Monday, July 31, 2006
Pride, A Steeper Love
Spearheaded by Toronto's gay pride committee, Canadian LGBT organizations are attempting to trademark the word "pride", ostensibly "to protect the trademark against for-profit individuals or companies exploiting it in the queer market." Companies or organizations that wish to use the word "pride" to promote their products or event must pay a fee, assuming the usage is approved. Remember when the International Olympic Committee selectively enforced its trademark against the Gay Olympics but not against the Special Olympics or even the K-9 Olympics? Is that the road we want to travel down? I haven't heard of this being attempted in the U.S., but if it succeeds in Canada....
Today's Dose Of Cranky
"Push to speak" or "walkie-talkie" cellphones have replaced the shoulder-mounted boom box as the annoyance device of choice for teenagers. I can think of no other reason for owning one, other than the delight in the knowledge that you are pissing off every adult within earshot. Yesterday, at the 86th Street Barnes & Noble, some kid received five squawking "Where you at?" inbound calls during my 15 minutes in the store. I wanted to grab a copy of Mary Cheney's book off the remaindered table and beat him with it. It occurs to me that I've never known a gay person to own one of these horrible phones and that gives me pride in my people.
Saturday, July 29, 2006
Four Great SF Events
The 18th installment of Folsom Street Fair's legendary closing party, Real Bad, takes place Sunday, September 24th, right after the fair ends. Always the hottest ticket of the weekend (and woe to the leatherman who waits too long to buy his ticket), this perenially sold-out volunteer-run event has raised over half a million dollars for dozens of Bay Area organizations. My dear friend Leif Wauters is once again devoting his talents to Real Bad and he promises another fantastic night. I haven't attended Real Bad since 2003, when it was helmed by my favorite music man, DJ Jerry Bonham. Real Bad is real hot, hot, hot. I can't wait.
I'm hoping to stretch my visit into the following week, because the Sunday following Folsom is the 33rd Annual Castro Street Fair, which was founded in 1974 by Harvey Milk and also benefits many HIV/AIDS and gay groups. The fair is always a blast (hello, drinking beer in the sun + hot men = happy Joe), but adding to the week of riches is Remember The Party 5, the latest in a series of events commemorating SF's immortal gay disco, the Trocadero Transfer, where oh happy day, the DJ will be Jerry Bonham.
Friday, July 28, 2006
First Things First
From the Department of About Fucking Time comes news that 260 gay scholars, writers and activists have co-signed a document saying that too much emphasis is being placed on the fight for gay marriage at the expense of other worthy causes important to the gay community. Longtime readers of this blog know it's always been my position that ENDA should come first. The right to marry seems little compensation when you can still lose your home and your job for being gay in most of the United States.
Naturally the gay organizations that this document is aimed at, Lambda Legal, the Human Rights Campaign, etc, are all blustering that they already work hard on the issues raised in this new document, which is called "Beyond Same-Sex Marriage: A New Strategic Vision for All Our Families & Relationships". They should have titled it "First Things First!"
OutGames Get PEP-y
Montreal health officials have begun a bilingual television and print campaign advising the 12,000 attendees of this week's OutGames that they have stockpiled a large quantity of the the HIV post-exposure prophylaxis, or PEP drugs, the so-called "morning after" HIV treatment, should any of the athletes do anything "risky" or have a condom break. Astoundingly, PEP treatment is scorned by some AIDS activists who worry that its availability encourages unsafe sex, just like some Christians think that condoms encourage fucking. In any case, what Montreal is doing is certainly unprecedented. I can't imagine any U.S. city being so progessive. Maybe San Francisco. Maybe. (via 365gay.com)
Pass The Tanning Butter
According to today's AM New York, New York City is working on legislation that will require parental consent for children under 18 to patronize tanning salons, a law that exists in many other municipalities. The state is working on similar legislation. Unsurprisingly, the tanning salon industry is alarmed that these laws are the beginning of outlawing tanning salons entirely.
This provides me a good segueway to mention that last week I visited a dermatologist who used liquid nitrogen to treat me for actinic keratosis, small precancerous patches that appeared in several places on my upper face over the last few months. Skin cancer runs in my family, both my mother and my sister have been treated for it. And I grew up in Florida as a gay man during the height of the 70's & 80's tanning craze, during which we took baby oil to the pool and beach, not sunscreen. Was sunscreen even available back then? Can anybody imagine using baby oil in these skin conscious times?
So knowing I've got all the risk factors, I'm very fair skinned, I'm of Northern European descent, I have light eyes, I've been badly sunburned several times and combined with my family history and my own history of heavy tanning, I've been sort of expecting skin cancer to appear eventually. Luckily, the dermatologist was optimistic and after enduring a surprisingly uncomfortable series of shots from her liquid nitrogen blowtorch, she told me I didn't need to return for another year, unless "something happens".
Over the last five or six years I've been rather careful to avoid the sun. I'm always with the SPF 40 if I'm going to be outdoors. Still, when I walk past Hollywood Tans, which is about 300 feet from my apartment, I sometimes look at their signage and think "maybe I'll just dash in for some color". I haven't done it yet and the memory of those nitrogen blasts will dissuade me for the time being. Maybe the city will save me from myself and just do away with tanning salons entirely.
Thursday, July 27, 2006
Yesterday I taped an interview at Clear Channel's studios above Radio City Music Hall for The Ryan And Caroline Show, a gay talk show on Pride Radio, a new gay station. Pride Radio is a commercial-free, subscription-free station streamed on the Internet and broadcast on HD digital radio. The interview will air sometime next week, I'll give a heads-up when my bit is on.
In the meantime, you can stream Pride Radio here, for all your Madonna, Beyonce, Cher, and Pink needs. (Actually, they just played Prince's classic Erotic City! ) Ryan and Caroline and the folks at Clear Channel (Hi Jared!) were fun to chat with about blogging, although I'll confess I don't exactly understand what stake Clear Channel has in a non-revenue station like Pride Radio. Do they have an interest in the sales of digital radios? I know those things aren't cheap.
The first blog I ever read regularly was Diablo Cody's Pussy Ranch, in which she frankly chronicled her life as a bisexual stripper in Minneapolis. Pussy Ranch was raunchy, enlightening and hilarious. I even sent her a couple of fan e-mails back in 2003. Now Cody has a book and a movie deal. A couple of years ago she announced that she was leaving blogging to concentrate on her newspaper writing, but now I see she has a blog on Minneapolis' CityPages site. I definitely recommend checking her out.
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
Gay Orgs Erupt With More Infighting
Adding to the woes of WorldPride, who just had to cancel their parade, a coalition of 22 gay organizations has called for a boycott of their events. The coalition includes Queers Undermining Israeli Terrorism, Queers For Peace And Justice, and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.
Additionally, religious leaders in Jerusalem are organizing an anti-gay counterprotest which may draw as many as a half-million people. The U.S. State Department has issued a warning to Americans planning to attend, saying that U.S. citizens should "remain vigilant when traveling anywhere in Jerusalem." (via -SFgate.com & Pink News.)
Could this mess get any weirder?
Morning View: 505 Fifth Avenue
Three years ago, when construction crews broke ground at the northeast corner of Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street, I was quite excited to see what would arise. After all, that intersection is one of the most famous in the world, and the other corners are gorgeously anchored by the Main Library and by 500 Fifth, one of my favorite buildings in the city.
Therefore I am rather dismayed by the 28-story, bland, forgettable glass tower that has just been completed. Granted, it has some interesting angles (if you are viewing it from uptown) and apparently the designers employed some groundbreaking concrete construction techniques that have architecture critics pissing themselves with delight, but does this building say anything about the revered company it shares with this location?
Built by the CIT Group, the financial services company, press releases are calling the CIT Building "New York's newest Fifth Avenue landmark". Hmm, maybe if they put a really interesting store into the unfinished street-level retail space.
I do recommend checking out the CIT Building's interesting lobby, where minimalist light-artist James Turrell has done an installation. I tried to get a picture of the lobby for you, gentle readers, but I was chased out by their security guard who was shouting "NO PICTURES!" Shrug. Just picture a long, featureless white room with completely undecorated surfaces, including the floor. Visitors are bathed in a rotating series of blue, green and red lights, which run along the base and top of the walls. The effect pleasingly reminded me of a posh nightclub men's room. Other than the lobby, I'd rate the CIT Building a major disappointment and an insult to its neighbors.
Sean Patrick Maloney
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
Lunch View: Main Library
I took this on the way back from lunch today. Despite what you saw in The Day After Tomorrow, the Beaux-Arts Main Library doesn't have revolving doors, nor does it face south. The famous lions out front were named "Patience" and "Fortitude" by Mayor LaGuardia in the 1930's, as that's what he thought New Yorkers would need to get through the Depression. However, I'm told real New Yorkers call the lions Uptown and Downtown. That's Downtown in the picture.
Robbie Williams is dueting with Pet Shop Boys' Neil Tennant on a single called She's Madonna, the title taken from what Guy Ritchie told his then-girlfriend Tania Strecker as he dumped her, "Look, you know I really love you, but she's Madonna."
According to The Mirror, Madonna green-lighted the single when Williams played it for her and he hopes to get her to appear in the video. The album comes out September 4th. I can already see the ball queens having a field day doing runway to She's Madonna.
Related: Pet Shop Boys play Radio City on October 14th. I'm going!
Staying on the topic of Georgios Panayiotou, check out my buddy Mike Atkinson, aka Troubled Diva, aka Stylus Magazine music reviewer, for his scathing review of George Michael's new single, An Easier Affair. Oooh, it ain't pretty.
Monday, July 24, 2006
"Christians" Outraged, Yawning Ensues
I love this. The Christianist nutjobs over at World Net Daily have got their choir robes in a twist over NBC's having had Queer Eye cast member Carson Kressley provide color commentary during last night's Miss Universe pageant.
With the top-of-page banner headline: "Breaking News: NBC struts 'gay' jokes all over Miss Universe", the lead reads: "With some of the world's most beautiful women on display at tonight's Miss Universe Pageant in Los Angeles, viewers of the NBC broadcast were exposed to a celebration of homosexuality with continuous "gay" jokes and innuendo."
World Net Daily always puts the word "gay" in scare quotes, like we don't actually exist. I think I'm going to start writing "god" from now on. Fair is fair. Anyway, I have a fun project for today. As they often do, World Net Daily is polling their readers about this latest "gay" outrage. I suggest everybody take their poll and show some "gay" love for Carson Kressley. I chose the least popular response: "It was hilarious, great entertainment value", as did 0.85% of the other World Net Daily readers, likely gay trollers like myself. You must register your email to take the poll, I used Gaygaygay@gay.com for mine.
Related: The new Miss Universe, Miss Puerto Rico, Zuleyka Rivera Mendoza, has the best name since 1988's winner, Miss Thailand, Porntip Nakhirunkanok.
UPDATE: Good As You picks up the story.
HomoQuotable - George Michael
"Are you gay? No? Then fuck off! This is my culture!" -George Michael, screaming at News Of The World photographers who caught him having sex in the bushes on London's notoriously cruisy Hampstead Heath. George isn't wrong about park cruising being part of gay life worldwide (The Rambles, Buena Vista, Meat Rack, etc), although calling it "culture" is a bit cringe-inducing.
The worst part about the whole thing is that the photographers followed George's trick back to his seedy apartment in Brighton, where the 58-year old truck driver was kind enough for pose for a series of sexy photos. George has proven the adage that money can't buy you love. Or pretty.
Sunday, July 23, 2006
Gold, Silver, Bronze, Bar Tab
Leave it to us gay homosexuals for pushing the boundries of modern sport at the just concluded Chicago Gay Games, where competitors tested the limits of their bodies in a myriad of brutal sports such as billiards, bowling, darts, air hockey, and Ms. Pac-Man. Makes sense, since so much of our life is spent in bars. And any sport that you can play with a beer in your hand is my kind of sport.
Saturday, July 22, 2006
WorldPride Cancels Jerusalem March
WorldPride has been forced to cancel their August 10th march, aftering being denied a parade permit by Jerusalem police, who claim that the escalating war in Lebanon make them unable to provide WorldPride the "extensive security" needed to protect marchers from anti-gay protesters. WorldPride organizers intend to carry on with all other events, including the film festival and shows, and vow to reschedule the march to take place in Jerusalem at a later date.
The Truth Hurts
Bed Bath & Beyond, Chelsea, Saturday 2PM
Two gay men are arguing in the bedding section...
Queer 1: That doesn't match the duvet.
Queer 2: I don't care, I like it and I'm getting it. Nobody sees MY bed anyway.
Queer 1: It's going to look stupid, you'll be sorry. Let's keep looking.
Queer 2: Shut up. Like it fucking matters anymore.
Helpful Female Clerk: Is there something I can help you find?
Queer 1: Actually, YES. My friend here really needs to find a MAN. Can you help him?
Helpful Female Clerk: Sweetheart, if you boys can't find a gay man in THIS store, there's no helping you.
Friday, July 21, 2006
Blair Is SO Delisted
OK class, settle down. Everybody take out their Big Book Of Camp Icons. Turn to Chapter 11, Big-Haired TV Girls Of The 80's. On the right hand page, right under Heather Locklear and Delta Burke, you'll find Lisa Welchel, "Blair" from The Facts Of Life. Now take out a big black magic marker and CROSS THAT BITCH OUT. (via Jimbo.info)
Kiki Loves You
Yes, kids. A Broadway show that I am dying to see. Kiki & Herb, the beloved SF institution that moved to NYC years ago, will open at the Helen Hayes Theatre on August 11th. For the uninitiated, Kiki, a boozy septuagenarian lounge singer, is the nom de drag of Justin Bond and Herb is her gay retarded Jewish pianist, played by Kenny Mellman. I adore them. The New York Times called them “the most hilariously disturbing show you’ll see this season grand, vivacious and sordid." I saw their last show, Coup de Theatre, three times and my friends and I are still reciting our favorite Kiki one-liners. Kiki, speaking about her dead daughter: "I was a good mother! I mean, where could a child GO on the deck of a ship?" I saw Justin Bond walking on the Upper West Side a few weeks ago and I almost had a completely uncool New Yorker moment and called out to him. Almost. Kiki & Herb's Carnegie Hall Show was a sold-out smash. Get tickets for Alive On Broadway, here.
Below: Kiki & Herb, Total Eclipse Of The Heart.
UPDATE: Ted Gideonse has reposted a great Kiki & Herb review from 2004.
Morning View: Lexington & 42
Thursday, July 20, 2006
Open Thread Thursday
Iranian Mission Vigil: Moving/Frustrating
Yesterday's vigil at the Iranian Mission to the United Nations was moving and frustrating. We heard passionate and eloquent speeches about the appalling treatment of gays in Iran, but the speakers were frequently drowned out by passing traffic and horn honkers. Some sort of bullhorn or portable PA was definitely called for, but I suspect that may have required a permit of sorts.
Below: Some outfit called the League for the Revolutionary Party glommed onto the event.
Below: But most protesters stuck to the issue of Iran's treatment of gays.
Below: Mark Green, candidate for New York State Attorney General. Kudos to Green for appearing and speaking. Where was Sean Patrick Maloney?
Below: Many signs advocated for asylum rights for gay Iranians.
Below: Ann Northrop, lesbian/AIDS activist and talk show host, addresses the crowd.
Below: Ann Northrop. Below: Glams Against Genocide, I presume. Sweet boy. Below: Jonathan Tasini, labor organizer and Hillary Clinton senatorial opponent.
Below: Tom Harrison, of the Campaign For Peace And Democracy, speaks. Below: Some of the protesters displayed their signs to passing New Yorkers, most of whom hardly broke stride or missed a beat of their cellphone conversations as they passed. "I don't know. Something about killing gays."
Below: Artist Jason Rondinelli and his haunting recreation of that famous photo.
I noticed a very passionate young woman, she seemed to be a reporter, and she was interviewing attendees, asking them if they knew that there was some controversy regarding the facts of the hanging, whether we knew that some believed the young men not to be gay at all, that the father of a raped 13-year old boy had actually testified against them. I'm curious to know whom she represented. To his credit, I overheard a young man tell her, "Does it really matter if they were really gay? Iran has a death penalty against homosexuals!".
Sadly, the most memorable moment of the event came when a large construction vehicle came to a stop in the traffic. I happened to be standing in the street, trying to get a full picture of the crowd, so I heard the conversation of the two burly men in the truck.
Passenger: What's that?
Driver: Sign says something about killing fags.
Passenger: Yeah! Kill more fags!
Both: Ha, ha, ha! Woo!
Passenger: Give 'em a blast, man!
The driver leaned on his airhorn for five seconds while both men hooted. The crowd on the sidewalk mistook this noise as boisterous support for their cause and turn and hooted and waved back at the men in the truck, who drove off laughing.
UPDATE: More coverage from Andrew Sullivan, Doug Ireland, Michael Petrelis, Towleroad.
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Too Drunk To Fly
Pity poor Louis Rosano, who passed out drunk on the NYC Eagle roofdeck on Monday night and was accidently locked there until the middle of the next day, when the parking lot attendant across the street heard him crying for help and called 911. Cops and firefighters hoisted a three-story ladder to the top of the building and cut through the fence to set him free. I think I'd have to move to another state.
(Thanks to Bryce for forwarding me the story!)
Protest Today At Iranian Mission
Marking the anniversary of the Iranian teens hung for being gay, today there will be a protest at the Iranian Mission to the United Nations, 622 Third Avenue (at 40th Street). Take the 4,5,6,7 or S trains to Grand Central. The Iranian Mission is just a couple of blocks to the south. The vigil starts at 5pm.
Morning View: Met Life
Looming over Grand Central Terminal, the 58-story Brutalist Met Life Building, nee Pan Am, was briefly the largest office tower in the world. In 1975, in one of the most spectacular suicides in city history (well, until Doctor Boom), the CEO of Chiquita Bananas used his briefcase to shatter a window. Then him go splat on Park Avenue. Musta slipped on something.
Trivia: The Met Life Building is the most hated building in New York City. In polls, New Yorkers name it as the building they'd most like to see demolished. This picture was taken by leaning out of my office window. If you like big city buildings, as I do, I recommend The City Review, which is a block-by-block historical review and critique of major NYC buildings.
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
"To Nasrallah, with love. From Israel"
I don't what is more disturbing, those pictures of Arab toddlers posing with machine guns, or this photo of Israeli school girls writing messages on Lebanon-bound missiles. I found this photo on Letters Apart, a pro-Lebanon blog that I thought might yield some interesting blogger/blogger detente' of sorts, but I'm not really seeing that in the comments. Another interesting blog is Ramzi's Blah Blah, with the sad headline "To help save Lebanon, go here (link). To save your life, go north." Also check out Lebanese Political Journal and follow the young author as she attempts to escape the carnage. I found all of these blogs in the UK Guardian's story Watching, Blogging...Bombing.
Unrelated war/blogger news: India has blocked many blogging services since the Mumbai bombing, including all blogs hosted by Blogspot. Very puzzling.
Heatwave Melts Cheese
I think it was back in 1983, onstage at the (now) lamentably long-closed Backstreet Fort Lauderdale, one of the best gay nightclubs in the history of the planet, that I saw the Love Twins reclining on lawn chairs, performing their only hit, the inestimably cheesy Miami Heatwave. In the song, the singer is on vacation in Miami, right? And she's missin' her man back in New Yawk, right?
90 degrees and I wish you were here
Every day feels just a year
Miami heatwave (heatwave!)
Miami heatwave (heatwave!)
Of course, add 23 years or so and not only have my eyes rolled back into position, but now...I kinda love this tacky tacky song. Cowritten and coproduced by HI-NRG legend Ian Levine, the vocals are by Laurnea Wilkerson, who played Dorothy in the road production of The Wiz.
Download Miami Heatwave. G'head, it'll do you good to have a laugh during THIS heatwave.
Florida's fun, but I miss New Yawk
Where are you now, I wish we could tawk!
Hot Or Not
According to Seed Magazine, a recent brain study revealed that the subjects' brains reacted to erotic images 20% faster than all other pictures, before the subjects were even aware that they were looking at an erotic image. The initial study examined women only, but when men were tested, they were found to react at the same speed as the female subjects, contrary to some commonly held ideas about sex drive.
Of course, when they tested gay men, the reaction was 200% faster. Even faster, if they were on Manhunt.
An Early Frost: Dissected
Check out Richard Rothstein's exhaustive review and contemplations on the first AIDS movie, An Early Frost, which has just been released on DVD. Like Richard, I vividly recall watching An Early Frost back in 1985, an experience that changed me and my opinions on AIDS. Now scoot, go read his excellent piece.
Here's an interesting idea. In an effort to increase voter turnout, a group in Arizona has placed a measure on the November ballot which (if approved) will randomly award $1 million to an Arizona voter in every general election. Given Arizona's population, the vote lottery would offer much greater odds of winning than Powerball. Latino activists see the vote lottery as a potential tool for increasing turnout, although some see the measure as merely encouraging people to go to the polls without any concern over issues or candidates. I think I'd like to see them give you a special scratch off ticket as you exit the polling booth. How satisfying would it be to scratch off 3 George Bushes and win a million bucks? (via New York Times.)
Monday, July 17, 2006
WorldPride Cautiously Optimistic
Today's press release from WorldPride:
"Our hearts go to all the people affected by the violence, as we continue to hope that peace will prevail. As Jerusalemites, we are acutely aware of the complexities of the reality that we face in our city and in the region. We feel that these days, optimistic messages speaking for tolerance and against violence -- as are indeed the core messages of the Jerusalem WorldPride events -- are even more significant than during calmer times.
We are carefully monitoring the situation, while continuing our work towards August 6, the opening date of the Jerusalem WorldPride week. During the current hostilities, Jerusalem is a calm spot, with a variety of public events going on as scheduled. We advise our guests from around the world to follow the news together with us, and hope together with us for peace."
Hey Tiger To Open For Bon Jovi
You may remember a January post I made about Hey Tiger, the band featuring hottie JMG-reader and occasional beer buddy Jim Lovegrove on bass. Jim just gave me the heads-up that Hey Tiger will be opening for Nickelback and Bon Jovi tomorrow, July 18th, at Giants Stadium. You can listen to the band being interviewed tomorrow morning on Scott And Todd In The Morning on WPLJ-95.5 FM. Here's hoping some major label A&R guy is reading this or catches their show tomorrow. I've heard Hey Tiger's first release, September , and I think it's some sweet power pop. And all you folks going to Bon Joni tomorrow, make sure you get there in time for Hey Tiger, 5PM. Check out their tunes on their MySpace page here. I especially like I Don't Mind and Breathe. Good luck, Jim! (I totally just said that in my Mission Impossible voice.)
HomoQuotable - Barney Frank
"I can sum up the Republican agenda in nine words: Burning the flag, spurning the fag and earnings that lag." - Barney Frank, speaking to the Florida GLBT Democratic Caucus, who did not invite Florida's Democratic Senator Bill Nelson, due to his support of Florida's gay marriage ban. (via NY Blade.)
Trivia: As a freshman Florida state legislator, Bill Nelson was the keynote speaker at my high school graduation in 1977. The following year I volunteered on his successful campaign for the House of Representatives.
Chelsea Boys, I'm Lookin' At YOU
Is this shirt insulting to the mentally-challenged? At this point in the popped-collar epidemic, I don't think I care anymore. I just want it to stop. Order yours here.
Two Kinds Of Soggy
The heat index in Manhattan is expected to reach 105 today.
Right now in San Francisco it's 55.
The cold foggy SF summers that I used to curse? Yeah, kinda nostalgic for them today.
Morning View: Vanderbilt & 42
Saturday, July 15, 2006
HomoQuotable - Neil Tennant
"Blog is such an ugly word." - Pet Shop Boys vocalist Neil Tennant, telling the Guardian that he and bandmate Chris Lowe "do not believe in blogs". Ouch, Neil. That hurts! OK, fine. Here's a picture of the three of us from 1999, when we were ALL much prettier. (Waiting in line to meet the Pet Shop Boys in a San Francisco Tower Records is definitely the most fan-ish thing I've done in my life.)
Friday, July 14, 2006
Orange Goes Pink
Four years ago, my hometown of Orlando made it illegal to deny housing or to discriminate in the workplace based on sexual orientation. This week much larger Orange County, of which Orlando is the county seat, has added sexual orientation to their list of banned reasons to deny housing. Of course, in Orange County (outside of Orlando) you can still be fired for being gay, as it is through most of Florida and in 32 other states. While some municipalities in those 33 states do offer workplace protection, the pressing need to get ENDA passed nationwide has been overshadowed by the (in my mind) less important marriage issue.
Sidenote: I wonder why the HRC hasn't added Illinois, Maine, and Washington to their map of states that protect gay workers?
Pride During Wartime
Reacting to all the press and blogchatter about World Pride in Jerusalem, the organizers are vowing that the event will take place and in Jerusalem. But I have a feeling that the exploding hostilities between Israel and Lebanon may exclipse World Pride, as fear of traveling to the region will likely now keep even the most ardent Pride supporters at home, unless things miraculously resolve in the next couple of weeks. It occurs to me that there may have never been a Pride event in a country currently under attack. This ain't no party, this ain't no disco.
Thursday, July 13, 2006
And Speaking Of Feeling Old...
This morning I came across a list of the #1 singles so far for 2006. Out of 13 songs, I only definitely recognize two, James Blunt's You're Beautiful and Beyonce's Check On It. Maybe I'd recognize some of the others if I heard them. Regardless, I find myself growing increasing nostalgic for a shared national musical experience.
When I was a teenager, it seemed like everybody in the country knew the hit songs of the day. Even my grandmother knew Funkytown and 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover and Kiss And Say Goodbye. But with the demise of that glorious mash-up of all musical styles called Top 40 radio, we lost that shared musical experience as a culture. Now we're all narrow-casted and niche-marketed into our little perfect pigeon-holed world of hearing only what we already know we like. It's a loss to all of us, this ironic lack of exposure to new things that the opportunity to hear all things has given us. Of course, I'm guilty of cloistering myself in a self-created time capsule of disco-oldies radio stations, new wave reunion concerts, and classic country iPod playlists.
Twenty years ago, maybe even ten years ago, if you sang the #1 pop single to everybody you knew, almost all of them would be able to sing along. Today, I suspect that not very many would, unless you happen to only know teenagers. What was the last hit single that you'd say definitely was known by the entire country? I miss the Top 40.
This morning the Spanish/Peruvian/Incan pan-flute band in the subway station was playing More Than A Woman, the R&B/downtempo/disco classic written/recorded by the Austrailian/British Bee Gees for the soundtrack to Saturday Night Fever, the epoch-defining film tribute to Brooklyn/Italian-American/70's disco nightlife.
Hearing the pan-flute band version of More Than A Woman made me feel happy/old.
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
Kaletra! You Leave Lexiva Alone!
HomoQuotable - Chris Ciccone
"Give me a fucking break." - Madonna's gay brother, Chris Ciccone, complaining to Attitude Magazine that men in gay bars won't stop talking to him about his sister. Poor baby. I bet it never gets him laid either.
Man In Black Still A Hitmaker
One of my favorite American male vocalists, the late Johnny Cash, has his first #1 album on the Billboard charts in 37 years, with American V: A Hundred Highways. Aside from my pleasure in seeing Cash top the charts again, it's depressing to see that he did it with a first week sales total of only 88,000 units, the lowest highest sales figure since Billboard began using Soundscan back in '91. Ten years ago, an act would have needed 5 or 6 times that many sales to hit #1.
In other music news, Prince has abruptly shut down his innovative and award-winning NPG Music Club website.
"Death To Sodomites"
Handbills and leaflets advocating using Molotov cocktails on WorldPride marchers began appearing around Jerusalem this week. AOL Gay & Lesbian editor Kenneth Hill reports that New York Rabbi Yehuda Levin said that if gays do descend on Jerusalem for WorldPride, "I promise there's going to be bloodshed -- not just on that day, but for months afterward."
The WorldPride website is featuring American gay activists and clergy who have pledged to attend. But some gay news sites are now reporting that WorldPride may be relocated to Tel Aviv. The raging atheist in me almost wants WorldPride to gut it out in Jerusalem, especially since the last WorldPride was in Rome, another symbolic seat of oppression. But things are just spiraling crazily beyond mere invectives in Jerusalem, maybe Tel Aviv is the right call. For now.
Taking my temperature last night, I had to laugh at myself for feeling disappointed that it was only 100.3, because I felt so much sicker. Now I'm wondering if there isn't one of those wonderful German compound adjectives that describes precisely the feeling of being disappointed that you aren't really all that sick, no matter how you think you feel. And if there also isn't a word that describes the act of bravely soldiering on at your desk, even though you ARE that sick. Anybody? A litle help? Bitte.
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
Little Man And The Mayor
When I moved in, he was the first person on the block that I noticed. A tall elderly gentleman somewhere between his early 80's and late 100's. Always outside. Always moving. Always talking. With a full head of white hair, and usually wearing suspenders over a crisply ironed short-sleeve shirt, he stands out on a block that is home to lots of seniors. I often see him charming the old widows on the benches in front of the Lenox Hill Center at the end of the block.
Seems like he knows everybody on United Jerusalem Place. If the sun is shining, he's usually out there talking to the doormen, the supers, the delivery people. People on the block call him "the mayor". He talks more than a little bit too loudly, but I'd guess that with the huge hearing-aids he wears in his huge comical ears, folks understand. On most days, the mayor has his dog with him, an elderly, chubby little terrier with startling white cataracts in both eyes.
I've heard the mayor gently urge his dog along the sidewalk. "Come on Little Man, we don't have all day." I'm not sure that Little Man is the dog's actual name, but I've never heard the mayor call him anything else. The mayor stops frequently on his hourly patrols up and down the block, chatting with anybody who will humor him. Little Man trails slowly behind, taking obviously pained little steps, the long garish green and gold leash lying slack on the sidewalk as he blindly smells his way up to his master.
Years ago, I once stupidly reached down to pet Little Man and he immediately bared his teeth and snapped at me. The mayor chuckled and said, "Well, you know he don't see too good but he can smell when it's not me!" I apologized of course, but the mayor said, "Oh, don't you worry about it!". Then he added, "I can't hear and he can't see but we do OK, isn't that right, Little Man?" Then he reached into his pocket and produced a treat for Little Man, who suddenly got a little more spry. I watched that chubby dog waddle away and thought that maybe the mayor needs to cut back on the treats.
Last year, a friend of mine noticed Little Man near my front door and commented that maybe it was time for the mayor to put him to sleep, saying, "I think it's cruel to keep dragging that old sick blind dog around," forgetting that my own Edison had just passed away the previous spring at the age of 17, also blind and infirm. Edison had suffered from epilepsy since he was a young dog, and after two particulary bad seizures in as many days, we finally said goodbye. We've never regretted keeping Edison long past when many people would have, he was a happy little dog right up until the end. So I vigorously defended the mayor to my friend.
This Saturday I passed the mayor on the sidewalk outside my building, but uncharacteriscally, he didn't greet me, which I didn't realize until a couple of hours later when I saw him again, in the Food Emporium. I turned the corner in search of paper towels and came upon him standing in the center of the aisle, staring at the dog food. I excused myself to get by, but again was ignored. He didn't have Little Man under his arm, as I've seen him do when in stores.
This morning I found Little Man's leash lying neatly coiled inside the garbage can in front of my building. On the train, I had to really concentrate not to cry for the mayor. And again, for Edison.
Monday, July 10, 2006
HomoQuotable - Amelie Mauresmo
"2006 Wimbledon Champion. I am what I am." - from the t-shirt donned by out lesbian Amelie Mauresmo after winning Wimbledon for her second Grand Slam title. Who wants to bet that copies of that t-shirt start springing up for sale? If anybody has a pic or screenshot of Mauresmo in that shirt, please send it to me and I'll post it here.
Landmark Reports Details Gitmo Outrages
Today the Center For Constitution Rights issued a landmark 51-page report on the abuses at Guantanamo Bay, titled "Report on Torture and Cruel, Inhuman, and Degrading Treatment of Prisoners at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba." The report details the beatings, torture, and rape of prisoners using declassified and unclassified materials. Download the PDF file of the report here.
CCR Legal Director Bill Goodman: "This report authoritatively documents the Bush Administration’s systematic human rights abuses at Guantánamo. I think the torture and abuse detailed here will shock Congress and the American public because it reveals a lawless, immoral and ineffective detention facility and undermines the administration’s increasingly desperate attempts to lie about what is happening down there.”
Below, please watch the CCR's one-minute trailer for their documentary Articles Of Impeachment Against George W. Bush, which is part of their national "Teach-In" campaign to generate grass-roots support for impeachment.
Ric Weiland, the massively wealthy benefactor of gay and HIV-related causes, died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head on July 1st at the age of 53, after suffering long bouts of depression. Weiland was one of the five original Microsoft employees, hired by Bill Gates and Paul Allen in 1975. Weiland developed BASIC and COBOL for Microsoft, launching the company into its global dominance of personal computing.
I don't know how I missed the news of his death last week, as I've always been fascinated by Weiland. When I lived in San Francisco, Weiland was a frequent topic of conversation among my friends who worked in high tech. Here's a guy who walked away from Microsoft in 1988, and launched a new life as an ardent supporter of gay rights and HIV-research, donating $100 million over the years. Among his pet projects were Gay & Lesbian Straight Education Network (GLSEN) , the Human Rights Campaign, Lamba Legal, and the National Gay And Lesbian Task Force.
I was thinking about Weiland just a couple of weeks ago when Warren Buffet announced his multi-billion endowment to the Gates Fund. No matter what you feel about Microsoft Inc. and its policies, the unprecedented amount of Microsoft-generated capital that is being dedicated to improving the human condition is awe-inspiring. I'd always thought it was fantastic that so much of that money was coming to gay causes, thanks to Weiland. I'll be interested to see what sort of legacy his estate will establish.
I had to walk to work this morning after a residential building exploded and collapsed on the Upper East Side at 62nd and Madison, near my subway line. The explosion came just as I was heading down the stairs into the 68th Street Station and startled me so much that I dropped my newspaper. The woman in front of me came to a dead stop and said, "THAT did not sound right." I followed her up to the street where we could see a huge plume of black smoke blowing across Lexington Avenue a few blocks away and my very first thought was, "Holy shit! They've blown up Bloomingdale's!", as Bloomie's is just a couple of blocks from the exploded building. Nothing like a terrorism scare to start off the week.
Sunday, July 09, 2006
Three Packed Cups
Over the last month I watched more soccer than in the previous 46 years of my life. My office mysteriously acquired cable TV shortly before the World Cup began (hello, I have English employers), and my co-workers very kindly endured my non-stop critique on the varying hotness of the players, expressing bafflement when I told them that English footballer Wayne Rooney was becoming somewhat of a gay pinup idol. Yeah, I don't get it either. And he does look like Shrek. I also puzzled them when I vowed my soccer allegiance to Trinidad, but not Tobago.
For the Final, the Farmboyz, Vasco, David and I joined a extremely packed house at Chelsea's Gym Bar, arriving at the unholy hour of 1:30pm. I was already hungover and sleep deprived from the previous night, in which the Farmboyz and I visited the East Village's Boys' Room, the twink bar to end all twink bars, where we squicked out the young smooth baby fags with our creepy elderly hairiness. Ordinarily, you couldn't get me into a place like Boys' Room if I was being dragged kicking and screaming by kicking and screaming drags. But Father Tony has a unhealthy obsession with Amanda Lepore, who'd been advertised as the evening's hostess. However, Ms. Lepore merely made a 30 second appearance on the stage to introduce the evening's true MC, gay white boy rapper Cazwell, before she retired to the VIP room, disappointing Father Tony immensely.
Cazwell proceeded to work the crowd, exhorting PYT's to enter the evening's Go-Go Idol contest. The four contestants included an Amazonian chestally-enhanced female named Muscles, who looked frighteningly like Bridgette Nielsen and who thrusted her enormous DD-cup silicone fun-bags into the faces of startled patrons too slow to flee the stage's perimeter. One of the contestants was so shit-faced that he fell on his first two attempts to climb onto the stage. Ah, youth. This was the second strip-contest-esque event I'd been to in less than a week, the other being a July 4th wet underwear contest on the roofdeck of the Eagle, where contestant Rob won a sweet mountain bike, as much for his overall wet hotness as for the impromptu handlebar fellatio he performed on the mountain bike. Our lives, lived with dignity.
The Farmboyz and I fled the Boys Room to the Phoenix next door, where we were only one generation older than the patrons, which felt slightly better. At 3am, I startled the Famboyz by announcing that I had to leave at once, if I was meeting them for a pre-World Cup brunch in 8 hours. I don't know how I used to do it. They stayed out past 5am. And they were already seated at Food Bar when I arrived at 1130am. I don't know how they do it.
Apparently there are about 500 gay Italian ex-pats living in Manhattan and they were all jammed into Gym Bar by the opening kick. It was seriously, miserably, overpacked. A really crabby hungover person threatened to his friends that he was going to call the fire department. But I didn't. Hello, Gym Bar? It's called a doorman. Look into it. (Yeah, still crabby.) The crowd was extremly boisterous as everybody got their Sports Masculine on, even if they were doing it with Gucci sunglasses perched on their hairdos and Brazilian flip-flops on their feet. Interestingly, the biggest roar was elicited not by a rough tackle or a goal, but by a quick glimpse of President Clinton in the stands.
Pressed up against a wall with a shelf in my back and a nonstop crush of passersby elbowing and shoving me, I finally bailed when the game went into overtime, arriving home just in time to see French player (and Christian Dior model) Zidane get sent off for a head-butting an Italian player. The 16-second video clip of the head-butt is already the #1 most-watched item on YouTube. Yeah, yeah, Zidane is hot. Chips, bag, etc. But was anybody else rocking on that smokin' Argentinean referee with the salt-n-pepper hair? He appears to be a bottom, too.
Saturday, July 08, 2006
The NY Times is reporting today that this week the FDA will approve the long sought-after holy grail of HIV therapy, the once-a-day pill. In a rare bit of pharma-collaboration, Bristol-Myer Squibb's Sustiva will be combined with Gilead's Truvada to create the pill. Truvada is already a two-drug pill containing Viread and Emtriva. All three drugs will be layered within the single-pill to achieve efficacy. There are a couple of 3-drug pills out there already, but these must be taken twice daily.
Doubtlessly this (albeit minor) breakthrough will cause concern among HIV-prevention activists, who already worry that contracting HIV is being trivialized in some demographics, most notably young gay men. I'll be very interested to see the ad campaign for this as-yet unnamed pill. Will it be more handsome bodybuilders climbing mountains?
Friday, July 07, 2006
Grand Central Responds
Thank you very much for your note. The commuter weigh station is located on the lower level dining concourse right near Two Boots Pizza. We encourage passersby to stop in, particularly during bathing suit season.
Of course, I’m kidding. Thank you very much for pointing out the error on page 14. I can assure you that you are not the first person to have spotted the mistake (we spotted it internally shortly after publication), but we do appreciate your scrutiny of our work.
I hope this unfortunate instance of homonym confusion does not preclude your enjoyment of the After 5 Guide. We’re very proud of the publication and hope it will become a valuable resource for you and your colleagues. If you would like additional copies, please either let me know or visit our online order form here.
Thank you again for your note and best wishes for an enjoyable summer.
Director of Public Affairs
Grand Central Partnership
JMG: Grumble, grumble, funnier than me, grumble, Grand Central guy, grumble.
Goyz In the Hood
My 'hood, the Upper East Side, is a very Jewish neighborhood in a city with the second largest Jewish population in the world. It is home to two major landmarks of Jewish culture, the historic Central Synogogue on E. 55th Street and the Prada flagship store on E. 70th. Or as it is known to my mailman and the other 6224* people who live on E.70th Street, United Jerusalem Place. (*As per the 2000 census.)
Of course, I don't live on the Prada end of United Jerusalem Place, I live on the hospital end, the part of the Upper East Side that probably has more hospitals beds that most states. If I ever stroke out, at least within staggering distance I've got New York Presbyterian, Cornell Medical, Sloan-Kettering, the ominously named Hospital For Special Surgery, and others. Do Jewish neighborhoods create more hospitals? Or is it the other way around?
And speaking of doctors, boy if you wanna really feel middle-class poor, come live on the Upper East Side. My zip code, 10021, contributed the most dollars to both the Gore AND Bush campaigns in 2000. The people in my zip code also report among the highest personal incomes in the United States, although I imagine that it would be even higher, if not for all their live-in help and people like me dragging down the average. Way down.
And speaking of live-in help, it's sort of fascinating every morning to watch my neighborhood change complexion. Literally. On my way to the subway, I pass a lot of very posh luxury buildings, like Trump Palace. I watch the Leaders Of American Commerce rush into their waiting Town Cars as their servants walk their dogs and their nannies herd their children towards the exclusive private schools that dot the streets around Park Avenue. At 68th Street, all us (mostly-white) middle-class folk stream down into the subway as the station disgorges thousands of black, Latino and Asian workers who head for their jobs in the hospitals, restaurants and tony shops of the UES. At the end of the day, the colors reverse direction.
When I first got to the Upper East Side, back in 5765, I bemoaned the decision. Here I was in the most exciting, most gay city in the country, and I had moved to the least gay, least exciting, blandest of Manhattan neighborhoods. Trust me, nobody says, "Hey, let's go clubbing on the UES!" At least, nobody I know. There are a few gay bars on the Upper East Side and I take a taxi right past them every weekend on my way downtown.
Last month, my houseguest ran into a guy moving out of the apartment above mine. My friend immediately offered his help in moving a loveseat down the stairs, because he is a Southern Gentleman, and not because my upstairs neighbor is smoking hot. Right. He came back and reported that my neighbor had told him that in New York City, the greatest mitzvah was to help somebody who lives in a walk-up building move, and my friend wanted to know what a mitzvah was. Of course, I was able to tell him, seeing as how I once scored 29 out of a possible 30 in the Miami Herald's Yom Kippur Test Your Yiddish Quiz, missing only shtetl. (I know, such a shandeh!) I also told him he was just lucky we live inside the Manhattan eruv, or he might not have met my hot neighbor at all, since it was Shabbat. He gave me the funniest look.
So the point of this post is this: Yesterday I got my lease renewal for my apartment. But this time, I'm not even gonna cruise Craigslist for the shouda, coulda apartments downtown. I'm kinda comfortable here. I no longer hear klezmer music and think "Oh, that's klezmer." And this year I wasn't surprised by the Purim costumes on the kids, I kinda dug it. It's nice living in a neighborhood where the doormen are out hosing down the sidewalks every morning. OK, not my doorman, cuz I don't have one. But after living in the Village and Chelsea and Hell's Kitchen, where the garbage on the main streets can be ankle-deep in the gutter, this is...nice. I just hope I'm not becoming boring in my middle-age.
Of course, if anybody knows of a nice apartment opening up downtown, it'd be meshuge not to go look. Otherwise, I'll be here until 5768.
Thursday, July 06, 2006
Merriam-Webster is giving a sneak peek at some of the "new" words being added to the 2006 Collegiate Dictionary, due at the end of summer. Mo's must be running that joint because words being added include: unibrow, drama queen, assplay, supersize, big-box, polyamory, and himbo. All of which were clearly culled from Manhunt profiles. Not making the cut: versabottom, UB2, fistpig.
Dear Grand Central Partnership,
Thanks very much for the cool restaurant guide that you guys were handing out this morning. Quick question. It says here that Grand Central is more than "just a weigh station for commuters." Hey, where are the scales?
Joe, The Pedantic Blogger
The United States Of Christ
This is the new America.
It's what's coming for all of us. We may as well get ready for it. The democratic election process? Fucked. Constitutional protections? Fucked. Respect for sovereign nations? Fucked.
Get ready for life under the Christianists. Start sewing that red, white and blue burka. Thanks to their fraudulently installed government, we're already more than halfway there. Wiretaps, phone records, warrantless searches, imprisonment without trial.
We've got exactly the government we deserve.
Open Thread Thursday
Tell me where it hurts.
Labels: Open Thread Thursday
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
A Note Of Thanks
To the tall queen seated in Section 228, Row D, Seat 17:
I just want to thank you. You, the tall queen seated directly in front of us at Madonna's sold-out concert at Madison Square Garden on Monday night. You, the tall queen with the fauxhawk, the popped collar, the capri pants and flip-flops. You, the spastic tall queen who flailed arythmically and screamed approximately 1500 times during the concert.
I mean, most people would think that for $170 a pop, we in Section 228 would be more than happy with just seeing Madonna's onstage carnival: her part Cirque du Soleil, part roller-disco, part strip-club melange of krumping, parkour, strobing video montages, and numerous half-naked muscle boys.
But not you, Tall Queen. No, you decided that we in Section 228 deserved a special show of your own, fueled by (by our count) about 8 glasses of white wine and spurred on by the approval of your much younger Latino date. So for the 100 times you screamed before the house lights even went down? Thank you. For calling out to your friends on the other side of the arena and jumping up and down and screaming because they could actually SEE YOU from 300 feet away? Thank you. That was totally awesome that they could see you from over there!
Hey Tall Queen, do you remember that sort of elderly obese man that was seated to your left? The one wearing the red string on his wrist? My friend and I had named him Mr. Pinky. You know, from Hairspray? Mr. Pinky didn't really seem to be happy to be at Madonna, I mean, he hardly even stood up! What's up with that? Maybe the temple made him attend? Anyway, on behalf of Mr. Pinky, thank you, Tall Queen, for providing him with an upclose and graphic look at homo-lovin'. Straddling your date in his seat in a reverse cowgirl and humping him? That was awesome! Licking your date all over his face and screaming into his open mouth? Also awesome.
And thank you, Tall Queen, for calling everybody in your cellphone directory and screaming "AAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!" to them. I bet they loved that. You know they were jealous bitches because you were at Madonna and they weren't. I was so jealous myself, because you must have at least 200 friends in your directory! We didn't mind at all, your screaming when Madonna was talking. Or your screaming when she was singing. Or your screaming continuously during those curious long periods in which she wasn't even on the stage. Seriously, that was awesome. We didn't mind not hearing her. Hey, did you know that you screamed exactly 49 times during the 6 minutes of La Isla Bonita? For real! We were counting! By the way, we decided that La Isla Bonita must have been Mr. Pinky's favorite song. He was totally snapping his fingers!
But at least Mr. Pinky could keep the beat! Seriously, Tall Queen, as awesome as I'm sure you know that you are, you really do need to look into something called "keeping the beat". Did you know that all those thousands of times you were clapping your hands over your head (while screaming, of course) that you never once clapped on the beat? Although, come to think of it.... statisically speaking, you should have accidentally clapped on the beat at least once or twice every minute. Ok, yeah, forget I said anything. I've lost my mind. All that bad rhythm? Definitely awesome!
By the way, Tall Queen? Did you like that video montage where they intercut photos of famous dictators? Idi Amin, Kim Jong-Il, Adolf Hitler and then George Bush? And then when Madonna ad-libbed during I Love New York that "If you don't like New York, you can suck George Bush' dick"? I figured you liked that because that's when you turned around and grabbed your crotch and screamed "SUCK MY DICK!" Which was awesome. Tall Queen, I hope that all six or seven times that Madonna berated the crowd for having low energy, you KNOW she wasn't talking about you, right? Like when she said, "You are some tired motherfucking assholes!", she totally did not mean you.
I hope you don't mind that I stepped up into the aisle to take this picture of you. I waited until you had your hands down and were between screams, because we wanted to remember you. I mean, since your screaming and flailing and bad dancing and boyfriend-macking were far more a part of our experience than anything Madonna and her dozen dancers were doing. So thank you, Tall Queen. Madonna: Good. But YOU? Awesome!
HomoQuotable - Barney Frank
His Excellency Vladimir V. Putin
President of the Russian Federation
4 Staraya Square
Moscow 103132 Russia
Dear President Putin,
We write as members of the United States Congress to express our dismay over the riots and violence against gay and lesbian marchers in Moscow during a gay pride parade in late May.
It seems to us evident that any government of the people would seek to protect all people, so we were very disappointed that Moscow mayor Luzhkov claimed in denying the parade permit that he would not be able to ensure the safety of the marchers.
We believe that the mayor's public statements and his banning of the parade itself--as well as the fact that provocative and violently anti-gay statements by religious leaders and others went unrepudiated by elected officials--helped create a situation in which violence against gay and lesbian people was in fact more likely to happen, if not inevitable.
In fact, given reports that some police stood by while gay and lesbian marchers were attacked, it is difficult for us to believe that the police were unable to protect the marchers, but instead were simply unwilling to do so.
We hope you agree that violence against people based on sexual orientation--people who are doing no harm to anyone else--is outrageous and not acceptable. We urge you to publicly make clear this sentiment to those who would seek to do harm to gay and lesbian individuals, to public officials and civil leaders who provoke or inadequately respond to such violence, and to the gay and lesbian citizens of Moscow and beyond who deserve to live, gather and associate without fear of violence.
REP. BARNEY FRANK
JMG: The above letter was co-signed by 49 other members of Congress. (via- Advocate.com)
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
Rules Of Friendship #17
The Homo Land
"This is not the homo-land, this is the Holy Land." - New York-based Rabbi Yehuda Levin, head of a pan-faith coalition working to prevent World Pride from taking place in Jerusalem next month.
Last fall, I happened to be seated next to the representatives from Jerusalem Pride at the plenary session of InterPride's annual convention. I sat there taking notes while the reps from various Pride committees from around the world introduced themselves at the microphone, a long and rather tedious ritual.
But when the young woman from Jerusalem Pride spoke of their determination to proceed despite threats of violence, despite that the Jerusalem police had warned them not to expect protection, there was an odd reaction. There was a nice round of applause, sure. But there were also some wet eyes, as a couple of hundred jaded gay activists were suddenly reminded that their own dilemmas about beer sponsors and disco entertainers and radio headsets were a extravagant luxury, almost laughable problems to have in a world where merely walking down a street will get you stoned by religious extremists.
Later this week, the Jerusalem police will issue their decision as to whether World Pride can take place, based on their assessment of the potential for violence and their ability (or desire, I fear) to keep the marchers safe. Regardless of their decision, I imagine that there will be a march of some sort and that there will be an ugly confrontation. I'm thinking about that brave young girl that I met. And I'm worried.
Monday, July 03, 2006
Paul struggles to push his way through the crowd at the Dugout to speak to me....
Paul: Hey Joe! Did you see that song I po-...um....somebody is feeling my ass.
Joe (looks over Paul's shoulder): Oh my. He's hot, actually. You should totally arch your back!
Paul: Oh, I already am!
Filed under: I love my people.
Nickel For Your Thoughts?
The New York Times recently reported that due to rising zinc prices, the cost of manufacturing a penny has now risen to about 1.4 cents, giving impetus to the decades-old movement to abolish the penny. Rep. Jim Kolbe (R-Arizona) is resubmitting his 2002 bill to kill the penny and force all retailers to round to the nearest nickel. (Guess whose home state would benefit by the need to suddenly mine enough copper for several trillion nickels?) And as you'd expect, there is a counter-movement to save the penny. Bizarrely, their celebrity spokeman is Mr. Britney Spears. I guess K-Fed isn't interested in using his millions in the same ole tired way that other celebrities do. Cuz ya know, hunger and disease? That's so been done. I say we put both the penny and K-Fed out of our misery.
Sunday, July 02, 2006
Instant Disco History #7: New York City
New York, New York, big city of dreams. But everything in New York ain't always what it seems. You're no tramp but you're no lady. Talkin' that street talk. If you wanna please me, I don't mind if you tease me, just take me for a night in New York. New York City is the hottest place for a honeymoon in a hotel room.
Since New York City is a former capital of the United States, in honor of this holiday weekend, here's a handful of great disco songs about New York City, the capital of the world.
Metropolis, I Love New York, Salsoul Records 1978
Mixed by the legendary Tom Moulton, about whom I should devote an entire post, I Love New York was immediately loathed by the critics, who saw the track as a lame attempt to cash in on New York's then brand new tourism slogan, which of course it was. More favored was Metropolis' Greatest Show On Earth, from the same album. However, time has tempered opinons on I Love New York and it is now a mix-show favorite on NYC's disco oldies stations. The words are easy and the harmony is sweet.
I Love New York by Metropolis (download).
Salsoul's Greatest Hits Volume 2 (purchase).
Andrea True, NY You Got Me Dancing, Buddha Records 1978
Porn star Andrea True followed up her massive hit pean to getting fucked on camera, More, More, More , with another tribute record, this time to the nightclubs of Manhattan, as she name checked some of the popular clubs of the day, including legendary gay hotspot 12 West: "At 12 West, the sound's the best." Not as catchy as her first single, NY You Got Me Dancing still reached #27 on the Billboard Hot Singles chart and got a later bump when it was selected for the Boogie Nights soundtrack.
NY You Got Me Dancing by Andrea True. (download).
More, More, More: The Best Of Andrea True (purchase).
Odyssey, Native New Yorker, RCA Records 1978
One of the most poignant and melancholy of disco songs, a genre not typically known for introspection, Native New Yorker is perhaps the most widely loved song about New York (Liza notwithstanding), although I've always suspected scant attention is being paid that the singer is lamenting a wasted, lonely life as she finds herself with no man and no prospects at age 35, yet still hopes for someone to "set her free from New York City." Yes, honey, where DID all those yesterdays go, when you still believed love could be like a Broadway show? With the backing of the New York Philharmonic, Native New Yorker was produced, arranged and conducted by Charlie Calello. Odyssey, while not considering themselves a disco group, went on to have several more club hits, most notably Use It Up, Wear It Out.
Native New Yorker by Odyssey (download).
Odyssey: Native New Yorker (purchase).
A Night In New York, Elbow Bones & The Racketeers, EMI Records 1983
Produced by the legendary August Darnell, he of Kid Creole, Machine, and Cherchez La Femme fame (and far too many groups to list here), A Night In New York is my favorite song on this list, as its lush orchestration and retro big-band arrangment beautifully evokes the glamor and sophistication that so many imagine New York club life to be. Elbow Bones was just another one-off from the prolific Darnell and this was the only record under this name.
A Night In New York by Elbow Bones And The Racketeers (download).
Elbow Bones And The Racketeers: New York At Dawn (purchase).
New York New York, Nina Hagen, Columbia Records 1983
Some disco purists would object to this track's appearance in this post, but under my generous definition of "disco", almost any song that packed the dancefloor of a disco is a disco record. And man, did this track from German punk/opera singer Nina Hagen blow the roof off the mutha! Listen as she namechecks Roxy, Mudd Club, Pyramid as well as David Bowie. Produced by Giorgio Moroder, New York New York is a hilarious and scary electro/punk/opera/ romp and a stone classic of the New Wave period.
New York New York by Nina Hagen (download).
14 Friendly Abductions: The Best Of Nina Hagen (purchase).