Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Cast your vote for the BEST OF THE BRINK 2010!

I've whittled 163 blog posts down to these finalists. Take the poll, and for an informed vote, click on the legend links at right!

Cast your vote for BEST OF THE BRINK 2010
Myra Mains and the Mary Mourners take Pride NY
Broadway Bares Strip-o-Poly
Carol Channing singing Hello, Dolly! to herself
Coney Island Mermaid Parade, surviving the BP oil spill
106 year old Doris Eaton Travis and the close of the Ziegfeld Era at the Easter Bonnet
Burning Man Festival and the Temple of Flux
Violet Tendencies premieres!
Plus size drag queen beauty pageant at Ybor City's "Honeypot"
Fourth of July and the Fire Island Invasion
Timeless maven Joan Collins does the splits on stage
Times Square's Naked Cowboy rides Mechanical Bull
Christwire gives the fag hag an elaborately tragic fate
Cooldan's dance-floor panty swap
Miss Vera's Finishing School creates Mildred Fierce
Ann Miller's Great American Soup
Ethel Merman takes down Loretta Young
Give Bam Bam his blasted Sherry!
Making out with Rollerena as a bottle of poppers at Halloween
Choose your own favorite, and add in the comments!

 free polls

All my best wishes to you for an adventurous 2011! And we're OFF!

Broadway Bares its Best!  Strip-O-poly!

Raspberries!  Get shot out of a cannon with Carol for a Cause!

Coney Island Mermaid parade – tar-slicked survivors of the BP gulf gush

The "Miss USA at large" pageant - for drag queens over 250 pounds!

The Naked Cowboy rides the bull at Gerald McCullough’s birthday!

Christwire heralds the thud of the fag hag, and how g*d removed the bike lane

Miss Vera and transform me into Mildred Fierce.  C U Next Tuesday!

Let’s face the chicken gumbo, and dance!  Freaks of nature, including shoe humping turtle and Ann Miller

Ethel Merman takes on Loretta Young, via Stephen Sondheim

Bam Bam’s Doc Holliday dive bar lament: "What kind of establishment is this?"

A big whiff of Halloween!  A bottle of poppers making out with the queen of Studio 54, Rollerena

Boxing Day via Nietzsche

I'm barely in Australia and already Bam is using words I've never heard him use before. Strange new words like bitumen, doona, and marquee (as in a tent?!) and on Sunday I celebrated my first Boxing Day.

Boxing Day is one of those holidays you see printed on a calendar and you're like, huh??  A holiday like Yom Kippur, which never made sense to me, but then I got to New York and there are a ton of Jews and suddenly it's Yom Kippur.  Sure!  So I get to Australia and here we are, Boxing Day.  Bring it! I still have no idea really what either stand for, but I am Jewish on Yom Kippur and Australian on Boxing Day because a holiday is a holiday, people!

On this particular day, I was running with Bam along a coastal National Park with lots of native flora which reminds me of South African feinbos, and there is the ocean and some rocky cliffs, right along these precise coordinates:

We make it through the bush to a lighthouse, and then over to boat-bashing cliffs, which remind me (not sure why, weren't they just miniatures?) of Hitchcock's Rebecca.  I run over to the edge and lean over the cliff to see what's below.  It's a giant drop which makes my balls hurt and now the Rebecca imagery has been replaced with the first Pirates of the Caribbean, because this looks exactly like the spot where Keira Knightly plunged into the sea after fainting from her too-tight bodice (a fashionable hazard, to be sure).

Bam says I must stay away from the ledge of he's leaving right now, because I take it too far, I always take it too far and one day... "But I'm on the brink," I remind him and he says I can be on the brink by myself.  But living is about taking risks.  And really, how am I going to get beyond myself if I don't push it too far?  Cliff-tempting is not the point, disobedience is.  Er, what would the overman do?

They may seem in direct contradiction, but I've got the twelve principles of Buddhism slipped inside a book of Nietzche and I'm reading them simultaneously.  One is rage, the other peace, but ultimately they're both about self-salvation.  Right?  As I blogged previously, the human species has the most amazing capacity to keep two contradictory thoughts in the same head-space - and still be considered entirely sane.  Sometimes I think people who see existence too clearly are summarily shut up into the asylum.  We prefer to hold on to fantasy and shy from too much truth.  Nietzsche points out, there's always some reason in madness.

I particularly enjoy this quote of his:  "you must have chaos inside to give birth to a dancing star."

Often I pause to think: with all that man is and does to fellow man and the planet -- and as we represent the only creatures aware of our own existence, what a happy day it will be when evolution favors some other species!  Certainly one day humankind will be considered in the fossil records as the amoeba - no, not the amoeba, the primordial stew of conscious creatures.  How did we get stuck in this brew, and how to crawl out?

Nietzche advocates that man must go beyond himself, strive to become what he terms the "Overman".  Of course Nietzche is a firebrand.  I love his ode to action and "I will" versus the death knell of those who preach "Thou Shalt", Nietzche is a major curmudgeon (I imagine Gore Vidal on amphetamines), is horrible to women, and doesn't think everyone should learn to read.  If all were literate, he postulates, writers would write for the lowest valleys and not the highest peaks.  Which is kind of hard to refute when you go to the cinema, but really?  Nietzche needs to be tempered with some Nam myoho renge kyo and a bouquet of lotus flowers.  Too many dancing stars make you dizzy, right? 

Back in Sydney,  I peek again over the ledge and tell Bam that if I fell off just precisely in this spot, I would probably survive - just like our heroine in the Pirates of the Caribbean. Besides, I'm not even wearing my bodice. It's at home, which is where Bam is headed.

I drag him back with promises of "I'll stay right here," and we admire the sparkling sea at a distance.  Not too far out is a giant sailboat.  Two, three, ten.  Soon hundreds of sailboats are out on the bonnie blue Pacific!  They are sailing Sydney to Hobart (Tasmania) in the annual Boxing day race.

Sails billow as the boats bounce up and down as all those people work together, goal in mind, with nature not against it, and it's gorgeous.  More of this would be nice. If we all became the change we wish for the world, perhaps that is the path to the overman?  Ghandi said that - no relation (though perhaps some correlation?) to Nietzsche, nor Buddhism.  

Thus Spoke Zarathustra. 
 Happy New Year!  Did I say that yet?  My best wishes for your 2011!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

EXPOSING all the glamor of your summer in FIRE ISLAND PINES!

We're nearly locked on the edit of Half-Share - the webseries comedy pilot we shot on Fire Island at the tail end of this season.  It is going to be LYAO funny! 

Here's a behind-the-scenes peek at our shoot on the fabled, fetching, and ever-fabulous island of Misfit Boys!
Fun in the sun!  Patti Lupone: 20% off.
Alec Mapa says YES to crack

Co-writer/producer/director Sean Hanley is never without his Diet Pepsi!

Marcus and Justin Borgstahl

Makeup artist Chad Hayduk of
Kyle Spidle as "Mac"

 Stewing in the hot tub!  We almost lost the actors to heat stroke.
All aboard the fairy ferry!
Setting up for the dinner scene
Lighting up the Michaels' intro
Low Tea with Baby-Love, Jesse, and Kyle!
Jack Plotnick and Sam Pancake: The madcap Michaels!
Preparing to discover the beached drag queen Anita Spinoff
Ginger has washed ashore.
Alec Mapa and Sam Pancake

as "Ito" and "Michael No"
Cinematographer Andrei Bowden-Schwartz
Bam Bam prepares for an on-camera beach stroll

Bianca del Rio managed to get us on stage, and subsequently shredded!
Love this shot of CoolDan, overworked costume designer!
Erin Stacey - the real housewife of Half-Share!
Alex Hammer with the boys
Marcus Shane as "Wee"
Jesse Archer as "Lex" on deck!
Boys will be boys
Joey Dudding is a survivor!

Kevyn Morrow as "Harold"
Script Supervisor Kim Mallett in action
Designer Lee Clayton providing inspiration
as he sets up the BLOW table, courtesy of Maison 24

Here I am with our wardrobe superstar Cooldan!!
Shooting "Low Tea"
Behind the Scenes at the Blue Whale
All wet

The Share House! 236 Beach Hill, Fire Island Pines

 That's a wrap!

A huge thanks to the cast (special shout-out to comedians Alec Mapa, Sam Pancake, and Jack Plotnick who flew out from LA!) who took an already hysterical script (if I do say so myself!) and improv-ed it into their own.  Sean and I are also deeply grateful to our crew, volunteers, investors, and all those people (and business owners) in Fire Island Pines who made Half-Share happen.

Fire Island Pines has only boardwalks and so between the three houses we lived in, and the locations we shot at, it was china-man-in-the-rice-patty heave-ho'ing equipment all over the place in wagons.  It was truly a team effort: day player actors, and even total strangers chipped in to bear the weight, not to mention our hero caterer Becky Kellam who managed to feed us in ways we've never been fed before!

We can't wait to finish up.  Once we lock on the final edit, we move on to sound editing/mixing, music composition, song rights, color correction, etc.   For more info and photos - keep up with our website!  WWW.HALF-SHARE.COM

We look forward to an early 2011 premiere.

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Melody That Saves You

Backstage at an Italian opera, I'm about to go onstage and besides having a vague feeling that I actually murdered someone earlier in the night, I don't know the solo I'm about to sing, let alone the libretto!  I don't even speak Italian, AND I can't sing.

I implore my father to help me learn the lyrics, and though he's helping me the time is now.  The audience awaits my entrance as the chorus begins my intro. I race up to the balcony, in hiding, as I begin my warbling in sketchy Italian and then, mercifully, I wake up.

And it's Christmas!  Hot damn.  Merry Christmas!

Or is it?  Does it feel more like survival than celebration?  Maybe you've been depressed, unemployed, are in unbearable pain, or have lost a loved one.  And still this time of year you feel paraded onstage for all and sundry to stare and gawk as you attempt to sing opera in a language you don't understand with a singing voice made for the shower.  In other words, all the holiday cheer; all the holly-jolly jingles put upon you at the mall, in the car, on the television - it all feels insultingly phony.

But you don't say anything because you don't want to be that kind of a downer.  

So I dedicate this Christmas to those who have had a rough year, with a holiday song free of the faux bells and whistles.

George Michael must be my favorite male vocalist of all time.  And when he can trim his excess and stay awake at the wheel just long enough, the man will haunt you with his magic.

Xmas Eve Down Under

As I white slather zinc oxide sunscreen on my face at the beach on xmas eve I can't help but think what an extraordinary month it has been!  NYC>PDX>SFO>SYD! 
From High Gear
Shift into Snow Gear
And hit the brake! 

It's interesting to see Christmas iconography is the same in the sunny southern hemisphere.  You know how you'll be in Mexico around this time of year and see cards depicting Mary and Jesus looking very, er, Mexican?  Jesus is as many-faced as as his believers! 

So while I have seen sunbathers and surfers in Santa hats, I half expected to see lights hanging off of gum trees, but nope -Australian xmas is all about the fake fir tree and (man, I am embarrassed for Rudolph!) locals driving with reindeer antlers fitted up into their side car windows and a big red nose on the grill.  

Merry Christmas from Sydney!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Escape From New York

I've been putting off posting this news because that makes it official: Bam and I are moving to Australia.

I've been nearly exactly a decade in New York, much longer than this grasshopper ever expected to stay in any one place. I'll return for visits, for work, and creative projects - but the people I know who have left NYC and returned to live there again - I can count them on one hand.  The mere thought of another slog to the laundromat!

I'm the kind of person who doesn't want to miss a thing, and when you don't want to miss a thing - you're also the kind of person who misses everyone. I am heartbroken at leaving my home and all the lovable misfits who shared it with me - each with their own courageous, inspiring, and often elaborate tales of how they came to arrive and survive in the true America which Gotham represents.

It is hard to be sentimental about leaving a place where buildings, jobs, businesses, and people appear and disappear; all getting torn down and built back up at a rapacious pace, inexorably forcing the fact that change is our only constant.  Accordingly, I've long felt New York City was a place to take with you; not a place to become. I'm not a lifer - lifers move to brownstones in Brooklyn.

So I'm choosing a new adventure, and in its anticipation I've been afforded the unique opportunity to see the city the way tourists do, wide-eyed and wondrous. Not in the love/hate, get-out-of-my-way, let-the-building-burn-just-turn-off-the-fucking-siren way that those who live here see it.

Recently I noticed the city I encountered when I first arrived.  Caught in the crosshairs of my mind are my last race through Union Square station, the final stop in the center of the mega wattage that is Times Square. My last drink at the dive bar, the last swipe of my Metrocard. The night I left, the Empire State building glowed orange.

Australia better be fastening its seatbelt!  It's time for a new adventure.

I hope you choose yours.

Monday, December 20, 2010


Dinosaur descendant and Macau "Romeo" - feathered child of my friends Ian and Remy with me in San Francisco. If I look uncomfortable it's because Romeo knows my eyeball would taste like a grape.
I almost lost a finger to that beak once (or twice), but this time he was after my necklace. Not as tasty, but the bird has taste! My friend Martin took this on his iphone with the hipstamatic app which makes things look all retro-groovy.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas Carol & Country Adventure!

She's baaaaaack!  Been spending relaxing my parents at their new home in rural Trout Lake, Washington, beneath Mt. Adams.  Heavy snow and wild turkeys are out in full force!
Look who's here!  Got this Carol Channing doll for my mom years ago.  She creeps everyone out.
I've had some great holiday times with my parents. We cut down our xmas tree right off the property!  And I've been running in the snow, scrapbooking, feeding barn kittens, eating way too much, listening to Ann Murray (!), and enjoying the quiet time and detox.  They even got me to help complete a jigsaw puzzle which had far too much sky (don't you hate the sky in jigsaw puzzles?)  My parents even have me invested in their war against squirrels, a war only rivaled David Copperfield's aunt's obsession with keeping those blasted donkeys off her lawn!  Why, it's like I'm retired too. 

Then, last night at midnight, crazy cousin Karen rolled into town!  She immediately led me to the barn, and the exact spot where my mom keeps her stash of my dead grandpa's moonshine.  It doesn't freeze in sub-zero temperatures, so that should tell you something!  And the taste, it's sickly sweet and moldy at the same time.  Ick, but it does the trick!   We soon headed for our ritual visit to the cemetery. 

Cousin Karen and I have a notorious history at the cemetery, we are oddly obsessed with it, and certain family members still haven't forgiven us for the Grandpa tried to drag me to hell! episode.  The Trout Lake cemetery is a plot of land cut out from within a forest of fir, in the middle of nowhere, up a very steep hill.  It's even creepier than that Carol Channing doll! 

We get to the bottom of the steep hill, and there's a pile of snow about a meter deep that the plow has built up.  "I can get it from this angle" says Karen, as she guns her truck over the burm, and up the steep hill in deep snow, declaring, at the wheel as we swivel, "One day I'm gonna race Formula One!"

We made it!
 hello, dead relatives!
But then we got stuck on the way back down.  Wheels spinning deeper and deeper, Karen's on the CB radio: "Mayday!  Mayday! We need a tow!" but it's 2 am and nobody answers. 
We scraped away at the packed snow but were still high centered.  We decide to walk the many miles back to my parents place, but on the way saw a light on in the house of this sweet older woman named Jan who lives alone in a beautiful old home that once belonged to my great great aunt Bessie. 

She invited us in, put on some coffee, gave us a tour, and at 4 am, Jan busted out cables, shovels, a big ass truck, drove down to the cemetery and yanked us to freedom!  It's Christmas in the country.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Friend...ship cruise

Since the digital revolution I've failed miserably in my photo album duties.  Thankfully, there's this blog so all is not lost - virtually not lost - at least until I stop paying domain fees!  Here's the latest, last of my life with friends in New York City. 
Ice Skating in Central Park with Travis
Opening of Industry Bar with Lair, Lee, and David
CoolDan gets smothered by Devan, aka Miss Tomorrow
Miss Tomorrow shows some sexy cleavage!

And strikes a pose
Marco cooks for Becky, Crazy, Wayne and me!
Do not mess with Big Red when she's in the tacky xmsa sweater!
WHO gave Crazy Dan a gun???
I'm half-way outta there