Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Tuesday Night in New York

There's so much to do in NYC it's really overwhelming.

There's too much going on and too many people going on about it. You could never possibly do it all, like you could never possibly see every destination in the world. Trying is futile. Futile, but fun.

Which is why sometimes you do try...without really knowing. For example, on wet Tuesday, I went to Barnes & Noble to see Augusten Burroughs read from his new book. Turns out I had the date wrong, but there was still a Q&A session--via ichat from Toronto--with author Margaret Atwood. She has written over 35 books in her long career, not including the poetry.

I wanted to ask Augusten Burroughs about his process, how he does it? Churn out book after book. How does he avoid distractions like the internet (xtube), or procrastination (washing dishes). Instead I asked Margaret. For any of you writers, or wannabe writers, here's what she said:

Atwood gives herself a daily word count quota. A certain number of words written daily --good words, bad words, it doesn't matter (she'll edit the next day). But she gets them written, and it doesn't have to be in one sitting. She'll do 500 words, go weed the garden, and come back later.

No word on whether "weeding the garden" is her euphemism for Xtube.

I bought Atwood's book, and waited in line to get it signed with new technology called the LongPen. It's this new device (that she had developed) where you can sign books...from Toronto! She scribbles whatever it is onto a computer pad, and the little arm of the Long Pen scribbles it onto my book here in NYC.

It was the first time ever they used this new invention, so the Barnes & Noble staff were really excited to be making history.

There's me talking to Margaret (on screen) as she signs my book. The funny thing about it is, she can't tell what the hell she's signing.

"By the way," I told her here, "You're signing a BIBLE."
"I am?"
"No," I said. "It's yours. I much prefer your science fiction."



After that, we headed to Pete's Tavern for dinner. Pete's has been there on Irving Street in Gramercy since 1864 and claims to be the oldest continuously running bar in New York City. This is a lie. Old Mcsorley's Ale House in the East Village is the oldest continuously running bar in New York City, since 1854.

McSorley's served Abraham Lincoln and Boss Tweed, and has its original coal burning central stove. Pete's was home to regular O. Henry, who wrote "Gift of the Magi" here, and sports an original rosewood bar. Both bars survived 1920's prohibition as speakeasies. Do you sense a rivalry?

Next, Bam and I caught a flick at the Tribeca Film Festival. This festival features a frustrating, user-enemy website, and what's more...the festival will not stay put, sprawling all over the city like a reviled child of NYU. It's got films starring Mariah Carey, and Madonna, and closing night is Hollywood blockbuster "Speed Racer," wait---- Tribeca is supposed to be about independent film?!

Imagine my shock and surprise, when I saw a very funny, very well made independent film! Director James Westby created The Auteur, about a washed-up porn director (the "Fellini of Porn," a hysterical Melik Malkasian), who is resting on the laurels of his last critical success, "Full-Metal Jackoff." It was hysterical and it was made in Portland, Oregon...with a big shout out to Beaverton. My little hometown's done well!

Yesterday, I went back to Barnes & Noble to see Augusten Burroughs (on the right date), and there were hundreds of people. I was stuck in the standing room, trying to peer at him from behind several tall shelves of books. No joke! Augusten's flicks his wrists a lot, and looked very small. He's not, but anyone looks small from fifty meters away.

His fantastic memoir, Dry, really influenced me to put my memoir (You Can Run) in present tense. It made all the difference to me and so I wanted to thank him in person, to buy his new book, and give him a copy of mine. Seeing as he was mobbed by hundreds upon hundreds of people, I got disheartened and walked out.

I left the copy of my book I brought for him on the travel essay table downstairs.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Over the Brink

I never figured I had much in common with my cousin Chris, back in Oregon. But after what happened, it seems we had more in common than I figured. We never really hung out. It's his sister Alyssa that I'm close to. She's the one sent me the 6am text message last week.

Chris loved the Oregon wilderness. He was out hiking in the Columbia River Gorge with some friends. Only they know the details, but he was at the cliff of a mountain playing, goofing off, probably just tempting fate. It's something I would do. Except Chris got too close to the brink and fell off. He died instantly. He was 24 years old.



Rest in Peace.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Woven Splendor

My friend Spanky is getting his PHD in middle eastern art, and he gave me a private tour of the new exhibit up at the New York Historical Society: Woven Splendor from Timbuktu to Tibet.

It was sponsored by the Hajji Baba club--the country's first rug collecting society---for their 75th anniversary. Hajji Baba, baby! The Hajji Baba's enforce a strict no-photos allowed policy. So I only took one.


They must have put a hex on my photo.







What a difference it makes to see an exhibit with a knowledgeable and passionate escort. Without Spanky, I would've seen a roomful of rugs.

Instead, I saw the tribes and cultures of Iran and middle Asia who made painstakingly wove these beautiful silks. One of the fishing cultures that lived and wove along the Aral Sea in Uzbekistan are now extinct.

Russia diverted the waters of the sea for irrigation, and it all dried up. Just gone. Pesticides they added dried up and blew around and gave this tribe throat cancer. Who knew? Would you believe this all happened in the last 25 years?





The Aral Sea. It dried up faster than the boats could get out.






I also learned:

1) That nomadic people are not poor.

2) That Timbuktu is in Mali, in West Africa.

3) That I still cannot be taken out in public.

Forced into places filled with old people and hushed voices, I get panic attacks. These attacks are manifested in verbal outbursts. At one point, as elderly people studied one tapestry, I spoke out above their whispers. "So this is a Persian cum rag?"

The Hajji Babas would not be impressed.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Street-Talk

Here are a few new things I've noticed in the vernacular. Can you add anything?

That being said: this is self explanatory.

That being said, listen. People can't say it enough.

Otter: a skinny bear.

"A big leather bear wanted me to be his otter!"

An otter is a hairy skinny guy. But wait! There's more. An otter is just the nice version of a skinny bear. A mean skinny bear is known as a wolf. Don't believe me? Just ask the urban dictionary.

Wigga: a white "nigga."



"Did you see Cazwell rapping at Area 10009? He's my favorite wigga."



Don't like the word Nigga? Neither do I, but I think playing around with it takes the edge off.

May I be the first to propose Straggot (stra-gut) n 1. a straight faggot. 2. Also known as a Metrosexual.

Sign of the Times

On the streets of New York City all you hear are accents and French. And it's not the foreigners who live here. They're tourists taking advantage of the depressed dollar. And they're buying up real estate.

In my opinion, the reason the Manhattan real estate market has yet to be hit by the slump affecting the rest of the country is because...foreigners are buying condos. With a dollar so depressed, New York City is a cheap urban Puerto Vallarta!

And yet--more commercial spaces are closed, closing, and more importantly STAYING CLOSED.

On my street in the east village-- prime commercial space can't find a renter.







Turnover is normal, but staying closed for months at a time? Unusual.

So all those europeans coming over for the weekend to enjoy their pied-a-terres will soon have nowhere to shop. With a massive glut of new developments, and local businesses unable to stay open, I predict that the NYC housing market will soon take a big hit.

Am I the only one who thinks it's about time?

Rose's (superstar) Turn

In front of the St. James theatre lastnight in Times Square, I noticed that across the street Phantom of the Opera is still playing. To sold out houses! The longest-running show in Broadway history. How did that happen? Who are those people in line to see it?

Do they have any idea what's going on across the street?

Something legendary is happening on Broadway right now: Gypsy, starring Patti Lupone. And it's not going to run forever.

The New York Times review so worshiped the production and its star that people are saying it was not just a review, it was a coronation. Indeed it was. Ben Brantley gushes "Patti LuPone has found her focus. And when Ms. LuPone is truly focused, she’s a laser, she incinerates."

Gypsy is based on the memoirs of striptease artist Gypsy Rose Lee. And it's all about her mother. This great American musical was created by composer Jules Styne, lyricist Stephen Sondheim, and with a book by Arthur Laurents (who directed this revival...at a whopping 91 years young).

And Patti Lupone? While I have no idea how she belts out her impeccable voice for this three hour show eight times a week, I mostly marvel how she endures all those emotions everyday, battling on as Momma Rose--the pugnacious, indefatigable theatre mother who was "born too soon and started to late."

".....If it weren't for me, just where would you be?....Miss Gypsy Rose Lee?"

Gypsy was created fifty years ago and they still talk about Ethel Merman, who originated the role. Fifty years from now, they'll still be talking about Patti Lupone. If you're in New York, if you can get to New York, theatre history is now incinerating.

And it's not a Phantom.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

An Elephant Never Forgets

My ex boyfriend "Zane" lives in Palm Springs. He just opened a swanky new restaurant called The Tropicale. If you're ever in the desert--eat there. The food is fantastic and the decor is old style Palm Springs. Plus, the drinks are stiff. Zane threw us a party at the Tropicale for the opening of our film.



Zane's fruit fly and mutual friend Michelle supports the Tropicale!



I stayed with him Zane for a few days afterward. We're friends now, but things haven't always been good between us. We were co-dependent together for most of the 90's. We tried to kill each other on three different continents. If you've read my book, You Can Run, you know Zane.

Zane has the book, and because he's scared of what he knows I say inside, he claims not to have read it. How can you not read a book written basically about you? I get the odd feeling that Zane has read it. He just doesn't want to talk about the past.

But one night in Palm Springs we got drunk and did.

He apologized for leaving me to sleep alone on the beach in Miami. After traveling two years in South America, I couldn't find a place to stay. Ranz was staying in South Beach with a friend of his, some old trick. I flew in from Venezuela and wandered around grimy, lugging my big tatty pack, and couldn't find anywhere to stay. Everything was booked. Then I ran into Zane on the street. He was with that trick. I thought I was saved, but he left me stranded.

Last week, Zane apologized for what happened that night. I thanked him for a fantastic ending to my book. "I can't believe I left you," he said. "To hang out with...?" Zane thought about it. "I left you to go out with a person whose name I can't even remember."

I only met that guy once, briefly, on the sidewalk of South Beach. It's been 7 years. I didn't tell Zane, but I do remember.

His name was Benny.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Jesse Archer, PHD (ecophysiology)

So I'm over at my friend Trent's house, and I see his perky pink pet which really freaks me out. I guess you could call it a cat. It's a hairless cat, with big eyes and pink all over. Pink--like a fetus, but dry. Trent says his other friend has a hairless cat that is blue.

I wonder why we're always looking to outer space for aliens --so little fascinated with the absolute otherworldliness of earth. When's the last time you marveled at the micro-world beneath the grass of your own front yard? Underneath the ocean waves, it's outer space. In the rainforest, each beautiful organism has another beautiful thing embedded upon or within it.







The aliens, they are here!









I've got this pipe dream about being a biologist. I think in a parallel universe I am a naturalist out there in the tundra studying one specific species of lichen for my entire life. Just being the complete expert on it. Know its taxonomy, its molecular makeup, its favorite foods and how much sunlight it prefers. I'd be the one person people go to when they need any sort of information about this lichen. I find that noble. In many ways, on many levels, I could be quite content with that life.

Instead, I became a gay party boy. Hardly a consolation.

Maybe next life?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Not their PROUDEST moments

The surprise performer at the White Party was that there was no surprise performer. I heard they couldn't work out a contract with Janet Jackson. And while the White Party was full of fun-loving white-clad boys, it was by no means as full as it could have been, or as full as it used to be, even with a surprise performer ----and perhaps that's what the promoters are realizing.

As I mentioned before, the hotel was full at all hours. It's really a sight to see a generic family hotel like the Wyndham-with its cream colored walls and green reticulated carpets--overtaken by near naked men lurking the hallways, or seemingly lost within the elevator, having forgotten to press the button. Not everyone is on drugs, but on more than one occasion, I'd look up into the liquid large pupils of a smiling face and comment, "My, what beautiful black eyes you have!"

Rupaul was the featured performer at the White Party and hard as she might try to work those three songs she's famous for, she was whipping a dead horse. Rupaul strutted out, posed in some sort of ashtanga yoga move, and people literally stopped dancing. Worse, when she went backstage for a costume change, eyes rolled.

Reappearing for her "Supermodel," the crowd stood around nonplussed. That's when I heard the guy beside me tell his friend, "I'm gonna go grab a water," which aptly summed up Rupaul's showstopper. I've never felt sorry for a drag queen before, but I did then-- this was most surely the absolute nadir of Rupaul's career.

After that, I headed back to the hotel, where I found my friend Mayor in his own room staring at the popcorn ceiling. He actually never saw the sky the whole weekend except for twice, when he left to forage for food. Mayor somehow even slept through the booming volume of the pool parties, because he was up all night ordering in boys. He put an ad on Craigslist with his room number and spent each night in the constant company offered via his revolving door.

That night, he told me the story about the beautiful 25 year old who had dropped by his room. They were just about to get undressed, when the kid grabbed a little kit and a belt and headed for the bathroom. Mayor stopped him, "Are you going to...shoot up?" to which the kid replied, "Do you mind?"

"No," said Mayor, "But do it here. I want to watch."

Curiosity and the cat. I'd probably say the same thing. Mayor sat rapt, noticing all the track marks, as this beautiful kid tied the belt around his upper arm and shot up speed. Then he repeated in the other arm, and if that wasn't enough, he shot one into his leg.

"What happened after that?" I ask Mayor.
"We had sex," he replies.
After a beat, Mayor adds, "It wasn't my proudest moment."

Monday, April 21, 2008

The White Party-DeMythed

At the White Party I was awoken every morning at 8:30 by the booming sound check, and the blaring music that continued throughout the day. Just imagine. It was like some sort of gay hell.

Luckily, it was a damn catchy hell. They played the same three songs on a loop: The new Janet, the new Madonna, the new Mariah. It goes like this: Feedback, feedback, you've only got four minutes to touch my body!













Right out my balcony, The pool party was and is the best thing about the White Party. Made even better with plucky performances from Candis Cayne and Frenchie Davis.

White Party Wyndham: You've only got four minutes to get some sleep.




They've been doing this circuit thing for near 20 years, so they've learned how to make it as profitable, and as foolproof as possible. They've dotted all the i's and crossed all the t's: No room towels at the pool. Towels must be rented at the pool. No outside food or drink, not even water. $12 drinks must be purchased at the pool using pre-purchased SkeeBall-esque tickets from inside the lobby.

Get the idea? Annoying. Highly annoying.

During the bag search on my way to the pool, I was liberated of my snacks and water, but they couldn't strip me of the alcohol I'd already ingested so when I finally made it in and saw a big sign that said "No Diving Allowed!" I'd reached my limit on rules and promptly...dove right in.




I came up for air right beside a mer-man.





Did they search HIM for booze and snacks?


When I got out of the pool, I told my friend JMP all about the Merman. JMP was so plastered he wouldn't believe there was a Merman in the pool. He thought I was making it up. So when he went to take a look, he was still plastered enough to not be able to find the Merman.

"Were you looking in the pool?"

"Yes, and I didn't see a Mer-Man," claimed JMP.

"He's the one with the big green flipper."

"Who?"

At that point, we went back to the room for more cocktails.

Friday, April 18, 2008

My Name is Cybil, and I Hate Her!

I managed to end up in Palm Springs on the weekend of the biggest circuit party of the year: The White Party. I'm staying in the notorious boyhive, the Wyndham Hotel. I woke up this morning at 9 am when they began blaring house music from the pool. It's still blaring. As hotels go, the Wyndham is box-y and blah, and you have to pay extra for internet when it's free even in the cheapest of roadside motels.

The reason the party is here has to do with tradition, the size of the pool, and the fact it's attached to the Convention Center. I came here ten years ago, at the height of circuit party popularity, so I'm interested to see if the White Party still has it going on.

In the mid-nineties, the dance floor was joyful and happy, with lyrics and love on the dance floor. Since then, the music has gotten darker, harder, angrier. It's spelled the decline of big dance all over the globe, and it's all linked to the darker, harder, angrier drug of choice: meth.

Meth, and the internet.

Los Angeles feels a lot more meth-y than New York. They've got these PSA billboards all over town (which I hope are more effective than shock adverts like "try meth--get AIDS free!"):




I lost me to meth...

and nobody called him a faggot!



I'm told that the White Party is still a big money earner for the Palm Springs Wyndham, but that Jeffrey Sanker and the actual party isn't as popular. Why? People now congregate in the hotel, and instead of hitting the parties, they go online to craigslist, or manhunt, and organize massive meth-fueled orgies inside their rooms.

Why go to a party, when you can order in?

Where once we gathered to have fun and joyously rejoice, our subculture has lately turned to anonymous adventure and instant gratification with a shocking lack of eye contact. It's easy for me to understand why people might lose themselves to meth.

It's the message they get from their own family, the legislature; especially it's the message we pass out to one another. We don't like ourselves enough. Notice it, and make a change. Even in the gay media, there is a subtle message of straight-acting-only self-hate.

The role models we are given are mostly approving heterosexuals. Thank you for not calling us faggots! We want to be with them; we want to cross over and be them, which of course we can't. But sit down with the synthetic power of a pipeful of meth, you can forget all that.

We have the power to bring back the happy music. Hug a queen today. Hug yourself today. Let's spread that message.


Need help getting started? For resources free of judgment, try menotmeth.org, or tweaker.org.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Deflected!

It's like old times in Los Angeles. My friend Eric is constantly shooting off great one liners. I'd forgotten how funny he is. He should be writing for television. If I lived here, I'd be following him around the entire time for script fodder.

For example, the other night he was out at the bars and some guy kept hitting on him, some guy he wasn't into at all. The guy kept talking about how he wanted to put "8 inches" into Eric. He set himself up for this:

"I've got 8 inches for you..." he coos. Eric brushes him off.

The guy comes back with, "Yeah, I'm gonna give you 8 inches..."

Eric faces off. "What?" he deadpans. "You're gonna fuck me twice?"

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A Four Letter Word Los Angeles Premiere

Here are some pics (thank you Brian Putnam) from the red carpet of Sunset 5 cinemas in Los Angeles. A Four Letter Word is playing there, as well as in Palm Springs and New York City.




Executive Producer Michael Lyon with director Casper Andreas













Casper with Straight Out Media mavens
Scott and John







The lovely Thea Gill
















Charlie David, Thea Gill, Jesse Archer













Designer Jordan, with Charlie David

















The ever-fantastic Alison Lane, who plays Trisha in the film.













Alison Lane
Virginia Bryan (she plays Marilyn)
Charlie David
Me






Alison Lane, me, and my date---the first girl I ever loved -- Chira Robertson (more on her later!)












Comedian Alec Mapa, and DIVA member Hector

Monday, April 14, 2008

Why I left LA

I used to live in Los Angeles, and there's something about Southern California. I remember it briefly when I first arrive and put a key in the ignition because in Los Angeles, you get in your car, and it's like your own little home away from home. You put on your music, you've got space, and wheels. It's unbridled freedom: you can go anywhere!

You are footloose and fancy free until, five minutes later, you get caught in traffic on a bipolar freeway like the 405 which could easily be crowded anytime day or night. Or you get stymied on a side road, and that's when you realize that, much like people, there are only about two streets you can count on. These are San Vincente and Fountain (in that order). If you are not on either of these two streets, you will slowly and dependably develop high blood pressure.

Living in Los Angeles, high strung people like me grow silently insane inside of that little pod, honking and extending middle fingers, because despite being comfy in your own little home away from home, there is absolutely nothing you can do about your external situation.

At least in NYC if the bus or the subway is too crowded I can just get off. I can get off and walk and feel that no matter how much slower I may be going, at least I'm doing something about it.

Nothing generates peace of mind like doing something about it.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Trademark of the Day

This imperative found on a tub-o-cashews:




words to live by.

Gone West, Young Man

On a whirlwind promotional tour for the theatrical release of A Four Letter Word.

We're in Los Angeles, San Diego, and Palm Springs (not necessarily in that order). And can I tell you what fun it is to travel with this cast? Right now we're in San Diego. It's perfect here. Beach, Balboa Park, Hillcrest--and the community here is as amazing as the weather. Why oh why don't I live here?

The promotional company (DIVA, helmed by Nelson Melegrito) out west has organized a massive promotional blitz for our film. All these promotions seem to include my favorite hyphenate: drink-tickets.

They've hired a photographer to track our every movement, so it's fun, or funny, or really frightening to see the photos that keep appearing to fill in foggy blanks. Basically, I've been in a blackout since Wednesday.

At one point, Charlie David and I were "ballers" at the gay bingo night at Hamburger Mary's. The drag queen hostess ("Bridget of Madison County") not only forced us to *read* the balls, but she had a little witty aphorism to go alone with each ball and number.

Bingo Baller duties went something like this:

1) fish out ball
2) hunt for witty little ditty
3) say witty little ditty ("If you want to date Michael Jackson, you must...")
4) then read the bingo ball: ("B 7"!)

Bingo was never so goddamn complicated.

I had at least fifteen cocktails to keep up with Bridget, her balls and those bridges.


I spent most of my time trying to figure out if Bridgets tits were real. (The jury is still out).













When I lived in Los Angeles ten years ago, the Abbey was just a coffee shop. They've since annexed the old pottery shop next door and glammed it up into...into I'm not sure what, but I had dinner there and several martinis.

I did my best to get ejected from the place. At one point, I did a cartwheel, stuck the landing, and then saw someone eating a merengue pie. "I needed some hair gel!" I said, dipping my fingers into his merengue, and styling my hair with it.












With Maria the rose saleswoman. She's famous here.
(Please note the drink spillage on my black jeans).

I definitely don't remember being on stage below. Apparently I was seriously judging the strip contest at Here lounge. I literally do not remember doing this, and yet there I am. Who is the sadist who gave me the cocktail I clutch?

Please note more spillage on my shirt.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Adios, Cheyenne

I was at the Javits Center this weekend way over on the westside.   On the way home I got hungry and decided to hit up this ancient, really cute railroad diner nearby -- The Cheyenne Diner, on 9th avenue and 33rd street.  

I went in and it was packed, people were taking pictures, and a whole lot of hoopla for a forgotten, 70 year old diner.  It turned out to be the very last day the Cheyenne Diner was open.  

It is going to be replaced with a 9 story condo building. 





The Cheyenne Diner: gone the way of the Navaho.








As irony would have it, change is our only constant.  Nowhere in the world is this better understood than in New York City: a city with no sentimentality.  Walking the city streets you come face to face with somewhere, someplace, but it's gone.  Just....vanished.  And in a couple years, you forget what used to be there.  You rack your brain but you just can't remember: What once stood on that corner?  It's now a 9 story condo building!

Life has no sentimentality.  What evidence is left of our existence (no matter how sparkling) after we are gone?  We all want to live forever, to be remarkable and leave something behind, but who will remember who we were or what we stood for once we are inevitably replaced?  

Which forces me wonder: is this why people have children? 

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Hunka Hunka Hunka

So, I was onset blogging last weekend at another playgirl shoot and one of the models had been up partying all night ("because the music was so good" - uh huh). He was kinda sketched out and couldn't get an erection.

he producer came over to tell me, "Jesse, the models says he needs a fluffer. It's the only way he can get hard." I took one look at the tweaked out model and politely declined. The producer pleaded with big puppy dog eyes. "Please?"

Honey, I may be a fluffer, but I'm a discretionary fluffer.

Thankfully, the professional models don't need any help. And there were several professionals on site. Take this guy, for example:















Or porn star Victor Steele (below). A total pro.



















Yeah, it was a long hard weekend.

For more fun, they're posting ongoing bits of my blogging over at iloveplaygirl.com.

Monday, April 07, 2008

I was Moonstruck!

I headed to the Monster last week for "Night of 101 Chers" -- I mean, who could resist? As it turns out, there were only about 9 Chers. But I didn't feel cheated. Trust me when I say 9 Chers make it feel like 101!

The Monster is in the West Village, across the street from Stonewall. It's a bit of a throwback, which is why I love it. Upstairs, they're singing showtunes around a piano, and down below you've got legendary host Jesse Volt (one of the sweetest people around) putting on a showstopping "Night of nearly 101 Chers."


Jesse Volt as Cher.



























Petty Grievances

Allow me to kvetch for a moment. Here are some things I find highly annoying:

1) Those wrenches all over the right side of my blog! How do I get rid of them? Anyone?

2) All the time I am spending mindlessly on the internet. Bam Bam has noticed, too, and has taken action. He's somehow discovered how to stop me from using facebook. He's set up a firewall that blocks me from the site from 10 to 5pm. Ha! It needed to happen.

3) People who sign off on emails with "Best," Ugh. Best what? It reeks of trite insincerity and an obsequious attempt to be both professional and yet still cool & casual. Ick. Best is the worst.

4) Those Palestinian scarves. Everyone is wearing the "Keffiyeh" and I fear the trend is only beginning. Nothing says displacement like a rainbow assortment of the scarves that symbolize a Palestinian nation that doesn't exist. Next up--a summer runway of Tibetan monk sandals.


Hey hipster, Yasser Arafat wants his scarf back!

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Goodnight, Chuck.

Charlton Heston has finally died.

The Ben Hur actor championed the 2nd amendment and once stood as president of the NRA, boasting his right to own a gun would never be revoked. He famously held a rifle over his head to declare, "From my cold, dead hands!!" Considering Charlton Heston had Alzheimers, the only thing now being pried from his cold, dead hands is a plastic cup of lime jello.

Heston was a notorious god-fearing, conservative homophobe from another generation. And yet for all I am supposed to detest him, I can't say good riddance. The craggily handsome actor was not afraid to speak his mind.

He marched in the civil rights movement of the 1950's, and yet in the 90's he quit Actors Equity because their refusal to allow a white person to play an asian in Miss Saigon he considered to be "obscenely racist." We're left to suppose that white actors in black-face, or Mickey Rooney playing asian in "Breakfast at Tiffany's" was obscenely unracist?

Heston had a lot backward, but he remained a rabble rousing American --something we should appreciate and hold onto. He once said, "Political Correctness is tyranny with manners." If Americans were politically correct, he argued, we'd never have resisted King George, and would still be subject to the British Crown.

Considering the recent the plummet of the American peso, we may be better off in Britain. But, frankly, I am with Charlton Heston. I'd rather be politically incorrect than bow to anyone, and definitely not to that old bag in Buckingham palace.

When another uniquely American man, Michael Moore, tricked Heston in the film "Bowling for Columbine," essentially blaming him and the NRA for the Columbine High School massacre, I couldn't help but feel sorry for the old man. Am I the only one who felt the ambush was unfair?
Personally, I'm not a republican. Neither am I a staunch democrat.

Similarly, I have mixed feelings for the man once known as Charlton Heston.

Art & Commerce in Brooklyn

My friend Audrey put together a star-studded event at the Brooklyn Museum promoting the new Louis Vuitton handbags...in conjunction with Japanese artist Murakami and featuring rapper Kanye West: further proof that the same three people not only own everything in the world...they own everyone as well.

More importantly, it was an open-bar.















Behind me, rapper Kanye West mounts the stage. Yes, those are two glasses of champagne I am holding. Yes, they are both mine.










Kanye West...raps. (For the record, I do not recognize one song he sings. I am that gay.)


Takashi Murakami has been called the Andy Warhol of Japan, only his stuff is a lot better than any Andy Warhol ever cobbled together. Murakami has an exhibit right now in the Brooklyn Museum. He also has designed the latest Louis Vuitton's bag---and (gag this) there is an actual Louis Vuitton store inside the Brooklyn Museum now, too.


You may not think you know Murakami's work, but when you see it you realize you do. It's a mix of color and cartoons and ugly consumerism and the simple understanding that yes, the same three people do own everything in the world, but let's give it technicolor dazzle anyway.


















In his Murakami's own words, "I express hopelessness."



As for the party--it was a total success (way to go, Audrey!) Check out the New York Times review of all the hoopla here between money and art and artists, and if you scroll down on the left--you will see a video segment of "The Urban Eye"--(with flowers) which also details the party.

At about 3:52 into the video, you will see me being interviewed as I'm trying to steal (jokingly) the gift placemats from the other guests. I love to taunt the rich. My, people get feisty when it comes to their Louis Vuitton!

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Koch is A Four Letter Word for....?

There was a surprise guest at the 7:45 screening of my smutty gay romantic comedy "A Four Letter Word" lastnight at the Chelsea Clearview Cinemas. When I arrived for a Q&A session, the manager Scott told me the "mayor is watching your film." The mayor? Bloomberg? Nope.

It was a cane-carrying 83 year old ex-mayor Ed Koch and his date: a bodyguard.

Wow,
I thought when I saw him... because Koch is not openly gay. In fact, he was criticized for not being aggressive enough in addressing the early 1980's AIDS crisis because of the attention it might draw to his own closet.

He still maintains his "bachelor" status. Here is how he answered the question to Time Out NY in an interview just last year:

Time Out: Are you gay?

Ed Koch: When was the last time you performed oral sex on your boyfriend?

Time Out: Well I'm single now so it was a long time ago.

Ed Koch: See, I don't think you should answer that question. It's an improper question, and so is yours.

Improper?

So what is such a proper person doing at an outrageously improper gay film? The NYT review mentions "breezy shots of male genitalia," "explicit but never sleazy," and "good natured gay raunchiness." My character in the film (Luke) would definitely ask Mr. Koch when was the last time he performed oral sex on his boyfriend. And if he swallowed.

Perhaps at 83 years old, Ed Koch is finally ready to answer? Maybe it could keep him young? Improper is so much more fun.

Friday, April 04, 2008

On the Radio. In the Blogosphere.

Lastnight I had the great opportunity to co-host the Derek & Romaine show on Sirius Satellite Radio with my friend Derek Hartley. I filled in for Romaine Patterson who is off in Palm Springs with all the lesbians at the Dinah Shore "spectacular."

If you have Sirius, their show is fun, gay, and enlightening. Lastnight we talked about everything from crystal meth to Margaret Cho's pussy (she recently had a "g-shot" which is an injection of collagen into the g-spot. Ouch!) On the show was home-builder Tom Judson, aka porn star Gus Mattox, and also Claire, the latest girl sent home from America's Next Top Model.

And while we're speaking of witty fun people that you will never meet...let's talk about my favorite blogger, YOU! You are thirtysomething, very gay, way too single, and you live in Manhattan (of course). This blogger is so damn good, I invited him to the premiere of A Four Letter Word and he wrote all about it in his latest post. Thank YOU!


This is not you.





You may be anonymous, but his writing is downright virtuoso, so if you like good writing and want to imagine your life as a cocktail swilling, lovable cad in the melting pot of new york city in 2008, then head over there and follow the adventures of Blonde Beard, Jet Blew, the Dicktator, the Hobosexual and oh-so many more. Trust me, you'll be hooked.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

IKEA Press Release

IKEA has just announced their intention to begin selling cars. Can you imagine?

For any of you who have put together anything from IKEA, you'll get a kick out of this:

Hope for Zimbabwe?

The world has been anxiously awaiting election results from Zimbabwe, and now the "election commission" has announced the opposition has won. But wait. Official results haven't been announced yet, although the election was held last week. Everyone smells trouble.

Vic Falls, Zimbabwe












Robert Mugabe has been the leader of Zimbabwe since its 1980 independence, and has singlehandedly run a once rich african nation into the ground. Zimbabwe has the world's highest inflation, the world's highest rate of HIV infection, and the worst economy in Africa (80% unemployment). Those are some superlatives!

Mugabe chased off white farmers and replaced them with friends who can't farm, and who don't have the connections to sell and distribute their crop even if they did. There is hardly anything on the supermarket shelves, and more than once I saw people looking at a small bag of rice, or a carton of milk and debating heavily or not whether they could afford to buy it.

There are no tourists. In fact, outside of Vic Falls, I saw maybe two foreigners the whole time. It's just too volatile, too unsafe and hectic. There is often no fuel, so trains and buses simply don't run sometimes.

Imagine the money. When I was there, inflation was at over 1000% so the "value" of the zim dollar changed regularly. When I traded USD for zim dollars, the money-changing man (it's all black market, because the governments "official rate" is pumped up fiction) arrived with a huge suitcase full of cash. Can you imagine how long it takes you to count out money at the grocery store check out? An eternity. To buy like, a banana.

This wad of 50,000 zim dollar bills is worth about, maybe ten dollars.







The other side of the bills are just...blank...because the treasury couldn't afford to print the back, too.




Bulawayo, Zimbabwe

The situation there has forced good people (and I met many good people) to take drastic measures, to try to get work. Others resort to crime. Not only are there no tourism dollars flowing in, but parks and animal protections are strapped. Economic woes have led some to start poaching of the endangered black rhino (there's only 3,000 left in the world).

Nobody I met in Zimbabwe had anything good to say about Mugabe. And yet every last park is named after him, and so are streets, plazas and statues. He's rich! I also noticed that Zimbabweans also felt there was nothing they could do about him. I wondered why these people could not stand up in a great number and revolt?

I quickly learned that any organized opposition has been beaten up, jailed, and silenced. Demonstrations in the capital of Harare have been officially banned by the government. Most recently, Amnesty International cited a case where officials forced opposition supporters to take down their election signs, and then forced to eat, and swallow them.

So today they tell me that the 300 year old most famous living tyrant of our times has been beaten in a "democratic" election and may have to step down. I hope I'm wrong, but: fat chance.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Protegez-Vous!

Check out this French safe-sex awareness campaign by Wilfred Brimo and set to The Rubettes' 1974 classic "Sugar Baby Love." It's touching. It's funny. It's an AIDS awareness campaign that will make you want to "live long enough to find the one." And it's about time.