Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Hey, You're ALIVE!

Every year a very important anniversary passes unnoticed. For some of us it's coming sooner, others later, but for each and every one of us it is coming. Cyd Charisse found out hers on June 17th, 2008. Paul Newman celebrated his last Friday, September 26th. Aren't you curious about your death date? When will it be? April 12th? 2043?

Is mine tomorrow?

When I think about the day I will die, I am reminded of how exciting it is to be alive. And how fortunate. I find this quote from "The God Delusion" by Richard Dawkins particularly inspiring:

I picture the relative brevity of life by imagining a laser thin spotlight creeping along a gigantic ruler of time. Everything before or after the spotlight is shrouded in the darkness of the dead past, or the darkness of the unknown future.

We are staggeringly lucky to find ourselves in the spotlight.

However brief our time in the sun, if we waste a second of it, or complain that it is dull or barren of boring, couldn't this be seen as a callous insult to those unborn trillions who will never be offered life in the first place? As many atheists have said better than me, the knowledge that we have only one life should make it all the more precious.

Sunday, September 28, 2008


Remember when I ate raw bull testicle in Denver? It's just one in a series of on the brink...

Here's the next installment: Can women ejaculate? How far? And if so, what exactly is it?

What McCain "Doesn't Seem to Understand"

Did you catch the debate?

McCain was so condescending to Obama with no eye contact and waving those little pincer arms. "I know how to win wars," he said, even though he lost in Vietnam. His world view seems so myopic, like he was missing the real big picture because he's so focused on "winning" in Iraq. Keeping military honor. Not seeing defeat. Sound like a vendetta?

My friend Tony says, "John McCain sees life through the bars of his cell in the Hanoi Hilton." And that's just it. He doesn't represent the vast diversity of our country. Imagine if I saw life and foreign policy through the narrow scope of a pair of pink gay glasses? Oh wait, I do!

Should I run for President?

Friday, September 26, 2008

Remember Him? From 5th Grade?

I often think the internet has really just brought us apart, that it is really only good for people becoming anonymous pricks or isolating them at home behind their computers, but then I'm reminded of its unlimited, never-before-seen capacity to connect with people from your past.

And the beauty? There's no commitment. You can catch up with people from your distant past, without actually have to go meet them for coffee. On facebook, I've connected with a bunch of people who I haven't seen since...primary school! It is comforting to see faces from the distant past all grown up. These faces also remind you of who you were. And that's not always so comforting because that's not necessarily who you are today.

I got a friend request from my college roommate, who was surprised when he saw me in a film called "Slutty Summer" because he remembered I was not at all slutty. I even chastized him for sleeping around during our sophomore year. And then there was another friend who wrote to remind me how we went to the Palm Springs White Party in 1995 and I refused even take off my shirt at the pool...because I was such a prude.

Who was I? I hardly remember that person. How times have changed...

...and yet how they stay the same.

One girl, Kristina, who wrote to say we worked at the Gap together in an Oregon mall back in the mid-90's. All I remember from working at the Gap is that I really looked like a Gap kid, and I hated that. Kristina remembers me differently, and let me understand that at the core we don't really change. We remain, in essence, the same person.

Kristina writes:

We worked in Washington Square at The Gap together. In fact, you are a central memory in my Gap experience because you were so hilarious and entertaining. Here is my favorite Gap memory that you have probably forgotten: some idiot decided to manufacture way too much hideous neon clothing that was then endlessly on sale in our store, we spent way too much time folding it one night, which led to you putting on a neon yellow vest and a yellow skull hat and then you danced/jumped around and said you were a banana. It was fabulous.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Vote Obama

What do you think about the current e(con)omy? They called Generation X the "Me" generation? I can hardly even stomach the guilt I have when I buy a bottled soda because I know after the 2 minutes it takes for me to use it, it will linger useless for thousands of years to come. I feel this way and I don't even plan to breed. So Pardon the rant, but:

Privatization of profit and socialization of loss?

Average taxpayers are going to foot the bill for the overweening, over-reaching greed of wall street, and let's not forget the refund we are not getting from a multi-trillion dollar war.

Oil prices keep soaring and instead of demanding alternatives, we've got stretch-hummers and a vice-presidential candidate chosen for a momentary wave of wow who says that we must drill more, til the very last drop, and don't worry we can still buy from overseas and continue to enrich Arabs with our stingy lack of foresight, and kill them in the glorious name of democracy.

And when the economy at home comes to crisis, an ex-POW presidential candidate who oddly wants more war will "suspend his campaign" to aid a fiscal meltdown but he does this only for a brief uptick in the Wednesday polls because he hasn't even read the bail-out plan and it's all so transparently clear to see this country, its elite "leaders", and its policies are here just to squeeze the day, and rape tomorrow.

I'm Jesse Archer, and I dis-approve this message.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Matters of life and death

I'm reading this book right now called Deep Survival: Who lives, who dies, and why. It's a well researched book analyzing how people survived (or didn't) in cataclysmic situations.

Who survives is not always the strongest person. It's usually not the person you think it will be. I guess the one thing survivors all have in common is that instead of complaining, blaming, or being a victim, the ones to survive are those who make this new world their home. Lost at sea, they refuse to feel lost. This becomes their world, and they adapt to it. When rescue comes, it catches them off guard.

This dovetails with the philosopher who said, "Man has the capacity to adapt to anything. And that is perhaps the best way to describe him."

Of course I can just see the supercilious eyebrow raise on that philosopher. It's not a compliment, necessarily. Look how adapted we are to this war.

So many of us live and act in fear. And yet it's always the most fearful ones, the safe ones, the ones who refuse to fly or drive or step outside the house who trip in their kitchen and impale themselves on the Ginsu knife.

As Laurence Gonzales writes in Deep Survival:

(Survivors) accept that to succumb is always a possibility and ultimately their fate. They know safety is an illusion and being obsessed with safety is a sickness. They have a frank relationship with risk, which is the essence of life.

So why is risk such a four letter word? I travel to places like Nicaragua, South America and Burning Man specifically so that I can dance on the roof if I want to. Or climb tall unstable structures without a net. I want to risk my life. Bring it on!

I wouldn't like to be stuck in the situations found in the book, but I appreciate the attitude of these survivors. Enduring an extremely dire situation, they would find moments to gaze around with wonder. To laugh at themselves, even cry out with joy at being alive. As the author puts it:

Survival is a celebration of choosing life over death. We know we're going to die. But survival is saying: perhaps not today. In that sense, survivors don't defeat death, they come to terms with it.

This might explain how I outlive my hangovers.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Why I refuse to digitize old photos

My friend Amy is one of favorite friends from high school. She's still in Portland, married with two children, and working hard as a public defender. I have no idea where she found the time to scan these photos.

In the accompanying email, she writes:

"I'll forgive the striped shirt if you'll forgive the eyebrows."
Back during my freshman year at USC, Amy came down to LA for a visit. I wasn't sure I was gay then. But seeing as I plastered my dorm wall with glamour shots of Vivien Leigh, Les Miserables Playbooks and pom poms, Amy may have guessed.

Although I might have fooled everyone with a tour of south central Los Angeles. Ever classy, I took her to Taco Bell.

Thanks for the laughs, Amelia!

Chop Chop Chop!

I modeled recently for REDKEN's hairdressing school.

Do I make you want to cut hair? Or are you just really into blades?

Why are there so many damn scissor blades aimed at my head?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

How the world was saved by a hungry power bottom!

At Burning Man there are all sorts of classes, events, and gatherings at camps all across Black Rock City. My friends were very interested in attending the woo woo seminar on Eckhardt Tolle's A New Earth. Or meditative chanting at the temple.

Instead, I went to check out the Butt Hole Puppet Show.

Camp Comfort & Joy, they had all sorts of classes right up my alley. There was erotic nude male drawing, erotic massage class, glitter body painting, they even had "cat show and tell" where you could go and talk about how much you missed your cat (skipped that one).

Also inside the tent was a sign designating a seat for "Puddles", the camp "Courtesy Bottom". The mere idea of a courtesy bottom had me in mild hysterics all week. Especially a courtesy bottom with the unfortunate name "Puddles". Each time I entered that tent and saw someone having sex, I wondered: could this be Puddles?

I spoke with Digger who told me the camp (based in SF) was created as a "sensual play space" that didn't have to be a dark room. A place where dancing happens next to sex, next to art, next to conversation, next to people sleeping. And why shouldn't it?

When I flipped through my Burning Man program and read that Puddles, courtesy bottom, was starring in the Butthole Puppet Players production of "The American Ream", you know I forgot to go chant at the temple.

On stage was George Bush, as an ass. All he did was say "terrorism!" and "Democracy!" and in between those two words he'd just fart (not unlike Sarah Palin, in a recent televised interview). Cheney then came onstage as a penis who talked about pulling people out of caves and giving them the American Ream.
George and Dick didn't miss a beat.
Suddenly, Puddles the courtesy bottom appeared (following a "tour of booty") to banish Bush and Cheney. He sucked them up his bottom, screeching, "Who knew the treasure palace of my ass was also a portal to another dimension?"

Puddles is an American hero. He even has his own theme song, which we learned at the show:

For the horny or the loner/Anyone with half a boner/Call Puddles, the courtesy bottom!

When your orgy's short on holes/Pass around a bottom bowl/With Puddles, the courtesy bottom!

Although I've never heard of an orgy short on holes, let's hear it for Puddles and Bottom Pride!

I believe they're taking the show on the road around the bay area, so look out! Until then, meet Puddles in the promo below:

Thursday, September 18, 2008

You better DO IT, Friends!

Some kudos to several friends who I'm really proud of and happy for:

Congratulations to Melissa and John Fordham who got married last weekend!! They invited me, but I couldn't make it down to Florida. They were definitely in my thoughts last Saturday even though I was busy. Around the time they were saying "I do" I was doing vodka shots out of a porn star's foreskin.

Chad and Scott of Three Custom Color makeup won the Allure Magazine award for Best Sheer Lipstick. And yes, it looks great on pigs!

Actress Margaret Echeverria booked and shot an episode of P.Diddy's reality show. Apparently Daddy has gotten so Puff, that he's on a diet. Margaret was cast as a tough German frau in charge of making him stick to his diet. I hear she slaps donuts out of his hands, and wrestles him to the ground to take away a sandwich. This I can't wait to see. It airs 9/23 on MTV.

After a double masectomy and endless chemotherapy, Sharon has moved back to New York from Florida. She says chemo is like the taste of aluminum foil, only it's coursing through your veins. Metallic. But that toxic drip has worked wonders. She's cancer free, and looks better than ever.

Executive Producer Mich Lyon and Director Casper Andreas have returned from a trip to Los Angeles, having raised the entire budget (!) for their next film, Going Down in La La Land, based on the book by Andy Zeffer.

Last weekend, I ran into Shequida. Because I don't watch tv, I had no idea she competed this summer on the television show "America's Got Talent". Shequida has the unique status of being New York's only opera singing Juilliard trained drag queen. She made it to the finals, only to be voted off in favor of a four year old child who sang "America the Beautiful." And the girl was no Shirley Temple.

Shequida did the exact same performance as she did in the show for us at the Ice Palace on Fire Island. Then gave us the dish. She said she knew she wouldn't win, especially against a white girl singing America the Beautiful. But that wasn't her reason for putting herself out there in front of 11 million viewers.

"I know about racism in America," she said. "And I know about homophobia in America. But I did the show so that some little black kid out there in the sticks who dreams about putting on dresses could see that it's possible."

All I have to say to that is, BRAVO! We need more like her.

Here's a clip of Shequida on the show:

Dessert at Tiffany's!

She was just 17, way beyond compare! America's shopping mall singer turned overnight teen 80's sensation TIFFANY performed at Splash last night. And you know I was there. With Bam, and my friends Steve and Rob. Love me some Tiffany.

"I think we're alone now" seems from another world ago, hidden far away in my childhood. And the scary part ...Tiffany is only a couple years older than me!

Trading in her signature ratty sweater look, Tiffany opted for a sequin butterfly. You go!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A Tree for the Forest

I never thought of myself as a polarizing figure. I ramble along thinking people have no reason to dislike me. I'm still surprised when they don't. But you can't win em all.

Response to my columns in OUT magazine goes both ways. Take the September issue, for example. I thought it was rather innocuous. I was supporting the Rubi Girls and others who take action in red state Ohio.

Here's a positive response (thank you), from a reader named Tony:

Maybe it’s because I’m predominantly right-brained, but I absolutely loved your column in the September “Out.” For what it’s worth, I thought that was an outstanding piece of writing. And it was fun to read. Only you could pull together Jonathan’s vagina, a drag troupe, blue-haired grannies, bullfighting, xenophobia, George Orwell, the 2004 election, Homeland Security stupidities, the gay scene in Ohio, and political activism.

And the message I got is critical, especially this year: complacent stereotyping is no substitute for getting out there and doing the difficult work for a cause.

Tony got the message. I wanted to talk about those in the heartland who make huge efforts to effect change, while some of us in the big blue cities point smug fingers without lifting them.

But then I get the other side. The hate mail. All the time. They're always the same. They start of demure, so I'll keep reading. The headline is something like, "Your last column..." and it takes a bit before venom starts churning.

But soon, the run-on sentences begin. The misspelled words. By the time the terrifying CAPS have arrived, the sixth whiskey sour has really kicked in and they're calling me a USELESS BITCHY CIRCUIT QUEEN!!!

I don't know what it is about that OUT magazine picture, but people take one look and judge me a useless bitchy circuit queen. The reader below perceives me in only a slightly different way, but it's mostly the same.

In that particular column (September), I mention my impressions of Ohio before I went there. One of them being: "I picture red state Ohio filled with blue-haired grannies running directly from pulpit to the polling station, and let's face it. If you're not going to outlive the next presidential term, you shouldn't be allowed to vote."

Some people can't take a joke.

Some readers will miss entirely the point of the story. They won't argue the larger idea. They will instead pull out one line (lipstick on a pig?). And make that line personal.

Here's a recent hateful gem from a reader in the Castro. It is all (sic):

From: Lawrence OConnor <sflawrenceoconnor@yahoo.com>
Date: Sat, Sep 13, 2008 at 2:42 PM
Subject: Seeing Red Article
To: jesse@jesseonthebrink.com


You wrote "Let's face it- if you are not going to outlive the next presidential term, you shouldn't be allowed to vote" Sweetie does that include gay men and women with AIDS? Gay seniors or is it just senior citizens who don't fit into your world view. A world view that is an outdated paradigm.
I bought OUT for the first time at Delanos market on 18th and Castro while waiting for my 88 year old mom to finish playing bingo with her equally ancient cronies. Mom owned what is now the Sausage Factory at 18th and Castro has done right by her gay son and has a lovely enviable urban class lifestyle one that people much younger than her can't manage or afford. Mom is a sharp cookie and also a lady. Now that is one thing I have never been called and being one Mom would not apporve of me callying you a pathetic trashy queen but than you already know that. DISMISSED BITCH spend your time trolling for tricks on rentboy. com.

I'm left to assume Lawrence doesn't feel his mother will outlive the next presidential term.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Fire Island Meat Rack-eteers!

For those who don't know, Fire Island consists of two gay communities which lie not far from one another: The Pines, and Cherry Grove.

The Pines is where the muscle boys are. Cherry Grove is older, has more lesbians, and you may actually spot a minority or two. To get from one place to the other, you simply take a water taxi.

I've nothing against the Pines. It's where all my friends stay. But this season, Cherry Grove has been throwing better parties which has taken lots Pines boys over there, by night. The Pines owners have been losing business, so in an insidious move to strangle free commerce, they (you know who you are) succeeded efforts to ban the night water taxis to and from Cherry Grove.

All this because they can't throw a better party.

There is another way between the communities. You can walk through the forest wonderland. The woods which lie between Cherry Grove and the Pines are affectionately called the "Meat Rack", named for a frisky breed of homosexuals who hunt by cover of night. The Meat Rack is dark and vast and easy to get lost.

Party promoter Daniel Nardicio was throwing another of his popular Panty Parties in Cherry Grove this Friday with an amazing line-up of burlesque stars and drag queens. In order to get Pines boys who wanted to come to the show, but who wouldn't otherwise slog through the meat rack alone, he advertised a "Meat Racket March" featuring porn stars and a band.

At one point, he asked our friend Danny, "If I rent a tuba, could you learn to play it by Friday?"

Sure, and next week--the bassoon!

Then he asked me if I'd be a "Meat Racket Marshall"...perhaps because over the years, I've explored every inch of the meat rack. I've got a topographical map in my head. Of course I went out. Mainly because I really can't stand this attitude by those in this community (and the world) who believe there's not enough to go around.

The idea of scarcity. It turns people into assholes. Or maybe it's assholes who operate on platforms of scare-city.

Cutting off water taxi access wasn't nasty enough. When they heard of our plans for a meat racket march, the same owners plastered the Pines with this mean-spirited poster:

"Forget the fuglies in the Grove"? A glowing example of our unified community.

On Friday, I helped lead the first ever Meat Racket March, consisting of one promoter, two porn stars (one, Owen Hawk, wearing nothing but a transparent garbage sack), a Playgirl model, one drag queen (out of drag), and a lesbian playing drums.

Fugly Pride
From Left to Right (Jesse Archer wears his official meat racket marshall t-shirt!, Owen Hawk, Daniel Nardicio, Myles, drummer Jesse, Epiphany, and the torso-licious Victor Steele)

At the Pines harbor, we collected about 25 partiers, despite the rain.

And then marched them through the meat rack. One Pines resident handed out cocktail refreshments for our slog.

Back at the Ice Palace, the panty party featured out of this world performances by Porsche, Wendy Ho, Rose Wood, Dirty Martini, and drag queen Violet Temper who did an aquatic number in the pool at 2 am. Yes, in full drag. Swimming.

More on the night from Bruce Michael Gelbert at Fire Island Q News!

Monday, September 15, 2008


Turns out I did see Tina Fey today. Watch her take on Hillary in a pitch perfect Sarah Palin.

In America right now, satire is the news and the news is entertainment. That is scary.

This is wonderful:

Tina Fey, You're Next!

I'm being stalked by the cast of 30 Rock!

On Wednesday, I attended the world premiere of the new Pacino/DeNiro flick "Righteous Kill".

Outside the Ziegfeld, Pacino (in the center -in red-) looks like something out of Fraggle Rock.
In the middle of the film, I went out to the lobby to catch up on text-messaging (yes, the film is that good) and out in the lobby I found a whole bunch of people catching up on text-messaging!

Among them, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani. He didn't mention 9/11 once.

There was also a guy in teva-type shoes with curly fry toes sticking out and he had another guy cornered. One of the Ziegfeld workers came up and told him "Please don't bother the guests," and then the one man escapes and it is Tracy Jordan, from 30 Rock. He looks directly at me as he walks past and says, "Weird. That guy is weird, man!" I nod knowingly.

Tracy Jordan, weirdo magnet
Then on Friday, I go out to Fire Island and get off the train at Sayville to see none other than the blonde from 30 Rock, Jane Krakowski, getting into the shuttle van which takes us to the ferry. Some of the boys tell her how much they love her work, and she thanks them. But she is alone: one woman in a sea of gay men. I have no idea why she's going out to the Pines all alone, but I kind of love her for it.

Jane Krakowski, fire island fruit fly
At the ferry dock she heads right inside to the bar. Of course I am already there. She smiles right at me, then turns to the ATM. I am about 3 feet away. I don't manage to see her balance, but she takes out $100.

Oh, and I know her pin.

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Playboy and The Virgin

Lover Come Back was a Doris Day/Rock Hudson vehicle from 1961.

It's about two advertising executives from competing firms. Rock Hudson is a playboy who uses girls and parties to get accounts. Doris Day is her usual uptight, upstanding self infuriated at his tactics. So she goes to the advertising board to accuse him. Her star witness is one of Hudson's jilted starlets. But before she can get the woman to testify against him, Hudson films this starlet for some commercials for a product that doesn't exist: "VIP!" And suddenly Doris doesn't have a case.

So these commercials mistakenly air, and suddenly everybody wants VIP. "What is VIP?" "It's what everyone wants!"

So Rock Hudson quickly employs a scientist to invent "VIP" and while he's in the lab, alone, Doris Day comes in to try to get the account. She mistakes Rock for the scientist and bang! It's romance!

VIP, when it finally comes out (along with Rock Hudson's identity) is a mint. A mint that contains as much alcohol as 5 martinis (get me some VIP!). Cut to Doris waking up in bed next to Rock Hudson following a VIP inspired shotgun wedding.

Can't you see this being remade? Lover Come Back would be a fun easy update. The ZIP ads today could be an internet sensation. Of course we might want to throw out the nasty jabs at homos. At one point, Doris is talking with one of her colleagues and the following transpires.

Doris: "Lilac floors? Who in the world has lilac floors?"
Colleague: "I have a lilac floor."
Doris (sarcastic): "Well, not everyone is as artistic as you."

Then she looks to her drawing board, and then back at him with this smug knowing look. Which really made me want to slap her, actually.

As if anyone should be smug when they wear planters on their head.
Or when they're acting opposite the loveliest of lilac lovers.
Or they wear lilac pom pom cones on their head to the beach.
Get over it, Doris. Tony Randall likes lilac, too.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Image Consultant Needed

I worked last week dressing (and undressing!) mannequins in midtown for a showroom setup. The boss is a great guy named George. And as we're pinning and draping and playing with the mannequins he starts to tell me about his new website which advertises his fashion stylist services.

So we go over to the receptionist and look it up on her computer. On his "image consulting" website are stylish portraits and text that begins with:

Every single article of clothing you wear says everything about you...

Which made me look down at what I was wearing that day. I turned to George.

"So George," I ask him.

"What does this Hanes v-neck t-shirt with a slightly imperfect stamp say about me?"

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Fashion Week

A big congratulations to friends JMP and Cooldan who put on an amazing show in the Bryant Park fashion week tent today. The Matthew Williamson spring/summer 09 collection looked stunning.

It was my first time in the tents and although fashion is not my raison d'etre, it was exciting to be in the same room as Anna Wintour, Nina Garcia, and about 12,000 cameras.

This dress was my favorite

The Wall Street Journal says "the show was a jolt of energy with a sun shower of hot pink, yellow, and swirls of chiffon." And those models really needed a jolt of that sun shower of color!

Fembots!!! Uber-bony, tit-free, and walking while leaning backwards at an impossibly steep 30 degree angle. I have no idea why. Must be murder on the lower-lumbar.

The sparkly collection breathed them some life.

Make friends with New Media

You can't really do Burning Man without a bike. Unless you ride a "mutant vehicle", there is no driving and Black Rock City and its play cover an area of 9 miles squared.

But how to set about organizing bicycles to the playa? We didn't know anyone in Reno. I'd heard Indians may sell bikes by the side of the rode on the drive in, but we didn't want to chance it.

Then just before we left, I got a friend request on my Facebook profile from a guy named Bob, who had read my columns. When I checked out his profile, lo and behold, he was from Reno! I asked him if he knew where I could find some used bikes, and guess what? He organized 5 bikes for me and my entire crew. And grape vodka, too!

Let's give a glittering hand for
Bob's Bikes.

On our way back from Burning Man, Bob and his boyfriend Tony used their Reno connections to hook us up for a night at the fabulous Peppermill Hotel. Down in the hotel pool, we saw tons of fellow burners (they offer burning man specials) because after a week on the playa (where my playa-fied hair began to dred...ok!), there's nothing like king size beds, whirlpool baths, and a casino (of course). We totally hit the jackpot. And I can no longer say Facebook is only good for procrastination!

A huge thank you to my new friends Bob and his trivia-whiz husband Tony for showing us the very best of the biggest little city in the world.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Rent the Musical Closes

Change is our only constant, which made yesterday a constant doozy.

Astroland, the last great grotty amusement park in Coney Island closed yesterday by a big developer (aptly named THOR!) who bought the property. It had been open nearly 50 years, since 1962.

And in more real estate related irony, yesterday in Manhattan, the lease was up on RENT.

The bohemian AIDS musical that swept Broadway by storm, closed yesterday after 12 years.

A revival of Guys & Dolls is moving in, which makes me roll my eyes. Nicely nicely? Yaaawn. Who wants to watch that? Then again, I had the same reaction when I heard South Pacific was coming back...and it won the Tony.

I wouldn't say I'm a Renthead, but I do live in Alphabet City (not their Alphabet City, granted) and have seen the show about 10 times. I even saw some of the movie version being filmed around here one winter. So of course I had to go again last week and pay my respects to Angel and the others, and to sing in my head as I watched and cried and moo-ed with Maureen for one final time.

The Nederlander Theatre, as it appeared on Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2008

It's funny what you notice when you know it's the end.

The actors are different, but the songs and staging are the same as the first time. And the costumes, like Angel's hideous santa/zebra combo, still the same.

The show, I noticed, is just that much more dated than the last time I saw it. It is a period piece. There are no more AZT breaks, no tent city, no home phone answering machines. And although the set, with its mock "toy tower" remains the same, the original toy tower was (symbolically?) taken down by the city just a couple months before today, when its theatrical likeness is being removed from the Nederlander Theatre.

But we still have life, and Life Cafe! And what never has to change; what we can always take with us is the spirit of Rent. We can measure life in love. Friendship is family.

There is no day but today.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

DVD Release party tonight!

Party tonight rain or shine. Hurricane Hanna can suck it!

Join me tonight at XES bar tonight (at 9pm) for the A Four Letter Word DVD release party. Give-aways! Cast appearances! Blow jobs! Ok, well...you never know.

Our little baby is out on DVD with plenty of extras: behind the scenes footage, bloopers, interviews and a super juicy fun commentary with Casper Andreas --where in the studio he only censored me like...once or twice!

If you can't make it tonight to win it, or buy it for just $10, buy the DVD here.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Burning Man 2008 Photos (by night)

At night, Burning Man turns into another world. It's totally ineffable. The closest I can come would be to say that it's something like Toon-Town. At Halloween. Underwater.

Keep in mind, the vibrant "playa" is 9 miles squared, so wandering across its vast expanse you see visions of light in the distance, hear music from afar, and then you'll get close and discover something totally bizarre and inviting. Like a Roller Disco. Or the Thunderdome. Or an old west diner.

The place is magical. Like wandering across the sea, stumbling upon things from that naughty land Pinnochio went. Except people are nice and and there is no vice.


These smoke signals came on at dusk. I never discovered their origin, but I presume they came from one of the many bewitching "mutant vehicles".
I was continually inspired by the art and fashion. A disco ball helmet? Who's sparkling now?
Perhaps my favorite experience was at the end of one night, when Bam and I stumbled across this diner, set out in the middle of nowhere. A lone door frame was set out about 20 yards to enter into a world where waitresses took orders, chattered away, and served grilled cheese and pickles. All on the house, of course.
Check out this Party Fowl! This flaming disco duck was, in my humble opinion, the best thing on the playa. Proof is in the photo:
The duck zoomed across the desert carrying 200 dancing people aboard and when it stopped a bunch of mutant vehicles joined. And an instant house party was spontaneously sprung.
Below is the "Opulent Temple" camp. They had this platform and people were grooving away. The music was pretty experimental, but here's where I stayed til dawn on more than one night.
Big and Tall. Burners cruise across the Playa.
Another incredible installation. This animated humpback was breaching right into the playa.
Deep sea creature/moving dance party
This discovery was off the hook. In contrast to all the woo-woo finger-cymbal peace loving hippies, there was...the THUNDERDOME! Inside people went at it tooth and nail, and of course I clamored and climbed all over this big dome to gawk at the fighting below.
From a vertigo position atop the Thunderdome. All that's missing is Tina Tuner!
We all chanted "Two Men enter, One man Leaves!"
What about entering and coming?

Below, Madmax fashion on the dome.
These statues were awesome. Made from steel cables, all of him.
Just when I thought Burning Man had everything, I caught this dildo flower in bloom. The anal bead tendrils add just the right finishing touch. In the distance...the man...
Pyromania fantasyland! Fire twirlers and jugglers played all night. There was even a section where you could shoot your own fireblower (but only if you were declared sober).
This fire-breathing dragon was another outstanding Mutant Vehicle. It lifted its head and shot fire.
the glitter tree!
The man, the system. On Saturday. Just before he had to burn. The whole of 50,000 people made the pilgrimage to watch him go down in flames.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Anyone Home at Routledge Publishers?

I have no idea what's going on with my literary adventures from the other down under, otherwise known as my book You Can Run.

I don't even like to think about it, because basically I haven't gotten any sales information, like, ever. My publisher (Haworth) was bought out by another publisher (Routledge/Taylor & Francis) earlier this year and since then I haven't heard from anybody there. Which means I haven't received any information as to sales or anything--and then (get this!) the new publisher raised the book's price to $30 (although you can get it on Amazon for $20) because they mainly deal in "scholarly" books which go for that kind of price, and mine is just tossed in there with the same treatment.

I'm grateful to be published. And very proud of my book. I hope that all who are interested will one day read it, but because I'm not being paid, and because I don't know anyone who would buy a paperback travel memoir for $30, I'm gonna tell you how to get it for cheap.

Hit up Casper Andreas' site embrem.com where you can get a signed copy for $14.99. And also at that link, you can purchase my film A Four Letter Word which was released on DVD just last week.

In the meantime, if you write a book and get it published, I hope you're in it for the love...

That's the Spirit!

At Burning Man, many people scribbled notes onto the Temple (la basura sagrada) which was to be burned on Sunday. One of the scrawlings epitomized the whole spirit of the experience for me. It read:

This year has been rough -
My lover died.

My dog died.
I lost my ball
to cancer.

I love life.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Burning Man 2008 photos (by day)

I'm back!...following one of the most incredible weeks of my life.

Burning Man will make you realize again what an amazing thing it is to be alive.

Black Rock City is an actual city that appears one week and disappears without a trace the next. Its citizens are full of self-expression and devoid of judgment. I can honestly say that. It is also full of inspiring art and installations and because there is no money, everyone comes together and contributes something to this good of this world they create for one another.

The goal, I think, is to bring something of this experience back and share it with the real world.

Photos begin to tell the story, but one thing everyone at Burning Man says is that it is totally impossible to describe to those who haven't been. It's something you must go to. And when you go, you will get it.

I can't believe it took me this long to get there. But when I got there, when people find out it's your first time, they all say "Welcome Home."

We drove in during a dust-storm. Keep in mind, there are 50,000 plus people trying to get in and yet I never heard one honking horn. The crowded entry was all very civilized.

The "Playa" on which the city is set is an ancient sea bed. It's flat, 9 miles squared, and basically you eat its dust all day long. Yeah, kinda like Pompeii.
The whole idea of the festival is an exercise in community. This woman was a great example. She was on a box directing traffic (?!). At first I thought she had just dropped some great acid, but then started to move the heavy box to another intersection. We helped her move the box and after we did, she opened it and (surprise!) handed out dry-ice popsicles to those of us who helped her!
There are tons of things to do throughout the week. While my friends went for some sunrise chanting, and a lecture on Eckhardt Tolle's "A New Earth", I attended events such as the "Butthole Puppet Players" and their show the "American Ream". And then there was the "Teabaggers Ball" (below), where I naturally advanced to the finals.
This woman was wicked with the hula hoop! Wait until you see her on video. There were a ton of nude slip n sliders. There were judges at the end. And when I went they gave me a "2"!! Which really disturbed me because I knocked the wind out of myself when I jumped up instead of forward. Bam said I only got a 2 because I didn't go naked.
Many participants join big camps that put on shows, events, or host parties. The one below is the DEEP END, which is the place to go dancing during the day. The Viking was running around saying "Shot-Ski!" and pouring shots into the glasses on the ski. Anyone can have at it. Nobody gets left out. There is no VIP area, no guest list. Everyone is included in everything.
It often looks like Mad Max.
Me and Bam Bam relax poolside in an ingenious installation right in the middle of the playa.
At the Temple (ooking out toward the "man" which is burned at the end of the week. The colored cubes were a huge installation, where people could go up on platforms and play a giant game of Tetris.
This installation is larger than it looks. And you can climb all the way to the top (which of course I did several times) and sit in a throne that reads "ME" and overlooks the entire city. This shot was taken early in the morning, but most of the day and night this thing had people climbing all over it. With no net. One of my favorite things about Burning Man is that there are no rules, and plenty of opportunities to risk your life.
Here I'm climbing a fire ladder to the sky. Another great opportunity to kill yourself. Or just get another rush. With a great overview of Black Rock City. Me and the kids and our revolutionary outfits. The theme this year was "American Dream" so of course my star spangled heels were a hit on the playa. Behind us (on the right) is one of the incredible "Mutant Vehicles" which are the only vehicles allowed to drive in the city. This one was an At-At inspired 12,000 pound steel spider. The owner told us it's featured in this month's Popular Science magazine.
Little green man!
My posse. Everyone gives each other names in Fabulous Black Rock City! They called me "Maybelline" (thanks to my fascination with a Mae West wig--not pictured here). Below, from left to right are Maybelline, Kingpin, Bam Bam, Possum, and Mother.
Click here for pics from Burning Man by night. And see the vast playa turns into something unimaginably different altogether...