Series

Laura Dern in Wild at Heart

I loved this performance and the insane romance with Sailor. She was someone I wanted to be.


Bork-2003-pierBjork came to play her greatest hits at Pier 30/32 in San Francisco in 2003 and I decided to go by myself. I had never paid her much attention, I don’t know why, but it occurred to me that I should be the sort of person who liked Bjork. I went to art school, I used to be a fabulous weirdo, what the hell is wrong with me that I don’t like Bjork? So I bought several albums and got into her so I was ready for the concert. I stood alone in the crowd and her power just washed over me. The ringing chorus (…state of emergency…) from “Joga” exploded along with with pillars of fire and I felt like I was soaring. I recognized that her energy, her spirit, her art spoke to a feminine part of my heart and I reconciled that I could still be an interesting and beautiful person even if I was just a normal guy in dumb Gap clothes. I don’t know if that makes sense. I was opening a door and letting some more light in. It was really good to be alive.

Sinead O’Conner Nothing Compares 2U. (Released on my birthday in 1990, fun fact I learned today.)

Her vulnerable, honest, emotionally profound performance spoke to my young, exceptionally dramatic personality. The greatest breakup song ever written came out around the same time my relationship with my art school girlfriend ended in disaster. The relationship itself did not warrant this kind of heartache, but it’s ending left me emotional and traumatized after questions about my sexuality exploded spectacularly. (More about that another time.) The song resonated for me and I always associate it with that time in my life when I began to explore and reshape my identity in the months after.


Yoko Ono is one of the fiercest woman on the planet. She took a lot of shit with grace and intelligence and never stopped being herself. I always wanted a love story like that with a creative partner.



As a child of New Mexico, Georgia O’Keefe is someone I have long known and admired. I read her biography in high school and was inspired by her individuality, rebeliousness and deep artistic purpose. The quote is from Joan Didion’s “In Praise of Hard Women” essay.

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