Birth. Walking and talking. Pimples and pubic hair. Your first hangover to go with your first alcoholic drink. Driver’s education. Your first car. Graduation. Your first fuck (could come after your first drink). More matriculating. Marriage. Children (or perhaps Children then Marriage.). Divorce. Re-marriage, divorce, re-marr—oh, never mind, that cycle could spin ad infinitum. And last but not least, death.
These milestone events are observed through specific rituals and ceremonies (some celebratory, others maudlin) encountered in nearly every culture. Here in the United States, we like to call them rites of passage.
Growing up a Catholic male throughout the 1960s and '70s, my rites of passage were mapped out for me from the get-go:
1. Receive Baptism, First Communion and Confirmation from the Catholic Church.
2. Do not masturbate.
3. Learn to shave with an electric razor.
4. Do not leave a Honcho magazine on your bed.
5. Graduate with honors from high school and college with a pretty girl on my arm.
6. Establish a stable career in law or medicine.
7. Marry well.
8. Father children.
9. Purchase a four-bedroom house in the suburbs.
10. Put the kids through college.
11. Retire with a healthy pension.
12. Bounce grandchildren on my arthritic knees before my quiet and well-timed entrance to the Pearly Gates.
Just like The Ten Commandments, only more.
As fate would have it, my journey towards these idealistic rites of passage veered off drastically from that well-trod path. Sure, I received the Holy Rites from the Catholic Church, yet never stepped foot inside those walls unless I was forced to for my Dad’s sake. I decided to shave with a Bic and not a Norelco, when I wasn't growing out unruly facial hair. My mom found a gay magazine called Honcho completely forgotten on my bed when my horny, teenage self finally left my room for a spell. While graduating with honors from both high school and college with girl friends around, I also hid a few boyfriends on the side. Becoming a lawyer turned out to be the wrong decision for me, although that career path led me to encounter one rite of passage that I never quite anticipated as a reality, being that I still saw myself as a long-haired, knobby-kneed, effeminate boy who liked other boys. That rite of passage would be marriage; and not just one marriage, but two. The label “gay divorcee” couldn’t be more appropriate.
On the surface, having two marriages appears common enough. Unlike my parents’ generation, most people in this day and age experience divorce and remarriage, even several times over (see first paragraph). What makes my case different and more unusual than the common man hovering around my age—which is soon to be, ahem, 50 years old—is that I’ve had the honor of marrying a woman in 1990 and the privilege of marrying a man 21 years later.
As a rite of passage, marriage is an important event, signaling a break from one’s biological family in order to attach to another person of the opposite sex in the hopes of creating an entirely new family. The propagation of the species, if you will. Not only does a boy become a man but he also has the opportunity to become a father, a provider, the head of a household. At least, that’s the fable I grew up with and tried to follow to the letter, like a good altar boy would. Alas, this sinner stumbled and fumbled his way through heterosexual relationships. And yet, as much as I struggled with my sexuality, I still loved women and yearned to be a father one day. Proving the adage that you can achieve whatever you set out to do, I met and married an intelligent, lovely, red-headed lady after I graduated from law school, passed the California Bar Exam, and set course for what was supposed to be the perfect passage into adulthood and lifelong fulfillment.
Boy, was I wrong.
Even though I vowed to love, honor and cherish this woman before God and 200 wedding guests at the chapel of Pepperdine University (a Christian college and my alma mater, no less), the nagging suspicion that I was gay wouldn’t go away, nor did I want it to. My physical attraction to men was visceral, animalistic, forbidden and, yes, natural. Like Eve in the Garden of Eden, I wanted to know Adam in the Biblical sense. The forbidden fruit was irresistible, one that I wanted to pluck from the Tree of Knowledge and nibble on for sustenance, for life. Knowing I couldn’t indulge in any more male-on-male trysts—due to the wedding band on my left hand glinting in the red neon light of a gay bar—only served to push me further away from my wife. After three years, I called the marriage off and entered into another rite of passage that I was astonished to face—divorce. After the pain of divorce, however, came the healing of discovery, coming out, and fully embracing who I truly was and what I wanted to be. I shaved my head, felt the sting of a tattoo needle across my body—several times—and carried out a few sordid love affairs. When I met and moved in with a serious boyfriend in Los Angeles, another rite of passage opened up to me like a blooming flower. Next thing I know, we're packing up and moving across the country to New York. And why not? It felt like the next logical step. Marriage. Divorce. Lover. Cross-country move for a fabulous new job? Check.
Although that relationship crumbled, I persevered in New York and was lucky enough to find myself, yet again. This time I indulged in darker aspects of my personality that I had always craved, such as go-go dancing, fetish modeling, deejaying, and writing an erotic novel. In due time, I met the love of my life, a man named Michael. Six years to the day we met at our local gay bar, we were married.
My new gold wedding band still glints in red neon lights of gay bars, but now I’m with my honey, my soulmate, the man who will follow me side-by-side into the next rite of passage, whatever that may be.
The television show “Jeopardy” taught me a new word the other night, and I immediately sparked to it right away.
The word was “avuncular” and, while I had read it before in books like, oh, I don’t know, more than a few times, I have honestly never bothered to look it up. (The word for that is laziness.) “Avuncular” means “of or like an uncle, especially in kindness or geniality.” Being an uncle myself, I sat up straighter when I heard the word and its definition uttered by Alex Trebek. As a genial television host, he appears avuncular himself with his sensitive and intelligent voice, sparkly eyes, and conservative attire. Kind of like a worldly and not-so-slow Mister Rogers, if you will, who also could be labeled as acting and appearing avuncular in word and deed.
I’m an uncle myself. So, the final “Jeopardy” question is, Am I avuncular?
Well, let’s see. As an uncle to my sister Diane’s four children, I have watched them all grow up from babies to young adults, so one would think I have the uncle thing down. One would be wrong. While I’ve had 26 years out of 48 on this earth as a proper uncle, I haven’t been a very good one. Or rather, let me elaborate and say that I haven’t been a very present one, at least not in their daily lives. And how uncle-like is that? Not very. I guess I’m only an uncle in fact. Yet there is no denying that I tend to exude kindness and geniality—or so I’ve been told—even with said nieces and nephews. For example, I call each one of them on their birthdays, send a card with money in it every year to arrive on that exact same day, and never once am I late or forgetful. Although I have yet to receive a thank you note in response from any of them, I can’t say that I blame them; since I have been living across the country in New York for over 12 years, the amount of in-person visits with them in northern California is quite rare. I don’t really know them and vice versa. My hope is that Katie, Brennan, Ellie, and Burke all believe me to be a kindly elder statesman who is genial in nature, like a proper uncle should be.
Proper uncles live on television tubes and movie screens only, I should think. Most real life uncles have foibles and difficulties and troubles and fall far below a make-believe standard. Should I compare myself to other famous uncles to see how I rate? Shall I look to the uncles who permeate our collected consciousness for comparison? Why not? That sounds like fun.
The first uncle that comes to my mind is Uncle Arthur from “Bewitched” as played by the funny and fey Paul Lynde from 1965-71.
Those were my formative years, after all, although I caught more episodes in syndication than ones that originally aired. If this is the first uncle on television that I was exposed to, well, then everything makes sense. I’m definitely avuncular in the same way that Paul Lynde was, especially in the sarcastic, light-in-the-loafers sense. He was gosh-darn hilarious. Dare I say he’s now a role model? Yes, I dare. For beyond his outlandish outfits, cheeky delivery, and outrageous predicaments, he was always silly and sassy and sweet. I can live with being that.
In contrast, let’s look at Uncle Albert from the tune “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey” by Paul McCartney & Wings which debuted on American radio in 1971, the same year “Bewitched” gave its last nose wrinkle. All of that monotonous “We’re so sorry…Uncle Albert” business seemed to take all the fun out of being an uncle.
This important-sounding man seemed far too forlorn for my taste as a seven-year-old listening to the crackly AM radio in my parents’ Chevrolet, and the sentiment continues to this present day.
And don’t even get me started with the decidedly improper Uncle Ernie, the lecherous, alcoholic and perverted character from “The Who’s Tommy” (1969), played by the fearless eccentric Keith Moon (The Who’s drummer) in Ken Russell’s 1975 film adaptation.
While I somewhat pride myself as an adult on my cultivated perversions, Olympian imbibing, and over-to-top qualities, I am no Uncle Ernie. Besides, my brand of sordidness has class and is never inflicted on an unwitting or innocent (or not intoxicated) party. Please. I want someone to appreciate my dark side, not abhor it.
As for other famous uncles on the screen, there are the upstanding ones (Uncle Sam from the good ole U. S. of A., Uncle Henry from “The Wizard of Oz”) and the crass ones (Uncle Leo from “Seinfeld” and John Candy in “Uncle Buck”), the old-fashioned storytellers (Uncle Remus of “Song of the South”) and new-fangled studs (Uncle Jesse as played by the studly John Stamos in “Full House”). There are weird uncles like Fester in “The Addams Family” and eccentric comedians such as Milton Berle, who was often referred to as Uncle Miltie. Besides donning female drag in many of his routines, Uncle Miltie was also known in Hollywood circles for being exceptionally hung and notoriously not afraid to use such a gift. Lucky man. I only wish I could follow in Uncle Miltie’s footsteps! Drag, I have done. As for the other…well, let’s just say I’m half Irish and call it a day.
You must have noticed that I haven’t even delved into literary uncles of the written word. That’s a Ph.D dissertation waiting to happen. Needless to say, a good many uncles have been portrayed in the pages of a book as alternately lovely, evil, fatuous, pompous, greedy, steady, quirky, and gay. And I love ‘em all. Just don’t put me in a headlock and ask me to name my favorite one while crying out, “Say Uncle! Say Uncle!” I won’t succumb to your bullying tactics. Except for maybe whispering the word “Uncle” just once, under my breath and out of the corner of my mouth, like a true smartass.
All in all, there are as many types of uncles portrayed on the big and small screen as there are scattered about in the real world and throughout millions of novels, comic books, cartoons, journals, and biographies. And I’m paying tribute to them all. Now that I know what it means to be avuncular, I have to believe that I am a perfectly original mix of the traits and idiosyncrasies listed above. My (mostly) kind and genial nature, like (hopefully) every uncle’s out there, is mine and mine alone and yet contains an element of all uncles, real or imagined, living or dead. We’re all in the same boat, right? We’ve got at least one niece or nephew to bond us together. Other than that, we bring our singular personalities into the mix to create one hell of an uncle for a very special person or two or ten. Hmm, I wonder if my nieces and nephews think I’m a patriotic, sentimental uncle, a “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah” or a well-endowed drag queen? One can only wonder.
Let me take you back to 1990, if I may.
In May of that year, “Nothing Compares 2 U” by Sinead O’Connor is Number 1 on the Billboard charts, a new movie rating called NC-17 is introduced in order to differentiate from X-rated pornographic films, and Angela Bowie reveals that her ex-husband David slept with Mick Jagger.
At this same point in time, an eager 24-year-old law school graduate, freshly minted to practice law in California, is about to be married June 16th at Pepperdine University’s picturesque chapel in the coastal town of Malibu. A heady time for a young man to say the least, especially with the oncoming onslaught of a major “rite of passage” that one encounters in life, the Big M. After graduation from high school, college, and law school, it seems like marriage is the next logical step and, as the above-referenced 24-year-old, I find myself asking, What else could possibly be next?
Getting a tattoo, that’s what.
These milestones of graduation and marriage, ones that I was brought up to cherish and aspire to ever since I was an altar boy at the local Catholic church, end up paling in comparison to an event that takes place on a balmy Spring evening, a seemingly random rite of passage followed by such disparate groups as drunken frat boys and mourning mothers to Hell’s Angels and bruised strippers. This would be the fateful night I first hear the buzz of a tattoo machine and feel the sting of a needle burrowing into my skin, marking the occasion forever.
This is the night of my first tattoo.
Getting a tattoo was my idea. Always trying to act the “bad boy,” I had been thinking about it for some time (let’s just say since 1980 when I began idolizing rock stars during my sheltered teenaged years), and when I finally tell my fiancée Joy that we should both get inked before our wedding date, she agrees. This comes as quite a surprise because she only possesses a tiny wild streak, nothing like mine. Although I have been raised with the belief that tattoos are a horrible stigma covering the likes of dope fiends and hardcore bikers, I hold my own views on the matter. In my mind, tattoos are a visual sign to the world that I can be a rebel, yes, but of the sensitive, artistic variety. If cheesy one-hit wonders on MTV can get them, why can’t I?
With only a modicum of persuasion, I convince Joy to share in this bonding moment with me and entice her to take a walk on the wild side before we become “one” in the eyes of God and the law. “Why not flirt with danger before settling down?” I taunt her.
Because we are frightened novices who have never stepped inside of a tattoo parlor until that instant, we are drawn towards the safest, most stereotypical designs. The artwork, just simple drawings plucked from one of the many plates of flash tattoos in the reception area of Sunset Strip Tattoo, couldn’t be more obvious—a dragon for me, a rose for her. No doubt our artist rolled his eyes. I could gag now, looking back at our clueless choices. The two of us decide in tandem to place the work on our left shoulder blades due to the ease of hiding them and the lesser risk of pain. Little do I know that this one small act of rebellion will end up chaperoning me more than two decades into the present day to become an indelible part of who I am, so much so that while my body is now covered with permanent ink, everything else from that year has faded away into an ethereal wisp of nothingness.
When the needle first touches my skin, I’m hooked. The pain doesn’t faze me. A mere cat scratch, I decide, nothing more, nothing less. For the first time, I feel like a true man. Okay, maybe not a toughie from the streets but, at the very least, an average heterosexual male on the brink of marriage and a lofty career. Deep down, however, the truth nags at me that I’m nothing more than a book-smart homo hiding behind a carefully cultivated Catholic image. For nearly a quarter of a century I have hidden behind a façade of who I am supposed to be, and then twenty minutes after we take our seats on cheap fold-out chairs, that needle has buzzed its way into my tortured soul and ripped a tear in my very existence. The deed done, there is no turning back, and nothing will be the same again. Of course, I don’t know that I’m a changed man at the time. There is no immediate epiphany, just a tingly rush of endorphins mixed with bravado. Afterwards, the two of us toast our ballsiness with pints of imported beer at the tourist trap of a tavern next door, believing it to be the seediest-yet-coolest bar ever. Now it’s my turn to roll my eyes.
Flash forward a few years from 1990; three, to be exact. I ask for a divorce and get one. Not only is it uncontested but I complete the legal paperwork and court filings myself at no charge. I’m free! While not truly “coming out” quite yet, I do end up getting another tattoo one Sunday afternoon as I’m out rollerblading on the Venice Beach boardwalk. Once again, not knowing any better, I choose another flash tattoo from the wall. The freedom of submitting my body to another tattoo is exhilarating, and I begin to feel part of a different counterculture beyond the gay one I’m acclimating to. This time I choose a scorpion design for my right deltoid above the bicep. Since Scorpios are known to be an extremely sexual sign of the Zodiac, the selection is quite appropriate at this stage of my life even though I’m a Virgo (the Virgin, no less).
The idea of picking out a tattoo to represent my coming out as a gay man hasn’t even crossed my mind yet—all I know is that I’m passing from one stage to another, evolving like a chrysalis to a butterfly, and slowly I realize that scoring new ink each time I move forward is a wonderfully creative and unique way to chart my ever-growing progress. Tattoos give me confidence and toughness, two qualities sorely lacking in my life, and they gradually lead me to a look I had only dreamt of embracing. Rejecting the life of a lawyer to work in the music business, I shave my head, slap on a pair of black vinyl pants, and head out night after night to seedy rock bars and sexually-mixed dance clubs. I start mosh pits to Nine Inch Nails songs and befriend young, fabulous creatures in smeared makeup and feather boas. Feeling bolder by the minute, I get another tattoo, a Chinese character or kanji meaning “Heaven” on my left inner arm. “Because it’s heaven in my arms,” I joke. What it really means is that instead of holding out my religious upbringing at arm’s length, I choose to embrace it.
By the time I meet Zack, my first serious boyfriend, we end up side-by-side in a tattoo shop on Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood inking half-sleeves on our arms. This is who I am now, what I’ve become. That shy, bullied, knobby-kneed, long-haired, girly boy from Sacramento has grown into an L.A. man that likes what he sees in the mirror. For once. Colorful ink covers my skin like a coat of armor, protecting me from assholes and insecurities. After a cross-country move to New York City with Zack, I finish the entire sleeve on my left arm. After our jarring and unexpected breakup six months later, I fully sleeve the right one.
And the tattoos continue.
For every rite of passage in my life, I get another one. And another one. Sometimes I get a tattoo for no reason at all except that I want one, my body knowing when it’s time. A stream of tattoo shops from Chelsea and the Lower East Side in Manhattan to Williamsburg and Greenpoint in Brooklyn become my homes, my escapes. Soon enough, tattoo artists become my friends and family. I find refuge from my daily routine and view every appointment as if captured in that one time and place under a glass jar. Tender new spots are discovered on my body that I didn’t even know existed. When I’m under the needle, I’m alive in a way unlike any other sensory experience.
When I finally meet a wonderful partner-in-crime named Michael in 2005, the word “Saved” becomes emblazoned across my back. More religious iconography covers my arm including the Virgin of Guadalupe, as well as the Tree of Knowledge from the Garden of Eden with the tempting red apple hovering just out of reach of the leering snake. Orange and red flames lick the nape of my neck, burning up a pair of dice which add up to lucky number seven in honor of the heated card games the two of us enjoy.
(If you look closely, the small dragon under the "S" is my very first one from Sunset Strip Tattoo, 1990)
During a shaky time in our relationship, a dagger is permanently etched on my chest proclaiming that I have a “Rock ‘n Roll Heart.” More words scrawl across my body like painted literature: the phrase “Mi Vida Loca” rings my neck like a permanent necklace in honor of my amazingly crazy life with my soul mate; the title “Crimes of Passion” wraps around my right wrist based on my favorite album of all time by Pat Benatar; and the statement “I dare you” challenges the viewer from inside the left wrist to coincide with the storyline of my erotic novel “The Three Red Lines.”
When Michael and I decide to get legally married in Brooklyn on our sixth anniversary on September 25, 2012, I need a permanent reminder of this major rite of passage, my second marriage. As a result, I have the Roman numerals IX II V (for 9/25) inked on the knuckles of my right hand. In the tattoo world, it’s widely speculated that once you tattoo your hands, your normal life is over. Not for me. Mine’s just beginning, hands down. Besides, I opted out of a normal life anyway sometime around the month of May back in the year of 1990. That was when I sat down to get my first tattoo.
As for the next rite of passage in my life, I look forward to it with a frisson of excitement and anticipation. Regardless of what that may be, I’m pretty sure the incident will be commemorated with new ink. For why stop now? My body tells a story, a story of change and growth, hurt and love, religion and hedonism—my life’s story, or at least my life so far as interpreted by tattoo artists needling their visions onto my skin. I’ve almost made it to the half-century mark, and when I look back at that inexperienced kid getting his first tattoo 20 years ago, I have to smile. Little did I know how much that one small act of recklessness would not only be a major part of my life but also completely change it for the next twenty-something years. And I’ve got the body of art to prove it.
“Maria’s Side Story”
Whatever happened to Maria after "West Side Story"?
Does anyone else wonder what happened to Maria at the end of “West Side Story”? I vote for drug-addicted hooker after what she went through.
So said my Tweet. Those 140 characters really got under my skin. If you’ve seen the movie recently, you may be wondering the same thing.
If you recall, at the end of “West Side Story,” the young and lovely Maria wanders out of the hauntingly lit basketball courts in a stunned daze after her boyfriend Tony dies in her arms of a gunshot wound, the victim of gang violence after he killed Maria’s brother Bernardo. The lovebirds’ plans of running away together after the scheduled rumble between the Jets and the Sharks skids to an ill-fated stop, and their dream of getting married and living together free of prejudice literally dies away in that dark night, ebbing away like blood from a bullet hole. The final scene is gut-wrenching, and when Natalie Wood (who portrayed “Maria”) flings herself over the prone body of her dead lover, the agonizing screams she releases seem to reverberate with the red siren’s flashing light in the distance.
(As an aside, check out how fierce Natalie was brandishing a gun while chastising all the gang members in a rehearsal shot. That bitch knew how to Work. It. Out.)
Even though the Caucasians and the Puerto Ricans end up carrying Tony’s body away together in a show of solidarity, the effort may be a little too little, a little too late. For what in God’s name is Maria going to do now?
Think about it—she’s a foreigner in a strange land, an innocent and inexperienced teenager working at a bridal shop in a dangerous section of New York City, and she’s become unwittingly embroiled in a race and class war she had attempted in vain to extricate herself from by using the almighty power of love. After the fallout from that one fatal night, however, she’s stuck. With no brother to watch over and protect her, and no partner to love and take her away from their sticky situation, she’s just another lonely immigrant with parents who can’t speak English and no real chance of education or a successful career. At least not back in those days and not under those conditions.
To put it bluntly, she’s fucked.
After watching the 1961 United Artists musical film the other night on Turner Classic Movies (directed by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins and winner of 10 Academy Awards), I couldn’t help but wonder what happened to Maria after that night. Obviously, everything changed. Her beguiling innocence would never be reclaimed. The broken family unit would suffer. The possibility of another gang war over the same turf appears imminent. Despite all the bloodshed and lost lives from that night, there is no denying that the Sharks and Jets had a thirst for blood from the moment they set eyes on each other. Would Maria become a pawn in this struggle? How could she not? She’s the one who truly set the wheels of fate in motion, and the derailment could be traced back directly to her (and to a stinging lie from the bereaved and very-nearly-raped Anita, Bernardo’s girlfriend). I do not envy Maria. Love is lost, lives are gone, and sometimes the innocent are forced to pay for the transgressions of others.
Which leads to this thought-provoker: Flash forward five or ten years…what is Maria doing now? In my mind, there’s no question what happened to her; she became a drug-addled prostitute. That conclusion is not that far-fetched either. For all we know, her never-seen-but-spoken-about-in-hushed-terms parents—religious fanatics, from the sound of it—kick her out of the house. With nowhere to go, Maria floats from tenement to tenement amongst the Sharks and their girls, losing her job along the way, slowly starving to death before she learns to trade sexual favors for food, alcohol, and drugs. The food and drink she can (almost) do without. It’s the drugs that she needs now. Nothing else warms her from the inside out and drowns the nightmare of her past like marijuana, cocaine, speed, pills, and heroin. Especially heroin. Once she learns to shoot up by herself, she enjoys stealing Anita’s cheating husband away a few nights a week while working for the notorious pimp Chino. Yes, that Chino, the one who shot Tony dead all those years ago. In Maria’s eyes, she deserves to be working for the man who effectively murdered her capacity to love. Strung out, skinny and malnourished with rotting teeth and matted hair, she still tricks herself out to johns several times a day due to her feral nature and affinity for sexual deviancy. Such bawdiness and lewdness pay more, she knows that. And yet, beneath her sad sack exterior, Maria still retains some of that sweet, girly goodness she possessed all those years ago, hidden like a seed buried deep within her. She’s the proverbial hooker with a heart of gold.
Too bad she’s also got herpes.
No matter. She don’t care. Nor do her clients, rich white businessmen who batter her about like panthers with their prey, drawing blood and erroneous conclusions. They think she’s a sexual predator who likes it dirtier than any whore they’ve had before. They think she’ll do anything, that the light in her fuzzy eyes will never go out. The don’t wonder about her home life or her family or the track marks that crisscross her scrawny arms that she constantly rubs as if she’s cold. These cruel and heartless men have no clue that she was a skilled seamstress with tiny, workmanlike stitches or that she once loved a man so much that she forgave him for murdering her own brother.
These men don’t know her, they only know her name.
They cry “Maria!” when the music’s playing loud in their fancy hotel rooms, loud enough to cover the muffled sounds of her soft cries. Or they whisper her name as they would the rosary, fondling her bead by bead. She tries to shut them up but it’s no use. “Don’t say my name like that,” she says with a haunted look in her eyes. But they never listen.
After all, they just met a girl named Maria, and suddenly the name will never be the same to them.
After a grueling two years of nursing school, topped with a hefty dollop of working nights at a popular Mexican restaurant on St. Mark’s Place in Manhattan, as well as deejaying several parties in Brooklyn, Michael Bailey graduated cum laude from Phillips Beth Israel School of Nursing on May 30, 2012. I couldn’t be more proud, even if he wasn’t my lawfully married husband.
The ceremonies began the day before, however, specifically with something called a “pinning” ceremony. At 4:00pm on Tuesday, May 29th, I found myself uptown at the New York Academy of Medicine at 1216 Fifth Avenue and 103rd Street. We’re talking Spanish Harlem, folks. Rushing in with less than three minutes to spare (who knew the subway let out all the way over on Lexington Avenue?), the Dean instructed the lucky ones pinning the students to come up to the front of the stage in packs of five or so, according to when she called up the students in alphabetical order. Since Michael was called up in the first group, I dutifully strutted down the aisle to meet him at the stairs leading up to the stage. In hushed whispers, we greeted each other. He then explained in an off-hand manner that when his name was called, we were to walk up to the center of the stage, pretend to pin the gold button on his graduation gown, smile for the photographer, then gracefully exit stage right.
Things didn't quite go that way.
Unfortunately, since we were called up in the very first group, I didn’t have a chance to observe the proper etiquette of the proceedings. And Michael didn’t know he was supposed to have written a paragraph about why he picked me to perform the pinning honor. So not only could I not see what the pinners were doing from the side of the stage, but try to imagine our mounting horror as the Dean recited a nice little paragraph out loud about each person chosen for the task.
“Did you write something about me?” I asked through gritted teeth, dreading a “yes” answer (What in the world did he write about me? I thought, my heart fluttering) and a “no” answer (What, he didn’t care about me enough to write anything?).
“No,” he answered, his brown eyes wide. “I didn’t know I was supposed to!”
Apparently, every single member of his graduating class did though. Except for him.
Right then, the Dean called, “Michael Bailey” to a well of applause. “He will be pinned by Dario Dalla Lasta.” At least she pronounced my name properly.
We trotted up the stairs. I followed Michael’s billowing gown blindly, embarrassed to look out at the mass of people in the auditorium, knowing in that one moment that nothing would be spoken or read about who I was or why in the hell I was up there in the first place. Some lady handed me a gold pin in a small case and turned me around to face the photographer. I had no clue what to do with it. Where in the world was I supposed to pretend to pin it on his gown? There was no example for me to follow. The photographer—a grumpy old man, as I found out soon enough—kept pointing to Michael’s shoulder, so I held it there. Apparently, that was incorrect due to the mad pointing and grand gesticulating that met my every wrong move. Meanwhile, while I was attempting to get the pose right for a picture, there was a silence after the initial clapping, as the crowd waited for the Dean to read why I was up there with Michael. Still not knowing quite what to do with the pin, I finally turned to the audience, lifted up my shoulders and raised my hands, pantomiming, “I don’t know what to do!” with a lopsided grin plastered on my face.
Right then, the Dean announced, “Oh by the way, this is his husband.”
The timing couldn’t have been planned better. The crowd laughed at my dorky behavior mixed with the last minute, blurted news of who I was. A picture was finally snapped. The flash didn’t blot out the photographer’s frustrated, bright red face at my inadequacies in doing the simplest of tasks, but at least the other graduates and their families knew who I was. I laughed along, followed Michael off the stage and made my way back to my seat. This time, the photographer wasn’t the only one red-faced. I could feel the blush rising up to the top of my head.
After that, I watched every single graduate and their pinner pose exactly how they were supposed to, with the gold button held in the proper position. Not only that, but I also heard a story about why each person was chosen for this honor. And they were all lovely. I just wish each and every one in that room had a chance to hear our story. And yet, just being his husband spoke volumes on the subject. What else needed to be said?
The very next day—Wednesday, May 30, 2012—was the actual graduation ceremony at the same location at 1:00pm. Michael had a total of three tickets so he also invited Sheren and Susan, both of whom had received diplomas in the years we’d all been friends in New York. Here’s a gorgeous photo of the gals with Michael.
They knew firsthand of what graduating with a degree truly meant, as did I. We were quite the educated foursome, I must say. And here I am with my handsome hubby. Do I look like a distinguished professor with my graying beard?
The two-hour ceremony went off without a hitch (thank goodness I didn’t have to do anything, that’s all I have to say) and afterwards, we rode the train downtown to one of our favorite restaurants, El Cantinero. An inexpensive Mexican joint just below Union Square, the place serves excellent food and delicious pitchers of margaritas—just what the nurse ordered! Since we’d all been there several times for special occasions and birthdays, we asked for a sombrero for photographs. The results were predictably hilarious.
Another round of congratulations are in order for my bosses for the other big event in my life that happened last night. The four principal members of the theatrical management firm that I work for have opened up a cabaret/restaurant under the old Studio 54 nightclub called “54 Below,” and last night was the opening night with a performance by the multiple Tony Award-winning actress Patti LuPone (“Evita,” “Gypsy”).
To say I was blown away would be an understatement. Besides the brilliance of Patti’s performance (and being close enough to the stage to see every expression on her face), the club itself is stunning. From the moment I walked down the stairs, I was transported to a different place and time. The intimate, 160-seat space was designed by set designer John Lee Beatty and lighting designer Ken Billington, both Tony Award winners. It is a Broadway lovers dream. Every single detail rings true—the wallpaper, the sconces, the pictures, the lighting, the background music; everything has been pulled together to create a fascinating amalgamation of something old (an underground nightclub? a speakeasy? a bordello?!) and something new (pristine sound, sparkling live talent, creative beverages). And the service? Impeccable. I simply cannot wait to go again. The ghosts of Studio 54 would be proud, even though the patrons were impeccably dressed and well-mannered. It was a classy event, and one that I am proud to have been invited to. How can I be so lucky in my life?
Here’s a photo from last night of the lovely Ms. LuPone with Richard Frankel, Tom Viertel, Marc Routh, and Steve Baruch.
Congratulations to all!
Friday, April 20th was nothing short of an odyssey.
Like Homer’s epic poem from 8th Century B.C., the journey embarked upon a few weekends ago felt like it lasted 10 long years, although the tale existed over the span of only one day. The fact that the hero’s name Odysseus means “trouble” in Greek (referring to both the giving and receiving of trouble, as was often the case in his many wanderings) should not be overlooked. Also, there is a strong theme of homecoming in the Odyssey due to Odysseus embarking on a journey home after the Trojan War finally ended. And last but not least, the themes of identity and exile that are extremely prevalent in the poem ring hard and true in this real world story as well.
Like Odysseus, Michael and I went on a journey after we were exiled from our home, a dwelling through the years that had captured our identity together as a couple. We then encountered enough trouble to test even the strongest man, only to finish off our seemingly epic duration of wandering with a lovely feeling of coming home.
Here is our epic poem.
But what’s an epic poem without a soundtrack? There just happens to be the perfect album to go along with this epistle, one from 2005 that both Michael and I fell in love with when we first fell in love with each other. Appropriately, it’s entitled “Odyssey” by the art-rock band Fischerspooner. Get ready to drop the needle on the record 'cause here we go.
The story begins on a Friday near the end of April. We awake early, have coffee and a nosh, and pack up odds 'n ends in an endless array of boxes to compliment the pictures, plants, files, furniture, and bookshelves that fill our tiny abode to the brim. The movers are scheduled to arrive at 11:00am so we are good to go at the appointed hour. After waiting around for awhile, I call to question the delay and am advised that traffic is bad. Well, sure, this is New York after all. Is that even an excuse any more? An 11:00 o’clock appointment should mean 11:00 o’clock, give or take a few minutes, especially when one is moving domiciles and the entire day is planned around said starting time. As the day winds on and the sun reaches the middle of the sky in its never-ending arc, a sick knot embeds itself in my stomach, clutching me tightly like a hungry parasite. The seconds, minutes, and hours tick by ever so slowly. I end up making a phone call at the top of every hour, only to be told repeatedly that traffic is still bad. Yeah, I know. Doesn’t one plan for that?, I wonder.
Meanwhile, our slumlord Bill Lika (remember that name, it is synonymous with evil), who has been a jerk for almost 10 years to every single tenant at 81 N. 7th Street and was forcing us to move on that exact day, had the gall to hire a worker to lay tiles in the foyer with wet cement, essentially blocking the entire hallway in and out of our apartment with two long, narrow boards placed precariously over the construction. It’s like a balance beam from hell. In my horrified mind’s eye, I visualize someone slipping off those slim pieces of wood while carrying a 200-pound dining room hutch. Shudder. Cue up Track #1 “Just Let Go” from the Fischerspooner album or fire up the self-help mantra, “Let Go, Let God.” Either one works. I must force myself to let go of what might possibly go wrong in the future and to focus instead on the here and now. It’s a little too soon for my sanity to start slipping away, even though my mental stability is barely holding on by a fragile thread.
By the time 2:00pm rolls around, panic has settled in like a thick mottled haze until "I lost myself" (Track #2 “Cloud”). After a frantic conversation with the dispatcher, I receive a call from the driver himself stating they are close by. Thirty minutes later, they finally arrive. Three-and-a-half hours late.
I take a deep breath and head outside. “Just let go, just let go,” I mutter to myself.
When I spot the two movers pulling up in a small van, my heart sinks. The amount of furniture and furnishings in our two-bedroom apartment is astounding and requires a full-on moving van. Not a cargo van. And the men are far from burly. When they take sight of our belongings ready to be transported to Greenpoint and learn that the new apartment is up several flights of stairs without an elevator, their hears sink. I see the light fade from their eyes and hardened expressions take over. Cue up the trouble. Several calls go back and forth to the company dispatcher, discussing what can be done, while I beg and plead and stress that I disclosed everything when I set up the appointment, specifically that we have a large apartment with tons of items to move and are relocating to a third-floor walk-up. The guys aren’t having it. The time is 3:00pm now, four hours after our scheduled appointment, and all we have to show for it is a whole lot of grief thrown our way along with a little bit of blackmail. We are stuck at this point; we have to move today but are at an impasse with the movers. “You can never win,” a refrain from Track #3 “Never Win” echoes in my head with singer Casey Spooner’s vocals taunting me. Could he be right?
Finally it’s decided that a third man will join the moving team, Michael and I will pay a flat rate for all three of them, and we haggle down the exorbitant price they are demanding. Tears sting my eyes but I blink them away. In order to get this move going, Michael and I will need to pitch in and help. So we do. Is there even a choice? Back and forth, back and forth, over the two thin balance beams, staggering with heavy boxes, holding our yappy dog, and sweating balls over this unexpected manual labor.
Once the van has been loaded to the gills, then the process begins of the back-and-forth to the new place. I liken it to an unexpected, hurtful “Kick in the Teeth” (Track #4). “You may not realize, when it’s done or why, but it may be the best thing….”
And it was the best thing. My cloud of doom and gloom begins to lift. Ever the optimist, Michael’s positive attitude begins to rub off on me and, when he decides that I should stay at the new apartment with Chavez and place things in the appropriate areas as they arrive, I’m stoked. Suddenly, we’ve got “Everything To Gain” (Track #5). And everything to clean too. The place is a pigsty. The toilet and tub are black; the stove is smothered in laminated grease and splattered sauce; and the refrigerator is an untamed wilderness complete with globs of hair. Yes, hair. And yet, being a Virgo, I happen to be more than content to remain at home and scrub every surface until it’s livable. Track #6 is called “We Need A War” and I am down in the trenches. As is Michael. His Taurean instincts rise up to take charge of the three movers. And guess what? It works. We are an unbeatable team. He does his thing (back and forth, up and down the stairs, back and forth again), I do mine (clean, shush the barking dog, clean some more), and slowly but surely our forces combine to ease everything to completion. By 7:00pm, eight hours after the movers were supposed to arrive, everything is moved in. Of course, the last scene with the movers was a tearful one for me when they practically robbed me to get a tip. What I had, I gave them. It wasn’t much and they truly worked hard but they already forced us between a rock and a hard place, and their services ended up costing two to three times more than we had bargained for. Such is the price of a long, arduous journey, a price that I was more than happy to pay, actually. For believe it or not, after all the Sturm und Drang, Club Chavez had been officially relocated.
Exhausted and sweaty, we had about an hour to get ready before Michael had to show up for a brand-new DJ gig at The Bedford back in Williamsburg (our old ‘hood). There would be no real unpacking this night nor would we be there to hold our scared little dog and help him acclimate to his new surroundings. Worst of all, we wouldn't even be clean for the evening. When Michael jumped in the shower, more troubles bubbled and boiled. The tub was clogged. Not only clogged, but a glut of hairballs, dirt and gunk filled the tub to the brim. There happened to be an old plunger in the bathroom which Michael used with gusto. Unfortunately, he had to give up twenty minutes later. That dirty water wasn’t going down. As a result, he took a “whore’s bath” in the kitchen sink while I washed my grubby hands and changed clothes. Then we were off to a new venue and a new DJ gig from 10:00pm to 4:00am. Nothing went off without a hitch there either, mind you. One of the CD players was spotty at best—about 45 minutes into his set, Michael tried to play 20 different CDs in a row, all to no avail. At this point, he just had to shut down the entire system and reboot it in the hopes of clearing the problem. It worked. “Will I have to start all over? Yes I will.”(Track #7 “Get Confused”). It worked four more times later too.
And yet we still had a blast, despite all the technical difficulties. We had not only survived a horrendous moving experience, but we were surrounded by loving friends and family who were there to support us in every way possible. Things were looking up. Even though I wished the entire weekend was over and that it was already the middle of next week (“Wednesday” Track #8), as if the move was all in the past or something, I went to bed hoping for the best.
The next day dawned bright and beautiful. When we looked at the mess of crap cluttering up the new digs, we weren’t defeated. Instead, we tackled what we could with a renewed vigor, knowing that the space would be beautiful once we stamped our personalities all over it. Hour by hour a feeling of coming home enveloped us. Two bottles of Drano fixed the shower. Boxes were emptied and broken down. Favorite items were discovered and displayed. Sunlight streamed in the large open windows. The dog ran back and forth with excitement not fear. We were actually “Happy” (Track #9). Sure, it wasn’t exactly a suite from an expensive hotel (Track #10 “Ritz 107”)—the floors are hilariously slanted and everything seems to be reversed from the norm—but it was our stuff, our place, our life. And by the time we had to leave for my own DJ set in Manhattan that night, we had made the house a home.
All the headache and struggle and trouble had been worth it. Although we had been exiled and put through an excruciating journey, we had established a new home, together. All that hard work was worth it. I think that it was worth it because of all the hard work. And every day gets better and better; the boxes diminish, the décor flourishes, and my heart swells. The new neighborhood charms with its myriad of churches, tree-lined streets, beautiful brick buildings, local convenience stores, an actual supermarket or two, and a subway stop only a block away, all set to the musical tolling from the bell tower of the stately Roman Catholic Church next door, like a living heartbeat, counting out every precious hour, reminding us that we are all in this journey together as one. The last track of “Odyssey” is called “All We Are,” and the chorus repeats, “We are as one and one is all we are” in an endless chant, a loop of love. Every day at our railroad apartment on Manhattan Avenue is a blessing, and I thank the God of my lucky stars for opening my eyes to this epiphany.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “odyssey” noun (‘ä-də-sē) as “1: a long wandering or voyage usually marked by many changes of fortune; 2: an intellectual or spiritual wandering or quest.”
I think that is exactly what we had. And I am a better man because of it.
Fischerspooner “Odyssey” © 2005
Should Barbra Streisand star in “Gypsy”?
Word on the street is that Barbra Streisand is in negotiations with Universal Pictures to bring “Gpysy” back to the screen.
I’m both shaken and stirred.
Here’s the deal: Barbra and Joel Silver are set to produce a new incarnation of the Tony Award-winning musical from 1959 with music by Jule Styne, book by Arthur Laurents, and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, which originally starred Ethel Merman on the Great White Way. While no director has been hired—and Streisand herself hasn’t directed a movie musical since “Yentl” in 1983—celebrated scribe Julian Fellowes of “Gosford Park” and “Downton Abbey” fame has been hired to write the script.
So far, so good.
Barbra is an exceptional talent who is more than a triple threat. Besides singing, dancing, and acting, the woman also writes, directs, composes, produces and controls every aspect of her 50+ years in entertainment. Even though people may disagree about her political views or her unusual physical appearance or her headstrong personality, her talent remains untarnished. She has been honored with several Oscar, Emmy, Grammy, Tony, Peabody, Golden Globe, and Directors Guild nominations and awards, including two Academy Awards (Best Actress for “Funny Girl” and co-writer of the Best Song “Evergreen” from “A Star is Born”). For all intents and purposes, she is more than adequately equipped to perform the juicy role of Mama Rose. Fans are already chomping at the bit for the ubiquitous soundtrack (myself included), anxious to hear La Streisand’s unique take on such classics as “Some People,” “Small World,” “Everything’s Coming Up Roses” and “Rose’s Turn,” to name a few. Besides Ethel Merman, other formidable actresses have tackled the demanding role including Elaine Stritch, Rosalind Russell, Angela Lansbury, Tyne Daly, Linda Lavin, Bette Midler, Bernadette Peters, and Patti LuPone. Not too shabby of a list.
But is there even room for one more diva to join the ranks of these spectacular actresses? And, if so, it’s hard to deny the one glaring problem inherent with seeing Streisand in the lead role, one that is both painful to bring up yet impossible to ignore. Is she just too darned old to play Rose?
Let’s face it. Barbra Streisand turns 70 years old on April 24, 2012, exactly two weeks from today. To say she’s no longer a spring chicken and may be too long in the tooth to perform this part would mean that I’ve taken two ridiculous examples to come up with one unnerving conclusion. She just might be.
Now, Barbra is no stranger to ageism in casting. Even though she was age-appropriate to star as Fanny Brice in 1968’s penultimate “Funny Girl,” when it came time to turn another popular tuner into celluloid, all hell broke loose. Instead of Carol Channing being cast in her signature role as Dolly Levi straight from Broadway, it was Barbra who clinched the starring role in the 1969 film version of “Hello, Dolly!” directed by hoofer Gene Kelly. She was only 27 years old at the time, and the matchmaker’s age was supposed to be closer to 50. Regardless of her age, she pulled it off. With aplomb, no less. If she could play older back then, why can’t she play younger now? After all, if 40 is the new 20, no doubt 70 is the new 50. And if anyone can make me believe that, it’s Barbra Streisand.
Ever since I was a kid, I believed in her. My childhood was spent listening to my father’s record albums and poring over the liner notes of the aforementioned “Funny Girl” and “Hello, Dolly!” soundtracks, not to mention such favorites as “The Barbra Streisand Album” and “My Name is Barbra,” all the way through “Evergreen,” “Enough Is Enough (No More Tears),” and “Guilty,” just to name a few. I was hooked. In fact, she’s been such an integral part of my life for so long that there was even a time when it became personal. For the first six months of 1993, I worked for her longtime manager Marty Erlichman during the recording of her album “Back to Broadway.” Jealous much?
She’s a part of me. There’s no denying that. And “Gypsy” is one of my favorite musicals of all time. I’ve seen it twice on Broadway with both Bernadette Peters and Patti LuPone. I own both DVDs; the Bette Midler version turned me out. I can sing practically every part by heart, although not very well. A friend and I were videotaped lip-synching “If Mama Was Married” in drag at a house party. And “Little Lamb” makes me cry every time.
And yet…do we really need another version? At 70, does Barbra still have the vocal chops to hit it out of the park? And at her advanced age, who would make sense to play her daughter Louise, the girl who morphs like a caterpillar into the stunning butterfly known as Gypsy Rose Lee? Lea Michele is an obvious choice, but she'd embody Barbra’s granddaughter more believably than a daughter. And as for Dainty June, you know who would fit into the perfect age bracket? Wait for it, wait for it ... Madonna. Seriously, that would make total sense age-wise, if you think about it. And that’s just wrong (even though I love Madonna too).
I can’t even begin to answer these questions. So I’m just going to leave it up to Barbra. This role may be the perfect swan song to her long and fabulous musical movie career and the most amazing bookend to “Funny Girl” ever (which also had music by Jule Styne). She was close to bookwriter Arthur Laurents up until his death and has collaborated heavily with lyricist Stephen Sondheim throughout the years. Rosalind Russell’s performance in the 1962 film earned weak reviews, and her singing was dubbed. It’s been 50 long years since a theatrical version has been produced. That’s a long time, folks. This could be a slam dunk and I, for one, am going to leave it up to the fates and to Barbra’s impeccable taste. I challenge her to bring me the ultimate portrayal of Mama Rose, one that could only spring from the formidable talents of Ms. Streisand herself.
Come on, Barbra, I say curtain up, light the lights. I invite you to take on the most revered musical of all time for what may be the last time. For my life won’t be complete until I see and hear you belt, “Here she is, boys! Here she is, world! It’s Rose!”
Mama, you can show it to me anytime.
|I don't bite my fingernails but if I did, they'd be nubs. |
It's been over a year since I signed a contract with a small publisher to release my second novel The Force of Destiny, and I'm still left in the dark as to when it will be published. While I possess more than a kernel of faith, the sensitive artist in me can't help but be worried...perhaps they decided not to publish my manuscript after all? Maybe they hated the book and are trying to ignore my repeated attempts at contact via email? Could it be that I have a fragile ego, one that is bruised and cowering with the Unknown looming over me?
In the meantime, here's Chapter 1, unedited by a publisher, raw with nerve endings, and desirous of love. If you like what you read, let me know. And if you don't? Well, tough titty. In the words of writer Neil Gaiman (Coraline, American Gods), "Remember: when people tell you something's wrong or doesn't work, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what's wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong."
As for a set-up, let me just say this: If you live in New York and take the subway, I'm sure you can relate...
The following excerpt is copyrighted. © Dario Dalla Lasta 2011-2012
The morning started out like any other day for Adrian Gibbons, hung over or not.
He snored through his alarm, jerking himself awake fifteen minutes later and stumbling over his dog Trip curled at the foot of the tangled bed sheets. He cracked his jaw yawning in the shower. Small patches of toilet paper had to be applied to the shaving cuts on his neck. Having no desire or time to iron a clean shirt, he grabbed a thermal underwear top from the bedroom floor, sniffed it, and covered up the mustiness with a worn grey hoodie paired with grungy jeans and dilapidated sneakers for Trip’s brisk walk outside. Once the dog peed and pooped and was curled up nose-to-butt on the bed, Adrian ran through the cluttered apartment gathering his iPod and a dog-eared paperback into a tote bag for the morning commute.
He was going to be late.
Ignoring the clock over the kitchen sink, he covered his bloodshot eyes with dark sunglasses, placed a newsboy cap over his newly shorn head, grabbed keys and a fistful of change from the nightstand, and loped three blocks toward Bedford Avenue and the L train amongst a bevy of hipsters in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn.
A full block passed before he remembered to brush away the bloodied bits clinging to his neck, watching them flutter away in the wind like little crimson moths. He hurried on with long strides, embarrassed.
Uh oh, he thought, I forgot to brush my teeth.
So far, the day had begun like every other typical morning. Except that on this day, something extraordinary was about to happen. Adrian Gibbons had no idea he was going to meet his boyfriend from the future and that his entire world would be upended by noon. At that moment, all he knew was that he needed coffee.
In order to quell his headache and absorb the sour taste in his mouth, he detoured one block to the portable breakfast cart on North 6th Street. From ten feet away Adrian noticed Lucita, the rotund woman who ran the joint, placing a large cup of light-and-sweet coffee on the counter in anticipation for when he trudged up. Fumbling with earbuds, he waited his turn in line until he could bend down into the cart’s window opening to pay. Lucita laughed at his appearance; not at the lopsided gap-toothed smile, freckles exploding across his cheeks like millions of faded galaxies, and one dimple winking, but at the lone scrap of toilet tissue stuck to his throat. The proprietress pointed to his neck with a questioning look and smiled broadly when he picked off the piece in disgust. Then bestowing him with a kind “Gracias,” she accepted his $1.25 worth of coins with a shrug. In Adrian’s mind, he was doing her a favor—now she would have change for the five-dollar bills about to land her way.
“Bye!” yelled Adrian, unaware of how loud he was due to the music’s volume in his ears. Backtracking to North 7th Street, he descended the packed stairs of the subway amidst a flurry of graffiti, turnstiles, and boys. Reddened eyes or not, he still examined every male figure crammed onto the train platform since he was a horny creature of habit. Ambling toward his usual spot, he sipped the hot coffee carefully, trying not to scald his mouth. After three swallows, he’d succeeded in burning his tongue and dribbling a line of caramel-colored liquid down his chin and onto the front of his shirt in the shape of a lightning bolt. He wiped his chin with the back of his hand and glowered. Not having a napkin on hand, he yanked the zipper of his hoodie up in a futile attempt to hide the stain, reasoning that no one would be paying attention anyway. Adrian was good at rationalizing such things.
By peering over the tracks and into the dark tunnel, he willed the train’s headlights into being while also sneaking a few side-eyed glances at the men standing around the platform. Adrian recognized a few morning regulars but checked out the new meat closest to him, enjoying the scruffy face and wavy hair, so unlike his own bloodied neck and prickly bristles. Short guys didn’t bother Adrian, although he felt a good head taller than this sloucher with a slight build and studious glasses. The cutie must have sensed someone staring because he looked up from his reading material and straight at Adrian’s chest, eyeballs magnified from behind chunky black rims. Curious, Adrian glanced down and faced the drying coffee bolt. The mark, clearly visible, had morphed into a crooked streak resembling a smear of shit.
Groaning inwardly, Adrian faced the tracks head-on and resolved not to use his peripheral vision any further. For once, the train was pulling in at exactly the right time. Hallelujah, he praised inwardly, jerking the bag higher up on his shoulder and shuffling towards the crowded train. Ducking under the doorway, he steered clear of the wavy-haired guy, who probably thought Adrian had wiped his messy ass with his shirt, and jammed into the writhing sea of tangled arms and annoyed frowns until he found a spot big enough for a toothpick. It would have to do.
Wedging in between a jutting elbow in his clavicle and a supersized Louis Vuitton bag scraping his butt, Adrian thought all was well until his iPod earphones were dislodged during the calamity of finding a spot.
“The next stop is…First Avenue,” the lady robot that lived in the new automated trains stated.
“Stand clear of the closing doors please,” her masculine robot counterpart added cheerfully. Even the disembodied male and female mechanical announcers appeared to be a perfect match. Bing bong went the warning chimes as the doors began to crush the people scrunched together in ridiculous proximity with each other. After a few tries, the doors finally closed and the subway jerked to a start.
Since one arm was holding onto the rail above the seats and the other hand was busy keeping the coffee from sloshing out, Adrian had to leave the ear pieces swinging from his front pocket like some abnormally skinny, low-slung balls. Annoyed, he could faintly hear “Jet Airliner” from The Steve Miller Band hanging between his legs. He wished he was on a plane at that very moment instead of smushed in a rush-hour subway car. He also hoped no one could make out the tinny tune since the song was from the late-1970s and probably not too hip in the scene right now. With a small pout he took a careful sip and, like a true New Yorker, blocked out the temporary unpleasantness by falling into his daily routine of staring at his fellow passengers as they hurtled through the dark tunnel under the East River.
He wasn’t alone. Everyone did it. At least Adrian had the class to do so from behind vintage Ray Bans, which is how he justified such behavior. This ritual was infused with a cornucopia of hot guys to ogle, especially on the Brooklyn to Manhattan L train, that hotbed of hipster realness. And if the passenger had a penis, he was liberally scrutinized. Among the troops of working-class citizens, Adrian picked out the quirky parts of the men he chose to fantasize about that morning. Most everyone had an “It” factor, whether it be the eyes, the face, the stubble, the grittiness, the muscles, the shoes, the hair, the swagger, the straightness, the swarthiness or almost anything that caused one to stand out in an individualized way. And while Adrian always dreamed of spotting a manly bulge in the crotch region, he was seldom lucky enough to pick one out in the mass of middles.
Today’s menu consisted of sleepy brown eyes cradled by heavy eyebrows under a New York Yankees cap; a tousled bed of hair on a painfully thin fashionista; an impressive beard being scratched by a dirty fingernail holding onto a skateboard; facial hair trimmed as precise as cut-outs above a crisp business suit; hair slicked back into a ‘50s-esque ducktail; stiff, dark blue jeans holding in a deliciously round rump; young, pillowed lips being licked with a covert slip of the tongue; hairy ankles exhibited beneath rolled-up skinny jeans; and faded tattoos covering the scabby forearms of a been-there, done-that rocker.
Like every other day, a smorgasbord.
And like every other day, Adrian got lost in his imagination, daydreaming about what kind of underwear these men wore—boxers or briefs or, gasp, commando? Were they a solid color or a tongue-in-cheek print? Perhaps some were frayed and lightly stained yellow while others were brand-new and still smelling of the plastic package. From there, he fantasized about what their cocks looked and tasted like, if they were cut or uncut, hairy or shaved, plump or noodle-like. Adrian pictured how the men jerked off those imagined penises and wondered whether they preferred long and languid pulls on their hard-ons or fast, blurry rubs. The possibilities were endless, the combinations never-ending. If his mind was alert and not marinated in alcohol, Adrian also had time to move on to more generalities such as what their armpits smelled of, how they kissed, what they enjoyed doing in bed, and the simple physicality of actually speaking to one of them, one of these beautifully diverse mortals, these shining examples of every nuance of masculinity, these strangers on public transportation in a city of eight million people.
Ensuing horniness was a usual by-product of such thoughts, even when Adrian was under the weather. He likened the process to his very own Hangover Helper, not to be confused with Hamburger Helper as this existed without that weird white-gloved hand from the television commercials. The recipe was thus: blood rushed from his pounding skull to his thickening dick, relieving the pressure from one head while transferring it to another. Even Julia Child herself could classify it as being as miraculous as a fluffed soufflé.
His daily routine wasn’t serious. He never thought about a future with any of these males he perused but longed only for a shy smile in return, a mutual glance, perhaps a feeling—even fleeting—that somebody knew him, really knew who he was and what he liked and then he was on to the next, only wanting to live in that moment and that moment only. On his 29th birthday in April, however, the wish he made as he blew out the lone candle on a red velvet cupcake from Magnolia Bakery was to find a boyfriend before turning thirty. He didn’t tell his BFFs Elliot or Destiny his wish, of course, knowing that would bring bad luck. At the rate he was going though, April would come again too quickly without his wish coming true. He had less than six months.
But on this day—a day that started out like any other—during that typical morning rush hour, an invisible breath from the future blew down Adrian’s neck, fanning the miniscule hairs about like tentacles on a sea anemone. He shuddered and looked up.
There he was. A dark-haired man, eyes closed, leaning against the nearest subway door, rocking slightly with the train’s movements. Ah, Adrian contemplated, if only love at first sight was more than a lame Hallmark Channel movie. At that very instant, in that one second of all the minutes that added up to the present moment in time, he wanted to believe in it. For in that very first sighting, the closeted romantic imprisoned in Adrian’s heart peered out from behind his ventricle cage, sighed, and then screamed “Boyfriend material!”
There was something about this guy with his perfect black hair swept over to one side, something essentially masculine yet exceeding more than an “It” Factor, something enticing irrespective of his exhausted appearance. For unlike Adrian’s morning prep, the guy hadn’t seen a razor in days and his shuttered eyes exposed sockets that were sunken and smudged with purple as though he’d had a late night too. An instant bond was formed in Adrian’s mind, a sense of kinship in knowing he wasn’t alone in the slightly haggard, not-enough-sleep look. He instantly sensed his body relaxing, his stomach settling, and the taste in his mouth sweetening. The man was delectable, and not just for the sexy roughness of surviving a late night. There had to be an interesting back story to this guy, Adrian was sure of it. So behind his sunglasses, hidden from God and man, he made one up.
The far-reaching eyelashes sweeping the pallid cheeks were dark and full, appearing permanently ringed with mascara and black eyeliner. A history unfolded as Adrian pictured a rebellious teenager dancing in an underage goth club to Bauhaus’ formidable “Bela Lugosi’s Dead,” experimenting with eye makeup in the girls’ bathroom with his best friend applying the desired effect with her chubby fingers. Adrian had always adored goth boys with their pent-up, adolescent androgyny. The heady smell of incense and clove cigarettes wafted by while he chanted lyrics in his mind, “Undead, undead, undead,” picturing the two of them dancing in a murky bar, giggling into cups of cheap cabernet sauvignon, sneaking chaste kisses, promising to dye each other’s hair, grinding their bony hips together and singing along to Peter Murphy’s deep, anguished voice.
From those images, an erection began to sprout. And at just that moment, the stranger opened his eyes and smiled at Adrian with a knowing expression that concluded he was the cause of the burgeoning hardness.
Surprised at having been discovered, Adrian flinched and averted his gaze, his face trying to mold into a mask of cool disinterest like Danny Zuko in “Grease” although he had a sick feeling he more closely resembled the proverbial deer caught in the headlights. Pulling focus to his feet, he pretended to be concerned about his Adidas turning a turd-like brown from the slush of a recent snowstorm. But he couldn’t deny the gnawing attraction nibbling at his loins and, after a beat, his eyes shifted back in direct disregard of what Danny Zuko would do.
The man’s attention was focused elsewhere, allowing Adrian to take a breath and exhale. He peered closer. Even through his sunglasses, Adrian noted that the black lashes outlined eyes of an exceptional hazel color, one that Crayola had tried but failed to replicate. A green of dewy grass and a warm, velvety brown sparkled in tandem underneath the high intensity glare of the train’s lights, banishing the darkness of Bauhaus from Adrian’s internal jukebox and flipping the record over into “Lily’s Eyes” from the musical “The Secret Garden.” A yearning Mandy Patinkin belted in his head, “Her eyes! She has my Lily’s hazel eyes!”
Those same eyes shifted back to Adrian, accompanied by a slight smirk which curved through his stubbly face as if he’d heard Adrian singing that show tune out loud.
Looking back down at his feet again, Adrian cussed himself out for being a dork and probably an obvious theater queen, picturing the dude reading his lips as he silently sang along in a pale imitation of Mandy Patinkin. Of all people, Adrian knew from firsthand experience what community theater and being a drama geek in college out West could do to a young, star-struck boy from a small, forgotten state like Delaware. Truth be told, the results weren’t always cool.
Chagrined that a studly stranger might discover he was into show tunes, Adrian repositioned his dangling arm on the bar above the seats, took an almost violent swig of the cooling coffee, and turned his body a bit so that he wasn’t facing the door anymore. As was standard practice on the morning commute with his daily staring routine, the hardness below was making itself known, and he was positive that the prim Asian lady sitting directly in front of him and his expanding crotch was not amused. A quick glance at her proved she wasn’t paying him any mind, yet it also showed that his trouser snake was coiled heavily in the worn pouch of his Levi’s, poised to let loose and strike at the next charmer. It appeared to be quite spring-like on this chilly Fall morning.
Rolling his eyes, he tried to will his stiffy down by pulling words from his alphabetical “List of Personal Atrocities,” starting this morning with the letter “c”—cabbage, catheters, Catholicism, cavities, clowns, collared greens, Crystal Light—until the hardness deflated. Ever since puberty, Adrian had developed what could only be described as an overactive boner. The doctor had advised him since junior high school that the constant, obvious, and potentially embarrassing problem would fade away as he got older. That medical advice was inaccurate. Nothing worked until Adrian developed the List.
In high school, the difficult task of sitting behind T.J. Hayfield in civics class had become a bone of contention, so to speak. Adrian daydreamed about twirling the baseball pitcher’s chestnut curls in his fingers and running them up and down the nape of that sunburned neck before him, amongst other things. The procession of painful and humiliating erections day in and day out had been harmful in several ways; not only did his grades slip in class, but he had a constant state of blue balls. Something had to be done. So Adrian began writing lists in class, things that he disliked or even hated, subjects that would distract him from T.J.’s neck or tight baseball uniform, anything to transport himself from his fantasies and ceaseless woodies. The tactic began to work. Over time, the “List of Personal Atrocities,” as he began to call it, became alphabetized and expanded as his vocabulary and tastes grew and changed, but it would forever be a meticulous and constantly evolving work in progress.
With that issue under control due to the List, he treated himself to another peek at the guy against the subway door. Complimenting the startling hue of his eyes, the man’s hair was boot-black and severely parted down the left side, cleaving a neat white line and bestowing a militant bearing so unlike those glittery, fanciful eyes. When those flecked marble orbs rolled his way again, Adrian sensed his face burning, scalp tingling, and constellation of freckles sizzling. Oh dear God, he’s looking again. Why is he looking at me? Nobody ever stared back at him. At least, not more than one time and not with such intensity.
Mortified in that turned-on kind of way, Adrian forced his blinking eyes away and surveyed the top of the same lady’s hairdo positioned in front of his midsection. Suddenly not feeling so well again, his queasy stomach lurched when he discerned a dusting of white flakes swirled throughout her dark helmet of hair. He decided to add the word “dandruff” to the “List of Personal Atrocities” under the letter “d.”
The List was working its magic; his prick had shrunk down to normalcy, but today this saddened him. Although he had turned away in embarrassment before, now he wanted the man with jet-black hair to see what he was working with down there. More than that, however, he realized with a start that he wanted to actually meet the man, to talk to him, to make a real and not fantasized connection at the very least. A monumental wave rose up inside him, a conflicting tide of words and nerves that crested with a touch of vomit. He swallowed everything down forcefully, even a simple greeting.
The train emerged from underneath the river onto the crowded island and began slowing down for the First Avenue stop.
“This is…First Avenue,” the automated female voice announced in a friendly, informative tone. When the doors slid open, he opened his mouth to speak but the man stepped off the train amidst a crush of people with one last glance in Adrian’s direction.
“The next stop is…Third Avenue,” the train instructed her passengers, sounding much more chipper about it than Adrian felt.
“Stand clear of the closing doors please.” Bing bong.
Pissed off, Adrian berated himself for not taking his sunglasses off and making naked eye contact, not encouraging the grown-up goth with something as small as a return smile, not saying one single solitary word. In essence, not doing diddly-squat. After closing his hanging mouth, Adrian bent down to peek out the window with the hope of catching one last sight of the guy (and, for an added bonus, his butt). All he got for his effort was an aggravated harrumph from the Dandruff Lady. He moaned his regret but when he straightened up, he had secured a bit of personal space due to the exiting travelers. Moving the coffee cup to the hand resting on the rail, he grabbed the swinging headphones from between his legs, plugged them back in where only he could hear the next song, and attempted to calm his rapid heartbeat to the next song playing on “Shuffle” mode. He almost laughed—currently blasting his eardrums to Kingdom Come was “A Piece of Sky,” the last number from the Yentl soundtrack. Oh Barbra, he mused, with all there is, why should I settle for just a piece of sky?
Through Barbra’s expressive emoting, Third Avenue came and went. Soon enough, Adrian heard the informative train robot announce, “This is 14th Street, Union Square. Transfer is available to the 4, 5, 6, N, Q, and R trains.” Exiting with a mob, Adrian was swept up the stairs to the yellow N/Q/R line uptown. The Q express train arrived first which Adrian decided to hop on. Although he wouldn’t be allowed to exit at his regular local stop on 49th Street and Seventh Avenue, he thought it might be a good idea to take a brisk walk through Times Square, up eight blocks and over two avenues. That ought to clear his head before work and he would only be a few minutes later than usual.
The trip was uneventful since no cute boys were riding the rails, only stressed-out lawyers and financiers in fancy suits and overcoats, a stinky swami, and a foreign tourist with giant testicles stretching nylon track pants. While Adrian was normally a connoisseur of big balls, he wasn’t in the mood for an older Slavic with acne scars and a subway map. Bored with the lack of eye candy, he pulled out a used paperback copy of Kurt Vonnegut’s “Slaughterhouse-Five” from his tote bag and immersed himself in the story of time-traveling protagonist Billy Pilgrim.
By the time 42nd Street rolled around, Adrian was zoned out to a live recording on his iPod of “O Fortuna,” the most notable movement from Orff’s haunting Carmina Burana. The book had been briefly forgotten by the overwhelming auditory overload. Although the piece was performed by the normally chipper New York City Gay Men’s Chorus, the song was super creepy and reminded Adrian of peeing in his pants while watching “The Omen” on TV one summer night with a cruel babysitter. Transported to a different time and place by the ominous chanting in Latin about fortune, he dropped the book in his bag and made his way out of the train car behind a woman in a blazer and skirt wearing sparkly space-age trainers, barely glancing up at a dark, hunky piece of ass leaning against one of those little silver-colored enclosed newsstands in the subway that sells every magazine on Earth next to bright boxes of candy.
The hot piece of ass raised a hand in greeting, stopping Adrian in his tracks and freaking him out enough to almost piss his pants in the here and now. The nearly empty coffee cup teetered in a hand that had as much feeling as an appendage from Madame Tussauds Wax Museum. Suddenly, he wasn’t zoned out any more.
There he was, grinning like a devil, arms folded in smug satisfaction. That dark-haired stranger from the train, the very same one who conjured up Adrian’s hard-on, was standing there.
Waiting for him.
* * * * * *
And that's Chapter 1. Intrigued? I hope so. To keep your attention, here's a hot photo I found of a naughty boy on a subway platform. Schwing!
Thursday, February 23, 2012
New York City Opera, BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, Brooklyn
On an unseasonably warm February night in Brooklyn, my husband Michael and I had the opportunity to attend one of the four shows for the U.S. premiere of singer/songwriter Rufus Wainwright’s new opera entitled Prima Donna.
Here's an overview from the New York City Opera website:
Singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright makes his first foray into opera with Prima Donna, a meditation on the fine line between fame and failure. “A love song to opera, soaked in the perennial operatic themes of loss, betrayal, delusion and nostalgia, and saturated in the musical styles of opera’s golden age” (The Times, London), this new production by celebrated director Tim Albery makes its U.S. premiere after thrilling audiences at the Manchester International Festival, Sadler’s Wells, and Toronto’s Luminato Festival. Rising star Melody Moore, who received accolades for her performance in last season’s Séance on a Wet Afternoon, sings the tour-de-force role of a once-acclaimed soprano, haunted by her past success and her present reality as she seeks to return to the spotlight. www.nycopera.com
An intimate chamber piece with only four main characters and one set, the French-language work centers on aging opera soprano Régine Saint Laurent, superbly rendered with world-weary gravitas by Melody Moore (could a more perfect name exist for a singer?) as she confronts her demons while considering a return to the stage.
Bastille Day, 1970. Paris. The setting alone sent shivers down my spine. The curtain rises on a beautiful, graceful, but lonely woman alone in her once-grand apartment. Now tarnished and shabby, the apartment has become a tomb for the recluse who is attended to only by a loyal butler and a novice maid. Once the toast of the town, Régine has now fallen into obscurity since her triumph and tragedy six years earlier when she starred in Aliénor d’Aquitaine, an opera written exclusively for her based on the woman who was both Queen of England and France. On that fateful night which was recorded on vinyl for all posterity, Régine sung the part to perfection. On the second night, however, she inexplicably broke down during the finale duet and could not finish the performance, leaving the production for good and forever sealing her fate. And now she is slated to return to the stage for the first time in six years in the role that made her and broke her.
What progresses during this night of contemplation encompasses the entire opera, with things taking a heated and confusing turn when a journalist comes to interview Madame Saint Laurent about her upcoming return to the stage, a writer who is not only a huge fan but one who also knows the tenor part of Aliénor d’Aquitaine by heart. Memories are stirred and parts are sung to disastrous results. Whether Régine’s troubles are physical or psychological are unexplained, but when they converge in a dramatic flashback of the famous duet from her golden age, the result in the present is the painful realization that she will never be able to sing the part again. Ever.
The opera closes on a solitary woman, bereft of friends or servants, watching the Bastille Day fireworks outside of her balcony window. Will she jump? Will she live to see another day? Or will she grow old, alone and lonely, in the Parisian mausoleum of her own making? That, my friends, is up for interpretation.
I thoroughly enjoyed the opera in so many aspects, despite my knobby knees bent into a pretzel shape from the tiny seats in the balcony. The set was grand, glorious and moody, the costumes spot-on for the time and place, and the music was, by turns, luscious and playful, ominous and expressive, and delightful and evocative. Kudos to Rufus! I’m quite impressed; I have no idea how he wrote a two-hour opera, for heaven’s sake. All I know is that when and if the soundtrack is released, this opera newbie is going to indulge in a copy. After all, it could be the only one recorded for posterity.
Prima Donna composed by Rufus Wainwright, libretto by Rufus Wainwright and Bernadette Colomine, conducted by Jayce Ogren, production by Tim Albery, and starring Melody Moore, Kathryn Guthrie Demos, Taylor Stayton, and Randal Turner.
What A Feeling! (1/13/12)
At 2:30pm on Friday the 13th in 2012, in a rehearsal space on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, about 25 singers, dancers, and actors put on a show for an audience of about 40…and blew them away. Through song and dance, they told the story of a steel-town girl on a Saturday night looking for the fight of her life and, lemme tell ya, they sure gave it. They took their passion and made it happen. Since I had the distinct pleasure of being one of the audience members, I was lucky enough to be awestruck at the raw talent on display before me. Literally right before me—these guys were seriously only about ten feet away from my chair. Eye contact was frequent, ladies and gentlemen.
Since the partners of the company that I work for are producing “Flashdance” for a possible Broadway run, they threw a “29-Hour Reading,” a set of four readings dispersed through a 29-hour period. I saw the very last reading, and my socks were knocked off by the sheer talent, charisma, and fortitude displayed throughout the cast. These people are hungry for musical theater above and beyond anything else. Hell, they’re certainly not in it for the money.
And what a cast. Being a musical theater geek, I was in heaven. The “stage” (or rather, the floor of the rehearsal studio) was besieged with Broadway heavyweights, including some Tony-nominated and –winning actors, mind you. The cast was comprised of Emily Padgett as Alex (Rock of Ages), Gavin Creel as Nick (Hair—Tony nomination, Thoroughly Modern Millie—Tony nomination, and also the boyfriend of Spring Awakening and Glee star, Jonathan Groff), Priscilla Lopez (original cast of A Chorus Line, for Christ’s sake), Lauren Molina (Rock of Ages, Sweeney Todd), Adam Dannheisser (Rock of Ages), Jarrod Spector (Jersey Boys), Capathia Jenkins (Caroline, or Change), and even Jack Noseworthy (from such diverse films as Event Horizon and Barb Wire with Pamela Anderson, both of which I’ve seen—I recognized him right away). I mean, wowza. And the original music and lyrics were clever, moving, and emotional, bringing me to tears several times in the second act.
New York City boasts such incredible talent, I truly believe that everyone with stars in their eyes, a song in their hearts, and a dance in their step belongs here.
|December 16-23, 2011|
Isla Mujeres, Mexico - our honeymoon
Well, we did it. We spent seven glorious days together on a small, quaint island in the Mexican caribbean called Isla Mujeres. A favorite spot of ours. Once again, it didn't disappoint. In fact, it even exceeded my expectations. Not only did we get our same room #21 on the third floor at Hotel Belmar with a balcony that we always do, but we tore the island a new asshole in a completely unexpected way - we met tons of new people. And Michael really stepped it up by being the best "esposo" ever - he took care of the money at all times, ordered everything for us both in Spanish, and literally did everything for us without even being asked. He was a lifesaver! I couldn't have done it without him nor would I have wanted to. And here's a rundown of our trip...
Mexico Journal (December 16-23, 2011)
(real events may be a little hazier than depicted below)
We flew out on American Airlines from LaGuardia and, for the first time together as travelers, took a car in the afternoon for once, right after Michael’s last nursing final. Normally we’re in a car en route to the airport at some dark, ungodly hour like 5:00am, so it was nice to travel while fully coherent, for once.
We arrived in Miami then traveled straight on to Cancun, Mexico. Arriving later than we thought, we knew we had to hurry as we finished going through the last checkpoint. Of course, having separation anxiety, I walked up with Michael to the uniformed guard who checked our passports, looked at me haughtily as I stood directly behind and next to Michael, and asked Michael if we were family or not.
Michael answered, “Si.”
When the guard asked who I was, Michael said, “Mi esposo.” (translation: “My husband.”)
The guard laughed and waved us through.
My heart swelling, we walked out of the airport to the thick, tropical night and into the waiting throngs of men harassing us into taking a taxi. A very expensive taxi. Michael’s Spanish came in handy (again) at that point as he computed pesos into dollars. Finally, he made a deal with some guy who proposed to drive us to Puerto Juarez for a decent fare before the last ferry departed at 10:30pm…although it was already 10pm. Our driver promised to be “Speedy Gonzalez” and, what do you know, he kept to his word. The landscape blurred outside as we passed the gaudy lights of Cancun, so similar to the hotels of Las Vegas. By the time we arrived at the ferry and jumped out with our carry-on luggage, we only had five minutes to spare. Whew! Riding the ferry to the island of Isla Mujeres in the dark was a new experience as well. Quite lovely to see the lights rush up towards us as the wind whipped through our hair (okay, that’s an exaggeration—but the wind was still strong) and the anticipation built.
Upon arriving at Hotel Belmar, our lovely concierge Elena greeted us with, “I almost left for the night, I didn’t think you guys would make it, but I waited for the last ferry.” We breathed a sigh of relief, retrieved our key, and walked up three flights to the magic room numbered 21.
Look at what we were greeted with in our room! This heart made of towels was on our bed, waiting for us. Hey, how'd they know it was our honeymoon?
Promptly dumping our bags, we changed into something more comfortable (i.e. clean) and headed on out along Ave. Hidalgo for some late-night eats. Since it was now almost 11pm, most of the restaurants had closed for the evening. However, we heard music playing from an upstairs spot that had been closed two years previously. La Terraza was now open and welcoming us with open arms. Climbing the narrow staircase while holding onto a heavy rope on the side of the wall for support, we found ourselves seated at a cute two-top on the second level overlooking the street. First up – margaritas con rocas sin salt with star-cut limes! Muy bien.
Delicious, mouth-watering appetizers soon followed, and even though we ordered three plates (with the thought that we may need a fourth, we were so hungry), we could barely finish the large portions placed before us. Already, La Terraza had become our favorite restaurant on the island.
The next day dawned sunny, warm, and lovely. As we were wont to do, we promptly had breakfast downstairs at a cute two-top outside our hotel (since breakfast was included with our room) and then headed immediately to the beach at Playa Norte. Divine! We splayed out a sheet on the sand in front of Buho’s bar and restaurant, which had expanded to include a tall thatched roof over the tables, chandelier above the bar, and outlying building next to the restaurant with a balcony and hammocks. Other than that, it was still exactly the same. We swam, we drank, we played Uno. When returning to our room in the afternoon, we were stopped by a local storekeeper and asked to purchase a pipe. Michael immediately retorted with, “Why? We have nothing to put in it.” Then and there, it was known that we were looking for something stronger to smoke. Later that afternoon after a torrential downpour that stranded us in a random doorway for 15 minutes, a boy of no more than thirteen years old flagged Michael down and took us between two golf carts for a very special “purchase.” Guess it was time to buy a pipe now!
Meanwhile, we were making ourselves at home in Room 21. Here's Michael on our famed, dreamy, to-die-for balcony:
Michael purchased several small, religious votive candles and a bottle of tequila, and we made a few trips to the local grocery store in the village square as well. At one point after taking money out of the ATM, we were already turned onto Ave. Hidalgo when we heard a man shouting behind us, “Hey you! You lucky guy!” There was a man waving my debit card in his hand – he saw me get money out of the machine and leave before the card was spit back out. I AM a lucky guy! That would have seriously ruined our entire trip since all of our Honeyfund money was in my checking account. Karma of the good kind appeared to be with us.
Later that evening back at the grocery store, we had the cutest “confrontation” of sorts. While Michael was busy looking for something (I can’t for the life of me remember what), a girl materialized out of nowhere and tugged on my elbow urgently. “Hey, are you ‘family’?” she asked, a hopeful look in her eyes. Right away, I knew what she meant. “Yes!” I exclaimed. “This is my husband Michael, and we’re on our honeymoon.” With a sigh of relief, she introduced herself as Amanda and told us that her girlfriend April was hiding in another aisle, waiting to see what transpired. Apparently, they had approached two other male couples who were gay, but no “real” connection was made. And then came us. After we all met each other and purchased our items, the girls left one way while we went the other. Then Michael and I stopped in our tracks and wondered why we were letting them get away. So we followed them (with Michael hissing “Sssss! Ssssss!”) and asked them up to Room 21. They accepted, and friendships were born. The girls live on a farm in New Mexico which April tends to full time, and Amanda is a part-time massage therapist, soon-to-be-published writer, and farm worker. After some party time in the room, we took them to dinner at our favorite new spot, La Terraza, where we sat inside the tiny restaurant and watched a small band perform. So cute. Then back to the room for tequila and weed before deciding to show them La Luna. No one was there, so after pictures on the huge throne outside, we continued the party at a huge four-top table made of gnarly wood on the outdoor patio with the waves crashing just beyond us, proceeded to get even more stoned, and took it back to the room for a super late-nite hang. Those girls were awesome!
Unfortunately, they were leaving the next morning for Belize, so we only had the chance to visit with them for that one magical night. Already, the island had been incredible to us.
Meanwhile, we found Lory.
Lory worked as a bartender at one of the main bars at a “busy” intersection on Ave. Hidalgo, one that we could sit outside at, people watch, play Uno, and drink. Almost immediately, we felt a kinship with this girl. Not only was she exotic-looking and sweet, but we gradually found out she was born and raised in Ethiopia, spent the last several years in Rome, and was now on the island for over two years. What a striking creature she was, from her honeyed dreadlocks and hard-to-place accent to her pill-capsule tongue piercing! And from the get-go, she seemed to revel in making up brand-new shots for us on the spot to try, always with a new name (“Black Africa” was one that we ended up loving, as it had coffee in it) and a small light she would splay underneath each shot glass as she brought it to you, in order to show off the mix of colors in the best light possible. What a class act. Also a photographer, we ended up buying several of her postcards of Isla Mujeres to treasure.
During one of our late-night walks home to Hotel Belmar, we happened to pass a small bar called Pure Life and began speaking with a young American couple at an outside table. Somehow, we must have made plans to meet the next day for Miranda and Josh were at Buho’s as promised the next morning, while Michael and I sipped on tequila and orange juice. The details were hazy from our first meeting, but once we all hooked up again, it was ON. We literally spent the next few days with these crazy kids from Arizona and got up to all kinds of amazing shenanigans including a day at Garrafon Park for a ride on the zip line, followed by a trip to Zamas resort to lounge by the pool with cocktails.
Man, that zip line was an experience, to say the least. Michael went first, of course, followed by me, then Miranda, with Josh bringing up the rear. As I climbed up to the first tower and got buckled in a harness under the family jewels, I began to panic. “I’m scared,” I whispered. Michael had already cruised down the ocean cliffs to the next tower before I bit the bullet, said a quick prayer, and then let myself go. Exhilirating! Once I was on the move, I loved it, and I braked in time to land in the second tower with a modicum of dignity. While there, I posed for a few professional pictures with a photographer, bumped my head on the cable while switching to the next zip line, and then launched myself over the clear blue sea to the second tower.
Unfortunately, this time I was going too fast and while the person in the second tower pumped his arm in the air, motioning for me to brake, I did it too late. In an awkward sort of crashing scenario, I was flung into the man a little too hard and my legs wrapped completely around his middle so that I could stop! I extracted myself with a laugh. What else could I do? By this point, I was ready for the last zip line to the beach and I executed this one flawlessly. Breathless, my excitement was evident and while the man at the last tower unbuckled and untied me, he asked me the strangest question about the one who had just gone before me (Michael): “Is that your son or your friend?” he wanted to know. Since I was so flabbergasted, I answered back, “Friend,” without another thought, although I should have answered back defiantly, “Mi esposo!” Oh well, we all got a good laugh out of that one. With Michael running off to the bathroom, I was left on the beach to watch Miranda make her way down behind me. Now, she was way more scared than me and it showed. In fact, she was so nervous that she braked way too soon and got stuck in the middle of the line! The man in the last tower shimmied out to her with his hands only and then flipped upside down and walked his feet back on the rope, pulling her, while he was upside down! It was an incredible sight to see. Luckily, she made it back safe and sound, followed smoothly by Josh. Over all, it was truly a super fun experience. And, of course, we all bought the photos of us on the zip line before catching a drink at the bar and having a cigarette before Zamas. Delightful!
Dinner at La Terraza followed later (duh), followed by ridiculous antics in Room 21, tequila and weed, and then a short stint at La Luna. Those two days really blur together for me with those two, I swear.
And then it was time to meet Bettina…
One afternoon while Michael and I played Uno at the bar at Buho’s, a blonde foreign woman who’d been smoking next to me said, “I see you are a loser in the game.” Well, I never! Sure, I’d been bitching and moaning about losing every game to Michael, but she didn’t have to eavesdrop! I’m kidding, it was funny and we all laughed and introduced ourselves. Turns out she’s an architect from Germany, only one year younger than me (46), and would be vacationing on the island for three glorious weeks! Jealous. Anyway, meeting Bettina was a turning point, as Miranda and Josh were to leave in a day or two, and she would be our constant companion until we had to leave ourselves.
|...and I'm getting a cold. What perfect timing considering that we are leaving in a few days for our honeymoon in Isla Mujeres, Mexico! Grrr. I better be better by then. At least I had a fabulous few days before the sickness took over, starting with...|
Thursday, December 8, 2011 aka the arrival of Wendy Heller and her son Logan Silver
I love me some Wendy Heller. Ever since I met her back when she was still in college and going to law school, I knew we'd be friends. She was the youngest daughter of my William Morris Agency boss Rob Heller, and while we always giggled and got along when she came to the office, little did I know what a big part of my life she would become. After I moved to NYC, Wendy moved here briefly for a job as well - and while we hung out a few times, things really heated up once she moved back to Cali. For when she came back to visit NYC, we were ready to reconnect. Hardcore. During that time away, she got married to Brett Silver, bore two gorgeous children (Logan and Olivia), and now when she comes to visit from Beverly Hills, we are TIGHT. And her and Michael? Female/male versions of the same person. It's uncanny. And hilarious.
Anyway, Wendy flew in on Thursday night with her 4-year-old son Logan, and I met them at Tremont in the West Village for dinner, along with Wendy's New York bestie David Evangelista. Check out his website at davidevangelistabeauty.com. He's famous! Wendy ordered up tons of bizarro-yet-supposedly-fancy food, wine and martinis, so it was a feast. Logan was a bit antsy so when we were done, we all hopped in a cab to see Michael at La Palapa in the East Village. My poor boo had to work, but he sat us at a table at the front window, Logan got crayons and a chocolate brownie, and the adults had several drinks apiece while visiting. So perfect, although I wish Michael had been able to sit with us and chat with Wendy. :) But look how much fun Logan and I had...
Could you just die over the cuteness?! I couldn't help but fall in love with that little guy. And he even sang "New York, New York" for us!
Saturday, December 10, 2011 was the third "Hot Mess" party at teneleven bar with me and DJ Tedward Offensive spinning, Leslie Van Stelten slinging drinks, and Michael just being Michael. Ted's flyer cracked me up...
How spot on is that?
Anyway, the night was a rousing success - if you judge success by everyone having a blast and dancing in the back room with the fog machine roaring and sputtering. I certainly do. Kimberly and Ken were there, Vicki stopped by for a bit, the triumvirate of Anisha, Erik, and Branko showed up, Fanya Engler celebrated her birthday there (and brought along a huge group of ladies from her capoeira class, who all danced in a big circle), Dave McKenna flopped around, Frank held court, and Susan even came by with her father Conrad (who's visiting from Fargo, ND). Biggest surprise? LGBT author Frank Anthony Polito ("Band Fags" and "Drama Queens") who dropped by with his friend Andrew. They not only stayed for quite awhile, but they danced their butts off too. By the way, I met him when he was doing a reading and signing at Border's, so I was ecstatic to see him there.
See, he's famous too!
On Sunday, December 11, 2011, which was supposed to be a day of rest, turned into a day of debauchery. Michael was up and wanting to brunch, so we got ahold of Jane Minehan and off we all went to Lovin' Cup and the (in)famous "Drunk Brunch" special. We sat at the bar and howled in between bites of Sweet Jane Scramble. Once Jane left, Michael and I hit the streets of Williamsburg - first stop, Nitehawk Cinema. We were in luck as Amy was working. Even with her back turned to us at the register, she knew it was us when we walked in singing whatever Madonna song was playing in the joint. Hah! She gave us tequila shots and we talked intimately about her girlfriend and their current issues. She is FIERCE. After that, we moseyed along Metropolitan Avenue until we hit Roebling Tea Room where we found Joe Shep (who had just finished his shift behind the bar) hanging out with Lily Sickles and Twiz. We convinced them all to go to the Met bar where they met us a short while later. Donavon Lowe was there - of course - and I snapped a photo of him and Michael at the brand-new coat check.
"No more wire hangers! EVER!"
We picked up tons of free porn magazines at the bar, and I got to fully check in with Joe Shep on everything he's been doing since he moved back to Brooklyn from Vermont. It was amazing. After that? We needed sustenance, so we walked back home and stopped off at Red Bowl on Bedford for some to-go food. Besides getting that, we got accosted by the owner David who plunked down a glass of white wine for us while we waited, and then proceeded to tell embarrassing stories about his wife Vivian, who was sitting at the next table and no doubt denying everything too. They are seriously like a comedy team, back and forth, those two. That was the first time we met Vivian, and she was adorable and funny. We barely had time to slurp some soup down at home before we had to hit the hay and start the week off with a hangover. Oh yeah, and a cold too, don't forget that...
|The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree is up, y'all! And as Barbra Streisand once said, hello gorgeous.|
Welcome to NYC, tree from Pennsylvania! You really lit up the night on Monday, December 5, 2011 when my hubby and I came to visit you in Rockefeller Center. And because it was a weeknight and the weather was seasonal, there wasn't much pushin' and a-shovin' as there normally is. That was a holiday present all on its own.
After we soaked in the beauty of the tree, my hubby and I walked up Fifth Avenue (hand-in-hand, mind you) to view the fancy stores all lit up until we hit our destination, Bergdorf-Goodman, the holy grail of Christmas windows and a yearly ritual with us. Once again, they did not disappoint. Michael took a photo of each window, but I don't have possession of those yet. Simply stunning.
Deciding we needed a holiday nip and since we were already on the Upper East Side, we decided to have a cocktail at The Townhouse. For those of you not in the know, The Townhouse is an establishment that caters to an older gay clientele. And I mean older. We crept past the main bar and ushered ourselves into the back room where we were greeted with a grand piano and a slew of patrons singing along heartily to old Broadway showtunes. With a souza on the rocks in our hands from the young Latino bartender, we snuggled into a couch and proceeded to be Waldorf and Statler from "The Muppet Show," commenting on everything we witnessed in that room. Quite fascinating. After our very large drink, we went across the street to Evolve, a much younger gay bar. Unfortunately, while there were some people in there (and a couple making out in the corner), the music was so quiet you could barely discern what was playing. Another young Latin fellow was the behind the bar there too - those Upper East Siders sure do like 'em!
After a Blue Moon, we grabbed the 6 subway heading downtown and hightailed it to La Palapa on St. Mark's Place. Even though Michael was off of work that evening, we both wanted to see his fellow server Jason and I had to finally meet the new bartender named - wait for it, wait for it - Dario. "Dario, meet Dario" was something I never thought I'd hear Michael say, but it happened. He's Italian and French, grew up in San Francisco, his brother was in "Jersey Boys" on Broadway for 6 years, and they live in Park Slope. He's adorable and sweet...just like me! haha After two rounds of frozen ginger margaritas for me and souzas for Michael, we "kidnapped" Jason and took him to Eastern Bloc for a nightcap. Fun! Especially with all the porn playing on the TVs behind the bar. Then it was time for all of us to walk back up to 14th Street and hit the L train for Brooklyn and some much needed zzzz's. Well, that didn't quite happen, as first we stopped by Sammy's bodega on N. 6th St. and Kent to grab some sandwiches and chips, and then I took advantage of Michael. Hey, it happens.
December 2011 started off with a bang, especially with our DJ night of "Divine Decadence" at Metropolitan Bar on Friday, December 2nd, which should now be billed as featuring the "World's First and Only Husband-DJ team"... Right? This was our last one before our 2-year anniversary next month. And here's a lovely shot of Divine in honor of the name of our party (even though it is actually derived from the name of Liza Minelli's nail polish hue in "Cabaret"):
Werk it, girl. She is simply Divine.
Anyway, I think one of the highlights of the night was seeing Michael and Krystal in Lady Gaga shirts. This was literally the night after Lady Gaga debuted her 13-minute video opus of "Marry the Night," a complex amalgamation of psychiatric hospitals, artistic rejection, Honey Nut Cheerios, TransAms on fire, the text "The Cross is my Anchor" in backwards script, a bedazzler, jazz dance class, and big hats. Kinda genius.
And since Krystal's nickname is "Hair" (which is the name of a Gaga song from "Born This Way"), it's only fitting that she's wearing the Lady's likeness on her chest.
The night ended with us bringing home the lil barback Erwin from the Metropolitan (with his friend Kurt) and partying like rock stars until the wee hours of the night...or should I say, morning. What would you call 7:00am? Chavez didn't love Erwin, but Erwin loved the stuffed unicorn without a horn, as you can see...
I don't know how, but Michael was up and studying all morning long while I frantically held onto my beauty sleep for as long as possible. These old bones just don't bounce back like they used to. What got me out of bed was the promise of seeing our friend Fiona for a late brunch at Matchless, so I forced myself up out of bed, and Michael and I slipped on our Fred Perry shirts for a day at our favorite rock 'n roll joint.
And what do you know - right across the street was a lot selling Christmas trees that boasted a cut-out cardboard Christmas scene. So upon Michael's proclamation of "I need a drink, a smoke, and a photo taken," we took care of all three and got this lovely picture of Frosty and his trusted elf:
HO HO HO, indeed.
That evening, we had a lovely visit with Camille at Club Chavez where we got all caught up on our latest doings and she painted our nails gold. Shimmery gold. Just one coat though. After a bit, we called our friend and neighbor Jane Minehan to come over to join us, and when Camille left to go home, we took Jane with us to the city to our friend Katie Hendricksen's panda birthday party at teneleven bar on Avenue C. We decided to give model-y faces while waiting on the subway platform for the L train to arrive:
Did we succeed?
And yes, Michael is wearing a wig and hat combo. See why I married him? The bar was a blast, and we slaked our thirsts with PBRs and souza shots. Once our favorite bartender Leslie Van Stelten turned on the disco light in the back room, we quickly started up a dance party. What a surprise. In fact, Jane and Michael went so far as to dance on the stage for a few tunes, with Jane even getting two $1 bills shoved down the front of her jeans! She also gave me jazz hands at one point:
J'adore jazz hands.
|For the fourth year in a row, Thanksgiving was had at Club Chavez.|
Thursday, November 24, 2011
The day started out perfectly with the arrival of Sheren (aka Thunder McCrackin) and a heated game of Parcheesi cooled down with delicious mimosas. Michael won! Grrr... Before we could even start a new game, Susan (aka Little Big Ass) arrived, and the day began all over again. She brought her famous spinach dip and since we were starving, we all dug into that. Pretty soon, people started arriving - Ted Offensive, Lezz Van Halen, Vicki with the 18-pound turkey, Fiona and Darryl, Andee (the birthday boy) and Sandra, etc.
The company and the food were gorgeous and delectable, and we totally pigged out. Ted carved the turkey this year letting Lezz Van Halen, pictured above, have a year off. We watched videos from our wedding reception and at 9:30pm tuned into Lady Gaga's Thanksgiving television special which was ... bizarre. No surprise there.
There was A LOT to be thankful for this year!
The next day was a day of rest followed by Vicki and I hoofing it into Manhattan to visit Michael at La Palapa. Here we are on our way, complete with snaggletooth and eyes like slits on my part...
We not only had a blast, we had several frozen ginger margaritas and received a visit from a "mystery guest," Vicki's friend Tricia! She brought along a boy toy (David, I believe) who we all ended up bringing home with us to Club Chavez for some late night fun. Needless to say, he spent the night on the futon with Tricia and snuck out at 5:30am in order to be at work at 8am. Glad it wasn't me.
On Saturday, November 26, 2011, Michael and I had a lovely little brunch at Lovin' Cup as detailed here --
This could be such a funny Christmas photo...right?! It cracks me up.
Well, I don't have any more photos to detail the rest of the weekend. Suffice it to say we went to the 5th anniversary of the Choice Cunts party with Little Big Ass to see DJ Lezz Van Halen spin and Maz go-go dance. Fun, as always, but the tequila shots were so expensive that Michael and I left after one each! As for Sunday, well, that was spent on the couch watching bad TV movies (Bride Wars, Titanic) and eating Thai food. A perfect way to end a perfect weekend!
|My cousin Molly Landreth came into town for a presentation of her incredible, touching, poignant, and important photography project entitled "Embodiment: A Portrait of Queer Life in America" (www.embodimentusa.wordpress.com).|
But first things first - dinner. Molly arrived at Club Chavez on Thursday, November 17, 2011 with a cute new suitcase and the beginnings of a head cold. When I walked in from work that evening, the house smelled of garlic, chicken, and home. Michael cooked an outstanding chicken couscous dinner for us, enhanced by the bottle of Yellow Shiraz that I had recently purchased for the occasion. The food was delicious, the conversation titillating, and we caught Molly up on all of our wedding shenanigans with visual aids of photos and videos. Oh, and I wore my new wig the entire time:
As always, a night with Molly is one of the best nights ever in the world.
On Friday, November 18, 2011, Molly was the featured speaker at the Camera Club of New York on W. 36th St. in Manhattan. She presented her project to an enraptured group of fans, friends, and family, enthralling us all with her stories and photographs. Her subjects are so unusual and not representive of what we normally think of as subjects of queer life. Instead of showing the pretty boys and girls of our major cities (as every other photographer seems to do), Molly has traveled the U.S. and shot portraits of GLBTQ individuals who are on the fringe, some living in remote outposts, creating never-before-seen families and brand-new communities, just being themselves. She has created a fascinating look at what else is out there and what it means to be "queer" in this huge country of ours. It really does take all kinds, thank goodness! Molly really shows another side of the gay lifestyle, and one that needs to be seen. I am so fucking PROUD of her! She truly rocks. And even though she gets nervous speaking in public, she was the cutest composite of personable and well-spoken, interspersing choice vocabulary words with a sweet "uh" here, a funny "um" there, and many a giggle.
And to think - the first picture she shows in her presentation is one of me in drag! I'm beyond honored:
So that lovely brunette on the left is ME! "Look Ma, only one tattoo!"
After Molly's engagement, her two sisters/my two cousins Keavy and Brydie (and their significant others) all went down to Budhu Lounge in the West Village to see our favorite DJ/photographer/bartender Leslie Van Stelten behind the bar on her first night there. Michael and I sat at the bar and downed souza, as you can see:
Shouldn't this be our Christmas card this year? Seriously, not only is it hilarious, but it's a pretty accurate representation of the two of us together. I love it. And him.
Then Michael and I continued our night by checking out Daniel Scott Erickson behind the decks at the Metropolitan bar (where we had a visit from Little Big Ass) before scooting on down to Sugarland for a nightcap and a chat with Wayne Wood.
We miss you, Molly! Come back soon! Check out her website at mollylandreth.com for more amazingness. You will not be disappointed.
Coming up ... "When Stoners Cook, Part 4" (aka Thanksgiving)!
|My very cute and talented friend Monica Carter is in New York this week with her girlfriend Cherie, and Michael and I met them at Vynl on Ninth Avenue between 50th and 51st Streets for dinner last night.|
We sat at the bar for Happy Hour until 7pm and then got a booth for dinner. Throughout the night, we ordered a bottle of pinot grigio and all peed in the bathrooms decked out in honor of the following singers: Cher, Dolly Parton, Elvis Presley, and Nelly. Yeah. Nelly. Anyway, the conversation flowed along with the libations, and we covered alot of ground in catching up.
Monica is doing so well with her writing and is doing such fabulous things as spearheading an entire national campaign through Lambda Literary Foundation to bring LGBT books into the classroom. She also got accepted into a master's writing program of sorts for 5 months in L.A. We keep begging her and Cherie to move to NYC since work brings Cherie out here all the time.
En route back to their hotel (the Park Central), we snapped Monica in front of a Broadway theater:
We sat at the hotel bar and let our server Nancy pamper us with more wine and Cosmopolitans (for Cherie). When Michael and I finally left, we had to carry two red roses all the way home on the subway that Monica gave us for our wedding. She knew I'd be embarrassed! But it was such a cute gesture, how could I be upset? In fact, the minute we got home, we put them in a vase with water.
Thanks, ladies! We love you. Check out Monica's websites: www.monicacarterthewriter.com and www.salonicaworldlit.com.
|What a weekend! A lesbian wedding, a 30th birthday party, and a drunk brunch each day.|
Friday night, 11/11/11, was magical. Not only did I get to marry Pam and Maz on the balcony overlooking all of Grand Central Terminal, but we all went out for celebratory drinks afterwards at Holiday Cocktail Lounge to ring in Taylor's 30th birthday! Michael was working at La Palapa, unfortunately, but a sexy group of us all took over the dive bar next door: Taylor, Karla, Marisa, Annie, Little Big Ass, Sheren, Cara Lee, Krystal, Leslie, Camille Cha Cha, Gaby, Maya, and me. Yep. Lots o' hot bitches. Then Whitney and Sara showed up after hosting a party for "The Real L Word" at Henrietta Hudson. Here's a pic of Sara (aka "Charo the Hole Puncher") and me...
Michael ended up joining us later and we then went on a trek of ridiculous proportions. First we all walked to Phoenix on 13th and Avenue A but we were told to wait outside in line! Huh? That's never happened before. They were letting guys in before us, so I guess they don't like gay girls there. Jerks. Then it was off to Heathers for the dyke party "Hot Rabbit," but that joint was so crowded we couldn't move. When we decided to all move on to Brooklyn, Leslie put her PBR in her jacket as we walked out and caught the subway. That was a blast in and of itself. Once we got to the Metropolitan, we were home. Plus Andeeeee was there! We drank, we danced, we talked, we had a time.
On Saturday, 11/12/11, Vicki, Michael and I headed to Lovin' Cup on N. 6th St. between Berry and Wythe, about a block away from where we live, for "Drunk Brunch" ($15 for a brunch special and 3 pint glasses of drinks). When the girls finally rallied, we were joined by Taylor, Karla, Marisa, Camille, Pam, Maz and Fiona.
Here's me and Cha Cha on a smoke break...
After having just finished brunch at 5pm as the sun was setting, we headed back to Club Chavez to hang out (as usual). That went on all night.
On Sunday 11/13/11 we awakened to a great idea - brunch at Roebling Tea Room to see Joe Shep, member of Brooklyn (and Vermont's) best band ever, Heloise & The Savoir Faire (www.heloisemusic.com). Vicki joined us and we walked in to find 3 empty stools at the bar! Talk about lucky. Here's Vicki and I goofing off...
We were able to enjoy a nice long afternoon there, visiting Joe and chillin' out. Perfect! After Roebling, we all headed to Graceland (combination tattoo parlor/hair salon) on Lorimer to check out their $20-50 flash tattoo special for the day. Michael put his name in to get a lucky rabbit's foot, but it was so packed with a long waiting list, that we never even heard back. And get this - Maya works there! I had totally forgotten. Duh. Anyway, we then walked over to Matchless below McKarran Park to see Taylor one last time before she flew back to San Francisco. And River was there! Eating wings, of course. Great to see him!
I love weekends...
|Welcome to my website! Since today is so special (11/11/11), I thought it would be appropriate to not only start up my own wesbsite, but to also begin a blog. |
I'm horrible at anything technical - computers, iTunes, iPod, brand-new 37" flat-screen TV with remote controls (thanks for the wedding gift, Jan and Winston!), corkscrews, etc. You get my drift. Being that as it may, I'm quite pleased that I'm actually working on something I created that is normally beyond my comprehension. A website of my very own. Although it's one made for beginners, I guess you can teach a salty old dog some new tricks!
Tonight I am marrying two dear friends of mine, Pam and Maz, at Grand Central Terminal in the heart of New York City. How exciting! Here's a picture of the two at them at my wedding to Michael on 9/25/11:
God, I love NYC - not only can you get married to the person of your choice (regardless of gender) but you can do so in one of the most stunning locales in the world, a "grand" railroad and subway concourse originally opened in 1913 and renovated in 1998. I'm going to quite enjoy standing up in the balcony and officiating a ceremony between two hot chicks. Yep, I'm a lucky devil. (Apparently today I'm a dog and a devil. Go figure).
Keep checking back in, I can't wait to really dig into this and actually write something worth reading.
I love your guts,