Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Totally made my day, whoever you are!

I got this random photo sent to my inbox from a phone number I don't know.    It arrived with these words:
"I'm walking all over you, bitch!"  

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

RIP Dame Elizabeth Taylor 1932-2011

May she be judged not by the size of her diamonds, but by the size of her heart.   

You thought Elizabeth Taylor would live forever, right?  She'd been through so much, what's a little congestive heart failure?  Surely La Liz would live to marry yet another man.  She was not just a legendary beauty and talent.  She was a woman unafraid to wear purple.  A glamorpuss who befriended the friendless; an AIDS activist who fought for funding far before it was popular to do so.  She was the original fag hag.  I'm devastated at the loss; grateful for her love. 
"procuring" for Monty Clift in "Suddenly Last Summer"
She'd probably want you to donate in her memory to the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS foundation, AmfAR or the Whitman Walker Clinic - as AIDS research was all she cared for in her later years.  I follow(ed) the *authenticated* "Dame Elizabeth" on Twitter, so let me share with you one of her last tweets - a fitting testament to her legacy:


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

It's Corn Porn, and you're eating it up!


Corn is such a cheap whore!  Let me regurgitate a bit of the Omnivore’s Dilemma.
Funny that human beings can swallow so many varied foods that choosing exactly what to swallow is troublesome and mostly done for us, perhaps at our own behest. That’s the premise of the Omnivore’s Dilemma, by Michael Pollan. 
The sheer mind-boggling array of ingestible opportunities makes us not only obese and/or suffer from eating disorders but leaves us easy prey to FOOD FADS.  Oh the evil carbohydrate!  Oh the wicked gluten!  Tomorrow, it’s back to the original sin: Fat! 
This same anxiety leaves us equally susceptible to putting faith in marketers whose job it is to seduce us only to eat more, and more, and more!  Today you can read the packaging of a cheese doodle and be convinced that this yellow plastic like creation is not only food but that it is in many ways nutritious!
Maybe this is why we’re fat?  Do you ever stop to think we are just like the force-fed cattle, fattened up for big business profit? 
People spend more time researching a hairdresser than learning what goes into their body.  I must know people who spend more money on gyms and personal training per month than they do on food.
With cognitive dissonance the whole goal of the game is to actually FORGET.  To trust deceptive ads, to not care what it is so much as how it tastes; to not (above all) look at that pink boneless gob and know it came from a once-living animal which someone else has slaughtered for you. 
Why pay attention to the big industrial military complex?  They’ve got it covered! Why are we still at war with Afghanistan?  Why can’t Obama close Guantanamo?  He’s not running the country!  Something bigger and more sinister is behind it all – and also behind the corn-covered shit we shovel into our faces.  Profit – and the book blithely notes our collective reaction: “cheapness and ignorance are mutually reinforcing”.  Or, even more apocalyptic:
“Everything eventually morphs into the way the world is”
What a world, what a world.  No wonder I'm in Oz!
The irony is that though we are born in this world to eat so many different things, we are not eating variety at all.  It’s just corn, corn, and more corn porn!  What’s the government subsidize?  Corn!  If we are 98% water, 97% must be in the form of high fructose corn syrup.  Humans got down and dirty with corn from the start – playing with its sex life – and hit its erogenous zone!  There is such a surplus of corn now that the government has subsidized it and so that’s all the farmers are growing.  That and soy.  That's what I'm learning. 
Farmers aren't getting rich, either.  It’s always the same price and there’s always too much of it.  So the goal of the last 30 odd years has been figuring out ways of using this extra corn to feed the gen pop. From high fructose corn syrup replacing sugar to cornmeal replacing grass for the feed of the cattle we eat, to chicken nuggets (read all about it!), to ethanol in gas tanks.  
And all of the corn and feed floats on a massive river of oil – transported miles and miles away to the grocery store.  And you wonder now what really drives those Middle Eastern wars?  What part plays our insatiable appetite for cheap, easy, tasty?  How complicit are we?  Talk about cognitive dissonance. 
There is no longer such a thing as “seasonal”.  You can get asparagus any time of year, and how far did miss asparagus travel to get to you in New York?  Even organic is post industrial!  Eating should (could?) be simple, sustainable, local: soil, seeds, sun, crops, animals, and humans.  But that pastoral ideal is something you now only see on packaging.  Look for it only in books, for it is no more than a dream remembered, a civilization gone with the wind!  
So can we get back?  Do we want to?  Even I wobble between knowledge is power and why do I keep reading?  Knowing is half the battle, says GI Joe, but he is counting on people wanting to truly know.  Are we just too successful as a species to give a flying fuck?
Some do.  Listen to this spectacular quote from one farmer, Joel Salatin, who is making a difference:   
“Me and those who buy my food are like the Indians – we just want to opt out.  That’s all the Indians ever wanted – to keep their teepees, gives their kids herbs instead of patent medicines and leeches.  They didn’t care if there was a Washington DC, or Custer or a USDA; just leave us alone.  But the Western mind can’t bear an opt-out option. 
We’re going to have to refight the Battle of Little Big Horn to preserve the right to opt out, or your grandchildren and mine will have no choice but to eat amalgamated, irradiated, genetically prostituted, barcoded, adulterated fecal spam from the centralized processing conglomerate.”



Sunday, March 20, 2011

Snooping killed the cat!

How do they describe you sight unseen?  I love finding out what people honestly think about you - behind your back, bitterly to your face, whatever.  We got together with Bam's family today to welcome a visiting cousin (his dad's brother's son) who the family hadn't seen for fifty years!

Being as it had been a while....Bam's sister Adrienne put together a list of who the cousin and his wife would be meeting at the get -together, with a little description of everyone.  Naturally, I was extremely curious as to how I'd be described, so I cornered the cousin's lovely wife!  I had been listed as "Jesse: Bam's partner".  She also said that in parenthesis it read: "(male)".

So I'm thinking that's it?  That's not very interesting.  Surely there's something....saltier?  "Well," she added, "Adrienne did also write: Dad used to hate homosexuals but now he's cool with them."

Cut to: everyone laughing and Bam's dad saying, "What's so funny?  Are you talking about me?" 

Yes!  Talking about you talking about us talking about what she said to her about you.  Oooh it's such a juicy circle, isn't it?  Of course it usually doesn't end with a laugh.  Usually finding out the truth about what people say about you backfires COMPLETELY.  Like if you're me and sometimes permit yourself to read the nasty (always anonymous) things people write about you on gay blogsites (because everyone knows gays hate themselves so much they look into a mirror and want to scratch their eyeballs out just like a beta fish)! 

But beyond the internet, finding out what people are saying about you will usually backfire by confirming that so and so thinks your a twat, discover you've got a frienemy, or be scarred for life like my friend Jesse. 

In the mid 90's I was on the island of St. Maarten with my friend Jesse for a few months working as extras on an epic fail called SPEED 2.  At the time, Jesse had a crush on me (probably because we had the same name and looked alike and everyone knows gays are so vain they look in a mirror and just want to marry themselves!) and when we weren't pretending to panic and run from an out of control cruise ship headed for shore (oh the depth of imagination!), we were swimming in the crystal sea of Cupecoy Beach.  One day when I came out of the water, I found Jesse fuming on the beach.  My diary open beside him.

He swore he was just lying in the sun not paying any attention when a "slight breeze" blew open my diary and he saw his name there.  That slight breeze gave his eyeballs a FEAST.  He fed on its pages, the words blazed into his brain forever.  I had written that I only liked Jesse as a friend.  I wasn't interested in him as more than a friend because (oh the depth of my character!) his body was "soft, like a woman"!!!

Jesse is still traumatized.  To this day he won't let me forget it.  And I wonder how many "slight breezes" have since come between him and other people's diaries?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Honey Badger Don't Care

Next time you're faced with a snake, or anything with fangs or stingers remember the Honey Badger.  I wish everyone would live life as fearlessly and next time they throw rocks and sticks and stones that break your bones remember: Honey Badger don't care. Honey Badger don't give a shit!



Don't forget to buy the Honey Badger Don't Care T-shirt!!  The narration is priceless (he does a pretty good slow ass sloth, too) and I totally think this Randall guy is doing what I want to do with my life, which is to poke fun of strange animals.  

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Sydney Mardi Gras Photos 2011!

First up, the Bondi Beach Drag Races. High heels and sand.  What a combo!  Host Vanessa Wagner, dolled up in as a venomous blue ring octopus, put the girls through their paces....and managed to thrill the audience, telling them they were having so much fun they may as well just toss away their prozac!
The "handbag discus" portion of the pageant
The "dainty dune dash"!  The winner (hidden) was disqualified for wearing flats. 
Mardi Gras Parade.  With choreography!
No idea, but it's international!
The Royal Hall of Industries (RHI), one of 4 dance venues....thumping until 8 am!
Drag queen Dallas Dellaforce and dancers kick off the after-party with an amazing mash-up of Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" and Madonna's "Express Yourself" - you know, since apparently they're the same song anyway!
Friends Mark and Scott
Thundercat or Navi Warrior? 
Camp classic!  Drag queens including my pal Heather Numberone (in blue)
Real girls!
Pond and Ponder
Dave!
Drag!
 Me and William my pal from David Barton Gym in NY.  It appears I went overboard on the spraytan!


Wynter Gordon does "Dirty Love"!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

all that's missing is a red light overhead

Here I am settling into my new neighborhood!  Many thanks to my unwilling, but yielding photographer.
It's Free-Range!


Friday, March 11, 2011

Can we twitter our way to a new world?

Technological advancements may allow us to go back to our true nature.  That's the premise of this exciting video which uses a little science, some history, a great artist - and (let's be real) a whole lot of hope - to propose a better future.  One where human beings think "viscerally, as a family".

Thanks for sharing this, Carm.  Sometimes you get bombarded with the same message - as I seem to be this week.  This message is exactly what I was trying to get at in my recent posting about And The Band Played On.  How we need to collectively strip our artificial identities and get back to our innate truth which is love.  Yes, we are born this way!  It's hate which is learned.

The message of Christ, which has been slaughtered by Christianity, may be an empathetic civilization.  Replace "god" with "empathy" and see where we get.  As an atheist, I believe helping others through this slog we call life is the only thing that matters.  Why?  Because this is it, and the alternative to knowing this is it and not helping others is nihilism and when you arrive at nihilism, it's suicide-time.

As the video explains, there is no empathy in utopia or "heaven" because there is no suffering.  Empathy is grounded in the acknowledgment of death - that this is it, and we're in it together- and rooting for our collective survival. 



If you need further proof of the "mirror neutrons" (I admit the chimpanzee/peanut example is rather weak), I may be so bold as to share a stronger one.  Every time I'm feeling a bit bored and slightly masochistic, I go to rotten.com.  There are so many revoltingly rotten things on rotten.com, but there's this one image that gets to me every time.  It's this photo of a man who is - alive - and whose bloody leg is entirely swarmed and smothered in squirming MAGGOTS.

When I think about it at night, I have to open my eyes because I can't sleep with that image seared into the back of my eyelids.  Still something compels me to go, every so often, to rotten.com, and check on him.  See how he's doing.  You know, like a dare I can't refuse.  Or like when someone tells me no for no good reason.  It's the same imperative that draws an desperate alcoholic to chug Listerine, the same mad compulsion that keeps Charlie Sheen winning

Compulsion is the left hand of curiosity.

Which is why, if you do click below for the maggoted man, you are gauging your innate level of sick curiosity as well as whether or not your reaction will elicit the mirror empathy trait discussed above.  Be warned: Though your true nature is love, you may learn to hate me VERY quick if you do dare to....click this link.   

Love your Kingdom!

How cute is this?  Tropfest Australia is the world's largest short film contest and here's this year's winner: Animal BeatBox, by Damon Gameau.  Apparently he made this little gem in his mother's bedroom for $85. 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

"And the Band Played On"

is a 600 page epic just like War and Peace - without the Peace!  It details the very dawn of AIDS, and all its players - through 1985.  It's kind of like watching a mini-series on the American Indians.  You don't want to watch it because you know how it all ends (everybody dies, even the author), and you wish you could go back and tell those Indians to never help those pilgrims survive that first winter. 

Because AIDS was devastating undesirable populations (gays and drug addicts), there was no money,  manpower, or media interest while it could have been contained.  They couldn't even figure out it was a virus and thought it may be some agent - like poppers (!) -  which proves there is no such thing as time travel because if there  were, someone surely would have used that flux capacitator not just to go back and tell the red man: Say NO to Thanksgiving! - but to go back to  1981 and scream to science: It's not an environmental agent, it's a retrovirus! 

In the Kings Cross library, they had this big display up for Mardi Gras - on the history of the epidemic.  One portfolio was full of clipped obituaries from the gay papers, back when everyone was dying, with honest testaments like: John Taylor: Artist, Humanitarian, Stubborn Queen and photos of the victims, even sometimes in drag and under their full name it had in quotes: "Talullah". 

I'm caught in that paranoid aftermath of AIDS.  A bubble.  I don't know anyone who died from AIDS.  It's my luck and my loss.  This disease robbed me of a generation of would-be mentors, teachers, and big brothers.  What would I have learned had I known them?  What kind of contributions would those people had made were they not wiped out in their prime?

So I saw the giant volume: "And the Band Played On": politics, people, and the AIDS epidemic sitting there in this library display, and I picked it up.

The title refers to the band continuing to play as the Titanic sunk - or, in the author's words, "business as usual" and begins at the beginning, intertwining human stories and the medical/political history as it recounts the denial and delays, the pleas, the bureaucratic in-fighting, the glory-seeking scientists, the political ennui and apathy of everyone save a few scientists and the gay community which rallied to save itself.  It's all on parade in the one country in the world with the money and resources which could have squelched this syndrome straight away. 

It details the 1970's, when the US government leapt fiercely  into action, leaving no tampon unturned to cure Toxic Shock Syndrome and later Legionnaire's Disease, sparing no expense or scientist to isolate and discover the bacteria responsible.  In early 1982, a sociopath laced Tylenol tablets with cyanide in Chicago.  Again, the USA sprung into  action and, despite Reagan's domestic spending drought, spared no  expense to ensure the safety of the public from one lone killer.

The  tylenol episode killed 7 people.  By then, AIDS had killed hundreds - and  there was no public outrcry, no influx of money for research, no media blitz.  Just bodies piling up.

When hemophiliacs began getting AIDS, through blood transfusions, they refused to believe they could get that "gay" disease, and blood banks - the Red Cross most notably, refused to screen for the immune irregularities that may result in transfusion AIDS.  It was too costly. 

There are so many villains:  The Red Cross.  Doctors who held off on disclosing lab results or findings so they could be published in a medical journal first.  Dr. Gallo, feuding with the French, who had isolated the virus first.  No life too precious to risk losing a Nobel!  A silent, especially despicable New York Mayor Ed Koch.  President Ronald Reagan.  "History will recall, Reagan did the least of all".  He didn't mention AIDS until more Americans had died of it than died in the Vietnam War.

Without those in the bully pulpit saying anything - and the mainstream press not reporting on anything as unsavory as gay sex (sodomy, eeek!) - AIDS - with its long incubation period (5-10 years, in cases) was, in the meantime, being spread around during delays when it could have been contained.

Silence = Death.

The first mainstream press that wrote about the  epidemic only when heterosexuals were being affected.  The government did as little as possible, and only when the "general public" was at risk.  The scourge of society were not, presumably, part of the "general public".  Then came Rock Hudson in his greatest role.  The virus needed his star power to get traction on funding and testing and reporters reporting.  The thousands who died before did not matter so much.

The gay community split between those in denial, calling doctors  and activist gays "traitors" because they wanted to shut down  bathhouses, and HIV antibody testing.  As a  persecuted population, it's easy to understand the mistrust. Imagine  your whole life subject to irrational bigotry.  Your friends are now dying, the government  isn't doing anything, the press isn't reporting, the public  hates and fears you - and they want to close the bathhouses and  require antibody testing.  It's all part of a master plan to determine your sexuality, fire you from your job, call "pre-existing condition" on your health care, and ultimately quarantine  and haul you into the boxcars.

Genocide conspiracies are easy to extrapolate -like this: "the government created AIDS  and injected it into gay men who volunteered for the hepatitis vaccine  trial in the late 70's".  It is a profound sense of alienation.  You can't even trust your family!  How many families swooped in to pick up the body of the son who died of  AIDS, take the inheritance, snub the long time lover, and put on a  private church funeral announcing their son had in fact died tragically of cancer?  As one journalist  put it, since families were too ashamed to put the true cause of death in the obituary of a real newspaper: "What  if we had an epidemic, and nobody died?"

Or the 1984 republican campaign sticker proclaiming: AIDS: it's killing all the right people." 

But you see a disease doesn't do that.  A virus doesn't discern between republican, democrat, gay, straight, catholic, american, kenyan, red and yellow black and white. And it was this failure to contain - due to a failure to care - that this massive epidemic has killed 25 million and counting...many of them considered part of the "general public".

With the villains, there are heroes.  Those who came on board the fight before it was popular: Elizabeth Taylor, Debbie Reynolds, Mother Teresa. The gay community, despite their in-fighting, organized AIDS hospice and meals and crisis volunteers, and health centers and all with private funding.  That handful of doctors who worked tirelessly with limited funds because they couldn't stand to see so many young men die such gruesome, wretched deaths.

And many victims themselves - facing certain annihilation with courage and gallows humor.  The one who told the doctor, his face disfigured by purple KS lesions, that it wasn't even his favorite color.  "I don't have any handbag to go with it." 


The author, Randy Shilts, writes in the intro:
The people for whom I will always bear special reverence are those who were suffering from AIDS and who gave their last hours for interviews, sometimes while they were on their deathbeds laboring for breath.  When I'd ask why they'd take the time for this, most hoped that something they said would save someone else from suffering.  If there is an act that better defines heroism, I have not seen it.

I was just a kid when most of the gay men of my parents generation went extinct.  But I felt a certain affinity with them, even back then.  By the time I was 12, everyone at school told me I had AIDS.  If I was born ten or twenty years earlier - maybe I would have died, too, or sat beside them in the hospital.  Either way, we would have made the nurses laugh.  And either way, maybe I would've lived something more important  than I am living now?

Part of me envies the purpose with which some of these people  lived, post diagnosis.  Those survivors who were shocked into action and activism.  The sick who found immediate, laser-centered purpose.  What was it like to simultaneously face 100% fatality, and yet find something to truly live and fight for?  They were like fucking Tecumseh. 

I feel a sort of obligation to honor this lost generation, but how?  Will a younger generation listen, and are survivors ready to talk?  Many are unwilling to bring up that period: "It's too depressing" or are still too bitter and/or angry to the point of psychosis.  Larry Kramer - undoubtedly one of the heroes of this time period, having  begun both GMHC and ACT-UP and written "the Normal Heart", had this to say last month about Adolf Ronald Reagan, on what would have been his 100th birthday.

It's no wonder there is serious Post  Traumatic Stress Disorder going on.  How was it any different than seeing your mates blown up in a war and then coming home to find out nobody noticed? 

The monumental failure to contain AIDS means now that it is and has and will affect people worthy of life:  Heterosexuals.  Children.  The "general population".   Why can't we see that we are all the same?  Why can't we help others through the harsh winters?   If I could time travel, I wouldn't tell the Indians not to help out the Pilgrims.  I would warn the Pilgrims to honor and respect and be grateful to the Indians.  Then I would tell the Pilgrims that their hats are ridiculous.

Why do we hear a report on an airline crash in Iran with 68 fatalities and announce: "2 Americans were reported among the dead" as if the other 67 weren't as close to us.  We make up and then adhere to these artificial boundaries of country and color and religion and sexuality and UCLA vs USC, when we are all the general population.  Why can't love learn to be as indiscriminate as a virus?  Why can't human beings infect each-other with love; replicate it, re-infect and super-infect, blind and contagious? 

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

It's a good day for Violet!

What are you doing tonight?  Watch Violet Tendencies - now on VOD!! That lovable tramp is suddenly available in 100 million US and Canadian homes! 
You can download now on itunes, amazon, time warner, cinema now - or watch on VOD via Comcast, DirecTV, Zune, Verizon, Cox, and so many more.  If that's all too confusing, or you don't understand what I'm saying - just head over to the website, and click on the "WATCH NOW" link.  

The DVD, featuring all sorts of special extras, will be out officially in May from Breaking Glass Pictures.   If you don't know or have never read this blog - here's the skinny on our film! 

Violet Tendencies is an irresistible romantic comedy starring Mindy Cohn ("The Facts of Life") as Violet, a 40-year-old woman who decides to ditch her gay boys in order to find a man of her own. Variety magazine says it "Moves smartly and delivers outrageous one-liners...'Facts of Life' veteran Mindy Cohn tosses off vulgarisms with seasoned aplomb."  Check out the fabulous trailer here!
 

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Toybox the Final Party

Happy Mardi Gras!  I have no idea how fat tuesday translates in Australian to gay pride - but there you have it!  Sydney celebrated Mardi Gras 2011 with a whole lot of fanfare with a parade and the all night, multi-venue after-party with world class DJ's, surprise performers and LOTS of rumors. 

"Confirmed rumors":  Alexis Jordan singing but shhhh, don't tell... Rihanna will appear at 2:30 at the Royal Hall of Industries.  Nope, she's at 3 am at the Hordern Pavilion. I heard from a drag queen who saw her backstage that it's really 3:30, back at the RHI, but come by 2:30 cuz they'll lock the doors if it's too full.  "I saw her outside!" Wynter Gordon is doing "Dirty Love" at 4.  Rihanna is on at 6 am.  7 am.  Definitely 8 am.

Many say Rihanna threw a hissy fit and stormed off the premises with her entourage around 3am.  Others don't care, as she isn't an icon and clearly doesn't care about gay cred.  And another odd thousand people this very minute are still at the RHI waiting for Rihanna to appear!  I love rumors.

The best of the best Mardi Gras "recovery party" TOYBOX 2011 confirmed rumors with fanfare that after 2011 it's game over.  They even put it in the announcement, but Cher's done that farewell thing at least twelve times.  The effect being the party sold out within minutes, and it really is the best of the best of the best parties at a big top inside Luna Park with, yes, real TOYS.
And boys!  It really is kind of awesome to see a big pen of colored balls (like at the Burger King playground) filled with half naked men.  And stuffed animals being thrown around a dance floor of thousands.  In the chill-out room I even passed a game of Hungry, Hungry Hippos.  

On the sweaty pulsing dance floor they passed out popsicles which took off the heat - and the music, it's this amazing sort of trance/vocal fusion, which I'm dying to download.  If I exercised to this kind of music, I wouldn't stop until my ipod gave out!

And they LOVE the lasers on the dance floor.  Lasers of every color, everywhere, right in your eyes, and some galactic drag queen decked out in geometric mirrors is hanging high from the ceiling lip synching to the last song "Reach for the stars!" Streamers and confetti, miles and miles of confetti and - wheeeee - a big orange HELLO KITTY doll flies past. 

Toybox is rumored to be traveling to North America next year.  Or was it Europe?  Rihanna's performing! 

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Why does animation make (anti)humanity so much easier to understand?

The problem isn't capitalism, it's a mutant, viral form of capitalism.  Aren't we all SO glad the Supreme Court decided corporations are, in fact, actually people?  It makes me want to buy the world a coke!