Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The Web

Second of a series of bar reviews.

The Web

Location: 40 E.58th, (Btwn Park & Madison Avenues)
Speciality: Young Asian men
Door Charge: $5.00
Bar Prices: Average
Clientele Ethnicity: 50% Asian, 50% White
Average Age: Asians: early 20's, Whites: early 50's.

Review: Down a narrow flight of stairs off E.58th Street, The Web is a two-floor dance club devoted to young Asian men and their admirers, typically older white men. There's a balcony ringing a sub-basement dance floor where the disco lights include inner-lit red paper lanterns, to further the overall Asian decor theme.

I wouldn't characterize The Web as a hustler bar so much as perhaps a Sugar Daddy bar, a faint distinction, perhaps. The white men prowled the upper level and the edge of the dance floor and leered at the seemingly barely post-pubescent go-go boys, while the Asian men gathered in small knots presumably reviewing their stalkers.

The bar staff was extremely friendly to us and the music selection and sound system was pretty decent, prompting Aaron to take to the dance floor by himself. As for me, I found myself extremely hungry during our visit to The Web, due to the overwhelming aroma of melted butter belching out from their active popcorn machine. I'm sure there's a bad, bad joke somewhere here about craving seafood while at an Asian bar...but I'm not gonna make it.

Overall, I thought The Web was OK. There seemed to be a strong crowd of regulars who were having a great time and general vibe wasn't as big a predator vs. prey scene, as I had expected.

Chance of returning: Moderate.

BlogActive.com

Mike Rogers over at blogACTIVE has just laid a motherfucking BOMBSHELL on the blogosphere, threatening to out a Republican Senator if he does not vote against the Alito confirmation today. The outing will take place sometime before the mid-term elections in November, in order to do the most damage, I presume.

.... you will decide if your political position is worth more than doing what is right for others like you. For others like you, Mr. Senator, who engage in oral sex with other men. (Although, Mr. Senator, most of us don't do in the bathrooms of Union Station!) Your fake marriage, by the way, will NOT protect you from the truth being told on this blog.How does this blog decide who to report on? It's simple. We report on hypocrites. In this case, hypocrites who vote against the gay and lesbian community while engaging in gay sex themselves*. When you cast that vote, Mr. Senator, represent your own...it's the least you could do.

Dear Jebus: Please let it be Rick Santorum. Please let it be Rick Santorum. Please let it be Rick Santorum. Or Trent Lott. Here's the list of U.S. Senators whose terms expire in 2007.

To quote Flounder from Animal House: "Oh boy, is this GREAT!" I am positively shivering with antici......

UPDATE: Alito confirmed.

Beacon Court

I snapped this on Saturday night while we were bar-hopping on the Upper East Side. It's called Beacon Court and I'm told it's owned by Bloomberg. Anyone know the details about this place? Eddie and I marveled at it during daylight hours last year when it was being constructed, but at night, this place just wows. I think it's making me eat my words from last week when I mentioned not liking glass office buildings. Click the photo for a ginormous version.

Monday, January 30, 2006

I Will Hold You Ten Times

I wrote the following journal entry ten years ago about my friend Daniel, after taking care of him for a week. We were taking turns looking after him, about 8 of us, each taking one week at a time. I think of 1996 as the last of the really bad plague years. Protease inhibitors came out that spring and almost everybody in my world began to revive.* I wish that I had come across this reminder last month.

I Will Hold You Ten Times

1. I will hold you, Daniel

2. The lesions don't bother me. I will hold you.

3. I will pretend nothing is wrong when you want me to pretend and when you want me to hold you, I will hold you.

4. I will make plans with you to go to your favorite places that we both know you can longer go and I will sit with you and look at your pictures of these places and I will hold you.

5. I will ride with you on the train to your doctor's office and when you get sick in the station, I will hold you.

6. I will see the Post-It notes you put all over the house reminding yourself to do everyday things like "Turn off stove" and "Lock front door", and I'll pretend the disease isn't robbing your mind and when you tell me something for the third time in ten minutes, I won't let you know, I will hold you.

7. I will go to Safeway with you because you need to get out into the world, and when the diarrhea overwhelms you and you shit your pants in the middle of the store, I will call us a cab and in the cab, I will hold you.

8. I will make you mix-tapes of our favorite songs from last summer, just like you asked me to, and when the memories make you sad instead of happy and you throw the tapes in the trash, I won't get angry, I will hold you.

9. I will sit up all night with you, because the fevers and night sweats won't let you sleep, and in the morning I'll change your drenched sheets and help your out of the shower and when you weep from the sight of your withered body in the mirror on the bathroom door, I will hold you.

10. I will hold you, Daniel.

(* But not Daniel.)

The Townhouse

There are about 100 gay bars in Manhattan, most of which I've never visited. On Saturday night, Farmboy T, Aaron and I set out to explore some of the "specialty" gay bars in town. This week I'll be posting short reviews of those places, starting with The Townhouse.

The Townhouse

Location: Upper East Side, 236 E.58th (Btwn 2nd & 3rd Avenues)
Specialty: Older wealthy men
Door charge: none
Bar prices: average
Clientele Ethnicity: 100% white
Average Age: mid to high 60's

Review: The Townhouse is located in....a townhouse. The lower level houses a video bar where the patrons mostly ignored what was on the screen. The main floor features an elegant front room with low volume dance music, restrooms, and a large piano lounge where the singer/player belts out comfortably familiar showtunes for the sing-a-long customers who gather in a semi-circle around the piano. Customers are occasionally given the microphone to perform on their own. While we were there: Send In The Clowns, Don't Rain On My Parade, Memories, What I Did For Love.

The Townhouse is an odd, odd place. I'm really not sure how to feel about it. The posh decor (thick carpeting, crown molding, elegant seating) feels like the lobby bar of a luxury hotel. Conversations are loud and animated and for a moment that threw me off, until I realized that The Townhouse music volume is low enough that one can actually hear conversations. The customers were all dressed very nicely, most of them had on jackets. Farmboy T described the place as feeling like a "bubbly wake".

Although the Townhouse is well known as a hustler bar, I didn't see very many rentboys working a room that was undoubtably full of millionaires. Even their own website advertises the place as "a gay bar that appreciates older gentlemen of exquisite taste along with those who admire their wallets". (Emphasis mine. Oh, and I changed "them" to "their wallets".)

Most of the customers were in their late 50's, 60's and 70's, and there at least a few seated on the banquette near the piano who seemed to be in their early 100's. Seriously, I don't think they could have walked in under their own power. But more power to 'em. I hope I'm feeling like hanging with a bunch of homos when I'm an old geezer. I just don't want to do it in a place that looks like a funeral parlor.

Chance of returning: Slim to moderate.

Tomorrow: The Web

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Sissy Shopping

Clerk: Welcome to Sissy Boutique. May I help you?

Joe: Yes, I'm looking for something middle-aged, preferably short?

Clerk: (Frowning) Middle-aged? There's not a lot of call for that around here. Maybe... I have something in the back. Want me to go look?

Joe: Do you mind? That would be great.

Clerk: (Nodding) I'll be right back. (Disappears into back...)

Joe: (Calling) Anything back there? Maybe something hairy? Cuban, if you got it.

Clerk: (Emerging from back, shaking head) I'm sorry but there's really nothing back there in your age range. We pretty much stock the younger sissies here. You know, twinks, baby fags, circuit boys. (Brightens) Oh! Maybe you can find something over at Nellie & Nancy? They sometimes have, um, older items in stock.

Joe: The last time I got something THERE, I had to do a return. It came with too much baggage.

Clerk: Well, the older stuff usually DOES.


Friday, January 27, 2006

Rats!

In New York City, if you cross the labor unions in any way, they will come and inflate this 15-foot high rat in front of your location. I took this picture last year when the busboys and kitchen workers of Grand Central's Oyster Bar were on strike.

Today I arrived at work to find the same rat in front of my office building. Apparently somebody is doing some office remodeling without unionized construction workers. I'm not sure where I stand on the labor unions issue in general, but I do know that everybody in my office thinks the rat is kind of cute. Maybe the unions should find another tool of intimidation?

Marcia From Orlando

This is Marcia from Orlando, who is visiting NYC this week. Marcia, an "obsessed" JMG reader, is a dear friend of the fabulous Terrence, whose office sent me photo approval today, as this picture was taken on his glamourous deck. That's one of Terrence's famous apple martinis in front of me. I love this picture because Marcia is so cute and I don't look so fat. After this, readers' photos will be sans moi, enough's enough, right? Also, Terrence fans take note, there will be a new episode next week, featuring a pussy contortionist and a dwarf. No kidding.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

For Ogden Nash

How quick we are to hit reply
When emailed by mean persons
Instead of setting karma straight
Our shitty vibe just worsens

Hey Tiger

Jim Lovegrove is an occasional NYC Eagle patron, a fellow blogger, a JMG reader and Frappr member, AND his band Hey Tiger is one of the five finalists in NYC radio station 95.5 WPLJ's contest to win the opening slot for an upcoming Bon Jovi show. Click on the contest link, listen to Hey Tiger's entry, "I Don't Mind", and if you dig the tune, show the kid some love by voting for his band.P.S. - Pogonophiles like these guys should definitely check out Jim's latest Blogger pic. Oh, yes.

500 Fifth Avenue

Yesterday morning I snapped this pic of 500 Fifth Avenue, my third favorite office building in New York City behind the Chrysler and the Empire State. This 60-story beauty always has seemed like a giant Lego pistol to me. Unlike many others, I've never been a fan Mies van der Rohe's Seagram Building and the vast sea of featureless glass boxes that followed. (Hello, WTC.) I like minimalism, just not for buildings. Check out some great NYC buildings here. As for 500 Fifth Avenue, it's worth noting that it was designed by the same architects and completed in the same year as the Empire State.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Set Theory



UPDATE: Reaction to this post: Here, here, here, here, here, here.

Totally Obviously

November 2005, The Roxy

The Roxy. The place I've sworn I would never return to, after the famous Dance Floor Dissing Incident that took place on Puerto Rican Day 2003. I'm only here because my friend DJ Jerry Bonham is opening for slightly-more-famous DJ Paul Van Dyk.

I arrive at the Roxy with my buddy NYC Eagle DJ Mark Cicero. At the door, we undergo the most invasive personal body search I've ever experienced. What the fuck are these kids bringing into the Roxy these days, hand grenades? Homeland Security ain't got nothing over the Roxy door staff. Oh, wait. We're on the list! A different line? Another search? Awesome! At least at the VIP entrance we get handed a free CD (which I immediately lose).

The crowd is young. Very young. And high. Very high. Paul Van Dyk has brought in a huge audience of straight kids. Mixed in are the oddball raver fags here and there. And of course, as in any Manhattan nightclub, we have a healthy representation of Japanese club kids, always keen to be seen. But overall, the crowd is muy bridge-and-tunnel, as my friend Allen would say, looking down his nose. Allen is from Kansas City, Missouri.

Jerry's set is amazing, inspired, as always. I've been in love with Jerry's artistry ever since we first began shouting back and forth to each other through the chain link fence around the DJ booth at SF's Powerhouse. Jerry is my absolute favorite DJ in the world and coming from a relentless DJ hound like myself, that's saying something. Jerry motions for Mark and I to watch him from the wings of the stage and we stand up there until a truck-sized security man grabs my arm, making me scream a little bit. Yes, yes. We will get down from here.

The promoters tell Jerry to cut his set short because a recent crackdown on nightclubs is forcing The Roxy to close by 4am tonight and they need to get the headliner onstage early. Paul Van Dyk climbs onto the platform, a make-shift DJ booth constructed over the edge of the dancefloor. There's a firestorm of cellphone camera flashes and a jumbo-jet worthy decibel level of screaming when the crowd spots Van Dyk. Jerry puts his records away while Van Dyk hooks up his two Powerbooks.

Jerry invites us back to the regular DJ booth which is being used as a VIP area for this show. I peer down at the crowd over the edge of the booth and wonder if I look as tiny as Peter Rauhofer always seemed to be, when I'd look up at him in this spot. We chat and soak up the free booze (Grey Goose and Red Bull for me) and look at Paul Van Dyk's back while he cues up MP3 files on his Powerbooks. I'm not sure that this is actually DJ'ing but I guess I can't argue with 2000 screaming fans.

I'm quite happy to spend the entire night up in the DJ booth, cuz hey, free booze, but the other guys want to wander around amongst die Kinder. I spend a few minutes getting elbowed at the bar and start wondering what might be going on up at The Eagle, but decide to stay as long Mark and Jerry want to.

I get in line for the men's room. The line is about 30 guys long but moves with a brisk efficiency I'm unaccustomed to, compared to the Roxy's gay nights. As I reach the door of the restroom I come upon a raucous scene. The bathroom is boiling hot, the mirrors are partially steamed up. There's a line of seven guys along the wall to match the seven guys standing in front of them at the urinals. Everybody is dancing, even the guys that are pissing. Everybody is shirtless except me. Everybody is under 25 except me.

Then they see me, these happy dancing carefree young men, and the visual effect is not-unlike when a high-school Vice Principal sticks his head inside the door of an classroom that is missing its teacher. Full stop on the happy. Hands in the pockets. A couple of quick departures. I feel like The Thing That Came From 10,000 B.C.

I'd leave, but I really do have to piss. One brazen lad, pupils as big as saucers, walks past me in a fog of Special K-bravery and taps my chest. "Dude, you are like so totally obviously a cop, it's like...totally....um, obvious."

Coat-check.
Taxi.
Eagle.
Fin.
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John Waters At Sundance

Speaking of happy, the following morning at the annual queer brunch, John Waters proclaimed himself over the moon about Heath Ledger and Philip Seymour Hoffman being front-runners for best actor. "We're going to have the queer Oscars this year," Waters said. "But I'm still waiting for a gay actor to be nominated for playing a gay man. - SFGate.com

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Subway Art:Lichtenstein

This original Roy Lichtenstein futuristic take on train travel, Times Square Mural, logically sits in the main concourse underneath Times Square, in what might be the largest open space anywhere in the New York City subway system. The work is 6 feet high and 53 feet long, which must be why I didn't get the whole thing into the frame. Times Square Mural was commissioned by the MTA and was presented to the city as a gift from the artist. It's perhaps my favorite piece of subway art.

Joe.My.Shadkhen.

In further tales of the JMG interstate Frappr romance that you may recall having blossomed between two of my readers, this just in:

Hey Joe! Xxxxx and I hung out over the MLK holiday weekend. This time he came up to see me. We're still very much in the physical phase of this relationship, this is only the third weekend we've gotten together so we spent a lot of it fucking around, although I took him sightseeing and we saw Brokeback Mountain so we have cried in front of each other already, which is major, right? Just keeping you posted!

And that's the last time I mention those two until there's a wedding (and I better be invited). In other news, I heard (thirdhand) that two of my NYC readers recently hooked up too, after one recognized the other from his Frappr pic on JMG. Just because I don't go to Escualita doesn't mean you are safe. I hear everything, people.

Our last Frappr-related development is that we now have our first naked picture on the JMG Frappr map. I can only say that this is something that I strongly, strongly dis....um...hey? Where'd everybody go? Hello...lo....lo....lo? Echo.....echo....echo.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Lost In Mistranslation

This weekend I took a couple of pictures of George Segal's sculture Gay Liberation, which is located in the West Village's Sheridan Square, directly across from the Stonewall Inn.

At the time of the sculture's commissioning, no gay or lesbian artist was willing to come forward and accept the assignment, which backers had hoped would be completed in time for the 1979 ten year anniversary of the Stonewall riots. The gay artists were afraid of ruining their careers. Heterosexual George Segal was finally chosen, much to the annoyance of gay activists, despite the very public search for a gay sculptor.

A second casting of these sculptures is on the grounds of Stanford University in California, where they have been repeatedly vandalized. New York's casting was originally installed in Madison, Wisconsin and was not moved to its present (and intended) location until 1992.

I happened to be visiting New York City that year and a friend took me by to view the installation. As we stood there looking at the male couple of the two pieces, my friend mistakenly told me that according to the artist, the man on the right was being consoled by his friend after telling him that he had AIDS. This misinformation almost moved me into hysterical tears. It was nearly ten years before I learned that the AIDS metaphor was a myth, ten years spent deliberately avoiding that statue so that I didn't have to see the man's slumped shoulders, the dejection of his hands shoved into his pockets, the tender touch of his younger healthier friend.

Even today, knowing the truth, I see a sadness in both pieces. There a sort of weltschmerz present , as if all parties are just resigned to defeat, with only each other in the world into which fate has so cruelly cast them. It's interesting that a monument to gay liberation would have such a solemn tone, considering the riotous, celebratory nature of gay pride events in general. But it certainly does capture the era. It still hurts me to look at these sculptures, but now it's a different kind of hurt.

Fucked

Overheard at The Eagle, New York City

Two men are appraising one of the bartenders......

Man 1: Fuck! He is such a hot fuck! Did I tell you what a hot fuck he is?

Man 2: Yeah, but I thought you guys didn't actually fuck?

Man 1: Well, we fucked but we didn't fuck fuck.

Man 2: (shakes head) That's too fuckin' bad.

Man 1: (thoughtfully) But I can still say we fucked, right?

Man 2: (nodding) Oh, fuck yeah!

.

This Weekend? Me?

Oh, not much. Dropped in at the Dugout and hung out with a lot of silly hairy drunk bloggers. Then a quick drop in to check on the sexy men at the Eagle, where I watched one of the above linked guys join a former Mr. Eagle + friend in a shirtless 3-way tongue orgy right under the florescent light over the pool table. Then home to finish watching this DVD. And you?

2006 Bloggies

The final and most prestigious bloggers' awards have released the finalists' names for 2006. (Click graphic to enlarge.) I'm tickled to be on the list along with my usual awards nemesis, gay news and gossip site Towleroad. Other co-nominees are gay news and gossip site Queerty and gay news and politics site Good As You. I read all of these guys every day and I encourage you to visit their sites as they comb the internet daily to find stories relevant to gay culture.

My final co-nominee is my personal favorite, Ernie Hsuing's Little.Yellow.Different. Ernie delivers often hilarious, sometimes poignant, but always beautifully rendered recountings of his life as a geek, a homo, an Asian-American, and as the brother of a mentally-ill sister. To my mind, Little.Yellow.Different is what blogging is all about.

As a reader said here on JMG recently, placing diarists in the same category with these commercial news sites, with all their advertising and product placements, is a bit of the old apples to oranges condundrum, but it is what it is. Voting in all categories is here. Apologies, but I don't know how to make a link that will take you directly down the page to the LGBT portion. This is the last of the blogging awards for the year and therefore my last post on the subject, praise Jebus.

One Year Ago

Saturday the high in Central Park was 63 degrees, an all time record. One year ago Saturday, we had a blizzard, leaving the cars on my street in this condition. The weather just gets stranger and stranger.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Sniffles

October 2005, 47th floor, midtown Manhattan

I'm at an industry conference, surrounded by colleagues and competitors. There's a woman speaking on a platform, leading the discussion and taking questions from the audience. Every time somebody in the audience speaks, we all turn and size that person up, assessing the necessity or stupidity of the question, and, when called for, making smug comments to each other under our breath.

As far as I can tell, there's only one other gay man besides me, in a room of perhaps 75 attendees, which is somewhat unusual for this industry. The other gay man is young-ish, perhaps mid-20's, and seems to have a terrible cold, because he keeps sniffling. At one point, he excuses himself to "go get a tissue". He's gone a long time and when he returns, the sniffling resumes.

After another twenty minutes of Q & A, punctuated by the young man's continuing runny nose, the moderator decides to act. Clearly annoyed, she strides over to the dais, reaches into her purse and tosses the young man a small package of tissues, saying "Here, try these. I hope you're taking something for that cold!"

The young man says, "Yeah, I did a couple of Sudafed, thanks."

And there it is. The room breaks into titters. Can open, worms everywhere. You don't do Sudafed....you take Sudafed. The young man does not return after the lunch break and we all wonder whether it's due to embarrassment or his boss.

Or maybe he just needs to see about doing something.
.

From Across The Gay Generation Gap

Gentle readers, I get so much lovely email from you all that sometimes I am a bit slow in responding, for which I apologize. Not all of the emails are nice, of course, but most of them are. And occasionally, I get an email that I wish had gone into the comments rather than only to me, because the message is so compelling. So forgive me the indulgence of publishing the letter below, which I do with the author's permission, and for which I thank him again.

Joe-

I would post in your comments, but I don't want to post anonymously, and I hate having an e-mail with my first and last name on the 'net. I'm high maintenance - I'm comfortable with that.

You have, perhaps unwittingly, addressed the great gay generation gap in many of your stories, and I wanted to both point it out and congratulate it.

As a 16 year old in small town Virginia in the mid 90s, I became involved in a youth-group-slash-peer-advocacy group attached to an AIDS services agency. The clinic had been forced by vandalism and harassment to move several times, and was then in a house in a down-at-the-heels residential neighborhood.

While I made important peer friendships there, I also experienced something many people my age never knew. I volunteered in the afternoons a couple times a week after school, driving clients to doctor's appointments and the grocery store or sitting and talking in the center's greeting room as I folded brochures or dusted the furniture. I met many gay men who had left active lives in Washington, DC or New York City to come home to die in Va. This was just before protease inhibitors and cocktail therapies made long-term survival a real option. As I came out of the closet, finished high school, and went off to enjoy my scholarship at an expensive liberal arts college, I also watched our clients, my friends, get sick and die.

As I have moved through my twenties (faster than I would have liked,of course), I realize how rare my experience is among my peers. Having come into contact with the gay community very early (I started coming out at 14, in 1992) in a small town where AIDS remedies were not on the cutting edge, I am one of a few men my age to have witnessed and felt the vicious loss and terror that AIDS causes. In fact, neither my partner and nor the vast majority of my friends has known anyone with AIDS. Thus, they don't understand why, for example, "Angels in America" brought me to near-hysterics or why the idea of "AIDS burnout" pisses me off so much.

You know, I'm sure, that gay men are incredibly age-conscious. Young men don't interact socially with older men (at least not in any meaningful way, for the most part), and thus, our community narrative gets lost. So many men in the generation before mine are dead, and so few tell the stories to me and my friends that the increase in numbers of new cases seems scarily and frustratingly inevitable.

Anyway, I just wanted to thank you for putting your stories in a medium accessed by so many young people. Obviously, it has touched a nerve. Thanks for your writing.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

JMG Newbies Guide

If you're flying with Joe.My.God for the first time today, we'd like to welcome you aboard. Please note that JMG is a no-frills carrier and you will not be getting the following items:

  • Advertising
  • Product placement
  • Celebrity gossip
  • Photos of naked strangers lifted from porn sites
  • Photos of naked celebrities lifted from news sites
  • Recaps of reality show plots
  • Screencaps of personal emails or IM threads
Here at JMG, we are constantly adding to the list of what you won't be getting, so be sure and fly with us often!

File Under: I Love My People

The Mischievous Boys. Here. Here. Here.

UPDATE: I accidently came across the above when a Madonna-obsessive friend sent me here. Since then, I've learned that The Mischievious Boys are a bit of a fledging internet juggernaut. They have a website, a group blog, a fan club, a Yahoo discussion group, an apparel sponsor, and a brand new video: here.

I'm not sure what exactly, if anything, it says about pop culture when a group of shirtless gay boys can gain a little internet notoriety by posting videos of themselves lipsyncing to the dance versions of hit singles by female vocalists, but I do know this: I don't hate it. And that makes me feel surprisingly good, because an old curdmudgeon like me normally would.

When I played a couple Mischievious Boys clips for my female coworkers, they all squealed in delight and immediately began picking out their favorite group members. Funny thing, I had to admit that I had one too. Somebody call the Dirty Old Man police.

Alexandra Billings

Accomplished transgendered actress and former Advocate cover subject Alexandra Billings was auditioned several times for the Transamerica role eventually awarded to Felicity Huffman. Check out Billings' often amusing, yet ultimately poignant blow-by-blow of the Golden Globes Awards here, as she watches the born-female Huffman win the Best Actress award for playing a transgendered woman.

I've seen Transamerica, and like the rest of the world I was impressed by Huffman's performance. But not to get all Fakeback Mountain on you again, I still yearn for the day when a major Hollywood movie about the LGBT world actually can be carried by LGBT actors. Could Transamerica have been that picture? We'll never know.

.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

New Favorite Word: Angertwink

Angertwink (noun):

A young urban gay male who goes through his life very angry because:

1) The rest of the gay world does not recognize his incredible hotness.

2) The rest of the gay world is not incredibly hot, like he is.

Identifying characteristics: Angertwinks can often be spotted wearing fauxhawks, popped collars, and expressions of disgust.

Angertwink was coined by my friend Dagon, on his blog At The Mountains Of Madness. (Example: here). After a few beers last night, I told him that he had to get this word into UrbanDictionary.com or Wikipedia or something,

Dagon is moving back to Texas today, trading Manhattan for Austin. I hope the angertwinks are nice to him there.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Boyfriends, With An S

Fort Lauderdale, December 2005

Ken is my ex. He is THE ex. He was my first live-in boyfriend and my longest roommate. Is it only gay men who can stay good enough friends after the break up, so that you can keep living with each other? Ken and I lived with each other about 13 years, until I left Fort Lauderdale to go live with someone else in San Francisco. And I stay with Ken when I return to visit Fort Lauderdale.

There's a Mexican restaurant in Wilton Manors called Acapulco Linda. It just isn't a trip to Fort Lauderdale if I don't eat at Acapulco Linda. Plastic chairs, map of Florida paper placemats, Telemundo on the fuzzy TV, and huge portions of arros con pollo. It's a very comfy place. Even if you've never been there, it feels like you have. During my last visit, Ken decided that "all of us" should get together for a meal there.

I said, "Excellent. Who's 'all of us'?"

"You, me, Sam...." Sam is another of Ken's exes, circa late '90s. "And Jim and Mark. I want you guys to meet my new boyfriends."

Yes, that was boyfriendS. With an "S". Ken is several months into his first three-way relationship. Properly known by polyamorists as a triad. Amusingly known by many gay men as a "thruple". Twice the sex, but six times the emotional baggage, as the joke goes.

Thruples seemed to burst into my consciousness sometime in the late 90's as I began to encounter them more and more often in San Francisco. My earliest memory of the issue comes from the time when a scruffy looking bodybuilder told me earnestly, "You are a very hot guy and we could have sex and all that, but I'm really into dating couples. I'm really looking to be in a triad."

I walked away thinking, "WhatEVER, dude. Who said anything about dating?"

From that moment, my thruple antenna were up. I started running into them all the time. At first, the entire phenomenon seemed very Joy Luck Club-y to me. "Wife Number Two,(sob)...has NO honor!" But it also seemed very familiar. There was something in my past...something that made me feel like I'd encountered the thruple situation before.

Then one day I was sorting through some old paperbacks. Tom Clancy, into the trash. Stephen King, keep. Jackie Collins, um...trash. Gordon Merrick, definitely keep. You all know the drill. And then I came across an old sci-fi novel by Isaac Asimov, The Gods Themselves. I had read The Gods Themselves a half-dozen times in high school. That's when it dawned on me why the thrupling issue had seemed so oddly familiar.

In the novel, a scientist makes contact with a world in a parallel universe. That world is populated by a species which needs all three genders to mate simultaneously in order to procreate. Each of the three genders has a specific relationship role and are named accordingly. Parental. Rational. Emotional. I decided that the next time I met a thruple, I'd tell them about The Gods Themselves.

And so it came to be that I was standing near the Christmas tree, in the home of a porn video mogul, holding three porn stars in rapt attention as I explained the premise of the novel.

Porn Star 1: Oh. My. God! I am totally the Emotional!

Porn Star 2: You so totally are! And I'm definitely the Rational.

Porn Star 3: (nodding) Yeah, I can see me as the Parental. But that's because of who I am, NOT because I'm the oldest one, you bitches!"

Porn Stars 1 & 2: (in unison) Of course not!

Interestingly, almost every single time I've told this story to a triad, perhaps a dozen occasions in all, all three guys have instantly decided, without discussion or argument, which of the three genders they represented. It just seems to be plainly obvious to each of them, who each of them are. It's been a fascinating experiment. My ex, Ken, for those interested, considers himself to be the Rational. And even though I don't really know Jim and Mark very well yet, I think he's probably right.

The last time I went to San Francisco, I ran into Rick and Allen, two-thirds of a triad that I used to see at the bars. Naturally, I asked about the missing guy. Rick shook his head, "Oh, we had to break up with David. It just wasn't working out. I mean, how could it? Two Emotionals? Honey, even Allen wasn't Rational enough to handle THAT!"

And here all this time you've been thinking the top and bottom thing is hard to figure out.

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Monday, January 16, 2006

Runner And Crier

An epilogue to Guilty.....

The day after I posted Guilty, I got an email from a reader in North Miami.

"Joe, I just read yesterday's post and I was wondering if the man in your story could be the guy that is staying with my neighbor. He's driving a big truck and he's been going up to Ramrod a lot. He also pretty much fits the description from your story."

I wrote back and asked this reader if he could get the name of the fellow staying with his neighbor. A couple of emails later, and I had the name.

Ouch. The name was very well known to me. It was someone that I'd gotten rather close to in California, but had lost contact with when I moved to NYC and hadn't seen or heard from in almost five years. He and I had taken a couple of road trips up to the Russian River, and had shared hotel rooms at least three times. He came to my going away party, when I left SF.

I asked the North Miami reader to please leave my phone number with the guy, whom I'm calling "M" for this story. I asked him to tell M that I'd be grateful if he could call me, any time, day or night.

That day, no call. The next day, no call. Finally, on Saturday afternoon, the phone rang.

"Hey Joe, it's M."

"Hi M, thanks very much for calling me back. I appreciate it. I just wanted to apologize to you."

"Because of the Ramrod?"

"Yes."

"Well?"

"I'm sorry."

"Which part are you apologizing for? For not recognizing me? Or for ignoring me after you did?"

I swallowed hard. "Well, M...to be very honest, I never did recognize you." Then I explained about the email from the reader.

"You wrote a STORY on the INTERNET about how freakish I look?"

"Well, no...I wrote a story about running into somebody who looked like he'd been pretty sick....and about how ashamed I was for the way I handled it."

"Joe, I know I look sick. My own cousin walked right past me at Safeway."

Then M explained that he'd been undergoing chemotherapy for non-Hodgkins lymphoma, one of the nastiest AIDS complications out there. I doubt there's a middle-aged gay man in this country who hasn't lost at least a couple of friends to NHL. M told me that the cancer had recurred twice in under four years. Presently, he's staying with friends in North Miami in between getting some experimental treatment at a Miami cancer clinic.

I apologized to M again for not recognizing him, but I received no absolution. I told him that I'd be down in Florida again in March, and that I'd love it if he'd let me take him to dinner, but he declined. Then I offered to give him this blog address and allow him to write a guest post addressing my behavior. He didn't even want the URL.

"No, Joe. Not interested. You'll have to find some other way to unguilt yourself."

"OK. I understand."

"Before you hang up, Joe, let me say something. Ever since I've been getting the chemo and I lost all the weight, I've been running into people like you. About half of them just hold on to me and cry and cry.....the other half just run away. I never figured you to be one of the runners."

He was wrong. I had done both.

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Friday, January 13, 2006

Who's Yer (blog) Daddy?

In the beginning, there was Vasco's And Now, Jose'? and it was good. And then Vasco begat Joe.My.God. and it was....strange. And then Joe.My.God. begat CircleInASquare and The Mark Of Kane, and they were good. And then....oh, fuck it. I hate biblical references, don't you? The point of this post, and there actually is one, is to ask this: Who inspired you to blog? What does your blog family tree look like? Who made you and who did you make?

I can only (sniff).... hope... (sniffle, dab eyes).... that Vasco is as proud of me, as I am of my own blogchildren, SuperDaddy and Hamster Boy. If I had a car, I'd have to get me one of those old lady-style bumper stickers: Let Me Tell You About My Blogchildren!

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Disco Delivery

I'm way overdue for one of my own disco-imbued posts, but in the meantime why don't you stop by Disco Delivery, a brand new disco/mp3 blog? The guy knows his disco and even with only 3 posts up so far, I have a feeling I'm gonna be dropping by his place a lot.
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Thursday, January 12, 2006

Paging Susan Lucci...

The annual slate of blogging awards is almost over. So far, I've come in 2nd place to Towleroad in Gawker Media's URBS Awards at Gridskipper, and I've tied for third for Best Popular Gay Blog Of 2005 over at Best Gay Blogs, coming in behind Towleroad (Again! Curse you Red Baron!), Pink Is The New Blog, and Proceed At Your Own Risk. (Note to self: start posting pictures of hunky shirtless Brazilians and washed up pop stars, ASAP!)

Now comes the word that I'm nominated for Best LGBT Blog in the Best of Blogs Awards, along with two gentlemen from my very own blogroll: the thoughtful GayProf at Center Of Gravitas, and the hilarious Lee of Glitter For Brains. I'm not entirely clear on the BoB's procedures, there's actually some subjective judging in this one, but I encourage you to check out their list of nominees. There's some tasty new (to me) stuff on the LGBT list alone.

So what's this all mean? Anything at all?

URBS/Best Gay Blogs=People's Choice?

BoB's=Golden Globes?

Does that make the looming 2006 Bloggies = Oscars?

Don't worry gentle readers, all this silliness will be over soon.

Click on this button to vote on your favorites. You have scroll down a bit to get to the LGBT category, but I think that's intentional so that you look at all the blogs in the other categories.

Music Under New York

Among the many things that impress me about New York's subway system is its Music Under New York program, which provides commuters with something other than the usual fare of bad buskers and pissy panhandlers. I've been lucky enough to run into this trio a number of times.
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Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Paris Jesse

This handsome man is Jesse, visiting New York City from Paris. We're on a traffic island in the middle of Times Square, where he called out my blog name. Oh, those blue eyes! We had a nice chat for a few minutes, then I followed him back to his hotel and fucked his lights out. (Um..OK...that didn't happen.) Je rigole, Jesse! But look, at least my beard is growing back. Sigh.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Hugh Macleod

A couple of years ago, I was amused by Hugh Macleod's cartoons, which he drew on the backs of business cards. (Hilarious browsing: here. ) Lately, I've been amused by Macleod's marketing blog, GapingVoid.com. Check it out.
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The Blurry People


On a Monday morning in New York City, it feels like half the town is moving faster than light. I call them the Blurry People. Their energy is both intoxicating and unnerving.

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Wednesday, January 04, 2006

The Legendary Mother Of The House Of Baggage

US Airways Baggage Claims Office, LaGuardia

I'm second in line behind a tall elegant black man. He's wearing a black full-length leather coat, something you don't see every day. He explains to the clerk that he's missing three, "that's THREE", very expensive, "that's EXPENSIVE", Louis Vuitton suitcases with irreplaceable, "that's IRREPLACEABLE" items in them. Every time he repeats himself, he slaps his hand on the counter.

The clerk is a short, raven-haired, gum-popping, LaVerne DeFazio sound-a-like. "Louis? Ya mean like real Louis? Or some...udder brand?"

"I beg your pardon? You think because I'm black that I've got some swap shop Louis Vuitton? Don't even try that shit with me, Miss Girl."

The clerk regarded him with a flat expression. "Sir, we get lotsa luggage brands every day. Some a'dem is real. A lot a'dem ain't. Nuttin' against you."

"Why don't I believe you?"

The clerk made some clicks on her keyboard. "I'll need to know the contents of ya bags."

"Why?"

"Cuz maybe your bags didn't get here cuz they got no tags. Sometimes they gotta open the bag to see if the contents match the claim report."

"They have clothing in them."

The clerk purses her lips in doubt. "Irreplaceable clothing? What kind?"

(Inaudible)

"What?"

(Louder, but still inaudible)

"Sir, I can't hear you."

The man throws his hands up. "Ball gowns. Ball. Gowns. All three of them are full of ball gowns, OK?" He turns to give me a defiant look, as if daring me to say something, but I just raise my eyebrows slightly.

The clerk, now wearing a Mona Lisa smile, shoots a sideways glance at her co-worker. "OK, got it. Ball gowns in all three. Where do ya want 'em delivered?"

The man gives her an address in Harlem and stalks out. I'm still wondering which house he might belong to, when the clerk tells me that my one bag, full of non-expensive, non-irreplaceable, non-gowns is definitely in Pittsburgh or Charlotte. Unless it's in Dayton.

A few minutes later I'm in my taxi and as it approaches the Tri-Borough Bridge I come alongside a taxi bearing Mr. Ball Gown. We move into parallel toll lanes and he glares at me the entire time our vehicles inch forward. I stare back without expression until we both accelerate out of the toll booth. That's when I give him a big ole wink. As my taxi veers left and his fades off to the right, I can still see him laughing.

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Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Miami Patrick

I often run into JMG readers while I'm out living my glamorous high profile life. VIP, velvet ropes, guest lists, kiss kiss. This handsome man is Patrick, from Miami, whom I ran into at Fort Lauderdale's Jackhammer bar, conveniently located in the glamorous high profile section of Crack Town. Patrick is especially fond of the Terrence series and said some very kind things, for which I thank him.

I usually have my little digicam in my back pocket, so if YOU, gentle reader, happen to spot me at your local bistro, watering hole or bail bondsman, please do introduce yourself and pose for a pic to be posted here.

(BTW, for those wondering what happened to my facial hair...THIS is what happens when you forget to pack your own clippers and borrow someone else's and forget to check the adjustable length setting. Hellooooo baldy!)

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Sunday, January 01, 2006

Overheard In Fort Lauderdale

The Ramrod

Leatherman: "Is there anything more depressing than wasting $50 and 4 hours of your Saturday night.... and the hottest person at the baths is YOURSELF?"


Bill's Filling Station

Bear #1: "Honey, nobody has seen you in forever! You are looking so great! Everybody's saying so!"

Bear #2: "Thank you! You're so sweet! It's because I've been a slave for almost two years now, and I'm so happy with my Master. It's so freeing when you finally belong somewhere."

Bear #1: "And that would be chained to the bed, I assume?"


Coliseum

Twinkie: (waving money at the muscular bartender) "Hey, there! Hello? Please tell me you love me. I need somebody to love me right now!"

Bartender (straining to hear over music): "WHAT? You need what?"

Twinkie: "I need you to love me!"

Bartender: "I don't even know you. How could I love you?"

Twinkie: "What do you need to know?"

Bartender: "How old are you?"

Twinkie: "I just turned 18!"

Bartender: "Hello, my love."


Coliseum

Patron in the bathroom line: "Man! This party has been amazing! All these hot circuit boys! And it's already 4AM and they haven't had to call a SINGLE ambulance!"

Other patron: "Give it time, honey. Give it time."


Club Steel

Bartender to customer: "I'm having a problem with your boyfriend, in the liking department."


Jackhammer

Drunk guy: "Hey man, your friend is so fucking hot. You gotta hook us up!"

Other guy: My friend? Which one?

Drunk guy: I don't care!


Coliseum

Guy At Bar: "How come you haven't been dancing? You're not digging the music?"

Other Guy: "Um...I think we could probably put the last three hours of music on a disc, take it down to Guantanamo, broadcast it over the prison PA.... and we'd have those Al Qaedas begging to confess."

(Disclosure: I am Other Guy.)


The Ramrod

Customer: "Hey can you play a song for me? I heard it on the radio today and it totally rocks."

DJ: "What's it called?"

Customer: "Well, I don't the name of it, but you've got to have it. It's by a black girl and it's about love.