Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Australian Open

Damn, Australia is big!

On a road trip through N.S.W. and Victoria at the moment. Kangaroo Roadkill? Check. Wombat roadkill? Check. Unidentified carnage roadkill? Check, check, check!

N.S.W. is obsessed with speeding. I love this ad campaign below. It's also on television...in it, these guys rev their engines, speeding through a small town. All the women they pass turn to one another and wag their pinky fingers knowingly, as in: yeah, small dick. Hysterical. Not so hysterical--are the laws. N.S.W. deducts "de-merit points" for traffic offenses. This week, you lose "double de-merit" points. Two double-de-merit speeding offenses (over the course of three years!) and you lose your license! It's all very slap-you-on-the-wrist parochial. How do you spell N-A-N-N-Y state?

Makes no sense economically, because if you're a single mother with a good job and lose your license you can't really get to work and support your family. On the other hand, if you have an American license...you just pay a fine. No de-merits for me! Holy hell, I've been driving...

On the left side of the road!

"You go too fast," Bam Bam says. He claime, "Driving plays into your need for control...and you do everything all wrong."

By everything all wrong, he means the fact each time I turn, I put on the windshield wipers instead of the blinker. When I do turn, I revert to programming and turn into the right lane.

Oncoming traffic is coming head on and Bam Bam screams, "Get in the right lane!"

"You mean the correct lane?" I answer, swerving. "Now's not the time to argue semantics!"

So far, no human roadkill.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Goodbye, Sweet Kitty

The purr has been silenced.

I learned that Eartha Kitt died on Christmas Day.

I didn't know that this woman was a fierce advocate of free-speech. In her obit, I read what she had to say about the backlash from her anti-war stance in the '60's: "The thing that hurts, that became anger, was when I realized that if you tell the truth — in a country that says you're entitled to tell the truth — you get your face slapped and you get put out of work."

Funny thing about people, you learn the most about them in the obit.

The first and only time I saw her was on Broadway, in NINE, which was an extension of Fellini's non-narrative masterpiece 8 1/2. I found NINE to be a lot more entertaining than 8 1/2. I guess I'm attracted to things like, um, STORY, but maybe the reason it wasn't boring was because Eartha Kitt stole the show. Eartha Kitt KNEW she was stealing the show; that she was being over-the-top indulgent. And the audience encouraged her.

She was, after all, one of the new faces of 1952, and in 2003 was still at the height of vitality.

Afterward, I waited at the stage door to see not Antonia Banderas, but her. When she came out of the door, she made a bee-line directly to me. "I remember you," she said. Although I'd never met her.

"Give me a hug, then!" I said and she wrapped her arms around me and gave me a big, fat hug.

Eartha Kitt thought she knew me. How could I forget her? Rest in Peace.

Merry Christmas...from Sydney

Wishing you a very happy holiday, I hope you get everything you want. Santa brings me the best gifts every year---great friends. I am so lucky! Thank you!

Maroubra Beach, Sydney. It's a blue christmas!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Zoo of Man

Took a road trip to western New South Wales, to a little one-horse town called Dubbo. We arrived about 8:30 pm and the hotel diner was already closed, so we asked where to go to eat dinner and the lady looks at her watch and says, "At this hour? I really don't know..."

Dubbo has a famous zoo, where there are very few cages or fences. Instead there are motes and burms. I learned a few things, like red Kangaroos travel in groups called "mobs", and hippos secrete a red substance that keeps them moisturized, but what impressed me most was once again how humans have become the stewards, the masters of all the other species in the world. We're the only ones that actually know we exist.

We have no predators left, really, now except for microbes. Not the T-Rex, but instead the last threat to our species survival is the tiniest thing. A while back I read Bill Bryson's "A Short History of Nearly Everything" and the one thing I took away was how we can't even comprehend how small things can be--like subatomic particles for example, trillions upon trillions can fit on the head of a pin. Conversely, our minds can't comprehend how large other things are, like the size of the universe.

How small we are! And yet most of us maintain that there is a God with a personality who really cares what we each do; who decrees there is such a thing as sin. More than this, it got me to thinking that if our universe is really on such a scale as to incorporate parts so tiny and others so vast that we cannot begin to wrap our minds around their size....then what if our solar system is just one cell in a much larger organism? Scratch that---

What if planet earth, stewarded by humans, is one small speck of cancer in an entire universe that is nothing but one tiny cell in a much larger organism?

Makes me feel inconsequential, but in a good way. If that makes any sense.

Dubbo, NSW
After a long night, the galapagos turtle passes out wherever it pleases.Can you spot the white-handed Gibbon?
Can you spot the high-collared blue booby?
Can you spot the black swan?
This guy was all about the mating call.

An Upgrade

Perhaps you notice my little pic at the bottom and all the background stars are gone from the blog.

On the bright side, my blog is now iphone compatible! That's right, you can now read it from your hand held devices. Since that's the way everything's going...

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Puddles, the Courtesy Bottom...strikes back!

Back to Burning Man!

Since I just discovered you can upload camera videos to blogs, I'm gonna share a few I took at Burning Man this past September. Keep in mind, the whole experience there is one of temporary community, without cash, totally self-reliant and self-expressed.

These videos can only begin to describe what a truly awesome experience that week is. With that, I present:

Zooming across the Playa in a double decker bus. Anybody can get on. I have no idea who this dancing twink is, but he sure had great energy!

There are no VIP sections at Burning Man. Everyone is invited everywhere. During the day, the party crowd went over to camp "Deep End". It was set up like an old West saloon town. You can see people dancing on what looks like oil rigs at the back of this video. Keep in mind, everything you see here is up and gone in one week.

Before taking this video, I had just done a slip 'n slide where the judges gave me a "2" for my belly flop entry. Bam Bam defends me here, saying it was only because I didn't go naked like everyone else:

This third video is Burning Man by night. As I said before, by night the place really comes alive and feels something like toon town, underwater. You'll be walking across the Playa and come across a roller derby created right on top fo the sand--with a wall of skates you can lace up and roller around to Donna Summer (all free, of course), or a fu-man-chu tea hut, or (in this case) a gigantic THUNDERDOME, where they chant just like in the movie, "2 men enter, one man leaves!" and then, um, they fight to the finish!

One of my favorite aspects of Burning Man was the ability to risk your life. Nobody told you to get down, or not to go up there. There were very few rules at all.

I crawled up to the precarious top of the Thunderdome to take this video. That's me smiling at the very end:

In the gay tent "Camp Comfort & Joy", there was the "Puddles, the Courtesy Bottom". This tale was so intriguing, I wrote a column about the experience in the latest issue of OUT magazine. You can read it here. So far the only comment says, "Bullshit!" which I'm not sure how to take. As if Puddles didn't really exist? Oh but he did. And does! Here's his, er, headshot!
You can also visit Puddles on Myspace! Or watch his video promo for his show, the American Ream. No doubt Puddles got lots of action. Then again, who didn't? Normally I'm hyper and high energy, but Burning Man laid me out flat. Perhaps it was from all the hula hooping at the silent disco?
The music was in the remote headphones
Or maybe all the cartwheeling in the high heel star-spangled stiletto boots?
But my friend Peter captured me in an unnatural state of exhaustion...all over his blog!
They called me Mae-Belline, since I was obsessed with this Mae West wig.
"I can't go on, but I will anyway"
For a great write up, and the amazing album of our Burning Man photos 2008 (including Peter popping naked out of a Birka, check out Chapter 65 of Peter's blog, Man About the World.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Victoria the Shaman

Speaking of "Welcoming" ceremonies---I refuse to give a certain pastor any publicity, but I will say...why are prayers being held at any presidential inauguration? Especially a presidency that emblazons "Change!" all across its face?

But back to newborn babies!

The "celebrant" of Ava's welcoming ceremony was a woman named Victoria. She's sort of a secular answer to a priest, surprisingly down to earth for a self-described "modern-day Shaman". Victoria told me she works with the GLBTQ community, performing as "celebrant" at various commitment ceremonies, naming ceremonies, and primarily at "end of life" ceremonies.

I said that last bit must be rather depressing. "Actually, it's not," she said.

Victoria told me that what she does now was planted in her when she saw her gay friends dying of AIDS in the 1980's. Their funerals, she said, stripped them of their dignity. Families would serve up rigid religious ceremonies; who they were and how they lived were not mentioned. Often, their friends and partners were not invited to attend. For survivors, it's hard to move on when you don't get a proper goodbye.

I can see how what Victoria does is not depressing. She's helping to honor the unique lives of the people at their end. Good on her. I definitely don't want a somber, black, boring funeral. I want a colorful glitter party. With Kylie. And confetti!

"Make sure you write that down," she says.

Welcome Party!

Here's the new little lady in my life! Ava Grace landed 7 months ago. We celebrated her arrival with a "naming ceremony" in Sydney today with her mothers, extended family and friends.

Ava's father recently introduced her to chest hair. Fascinating!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I should be so lucky!!

Woo-hoo! While drag may be dying in the rest of the world, it's high-camp here in Sydney and last night, I got to see Australia's most fabulous pixie drag queen: Kylie Minogue. In concert!

She was here at the end of her world KYLIE X 2008 tour. I didn't even know she had a tour! For some things in the US, such as Kylie, we are totally in the dark. She's #1 all round the rest of the world, so she quite rightly ignores us.

In about 1988, my Australian pen-pal Merryn introduced me to Kylie by way of mix-tapes that made their way across the Pacific with hits like "Got to be Certain", "Loco-Motion", "I should be so Lucky" and that fantastically cheezy, wish-I-could-have-it-on-a-loop-forever duet with Jason Donovan, "Especially For You..."

I've followed Kylie through the years. My favorite late 90's song would be her "Better the Devil You Know" and my favorite pop album of all time is 2000's "Light Years", featuring the song I want played at my funeral, "Your Disco Needs You!" --I ask, is there a better ode to life?

This probably says a lot about me, but next to the Pet Shop Boys--it's Kylie I listen to the most.

So when I heard she was playing, I had to go. Bam and I hit the Acer arena and promptly snuck down from our nosebleed seats to find better ones. We bumped into a couple of friends, and all bopped out to Kylie who put on the gayest show on earth (of course!), featuring--sexy sailors, a 40 minute encore, the campest re-telling of Copacabana -in song and dance! - imaginable, and before it was all done, Kylie had the entire stadium do the wave.

Little girls screamed "We Love You, Kylie!" Shamelessly, I joined them. It was all lights, and colors and fun from the best of the best diva from down under.

Of course she came down on a gigantic diamond-encrusted suspended skull! A daring move, considering girl had breast cancer two years back.
The sailor boy scene. "Loveboat" from Light Years.
"There's not one stitch of natural fabric on these dancers!"
The opera concert hall. Your disco needs you!
Kabuki Kylie!
On a night like this!

Here's a little video I took...Press the arrow to PLAY!

Truth in Advertising

Looks like American car companies won't be forced to adapt or die. Seems the only thing left in Washington are the lobbyists!

I could not have said this better myself. Click to read the fine print.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A meat puppet, a puppet of meat

My friend, the actress Margaret Echeverria is starring in a video on diesel.com. She plays a Mrs. Lovett style butcher who one day makes a "boy out of beef". I have no idea how she got into character, and I'm not sure how she'd explain this one, but it's definitely on the brink.

It gives me shivers. The creepy kind.

Way to go, Margaret!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Gone with the Gum Trees

"Just because it is, doesn't mean it should be"
After a nice long run on the sunny sands of south Sydney, I thought it'd be a great down under re-intro to go and see Baz Luhrmann's latest film, AUSTRALIA. In Australia. With an Australian (Bam).

Two minutes in, we knew we were in trouble. First of all, Nicole Kidman is miscast in this visually stunning overwrought epic/romance/social message/historical period piece! What else? The whole thing would've been tolerable had Hugh Jackman ran around naked the entire time.

Otherwise, the thing is so damn predictable, so agonizingly long--and so shockingly schmaltzy that I found Bam's ongoing armchair monologue ("This is excrutiating"/"I think I'm going to vomit") much more intriguing than the film's dialogue. Take this oft-repeated morsel for example. "Just because it is, doesn't mean it should be." An apt platitude for the film itself!

Bam kept asking me how much longer we had to endure...and I kept repeating, "The Japanese haven't attacked Darwin yet." So when the Japanese finally did bomb-attack Darwin, Nicole Kidman under-fire, I heard Bam exclaim in the seat beside me, "THANK GOD for the Japanese!"

Still, the whole thing was so full of good intentions that at one point--in between one of the 14 climaxes, and only for a second--I did manage to pinch out a tear.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

American Girl!

Flying stand-by, I didn't make my flight to Sydney and got waylayed in Los Angeles. It was nearly midnight when I texted my friend Rica. We used to work together as pool boys at the Beverly Hills Four Seasons, and he saved me from spending a fraught 24 hours at LAX!

What a lifesaver. Thank you, Rica!

I spent the night in WeHo and we hit the Grove today with his boyfriend Brad and...have you ever seen this shop American Girl Place? Yikes!! American Girl sells dolls throughout our history---from the 1700's colonial girl to the prairie pioneer, and they all come with computer games, storybooks, and mass memorabilia. I ran into one mother who told me she came all the way from Temecula, because "they ran out of Samantha on the website!"

While it's great this company is diversifying from the leggy busty Barbie...how bizarre is it to walk into the room of Addy, a "strong, courageous slave girl who escaped during the civil war"? In her little cubicle you can buy Addy, her white smock, and see an old fashioned iron while you read about how she made up her own birthdate. All set to creepy revolutionary war music.

Then there's the Indian girl, who's busy making tortillas inside her diorama. Or the Asian girl, who doesn't get her own room. She's stuck in together with the Julie...the white hippie-chick who saves endangered eagles in her spare time.

This place is a hot pink "It's a Small World". Both fascinating and disturbing. As if our small world were all about capitalizing upon racial stereotypes by smoothing them over with consumerism. The important thing is not to let a child read what Addy really went through. Sure, she was once enslaved. Not to worry, what matters is you can own her again for $90!

When I was five, I would've loved this place. Now I think I prefer leggy, busty unreal Barbie.

The cafe is all hot pink. Tiny pink little chairs that attach to the tables, so Samantha can join!
Brad models Addy's slave-smock in her room.
After the bulb harvest, white people came and killed Kaya...
Clone yourself, American girl!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Here today, Gone Tomorrow

Stock up tonight! Tomorrow is the DAY WITHOUT A GAY . It's another in a series of grassweb efforts for gay rights. You're encouraged to call in GAY to work, not spend a dime, and do some volunteer work instead. Feels good to do something about hate and injustice. Let's try it.

I'll be doing the ultimate disappearing act....I'm headed down under. See you on the sunny sands of Sydney!

Monday, December 08, 2008

Male Nudity Field Day

Ok, so I've been wondering why my google adsense hasn't been working. I put all the code up; it was working for a year, until one day--POOF!--gone. So I put Bam Bam on the task of finding out why and how where they disappeared to. His conclusion: I've been censored.

The nudity on my blog violated their terms. Many of you were kind enough to click on those ads, which made me a bit of money from this blog. Oh well, my response to censorship? More cock!

The adsense may be gone, but I'll still give you something to click on. Here's a personal favorite:
Below is a scene I was actually there for. This summer, Jack was being filmed for Playgirl on Fire Island...when two guys (who can blame them?) peeked around the corner for a free show.
A spectator sport!
Everybody got the giggles.
Underwear around the foot: Sexy!

Friday, December 05, 2008

Is it Tina?...or is it...Tina?

The other day, a friend was telling me how they're cracking down on drug use on Craigslist, or somewhere. People were being censored if they wrote about doing "Tina", which means crystal meth. So now, he said, everyone was writing "I have tickets to the Tina Turner concert" instead...

Imagine the smirk of surprise that came to my face yesterday, when I get a text from an unknown number that reads: "I have two tickets to the Tina Turner concert, if you want them."

I'm actually confused: is it crystal meth-----or, I think she's touring, Tina Turner? Welcome to my world.

I write back, judiciously, "How much? And who is this?"

Turns out it is a new friend Brandon (I never plugged in his number), and he is offering not meth, but tickets to Tina Turner...out on Long Island...for free! I was all over that. Thanks, Brandon!

Cooldan and I braved the Long Island RailRoad, out to a place called...Uniondale, to a "coliseum" with the incomparable Tina Turner. Girl is 69 years old, so let's just call it out. Has she still got the legs? Check. Has she still got the voice? Check. Has she still got the moves, moxy, and energy to pull it off? Check, check, check. Three times CHECK!

Tina was waaaaayyy beyond thunderdome. Absolutely unbelievably out of this world. What a woman! This has been quite a legendary week. Turns out rock stars age far better than musical theatre icons (sorry, Liza). At one point, Tina was on a gigantic hydraulic arm that stretched out way out above her audience. It was about two feet wide, and she marched on that catwalk in those super-high heels; dancing, singing, and racing about like it was a full on stage. Tina gives us a live, near-death experience! Way better than Meth!

We're going to forgive Tina for the unfortunately camp re-telling of MadMax, and just say that the only thing wrong with Ms Turner was...her Long Island fans! Now the only thing worse than people who go to rock concerts and SIT down the whole time are...customs agents. And the only thing worse than customs agents are people who go to rock concerts, sit down the whole time and then tell others to sit down because their view is blocked.

For the finale, sister Turner is up there rollin' on a river...doing Proud Mary. WORK! Or is that WERQ?! When I get a tap on my shoulder by this guy and his fat woman with binoculars who insist I sit down because they can't see. I guess I could sit down, but just TRY sitting down for Proud Mary, LIVE! Ok? He could of course stand up. He doesn't. I just keep standing, rollin' on a river! He can stay home and watch it on TV next time. I have a feeling he does that a lot.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

The Bum--or Why Liberals Can Be Annoying

I'm walking down lower Fifth Avenue when I see this homeless guy. He's not one of those hopelessly down and out mentally ill types. He actually looks like one of the well-spoken scripted homeless you see on the subway. Then he asks me for money.

"Sorry," I say politely. And he says, "Faggot!"

I don't know why I can 't just keep walking, but I turn back around to shout, "Loser!"

Out of nowhere, another faggot who is far swishier than me glares me down and says, "Did you call him a loser?!"

"But you didn't hear what he said. He called me a..."

"Just...LOOK AT YOU," he sneers. It's then I realize that I am dressed up, hair combed back; I'm actually wearing a button-down shirt. I look like an uppity snob.

Lickety-split, the gay boy has pulled a five dollar bill out of his wallet and given it to the bum who smiles, snarkily, in my direction. I can't really believe what just transpired, but I walk off knowing I look like the asshole. And the bleeding heart gay just contributed $5 to his enemy.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Chocolate News!

I've searched relentlessly to find an audio or video clip, but have you seen what David Alan Grier is doing over at Chocolate News? This guy is killing me--today rants on Beyonce's whitification.

But his best stuff is when he dresses up to lampoon pulitzer prize-winning poet Maya Angelou. The following two are my favorite (and if you find a way to actually hear this performed, please do). All I can find are the transcripts, but below Maya Angelou endorses Butterfingers.

Maya Angelou For Butterfingers:

Announcer: And now, Maya Angelou for "Butterfingers"
David Alan Grier (dressed up as Maya Angelou):

The wind. The rain. The fire.

The Butterfinger.

Did the Caveman know your delicious goodness?
Did the Mayan Priest exhalt in your buttery crunchiness?
Did the slothful Mastodon, upon his extinction, declare,
"Don't lay a finger on my Butterfinger?"

Oh, you finger of butter!
You proud confection!
Sugar brown roasted peanuts,
fructose, glucose, sucrose, lactose,
partially hydrogenated palm kernel oil.
Crispity, crunchity, peanut buttery--

I... give... myself... to... you.


Glad mantle of golden chocolaty hope upon my breast.

What good is sitting alone in your Room?

Just back from Florida. There was sun and (moon)shine and space! Which always gets me thinking, what the hell am I doing in this cold unforgiving city? But then...I'm trolling through facebook yesterday, bored, sitting alone at my desk----and this happens:

I come upon my friend's profile --the talented performer Jim Caruso -- who writes he's in final tech with Liza Minelli for her show Liza at the Palace. She's only singing for 3 weeks on Broadway, and guess what--Jim offers me two free tickets to see the invite-only final dress rehearsal, last night!

Miraculously, I just landed two tickets to see what's left of Judy Garland! Everyone in the Palace Theatre knew we were watching a legend. Liza's a little wobbly, but I'm told she's had multiple hip replacement surgery. So all said and told, she's a regular Ginger Rogers. And Jim Caruso her Fred Astaire!
Liza's generable loveableness was paired to great effect with self-deprecating direction. At one point, she's singing "Cabaret" and along comes the lyric, "Too much pills and liquor"...at which time Liza pauses to look around...and the audience erupts. At another point, she's telling a story about her godmother, Kay Thompson who brought Liza into a room and showed her three closet doors. Liza turns to the audience to ask an imaginary Kay, "What's in there? My last three husbands?" Ba-dah-bum!

The show was a whopping 2 and a half hours--and she only got better as she went along. The penultimate song ("New York, New York") included no less than three standing ovations. When she finished and went for that ubiquitous cup of "liquid" (she said it was water), one lit queen in the balcony screams out, "Hydrate, Liza, hydrate!" and she laughed her head off.

I'm going to see her again--there's nothing like a legend. And there's no place like New York. Where else in the world can you be sitting alone in your room, bored and with no plans---and then less than 3 hours later be watching Liza Minelli at the Palace? Certainly not Ft. Lauderdale!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Wheeeeeere's the CHALUPA?

What's more ridiculous than a talking Chihuahua? How about a FOURTH MEAL? Taco Bell's latest campaign, which I read on the side of my super-sized cup in Florida---makes an almighty proclamation: "Don't forget the meal between Dinner and Breakfast!"

The fourth meal sent me on a four day binge of laughter. I don't know about you, but I have rarely awoken in a sweaty need for a Gordita supreme.

Presuming our fast food obesity epidemic has nothing to do with the fourth meal (it's a glandular problem!) --how irresponsible is it to know that if we make a run for just about any border in this world, people are struggling to pull together 3 meals a day?

This realization should not, of course, disturb a late night Taco Bell run. We made fun of the fourth meal all weekend until late Sunday night, poolside and a little drunk at Coconut Cove in Ft. Lauderdale when a friend asked, "Are you feeling a bit peckish?" and I had to answer in the affirmative. "I'm ready for my fourth meal!"

Only in America, kids, only in America.