Artist: Katie Grace McGowan
Location: Parks & Rec Diner
KGM – Coffee (cream), omelet (spinach, garlic, maybe some other stuff), potatoes, some cinnamon roll
SRS – Coffee (black), cinnamon roll (majority share), basic breakfast (eggs, bacon, toast)
You ever think about how it is that dogs can recognize each other? It’s ridiculous, when you think about it. Thousands of years of domestication and breeding have created dogs that are as divergent in appearance as a Great Dane and a chihuahua, and yet, the second they spot one another, they perk right up. I experienced something similar, the first time I met Katie. Her frank, open manner of speech, her enthusiasm and humor, and her interest in social artifice immediately perked me right up. We may be slightly different breeds, but we’re the same species, for sure.
But there was this touch of awkwardness, jumping off into a BWTA with someone I really didn’t know at all. There is nothing like those moments of fumbling toward someone, trying to find the jumping off point for a conversation, and wondering if it’s there or not. If it’s not, it can be excruciating. If you’re Katie, you just say, “Well, I don’t know anything about you. Give me something.” MY DAWG.
Introverts! We’d get along great, if we ever left our houses. There is nothing more precious to me than time spent with another introvert or writer. We are hard to find! The whole concept of BWTA has been an active intervention in my tendency to limit myself to familiar people and situations, while offering artists an opportunity to get some face time with a local arts writer (this is a standing invite, people – look for the “Ask Me to Breakfast” link. you are not expected to buy me breakfast).
Katie terms what she does “invisible theater.” I like this concept a lot, sneaking up on people who think they’re living their lives, and subjecting them to a spontaneous, unacknowledged performance. Taken in another light, it might be considered pathological lying–but Katie is a bit too earnest to be characterized in that manner. More like, she is investigating different perspectives or aspects of society that she does not instinctively relate to, to see what they are about. This involves immersion, assimilation, to a certain degree. Currently, she is investigating “business.” In the interest of business, she co-founded Art Corp [pronounced with a hard “p”] Detroit, a “boutique consulting firm” that ostensibly serves to bridge the gap between interested outsiders and real Detroit. What it’s doing in actuality is a little bit slippery–like Hygienic Dress League, Katie has perhaps identified capitalism as an experimental medium for her art. In a country where capitalism rules the land, that is a very canny business move, you must agree.
This is just the tip of the iceberg, when it comes to Katie. In the span of breakfast, we touched on the amateur boxing that reshaped her nose, the underlying tension between control and not-control that figures in our individual relationships with drugs and alcohol, performative femininity, and how much money is enough money to make you happy. There’s quite a lot happening in the life of Katie Grace McGowan, and I am looking forward to our next meeting, which we will surely both be writing off as a business expense.