Thursday, September 07, 2006
HomoQuotable - Oscar Wilde
Maybe - The Three Degrees
In 1957, producer Richard Barrett steered The Chantels, a Bronx-born group of five teenage girls into the national top 20 with Maybe, a first for an all-black girl group. Then 13 years later, he gave the same song to his latest girl group production, Philadelphia's The Three Degrees, who were on the cusp of becoming globally famous as the voice of the Philly Soul/Disco sound.
And that, gentle readers, is where things became of interest to The Gays, as the Three Degree's version of Maybe became an absolute drag standard, even though Maybe's very long spoken introduction sorely tested the lip-syncing skills of queens everywhere. I can remember queen after queen stumbling through that intro as audience members catcalled "Learn the words, girl!". (Yes, in the south, you see a LOT of drag shows, whether you want to or not.)
But I also quite fondly remember Casa de Parliamente's Lori Del Mar's triumphant performances of Maybe, which always ended with her pulling some schmuck out of the audience for some enthusiastic dry-humping during Maybe's shrieking climax. Never failed to bring the house down. Give Maybe a few listens and see if you aren't tempted to do head-swivel your way through the ending.
Maybe does not appear on any of the half-dozen or so Three Degrees greatest hits packages that have been released in the last decade, it would be out of place among their Philly soul/disco classics such as TSOP and Love Is The Message anyway, but you can find it on an import compilation called The Roulette Years. With more cast changes than Destiny's Child could shake a stick at, a total of 11 women have been members of the Three Degrees, who despite that Supremesian volume of turnover, continue to perform today.
Download: Maybe - The Three Degrees 3:36
Roulette Records 1970
Billboard #4 R&B.
UPDATE: Thanks to BJ (NSFW), I now have the much longer, funnier version!
Download: Maybe - The Three Degrees 5:42
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
NYC Eagle, Sunday 11pm
I'm on the roofdeck of the Eagle, as I am on most Sunday evenings. The holiday weekend has brought out a huge crowd of regulars and tourists and I am penned into a corner of the deck, surrounded by friends and one very horny and persistent young cub.
The cub has been touching me lightly as he speaks to me, taking increasing liberties as our conversation progresses. I haven't recoiled from his touches or pushed him away, but I am waiting to find an opportunity to gently let him know that I am far too old for him. The truth, of course, is that he is far too young for me, but semantics do not transmit well over draft beer and David Morales remixes.
The cub slides his hand into my back pocket when a handsome young Latin man arrives to stand next to me. Young men display their territorialness so brazenly, it always amuses me. The Latin kid makes no acknowledgement, but he does step away almost immediately.
The cub says, "Was that a friend of yours?"
I say, "No, I don't really know very many young guys." That's not entirely true, but it finally opens the subject.
The cub shrugs. "That's cool."
I count in my head..."One...two..."
"So- how old ARE you?"
And I lie to the cub. I brazenly, baldfacedly lie. But I lie UP. I add ten years to my age, as I often do in these situations. First, it's funny to watch the wide-eyed look of disbelief and to hear the resultant, "Man! 57? Really? You look amazing!" But also, this Jedi mind trick usually pushes me out of the do-able age range in the kid's mind, even after he learns the truth.
"I'll be 57 in October," I say. And I wait.
The cub looks at me, then nods solemnly. "Right on."
Right on? RIGHT ON? That's all I get? Right motherfucking on? Where's my "No fucking WAY, dude!"? Where's my "You are the hottest 57 year old EVER!"?
I feel slightly dizzy but the cub doesn't seem to notice my dismay. He lights a cigarette and I excuse myself to go to the bathroom. I take a piss and then a long look at myself in the bathroom mirror. And then I go downstairs and order a shot. And then another one.
Morning View - Time Warner Center
Like most, I'm not too crazy about the Time Warner Center, but I am rather pleased with this photo, taken Sunday morning around 1030am.
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
A Certain Ratio
My typically serene and genial office environment ripped at the seams on Friday over a bitter disagreement that forced our erudite staffers into two opposing camps. Curse words were uttered. Feelings were hurt. Disparaging comments about class and sophistication were made.
The crisis: What is the correct proportion of peanut butter to jelly in a peanut butter and jelly sandwich?
Cultural Imperialists Camp: "Every kid in America knows the proper ratio is 50-50 and learning how to make that perfectly balanced PB&J is the first food lesson an American kid gets. Who cares how those foreign Godless communists do it?"
Axis Of Evil Camp: "Everybody loves peanut butter but most people merely tolerate the presence of his sticky slimy sister. Therefore, the perfect PB&J has two to three times more peanut butter than jelly. And somebody told us that jelly has been outsourced to Bangolore, where it's made by children working under inhumane conditions. Think of the children!"
After an afternoon of stoney stares and unnecessarily loud stapling, Editor Mike sought arbitration from an expert, the manager of the peanut butter and jelly restaurant in the West Village, who, in typical manager fashion, immediately referred Mike to his superiors at Peanut Butter & Jelly World Headquarters in Bangalore. And in typical world headquarters fashion, Mike was called today by their positively perky publicist, Jennifer, who left the following message:
"Hi Mike, I've just gone and asked him, and according to the president and founder of Peanut Butter & Co., well... of course, people love more peanut butter than jelly. I hope this helps settle things in your office."
Mike forwarded the voice mail around the office and a chorus of "told you so's" ensued, followed by some totally uncalled for instant messaging. An uneasy quiet exists at present.
Monday, September 04, 2006
Happy Labor Day
Morning View - Central Park West
Sunday, September 03, 2006
Rock Rock Rockaway Beach
Nearly done with a grueling but fantastic 7 hour bike ride with the Farmboyz, we were halfway across the Gil Hodges Bridge, which connects the Rockaways in Queens to Marine Park in Brooklyn, when Farmboy C took this pic of me looking back towards Rockaway Beach, with Coney Island over my right shoulder. Living in the concrete canyons of Manhattan, it's easy to forget that New York City has miles and miles of gorgeous oceanfront.
Chewing out a rhythm on my bubble gum
The sun is out and I want some
It's not hard, not far to reach
We can hitch a ride to Rockaway Beach
- Rockaway Beach - The Ramones, 1977
Saturday, September 02, 2006
Morning View - Bedpan Alley
Friday, September 01, 2006
He-Man Top Slave
On the anniversary of Katrina, hopeful New Orleans officials are watching this weekend's Southern Decadence, the 35th annual gay street party that has drawn as many as 100,000 revelers, except for last year's cancelled event. From what I've read, the weekend's organizers are predicting huge crowds rivaling pre-Katrina years, but I'm hearing from friends that so far things are relatively quiet. Anybody else getting reports?
Leash And Lead Abuse
Last month, NY Governor Pataki signed a bill expanding "orders of protection", typically granted to abused spouses or lovers, to include pets, because according to the bill's sponsor, "Abusing a loved one's pet is a way of saying 'You're next.' It's a warning."
Yesterday that law was used for the first time, against a gay man in Queens who reportedly kicked Bibi, his boyfriend's bichon frise. How deliriously happy do you think the NY Post was today, to be able to use this lead:
Sept.1 - I'll get you - you and your little dog, Bibi, too! A jilted gay man turned into the wicked bitch of the west and beat up his ex-boyfriend's tiny bichon frise, prompting the city's first-ever order of protection for a dog.
Sigh. By the way, why did it take FOUR Post staffers to write that little 200 word story?
Morning View - The Plaza Hotel
Don't look for Eloise, she's long been evicted, as the Plaza continues its multi-year retrofit towards "super-premium luxury residences". In the foreground, horses working in the hansom cab industry, one of the few New York City traditions that I would be happy to see gone. It always depresses me to see those poor animals trodding head down through traffic and heat.