gay: November 2008 Archives
I'm going to Ireland for the Thanksgiving weekend to visit the Dubliner. We seem to be hitting it off well, so what the hell?
He's already being a lovely host and has offered to take me to see Newgrange, an ancient passage-tomb in County Meath. It's older than either Stonehenge or the pyramids at Giza.
On Saturday we'll be going to my first non-PRU / non-IGRAB rugby match: Leinster (one of the Irish provinces) vs. the Newport/Gwent Dragons (a Welsh team). I will be rooting for Leinster centre/wing Fergus McFadden (love the name), or Newport Gwent's woofy captain and hooker Tom Willis. Hookers rule!
I can't get enough Robyn now that I've listened to Bravehound's brilliant resuscitation remix compilation, sprinkled liberally with tracks from our favorite Swedish pixie's newest album with a dash of Chakka-Kahn, Dee-Lite, Britney, Miss Janet and her brother Michael. The 'hound is really clever with his remixes, and that one's gonna go on the iPod set to gym mode. My favorite Robyn tracks would be Dream On, With Every Heartbeat, Cobrastyle, Sensual Seduction/Konichiwa Bitches medley.
I got the Williams' Blood in me: Dingo tuned me into this corker by Grace Jones, co-written by Wendy and Lisa, who have their own Facebook page and an upcoming album I'm excited about. Anyway, do a search for the Aeroplane remix of Williams' Blood on Google if you can, it's a good one.
Robyn, Bravehound, Miss Grace Jones, Wendy & Lisa should keep you busy while I'm away. Have a nice holiday.
In "Our Own Judy Garland," Dogpoet eloquently describes the life experiences that have led the gays to be so angry these days. In response to commenters cautioning the author and others to be careful with such feelings, he responds:
"I’m a writer. The writers I most admire go after the truth. If they always took the high road, then we would have no compelling literature. I’m not interested in sugarcoating or whitewashing genuine emotion. If you want the moral high road, go to HRC’s website."You have to read the whole thing, not just the first few sentences. It's a good piece, as he is, as much of his writing is.
His entry leads me to write about something disturbing I discovered this week while tracking down old teammates to invite to our rugby team's 10th anniversary dinner. I was using Facebook to track down one alumni who played with us very early in the team's history, back when it was a predominantly gay team. At least he was gay - even as of this summer when he was shamelessly flirting with me through the site. The last time someone flirted with me that intensely was right before he shacked up with his partner - albeit happily so, and with a male partner. Fine by me.
But this one is recently married to a young woman, probably innocent in the probable history of a gay man in his early forties faced with loneliness, social and political pressure, and a relapse of the relentless proselytization of an aggressive "Christian" church. For this former homo now wears magic underpants. Neither I nor any of our mutual acquaintances remain on his buddy list. Slate wiped clean. Apparently, it's that easy.
I wasn't surprised to learn of his total overhaul. He always seemed uncomfortable with "the scene" and didn't seem to identify with many on the team. Rugby may have been a way for him to reaffirm the masculinity he perceived he was losing by being gay, as I've sensed in many others who come to try out the sport.
As Dogpoet writes in the entry I encourage you to read, being gay is tough. Well, life is tough, but then you discover what you are, and find yourself in a very small minority and you think you're the only one who thinks that way. Then you find others like yourself, but there's this whole series of potential pitfalls that you're totally unprepared for, because most of your lifetime preparedness plan is based on a heterosexual template that doesn't really apply to this new path. So you're tasked with rearranging priorities and learning lessons as they come to you. It requires tenacity and strength of character and will I don't think many of us realize we have. This strength comes from our experiences navigating a completely new and different set of challenges in life. Drugs, an alcohol-based subculture, disease, and countless negative messages directed towards us every single day. We learn which part of the buffet of life to reject, what portions cause us pain, and which foods are good for us. And always there's the reminder that most of the world is designed for that larger group of people. Meanwhile most of us are trying to at least be comfortable, if not happy. I think the majority of us get through this gauntlet in passable condition, but certainly not unscathed.
And some don't make it. Some disappear completely, or change into a totally new and unrecognizable persona. As far as I'm concerned, this guy took the easy way out, but in the long term it's gonna damage him and the poor woman he married. But most of us are damaged goods - even the heterosexuals. Life isn't necessarily easy for them either, just somewhat easier than ours. Pretending you're one of them (and a righteous one at that) isn't a constructive solution.
At least I'm honest about my fantasy escape once every couple of weeks when I enter a magical fantasy world with a twenty-sided dice and a bunch of homo geeks. That's how I roll.
Temperatures in Florida aren't supposed to drop below freezing while I'm here...it's not fair! At least it's equally cold back home in DC.
Single Man vs. Single Ladies split screen in case you needed to compare.
I was in flight during the simultaneous multi-city protests across the country on Saturday, but I'm sure you've read plenty already on other blogs. For a smaller-city perspective, go check out Martini Gurlatalova's coverage of the Des Moines, Iowa protests.
I'm in Tallahassee, Florida for work, but came down a few days early to check out the sights in the panhandle of Florida. On Saturday I checked into the quaint, 1930's style lodge at the Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park just south of Tallahassee, Florida. These springs pump millions of gallons of crystal-clear water up to the surface. Several Tarzan films starring Johnny Weissmuller, Airport '77, and The Creature from the Black Lagoon were all filmed there due to the amazing clarity of the water.
I didn't so much as see, but first heard the manatees near the lodge. When they surface for air they make a sound much like a whale would, and I quickly figured out what they were. The websites for the park didn't mention they'd be there, so it was quite a pleasant surprise. I was planning on camping in the area, but I'm glad I didn't as it was near-freezing while I was there. The food at the lodge was good, and all the desserts, including delicious key lime pie, were baked on site.
The next day I went on a boat tour down the river created by the springs, and got a world-class view of local wildlife. I've been on a lot of wildlife tours, and this was one of the best. I was right up close to many American alligators, Suwannee Cooters, freshwater mullet, common moorhen and purple gallinule, anhingas and of course more manatee. The entire photo gallery can be viewed here.
After my wildlife expedition, I drove out to the Lighthouse at the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge. I also visited the San Marcos de Apalachee State Park nearby.
Today I drove back towards Tallahassee and stopped at the Leon Sinks Geological Area in the Apalachicola National Forest. I wanted to see the Big Dismal Sink to check off on my list of visiting all things Dismal (I've already been to the Great Dismal Swamp). I'll have to say the Big Dismal Sink wasn't very Dismal, it was kind of festive, actually.
The whole area is riddled with limestone karst topography, making for a very spring- and sinkhole-laden landscape. I hiked on a four-mile loop trail that skirted the edges of these depressions that are filled with groundwater. A sink may have trees growing in it, but differs from a swamp as a sink is filled with groundwater, whereas a swamp is filled with surface water. If water goes down into a hole instead of from a hole, it's called a rise. The naming doesn't make any sense, sort of like how a towboat pushes barges whereas a tugboat pulls barges. I wasn't responsible for naming topographical features.
You can learn where to find your nearest Saturday protest is at Join the Impact. The protests will be everywhere, and it's going to be huge. I think it's more empowering for us to do for ourselves this time. Don't wait for the bloated institutionalized bureaucracy to do it for us. Stop throwing your money at the wall, get up and get actively, physically involved. But if you think attending a black tie event with all your close friends will solve your problems, by all means keep doing that.
Jocko has some good points about who we should be blaming for all the H8 of late. It's not just Mormons, but also some Catholic organizations and our old friends at the American Family Association. That said, if we were to boycott everything Mormon, we'd have to cut out all of the following, according to former blogger Chris:
- Don't stay at Marriott hotels.
- Don't watch Battlestar Galactica (fascinating background info).
- Don't see the new Twilight movie or read the books.
- Don't buy the new Killers CD.
- Don't buy David Archuleta's new CD.
- Don't stay at La Quinta Inns.
- Don't buy Oakley products.
- Don't fly JetBlue.
- Don't support gymnasts Paul and Morgan Hamm.
- Don't buy Black & Decker products.
- Don't buy any music by Gladys Knight.
- And above all else, no more Osmonds!
I honestly don't think I can cut Battlestar Galactica out of my life, at least not until this season starts up again. Long ago my ex dragged me to see Donny Osmond in concert at Wolf Trap. I ended up being very impressed - the guy is a pro at his craft. At one point during his "Soldier of Love" number he was walking/balancing on the top of the narrow wall that separates the orchestra pit from the audience. He slipped and fell on his ass/tailbone but didn't miss a note. I was watching his lips and it wasn't a vocal track. The dude didn't even flinch. That's one awesome pair of magic underpants that broke his fall. Perhaps his Sacred Emotion saved him too.
Apparently the Mormons are shocked that people are angry with them. While I don't think an all-Mormon boycott will work, it's good to see that the protests are giving them a glimmer of understanding of how their efforts have affected other human beings. All I can say is enjoy this public affairs crisis, bitches! I'll write a case study paper about it later - let's see how you handle this. It's going to get much worse before it gets better. From a professional public affairs point of view, y'all look like a bunch of meanie douche bags.
Finally, if you don't see a reason to protest, read some Dogpoet to learn Twenty Reasons to Join the Impact. I agree with all of them.
Rami from Project Runway season 4 was cheering from the crowd, but I couldn't tell who he was rooting for.
There were an alarming amount of Jennifers present, most of whom I guessed were part of bridal shower parties. I hear they like to frequent Town these days, much to the annoyance of the gays. They clearly don't know how to conduct themselves in a gay bar. Between me and my crew, we picked up at least thee empty cocktail glasses off the dance floor. Leaving your empty glasses on the dance floor is a big no-no. You can trip on them or they can spill, leaving for a slippery/sticky dance experience. In fact, down your drinks before you get on the dance floor if you can't handle your drinks. And ladies, leave the giant purses at home. Accessorize with a smaller club-sized purse for when you'll be milling in large crowds. Please be mindful of pre-existing clusters of gays as well. If you run on the dance floor and start dry humping your gay chaperone in the midst of us, we are forced to watch this overt display of heterosexuality and are not amused. In fact we left.
I do plan on seeing Role Models tomorrow, featuring Seann William Scott and Paul Rudd. Thanks everyone for the SWS alerts!
Tip from Boobob, dreamy, scruffy Brit crooner/songwriter Tom Baxter features all kinds of couples on the video for "Better."
I think I'm going to Town tonight to groove to Tony Moran along with my friend OMG DJ TM™ and his not-to-be-recognized-as-partner, "long-time friend" Timmy. Good Christian heterosexuals would have us refer to them that way to reduce their discomfort with the idea of gay people being in an emotional relationship state similar (but not equal!) to theirs.
I feel very sad for my gay friends who are married, or who are ready to be married, to have that taken away from them. Personally I would be content for a civil union and for that to be recognized and counted by the state, but I know the whole marriage ceremony is important to some people, often one of the happiest days of their lives. And the fact that these so-called people of god are spending so much time, energy and funds to attack gay people just makes me sad.
But there is a bright side to all of this. I've always thought we were starting to grow complacent, either by getting so giddy about receiving lip service from our leaders, or that you can just hit the 'send' button on an online form and feel better. "OMG I just joined this Facebook group against ______ !!! Click here and you can join too! "
Facebook campaigns and throwing money at organizations may not always the solution. Seeing people in California protesting out on the streets was a promising sign that this generation isn't as apathetic and post-gay as I thought. I think we are starting to realize that we are not as well-off as we thought we were, and that we are going to have to get active, physically involved and vocal. I blame the Internet for some of this, as it gives us a false feeling that we've done something when we click on a link. And then we forget about it.
Michael Crichton passed away this week. I will miss his wild stories, however formulaic. I enjoyed the television show E.R., and many other titles he wrote. Eaters of the Dead was one of his earlier books that inspired the film The 13th Warrior, starring Antonio Banderas. Congo scared the crap out of me - the thought of giant white gorillas smashing people's heads creeped me out. And of course Jurassic Park was good fun, and I've recently enjoyed the books State of Fear and Next. Many of the ideas in his books were well researched and often controversial. I still have eco-friendly acquaintances who refuse to read State of Fear because it has a lot of ideas that are radically against currently acceptable environmental canon. It's a good read that questions a lot of beliefs that have been held by environmentalists for many decades. Sometimes it's important to look at different ideas, and liberals can be just as pig-headed as conservatives.
If I could pick the soundtrack for today, it would include Brand New Day (from the musical The Wiz - video/audio) and/or Can You Feel It? by The Jacksons (video/audio). Do you have any other suggestions?
I am relieved and will sleep well tonight, although my stomach also decided to vote for change last night too - I think my bean soup had gone bad, or I was gulping it down too fast and not chewing while I was watching the polls on television. Or maybe it was a cathartic reaction. Anyway, it all came back out last night and I feel purged today both physically and spiritually. I want to record here that I was throwing up southwest heritage bean soup when I learned that Barack Obama was elected the 44th President of the United States.
Fireworks - and possibly some gunshots - could be heard outside in Shaw, but I don't think anyone got hurt. There were impromptu celebrations throughout the night in neighborhoods around DC. Local Shaw election results can be found here.
This morning everyone on the subway to work and people at work were very cheerful and happy. I haven't sensed such a positive vibe for many years.
Obama's wildly successful campaign is evidence that he is a good manager as well as an inspirational leader. Any organization's leader should be one, the other, or a good mix of both manager and leader. So knowing that I'm confident good things will happen. I can already feel the unctuous cloud of evil lifting from this great city, a dark cloud of gloom that first settled into the souls of those of us in DC in 2000.
In addition to his campaign promises, we can all look forward to hearing the word A-mer-i-ca pronounced with four syllables, not two. And perhaps we will again hear the word nu-cle-ar pronounced properly again. I have had about enough of the Bush/McCain/Palin/Republican git-'er-done anti-intellectualism, and it was particularly offensive to continually hear that I wasn't an American because I had a college degree or didn't live in "the heartland." May I offer a solid "fuck you" to such campaign tactics that backfired so well on yer sorry ass. I have a degree, I live in the city on the East Coast, and I drink wine and eat cheese, but you can kiss my snooty manicured entitled white-collar ass, thanks. And while McCain's concession speech was classy, his audience of grumpy rich old white supporters were not. Too bad, so sad. I think the GOP needs to throw up their southwest heritage bean soup too.
As I type, Proposition 8 is still a close race in California. Many married gay friends of mine in California are understandably very upset about it. It's mean and intrusive, and I will not forget the efforts and funds dedicated to hate by Amway, Jeff Kent, Knights of Columbus and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Our gay friends in Arkansas, Florida and Arizona are also bummed out today, as laws guaranteeing their second class status as Americans have succeeded.
Last night I was treated to a really nice performance by Hercules and Love Affair at the 9:30 Club. I was expecting a 1- or 2-person electronica gig featuring a Mac but they showed up with a full - and lively - band complete with a horn section! They played their music in a continuous format with no breaks, which was kinda cool. Photos from a Brooklyn performance can be seen here. Hercules is woofy and when he took off his hoodie I got to see a flash of ginger fur. Good times for $15, and I nearly had the place to myself. For the first time ever I had a spot in the senior citizen's section on the 2nd floor right over the soundboard. Local band The Dance Party opened and they were great too.
DC's music scene is very understated and intimate - we are far cooler than you think! You can catch a good performance almost any day of the week at a variety of cozy venues. Before last night's performance one of the band members was mingling in the crowd. When I caught a late night Prince show many years ago there he was hanging out in the balcony area chatting with people. Performances at the 9:30 Club always feel very personal with a tangible connection between the performance and the crowd. Every time I go there to catch a GWAR show, when they throw up on me I really feel like it is their full intent to throw up on or bleed on me, personally.
The performance of Herc's hit "Blind" didn't feature Antony Hegarty on vocals, but their vocalist did a good job. Blind is an intense song about coming out, which you don't hear much of these days, and there weren't many gays in the audience who were going nuts about it as one might have done for "Smalltown Boy" by Bronski Beat for example. In today's post-gay world, the youngsters are coming out earlier and tend to feel much less isolated than a gay in the 80s and 90s. Songs and stories about coming out don't seem to have the same impact these days when you can claim that "being gay doesn't define me" as the credo goes from the mouths of babes today.
That said, it's no easier coming out today with such galvanized forces of hatred going against them. Back in my day the evangelical haters weren't so organized and vocal, and there seemed to be a more neutral view of homos by American society in general. Back then we were interesting, today we're a threat to heterosexual marriage. Today the haters are funded in the millions of dollars and there are entire workplaces devoted to making sure gays know they're only "tolerated." We are supposed to take comfort in the fact that they are praying for us. I can't imagine coming out today, in some ways it must be harder for the young gays to come out with such loud messages of intolerance going into their hearts and minds. It's got to have a negative impact much like isolation did to the gays in the 80s and 90s. It makes me wonder why the younger gays aren't as angry as I'd expect them to be about all this. Perhaps after one clicks on the 'send' button on an online peititon, they feel like they've done their part and the haters will go away.