Friday, June 30, 2006

HomoQuotable - Sean Patrick Maloney

"I'm tired of relying on straight politicians. No one would say to an African-American, 'Don't run; a white guy knows this stuff better than you.' This is a hostage mentality. We've got the numbers and the resources to push the arc of history towards justice." - Sean Patrick Maloney, openly gay New York State candidate for Attorney General. (via Pride Magazine) Mr. Maloney, I think with that you got my vote. Buh-bye Mark Green.

UPDATE: The Daily News speculates as to Maloney's motives and notes that NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn, an out lesban, has endorsed Andrew Cuomo.

New Signs Of The End Times

The Four Segways Of The Apocalypse

1. Global warming
2. Bird flu
3. Dial-up
4. Paris Hilton with a Top Ten single*.

*Seriously. The song is a smash across several radio formats.

Faster?

With Aaron's help, I've changed a few things in the left column which should help out those of you that have mentioned this page loading slowly. I'm interested in your feedback about this issue, if you still have a problem with JMG being slow to get it up.

Blah Blah Blahnold

"In politics, I believe we need to address problems rather than attacking people."

"Whether you're gay or straight, everyone needs someone to love."

"California is diverse, but it must never be divided."

-California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, from last night's soundbite-laden meaningless speech to that state's Log Cabin Republicans. The Governerator never explained his veto last year of California's gay marriage bill, which had passed the state legislature. He also plans to veto the recently passed bill which would require California schools to include important gay persons in history lessons. (via 365gay.com)

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Father's Day

Riding home in the cab a couple of weeks ago, after the long, hot, sweaty, beer-drenched marathon called Folsom Street East, I was pondering an odd, uneasy moment of self-realization that had come over me a few hours earlier.

The Folsom Fair fell on Father's Day, and as my friends well know, whenever a young(er/ish) gay man affectionately or flirtatiously calls me "Daddy", I get a bit squicked out because I'm always wondering if the kid is simply using "Daddy" as the in-vogue word for describing a hot older man, which is fine, or if he's using "Daddy" in the all-too-common hope of sparking some sexual role play between us, in which I'm a sexual substitute for his actual biological Daddy. Which is not fine.

And which has happened. More than a few times.

But not lately, because now I've always got my biological "Daddy" radar up at all times. Yeah kid, it sucks that your father molested, rejected, or never loved you, but please please fatherfucking please, do not work out your psychosexual emotional trauma through me. Is everybody with me here?

So here's the contradiction, the "Daddy" epiphany that I had on my way home from the fair: Why is it when young Latin guys call me "Papi", none of that psychobabbly crapola leaps into my mind? Instead, I often get a little bit bump in my heartrate. I don't think I particularly eroticize Latin men over others (well, no more than any of my friends, anyway), although having lived in Florida, California and New York, there have been no shortage of Latin/JMG encounters.

Why is it that being called "Papi" feels hot, yet being called "Daddy" feels.....not?
.

The Hostage

In 1966, an aspiring 18 year old singer auditioned to replace Melba Moore in the Broadway musical Hair, but was instead cast in the German road production of the show, later switching to the Austrian version. Years later, during a stint in the Vienna Folk Opera, she met, married, and had a child with Austrian performer Helmut Sommer.

In 1974, Mrs. Sommer met an influential German producer while singing background on a Three Dog Night demo record and he immediately recorded her first single, The Hostage, which went to number one in France, Belgium and The Netherlands. However, due to a typo on the label, the world now knows the singer as Donna Summer. And thanks to the magic of YouTube, here's the video of her first hit record from 32 years ago.



The Hostage is oh-so-corny, with its kidnapped husband theme and the phone calls throughout the record. But the power of Donna Sommer/Summer's voice cannot be denied. Longtime readers of this here website thingy are well aware of my unabiding love for all things Donna Summer and that I consider her 1977 double-vinyl concept album masterpiece Once Upon A Time to be my favorite album of all time. (Note how many 5-star reviews it has on Amazon.) Finding The Hostage video on YouTube this week was a special treat for me, so please indulge me for mentioning Donna yet again.

Open Thread Thursday

Pimp. Bitch. Brag.
.

Labels:


Wednesday, June 28, 2006

NY State AG Race Looks Interesting

I took this photo of Mark Green in front of Grand Central Terminal last Friday, as he campaigned for New York State Attorney General. On September 11th 2001, I voted for Green for NYC mayor, a race he would have won, had the coverage of the terrorist attacks not totally drowned out his runoff campaign against Michael Bloomberg, who was endorsed by the suddenly popular Rudolph Guiliani. As it turned out, I am very happy with Bloomberg thus far, and voted for his re-election last year.

Also running for Attorney General in 2006 is openly gay Sean Patrick Maloney, about whom I don't know much, other than that he's President Clinton's former staff secretary and that he represents the family of Matthew Shepard in some regard. Eliot Spitzer, our current Attorney General, is the overwhelming favorite to replace George Pataki as governor, and has been endorsed by the Empire State Pride Agenda. Am I a bad citizen to say I want Spitzer to win because he's just so damn hot?

HomoQuotable - Eric Rofes

"Recently I attended a dance party, one of the many evenings of intense music and cavorting available to thousands of gay men in my city each weekend. I looked over the crowd of primarily twenty-something and thirty-something men, shirtless, gyrating, arms reaching to the heavens. I thought immediately at how the doomsayers criticize this population of young gay men, saying things such as, “I didn’t work my ass off during the past 30 years to create a culture of drug use and unprotected sex and self-centered me-me-me attitudes. This is not what the gay movement was all about. This is not what we envisioned when we tried to save lives during the worst of the AIDS years. This is not the world we were trying to create.”

And then I realized something, something surprising and simple. As someone who has spent the last 30 years working on gay liberation and AIDS activism and sexual liberation, what I saw before me was precisely the world I was trying to create. When we fought during the 1980s and 1990s to prevent gay men’s sexual cultures from being destroyed, when we worked to preserve certain values about gender play, friendship, and erotic desire, when we quietly worked behind the scenes to ensure that certain spaces would survive gentrification and public health crackdowns, we were fighting to preserve the ability of new generations of gay men to create worlds of pleasure and desire. As I looked out over the sea of dancing men, I realized, despite all the battles we’ve lost in terms of politics and discourse and the media, gay men and gay sexual cultures had managed to survive and, indeed, thrive." - Eric Rofes (via White Crane Journal)

I Knew When I First Saw Her Too

"I was a missionary of sorts to many a gay man. By then I was already a gay magnet—for some reason they were just drawn to me. And over and over I’d live out the same scenario. Some extremely handsome guy would confess to me that he was all confused about his sexuality, and for some reason he thought I was the one who could turn him—you know, help him figure it all out. Well, I helped him figure it out all right. One night with me, baby, they no longer had any doubts. They knew. They were 100% positive that they were gay. I don’t know exactly what that says about me, but I decided to look on the positive side, knowing that I helped many a gay man come to terms with his homosexuality." - Delta Burke, from her Human Rights Campaign Equality Award acceptance speech. (via Advocate.com)

Trivia: I went to high school with Delta Burke.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Superman Returns

Tonight I saw an advance screening Superman Returns, in IMAX and 3D, thanks to my pals Captain Steve and his husband Brian. There was quite a mob scene outside the AMC Lincoln Center Theatre, tons of adorkable boys in Superman t-shirts, with noticeably fewer girls in the lines.

I'm not so big on superhero movies, but I can recommend Superman Returns just as a fantastic travelogue of Manhattan, with many gorgeously slow fly-overs. Otherwise, the movie was long (2.5 hours), the new Superman is hot, and the familiar John Williams Superman theme sounds fantastic. I just can't believe they killed off Lois Lane.

Eric Rofes Dies Unexpectedly

Author and gay activist Eric Rofes died of unknown causes in Provincetown yesterday. Rofes was perhaps best known for his controversial declaration that "AIDS is over", in his 1998 book Dry Bones Breathe. Rofes pioneered many gay activist groups, including founding the Boston Area Gay & Lesbian Schoolworkers and the Boston Gay & Lesbian Political Alliance. In the 80's he was the Executive Director of the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Community Center and in the early 90's he was the Executive Director of San Francisco's Shanti Project, which provided housing to people with AIDS. Rofes' 13th book, A Radical Rethinking Of Sexuality And Schooling, was published late last year. I used to see Eric around San Francisco, usually in the leather bars. Memorably, he once spotted me on the MUNI reading his Reviving The Tribe, which I adored. Eric Rofes was a controversial figure, to be sure, comparable perhaps to Larry Kramer in the way in which he constantly challenged gay men's preconceptions of our lives. Rofes was 52.

UPDATE: PageOneQ is reporting that Rofes had a heart attack.

Anniversary

It was June 27th, 1969.

The day that the fags, dykes, and queens of New York City finally said "Enough!" For some historical perspective, I'm posting the story that the New York Daily News ran about the Stonewall Riots. Note how the story drips with condescension and ridicule. We've come a long, long way in 37 years and we've still got some distance to cover, but today we should all offer up a shout, a snap, and a silent prayer of thanks to the people who started us down this road.

HOMO NEST RAIDED - QUEEN BEES ARE STINGING MAD

-by Jerry Lisker, New York Daily News, July 6th 1969

She sat there with her legs crossed, the lashes of her mascara-coated eyes beating like the wings of a hummingbird. She was angry. She was so upset she hadn't bothered to shave. A day old stubble was beginning to push through the pancake makeup. She was a he. A queen of Christopher Street.

Last weekend the queens had turned commandos and stood bra strap to bra strap against an invasion of the helmeted Tactical Patrol Force. The elite police squad had shut down one of their private gay clubs, the Stonewall Inn at 57 Christopher St., in the heart of a three-block homosexual community in Greenwich Village. Queen Power reared its bleached blonde head in revolt. New York City experienced its first homosexual riot. "We may have lost the battle, sweets, but the war is far from over," lisped an unofficial lady-in-waiting from the court of the Queens.

"We've had all we can take from the Gestapo," the spokesman, or spokeswoman, continued. "We're putting our foot down once and for all." The foot wore a spiked heel. According to reports, the Stonewall Inn, a two-story structure with a sand painted brick and opaque glass facade, was a mecca for the homosexual element in the village who wanted nothing but a private little place where they could congregate, drink, dance and do whatever little girls do when they get together.

The thick glass shut out the outside world of the street. Inside, the Stonewall bathed in wild, bright psychedelic lights, while the patrons writhed to the sounds of a juke box on a square dance floor surrounded by booths and tables. The bar did a good business and the waiters, or waitresses, were always kept busy, as they snaked their way around the dancing customers to the booths and tables. For nearly two years, peace and tranquility reigned supreme for the Alice in Wonderland clientele.

The Raid Last Friday

Last Friday the privacy of the Stonewall was invaded by police from the First Division. It was a raid. They had a warrant. After two years, police said they had been informed that liquor was being served on the premises. Since the Stonewall was without a license, the place was being closed. It was the law.

All hell broke loose when the police entered the Stonewall. The girls instinctively reached for each other. Others stood frozen, locked in an embrace of fear.

Only a handful of police were on hand for the initial landing in the homosexual beachhead. They ushered the patrons out onto Christopher Street, just off Sheridan Square. A crowd had formed in front of the Stonewall and the customers were greeted with cheers of encouragement from the gallery.

The whole proceeding took on the aura of a homosexual Academy Awards Night. The Queens pranced out to the street blowing kisses and waving to the crowd. A beauty of a specimen named Stella wailed uncontrollably while being led to the sidewalk in front of the Stonewall by a cop. She later confessed that she didn't protest the manhandling by the officer, it was just that her hair was in curlers and she was afraid her new beau might be in the crowd and spot her. She didn't want him to see her this way, she wept.

Queen Power

The crowd began to get out of hand, eye witnesses said. Then, without warning, Queen Power exploded with all the fury of a gay atomic bomb. Queens, princesses and ladies-in-waiting began hurling anything they could get their polished, manicured fingernails on. Bobby pins, compacts, curlers, lipstick tubes and other femme fatale missiles were flying in the direction of the cops. The war was on. The lilies of the valley had become carnivorous jungle plants.

Urged on by cries of "C'mon girls, lets go get'em," the defenders of Stonewall launched an attack. The cops called for assistance. To the rescue came the Tactical Patrol Force.

Flushed with the excitement of battle, a fellow called Gloria pranced around like Wonder Woman, while several Florence Nightingales administered first aid to the fallen warriors. There were some assorted scratches and bruises, but nothing serious was suffered by the honeys turned Madwoman of Chaillot.

Official reports listed four injured policemen with 13 arrests. The War of the Roses lasted about 2 hours from about midnight to 2 a.m. There was a return bout Wednesday night.

Two veterans recently recalled the battle and issued a warning to the cops. "If they close up all the gay joints in this area, there is going to be all out war."

Bruce and Nan

Both said they were refugees from Indiana and had come to New York where they could live together happily ever after. They were in their early 20's. They preferred to be called by their married names, Bruce and Nan.

"I don't like your paper," Nan lisped matter-of-factly. "It's anti-fag and pro-cop."

"I'll bet you didn't see what they did to the Stonewall. Did the pigs tell you that they smashed everything in sight? Did you ask them why they stole money out of the cash register and then smashed it with a sledge hammer? Did you ask them why it took them two years to discover that the Stonewall didn't have a liquor license."

Bruce nodded in agreement and reached over for Nan's trembling hands.

"Calm down, doll," he said. "Your face is getting all flushed."

Nan wiped her face with a tissue.

"This would have to happen right before the wedding. The reception was going to be held at the Stonewall, too," Nan said, tossing her ashen-tinted hair over her shoulder.

"What wedding?," the bystander asked.

Nan frowned with a how-could-anybody-be-so-stupid look. "Eric and Jack's wedding, of course. They're finally tying the knot. I thought they'd never get together."

Meet Shirley

"We'll have to find another place, that's all there is to it," Bruce sighed. "But every time we start a place, the cops break it up sooner or later."

"They let us operate just as long as the payoff is regular," Nan said bitterly. "I believe they closed up the Stonewall because there was some trouble with the payoff to the cops. I think that's the real reason. It's a shame. It was such a lovely place. We never bothered anybody. Why couldn't they leave us alone?"

Shirley Evans, a neighbor with two children, agrees that the Stonewall was not a rowdy place and the persons who frequented the club were never troublesome. She lives at 45 Christopher St.

"Up until the night of the police raid there was never any trouble there," she said. "The homosexuals minded their own business and never bothered a soul. There were never any fights or hollering, or anything like that. They just wanted to be left alone. I don't know what they did inside, but that's their business. I was never in there myself. It was just awful when the police came. It was like a swarm of hornets attacking a bunch of butterflies."

A reporter visited the now closed Stonewall and it indeed looked like a cyclone had struck the premises.

Police said there were over 200 people in the Stonewall when they entered with a warrant. The crowd outside was estimated at 500 to 1,000. According to police, the Stonewall had been under observation for some time. Being a private club, plain clothesmen were refused entrance to the inside when they periodically tried to check the place. "They had the tightest security in the Village," a First Division officer said, "We could never get near the place without a warrant."

Police Talk

The men of the First Division were unable to find any humor in the situation, despite the comical overtones of the raid.

"They were throwing more than lace hankies," one inspector said. "I was almost decapitated by a slab of thick glass. It was thrown like a discus and just missed my throat by inches. The beer can didn't miss, though, "it hit me right above the temple."

Police also believe the club was operated by Mafia connected owners. The police did confiscate the Stonewall's cash register as proceeds from an illegal operation. The receipts were counted and are on file at the division headquarters. The warrant was served and the establishment closed on the grounds it was an illegal membership club with no license, and no license to serve liquor.

The police are sure of one thing. They haven't heard the last from the Girls of Christopher Street.


They sure fucking haven't.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Pride 2006: Cool, Wet, Wonderful

It was, in a word, glorious. This, despite that Pride Sunday dawned to blackened skies. I was awakened not by the sound of real thunder, but by the fake computer thunder that the Weather Bug on my laptop makes to alert me that a thunderstorm is imminent. But the threat of a little rain didn't stop 500,000 of my closest friends from attending the 37th annual NYC Pride Parade. In fact, with the temperature a delicious 73 degrees and the overcast skies, I don't think you could have asked Mommie Nature for a more comfortable setting.

The highlight of the parade was the triumphant return of Kevin Aviance, who rode upon a giant paper-mache' elephant, on the HX Magazine float. (pic via CNN.com) And of course, policitians dare not risk shunning Pride, rain or no rain. Seen in the parade were Mayor Michael Bloomberg, City Council Speaker (and out lesbian) Christine Quinn, New York Senators Chuck Schumer and Hillary 2008 Clinton, and candidates running for Attorney General in 2006, including Mark Green, Andrew Cuomo, Jeanine Pirro (who marched with the Ugh Cabin Republicans), openly gay AG candidate Sean Patrick Maloney, and Eliot Spitzer, whom the Empire State Pride Agenda has endorsed in the governor's race.

The 20th Annual Pier Dance was its usual maddening/joyous science project of traffic barricades, armies of volunteers, and bemused police officers. You have to hand it to Heritage Of Pride for managing the logistics of safely moving thousands and thousands of partiers from the ticketing area across the humming West Side Highway to the pier. And special thanks go out to the legions of volunteers for making the event possible at all. DJ Susan Morabito delivered a crowd pleasing mix of current hits and disco classics, including her signature record, Pet Shop Boys' Left To My Own Devices. Old fogies like me also recognized Amant's piano and string-laden If There's Love (Marlin Records 1978, free download), Kat Mandu's anthemic cowbell roof-raiser The Break (TK Records, 1979, free download), and Carl Bean's groundbreaking gay pride classic, I Was Born This Way (Motown Records, 1977, free download).

At 10pm, one of my favorite orchestral disco classics, the Salsoul Orchestra's 1979 hit Magic Bird Of Fire (which I blogged about here) heralded the arrival of the entertainment. Or not, as the stage remained dark and the record played a second time. Finally, as had been rumored, Jennifer Lopez took the stage at about 10pm, declaring, "Yes, it's really me! Last time I checked I was not an impersonator!", before launching into Jenny From The Block, Waiting For Tonight, and My Love Don't Cost A Thing. I'll admit that although I'm not a J.Lo fan, (despite watching Selena anytime it's on cable), I thought she sounded great.

The day closed with with some of my dearest friends gathered around me at the far end of the pier. Behind us, the Empire State Building stretched through the mist, bathed in lavender lights in honor of the day. To the accompaniment of John Paul Young's Love Is In The Air, (Ariola Records 1977, free download) the fireworks began and we turned to face the Hudson, arms around each other, our faces illuminated by the rockets in the sky and the love we have for each other. Two young boys near us broke into a joyously unrestrained swing dance and I leaned over to the Farmboyz and said, "They are going to remember this moment for the rest of their lives." I know I will.

And I don't know if you're an illusion
Don't know if I see it true
But you're something that I must believe in
And you're there when I reach out for you
- Love Is In The Air
.

Morning View


Friday, June 23, 2006

My Gaydar Is Not 20/20

This is the story I read at Tuesday's WYSIWYG...

In late September 2004, a friend of mine at ABC-TV called after he forwarded me a press release about to go up on ABC's site, looking for participants in an episode of 20/20, the Peabody Award winning one-time benchmark of investigative journalism, now currently producing landmark feature stories like "What You Don't Know About Licking Postage Stamps And How It May Be Slowly Killing You".

The 20/20 notice read: "Can you tell if a man is gay just by looking at him? 20/20 is looking for both gay and straight men to take part in a test to see if "gaydar" Â? the ability to tell if a man is gay just by looking at him Â? really works."

Seeing his name on my caller-ID, I answered the phone with, "Are you thinking what I'm thinking?"

"That no infotainment news program could possibly unravel the complex erotic mystery of sweaty man-on-man lovin'?"

"Well, that and how getting on the show could be a fun story for my blog."

He cackled, "Oh, they'd never pick you. Where's the big "reveal"? Honey, even the people watching other channels would know you're gay. Actually, I'm not even sure they'd have to have their TV on at all. Actually...."

I hung up on him and went back to my computer. Less than an hour later I got a reply from Frank, a producer on 20/20, inviting me to come to a production meeting where I'd be evaluated for inclusion in the show. At that meeting, the premise of the show was explained. Ten men of undisclosed sexual orientation would be put in a room with up to 100 "testers", also volunteers recruited over the internet. Each tester would have a minute or so to ask each man any question at all, with the flaming topics of sex and relationships being off limits.

From their brief interviews with the ten men, the testers would then score the men on a scale of 1-5 of probable gayness. Naturally, I wanted to point out that "gaydar", as I'd always understood it, wasn't based so much in specific answers to certain questions, as much as it was based on an elusive, indefinable, sort of instinctual feeling that Raul over in accounting probably has the complete Supremes discography at home, proudly displayed on two shelves marked "Original" and Post-Diana". Nevertheless, in the interest of contributing to 20/20's important and valuable work in the field of Entirely Conjectural Science, I eagerly joined the ranks of the Men Who Might Like Liza.

On the morning of the taping, I found myself in a huge ethical dilemma over my outfit. Should I try to butch up? Cargo pants and my Mets t-shirt? Wasn't that a rather profound expression of internalized homophobia? Trying to pass, even in this unusual situation? Or maybe I should wear what I'd normally wear as I skipped about Manhattan with my fellow Men Who Sing The Girl's Part Of Duets. Did I dare appear on national TV wearing an over-tight t-shirt with raggedy 501's? Wasn't that sadly stereotypical? But was I actually interested in fooling anybody into thinking I was straight? Would that be something to be proud of? But wearing something faggy, just to make a statement? What that something to be proud of? Should I call GLAAD and see what they say? Moments before my head would have exploded in blaze of circular logic, I realized that the only items of clothing that I hadn't yet assigned a Rank Of Homo Identity were lying on the floor, the outfit I'd worn to work the previous day. So I put on my jeans and flannel shirt and headed to ABC. Flannel was ok, right? I mean, the show wasn't called "Spot The Lesbian".

When I arrived at the ABC studios near Lincoln Center, we first gathered in a lounge to sign our release forms. There was no way to tell which of us were the subjects and which were the testers. I immediately recognized one of the guys filling out a form. It was the same guy who'd grabbed my elbow from behind one night at the Roxy and shouted in my ear, "Christopher, I don't know what kind of fucked up mind game you think you're playing, but Michael is outside crying his eyes out. Get your coat, we're leaving!" I had turned around so the guy could see that I wasn't Christopher, but he was already stalking towards the door. Three minutes he was back, and grabbed my elbow again, "You know what, Christopher. Fine! You can just get your own fucking ride back to Philly!" And without turning around, I shouted "FINE!" That's when my friend Mike came over, "What was THAT all about"? I said, "I don't know, but if you meet a guy named Christopher, he probably needs a ride."

After our forms were collected, we, the Men Who Might Know Colors, were lined up along the wall of a studio with our first name and a number hanging from our neck. I was #3. To my left, #2 seemed affably bland and free of any erotic appeal, the sort whose absence at the office might not be noticed until a few weeks after he quit. But to my right, #4.....ooh #4 virtually shimmered in a golden halo of barely restrained fabulousness, which threatened to explode in a glitter rainbow at any moment.

The testers entered the room in large numbers and I immediately realized that that oor interrogators were at least 80% comprised of fag hags, both varieties, office and nightclub. So much for the blind discipline of science. The testers held back at first, casting on me an eye likely trained from the loge seats at Westminster, appraising my carriage, my dress, my grooming. A hand check for intact testicles seemed a distinct possibility and something I'd gladly have endured to win Best Of 'Mo.

My first question came. "Where are you from?" I was born in North Carolina. Disappointment. "Did you live there until you moved to NY?" No, I moved here from San Francisco. "THANK YOU". Damn. OK, she clocked me. Why did it bother me? My next question: "What was your major in college?" Communications. Yeah, figure THAT out.

The testers began to instinctively organize into packs, the way feral cats do. Small groups moved along the line together, each group with a spokesman asking the same question. #2 was asked "Can you describe the contents of your refridgerator?" He shrugged, "I dunno. I guess, milk. Cheese. Oh, and some venison I got at a hunt upstate." The testers practically quivered with satisfaction. #2 was definitely not one of the Men Who Wear Clamdiggers. Now me, same question. In my fridge right now, I've got Budweiser in the can and a jar of Grey Poupon. The testers frowned. Inconclusive. Of course, I was totally lying. I also had poppers. At least #4 brought them some joy with his answer, "Well, I've got some fresh radicchio...."

A trio of smirking admins landed in front of me. "Tell us your opinion of Cher". Well, I have never seen her in concert but I've liked her in a couple of movies. Technically true, but still an outrageous lie of omission for not mentioning owning her complete discography, proudly displayed on two shelves marked "With Sonny" and "Greatly Improved".

Then my friend from the Roxy arrived. He stepped over with his clipboard. "Wow, you look so much like a guy I know." It took all my strength not to say, "Would his name be....Christopher?" With Roxy Boy were two Homosexual Prada Nazis, fresh from the Fashion Institute's College Of Withering Appraisals. In short order they learned that I lived alone, that I'd arrived from San Francisco, that I worked in the media. Their victory was imminent, they could taste it. With fangs bared in anticipation, they hissed, "What neighborhood do you live in?" The Upper East Side. Hah! Defeat, snatched from their meth-clenched jaws of victory, one unasked question away from learning that before the Upper East Side, I'd lived in Hells Kitchen, Chelsea AND the West Village.

The testers retreated to compile their scores. We, the Men Who Might Own Tap Shoes, were led onto the stage of an auditorium for the actual broadcast portion of the show. The host, John Stossel and his mustache arrived. With the casual but ruthless efficiency of a broadcast veteran, Stossel ordered that all of the gay men move to the five chairs on the right of the stage, the straight ones to the other side. I didn't have to move, as I had already instinctively chosen the gay side of the stage. All of the others had to move and I felt rather superior about that.

The result were announced in the jumbled order of chairs. #4 beamed and offered a clap of congratulations to the 92% of the testors who judged him to be Spectacularly Gay. Then me. John Stossel referred to his index card and announced his surprise that 78% of the testers judged me to be a Man Who Watches Lifetime. Stossel cocked his head and said, "Well, I guess my gaydar just didn't go off on Joe. I look at him and I see...just a regular, macho guy."

Stossel extended his microphone to a woman in the front row. "What about you? What was your very first impression when you saw Joe?"

"Village People."

If you watched the show, you probably remember that the director cut to me for what may be one of the most pained reaction shots in broadcasting history. The audience was beside itself. Stossel continued to work the joke, but this time going to the Prada Nazis, who were not about to let me triumph again. Stossel repeated his question about their first impression of me and whether I'd set off their gaydar.

Prada Nazi #1 grabbed the microphone eagerly, "Oh, please! Look at him! Of course we knew. He's like a total Castro Clone with that haircut. I mean come on, Levi's, a flannel shirt and combat boots? He's right out of the '80s!"

I sat there on the gay side of the stage in my Eddie Bauer shirt, Wrangler Relaxed Fit Jeans and sensible low-cut Sketchers as our entire nation of millions, (including, I found out the next day, my mother) nodded in agreement at how poorly I represented my tribe. We, the Men Who Start Rumors. We, the men who now know the bar where the Prada Nazis hang out. We, the men who know that the right lie about bizarre sexual habits and horribly malformed cocks can cause ruin, ridicule, and a tragic reliance on porn. Our gaydar may not be 20/20, but our revenge will arrive with pinpoint accuracy.
.

The Helpful Homo Says:

THIS is Grand Central Station.
And THIS is Grand Central Terminal.


Now let us not speak of your confusion again.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Thursday, 06-22-06, 12:57PM

Maybe I should post a webcam link to the view from behind my desk. I've been sitting here for five years and I never get tired of the view.

Open Thread Thursday

Confess it. Go ahead, you'll feel better.

.

Labels:


Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Find A Place With Celebrations And Songs

This Sunday in NYC there will be more ma$$ive big ticket dance parties than you can shake a glowstick at. Once the fireworks over the Pier Dance fade into the Hudson, I'll be nudging my boys towards Souvenirs, at the East Village's Element, one of the more swank venues in Manhattan, where I will close my Pride weekend blissing out to legendary Saint veteran DJ Michael Fierman. How this party is being pulled off at $20 a head, when the others are all north of $50 (far north, in one case), I have no idea, but I could sure use some dancefloor therapy. 'Cause all we need is world full of dreams. Forgotten feelings come back in streams. Come join us. Don't hesitate. Just be yourself. Be free. Let's be free.

Press The Pride

Pick up a copy of this week's NY Press, their annual Pride edition, which includes coverage of last week's LGBT anti-violence march, an interview with NYC Council Chairperson (and out lesbian) Christine Quinn, and a fascinating look at the lives of gay New Yorkers who have arrived here to escape persecution in their home countries. You'll also find another short story from me, in which I riff on plumbers and drag kings and bears. Oh my.

Wizzy Wuz Wunderful

My apologies for two days of radio silence, but I haven't been feeling well since leaving the street fair on Sunday. Perhaps standing in the sun with a beer cup in my hand for 8 hours is something I shouldn't be doing anymore. Hopefully next year I'll plan to arrive later and leave earlier. Yeah, right.

Last night's WYSIWYG was great fun, with a terrific roster of performers including two pals of mine making their stage debut: my favorite lez-blogger, Curly McDimple, and the sexily scruffy Rod Townsend, both of whom were very well received. Thanks go out to Chris, Andy and Dan for consistently putting on one of the most fun events in town. Chris will be posting reviews of last night's show here, as they come in. And big hugs to so many of my friends in the audience for showing up and supporting me, you are beautiful in every single way.

Yesterday began with a fever, chills and an achy neck. I took the day off from work and tried to conserve energy for the show, but at 6PM with my energy meter still tapping into the red zone, I decided to try the unique combo of Dayquil and Red Bull, hoping to both dampen my symptoms and still give me some fuel for the stage. I arrived at the venue feeling weirdly speedy, this is why I am not friends with the Bull. I think I did just OK with my story, tripping on my tongue a half-dozen times as the fever began to resume control shortly before I stepped up to the microphone.

After the show, I met some JMG readers, whom I thank for attending and their very kind words. And a special shout-out goes to the visiting hot Ozzie, Seymour! When I mentioned to a trio of my friends that I thought I was still sick from the street fair, they looked at me blankly. "But the fair was TWO days ago!" Ah, youth. I explained to them that one day THEY will be middle-aged too. Apologies to all for skipping out on the after-party so early, especially Dagon, on his last night in NYC.

UPDATE: Read Wizzy reviews from Greg Walloch, Curly McDimple, Someone In A Tree
Jon Collins, The Publishing Spot , The Sheila Variations, Cliff Claven.

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Monday, June 19, 2006

Weather Hot, Leather Lite

For yesterday's leather street fair, I surveyed my closet for something from my sadly dwindling supply of perv-wear. Chaps? Yeah, right. My chaps are still lying collapsed in a pile of helpless mocking leather-laughter* after my having tried them on before the Black Party. My chain harness? Um, I'm totally not into sharply-defined man-boobs, and I so don't want to meet anybody who is! I briefly considered my decade-old black Folsom Street Fair wife-beater, once an almost weekly stalwart of my leather bar whoredrobe, but I decided that there was no freekin' way I could hold my stomach in all day. And with the temperature in the mid-90's, even my most super-slutty 501's would be pretty unbearable after an hour or so of standing in the sun.

I finally decided to pay only passing mention to the theme of the day with my "Pig Wrestling" t-shirt. Otherwise, I was in standard Sunday beer-bust attire: cargo shorts and sneakers. About an hour into the fair, I noticed another guy wearing the "Pig Wrestling" t-shirt. That's to be expected. An hour later, I noticed another guy with my shirt. Then another one. And of course, my friends noticed them too, and took entirely unreasonable delight in pointing them out to me. Eh, it's not like I walked out of the showroom with Dolce trailing behind, promising that I'd be the only Pig Wrestler at the leather-debutante ball.

Still, when the Farmboyz began insisting that I pose for pictures with my brothers-in-ringer-tee, that was a bit much. The first of my tee-twins that I posed with was a very short, very young Latino guy, who was very improbably named Spike. Spike wrapped his arm around me and said "Hang your cock out like I am!" Not having been proactive enough to have pre-bored a cock-hole in the crotch of my shorts, I declined. The picture that Father Tony took of Spike and me is not appropriate for JMG, since I'm only X-rated for naughty words. The unknown handsome man pictured here was very amused by Father Tony's photo request, agreeing to pose once when told that he'd just won Hottest Pig Wrestler At The Fair. I think the expression on my face is the same one usually made by the First Runner-Up at Miss Teen USA.

*Chaps actually made of that weird naugaboo Nasty Pig material, not leather.

*******

Musical highlight of the day, heard on the Eagle roofdeck around 8PM: Yoko Ono's spooky classic, Walking On Thin Ice, which was famously recorded by Yoko and John Lennon on the evening of his murder in 1980. You gave me my life, like a gush of wind in my hair. Yoko released the single a month later and it only reached #58 on the Billboard singles chart, yet over the decades Walking On Thin Ice has turned into a critic's favorite and a must-have for both Beatles collectors and dance enthusiasts, two groups that surely have no other common ground, Silly Love Songs notwithstanding. Download Walking On Thin Ice (free). Purchase Yoko Ono: Walking On Thin Ice, here.


HomoQuotable - Kevin Aviance

"You can't keep a good queen down! " - Kevin Aviance, speaking through a wired jaw at Saturday's NYC Gay & Lesbian Anti-Violence Project's march against gay bashing.

Top Ten Conservative Idiots

My favorite weekly feature over at Democratic Underground, is their Top Ten Conservative Idiots list. Our ignoble leader often holds down the top spot and sometimes he is listed several times within the same Top Ten for multiple blunders within the reporting period. I'm especially amused by the little cartoon icon story tags, my favorite of which is "batshit crazy".

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Zoology

Yesterday, I continued my outer borough explorations, accompanying wildly popular celebrity blogger Aaron to the Bronx Zoo. Aaron and I met up at 70th & Madison, near my apartment, to catch the express bus to the zoo, which strangely picks up passengers at the very corner that houses the Prada, Gucci, and Cartier flagship showrooms. Has anybody in that neighborhood ever been on a bus in their lives?

It was oddly tranquil waiting there in the pre-opening quiet, at the corner of Bling and Billionaire, hardly a soul on the sidewalks, other than the occasional socialite drifting down from her penthouse to walk her super-hybrid designer dog. Apparently, you don't need great reading comprehension skills to become insanely wealthy, judging by the "Truffels" lost and found poster we found taped to a pole. Do not question the amount of the reward, people. By the way, "havanese" is a relatively new breed, created when you mate a Pekinese and a Tickle Me Elmo. Or so I'm told.

Minutes after 9am, a cab squealed to the curb, discharging an impossibly muscular cute young man, who gave us a knowing smile before rushing to insert his key to roll up the gate of the shop adjacent to Prada. I was dying to hear the story of what made him late for work, but Aaron discouraged me from making any gestures through the display window.

The Bronx Zoo was pretty much as I left it as a six-year boy. The exhibits are generally holding up well, although there is a faint but pervasive sense of decay throughout. Aaron was a little bit freaked out by the faces of the marmosets, which reminded me very much of the troll doll that sliced up Karen Black in Trilogy Of Terror. Myself, I was hoping to see one of those all-male giraffe orgies, but I guess they weren't feeling the DJ.

The most interesting part of the visit was in the "Congo" section of the park, watching an Arab man smugly point out to his female companion that there was only one male for the nine female gorillas. "You cannot deny the way of nature!"

By the way, I'm with Ogden Nash. The Bronx? No thonx.
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Saturday, June 17, 2006

Say Hi As You Cruise By



Above are the last 100 beautiful people to post their pics on my Frappr map. I'm trying to figure out how to get all 700 of youse guys to show up here. Any tips? Frappr is adding features right and left: forums, groups, blogs...but I'd prefer it if they would just clean up their clunky interface and let you all see each other and where you are, a little more easily. Points to whomever recognizes the song lyric in the title of this post.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Manhattan, From The Moon

Last weekend I made my second ever excursion to Brooklyn. My beloved Farmboyz and I met up at Grand Central, where they arrived tan and full of their typically debauched stories from their Barcelona vacation. Less than an hour later, we emerged from the G train (G? There's a G train? Who knew?) in Brooklyn's Clinton Hill neighborhood for a pre-Brooklyn Pride party at the new home of our pals Neil and Bryce.

The party turned out to be a mini-redux of the recent Manhattan blogger confab, only this one was more on the bear side, including notables such as SuperDaddy , Habitat67, and the always glamourous Foxy (who is not a bear, definitely not). I had the pleasure of meeting the lovely Jennifer (pictured), who DJs at Brooklyn's Cattyshack.

At one point during the party, most of the guests were enjoying the fantastic view from Neil & Bryce's rooftop and I gathered in a corner with the other Manhattanites to discuss the apartment below us. Massive? Yes. Beautiful? Check! Waaaay cheaper than Manhattan? Oh dear god, YES. We compared our various rents for our teeny Manhattan studios versus the rent on the sprawling apartment below us as we gazed into the distance at the tip of the Empire State Building, barely making itself known. I bet you can guess what we decided.

The party was rockin', the boys were clockin', and somebody was knockin' back an entire bottle of Maker's Mark and had to led, tottering, out the door by his patient boyfriend. But not before an impromptu Spanky And Our Gang greatest hits singalong. Lazy (hazy) Days, indeed. The party was such a hit that nobody seemed very interested in actually going to Brooklyn Pride, ostensibly the reason we were there. The Farmboyz and I decided to trek out into the wilds all by ourselves and find the parade.

After a long walk, a cab ride, an unscheduled bathroom/beer visit to what may or may not have been a lesbian bar, we arrived at a traffic circle just off of Prospect Park, precisely as the parade was stepping off. First to pass, parade dignitaries. Then the gay policemen contingent, all three of them. Then a couple of other small groups. With the rest of the crowd on the sidewalk, the Farmboyz and I leaned forward to look up the street for the next group. Whoops. Sorry, that was it. The only 45 second gay pride parade on record, I'd reckon. Kinda hilarious and sweet, really. We joined in the crowd following the "parade" up the street and within a few blocks, wouldn't you know that the crowd had swelled to almost a thousand people? We had a blast just marching along.

Hunger finally drove us to abandon the parade and we took an outside table at a restaurant on the route. Before our order was taken, a cute young thing passing by took a fancy to the Farmboyz and vaulted over the railing to sit with us. By the time our meals had arrived, several other friends of his had drifted past our table to chat, including one handsome young man with a case of Corona on his shoulder. As he chatted with his friend, I sort of drunkenly reached out to trace the line of the young man's muscular chest, straining the confines of his wife-beater, as it was. I withdrew my hand before reaching his chest, realizing what I was doing, but the young man only smiled and pushed closer to me, saying, "Oh, you can touch me anytime, Daddy!" Sweet lad. Knew how to make an old man feel good.

Declining the pleas of the young men to join them at a party Very Conveniently Located in an apartment above the restaurant, the Farmboyz and I began a long search for a taxi back to Manhattan, cursing ourselves for being in t-shirts and shorts, as the temperature had fallen below 50. Riding across the Williamsburg bridge, we marveled at how great Manhattan looks from Brooklyn. Yet, I reminded the Farmboyz of what my late Manhattanite aunt had once told her Brooklyn friend. "Yeah, well I'm sure the Earth looks great from the moon, but I don't wanna live THERE either!" I wonder what she'd think about the Brooklyn of today.

UPDATE: The Farmboyz' Father Tony gives his take on the day.
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LGBT Anti-Violence March

The New York City Gay & Lesbian Anti-Violence Project is sponsoring a march and rally tomorrow, June 17th, to "raise our voices against anti-LGBT hate in our city". The march begins in the East Village at 14th Street & 1st Avenue at 2PM and concludes in the West Village at Christopher Park at 3PM. I have a good idea who might be speaking at the rally.

UPDATE: Great photos and recap of the march: here.

Prince Rogers Nelson Of Darkness

Prince has clearly signed a deal with Satan. I just saw his 48-year old Purple Badness in Bryant Park, performing on Good Morning America, and he looks younger than he did when I last saw him in person, 25 years ago during the Controversy tour. Opening with his single Get On The Boat (from this year's 3121) , then bringing on Tamal Davis to perform Red Head Stepchild, Prince looked amazing. Just unbelievable. As did the eternal Sheila E, who played front and center standing behind her drum kit. Would you believe Sheila E will be 50 next year? Prince closed with a shortened version of Let's Go Crazy, and I joined the throngs of cube dwellers heading for their elevators.

If you are in Manhattan on a Friday morning, I suggest checking out the Good Morning America shows at Bryant Park. Much more accessible than the screamfests that the Today Show puts on over at Rock Center, the shows at Bryant Park usually start right at 8:30am and end before 9:00. The crowd for Prince was far bigger than any I've seen in Bryant Park, probably well over 5000. Usually, you can get fairly close to the stage. I've been quite close for Dixie Chicks, Pink and a few others. You only get a 30 minute show, usually 3-4 songs with introductions and commercial breaks, but whaddya want fuh nuttin?

Trivia:

- Prince has worked under numerous psuedonyms, including: Jamie Starr, Joey Coco, Alexander Nevermind and Tora Tora.
- Sheila E is Nicole Ritchie's aunt.
- Tito Puente was Sheila E's godfather.

Wizzy Reminder

Come be part of the downtown (now almost entirely free of trucker-hats worn jauntily askew) hipster art scene! I'll be appearing in the gay pride edition of WYSIWYG this Tuesday. Doors open at 7:30pm, show starts at 8pm. This show sold out last year, so I'd advise arriving early if you want to get in. I'm sharing the stage with my pals Rod Townsend, Curly McDimple, Joel Derfner , Greg Walloch and Spinster. The new cool-kid Wizzy venue does not allow for online or advance tickets, so don't be late!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Alert Status Yellow

Midtown Manhattan, Thursday, 12:30PM

Remember those rubber-band propelled balsa airplanes from when you were a wee lad? A co-worker came in today with one he found at a downtown dollar store over the weekend, and he had some fun putting it together and trying to fly to it around our office this morning. Then he went to lunch and I picked it up and thought I'd have some fun with it. Unfortunately, one of the ten windows in our office just happened to be partially open and don't you know...

****BREAKING NEWS****BREAKING NEWS****

FoxNewsAlert- We interupt this blogpost to report that according to sources at Homeland Security, some sort of mechanized, possibly self-propelled device has been launched onto the roof of New York City's Grand Central Terminal, one of the busiest transportation hubs in North America and a long-feared target of terrorist activities. The device appears to have originated from one of the office towers that surround Grand Central, although that is unclear at this time. Police and tactical units do appear to be concentrating on one building in particular, where Fox News has spotted a horrified man hiding behind a file cabinet near an open window. The man is said to be middle-aged and possibly chubby. More on this story as it develops.

Open Thread

What's on your mind today?

(Use this for rants, raves, bitches, plugs and other stuff that's off-topic in other posts.)

HomoQuotable - Wayne Besen

"The Bush Administration had always been at the intersection of Fantasy Street and Fanaticism Avenue, but inviting an ex-gay leader to a White House ceremony was beyond the pale. After all, the methods Exodus routinely uses to "cure" gay people are downright bizarre. For example, does Bush endorse youth boot camps where underwear is confiscated to 'cure' people who are gay or lesbian?" - author/activist Wayne Besen, who last week founded Truth Wins Out, an organization dedicated to fighting the "ex-gay" movement. (via - 365gay.com.)

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Aviance Email

Send your emails of support to Kevin Aviance in care of his manager: joseph.turla@verizon.net.
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Book Woman

Manhattan, the 6 train, 730pm

I'm standing in the doorway, where you're not supposed to stand, but the train isn't too crowded at this hour, so I'm really not in anybody's way. The woman seated to my right takes a book out of her shoulder-bag and flips to her bookmark, near the end. The woman seated across from her gets a wide-eyed expression and leans forward with excitement. After about three minutes, she cannot contain herself.

"Hey! Are you enjoying that book? What do you think of it?"

Book Woman lowers her book and frowns. For a moment, I think that she's annoyed at the interruption, but then I decide that she's having a hard time giving a proper answer to the other woman's question. The other woman realizes that too, and perhaps to stave off an embarrassing answer, she blurts out, "My son wrote it!"

"Oh...really?" Book Woman says dryly, and turns the book over to look at the author's photo, then looks back at the woman across the aisle with a comparative eye. "Well, your son certainly has....interesting ideas about the world."

The author's mother beams and says, "Yes, he's always been full of ideas!"

Book Woman replies, "I'd say he's just full of IT."

"What?"

Book Woman stands up. "I said I'm just about done with it. This is my stop. Good-bye."

Of course, I'm dying to know the name of the book. As Book Woman passes me, I move out of her way and crane my neck to get one final look as she tucks it under her arm. In doing so, I manage to smack my face sharply into the center pole. I blink a few times and give the guy standing next to me a weak smile, knowing he just saw me. He leans over and says, "Don't sweat it, man. I was trying to see the book too!"

Two stops later, I exit the train, my face still stinging.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Mass. Marriage Stats Mirror 2004

Continuing the trend that was discussed here last year, statistics from the state of Massachusetts show that lesbians are still getting married at nearly twice the pace of gay men. When you factor in the much smaller size of the lesbian community relative to gay men, the difference is even more remarkable. The new data from 2005 shows a huge drop in the number of gay marriages overall, which makes sense, as the backlog of anxious couples is being depleted.

Combined, gay marriages of both varieties represent 5.2% of all marriages in Massachusetts, with gay men representing 1.8%. I'm going to guess that a pretty good number of these gay marriages are not between actual Massachusetts residents, considering what I've heard about the ways that some people are evading that requirement.

I think this is just further proof of my contention last year that marriage will always be something that few gay men will be interested in actually doing, regardless of how vehemently they support its righteousness. And yes, before all you scientists wade in sputtering about causation and correlation, I understand that extrapolating a small state sample onto a national populace is a risky business.

Data provided by Donna Rheaume of the Massachusetts Registry of Vital Records and Statistics, whom I thank for her kind assistance.

Ain't No Mountain Gay Enough

Gentle readers, I love my people. Truly, I do. But I had to throw back my head and emit a yowl of spiritual pain upon reading of the petition campaign to rename a Vermont hilltop "Brokeback Mountain". I mean, COME ON. What's next, "Mount Mommie Dearest"? I'd rather see a sign that said "Hedwig Hill, 3 miles." Or maybe, "Next exit, Poppers Peak." Seriously, my brothers. Stop.

UPDATE: AOL's Kenneth Hill has got a funny idea about this funny idea.

Muscle Bear Sea Tea

My dear friend Mike Tully, formerly Mr. NYC Eagle, is again co-hosting the gay pride Saturday Muscle Bear tea-dance cruise with DJ Mark Cicero, aboard the party boat Queen Of Hearts, on June 24th. The cruise takes you out past the Statue Of Liberty and under the Brooklyn Bridge, then back up the Hudson River. The boat has a capacity of 500 and these parties often sell out. Tickets are on sale at Ty's Bar in the West Village or you can reserve tickets by emailing Mike: MuscleBearShop@yahoo.com. I think this will be my fifth Sea Tea, I always have a blast.

HomoQuotable - Andrew Sullivan

"There are flops, almighty flops and then there are books by Mary Cheney. Despite saturation media coverage, network interviews, cable interviews, blanket newspaper profiles, blog support, podcast interviews, the book "My Turn" had a very low first week's sales of 2,445. Last week, a grand total of 574 books were sold. Not too shabby for a first author with not a huge amount to say. But recall that this manuscript cost its publishers a cool $1 million. The publisher therefore spent around $170 for every book sold without even counting the marketing budget." - Andrew Sullivan (via - Daily Dish).

Monday, June 12, 2006

"Straight" Gays Snuggly, Warm, And Irony-Free Under The Blanket Of Freedom Knitted By Queens And Butch Dykes

Below are two reader comments from AOL Gay & Lesbian editor Kenneth Hill's excellent blogpost in which he quoted from my essay Watching The Defectives. Even more chilling in light of the Aviance story, is the below stated belief that gays who are gay-bashed bring it upon themselves by failing to live up to traditional standards of masculine carriage and dress. However, I suppose we should thank these two guys for underscoring the point of Defectives.

"Am I against how people decide to dress and how they provide themselves to the public, no. BUT! I do know for sure that the way many homosexual carry themselves has a lot to with "gay haters" and why they commit hate crimes. I personally am a gay male, and I act very "straight". That's the main reason people have accepted me as much as they have. I'm almost confused myself as to how gay males end up with higher pitched voices, and decide to carry themselves in a more feminine manner. Yes, some of it has to do with how you were brought up. I have four brothers, obviously that has something to with how I carry myself for the world to see how "straight" gay people can be. Which I'm very proud of. I've turned TONS of gay haters in close friends because they say, "I didn't know you guys could act like this". It's very simple, if you want society to like you, act like society." Comment from stoff21888 - 6/11/06 10:31 PM

"Everyone should be able to live their lives as they want to. Unfortunately, in the real world it doesn't work out evenly. In the USA, if you want acceptance, you have to start as close to the center as you can and work your way out, not the reverse. People who see gays and lesbians who "look like they do" will be more accepting early on, allowing a gradual acceptance of the people whose lifestyles are more eccentric (?) as time passes. One can never gain acceptance by beating people over the head. " Comment from tocaco1 - 6/11/06 3:38 PM

Smarter reaction to Defectives can be found from Moby.
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Moon Unit Redux

It was inevitable that the MySpace phenomenon would creep into pop music. Check out John B's I've Been Stalking You On MySpace. (Warning: Sound.) I got a kick of the girl channeling Moon Unit Zappa's Valley Girl. "I have more MySpace friends than Jesus. I write like, this really cool poetry inspired by Bright Eyes. I have 679 friends but I am totally removing that girl from my Top 8." Thanks to Mike Atkinson, aka Troubled Diva, for tipping me off about this track. The Diva reports that the electro-mix is already #1 on the QX chart in the UK.

HomoQuotable - Clarence Patton

"This is something we tragically see a lot of as the weather gets warmer, as we head into June, which of course means a lot more visibility for the community....it's not a New York problem, it's a national problem for sure, and a human problem. This is really a problem, a condition, for our community, wherever we are." - Clarence Patton, executive director of the NYC Gay & Lesbian Anti-Violence Project, speaking about the Kevin Aviance incident.

(via - KeithBoykin.com.)

Sunday, June 11, 2006

"We're Gonna Kill You, Faggot!"

Drag performance artist and musician Kevin Aviance was brutally gaybashed yesterday after leaving the East Village's Phoenix bar. According to news reports, he was attacked by a group of six or seven men who shouted, "We're gonna kill you, faggot!" Apparently, passers-by did nothing to stop the attack. Four young men were arrested and charged with hate crimes. Aviance is hospitalized with a broken jaw and other injuries. As long as our Republican leadership continues to tell the youth of America that gay people are contemptible, these contemptible crimes will continue.

UPDATE: Rather than providing Kevin's personal contact information to the nutcases of the world, may I suggest sending cards and messages of support directly to the Phoenix Bar?

Kevin Aviance
c/o Phoenix Bar
447 East 13th Street
New York City, NY 10009

UPDATE II: Aviance has vowed to perform at NYC's Pride festival on June 25th. (via - 365gay.com)

Friday, June 09, 2006

Watching The Defectives

Gentle readers, this post first ran last year, a couple of days after New York City's Pride Parade. I got so many wonderful emails wishing that I'd made this post before Pride, rather than after it, that I'm reposting it today. The original post is here, if you'd like to read last year's responses to it. This weekend Pride events take place in Boston, DC, Brooklyn, Austin, Albuquerque and many other places. For a list of events and dates around the nation, go here.

Watching The Defectives

Last Sunday, at 12:30pm, I was in position on Christopher Street with Terrence, his glamour boys, and touring UK bloggers Dave and Darren. The Pride parade was due to round the corner any minute, but I tore off in search of a bodega, crossing my fingers that my desperate need for a soda wouldn't cause me to miss Dykes On Bikes. Half a block away, I found a little place and ducked in, weaving thru the customers clogging the aisles on rushed missions like mine. I was third in line, two bottles of Sprite under my arm, when the man in front of me spotted a friend entering the store.

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

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

Luckily for David, the Asshole Killer mind ray I've been working on is not yet operational. I settled for pushing him a little, just a tiny bit, just to get by him in that narrow aisle, of course. I returned to my sweaty little group and tried to put what I'd heard out of my mind for the remainder of the day, because I knew that by the next morning, the thousands of Davids of the world, the ones who have media access anyway, would all issue their now familiar day-after-Pride rant. The one where they decry the drag queens on all those newspaper front pages. The one where they beat their chests and lament, "Why don't the papers ever show the NORMAL gay people? Where are the bankers and lawyers? Why must all the coverage be drag queens and leather freaks in ass-less chaps?"

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

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

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

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

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

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

(The gay pride parade is going past the Simpson house.)

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

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

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

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

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

But...YES, WE DO.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

They wish we were invisible.

We're not.

Let's dance.


UPDATE: AOL weighs in on this post.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Oh, It's Broughten

"I've never seen people enjoying their husbands deaths so much." Ann Coulter, in reference to the 9/11 widows, in her new book, Godless: The Church Of Liberalism.

"Ann Coulter drinks the blood of babies and kittens. It's true! I totally saw her!" - Senator Hillary Clinton.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Nom De Drag Roll Call

After I posted last week about Rita Beads, some of you wrote to me to tell me your own favorite drag names. We're due for a giggle here, so let's devote a post to that theme, yes? My own taste in drag names runs from the really infantile, like Suppositori Spelling, to the inexplicably funny, like Peaches Christ. See? It's funny every time you say it. Peaches Christ! I'm not crazy about the old punny standbys like Virginia Hamm, Bertha Vanation, Anita Mann, etc, although for many that is their favorite form. I do have a soft spot for the hilariously grandiose names preferred by some of the black drag queens, names such as Monique de Bon Marche' or Veronique von Velioux. (I just made those up, but you know the kind I mean, right?) By the way... Peaches CHRIST! Yup, still funny.

1. Rita Beads
2. Peaches Christ
3. Suppositori Spelling

Now you.
.

Unfocused

As expected, the gay marriage ban failed in the Senate today, by a vote of 49-48 with a two-thirds majority (60 votes) need to pass. The 49 votes in favor of the ban was only a one vote increase over the last Senate vote on this issue in 2004, with a surprising 7 Republicans voting "No". Only two Democrats voted for the ban, Nebraska's Ben Nelson and West Virginia's Robert Byrd.

Related: Thanks go out to JMG reader Todd, who sent me this Garrison Keilor piece from Salon. Best bit: "Somewhere in the quiet leafy recesses of the Bush family, somebody is thinking, "Wrong son. Should've tried the smart one. This one's eyes don't quite focus."

HomoQuotable - Simon Doonan

"It might take years to get the marriage thingy approved. In the meantime remember that you, as a fabulous person of queerness, are still ahead of the game. You are one of the chosen people. Unlike a straight person, you are free, free to stay down on the farm or free to move to the big city and spread your wings, free to self-invent, free to wear maribou!" - Simon Doonan, author, TV personality, Barneys creative director. (From Doonan's My Ten Gay Commandments - Pride Magazine)

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Peeping Tom

I knew it!
.

GB:NYC3, Or "Sure, I'll Drink That!"

If you are in New York City and you can't find any alcohol, it's because the bloggers drank it all.

Last weekend was GB:NYC3, the gay bloggers' confab, and starting with the kickoff mixer Friday night at Hell's Kitchen's Barrage, right on through to early Monday morning, I drank beer, I drank shots of tequila, I drank some horrendous sugar-rimmed concoction called a Lemon Drop, and I think there may have been a shot or three of Jagermeister. Never mix, never worry? I mixed. I worried.

Starting with my blogdaddy Vasco, who was celebrating his birthday, right down to my own blogchildren Mark and Eddie, it was a wall-to-wall weekend of digital camera flashes and another kind of flashing. Ahem. And of course, there was some dirty blogger-on-blogger action, including one local notable who strolled into beer bust on Sunday wearing the same clothes from the night before. Yeah, right. Like I'm the only one that's gonna blog about that.

I probably shouldn't attempt to list all the bloggers in attendance, but I will give a few nods to those I met for the first time: Mike of Kiss My Mike, Bob of Bob's Yer Uncle, Rick of Rcktman's Launching Pad, Karen of Tuna Girl, Patrick of Traveling Spotlight. (And about ten others who I can't think of right now.)

Locals I gabbed with at various times: David of Someone In A Tree, Glenn of Glennalicious, Richard of Proceed At Your Own Risk, Erik The Cute Robocub, Eric The Hirsute We, Like Sheep, Michael of So I Like Superman, Mike P of Blather & Bosh, Jeff of Tin Manic, Jase of Life By Jase, Matt of 'Til The Cows Come Home, Chris of See My Briefs, Byrne of Crash & Byrne, and MsOusier. On import: Sean of The Sean Show (who was kinda the star of the weekend), Jeff of Cynically Optimistic (who has pics posted), Mark and Brian of Zeitzeuge (who invented GB:NYC and has pics posted), Scott of Palochi (who had an interesting visit).

I suppose the planning is already underway for GB:NYC4. I need an aspirin.

Pride'06 Hits The Streets

Pride Magazine 2006 hits the streets this week with articles on the midterm elections, the status of gays in Iran, the queer artists who rock pop music, and an exclusive interview with cover subject Marc Jacobs, photographed by Bill Diodato. Also onboard with commentary are John Waters, Justin Bond, Marga Gomez, Edmund White and many other gay luminaries. I especially like the Simon Doonan piece, My Ten Gay Commandments. Look for Pride Magazine in hot spots around your local gayborhood.

Bulge Alert

A friend of mine was just telling me about his recent experience of picking a guy up in a leather bar and getting him home to find that he was wearing a diaper under his Levi's. While I've come across just about every fetish in the book and a few that aren't, infantilism is one I've been thankfully spared. So far. My friend's experience makes it occur to me that maybe we shouldn't let ourselves get too turned on by a bulging basket, because it could be, you know...Huggies.

Bloggers Get High

In the good thing/bad thing department: Jetblue has purchased a band of frequency from the government which will allow them to offer internet and cell phone access and sell such access to other carriers. A wave of blog posts that begin "I'm writing this from 30,000 feet above the Rocky Mountains" coming in 5...4...3....2....

Monday, June 05, 2006

Hilton Hit Hammers Haters

As if I didn't spend enough time wondering if I'm crazy, there's this: I don't hate the Paris Hilton single, Stars Are Blind. In fact, I think I sorta dig it. I mean, I'm sure that with a bit of studio wizardry, even I could be made to sound agreeable, but it really bothers me that I don't hate the song, considering how much I loathe the singer. I must concur with the headline writer who came up with "Paris Hilton Is A Dumb Ho (With An Unexpectedly Catchy Song)".

UPDATE: NY Post review.

HomoQuotable - Frank Oldham

"The epidemic is still lavender." - Frank Oldham, Executive Director, National Association Of People With AIDS, speaking about the changing demographic of those with AIDS, pointing out that over 250,000 gay men of all colors have died. While AIDS is a more and more a disease of women and people of color, Oldham says, "If you had to have a color attached to the epidemic, it is lavender. It's gay men who are white, gay men who Latino, gay men who are Asian, and gay men who are black. The epidemic is still lavender." (via- Bay Area Reporter)

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Instant Disco History #6: On Broadway

As has been well documented on this here website thingy, I have no love for showtunes. I consider it one of my greatest failings as a career homosexual, along with my disinterest in the culinary arts and my apparent inability to discern minor color gradations. Eggplant? Eggshell? Whatever.

However, one does not live in a vacuum and there is just no way for a career homosexual to not absorb some knowledge of showtunes, especially not if you've spent several thousand evenings in a gay disco. Because right after torch ballads, the most disco-versioned of any music genre has got to be Broadway showtunes. And if said showtune is also a torch ballad? Kismet! (And by "kismet", I don't mean the actual 1953 Broadway musical Kismet or the 1955 movie version directed by Vincente Minelli, who made other contributions to homosexual culture.)

Just about every song from every Broadway musical has been given a disco treatment, usually with not-so-great results. Give a listen to The Ethel Merman Disco Album if you're really feeling self-abusive. Formerly a staple of gay dancefloor, the discofied showtune has pretty much disappeared over the last decade or so, tracking the declining number of hit musicals, one could argue. One notable recent exception would be Deborah Cox's 2004 hit, Easy As Life, from Aida. What follows below are six of the most popular disco versions of Broadway showtunes. The songs are available for your download, but I encourage you to purchase the full-lengths, where available.

1. What I Did For Love - Grace Jones, 1977.

From A Chorus Line.

Wow, this is painful. I love Grace Jones, but this is just one painfully bad song. I include it for two reasons: 1)It was a fairly big hit in the gay clubs and 2)Even as bad as it is, it's better than the other showtunes on the album, which include Tomorrow from Annie and Send In The Clowns from A Little Night Music. However this album did give us the immortal morning music classic La Vie En Rose, so all is forgiven.

(Grace Jones, What I Did For Love Island Records 1977. Download What I Did For Love. Purchase Grace Jones: Portfolio, here.)


2. If My Friends Could See Me Now - Linda Clifford, 1978.

From Sweet Charity.

Linda Clifford's If They Could See Me Now remains a staple of disco oldie radio formats. Clifford, a former beauty queen (Miss New York 1963), was signed to Curtis "Superfly" Mayfield's Curtom Records. This track was fully orchestrated and I just love the string section laid against the staccato piano riffs. This is a all-time disco classic, perhaps more than any other Broadway tune gone disco. The album, by the same name, contained a number of hits, most notably Runaway Love.

(Linda Clifford, If My Friends Could See Me Now, Curtom Records 1978. #1 US Dance (5 wks). Download If My Friends Could See Me Now. Purchase Runaway Love: The Singles Anthology, here.

3. Don't Cry For Me Argentina - Festival, 1979

From Evita

Festival was the studio creation of Russian-born New Yorker Boris Midney, who was also the creator of studio acts Beautiful Bend (That's The Meaning, Boogie Motion) and USA-European Connection (Come Into My Heart/Good Lovin'). His Disco Evita album, as Festival, featured four vocalists and a 17-piece orchestra, including Midney himself on violin. The album covers many of the Tim Rice/Andrew Lloyd Webber songs from the Broadway musical, as well as a Midney original titled Evita's Theme: Lady Woman. If I had a nickel for every party I went to that year during which Disco Evita was played in its entirety ...well, I'd have a lot of nickels, because the queens adored this album.

(Festival, Don't Cry For Me Argentina, RSO Records, 1979. #1 US Dance, 1 wk. Download Don't Cry For Me Argentina. Purchase The Boris Midney Anthology, here.

4. Memory - Menage 1983

From Cats

Man, I hated this record. Hate, hate, hated it. But it was a big hit and I must include it. This track has been unavailable commercially for years, so unless you want to track down the 12" in a used record shop or purchase it on one of the outrageously expensive import compilations, you may as well download it here. Menage was a one-off studio creation of Warren Schwartz, who produced Turn The Beat Around for Vicki Sue Robinson.

(Menage, Memory, Profile Records 1983. Download Memory. Purchase HI-NRG Classics, here.)


5. I Am What I Am - Gloria Gaynor, 1983

From La Cage Aux Folles

Gloria Gaynor returned from the triumph of 1979's I Will Survive and in her version of I Am What I Am, arguably created the most enduring and beloved anthem of gay pride yet recorded. Watch a short clip of Gaynor performing I Am What I Am, here. When you hear this song at Pride events this year, and you will, take a look around at some of our butcher brothers having a big ol' nelly moment during "Some think it's noise, I think it's pretty!"

(Gloria Gaynor, I Am What I Am, Silver Blue Records, 1983. Download I Am What I Am. Purchase Gloria Gaynor: I Am What I Am, here.)

6. One Night Only - Scherrie Payne, 1984

From Dreamgirls.

Scherrie Payne was one of the 87 members of The Supremes, post-Diana Ross. Interestingly, former Supreme (#4, I believe) Cindy Birdsong provides backing vocals on One Night Only, which was a decent chart and club success for Payne. A few years ago, Scherrie was part of the hugely failed Supremes reunion tour, which was a major embarrassment to Miss Ross. Scherrie's sister is Freda Band Of Gold Payne. One Night Only was released on San Francisco's way-gay label, Megatone Records, home of Sylvester.

(Scherrie Payne, One Night Only, Megatone Records, 1984. Download One Night Only.)