Thanks to Peter Sherwood interviewed me for NEXT magazine's Gay-Take-Away, where I revealed where to pick up at $2 falafel, but maybe I should keep my secrets to myself? Not sure the press is good since they've already raised the price to $2.50!
Looking forward to seeing most of the cast next weekend when the film opens at Quad Cinemas on November Five (buy advance tickets here -- scroll down to date november 5 or later). Also, Adrian and I (above) are going to be doing promo for the film at NextWorks on November 9!
Have you caught the A-List on Logo? I was called in to audition for the show, which literally went down like this. They asked: "How much money do you make?" "Which celebrities do you know and hang with?" and "Do you own a faaaaaaaaaaaaaabulous apartment?"
I answered: "No, No, and No".
But I caught an episode and saw they got the cast they were looking for! Funny enough, our group of Gay Pride Mary Mourners were recently spotted on the show! Here's a screen grab:
I want to add that Myra Mains did not sign a waiver!!!
Also seen here: Cass-Kit, Anita Plot, Pearl E. Gates, Liza Topahim, Lavinia Hearse, Rhoda Will, Daisy Pusha...and the sign for our dearly departed friend Anthony Valente.
Can you spot me in my 4th grade class photo? Guess away! Guess what else? I'm not the only pre pubescent 'mo in class! I'm now very close with my pal Jimmy. I love you Jimmy!
Filled with innocence, field trips, expansive green outdoors of Oregon, and a teacher who nurtured our creativity (Mr. Burger built forts in our class! And he once even gave me extra credit for having doodled a Star Wars figure on my math homework!!!)
This would last two more amazing years in elementary school. After that, everything rapidly devolved into unmitigated ruthlessness, but to CFT, and the last years of knowing personal peace...I remain grateful!
Twas my thrill to head back to the Seattle for the Three Dollar Cinema to represent Violet Tendencies! And I dragged Cooldan with me to see the sights. We got to see friends, my parents, and even my sole surviving grandmother!
Which brings me to this dump bar called "CUFF". Last time I was in Seattle I crawled under the pool table at Cuff, but this time Cooldan jumped on this sort of separator ledge between the dance floor and the bar, so I'm up there with him and get ripped down by security. I say (how many times have I said this?) "Get your paws off me!" and mister 19 year old security kid is wailing: "You're 86'd" to which I reply: "That's a BIG number, bub!" He's dragging me as I'm screaming, "But It's a BALANCE BEAM, asshole!"
The next day we went to visit my grandma at her elderly "church camp" run by the Methodist church up in Stanwod. Apparently my grandma was one of the first Mennonite turned Methodists to ever wear a wedding ring (scandal!) and she is super sweet but despite being a trailblazer in her own right, she did manage to tell me as I left, "be good jesse!" In these cases, one is supposed to say something like, "I'll be good at it!" But instead I told her I'd be as good as I could be, which is more of a deflection. I also learned from her that I am part Russian, which is clearly the reason I see a balance beam where security sees public hazard.
Between all that, and despite the Ocotber rains, I had an amazing time at the festival with Cooldan, family, and friends in Seattle! Special thanks to Greg, Auntie M, Sizz, and my mom and dad!
Thanks to Facebook's new slideshow I can't seem to pull any photos from the weekend, except this one sent me by the ever lovely and generous Sizzlene and pal Sofonda Moola! Who's the squeeze?
Brook, Jesse, Greg, and Cooldan at "Barbie's Playhouse" aka Greg's Place on Capitol Hill.
The Q&A following the Violet Tendencies screenings, where I get to interact with the audience and they get to ask oh-so-pressing questions like...is that REALLY Markus Patrick's penis? And I say, yes his member is not mechanical! It does its own stunts! Or maybe they want to know where I came up with "Biss"? Or if that drunk dial my character makes is really based in reality. Not yet!!
Then I get to hang out with the cool kids. Eyewear by photoshop!
I hosted this video with Mike Diamond at the Latex Ball, which has nothing to do with latex and all to do with vogue realness! It was actually a benefit for GMHC. I had my most embarrassing on-camera moment EVER when I spoke with a volunteer who told me she had been HIV positive for 18 years, and I responded, "Congratulations!" Anyway, she knew what I meant.
That did not make the edit! But check out Empress Farrah Moans! Or Logo's John Polly punk me with my own question. The visuals alone here are out of this world. By visuals, I mean the people!
PS. Me (and my blog!) are in purple today to remember the spate of recent gay or gay perceived teen suicides. I'm sure this is nothing recent and we have lost countless young souls to anti-gay bullying since the dawn of religious dogma.
To those being beaten and bullied: Hang on! The world is so much bigger than where you are now -- just look at the Latex Ball -- so please don't give up on yourself! You're not alone. I survived Fowler Junior High School.
Heard about the Bosnian girl tossing newborn puppies into the river? Watch it here if you eat meat.
In no way do I condone animal cruelty, you kinda have to wonder if all the people most outraged by this video were munching a burger or chicken nugget while promising to hunt down and kill the girl? The way she killed the puppies is more humane than videos I've seen of the factory farms churning out your McDonald's double cheeseburger for $1.
Why is it the masses can go out to dine and socially masticate the flesh of murdered cows, chickens, and pigs, but drowning puppies is beyond the pale? Isn't it uncanny the ability of humans to hold two conflicting things in their head? Such as, absence makes the heart grow fonder. "Love the sinner, hate the sin". Dining on baby cow veal and the gagged goose pate is sophisticated elegance. But those Chinese dog-eaters are savages!!!
If we can't form a collective conscience about all animals, how are we supposed to believe all humans are created equal? I struggle with this myself as I am human and I can't seem to stop. eating. chicken. Or fish. Oy.
Youtube yanked her puppy (drowning) video, and in not totally unrelated news (though I love pups - and human pups- with fervor), Youtube also yanked my puppy (playful) video! So here it is again.
Later I'll put it on my blog sidebar margin for perpetuity. Censorship can suck my big fat chew toy!
Now you understand where I get my crazy! My illustrious hometown of Beaverton, Oregon has nabbed a would be burglar at the mineral museum....dressed in a suit of peat moss! Moss-Man's mug shot:
Do you think he'll let me borrow that for Halloween? But seriously, Beaverton will drive you to the brink! The reports have moss man attempting to steal into the mineral museum for a couple of gold nuggets. Times are tough! Turns out it was only the police who were from my illustrious hometown, but the museum is in neighboring Hillsboro which in my day was called Hillsburrito for all its Mexican immigrants.
My own heritage is more Mexican than anything else, and having picked strawberries in Hillsboro fields during my teenage summers for like 12 cents a hallock, I'm practically a migrant myself. Truth be told, there were honestly more Cambodian migrants than anyone else in those fields, but who cares. We're all the same species, right?
A truth understood better today after a visit to the Natural History Museum, where I was reminded of our own minute (and lucky) place in the cosmos. Did you know there is a galaxy called "cartwheel"? Let's go!!
I also discovered that a quasar is a really super bright core of a galaxy. Can you imagine which sparkly queer is in charge of the quasar in cartwheel? What else can I tell you (trying desperately to move on from the galaxy named cartwheel!!!)?
In the extinct mammal hall, there is this skeletal display of an extinct midget camel, and they arranged the remains just as they were found, having died in a drought. Remember, when dying of drought, rot, or cancer--to pick a pleasing pose. Museums are waiting! One of these mini-camels died with its legs spread like a slutty invitation, which gave a whole new meaning to dying with dignity.
While I was in the dinosaur exhibit, I saw the whole evolution of the horse -- there was a quote by one of the museum's top researchers, who said the horse was so incredible and such perfect support for evolution; proving "an onion could become a lily". The horse used to be a mess!! And now look at it: Secretariat. The Hanovarian. Black Beauty!
Once, a billion years ago, the horse was a multi-toed creature. I've often wondered (ask Bam Bam) about the point of our toes. I am a big hater of toes. They gross me out. Toes are purposeless purveyors of fungi. I do understand that we need something beyond the ball of our feet for balance and walking -- but why are they separate five fingered toes? It's not like they can grasp or do anything handy (or fingery). Toes are fucking useless!! So I've told many a friend (or Bam who doesn't listen) that toes should merely be a unit. A joined block.
Whilst in the museum, I noticed the horse's (once an onion, now a lily) toes which evolved into the very practical HOOF. What the hell is wrong with our own evolution that we haven't evolved some kind of a hoof-like replacement for toes? Who can I speak to about this particular issue??
Atheism is bringing me to JANE RUSSELL. Can you believe she is still alive? Gentlemen may prefer blondes, but longevity prefers brunettes! Did you know old Janey poo (maintaining an air of dignified trannie glamour at nearly 90) is still alive and a bible thumping conservative!?
Of course she got her start as a busty, lusty sex symbol, discovered by Howard Hughes who proclaimed: "Men go to see Jane Russell for two reasons. Those are good enough." And the film which ushered her stardom "The Outlaw" took years to be released through the tough Hollywood Hayes code of censorship decorum. When it finally did, Jane was featured rolling around in the hay with all the film's posters exclaiming, "Wanna tussle with Russell?"
She had no problem with that! But now sister Christian believes that lefty Hollywood ilk are "not well", and she also doesn't believe in a woman's right to choose -- even in cases of rape or incest. Her quote from imdb.com: People should never, ever have an abortion. Don't talk to me about it being a woman's right to choose what she does with her own body. The choice is between life and death.
Let's dig deep under my moss suit and discover that Jane Russell had an abortion when she was young, and it was botched. She was never able to have more children, but ended up adopting three children, and founding an adoption agency that began the whole spate of foreign adoptions in the USA. All fine and well, but why should other women not be able to choose? It appears Jane Russell is just as much a hypocrite as fellow beauty Loretta Young.
In the museum today I learned dinosaurs are not entirely extinct. All birds - pigeons, parrots, and the exotic Quetzal inclusive, are part of the prehistoric dinosaur-era ancestry. Born-again feathered quacks Jane Russell and Loretta Young front and center.
The recent spate of teenage suicide -- is this an uptick? Or is the media just now reporting on the phenomenon? I'm sure that there is no change in the amount of kids bullied, harrassed, and driven to suicide by their peers and the irresponsible adults and teachers in their lives who look the other way.
Dan Savage started an online youtube project called "It Gets Better" to show our youth life does get better! We may not be able to go into schools, but we can post videos and tell them the horror will end and that we're waiting for them on the flip side. There are so many videos from users all over, including celebrities like Chris Colfer, Jake Shears, Perez Hilton, Jewel, and Ke$ha to name a few.
Here's a fun one from Jeffery Self and Guy Branum
A touching video from Tim Gunn:
Here's Ft. Worth City Councilman Joel Burns, sharing his emotional story in front of the city council.
Probably the man who can affect the most in our pilgrim nation, Bishop Gene Robinson weighs in:
Although this topic is way too close to home, I've decided to make a video too. Will you?
The human mind has a terrible time believing what it doesn't want to believe. I remember not believing the torture would ever end, but it did. And it got better.
New York City wishes it had a Honey Pot! Tampa-adjacent Ybor City is home to the Honey Pot, where last weekend I caught the "Miss gay USA At Large" competition --a beauty pageant for drag queens over 230 pounds! It was way more than a mouthful!
After my screening at the Tampa Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, I was taken over and totally taken care of by my new buddy Billy -- to catch all the plus sized action! Major bewigged bodacious beauties tossed their weight around the club, having given fabric stores their biggest boon to business since Christo and Jeanne-Claude wrapped the Reichstag!
The competition was fierce, and these queens sparkle in galactic proportions!
Contestants came to the Honey Pot from 43 states!
Let's get this out of the way: My night was almost ruined by a few guys who threatened me with fists and violence because I...did nothing but speak to them. It got really out of hand, and it's not the first time I've been gay bashed in a gay bar by gay people. All the self-hate and loathing that comes with growing up in a pilgrim nation is too often taken out on one another and it's ugly. For the record, this is what ugly looks like:
And now back to winners!
More sequins than there are in the heavens!
Pinned, taped, and sewed up for the evening gown portion of the pageant.
Scoping the competition backstage!
Gagarazzi! Lady Ho-Ho?
All the glitter that heaven allows! And for sale!
A chandelier for your ear?
Posing with Ybor City celebrity....and holding postcard of eventual winner Tahjee Iman.
My buddy Billy (far right) checks out the gorgeous go-go's of the Honey Pot!
I was totally rooting for this ferocious lady! - I caught her talent portion, not only was she being lifted by back up dancers, she did a cartwheel down two stairs and landed in the splits (not in this dress, mind you)! Despite sticking this landing, she broke one of her heels and continued the rest of her number on the ball of her foot, as if the heel were still there when it wasn't. The showboat must go on!!
Bracelet latch drama backstage
Latrice Royale texts her fans that she's made the final cut!
And she won best interview. You go girl!
Glossing up for the finals!
Eat your heart out, Divine!
The evening gown portion of the pageant!
These two announcers sat on the sidelines and cracked jokes the whole time, kind of like those two old man Muppets. Except they look like Jayne Mansfield, if she still were alive, and had a twin.
Here's the winner, Miss Tahjee Iman. The crowd was crazy for her, and she wasn't even the hometown hero! It was well known (and probably quite obvious the day before during the swimsuit competition) that she has a prosthetic leg! Which is like, are you kidding me?
Damn me for missing the swimsuit edition! When I tried to find out exactly how a lady loses her whole leg, everyone was hush-hush, except one man who told me Miss Tahjee lost her leg after running from the police, tossing herself through a third story window, and landing on a fence below.
All very dramatic heresay, so when I asked what happened in person she referred me to a site where she (displaying the grace that earned her the Miss Gay USA at large crown) demures, "I lost my leg because I needed to slow down." No slowing down in Tampa...
Tahjee takes the cake!
For more on the Miss Gay USA "at large" competition, check the pageantry site. There is even a Miss USA "classic" for drag queens over 50! Get out and support!
It's been a big weekend for the guys back home! I can't wait to tell you about the Miss USA "at large" drag queen pageant I saw in Tampa, at a club called Honeypot. All the queens in competition had to weigh 230 pounds or more!! That's a whole lot of sewed up and strapped in love simmering on stage, and the winner, a Miss Tahjee, was missing a leg. I kid not.
Now in Rochester, the city built by Kodak - you should see the beautiful homes! Our Violet Tendencies screening went fabulous and I can't wait to see "Ticked Off Trannies With Knives" here at the Imageout festival tonight. Casper and I also did a fun podcast this morning which you can listen to at Gay Street Beat here.
I'm feeling a little guilty for being away, though, since it was Cooldan's 35th birthday on friday! The theme was "mid-life crisis" so he dyed his hair - AND his chest hair - jet black. Then he smeared on more bronzing self-tanner than a Boca Raton retiree!
I hear he ended up puking in his own kitchen sink, so clearly I didn't miss anything new.
Also on Friday, Bam Bam got his US citizenship! He's been waiting for this a long time, and pulled a sneaky one by telling all of us that the swearing-in was a "private" ceremony so nobody would come. It's my hunch he didn't want to hear a burst of laughter as he swore to protect and defend.
Congratulations, Cooldan and citizen Bam!! Sorry, I was at the Honeypot watching the plus size pageant...
Half-Share was my first experience directing, but I'm bossy so I enjoyed it! Just watch my style as I direct Anita Private back into the sea that coughed her up!
Anita came out to Fire Island do a cameo, but ended up doing so many cameos we started calling her Anita Spinoff. In this one, she had a rough night and ended up passed out in the surf in all her finery, heel one in hand and flask in the other. Two of our cast, the "Michaels", played by Sam Pancake and Jack Plotnick, were to walk along the surf, and step right over her.
Anita wore a long golden shimmery dress which prompted them to improvise, while stepping over her, "Look - Ginger washed ashore." The other glances back and says, "Ginger? More like Mrs. Howell."
During one take, the water came up and washed all over the faceplanted Anita. I ran into the ocean to grab her wig and smash direct her back into place. Our editor Alex caught the action on his camera.
Quick hello and can't wait to share photos and stories from the set of Half-Share! After crazy weather, a van crash, and LOTS of laughs, we wrapped on Sunday - you will not believe how ridiculously funny this cast is -- including three (Alec Mapa, Jack Plotnick, and Sam Pancake) who flew out from LA to tear it up on set!
Huge thanks to our crew, cast, and all the many people on the island who helped us make this come true. In the meantime, I have no idea what's going on in the outside world. Phew!
But now I'm in Tampa!! Violet Tendencies is opening the Tampa International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival. Just what I needed after a wet week on Fire Island. Casper and I are also going to be in Rochester, NY with the film this weekend. The only other time I was in Rochester was on a road trip and Cooldan and I were so cheap we spent the night at the bathhouse. Just rolled our suitcases right on in! It will be both curious and surprising to spend a night in Rochester without porn playing in the background.
Violet Tendencies is set to open theatrically in several cities starting next month, and we're raising funds to make it exceptional through pledges on the site Kickstarter. Check out all the fabulous prizes!!