Saturday, November 29, 2008

Go here for the best laugh you've had in ages

We all need a good laugh from time to time, but if you go to this site, you will find more good laughs than have ever been packed into any one single blog/website. I have only been able to go back through the five most recent pages.

This is so NSFW, and I am concluding that it can't be fake. Real people in their real settings.

You'll thank me for this.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Alicia's Dream

You will have to go to Bilerico tomorrow afternoon to find my response to the following:

Dear Father Tony,

I had the same dream three times and it is bugging me.
In it, I am in the kitchen standing next to the ironing board and I’m holding the iron and I’m sort of smiling in a calm way like I’m peaceful. I feel real peaceful.
One by one, I take clothes out of a basket and iron them. They are all my girlfriend’s stuff. We have been together for six years and I love her and I think she loves me, but who knows. I can’t read minds, you know? Like all couples, we have our fights.
I iron and fold and stack her stuff in neat piles. I do it slowly and carefully and I like doing it. I am proud of the neat stacks. I look down and see that she has come in kitchen and she is looking up at me and watching what I am doing, but she is little and she looks just like the photos we have of her when she was a little girl with braids. She doesn’t say anything. She just watches me, and I am thinking “Why doesn’t she say anything?”

I fold everything in neat piles and it’s like slow motion. We walk out the kitchen door and we are carrying the piles and we go into the back yard and I put the piles on the grass in a row. I have a shovel and I dig deep holes in a row and I place the piles of her clothes in the holes and fill the holes back up with the dirt. It’s like a new garden. She watches all this and still nothing.

That’s about it. What does this mean? I am really really worried about this dream. It’s dark like death and it’s so quiet.

Thanks for helping me understand it so I don’t have this dream again.


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Getting it right.

Why is it that gay men are so highly opinionated about the correct option or iteration or expression in any given category?

For instance, C and I took the subway to the Brooklyn Museum last Sunday to see the Gilbert and George exhibition. Even the smallest of details catch the eye. In this MTA sign, the word Today needs either a comma or an apostrophe s. And earlier, the subway and bus fare teeters disturbingly on the brink of requiring a plural verb.

Regarding art, we are ever more fussy. Gilbert and George left C unmoved but I was delighted. It was lavish, self-absorbed, highly stylized, over-scaled, erotic, with highly saturated colors, and, with religious overtones. (Rather like me, I suppose you’re thinking.)

I wonder what it would be like to forge a lifelong career with one’s partner as have these two Brits. C and I have on occasion collaborated. About seventeen years ago, I had a solo show of photography for which C designed and manufactured the unusual metal frames that undulated like roller coaster tracks. Little aggravation in the production of that, but to work together daily? He tends to staunch my torrential crypticisms and I tend to give structure and broader cultural context to his instincts. This is often good but sometimes the mitigation tends to blunt the result, and so I conclude that occasional collaboration is better than a constant one. Gilbert and George appear to be on entirely the same wave length, or, perhaps one is entirely a follower of the other.

Later, in the locker room of the gym, C is flapping his towel to create dynamic cooling by bouncing the air off the wall. I mumble something about “for every action there is a reaction” and am corrected with the addition of “equal and opposite”. I don’t know my thermodynamics, but later, as we pass a flower vendor, I am vindicated as C attempts to quote the Hepburn/calla lily line from Stage Door. (Can you do it? I’ll put it at the end of this post.) I also demand of him that he quote perfectly the famous inscription over the fa├žade of the Eighth Avenue Post Office building in midtown Manhattan. (Also supplied at the end of this post.) You never know when you might run into Alex Trebek at the Eagle.

Passing a newsstand, we see that Hugh Jackman has been named the sexiest man alive. This is mutually disagreeable. Mr. Jackman is definitely a woman’s idea of sexy. We, however, find him beautiful in a symmetrical and textbooked way, but not really sexy. I remark that Daniel Craig recently replied “Hugh Jackman” when asked for whom he would “go gay”. We weigh the merits of parting with cash for the privilege of seeing that match, and decide that there are preferable couplings, such as Benicio del Toro and Antonio Banderas. Even here, if you were to put ten gay men in a room, you’d have ten extremely different and equally adamant opinions about which straight male celebrities they would like to see paired. I think the list produced by ten straight women would be vastly different. Gay men can imagine manipulating a gorgeous brute, but straight women will dial up a man with greater gentility in his features.

We are now at Times Square to see the new Walgreen’s sign. I raise my gloved hands in the air and proclaim “Gay men can abide brutalism in their sexual fantasies but cannot abide it in architecture.” Here’s the reaction.

C and I drop this issue and begin to focus on a passing song, Cherish the Love by Kool and the Gang. Its lyrics are just plain stupid:

I often pray before I lay down by your side
And if you receive your calling before I awake
Could I make it through the night

(We are not sure if often is really hope and in the actual lyric, but it doesn’t matter. The author was probably aiming at a musical reference to the traditional “Now I lay me down to sleep” poem. His results are entirely botched. In his lyrics. he is basically saying that if the person asleep by his side should die in the course of the night, he’s not sure he could get a complete and decent night’s sleep. He is rather praying not to be inconvenienced. Cherish the love?? Yeah. Right. Also, we take delight in the chintzy but oddly mesmerizing moment when that song breaks into a sweet harmony on a single line: by your side. You know you love that moment in the song. Sing it. You know you want to.

We ponder other musical mysteries, such as, will that other Clinton, George, be invited to the inaugural events to perform his funkadelic Paint the White House Black. Not likely, given the lyrics. We wonder if we are now scraping the bottom of the barrel of oppression in asking for gay marriage. Blacks have achieved respectability. Gays are almost there. Who’s left? Practicioners of bestiality? Five years from now will we all be asked to help carry the banner of Mandola (The man/dog love association)?

I end the day mumbling about the fact that the word suitable should be followed by for, and that suited should be followed by to but, in either case, the calla lilies are in bloom again. Such a strange flower. Suitable to any occasion. I carried them on my wedding day, and now I place them here in memory of something that has died because neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.

This Gilbert and George t shirt in the gift shop of the Brooklyn Museum pretty much sums it all up.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Every day, I swear I will never go back there again.

At Starbucks, I have received my Grande Red-Eye and am standing at the preparation station where one adds sugar or its substitutes and cinnamon or nutmeg or vanilla or chocolate powder. I am studying the four dimly labeled canisters containing whole milk, half-and-half, skim milk and fat-free milk. You have to turn each one this way or that to locate and read the labels. Would it be too much to ask that Mr. And Mrs. Starbuck consider painting each of these a different color for the convenience of their customers?

A young quick-motioned woman dressed for a cold commute to a professional workplace is next to me at the station. She has stirred in her additives and is trying to jam the cap back on her twenty ounces of coffee, causing it to kick out from under her push and to spill over the counter, the floor and into an open shopping bag by her side that contained laundry, some paperwork and running shoes.

I looked up at her and saw the reason for this disaster. She had been trying to seal the cap one-handedly because her other hand pressed a cell phone against her ear.

I don’t want to blame her for the national gablaise of cell phone addiction that is ruining the mechanics of common congress but I was not going to let the moment pass unpegged.

“That would not have happened if you were not glued to that phone.”

“Tell that to my mother” she said, imitating my cadence and offering me the phone.

“Give it to me” I replied, and because this is a New York City story, she handed me her phone without a moment of hesitation.

“Hey lady, get off the phone and let your daughter have a life.”

“Who is this?” bellowed a Harvey Fiersteinish voice from the bottom of some dreadful well.

“Jesus, lady, you could cut diamonds with that voice, and a diamond is just what you daughter will never get if you keep her tied to the phone although I am considering marrying her just to free her from having to listen to you.”

“Put my daughter back on this phone or I’m calling the police!”

I handed the phone back to the young woman who put it up to her ear and then lowered it again, shifting her weight into a more relaxed pose, and, sounding like a Junior League version of her mama, she said “Thanks. So what’s your name?"

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Today on Bilerico: Loving Your Old Gay Face

You will have to go to Bilerico after 4PM EST today to see my response to this catty little letter.

Fr. T,

I hear you’ve had some work done. Fess up. Care to recommend your doctor?


It's up. Get on it.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Ladies Who Lost

Here's a great opportunity to speak directly with the three women who led the failed efforts to protect your rights in California, Arizona and Florida.

There will be a Live-Blog Thursday @ 7PM EST. On Bilerico

Ask Kate Kendell, Nadine Smith, and Barbara McCullough-Jones what went wrong, what they learned and what will be done differently from now on. Or, give them your opinion.

PS: I've learned that the above reminder box doesn't show up well on Safari. Use Firefox (my Confirmation name)

Monday, November 17, 2008

This post is so lagniappular.

Our word for today is lagniappe.

The perpetually fascinating Dick Cavett used it in The Wild Wordsmith of Wasilla, the most recent of his series in the New York Times. You'll find it in the post script to his article, indicating that he is throwing in a little something extra. A freebie. A bonus with purchase. An extra donut when you buy a dozen.

It is pronounced len - YEP. It's a southern thang, and its etymology is complicated.

All right, class. To make this word your own, I would like you now to use it in a sentence.

Let me give you an example:

When I saw him at the bar, I really fell for his handsome face, but in my bedroom, when he unzipped his jeans, I screamed at the sight of the huge lagniappe he was offering me.

Your turn.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

City Hall Protest - Manhattan - Nov 15, 2008

The thousands who gathered in protest at Manhattan's City Hall Park on Saturday November 15, 2008 (as did concurrently folks in dozens of other communities across the nation) raised signs and voices and received encouraging words promising a world of justice if we could all just learn to love rather than hate. In other words, it was 1968 all over again. I wanted to brush the hair out of my eyes, hand the policeman a flower and hum a Laura Nyro song.

The rain cleared and a gorgeous fall day energized our family of protesters. Here are Craig, Foxy, ex- blogger Tommy (shaded), Chris, Wilson Cruz, Little Nick, Paul, C and Eric. (Anyone know the name of the guy in the white t?)

Also with us was Wolf, your bartender this past summer at The Vault in Provincetown. He has recently returned from a cross-country trip in a SmartCar.

Diversity reigned.

I got to meet long-time Farmboyz readers Jeff and Beau of Harlem.

Wilson posed with a couple together for ten years who wish they could become married (and take Wilson on their honeymoon).

Here we find Paul Vitale and Eric Leven stirring things up...sort of.

The Playgirl van circled the park a few times, the implications of which are pondered by a watchful cop.

A friend of ours, Manny Xavier, recited one of his poems.

Seriously, despite a few dumb moments at the podium, this event, like the one at the Mormon Temple earlier in the week, really did give me hope about the future and I was happy to see a new generation rise up in angry declaration of intolerance for injustice. The faces on the tourists in the double decker buses reminded me of the extreme value of events like this. It was a success. It was quite wonderful.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The New Bicep

Congratulations to the compact team of gay (un)organizers for a superbly (un)planned and (un)structured protest at the Mormon Temple in New York City on November 12, 2008 (and to the lone blogger responsible for the nationwide town hall protests scheduled for Saturday, November 15, 2008). This is the way in which stuff will get done in the future. Without elaborate staffing and inflated funding. Without much formal organizational sponsorship.

The casual and blog-based source and management of these huge events mark a startling power shift in the leadership of the gay community. Not many people are commenting on this secondary aspect of the event because they are rightly preoccupied with the central issue of Prop8/church&state. But I am more fascinated by the viral genesis and growth of this event and by the fact that it will most certainly be replicated elsewhere. I am more fascinated by the fact that while gay bloggers had already moved well beyond merely scrap-booking and reflecting about pets and lovers, they are now moving beyond ancillary reportage and advance-work, into creating and directing real events and experience and opinion.

Gay bloggers are finally understanding their own meta-virtual power. They are legion and can muster the troops instantly.

We are on the verge of no longer needing formal (and sometimes hidebound) advocacy groups to pave a way for us down Main Street.

Blog, seen yesterday as a media appendix, is now the new bicep. In Manhattan, I saw it flex. Thousands moved. More reps!

Tax this church! Tax this church!

they shouted at the gay protest at the Mormon Temple in the Lincoln Square neighborhood of Manhattan's Upper West Side.

Electrifying, but not in the old-school way (or maybe I am just older). I was weaving through the crowd remembering the March on Washington in 1993. There were many tearful moments during that weekend, but last night was different. A much more serious and clear-eyed conviction about justice that is within our reach if we push for change. In the "old-school" days, just seeing the queer community assembled and visible was thrilling. We are used to that by now, but what was really amazing was the diversity of the last night's crowd. Many straight people attended. People who simply want to get the monkey of religion off the back of our government. People who know right from wrong, and are not afraid to tell a large church that it is dead wrong, that its actions are unacceptable and that there will be consequences.

You ought to go to one of the concurrent Saturday events at town halls all over the country. Look at the faces of the crowd and try to tell me we won't win this. In adversity, we are closer than ever to justice.

Joey was there (with a sign he brought back from California).

Eric was there.

Danny and his partner, frequent Farmboyz commenter Rey, were there.

The two guys C and I met when they had been protesting all alone in front of the Mormon Temple last Sunday were there.

There were many thousands of others. A peaceful crowd. Young, strong and convincing. No speeches. No politicians. No celebrities on red carpets or platforms. Just people who, because they can no longer count on the leaders of church and state to lead, have taken matters into their own hands. This is just the beginning. We ain't seen nothin yet.

(Here's a link to the full set of my photos.)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Tomorrow on Bilerico: "She wants to be a lizard"

You will have to go to Bilerico tomorrow after noon to see my response to the following:

Dear Father Tony,

It’s pretty clear that the LGBT community is angry at organized religion and quite justifiably so, especially in light of recent events. But there are plenty who desire to be received into a loving congregation. More and more churches are recognizing the need to be intentionally welcoming and inclusive.

Let’s say you’ve been given access to the senior pastor of a large metropolitan church whose membership is, for the most part, white, educated and conservative. What gay members may be present are well-closeted. The pastor wants very much to have his church to be open and affirming, and he is willing to guide his congregation in the process.

What advice would you offer him?


Update: It's up. Get on it.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Manhattan, take note.

Mayor Bloomberg would certainly approve. After having spent two weeks in Buenos Aires where the rabid and smoke-belching buses threaten pedestrians, and where we saw exactly four bicyclists, two of whom were involved in accidents, this urban novelty is precious and ought to be instituted here in New York where the rudimentary bike lane infrastructure is already in place.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Last Night in Buenos Aires

The Hotel Axel gave us a good-bye party last night.
(It happened to coincide with their first anniversary celebration.)

Champagne, open bar, clever food, jugglers of crystal globes, costumed greetings, and a guest list of the prettiest Buenos Aires travel, media and arts types.

C was in his vacation-relaxed posing mode.

The two guys in the back have the hair style that is the height of fashion here in Buenos Aires. Highly feathered and caressing the face, it calls to mind Jane Fonda in Klute.

And of course, the two ubiquitous athletic blonde lesbians were glowingly present.

We had a nice chat with the manager, Santi Ruiz, and with the president of Axel Hotels, Juan Julia. These guys know what they are doing. Their staff is excellent and the environment they provide for their guests make us certain that their next venture, Hotel Axel Berlin, will also be a success. Can we book a room pre-construction?

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Today on Bilerico: How to have gay vacation sex.

You will have to go to Bilerico sometime today (I am totally confused by the time differences between Buenos Aires and wherever you may be) to read my response to this:

Dear Tony,

My name is Paulo, I am a journalism student from Buenos Aires. I would like to know, if you are still at the Axel Hotel, if I can interview you for an article that I have to write to qualifiy. Qualifing or not, isn´t that important but I need a good story and I think that I found one. I would like to meet you to chat. I am not gay, I hope that doesn´t matter.

If you are interested, tell me how to contact you.

Sorry for my bad english, I haven´t practiced for years.



[Paulo made clear in subsequent email his curiosity about how gay visitors to Buenos Aires have sex.]

Update: It's up. Get on it here.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Election Night Buenos Aires

We joined the liberal ex-pat community of Buenos Aires at Sacramento, a resto-bar in the fashionable Palermo Hollywood neighborhood, for an election night event organized by the local chapter of Democrats Abroad. The room was typical ex-pat: thoroughly mixed gay/straight with no issues attached.

The crowd was lovely. The news anchor was lovelier and the news was loveliest.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The authentic and the Disneyfied Buenos Aires

You get in the taxi and say one word. Caminito. The driver takes you to a neighborhood in the Boca section of BA that is a bag of contradictions. Very poor but very colorful. Italian (Genovese) heritage. They tried to become their own nation just a few years back. The "Caminito" is like Times Square. A tourist trap that you must see but not belabor. We headed through it and wandered the real streets and parks and open air markets. We ate oranges and inspected colorful bottles of home-brewed cleaning fluids. I made a sketch. The locals made suggestions in Spanish over my shoulder.