Saturday, May 31, 2008

Domestic Disputes

I come home from Chicago and find Bam Bam looking sexy and suddenly body hair-free. I next discover that our bathroom sink is completely clogged. Now I'm no Hercules Poirot, but it doesn't take long for me to put the clues together and deduce that Bam Bam has manscaped himself right down the drain.

The confrontation:

Me: "Did you perchance wash your body hair down the sink?"

Bam:"Maybe just some pubes..."


Me:
(with a look of disbelief and disdain)"You clog the drain with pubes, and I have to brush my teeth in the kitchen. What are you going to do about it?"

Bam:"Nothing. What are you gonna do about it?"

J:"I'm gonna BLOG about it."

This hairy domestic dispute could be solved with a bottle of drano, but Bam Bam had better ideas. "If you blog about my pubes, I'm going to block you from your blog with a firewall!"

This gave me pause. I've often joked that one day I'm sure to be fired from my own blog (and I'm sure there are several in the blogosphere who would love to see that happen), and Bam Bam's threat could do the trick. Let's see if he's got the (hairless) balls to follow through.

Meanwhile, I continue to pester Bam Bam with utter shock and horror at his having manscaped into the sink, and he only answers that his behavior in a private bathroom is nothing compared to the havoc I perpetuate on the public streets of new york city.

To prove his point, Bam Bam produced blackmail iphone photos he took that night I tackled him along Fifth Avenue. And because I fully support photographic blackmail from blackouts, I present them here.

By the way, I still have a bump on my forehead from that night.

Rolling around on the filthy city sidewalk. With a smile on my face! And is that sperm on my sweater?

So quick bright things turn to confusion. Pitiful Pearl comes out to play.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Diversity Training Works!

I've got to say, I saw some pretty wild things at the IML leather convention in Chicago. Just imagine what the staff at the Hyatt thought and saw? I think they deserve some kind of award.

I even wrote a letter to the Hyatt thanking their staff. Amid rubber gimps, leather queens, and human pups, they were all so genuinely friendly: from the front desk, to valet, to waiters, to maids who, when I passed them in the hall, chirped out "good morning!" ....and you can imagine it was not a good morning in those rooms!

I doubt the Hyatt maids saw this.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Oh L'Amour

At IML, I spotted Andy Bell at the Hyatt bar in Chicago. He's the lead singer for Erasure, and all I could do when I saw him was gasp, "I love Erasure!"

Andy Bell is second from left

What bothered me was that I didn't tell Andy Bell what an impact Erasure has had on my life. Essentially, I came out with his music. A show he did at the Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles back in 1993 was the first time I saw real live gay people (they existed!?) gathered together.

I wanted to tell him that I can't measure just how much he may have saved my life. Feeling very alone, and weighing teen suicide, I was kept afloat partly by songs of his like "Breathe of Life" and "Hideaway":

The boy he was rejected
By the people that he cared for
It's not what they expected But he could not keep it secret anymore
Far from home now
There's a new world You can make it on your own
Are you still proud of your little boy?

Don't be afraid.
You don't have to hide away

To this day, I sleep with Erasure on my sleeptime playlist, and his "Blue Savannah" is the one song I've insisted be played at my funeral.

Blue Savannah

So basically, when I told Andy Bell "I love Erasure!" it didn't properly convey how he impacted my life, and probably many others. So I vowed if I saw him again over the weekend, I'd tell him. And I did, I saw him again, and I told him all those things.

In retrospect, I kinda wish I didn't.

It was awkward (he just kind of nodded) for both of us, and besides I totally interrupted him while he was speaking with a friend.

I do feel it's important to let people know how they've made a difference, but how do you let them know? Should I have just bought him a drink? Written him a letter?

There's a difference between expressing gratitude and gushing. It's a difference I'd like to learn.


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

So Much More Than Words

The International Mr. Leather weekend: It's sort of like drag. Without high heels or makeup.

Here I am with urinal-man. He has a basin attached to his front, where you can pee into. The costume is outfitted with tubes that funnel piss from the basin into long gaiter boots, so I presume he just sloshes around in urine all day.

"You want me to pee on you here?" I asked him, and he replied from beneath the mask all outraged, "This is a hotel ballroom!" Yes, this is a hotel ballroom. And you're a rubber urinal.

To give you an idea of how unphased people were by the presence of urinal man, I overheard someone see him and casually mutter, "That suit must have cost him at least $5,000."

Twink bondage. This kid is happy as a pig in shit!

More fetish party participants. We had football players, moto-studs, and hockey players.

Houdini? I have absolutely no idea.

Take me away, officers!

Happy to report that Walt Whitman made it to the party, escorted by a decorated captain.

Fist meets Piss. A match made in heaven, and a metaphysical dilemma wrapped in one.

I was able to take down at least one tight end.

Uh oh! Can't hold it? In the ballroom bathroom, urinal-man was in heavy demand.

He kept directing people to piss in his basin, but when someone (was it me?) pissed all over his mask, one heard his muffled lament, "Now I'm gonna have to wash off...."

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Grabby Awards

As chance would have it, the gay porn awards, the Grabby's, was held the same weekend as the IML convention in Chicago. At least one porn star kept referring to them as the Grammys.

Another surprise was when they actually gave out an award for best porn screenplay. Ahem. But the biggest shocker came when the award for best xxx fetish porn went to neither "Fist and Shout" nor "Knuckle Sandwich."

Is there no justice?
Chi Chi (he-she) LaRue presides (screeches?) at the Grabbys along with co-host Honey West.

I love this sponsor poster. I fruitlessly scanned the place for the "Chicago Methodist Church salutes the Grabbys!" poster.
Porn star Ben Andrews.
Here I am with Roma, an artistic director, freedom fighter, and sister of perpetual indulgence!

Check out the Grabbys swag! The thrill of getting a free $50 bottle of lube was bittersweet. Along with many boys online (internet inches, anyone?) I'm unfamiliar with precise measurements, but seeing this keg of lube I knew deep down it was probably more than 3 ounces, and I'd have to actually check my luggage back to New York.

Every Dog Deserves a Bone

Just when you think you've seen everything:

The Regency Ballroom at the Hyatt Hotel in Chicago held "Woof Camp" - a dog run...for "pups" and their "handlers" and then of course, their fans. To a person like me, the idea of watching grown men crawl around with dog chew toys is tantamount to winning the lottery.

Woof camp was a hoot. These are some playful bitches! I played some fetch, petted a Doberman in diapers, and even picked up a really sweet Asian stray, for a few minutes.

I tried to pull this toy out of the doggie's mouth. But he held fast and growled.

Here we see the "pup tail" butt plug in action. I was forced to resist the very strong temptation to pull it out.

Woof!

At one point, a "handler" dangled this Scooby Doo pinata, and all the doggies scrambled over to paw it to pieces. Definitely a highlight.

I knew "Woof Camp" would be pure gold, so we brought a video camera and taped the whole affair. I even interviewed some of the breeds (who barked their glee) and their handlers who told me how most leather parties are now incorporating dog runs into their events.

I really want to edit it and show it to you here.

But, get this, two security guards came over and asked for our press credentials. Of course we didn't have any, so they started getting tough and telling us we'll get evicted from the hotel and then they wanted to see the camera. I presumed they were going to take the camera, or at least confiscate our footage, and I was just drunk enough (hell to the no!) to not let that happen.

I quickly snatched the videocamera out of my friend Danny's hands and booked it! One security guy screamed "Stop, SISTER!" and both gave chase. I may be a sister, but I've raced four marathons, and here was my fifth. From the bowels of the Hyatt, I sprinted up three staircases, an escalator, four more flights and down a long hallway to our room, all while weaving in and out of a herd of leather. They didn't catch me.

I felt like a greyhound.

More importantly, the dog run footage is intact. I can't wait to edit and assemble it.



Zip!

It might be obvious that I don't really fit in at a leather convention. I'm an anachronism, really.

I never fit with one group entirely; not in high school, and not now. I always envied people who had everything in common with one group or another--and also people who always knew what they wanted to do in life. Turns out, I'm perpetually sidelined which, if nothing else, certainly helps my powers of observation.

But back to the IML leather convention. They see right through me, so I've taken a proactive approach. Lastnight I got crunk (crazy drunk) in my room and ran around the convention, grabbing leather pouches, jackets and pants. Any item of leather that had a zipper, I unzipped. Just a little bit, and saying "Zip!" thinking I was very clever. Surely, they got the reference "Zip!" number from Pal Joey, but they just looked at me strangely, so I had to add, "Zip! You know--Rita Hayworth? Pal Joey? 1957?"

Nobody got it, so it occurred to me that I'm a musical theatre queen, so I guess I do fit in there. So where's my convention? Still, one would think that older gay men would get a classic musical reference, and a Rita Hayworth number no less, but no. After several unwelcome "Zip!"s, my friend Daniel says, "Stop. None of these leather queens know Rita Hayworth."

I was bothered and bewildered by this, so on my next playful "Zip!" the leather queen snarled and so I added, "You know, Rita Hayworth...Zip!...from Pal Joey?" "No," he pushed past, and I called after him. "Well I know you remember 1957!"

If anyone in leather is reading, may I present Rita and "Zip!" for your edification:

I Hear You

Overheard at the Hyatt during the International Mr Leather weekend:

1)

Man 1: We could go to the leather market...

Man 2: Or we could go upstairs. Room 1229 is taking loads all afternoon.

Man 1: What? How do you know that?

Man 2: There's a sign in the elevator.

2)

What? He's got a portable dungeon?

3)

We've got to go, hurry up! He's raffling the dildos in 12 minutes!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

It's a turd, it's a plane, no, it's....eneman!

Finally, anal douching has a superhero! Meet the Fleet Enema's "ENEMAN":

Eneman has flown to Chicago to save the day at the International Mr. Leather competition.

The Hyatt is not short on superheroes this weekend. Was the body-net crotched by hand?

This room is giving off some seriously mixed signals.

At the leather mart, a gimp to go?

Merchandising at its best! Going going gone. Pup and Dog tails are selling out! I predict kangaroo tails will be the top seller in 2009.

My friend Danny and I got stalled at the popper shelf. They had "testers," can you believe it?
We tested our hearts out.

This kills me. The best aroma in the world. At $35 a pop(per), it better be!

Eneman recommends....

Just Do It

Hey all---

The California Governors office has received lots of people calling in opposition to the new supreme court ruling granting same-sex marriage. So let's call in to show our support of the ruling. Here's how:

call 1-916-445-2841

at the prompts, press: 1, 5, 1, 1

It seriously takes ten seconds. I did it. It's automated, it's easy, and it's important.

Do it now. Then pass it along to all your friends and supporters.

Gimp ISO Master

Somehow I'm in Chicago on the same weekend as the International Mr Leather competition. And I'm staying in their host hotel!

It's astonishing to see a hotel like the Hyatt transformed into a leather/rubber/costume convention. Thousands of fetishists have overrun the place, including but not limited to policemen, hockey players, gimps, masters, slaves and lots and lots of big boys in leather. As my friend Danny said, "Bring your granola, the bears are feeding."

Last night, I heard someone being lashed in an adjoining room. In addition to the Mr. Leather competition, there's a dog show in one of the Hyatt ballrooms. That is, of course, human "pups" and their "handlers." Plus, this morning I got a flyer with a picture of a very red ass with an invitation to the "Chicago Spanking Party." So much fun to be had!

Best of all was the hooded gimp we saw drinking alone at the bar. He was in a rubber suit from top to bottom, fully covered excepting three slits: two for his eyes, and a tiny one for his mouth. At the HYATT!

My friend N wanted to start up a conversation with him. Something harmless, so my other friend Danny suggests something benign: "Ask him who his favorite artist is."

N approaches the gimp.

N: "Who's your favorite artist?"

Gimp: "Will you pee on me?"

That answer sufficiently scared off N, so they sent in reinforcements (me).

me: "You look like you need someone to leash you up and take you home.

gimp: "I do." Beneath the two small slits, his eyes look wistful, as he adds: "I need a master."

All suited up and nobody to tell him what to do.

Judy Garland sang, "Ever since the world began, there's nothing sadder than...a one man woman, looking for the man that got away..."

Though I believe if Judy Garland were still living, today she might change her tune. There's nothing sadder than...a masterless gimp drinking alone at the Hyatt.

Friday, May 23, 2008

On Comments

Dear Readers (and in specific, Audrey and Elusha),

The blogosphere should be one big forum, and I'm fearsomely free-speech. I really appreciate hearing from you, and knowing you are out there reading. After having received several spam comments which provided conniving links that probably lead to the new and improved sasser virus, I recently began filtering comments in order to protect your computer.

I switched to "comment approval" after first trying the "word verification" technique, because not only do I hate word verification myself (myspace, aaack!!) but I heard from several readers who weren't able to leave comments using that system.

Just to be clear: I'm filtering spam, not censoring comments.

Fire away!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

New York Shitty

I got a new landlord two years ago, when she promptly upped my rent by $225 per month!

And the best thing is, she thought she was giving me a deal. I live on Avenue D. Avenue D, which they used to call D for Death. I only live here to get a break on rent. Brooklyn gets to midtown faster, I'm surrounded by housing projects (and have had more than one harrowing encounter with their residents), and the nearest subway is a fifteen minute walk....if you walk really fast.

Otherwise you can take the bus which is actually slower than walking, especially with all the wheelchairs which magically appear from within the vast housing projects. "beep, beep, beep" goes the wheelchair lift, and you instantly think: "Where is this wheelchair person going? And why don't they have their own bus to go there?" Because the bus driver not only has to slowly hoist them onto the bus, he has to get out of his seat and strap them in.

If you're really late to wherever you're going--there's sure to be 2 wheelchairs, and the whole agonizingly slow process will be repeated four times because inevitably wheelchair people get off only two stops after they get on. It's like, you have wheels. Wheel!

Yes, New York City is perhaps the only place where you can start to hate the handicapped.

But back to my landlord. For the bargain price of $225 extra I pay per month, she put a fresh coat of paint inside the building and installed a little marble slab outside the front door. The lap of ghetto luxury!

I get a call from her this week because it's lease-renewal time and she "wants to work with me" because she "really likes me as a tenant." Her name is Rupa, and she's Indian, and she says these things in her chirpy Indian affected lilt. She sounds happy and glowing in the way that shifty people glow whilst they're fucking you over, because what Rupa ultimately has to say is that she plans to jack my rent up another $350. Per month. On Avenue D.

I'm sorry, is a Fort Lauderdale time-share included?

What constitutes that kind of increase? I'd really like to know, especially since the manhattan market is stalled. Do her grandiose plans include replacing the marble slab with a golden one?

It's a 25% increase; a 50% increase since she took over two years ago. This she somehow thinks is reasonable, acceptable even, but it's not. It's criminal, only you can't prosecute. I called 311, and all you can do is move out. Which of course I will.

But I'm not playing nice. I'm not going to put on her fake smile. I've got a mind to put a venal hindu hex on her chicken tiki masala. The handicapped I'm suddenly fine with; it's the Indians I'm hating today. Her greed is legendary.

I shall never forget it.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Mary Is A Little Lamb

In contrast to my last post, I'd like to introduce Mary.

Mary is a little lamb-- the sweetest resident of the Michigan Nursing home. She's got a huge puff of white hair, like a huge marshmallow on her head. Nurse's aide Dan says each time she is acknowledged, she smiles wide and opens her arms for a hug.

She's docile and Dan often catches her in her room where Mary watches the nature channel. She sits rapt by the wildlife on the screen. Watching an antelope eat grass will make Mary coo with glee.

Mary has regular visitors, including her adoring children. Recently, a group of siblings came to visit Mary. Back in the day, they lived down the road from Mary. They didn't have a great family life, but Mary always used to bake them cookies and walk them over.

When they heard that the elderly Mary was in a nursing home, they got together and organized to visit her and bring homemade cookies.

So what makes Mary a little lamb?

I asked Dan to sit down and get the goods on the source of her happiness. Mary answered that she is happy because she thinks of her farm, and her husband who, despite his death, shared so much love with her. Mary also claimed he died when he was just 23, which is mega-incorrect according to all records.

Which only goes to show that sometimes, as with the angry sanity of Miss Shirley Parker, that being in your right mind, doesn't mean wrong isn't a much happier place.

I wonder how much it's just the way we are made. Funny how our society values money and possessions and rank over the very underrated gift of innate happiness.

I suspect Mary was born happy. And she'll die happy.

A successful girl.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Shirley Parker Hates The World

Sometimes I feel it’s my duty to give a voice to those who don’t have one, or who can’t effectively use theirs. And so it is with great pleasure that I present Miss Shirley Parker.

To do this, I return to our favorite haunt-- the Michigan Nursing home where Neighbor Dan works as a nurse’s aide. This is also the home of Shirley Parker Hates The World, an old woman who looks like a pug. She’s got no neck and a bulbous head and she rooms with Bag Balm Betty. Install a camera in that room, and watch ratings soar through the roof.

Shirley Parker wears a pair of old horn-rimmed glasses from the era when she was young and cute. Although Dan suspects she was never young, nor cute, because she used to be a school crossing guard.

There goes the perception of a crossing guard being a quaint, kid-loving good citizen. Shirley Parker hates the world and insists you know it. She swears like a truck driver at shrieking levels, and all the time.

Shirley freaks out when anyone talks to her because she alternately wants one of two things:

1) to be permanently left alone, and
2) to die.

Shirley’s also got diabetes, so her feet hurt constantly. One day, a nurse named Lisa was with her. Dan was down the hall when he heard Shirley’s high pitched, earth shattering scream, “Watch my fucking feet, you CUNT!”

To get her out of bed, the staff uses a mechanical lift, and each morning Shirley begins the day wailing, “Oh good lord, why can’t you just take me now??? Enough of this! WHY THE FUCK AM I STILL HERE???

This really makes Dan crack up. She just really makes him want to laugh, but then he’ll feel sorry for her, and the laughter gets cut short. Dan loves Shirley, if only because she won’t be loved. Then she’ll lash out once more, refusing to shut up, and Dan looks at her bulbous head and pug face and gets the giggles again.

One day, Dan had to give Shirley Parker her shower. In there with her, Shirley blared, “I don’t know why you’re washing me! It’s not like anybody is gonna notice me. Why am I here in this goddamned prison? I’m a fucking hostage in this GOD-DAMNED PRISON!

This realization became too much to bear and Shirley Parker’s tears began to mix with the trickling shower. Being a good nurses aide, Dan tries talking Shirley into a “happy place.” Which switches her from boo-hoo, right back to bitch.

Shirley Parker begins screaming at the top of her lungs: “RAPE! RAPE! RAPE!”

Dan’s eyes pop out of their sockets—like, no way is she screaming rape while he’s giving her a shower! He says emphatically, “I’m just trying to give you a shower to get you all nice and clean. Why are you screaming rape?”

Shirley snarls, " I just want people to know I’m in here."

Judging by her volume, people knew. Shirley Parker hates the world. She could very well be the only lucid patient at the nursing home, and maybe that’s her problem: She knows where she is.

And what Shirley wants is all anybody wants. For others to know she’s here.

Shirley Parker is screaming. Can you hear her?

Are you listening?

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Cukoo for Lucerne

In Switzerland, we stayed in my friend Rebekka's house while she was away on her honeymoon. While there I managed to crash her bike, ruining both my elbow and the gear shift on her handlebar. Then her cat ran off and has never been heard from since. I highly doubt I'll be invited back.

Sad, because I wanna return to Lucerne.

I've been around, and I mean it, I've been around, and I don't think I've ever seen a lovelier place than Lucerne. It's like a picture perfect dollhouse on a lake. Surrounded by the Alps!

Lucerne: it's more than a brand of milk.


Beautiful Alex. She and her husband Joe were sweet enough to show us around Switzerland.

No fairy tale town would be complete without a lake full of swans.

In related news, did you know Swiss cheese is not called Swiss cheese by the Swiss? It's Emmental.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

The Day After

I hate to spoil the California gay marriage ruling party, but...

If you've read my book, You Can Run, you know I had a boyfriend (Walter) from Argentina. At the time (2001) the idea of gay marriage wasn't a remote dream. Had it been later, I would've probably married him. How different my life right now might be! But wait--and I write this because I'm not sure if you knew--even if I married Walter in Massachusetts in 2008 (or now California), the federal government would not recognize it.

If we married, Walter could still not (in 2008) live with me in the United States. In the Defense of Marriage Act, (signed by Clinton) the federal government refuses to recognize gay marriages granted by individual states.

Take the case of Tim and Genesio, a gay couple who "married" in Massachusetts in 2005. The thing is, Genesio is foreign born. So when his visa ran out, Genesio had to leave the country. What makes matters worse is this: his "marriage" to Tim supported the federal government's case that he intended to reside permanently in the United States, so they refused to grant him a new entry visa.

The federal government has legally separated this married couple!

-- and how many other couples where one of them is foreign born? Even if the both grooms, or both lesbian brides are American, they cannot file joint federal tax returns. Gays are the only minority that the government actively discriminates against with respect to marriage. So all the Hillary/Obama speech about "letting the states decide marriage" is just hooey. It's already been decided.

Until DOMA is repealed, there is no true gay marriage.

In addition, as most of us (Dame Daxx, I hear you) are well aware, it's another election year. The California decision is a boon to McCain, so will we have a repeat of 2004? Will the bible beating conservatives swarm to success in 2008? Should the courts have waited, should Tim and Genesio have waited, should we all wait until the time is right? That's almost like saying Obama shouldn't be the democratic nominee because it'll incite the racism of the conservative base. Or Hillary, because a strong woman polarizes people. As I've said before, there's never a wrong time for the right decision.

We are in the midst of a civil rights battleground. These are contentious, but exciting times.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Separate isn't Equal

Now there is America!

For holding up the constitution as its framers intended, Congratulations California!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

What the Buck??

As for more, on people (on the web) I adore---is Michael Buckley. I used to think I was high energy, then I met him. Michael Buckley came down to New York for the premiere of A Four Letter Word, and interviewed our cast for one of the DVD extras. Wowza.

This guy is super gay, super funny, and super extemporaneous (or so he makes it seem). Did I forget to mention super-successful? His show, What the Buck? (subscribe here) is the most popular entertainment vlog on Youtube. That's not to mention 15,000 friends on Facebook!

I'm like a pop culture zero. Brothers & Sisters, Hannah Montana, Gossip Girl--what, who, huh? But if I do want a dose of all that, I prefer it quick and painless. What the Buck? serves it up in a whirl. He seriously gives that micro-machine man a run for his fast-talking money. And he does it all in one breath. Just watch:

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

How Does Your Garden Grow?

There is lots of gardening going on in Switzerland.

I’ve never seen so much gardening. There are rows of planted crops in everyone’s backyard and if that (coupled with the potted geraniums on chalet balconies) isn’t enough, they’ve got personal garden plots people can rent!

These are big lots of land divided into chunks, each with a shack for tools, and a plot of land to plant and grow your crop. It's a better use of land than cemeteries, and I imagine these garden plots are used for many purposes. I presume this is where a cheating Swiss husband brings his mistresss:

“Back in a few hours, honey, I’m just going to the garden plot!”

“Can I tag along?”

“No, sweetie, I prefer to be alone with the soil, the rake and a...hoe.”

Somehow, I doubt that’s what the Swiss are up to. They say 'beware of still water', but in this case I believe the water really is still, without any spooky undercurrent. Everything is in neat little rows, all ordered, all given the proper amount of light, water and nutrients to grow. And I’m no longer talking about gardening. I’m talking about the Swiss way of life.

Imagine a place without noise; picturesque villages where people are well-behaved, educated, and where bicycles are the rule of the road, not the exception. The mechanized tick-tock of an expensive Swiss watch is an apt analogy. All kinds of little rules to keep it running on precision time.

They Swiss are civilized, but not progressive. For example, gays are allowed “civil unions” but not adoption. And if you are straight and want to adopt—well, if one of you is over 40, you can’t adopt because you’re too old. Swiss law figures a child is better raised by an orphanage than by a gay parent or (heaven forbid!) an older straight parent.

What about Switzerland’s chill policy of neutrality? This policy hasn’t stopped the Swiss from safeguarding the cash of corrupt rulers, or from laundering Nazi spoils. Swiss neutrality, argues my Swiss friend Rebekka, means protecting Swiss interests ---by whichever means necessary, excepting warfare, unless it should threaten the country directly. With that definition, “neutrality” looks more like flip-flopping complicity.

Did you know that women didn't get the vote in Switzerland until 1971? 1971! I imagine denying suffrage wasn't malicious government, but rather a testament to keeping things the way they are.

Which brings us to immigration. If your parents are foreign (working in the country), and give birth to you in Switzerland, you’re not automatically a citizen. You actually have to then apply. Still, conservative Swiss think it's too easy for outsiders to get in. Consider this poster (below) that's plastered all over the country.

A pile of Swiss passports being grabbed at by many hands. It’s political propoganda--for a law that would make immigration even more difficult.

Check out the hands. The one white hand looks hairy-is it, um, Arabic? And the yellowy ones? What about the brown ones, are they north African....do you think MUSLIM, perhaps?

Despite its picturesque serenity, Switzerland to me feels strangely xenophobic. Could it have anything to do with all that gardening?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Ready the Crossbows

The ultimate face-off:Check out this Medieval wall (at right). It is one of the last remaining bits of the fortifying walls that once surrounded Basel, Switzerland. One is left wondering if it was created to defend the city from raiding Huegenots, Huns, or perhaps (as seen at left) the more threatening invasion of ugly condominiums?

Monday, May 12, 2008

Baby Daddy Bam!

It's 3:30 am when the phone rings. Naturally, I'm awake. It's part jetlag, part insomnia--it's so quiet in Switzerland who can sleep? But there's another part. Subconsciously, I must've known what was brewing down under in Australia.

At 3:30, I'm furiously reading The God Delusion in bed when Bam's phone rings. God? Delusion? Oh my God! It's Sydney calling.

Many of you know, Bam Bam became the unwilling topic of my last Out column after donating his boy batter to make a gayby. Well, a healthy baby girl has today been born.

Take it away, Ava Grace! *May you sparkle*

I heard her screaming on the other end of the line "waaaa, waaaa, waaaa!" so she may be colicky, but she's here! Ava Grace has breathed her very first taste of air after 9 months of nothing but liquids.

In her honor, we got up and downed a bottle of red.



On a medieval wall today in Lucerne, Bam Bam yodels past the Swiss Alps, across the seas, and around the planet to welcome his daughter Ava to the world.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

You May Kiss the Groom!

I'm currently in Basel, Switzerland where I came for a friend's wedding. I know, I know, you're thinking same as me: how many weddings must a gay friend endure? But in so many ways, this one was different. For one, their wedding was at a fairy-tale 13th century castle in Switzerland.


the castle garden.












Second, Rebekka and David are remarkably counter-culture, so it was bound not to be fraught with hysteria, or choked by a millenia of religious mysticism.

So radical was their wedding, that they asked yours truly to be Hochzeitsmeister, or "wedding Master."

I got to be the priest. And I wasn't even in Vatican drag! I did, however, say every last word in Swiss German (he lies).

Rebekka and David really wanted to mess with tradition and gender roles at their wedding. I was encouraged to be open and conversational, to talk about the time they marched with me at the gay pride parade in 2002, and how we all ended up in a color photo in the New York Times the next day.













"I now pronounce you 'Wan and Mife!'"














Rebekka is Swiss, and David is American. After years in Jersey City, they will now reside in Basel, Switzerland--A neutral country, for a decidedly non-neutral couple.

Hooray for irony!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

State of AIDS in Africa

As promised, here's a little rundown on the state of HIV/AIDS in Africa. Via Peace Corps Volunteer, Coppelia:

HIV
doesn't infect just the one (stigmatized) person that has it but everyone in that community. Children are orphaned and left with grandparents, aunts or uncles or even siblings to be raised. This leads to girls having unprotected sex with older men to pay for school fees and to get basic food.

Coppelia witnessed religious leaders who told their congregations that if they believe in God and don't sin that God will cure their HIV/AIDS. A friend once asked her, "Do you think if I really believe in God he will take my HIV away?"

"No, I believe having faith is great and thinking positive is wonderful but that will not take HIV/AIDS away," answered Coppelia, and her friend said: "Well that is what I believe, if I just believe enough, God will take it away."

This kind of denial is not unique to Africa. I've known people in New York City who believe that AIDS is a myth, that the government made it up. Of course, those are only people with the disease. I knew one guy diagnosed with AIDS, who later told me it was gone--because he stuck to a diet of organic kale. The human mind has this uncanny ability to not believe what it does not want to believe. Which brings us back to Africa.

Like conspiracy theorists in America (Obama's preacher, anyone?), there are those who believe AIDS was created to kill minorities, and in Namibia, where Coppelia lived, many of the traditional people felt/feared that AIDS was actually put into the condoms, so after distributing them to a village she often found out they burned them after she left.

Africans are notoriously superstitious--like for example, a dead bird is a very bad omen. Traditional healers, (Sangomas), or witch doctors, are a major problem in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Sangomas are the ones spreading the devastating idea that in order to cure yourself of AIDS, you must fuck a virgin, or your mother.

As Coppelia tells me:

Education with the traditional leaders is one of the latest strategies to try to end this horrible myth. It is very sad because men have raped babies and young children, exposing them to HIV/AIDS in hopes of getting rid of it. Beyond educating tribal leaders, they have also done a lot of work in communities with dramas, music, and dance to try to enlighten people in unique ways.

It is not just "whites" from outside countries that are talking about HIV/AIDS and distributing condoms in Namibia. Many Namibians work with a variety of HIV/AIDS organizations. The government also allocates money in every ministry at every level for HIV/AIDS awareness and funding within that sector.

Currently, most UNICEF and other programs don't take into account the cultural norms. More money must be put into developing culturally appropriate materials. Without an understanding of the culture and ways to educate and advocate within these norms we will forever be scratching our heads wondering why it doesn't change.

Which means, in order to drop HIV/AIDS infection rates, doctors, volunteers and professionals must work with tribal sangomas. It is the only way.

Can you picture AIDS doctors placing dead birds beside their distributed condoms? Reason and science must work together with mysticism --Is this not a Saturday Night Live skit? Can you see the comedy within the tragedy?

I believe I see comedy within the tragedy every single day.



Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Playboy for Playgirl

Because you know I was in Palm Springs for more than just a film opening and the white party...

there was a Playgirl photo shoot!

Here's standout Zeb Atlas, one of the seven hot guys we profiled. He's a shining star in the world of naked men. Fans from far, close, and wide hit him up for....BODY WORSHIP.


Hercules eat your heart out!



How's Zeb gonna manage all that mass as he gets older? Who cares when he's flying high on naked fame with his own enterprising website.

When I met him in Palm Springs, he was like a kid in a big body, and totally down to earth. How could he not be? He's from Oregon!

Zeb's completely straight, so how does he feel about his legions of male admirers? "I just like to be appreciated," he says. I heard that same sentiment from other straight models, and I believe it translates to gay for pay. It's becoming more and more common, and I gotta say-- I like the evolution.

As always, they continue to feed my behind-the-scenes blogs on Iloveplaygirl.com.

A Four Letter Word To You!

A Four Letter Word is opening in several cities over the next couple of months. Starting with Ft. Lauderdale...this Friday!

Check the schedule below to see when and if it's coming your way.

If you live in one of the following cities and are willing and want to help, director Casper Andreas is looking for locals in each of the cities below to help set up an opening weekend party, or pass out flyers, or help out in other ways. To be a part of it, please contact him: casper@embrem.com.

I hope you will support independent gay cinema. Because Hollywood isn't going to tell our stories! Wait, they will tell our stories...but only if we die at the end.

A Four Letter Word opens in the following cities:

Fort Lauderdale - Opens May 9
Opening night party at George's Alibi, 10 pm, this Friday!

GATEWAY CINEMA
1820 E Sunrise Blvd
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304
(954) 763-7994
Theater website

Boston - Opens May 16
Opening weekend Q&A with director Casper Andreas

KENDALL SQUARE CINEMA
One Kendall Square
Cambridge, MA 02139
(617) 499-1996


San Francisco - Opens May 23

LUMIERE THEATRE
1572 California Street at Polk
San Francisco, CA 94109
(415) 267-4893

Austin, TX - Opens May 23

DOBIE THEATRE
2025 Guadalupe Street in the Dobie Mall
Austin, TX 78705
(512) 472-FILM

Denver - Opens May 23

STARZ FILMCENTER
900 Auraria Parkway
Denver, CO 80204
(303) 595-3456

Hartford, CT - Opens May 23

CINESTUDIO
300 Summit St
Hartford CT 06106
(860) 297-2544

Dallas - Opens May 30
Magnolia Theatre
3699 McKinney Ave
Dallas, TX. 75204

Chicago - Opens June 6
Opening night Q&A with star Steven Goldsmith

MUSIC BOX THEATRE
3733 N. Southport Ave
Chicago, IL 60613
(773) 871-6604


Washington, DC - Opens June 6

E STREET CINEMA
555 11th Street NW
Washington DC 20004
(202) 452-7672

Atlanta - Opens June 13

MIDTOWN ART CINEMA
931 Monroe Drive
Atlanta, GA 30308
(678) 495-1424

Portland, OR - June 20
my hometown, go Portland!

LIVING ROOM THEATERS
341 SW Tenth Avenue
Portland OR 97205
(971) 222-2010
Theater website

Tuscon, AZ - Opens June 20

THE LOFT CINEMA
3233 E. Speedway Blvd.
Tucson, AZ 85716
(520) 795-0844

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Everythings coming up...Confetti!

My friend Sharon is a wicked writer. Her work spans wry wit, such as the illustrated comic Pornhounds she created about her days working in porn (the industry, not the acting)...to the deliriously macabre.

Many of her writings haunt my memory to this day. Haunt it in a good way, in an
I wish I could write like that way. Two years ago, Sharon departed New York for Gainseville, Florida, where she was hired by a college to teach writing.

I received a New Years postcard from Sharon in January. Her chipper handwriting announced: "Wishing you the best in 2008! I recently caught breast cancer and got a double masectomy...but I'm getting new boobs and I'm going for a C cup this time!"

Only Sharon could put a sexy spin on cancer.

I'm happy to report, Sharon just wrapped up her last session of Chemo down in Gainesville. On hand was her friend Susie, who capture the moment on video when, at the end of Sharon's last chemo session, the nurses gathered around and surprised her with their "end of chemo song."

A girl after my own heart, Sharon rocks a pastel pink wig.

And kudos to these nurses. This is just great.



For more on Sharon's big chemo graduation day, with photo, Susie's got it on a baby blog (!).

Cancer free, and with a brand new augmented rack, Sharon is moving on. "Fuck chemo!" she writes, which gives me hope that the slow-drip poison that killed her cancer will also infuse her work with even more toxic genius.

Sparkle on, Sharon!





Sunday, May 04, 2008

Bam Bam and Jesse at the Races

Behold Bam Bam and Jesse (on a typical night):

Caption this!










This photo pretty much sums up our relationship.


Because Bam Bam and I can't sit home watching Netflix all the time...

We went out Saturday to my friend Becky's fantastic Kentucky Derby party. Everyone had to wear hats. Mine was definitely not matching with the wide brimmed derby set, as all I could find was a drooping egyptian thing in my drag box (which has gotten mysteriously lean).

Somehow we managed to arrive after the Kentucky Derby had been run. "Who won the derby?" I ask and Becky tells me, "Brown Spot." Excuse me, what? Brown...Spot?

So...I proudly announced to everyone that the stain on my comforter had just won the derby.

And I was quickly outdone by a black guy.

Me: The stain on my comforter just won the Kentucky Derby!

Black guy (dryly):
Brown Spot. That's what they called me in high school.

Later, I ended up somehow tongue kissing a girl. After the kissing, she introduced me to her boyfriend and I introduced her to mine. Her boyfriend was not impressed with our having kissed, but how should I know he was there? I was decidedly more shocked than sorry: a straight man at the derby party? And drinking mint juleps?

Bam Bam whisked me out and we ended up at Marie's Crisis. It's my favorite bar in the city. When you enter, it feels like you've been transported back to the 1890's, and they were definitely the gay 90's. Where everyone just sits around the piano singing showtunes.

The shocking thing about Saturday was...it was only 7, so there were very few people in there, forcing me to bravely (thank you, mint juleps!) take it upon myself to sing....for all of those missing. I normally do sing, but sing along, not loudly; not pretending I actually can sing, or know the lyrics, but Saturday I was belting them out as if I had a voice. I was even paying for requests!

I bribed the piano man to play my special standard, Bill, from Showboat. I know all the words, but not necessarily in the right order. Still, I was belting it out, trilling vibrato like a broadway baby. It was most definitely a lost episode of I Love Lucy. I'm not quite sure I can ever go back.

As I'm warbling out Bill, I decide to replace each instance of Bill with Bam, and there's Bam drinking in the corner and, as usual, not paying me any attention. I'm singing: "He's just my Bam, an ordinary guy...he hasn't got a thing that I can brag about..." which I find terribly funny, until my attention turns to an old man at the bar and like that, the emotional roller coaster begins.

Next thing you know, my head is on Bam's shoulder and I am drunkenly crying, yes crying tears because, surely, all of the old man's friends died of AIDS (!)

It is clear we must go home.

Walking back from the West Village, another loopty loop hits and I am tackling Bam in the street. He's just so big and brawny and silent that literally, his existence begs to be taken down. I finally do manage to take him down on Fifth Avenue and he brings me down with him. We are rolling around wrestling underneath a parked car, and traffic on Fifth Avenue is stopping to watch. People are yelling at us, calling the police, because this can't possibly be two poofs rough-housing. It's a mugging!

We escape before the police arrive, but I'm not done playing. Closer to home Bam gets mad, and throws me off of him, to the ground. He leaves. I just lie there whimpering. When I realize he's not coming back for me, I get up and make it home. Bam Bam is on the couch and I jump on him, except that I manage to miss him completely and instead jump my forehead slam straight into the metal side table which knocks me out and then (oddly) causes me to vomit!

Bam Bam puts me to bed (hey mom, I was in bed by 10 o'clock!) with an ice pack. Bam figures he didn't see blood on my goose-egg, so the injury is internal and he hopes it may have resolved the malfunction inside my brain. Once I'm silenced and out of his way, Bam (I later learn) stays up jerking off to porn.

I wake up in the morning with a mighty hangover, and a purple welt on my forehead. I've got a photo shoot scheduled for Tuesday and thank heaven for photo-shop because it will erase that big purple spot, which reminds me of brown spot, which gives me the sinking feeling that I, too, ran a derby. And finished last.

Do not...put your money on me in the Preakness.

***

All told, I did fare better than the lone philly who raced at Churchill Downs. Eight belles placed second in the derby, broke her ankles at the finish, and (bang!) was euthanized on the spot.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Gone To the Dogs

She was the girl next door, the perpetual virgin, and the biggest box office draw of her day. Ever wonder what happened to Doris Day?

She retired from films in 1968, and yet after forty years her legend lives on. And, at 86 years of age, so does she. Hollywood has tried to lure the reclusive star out of retirement for decades, but she continues to resist. She hides away in Carmel, California, along with dozens of...dogs.

After 4 failed marriages (the longest of which misappropriated her entire fortune), and the 2004 death of her only son (and confidante), one hopes the dogs provide some measure of comfort. She certainly deserves it.

There's a new biography coming out, and a chunk of it is featured in this month's Vanity Fair. Curiously, I found the following bit to be the most revealing:

Back in the 90's a producer tried to get Doris Day to participate in a documentary they were making about her life. The producer was a woman named Mary, who was nursing her baby at the time she went to Carmel. She found Doris Day to be very down to earth, very kind, but very reluctant to speak. She didn't, it was obvious, want to participate in the documentary.

At one point, excerpted below, Mary asks Doris about her career:

"Your first movie...you became a star overnight...You were number 1 on the hit parade...You got a seven-year contract!"

Doris became wild-eyed. She said, 'You just don't get it, do you, Mary? It was not a dream come true. All I ever wanted is what you have right now: a baby, a husband who really loved me, a home, all the happiness they could bring. I never got that, and that's all I really wanted.'

And then she started to cry--a lot.


For all the happiness she brought to so many, I am left deeply saddened. Is the grass always greener? Because how many beloved housewives and mothers are out there frustrated that their dream of becoming a world renowned movie star and singer has been stifled? And then there is Doris Day--whose simple dream never came true.

As she sings so famously: Que Sera, Sera. But really, people, what is success?

In other news, a fur seal was caught trying to rape a king penguin in the antarctic.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Peace Corps Harem is Home

It all started while camping in central Namibia. At Spitzkoppe. They are these mountain outcroppings, and I found a big natural pool. It was very hot out and the water was brackish. I stood above the pool about six feet up, and jumped down into the black water. I don't know what possessed me not to check the depth.

I jumped into the water and landed standing upright. It was about one foot deep. I just stood there screaming. The bottom was hard stone rock, did I think it'd be sand? Idiot. The only consolation I have was that I nearly dove in head first--


When I hobbled out of the rock pool, the heel on my right foot was in major pain. Blood oozed out of the side of my heel, not in one particular place, but just like..through the cracks of my skin. I could hardly walk. It was not my finest hour.






Spitzkoppe, Namibia


You do not want to show signs of weakness while traveling Africa. Luckily, on a bus to Zambia, I met several American girls on vacation from their Namibian Peace Corps posts. They had a collective stash of hospital grade aspirin. Huge horse pills and they gave them all to me, enabling me to actually...limp.
I'm sure I broke a bone down in there because even today, my heel is still not the same. If I had insurance I'd get an x-ray.



My Peace Corps Harem. My heroines. I love these girls! (Pam, Courtney, Coppelia, and Erika)


We spent the next week together.

First, a booze cruise on the Zambezi river. These booze cruises are "All you can drink" (what are they thinking?). I nearly fell off into hippo-filled waters.

After clamoring up to the roof of the boat for this photo (below), the captain refused to go on until we got back down.
Coppelia and Jesse:

Bankrupting the Booze Cruise




The booze cruise ended looking something like this.














The Peace Corps girls also consoled me through a hopeless crush I developed on a straight South African.
He came to our room at Jollyboys hostel in Livingston, Zambia. How I wanted him to make me a jollyboy.

They were both great, but I held a certain, particular fondness for Mr. right (for reasons that should be apparent)



Why oh why aren't there any gays backpacking? On any continent? According to the girls, however, there are several gays working in the Peace Corps.

I've often considered the peace corps. But they decide where you go. And two years in one single place? I've got commitment issues and itchy feet. I hope to find another way to help.














The Peace Corps harem went with me on a day safari in Botswana, at Chobe National Park. Did you know that elephants consume and destroy so much vegetation, that Chobe park can't survive without culling their population?

They actually make money off game hunters who come in and killing a certain number of elephants each year. Take on an elephant on in a wrestling match, maybe. But what type of big man pays big money to come in and shoot the largest land mammal with a shotgun. My guess? A big man with a very small penis.

After the hunter kills the elephant, they take the tusks and incinerate the carcass...right there, on the spot.
Many times, our 4x4 drove by a large charred round in the ground...with big hunks of bone inside. Now, I ask myself, why didn't I take a picture of that?





Come here little elephant, I wouldn't hurt you...




We hit up Victoria Falls, too (below).

It was so wet, I slipped on my flip flop just before this photo was taken. Nearly fell right down into the roaring maw of Victoria Falls. For the record, that's the end I have in mind.





At the end of two rainbows!







The girls also watched as I bungee jumped off Victoria Falls Bridge.




Sometimes fear smiles.











After our adventures together, I went on solo to Zimbabwe, Mozambique, later returning to New York where I made a slutty gay film.
The Peace Corps harem went back to their respective Namibian Peace Corps posts, and continued to save the world.

Most of their work was with HIV education and prevention. Namibia has a huge AIDS rate, they say about 1 in 5 are infected. I will follow up with more on AIDS in Africa in another post, but Coppelia is now back in Arizona and has put together a fantastic website based on her time there. To learn about her work there, to see the Namibians she worked with, and to find out what you can personally do to help, please check out Coppelias View.

On her site, Coppelia's got some incredible photos from her two years in Opuwo, Namibia. Here are two:






This is a Himba woman. She is married, and one of three wives to the chief she lives with.









Before the Germans colonized the area in the late 1800's, all the natives were Himba---a semi-nomadic people wearing animal skins, and putting ochre on their skin.

The group that were colonized by the Germans separated from the Himba, and became the Hereros. Herero women wear one outer dress, with up to 15 underneath!


This is smoking Julia.

She's a Herero who sells jewelry to support her grandkids.