Friday, July 29, 2005

Body Of Song In Hi-Fi With Runts

A certain tall sexy blogger and I met up at the Tower Records on Broadway on Wednesday to attend the in-store appearance of another tall sexy blogger (and globally famous rock icon) Bob Mould, who was there signing copies of his just-released-on-Tuesday album, Body Of Song.

Waiting in line to meet Bob was a nice collection of old school Husker Du and Sugar fans, as well as some young puppies who weren't even born yet when the Godfather Of Alternative was ruling the college airwaves. Still, I was impressed to see a couple of them clutching their dog-eared copies of Zen Arcade and New Day Rising, probably purchased from collectors or passed down to them by their fathers. Wait, make that "passed down to them from their older brothers", because after all, Bob is younger than I am, OK?

I purchased the Deluxe Limited Edition Box Set of "Body Of Song", one of the most elaborate box set packages I've seen. The contents are wrapped in a soft felt, almost a chamoise material, and include a sheaf of gorgeous photos on a transparent sort of paper (vellum?), as well as a bonus CD with a host of non-album tracks and two Rich Morel "Pink Noise" mixes of "(Shine Your) Light Love Hope", which has been at the top of my iTunes Most Played list for several months now. I heard Rich spin one of these mixes at Blowoff a couple of months ago and I've been dying to get my hands on it.

A few hours later, I dropped in at Hi-Fi for the Body Of Song listening party, where I found Bob in a throng of admirers. The evening took an unexpected turn into comedy when a tiny drunk girl threatened several times to kill me, for allegedly pushing her equally drunk boyfriend off his barstool. She grabbed my elbow and slurred, "Who the FUCK do you think you are? I am from Providence, Rhode Island and I will fucking KILL YOU!"

I looked down at her, said "OK," and turned back to my conversation.

She started screeching, "I mean it! I'm am from Providence, Rhode Island and YOU are FAT! You are SHORT! And you are OLD! And I will fucking KILL YOU!"

Again, I looked down at her, said "OK," and turned back to my conversation.

Bob and other guys were giving me questioning looks, so I said "This girl here is from Providence, Rhode Island and she wants to fucking kill me. She thinks I pushed her boyfriend off his barstool, which I must have done with my mind because I'm standing over here with you."

I guess Bob Mould has some kind of magic charm with the ladies, because in an instant the tiny girl was nothing but smiles and wanted to hug and kiss him, and then I got the same treatment. She even posed for my camera. Her boyfriend joined her and helped her pull her shirt up to flash her tiny boobs, while my camera flashed back. I considered posting that picture in this story, but decided that posting unflattering pictures of drunken bar patrons was something only a true scumbag would do.

After Hi-Fi, we trooped over to Nowhere Bar for Runt, their weekly celebration of short dudes, hosted by Magnetic Fields' Stephen Merritt. As a gimmick, the doorman puts a sticker on your shirt to announce your height. He gave me a sticker that said 5'8", which made me oddly happy. An hour or so later, Bob was tired, I was tired, and we all scattered into cabs and I got home to give my copy of Body Of Song its first spin.

And folks, it's fantastic.


Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Kinky, Kinkier, Kinkiest

What does "kinky" mean anymore?

Thanks to the internet, we've all been educated about a staggeringly broad array of sexual practices, stuff that in pre-web days was mostly only known to devotees and their often caught-by-surprise partners. In today's world, even a soccer mom might be familiar with fisting or furries or autoerotic asphyxiation.

I've been wondering if this avalanche of kink visibility might be eroding some of its erotic appeal. How much of the thrill is in the secrecy, the underground vibe, the sense of uniqueness? When cross-dressing straight guys can shop for their lacy panties and size 18 stilettos on hundreds of websites, do they still feel like a naughty little girl? Does having access to millions of images of people doing "forbidden" things make them feel not-forbidden, and therefore not erotic? Or has the internet just decloaked the kinkster that is in us all, giving us a window into a world of experiences that we would never have imagined, yet are intrigued by?

As I've done in earlier posts, I sent out a call for help to some of my fellow bloggers, this time asking them to reveal a kinky encounter and how they handled it. I left the definition of "kinky" up to them, because I was interested in just what "kinky" might mean to them. Their responses are sometimes digusting, sometimes hilarious, but always interesting. So what follows are the kinkiest, by their definition, experiences of my blogging pals, as we hear from 19 gay men, one straight man, one straight woman, and one "bi-dyke". A few of them have asked that I shield their identities, the others have no shame.

Anonymous 1 @ blog name withheld

The first time we had sex, he put my hands on his head when he was getting close to coming...nothing strange there, right? I held his head as he fucked into me---one hand on each side, over his ears---and he came. The next time we had sex, he put my hands up there as he was getting closer, and I rubbed my hands all over his head again, and he came. Again, normal, right? The third time, he put my hands up there, and I put one hand on top of his head and another around the back of his neck.

He stopped thrusting for a second, looked very seriously at me, and said: "You've got to touch my ears."

"Huh?" I asked. "Touch my ears and I'll come," he said.

I slid my hands around to his ears. With nary an auxillary thrust....POP!

Anonymous 2 @ blog name withheld

One time when a friend (okay, fuckbuddy) was staying with me for a few days. One night, we'd gone out for a few drinks. When we got home, I fell asleep (okay, passed out) on the couch. He apparently was extremely horny. He tried to wake me, but once I'm out, I'm out. He's a persistent boy, so he proceeded to find a way to fill his needs (okay, ass). When I woke up the next morning, I was still on the couch. He saw me stirring.

"Good morning, sweetie," he said.

"Morning," I grumbled.

"Thank you for last night," he said.

"What do you mean?"

"Well, I hope you don't mind, but I took the liberty of pleasuring myself. With your help."

Dumbfounded, I looked down and saw my boxers intact. "Wow, I can't believe you got me hard. I was out like a light."

"Well," he paused, "it wasn't that."


It was then that I noticed him staring at the arm of the couch--or rather, at my foot pointing straight in the air resting there.

"Oh. Ohhhh. Hmm, well I'm glad I could help."

Anonymous 3 @ blog name withheld

When I was at IML in 1999, I met a very handsome leatherman in the lobby of the Congress Hotel. We flirted and exchanged a short verbal list of certain practices that we enjoyed, as is traditional in these situations. He asked me if I was into "torture", and I said that while I hadn't experienced it much, I'd be open to exploring anything that didn't leave me with any marks on my body.

And with that, we were off to the elevators and up to his room. Before I knew it, he had me naked and tied facedown on his bed, spread-eagled. He darkened the room and lit a small candle on the nightstand. He went into the bathroom and it sounded like he was changing his clothes in there.

He came back out and stared down at me, "Are you ready?"

I nodded.

Then he reached under the bed and pulled out a large, square piece of plywood. He moved the wood around on the floor next to the bed until it was in a position that satisfied him, then he stood on the center of it.

And then he started tap dancing.

I laid there helplessy for about 20 minutes while this guy tap danced on that piece of wood. There was no music. There was no touching. When he stopped, I asked to be untied, which he did, and I left immediately.

And yes, it WAS torture.

RJ @ Daily Blaque (note from Joe: RJ is straight)

Nobody has ever asked me to do anything kinky, I thought as I read your request. Then I remembered that, at Scout camp, the kid in the bunk below me tried to convince me that the penis is naturally the cleanest part of the body. I thought about it, but remained unconvinced. Who knows what would have happened if he hadn't presented it in quite that way?

Brian @ Faggoty-Ass Faggot

Maybe I'm not easily surprised, or am a kinky whore, because at first I couldn't think of one thing that I had been asked to do, that I didn't consider. (Although, even though I live in northeast Ohio, no one has yet asked me for a Cleveland Steamer.) Then I remembered the night a guy chatted me up online, telling me I was hot, but then asking if I wore glasses. Turns out the only way he would hook up with me was if I showed up sans contacts and with my spectacles. The bigger the glasses, the better.

I decided that was way freaky and turned him down.

Farmboyz @ Perge Modo

One evening in Montreal I agree to go home with a man named Marc who had shaggy dark hair and the long skinny jeans of a country singer. When we got to his place, a floor through in an old townhouse, I learn he is an artist fixated on large shards of mirror glass which were leaned against the walls of every room.

Naked, we are sitting on his bed facing each other. He leans over to the headboard and selects a leather lace from aheap of them that are draped there. He ties up his dick very neatly. Another lace ties up his balls. A third crisscrosses the whole businessmaking it look like the kind of lanyard we all made during summer arts-and-crafts classes. He selects another lace and asks if he can apply it to my dick. Why not, I think, it's just a harmless piece of string, and we are afterall in Montreal (Don't ask. It made no sense.)

Several strings later, my dick and balls are macramed to match his. Then he makes me sit thigh over thigh in front of him and, mashing our dicks together, he uses more laces to bind them together. The patterns he creates are intricate and fascinating. Our dicks are hard, but slightly blue, when he decides that he wants to inhale some poppers. The bottle is a few feet away on top of the dresser. He can't reach it. What to do. We finally devise a sort of synchronized hopping that bounces us over to that edge of the bed, but he is still unable to reach the bottle. One final big bounce sends us off the mattress and onto the floor. As we are falling, I catch my reflection in a large shard of mirror and I wonder how the headlines describing this death scene will read.

Lee @ Glitter For Brains

Now. I know what I like. I like my gentlemen proud, ready, and able to leave me with an arse like a bill-poster's bucket. Any unnecessary flim-flam leaves me completely puzzled. Bondage? Well maybe. But leave a hand free so I can flick through the spring/summer collection.

Anyway, there was one time in my life when I was seeing a gentleman caller who had a Very High Opinion of himself - never more so, it seemed, when he called me over to his house for my 'Christmas Present Fantasy'.

The hints I'd dropped about a trip to Paris were as subtle as a Cher stageshow, but what I got when I opened the door was him lying naked on a rubber sheet, his gentlemanly area draped in tinsel, as he started pouring cream over himself and moaning. The moaning lead to writhing, interspersed with a 'Merry Christmas, you hot stud' or two.

What did I do? I bit my hand to stop laughing, and thought that I may as well give it a go. Although all I got for my troubles was a chance to be picking tinsel out of my crevices and smelling like off-milk for three days afterwards. I felt like a gay cheese shop. Never, ever again.

Homer @ Homer's World

I was asked to show up at a guy's house wearing my boots and white socks and unwashed feet. The guy, a 24-yr-old in the air force, wanted me to spank him and then rub my feet over his face. Afterwards he was offended when I burst out laughing at how ludicrous it was. I support our troops!

Joe @ Joe.My.God.

At a Fort Lauderdale bathhouse, I was having hot sweaty sex with handsome bodybuilder, when at the worst possible moment while I was fucking him, he looked up at me with a strange expression on his face.

In a small voice, he said, "I want to be....your... baby."

Instinctively, I knew that he didn't mean "baby" in the Barry White "Just Can't Get Enough Of Your Love Baby" sense. He meant baby, in the Paul Anka "Having My Baby" sense. For a moment I considered jumping off him and leaving, but my curiousity won out.

"You can be my baby," I said.

His eyes widened, "I can? Really? You're not freaked out?"

"Um, not yet."

He told me how being treated like a baby was very soothing to him, how it made him feel safe and protected and loved. So rather than bolting, I cuddled him and cooed baby talk in his ear while he gurgled and made baby noises. I picked his bath towel off the floor and wrapped him in it, diaper style. We laid there curled into a ball together and he snuggled against me happily.

Before I left to resume my cruising, he told me that I'd made him a very happy baby.

Jim @ Jimbo.Info

Someone once asked me to force poppers on him. Like feed him as much as I wanted without limit. I tried, but when his breath started smelling like spray paint I had to stop. Then the stink wouldn't go away so I had to leave, as I'm not into spray paint mansmells.

John @ Johnny Is A Man

I once tricked with this HOT Mexican who kept biting me...not the hot little love bites, but seriously BITING ME on the chest, arm, etc. I asked him several times to stop, and he would, for a few minutes, then it would start up again. Finally, he actually bit me on the cheek (upper face area, not the hoo-hah). HARD. Like, ready to draw blood, hard. I was so pissed off, I slugged him as hard as I could in his sternum. He gasped for air, coughing.

"Sorry," I said. "I'm into heavy breath control."

Lady Bunny @

I used to work on a phone sex line as a woman. (It's easy for me to "pass" when they can't see me.) I had a regular caller who would always request to speak with me because he liked the way I indulged his scat fantasy--and I ain't talkin' jazz! So I got quite creative and one day was telling him "OK, my ass cheeks are spread wide open in front of your hungry mouth and I've got a surprise for you!"

He slobbered, pantingly and about to come, "Yes, mistress!"

And I said "I've got diarrhea!"

He stopped cold and said "Hard turd only."

So specific--these fetish freaks!

Leanne @ Liliane, Bi-Dyke

You want to know the most kinky thing I've been asked and I don't even know.

Despite being in the kink community here for years, I dunno. I have been asked to dunk a guy's head in the toilet and fist him (I was topping him as a sort of "cash gift" deal, not for the love of him) and I refused... way beyond my technical abilities even if I wanted to. But I wasn't "icked"...

I think that it comes down to my first boyfriend when I was 15, who used to go "let me pick your nose, let me pick your nose" while holding his finger up threateningly in front of my face. I dunno. I have had strangers fuck me in the butt, I have had cuttings, I have played with fire, I have gone to a weird evangelist church meeting as a voyeur with my girlfriend, dressed in thrift shop flowered dresses wearing hiking boots, and cut said flowered dress off her with a knife afterwards, but nothing has icked me like the idea of his (or anyone's) finger up my nostrils. And I even pick my nose myself all the time. Lay off the nose.

Jake @ NoFo

I’ve had the requisite requests to do scat and piss (didn’t do it and didn’t do it, for the record), and I had one guy dress me up in his rubber chaps (which made my sad little butt actually look perky) before he’d bump uglies, but the kinkiest, weirdest, wrongest thing that ever happened to me was last summer when I was having a date with a hunky little blond who lived a couple blocks away from me. He had a lean runner’s build with meaty legs, a tiny waist and a killer smile. And he was blond, which always clouds my judgment. I was up for anything when he appeared at my door that night in a tight T-shirt and flip-flops. And as we’re flirting on my couch before what I anticipate will be a long night of sweaty hedonism, he suddenly asks me if I would ... um ... uh .. (this is kind of hard to get out) ... He suddenly asks me if I would support George W. Bush in the upcoming election. Some guys are too fucking weird to live.

Paul @ No Milk

I once dated this hot Marine who had a serious stuttering problem. We could barely hold a conversation. It would literally take a minute for him to finish one sentence. But I dated him, because it's what's inside that counts right? And what's inside his pants was a 10" thick motherfucker.

This is where the weirdness/kinkiness comes in. When we're having sex, he does not stutter at all. Not one bit. While we were having sex, he wanted to talk talk talk about books he read, movies he's seen, where the lint in his navel comes from. Anything. It's like he had all these words pent up and it all gushed out. I would've obliged except that it's hard to have a conversation when you have a huge Marine cock in your mouth. Ironic really. He can't talk when we're not having sex, I can't talk when we're having sex. This went on for about two months, until he dumped me.

It took him about thirty minutes to say "It-tttt-tthhhh-thhinkkk www-www-wwessh-ssh-ssh-shoulddd bbe jj-jjjust-tt ff-ff-friends"

It was very humiliating for me because I knew what he was going to say after "I ttt--". I was just trying to be polite. It's true what they say about communicating in a relationship. You really got to work at it. I know what I would do next time: learn sign language. Then it wouldn't matter if my mouth was full of cock.

Colin @ Planet CH

I once (sorta) dated this guy who had a very wild mane of hair, which earned him the nickname of Simba (as in the Lion King, all grown up). Anyway, Mister Simba gave me quite a surprise the first time we had sex -- as he was about to climax, he told me to pull on his "mane," then he let out a bellowing roar, just like a lion. He totally became somebody else. I didn't know if I had just had an experience with bestiality or not.

Erik @ Robocub

Back in the mid 90s I used to work in an office in Hoboken, NJ. There were only two offices on our floor, but basically a small compliment of male employees between both companies. And then of course there was one incredibly hot FedEx guy who would come around every now and then. There was one bathroom shared for each gender on the floor. It consisted of one urinal and one toilet stall, which was next to a window with drawn blinds. I used to go in there sometimes when I was horny. T hat used to happen often as I was in my mid to late 20s at the time. So I'd go in the toilet stall and jerk off thinking of anyone, maybe the super hot FedEx guy. I'd cum in a tissue, since I dared not leave any residue for anyone to find. Like I said, there were only a few guys on the floor.

Well one day I go in to actually use the toilet for it's intended purpose. I sit down and I look at the window sill to my right and what do I see but a huge gob of cum which is literally dripping off the ledge onto the floor. It was so surreal and I had to wonder if I was dreaming or not. But it was real. I mean this was a huge gob and it couldn't have been there very long since it was still wet. I got so horny looking at it and wondering who could've possibly jerked off and left this cum here. So I started to jerk off. I even imagined licking it up. And I definitely imagined it was the FedEx guy and I was blowing him. Just looking at the gob of cum got me so riled up and horny, I shot my load in the toilet in under a minute.

I still tell this story to friends and everyone is shocked as much as I was. But it was real and I'm glad I had the experience. How often does one use an office rest room and see a huge spooge laying there?

Stellina @ Sabred Tongue

I was sitting here thinking about all the times I have had sex, and almost all those times were sickeningly vanilla. Then I remembered my stint of selling women's underwear on eBay.

My friend told me about her friend who was selling cigar boxes on eBay, and she got a client who bought a cigar box from her, then asked her for her picture. Thinking nothing of it, she sent out her face, and the man asked her if she had any underwear that she'd like to sell. She soon found out that selling women's underwear was MUCH more profitable than cigar boxes, and of course, me being the lazy ass I am... I went to Wal Mart, bought 3 pairs of womens lacy thongs for 2 dollars clearance... and I set up my own eBay account.

I got a bid from a man named Olin. He offered 10 dollars for the purple thong. When the auction was done, Olin was the only one there, so I sent him an e-mail thanking him for his purchase. I got a response back, and he said "I hope the underwear has male DNA on them".

I thought... male dna, what the hell is he talking about. And that was my reply. He responded by saying that he hoped he wasn't being offensive, but he would give me 5 dollars extra if I had sex in that thong, and let the man spunk on the thong, because when he got the thong to his house, he wanted to suck on the spunk spot.

SO... I asked my husband if he minded. Being the money hungry bastard he is, we set about doing the deed that night. I sent the thong off the next morning, and I put a new pair on eBay. At the end of the auction, I got a bid from Olin. 10 dollars. He got the purple pair and loved them up. This time, he asked me... would I send a used condom with the panties. 10 dollars extra. And so we did. I can't imagine a person who wants to gobble cold cum out of a used condom, I just can't. I can't even imagine someone doing it fresh off the rod. I stopped using eBay because they hit my checking account when the account was empty, but I still have Olin's e-mail info. He bought a Gates of Hell (5 gates) from me after the condom thing, and I haven't heard from him since.

Faustus @ Search For Love

Oh, my. The kinkiest thing I was ever asked to do was shit in somebody's mouth. The request came over AIM--I believe there were capital letters involved ("SHIT in my MOUTH") but memory may be playing me false here. I demurred, and moments later he asked how I'd feel about at least coming over to his place, shitting in the toilet, not wiping, and then letting him rim me.

I never ended up meeting him.

Chad @ Stop Touching My Food

Nestor was a photographer, and one day he asked me if I'd like to pose for him during sex.

"Sure," I said, and he got an evil smile on his face.

"We need to get some props," he said, and started digging through his closet. He produced a pair of handcuffs, some rope, and a blindfold. He instructed me to take off my shirt, then proceeded to tie my hands behind my back before telling me to lie on the floor. My ankles were then handcuffed together, and I was blindfolded.

"I'll be right back," he said.

I was lying there, a bit nervous, a bit excited. I hadn't done anything like this before. I heard him come back up the stairs, and come in the room.

"Hi Nestor," I said. He didn't respond, but I heard his 35mm camera click a few times. He put it down, and I heard him messing around with a plastic bag. Suddenly, two cold and slimy discs slapped on my chest over my nipples.

"First, you need some tits,'" said Nestor. Turns out, he put two slices of bologna on my chest.

"Huh?" I asked, before he took his bandana off his head and gagged me with it.

"No talking." I heard him get something else. "Now you're going to have a vagina."

He undid my shorts, pulled them down a bit, took some Reddi-Wip, and made a triangular patch in my crotch.

"Mmmf!" It was cold!

"No 'mmfing' here, I'm not done." He then strategically placed some pickles all over my chest, then ungagged me. I heard him pick something up, then place it back down. I felt his lips touch mine, and as I started to kiss him, he released a mouthful of milk all over my face.

"Blaph!" I coughed and gagged, and splattered milk all over my face and chest.

"Perfect." He started snapping pictures for a few minutes, then I heard him take his clothes off. He then proceeded to have his way with me until I drew the line at Nestor sticking a cold Vlasic dill spear up my ass.

"Nestor, if you stick that up my ass I'm gonna poop that pickle across the room. I'm not kidding." I do have my limits.

"You're no fun," he responded.

He proceeded to loosen my restraints, and we had the kind of sex two young guys, ages 19 and 20, have in the middle of the summer, unsupervised, in America's midwest. Hot, uninhibited, passions unbridled, and because of all the food that covered me, a bit sticky as well.

And that's the last time I ever foodfucked. I guess it's just not my thing.

Victor @ V-Hold

I had a real tough time thinking up something kinky. Either nothing phases me or I am getting old. One thing that came to mind: I went home with a couple and boyfriend #1 had me eat boyfriend #2’s ass out and then spit the juices back into boyfriend #1’s mouth. Using the references of #1 and #2 just makes this story all the more sickening.

Van @ Vanguard, A Miscellany

We'd gone out on three or four dates, and nothing indicated the extent of his paraphilia. He was two years younger, cute with a Texan accent. We were the same height 5'9", but I outweighed him by at least fifteen pounds. He used every excuse to touch my arms or my chest, letting me know how intrigued he was with the fact that they were larger than his. I appreciated the lean runner's frame with its abdomen carved from stone.

As before, we went back to his apartment, but he seemed nervous this time. Finally, he let me know what he was so nervous about: "Ever since I saw you, I've been dying to wrestle you."

"Um...OK," I responded and let him know that I was OK with a little tussle.

He left the bedroom, telling me to stay until he was ready. After about fifteen minutes, he called from the living room, "Come in here!"

And I stood in shock at the site before me. The living room had been transformed. All of the furniture had been moved into the dining room, and in its place were huge blue tarps that had been laid over the carpet and taped about a foot up the walls. He stood in the center in a wrestling singlet, holding another singlet out to me with one hand, and with the other he doused a large bottle of Johnson's and Johnson's baby oil over his head.


Mark @ Zeitzeuge

While hanging out at a local gay watering hole, I wasapproached by an extremely handsome, stocky, hairy,goateed man who started speaking to me in German. Knowingsome German myself, we conversed for a short time. He told me I looked German and assumed I was from his homeland. Well ok, whatever. Finally switching to English, he tells me he works forLufthansa Airlines and is on a layover.

It's two day sbefore New Years. We hit it off incredibly. Beautiful man with a beautiful accent. I was in heaven. We head over to a more dark and secluded leather bar for more drinks. While we stood there chatting, he kept telling me how much he liked me. Then he proceeds to tell me that he thinks I will be "heez nechs lova!" and wants me to fly to Germany with him the next morning and live on the Rhine River at his home. He reaches in and hands me $1000 in cash and tells me to think about it while he goes to the bathroom. I'm baffled. I should have ran.

He comes back and immediately says, "Ah, before ve fly out tomorrow, I must tell you dat I'm into Peeg sex."

I was very new to the whole leather scene but I told him I had no intention of having sex with Farm Animals.

"Oh nicht, NICHT! I like PEEG Sex! DIIRRRRRTY Sex! I vould love to poop and hazzu pee onz mee doring our PEEG Sex."

I stood there. Mouth open. Handed him the 1000 bucks back and said, "Well, I've experienced the peeing part, but like hell I'm taking a dump on you or you on me. But I appreciate the offer. You're very sweet."

I calmly walked out the bar, then RAN to find my friends.


(From Joe- Big thanks to all my blogger pals for particpating! And attention Joe.My.God. readers: Please email me privately at if you'd like to be included in an all-readers version of this post. I'll be posting your contributions next week. Thanks!)


Sunday, July 24, 2005

Gothamite Sodomite Identifiers

1. In your social circle, you have at least 3 friends with the same first name, and they are identified by their country of origin. Examples: Brazilian Tony, Spanish Tony, Italian Tony.

2. You know that when an event is described as "ovah", that really means that it was good.

3. You know that when someone says that they were "gagging" at an event, that really means that it was good.

4. Over the last ten years, you've been to ten different nightclubs, and they were all in the same room.

5. Over the last three days, you've been to three different parties, with three different names, and they were all in the same room.

6. You have crossed a potential date off your list, because he doesn't live close to a subway stop. You have also dated an otherwise substandard prospect, because he was only 3 stops away.

7. Over the last three years, three of your friends have moved to Wilton Manors. And three others are thinking about it.

8. You know at least five people who claim to have been at The Saint when it closed.

9. You know that the word "share" actually means to exclude.

10. You can't name your Congressman, but you can name the last five residencies held by Junior Vasquez.

11. You not only remember where you were on September 11th, you remember who you fucked that night.

12. You think that all of your friends ended up at sex parties during the blackout, but you didn't.

13. You have at least three different man-purses, which contain all the items that the rest of the world keeps on the front seat of their car.

14. You have very specific ideas about which of your man-purses is appropriate for which outing.

15. You have been in a huge crowd, surrounded by your best friends, having the time of your life....but you decide to leave, in order to beat the line at coat check.


Thursday, July 21, 2005


Every weekday morning, from its dozens of doorways, Grand Central Terminal spews forth several hundred thousand of the most demographically desirable consumers on the planet. From suburban Connecticut, upstate New York, and Manhattan's Upper East Side pour out the dinks, the soccer moms, the fashionistas, the literati, and yuppies and buppies and guppies.

And the marketers are waiting at every door.

On most mornings, but notably on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, commuters have to literally dodge and weave their way through small armies of street marketers handing out free goods, hawking new sport drinks, cable channels, travel destinations, and snack items.

So far this month I've been handed "Free mints!" (which have the CourtTV logo on them), a "Free subway map!" (the reverse of which has travel information about Scotland), and a handful of consumables: a new energy drink, a new flavor of Pepsi, a new Atkins-friendly brand of potato chips, and various new candy products.

All of this booty usually ends up either tossed in the next available garbage can (about 1/4 of it, by my guess) or on the desks of my co-workers, which is a pretty impressive rate of keeper-age (my term), and why the gifting marketers are there in such strong numbers.

But this week, a new wrinkle arose. I got in the elevator with my colleague Mike, who flashed me a glossy card with something stapled to it. "Today they're giving out a new protein bar or whatever this is." I nodded. Later in the afternoon, I asked Mike how it was.

"I threw it in the trash."

"Why?" I asked. "Was it made out of old Chinese newspapers?" (That's a Simpsons joke.)

"No!," he said angrily. "I threw it out because it was given to me under FALSE pretenses! That wasn't a new brand of protein bar at all. It was the regular brand stapled to a card from some CHRISTIAN group. They tried to trick me into eating a protein bar for Jesus!"

And he was right. The Christians had simply blended into the other swag bearers outside of Grand Central's doors and slyly laid their propaganda on an audience that normally would have at best, sidestepped their tracts with a dismissive head shake. I had to admit, this was a pretty slick trick.

Yesterday they were at it again, this time with chewing gum. A perky young girl, stationed at the Vanderbilt Street entrance of the station was chirpily offering "Free gum!" to all passers-by. She tried to hand me a pack of Big Red, along with a card that asked "What do we really know about Jesus?" I spotted a second carton of gum on the ground by her feet.

"If you're giving any of those away, I'd rather have the Juicy Fruit," I said, and she obliged.

When she handed it to me, I looked her in the eyes and said, "Cuz that's what I am. Just a big juicy cocksucking fruit."

Her fake smile faded, "That's great. Your mother must be SO proud."

We'll call it a draw.


Monday, July 18, 2005

The Speaker Daddy Of Lazy Bear Weekend, Pt.2

Continued from Part 1 ....

"Fabulous? I hope you don't think that I would dance naked!" I said, realizing for the first time that there was a chance that I was going to go through with this.

"Oh, no! We wouldn't be able to have naked dancers, which is a shame," the promoter said. "It's just that no underwear means, floppage, shall we say?"

Floppage. I think when he said that, my cock shrank 30%, on the spot.

A few minutes later, the other dancer showed up. The other dancer. Just typing that still feels weird. The other dancer was a familiar face from around the Castro. A big furry, sorta muscle-y, but not entirely buff guy, which was reassuring to me. At least of the two of us, I was in much better shape.

At this point, I decided that there was no backing out. It's for AIDS, dude, I told myself. But I was also thinking about Leif's bus. I wandered around the club for awhile, I'd been there before of course, but now I had to reassess the space from the standpoint of a Performer, you understand. This nightclub, Fab, like many nightclubs, used to be a regular stage theatre and I was hoping that wherever I was to dance, would be well out of the reach of the patrons.

The DJ that night, Michael Mangiaforte, is an old friend of mine from way back in when we both haunted South Beach, and I was hanging over the edge of the DJ booth when he got a call that I was needed backstage to have a meeting with the stage manager. Other Dancer and I had hardly walked up to the stage manager when he began barking out his orders.

"OK, so you've got 3 sets to do tonight. Got that? Twenty minutes each. Got that? They begin precisely at 11pm, 1230am and 2am,. Got that? And I want both of you guys right here ready to hit your marks at least 5 minutes early for each set. Got that? Your cues are as follows: Stage dark means go hit your marks. Stage red means climb onto your boxes. Stage dark again means your set is over. Got that?"

I laughed nervously, "Sets? Marks? Cues? Does this count towards our Equity cards?"

The stage manager snapped, "In your dreams." Then he marched us out onto the stage and showed us the boxes we were to climb up on. I was elated, because in addition to being on a stage above a submerged dance floor, we were to perform on 3-foot high wooden boxes, meaning the audience could not reach up and fuck with us. Of course, it also meant that we'd be continuously visible to every single person in the club. There'd be no missing us.

It was about this time that I realized that my "two hour shift" actually ran for the 3 1/2 hours that would doubtlessly be the peak of the party.

Although I didn't have anything to do until 11pm, I hung around the club and watched the staff and listened to music while the patrons began to wander in. Everytime I saw somebody I knew, I rushed up to them with this explanation: "First of all, it's for AIDS. And secondly, if you, at any time, refer to me as a "go-go boy", I will cut you. I am a Speaker Daddy." I liked the sound of Speaker Daddy so much better. It's sexier, don't you agree? Even if I wasn't technically going to be dancing on the speakers.

At 10:45pm, I was in the wings. There weren't many people dancing yet, maybe 30 or 40 guys. But the club was filling up rather fast, with most of the arrivals hanging out on the main level above the dance floor. I peeked out and watched the stage manager enter the DJ booth and speak to the lighting man. The stage went dark. I looked at Other Dancer, "Are we supposed to go out now? It's not 11:00 yet!" He shrugged. Then the stage manager waved wildly at us. I guess Mr. "Got That?" didn't wear a watch.

Other Dancer and I walked out and climbed up on our boxes. A moment later we were bathed in a red light and we began dancing. Now, I'm not a bad dancer, not bad at all. But I'm certainly not an erotic dancer and I had told myself to just do what I normally do on a dance floor. Not a robotic Chelsea two-step, but certainly not anything dramatic. Hands in the air. Smiling. Head nodding. That sort of thing. Dignified, ya dig?

The lights were in my face, but I could see the guys on the dance floor looking up at me and nodding appreciatively. Encouraged, I kicked up my energy a few notches. It was starting to get hot. Really hot. Africa hot. Surface of the sun hot. I could have made nachos out there hot. Then I noticed that the audience had their attention on Other Dancer. I glanced over at him and almost fell off my box.

Other Dancer was squatting and bouncing, and from what I could tell, was performing his interpretive recreation of sitting on a really large cock. His head was thrown back, his eyes squinting, his mouth open in one long silent groan as he bounced up and down on that invisible cock. Or maybe it was an invisible dildo. I've never been very good at understanding the metaphors of modern dance.

We'd received absolutely no instruction on how to dance, and I suppose Other Dancer decided that the Lazy Bear crowd was post-go go. Which I'm not sure they were, because I could see them grabbing each other and pointing at Other Dancer with incredulous looks on their face. Somebody tapped my boot and I looked down to see one of the stage crew darting back off the stage, leaving me a small terry cloth towel to wipe my face, which I was very glad to have. I put my back to the audience for a moment to use the towel and stole looks over at Other Dancer, who was then on all fours, ass towards the audience, as he presented his dance move called This Is How I Get Fisted.

The 20 minutes passed amazingly quickly. I was nervous the entire time, but I was confident that I wasn't showing it. When the stage went dark, I sprang down off my box and ran into the wings, where a couple of friends were waiting for me with cold beer. Precious delicious cold beer.

I waited for them to say something about my dancing, but instead of complimenting my sexy sophisticated styling, I got this: "What the FUCK is that other guy DOING? Everybody is freaking about it!"

Before I could answer, Other Dancer walked up to shake my hand, "Nice sharing the stage with you. My name is Other Dancer."

I said, "Um, yeah I know. We met a couple of hours ago, remember?" I shot a look to my friends and they pulled me away.

The next few minutes were quite surreal as I walked through the packed club and felt the patrons recognize me as I walked by. I went up to the DJ and said, "Michael, what did you think? Was I OK?"

He laughed and said, "Honey, don't be so nervous up there! The record was going 130 beats per minute, but your gum chewing was going 10,000!"


My other friends, and I had many there, were all very sweet and supportive, once they got past "Was that YOU up there? Why were you up there? We were all freaked out to see you up there. " And of course, "Can WE get up there?" Sorry, Speaker Daddies only.

One of the promoters came up and said, "You looked great up there, Joe. Everybody is saying so. Please tell me you have something more revealing to change into!"

My camouflage pants were soaked with sweat and weighed about 20 pounds, so I said, "Well....I do have some shorts in the room. I could go get those, I guess. "

"Go get them!" he nodded. I turned to leave and he grabbed my arm, "And NO underwear, please." I zipped back to the Triple R and changed into my baggy, silver metallic shorts, that I'd gotten at L.A. Sport in West Hollywood. ( I know, I know.)

Walking back to Fab, the baking heat of the club was evidenced by a pillar of steam billowing out the front door, rising into the cool mountain air. There were a few guys standing outside smoking cigarettes , and as I went in, one of them said, "Costume change!" They all snickered a bit, those bitches.

I was in the wings at 12:15am. The stage manager walked up with Other Dancer and I could hear him saying something like "Just regular dancing. Stay on your feet!" That made me laugh. I noticed that Other Dancer had changed too, into a leather harness and daisy dukes. Then, stage dark, red lights, back on the boxes.

The dance floor beneath me was mobbed. The lighting man was really going to town and this time I could barely make out the faces of those beneath me because of the strobes and lasers and spinning lights. Immediately, my shorts were soaked and I became aware that my now-patented, dignified Speaker Daddy routine, however muted, nevertheless caused the previously hoped for floppage. In fact, it was causing embarrassingly spectacular floppage. As I fixated on it more and more and tried to adjust my dancing to reduce it, it seemed to only get worse.

Several songs went by, there was a tap on my boot and there again was a towel for me, accompanied by a bottle of water. Goddess bless you, stage boy. Again, I paused with my back to the audience to have a drink and mop my face. And again, I took this opportunity to look over at Other Dancer. His shorts were unsnapped and his zipper was down. He was dropping the shorts down to show his ass crack. Then his entire ass. Then his ASSHOLE. I'm totally not kidding. He turned around and bent over and PULLED his ass open to show everybody his ASSHOLE.

Stage dark. Hmm, five minutes early.

I jumped down and headed for the wings. Well, so much for people noticing ME, I thought. Which was strange, considering that a few hours earlier I wouldn't have dreamt that later I'd be dancing in boots and flimsy wet shorts for a crowd of several hundred sweaty bears. I would have bet against it. Big money.

The general manager of the club pulled me aside, "Hi, I'm General Manager. I just want to let you know that you will be performing the 2AM set by yourself." I laughed, "Gee, I wonder why?" He did not laugh with me. I headed back to find my friends in the club, passing Other Dancer who was in a throng of admirers. I think I said, "WhatEVER", when I passed him.

I stayed in my "costume" and danced in the crowd with my friends, replicating my lewd floppage-generating moves to their great amusement. The club began to become overcrowded and shortly before 2am, one of the promoters found me and said, "Listen, we're gonna let the customers dance up on the stage now, it's getting too packed. So you're done for the night, we're not doing a last set." Would you believe that I was just a little disappointed by that?

Towards the end of the night, when the dance floor had cleared considerably, my friends and I were dancing near a seating area on the dance floor level. One of the guys sitting there waved me over to his group, tucked a $5 bill into my sock, and said "We wanted to do this while you were up there but we couldn't reach you."

Sweet, huh? Speaker Daddy banked!


Friday, July 15, 2005

The Speaker Daddy Of Lazy Bear Weekend

From an email, July 2000....

Hey Joe!

Just came upon your AOL profile and pics. Hot man! I noticed you mention in your profile that next week you will be up at the Russian River at Lazy Bear Weekend. My partner XXXX and I are the promoters of "Sweat", the big Saturday night dance during Lazy Bear, which is held at the nightclub Fab.

We're looking for some hot SF area guys who are willing to donate a couple of hours of their time to help us out with "Sweat", a portion of the proceeds for which will benefit (local AIDS charity). You'll get a free ticket to the party and hopefully have some fun helping out too!

Let us know,


I showed the email to my buddy Doug, "So what do you think about this?"

Doug shrugged, "Why does he think you are going to Lazy Bear? I thought you said last week that we weren't going, that you had that big work thing that weekend?"

"Oh, well...I was going to show you this."

And then I showed Doug my emailed notice that my employers, a 30 year old, billion dollar entertainment company, had abruptly filed bankruptcy and laid me off. They'd gotten caught in the dot-com spiral, acquired a number of expensive product-free internet companies, and imploded shortly after their highly anticipated IPO.

"Oh, so we're going."

"But what about me getting fired? What am I going to do?"

"I don't know, honey. But we ARE going to Lazy Bear, right?"

Doug and his priorities. I mulled the request for help at the dance party for the rest of the day. I wasn't sure I wanted to have any sort of obligations on a Saturday night, not one during Lazy Bear, and certainly not one on a night in which I'd likely be drinking to forget my loser unemploymentness.

Standing at the Powerhouse that night, I asked my friend Leif about it.

"Oh. Joe. Please. You have to do it. It's for AIDS, dude."

"No, it's not. It's for bears, dude. And some portion of the door charge or whatever, is for AIDS. And I'd like to be able to enjoy the party, not work it."

Leif shook his head and put his hand on my shoulder, "Joe, if you don't do this, you are totally gonna get hit by a bus. Karma. For real."

When I got home that night, I emailed the party promoters back that I would be available to help. A moment later, one of them IM'd me to let me know to swing by the club at 8PM that Saturday, and I'd be given my assignment and that "at most" I'd be asked to work for 2 hours during some portion of the party.

The next weekend, we rolled into Guerneville early Saturday morning and before we even checked into our room at the grandiosely named, but far, far from grandiose, Russian River Resort (aka Triple R), we were pretty well lit. We spent most of the afternoon criss-crossing the highway as we swung back and forth between the increasingly riotous poolside scenes at Fifes and the Triple R. After a groggy dinner of barbecued ribs and potato salad ('dem bears eats good!), I went back to the room and changed.

Doug walked me over to the box office at Fab. I was right on time, 8PM, but nobody was around and the door was locked. I was ten seconds away from saying "fuck it" and walking away, when the door swung open and a guy with a clipboard took position at the ropes. Inside the club, we could see a lot of action, guys rushing around with handtrucks of beers, tubs of ice, etc.

"Hi, I'm Joe. XXXX emailed me and I'm supposed to volunteer tonight."

"OK, right Joe. Let me just find you here, " said the doorman, scanning his clipboard.

Doug started to walk away, but I stopped him, "Hang on for a minute, maybe my part isn't until later on and I'll have some time to kill." Doug shrugged and waited a few feet away.

The doorman underlined something on his clipboard and looked up, "OK Joe, the other dancer isn't here yet, but you should go ahead and come on in now, I think the stage manager is going to want to talk to you for a few minutes."

I looked at him blankly. "The other what isn't here?"

"Dancer. His name is......XXXXX. But he hasn't shown up yet. Why don't you come on in?"

The doorman squawked into his walkie-talkie for a moment, during which I shot a frightened look to Doug.

"I'm sorry, I really don't understand. You have me on the list as a DANCER? I think that's a mistake, I thought I would be taking tickets, or stamping hands, or checking IDs or emptying garbage or something, I...I....."

Doug started laughing. Really hard. Really loud. That fucker.

The doorman shook his head, "Nope. See right here? It says ' Dancers - Joe and XXXX'."

"Maybe they have me mixed up with another Joe?" I asked.

"Nope. It's you baby. Don't worry, you'll do fine."

I turned around to Doug, "Oh, no way! I can't be the dancer! A go-go boy? I'm fucking forty years old!"

Doug said, "Oh, don't be such a baby. Have some fun with it. Besides, Joe. It's for AIDS, don't forget about that bus Leif told you about." And with that, he smacked my back and walked back towards the Triple R.

The doorman dropped the ropes and waved me in. I walked into the lobby and stood shivering in their icy air-conditioning for a few minutes while I waited for one of the promoters to come talk to me. Some hot guys were inside finishing the setting up. Some really hot guys, I should clarify. Some really, really, super hot guys. So not helping with the nervousness. A guy wearing a headset emerged from an office door and walked towards me with his hand extended.

"Joe! Nice to finally meet you in person! I'm really glad you could-"

I cut him off in the middle of our handshake, "Listen, I'm glad to help, but you guys didn't say anything about me being a DANCER!"

"Oh really? I'm pretty sure that was mentioned in the email."

"Um, NO. I think I would have definitely noticed that. For sure."

"Let me get XXXX out here to talk to you," he said, and got on his walkie-talkie.

A moment later the other promoter appeared and the two of them conferred for a moment. The second one walked over and shook my hand.

"Not getting cold feet are you?"

"Seriously, this is the first I'm hearing about dancing for you guys. Do you have a computer here? You can totally check your email to me," I pleaded.

"OK, I believe you. But listen, we're in a bind. We've advertised "hot MAN dancers" and that's what the crowd is gonna expect. What did you bring to wear?"

I held up my hands. "I'm wearing it! I didn't expect to be a dancer!" In a quick rush of relief it occurred to me that since I was wearing combat books and camouflage pants, that my outfit might be my way out of this mess.

The promoter stepped closer and in a quick move pulled my wife-beater off. "Mmm, very nice. But I already knew that. Oooh, and the dog tags are a nice touch!"


He reached down and touched my belt, "Are you wearing any underwear?"

"No!" I said triumphantly.

His eyes glinted. "Fabulous!"

Continue to conclusion......


Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Instant Disco History, Vol. 3

It was a long time after I started going to gay bars, that I could summon the courage to go to a leather bar. I wasn't quite sure what went on in them, but I was very sure that it was probably something to do with drinking blood. The men that I saw going in to leather bars, if I ever had to courage to actually be NEAR one, well...forget about it. These weren't happy furry dollies gyrating to disco songs like the Village People leatherman. The guys I saw going into leather bars were downright mean looking. Those motorcycle clothes. The Nazi-esque hats. I was really frightened by them.

Long before Al Pacino's Cruising came out in 1980, I was thoroughly convinced that I could never ever ever go into a leather bar, because I knew there was something seriously wrong with those people. In fact, due the fact that a small local bar that I frequented shared a parking lot with a leather bar, I would use the leather bar as a barometer of fuckability, when I saw a hot guy. If he left his car and went into MY bar, then he was a possibility. If he went into, or if I saw him coming out of the leather bar, he was right off the list. Right. Off.

When Cruising was in production, and continuing until its release, there had been a considerable bit of clamor from the (then relatively unorganzied) gay activists. The only real national gay press at the time was The Advocate, which was still a newsprint tabloid, so I actually found out about the protests from mainstream media, like Time Magazine.

And in those stories about Cruising, for the first time in my only-a-few-years-old gay life, I saw out gay men, publicly protesting their treatment at the hands of the movie industry. The stories I read at the time fascinated me because they not only were the first acknowledgement I'd seen in the press of any organized gay political movement (remember I was only 20 at the time), but they also drew my attention to the infighting that was possible within the gay community, as the leathermen protested that the other gay activists were attacking their image of being "bad for the cause". Sounds awfully familiar, doesn't it?

The news stories about the movie's production and the growing protests kept my attention for several months. I pored over the stories and paid attention to any mention of specific West Village filming locations mentioned in the stories, because I wanted to know where everything was, when I moved from Orlando to New York City, something that didn't actually happen until 20 years later. The whole Moving To New York City fantasy was one that I shared with multitudes of other small-town young gay men, although I didn't know it at the time.

One night, the brouhaha about Cruising, which was about a serial killer stalking his victims inside New York's gay leather bars, finally pushed my curiousity past my fear, and with false bravado I entered my first leather bar. I remember the door having a tiny square window cut into it, from which the doorman could inspect approaching customers. Inside, the bar was very dark and crowded. The artwork was spookily lit from below, all pictures of men in various S/M scenes. I can remember feeling very uncomfortable as I felt the eyes of the patrons frankly appraise my person, in a (probably imagined) lustful way that I hadn't experienced before.

But mostly, I remember the song playing when I walked in. It was a harsh, aggressive song, with a loud chanted chorus. I had just seated myself on the barstool closest to the door, when the words began. The lead "singer" growled and spat his lyrics, telling the story of a man named "Creeper", giving evil chuckles before luridly describing the brutal way that "Creeper" was going to rape and torture his victims.

Creeper gonna creep and walk the night
All right, all right
Look out night
Creeper got mad and angry eyes
One look from him can paralyze
Resist at any time or place
Creeper gonna slap right 'cross your face

During that last line, I saw one of the bartenders mock slapping the other bartender, during the "right 'cross your face" part, then walk over to me to take my order. Before I could say anything, the next verse of the song arrived.

Upon his lips, the taste of pain
Venom kiss of love insane
He's got a rod beneath his coat
He's gonna RAM right down your throat
Make you grovel on the floor
Spit up and scream and beg for more
He'll rape you good
And strip you down
Hot child, gotcha!


The screaming is in the record, but I think that I might have screamed too, because right during the "gotcha!", I was grabbed from behind by a tall man wearing a harness, who growled the "gotcha" into my ear. I jumped up and ran out of the bar.

You can download the song here:

"Walk The Night" - Skatt Bros. (Casablanca Records, 1979)

Casablanca Records ended up having a moderate hit with "Walk The Night", mostly in the gay clubs, of course. I guess the straight clubs didn't have a big call for disco songs about gay S/M rape scenes.

In the music press, I found a story about the Skatt Bros. (ahem), who were being touted as a "straight" version of the Village People. Riiiiight. Oh, and it turned out that they were Canadian, which made the song a whole lot less scary.

The complete end of my fascination with the group came when I happened upon them performing "Walk The Night" on the Dinah Shore Show. For you youngin's out there, appearing on Dinah Shore was the absolute stamp of uncoolness. I can't think of any show that's on today with such buzz-killing rep, not even Carson Daly.

Still, for a least a few more years, "Walk The Night" kept me from returning to a leather bar. Granted the leather scene in Orlando wasn't exactly burgeoning, and it wasn't until I sort of aged-into the leather bar scene (as happens with almost all gay men), did I ever feel comfortable there.

Today, the leather scene is pretty much all that's available to middle-aged gay men, for a lot of sociological reasons, not the least of which is the real relative scarcity of middle-aged gay men, due to the decimation of AIDS. Maybe there'd be a vibrant bar scene, the scope and variety of which would compare to that available to men in their 20's right now, if AIDS hadn't come along and wiped out such a huge chunk of that market segment.

After I moved to San Francisco, I plunged headlong into the local leather scene. I bought a lot of the gear (outfits) and went to a lot of the events (parties) and experimented in the play scene (orgies). I went to all the major leather get togethers, IML, MAL, Folsom, Dore. And as you can see by the picture, I totally ramped up my working out, because dayum, it's hard to look good in leather if you're body isn't perfect.

As my English roommate in SF used to say, "In chaps, there's no room for error."

I suppose it all started with "Walk The Night". This picture of me was taken in 1999, which is when it probably peaked. I no longer look anything like this, sadly enough. In fact, while writing this story, a co-worker saw this picture on my computer and said, "Oooh, he's HOT! Friend of yours?" Can I get everyone to give me a heavy sigh of condolence? Thank you, my brothers.


The Title Is:

Yesterday afternoon, I wandered around Christopher Street while I waited for an open chair in my regular barbershop. A glance into the tightly packed porn shops along the south side of the street revealed an explosion of gay porn releases with the word "Bareback" in their titles.

"Bareback Orgy", "Bareback Gangbang", "Bareback 2, Electric Boogaloo". Ok, I made that last one up.

This phenomenon has been going on in gay porn for about the 7 or 8 years, as far as I know. The inevitable fetishization of barebacking, and more specifically, of cum itself, is probably a predictable result of 20 years of safe sex messages. But that topic is for another post. Today, I'm making up porn titles. These are the one I came up with during my haircut. Porn producers, feel free to use them.

Bareback To The Future

How Stella Got Her Groove Bareback

Bareback In The USSR

The Empire Strikes Bareback

Welcome Bareback, Kotter

OK, that last one would be a tv show, starring a now 60 year old Gabe Kaplan. Barebacking.


Friday, July 08, 2005

Instant Disco History, Vol.2

In the '70s, before the era of music videos, and much, much longer before the true information age spawned by the internet, music fans had only one resource to scour if they were interested in finding out the minutia of their favorite recordings. That was, of course, the liner notes.

In my case, being a raging fan of the largely faceless, often nameless brand of music then called "disco", it was the singers that interested me the most. It became an almost relentless obsession for me, to pore over my liner notes, as I would cross-match different vocalists to different recordings, marveling at my ability to pick out the same diva (is a male diva a "divo"?) on several different recordings.

And so, around 1980 or so, I had my biggest "Eureka!" moment in my entire love affair with disco vocalists. That's when I finally realized that the deliciously smooth vocalist I had fallen in love with a couple of years earlier, on massive hits for Bionic Boogie, was the same impossibly glorious vocalist that I was then quavering over on the biggest dance album of 1980, "The Glow Of Love", by Change.

Name in hand, I pawed through my collection, my wonder growing as I continued to find this vocalist's name on many of my other records, often listed as a back-up vocalist. A partial list of the albums on which I found this vocalist listed included albums by Donna Summer, Bette Midler, Chic, Vicki Sue Robinson, Michael Zager Band, Lemon, Peter Jacques Band...and on and on and on. Then I found this vocalist's name ALL over my David Bowie records! Songwriting, vocal arrangements, back-up singing. How did I miss this? How could I not *hear* that it was the same vocalist over and over? I mean, I was in LOVE with this singular voice. Its tone, its range, its sexiness.

That voice belonged to Luther Vandross.

In 1978, part of my post-clubbing ritual was coming home and kicking off my shoes, and with my bar buddy Todd, doing a sock-sliding shuffle all over my living room to Bionic Boogie's (now classic) "Hot Butterfly". Luther's silky voice would cause Todd's eyes to roll back in his head, and he would slide around in front of my sofa, in one hand his "nightcap" vodka/tonic, and in the other his ever-present Pall Mall. I could never resist joining him (in the dance, not the drink or the ciggie), and sometimes we'd play "Hot Butterfly" five or six times, before Todd would finally say goodnight. After Todd would leave, I'd pull out the previous Bionic Boogie album and play "Risky Changes" for myself, a song that Todd hated, but only because the DJs at the local gay bars had been playing it twice nightly for at least a year.

Then, in 1980, came Change's "The Glow Of Love". The debut single was "Lover's Holiday", and while it featured Luther's voice, he was buried with other singers, only on a couple of notes was he clearly identifiable. It was the follow-up singles, "Searching" and "The Glow Of Love" that finally made the Bionic Boogie connection click for me. And it was the lyrics of "The Glow Of Love" that first made me suspect that Luther was gay.

Flower’s bloomin’, mornin’ dew
And the beauty seems to say
It’s a pleasure when you treasure
All that’s new and true and gay

I mean, come on...."It's a pleasure when you treasure all that's new and true and GAY"?

The following year, 1981, Luther Vandross, upon the insistence of his friend Patti Labelle, finally released his debut solo album, "Never Too Much" which he produced himself. Buried on the B-side of "Never Too Much" is my favorite of many favorites by Luther, his complete redrawing of the already classic Burt Bacharach song, "A House Is Not A Home", his version of which can still, almost 25 years later, bring me to tears. It's also a staple on the late night Quiet Storm format FMs, as are so many of his later recordings.

I should reveal here that for about a year, "Never Too Much" was my personal fuck record. By that I mean that before I went out clubbing, I would go through a checklist, in case I brought a guy back home with me. Bedroom tidy? Check. No dishes in the sink? Check. Living room shag carpet properly vacuumed and left with vacuum tracks? Check. And "Never Too Much" on the turntable, needle ON the record? CHECK.

I spent the last decade waiting for Luther to finally come out of the closet. Although, I always respected the way he handled the non-stop speculations of the media. In my opinion, it's not the responsibility of every gay artist to come out of the closet, even though I wish they would. For me, as long as they aren't denying the truth, but merely keeping their personal life personal, I can live with that.

And Luther Vandross handled the questions with dignity and quiet reserve. He handled them with class, even though his secret life was torturing him. I had expected that like Johnny Mathis (he and Luther are probably responsible for more baby making than anybody except Barry White), Luther would probably come out long after his career had any real commercial life. I had fantasized about seeing Vandross and Mathis perform a side-by-sissy duet on a gay variety show.

But that won't happen. As you all know, Luther died last week, at the age of 54. Today his memorial is taking place on Manhattan's Upper East Side, and a born and bred NYC boy will come home for the final time.

I hope you listen to these early Luther Vandross records that I have posted. They provide a glimpse not only into Luther's early career, but a look at the types of records that gay clubs were playing at the time. They are smooth, they are timeless. They are Luther Vandross.

Bionic Boogie - "Hot Butterfly" Polydor Records, 1978

Change - "The Glow Of Love" Warner Bros. Records, 1980

Bionic Boogie - "Risky Changes" Polydor Records, 1977

Change - "Searching" Warner Bros. Records, 1980


Thursday, July 07, 2005

Gay Radio Shines During London's Crisis

Jamie Crick------Neil Sexton

I've been listening to the London-based gay internet radio station, Gaydar Radio, all day long, during this terrible day for London.

I can't imagine that Gaydar Radio has much of a huge operation, but I'm very impressed by the steady, professional reporting being done by their two on-air personalities, Jamie Crick and Neil Sexton.

Crick and Sexton have been delivering somber, measured and reassuring reports of the situation as the story unfolds. They've provided continuous updates regarding contacting loved ones, contacting the police with tips or clues, and the ongoing problems with cellphone networks.

And in between BBC news flashes and advice about the transportation situation, they have also solicited suggestions for appropriate music selections. The songs have been slow, quiet ballads, which have been slowly growing in tempo through the day, as the announcers began to ask for suggestions of "songs of defiance".

A moment ago, "The Show Must Go On", by Queen.

Another hero, another mindless crime
Behind the curtain, in the pantomime
Hold the line, does anybody want to take it anymore
The show must go on, the show must go on
Inside my heart is breaking, my make-up may be flaking
But my smile still stays on.

Following that, Sister Sledge's "We Are Family", then, perhaps inevitably, Michael Jackson's "Heal The World."

For reasons I can't quite explain, I'm quietly amused and pleased that the announcers managed to work in the news that the West End theatres and Compton Street gay bars will be closed this evening, both out of respect to the crisis and due to the simple fact that transportation to central London will be unavailable.

Congratulations to the Crick/Sexton team and the Gaydar Radio staff for providing a highly polished, yet uniquely gay take on yet another abomination at the hands of this unending conflict.

You can listen to Gaydar Radio online, for free, by clicking here.

EDIT: It appears that the station has resumed its regular diva-heavy programming, for the moment.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Watching The Defectives

Last Sunday, at 12:30pm, I was in position on Christopher Street with Terrence, his glamour boys, and touring UK bloggers Dave and Darren. The Pride parade was due to round the corner any minute, but I tore off in search of a bodega, crossing my fingers that my desperate need for a soda wouldn't cause me to miss Dykes On Bikes.

Half a block away, I found a little place and ducked in, weaving thru the customers clogging the aisles on rushed missions like mine. I was third in line, two bottles of Sprite under my arm, when the man in front of me spotted a friend entering the store.

"David! Sweetie! Where are you watching from? Come hang out with us on Allen's balcony!"

David, a bookish looking middle-aged man, destroyed the festive mood in the little store in an instant. "Absolutely not. Those defectives and freaks?" he spat, indicating the colorful crowd outside the store, "They have nothing to do with MY life, thank you very much. This parade has as much dignity as a carnival freak show. It's no wonder the whole country hates us."

Luckily for David, the Asshole Killer mind ray I've been working on is not yet operational. I settled for pushing him a little, just a tiny bit, just to get by him in that narrow aisle, of course.

I returned to my sweaty little group and tried to put what I'd heard out of my mind for the remainder of the day, because I knew that by the next morning, the thousands of Davids of the world, the ones who have media access anyway, would all issue their now familiar day-after-Pride rant. The one where they decry the drag queens on all those newspaper front pages. The one where they beat their chests and lament, "Why don't the papers ever show the NORMAL gay people? Where are the bankers and lawyers? Why must all the coverage be drag queens and leather freaks in ass-less chaps?"

And every year, the logical answer is that bankers and lawyers are boring to look at, and that pictures of marching Gap employees don't sell newspapers. There's no sinister media agenda intent on making gay people look ridiculous, no fag-hating cabal behind the annual front page explosion of sequins and feathers. It's just good copy. Drag queens are interesting. Even the bad ones. Especially the bad ones.

But sure enough, the day after Pride, the Davids of the blogosphere dished out their heavy-handed dissections of parades around the country. Only this year, there was a palpably nastier tone to an already traditionally nasty annual debate. Blame the election, blame the recent avalanche of anti-gay legislation, but this year, the usual assimilationist arguments went beyond the hypothetical speculations that maybe our Pride parades were too outlandish, that maybe we weren't doing the movement any favors by showing the country a face that happened to be wearing 6-inch long false eyelashes. This year, there was some actual discussion about HOW we were going to "fix" Pride parades. How we might go about "discouraging" certain "elements" from taking part in the parades.

This is the part of the story where I have my annual post-Pride apoplectic attack. Only this year, it was worse. This is the part of the story where the swelling volume of Nazi analogies overwhelm my ability to speak, and all I can do is twitch and bark out little nonsensical bits. This is where I always forget the name given to the Jews who went to work for the Nazis, helping load the trains. "Because that's what you are asking us to do, you assholes!" Then I always ask, "Who are we going to sacrifice to "save" ourselves? Which child will it be, Sophie?" And this is the part where my friends accuse me of being a hyperbole-laden drama queen, wasting spiritual energy on a non-crisis, and of coopting the Holocaust as well. More on that later.

These people that want to "fix" Pride don't understand the role that Pride parades have come to play. Initially, the gay parade was about visibility. It was about safety in numbers, and more importantly, "normalcy" in numbers. It was about the idea that if only straight America could see us, could just SEE US, that they'd love us. And accept us. That if we'd mass and march by the righteous millions, the sheer unstoppable force of our collective image would topple bigotry. Would right wrongs. Would stop hate.

Of course, that doesn't happen, not anymore.

What DOES happen, is that Pride parades, at least in the big cities, have become nothing more significant to straight America than an annual traffic nightmare. As a tool of the gay movement, the Pride parade is now merely a walking photo op for politicians, and not much more. A couple of years ago, the ultimate arbiter of America's cultural zeitgeist, The Simpsons, made note of this.

The gay pride parade is going past the Simpson house.

Chanting marchers: "We're here! We're queer! Get used to it!"

Lisa Simpson: "You're here every year. We ARE used to it."

What does all of this mean to the Davids of the world? The gay assimilationists that want to, wish they could, somebody do something, there's gotta be a way we can, Dignify This Parade? The ones begging, "Can't we get our people to at least DRESS respectfully for one fucking day? Is that too much to ask of our people? " Yes, yes it is. Because you are wasting your breath if you think Pride parades, in any form, will EVER change the minds of homophobes. The straight people who show up to see Pride parades are already largely convinced. We're parading to the choir, Jesse. Those straight people love our freaks, bless them.

Oh, you could test run a "defective" free parade. You could form urban anti-tranny squads and go around to all the gayborhoods on the morning of the parade and give all the drag queens 50% off coupons for Loehmann's, offer good during the parade only. And they'd GO, of course, cuz hey, those girls love a bargain. But the resultant bland, humorless, "normal" gay parade wouldn't change the course of the gay movement one bit. The part of straight America that is repulsed by drag queens is quite possibly even more terrified by the so-called "normal" gays, because "those clever calculating creatures look JUST LIKE US, and can infiltrate and get access to our precious children, and that's been their disgusting plan all along, of course".

So where does that leave us? Are we post-Pride? Is the parade just a colossally long waste of a miserably hot summer day? Is the Pride parade just an event that does a better job of moving chicken-on-a-stick, than it does of moving hearts? I'd say that, yes, as an effective tool of the gay movement, Pride's usefullness has largely waned. So do we even need to keep having these parades, since they no longer have much of an impact on the state of the movement? No, we don't.

But...YES, WE DO.

Because even if Pride doesn't change many minds in the outside world, it's our PARTY, darlings. It's our Christmas, our New Year's, our Carnival. It's the one day of the year that all the crazy contingents of the gay world actually come face to face on the street. And blow each other air kisses. And wish each other "Happy Pride!". Saying "Happy Pride!" is really just a shorter, easier way of saying "Congratulations on not being driven completely batshit insane! Way to go for not taking a rifle into a tower and taking out half the town! Well done, being YOURSELF!"

I'm not worried what the outside world thinks about the drag queens, the topless bulldaggers or the nearly naked leatherfolk. It's OUR party, bitches. If you think that straight America would finally pull its homokinder to its star-spangled busom, once we put down that glitter gun, then you are seriously deluding yourself. Next year, if one of the Christian camera crews that show up to film our debauched celebrations happen to train their cameras on you, stop dancing. And start PRANCING.

All you suburban, lawn mowing, corpo-droid homos out there, hiding behind your picket fences, the ones wringing your hands and worrying that Pride ruins YOUR personal rep, listen up. Do you think that straight Americans worry that Mardi Gras damages international perception of American culture? America, land of the free, home of "Show Us Your Tits!"? They don't, and neither should we. Our Pride celebrations are just our own unique version of Mardi Gras, only instead of throwing beads, we throw shade. No one has to ask US to show our tits. We've already got 'em out there, baby. And some of them are real.

A co-worker of mine heard me discussing my Pride plans last weekend and said, "I really don't understand what it is you are proud about. I mean, you all say that you are born that way, so it's not like you accomplished anything." She wasn't being mean, just genuinely curious, and I think that a lot of gay people probably feel the same way, quite frankly. On this subject, I can only speak for myself.

I'm proud because I'm a middle-aged gay man who has more dead friends than living ones, and yet I'm not completely insane. I've lived through a personal Holocaust (here we go again) in which my friends and lovers have been mowed down as thoroughly and randomly as the S.S guards moved down the line of Jews. You, dead. You, to the factory. And you, you, you, and you, dead. I am inexplicably alive and I am proud that I keep the memories of my friends alive. I am proud of my people, the ACT-UPers, the Quilt makers, the Larry Kramers. I'm proud that I'm not constantly curled up into a ball on my bed, clutching photo albums and sobbing. And that happens sometimes, believe it.

And outside of my personal experiences, I am proud of my tribe, as a group. I think that gay people are more creative, more empathic, more intuitive, more generous, and more selfless than anybody else on the planet. Sometimes I think that if an alien culture were surveying our planet from light years away, they might classify gay people as an entirely separate species of humans. It's easy to spot us because of our better haircuts.

The gay people who'd like to soothe their personal image problems by selectively culling some of our children from Pride events? They disgust me. They appall me. They embarrass me. To them I say: the very road that YOU now have the priviledge of swaggering upon was paved by those very queens and leather freaks that you complain about, as you practice your "masculine" and give us butch face. If you want to live in the house that THEY BUILT, you better act like you fucking know it. United we stand, you snide bitches. America's kulturkampf ain't gonna be solved by making flamboyant people go away.

I'll end this by making one final Jewish reference. Possibly you've heard the Jewish in-joke that sums up the meaning of all Jewish holidays? "They tried to kill us. We won. Let's eat." My Pride version?

They wish we were invisible.

We're not.

Let's dance.

(Important note: San Francisco blogger V-Hold has a very interesting suggestion for reinvigorating the political clout that Pride events used to have, which was published on a few days ago. Please go read his proposal and give him some feedback.)