Image by Alek Morawski
Evan has a secret.PLAYLIST
Artist – Title
Kate NV – Bells Burp
Shy Layers – Tomorrow
PXA – Building 7
Ursula K. LeGuin & Todd Barton – A Music of the Eighth House
Kate NV – Grass in the Woods
Palmbomen II – Gerd Thomas
Christopher Wilits – Nucleus
Tashi Wada with Yoshi Wada and Friends – Niagara
Palmbomen II – John Lee Roche
Christopher Willits – Tonal
Generator 6 – Keith Fullerton Whitman
Generator 1 – Keith Fullerton Whitman
Evan – Artist
Walk me through your workout routine.
Like that I do now?
Oh, okay, um. So right now what I’ve been doing is I’ve been doing squats with weights. Not a ton of weight, again I’m getting old. But uh, but enough weights. And then I’ll shift to what’s called flies. As you’re laying on your back, imagine giving a big bear hug to someone, but with weights in each hand. That’s a fly motion. I will do ten repetitions squats, seventy reps, ten at a time, with about a minute of rest in between. And I’ll do eighty pounds in each hand, a lot of resistance. Weights. Ten reps. Fast. Seven. Weights. Intensive. Eighty pounds. Growth. Weights. Weights. Pretty high weight. Pretty high weight. Weight for that. This is just my latest thing. Three times. Four more reps, and twenty to thirty minutes. Ten. Seventy. Fifty. Two fifty. Sixty-five pounds. Eighty pounds. One. Sixty-fives again. One fifty. Two fifties. Eighty pounds in each hand. Forty pushups. Three different ways of hitting muscles. And I’ll do as many as I can. Until I can’t anymore, and I’ll just finish out the set until I’m dead.
The next three days I’m just sore and it feels so good. I honestly would like to feel like that all the time. I am not some kind of body builder, this is just, it’s reassuring to know that I’m in control.
So this was in the winter of 2003. I got an email from my friends. It said, “Our friend is visiting from here,” meaning Vienna, “Would you mind showing her around?” So I communicated my address to her, and she came over, and I buzzed her in. I was just really immediately taken aback by how attracted I was to her instantly. She had the most beautiful face. She had light blondish brown hair. I remember her eyes were tearing, and it was so appealing. The next day we met up, it was probably Friday. I remember the restaurant, I think we went to a restaurant on 8th street. We were in this back room, and we were there for like four hours. I mean we were just sitting there for hours and hours and hours. We then went back to my apartment. I just thought, I need to do this now. Time was of the essence, you know. So I go, it’s getting late, I’m gonna go, and she put on her jacket and I walked her to the door. And I grabbed her and kissed her. She had a scarf and this really nice brown leather jacket. And I remember holding her underneath the jacket on her waist when I was kissing her. Her personality changed immediately. When I first met her she seemed like, she seemed older than me, to be honest. She’s, she was twenty-two and I was twenty-nine. When I kissed her she was like a nineteen year old girl. She just became this excited young girl. Swept up in it, in the kiss. The only way I can explain it is, to go from something hard to something soft. Making statements to asking questions. It felt unblemished. Pure.
From then on, we were just really completely head over heels, like really into each other. We would just spend the nights together and then just like stay up all night talking. It was, it was, actually when I think about it now, it was the worst thing to do.
Okay. So at the time I was acting like a girl.
No, you can’t do that!
You have to like go there, like what did you think at the time?
I see, at the time I thought this is, I’m in love with this girl. And, I wanna just open up to her. Again, just saying it makes me–
[laugh] You cannot! I know it’s hard. We will go through it–
Alright, I need to be able to say [laugh].
We will end where you are now.
Good, alright, good.
We’re not gonna stay there, but we need to start there.
Yeah. Alright. For the next week and a half there was this sense of urgency, like we needed to be together every minute. Cram it in. Imagine that we’re spending a year together in eight days. Day finally came, we’re going to JFK, to the airport. And, I had an ipod, and ipods were so new, I had one of the first ones and it was very rare to have that. I this song by The Cars, Just What I Needed. In the cab on the way, she put the little white earphones in.
And we got to the airport and we took her in as far as we could. I just hugged her, and I just said, you’re gonna miss the plane. You gotta get through. That was it.
This whole thing was fourteen days that she was in New York. Two weeks, so it’s just so ridiculous when I think about it, but, there was something really powerful about that. I’ve never had it since.
We started having these hours long conversations on the phone. Laying in the dark in my room, staring at the ceiling, waiting for the card to run out. I was buying twenty dollar cards that would give us two hours. And about fifteen minutes before the end, this woman’s voice would come on and say, “You have fifteen minutes left.” And we’d talk right to the last second until it cut off. This isn’t over, this is only the beginning. We thought okay, now I’m gonna come to Europe, and I’m gonna spend time with you there, and then who knows what’s after that. I said, “Well, what do you think, should I come the first week of April? Should I come–” she said, “I want you to come today.” I remember her saying that, “I want you to come now.” Six weeks later I was there.
I remember getting off the plane. She was gonna be waiting for me at this certain gate, and I walked so slowly to go meet her. It, it w, there was a disconnect between what I thought this moment would be, like coming up to the gate and just being so easy. She was gonna just run up and hug me and kiss me and, but when I got there she was confused. She was definitely taken aback, and I could see a glimpse of disappointment. One of her family members had an apartment in West Berlin and we were staying there. I remember trying to act like I was the person that she met in New York. It was as if I couldn’t breathe, so it was hard to do that. It was hard to pretend. She got really cold. I was trying to get to the bottom of it by talking about it, and it was not working. It was like a snowball effect, increased my anxiety and made her annoyed. It was terrifying. She began to resent seeing me dependent on her. I was staying with her. I was following her around. That’s the way she put it. She did not see me as attractive the way I was acting.
There was one point where I was by myself. And I was going to use a pay phone, and suddenly a, from the side, I was shoved out of the way. And this big German guy, he was like six-four, just a big thug with like a flight jacket, combat boots. He was drunk, I could smell it. Comes over, took the phone out of my hand as I’m calling. It was just, never forget this, and just held me by the shoulders and just picked me up and moved me. I was just a, an insect that he was swatting out of the way. I remember just thinking that was humiliating, what just happened there. I just walked away with my head down. That’s how I remember it, cause I wanna remember it the most humiliating, demoralizing way. And then I left, and that was it. It ended on a positive note, but we were both trying to make it more positive than it was.
When I got back, I was at work, and I got a text, and it said, I need to talk to you. And I said, “What’s going on, I need you to tell me.” And she said, “I don’t know where to begin.” And I said, “Well, just begin from the beginning. What’s going on?” And she was stuttering, she wasn’t saying it, so I said, “Did you get back together with your boyfriend, is that what?” And she said, “No, no, no, nothing like that.” And I said, “Well, what is it?” And she said, “I can’t do this anymore. I have to end this.” And so of course I said, “Why, what happened?” And she said, “After you left, I looked back on the time you were here, and I realized that it just wasn’t working for me.” Part of me said, I know what she’s talking about, but I kept fighting for it. “I need an example, I need a reason.” And finally she just let it out, and she said, “I saw you as dependent on me when you were here. I can’t be with someone who’s weak” That’s what she said.
For months, I was depressed. I just felt like I was disintegrating. It was like I was trying to walk under water. Weeks after we had that conversation, I started working out, I started realizing okay, this is something I want, I wanna be physically in control.
[Thank you. Thank you.]
It was running up to the 2004 election at this point. So I really got into that.
[I’m, I’m John Kerry, and I’m reporting for duty!]
I was on the ground for months, I was flying back and forth, it was exciting. It was actually really cool. Politics is something I’d always been interested in. As a liberal democrat, I felt very strongly about, the Iraq war was a galvanizing issue. And I thought by doing this, by going out there and getting things stirred up that we were gonna make a difference.
We were staying at the houses of people who were donating places for us to sleep, and I remember coming back to the house and we stayed up late and we went swimming at like three in the morning, and the owners of the house were these aging revolutionaries. They were out with us, drinking and, I remember having this sense that it was the two eras. We’re the new blood, we’re the new voice, the revolutionaries, and they were in the sixties. Just this sense that we’re in this battle together. We were at war against George Bush, warmongers, the imperialists, the cruel uncaring conservatives.
[…is for Kerry, the red states are for Bush.]
[That’s right, this is the calm before the storm, none of these results are anything but expected, but I think the best way to tell these…]
They battled until the last minute. We left the hotel, went back to Columbus where we were gonna have the big party at the coolest bar on High Street in Columbus where all the young people are, and there it was, we were there at this bar with this huge screen and all of our people, seven o’clock, eight o’clock, nine o’clock. It was a pretty decisive win early in the night for Bush.
[Thank you all. Thank you all for coming. We had a long night. And a great night.]
I remember looking around and seeing these young, these college kids that we got enrolled, they weren’t too upset. And I remember thinking, they don’t get it. Their world wasn’t over. And I was upset, I was really, really upset. And I just took my bag, got in the car, and this was one AM. Didn’t say goodbye to anyone. And I drove back to New York. Why am I not crying? That’s what I kept thinking. Shouldn’t I be crying? I’m not crying.
When I got back to New York, I was really devastated. But what kept nagging at me was thinking about the people I had talked to. There were dozens of them who, when I talked to them, their views were very different than what I as a liberal or progressive believed. The way we would approach people when we did our get out the vote operation, we’d say, “Are you gonna vote?” And if they said yes, we’d say, “Alright, do you consider yourself a progressive voter?” That was our line. And al, they would always say yes, cause we’d profile them on how they looked. And I remember going up to this gay couple. I said, “Are you, are you progressive voters?” And they looked at each other and they said, “No, I, I wouldn’t say so. I’m concerned about the government having too much control over my life and, to be honest in the bedroom.” And in my mind, I always thought, “Well, someone who’s gay, if they’re voting conservative, they’re voting against their best interests, but the way they saw it was, no, we’re actually voting for our interests. We believe less government is less intrusive. And I thought back to those people, and I just thought, why don’t they understand that they’re voting against their best interests? And it was frustration, and then, I had this moment where I just thought, maybe they’re right. Maybe there’s something bigger here that I’m not noticing, that I’m not seeing. And I remember like really going back and talking to some of my friends when I got back from Ohio after the election, and just saying, you know I, I’m really starting to think the Republicans are onto something.
I’m a carpenter, I use tools all the time. I’m installing a door, and I’m using a certain device to make sure that the jamb is plumb and level, and it keeps coming out wrong. And then someone introduces me to a different device that works completely differently, but the result is the same result as what I was trying to set out to achieve in the first place. I’m going to go with the new device, I’m going to use the new tool. I would listen to these conservative radio shows while I was working. I had a studio in TriBeCa. I would be there alone at night. It was the only time I could do it when no one else was listening, cause it was important that no one else heard.
[So Ms. Fluke, and the rest of you feminazis, here’s the deal.]
I’d listen to Rush Limbaugh.
[If we are going to pay for your contraceptives, and thus pay for you to have sex, we want something for it. And I’ll tell you what it is, we want you to post the videos online so we can all watch.]
I listened to Bill O’Reilly.
[So, it is very important for all honest citizens to know.]
First, it just seemed like, oh, I’m just being defiant.
[You are not getting accurate information.]
This is just shaking things up.
[And that there is a radical element in this country that wants to destroy it. If this continues, there will be a breaking point.]
But the more I listened to it, the more it just made absolute sense.
[At the root of it, liberals are unhappy because they can’t stand freedom, freedom is a threat. Freedom threatens their desire for total control and obedience.]
I remember working in that studio on drawings and just having debates with people in my head who weren’t there, and trying on new versions of this new conservative viewpoint. It’s like I’m driving a car and I’m running off the road, and I try to correct it by turning the wheel the other way, but then, then I go too far the other way, and I feel myself go up on two wheels, and I start rolling. And finally when my car comes to a screeching halt in the ditch on the side of the road, I realize, this is the new counter-culture. This the revolution that I’ve been looking for.
I’d always felt comfortable with this idea that the left is flawed, but if you carry it through till its logical conclusion, it’s preferable to the right, which is flawed, but if you follow it through to its logical conclusion, I thought it was the end of the world, fascism, etc. The left, I thought, well that was tolerable. And what’d dawned on me was, if you follow the left far enough, it is the right. What I began to see was that it wasn’t about, you know, liberating people and freedom, it was really about consolidating control into the hands of a few in order to control the largest of the population by means of making the people essentially dependent on the government. And that to me was chilling.
It was like 2010. 2008 I voted for Obama, and by 2009 I was really unhappy with Obama. And I really got excited about the, tea party movement, and so when that was happening, I decided to change my registration to be a Republican, because I just thought, I wanna try to just win. I want conservatism in some form. It’s never gonna be perfect, but I want a Republican to win.
[Ladies and gentlemen, I am officially running for President of the United States, and we are going to make our country great again!]
I remember this last summer, so 2015, a year and a half before the election, when Trump was gaining momentum, I would watch his rallies, and I thought, wow, there’s something here, that’s, that I’ve never seen before and I’m really excited about. Because he was getting so much press coverage, his little interactions with the press would all get played. There are two that stick out to me where I said I am, I’m on board. It was on MSNBC. There was probably fifty people at a press conference, and Trump, and a journalist said that, “When you use the term anchor baby, do you not see how that is insulting?” And Trump, he paused, and he turned to this journalist really genuinely curious he said, “Well, wait a minute,” as if he’d never considered that before, and he said, “Oh, well what do you propose I use instead?”
[Are you aware that the term “anchor baby,” that’s an offensive term?
You mean it’s not politically correct and yet everybody uses it? So you know what, give me a different term, give me a different term, what else would you like to say?]
The journalist says, “Well, what about undocumented children of parents of, da da da da, immigrant, da da da da, da da da da da da,” and it was this really long-winded thing. Trump just, he really considered it for a second, and then he said, “No, that takes too long, I’m gonna keep using anchor baby.”
[You want me to say that okay, no, I’ll use the word anchor baby. Excuse me. I’ll use the word anchor baby.]
Amazing. I mean for me, it just. When I saw that, I just thought, wow. This is a whole different ball game now. I’m sold, here. Just thought, I want this man to win.
I kept to myself, especially when I started seeing what my New York friends were thinking of Trump, I just said, I’m not gonna get into this with anybody, it just doesn’t make sense. They were already calling him worse than Hitler, and all this stuff, so, you can’t argue with that. It’s just, that’s a non-starter. There are many people, acquaintances and in my circle who do not know, I don’t talk about it to them. So I’m still in the closet with a lot of them.
A friend that I met when I first moved to New York, we were very close for about fifteen years. And I told him, I said, “Listen, I’ve had a lot of changes with my personal political views.” And I remember seeing this look of um, frustration, disapproval, and anger. The following week he sent me, I remember it was an email, and he said, “Do you still support Trump after reading this?” And finally I just caved in, and I replied. I have to say I remember writing back in a way that was very just, fuck you. And I remember the last thing I wrote was, “Trump is love.”
[Build the wall, build the wall, build the wall…]
I’ve been watching his rallies since the beginning, and I see a connection with the people that is more than some populist dictator.
[Yeah, okay, okay! We’ll build the wall! But who’s gonna pay for the wall?]
Chanting to the people that were mesmerized.
Absolutely right, you got it right, folks!]
It’s genuine connection to his banter.
[Oh, they love that wall. Hey, is it fun to be at a Trump rally?]
The result is, it’s love.
[This is a movement like people have never seen before.]
Living in New York as someone who has a background as an artists, and I’m conservative. It definitely feels like about as defiant as I can get. I talk to some of my friends who are also conservative intellectuals, and, I mean we just talk about it all the time, we really are the resistance. It feels like revolutionary. It feels like we are fighting a war, and right now, it feels like we’re winning.
What are you fighting against?
I mean, I, I’m gonna say it and try not to sound like a conspiracy theorist, but I really do see a–what we’re fighting against is this faceless, nameless government control. George Soros, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, this leftward push, and it’s showing up in schools, it’s showing up in colleges, it’s showing up in our movies and TV shows, and culture. We’re fighting against it, and Trump is the general, and he is leading the fight.
You’ve talked about a bunch of things that make you become the person you are, but I just wanna know how much this relationship with the Austrian girl shaped the person you’ve become today.
It was a turning point when I met her. It forced me to reconsider myself as a man in relationships and in society. And it’s probably because it was really hurtful at the time. She told me a couple days after I got back, called me to say that it was off. She told me that she saw me as weak. That’s not what she wanted. Like it or not, I took that in, I did see that she was spot-on. I was weak, I was dependent. I have contempt for that, I have contempt for the person that I was at times then.
Do you think you would’ve handled the relationship different if you had been who you are today?
Yes. Oh my god, I think about that all, of course. Are you kidding? I wouldn’t have built it up into this fantasy that’s impossible to achieve by having these hour long conversations every night for two months until I got there. I certainly wouldn’t’ve let this giant skinhead pull me out of the phone booth, I mean, [laugh]. I dream of doing that over.
Now being a conservative, now I embrace the masculinity, and I know that this is good. Once I got over the, the shame of that, of acknowledging, okay, I actually think there’s something to the fact that men and women are completely different. That is one of the most liberating things I’ve ever experienced. When I’m with conservative women, it’s like we can all breathe. We’re out somewhere, or we’re at a weekend on a trip together or something, it’s totally, not only fine, but it’s actually desirable for all of us if the women are going to get up, they’re going to prepare something, they’re gonna serve it to us, and we’re gonna sit here and smoke cigars, and maybe we’re gonna go and chop down that tree, and split the wood, and bring it in. That’s fine. We all just know, it’s okay if the women right now, these women with PhDs who are clearly smarter than me, it’s not about that. It’s just completely liberating because I don’t have to worry about, oh, I hope it’s not offensive that the men are going out to chop the wood and you girls are gonna be preparing the whatever for dinner later, or, that’s an extreme example, but it gets to what the difference is between my life having been a liberal where there were all these micro-adjustments we had to make, and it becomes so exhausting! Being with conservatives, we don’t get bogged down in that stuff. We just do what men and women have done for millennia.
I just, I really have a problem with feminism, I love when I meet a woman who says I hate feminism. A lot of people think, oh feminists hate men, but what I think is feminists hate women. Feminists value men and the roles of men so much that they actually want to become men. Why is the role of men, the tradition role of men, the CEO, the programmer, the Navy Seal. These are just things that men happen to be good at. Why is that so superior, in the eyes of a feminist, that the women have to be equally represented in those areas? That’s just not the way it is naturally. The roles of women are equally valuable.
Do you think it’s important that women are equally represented in these positions of power?
No, I think it’s important that they aren’t. That is preposterous, that’s ridiculous, why would we do that? What we need to do is just let things be natural.
Do you think women should be CEOs?
[laugh] Should be is a, is the operative word. Absolutely they should be allowed to, I mean if that’s the question, of course. Do, are they? Rarely. Why? It has nothing to do with the system. It has to do with evolution.
So, I’ll open the closet here, and the first thing I have is, a, an official Make America Great Again hat. I wanna have a red one just because, that’s the one that’s gonna be in museums someday. About a year ago I got this one, which I love. And it says, “Trump 2016 Fuck Your Feelings.” It’s an incredibly inspiring message. What this shirt is saying for me is, letting our feelings guide our decisions has gotten us into trouble as a country. Up until now, we weren’t dealing with the reality of the situation and the mess the country was in. We were so worried about everybody’s feelings. Trump came along and he said, “Fuck your feelings, these are the facts. Everybody knows this is to be true on a gut level. Let’s face it, let’s fix it, and let’s move forward.”
Yeah. But it also d-, I mean, Trump is one of the most emotional politicians I’ve ever seen.
[laugh] Yeah, I mean, that’s, that’s funny because uh, he might have what some people consider a thin skin, or he might get agitated really quickly. But I don’t see it that way, I see that he is calm, I think he’s level-headed. He doesn’t get personally offended. What he does is he fights back. It’s really inspiring to see someone on my side who doesn’t sit there and take it. He just has this very undeniably masculine way about him. He’s an alpha-male in the classic sense. You would never confuse Trump with a woman.
What happened is we got confused somewhere along the way. Men feel fear, and anger, primarily. Men started thinking that what they were feeling is what the women were describing they were feeling, and we convinced ourselves as men that we’re feeling this vast range of emotion that women are feeling because we’re in this society that, we just kinda share a lot of these things and, there’s no real threats to us that would force men to rely on these traditional characteristics going back tens of thousands of years that, I don’t know, does any of this make any sense?
It’s a, I mean I just, I’m really, I’m just trying to understand, you just never cry anymore.
Oh no, so that’s not, no, I think that, of course you cry. Definitely, you feel sadness, don’t get me wrong, you feel, you feel joy that leads you to cry. But as far as the makeup of a man, I just think it’s a lot more limited compared to what a woman experiences. When I get emotional, it’s because I’ve seen for years men who are not being men. I actually think that when I have emotions, I think that I’m lying to myself.
What I like about conservatism is black and white language. I like the confidence. What I don’t like about liberalism is the nuance. It’s just too much apology, too much grey area.
What I keep thinking when I hear that is that, it sounds like you’re just overwhelmed by the complexity of the world, and that’s just a way to hide from that, to like simplify the world in black and white.
That’s absolutely true. Overwhelmed by the complexity of the world. Guilty as charged, a hundred percent. I think that’s true.
Can you understand why people might see this not as a strength but as a weakness?
No, I can’t understand that.
Wait, so, what dream did you have?
Uh, okay, I wasn’t going to talk about that but, um, I had, after, after we recorded last time, we kinda got into a debate you and I about immigration, and refugee crisis and Europe. So that night I slept, and in my dream it was–I mean, I have a lot of nightmares, so it was a dark, it was, I think most dreams are kinda dark in general for me. But it was… I was seeing myself as a racist. I know I’m not, and I know my views on immigration have nothing to do with race, but in my dream I was seeing myself that way. I think I was with some white nationalist types or alt-right types in this dream, and I could tell that I was one of them now, and it was, okay, well, maybe you’re a racist, but, this is the reality of it. Welcome to the other side, the dark side. It was like I was seeing myself, maybe as I would’ve seen myself years ago if I had had that conversation with myself. It was one of those dreams that I woke up just, not screaming, but just, thank god, like I was gasping for air and it was scary. And then I realized, no, no, that’s not the reality. You’re just, you’re being pragmatic, you’re being clear-minded, you’re not an extremist.
And then you woke up, and then you checked Trump’s twitter feed, and everything was alright in the end.
Everything was okay. [Laugh]. Yes, back in reality, thank god. Every once in a while I’ll have a dream and he’s not the president, and then I wake up in a panic, and I have to check twitter to make sure that, ahh, okay, yes, he’s still president.
Nick van der Kolk, Host and Director
Julia DeWitt, Producer
Emily Ulbricht, Producer