Saturday, January 31, 2009

Did he do cocaine at your house last night?

My friend Danny just sent me this priceless post he found on Craigslist personals. I see the recession hasn't hurt anyone's drug budget. Or desire to get to know someone on a really deep emotional level. Phew!

Here we go:

I think I did cocaine at your house last night? - m4w - 23 (Williamsburg)


Reply to: pers-1014453729@craigslist.org [?]
Date: 2009-01-30, 6:38PM EST


You: Brown hair, thin, purple American Apparel shag fleece zip hoody.

Me: 5'8, 140, red flannel shirt, white v-neck, skinny black jeans, really high.

Your coffee table: Art deco, cherry wood, fashion magazines, TImeOut New York, Dostoevsky's "The Idiot", Vashti Bunyan CD (I think we did cocaine off of it).

I think I had a really good time, but I ended up blacking out and I don't remember your name, or what you look like. If you see this, I would love to hear more about your childhood and to continue our discussion about the subjectivity of spiritual experience.





  • Location: Williamsburg
  • it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
PostingID: 1014453729

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Evita---NAKED!

Somehow, in Buenos Aires, an exquisitely crafted Evita bun wig...ended up on my head. Of course I could not resist the urge to head over to the Casa Rosada for a twilight photo spread.

Jesse Archer as Gina Lollobrigida as Evita Peron
I'm thinking my book should be reissued --- with the photo below as the new cover.

...All through my wild days, my mad existence....

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

La Vida es un Carnaval!

Buenos Aires is not all that different, but nothing is the same.

The Obelisk is no different. The signature sidewalks are still broken. The city’s glory still crumbles, like an aged beauty.

I drove past the Zona Roja where the trannie prostitutes work---but they were nowhere to be found. “They’ve moved,” I’m told. “Down by the Hippodrome.” All the trannies just up and moved from their old haunt? How disturbing, their home is here. Here should always be their home!

And each time I pass a building, or a neighborhood in Buenos Aires, I think: I taught here! Or I lived here with Zane! Or this is where my friend Thomas used to live. Here is Congreso, where I met Gabriel. There’s where super clubs Oxen used to be. In an apartment over there I drank mate with that sexy Colombian singer. What happened to her? Retiro station—it’s renovated! Punta Carrasco, the restaurant where I worked, is gone.

That’s the tough thing about returning somewhere you used to live. I believe it works the same for relationships. You can’t ever, ever, ever go back. You’ve got to deal with now; have new experiences, make new memories. In the lab or on the stage, you may be able to repeat the same results. In life, you may want to. But you will always be disappointed if you try to re-create the past.

This concept is the most difficult for me to accept: yes it is prologue, but the past does not exist.



Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Sweating it Out!

The boys & I took a hot and heavy (& boozy) day trip from Buenos Aires to Colonia, Uruguay.

James, John, Lair, Mich, Stephen, post Chivito
Mich Lyon set himself loose upon Uruguay! He nearly flipped his wig golf-cart before deciding maybe it wasn't made to ride 8.

Happy Half-Century, Mich!
As you can see, the Rio de La Plata (behind) is so gigantic you can't even see across it. It's just a river, but it feels like an ocean. And the other day, one of the hottest of the year, not even a fetid breeze dared whisk itself across the water. As they say in Argentina, "It's the humidity that kills!"

Below, Elton John demonstrates the facial sweat effect on paper napkins
On another day, back in Buenos Aires, we took a half hour train ride to take a boat ride through one of my favorite places in the world--Tigre. It's a delta of many islands along distinct rivers that eventually collect to form the Rio de la Plata.

Walter wears the largest pair of sunglasses on earth, naturally.
Tigre used to be really big with rowing Regattas. Back when, you know, Argentina was rich.

Most of that grandeur has decayed or died. Some of it has been preserved.
Inside the delta, homes are peacefully hidden away. It's like a rural Venice.
All the roads are rivers. These gazebos are the taxi stops.
One day I want to own a home here. Of course everyone thinks that's just a pipe dream. Jesse could never slow down enough to live in a place like this. Hey, try me!

Monday, January 26, 2009

I Love Goodbye!

While I'm sweating it out down here in Argentina, Casper Andreas is set to theatrically premiere his next feature in another location....Between Love & Goodbye! Who hasn't been there?

If I'm back in time, I hope to get to Chelsea Clearview this weekend and see it again. Between Love & Goodbye is a gay drama set against the backdrop of marriage rights, immigration, NYC, and a trannie terrible deliciously played by my friend Rob Harmon. Yes, it's a gay drama...but it's someone else's drama, so you can relish it. Plus the leads are hot and the soundtrack is stellar!

Check it out in Chelsea this weekend. Details in the poster!
Casper's work just keeps getting better and better. For the trailer and for more information, check out the film's website.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Look out, Buenos Aires!

As a side note to Bam Bam's snuggie post "blanket with sleeves! As seen on tv!" I have to add that the snuggie, although practical, sheds like a motherfucker! Recently, I tossed aside my snuggie--as well as the winter AND the recession---and headed down to Buenos Aires, Argentina!!

It was my friend Mich Lyon's 50th birthday celebration down here so I couldn't miss that. He looked stunning in his blond evita bun wig...calling to the masses from his four star balcony at the "hetero-friendly" -don't you love that- gay Hotel Axel! Mich's birthday was the perfect excuse to come catch back down to see friends and relive this beautiful dump of a city I love so much.

I haven't been back since 2003. The most remarkable changes I've noticed since arrival:

1. There are no more sleazy backrooms in the night clubs! Turns out, this is not due to any sort of moral upgrade, but there was a disco fire (a straight disco) that killed about 400 people in 2004. All the discos have new fire hazard regulations and that means...no deep dark labyrinthine corners for getting anonymous thrills. It also probably means a lot less wallet theft.

2. There are no coins! It's a true economic crisis! To ride the bus, which only takes coins, you have to take drastic measures---buy something from a kiosk, just to get the coins. The common lament, "No hay monedas!" is as pervasive as a good steak. For example, sometimes you can't even buy a soda if you don't have exact change. They'd rather not sell you something---than part with their precious coins. Word on the streets is it's a scam by the bus companies who horde their coin collection....and then sell it off for a big percentage profit. Oh, Argentina! Does it never end?

My friend Thomas is an amazing photographer--(he lived here when I did, and lives here now again) and he covers this crisis hysterically in a post on his photo blog Buenos Aires Photographer. I love the pic, "No hay monedas..POR DIOS!" "We don't have change, GOD!" ..."God" as in "stop asking!!"

3. If you read my book, You Can Run, you know I wrote about two ex-boyfriends who live down here. There's Walter...and there's Gabriel. They used to hate each other, couldn't even be near one another. But I was so happy to be down here and see them both that the other night I just decided to invite both of them to dinner and see what would happen. Not only did they speak amicably, it turns out...shock of shocks...that Walter is suddenly, madly, attracted to Gabriel. The only thing Walter doesn't like about Gabriel now...is that he has a boyfriend. "A lot has changed in ten years, Walter!" I tell him and Walter just says, "Gabriel didn't look like that ten years ago!!!"

Pictures of everyone coming soon--promise!

In another example of the everlasting truth we know as changing-times....my friend Lair (down here also for Mich's birthday) was mistaken late last night for Elton John. Someone actually leaned out of a taxi to scream "ELTON JOHN!!!!!" Lair's been despairing ever since. He took a good long look in the mirror this morning and lamented, "When I was younger and skinnier and in London, I got mistaken for David Beckham...."

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Living With Jesse #3

Jesse discovers the joy of snuggie (with cocktail). I bought it as a joke. Jesse hasn't spent a night without his snuggie since. He even sleeps in it.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Day

President Obama! What a beautiful benchmark for our country!

8 years of Bush are over, and the lingering resentment I have toward that criminal era is----not so much Bush, but the fact that Americans elected that pigheaded joker into office!!!

Here's hoping/looking forward to an open, honest and progressive Obama administration!

Wish I were in Washington DC today
The pic above is on the balcony of the Newseum in DC. It's an interactive museum on news and journalism and definitely worth a visit.

One glaring fault I found with the Newseum, is that it has nothing on censorship. Nothing on the fact we aren't allowed to see photos of coffins from Iraq, falling bodies from the burning World Trade Center. What about the gruesome-ness in Gaza?

The best example I can think of is the egregious refusal of the American press to publish the Danish cartoons of Mohammed. The New York Times published on its front page the Danish embassy on fire in (was it Syria?) but did not bother to print the cartoons that incited the violence. Cartoons! You can't write fiction this far-fetched. Yet America's "Free" press chose and chooses to value sensitivity over truth-telling.

What/who is being protected? The news gives us only the sanitatized story. Not exactly the world we live in!

Sad the museum doesn't/wouldn't/can't address that.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Jesse Archer's ABS in ten minutes!

This is definitely the gayest thing you've heard all year. Perhaps all century.

Since I was such an oinker down in Australia I've become a little -gasp!- gay fat! Give me a some time and I promise I'll whip back into shape, but in the meantime--what's a gay to do?

I have an answer, an answer that I really should market and make a million dollars, but instead I'm just going to share it with you here for free! This technique is a little bit incriminating because I'm about to give away one of my secrets ---and we all know I don't have many of those!

But when I got back from Australia, I took out the bleach and bleached my hair (orange) and then I...gave myself an instant six pack. You see, I have just enough hair on my stomach that I can bleach myself a set of abs!

Bleached abs---fool them with the illusion of a real six pack!

A little bleach, and some careful shading around where your abs should be, and presto!

Smoke and mirrors, people.
I told you so. That is the gayest thing you've seen all year--admit it!

Ok, well it may be the gayest thing you've seen all year if you haven't seen this chandelier made entirely of gummi bears!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Out Column--February---

OUT magazine's fabulously colorful new February issue is on the stands now. I've wanted to examine the absolutely mind-boggling ridiculous AIDS myths I found in Africa and couldn't figure out how best to do that...until realizing I could compare them with the AIDS myths we have right here in the United States.

So that's my column this month. People can convince themselves of anything, without science. Some of the AIDS myths I mention in my column are held by my own friends. I mean, honestly.

I wish they could talk to this guy David, who wrote to me recently from Miami.

David wrote that he had heard an interview I did with HERE! television about my book. He asked what I looked like, and to be detailed, because he was blind. That was a first!

We've emailed back and forth a few times and turns out David went blind from chicken pox--due to complications from AIDS. I wish those who remain wholeheartedly convinced that AIDS is a lie; that it is easily managed; that it has a cure--- would talk to David about the disease and what he's been through (at one point he was paralyzed).

Check out: HIV STOPS WITH US.

Many of those living with HIV/AIDS have not gotten mired down in delusion. David's outlook and attitude is incredible. In Miami, he lives on his own (with a guide dog), goes to the gym every day, and runs his own online company. About the loss of his sight from AIDS, he writes:

What I learned to do, and perhaps was an unsuspecting gift, was a laser guided focus that was missing in my life when I could see. It seemed that every bare bottomed boy or ab rippling Adonis gave me whiplash and my penis was my guide. It's amazing what we are capable of when we don't have that visual distraction.

I hear that!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Something Fishy in Sydney!

It's so damn cold in NYC that my lip split and there's blood everywhere. That's what I get for smiling!

Let's go back to Sydney for a moment. Life's a beach for the boys down there, but can we talk about them for a moment? The gays in Sydney are absolutely obsessed with the white canvas shoe. The worst thing is, I don't think they even notice it. But I did. I noticed it last march, noticed it last month. The trend has not lost any steam!

It's all about white shoes down under. Generally the canvas loafer, but it could be a pointy toe dress shoe, or an imitation Keds. I don't pretend to know what's up with that.

The boys sure are hot, though. And with bodies as hard as a wombat's ass!!! Just check out my gorgeous new friends Stefan and Sam, below.

They are probably wearing white canvas shoes.
I may not understand the white shoe phenomenon, but I do know what's up with the little empty fish-shaped plastics littering the night clubs! You know the tiny plastic fish that come filled with soy sauce? You get them sometimes at Chinese Restaurants? There's something fishy going on at the Sydney clubs. These fish are the perfect size to hold one...wait for it...dose of GHB!

No mess, no overdose, trust the fish...Geez, boys. Can't we pick a less-lethal drug of choice?

The boys are also really into another G: gluten. What exactly is gluten? I have no idea! But all the restaurants here are advertising "Gluten-Free!" options. I'm assuming gluten is the 2009 answer to the 2005 assault upon carbohydrates (did they survive?). Let me be the first to predict a major gluten-free fad coming your way soon!

Alternatively, you could always exercise (refer to photo of Stefan and Sam above). I do believe these boys stole my abs. Ok, fine. I traded my abs for lamingtons.

On second thought, maybe winter is a good thing. Layers!

And bloody lips.

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Resulting, Insulting Irony!

Bam Bam has managed to hack his way into my blogger account, where he promises to show the world exactly what it's like to live with Jesse. The last two posts are his doing.

I'm blaming Crazy Dan. He's a flight attendant and in this economy flight attendants bar-hop with a man-bag full of vodka minis. "One drink can last all-night!" claims crazy. Happy Hour indeed!

Bam Bam caught up with us over on Avenue A, and found me in a fragile state. In his words, "Your drunken, in-the-fog antics now have witnesses internet-wide!" Great.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Living with Jesse #2

Living with Jesse #1

The Unstoppable LOOTERS!

A total of what? 9 Broadway shows close this month alone. Friends are increasingly out of work. The trickle down effect means that the freelance jobs I usually pick up are vanishing. The people who hire me have lost their jobs. My Playgirl gig is gone, as is a very well paying, regular styling job.

In New York, a lot of people are feeling like suicide.

Take a look at 23 year old Evelyn McHale, below, who plunged off the Empire State Building's 86th floor observation deck in May of 1947. She landed on a limousine. Look how composed death is compared to the shrieking terror of life. Life, as exemplified in Evelyn's last few seconds.

Wrapped in metal, so serene
If Evelyn McHale had lived and gone on to birth a man or woman that would hire me to write and star in my own travel show then she may have had a big effect upon my life. Otherwise, this is as remarkable as it gets between me and Evelyn. If she hadn't leapt to her death in 1947, she would have no influence on my life at all. She also wouldn't inspire based-on-fact fictional stories about her end days. All said, I like the idea of taking an evocative photo like this and creating a beautiful story to surround it.

This photo is all that was meant for Evelyn. Which is a lot more fate than many of the rest of us can expect. Many of us who choose instead simply to linger...in quiet desperation. Yes, I've seen Revolutionary Road.

My friend Danny who lost his job told a mutual friend,
"I guess I'll just live more frivolously."
"You mean...frugally?"
"Yeah, that's what I meant! Frugally."

It's important to keep a sense of humor.

So where has this multi-trillion dollar bailout gone? Who has it benefited?

I knew from the beginning I never liked the smell of this bailout 'stimulus' package. It reeked, but I couldn't articulate why until I read this Stephen Moore column in the Wall Street Journal. He compares it to Ayn Rand's novel Atlas Shrugged. In that fiction, incompetence is rewarded while the producers, the do-ers, the inventors are penalized. All in the name of "the common good." I see why Dagny and Rearden and Galt chose to run away.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Holiday is Over?

The dingiest dive bar in new york city is right around the corner from me. The Holiday Cocktail Lounge is owned by 89 year old Stefan, who still tends the bar. He's slow and hard of hearing. He's also surly, smells of rotting carcass, and speaks with an accented whisper. He used to be a big soccer star back in his native Germany, or so the story goes. Sometimes he's in a mood to talk, and other times he just kicks you out of his bar for no apparent reason.

The place is dark and dirty. The back area has booths that are duct-taped. The bathrooms are like graffiti scratched coffins. WH Auden hung out here. So did Frank Sinatra. Madonna did too, before she was famous. They say the place was inspiration for her song "Holiday". Stefan says she only ever drank 7-up.

The last time I was in Holiday, I was plastered. One of the regulars came in and asked the old man about his health. Stefan produced a can of Ensure -- one of those high calorie drinks that old people drink to keep on weight -- saying this was what his doctor made him drink because he's so frail. Plastered and alone, I just started bawling.

Each time I walk past Holiday, I peek my head in for the "death watch". Each time I see Stefan in there and that makes me smile. I dare him to live. It gives me hope that maybe one person can really live forever. There he is, that surly old man tending bar in that scuzzy gem, that last bastion of the east village prior to gentrification. The only bar that offers Heineken Dark.

When I got back from Oz, I went for my giddy little death watch and found Holiday closed. It was only 10pm, but this wasn't too unusual. Stefan has a habit of closing early--whenever he gets too tired, he just kicks everyone out and goes upstairs to bed. But I've been back every day since and it's never been open. Through the window, I see the stools are upside down all around the bar.

I checked the blogs today, and the rumor is that Holiday Cocktail Lounge is closed for good. That Stefan is in the hospital.

And my little fantasy of forever is gone.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Back to New York!

Special thanks to Grace, Murray, Fluffy, Dabner and Daz for their generous hospitality and friendship during my month in Sydney! I'm back in New York--it even snowed for my return.

Not exactly able to show off my tan here with so many layers. I'm also really jet-lagged, which had me up at 5 am the first morning. I've only seen 5 am from the other way around so I wasn't sure what to do with myself, up early with jet-lag. So I decided to bleach my hair. Big mistake. I made it orange.

At least now I know what not to do when up early with jet-lag.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Hag Alert --- Hags on the Run!

LMFAO! Check out this site called "Hags on the Run!" Its written by Fluffie and Talk Diva, who claim to share "60 solid fag hag years" between them.

They hit all the gay parties they can and then rate them from between 5 stilettos ("stellar!") and 1 stiletto ("honey, I shouldn't have left the couch"). Of course, there are anomalies in their ratings system, like their horrible experience at Paul Van Dyk at Roseland (a measly "1 glo-stick"), and another party that was so good they gave it a whopping, unheard-of "10 Beyonce hair-extensions"!

Don't forget to "contact the hags" to sign up for their "Hag Alert!"

Australia Wild!

Bam's back in NYC. He says it's so cold in the apartment he had to put dinner in the fridge for ten minutes to warm it up. It's not that I don't like winter, I just prefer to read about it!

Let's stick to summer in Australia. It's wild! The other day, the beach just south of Bondi was cleared because a 2 meter Hammerhead was lurking. I don't believe Hammerheads have ever killed anyone, but it makes a great story. Couldn't go in the water---Hammerhead on the prowl!

Last week, I was at a beach in the harbor-- Camps Cove it was called. 90 degrees, blue skies, kids in the water, ships moored a bit further out. I splash into the water and just before my very eyes---swims a gigantic stingray. It had a four foot wingspan. I made sure not to swim above it.

Wild parrots, and cockatoos fly free. They're beautiful, but damn do they make a racket. Once, while driving I thought something had gone wrong with the engine. I stopped, but it turned out to be hundreds of parrots squawking in nearby trees. More effective than an alarm clock -- these birds are something like the shrieking eels from Princess Bride.

Came across a few wombat roadkills
Then there was this reptile-thing.

Are we in Komodo?
There is a colony of fruit bats that live in Sydney. At dusk each night, without fail, they migrate from their daytime headquarters at Mrs. Macquarie's Point up to Centennial Park. Thousands of them, every night. Besides the harbor and the beaches, I find these bats the most charming thing about Sydney.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Forgotten Queen Canberra

You know when you study the world's countries and their capitols? And there's always that one that doesn't make any sense? Like, Canberra. Capitol of Australia. Why?

Out of all the magnificent landscapes and seascapes, they pick this no-mans land for the nation's capitol. Once again, no constraints = no charm. On the upswing, I'll bet the capitol city's design looks great from the air!

I'm among the few tourists to brave Canberra
In the photo above, you can see people walking on top of the parliament. It's symbolism--get it? The government is never above the people! When I was in Berlin, I toured the Reichstag which is made of glass, so the people can see into the workings of the government. Get it? Transparency!

I guess that's the latest in architecture: Metaphor. At this rate, I half-wonder if old Obama won't re-do the US Capitol in recycled laxatives, in hopes congress may pass something during the next administration.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Long Slog to Melbourne!

Did a big road trip down the coast to Melbourne. I loved the suggestions enroute.
Melbourne is adorable. A laid-back, charming cafe-culture.
Check out these trams. They're great until you have to drive behind them. Or ride on them. The trams in Melbourne are so slow I thought it was being pulled by horse.
A really unfortunate development heralded as modern and fabulous, but really just an ill-advised, sprawling mess of a mall. With a Ferris Wheel.
Bam thinks the designers of the above flop should be imprisoned. They had no constraints and just made a run-of-the-mill mess. He said design only flourishes when there are constraints put upon it. One day, I'll expand on that topic because I feel that way about all art, and some lives.

As a visual example of that notion, check out this fabulous design in the center of Melbourne. It's a shopping mall---built in and around a 19th century tower.
Below, the Yarra River. Houdini jumped into this river shackled and bound. Apparently, when he unfastend himself and emerged...someone else did too! All his mucking around under water apparently dislodged a corpse that rose to the surface with him. How's that for a magic trick?
Melbourne has a great little beach, St. Kilda. With an amusement park, a tropical coney island.
An artsy shot in Melbourne's tourist tower "Eureka"!
In the center of Melbourne, they suntan and watch cricket. Australia in a nutshell?

Call a pub a pub, dammit!

Here's some Australian logic: Hotels don't always have rooms.

Let that sink in.

It may look like a hotel. The word "HOTEL" may be plastered all about the premises. And yet it could be, and very often is, just "a Pub". In Australia, a "Hotel" with rooms has to have the word "accommodation" written outside. Why not call it a pub and lose the hotel bit? It's exactly like if I wrote "Restaurant" all over some place that looked like a restaurant, but didn't serve food.

Lost me completely, this one.

Moving along, pub food is the best. Order a burger with "the lot" and they aren't fooling like they do with hotels that aren't really hotels. There is no obfuscation here--you actually do get the lot -- egg, cheese, lettuce, tomato, ham, pineapple and...wait for it...beet!

Chicken burger with the lot. Oh yeah!

Monday, January 05, 2009

Grass is Greener Here!

I'm putting off the inevitable return to winter. Here in Sydney---Life's a Beach!

Bam Bam just got back to New York. I ask him how's the weather and he laughs. Then he says, "It's so cold in the apartment I put my dinner in the fridge for ten minutes to warm it up."

In Oregon, my parents had a white christmas. It's still going strong in the Pacific Northwest.

Mother is looking good. She's out snowshoeing, fulfilling her one-day-a-year exercise program.
My brother and his family live in Montana where they're having a "Ground Blizzard." What exactly is that? My sister-in-law elaborates: Fifty mph winds blowing existing snow - clear skies above, thus "ground" blizzard.

The ground blizzard looks better than it feels.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

They Ain't no Drag!

Australia appreciates their drag queens! The crowds can't get enough of these high-energy, happy, snappy, dance-performance drag-fests. New York City---please pay attention!

You can't go out to a club in Sydney without seeing a completely random show. Starring drag queens with names like "Mabel Syrup", "Kitty Glitter", and my personal favorite "Tora Hymen".

Here are some photos from yet another cheery camp-fest -- a party on January 1 at Homesexual.

A lone diva performs surrounded by go-go boys in gold lame
A trio of drag queens in a rowboat first paddles through the crowd, and infiltrates the stage.
Gossip girls and go-gos (who have naturally lost their pants by now--bless velcro). The show is now a medley of "I kissed a girl" and "I kissed a boy"----and they liked it!
Girl Power!
And the finale, featuring everyone---plus a Mermaid soloist! Don't ask--just adore!

Friday, January 02, 2009

A Resolution

Many of you know I was picked on quite fiercely while growing up. For better or worse, it made me the person I am today. Without those years of relentless torture, I would still be flouncy, bouncy...it's the way I was made...but there wouldn't be the gravitas. My legs also probably wouldn't have their quick flight reflex.

I never thought any good could come of those years, I almost didn't survive, but something has sprouted. Through Facebook, I've been contacted by many old friends. Some have been open enough to talk about what happened all those years ago. The first was from Nicole. She was a cheerleader at my high school. We weren't the best of friends, but here is what she wrote to me:

Dear Jesse -
First I have to say that I loved seeing you at our class reunion. I loved how proud of who you are you seemed. I have a question. Was high school hard for you? Here's why I am asking. I am a high school teacher, and I love my students like crazy. I get to teach leadership kids and I am spending a lot of time with them on bullying. I can remember people calling you names - and I never stopped them. I have always been sorry I let people be cruel to you. I watched you laugh them off, but I don't think you really laughed it off.

I want them to be aware enough of the bullying around them that they will not be cruel, but I also want them to be strong enough to tell people to stop when they hear it.

One of my dearest kids graduated a couple years ago. While he was senior class president everyone talked about how he must be gay, but he didn't officially come out until high school was over. Now he is at UNLV and loving it. I am so proud of him, and we talk a lot about how hard it is for him to find someone special to date. I do my best to give advice - since God knows I have dated enough guys - but dating in the "gay world" is so new to me . . . if he was talking to you, what would you tell him? I love this kid like he is my own, and I so want him to be happy . . .

Ok, how sweet is that? (I mean, besides the part about asking me about dating) I'm so humbled. High School, however, was cake--compared to junior high. In high school at least I was able to hide in athletics. More recently, I received a message from my 8th grade best friend. His name is Adam. We attended Fowler Junior High School together where I was beat up nearly every day. Things were so bad at Fowler that my parents had to sell our family's house and move away so I could escape to another school district.

Adam is now married. I never came out to him. In Junior High, I didn't even know I was gay. There were no role models, no representation on TV. There was only that vague threat of AIDS (which I was frequently accused of having). Adam is now a teacher of 8th grade. The same grade we knew one another. He writes:

Jesse,

I think about our Fowler years frequently, and often tell my students stories about those years. I remember the faces but not the names of all those boys who picked on you..

Each year I tell a little bit about you to my students. I tell them that I remember telling my parents at dinner one night about trying to stick up for you. Kids had been chasing you around the Commons, calling you gay and threatening to beat you up. “No he’s not!” I yelled at them.

When I shared that with my parents, my mom asked the question, “What if he was? Would it matter?”

It wasn’t a question I’d considered, wasn’t a possibility I understood. Even so, my answer was instant. “Well, no.”

I share that story with my students because it tells those who would threaten others that I won’t allow it, it tells those who are gay that someone will accept them, and I hope it challenges some to stand up for their friends better than I did.

Rarely in teaching do we see the results of our work. Some time after telling that story during my first year, though, I had a boy come out to me. After that he was open about it with lots of people – asked me to tell the other teachers on our team, told some of the other students (in middle school, of course, that means all the students), and mostly got along fine.

This is a long-winded way of saying I’m sorry I didn’t get it sooner. You should know, though, that at least one kid’s time has been a little easier because of your awful time at Fowler.

I honestly never thought I'd live long enough to say anything positive came out of that hell. I can't believe it, and yet---reading things like this, it was all worth it. I'm so proud of my friends and peers, these new teachers, making it easier; helping someone else feel not so alone as I felt.

May we all find some way to take someone else's lemons and make lemonade...for someone else. That is my wish for this new year 2009. And beyond.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

New Year's 2009--a DISASTER!

I hope your new year's was better than mine!

Last week, I ran into a man named Tom. Tom lives between Sydney and New York City, and we met last year when my film played at the festival. So I bump into him and he invites me to a New Years Eve party at his apartment in Pott's Point. We go, and he has an incredible 8th floor view of Sydney Harbor and Bridge where all the fireworks will go off.

The apartment beside his is vacant, and I peek around the wall and as if he's reading my mind he says not to even think of climbing over there. What happens next clearly I need to speak with a therapist about. It's so predictable. My best friend once described it as "Rule #1 with Jesse is not to tell him what to do. Rule #0 with Jesse is not to tell him what not to do."

Sure enough, Tom turns his back and I climb out all Spiderman into the apartment balcony next door. Then I crawl back. Returning to his balcony, he catches me and what happens next surely Tom needs to speak with a therapist about because he begins screaming, "You think you're going to get away with this? You've been getting away with it all your life haven't you!!!"

The guy only knows me from a movie! Getting away with it? You'd think someone who lives in both Sydney and New York City and owns a kick-ass apartment with a kick-ass view of the most beautiful harbor in the world would be the one getting away with it...but no, it's me?

I apologize profusely, but Tom tells me I'm not going to get away with this! and tells me to get out of his apartment. Sure, I say, I'll leave, but not without Bam Bam. So poor old Bam Bam is produced and I tell him I'm being kicked out and Tom is mandhandling Bam, pushing on him, saying "Get out!" and literally...LITERALLY, people on the balcony are now counting down, "10, 9, 8..." to 2009.

Bam Bam doesn't budge. Instead, he does an about face, returning to the balcony without a word. I'm not leaving alone, so I follow. Tom insists I leave immediately and I say "After the fireworks." So, Tom...tosses his drink in my face!!! "2, 1,....Happy New Years!" Ha!

Not lost on the symbolism of me getting kicked out of yet another party just at the stroke of a brand new year, Bam Bam promptly....breaks up with me! He's just "done", he says definitively.

These weren't the only fireworks last night!
We got back together ;) After the ejection, things get cloudy. The night ended with Bam Bam sleeping off his drunkeness in the car until he picked me up from my friend Fluffy's house in Kings Cross where I was passed out (completely dressed) on the bed next to Fluffy--and a stranger---who were having full on sex! Not just that, there were two bombed girls yammering on in the room with us as if nothing was amiss.

Oh yeah, 2009 is off to a BANG.