Friday, December 30, 2005

78 Degrees And Mostly Queer

It should be snowing any minute up in New York City, so I'd like to present the following photos in the spirit of "Neener, neener, neener!" All of these pictures should enlarge nicely, should you need to warm yourselves by your screen.
Below: This little gabled structure covers the entrance to the tunnel that used to run under the street from the beach to the entrance of the basement disco of the fabulously gay, infamously seedy, Marlin Beach Hotel, where many a "straight" spring-breaking frat boy would slip away from his Greek brothers, for some literal greeking, swimming the warm waters of sins of the flesh, rather than the still-icy waters of the Atlantic. The Marlin Beach's swimming pool had windows in the bottom, so that dancers could look up at all the pretty mer-boys. The Cortez Street entrance and the block of sand across from the Marlin Beach Hotel was the gay beach of South Florida for decades, popular even after the Marlin closed.Below: A monstrosity called Beach Place now occupies the hallowed ground where the Marlin Beach staged its notorious daily t-dances in the poolside "Poop Deck" disco. Adding insult to travesty, there is a Hooters on the third floor. Below: Christmas cheer, Lauderdale beach style.
Below: Shortly after the opening of Beach Place, with its attached Marriott Hotel, the gay beach was overrun with tour groups of pale, overweight Europeans. Appalled, our boys snatched up their Ralph Lauren beach towels in disgust and relocated the gay beach to the Sebastian Street entrance, one block away, mostly because there's a parking lot across the street. But the parking lot is not large, you need a combination of patience and ruthlessness to score an afternoon spot. Below: These two fellows gave me 'tude for taking this picture, probably thinking I was some old pervert collecting beefcake to post on the internet. Really, I only wanted a simple manscape of the gay beach, but rather than disappoint them....

Thursday, December 29, 2005

A Flare From Fort Lauderdale

Well, I haven't forgotten how to drive. My annual visit to South Florida is usually preceeded by a bit of irrational fear that somehow my driving skills have atrophied, like a language you never practice, and that I have lost the ability to navigate the sea of rental cars barreling down I-95 , each vehicle starring in a one car show called Hey, That Was Our Exit! This year, I wonder if all those onboard direction computers are only heightening the drama, "The map lady said you were supposed to take that exit. You never listen. Why she even bothers, I don't know."

And let's hope that je me souviens not to venture onto the roads between 3-5pm. That's when the snowbirds, those tens of thousands of Quebecois who winter in Broward County, turn the streets into a daily running of Early Bird Dinner Special Deathrace 2000, a Francophone demolition derby of seemingly driverless Crown Victorias and Lincoln Town Cars, automotive Flying Dutchmen slaloming down Hollywood Boulevard in a breakneck race to reach the restaurant parking lot first, and win that most coveted of culinary prizes, the Good Spot.

The largest French-speaking community in the United States is in Hollywood, the sleepy oceanside burg sandwiched between Fort Lauderdale and the Miami-Dade County border. Hollywood hardly seems to have earned its co-starring billing at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, yet it's the place to go if you want to see a cocktail lounge Elvis impersonator deliver an accordion-laced version of Blue Suede Shoes, en francais, which you do. During the four month snowbird season, every business in Hollywood shoves a Je Parle Francais! sign into their window, if they know what's good for them. Right now, Denny's marquee is letting everybody know that the Grand Slam Breakfast is available tout le temps, in case you were wondering.

The lingering effects of Hurricane Wilma can be seen everywhere. From where I sit writing this, I can see bright blue plastic tarps on the roofs of several homes on this street. The local construction and utilities industries were caught out of position with Wilma. So much manpower had been directed to the Katrina effort that it took many days just to get basic services restored. This visit, I've been feeling my way around town. Some store signs and other landmarks remain gone or knocked down and with so many street signs missing, I've had to actually count off the blocks as I drive past, so that I can find the streets where my friends live.

It's striking how the palm trees survived largely unscathed, other than a general frond denuding. The ficus trees are another story. Ficus trees, long prized by homeowners for their fast growth and ample shade, have proven deadly to many structures because of their very shallow root systems. On every street you can find a massive ficus lying on its side, its roots hanging as high as the branches once did. I have a feeling that the expression "ficus-free lot" will become a common tagline for South Florida realtors.

From what I can tell, the tourists appear to be thumbing their noses at the mountainous roadside piles of hurricane debris and are continuing to stream in as always. The bars and restaurants are jammed and the highways are in their usual state of winter gridlock. Yesterday, I joined the crawling line of cars creeping along the beachfront drive. Sunburned tourists jaywalked between our cars, shuttling frozen drinks in to-go containers out to their blankets, which I think is a no-no, but I'm gonna guess that the alcohol police have been told to look the other way this year.

Last night I dropped in at The Ramrod, which I once decided would be the winner of Best Leather Bar That Used To Be A Convenience Store, should such an award exist. I've made up other awards for Fort Lauderdale bars. I used to say that The Stud (now defunct) would win Best Gay Disco That Used To Be A Red Lobster and that The Eagle (also defunct) would win Best Leather Bar Where The Patrons Have Sex After Hours In The McDonald's Playground Next Door. Briefly, there was a Best Gay Bar That Used To Be A Titty Bar award, but the category got too crowded to pick a clear winner.

I left Fort Lauderdale ten years ago, but last night at the Ramrod I didn't run into anybody from my past, which hasn't happened before. Not that I didn't know at least half of the crowd, by name or by face, but New Yorkers don't count.


Saturday, December 24, 2005

Via Grand Central

My view of Grand Central, taken from the express bus stop on Thursday as I was whisked away to LGA on my way to Florida.

Friday, December 23, 2005

The Dance Of The Sugar Plum Lesbians

(Reposted from Christmas Eve 2004)

Grand Central Terminal functions as the mechanical heart of midtown New York City, pumping out several thousand workers and tourists on one beat, then sucking in several thousand more on the next.

The rhythms of the terminal are fascinating.

Beat. Four thousand, inbound from New Haven.

Beat. Three thousand, outbound to Westchester.

Worlds collide on the main floor.

The tourists gawk up at the gloriously ornate ceiling and uselessly flash their digital cameras at objects hundreds of feet away.

The commuters rush up to the track displays to determine their track number, then dart across the terminal floor, dodging the milling tourists like a running back heading for the end zone with two seconds left on the clock.

It's mesmerizing. It's majestic.

And sometimes, like tonight, it's magical.

I'm walking through the massive main room just as the holiday laser show begins on the ceiling. To the tune of "Take The 'A' Train" the laser depicts two trains arriving from different directions. The trains stop opposite each other, and a reindeer leaps out of each one and crosses over to the opposite train.

The laser traces the outline of one of the zodiac constellations painted on the ceiling, and the Cancer crab leaps to life and becomes the Crab Conductor, waddling down the center aisle of the car, punching the reindeers' ticket stubs with his claws.

I move over to the edge of the room, near the entrance for Track 25, so I can watch the reaction to the show. As usual, I'm more entertained by watching the audience than by watching the actual show.

At the ticket windows, standing in front of signs that say "Harlem Line" or "Hudson Line", commuters tilt their heads painfully back to view the show directly overhead. The tourists cluster in delighted circles, holding each others' elbows for balance as they nearly bend over backwards.

Some people move to the edges of the great hall, as I have, to remove themselves from the traffic flow while they watch. Among those that come to join me on the perimeter of the room is a lesbian couple. They stand quite close to me, the taller woman behind the shorter one, with her arms wrapped around her, supporting her a bit, as they both lean back on the marble wall.

The shorter woman is stout, with a large firm chest. Her hair is short and brushed back into what might have once been called a ducktail. She has an ornate tattoo on her left forearm, and she has a leather wallet protruding from the rear pocket of her jeans, attached to her leather belt by a short silver chain. She has more than a passing resemblence to Tony Danza, her big boobs nothwithstanding, so naturally (in my head) I name her Toni.

Toni's girlfriend is blond, her short ponytail dangles just above her collar. She is wearing long Christmas tree earrings, which nearly brush her shoulders. Her lanky, sinewy limbs are bound in a tight running outfit, over which she is wearing a school athletic jacket. I imagine that she might be a coach at Yale or Harvard, perhaps a girls lacrosse coach, or maybe track and field.

Coach is squeezing Toni tightly, and they bounce together to the music a bit. Coach looks over at me and catches me smiling. She nudges Toni, who looks over at me too, and we all grin goofily at each other for a moment.

Overhead, a new show begins. The familiar opening notes of Tchaikovsky's "Dance Of The Sugar Plum Fairies" ring out as the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building sprout arms, bow to each other, and begin waltzing across the ceiling.

I look around the room and it's as if time was frozen for just a second, every person stopped in mid-stride, eyes cast upward, mouths open in silent joy.

Toni pushes away from Coach, turns around and delivers her a bow as deep and as elegant as the one just depicted overheard.

"Madame, may I please have this dance?," she asks Coach.

Coach looks around a bit awkwardly, "You are TOO much!" And she giggles.

"Madame, I must insist!," says Toni, as she takes Coach's hands into hers.

Coach relents and she and Toni begin a beautful, slow waltz, moving in half-time to the music. As you might have guessed already, Toni leads.

As they dance, their eyes remain locked on each other. Toni is giving Coach an intense look, her lips tightly curled into a satisfied smile. Coach is grinning from ear to ear, and again she giggles.

All around Coach and Toni, the tourists, the businessmen, the students, the conductors, even the guy with a broom, they're all watching. Some are expressionless, but more are smiling, and some of them...some of them are frantically fussing with their cameras, eager to capture this magical New York Moment.

Serendipity prevails, the tune ends, and Toni dips Coach backwards with a dramatic upsweep of her free arm as a firestorm of camera flashes erupt around them. Toni pulls Coach up and close to her, and they hug. There's another camera flash, and the crowd begins to move along.


"Hey, look!"

The laser show is being concluded with giant sprigs of mistletoe appearing over our heads. This time, it's Coach who bends down and plants a long tender kiss on Toni's non-lipsticked mouth. There's another flash of cameras from the delighted audience.

Toni takes Coach's hand, and they begin to move off towards the exit.

"Oh, don't stop yet!," says a disappointed woman, still rumaging for her camera.

Toni looks back over her shoulder and says, "I never will."

The mechanical heart of New York City, Grand Central Terminal, beats again, but this time I hear a different rhythm. This time I hear a double beat.



Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Officer, Is This The Line To Get A Taxi?

For those that have written to ask me why New Yorkers don't all just take cabs until this mess is over: There are 11,787 taxis on the streets of the five boroughs of New York City, a number which is controlled by city law and has not been increased since the 1950's. That's 11,787 taxis and 8 million people.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Fucking Crisis

Yes, yes...solidarity with the workers.

Yes, yes...fight the power.

Yes, yes...a decent living wage.

But also, this: I had BETTER fucking not miss my fucking plane to Fort fucking Lauderdale, where I expect to spend the better fucking part of the next two fucking weeks fucking. Cuz that will make for one fucking unhappy fucking blogger.


Monday, December 19, 2005

Thinking Of You, This Holiday Season

Disclaimer: Art is not meant for climbing on. Especially enormous abstract modern metal sculptures placed outside office buildings as a testament that the CEO has really good taste and a lot of money, or at least, the money. Modern art is supposed to be mysterious and should never be ridden.


A Better Way To Shop

A brisk walk across Central Park with Eddie and we arrived at the Farmboyz' Upper West Side pied-a-terre shortly after noon. Farmboy C served several rounds of his famously spicy and potent Bloody Marys and then we headed out to tour midtown's mad crush of holiday destinations in the condition in which they are best experienced.


First, a stroll through the plaza at Lincoln Center, where we all expressed dismay and wonderment at its continual decay and generally decrepit condition. Farmboy C impressed me by volunteering the names of the architects responsible for each of the three Lincoln Center buildings. Father Tony remarked that prior to Lincoln Center's arrival, the site had been the location of the filming of West Side Story. These guys know their city.

Next stop, Starbucks, so that all could purchase a warm place to keep their whiskey. 'Cept me, a'course. I loathe coffee, therefore I was rocking a to-go container of Farmboy C's Bloody Mary potion, smartly concealed in a Jamba Juice bottle that we'd rescued from his kitchen trashcan.

At the Bryant Park rink, we watched the skaters hold hands as they spun around the ice. At the corner of 6th Avenue, we watched a crying handsome man hold hands with his icy girlfriend. Then we were standing before the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, which we all agreed was as flaccid and disappointing as Shopgirl.

Over to 5th Avenue for some window shopping and people watching. We spotted a leather queen striding up the sidewalk and carrying a bag from J.R. Cigars. He was smoking the longest, most ridiculous looking cigar I'd ever seen. A few minutes later we found Lady Cigar standing transfixed before one of the Bergdorf windows, his eyes glazing over at the over-the-top art deco display of mirror balls and feathers. I love my people.

The Farmboyz insisted on showing us the new Abercrombie & Fitch flagship store, despite our universal loathing of the brand, because they'd been blown away by the murals over the store's interior staircases. It was the right call, the store was impressive, a towering thundering chundering pean to Peter Pan syndrome, with pretty boys this close to manhood working the counters, and gay men this close to creaming, working the aisles. The sound system was as sophisticated as any nightclub, only MUCH MUCH LOUDER. So loud, that when a customer asked this guy why the store was selling the opportunity to have a photo taken with him at the low price of $1.00, I couldn't hear his answer.

Back outside Abercrombie, I drew our attention to a foursome of shoppers that I'd just spotted. All of them in ankle-length minks. All of them with Virginia Slims perched between flawlessly manicured nails on hands laden with massive diamond rings. Thousand-dollar frost jobs and thousand-dollar Botoxes. They stood facing each other, toe-to-Manolo'd toe, emitting an occasional shriek of laughter with a tossed back head. They were mesmerizing. Father Tony took me by the elbow and murmured, "I know what you're thinking, Joe. There's four of them, there's four of us....."

With the darkness, Dugout, where we ran into Mark, the former president of the SF bear club, touring NYC with his husband. We kidnapped Mark, sans husband, to the Eagle, where I was blown away by their hot new poster from even hotter photographer Joe Oppedisano. The new Eagle poster features current employees in pose. Go browse through the work on Joe's site, you will not be bored.

Some quality conversation with a few local blogger hotties, and we were back home, a mere 11 hours after we left the house "to go shopping". Now, that was the kind of shopping I can deal with.

UPDATE: Photographer Joe Oppedisano was kind enough to contact me this morning and email me the photo used in the 2006 Eagle poster. With his permission, I am posting it here. Thanks, Joe! Enjoy, people!


Thursday, December 15, 2005

URBS Update

NOW, we got us a horse race!

Train Tribulations

Gentle readers, I am Mister Politeness on the subway. I never block the door, I always move to the center of the car. I'm careful with my backpack and my umbrella and my newspaper, and if I ever actually got a seat, I would definitely give it up to a pregnant lady.

But this morning I punched a 78 year old man.

I was trying to squeeze onto the 6 train and had just made it across the threshold, when I felt two fists pushing hard on my kidneys. Without turning around, I swung my right hand behind me and slugged the person behind me. I've never done anything like that, but it was an instinctual reaction both to being startled and to the pain.

My assailant was a short, dapper man in a floor length cashmere coat. He was wearing a fedora and had oversized black glasses. He reminded me of a male Carrie Donovan, whom you may best remember from her Old Navy commericals. The doors shut behind us, leaving me now scrunched up against the person I just had clobbered.

He screeched at me, "Vat's da matta? You tink you are untouchable?"

I said, "No, I think pushing like that is rude and unnecessary." I turned away from him as much as I could.

From a few feet away I heard a man with a Russian accent tell the old man, "Hey mister, it's too early to be acting like that."

The old man said, "I'm 78 years old. What do I know from early?"

The Russian man said, "Well if you wanna see 79, you need to chill. You're lucky he's a peaceful man over there."

The old man made one of those dismissive old man noises. "Feh!" or "Meh!" You know what I'm talking about. And then he got out at 59th Street. All that to ride one stop.


The other day I got a letter from my Congresswoman. It's kinda neat that I live in a neighborhood, that has its own Congressperson. In the letter, she tries to rally support for the construction of the 2nd Avenue subway line, desperately needed due to the overcrowding on the Lexington line, which every day carries more passengers than the combined ridership of the entire San Francisco, Boston and Chicago transit systems.

The East Side used to have two elevated lines, on 2nd Avenue and on 3rd, but those were dismantled in the 40's after the neighborhood became so posh that residents had the clout to have the noisy trains removed. I was thinking how cool it would be too have a subway line right on my corner, until I read that construction will be going until 2017. I seriously doubt that I'll be living on the East Side when the residents get to enjoy their new subway line.


Tonight at 12:01am, the MTA Transit Workers Union is set to go on strike, crippling the city at the height of the holiday shopping and travel season. The mayor is encouraging people to sleep in their offices. No personal cars will be allowed in Manhattan below 95th Street. Cabs will be allowed to pick up multiple fares, DC-style.

The last strike was in 1980, in warm weather. Tonight we are expecting a snowstorm.

This will be interesting.


Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Fakeback Mountain

Unlike many others, I'm not dying to see two fake gays playing "straight guys who fall in love", especially after enduring unending soundbites of these fake gays reassuring worried America that they do indeed enjoy poontang in real life.

I resent that what may turn out the be the best critically received gay love movie ever, has no gay actors in it. I resent that if two gay actors had been cast, this movie would have zero visibility, regardless of its merit. I resent that America will only come to watch fake gays making fake love and I resent that casting the fake gays was the right business decision to make.

And I resent that this is how it probably always will be.

UPDATE: Reaction to this post, pro and con, but mostly con, can be found here, here, here, here, here, and here.


Yenta Update

Remember the two guys who hooked up over my Frappr map last week?

"Hey Joe! Just wanted to drop you a quick line and let you know that I had a blast visiting Xxxx down in Xxxx last weekend. He showed me around town some but mostly we fucked like "dirty gay Frapprs". LOL! Anyway, we're gonna get together again, probably after the holidays. Just thought you'd like to know. - Xxxx"

At least somebody is getting laid from this blog.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Village Neon

SuperDaddy At The Dugout

Another Sunday, another hazy evening at the Dugout.

I arrive to find SuperDaddy at his usual position, guarding the jukebox. I check my watch, 6pm, good. I have an odd habit of setting unnecessary appointments for myself and it strangely pleases me when I arrive somewhere at my self-appointed time. Same thing for returning home.

I join SuperDaddy at the jukebox, now my comfortable station. I like the way that even in very crowded bars, groups of friends always stake out the same territory, week after week. The 10 square feet around the Dugout's jukebox are Camp SuperDaddy, and we mere satellites orbiting around his jovian person, using his height and brawn as a return beacon, when navigating trips to the bar and the can. New arrivals stop and pay homage to SuperDaddy before getting their first drink, this obeisance as much a part of their bar ritual as any other.

"Gawdamn it, Joe! You haven't blogged my Nipsey Russell story! I told it to you right after he died. You said it was hilarious!" That's Brooklyn Tad, the tall alt-rock/art fag with the septum ring. The last time I saw Tad he was in drag at Wigstock.

"Tell me the story again, so I get it right," I tell him.

Tad answers, "OK, this is how it went. I was at a dinner party a few years ago, on the Upper East Side, and after dinner the hostess was passing around some weed, when someone started pounding on the door. She went to answer it and we could hear a long, loud argument coming from the hallway. And I heard some man say, 'I know you got some good shit in there!'. Finally she came back into the living room and said, 'That's my neighbor, Nipsey Russell. He could smell our weed and wanted some. Nipsey like to puff, but he don't like to pay!'"

I laughed, "Right, that's a great line. And now let me tell you my favorite Nipsey Russell poem."

The opposite of pro is con
That fact is clearly seen
If progress means move forward
Then what does Congress mean?

What, you don't have a favorite Nipsey Russell poem?

Speaking of poems, on my last visit to the Dugout, I was drunkenly composing dirty limericks. I had just sullenly announced that nothing rhymed with bukkake. SuperDaddy happened to be passing and he leaned down to whisper, "Air hockey!", then kept going. That man is sharp, I tells ya.

Tonight, back at the jukebox, SuperDaddy is glaring over the shoulder of a guy who is feeding dollars into the machine. Clearly, this interloper doesn't know that SuperDaddy arrives early enough, and with enough singles, to commandeer at least 3 hours of jukebox time. That is, unless the interloper pays the extra money that this fancy new digital jukebox requires for his song to jump the queue and play next, which he does.

SuperDaddy watches the interloper make his selection and snickers to me, "Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves! Tim won't let that play for 10 seconds." And sure enough, before Cher can even open her mouth, the bartender hits some button that cuts the song. SuperDaddy explains that two songs, "Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves" and "Half Breed" are strictly forbidden at the Dugout, for reasons known only to him and Tim.

As an aside, I'll mention that to my mind, digital jukeboxes are a step backward in saloon entertainment. A carefully curated jukebox is often the best sales tool for a bar. Skillfully chosen selections not only set the entire tone of a joint, they can actually define the sort of customer the owners are looking for. What do we go to The Phoenix for, if not for the superbly managed jukebox inventory? When a jukebox offers unlimited options, music for all tastes, how does a bar establish its specific crowd? I suppose this problem is moot in the case of the Dugout, or any place with a long-established category of clientele. But I'd certainly never open a new bar with a digital jukebox.

At the bar, I fall into a conversation with a friend of SuperDaddy's, after I hear him mention his passion for PeeWee Herman's Christmas Special, which is my own favorite holiday tradition. We trade our favorite moments from the show for a few minutes, and when the guy wanders away, I ask SuperDaddy about the guy's t-shirt, which has a fire hydrant on it. SuperDaddy confirms that it means exactly what I suspect it does.

It's 8:30 now, so I bid SuperDaddy good-night, leaving him and his constellation of admirers at the jukebox. I grab a cab on Christopher Street and ten minutes later I'm at the Eagle, which is packed. I haven't really been feeling the Eagle lately, not sure why, but within an hour, I'm ready to go.

In front of the Eagle, the usual line of cabs is not to be found and I have to wait an unreasonable ten minutes before one finally rolls up and disgorges a fabulously stacked Latina with glitter in her hair. She's obviously arriving for her shift at Scores, the titty bar next door to the Eagle. As she gets out of the cab, we share a smile, a nightlife insiders smile. She knows my story and knows that I know hers. "Haf a gud night, papi," she murmurs as I hold the cab door for her. "You too," I reply.

My cabbie takes the now-familiar route home, up 10th Avenue, a right past Lincoln Center, then through Central Park, passing under Tavern On The Green, which seems to be having a major event tonight. Once on the East Side, I detour the cab past Wok-N-Roll and with my pork lo mein in hand, walk into my apartment at precisely 10pm, which is right on time.


Sunday, December 11, 2005

It Is What It Is

5AM: For the 71st day in a row, I'm awakened by the sound of pigeons in the airshaft outside my bathroom windows. I've been in this apartment for 71 days and without exception, their cooing and the clattering of their feathers has had me wide-awake before the sun rises. And for the 71st day in a row, I lie there wondering where I can buy bird poison.

730AM: The woman next door must be having a hard time figuring out what to wear to church. I heard her alarm go off at 6AM, like I always do. And I heard her slam her dresser drawers shut, two or three times, like I always do. But this morning, she returns to her dresser several more times before I finally hear her front door open and her keys jangling in the hallway.

10AM: The young couple upstairs has begun their day. First, the girl turns on their television for her usual exercise program, which must be called Clogging For Fitness. After an hour or so of energetic stomping, she will surrender the entertainment center to her boyfriend. He is a Surround Sound Specialist at the 86th Street Circuit City and apparently only likes to watch The Explosion Channel.

1145AM: The handsome young oboeist across the alley begins practicing. He's very talented, but as usual, he only practices the same short 3 minute piece over and over and over. The people he shares a terrace with try to drown him out with some music from their home country, which seems to be somewhere in the Grating region of central Shriekistan.

But I've never complained, not to any of them. And I never will. I knew what I was getting into when I moved to New York City. You don't move next to the airport and then complain about planes.


Friday, December 09, 2005

Linky Love Leads Long Lists

Whew! First Gawker throws me a bone yesterday, and now I'm getting lots of linky love from other kind Gothamites. Thanks, much, to all of y'all. Keep sending the menz my way, I do appreciate it.

It looks like we've got well over 500 quotes submitted so far in the Gay Men's 100 All Time Favorite Movie Quotes list that I'm compiling. Who knew The Lion In Winter was such a treasure trove of campy cuntiness? I've never even seen it! I'm going to have to print out your suggestions and figure out a way to configure the results. Alphabetically, perhaps? Suggestions?

EDIT: BIG THANKS to Jockohomo for making my nifty URBS banner! That man can do anything!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

How We Got The News

"Oh, good grief! Why do you insist on having a Slurpee after going out drinking? It's gross."

"I'll be right back," my roommate said and slammed the door of my car.

I kept the engine running and fiddled with the radio, trying to find the new Donna Summer single we'd heard just heard at the Parliament House. I looked through the windows of the 7-11 to see my roommate looking around the store in puzzlement. He looked out at me and waved at me to come inside the store. I turned off the car and walked inside.

"What's the problem?"

My roommate indicated the unmanned counter, "Look, there's no clerk! Nobody is here. Do you think they've been robbed?"

My pulse quickened. A few weeks earlier, there'd been a slaying of an Orlando convenience store clerk. The clerk's body had been found by the next customers to arrive in the store. That thought in mind, I peered into the back room of the store.

"Hello? Anybody here?"

We heard a small sound, like a kitten mewing. But the sound wasn't coming from the back room, it was coming from behind the front register. Fearfully, we leaned across the wide laminated counter, pushing aside the hot dog condiments and Slim Jim display. The clerk, a young woman, was lying there on the floor, sobbing, her mouth open but only an occasional faint cry escaping.

"Are you OK? Do you need help? Do you want us to call the police?"

The woman pulled herself to a sitting position, shaking her head. I noticed that she had a small transitor radio in her hand. She ran her hand down her face, as if trying to wake herself up from a bad dream, and said, "He's dead! He's dead! I can't fucking believe it!"

"Who's dead? Not the president!" my roommate gasped.

"No. It's Lennon. John Lennon. They shot him and he's dead," she sobbed, falling back over on her side.

We left her there on the floor and drove home in silence. Before I fell asleep that night, I heard my roommmate playing "Double Fantasy" in his room, and I think I heard him crying too.

That was 25 years ago, today.


Prometheus, with snow yarmulke

Rockefeller Center, New York City

EDIT: Welcome, Gawkerites! Whatever you do, don't read the filthy gay trash sex stories on my "Goodness" list. Thanks, Joe.


Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Line, Please...

A couple of weeks ago, I watched the American Film Institute's 100 Years, 100 Movie Quotes show on Bravo, in which they counted down their Top 100 favorites movie lines of all time. The quote at the top of their list was from Gone With The Wind, "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn."

OK, not one of my personal favorites, and I can see how it topped their list, but it's just not something that I ever heard any of my friends say, and like all gay men, my friends love to quote from movies.

And that started me thinking.

I went back to the AFI list and scanned it for famous movie quotes that I've actually heard gay men repeat in my presence.

No. 7: "Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up." Check

No. 72: "No wire hangers." Oh, yes.

No. 99: "I'll get you, my pretty, and your little dog, too!" More times than I could count.

But still, overall, only around ten of the AFI's "all time most famous movie quotes" are lines that I can ever recall have heard spun out by the queens. Gay men don't ever EVER say "Say hello to my little friend." (Scarface) We say things like, "Get away from her, you BITCH!" (Aliens). We prefer our movie lines to be clever, catty, and importantly, cunty. And above all, spoken by a female. (Or at least, a man dressed like a female.)

So what would a list called Gay Men's 100 All Time Favorite Movie Quotes look like?

Let's make one.

I'll start with my personal Top Ten, and you good folks drop in with your own favorites. This is just for the gay boys, remember....unless your fag hag status is truly bona fide. After a week or so, I'll compile the responses from the comments and post the list. Don't worry about repeating a quote that someone has already mentioned, be true to your favorites.

1. "Did IQ's drop suddenly while I was away?" - Sigourney Weaver, Aliens

2. "It looks like a penis, only smaller." Bernadette Peters, Pink Cadillac

3. "What more can they do to me?" Madeline Kahn, What's Up, Doc?

4. "Don't you act for me!" Diana Scarwig, Mommie Dearest

5. "You most certainly ARE retarded, Taffy. - Divine, Pink Flamingos

6. "5000 dollars? It's not even leather!" - Joan Cusack, Working Girl

7. "All gay men are named Mark, Rick, or Steve." - Olympia Dukakis, Steel Magnolias

8. "Cavier should be round and hard and it should explode in your mouth at precisely the right moment." - Goldie Hawn, Overboard

9. "I kill with my cunt." Anne Carlise, Liquid Sky

10. "I love him so mu-uh-uch!" - Holly Hunter, Raising Arizona

Now, you.

100+ comments below

Monday, December 05, 2005

And the nominees are....

Me. Just me. Certainly not me AND five other worthy gay bloggers. Ignore them. By the way, did anybody see that story on CNN where it was announced that December was International Vote For Joe.My.God. Month? No? Really? Maybe I saw that on Fox.

Yes, gentle readers, I made the cut. I'd like to thank my coworkers, my friends and the manufacturers of Mountain Dew, all of whose support I need to keep writing my freaky little stories.

Voting for the Gawker Media 2005 Urban Blog Awards has commenced. You may vote for me here. And here. Aaaaaaaaaaand HERE. You may vote once a day, until you figure out how to hack around that, I think. Meanwhile, I've got to catch a plane to Bangalore, as I'm outsourcing my teams of hired voters. Sure, their pay is only 14 cents an hour, but it's not like they have to click their mouse more than once a day.

Lastly, I give my humblest thanks to you, gentle readers. If it wasn't for you all, I'd be putting my face into the blender most mornings, instead of two bananas and a lithium.

(P.S. - Vote HERE.)


My First O.M.E.

The embargo is...lifted.

Saturday night, after 4 years and 8 months of living in New York City, I had my first Out of Manhattan Experience. Yes, gentle readers, I finally went outer borough. Recently, I let slip to you here that I had not yet explored more than the lower half of Manhattan. This revelation, delivered without pretension or embarrassment, resulted in my suffering much incredulity and ridicule from my readers who live here, who used to live here, and who wished they lived here.

Hence, one might presume that I was shamed into making a half-hearted foray into Brooklyn, grudgingly clambering onto the heretofore mysterious "L" train with its logic-defying cross-Manhattan route. But you'd be wrong.

I went to Brooklyn to see Bob Mould in concert.

I was accompanied by Farmboy C, who would act as my trusted guide and wary protector for the trip under the East River to the place called Williamsburg, rumored to be where the concept of wearing trucker hats jauntily askew was first seized upon, an epochal event without which we surely would have no Ashton Kutcher. That eureka moment aside, Williamsburg was utterly unknown to me and I worried that I would endure discomfit from the residents, whose odd manner of dress, curious language and generally queer ways are the stuff of barroom chatter throughout Manhattan.

But Farmboy put me at ease and suggested that if I were to encounter a curious local, I should respond with, "Sup?", a word with the utility and flexibility that "Aloha" has for Hawaiians, only in Williamsburg "Sup?" means "Hello", "Good-bye", "Let's fuck" and "I'd like a hit of that, please."

Our evening got off to an uncertain start as we tried to coordinate our meeting point in Grand Central Station.

"So do you wanna meet me at the top of the bottom escalators or at the bottom of the top escalators?"


Despite that muddy issue, I sailed down the East Side, Farmboy down the West, and we joined up on the downtown 6 with no problem. Minutes later we connected to the Brooklyn-bound L train. Farmboy and I sprawled on the bench of the sparsely populated car and I began to brief him on the Bob Mould catalog, as Farmboy had only a passing awareness of Husker Du and Sugar and only knew of Bob himself from Bob's relatively recent incarnation as Famous Out Rocker / Godfather Of Punk & Grunge.

Then, from the end of the car, this: "You motherfucking faggot! You think I'm some motherfucking homosexual? I'mo pop a cap in yo' faggot ass! I don't play that motherfucking way, you damn punk ass bitch! You ain't gotta sit down all next to me with yo' faggot Chinese ass! You got this whole motherfuckin' train. Why you gotta sit yo' punk ass down right on top of me? Motherfucking faggot!"

Eyes left. Our speaker, playing the well-trod role of Angry Black Subway Man, was standing menacingly over a slender Pacific Islander-looking man, whose less than entirely masculine, legs crossed at the knee, sitting style caused my Gayger-counter needle to leap into the red zone, passing even the Cats, Original Cast Recording reading that I had gotten earlier in the day when I passed by the young man wearing a Carhart jacket and reading Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook. This beleagured queen, shrinking before his menacer, registered well into the Barbara Streisand, Back To Broadway portion of the dial.

Glances, uncomfortable and yet supportive, were shared between the other riders. The glances said, "Why is this psycho freaking out?" and "Should we go help the other guy?" and "Aren't you glad we sat down at THIS end?"

Farmboy and I got off the train at the Bedford stop. As we walked past the last door of our car, Angry Black Subway Man was giving his only-moments-ago victim a dumbfoundingly genial seeing off, waving to him and saying, "OK, you pretty cool for a Chinese guy an' all dat. We should hang sometime. You have a good night, a'ight?"

Somebody outta sell tickets. I know I'd buy one.

Five quick blocks through a neighborhood that looks suspiciously like central Jersey City, and we were at the venue, a nightclub called Northsix. Coatcheck, a Brooklyn Lager for Farmboy and a Budweiser for me, and Bob Mould was at our side, lingering with us at the back of the audience for the duration of the opening act.

Bob took the stage to a genuinely warm reception, in contrast to the more traditional rock star "wooo!"ing and screaming that I'd seen when he and his band (including Rich Morel) took their places at Irving Plaza two months ago. The Northsix audience greeted Bob like an old friend, with broad smiles and outstretched clapping.

Immediately, a disappointment. Bob announced that his 12-string was "fucked" and that the show would be all electric. I had been looking forward to hearing Accoustic Bob, but it seemed I was the only one dismayed. And Bob was in great voice, his signature howl/yowl/growl sounding much bigger in this cozy room. Farmboy began recognizing songs he hadn't realized were Bob's, and pulled me close to say, "I hope Eddie Veder is sending this guy checks EVERY MONTH!"

The audience was attentive, almost Children Of The Corn attentive. There wasn't nearly as much of the usual bar traffic and customer chatter that I've come to dread at smaller venues. Bob was gregarious and chatty with the audience, even giving me a cloaked shout-out when he mentioned that he'd served turducken for Christmas dinner last year, "which someone here tonight can actually attest to." I almost let out a whoop so everyone would know that he was talking about me.

After the show, Bob sat on the stage to sign autographs and chat with fans. A tall, bald, handsome, muscular man (Farmboy and I had "noticed" him earlier) was whirled around by a fan who said, "Hey, Rich! I love your stuff, man!" The big guy just smiled broadly and said, "I know I look a lot like him, but I'm not Rich Morel." Exit fan, mortified.

Farmboy and I enjoyed a death-threat free trip back to Manhattan, where he suggested a nightcap at Siberia. Silly not to, and all that. We arrived at 2AM to find the first floor deserted, but a fairly packed and happy crowd in the basement disco. I got us a beer and Farmboy disappeared for a few minutes. When he returned, he handed me a fresh beer and said, "I got you another beer in case I don't see you again, in which case thanks for a great night!" I looked around the small room and wondered what he meant, but only for a moment, until I saw him slip around the black curtain behind the stairs, where shirtless gay men were doubtlessly discussing welfare reform and this pesky outsourcing problem.

A few minutes later and I was up on the street. When my cab rolled up, the first snowflakes of the year had just hit my face. I rode home slumped over on the backseat, thinking about the Rich Morel lookalike back in Brooklyn.


Thursday, December 01, 2005

The 2005 URBS

Gridskipper, part of the Gawker Media blog empire, is running their 2005 Urban Blogging Awards contest right now. I've been nominated (blush) in the "World's Best Urban Gay Blog" category. It looks like they will be culling the field of nominees down to just a few, at the end of Friday, December 2 and then the finalists will be voted on begining Monday, December 5th.

If you're feeling the love for Joe.My.God., you can add to my nominations here, which requires petitioning Gridskipper to become one of their sanctioned commenters, from what I can tell.

Or you can simply fire off an email to explaining how the sun doesn't rise until you've read Joe.My.God. Tell them how you've laughed, you've cried, how I became a part of you. That kind of stuff. You know. Make something up.

And if I win, you totally don't have to get me anything for Xmas.


Color Me Yenta

Inevitable? Perhaps, but I just got an email letting me know that two of my readers have hooked up (or will hook up this weekend, more precisely) after "noticing" each others' pics on my Frappr map.

Gentle readers, I am the soul of discretion. I shall not reveal who will be frapping like dirty gay frapprs this weekend. But I will say that they do not live in the same state, which rather impresses me. Because these days I can't be bothered to go more than three subways stops.


The Last Word

Cafe Luka, Upper East Side, Sunday 10AM

I'm eating alone, trying to balance the massive Sunday Times on my little two-top . My table abuts the rear of the last booth where an elderly man and woman have just been seated.

Old Lady: Are you getting the corned beef hash again? I don't know why you won't try new things. You are such a stick in the mud.

Old Man: .....

Old Lady: Just don't put so much salt on it this time. You know how your blood pressure is. You never listen to the doctor. You're gonna drop dead from the salt. Then you'll be sorry.

Old Man: .....

Old Lady: There goes Doris and her Jacob. Such a nice young man. You know, it wouldn't kill you to call your son, should you forgot you had one.

Old Man: ......

Old Lady: Oh, don't forget we have that thing tonight. At Mona's. I'll pick out something for you to wear. Don't worry you won't have to lift a finger, not that I expect you to.

(waiter arrives)

Old Lady: He'll have the corned beef hash. And dry toast. He can't have dairy. I'll have the blintz. Two coffees. Make sure it's decaf and make sure it's fresh this time. Would it kill you to brew a new pot?

(waiter departs)

Old Lady: I wanna make sure that we get there early tonight so don't be going anywhere. I don't wanna sit around all dressed up and waiting for you.

Old Man: .....

(food arrives, they eat in silence)

Old Lady: I'm going to the ladies room. I hope it's clean in there this time. Don't leave until I get back, I'm leaving my purse. Remember when you left my purse sitting on the table that time? Pay attention to me, are you paying attention? OK, I'll be right back. Don't leave.

(Old Lady goes into the restroom)

Old Man: (shouting) I'M GONNA GIVE YOU SUCH A SMACK!

(Old Lady returns)

Old Lady: OK, I'm ready. Let's go get something to bring to Mona's. I'll pick it out, you never get the right thing.

Old Man: ......

(they leave)

From my table, I watch them toddle down the sidewalk.

They are holding hands.