Walking Through Clear Water in a Pool Painted Black [Launch]

Thursday, June 9, 2022, 7:00 pm
2220 Arts + Archives

2220 Beverly Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90057

Semiotex(e) partners with Dirty Looks + Poetic Research Bureau to launch the first collected edition of legendary writer, actress, and adventurer Cookie Mueller. Featuring the entire contents of her 1990 book Walking through Clear Water in a Pool Painted Black, this new title contains more than two dozen other writings, many previously unpublished. Join readers Michelle Tea, Chris Kraus, Nikki Darling, Ron Athey, Drew Arriola-Sands, and DL Alvarez as we celebrate a life lived on the edge, with previously unscreened footage of Mueller’s last reading at the Poetry Project in 1989.

Legendary as an underground actress, female adventurer, and East Village raconteur, Cookie Mueller's first calling was to the written word: "I started writing when I was six and have never stopped completely," she once confessed. Mueller's 1990 Walking through Clear Water in a Pool Painted Black, the first volume of the Semiotext(e) Native Agents series, was the largest collection of stories she compiled during her life. But it presented only a slice of Mueller's prolific work as a writer. This new, landmark volume collects all of Mueller's stories: from the original contents of Clear Water, to additional stories discovered by Amy Scholder for the posthumous anthology Ask Dr. Mueller, to selections from Mueller's art and advice columns for Details and the East Village Eye, to still "new" stories collected and published here for the first time. Olivia Laing's new introduction situates Mueller's writing within the context of her life—and our times.

Michelle Tea is the author of over a dozen books, including the cult classic Valencia and the essay collection Against Memoir, winner of an award from PEN/America. Her memoir Knocking Myself Up: A Memoir of My In/Fertility will be published this August. She is the co-creator of many literary interventions including Drag Queen Story Hour and the international Sister Spit performance tours, which will hit the road this year to celebrate its 25th anniversary. She’s a 2021 Guggenheim Fellow.

Chris Kraus’s eight books include the novels I Love Dick and Summer of Hate and the non-fiction books Where Art Belongs and After Kathy Acker. She lives in Los Angeles and teaches writing at ArtCenter College of Design, Pasadena.

Nikki Darling holds a PhD in Literature and Creative Writing from USC. Her debut novel, Fade Into You, was published by Feminist Press in 2018, and is currently being adapted into a scripted series. She is completing her second book, The Call Is Coming From Inside the House. She lives in L.A. with her cat, small dog, and partner.

Ron Athey is an artist, self-taught in the LA underground music and queer art scenes of the late 1970s. He has exhibited work internationally like the 1992 performance Martyrs & Saints at LACE, 4 Scenes In A Harsh Life (1994) and The Solar Anus (1998). Acephalous Monster, his 2018 PSNY commission recently completed a 7-city UK tour and a sold-out run at REDCAT in 2021. Queer Communion, a touring retrospective of his performance objects, props and ephemera opened in February 2021 at Participant Inc, before traveling to ICA Los Angeles.

Drew Arriola-Sands is a musician and artist and currently the lead singer of L.A. queercore punk band Trap Girl. Drew is also the founder and main organizer of Transgress Fest which is the first music festival in the U.S. to center around trans identifying musicians that has run since 2016. Drew is also a writer of the popular zines Im a trap girl and The transgender experience part 1&2. Drew’s past projects include The Andrea Dangerfield Band and Commando from San Francisco.

DL Alvarez works with narrative in multiple mediums. They’ve shown internationally (Venice Biennale, New York MoMA, Armand Hammer Museum…), and were published most recently in Impossible Voices, Panda’s Friends, and Crooked Fagzine.