have given this man the right to wear fishnets, sneakers and fuchsia briefs draped with pink chiffon. As the sign says, "So much more to come". Can't wait.
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
While I'm happy for Dick and Gary, I am even more delighted with the plus and minus signs after their proclamation. Classic dilemma. How do you fix the anniversary? First meeting? First night? Move-in date? I can imagine them nattering away at each other about this for more or less forty-eight years. C and I would never do that...
In a very real sense, the policemen stationed on the parade side of the baracades are part of the spectacle of NYC Pride. This one stood in one spot for nearly three hours looking heart-stompingly fantastic.The full lips of Fabian. The arms. The seething green eyes. The immense shoes. The big ole wedding ring.
I kept trying to count the number of times we have found ourselves in the center of a crowd just like this. How many men have we bumped into in this type of crowd and had sex with, on the spot? How many of those moments have produced friendships? The next day, a gorgeous Panamanian named Alejandro (dazzling teeth, brilliant black hair) text messaged us: "Did you have fun?". Our reply: "Still in bed". He had the decency not to respond.
With the assistance of this fellow, I got up onto the bleachers to take a crowd pic. For a while we moved to the music and toasted each others' Bud Lite in metalic blue containers. We looked at the long lines in front of the Port-o-lets and I expressed my heartfelt need to piss. He pointed out a row of guys who were relieving themsleves through the chain link fence that separated the back stage area from the public area. I joined them and soon found myself pissing over heaps of wiring leading to the stage and the speakers. This can't be wise, I thought, and yet, these other men whose precedent setting streamage had overlapped mine, have not been fried nor has anything been shorted out. Back on the bleachers, I expressed my fear that a policeman might have spotted my transgression. He told me that his lover had been a cop. They had been together for eight and a half years. He was one of the victims of 9/11. He still wears his ring.
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
Folsom Street East is an NYC copy of an SF street fair known for (so I’m told) the daylit display of fetishized sex in startling realism. The NYC version subtracts the sex, substituting the production of sweat and the drinking of bad beer. (Once again, I am reminded what a starchy, straight-laced Puritanical town this really is. Anyway, nobody sweats like a New Yorker, producing a slick and friendly crowd under a hot sky on the melting pavement of West 28th Street.)
Bloggers, like little boys in bumper cars at an amusement park, are soon happily gridlocked in front of a bar. Any bar. And so it is that we are swaying among the steamed with Dagon, Tom, Glenn, Neil and Bryce, Joe, Mark, Eddie, and Eric (who is in Fire-Island-worthy excellence of shape, not that he isn’t always). Among the blogless are Damian who confides “When I lived in Montreal, my daddy didn’t allow any soap in the house…” and Ken who says into my other ear “I really have to piss but I’m afraid to break the seal.” Someone tells a story involving the key question, “Is your dick always that big?” and I shout out a request to Joe that he tell the Linke story and then we get swallowed up by a wave of big shoulders and from a distance of twenty feet away, I crest to see that Joe is well into it with the rapt attention of three novice listeners. Ken and I trade stories about the first time a man took out his teeth while giving us head, and we both fondly recall a forehead-denting attic cross-beam at the baths in New Orleans.
These photos are indicative of the costuming of the day, which was varied. The “Utilikilt”, a recent garment that will probably never be popular, was shown in a variety of colors including camouflage (because one never knows when the need to pass unseen in a rainforest while wearing kilts might arise).
The man with the sweater-clipped jock should be reminded that a real lady always pauses at the mirror before going out for an evening and removes one piece of jewelry.
The man with the fuzzy butt clenching the American Spirit cigarette pack should be slapped sensible. Dear Lord.
And, here are some revelers unknown to me but sweet to review, including the token female, whose rack is, I suspect, God-given.
Saturday, June 17, 2006
C is forever trying to get me to go to Brooklyn with him. He’s Mayflower stock, and I think the need to Go-Forth is in his blood. I’m Mediterannean. We Sit-Back. We had energy a couple of thousand years ago. We built stuff. It got ruined. Five hundred years ago, we sort of woke up and painted stuff. What’s left is framed in gold. “Feh” to rushing about.
C will put down the paper and emit the solemn tones reserved for the announcement of an exhibit, performance, open studio, razing or even the non-eventfully simple need to trudge about in some neighborhood on the verge of being proclaimed “Hot”.
Sometimes the newspaper lands in front of me with a swat upon the table and a tohljahso “See?” open to an article called “Bushwick!”, and I am silently accused of neglect for having scorned his suggestion several months ago that we explore an area that has now received in-print fawning.
At that point, I know it’s safe for me to say “OK. Take me to Bushwick.”, because once the Times has un-cached yet another cranny of Brooklyn, C loses interest in its discovery. (Is Bushwick not in Brooklyn? “Feh” to the details. It’s across water.)
With this in mind, you will understand his easy agreement with my suggestion that we attend a Pride party in the Clinton Hill section of Brooklyn at the home of the drolly effervescent and retroswoonular GayestNeil and Bryce .
We met up with Joey at Grand Central station at the appointed hour having taken the #1 Train to Times Square where we got on the Shuttle.
I do love the Shuttle. It’s my favorite line. You don’t have to think. It does only one thing. A to B and back. If you lose your umbrella, you turn around and there it is. If you fall asleep on the Shuttle, well really, what’s the worse that can happen? Not like some lines whose final destinations are places of mystery. I see their names posted on schematics in the safer stations of our routine. End-o’-the-line stops such as Far Rockaway. That’s an un-manned stop, frequently underwater, where packs of snarling dogs live off candy wrappers snagged in tumbleweed. If C should propose a visit to the Rockaways, I would agree, having set our affairs in order, and packing hard cheeses and ale. Later, I suggest this excursion to Joe who glazes over, this being only his second venturing out of Manhattan. (C popped his outer-borough cherry with an earlier trip to Brooklyn to hear absurd music.)
Joey is in high spirits, and we note our recent cosmetic inversions: he is newly beardless, and I have grown it in, and darkened it to effect the air of a convict newly released by dint of DNA. He is also displaying formidable calves as big as those turning cylinders of steaming meat one sees in the windows of some Turkish restaurants. These calves will be required for the schleppage of thirty copies of a Pride-related magazine and an industrial sized bottle of Bud Lite, a commemorative one-gallon collectible novelty which he intends to open at the party.
While Joey and C caucus about the itinerary and determine where we ought to exit, I am left to ruminate, having exhausted several sexual fantasies about the other riders. I think back on the dozens of Pride events I have attended. Some moving, some loud, some lame and some brilliant. Last year, at NYC Pride, we were with BJ and his boyfriend. That was their first date. A week from now they’ll be celebrating an anniversary.
Pride, naturally robbed over time of its defiance, has evolved into a celebration tempered by respectability. Glitter, made permissible, loses its glit. These days, we march not so much to establish our frontiers, but to patrol our borders, and that is OK for the moment. As I’ve said, there are times when it’s good to Sit-Back and catch a bit of breath. The clarion call of battle reaches us soon enough and without our seeking it out.
We are walking several blocks from the subway to the party house in warm sun while Joe explains that he is carrying his goods in a flight bag that he had thrown out because of a broken zipper. He retrieved it from the trash to give it one more outing and after emptying it, he entirely fills Neil and Bryce’s kitchen trash can with it.
I proclaim New York to be the best place in the world for finding great stuff in the trash, not to denigrate trash in other cities yielding some of our most cherished furnishings including a candlestick with a big brass ball encased in iron and wooden rings, an art deco washing machine agitator, a high chair, a Canadian officer’s chest and so much more.
The party is full of shiny happy people. Some are men. Some are women. Some are doctors. Some are DJs. Some are young. Some are younger. I am looking into a bowl of guacamole as big as the sandpit of Jabba the Hut. There is only one bed in the apartment. As I think Neil and Bryce use it simultaneously, I begin to suspect that they might both be Queers, but I assume a sort of delirious British denial about the whole sordid possibility.
With the sun dipping into the west, we all scamper up onto the roof armed with beakers of pink fizz invented by Tim and Mark and a blender. A bright yellow feral parakeet stitches swags and festoons into the pink clouds overhead and finally comes to rest on the parapet. We fall silent as Joe tiptoes toward it with a hand extended. The bird seems to regard him without fear as he moves closer. At the last moment before contact, it flies off, and we exhale. A survivor, uncaged and high above it all, golden, elusive and having its season, just out of reach, maybe gone tomorrow, maybe back next year.
Later that night, we fall into step with those who march. I sing to the melodies prescribed. In the new darkness of an outdoor table I look across at the brilliant smile on the beautiful face of C. I bump shoulders with Joey who, seated beside me, is charming the pants off the guys on the sidewalk. I accept the card of a young stranger who has jumped the fence and claimed the fourth place at our table. I hold no green card in the future. With no franchise, I often make myself useful, gathering up the empty wine glasses of the snoring gods who have the power to let me stay awhile. I do so love being alive.
Friday, June 09, 2006
An apartment on Pelayo in Madrid was emptied of its contents which ended up on the street in a dumpster. Maybe the resident died, or disappeared.There was a gorgeous wooden trunk, a very old wall mounted hat rack and lots of desirable furniture and vintage household items. All of it disappeared before sundown. Only one thing fit into our luggage: this odd game board that looks to be pre-1950. Parchesi was on the reverse.
Wednesday, June 07, 2006
And yet, didn’t I get that certain slide of shoulder and his distinctive unwillingness to sit in a chair in accordance with its design?
They say it’s difficult to render the faces of those closest to you, and in these cases, my first strikes at the paper were to the limbs. The faces came last and were rushed while calling for la quenta over empty espresso cups. Complicating the process is the fact that he won’t sit still, not even for a photo. Further, during both sessions, he was looking down at his writing, and squinting in the full sun, having not packed sun glasses and unwilling to wear the extra pair I packed and never giving over enough time to select a new pair from the many street vendors he stepped around.
I should have simply blocked in the face, the same way I color-blocked the other areas first. I was thinking Milton Avery at the onset of each sketch. He certainly never fed much detail into his faces, and he’d raise one of his vaguely drawn eyebrows at the comparison.
Also, I never know when to quit. Had I photographed these when they were, in my estimation, half done, or, had I been arrested by some guardian angel who’d have stayed my hand before screwing things up, the result would have been nicely sophisticated rather than passably jaunty.
I’ll put these away for ten years and then we’ll see what better evokes the memory of those moments, the photos or the sketches.
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
We happened upon this group in one of the many small squares that allow some light into the narrow streets of the Lavapies neighborhood. At first we thought it was a child's birthday party brought outside, but our assumptions were jarred by the picture displayed against the window. It's a precocious child whose Dia di Nacimiento is celebrated by the display of a pair of disembodied black stilletto-heeled dominatrix boots
Sunday, June 04, 2006
In the rare moments when we are not in motion, perhaps on the train, or finally in bed at 3:30AM, C says to me ¨So. Which do you like better?" Sometimes I say Barcelona, after a walk down one of its incredibly gracious boulevards or an afternoon on the shore and back through the sinister but promising Barceloneta neighborhood where the men sing while they walk, or while being groped by a handsome young lurker in the uppermost woods of the Parc Gruell near some Roman ruins. Sometimes I say Madrid, where the short dark Spaniards glow under the benevolent light of the back room of the Eagle, and make us think of how much the Chueca has the energy of the Village in Montreal during its emergent years. Full of hot young men wanting sex at all hours. Usually, I structure a compromise. In a perfect world, we´d have an art nouveau apartment in Barcelona with frequent jaunts to Madrid for respites from the graciousness. C reminds me of all the antennae we saw in Barcelona. Cable is not an assumption there. Wouldn´t I miss my HBO? Just a little.
Thursday, June 01, 2006
We dump the goods at our apartment on Perez Galdos in the center of the bull’s eye of the heart of the gay Chueca neighborhood. We run up Fuencarral to Colby’s where we teach the cute bartender how to make a Manhattan. Learning the formula, he produces them in beakers big enough to please Richard Serra! Food must be had to tame these, so we order the Colby pizza which is a surly thing sporting a fried egg and some cheesy bits. It erases hunger, which is about the highest praise we can offer for Madrid cuisine. We roll down the hill to the internet café next to the Eagle on Pelayo where we teach another cute bartender (this one wearing a wide black webbed belt stenciled white with “Play stupid with me”). He doesn’t follow the formula, going heavy on the Vermouth, but we follow his belt.
Back out on the narrow sidewalks, I miss the wide boulevards of Barcelona, a brief sentiment that evaporates with the sight of more beautiful men per square foot than can be found anywhere on earth, and 90% of them under 5’6”. (Shopping for T shirts here is a joy – and we will thank Eric for recommending Zara – because we don’t have to put up with or cut off that extra several inches that are always included in American T shirts, making them fit more like a Greek tunic.)
We are laughing as we turn left onto Hortaleza, but are worried by what we see when we turn the corner onto Perez Galdos. Police cars with lights flashing, and much commotion on the street between our building and the entrance to the convenient “Cruising”, a bar with an immense labyrinth of dark rooms. C suspects a raid, having had altogether too much fun there earlier in our trip. We enter our building and take the elevator to the fifth and top floor.
There, we are shocked to find the door to our apartment open and a crowd of strangers talking excitedly in our kitchen. At first, no one bothers to greet us as we enter, and I have a several-Manhattan-induced-fear that we had forgotten about a party we had scheduled. Then, I suspect a fire. C finds the laptop intact on the kitchen counter and eliminates the possibility of a break-in. A lady whom we recognize as one of the building staff rushes up to us and delivers a rapid fire explanation in undecipherable Spanish. She indicates two uniformed (and hot) men whose shoulder badges read “Cuerpo Nacional di Policia”. One of the windows is open, and the metal security grate has been unlocked and swung aside. A third policeman is climbing through it, out onto the sloping tiled roof.
The animated lady produces a Martha Grahamular interpretive danceload of gestures that explain what has happened. Soon after dark, a cat burglar was seen prowling the rooftops of the adjoining buildings. The police were called, and it was decided that the best access to the roof was through our kitchen. Looking through the window, to where the building next door has been demolished with only the historic stone façade retained, we see that another officer has handcuffed a man to the pipes of the scaffolding that is supporting the façade, just a few feet from our bedroom. Suddenly, strong lights are played against the building across from us, and a bucket on a crane zooms into view from the narrow street below, collecting the villain and his attending officer. For a moment, the handcuffs remain attached to the pipes, swaying in the breeze and catching moonlight on the upswing. We wonder if they will let us play.
More men who had been out on the roof pile into our kitchen and I decide it is too late to hide the various gay guide books and flyers (including one for Cruising that features a Tom of Finlandian police officer in aviator glasses and tall boots) that cover our kitchen table. Oh well. No one seems shocked, and I run for the camera just in time to immortalize the heroic butt and pistol of a real policeman on our roof making the Chueca safe for yet another night of fun.
Our guests depart, and we scamper across the street to Cruising where nobody inside is aware of what was happening outside the door. They have other business in mind, and I find the same to be true at the Eagle where the manager whom we call the Christmas Tree, as he is so heavily ornamented, asks me if I agree with him that the Barcelona Eagle is superior. After an hour in the backroom of his establishment in the shady L-shaped passageway that contains a very thoughtful overhead rack for one’s beer bottle, I deliver my verdict: Barcelona is elegant, but Madrid is hot.