By Besha Rodell
By Patrick Range McDonald
By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
“I know, it sounds so dumb, but I was in trouble a lot. I got in trouble for stealing, for drinking, for that kind of stuff. It was a pretty strict family.”
And there were always boy issues, it seems. “I was, uh, fat, about 50 or 60 pounds heavier, all through high school,” she says. “And when you grow up fat, you definitely do not see the best side of boys.”
“Did you badly want approval from boys?” I ask.
“I’m not a lesbian,” Weedman jokes. The gay thing is a running gag with her — she is constantly being pegged as the jolly dyke by Hollywood casting.
“What I’m getting at is, were you a slut?”
“Yeah, um, not good boundaries. Growing up, I wasn’t very smart, so flattered if anybody liked me. My mom would be like, You don’t have to kiss the guy at 7-Eleven. And I’d be like, But he asked me.”
“How old were you when you had your first gangbang?”
“Seven. But that’s different, that’s like family stuff. That’s more reunions and that kind of thing. It wasn’t anything, you know, painful.”
Truly painful is what probably amounts to the first major turning point in her life, when she was in her first year of college at DePaul University in Chicago. After a rough night during which she’d been ditched by everyone at a party, she went back to her dorm room feeling lost and lonely and called her ex-boyfriend, who, it turns out, was gay, and told him a little lie: that she’d been raped. It worked. Suddenly she was the center of attention. Unfortunately, her roommate overheard the conversation and by the time Weedman woke up the next morning, she was in the proverbial system, as a rape victim.
The fallout from that incident provides much of the impetus for Wreckage, perhaps her best-known show locally, one that played at Highways Performance Space in Santa Monica in 2004 and at REDCAT in 2005. Watching Wreckage, and watching Weedman get entangled in her own web of deceit, and, more to the point, the traps sprung from her need for attention and approval of any kind, is like watching a self-immolation, only it’s hilarious. Though, Weedman cautions, “I wouldn’t recommend it to the youth.”
Not surprisingly, she left school. Almost as not surprising is that she took up with a 32-year-old “waiter–spiritual seeker–meditation guy” who drove them out to Colorado on his motorcycle to live in the Rockies. She was 19.
“Then he found Jesus and asked me to sleep on the couch until he could figure out if sex was ‘right’ or not,” says Weedman. “We broke up.”
Eventually, she went back to school, this time at Indiana University, where she met a 6-foot-7-inch Dutch guy who was getting his master’s in film directing. She moved to Amsterdam with him in 1991, when she was 21.
“I wanted to get Indiana out of my system. I wanted to have a break from who they thought I was when I left. I did not want to be that person anymore,” she tells me. “It was kind of heavy, but for one, I was known as a rape victim and I wasn’t raped.”
Weedman and her Dutchman broke up soon after they got to Amsterdam.
“Dutch people in Indiana are very exciting,” she says, “but among their own people? Not as thrilling.”
“Are they still tall?”
“Super tall, still holding on to that. Still blond and very stoic,” she says.
Weedman spent the next four years having what she describes as a very fine ex-pat experience. “I was just sort of . . . a heroin prostitute,” she says, gamely sawing away at her too-gamey chicken. “I was more fit then, it was different.”
She didn’t really sell herself on the streets, but she did start studying experimental theater. I ask if that meant miming, because experimental theater in Europe must mean miming. “No,” she says. “I was always like, well, one of the roles I had was ‘Crazy Lady Under the Bridge.’ I was always in sort of odd roles where it was, like, ‘Okay, you’re a piece of paper, you’re representing a piece of paper in this play, but you’re torn . . . You know, it was always this weird kind of stuff. But I also did straight American plays.”
There are a couple of themes that run through Weedman’s life and, by extension, her work. There is her transparent ambition, something she has a love-hate relationship with and is able to observe as acutely and cuttingly as an outsider might, and there is her constant desire to start over and find a place that feels like home. These impulses are often in conflict with each other. In 1995, she chose to start over in Seattle, a place that seemed like it might accommodate both. “I wanted a liberal, coastal, culturally vibrant city,” she says. “And I wanted it to be a place with a vibrant gay culture, even though [in a deep voice] I am not gay.”