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


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 (