Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Red State

Lastnight I went to a benefit on top of the firefly building in Dayton where the Rubi Girls performed. I was invited by the director of the film festival here, Jonathan, who last night transformed into the fabulous drag queen Ileasa Plymouth (!)

The Rubi Girls are a drag troupe who have been performing since the late 80's. They're famous for not only putting on a great show...but doing it all for charity. They've raised tons of money for various charities, and a lot for HIV/Aids. Not only that, the whole region has come to love them. A region in red state Ohio.

Besides wanting to support smaller town gay film festivals, I particularly wanted to visit Ohio. After the 2004 election loss, Ohio has become the poster boy red state. I wanted to come here and make peace with it.

I've met several people in Dayton who did everything they could back in 2004. They went to their neighbors, they made cold calls to try and sway the vote. One man told me that he was cold calling voters, and knew that Ohio was lost when every other person he spoke with said they were voting for Bush because, if not, gay marriage may come to pass.

I just love it when people base their vote on an issue that is not going to affect them at all. Things may be different if the gays weren't pushing for marriage at election time, but I say there is never a wrong time to do the right thing. And after seeing the Rubi Girls, and speaking with people who actually took action to try and change things, I see that it's much too easy for me to sit in Manhattan and shake my head at Ohio. In other words, these people are part of the solution.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

One Night in Ohio

The after-party for A Four Letter Word was held at this massive 3 floored gay disco called Masque. They have hot boys, fun attitude, and an overall excellent scene in Dayton (yes, Dayton, Ohio!)

Our host Tippy (a man) generously set us up in a VIP tent, and supplied endless vodka redbulls (which apparently make me hungry: see last post) and discussed his latest venture with the club.

Tippy and Masque have begun a popular business of printing t-shirts with sexually explicit slogans like "I'd rather be masturbating." I suggested they make a one that says "It's not gonna suck itself" but Tippy tells me they've got to remember the lesbians.

Fair is fair, one must stick with gender neutral sexually explicit slogans. Next up: "Save a horse, ride my face!"

And just when you thought it couldn't get any gayer...it does. "Your name is Tippy? As in Hedren?" someone asks, and Tippy says. "No, it's Tippy as in toes."

Late in the night Tippy (as in toes) delivers me into the arms of a large drag queen named Montana (how apt) who pulled me up onto stage, introduced me, and offered a poster (that I signed) to anyone in the crowd who was willing to come onstage and get stark naked. Immediately, some guy comes on stage and proceeds to get stark naked. "I want the socks gone, too!" screams Montana, and only then will she give him the poster. A poster!

By this time, I'm in the mood for more nudity. I offer a free copy of You Can Run for the next person that gets naked. It doesn't take a second and we have another hot nude midwesterner. What a willing crowd. I'm staying in Ohio longer.

Ive also decided that all my future publicity should involve naked people. I want people to associate me with getting people undressed. I want 'em thinking: Jesse Archer = You Can Strip.

Oops

In Dayton, Ohio I got drunk and did it again. I awoke to the remnants of a fast food burger meal. Granted, there were no french fries in bed with me this time. That's some progress, but this remains a worrisome new pattern.

Where I used to wake up, roll over and ask myself, "Who is that?" now I wake up, roll over and ask, "What have I eaten?" My priorities are all screwed up. Food over sex? Is this married life?

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Kit Kat Klub

Who said Germans have no sense of humor?

The Kit Kat Klub in Berlin is this fantastic haven for the eccentric, freak population. There are absolutely no rules in this place. There are straight men in girdles, sex on the furniture encircling the dance floor, and the only person wearing blue jeans was me.

When I first walk in, I see this leather-man going down on this woman. I go up closer to kind of spy, see what it's all about. She's moaning, and then his mouth comes up off her...huge cock! Wow. After that intro, I stayed til 2 in the afternoon!

At one point, a man comes up to me in full leather gear. He rips off the codpiece, exposing his dick and balls. He says something in German to me, which I don't understand, so I ask for the English. He grabs my hand, puts it on his testicles and says to me in a thick German accent, "Caress my eggs."

I was speechless. Caress his eggs!?

How could I resist? That line alone was worth the trip to Europe.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

'Love, Sex, and Jesse Archer"

There's an interview with me on Gaywired, from a great chat I had in Los Angeles with Here TV's Ross Von Metzke. The article begins, "Call him a slut, call him a bitch, just don't call him ordinary." Hey, I want that for my tombstone!

In the interview, Ross asks me about my favorite memory from the adventures found in my book "You Can Run." I told him it was the people I met. In an introductory page, I put a quote that really sums it up (the book, living, everything) for me. "How far we travel in life matters far less than those we meet along the way." I hope you agree.

I also talk a lot about A Four Letter Word, and how it came to be. Incidentally, I just had coffee with my director/co-writer Casper Andreas who is currently shooting his third feature "Between Love and Goodbye." Things are going smoothly, and Casper looks fresher than I've ever seen him during production. Watch for his sure-to-be fantastic drama to hit the festival circuit next Spring.

Detective Archer

Yesterday I worked as an extra on the set of CSI NY. I played the non-speaking role of a... detective. I know, quite a stretch. Basically, I wandered around the scene of the crime with a badge and a gun in a holster.

It's amazing how a prop can change you. The gun looked so real. Tourists drove by in their double decker bus and I'd point my weapon up at them. The other detective (Melody) told me I'd be literally arrested, or shot dead if the police saw me do that. Especially on the day the Iranian president is in town. What was I thinking? But Melody, seriously, what were they thinking? Giving me a gun and a badge?!

We were on the three-tiered massive steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where the "crime" had taken place. A woman was doing a face plant on the steps, spread eagle, dead of a gunshot wound to the chest.

Now I never wanted to die in a hospital with tubes up my nose smelling of antiseptic. In fact, I always imagine my death to be violent, like the last thing I'll see is the tonsils of some giant wildcat. After yesterday, I'm thinking--this may be a better way to go. In my ball gown, splayed out on the steps of the Met.

There were a hundred extras ("background actors") that were placed behind the police tape, staring down at the scene. One extra I spoke with said she was really uncomfortable. She was forced to stare down at the victim all day and, "I don't think she's wearing panties."

Now I've decided for sure. This is definitely the way I want to go. Murdered on the steps of the Met in my best ballgown....without any panties on!

"You can see up her dress?" I ask the extra.
"Yeah, the wind blows it up. She's wearing pantyhose...that's it. And the worst is, I can't turn away. I'm forced to stare up her coochie!"

About 100 extras were forced to stare up the victim's dress all day, most coming to the same conclusion. Either this victim was panty-free, or it was a very convincing flesh-colored thong. I decided to find out.

During a break, I approached the actress playing the victim. "I'm a detective," I said, flashing her my badge. "I have to ask you a couple of questions." I put my hand on my holster. "How did you die and did you deserve it?"

"Well," she said. "He broke my wrist and then he shot me." Apparently she did deserve it, though, because she was trying to shoot him before he shot her. I continue my interrogation. "So, you're there on the steps of the Met, face down and spread eagle. I hope you're wearing panties!?"

"I know!" the actress gushes, "The wind keeps blowing up my dress from the back, and I can't fix it you know...because I'm supposed to be dead." Right. That doesn't answer my question.

I must get to the bottom of this...as it were. So I ask her point blank. "Are you wearing any panties?" Behind me, detective Melody erupts in shock. As in, he actually asked her?!

The actress/victim just looks at me like I'm an insolent philistine. "I'm not Britney," she says, and stalks off. Detective Archer just shakes his head in disappointment. He's got 100 extras willing to testify to the contrary.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Drunken Deals

At the Fresno Film Festival I was stuck at the Quality Inn, somewhere between two freeways and a 7-11. In the distance were tract homes. Unfortunately, I didn't get a rental car, so until the volunteers came to pick me up in the evenings, I left only left to forage for food.

Note how effectively the sun's shadow creates prison bars out of the pool fence.



After a great, appreciative screening of A Four Letter Word, I was escorted to the after-party, drank like a fish and made a drunken bargain with a local. He promised to take me to Yosemite National Park, which I haven’t been to since I was a kid. Mostly, I was excited to do something. I wasn't sure I'd left the Quality Inn since I was a kid. The plan was for him to pick me up at 10 am.

I went to bed happy. A little too happy. When I awoke, I rolled over to see half a cup or warm Dr. Pepper resting on the nightstand. Then I found the remnants of a Jack in the Box value meal lying in bed with me. Literally a burger wrapper, and a couple of french fries were in the sheets with me. Eww. I would've much rather woken up beside a stranger.

Now I am not only hungover, I am disgusted. Still, I roll out of bed because my buddy is coming to take me hiking! It’s almost 10am. I get dressed and I’m so excited to see El Capitan. Frankly I would’ve accepted an offer to see anything, even the Sun-Maid raisin factory, which is another big Fresno draw. I’m just really excited to escape the Q.

Anything to get out from between these highways; to dodge the ever-present eye of the 7-11 sign that peeks from above the bushes behind the pool. I’m in my hiking gear, all ready. I wait for him in my room. Then I go down and wait for him in the Quality Inn lobby. Then I wait for him outside on the front drive.

He never did show.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Airplane (In)security

Coming back from Fresno today I was stopped and my bag searched. They took out the lotions and gels, which are all under 3.4 ounces or whatever the new requirement is. The problem, I discover, is that they were not put into a clear plastic bag. “How does my hair gel in a plastic bag make us safer?” I ask but there was no swaying this stalwart security guard. He was not going to let my toothpaste onto the plane because it was not in a clear plastic bag. Is “Homeland Security” sponsored by Ziploc?

The Department of Homeland Security. Doesn’t it just reek of Orwellian insidiousness? Not only does it foster fear, but it provides our embarrassing knee-jerk “security” reflexes. Someone tries to bring liquid explosives on board and family-size shampoo is banned forever. Someone tries to light their shoe on fire and now we’re all in our socks through the metal detector.

Put these (high-tech!) security measures into the time capsule. How in the future they will laugh at us. We look like fools. Why are we always one step behind the terrorists? Why is it all reacting to, and not preventing from? How they will say we just waited for the next attempt, the next attack to update and replan our strategy. How we never were proactive. That we don’t know how to lead. I’m not the only one that knows this.

On my recent trip to Denmark, I had to transfer in Iceland. When I got off the plane in Rreykjavik, we had to go down a glass-enclosed ramp, and through security. Strange. We had already gone through security at JFK, so why go through it again as we deplane? “Why are we going through security again?” I ask one of the guards. “You’re coming from the states, right?” she asks rhetorically.

“You mean to say we have bad security?” I ask and she smirks as if to say, “Yes, sir.” I just laugh. I made it past her and into the Reykjavik airport. Funny enough, Iceland security never cared that my toiletries weren’t in a clear plastic baggie.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Shameless PR

I continue to travel to film festivals who have been very generous and gone to extraordinary measures to fly me out and host me. This weekend I'll be in Fresno, the following weekend Dayton, Ohio. Next month is Seattle, Portland, and in November I'll be going to South Africa!

In the middle of this, I'll be in Chicago for a book signing at a club called Mary's Attic on October 5th. Jason Freeman, former editor of Pink mag (and new editor of Chicago Pride) interviewed me on a recent trip through NYC, and the piece just went up online HERE. He was kind and generous and called me a media IT boy, so I'm really rather fond of Mr. Freeman. Plus, I sound like a distracted floozy by the end of the piece, so I feel he captured my essence quite well.

Notes on the Dollar

On the last blog:

Reader Tony wrote me to today about how perhaps we don't realize just how big an impact our economic model has all over the world. Tony pointed me to a Thomas Friedman column in the NY Times today that, unbeknownst to me, has everything to do with the comments the lovely Lisbeth made back in Sweden.

Friedman vividly describes how we're proliferating "America" even in the middle of the desert (where in the world is Doha?!) and proposes that there actually is no green revolution. The argument is curiously strong, like an Altoid. It's also strong provocation for the solution I've long advocated which is to simply stop breeding. Long live the homosexual! Oh wait, they're breeding now too.

On a less political and more personal note, I couldn't even afford those Swedish Burger Kings. I invited Bam and Cooldan to a whopper meal in Malmo--and it cost $40 (converted from Swedish Kroner)!! I spent the rest of my time in Scandinavia eating pizza from under the hot lamp of the 7-11.

Sadly, not only is the dollar worth less than ever, but I don't have many of them. You see, I read "The Secret" which should have told me to get a real job. Instead, it said I should have an abundance mentality. I should look at everything and think "I can afford that." I was skeptical, but then I thought abundantly, hopefully, I thought "I can afford that!" In short, I listened. I was hoodwinked. One must not believe in secrets, tell secrets; hide or read them. I'm living proof. I read the Secret, and it bankrupted me.

Who's Chasing Who?


Check out this hottie! She's single!

I sat next to this gorgeous Danish girl, Lisbeth, at the wedding in Malmo. I was loving her leopard print dress. "If I spill anything nobody will notice," she says, "That's why I wore it." Totally loving her.

She's a doctor, and I can't help thinking with her as a doctor there must be a major outbreak of sick people in Denmark. "Give me the hernia exam. Please!"

So I'm talking to her about how far ahead her people are...health care for all, multilingual (she was translating all the speeches from Danish into English for me), eco-conscious, I don't see homeless or beggars, people are healthy, thin. I'm sure that Scandinavia is so far ahead of the USA.

Lisbeth contradicts me. She believes Scandinavia is right behind the USA. "People here are starting to drive SUV's," she says sadly, adding, "And we will one day be fat."

No, no, no, I'm thinking...and then I notice McDonalds, 7-11 and Burger King dotting Scandinavian city maps like bad acne. Could she be right? Will they be suckered in?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

You Can See

The events in my book You Can Run took place before the proliferation of digital photography, so my photos are mostly stuck in albums. However, as editors request photos for upcoming press, I scanned a few and hit up Walter for some additional photos from our adventures.

I prefer to let readers use their own imagination (I only inserting a few drawings into the book --some 19th century writers did that, and I love it), but maybe it's time now to give those of you who have read it a glimpse. And then again, maybe I'm ruining your imagination.

Nevertheless...

Here are me and Walter at Iguazu Falls...before walking all the way back to Paraguay.

















Walter masturbating a cactus in the Salar (Salt flat) de Uyuni.
















Me (in middle) with Itay and Gil, (the two Israelis)..standing in the lake full of piranha and crocodiles when we were abandoned in the Brazilian Pantanal.

OUT October

My OUT column for October is basically a love letter to Jeffrey-- the only guy in my high school who had the guts to admit he was gay. I still have guilty feelings associated with my inability to back him up. Like I said, he was running interference for team 10% and I let him take the hits -- cheering for him silently from the sidelines.

Thanks to all of you for sharing stories of your own personal "Jeffreys" with me. Many of us owe someone like him a debt of gratitude, and I think the best way to repay them is to lead the way for others by being shamelessly, and fully self-expressed. Someone somewhere could be silently looking to you.

They say coming out isn't the big deal it once was, and maybe it isn't--only because maybe our peers (if not our parents) are starting to take a stand. Apparently when a high school freshman in Nova Scotia was bullied for wearing pink, a group of seniors convinced the entire school to wear pink the following day in solidarity. Check out this inspiring link from Towleroad.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Shoot to Kill

I headed down to Berlin for a week, because I've never been and because I keep hearing about its notorious nightlife and because it was warmer (though not much) and cheaper than Denmark. I went to the Berlin wall which zigzagged across the city from 1961 until 1989.

Most of it has been torn down, but it's still eerily hard to believe that such a wall was erected in recent times (how are we "modern?") and unfortunately it is easy to believe that so long as humans are humans we will continue to build other walls (keeping people in? Keeping people out?)

The beautiful thing about what's left of the Berlin wall, is that it is now property of anyone who passes by with something to say. Get a can of paint or a good sharpie pen and have at it!

A wall once used for repression is now used for expression.

A sampling:







































Thursday, September 13, 2007

Happy Husbands

Here are the grooms: Magnus and Jacob. Aren't they gorgeous?










Magnus is from Stockholm, Jacob is from Copenhagen--so they settled on a wedding in neutral territory in Malmo, the southern tip of Sweden. They were surrounded by fabulous friends and colleagues, and also by two sets of supportive parents, siblings and family members. The vows and speeches were done in Danish so we didn't understand anything. We just felt everything. And that was enough.

Cooldan, Bam Bam and me arrive to the wedding and begin a 12 hour open bar marathon. What a party! At first glance, upon our arrival, we look rather formal. Like we fit in. But just wait.













Cooldan had cut off the backs of our shirts, for a surprise "reveal." After the initial vows, we calmly (or maybe more like Salome's dance of the seven veils) dropped our jackets to display the scrawled wedding message in eyeliner across our naked backs "J heart M." We added a lot of glitter on top because if you're not sparkling at the gay wedding, you probably kept all your clothes on.




Fashion Forward or Fashion Faux Pas? Do you think we care?