Writer, composer and performance artist Clay Cane has been showing the stuff he’s made of ever since he was 10 years-old. From an early age the NY/NJ area resident developed a precocious spirit as he documented random observances in a journal. Shortly thereafter he began to write his own lyrics to popular music of his favorite recording artist. Today he’s an accomplished writer his works have appeared on Vibe.com, Men’s Fitness and BlackPlanet.com. Recently Mr. Cane, 28, chatted with Legends Magazine about his soon to be published book, and the equally anticipated opening of Sex God & Heels, a collection of plays that explore sexuality and religion.
LEGENDS: Where did you get concept for Sex, God & Heels from?
CLAY: I wanted to bring some elements of my blog to the stage — the craziness, laughs, shock and fun. I worked on these four plays, which will be presented March 17th at the LGBT Center in Manhattan, in a playwriting class and realized I had thematic stories that all linked together I was inspired by legendary filmmaker John Waters (Pink Flamingos, Serial Mom) and overdosed on his films while finishing the plays in late December. Also, at the end of the day … isn’t that what it all boils down to good sex, a loving God and some HOT footwear?
LEGENDS: Explain your views on religion and sexuality?
CLAY: I believe sexuality is extremely spiritual — just like religion is, or at least should be, spiritual. When someone attempts to debase someone because of their own oppressive views on what “God” wants — that creates nothing positive. If you teach someone that they are an abomination, or spiritually inferior, where can they go from there? However, when you have so many people telling you, you’re going to “hell” the only thing many people can turn to is spirituality…. but some people just like to join the bandwagon instead of dealing with who they really are — like “certain unnamed” homophobic church queens that hit on more boys than “an unnamed pop star” at a children’s hospital!
LEGENDS: When were you first published? And under what circumstances?
CLAY: I was approached to write for BlackPlanet.com by an editor whom overheard a group of kids on the train talking about my book on the ballroom scene. A few months later I started a blog to promote my work and that offered me most of my freelance gigs. I urge all aspiring writers to start a blog and to take it seriously. Blogs are more than online journals; it’s an avenue to publish your work. Just take it seriously – if you really want to be a writer.
LEGENDS: I understand that you have played in many venues in NYC tell us more about your music career.
CLAY: I have performed at CBGB’s, The Bitter End, The Elbow Room and various venues in the New York City area.
LEGENDS: What’s the tea on your book about the ball scene?
CLAY: My (soon to be published) first novel is Ball Shaped-World it is a fictionalized account of the Black and Latino ballroom scene from the perspective of an 18 year old male. My first encounter with the scene occurred in 1996. I met most of the ballroom kids at organization called Colours, Inc in Philadelphia. In 1998 I moved to New York where I walked for “face” a couple times as a member of the House of Latex. A friend once commented that it would sure be nice if someone wrote a book about the ball scene and that’s where it all started.
LEGENDS: The late Herman Williams (aka Marcel Christian LaBeija author of a series of writings called The Idle Sheets and a special contributor to Legends Magazine) was the self appointed historian of the ball scene. Marcel was a member of the house of Christian Bazaar; I believe it was started in the 70s. During the 1980s he used to distribute the Idle Sheets at the balls. He wrote a manuscript and hired an agent to shop it to all the major publishing houses unfortunately there were no takers. After a series of agents and re-writes he gave up on his dream for a short while, unfortunately Mr. LaBeija died before he had the chance to finish yet another manuscript.
CLAY: I heard LaDuchess Wong wrote a book about the scene in the 70s. The ball scene is just like any other sub-culture there’s a place for any one who has been rejected or exiled. It’s hard to write a nonfiction book on the ball scene because it’s easy to offend people or not tell the entire story. And not two participants share the same views or story. I must stress that Ball Shaped-World is fictional.
About Clay Cane
Marital Status: “I’m chillin’ right now”
Residence: NY/NJ. He’s originally from southern Washington — close to Portland, Oregon. However Mr. Cane was raised in West Philadelphia. He currently attends Rutgers University majoring in African-American Studies.
Favorite Foods: I’m a picky eater I do not do dairy products, I try to eat healthy like chicken, turkey and vegetables but I do like my junk food.
Favorite Movie: My favorite movie of 2005 was Trans America and Brother 2 Brother.
What’s playing in his CD player? I have a MP3 right now it has Janis Joplin, 9 Inch Nails and Jennifer Holliday in it.