Saturday, October 07, 2006

I Love Sky Scrappers!

From the lobby of the Masonic Temple, where their Manhattan photo essay contained numerous amusing misspellings. More Open House New York photos are coming.

Morning View - Mind The Gap

I used to wonder about news stories about people falling into the gap between the subway and the platform. In most stations, the gap is less than a 3-4 inches. How could a person fall into that? And then yesterday, after a few weeks of nonstop news about deaths and injuries from gap incidents, I took a hesitant step out of the train in Times Square, as the guy in front of me slung his backpack onto his shoulder. A second later, I was knee-deep in the gap with my right leg. Ouch! Embarassment! But mostly...lucky. The man behind me shoved both his hands under my arms and lifted me out immediately.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Instant Disco History #9 - Morning Music

In the halcyon, glittery, mirror-balled days of long ago, before crystal meth invaded the scene and turned every dance event into a nonstop Vietnamesque explosion factory of endless crescendos and drumrolling climaxes, before every party had another party beginning immediately afterwards, doors open at 6am, doors open at 10am, waaaaay back before the most common question at a gay dance party was "Where are you going after this?", there was a time when that question wasn't asked... because at some point, the party actually ended. And people went home. In the daylight, oftentimes, yes. But they really did go home. And not just for a costume change and a (sniff) freshen (sniff) up before the After/Morning/Survival/Recovery Party.

And hours from the end, but not too many, the DJs would slowly, softly, sometimes imperceptibly, prepare the dancers for that inevitable close, by tap, tap, tapping on the BPM (beats per minute) brakes, easing the tempo, softening the vibe, smoothing out the that by 4am, by were sometimes almost at a dead standstill. But. You were still dancing, as the DJs trotted out their silkiest sounds.

And we called it Morning Music.

Some liked to call it "sleaze", in deference to the fact it was often the accompanying soundtrack of hasty sexual decisions made on a thinning dancefloor, spurred by evaporating options. I always preferred "morning", myself. Morning music wasn't from any particular genre, the only requirement was slow, lovely, heartfelt. No screaming divas, ever. Morning sets would include sultry r&b, new wave, spare Italo, proto-disco, whatever, as long as the mood was lovely. I even heard Susan Morabito play Dolly Parton and Kenny Roger's Islands In The Stream around dawn at a Saint party...and it totally worked.

Some DJs almost hung their entire creative hat on their morning music sets. Robbie Leslie, at Fort Lauderdale's Copa, to whose morning set I once dragged my roommate around the dancefloor by the ankles, during Nights Over Egypt, by the Jones Girls. Michael Fierman, whose morning sets at Fire Island's Pavillion were legendary. Warren Gluck at the Morning Party. Buc at the Winter Party. Neil Lewis at Pleasuredome. And the above mentioned Susan, whose Black Party 2002 morning music set literally brought me to tears.

Which brings me to DJ Jerry Bonham, whom you'd all know if you follow JMG at all, is my very favorite DJ in the world, and who will be spinning at San Francisco's homage to its gay disco roots this Sunday, at the Trocadero Transfer reunion event, Remember The Party. That's me, to the left, hangin out my office window yesterday in my way cool Trocadero t-shirt. (Thanks Chris & Richard!) I have a vested interest in mentioning this event for the third time, as I want it to be a huge success, so that they'll have another one, and THAT time, I can attend.

I'll add in some artist/bio information later, but for now, here's an album's worth of downloads for you, culled from my own personal "best of morning music" playlist. I'm sure some of y'all will contest the morning-ness of one or two of the tracks. Hell, that's sort of the hallmark of morning music fans...the arguing over what is and what isn't morning music.

Now hand me the baby powder and right-click, my lovelies, and let me slow it down for you.

Grace Jones - La Vie En Rose (1977)
Thelma Houston - Saturday Night, Sunday Morning (1979)
David Ruffin - Walk Away From Love (1975)
Godley And Creme - Cry (1985)
Hi-Gloss - You'll Never Know (1981)
Jean Carne - Was That All It Was? (1979)
Miquel Brown - Close To Perfection (1985)
Sharon Ridley - Changin' (1978)
Gazebo - I Like Chopin (1983)
The Jones Girls - Nights Over Egypt (1978)

Took such a long time to convince me
You could fill that empty space
But Saturday night is shining
On my Sunday morning face

And what's your favorite morning music track?Previously on JMG:
Instant Disco History #1: Voggue
Instant Disco History #2: Luther Vandross
Instant Disco History #3: Skatt Bros.
Instant Disco History #4: Karen Finley
Instant Disco History #5: Disco Orchestra
Instant Disco History #6: On Broadway
Instant Disco History #7: New York City
Instant Disco History #8: Disco Lucy

Violated By Bears Man

I don't know how I came across this on You Tube, but please enjoy the exploits of my new favorite superhero: Violated By Bears Man. See, he was raped by radioactive bears. And it gave him superpowers, right? Go watch. And yes, I am *dying* for his "Bears Did Terrible Things To Me" t-shirt.

Morning View - LA Flashback 2001

As my mind is in California this weekend, here's a snap that a friend sent me this week, taken at 11am on a Sunday morning in L.A. in 2001. As we waited in line to get into some after-after-after party called Redeye, where the late DJ Neil Lewis was about to spin, the sky began to brighten and we realized we were lined up on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame and that *I* was standing RIGHT ON Florence Henderson. I ran back to the car to get my camera, but by the time I got back, the line had moved into the club. Several hours later when we left the party, I insisted on posing over the Supremes' star before we went back to the hotel.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

The World Can't Wait: Photos

Edith Atkins, 99, Bush Protester

At noon today, from her wheelchair on Dag Hammerskjold Plaza, Edith Atkins, 99, told me, "I've been voting for 75 years, since the '30s. I can't let it all end with Bush!" I got a little choked up and shook her hand and asked for permission to take her picture. Her sign advocates for Bush to be charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity. I got plenty of other pictures and I'll be back out at the protest later in the afternoon, but I wanted you all to meet Ms. Atkins first.

Roy Redux

Siegfried and Roy were inducted into the Las Vegas Walk Of Stars on Tuesday, three years to the day after Roy was attacked and grievously injured by a tiger during their act. In observance, here's the poem I wrote on that day in 2003.

Forced Retirement

His codpiece bulging
His hair styled high
Roy *snapped* his whip
As the tigers raced by

One Bengal took issue
And reared in her place
And sank her huge fangs
Thru the Lancome on Roy's face

Beaded costume in tatters
Bloodied Roy softly said,
"Forget 911!
Call Edith Head!"

Morning View - Food For Thought

Worst.Title.Ever. Just be glad that I don't keep porn in there, otherwise this post would be called Hot Lovin' From The Oven. Hanging from my vestigial control knobs are two leather bears, made two years ago as Christmas ornaments by Eddie, who is rather crafty.

Open Thread Thursday

Who's your favorite straight person, in terms of doing good work, generating good will, and creating an overall positive benefit to the gay community? I'd probably have to go with Jon Stewart, of The Daily Show, whose frank and pithy commentary reveals to a national audience the idiocy and illogic of homophobia.


Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The Fog Lifts

On my lunch hour, I hopped on the S train (conveniently located in my office basement) and popped over to Times Square to visit the information center and pick up some guides to Open House New York. The suitably NYC-icy guy behind the counter snarked that he had no guides, he didn't know when they were coming and that he wished people would stop asking for them. Thanks, dude..for the full NYC experience. Customer service, NYC-style.

By the way, the Visitor's Center (46th & 7th Avenue) actually is worth a stop while you're in Times Square. Aside from having free, clean bathrooms open to tourists(!!!), they have a couple of banks of vidcam computer terminals, courtesy of Yahoo! and Panasonic, from which you can send free video emails to folks back home. There's also a couple of digicam kiosks, from which you can insert your memory stick and unload your camera to Flickr or whereever, should you run out of disc space while bopping around town.

At the other Times Square Visitor's Center (53rd & 7th), the help was much nicer, giving me a photo-copied version of the Open House New York guide, while apologizing profusely for not having originals and inviting me to return later in the week to get one. Way to kill the NYC-vibe, honey. On my way back to the subway, I walked past the Ed Sullivan Theatre, where yesterday the CBS pages (no fluffers noticed) were teaching the lined up Letterman audience the proper way to applaud, which apparently, is with your hands, NYC-style.

Passing the Winter Garden, the bluehairs lined up for the matinee of Mamma Mia were shrinking visibly from the shouting deranged man wielding a cardboard tube. "There can only be ONE! I am the true Highlander, mutha-fukkas! There can only be one and dat's ME, you old bitches!" I shoulda tipped him, cuz dat's street theatre, NYC-style.

Just steps away, a handsome young man in front of Caroline's stopped me. "Hey, man! Look at this poster! That's ME on the poster! Me! See me? Yeah, that's me. I'm the headliner tonight. The guy on this poster!" Yes, Pete Dominick, you hottie. That's you on the poster. Now kiss me, bitch. Pick-up lines, NYC-style.

In front of Virgin Records, as always, somebody tried to sell me a home-made rap CD. Because middle-aged white guys are forever looking for the next fly MC to bring it real. Three steps later, a boob-jobbed young thing shoved a flyer at me. "Three dollar drinks all day at Planet Hollywood. Cool drinks and hot company", she flirted uselessly. Another three steps and a baby Coca-Cola rep shoved an icy bottle of Blak into my hand. I accepted it. Manhattan = street swag. And how bad could it be? Answer: Surprisingly really, really much worse than you can possibly imagine. Bad music, wasted flirting, digusting swag. Marketing, NYC-style.

I passed the Armed Forces Recruitment Center, where workmen were peeling back the sticky-paper on newly hung official seals of the various branches, which probably hadn't been updated since the Eisenhower administration. Down in the subway, a cluster of sari'd Indian women cooed in admiration at my smooth and stylish, all-in-one action, pocket-to-swiper-to-pocket entry moves. That's how we board, NYC-style.

On the S train again, I realized my fog has lifted. I'm back in NYC, completely.

For now.

Open House New York

The annual Open House New York occurs this weekend and I am jig-giggling with antici....

During this weekend, many NYC cultural/architectural landmarks that are not usually open to the public are available for exploration. Many sites require reservations to visit and some are already sold out, so take a look at their availabilities. We've got a small group of digicam-happy bloggers put together and I'm voting for the Chrysler Building, the Grand Lodge Of Masons, and the Meatpacking District tour. "Peeling Back The Neon", a tour of the design of Times Square looks fascinating as well. Ack! Only two days for all this! Gentle readers, I fear I will bury youse in pics on Monday.

Not The "Good" One

I've got a five-day conference in Portland at the end of the month. Not the "good" Portland, as my boss hastened to mention. Portland, Maine. I've never been to either, so what do I know? This is the same conference that took me to Minneapolis last year, which loyal readers may recall, I ended up loving.

So, then. What's the dealio on Portland, ME? It'll be my Maine debut!

Population Boom

Cheese and rice! It's getting crowded in here. Will you thousands of folks who came here looking for this please make some room for the regulars?

UPDATE: Over 20,000 Googlers by 5pm and not one has questioned the last three lines of the transcript, which I totally made up. It's comedy gold, Jerry!

Obrigado, Brazil

Brazil, inarguably one of the most progressive countries in the world when it comes to LGBT issues such as homophobia, HIV, and gender identity, is spearheading a move to expand its Brazil Without Homophobia program into Spanish-speaking South America and has obtained the agreement of all ten Mercosur nations to include sexual orientation and gender identity within their overall human rights agenda. (Mercosur is a South American trade organization consisting of Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela and Chile.) I have got to get down there and start expressing my thanks to the gay men of Brazil. One by one. Or all at once. Their choice.

Morning View - My Apartment

A couple of months ago, Eddie surprised me with this beautifully framed poster of the Warsaw Ballroom, knowing that that the Warsaw remains my all-time favorite gay nightclub, out of the hundreds that I've haunted over the last 30 years. Sadly, the Warsaw location is now a Jerry's Deli, a sight which I hope to never see and probably won't, now that South Beach has morphed from "Can't Wait!" to "Do I Have To?"

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Blog Hopping

Good stuff from my pals:

Foxy tells a great story about a close encounter at the Salvation Army. Guys in underwear. Text messages.

Mark Kane delivers another achingly poignant tale of 70's gay life in NYC. I walk through a freighted city, heavily populated with ghosts.

Waremouse's Folsom photo essay, which includes a sneaky shot of me at the Blowoff show. Possibly NSFW.

Aaron is into his third week in Italy. Check out his travel blog for some great photos and insight into Neapolitan life.

Page Applications Skyrocket, Mostly From Chelsea

"Pages are the fluffers of liberty." - Samantha Bee, Senior Washington Correspondent, The Daily Show.


I've been back from San Francisco for a few days now, but I still find myself daydreaming about the visit, drifting back to the Cool Grey City Of Love. I've been second-guessing my decision to move to New York City since day one of my arrival here. For the first year or so, I started every morning by logging into and gazing wistfully at the live cam of the morning traffic jam on the Bay Bridge. Pathetic.

On the day I was leaving SF in 2001, I kept telling Dougie that I had changed my mind. "I don't want to go! I'm staying. I take it back." Dougie just nodded his wan smile and said, "Honey, you don't have a place to live here anymore. You've moved out of your house. It's too late. You have to go now." I often wonder how my life would be if I had really taken it back, had stayed. Lately I've been telling friends that I could fill three books with stories about my life in San Francisco, those 5 years and 9 months. I've been in New York City for 5 years and 6 months now....and I feel like my life story here could be told on a single page. Double-spaced. And you would skim.

What is it about San Francisco that so completely possesses one's spirit? If one tries to dispassionately tick off a list of The City's attributes, by the third or fourth item you've moved into glazed-over, mush-mouthed, non-quantifiable superlatives. This was the first visit back for me that wasn't completely drowned in sorrow, my first visit since I left that wasn't attached to a dreadful event, neccessitating a suit being packed, rather than flannel. This visit was completely for joy. My friends are well, employed, and happy. Some of them are in love. Again. And yet, I can't shake this melancholy. I'll try not to look at the live SF cams for the rest of day. It won't be easy.

Her sea is a voice that calls,
And her star a voice above,

And her wind a voice on her walls--
My cool, grey city of love

. - George Sterling

The Cards Never Lie!

Youree Dell Cleomili Harris, native of Los Angeles, better known as Miss Cleo, fake native of Jamaica, comes out of the closet in this week's Advocate. Start jokes on how we should have seen this coming: now.

Morning View - Empire State Building

The Empire State Building, as seen from 40th Street and Fifth Avenue, six blocks away. I cropped the rest of the shot out, but if you embiggen, you should get some OK detail. I've been waiting for a cool crisp fall day to try and get some shots from the top, free of the haze that usually restricts the view to just a few miles. I haven't been to the top in a few years, last time it was about $13, plus you had to stand through a really annoying pitch for some dumb 3D movie about Manhattan, which most tourists usually pan. These days I usually suggest the view from the Top Of The Rock, which just re-opened earlier this year.

Monday, October 02, 2006

HIV *IS* A Gay Disease, Says LAGLC

I've been getting emails all morning asking what I think of this new campaign from the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center. And my answer is....I'm not sure. All of the old issues of stigmatization and shaming come back to the surface, yes. But I'm also very mindful of the recent stats on infection rates and with that in mind, I'm tempted to allow just about whatever campaign might save lives. Check out what the LAGLC says on the new campaign site My gut instinct is to call this out as outrageous grandstanding from an org looking for visibility. But I'm not down in the trenches every day having to tell sweet-faced young boys some really bad news. I'm going to have to think about this.

Foley IM Transcript

Maf54: You in your boxers, too?
Teen: Nope, just got home. I had a college interview that went late.
Maf54: Well, strip down and get relaxed.

Maf54: What ya wearing?
Teen: tshirt and shorts
Maf54: Love to slip them off of you.

Maf54: Do I make you a little horny?
Teen: A little.
Maf54: Cool.
Maf54: By the way, right now I'm sitting on a dildo shaped like Newt Gingrich.
Teen: What?
Maf54: Sorry. Stay in school. Don't do drugs.

The Attack Of The "Barely-Legal" Ho-Bags

While I am well aware that I'm not exactly within their target demo, in the few months I've been using MySpace, the site has gone from just slightly interesting, right on over to pretty damn annoying. If you get 10 emails, 8 of them are from "barely-legal girls" who are "personally inviting you to share in their online modeling show", or some similarly fake crap designed to reel horny, stupid straight guys over to pay-per-jerk cam sites. Have any of these social networking sites been immune to The Attack Of The "Barely-Legal" Ho-Bags? Is there a way to mark your profile as a vagina-free zone? And where are the barely-legal MALE ho-bags? I don't want to see them either, but fair's fair.

Monday Affirmation

YOU are an important person. A rare individual.

Today's is Sting's 55th birthday. And in honor of the rock's sexiest senior, here's a song he co-wrote with rock photographer Lynn Goldsmith, Adventures In Success, as part of Goldsmith's 1983 Will Powers project, Dancing For Mental Health, the "first and only comedy self-help dance record." That's Goldsmith's computer-altered voice on the record, as Will Powers. Other collaborators on the album included Todd Rungren, Carly Simon, and Nile Rodgers. Right click on the download and let your self-esteem get funky. It's you. Only you. Make it habit. Make it happen. You are an important person. A rare individual. Man, I loved this record.

This Town Comin' Like A Ghost Town

When will I remember what a waste of time it is to come in to the office on major Jewish holidays? Midtown is deserted. There's a line-up of about 50 unclaimed cabs in front of Grand Central. It's spooky, seeing the streets relatively empty like this. Now put down that donut, shouldn't you be fasting today? I am one of two people in the office today. Stupid Leviticus.