Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year

http://youtu.be/aSq1cez_flQ

(I still don't have any idea what I'm doing for NYE, but i'll be damned if these two aren't effing precious.)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Monday Music Matinee: Cat Christmas



The cat in question is my buddy Rikki. Too effing cute.

The Death of Kim Jong-Il



I found this footage of North Koreans grieving over the death of Kim Jong-Il over at the Laughing Squid, and i keep getting caught up in how sad it all is. It's like an entire nation of people who've spent their whole lives getting beat and pushed around by their dad, and he dies and they are suddenly lost.

It's insanely creepy.

I mean, the guy was basically a Bond Villain without the skull shaped volcanic island (but when you reign as god-emperor over 24,000,000 people, who needs a secret lair?).

Monday Music Matinee: Santa's Baby



A little Christmas cheer from the amazing Miss Jackie Beat.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The BART that Could Be

I'm obsessed with this map. I've probably looked at it twenty times since i found it over at Laughing Squid. It's a tantalizing look at a Bay Area living up to it's awesome potential.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Advice to a Young Man, Newly Diagnosed With HIV



When I tested positive in the spring of 2005 it felt like the end of the world. HIV was this boogie man that I had been taught to hate and fear since before I really understood how sex worked, and suddenly this monster was inside of me. I was sure that I had been handed a death sentence. Not only was I going to die, there was a part of me that wanted to die. Because who could love a man with a monster living inside of him? How could such a man ever find happiness? That was almost seven years ago, and my life clearly isn't "over." I have great friends, an adorable dog, and an awesome fella who loves me. But to get here I had to walk a long hard road littered with guilt, depression, and more than a little self destructive behavior. It's my hope that the advice below, lessons learned the hard way, might make your life a little easier.

1. Your life has become more complicated, but it isn't over. In fact I'm happier and healthier than I've ever been. Which isn't to say having HIV is 'easy,' it isn't. There are pills to take, and doctors to visit, and more than a few awkward conversations ahead of you. It's gonna be some work, and at times it going to suck, but it's manageable.

2. Go to the doctor. After getting tested, this is probably the single biggest hurdle facing the newly diagnosed. I know how intimidating that first doctor's visit can be, but it is the first step to taking control of your health and your life. Your testing facility probably directed you to a doctor in your area, if not your local LGBT center should be able to direct you (if you don't have a local LGBT center, please consider point of advice #7). After your diagnosis you are probably going to be in a state of semi shock for a while (i think mine lasted months) so bring a note pad to your first visit and/or ask the doctor if you can record the meeting so you can go over it again later. You should also be prepared to give blood, lots of blood. Get used to it, this is going to be a regular event.

3. Decide if meds are right for you. Some people want to put off taking antiretroviral drugs as long as possible, and others might start medication right away. Unless your numbers are bad (i.e. your viral load is very high, or your T-cell count is very low) the choice will be largely up to you. This can be a very contentious issue, with both camps making very passionate cases. I started taking meds almost a year after my diagnosis, largely because I was in a relationship with an HIV negative man, and i wanted to minimize his risk. But this is a very personal choice that should be made between you and your doctor, and i would never presume to advise anyone one way or the other.

If you do decide to start taking meds, remember that it's a commitment. To be really effective your pills will need to be taken every day and a regular time. If you skip days, or take your medication erratically your virus could adapt and your doctor will have to put you on a different (often more complicated/pill heavy) regimen.

And don't let poverty/ a lack of insurance keep you from treating your HIV. ADAP (the AIDS Drugs Assistance Program) was designed with us poor kids in mind. But be advised, many states have waiting lists (see #7).

4. Decide who to tell, and when. As far as i'm concerned you have an ethical obligation to disclose your HIV status before having sex with them (and in many place, a legal obligation), even if you are using a condom and you have an undetectable viral load. If you don't disclose, and they find out (and they will), they will feel betrayed. Which will be all the more agonizing for everyone involved if you guys have stated to like to have feeling for one another... You should also tell anyone you've had sex with in the last few months, even if you think they have nothing to worry about. The conversations might be awkward, but they will most likely appreciate the heads up. Other then that don't feel any pressure to tell your friends or family until you are ready. But know that it is in people's nature to talk. So once you start telling people, word will get around.

5. Be prepared for rejection. It's shitty, and it hurts, but it will happen. And when it does try and understand, it's not you he's rejecting. He's (probably) not a bad guy, he's just scared.

6. Find your peers. I know how scary and isolated you feel right now, but you are not alone. Seek out other poz folk who you can relate to, who you can talk to. Any fair sized city will have multiple groups you can join, check with your LGBT center (and once again, if there isn't a LGBT center close by, consider item #7)

7. Consider making a move to a big city. I would say this to any HIV positive person living in any area to rural or impoverished to have a LGBT center, even if your state doesn't have a waiting list for ADAP. Any urban center with a high concentration of gay men will do, but Los Angeles, New York City, or the San Francisco Bay Area have thelargest poz populations and the best facilities for dealing with HIV health issues.

8. Don't let the virus get past you. As devastating as it is to find out you are HIV+, that's fuck-all compared to the guilt & heartbreak of knowing you gave it to someone you love. Having HIV is an serious responsibility, and we have a sacred duty to keep it out of the bodies of our loved ones, and our community.

9. Forgive. Forgive the one who gave it to you, and forgive yourself. This is the way things are now, and no amount of anger or blame is going to change that.

10. Have hope. Not only has one man has been functionally cured of HIV,  there are several potential (more practical) cures over the horizon. This is an amazing time to be alive! And i have every hope that we will see the end of AIDS in our lifetime. Until then, take care of yourself, and let the people who love you take care of you too.

Friday, November 25, 2011

"It's Time"



My Special Gentleman Friend found this video and I've been been getting wet in the face all morning.

(so sweet)

Let the Gay Agenda Be Liberty (an Open Letter to Bruce La Bruce)


Mr. La Bruce,

I want to thank you for taking time out of what is almost certainly a very busy schedule to respond to my criticism of your earlier piece in Vice. I also feel that i owe you two apologies. The first  for taking so long to respond. I know a week is an unforgivably long time on the Internets, but a recent move and the onset of the holidays have kept my hands full. The second is for somehow leaving you with the impression that i don’t think gay culture is worthy of criticism. Gay culture has some serious problems. The decline of gay bars, the rise of Grindr, and enemies. No, not the kids from Glee. Real enemies.

And while we are on the subject, I know you aren’t my enemy. I’ve always been a fan of your art, and while i suspect that you and i don’t share a definition of ‘satire,’ I have nothing but respect for you. Furthermore, while i might have trouble "getting (my)self dressed in the morning," it didn’t escape my attention that you were “merely launching a provocation.” But since only teenagers provoke for the fun of it, I naturally assumed trying to start a dialogue. I’ve risen to the bait, color me provoked.

I agree that our political class has become, with a few exceptions, a lamentable cadre of passionless assimilationists, begging for scraps at the Democratic table. But the Human Rights Campaign isn’t gay culture, and neither was Act Up before it. In every city in America (and i suspect, the western world) there are drag queens, DJs, artists, and performers busting their asses every day to make gay culture happen. And for you to airily decree gay culture to be dead is a kick in the face. You’ve basically told the generation of queer artists and activists who have come up behind you to give up and go home. (And since you stopped using ‘queer’ in the 90’s, i’m sure you won’t mind if we wear it for a while)

You deigned to “spell out” your position, so I will do what i can to clarify mine. When i suggested that your time, talent, and influence could be put to better use drawing attention to places around the world where gay lives and rights are in peril I didn’t mean  “The East Village,”(zing!) I meant places like Russia where sweeping anti gay legislation could make it illegal to say nice things about gay people in front of children, I mean places like Uganda where man on man love may soon be a capital offence, and I mean places like parts of the United States, where if I spit on someone it can be considered assault with a deadly weapon, because i'm HIV positive. And when i imply that you might be better served touting gay artists and historical figures, I didn’t mean “Lady Gaga & Hitler” (double zing!), I was speaking of brilliant performers such as Justin Bond and Penny Arcade, writers like Gregory Maguire and Christopher Rice, film makers such as Travis Matthews and David Weissman, and an endless parade of of first class photographers, dancers, comedians, poets, musicians, DJs, and promoters.

And finally, when i say gay men and women should be fighting for the" freedom to be ourselves," I mean just that. We have spent the last thirty years pursuing an agenda of Equality, and we’ve made admirable, even near miraculous strides. Now we need to pivot to Freedom. Freedom of Expression, Freedom of Association, and the Right to Peaceably Assemble. SOPA should be just as important to the gay rights movment as DOMA. Ending the War on Drugs and the Criminalization of HIV should be priorities as high as the Right to Marry and ending DADT.

In short; If there is a Gay Agenda, let it be Liberty.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

to The Death of Gay Culture


   Recently, in Vice Magazine, beloved writer, photographer, and film maker, Bruce LaBruce, wondered aloud that “gay culture is dead,” (no, not “wondered if,” go read the title). And by the time I had finished reading I was fuming. It's not his hunger for attention that I object to. No one likes to tell the world how awesome I am more than I do, and I’d never begrudge that same quality in someone else. And let's leave aside, for the moment, that he is a gay artist who makes gay art for a primarily gay audience (and able to sell enough of that art to finance a trip to Italy). And let’s leave aside how unfocused the piece is; meandering from Jersey Shore to Italian dietary restrictions, to speculating on the sex lives of individual members of the Catholic clergy. His entire argument seemingly rests on the fact that Elton John isn't a rebel anymore and/or that he never made another album as good as Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. Elton John had the temerity to be successful, fall in love, and get old. Good for Elton John! He pushed envelopes, he broadened minds, and he wore a dizzying array of ridiculous sun glasses. The man has done his job; let him retire to a life of happy child rearing.

(i'm glad you are a happy dad, but what is that kid wearing?)
 If you think our people are broadly moving in the wrong direction, as I often do, you have a responsibility to not only get out in front of the crowd and tell them they're going the wrong way, but to show them the right way to go. He could have used those column inches to tout any number of amazing queer artists, gay historical figures, or places around the world where gay rights are imperiled. Instead he chose to talk about what he ate on his vacation, and disparage homos who want to be parents. But this is the quote that irritated me the most.


“The engine of the gay movement used to be an idea of adventurous and extreme sexuality. Gay culture itself was regarded by the status quo as something pornographic and sexually radical.”


   First of all, I couldn’t care less what the status quo thinks about gay culture. The status quo is what keeps Two and a Half Men a Neilson darling year after year. And second, the engine of the gay movement shouldn’t be about who and how we fuck, but whom and how we love. And before I am tarred with the brush of being a “gay conservative,” I would like to state for the record that I am all about adventurous and extreme sexuality. I spent three years in a three way relationship with two other men, I’ve had sex on film, and I have spent the last two years throwing a party best known the carnal shenanigans of its back room (also? very good music). My bona fides as a sexual radical are kind of unassailable. But it’s not the sex we should be fighting for, but the freedom to be ourselves.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

To Occupy Wall Street pt. 2: Occupy Oakland

(http://www.rblack.org/)
Last night on the streets of Oakland police clashed with the 99%. They were armored in riot gear, and met hurled rocks and slogans with rubber bullets and enough canisters of tear-gas to fill the streets of Oakland with billowing yellow clouds of poison. "A literal fog of war" i thought as watched live streaming video of the carnage in the streets; a miracle of the modern age, that we can be witness to the battlefield, live and in real time, as we watch the atrocities that are committed in our name. And there is no mistake in my mind, this was a battle. You only have to type "Oakland" into the YouTube search bar to see video after video of senseless brutality that seems as though they would be more fitting on the streets of Damascus than in an American city. Scene after scene of peaceful demands for change being met with violence.


Scott Olsen, a veteran of two tours in Iraq was critically wounded after being hit in the face with a police projectile. He is in the hospital, his condition is critical. And though it saddens and sickens me to say so, this will not be the last clash between police and protesters and Scott Olsen will not be the last man to fall. Because America's police departments are no longer the keepers of our civic peace, but soldiers in an ever growing number of domestic 'wars.' We have made war on Drugs, and war on Terror, and now the Oakland PD has made war on Dissent. 


But violence must not be met with violence. The cause of the Wall Street Protests is righteous; economic justice and corporate accountability, and most importantly an end to the open corruption in DC.  

Sunday, October 9, 2011

To the Occupy Wall Street Movement

(photo by Bradley Roberge)
Recently in Florida Former Godfathers Pizza CEO/GOP Presidential Hopeful/Tea Party Flavor of the Week, Herman Cain, accused the Occupy Wall Street movement of "class warfare" and told the American people to "blame yourself" for being penniless and jobless in the worst economy anyone has seen since Hoover was president. Former Gov. of Mass./GOP Presidential Hopeful/First Class Empty Suit, Mitt Romney, went further, calling the protests "dangerous." And he's not wrong, the Occupy Wall Street is dangerous; but only to those who profit from the crimes and abuses of the status quo.


As of October 9th the Occupy Wall Street movement has spread to 25 cities with more protests in the works, including Washington DC. It has gained the explicit support of some unions, and the implicit support of others. After weeks of ignoring the movement, the "MSM" has begun to recognize the movement's existence (if only derisively) the luminaries of the Democratic Party (who can smell a change in the political winds as well as any) are already starting to suck up. I think it's safe to say that OW is a growing, long term (if not permanent) fixture of American politics.


Of course not everyone thinks so. The movement's detractors mock it's lack of cohesion, sneering at the multitude of messages much in the same way the early Tea Party was for it's early inconsistencies ("get your government hands off my medicare," etc.). But, the movement is young and, like the Tea Party, it will come into focus as time goes on. Those in places of power who would see those occupying Wall Street as a flash in the pan are deluding themselves. Because, for all of it's lack of focus, these protests are tapping into and giving voice to a very real, almost tangible, emotion permeating the nation. Fear.

Fear of the American Autumn that so many of us sense over the horizon. In that way it is the younger twin of the Tea Party. One may rail against the evils of big government, and the other against the evils of the big banks, it is the death of the American middle class they are both fighting against. Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party are two side of the same coin, two fronts of the same struggle; and we shouldn't let the Powers That Be turn us against one another. We need both government and corporations (i like fire departments AND cell phones, public roads AND light bulbs) but they must be brought into balance with one another, and they must both be made to serve the interests of the American People.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Weekend Beats



Joe Goddard (of Hot Chip fame) and London based chanteuse, Valentia, have joined forces to craft this beautiful and haunting little dance number. The lyrics have an almost formal quality, as if the singer is challenging "Gabriel" to a duel, or laying a curse on him... or maybe i just need coffee...

I've been bouncing around to it all weekend. Enjoy!




Sunday, September 11, 2011

to September 11th

Today is the 10th anniversary of the attacks of September 11th, and the internets are awash with "How has 9/11 changed America," & "Where were you when..?," stories. As to the second, i watched the Twin Towers fall through the haze of a whiskey hangover while i sat cross-legged on my living room floor. A good friend of mine had called to rouse me from bed with a near hysterical "We've been bombed! Those bastards attacked us." I'm not sure who she thought attacked us (i never did think to ask her), and it wasn't bombs they hit us with, but our own airplanes. But those details were almost irrelevant as i sat there this too-big pajama bottoms with tears streaming down my cheeks.

As to how the attacks have changed us? It hasn't been for the better: The fall of the Twin Towers wounded us, and made us a people afraid of the world beyond our borders. The obscene amount of blood and treasure that has been spent in Iraq and Afghanistan is staggering. We have created elaborate rituals to create the illusion of security, but don't actually make people any safer. And a huge Homeland Security apparatus that is unmanageable and who's ballooning costs simply can't be objectively justified. And all the while our leaders drape themselves in the American flag and tell us that this war against 'terror' (as if we were making war on the Boogie-man and his allies, the Monsters Under The Bed.) is unending.

 We aren't stronger, or freer, or safer (despite what some would have you believe) than we were before the attacks. We are manifestly none of those things. But the thing that strikes me most of all as i look back on the last ten years is the complete lack of vision on the parts of our political class. On September 12th George W. Bush squandered the opportunity to unify not just the people of the United States, but the whole world. He could have rallied the American people to new era of civil service and self-sacrifice. He could have stood behind that podium and said "We have to go to Afghanistan to get rid of the Taliban, and afterwords we are going to build a proper nation there so this never happens again. Go out there and join the military or join the peace corps." Instead he told us to go shopping.

It wasn't just domestically where we dropped the ball. A crisis is also an opportunity, and Dubya had the opportunity to clean house in the Middle East. He could have not only brought Afghanistan out of the Dark Ages, and perhaps brought Iran into the American Hegemony (if Nixon can go to Beijing, Bush could have gone to Tehran). But most importantly the immediate aftermath of Sept 11th was the perfect moment for Bush to put real pressure on the Palestinians and Israelis to settle their borders and create a lasting peace.

I know, I know. Peace in the Middle East? Maybe I'm a dreamer, but he could have done more. Obama is no better. The economic melt-down was an opportunity to right our economy and revitalize the middle class.  He opted to put band-aides on the healthcare system.  These last ten years have been the very definition of extraordinary times, and our current political leaders aren't adequate to the task. We are a great people, and we can sense that greatness slipping away. But it doesn't have to. If we want to make America great again we need leadership big ideas and the courage and vision to make them a reality. That's not asking for too much, is it?

Monday, August 8, 2011

To The Debt Deal and American Jobs

The Debt Crisis has been resolved (though not before the manufactured melodrama was able to decrease the value of US debt) and now the Obama says he is planning a 'pivot to jobs.' Lets leave aside for the moment that the president pivots to jobs so often he must be doing pirouettes in the Oval Office. Instead lets focus on the kinds of jobs the president plans to create. What kind of jobs could the president create? If he really wanted to i'm sure he could resurrect the WPA and start churning out high speed rail lines and plays about how awesome america is, which would be awesome. This nation needs renewed infrastructure, and people need employment. Of course President Obama would never do anything this bold, when he talks about job creation all he's really talking about is tinkering with the tax codes and offering subsides for solar panels (i'm guessing.) But even if he did bring back the WPA, eventually all the bridges and parks would get built and then what? I don't believe that any amount of works projects or tax cuts will bring back the long term middle class jobs that the United States has been hemorrhaging since the 90s.

Republicans have cleverly re-branded rich people as "job creators," but "Creating Jobs" does not automatically mean creating the middle class jobs that are the ballast of this nation, and the engine of true economic growth.  Dan Carlin has a great podcast about jobs and the middle class where he quotes Henry Ford. When asked why he paid his workers such a high wage he replied, "so they can afford to buy my automobiles," and that right there is the key to maintaining our national power and prestige. The wealthy used to understand that it was in their best interest to maintain a thriving middle class, who could provide both the talent pool for creating first rate goods and services, and a market for their consumption.

But with globalization today's super rich have become divested from the American system. The fate of the huge multinationals in no longer tied to that of the American worker. Indians and Chinese workers are as well educated (mostly in American schools) and are willing to work for far less. Growing middle classes in Asia and Latin America means US and European markets are no longer the only place for these corporations to hock their wares. But if we can find a way to once again marry their fortunes to those of the United States we will ensure our continued greatness for 100 generations.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

to Grief

I wasn't expecting to find Grief yesterday; but when i logged on to the internet she was there waiting. My Facebook, Twitter, and G+ feeds were already awash in the stories of madness descended on a land of peace and order, and of a young woman dead before her time, her potential never to be fulfilled.

I spent the morning perusing stories about Amy Winehouse concerts and watching videos of live her performances, and to a lesser extent reading anecdotes about trips to Oslo and participating in conversations about the Nature of Evil. It was a somber morning, bittersweet. The joy of remembering good times gone by, and the ache of knowing that for some there will be no more times, good or bad. It was a sad morning, but the comfort of a Grief shared bouyed me up. And I wondered at the power of the Internet to unify.

But this was not to last. By the late morning/early afternoon the inevitable backlash had set in and folks all over the web were chastising others for their displays of sorrow for the passing of Ms. Winehouse. The Backlashers seemed to fall into three camps.

1: "She wasn't that great./She only made one album."

Which i'll deal with first because it is the line of reasoning that makes me the most uncomfortable. Are only the very talented or the very prolific worthy of our tears? Even if she she only made one album, even if she only had one song and she only sang it one time; if there was a moment where she impacted someone and made them feel understood and connected even for an instant, she is deserving of that person's mourning.

(and for the record, she made two albums.)


2: "Why are you wasting your grief on Amy Winehouse when she brought this upon herself?"


There is a lot of anger in this question, and I get it. She had so much talent, so much potential and she pissed it away. She could have stopped, pulled back from the abyss, but she chose to keep going. I don't know why she couldn't get her shit together. She had some pain she was trying to numb, or some hole she was trying to fill, or maybe she just loved to get effing wasted. I don't know. She's not the first star to do this to herself, she wont be the last. But the knowledge that there is no one to blame but her for her own death doesn't make it any less sad. What if it wasn't a drug overdose, but a suicide? Or what if she was mountain climbing and got her arm trapped under a bolder, but she didn't have the will to cut off her own arm to escape? Does weakness make you unworthy of grief?




3: "Why you wasting your grief on Amy Winehouse when you should be spending it on Norway?"


With the implication that the Norwegian tragedies vastly outweigh the death of one drugged out pop star and any sorrow shown on her behalf is a sign of cultural bankruptcy. This is the line of reasoning that makes the most sense on the surface. It seems common sense that many deaths are a greater tragedy than one death, that capricious murder is more horrific than self destruction. And as an abstract that logic is unassailable. But grief isn't about logic, and it can't be reduced to math. If my mom died the same day a meteor fell from the sky and made a crater out of New York City I would not shed a single tear for the citizens of the Big Apple. It's not as though the people who mourn the passing of Ms. Winehouse don't care about the events in Norway. Of course they care. We know, maybe more acutely than the peoples of any other nation, what it's like to see our children slain by madmen wielding guns. But it is somehow easier to process the loss of an artist who work moved you  (a person one might feel a very tangible connection with, despite not knowing them), it's more personal than it is the death of many strangers living in country you've probably never given much thought to.

But ultimately none of the above arguments i've laid out above really mater. Because when you get right down to it, a person's grief is their own, to feel and to express. And it is the height of unbelievable arrogance to presume to chastise another human being for feeling the feelings they feel.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Commissioner Anna Conda


A few weeks ago i had the opportunity to speak before the Rules Committee (about an hour and 10 minutes in) of the Board of Supervisors in favor of Anna Conda's bid for a spot on the Entertainment Commission (the body in charge of regulating and promoting Entertainment is San Francisco)


(as you can tell from my voice, i'm insanely nervous)

I'm happy to report that yesterday the Board chose Anna over D. Gill Sperlein (the moderate choice) and outgoing commissioner Jim Meko (who can be charitably described as 'cranky'). This was not a choice without controversy. The Seat in question is the 'community/neighborhood' seat, and there are some who feel that Anna, being a drag queen, would be "too close to Entertainment" (whatever that means) to effectively fulfill  that role. But as i said before the Rules Committee; The Anna Conda i know is a tireless community advocate and consensus builder, and i believe she will be a valuable addition to the Commission.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Bren-DUH Palmer

Last night was Tori Amos vs. PJ Harvey at Cocktailgate, and i performed. That's right, it was my drag debut. I performed PJ Harvey's 'Rid of Me,' as a bound and blindfolded Laura Palmer begging my abuser to come back and abuse me more.

It was so much fun, but so much work, and i couldn't hang all night. I ended up washing her off in the lady's room at Honey.


Saturday, July 2, 2011

to Civic Engagement

(Squirrel in repose, Dolores Park)

I'm getting older. I don't say that because almost two weeks after Pride i'm still shuffling around my house like a member of AARP, or because increasingly waking up at seven sounds like a lot more fun than falling asleep at seven. No. I know i'm getting older because unexpectedly i find myself getting my Civic Engagement on.

Civic Engagement is a strange creature, strange to me any way. It's not the same thing as Politics; a rallying of people to your cause, building alliances with rhetoric and charisma until it all comes to a head in a final contest of words and ideals. I get politics. Civic Engagement on the other hand isn't really about teams, or ideals, or rhetoric. Civic Engagement is all about getting all of your neighbors together in one room to agree on one thing, in comparison Politics is very straight forward.

I got pulled into this strange and terrifying land by the looming  Dolores Park Renovation. You have to understand, Dolores Park is like a second home to me; you'll find my friends and i there on any sunny day that i'm not forced to toil away in salt-mine somewhere. And when it was decided the park was getting renovated (to the tune of 7.9 million dollars) my buddy Squirrel and i realized if someone was going to look after our interests, it was going to have to be us. So for two months in a row now we have trekked down to the cafeteria at Mission High to do our part in overseeing a project we both believe in passionately.

And strangely enough, it's kind of awesome. First of all, there are snacks and coffee (they don't tell you that in civics class). Second, the people who show up for these meetings care about the park. While they might use it in different ways than i do, or have a different vision for the Park's future, they love it just as much as i do. Third, i'm meeting people i would rarely encounter in my day to day life; soccer moms, grandfathers, podiatrists, mimes (all my years throwing parties, and i have never met a mime until now. i think that's hilarious).

But it's also kind of excruciating. The constant struggle of trying to achieve consensus will ensure that very little changes. There will be better irrigation, and better lighting, but beyond that...

Great works of art can never be created by committee.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Summer; Welcome Home

"In summer, the song sings itself." ~William Carlos Williams



The days have grown long, and the nights kissed by gentle mists. Our days are spent basking in Dolores Park or playing where the sky meets the shore meets the sea, and our nights are filled with laughter and love. The there is only one possible explanation, Summer has returned to San Francisco. It seems like years have passed since Summer last stalked the streets of Our Fair City, and the Bright Young Gentleman's Adventuring Society would like to cordially invite you to a welcome home celebration for everybody's favorite season.



Resident DJ Taco Tuesday
&
Our Esteemed Guest DJ Sidekick (Beat Pig)

Will be coaxing you on to the dance floor with their sultry beats

Manicured MC Brenden Shucart

will oversee the competition to find the evenings Dirtiest Gentleman

While those Dapper Dandies

Kevin Cheeseman 
Charles Hemphill
&
Danimal Oh,

charm your pants off!

Graphic Design by noted carnal currator...

Stephen Quinones

Flier Image created for the BYGAS by Artistic Impresario

Felix d'Eon (felixdeon.com)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Natural Deliciousness


I'm pretty excited about tonight. Not only is it Joan River's birthday (oh! and my boyfirend's...), but tonight at OH! we will be giving away two tickets to the Hard French Pride party at Public Works.  And let's face it, you really, REALLY, want those tickets. You need them. You will do anything for them.


But put that hatchet away! We aren't asking you to kill anybody (yet). All you have to do to get your hands on those coveted little tickets to paradise is enter tonight's Best Smelling Pit Contest.

No deodorant.

No cologne.

Just your natural deliciousness.

See you tonight, Gentlemen

Monday, May 30, 2011

Victory


A big thank you to everyone who came out to support Adan and his AIDS Lifecycle adventure. Thanks to your support he met his goal, raising well over a thousand dollars.

CONGRATULATIONS ADAN!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Where I'll Be Drinking

ADAN's LIFECYCLE FUNDRAISER PROMO from Stephen Quinones on Vimeo.


Summer is sneaking up on us, and San Francisco's Festival Season is already underway, which means the time has come to resurrect everybody's favorite column, "Where I'll Be Drinking," the definitive guide to where you will find propped up in a corner with my sunglasses on, Weekend at Bernie's style.


We're launching tonight with Go Bang! at the Deco Lounge, where i'm guest hosting for my queer big brother, Stephen You Guys. Go Bang! is a party for disco freaks, art school boys & girls, drag queens & kings, boogie-heads, fierce dancers, flashy dressers, sexy girls, hot boys, DJs, dancers, photographers, artists, fashionistas; gay/straight/bi/tri/what-have-you. If you've never been, you are missing out. Tonight is extra special because we'll be celebrating the birthday of the notoriously handsome and sexy Marc Sanchez (with whom i plan to flirt outrageously, all night long.). Don't blow your whole wad tonight though, because Sunday is gonna so full of booze-flavored-fun, you'll want to pack a second liver.






From four to eight at the Bearnstein House we are having a BBQ fundraiser for the very worthy cause that is Adan Aburto's AIDS Lifecycle ride. Adan is manning the grill, DJ Taco Tuesday is bringing the beats, and the Powerhouse has graciously helped to provide a keg. There will also be a raffle of truly fabulous prizes to sweeten the deal. Afterwards we are all headed to Honey Sunday at the Holy Cow, the discaires of the Honey Soundsystem and special guest Adnan Sharif will keep us bouncing 'til we all fall down. Be sure to sleep in tomorrow, you are gonna need the energy.

"...hard to get to know, and damn near impossible to forget,"


Godfather of Rap, King of the Aries, musician, poet, and pioneer; Gil Scott-Heron has left this world, and the world is less of a place for his leaving. R.I.P.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Portland, OR

The first thing you notice about Portland (besides the beauty and the abundance of bridges) is how much Portlanders love their city. Not in the slightly cynical way that San Franciscans love San Francisco, or the sad and overcompensating love the Oaklanders have for their town. Portlanders love of Portland verges on the religious, and when they talk about their lovely city that get that far-away look of rapturous joy that Christians who are really into-it get when they talk about the big JC.

There is, admittedly, a lot to love. The eats are some of the best i've ever had. period. not just at a handful of restaurants, but every single eatery, cafe, and food cast (of which their are thousands) is chock full organic and locally grown deliciousness (Bunk and Broder were two of my favorites). The city itself is so pretty its rude, and the surrounding countryside is even prettier. Portland's grid is very easy to navigate. The coffee is strong, the boys are adorable, and there is a bookstore that never ends.

She makes a very compelling argument, but she's not without her drawbacks. A car seems to be slightly more necessary here than in San Francisco, the job situation here is apparently just as perilous, and the weather is worse...


But she makes a VERY compelling argument.

Happy Rapture Everybody!



I kind of find myself hoping for it... at least rents would go down, right?

Friday, April 15, 2011

Alala

I get to see CSS at the Mez tonight.

This birthday week is rocking me out.


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A Heck of a Town



So... a lot has changed in month or so since i've last written on here.

But for now i'm just gonna say i'm visiting New York City, The Capital of the World.

And in case you were wondering, yes. I'm LIVING.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Tales from the Invisible War

Last night i was privileged to attend the premier of "We Were Here," at the Castro Theater. There was a swank VIP reception before hand and i got to meet Rufus Wainwright.

Before they open the theater for seating several people, including Dana (the executive director of Project Inform) and David Weissman (the Director), spoke about their time in San Francisco durring the height of the AIDS crisis. It struck me, maybe for the first time, that i am part of a legacy of service that stretches all the way back to Harvey Milk.

Rufus sang a couple of songs before the movie started. Including "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" (the song we played at my dad's funeral... i knew at this point i was going to fall apart.)

WE WERE HERE (trailer) from David Weissman on Vimeo.


The movie it self is simply perfect. Funny, tender, and utterly heartbreaking. David has a gift for making you fall in love with his narrators, or maybe he just has an eye for narrators you can't help but fall in love with.

It's a story we've all heard before. The plague that struck us low just as we were coming into our own. The Invisible War that we fought with a mysterious enemy, while a whole nation (our nation) looked the other way. It's the story of our Holocaust, and it's been told before. But never this viscerally or honestly.

I broke down early and sobbed my way through the whole movie (and i'm not one for crying in public). I am humbled at the thought of the losses suffered and sacrifices made by the generations of gay men and women who came before me. I'm in awe of the services and support networks that they created out of whole cloth.

I kept looking at the smiling scruffy faces on the screen and i could help but think "this could be us, this could be my friends and family. And thats when i really lost my shit, because i don't know what i would do if i lost everyone. I don't think i'd be strong enough to go on.

We are so lucky.

I am so lucky.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Public Works


It seems as though i am now blogger for the Public Works here in The City.

Sweet, yeah?

Check out my first piece, about a recent fashion show, HERE.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Music in the Morning: Pop

I would never call myself a lover of Pop Music, more an affectionate observer from afar. I think that at it's best Pop is a rarified distillation of the era in which it was created. A snapshot of the most common denominator of a given zeitgeist. Pop is a thing that is constantly evolving, and is very much a part of the fabric of American Culture.

In the fifties and into the early sixties Pop resided firmly in doo-wop. It's mostly dudes crooning about getting to first base, and girls in poodle-skirts wondering out loud as to the whereabouts of their boyfriends... and from the perspective of a guy born in the early eighties, this perfectly encapsulates the "simpler times" that my parents are forever waxing poetic about.
In the Sixties Pop moved away from necking, and into a concern for the The United States place in the world, and how it went about using it's power. Kids stopped hanging out at "soda fountains" and started "smoking grass" (well done youth!) and having opinions. I understand their parents found this to be disquieting.
The Idealism of the sixties is short lived. While JFK's assassination seems to fuel it's fire, the assassinations of the late 60's, especially Martin Luther King Jr. and Bobby Kennedy's seem to tear out it's heart. By Nixon's second inauguration it has receded almost completely, surviving only in the shallow grotto of San Francisco, and a few other enclaves like Ocean Beach in San Diego (where they are still protesting Vietnam). Completely turned off by politics the youth of America turned to decadence as a means of coping, and pop music followed.
Which drifted easily into the wonton materialism of the eighties. America's philosophical conflict with Communism had devolved into a celebration of stuff. It was a rejection of the spiritual and the idealogical in favor of the purely physical (and shoulder pads).
And then the Berlin Wall came down, and the USSR fell shortly there after. For the first time in as long as anyone could remember the United States didn't have An Enemy. We were the undisputed masters of a global system of our design. The youth of this generation grew up knowing that we could do anything we wanted to do, be anything we wanted to be. We were as gods... and it totally scared the shit out of us. And pop music was there to reflect our fear and uncertainty.
We quickly grew exhausted with all the self reflection, however. "The Nineties" much like "the Sixties" lasted only as long as it's heros. And the fall of it's angst-ridden standard-berrers saw the lights of this era start to sputter out. Even before the fall of the Twin Towers you could taste the hunger to escape, and september eleventh only speeded the process. The very late nineties and into the early-mid Aughts is what some people call "The Golden Age of Pop" Where divas like Mandy More and Cristina Aguilera were created out of thin air, and boy bands such as N'Sync and the Back Street Boys were assembled to chase the Lilith Fair lovelies off of the radio. And the undisputed queen of this era was Britney Spears.
Pop Music doesn't always have to be art (lets be frank, it's usually the furthest thing from) it can be just "a fun time" and thats okay. We need mindless entertainment to keep us sane. So Pop music doesn't have to be art, but there is an art to pop music. It requires an instinct for approach (like double dutch), and an ability to read the spirit of the time. This is an art at which Britney Spears is a master. Her new video builds on her own mythology; it takes the contributions of later pop starlets, like Lady Gaga and the "literature" of video games and Youtube and folds them into herself. She captures the frantic overstimulation of life in the Internet Age, the fear at the sense of a roller coaster out of control. As a piece of music, its utterly forgettable. As a display of her mastery of the Art of Pop, it's sublime.
(Britney Spears scares the effing Shit out of me)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Music In The Morning: The Fear


I woke up this morning deep in grips of It. The anxiety, and crushing tightness around my heart. The panicky, claustrophobic, inability to breath that comes after falling asleep under a mountain of worries. It's built of self-doubts and missed deadlines, of bills that change colors faster than autumn leaves. It's mortared by the voice in the back of my head who reminds me of all that my heroes had accomplished by the time they were my age, and quietly (cruelly, knowingly) asks me if i'll ever measure up.



 In Breakfast at Tiffany's, Holly Golightly called it "The Mean Reds," and the singer Lily Allen calls it "The Fear" in such away that you can hear the capitalization. It's a companion that has been with me as long as i can remember. A saboteur lurking in my own heart. A fifth column speaking with my own voice. I don't know how to appease it, or make it go away. I don't have a Tiffany's to sooth me. I don't know what to say to it excepting "Maybe i'll never be great man, maybe i'll never be a good man, but i am going to try as hard as i can, every day, until the day i die."

And pray that might be enough.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Music on Valentine's Day

"If music be the food of love, play on," -William Shakespeare

The End of the Valentine Summer

It's not like we didn't see it coming, but it's still heartbreaking when something you love dies.

Valentine Summer
Feb 5 2011~Feb 13 2011
Rest in Peace
(Dolores Park in February)
At least we have the consultation of being able to say she went out with a bang. Friday my good friend, the very talented designer Jared Garza hosted the Factory Direct show at the Public Works. It was an evening of great fashion, fun music, and (as my friend Terry would say) "Cunt Looks," (which is a compliment, believe it or not). I found myself strangely nervous; i was there to write about fashion, which i know nothing about. But i figured out pretty quickly talking to designers about their clothes is just like talking to any artist about their art. i also got a crash course in fashion photography from the girl next to me ("just keep clicking")
(possibly the least awful picture i took all night)

Saturday Night My good friend Kai hosted a little back yard campfire complete with catered dinner, open bar, and koi pond softly illuminated by original art pieces. It was pretty effing classy. The point of the party was to show the apartment in which it was being hosted. A gorgeous, second story number with huge rooms and high ceilings. And if i had an extra two grand a month to spend i would deck that place out as my library/writing studio/secret lair. Alas I am hanging on to the poverty line by my finger nails, so it won't be anytime soon. More than seeing the inside of such a swank pad i was stoked to see my friend Kale before he treks off to Hawaii (land of my birth!)
(Kale points the way)

Sunday Was Monistat's fundraiser at The Cinch, Polk Street Hustle where she plied to audience with hot dogs and drag until they relented and donated money to the evening's worthy cause, Trans Thrive. It was a winning strategy too. I think Monistat raised over five hundred dollars (don't quote me on that, i was pretty in my cups by the end of the evening)

(the awesome/crazy/fun chick on the right GAVE Monistat that necklace "an Empress needs crown jewels," classy, no?)




I woke up in the morning to find the Valentine Summer had receded in full. The cherry blossoms plastered to the pavement by fresh rains. It seems somehow fair, that three weeks of golden afternoons should come to a final close on Valentine's day. The sky is grey. The park is empty. I declare this freak summer at a close.
(you will be missed)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Valentine Summer

(they're not dirty pillows, mama!)
Last night's OH! was so much effing fun, a delightful whiskey-tinted blur of old friends, handsome gentlemen, and sparkling conversation. Maybe one of my all time favorite OH!s, despite the unusually low turn out. I think this was possibly our most lightly attended event in the year the Bright Young Gentlemen's Adventuring Society has been together. which is odd, because we PROMOTED this one. Hard. But in retrospect there have been more than a few OH!s that were packed to the gill despite a promotional negligence to our party, that were it a child would be considered abuse. (what?) So anyway, the attendance was low, but those that did come were of a particularly high caliber. And so dressed up! I love our little fancy dress party. 
(you future empress)

I did not love waking up this morning in the grips of the scavenger breath and inescapable glaring head-ache of the whiskey hang-over. It's a very specific flavor of brutal, like waking up to a snowy television with the volume stuck on upper-middle loudness. It's distracting and annoying, and more than a little painful. There is of course an excellent cure for the whiskey hangover; cannabis and caffeine. A powerful and dynamic combination that when applied to the whiskey hangover creates a sense of Zen-like sense of appreciation for your muddled semi-catatonic state. But I am resolved not to use sweet Mary Jane as a crutch to get through my life. So i manned up, dragged my ass out of bed and stumbled out in to the Valentine Summer.

(go faster!)
(better than snatching babies)
I spent the morning running errands and crossing items off my to-do list. And by early afternoon the fog had lifted, and i was feeling nearly human again. I decided to do throw down a blanket a do some writing at Dolores Park. Which has become my go to spot for focus creativity in the last few weeks. That was not be the case this time, however. Instead of working on my book i whiled away the afternoon in the company of three handsome/charming/hilarious gentlemen. I learned new games, had deep discussions about the proper flavor of 'blue,' and i even had my fortune told by the one and only Storm Vervain. And you know what? I don't feel even a little bit guilt about it. You know why? Because its summer in February; i'd be a fool to spend it any other way

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

OH!SEBUD




Even the Dirtiest of Gentlemen are not fueled by dapper clothes and clandestine dalliances alone; we all need a little something more.

And thats why the Bright Young Gentlemen's Adventuring Society is proud to present OH!sebud: the Very Romantic Party for the Dirty Gentleman. An evening of elegance and ambiance where you are sure to meet the Deviant Dandy of your dreams.

You will be welcomed at the door of your new love den by the dashing gentlemen

Kevin Cheeseman
&
Brenden Gregory

The soundtrack to your newly blossoming romance will be provided DJ's

Taco Tuesday
&
Nolita Selector

While your Tireless Hosts

Danimal Opdahl
&
Charles Hemphill

mix and mingle

All overseen by our Angelic Cupid Go Go Boys...

Flier by the amazing Felix Deon (felixdeon.com)

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Music In The Morning: Dear God



Last night's fund-raising extravaganza at the Powerhouse was a huge success; we raised well over 500$ for Project Inform! Win!

Strangely enough, the highlight of my evening was a conversation i had in the back room with a handsome young man about faith, and how i miss it.

Me and Jesus used to be tight. Like, long-evenings-of-braiding-each-other's-hair-and-talking-about-our-hopes-and-fears tight. And even though these days i'm agnostic bordering on atheistic, i sometimes miss it; the certitude, the ritual, the unshaken knowledge that i was part of a PLAN. That everything was gonna be okay because GOD was On My Side, and... that was nice.

Don't get me wrong, give me the choice and i'll take the Red Pill every time.

But i remember Faith... and it was sweet.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Music In The Morning: Egypt is Burning



Shit is going down in Egypt. Hot on the heels of uprisings in Tunisia which toppled a dictatorship almost as old as me; protests in Cairo, Alexandria, and Giza are close to bringing the Mubarak regime to a close.

Confirmed reports are few and far between. But twitter is on fire with rumors that the Egyptian National Museum is burning, Police and Soldiers are clashing in the streets of Cairo, and that the government has blocked access to the internet.

For breaking news check out Reza Aslan's Twitter feed.