WINNER 2010 and 2012 GOLDEN WEB

WINNER 2010 and 2012 GOLDEN WEB
BEST ALTERNATIVE ART MAGAZINE

Saturday, November 28, 2015



“On the death of a friend, we should consider that the fates through confidence have devolved on us the task of a double living, that we have henceforth to fulfill the promise of our friend's life also, in our own, to the world.”
Joe Birdsong









Please join us for a night in celebration of our dear brother Joe Birdsong! His NYC family will gather to remember, pray, laugh and dance naked on his behalf! Come with your fave Birdie story, poem, song, food offering or just a lotta love in your heart. Let's send him off in style! Please pass the word on to all our NYC area fam.
On the physical birthday of Joe Birdsong, Howl Happening Gallery has kindly donated their space for the event. The gallery is located at 6 East 1st Street between Bowery and Second Avenue, in Manhattan. Light libations will be available. Pat Ivers' and Emily Armstrong's exhibit 'Alone At Last' is also up and available for viewing. There will be several magickal ceremonies performed in memory of Joe, as well as a mic for those who wish to share a few words about him.

at 6:00pm - 8:00pm
Howl Happening
6 E 1st St, New York, New York 10003


portrait series of Joe Birdsong 
by Walt Cessna 



I’m seeing my photographs pop up here n there and that’s going to be how I see Joe Birdsong for some time. Then, they will be the way I am reminded of him. At Edwige Belmore 's memorial last Saturday night he randomly popped into my mind and I told about 4 different people how he saved me from the psyche ward at Beth Israel, when another friend,Heather Litteer informed me that he had died in a horrific car accident a few weeks ago. Back in August 2006 I had mistakenly signed myself into the psyche ward after a rather consistent evening pf self sabotage & destruction in which I bit my ex bf James in a black-out, got kicked out of my apartment by 4 policemen, drank 7 martinis at The Urge, meet two characters from a bad movie, go for a ride and get mugged and then thrown head first into the Hudson River where I somehow don’t drown. I float an hour to a pier, climb a 15 ft fence covered in barb wire and scratch myself up pretty good. I look like a waterlogged rat, my wallet & cellphone lost I managed to waddle to 8th Ave. when a stranger approaches and hands me a twenty, then says Just. Go. Home. I don’t have one to go to so I got to Beth Israel ER and they take one look at my traumatized expression and cut up legs and concur silently. I’ve been given a shot of Dilaudid, which mixed with my lack of sleep & physical condition, I start to feel as if a bad dream had swept me away and I’m pretty much fukt up without the fun part. Next thing I know I’ve signed myself into a nut house with wack jobs left & right. Anyone slightly like me and just plain old addict crazy were few and keeping themselves far from in between. My ex basically stole my apartment paid for with my dead dads insurance and dropped a single bag at the wards after I was allowed my one phone call. Unless you had quarters, you had no way to phone anyone to come help you. The nurses would not budge and remained behind glass as much as possible. On day 12 when I was starting to crack and had missed breakfast because one of the quieter patients suddenly went bat shit crazy over some absconded jello and spork-ed a good portion of another patients eyes out. It was like an American Horror Story moment without the correct lighting & make-up. Yeah. Sure. Everyday AA had two speakers come and do service. That evening, I looked up from my Styrofoam slipper clad feet and was struck by the sight of a gorgeous man who introduced himself as Joe. Unconsciously breaking my anonymous AA shtick I blurted out I"M WALT CESSNA! He immediately made a strange face, the meeting eventually ended and I found myself back in m y room trying to ignore one of my 4 room mates who was standing naked on his bed and wrapping his sheet around his penis in an extremely focused fashion. No big deal. I said my serenity prayer, thought about the cute dude and passed out. I slept late and missed the mornings spork-ings. As i stepped into the hall, there stood Joe, holding 2 fluffy pillows, a Death Wish worthy amount of quarters in a heavy looking zip-lock, the AA library basically, a sketch pad & Sharpies and a bunch of Trader Joe’s snacks. He came towards me and I hugged him for almost a minute till I asked how and he said he had recognized my name and asked two people if they might know me. What’s his name hons asked Chi Chi Valenti with Johnny Dynell and when Joe told them they said he should get me out and quick. He did, saw me through my 6th rehab at the time, became my sponsor, hired me as a barista at he & Brian Butterick’s short lived queer bookstore & cafe Rapture, gave me my first NYC show with our mutual best friend Little Annie and the rest is history. It;s also where I met one of my best friends and original muses Lindsey Salerno. Then 16, Lindsey was the only girl I photographed for a few years and now 25 lives in the apartment below me. It’s also where I met Jerrod Mabry, whom I dated and am now BF’s with. Joe saved my life because no matter how crazy his own might be, Joe always showed up and tried to do service. We messed around once and he blurted I just 13th stepped you and can’t be your sponsor and it was better because without the distractions of sobriety & sex, we finally got to be the intense friends we became. I was the person who gave him the first news about Chloe Dzubilo's death even though we hadn’t been talking due to his drinking in my apartment. Never thought I’d be hearing about him passing and so close to Edwige Belmore & Anita Sarko. I am feeling so many conflicting emotions, but also extremely and gratefully blessed. Treasure those correct friends before you find yourself no longer with the opportunity. Next to our health it’s our biggest luxury. XXU JOE. -Walt Cessna 11-25-15

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