I want to be all of the colors simultaneously. When my kindergarten teacher asked me what my favorite color was, I said “Rainbow.” She responded with, “That’s not a color. What’s your real favorite color, Catherine?” I said “GLITTER” with a smile on my face. I knew damn well what I was saying. Glitter and rainbow are colors: they are all of the colors and beautiful intricate sparkling facets of diversity. Who knew I was just a budding color theorist? A tiny little genius really. I didn’t and still don’t give a fuck.

I have always wanted to be a rainbow, wear as many colors as possible and dye my hair the spectrum. I am my art, my art is me – I wear it like a flag with fashion, makeup, and crazy fun hair. Dying my hair fantasy colors has been something I’ve identified with for my whole life. I remember the first time I had pink in my hair, I was exhilarated. It made me feel so beautiful, so punk. My mom hated it, but my best friend was the one who put it on my hair. Pink hair don’t care. I have been a lot of colors since and don’t see myself going natural anytime soon. My roommate is a true unicorn, his hair (even his pits and pubes) are always a different, perfect hue.

The other day I slept past noon, then I woke up all gross and depressed, crusty from being a mope. Heartbroken and lost in my stupidity. I needed to create. That first stroke was like that perfect glass of water when you slept too close to the heat vent and feel dried out. Making art revitalizes me, it puts life in my veins. It is a necessity, NOT a hobby. I went to art school when I was told to be a doctor. I knew at a young age that all I wanted was to be happy for the rest of my life, I never cared about money. Art is my air. Money is evil bullshit that people kill over. I would rather help be the voice of my generation, comment on the world at large, show people the pictures in my head, and express everything. Even making bad art feels good.


I AM AN ARTIST! In a dismal world you need to find the luminescence. Sex, politics, ugliness, and beauty. I make art like I make love, passionately and with every part of my soul. You know I care about you when I make art about you or for you. I have so many things in my head that I want to make, and if I take the time to do a stupid portrait of you, that’s love. Art is selfish until you share it. Art is therapy, it soothes a weary heart and puts mortar between the bricks of a positive life foundation.

I sacrificed a lot of kisses in the name of art. Scrumptious yummy little droplets of chocolate kisses. I harvested their foil and little kisses flags to glue on to my painting. I use every opportunity to make art. Inspiration is instigation. I enjoy sparking art in others more than anything in the world. To create is to live life to the fullest. There’s no regrets in art, just happy accidents as Bob Ross would say. I will always share my art supplies. I love bringing a box of porn, scissors, glue, and just let people live out their fantasy. Hilarity ensues – instant party slayer.

I remember hanging out with my grandma watching Bob Ross and desperately wanting to paint like him. He created luscious landscapes with a zen-like ease. Some Bob Ross wisdom: “I think there’s an artist hidden at the bottom of every single one of us. You too can paint almighty pictures.” I was always so incredibly obsessed with art. I did watercolor paintings of drag queens. I outgrew my Catholic school’s art cart and the do-it-like-the-example philosophy to art very young and my mom was awesome enough to further my art advancement with outside classes.


I remember finding Frida Kahlo for the first time. I loved that she didn’t give a fuck about her eyebrow. The hair on her upper lip inspired me. She revolutionized the selfie and didn’t give a flying feminist fuck about what a woman was supposed to do or look like. She was a bisexual communist painter who had an affair with Georgia O’Keefe. My kind of weird, I saw her as a soul sister. Her pain so freely expressed in front of me, teaching me to express my own.

“I used to think I was the strangest person in the world but then I thought there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do. I would imagine her, and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me too. Well, I hope that if you are out there and read this and know that, yes, it’s true I’m here, and I’m just as strange as you.”
― Frida Kahlo

I am so happy that I am not alone. I wish I could have met them both, instead their inspiration lives on in my heart and work. I’ve done burlesque as both Bob Ross (aka Boobs Ross) and Frida Kahlo respectively. I have painted canvases with my boobs as the brush on stage in front of shocked fans. That feeling is everything.

I use art to lift me out of horrible holes. It puts the lotion on the skin – and believe me I need lotion, my skin is the worst. It puts the paint on the canvas and the ink on the paper. I look at the world with intention, I search for beautiful intricate details in moments of pure madness. I see possibility in the abject and linger in the strange. I want to change things, even if just within myself. Damn, it feels good to be a painter.

I went to St. Agnes, a private Catholic kindergarten-8 for elementary school. My parents thought it was better than the questionable inner city public school I would have otherwise attended. Starting at a strict Catholic school gave me an unquenchable lust for breaking the rules.

I was always at the top of my class, but also the one who was ready to challenge the status quo. I remember my first sit in – I was in 4th grade and my gym teacher (who will remain un-named) told the class that all the boys were going to play football and all the girls were going to play on the playground (like proper girls should).

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The Stripteasers, photo by Amanda Glizkowski

I was a tomboy who was bullied due to my size. I always played football with the boys and even had Buffalo Bills season tickets. When I said I was playing, he said an utterly sexist thing: “Go play with the girls, football is for boys only!” I immediately charged over to the other girls and asked them if they would rather play football or swing on the stupid swings like proper ladies were supposed to.

Half of them were with me. We then stood our ground in the middle of the field demanding equal rights. Needless to say, nobody got to play football that day, and I never let anyone tell me I couldn’t do something based on my gender ever again.

My mother wasn’t even mad at me when the angry nun principal called her at home. She was proud that I stood up for what I believed in. I never believed that the God Almighty was a white man on a cloud. I like to think of the real God as Alanis Morrisette in the film Dogma.

In 7th grade, I wrote Horoscopes for the first ever school newspaper. They were all incredibly uplifting and completely un-serious, based on Teen magazines. The priest and sisters saw this as an act of pure heresy! Horoscopes are meant to gain insight on one’s future, the Bible forbids divination and sorcery. Therefore astrology is a sin. The first and last school newspaper published was pulled and confiscated from all students due to its unholy content.

Early on I knew I was an artist but I never felt challenged by the art program (or lack thereof) at my school. My art teacher’s idea of good art was having us copy her work exactly. The closer you were to the original, the better your grade was.

Knowing this was bullshit, I always went in my own direction. I produced my own version of the project, aka REAL ART! The teacher graded me poorly on every project, saying I did not follow school rules. I replied with the bold statement ART HAS NO RULES!

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Zombettes by John Carocci

She was probably jealous of my artistic voice, now I realize that she was just doing her job, teaching a good Catholic curriculum. Thankfully my parents took me to outside art classes at a neighborhood art center and the Albright Knox Art Gallery. There I was able to flourish and learn about how to become a true unbridled creative human. I would never have made it without that artistic nourishment.

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The Stripteasers, photo by Amanda Glizkowski

I have always been intrigued by queer counterculture. When the topic of marriage came up I was the first to speak up for human rights. My religion teacher never had a good response for why our church didn’t accept ALL kinds of love, just saying that same sex couples were wrong. I never accepted that and knew that any God who could hate people who love each other was the one who was wrong.

The music department was a joke. The joke was on them, though, when we sang a re-written version of openly gay George Michael’s “Faith” for the talent show. I wish I remembered more of the lyrics, but I clearly remember “Jesus, I know you’re asking me to pray” instead of “Baby, I know you’re asking me to stay.” The same night some of us also did choreography to a Spice Girls song. The girl power and queer voice was strong in that talent show. Years later, the Spice Girls would become the first band I ever did burlesque to.

For The Stripteasers’ Midnight Mass show I was dressed as the pope and there were also naughty nuns, bad school girls (much worse than Britney Spears) and an innocent alter boy. We simulated sodomy on stage to George Micheal’s “Father Figure” and it was incredible. That number is so blasphemous that people have walked out disgusted every time.

I was part of a Seven Deadly Sins show, but the one that takes the cake as my ticket to eternal damnation is the Oh Unholy a Night! show where, as The Zombettes, we parodied the nativity. I was Broseph and my best friend (who ironically I met at Catholic School) was the Virgin Mary.

She was actually eight months pregnant during the routine! Her bloody tears and inverted cross pasties were memorable. We danced to Marilyn Manson’s Personal Jesus and it was exquisite. Here’s the video:

The Zombettes also performed in the basement of a former Catholic Church now converted to performance space and I was a nun performing an exorcism. I tore pages from a real Bible while my bestie spit fake blood on to the audience, simulated master-bating with a crucifix, and screamed Whore of Christ! She was wearing the actual little plaid skirt that I wore when we met.

God, life is good when you are a non-believer.

Top image by John M. Borsa

* Also, on St-Patrick’s Day, Cat did win the Whiskernia contest she wrote about last week. Congrats!