It seems appropriate, given my recent ruminations on suburban dyke "belatedness," that I begin a blog now after everyone on the planet's already started one or several, and maybe even abandoned a few along the way (like the extra bags of tealights, eastern-bloc inspired digital alarm clocks, and splashy cocktail napkins sprinkled atop the massive impulse-buy-bins leading up to the IKEA cash register). Oooh...I even mustered up a lesbionic endorsement of IKEA (aka DYKEA). Note to self: immediately consult craigslist ETC job listings about how to score ad bucks by adding a blog link to the IKEA website.
To continue with the themes of belatedness and "temporal drag" inspired by the fantabulous Beth Freeman's (affectionately known as "Gletha the Goat Lady's") work on the subject... this Inland Emperor is both burdened and motivated by the spirit of procrastination instilled in me by my hapa-configured family (Pinay mom, Anglo So. Cal hippie step-dad). My mom and grandma in particular eschewed model-minority narratives about hard immigrant labor and American-style pluck & determination, choosing instead to luxuriate in the spoils of a "blue-light special" lifestyle in Riverside, CA. Don't get me wrong--they sure worked hard for the money in the very places they ended up spending their dough (Mamang gigged hardcore her first few months in The States guarding game tokens in "The Vault" at the Castle Amusment Park near the Tyler Mall, and Mom's first non-musical gig was working the jewelry and camera counter at the big K before it was called The Big K). But leisure time in the way of glorious consumption--from scrumptious fastfoodstuffs, to hours of televisual programming (and at that point in our lives, it was TV and not HBO)--was treasured above all else save perhaps music in our household.
Unlike our fancier neighbors to the west, in the counties we call Orange, spa treatments cut with valium and other prescription delights weren't an option in our leisure culture. Nevertheless, I still managed to learn in our little corner of the I.E, tucked between the Riverside Municipal Airport and Ramona High School where I suffered through band camp in 110 degree heat. I learned a lot from the thrill ride of manic labor followed up by long stretches of spiritual and mental recovery. I learned a lot from the overworked, underpaid and righteously brilliant teachers in the R.U.S.D., all the way through R.C.C. (aka Ramona Continuation College). But I digress...
I'm gonna try to refrain from too much "navel-gazing"--a phrase I only figured out how to use properly in grad school--in this blog. INLAND EMPEROR is "that thing" I'm using to get the proverbial juices flowing so I can write the book that will hopefully get me tenure someday. Suffice it to say that this little blog is meant to be the the space where I can experiment with ideas while at the same time celebrating, in the extradiegetic song-stylings of Barbra in The Prince of Tides, "Places that Belong to You"...and to me. More than just a repository for the archival tid-bits, mental digressions and nascent formations meant to accompany and ultimately flow into the as-of-yet-untitled book project on queer of color suburban imaginaries, INLAND EMPEROR will offer reflections on the spaces, times and (sub?)cultures of that vast expanse we call the I.E., from new reviews of old places, queer reviews of straight places, old reflections on new places, queer reviews of queer places, brown reviews of pale places, pale reviews of dark places, new reviews of new places, and alot of other crap in between, both related and un.
DISCLAIMER TIME: as I was navigating my way through all the blogger options and templates, I came across another blog called "The Inland Emperor" with the url http://inlandemperor.blogspot.com. But I noticed that my imperial predecessor, who is of a decidedly more red-state stripe, hadn't posted anything since 2003. His header reads: "It could be worse...I could be in Los Angeles County," and his last post heralded the impending arrival of King George the II to one of the "Inland Empire's greatest treasures"--presumably the Mission Inn--during the election season of fall 2003. In short, I feel no qualms about deposing The First Inland Emperor and taking over the moniker for my dyke-of-color immigrant brethren. I mean, aren't the orange polka-dotted TROPKA napkins yours if you're the only one who has the heart to rescue them from the reject bin enroute to your own IKEA checkout?
The Emperor is Dead. Long Live the Emperor!
Rollin' deep in the heart of the I.E. through the gnarled concrete arteries of 60+10+91 east to neon sunsets and Naugles, Taco Tia, the Mad/Friendly/Happy or Lucky Greek,The Menagerie, Spanky's, Butch's Grinders, The Denny's Cocktail Lounge at Hardman Center (in pace requiescat). We spell Paris P-E-R-R-I-S, bitches!