Opera queens (gay men who are fans of opera) collect the ephemera of opera to a degree which borders on hoarding: recordings, programs, pictures, signatures, interviews, memories, etc. There is no larger system by which they capture or organize this information, nor is there anything these men do with what they collect.

Instead of using personal knowledge management systems, opera queens are personal information management. They are the tool which captures information. They are the reservoir of experience and memory. Opera queens “want names…to be corporeal,” and they themselves become that embodied information through the process of collecting it.

I keep a tiny “Opera Journal” in which I list every opera performance I attend. (I rarely include recitals.) I list the opera, the house, the principal singers, the date. But there’s no room for evaluation or criticism. The purpose of a list is not to refine or browbeat, but to include, and to move toward a future moment when accumulation stops and the list-keeper can cull, recollect, and rest on the prior amplitude.1

Opera queens catalogue their highs; they don’t categorize or explain. Memoirs of operagoing take the form of laterally spreading reminiscences, on after another, with no sequence except chronology.1

List-making is a prophylaxis against loss. Lists perform sympathetic magic: we want names (of operas, theaters, divas, roles) to be corproreal.1

  1. [[The Queen’s throat: opera, homosexuality, and the mystery of desire]] by [[Wayne Koestenbaum]] ↩︎ ↩︎ ↩︎