Monday, January 07, 2008

(Don't) $top The Presses

Yesterday 400 newspapers around the country arrived with Parade Magazine's cover story on Benazir Bhutto which asks, "Is Benazir Bhutto America's best hope against al-Qaeda?"

is printed several weeks in advance and the publishers decided the interview was "important enough" to distribute even though her assassination had already occurred. And totally not because it would have cost them a buttload of money to pull the issue. For real.

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Manhattan Monday

- Last year almost 2000 NY'ers responded to the MTA's "If you see something, say something" anti-terrorism campaign. One repeated theme was callers reporting Muslim men seen using counting devices, presumably to find the most crowded trains. Turns out the men were using prayer-counters as they mentally recited the "many names of God." The counters are sold in Islamic shops all over town.

- Mayor Bloomberg has decided to sell the list of Gothamites owing on their water bills to collection agencies. About 15% of city residents don't pay their water bills on a "regular basis." The city is owed $600M.

- In March, the Port Authority will be introducing unlimited rides passes for the PATH train. Weekly: $18. Monthly: $54.

- The deadline to register to vote in New York's Feb. 5th primary is this Friday. It's too late to switch your party affiliation, something I was considering doing just so I could vote against Huckabee.

- The window-washer who last month fell 47 stories from an Upper East Side apartment building not only lived, he's now expected to have a "substantial recovery." Falls from a 3-story height are fatal 50% of the time, so experts are speculating that the window-washing platform may have provided some sort of parachute effect. The man's brother died in the fall.

- Hundreds of protesters are expected to pack this week's public meetings about the plan to raze the amusement area of Coney Island and build a glitzy $1.5B hotel and entertainment complex.

- Felons are eligible to join the army, but not the NYPD. I'm all for rehabilitation, but I think I'm OK with this.


Pat Robertson: We Prayed Away The Nuke!

Remember last year when Pat Robertson said that Jeebus told him that a terrorist attack on the U.S. involving a nuclear weapon would occur in 2007? Now he says, “All I can think is that somehow the people of God prayed and God in his mercy spared us."

Whew! That was close!

According to Robertson's latest chat with the Flying Spagetti Monster: "The Lord was saying that there's going to be violence and chaos in the world." Shocking! Also: "We will see the presence of angels and we will see an intensification of miracles around the world, which I think is going to be a wonderful thing."

Jeebus has once again hipped Robertson the name of the next president, but this time he's not telling who it is. "I'll just keep that to myself and look with horror at what may be happening."

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Another Words List

Last month Merriam-Webster picked "w00t" as their word of the year for 2007.

Now the American Dialect Society has waded in with their own list. Number one for the ADS: "subprime". Runners-up were "Facebook," "green," "Googleganger" and "waterboarding".

A Googleganger is somebody else with your name that shows up when you self-Google. My Googleganger is a teenaged British chess prodigy. Who's yours?


Now I Know Where Those
Smudges Are Coming From

I've learned that Shelley cannot be left alone with nature programs. Or plastic bags, as last night I was woken up when she climbed into a bag I'd left on the sink and went berserk when she got her head stuck through the handle loops.

I'm thinking I might need to cut back on how much I feed her. She's getting a belly like Daddy.


George McGovern Calls For
Impeachment Of Bush And Cheney

In a Washington Post op-ed piece, yesterday former Senator and 1972 presidential candidate George McGovern called for the impeachments of George Bush and Dick Cheney.
Bush and Cheney are clearly guilty of numerous impeachable offenses. They have repeatedly violated the Constitution. They have transgressed national and international law. They have lied to the American people time after time. Their conduct and their barbaric policies have reduced our beloved country to a historic low in the eyes of people around the world. These are truly "high crimes and misdemeanors," to use the constitutional standard.

From the beginning, the Bush-Cheney team's assumption of power was the product of questionable elections that probably should have been officially challenged -- perhaps even by a congressional investigation.

In a more fundamental sense, American democracy has been derailed throughout the Bush-Cheney regime. The dominant commitment of the administration has been a murderous, illegal, nonsensical war against Iraq. That irresponsible venture has killed almost 4,000 Americans, left many times that number mentally or physically crippled, claimed the lives of an estimated 600,000 Iraqis (according to a careful October 2006 study from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health) and laid waste their country. The financial cost to the United States is now $250 million a day and is expected to exceed a total of $1 trillion, most of which we have borrowed from the Chinese and others as our national debt has now climbed above $9 trillion -- by far the highest in our national history.

All of this has been done without the declaration of war from Congress that the Constitution clearly requires, in defiance of the U.N. Charter and in violation of international law. This reckless disregard for life and property, as well as constitutional law, has been accompanied by the abuse of prisoners, including systematic torture, in direct violation of the Geneva Conventions of 1949.

I have not been heavily involved in singing the praises of the Nixon administration. But the case for impeaching Bush and Cheney is far stronger than was the case against Nixon and Vice President Spiro T. Agnew after the 1972 election. The nation would be much more secure and productive under a Nixon presidency than with Bush. Indeed, has any administration in our national history been so damaging as the Bush-Cheney era?

How could a once-admired, great nation fall into such a quagmire of killing, immorality and lawlessness?
When he was running against Nixon in 1972, McGovern's stance against the Vietnam War made him a hero to me and lots of kids my age (as much as 13 year-olds can care about politics, that is).

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Skatebears And Weaves

LEFT: Alex and Eric outside the Dugout. I'm somewhat amused that I know people who ride their skateboards to the bear bar.

And speaking of other things I'm too old for, last night I mentioned to somebody that I was thinking about getting Wii. He gave me an odd look and said, "I don't think you really have enough hair for one."

But thinking about it later, I decided that if I could get a weave, I'd go all Patrice Rushen and shit.

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Blu-Ray Trumps HD DVD

Well, this news is right on time, considering I finally broke down and bought a HD DVD player last month. It figures I'd bet on the wrong horse.
The high-definition DVD war is all but over.

Hollywood’s squabble over which of two technologies will replace standard DVDs skewed in the direction of the Sony Corporation on Friday, with Warner Brothers casting the deciding vote in favor of the company’s Blu-ray discs over the rival format, HD DVD.

In some ways, the fight is a replay of the VHS versus Betamax battle of the 1980s. This time, however, the Sony product appears to have prevailed.

“The overwhelming industry opinion is that this decides the format battle in favor of Blu-ray,” said Richard Doherty, research director at the Envisioneering Group, a market research firm in Seaford, N.Y.

Behind the studio’s decision are industrywide fears about the sagging home entertainment market, which has bruised the movie industry in recent years as piracy, competition from video games and the Internet, and soaring costs have cut into profitability. Analysts predict that domestic DVD sales fell by nearly 3 percent in 2007, partly because of confusion in the marketplace over the various formats.
But at least I never had a Betamax.


Sunday, January 06, 2008

Longtime Pozzers Face Senior Years With Lengthy List Of Debilitating Illnesses

As more people living with HIV/AIDS move into their senior years, the toll of the medications and unforeseen damage from the virus is beginning to surface. Today the New York Times has published a grim article depicting life for some long-term AIDS survivors. This should be required reading for young gay men who think that seroconverting merely means a lifetime of taking a pill every morning.
CHICAGO — John Holloway received a diagnosis of AIDS nearly two decades ago, when the disease was a speedy death sentence and treatment a distant dream.

Yet at 59 he is alive, thanks to a cocktail of drugs that changed the course of an epidemic. But with longevity has come a host of unexpected medical conditions, which challenge the prevailing view of AIDS as a manageable, chronic disease.

Mr. Holloway, who lives in a housing complex designed for the frail elderly, suffers from complex health problems usually associated with advanced age: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes, kidney failure, a bleeding ulcer, severe depression, rectal cancer and the lingering effects of a broken hip.

Those illnesses, more severe than his 84-year-old father’s, are not what Mr. Holloway expected when lifesaving antiretroviral drugs became the standard of care in the mid-1990s.

The drugs gave Mr. Holloway back his future.

But at what cost?
Very little research has been done into the long-term effects of the virus and the medications.
There have been only small, inconclusive studies on the causes of aging-related health problems among AIDS patients.

Without definitive research, which has just begun, that second wave of suffering could be a coincidence, although it is hard to find anyone who thinks so.

Instead, experts are coming to believe that the immune system and organs of long-term survivors took an irreversible beating before the advent of lifesaving drugs and that those very drugs then produced additional complications because of their toxicity — a one-two punch.

“The sum total of illnesses can become overwhelming,” said Charles A. Emlet, an associate professor at the University of Washington at Tacoma and a leading H.I.V. and aging researcher, who sees new collaborations between specialists that will improve care.

“AIDS is a very serious disease, but longtime survivors have come to grips with it,” Dr. Emlet continued, explaining that while some patients experienced unpleasant side effects from the antiretrovirals, a vast majority found a cocktail they could tolerate. “Then all of a sudden they are bombarded with a whole new round of insults, which complicate their medical regime and have the potential of being life threatening. That undermines their sense of stability and makes it much more difficult to adjust.”
Larry Kramer speaks about HIV meds: “How long will the human body be able to tolerate that constant bombardment? Well, we are now seeing that many bodies can’t. Once again, just as we thought we were out of the woods, sort of, we have good reason again to be really scared.”

RELATED: Jane Gross, author of the above-linked article, also wrote the excellent NY Times article on senior gays. Visit SAGE, Services and Advocacy for Senior Gays, for more information. For information about older adults with HIV, visit the AIDS Community Research Initiative Of America.

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Saturday, January 05, 2008

Yoko Ono Scores Third #1 Dance Hit

A month shy of her 75th birthday, a remix of Yoko Ono's 1981 single No, No, No has hit #1 on the Billboard dance chart. It's Yoko's third #1 dance hit and her 11th appearance on the dance chart, beginning with her 1981 #13 hit, Walking On Thin Ice, a remix of which hit #1 in 2003. Several months ago, Yoko hit #2 on the dance chart with You're The One, featuring a remix by my pal (and Blowoff DJ), Rich Morel. (Morel has had four of his remixes hit #1.)

Yoko Ono is by far the oldest person ever to achieve a #1 dance hit. And since this week's #1 is credited merely to "Ono" (on the charts, but not, curiously, on the artwork shown), the artist and song title combo (Ono - No, No, No) may be the first palindrome to #1 hit on any chart. I can't think of any others, at least.

RELATED: In 1980, John Lennon died clutching the final mix of Walking On Thin Ice in his hands, having just returned from completing his guitar solo on the song. The eerily prescient lyrics about the unpredictability of death were a real shocker for everybody when the single was released the next year. Walking On Thin Ice remains in my lifetime all-time Top Ten. "I may cry someday. But the tears will dry whichever way. And when our hearts return to ashes, it'll just be a story... " Her loneliness in the video is heartwrenching.

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Friday, January 04, 2008

Link Farming

A few quick links for your perusal....

- USA Today publishes a guide to where 14 of the presidential candidates stand on gay rights.

- Ted Kennedy to introduce ENDA in the Senate in 2008. It will be the same gay-only version of the bill that passed in the House last year.

- Bilerico Project guest blogger Jim Pickett of AIDS Foundation Chicago posts about research into anti-HIV rectal microbicides: The Future Of Anal Sex.

- Obama Girl gloats. "I don't know what a caucus is, but winning it is pretty cool!"

- And for comic relief, via Jimbo comes this clip of a hot rugger losing his shorts, but playing on.

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Giuliani's Latest Dumbass Scare Ad

I imagine the poor folks in Florida will have to endure this crap a few thousand times.

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Dark Cloud For GOP?

Via Daily Kos:
Total Voter Turnout (approximate): 356,000

Percentage of total vote:
24.5% Obama
20.5% Edwards
19.8% Clinton
11.4% Huckabee (R)
From Daily Kos diarist Devil's Tower:

Who walked away with the most impressive number of the night?

We did.

In 2000, the last time there was a caucus in both parties, Republicans turned out 87,000 voters, while Democrats produced 59,000.

There are around 600,000 registered Democrats in Iowa, and about 550,000 Republicans, but when you consider that on caucus nights, Republicans just need to show up and point to a name, while Democrats are committing to two hours of public wrangling, it's not a surprise that more Republicans show up to be "first in the nation."

Except for yesterday.

When the Des Moines Register poll was predicated on a turnout of 200,000, I was scornful. And they were wrong -- but only because they were too conservative. Last night, the Republicans produced around 115,000 voters -- an impressive 30% increase. But the Democrats turned out 236,000. That's an increase of roughly one whole helluva lot. And it's a huge indicator of both how energized Democrats are this year, and how ready independents are to put their chips on the D line.


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California DPs Win Property Tax Case

Gays domestically-partnered in California are now protected from increased property taxes in the event of the death of one of the partners.
(San Francisco, CA, January 3, 2008) - Today, in a major victory for same-sex couples, the California Supreme Court denied a petition by county assessors seeking review of a California Court of Appeal decision affirming the validity of basic property tax protections for domestic partners. The Court's decision means that the validity of these protections is now secure. No further appeals are possible.

On October 3, 2007, the California Court of Appeal unanimously affirmed the validity of a Board of Equalization rule that protects domestic partners from increased property taxes when one of the partners dies and the other inherits the couple's home. California law has long provided
this protection for surviving heterosexual spouses.
Equality California Executive Director Geoff Kors: ""We are very pleased with the Court's ruling today, reaffirming that asurviving domestic partner should not lose the family home because he orshe must pay taxes that a surviving married spouse does not. The fact that this lawsuit moved forward in the first place further illustrates the need to grant same-sex couples the ability to marry in California. Then we would not have to waste time and tax-payer money to defend these kinds of very sensible and vital protections."

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Broadway Friday

- The Roundabout Theatre Company's production of the Olivier Award-winning Hitchcockian thriller The 39 Steps begins previews today at the American Airlines Theatre. Maria Aitken, director of the original hit London production, stages the work in New York. The limited engagement will officially open Jan. 15 and run through March 23.

-The revival of Cyrano de Bergerac — which will play its final performance at the Richard Rodgers Theatre this Sunday — is being filmed for future broadcast on PBS. Great Performances will air the revival, which stars Kevin Kline, Daniel Sunjata and Jennifer Garner. An air date has yet to be determined.

Broadway's annual gross for 2007 was surprisingly good:
Broadway revenue totaled more than $938 million in 2007, up 3.5 percent from 2006 despite a 19-day stagehands strike in November that shut down most shows in the New York industry.

Attendance rose 2.7 percent to a record 12.29 million, according to data released today by the Broadway League, a trade association that represents producers and theater owners.

The year's results were bolstered by a strong holiday week, which the league defined as Dec. 24-30, excluding Dec. 31. The musical ``Wicked'' had sales of $1.8 million, the most ever for a Broadway show in a week. Thirteen productions recorded sales of more than $1 million that week, including ``Spamalot'' and ``Hairspray,'' up from six shows that passed that mark the previous week.

Direct comparisons between 2007 and 2006 are complicated by two factors. The 2007 figures exclude ``The New Mel Brooks Musical: Young Frankenstein,'' which began performances in New York on Oct. 11. The show's producers are defying industry tradition by not publicly disclosing grosses or ticket sales.

Average ticket prices were $76.32, up from $75.69 in 2006 and $68.86 in 2005, according to the league. Average prices would be higher with the inclusion of ``Young Frankenstein,'' which charges as much as $450 for weekend performances.
- Jackie Hoffman will return to Joe's Pub with her new show, Scraping the Bottom: The Most Offensive Songs of Jackie Hoffman, on Monday's February 4, 11, and 25. The show is described as "a shameless retread of her nastiest musical hits in an evening of songs that's just plain wrong." Hoffman is my favorite cast member of Xanadu.


GLAAD's Worst Of 2007

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation has released their list of the worst incidents of anti-gay behavior in 2007. In chronological order:

1. Isaiah Washington uses the “f-word” during a Golden Globe interview.

2. Snickers promotes anti-gay sentiment with ad campaign.

3. Tim Hardaway says he hates gay people.

4. Ann Coulter calls John Edwards the “f-word”.

5. General Peter Pace calls gay and lesbian soldiers “immoral.”

6. Bill O’Reilly claims existence of “national network” of “lesbian gangs.”

7. Rush Limbaugh uses vulgar slurs in discussion of transgender people.

8. New York Post uses dehumanizing references to transgender people.

All of those stories got some play here on JMG, but if you missed any of them the first time around, GLAAD provides a synopsis of each incident at the above link.

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Thursday, January 03, 2008

Iowa Changes Everything

After last night's Iowa Caucus results, some are saying the GOP is now in total disarray, and others are expressing shock that the once seemingly unstoppable Clinton train has gone off the rails, with the New York Times calling her performance a startling setback. (THIRD place?) And not that anybody noticed or cares, but both Joe Biden and Chris Dodd ended their candidacies after yesterday's dismal showing.

The final results, in case you spent last night on another planet:

Barack Obama - 37.6%
John Edwards - 29.7%
Hillary Clinton - 29.5%
Bill Richardson - 2.1%
Joe Biden - 0.9%
Others - 0.1%
Chris Dodd - 0.0%
Mike Gravel - 0.0%
Dennis J. Kucinich - 0.0%

Mike Huckabee - 34.3%
Mitt Romney - 25.3%
Fred Thompson - 13.4%
John McCain - 13.1%
Ron Paul - 10.0%
Rudy Giuliani - 3.5%
Duncan Hunter - 0.4%
Tom Tancredo - 0.0%

Huckabee, who I'd hardly given a second thought to until last month, is really starting to worry me. With the GOP side in such a mess (Giuliani SIXTH!), look for Bloomberg to announce any day now.

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Gay Invasion Threat Level: Fuschia!

Jeremy over at Good As You recorded the trailer from the American Family Association's latest homo-horror DVD, They're Coming To YOUR Town!

From the AFA's press release:
AFA has just released a new DVD, "They're Coming To Your Town." The DVD shows how a small group of homosexual activists took over the city council in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, and began imposing their homosexual agenda on that community.

For 40 years Eureka Springs has been known as a resort town for Christians. Their Passion Play has been attended by hundreds of thousands of Christians. But the activists are now in the process of turning Eureka Springs into a haven for homosexuals.

"They're Coming To Your Town" shows how, using deceitfulness and lies, homosexuals maneuvered themselves into positions of power and then used those positions to promote their agenda.

"They're Coming To Your Town" is an eye-opener to those who are not familiar with how homosexuals use the system to attain their goals. It is a 28-minute DVD, making it perfect for viewing during Sunday School.

I urge you to order the DVD, watch it, then share it with members of your church. Give a copy to your pastor. Click here to view the trailer.

Click here to order "They're Coming To Your Town."

Thank you for caring enough to get involved. If you feel our efforts are worthy of support, would you consider making a small tax-deductible contribution? Click here to make a donation.


Donald E. Wildmon, Founder and Chairman American Family Association
You know, it's almost worth the $14.95 just to be able to play it at parties. You know, the parties where we have sex with animals, infants, and dead people.

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HIV Surging Among Gotham's Young

From the NY Times:
The number of new H.I.V. infections in men under 30 who have sex with men has increased sharply in New York City in the last five years, particularly among blacks and Hispanics, even as AIDS deaths and overall H.I.V. infection rates in the city have steadily declined.

New figures from the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene show that the annual number of new infections among black and Hispanic men who have sex with men rose 34 percent between 2001 and 2006, and rose for all men under 30 who have sex with men by 32 percent.

At a time when the number of new cases among older gay men is dropping — by 22 percent in New York City during the same period — AIDS experts are bearing down on what they say is a worrisome and perplexing growth of H.I.V. infection among young men.
I found this quote most interesting: “The older generation sees AIDS as a tragedy, the younger generation sees it as self-destructive behavior.” That's pretty much the mindset of my generation, I'd have to say.

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Huckabee On Meet The Press

On Sunday's Meet The Press, Mike Huckabee tried to allay fears that he wants to impose Christian ideals on the nation after host Tim Russert brought up the quote in Huckabee's 1998 book in which he equates homosexuality with necrophilia and pedophilia.

"I don’t know whether people are born that way. People who are gay say that they’re born that way. But one thing I know, that the behavior one practices is a choice. We may have certain tendencies, but how we behave and how we carry out our behavior–but the important issue that I want to address, because I think when you bring up the faith question, Tim, I’ve been asked more about my faith than any person running for president. I’m OK with that. I hope I’ve answered these questions very candidly and very honestly. I think it’s important for us to talk about it. But the most important thing is to find out, does our faith influence our public policy and how? I’ve never tried to rewrite science textbooks. I’ve never tried to come out with some way of imposing a doctrinaire Christian perspective in a way that is really against the Constitution. I’ve never done that."

Amusingly, Huckabee's own Christianist supporters are displeased.

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Daily Grumble

After a New Year's weekend with temps pushing 50, I wake up today to find the wind chill at 7 degrees. Wha' happened? If it's gonna be this cold, I demand snow. It's only fair.

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Clinton's Last Minute Plea To Iowans

I'll confess that I still don't fully understand the rules for today's Iowa Caucus. Predictions?

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Open Thread Thursday

1. If a close friend is very interested in someone, is it OK to pursue that person yourself?

2. If a close friend is casually dating someone, it is OK to date him too?

3. If a close friend has broken up with his boyfriend, when is it OK to go after his ex? Ever? Even if your friend tells you he doesn't mind?

My short answer to all of these questions is NO, NO, NO. However, a friend of mine disagrees on all counts and I told him I'd put to the readers. To my mind, when a friend of yours breaks up with his boyfriend, even if he tells you to go for the ex, he doesn't really mean it, whether he knows it or not.


Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Review: Saint NYE Party
(And Some Rambling Navel Gazing)

[UPDATE: You'll probably want to view the below video with the sound off. My lil digicam can't handle nightclub subwoofers. I shot the clip before much of the crowd arrived.]

As I made my preparations for the Saint-At-Large's New Year's Eve party in Times Square late Monday night, I repeatedly reminded myself of my New Year's resolution to banish any conceit that for it to be considered a success or "good", a party should have to conform to my narrowly-defined and archaic checklist of acceptable gay dance party benchmarks.

I have no right, I repeated to myself in the shower, at age 48, to expect that the massive gay dance parties of today should cater to my musical tastes, my preferences for venues, my ideals regarding sound systems, light shows, DJs, or live performers. And more importantly, I have no right to pass judgment on the attendees. They're not there for me, they're there for each other. The vast majority of gay men that attend these spectacles are now 15, 20, 25 years younger than I am. It's their party, far more than mine, and for me to drip acidic attitude into the party's punch bowl is as rude and fruitless as critiquing the menu at somebody else's dinner party. Even if you're right, you're wrong.

Years ago I began my slow and (hopefully) gracious retreat from being an ubiquitous presence (as it felt to me) on the circuit scene. I began slowly ticking parties off my annual must-do list. "Yes, ten Winter Parties is enough, I think. No, not doing Sundance this year. And I think I'll end my run at Alegria at a meager five appearances." Most of the other events soon similarly fell into the not-entirely-ruled-out, but definitely unlikely-to-repeat category.

The watershed moment in my surrender, my epiphany if you will, came five or six years ago in South Beach. Standing on the balcony at Crobar, I was wrenching my face at the melody-free circuit hit of the moment, that song that sounds exactly likes horseshoes tumbling in dumpsters going over Niagara Falls for nineteen uninterrupted minutes. For the tenth time in as many minutes, I shouted to my friends, "This music SUCKS!" And that's when somebody clamped down on my elbow and dragged me the balcony rail. "Do you see 3000 men down there? Do you SEE 6000 arms in the air? THEY are having a fantastic time. The DJ is doing a VERY good job! The music doesn't suck, YOU don't like it."

Yeah, ouch. And duh, Joe. If you don't enjoy it anymore, why do you still go?

But wait, a twist approaches.

Armed with my new philosophy, I walked into the Nokia Theatre with Chris at 1:30am. For various reasons, most of our friends had decided against going to the party,with some refusing to battle what they'd predicted would be a nightmarish human gridlock for many blocks around Times Square. Not so. Our taxi let us out at 44th & 10th and we rather enjoyed our ten-minute walk through several hundred exhausted members of the NYPD.

Outside the Nokia, we were greeted politely by security, who actually smiled as they steered us to Gazelle (right), the clipboard-toting door drag. Gazelle was charming, quite contrary to the ice queens who often she-man the ropes at these things. One minute later, our tickets were scanned at the door and I paused in expectation of the traditional full body-cavity search. "Just down the escalator on the right, sir," said the ticket taker. Oh! Sweet.

There was a lengthy line at the coat check, but it seemed petty to complain at that point. Plus, the bar was right next to the line. Budweiser was $6, a decent price for Manhattan on any night, much less on New Year's Eve in Times Square. And somehow, the bar remained open until 8am. Not sure how they swung that, but I was grateful. I hate Red Bull and would much rather nurse a tepid beer in the waning hours of a party. (Plus, the breakfast beer is often the best beer of the day.) The coat check staff and the bartenders were as pleasant as the door staff. I'd hire any of them to work in a gay bar.

I found the Nokia a perfect venue for the party. One large-ish room on three levels, the Nokia has a large stage at the west end of the room, which that night hosted the DJ and lighting booths. Since the joint is now a concert venue, the large standing-room area in front of the stage served as the dance floor. Above the dance floor is a good-sized open level, occupied for the evening by three large boxes, atop which writhed the impossibly hot dancers imported for the evening from Montreal. Watching them dance, a patron mused to me, "I don't even feel like I'm of the same species as those guys." Seconded.

But the best part of the Nokia, for me, is the eastern end of the room (above), which is a huge stadium-style seating area furnished with hundreds of plush seats with cupholder (beerholder) armrests. I have always contended that gay dance parties should install viewing areas with seating, so I was very pleased to be able to take multiple breaks from the dance floor, yet still feel part of the action. Two large black scrims blocked the view from left and right sides of the seating area, so most took seats in the center section. The effect was very much like watching a Broadway show or a movie. A movie about hot go-go boys. Going up the center aisle, I had the oddest feeling that an usher should be handing out Playbills.

Surrounding the main room on three sides are large hallways with bars and seating areas. The restrooms are nicely decorated and massive, built to accommodate concert attendees all leaving at the same time. There was never a line to use the bathroom, a very special treat for beer drinkers like me who have spent many agonized minutes waiting at circuit parties.

Heading back to the main room, we also didn't experience the usual annoying doorway clusterfuck that is often the hallmark of gay dance parties, as the Nokia features six exit doors on each side of the dance floor. The sound system, brought in for the party by the Saint, was crisp, clear, and appropriately shirt-rattlingly loud, but not so loud as to have me wishing I'd brought earplugs. In fact, you could actually hold a conversation twenty feet away from the dance floor without resorting to American Sign Language.

The first song we heard as we arrived was Britney Spears' Gimme, Gimme, but mindful of my new credo, I just bounced along. Then DJ Demarko played the horseshoes song and I had to laugh at myself. I'm not sure when Manny Lehman took over but he played a lot of stuff that I knew and liked, albeit usually they were tribaled-up remixes of the originals. Here's a short list of Lehman's tracks that I scribbled in strobe-addled Sanskrit on my notepad:

Eurythmics - Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of These)
Ralph Falcon - I Need You
Crystal Waters - Destination Unknown
Rozalla - Everybody's Free
Mary J. Blige - Be Without You
Robin S- Show Me Love
Shakira - Beautiful Liar
Depeche Mode - Just Can't Get Enough
Depeche Mode - Enjoy The Silence
Sylvester - You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)
Sharon Redd - In The Name Of Love

Also heard: a slamming techno remix of Chris Crocker screaming, "Leave Britney Spears alooooone!" Predictable, yes. But it still made me laugh.

Towards the end of the party, I ran into long-time Saint photographer Robert Zash, who was kind enough to tour me backstage to meet DJ Manny Lehman. I was quite pleased when Lehman plotzed over my Donna Summer Love To Love You, Baby t-shirt, which features the artwork from the original 1975 12-inch. I should have told him that I wore the shirt in honor of Donna's birthday, which is New Year's Eve. Yes, I know Donna Summer's birthday. Bite me. (BELOW: Lehman and Zash.)Zash also introduced me to his friend, Rev. R. Craig Bustrim, a long-time Episcopal priest from Scottsdale, Arizona. That was an odd coincidence, since I had just posted about the schism in his church. Bustrim quickly schooled me about the truly accepting attitude of most congregations, and I felt doubly guilty for not making that point in my post.

Back on the dance floor, Zash intro'd me to tuxedoed Saint owner Steve Pevner, who interrupted Zash's intro with, "Oh, I know who YOU are." Yeah, awkward, considering the pan I gave this year's Black Party here on JMG. I found Pevner a complete sweetie and when I asked him for a photo, he responded, "Only if you dance with me." After the song ended, he was swept away by fans and I never got the pic. Pevner is also a busy actor and owns a literary management agency.

Over the course of the evening I heard some minor kvetching that party was under-attended, due in part no doubt to the Times Square issue and the previous evening's bacchanal at Alegria, where the volume is as crushing as the number of bodies. The room could have held a few hundred more people and never quite hit that eruptive critical mass that many circuit parties do, which doubtlessly disappointed the hardcore circuiteers. But I thought the attendance was fine. The dance floor was mobbed for several hours, yet you could move easily throughout the rest of the venue.

The patrons were a delightfully atypical melange (for these sorts of things) of age-ranges, ethicities, and body types. Yes, the usual body-glittered, hot-pants wearing gaysian club kids were in the house, as well as lots of guys who probably drink Human Growth Hormone at every meal. But there were also art-fags, hipsters, oldsters (like me) and more than the usual handful of RGs. On the other hand, there were only a handful of bears or anybody with facial hair. Aw, well. Also seen were some bold-face names like Carson Kressley, whose smokin' hot date was wearing a "Starfucker" t-shirt. Cute. (ABOVE LEFT:Hottie gives props for Mel Cheren. (ABOVE RIGHT: Party hotties Alan, Erik, and Franco.)

Around 8am, Manny Lehman ended the party with Amy Winehouse's Rehab, appropriate, considering the mechanism by which most patrons were still awake. After the applause died down, Lehman encored with Madonna's strangely beautiful, yet spooky Isaac, which perfectly set the tone for my departure from Nokia into the grey and empty Times Square.

In summary (finally, you say), I thought the Saint pulled off a next-flawless event. For me. Quite ironic to come to that conclusion, really, considering the mind-set I'd so carefully prepared before arriving. While some may bad-mouth the attendance, once word gets out how easy it was to get in and how delightful the house staff was, next year's event, should it return to the Nokia, should be even better. These days I reserve my rare dance party-going to the events that truly cater to and program for my age demo and musical taste. Blowoff. Real Bad. Black Party. The Trocadero reunions. I plan on continuing to shake my non-buff booty at those parties until they too are no longer fun for me. Looks like I'll have to add another party to that list.

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Bears Invade Coney Island

Yesterday hundreds of members of the Coney Island Polar Bear Club made their annual dip in the 42 degree surf. Over $30,000 in pledges was raised for Camp Sunshine, a camp for seriously ill children and their families in Casco, Maine.

And then all the bears went to beer bust.

I've always wanted to do the dip, but somehow I've never been in the mood to jump in the ocean at dawn on New Year's Day. Odd, that.

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Swag Tuesday Wednesday

(Since I didn't get home from New Year's Eve until almost 9am yesterday, I spent the entire day in a coma and missed putting up yesterday's Swag Tuesday entry.)

Courtesy of Showtime, today's Swag Tuesday giftie is the complete fourth season DVD box set for their smash lesbionic series, The L Word, now available nationwide.
THE L WORD Season 4 picks up with the women wrestling with issues close to their hearts. As with previous seasons, old demons rear their ugly heads and a host of new characters are brought into their fold, offering them access to a broader community with diverse issues. THE L WORD® stars Jennifer Beals, Leisha Hailey, Laurel Holloman, Mia Kirshner, Katherine Moennig, Dallas Roberts, Daniela Sea, Rachel Shelley, and Pam Grier. Newest additions to the cast include Cybill Shepherd, Marlee Matlin, Janina Gavankar and Rose Rollins.

Special guest stars are Rosanna Arquette, Eric Roberts, Bruce Davison, Kristanna Loken and Jane Lynch. This season, the war in Iraq becomes an integral part of Alice's (Hailey) life as she struggles to move on after the death of Dana; Helena (Shelley) tries to find financial independence and come to terms with leaving behind a world of privilege; Phyllis Kroll (Shepherd) -- who takes the courageous plunge late in life to come out of the closet -- risking everything that has defined her life up to now; and, Bette (Beals) has to deal with Jodi Lerner (Matlin), a woman who confronts her head-on about her Type-A personality.
Enter with the DVD box set of The L Word by commenting on this post. Only enter once and please remember to leave your email address. Publicists: if you'd like to take part in Swag Tuesday on JMG, please email me.

RELATED: Showtime wants to remind everybody that Season 2 of their smash series, The Tudors, begins on March 30th. I am totally hooked on The Tudors.


Civil Unions Begin In New Hampshire

Shortly after midnight on New Year's Eve, gay couples began being civil-unioned in New Hampshire, as the new state law took effect.
New Hampshire's civil unions law — enacted by the Democrat-dominated Legislature early last year and signed by Democratic Gov. John Lynch in May, gives same sex couples the same rights, responsibilities and obligations of marriage without calling the union a marriage. New Hampshire is the fourth state in the nation to allow civil unions and the first to do so without a court decision or the threat of one.

"We are a citizen legislature and we legislated this into being," said state Rep. Gail Morrison, a Democrat and co-organizer of the event who entered a civil union Tuesday with her longtime partner.

John Davey and Mark Brodeur brought gold wedding bands to exchange during their ceremony. Together 10 years since meeting online, Davey, 34, and Brodeur, 48, held a commitment ceremony with friends several years ago, but became the first couple to seek a civil union license in their hometown of Stratham when they became available last month.

"That was just for to say that we loved each other, that we're committed," Davey said of the commitment ceremony. "This is to show the world this is who we are, this is finally recognized in New Hampshire."
Did any JMG readers get hitched in New Hampshire?

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Dennis Kucinich: Vote Obama
If I Fail In Iowa

Dennis Kucinich is telling his supporters that if he does not make the 15% cutoff point to be considered a viable candidate in the Iowa caucuses, they are to change their support to Barack Obama.
Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich, one of only two candidates to support gay marriage, on Tuesday asked his supporters to make rival Barack Obama their second choice if he doesn't meet a cutoff point for voting in Iowa's caucuses.

Kucinich, an Ohio congressman at the back of the pack of Democratic hopefuls, seemed to concede a loss in the caucuses. He said his recommendation was for "Iowa only."

"Senator Obama and I are competing in the New Hampshire primary next Tuesday, where I want to be the first choice of New Hampshire voters," Kucinich said in a statement.

Candidates in Thursday night's caucuses must reach a level of support in each of the state's 1,781 precincts - typically 15 percent of those who attend. Candidates who fail to meet that aren't considered viable, and their supporters can move to another candidate or go home.
The Iowa caucuses are tomorrow night.

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Morning View - Coming Soon



Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Morning View - Times Square

I grabbed these shots this morning on my way home from the Saint's NYE party, which I'll review later today once I decipher my notes. The pole behind the "2008" is the one the ball drops down, but I guess security whisks the ball away immediately after midnight, since it's made of dilithium crystals or gold pressed latinum or whatever.

There's something rather otherworldly about waltzing out of an all-night strobe and laser-intensive dance party into the heart of a deserted and confetti-strewn Times Square. Very Omega Man, only with taxis. The sky was a kindly blanket of grey clouds, sparing party-goers their usual brain-stab from Allah's Angry Flashlight. الله أَكْبَر.

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